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Move against saffron ministers

CONFEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS
3, Rams' Cottage, Ambalathumukku, Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram-695 024, S.
India


March 8, 2002

1. Mr. A. K. Antony, Chief Minister of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram
2. Mr. V. S. Achuthanandan, Opposition Leader, Thiruvananthapuram

Dear Mr. Antony and Mr. Achuthanandan :

Sub.: Prevent Union Minister O. Rajagopal's fascist vituperations in Kerala

The Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi made a statement at Ahmedabad on March 2, 2002, quoting Sir Isaac Newton's third law, to justify as well as encourage the ongoing mass massacre of Muslims in Gujarat carried out by VHP since February 27, 2002. Mr. Modi's statement continues to draw wider criticism, within and outside India, demanding his resignation.

On the same day of March 2, the Union Minister of State Mr. O. Rajagopal, while addressing a function of the pro-Sangh Parivar cultural body "Tapasya" at Kozhicode quoted the same Newton theory to justify the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat. Quoting Rajagopal's speech, "The New Indian Express" (March 3) news item ("Rajagopal alleges Cong hand in Godhra carnage") said :
".For every action there would be an equal and opposite reaction. The continuing spree of communal violence in Gujarat in response to the train arson testify the old proverb. What Gujarat is witnessing at present is the spontaneous reaction of a society divided on communal lines." On the same day, "The Hindu" also reported Mr. Rajagopal's speech : "Mr. Rajagopal also said the violence sweeping through Gujarat was a natural reaction to the barbaric killing of passengers at Godhra.."

Evidently, both Mr. Narendra Modi at Ahmedabad and Mr. Rajagopal at Kozhicode took on Newton's mantle on the same day of March 2. This justification of fascist massacres simultaneously made by the Gujarat Chief Minister and a Union Minister in two distant places cannot be a mere coincidence, but part of a well-planned and carefully executed conspiracy by RSS to which both of them belong, in an attempt to foment similar communal carnage throughout India. Therefore, this warrants close scrutiny and in-depth probe at the highest levels.

Ever since Mr. Rajagopal became a Union Minister in 1998, he is habituated with making regular Kerala visits mainly to issue false, frivolous and irresponsible statements with communal overtones. For example, amidst the violence started by RSS at Pathanamthitta on the intervening night of December 7-8, and before the police resumed proper investigation, Mr. Rajagopal asserted that the Congress was behind it. His statement provoked the KPCC President Mr. Muraleedharan to ask him bluntly "to look after only railway affairs" and not the law and order.

Yet, in his "Tapasya" speech at Kozhicode, he even linked Gujarat violence to Pathanamthitta, as "The New Indian Express" report further said : "..Rajagopal revealed that investigating agencies had identified five Congress party councilors in the Godhra Municipality as responsible for the inhuman incident that had resulted in the bloody communal flare-up resulting one of the most sensitive regions of the country... "The intention of the Congress party to foment communal sentiments with an eye on minority votes was very much evident at Pathanamthitta in Southern Kerala during the second week of last December when its municipal councilors joined hands with trouble-makers to attack ordinary Hindu pilgrims", Rajgopal alleged." According to "The Hindu" report, Mr. Rajagopal "pointed out that two persons arrested in connection with the incident belonged to the Congress" (and) "Three other Congress corporators wanted by the police in connection with the torching of the train were absconding." Notably, Mr. Rajagopal made this statement at Kozhicode within three days of the Godhra incident and even before the preliminary police investigation was completed. As against this, latest reports from Godhra suggest that the train burning was a retaliation against the unruly "Kar Sevaks" kidnapping a Muslim girl from Godhra station and bolting her inside the ill-fated compartment of Sabarmati Express.

Similarly, amidst the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December 1999, Mr. Rajagopal addressed a press conference at Alappuzha to declare that the name of Abdul Nazar Madani, languishing in Coimbatore jail, was included in the list given by the hijackers to be released in return of release of the captive passengers and the plane. This was contrary to the declaration of Union Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswanth Singh, that the hijackers did not seek the release of any prisoners outside Jammu-Kashmir jails. And, despite this, Mr. Rajagopal, as a responsible Union Minister, never showed the minimum courtesy of offering an unconditional apology for making this motivated and malicious statement. Nor was there any attempt from Kerala to check his utterings - an apparent reason that prompted him to make similar provocative and baseless statements whether on Pathanamthitta riots and on present Gujarat massacre of Muslims. 

In his same speech at "Tapasya" function at Kozhicode, Mr. Rajagopal also abused and ridiculed the progressive views, cultural values and ethos traditionally maintained by all Malayalees in Kerala. Quoting his speech, "The Hindu" (March 3) reported : "(Kerala's) self-styled intellectuals had only been aggravating social conflicts and were responsible for the crisis that had gripped the society. For our so-called intellectuals, Gandhiji is a Hindu communalist and the teaching of Sree Narayana Guru are obsolete. They have brain-washed our people. They are responsible for the high suicide rates, mounting atrocities against women and other social problems. This dangerous and unhealthy mindset has got entrenched over the years." The RSS Malayalam organ. "Janmabhoomi" (March 04) reported Mr. Rajagopal's speech with a caption : "Kerala crisis due to misguided notions : Union Minister" and said that "what happened at Godhra was the evidence of Kerala's misguided notions spreading to other parts of India". That means, according to this Union Minister, Kerala is responsible for the happenings in Gujarat.

This is a highly reprehensible wild accusation from a Union Minister hailing from Kerala against the whole of Kerala. With 43 percent of minority population, the densely populated Kerala state had so far not witnessed the kind of mass massacres on communal lines that rock other parts of India, especially the Hindi-heartland in North. This is because of the secular traditions and messages that Kerala derived from social reformist leaders like Ayyankali and Sree Narayana Guru - whose counterparts were never allowed to influence the Hindi-heartland from where Buddhism was uprooted and banished long ago. Yet, in his Kozhicode "Tapasya" speech, O. Rajagopal misused the name of Sree Narayana Guru to accuse Keralites - although it was the Sangh Parivar who made a futile attempt to capture the "Sivagiri Mattom" of Sree Narayana Guru. (We take this opportunity to appreciate the regrets expressed by you, Mr. Antony, for initiating police action at "Sivagiri Mattom" in 1995 as then Chief Minister mainly due to the manipulations of Sangh Parivar-backed Sanyasis and a section of pro-RSS elements within the police force).

We also wish to bring your attention to the fact that Mr. O. Rajagopal does not represent Kerala - in the true democratic and federal sense of the word. Not only that he had never been elected from Kerala, but also the Kerala voters repeatedly defeated him in all the elections he contested - whether to the Assembly or Parliament. He is a Union Minister now by virtue of his election to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Therefore, it is high time that both of you, as Chief Minister and Opposition Leader of Kerala, take the issue related to these vituperative uttering of Mr. Rajagopal to the President of India, who administered him the oath, and to the Prime Minister, under whom he functions, with the following demands :- 

1) To institute a probe into the conspiracy of Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Union Minister of State for Railways Mr. Rajagopal making the motivated statement on Newton's theory on the same day of March 2 at Ahmedabad and Kozhicode respectively to justify the ongoing massacre of Muslim minorities in Gujarat.

2) To reprimand Mr. Rajagopal from making such communal statements outside the purview of his
Ministry while visiting Kerala. 

3) To convey the Centre in no uncertain terms that the financially constrained Kerala Government can no more foot the bills for Mr. Rajagopal's unofficial frequent visits to the State for making such
communal statements only meant for the political gains of Sangh Parivar. 

4) To release a white paper on the number of visits made by Mr. Rajagopal to Madhya Pradesh, from where he was elected to the Parliament, and to Kerala, where he was repeatedly defeated in all elections, after he became the Union Minister in 1998. 

We consider that you both will take this appeal in right earnest and in the best interest of preventing Gujarat-type Sangh Parivar fascist onslaughts against minority communities in Kerala through these machinations of people like Mr. Rajagopal.

Awaiting early favorable action,

Yours Sincerely,

Mukundan C. Menon
Secretary General (CHRO)

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