Skip to main content

Gujarat's Movement for Secular Democracy "clarifies": It is not an NGO, does not receive foreign funds

An MSD-led demonstration in 2012
By Our Representative
The Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), a Gujarat-based non-profit organization, has clarified in a letter to to the President of India, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, that it “is not an NGO and does not receive any foreign funds”. The letter comes in the wake of the recent Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office, “Impact of NGOs on Development”, naming MSD as one of the many NGOs which are allegedly involved in anti-developmental activities and are receiving foreign funds.
Calling itself as “a broadest platform of the citizens of the civil society of Gujarat”, the MSD has said, “The IB report is designed to muzzle the voices of the citizens defending secularism and democracy inscribed in the Constitution of our country.” Signed by prominent citizens, intellectuals and activists led by veteran Gujarati litterateur Prakash N Shah and Gandhian Chunibhai Vaidya, the MSD said, they have signed a “memorandum, which explains the historic role of MSD in Gujarat for the cause of communal harmony”.
Releasing the memorandum, the MSD says, the organization has been fighting for “peace and justice since 1993 and defending secular democracy, and stood by the victims in communal violence.” The signature campaign, in which 100 persons signed up, began on June 25, the day on which national emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975.
“Severely condemning” the IB report on the MSD, the memorandum said, the organization was formed in the wake of the communal riots in 1980s and the Babri Demolition incident of December 1992, which “created a frenzied communal atmosphere in Gujarat and the entire country…” It added, “Shocked by events, eminent citizens of almost all fields of Gujarat formed a voluntary, non-party civil society movement and named it as MSD.”
“Contrary to IB's version, MSD is neither a NGO nor it has any relationship with foreign funding”, the memorandum said, adding, it is “purely a citizen’s civil society movement committed to the constitutional values of secular democracy.” It recalled, “In the inaugural speech of this convention, former member of Planning Commission and well known political analyst, Rajni Kothari advocated for democracy against mobocracy and eminent Sarvodaya leader Narayanbhai Desai appealed for unity against autocracy".
Claiming that the MSD “openly and courageously presented its views on all social, political and economic issues”, the memorandum said, “The MSD exposed the communal attitude and decisions of several groups and the state government and its machinery after 1993. It also continued the campaign to protect secular democracy against these attacks.”
It further said, “The carnage of 2002 posed a challenge to the MSD. We had to pass through a very critical period to save the civil society from an all out communal attack. But in this trying period, The MSD made all to rally round all the democratic and secular forces and raised the voice against irresponsible and communal attitude of the ruling party in the state with all intensity.”
“Further”, the memorandum said, the MSD “thrived to create a consensus over rehabilitation and justice to the carnage victims.” In 2002, it experienced “total breakdown of law and order in Gujarat. The intensity of the activism and advocacy of MSD in 2002 has obviously annoyed the communal elements and those elements who wanted to reap political mileage out of communal identity.”
Pointing out that “'justice for the 2002 carnage victims and desire of peace and amity in the society has been the main slogan of the MSD to which it has firmly adhered to till this date”, the MSD said, several human rights and civil liberties movements, especially the Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), have stood by the MSD.
Also objecting to the PUCL’s name in the IB report, the memorandum said, “PUCL is well known civil liberties voluntary organisation founded jointly by Jayprakash Narayan and Justice Tarkunde”, and it is “shocking that such a reputed civil liberty organization has been linked with NGO and foreign funds.”
Signatories to the memorandum include Rajmohan Gandhi, Dr Romila Thaper, Prof Yogendra Yadav, Dr Mallika Sarabhai, Dr JS Bandukwala, Prof Gulam Mohammad Sheikh, Prof Dhaval Mehta, Prof Dinesh Shukla, advocate Girish Patel, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Gautam Thaker, Prof Svati Joshi, Gagan Sethi, Prof Ghanshyam Shah, Dr Ram Puniyani, Prof Abid Shamsi, Sukla Sen, Manishi Jani, Dr Saroop Dhruv, Prof Rohit Shukla, Dr Trupti Shah, Dilip Chandulal, Dwarika Nath Rath and others.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

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.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.