“Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently said that it is important for fear to exist both inside and outside the country. It is important for fear to survive, reiterated the Prime Minister. A day after that in West Bengal there was a cry for war by the BJP leaders. It was an open attempt to spread fear. It was an attempt to legitimise attacks,” pointed out Apoorvanand, human rights activist and professor.
Fraternity is necessary if India has to continue to function as a country, exhorted Apoorvanand at the launch of a Manifesto Against Hate along with Ghazala Jamil, Urmilesh and advocate Sanjay Hegde in the Capital on Monday, March 4. They had come under the banner of United Against Hate (UAH).
Underlining the legitimisation of attacks, Apoorvanand brought to the fore the comments of Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy in wake of the Pulwama attack. “Roy had called for a boycott of everything Kashmiri. How can a person holding an office speak like this, speak against Kashmiris, who are one of our own,” he questioned. And those who question are put under the scanner, he quipped.
“Hatred is being spread in the country. In the last five years, the country has witnessed systemic hate-mongering targeting religious minorities and Dalits. The police have been particularly discriminatory. No cases are filed against the perpetrators of the violence, cases are slapped on victims and these law enforcing agencies look the other way,” highlighted Banojyotsana Lahiri, human rights activist and assistant professor.
“The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given an altogether different meaning to hatred. The police have been encouraged to kill people in encounters,” said Apoorvanand and pointed out that parties political need to get over their reluctance to talk about these issues. “Otherwise it will be detrimental to the country.”
Journalist Urmilesh and Apoorvanand underscored that this election must be one against hatred. “There should be friendliness between all communities. There should be a broader alliance against hatred. In several states including Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Dalits and minorities are coming together and it shouldn’t be small tie-up. We all need to speak up against hatred,” explained Urmilesh.
“This Manifesto against Hate is how we are looking at not just 2019 elections, but after that too. We would want those who come into power to ensure proper investigation of existing cases of mob lynching, constitute an independent high-powered judicial tribunal for hate crimes and abolish all draconian laws including Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), National Security Act (NSA) and sedition laws,” said Ghazala Jamil, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance.
The manifesto said there were at least 122 cases of mob lynching since 2014 and almost 60 per cent of the victims were Muslims and advocated for the creation of judicial tribunals on the lines of the Armed Forces Tribunal and National Green Tribunal.
The manifesto has demanded for the scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, framing of the Religious Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, effective steps and law to be framed on lynching based on SC guidelines, passing of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill and the Anti-Discrimination Law.
UAH was formed in 2017 in the backdrop of a series of incidents of mob lynching and communal violence targeting minorities and Dalits.