PRESS RELEASE-State Repression on Punjab farmers: an offensive response to democratic protest


March 10, 2013

PUDR Press Statement

Democracy within its value frame assumes the right to protest as a vital means towards ensuring the guarantee of those rights and values it stands for. However, today we are witnessing a different ‘culture of democracy’ where the right to protest is increasingly becoming not just an empty notion, in fact, protest itself is being turned into an offence. The mass arrest of members and activists of 17 peasants’ and workers’ organizations in Punjab as a preventive act of securing law and order situation is symptomatic of this different ‘culture of democracy’.

On 6 March, members of these organizations had decided to jam rail traffic under their state-wide ‘Rail Roko’ agitation to push for their long pending demands after witnessing a prolonged response of apathy from the government. The farmers have been demanding an increase in the Minimum Support Price based on the price index, as per the Swaminathan Committee report, more subsidies for the poor and checks on the hike in prices of diesel and other farm inputs. Government responded in pre-emptive confinement of those involved with the agitation, under the name of protection law and order situation. Early in the day, Punjab police arrested Jagmohan Singh (provincial General secretary, BKU Ekta_dakaunda), Dr. Darshan Pal and Satwant Singh Wazidpur, Patiala distt. president & secretary of BKU (Ekta Dakaunda) Darshan Lal, state secretary of Dehati Mazdoor Sabha (CPM Pasla); Ruldu Singh, president of Punjab Khet Union; Harmesh Malri, state president of Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union; Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, state convener of Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Piddy); Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, Moga president of Kirti Kisan Union; Gurmeet Singh Bakhtupura, AICTU state president and during the day, another 1353 persons were rounded up. Houses of many Union activists were raided and many were detained to be either released by the evening or sent to Judicial Custody.

This act of police repression is an attempt to quell the protest aimed at securing what has been due to the farmers and workers for long. In the given political climate of state repression we apprehend fabrication of false charges against those participating in this people’s movement. The forebodings of such acts are clear in ending into a deterred space of struggle for democratic rights, something that defeats the end that democracy is meant to achieve. PUDR strongly condemns this act of repression by the state elite and demands the immediate release of the activists. PUDR also extends solidarity with protesters and their demands.

Asish Gupta and D. Manjit
(Secretaries, PUDR)

 

Punjab- Aspiring model alleges sexual exploitation by singer Nachattar Gill #Vaw


gill

 

Thursday, February, 28 2013 – 14:27

LUDHIANA: Noted Punjabi singer Nachattar Gill and three others have landed in a trouble after an aspiring model alleged sexual exploitation by them. She alleged that they had established physical relations with her on the pretext of sending her abroad and making her a top model.

The girl, a resident of Haibowal appeared before Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh and alleged that he gave her a cold drink laced with sedative at a Chandigarh hotel where they took objectionable pictures of her.She said she was raped by three others also when they visited Singapore.

The victim disclosed that she came in contact with Gill when she was adjudged first runners-up at a beauty pageant at Jalandhar in 2006 where the singer was one of the judges.The duo soon became intimate after they started talking to each other frequently.

The girl used to meet the singer in Ludhiana and Phillaur hotels.She also claimed that the singer had assured to make her a top model in the industry and established physical relations with her on several occasions. She also disclosed that their relation turned sour when she questioned the singer why she was not featured in music albums.

Later, the singer started blackmailing the girl on pretext that he would make the video footage public.Apart from Gill, three city residents also took advantage of her condition. The trio took Rs 20 lakh from her parents so that she could settle abroad.The two city residents also made her MMS when they were in Singapore and established physical relations with her.

She alleged that the third person established physical relations with her on pretext of helping her seek legal action against those who had sexually exploited her.

Meanwhile, Nachattar Gill termed her allegations baseless and a conspiracy against him, adding that he was ready to join investigation on March 5.

 

#India – Delhigangrape accused Ram Singh’s death a security lapse: Home Minister


TNN | Mar 11, 2013,

Delhi gang-rape accused Ram Singh's death a security lapse: Shinde

Delhi gang-rape accused Ram Singh’s death a security lapse: Shinde
NEW DELHI: Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said that rape accused Ram Singh’s death under mysterious circumstances was a major security lapse but he refused to reveal further details as a magisterial probe is underway.”It is a major lapse in security, certainly it is not a small incident. Action will be taken,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told a press conference in the capital.

“I cannot come to the conclusion at this moment whether it is a suicide or not before inquiry, he said.

Earlier in the day, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit also met home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to discuss the incident.

Ram Singh, main accused in the horrific gang-rape case of 23-year-old physiotherapy student on December 16, 2012 which caused massive nationwide outrage, allegedly committed suicide in a high-security cell in Tihar Jail early on Monday morning, raising questions over monitoring of undertrials.

Significantly 33-year-old Ram Singh, who had a slight deformity in his right hand after an accident, hanged himself from the grill of his cell in jail No.3 using his clothes, jail officials said.

“Singh was not alone in the cell when he committed suicide. Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5am, he was found hanging,” a senior jail official said.

Prone to violent behaviour and mood swings, he had suicidal tendencies and was under “suicide watch,” he said.

Singh, who was to be produced before court for its daily hearing, was rushed to the jail hospital where he was declared brought dead. His body was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for post mortem.

The news of his death immediately triggered demands from his lawyers and family for a CBI probe. They alleged that he was murdered inside the jail and refused to believe that he could have committed suicide.

“There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing suicide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy,” his lawyer VK Anand said. Lawyers for the defendants had previously accused police of beating confessions out of the men.

 

#Delhigangrape- Prime accused Ram Singh’s ‘suicide watch’ had been lifted #joke #WTFnews


By IANSNEW DELHI

11th March 2013 04:45 PM

Ram Singh, the prime accused in the Dec 16 gang-rape case who reportedly hanged himself in the Tihar Jail, was removed from ‘suicide watch‘ a few weeks ago, officials said Monday.

The 35-year-old along with four other accused were put on ‘suicide watch’ after they stopped talking with other inmates and with each other, a Tihar official told IANS.

“The alert was lifted when we found he and others were behaving normally and were not showing any sign of depression. They were eating normally and looked ok. We then lifted the suicide watch,” the official said.

Officials refused to say when the alert was lifted but said it happened “a few weeks ago”.

Ram Singh was found hanging from the grill in his cell at around 5.45 a.m. Monday. He was warded in ward no. 5 of Jail no. 3.

He shared the cell with three other inmates, also facing trial. The prison officials refused to reveal their identity.

Officials said Ram Singh had been speaking to his prison mates till 2.30 a.m. None of them heard or saw him hanging himself.

Ram Singh was the driver of the bus in which the 23-year-old woman was raped by six males, including his younger brother.

The six, including a minor, also thrashed the woman’s friend and later threw them out of the bus bleeding and without clothes. The student died of internal injuries in Singapore two weeks later.

 

#India – Fact Finding team including scientists, activists assaulted in Odisha #WTFnews


The PPSS condemns in unequivocal terms the assault on the  Civil Liberty Fact Finding Team ( Add MediaCLFFT) consisting of  Meher Engineer (Scientist, Kolkata),      Sumit Chakravartty( Editor, Mainstream Weekly), Manoranjan Mohanty (Former  Prof. Delhi University),Kamal Nayan Choubey (PUDR), Ranjana (PUDR), Pramodini   (PUCL, Odihsa), Mathew Jacob (Human Rights Law Network), Partha Ray, Sanhati, Sanjeev Kumar (Delhi Forum)when they were returning from  visit to our villages on March 9, 2013. We feel sad because they had come all the way from Delhi and Kolkota to find out truth relating to bombing and lathicharge that resulted in the killing of three of our men on March 2 and severe injuries of several women on March 7.

When the world was preparing to celebrates Women’s day, the village women of Govindpur , Dhinkia, Patanahat got brutally beaten up by police and goons close to armed police camp in Govindapur as they had gone there to demand withdrawal of police camp from the area and to allow them to live in peace on March 7 as continuous deployment of five platoons of police at Govindpur village has made life miserable for everybody. Police presence is also a major reason why bombing has taken place and we have lost 3 important lives. The presence of police is only encouraging the criminal elements to unleash a region of terror which was also experienced by the fact finding team on March 9, 2013.

Perhaps it does not require any emphasis that women are the worst hit in today’s situation. Our women don’t at all feel safe and the administration is fully aware of this fact. Despite that they are not doing anything which prompts us to say that they might be behind all these acts of violence. Everything could have come out in open by independent fact finding teams but now even such teams are attacked.

One can understand what might have happened to our women protesters on March 7. Around 2.30 p.m. on 7th March 2013, hundreds of men and women of PPSS came in procession and staged a peaceful demonstration near the Mangalapada police camp at the entry point of Gobindpur village demanding withdrawal of armed police from their locality. The police fired teargas shells and made a lathi-charge on the peaceful protestors as a result more than 40 persons have sustained injury. Women activists were cornered and beaten up by plain-clothed policewomen. Bilochan Khatua, Sulochana barik, Solia mallick, Sati Barik, Nayana Dash, Tulashi Dash, Basanti Mandal, Satya Mallick, Pravati Swain, Taaopi Samal , Lopa Samal and many more of Govindpur village were injured.

Women claimed that their eyes burned when the police fired teargas shells. This shows the government’s double standards. On one hand, the government is claiming that it was acquiring land peacefully while on the other hand it is using police force which is contradictory.

Meanwhile the South Korea’s Ambassador Kim Joong Keun visited Odisha on 6th march 2013. When people in the proposed POSCO project site are mourning the killing of 3 activists of the movement who were killed in a bomb attack on March 2, the Ambassador did not say anything to express his grief. He was obsessed with the progress of POSCO project.

We also condemn in strongest terms POSCO’s attempt to take Odisha Scribes for pleasure trip to outside. We also appeal friends from media please not to fall in the trap as people will lose complete faith in them.

Meanwhile , the CPI (ML) leader K N Ramachandran and Sarmistha Choudhury, who attended an anti-Posco meeting have announced a ’Jana Sansad’ at Jantarmantar in New Delhi on March 15 to protest ‘forcible’ land acquisition for POSCO.

Different social action groups organized a protest meeting over the  killing of Anti-POSCO Protesters and Forcible Acquisition of Land in Odisha, at Odisha Bhawan, 1 Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, on 9th March (Saturday), 2013.

I am attaching herewith the statement of various social action groups on the murder of PPSS leader, Complaint to NHRC by Center for Legal Awareness and Human Rights (CLAR)  and the  latest interview of our activists Mr. Debendra Swain prepared by Video Volunteers. This is the link

 

We express our gratitude to all our friends for their support and circulating their statements.

We call on all democratic and progressive organizations and individuals to  condemn the blatant use of brute force through police as well as goons to brutally crush our democratic movement.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for Solidarity.

Prashant Paikaray

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

Mobile no – 09437571547

E- mail- prashantpaikaray@gmail.com

 

Death by a thousand cuts


Farahnaz Ispahani, The Hindu, March 11,2013

 

After each act of violence against religious minorities, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Sipah-e-Sahaba proudly own up to it without fear of punishment

The recent mob attack on Christians in Lahore, resulting in the burning down of over one hundred Christian homes while the police stood by, is a reminder of how unsafe Pakistan has become for religious minorities. The attacks on Christians follows a rising tide of attacks on Pakistan’s Shia Muslims, sometimes mischaracterised in the media as the product of sectarian conflict. In reality, these increasingly ferocious attacks reflect the ambitious project of Islamists to purify Pakistan, making it a bastion of a narrow version of Islam Sunni. Pakistan literally translates as “the land of the pure”. But, what started in an imperceptible way as early as the 1940s, picking up momentum in the 1990s, is a drive to transform Pakistan into a land of religious purification.

Muslim groups such as the Shias that account for possibly 20-25% of Pakistan’s Muslim population and Non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been target-killed, forcibly converted, kidnapped and had their religious places bombed and vandalised with alarming regularity. At the time of partition in 1947, Pakistan had a healthy 23% of its population comprise non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately three per cent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years.
Changing times

Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and his two closest political and personal lieutenants, the Raja of Mahmoodabad and my grandfather Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani, were all Shia Muslims. All three devoted their political lives and personal finances to the creation of Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah named Sir Zafrulla Khan, member of the embattled Ahmadiyya sect, as Pakistan’s first foreign minister. As originally conceived, Pakistan did not discriminate among various Muslim denominations, and non-Muslim minorities too were assured of equal rights as citizens. But things have changed over the last several decades. Last week, the massacre of the Shia community of Abbas Town in Karachi took place on and around a road named after my Shia grandfather.
Driven out or degraded

Over the years, Pakistan’s constitution has been amended to designate the Ahmadiyya as non-Muslims. A similar drive, influenced by Salafi ideology from Saudi Arabia, has been undertaken by Deobandi groups against the Shias. A terrorist offshoot of the Deobandi movement (‘Takfiris’ — those who declare some Muslims as ‘kafirs’ or unbelievers) has been escalating atrocities against Shias in an effort to drive them out of the country or to force them to accept a lowered status in an Islamised Pakistan. Their targets have included men, women and children.

Pakistan’s Shias belong to different ethnic and linguistic groups and different tribes. They are spread all over the country. The one thing that unifies them in the eyes of their murderers is their religious beliefs. The anti-Shia terrorists roam the land with impunity, appear on primetime talk shows on television and hold political rallies where they declare Shias as unbelievers and Wajib-ul-Qatal (deserving of death). They are very rarely arrested, even after they proudly and publicly announce their deeds — like in the two recent massacres of the Hazara Shias of Quetta. When they are arrested, they have access to mobile phones in prison, receive visitors openly and are often released swiftly on their own recognisance. The few who have been tried have always been acquitted by Pakistan’s judiciary for “lack of evidence”.
State turning a blind eye

What is often painted — deliberately — as a Shia-Sunni conflict is, in fact, quite another creature. The anti-Shia groups are used by Pakistan’s permanent establishment in Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries in pursuit of “strategic depth”. When, inspired by their bigotry, the Jihadis attack Shias within Pakistan, their state sponsors tend to avert their eyes.

A year ago, a bus was stopped on its way to Gilgit-Baltistan. Shias on board were identified by their names and other means, taken off the bus and beheaded and shot dead. Several months later, the same type of massacre was repeated in the same region. The Taliban took credit for both acts of terrorism. Shias in Parachinar and Hangu located in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) have been fighting the Taliban unaided for years. And, their dead bodies now number thousands.

The recent extensive reporting of the plight of the Hazara Shias by the media is the result of mass protests held across the country in solidarity with the victims. The targeting of Shia doctors and other professionals in Karachi has also been an attempt to make the middle-class Shia flee abroad to leave only the poor and voiceless of their community behind. After each act of violence the Taliban/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) or Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) proudly own up the operations.

One example is from a news agency reporting from Qudrat News in Quetta: “Banned religious terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for the suicide blast on Kirani Road, Hazara Town. The spokesman, Abu Bakr Sidiq, called the news channels on Saturday evening from an identified location and said that the attack was carried out by our colleague, Umar Farooq.”

“In 2013, this was our second suicide attack in the Shia areas. Like this, we have 20 vehicles full of explosives ready for our suicide bombers. Soon as we get the order [from LEJ leader Malik Ishaq], their target will be Alamdar Road, Mehr Abad, and Hazara Town. God Willing, now we will kill Shias in their home.

“We want to tell the Sunnis, for God sake, strap your bodies with bombs and stand up with LEJ in the fight against the Shias… If Sunnis won’t rise up, then they should refrain from having any relation with the Shias because now either we will live in Balochistan or the Shias… We seek help from Allah in this fight and this fight will end as Balochistan becoming the graveyard of the Shias.”

The international community must not ignore the systematic elimination of Pakistan’s Shias, Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis. The United Nations must nominate a Special Rapporteur on the systematic elimination of Pakistan’s minorities. Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment as well as the federal and provincial governments must be asked to fulfil their responsibilities in protecting the Shias and other Muslim and non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan.

(The author is a former Member of Pakistani Parliament)

#India- Neighbour rapes disabled woman in Kolkata #WTFnews #Vaw


TNN Mar 7, 2013, 0
 #India- Chastity, Virginity, Marriageability, and Rape Sentencing #Vaw  #Justice #mustread

KOLKATA: A 25-year-old woman with physical disabilities was allegedly raped by her neighbour in an abandoned house at Bhatikhna in the Behala police area on Monday.

The victim, however, told her mother about the assault nearly 48 hours later following which a police complaint was lodged on Wednesday.

The accused has gone into hiding.

On Monday evening, the victim was walking alone on the road when her 50-year-old neighbour, Bikash Ghosh, a house painter, lured her with food to an abandoned building near Bhatikhana.

Ghosh then allegedly raped the victim and left her there in a semi-conscious state.

Soon, three youths passing by the area heard the woman’s cry and took her to her house. The trio requested the woman’s sister-in-law not to allow her to go out of the house alone.

Later, the victim told her mother that three youths had brought her home and did not divulge any further details. Since she was traumatized, her family members did not disturb her, said a police officer.

It was only on Tuesday night that the woman mustered courage and told her mother that she had been raped by Ghosh.

The victim’s father lodged a complaint at Behala police station on Wednesday.

Police said that clothes the woman was wearing at the time of the assault had been taken for forensic tests. She will also undergo a medical examination.

However the delay of nearly two days will hamper the prospect of the investigation, an officer said. The medical tests should have been conducted within 24 hours of the assault. But the complaint came late, he added.

A physically challenged woman was allegedly raped by her neighbour at an abandoned house at Bhatikhana area in Behala police station area. The woman, nearly 48 hours after the incident, confessed the incident to her mother. On Wednesday, a formal complaint was lodged by the father of the victim. The accused is however absconding.

On Monday, evening the accused Bikash Ghosh, 50, a paint-labourer found the victim alone on the road. He allured her with food to an abandoned house near Bhatikhana. There he raped her and left her abandoned in the house in a semi-conscious state. Three youths passing by the area rescued the woman after hearing the groaning sound of the woman.

Three youths then took her to her home at Tarpan Ghat Road and requested her sister-in-law not to allow the victim to go out of the house alone. They did not say anything else to victim’s sister-in-law. Later she told victim’s mother about three youths who had brought her home. But the victim was too traumatised to say anything. Her family members did not disturb her, said a police officer.

On Tuesday night, after settling down with her trauma, the victim confessed how she was raped by the accused. She broke down in tears. On Wednesday morning, they lodged complaint with Behala police station. Police said that the her clothes at the time of the incident were confiscated for forensic tests. She would also be undergoing medical examination.

However the delay, an investigating officer said, would hamper the prospect of the investigation. The medical tests should have been conducted with 24 hours of the incident. But the complaint came late.

 

Rajasthan: Student gangraped by sacked cops #Vaw


PTI
Jaipur, March 11, 2013

RAPE

A 20-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped by two sacked jawans of Rajasthan Police Constabulary, police said in Jaipur.

“The girl was with her friend on a motorbike on March 7 when the accused, also on motorcycle, chased and stopped them near Rawatbhata road. The accused

identified as Mohan Singh and Jai Kumar, posing as policemen, sought papers of the motorbike and asked the couple to come to a police outpost with them saying that they were roaming in suspicious circumstances,” SHO Dadabadi police stationKota, Dharmendra Kumar said on Monday.

“The couple was forced to sit on Jai Kumar’s motorcycle, while Mohan Singh drove the boy’s bike to an isolated area where they beat the boy and took turns to rape the girl,” he said.

After the incident, the couple reported the matter to the police and an FIR was lodged.

Mohan Singh was arrested on Saturday, he said, adding he was sent to judicial custody till March 16.

Another accused Jai Kumar is still absconding and a hunt is on to arrest him, he said.

The girl was living in a rented accommodation in Kota city and attending medical coaching classes.

Both the accused, who are local residents, were the RAC jawans and they were terminated from the services in 2006 for their involvement in a robbery case, the SHO, who is the investigating officer, sai

 

#India -Minor girl gang-raped in Kolkata #Vaw


CHILDRAPE

By IANS – KOLKATA

11th March 2013 01:26 PM

A minor girl was allegedly gang-raped in the wee hours of Monday in the city’s Jadavpur area. Two of the accused have been arrested, police said.

“Following a complaint of gang-rape we have arrested two persons. The 14-year-old victim was allegedly raped and at least three to four persons are suspected to be involved,” Deputy Commissioner (Jadavpur) Sujay Chanda said.

“A medical test on the victim to ascertain rape will be conducted soon,” Chanda said.

According to police, the victim, along with another girl, had gone for a bath to a pond in the locality at around 3 a.m. on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. Two young men started teasing the girls.

While her companion fled the spot, the victim was forcibly taken by the youths to a building still under construction and raped.

The incident comes just two days after West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman and former Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly said West Bengal “was not lagging behind Delhi in the number of atrocities on women, and may have (even) surpassed the the national capital (in such crimes)”

 

#India – Five Narendra Modi lies that must be nailed


Prashant Panday
11 March 2013, 09:35 AM

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...

Prashant Panday
11 March 2013,, TOI
Speaking to US NRIs yesterday, Modi claimed that the growth rate in India had “lost momentum” in the last 6-7 years. Well, Modi is used to dishing out mis-truths and blatant lies; so this was just one more in a series. India’s growth in the last 6-7 years has been exemplary by any standard, with GDP growth hitting 9.2% just last year.

Let me group all of Modi’s lies into 5 distinct categories:

1)    Comparing Gujarat with India: Even a 5th standard student knows what averages are. India’s GDP growth represents the average of all states – dynamic ones like Gujarat, Maharashtra, AP, Haryana and TN as well as poor performing ones like Rajasthan, UP, MP, Karnataka, and (in the past), Bihar and Orissa. Quite obviously Gujarat growth rate will be higher than India’s. When Modi uses this to show that he would make a better PM than Manmohan Singh, it’s plain chicanery. What he should do is compare Gujarat – a powerhouse since decades – with other powerhouse states. But he’s smart. He won’t do that!

2)    Gujarat growth barely comparable with other big states: The top 5 states in terms of state GDP are Maharashtra, UP, AP, TN and Gujarat in that order. Modi will be embarrassed to note that the pecking order of these states has remained largely intact over the last 6-7 years (since 2004-5) – in spite of Modi’s “dynamic” rule. The only exception is that WB used to be 5th back then, and is now just behind Gujarat. Let’s look at how much each state economy has expanded over this period and I am using data from Wikipedia here (which in turn quotes the Ministry of statistics and Program Implementation Govt. Of India). Between 2004-5 and 2010-11, the Maharashtra GDP has expanded 2.49 times in nominal terms, Gujarat’s by 2.52 times, Tamil Nadu’s by 2.50 times, UP’s by 2.28 times, AP’s by 2.62 times and West Bengal’s by 2.27 times. So Gujarat has kept pace with the big states; nothing more, nothing less. Compared to the noise that Modi makes, the actual numbers are nothing to write home!

3)    Takes undue credit: Gujaratis are genetic coded to demand that any CM of the state has to be business minded. Remember Gujarat is a state in which college graduates take up jobs only when they cannot start their own business. And even when they do jobs, almost all of them do something “on the side”. It may be playing the stock market, or doing a small side business in the wife’s name. Growth in Gujarat pre-dates Modi. This is proven by the growth rates recorded during the tenures of the previous CMs. For the purpose of this analysis, I have used Net State Domestic Product at factor cost at constant prices in Rupees as the measure of economic growth. The data taken is from the RBI’s “Handbook of Statistics of Indian Economy” readily available on the internet. Under Modi (between 2002-3 to 2009-10), the average growth rate in Gujarat in nominal terms has been 16.25% per annum. In the Keshubhai Patel era (1998-99 to 2001-02), Gujarat grew at only 7.5% per annum. BJP messed up during Keshubhai’s time and that’s one reason he was replaced. Take the period before Keshubhai Patel. There was a period of rapid changes in CMs in Gujarat between 94-95 and 98-99; the BJP, Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Party ruled the state and achieved between 14% and 31% growth rates. The previous strongman of Gujarat used to be Chimanbhai Patel who ruled as CM from 1990-91 to 1993-94. The growth rate during his period was 16.75%. Err…..higher than what Modi achieved. Prior to Chimanbhai Patel was the rule of the Congress for 10 years from 1980-81 to 1989-90. During this period of time, Madhvsinh Solanki and Amarsingh Chaudhary were the Congress CMs in the state. The growth rate during these ten years was 14.8% – a shade lower than Modi’s achievements. Remember back then, India wasn’t quite the dynamic growth engine it is today. Modi can surely take credit for sustaining Gujarat’s growth; but he cannot claim to be the diva of India’s growth miracle!

4)    Vibrant Gujarat: The biggest lie that Modi dishes out is Vibrant Gujarat. Modi talks of “lacs of crores” of investments “promised” to the state. But promises have not translated into actual investments. A recent report shows that not even 20% of that investment has actually materialized over the last 4 years. The Tatas, the Ambanis, all claim to love Modi and Gujarat and they heap praise on him. They realize Modi loves such public encomium and these business leaders are smart enough to give him that. But they also love Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana, Jayalalitha/Karunanidhi and TN and whoever it is in AP. Businessmen want pragmatic governance and all these states offer that. The only difference is that these states are quiet performers, while Modi croons from the roof top.

5)    Hides all non-GDP data: And the last lie of course is that by talking only about GDP growth, Modi diverts attention from everything else. Be it is his communal record (he hasn’t apologized for the post-Godhra riots, or for the fake encounter killings), or his state’s data on Human Development Indices (The HDI for Gujarat, in 2008, was 0.527 and it ranked 10th among major states), or social indicators (In Gujarat, the Life Expectance at Birth during 2002-06 was 64.1 years and it ranked ninth among major Indian states. In the areas of Mean Years of Schooling and School Life Expectancy, during 2004-05, it ranked seventh and ninth, respectively. Kerala ranked first in all three indicators. Even Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka performed much better than Gujarat (source: Gujarat: Myth and reality: Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar Jun 12, 2012, TOI online edition), Gujarat is a laggard. This is what prompted Chidambaram to state in his budget speech that this is not the growth model that the UPA wants to practice.

The real truth is that the Gujarat economic story has to be narrated correctly. The public has to know the real truth. Even if it takes a hundred such posts. Of course Gujarat is a developed state; just as developed as Maharashtra, AP, Haryana and TN. That’s why people come back impressed from Ahmedabad. But is Modi being truthful by claiming credit for all this? No way. In fact, he is lying through his teeth. And its time the lies are exposed….

 

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