March 17, 2007
Indian Muslim Council – USA (http://www.imc-usa.org), an advocacy group dedicated towards safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, condemns the killing of protesting villagers, including women and children by the police personnel. “No economic benefit justifies loss of life” said Rasheed Ahmed, President, IMC-USA; he added that “The intent, goal and objective of any economic development is to dignify life not to exterminate life itself. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was not surprising given the fascist ideology of the leadership in the Gujarat government but in a Left-ruled state this is astounding”
Using the state machinery to trample the rights of the citizenry, ostensibly in the name of promoting development, only highlights the contempt for democracy by the entrenched ruling class. Absence of any swift and decisive actions to render justice to the victims by bringing the perpetrators to book will only promote the culture of impunity that is prevalent within the law enforcement and political circles in India . All justice and fair minded people will be following the level of transparency of the ongoing investigations and the accountability of the West Bengal government ruled by the Left Front who have benefited from the sympathies of poor and marginalized.
IMC-USA extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Although there is no equitable compensation for the loss of lives, IMC-USA demands that all victims and their families be adequately compensated by the government and to expedite the CBI inquiry into this tragedy. The government should also come clean on the events preceding the firing which apparently drove the villagers into destroying access routes into the area.
Syed Ali Rahman