Cong, Left failed to fight anti-Minority violence: Setalvad

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Kochi, Oct 11 (UNI) Noted civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad today alleged a complete breakdown of law and order in Orissa and accused the Congress and Left parties of not doing enough to fight 'anti-Minority violence in Gujarat.' Inaugurating a seminar on 'Challenges Facing Secularism in India' here, Ms Setalvad, a Padmasri awardee, claimed she had just returned from her second visit to Orissa where she found complete breakdown in the law and order machinery in the State.

''The people of a particular area in the State (Kandhamal) have been facing violent attacks for the past 47 days. As many as 56 people have been killed and nearly 2,500 houses destroyed. The media took 20 days to pick up the story and report on the anti-Minority violence,'' she alleged.

Stating that secularism and democracy share a symbiotic relationship in country the activist called for a multi-pronged attack against 'fascism in public life.' The failure of the Indian State to punish the perpetrators of the 1984 riots in Delhi emboldened those who unleashed violence in Mumbai in 1992-93 and in Gujarat in 2002, she claimed.

Asserting the judiciary alone could not be the forum to fight communal violence, she said both the Congress and Left Parties had failed to fight the battle on ground against communal violence in Gujarat.

''These parties are willing to write any number of letters or issue statements, but they have not been at the forefront of the battle on ground against anti-Minority violence in Gujarat,'' she added.

She also find fault with the media for not being able to notice the build-up to disasters.

''The media fails to notice the early signals or report on after-effects. It only gives graphic coverage of the actual events,'' she added.

Decrying the ''unidimensional way of looking at terrorism,'' Ms Setalvad said this was creating divisions in the society. The right wing anti-minority violence in Orissa was terrorism just as much as the recent bomb blasts in some cities.

Terming the Sachar Committee Report as an excellent document, she said there was a need to institute a mechanism to monitor its implementation.

UNI ARC DS GT AS1855

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