The statement - 'Intolerance in Contemporary India' - was signed by 36 intellectuals by Thursday evening. The signatories include many prominent names associated with top institutions across the country.
It said, "India has witnessed a curious spectacle these last few weeks. A section of the nation's intelligentsia has expressed outrage at a perceived mounting intolerance in society. In the forefront are the usual pallbearers of Indic civilization -- Congressmen of various hues, Marxists, Leninists, even a handful of Maoists.
"The target is clear and explicitly stated -- none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who much to their dismay led his party to a clear majority in Parliament. Failure in the elections is now sought to be avenged by other means; it helps if the media (or sections of it) serve as cheerleaders."
Signatories included ICCR president Lokesh Chandra; author, novelist and Sahitya Akademi national fellow S L Bhyrappa; former Pro-VC JNU and chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antar-rashtriya Hindi Viswavidyalaya, Wardha Kapil Kapoor; professor emeritus at University of Cambridge and ICHR member Dilip K Chakrabarti; and K Gopinath of IISC, Bengaluru.
The signatories appealed to people not to be diverted by the false narrative and rather focus on achieving unity, progress and growth under Modi's leadership.
Though these intellectuals expressed anguish over what happened in Dadri, they questioned how the central government was responsible for this.
"The murder of a resident of Uttar Pradesh, allegedly because he consumed beef, is certainly condemnable, but how is the central government to blame? Uttar Pradesh is a state infamous for violence of every kind. Had the Centre intervened and dismissed the state government under Article 356 of the Constitution, for failure to uphold law, the protest brigade would have found another stick with which to beat it. The murders of Dabholkar and Kalburgi happened in states not ruled by the BJP, yet loose language is bandied about," the statement said.
Referring to the intellectuals who have been vocal recently over the Dadri killing, the statement said, "This same intelligentsia chooses not to remember that there has been no justice for victims of the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 and the farmers killed in Nandigram in 2007 under Congress and Left governments respectively.
"In fact, when the CPM-led Left Front government, professing to serve the 'proletariat', fired upon and killed innocent farmers, it was a constituent of UPA-1 at the Centre and a close partner of the Congress party. A similar silence followed when in 2010, the hands of Professor T J Joseph, in then CPM-ruled Kerala, were chopped off, simply because of his belief and articulations. There are other sins of commission, too many to list."
Without taking Irfan Habib's name, the statement added, "But the equation of the RSS with the terrorist Islamic State by an AMU scholar is simply breathtaking, it embarrassed intellectuals from his own community. As an eminent scholar of Islam, he would be aware of its own recorded history and the IS's self-documented abuse of human rights, including beheadings and wanton killings, not to mention rape, enslavement et al."
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