New Delhi: Civil right activists, political analyst and intellectuals including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind leaders have called the civil society to prepare a framework to protect India from dividing on religious lines and polarization in the New Year.
JIH has organised a webinar on Wednesday on the topic of ‘Year 2020 introspection and the way ahead’. The webinar was addressed by former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, Civil right activist Ms. Teesta Setalvad, Political analyst and diplomat Mr.O.P. Shah, Writer and human rights activist Mr. John Dayal and JIH Vice President Prof. Salim Engineer on the topic. Other intellectuals, journalists and analysts and historians have also attended the webinar.
Delivering concluding speech of the webinar, JIH President Syed Sadatullah Husaini has said that the year of 2020 was an abnormal one in quite a few ways and set many new ‘normals’. “While Coronavirus kept the entire year in a state of emergency, the society received an even more dangerous gift in the form of polarization and religious-hatred. Corona will end, but the foundation of polarization that has been laid in society, will continue to trouble us for many years. At present, the policy of polarization and national populism is now prevailing in many countries. As A Result, democracy is losing out to populism and polarization. Civilization die from suicide and biggest sign of the Civilizational suicide is polarization and divide. As far as our country is concerned, this populist and polarization project has risen to the highest level. The passage of ordinances in the name of ‘unlawful religious conversion’ by states governed by the ruling party, blaming the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the coronavirus, are some clear-cut examples of the deliberate targeting of a specific community. The lockdown and wrong government decisions harshly weakened the national economy. We started the year 2020 with the movement against CAA and ended with the farmers’ agitation. This clearly meant that the year 2020 came with full of uproars and restlessness in our lives. So, our biggest challenge and responsibility in the new ear will be to work together to eradicate this menace and scourge of hatred and polarization. There should be a people’s movement that works for unity and the removal of hate. Civil society, religious leaders and organizations, social activists along with the youth, students and people at large must join hands and pledge to make the year 2021 the year of peace and tolerance.”
Comparing the year 2020 on different levels, Prof. Salim Engineer in his speech, said “we should assess together the political, social, and economical sides of it. In the year 2020, our personal and social life was badly affected. A large part of mainstream media, especially electronic media, became the spokesperson of the government in the year. While the media acts as a ladder between the people and the government and conveys the voice of the people to the government. However, social media emerged as an alternative and accurately represented the national situation. Although, in social media too some adopted a negative attitude but collectively it served positively.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.John Dayal said that the year 2020 was financially painful, the more unfortunate aspect of it was that the government did not pay any attention to get rid of it.
Addressing the webinar, Dr. Zafar-ul-Islam said that the year 2020 was a disturbing one in many ways. “The anti-NRC and CAA movement lasted for three and a half months. India had to go through hardships like displacement and migrations of workers and labours during the Corona lockdown, the death of millions of people, the Chinese occupation on our land, etc. We have to seriously consider this and find a way to avoid them in the future,” he added.
Mr. OP Shah has said that democracy was severely harmed in the year. “The manner in which the elected governments of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka were toppled against the public opinion is a wound to democracy. In the Jammu and Kashmir case, unilateral decisions were taken on issues like article 370 keeping the people there in the dark. They should have been taken into confidence before taking the decision,” he added. Several other participants have also expressed their views on the topic.
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