Skip to main content

Press for "comprehensive accountability" for Gujarat riots with future PM: Human Rights Watch to US govt

By Our Representative
The Human Rights Watch, top New York-based rights body, has insisted that the United States should press for “comprehensive accountability for the 2002 events in Gujarat” before any future Indian government that may take over in May 2014. In a recent statement, John Sifton, who works as Asia advocacy director of the Human Rights Watch, said that this is particularly significant against the backdrop of the fact that Narendra Modi is “now a top candidate to be India’s next prime minister", predicting "his BJP party" may lead in in the polls.
Regretting that the world opinion about Modi is starting to change, Sifton said, “Several countries that had previously suspended meetings with Modi because of the 2002 allegations have since met with him, including then-US Ambassador Nancy Powell, who met with him this February.” This has happened despite the fact that “outside of India, the lack of accountability for repeated instances of serious violence has led to condemnations and even travel restrictions for alleged perpetrators of abuses.”
Sifton made the statement early this month while appearing before the authoritative Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which is a US Congressional wing. The Human Rights Watch recently released full text of Sifton’s statement. Sifton recalled, “In March 2005 Chief Minister Modi applied for a diplomatic visa to visit the United States. Because of allegations regarding his complicity in the 2002 Gujarat violence, the United States denied his application and revoked an earlier visitor visa.”
The statement, running in 1,800 words, said, “For many years after the violence in Gujarat, the state government failed to press forward with any comprehensive investigations. Prosecutions began only after extensive pressure from activists and victim families, and interventions by India’s Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission. An investigation ordered by the Supreme Court to look into Modi’s role in the violence found no prosecutable evidence of his direct complicity.”
Regretting this, Sifton said, such a conclusion is being used by the officials from his BJP “to suggest that he has received a “clean-chit” from the courts.” However, he insisted, “There are still current legal processes underway in Indian courts, initiated by Indian activists and victim families seeking accountability. And independent of the question of Modi’s personal complicity in the violence, there are issues of the culpability of the state government in failing to protect its Muslim citizens.”
Sifton particularly noted how, in the “run-up to this year’s elections in India”, tensions escalated between Hindu and Muslim communities, “leading to a 30 percent increase in incidents of communal violence as compared to 2012.” He quoted official data to say that “the central government’s Ministry of Home Affairs reported 823 incidents of communal violence in 2013, in which 133 people died and over 2,000 were injured.”
Referring to the Muzaffarnagar violence of September 2013, in which at least 60 people died, Sifton said, “Inflammatory speeches by right-wing Hindu leaders and allied groups led to three days of violence, which spread to neighboring districts and only ended after a curfew was imposed and the Indian army was deployed to restore law and order. In addition to the 60 people killed, at least six cases of gang rape and sexual violence were reported. Muslim citizens from more than 150 villages were compelled to flee their homes, and even today, thousands of them remain displaced, fearful to return.”
Pointing towards “arbitrary arrests of Muslims in terrorism cases”, Siftron said, “Many Muslim men have been arbitrarily detained, interrogated, and tortured after bombing attacks, especially between 2006 and 2008. Later investigations found that members of Hindu extremist groups were actually responsible for some of these attacks. Authorities have also used draconian and abusive laws, including the Sedition Law and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, to target Muslims.”
“Not only do Muslims frequently fear arbitrary arrest, they can also fear for their lives. In July 2013, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed charges against senior Gujarat police and intelligence officials for the extrajudicial killing of four Muslims, including a 19-year-old woman”, Sifton said, adding, “The police had initially claimed that the four, who were suspected of conspiring to assassinate Modi, were intercepted and killed in an exchange of gunfire.”
“A later independent investigation found that the four were taken into custody and later executed by members of the Gujarat police. Some of the policemen are now being investigated in other cases of extrajudicial killings. In September, DG Vanzara, a senior official arrested along with 31 others from the Gujarat police for their alleged role in extrajudicial killings, wrote a letter claiming the killings took place while they were implementing Gujarat government policy”, Sifton said.
Sifton ended by putting forward a list of demands of the Human Rights Watch before the Obama administration while dealing with India future’s Prime Minister. These include:
  • Enact a stronger law to prevent communal violence. A draft Prevention of Communal Violence Bill is floundering because some political parties want to dilute its provisions.
  • Strengthen existing human rights commissions such as the National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which monitor the rights of religious minorities, Dalits, and tribal groups. In some cases, the effectiveness of these commissions has been compromised after the government has staffed them with non-expert, political appointees.
  • Repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
  • Discipline or prosecute as appropriate members of the security forces, regardless of rank, who unjustifiably fail to stop violence or do not act impartially during events of communal violence.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Mr. John Sifton, you did not understood your Job v.well!! You are a director of Human Rights! Do you know who shld be called HUMANS? These Islamist radicals the s...t people of the world...the very non-sense jargon which is multiplying like a cancer (courtesy to your security ideas) you can't call them Humans! If you call them Humans then you shld punish G.Bush, Obama first since they killed so many in Iraq, afghanistan etc going after the 9/11 tragedy etc. Modi( or anyone who was responsible for Gujarat roits) did the same....he went after inHumans who set fire in a train due to religious bias!! that killed so many! Did you ever studied the reason behind roits!! Gujarat was after train prepators who were being shielded by local muslims just as Bin-Laden was being shielded in Abottabad/pakistan!! Have your ever convicted Obama and his predecessors for their inhuman behavior!! Did'nt your dog(Human Rights Watch found) smell that!! Or it was given golden bone to eat in lieu of.

Tell you what...I really pity your thoughts...so limited...so low?. Courtsey to such blunders of people like you...every one in the world is suffering from these beasts in so called human form.

Why people kill wild animals when they enter human residential areas? Cuz they do not understand humanist and continue to be wild in human areas and pound on innocent people to kill them...is the reason we reciprocate. These islami inhumans are in same category of wild animals (please do not mistake them for humans!) and shld be killed...you shld also kill the people who support them! I think Gujarat govt. shld not be sidelined for this, instead they shld be lauded to fight and punish the culprits and their supporters to upkeep the humanity for once and all!

Mr. John, this is for your kind information that because of people like you who cannot differentiate between humans and animals in human form the population of these inhumans is increasing by day so far so that they are slitting throats(of real humans) in public and dare to video tape it too! No one is able to conquer them.! Its pity, and this pity is growing by day since we are not able to curb the fundamental/roots of these inhumans aka wild animals in human areas! instead to upkeep our snobbish characters trying to be world heros we are caging real humans who try to kick off these inhumans!! are we not set for "OUT OF MIND PERSON" title?? MIND YOU if you continue your non, se-nse they are going to grow such that there will be all inhumans around and then there will be no humans so what will happen of your human RIGHTS!!

Lastly, a small piece of advice for you is: Understand your job, its implied meanings and be responsible to humans only please.

Hope you will come up with ideas to finish this breed of inhumans in human form and will cut their roots so that we can restore humanism around and no one will be silted, no one will live under the fear of terrorism.

Thank you, and I look forward to it.

TRENDING

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

Government 'fails to take up' Indian migrants' unpaid wages issue with other countries

By Rafeek Ravuther, Chandan Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar*  The migrant workers were one of the most vulnerable sections during the pandemic. India experiences large-scale movement of migrants internally and internationally. After the outbreak of the pandemic, migrant workers continued to face injustice especially in getting wages in expedited manner. In the international context, India, the home of 9 million cross-border temporary labour migrants, carried out the largest repatriation exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Even though the Indian government addressed the immediate requirement of repatriation, it failed to understand and recognise their post-arrival grievances, like back wages, social protection etc. Recently many workers were deported from the middle- east region. Amidst the establishment of grievance mechanisms such as Consular Services Management System (MADAD) and helplines in Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), the unresolved grievances remain high. The number of unresolv

'True decolonisation move': Demand to name new Parliament building after Ambedkar

By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*  In recent weeks, there has been a demand for the new Parliament building being constructed on the revamped Central Vista in New Delhi to be named after the architect of the Constitution and anti-caste leader BR Ambedkar. On September 14, the Telangana Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to name the new Parliament building after Ambedkar. The Bharatiya Janata Party was absent during the debate about the resolution. The next day, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led government declared that the new secretariat in the centre of Hyderabad would be named after Ambedkar. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao added that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to name the new Parliament building in Delhi “Ambedkar Parliament”. The demand is finding resonance among civil society groups too and has led to social media discussions as well as public mobilisation.  But two questions arise: Should a Parliament that makes laws for a nation over a