August 28, 2004
Indian Muslim Council-USA, an advocacy group of Indian Muslims in the United States dedicated to safeguarding the democratic and pluralist ethos of India, condemns the bomb attacks on mosques that has resulted in grievous injuries to many Muslim worshipers in Jalna and Poorna towns of central Maharashtra, India. IMC-USA is concerned over the news reports of negligence and anti-Muslim bias shown by the police after these bomb attacks.
IMC-USA praises the restraint shown by the Muslims of Marhatwada and appeals to all Muslims to continue to observe the Islamic principle of exercising restraint and patience in reaction to this incident and to avoid rushing to judgment.
Rasheed Ahmed, Vice President of IMC-USA, called on the Indian government to launch a full-scale investigation into this atrocity and to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice. IMC-USA also demands monetary compensation for the victims of this violence. He pointed out that the bomb attacks seemed to be an attempt to start sectarian violence just before the elections to polarize the electorate as was done by Hindutva-fascists in the state of Gujarat in the recent past. He appealed to the religious and secular leadership in India to be vigilant against such nefarious attempts. "The moderate leadership of all religious communities must come forward to keep the situation calm as they did after last year’s Bombay bomb blasts," said Ahmed.
The state of Maharashtra has experienced a frighteningly large amount of anti-minority violence in the past few decades. It has also frequently failed to take action against the perpetrators of such violence when it was directed against the minorities, and has been indifferent to their inducements. The most blatant example of such government inaction has been in ignoring the recommendations of the SriKrishna Commission report on the 1992-93 anti-Muslim pogroms in Mumbai. Indian media is now reporting the fact that 1358 riot-related cases were unlawfully closed and that the police department had passively permitted the violence and was involved in suppressing evidence and sabotaging investigation.
IMC-USA requests that the Indian government start looking into the proliferation of extremist and militant Hindutva groups like the Hindustani Suicide Squads. It should enforce control on the weapons (trishul) distribution campaigns by Hindutva militants.
IMC-USA calls on the Indian government to implement a long term plan to combat the growth of religious hatred. The plan should give top priority to cutting off the financial and human lifelines of the extremists. The Indian government should take up with the US government the issue of fundraising activities of the Hindutva-fascism fronts in the US. These funds are being used for running indoctrination camps for the youth and in sponsoring the violence against minorities. It is imperative for the Indian Government to recognize the potential of such groups in increasing communal violence. The recent Human Rights Watch report on India, the Foreign Exchange of Hate report and the US state department report have shed light on the ideological and financial contributions of these and similar groups in spreading hostility towards Indian minorities.
IMC-USA believes that a thorough investigation and strong action is required against those involved in this heinous act of bombing a place of worship during a religious gathering. This would demonstrate that the current Indian government intends to carry out its election promises about suppressing communalism.
M. K. Rahman
Secretary General, IMC-USA
265 Sunrise Highway, #1-355
Rockville Center, NY 11570
Tel: (516) 567-0783
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