Skip to main content

Post-poll meet: People's Union for Civil Liberties "ignores" human rights activists under saffron attack

Gujarat PUCL chief Gautam Thaker
By Our Representative
At a top meeting, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) ignored any mention of top human rights activists Teesta Setalvad and Father Cedric Prakash, currently target of attack by BJP rulers and their saffron supporters. Setalvad, seeking court intervention to institute a case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “involvement” in Gujarat riots, for quite some time has been target. Gujarat government has initiated an inquiry into “embezzlement” of funds of the NGO she runs. Prakash is the latest target of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar for his meetings with Goa Christians questioning freedom of religion in Gujarat in March 2014.
At a news conference a few days ago, Parrikar not only threatened action against Prakash in the same way as he booked a Facebooker for the latter’s anti-Modi posts, but compared the Jesuit rights activist with an extremist Sri Ram Sene chief from Mangalore. When asked why PUCL has “ignored” the vicious criticism by the Goa chief minister, PUCL’s Gujarat general secretary Gautam Thaker told Counterview he came to know about it “rather late”.
Worse, none of the speakers, while discussing post-poll scenario, even once recalled attacks on human rights activists, which, most voluntary organizations admit in private, may further intensify with Modi in power, known as he is for criticizing “five star NGOs”.
Called at Gujarat Vidyapeeth, the meeting, in which Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, apart from mainly Gujarat-based well-known social activists, participated, ironically called for the need to “unite” against Modi’s “autocratic” ways. While saying that Modi will not risk communal riots, veteran advocate Girish Patel predicted, “He will certainly try to corrode existing democratic institutions”.
Congress was target of attack. “The problem was the Congress was so terribly indifferent towards winning the polls that its state party president Arjun Modhwadia was found to be playing games on his mobile most of the time. It utterly lacked self-confidence”, contended Indumar Jani, veteran social activist. Another senior activist Rajni Dave said then when it needed the NGOs’ support it came to them, but after the polls, it has not even cared to talk to them about reasons for defeat.
Harinesh Pandya, who runs Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahal, a right to information NGO, said, he apprehended attacks on the working class to intensify. “In Gujarat, the labour courts have been demolished, while minimum wages are not being implemented”, he said, adding, “Unfortunately, the Congress never took our views seriously.”
Pandya simultaneously criticized AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal saying, “I once asked Kejriwal why were so many Sangh Parivar people were there in the party, Kejriwal replied, “Bring in others, and the Sangh people will go into minority.” AAP’s Anoop Sharma blamed “lack of organization” for poor show of even activists like Kanu Kalsaria and Medha Parkar, who could not muster enough votes even to save their deposits.
Environmental expert Mahesh Pandya -- of Paryavaran Mitra -- apprehended corrosion of the NGOs’ activities by promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR). “In Gujarat, in the name of CSR, the Adanis have virtually taken control of a public hospital in Kutch”, he alleged.
There was criticism of the AAP from various speakers, who said it had initially been soft to the Sangh Parivar.
Farmers’ leader who shot into prominent for opposing Bhechraji-Mandal special investment region (SIR), Lalji Desai, one of the very few who joined the Congress ahead of the polls, said, “The corporate went against the Congress because it took a rights-based approach for jobs, for land, for forests, for food, for information, and so on.”

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

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.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.