93K phone tappings in 6 months? Gujarat has become a police state….

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This is what I was really worried about. Apparently, the snooping on the girl in Gujarat was not a lone case. Firstpost.in reports  that as many as 93000 illegal mobile phone tappings took place in just six months in Gujarat between Dec 2012 and May 2013. Phone tappings may be a less severe form of surveillance than physical snooping itself, but surely there is a worrisome story here.

Firstpost.in adds “reports now say phone tapping has been rampant in Gujarat, with a DGP discovering this year that as many as 93,000 mobile phones’ call data records had been obtained without his knowledge since December 2012”. The web publisher further reports “A report in The Hindustan Times says agencies such as the Gujarat Police, the IB, the Anti-Terror Squad and the Crime Branch are all routinely conduct illegal surveillance, either for investigations or at the instance of their political bosses. The extent of snooping is so pervasive that Gujarat’s director general of police Amitabh Pathak (now deceased) was shocked to learn in May that his own police officials had obtained call detail records of as many as 93,000 mobile phone numbers without his knowledge since December 2012”.

Referring to the same report, Firstpost.in writes further “The report also quotes from an affidavit filed by former IPS officer RB Sreekumar before the Justice Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 riots case in which he states that he was asked to rap the phones of BJP leader Haren Pandya and Congress leader Shankersingh Vaghela”.

Firstpost.in then refers to a report in the TOI “This report in the Times of India published in 2005 quotes BJP MLA Gordhan Zadaphia complaining about the Modi government engaging in illegal tapping of phones of MLAs and MPs. The report also said intelligence officers believed that official taps on phones was time-consuming and required several levels of permissions. It becomes more fruitful in this scenario to take the service provider into confidence and come to an “unofficial arrangementthe report said”.

What is clear from all this is that the stalking case was not an isolated one. Abuse of the power to tap is rampant. Abuse of the state police machinery is rampant. What is the power used for? In part, to get political leverage. Apart from Haren Pandya and Shankersingh Vaghela, Keshubhai Patel was also reportedly as complaining about being snooped upon. Any surprises that Modi has been besting his political rivals one after another over the years? We now know why. He had access to confidential information about his rivals. “Ipsa scientia potestas est” (‘knowledge itself is power’) is one of the most powerful weapons in politics.

What is perhaps even more stinking than the stalking, snooping and phone tapping scam itself is the way the BJP has been mounting its defence of Modi and Shah. The defence speaks more about the mindset of the BJP supporters. Madhu Kishwar (who supports Modi almost 100% of the times, even though she is a journalist and expected to be unbiased) tweeted ““56 yr old officer under watch of government 4 criminal misdeeds misuses posn to sexually exploit woman yng enf to be grd dtr, parents shd say fine?”. What is she saying? That the girl has no rights of her own? They can be usurped by her father, as if he “possesses” her? Meenakshi Lekhi, spokesperson of the BJP, has made inane accusations about the Congress asking how the tapes got out. Arre, forget how the tapes got out. The point is why what happened, happened.

And where is the “protected” girl (the victim really) in all this? Why is she not coming out and saying what she has to say? Why is her father fronting for her all this time? What is she afraid of? Did the girl really know what was going on? Did she know that even the phones of her family members were being tapped? Did she know that there were cops put on the flight that she took when she traveled out of Ahmedabad? Did she know that cops were monitoring her interactions with friends, including men? All of this looks extremely unlikely.

The real truth is that this snooping episode, along with many others – the 2002 riots, the numerous illegal fake encounters, the murder of Haren Pandya after he turned a government baiter, the tampering with the judicial process forcing the SC to move cases out of the state, the harassment of bureaucrats who don’t toe the line, the failure to appoint (or strategy not to appoint) a Lok Ayukta for more than a decade and later amend the law itself using brute legislative majority to wrest power of the appointment process, the absence of an adequate number of RTI commissioners – all points to Gujarat having become a classic police state over Modi’s tenure. If this is part of Modi’s “Gujarat model”, I don’t want any part of it….

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Narendra Modi runs a Website that justifies Gujarat Riots (GujaratRiots.com) through his IT Team

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In the modern times, to carry out an organized religio-ethnic cleansing and then to get away despite the present day media watching every event is indeed a great feat by any Goebellian standards. Keeping aside the question as to who was the prime mover of the Gujarat pogrom, the recent pronouncements of the special courts trying the major cases of violence like Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya, Best Bakery, Sardarpura etc would undisputedly establish that the violence was lead by the saffron brotherhood. In the Naroda Patiya case, even the minister of Modi’s Government Mayaben Kodnani and the VHP leading activist like Babu Bajrangi etc have been convicted. Yet despite these and many other irrefutable evidence, the concerted effort by the rioters to paint the violence as a spontaneous reaction of the angry Hindu masses to the “barbaric” attack of the Muslims killing 59 Hindus in Godhra has found many takers and paid handsome dividends to BJP which presided over the violence.

The perception of the common man to willy-nilly accept the action-reaction theory was primarily because of the voluminous propaganda material that the rioters threw at the common man without any effective counter by the other political establishments in the country. We have tried to research the mode and manner adopted by the saffron brotherhood to dominate the cyberspace, and to our shock and surprise, we discovered that Narendra Modi through his closest aides has created a network of websites to disseminate propaganda on variety of topics and subjects.

India272.com, GujaratRiots.com, NitiCentral.com, BJPOne.com etc – All these websites are being run by Rajesh Jain’s team who is officially appointed by Narendra Modi to run his IT campaign. Their common roots can be seen from the fact that each one of these websites reside on the same server with the IP Address 206.183.107.25. Rajesh Jain’s blog Emergic.Org is also one of these several sites sitting on this server. India272.com which is regularly endorsed by Narendra Modi on twitter also sits on this same server.

Modi’s speeches show his Congress phobia….

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There was a joke going around on twitter yesterday which captures all of Narendra Modi’s speeches very effectively: Congress talks about Congress, Congress, Congress. Modi talks about Congress, Congress, Congress! And indeed, hidden in this innocuous banter, is the very real truth about Modi’s Congress phobia. The Congress phobia manifests itself in the form of “virulent attacks” on the party, just like inferiority complex often presents itself as superiority complex. The fact that this is a phobia is borne out by the continuing refusal of Modi to be interviewed by journalists – who could expose it.
 
Just look at just a few of Modi’s Congress-phobic utterances yesterday:
 
·        Congress did not name in PM candidate because…..(a plethora of pitiable reasons)
·        The Nehru-Gandhi family is anti-OBC. It suffers from “feudal mindset, casteist prejudices and sense of uniqueness”
·        Idea of India no one’s monopoly (in reference to Rahul’s assertion that Congress is an Idea genetically coded into India).
·        (Congress) cannot deign to compete with a tea hawker
·        They feel ashamed because while they have pedigree, I can only boast of my achievements
 
All the above statements are just from today’s TOI. There were countless other references in his speech yesterday. Obviously, thanks to all these Congress-phobic jabs, there was no time left for anything that would tell us what Modi’s vision for the country is. What eventually came out looked second grade, and mostly a continuance of what Congress has been practicing for a full decade now. Sample the following:
 
·        Rainbow model of governance. Focus on culture, agriculture, women, natural resources, youth, democracy, knowledge  (I mean seriously, this banal statement is all Modi could make?)
·        Black money stashed abroad to be brought back and used for poor (Ya, but how? Does Modi support the idea that all currency notes above Rs 50 should be scrapped? All cash transactions above Rs 2000 should be banned? How will he do more than what Chidambaram has done with Swiss and other governments?)
·        Shift healthcare focus from curative to preventive. Health assurance needed, not just health insurance (But this is exactly what the Congress’s National Health Missions are, no? Besides Modi hasn’t been able to deliver even the most basic of healthcare in his state – as borne out by the pathetic HDI figures; so how will he do so nationally?)
·        Price stabilization fund for inflation (Very little is known of this idea which is a problem by itself, but isn’t monetary policy the turf of the RBI? Or does Modi not know that?)
·        100 smart cities to be created (A continuation of Congress’s idea. Remember a large number of cities are being created under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Ditto under the Mum-Bangalore, Bangalore-Chennai and now Delhi-Kolkata corridors as well).
·        IITs, IIMs and AIIMS in every state (Again, a continuation of Congress’s vision – it has already created several new IITs/IIMs).
 
Yesterday, the papers carried the story that the BJP was going to continue with MNREGA and FSB as well. So really, where is the difference between the BJP’s vision from the Congress’s?
 
There isn’t. At least not in Modi’s tiny mind. What is in abundant supply in his mind however is rhetoric and there was plenty on display yesterday, like in all speeches
 
·        Govt dole, dole, dole ki baat karti hai, per govt bhi dol rahi hai(completely senseless; just a play of words; besides, how many people understand the word “dole” to mean subsidies?)
·        Since defeat looks inevitable, Sonia Gandhi decided to protect her son. No mother would like to sacrifice her son at the altar of politics (Arre, but Rahul is the one who will face the flak anyways. Besides, he has the guts to campaign in difficult states. Modi on the other hand refused to go to Karnataka).
·        Congressmen had come hoping they would get their PM candidate but they got three LPG cylinders instead (Honestly, the same could be said about Modi. People came hoping to hear his vision; all they got was more gas).
·        And of course the rhetoric on black money. This is such a bogey now, no one believes it. Its one of those issues that the BJP rakes up before every election, only to forget it later).
 
The highlight of Modi’s speech yesterday however was his retort to Mani Shanker Aiyer’s “tea boy” comment. Senseless and silly as that comment was, for that kind of personalized attack is really the BJP’s style, not the Congress’s, Modi’s retort was equally senseless and silly. He painted the Congress as being casteist. Now the BJP, which is a party of Brahmins – one that has grudgingly appointed an OBC as its PM candidate – shouldn’t call others casteist. Aakar Patel once wrote on how the entire top leadership of the RSS, BJP, and other Sangh outlets is comprised of Brahmins. If there is one party that is truly casteist, it has to be the BJP. But for Modi, who has earned the #feku tag, truth is an easily dispensable commodity. This is also borne out by his advice that “Non violence is the top dharma”. Really, Mr. Modi, you are saying this? And “all spiritual paths are the same”, but then Mr. Modi, why did you just introduce a bill (Freedom of Religion (amendment) bill) in your state that seeks to merge Jains into Hinduism? The Jains have strongly protested against this bill; even held dharnas. Why did you do this? Only to show Hindus to be a larger number than they are? Why do you have this Hindu-centric world view?

Poor educational standards in Gujarat? It’s because private schools are not “encouraged” enough: elite NGO

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Why is Gujarat so “backward” in education? Blame it on government schools, and promote private schools. This is the new mission sought to be put forward by one of the most high profile education advocacy groups, Pratham, which has stolen the limelight all over India for its work with policy makers for the last about eight years. This, apparently, is the only reason why, it indicates (but does not say so directly referring to the state), that Gujarat’s educational standards are so poor. And, it seems to believe, it is not government schools which can come to the children’s rescue but only a rigorous emphasis on private schools. 
According to Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), brought out by Pratham on January 15, 2014, Gujarat’s performance in ensuring admission to its rural children at the primary level is worse than 11 out of 20 major states. While a mere three per cent Gujarat children in the age-group were recorded as “out of school”, only eight states performed worse than Gujarat on this score. Worse, the ASER found that the situation deteriorated for the girls in the age group 15-16 (higher secondary level), Gujarat’s 29.7 per cent girls were “out of school” compared to all other 19 major states (click HERE for details). 

The Pratham survey, which becomes the basis of the national policy makers to push through their educational programmes, also found that in quality of education, too, Gujarat has performed equally badly. Thus, it reveals that Gujarat’s 26.8 per cent of children studying in classes VI to VIII could do division sums, which is lower than all other states but two – Madhya Pradesh and Assam. Further, children of just four states studying in classes III to V were worse performers than Gujarat in carrying out subtractions. 
Things would not have been so bad, ASER tries to imply, had Gujarat emphasized on private schooling in rural areas. In rural Gujarat, 15.1 per cent children in the age group 6-14 go to private schools as against the “best performing state” in education, Kerala, where 68.6 per cent go to private schools. The national average of children going to private schools is double that of Gujarat – 29 per cent. Then, Gujarat’s children spend Rs 140 per month on tuition, as against Rs 231 in Kerala. Here, too, the national average is high – Rs 169. 
 
 
Data of poor standards of education, ASER data suggest, are particularly glaring in Gujarat’s government schools. Thus, in private schools, 33.6 per cent children of standard III could do subtraction, as against just 13.4 per cent in government schools. As for division, 32 per cent standard V children in private schools could do division, as against just 15 per cent in government schools. Similarly, in government schools, 39.9 per cent children of standard III could read standard I text, as against 57.5 per cent of private schools. 
And what is the “reason” Pratham seeks to offer in order to suggest things are really bad? The advocacy group, which virtually functions as a corporate house, fields Madhav Chavan, CEO, to say that government schools have failed to deliver, and will not deliver. To him, private schools, are the “panacea”. Chavan says, under government aegis, “elementary school system in India was expanding slowly for several decades”, adding, “It is no accident that by 2005 over 92 per cent children were enrolled in schools.” 
“But”, he points out, “Something else had begun to change. When ASER started measuring enrolment in 2005, the all-India rural private primary school enrolment was about 17 per cent. ASER seems to have caught a big change in its early stages – rural private school enrolment rose to 29 per cent by 2013. Ironically, after the Indian Parliament declared that it would provide free and compulsory education to all children, the pace of enrolment in private schools quickened.” This, he suggests, has resulted in school education looking up.
“ASER 2013 indicates that although the proportion of families owning TV has not changed over the past five years (54 per cent in 2013), the proportion of those among TV owners who have access to cable TV has gone up from 36 per cent in 2010 to 79 per cent in 2013. That is, nearly 43 per cent of all rural households have cable or direct to home TV. Half of these families send their children to government schools today and may shift to private schools if they become accessible”, he says, adding, this is because “we have a clear failure of government schools to deliver or even basic achievements in learning.” 
Further: “There is a need to urgently deal with the trend of enrollment in private schools in urban and rural areas. Banning private schools or even curtailing them is no more a democratic option unless a visibly better government school alternative can be presented. By introducing 25% reservation for economically weaker sections, the Right to Education (RTE) Act has in fact opened the door for unaided schools being aided by the government. There is no reason why government-aided and privately managed schools cannot be encouraged further”.
Arguing thus, Pratham does not recall even once that private schools are refusing admission to children from the poorer, weaker sections (read HERE). On the contrary, he thinks that “the segregation of children, even among the poorer sections, into those who go to government schools and those who attend private schools is socially undesirable and the option of government-aided and privately managed schools which function autonomously can in fact help create schools where all children can go to school together.” 
Chavan underlines, “States where nearly half the rural population and considerably larger urban population send their children to private schools could lead the way in this matter. Discussions being held at different international platforms suggest that the next Millennium Development Goals for education will be much more focused on measurable learning outcomes.” This, thinks, can be done by discarding the view that the government schools can deliver: “ASER maintains that learning outcomes, especially in the government schools in most states, are poorer today than they were a few years ago.”

Gujarat’s anti-Modi topcop Sanjiv Bhatt says may not join AAP, wants it to come clean on secularism, Modi

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Gujarat’s topcop Sanjiv Bhatt, who was suspended for taking up cudgels against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, may not join the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which has begun to attract influential sections of civil society in India and Gujarat. Taking part in an internal discussion in Ahmedabad, Bhatt told a senior AAP activist that there is still “no clarity” in AAP’s ideological leanings, especially on issues of secularism and communal riots. “I have yet to hear AAP taking a stance on the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, though they took place after the party was formed. It uttered no word about it during the Delhi elections”, he said.

“The difference between the BJP and the AAP remains blurred – while the BJP follows gutter politics, the AAP has still not come out of its extremely commonplace paan-galla politics”, Bhatt, who was rumoured to have joined AAP for quite some time, declared. While recognizing that the fledgling Gujarat unit of AAP, led by social activist Sukhdev Patel, was clearly “anti-Modi”, Bhatt said, “The party’s Central leaders give no such clue.” 
Taking on Kumar Vishwas, who has declared himself as AAP’s candidate against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at Amethi, Bhatt said, “He has praised Modi in past. There is still no word from him on Modi’s role in communal riots.” Bhatt also said that AAP’s most important leader, Arvind Kejriwal, himself has not criticized Modi after the latter was declared the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. “While we know the views of other AAP leaders, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, Kejriwal remains silent on contentious issues.”
Kejriwal said, “I know Kejriwal personally. I handed over to him all the facts on Modi’s corruption. It took him three months to address a press conference on December 4, 2012, ahead of the Gujarat state assembly polls, saying that “if Congress is Mukesh Ambani’s dukaan, then is Modi government Adani’s dukaan”. He informed the meeting, which took place at a guest house in the centre of the city that not only Kejriwal “sat” on the facts he had handed over to Kejriwal for three long months. 
“At the fag-end of the press conference, Kejriwal was asked who gave him facts. His answer surprised me. He named me, but added, he was surprised why I did not hand over facts to the Congress, on whose ticket my wife, Shweta, was fighting polls against Narendra Modi from Maninagar”, Bhatt said, adding, “It is also not clear who is AAP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Kejriwal does not seem to be keen to be announced one, despite pressures on him.”
During the meeting, it was pointed out that there was “enough evidence” to suggest Kerjiwal does not want to take up a stance on communalism. “Before addressing a TV interview, had sent a chit where he said no questions should be addressed on communalism. The interview did take place, and the moment the interviewer shot questions on Muzaffarnagar riots, Kejriwal cut it short and walked out”, it was pointed out. 
Bhatt’s reservations on AAP have come to light in less than a week after top danseuse Mallika Sarabhai’s similar views on AAP’s Kumar Vishwas. Sarabhai, who has just joined AAP, kicked up a row by criticizing Vishwas for praising Modi. Taking on Vishwas on multiple fronts, Sarabhai sought clarification from Vishwas over latter’s glorifying remarks on the Gujarat CM in which he had been compared to a Hindu deity by the poet-turned-politician. “He compared Modi to Shivji, I want to know was it a paid performance.” 
She added, “His attitude towards women, homosexuals and minorities is very problematic,” Sarabhai said, adding, “He comes across as sexist and antigay, and has an anti-minority point of view, and at the same time praises Narendra Modi.” At the same time, she added, AAP is the “most positive thing to happen in many decades and takes democracy back to the people.” He comments came even as senior AAP leaders in Gujarat said they also wanted “clarification” from the Central leaders on what they think of Vishwas. “There is already a huge criticism of Vishwas on AAP’s Facebook page”, a senior activist said.

Gujarat govt’s “cash for land” format for Narmada oustees boomerangs, protests break out in Alirajpur

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Fresh indications have emerged that the cash-again-land scheme, “worked out” for the Narmada dam oustees of Mahdya Pradesh (MP) as rehabilitation package by Gujarat government a decade ago allegedly to get over the “scarcity of land” problem in MP, has boomeranged. The National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), an apex body of tens of civil rights groups across India, has informed that “hundreds of adivasis and farmers, representing the oustees affected by the Sardar Sarovar and Jobat dam projects in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh stormed the office of collector NP Deheria and engaged in a day-long protest, demanding the immediate of 40 adivasis, including six women.”
Gujarat government provided the “cash against land” scheme framework in the hope that the oustees’ problem would be resolved, and it would be able to begin further raise the Sardar Sardar Narmada dam’s current height from 121.94 metres to the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres, early. Under the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, it is obligatory to complete rehabilitation of the oustees before the dam’s height is raised at every stage. Clearance for raising the dam comes from the inter-state body, Narmada Control Authority (NCA) only after ascertaining that the rehabilitation has been completed. 
But, apparently, this has not succeeded, and a dispute has broken out in MP’s affected areas. In a statement, the NAPM said, “the protesters were arrested on January 5 from the site of the Zameen Haq Satyagraha at Jobat”, adding, “They were stopped at the gates of the collectorate by a large contingent of armed police brought in from Alirajpur, Badwani, Dhar and Thandla, while the women, men, elderly and youth tried to barge inside for a dialogue with the collector. The women demanded that their family members must be immediately released, otherwise they would sit on an indefinite protest at the collectorate.”
The district collector, who came down to talk with the protesters, kept repeating that as “the oustees did not want land, they were being paid compensation”, the NAPM said, adding, contradicting the claim, provided by the Narmada authorities of the Madhya Pradesh government, the oustees’ representatives said, the “illegal submergence in the hilly villages of Sardar Sarovar began in 1994 and submergence in Jobat began in 2003. Till date, cultivable, irrigable, suitable and un-encroached land has not been provided to the affected families.”
Pointing out that “the only land offered to the SSP-affected adivasis was bad, uncultivable, encroached land, which is in utter violation of law and orders of the Supreme Court”, the statement added, “The Jobat Satyagraha is one of the longest non-violent, occupation struggles in recent history and has been resorted to by the oustees after umpteen attempts of petitioning, court cases and mass action by the adivasis. The oustees have been cultivating the land and have also reaped three harvests on this land.”
Over the last two weeks “notices were being issued to the oustees to vacate the land, else they would be forcibly evicted”, the statement informed, adding, “Replies to these notices and appeal for a concrete dialogue were not responded to by the authorities and a brutal eviction drive ensued.” Even Afroz Ahmed, director, rehabilitation, NCA, and Kantilal Bhuria, former tribal affairs minister, Government of India also visited the satyagraha and engaged in dialogue with the oustees.”
“Ahmed assured to raise the matter with the rehabilitation sub-group, Delhi, after which a direction was issued by the sub-group in its meeting on September 12, 2013 to the Madhya Pradesh government to offer government farm lands in rehabilitation”, NAPM said, adding, “The arrests have been made seemingly under Section 151 Cr PC. i.e. ‘causing disturbance to peace in the area’, while the oustees were in the farm land and there was absolutely nothing they did to disturb peace in the locality.”
“While in Sardar Sarovar, many hilly adivasis have not accepted any cash compensation, most of the Jobat Dam advasi oustees being illiterate, their signatures were taken on affidavits and were paid very meagre cash compensation, many years ago and the’, the NAPM said, adding, “The oustees have submitted a police complaint under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 demanding legal action against all the concerned officers for arresting the adivasis, evicting them for the land, causing destruction of the standing crop at the Satyagraha and submergence of their lands and homes, without lawful rehabilitation.”

Compliant against us filed with “malafide” intention to undermine justice to Gujarat riot victims

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Close on the heels of the Ahmedabad crime branch registering FIR against well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and her colleagues for “breach of trust, cheating and conspiracy” by refusing to convert the Gulbarg society into a riots museum, Setalvad has accused the FIR “a deliberate campaign to vilify the efforts to procure justice for the victims of the carnage of 2002 that has been sustained and supported by vested powerful interests in Gujarat.” The Gulberg society massacre saw murder of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and tens of others who lived in the colony on February 28. In a statement, Setalvad said, the FIR has been filed with “mala fide attempts to embroil us in false cases before the Gujarat police.” 
In a letter to AK Sharma, joint commissioner of police, crime, Ahmedabad, Setalvad and the trustees of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CSJ) and the Sabrang Trust – some of who have been named in the FIR – have said, “We have been given to understand that some persons claiming to be official representatives of the Gulberg society have written to you making false and mala fide allegations against our organization that has been assisting survivors of the Gujarat genocide of 2002 to access justice. CJP has been assisting dozens of survivors of the Gujarat 2002 carnage and have been co-petitioners in the Zakia Jafri case against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others in the protest petition to be filed by April 15, 2013.”
The letter says, “Official representatives of the Gulberg society have already written to you stating that the letterhead of the society has been forged by some residents and the claims being made by them are patently false since nothing has been parted from them. The false claim that CJP has raised Rs 63 lakh and Sabrang Trust has raised Rs 88 lakh for the purpose of the construction of the museum, nationally and internationally, is a total lie. CJP has never sought nor received any money for this purpose.”
Setalvad explains, “Till November 2012, Sabrang Trust had received a total donation in of Rs 4,10,285 from donors within India and Rs 50,000 from one individual overseas for the proposed dream museum. This is a matter between our donors and the Trust which we will address when a final decision on the issue is made. All other funds, nationally and internationally raised, have been funds legitimately collected for activities that we publicly engage in. Our accounts are audited and submitted to the relevant authorities.”
The letter further says, “At no point have any of the organizations that we are connected to claimed any amount or money or land from any person residing at or claiming to be part of Gulberg society. Survivors of the carnage and we did have dreams of a Gulberg Memorial commemorating the state-sponsored carnage. This idea emerged in 2007, but finally had to be abandoned when prices for real estate spiraled. A formal resolution of the society was passed, leaving the members free to sell off their properties as per law. In no way have either CJP or Sabrang cheated them or let down the society.”
“We believe that with the date of the filing of Zakia Jafri’s protest petition draws near, this charade is being orchestrated by a nexus of vested interests to create a diversion and to malign CJP and Sabrang Trust. The cases being handled by us involve the most powerful in the state and relate to public justice and it appears that some vested interests have colluded to make false allegations and distract us from the onerous and dangerous task at hand”, the letter underlines.
Calling the FIR as nothing but “part of a sinister campaign”, the letter says, it has been “unleashed against us by some persons being manipulated by a former employee Rais Khan Pathan, who is using some residents of the society (not official members), and sections of the police and some persons claiming to be official members of the society.” It adds, “By unleashing this set of manipulated lies and using sections of the police towards this end, the dubious nexus of these persons with a former employee and the powerful in the state of Gujarat are trying to de-rail the proposed protest petition.”
Referring to Rais Khan Pathan’s earlier petition before the Foreign Currency Regulations department, the letter points out, “Our organisation and its role has been repeatedly exonerated and recognised for assisting the legal struggle of poor witnesses.” It adds, “The Supreme Court has already stayed two such malicious complaints in which even sections of the Gujarat police have played a role siding openly with Rais Khan Pathan. The matters are pending final hearing.”
Urging upon the Crime Branch of the Gujarat Police to looksat “the complete background and nexus when it deals with the current set of false allegations”, the letter says, “We would like to reiterate that our organizations function lawfully and urge that this mala fide complaint is not made a manipulative tool by the Crime Branch. Any genuine investigations or inquiries our trustees would gladly respond to.” The letter has been signed by IM Kadri, president, CJP, Raghunandan Maluste, vice president, Teesta Setalvad, secretary, CJP, and Nakul Mehta, trustee, Sabrang Trust.