Friday, August 28, 2015

"Non-political" Kanyakumari to Srinagar yatra to "explore" reasons behind Gujarat's 2002 riots at Ahmedabad, Godhra

http://manavektamission.org/mission-updates/padayatra-peace-harmony-gradually-becoming-part-national-conversation/
Sri M, spiritual leader, Manav Ekta Mission, with Modi
By Our Representative
Walk of Hope, a well-publicized 7,500-km-long padayatra undertaken with the claimed aim of ushering in an era of “peace and harmony”, will soon be reaching Godhra, the epicentre of the communal riots which broke out across Gujarat on February 27, 2002, via Ahmedabad. One of the aims at Godhra, as in Ahmedabad, said spiritual leader, Mumtaz Ali, popularly Sri M, would be to find out the “real truth” behind  communal carnage.
Talking with Counterview, Sri M, who leads the Manav Ekta Mission-sponsored Walk of Hope, said, “We began the Kanyakumari to Srinagar on January 12, 2015. We will be reaching Godhra on September 17 via Ahmedabad. We propose to interact with different sections of people in Ahmedabad and Godhra to find out the real truth of what happened in 2002.”
Claiming to be a non-political yatra, The Manav Ekta Mission site, carries a prominent photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sri M, saying it was “overwhelmingly humbling to know of the genuine interest” taken by Modi in the yatra. “The spirit of engaging discussion was very much evident at Sri M’s meet with Modi at the PMO recently”, it added. Modi has been accused of sponsoring riots in Gujarat. 
At Bharuch, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political adviser Ahmed Patel joined the yatra on August 23. The Yatra reached Vadodara on August 27. It will be in Ahmedabad on September 5, and in Godhra on September 17.
Commenting on the recent violence in the wake of the Patidar reservation agitation, Sri M said, “When we entered Gujarat on August 1, there was no violence. But it was sad to see violence erupting here. We will seek to explore why violence erupts so often like this.” He added, “It is all right to protest, but to go violent is unacceptable for any community.”
Talking of Patels’ demand for reservation, Sri M said, he “favoured” reservation for economically backward people. 
In Gujarat, he added, he would seek “reasons” behind earlier violent incidents. Answering a question, he said, “So far we have no facts to agree with the view that the 2002 violence was state sponsored. We will try to find out the reality when we reach Godhra.” 
In Ahmedabad the yatra’s 70-odd participants will be staying at the Samutkarsh Yoga Centre, founded by veteran BJP leader Surendra Patel, one of the key participants PN Shanavas said,.“We will be holding public consultations on communal harmony, and for that we propose to go to Gandhi Ashram.”
Flagged off at Kanyakumari on January 12, which happens to be the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the yatra proposes to pass through important several Madhya Pradesh towns, including Bhopal, before going to Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, and Agra in Uttar Pradesh,and then reach Delhi. It will be in Srinagar in April next year, interacting with around 10 million people.
Claiming the yatra to be a “purely apolitical mission”, Shanavas said, “Among the 70-odd participants of the yatra are Krishna Kulkarni, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; former Karnataka DGP Ajai Kumar Singh and former Karnataka chief secretary Tata Ajai Singh, husband and wife; 80-year-old commodore in the Indian Navy, Ravindra Nath, and others. The youngest participant is 19-years old.”

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