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India's secular constitution is not working
-states US Congressman
BSS, New York, Feb 13 : US congressman Edolphus Towns has accused India of regular repression on its minorities and urged his government to stop all aid to that country and also trade with it until human rights are respected and violence is ceased in the minority areas.
The Democrat congressman in his recent speech in the House of Representatives said, "the Indian constitution is supposed to guarantee freedom for everyone and ensure full human rights and democratic freedom."
However, he said, in practice it has not worked that way in the last 58 years that India has been independent. "I salute the ideals of the Indian constitution, but I cannot urge India strongly enough to start living up to them," he added.
He said since independence the Indian minorities including Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and others have suffered severe repression at the bands of democratic, secular India.
Towns said over a quarter of a million Sikh were murdered in the hands of Indian government along with over 300,000 Christians in Nagaland and still more Christians elsewhere. "Priests have been murdered throughout the country, nuns have been raped, churches have been burned," he pointed out.
"Over 90,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been murdered along with thousands of Muslims in other parts of the country," he said and also quoted a BBC report that the Indian government had recently acknowledged that the Muslims did not set fire on the Gujarat train.
The Democrat Congressman said that arson led to the massacre of more than 5,000 Muslims, a massacre that an Indian policeman told an Indian newspaper was planned in advance by the Indian government.
He said the untouchables out of the refugee camps after the Tsunami disaster were given the leftover food of the Brahmins. "India has refused all efforts by the international community to come and help them after the disaster," he said.
Referring to the celebration of its secular constitution this year on the Republic Day, Towns said, "even though the very Indian constitution outlawed the caste system, it is alive and well to this day".
He said the President (Bush) has spoken about extending freedom all over the world, India is one place where that effort needs to be carried out before the country, a multinational, polyglot empire like Australia - Hungary, the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, falls apart".
"We must do whatever we can to ensure freedom and peace for all in the subcontinent, he said adding that the persons responsible for murdering the Muslims in Gujarat, priests, raping nuns and burning Christian churches were never brought to justice in India.
Towns also referred to an Indian newspaper report that the police were asked not to get involved in the Gujarat massacre, a frightening parallel to the Delhi massacre of Sikhs in 1984.
The Bangladesh Journal