RECENT attacks on members of Hindu community and destruction of their properties and temples have been a shame for a pluralistic society.

Despite the government’s promise to stop the onslaught on the community and its assurances to protect them, there is still no sign that acts of vandalism are abating.

Against this backdrop, participants in a roundtable, while voicing their concerns over the trend urged political leaders, intellectuals, cultural activists and members of the common people to form citizens’ committees at the local level to combat this menace.

Involvement of the entire community is an essential element of creating resistance against quarters out to destabilise communal harmony. And any worthwhile programme to deal with problems of this nature must be inclusive.

So far, the government has increased police presence and sent some relief materials to the affected localities. There is need for more of this.

And short of taking a comprehensive strategy through involving the community, the government has been blaming the opposition and Jamaat-Shibir elements for the communal attacks.

As a consequence, fear and an acute sense of insecurity have gripped them. This has somewhat tarnished the image of the government and the country, which is avowedly a secular one.

It is expected that the government develop a failsafe strategy to combat communal violence. Side by side with forming citizens’ committees, it should also ensure that the Members of Parliament (MPs) are present in their own constituencies to motivate the people to resist those fanatics trying to destabilise society.

We would do well to remember that how we treat the minority community will be a measure of civilised conduct in our society.

Source: The Daily Star – 31/03/2013 (http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/protect-minority-community/)