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Top activist returns minority rights award, blames Minorities Commission, govt indifferent to lynching of Muslims

By Our Representative
Well-known human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi has returned her National Minority Rights Award, which she received from the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in 2008, in protest the Modi government's “support” to violence against Muslims. Hashmi returned her award with a letter to TM Skaria, director, NCM.
Criticizing NCM for failing to play an “active part in ensuring the dignity, security and constitutional rights of the minority communities”, Hashmi said in the letter, “Instead of providing security and standing with the prosecuted minorities”, the chairperson recently went so far as to “ask Muslims to go to Pakistan, towing the line of the non-state actors”, who have “unleashed” terror on minorities.
Hashmi said, she was returning the award in the “memory of the innumerable innocent victims lynched by marauding mobs”, adding, “Mob lynching of Muslims and Islamophobia have taken over India. Even before the community can mourn its dead, next incidents take place.”
Insisting that “there is an atmosphere of fear and terror” prevailing under the present government, Hashmi, who has been heading rights-based campaign NGO Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), said, “The design of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra, which began began decades ago…has now reached its pinnacle where all public spaces and all means of livelihood are becoming unsafe for the Muslim community.”
ANHAD was one of the top four NGOs whose Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license was cancelled by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 15 last year for “its undesirable activities against public interest'', though without specifying which these activities were.
Regretting that “there is legitimization of the communal ideology” in India, Hashmi gave several examples to prove her point.
Thus, the Uttar pradesh Dharm Jagran Samiti’s head Rajeshwar Singh declared its target to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021, saying, “The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. So they would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here.”
Then, Hindu Mahasabha recently announced its "Islam-free India" campaign, with Sadhvi Deva Thakur giving a call to “declare Emergency and sterilize Muslims and Christians to control their population”, while Sadhvi Sarawati demanding to “hang the ‘beef eaters’ and attack all secular people.”
Pointing out that 150 Hindu outfits openly held a convention in Goa calling for “turning India into a Hindu Rashtra by 2023”, Hashmi said, today cow has become “a major tool to spread hatred, attack and kill innocent people.”
Referring to government “inertia”, Hashmi said, “While a man was lynched to death by a mob near Delhi on a rumour that he had cow meat in his house, the whole state machinery was busy in getting the meat tested, instead of nabbing the culprits.”
Other examples she noted in the letter were – a 16-year-old child lynched and killed on a train for being a Muslim; a techie killed for having a beard; two young boys killed and hanged from trees in Jharkhand; a cattle trader paraded naked in Chittorgarh; a man assaulted in Anand (Gujarat) for transporting calves; a 50-years-old man lynched for transporting cows; two boys lynched on suspicion of stealing cows; a boy dragged against SUV and later his head smashed against water tanker, then ran over under the SUV in full public view; a person burnt alive in Nandurbar; and an activist beaten to death municipality staffers in Rajasthan for objecting to their photographing women defecating in the open.
She regretted, despite such incidents, the NCM and the present government have “failed in providing even a semblance of dignity and .security to the minority communities”, the reason why she was returning the award given by the NMC.

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