Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday deplored violence in the name of religion and made a fervent appeal that more voices be raised against terrorism and all forms of violence, mainly communal strife. He said the Babri Masjid demolition at Ayodhya in 1992 was a manifestation of religious fanaticism. Communalism negated pluralism and opposed political freedom to people.

Civil society was based on a contract whose core was tolerance. The sharper the differences, the greater should be the tolerance level. “Spread the message of tolerance and strengthen the thread that binds the society,” Mr. Chidambaram said addressing the 30th general session of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) at Shaikhul Hind Nagar here.

While welcoming the fatwa (decree) against terrorism issued by the Darululoom, Deoband, in February 2008, he called upon all right-minded people to condemn terror acts. The nation could not ignore its minorities and it was a self-evident rule that it was the duty of the majority to protect the minorities. It was this rule that led the Government of India to lodge a protest against the discrimination and denial of rights to the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka and the attacks on Indian students in Australia.

However, the roles were reversed in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, where the minorities constituted the majority. In Jammu and Kashmir, Muslims were bound by this rule and by the tenets of Islam to protect the minority community. Islam was not an alien faith and Muslims were the honoured citizens of the country, he said.

Sonia’s message

On behalf of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Chidambaram conveyed a special message of greetings at the session.

Union Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot assailed divisive forces and condemned terrorism.

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