Washington D.C., May 20, 2003
The Indian Muslim Council – USA, working to promote values of pluralism and tolerance, with particular focus on the Indian Diaspora in the United States, expressed great alarm today over the birthday celebrations for Gandhi’s assassin carried out by some groups.
The call for the celebration was given most prominently by HinduUnity, the US-based wing of Bajrang Dal, which is the youth front of World Hindu Council (VHP), and by the Hindu Mahasabha.
HinduUnity (http://www.hinduUnity.org) openly urged the celebration, stating on its website (HinduUnity.org): “Celebrate Shri Nathuram Godse’s Birth on May 19th. Send a message to the enemies of humanity that we will fight and even die to protect the basic principle of Hinduism..”. It further denigrated Gandhi’s great message of humanism and the unique movement he led for Indian independence by saying: “Gandhi was a downright PACIFIST, without guts and SCRUPLES. His constant preaching to his fellow Hindus, to be non violent at all times, EVEN IN THE FACE OF AGGRESSION, paralyzed the manhood of India, mentally and physically..”
Dr. Santosh Kumar Rai, founder of the revived extremist group, Hindu Mahasabha, also sent an open circular on several mailing lists urging all Hindus to celebrate the birthday of Gandhi’s assassin.
Reacting to these events, IMC-USA General Secretary, Mr. M.K. Rehman said “This is the biggest possible insult to all those who revere Gandhi and his message across the world. It is shocking that groups espousing the divisive and hate-based ideology of Hindutva feel emboldened enough to carry out this celebration campaign openly.”
“But perhaps that is to be expected considering what such groups did in Gandhi’s homeland last year he added”, referring to the brutal pogroms against minorities in Gandhi’s home state of Gujarat in early 2002. This is only the latest example of what happens if such groups are allowed to go unchecked. All those who revere Gandhi must come together to revive his vision.
At one time, groups associated with Gandhi’s assassination were banned in India. But over a period of time, they have succeeded in bringing back their hate-filled agenda to Indian society and are now openly operating to extinguish all that Gandhi stood for.
For further information contact:
Dr. Shaik Ubaid
265 Sunrise Highway, 1-355
Rockville Center, NY 11570
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org