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Action against Communal Politics: Call for Impartial and Appropriate Action

24 January 2013

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Press Statement

We the undersigned are concerned by the developments in Andhra Pradesh following the alleged hate speech by Mr. Akberuddin Owaisi recently. Many groups and organisations including many of the undersigned had condemned the speech and demanded action and also against members of some Hindutva organisations who were engaging in similar activities.

There were many instances of hate speeches and communal instigations by leaders and members of different communities in the past but the government had failed to take appropriate action in time and thereby encouraged such behavior by these divisive groups.

Even in the present case of the speech by Mr. Akberuddin Owaise, the government did not act immediately and when it did act, a number of Sections including a very grave charge under Sec.121 that deals with sedition against the state and can result in death penalty or life imprisonment were booked against him. It is unwarranted to charge him under such very serious sections. Further, Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, has also been arrested in an old case dating from 2005 and his bail plea has been rejected twice.

The total silence of the government for years in these matters and the sudden action in bringing up old cases and slapping of serious charges, especially in the context of the recent withdrawal of support by MIM to the Congress Government in the State is sending a very wrong message to the people that this is going beyond the requirements of justice and is being influenced by vendetta politics. The matter becomes more sensitive when they are representatives of the people elected through the democratic process.

We urge that any action by the government in all such matters should be immediate, impartial and commensurate with the aberration committed, otherwise it will be seen as victimization, spread disenchantment within the affected communities, polarise people and could result in social unrest and violence.

Hence, in the interest of justice and prevention of further polarisation that could have disastrous consequences for social stability and proper inter community relations, we urge the government to desist from any actions that appear vindictive and unjust or directed only against a particular community and undertake all and only such actions that are impartial and appropriate to secure justice. All people, irrespective of the community to which they belong would also welcome and endorse such actions and there would be no danger of any social disenchantment.

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer- Mumbai
Mahesh Bhatt- Mumbai
Praful Bidwai- New Delhi
Dr. Mazher Hussain- Hyderabad
Dr. Ram Punyani- Mumbai
Javed Anand- Mumbai
Jeevan kumar- Hyderabad
Dr. Sandeep Panday- Lucknow
Irfan Engineer- Mumbai
Bro. Verghese- Hyderabad
Jatin Desai- Mumbai
M.J. Vijayan- New Delhi