'A Critical Situation Has Emerged in the Country'
Rajasthan tense in the aftermath of Udaipur beheading
With the NIA under the union home ministry taking over the investigation into the murder of a tailor in Udaipur on Tuesday, the Congress government in Rajasthan has imposed curfews and internet blockages in several parts of the state that have broken out in protests against the murder.
An open letter is being circulated in this regard whose signatories have called for a speedy trial and exemplary punishment to the accused, and for the state government to ensure that "no violence takes place and life and property of all citizens, especially the poor, is fully protected."
The letter recognises an epidemic of hate violence and dangerous speech in India, and calls on the government to "immediately act to stop hate mongering by all sections in all forms."
Because, "It is to be understood that breaking of law by any sections without fear of legal action not only emboldens them to engage in more violations but could also result in resentment among other communities inciting them to take to violence that can degenerate into a vortex of devastation that can cause irrevocable damage to our country as a whole."
Full text and signatories below:
Barbaric and Brutal Beheading in Udaipur: Strong Condemnation by Civil Society, Faith Leaders, Academics, Journalists and Artists
We, the undersigned from diverse sections of society collective and unequivocally condemn in strongest terms the barbaric and brutal beheading of a person in Udaipur, India, for a social media post defending an obnoxious and reprehensible statement against Prophet Mohammed during a TV discussion recently.
That it is done in the name of religion makes it even more condemnable. No religion, including Islam, allows individuals to take law into their hands and a due process of law is mandated by all faiths before any person is held guilty and punished.
We understand that the killers are arrested and demand that a special court should be constituted for a speedy trial and given the most stringent punishment possible that could be an example for others.
We also urge upon the government of Rajasthan to be sure that no violence takes place and life and property of all citizens, especially the poor, is fully protected.
The Government of Rajasthan should also provide solace and all possible support to the family of the victim. Thorough investigation as to the involvement of groups/agencies, if any, should be the priority.
We call upon and urge people of Rajasthan and across the country to ensure peace in their neighborhoods and protect the vulnerable from any untoward incidences that might occur.
The level of toxic hate, calls to violence and actual incidences of violence are on the rise for some years now and taking an epidemic form.
Social media has become the major platform for propagation of unbridled hate and calls for violence against whole communities that are not only totally illegal but have full potential to unleash communal violence across the country that could put our neighborhoods on fire and irrevocably damage the nation itself.
Given such a critical situation that has emerged in the country, the Government of India should immediately act to stop hate mongering by all sections in all forms. It should take unbiased and stringent action against any individual, group or section making provocative statements or issuing calls to violence or indulging in acts of violence.
The Government of India should take all possible measures immediately to ensure the social media platforms cannot be used to spread misinformation and hate.
Finally, the Government of India and the State Governments should ensure that unbiased and appropriate actions are immediately initiated against all without any communal or sectarian consideration that alone can ensure that all fear the law and follow it.
It is to be understood that breaking of law by any sections without fear of legal action not only emboldens them to engage in more violations but could also result in resentment among other communities inciting them to take to violence that can degenerate into a vortex of devastation that can cause irrevocable damage to our country as a whole.
Mazher Hussain, COVA Peace Network, Hyderabad
Admiral L. Ramdas, former Chief of Indian Navy
Ramachandra Guha, Writer, Bangaluru
P. Sainath, Journalist,
Dr. Syeda Hameed, former Member, Planning Commission of India
Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak
Kamal Faruqui, former Chairman, Minority Commission Delhi
Aruna Roy, MKSS
Madhuri Bhaduri, Ambassador of India, Retd.
Major General Sudhir Vombatkere (Retd)
Lalita Ramdas, Former Chair, Greenpeace International
Maulana Aajazur Rahman Shaheen Qasmi, World Peace Organisation,New Delhi
Basavaraj Patil, National Convener, Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan
Goswami Sushil Maharaj, National Convener, Indian Parliament of All Religions.
T. M. Krishna
Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times
P. V. Rajagopal, Ekta Parishad
Maulana Firoz Akhtar Qasmi, Markazi Jamiat ulema, Delhi,
Mufti Nadir Qasmi
Fiqah Academy of India
John Dayal, Writer and Activist, New Delhi
Anil Nauriya, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
Pamela Philipose, Journalist, New Delhi
Suresh K. Goel, former Secretary General ICCR and former Secretary MEA
Lalit Mathur, former Director General, NIRD
Sandeep Panday, Socialist Party of India
Faisal Khan, NAPM, New Delhi
Tapan Bose, South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Rita Manchanda, SAFHR
Bijoy Patro, One World South Asia
Dr. Zafar ul Islam Khan, Milli Gazette and former Chairman, Minorities Commission, Delhi
Vinod C khanna, IFS Retd
B. B. Mahajan, IAS retd, Chandigarh
Navaid Hamed, President, Mushawarat, New Delhi
G. N. Rajashekara Naidu, Karnataka People's Forum for Land Rights
A. Selvaraj, (IRS- Retd) Constitutional Conduct Group, Chennai
Gurjit Singh Cheema, IAS Retd. and Writer, Chandigarh
Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd), Former Secretary to Govt.of India, Jaipur
Sunder Burra, Retd Civil Servant,
Ammu Joseph, Author and Journalist, Bangaluru
Achin Vanaik, Academic, New Delhi
S. G. Vasudev, Artist
R. Chandrashaker, Mumbai,
Vickram Crishna, Human Rights Activist
Dr. Veena Shatrugna, Medical Scientist (Rtd), Bengaluru
Nitya Jayaram, Writer, Activist- Chennai
Dr. Usha Naik,
Laxmi Murthy Journalist, Bangaluru
Sardar Sajjan Singh, Member, SGPC
Asha Ramesh, Activist, Bangaluru
Sudha Reddy, Activist, Bangaluru
Jaya Iyer, Metta Narratives, Gandhi Nagar
Siddhartha Peepal Tree, Bangaluru
Shaik Salauddin, Social Activist, Hyderabad
Sameera Khan, Mumbai
Prof. Mohan Rao, Bangaluru
Priyanka Singh, Delhi
V. Vasantha Lakshmi, Human Rights Forum
Sarah Mathews, Activist, Hyderabad
Meena Menon, Activist, Mumbai,
Inamul Hasan, Khudai Khidmatgar, Chennai
Margaret, Peace Activist, Bangaluru
Shakeel Sultan, Concerned Citizen, Hyderabad
K. Sudha, Human Rights Forum, Vishakapatnam
Parampath Joy Oommen, Bangalore, Constitutional Conduct Group
Anil k. Singh, New Delhi
Geeta Menon, Stree Jagruti Samiti and Domestic Workers Rights Union...
Ravi Nitesh, Peace Activist, New Delhi
Brijesh, Positive Thinkers
Deb Mukharji Member CCG
R. Chandra Shaker, Mumbai
Prof Rama Melkote, Hyderabad
Varghese Theckanath s.g.
S. Jeevan Kumar, Human Rights Activist, Hyderabad
K. Sajaya, Women and Trans Gender Organisations JAC