New Delhi, 28th Jan. 2021: Intellectuals, academicians, legal experts, journalists and activists across the country have come forward for making India free from the atmosphere of fear and hatred. The prominent speakers including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) Vice President Prof. Mohammad Saleem Engineer and JIH national Secretary Malik Motasim Khan have expressed their views at a virtual discussion programme hosted by the JIH on the topic of ‘Making India free from fear and hatred’.
Inaugurating the online programme, Mr. Laeeq Ahmed Khan Aqil, JIH Asst. Secretary gave a brief light on the topic. He said, “now, we are witnessing criminal silence of the government on rising hatred, communal violence, target killings, polarization, growing casteism. The violence is being systematically glorified and the states are making laws which have no basis. From dress to food, the minority communities are being seen as seditious while the majority community is getting hugely radicalized. In this grave situation it is our primary duty to save our country to uphold the integrity of the people and to march forward for peace and prosperity.”
Speaking on the topic, Prof. Afroz Alam, HoD of political science at MANUU, Hyderabad, has said that a large population is being deprived of becoming partners in the nation building through the atmosphere of fear and hatred. He expressed serious concerns over the polarized society and over stereotyping certain communities and groups including Muslims in bad light in the country. He said, “there is a conscious attempt and design to portrait a group of people in such a light that they shall be permanently excluded and remain at the margin and should not claim themselves as citizens.” He said that it was a very grim situation where a large number of people were forced to live in constant fear and trauma. This is, he said, not good for the country and its development and called the civil society for building a consciousness among the citizens to overcome the issue.
Addressing the programme, activist and writer Mr. Bhanwar Meghwanshi stated that definitely, there was an atmosphere of fear in the country and all the communities including the majority and the minority were living in fear. Commenting on the attitude of the present government, he said, “on the one side, the government is making laws like CAA, farmers, labour and ‘love jihad’ related acts which are against the country’s own citizens and on the other, it is using the laws like seditions, UAPA and NSA against its own citizens. It seems that the government has launched a battle against its own citizens.” He emphasizes that all people of the country should fight together for ending this atmosphere.
On this occasion, former IAS officer and activist Mr. S. Sasikanth Senthil stated that it was not just communal or religious politics, it was fascism. He continued, “that’s why the media is under the control and working as a propaganda channel. Fear of silence is being created around the society. Many political parties are taking the Soft Hindutva’, which is a very wrong move. We need to understand the ramifications of prevailing hatred and fear. Treating fascist forces simply as communal organisations will not help because they would pick up any kind of hatred, as they are using just emotions to stay in power. They are not the safeguards for Hinduism but they are just using those weapons for maintaining power.” But, he hoped, that the country would not succumb to these forces easily because India is a great plural society and it is a good sign that people have started pushing back. Mr. Sasikanth advised everybody to speak out unitedly as humans not only through language but through arts, culture, music, painting and all forms of expressions to fight against such fascist tendencies. “If fear of silence remains, then the country will go much deeper into crisis,” he warned.
Advocate Arvind Narrain, founder member of the Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore has emphasized that we should speak up if we want freedom from hatred and fear and start a campaign against hate-speech by filing complaints on different levels. “Invoke the constitutional values, the deeper spiritual traditions, and the history of human rights activism of the country are the ways to freedom from hatred,” he added.
Concluding the discussion, Mr. Malik Motasim Khan, JIH national Secretary has said that an atmosphere of peace and security is essential in the building of any country. He said, “the development process is stalled in the atmosphere of fear and hate. All the people of the country have to overcome it together. Some people have created hatred and violence through which they want to achieve some of their goals. These hatreds are aroused in the society by disseminating the wrong history, propaganda, and by rousing fear of minorities, especially Muslims, among the majority. This has divided our society in such a way that if anyone gets hurt then the other remains silent. The Unnao incident was painful, but some sections remained absolute mum on it. Similarly, whenever the matter of lynching comes, these sections remain silent. This indicates that the prevailing atmosphere has divided our society in such a way that the feelings of compassion and human values vanished from the hearts. It can be overcome by playing a wise and positive role and especially by initiating mutual dialogue and mutual misunderstandings. Advising the people, he said, “we do not need to be intimidated or infuriated by the hateful situations, rather, we need to be engaged in constructive activities with positive thinking and these activities should be carried out in all walks of life.”