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

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.