Skip to main content

Gujarat activists' note favours Xaviers NGO ad seeking upper caste sweeper, says it's perfectly constitutional

Prasad Chacko
By Our Representative
The recent attack on a well-known NGO functioning within Ahmedabad's St Xavier's College campus, Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), allegedly by saffron youths in “protest” against the advertisement for a sweeper's post to be chosen preferably from among among dominant castes, is all set to acquire a fresh spin.
A daft "solidarity" note circulated for endorsement among fellow travelers by several senior Gujarat-based activists in favour of the HDRC and its director Prasad Chacko, who was the main target of attack by saffron supporters, has declared that the controversial advertisement “does not violate any law of the land”.
Those who have sought endorsement are senior of activists of well-known NGOs -- Jitendra Rathod, Nayan Patel, Geeta Oza, Hozefa Ujjaini, Brinda Pancholi, and Vijay Parmar. The signatories have not said whether they have sought support in individual capacity or as office bearers of their respective NGOs.
Seeking views on it the note "supports" the HDRC claim that the advertisement was not “intended to hurt anyone’s feelings, but to promote constitutional values and provisions ensuring access to equal opportunity for all; especially in the occupations being forced to specific communities based on their social and caste identity.”
The draft note, which is likely to be made public on July 11 after a wider endoresement, has sought support amidst continued threats by “many individuals and groups” to file complaint under section 153A of IPC against the HDRC and Chacko, with an application having already been submitted to the Gujarat University Police Station in this regards.
“In addition to that many have given notice for clarification and public apology to be given by the HDRC”, the draft note says.
Referring to the contents of the advertisement – which was put up on the notice board of the HDRC on April 6, nearly one-and-a-half months before the saffron attack actually took place – the note finds nothing wrong with the identification of castes for the selection of a sweeper, Brahmins, Rajputs, Patels, Banias, Jains, Pathan, Syed, Syrian Christian, etc.
The draft note stands in sharp contrast to the view expressed India's well-known Dalit rights activist Martin Macwan, who said in a recent blog that one cannot hope to talk of “annihilation of caste” (a phrase used by Dr DR Ambedkar) by naming castes the way the HDRC did. Macwan has been a key architect in India in the fight against manual scavenging and caste-based occupation.
Even as saying that “the names of communities highlighted in the bracket were as instances and not specifying that they seek people from those specific communities only”, the draft note insists, this was done actually to “promote the principles of equality guaranteed by the Constitution.”
“Appreciating” the initiative taken up by the HDRC and its director for bringing up the “most pertinent issue in public discourse and challenging the systemic practices of inequality upfront”, the draft note says, the activists would to “continue to support such initiatives in future.” However, the draft note regrets, there is an “absence of many human rights activists and groups” in this support, as a result of which “the most pertinent issue of human dignity, equality and rights” has turned into an “issue of caste-based discrimination.”
The draft note also regrets that even “secular individuals and organizations” failed to appreciate the actual framework of the advertisement. While they seemed to join hands to support the HDRC, largely “Dalit rights activists and organizations conglomerate came together”, it adds.
The draft note says, “It is sad that, apart from the so-called upper caste organizations, some of the marginalized and minority community organizations have imbibed this social evil of caste-based discrimination, especially of Muslim and Parsi community.”
This, the draft note says, “is evident from the fact that community leaders/ organizations from these communities have joined the protest and sent memorandum/ complaints to the HDRC directly or via different mediums”.

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.