//Social groups, rights activists condemn Kashmir killings

Social groups, rights activists condemn Kashmir killings

Centre must examine issues of minorities in different parts of the country

# Terror acts aimed at dividing people
# Government should conduct public hearings in the State

NEW DELHI: Several social groups and human rights activists have condemned the killings in Jammu and Kashmir late on Sunday night.

Such motivated communal terror acts were aimed at dividing people and societies, besides posing a threat to the secular fabric of the country, a joint statement said.

"We immediately urge that the Government, through the Minorities Commission, conduct public hearings in different parts of the State where minorities and other citizens can depose about their daily conditions. Steps can then be initiated to assist them," it said.

The statement was signed by Communalism Combat, the Citizens for Justice and Peace, SAHMAT, Prashant, SAHEWARU, the People's Union for Human Rights, the All-India Catholic Union, adivasis and Muslims, and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

"The terrorists' bullets are aimed at innocents who come in their way and other vulnerable people of the State. But when such communal terrorist acts are committed on the eve of peace talks, special steps need to be taken by the administration," the statement said.

"We also urge that the Centre examine the issues of all minorities in different parts of the country, especially in sensitive States such as Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Assam, and Gujarat," it said.

The statement recalled the meeting of a forum of over 15 individuals and representatives of the Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslims, Christians, and other minority communities, with the Minority Affairs Minister, A.R. Antulay.

A memorandum submitted to him said minorities were vital to a rich and vibrant democracy, and that religion must not be the only basis of categorisation.

Vadodara firing

SAHMAT, in a statement, said the police firing in Vadodara following the demolition of a dargah should be looked into seriously.

"The compromise formula worked out between the community leaders and the administration a day before, appears to have been that a part of the shrine would be sacrificed for development. The next day apparently the police and corporation came up with a sinister motive, and demolished the whole structure.