Helpless Home Minister beseeches CMs

With riots raging all over the country at the rate of two incidents per day, our home minister finally mustered courage on 11 October to write a letter to the states’ chief ministers. He told them politely that certain elements may incite “communal violence” in the coming days and that “such elements should be identified and dealt with suitably.” The poor man did even have the courage to even use a more proper word like “harshly” or “mercilessly”. All this while he himself confesses in the said letter that from 1 August to 11 October this year, 119 communal violence incidents have taken place in which 32 person were killed and that this year until 11 October, 413 communal violence incidents have taken place in which 75 persons were killed and 1161 were injured. He further disclosed that in 2010, 651 communal violence incidents took place in which 114 persons were killed and 2115 were injured, and that in 2009 a total of 773 (about three incidents per day) took place in which 123 persons lost their lives and 2417 were injured.

The fact of the matter is that not only Sanghis, now even police, directly controlled by the home minister, are taking an active part in killing Muslims at the drop of a hat - Forbesganj, Gopalgarh and Rudrapur are very recent instances. In Rudrapur, 20,000 Muslims fled their homes due to Police brutality after the initial firing.

The Congress party which spearheaded the communal violence prevention draft bill is now silent in the face of BJP and allied parties’ criticism who would rather have a Right to Riot bill to murder innocents with full immunity.

It is clear today that riots, rather state-sponsored violence against minorities, are part of our life and it is time we seriously thought about some long-term strategy to frustrate forces which want to kill and cripple us. Apart from local measures like permanent relief funds, peace committees, legal action, we should now approach international human rights forums including UN, EU and OIC.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2011 on page no. 1

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