New Delhi: Thirteen opposition leaders issued a joint appeal to the people to maintain peace and harmony amid the rising cases of communal disharmony mushrooming across the country. In their appeal the leaders also demanded strict and stringent action against the perpetrators of hate crimes.
Raising concerns over the manner in which issues relating to food, dress, faith, festivals and language "are being used" by the ruling establishment to polarise society, the leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand counterparts M K Stalin and Hemant Soren, National Conference chairman Dr Farooq Abdullah, CPM chief Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
Hitting out at Mr Modi the statement said, "We are shocked at the silence of the PM, 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."
Exhorting the people to maintain communal harmony, the statement said, "We appeal 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 units across the country to independently and jointly work for maintaining peace and harmony."
The Opposition leaders also called upon their respective party units across the country to independently and jointly work for maintaining peace and harmony. The leaders further said, "We reiterate our commitment to combat and confront the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society."
In the last couple of weeks, several incidents of communal strife have been reported from several parts of the country especially during the Ram Navami processions. Several programs have been held across the country where hate speeches were made targeting specific communities. Also, calls have been given not to allow vendors of certain communities to put up their stalls. In the backdrop of increasing incidents of intolerance the Opposition leaders issued a joint appeal.