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#IndiaUnites against hate speech, bigotry, mob violence and lynchings
February 3, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Today, 70 years after independence, we are witnessing a rise in hatred and prejudices based on religion, caste, gender, sexuality, region and class. Society is becoming increasingly intolerant and violent. Communal violence, caste based violence and hate crimes are on the upsurge. As citizens we can no longer be silent spectators to this growing ill will, hatred and violence. We must come together to protect the secular, pluralistic and democratic fibre of the country.
The attack against secular society is along several fronts. The most marginalized communities are being targeted and deprived of life and livelihood in the name of cow protection by state-backed thugs. Not only do the victims of such violence not get justice, the perpetrators are feted by Cabinet rank ministers from the ruling party. When members from other sections of society protest such violence they are targeted as being “maoists”, “urban naxals”, “antinationals”, etc.
Socially minded organisations and individuals are constantly under the scanner under one spurious allegation or another. Activists and intellectuals are arrested for allegedly seditious writings or association with supposedly antinational agencies, purely as harassment. They are made to run from court to court to get the fictitious charges against them cleared. And when that doesn’t stop them from voicing their opinions, they are silenced by violence – as the deaths of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Com. Govind Pansare, Prof. MM Kalburgi, and Gauri Lankesh testify. The murderers have not only been identified, even their links with those in power have been laid bare – and yet justice is denied.
In the past year we have seen the arrests of Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira, while Gautam Navlakha, Prof. Anand Teltumbde and others were also targeted, in connection with the violence at the Bhima Koregaon commemoration early in 2018. The Maharashtra government however continues to protect the likes of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote despite the latter’