He also asked people to not trust the news developing outside because it was being done for certain vested interests.
"And, of course, we advise our friends to not believe in fake news that is being brought out by personal interests to mislead and by those trying to disrupt our country's diversity," he added.
At the same time, however, on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp in Indonesia, videos of communal attacks against Muslims and a mosque being set on fire during Delhi's recent violence were going viral.
The videos triggered concern and even anger, especially among Muslims, which constitute nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s population of some 270 million.
Violence against the Muslim community in India, triggered by the passage of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019, has so far left 42 dead and more than 350 injured.
On March 2, members of Muslim organizations in Medan, North Sumatra Province, held a rally in front of the Indian Consulate General, to express their solidarity towards Indian Muslims and condemned the bloody violence.
“We demand that the Indonesian Government take a stern stance on the conflict in India because our brothers and sisters of the same faith are being murdered,” Razali Taat, the rally coordinator said.
They demanded that the Indian Government stop “the genocide” against Muslims in the South Asian nation.
Next Friday (March 6), a much larger rally is being planned in front of the Indian Embassy in Jakarta by Indonesian Muslim organizations.
In addition, the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) was unequivocal in denouncing the violence on Muslims in India.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms, the barbaric act of violence that reflects real extremism and gross violation of human rights," the council noted in a press statement signed by its chairman Prof. Dr Din Syamsudin on March 2.
The council urged the Indian government to take stern measures against those involved in the attack and protect Indian Muslims from cruelty in any form.
It also called upon the Indian government and parliament to cancel the law that discriminates against Muslims in India.
"We appeal to the Indonesian government to positively respond to (the issue) in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution to uphold the world's law and order, echo the aspirations of Indonesian Muslims over the cruelty against their fellow Muslims in India, and take stern measures as per international law through the United Nations," he remarked.
The council further appealed to Indonesian Muslims and Hindus to exercise self-restraint and not be easily incited by the incident by building tolerance for the sake of national harmony.
"May Allah SWT protect and save Muslims in India," he added.
MUI also urged the Indonesian government to not remain silent but rather take an immediate stand on the issue of discrimination against Muslims in India.
"Indonesia should not remain silent. It (the government) should echo the aspirations of Indonesian Muslims," MUI Deputy Chairman H Muhyiddin Junaidi said in Jakarta, March 3.
Moreover, the two countries have established longstanding relations. The friendship between the two nations is quite good. Hence, the Indonesian government should use state diplomacy to solve the issue, he said.
"We should summon the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia to clarify what has happened," he said.
MUI feared if the issue went unheeded it may adversely affect harmony among adherents of different faith and trigger a conflict in other countries. For example, Hindus in other countries may be discriminated against, he said.
"We appeal to the Indian government to review its Citizenship Amendment Act," he said.
The Act discriminates against Muslims, while on the other hand, India has claimed to be a democratic country, MUI opined.
Besides, India should uphold the law against those involved in the assassination of Muslims in the country.
Hindus in Indonesia receive the same treatment as Muslims in terms of right and obligation without discrimination, he said. Muslims in Indonesia can co-exist peacefully with other faiths.
In the meantime, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin drew attention to the threat posed by radicalism and Islamophobia that can spur sectarian conflict in a country for which the government has incessantly promoted social harmony among people.
Amin expressed concern over the sectarian violence in India and was optimistic that the incident would be avoided in other countries.
"We are concerned about this situation. What happened in India has saddened all of us," he emphasized.
A regional NGO, the Asia Democracy Network (ADN), has called on civil society in Asia to re-establish the rule of law and freedoms in India.
"Prime Minister Modi should not let the wounds of existing political divisions in India fester. This is not about ethnicity or religion that have coexisted in the region but rather the unpleasant atmosphere of intolerance brought about by the ruling governments policies," ADNs Secretary-General, Ichal Supriadi, noted in a statement in Jakarta, March 2.
PM Modi’s government should channel all-out efforts to tackle this situation before it snowballs into a bigger national tragedy and hurts the sentiments in neighboring states.
"Otherwise, PM Modi will solely shoulder the responsibility for all the harm inflicted on humanity caused by his policy," Supriadi cautioned.
“In the wake of the ongoing pointless violence in New Delhi and other states, we condemn the violent episodes and the failure of India’s governmental authorities in staving off and de-escalating the situation,” he stated.
Furthermore, as the world’s largest democratic state, India must ensure equality and harmonious coexistence among its citizens.
The ADN has called on India to strive to do away with messages and state policies that fuel discrimination and isolation of ethnic and religious minorities.
The attacks were orchestrated by communal mobs and that some members of the New Delhi Police Force tacitly took the side of the perpetrators, news reports confirmed.
The police force was also accused of employing disproportionate force against those protesting against the CAA. Furthermore, several journalists and ambulance services were also harmed in numerous instances, with the intent of hindering the relay of information and medical aid into the clash areas.
“We also call upon the Indian authorities to ensure that the right to expression and peaceful assembly are guaranteed to the citizens, the rule of law is protected, and assurance is made of bringing to justice the orchestrators of this pointless violence. We sincerely hope futile violence of this magnitude will not occur again,” he stated.
The NGO implored Indian authorities to investigate those behind the attacks, as well as the involvement of the New Delhi Police in the violence and the extent of their abuse of power.
In a genuine democracy, discrimination and the violence resulting from it should not exist. (INE)
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