We Indians are fortunate that we have a republican constitution. It guarantees basic rights to all our fellow citizens, irrespective of our caste, creed, religion, sex, belief or status. We are doubly fortunate our Court has been strict about the observance of our rights.
Our Supreme Court has recently appointed its two former Justices on the supervisory committee tasked with vetting the investigation into the notorious 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases closed by a Special Investigation Team . The committee would report back to the Court by December. According to an estimate, a total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots. Of that, Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths. The rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States. I hope the supervisory committee would see to it that the SIT did its job professionally and the guilty were punished.
I also hope there is similar action in all cases of communal violence in our country . There are different estimates on the death and destruction in some cases . According to some estimates, in the acts of communal violence in Gujarat in 2002, over 2,000 Muslims were killed and 200,000 displaced . In communal violence in Kashmir from 1990 onwards over 399 Kashmiri Pandits were killed and half a million displaced . During communal militancy in Punjab some 20000 Hindus were killed .
Clearly, the conduct of our successive dispensations at the Centre and in the States has hardly been satisfactory in dealing with all these communal incidents . The culprits in most of these cases have not yet been identified and taken to task . We all know the pattern of communal violence has been more or less the same everywhere . The minorities suffer in the main in such cases unless they are accomplices to the goons of the majority communities. The goons have had the patronage of some ruling political punks.
The Court may institute a panel of non-partisan persons to find out how many Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians have been killed and displaced in the afore-mentioned cases . The master punks behind all communal genocides must be identified for appropriate action .
Needless to say, secularism constitutes the basic character of our Constitution . It cannot be tampered with by any elements, including government officials, in the country . The government is constitutionally bound to see to it that no individual or group is discriminated against in any form on the ground of faith or belief. The government must honour the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief ( 1981) and the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities ( 1992).
Our civil society groups, too, must act in an enlightened manner . Regrettably, some of them presently appear to be highly selective in exposing and condemning elements behind communal incidents. This is not fair. Glossing over the rights violations of any individual or group is crime against human conscience.
The civil society groups may recall B R Ambedkar stressed the people would have to ultimately save our Constitution and its values. He said : "The working of the Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of state such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the state depends are the people… "