The statement of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the end of its Bangalore session on 7th March 2002 saying "Let the Muslims understand that their real safety lies in the goodwill of the majority," must be cause for grave concern not only among Muslims and other Minorities in India, but to Civil society and democratic and Constitutional institutions, including the President, Parliament, the Supreme Court and the government headed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. This statement has in it seeds of great future tragedy, and the Prime minister must lose no time in condemning it.
Above all, the statement belittles the entire Majority community in India, whose civilisational values, and commitment to peaceful coexistence in a plural cultural heritage, strengthened the Freedom struggle and are today enshrined in the Indian Constitution, one of the finest in the world. Brute majoritarianism has never been the standard of India, or the ethos of its people.
The RSS statement only vocalises the utter contempt and disregard that the Sangh Parivar, including its units such as the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, hold for the very concept of democracy that is based on Equity, Fraternity and Justice, and the institutions created to ensure these values in society. The Sangh Parivar has repeatedly shown this contempt for the Supreme Court and the rule of Law, once again saying, as they did yesterday, that they will take the land at Ayodhya "by force' if it was not handed over to them (The Hindu, 18th March 2002). Their arrogant disregard for democratic institutions was visible in the attack by their armed Kar Sevaks last week on the State Legislative Assembly of Orissa, ironically ruled by an ally of the Prime Minister.
The arson at Godhra in which 57 men, women and children lost their lives has been universally and instantly condemned. The thousands who were torched in Ahmedabad and other towns and cities of Gujarat were not guilty of that arson. But they were made victims by the thesis of hate that the Sangh Parivar has so assiduously planned and implemented, in urban areas, in the rural countryside, and most dangerously, among the adivasis in the tribal heartland of central India. Christians too have been victims of this hate. The world now knows how the Sangh Parivar has sought to communalise tribal society. It unabashedly admitted this in its reports in the Bangalore meeting. The violence today in Gujarat's tribal areas is the direct result of this hate programme.
The `warning' to Muslims will open up standards of political behaviour and action which will cut at the roots of the unity of India by injuring the basic principles of its democratic polity, and will perpetuate a regime of hate and violence which has already cost so much in human lives lost in communal violence.
The All India Christian Council also condemns the wanton terrorist attack on a Church in Pakistan in which five persons, including three from the US and Europe, were killed and 25 injured. Terrorism is evil. The attack on innocent worshippers attending Sunday service during the time of Lent is abominable.
March 18, 2001
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