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New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) – “Deep concern for the continuous episodes of senseless violence in the country, especially those that target minorities”, and also “for the weak response of law enforcement agencies and institutions”: this is what is expressed in an open Letter on the violence and discrimination against minorities in India, signed and sent out by large sectors of civil society, associations, public officials, personalities from the world of Indian culture and university, politics, columnists and intellectuals.
In the text of the letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, we recall first of all the killing of Mohammed Afrazul, a Muslim migrant worker of West Bengal killed in Rajasthan: “The recording of the brutal act on video and the spread on the web of the justification for the murder cuts the roots of an inclusive and pluralist society that draws inspiration from the teachings of the great religious traditions” and “are an indicator of how deep sectarian poison is widespread among the population of this country”.
In the last nine months – notes the letter – other unpunished murders have been registered, some are a real lynching to the detriment of Muslim citizens. The exponents of the Bharatija Jatata Party, the party at the federal government in many Indian states, said that “if one smuggles or slaughters a cow, he will be killed”. “A similar language – the signatories commented – is an open incitement to violence, which slowly poisons politics and society”.
“In addition to the murders, we are deeply concerned to see the acceleration of a process of ghettoization through the refusal to sell property to Muslims, or to have them as tenants”, the text continues. And the “jihad of love” campaigns of Hindu extremist groups show how they “interfere with the constitutional rights of citizens to contract marriage with a partner of their choice”. “In December – notes the letter – violence on Christians, during the Christmas period increased”.
Indian civil society calls for “a clear and immediate response from the prime minister and his government to stop the perpetrators of such hate crimes against religious minorities”.
“These recent incidents undermine our constitutional values and weaken the rule of law. Existing laws offer adequate protection if they are implemented with the necessary will and determination. The only legal protection, however, is not a solution when the virus of religious hatred has already spread far and wide in society”, notes the text, re-launching the need for cultural and educational work.
“It is essential to reflect on the current trends that threaten the peace and cohesion of the country, a fundamental prerequisite for growth and development, and for all of us, especially those who belong to the majority religious community, it is urgent to go beyond mere reflection and raise our voices, to oppose and publicly condemn the polarization of society on the basis of religious affiliation”. (PN-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 30/1/2018)