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STATEMENTS and appeals on the CARNAGE
: 
Update:  April 23, 2002

 . PUNISH THE GUILTY OF GUJARAT GENOCIDE  Sign the online petition ! (April 23, 2002)
    Call for a National Campaign For Defence of the Indian Constitution

 . AMU Old Boys Association Assault on Constitution and Unity- Gujarat Carnage and Bangalore Resolution (April 7, 2002)

 . Udit Raj Press statement-Dalits are forced & enticed to fight against Muslims in Gujarat (April 6, 2002)  
 . Mumbai  Public Meeting on Carnage in Gujarat and POTA  (April 6, 2002)
 .
Mumbai
Gujarat Carnage-Protest March (April 5, 2002)
 
. Maitree   Statement -- Gujarat Communal Violence (April 04, 2002)  
 
. Pilgrimage of Compassion-Gujarat  Marching for peace (April 02, 2002)
 
. Communist Party of India (Marxist) Press Statement (April 02, 2002) 
 . Ahmedabad Music for Peace and Harmony (April 01, 2002) 
 . All India Christian Council Press Statement (March 27, 2002) 
 .
People for Peace and Secularism Relay mass fast for peace and communal harmony (March 27, 2002) 

 . INSAF Statement on Gujarat (March 27, 2002) 

 . Coalition Against Communalism  March for Peace and Justice in San Francisco   (March 27, 2002) 

 . Jagori  Hunger fast in Delhi  (March 27, 2002)

 . Suresh Gandhi  Hamara Hindustan?  (March 27, 2002)
 . Gautam Navlakha  POTO Rally  (March 22, 2002)
 
. CHRO pledge  10 point programme to combat Hindutva's Fascism  (March 21, 2002)
 
. South Asia Solidarity Group and Asian Women Unite London demo  (March 19, 2002)    
 
. Writers, Artists, Cultural Workers Against Communalism March to Rashtrapati Bhawan  (March 9, 2002) 
 . CHRO complaint: Against Union Minister O. Rajagopal's 'Newtonian' logic  (March 9, 2002)
 . CHRO Online petition: To the National Human Rights Commission  (March 9, 2002)

 . Raza Mir  Appeal for Relief  (March 9, 2002)  
 
. Syed Firdaus Ashraf   Protest in NY against Gujarat government  (March 9, 2002)  
 . Citizens of Gujarat,Mumbai & Kerela Urgent Appeal to the Chief Justice of India   (March 9, 2002) 
 
. Citizens of Gujarat-Mumbai  Appointment of Justice KG Shah Commission opposed (March9, 2002) 
 
. Apoorvanand  Delhi meet to protest Gujarat carnage (March 8, 2002) 
 
. KN Panikkar  Press Statement from Ahmedabad  (March 8, 2002) 
 
. SACH HUNDREDS JOIN HANDS FOR PEACE (March 8, 2002) 
 . Ishtiaq Ahmed Some Hindus Rescuing Muslims (March 7, 2002) 
 
. Dr.Laxmi.N .Berwa, Washington PEACE RALLY IN WASHINGTON D.C.  (March 7, 2002) 
 
. IIM Staff, Cambridge  Appeal for Relief (March 7, 2002) 
 
. Movement for Secular Democracy  (March 7, 2002) 
 
. Marxist India  Stop Any Move For Appeasement of VHP  (March 5, 2002)
 . Citizens of Gujarat-Mumbai Appeal to the President of India (March 5, 2002)
 . Sadhu Samaj  Sadhu Samaj condemns riots (March 5, 2002)
 . Inquilabi Communist Sangathan  Stop the Riots in Gujarat Resist the Fascist VHP (March 3, 2002)

 . SAHMAT  SAHMAT CALLS MODI A ‘MASS MURDERER’ (March 3, 2002)

 . Communalism Combat & SAHMAT Dismiss the Narendra  Modi government (March 3, 2002)
 . Communalism Combat & SAHMAT  Declare Gujarat a Disturbed Area (March 3, 2002)
 . Speak Up Now on Gujarat Government's Behavior During Communal Riots Sign the online petition ! (March 3, 2002)

 . Mahashweta Devi Protect people in Gujarat, Mahashweta Devi pleads with Narayanan (March 2, 2002)

 . Asiapeace (March 1, 2002)
 . Citizens of Gujarat APPEAL FROM THE CITIZENS OF GUJARAT (March 1, 2002)

 . National Alliance of People's Movements NAPM CONDEMN KILLINGS IN GUJARAT (March 1, 2002)

 . Shankaracharya Swami Shri Aadhog Shajananda Teerthji Maharaj Ban VHP: Shankaracharya (March 1, 2002)
 
. Voice of The Exploited, Mumbai Fire of Hatred? (March 1, 2002)

 . Vikas Adhyan Kendra   Statement on Gujarat (March 1, 2002)
 .
Academic and Student Community of Mangalore University  We call for a different nation (March 1, 2002)

 . Amnesty International Equal protection to all citizens must be ensured in Gujarat  (March 1, 2002)
 . Rohit Prajapati & Trupti Shah Press Release (March 1, 2002)

 . All India Christian Council Stop this madness in Gujarat (March 1, 2002)
 . Citizens of Mumbai Godhra killing condemned; Appeal for Peace and Sanity  (February 28, 2002)

 . Citizens of Gujarat-Mumbai Citizens from Gujarat-Mumbai Appeal to the President (February 28, 2002)
 
. Muslim Ulema Muslim ulema condemn the Godhra incident (February 28, 2002)
 . Akhil Bharat Rachnatmak Samaj APPEAL. (February 28, 2002)
 . Concerned Citizens Appeal to the Chief Justice of India. (February 27, 2002)
 


Date: Sunday, April 07, 2002 6:22 AM

From: Harsh Kapoor aiindex@mnet.fr

 

Convention organised by AMU Old Boys Association

 

Gujarat Carnage and Bangalore Resolution

Assault on Constitutional Order and Unity of India

 

Sunday, April 7, 2002

The Speaker's Hall, Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi-110001

10 a.m. onwards

 

ARJUN SINGH        MANI SHANKAR AIYAR      HARKISHAN SINGH SURJEET      SOMNATH CHATTERJEE

A.B. BARDHAN      D. RAJA                             UDIT RAJ                                     SHAHID SIDDIQUI     

DINESH TRIVEDI    SWAMI AGNIVESH            REV. VALSON THAMPO               ARIF MOHAMMAD KHAN

SUMIT SARKAR     ARUNDHATI ROY               SHARMILA TAGORE                    NIRMALA DESHPANDE     

MJ AKBAR             MARK TULLY                     HARISH KHARE                           AMIT SENGUPTA   

NAMVAR SINGH     GAUTAM NAULAKHA        KAMAL MITRA CHENOY              MUSHIRUL HASSAN 

JAWED NAQVI       KULDEEP NAYYAR  


 

Date: Saturday, April 06, 2002 1:57 PM 

From: satichou satichou@yahoo.com

 

Press Release

 

DALITS ARE FORCED & ENTICED TO FIGHT AGAINST MUSLIMS IN GUJARAT: UDIT RAJ

 

New Delhi, 6th April, 2002

 

In some definite localities like Dani Nimada, Gomatipur, Shahpur and Khanpur in Ahmedabad, illiterate, innocent and unemployed Dalits were forcibly used against Muslims. Initially they were persuaded to take on fight with Muslims by enticing them while distributing money, liquor, weapons and other things and when they refused then other tricks like pressure tactics were applied, according to personal observation of Mr. Udit Raj.

 

The ongoing communal violence in Gujarat is nothing but a game of power. In 1984 and 85 when a radiologist belonging to Dalit community was appointed under reservation, there was a communal outbreak and Dalits were beaten, humiliated and killed. In 1969 also there was communal violence with a view to brand Indira Gandhi as a pro Muslim at the instigation of Sangh Pariwar while backing Morarji Desai.

 

What happened in Godhra on 27th February 2002 deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible manner. And communal outbreak afterwards epitomises the climax of barbarism. By the end of first fortnight of March 2002 it appeared that the situation was getting cooled. Since Gujarat, as a Hindutva laboratory, has to rescue the ruling class from crises, therefore, Hindutva has to be consolidated by escalating communalism. Under this thinking, the second phase of communalism began in Gujarat.

 

Mr. Udit Raj visited Ahmedabad on 3rd of April 2002 and found it to be terrible, startling, inhuman and stifling. Dalit localities are normally situated between so called high castes and Muslims. Wherever communalism did not take place, the workers and leaders of VHP and Bajrang Dal went into Dalits' localities and enticed and provoked them to the extent that they were mentally prepared to fight with Muslims. Initially VHP workers accompanied some Dalits to Muslim areas and created some inflammatory situation and later on they disappeared leaving alone the Dalits so that finally it was a fight between Dalits and Muslims. It is also a fact that after the Muslims, the death toll of dalits is highest. When Muslims were attacking dalit localities, the police watched and did not stop them so that it could become a confrontation between Muslims and dalits. Wherever dalits became victims of violence the newspapers highlighted it with caste identity. Some newspapers even wrote that it were dalits and tribals who could save Hinduism. Thus situation was created in such a way that Muslims thought that dalits were their main enemies and vice versa.

 

The leaders of the Confederation at Ahmedabad narrated the story that Sangh Pariwar workers distributed liquor, money and weapons among dalits so that they could take on the fight with Muslims. They also told that dalit Karsevaks who went to Ayodhya were paid money. Most of them were not indoctrinated before they were recruited for this purpose. The Sangh Pariwar could get good response from dalits because they are less educated and unemployed. Mr. Udit Raj warned that the Sangh Pariwar should desist from such anti- national activities. The Confederation is at work amongst dalits in Gujarat to make them understand the reality.

 

(Tej Singh Varun) Media Incharge


 

Date: Saturday, April 06, 2002 7:53 AM

From: Harsh Kapoor aiindex@mnet.fr

A Public Meeting on the Carnage in Gujarat and POTA

 

On Saturday 6th April 2002

At YWCA, Madam Cama Rd. (Next to St. Anne's School, Near Regal Cinema. [Bombay])

5.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

 

Speakers:

V.P. Singh

Mahesh Bhatt

Shabana Azmi


 

Date: Friday, April 05, 2002 8:37 PM

From: Ram Puniyani bmrrpia@cc.iitb.ac.in

Gujarat Carnage-Protest March

 

Different political parties and social groups have organized a Silent March to Governor's residence to submit a memorandum demanding the dismissal of the Gujarat Govt.

 

The marchers will be carrying placards on the theme of shame brought to the Nation by the role of Gujarat Govt. in fanning the flames of communal violence, need to dismiss this criminal govt. to restore peace etc. The march will start from Azad Maidan on 8th April, Monday at 4 PM and will go via Metro, Opera house, Nana Chowk, and Chowpatty and will terminate near Governors residence.

 

For clarification and info. - 6423786, 5222654, 7574381


Date: Thursday, April 04, 2002 6:06 AM

From: Harsh Kapoor aiindex@mnet.fr

 

Dear friends,

This is the Maitree statement on Gujarat. A further meeting on 6th April will discuss future programmes. 

Maitree has already taken out a silent demonstration on 6th march and a demonstration on 8th March.

Soma Marik

 

Statement by Maitree on the Gujarat Communal Violence

 

Maitree, a network of women's rights groups, NGOs and individual activists functioning in West Bengal, is registering its protest against the large-scale devastation and communal violence in Gujarat. The developments in Gujarat and in Ayodhya for the last one month make it clear that this violence is not a riot in the traditional sense, but an extremely planned, systematic, state sponsored, and one-sided pogrom.

 

We deeply condemn the Godhra massacre and the systematic and brutal violence inflicted on members of the Muslim community in Gujarat subsequently. The Hindutva forces had been seeking to communalise civil society, polity and administration and educational institutions, and the preparation for the pogrom and economic war along communal lines was going on for a long time. Godhra was merely an opportune incident utilized by the extreme communalist forces to unleash a pogrom. We emphasize that the Gujarat State Government has no moral right to continue in office as it has not only actively encouraged and supported those who have planned and perpetrated the violence, it has also justified these acts of terror as "spontaneous outbursts" by citizens, and has failed miserably to punish the criminals and bring back normalcy to the State. The Home Minister also commended the role of the Narendra Modi government, for having allegedly created a record of sorts by controlling the violence within '72 hours'. The theory of a spontaneous outburst of popular Hindu anger contrasted to the pre-planned massacre of VHP 'pilgrims' by ISI funded Islamic fundamentalists, lies at the core of the overt and covert justifications of the pogroms, put forward by the RSS-VHP-BD-BJP. However, this has now been thoroughly deflated, along with the role of the Modi government. The National Human Rights Commission, as well as independent civil liberties groups like the PUCL and SAHMAT's investigating team, have indicted the government, while even the police has failed to provide any proof of ISI involvement in Godhra.

 

The lack of will on the part of the State Government is encouraging communal flames to spread further and it is the biggest offender of our constitution, which guarantees secularism and denounces discrimination on grounds of religion. The most glaring instance of such discrimination is evident from the differential compensation package provided to the victims of communal violence; while the kin of the Godhra incident is entitled to Rs 2,00,000/-, only half the amount has been granted to those whose relatives fell prey to Gujarat violence. Needless to say that Hindus constituted the former group while the latter mostly comprised Muslims.

 

The consequence of this government-backed communal terrorism has been unimaginably violent. People have been murdered most brutally. Children have been butchered. A great many women have been raped. Reports from everywhere attest to the excessive brutalities including sexual violence against women and children and burning alive of helpless people. An additional fall-out has been the economic paralysis due to curfews and the utter helplessness of people belonging to the unorganised sectors, who are getting no work and no pay, leading to suicides in some case.

 

As citizens of a 'sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic republic' we feel that there has been a gross violation of civil rights and the security of our civil society stands endangered today. The communal carnage, systematically carried out, is part of a wider RSS -VHP strategy of forcing minorities to become second-class citizens in India. This open violation of our constitutional laws continues to this day and no appropriate measures have been taken as yet to punish these offenders of law. We strongly protest against such atrocities and demand punishment for all- individuals, religious or political groups, institutions and even governments, who directly or indirectly participated or supported such criminal activities.

 

As peace-loving citizens of India we want your immediate intervention to ensure that the mandate, principles and spirit of our secular constitution are upheld.

 

We demand:

 

l  The immediate dismissal of the Gujarat Government; the resignation of L.K. Advani for giving a clean chit to the 
    Modi
government;

 

l   Relief, rehabilitation and compensation equally to all those in the relief camps and those affected by the violence

 

l   Special protection for new-born babies and their nursing mothers in the relief camps;

 

l   Immediate steps for the poorest layers, for example the daily wage-earners who have not been getting wages for 
     close to a month

 

l   The setting up of a time-bound judicial commission of investigation under one or more serving Supreme Court judges;

 

l   The registering of cases under criminal law against every minister, official and police personnel mentioned by 

     survivors/eyewitnesses;

 

l    Immediate action under existing criminal laws against the VHP and BD and any other organisations that propagate and 

      practice communalism and violence.


 

Date: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 8:05 AM

From: amarn amarn@actionaidindia.org

 

Marching for peace

To spread the message of tolerance and provide a healing touch to those affected by the communal violence in Gujarat, nearly 70 religious leaders, noted Gandhians and social activists will embark on a four-day multi religious "Pilgrimage of Compassion'' to cover the riot-torn areas of Gujarat on April 1.


 

Date: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 12:51 PM

From: marxistindia marxistindia@yahoo.co.in

 

Press Statement

 

The Polit Bureau of Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the

following statement:

 

NHRC Report Confirms Gujarat CM Has To Go

 

The preliminary comments of the National Human Rights Commission on the Gujarat situation is a serious indictment of the Narendra Modi government in the way it tackled the unprecedented violence which engulfed the state after the Godhra attack. The NHRC has confirmed what is widely known about the culpability of the BJP state government in its failure to protect the lives of citizens belonging to the minority community and worse for the connivance of the State machinery in the shameful incidents. The Central government must ensure that the recommendations of the NHRC such as handing over of the investigations into the worse crimes to the CBI and the setting up of special courts to try the culprits.

The NHRC's findings against the Gujarat government make it imperative that Narendra Modi be removed from the Chief Ministership without which no credibility can be restored in the state administration. The Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) is in the process of consulting other secular opposition parties so that a united movement can be launched to demand the removal of Narendra Modi from Chief Ministership.

The reports from Gujarat show that the people affected by the violence living in the camps are getting no proper relief, leave alone rehabilitation measures from the state administration. The Polit Bureau appeals to all its state units to collect medicines for the people living in the relief camps to be sent to Gujarat immediately.


 

Date: Monday, April 01, 2002 8:36 AM
From: willy willy@vsnl.com

 

MUSIC FOR PEACE AND HARMONY (MSD)

 

A programme ---MUSIC FOR PEACE AND HARMONY---- is going to be held on April 9 in Ahmedabad. The leading artists of the city will participate in the programme. . The detailed programme will be circulated soon, Pl. inform your friends and circulate this news among the interested circle.

Movement for Secular Democracy dnr@icenet.net


 

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 1:13 AM

From: john dayal  johndayal@vsnl.com

 

ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL

79/B I&II Floors, Street 8, West Marredpally, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

President: Dr Joseph D' Souza Secretary General: Dr. John Dayal

 

PRESS STATEMENT

 

Bangalore, 26th March 2002

 

Sangh guilty of genocide in Gujarat, Centre must take legal actions against Narendra Modi, RSS top leaders.  The following Statement was issued at a Press Conference by All India Christian Council Secretary General Dr John Dayal, and Public Affairs Secretary Mr. Sam Paul, in Bangalore on 26th March 2002. Dr Ambrose Pinto, well known Human Rights activist, Mr. Kumar Swamy, and Dalit and Muslim leaders also addressed the Press Conference.

 

The images from Gujarat have seared the soul, and shaken the conscience, of every civilized human being. Every Indian who raised his or her voice against the burning alive of the 57 Kar Sevak passengers of a coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, is outraged at the State-sponsored genocide that is still going on in various parts of Gujarat, including the state capital. Civil society in India, a vast majority of it Hindus, has come together to challenge the crude majoritarianism of the Sangh Parivar, and challenge and the physical and economic terrorism that the armed Sangh cadres are now waging against the Muslim population of the State. The Christian community, itself a victim of the same terrorism in Gujarat and its contiguous states, expresses its solidarity with the victims, and pledges its support to Civil Society in restoration of peace and the rehabilitation of the uprooted and the traumatized.

 

The All India Christian Council earlier this year called for an international ban on the various subordinate organisations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and in particular the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal. We also demanded an international investigation into the Fascist ideology of these organisations, their funding patterns and the evil programmes they have launched in various parts of the country, and specially in the tribal belt.

 

Their blatant agenda is to communalize innocent people's groups, and to sabotage the development process and the emancipation that it brings to the poor people of these areas. We are today witnessing the result of the cumulative process of the Sangh Parivar's well-funded operations in these areas. Tribals have been misled into attacking minorities, and in urban areas, young men and women, taught hate at the thousands of shakhas opened under state patronage, have looted and brunt alive, men, women and innocent babies with calculated brutality.

 

The Christian Council reaffirms its demand for a global scrutiny of this organisation, which traces its inspiration from the fascist nazi, and fascist doctrines of Adolf Hitler and Mussolini. We will strenuously pursue our demand in national and international forums, and if need be, in international courts of Justice and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.

 

The complicity of the Government of Gujarat is patent. Chief Minister Narendra Modi has implemented his policy of engineering Newtonian reactions. Senior police officers watched in impotence as BJP ministers took over command of the lethal operations. Government staff, which had been last year, invited to join the RSS, assisted in the carnage. Muslim police officers have had to hide their identity, and even Muslim judges of the Gujarat High Court, have had to take refuge in safe areas.

 

This absolute breakdown of the secular state has become possible because of the patronage of the Union government that looked on approvingly while Kupahalli Sudershan, the present and future of the RSS, transformed the Sangh Parivar into a killing machine with the singular objective to take over the entire polity of the country. The escalation of the Ayodhya regime is one facet of it. Narendra Modi, a senior Pracharak cadre, was brought to Gujarat with the express purpose of communalising the electorate and delivering it to the BJP in the next elections. He has fulfilled the task entrusted to him by his bosses, at the cost of several thousands of Muslim lives.

 

The Muslims are not the only victims, though they are the worst sufferers. Hindus, who tried to save Muslims from the mad crowds, have also been butchered. The Christian community is being coerced, its volunteers threatened in their relief and rehabilitation processes. Chapels have been smashed and pastors beaten up in Sanjeli and other parts of the state.

 

It is obnoxious that National Commission for Minorities Member John Joseph has chosen this moment to persuade some members of the Christian community in Bangalore to engage in another session of a monologue from Kupahalli Sudershan, author of such statements as "Minorities must earn the goodwill of the majority community for the security of their life and property," and "Christians and Muslims must rewrite their Scriptures." Sudershan used this platform to reiterate his agenda of hate which makes Sikhs, together with Muslims, Christians and Buddhists, into second grade citizens in their own homeland. We again condemn his statements.

 

Senior Bishops and Pastors of Bangalore and most Church correctly leaders did not attend the meeting. The Council also congratulates men such as the Bangalore police Commissioner, Mr. Sangliana, who came in his personal capacity as a citizen, and challenged the poisonous thesis of Sudershan to his face. Sudershan and his minions are, of course, just not interested in listening to any one. Much less to those who dare challenge the half-truths, falsehoods and misinterpretations of history that the Sangh Parivar uses to mislead and divide people.

 

The All India Christian Council has consistently welcomed dialogue with all people of goodwill which will further religious freedom and democratic traditions of India in keeping with the India's plural cultural identity.

 

But the Council has always opposed any truck with the Sangh Parivar, which is now in a position to impose with weapons and fire its diktat of One nation, One People, One Culture. The Supreme Court has questioned, in its own way, the legitimacy of the Sangh Parivar and its arrogance claim to represent the majority community. It is time the Minorities commission and its members stop paying homage to the political masters in the Sangh Parivar who appointed them, and take courage to fulfill their Constitutional obligations. The Minorities Commission, and specially Mr. John Joseph, have betrayed the minorities, specially the Christian community. They must have the decency to resign.

 

Mr. Justice JS Verma, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, has shown the path of how statutory commissions created to safeguard the innocent citizens of this land, must behave. His visit to Gujarat has brought solace to the victims, even though in the process, Mr. Verma has himself had to brave the violent behaviour of the Sangh Parivar.

 

Christians in Gujarat and throughout the country are in the forefront of the Human rights movement. The names of Fr Cedric Prakash and Mr. Samson Christian are among scores of priests, nuns and lay persons who have risked life and limb to investigate and document the violence, bring succour to victims and take care of refugees. Elsewhere in the country, the Christian community, as part of civil society, has been taking part in daily protests, peace marches, relay hunger strikes and peace vigils. The council salutes these brave men and women of peace.

 

India needs peace and goodwill among communities for its development, economic as well as social, in this century. This peace can come only through justice, faith in the Constitution and trust in the rule of law, guaranteed by a government that is impartial and is not bigoted. These democratic processes are strengthened by modern education, and not through the rewriting of history books, distribution of millions of trishuls in villages and opening tens of thousands of shakhas to turn out cadres for militant organizations. Any so-called dialogue with such Organisations as the RSS gives them a semblance of creditability and insults the victims of their carnage in Gujarat. It also insults the memory of those massacred by the Sangh Parivar.

 

The minorities must feel secure, and not be made to feel second grade citizens at the mercy of either the murderous hordes of the Sangh Parivar, or a ruling party more interested in its electoral prospects than in its responsibilities to the people. Sudershan's statements bully, coerce and threaten the minorities. He and his associates are culpable under the law for criminal intimidation, for conspiracy against communities and for inciting murder, arson and loot. It is a moot question if the Government at the center has the courage to take action against him, or against Narendra Modi. Such action is however imperative if India is to tell the world that it is a democracy where people have the freedom of their identity. 

 

The Union government must ban all organisations of the Sangh Parivar forthwith, and in particular the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and their associates. We call upon All State governments, especially those ruled by the Congress and the non-BJP parties, to also initiate immediate steps to ban the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in their respective States.

 

The international community can also not shirk its responsibility in this regard. India is a signatory to the Charter of the United Nations and to global Human rights covenants. The international community must impress on the BJP government hat it risks international ridicule and opprobrium if it does not act now.

 

Issued by Dr John Dayal, for favour of publication. For further information, Please Contact Mr. Kumar Swamy at 9845007088 or 9845314197


 

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2002 11:54 AM

From: CPD Delhi cpddelhi2001@yahoo.co.uk

 

Relay mass fast for peace and communal harmony

 

Friends,

I am posting below the appeal issued by the same groups/organizations and individuals who organized the march on the 13th, in which so many of us participated, under the banner of People for Peace and Secularism. Now a mass relay fast has been planned, from 23rd of March (Muharram) to 28th of March (Holi), at Mandi House circle, Delhi. The idea is that groups of 50 to 60 people every day in that period will fast for 24 hours from 8am through the night to 8am the next morning. Apart from appealing to citizens to keep the peace, the fast will also be in support of the demands on which we marched (See appeal below).

 

The idea is that different groups take the responsibility to ensure at least 50 to 60 people each for the different days. Delhi University teachers have taken the responsibility for 25th, women's groups for the

23rd, and other groups for other days. For any further information/clarifications, please contact Jagori

(6253629, 6257015). If you can commit to fast on the 25th with the Delhi University teachers,

Please call Javed Malik (3974893), Svati Joshi (2017469) or Nivedita Menon

(2202784).

 

Aditya Nigam (for CPD)

 

People for Peace and Secularism

RELAY FAST FOR PEACE AND COMMUNAL HARMONY

23-28 MARCH, MANDI HOUSE ROUNDABOUT

AN APPEAL TO ALL CITIZENS TO JOIN

We, as citizens of India, have always been proud of our Constitution and of our democratic heritage that assures equality, dignity and security to all citizens regardless of their religious or political affiliations. Today, these ideals lie in the dust. We hang our heads in shame as we recall the events of the last few weeks that have engulfed our country in violence. We have no words strong enough to condemn the heinous attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra and the systematic annihilation of Muslim communities in Gujarat, which has continued unchecked for the last three weeks. More than 3,000 people have died – more than 100,000 have lost their families, their homes, their means of livelihood and their hopes and dreams. It is a matter of national shame that the State Government has actively encouraged and supported those who have perpetrated the carnage. It is a matter of national shame that the acts of savagery carried out by gangs of armed hoodlums have been defended and justified by those whose duty is to control such elements and protect the lives and rights of citizens.

 

It is a matter of national shame that the government is talking about integration with the global economy

while ignoring the deliberate and complete destruction of the livelihoods of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat.

 

The events in Gujarat are driven by the same forces as the militant mobilisation in Ayodhya by religious bigots who openly declare their intention of driving away all non-Hindus from this country. Those who claim to be acting in the name of Ram do not hesitate to shed blood in the pursuit of their agenda. This is not Hinduism – it is not the religion of peace, love and non-violence preached by saints and sages, and practised by millions. This is not nationalism – it is blind destruction of the very foundations of our nation. These are not acts of faith – they are acts of terror.

 

People of many faiths have lived together in peace and amity for centuries in our country – we have celebrated Divali and Eid, Holi and Christmas together and with equal fervour. We have taken pride in our diversity – indeed, the world has always recognised it as our greatest strength. Yet today, on the eve of Holi and Muharram, we are faced with the prospect of blood on the streets.

 

It is time for us to take a stand against the ideology of hate and those who perpetrate it. We will no longer tolerate the politics of communalism. As citizens of India, we claim our rights to peace, safety and security – we demand that the government ensure these rights for all citizens.

 

We demand

 

 - Ban on organisations like the VHP and Bajrang Dal that are propagating communalism and violence.

 - Dismissal of the Narendra Modi government and the imposition of President’s Rule in Gujarat.

 - Relief and rehabilitation on equal terms for all those affected by the carnage in Gujarat.

 

This may be our last chance - if we keep silent now, our democracy may not survive the wounds that have

been inflicted on it in the last weeks!


Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 10:57 PM

From: Hari Sharma sharma@sfu.ca

Statement on Gujarat

 

Dear friends:

 

INSAF affiliates in the Boston area ("Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia") have finalized a statement reproduced below.

 

In the Name of God

For a week this March, Gujarat burned. For a week, murder and mayhem gripped the state as mobs of Hindus instigated and led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) systematically hunted Muslims all over Gujarat, set their homes on fire and reduced their communities to ashes. Brutality reigned, dividing people from one another. The killings at Godhra deserve our condemnation and the guilty must be punished in the court of law. But who will punish the VHP and the Hindutva forces for perpetrating terror on innocent people? Who will punish the government of Gujarat that actively aided and abetted the carnage unleashed by the VHP? Who will punish the Indian State that ceaselessly assaults our humanity in the name of religion? We will not be intimidated by people who rationalize systematic planned killings of innocent people for the simple reason that they pray to a different God. We will not let people, who unleash violence to appease their Gods, speak for our communities. We stand in solidarity with the people of India who have steadfastly and resolutely opposed the forces of religious fundamentalism. Together we will continue to struggle for a just, secular and democratic India.

 

Signed:

 

Abha Sur, Shalini Nataraj, Nurul Kabir, Daya Varma, Shree Mulay, Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, Mriganka Sur, Rajiv Jain, Indira Peterson, Chukka Srinivas, Jayanta Dey, Kamala Visweswaran, Abira Ashfaq, Gautam Premnath, Kasturi Ray, Modhumita Roy, Robert Crooks, Romir Chatterjee, Rajini Srikanth, Naomi Baum, Fahad Ahmad, Vasanthi Venkatesh, Mona Chopra, Rajesh Kasturirangan, Sunaina Maira, K. S. Srikanth, Ravi Dixit, Raja Swamy, Nikhil Aziz, Sekhar Ramakrishnan, Dolores Chew, Ansar Fayyazuddin, C. Kumar, Cathy Kumar, Chhavi Sachdev, Justine Sammanasu, Doug Kline, Pallavi Rastogi, Areendam, Asad Naqvi, Kavita Philip, Manureet Brar, Vinod Mubayi, Chandana Mathur, Banu Subramanian, Dharma Kannoly, Harsh Kapur, Partha Mitra, Shalini Gera, Girish Agarwal, Heather Miller, Sara Driscoll, Jennifer Bannister, Mohan Rao, Laxmi Rao, Syed Riaz Mahdi, Aradhana Sharma, Sucheta Majumdar, Biju Mathews, Sangeeta Kamath, Hari Sharma, and more.

 

This statement will be published in the Hindustani and Gujarati newspapers of UP and Gujarat, for which the space will be paid for.

 

On an urgent basis I forward it to you: KINDLY CONSIDER ADDING YOUR NAME TO IT (if you have not already done so). It must be done by this evening. Kindly respond immediately.

You can send your reply here or directly to: "Abha Sur" asur@mit.edu

Buying space in the newspapers will cost money. We appeal to you to kindly contribute some money for it ($25.00, or more, if you can).  At the moment, just make a pledge, and you could send the check later on. If you are not in a position to make a money commitment, please still sign on.

 

People in the USA should send the check to:

The Singh Foundation

c/o Dr. Sekhar Ramakrishnan,

50W 97th Street,

Apt. 15T,

NY, NY 10025.

 

Those in Canada should send it to:

CERAS,

2520 Lionel Groulx,

Suite # 13,

Montreal,

Quebec H3J1J8.

 

PLEASE, URGENT RESPONSE IS NEEDED.

 

Hari Sharma

PS: Kindly note that efforts are also being made to raise funds for the relief efforts for the tens of thousands of victims of carnage in Gujarat. You will hear about it soon.

 

Date:


 

Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2002 1:35 PM
From: Avi Singh avisingh@yahoo.com

 

March for Peace and Justice in San Francisco

 

I am enclosing the links for our Press Report for our March 23 Gujarat Protest March in San Francisco.

 

Press Report:

http://www.geocities.com/akhila_raman/filedir/guj_pr.htm

 

Do feel free to call Akhila Raman (510-649-8719) or me (415 637 6578) if you have any questions.

 

Thanks

Avi Singh

 

An appeal for peace and justice in Gujarat made at San Francisco

 

Coalition Against Communalism gathers to condemn the violence and demand justice for all victims in Gujarat; Indian Consulate presented with petition bearing 4,233 signatures asking the National Human Rights Commission to ensure human rights and justice in Gujarat; Gathering draws 250.

 

Sunday, 24th March, 2002, San Francisco, CA: On Saturday, 23rd March, 250 people gathered at the Gadar Memorial, a tribute to the movement that Bhagat Singh belonged to, and marched to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to

present a petition bearing over 4,233 signatures from across the world asking the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to safeguard the human and constitutional rights for all residents of Gujarat – regardless of religion or ethnicity. It asks the NHRC to ensure the following: 

 

· Setting up of an independent and impartial judicial enquiry. It rejects both the charter and the constitution of the current 

   judicial enquiry.

· Immediate government assistance to victims.

· Equal and fair compensation to all victims, whether of the Sabarmati Express or of the communal violence.

· Gujarat Government to condemn, not explain, the violence.

· The Dismissal of the Police Commissioners in cities worst affected by the violence.

· The Resignation of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi

· That the recent decision not to apply POTO to the current violence is commendable, and needs to be sustained.

· An immediate end to all measures to curb the freedom of, and acts of violence against, the freedom of the press.

 

People who signed the petition included film-maker Anand Patwardhan, former Chief of Indian Navy, Admiral Ramdas, social activist Lalitha Ramdas, author Chitra Divakaruni, Magasaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, Narmada Bachao  Andolan activist Shripad Dharmadhikary, human rights activists Dr. Vineeta Gupta and Mukundan Menon, university professors Dr. D. N. Jha (Delhi University), Dr. Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Dr. Raka Ray (University of California, Berkeley), Dr. Rafiq Dossani (Stanford University), Dr. Hari Sharma (Simon Fraser University), independent film maker Ali Kazimi, journalists Arundhati Parmar and Beena Sarwar, and leaders of Indo-American organizations Srikanth Nadhamuni (former President of Indians for Collective Action) and Pradeep Kashyap (Director of the Indian American Foundation).

(For a copy of the complete petition, please see http://ektaonline.org/cac/resources/petitions/gujarat.htm.  A copy of the

petition with all the signatures will also be sent directly to the NHRC).

 

The march, orchestrated under the banner of Coalition Against Communalism, was a reflection of India in all its diversity – with representation from all its religions, brought together by the carnage in Gujarat.  It was also a representation of an often silent majority of Indians living in the San Francisco Bay Area, who were outraged by the events in Gujarat, and believed

that their voice needed an expression, and wanted to show the people of their support in these troubled times.  On reaching the Indian Consulate, the marches observed a minute of silence to honor and respect all the victims of Gujarat.

 

The march included a talk by Shalini Gera, the author of the petition, who debunked many of the myths perpetuated on what happened in Gujarat, and Why? According to Gera, this violence was neither spontaneous, nor expressive of a sentiment among the Hindus in Gujarat.  It was pre-planned, meticulously executed, and often carried out in collusion with the civic, administrative, and political bodies.  Furthermore, the government has been both biased and negligent in its provision of relief to victims of the riots.  Gera also took exception to the claim by the Sangh Parivar to be both patriots and pro-Hindu, saying they neither represent Hindus in their distortion of its beliefs, nor the country in their rejection of its founding principles. Hindus and Muslims, as with other communities in India, live together peacefully, and the recent violence was a deliberate and malicious provocation by people opposed to that fact.  (For more information on the facts, please see

http://ektaonline.org/cac/resources/articles/myths+facts.htm.)

 

The Sangh Parivar, and in particular its more extreme bodies that function outside the political process – the VHP, RSS, and Bajrang Dal, were condemned by those who marched.  There were several slogans against the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), which is active in the Indian community in the US, and has been directly linked to both the instigation and the execution of the violence against Muslims in the India. The speakers also made this point.  Raju Rajagopal, an activist in the Indian community, spoke of the need for Indians everywhere to speak up against the violence. Gurdip Ankhi,

who spoke in Punjabi, and has been active in politics in Punjab, spoke of the government forcing Indians everywhere to hang their heads in shame by their failure to uphold this most basic right of all citizens – the right to life.   Samittar Uppal, of the Indian People’s Cultural Association drew parallels between the challenges of today, and the work of the Gadar Party

in fighting both for India’s freedom, and their vision of a secular and democratic India.  Manzoor Ghori and Omair Farooqui of the Indian Muslim Relief Committee read a statement condemning the violence.  Syed ji of Hyderabad spoke of the fact that Muslims in India were Indians to the core, rejecting the Sangh Parivar argument on the external origins of Islam.  Avi

Singh also spoke of the need for holdings those responsible accountable under the rule of law, and the responsibility everyone shared in preventing these tragedies from reoccurring.  Other speakers included Sanjiv Mahajan and Professor Angana Chatterji.

 

Professor Praveen Sheth and  Manzoor Ghori presented the petition to the Consulate, The Vice Consul  Saxena, on behalf of the Consul General, received the petition.

 

The mood of the march was somber in light of the events in Gujarat.  Nalini Shekar led the marched in singing songs on communal harmony.  Among banners displayed at the march, some included:

 

“Religious Harmony and Social Justice in India”

“PM: Do your Constitutional Duty”

“We want a Secular and Democratic India”

“Vajpayeeji, Uphold the Rule of Law”

“VHP Represent Hindus – What a Joke?”

“Bring all Law-Breakers to justice now”

 

Coalition Against Communalism

 

CAC is a San Francisco Bay Area organization committed to upholding India’s constitutional safeguards on secularism, and promoting secularism both within India, and among Indian communities worldwide.  For more information, please e-mail cac@ektaonline.org or call Akhila Raman at (510) 649 8719.

 

Some Quotes

 

Chitra Divakurni, Author

“We must stop this violence now. I urge the government and the human rights groups to do their part to end it. I pray for all our brothers and sisters who have suffered in this hate-filled carnage in India.”

 

Professor Angana Chatterji, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA

“We must condemn crimes committed in our name, and plan for long term strategies toward secularizing India and Indians so we might honour the promises we have made to each other in the name of democracy, justice and freedom for all her citizens.”

 

Raju Rajgopal, Activist

“This is not just a Gujarat issue. This is not just an Indian issue. This is about upholding the constitution and law & order.”


Date: March 27, 2002

Email: jagori@del3.vsnl.net.in 
Website: www.jagori.org

Hunger fast in Delhi

 

Dear friends,

We are now into the fourth day of the fast. The first three days have generated tremendous energy and more than 500 people have participated over these days - some on fast and others supporting. We have managed to reach out to many many people who have been walking by, joining us for a while, talking to us, supporting us, signing the pledge. And the news coming in from Gujarat is only strengthening our resolve to take this fight against communal forces forward.

 

The responses from many of the passers-by has been heartening and many people condemn the targeted violence that is taking place. Songs are being sung and poetry is being read out through the day and evening. Some members of the public have also expressed their thoughts and feelings with the group on fast. And all this through Saturday, Sunday and Monday which were all holidays. The next three days will witness many more people in the area. At the end of the day at around 8 pm, we have been having a candlelight vigil as a symbol of our struggle for peace.  

 

It has been planned to have a march on the last of the fast , i.e. March 28 starting at 5.30 pm. The march will be from Jantar Mantar to V.P. House from where a delegation will present our memorandum to the President. The memorandum is being attached with this. Please add your name and send it back to Jagori so that we can add it to the memorandum. We request you to get as many people as possible to sign this.  

 

We urge everyone who has already been here and those who have not yet to come and give strength to this struggle. Please come and join the fast, or just come and support. For the march on 28th we are hoping for a big number and request you to all to mobilise for this in a big way.

 

In solidarity

Jagori team


Jagori, Women's Resource and Documentation Center

C-54, South Extension- II, New Delhi- 49

Tel: 6253629, 6257015

Fax: 6253629

Email: jagori@del3.vsnl.net.in

Website: www.jagori.org

Jagori Calendar 2002: Woman, The Beauty of Time- www.jagori.org/calender.htm



Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 12:40 PM 

From: suresh gandhi sagandhi@hotmail.com

 

Hamara Hindustan?

The article by Harsh Mander CRY, The Beloved Country, is a first-hand account of what the human tragedy in Gujarat.In fact a National Tragedy. This chain letter can help create awareness amongst hundreds of thousands of Indians and build a strong opinion against such senseless, mindless perpetrators of violence.

 

Please forward to all your contacts this message and let it be known that we as a Nation are a powerful people capable of changing the situation in Gujarat and in the entire country. Let the message be sent by each one in an envelope addressed to 3 offices as follows:

 

1. President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 110001

2. The Prime Minister of India, 7 Race Course, New Delhi 110001

3. Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court New Delhi 110001

 

We are extremely distressed by the recent happenings in Gujarat when hundreds of innocent men, women and children have been killed, maimed or injured and thousands have been rendered homeless and their businesses destroyed. We are distressed that the Government of Gujarat did not try to stop the violence and now gives no relief to the victims. From news reports we also learn that The Gujarat government is making no effort to bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice. We appeal to you to intervene so that the relief is quickly brought to the needy and justice is quickly brought to those who are guilty.


Date: Friday, March 22, 2002 4:09 PM
From: shamsul shamsul@bol.net.in

POTO rally


Friends,

If you oppose POTO, convinced that this would (and is) being applied against the ethnic and political minorities then join us in a rally from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar against POTO and in solidarity with victims of anti-Muslim carnage in Gujarat. Since other friends are participating in a relay fast  (23-28 March) at Jantar Mantar it would also act as morale booster.

 

 Time: 12 Noon on Monday March 26, 2002

 

 Venue: Gather at Mandi House

 

 Please join and inform others.

 

 Gautam Navlakha

 (messenger)

 Sagrik Process Analysts (P) Ltd.

 303, Elite house, 36 Community Centre,

 Zamrudpur, New Delhi - 110 048, India

 Phones: 0091-11-647-6580, 6435441

 Fax: 0091-11-647-3425


 

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 02 12:26:21 IST

From: mukundan C menon <mukundancmenon@rediffmail.com>|

 

CHRO programme against Hindutva Fascism
 

Counter Hindutva Fascism through Secular Action :
CHRO’s Ten Point Program of Secular Action in Kerala and among Malayalees worldwide

1) I will NOT judge a person by her or his religion, race or cultural background, but by the content of their character, behaviour, approach and orientation towards the larger secular-democratic society.

2) I will NOT support any business concern that supports hatred against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Tribals or any other minority in India. Of course, I will buy from ALL OTHERS, except those who support or spread the cult of hatred against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Tribals, and other ethnic/linguistic/national minorities.

3) I will NOT accept the Hindutva communal hatred as a political ideology, even if my family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances support it. I will voice opposition to every expression of hatred within my family, neighbourhood, community, and work-place with conviction. I WILL SPEAK AGAINST HINDUTVA FASCISM --- EVEN IF MY VOICE SHAKES AND REPRESENTS THE LONELY VOICE.

4) I will work hard to change the minds and approach of my family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues who mistakenly admire the ideas of Hindutva. Towards this goal, I will strive to learn everyday about the lives and concerns of the minorities, with empathy and respect. I will put myself in THEIR shoes to understand MYSELF better.

5) I will work hard to engage in LEARNING about the true and undistorted history of India --- as a history to which numerous peoples, cultures, religions, castes, races and nationalities contributed for thousands of years.

6) I will NOT participate in any programme which denigrates, de-humanises, or vilifies Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, Tribals or any other ethnic/national/linguistic minorities of India. I will challenge the Hindutva propaganda of falsehood, distortions and fallacies with facts and knowledge.

7) I will JOIN HANDS with all individuals and groups, who are genuinely secular and democratic, to strengthen and safeguard Indian Constitution which is under threat from Hindutva fascists. This will be done by spreading the message of true communal harmony, and the need for united struggle and action for equality, human rights and physical security.

8) I will build bridges EVERYDAY, even in most insignificant manner, by showing an attitude of respect towards all other FELLOW HUMANBEINGS. I will strive to make friendship ACROSS religious and cultural bounds. At the same time, I will expose all those self-styled intellectuals, socio-cultural-literary figures and party-politicians who, overtly or covertly, support Hindutva fascism. I will also strive hard to make such public figures realise the need to reject invitations to attend or participate at the functions of various Sangh Parivar fascist bodies functioning under various garbs so as to ensure total and absolute isolation of Hindutva fascists from the larger secular-democratic polity.

9) I will REMEMBER the supreme sacrifices of all those who laid down their lives in the peaceful or non-peaceful struggle for India’s freedom. I will do this remembering so that the struggle continues to protect, preserve, and enlarge freedom, equality and secular democracy as enshrined in independent India’s Constitution and which is precisely under threat from the Hindutva fascists of Sangh Parivar.

10) I will strive hard to protect the minorities whenever threatened or attacked by Sangh Parivar fascists within my neighbourhood, apart from expressing my sympathies and support to similarly suffering minorities in distant places as in Gujarat now.

Mukundan C. Menon
Secretary General (CHRO - CONFEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS
3, Rams’ Cottage, Ambalathumukku, Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram-695 024, S. India
(Ph.: 0471-476262)
E-Mail : chro@rediffmail.com
Web: www.humanrightskerala.com



Date: Tue, 19 Mar 02 17:16:06 IST

From: Banaji <jairus@vsnl.com>


Report on London demo from Murad

 

On Monday 11th March, a rally was held outside the Indian High commission in London, protesting about the violence in Gujarat. It was called by two organisations, "South Asia Solidarity Group" and "Asian Women Unite". Some one hundred people, predominantly South Asian, gathered despite heavy rain. The protest was peaceful, and there was a small police presence. A range of slogans were chanted in Hindi, English and Punjabi; there were calls for the dismissal of Narendra Modi, and for the resignation of Vajpayee and of Advani. "Down with the VHP", "Down with the RSS", "Down with the Bajrang Dal" and "Down with the BJP" were also among the slogans. There were also some speeches detailing the police collusion in the violence, and calling for South Asian unity in Britain in the face of communalism.

(from m.banaji@ucl.ac.uk )


Date: March 9, 2002

Dilip Simeon <dilip@del2.vsnl.net.in>

 

Press note
On 11 March, at 10am , writers and artists of Delhi led by writer Krishna Sobti, musician Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Painter Jatin Das, Director Ram Gopal Bajaj, critic Namwar Singh, poet Ashok Vajpayee would march from Gandhi Smriti, 30 Jan Marg to Rashtrapati Bhawan to sumbit a memorandum to him on
the developments in Gujarat and Ayodhya.

Writers, Artists, Cultural Workers Against Communalism

RESOLUTION

For the last few days, the whole country and especially Gujarat, has  witnessed a multifold increase in religious frenzy and communal violence.  Hundreds of innocent people have been butchered, thousands of homes and  shops have been burnt down. We, the undersigned writers and artists feel extremely sad and perturbed over  this unfortunate development. We consider this an insult to, a violation of,  and a blatant attack on the spirit of India and Indian tradition, on our  basic democratic values and the norms of civil society. What has happened in  Gujarat and is continuing to happen, is nothing but a brazen abdication and  misuse of state power, as well as of the state's basic commitment to law and  order and civil rights. We condemn this cruelly inhuman destruction and  genocide in the name of religion, faith and culture. It is doubly horrifying  that women and children, in particular, have been targeted and made victims  of rape and murder. Such violence is unpardonable from any point of view.


Any attempt to pollute and destroy the fundamental spirit of Indian  religions, our culture, traditions and our democratic system by individuals  and groups professing faith in any religion or political ideology should not  be allowed. It is a heinous crime to make scapegoats of the common people in  the name of religion. To spread and perpetuate terror in society, encourage  or ignore violence in the name of religion, is a flagrant violation of the  values and norms on which true Indianess and our democracy rest. We want to  state in clear terms that all such elements belonging to any religious sect  and involved in any organisation, whether in power or outside it, are  committing a crime against humanity and they should be stopped immediately  and brought to book in a swift and just manner. The tolerance, goodwill and  social cohesiveness which hold Indian society together cannot be allowed to  be undermined by the conspiracy of some powers which is in danger of  happening now.


We, the members of the creative community - writers, musicians, artists, dancers, theatre persons, cultural activists and others demand that:
 

1. The ongoing religious separatism and communal violence in Gujarat and  elsewhere in India should be immediately and effectively stopped by all  means including the state machinery, police and army and social  organizations and initiatives;


2. The Gujarat government headed by Shri Narendra Modi should be dismissed  for its inept handling as well as proven complicity in promoting the carnage  and its failure to protect life, limb and property of its citizens;


3. The Government of India, especially its Home Minister, should also be  held responsible for its failure to curb violence and communal tension;

 

4. Those responsible for the Godhara train carnage and later violence in  other parts of Gujarat and elsewhere should be arrested forthwith and the  process of their prosecution initiated expeditiously;

 

5. All organizations responsible for incitement of religious separatism,  communal hatred and violence, such as the Rashtriya Swayamseval Sangh, the  Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal etc., be banned under the law of the  land;

 

6. The suppression of and ban on media in Gujarat should be removed  fortwith;

 

7. The compensation and rehabilitation of the victims of violence should be  urgently and equitably arranged;

We are greatly alarmed at the renewed attempts to revise the Ayodhya issue  and are disturbed at the possibility of fresh and widespread religious  divides, violence and the undermining of values of civic behaviour. We wish
to assert that any organisations which propagate religous discrimination and  hatred and those which have been publicly proclaiming their disregard of judicial processes and decisions, should have no relevance in the context of
the Ayodhya dispute which can be amicably resolved only by mutual goodwill and trust, consent and judicial decision. We cannot trust any assurance from organisations whose proven record is that of unreliability and untrustworthiness. We demand that you intervene to ensure the status quo in Ayodhya, to disallow any puja on any part of the land whose custodian, the Government of India, is under Supreme Court dispensation and to prevent fresh outbreaks of violence and carnage.

Uttar Pradesh has been brought under your rule and, you, therefore, have the clear responsibility of ensuring peace, and law and order in that state which can be particularly vulnerable at this moment.


Since you, Sir, are the supreme custodian of the Constitution of India, our democracy and the republic and our civic values and norms, we appeal to you to lead the nation at this critical juncture towards reconciliation, restoration of harmony, human dignity, plurality, enduring peace and goodwill.


Date: Sat, 09 Mar 02 18:38:02 IST

From: mukundan C menon <mukundancmenon@rediffmail.com>

 

CHRO complaint against Union Minister O. Rajagopal's 'Newtonian' logic

1) Mr. A. K. Antony Chief Minister of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram

2) Mr. V. S. Achuthanandan  Opposition Leader, Thiruvananthapuram 

Dear Mr. Antony and Mr. Achuthanandan :

Sub.: Prevent Union Minister O. Rajagopal’s fascist vituperations in Kerala

The Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi made a statement at Ahmedabad on March 2, 2002, quoting Sir Isaac Newton’s third law, to justify as well as encourage the ongoing mass massacre of Muslims in Gujarat carried out by VHP since February 27, 2002. Mr. Modi’s statement continues to draw wider criticism, within and outside India, demanding his resignation.

On the same day of March 2, the Union Minister of State Mr. O. Rajagopal, while addressing a function of the pro-Sangh Parivar cultural body “Tapasya” at Kozhicode quoted the same Newton theory to justify the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat. Quoting Rajagopal’s speech, “The New Indian Express” (March 3) news item (“Rajagopal alleges Cong hand in Godhra carnage”) said : “…For every action there would be an equal and opposite reaction. The continuing spree of communal violence in Gujarat in response to the train arson testify the old proverb. What Gujarat is witnessing at present is the spontaneous reaction of a society divided on communal lines.” On the same day, “The Hindu” also reported Mr. Rajagopal’s speech : “Mr. Rajagopal also said the violence sweeping through Gujarat was a natural reaction to the barbaric killing of passengers at Godhra….”

Evidently, both Mr. Narendra Modi at Ahmedabad and Mr. Rajagopal at Kozhicode took on Newton’s mantle on the same day of March 2. This justification of fascist massacres simultaneously made by the Gujarat Chief Minister and a Union Minister in two distant places cannot be a mere coincidence, but part of a well-planned and carefully executed conspiracy by RSS to which both of them belong, in an attempt to foment similar communal carnage throughout India. Therefore, this warrants close scrutiny and in-depth probe at the highest levels.

Ever since Mr. Rajagopal became a Union Minister in 1998, he is habituated with making regular Kerala visits mainly to issue false, frivolous and irresponsible statements with communal overtones. For example, amidst the violence started by RSS at Pathanamthitta on the intervening night of December 7-8, and before the police resumed proper investigation, Mr. Rajagopal asserted that the Congress was behind it. His statement provoked the KPCC President Mr. Muraleedharan to ask him bluntly “to look after only railway affairs” and not the law and order.

Yet, in his “Tapasya” speech at Kozhicode, he even linked Gujarat violence to Pathanamthitta, as “The New Indian Express” report further said : “…. Rajagopal revealed that investigating agencies had identified five Congress party councilors in the Godhra Municipality as responsible for the inhuman incident that had resulted in the bloody communal flare-up resulting one of the most sensitive regions of the country.…. “The intention of the Congress party to foment communal sentiments with an eye on minority votes was very much evident at Pathanamthitta in Southern Kerala during the second week of last December when its municipal councilors joined hands with trouble-makers to attack ordinary Hindu pilgrims”, Rajgopal alleged.” According to “The Hindu” report, Mr. Rajagopal “pointed out that two persons arrested in connection with the incident belonged to the Congress” (and) “Three other Congress corporators wanted by the police in connection with the torching of the train were absconding.” Notably, Mr. Rajagopal made this statement at Kozhicode within three days of the Godhra incident and even before the preliminary police investigation was completed. As against this, latest reports from Godhra suggest that the train burning was a retaliation against the unruly “Kar Sevaks” kidnapping a Muslim girl from Godhra station and bolting her inside the ill-fated compartment of Sabarmati Express.

Similarly, amidst the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December 1999, Mr. Rajagopal addressed a press conference at Alappuzha to declare that the name of Abdul Nazar Madani, languishing in Coimbatore jail, was included in the list given by the hijackers to be released in return of release of the captive passengers and the plane. This was contrary to the declaration of Union Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswanth Singh, that the hijackers did not seek the release of any prisoners outside Jammu-Kashmir jails. And, despite this, Mr. Rajagopal, as a responsible Union Minister, never showed the minimum courtesy of offering an unconditional apology for making this motivated and malicious statement. Nor was there any attempt from Kerala to check his utterings – an apparent reason that prompted him to make similar provocative and baseless statements whether on Pathanamthitta riots and on present Gujarat massacre of Muslims.

In his same speech at “Tapasya” function at Kozhicode, Mr. Rajagopal also abused and ridiculed the progressive views, cultural values and ethos traditionally maintained by all Malayalees in Kerala. Quoting his speech, “The Hindu” (March 3) reported : “(Kerala’s) self-styled intellectuals had only been aggravating social conflicts and were responsible for the crisis that had gripped the society. For our so-called intellectuals, Gandhiji is a Hindu communalist and the teaching of Sree Narayana Guru are obsolete. They have brain-washed our people. They are responsible for the high suicide rates, mounting atrocities against women and other social problems. This dangerous and unhealthy mindset has got entrenched over the years.” The RSS Malayalam organ. “Janmabhoomi” (March 04) reported Mr. Rajagopal’s speech with a caption : “Kerala crisis due to misguided notions : Union Minister” and said that “what happened at Godhra was the evidence of Kerala’s misguided notions spreading to other parts of India”. That means, according to this Union Minister, Kerala is responsible for the happenings in Gujarat.

This is a highly reprehensible wild accusation from a Union Minister hailing from Kerala against the whole of Kerala. With 43 percent of minority population, the densely populated Kerala state had so far not witnessed the kind of mass massacres on communal lines that rock other parts of India, especially the Hindi-heartland in North. This is because of the secular traditions and messages that Kerala derived from social reformist leaders like Ayyankali and Sree Narayana Guru – whose counterparts were never allowed to influence the Hindi-heartland from where Buddhism was uprooted and banished long ago. Yet, in his Kozhicode “Tapasya” speech, O. Rajagopal misused the name of Sree Narayana Guru to accuse Keralites – although it was the Sangh Parivar who made a futile attempt to capture the “Sivagiri Mattom” of Sree Narayana Guru. (We take this opportunity to appreciate the regrets expressed by you, Mr. Antony, for initiating police action at “Sivagiri Mattom” in 1995 as then Chief Minister mainly due to the manipulations of Sangh Parivar-backed Sanyasis and a section of pro-RSS elements within the police force).

We also wish to bring your attention to the fact that Mr. O. Rajagopal does not represent Kerala – in the true democratic and federal sense of the word. Not only that he had never been elected from Kerala, but also the Kerala voters repeatedly defeated him in all the elections he contested – whether to the Assembly or Parliament. He is a Union Minister now by virtue of his election to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Therefore, it is high time that both of you, as Chief Minister and Opposition Leader of Kerala, take the issue related to these vituperative uttering of Mr. Rajagopal to the President of India, who administered him the oath, and to the Prime Minister, under whom he functions, with the following demands :-

1) To institute a probe into the conspiracy of Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Union Minister of State for Railways Mr. Rajagopal making the motivated statement on Newton’s theory on the same day of March 2 at Ahmedabad and Kozhicode respectively to justify the ongoing massacre of Muslim minorities in Gujarat.
 

2) To reprimand Mr. Rajagopal from making such communal statements outside the purview of his
Ministry while visiting Kerala.

3) To convey the Centre in no uncertain terms that the financially constrained Kerala Government can no more foot the bills for Mr. Rajagopal’s unofficial frequent visits to the State for making such communal statements only meant for the political gains of Sangh Parivar.

4) To release a white paper on the number of visits made by Mr. Rajagopal to Madhya Pradesh, from where he was elected to the Parliament, and to Kerala, where he was repeatedly defeated in all elections, after he became the Union Minister in 1998.

We consider that you both will take this appeal in right earnest and in the best interest of preventing Gujarat-type Sangh Parivar fascist onslaughts against minority communities in Kerala through these machinations of people like Mr. Rajagopal.

Awaiting early favorable action,


Yours Sincerely,


Mukundan C. Menon
Secretary General (CHRO - CONFEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS
3, Rams’ Cottage, Ambalathumukku, Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram-695 024, S. India
(Ph.: 0471-476262)
E-Mail : chro@rediffmail.com
Web: www.humanrightskerala.com


Date: Sat, 09 Mar 02 16:50:13 IST

From: mukundan C menon <mukundancmenon@rediffmail.com>

 

From “CHRO Views” in www.humanrightskerala.com

URGENT ACTION :
SIGN ONLINE PETITION TO NHRC ON GUJARAT


CHRO requests all those who are concerned to sign the following online petition to National Human Rights Commission on Gujarat massacres.

To:
National Human Rights Commission
Sardar Patel Bhavan
Sansad Marg
New Delhi 110 00
Fax: 011 91 11 334 0016
Email: covdnhrc@nic.in

GUJARAT GOVERNMENT’S BEHAVIOR DURING COMMUNAL RIOTS

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the recent spate of violence in Gujarat and the Gujarat governmentâs shameful behavior during these riots.Having lost confidence in the capacity of the Gujarat government to deal with the current crisis, we call upon the National Human Rights Commission to safeguard human rights and ensure justice for all residents of Gujarat.

The horrendous massacre of the passengers of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra is a reprehensible act and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It should be dealt with under the purview of the Indian constitutional law, which has provisions for dealing with such matters of gross criminality.

Instead of apprehending and bringing to trial the perpetrators of this criminal act, the Gujarat state machinery has decided to punish an entire community by letting loose Ęreign of terror on the minority community. It has been deliberately feeble in its response to the marauding, organized gangs of rioters, and in some cases has actively encouraged this violence by stating that it is understandable and justified (Soldiers 'held back to allow Hindus revenge, The Telegraph, London, March 4, 2002). We strongly condemn the Gujarat State Government for failing to act responsibly on this issue, which has resulted in the loss of more than 500 innocent lives.

We also condemn strongly the delay on the part of the Central and the State government in calling for Army deployments in the riot-affected areas, days after it had been abundantly clear to the national and international community that the state police was ineffectual in containing the violence. (Where Had All the Soldiers Gone? The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, March2, 2002)

We strongly condemn the role of the various religious factions in escalating the violence in Gujarat, for vitiating the communal milieu in the entire nation and creating the polarized atmosphere where such large scale riots are possible. We note with disapproval that several of these groups have close connections to the State Government.( VHP, BJP workers named in FIR on riots, The Times of India, March 3, 2002)

OUR DEMANDS :

&#61623; We call for the immediate setting up of an independent and impartial judicial enquiry into the cause of these riots and the government's inability to maintain law and order. We further demand that the commission's findings be publicly disclosed as soon as possible and its suggestions be made binding upon the state government.

&#61623; We call for immediate assistance, both material and psychological, to people affected by the riots. We are shocked and dismayed that the state has so far done little to provide relief or succour to those who have lost family members, homes or businesses in the recent riots, or have been forced to move out of their homes because of security concerns. We demand that the state immediately rush medical and food aid to those who have been affected, besides making arrangements to shelter those displaced. We also urge the government to extend monetary assistance for rebuilding homes and businesses of those who have been affected by the riots. The government should take up the rebuilding of the riot-affected communities and businesses as its top priority.

&#61623; We demand that the equal compensation be given to all victims. All lives are equally precious, and giving smaller amounts of compensation to people of one community over another (Debate rages over bias in victims' compensation, The Times of India, March 6, 2002) makes a mockery of the principles upon which India was founded. We demand that the amount of money accorded to the families of the dead in the riots should be equal to that granted for the victims of the Sabarmati Express fire, and this compensation should be disbursed immediately, impartially, and with complete transparency.

&#61623; We call upon the Gujarat State Government to immediately issue a strong condemnation of those responsible for the violence in the state, including those belonging to the cadres of the leading political party and its allies.

&#61623; We call for the immediate dismissal of the police commissioners in the cities worst affected by violence, including Mr. P.C. Pande (Ahmedabad) and Mr. Upendra Singh (Rajkot) who displayed remarkable inefficiency in maintaining law and order, and under whose leadership, the police forces turned a blind eye to the rampaging mobs creating havoc in these cities, and carrying out systematic massacres. Mr Pande has gone on record justifying the police inaction as that reflecting the sentiments of the larger community (Avenging Hindu Mobs Attack Muslims in India, Washington Post, Mar 1, 2002). Mr. Singh is reported to have turned off his state-issued mobile phone as soon as rioting started in Rajkot (Police chief vanishes as Rajkot burns, Times Of India, March 1, 2002).

&#61623; We call for the resignation of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, who has shown himself to not just be completely incapable of leading the state in the time of crisis, but actively contributing to a worsening of the crisis by making insensitive statements suggesting that the victims brought the violence on themselves, and that the violence was a result of direct provocation. We, the citizens of a free world, find it particularly insulting that the chief minister should excuse his administrationâs failure to contain violence by stating the Newtonâs third law of motion, Every action has an equal and opposite reactionä ('Newton' Modi has a lot to answer, Times of India, March2, 2002). It is no surprise, therefore, that Mr. Modi’s constituency, Rajkot, which did not witness any violence even in the wake of the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, has now seen some of the worst carnage.

&#61623; We demand that the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) not be applied in the state. We share the concerns of citizens of Gujarat about the inability of the current government to assure civic rights to all its citizens. In this light, we ask that POTO not be applied in the state as it allows the government to operate under a cloak of secrecy. We request that all state actions be taken in a transparent and public manner in order to assure the citizens of Gujarat of the sincerity of the government in combating communal violence, and ensuring public confidence in the state machinery.

&#61623; We demand an immediate end to all measures to curb the freedom of press. If India is to remain a vibrant democracy, it is extremely important that the media be allowed to operate freely. We urge the government to remove all restrictions on the screening of different television channels in Gujarat, and to provide full access and security to media-persons covering the current situation throughout the state.

Click here to sign this petition : http://www.PetitionOnline.com/nhrc/

After signing, please forward this to all your contacts.


Mukundan C. Menon
Secretary General
Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (CHRO), Kerala
Tel.: 0471-476262
E-Mail : chro@rediffmail.com



Date : March 9, 2002

From: rmir <rmir@monmouth.edu>

 

Appeal for Relief

 

Those of you who wish to send money to Gujarat relief, please send me a check.

You can make it payable to me.  I will collate the money, and find some good secular sources to send it to.

 

Of course, if you have individually identified reliable sources to send cash

to, please do so on your own.

 

Raza

 

 

Address:

 

Raza Mir

School of Business Administration

Monmouth University

West Long Branch, NJ 07764


 

Date : March 9, 2002

Protest in NY against Gujarat government


Syed Firdaus Ashraf
in New York

Members of the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin and other peace loving Indians staged a protest on Friday outside the Indian consulate to highlight the 'indifferent attitude' of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat towards the minorities.

Holding placards and shouting slogans against Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the protestors called for peace in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.

Tayeb Poonawala, an AFMI member, told rediff.com that India was a land of secular democracy and everyone must be protected. The Gujarat government had done a miserable job in protecting minorities, she added.

Another protestor, Sushila Gidwani, said: "I am a Hindu and I condemn such violent acts. It is a shame that the government is not doing anything to stop the rioters in Gujarat."

The delegation then met Consul General Shashi Tripathi and expressed anguish at the way the minorities were being treated in Gujarat. They also expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that the Gujarat government was showing 'discrimination' in distributing relief.

"Tripathi told us that she was very sympathetic to all those people who lost their loved ones in Gujarat. And we must see that this does not reoccur in any part of our country again," Poonawala said.

The protestors said that the governments of the United States and all modern democratic nations held India accountable for its direct and indirect complicity in human rights violations, just as they had held accountable countries like China, Iraq, Yugoslavia and the former Taliban militia in Afghanistan.

The president of the AMFI, Mukhi Shakir, said that the organisation had distributed hundreds of rickshaws to unemployed Muslim youths in Gujarat and all of them had been damaged in the riots. "I feel sad because with great difficulties we managed to give them some employment opportunity. Now they won't have any other opportunity. Another fear that I have is that they will have an empty mind and nothing to do after their properties have been destroyed."

The delegation also expressed concern over the March 15 deadline given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to start building the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

 

http://www.rediff.com/us/2002/mar/09us.htm



Date: March 9, 2002


Urgent Appeal to the Chief Justice of India
Protection and Basic Amenities for Relief Camps in Ahmedabad

Mr. S. P. Bharucha,

Chief Justice

Supreme Court of India

 

Dear Sir,
 

This is an urgent appeal made by concerned citizens of Gujarat and the rest of India. We urge you, given the seriousness of the matter, to please intervene, treating this communication as public interest litigation. We are urging Protection from the State for the preservation of life, a Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution.

 

From Feb 27, following the reprehensible incident at Godhra, the whole of Gujarat state was consumed with barbaric violence blatantly encouraged by both the Government and the State machinery. There is ample evidence of crude and open State Complicity and Violence. The Brutal and Pre-Mediated Violence that continued until the day before yesterday, has left 35,000 residents of the city internally displaced.

 

They are now living in relief camps in different parts of the city, entirely managed by members of the community. These camps are in far-flung areas of the city. The residents of these camps are in an extremely vulnerable situation. Given the levels of brutality that were evidenced in the recent carnage and also given the organised nature of the mass crimes committed, thousands of persons living in the camps are prone to be victims of further violence. Hence the State should intervene, through a direction from you to ensure immediate protection by the Army of all these camps. This is our first plea to you, Sir.

 

Though a week has passed since the brutal violence began in Gujarat, stray and brutal incidents of violence have not stopped and the city is tense and on edge with wild rumours circulating all the time. Just the day before yesterday, we had mass stabbing and savagery against the Muslim minority in a village, barely half a kilometre outside Ahmedabad. Hence the issue of providing protection to these camps is quite critical and urgent.

 

Besides, the state government has simply refused to take charge of the rehabilitation of 35,000 displaced citizens. Nearly one-and-a-half dozen relief camps in the city are being entirely manned by community leaders with some help in relief coordination from NGOs. The conditions in these camps is pathetic.  

                                                      

Besides, many of these camps are out in the open without basic amenities and the citizens are experiencing great insecurity after the brutal experience that they have gone through. In the Vatwa camps, where one Mahesh Patel of the VHP has been identified as the chief instigator and accused in the violence that occurred on March 1, audio-cassettes with cries and howls of ‘Maro, Maro’ are played at night on loudspeakers even now to further shake the already terrorised residents.

 

The condition at these relief camps is pathetic, every resident is suffering from mental trauma; the government and administration is treating them like concentration camps, the survivors are not allowed to step out or move about freely, even for basic commodities. The immediate need is for milk, oil, grains, rice, tea and temporary building materials like mandaps etc, since at the moment the survivors are housed in make shift accommodation in extremely unsanitary conditions.

 

Many of the survivors suffer from burns and other serious injuries; medicines and medical attention and health care is the need of the hour. There is also the genuine fear of an epidemic breaking out. In such a dire situation the State is maintaining a cold and calculated distance from providing relief. Is this not sufficient evident for a case of discrimination against the minority that is ultra vires of the Indian Constitution?

 

The issue of rehabilitation on government land with constructed homes is looming large especially as in many areas, persons are not willing to go back to their original locality out of fear. Relocation without sensitivity and examination, however, can be mindless as locations of communities have more to do with economic reasons, the sources of livelihood rather than any other; urgent attention is needed to be paid to this matter.

 

A directive needs to be issued to the State Government by your Lordship to ensure that  ration cards are made afresh and swiftly for all  inmates of relief camps. This will ensure to some extent their right to residence in future. If this is not done there is a real danger that the State, which has already displayed a blatantly partisan and fascist role, may tomorrow actually rob these residents of Ahmedabad of their basic right of citizenship.

 

There are eyewitnesses, written and photographic evidence of blatant State Complicity in the genocide. The evidence of selective destruction of Muslim shops was clear. Kilometre after kilometre in Ahmedabad city and throughout the State, dhabas, garages, laundries, bakeries, garages and factories owned by the minority community have been gutted or destroyed even as the shops next to them were completely unharmed.

 

Hence we appeal to you, in your position as Chief Justice, 

m    to  pull up the Gujarat state for: first, failing in its primary duty to protect the lives and property of a section of it’s citizens; and, second, to compound this shameful laxity by not even bothering to manage the efficient dispersal of relief and then, rehabilitation. The State must take complete responsibility for the Relief and Rehabilitation of affected persons;

 

m   We urge a directive from you to ensure Army protection at all the Relief Camps in Ahmedabad city. In failing to perform the primary functions of the State in a democratic society, the State of Gujarat is failing in its basic Constitutional Obligations and Laws. We therefore make a strong plea for full and complete Army protection to be provided at these relief camps to assuage somewhat the fear felt by the citizenry. This is a matter of grave urgency and we urge that you treat it as such.

 

m    A directive needs to be issued to the State Government by your Lordship to ensure that ration cards are made afresh and swiftly for all inmates of relief camps. This will ensure to some extent their right to residence in future.

 

m   Specifically apart from Food and Health Care (which includes treatment of trauma), the State government needs to provide on a mass basis bore wells to the Muslim peasants of the State who have already been targeted and their bore wells destroyed.

 

Petitioners:

Prof KN Panikkar (Vice-chancelor, Sanskrit University, Kerala)

Gautam Thakker, Fr Cedric Prakash, Sophia Khan, Dr Hanif Lakdawala (Ahmedabad)

Mihir Desai, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand (Mumbai)

 
Details of Relief Camps (Ahmedabad)

 

These are the relief camps that have been contacted by the NGOs working in various areas of Ahmedabad till today. 

 

Chartoda Kabrasthan               (Gomtipur)         3,000 people

Madhavbai Mill Compound        (Gomtipur)         3,000 people

Nagoripatel Ni Challi                (Saraspur)         1,000 people

Amanchowk                                                    4,500 people

Rakhial/Sundaram Nagar         (Bapunagar)       3,000 people

Gayatri Society                       (Bapunagar)       2,500 people

Shah Alam Dargah                                           5,000 people

Bibi Talav                                                        1,500 people                                       

Al-Medina                                                       1,500 people

Al-Kuba                                                          1,500 people

Alif Nagar (all around Shah Alam Vatva Road)    1,500 people   

Shahibaug area                                               3,000 people

Shahpur                                                          3,000 people

Odhav area                                                     2,000 people


 

Date: March 9, 2002
Press Release

Appointment of Justice KG Shah Commission of Inquiry opposed

 

As concerned citizens from within Gujarat and the rest of India, we strongly oppose the appointment of the Justice KG Shah Commission of Inquiry on several grounds.

 

Firstly, we demand the appointment of a panel of diverse and representative sitting judges of the High Court or Supreme Court from outside Gujarat to conduct the official investigation.

 

The basis for our intervention is fourfold. Firstly, there has been widely documented coverage, in the media of the State Sponsored Genocide that has taken place in the State of Gujarat. There have been frightening and disturbing reports of Government complicity and participation in the violence. This is ground enough to demand that a panel of judges from outside the state be assigned this responsibility to enable free and fair judicial investigation.

 

The atmosphere of coercion and brutality that pervades Gujarat even today requires that a panel of outside judges, less amenable to local pressures and terror conduct the investigation. The reason we are demanding a representative panel of sitting Judges and not a single retired one is because the appointment of the former is made by the Chief Justice and the latter by the State.

 

Secondly, the physical health of the Judge appointed –KG Shah -- is precarious. Thirdly, his past judicial record reflects a distinct anti-minority bias.

 

Lastly, the concerned citizens group has also pressed for an expansion of the terms of reference of the Commission appointed by government to include,

  • The build up of the political and social atmosphere, short-term and long-term, the background of which led to the incidents at Godhra and the rest of Gujarat;

  • Whether individuals groups and/or organisations were responsible for such incidents and their circumstances;

  • Whether the State Government took preventive and precautionary measures to protect lives and property of citizens.

 

Girishbhai Patel, Valjibhai Patel, Valjibhai Patel, Gautam Thaker, Fr Cedric Prakash, Sophia Khan, Dr Hanif Lakdawala (From Ahmedabad)

Mihir Desai, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand (From Mumbai).



Date:
Fri, 08 Mar 02 10:32:48 IST

From: Dilip Simeon <dilip@del2.vsnl.net.in>

 

Delhi meet to protest Gujarat carnage

 

* Please forward this mail to as many friends as possible.

Dear Friends,
A meeting is being organised on behalf of writers, artists, academics
and other concerned persons to discuss Gujarat incidents on 8 March at 5 pm. The venue will be Triveni Kala Sangam near Mandi House (Delhi).

The purpose of this meeting is to register voices of protest against the
ongoing happenings in Gujarat and the prevailing tension all over India. In these times of insanity, your presence will strengthen the effort to
create and sustain the momentum against communal frenzy.

Apoorvanand
Delhi



Date: March 8 2002
Ahmedabad
Professor K.N. Panikkar

Vice Chancellor

Shree Shankracharya Vidyapeeth,

Kochy

                                  

Press Statement 

 

The agony that Gujarat has gone through during the last one week raises several questions about the well-being of the society and polity of Gujarat in particular and the nation in general. It needs no emphasis that the government of Gujarat has acted in a manner, which leaves no doubt about its communal character. The politicians belonging to the ruling party and the various arms of the government have openly colluded with communal elements and have acted in an extremely despicable manner. Today the faith of citizens in the impartiality of the government has been shaken. The political system in India has to think seriously whether such a government has any right to continue in office. This is a blot on our democracy and the principles of governance which society can overlook only at great peril.

 

People from various walks of life have responded to this unprecedented situation in Gujarat in a critical, sympathetic and constructive manner. Even if the government has not come forward to reach succour to the affected people, society has responded in an admirable fashion. This indicates the existence of a sane segment within our society which requires to be reinforced and space for its activity expanded. That is perhaps the most important task in this hour of crisis. It can be achieved only if all secular and democratic groups and individuals come together on a common platform.

 

What happened in Ahmedabad and other towns and villages in Gujarat is not a spontaneous action. The methods used for destruction of life and property presupposes a fairly well-organised preparation. It is clear that many incidents during these last ten days could not have happened without such a preparation. In a way it indicates a long-term process of communalisation and brutalisation of society. A major issue which society has to face is the influence of brutality which appears to have conquered the minds of men. This is the result of the systematic and long-term atrocities of communal organisations and heightened by the irrational and emotional coercion of the people by both the VHP and the RSS. A way out from this pathology of violence is not easy to find. But society cannot survive unless a solution to this is immediately found.  That this has happened in the city of Mahatma Gandhi, the laboratory of non-violence and tolerance is a sad occurrence. One hopes that the people of Gujarat would invoke the great ideals of social harmony that Gandhiji has bequeathed to the nation by the example of his life, work and teaching.


(The above statement was issued by Professor K.N. Panikkar after a two-day visit to Ahmedabad).



Date: March 8, 2002
From: "Maju Varghese" SACH

 

HUNDREDS JOIN HANDS FOR PEACE

 

Hundreds of students from the College of Social Work, Nirmala  Niketan along with Salokha an NGO working for communal harmony organised a harmony chain from Bandra ( E) to Vakola on March 6th , 2002.

 

The program was inaugurated by Mr. Julio Reberio, vice  president of  Mohilla committees in Mumbai.  Many NGO's including EKTA, CSSS, Pratham, Yuva, Sakya, Sethu etc joined the harmony chain which annouced to the  world that the young generation and citizens in Mumbai are not with  the  communal hatred campaign done by some fundamental groups in the country.

 

Students from TISS Mumbai performed a dance drama visualizing how the harmony of our country was teared down and the need to bring back harmony and peace in society and our lives.

 

Eminent persons like Dr,. Jamteheatwe, Ms Bartexiwala from Mohalla committee, Ms Mary Alphonse, Ms Farida Lambay from College of social work, Mr. Jalandar Adule from Salokha, DCP of III zone and several others participated in the harmony chain.

 

A number of onlookers from different communities, lawyers, officers, ordinary citizens joined with students and concerned citizens to register their commitment to a secular society and polity

 

Dr. Jalandar Adsule

(Director, Salokha) 

 

Maju Varghese

(SACH)


Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 07:09:33 +0100
From: "Ishtiaq Ahmed" <Ishtiaq.Ahmed@statsvet.su.se>
Subject: The Ghost of Partition stalks South Asia

Some Hindus Rescuing Muslims

 

By BETH DUFF-BROWN, Associated Press Writer

 

AHMADABAD, India (AP) - Horrified by the screams of his Muslim neighbors being beaten and burned alive, Virsing Rathod put aside fear and did what many other Hindus could not get up the courage to do. 

 

The burly Hindu and his two sons jumped in a truck, rammed their way through frenzied Hindu rioters and began pulling Muslims from the flames just before midnight Thursday.

 

He saved 25 Muslims that night and has since sheltered dozens in safe houses across this city engulfed by Hindu-Muslim violence that has claimed 544 lives.

 

The heroism showed by Rathod and a few other Hindus stood out amid a week when Hindus and Muslims killed one another with fire, daggers and bombs.

 

Ten of his Muslim neighbors were still hiding in Rathod's home Monday, being comforted by his family and other Hindu neighbors.

 

He shrugged when asked if he's a hero.

 

"I did it out of humanity, because in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do," he said, sitting in his tiny notary public office just behind a gutted mosque and across the street from where 66 Muslims were burned alive in a south Ahmadabad neighborhood.

 

"There is much affection between the Hindus and Muslims here, and I could not just stand by and let them die," said Rathod. "What has happened is shameful."

 

Violence has gripped Gujarat state since last Wednesday, when Muslims set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists. The 58 deaths provoked a retaliatory rampage by Hindus. Most of those killed since then have

been Muslims. It was the worst Hindu-Muslim violence in India since 1993, when 800 people died in religious riots in Bombay.

 

Still, India's 120 million Muslims live in relative harmony among the 1 billion Hindus and other minorities of India. Gujarat is the home state of Mohandas Gandhi, India's beloved independence leader who struggled

for reconciliation between the Hindu majority and Muslim minority amid riots that killed nearly 1 million people after independence in 1947.

 

In Ram-Rahim Nagar, a teeming slum in the heart of Ahmadabad where Hindus and Muslims have lived and worked together for decades, residents say humanity is their religion and poverty their common bond. Even the name of their neighborhood is used as a catchword for communal amity in Indian literature — Ram is a principal Hindu god and Rahim, or the compassionate, is another name for Allah, the Muslim god.

 

Ram-Rahim residents insisted Monday that not one person was killed, nor was one shop burned down in the community where 20,000 Hindus and Muslims have lived together in peace since 1964.

 

"The Hindus and Muslims here are so poor, living hand-to-mouth, that we can't afford to attack one another," said Natwar Lal Bhikabhai, a Hindu member of the Ram-Rahim community association, whose Hindu and Muslim board of directors oversee the slum and mediate disputes.

 

The shantytown has been sheltering some 300 Muslims and Hindus from other parts of the city in a public school that has yet to reopen.

 

"We are uneducated and poor here," said Rafiq Sheikh, a 30-year-old lawyer wearing tattered clothes and flip-flops. "Still, we are smart enough to live together in peace."



Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 18:31:34 EST
From: Dr.Laxmi.N .Berwa

 

PEACE RALLY IN WASHINGTON D.C.

 

Yesterday a Peace rally was organized by various individuals and representatives of  various organizations in Washington D.C. on 6March in the evening with a candle vigil in front of the Indian Embassy.

 

Prior to this in the afternoon a Delegate of 10 meet with the Honorable Indian Ambassador Mr.Lalit ManSingh who was kind enough to spare 20 minutes of his time to listen to the delegates concerns on the recent Hindu-Muslim carnage.

 

I was previliged to be the part of Delegate as a Dalit representative.

 

This delegate was spear headed by a young Hindu faculty member at Georgetown University in Washington .D.C. Ms Ashwani Tambe, along with some some other young hindu professionals.There were two Muslim representatives also present including the representative Mr.Kalim Kawaja of Indian Muslims Association.

 

Ambassador Mansingh was made our our grief and sorrow of the events of the Communal violence,he qouted Prime Minster Mr.Vajpayee'that it is a blotch on India". A memorandom was faxed to the President of India,Prime Minster of India,Home Minister of India,Justice J.S.Verma,Chair national Human Rights Commision,Sh. S.S. Bhandari,Governor of Gujrat ,along with to the News Media.

 

Following were the demands in the agenda---

 

1.The immediate resignation of Chief Minster Mr.narender Modi, for his failure to safeguard the interest of all citizens.

 

2.Prime Minister and President to actively intervene to restoration of peace.

 

 

3.Independent judicial investigation in to the role ofpolice,stata govt. and religious fundamentalist organizations.

 

4Equal compensation for all victims of violence irrespective of religion.

 

5Protect the sanctity of all places of worship.

 

There were close to 100 peace marcher  from varios religions,color,caste and ethnicity,  encircling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi right in front of the Indian Embeassy,with a canle vigil,with play card displaying sign

stating."Fanaticism kills people",,Religion and politcs don't mix"'\'Communalism is dangerous for India."

 

A reporter from Voice of America,Urdu Service interviewed me on the current state of affairs in India and why I was here in this peace rally.I din't mince words in my opinion.

 

Finally the gethering dispersed ina peaceful manner without any disorderly conduct.

 

This was an eye witness account by me.

 

Dr.Laxmi.N .Berwa,M.D.,F.A.C.P.

1215,Kensington

Mclean

Virginia ,U.S.A 22101-2921



Date: March 7, 2002
IIM Staff
 

Dear all,

Alongwith the IIM staff and students we at PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) are collecting money to purchase medicines and other  relief supplies to be distributed at  different relief camps in the city  where many people are stranded.  I visited 2 camps in the disturbed areas  yesterday and the need of the hour is medicines and food.

 

To feed 100 people 1 meal will require 12 kg of rice, 5 kg of dal and 3kg of  dalda, which will totally cost Rs. 400 (at Rs. 15 per kg of rice, Rs. 20 per  kg of dal and Rs. 40 per kg of dalda).  So to feed 250 people will cost approximately $20 and 500 people will cost $40.

 

If you can donate for this cause  please send me mail (with a cc to my sister at radhar@hsph.harvard.edu) and I will go ahead and purchase the  food. The money can then be sent to my sister, Radha Rangarajan at 195 Binney Street, APt. 4104, Cambridge, MA 02142. The need is immediate so  please inform immediately even if it will take you time to send money.

 

Regards,

Raghu. 

Warmly, Indira


Date: March 07, 2002
Movement for Secular Democracy  

Dear Friends,

Today, i.e. Thursday-March 7, we held the first weekly meeting after the beginning of the recent carnage. Of course, individually and collectively all of us were as active as possible from the very first hours of the Godhara kand.  

While I would not like to go in to the details of past 6-7 days, may I briefly mentioned that MSD colleagues thought it proper to help build the citizens’ initiative for peace. "Sarva dharma prarthana" and peace march (5th March) were quite appreciated and they are now to be followed up by the "Women for Peace" programme on 8th March-International Women Day. These are supposed to be people’s statement that we do not want to be divided as Hindus and Muslims, first and foremost we are citizens, peace and amity being our creed.  

MSD emerged as a joint movement of concerned citizens, students groups, women groups, unionists, NGOs and activists of all hues-right from Gandhians to Marxists in the wake of Ayodhya fever of 1992. It’s founding conference held in February 1993 was widely held as "by far the most concerted action." One would vividly recall those days when it was not easy to publicly stand up for secularism and be counted. Only other day somebody recalled the attack on the sit-in at Town Hall in December 1992. Even this time, the IIM event took place only a few days ago. However, the founding conference as well as the peace march and other programmes this time have vindicated our spirit and support. >From the very inception, we have been stressing and emphasizing that secularism is not merely a political position. It is a wider citizenship movement for civil society which has to be supported by sustained social reforms movement along with many other things.

 

In all possibility, the fundamentalist political challenge can be successfully met with as the hard core Hindu communalist voting has never been more than 20-25 % of total votes cast. A little swing and electoral adjustment among parties can make it possible to defeat the communalists. But we are worried about the havoc the communal frenzy has played with peoples psyche. It has to be taken on head long and fought with an educational perspective.

 

With this view, along with the much needed relief work that is being organized these days after initial delay, MSD looks forward to planning inter-community interactions on social plane which may even include an experiment in inter community living. We will be planning young lecturers workshops along with dialogue and discussion with young media friends so as to thwart misinformation and

 

disinformation as well as develop a liberal secular perspective rooted in people’s struggle for freedom as also striving for a just society.

 

Next Thursday, in our regular weekly meeting we will work out a tentative timetable for all these things as also a few events for coming days.

 

Feedback from all the colleagues and comrades is eagerly awaited.

 

Prakash N. Shah

 

Convener, Movement for Secular Democracy



Date: March 5, 2002
From: "marxistindia" <marxistindia@yahoo.co.in>

  

Stop Any Move For Appeasement of VHP

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued

the following statement:

 

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) wishes to make it clear that the Vajpayee government is bound to maintain the status quo at the disputed site at Ayodhya and the acquired land around it. The CPI(M) wishes to warn the government that any move to allow puja at the "shilanyas" site which is part of the acquired land or, handing over any portion of the acquired land to the VHP would be a surrender to the VHP and subversion of the rule of law.

 

The proposal mooted by the Shankaracharya Shri Jayendra Saraswati on these lines is not acceptable as the VHP had made it clear that it sticks to the original blueprint for temple construction whereby the sanctum sanctorum of the temple will be located at the spot where the

Babri Masjid stood. To allow a formal move for construction by doing puja at the shilanyas site or to handover any portion of the acquired land at this stage would mean accepting the VHP's plan for construction.

 

Such a move will flout the Supreme Court directive that nothing should be done till the title deed suit being heard at the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court is decided through the judicial process. The country will not tolerate any repetition of the past history of surrender to communal pressures which can lead to serious disruption of national unity.

 

The Polit Bureau appeals to all secular and democratic forces to realise the danger of the moves being made by the BJP and the Central Government and unitedly demand that the Prime Minister stick to the position he stated earlier that the matter can now be resolved only on the basis of the court decision.



Date:
March 5, 2002

Appeal to the President of India

                                                                                              

To

Shri K. R. Narayanan

President of India

 

Fax 011-3017290

 

Dear Sir,

 

The situation in Gujarat is desperate. It is a tragedy of appalling human proportions. Earlier, the State indulged in direct and systematic acts of murder, terror and targeting of economic properties of the minority community in Gujarat.  Now it is actively preventing relief and rehabilitation from reaching the affected areas; relief camps in the city that are being treated like concentration camps.

 

Six days after brutal violence has rocked Gujarat state, especially Ahmedabad city, the sheer scale and dimension of the tragedy and it’s lasting impact is being callously rejected by the State Government. Though the loss of life has been officially placed at around 500, our estimate is that it may touch a staggering figure of 2,000.

 

While Rs. 2 lakh an compensation was immediately announced to the surviving relatives of the victims of the Godhra tragedy, the Gujarat government is revealing it’s sectarian approach by simply not declaring payment of compensation to the victims of violence post-Godhra. We are collectively demanding that such compensation be announced and the areas that are today housing thousands of internally displaced persons be declared as relief camps.

 

Fifteen make-shift camps located in different parts of Ahmedabad, all within Muslim bastis, house at least 35,000 internally displaced persons. It is feared that this figure may touch 50,000 once a complete survey of the city is carried out. These figures do not reflect the figures of displaced persons from other towns and villages.

 

The condition at these relief camps is pathetic, everyone is suffering from mental trauma; the government and administration is treating them like prisoners in concentration camps: the survivors are not allowed to step out or move about freely, even for basic commodities. The immediate need is for milk, oil, grains, rice, tea and temporary building materials like mandaps etc., since at the moment the survivors are housed in make shift accomodation in extremely unsanitary conditions.

 

Many of the survivors suffer from burns and other serious injuries; medicines and medical attention and health care is the need of the hour. There is also the genuine fear of an epidemic breaking out.

 

The situation is so desperate that even the bodies of the deceased -- brothers, sisters and children killed in the most brutal and inhuman manner -- have not been denied the right of to a dignified departure. Bodies lie in the most de-humanised state and the State is refusing to look into this.

 

Sir, it would be in order that in your capacity as the President of India, the Constitutional Head of the Indian State, you make a generous contribution from the President’s Fund for the Reparation of the Loss of Life, Dignity and Property of the citizens — religious minorities—in Gujarat. What Gujarat, especially the city of Ahmedabad, experienced over the past week was an utter and complete breakdown of constitutional authority. The moral and physical response to the scale of the tragedy needs your active intervention in every way possible.

 

Shabana Azmi                                              Javed Akhtar 

Member of Parliament                                                          Poet, artiste

Girishbhai Patel                                            Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand

Senior jurist, Lok Adhikar Sangh                                         Communalism Combat & PUHR

D.N. Pathak                                                   Father Cedric Prakash

President, PUCL Gujarat                                                       Prashant, PUHR, Ahmedabad

Indubhai Jani                                                Rajendra Prasad 

PUHR, Gujarat                                                                      SAHMAT

Dr Hanif Lakdawala                                      Sheba George,

IFIE, PUHR, Ahmedabad                                                       PUHR, SAHRWARU, NAWO          

Vivan Sundaram                                           Shabnam Hashmi

SAHMAT                                                                              SAHMAT

Sushobha Barve                                           Gautam Thakker

Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation                                National Bank Employees Federation                

Father Francis Parmar                                  Rajkumari Pariyani

Movement for Secular Democracy                                      SAHRWARU

Sophia Khan                                                 Wilfred D’Costa

Vikas Adhayan Kendra                                                        INSAAF

K. Stalin                                                        Shabnam Virmani

Drishti, Ahmedabad                                                              Drishti, Ahmedabad

Sejal Daud                                                     Meera Goradia, Arvind Lodaya

Anandi


 

Date: March 5, 2002

Sadhu Samaj condemns riots

 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, MARCH 05, 2002 12:43:09 AM ]

PATNA: The Bharat Sadhu Samaj strongly condemned the brutal attack on the Sabarmati train at Godhra and other subsequent violence in Gujarat where hundreds of innocent people have lost their life and property and asked the people to extend their cooperation to the administration for restoring peace and normalcy.

 

Samaj national general secretary Swami Harinarayananand said, in a statement, that any violence is against the teaching of our ancient scriptures as God is one and universal. He said it is a matter of concern that certain political leaders instead of condemning the Godhra incident are demanding a ban on the VHP and Bajrang Dal.

 

"It seems that they are just trying to please certain elements which are connected with the shameful act against the norms of democracy," he said.

 

The Swami said the Pakistan president instead of showing anxiety about the Muslims in India, where they are fully protected and honoured, should take care of minorities in Pakistan.

 

"He should not try to interfere in the internal matter of other countries," he said. He said that the question of restoration of Ram janmabhoomi site can be amicably settled if all political elements refrain from violence.

(The Times of India, March 5, 2002).


Date: March 3, 2002
 

SAHMAT CALLS MODI A ‘MASS MURDERER’
 

By Our Correspondent
New Delhi, March 3
The editor of Communalism Combat and social activist, Ms Teesta Setalvad, on Sunday likened Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and demanded that Mr Modi be punished at par with those guilty of inciting and perpetrating violence in different parts of the country.
Holding Mr Modi responsible for mass murder at a media interaction organised by Sahmat, she alleged that the ongoing rioting in Gujarat was the culmination of a systematic attempt to tell the minorities what life would be under a “Hindu rashtra.”

Sahmat has demanded that Gujarat be declared a disturbed area and normalcy be restored by immediate and effective deployment of the Army.

It has also sought immediate dismissal of the government led by Mr Modi and exemplary punishment to him at par with those guilty of inciting and perpetrating violence in Godhra, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mehsana, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and other parts of Gujarat. The organisation has also demanded immediate arrest of those occupying and
desecrating places of worship and a ban on the VHP and RSS.

It has asked the government to immediately remove the karsevaks from Ayodhya and prevent any further influx to the area. The organisation has also called upon the government to deal strictly with those violating the Supreme Court orders on Ayodhya.

Besides Sahmat, a large number of activists, academicians and artists have jointly written to the Chief Justice of India, seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court so that “the unlawful activities of the karsevaks are restrained, their criminal activities stopped and nation-wide violence is prevented.”

Talking to journalists, graphic designer and photographer Parthiv Shah gave a first-hand account of what happened in Ahmedabad. “It was like a planned action in Ahmedabad. Hand-written boards and photographs were put at what used to be mosques and dargahs. They could not have come up in an instant,” he said.

Mr Shah said cable links were snapped in certain localities and the absence of communication resulted in rumour mongering which led to further trouble. Stating that the rule of law should be upheld, Prof. Prabhat Patnaik of Jawaharlal Nehru University attacked the state government for not intervening on time and described as bogus the “first cause argument” being offered by the authorities.

Said Ms Setalvad, “What is being witnessed in Gujarat today is the combination of what happened in Mumbai, Bhagalpur and Delhi. The local corporators and public representatives joined hands with the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists who sealed the routes to various cities and were not even allowing the media to go there,” she said.

She criticised the political leadership, including the Central government, the NDA and the Opposition, for not reacting to the situation as it should have and attacked Union home minister Lal Krishna Advani for not issuing even a statement on the brutal killing of a former MP who was residing in his constituency. “This goes to show that the BJP does not care for Muslim voters,” she said.


The Asian Age



Date: March 3, 2002
From: Peter Solenberger <pws@umich.edu>

Inquilabi Communist Sangathan

 

Stop the Riots in Gujarat Resist the Fascist VHP

 

On 27th February, several compartments of a train were set on fire near Godhra in Gujarat. The train was carrying many "kar sevaks" of the Viswa Hindu Parishad. For several months, the VHP has been whipping up communal tension and targeting Muslims with its renewed focus on temple building at Ayodha at the site where the Babri Masjid had stood till 6th December 1992. With a BJP dominated government at the centre (and in UP till  recently) as well as a BJP government in Gujarat, the VHP had had ample support. Its forces had carried on extremely provocative activities without any hindrance. Without in the least condoning the Godhra massacre, it must be set in the perspective of continuous Hindutva provocations - provocations that had goaded some people of the minority communities  evidently beyond endurance and had led to such a reprehensible act.

 

The Inquilabi Communist Sangathan unreservedly deplores the torching of the train compartments leading to a large number of deaths. While warning the people of minority communities that this cannot be any legitimate response, and condemning the action, we also need to situate it in the proper context. There has been continuous violence against Muslims in BJP ruled provinces (also elsewhere, but particularly in those states). In  recent times, the promulgation of POTO has targeted Muslims - even when communalists have been attacked, only the Muslim communalists of SIMI have been the target, while the Bajrang Dal or the VHP have not had a single hair on their heads touched.

 

The immediate reaction of Hindu communalist and fascist forces has been to talk, as usual, of Hindu tolerance and its abuse by the perfidious Muslims. The truth is quite different. Massive riots have been unleashed, with the epicentre at Gujarat and tremors being felt as far away as Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The organized lumpen-gangs and storm troopers of the Hindutva brigade went on the rampage for two days. The promulgation of curfew did not halt them.

 

 By the afternoon of 1st March, even the government was admitting to formally 150 deaths, a figure that rose to over 300 by the end f the day. The former Congress M.P. Ehsan Jaffrey has been burnt to death in

Ahmedabad. Prof.  Bandookwallah's house was burnt down in Vadodara. In both cases, despite repeated urgings, the police played the role of silent spectators. In Naroda, near Ahmedabad, a thousand strong crowd surrounded a slum, dragged out people, and burnt 67 of them alive. In every case, where the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, has at all bothered to comment, he has asserted that if the sequence of events is

rationalised, then the blame cannot fall on the VHP etc.
 

Modi patted the police on the back, AND CLAIMED THAT Jaffrey was responsible for his own death, because he had opened fire. What is a man, facing a violent mob, and having found the police non-responsive to his plea for help, supposed to do The home minister of Gujarat, it is to be noted, is a VHP leader, Gordhan Zadhapia.  Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande, in open justification for the communal role of the police, stated that the police "were not insulated from the general social milieu". After allowing 36 hours to pass without any serious intervention (the same pattern as in 1992 after the Babri Masjid destruction) now the army is being deployed.

 

By declaring a curfew, the government had formally taken the position that the situation was serious. But nothing was done beyond the formality. And it is not only the state government, but equally the Central Government, that is to be held responsible. We have opposed the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance.  But the government which claimed it was needed in India's interest, why did it hesitate to apply it to the VHP? The kar sevaks and the VHP as a whole have been treated as extremely reasonable forces by the Central Government - naturally, since the VHP is part of the Sangh Parivar as is the BJP. So each case of intensification of communal provocation by the VHP has been met by warnings to Muslims not to lose their cool while the VHP has been given still more elbowroom.

 

When the Central Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandes was to pass through sensitive areas of Baroda, women from minority community in several areas were desperate for three days. They did not have milk vegetables or any necessities to feed their children in their homes. Children are crying without food.  At night they can't sleep because of threats and mobs moving around freely in the area. In desperation women from one mohalla of Wadi area decided that they will stop Mr. Fernandes and request him to listen to them. They went out of their homes as his cavalcade with several cars and police vehicles moved from the curfew installed area.

 

They tried to wave hands and made gesture to stop him but the big shot did not stop. Immediately after his car left the local police attacked all these women, beat them with batons and used vulgar sexual abuse for trying to "tarnish" their image in the eyes of Fernandes. This led to fear among women and their family members that if this can happen when Mr.  Fernandes was just a few meters away, what will happen to them at night! Unfortunately this is not an isolated stray incident but in several

places women have suffered abuses and violence in the hands of police.

 

We demand immediate action against whosoever is responsible for this incidence and safety of all those women and their families.

 

Since women and children suffer most in absence of necessities, we also demand that the collector/ district magistrate of the relevant places should take necessary action to see that the supply of milk, vegetable and other necessities reaches in all the curfew affected areas. There should not be any discrimination on the bases of caste and community for making such necessities available to people.

 

On 3rd March, local TV cable operators in Gujarat were instructed to block Star News Channel as they were showing the ground reality where government's utter failure was shown by continuous of violence. On the same day, Union Home Minister, BJP leader, and Gandhinagar (Gujarat MP, L. K. Advani finally found time to visit Gujarat. He started off by asserting, without a shred of proof, that the Godhra incident was preplanned. He also asserted that police in Gujarat were perfectly fine, and rejected all criticisms of the police.

 

Even as violence continues, there is a ray of hope from people's initiatives at some places forming peace committees, involving people from both communities and having daily meetings so that no outsider also comes and creates any tension in the area. There are instances of majority community people saving their neighbours following minority religion.

 

As a matter of principle, we believe that the state should not be given the right to curtail civil liberties of anyone, because such empowerment is a weapon that the state is likely to turn against the

oppressed. We also believe that communalism, a product of reactionary capitalism utilising often pre-capitalist ideologies, cannot be extirpated by the bourgeois state.  Only a resurgent working class, exercising its hegemony over the other oppressed, can successfully achieve that goal.

 

However, this is different from the question of tackling communal riots. A communal riot of the scale unleashed by the VHP currently cannot be tackled directly by the working class at its present stage of disunity and weakness. In order to defend human lives and conditions of existence, the governments, both at the state and the centre, must be compelled to take a firm stand.

 

We demand:

 

* Immediate and effective application of the army to stop all riots.

* The sacking of Gujarat Home Minister and Chief Minister for their failure to apply the law of the land and to stop riots, indeed, for their complicity in the riots. The arrest of all VHP leaders under the ordinary criminal laws.  The scrapping of POTO. The weeding out of all communalist elements from the police.

 

We call on working class and democratic/human rights movements activist in India and abroad to publicly voice their concerns, and to mobilise against the fascists. We urge that messages of condemnation,

and demands for action, be sent to the National Human Rights Commission at the address given below.

 

The National Human Rights Commission, Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad

Marg, New Delhi-110001.  Tel (011) 311560; 3348478 fax (011)3340016

 

You can paste your message on this site of for chief minister of Gujarat


PRESS RELEASE (3 March 2002)

 

Dismiss the Narendra  Modi government

 

Communalism Combat and Sahmat

8, Vitthalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.         Tel: 3711276/3351424

 

In Gujarat brutality and gruesome "vengeance" have torn apart the duplicity of words and slogans. Those who assumed administrative office in the name of the people do not give succour to the victims of a harvest of hatred, but fuel instead the flames in which fifty, hundred, two hundred lives - the figure keeps mounting - are sacrificed and thousands are terrorised.

 

The face of Indian democracy weeps helplessly from a Reuters photograph on the front page of most national dailies. On television the charred body of a mother, infant clutched to her chest; with folded hands a young Muslim begs for mercy from the mob torching him home. Shame on you India, shame on all of us who call ourselves tolerant heirs to a five-thousand-year-old civilisation. For all the draconian laws that exist, we are unable to prevent the butchering of the defenceless and continue to hide this failure by turning the same savagery against the weak, the innocent. Over and over again.

 

The Prime Minister has a novel solution -- he will ask those who spew the doctrine of hate against the minorities to intercede on half of his government! The RSS, of which the BJP is one face, is to negotiate with its other face -- the VHP. For the past few months the VHP has been proclaiming that it cares not a whit for constitutional law. Yet it has been permitted by the pliant central and state governments to gather at Ayodhya the very forces that started the current cycle of blood-letting ten years ago by demolishing the Babri Masjid.

 

The RSS chief minister of Gujarat has taken the cue, deploying the army too late and too selectively while blaming 'Muslims' and holding their 'nature' responsible for the violence. The VHP has laid down 'conditions' for the cessation of violence -- government must disrespect the Supreme Court judgement and promise, in writing, to hand over the land they demand for temple construction.

 

The people of the country watch this charade in shock and disbelief. For the past decade they have seen the politics of brinkmanship inaugurated by L. K. Advani's Rath Yatra and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The talk of building a Ram mandir initially whipped up and exploited emotions for a time, but over the past two years people have exercised their democratic choice and rejected the BJP-led regime and the divisive politics of the RSS/Sangh Parivar. The recent elections have made this decisively clear. Far from respecting the peoples mandate, the Sangh Parivar is desperately attempting to subvert it with an orgy of hate and violence.

 

We can no longer be silent.

 

We demand:

·         Declaration of Gujarat as a Disturbed Area and restoration of normalcy by immediate and effective deployment of the army.

·         Immediate dismissal of the Narendra Modi government.

·         Punishment to those guilty of inciting and perpetrating violence in Godhra, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mehsana, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and other parts of Gujarat.

·         Immediate arrest of those occupying and desecrating places of worship.

·         Banning of the VHP and Bajrang Dal.

·         Removal of kar sevaks from Ayodhya and strict prevention of all further influx.

·         That any action violating the Supreme Court judgement on Ayodhya be dealt with severely and swiftly.


Date: March 3, 2002
PRESS RELEASE

Communalism Combat and SAHMAT

8, Vitthalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.         

Tel: 3711276/3351424

 

Declare Gujarat a Disturbed Area

 

In Gujarat brutality and gruesome "vengeance" have torn apart the duplicity of words and slogans. Those who assumed administrative office in the name of the people do not give succour to the victims of a harvest of hatred, but fuel instead the flames in which fifty, hundred, two hundred lives - the figure keeps mounting - are sacrificed and thousands are terrorised.

 

The face of Indian democracy weeps helplessly from a Reuters photograph on the front page of most national dailies. On television the charred body of a mother, infant clutched to her chest; with folded hands a young muslim begs for mercy from the mob torching his home. Shame on you India, shame on all of us who call ourselves tolerant heirs to a five-thousand-year-old civilisation. For all the draconian laws that exist, we are unable to prevent the butchering of the defenceless, and continue to hide this failure by turning the same savagery against the weak, the innocent. Over and over again.

 

The Prime Minister has a novel solution - he will ask those who spew the doctrine of hate against the minorities to intercede on behalf of his government! The RSS, of which the BJP is one face, is to negotiate with its other face - the VHP. For the past few months the VHP has been proclaiming

that it cares not a whit for constitutional law. Yet it has been permitted by the pliant central and state governments to gather at Ayodhya the very forces that started the current cycle of blood-letting ten years ago by demolishing the Babri Masjid. The RSS chief minister of Gujarat has taken the cue, deploying the army too late and too selectively while blaming 'muslims' and holding their 'nature' responsible for the violence. The VHP has laid down 'conditions' for the cessation of violence - government must disrespect the Supreme Court judgement and promise, in writing, to hand over

the land they demand for temple construction.

 

The people of the country watch this charade in shock and disbelief. For the past decade they have seen the politics of brinksmanship inaugurated by L.K. Advani's Rath Yatra and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The talk of building a Ram mandir initially whipped up and exploited emotions for a time, but over the past two years people have exercised their democratic choice and rejected the BJP-led regime and the divisive politics of the RSS/Sangh Parivar. The recent elections have made this decisively clear. Far from respecting the peoples mandate, the Sangh Parivar is desperately

attempting to subvert it with an orgy of hate and violence.

 

We can no longer be silent.

 

We demand

Declaration of Gujarat as a Disturbed Area and restoration of normalcy by immediate and effective deployment of the army

Immediate dismissal of the Narendra Modi government

Punishment to those guilty of inciting and perpetrating violence in Godhra, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mehasana, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and other parts of Gujarat

Immediate arrest of those occupying and desecrating places of  worship

Banning of the VHP and Bajrang Dal

Removal of karsevaks from Ayodhya and strict prevention of all further influx

That any action violating the Supreme Court judgement on Ayodhya be dealt

with severely and swiftly.

 

Sabrang : sabrang@bom2.vsnl.net.in

SAHMAT : sahmat@nde.vsnl.net.in



Date:  March 2, 2002
 

Protect people in Gujarat, Mahashweta Devi pleads with Narayanan
Eminent author writes to the President and expresses her anguish

Kolkata, March 2
Eminent writer and Magsaysay award winner Mahasweta Devi today urged President K R Narayanan to immediately intervene to protect lives of innocent riot victims of Gujarat and prevent the violence from spreading further.

In a letter to the President, the writer said she was appalled at the outburst of communal frenzy even as the Gujarat Government as well as the Centre did not take any initial action ''and are doing too little too late''.

''The carnage which has been taking place in the last few days is clearly the outcome of motivated, well-planned out and provocative actions of the so-called Sangh Parivar," she said.

Seeking the President's intervention ''at this hour of national shame with whatever forces you can muster and put an immediate halt to this needless waste of human life and help restore sanity'', Mahasweta Devi said she was deeply disturbed and concerned at the sequence of events taking place in Gujarat.

''The people who perpetrated heinous vandalism in Ayodhya in December 1992 and stoked communal flames are again at their game for the last few months. We know the pattern. We even know the remedy. The trouble is a complete lack of political will to put a stop this kind of madness'', she said.

The writer said while stern legal action should be taken against those who killed Kar Sevaks in Godhra, similar action should be taken against those indulging in arson and bloodbath in other parts of Gujarat and elsewhere.
 


Date: Marh 1, 2002
Ishtiaq Ahmed

Moderator Asiapeace

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science

Stockholm University

Tel: work: 00 46 8 16 26 24

<mailto:Ishtiaq.Ahmed@statsvet.su.se>Ishtiaq.Ahmed@statsvet.su.se

 

Prof. I. K. Shukla (member Asiapeace) writes:

 

If the nation's civil society so-called doesn't come to the rescue of the

Muslims in Gujarat, there is no easy escape or sanctuary to guarantee any,

even a flimsy and fleeting, safety to this beleaguered minority. VHP and

saffronazis are armed terrorists, with the state in Gujarat and N Delhi

conniving and complicit. This bodes ill for India, and for Muslims

right away, a holocaust. BJP and NDA can be counted upon to propitiate the

 

VHP gangsters. This cancer is corroding the body politic of India, and the

social fabric is in tatters, thanks to the exertions of Hindutva traitors.

VHP is pledged to defy India, is avowedly an outlaw outfit. Unless the

terrorists of the saffron stable are coralled and publicly punished, unless

the communal Hindutva parties are banned, unless the democratic proscription

against irreligious bodies joining the political game on the sly is

ruthlessly enforced, India is doomed. The sick and criminal mindset of

Hindutva makes a mockery of Constitution, democracy, modernity. To allow

such a gang to exist is a national disgrace, a monumental treason.

 

I.K. Shukla

 

Pritam Singh (member Asiapeace) writes:

 

If the killers of Sikhs had been punished appropriately, that might have acted

as a deterrence to mass killers. Since many of the guilty of 1984 killings still

enjoy importance, the country's political system has given an encouraging

message to mass killers. If the media (especially overseas media) reports the

ongoing killing of Muslims in Gujarat ( and here there might be a difference

with the 1984 killings when nothing of the massacre was shown on TV),

that might put pressure on the state machinery to act.

Pritam Singh



Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 16:41:13 -0800 (PST)

From: Batuk Vora <bhv70@yahoo.com>

Subject: appeal

 

APPEAL FROM THE CITIZENS OF GUJARAT

 

We the citizens of Gujarat strongly condemn both the reprehensible acts of horrendous murders of Ram Sevaks in Sabarmati Express at Godhra and systematic burning of the properties and members of minority community at Gujarat (including the burning alive of former member of parliament Mr. Ahsan Jafri with his family and 38 others).

 

The tragedy at Godhra is obviously due to the total failure of state intelligence and police. Due to this

failure premeditated and preplanned killings of Ram Sevaks could not be prevented and instead of taking

necessary measures to stamp out the perpetrators of Godhra killings, the state machinery has connived with the marauding and rampaging mobs, which has systematically targeted the lives and properties of the minority community all over Gujarat.  

 

Most of us are witnesses, if not the victims, of the acts of communal terrorists with the active connivance

of the state administration and police. The Ahmedabad city  police chief went on record saying that he had

shortage of force and police were also influenced by the environment and were angry. The Chief Minister

himself also underplayed the mob violence and said only 26 places were under curfew. 

 

Under the circumstances, we are fully convinced that the constitutional machinery in Gujarat has completely

collapsed and is in no position to protect the life and property of the citizens.

 

We are, therefore, of the firm view that President's rule is required to be promulgated forthwith and the state administration be taken over by the Governor.

In the meantime, we demand immediate military intervention to control the situation in all parts of

Gujarat and the state police be confined to their barracks.

 

A.P. Rawani (Former Chief Justice at Rajasthan HC)                              

Prof. D. N.  Pathak                                Ms. Nafisa Barot

Indukumar Jani                                      Digant Oza

Prof. Sudarshan Iyengar                         Batuk Vora

Sukhdev Patel                                       Gautam Thaker

Dr Mukul Sinha                                      Sonal Mehta

Harinesh Pandya                                   Bhushan Oza

Kamlesh Oza                                        Hasmukh Patel

Suvarna                                                Ambarish Patel

Raju Barot            

 

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Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2002 21:19:56 +0530

From: Sanjay Sangvai <sanjay@narmada.org>

 

National Alliance of People's Movements

C/o Chemical Mazdoor Sabha,Haji Habib Bldg., Naigaon Cross Rd.,

Dadar(E), Mumbai 400028. ( Ph.022-4150529)

 

Press Note/ March 1, 2002

 

NAPM AND OTHER SECULAR ORGANIZATIONS  CONDEMN BARBARIC KILLINGS

IN GUJARAT: PUNISH GUILTY: PREVENT CYCLE OF REVENGE: REIN IN VHP

NAPM Plans Peace Programme In Ayodhya

  

We are grieved by and unequivocally condemn the dastardly and barbaric act  of murdering of 55 train passengers by burning the two bogies near Godhra  railway station in Gujarat, on February 27. Most of them were Hindu kar-sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Nothing can justify and rationalize such  inhuman act. We demand that the burning of the train passengers seems to be  pre-planned and all the perpetrators of this tragedy should be immediately apprehended and punished.

 

However, equally reprehensible and heart wrenching is the spree of killing of Muslims, let loose in Ahmedabad and other areas of the state by the fanatic marauders. It seems that the state government has no control over the situation. Or rather it has allowed the communal elements to control  the state. This politics of revenge has to be stopped immediately. State and non-state actors must take steps for it.

 

The entire incident of Godhra and subsequent rioting are aimed at destabilizing further the already chaotic socio-political fabric of our society and country.  Such acts of violence are counter-productive and are

therefore dangerous, as they tend to continue the mad cycle of revenge and counter-revenge. It is a time to maintain peace at any cost and for sober introspection. The Gujarat and other governments must prevent the further hostilities and violence. If it cannot do so, the Central government must step in.

 

There is an utmost need of the restraint of on all sides. No one should try to gain political or ideological mileage from such incident  either by swearing for revenge or even remotely rationalizing it by citing the any

prior incidents or instigation. It is obvious that the train was carrying many 'kar-sevaks' who went to Ayodhya to participate in the building of Ram temple on the disputed site of the Babri Mosque. This action on behalf of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has created considerable tension. But, that  cannot be a rationale for killing the Kar Sevaks. The so-called 'revenge'  and 'settling score' with Muslims is also fraught with dangerous

possibilities. No amount of instigation can justify inhuman burning of the trapped people. Such rationalizations inadvertently tend to justify all such future or past actions, by any section of population.

 

Only by unequivocally ranging against all such acts and their perpetrators, from any community or group, we can try to restore the sanity within our society, by gaining trust of all. Otherwise, the people may find only

recluse in the patently communal and fanatical elements. The secular and democratic forces must not leave such human issues for the communal forces to distort and exploit.

 

VHP Should Stop

 

While condemning the killing of the people at Godhra, we also denounce the wholly unwarranted and unnecessary exercise by the VHP regarding the temple building at the disputed site has vitiating the socio-political atmosphere within the country. It has already created insecurity and bad blood between

the communities. When the people and the country are facing the challenges of poverty, illiteracy and neo-imperialism, such acts by VHP and its cohorts are diverting the attention and energies of our people towards non-issues.

 

It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the government to ensure that the secular nature of our constitution is preserved and the government force all parties to wait until the judgement of the court arrives.

 

According to the reports, the so-called Ram Sewaks are assembling in Ayodhya in large numbers for the declared purpose of Ram Temple construction. They are exhibiting aggressive tendencies. If another round

of communal violence has to be avoided in the country, then we need to muster all our strength to contain the hostility of the Sangh Parivar.

 

Peace Efforts

 

In Mumbai, organizations related with National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Narmada Bachao Andolan, Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan  and other activists held pickets near Chuchgate station condemning the gruesome incident and called for communal amity.

 

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), with other organizations has planned Peace Programes from March 5 to 11, in Lucknow and Faizabad-Ayodhya. NAPM alongwith INSAF, Lokayan, Movement in India for Nuclear Disarmament, Delhi, Movement Against Nuclear Weapons (Chennai),

Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy (West Bengal), and Dalit, Left and Gandhian organizations have organized padayatras ( peace-marches)  from Lucknow to Ayodhya and keep 'vigil'.

 

These organizations are met the Governor of Uttar Pradesh on March 1. In a memorandum, these organizations expressed concerns over the growing tensions in Ayodhya and the state. They said,

 

" We demand that the inflow of Ram Sewaks into Ayodhya be stopped and the Ram Sewaks already gathered there be sent to their respective homes. We hold the Prime Minister and the government responsible for the untoward incidents taking place due to this movement, for example, the molestation of Muslim women by Ram Sewaks in Sabarmati Express and then burning of coaches of this train in reaction, killing a number of people.

 

 It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the government to ensure that the secular nature of our constitution is preserved and the government force all parties to wait until the judgement of the court

arrives".

 

 

 Sanjay M.G.                                        ( National Co-Coordinator)

 Sandeep Pande                                   ( National Convenor, Lucknow)

 Lata P.M.                                            ( National Convenor) 

 Medha Patkar                                      ( National Convenor)

 

For further information regarding the programme, please contact Sandeep,

Arundhati or Mahesh, at Lucknow (National Alliance of People's Movement

9/982, Indira NagarLucknow-226016, U.P.Phone: 347365, 342435 e-mail:

ashain@sancharnet.in).


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From:
Pandit N K sharma
Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 12:40 AM
Subject: Shankaracharya: Gujarat events state terrorism, ban VHP

 

1 March 2002 

Press Release

 

Statement:

By His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Shri Aadhog Shajananda Teerthji Maharaj

Shri Govardhan Math, Jagannath Dham, Puri, Orissa

 

Gujarat events state terrorism, ban VHP: Shankaracharya

 

Whatever happened in Godhara (Gujarat) on Wednesday is highly condemnable and barbaric. Subsequent mob attacks all over Gujarat (during bandh call of VHP) on minorities, their properties with direct assistance of VHP office bearers and police on Thursday is still more saddening as it could be termed as state terrorism.

 

Government of Gujarat should have captured the culprits of Wednesday act and it was duty-bound to save the innocent people and uphold the rule of law but it miserably failed to do so, purely as a result of political thinking.

 

Provocative actions of VHP in the pious name of tolerance-oriented Hindu religion is the root cause of it. Should VHP be allowed to denigrate the world renowned Vedic philosophy and Hindu culture just because their fraternal political organ, BJP, has started loosing power in various states? BJP would never be forgiven by the majority community for allowing VHP to misuse religion in the name of 'Maryado Purushattam Shri Ram' purely for political purposes.

 

Gujarat is burning in communal riots and if VHP and similar organizations are not checked immediately the country would start burning and unfortunately there is no such good political leader whose advice would be listened then. As such for the sake of unity and communal harmony and in order to save Hindu religion from further denigration VHP should be banned, like SIMI, and all their so-called leaders and activists should be arrested forthwith under National Security Act.

 

International community would suspect the intentions of Government of India and its resolve to fight against terrorism if BJP continues supporting covertly the riot mongering  VHP.

 

Issued on behalf of His Holiness

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Shri Aadhog Shajananda Teerthji Maharaj

 

Sd.

Pandit NK Sharma

President, Universal Association for Spiritual Awareness

A-136 Meera Bagh, New Delhi 110087

Tel. (011) 526 7595, 525 3449; fax: (011) 528 2846 

Email: pnksharma@yahoo.com

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Date: 1 Mar 2002 11:41:20
-0000

From: "Voice Of The Exploited" <voiceoftheexploited@rediffmail.com>

Subject: Fire of Hatred?

 

Fire of Hatred?

 

VOICE OF THE EXPLOITED (VOTE) hereby condemn the ghastly episode in Godhra (Guajarat), wherein over 50 innocent people comprising mainly of women & children were killed. It is evident from Jan Morcha report dated 24.2.02 that harassment were meted out to Muslim men and Muslim women were molested prior to this event which is also condemned. In the context of the communal tension created on account of the Ram Mandir issue, these events demonstrate a grave crisis for the rule of law in this country. 

 

Inspite of court orders, it is apparent that these elements are going against the rule of the land to build the mandir which smacks of terrorism.

 

We call upon the NDA government to control the elements, who are holding the nation to ransom.  We also appeal to them not to remain mute witnesses to the repetition of a shameful act that

took place on 6 December,1992, and to deal with the situation with firmness, as required of a civilised nation. We call upon the Opposition parties to fight the emerging communal holocaust with

greater determination and unity than they did the menace of terrorism. It would be fitting and proper if Opposition parties send their representatives promptly to all the affected States in

the country, informing the people at large of the facts and the impending tragedy if we dont stem the rot before it engulfs all of us.

 

And above all, we call upon the people of India to desist from spreading false rumours, resist all divisive propaganda, maintain communal harmony, and unite in protecting the unity and integrity

of our secular democracy.

 

Chris Fernandes

PRO, VOTE

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Date: March 1, 2002

(A nationwide signature has been launched by the Mumbai-based Vikas Adhyan Kendra,
with the following statement:
)

Statement on Gujarat
 

No words are strong enough to condemn the dastardly, inhuman brutality perpetrated at Godhra in Gujarat on February 27, 2002.

The barbaric killing of 57 passengers in compartments of the Sabarmati Express has shamed humanity. The manner of the killing is revolting and justly angers and saddens every thinking and sensitive person in the country.

The government must thoroughly investigate the incident at once, arrest the perpetrators, and ensure that they receive the severest punishment possible for their heinous and ghastly crime. It is not enough to punish only those who wielded the weapons. The authorities must also discover and expose the masterminds who planned and instigated the massacre. They must receive stricter punishment, in fact.

We as a nation and a people cannot afford not to do so. There can be no earthly justification for such an inhuman act in any civilised society. Provocative slogan mongering, altercations, or fistfights with vendors, even allegations of molestations of women cannot be excuses for the hideous and repugnant deeds that took place at Godhra.

The victims in this incident reportedly were persons returning from Ayodhya after participating in a ritual organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) as a part of its plan of construction of a Ram Temple in that city - in defiance of all legal procedures and authorities in the country. The aims, methods, plans, and actions of that organisation are obnoxious, dangerous, and aggressively communal. That too does not become any excuse or justification for the incident at Godhra.

Official spokespersons have blamed the ISI, persons linked with the Mumbai underworld, and terrorists. They must share the evidence with the people of India at the earliest and let us know who really planned and carried out this gruesome crime.

The authorities must punish the villains, a blot on the nation and on humanity, whoever they may be. The criminals must face the full force of the law.

One must use equally strong – in fact stronger – words to condemn and protest against the carnage that followed the Godhra incident in the state of Gujarat. The planned brutality of that butchery almost out-shadows the massacre at Godhra. It has already led to the killings of almost 500 persons – many of them women and children, burnt alive – across the length and breadth of the state of Gujarat.

The slaughter in Gujarat was a direct result of the bandh called by the VHP to protest against the killings in Godhra. The Bajrang Dal, the militant action wing of the VHP, co-sponsored the general strikes with support by the entire Sangh Parivar, including the ruling party in the state and the centre – the BJP. The bandh became an unending orgy of violence. It is reprehensible that the ruling party did not dissociate itself from a continuation of the bandh after the violence of February 27.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi, till recently a full time activist of the RSS, described the violence in Gujarat as a spontaneous angry reaction of the mass of the majority community. The facts available so far do not support the CM’s contentions. The violence did not take place on the day of the Godhra massacre though the entire country - and the world through BBC learnt the gory details of the incident almost immediately. The only immediate reaction was the stabbing of some Muslim passengers of the Sabarmati Express when it reached Vadodara station. The violence only began on 27th February, the day the VHP called a Gujarat bandh.

The reports available so far indicate that the violence was organised in character. Determined groups of people, sometimes numbering in thousands, systematically targeted Muslim localities and properties. The pattern was uniform across the length and breadth of the city of Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat. The looting and arson soon turned into mass murders. The killers burnt to death innumerable people. The special victims were obviously women and children.

Various news reports – in print and television media - have accused the police of inaction if not complicity in the violence. The police force was clearly unwilling and unable to control the mobs and to stop the killings. The state government requisitioned the army on the 27th, but did not deploy it until noon on 28th February. The deployment took place only minutes before the leaders of the opposition parties met the President of India and requested him to intervene in the situation. The Chief Minister and other spokespersons of the government advanced fatuous excuses for the delay.

The patterns of the violence are disturbing. In Ahmedabad, the miscreants targeted all types of areas, not just the traditionally sensitive areas of the walled city. The mobs were huge. They selected the targets carefully. The brutality was nauseating to say the least.

Ahmedabad was not the only arena of virulent violence. Almost all cities and towns witnessed gruesome violence on the very first day. The killings spread to other areas as central para-military forces and the army staged flag marches in the cities. Then the mobs targeted Muslim houses and properties in smaller towns as well as in the interior areas of the cities – where the army was not present.

Image after image on television reports showed the glee on the faces of the looters, arsonists, and killers.

Later the situation changed again as at least in select areas the Muslims defended themselves and mass clashes began to take place. Only the presence of the army has prevented a civil war in Gujarat.

The communal forces have deeply wounded the nation. They have once again threatened the secular and democratic fabric of our society.

Gujarat is one of the only two states in the country ruled by the BJP. A frequent description of the state is the ‘laboratory of the forces of Hindutva’.

It is the duty and responsibility of the central government to conduct a thorough inquiry into the incidents in Gujarat. The fact that the communal carnage took place immediately after the electoral defeats of the BJP in all four states that went to poll adds urgency to the necessary steps. Commissions of Inquiry have so far been very ineffective. The reports take too long to become public; moreover, governments usually ignore them. Organisations, persons, state agencies, police officers guilty of negligence of duty or complicity in violence are neither prosecuted nor punished. This must change immediately.

The social and political situation in Gujarat, reputedly an industrially advanced and economically progressive state, with a history of social reform movements, including the efforts and activities of Mahatma Gandhi himself, is terrible to say the least. It presents a challenge to all secular democrats in the country. They must go beyond analyses, accusations, and statements of protests to work out a plan to save secular democracy in this crucial state of the nation.

One cannot confine the analysis of the carnage in Gujarat to the Godhra incident and the violence after that. Communal forces have vitiated the situation for more than a decade. The Ram-Janmabhoomi Andolan is clearly at the root of the problem.

In recent past, the VHP has launched an agitation. It has systematically flared tempers and raised passions. It openly refuses to wait for a court verdict or to assure that it would abide by it. It wants only its writ to run. For the past two months, it has heated up the atmosphere. Until the riots in Gujarat, the central government did not take even the build up of VHP volunteers in Ayodhya seriously.

The decision of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to start the construction of Ram Mandir on 15 March at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, in utter disregard of the already initiated judicial process, is yet another coercive tactic, reminiscent of the events of 6 December 1992. Following a nationwide Ram Japa Yatra the VHP is planning to congregate ten lakh kar sevaks at Ayodhya to effect the construction of the temple, which only needs to be put together from the mass materials already assembled near the proposed site. Just as the demolition of the mosque, the Sangh Parivar is likely to present a fait accompli once again before the nation.

Any attempt on the part of the VHP to alter the existing arrangement at Ayodhya would be disastrous. We therefore appeal to all secular parties, groups, and individuals to exert pressure on the government to take all necessary steps to ensure that the nation does not experience another trauma.

Please sign the above statement and send the same to:

  1. Chief Minister of  Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

www.gujaratindia.com; Fax: 091-79-3222101/3222020

AND

2.     Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee

Prime Minister of India

7, Safdarjung Road,

New Delhi 110001.

Fax: +91 (11) 301 6857 / 301 9545

email form at:  http://pmindia.nic.in/writetous.htm

 

Contact us at e-mail: vak@bom3.vsnl.net.in

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Date: March 1, 2002


(Reproduced below is the statement issued by Professor Valerian Rodrigues on behalf of the academic and student community of Mangalore University. They have also launched a signature campaign).

 

We call for a different nation

 

       We, the undersigned students and staff of Mangalore University, are aghast at the barbarity and wanton violence in Gujarat and, taking its cue from there, instigated elsewhere in India.  In this death-dance, made of instigations and retaliations and defended as the call of religion, hundreds of innocent people have been brutally killed and burnt, maimed and made to flee from their hearth and home.

     
      We condemn such incidents in no uncertain terms and demand that the culprits be hauled before the court of law. We reiterate the right of every citizen to be protected by the State against such despicable passions no matter which quarters they arise from. In our estimate the Government of Gujarat and its law enforcement agencies have been found sadly wanting in shouldering such a responsibility. They owe an explanation to the public at large for their delayed and, what seemed to be, partisan response.

 

            We are proud that we live in a land which is the confluence of peoples, cultures, traditions and spiritual pursuits intricately woven across time through bonds of solidarities and shared concerns. We are afraid that the gory happenings in Gujarat and elsewhere are attempts to rip apart this finely-sketched mosaic that we call India. They have attempted to shame our pride. A macabre voice has been raised amidst this death and destruction which wants to listen to itself by silencing all other voices.

 

This voice says that IT is the nation; IT is India. For us our India is a nation where many voices are heard and listened to; where many flowers bloom and are appreciated but at the same time we are all united to ensure that the arrogance of the one voice does not suppress our many voices.

           

Signatures follow:

 

            Name                                            Address                                        Signature
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Date: March 1, 2002

( AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has issued the following public statement on March 1, 2002)

Equal protection to all citizens must be ensured in Gujarat

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Public Statement

1 March 2002
AI Index ASA 20/002/2002 - News Service Nr. 37


Amnesty International is deeply concerned about reports of widespread communal riots in the Indian state of Gujarat since 27 February in which nearly 250 people, a large number of whom appear to have been unarmed civilians, have reportedly been killed. The organization calls on law enforcement agencies to ensure equal protection to all citizens, and on all the parties involved to stop the cycle of violence and retribution.

The organization urged the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat to ensure that all law enforcement agencies deployed in the state, as well as in the rest of the country, strictly abide by the guidelines set by the international community for the conduct of law enforcement
officials and the use of firearms.

"Law enforcement must be exercised by security agencies with the aim of protecting human dignity, irrespective of the religious identity or political beliefs of the persons to be protected," Amnesty International said. Article 1 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials sets
the duty for all security forces to "protect all persons against illegal acts." Amnesty International is concerned at reports suggesting inaction by the police force and senior officials in responding to the violence.

Amnesty International reminds the Government of India of Principle 9 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which says that "law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particular serious crime involving great threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives."

The organization welcomes the step taken on 1 March by the National Human Rights Commission, which issued a notice to the Government of Gujarat and to the Director General of Police asking them to submit a report within three days on the incidents and the measures taken to contain them.

"The killings on all sides presently perpetrated in Gujarat must be investigated promptly, effectively, independently and impartially and those responsible brought to justice, irrespective of their position, religious identity or political beliefs. Only by ensuring that there is no impunity
for such acts can the Gujarat State and Union government send a clear signal that communal violence will not be tolerated," the organization said.

public document


For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW web :
http://www.amnesty.org
 

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Date: 1-3-2002
Press Note from  Vadadora  (Rohit Prajapati & Trupti Shah)

Press Release

Bandh in present circumstance means peace living people should remain at home and the communal and Mafia types of mobs are allowed to do whatever they want. That is exactly what happened yesterday and the Government response and the response of the police was very negative. 

The incidence of Godhara is shocking and it requires very tough and immediate action against the involved persons. The life of Kare Sevak and other people can not be compensated by killing of more innocent peoples. No human being can justify the killing of other innocent people in the name of retaliation to Godhara brutal killings. Yesterday It is shamelessly observed that before the High Court of Gujarat one truck with driver put to fire. And just very next to Government of Gujarat office of Waqf  Board put to fire. Many more such incidence taken away the innocent lives. The chain reaction will kill more innocent peoples. The Chief Minster is making vague and mischievous statement. His casual  statement regarding what happened yesterday indicates his disgusting mind. Any bandh called in such a situation and that is even by the known communal organisation should not be supported by the Government. It is unfortunate that the present Gujarat Government supported the bandh which lead to more killings and such incidences created more divide between communities. Bandh in present circumstance means peace living people should remain at home and the communal and Mafia types of mobs are allowed to do whatever they want.

That is exactly what happened yesterday and the Government response and the response of the police was very negative.  It is high time for both - Central and State Government to take tough action on the communal forces of both the  communities. People are looking for action not the casual and formal statements. As if this was not enough the bandh is extended in other part of India. This mean that the communal organisation want to repeat the Gujarat in other part of India also. We are shocked and  surprised why the Government is not very serious about it and taking tough action against such groups ?

Rohit Prajapati

Trupti Shah

37, PATRAKAR COLONY,

TANDLJA ROAD, Vadodara - 390 020

PHONE NO: 0265 - 334461


Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 22:08:55 +0530
From: "john dayal" <johndayal@vsnl.com>

ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
79/B I&II Floors, Street 8, West Marredpally,
Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh
President: Dr Joseph D' Souza Secretary General: Dr. John Dayal

Stop this madness in Gujarat

PRESS STATEMENT

 

The Central government must move decisively to restore the rule of law in Gujarat where the State administrative has utterly failed to stop the communal carnage which has taken more than a hundred lives, All India Christian Council president Dr Joseph D Souza and secretary general Dr John Dayal have said in a statement today.

 

The remarks on television by Union Defence minister George Fernandes that the State government did not provide the Army with the vehicles which it require to enter violence-hit areas, adds a sinister dimension to the situation. There are reports of the police also not acting in time to prevent fanatical mobs from setting people afire.

 

The All India Christian Council, which has unequivocally condemned the barbaric attack on the Sabarmati Express in which many lives were lost, condemns all calls for retaliatory violence. It is the responsibility of the Central and State governments, both ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, that the violence is immediately controlled, the ringleaders and conspirators identified arrested. The government must not look on while various groups make inflammatory speeches and otherwise call for violence against any particular community.

 

This is also the time for all people of goodwill to unite and ensure that fundamentalist and communal elements are isolated, peace restored and the common people, the main victims of the inhuman acts of violence, reassured that there is a rule of law in this country.

 

india cannot afford to let the conflagration, ignited in Ayodhya and Gujarat, consume all that is best in its civilization and plural culture. The madness, which is now consuming Gujarat, must end.

 

Released by Dr John Dayal for favour of publication



Date : February 28, 2002

Press statement

 

Godhra killing condemned; Appeal for Peace and Sanity

 

We, the undersigned unequivocally condemn the ghastly arson and burning alive of over 55 persons aboard the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, Gujarat yesterday. Twenty-five persons who lost their lives were women and 14 innocent children. No provocation of any kind can justify the dastardly crime and the guilty persons need to be brought promptly to book. The news has been received by every right thinking citizen, regardless of community, with shock and disbelief.

 

The incident in Godhra deserves to be unequivocally condemned and the guilty, whoever they are need to be brought to book forthwith. This incident, just like the systematic mobilisation around the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya achieves sharp communal polarisation and unleashes hatred among people leading to heinous, mindless violence and needs to be seen as such. Already in gruesome and medieval bouts of reprisal in Baroda, Anand and Ahmedabad, minority lives and properties have been targeted. Maharashtra and Rajasthan where bandh calls have been declared by unlawful outfits like the VHP, Bajrang Dal and their mentors are in a state of high alert.

 

The urgent need for the hour is restraint. Peace needs to be harboured after sensible dialogue. Provocative and inflammatory speeches not only add fuel to the fire. They violate the Indian Constitution and penal law that prohibit hate speech. They reap gory benefits for the so-called leaders of both communities who thrive on communal and sectarian considerations. A communal conflagration that this country has repeatedly witnessed needs to be avoided at any cost.

 

A great responsibility lies with organs of the state, wedded to the lofty principles of equality, fraternity and non-discrimination as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. The law must be applied unflinchingly and fairly, and the guilty, whichever community or grouping they hail from, punished. Equally, all citizens, community representatives and political leaders need to rise above narrow and sectarian considerations, condemn the incident at Godhra and join this appeal with a lasting plea for justice and peace.

 

 

Javed Akhtar                         Farookh Shaikh

Shabana Azmi                       Asghar Ali Engineer

Javed Anand                         Alyque Padamsee

Teesta Setalvad                    Sajid Rashid             

Nikhil Wagle                          Fazl Shad

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Date : February 28, 2002

Citizens from Gujarat-Mumbai Appeal to the President

 Alert:  Prime Minister, Home Minister and All Party Leaders

 

We urgently appeal to the President of India, Shri Narayanan to immediately depute the Army to all cities of Gujarat especially Ahmedabad. The police under the current political dispensation has abdicated all responsibility in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and many other cities and is allowing marauding mobs belonging to the ruling BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to stab and burn alive persons, to attack property and large housing colonies.

 

Unless the Indian executive at the very highest level wishes the country to witness communal carnage of the kind that has cost us dearly in the past, the Army with a relatively non-partisan history must be brought in to restore peace.

 

At this point brutal pre-mediated arson has lit every street in Ahmedabad. Ten people have died totally since the Godhra arson incident yesterday; two in Baroda, three in Ahmedabad In a gruesome incident in Ahmedabad, a senior citizen, stalwart for communal harmony, one Ehsan Jaffrey was burnt alive today.  Shops, businesses and apartment blocks with Muslim residents are being targeted; shops and businesses have been burnt.

 

The Chief Minister has reportedly told The Times of India correspondent that today’s violence and destruction is nothing compared to what happened at Godhra yeterday! In the circumstances,  it is critical that the Army takes over and some semblance of protection before the law, fundamental rights guaranteed to every citizen are ensured, however belatedly, in Gujarat.

 

Repeated efforts by individuals and groups made to the chief minister and his coterie to make a public appeal on television for peace have been dismissed with “ab jaada kya hua hai? Only four people have died” “ (Not too much has happened as yet). Apartment blocks like the Delite Apartments, Shah Alam Nagar and Bombay Housing with persons from the minority community trapped inside are even at this moment being set alight.

 

If adequate protection does not come from the State people will resort to defending themselves. This is tantamount to encouraging violence by the State and must not be allowed to happen. Rajkot and Surendranagar never known for their communal past experienced violent tensions as marauding mobs were allowed the sway of the streets by Narendra Modi’s administration.

 

Girish Patel                            Teesta Setalvad                     Shabana Azmi

Javed Akhtar                          Valjibhai Patel                       Farooque Shaikh                   

Dr. Hanif Lakdawala              Javed Anand                          Sheba George  

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Date: February 28,  2002
PRESS STATEMENT
 

Muslim ulema condemn the Godhra incident

 

(Dear Madam/Sir,

Given below is an English translation of a press statement in Hindi which have received through fax from Mr. Hisam Siddiqui, Jadid Markaz, a well-known Urdu weekly published from Lucknow. In view of the public importance of the content of the press statement, we are forwarding the same to you. – Editors,Communalism Combat)

 

 

Lucknow: Muslim religious leaders, including the treasurer of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board  (AIMPLB), Maulana Abdul Karim Parikh, the AIMPLB spokesman Maulana Khalil-ur-Rahman Sajjad Nomani and the AIMPLB vice-president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, have strongly condemned the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra yesterday.

 

The religious leaders said that killing innocent men, women and children in such a heinous manner is a shameful and inhuman crime. The perpetrators of such a dastardly crime must be condemned by all and the government should take the strictest possible action against them, they added.

 

The leaders have also appealed to the Gujarat government and the media not to hold an entire community responsible for the misdeed and not to harass innocents even before the identity of the criminals is clearly established.

 

Meanwhile, Maulana Abdul Karim Parikh has issued the following separate statement issued from Nagpur:

 

Nagpur: Yesterday evening we received the heart-rending news that four bogies of a passenger train had been set on fire at Godhra station and that as a result of this inhuman act 55 passengers were killed. This shameful conduct is an ugly blot on the country’s tradition of religious tolerance.

 

I appeal to people from all communities to help maintain peace and harmony in the country, and refrain from inhuman acts and the sin of killing fellow human beings. Such killings will not solve any problem. I appeal to the Gujarat and the Central Governments to mete out the strictest of punishment to those Muslims who are responsible for the violence in Godhra.

 

My colleagues and I are extremely saddened by this dastardly incident and we pray to Allah that people from all communities join hands to maintain peace and harmony. I also appeal to people from all communities to help the government restore peace and normalcy.     
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Date: Feb. 28, 2002

 

APPEAL.

 

Dear friends,

 

An appalling situation has been created which threatens to engulf the entire country in a wave of communal hatred. It seems that Godhra was just the beginning of the spiralling violence. Reports continue to come in of over 70 gruesome killings across Gujrat. This must stop. We cannot allow this to spread further.

 

A meeting was held today in Delhi attended by around 20 organisations. The following plan of action was decided:

 

1. A press note (attached below) to be issued immediately condemning the Godhra incident and the VHP for creating the flashpoint.

 

2. The launching of Satyagraha starting Fri. 1st March at 5:00 pm at  Rajghat. This will be a candlelight peace vigil from 5-7 pm everyday  until such time as normalcy returns. After the initial action at Rajghat the meetings will move to different localities around the city.

 

3. Delegation to meet the President of India and Opposition parties within the next few days to present our view point forcefully.

 

4. Retired Supreme Court judges to move a petition in the Supreme Court to push the Government to take strong action in Ayodhya.

 

Friends based in Delhi please join the Satyagraha on Friday and the  following days. We also encourage all of you, if possible, to set up  aman & ekta committees in your neighbourhood or in the areas you work

in as a preventative measure against communal riots.

 

It would be good if people organised similar peace vigils across the country. If you do, please inform us as we will be keeping the media updated on peace actions across the country.

 

warmest regards, 

sonia jabbar

 

on behalf of:

 

Akhil Bharat Rachnatmak Samaj, All India Democratic Women's

Assocaition, Arya Samaj, CPI(M), Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament &

Peace, Delhi Forum, Indian Social Institute, Institute of Objective

Studies, Jagori, JMS, Movement in India for Nuclear Disarmament,

Muslim Women's Forum, National Minorities Council , NPMHR,

Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace & Democracy, Pravah, Sama,

Sampradayakta Virodhi Andolan, Saheli, VMAP.


Date:February 27, 2002

 

Appeal to Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India

Take Suo Motu Action on Ayodhya



February 27, 2002

To,

Chief Justice S.P. Bharucha,

Supreme Court of India,

New Delhi.

 

Honorable Sir,

 

Is the Indian Supreme Court content to remain a mute spectator to a nationwide bloodbath yet again?

 

The nation is once again being held cynical ransom to unlawful outfits and elements like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal as they openly signal their intention to flout the Indian Constitution and the rule of law. Repeatedly, statements by the VHP claim that they will not deflect from their decision to begin construction of the Ram temple on the site of an illegally demolished Mosque on March 15, 02. These threats are unlawful given that the matter remains unresolved judicially. The local administration has been appealing helplessly to the executive demanding that the activities and the outfits be declared illegal to no avail.

 

The matter deserves even more prompt and immediate consideration given the ghastly arson and burning alive of over 50 persons travelling in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra in Gujarat yesterday and the potential of this incident to lead to a nationside bloodbath of revenge and counter-revenge between groups and communities.

 

The incident in Godhra deserves to be unequivocally condemned and the guilty, whoever they are need to be brought to book forthwith. This incident, just like the systematic mobilisation around the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya achieves sharp communal polarisation and unleashes hatred among people leading to heinous, mindless violence and needs to be seen as such. Already in gruesome and medieval bouts of reprisal in Baroda, Anand and Ahmedabad, minority lives and properties have been targeted. Maharashtra and Rajasthan where bandh calls have been declared by unlawful outfits like the VHP, Bajrang Dal and their mentors are in a state of high alert.

 

Since year 2000, but especially since August 01, outfits like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP

have undertaken a much publicised programme of arming Indian civil society through the distribution of trishuls that are in fact cleverly disguised four-inch scrap Rampuri knives that can kill. The intelligence wing of the police of at least two states in the country, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have asked for the banning of the blatantly illegal activities of these outfits on grounds that they generate localised terror. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of such trishuls have been systematically spread to arm bands       

of youth being readied and trained for violence. The threat to the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution is clear.

 

Nine years ago, as the Court, the Indian Parliament and the law and order forces mutely watched not only was a 400 year old Mosque destroyed in full public view. The event and the movement preceding it gave open sanction for a vengeful bloodbath for some months in 1990 and then again in 1992-93, during which Indian religious minorities were singled out and targeted whether in Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Indore, Mumbai, Purulia, Jaipur, Gonda ---cities spanning different regions across the country. It was clear that in the guise of construction of a temple to Lord Ram, the politics of violence, hatred and venom ruled the day.  India hung its head in shame.

 

Then nine years ago, all wings of the Indian state had been adequately petitioned, in advance, of the imminent dangers; all singularly failed to uphold the Constitution.

Will the same mistake be made again?

 

Already we are informed through media reports that no less than ten-twenty thousand zealots, groomed to irrationality and trained in wielding lathis and trishuls, geared to break the law have assembled at Ayodhya. Over I lakh more are expected to converge by the assigned date. A few days ago, a former governor of UP, Romesh Bhandari has petitioned you, honorable Sir that “we may be left with a fait accompli and the resultant chaos that we witnessed in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished in full public glare.” He has appealed to you in light of the fact that so many thousands of kar sevaks are gathering in Ayodhya and urged your taking suo moto action in the matter.

 

Former governor Bhandari’s appeal is remniscent of the voice of advocate OP Sharma who petitioned then CJ, Venkatachaliah requesting Supreme Court’s suo moto action in preventing the demolition given the fact that hundreds of thousands of kar sevaks had reached Ayodhya. That was on November 30,1992. Reluctant to take the appeal seriously the SC had merely sent an observer to Ayodhya, a court official who mutely watched the demolition.

 

Once again, we reiterate the appeal, in your capacity as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the apex constitutional authority in the country. As citizens concerned about the quality of public life and discourse in the country,  that has suffered from the severe perversions caused by hate speech, blatant falsehoods and violence, we urge that the Supreme Court does not remain a mute spectator yet again and issues suo moto orders so that unlawful actions of the kar sevaks are restrained, criminal activity stopped and nationwide violence prevented.

 

Teesta Setalvad, Communalism Combat           Shabnam Hashmi, SAHMAT

 

Professor Prabhat Patnaik, Academic              Professor KN Panikkar, Historiam

 

Farookh Shaikh, Artiste                                   Praful Bidwai, Journalist

                               

Vivan Sundaram, Artist                                   Ram Rehman, Photographer                  

 

Javed Anand, Communalism Combat                Rajendra Prasad, SAHMAT

 

Dolphy DeSouza, Social activist                        Sajjid Rashid, Journalist

 

Nikhil Wagle, Journalist

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