02/07/2014, 00.00
INDIA
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Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ: Never forget the Gujarat massacres and Narendra Modi’s role

Ahead of the 2014 general elections, the priest warns against the figure of Modi, considered an "icon to be followed in deeds and words" by Hindu fundamentalists. The Jesuit director of the "Prashant" centre for human rights, justice and peace, based in Ahmedabad, speaks to AsiaNews about the controversial aspects of the political leader, his role in the 2002 massacres, the "myth" of his honesty, when in fact "Gujarat is the most corrupt state in India".

Ahmedabad ( AsiaNews) - "Narendra Modi has been acquitted of charges of involvement in the massacres in Gujarat, so there is no need to discuss it". So says Sharad Pawar , Indian Minister of Agriculture and member of the central government led by Sonia Gandhi's Congress Party. These statements made in an interview have sparked an uproar given that Narendra Modi is the "number one enemy" of the coalition; he is the chief minister of Gujarat, but especially prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ultra-nationalist Hindu party) for the general elections to be held in May. Modi is a controversial figure: many exalt his economic ability, his is one of the richest states in India, many others do not forgive his "laxity" shown when violent riots broke out in 2002 between the Hindu and Muslim communities, which produced thousands of deaths, especially among Muslims. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr. Cedric Prakash sj - Director of the Jesuit " Prashant " Centre for human rights, justice and peace, based in Ahmedabad - explains why it is still "very important" to remember the role and responsibilities of Narendra Modi in the massacres of 2002, especially in view of the elections that will decide the new government of India.

Why is still important remember Narendra Modi's role in 2002 Gujarat riots, even if a court gave him a clean chit?

We need to get the facts straight on this: there is NO court of law which in India which has given  Narendra Modi a "clean chit" with regard to his involvement in the Gujarat Carnage of 2002.After there were several petitions to it, the Supreme Court of India clubbed several of the cases together and appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT)  to "investigate" them. The Final SIT Report that says that there is not enough of evidence  to prosecute Modi. 

 The contents and the sloppy investigation done were  challenged  in a Lower Court in Ahmedabad: and in an Order given by this Court  26th December 2013, the Magistrate simply said, "petition dismissed. You may appeal to a higher court". So surely, Zakhia Jafri, the petitioner, will be challenging the merits of the SIT Report in a higher court.

On the other hand, Raju Ramchandran, appointed by the very same Supreme Court as the amicus curiae for many of the cases of the Gujarat Carnage, very strongly asserts that there is enough evidence to prosecute Modi on several accounts with regard to the carnage of 2002.

So in short no Judgement has been given yet any any court in India of Modi's abetment, involvement etc in this bloody Chapter of Indian history.

Why do Hindutva and hindu fundamentalism seem to be integral part of the upcoming election?

Hindutva and Hindu Fundamentalism are an integral part of the forthcoming National Elections in India for two clear reasons: it is they the Hindutva brigade , through their parent body the RSS(the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh- has decided that Naredra Modi becomes the Prime Ministerial candidate of their political wing the BJP..

And secondly Modi is a hard-core Hindu fundamentalist-schooled in their ideology -and in word and in deed he is simply their iconic figure..This portens ill for geo-politics in the South   Asian sub-continent.

The core ideology of Hindutva -we are aware is the establishment of a Hindu Nation-State where the minorities will be treated as second-class citizens.Their methodology is fascist and they will do anything , in sheer desperation to achieve their narrow goals

What do you think about the problem of corruption, and why Narendra Modi seems to be "unattackable" on this issue?

Corruption is a real and major issue in India today-We have corruption at every level of society today - this needs to be dealt with on a war-footing and with a certain expediency..

To say that Narendra Modi is "unattackable" on this issue is a myth- a lie that is being flaunted by certain corporate houses -because they get from Modi -whatever they want

In May 2012, when Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal visited Gujarat and met with several people across the civil society spectrum, they declared Gujarat as the most corrupt State in the country. Why they did not continue to highlight the corruption in Gujarat is anyone's guess!  But the fact that corruption is mainstreamed all over the State is without doubt.

Some years ago, the Tata Motor Company was able to begin their "Nano" Car plant in Gujarat with ease, flouting every rule in the book and even the  set industrial policy of Gujarat. It is common knowledge that the Adani Company has been controlling the prices of the CNG of Gujarat and amassing huge profits. The role of the Ambanis in so many different mega projects in Gujarat is questionable. The way environmental laws are flouted and the terrible ecological degradation that is taking place all over the State, is a clear indicator that corruption is alive and kicking in Gujarat.-under Modi's "leadership!" 

Another indicator is the way land has been given to big corporate houses displacing thousands of small farmers all over the State. There had been huge protest rallies all over Gujarat, but these were blatantly blacked out by a media which by and large seems to have been muzzled in Gujarat.

 

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