Restore Peace in Gujarat ! Punish the Guilty!
Stop Religious Hatred and Rath Yatra! Provide Adequate Relief for The Victims!
"Innocent lives that have been lost in the communal carnage in Gujarat should not go waste. Karnataka has lessons to learn from it. Are the citizen's of this State and the government prepared to face such a disastrous event?" These are the burning concerns articulated during a major demonstration in the wake of Gujarat in Bangalore today. Ever since the communal carnage started in Gujarat, Bangalore has witnessed several initiatives and events to drive this message home. However, this demonstration, timed two days before the proposed Jagannath Rath Yatra, expresses serious concerns over the safety and lives of the people in Gujarat. Despite a public outrage from all over the country and the pleas of the Jagannath Temple Trust, a section of the Hindu fundamentalists groups have announced their intention of leading the traditionally celebrated Jagannath Rath Yatra through communally sensitive areas of Ahmedabad. "We are keeping our fingers crossed", said a leading human rights activist.
Over 100 people from various walks of life including women's' rights activists and other social activists, cultural leaders, human rights activists, students and academicians, legal experts, retired bureaucrats, voluntary and humanitarian workers attended this demonstration. This demonstration was organised by People's Initiative for Peace, a broad platform of Bangalore citizens and others at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in MG Road. "Official apathy is
amplifying the inhumane conditions in the relief camps. A further influx of victims will have devastating results. Efforts must be put to stop the violence," said a group of relief workers and legal activists who have just come back from Gujarat's relief camps.
Throwing light on the details of the recent findings of the Forensic Science Laboratory, a leading legal expert said that their report disproves the claim by the Sangh Parivar that a mob of local Godhra Muslims set fire to the train compartment from outside after locking the passengers inside. However, for the BJP government and its allies in the Sangh Parivar, Godhra presented the perfect opportunity to play the Hindutva card. Even before any official investigation into the Godhra incident had been ordered, innocent Muslims in Gujarat, were charged guilty of the crime. "This is a bolt on the ethics of legal procedure" added the legal expert. The Forensic reports dismisses the much publicised campaign by the Gujarat Government and its Chief Minister Narendra Modi that the inhuman barbarism and violence against the minority community in Gujarat was a "natural reaction to Godhra." The post-Godhra violence in Gujarat, as we all know today, was nothing but a systematic, pre-planned "Genocide" of a minority community with the full support from the state.
In the days that followed the "Godhra train tragedy", Gujarat had been brutalised by the Sangh Parivar. The connivance of the State Government, headed by the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi amplified it into a full-fledged "Genocide", unprecedented in the history of independent India. Despite the loss of over 2000 deaths and pushing thousands of victims to inhumane relief camps, the Chief Minister has not shown any signs of his moral and constitutional obligation to resign. The minority community had to bear the brunt. Women have been exposed to savage sexual violence. Manslaughter and inhuman violence have left many psychological wounds. Innocent children were exposed to acts of extreme brutality.
Despite the public outcry against the role of Narendra Modi's government and the State in the carnage, until today no action has been taken to identify and punish the guilty. Today in Gujarat, FIRs and charge sheets are being filed against Muslim victims rather than the perpetrators of the ghastly crimes because the police are hand in glove with the perpetuators. On the other hand, Muslims suspected of having carried out the "Godhra train carnage" have been administered the illegal and banned "truth serum" to extract confessions. Politically motivated actions to keep the communal tensions alive have been the highlight of the State government policy for the past four months. For example, a 100-year old mosque was recently demolished by the state administration in Ahmedabad city.
To consolidate the unholy gains made in Gujarat, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, an extreme right wing group has recently passed a "Bangalore resolution", a shocking statement that in effect declared Muslims and other minorities in India as second-class citizens. Close at heel, the VHP publicly declared that it would not abide by an unfavourable Supreme Court judgement on the Ayodhya issue. This challenge on the supreme legal body of the country has passed without even generating a contempt of court notice on VHP. Similarly, the RSS has not been declared a terrorist organisation despite its consistent anti-democratic, anti-minority and anti-people statements. Narendra Modi and his henchmen are yet to be charged for genocide.
People's Initiative for Peace (PIP) expresses serious concern over the proposed Jagannath Rath Yatra at Ahmedbad on July 12th. PIP fears that the Yatra will worsen the already tense scenario in Gujarat, a state still struggling to recover. PIP urges the Gujarat government
to stop the Rath Yatra to avoid further human sufferings. "Enough blood has been spilt already in the name of religion. It is high time for those who believe in humanity to join forces to oppose ruthless misuse of religion by the fundamentalist forces" said a PIP activist. " More than any support, what the Sangh Parivar wants is our silence. This is to ensure that they will grow as an unchecked, intolerant, murderous, and genocidal force. This must be stopped. This is the time to speak," she added.
PIP calls upon all secular, democratic and peace-loving people to defend whatever remnants of justice are left in our society. Four months after the violence started in Gujarat and two days before the ensuing Jagannath Rath Yatra.
People's Initiative for Peace demands the following:
Immediate and time-bound independent enquiry into the " Godhra train burning incident".
Immediate trail process leading to proper punishment for all guilty for the dreadful carnage in Gujarat.
Dropping of all FIRs on innocent people (mainly Muslims) with immediate effect.
Immediate action be taken against all state officials, police officers and politicians who directly or indirectly facilitated the killings. Immediate punishment of officials responsible for the illegal use of the `truth serum'.
Proper rehabilitation and medical care to all victims of the Gujarat carnage.
Proper and equal compensation to all victims for physical, psychological and material damages.
Continuation and facilitation of all relief camps in Gujarat until normalcy is restored
All initiatives (like the Rath Yatra) by the Sangh Parivar to spread religious hatred in Gujarat be stopped and condemned.
Immediate action against VHP leaders for their public statements challenging any possible future decision of the Court on the Ayodhya issue.
Firstly, there is an urgent need to restore peace in the violence-affected areas. Secondly, it is important to prevent further communal clashes. Thirdly, there is a need to provide lifeline support for the violence- affected thousands, who are still struggling to survive in relief camps.
The message on the placard carried by a young student reiterates the urgency. In the background of the crosses (that imply the grave yard), the placard warns:
"I stand in the midst of the cemetery;
I stand for human beings;
I stand for peace;
But not for the peace of the cemetery"
"Time is running out. Save Gujarat".
Issued on behalf of People's Initiative for Peace,
Prof. Hassan Mansoor & Nilanjana, Contact: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org