Some sections are still under construction
December 4/5, 2008
Over five hundred citizens sat through an intense consultation for nearly three hours to deliberate and focus on our response to the horrific terror attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008. The meeting took place on December 4. Over three hundred of the participants were youth from ten city colleges and their presence was the culmination of an campaign by Citizens for Justice and Peace with youth volunteers to build up a channel of focussed protest on mass violence and accountability and transparency in governance. The St Xaviers College hall where the meeting took place had kindly offered their venue for this consultation. The atmosphere was sombre yet deeply cathartic. Bands of youngsters with t shorts stating “STOP TALKING, START DOING ACT NOW” collected signatures and helped coordinate the entire evening. They were from Wilson, Jaihind, SIES and Xaviers College.
Attached below are the broad terms of the charter that was signed by all those present. The task for the organisation is now to creatively channel all these suggestions into concrete and sustainable action plans.
Justice BN Srikrishgna, retired judge of the Supreme Court, Javed Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Shabana Azmi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Father Mascarenhas, Sajeed Rashid and Teesta Setalvad were among the main speakers. Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rahman Hilal Usmani, Darus Salam Islamic Centre, Maler Kotla, Punjab and Swami Agnivesh were the religious leaders who unequivocally condemned terrorism but also cautioned against irrational hatred. Maler Kotla was one the only part of Punjab, post Partition that has a Muslim population since in other parts of the state (on the Indian side) there was complete ethnic cleansing as there was on the Pakistani side. Maler Kotla had been spared the wrath of the partition driven violence because of the legacy of Muslims protecting Guru Gobind Singh in the past. Swami Agnivesh also pointed out that urban India should also respond to the terror of starvation and malnutrition related deaths that claimed the lives of 7,000 children in India every day.
Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief of CNN IBN urged that CJP and the youth should use information to desegregate the hate mongers who have used propaganda as a tool to divide India on caste and communal lines. Javed Akkhtar and Sajeed Rashid spoke strongly of the need for the isolation of that section of the Pakistani establishment that continued to support terror outfits. Rahul Bose urged that this group collaborate with others to evolve a common charter to place before the government. “Dil garam hone chaihye magar dil thande hone chahiye”, he told the crowd. Shabana Azmi urged against jingoistic responses stating that the people of Pakistan must be separated from the Pakistanio establishment.
The campaign consultation will now result in a Youth Wing of the CJP being set up.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
The latest barbaric terrorist assault on Mumbai is in fact an attack on the very Idea of a Secular-Democratic and a United India.
Even as our heart goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of those mercilessly killed, and we salute the brave police personnel, army men and NSG commandos who lied down their lives in the line of duty, we are outraged – just as all citizens of India are – with the complete lack of transparency and accountability in governance.
This intolerable state of affairs is no longer acceptable and that is why the ‘Enough is enough’ cry has been heard from every part of Mumbai and the rest of the country ever since 26/11.
All of us who have assembled at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai today fully endorse this citizens charter that demands immediate reforms in our entire security apparatus for to ensure an independent, professional and fully accountable security system. For our part as citizens, we vow to stand united in our campaign and not allow any hatred or division between Indians.
The changes we demand include:
POLICE REFORM: To ensure transparency in appointments and functioning; Accountability to the Law; and Strict Adherence to Security in a Non-Partisan manner.
REFORM in IB: Central and State Intelligence Bureaus: To ensure that the focus is on REAL INTELLIGENCE and not politically-motivated intelligence.
REFORM in Maritime Intelligence: To ensure efficient functioning of the agencies responsible for guarding our coastlines; Navy and Coast Guards.
Clampdown on Hate Speech, Hate Writing and Divisive Politics: We need to be united amongst us before we are secure and safe.
Sabrang Communications India 2004 All rights reserved.