Re: “Politicians fuel the Indian fire,” March 7, 2002,

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: "Politicians fuel the Indian fire," March 7, 2002,

In response to an article written by Chris Morrison, Dr. Jaydeep Balakrishnan wrote: "As for Pakistan, the governements which gave birth to the Taliban and supported the terrorism in Kashmir can hardly claim to be the protector of minorities. Despite these misguided Hindu fundamentalists, India, with its overall record of multiculturalism, will survive this recent trajedy."

Dr. Balakrishnan should get the facts straight. He talks about India’s "proud record of multiculturalism" while full-fledge separatist movements are going on in Indian states like Tripura, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Kashmir and Punjab. Amnesty International and many others have accused the Indian army of brutality against common citizens, especially in Punjab and Kashmir. This military violence has resulted in thousands of people being killed. Open any Indian newspaper and you’ll see news of daily killings in Tripura and Manipur too.

On top of that, there are continuous reports of minorities blaming the fundamentalist Hindu government of mistreatment. Some time back a Christian family was burned alive by a Hindu mob because they were preaching Christianity. There was also the destruction of the Babri mosque in which the then leader of the curent ruling party, the BJP, played an active role. In the riots that erupted across India following the destruction of the mosque, nearly 2,000 people were killed. Indian post-partition history is full of such brutal acts against minorities.

Why would people rise against their governement if they were being given their rights? Blaming Pakistan for India’s problems is naive. It’s the Indian government and army that are to be blamed. Where is India’s so-called "proud record of multiculturalism?" All I see are people who are frustrated by the actions of their governemnt–people who want out of the Indian Federation.

Shazad Ayub

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