Statement against Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA

We the undersigned are deeply disturbed by the reported remarks of the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA at an election rally in West Bengal that “infiltrators” from Bangladesh belonging to a particular religious community must be sent back. Apart from the sheer inhumanity of the remark, we fear that in a country in which every citizen does not possess documentary proof of citizenship such a move would simply cause a general victimization of persons belonging to that particular religious community.

The reason cited by him for sending back “infiltrators” is that they take away jobs from local youth causing unemployment among the latter. This is exactly the reason offered by racist, fascist and xenophobic groups all over Europe, such as the Northern League in Italy, the National Front in France, the British National Party in the U.K., the Movimento Social Espanol in Spain, the National Renewal Party in Portugal, the Flemish Block in Belgium, and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark, for their attacks on immigrants. Persons of Indian origin have often been targets of such attacks which people in this country have rightly condemned. We must not replicate the same logic and the same attitude with regard to immigrants into this country which we condemn when they are directed against Indian immigrants abroad.

Blaming a hapless minority of immigrants for the flaws of an economic system that does not generate enough jobs for our youth is not just bad economics, but precisely what those who wield power within the current economic system would like everyone to believe.

We appeal to the people to reject this invitation to target a particular religious minority. We urge them to spurn those who are aiming to capture power by spreading communal hatred.