Skip to main content

Act against Gujarat-based rights activist in the same way as cops pounced on anti-Modi Facebooker: Goa CM

Cedric Prakash
By Our Representative
A major controversy is all set to break out over verbal threats issued by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar against Gujarat-based Jesuit human rights activist Father Cedric Prakash. Accusing Prakash of of “spreading religious discontent” during the elections, Parrikar justified police action against Facebooker Devu Chodankar following his anti-Narendra Modi posts, saying "similar action should have been taken against Prakash too." Prakash has called the Goa CM’s statement “extremely mischievous and very unfortunate”, saying, he enjoyed freedom of speech “both in Gujarat and in other parts of India”, as Parrikar, in airing his views on Modi's policies.
Recalling why is Parrikar so incensed, Prakash, in a statement, said, “I visited Goa in March 2014 at the invitation of the Catholic Council of Goa and the focus of all my talks was (and which will continue to be) the Constitution of India, the values enshrined in them and the fact that large sections of our people are deprived of their legitimate rights both in Gujarat and in other parts of India.” He added, Article 19 of the Constitution gives me the right of freedom of speech and expression.”
He insisted, “Apart from focusing on the Constitution, I have been consistent in saying that the Freedom of Religion Law enacted by the Government of Gujarat in 2003 goes against the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution particularly Article 25 which guarantees every single citizen the right to freely profess, practice and propagate one’s religion. It also goes against Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which gives one the right to freely change his religion or belief to another.”
Further, he said, “I have always questioned the Gujarat model of ‘development’ which only caters to a section of society. There is sufficient research studies and statistical data to prove that what is being flaunted are half-truths and myths; social indicators of large sections of the poor and marginalized very strongly belie the development of Gujarat. It is common knowledge that Gujarat has always been a fairly industrialized state since the early seventies. It is not a “miracle” that has happened in the last ten years or so.”
Goa chief minister
“I have never used or abused any religion to create any ‘discontent’”, Prakash said, adding, “My closest associates and friends belong to all religions and particularly from the majority community. I have always been an advocate for communal harmony and peace but I do so within the framework of justice and human rights for all. I have never attacked or said anything against another’s religious beliefs. That CM Parrikar has compared me with one of his ilk speaks volumes of his mindset and the fact that fascism is gaining more and more ground in the country.”
Talking to media in Goa, Parrikar said, Prakash during his trip to Goa in March made “serious things which were not true", adding, “He accused Modi of religious intolerance and attacked the Gujarat model of governance. He further alleged that in Gujarat every one lived in fear.” Among other things, the Goa CM said, Prakash had alleged the the voice of the media has been throttled and muzzled in Gujarat, people lived in fear, and even IAS officers lived in in fear.”
Accusing Prakash of using “religion for politics", Parrikar went so far as to compare Prakash with Pramod Muthalik, head of the notorious right-wing Sri Rama Sene of Mangalore. Muthalik, who was expelled from the BJP immediately after he joined the party before elections, has been involved in controversy by attacking patrons of pubs in Mangalore for adopting "western culture", and exhorting Hindus to arm themselves with swords. "I count Father Cedric and Pramod Muthalik as the same”, said Parrikar.

Comments

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

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".

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Protests break out as school going children 'branded Naxalites, taken prisoners'

By Sheshu Babu* Conditions in all spheres of life is going from bad to worse. On September 13, Political Prisoners' Day was observed. On that day, Jatin Das, friend of Bhagat Singh and member of the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association, passed away after 63 days of hunger strike. He demanded 'political prisoners' status to those who have been jailed by the state.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

No space for 2 lakh waste pickers in Delhi masterplan for next two decades: Study

By Our Representative  A new survey report prepared by the NGO Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on the challenges faced by waste pickers in managing solid waste in Delhi, “Space for Waste - 2021”, has regretted that currently, there is no provision of workspace for waste workers, hence they carry out their work of segregation, repairing, and composting at different locations.