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Action against those responsible for spreading communal hatred


London,Indian Muslim Federation (UK)

“Failure to punish perpetrators of communal violence undermines civilised democratic society;” Attorney General of India, Mr Soli Sorabjee says at a UN Meeting For Protection and Promotion of Minorities Rights

“Without effective State protection of minorities, guarantee of minority rights and cultural autonomy will be a teasing illusion,” claimed the Attorney General of India Mr Soli J. Sorabjee in a statement issued to the 8th UN Session of the Working Group on Minorities.

“One of the ways of State protection of minorities is by taking prompt action under the law against those who spread communal hatred by speech or writings against minority communities, however high the person may. The basic tenet of the rule of the law is that however high you may be the law is above you. Failure to punish those who harass or prosecute the minorities even if they be non- state actors, subvert the rule of law which is the hallmark of every civilised democratic society,” said Mr Sorabjee who is also a Member of the Working Group on Minorities.

Reiterating the points raised by India’s Attorney General, a delegate of the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) Mr Shiraz Kothia in his submission to the UN Human Rights Working Group on Minorities, said it was a chilling irony that in Mr Sorabjee’s own country of origin, India, the on going anti Muslim hate campaign had been precipitated by the present Prime Minister, the Home Minister along with other senior cabinet ministers and the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat - who are all active members of the Hindu extremist organisation the RSS.

Lending full support to Mr. Sorabjee’s viewpoint, the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) called upon him & other members of the Working Group to follow up on his comments by making strong representations to the Indian Government to punish perpetrators of human rights violations and bring justice to the minorities.

In his statement Mr Kothia also responded to the argument presented by Mr. Kartashkin, another member of the Working Group on Minorities from Russia, stating that India was not a hot spot for violating minorities’ rights. Rejecting Mr Kartashkin’s argument, Mr Kothia pointed out that Muslims of India were being subjected to an ongoing cruel pogrom that has claimed over 2000
innocent lives. Unfolding a litany of untold crimes committed against humanity in Gujarat, Mr
Khothia said that hapless members of the Muslim community had been dragged out of their houses, brutally slaughtered, hundreds of women gang raped, children burned to death and over 120,000 people had been displaced. In addition to this list of horrors, the BJP government was leading the country to a state of war, he emphasised. “If this does not make this region a hot spot, then we would like to know, what constitutes a hot spot?” Asked Mr Kothia.

Mr Kothia made the following recommendations to the UN and in particular to the Working Group to take appropriate actions: 1) To fully recognise the dangers presented by the Hindutva ideology; 2) To ensure the present government in India fully recognises and adheres to the rights of minority communities according to UN conventions and the Indian Constitution; 3) To ensure that the Indian Government brings to justice those responsible for this genocide including the removal and trial of complicit politicians, police officers and media outlets; 4) To condemn and outlaw the VHP and Bajrang Dal, along with a general condemnation of the RSS, including the closing down of their training camps; 5) To ensure necessary aid, support & safety is provided to those who have suffered material, physical and psychological losses in Gujarat. In particular to support the refugees and those running the refugee camps.

The Indian Muslim Federation (UK) delegation also made statements on points, highlighting the Gujarat issues and urging the UN to intervene in order to halt this organised and perpetual carnage of Muslims in India.

Mr Irfan Mustafa, IMF General Secretary of the IMF (UK) referred to issues by the National High Commission of Human Rights of India, in his submission. He pointed out that in its report the National Human Rights Commission of India had stated, “It observed the tragic events that have occurred have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its sense of self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations. Grave questions arise of fidelity to the Constitution and to treaty obligations. There are obvious implications in respect of civil and political rights, as well as of economic, social and cultural rights in the State of Gujarat as also the country more widely; there are implications for trade, investment, tourism and employment. But most of all, the recent events have resulted in the violation of the Fundamental Rights to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the (Indian) Constitution. And that above all, is the reason for the continuing concern of the Commission”.

The Indian Muslim Federation (UK) demanded that the Working Group on Minorities urge the following from the United Nations Human Rights Commission:
1) Appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate and report on the present situation as well as all communal massacres in the past two decades;
2) Appoint a Special Tribunal to fix responsibility and suggest measures for justice to victims and punishment of the guilty;
3) Build pressure on India through diplomatic as well as economic sanctions to enact a law in compliance with article V of the Genocide Convention (1948) to be applied to the series of massacres like those of Nellie (1983), Hashimpura Meerut (1987), Bhagalpur (1989) and widespread riots in 1990, and 1992/93 in Mumbai and all over India and subsequent incidents in Coimbatore, Kanpur, Malegaon and recently in Gujarat.

The Indian Muslim Federation (UK) has urged the UN that unless urgent action was taken, the ongoing series of massacres would continue in India to suppress the minorities and mainly Indian Muslims. A memorandum with a compilation of media and NGO’s reports on the Gujarat genocide including a video coverage of the dreadful after-math of the violence was handed over to the Chair of the Working Group and also to a representative of High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson.

Mr Imtiaz Patel another delegate of the Indian Muslim Federation (UK) from Blackburn Peace Mission made recommendations asking UN to proactively interfere in order to stop the genocide of Indian Muslims; and to commission a full investigation by an international body; ensure rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of anti-Muslim violence, and to try the guilty at an international court.

Professor Malika Mistry of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, India also addressed the Working Group on the plight and suffering of Muslim women during this planned genocide in Gujarat and asked the UN to intervene.

Another France based NGO, Word Muslim Congress delegate Mr Maqbool Ahmed addressed the Working Group reminding the UN for its responsibility to intervene with the Indian Government as per its declarations for human rights as a whole and in particular rights for the minorities.

The UN’s Working Group on Minorities is meeting for the whole week to receive reports from all over the world. The Gujarat issue was raised in a focussed and forceful manner. However, the Indian government representatives remained very cautious at this issue. The Indian Representative to the UN, Mr Rajesh Parsad was present all the time at the Working Group meeting. He made a single intervention during the meeting and said that as there were several statements being made regarding various issues of minority rights, he would make a collective response to the statements on behalf of the Government of India in at end of the week.

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