The slaying of a Roma family that claimed 3 lives in a cold-blooded shooting this week in Hurbanovo has raised questions over whether the attack by a local municipal police officer was not down to racial intolerance.
Police commissioner Tibor Gaspar said today that no headway has been made regarding the man’s motive. In response to the similarity of this incident to the one less than 2 years ago in Devinska Nova Ves, which ended with eight people dead, Gaspar said the difference this time was they could work with the perpetrator. Some witnesses claim a heated exchange had taken place between the family and the 50-yr officer, who used his illegally held gun to shoot five members of the same Roma family in broad daylight.
In an open letter to all top public officials, the Roma Institute, the Centre for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture and the Slovak Institute for Mediation are drawing attention to the rising tension and level of aggressive conduct toward Roma in the country, pointing also to certain reactions also of the public, showing ethnic intolerance.
In the letter, addressed to the President, the government, the National Council and public administration bodies, the organisations are demanding the immediate condemnation of the kind of ethnic and national intolerance displayed in this tragedy. They are also calling on the government to stop adopting what they refer to as “repressive anti-Roma measures, and instead adopt pro-active measures to eliminate the growing intolerance of the Roma in Slovakia.
The statement reads “Considering the growing intolerance of the Roma it is no surprise that the popularity of right-wing extreme movements is rising, as well as individual actions targeted at the Roma, which are starting to replace the state and with the silent consent of a large part of the public they abuse the right to impose radical solutions.
The statement continues to criticise how no government has adopted any real policy to deal with the issue of Roma integration, opting instead to accept segregation. The organisations are demanding that the true motive behind the tragic shooting be thoroughly investigated and exposed, and that the respective authorities do their utmost to ensure that this is so. They also call on the government to condemn ethnic intolerance instead of “using populist rhetoric against the Roma”.