People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 20

May 14, 2006

J&K Killings Are A Real Threat To Secularism


Following is the text of the statement issued by Communalism Combat, Citizens for Justice and Peace, SAHMAT, Prashant, SAHRWARU, People’s Union for Human Rights and a host of other organisations including the Muslims for Secular Democracy on May 2, 2006.


WE condemn the shameful killings by communally-minded terrorists in the Udhampur and Doda districts of Jammu and Kashmir over the past few days. Such acts of motivated communal terror are aimed at creating unbridgeable divides among peoples and societies and are a real threat to the secular fabric of our country.


We immediately urge that the government of India through the Minorities Commission conduct public hearings in different parts of J&K where minorities and other citizens can depose about the daily conditions of their lives. Steps can then be initiated to assist them. The terrorist bullet is aimed at all innocents who     come in their way, and other residents of J&K are as vulnerable but when such communal terrorist acts are committed on the eve of Peace Talks especially, special steps need to be taken by the administration.


We also urge that the government of India examines the issues of all minorities living in different parts of the country but specially the sensitive states like J&K, parts of the north eastern states like Manipur, Assam and the western Indian state of Gujarat. It may be recalled that on February 15, 2006 a wide forum of over 15 individuals and representatives of organisations including representatives of Hindus in J&K, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, representatives of the tribal areas of the north east had met A R Antulay and presented him with a detailed memorandum that laid out the theoretical position that minorities are vital to a rich and vibrant democracy’ that religion must not be the only basis of categorisation; that district wise application of the concept would mean that Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, wherever they live would feel more secure and have their minority rights protected; that the word ‘minority’ should not be typified into meaning just one community.


Among the signatories to the statement included Teesta Setalvad, co-editor, Communalism Combat,  Javed Anand, Muslims for Secular Democracy, Rajendra Prasad and M K Raina, SAHMAT, S W Narboo who is an MLA from Leh and former minister in Sheikh Abdullah's cabinet [Ladhakh], Motilal Bhat working with the Hindu Welfare Society, Srinagar, a Kashmiri Pandit who has lived in the valley through the insurgency, Sofia Khan from Gujarat, John Dayal, All India Catholic Union, Suhas Chakma from the North East, Sunil Sardar, a representative of Dalit Christians, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Prashant, Ahmedabad, Sheba George, SAHRWARU, Ahmedabad and others.