Today, in response to the ongoing communal violence in New Delhi which has claimed more than 20 lives, HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla offered the following statement:

“We strongly condemn the violence, loss of life, and destruction of places of worship in India this week. There is no religious, historical, or political justification possible for what is happening in New Delhi. Hindu Americans stand for peace, pluralism, democracy, equal rights, and the rule of law here at home in the United States, in India, and anywhere in the world.

“Those people battling in the streets — throwing stones, acid, brandishing firearms, setting fire to businesses and places of worship — are all violating the law. The perpetrators, no matter the religious community to which they belong, should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We urge Indian law enforcement officers to uphold their duty to protect the public and better maintain law and order. And we urge all those making inflammatory statements to take stock of the destructive impact of their words and cease.

“The protests and violence in India over the last few weeks have triggered a renewed need for greater understanding and dialogue among religious community leaders, civil society, and Indian government officials, consistent with India’s long tradition of dialogue and pluralism. Media, non-governmental organizations, and observers from all communities must understand their role and duty in informing rather than inciting the citizenry, in defusing this tragic situation.

“Hindu Americans have faith that through frank and honest dialogue, respect for rule of law, and the upholding of the rights and freedoms of all India’s citizens, this violence can be both be stopped now, as well as be prevented in the future.”