'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Press Release: People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism: Defend Democratic Rights of all Citizens of India
Stand Against Religious Bigotry, Defend
Democratic Rights of all Citizens of India
March 29, 2017
People's Alliance for Democracy and
Secularism (PADS) condemns the murder of rationalist H. Farook in Coimbatore,
Tamilnadu on March 16, 2017. Farook was a member of Dravidar Viduthalai
Kazhagam (Dravidian Freedom Organisation) which is inspired by the rationalist
ideas of Periyar.
According to the police, the six men who
killed Farook were self-radicalised and 'claimed that their radical thought had
justified the murder of a Muslim who had deviated from faith and they are proud
of what they had done'. After Dr. Dabholkar, Com Govind Pansare
and Professor Kalburgi, Farook is the fourth rationalist who has been
murdered by the so called champions of religion. On the same day, i.e. March 16
Prof Narendra Nayak, the president of Indian Federation of Rationalist
Associations was threatened with assault in Bangalore.
On March 19 in Jaipur a group of gau
rakshaks led by one Sadhvi Kamal Didi vandalised a hotel and assaulted
its staff claiming that it served beef. This violence occurred in the presence
of the police. A repeat of Dadri violence last year was narrowly averted. In UP
a number of meat shops have been burnt down by vigilante mobs after Mahant
Adityanath Yogi’s administration sealed a number of abbatoirs. While it is
beyond dispute that economic activity should be regulated, why have only these
two activities been targeted, and what right to mobs have to attack any shop?
These are some of the latest instances of
increasing violence in the name of religion in India. In fact, all of South Asia has become a battleground
for religious fanatics hell-bent upon subjugating citizens'
freedoms via violence and killings.
Dissent from orthodoxy is a feature of
religious history and is responsible for religious reform. Such dissent has
also contributed to the growth of humanist and democratic values, which are the
guiding principles of the Indian constitution and underlie the fundamental
rights of all citizens. These rights include the freedom of conscience, the
freedom of believers to profess and practice their religion, and also the freedom
of non-believers to lead a life of dignity with their agnosticism or atheism.
However, state authorities often disregard
constitutional provisions. Rather than upholding the citizens’ freedom to lead
a life of their choice, including the right to eat food of their choice, police
and judicial system routinely penalise citizens for 'hurting religious
sentiments' of one or the other community. The murderers of Dabholkar, Panasare and
Kalburgi are still at large, and their political patrons have suffered no damage. In Jaipur police sealed a hotel on a
mere allegation, while the FIR for violence on hotel staff does not even
mention the sadhavi who led the mob.
the name of religion will not lead to any golden age. The consequences of
religious authoritarianism are visible in Pakistan. The Hindutva brigade is
cultivating a similar scenario in India. It wants to attack or threaten all
those who disagree with its ideas or diktats. Political parties must realise
that their existence depends upon the constitutionally guaranteed rights of
Indian citizens. The cultivation of religious aggression is sheer opportunism;
and prepares the ground for the sabotage of democracy by authoritarian forces.
appeals to all Indians, irrespective of their religious beliefs, creed, or
caste to stand against communal hatred and violence. The people committing or
instigating this violence may appear to be targeting only rationalists and
minorities today. In actual fact they are enemies of democracy and freedom. All
of us who value our constitutional rights must unite to defeat such forces.
P.A.D.S. demands that state authorities stop collaborating with hooligans and
vigilante mobs, and fulfil their sworn duty to protect the lives, property and
civil liberties of all citizens.