Oppn leaders appeal for social harmony, slam Modi for silence

New Delhi, April 16 : Thirteen Opposition parties including Congress, NCP, TMC, DMK, CPIM, NC, RJD issued a joint appeal to people to maintain peace and social harmony and demanded stringent p shments for perpetrators of communal violence. In a joint statement issued on Saturday, the Opposition leaders expressed anguish over issues related to food, dress, faith, festivals and language being deliberately used by “sections of the ruling establishment to polarize our society.” “We are 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,” the Opposition leaders said. The leaders condemned 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,” the leaders said. “We are extremely pained at the manner in which social media and the audio-visual platforms are being misused with official patronage to spread hatred and prejudice.” The Opposition leaders also said they 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,” they said. “We reiterate our collective resolve to work together to strengthen the bonds of social harmony that have defined and enriched India for centuries.” The leaders reiterated the commitment to “combat and confront the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society”. “We reiterate our firm conviction that our country will prosper only if it respects, accommodates and celebrates its many diversities in full measure”. The leaders appealed to all sections of the people to maintain peace and foil the sinister objective of those who wish to sharpen communal polarisation. “We call upon all our party ts across the country to independently and jointly work for maintaining peace and harmony.” Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress Chairperson and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu CM and DMK president MK Stalin, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Chief Hemant Soren, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, Leader of Opposition – Bihar Assembly, and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, General SCR CPI D Raja, General Secretary, All India Forward Bloc Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary Revolutionary Socialist Party Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary, IUML P. K. Kunhalikutty, and CPI-ML General Secretary Dipanker Bhattacharya were present. Several incidents of communal violence were reported on Ram Navmi on April 10. Incidents were reported from states including Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Many were injured in the communal clashes on Sunday in the states and a person was killed in Gujarat. AO SY 1834

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