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India: Letter to Chief Election Commissioner to regarding violence by BJP and Hindutva goons in Gujarat

by Anhad, 24 April 2009

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Mr. Navin Chawla
- The Chief Election Commissioner
- New Delhi

April 24, 2009

Dear Mr Chawla,

Twenty five young activists belonging to Anhad, Aman Samudaya and Urjaghar were attacked by BJP goons on April 20, 2009 in Shastri Nagar, Naranpura, Gandhinagar Constituency, Gujarat. We are enclosing a detailed account of the incident with this letter.

Voluntary organizations, members of civil society, activists, artists, and intellectuals have played a major role in protecting the values enshrined in the Indian constitution, democracy, secularism and have fought for a just and an equal society. Across India activist and people’s groups have always campaigned by organizing public meetings, doing door to door campaigns, releasing people’s manifestos, bringing out pamphlets, leaflets, addressing media to propagate an alternate vision of India.

During the past 7 years we have personally witnessed more than 20 attacks on Anhad activists, majority of them in Gujarat by the BJP, VHP goons, the latest being in the constituency of the “PM in Waiting” Mr LK Advani. The state machinery both administration and police uses the pretext of Model Code of Conduct to stop civil society groups from holding meetings and organising campaigns. In many incidents they have arrested activists, harassed them and stopped innumerable public meetings and confiscated material and books.

The present attack as well as the earlier attacks , the role of the administration and police violate the democratic and constitutional rights of ordinary citizens to hold and propagate their ideas.

We are writing to request you to:

a. To intervene in the present case as so far no action has been taken against the goons who attacked out activists in Gandhi Nagar despite our providing even the vehicle numbers to the police.

b. To issue guidelines to the administration and police not only to allow the civil society groups, activists and ordinary citizens to campaign but also to ensure their safety.

Sincerely yours

Shabnam Hashmi
- Prasad Chako
- Sachin Pandya
- Rasheeda Ansari
- Shivani Singh
- Seema Duhan
- Robin Soni

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