Thursday, April 14, 2011

malikka sara bhai lttr to anna ji on modi

We, academics, activists, artists and intellectuals strongly condemn the recently reported statement made by Anna Hazareji in which he has brazenly endorsed Narendra Modi, a politician who not only symbolizes the politics of division but unconstitutional governance. For the veteran anti-corruption social activist, Hazare to endorse a politician against whom a Supreme Court led investigation into conspiracy to commit mass murder and rape, subversion of evidence and pressure and intimidation of key witnesses is still underway reveals a narrow and mercenary understanding of the meaning of corruption. Worse, given the support base of the recent high profile and highly televised event agitation, that included open support from Ram Madhav and the RSS as also Baba Ramdev, Hazare’s move could be construed as a bid to actually influence this SC-driven criminal investigation.

Modi stands accused, and has not been yet cleared of serious charges of actively masterminding mass murder, loot and rape of 2,500 of Gujarat’s innocent citizens consciously perverting his position and power as chief minister in 2002. This and other investigations have been rigorously pursued by victim survivors of these gruesome massacres and Hazare’s statement, more than anything else rubs salt on deep wounds. Not once in the nine years since the state sponsored carnage has Modi, who has written a tear-filled communication to Hazare wiped tears from the heavy hearts of Muslim victim survivors in Gujarat. Nor has Modi even apologized for failing to perform his Constitutional duty.

On the issue of corruption and good governance too, Modi may yet fail the exemplary test. Allegations of serious corruption in state government schemes have been steadily documented and printed within Gujarat but have rarely made it to the headlines of national television. There has been little or no rural development in this state. In fact gauchar lands and irrigated farmlands have been stealthily taken by the government and sold off at ridiculous prices to a small club of industrialists. The ridiculously low interest loan given at the expense of five crore Gujarati taxpayers to Tata’s Nano project suggests a corrupt loan write off f public finances.

The irony of Modi being hailed by the leader of the National Lok Pal movement is cruel since there has been no Lokayukta in Gujarat for nearly seven years! Hundreds of complaints against corruption are lying unheard in that state as the common Gujarati reels under his mercenary dictatorship. From the Sujalam Sufalam scam of 1700 crores to the NREGS boribund scam of 109 crores, the fisheries scam of 600 crores, every department has been accused of being involved in thousands of crores worth of scams. The poor and rural people of Gujarat are being sold to Modi's small coterie of friends, the industrialists. The state is in terrible debt because of his largesse to industry while 21 lakh farmers wait for compensation for the land seized from them. How hen can Haraeji call Modi non-corrupt or hail his model of development?

Little or no funds have been released by the GOG to the Minority Finance Development Corporation, even less to the Gujarat State Wakf Board. No figures are provided by the state government for funds allotted to the religious minorities.

The corrosion and corruption in our system is not merely monetary but the subversion of the Indian Constitution and Constitutional Governance has been in large measure due to the unbridled and unchecked growth of state and non state actors who are sworn to partisan politics, ideology and governance. While their was more than some discomfiture felt by many of us when we saw this worthy anti-corruption movement being supported by RSS cadres and Baba Ramdev, guilty of amassing crores of money and property himself, this discomfiture increased as accusation of bus loads of supporters arriving to Jantar Mantar from Gujarat came in and finally dues were extracted by the ruler of that state, Narendra Modi, in the form of praise from Anna Hazareji.

Teesta Setalvad
'Nirant', Juhu Tara Road,
Juhu, Mumbai - 400 049

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