GN Bureau | October 21, 2015
We reproduce below a statement issued by veteran Gandhians associated with two leading Gandhian institutions:
Peace and harmony is the real ‘development’
Public statement of Senior Gandhians
Even if we were to forget the past, the recent events, vitiating the communal harmony in the country, are extremely painful and disturbing. On 29th September, a violent mob lynched 52-year-old Muhmmad Akhlaq in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. Since then the discord has spread over the country and on 16th October Noman Akhtar was beaten to death in Himachal Pradesh. The Prime Minister, his government and his party have only added fuel to the fire in these past weeks. This is a bad omen. The black ink thrown on Sudheendra Kularni’s face has now reached Kashmir and the smugness is spreading. With full responsibility, we would like to say that these events are not random and do not merely result of rumours. This is a systematic effort to create communal tensions in the nation. It is not just a matter of law and order, the environment thus created is hurting the core of Indian culture.
We are aware that the previous governments and the police did not have any better record on the matter and that the communal tensions have been erupting time and again. But it is the direction and the intent of the recent events that has made us suspicious and worried. There is a constant attempt to push the minorities to the corner. Intellectuals and literary personalities raising their voice against this intolerance, they are being victimised and insulted. Authors and cultural personalities have been returning the awards and honours given to them in the past. It is a very positive way of showing their dissent. Instead of respecting their opinion and understanding their pains, they are being made a laughing stock. We would like to caution the government that its intentions are under a cloud of suspicion. Brushing the matter under the carpet will make the whole society, including them, pay for it. Parties and governments are irrelevant here. We are more worried about the tried and tested inclusive structure of Indian society. It is the soul of Indian society and we cannot allow anyone to play with it.
We, along with the whole nation, are closely watching the steps and initiatives taken by the government in response to the unfortunate incidences in various parts of the country. On behalf of the Gandhian family, we ask for forgiveness from the families who have lost their near and dear ones, and homes. We also want to convey to every Indian that peace and harmony are the biggest and priceless ‘development’ that any country can have.
Gopinanathan Nayar: President
Ramchandra Rahi: Secretary
Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, New Delhi
Kumar Prashant: President
Anupam Mishra: Editor ‘Gandhi Marg’
Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi
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