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2002: Indian Muslim Statements
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All India Catholic Union

Guilty of Gujarat Genocide must be brought before the Law: election results do not condone genocide
Tribal belt, Southern states now major targets of Hindutva

Panaji, Goa, 17 December, 2002
: The following statement was issued in Panaji today by Dr John Dayal, National Vice President of the All India Catholic Union, at the launch of his book "Gujarat 2002 – Untold and Retold Stories from Hindutva’s Lab" at a function in Panaji today. The book’s global release was earlier this month in New Delhi by Former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. The Goa release was held in the presence of the Dr Maria Emilia Menezes, National President of the All India Catholic Union which represents India’s 16 Million Catholic men and women Laity, former Union Law minister Ramakant Khalap and many dignitaries.

The election results from Gujarat have been an eye opener for the world. In a democracy, the voice of the majority is respected, and Mr. Narendra Modi is now the democratically elected chief minister of Gujarat. But Democracy does not silence the voice of the minority, either, or ignore its apprehensions. And election results do not condone crime, even if some of the perpetrators of crime win. 

Secular society is committed to pursuing with increased vigour its campaign to bring to book all those guilty in the Genocide in Gujarat in 2002, whatever high positions they have held, or may now hold. The Christian community, an important part of civil society and itself a victim of bigotry in several States, will also not shrink from participating in the Civil Society movement for preserving a Secular India.

The BJP and its allies, and specially the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, explain the election results as a vindication of Mr. Modi’s thesis of Gujarati nationalism and the intensity of his campaign, from the choice of candidates to the hate-filled tracks of his Gaurav yatra – unabashedly based on a rhetoric of Hindutva, religious fundamentalism and Minority-baiting. Inevitably, the BJP has swept through the northern and central belts of the State, winning each seat which had witnessed a pogrom against Muslims between February 28 and May April 2002. Significantly, the party has lost out in areas where there was inter community peace.

We are deeply concerned about several aspects of the campaign and the post-election developments even as we welcome assurances from Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and Mr. Modi himself that the new government will pursue an agenda of development of all communities. We hold them to their word, though the last five years have seen a negation of the promises in the Agenda of Governance of the National Democratic Alliance which rules at the Centre. In face, if anything, these years have seen NDA partners such as the All India Anna DMK of Tamil Nadu, the Biju Janata Dal of Orissa and the Telugu Desam of Andhra Pradesh show signs that they have been infected with the Hindutva agenda of the major party. These states have taken measures, or enacted legislation, which targets Minorities, and have done little to contain anti Christian and anti Muslim hate campaigns.

Events in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have shown that the Sangh Parivar’s Hindutva politics is making a determined attempt to penetrate the South Indian States, which hitherto have comparatively been sheltered from the hate campaigns and anti-minorities politics. Tamil Nadu’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa, an NDA ally, seemed to have borrowed from the hate text of Gujarat in directly targeting the minorities and the Dalits. Jayalalithaa used the full might of her police forces to try to crush two major Dalit events in Chennai this month – the shedding of Sanskrit names and taking on pure Tamil names by over 5,000 Dalits, and the mass conversion of hundreds of Dalits to Buddhism and Christianity in Tambram, near Chennai. In both cases, the dalits braved the police wrath and rejected the caste system. 

The Sangh Parivar has already invested crores of rupees, much of it in donations fraudulently procured from the US and Europe, polarizing the central Indian tribal belt extending from Rajasthan in the west to Jharkhand in the east. The situation is becoming critical. In Gujarat we saw how the tribals were used in the Sangh massacres of Muslims. Over the last four years, as part of its systematic hate campaign, the Sangh Parivar has distributed over 10 lakh trishuls, organised shakhas in villages and started one-teacher schools where the teacher, the curricula and the books are all designed by the Sangh – especially the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram – with the single purpose to turn the Tribals against Christians and Muslims. I earlier this year toured the affected states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, and Jharkhand and saw the magnitude of the hate campaign. In Jharkhand, the Tribals professing Sarna religion are particularly under threat.

We have appealed to all the concerned state governments to control the activities of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and other Sangh groups involved in the hate campaign. We again demand a full enquiry into the flow of foreign funds – often from registered charities and frontal organisations, into the coffers of these organisations.

We once again appeal to Prime Minister Vajpayee to move the law against men such as Acharya Narendra and Dr Praveen Togadia, who boasts that he is behind the BJP victory, and who says his people will repeat the "successful Gujarat experiment" to bring Hindutva to the entire country in two years. "Rajasthan has already become the laboratory of Hindutva," Dr Togadia has said. 

The Christian community also expects the parties which lost in Gujarat to realise the mistake they made in presuming they could answer the hard Hindutva by a softer version of the same thing. It is time these parties realize that only strong ideological moorings, mass mobilisation, and a firm commitment to the rule of law can fight religious fundamentalism and extremism. The major political parties must return to their secular agenda without any dilution. 

And, most important, we are confident that other pillars of the State, including the Judiciary, will summarily reject the saffronisation of Indian society, and will take suo motu action against hate campaigns and similar audacious challenges to the rule of law.

All India Catholic Union
Founded 1919: representing the 16 Million Catholic Laity in India
National President: Dr. M. E. Menezes National Vice President: Dr John Dayal ,


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