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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 15:39 GMT
India: How can the violence be stopped?
At least 30 more Muslims have been burned alive in the western Indian state of Gujarat as troops struggle to quell the worst communal bloodshed in 10 years.
Reports said the massacre took place in a village 50 km (30 miles) from Godhra, where an attack on Hindu activists travelling by train on Wednesday sparked the latest explosion of violence.
A local administrator told reporters a mob of about 3,000 suspected Hindus had attacked the village of Pandarwal, burning Muslims to death in their homes.
Hundreds of troops have been deployed in Gujarat since the train attack to try and stop the violence, which has left at least 250 people dead so far.
Many of the passengers were supporters of a hardline Hindu group, the VHP, which is threatening to build a Hindu temple on a site in the city of Ayodhya where Hindu activists tore down a 16th century mosque in 1992, sparking widespread rioting.
Have you been affected by the outbreak of violence? What can be done to stop the clashes?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Andy Malik, India
It hurts me too see a nation that I have grown to love is being torn by reckless violence. Religions are meant to preach peace, this is just mindless bloodshed.
It is heartbreaking to read the hatred in views expressed by some educated people in these columns accusing the other side. Can't a person understand whoever dies is a human being instead of identifying them as belonging to a particular religion. Whoever is committing such act or justifying such act should put their feet in the position of the oppressed person and imagine how he would feel. Hindus and Muslims have a equal right on the land of India they have to live in peace instead of killing and accusing each other. The disputed and the surrounding land should not be given to either parties and a hospital should be constructed.
I live in India. My country does not 'promote' poverty nor subjugate the poor. Rather, they make promises to slum dwellers to legalise their properties only to gain votes. And Vajpayee is one of the few sensible ones left around - though his pro-Hindu party has him by the throat. The truth is, that the whole government structure is corrupt to the core. People are paid to turn up at rallies and cast their votes. The last appearance of the government has been so abysmal that there is nothing left for them to play but the 'Hindutva' card. Stir up some sense of worth in the thousands of unemployed and illiterate in the country. After all, it's easier than cutting back on your own kickbacks and creating real jobs, isn't it?
The levels of violence we have seen in the Gujarat are never likely to cease whilst the government and culture of the country promotes poverty, promotes a divisive class system and subjugates the poor. If you force people to live in ignorance and fear these are the results. People will not be able to understand words like liberty and equality when they are not capable of reading them.
India represents several millennia of peaceful coexistence between its diverse peoples. Neither the construction of a temple nor a mosque at Ayodhya will bring the troubled people of Gujarat and India closer to their Gods. Focusing on faith without concern for goodness or wisdom is an affront to the Gods to whom Hindus and Muslims pray. Perhaps the people of India would be better served by building a monument of unity that celebrates the shared history of Indian peoples and the rich and unique culture she has produced.
People who are engaged in such violent activity are non-believers. They have nothing to do with religion. A religious person understands the value of humanity and brotherhood.
The media has a major role to play in controlling violence. I am a regular viewer of BBC world & Asia Today news. Time and again this channel is only focussing on the sufferings of the minority Muslims in the aftermath of the horrendous Godhra Train burning. Not even once I could see BBC relaying the sufferings of people burned to death in the train and the people injured by the barbaric act of train burners. This kind of lop-sided reporting will only aggravate further sectarian violence. At least the BBC could have displayed better wisdom. How can the violence end if the media around the globe does not want it to?
I respectfully offer that the BBC or the Indian government should publish all the names of the dead, victims of the murderous rampage of the past week. A memorial fund should be set up for them, and anyone who would want to contribute to their memory should do so. Only then can their memory have any meaning, and justice begin to prevail over murder. Barbaric killing in the name of religion is not freedom, it is terrorism.
There are thousands of mosque and temples in India where Hindus and Muslims practice their religions. Why is there a need to build a temple or mosque in a place which was a ghetto before 1992? That place should be utilised in building an educational institute where people from all religion should gain some knowledge. I request all Hindus and Muslims to think of ways to make their lives worthwhile and not kill innocent people.
Educate people, create decent jobs and tell the community that there's more to life than this nonsense.
VHP should build a mosque at Ayodhya in deference to the innocent Muslim brethren and a secular monument should be erected at the disputed site without delay.
The events of the past few days have saddened my generation and me a great deal. But what is more upsetting is the attitude of some of the people writing comments about "sending Muslims to Pakistan". My parents had to leave their homes during partition to move to "India" because they were Hindu. Do our Muslim brothers and sisters have to feel the same disgrace in "secular India"? If educated Hindus and Muslims keep on breeding the hatred 50 years after partition, I see no hope for India in the near future. This is an opportunity for the BJP government to prove that it leads a secular country and not society dominated by extremists of all religions.
I want to tell something to the Indian Hindus especially to Virender Pratap Singh. It might sound anti-Indian but the fact is your country has so many problems with every thing and you are stupid enough to believe in the media and what they say. You should believe what you see. Just tell me one thing: what would you think if you were Muslim? I need to say one more thing: this is all a political game.
Why the big outcry for the Muslims? When the Muslims kill Christians and Jews it seem to be OK. Now the Muslims have the shoe on the other foot.
As an Indian first and a Hindu next, I am appalled at the recent sad events. I condemn the trouble makers from both religions who ignite the flames and let the innocent burn in it. There should be a non-faith worship place built at the Babri site and let everyone go and pray for the loss and sorrow of each other.
Anyone giving importance to human values would not certainly participate in any barbaric activity of slaughtering a human life.
Burning a train with men, women and children trapped inside is a barbarous act and should be condemned outright. But revenge attacks are not the solution, as that is falling straight into the trap. The government must ensure peace is maintained at all times, and protection also be given to those VHP supporters (as well as the Indian Muslim community) who are now clear targets of attacks. Perhaps one solution would be for the Muslim leaders to allow the temple to be re-built on the site. This would indeed be a noble and grand gesture which indirectly apologises to the Hindu community for Mogul atrocities committed upon them. Surely this would cement brotherhood between the two religions.
Nadeem Ahmad, India
We all know the terror of communal violence in Gujarat. But there are more people affected by it. We the people of Dahod have in the past two days been also targeted by gangs.
People's houses were looted, and their houses were set on fire. The same happened to their shops. They lost almost all they had.
Why are we all targeted? We are innocent! Here in Dahod we have lost hope! And the chief minister is telling the press that all is under control!
All the barbarians who are behind this carnage must be brought to justice. The Indian secularism is a farce and is used by the politicians to gain votes. Both the majority and minority groups are suffering from India's secularism. We need a dictator who will shoot all the hooligans (Hindus or Muslims or any one else) creating trouble on the streets. We must ban all the religious organisations like VHP, Jamati-Islami Hind, Bajrang Dal etc and arrest all the leaders making provocative or anti-national statements.
Excessive emotion is nothing but madness. This is exactly what is happening, and we don't want our society go mad. We should learn to use our anger in a constructive way, and not for destruction. Mahatma Gandhi taught us the principal of non-violence. But today politicians try to use emotions and anger for their own political needs. We need a leader like Mahatma Gandhi who can give a proper direction to the emotions and the anger of the people.
Gujarat is just an example which shows the world how dangerous a communal party can be if it is ruling a country. The areas barring Gujarat and a few others where the BJP has effect are peaceful. More surprising is the fact that though police is searching for those who attacked the train, nobody cares about who killed the 500 people afterwards.
We have suffered enough and have been conquered by many religions, if we want to keep our traditions we must let the Muslims got to Pakistan. After all the Pakistani boost about Islam let's see if the will accept the India Muslims?
Its funny that Pakistan has had no incidents of hatred against the Hindu minority and has banned extremist parties while the BJP has not. Also reading some of the Indian comments it's very obvious why Muslims of the sub-continent needed their own nation. Thank God for Pakistan. The Muslim mob that attacked the train was a small number of extremists, the Hindu reaction was a nearly nationwide outpour of hatred.
Ayodhya is to a Hindu what Mecca is to Muslims. Muslims should give up the disputed land to Hindus for preserving their religion and identity. India needs a USA-type constitution, and only when it is implemented will there will be peace.
The solution here is sending these Muslims to Pakistan. India should be declared a Hindu republic.
Kevin Mattias, Sweden
There is no such thing as Hindu fighters and Muslim fighters. These cowards from both sets of groups are hiding behind "religion" in an excuse to fight each other - many have probably lost sight of the original "cause". If they are truly religious people, do they really genuinely think that God is going to thank them for killing and injuring and ruining the lives of those children/wives/husbands/parents left behind just for their "cause"? Get real. The media should not entertain that these fights are based on religion.
It is true that all politicians are trying to gain mileage instead of sincerely solve the issue. However, this 'incident' did not start with the train burning nor did it start 10 years ago with the temple issue. What we see today was started with the Islamic invasion of the subcontinent about 900 years ago. Hindus have never gone to someone's land and plundered it in the name of religion. It is only due to the tolerance of Hindus that such small a minority of Muslims live freely and prosper. India is the only country in the world which has special laws for Muslims. Muslims of India enjoy more freedom of religion than Muslims in Islamic countries itself.
I've been reading the comments in this column
and the sentiments of people expressed in editorials.
Although many Hindus have expressed deep remorse for the
riots and have even gone to the extent of saying that they
"are ashamed to be Hindus", not even a single person
from the Muslim community has expressed their anger
at the barbaric act of torching Hindus on the train and of course, you
could never expect them to say that they are ashamed of being Muslims.
Muslims in India enjoy more rights and are pampered more than
any other minority in India. And in return they complain that they are treated like "second-class" citizens and instigate their community against other religions! Where else in the world can this happen except India where secularism has acquired a totally different meaning altogether?
I think it's amazing that these people in the Indian subcontinent want to keep killing each other forever. The people of Europe were killing each other a few centuries ago, but wised up and started trading with each other. So today you have a prosperous Europe and a united community, while people in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh still keep killing each other. When will they wise up?
I agree someone should remove this government mainly for its non-commitment to do anything but use force. I really hope this situation doesn't result in another break-up between the two peoples.
The only reason we Hindus celebrate Deepawali and Dushera has been snatched away from us 500 years back. The birth of Bhagwan Ram Chander signifies the victory of good over evil. The future of our culture and religion is in the hands of Hindus like you and it is very insecure. USA is fighting the same war in Afghanistan right now, and luckily the enemy is outside their country. But in India the enemy is within and that is called the carnage of Muslims.
Why is the Western media and democracy silent on the Hindu hardliners killing innocent Muslims in India? The USA doesn't see the fundamentalists and terrorism in India. This double standard forced the Muslims in the world to hate America. The current situation proved that how vital the creation of Pakistan was. And I think it's time to create another separate homeland for Indian Muslims. The Muslims and the Arabian countries will have to take action to force the Indian government to provide protection to the minorities, especially to the Muslims who are subject to atrocities.
F. Manzoor, Belgium/India
Does the world still think that India is a secular state where the law and informant agencies helped the rioters in pointing out the minority group. Not only pointing/singling them out but helping in a sense of not reaching to the reported places on time. I think now it is the time the people of India should wake up and protest against the present government.
All the communal violence is occurring because of the Babri Masjid issue. Because this temple-Masjid issue, which started a decade ago, went too far. Nobody in Indian political parties (either BJP or Congress or third party) is trying to resolve the issue and instead is using this issue to come back to power. Forty years after the partition, the communal violence again started because of this issue.
This issue is making both Hindu and Muslim communities nervous. The political parties are chanting the Secularism or Hindu mantra, but keeping the issue alive and burning. Nobody wants to compromise and hundreds of innocent people are getting killed. The best solution for this problem is to resolve the Babri Masjid issue and bring peace to Hindu and Muslim communities and to avoid the recurrence of communal issues.
I think generally it is agreed that what is happening in India is disgusting and unacceptable situation. But the point that no one is highlighting WHY has this happened? To put it simply tensions have existed between Muslims and Hindus in India, since the extremist Hindus took apart the Mosque (Babri) The recent violence that has occurred only helps one party the Hindus i.e. BJP, which is a Hindu nationalist party full of extremist fanatics.
The violence was initiated by the BJP so it could strengthen its support among the Hindus who had become disillusioned with the BJP. A clear cut evidence being the recent elections that it suffered defeat in, so by initiating the wage of violence by blaming that a group of Muslims burnt a train carriage killing 58 people (Hindus) it was able to further raise the emotions of the fanatic Hindus and provided a green light for the current violence.
The only solution being to this problem is by having a system that deals with human beings as human beings as we saw in the past that Muslims and Hindus lived peacefully side-by-side. There will always be tensions till the Hindu fanatics rule a nation whose premise is built on Hindu nationalism.
Kanna, Hindu Indian in the US
Donald Ariel, Canada
The recent medieval massacres in India triggered by religious jingoism, point squarely to the absence of a functional law and order apparatus to protect citizens in most parts of North India. It is also poignantly pertinent to point out that though, sections of India have made vast strides in technology and science, the vast majority live in abject squalor and misery, reacting to religious issues as tragic puppets on the strings of ignorant political brigands. It is time for the educated elite in India to take control of their country or face a downward spiral into civil anarchy and eventual disintegration of the republic.
A Hindu should have respect in Hinduism and a Muslim should have complete faith in Islam. This is the only solution to this problem. If everyone has faith in his or her own religion, then no one needs a temple, a church or a mosque. Blaming anyone doesn't serve the purpose. Everyone should be honest in his or her duties and religion.
These recent riots are just to de-throne the Indian economy and peace.
All are aware of it, but irony is that no one thinks of it.
Does Mr. Vajpayee have the courage to ban VHP the way President Musharaf has banned extremist parties in Pakistan? or is his vote bank and Prime Ministership more important to him than citizens of his own country? Instead of waging war on its borders, Mr. Vajpayee should wage a war on the extremist element in India.
It is quite interesting to note the number of messages posted here from Hindus saying that they do not care for a temple to be built in Ayodhya. There are two points to be made here: 1) Not a single Muslim stated that he did not care for the mosque to be rebuilt there, which is their hard-line position. Any solution needs a flexible attitude from both parties and I do not see any from the Muslims. 2) I believe that the overwhelming opinion of the ordinary Hindus is for a temple to be built in the birthplace of Lord Rama (where strangely none exists today). This is not reflected in the opinions of the intellectual elite that post here.
The temple has become more than a matter of faith. Rather, that of the identity of India itself. As a Hindu in India, I feel threatened by the aggressive Muslim minority that resorts to acts of violence on the slightest pretext and Hindus are chastised as being anit-secular every time a rightful finger of blame is pointed at them. I believe that now they are reaping the whirlwind. No matter how meek or tolerant Hindus might have been, they have protected their religion and culture throughout history. Otherwise, India would have been an Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Not a democratic, secular nation of a billion.
Secularism and special privileges based on religion don't go together. Yet that's exactly what is happening in India as politicians, for the pursuit of power, pander to minority votes that are big enough to swing the result and, in the process, sacrifice secularism. The solution will be a long process, but the starting point must be to treat all Indians equally in the eyes of the law without reference to their religion. This means removing all special privileges based on religion. An example is the government subsidising visits for Hajj - the government should have no involvement in this personal and private activity.
Unfortunately, groups do not want to give up privileges gained under the name of religion, yet when it suits them, they hide behind the term "secular". A case of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds!
It is, therefore, very unfortunate that the VHP is destroying India's secular fabric by bringing up the meaningless issue of Ayodhya temple, when the Hindu religion clearly points out that Ram is present in all living beings and not just in temples. One thing from which we can still take heart is the way some Hindus have come to the defence of their Muslims neighbours in some areas. The spirit of secular India is alive among them.
And the cycle continues. First one side does something barbarous and heinous and then the next side replies with repercussions. Priming the next generation for more hatred and polarity. We need dialogue and strong impartial leaders to stir the people blinded by faith towards being thinking individuals and not animals bent on hatred and distraction.
The death toll over the last 5 days could well be over 1,000. The majority of victims, slaughtered in that all too common way of burning, were innocent Muslims. The train killings should rightly be condemned. But we must ask the question why so many are intent on building the temple rather than waiting for the courts to decide? Who do the VHP think they are - setting deadlines in the knowledge that this would inflame the situation? The violence that followed was not 'riots' or communal disturbances that the Indian government or media may have us believe. This was an outright massacre. Secularism is dead. I do not have any faith in the land of Gandhi anymore.
I am appalled at the violence occurring in India. No religion condones taking a human life. How can a temple or mosque be worth this kind of carnage? I, for one, would feel like a hypocrite to step inside this temple (assuming it ever gets completed. I like the idea of building a 'dual' structure- part temple, part mosque. If this can't be agreed upon, then the ground should be considered beyond use for ANY project.
Any action the government takes now will be of a face saving one. The violence will stop by itself, today or tomorrow... but the one thing that will be remembered is that no action was taken when it was needed the most. This incident has opened up the hard lined sectarian division that exist within the Indian society for years. There are only two real solutions to this problem, either you educate the people to be self-responsible or crack down on the fanatics who take advantage of the naive people to gain political or personal benefits.
Syed Ghani, Indian in the US.
The Hindu 'backlash' against the torching of the Sabarmati Express by Muslims was a disgraceful act by the Hindus. I, as a Hindu/American-from-India am ashamed that my 'compatriots' undertook this carnage. However, I have not heard/read even ONE WORD of apology or regret in Muslim newspapers worldwide or from the large Muslim community in the US for the initiation of this trouble. On the other hand, Muslim groups are reiterating the divisive '2-nation' theory - a theory that has forever left Muslims in limbo throughout the planet.
At this point, what is required is an innovative approach to the entire problem. Any solution based on a religious sentiment is bound to invite conflict. Hence, what is required is a solution over and above religious sentiment.
For example, the disputed site should be converted to a historical site in the very form it exists today with historical explanations of what has happened. Appreciate history as it occurred; do not attempt to rechange it. Yes, there was a temple, then yes, the ruler changed and built a mosque over the temple...And now we should look at history and treat it as a place to visit... Both are supposedly dwellings of God...Lets both respect the region as history decided without any further distortion. Make a beautiful museum and let it be a learning place for the new generation children, a visiting place for the tourists and YES, why not, a prayer place for the religious pilgrimages...
Innovation and creativity are tools for progress...
Irfan Ayub, Canada/Pakistan
The vicious and cowardly acts of burning of a train and the subsequent burning of houses with innocent men, women and children trapped inside is a crime against the entire humanity and should be strongly condemned by every decent human being on this planet, including all God-fearing Hindus and Muslims.
I think it is the religious extremism, low standards of living and feelings of hatred for the other religion that has been sown into the minds of the people by their elders that is causing the much debated mayhem.
The VHP deserves a long overdue ban like the SIMI. Any extremist group in India, be they Hindu, Muslim, Communist etc, should be banned. Thins will protect India's secularism.
As for the Babri Masjid issue, it should be turned into a peace monument built by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Rajiv Sinha, USA
Well, what we can do is teach our children not to think like we do. During our childhood, our parents teach us that WE are Hindus/Muslims and what we follow is the true religion. This childhood teaching/preaching is shaping lives of our future generation. The only way forward is to go beyond justice - that is - to forgive instead of punishing.
The rioters whether Muslim or Hindu have no faith or trust in god. The ugly politicians warm their bodies by creating such things. The people of the nation must be aware of these selfish fellows.
Suprabha Ray, Indian in the US
There are tears rolling down my cheeks as I read one article after another about the brutal killings in Godhra and Ahmedabad. It is hard to believe that such a heinous crime was committed in MY country. The solution to this problem lies not in one person's hands but in the hands of the community.
I pray to the Almighty to give peace to the departed souls.
There must have been a lot of resentment and tension building up for a long time in India for either Muslims or Hindus to resort to such extreme acts of violence. When civilians feel they must take matters into their own hands, it's a clear sign that the government is too busy playing politics to solve problems that affect its people. It's time for the Indian government, which claims to be secular and multi-ethnic, to step up and bring this situation under control.
There is a lack of leadership and ideas in India.
Why can't the Hindus and Muslims work together and build a temple and a mosque side by side? Or just build a monument for peace?
Many of us have worked with and have friends of all religions!
Religion has been the cause of war and the murder of millions for thousands of years. Who are we to think we can stop it now? As long as there is religion there will be death.
Surabhi Bhatt, India
In a Modern and Democratic India there should be dialogue between those affected. To kill a person will not resolve anything but will fan the flames of anger and hatred. We should be proud of being Indian whether you are a Muslim, Christian, or Hindu. I myself was not born in India, but feel strongly about my nation. God Bless India!
Gujrat has had a history of communal violence. It is sad to see that no concrete steps are being taken to stem such kind of mob frenzies. The Centre and the State governments should have a plan to prevent such incidents. As the violence spreads, there are revenge killings and it is all the more difficult to contain. It is even more sad that its been 2 days since the train burning incident and still the Gujarat government has not been able to contain rioters. The Centre should immediately impose Presidents rule in Gujarat, and the Prime Minister should deal with the situation first hand.
I urge the present government of India to act fast, and that the people involved, whether politicians or others, be brought to book in such a way that such things don¿t happen again. I can only hope and pray that righteousness will prevail.
After the events of September 11th I saw why the united states was a great democracy. There were no riots and revenge killings of Muslims. India on the other hand responded differently. What can you expect from a country where the former prime minister once stated on the death of his mother Indira Gandhi that the subsequent riots and murders of sikhs were justifiable?
India is the only country with people who practice so many religions, talk in SO many languages and still get along well. There will be some hiccups here and there. Hindus and Muslims lived like brothers for so many centuries and we will live like a family in the future too. We need to bring awareness in the common people to root out the "Bad and flagrant thoughts taught by a handful of Fundamentalists mostly for their own selfish reasons". We should stop throwing darts at such a wonderful country and give helping hand to masses by teaching "A new way of life where we all can live together". It is less than 55 years since we were all fighting together as a single family, Protesting against English Rule. We will live together peacefully and WE MUST.
Failed intelligence at every level, lax security at every level, unqualified political leaders, extremist groups aided from outside amongst the Muslims and followed by ignorant masses on one hand, and extremist group like VHP amongst the Hindus followed by ignorant masses, etc. form a potent mix for what is happening in Gujarat. Shame to both State and Central Governments for not doing their job.
Farhan the secular Malik, USA
First things first. As an (admittedly lapsed) Muslim, my first target of rage is the Muslim barbarians who set the train on fire. No matter how great the provocation, there is absolutely no justification for what they did and the lion's share of the blame for the subsequent carnage is definitely theirs. Obviously the disquieting complacency, if not tacit connivance, of the police in retaliatory Hindu attacks is equally reprehensible. What strikes me as particularly odd is the fact that in an increasingly sectarian polarized nation why didn't Muslims/ Muslim organizations with pretensions of having the moral upper ground roundly condemn the acts of Muslim thugs in Godhra? Why don't Hindu organizations like the VHP and RSS do the same about the carnage in Ahmedabad? That would make a healthy start, I think.
Gowrishankar Chelliah, U.S.A.
The nation has become polarized. The resurgence of both Muslim and Hindu anger since the September 11 attacks, the stand off with Pakistan and attacks on the Indian parliament, have made things worse, not better.
Having grown up in India and witnessed it first-hand, I can tell you that this entire issue has less to do with religion and more to do with politics. I agree with the person who said that the government should reclaim the land in dispute and build something there for the greater good. If, however, everyone wants to insist on a religious context, perhaps the government should build a structure there that has two faces, one a mosque and the other a temple. There is a similar structure in Mumbai city which has four faces mirroring four different faiths-- because THAT is the real India.
Ash Khan, Canada / India
I am an Indian Muslim. It troubles me to see my innocent brothers and sisters, both Hindu and Muslim die like this. They are victims of the ugliest religion on earth - Extremism! Followers of this ugly faith practice it with heinous acts of mindless violence. Neither the Babri Masjid or the proposed temple is worth the lives of so many people. No temple or mosque, no matter how grand, will ever bring peace back to the life of that father who just saw his little daughter being burned alive!! The only means to end this mindlessness is to recognize these extremists not as Hindus or Muslims, but as an evil entity all its own! May God bless the souls of those perished during these riots!
From the Train Burning incident in India, it seems that LIFE has no value and it is becoming worthless. Anybody is killing anybody unreasonably. Looking back into the historical restless days of riots and mob looting, it is clear that any of the political parties is not in a position to control these kind of massive killings. Ultimately, it is damaging Indian economy, social peace, cultural harmony. Strict enforcement of laws with out political considerations is the necessity of the hour.
I am a Hindu, who believes in tolerance. Our religion is known for its tolerance towards others. It is a shame we have lost it. I can understand the emotion behind what Hindus are doing, but it does not justify the actions. History will never forgive this continuing violence - Stop this carnage please !!! What do the Hindus gain by killing those innocent Muslims? Will it bring back the dead?.
God is neither Hindu nor Muslim. Let us just be ordinary human being, not any sword wielding "defenders" of any religion.
As an Indian, albeit living abroad, it is a source of intense shame to me, and no doubt others, that a country that produced someone like Mahatma Gandhi, is unable, 50 years after independence, to address the problems caused by religious and other sectarian divisions. It is no good if Indian politicians - and specifically those from the BJP - make grave comments after such violent incidents. It is because those in power (supposedly educated people) use religion and caste when it suits them, that ordinary, uneducated people think it is acceptable to use violence means to support your beliefs. Unless Indian politicians themselves stop using religion and caste to further their own selfish means, it is unreasonable to expect ordinary people to do so. Strong and secular leadership, unfortunately, is a rare commodity in India.
As long as people believe that every religion has a separate God this violence will never come to an end. To be religious people need to have self realisation, we all share the same God no religion says kill the innocent. The Almighty will not forgive any being for committing such a sin. It's extremely sad that a country that has a huge potential fails due to the mentality of a few disillusioned people.
01 Mar 02 | South Asia
Fresh riots rock Gujarat
28 Feb 02 | South Asia
Violence flares in western India
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