NCM report


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Statement from chairman of India's national Commission for minorities, on the violence against christians and muslims in the state of Gujarat by members of the BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu parishad.

Following is the full text of the statement of Prof Tahir Mahmood,
chairman of India's national Commission for minorities, on the violence
against christians and muslims in the state of Gujarat by members of the
BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu parishad. Complaints were filed
with the commission by the All India catholic Union and other christian
organisations against over 40 cases of violence against the community in
the first six months of this year in the state. The commission had set
up a high powered study team with Rev James massey as chairman. The
other christian member was JOHN Dayal while the Muslim member was lawyer
Yusuf Muchhala of Bombay
The report was released to the press on Tuesday, 22 September 1998.

Government of India
Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi

Complaints regarding alleged atrocities on minorities in Gujarat
Commission's Decisions/ Recommendations

1 In its meeting held on 23 July 1998 the commission had taken a serious
note of the reportedly deteriorating situation in respect of the
...................received a large number of complaints and
representations urging it to intervene in the mater. It had also taken
cognizance of the extensive media reports, speaking of `atrocities'
against the local Christians and Muslims in various parts of the State.
Acting under section 9(1) (d) read with Section 9(4) (e) of the National
commission for Minorities Act 1992 (hereinafter called the "ACT"), the
commission had decided to send a fact-finding team (hereinafter called
the "NCM Team") to Gujarat headed by its Member, Dr. James Massey.

2 The NCM Team toured, between 10 and 12 august, various parts of the
state ...persons and groups and the officers of State Government,
collected and record evidence and examined witnesses. Along with the
general communal situation in the State, the following incidents were
looked into in depth:

(i) alleged exhuming of a corpse from a Christian cemetery in Kapadganj in Old Kheda district;
(ii) alleged burning of the Holy Bible in a School in Rajkot City; and
(iii) alleged harassment of the muslims of village Randhikpur as a reaction to some inter-religious marriages.

3 Having given most careful consideration to the written and oral
submissions made to the NCM Team and to the Team's own findings and
impressions, the commission is constrained to express its serious
concern on the situation in Gujarat on the communal front. Findings of
the NCM Team, and the information received by the Commission from other
authentic sources, indicate violation of the Constitutional provisions
relating to both Fundamental rights and Fundamental Duties, attracting
in --------- even sections 295-298 of the Indian Panel Code 1860
concerning "Offences relating to religion". Also the basic Human Rights
of citizens to freely choose a lie-partner of their choice, ensured by
the Indian matrimonial laws, has been infringed upon. Some such
incidents have been reported from the state even after the return of the
NCM Team. These events have seriously wounded the religious sentiments
of the Minorities and created feelings of fear, dismay and
disillusionment with the Nation's secular and egalitarisn traditions.

4. The Commission finds it specially painful that the minorities should
have such feelings of insecurity and complaints of deprivation of civil
rights int he state of Gujarat, which has the distinction of observation
in a recent Supreme Court judgement, had "laid down his life for
protection of the minorities"). The Commission wishes the state
government to realize its extraordinary responsibilities in view of this
glorious historical fact.

5. The commission is constrained to urge the concerned custodians of
constitutional authority in Gujarat to take effective steps to establish
complete religious harmony in the state and ensure that the fundamental
rights are freely enjoyed, and the fundamental duties diligently adhered
to, by all citizens living in various parts of the state.

6. In discharge of its obligations under Section 9(1) (c) of the
National Commission for Minorities Act 1992, the Commission is making
the following statutory recommendations to the government of Gujarat:

(i) By a policy announcement the state government should (a) publicly
disapprove the unconstitutional, unlawful and penal incidents of the
recent past that have offended religious sensitivities, and (b) affirm
its commitment to the protection of the Human Rights, Civil Liberties
and Fundamental Freedoms of all citizens in accordance with the Equality
and Social Justice clauses of the Constitution of India.

(ii) Proper, effective and time-bound investigations by the
highest-level state agencies should be immediate ordered in respect of
each of the three incidents referred to in para 2 above. Pending such
investigations the police officers and administrative officials of the
concerned places should be transferred to avoid possible allegations of
undue influence on an impartiality of the investigations.

(iii) As soon as the investigations referred to above are over all those
individuals who may have committed punishable offences - to whichever
community or group, they may belong - as also those ..... ..... of
dereliction of their official duties or negligence, should be given
exemplary punishment through the due process of law.

(iv) A state-level meeting of non-political representatives of all the
religious communities should be convened by the state government to
discuss and evolve ways and means to create, promote and preserve
complete communal harmony in the state and to make all citizens of the
state, including the majority and the minorities fully awake to the
National obligations and responsibilities towards each other.

(v) The director-General of Police, Gujarat, should be directed to call
periodical meetings of all SPs and other police officers to brief them
about the civil rights and liberties of the citizens, including the
minorities, and to guide them properly for an effective protection of
those rights.

(vi) In order to create and maintain a congenial atmosphere and cordial
inter-community relations, deterrent measures should be effectiely
undertaken by the state government to curb the tirade against particular
communities and their religious practices carried on through
vituperative pamphlets, leaflets, periodicals and false or exaggerated
media reports.

(vii) The state government should formulate and announce all other
possible measures for the protection of the honour, rights and civil
liberties of all the minority communities living in the state.

(viii) Adequate compensation as per established legal and judicial
norms should be paid as early as possible for the loss of life, if any,
and damage to properties and institutions of a religious nature.

(ix) The decision to elevate the Gujarat minorities board to a
corporation, changed by the present government, should be restored, and
the board be made more powerful and effective for the promotion of
socio-economic development of the minorities.(x) On the pattern of the
minorities welfare departments since set up by the government of Andhra
Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal, the Gujarat government should set up a
special department to effectively deal with all matters and problems
relating to the minorities.

7. The commission deeply appreciates the gesture of the Gujarat chief
minister to speak personally on phone to the chairman of the commission
and later to send his minister of state for Home Affairs to apprise the
chairman of the steps proposed to be taken by the state government in
respect of the communal situation in the state. In view of this concern
shown by the state government, the commission urges it to translate its
concern into concrete action by implementing on a priority basis all the
steps herein above suggested by the commission.

8. Attention of the Gujarat government is drawn to the fact that interms
of Section 9(3) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 the
aforementioned statutory recommendations of the commission are to be
laid by it before the state legislature "along with a memorandum
explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken" on them. The
commission expects the state government to act on this statutory
requirement as early as possible.

9. The matter is accordingly disposed of, with the direction that these
decisions/recommendations of the commission be speedily forwarded to the
government of Gujarat for necessary action under due intimation to the
commission. On its part, the commission will be only too willing to
provide any assistance/cooperation that may be required in the matter by
the state government.

10. It is also directed that a copy of these decisions/recommendations
be sent to the National Human Rights Commission with a request on our
behalf that the NHRC may please take cognizance of our
decisions/recommendations and take action on them as it may deem fit.

11. It is further directed that a copy of these
decisions/recommendations of the commission be forwarded for information
to the Union Ministries of Home Affairs and Social Justice and

12. In accordance with the provision of Reg 16 of the commission's rules
of procedure 1983, it has been decided that these
decisions/recommendations will not be treated as confidential.
Approved on behalf of the commission under the relevant provisions of
the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 for issuance and
immediate action.

- Professor Dr Tahir Mahmood, Chairman, National Commission of Minorties, Govt. of India. (Sept. 1998)


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Last updated: February 23, 2000 .