Re: Film Director Gopal Menon Manhandled by VHP and Police inKerala
- Mr. Bijoy's comments here, inspite of stated sweet intentions, display
vicious selectivity. Few questions come to mind right away about the
incident - was VHP "manhandling" everyone who came to the meeting?
Every media person coming there? NO!
It was only Gopal Menon
SO the charge that VHP is against "recording" is baseless,it was
an issue between Gopal Menon and VHP activists who were angry
about his past behaviour.
Regarding right to information I would suggest Mr. Bijoy apply the
same to himself and other organisations as well. Will he go and record
and film the friday speeches in mosques and maddrassas? I suggest he
does so if he is genuinely interested in peace, he will get to hear
lot of interesting things there.
The left in India ought to develop new thinking.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "CR Bijoy" wrote:
> Comments: Kerala is a substantially mixed population from different
religions. The state is know for its egalitarian and well developed
democracy and has a physical quality of living index that is
comparable toso called developed nations. The state has a enviable
position in terms of literacy (officially a completely literate
state) and a very vibrant and alert media. The state has a practice
of intense debate on all issues that matter and invariably ensure
that the government falls in line with the popular conclusions of the
political debate. For this reason, the average citizen is considered
to be better informed. In recent times, there has been communal flare
ups and violence that are considered unusual. With intensification of
communal politics, the logic is that if one can ensure the dominance
of communal politics in the state of Kerala, then one can do this
anywhere in India. Recent incidents in Marad of communal flare ups
and murders present the context. There&nb! s!
> p;has been an increasing allegation and popular belief that the
Congress led government in the state is toeing the BJP/VHP/RSS agenda
of communalisation of politics. Gopal Menon has made documentaries on
issues such as Kashmir, Nagaland, Dalits besides the popular 'Hey
Ram:Genocide in the Land of Gandhi". The attack on him is a clear
indication that organisations such as VHP do not want their
activities to be recorded, least of all its vetran rabble rouser
Praveen Togadia against whom there have been numerous compliants in
other parts of the country of promoting communal hatred. In addition,
in a democracy, the right to free speech and right to information are
critical for the society to enable a rational analysis and discourse.
The attack on Gopal Menon shows up the scant regard for the social
practice in the State that oranisations like VHP has exposing itself
to be fascist and its capacity to engineer fascism in a progressive
state. No doubt, the people of Kerala, where to!!
> lerance is considered sacrosanct in the political discourse, would
rise up to contain such trends.
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: sarat
> > To: Gopal Menon ; Surendranath
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 10:06 AM
> > Subject: Gopal Menon Manhandled
> > Film Director Gopal Menon Manhandled.
> > Well-known documentary film maker Gopal Menon, who has made the
> film `Hey Ram - Genocide in the Land of Gandhi' (that documented
> post-Godhra communal carnage in Gujarat), as well as many other
> on human rights issues, was manhandled today by the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) and
> the Kerala state police in a public function being addressed by VHP
> chief, Praveen Togadia, in Kozhikkode today. Gopal Menon was
> accompanied by a film team consisting of Viju Verma ! and Mustapha
> Deshamangalam, who were also subjected to manhandling.
> > As soon as the team reached the spot in Mudalakkulam Maidan where
> Praveen Togadia was addressing the crowd, Gopal
> > Menon was identified by the VHP activists, who with the help of
> state police, manhandled all three and threw them out of the
> place. The VHP activists threatened the film makers and asked the
> police not to allow them inside. The police in turn, threatened to
> arrest them if they failed to leave immediately. According to the
> group, they escaped since their lives
> > were under threat.
> > Later, Gopal Menon and his team argued that since the event was a
> public meeting, they had every right to attend and also film the
> function. They expressed shock at the way the police force of a
> like Kerala that is supposedly committed to secular principles
> be used by a communal outfit like the VHP for its ne! farious ends.
> According to Gopal, the organisers had violated all the basic
> of press and media freedom. Marad, said Gopal, marks the beginning
> fascism in Kerala. The team stated that if the socially-conscious
> citizens of Kerala did not wake up at this crucial hour, the state
> would soon become a ground for bloodshed as a result of the
> statements of communal-minded politicians.
> > The team appealed to all right-thinking and socially-conscious
> citizens to pledge themselves to fight the communal canker, and see
> to it that the 'Gujarat experiment' is not repeated in state of
> Kerala. They urged all citizens' groups to respond
> > immediately and take all possible steps to isolate communal
> organisationsand politicians who spread communal poison.
> New Indian Express", July 10, 2003, Thursday
> ?Secular resistance need of the hour?
> KOZHIKODE: What has happened to the secular fabric of the fishing
community in the state ? What role did araya samajams and mahal
committees play to flare up the communal clashes ? Or is it the RSS,
the NDF or similar organisations doing the trick ?
> While ruminating over these serious questions
> Gopal Menon is quite disturbed. ??It?s an alarming situation here
in Kerala,?? says the internationally-acclaimed documentary film
maker, who reached the trouble-torn Marad from Delhi to document his
new film on the riot-hit coastal belt of Kerala.
> 29-year-old Gopal, a native of Mankave in Kozhikode, is further
disturbed by the way he and his crew members were treated by the
police and the RSS, VHP workers while filming the public address of
VHP leader Praveen Togadia in Kozhikode on Tuesday.
> The RSS and VHP workers had blocked the crew from shooting the
programme. ??With the police, which came into the scene, too joining
the saffron brigade to push us out, we had to leave the scene without
shooting the programme,?? he said. ??I was even blocked by the police
from entering Marad. Around 30 films were made during the Gujarat
riots and there were no such restrictions. Even the journalists are
not being permitted to work freely here in Marad.??
> Gopal?s film on Gujarat riots ? Hey Ram ! Genocide in the Land of
Gandhi (2002) ? was the first one on the subject and was widely used
as an interventionist tool.
> It is three months since he began working on the new film which is
expected to be completed within two or three months. ??The Sangh
Parivar outfits will further benefit from any communal-based response
to their manoeuvres. Kerala could be considered an exact case study
and what we need here is a secular resistance instead of communal
polarisation,?? he elaborates on the subject of his untitled work. ??
The sea courts (kadal kodathi), aimed to settle the disputes, are now
defunct. The Government is trying to appease the communal forces. The
situation here is worsening,?? he asserts.
> An extensive all-India film on communalism, depicting attacks on
minority communities including Muslims, Christians, dalits and
tribals, is also in the offing. ??Unlike the Sangh Parivar, Islamic
organisations cannot be termed a fascist force in the Indian context.
Sangh Parivar is a fascist force and not merely a fundamentalist
outfit,?? he says.
> Opening his film career with a documentary on the destruction of
tropical evergreen forests in Nilgiri biosphere while doing his
second year degree course, Gopal Menon, associated himself with the
People?s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on the organised violence
on Muslims in Coimbatore and the subsequent bomb blasts.
> He has been documenting the Naga and Kashmiri political movements
since 1998 and made two documentaries ? Naga story: The Other Side of
Silence (on the Naga struggle) and Papa Too (on enforced
disappearance in Kashmir). The other works, apart from that on
Gujarat riots, include Resilient Rhythms (first comprehensive film on
dalit issue) and Let Iraq Live, made as part of the anti-war campaign.
> His film, broadcast by Britain?s Channel 4 news programme,
documenting some of the means through which funds were raised in
Britain by Sangh Parivar organisations, had invited the wrath of the
VHP (UK), which accused him of promoting mass conversion of Hindus
and causing havoc with the human rights of Hindus in India.
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- Pradip Das(Message 12037):
>Why all of a sudden you are so "bleeding-heart"Let me turn it around. Why all of a sudden you are so bleeding
>about "innocent civilian lives"? Where is the
>outraged when hundreds of mass-graves are discovered
>in Iraq? Do you not feel anything for those families
>who lost hundreds of thousands of their loved ones
>to Saddam's cruelty?
heart about the victims of Saddam's cruelty? Where was the
outrage when Pak military juntas massacred millions in
Bangladesh in 1971? Where was the liberating army from US to
liberate the Bengalis? What did US do then? Where is the
"outrage" (by US and its defenders) when protesters demanding
freedom were massacred in Tianamen square. Where was the armed
invasion to liberate the Chinese people under communist
oppresiion? Where was the outrage when Shah of Iran's brutal
secret police killed his opponents? Where is the outrage when
Saudis perpetrate worst human rights violation on its citizen,
women and brutally suppressing any opposition to its rule and
free speech? Where is the liberation war when worse dictators
than Saddam unleash reign of terror in their countries and even
outside (e.g Iran, Libya, Sudan..) like Kim Jong II of N. Korea,
King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah, Charles Taylor, Liberia,
Than Shwe of Burma, Theodore Obiang Nguema of Equat. Guinea,
Saparmurad Niyazov of Turkmensitan, Alexander Lukanshenko of
Belarus? Why shed crocodile tears for Iraqis selectively? One
has to be either utterly immature or insidious to think or say
that Bush-Chenney invaded Iraq to "liberate" the Iraqis. Not
only did they invaded Iraq for their personal interest but they
have also pushed Iraq in a much worse situation than before.
That is no liberation. Iraq is now under the danger of
religious fundamentalism, worse than secular dictatorship of
Saddam. Saddam may have tortured political opponents, but
relgious fanatics do not even spare non-political dissidents,
women, liberals, intellectuals, all are tortured for simply not
following the strict Sharia rules. This is not liberation. This
is simply throwing the people of Iraq from a frying pan into
fire to fulfil its own agenda.
Osama Bin Laden is the worst terrorist, and also the chief
patron of the 9/11 terrorism. Why is it that US is not spending
its energy and resources on seeking out Osama bin Laden, where
as spending billions after Saddam, who had nothing to do with
9/11 or Al Quaeda? Iraq was an easy sitting duck and a scapegoat
for 9/11, because Saddam, being secular and atheist, had made
enemies among Islamic countries, even Osama Bin Laden. So US
figured that Iraq can be pounded with no fear of backlash from
islamic countries, and at the same time US figured that since
Iraq/Saddam has Muslim and Arab identity (although Saddam is
secular/atheist), it is easy to convince gullible public about
the link between Saddam and 9/11 terrorists (Both have a common
denominator : "Muslim") and thus he can gain some political
mileage at home with the impatient public wanting to see
something be done to the 9/11 perpetrators/planners. No body
would have believed if Bush blamed North Korea (Kim Jong) or
Liberia (Charles Taylor), for being behind 9/11 and attacked N.
Korea or Liberia, as Kim Jong or Charles Taylor do not have a
Muslim identity. The fact is that Saddam has nothing more to do
with Osama Bin Laden than Kim Jong or Charles Taylor. Rather
Kim Jong or Charles Taylor are not seen as an enemy by Osama,
but Saddam is!. It is a no brainer why US spent so much
resources after Saddam, although many still don't get it, and
still gloat for US having done something about 9/11 by ousting
Saddam! and having "liberated" Iraqi people.
It would not be too far fetced to speculate that Iraq will
ultimately be ruled by fanatic Islamic rulers who would support
terrorism against US (Current signs point to that as being a
real possibility), something Saddam never did himself. That
will be the ultimate irony.