Investigate Terror Targeting of Mosques, Punish the Unconscionable Police Firing in Hyderabad Restore Peace, Reassert People’s Movements in Punjab
Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are both emerging centres of people’s resistance – against SEZs, against farmers’ suicides, and against other anti-people economic policies. Undoubtedly, the recent attempts to whip up communal tension in these states are aimed at distorting the people’s struggles.
The targeting of the Mecca Masjid at Hyderabad appear to be part of a larger and more sinister pattern of attacks on mosques – coming as they do after the blasts at Jama Masjid in Delhi and Malegaon in Maharashtra. The police and Governments, rather than ensuring security of the Muslim community, have rather rendered the community even more vulnerable through witch-hunting and firing.
In Hyderabad, it is shocking and unforgivable that the disoriented and panicked crowds outside the mosque, instead of receiving sensitive help in locating their near and dear, were instead subjected to police firing that claimed several lives. It is difficult to imagine police firing on crowds outside a temple following blasts. Clearly the communal bias of the police and State Government led them to treat people in a state of justified shock and anger as criminals rather than as victims.
It is also strange that the same police that lacked the intelligence information required to prevent the blasts, could come up with the name of the outfits responsible for the blasts with suspicious haste, with barely a pretence of investigation! The Sangh Parivar outfits, who given their track record ought to be natural suspects in any such assault on mosques and Muslims, seem to have been absolved of guilt even without an investigation.
Investigation into the previous blasts have been equally unsatisfactory. Prior to the Malegaon blasts, a blast in a house at Nanded had revealed Sangh activists making bombs, and fake beards and Pathan suits were found on their premises. Despite such suspicious indications of a possible Sangh hand in the blasts, the police insisted from the start that a Muslim fundamentalist outfit was implicated. During investigations, Muslim youth have been picked up and harassed, without any convincing evidence of guilt.
We demand a thoroughgoing national probe into the emerging pattern of terrorist attacks on Muslims and mosques – and punishment for those responsible for the unconscionable police firing in Hyderabad.
In Punjab, the frenzied conflict between the Dera Sabha Sauda sect and the Sikh orthodoxy has dangerous and explosive potential. History has shown us how the Akali-Nirankari conflict of the late 70s, fanned up by the rival Congress and Akali Dal, had tragic consequences for the people of State. Now once again, Congress and the Akali Dal are stoking the fires of religious sentiment and playing with the fire of fundamentalism and sectarian conflict. The Dera is known to have worked for the Congress in the last elections, and the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance too sees the potential for communal mobilization. It is urgent that the people of Punjab refuse to become fodder for such ploys.
2007 is the birth centenary year of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. We are confident that the people of Punjab will uphold his legacy of revolutionary anti-imperialism, and of resolutely rebuffing communal chauvinism and religious provocations.
Punjab and neighbouring Haryana are the scene of very significant peasant resistance to the imperialist policies of SEZs and farmers’ suicides, and also of the rural poor’s resistance to feudal assaults on the dignity and rights of Dalits. This movement in both the states stand threatened by the conflict that followed in the wake of the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy. We appeal to the people of Punjab not to allow sectarian provocations or chauvinism to deflect from the people’s movements, and to recognize and rebuff the political vested interests that are cynically seeking to unleash forces that can once again trap Punjab in a spiral of violence.