Anti-Muslim ‘poison’ still strong , says Aruna Roy


Special Correspondent 
Dec 05, 2007

http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/05/stories/2007120561551700.htm

Kochi: Five years after the 2002 communal carnage, the
‘poison’ of anti-Muslim hatred is still very strong in
Gujarat which is going to the polls shortly, says
renowned social worker and Magsaysay Award winner
Aruna Roy. 

“The poison stays,” said Ms. Roy, whose campaigns for
getting the right to information legislated won
international appreciation. “The whole society acts
like Hitler.”

She was speaking at a seminar on ‘Human rights and
development’ at Rajagiri College, Kalamassery, on
Tuesday.

Different 

The Gujarat carnage was different from the 1984 Delhi
riots (in which nearly 3,000 Sikhs were massacred) in
that the situation in Delhi had turned normal soon
after the riot, she said. “But in Gujarat, even today,
the current thinking is such that people do not listen
to reason; the society acts completely without
rationality.”

Religious identity was the ‘lowest common denominator’
in Gujarat’s social life. “Are you a Muslim, or are
you a Hindu? This Bush-like question determined one’s
position in society. One single community has grabbed
all debates and the public domain.” 

Systematic campaign 


She pointed out that this situation was the outcome of
25-30 years of systematic campaign against the
Muslims. 

Every psychological issue had been used to demonise
Muslims. This was the reason why the State flared up
in minutes after the Godhra incident.

Such campaigns are going on in many other States too,
she cautioned. 

In Rajasthan, where she works, both Muslims and
Christians are being attacked. In view of such
campaigns, the biggest challenge to human rights in
India was to keep pluralism alive.

She pointed out that the definition of human rights
had expanded enormously. Apart from the traditional
rights such as the right to life and security, it also
includes, she said, “the right to stay on your
property, the right to water, right to send your
children to school and your right to work.”








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