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Gowda demands ban on Bajrang Dal, Srirama Sena

Special Correspondent



Deve Gowda

BANGALORE: The former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) national president H.D. Deve Gowda has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to impose a “blanket ban” on the Bajrang Dal and Srirama Sena in the wake of the recent violence against Christians.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, copies of which were released to the press here on Sunday, Mr. Gowda said this “would send a categorical message across the world that secular India will not tolerate fascism, fanaticism and fundamentalism of any colour or kind.”

Such a step was necessary to restore confidence among the minority communities, he noted and cautioned that any delay in initiating action would only weaken the nation and tarnish its image.

The Bajrang Dal, “has been openly running armed training camps for its cadres.” Its activists have been killed “while making and planting bombs,” he alleged.

He said the response of the BJP government in the State to the “atrocities being committed on the hapless Christian community” was nothing short of a “criminal conspiracy.” The government has not only been defending these attacks on the grounds of alleged proselytising by some fringe groups, he said, but was also “directing police personnel to use brute force to further terrorise the minority community.”

He noted that the fact-finding team of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which recently visited the State to assess the situation, had also held the State government “directly responsible for allowing violence to spread.”

He also said the Congress leader and NCM member Harcharan Singh Josh had disclosed that the Bajrang Dal’s role has been established in the violence and the team would apprise the Centre of its findings.

Pointing out that with every bomb blast in the country, the demand for a ban on Muslim outfits was increasing, he wondered “how one can distinguish Hindu terrorists from Islamic terrorists, if at all they belong to any religion.”

Terrorists of all hues and shades are undoubtedly “merchants of death” and one cannot be excluded just because he chants “Bharat mata ki jai” and holds the tricolour “even while mercilessly tearing apart Mother India’s secular fabric and causing irreparable damage to her unity as in Orissa and Karnataka,” he said.

The attacks on Christians was also bound to send wrong signals to Christian-majority States in the north-eastern region, which remained alienated from the national mainstream even six decades after Independence, he said.

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