Saturday, December 9, 2023

13 Opposition leaders express concern over hate speech, communal violence

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Expressed deep concern over the recent incidents of anti-Muslim violence and hate speeches, leaders of 13 Opposition parties on Saturday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to speak out against those who “propagate” hate.

They also urged people to maintain peace and harmony.

The leaders raised concern over “the manner in which issues relating to food, dress, faith, festivals and language are being deliberately used by the ruling establishment to polarise society.”

The leaders include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. Others are National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja, CPI (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, All India Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas, Revolutionary Socialist Party general secretary Manoj Bhattacharya, IUML general secretary P K Kunhalikutty, and Communist Party of India(ML)-Liberation general secretary Dipanker Bhattacharya.

Opposition leaders demanded stringent punishment for the perpetrators of violence, claiming that there is a sinister pattern to the violence.

“We are shocked at the silence of the Prime Minister, who has failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society. This silence is an eloquent testimony to the fact that such private armed mobs enjoy the luxury of official patronage,” read the statement.

It went on to say: “We reiterate our commitment to combat and confront the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society.”

Anti-Muslim violence were reported in at least eight states including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh last week as Hindutva outfits carried out rallies to celebrate Ram Navami.

A pattern is formed as sequences of events across India looked similar, on the same evening. A death was reported in Gujarat and more than 50 houses and shops were destroyed by Hindutva groups in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Mosques were also targeted by saffron activists.

On 2 April, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal, took out a bike rally on Hindu New Year in Karauli, Rajasthan. When the rally passed a Muslim-dominated area, Islamophobic songs were put on high volume in the procession.

Dozen of Muslim traders were looted, vandalised selectively and set on fire by the local Hindutva mob after some people from the rally pelted stones at the mosque while passing it.

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