Appeal for Solidarity for Sanity in our Neighbourhood
An appeal to come together, shrug off our defensive silence and raise our strong collective voice
Let us seize the public space and assert our voices to define our own democratic agendas
- Speak out Against War Mongering
- Resist the Erosion of cross border ‘people to people’ links & Peace Dialogue
- Counter the Media’s Hysteria & Irresponsibility
- Combat Draconian Laws that increase people’s insecurity
- Root out through Rule of Law hydra headed ‘terrorists’ within
- Clamour for Accountability, Justice & Rights
- Fight the Politics of Hate & Exclusion breeding Political Violence
- Strengthen Democratic Forces
At this time, we shall not allow ourselves to be consumed by the fear, terror and war mongering unleashed by the horrific and tragic Mumbai attacks. That is the agenda of the ‘terrorists’.
Daily, our nuclear armed political establishments, on both sides of the border, are ratcheting up the war rhetoric, though their motivating agendas may be different, the consequences are deepening fear and insecurity all around. The media’s force multiplier rhetoric of ‘enough is enough’ is reaching crescendo levels with “War Panic in Pakistan as India Talks Tough” and the Pakistan’s Army Chief asserting nuclear Pakistan’s readiness to “Respond Within Minutes” to the on again and off again media discourse of threatened surgical strikes.
At this time, we need to reflect on the defensiveness that muted our civil liberties and democratic rights’ voices against the bringing in of preventive detention -draconian laws (UAPA amendment) that we know by experience, will be abused and misused, especially against the most vulnerable. Only a more democratic and accountable society can root out injustices that create the situations that breed political violence, and not less democratic rights. It is in the rule of law that rests the faith of civilized society, and not in creation of exceptions, i.e. special islands beyond our laws for the ‘Kasabs’ as advocated by several legal luminaries. A fair trial is the least we should demand, as testimony to our rule of law. And if cross border dynamics requires internationalization- let us go to the International Court of Justice to try this crime against humanity.
We reject the media buzz phrase of “26/11 being India’s 9/11’ and its corollary of seeking security (or more insecurity) through a raft of draconian laws, practices like exceptional rendition, prison structures of Guantanomo Bay and finally total war on Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, we tag our foreign policy to that of the US at our peril. The Indian government’s approach of working with the UN and the international community to pressure Pakistan is appreciated, especially in view of Pakistan’s nationalist sensitivities towards bowing down to Indian pressure. However, we need to recognize the limits of the convergence of Indian and US interests and the costs of being sucked into US- defined agendas.
The hydra headed monster of ‘terrorists’ are not only across the border. They are also amidst us. Let us not trivialize the grave threat that we the peoples of both India and Pakistan face by reducing it to cross border talking heads on TV trading blame charges. We need to keep up the pressure to ensure that investigative trails leading to Col Purohit blazed by the late Karkare need to be seriously followed.
The Mumbai attacks have exposed the reality of the diarchy of power in Pakistan. It is a reality we cannot wish away by well intentioned sensitivities about not weakening the civilian government in transition. It is civil society groups within Pakistan that have to frontally address the challenge of strengthening democratic forces in Pakistan and the rooting out of jehadi monster just as we have to do so here. What we can do together is to campaign for the silencing of the war drums, that can only benefit the militaries and the terrorists. We appeal for calm introspection and determined, collective action to save the gains made in the peace process and democratic movements in the recent years in the sub-continent.