Attacking on temples, churches, mosques and other religious & public places and killing innocents indiscriminately can not provide success to any movement or permit the attackers and killers a license to go to heaven. No religion preaches to kill innocent people regardless what religion, race or nationality they belong to.
The recent attacks at the temple in Ghandhi Nagar in the State of Gujarat in India where more than 30 people died and many seriously injured and the indiscriminate shooting at the Christian missionary office in Karachi where 6 people died and many injured are the brutal act of human crime.
The Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has appealed to the people of India to remain calm and quite on the Ghandi Nagar incident. He announced Rs. 50,000 for each victim. Though the Pakistani administration has condemned the incident; Prime Minister Vajpayee has accused Pakistan and said that Pakistani backed Kashmiri separatist are behind this attack.
In Pakistan, Pakistani administration has strongly condemned the attack on Christian missionary office where 6 people died and several injured and speculated the hands of Al-Qaeda extremist behind this incident.
The attacks on the places of worship and killing the innocent people in the name of religion in Pakistan and India are not inconceivable any more. In fact, the injustices and discrimination on the basis of religion was the ultimate outcome of the division of (united) India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Without going into the justifications that who was right and who was wrong or who victimized who; the historical facts of the last half a century reflect that the illiteracy, poverty, lack of basic opportunities, growing population with decreasing resources, injustices, discrimination, social classes and so on are the main symptoms of the region which always provided opportunities to their political leaders to divert the problems into social divisions on the name of religion, race, language and other sectarian elements for their own vested interests.
It has become a normal practice and easy way out for the Pakistani and Indian governments to blame each other, make (anonymous) extremists or secret agencies of either side responsible for any human carnage. One can hardly recall any occasion where despite of their assertions and blaming on each others, Indian and Pakistani authorities have caught, proved and punished any culprits.
The major cause of on going conflict between these two nuclear powers is the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir. Unfortunately, since the partition, the rulers of both the governments valued the solution of the dispute of Kashmir in their own interest rather than in the benefit of the people of Kashmir. According to the international human rights commission’s report about 70,000 innocent people have been tortured and brutally killed in Kashmir in the past several decades. In last February, about 2000 people were killed and many thousand compelled to leave their towns and cities in result of the Hindu-Muslim clashes in Gujarat.
Whatever motivations the culprits are trying to accomplish from these inhuman acts of terror and whatever political gains the political elites of India and Pakistan trying to acquire from these nonstop lives-taking menace yet the undeniable reality is that the innocent people are continuously paying the price for their uncommitted sins.
How many more lives-threatening incidents the world has to witness and how much more price the people have to pay before the world could see the peace and communal harmony in subcontinent? This is what something the people of the region have to think about.
No doubt, whenever there is war threat or tension on the border between India and Pakistan and whenever there is any ethnic violence in India or sectarian clashes in Pakistan happens, the peace loving citizens from both sides do raise their voice for amity, harmony and peace. There are anti-war protests and vigils staged in both Pakistan and India whenever tension grows. There have also been attempts at the LoC for peace rallies by human rights and anti-nuclear activists in India and Pakistan. However, these efforts are not sufficient enough to bring billions of people together to maintain peace, communal harmony and good neighbouring relations between these two nuclear powers. More peace loving campaign, demonstration and rehabilitation programmes are required in these countries. The non-governmental organizations, non-political institutes, the intellectuals, journalists, writers, scholars and other Phenomenal of the society have come forward with more dedication and commitment in the interest of the people of South Asia. These nation-builders have to come forward to educate the people what is good and what bad for them, for their faith and for their country. And at the government level, a comprehensive plan with an active and sincere diplomacy to resolve all the political and geo-political issues based on reciprocal actions are required to be taken by both India and Pakistan leaderships.
No religion supports the criminal activities or the criminals. The criminals don’t have any religion or race. The offenders in the recent incidents never asked the religion of the victim before committing these crimes. A criminal can be born in any society, religion and culture. The Governments of India and Pakistan are required to make serious efforts to save the lives of their civilians. They should use every possible means to stop this ongoing terror, capture the culprits and punish them indiscriminately.
The writer is a Sydney-based freelance journalist and a political analyst.