Skip to main content

Ultraleft takeover? Modi ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad were in PUCL, recalls top rights body

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to a recent statement by Union minister Arun Jaitley, where he accuses the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) of working for the "ultra-left" agenda, in a strongly-worded statement, PUCL has said, "It is incredible that a lawyer of his stature would not consult records and verify facts before launching an attack on a reputed organisation with which he had been associated from its second birth in 1980."
Jaitley, in a recent Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/notes/arun-jaitley/who-is-threatening-human-rights/805931829595367/ titled ‘Who is threatening Human Rights,’ said, among other things, that PUCL, "formed by constitutional liberals led by Jai Prakash Narayan", was "seized" by the ultraleft, which infiltrated "organisations like the PUCL and PUDR" in 1980s, adding, as a result, "The liberals got disillusioned with the Maoist takeover of the civil liberties movement", something that a few gullible could not "understand".
Accusing Jaitley of justifying the use of "unrestrained force even against a suspected terrorist who is not fighting but is just hiding", PUCL says, "Anticipating opposition from the rights organisations against human rights violations" by the Modi government, Jaitley has preferred to attack "human rights organisations to erode their credibility and mislead the people", adding, he "knowingly" distorts facts about PUCL "with which he had been associated for several years before he chose to pursue his political career."
Originally the People's Union for Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (PUCL&DR), says PUCL, the PUCL&DR "was deliberately kept free from political ideologies so that people belonging to various political parties may come together on one platform for the defence of civil liberties and human rights."
Recalling that how it fought against the Emergency (1975-77), PUCL says, its 1980 conference "was attended by eminent persons from all walks of life and by the members of most political parties including the Congress." But, as "a section of the PUCL&DR was not willing to include members of RSS and did not join the conference", out of PUCL&DR were born "two organisations: the PUCL and the PUDR. PUCL adopted its Constitution and elected VM Tarkunde as President and Arun Shourie as General Secretary."
Pointing out that Jaitley was "very closely associated with the formation of the PUCL", the statement says, "The PUCL constitution adopted at the 1980 conference mandated that the PUCL should bring together all who were committed to the defence and promotion of civil liberties in India, regardless of their political ideology."
"Thus", it says, "The so-called ultra-left were not barred from joining PUCL in their personal capacity if they signed the pledge that they 'subscribed to the aims and objects of the organisation and agreed to abide by its constitution’."
"There were two conditions for a person joining PUCL", says PUCL. These were: "They must subscribe to its aims and objects and must abide by its constitution." It adds, "The aims and objects of the PUCL confine themselves to the issues of civil liberties and democratic rights and strictly exclude political issues or political ideologies. Thus, the question of the PUCL promoting the interest of the left or ultra-left or any other political party does not arise."
PUCL underlines, "All the liberals and the members of the political parties including Arun Jaitley, who joined the PUCL were fully aware of the constitution they had framed and adopted and were fully conscious that no person was an untouchable or an outcast for PUCL, if the person subscribed to its aims and objects and pledged to abide by its Constitution."
The statement continues, "PUCL members, including the Naxals, also did not discriminate against members on the basis of their ideology. For example, Ravi Shankar Prasad, an ABVP member, was elected as a Secretary, Bihar PUCL, in 1981 and held that post till 1988. He was elected as General Secretary in 1988. He resigned from the post only after he joined BJP, as members of political parties are not eligible to hold an office in PUCL."
It adds, Prasad "eventually left the organisation later because he felt that the PUCL had not acted impartially when it did not send a Fact-Finding Team to Ayodhya following the police firing on Kar Sevaks in 1990 in which a large number were killed. While he remained in the PUCL, he enjoyed the members' support on the basis of his performance."
PUCL says, "Jaitley has not referred to a single meeting of PUCL where the question of the takeover by the Maoists was raised by the 'liberals' who allegedly left. In fact, there could be no question of a takeover by the Maoists in the early 80s as Jaitley alleges, because the CPI (Maoist) was formed only in 2004 with the merger of the People's War Group, the Maoist Communist Centre and a few others."
Signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, former president, PUCL, and released by its national president Ravi Kiran Jain and national general secretary Dr V Suresh, the statement says, "PUCL continues to disapprove of violence as a means of resolving political problems and issues, but holds that even those who resort to violence must be dealt with according to the law of the land."
It regrets, "Rulers mislead the people into believing that the human rights organisations which stand for the protection of human rights of the alleged Maoists or terrorists are supporters of their ideologies or causes."
The statement tells Jaitley, before saying that "gullible liberals" alone remained with PUCL, he must remember who all were part of the organization "till the end" -- VM Tarkunde, Rajindar Sachar, Rajani Kothari, Prof Amrik Singh, HM Seervai, Asghar Ali Engineer, Nayantara Sehgal, Hemlata Prabhu, Aloo Dastoor, MA Rane, Baba Adhav , RB Mehrotra (Justice), Devbrat N Pathak, Yashpal Chhibbar, among other.

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”