Washington DC, USA., Nov. 26 - Ram Gidoomal CBE, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance in the UK, has warned policy-makers in the American capital that civil strife and religious violence in Gujarat state could be repeated elsewhere in India if it is not dealt with.
Giving an address to the prestigious Policy Institute for Religion and State and later at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Ram Gidoomal urged the US to address the issue of terrorism and security in South Asia. He said funds flowing to the region ran the risk of misappropriation by groups seeking to exploit religious divides.
At a Washington press conference sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, the Indian Muslim Council and the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Ram launched a document, entitled "Healing the Wounds - Minorities and Human rights in India".
This summarized proceedings of a conference held in London on August 15, 2002 that looked into the tragic events that took place in Gujarat in February 2002 and which involved leading scholars, business leaders and social activists from the US, UK and India.
Ram Gidoomal then warned, "Non-resident Indians must exercise utmost vigilance when remitting funds to South Asia. It is imperative that funds flow are monitored to minimize the risk of misappropriation which could result in increasing the risks associated with terrorism and security"
Quoting from the report, he continued, "Since February 27, 2000 Gujarat has been at the centre stage of Indian politics. From the hideous violence of Godhra to the elections in December and beyond, events in Gujarat have evoked strong emotions across India and, indeed, around the world. Hatred, suspicion and fear have been dominant. But there have also been many welcome examples of people acting with courage, honor, self-sacrifice and a concern for justice."
"'Gujarat today, India tomorrow' is a commonly heard slogan from the Hindutva brigade. That makes it all the more important to examine carefully what has been happening in Gujarat, for better or for worse, and to consider the implications for India and beyond..."
Ram proposed that Indians living outside India, particularly in the USA and UK, should consider carefully establishing a coalition of those seeking peace in South Asia, encouraging local groups to actively work for reconciliation and justice, giving generously and responsibly so that minority communities across India were strengthened.
- courtesy Dan Wooding (ASSIST Ministries)