Monday, Apr 08, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
Pained and anguished by the continuing violence in the State, they sought the resignation of the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and demanded that the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, be made to stand trial for "crimes against humanity."
While the historian, Sumit Sarkar, demanded that the "fascists'' be tried by an international tribunal as they had indulged in a "calculated and organised attack on the minorities," the CPI (M) leader, Somnath Chatterjee, wondered how, after the horror perpetrated in Gujarat, one could be proud of being an Indian.
Speaking at a day-long conclave organised by the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys' Association on the "Gujarat Carnage and Bangalore Resolution: Assault on constitutional order and unity of India,'' Mr. Chatterjee said it was a matter of national shame that innocent people were being killed and butchered. "We feel that not only Mr. Modi should go but Mr. Vajpayee has also lost his right to continue as Prime Minister.''
He alleged that Mr. Vajpayee's visit to Gujarat was just a "public-relations exercise" for the outside world a view shared by several other speakers, including the Congress leader, Arjun Singh, the CPI (M) general secretary, Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the CPI leader, D. Raja, the Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Arif Mohammad Khan, and the journalists, Kuldip Nayar and Sayeed Naqvi.
Accusing the RSS and the VHP of making Gujarat a "laboratory to promote their Hindutva agenda,'' almost all the speakers alleged that this "experiment'' was part of the Bangalore Resolution of the RSS which stated that the safety and security of the minorities depended on the goodwill of the majority community.
``He (Mr. Vajpayee) is acting on the diktat of the RSS. We cannot expect anything better from a person who seeks pride in being a `swayamsevak' rather than in being a Prime Minister,'' Mr. Chatterjee said. All the non-NDA MPs would fight the Government in Parliament, he said, and called upon the public to defeat the "sinister designs" of the "fascist forces" by launching a nationwide movement.
Mr. Surjeet alleged that Mr. Vajpayee was no different from the RSS and the VHP. "Now he stands exposed. The Lok Morcha is organising a massive public rally in Delhi on April 17.'' And along with Mr. Khan and a majority of the speakers, he demanded that the non-BJP parties in the NDA part ways with the BJP.
Urging all the "secular forces" to unite against the "divisive elements," Mr. Singh urged them to launch a "second war of independence,'' saying "it is not the time to look for political gains.''
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