“All nationals must denounce Sat Maharaj’s hateful rhetoric. The Constitutional Right to freedom of speech is not just a right. It’s also a responsibility.
“We have a duty to speak out against evil, hateful beliefs through free speech of our own that advances our shared value of equality.”
The following Letter to the Editor on Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Secretary General Sat Maharaj’s verbal assault on Tobagonians was submitted by former SDMS Assistant Secretary General and UNC politician Devant Maharaj:
As a former Executive Member of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Inc (SDMS) holding the position of Assistant Secretary General (Public Relations), The SDMS Inter-Religious Organization Delegate, and the first Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Radio Jaagriti, I categorically condemn the vulgar statements of the SDMS Secretary General, Sat Maharaj, regarding the people of Tobago.
Mr Maharaj used the broadest of brushes to paint all Tobagonians in the most derogatory fashion is repugnant to all that we hold dear as Trinbagonians. Having fought against social inequality and injustice all my life I cannot now in good conscience remain silent on an issue such as this.
All nationals must denounce Sat Maharaj’s hateful rhetoric. The Constitutional Right to freedom of speech is not just a right. It’s also a responsibility. We have a duty to speak out against evil, hateful beliefs through free speech of our own that advances our shared value of equality. The struggle against hate will only be won through education and public understanding.
It is interesting that the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, THA Chief Secretary, THA Minority Leader, Tobago Forwards Political Leader and Pundit Satyanand Maharaj have been the only national voices condemning the statements of Sat Maharaj. The Inter-Religious Organization, Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions as well as the many other Hindu Organizations have been reticent on the issue. Where are the other voices?
Sadly, I have spoken with some individuals in Trinidad as well as Tobago of all religious and ethnic persuasions who have expressed support for Mr Maharaj and cannot see the offensive nature of the comments.
While I like others wish that Mr Sat Maharaj exhibit some contrition for his statement, I expect that all that have condemned these statements will be further attacked by Mr Maharaj on his media house instead.