Skip to main content

CK Raulji who? Top NGO leader feigns ignorance of MLA who called Bilkis rapists sanskari

By Rajiv Shah 

In a shocking instance, a former Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) academic, and currently one of the topmost civil society leaders and political scientists, claiming to seek democratic reforms within the established system of governance, has feigned ignorance about CK Raulji, the controversial BJP MLA who won from Godhra constituency with a margin of over 35,000 in the just-concluded Gujarat state assembly elections.
Answering a question from Counterview at an online media conference whether the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in its just-released report, “Analysis of Criminal Background, Financial, Educational and Other Details of Winning Candidates” in the state assembly polls, also covers Raulji-type MLAs, the academic-turned-civil society leader, Jagdeep Chhokar, turned around his colleagues to find out who this “Raul” was, whether he had fought elections. Chhokar is a founding member of ADR.
When told that he had indeed fought and won the polls, Chhokar further sought details of whether Raulji had been analysed. When Counterview specifically asked him whether he knew that Raulji had favoured the release of Bilkis Bano case rapists and murderers and had even stated that Brahmins do not rape, Chhokar shot back, “Such a matter is beyond our scope of analysis. We don’t have the capacity to analyse such things. If you are not satisfied with this answer, it is your option.”
Raulji, ironically, has been in the news ever since August 15, 2022 following the release of 11 life-term convicts involved in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her seven relatives during the 2002 Gujarat riots. He was part of the Godhra Jail Advisory Committee (JAC) that granted remission to the 11 convicts in August and was at the centre of controversy when he referred to the released convicts as “Brahmins with good sanskar”. The remission is said to have been granted following a nod from the Union home ministry.
Ironically, Chhokar, in a plea in September 2022 to the CBI director asking him to challenge the release of the 11 convicts, had said, “The Government of Gujarat set up an advisory committee to give recommendations on the application for remission. The committee consisted of 5 persons belonging to the BJP (two being MLAs and three being 'social workers' who were also members of the BJP) and 5 government officials (who would obviously not have been expected to go against the wishes of the government).”
The plea does not name two BJP MLAs, who included Raolji. ADR report does not have him name in the winning candidates’ list of the Gujarat state assembly who have “declared criminal cases” against themselves. In names Jignesh Mevani, top Dalit leader, now with the Congress, who won from Vadgam, stating he has 10 criminal cases gainst them, nine of them of "serious IPC" type. An ADR spokesperson bracketed him BJP's Jetha Bharwad, who won from Shehra, the only one having the charge of rape against him.
Jagdeep Chhokar, Bilkis Bano
The “scope” of ADR report, according to the “disclaimer” at the very fag-end, is confined to analysing the information in the self-declared affidavits ahead of the assembly elections uploaded in the Election Commission website, all of which is in public domain. It says, “No unverified information from any other source is used”, claiming, the information is “only aimed at highlighting the growing criminality in politics...”
Introducing contents of the ADR report to the media, Maj Gen Anil Verma, who heads the civil society group, said, this time, the BJP’s 22 per cent of the 156 winning candidates have criminal cases against them, as against 26% of those who won during the last assembly polls in 2017. Similarly, he added, this time 16% BJP’s winning candidates had serious criminal cases against them, as against 18% in 2017. He insisted, “This suggests a good trend.”
This is not for the first time that the ADR – a foreign funds recipient NGO – has refused to indulge in analysing tricky issues, stating they are outside the scope of the “authentic” official data.
Answering a query on why issues related with religion, caste, Constitution, etc. find no mention in in its study, “Performance Report of Members of Legislative Assembly Gujarat”, released in March 2022, and whether these are not considered part of performance or democratic reforms, Chhokar had said, any analysis of these issues was bound be “subjective”.
“We do not analyse subjective data. While there is scope for discussion on these issues, opinions are bound to differ. Hence, we confine ourselves to objective data”, he had asserted, justifying the use of government data alone while taking up issues in order to analyse MLAs’ “performance”.
Pankti Jog, who coordinates with ADR in Gujarat had said that a major reason why caste, religion and Constitution-related issues, important as they were, could not be touched upon was, “We do not have enough resources to gather data on the ground level.” Verma had added, “Elsewhere, we have analysed hate speech as an issue.”

Comments

TRENDING

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.

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.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

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".

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen