Recognise massacre of minorities as 'Genocide', demand minorities

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ew Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Peeved over recent attacks on the minority community in Orissa, the minority leaders from Sikhs, Muslims and Christians communities' today demanded the government to recognise 'massacre' of minorities as ''genocide'' and legislate ''Hate Crime Law'' to tackle with the rising violence of ''Hindutva forces.'' Assembled at a common platform here, the leaders projected their gathering as a national debate on 'Investigating Genocide -- Role of Commissions', organised by Sikhs for Justice, a US-based human rights advocacy group, All India Sikh Students Federation(AISSF) and leaders of the three communities.

They said the killings of Sikhs in November 1984 in Delhi and other places, Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and recent attacks on Christians in Orissa were ''orchestrated hate crimes'' amounting to a ''planned genocide'' of them.

The debate, supported and participated by the representatives from the National Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue, a Christian body and All India Council of Mosques and Imams, was dedicated to the marking of 24th year of ''genocide of Sikhs''.

The panel members of the debate included eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar, former Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh, Father M D Thomas, Imman and Mosques Council general secretary Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, prominent lawyers-- Navkiran Singh, Vikas Sharma and Anoop Bose.

Dr Thomas pointed out that various commissions and committees, set up after the anti-Sikh riots and massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, did not give any justice to the victims and the culprits went unpunished. ''We are afraid that perpetrators of crimes against Christians in Orissa may also go scot-free,'' he added.

In this context, eminent lawyer Colin Gonzalves said, ''The commissions and committees are invariably set up as part of diversionary tactics to buy time, delay justice and ultimately place a lid, for all the time to come, over the anti-minority violence.

''And, all such activities are intended to extend covert support to the Hindutva forces in their project of creating a 'theocratic state' by demolishing secular-democratic Indian polity,'' he added.

Citing an example of the recent gang rape of a nun in Orissa and police's attempt to cover it up, the penal members were unanimous in demand that cases of violence against the minorities should be investigated by the CBI.

The Centre had taken the responsibility of preserving the secular democratic set-up as envisaged by the Constitution, AISSF president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a New York-based Attorney said, ''India should legislate a 'Hate Crime Law' as the current Indian laws do not provide special prosecuting procedures and punishment for the crimes targeting religious minorities.'' While asserting the prevention of pluralism of the country for the sake of democratic polity, the gathering adopted a resolution demanding attacks on Christians and the gang rape of nun in Orissa be investigated by the CBI and massacre of minorities be recognised as ''genocide''.

UNI JSS SW KP1929

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