Dharna Protests Communal Violence in Orissa, M.P.

A large number of people, belonging to as many as 14 organisations, staged a dharna (sit-in) at Roshanpura Square, Bhopal on January 9 to protest against the communal violence in Kandhamal, Orissa and Devas, Madhya Pradesh. The dharna also exhorted all the peace-loving people in the country to come forward to protect the nation’s democracy.

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A large number of people, belonging to as many as 14 organisations, staged a dharna (sit-in) at Roshanpura Square, Bhopal on January 9 to protest against the communal violence in Kandhamal, Orissa and Devas, Madhya Pradesh. The dharna also exhorted all the peace-loving people in the country to come forward to protect the nation’s democracy.
“The communal violence in Kandhamal and Devas once again brought the ugly face of communal hatred in the limelight. This should be nipped in the bud,” said Javed, a member of a social organisation, Yuva Samvad.
According to him, unless the right thinking people come forward to raise voice against the elements who are trying to divide people on communal lines, it would continue to spell disaster to the country’s democracy and its sacred principles of secularism.
The troublemakers, he feared, were trying to infuse the poison of communal hatred as a preparation trial to the Assembly elections scheduled in the state later this year. He appealed to all the right thinking people to fight against the menace of communalism in unison.
Kumit Singh, Secretary, Sarokar (an organisation working for communal harmony), wanted stern action against such people and organisations as spread disharmony in the society.
“Such people are mentally ill; we need to treat them,” she added. The communal violence in Orissa, where Christians were forced to flee in the forest on the eve of Christmas, was a shame for the nation as a whole.
The hooligans, besides killing people, also set Christian houses, churches, convent and other establishments on fire, she regretted.
Similar was the recent communal violence against Muslims in Devas, Madhya Pradesh. It was the result of the killing of a former functionary of an organisation. The real culprits belonged to the same religion but to incite violence it was looked from communal point of view. “Such violence,” she said, “would be curbed only when right thinking people come forward to stop the trouble mongers.”
“Those trying to divide the county on communal lines would not succeed,” said L.S. Hardenia, adding that the country was secular and would continue to remain so.
According to Advocate J.P. Danopay, the BJP government in the state was trying to follow the Gujarat model to retain power in the state. “The BJP,” he apprehended, “would adopt an aggressive Hindutva in the ensuing assembly polls in the state.”
The spokesperson of Catholic Church in M.P, Father Anand Muttugal said, the BJP’s success in Gujarat has given a boost to the hate-mongers. The hardcore Hindutva, he said, failed in Uttar Pradesh and other states. However, he cautioned people against the gradual rise of communal hatred in the country.
Speaking on the issue, Herdenia said, “Those trying to stoke communal violence will not succeed because the very spirit of India is secular.”
One of the convenors of this movement, Upasana, said, “We are planning for a long term programme to awake the conscience of the people to resist communal disturbances in the State.”
The dharna was organised by Rashtriya Secular Manch, Yuva Samvad, Progressive Writers Forum, Peace and Justice, Madhya Pradesh Isai Maha Sabha, Janvadi Writers Association, Insani Biradari, Qaumi Ekta, Naujanvadi Naujawan Sabha and other secular citizens and organisations of Bhopal.