Thursday, March 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to check increasing intolerance

The massacre of about 60 kar sevaks by burning two coaches of Sabarmati Express near Godhra village in Gujarat and the reactionary riot toll of about 500 has demoralised the Indian Muslim society as a whole because it was a pre-planned activity by the ISI. The culprits who were responsible for this heinous crime should be given the death penalty to serve as a warning to others. Such incidents are eating away the very secular fibre of our country.

The recent years have seen a growing intolerance in both the main communities of our country. We are suffering from the vicious effect of fanaticism, communalism and above all, the explosion of terrorism. Instead of ignoring provocations by fanatical elements, we try to flare up the situation. The best choice for co-existence will be to treat all religions, castes and creed on equal footings and set aside pseudo-appeasement policy for any community.

To ease ever-increasing communalism in India and root out the ISI-engineered terrorism, some harsh decisions are required to be taken to teach a lesson once for all to Pakistan. It is also very unfortunate that in spite of terrorist activity since 1993, our intelligence agencies are not that active as is expected in such cases.

It is difficult to say that how far this controversial temple-masjid issue can be solved, but the communal riots, which have erupted in Gujarat and some other parts of the country may polarise the masses. The issue could have been solved early in the sixties. Even now it is not too late. Islam says that mosque can be shifted from a place of controversy to a non-controversial site. Why do then Indian Muslim not come up with a solution? Mosque can be built at some other site in Ayodhya. Some instances are there of Muslim countries where mosques have been shifted. The Muslims believe in "ibaadat", which our Prophet did in harsh desert sands. There was no mosque there.


I personally believe a "janmabhoomi" cannot be shifted because it is the birthplace of Lord Rama whereas a mosque, a temple and a church can be shifted. If our Prophet can sacrifice his son, why can be not respect the sentiments of others?

The disputed case of Ayodhya is required to be settled out of court in a limited time frame by discussions amongst the various religious leaders of different communities living in India. The politicians are required to assist them in formulating via media to solve this issue once for all.

Some compulsory education to women, limiting the size of families, employment opportunities to youth and other like policies are required to be prepared for improving the socio-economic status for the socio-economically backward people as a whole.

R. SHEIKH, Shimla

Ban them: Time has come to ban all fundamentalist organisations in various religious groups. If we intend to keep pace with the modern times we have to introspect about the real place of religion in our lives. In the true sense religion should be a personal affair within the limits of our abodes. History is a witness to the damage caused by the exhibitionism and institutionalisation of religion. Our religious leaders, rather than preaching communal hatred and intolerance, should adopt a positive role of eliminating social evils.

Ultimately, of course the burden of retrieving the vanished faith in humanity would fall on we ordinary Indians. We have to rise above communal hatred and reach out to each other regardless of our religious and political learning. The future of our nation and coming generations lies in our forgetting the stone age barbarism, cherishing basic human values and striving universal brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.

Dr J. S. CHUGH, Ludhiana

Govt failure: Apropos the editorial "carnage in Gujarat" (March 1), the Gujarat Government has failed miserably in handling the situation leading to the incineration of 58 Ram Sevaks at Godhra and the events following the gruesome incident. Apart from the many innocents who have lost their lives, there has been extensive damage caused to public property. It was shocking to learn from reports that the police was often a passive bystander during the mayhem perpetrated by the rioters. These events have clearly brought out the inefficiency of the state administration.

It is surprising that nobody sensed that the mob of around 2,000 that attacked the Sabarmati Express had assembled there with a clear intention to kill. Had the government acted in time to prevent the marauders from assembling at the station, the mass murder could have been averted. The inaction of the government in checking are agents provocateurs, beefing up security in the sensitive areas and ruthlessly dealing with are those who took the law into there own hands looks irresponsible.

Moreover, the statement of the Chief Minister that it is the anger of the people over the Godhra incident reminds us of Rajiv Gandhi's infamous remarks that when a banyan tree falls, the earth shakes. It means that the 1984 incident of Sikh riots in Delhi could be repeated. Such an attitude of the administration only encouraged the mobs to resort to targeted killing, arson and looting.

The inordinate delay in summoning the paramilitary forces and the Army is also surprising. It is the need of the hour to arrest the perpetrators of the crime without any discrimination lest the communal fire should engulf the entire nation. Let politics take a back seat at this juncture. The VHP must be made to call off its agitation.


National character

I agree with the opinion of Mr Thakurdas Vaisnav in his article Our falling national character (Feb 28). We choose corrupt leaders because we say every politician is corrupt and we don’t have any choice. There are honest independent candidates, but we never elect them. Unless we start hating corruption from our heart, unless we start feeling crime against someone as crime against us, we will continue to become characterless day by day.


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