Thursday, April 17, 2014

Indian Election - an appeal

India is having a month-long national election. It seems that as a result of poor leadership of the Congress, Narendra Modi's BJP party will be able to collect enough votes with supporting alliances to form the next government. Already much vote irregularities by his Sangh Parivar members have shown the ugly side of Indian election.

Surely, it will be a sad day for India to elect a person of Modi's character whose hands are bloody with murder of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat. Here below is an excerpt of an appeal that I received from a secular group in India urging voters not to vote for Modi and the nasty divisive forces that would further tarnish India's image abroad.
"The Sixteenth Lok Sabha elections are an opportunity for us to preserve democracy. The RSS

has emerged as a direct participant, discarding their ‘cultural’ mask. It has openly intervened in

the major decisions of the BJP. Their ideology is based upon a fanatic version of nationalism

(sankeern rashtra-vaad). The so-called Parivar has been implicated in numerous communal

incidents and the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992. Today vast amounts of money & cadre

have been mobilized to the cause of the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. This person is an

incompetent Chief Minister who presided over the crime committed in Godhra & the orgy of

rape, murder, arson and looting that followed. In many cases, intervention from outside Gujarat

was required to secure justice. Zakia Jafri’s husband & neighbours were butchered, & she is still

asking the courts to indict Modi for criminal conspiracy. A police investigation report is being

hailed as if it were a judicial acquittal. In 2003 Modi’s rival Haren Pandya was killed in a socalled

terrorist attack - his widow is still fighting for justice. Modi has tried to boost his

popularity through fake encounters & accusations of assassination plots, many of these cases are

still in the courts. Gujarat’s anti-terrorist police units were directed to spy upon a woman who

was not even suspected of being a terrorist. Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the collapse

of law and order in Gujarat.

One of Modi’s ministers has been convicted of illegal mining practices. Another was in office

until she was charged with conspiracy & murder. Modi resisted the appointment of a state

Lokayukta for ten years since 2003. When the Governor & Chief Justice selected Justice R. A.

Mehta for the post in 2011, Modi spent crores in legal fees to challenge the appointment. After

the Supreme Court upheld it, the state government refused to cooperate with Mehta, leading him

to decline the position. Subsequently it amended the Lokayukta Act to make it a toothless body.

Modi may have learned a lesson from the fate of his friend Yedyurappa, former BJP Chief

Minister of Karnataka. Yet he talks of rooting out corruption!

These are some features of the Gujarat model of governance. What will be the effect of this

model if the central government is controlled by the RSS and Modi? Peaceful protests against

the Patel statue or a nuclear power station in Bhavnagar or environmental violations have been

met with police repression. Gujarat records the highest number of attacks on RTI activists.

Seizures of land at low prices, violation of environmental regulations, erosion of workers rights,

phone-tapping, and contempt for the rule of law will affect workers and farmers, women,

democratic activists & honest officials. Modi has used his position to make the wild accusation

that India’s Defence Minister is a Pakistani agent. Soon anyone daring to criticise Modi will be

hounded as a traitor. Is this what we need in a prime minister?

The health of Indian democracy required that such political forces be checked and defeated.

Despite their talk of development, their strong links with corporate interests should warn us of

the danger of political tyranny. We have already seen such tendencies in corporate seizures of

mineral-rich lands & forests and in the violent suppression of popular protests. If this continues,

it will endanger the rights not only of this or that particular group, but the very survival of

constitutional democracy.

We must choose political forces that stand for humanity, equality and justice. Choose an

inclusive, not divisive idea of India. Use your vote for socio-economic emancipation. Defend

your right to obtain justice, to think freely, to protest and to struggle for a better life. Reject

communal hate and choose mutual respect and dialogue. This is our vote. This is our country.

We call upon voters to defeat authoritarian forces in the coming elections."

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