Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pro-Narendra Modi think-tank chief praises Gujarat PUCL's latest book for "ignoring" human rights activists

Teesta Setalvad
By Our Representative
A well-known pro-Narendra Modi think-tank head, who has lately supported the Sangh Parivar’s controversial campaign against Love Jihad, has strongly defended the Gujarat People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL’s) latest book for “ignoring” contributions by certain human rights activists in its latest book, “Human Rights in Gujarat and Civil Liberties Movement” (1974-2014). Head of Delhi-based India Policy Foundation, Rakesh Sinha has said those ignored in the book by no stretch of imagination can be called human rights activists.
This was in reaction to a report in Counterview, which said the PUCL book in Gujarati – a collection of statements and news clippings – overlooks contributions by top human rights activists Teesta Setalvad, Mukul Sinha, Martin Macwan, Gagan Sethi, Achyut Yagnik and Rohit Prajapati. The report also says that there is no mention of untouchability or manual scavenging as raging human rights issues in the state – despite the fact that these have been graphically noted in Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports.
Audio interviewed by an influential news-and-views portal, Sinha singles out Teesta Setalvad, fighting several court cases for Gujarat communal rights victims, saying that she is “not a civil rights activist”, accusing her that she had in the past been aligned with “certain anti-India elements” of Europe, even as finding favour from Pakistani spy agency ISI, apart from communism and minorityism. Sinha said, those ignored in the PUCL book only wore “the mask of human rights”, but have always been “guided by a particular political agenda.” Setalvad-inspired cases has led to conviction to at least 100 victims.
Rakesh Sinha
Sinha, in a recent article calling Love Jihad a “chilling reality, said, “Can one dodge the very real issue of whether traditional Islamic society can accept an idol-worshiping woman as part of an Islamic family, culture and society? Hindu women are the biggest victims, whether the marriage is based on affection or design… Hindu or Christian girls getting married to Muslim boys had hardly been an issue till cases of abandonment and forced conversion came to light”.
Sinha said, several “human rights activists” get funds from outside India, adding, to him human rights means promoting “human values and a fight for egalitarian society.” Suggesting there are certain anti-India elements who are putting up the banner of human rights activism, the think-tank chief says, the PUCL, founded by Jay Prakash Narayan and VM Tarkunde, was previously doing “a wonderful job in the country”. Regrettably, later on it came under the influence of “certain people” who are either Marxists or neo-liberals.
Recalling Setalvad’s “campaign” in Gujarat – and criticizing the magazine run by her, “Communalism Combat”, which “is no more”, for “anti-India” bias – Sinha praises RSS’ Gujarat mouthpiece “Sadhana” for being “independent”. He adds, those who have been mentioned in Counterview are promoting anti-nationalism and suffer from ideological biases, wanting human rights should be free from “such biases” to be truly called human rights activism. The Gujarat PUCL book has commended “Sadhana” for “fearless” journalism.
Achyut Yagnik

Gujarat PUCL chief on Achyut Yagnik: "Nothing has come out of him"

In a separate interview with the portal, Gujarat PUCL general secretary Gautam Thaker said, the purpose of the book was to “purely reflect Gujarat PUCL activities carried out in the last 40 years”, adding, “it is not about human rights activists.” Claiming that Gujarat PUCL is working as an umbrella organization, Thaker agrees that veteran activist Achyut Yagnik, quoted by Counterview, is “also a human rights activist” and “was general secretary of PUCL in the past”, but regrets, “Nothing has come out from his side what he has done for the six years of his tenure.”

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