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The Sunday Statesman Magazine
Crystal Ball

Welcome Ansari

Everyone remembers the traumatised face, eyes filled with tears, pleading for mercy with folded hands as the VHP-Bajrang Dal mobs went on the rampage killing and raping Muslims in Gujarat last year. Blazoned across newspapers in India and abroad, this face epitomised the plight of the minorities in Gujarat. Qutubuddin Ansari shook the nationís conscience, but he found it impossible to continue living in Gujarat. He was shunned by neighbours and employers, who accused him of bringing shame to the state, whereas it was they who brought shame to the land of the Mahatma. Living in insecurity and on the verge of starvation, the magazine Communalism Combat came to his rescue and launched an appeal to relocate Ansari and his family. Some citizens of Kolkata responded to the appeal and today Ansari has started a new life in the city of joy (for once no irony intended). It is to the credit of the citizens of Kolkata that they have the compassion to respond to such an appeal, and to the state government which has consistently created a climate where both Hindus and Muslims can feel secure.
We salute Communalism Combat and its moving spirit, Teesta Setalvad, who braved local prejudice to help the Ansaris find a new home. The magazine, run by a committed team of journalists and activists has done yeomanís service to the cause of secularism. The special editions produced last year on the Gujarat holocaust pitilessly documented the riots. At a time when determined efforts were made to rewrite history, voices like Communalism Combat served a purpose beyond praise. It has taken up 18 other cases where Narendra Modiís government has brought shame upon itself. Zahira Shekih, the sole survivor of the owners of Best Bakery and prime witness to the burning alive of 12 people is among them and has been taken under the organisationís wing, which is trying to secure justice. Ansari is a high-profile victim of the Gujarat pogrom. But there are thousands of others like him languishing in the state who have lost everything and a year later are still out on the streets with no rehabilitation and nowhere to go. The Gujarat government has not only washed its hands of the victims but is actively obstructing those trying to help them. Chief Minister Narendra Modi in fact attacked the West Bengal government for giving shelter to Ansari. We recognise that on this issue, Buddhadeb Bhattacharyya, Anil Biswas, the Left Front and Alimuddin Street speak with one voice. And we support that voice and applaud it.

  Discussion on this Editorial item

RE:Welcome Ansari
Mr. Irani, Thanks for your wonderful sum-up of the situation. On this very issue, I was subjected to personal attacks by many readers of this site because of my protest to their preaching of communal

RE:Welcome Ansari
Good, now that he is here, he can now team up with other circumcised vermins in Bengal who are hell bent to turn this land of ours into Khaleda's Talibangladesh. Time for him to finish what he started

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