Saturday, August 25, 2012

More on Massacres in Assam

The way the Indian Muslim leadership and the Indian leadership, in general, has articulated the massacre of Muslims in Assam is disturbing to every conscious human being. The Muslim and secular leadership in India has argued that the people living in Assam were not Bengali Muslims. They are the sons of the soil and hence they should not have been driven out of their homes or killed. The Hindu leadership led by the RSS and its political commentators has argued that Muslims are in Assam are of Bengali  origin and hence Bodos or locals have every right to kick them out of the land.
When a person's worth and dignity are related to his or her birth, place of residence or the language spoken by people, then we definitely are in a long period of trouble. If the logic is that Muslims or for that matter a person of any religion should not be killed because of he or she is from the land or that killing those who illegally entered a state is justified, then we cannot but expect violence for every minor or major difference everywhere in India. In fact, it was this thinking that created more than 10,000 violent pogroms against Muslims of India since independence culminating in their genocide in Gujarat in 2003.
Human life is sacred and it must be protected by those who are responsible for running the affairs of a country or a state. There are no ifs and buts here. Even if the people in Assam were of Bengali origin, they had every right to live and thrive.
In Assam, the intelligence agencies, the state, the local administration, the political parties, the religious outfits and the central government failed to fulfill their obligations to the country and the people living within its territory. It is a crime that is covered under the Geneva convention on genocide and human rights clauses of the international court of justice.
Can Muslims or the Organization of Islamic Conference, the apex body of Muslim states file a case of violation of human rights against the central and state government of India? Can Muslim Indians, who live abroad think of developing a strategy to tackle these crimes beyond relief and emotional rhetoric? Can Muslim organizations of Indian origin active in the US and Britain approach this issue legally to ensure that these incidents are not repeated?
In order to take a principled stand on the issue, Muslim leadership must come strongly against violence and in defense of human rights of everyone. They need to develop alliances at all levels to gather support for a non-violent approach to these issues. They must voice their concern against every act of violence that is perpetrated in the name of religion, ethnic, racial, or linguistic divisions. We can no longer remain passive to these incidents of violence against anyone. We need to be seen at the forefront of the movement for human rights and dignity even when the victims are not like us.

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