Is Modi responsible for the death of farmers of Gujarat?

New Delhi: ANHAD’s Shabnam Hashmi and her team members from Gujarat exposed the white lies of Gujarat’s chief minister Modi who, by presenting or rather propagating the model of Gujarat’s development before the country is dreaming to become the prime minister of India. Gujarati members of her team Madan Trivedi, Tanvi Soni and Dev Desai said while speaking to media persons here on 14 April that during the regime of Narendra Modi more than 5 thousand farmers have committed suicide so far in Gujarat, the record of which has come to light through the information obtained by one Bharat Jhala under RTI. Most of the cases of suicides were because lands of farmers were grabbed and given to corporate houses. They said that the bill regarding agriculture introduced recently by the Modi government is very dangerous, seeing that this bill has virtually taken away almost all rights of farmers of Gujarat, so much so that they cannot even dig a well in their own fields, even if they want to do so whereas industrialists or those who want to set up industries enjoy full freedom to get as much water as they want. They said that they have worked among them (farmers) in Saurashtra where conditions are worse than before and they (farmers) are finding it difficult to survive. Water and electricity are lacking greatly and the condition of roads is very bad. They further said that during Modi’s regime the whole of Gujarat is in debt and at present every Gujarati is in debt four times as much as compared to earlier days.

They said that Modi is being invited to present the model of Gujarat’s progress whereas the fact is that he is misleading the people by telling lies about the state’s progress. Giving an example they said that he (Modi) claims that electricity is available in Gujarat for all the 24 hours whereas the fact is that even these days people spend their days in darkness for upto 12 hours. As regards the promotion of tourism in Gujarat, in this also his claim is false, they said, adding that whatever amount is being spent on Amitabh Bachchan (as the state’s brand ambassador), the state has not received the corresponding benefits.

Shabnam Hashmi said that it would not be wrong if it is said that in (last year’s) Gujarat elections Narendra Modi has lost because the percentage of his (or rather his party’s) votes has greatly decreased which is not being mentioned in the media and elsewhere. She said that if electronic voting machines would not have been tampered, his party (BJP) would have lost at least in 30 assembly constituencies. She said that it is being repeatedly claimed by the BJP that there were no communal riots in Gujarat during the past 10 years whereas the fact is that even today Gujarat is burning in communal ritos. She said that there have been many communal riots like Baroda Dargah riot in 2006, Surat riots in 2007, Chhota Udaipur riots in this year (2013) and many other riots on a small or large scale. Hence it is wrong to say that after 2002 there have been no communal riots in Gujarat. She said that when every thing was destroyed in a single riot (in 2002) where is the need for another riot?

She said that on ANHAD’s completion of 10 years of its life a national convention will be held on 17 and 18 April in Delhi’s Mavlankar Hall in which separate sessions will be held on the topic of ‘How to protect India against the clutches of Fascist powers’ in which many important persons will express their views. She said that there will also be a separate session in which political leaders like Congress general secretary Dig Vijay Singh, LJP’s head Ram Vilas Paswan, Mahesh Bhat and other personalities will express their views. She said that the most important session will be on the RSS and its communal and terrorist activities in which its hidden terrorist plans and activities will be exposed.

Speaking before media persons from ANHAD’s new office in Nizamuddin (earlier its office was in the garage of Planning Commission Member Mrs Sayeda Saiyyadain Hamid’s official residence but probably because of BJP’s objection it shifted its office to Nizamuddin) she said that in this convention ANHAD’s social and humanitarian activities and achievements etc will be highlighted. In this press conference ANHAD’s other members Madan Trivedi, Tanvi Soni, Dev Desai etc were also present. She said that her organisation has been working for the common people and trying to raise its voice against injustices and excesses against helpless people and its struggle against such injustices etc will continue. It may be added in this connection that ANHAD was created in 2003, almost a year after Gujarat’s anti-Muslim massacre to work for the oppressed and helpless people and to expose the perpetrators of such crimes. It also works in other fields also like strengthening democracy and secularism, communal harmony, struggle against sexual inequality, empowerment of women, protection of human rights etc. Among its founders, in addition to Shabnam Hashmi are Mrs Shubha Mudgal, Harsh Mander, Ram Punayani, Kamla Bhasin, Sayeed Akhtar Mirza etc. Her husband Safdar Hashmi, a social worker with progressive ideas was killed by some criminal elements about a decade ago while performing in a road-side drama near Delhi.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2013 on page no. 4

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