Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Ribeiro, also former DGP of Gujarat and Punjab, actors Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker, activists Medha Patkar, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and John Dayal, were among 130 signatories who condemned the Paris beheadings and criticised the “outrageous statements by Muslim religious and political leaders” in a statement issued on Saturday.
“We… unequivocally and unconditionally condemn the recent killings in France by two fanatics in the name of faith. We are deeply disturbed by the convoluted logic of some self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims in rationalising cold-blooded murder and deplore the outrageous remarks of some heads of state,” the statement read.
The statement further read: “It has become the order of the day for all religious groups to indulge in whataboutery whenever such heinous crimes are committed by those belonging to their flock. Rationalising crimes by comparing them to similar crimes committed by others is an irrational and absurd argument as two wrongs don’t make a right. We reject any ifs and buts in the justification of heinous crimes in the name of religion… No God, gods, goddesses, prophets or saints may be invoked to justify the killing and/or terrorising of fellow human beings.”
The signatories also expressed solidarity with the French Council for the Muslim Faith for condemning the attacks and issuing an appeal calling on all Muslims in France to “cancel all celebrations of the birthday of the Prophet as a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones”.
Other signatories of the statement also include poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, theatre personality Mallika Sarabhai, senior lawyer Mihir Desai, senior journalist and writer Anil Dharker, film director Kabir Khan, documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan, human rights activist Henri Tiphagne, activist Dr Ram Punyani and actor Zeeshan Ayyub.