Guilty of Gujarat Genocide must be brought before the Law: election results do not condone genocide Tribal belt, Southern states now major targets of Hindutva. AICU


Panaji, Goa. December 17, 2002. All India Catholic Unnion founded in 1919, representing 16 million Catholic in India headed by Dr. M. E. Menezes have shown its grave concern over recent victory of BJP in Gujarat. The following statement was issued in

The book's global release was earlier this month in New Delhi by Former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. The Goa release was held in the presence of the Dr Maria Emilia Menezes, National President of the All India Catholic Union, which represents India's 16 Million Catholic men and women, Laity, former Union Law minister Ramakant Khalap and many dignitaries. The election results from Gujarat have been an eye opener for the world. In a democracy, the voice of the majority is respected, and Mr. Narendra Modi is now the democratically elected chief minister of Gujarat. But Democracy does not silence the voice of the minority, either, or ignore its apprehensions. And election results do not condone crime, even if some of the perpetrators of crime win. Secular society is committed to pursuing with increased vigour its campaign to bring to book all those guilty in the Genocide in Gujarat in 2002, whatever high positions they have held, or may now hold. The Christian community, an important part of civil society and itself a victim of bigotry in several States, will also not shrink from participating in the Civil Society movement for preserving a Secular India. The BJP and its allies, and specially the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, explain the election results as a vindication of Mr. Modi's thesis of Gujarati nationalism and the intensity of his campaign, from the choice of candidates to the hate-filled tracks of his Gaurav yatra - unabashedly based on a rhetoric of Hindutva, religious fundamentalism and Minority-baiting. Inevitably, the BJP has swept through the northern and central belts of the State, winning each seat which had witnessed a pogrom against Muslims between February 28 and May April 2002. Significantly, the party has lost out in areas where there was inter community peace. We are deeply concerned about several aspects of the campaign and the post-election developments even as we welcome assurances from Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and Mr. Modi himself that the new government will pursue an agenda of development of all communities. We hold them to their word, though the last five years have seen a negation of the promises in the Agenda of Governance of the National Democratic Alliance, which rules at the Centre. In face, if anything, these years have seen NDA partners such as the All India Anna DMK of Tamil Nadu, the Biju Janata Dal of Orissa and the Telugu Desam of Andhra Pradesh show signs that they have been infected with the Hindutva agenda of the major party. These states have taken measures, or enacted legislation, which targets Minorities, and have done little to contain anti Christian and anti Muslim hate campaigns. Events in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have shown that the Sangh Parivar's Hindutva politics is making a determined attempt to penetrate the South Indian States, which hitherto have comparatively been sheltered from the hate campaigns and anti-minorities politics. Tamil Nadu's chief minister J Jayalalithaa, an NDA ally, seemed to have borrowed from the hate text of Gujarat in directly targeting the minorities and the Dalits. Jayalalithaa used the full might of her police forces to try to crush two major Dalit events in Chennai this month - the shedding of Sanskrit names and taking on pure Tamil names by over 5,000 Dalits, and the mass conversion of hundreds of Dalits to Buddhism and Christianity in Tambram, near Chennai. In both cases, the dalits braved the police wrath and rejected the caste system. The Sangh Parivar has already invested crores of rupees, much of it in donations fraudulently procured from the US and Europe, polarizing the central Indian tribal belt extending from Rajasthan in the west to Jharkhand in the east. The situation is becoming critical. In Gujarat we saw how the tribals were used in the Sangh massacres of Muslims. Over the last four years, as part of its systematic hate campaign, the Sangh Parivar has distributed over 10 lakh trishuls, organised shakhas in villages and started one-teacher schools where the teacher, the curricula and the books are all designed by the Sangh - especially the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram - with the single purpose to turn the Tribals against Christians and Muslims. I earlier this year toured the affected states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, and Jharkhand and saw the magnitude of the hate campaign. In Jharkhand, the Tribals professing Sarna religion are particularly under threat. We have appealed to all the concerned state governments to control the activities of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and other Sangh groups involved in the hate campaign. We again demand a full enquiry into the flow of foreign funds - often from registered charities and frontal organisations, into the coffers of these organisations. We once again appeal to Prime Minister Vajpayee to move the law against men such as Acharya Narendra and Dr Praveen Togadia, who boasts that he is behind the BJP victory, and who says his people will repeat the "successful Gujarat experiment" to bring Hindutva to the entire country in two years. "Rajasthan has already become the laboratory of Hindutva," Dr Togadia has said. The Christian community also expects the parties which lost in Gujarat to realise the mistake they made in presuming they could answer the hard Hindutva by a softer version of the same thing. It is time these parties realize that only strong ideological moorings, mass mobilisation, and a firm commitment to the rule of law can fight religious fundamentalism and extremism. The major political parties must return to their secular agenda without any dilution. And, most important, we are confident that other pillars of the State, including the Judiciary, will summarily reject the saffronisation of Indian society, and will take suo motu action against hate campaigns and similar audacious challenges to the rule of law. John Dayal's book "Gujarat 2002 - Untold and Retold Stories from Hindutva's Lab", The had its national release in New Delhi earlier this month by former Prime Minister V P Singh. The former Prime Minister hailed the book as "very important documentation in the national struggle against the Hindutva". Hindutva, he said, was no different from Hitler's racism. The nearly 1,200-page book is published jointly by the All India Christian Council and the Justice and Peace Commission, and is distributed by Media House, New Delhi. The two contradictions of Gujarat violence were the absolute nature of the State's complicity in the violence against the Muslim community targetted at its economic backbone, its religious identity and the ravishing of the dignity of its women on the one hand, and the surge of popular revulsion across the country among common people, most of them Hindus, at the inhumanity of what was coming into their homes through the ubiquitous live news channels of cable television. The Gujarat violence has become the best documented event in India's history, much more than the Partition, much more than the Rath yatra of Bharatiya Janata party leader Lal Krishan Advani, now India's Deputy Prime Minister, even greater than the demolition of the Babri Mosque of Ayodhya in 1992 and the riots in Mumbai in 1992-92 which are the subject of the famous Sri Krishna Commission of Enquiry's voluminous exposition on communal violence. The task before the Editor was, "presenting the voices of human and social suffering. Giving immediacy to the anguish of the voice, de-mystifying pain and suffering, revealing the social power of public lamentation remains as pressing a moral task of social theory as the attempts to delineate the formative causes of social and political violence in India." There is also an unspoken hope that wider currency to these reports will help educate the expatriate Indian community, and perhaps shame at least some sections of the forces that today are on the fringes of the Hindutva collective, or find themselves agreeing with part of its nationalist jingoism or religious paranoia. The book is in three parts. The first part contains searing political and social analysis by internationally well known scholars including Dr Ambrose Pinto, Dr John Chatanatt, Seema Mustafa, Shamsul Islam and jurist Dr M P Raju whose contribution "International law remedies" is a must reading for advocacy groups. Part II consists of a careful selection of the best of the civil society investigations into the Gujarat riots, including Teesta Setalvad's Genocide 2002, The National Human Rights Commission and Election Commission reports, The Citizen Forum's report, the International Human Rights watch report as well as the searing Women's group report which is chilling documentation of crimes against Muslim women in rioters and police in Gujarat. The report of the Editor's Guild is a serious expose of the hijacking of the media by communal elements. With the inclusion of Investigation reports into the 1998 anti-Christian violence in Gujarat - when the term Hindutva's lab was coined - this is the first time a comprehensive collection is made of such reports for ready reference. The concluding part of the book is an extensive Readings on Hindutva meant for both foreign and domestic scholars and human rights and civil society activists exposing the nazi links of the Hindutva Parivar, their funding patterns, internal workings and the technology of their hate campaigns. The book despite its size is modestly priced at Rs 395 to make it available to scholars, activists and school and college libraries as a constant reminder for eternal vigilance in the face of fascist and neo-nazi fundamentalist groups.

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