New Delhi (Pervez Bari): A group of renowned leaders and scholars from different backgrounds, in a joint statement issued here have demanded the Central government to protect the freedom of association guaranteed by Indian Constitution to all sections of society and to refrain from targeting any organization or group as part of political agenda.
They have strongly demanded to stop demonizing Social Activists, NGO’s, impartial Media, Progressive and Minority Organisations and Indian Muslims who seek a peaceful and secured life in harmony with their fellow citizens in this country.
While the hate mongers and extremist outfits connected with Hindutva politics roam free in the country by dividing people and instigating violence on religious minorities and progressive sections, the Central government and the state governments under its control remain passive without fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.
On the other hand, as we have seen in the past, it seems that another round of vilification campaign is being intensified by some government agencies with the help of a section of media that are biased against minorities and progressive groups. The atmosphere of hatred that is being created against them is with a specific and calculated purpose.
On previous occasions, much before the banning certain organisations, their demonization by quoting government agency reports and media trials were on the air. Once again such an atmosphere is being created against certain Muslim groups by putting on them the tag of helping extremist and terrorist elements.
The statement noted that vilification campaign against organization like Green Peace, Sabrang, Centre for Equity Studies, INSAF, PEACE and Minority organizations like Popular Front of India is an attempt by the present BJP government to muzzle the voices of dissent in the country. They stated that if any of these organisations’ members are found involved in criminal activities they should be prosecuted according to the law of the land. But they demanded the Central government to protect the freedom of association guaranteed by our Constitution to all sections of society and to refrain from targeting any organization or group.
The signatories in the joint statement include: 1. Prashant Bhushan (Senior Lawyer, Supreme Court); 2. K. Sachidanand (Writer & Former President, Kendra Sahitya Academy); 3. Maulana Mahmood Madani (President, Jamiatul Ulama-e-Hind); 4. V.T. Rajashekar (Editor – Dalit Voice; 5. Prof. Nivedita Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University); 6. Prof. Apoorvanand (Delhi University); 7. Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan (Chairperson, Delhi State Minorities Commission); 8. Dr. Muhammed Manzoor Alam (General Secretary, All India Milli Council); 9. Ashok Bharati (President, Rashtriya Dalit Mahasabha); 10. Amit Sengupta (Senior journalist and Academic); 11. Prof. G. Hargopal (NLSIU); 12. Ravi Nair (Director, South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre); 13. Vidya Bhushan Rawat (Human Rights Activist); 14. Dr. S. Q. R. Ilyas (National President, Welfare Party of India); 15. Prof. A Marx, (Chairperson, NCHRO) & 16. Gopal Menon (Documentary film maker, National Secretary, Alliance for Justice and Peace & President, Save India Forum).