Terrorist activities are politically motivated: Expert
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"Violence in the name of religion is a destructive political agenda in disguise. It is similar to what happened in Germany," he said. He hinted that the two largest political motivators are sitting in Washington and Nagpur.
Puniyani was one among the four speakers in a discussion on 'Religious Violence: A threat to democracy' organised by Lokayat and Haji Gulam Mohammed Trust. As a reply to the common message being circulated – "All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims", he cited three murder cases in history –that of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi to imply that none of the murders were by Muslims. "The phrase Islamic terrorism was coined by the American media after 9/11 and is later picked up by the Indian media," he said. Puniyani added that the words 'jihad', which actually means self-purification has been given a completely different shade of meaning by the terrorists organisations.
Later, the discussion revolved around need for secular and learned citizens to be well informed about issues in order to take a stand against violence. The other three speakers -Irfan Engineer, director of Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Mumbai, Dolphy D'souza, president of Bombay Catholic Sabha and Pranab Mukherjee, United Nations Fellow for Human rights and exponent of alternative theatre experiments focused on the need to have a 'secular agenda' just as communists have their own agenda.
Mukherjee said that today, protests by secularists are largely a business game. "Indian academics is largely communal and there is a need to bring secularism in the notebooks of school students. The persons in the Indian performing arts, too have become inert to communal violence," he said adding that secularists must be able to tackle the communal agenda by being informed.
D'souza mentioned a list of five points to mobilise the common man against any kind of communal violence. "Instead of playing the spectator game in case of communal violence, citizens should stay organised and informed to counter terrorism. There should be inter-religious dialogue and citizens must ensure judicial intervention in cases of communal violence," he said.
Engineer said that no terrorist is fighting for a particular religion, but against law and order and democracy. "Gandhiji and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad were the two people who were extremely religious, who viewed religion in terms of morality. Today, religion is brought down to being a reason for immorality," he said. Engineer quoted that according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 35,000 persons, majority of whom were Muslims, have been killed since the 1961 communal riots.
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