Monday, December 31, 2012


As we say GOODBYE to 2012..
Let us pledge 
takes responsibility 
and ACTS 
to ensure 
becomes more HUMANE,
more JUST,
more SAFE,
for ALL 2013..!!!

Fr Cedric Prakash

Monday, December 24, 2012

Warm Christmas Greetings to ONE and ALL!!!

Christmas is about JESUS
The fact that
He pitched his tent among us
Accompanied us in our struggles
Gave to our world a Message of

Christmas is about LIFE-GIVING WATERS
As we observe 2013
As the International Year

Christmas is about LIFE-GIVING BREAD
As we observe 2013
As the International Year

Christmas is about those who hunger and thirst
In a world which is becoming
More and more unjust and untruthful

May the LIFE-GIVING blessings of Christmas
Overwhelm you, your family, friends and collaborators
Everyday of 2013

Fr Cedric Prakash sj
and all at
-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India

Phone : +91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : +91  79  27489018

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Delhi Gang-Rape: Why We Are the Problem by Riddhi Shah(in Huffington Post)

December 22, 2012


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Riddhi Shah

Riddhi Shah

Posted: 12/20/2012 6:48 pm

"It appears to be that a rod was inserted into her and it was pulled out with so much force that the act brought out her intestines along. That is probably the only thing that explains such severe damage to her intestines," he said.
I was at work yesterday when I read this. I had to leave my desk to go to the bathroom to cry. Through various points in the day yesterday, this detail drifted into my consciousness. I couldn't un-read it. Or un-imagine it.
For some context, four days ago, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang-raped in New Delhi, India's capital. She'd gone -- with her boyfriend -- to watch the Life of Pi at a well-known cinema in an affluent part of the city. Then, she decided to take a bus home. Instead of waiting for a public bus, she and her friend boarded a private chartered bus. The bus had tinted windows. Over the next several hours, several men raped the woman, beat her friend and then left them on the side of a freeway. She was abused so horrifically that her intestines had to be removed. If she survives, she will spend the rest of her life being fed intravenously.
India has erupted in outrage since the incident. There are calls for sweeping policy changes -- for capital punishment for rape, for the rapists to be publicly hanged and, more bizarrely, for their castration.
It's easy for us Indians to get swept up in the public hysteria -- to take to angry Facebook statuses, and furiously talk about it amongst ourselves. But as I walked back to my desk from the bathroom yesterday, I realized this: This mattered only because that girl reminded me of me.
The 23-year-old was clearly English-educated (she'd gone to watch The Life of Pi), she had a boyfriend who was an engineer, she was a physiotherapist -- all markers of an independent, upper middle class, urban identity. This is why we are collectively angry. It is an affront to us, India's small English-speaking elite.
Yesterday, an 8-year-old girl was raped in Bihar, a desperately poor state in central India where one-third of the population lives under the poverty level. Think about that. AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD. The trauma of any incident of sexual abuse is, of course, impossible to quantify or compare, but the crime against this little child is perhaps just as horrifying as the Delhi rape. And still, I'm writing about this little girl's rape only because that rape in Delhi is legitimizing our conversation about sexual violence against women in India.
At the end, after all the public hand wringing subsides, the question remains: Will anything change? The probable answer is no. Not because of corrupt officials or the lack of political agency -- although those are no doubt enormous obstacles to change in India. But because Indian society is corrupt. And that means you and I.
As India continues its inexorable march into economic empowerment, its people have refused to look inward. Dissent, criticism, self-reflection are all marginalized as Indians delude themselves of their greatness. To deflect responsibility, the government -- and the consistent failure of the public machinery -- is the easiest target of the country's collective ire.
Sunday's incident is another example of blaming "them" -- the drunk, poorly-educated rapists. Which is not to say that they must not be punished or are not part of the problem.
But more significantly, we need to ask what secrets of patriarchy we all hide within us. We may not all be sexually violent but we are products of a society that insidiously and systemically promotes the denigration of women. We abort female fetuses. We secretly kill our girl children. There are now 914 girls for 1,000 boys in India -- the result of decades of murdering newborn baby girls. We tell our girls that they don't need to study. We marry them before they're barely adolescent. In more wealthy circles, we marry them just as they reach adulthood and then expect them to spend the rest of their lives being submissive to their husbands. We don't let them wear jeans. We tell our teenagers to stay out of temples and kitchens when they begin to menstruate.* We tell our daughters to cook and encourage our sons to become engineers. We teach young women to temper their ambitions. We are suspicious of female sexuality. We consistently and continuously take away agency from our women.
The problem isn't just "them." The problem is us.

* Some Hindu and Jain families believe in the practice of separating women from the rest of the family during her period since menstruation makes a woman "unclean."

Friday, December 21, 2012


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2012 3:25 PM
Subject: Demonstration in solidarity with the Delhi Gang Rape Survivor and to Demand Security and Justice for Women and Girls . 22nd Dec 2012 -11 am ,from Sardarbaugh to Nehru Bridge Ahmedabad

Dear Friends ,
I write this letter on behalf of Women's Organizations , NGO's and Citizens of Ahmedabad to give a Clarion call to condemn the brutal and perverted crimes against women , girls and children in the city and state of Gujarat as in other parts of the country , tommorow 22nd Dec at 11 am by holding a Rally from Sardarbaugh to Nehru Bridge where we will  form a Human chain .
This Rally and demonstration of a Human Chain is in Solidarity with the survivor of Gang Rape in Delhi demanding speedy Justice and early punishment to the perpetrators of such depraved heinous crimes . Crimes against Women , Girls and Children HAVE to be punished severely and immediately to prevent and deter further crimes .
We  demand increase in the number of Gender sensitive police stations , police chowkies , courts and effective women's and child rights commissions for speedy trials for redressal of grievances and to evolve mechanisms of prevention of crimes against women , girls and children and to render safety security and mobility to all .
This horrific incident is one among the innumerable incidences of violence raging against women, girls  and children all over India where women and youth are not safe in their homes nor in public and workplaces and at a time when world over women , men and youth and holding events and programs of " One Billion Rising " to Reclaim the Night for Women and to End Violence , Fear and Insecurity .
We all urge you to kindly break the silence and proactively be present as citizens of this state and country to ask for Justice and safety as the Hallmark of accountable and responsible Governance tommorow 22nd Dec 2012  at 11 am at the aforestated destination .
In Solidarity and on behalf of all NGOS , women's groups , individuals participating and partnering the Rally ..
Sheba George.
SAHR WARU:Women's Action and Resource Unit.
C-201 Devpreet Apts,
NR. D L A School,
Ahmedabad 380054
Tel Phone No. : 91- 79 - 26850697, Tel Fax No. : 91-79-26840260
- - - - - - -     - - - - - - - -    - - - - - - -   - - - - -
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

Thursday, December 20, 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
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For a third time in a row, Narendra Modi with his brand of politics, has won a resounding victory in the Gujarat State elections.  Though there was a sizeable section of society which was hoping for a change, their expectations have been belied with the final results.

All are painfully aware that the ground reality of Gujarat is indeed a far cry from what is being advertised.  But in spite of that, the people have voted to maintain the status quo, hoping perhaps the years ahead will bring them some positive benefits.

For those involved in the struggle for truth and justice in Gujarat – their relentless efforts will undoubtedly continue – and now perhaps with renewed vigour.

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

20th December, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

The die is cast! Tomorrow at this time the world will know the results of the Gujarat State Assembly elections which were held in two phases: on December 13th and 17th, 2012.  All indicators, as of now, point to the incumbent Government holding on to the reins of power once again for another five years. The moot question at this stage, is the margin of victory and if, they will better their best.

The people of Gujarat have to be congratulated on the excellent turnout which is surely a very healthy sign for democracy.  There is an added factor that Election Commission had ensured a free and fair election.  Whatever the outcome of the elections, one has to take into account the M-factor which has become institutionalized not only in the run-up to the elections but is a reality in the State today. Some of the dimensions of the M-factor are:

·         Majoritarianism
This has become a dominating fact in the Gujarat psyche, very specially in the past eleven years.  There is a growing sense of exclusiveness among several within the majority community.  Minorities are in the State to be “tolerated” and not as equal partners with equal rights and freedoms.  There have been some cosmetic gestures, but that is all!  The political rhetoric used during the campaign was clearly biased and meant to garner the majority community into a bonding among themselves, rather than towards greater inclusiveness.

·         Myths
You tell a lie a thousand times and people tend to believe that it is true.  Hiring high profile PR firms, with their crafty spin-doctors, both in India and abroad to propagate lies, half-truths and myths can pay rich dividends.  Enough is written about “paid” media and of how they conveniently obfuscate facts or pay down the reality.  Above all, when the social and economic indicators on ‘development’ are challenged, there is a clear change of strategy which becomes personal and more vicious.

·         Muscle
Arrogant power is about might. There is plenty of evidence to show that fear exists among various sections of society, very specially among those who either have their careers at stake or just want to survive.  Those who think or act differently are really not spared. A high point in the just concluded elections was a sitting MLA firing without provocation, on people who were apparently not going to vote for him.

·         Money
That plenty of money was used in the run-up to the election is without a debate.  The hoardings, the full page advertisement, the 3-D act, the gimmicks and the freebies provided, would surely have cost a princely sum. But since corruption is by-and-large institutionalized in the State, there are ways and means by which the laundered money can actually reach the people in order to “buy their votes”.

·         Mask
The mask is indeed symptomatic of the malaise that affects a fairly sizeable section of Gujarat today. There are several who are too afraid to come out in the open and would like to hide behind the mask.  These are those who would never want truth and justice to prevail.  They are too afraid to take a stand so that the Constitution of India is safeguarded and protected for every citizen.

There are indeed several more M’s, but whatever is the final result of the Gujarat Elections 2012, unless the people of Gujarat come to grip with this 5 M-factor, there will surely not be any dramatic or overnight change in Gujarat!

19th December, 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


Monday, December 10, 2012


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

It’s Human Rights Day once again!  A grim reminder of the fact that there are millions of people in India and the rest of the world, who are still deprived of the basics which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The observance of the day this year focuses on the theme ‘MY VOICE COUNTS’ which is ‘the inclusion and the right to participate in public life’. It aims to highlight the rights of people to be included in decision-making processes and to participate in public life.

The spotlight will be on the rights of all people, very particularly the poor and the marginalized, the adivasis and dalits, the minorities and persons with disabilities, the youth and other vulnerable sections of society like women and children.  We are called today to ensure that their voices are heard; that they have a say in political processes and that we too demonstrate the courage to speak on their behalf.

Human Rights Day should also have a special meaning for our country where ‘freedom of expression’ is systematically being throttled by Governments and the police. Take for example, the case of the two girls from Palghar who were hounded, arrested, intimidated and harassed by the police and other goons because they had the courage to share their opinion. But powerful people today and other vested interests, can easily get away not merely with corruption, but also with murder, in total immunity and impunity.

Gujarat is a textbook case of how human rights violations are mainstreamed at every level beginning from the highest.  As the State goes to elections, what is blatantly evident, is that several of those seeking elections have criminal records, including someone who has allegedly masterminded the killings of innocent people.

Human Rights Day is above all - a reminder that civil society needs to come out in large numbers to expose the myths, lies and half-truths being flaunted by Governments, through high profile publicity firms at the expense of the common man. Our silence makes us an accomplice.

We need to be more visible, more vocal on behalf of the vulnerable. We need to make our voice count!

10th December, 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


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Bipartisan Press Conference at Capitol Hill demands justice in Gujarat, India

CAG banner .png

Bipartisan Press Conference at Capitol Hill demands justice in Gujarat, India 
25 US Congresspersons urge State Department to continue the denial of visa to Narendra Modi

Dec 5, 2012
Coalition Against Genocide (CAG - ), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, hailed the bipartisan letter signed by twenty-five Congresspersons, calling on the State Department to maintain the ban on a US visa for Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the Indian State of Gujarat.

During a press conference at Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Congressmen Joe Pitts, Frank Wolf, Keith Ellison and Trent Franks urged that the ban on Mr. Modi's US visa be maintained until justice was served in Gujarat. The press conference was attended by representatives from the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), The Advocates for Human Rights (AHR), as well as family members of victims of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002. This comes on the heels of continuing efforts by human rights activists in India to secure convictions for the masterminds of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002. 
Congressman Joseph R. Pitts speaking at CAG Press Conference Congressman Frank Rudolph Wolf speaking at CAG Press Conference
Congressman Keith Ellison speaking at CAG Press Conference Congressman Trent Franks speaking at CAG Press Conference

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) recalled his visit to Gujarat and the site of the massacre at Gulbarg Society, in the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat pogrom. "We saw the remains of the blood on the walls, the remains of the carnage. ...We met victims of the massacres, and the officials in Gujarat province, we asked them, why did not the police respond to what was happening and the police said, 'We had no orders to respond'," recalled Congressman Pitts.

In 2005, Mr. Modi's US visa was revoked and his entry to the US was banned by the State Department, under the provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act, which makes any foreign government official who "was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for a visa.

In the last ten years, Mr. Modi's administration has engaged in systematic persecution of religious minorities in Gujarat. In 2003, Mr. Modi's administration enacted the "Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act," which curtails the freedom of individuals to convert to the religion of their choice. The law is targeted and primarily applied against religious minorities such as Christians and Muslims.

Although Mr. Modi has not applied for a visa recently, he has intensified his efforts to have the ban revoked by hiring several lobbying firms to give himself an image makeover. The Congressmen at the press conference however, were emphatic that justice and accountability were higher priorities than Mr. Modi's ambitions. Rep. Trent Franks said, "Mr. Modi, who failed his responsibility and his test of leadership in India, should not be afforded the opportunity to gain a higher station of leadership in that country until this issue is dealt with." Rep. Keith Ellison echoed this sentiment by calling on people of all backgrounds and all faiths to stand together for the sanctity of human life, for human rights and for accountability.

The letter, signed by eight Republican and seventeen Democratic Congresspersons, urges the State Department to "deny Mr. Modi entry due to numerous reports of his involvement in horrific human rights violations in India." The letter also quotes the Human Rights Watch report on the 2002 violence, that states that the "attacks against Muslims (and other religious minorities) in Gujarat have been actively supported by state BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government officials and by the police." The Gujarat pogrom resulted in the killing of over 2,000 people, brutal sexual violence against hundreds of women and the displacement of over 150,000 people.

Among the 25 Congresspersons who have co-signed the letter to the State Department, some notable designations are as follows:
  • Both co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission - Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
  • Both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus - Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • Chair of the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus - Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
  • Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus - Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
  • Chair of the Republican Study Committee - Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • House Democratic Senior Whip - Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
  • House Democratic Senior Whip - Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
"This bipartisan initiative is a grim reminder of the fact that Mr. Modi's administration has obstructed justice and curtailed freedom of religion across the state of Gujarat over the last ten years," noted CAG representative Ms. Anu Mandavilli. "It is also a warning to violators of human rights and freedom of religion across the world, that the international community holds justice and human dignity far above the social and political status of any individual," added Ms. Mandavilli.

"Given India's rich tradition of tolerance and pluralism, it is inconceivable that a man with a tainted reputation like Mr. Modi's could ever be considered for the post of India's Prime Minister," said Mr. Alex Koshy, another veteran member of the CAG. "The conviction of Maya Kodnani, a sitting BJP member of the legislative assembly is a damning indictment of the state administration headed by Mr. Modi. Mr. Modi's continuation in any public office is a liability for India," added Mr. Koshy.

Congressman Frank Wolf captured the consensus across the political spectrum when he urged the administration "...never to grant a visa to allow Chief Minister Modi to visit the United States under any circumstances."  

=== END ===
High quality video files and photos for media utilization including:
  1. Speech by Congressman Joesph Pitts  [link] 
  2. Speech by Congressman Trent Franks [link]
  3. Speech by Congressman Keith Ellison [link]
  4. Speech by Congressman Frank Wolf    [link]
  5. Photographs from the press conference [link]
Letter by 25 Congresspersons urging the State Department to continue visa denial for Narendra Modi

2012 - US House Resolution H.Res 569 commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Gujarat Violence

India: A Decade on, Gujarat Justice Incomplete - Human RIghts Watch, Feb 24, 2012
Tehelka story on Modi's Lobbying firm APCO Worldwide 

Coalition Against Genocide
Phone/Fax: (443) 927-9039


Ms. Anu Mandavilli
Phone: (408) 480-5805

Mr. Alex Koshy
Phone: (443) 927-9039
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