Home Page

  Communalism Combat

  India Rights & Wrongs







  Action Alerts




  Resources for



  About us


  Contact Us


  Sabrang Team













February 8, 2006

Citizens Declaration on “A Riot & Terror Free India”



Citizens Declaration on Protection of  Civilians During Violent Conflicts For “A Riot & Terror Free India”


Common Minimum Agenda of Religious and Humanist Leaders in the Subcontinent

Saturday, 10th Feb. 2007             

 10:00 A.M. To 2:00 P.M

[Followed by lunch]


Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi-110002 [Near ITO Crossing]




Shri Rabi Ray   Mr. Saiyid Hamid   Justice V R Krishna Iyer   Justice M N Venkateshchalia Prof. Amrik Singh   Miss Nirmala Deshpande   Maulana Rabey Nadvi   Maulana Kalb-e-Sadiq      Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri   Maulana Akhlaq Hussain Qasmi   Fr. Vincent Concessao   Swami Agnivesh   Prof. Dr. Tahir Mahmood  Mr. Balraj Puri   Mr. Harsh Mander     Mrs. Teesta Seetalvad   Dr. John Dayal   Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer   Dr. Manoranjan Mohanty   Prof. Anand Kumar   Prof. V K Tripathi   Fr. T.K. John   Dr. James Massey   Shri Surendra Mohan   Dr. Abdul Haq Ansari   Maulana Fuzailur Rahman Hilal Usmani   Syed Shahabuddin   Mr. Niyaz Farooqui   Maulana Asrarul Haq Qasmi   Shri Rajiv Vora   Shrimati N Vora   Dr. N K Afandi   Shri Vinod Jain   Mr. N D Pancholi   Ms. Mani Mala 


Citizens For Peace
Syeda Manzil, Muzammil Compound 4/1703, Dodhpur, Aligarh 202001
Tel: 0571-3298957 Mob. 9411415100 E-mail:[email protected]


Draft Declaration on the Protection of Civilians During Armed Conflicts 

We the citizens of India and Pakistan, including the people of Jammu & Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control make this solemn declaration to provide a framework for elimination of the undeserved suffering of innocent civilians during all international and non-international conflict situations caused by any inter-State dispute or any dispute between opposition groups and any State or inter-group disputes on religious, sectarian, ethnic, linguistic or regional basis.

Affirming faith in the sanctity of human life,

            Recognizing the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,

Holding that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood,

1.         We hereby solemnly pledge to resolve disputes by peaceful methods, which includes negotiations, adjudication, arbitration and mediation;

2.         In our view, recourse to force can be taken only when all peaceful means have been exhausted, and when there is a serious threat to a person’s/ group’s/ community’s/ country’s right to life, dignity and freedom;

2.1       Such recourse to force can also be taken to help a person, community or country to defend its right to life, dignity and freedom, in case such persons or groups are too weak to defend themselves, and seek such assistance.

3.         Such defensive force for protection of one’s basic rights or to help others defend their basic rights, when they seek help, must be proportionate to the requirement of the situation;

3.1       In no case can force be used for self aggrandisment, territorial expansion or for settling old scores or for righting perceived historical wrongs;

3.2       Force cannot be disproportionate to the situation required for defence of one’s rights;

4.         Before taking recourse to force, warning and due notice will be given to the opposite party/ parties.

4.1       In the event of positive response from the opposite party, showing readiness to settle the dispute through any agreed mechanism of negotiation, arbitration and mediation, the aggrieved party will accept the offer of peaceful settlement of the dispute(s).

4.2       In the event of failure of negotiation/ mediation and in the event of armed hostilities having started after due notice and after declaration of the objectives for which force is being used, the following ethical norms shall be treated as legally binding multilateral treaty obligations, in terms of the Geneva Conventions on the Protection of Civilians (1949/1977)which will be strictly adhered to by all parties engaged in any armed conflict of a short duration or during sustained prolonged hostilities.

(1)        Humane treatment of all persons taking no part or not being able to take part in hostilities, prohibiting

(a)        Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b)        Taking of hostages;

(c)        Violation of dignity;

(d)        Punishment without due process of law.

5.         In view of the above we resolve to campaign for the protection of the life, dignity, freedom and places of worship of all civilian persons belonging to any group, community or country.

            In view of the fact that Hindu Dharma, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism which originated in India and Islam and Christianity, having followers world-wide all religions ate committed to peace and fraternal relations among people, we condemn the following manifestations of unlawful and inhuman use of force.

(i)         Harming of innocent persons including children, women, old, sick, disabled and poor, destitute people—by killing, maiming, torturing and raping them, and destroying their property, shelter, livelihood and places of worship during any inter-community conflict just because of their loose (real or imagined) affiliation to the community.

(ii)        The State’s armed police and paramilitary and armed forces using excessive force and firearms, not authorized by human rights norms against unarmed civilians, often indulging in targeted killing if innocent people unwarranted by the situation in the name of controlling riots, militancy, insurgency and secessionism.

(iii)       Extra judicial killings in false encounters by State agencies.

(iv)       Acts of torture and humiliation of civilians including rape by state forces

(v)        Majoritarian partisan role of State forces during inter-group conflicts including targeted killings of minorities

(vi)       Militant groups using indiscriminate force, selecting site, method and weapons, which are certain to harm and kill innocent civilians including children, women and old persons, and their property and places of worship.

(vii)      Muslim signatories to this statement express their deep concern and deplore the use of such un-Islamic acts that harm civilians by groups who claim inspiration from Islam.

(viii)      Hindu signatories to this statement deplore the use of Hindu dharma for waging violent campaign of hate and revenge against Muslims and Christians.        

(ix)       Other faith community signatories express similar condemnation of any unethical acts and any excesses committed by their co-religionists.

6.         We further resolve to make this Declaration on the Protection of Civilians acceptable and implemented by all sections of the civil society in each country, by the Governments of the two countries and by militant armed groups and organized religious groups which tend to indulge in violence, by undertaking educational campaigns and recourse to law.

Iqbal A. Ansari



Inter-Community Peace Initiative (ICPI)
Syeda Manzil, Muzammil Compound 4/1703, Dodhpur, Aligarh 202001
Tel: 0571-3298957 E-mail:[email protected]


Pledge for Protection of Civilians during Conflicts 

In spite of our special civilizational claim to non-violence, and respect for religio-cultural pluralism, the country has witnessed during the last six decades communal blood baths at the time of partition of India and later during secession of Bangladesh. Within each of the three countries innocent blood has been shed in the name of religion, sect, language and ethnicity. Armed opposition groups in each country and some enjoying support across borders have been using force indiscriminately killing innocent civilians.

The State-power-centric governance in all the three countries, irrespective of the claims of democratic constitutionalism, makes them use indiscriminate unlawful force against innocent civilians in the name of mob control, repression of riots, fighting insurgency and secessionism and terrorism.

India’s paramilitary and armed forces have killed innocent civilians including women, children and old people and committed other atrocities including gang rapes against civilians in Jammu& Kashmir, Punjab and the North East. The police and paramilitary forces have done targeted killing of Muslims during communal riots, of which Hashimpura (Meerut) may be the most brutal, but not he only example.

Innocent Hindus have been periodically targeted since 1996 in Jammu resulting in brutal killing of women, children and poor migrant workers. Places of worship from Babri Masjid to Sankat Mochan have been specially targeted by all militants/terrorists.

            Without going into the historical and present day ideological roots and religio-political causes and compulsions of the situation we would like to confine ourselves to building consensus over observance of humanitarian ethico-legal norms during armed conflicts by all parties in all situations, which we consider irreducible minimum of any peace programme. These norms which are codified as Four Geneva Conventions, 1949 are binding on all parties to any armed hostilities, international or domestic .In this set of humanitarian laws, we shall focus attention on common Article3 and Protocol II of 1977, dealing with protection of civilians during armed hostilities, which requires all parties to armed conflict to treat humanely all persons taking no part or not being able to take active part in hostilities, prohibiting

a).        violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

b).        taking of hostages;

c).        violation of dignity;

d).        punishment without due process of law.

This ethical concern and legally binding requirement for the conduct of armed conflicts that civilians ,especially children, women ,old, disabled ,sick and worshippers should enjoy absolute  protection from any harm to life, limb and dignity, enjoy sanction of all religions including Islamic and Hindu laws of war.

It will be our endeavour to seek endorsement to such a Citizen’s Declaration on Protection of Civilians, from each religious community within a country and across borders followed by a common country-wise and finally a Regional Declaration on Protection of Civilians.

Our programme will include the following campaigns:

(a).       Sensitizing people to sanctity of human life.

(b).(i)   Making all religious community organization, leaders and intellectuals in the country sign a pledge for ‘No Harm To Civilians’, and  for getting it accepted and implemented at the community level.

(ii)        Similar pledges to be signed by people in Pakistan and Bangladesh

(c).       Humane, accountable policing requiring nonuse of lethal weapons/firepower for controlling unarmed mob, unless there is grave imminent threat to life.

(d).       Repeal of all laws, rules and manuals that empower police and magistracy to shoot to kill unarmed people.

(e).       No extrajudicial killings by the police, without due process of law

(f).        Speedily bringing to justice all those charged with violation of human rights by special courts, and rehabilitating the victims and making adequate reparation for losses suffered by them.

(g).       Similar special courts to be set up for speedy trial of militant Hindu leaders responsible for incitement to hatred and violence against minorities including demolition of Babri Masjid

 (h).      International & National Human Rights Institutions to be entrusted with the responsibility of preparing a comprehensive report on human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir by all parties

(i).        Involvement of the NHRC in bringing to justice all personnel of police, paramilitary and armed forces in Jammu & Kashmir. Special courts may be set up for trial of cases of militant leaders and of organizations responsible for violation of human rights.

j).         The Red Cross to be involved in rehabilitation of all victims in Jammu & Kashmir.



Iqbal A. Ansari