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2003: Indian Muslim
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|Inter-Community Peace Initiative
Grave Threat to Communal Peace & Social Stability In India
New Delhi, 15 October, 2003:
Issue: There is grave imminent threat to communal peace and social stability in the country, by the campaign launched by the VHP supported by the BJP against Indian Muslims for alleged historical wrongs related to thousands of places of worship, especially in Ayodhya, Kashi, and Mathura.
The proposed Sankalp Sammelan (Rally) being organised at Ayodhya on 17 Oct.2003 is the beginning of the latest phase of a campaign since 1980’s which has brought large scale death and destruction in its wake including Gujrat 2002. The rally of lakhs is being organised to get a temple constructed at Ayoudhya at the place where Babri Masjid stood, without waiting for the verdict of the court. The organizers have been pouring contempt on the judiciary and the course of law. The present agitation begins on 17 Oct. 2003 aimed at building of the temple in total defiance of law.
Besides the direction of the Supreme Court (2002) for maintenance of status-quo, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has recently prohibited any religious activity in the vicinity of the Acquired Land in Ayodhya. The UP. Government alone cannot do this. But the Central Government. which is Receiver of Acquired Land includes Ministers who are not only members of the BJP, but some of them are closely associated with the VHP and the RSS.
There is threat not only to the status quo at the site but leaders like Shri Praveen Togadia have been saying that the country will be plunged into communal riots—even civil war.
In view of the antecedents of the leaders organising the rally, and open threat of communal violence, the assurance of peace is not enough, especially in view of the cynical political calculations of all political parties about coming elections. In view of threat to life and liberty of citizens (Article 21) clear direction from the S.C. is required for :
i) Banning all such rallies;
ii) Directing the NHRC to supervise the arrangements by the Central and State Government for implementation of banning order and for ensuring availability of adequate force, including the army, for the purpose.
Long term measures:
i) Directing the Union & State Govts. to implement reform measures for prevention and control of riots, especially with a view to ensuring impartialal enforcement of law by secularising and pluralizing the entire machinery of the district administration, the police and State forces and the justice system.
ii) Directing the Union Govt. & the NHRC for constituting an empowered Commission for Inter-Community Conciliation like the Truth & Reconciliation Commission to peacefully resolve contentious inter-community ethno-religious issues, as recommended by the NCM Report 1999 & NCRWC Report 2001.
iii) Banning all massive rallies in future on the issue of alleged 30,000 existing mosques and shrines , which are being claimed as temples, as such agitation have caused since the Rath Yatra of 1990 and will continue causing in future not only inconvenience and dislocation of civic life as political Bandhs and processions do, but grave threat to life, property, dignity, freedom and places of worship of citizens, especially of vulnerable minorities, which has made sections of frustrated youth of the victim group commit acts of terrorism.
Iqbal A. Ansari
Inter-Community Peace Initiative
20, Jaswant Apartment, Okhla, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025; Tel.
(++91-11) 26324452 Email: email@example.com
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