The candidate for PM that India does not need: Fr. Cedric Prakash, sj;

 

Modi’s divisive style and shady past are not good leadership qualities

 

 

  • Cedric Prakash, Ahmedabad
  • India
  • September 19, 2013

 

 

 

On September 15, two days after the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, he addressed a public meeting.

Before a huge crowd, many of them ex-servicemen, Modi said it was he who envisioned and built the 700km Kutch pipeline, which carries fresh drinking water across Gujarat state to troops stationed on the border with arch-foe Pakistan.

The three-time Gujarat chief minister said he did it out of respect for the soldiers stationed at the border. This statement was obviously greeted with thunderous applause.

But it was far from the truth.

The Kutch pipeline was initiated in 1985 by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. In January 2001, Gujarat chief minister, Keshubhai Patel, Modi’s predecessor, inaugurated it.

By May 2003, barring a small stretch up to the border, most of the work was done. Under Modi, it was finally completed on August 16 2013, more than 10 years later.

His speech demonstrates how he simultaneously takes credit for the achievements of others and glosses over his own inactivity.

Gujarat in Western India has been one of the country’s more progressive and industrialized states. Today however, there is much hype over the so-called “Gujarat development model” under Modi, who has been chief minister since October 2001.

But these are highly manipulated statistics, since Gujarat economic data for the years preceding 2001 was even more impressive.

Gujaratis are known for their entrepreneurial skills and financial acumen. And economists tell us that Gujarat would have achieved this level of economic growth with or without the BJP; with or without Congress; with or without Modi.

In fact, under Modi, Gujarat’s social indicators are abysmal. Child malnutrition has increased; the male-female ratio is widening; the status of women has declined; unemployment and poverty in general has grown. So what is being flaunted as “development” or “good governance” is essentially a sham.

On the human rights front, Modi’s performance is poor. The killing of more than 2,000 Muslims and the displacement of several thousands more during the “Gujarat carnage” of 2002 took place on his watch. Several legal cases in which he is named as the primary accused are ongoing. The National Human Rights Commission and even the Supreme Court have stated that responsibility for the protection of those citizens was definitely his.

In March 2003, Modi introduced the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, one of the most draconian laws in India. It is clearly aimed at those who want to embrace another religion, and contravenes the Indian constitution, which guarantees Indians the right to preach, practice and propagate one’s religion.

In February 2006, at the Shabri Kumbh Mela, a Hindu religious gathering in the Dangs area of Gujarat, Modi ranted and raved against Christian missionaries and their work.

Modi has also been accused of being behind the alleged killing of several Muslim youths, in what are commonly known as “police fake encounters,” in which officials kill “armed” people in stage managed shootouts.

In a 10-page letter written on September 1, D G Vanzara, a former senior Gujarat police official who was jailed several years ago in connection with the killing of several of these innocent Muslim youths, pointed the finger directly at Modi and Amit Shah, the former state home minister. He said he and other accused policemen were following government policy.

Modi has been schooled in the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist, right wing, paramilitary organization that was allegedly responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and several recent terror attacks.

The core teaching of the RSS is “Hindutva”– the formation of a Hindu nation state where minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, are accepted only as second class citizens.

There is little doubt that Modi subscribes to this Hindutva agenda which goes against the secular, democratic and pluralistic fabric of the constitution. Thus promoting Modi as a prime ministerial candidate poses a very serious threat not only to India, but also to the whole of South Asia.

Modi’s style as a politician, besides being divisive, is also authoritarian. This style does not have a place in an era where coalition politics has come to stay in India, and which emphasizes the need and importance of collaborating with political partners across the spectrum.

National elections in India are due in May 2014. Candidates who are likely to win seats are those who best represent the interests of all, particularly the poor and the marginalized.

The ‘Modi for PM’ campaign will be on overdrive in the coming months. But the people of India will vote for a party or an individual that stands for the democratic and secular traditions of the country based on justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Modi does not fit this bill.

Cedric Prakash is a Jesuit priest and the Director of PRASHANT (Tranquility), the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace

Source: UCAN NEWS

The Gulf of Khambat is at the right-lower-cent...

The Gulf of Khambat is at the right-lower-center of the map of Gujarat on the Arabian Sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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Judiciary must take “Suo Moto Control”: Fr. Cedric Prakash,sj;

Vanzara did not admit that the encounters were fake and said that the killings followed a “conscious policy of the government

(Photo: India Today)

Ahmedabad:

A Jesuit activist in Gujarat has demanded the judiciary to “take suo moto control” over the controversial fake encounter killings after a suspended top police officer said the killings followed a “conscious policy of the government.”

State’s suspended Deputy Inspector General of Police D. G. Vanzara, allegedly involved in four fake encounter cases, on Tuesday tendered his resignation accusing the Narendra Modi Government of framing 32 police officials in encounter cases while protecting ruling party politicians close to the Chief Minister.

“Now that Vanzara himself has spilled the beans and come out with several ‘aspects’ of the encounter killings in Gujarat, it is high time that the Judiciary take suo moto control over this matter and ensure that the so-called “powerful” people of Gujarat are brought to book immediately,” said Father Cedrick Prakash, a rights activist based in Ahmadabad said in a statement.

A main accused in the chain of fake encounters in Gujarat, Mr. Vanzara released a 10-page letter of resignation from his Mumbai jail.

Vanzara was arrested in April 2007 in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and then picked up in July 2010 for the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case and later in Ishrat Jahan murder case as well, besides in Sadique Jamal case. “Fake encounter” is a term used in India for officials killing unarmed people by faking an encounter with them.

Vanzara accused the state government of trapping the arrested policemen in various fake encounters. He s said if he and other police officers were responsible for carrying out alleged fake encounters, the investigators of these cases have to “arrest the policy formulators also as we, being field officers, have simply implemented the conscious policy of this government which was inspiring, guiding, and monitoring our actions from very close quarters. By this reasoning, I am of the firm opinion that the place of this government, instead of being in Gandhinagar should either be in Taloja Central Prison at Navi Mumbai or in Sabarmati Central Prison at Ahmedabad.”

Father Prakash said this statement of the police officer shows that “slowly but surely truth and justice will triumph in Gujarat.”

Vanzara said he had maintained a “graceful silence for such a long period” only because of his “supreme faith and highest respect” for Narendra Modi, whom he used to “adore like a God” but his “God could not rise to the occasion under the evil influence…”

The reasons for this was politician Amit Shah, his co-accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, who Vanzara said usurped Modi’s “eyes and ears and has been successfully misguiding him by converting goats into dogs and dogs into goats since the last 12 years.”

Modi has been talking of repaying his debt, which he owes to Mother India. But, in the “hurry of marching towards Delhi, (he) may kindly not forget to repay the debt which he owes to jailed police officers,” Vanzara wrote in his letter addressed to Additional Chief Secretary, Home.

But Vanzara did not admit that the encounters were fake and said that the killings followed a “conscious policy of the government,” in the wake of rising Jihadi terrorism after the Godhra train burning and subsequent riots, when the government had adopted a “proactive policy of zero tolerance for terrorism” at the highest level.

Fr Cedric Prakash ,Ahmedabad ,D. G. Vanzara , Judicial Action ,Fake Encounters 
Source: UCAN News,
English: Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad

English: Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Cardinal Gracias cautions political parties on religious freedom

He asked them to ensure Constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom to each and every citizen.

 Cardinal Oswald Gracias 3

Mumbai:

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay has cautioned political parties not to exploit religion for political purposes.

He also asked them to ensure Constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom to all citizens, especially religious minorities throughout India.

“To discriminate against religious beliefs, or to discredit religious practice, is exclusion contrary to respect for fundamental human dignity that will eventually destabilize society by creating a climate of tension, intolerance, opposition, and suspicion not conducive to social peace and become detrimental to the progress of our beloved country,” he said.

Cardinal Gracias, who is also the president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, was speaking in reference to a recent report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The US organization has added India to level 2 of its ranking among the countries where violations of religious freedom are growing and of serious concern.

“My immediate concern is that we must take steps to ensure that rights are not infringed upon in any way, that the minorities are safeguarded to practice, profess and propagate their faith freely,” the cardinal said.

Right to religious freedom is enshrined in Indian Constitution, he said. “Spirituality is an intrinsic part of Indian culture and life and it is urgent and essential that government bodies, the laws and practices uphold religious freedom,” he added.

The cardinal said that a guarantee of religious freedom supports other fundamental rights necessary to all human persons because it is grounded in the universal dignity of the human person, religious freedom encourages other related rights.

Source: Asianews

Cardinal Oswald Gracias , CBCI , Religious Freedom , USCIRF

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in t...

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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