Bring Modi to justice, urges meeting hosted at UK Parliament

March 4, 2014 by admin  
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modi to justiceAhmedabad, February 28, 2014: ‘There is international consensus that Narendra Modi was responsible for the 2002 genocidal attacks in Gujarat,’ wrote Anish Kapoor.

Speakers at a meeting in the Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom have discussed the role of Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for the far-right Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s forthcoming elections.

The Feb. 26 meet hosted by John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, was supported by Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North.

Most speakers referred to the anti-Muslim riot in Gujarat that took place twelve years ago, killing over 1,500 (including three British nationals), and displacing some 200,000 people.

At the meeting Suresh Grover of The Monitoring Group outlined key events during the ‘orgy of violence’ in 2002 and ‘Narendra Modi exposed: challenging the myths surrounding the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate’, an extensively researched report, was launched.

Professor Chetan Bhatt, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, spoke of Modi’s links with the ‘Hindutva’ movement, which uses the guise of religion for its extremist brand of politics, and its ‘deliberate attempt to suppress freedom of speech’ in this country.

Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, spoke on this movement’s disturbing attitude to and treatment of women, including sexual violence ‘unprecedented in nature’ in 2002.

Professor Gautam Appa, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, exposed the inaccuracy of claims often made by BJP supporters that the Supreme Court has cleared Modi of responsibility and that Gujarat is a model of good governance and prosperity.

‘There is international consensus that Narendra Modi was responsible for the 2002 genocidal attacks in Gujarat,’ wrote Anish Kapoor.

‘India’ s long history of cultural and ethnic tolerance is gravely in peril with the rise of this politician whose association with the fascist right cannot any longer be hidden.

Modi is a serious danger to peace in India and beyond. I strongly support the campaign to expose the threat he and his supporters present.’

An Early Day Motion to the House of Commons was announced, and a delegation of MPs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asking that there should be no engagement with him until he has been held legally accountable for his role in the violence. The meeting also heard that action is underway for an international tribunal on genocide in Gujarat.

- press release

AP: Jesus statue vandalized twice *Karnataka: Hindutva persecution *Gujarat: Church refutes conversion charge

March 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, India, Karnataka, newsletter-lead, Persecution

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Andhra Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 24th March, 2012, a statue of Jesus was vandalized in Jadcharla, Andhra Pradesh for the second time this month.

This act of vandalism occurred between 1 and 2 am on the 24th of March. This was the second time that the statue has come under attack this month. On the 1st of March, the statue’s glass enclosure was shattered by unknown miscreants. Ronald John, the district president of All India Christian Council (aicc-Mahabubnagar) rushed to the spot. A few politicians and Christian leaders from the locality also visited the location and expressed their solidarity over the incident. They vowed to see that the miscreants were penalized.

A forensic lab crew is presently investigating the crime scene for any clues that would yield leads to pin down the culprits. Security around the locality has also been beefed up with about 30 constables deployed to keep watch of the streets.

- aicc

Karnataka: Hindutvas beat pastor & believers

 

Karnataka, March 29, 2012: Pastor Mallikarjun has been active with his ministry in Gadag District of Karnataka during the last 2 and half years. He has a congregation of about 35 believers. In the surrounding 3 villages there are altogether 3 fellowships with a total membership of about 60 members. The pastor lives with his wife Manjula (33) and their 3 children two girls and a boy, aged 1, 5 and 7 years.

On Wednesday, 28th March, the pastor went for a prayer meeting at the residence of a believer which is about 15 kilometers away from his village. Also as there was a festival in the village yesterday, after the prayer meeting, the pastor along with 4 of his believer friends began distributing some handbills about the Christian faith to the people assembled for the festival. This infuriated some Hindu fundamentalists and at about 1.30 pm one Ravi Bagle and his friends, all members of the local RSS unit, attacked them and beat them up mercilessly. Then they dragged all the five of them to the police station and filed a complaint against them alleging that they were forcibly trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.

In the meantime the GCIC came to know about the arrest and got in touch with some of the known police officials and succeeded in getting 3 of the believers released at about 11 pm. The pastor was charged under sections 107 and 157 of IPC and was about to be produced before the magistrate. The GCIC immediately got a lawyer, and he succeeded in getting the pastor and the other believer too released at about 1.30 am. But the pastor had to meet the Tahsildar on 29th morning and give his version. The case is on. Please pray for Pastor Mallikarjun.

- persecution.in

Gujarat Church refutes conversion charge

 

Gujarat, March 29, 2012: Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity.

The Church in Gujarat has termed a probe into proselytization charge against it as “intimidatory and harassing” tactics by the state government.

A forum for Peace and Justice based in Petlad town of Anand district had alleged that 32 minor dalit children were converted into Christianity by a Roman Catholic Church at Khambat taluka.

Father Cedric Prakash, convenor Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace described the charges as “baseless, misleading and mischievous,”.

He said the forum was referring to the ceremony where some Catholic children were conferred sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Khambat church.

Forum coordinator Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity at Roman Catholic Church of Nagra and on February 12 nearly 15 other minor children were converted at the denomination’s Church in Cambay.

He alleged that the schedule caste children, who belonged to the weavers’ community, were converted without their parents knowledge.

However, three church officials including Frs. Andrews Silvera, Vinay and Piyush from the Cambay church have rubbished the claims.

“All the children whose names have been mentioned are Christians by birth so there is no question of conversion. Their parents were present during a ceremony that was held,” said Fr Silvera.

He said they have made their statements to the police on Tuesday.

“This is another clear instance of how minorities in Gujarat continue to be intimidated and harassed by right-wing forces in nexus with powerful vested interests,” said Fr Prakash.

- ucan

Kandhamal eyewitness kidnapped. Advocates & police intervene *Gujarat HC restores Christian’s marriage license

March 28, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-lead, Orissa, Persecution

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Orissa, March 28, 2012: Mr. Saira Nayak uncle of the informant was kidnapped by the accused after depositing the evident before Fast Tract Court II on 27th March 2012.

The Case had been posted for Evidence in (FTC-2) Phulbani and trial was going on. The Case is bearing No. ST-16/12, GR-148/2008, G.Udayagiri P.S case no- 57/08. The Case is between Mr. Keshab Nayak (State) Vs Susant Pradhan (Ex-Samaranch of Badimunda Panchat) & 27 others members.  It is the house burning   case of village Mahaguda, under G. Udayagiri Police Station. The offence charged against accused U/s 147/148/427/379/295/436/506/149 IPC.

There were five public witnesses (PW) who examined in this case. Primarily 1.Keshab Nayak 2.Tanuja Nayak 3.Deepak Nayak 4.Philmina Nayak  and  5.Sasira Nayak deposited the evidence before the  court.

After the deposition and cross examination  the witnesses  were waiting to get their  T.A & D.A (BATA) from the court the   accused persons threatened to the informant  and charged them  why did they said before the court. On their way back they will be killed.  The accused also gave threat that when they will be back to home they will face serious consequences.

After some times at about 3.00 P.M Mr. Saira Nayak, uncle of the informant from was kidnapped from court premise.  Hearing the incident the matter was reported to the Additional District Judge (ADJFTC-2)
but it was no use, the judge said wait.

At that time all the witnesses were feeling insecurity, worried & fear due to delay of the assurance. Finding no way the informant reported the matter in written   to the Police In charge, Town Thana, Phulbani.

After the intervention of the Advocates and Police, Kandhamal town the witness Sasira Nayak was found out and rescued. Due to threat of life, the informant and his uncle did not want go for the case. However, the police left the free to the hijacker.

The continuous support in the grass root level is need of the hour.

- fwd: adv. dibyasingh pasrichha

Gujarat High Court restored the marriage license of a Christian

 

Gujarat, March 27, 2012: The Gujarat High Court, in a significant judgment, restored the marriage license of a Christian, which had been revoked by the Narendra Modi government after they had invoked the Freedom of Religion Act 2003 to enforce the same. Justice S.R. Brahmbhatt’s order in the case will have wide ranging ramifications and will also serve as a precedent.

Many Christian activists have complained that that the Gujarat government was using the Freedom of Religion Act to prevent conversions arising out of inter-religious marriages. The state chapter of the All India Christian Council (aicc) assisted the petitioner, Subashchandra Parmar of Nadiad, Kheda District, in his legal battle against the order of the State of Gujarat, through its law secretary. The aicc welcomes Justice Brahmbhatt’s order since it implies that Christians can get married with persons of their choice, without faith restrictions.

The petitioner, Mr. Subashchandra Parmar, was appointed as Marriage Registrar in 1999 by the government of Gujarat as a licensee under the Indian Christian Marriage (ICM) Act 1872. In discharge of his duty, in 2009 he performed the marriage ceremony between a Christian, Mr. Pinakin Macwan and Ms. Vishrutiben Shukla, in the presence of Kailashben Shukla, the girl’s mother who signed the registrar as witness. Ms. Vishruti was married to the Christian having not changed her faith nor having converted to Christianity, as is permitted under Section 4 of the ICM Act.

After more than a year of the marriage being solemnized, in October 2010, Anilkumar Sukhla, the girl’s father, under rather mysterious circumstances, approached the government to declare the marriage as null and void, as the girl had not converted. He claimed this was required under the infamous Freedom of Religion Act 2003, which seeks to “regulate” conversions. In 2011, the government not only cancelled Subashchandra Parmar’s license to conduct marriages, through M. J. Parashar, the deputy law secretary’s order, but also launched criminal proceedings against him.

Mr. Samson Christian, aicc national secretary said “The draconian anti-conversion law in Gujarat is even more persecuting, compared to the other six states, where such legislation curbing religious liberty, have been passed. Unlike in other states, in Gujarat, under the Freedom of Religion Act 2003, one has to give a month’s notice and seek permission to convert from one faith to another. Our experience has shown that the moment an application is made, Hindutva forces come down heavily on the person and the family concerned, forcing them to reconsider their decision or face the consequences.” He pointed out that in other states, mere intimation of conversion was sufficient, while in Gujarat, this was not so.

In the case where Mr. Subashchandra Parmar solemnized the marriage, it was under the ICM Act, where it is possible for one to get married without converting and hence the petition challenged the government order and demanded for the restoration of the marriage registrar’s license. Justice Brahmbhatt, in his order, noted that the government should have made proper investigations before cancelling the license. There was also no proof that Ms. Vishrutiben Shukla was converted against her will. Further, the judge noted that the show cause notice by the government was without jurisdiction and also without proper application of mind by the concerned authority. “The petitioner was unnecessarily compelled to come to the court, as cancelling his license is not justified at all,” Justice Brahmbhatt added.

Finally, in the judgment in favour of Mr. Subashchandra Parmar, the judge quashed the government order and set it aside; reviving the license and no cost to the petitioner was awarded. Mr. Samson Christian of the aicc said that the NGO would now move for quashing the FIR filed against the petitioner in the criminal case, which is now pending. The aicc would also work towards getting the month’s notice removed from the Freedom of Religion Act and is considering legal opinion in the matter.

Gujarat court acquits six in communal violence case

March 8, 2012 by admin  
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gujarat_communal_violenceGujarat, March 8, 2012: They were accused of intercepting a mother-son duo and burning them alive.

A court in Gujarat today acquitted six persons accused of killing a mother-son duo during the 2002 communal riots in the state.

Additional Sessions Judge M.P. Sheth acquitted the accused for lack of evidence.

They were accused of intercepting Firoz and his mother Hamidabanu burning them alive in Gomtipur in Ahmedabad on April 21, 2002.

The rioters had also looted some Muslim shops in the same area.

Though a complaint of the incident was immediately filed by one of the shop owners, six of the seven accused were arrested only after four years.

One of the accused had died by then.

The charge sheet filed described how petrol was procured and the mother-son duo torched on road in broad daylight. But the police had not named any eyewitness in the chargesheet.

The trial in the case started in 2011 where eight witnesses were examined including the doctor who performed autopsy on the deceased.

Public Prosecutor U. D. Shekhawat said the investigation in the case was not proper as the accused were arrested very late.

- ucan

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament Ciborium robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at Vadtal

March 7, 2012 by admin  
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Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalGujarat, March 07, 2012: Its been well over a week that the police have made no headway in the case of what is being called a “robbery” of the Blessed Sacrament Ciborium and Lunettes (used to store the consecrated sacred host/bread) by a few non-Chrisitians. A story that many in the community from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat refuse to accept. The suspicion of most are that it was an act of communal vandalization and desecration, particularly since the crucifix was bent and also removed and thrown out. There were other valuables too that could be stolen, if theft was the motive, I was told. 

I spoke to some of the villagers, who informed that only in January 2012, a Cross that was constructed in the nearby Bhumel village of Kheda district was uprooted and thrown aside, which hurt religious sentiments, but nothing much was done. This time the villagers have signed a petition and will submit it to the Dy Supritendent of Police, as they do not expect any much action locally. I also spoke to Fr. Anthony Cardoz, who in his own words, has described the incident, as below.
- Joseph Dias

On 25th February 2012 morning, at 5.45 am I, entered the church for my meditation. No sooner I entered the church from the door adjoining my room, I saw the door that connects the church from the sacristy wide open. I thought that Fr. Martinho, the parish priest must have gone into the church to pray. I went in and saw the tabernacle wide open. On looking closely, I found the Ciborium and two Lunettes were missing. Immediately, I rushed to the parish priest, who came running and we were shocked to find that the place where the amplifier is placed, and the locker below the statue of guardian angel was also wide open.

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalWe called Kantibhai, our sacristan and the warden, who was accompanied by Amit our domestic staff. All four of us searched for the missing goods in the sacristy. As time elapsed we started to search for the missing things outside the church. Fr. Martinho saw the mass kit thrown in the nearby field which belongs to the parish. When we went close by we saw the entire kit emptied and all the sacred vestments, missals, lectionaries and other things required for the Mass emptied in the field from the kit. After a long search we could recover some things except the Lunette and Ciborium in which the consecrated hosts were placed.
 
Since it was time up for the Mass which is at 7 am, the parish priest informed this happening to the parishioners who too were upset and empathized with us. The Bishop of Ahmedabad Rt Rev Thomas Macwan, the Vicar General Rev Fr Rocky Pinto, and Dean of Nadiad Deanery Fr. Arul, the Provincial of the Pilar Fathers (Mumbai Province) Rev Fr Sebastian Mascarenhas were all kept informed. Fr Arul the dean of Nadiad Deanery came to Vadtal along with his parishioners Mr Basilbhai, Ashok Vagela, Anil Macwan, Samuel Vagela and Ambrose Yakub Parmar. Fr. Tony the parish priest of Mariampura church from Petlad was accompanied by Baldevbhai G Parmar and others who had come. The Sisters of the Helpers of Mary, our collaborators and some concerned parishioners came and did spend a lot of time in the parish campus giving moral support to us.

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalSince the seriousness of this incident was felt, the manager of the RC Mission School, Rev Fr Martinho Alvares sfx, told the Headmistress of the school to send the children home. The sisters along with the Hostel children and the parishioners kept on praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament which was brought from the sister’s convent. After some time it was decided to lodge a complaint in the police station and substantiated by photographs.

At the police station a complaint was lodged, and all that was spoken was recorded in writing. We asked the police to give us a copy of what he wrote and he said he would do it later, after he completed the formalities. Instead, no sooner did we reached the parish campus, another policeman came and once again wrote the entire incident that was repeated and he told Fr. Martinho Kantibhai, Amit and myself to sign the report. He said that the copy of the same would be given after further inquiry at about 4 pm.
 
So far no trace of the culprits
 
- fr. anthony cardoz sfx

Delhi Christians focus on communal harmony *Delhi Archbishop’s open letter *Justice for CV victims

February 29, 2012 by admin  
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Gujrat Pogrom 2002New Delhi, February 28, 2012: A rally of the capital’s Christian community at Raj Ghat, led by Archbishop Vincent Concessao, has demanded that the government speedily enact a law against communal violence to ensure lasting religious harmony and peace in the country. The Bill against communal and targeted violence [access to justice and reparation} drafted by the National Advisory council in 2011 provides the basis for such law, the meeting said. The Delhi rally was part of a national wide campaign to remember the victims of the Gujarat anti Muslim pogrom in 2002 on the tenth anniversary of the horrendous violence.

A large number of leaders of Muslim political parties and groups participated in the two hour programme where speakers slammed the Gujarat government for its attitude towards the victims.

The statement adopted at the meeting, which ended in a candle-light finale, said: The Christian community worldwide believes that Love – caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.  It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. In the 2,000 years of its existence in the country, our community has striven for Peace, and for Justice even as it has brought , as Mother Teresa did,  human concern and love to the wounded, the despised, the deserted and those abandoned and left to die.  And there is nothing worse than the aftermath of  communal violence where communities are goaded to wage arson, rape and murder against their brothers and sisters of another faith. In the 1990s, India, according to government estimates, saw more than 6,000 communal riots, including the terrible anti Sikh violence in Delhi and other cities.

“The first few years of  the 21st Century has marked two major acts of communal violence that have wrought shame on our great civilization, and shamed our noble motherland, India. The first was  the anti Muslim pogrom in 14 districts of Gujarat in February-March 2002, whose tenth anniversary we observe today in deep sorrow and empathy with the victims. The other was the August 2008  violence against Christians in Kandhamal District of Odisha and several other states which saw much rape and murder, and a massive and mindless arson that signed an entire people. What took place during those terrible months is beyond description.  There are volumes of writings, audio visual materials, witnesses and victims who suffered and saw their loved ones die. For those who want proof of this carnage, there is no dearth of it.

“Victims of both acts of violence still await justice. The deaths by murder have not been avenged – most of the killers remain scot free. Most widows have been given just token compensation. There has been no reparation.

“In Gujarat, Civil Rights organizations allege the Chief Minister made this carnage happen and saw to it that all preventive actions were curbed.  As early as December 2003, the then Chief Justice of India V.N. Khare presiding over a Divisional Bench criticized the Government of Gujarat saying, “I have no faith left in the prosecution and the Gujarat government. I am not saying Article 356. You have to protect people and punish the guilty. What else is raj dharma? You quit if you cannot prosecute the guilty.” And in a landmark ruling on February 8th, 2012, the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat Bhaskar Bhattacharya, very emphatically stated, “Gujarat government’s inadequate response and inaction (to contain the riots) resulted in an anarchic situation which continued unabated for days on…the state cannot shirk from its responsibilities”. In the violence, 790 Muslims were killed and 223 more people were reported missing; 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims fled their homes. Police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

“The religious polarization is not good for the nation. The impunity enjoyed by the officials, police officers and above all by senior politicians including the chief minister of Gujarat mocks the Rule of Law, the justice dispensation system and above all, the Constitution of India.

“Many a  brave woman and man, social activists have kept the struggle for justice alive. There has also been an effort to bring new laws into force that will, hopefully, curb communal violence and mass crimes of hate in the future. The Prevention of Communal and Targeted violence [Access to Justice and Reparations] Bill 2011 drafted by the National Advisory Council is one such draft law.

“Yet, the manner of initiating a debate on the Bill in the last National Integration Council meeting did not inspire confidence in the victim communities of the Congress Party’s resolve to implement its 2004 election promise. We would like to place on record that the Constitutional and fundamental right of human dignity as a citizen of this country, and meaningful right to life in all its aspects as interpreted by various pronouncements of the Supreme Court of India, are of prime importance to each of us and no amount of political goodies can substitute it.

“As we express solidarity with the victims of  the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, and as we pay our homage to the dead in such violence, we demand of the Union government and the Justice apparatus  including  the High Courts and the Supreme court:

1. Justice for the victims — by ensuring that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book

2. Ending the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape  the law of the land.

3. Urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.

4. Measures by the state government to restore confidence among the victims and ensuring that their life return to normal. One index of this will be when members of the minority communities feel safe enough to live in mixed areas in cities in Gujarat.

5. Ensuring adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to  strengthen confidence and a trust; and

6. Enacting of the Prevention of Communal and targeted Violence Bill with adequate safeguards on strengthening federalism, early warning and rapid action systems to nip violence before it can assume alarming proportions.”

- fwd: john dayal

Gujarat Pogrom: Archbishop’s open letter to the nation

 

Archbishop Vincent M ConcessaoNew Delhi, February 28, 2012: On the occasion of the 10 anniversary of Gujarat pogrom 2002, Archbishop Vincent M Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi has expressed deep sympathy with the victims of the riots and called for justice to all victims of communal violence in India including the Kandhamal killings. The Archbishop has written an open letter to all leaders of the country over the issue of communal violence and peace and sought their support for the communal violence bill.

While expressing solidarity with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, he demanded the Union government and the Justice apparatus including the High Courts and the Supreme Court:

1. To ensure that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book

2. To end the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape the law of the land.

3. To take urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.

4. To ensure adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to strengthen confidence and trust.

Text of the letter:

The Christian community worldwide believes that Love – caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. In the 2,000 years of its existence in the country, our community has striven for Peace, and for Justice even as it has brought, as Mother Teresa did, human concern and love to the wounded, the despised, the deserted and those abandoned and left to die. And there is nothing worse than the aftermath of communal violence where communities are goaded to wage arson, rape and murder against their brothers and sisters of another faith. In the 1990s, India, according to government estimates, saw more than 6,000 communal riots, including the terrible anti Sikh violence in Delhi and other cities.

The first few years of the 21st Century has marked two major acts of communal violence that have wrought shame on our great civilisation, and shamed our noble motherland, India. The first was the anti-Muslim pogrom in 14 districts of Gujarat in February-March 2002, whose tenth anniversary we observe today in deep sorrow and empathy with the victims. The other was the August 2008 violence against Christians in Kandhamal District of Odisha and several other states which saw much rape and murder, and a massive and mindless arson that signed an entire people. What took place during those terrible months is beyond description. There are volumes of writings, audio visual materials, witnesses and victims who suffered and saw their loved ones die. For those who want proof of this carnage, there is no dearth of it.

Victims of both acts of violence still await justice. The deaths by murder have not been avenged – most of the killers remain scot free. Most widows have been given just token compensation. There has been no reparation.

In Gujarat, Civil Rights organizations allege the Chief Minister made this carnage happen and saw to it that all preventive actions were curbed. As early as December 2003, the then Chief Justice of India V.N. Khare presiding over a Divisional Bench criticized the Government of Gujarat saying, “I have no faith left in the prosecution and the Gujarat government. I am not saying Article 356. You have to protect people and punish the guilty. What else is raj dharma? You quit if you cannot prosecute the guilty.” And in a landmark ruling on February 8th, 2012, the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat Bhaskar Bhattacharya, very emphatically stated, “Gujarat government’s inadequate response and inaction (to contain the riots) resulted in an anarchic situation which continued unabated for days on…the state cannot shirk from its responsibilities”. In the violence, 790 Muslims were killed and 223 more people were reported missing; 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims fled their homes. Police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

The religious polarization is not good for the nation. The impunity enjoyed by the officials, police officers and above all by senior politicians including the chief minister of Gujarat mocks the Rule of Law, the justice dispensation system and above all, the Constitution of India.

Many a brave woman and man, social activists have kept the struggle for justice alive. There has also been an effort to bring new laws into force that will, hopefully, curb communal violence and mass crimes of hate in the future. The Prevention of Communal and Targeted violence [Access to Justice and Reparations] Bill 2011 drafted by the National Advisory Council is one such draft law.

Yet, the manner of initiating a debate on the Bill in the last National Integration Council meeting did not inspire confidence in the victim communities of the Congress Party’s resolve to implement its 2004 election promise. We would like to place on record that the Constitutional and fundamental right of human dignity as a citizen of this country, and meaningful right to life in all its aspects as interpreted by various pronouncements of the Supreme Court of India, are of prime importance to each of us and no amount of political goodies can substitute it.

As we express solidarity with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, and as we pay our homage to the dead in such violence, we demand of the Union government and the Justice apparatus including the High Courts and the Supreme Court:

1. Justice for the victims — by ensuring that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book
2. Ending the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape the law of the land.
3. Urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.
4. Measures by the state government to restore confidence among the victims and ensuring that their life return to normal. One index of this will be when members of the minority communities feel safe enough to live in mixed areas in cities in Gujarat.
5. Ensuring adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to strengthen confidence and a trust; and
6. Enacting of the Prevention of Communal and targeted Violence Bill with adequate safeguards on strengthening federalism, early warning and rapid action systems to nip violence before it can assume alarming proportions.

On Behalf of the Christian Community
Archbishop Vincent M Concessao,
Archbishop of Delhi

- fwd: prashanti

Delhi meet demands justice for CV victims

 

Rememberance of Gujrat Pogrom 2002New Delhi, February 28, 2012: Leaders of various religions prayed for peace in India and demanded justice for victims of the sectarian violence in Gujarat on its tenth anniversary yesterday.

“We should all unite to fight communal forces if we want this nation to develop,” Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi told a gathering at an inter-faith meet organized in New Delhi at Rajghat, the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, an advocate of nonviolence.
Some 300 people from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities attended the event in New Delhi, organized by the Delhi archdiocese and federation of Catholic associations.

The prelate said there should not be any discrimination on the bases of religion, caste or creed as “we all are equal in front of the law.”

The meet also paid homage to the victims of anti-Christian violence that took place in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2008.

The violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat was triggered by the burning of a train in Godhra allegedly by a Muslim mob, killing 58 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002.

This in turn prompted retaliatory attacks against Muslims and communal riots on a large scale across the state in which 790 Muslims were killed and 523 places of worship, including 17 temples and 3 churches, were damaged.

Hussain Ilias, a Muslim leader said at the inter-faith meet, “it is very unfortunate that even after ten years people are still fighting for justice. He said justice delayed is justice denied.”

He said suppression will stop only when we punish the culprits else incidents like this will be repeated in other states.

Muhammad Aliem, another Muslim leader, blamed the Gujarat government for the genocide.

Archbishop Concessao, had earlier in the day in an open letter, urged the state government to take measures to restore confidence among the victims so that they can rebuild their lives.

Father Cedric Prakash, who is the director of an NGO in Gujarat, at a similar meeting in Ahmedabad, said “minorities in the state are still treated like second-class citizens and a good section of them are confined to ghettos without even basic amenities.”

He said that realization and repentance are the first steps toward normalization and for enduring peace.

- ucan

Gujarat Riots 2002: Indian-American Muslims mourn victims, demand justice *Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Bihar, Economics, Gujarat, India, Issues, National, newsletter-india, Persecution

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New-Age-Islam-antiUS-rallyUSA, February 25, 2012: On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the horrible genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002, the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC, an NGO of Indian-American Muslims has lamented the prolonged delay in the Indian government’s action against the perpetrators of that horrible crime.

“In these ten years the mainstream media, a large number of NGOs and the Supreme Court in India have often stated that plenty of testimonies including eye-witness accounts from a variety of citizens in Gujarat support the often stated fact that the then government of the state of Gujarat and chief minister Narendra Modi were responsible for that murderous mayhem. Yet for ten long years the Indian government has refused to institute either an official government enquiry or legal proceedings against the known culprits,” the AIMA said in a statement.

Gujarat is a state from where many illustrious advocates of justice and non-violence including Mahatma Gandhi have risen and have preached the message of peace. Yet in the same state the mass crime occurred in which over two thousand innocent Muslims were killed and the houses of about 100,000 Muslims were destroyed, rendering them homeless.

The genocide against Muslims of Gujarat is a dirty stain on the face of secular and democratic India. “Today we Indian Muslims who live in North America mourn the hapless victims of that gory violence and once again appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India to institute legal action against the criminals and bring them to justice,” said AIMA.

- tcn

Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr

 

BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar ModiBihar, February 25, 2012: The Rs 78,686 Crore Bihar budget for the year 2012-2013, with a state plan size of Rs 28,000 Crore will have an allocation of Rs 125 Crore for the Minority Welfare Department. BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who holds the portfolio of finance, presented the 8th budget in a row in the state assembly on Friday.

The JDU-BJP government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 24th Feb. announced to give 25 acre land to Maulana Mazharul Haque University. The construction work will start from the next financial year, the government promised in the budget speech.

The Minority Welfare Department will get Rs 125 Cr. The amount will not cover graveyard fencing, Hunar, Taleemi Markaz schemes as they are funded by other departments.

According to the budget, the chief minister minority employment loan scheme, which came into effect in 2011-12, will get Rs 15 Cr. In the last financial year, it was allocated Rs 11 Cr. The hike will also go to minority education loan scheme, which was also started in 2011-12. Last it year it had Rs 4 Cr but in 2012-13 it will get Rs 1 Cr more, i.e. Rs 5 Cr.

However, the government has cut the fund for much-touted minority hostel modernization scheme. The one year old scheme will get only Rs 1.7 Cr while it was allocated Rs 2 Cr last year. Under the scheme, minority hostels in all districts will have generator set, TV, Refrigerator and other facilities.

The Rs 7000 Cr-surplus budget will give thrust on agriculture. After the new budget comes in place, cars, motorcycles, flats, bricks will be dearer. Moreover, cigarette and tobacco products will have tax hike between 13.5% to 20%.

Some other features of the budget are:

Rs 9508 Cr for agricultural roadmap.
Rs 2234 Cr for 21-km road along the Ganga (from Didarganj to Digha) in Patna
25000 flats in Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur.

- tcn

‘Ten years of the Gujarat Genocide’

February 27, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-india, Persecution

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Ten years of the Gujarat GenocideInvitation to a Commemoration Meeting in Mumbai:

‘Justice for Victims of 2002 Genocide’

Day/Date: Monday, February 27, 2012; 6-8 pm. (Meeting starts at 6 pm sharp)

Venue: St. Xaviers College Main auditorium, Next to Rang Bhavan, 5, Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai. (Phone: 22620661)

February 27/28 mark ten years both of the tragic death of 57 persons due to fire in a compartment of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra station and the criminal manipulation of this tragic incident as a pretext for the Modi government sponsored anti-Muslim genocide throughout the state.

On February 27, thousands of victim-survivors of the mass crime, lawyers, jurists, activists, artistes and intellectuals from all over the country will assemble at Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad for a commemoration. Through words and images, reminiscences and video-clips, photo exhibition, names of ‘Missing Persons’ enlisted on a ‘Wailing Wall’, honouring those who risked their lives to save neighbours who were the target, music and tears, the Crimes Against Humanity committed ten years ago will be recalled and the plight of the traumatised and the displaced highlighted. The survivors from Gulberg Society will lead the assembled people through the housing colony and recount the horrors of February 28, 2002. A collective resolve will be renewed to continue the struggle for justice to the victim-survivors and punishment to the perpetrators and masterminds of the carnage.

The entire programme at Gulberg Society, symbolising the Holocaust in Gujarat will be webcast for viewing Live on the afternoon/evening of Feb 27 and posted on U-tube subsequently so that we remember, never forget.

Simultaneous Commemoration Meetings are planned in several cities, including Mumbai and Delhi. For a part of the meeting on Feb 27, we hope to be able to view the programme webcast Live from Gulberg Society. The Mumbai meeting is being jointly organised by ALL justice and peace-promoting individuals/organisations and St Xaviers College. We urge you to be there and also publicise it widely within your circle of family, friends and colleagues urging them to be there too.

Convenor: Javed Anand, Citizens for Justice and Peace javedanand@gmail.com

Pannur Jesuits

Velankanny statue stoned and desecrated *Gujarat Massacre: Government to rebuild more than 500 places of worship

February 17, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-india, Persecution

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Velankanny statue broken

Velankanny statue broken

New Delhi, February 17, 2012: Fr. Julius Caesar from St. Mark’s Church, Punabi Bagh, New Delhi – 110 026 complained of the descration of the statue of Our Lady of Velankanny installed close to the gate facing the main road. In a complaint to AC Michael, Christian representative of the Delhi Minorities Commission on 17 February, 2012, he stated in the evening, Christian found the glass broken and the statue damaged. “This has been done willfully as the stone used to break the glass and statue was missing. This shows malicious intent to hurt religious sentiments and the police were informed of the incident. We are awaiting action from the authorities”, Fr. Julius said.

Government to rebuild more than 500 places of worship

 

Gujarat massacre: government to rebuild more than 500 places of worshipGujarat, February 10, 2012: The state’s High Court makes the ruling following a petition by the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat. Fr Prakash, director of a Jesuit human rights centre, welcomes the decision. More than a thousand people were killed in the 2002 riots; 523 places were destroyed, including three churches.

The Gujarat High Court has ruled that the government of Gujarat will have to compensate and rebuild the more than 500 places of worship destroyed during the 2002 riots. The ruling criticises Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi whose administration showed “negligence” in protecting citizens and religious structures. The decision follows a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG) in the absence of government compensation for the victims of the 2002 massacre.

“We welcome the news,” said Fr Cedric Prakash, director of the Prashant Human Rights Centre in Ahmadabad. “This judgement surely comes as a relief for victims’ survivors, for those fighting for justice and for all those who cherish the secular fabric and the diversity of our country and wish to preserve it.”

On 27 February 2002, a group of Muslims attacked the Sabarmati Express, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, especially women, children and seniors, on their way home from Ayodhya.

The attack unleashed sectarian riots across Gujarat. Local Muslims suffered the most. Of the thousand and more who are known to have died, 790 were Muslims and 254 were Hindus. In addition, 253 people are still missing.

Overall, 523 places of religious places, including three churches, were destroyed. The authorities arrested 27,901 Hindus and 7.651 Muslims.

- asianews

The CSF memo on Togadia Hate Speech – behead those who convert

November 8, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-lead, Persecution

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Pravin Togadia

Pravin Togadia

Gujarat, November 8, 2011: Senior leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Pravin Togadia has demanded a new Indian Constitution that allows “beheading” of anyone who converts Hindus.

Togadia was speaking the conclusion of the three-day Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan-2011, held at Pirana Prerna pith near Ahmedabad.

Workers of the VHP from across the country had gathered at Pirana and many of them stayed at the controversial dargah premises.

Pirana dargah’s followers are called Satpanthis which includes Hindus and Muslims.

Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai, who also came for the concluding ceremony on Monday, said “I would suggest that we Hindus should include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains because their line of thinking is no different from Hindus, except for a few small habits.”

- indian express

The CSF memorandum to the President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries on
Pravin Togadia’s Hate speech against minorities, calling for new Constitution, which beheads those who convert

This is with reference to the speech made by the VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia on 8 November, 2011 (yesterday-Monday) calling for a new Indian Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”. According to the Indian Express news published today, the fiery speech, seconded by right-wing leaders, came towards the conclusion of the three-day Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan 2011, held a few yards away from the controversial Pirana dargah on Ahmedabad city’s outskirts, where he stayed during the event. The CSF takes strong exception to these irresponsible remarks, which workers of the VHP from across the country had gathered here and will now fan out throughout India spewing such venom and damaging the secular fabric of the country.

The CSF also condemns Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai, who reportedly said, “I would suggest that we Hindus should include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains because their line of thinking is no different from Hindus, except for a few small habits.” These are frontal attacks on India’s religious minorities, especially the Christians and Muslims and need to be view as anti-national activities by the right wing fundamentalists. According to The CSF such statements are a grave threat to the peace, unity and integrity of India. An FIR should immediately be lodged against Pravin Togadia under sections 153A , 153B & 505 (1 & 2) of the Indian Penal Code, section 295 of the Criminal Procedure Code and other relevant laws of the land.

According to The CSF, Pravin Togadia’s speech clearly promotes enmity, hatred or ill-will and disturbs public tranquility. It also implies that minorities, especially Christians and Muslims do not bear true faith & allegiance to the Constitution of India and must be denied or deprived of their rights as Indian citizens. His statements cause disharmony and has given rise to fear or alarm among the minorities and has the effect of inducing Hindutva hardliners to commit offences against others. Since, sections 153 A & B of IPC require government sanction, which The CSF is sure we will not get, we are making this complaint to you.

In the aftermath of such speeches, which go unchallenged by the government and even worse is possibly even tolerated and encouraged by it or the bureaucracy, minorities feel insecure & threatened. They also cause communal disharmony and more importantly undermine the present Constitution of India, which needs to be protected. Such speeches provoke many in the majority community to commit offences against the minorities and thus endanger their life, property and are an affront to their Constitutional rights.

In view of the above we urge you to take stringent action against Pravin Togadia and his ilks, who were present at the Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan 2011, evidence of which can be got from the intelligence, which will serve as a deterrent.