Dr. John Dayal strongly condemns Shiv Saniks’ attack on Outlook magazine

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal : Dr. John Dayal, member of National Integration Council, Government of India, president of the All India
Catholic Union, and former treasurer, Editors Guild of India has strongly condemned the reported attack on the Mumbai offices of the Outlook magazine today afternoon allegedly by Shiv Sena activists.

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Dr. Dayal in a Press statement said:” The Shiv Sena goons, like their spiritual brothers in the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, (MIM), of Andhra Pradesh, and the Bajrang Dal and the RSS elsewhere in India, remind us that 60 years after Independence, India has not been able to exorcise the demons that divided brothers in Partition, and which continue to divide people today”.

They have been cause of bloodshed much greater than in any War with an enemy nation, or even a minor epidemic. The attack on the Mumbai offices of Outlook magazine – one of the rare journals in the country to have consistently defied and challenged the forces of communalism, obscurantism and anarchy in the short years of its founding – is but a shade different from the unrepentant MIM attack on Bangladeshi exiled woman writer Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad Press Club or the many attacks on Pastors and Nuns in various parts of the country. They show the ugly and intolerant face of political forces struggling for power in a space where reason, civilization values and tolerance should have held sway. Those are ideals Tagore sang about, and Jawaharlal Nehru promised in India after a hard won Independence from colonialism, feudalism and bigotry, the statement stated.

It may be pointed out here that the office of the Outlook magazine in Mumbai was today vandalized allegedly by Shiv Sena activists protesting against an article in its latest issue that featured their chief Bal Thackeray in a list of “villains”. The activists barged into the office in a tower in the business district of Nariman Point at around 1500 hours and asked for the editor. They began ransacking the office on being told that there was no senior person available, police said.

However, the Shiv Sena distanced itself from the attack, with party spokesman Sanjay Raut saying it was the handiwork of a “mob”.

Dr. Dayal expressing his apprehensions said the disclosures that the Pogrom in Gujarat 2002 was on the direct orders of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the continuing reminders in the Srikrishna Report of the nexus between powerful politicians and murderous gangs kin the mass murders of 1993, and the protection that these elements have from Indian politicians, criminal elements – the two often indistinguishable from each other — pose a major challenge to modern Indian society and the governance.

Above all, it is for the Central and State governments to act, and to act fast. Governments’ conscience will be clear, and their hands strengthened, if they show courage to prosecute the attackers of Outlook, who indeed are no other than the killers of Muslims in Mumbai of 1993, and whose kin have on their hands the blood of innocent children and women of all communities, and particularly those of religious minorities. Verbal, or written, condemnation is the least the rest of us can do in the face of such concerted assault on Freedom of Expression, the statement added.

Dr. Dayal said:” I express my solidarity with Editors Vinod Mehta and Alok Mehta, with their journalists and staff, and with the ethos of the Outlook Magazine”. ([email protected])