By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: For the first time, 16 opposition parties issued a combined statement on Saturday urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to take strong action against perpetrators of the country’s communal violence. They also questioned the PM’s deafening silence, claiming he neglected to speak out against individuals who perpetuate prejudice through their words and acts. They also made appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony.
Top opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Sitram Yechury, Mamata Banerjee, M K Stalin, Hemant Soren, D Raja, Tejashwi Yadav and Farooq Abdullah condemned the recent outburst of communal violence witnessed across several states in the country
“We strongly condemn the recent outburst of communal violence witnessed across several states in the country. We are deeply concerned, as reports indicate that there is a sinister pattern in the areas where these incidents have occurred. Incendiary hate speeches preceded the aggressive armed religious processions unleashing communal violence”.
They also came down heavily on the PM saying he kept silence over the unsavory incidents which brought bad repute to country at the international level.
“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.”
Text of the letter
“We, the undersigned leaders of political parties, have come together to issue this appeal.
We are extremely anguished at the manner in which issues related to food, dress, faith, festivals and language are being deliberately used by sections of the ruling establishment to polarize our society.
We are extremely concerned with the growing incidents of hate speech in the country by people, who appear to have official patronage and against whom no meaningful and strong action is being taken.
We strongly condemn the recent outburst of communal violence witnessed across several states in the country. We are deeply concerned, as reports indicate that there is a sinister pattern in the areas where these incidents have occurred. Incendiary hate speeches preceded the aggressive armed religious processions unleashing communal violence.
We are extremely pained at the manner in which social media and the audio-visual platforms are being misused with official patronage to spread hatred and prejudice.
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.
We reiterate our collective resolve to work together to strengthen the bonds of social harmony that have defined and enriched India for centuries.
We reiterate our commitment to combat and confront the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society.
We reiterate our firm conviction that our country will prosper only if it respects, accommodates and celebrates its many diversities in full measure.
We appeal to all sections of the people to maintain peace and foil the sinister objective of those who wish to sharpen communal polarisation. We call upon all our party units across the country to independently and jointly work for maintaining peace and harmony.
Smt Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress
Shri Sharad Pawar, President, Nationalist Congress Party
Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal and Chairperson, Trinamool Congress
Shri MK Stalin, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu and President, DMK
Shri Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Shri Hemant Soren, Chief Minister, Jharkhand and Executive President JMM
Dr Farooq Abdullah, former Chief Minister, J&K and President, National Conference
Shri Tejashwi Yadav, Leader of Opposition – Bihar Assembly, RJD
Shri D. Raja, General Secretary, Communist Party of India
Shri Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, All India Forward Bloc
Shri Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary Revolutionary Socialist Party
Shri P. K. Kunhalikutty, General Secretary, IUML
Shri Dipanker Bhattacharya, General Secretary Communist Party of India (ML)-Liberation