New Delhi, April 16
Leaders of 13 Opposition parties on Saturday expressed concern over the incidents of hate speech and communal violence and urged people to maintain peace.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand CMs Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Hemant Soren, respectively, in a joint statement, also raised concern over the manner in which issues relating to food, dress, festivals and language “are being used by the establishment to polarise society”. The leaders demanded stringent punishment for perpetrators of communal violence. “We are shocked that the PM has failed to speak against those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke society. This silence is an eloquent testimony to the fact that private armed mobs enjoy the luxury of official patronage,” the statement read.
Asserting their resolve to work together to strengthen social harmony that “defined India for centuries”, the leaders said, “We reiterate our commitment to combat the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society.” “We appeal to all sections of people to maintain peace and foil the sinister objective of those who wish to sharpen communal polarisation. We call upon all our party units across the country to independently and jointly work for maintaining peace and harmony,” they said in the joint appeal.
Incidents of communal violence were reported from some parts of the country on the occasion of Ram Navami on April 10.