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SACW | 2 June 2004

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 June, 2004 via: www.sacw.net [1] Pakistan: What step(s) will the President take in Karachi? (edit, The Daily Times) [2]
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2004
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 June, 2004
      via: www.sacw.net

      [1] Pakistan: What step(s) will the President
      take in Karachi? (edit, The Daily Times)
      [2] India: Can the Congress deliver? (M B Naqvi)
      [3] India: A Kind Of Normalcy: Visit To Kashmir (Rakesh Shukla)
      [4] India: Educational Reforms: What Is Not To Be Done (Shahid Amin)
      [5] India / Gujarat: Citizens Charter of Demands
      to the UPA Government (Citizens Groups and
      + related news report
      [6] India / Gujarat: A letter to India's Prime
      Minister by activists from Gujarat
      [7] India / Gujarat: An infamous Judge from
      Gujarat awarded with a new job (Rohit Prajapati,
      Trupti Shah)



      The Daily Times
      June 02, 2004


      The federal information minister, Sheikh Rashid
      Ahmad, announced Monday that President Pervez
      Musharraf had decided to take 'an important step'
      for the restoration of law and order and the
      protection of life and property in Karachi. This
      statement came immediately after the killing
      spree at Imam Bargah Ali Raza on MA Jinnah road
      during which 18 were killed and 35 badly wounded.
      The massacre was part of a serial bloodshed that
      began earlier in the month at Haideri Masjid,
      followed by the murder of the country's leading
      religious leader, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, on
      Sunday. The Karachi administration failed
      completely to grasp the nature and enormity of
      the incidents. As a result, angry citizens of the
      city turned against the law enforcing agencies,
      and the police had to shoot and kill some of them.
      What can President Musharraf do? What is that
      'one important step' the information minister
      says the president is going to take to set things
      right in Karachi? If the past is any indicator,
      General Musharraf could change the Governor,
      suspend the provincial assembly, install
      Governor's Rule and send in the Rangers. But if
      he did that it would be an admission that the
      system that now prevails in Karachi (and is the
      result of his own political engineering after the
      2002 elections) has collapsed. The biggest
      vote-getter in the province, the PPP, is in the
      opposition boycotting virtually everything the
      government does. The government itself is a
      patchwork of the MQM and political elements now
      united as the big Muslim League, each patch
      fighting the other behind the scenes. The MQM -
      in return for its crucial support in parliament -
      has got its man chosen by the president as
      governor of the province; the chief minister has
      been gouged out of the PPP and is hardly a potent
      factor in the provincial administration. And on
      top of that the local government has been handed
      over to the Jamaat i Islami as part of the larger
      framework of alliance with the Muttahidas Majlis
      The abject failure of the Sindh government to
      come to grips with the outbreak of violence this
      month definitely points to the inertia caused by
      political deadlock. The MQM is dominant in the
      cities but is not in control of the local
      government because it boycotted the local polls
      in 2001. Since the Karachi city has a mayor that
      belongs to the religious part of the big divide,
      the entire province is now hostage to the power
      struggle between the MQM and the
      Jama'at-e-Islami. Instead of running the city,
      which is like running a small state, the rulers
      are squaring off to decide through violence who
      is the real ruler. In the recent by-elections for
      parliament and assembly the two sides fell upon
      each other and killed and maimed freely to
      demonstrate their muscle power. The local
      governments are in deep freeze while the governor
      and the chief minister are busy denying charges
      that they are puppets without power in the hands
      of their respective political masters, not
      necessarily including President Musharraf.
      Violence is what the political set-up in Sindh is
      doing to the state. It can hardly qualify as a
      government devoted to the security and well-being
      of the Karachi citizens. Will President Musharraf
      do anything to change all that?
      The administration in Karachi has now thought of
      stationing 15,000 troops to guard the Shia
      mosques. There couldn't be more than a couple of
      hundred Shia mosques in the city where there is a
      total of 2,200 mosques, as revealed by the Sindh
      governor himself. Why guard the Shia mosques
      while the Sunni mosques remain unprotected, if
      the trouble is sectarian? The answer is that the
      administration knows the modus operandi in this
      sectarian war. One side kills indiscriminately
      while the other does target-killing, picking off
      individuals. Why wasn't this wisdom applied after
      the murder of Mufti Shamzai when the city was
      tense with the expectation of another massacre
      foretold? The reason was that the political
      set-up in Sindh was busy doing other things and
      contenting itself with obfuscation. The
      well-wishers of society who don't want to talk of
      sectarianism can be excused but not the
      administration and its various intelligence
      agencies. Why should the administration be
      deceived by vested statements that allege the
      massacres to be staged collectively or severally
      by India, Israel and the United States? Or that
      sectarian violence has come in the wake of
      Pakistan's pro-America policy? The fact is that
      Karachi tilted into its worst sectarian phase and
      killed its Shia doctors before 9/11 when
      Pakistan's policy was pro-Taliban rather than
      We cannot say what President Musharraf will do
      apart from putting the province under Governor's
      rule and sending in the troops. But our
      prediction is that such a measure will not yield
      good long term results, given President
      Musharraf's inclination to do things by halves
      and for short term policy goals. An irresolute
      policy - like the one on the madrassahs and the
      Wana Operation - will flounder because of
      incomplete ownership by the state. No one in
      Pakistan has forgotten that Karachi was once "set
      right" with resolute action only with the help of
      the police and two army chiefs. That is why
      Islamabad must first 'deconstruct' the Karachi
      situation, own up to the trouble its own past
      policies have created, and then take resolute
      steps to set things to rights.
      One lesson that it has to take well to heart is
      that the abandonment of the pro-Taliban policy
      deeply affects the policy of jihad itself,
      notwithstanding what the new religion minister Mr
      Ijaz ul Haq thinks. In fact there are many old
      policy options that stand closed after Pakistan's
      decision to withdraw from the 'unofficial' jihad
      on its western border. The 'unofficial' jihad is
      over as an option for Pakistan and it is time to
      pick up the pieces of the old policy and
      construct a new one. After that the trouble in
      Karachi has to be tackled with decisive action.
      The same police that now seems helpless will then
      become an effective tool of administration. *



      The News International
      June 02, 2004

      Can the Congress deliver?

      M B Naqvi


      The answer depends on how one assesses the
      factors that led to the downfall of BJP. In many
      ways the recent Indian election was
      extraordinarily significant. Erstwhile ruling
      party, BJP, was virtually an antithesis of
      Congress, the party that and was led by leaders
      of freedom struggle for long. Where Congress
      stood for a secular and democratic nationalism of
      a composite nature, based on what was the
      Indo-Persian Civilization, BJP called this Indian
      Nationalism bogus. It, too, spoke of a 'genuine
      Indian nationalism', one that is suffused with
      the ethos of Hindutva, or Hinduness. Although it
      dared not say that Hindus were the only real or
      authentic Indians, its crude advocacy of Hindus
      greatness came close to doing it. Anyhow, the
      rejection of the composite and secular Indian
      nationalism - totally ignoring the Indo-Persian
      Civilisation - and exclusivist emphasis on
      empowering the Hindu makes it a non-secular or
      communalist party. Indian voters have not renewed
      its mandate and have preferred a more secular
      Congress instead. The largely Hindu electorate,
      over 80 percent, has preferred secular politics
      to that of Hindutva.

      The second major significance deals with the
      nitty-gritty of politics. BJP was claiming,
      perhaps too loudly, that its 5-year rule has made
      India shine. It talked of a 'feel-good' factor -
      a variant of 'you never had it so good' slogan.
      The international media was rooting for BJP
      because under its leadership Indian economy grew
      fast thanks supposedly to its steadfast
      implementation of 'reforms'. India's is the
      second fastest growing economy after China, its
      rate now approaching 8 per cent. The secret of
      the massive western press' hosannas lay in
      Vajpayee government's pro-US and Israel foreign
      policy with its faithfulness to true economic
      faith: That which was originally called the
      Washington Consensus and later as structural
      adjustments and now simply called the 'reforms'.
      Well, the neo-liberal economists have to note
      that Indian voters have turned their thumbs down.
      It is a resounding rebuff to neo-liberal nostrums
      from a truly developing nation.

      BJP ran a lavish 'India Shining', if also
      raucous, campaign. There is certainly a thin
      crust of upper and upper middle class Indians may
      be up to 200-250 million strong, who have been
      substantially enriched. As against that a good
      half of all Indians stay poor, especially those
      in the countryside. Poor peasants had been
      committing suicides due to poverty and
      indebtedness. To them 'India Shining' was a cruel
      joke and they reacted angrily. Remember the
      visits of Mr George W Bush and Mr Tony Blair to

      India's Cyber City, Hyderabad, not to mention
      those of many George Soroses and Bill Gateses.
      India's successes - real enough but confined to a
      narrow urban elite - were hyped massively. Well,
      the Indian voters have shown how off the mark
      their own government and its foreign admirers

      Of course, that the common Indian voter, often
      poor and illiterate, did not first debate
      profound philosophical issues about secular
      canons versus Hindutva or finer points of
      economic theory and its possible relation to
      distributive justice. He merely looked around and
      found no evidence of progress and prosperity; he
      saw no shine. The talk of a cleaner or responsive
      (to his needs) government sounded hollow. As for
      Hindutva, he was, other things being equal, more
      likely to be a Hindu. And being a Hindu in an 80
      per cent Hindu country cannot be a big deal;
      nearly everyone else being a Hindu robs the
      concept of Hindutva of any profound relevance or
      immediacy. What is more relevant is who gets what
      - and similar mundane considerations.

      That translates into, first of all, Congress not
      copying or implementing BJP's economic programme.
      That is sure to be the main consideration.
      Negligible share in the new prosperity was the
      main consideration of the common Indian voter. If
      Congress were to adhere to the 'reforms' - and Dr
      Manmohan Singh was the first politician to
      introduce them in India - the net results to be
      achieved by sustaining the current economic
      policies, possibly with only minor changes, are
      sure to be similar to what BJP achieved. India is
      not unique. Wherever these formulas have been
      tried, the results have largely been the same:
      more poverty creation, strong concentration of
      wealth in ever fewer hands, more unemployment,
      greater neglect of social sector spending, meaner
      governments that are less caring. This is the
      trend even in the developed countries, though
      their social security arrangements manage to make
      1930s - like mass hunger marches unnecessary.

      The first challenge to the Congress government is
      thus in the economic sphere - which is not its
      strongest suit. If this Congress government were
      to fail to provide substantial relief to the
      rural and urban poor, it might never again win
      the voter's trust; as it happens, the Congress
      had lost its hold in northern Hindi belt. Its old
      redoubts in the south are now wobbly; most are
      still with it but they can go elsewhere too. It
      has got this opportunity by the Indian voter's
      rejection of the BJP's inadequacies. Much rides
      on the successes of the duo of Dr Manmohan Singh
      and P Chidambram.

      But they are committed free marketeers and
      faithful believers in the neo-liberal doctrines,
      quite like BJP men. How far will their nominal
      alterations in the 'reforms' will go is anyone's
      guess. If they went deeper and affected the main
      scheme of 'reforms', they shall bring on their
      heads the wrath of the Bombay Sonsex, the big
      money in general and to a large extent, western
      friends. This is an unlikely team to make any
      revolutionary changes, now being demanded by the
      Communists. But the latter have indicated that
      even if the Congress does not listen to them,
      they will continue supporting it. So whatever it
      does, it is likely to be able to live out its
      five years. But then there will be a democratic
      day of judgment: next election. Although
      secularism versus Hindutva was not central to the
      common voters' consciousness, hopes of doing
      better was the reason why the Congress and its
      allies commanded as much support as they did.
      This vote is not so much for Congress or allies,
      as for a new economic experiment: can the
      'reforms' be reoriented to promote distributive
      justice and yet keep up the growth momentum? It
      is a big question and P Chidambram is required to
      square this apparent circle.

      As noted, the main result of BJP defeat is the
      renewal of hope that India can resuscitate its
      secular character and give democracy a little
      more depth by providing the poor with some
      relief. The Congress record of over 40 years of
      ruling India is on the whole creditable despite
      the many lapses, some serious. But its
      politicians have grown morally and intellectually
      flabby and some were corrupted. The normal kind
      of financial corruption is not what one has in
      mind. Bribery is a way of life in the
      Subcontinent. True, Congress set high standards
      to begin with. But the society's traditions and
      attitudes brought back the corruption that has
      reigned in public dealings. Corruption and
      mis-governance are expected throughout South
      Asia, except perhaps in Sri Lanka.

      But unfortunately corruption has to be treated as
      an undesirable constant that afflicts BJP, as
      much as Congress or regional parties. One finds
      no point in discussing it because no one approves
      it and yet it is pervasive throughout South Asia.
      This is not to sanction or justify corruption and
      mis-governance but merely to take note of a fact.
      As noted, the primary attraction of Congress lay
      in BJP's failure to address the problem of
      poverty. But the changeover has larger
      significance: while the Congress is required to
      do better in the economic sphere, its overall
      significance is in civilizational terms: The
      Congress is more modern, democratic and believer
      in secular concepts - or at least most of its
      leaders still so profess.

      The biggest challenge before the Congress is how
      far and how strongly does it succeed in
      implementing its secular agenda. The BJP's nearly
      five years have made deep inroads into various
      institutions, particularly in the textbooks for
      schools and in media. The extent to which the
      media had become Saffronised is a great challenge
      in itself. The Congress, doubtless, would be
      under compulsion to restore history books and
      other curricula in accordance with academic
      objectivity and secular tenets. But care has to
      be taken that this does not become a party
      politics issue where one side will try to
      secularise education and the other will try to
      make it instinct with Hindutva. Nothing is more
      important than this.

      In one respect the Congress is hobbled: large
      numbers of its activists have been partially or
      weekly infected with the anti-secular viruses
      released by the Sangh Parivar. While
      internationally there are many examples in Europe
      and America of honest secular politics, there is
      also a third world country that has set an
      example: it is South Africa which has struggled
      hard against Apartheid and various other
      prejudices and has become a beacon of light for
      secular democrats and believers in human and
      racial equality. Doubtless India has to go a long
      way before it can be free from worries on the
      score of secular democracy being secure.

      Let us hope India makes the grade and Congress rises to its challenges.



      28 May 2004


      The recent mine blast on the Jammu-Srinagar
      highway killling BSF men and their families has
      temporarily shattered the veneer of normalcy. To
      all intents and purposes, elections have taken
      place. A 'popular' government is in power in the
      State. Peace talks are underway. Compared to
      people scurrying home with the onset of evening
      three years back, there is the hustle-bustle of
      given and take at Lal Chowk, the hub of Srinagar.
      Tourists are flocking, houseboats are filling up,
      taxis buzzing to Gulmarg.

      Despite choosing to turn a blind eye to the
      fortified bunker right at Lal Chowk, the machine
      gun mounted armoured vehicles, the battle ready
      soldiers on picturesque bunds and bridges across
      the Jhelum, the fragility of the 'normalcy' is

      On any random day, the local papers carry
      reports of grieving relatives of youth "picked
      up" by the dreaded Special Operations Group, 5
      killed in Baramulla or protests over custodial
      deaths. One doesn't come on a holiday to read
      newspapers! However, it is difficult to ignore
      the texture of the interaction between local
      Kashmiris and the Security Forces. Whether it is
      the docile subservient expression of an old man
      selling fruits and a BSF jawan or the heavy
      handed checking of identity cards of passing

      At Lal Chowk, we go to see off a friend into a
      Sumo for Jammu. The driver turns, a passenger
      waves and as the driver stops a jawan comes and
      breaks the rear-view mirror of the vehicle.
      Sajaad, the driver threatens to complain to the
      Commandant. The jawan, regardless of a hundred
      witnesses watching, punches just above the eye
      and tries to pull a bleeding Sajaad out of the

      The Kashmiris present know better than to
      intervene. We intervene and fortunately the
      beating stops! The drivers say no action will be
      initiated unless we come along. We toodle along
      to the Police Station. A police constable gets in
      and we go towards the Government Hospital. The
      Constable pleads with us to come along as the BSF
      may have already reached and may prevent them
      from entering the Hospital! As non-Kashmiris and
      Indians, we carry more clout than a J & K

      At the hospital the driver is nervous that the
      BSF may plant something and then "recover"
      explosives from his vehicle. Others are
      apprehensive that the BSF may pick them up from
      their homes at night. Obviously, a routine
      modus-operandi. MLC done, we are again
      importuned to go back to the police station. As
      in the ensuing negotiations between the S. P. and
      the Commandant our presence as witnesses would
      help. The police informally advise the drivers to
      organize a demonstration if they want a complaint

      Unlike many countries, the Indian Constitution
      has no provision for martial law. Security forces
      are always to supplement civil power not supplant
      it. Yet so tilted is the balance in favour of the
      security forces that the police cannot even lodge
      a FIR, leave aside prosecution of army personnel
      involved in acts of violence.

      Human rights groups can keep asserting gross
      human rights abuses and the Government can keep
      denying the killings and rapes. However, it is
      the almost invisible, intangible humiliation
      suffered in everyday life which in a major way
      contributes to the alienation of a people.

      Rakesh Shukla



      The Times of India
      June 2, 2004

      by Shahid Amin

      With an erstwhile professor of economics now as
      our prime minister, there is great expectation
      among teachers at all levels of the educational
      pyramid. All those who dirty their hands with
      chalk-and-duster, whether in manicured management
      institutes, or the stable-like lecture-rooms in
      most universities across the land, are visibly
      relieved. The dark phase of thought control, the
      arrogation of educational wisdom to a handpicked
      coterie of under-qualified academic bureau-crats,
      the systematic slandering of our tallest scholars
      as inadequately Bharatiya, the throwing of muck,
      often quite literally, at some of the most
      distinguished foreign scholars of India's
      cultural and religious past " all this is
      mercifully over, for five years at least. So we

      The common minimum programme, while promising to
      take up universal elementary education seriously,
      goes on to assure autonomy for university and
      professional institutions. There is talk already
      of an urgent need for " detoxification" of school
      and college curricula. This is understandable. No
      doubt there is a need to undo the " wrongs" done
      to our institutions, to our children, to our
      teachers. But let us press ahead only after due
      deliberation; let the urgency of the task not
      become an excuse for the darning of frayed ideas
      and the regurgitation of old mantras, unmindful
      of their past efficacy and present suitability.

      Those in charge of the education ministry " a far
      better term than the fluffy acronym HRD " must
      learn to get over the control-centralise itch
      that seems almost to go with the job. We'd also
      do well to remember that some of the most odious
      diktats emerging from the HRD over the past five
      years, were very often the redeployment of
      weapons of surveillance developed in the early
      and mid-1970s. The mindless control over the
      grant of visas to foreign or foreign-based Indian
      scholars on grounds of " sensitivity " and the
      totalitarian control that the HRD sought to
      exercise over international scholars wishing to
      speak in India , were not necessarily the
      creation of the last government. They date back
      to an earlier and different, though by no means
      intellectually less debilitating, consensus on
      what was properly national.

      Not that tax-paying bona fide Indian scholars
      were necessarily given more leeway, if the
      myrmidons of state-funded bodies thought, in
      their fawning wisdom, that they had somehow
      crossed the academic Lakshman-rekha. As we move
      to free education from the fist of smug,
      sectarian certitude, let us not hurry over the
      fact that there once was a well-placed
      intellectual component of the now-discredited
      licence permit raj.

      Some 30 years separate 1974 from 2004. During
      this period, the world, India included, has
      hurtled through calendrical time at an
      astonishing pace. Were we to limit ourselves to
      picking some high points and potholes from the
      field of education: There has been a phenomenal
      increase in the international market worth of
      IIMs and IITs, combined with a hyper-inflation of
      indifferent regional universities; while most
      metro universities have held their own under the
      pressure of a rush of student intake, many
      premier universities of yesteryears have sunk
      into second-rate teaching shops; tuition,
      coaching, tutoring, entrance tests, all these
      have usurped the place of class room pedagogy:
      the Great Education Bazaar is now flooded with
      all manner of indifferent and inferior goods,
      some of these attractively packaged by branch
      outlets of overseas institutes and colleges. And
      then there is the great rush to study in the US .

      The new educational dispensation will no doubt
      address these and several other pressing problems
      " there is talk of a new education commission. It
      is not my aim to prepare a laundry list for such
      a commission. Suffice it to say that this
      government would do well to involve many more
      actual teachers, irrespective of rank and age,
      rather than fall back, as a matter of habit, on
      academic bureaucrats and retired pedagogues.

      The other area of immediate concern would be the
      issue of middle and secondary school text-books,
      especially history text-books, which were
      hurriedly re-scripted in the last regime, so the
      argument went, to correct the " leftist" bias of
      the 1970s history primers. Here again greater
      deliberation is called for, and a new consensus,
      which takes into account the developments in the
      discipline of history more generally and Indian
      history writing specifically, arrived at.
      Educationists have recently drawn attention to
      the fact that an obsessive Arjun-like
      concentration on the eye of the targeted-bird "
      in this case the Indian nation-state " in school
      books is to rob both the child and the discipline
      of history of an informative, yet critical
      perspective on the relationship between our past
      and our present.

      History text-book writers need to take all this
      into account. They might also like to mull over
      the forthright enunciation in December 1947 by
      professor Mohammad Habib, one of the doyens of
      Indian history: " The writing of histories should
      not, as a rule, be directly subsidised by the
      state... Under the old regime we wrote in a
      spirit of constraint... Our national leaders
      should now be willing to pass on to us a fraction
      of the freedom they have obtained. A
      state-dominated interpretation of history is one
      of the most effective means of sabotaging
      democracy" Strong words indeed, given that they
      were uttered on the eve of the Nehruvian
      consensus, and doubly salutary for a fractured
      polity that is India today.

      (The author teaches at the University of Delhi .)



      1 June 2004


      The paramount duty of the newly elected
      Government of India is to take all measures
      possible to reclaim and defend the secular and
      democratic foundations of India. These were under
      unprecedented threat during the last NDA
      government in the centre as well as the BJP
      government in the state of Gujarat. Indeed,
      Gujarat was the crucible of Hindutva politics and
      continues to be wounded by the genocide and
      wanton refusal of the state government to ensure
      justice and healing. Therefore, the test case of
      the secular resolve of the new UPA government
      will be its ability to take resolute and often
      difficult decisions to restore justice and hope
      to the people of Gujarat.

      A group of concerned citizens and organizations
      from both within and outside Gujarat gathered on
      1st June 2004 at Prashant, Ahmedabad to draw up a
      charter of demands for the Government of India
      for justice and healing in Gujarat.

      A summary of our demands to the UPA government is as under:

      Legal Justice

      1. The UPA government should support the
      recommendations of the Amicus Curiae in the
      Supreme Court [Writ Petition (Cri)No.109 of 2003]
      which proposes that, a retired judge of the
      Supreme Court and a retired police officer of
      impeccable credentials should be empowered to
      (a) re-examine all cases of closure, acquittal
      and bail related to cases registered in relation
      to the post-Godhra carnage; (b) if they find
      prima-facie miscarriage of justice at the stages
      of FIR, investigation, prosecution and trial,
      they should be empowered to order and supervise
      reinvestigation and / or retrial; and (c) monitor
      all ongoing investigation, prosecution and trial.

      2. Repeal of POTA with retrospective effect,
      and cancellation of all POTA charges in Gujarat,
      in recognition of the painful fact that the state
      government openly misused this draconian Act to
      victimize exclusively members of the minority
      community, with very little genuine evidence.

      3. The UPA government should institute a
      Special Judicial Commission to enquire into the
      Godhra incident, because the people of India have
      the right to know the exact facts behind the fire
      in the S6 compartment of the ill-fated Sabarmati
      Express on 27th February, 2002

      Compensation & Rehabilitation

      4. UPA should announce a compensation
      package based on the most progressive features of
      the compensation packages that were announced for
      the survivors of the Kaveri riots, 1984 riots and
      others. Supervision of fair and timely
      implementation of this revised package should be
      entrusted to a Commissioner appointed by the
      Central Government.

      5. A generous package of soft loans for
      housing and livelihoods should be given to all
      affected families.

      6. For rehabilitation colonies that have
      been established through non-government
      initiatives (because of the total inaction by the
      State Government) recognition and regularization
      in order to make them eligible for land title,
      electricity, water supply, approach roads,
      primary schools, etc. For families still
      unwilling to return to their original homes
      because of fear, government should establish new
      settlements at suitable locations consented to by
      the affected families, and ensure basic

      Accountability & Preventive Measures

      7. UPA government should establish a
      machinery to ensure prosecution of all civil and
      police officers, who failed in their duties to
      prevent and control the violence, to protect the
      victims, and to extend relief and rehabilitation.

      8. Similarly it should institute legal
      measures for the prosecution of the Chief
      Minister and other cabinet colleagues, for
      planning, instigating and abetting the carnage,
      and refusing to perform duties for relief and

      9. Enquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme
      Court into the allegations of deliberate
      partisanship in the appointment of public
      prosecutors and judges in the post Godhra trial

      10. A special group should be set up to
      monitor and take appropriate action against all
      individuals and organizations that preach or
      provoke hatred amongst people of different faiths.

      11. The UPA should enquire into the
      systematic manufacture of hatred against
      minorities through textbooks and ensure their
      immediate replacement with liberal and secular
      educational material.

      12. There has always been a precedent adopted
      by most governments in independent India to
      rebuild places of religious and cultural
      importance when these have been destroyed in
      communal violence. This healing precedent should
      be applied to the nearly 700 places of worship
      and cultural importance destroyed in the
      post-Godhra carnage. Particularly important is
      the rebuilding of the symbols of Gujarat
      syncretic culture like the Mazar of Wali Gujarati
      [Shahibaug, Ahmedabad]

      13. In order to prevent recurrence of open
      state abetment of communal violence, abdication
      of responsibilities for relief and
      rehabilitation, and subversion of the justice
      system, the UPA government should undertake
      codification and passage of a national law. This
      law should delineate the statutory duties and
      accountability of the Government to prevent
      communal violence, protect victims and organize
      relief, compensation and rehabilitation, and lay
      down strong penalties for failure to perform
      these duties.

      Amar Jyot [Action Aid]
      Batuk Vora
      Digant Oza [Satyajit Trust]
      Fr.Cedric Prakash [Prashant]
      Gagan Sethi [Centre for Social Justice]
      Harinesh [Janpath]
      Harsh Mander [Anhad]
      Hiren Gandhi [Samvedan]
      Mallika Sarabhai [Darpana Academy]
      Mukul Sinha [Jan Sangarsh Manch]
      Parthiv Shah [CMAC]
      Prasad Chacko [Behavioral Science Centre]
      Rafi Mallik [Centre for Development]
      Saumya Joshi [Fade-in Theatre]
      Shabnam Hashmi [Anhad]
      Stalin K. [Drishti Media Collective]
      Swarup Dhruv [Samvedan]
      Wilfred D’souza [INSAF]
      Zakia Jowher [Aman Samuday]

      ......... and others

      [See News Report on Above]
      o o o

      Deccan Herald
      June 02, 2004
      Godhra: NGOs to submit charter of demands
      The Gujarat assembly witnessed noisy scenes as
      Chief Minister Narendra Modi was attacked by the
      Opposition over the Godhra train carnage and
      statewide communal violence in its aftermath.

      Inspired by the change of guard at the Centre and
      hoping for justice for the riot victims in
      Gujarat, leading human rights activists and NGOs
      on Tuesday charted out demands to be put up
      before the UPA Government led by Prime Minister
      Manmohan Singh.

      Repealing POTA with retrospective effect,
      cancelling all POTA charges in Gujarat, a special
      judicial commission to inquire into the Godhra
      carnage, instituting legal measures to prosecute
      the Gujarat chief minister, ministers and other
      officials for allegedly abetting the carnage and
      action against all officers who failed to perform
      their duty are some of the demands in the charter.

      Among the signatories include noted danseuse
      Mallika Sarabhai, former bureaucrat Harsh Mander,
      Shabnam Hashmi, Father Cedrick Prakash and
      advocate Mukul Sinha. The 13-point demands were
      finalised at the end of a brainstorming session
      that lasted for more than two hours. The charter
      of demands will be presented to the UPA in a
      couple of days after a signature campaign all
      over the country.

      The group has demanded that the UPA should
      support the recommendations of the Amicus Curiae
      in the Supreme Court. The Amicus Curiae has
      proposed that a retired Supreme Court judge or a
      retired police officer should be empowered to
      re-examine all the cases of closure, acquittal
      and bail related to post-Godhra cases and if
      prima facie miscarriage of justice is found then
      he be authorised to supervise reinvestigation or

      The group has also demanded a fair compensation
      for the victims on the lines announced after the
      Cauvery and 1984 riots. Soft loans should also be
      given for housing and livelihood, they observed.

      Further, they also demanded an enquiry by a
      sitting judge of the Supreme Court into the
      allegations of deliberate partisanship in the
      appointment of public prosecutors and judges in
      the post-Godhra trial cases.

      They felt that the UPA should enquire into the
      alleged systematic build up of hatred against
      minorities through textbooks and ensure their
      immediate replacement with liberal and secular
      educational material. One of the demands is also
      of restoring over 700 places of worship and
      cultural importance destroyed during the
      post-Godhra carnage.

      A couple of NGOs from Gujarat have already
      forwarded their charter of demands to the UPA.

      Noisy scenes in assembly
      Meanwhile, the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha witnessed
      noisy scenes after the leader of Opposition
      Amarsinh Chaudhary attacked Chief Minister
      Narendra Modi in connection with the Godhra train
      carnage and statewide communal violence in its
      aftermath, PTI adds from Gandhinagar.

      During a discussion on budgetary demands in the
      Home Department, Mr Chaudhary alleged that
      several political parties across the country are
      holding Mr Modi responsible for the post-Godhra
      riots and for inciting communal hatred. He also
      alleged that on February 28, 2002 and after, Mr
      Modi and other top BJP leaders "allowed the
      people to express their anger" over the Godhra



      Date: June 1, 2004

      Dr. Manmohan Singh
      Prime Minister of India
      South Block, Raisina Hill,
      New Delhi, -110 011.
      Telephone: 91-11-23012312.
      Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857

      Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh,

      As concerned citizens of a secular, plurastic and
      democratic country, we feel greatly relieved by
      the common people's mandate against communal
      forces represented by the National Democratic
      Alliance under the domination of the Sangh
      Parivar in the election to the Parliament in
      2004. By and large we welcome the Common Minimum
      Program agreed upon by the United Progressive
      Alliance, supported by the Left Front and hope
      that the CMP will be worked out in more specific
      terms and with time bound action - plans and
      continuous monitoring agency. We believe that we
      have won the battle, but also have to win the way
      and we urge upon the UPA and all others to be
      vigilant against the communal forces and to
      launch a long-term united struggle against them
      and not to fritter away the energies, time and
      resources in internal bickering and struggle for
      power and miss the unique opportunity offered to
      us by the non-shining common people of India. We
      feel strongly and hope also that if UPA
      Government will complete its full term without
      much hindrance and implement its program to make
      people realize and feel that they too can shine
      and they will.

      Having seen the barbaric face of a fascist rule
      under Narendra Modi in Gujarat during the spate
      of anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002 during which over
      2000 people were butchered, thousands maimed,
      scores of women raped, thousands of people
      rendered homeless and many more deprived of their
      sources of livelihood, we look upon the UPA
      government to initiate steps to instill a sense
      of security and faith among the people in secular
      democratic system. And to restore the
      constitutional system, rule of law, independence
      of judiciary, right to equality before the law
      and equal protection of the laws, right to life
      and liberty and right to justice. We expect the
      UPA government to give out a clear message that
      no one responsible for genocide and gross
      violation of human rights remains unpunished and
      that no one is above law and only the law of the
      land is supreme. We believe that the Union
      Government has constitutional obligation under
      Article 355 to protect the state (not merely the
      Government) against external aggression and
      internal disturbances and to ensure that the
      Government of each State is carried on in
      accordance with the provisions of the
      constitution and it has both powers and duty to
      give directions to the state for this purpose and
      each state is bound to comply with such

      We have witnessed how the BJP government in
      Gujarat has grossly misused the draconian law of
      POTA against the minorities and dissenters to
      terrorize them into submission. We want the UPA
      government to:

      1. Set up a high-level committee to inquire
      into the role of the state government including
      the chief minister and his ministerial
      colleagues, bureaucrats and police officials in
      gross abuse of law, flagrant violation of the
      Constitution, large scale violence, open
      violation of constitutional rights of the people
      and particularly the minorities. The committee
      should also inquire each the loss of lives and
      properties, assess the damages, evolve scheme of
      fair, full and just compensation as complete
      rehabilitation of all victim of riots.
      2. Sign the international convention against torture.
      3. Repeal with retrospective effect the draconian POTA.
      4. Appoint independent Central review
      committee and special courts to review and
      conduct all POTA cases till the draconian law is
      not repealed.
      5. Immediately repeal the provision that
      allows admission before the court confession made
      before the police.
      6. Make use of Article 355 of the
      Constitution of India and direct the Gujarat
      government to follow its 'Raj Dharma' and act
      according to the Constitution. Using the powers
      vested in the Central government under the same
      Article, the government should implement the
      recommendations of the National Human Rights
      Commission, particularly the one recommending
      reopening of all riot-related cases in Gujarat
      and handing over their reinvestigation to the
      Central Bureau of Investigation. Under Modi's
      rule, the police had filed 'A' summary in over
      2000 of the total 4000 cases related to rioting,
      murder and rape.
      7. Ensure effective legal representation of
      the central government and its agencies like the
      CBI in all riot-related cases put up before the
      Supreme Court.
      8. Immediately remove the Governor of
      Gujarat for his failure to prevent the Modi
      government from violating the law of the land.
      9. To take steps to streamline the judicial
      institutions at all levels to ensure free, fair
      and impartial administration of justice to all
      sections of society.
      10. Appoint new central government counsel in the state.
      11. The Government of India should consider
      recommending to RBI and to other different
      concerned agencies to write off repayment of
      debts of riot victims who have no means left to
      repay the amount of Loans taken by them.
      12. To take steps to desaffronise all
      institutions and aspects of society by the ideals
      of secularism and democracy.

      We, the concerned citizens of Gujarat are sending
      you this letter with immense faith and hope. We
      will be thankful if you would respond to our

      Shri Chunibhai Vaidya Justice A. P. Ravani (Retired)

      Achyutbhai Yagnik SHRI GIRISHBHAI PATEL

      Prof. Abid Shamsi Indubhai Jani

      Ms. Sheba George Mahesh Bhatt

      Ms. Sofia Khan Manishi Jani

      Hanif Lakdawala Anand Yagnik

      Contact Address:
      C/o. Sanchetana Community Health and Research Centre
      Institute For Initiatives in Education
      O-45/46, New York Trade Centre, Nr. Thaltej Cross Roads
      Ahmedabad - 380054.



      Press Release

      Date: 31st May 2004

      Let us hope that the appointment of Retired
      Justice Mr. H. U. Mahida - who was the judge of
      the fast track court which delivered the
      judgement on the Best Bakery case - is not a
      political statement of the Gujarat Electricity
      Board. The GEB official says that out of all of
      the candidates who applied for the post, Retired
      Justice Mr. H. U. Mahida was the most eligible.

      It is time to read the number of irrelevant,
      unwanted, and up to a certain extent, the
      unconstitutional remarks in the Best Bakery
      Judgement of the Fast Track Court of Vadodara. We
      would like to quote a few such paragraphs, which
      raise fundamental questions about the judgement’s
      poor understanding of crucial aspects of the

      The Judgement says that "(59) In the Constitution
      of India, the provision of only ten percent
      reservation had been provided only for ten years.
      […] But because of the unjust (iniquitous)
      reservation system brain drain (occurs) -- and
      intellectual capital gets drawn to foreign
      countries. […] In a good government, one should
      get opportunities according to
      competence/qualifications. So that there be no
      atrocity on, and harassment of, the exploited
      (Dalit) and the oppressed, they must for their
      safety and security get tight protection. […] It
      is the duty of the State to ensure that (persons
      of such) competence/merit does not experience
      obstacles due to reasons of shallow goals. It is
      against human rights to have a situation where
      the meritorious and competent do not get
      opportunities, and those who inspite of not
      having competence and qualifications are given
      benefits because of reservations. […]".

      We fail to understand the link between a case of
      massacre in which innocent people were burnt
      alive with anti-reservation arguments. This is
      not only irrelevant to the case but also against
      the constitutional provision of reservation, a
      policy based on the principle of positive
      discrimination for the deprived sections of

      The judgement further states "(67) As a result of
      the rage and fury of a mob, four children and
      three ladies were consumed in the flames, and it
      was a Hindu mob that murdered three Hindus under
      the mistaken impression that they were Muslims."

      We fail to understand what message the judgement
      wants to convey by saying: "mistaken impression
      that they were Muslims." Instead of going into
      the role of the police and the public prosecutor
      regarding the investigation and handling of the
      case, a sizeable part of the judgement is devoted
      to establishing a context and rationale for the
      violence. Despite the fact that this judgement
      released the accused of murder, rioting, and
      arsenal, the judge provided only a vague
      treatment of the facts at hand and spent the
      final 8 of 24 pages justifying the egregious
      actions of the defendants. This section of the
      judgement contains such gratuitous statements and
      speculations with little immediate relevance to
      the facts of the case.

      We may ignore such statements when made by
      ordinary persons, but when it becomes part of a
      judgement in the trial of gruesome murders like
      Best Bakery, we must worry about the attitude
      underlying them.

      Rohit Prajapati
      Trupti Shah
      Human Rights Activists, Vadodara.


      Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on
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