Letter sent to the PMO, Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister.
New Delhi 29 July 2012
Dear Sir / Madam
Greetings from John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council of India, Secretary General, All India Christian Council, and Immediate Past National President, All India Catholic Union.
India is a multicultural plural society with many faiths, including those affirmed by Tribals and Dalits. Every practitioner of each of these faiths has a certain loyalty to it, and a sensitivity. It is, for many, also an issue of identity.
There are people and institutions, including the media, who for their ulterior motives and for sheer sensationalism, often hurt the feelings of people confessing these faiths. Sometimes there are political overtones, and the hate campaigns expose the motives of such groups and peoples.
It is for the State to decide if it wants to take cognisance of hate campaigns under the law of the land, including sections 153 and 295 A with or without 120 IPC. In the past, the State has taken cognisance of such offences when committed against the majority community, but has been tardy when it comes to defending the rights or offering protection to the minority communities from such acts of hate.
The State has acted only when there has been large scale and wanton violence against minorities.
This has led the religious minority communities to feel they are not getting the protection that is due to them from the state.
The governments at the Centre and in the States should never let a situation develop when sections of minority communities feel compelled to agitate or mobilise in any manner, including creating electronic petitions and internet campaigns. This exposes the governments to the charge of insensitivity and callousness.
This is to register my protest at the very large number of anti Christian articles printed in the Organiser and the Panchjanya, which are the official organs of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. This is more so because these journals are registered with the Registrar of Newspapers and are given postal concessions for their circulation.
However, I am against any ban on the media — be it films, newspapers, magazines, posters, TV programmes or even the Internet. I also protest occasional attempts by the Censor Board and other organisations to use the shoulders of the community to shoot its official guns, so to speak, by inviting representatives of minority communities to act as censors of films, books and so on. This puts the onus of censorship, or acceptance of the suspect material, on the communities, and the government washes its hands of its responsibilities.
Member, National Integration Council
Government of India