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

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

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".

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization

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.