PRESS RELEASE: Escalation of Hindutva Campaign as Anniversary of the Gujarat Massacre approaches


Islamic Human Rights Commission

PRESS RELEASE: Escalation of Hindutva Campaign as Anniversary of the Gujarat Massacre approaches.

26 February 2003

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is highly concerned at right-wing pro-Hindu activities that are taking place in India, particularly around the time of the anniversary of the Gujarat massacres of 2002 when religious tensions are likely to be high.

Thousands of militant Hindu clerics marched in Delhi yesterday in support of demands that Hindus be allowed to construct a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. This issue has always been a cause for tension between Muslim and Hindu communities, and led to the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu extremists in 1992, and acted as a catalyst in the Gujarat carnage last year. IHRC is concerned not only at the continuing failure of the Indian government to protect its Muslim minorities but its support of Hindu extremists in pushing for the uplifting of a ban on all religious activities at the disputed site imposed by the Supreme Court.

IHRC is further concerned at the announcement of the plans of the Gujarat Government to introduce anti-conversion laws in the state that would prevent Hindus from converting to other religions. The timing of the announcement and the persecutory nature of the laws is likely to increase the grievances of religious minorities in Gujarat, particularly the Muslim population.

Chairman of the IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh said,

“Ultra-nationalist Hindu leaders have repeatedly stated that Gujarat was a successful experiment which they intend to repeat all over India. This Hindutva agenda continues to be pursued unabated, and at a highly charged time of the anniversary of the Gujarat massacres. Not only has the BJP national and state government failed to acknowledge the suffering of the Muslim minority by prosecuting those involved in the violence last year but it appears to be rubbing salt in the raw wounds of the Muslim population by pursuing this fascist agenda”.

For further information, please call the Press Office on (+44) 208 902 0888 or (+44) 7958 522 198.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
Fax (+44) 20 8902 0889