SAHMAT statement to demand Narender Modi’s dismissal on 20 April 2005

SAHMA Statement on 20 April 2005 signed by over 150 social and political activists, artists and academicians has been sent to different political parties urging than to support their demand for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s dismissal to ensure justice to the victims of communal carnage in Gujarat in 2002.

The harrowing tales of the victims of the Gujarat genocide and their long-drawn out struggle for justice were recounted on April 16, 2005 at a convention in New Delhi [organized by the Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai, Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, New Delhi and Human Rights Law Netwrok, New Delhi] at the Speaker’s Hall, Constitution Club New Delhi. These testimonies once again highlighted the stark fact that as long as Narendra Modi remains at the helm of affairs in Gujarat, the perpetrators of the Genocide have little chance of being brought to book. If justice is to prevail, a necessary condition for this must be created through the dismissal of the Modi government under Article 356 of the Constitution.

For justice to be finally ensured, for the major carnages let alone the hundreds of major crimes that took place in Gujarat 2002,  the process of struggling for justice needs to be supported by the state and its administration. Instead, key witnesses of the major carnages, three years after the horrors that lost them near and dear ones cannot step back into their villages or localities simply because they have chosen to fight for justice. This is the stark and shameful reality of Gujarat, three years after the Genocide where at a rought estimate  about 61, 000 persons remain internally displaced within Gujarat, of which all or most belong to the minority community.

Eye-witnesses who are also victims, of incidents like the Gulberg massacre [28-2-2002 wherein 68 persons were slaughtered including former Member of Parliament, Shri Ahsan Jaffri and 10-15 girls and women subjected to brute sexual violence], Naroda gaon and Patiya [28-2-2002 wherein over 120 persons were similarly exterminated while a complicit police and elected representatives watched and led mobs respectively], Sardarpura [1-3-2002] wherein 33 persons were brutally killed and in another incident 14 burnt alive, and the Ode killings in Anand district on 1-3-2002 to 3-3-2002 in which totally 27 persons were killed recounted their life stories. Many eye-witnesses like a key witness from Naroda gaon and his family members have been thrice or four times penalized on account for their desire to struggle for justice and utterly false criminal cases slapped against them. The attempt is clearly to intimidate all those who stand for the struggle for justice.  Over 65 witnesses from the major massacres have filed affidavits in the Supreme Court of India pointing out these gross facts, due to which the criminal trials in these cases have been stayed by the SC since November 21, 2003. Pleas for re-investigation by the CBI have been pending and need to be heard forthwith.

While there are legitimate apprehensions among many about the use of Article 356, lest it may set a precedent for the Centre to get rid of the government in Opposition-ruled states, the Gujarat case is an exceptional one in so much as the state government has been seriously




implicated by the National Human Rights Commission [NHRC] and even the Supreme Court, in what is perhaps the most inhuman, horrendous and un-Constitutional acts in the history of post-Independence India. In the past few months courageous statements of serving police officials have lent voice to the outrage expressed by these institutions and hundreds of groups and individuals. These stands by serving policemen, that been made public that clearly show that orders were issued by none less than the present chief minister, Narendra Modi that minorities who resist or protest should be exterminated. Put together, the imposition of Article 356 in Gujarat is warranted not only on grounds of humanity and Constitutional propriety, but for the very maintenance of the country’s unity, integrity and secular fabric.

We the undersigned social and political activists, artists and members of the legal and academic professions demand that the Modi government be dismissed forthwith under Article 356.

M.K. Raina, Ashok Vajpayee, Rajender Arora, Vivan Sundaram, Jayati Ghosh, Ali Javed, Rahul Bose, Lima Kanungo, Chanchal Chauhan, Lateef Mohd Khan, R.S.Sharma, Badri Raina, Rajendra Prasad, Suraj Bhan, Zaahoor Siddiqui, Prabhat Patnaik, Arjun Dev, Anjali raina, Zoya Hassan, Irfan habib, Amar Farooqui, D.N.Jha, Shireen Moosvi, Geetha Hariharan, Madhu Prasad, Javeed Alam, Mohan Rao, Madhukar Upadhyay, Maya Rao, Praveen Jha, Madan Gopal Singh, Kumkum Sangari, Smita Gupta, Shamsad, V.M.Jha, Parthiv Shah, Ram Rahman,­ Biswamoy Pati, O.P.Jaiswal, Subir Ghosh, A.Murali, R.P.Singh, Anil Dharkar, Anil Chandra, Sitaram Roy, Nikhil Wagle, K.K.Sharma, V.K.Thakur, Jaidev Hattangady, H.C.Satayarthi, CPN Sinha, Sumedh Jadhav, A.P.Sharma, V.Ramakrishna, Suresh Bhosale, Suvira Jaiswal, Rajen Gurukkal, Cedric Prakash, K K N Kurup, B.P.Mishra, Rehana Sultana, A.Satyanarayana, Arun Bandhopadhaya, Indira Chandrashekhar, R.P.Mishra, Harish Sharma, Mahesh Bhatt, K.L.Tuteja, D.Mondal, R.C.Thakran, R.L.Shukla, Lata Singh, Nadeem Rizvi, Ishrat Alam, Sohail Hashmi, Nalini Taneja, Asad Zaidi, Anuradha Kapur, Ritu Menon, Geeta Kapur, Kusum Lata, Nirmalangshu Mukherjee, C.P.Chandrashekhar, Zarina Hashmi, Madhu Kishwar, N.Ramesh, Rebecca Kurian, Appa Gautam, Dolores Chew, Shekhar Sonalkar, Harsh Kapoor, Upendra Baxi,  Arindam Dutta, Aloysius Irudayan S.J, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Susanne Fabricius, Ram Puniyani, Angana Chatterji, Agyatmitra, Anirududdha Vaidya, Moiz Rasiwala, Beheruz N.Sethna, I.K.shukla, Najid Hussain ,Dunu Roy, D.Rama Krishnan, Vasanti Dighe, Devassy Kadaparambil, Mukul Dube, Paresh Chattopadhyay, Maria Aurora Couto, Vinay Lal, Sachin Ramesh Nikarge, Robert Mazur, Vasanthi Devi, Geeta Patel, Mukundan C. Menon, S.A.R.Adil, Sandip K.Dasverma, Sangeeta Mall, L.S.Herdenia, Suma Josson, Priyanka Josson, Girish Mishra, Raj Kumar Hans, Gerard Oonk, Chandana Mathur, Aradhana Seth, Prasad Chacko, Minakshi Menon, John Ishvaradas Abdallah, Ritu Khanna, Mary Alphonse, Jalindar Adsule, Ismail K.Poonawala, Jasodhra, Amiya Bagchi, Ramesh Pimple, Subba Ghosh, Nandita Narain, Amita Baviskar, Linda Hess, Geeta Ramakrishnan, Radhika Menon, Ashwini Rao, Syed Ali, Latha Jishnu, Narendra Subramanian, Jose Changa, Nalini Malani, Alnoor Mitha.

Press Coverage People's Democracy