Responses to the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001
As citizens of India committed to democratic values, we feel concerned at a highly slanted representation in India of a number of issues following the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001.
We condemn without any qualifications the abominable terrorist attacks in the US. Serious note of similar attacks which have been taken place in many parts of the world should have awakened international conscience to such dastardly acts, and brought nations together to fight the menace they signified. It is fortuitous that after 11 September 2001, international conscience has rallied against terrorism.
We also condemn those who have rallied to the ignominious task of open demonstration of support for the terrorists or glorifying them, and characterising any campaign against them as jihad. Even if they constitute a tiny fringe of Muslim societies the world over, including India, we wish to state that there can never be any justification for terrorist violence. Those supporting the terrorists, or otherwise glorifying them, in the name of a wholly distorted interpretation of Islam, and this includes figures like the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid in Delhi as well as the extremist clerics in Pakistan, are misguided and deserve outright condemnation.
We condemn, at the same time, the growing intolerance in the country leading to attempts at stifling all voices of criticism against US motivations in its current campaign against Afghanistan, or to characterise such criticism as anti-national. Our citizens have a constitutional right to raise such questions and doubts. In any
society, as indeed in our own, there are likely to be certain sections that would be hostile to such exercise of democratic rights in a free country. What is disturbing is that the Indian government has taken upon itself to equate criticism of the US strategy as being anti-national. We are aghast at the action of the Indian government to bring non-bailable warrants against six students who were merely exercising their simple democratic right in a sovereign state. In the same vein, we condemn the statements of those leaders, including some occupying high political offices, threatening that whosoever criticises US policies/actions would be put behind bars.
While any group supporting terrorists, whether those active in Kashmir or those who struck on 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington, is condemnable, we strongly deplore attempts to portray expressions of support by fringe elements for the September 11 attacks as the view of Muslims at large. Statements by figures like the Shahi Imam, whom the Indian government itself has vested with public legitimacy (let us not forget that when SIMI was banned, the Prime Minister called only the likes of him for briefing), cannot be attributed to Muslims as a community. We deem it absolutely necessary to condemn attempts to communalize by representing views of fringe groups to be the views of a whole community, as much as we condemn those voicing support for the terrorists, whether in the name of religion or otherwise.
Finally, while we strongly condemn the blatant anti-women and inhuman practices and policies of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, we are firmly opposed to the US’s declaration of war against Afghanistan. We unequivocally condemn the bombing of Afghanistan. We hold the conviction that hegemonic state violence provides no solution to terrorist violence. War, like terrorism, only inflicts needless suffering on innocent civilians.