Skip to main content

Goa CM spreading "misinformation" on Fr Cedric Prakash's critique of Gujarat's anti-conversion law

Parrikar
By Our Representative
In a surprise move, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has sharply criticized Gujarat-based Jesuit human rights activist Father Cedric Prakash, wondering why the latter should go to Goa and address people there, telling them about lack of religious freedom in Gujarat. Invited by the Catholic Association of Goa (CAG) and others about three weeks ago, Prakash has hit back saying that he is a “free citizen” therefore has “the right to travel anywhere in the country and speak or address any group.”
In a statement, issued from his office in Ahmedabad, Prakash has said, “The very fact that members of the BJP can even think of raising such questions portends ill for the future of the country. It clearly shows their fascist mindset. In the same breath, these very people have no guts to ask why Modi is seeking election from Varanasi or Advani from Gandhinagar, when both are not residents of these constituencies.”
Addressing an election rally on April 8, Parrikar directly referred to Prakash’s addresses at several meetings in Goa, organized by CAG. Parrikar said, while Prakash was talking about insecure minorities, the priest was “safe” in Ahmedabad for the last 12 years. Prakash in his rejoinder said, “The government of the day is meant to protect the life and property of every single citizen; the police and the other arms of law and order are meant to help the Government in the execution of this responsibility.”
Prakash added, “Unfortunately, the world knows that the Gujarat government abdicated this responsibility in 2002 which even prompted the then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to tell Modi that he should practice raj dharma. Early in 1998-99, when the Sangh Parivar attacked the Christians of the Dang districts and other parts of South Gujarat, Vajpayee flew down to say that this should not happen to anyone, anywhere in India”.
Prakash underlined, “Being safe and secure in Gujarat is a matter of perception; thanks to the Central government; there are mechanisms to ensure my safety and security. But this doesn’t mean I’m not intimidated or harassed or threatened.”
Prakash particularly took strong exception to Parrikar’s effort to justify Gujarat’s anti-conversion law, passed in 2003. He particularly took exception to Parikkar’s reference to fact that the Congress first brought the anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh during the tenure of SC Shukla, hence there was no point in criticizing the Modi government for a “similar law” in Gujarat. The Jesuit human rights activist said, while he did not justify the Madhya Pradesh law, there was a fundamental difference.
Prakash said, Parikkar was “misinforming” people about Gujarat’s Freedom of Religion Act, 2003. Calling the law as a “draconian piece of legislation”, Prakash said, as against the Madhya Pradesh lw, which just make it obligatory for the person converted to just inform the officialdom about conversion, the Gujarat law “necessitates that any person (adult) wanting to change his or her religion to first seek the permission of the district collector”.
Not just this. In the Gujarat law, Prakash said, “the collector will first have to see if there is any force, or a fraud or an ‘allurement’ (which is material gratification or otherwise). So if the collector feels that “you becoming a better person” is allurement, he or she can deny you the permission”. He added, “As recently as February 9, 2014, the Gir Somnath SDM filed a complaint against a woman for converting to Islam ‘illegally’.”
Prakash further said, all this is over and above “any amounts of forms to be filled out when asking for permission.” In fact, “one also has to provide complete details of all those who will be present at say your ‘Baptismal ceremony’ while applying for permission.”
---
Click HERE to read full statement of Fr Cedric Prakash

Comments

Jag Jivan said…
This is terrible! Imagine the chief minister of a state seeking to criticise a human rights activist. It means that whatever this human rights activist was saying was correct.

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.