Minority-bashing is indicative of fascist designs: Janhastakshep

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) Eminent scholars, legal luminaries and social activists, assembled at a public interaction here, have said the ongoing minority-bashing is not only a' vote-catching-strategy' of the Hindutva forces but is an indication of fascist designs aimed at subverting the democratic movements in the country.

At the public meeting, organised yesterday by Janhastakshep, a People's Interaction Group' on ''Attacks on minorities - Challenges before the democratic movement'' Mr Prashant Bhushan, well-known lawyer and activist, pointed out that there had been three cycles of communal violence. Each time communal violence subsided, but it helped to communalize the society to the extent that today even the middle classes had almost became blind to the police excesses.

Unfortunately, he said, the media had served the 'Hindutva forces in projecting one or the other minority as terrorists as and when suited them. As a result, indiscriminate arrests of educated and innocent members of any minority community created no ripple among the large Indian middle class even such police actions flouted the Supreme Court and NHRC guidelines and bordered around the" state terrorism", Mr Bhushan said.

Prof Manoranjan Mohanty, who went as a member of a fact-finding team to Orissa, said large-scale attacks against Christians in Kandhamal and other areas were aimed at forcing them to return to the Hinduism fold and some of them did to escape their physical elimination. ''What was shocking that the police and state officials looked the other way when violent attacks were carried out''. Urging the civil liberty and human rights groups to join together against such attacks, Prof Mohanty said the attacks on minorities were not an issue of minority rights but a matter of protecting the essentials of the Indian democracy.

Mr D Bandopadhyaya, Chairman of Land Reforms Committee of the Planning Commission, indicated that these attacks on the minorities were a part of the aggression mounted by globalization. Since globalization has worsened the condition of the poor, the attacks are the diversionary tactics to prevent the deprived people from organizing themselves against 'New Economic Policies'. Both internal capitalist forces and Indian ruling classes use such attacks to break the unity of class struggles.A media expert and working journalist saw these attacks as an extension of the colonial policy 'divide and rule' which was being perpetuated by Indian state establishment even today. Using anti-Sikh riots of 1984 as an example, he showed how the state had stood by ''perpetrators of violence on innocent Sikhs and the media supported the state in this respect.'' He concluded that these developments were detrimental to national unity. If such tendencies continue unchecked, they may precipitate a re-drawing of the map of India, he added.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed argued that these attacks were not a Christian or Muslim issue, but rather an issue of democracy and should be fought on a non-communal terrain. The mind-set which saw this country as the property of high-caste Hindus has gained ascendance to such an extent that the ruling classes seemed to be convinced that the minorities should be reformed and brought into the so-called mainstream. Professor Ahmed said the economic crisis had led to people's mobilisation against their marginalisation and the state and the ruling classes were using these attacks to transform ''an economic issue into a communal issue''.

At the end, the meeting adopted a resolution demanding that attacks on minorities and their institutions must stop and those responsible should be dealt with in accordance with the rule of law, A time-bound judicial enquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court should be appointed to go into the Jamia Nagar encounter. Home Minister Shivraj Patil should resign for mishandling such a sensitive issue. It also sought an end to ''indiscriminate harassment and arrest of educated Muslim youths and their families''and police encounter cases should be investigated and preventive detention or arrest should follow the Supreme Court guidelines Another resolution asked the media to avoid telecasting absurd and concocted stories built by the police on confessions made in police custody.

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