NEW DELHI: In wake of the recent communal tensions across the country, 13 opposition parties on Saturday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on the matter and appealed to maintain peace and harmony, and also demanded stringent punishment for the perpetrators.
In a statement, the opposition parties said, “We are extremely anguished at the manner in which issues related to food, dress, faith, festivals and language are being deliberately used by sections of the ruling establishment to polarize our society,” the opposition parties said in a statement.
It further said that they were “extremely concerned” with the growing incidents of “hate speech” in the country by people, who appear to have official patronage and against whom no meaningful and strong action is being taken.
“We strongly condemn the recent outburst of communal violence witnessed across several states in the country. We are deeply concerned, as reports indicate that there is a sinister pattern in the areas where these incidents have occurred. Incendiary hate speeches preceded the aggressive armed religious processions unleashing communal violence,” it said.
The statement expressed concerns over the misuse of social media and audio-visual platforms under “official patronage to spread hatred and prejudice”.
Questioning the silence of the Prime Minister, the opposition parties said, “We are shocked at the silence of the Prime Minister, who has failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society.
“This silence is an eloquent testimony to the fact that such private armed mobs enjoy the luxury of official patronage,” the opposition parties said.
The appeal comes amidst a rise in cases of communal clashes and heated altercations over matters related to personal faith, clothing, food restrictions and imposition of a particular language.
“We reiterate our firm conviction that our country will prosper only if it respects, accommodates and celebrates its many diversities in full measure,” it said.
The signatories include most major opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, CPI (M), DMK, RJD and others. Interestingly, the Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are not on the list.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former union minister Salman Khurshid questioned the absence of some opposition parties in a tweet. “SP, BSP, AAP wither?” Khurshid said while sharing the joint appeal.