New Delhi: The otherwise non-descript road opposite Raj Ghat was covered with several colourful banners calling for peace and justice

, as the three-day fast against atrocities on minorities in Orissa and elsewhere began today. The fast is being led by a young Gandhian activist Vimalbhai.

The fast commenced in the presence of Planning Commission member Sayyeda Hammid, former MP Kuldip Nayyar, feminists Kamla Basin and Sheeba George, Secretary Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha Kusum Shah and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

‘We are deeply disturbed by the continuing violence on minorities in Orissa and different parts of the country. Civil society organisations and concerned citizens need to raise their voices effectively to put an end to this’ said Vimalbhai as he began his fast while spinning his charkha.

The fast is organised as part of different activities to express solidarity with the victims and to demand justice. The National Alliance of People’s Movements, a network of over 150 people’s movements across the country, Delhi Solidarity Group and Matu Jan Sanghtan are organising the three day event, which includes a public meeting on communalism and music by activist groups.  

Background

The ongoing orchestrated attack on minorities by the Sangh Parivar led communal forces in Orrisa, Karnataka and other parts of India is a matter of deep concern for our entire society and polity. The violence has claimed several lives, hundreds have been wounded and women have been raped by organised gangs led by fundamentalist groups. Minority religious institutions have been destroyed or damaged in several states. Muslims and Christians have borne the brunt of the recent attacks. Refugees in shelter homes in Orrisa are being forced to convert to Hinduism if they want to return back to their homes. Muslims are being labelled as ‘anti-national’. 

The failure of the state (both at the UPA government level and state governments – mostly BJP ruled) to use constitutional provisions to protect minorities and arrest the guilty is a matter of deep shame. This crisis raises several questions about Indian democracy. Why is the state consistently failing to act against Hindutva forces? Why are all citizens not being treated equally? Do citizens have the right to choose and practice a religion of their choice? Unfortunately communal forces are driving the agenda and deciding the answer to these questions.

As part of this initiative, Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) and Matu Jan Sangathan have decided to organise a 72 hours UPVAS against communalism and violence. This will be organised at Raj Ghat, near the Samadhi of Gandhiji, in the capital city of India. 

Programme:

  • Public meeting and beginning of fast on 10th October at 1 pm (72 hours fast by Vimalbhai of Matu Jan Sangathan and others)
  • 11th October Seminar at UPVAS place from 3pm to 6pm
  • 12th October paintings by children on peace and harmony and against communal violence
  • 13th October UPVAS will end at Gandhi Samadhi with all religious prayer for communal harmony

Contacts:

Madhuresh: 9818905316, Rajendra Ravi: 9868200316, Vimalbhai: 9891814707, Jibin: 26680914 / 883

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