Skip to main content

Gujarat human rights activist Cedric Prakash's office burgled mysteriously; aim: to look for PC data

Prakash being conferred French award for contribution in human rights
By Our Representative
In an unusual development, senior Gujarat-based human rights activist Father Cedric Prakash’s office was burgled on the night between October 7 and 8, 2014, and those who broke in took with them only his desktop personal computer, a hard disk, the keyboard with all connections meticulously cut. In a statement, Prakash said, “The intruders seemed to have moved around in several places of the office (some footprints evidence this) but were careful not to have disturbed /upset anything else.”
Prakash said that while he suspected something fishy, he did not want to make the burglary an issue. “We had no intention to go to the media on this; but since last night some media have been calling us – since they seem to have received news of this incident from some ‘police source’; that is why this statement”, he added.
Yet, according to Prakash, “What is obvious that what took place in Prashant on the night of October 7-8 was no ordinary theft. It was meticulously planned and executed apparently by professionals or with the help of some. The sole aim was obviously to get the data which was on my PC. It is common knowledge that since we are a Centre for Human Rights Justice and Peace, we have been taking an equivocal stand on human rights and justice very specially on critical issues affecting the minorities, the poor and the marginalized of Gujarat”.
Prakash, a close associate of well-known human rights campaigner Teesta Setalvad, has been in forefront in the fight for the 2002 Gujarat communal riot victims. His office became famous after young BJP leader Haren Pandya, pitted against then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, deposed before an independent commission of inquiry. Speaking in camera, Pandya, who was slain in March 2013 mysteriously, blamed Modi for giving instructions to Gujarat top-cops to remain indifferent during the early days of riots.
In 2006, Prakash won the prestigious Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, one of the highest French civilian awards, acknowledging his commitment to human rights. Championing the rights of vulnerable sections, and a campaigner against Gujarat’s anti-conversion law, Prakash invited the ire of Goa chief minister Manahar Parrikar ahead of Lok Sabha polls for his address before Christians suggesting how Gujarat model was fake. Parrikar publicly wondered why was Prakash was in Goa.
Notably, lack of religious freedom in Gujarat was one of the reasons, along with complicity in communal riots, cited by the US government to deny visa to Modi in 2005. Modi's visa ban was automatically lifted following he becoming the Prime Minister of India in May 2014.
In his statement, Prakash said what seemed to surprise him was those who burgled hisoffice did not even take away “some cash, in a drawer which was opened, which could have easily tempted an ordinary burglar.” The burglary of the NGO office he heads, Prashant, on Drive-In Road in Ahmedabad, took place when he was away. “On October 6-7, 2014, I was in Bombay to participate in some important meetings and programmes”, he said.
On returning to Ahmedabad by a very early flight, Prakash said, he first went to the office building of Prashant before going to his residence, which is just behind on the same campus. “I opened the Centre, went into my cabin and was about to start the computer, when I realized that my desktop computer was missing”, he said.
“I was rather alarmed when I simultaneously noticed that the back door of our Centre (which is adjacent to my cabin) was broken open with a bed sheet just lying on the steps below. I called my Jesuit companions and telephoned some of my office colleagues immediately and also called the police emergency number 100 to register a complaint”, he said.
“In a matter of minutes, the police arrived and they were there for most of the day till almost 4.30 pm. In between, they had called in the dog squad, the forensic and the finger-print experts. Besides, the routine inquiry was done with me and with my colleagues. An FIR dated October 8, 2014 was filed with the Ghatlodia Police Station, Ahmedabad”, Prakash said.

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.

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

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".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through the Desai Foundation dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

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.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”