Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pope issues first Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium

Pope Francis has SPOKEN-a challenging DOCUMENT INDEED! -Let us make it our own in SPIRIT and IN DEED!!!- cp

 Print page & close
11/26/2013 12:00:56 PM
Pope issues first Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation on Tuesday, Evangelii Gaudium, translated into English as The Joy of the Gospel. The 224-page document outlines the Pope’s vision for a missionary Church, whose “doors should always be open”. The Pope speaks on numerous themes, including evangelization, peace, homiletics, social justice, the family, respect for creation, faith and politics, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, and the role of women and of the laity in the Church.

Philippa Hitchen reports:
(Audio: http://media01.radiovaticana.va/audio/ra/00401534.RM)

The Joy of the Gospel is the title Pope Francis has chosen for this first major document of his pontificate, putting down in print the joyous spirit of encounter with Christ that characterizes every public appearance he has made so far. The man who has constantly kept the media’s attention with his desire to embrace and share his faith with everyone he meets, now urges us to do exactly the same. To “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, as he puts it, through a thorough renewal of the Church’s structures and vision. Including what he calls “a conversion of the papacy” to make it better able to serve the mission of evangelization in the modern world. The Church, he says, should not be afraid to re-examine “customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel” even if they may have deep historical roots.
In strikingly direct and personal language, the Pope appeals to all Christians to bring about a “revolution of tenderness” by opening their hearts each day to God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. The great danger in today’s consumer society, he says, is “the desolation and anguish” that comes from a “covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.” Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests , he warns, “there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”
As we open our hearts, the Pope goes on, so the doors of our churches must always be open and the sacraments available to all. The Eucharist, he says pointedly, “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” And he repeats his ideal of a Church that is “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets” rather than a Church that is caught up in a slavish preoccupation with liturgy and doctrine, procedure and prestige. “God save us,” he exclaims, “from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings!” Urging a greater role for the laity, the Pope warns of “excessive clericalism” and calls for “a more incisive female presence in the Church”, especially “where important decisions are made.”
Looking beyond the Church, Pope Francis denounces the current economic system as “unjust at its root”, based on a tyranny of the marketplace, in which financial speculation, widespread corruption and tax evasion reign supreme. He also denounces attacks on religious freedom and new persecutions directed against Christians. Noting that secularization has eroded ethical values, producing a sense of disorientation and superficiality, the Pope highlights the importance of marriage and stable family relationships.
Returning to his vision of a Church that is poor and for the poor, the Pope urges us to pay particular attention to those on the margins of society, including the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly, migrants, victims of trafficking and unborn children. While it is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life, he says, it’s also true that “we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish.”
Finally the new papal document also focuses on the themes of promoting peace, justice and fraternity, through patient and respectful dialogue with all people of all faiths and none. Better relations with other Christians, with Jews and with Muslims are all seen as indispensable ways of promoting peace and combatting fundamentalism. While urging Christians to “avoid hateful generalisations” about Islam, the Pope also calls “humbly” on Islamic countries to guarantee full religious freedom to Christians”

The full text of the new Apostolic Exhortation can be found on the Vatican website, while the main points are outlined in the synopsis below:

“The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” Thus begins the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, by which Pope Francis develops the theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world, drawn from, among other sources, the contribution of the work of the Synod held in the Vatican, from 7 to 28 October 2012, on the theme “The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith”. “I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come” (1). It is a heartfelt appeal to all baptized persons to bring Christ’s love to others, “permanently in a state of mission” (25), conquering “the great danger in today’s world”, that of an individualist “desolation and anguish” (2).

The Pope invites the reader to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, finding “new avenues” and “new paths of creativity”, without enclosing Jesus in “dull categories” (11). There is a need for a “pastoral and missionary conversion, which cannot leave things as they presently are” (25) and a “renewal” of ecclesiastical structures to enable them to become “more mission-oriented” (27). The Pontiff also considers “a conversion of the papacy” to help make this ministry “more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization”. The hope that the Episcopal Conferences might contribute to “the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”, he states, “has not been fully realized” (32). A “sound decentralization” is necessary (16). In this renewal, the Church should not be afraid to re-examine “certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some of which have deep historical roots” (43).

A sign of God’s openness is “that our church doors should always be open” so that those who seek God “will not find a closed door”; “nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason”. The Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness” (47). He repeats that he prefers “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church … concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us … it is the fact that many of our brothers and sisters are living without … the friendship of Jesus Christ” (49).

The Pope indicates the “temptations which affect pastoral workers” (77): “individualism, a crisis of identity and a cooling of fervour” (78). The greatest threat of all is “the grey pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, which in reality faith is wearing down” (83). He warns against “defeatism” (84), urging Christians to be signs of hope (86), bringing about a “revolution of tenderness” (88). It is necessary to seek refuge from the “spirituality of well-being … detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters” (90) and to vanquish the “spiritual worldliness” that consists of “seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and well-being” (93). The Pope speaks of the many who “feel superior to others” because “they remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past” whereby “instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others” (94). And those who have “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact” on the needs of the people (95). This is “a tremendous corruption disguised as a good … God save us from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings!” (97).

He appeals to ecclesial communities not to fall prey to envy and jealousy: “How many wars take place within the people of God and in our different communities!” (98). “Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?” (100). He highlights the need to promote the growth of the responsibility of the laity, often kept “away from decision-making” by “an excessive clericalism” (102). He adds that there is a need for “still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church”, in particular “in the various settings where important decisions are made” (103). “Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected … cannot be lightly evaded” (104). The young should “exercise greater leadership” (106). With regard to the scarcity of vocations in many places, he emphasizes that “seminaries cannot accept candidates on the basis of any motivation whatsoever” (107).

With regard to the theme of inculturation, he remarks that “Christianity does not have simply one cultural expression” and that the face of the Church is “varied” (116). “We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history” (118). The Pope reiterates that “underlying popular piety … is an active evangelizing power” (126) and encourages the research of theologians, reminding them however that “the Church and theology exist to evangelize” and urges them not to be “content with a desk-bound theology” (133).

He focuses “somewhat meticulously, on the homily”, since “many concerns have been expressed about this important ministry and we cannot simply ignore them” (135). The homily “should be brief and avoid taking on the semblance of a speech or a lecture” (138); it should be a “heart-to-heart communication” and avoid “purely moralistic or doctrinaire” preaching (142). He highlights the importance of preparation: “a preacher who does not prepare is not ‘spiritual’; he is dishonest and irresponsible” (145). Preaching should always be positive in order always to “offer hope” and “does not leave us trapped in negativity” (159). The approach to the proclamation of the Gospel should have positive characteristics: “approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, a warmth and welcome, which is non-judgmental” (165).

In relation to the challenges of the contemporary world, the Pope denounces the current economic system as “unjust at its root” (59). “Such an economy kills” because the law of “the survival of the fittest” prevails. The current culture of the “disposable” has created “something new”: “the excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’” (53). “A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual”, of an “autonomy of the market” in which “financial speculation” and “widespread corruption” and “self-serving tax-evasion reign” (56). He also denounces “attacks on religious freedom” and the “new persecutions directed against Christians. … In many places the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism” (61). The family, the Pope continues, “is experiencing a profound cultural crisis”. Reiterating the indispensable contribution of marriage to society” (66), he underlines that “the individualism of our postmodern and globalized era favours a lifestyle which … distorts family bonds” (67).

He re-emphasizes “the profound connection between evangelization and human advancement” (178) and the right of pastors “to offer opinions on all that affects people’s lives” (182). “No one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society”. He quotes John Paul II, who said that the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice” (183). “For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category” rather than a sociological one. “This is why I want a Church that is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us” (198). “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved … no solution will be found for this world’s problems” (202). “Politics, although often denigrated”, he affirms, “remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity”. I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by … the lives of the poor!” (205). He adds an admonition: “Any Church community”, if it believes it can forget about the poor, runs the risk of “breaking down”.

The Pope urges care for the weakest members of society: “the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned” and migrants, for whom the Pope exhorts “a generous openness” (210). He speaks about the victims of trafficking and new forms of slavery: “This infamous network of crime is now well established in our cities, and many people have blood on their hands as a result of their comfortable and silent complicity” (211). “Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence” (212). “Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity” (213). “The Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question … it is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life” (214). The Pope makes an appeal for respect for all creation: we “are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live” (216).

With regard to the theme of peace, the Pope affirms that “a prophetic voice must be raised” against attempts at false reconciliation to “silence or appease” the poor, while others “refuse to renounce their privileges” (218). For the construction of a society “in peace, justice and fraternity” he indicates four principles (221): “Time is greater than space” (222) means working “slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results” (223). “Unity prevails over conflict” (226) means “a diversified and life-giving unity” (228). “Realities are more important than ideas” (231) means avoiding “reducing politics or faith to rhetoric” (232). “The whole is greater than the part” means bringing together “globalization and localization” (234).

“Evangelization also involves the path of dialogue,” the Pope continues, which opens the Church to collaboration with all political, social, religious and cultural spheres (238). Ecumenism is “an indispensable path to evangelization”. Mutual enrichment is important: “we can learn so much from one another!” For example “in the dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, we Catholics have the opportunity to learn more about the meaning of Episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality” (246);        “dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples” (248); “interreligious dialogue”, which must be conducted “clear and joyful in one’s own identity”, is “a necessary condition for peace in the world” and does not obscure evangelization (250-251); in our times, “our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great importance” (252). The Pope “humbly” entreats those countries of Islamic tradition to guarantee religious freedom to Christians, also “in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries!” “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism” he urges us to “avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253). And against the attempt to private religions in some contexts, he affirms that “the respect due to the agnostic or        non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions” (255). He then repeats the importance of dialogue and alliance between believers and non-believers (257).

The final chapter is dedicated to “spirit-filled evangelizers”, who are those who are “fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit” and who have “the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness (parrhesía) in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition” (259). These are “evangelizers who pray and work” (262), in the knowledge that “mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people” (268): “Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh        of others” (270). He explains: “In our dealings with the world, we are told to give reasons for our hope, but not as an enemy who critiques and condemns” (271). “Only the person who feels happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness, can be a missionary” (272); “if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life” (274). The Pope urges us not to be discouraged before failure or scarce results, since “fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable”; we must know “only that our commitment is necessary” (279). The exhortation concludes with a prayer to Mary, “Mother of Evangelization”. “There is a Marian ‘style’ to the Church’s work of evangelization. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness” (288).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2013)

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
25 November

"I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence that affects an estimated one in three women in her lifetime. I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets. And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims to heal and to become agents of change ."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Why This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic. Up to 70 per cent of women
    experience violence in their lifetime.

Facts and Figures

  • Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 per cent of the detected victims
  • It is estimated that more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM/C, mainly in Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

Orange the World in 16 days

The Secretary General's Campaign UNITE to End Violence Against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month Orange Day. Among other actions, the Orange Day invites us to wear something orange to highlight its calls for the eradication of violence against women without reservation, equivocation or delay.
This year, the UNITE Campaign is extending Orange Day to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting November 25, International Day to End Violence Against Women, through December 10, Human Rights Day.
The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the Mirabal sisters, three political activists Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) ordered brutally assassinate in 1960.
UN Web Services Section, Department of P

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Leading US Congressmen introduce a Resolution on "Religious Freedom in India" -and specially on GUJARAT!

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
CAG banner .png

Bipartisan House Resolution praises India's diversity, decries the role of Modi and sectarian forces in eroding religious freedom   
Resolution gaining momentum on Capitol Hill with 15 initial co-sponsors and more lawmakers expected to join

Washington D.C, Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Coalition Against Genocide (CAG - http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, today welcomed the introduction of a bipartisan resolution in the US House of Representatives. The resolution praises India's "rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality," while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom. The resolution also highlights the role of Mr. Narendra Modi in the orchestrated violence and the continuing denial of justice to the victims of the 2002 pogroms.

In a historic development in Washington DC, 15 US Congressmen, led by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced resolution H. Res. 417, calls the US administration to have "religious freedom and related human rights to be included in the United States-India Strategic Dialogue" going forward.
Highlighting the "divisive and violent agenda" of the Hindu nationalist movement that "has harmed the social fabric of India" as "contrary to the tolerant and pluralistic traditions of the Hindu faith", the resolution encourages "the establishment of an impartial body... to discuss and recommend actions to promote religious tolerance and understanding".

Commending the US administration in placing a visa ban on Modi, the resolution acknowledges that under Mr. Modi's rule in Gujarat, "minorities have suffered horrific violence, as well as attacks on their religious freedom through draconian anti-conversion laws". The resolution also refers to the harassment of whistle-blowers and human rights activists, that reflects on Mr. Modi's consistent role in the obstruction of justice.

The bipartisan resolution initially co-sponsored by 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans, has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific. "This resolution's strong bipartisan support shows that the rights of religious minorities in India are a priority for the U.S. Congress," said Congressman Keith Ellison in a joint press release with Congressman Joe Pitts after the introduction of the resolution. "India is big enough for all its citizens. Its best leaders have worked to promote unity among its diverse populations, not division," commented Mr. Ellison referring to the elevation of Mr. Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP. "India is a land of unrivaled religious diversity, but with such diversity comes great responsibility in ensuring the rights of religious minorities," added Mr. Pitts.

Echoing the sentiments of the Congressmen, CAG spokesperson Mr. Kannan Srinivasan said: "It is a sad day for all Indians, that a man whose complicity in mass violence and suppression of minorities is acknowledged internationally, happens to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of a major political party in India." He further added: "The fact that threats to our secular polity and traditionally rich diversity are now an international concern, should cause all Indians to reflect on the direction our country has taken in recent years. Thankfully, this trend is not irreversible."  

The introduction of the resolution is the latest among several recent developments that highlight the US administration's consistent and grave concerns about Narendra Modi's role in broad human rights violations in Gujarat, including extra-judicial killings by the state law enforcement agencies. The resolution also comes close on the heels of a fiasco in Washington, DC that led a group of top Republican leaders to dissociate themselves from an event organized by Mr. Modi's supporters, due to their criminal misuse of the US House of Representatives Seal and pictures of prominent Republican congresspersons without their consent.

While Representatives Pitts and Ellison are the first two sponsors of the resolution, it is expected to gather more support in the weeks to come. The resolution also highlights violence that took place against Muslim, Christian and Sikh minorities. It calls on the Government of India to take steps to stem the erosion of religious freedom and urges Gujarat and other states to repeal anti-conversion laws.
CAG is a group of over 40 organizations, representing a diverse cross section of the religious and political spectrum of the Indian diaspora, including Hindu and other faith-based organizations.  The coalition is committed to democracy, pluralism and to the preservation of the idea of India.
1. Mr. Shaik Ubaid 
Phone:  516-567-0783

2. Mr. Raja Swamy
Phone: 864-804-0216 

1. Reps. Ellison and Pitts Introduce Resolution on Protection of Religious Minorities in India

2. H.Res 417 -- Praising India's rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality, and reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities.  

3. Past resolutions on Narendra Modi / Religious freedom in India
H.RES.160 -- Condemning the conduct of Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his actions to incite religious persecution and urging the United States to condemn all violations of religious freedom in India

H.RES.569 -- Recognizing the tenth anniversary of the tragic communal violence in Gujarat, India.

H.RES.1140 -- Recognizing the 10th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

4. Congressional Letters
Letter by 25 Congresspersons urging the State Department to continue visa denial for Narendra Modi

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

Letter to President Obama from India's Parliamentarians demands continuation of Modi visa ban
27 US Lawmakers want Modi's visa ban extended; Coalition Against Genocide gets support from more congresspersons

US Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania writes to State Department

2008: Letter from Representative Betty McCollum to the US Department of State

2008: US State Department confirms Modi will not be given visa
'Did this letter stop Modi?' - Rediff.com, March 18, 2005

5. CAG: Modi purported event "at Capitol Hill" exposed as fake; Sangh Front in the US, NIAPPI / Shalabh Kumar Reported to the Ethics Committee for fraud

6. India: A Decade on, Gujarat Justice Incomplete - Human Rights Watch, Feb 24, 2012

7. Muslims are Gujarat's new outcastes: Survey - DNA, March 2, 2012

This email was sent to nchhipa@gmail.com by media@coalitionagainstgenocide.org  
Coalition Against Genocide | Ph/Fax: 443-927-9039 | 7000 Security Blvd. Suite 110 | Windsor Mill | MD | 21244

Thursday, November 07, 2013


Justice for All Campaign
End Impunity, Ensure Accountability

Supported by: Justice P.B Sawant (retired) Supreme Court of India, Justice Hosbet Suresh (retired) Bombay High Court, Justice S.H.A Raza (retired) Lucknow Bench, Allahabad High Court & Lokayukta, Uttarakhand, Justice Michael Saldanha (retired) Karnataka High Court, Justice Fakhruddin (retired) High Court, MP & Chattisgarh, Justice B.G Kolse Patil (resigned) Bombay High Court.

Dear Friend,

Several groups and individuals have come together from all over India and will be meeting at Allahabad on November 23-24 2013(Saturday-Sunday) to launch a visible public campaign for the immediate tabling of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011in Parliament forthwith. Several Individuals and groups involved with humanrights issues among various communities will be spearheading the tabling of the Bill.
SAY NO to Violence, YES to Justice and Peace are the slogans of this campaign that will be launched at a national level Campaign this November.
  • Expedite Tabling of Prevention of Communaland Targeted Violence Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011
  • Join the Campaign at Allahabad November23-24 2013
The arrangementsfor stay for all the outstation delegates have been made at the following places:
1.Sadhana Sadan(Opp. St. Josephs College) Tashkant Marg, opp. Company Babh, Allahabad.
2.G. B.Pant Institute for Social Sciences, Jhunsi, Allahabad.
3.Homes of Friends.

All outstation delegates may contact the camp office at Allahabad or local contacts whose phone numbers are given below. Please copy all email correspondence toteestateesta@gmail.com

Venuefor the seminar: Jagat Taran College 32, Amarnath Jha Marg,George Town, Allahabad.
Venuefor public meeting: Prayag Sangeet Samiti 12C, Kamla NehruRoad, Civil lines, Allahabad.
Issued by Justice for All Campaign Ad Hoc Committee: Teesta Setalvad(Convenor), Dr Amarjit Singh Narang, 
Irfan Engineer, Aslam Ghazi, MaulanaBurhanuddin Qasmi, Maulana Daryabadi, Dolphy D'Souza, Farid Shaikh, 
HaroonMozawala, Javed Anand, Keval Ukey, Kaushik Sangahvi, Rahul Bose, Sumedh Jadhav,Yusuf Muchhala.
Peoples’Union For Civil Liberties(PUCL), Progressive Writer Association, Jan Sanskriti Manch, Institute for Social Democracy(ISD), Jagrit Samaj, Aazadi Bachao Andolan, Istri Mukti Sangathan, New Socialist Initiative, Shahri Garib Sangharsh Morcha, Human Rights Law Network, Josh and Firaq Literary Society,Sambhav.

Camp Office at ALLAHABAD: CareerCoaching,13, Kamla Nehru Road, Civil Lines, Allahabad.
Local Contact Persons:
AnshuMalviya (9415812917) e-mail: anshumalviya@yahoo.com
UtpalaShukla (9415828093) e-mail : utpalashukla@gmail.com
Zafar Bakht(9839054009) e-mail : zafarbakht@rediffmail.com
Prof. AliAhmad Fatimi (9415306239)

All India Contact : c/oSabrang, Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai 400049; 
Telephone: 91- (0)22,6602288/26603927; Email: teestateesta@gmail.com , www.sabrang.com

After the genocidal pogrom of Gujaratin 2002, UPA I in its Common Minimum Programme assured India’s minorities of a special law and well defined crimes to ensure that the perpetrators of mass andtargeted violence are punished and fair reparations are made mandatory. This promise has been kept in cold storage. The recent perpetrated violence in thefour districts of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Shamli and Meerut demand that India’s political case are made to fulfill this long overdue promise. India’s National Advisory Council (NAC)drafted a bill in June 2011 aimed at tackling communal and targeted violence and delivering justice and compensation to victims. The proposed Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 brings in categories like sexual offences, hatepropaganda, dereliction of duty and culpability of officials within its ambit,widening the spectrum of crimes that constitute communal violence.

While the Bill seeks to prevent all forms of violence against all communities, the many incidents of violence targeting religious minorities in the past three decades – e.g., Nellie, Assam (1983),Delhi (1984), Kashmir (1989), Bhagalpur (1989), Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat(2002) and Kandhamal, Orissa (2008) – as well as the failure of the police and justice systems to punish the guilty show the need for such a law to ensure accountability, due process, reparation, and protection of these peoples’ human rights. These constitutional guarantees have been repeatedly denied and it seems the state machinery is complicit inacts of communal violence, both by commission and omission.

The inaction on the proposed bill (almost 2 years since its drafting) would seem tosupport this allegation. Civil society groups in India are now campaigning for the NAC draft bill to be tabled andtaken up in Parliament.

Campaign Launch

To strategise how to ensure and expedite thetabling of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 in the Parliament a National Campaign meet has been planned at Allahabad on November 23-24, 2013. We request you to attend and make this campaign successful.


There is a history of targetedviolence in India in the past three decades.To name a few: Nellie, Assam(1983), Delhi (1984), Kashmir (1989),Bhagalpur (1989), Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat (2002) and Kandhamal, Orissa(2008) . The attacks were made onIndia's religious minorities: Muslims,Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs, Christians.Tamilians in Karnataka and Biharis in Maharashtra are examples oflinguistic minorities who have suffered. Dalits and Adivasis too are frequentvictims. The Khairlanjee massacre of Dalits in 2006 or the Ramabai Nagar police firing in 1998, both in Maharashtra,are cases in point. 

The attacks are also allegedly state-sponsored and state-condoned. Moreover, when it comes to following the Rule of Law and ensuring accountability and due process afterbouts of such targeted violence, the local administration and the police have been found tardy and wanting, failing to deliver justice and punish theguilty. Local sources opine thatsuccessive governments have been guilty of serious crimes of omission and commission.

Apparently there is what they call an “institutionalized riot system”. The November 1984 massacre of Sikhs provides agood illustration. Victims were unableto get the local police to protect the lives of their family members orproperty. They were unable to file aproper complaint in the police station.Senior police officers, bureaucrats and ministers, who got reports fromall across the city, state and country, did not act immediately to ensure thetargeted minorities were protected.Incendiary language against the victims was freely used. Women who were raped or sexually assaultedgot no sympathy or assistance. When theriot victims formed makeshift relief camps, the authorities harassed them andtried to make them leave. The victimshad to struggle for years before the authorities finally provided some compensation for the death, injury and destruction they suffered. As for the perpetrators of the violence, they got away since the police and the government did not gather evidence, conductedno investigation and appointed biased prosecutors, thereby sabotaging thechances of conviction and punishment. 

On a smaller scale, all victims of organized,targeted violence — be they Tamils in Karnataka or Hindi speakers in Maharashtra or Dalits in Haryana and other parts of the country — know fromexperience and instinct that they cannot automatically count on the localpolice coming to their help should they be attacked. Overfifteen years ago, a serving, senior police officer made a stunning statement:“No riot can last for more than 24 hours unless the state wants it tocontinue”. T his statement has since been endorsed by a number of seniorpolicemen and political leaders.
What this means is simple. Ifthe police and administration were to be held directly responsible for thefailure to impartially enforce the Rule of Law, perpetrators of recurringviolence would be halted in their tracks.If the law could give fair reparation commensurate to the loss and to becompulsorily paid within a time-frame, the future would not benefit rioters. Ifsenior officers were held responsible for dereliction of duty they would ensureaccountability from themselves and the men and women they command.

The proposedPrevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Accessto Justice and Reparations) Bill 2011 (PCTV) isa first step towards addressing these incidents of targeted violence, a modestcontribution towards ensuring that India's citizens enjoy the protection of thestate regardless of their religion, language or caste. It was framedby the National Advisory Council (NAC) and released in June 2011. Sources also feedback that it is a hugeimprovement over a bill originally drawn up by the United Progressive Alliancegovernment in 2005.

The PCTV bill sets out to protect religious andlinguistic minorities in any state in India, as well as the Scheduled Castesand the Scheduled Tribes, from targeted violence, including organizedviolence. Apart from including the usualIndian Penal Code (IPC) offences, the NAC draft modernizes the definition ofsexual assault to cover crimes other than rape and elaborates on the crime ofhate propaganda already covered by Section 153A of the IPC. It also broadens the definition ofdereliction of duty — which is already a crime — and, for the first time inIndia, adds offences by public servants or other superiors for breach ofcommand responsibility.
Another important feature is the dilution of thestandard requirement that officials can only be prosecuted with the priorsanction of the government. The PCTV billsays no sanction will be required to prosecute officials charged with offenceswhich broadly fall under the category of dereliction of duty.
Likewise, the Bill fills the lacuna of compensation for thoseaffected by communal and targeted violence.Today, the relief that victims get is decided by the government on an adhoc and sometimes discriminatory basis.Sections 90 and 102 of the PCTV bill rectify this by prescribing an equalentitlement to relief, reparation, restitution and compensation for all personswho suffer physical, mental, psychological or monetary harm as a result of theviolence, regardless of whether they belong to a minority group or not.
The PCTV bill also envisages the creation of a NationalAuthority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation. The authority's role will be to serve as acatalyst for implementation of the new law.
Citizensof India and human rights groups battling communalism have had a major role indebating and highlighting the need for this Bill. Today we need to cometogether to ensure that these collective efforts are not in vain, that the Billis tabled before Parliament. Those opposing the Bill are those responsible forcommunalizing the public sphere and fomenting communal violence. Given thefierce opposition to such a Bill, it became imperative that it be brought backinto the focus. We need to take up the challenge and launch a nationwidecampaign, at regional and national levels.The campaign now aims at focusing on the need to get the broad parametres contained in the NAC draft bill, re-worked into a government Bill and tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

SAY NO to Violence, YES to Justice and Peace
Teesta Setalvad
'Nirant', Juhu Tara Road,
Juhu, Mumbai - 400 049