The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) has expressed concern at remarks by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at an election rallies in West Bengal that Bangladeshi infiltrators would have to leave the country after the Lok Sabha elections. Pointing out that Indians have been victims of such fascist tendencies across the world, the Trust urged that “this invitation to target a particular religious minority” be rejected.

In a statement SAHMAT said: “We the undersigned are deeply disturbed by the reported remarks of the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA at an election rally in West Bengal that “infiltrators” from Bangladesh, belonging to a particular religious community, must be sent back. Apart from the sheer inhumanity of the remark, we fear that in a country in which every citizen does not possess documentary proof of citizenship, such a move would simply cause a general victimization of persons belonging to that particular religious community.

The reason cited by him for sending back “infiltrators” is that they take away jobs from local youth, causing unemployment among the latter. This is exactly the reason offered by racist, fascist and xenophobic groups all over Europe, such as the Northern League in Italy, the National Front in France, the British National Party in the U.K., the Movimento Social Espanol in Spain, the National Renewal Party in Portugal, the Flemish Block in Belgium, and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark, for their attacks on immigrants. Persons of Indian origin have often been targets of such attacks which people in this country have rightly condemned. We must not replicate the same logic and the same attitude with regard to immigrants into this country which we condemn when they are directed against Indian immigrants abroad.

Blaming a hapless minority of immigrants for the flaws of an economic system that does not generate enough jobs for our youth is not just bad economics, but precisely what those who wield power within the current economic system would like everyone to believe.

We appeal to the people to reject this invitation to target a particular religious minority. We urge them to spurn those who are aiming to capture power by spreading communal hatred.”

Signatories

Zoya Hasan, Ashok Mitra, Romila Thapar, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Anish Kapoor, Vivan Sundaram, Prabhat Patnaik, Akeel Bilgrami, Girish Karnad, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Siddhartha Chatterjee, Sadanand Menon, Dev Benegal, Ashok Mitra, Shankha Ghosh, Ashokenath Basu, Amiya Dev, Pabitra Sarkar, R K Poddar, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Usha Gaguly, Nityapriya Ghosh, Supriya Chaudhuri, Ashoke Mukhopadhyay, Ratnabali Chattopadhyay, Tirthankar Chattopadhyay, Manabendra Bandyopadhyay, Abdul Bashar, Soumitra Dastidar, Shubhonil Chowdhuri, Sudipta Bhattacharya, Mihir Bhattacharya, Malini Bhattacharya, Irfan Habib, Antara Dev Sen, Geeta Kapur, Navtej S. Johar, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Anita Dube, Arpita Singh, Paramjit Singh, Rooprekha Verma, Sashi Kumar, Arpana Caur, M.K. Raina, Ram Rahman, Saeed Mirza, Maya Krishna Rao, Ajeet Caur, Githa Hariharan, Doodh Nath Singh, Kumar Shahani, Jayati Ghosh, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Jehangir Jani, Archana Prasad, Madangopal Singh, Sohail Hashmi, Aijaz Ahmad, Shireen Moosvi, Pushpamala N., Anil Bhatti, Teesta Setalvad, Parthiv Shah, Nilima Sheikh, Veer Munshi, Aruna Roy, Nikhil De, Achin Vinayak,Nirmalangshu Mukherjee, Abhilasha Kumari, Anand Sahay, Amit Sen Gupta, Amit Upadhyay, Shakti Kak, Anil Sadgopal, Janaki Nair, Suvira Jaiswal, S. Kalidas, M.M.P. Singh, Vishwamohan Jha, Neeladri Bhattacharya, Aban Raza, Abdul Maboob, Lima Kanungo, Ali N. Rizavi, Amar Farooqui, Amar Kanwar, Amarjit Chandan, Angelie Multani, Aniket Alam, Anita Cherian, Apoorva Gautam, Arjun Dev, Arunkumar H.G., Asad Zaidi, Ashish Dasgupta, Ashish Ghosh, Ashley Tellis, Ataullah, Atlury Murali, Atul Bhardwaj, Ayesha Kidwai, Anuradha Kapur, B.P. Sahu, Badri Raina, Banwari Taneja, Biswamoy Pati, D.N. Jha, Deepak K. Singh, G. Arunima, Praveen Jha, Girish Mishra, Girish Shrivastav, Gitanjali Shree, Gunjan Doogar, Harbans Mukhia, Harun Riaz, Imrana Qadeer,Indira Arjun Dev, Indira Unninayar, Ishrat Alam, Indira Chandrasekhar, Iqtidar Alam Khan, Jasodhara Bagchi, Jauhar Kanungo, Javed Malick, Jawaharlal Pande, Jawarimal Parakh, Joe Athialy, K.M. Shrimali, Kanti Mohan Soz, Kesavan Veluthat, Keval Arora, Lata Singh, Madhu Prasad, Madhu Trivedi, Madhusree Dutta, Manas Ray, Mandira Sen,Manjari Katju, Anand Bala, Mazher Hussain, N.K. Sharma, Mohan Rao, Mohd Arif, Moloyashree Hashmi, Mushirul Hasan, Nalini Taneja, Navjot Altaf, Neena Rao, Neera Chandhoke, Wasi Haider, Neeraj Malick, Oishik Sirkar, Pamela Philipose, Prabhat Shukla, R. Ramachandran, R.C. Thakran, Rahul Verma, Rajinder Arora, Rajiv Gupta, Rajni Arora, Rakhshanda Jalil, Ramesh Rawat, Rashmi Sawhney, Rebecca Kurian, Reena Ginwala, Rekha Awasthi, Ritu Jerath, S. Anand, Shabnam Hashmi, S.Z.H. Jafri, Saba Hasan, Selvyn Jussy, Seshnarayan Singh, Shamshad Sherna, Dastur Shibanj, Kinkar Chaube, Shikha Sen, Shilpaa Anand, Shivaji Panikkar, Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, Smita Gupta, Srinivasan Ramani, Sruti Bala, Sudhanva Deshpande, Sudhir Chandra,Sudhir Gandotra, Sukumar Muralidharan, Sumitra Purkayastha, Sunil, Suresh Jayaram, Ujjawal Gupta,Utsa Patnaik, V. Ramakrishna, Venkatesh Athreya, Vidya Das Arora, Vivek Monteiro, Xavier Dias, Yogesh Snehi,Veenapani Chawla, Rani Ray, Ramnik Mohan, Mallika Taneja, Debjani Sengupta, Radhika Prasad, Manish Kansara, Sumant Sengupta,Meghna Joshi, Mukul Priyadarshini, Shanta Gokhale, Ira Anjali, Urmimala Sarkar, Kajri Jain, Anomita Sen, Neha Chaturvedi,K.P.Jayashankar, Jaideep Chatterjee, Annie Koshi, Mahavir Sharma, Dvijendra Nath Kalia, Lakshmi Krishnamurty, Rimli Bhattacharya, Gargi Chakravartty, Saskia Sassen, Chitra Joshi, Supriya Verma, Kamala Menon, Sheba Chhachhi, Malathi A.,Soumya Dutta,Sumangala Damodaran, Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Jaishankar Monteiro, Rabin Chakraborty, Shubhradeep Chakravorty, Madhu Sahni, Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay, Kumkum Roy, Abdullah A. Rahman, Mukul Mangalik, ShubhraChakrabarti, Kunal Chakrabarti,Sumesh Sharma, Kirti Jain, Ambarish Rai A.Mathew, Manish Jain, Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Uma Chakravarti, Ein Lall, Sukanya Rahman,Anjali Gopalakrishnan, Neelima Luthra, Manjeet Singh, Kumi Chandra, Nandita Narayan, Asmita Aasaavari, Abhai Maurya, K.L. TUTEJA, Ashavari Majumdar, Vikas Gupta, Mandeep Raikhy, Zahoor Siddiqui, Hasan Suroor,Sameera Aga Zaidi, Mahendra Misra, Primila, Naman P. Ahuja, Chandan Gomes, Gigi Scaria, Prerna Sharma, Anil Nauria, Sridharkrishna.

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