Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Social Justice Quiz 2012: Thirteen Questions

Social Justice Quiz 2012: Thirteen Questions

By Bill Quigley & Sam Schmitt

30 January, 2012

Question One. The combined pay of the 299 highest paid CEOs in the US is enough to support how many median salary jobs?

45,000? 83,000? 102,325?

Two. The median net worth of black households in the US is $2,200. What is the median net worth of white households in the US?

$4,400? $44,000? $97,000?

Three. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development issues a national survey every year listing fair market rents for every county in the US. HUD also suggests renters should pay no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. In how many of the USA's 3068 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage pay 30% of their income and find a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rental amount?

19? 368? 1974?

Four. How much must the typical U.S. worker earn per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment if that worker dedicates thirty percent of his income, as HUD suggests, to rent and utilities?

$9.39? $14.63? $18.46?

Five. The wealthiest 1 percent of the US has a net worth which is how many times greater than the median or typical household's net worth?

50? 150? 225?

Six. Which of these countries puts the highest percentage of their people in jails and prisons?

China? Iran? Iraq? Germany? Russia? USA?

Seven. In 2012, the US will pay out about $620 million for old age Social Security benefits to 45 million families. How much is budgeted for military spending by the US in 2012?

$310 billion? $620 billion? $836 billion?

Eight. The US is number one in the world in military spending. How much more does the US spend compared to the top 15 countries in the world in military spending?

More than any 2 other countries combined? More than any 5 other countries combined? More than all the rest of the 15 top military spending countries combined?

Nine. How many people in the world live on less than $1.25 a day?

150 million? 500 million? Over 1 billion?

Ten. How many people in the world live without electricity?

500 million? One billion? One and half billion?

Eleven. The US government donates over $30 billion a year in official development assistance (foreign aid) to poor countries. Where does that rank the US government in percentage of giving among the richest 23 countries?

First? Tenth? Nineteenth?

Twelve. The US government donates over $30 billion a year to poor countries. How much do US consumers spend on pets and pet supplies each year?

$10 billion? $30 billion? $67 billion?

Thirteen. The poverty rate among children in the US is over 20 percent. How does US compare with the rest of the 30 nations surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development?

First? Tenth? Twenty-sixth?

Answers to Social Justice Quiz 2012:

One. The combined pay of the top 299 CEOs is enough to support 102,325 average jobs. Source: Corporate Paywatch.

Two. The median net worth of white households in the US is $97,900. Source: Economic Policy Institute.

Three. Except for eleven counties in Illinois and another eight in Puerto Rico, there is no county in the US where a one bedroom fair market rate apartment is available to a person working full-time at the minimum wage. Source: The National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Four. The typical worker must earn $18.46 an hour to rent a two bedroom apartment. Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Five. In the last numbers reported, the top 1 percent had net worth 225 times greater than the median or typical household's net worth, the highest ever recorded. Source: Economic Policy Institute.

Six. The rate of incarceration per 100,000 people is: USA 730, Russian 534, Iran 334, China 122, Iraq 101, and Germany 86. Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, University of Essex.

Seven. $836 billion. Over $713 billion on military programs and another $123 for veterans affairs. Source: US Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2012.

Eight. The US spends $100 billion more on our military than the next highest 15 countries combined. More than China, UK, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Turkey combined. Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2011 Yearbook.

Nine. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. Source: United National Development Program, Human Development Report 2010.

Ten. One and half billion people, more than one of every five people in the world, live without electricity. Source: United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2011.

Eleven. US government ranks 19th out of 23 countries in assistance to poor nations, giving about two-tenths of one percent of US gross national income to poor countries. Source: Global Issues: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance.

Twelve. US consumers spend $67 billion each year on pets, pet products and services. Source: US Census Bureau 2012 Statistical Abstract.

Thirteen. The US poverty rate among children ranks the US 26th among 30 nations in the rate of poverty among children. Source: Poverty among children. OECD.

Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Sam is a law student at University of Montana School of Law. A version of this with full sources is available. You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmmail.com

-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : (For COURIER)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address (ONLY for ORDINARY MAIL):
 P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Four key aspects to reflect and ACT upon as we enter ANOTHER YEAR 
of the guiding Spirit and Principles which should bind ALL INDIANS:THE CONSTITUTION...
(1)What am I doing to ensure JUSTICE for ALL-very specially the poor and marginalised???
(2)Do I defend every dimension of LIBERTY for all citizens..or is it the prerogative of only a few??
(3)How do I treat others?Are they my EQUALS?Do I celebrate DIVERSITY?
(4)Who is my brother? my sister? Do I discriminate against someone who is not like me???What do I understand by FRATERNITY???..


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : (For COURIER)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address (ONLY for ORDINARY MAIL):
 P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Today(Jan 24th) is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales :the Patron of Journalists,Authors,Writers in fact ALL COMMUNICATORS!

Today is the Feast of St Francis de Sales..The patron of Journalists,writers,authors..in fact of ALL COMMUNICATORS!!!
If communicators take their role and responsibility seriously then they certainly play an important part in the establishing
of a society that is free,fearless,just,truthful and transparent!!!
Fr Cedric Prakash
St. Francis de Sales | Saint of the Day | AmericanCatholic.org
Source: americancatholic.org

Saint of the Day offers daily inspiring saints' stories and presents ways to apply their example. Send free Saints' e-greetings.
- - - - - -     - - - - - - - -    - - - - - - -   - - - - -
PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018
sjprashant@gmail.com     www.humanrightsindia.in


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : (For COURIER)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address (ONLY for ORDINARY MAIL):
 P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Pope's Message on World Communications Day 2012:"Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization"

 Pope's Message on World Communications Day 2012

Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we draw near to World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning.

Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression. Silence, then, gives rise to even more active communication, requiring sensitivity and a capacity to listen that often makes manifest the true measure and nature of the relationships involved. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.

The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue, by means of words and interchange, but also through the call to silent reflection, something that is often more eloquent than a hasty answer and permits seekers to reach into the depths of their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts.

Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of skeptical opinions and experiences of life – all of us are in search of truth and we share this profound yearning today more than ever: "When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals" (Message for the 2011 World Day of Communications).

Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things. The God of biblical revelation speaks also without words: "As the Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by his silence. The silence of God, the experience of the distance of the almighty Father, is a decisive stage in the earthly journey of the Son of God, the incarnate Word …. God's silence prolongs his earlier words. In these moments of darkness, he speaks through the mystery of his silence" (Verbum Domini, 21). The eloquence of God's love, lived to the point of the supreme gift, speaks in the silence of the Cross. After Christ's death there is a great silence over the earth, and on Holy Saturday, when "the King sleeps and God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages" (cf. Office of Readings, Holy Saturday), God's voice resounds, filled with love for humanity.

If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. "We need that silence which becomes contemplation, which introduces us into God's silence and brings us to the point where the Word, the redeeming Word, is born" (Homily, Eucharistic Celebration with Members of the International Theological Commission, 6 October 2006). In speaking of God's grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation "to communicate that which we have seen and heard" so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3). Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbours so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love.

In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, divine revelation is fulfilled by "deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them" (Dei Verbum, 2). This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known to us the true face of God the Father and by his Cross and Resurrection has brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless human heart. The Church's mission springs from this mystery; and it is this mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace.

Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelization: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today's world. To Mary, whose silence "listens to the Word and causes it to blossom" (Private Prayer at the Holy House, Loreto, 1 September 2007), I entrust all the work of evangelization which the Church undertakes through the means of social communication.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2012, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales


Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052,
Tel :079-27455913/Fax:079-27489018


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : (For COURIER)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address (ONLY for ORDINARY MAIL):
 P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India
Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

India: Disappointing Year for Human Rights

----- Original Message -----
From: HRW Asia
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 3:27 PM
Subject: India: Disappointing Year for Human Rights

For Immediate Release

India: Disappointing Year for Human Rights
Failure to Address Impunity, Police Reform, Torture, Women's Rights

(New York, January 23, 2012) – The Indian government during 2011 failed to hold rights violators accountable or to carry out effective policies to protect vulnerable communities, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012.

The government took no action to repeal the widely discredited Armed Forces Special Powers Act, disregarding the recommendations of political leaders and advisers, Human Rights Watch said. The government also ignored the urgent need for police reform despite widespread complaints of torture and unlawful killings as well as deplorable working conditions for police personnel.

"The Indian government took few steps to prosecute abusive soldiers, undertake needed police reforms, or bring an end to torture," said
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Internationally, India missed opportunities to be a leader at the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council in protecting the rights of vulnerable people abroad."

In its World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined. Given the violent forces resisting the "Arab Spring," the international community has an important role to play in assisting the birth of rights-respecting democracies in the region, Human Rights Watch said in the report.

In India, violence in Jammu and Kashmir state dropped significantly during 2011. The state human rights commission's investigation of 38 sites in north Kashmir and the discovery of 2,730 unmarked graves was a good first step for providing justice to the victims, Human Rights Watch said. While the government maintains that most of the bodies are those of unidentified Pakistani militants, many Kashmiris believe that victims of fake "encounter killings" or enforced disappearances may also have been buried in those graves. Although the government has promised a thorough inquiry, a credible investigation is impossible without the cooperation of the army and federal paramilitary forces, which hide behind the immunity provisions of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other laws. 

The government belatedly addressed the epidemic of killings on the Indo-Bangladesh border by the Border Security Force (BSF). Although the government ordered restraint and provided rubber bullets to reduce casualties, there were continued reports of torture leading to deaths and other abuses by BSF soldiers. No BSF soldiers have been prosecuted for the unlawful killings of over 900 Indians and Bangladeshis over the past decade.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call for 'zero tolerance' of abuses by the armed forces has been undercut by the near zero progress in holding the abusers responsible," Adams said. "The government should no longer allow the army to hide behind claims about troop morale or operational needs as an excuse for impunity."

Residents of a
reas facing a Maoist insurgency, which in 2011 was active in nearly 80 districts across 11 Indian states, complained of being squeezed between state security forces and Maoist rebels. Security agencies carried out numerous arbitrary arrests and were accused of many instances of torture. The Maoists frequently demanded shelter and information from villagers, who were then punished by security forces for collaborating with the rebels.

Activists working in these areas are at risk from both the Maoists and government forces. Maoists have tortured and killed activists and others they suspected of being government informers, and police in several instances have charged activists with conspiracy and sedition for supporting the Maoist ideology. The Maoists recruit children into their forces and attack schools, often putting students at risk. The government has not fully carried out court directives to end deployment of security forces in schools in areas threatened by the Maoists.

"While the government agrees that the Maoist movement is rooted in failed government policies and speaks of winning hearts and minds, it allows the security forces to commit abuses with impunity," Adams said. "At the same time, the Maoists claim to speak for the marginalized yet punish anyone who might disagree with their violent methods."

The government adopted long overdue measures to compensate rape victims and revised its medico-legal protocols to exclude the humiliating "finger" test to investigate rape cases, Human Rights Watch said. Yet the government did little to address the widespread problems of "honor killings," dowry deaths, and sexual violence. A further decline in India's sex ratio because of sex selective abortion  and other abuses against girls and women points to the economic and social disparities that lead families to prefer sons over daughters, and the government's need to expand educational and economic opportunities for women. The failure to extend maternal health care programs to all mothers below age 19 or with more than two live births also reflected poorly on the government's commitment to protect women.

The Medical Council of India took an important step in 2011 by recognizing palliative care as a medical specialty. But more than half of government-supported regional cancer centers still do not offer palliative care or pain management, even though more than 70 percent of their patients need it. The result has been severe, unnecessary suffering for tens of thousands of patients. Internationally, although India served on both the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, it let opportunities pass to support independent, international investigations into conflict-related abuses in Sri Lanka and Burma. Instead of using these memberships to show leadership to protect human rights abroad, India remained silent on even the gravest abuses. While expressing concern about the increased violence in Syria, for example, New Delhi failed to support policies that would ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

"India is now watched closely for signs of responsible global leadership," Adams said. "Its silence on human rights violations by abusive regimes because of its reluctance to interfere in the so-called 'internal affairs' of other countries sits uncomfortably alongside its international human rights commitments and its self image as a rights-respecting nation."

To read Human Rights Watch's World Report 2012 chapter on India, please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on India, please visit:

For more information, please contact:
In Mumbai, Meenakshi Ganguly (English, Hindi, Bengali): +91-982-003-6032 (mobile); or gangulm@hrw.org

In London, Brad Adams (English): +44-7908-728333 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org

In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org




Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Lokayukta deception


> 21JAN2012
> The Lokayukta deception
> In an extraordinary judgment that must count among the sharpest
> indictments
> ever handed out to any State government, the Gujarat High Court has upheld
> Governor Kamla Beniwal's appointment of Justice R.A. Mehta as the
> Lokayukta
> over objections by Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers. The single
> judge bench of Justice V.M. Sahai ruled that, although the Governor was
> otherwise required to act on the aid and advice of the Council of
> Ministers, she had become obliged to exercise her discretionary powers in
> this case, because it fell in the rarest of rare category where a
> "spiteful" Chief Minister and his "brazen" and "irrational" Council of
> Ministers had put democracy in peril by obstructing the appointment of the
> Lokayukta. The Gujarat government has expectedly moved the Supreme Court
> against the judgment. Regardless of the final outcome, what clearly
> emerges
> is the divergence between the Bharatiya Janata Party's strongly argued
> theoretical position in favour of a powerful and independent
> anti-corruption ombudsman, and the wilful disrespect shown to the same
> institution by one of its own Chief Ministers — a man showcased as a model
> chief executive at that.
> The Gujarat Lokayukta has been headless since 2003, thanks to a protracted
> battle over the choice of nominee that saw Mr. Modi ranged against the
> Governor and the Chief Justice of the High Court. Mr. Modi not only
> insistently contested the primacy of opinion implicitly granted to the
> Chief Justice by the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, but remained stuck on a
> single name: Justice J.R. Vora, who figured in the panel initially
> proposed
> by the Chief Justice, but who subsequently rendered himself ineligible by
> virtue of his May 2010 appointment as a director of the Gujarat State
> Judicial Academy. The Chief Minister's intransigence unavoidably led to a
> situation of confrontation with the Chief Justice, who, after factoring in
> the State government's objections to Justice Mehta, concluded that he was
> a
> better choice for the office. Significantly, one of Mr. Modi's objections
> to Mr. Mehta was that he took part in a public hearing critical of the
> Gujarat Government's rehabilitation measures for the victims of the 2002
> anti-Muslim pogrom. The High Court ruling has admittedly raised genuine
> concerns about federalism and copycat activism by other State Governors.
> And yet the BJP cannot easily turn this into a case of Central overreach,
> ignoring Mr. Modi's own disregard of institutional due process. After all,
> who can overlook the ironic coincidence of the BJP joining forces with
> Anna
> Hazare at a time when its own government in Gujarat was giving shape to a
> Lokayukta ordinance that ousted the Chief Justice from the consultation
> process, appointing instead the Chief Minister as the chairperson of the
> selection committee?
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> PRASHANT (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
> Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road,
> Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
> Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat,
> India
> Phone : 91 79 27455913, 66522333
> Fax : 91 79 27489018
> Email: sjprashant@gmail.com www.humanrightsindia.in

Friday, January 20, 2012

Statement condemning detention of Ms. Shabnam Hashmi & others in Godhra..20th January, 2012


     Prashant      .A  Centre  for  Human  Rights, Justice  and  Peace

                                        Post   Box   No.   4050,    Navrangpura  Ahmedabad  380 009,    Gujarat,    India

                                                     Tel. :    +91 (079)  66522333,   2745 5913 .    Fax :   +91 (079)  2748 9018

                                        Mobile :  9824034536 .e-mail : sjprashant@gmail.com.   www.humanrightsindia.in


We condemn the detention of Ms. Shabnam Hashmi and other activists who were detained by the Gujarat police, in Godhra, this morning.

In a democracy, everyone has the right to voice their opinion or to express their dissent in freedom and without fear.

This detention of Ms. Hashmi and others who were protesting peacefully far away from the site of the 'Sadbhavna tamasha' is indicative of the fascism that is prevalent in Gujarat State.

Delivering his judgement with regard to the Lokayukta, Justice V.M. Sahai of the Gujarat High Court on January 18th 2012, very strongly states that, "the pranks of the CM…...demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy…."

Taking a cue from this, all right thinking citizens, from across the board, should come out fearlessly to protest the fact that human rights are being violated and that democratic traditions are being severely eroded in Gujarat.

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj



20th January, 2012





Wednesday, January 18, 2012




-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*


On January 18th, 2012, Justice V.M. Sahai of the Gujarat High Court upheld the appointment of Justice R.A. Mehta as the Lokayukta of Gujarat.


The significance of this judgement has to be viewed from several aspects and the most important one being the fact that on August 25th, 2011, the Governor of Gujarat, Kamla Beniwal, using her discretionary powers, appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta of Gujarat.


In November 2003, Justice Soni relinquished office as the Lokayukta.  Since then, inspite of repeated demands from civil society, the Gujarat Government did not find an 'appropriate' successor to him.  Finally, early in 2010, four names were proposed which were not accepted by the Governor. However, the Chief Justice of Gujarat then proposed Justice Mehta as a suitable candidate.  In March 2010, it was duly approved by the Governor.


Justice Mehta did not seem to fit the bill for Modi and his men and they immediately objected to this possibility saying that he was not only 75 years old but he was also associated with some NGOs and social activists.  However, after due consideration and having the approval of not only the Chief Justice but also the leader of the Opposition, the Governor finally appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta.


The main reason why the Gujarat Government did not want Mehta as Lokayukta was because of his remarks on the 2002 Carnage and of holding the Government responsible for not doing enough for the displaced victims. Besides, since Gujarat is steeped in corruption, any Lokayukta that is not pliable by the Government is bound to create problems for them.


In a stinging 79-page indictment of the CM, Justice Sahai asserts, "The only effort of the chief minister was to hamstring the appointment of lokayukta…..The delay in the appointment of lokayukta may have helped in hampering complaints and investigations against public functionaries who may still be walking scot-free with their chin up.  The government's apathy is visible as it went into a slumber in the matter of the appointment of lokayukta……The letters dated 18.8.2011 were warning bells for our democratic system. The pranks of the chief minister who is the head of council of ministers demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy, and the questionable conduct of stonewalling the appointment of Justice (Retired) R.A. Mehta as lokayukta threatened the rule of law…….The refusal of the chief minister to perform his statutory or Constitutional obligation, and the effort to metastasize the procedure for appointment of lokayukta by issuing the Gujarat Lokayukta (Amendment) Ordinance, 2011, to amend the Act, were depraved and truculent actions…..The clear refusal of the chief minister to accept the primacy of opinion of the chief justice had the velocity which had shattered the faith in rule of law which is the essence of democracy and integrity the institution of lokayukta….."


This Judgement is bound to have wide-spread repercussions. The Gujarat Government has already planned to knock at the doors of the Apex Court. 


Whatever the final verdict is, one thing is evidently clear that this indictment is bound to have a far-reaching impact on the so-called invincibility of Modi and will definitely hasten the process of his crimes catching up with him!

            19th January, 2012


(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052

Phone: 79 27455913, 66522333
Fax:  79 27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com     www.humanrightsindia.in

Memorial to a Genocide (Gujarat 2002 - 2012) Nationwide Call to participate




Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

February 28, 2012

2 p.m. onwards


How do we commemorate such a cataclysmic series of violences, lives torn asunder, narratives of depth and despair, callousness and courage, struggle and hope?


Together we hope. As we near the Ten year mark of the genocidal carnage in Gujarat we appeal and call to all of you to join us on February 28, 2012 in the Live Memorial at Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad, physically or through countrywide protests and memorials all over India. From 2 p.m. onwards that day we shall be observing the Memorial. Through Reminiscences and recordings, Panels and Exhibits, Music and Words, Acknowledgements and Tears.


Nationwide Resonance             A Call and Appeal


When we do so in Ahmedabad we hope that each and all of you in different parts of India will share the experience and in turn interact with us through a technologically linked endeavour. We shall be linking the Memorial through live web cam links and internet connections so that it can be viewed and shared at a few minutes gap in faraway Kerala, Kashmir, Manipur, Lucknow, Delhi, Mhow, Faizabad, Ayodhya, Malegaon, Mumbai.



All we ask is that you arrange Protest and Commemorations to mark this date. To enable an interactive sharing of the Live Memorial on February 28, 2012 at Gulberg Society, Communalism Combat and Citizens for Justice and Peace are in collective action, with individuals and groups, organizing a live relay of the Memorial by live Internet link. We request that each and all of you groups organize a Live Screening of this Memorial in different cities/locations all over the country on large projector screens. Participating in this memorial you organise your own special protest commemorations in every location. We shall also make arrangements that over three thousand survivors and activists at Gulberg will also view over the evening the protests and commemorations that you are observing in different locales.. Such an Interactive Live Memorial will be unique. It will ensure that there is a nationwide resonance to the Ten Year Commemoration of the Genocide.


The Ten Year Live Memorial will be up linked for permanent viewing on the Internet after February 28, 2012. The Memorial is part of week long observances Insaf ke Dagar Pe, also detailed below. The Citizens for Justice and Peace will also be organizing a Seminar Workshop on Lessons from Gujarat (Criminal Justice System and Accountability) at the Gujarat Vidyapeeth on February 27, 2012.


Memorial to a Genocide          Gujarat 2002 – 2012


Manifesto of the Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

Over the past ten years, as protests, testimonials and meet have observed the traumatic events in Gujarat in 2002, a traveling memorial to all the carnage sites was also attempted by us in 2008. Instead of peacefully allowing victim survivors to pay respects at the Coach S-6 in Godhra we were, one hundred of us, arrested and forced to bide time at the police station. The site of the burnt remains of the S-6 Sabarmti Express Coach has sadly become the sole mourning preserve of the government and organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Reconciliation and Reparation appear a faraway dream when collective memorials are thus forbidden. It took time and energy to get ourselves released from the police station before we could reach the sites of brute violence at Pandharwada village, Panchmahals and then Ode, Anand before traversing Sardarpura. At each site, locales of the violence and sites where dear and near ones were unceremoniously dumped, were remembered. The next day when we walked in silence towards Teesra Kuan in the Maidan at Naroda Patiya, where Missing Persons Bodies had been dumped in 2002 and have not been recovered to date. A hostile neighbourhood and an edgy police barely allowed us to light candles there.


Given this painful past, we gave decided to collectively commemorate the 300 traumatic bouts of violence over 19 districts in a Live Memorial at Gulberg Society Ahmedabad. We earnestly appeal to each and all of you to participate in this endeavour.


Digital Installations and Exhibits in English, Gujarati and Hindustani


TIMELINE in content and chronology tracking the rehabilitation and justice process with a

PHOTO RETRO of the lives of internally displaced persons in various transit camps

STATISTICS of a human tragedy, an installation

MISSING PERSONS remembered through a ritualistic Wailing Wall

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS to Saviours of Lives, Activists, Jurists, Photographers and Media People in wall panels


HIDDEN NARRATIVES   brute targeting of women and children

DIGITALISED MEMORIALS   News Coverage and Parzaania on large side screens



Sheba Mudgal (vocal), Aneesh Pradhan (tabla), Sudhir Nayak (harmonium)


 We shall be digitalizing the exhibit installations with text and photos and sending it out on CD to all of you to enable you to reproduce these in different cities. Do revert back to us on the nature of the protests and commemorations that you plan. Already, on youtube you may view Survivor lines link on YouTube  http://youtu.be/xcomQuyEHtM



Rupa Modi      Tanvir Jafri       Salim and Saira Sandhi      Teesta Setalvad     Javed Anand

Shiv Vishwanathan     Binita Desai       Ram Rahman      Rajendra Prasad  




Insaf Ki Dagar Pe


2002 Carnage is completing its 10 years in this Feb.2012. Issue of Justice to the victims is not tackled fully. Livelihood, education, housing rights is some of the pending tasks. Security and dignity are still a far cry. In the name of development, state govt. is playing with the lives of the poor. Globalization and market forces are looting these sections of the society everywhere. Especially marginalized minority is suffering in many ways.


To commemorate 10nth anniversary of the carnage and to rekindle the light of hope we -civil society organizations of Gujarat are joining our hands. Two meetings of these organizations have already held and thought about such efforts.


Again we held a meeting at PRASHANT on 10-1-2012, Tuesday at 4.30 to plan the programme and decided some of the events tentatively, yet with certain approach to make the society to remind and re-organize to fulfill the uncompleted tasks of Justice and Peace. Insaf Ki Dagar Pe is a title unanimously chosen for the events.


List of the events:


1.      27-2-2012:      (Half day event) A Seminar on 'Status of Justice of the carnage victims'.              Organized by -CJP [Center for Justice and Peace].


2.      28-2-2012:      Exhibition and Sufi Sangeet at Gulberg Society. [Organized by CJP].


3.      29-2-2012:      A Seminar on Internally Displaced people in which not only 2002 victims but victims of violence, development-projects of Gujarat and other regions of the country[Like Kashmir, Kandhmahal, and N.E etc.] will share their experiences and a panel discussion to analyze the situation is planned tentatively.


4.      1-3-2012:        Sharing by the representatives of Peoples Movements [like Mahuva,              Mundra, Mithi Virdi, and Tribals of South Gujarat etc.] Against Unjust Development in Gujarat; and panel discussion on the issue.


5.      2-3-2012:        A National Multilingual 'Kavi Sammelan' on the issues of commemoration carnage and against unjust development.


6.      3-3-2012:        'Bich Shaher' -a play by Delhi-based theatre-group 'Allaripu' -based on carnage-2002, written and directed by Ms. Tripurari Sharma.


7.      4-3-2012:        One-act plays on the issue of unjust development, organized by local theatre groups of youth.


8.      5,6,7-3-2012:  A Documentary film festival on the issues of Human Rights. [Like -Jashn-E-Azadi by Sanjay Kak, Saffron Encounters by Subhradeep Chakravarthi.  etc.]



A Call to all.....


These are some of the 'decided events'. But we are always open to add in this list. If you suggest something relevant and effective to achieve our goal to make the society aware and active on the path of justice; you are always welcome. Add your input to make more effective events like "Seminar on Internally Displace People" or "Peoples Movements Against Unjust Development"... by suggesting the unsung struggle and people or any other ways. You can also organize similar event at you own place under this title during same period by just informing us.




We will have to join our hands and hearts to give larger perspective to the issues of Human Rights, Development, Justice and Peace. In the civil society of Gujarat we will have to keep the fire on and on until the flame of this fire does not the lit the lamp of Compassion, Understanding, Sympathy and Remorse in the hearts of the people of Gujarat and the world.


So please, give your approval/suggestions for this big event. We are waiting for that till 25-1-2012. Immediately after 25th Jan-2012, we will have to rush to arrange all the events. Your co-operation is requested to mobilize the audience, resources and venues. You can fund partly/fully any of these events.


For more details and co-operation please contact 'DARSHAN'.


We have to create the publicity material like Posters, Banners, Pamphlets, and Invitations etc. You can contribute or take responsibility for any of these.


* Organizations participated in the meeting of 10th January-2012:

 'DARSHAN', PRASHANT, SAFAR, DARPANA, ST.XSSS. JAN VIKAS,                                          PARVAZ, CJP, LOKNAD, AISF, IRC, INSAF.



Friday, January 06, 2012

*PRESS RELEASE* Victory! Close To 6500 Set Arun Ferreira Free !!!

06 Jan 2012

Fr. Cedric Prakash, +91 9824034536, +91 07927455913, cedricprakash@gmail.com
Tamseel Hussain, Campaigner, India, Change.org, +91 9971760301, press@change.org



Almost 6500 people from all over the world joined campaign on Change.org to free Arun from Nagpur Central Jail

AHMEDABAD Human rights defender and Mumbai resident Arun Ferreira was released from Nagpur Central jail on 3 January after almost 6500 people joined a popular campaign on Change.org, the world's fastest-growing platform for social change.

Fr. Cedric Prakash, a concerned citizen and director of PRASHANT, a human rights organization in Ahmedabad, led the campaign telling Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to release Arun Ferreira who was re-arrested when he was released from Nagpur Central Jail last November.

Within two months close to 6500 people joined Cedric's campaign, which received coverage from the Times of India, Hindustan Times, DNA and other major news outlets.

"This is such an exciting day for me and the thousands of people who helped out in releasing Arun Ferreira," said Cedric, who launched the campaign on Change.org. "People told us that we couldn't change the world with an online campaign – but we proved them wrong. It's really empowering to know that we made a difference."

After his re-arrest and fed up with the state police, Ferreira filed a petition in the High Court. The Court granted him bail and slapped a compensation of 25 lakhs on the state authorities. On Wednesday afternoon, Ferreira was finally released from Nagpur Central Jail and was reunited with his parents.

After his release Arun Ferreira thanked all who supported his release: "Thank you for your support, it feels good to come back home."

"With minimal resources and support, Cedric used his campaign on Change.org to gather support from close to 6,500 people from all over the world," said Change.org campaigner Tamseel Hussain. "Change.org empowers anyone, anywhere to start a campaign on issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Cedric mobilise thousands to release Arun Ferreira."

Live signature totals from Cedric's campaign on Change.org:

DNA Coverage on Arun Ferreira's release:

Hindustan Times coverage on Arun Ferreria's release:

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
Change.org is the world's fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.


Tamseel Hussain

Campaigner, India

Mob: +91-9971760301
Twitter: @Tamseel_h

"The most violent element in society is ignorance." 
                                                   ~ Emma Goldman