EVENT – NY: South Asia Peace Vigil


December 6th, 2008

We join the people of India and Pakistan in condemning the violence in Mumbai and calling for peace and unity in South Asia. This latest episode of violence claimed the lives of at least 200 people and injured many more. The victims hailed from different countries, belonged to different religions, and had different class and caste affiliations. We express our profound sorrow and solidarity with all those directly and indirectly affected by the violence.

We are concerned that this tragic event and the loss of innocent lives in Mumbai may be used as a pretext to escalate tensions between India and Pakistan at a time when diplomatic and civil society efforts for peaceful coexistence have been making progress. The people of India and Pakistan, and South Asia as a whole, have a rich shared history and need peace in order to survive and prosper.

We urge the government of India to not use this as an opportunity to suspend civil liberties or impose draconian anti-terror laws such as TADA and POTA, which have been used selectively in the past against Indian Muslims, Sikhs, and political activists. The history of anti-terror laws in India and elsewhere has shown that they fail to achieve anything but a climate of repression and the targeting of minorities. There are already laws on the books which can address this issue without curtailing people’s basic due-process rights. The experience of the US since 9/11 has shown that repressive laws such as the USA-PATRIOT Act have only led to the racial profiling and unjust detention, deportation, and torture of South Asians, Muslims and Arabs. Such policies and practices have seriously undermined the basis of a democratic polity which rests fundamentally on the rule of law and the guarantee of basic civil liberties for all. We must not allow this to happen in India or in South Asia as a whole.

We should be judicious and careful in our response and not let our pain turn into bigotry against any community or nation. Let us unite together to ensure that peace and democratic principles are staunchly defended in South Asia.


Date: Saturday, December 6, 2008 Time: 4.15 PM

Place: 73rd Street and Broadway (across from Kabab King Diner), Jackson Heights

(Take the E/F/G/R/V/7 to Roosevelt Avenue/ Jackson Heights)

Contact: Prachi 917 415 0659 or Ash 917 279 4923