PUCL Bulletin may 2002
An Open Letter
to President of India,
Dear Mr. President,
We call on you in
hour of crisis. The People's Union for Civil Liberties was founded by
Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan in a time of national crisis such
In Gujarat today we have reached a level of genocide that shocks the whole world even after the attack on the World Trade Centre and the bombing of Afghanistan. This is surely no matter for national pride. The burning ground of Gujarat today is the scene of planned genocide.
on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide says:
It is a bitter truth
that ministers of the Government today who cried hoarse at Indira Gandhi's
abuse of power are eloquently silent today on the events of
The deplorable condition
of these camps bear testimony to the political will of the governmet.
The Chief Minister Mr. Narender Modi is planning to disband
value system that should inform our governance and the International Convenants
of Refugees prohibit such refusal to take responsibility for the lives
of the citizens. There is also a declared economic boycott of the minorities
that is being enforced by street power to deprive
Similarly the criminals responsible for the Godhra killings should be identified, arrested, tried and strictly punished. The response to their heinous crime cannot be a planned nationwide pogrom against innocent and vulnerable minorities.
You have been requested
to summon a joint sitting of the Houses to pass the POTO when Gujarat
is burning. This is a subversion of all principles of governance. As President
you have a historic role to play at this juncture. The making or unmaking
of democracy will hinge on your actions. The people of the country are
waiting to fulfil your role. The world is watching you. The NHRC has already
expressed its dissatisffaction with the Gujarat government's report in
no uncertain terms. The NHRC as you are aware was created with the sole
purpose of ensuring that the International Covenants including the ones
on the genocide are honoured. The NHRC has also declared the POTO to be
in opposition to the provisions of Part III of the cconstitution. The
manner in which the government is ignoring the reality of Gujarat and
proceeding with its agenda on terrorism is disturbing. The numbers killed
in Gujarat exceed terrorist killings in the last ten years.
Unless the government is willing to name the VHP, Bajrangdal and RSS as terrorist organizations it would be a farce to go ahead with the joint sitting of the houses to consider POTO. When Graham Staines was killed your voice spread hope and confidence among us.
Your response now
on this issue is critical to the survival of democracy in this country.
We urge you to act now and restructure the skewed priorities of the