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India would become weak if minorities feel insecure: Teesta

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The Centre must understand that if minorities were feeling insecure, India would become weak and divisive forces would gather strength, activist Teesta Setalvad said here.

“We are witnessing a very determined bid by fascist forces to denigrate the country’s Constitution and the entire socio-justice system which safeguards the interests of the weakest and most vulnerable sections of society,” she alleged, while delivering a lecture at the Aligarh Muslim University.

Accusing BJP leaders of using words loaded with communal overtones, she said that government should know that without social justice there is no democracy.

She also said that the minorities should act with some restraint. “I urge you not to be provoked by the actions and hate speeches of the communal forces….Instead channelise energies for building bridges of understanding with Hindus and all sections of society…. This is the only way to remove the narrative of hatred.”

She was speaking on Preamble to India’s Constitution and the Equality Challenger to Constitutional Government organised by AMU last evening.

Delivering the presidential address, historian Prof Emeritus Irfan Habib said there was reason for hope as Indian civil society had in recent weeks “displayed an unprecedented courage by registering their concern”.

“Remember that all those who are raising their voices in your defence are Hindus and if you want to strengthen their hands, then your hands too will have to be clean.”

He reminded that all three rationalists and writers who had been killed in recent months were Hindus. He said that “minority communalism” would be an inappropriate response to the “communal polarisation”.