Thursday, August 29, 2013

Concluding Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition (August 29th 2013)

Press Release


Senior Counsel Sanjay Parikh for Zakia Jafri and Citizens for Justice & Peace made the Concluding Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition before the 11th Metropolitan Magistrate's Court today.
Part A of the Arguments (attached) are on the Legal Aspects of Conspiracy and Abetment.
Part B is on the Factual Aspects of How the Conspiracy by A-1 Narendra Modi was constructed and implemented to ensure Mass Reprisal Killings of innocent Muslims after the Godhra Tragedy on 27.2.2002.

Taizoon Khorakiwala         Nandan Maluste              Teesta Setalvad
I.M. Kadri                           Cyrus Guzder                  Javed Akhtar            
Alyque Padamsee             Anil Dharker                     Ghulam Pesh Imam 
Rahul Bose                        Javed Anand                   Cedric Prakash

Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400 049. Ph: 2660 2288 email:,

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50th anniversary: Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Today is 50 years since MLK gave the WORLD A DREAM! As we look back, can we honestly ask ourselves if WE(barring a few) -as people and as nations- have had the COURAGE to translate this GREAT VISION(for which he died) into a REALITY? On this GOLDEN DAY ,let us pledge to one another that WE WILL DO OUR VERY BEST TO BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE!

50th anniversary: Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

by  Aug 28, 2013
Today, 28 August marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, which he delivered today in Washington, DC during the ‘March on Washington’. The speech established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history and the speech is perhaps one of the most iconic ones ever against racism.
King Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 14, 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Watch Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the speech in the video above and read his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech below and here:
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Screengrab from video of 'I Have a Dream' speech.
Screengrab from video of ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Calling on the Indian Parliament to abolish child slavery in India by passing the "Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill”.


***URGENT*** Time is running out. The Indian Parliament is going to adjourn on Friday so we are in Delhi and planning to deliver the petition TOMORROW calling on the Indian Parliament to abolish child slavery in India by passing the "Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill”.

Dear Cedric,
Every day, millions of children in India wake up to long hours of backbreaking labour, working everywhere from stone quarries to carpet factories to rice mills. These children—some as young as 5 years-old—are kept from school and forced to work 7 days a week for up to 18 hours a day in hazardous situations that leave them permanently injured or crippled by heavy loads and dangerous equipment.
Because these children are often left illiterate and plagued with health problems, they are—in a cruel twist of fate—less likely to find employment once they reach adulthood. This continued enslavement of children traps generations of Indians in a vicious cycle of slavery, illiteracy and poverty.
Thankfully, Indian politicians are considering legislation called the "Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill," which: 1) prohibits employment of children under 14 years of age, 2) outlines harsh sentences for violators, and 3) provides for monitoring of suspected cases of child slavery. This legislation would put an end to the enslavement of children in India, but it risks not passing without a demonstration of mass public support. That is why we are personally delivering 1,010,917 signatures on the 29th of August to the Parliament of India, calling on them to immediately pass the Child and Adolescent Labour Abolition Bill.
TAKE ACTION. Add your name to the petition calling on the Indian Parliament to abolish child slavery in India.  
Days from now, the Parliament of India will close the doors on its Monsoon Session. They need to know that any further delay in the passage of this historic law banning child labour in their country is simply unacceptable.
For every day that this bill is delayed, millions of children in India will continue to be trapped in the nightmare of modern slavery. While leaders in India remain inactive, an entire generation remains at risk of being bought and sold to work in unimaginable conditions of sex slavery, bonded labour and domestic servitude.
By keeping this crucial bill off the agenda, the Indian Parliament is allowing modern slavery to continue to rob children of the chance to be healthy, educated and free to build a bright future for themselves and for their country.
We can end child slavery in India.
After you take action, will you take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family to make sure that as many people as possible join us in pressuring the Indian Parliament to protect millions of children from modern slavery? Thank you in advance for your help.

In solidarity,
Debra, Nick, Jessica, Kate, Mich, Amy and the Walk Free Team

Walk Free is a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world's greatest evils: Modern slavery.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SIXTEENTH DAY OF ARGUMENTS in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition(Aug 27th 2013)


August 27, 2013
Press Release
Fifteen and Sixteenth Days Arguments                  Zakia Jafri Protest Petition

A serving officer of the Gujarat government, then SP, Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma who actually averts and prevents violence by putting his life at risk; who functions independently of his political masters (including then MOS Home and accused, Gordhan Zadaphiya) and arrests powerful BJP and VHP men and women for indulging in violence and other criminal acts; who preserves the mobile phone records that implicate powerful persons for conspiring and collaborating in violent mass crimes post Godhra in 2002; who disagrees with fabricated charges in the charge sheets in the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya cases prepared by the Crime Branch, Ahmebabad is charge sheeted for revealing this incriminating evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran.

The government of Gujarat has also indulged in serious doctoring and tampering of documents argued senior advocate Mihir Desai for the sixteenth day before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court Nos 11, making a convincing pitch for the complete rejection of the SIT closure report. Handing over a special compilation of records from the voluminous SIT papers that clearly indicate tampering of records, Desai stated that a complicit and unprofessional SIT had not even looked into this serious criminal lapse though this was clearly visible from their own papers. The Gujarat home department under A-1 Modi had destroyed Vehicle Log Book records, Police Control Room Records and Wireless records on 30.3.2008 just five days after the Supreme Court had appointed the SIT on 26.3.2008. While indulging in this criminal act they had quoted an obsolete rule 262 of the Bombay Police Act when this had been replaced by the Gujarat Police Manual of 1975. The Inward register of the chief minister’s office, the Minutes of the meeting of 28.2.2020, the daily Itinerary of the chief minister as also a letter of the Home department had been clearly tampered with. (This letter of 6.3.2002 was overwritten by hand to show it had been written on 28.2.2002). Besides over four dozen SIB Messages in the SIT papers were in plain white blank paper without official format, an aspect that the SIT had chosen to turn a blind eye to. Desai argued that the SIT ignoring such brazen lapses was illustrative of its compromised functioning.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had stayed the operation of the charge sheet in 2012, making Rahul Sharma among the ten-twelve officers severely punished by the Modi-led Gujarat government for upholding the rule of law and the Indian Constitution. Sharma had been suddenly transferred out of Bhavnagar on March 26, 2002 (just as was Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana) simply because he had prevented Bhavnagar, a stronghold of Zadaphiya led VHP and BJP from becoming a cauldron of communal violence despite provocative hate speeches and other violent attempts . Brought to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and assigned to assist the investigations into the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg massacres this officer had made his discomfiture known and official when the Crime Branch had tried to create a false line of argument in the first charge sheets filed in these cases. The Gujarat police come directly under A-1 Narendra Modi, holding cabinet rank as home minister. While holding the post of DCP Crime Branch, and while he and his superior AK Surolia had summoned Mobile Data records of all users in Ahmedabad city, the SIT had done nothing to analyse this data or put it to efficient use in their investigations. While testifying before the Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission in August 2004 Sharma had made copies of this mobile phone data public. In January 2010, it was Rahul Sharma who had provided this critical evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran. His reward? A show cause notice by the vindictive Gujarat government!

Details of the application for relief against this illegal charge sheet before CAT showed that despite the fact that Rahul Sharma had provided details to the SC-appointed SIT about the reluctance of mobile phone records to provide full user details; and despite the fact that the representative of one such company had stated that he was under pressure from both the Gujarat police and political bigwigs in the state, the high powered SIT had chosen not to investigate this at all.

The critical evidence of the other whistleblower officer, former ADGP Intelligence RB Sreekumar lay in the fact that a)he had recorded that then DGP Chakravarti had told him about the criminal instructions issued by A-I Modi at the meeting of 27.2.2002 (“Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger on the streets and the police should not be impartial”); b) he had filed five critical SIB reports recording the illegal functioning of the police and bureaucracy as also the subversion of the criminal justice system; c) he had urged prosecution of Sandesh newspaper and VHP hate pamphlets; d) he had recommended the transfer of criminally complicit officers, a recommendation that had been implemented by KPS Gill sent in by the Central government; e) he had given independent reports to the Chief election Commission (CEC) that had been relied upon and f)he had recorded the illegal instructions given by A-1 Modi to him in an unofficial register; g) he had sent the SIB reports on the virulent hate speech of A-1 Modi at Becharaji to the National Commission of Minorities despite his bosses illegally ordering that he not do so. He too like Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt who were also charge sheeted was rewarded with a charge sheet and denied promotion. Bhatt’s criticality lay in that he had sent messages from the SIB on 27.2.2002 mentioning the provocative sloganeering by the kar sevaks that led to a crowd gathering near the Godhra railway station.

Tracing the chain of command responsibility from an analysis of the Phone Call records of Top Police Officials of Ahmedabad City and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that have been dealt with at length in the Protest petition, Mihir Desai pointed out how the analyses reveal that PC Pande did not move out of his office after returning from the Sola Civil Hospital on 28.2.2002; that at the height of the attacks of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg while he sat holed up in his office at Shahibaug, there was a sustained contact between him and the CMO (Fifteen Calls between 11.40 am and the evening) suggesting that A-1 Modi was in the constant know of happenings on the ground). Why did he not budge out from the safety of his chamber? Unlike Rahul Sharma, SP Bhavnagar and Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana who risked their lives trying to save lives here was a Commissioner and a Chief Minister who were sitting in the safety of their cabins and offices!!! The criminally culpable conduct of Joint CP Tandon and DCP Gondia was also revealed in that every time they received serious messages to go towards Naroda or Meghaninagar (where Gulberg is located) they moved in opposite directions towards Rewadi Bazar.
Detailed arguments were also made on the failure of the SIT to investigate the absence of proper Relief and Rehabilitation measures despite sharp comments and recommendations from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Commission for Minorities and even the Food Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court. The Central government had to institute special schemes to enhance reparation for those dead and injured due to the failure of the state to fulfill adequate measures.
On the occasion of the fourteenth days of arguments, Desai had read extensively on the deleterious impact of inflammatory articles published in large sections of the Gujarati media (print and electronic) that had instead of being prosecuted been applauded by A-1 Narendra Modi.
Arguments will continue on August 29.

Taizoon Khorakiwala         Nandan Maluste              Teesta Setalvad
I.M. Kadri                           Cyrus Guzder                  Javed Akhtar            
Alyque Padamsee             Anil Dharker                     Ghulam Pesh Imam 
Rahul Bose                        Javed Anand                   Cedric Prakash

Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400 049. Ph: 2660 2288 email:,


Monday, August 26, 2013

Remembering MOTHER TERESA on her 103rd birth anniversary (August 26th 2013)

"Do not think that love  in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
-- Mother Teresa
                                        "Blessed Mother Teresa , Pray for us!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kandhamal, Five Years Later: Why The Silence? by K. P. Sasi in

Kandhamal, Five Years Later: Why The Silence?
By K.P. Sasi
25 August, 2013
What is it that makes human beings express more violence than animals? This is certainly a significant question we may ask in our journey called life. While the animals express violence for food, protection of territory and out of fear, which the human species also do on a much larger scale, the most brutal expressions of violence by the human beings can shame and shock the brutes themselves. This is the only species which can kill hundreds, thousands or millions on the basis of their ideologies, world view, belief systems, political power, economic power, power of social and cultural identities and the need to control nature. In that sense, unfortunately, we belong to the most insecure and violent species on this planet and it is because of this insecurity that we took extreme pride of being part of an identity called `human beings’. On this day of August 25, 2013, which rightfully should have been observed as a Khandamal Day nationally and internationally and unfortunately being ignored by this largest democratic, secular and sovereign State called India, it may be more appropriate to begin with our own limitations – our own silence which became the cause and effect of any large scale violence expressed in history.
It is five years since the major violence took place in Khandamal on August 25, 2008. It was the biggest anti-Christian violence in Indian history and the biggest communal violence in Orissa. The organized violence started in 2007. More than 600 villages in Khandamal district alone were attacked and 5600 houses were looted and burnt. Around 54,000 people became homelss and thousands fled the region out of fear. Over 100 people were killed, including women, children, disabled and the old. Women were raped and subjected to sexual assault. 295 churches were destroyed. 13 schools colleges, and offices of non-profit organizations were destroyed. Dalit Christians and Adivasi Christians were forcefully converted to Hinduism, though there is no tradition to convert from other religions to Hinduism, since the caste identity in Hinduism comes from birth only. All those who were converted into Hinduism at the axe-point are back into their own faith in Christianity today. Education of more than 10,000 children were disrupted and many of them still live with mental trauma. There were no proper systems of counseling.
After five years, when you look back, you will find that the rehabilitation process and compensation to the victims are not properly or adequately carried out. Most of those who are responsible for this gruesome communal crime are still to be punished. People are still waiting for justice. Thus Kandhamal remains as a blot on India’s secular image.
The question why Kandhamal happened is not much different from why the communal fascist genocide happened in Gujarat. The process of years of preparations for violence in both Gujarat and Kandhamal was similar. Teesta Setelvaad had warned years before both Gujarat communal violence and the Kandhamal communal violence that the preparations for violence is going on in both these places, in her famous magazine called Communalism Combat. These warnings were not sufficiently heard by the activists. The disaster of communal violence in Gujarat and Kandhamal could have been reduced to a certain extent if such warnings were discussed right from the initial stage of preparations for violence.
However, there is a difference between the situations of Kandhamal and Gujarat. There was still a small crowd who tried to speak out and act against the violence in Gujarat. There were feminists, trade unions, various shades of left and secular forces, civil liberties organizations, NGOs, Christian organizations with people like Fr. Cedric Prakash, secular Muslim figures like Prof. Bandookwalah, a small section of film/media internet activists to respond right from the initial stages. The social context in Kandhamal did not have this luxury. There was a weak or non-existence of various shades of left and secular forces, like minded trade unions, Muslims or other religions other than Christians and Hindus, lack of civil liberties organizations and an obvious lack of urban middle class activists who could respond and sustain the campaign effectively. Hence, whatever national campaign that has sustained the campaign for the human rights and justice for the people of Kandhamal was to a great extent due to the efforts few people like Fr. Ajay Singh who was based in Kandhamal, human rights activists like Dhirendra Panda who was based in Bhubaneswar and many other individuals and groups based on the sustained energies of such people. But the obvious lack of a diversity of potential individuals, groups and political forces in Kandhamal during the time of communal attack, could have been one of the main limitations, to explain why the Kandhamal Day is still not being observed widely at a national level.
No matter the limitations of social contexts, even with the existing forces which care for justice for the victims of Kandhamal ought to receive further support and strength. Perhaps one factor which is still blocking a proper national action on Kandhamal is the fact that all the churches that have been attacked belonged to Dalit and Adivasi Christians. I have always wondered, if the mainstream Christians and other potential voices in this country would have reacted differently, if the destruction of Churches, worship places, houses and properties along with the gruesome violence on men, women and children had happened to the upper caste Christians. This question came to my mind when I happened to see the photograph of the news of a public meeting in Malayalam mainstream papers showing the Bishops along with L.K. Advani, soon after Kandhamal communal violence. If I as an atheist was insulted and humilitated by such an act, one can imagine what could be feelings of the the Dalit Christians and Adivasi Christians on such a behaviour. It is a well accepted understanding among the activists who work on Kandhamal today that the memories of Kandhamal still do not hold the consciousness of the mainstream India, since the immediate victims were Dalits and Adivasis.
While the notion of secularism as defined so far is being debated in India and while I agree with many of the criticisms on the limitations of its present defined meanings, I would still use it due to the following reasons: 1. It provides at least a minimum protective space for the victims of communal violence through the Indian Constitution, and 2. There is still a lack of a proper alternative category to execute the political functions of a word called secularism. Therefore, in the absence of a politically accepted category, it may be wiser for activists to appropriate it and redefine the word secularism in such a way that all spiritualities, belief systems and religions are treated with equal respect and harmony irrespective of the number of followers. When I say belief systems, I would include atheism also. However, I am a bit critical of the way secularism is promoted so far as an excluded community of those outside religions. In the case of Kandhamal, I have met many people within different faiths, to be rightfully called secular Hindus or secular Christians. Take the cases of Hindu houses who provided shelter to many Christians in spite of knowing that their lives would be in danger if the blood spitting fundamentalists had found out about it, at a time when Kandhamal was burning. How did ordinary Hindu women express such courage? During the partition time, ordinary Muslim families in Pakistan have expressed courage to provide protection to the Hindus against the fanatics. In Gujarat, there were Hindus and Christians who expressed such courage. If this is not secularism, what else do we call such behaviour? To my mind, the only wide-spread secularism that exists today is within different faiths more than outside. The community of people like me still belong to the smallest minority in the country. And I hope that people like us can also apply for the minority status and protection of minority rights for the atheist community, if we are slightly organized in future! But unfortunately, it may not happen, since the heads of each atheist is turned in different directions from the other!
Perhaps what distinguishes the human species from the rest of the species is the expression of compassion undertaken by different individuals from different faiths, risking their own lives due to the firm conviction that lives of others from other religions, other communities and all those whose freedom is denied, are also as important as theirs. If the word called humanity has any meaning, it is this expression of compassion coupled with fearlessness. We must always remember that the fruits of our freedom that we enjoy so far are only due to such fearless compassion expressed by many individuals, groups and movements, articulated and expressed throughout the segments of history. And the only hope for the survival of the human species and the rest of the species is this fearless compassion expressed by a section of the society, in spite of being part of a human race. This is the best lesson we can learn from those fearless people of Kandhamal, so that their concerns can be taken forward on the forthcoming Kandhamal Days, to remember the gravity of the problems as well as hopes for the future!

K.P Sasi is an award winning film director and a political activist. He is also an Associate Editor of He can be reached at

Saturday, August 24, 2013


 Prashant  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
  Post  Box  No.  4050,    Navrangpura,   Ahmedabad 380 009,    Gujarat,    India
  Tel.:    +91 (079) 66522333,   27455913     Fax:   +91 (079) 27489018
  Mobile:   9824034536.  e-mail:


We strongly and unequivocally condemn the gang rape of the photo-journalist in Mumbai. All those responsible for this heinous and totally unacceptable deed must be brought to book immediately and be given exemplary punishment. The Government, the Police and other concerned authorities must ensure this.

Crimes against women continue to increase with impunity all over the country whether it be domestic violence or those committed by outsiders. 

It is exactly five years today since tribal Christian women were brutalized in every possible way in Kandhamal, Orissa.  One can never even forget how Muslim women were subjected to the most unthinkable forms of violence during the Gujarat Carnage of 2002. Sometime ago, dalit students in a Government-run Teachers Training College in Patan, Gujarat were subject to constant sexual assault by their teachers and if they would not give in, they were made to fail in their examinations. A University student in Manipal, Karnataka was gang raped a couple of months ago by members of a right-wing Hindu group.

We continue to hear of these terrible crimes day-in-and-day-out.  The culprits often go scot-free and even with patronage from certain sections of society. Besides, when it comes to the poor, the marginalized, the dalits, the adivasis and minority women, there is hardly any ground-swell of protest from civil society or for that matter 24x7 media coverage.

A crime against ANY women is a crime against humanity.  We must all come together to ensure an immediate halt to this violence so that all our women, whatever their background, may feel safe and secure in any and every section of our society.

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

24th August, 2013