WSO National Council of America is distressed over the spate of violence sweeping throughout the length and breadth of India. State after state is getting engulfed in the consuming fire of fundamentalist communal domination and persecution of minorities. In Gujarat Harijans are dying in hundreds at the hands of power intoxicated high castes; in Kashmir, UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh Muslims are facing the ire of the majority community and in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and U.P. Sikhs as a community are being treated as outlaws and hunted and killed both by the government forces and communal diehards.

The National Council strongly condemns this violence and _ protests against the policy of Indian government to straight away hold Sikhs responsible for any act of violence anywhere in the country. The government must forthwith cease referring to Sikhs as ‘terrorist’? And ‘extremists’ and treat all criminal violations of law as secular offenses. A crime is a secular offense and not the characteristic of any particular religion or community.

The government must also recognize that false police encounters, tortures and humiliations suffered by individuals; and the arson, loot and rapes committed with impunity have generated an understandable reaction of revenge in the near and dear ones of the victims. It is primarily this sense of revenge that accounts for most of the violence in the country. The solution lies in a secular application of justice through the established norms and not in prejudicial and subjective denunciation of Sikhs.

The council hopes that the Indian government would see reason and stop fanning communal violence otherwise the responsibility for India’s disintegration would squarely lie on its shoulders.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 17, 1985