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Communal cauldron: Goa isn't doing enough to hold things in check
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2009-01-02 21:09:16 UTC
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Communal cauldron: Goa isn't doing enough to hold things in check

By Frederick Noronha
fn at goa-india.org

Goa can't but feel the heat. Communal conflict from other
parts of India has left scars and created distrust of a new
kind. This has brought in its impact from Orissa and coastal
Karnataka, not far from home. Earlier, similar trends were
witnessed in Gujarat's tribal areas.

Christians, who form a "major minority" in Goa, have shown
signs of worry over the anti-Christian violence reported from
these areas. Hindus, on the other hand, who have had a
complex but often peaceful relationship of coexisting with
Christians here, appear somewhat defensive about an issue
which they have little control over.

Meanwhile, with elections round the corner, tempers
have been getting heated in Goa itself. The series
of attacks on temples, still unexplained at the
time of writing, has made the mood in the majority
Hindu community restive and neglected.

"The Congress government can't even protect the 'moortis'
(statues) just outside Panjim, and they were damaged
yesterday. Corruption has also spiralled," said a barber in
the city. "I'm not saying the BJP wasn't tainted by
corruption. But they at least delivered results. And Panjim
was better maintained when they were in power."

* * *

Debates over secularism and communalism have turned into
means of scoring points. Both the Congress and the BJP resort
to this.

For instance, the BJP, whose wider network and affiliated
fronts played a role in stoking up temperatures in 2006 riots
at Curchorem-Sanvordem, went on to blame the Congress for
allowing such violence to hit Goa during the latter's rule.

Congress' spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu, on the other
hand, blamed the BJP for itself being behind the recent
temple desecrations. This came inspite of the fact that the
Congress government so far failed to nab any suspects.

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat offered a Rs 100,000 reward
for information leading to the trail of the miscreants. Kamat
also asked citizens in Goa not to allow Goa to see a repeat
of what already happening in Karnataka and Orissa. Citizens
too have attempted some initiatives, but it is clear that
these are certainly not sufficient.

Goa home minister Ravi Naik likewise critiqued the
BJP, in another statement, saying its temple
politics was meant to dividing people. While such
political games go on, the State pays a big price
for its lethargy with the communal virus spreading.

* * *

Over time, the polarisation is simply getting worse.

Misunderstandings mark relationships between Goa's three main
communities. If the 20th century in Goa was spent in caste
battles -- Brahmins versus Chardos among the Catholics, and
Bahujans versus the 'upper' castes among the Hindus -- now
the focus is going to building suspicion among different
religious groups.

Hindu-Muslim mistrust appears to be growing.
Catholics and Hindus have a bone to pick in some
places. "To construe superficial conviviality and
cosmetic bonhomie as deep rooted communal harmony
is just fooling ourselves," argues Ave Cleto
Afonso, a retired philosophy prof formerly with the
Dhempe College. Afonso recently translated the 1923
book 'The Hindus of Goa and the Portuguese
Republic'.

Likewise, the growing immigrant Muslim population of Goa has
become the target of campaigns both on communal or regional
grounds, with Catholics also showing some signs of buying
'anti-outsider' arguments too here.

One concern that has to still be sufficiently address is that
communal lobbies could have infiltrated key government
departments. Sometimes, too, the media coverage of certain
issues is shocking. Sections of the vernacular press in
particular are known to have taken a rather shrill position
on communalism.

There are other irritants within the population. Catholics, a
majority in the state till a little less than a century ago,
today feel swamped. Their numbers declined due to their
outmigration, in-migration, and lower birth rates. Since the
1960s, their shrinking access to political power has had its
impact.

On the other hand, the average Hindu isn't able to
access trends like out-migration, which creates
easy earning opportunities for many Catholics.
Increasingly, both communities are also seen to
compete in each other's territory -- government
service was once a domain which Catholics
dominated, while enterprise was where the Hindu had
strengths. New and unexpected elements enter the
equations. Both communities, for instance, are
showing signs of disliking Muslim vendor
competition that has grown in the markets.

Due to accidents of the past, Goans can have very differing
ideas of their history and their culture. Minority
communalism doesn't get addressed as much as it should.
Goans, of all religions, also tend to have fewer campaigners
over secularism; most are easily polarised over lines of
religion, compared to the situation elsewhere in India.

* * *

Goa is not immune to concerns that dominate the wider
national agenda. Recent attacks on some churches and found
their echo here too.

Sites like the Thane-based hindujagruti.org -- which
describes its goal as a "mission is to serve (the) Hindu
Dharma and Nation" -- has pages on its sites devoted to news
that highlights the negatives of Christianity and Islam. Some
of this touches on Goa too.

For instance, it quotes the RSS-linked Karnataka
chief minister saying "Christian organisations
(are) flaring up social tension". It likewise
highlights the arrest of "two Christians" for the
swamiji's murder in Orissa, and the controversy
over a translated Bible in the Jharkhand assembly.
Likewise, it says, "Christian nuns claim false rape
in India to defame Hinduism". Some of its other
reports point to a Christian-Hindu feud over a
Lahore temple, and a charge that 'Once a Hindu
converts, his loyalties shift'.

In the recent anti-Christian campaigns, some involved have
faulted Christian conversion policies as provoking conflict.
While certain sects are indeed on an aggressive evangelical
drive, conversions are a non-issue for a number of mainstream
denominations, including the Catholics.

In Goa, in fact, the Catholics themselves feel the pressures
coming from up when other, smaller, fringe Christian groups
seek to lure over Catholic adherents, not unsuccessfully. So
if conversion was the issue, there's no explanation why
Catholic religious places and personnel should be targeted.

But issues apart, the jostling for space is visible.
Sometimes not just metaphorically.

News reports from Margao (Herald, Oct 3, 2008) pointed out
that only a wall separates the existing masjid and the
newly-built Durga Mata temple at the Goa Housing Board plot
in Rumdamol. Recently, Muslims held Id prayers there, while
local Hindu leaders fixed their religious ceremony to install
a religious figure of Durga at around the same time, giving
the authorities some tense moments.

* * *

For the average citizen, most would obviously wish to simply
live in peace. But that's not how it always works out.

There are a number of reasons one could attribute to the
growth of communal politics in Goa too. One clearly is the
role played by politicians and the press. The first is search
of easy votes, and the latter going out for circulations.

But there are also other reasons. The global shift to the
Right in politics, visible since the 1980s, is making its
impact felt here too. Identity-politics is a good substitute
-- and divisionary tactic -- to avoid taking on more tougher,
real-world, concrete issues.

Likewise, the ascendence of conservative leaders at the helm
of many religions -- from Popes, to politicians claiming to
speak in the name of Hinduism, and militants claiming the
Muslim space -- only complicates the issue. Growing Christian
Evangelicalism, and the ascendence of the Christian Right
till Obama's recent election in the distant US has influenced
the debate on Goan shores too.

Spilling over into the Panjim Azad Maidan, this sometimes
shows up in the form of noisy prayer meetings. This is a
questionable policy at best which sees the municipality grant
permission for the use of this public space to just about
anyone who pays their price.

Even the stray religious conversion that happens here is
reason enough for the sections of the local vernacular media
to blow-up the issue. A case of a family from Parra, sometime
back, opting to change their religion lead to columns of
newsprint being devoted to this issue.

On the other hand, Christian arrogance is visible when it
comes to dealing with other religions. In part, this comes
from a monotheistic faith, with concepts like "false gods"
being part of its doctrine; but this makes for an incongruous
situation in the early 21st century. More so in times when
one has to accept that nobody has a monopoly over the truth.

Likewise, different political parties too have
tried their hand at playing the communal game.
While the saffron BJP has been often blamed, the
Congress itself hasn't been above majoritarian
politics (or minority versions of the game, in some
parts of the country). Its role in the anti-Sikh
riots, attempting to lure Christian votes in the
North-East or Salcete, and unlocking the Ayodhya
controversy with Rajiv Gandhi's shilyanyas is only
too well known.

In Goa, for their part, a number of political parties have
played their own sectarian, if not communal, role. Both the
MGP (which dominated Goan politics in the 1960s and 1970s)
and the BJP have played their part. So have some politicians
within the Congress, and the Goa Congress was decidedly a
party aiming to build a decidedly Catholic support-base. In
the 1960s, the UGP-MGP divide was also based on such a logic.

Arms of the State also play a role.

Young lawyer Jason Keith Fernandes wrote about an exhibition
held at the Kala Academy in Panjim, which he termed
"invitation to hate". This 2007 event aimed "to 'educate' the
average Hindu about the violence by Muslims on the Hindus of
Kashmir and Bangladesh." It came up via the French
Catholic-born Francois Gautier, now a staunch supporter of
the "Hindu nationalist movement".

When in power, the Rane Congress government spoke
of stopping the "sprouting of illegal constructions
and encroachments in public property". It did so
even as a debate raged on the need for a law to
tackle "communalism" in the state. Given the manner
in which some politicians and sections of the media
have been going after Muslim places of worship on
grounds of being illegal, the implications of such
an official stand would be clear to anyone who
takes a second look.

When in power, the Congress's role has sometimes itself been
questionable.

Take the case of Tariq Ahmed Battlo, arrested amidst much of
an outcry and media sensationalism at Margao, and alleged to
be a Tehrik-ul-Mukahidin militant. On July 10, 2008, he was
given the benefit of the doubt, and set free.

Strangely, just around the time of the Sanvordem-Curchorem
riots, Goa's Congress Rane-led government had publicly
announced his arrest (probably even before the police
formally arrested him, or staged his arrest), along with
charges that RDX too had been seized from him at Margao.

During the discussion on the Goa 2006-07 budget,
then CM Rane also announced plans for a law to
prevent communal disturbance. Nothing of that kind
has happened yet. And communal incidents keep
getting stoked, while an impotent State -- or one
which chooses to be -- looks on helplessly.

Suddenly, unusual issues crop up. As noted above, the concern
of "illegal constructions" was made central to the debate of
communalism in Goa some time ago.

Religious shrines have been sprouting all around, but it is
only "illegal" Muslim shrines that get targeted. Even before
the 2006 anti-Muslim violence at Curchorem, a campaign was
created over this issue.

Media reports highlight a number of such issue. For instance,
the December 2005 attempt to burn a mosque at Mardol; the
October 2005 desecration of a mosque at the Mapusa housing
board; the villagers demand for the demolition of a masjid
project under construction in Curti, on October 15-16, 2005.

* * *

"Communal danger (is) knocking on Goa's doors," argues
journalist Vidyadhar Gadgil, also a campaigner against
communalism and its spread. But others have critiqued
secularism campaigners for highlighting the ills of 'majority
communalism' often, while ignoring the problem of its
'minority' counterpart.

Gadgil himself warns that communal elements are likely to
want the tempo "built up and sustained" even as elections
approach. Argues he: "Citizens of Goa, irrespective of faith
and community, have been outraged by the violence against the
Christian community, and have united to condemn the
violence."

Gadgil contends that the blame needs to be placed where it
belongs. Critiquing the impact of the Hindutva ideology, he
believes, cannot be neglected if one is not to attempt "a
frantic and desperate (and doomed) attempt to be
non-partisan."

But others see the issue differently.

Dr Anand Virgincar of Margao, now based in the UK,
has another take on this. Joining a discussion on
the maverick GoenchimXapotam mailing-list in
cyberspace recently, he contended that "there is no
malice, let alone hatred, between the vast majority
of Goan Catholics and Hindus". Virgincar added that
"the vast majority of BJP/MGP voters in Goa -- and
there were 276,000 odd at the last elections -- are
not communal." Besides, he posited, the current BJP
leadership in Goa is "probably the least interested
in fomenting strife between communities -- as
compared to both BJP and non-BJP leaders across the
country. The recent Orissa violence is a case in
point. Ex-CM Manohar Parrikar "not only condemned
the violence but made a clear statement that there
is no Christian missionary activity encouraging
religious conversions in Goa," argued Virgincar.

But he argued "anti-Hindutva protestors (are) making
anti-Hindu statements ... in their over-enthusiasm". "While
faults with the Hindu religion are displayed in all their
glory -- often concealed as criticism of Hindutva -- any
wrongs within the Catholic faith are swept under the carpet,"
he argued. Bigots were left arguing such issues in the online
world, he said.

"Any moderate Hindu or a BJP or Manohar Parrikar supporter,
reading such hateful propaganda, would be a potential recruit
for their cause -- and their dream of collecting an entire
generation of militant Goan Hindus," argued Virgincar, who
uses the cyber-identity of 'Mahatma Sachin'.

But even if individuals are well-meaning, the reality of
communal ideologies needs to be taken into account.

For instance, R.S.Golwalkar, head of the RSS for nearly 30
years, perceives the 'Golden Age' India as a "full-fledged
nation of Hindus", with other communities living here being
either guests like Jews and Parsis, or "invaders" like
Muslims and Christians.

Different other quarters define the issue differently too.

For its part, the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, a body promoting the
language, recently said any attempt to amend the Official
Language Act of Goa "would only foment trouble in the Goan
society and divide the people on communal lines."

But others like the pro-Romi Konkani ex-Speaker Tomazinho
Cardozo argue contrarily. Cardozo commented recently:
"Traditionally Goans, Hindus as well as Christian, loved and
still love their own religions and at the same time they
respected and still respect the religious feelings of each
other. This is the foundation of communal harmony and peace
among Goans."

Solutions that are offered similarly differ.

South Goa collector G P Naik spoke in terms of a three-tier
peace committee "for managing conflict situations arising in
South Goa district." Margao itself was the seat of communal
tensions on June 27, 2008.

As an editorial in the Herald newspaper commented:
"The communal violence that engulfed Margao is an
extremely ominous indicator of the times to come.
Is Goa's commercial capital now going to be rocked
by communal violence every time a Hindu and a
Muslim have a fight, for whatever reason? The last
two times that the town has seen communal tension,
the events have been frighteningly similar."

On September 16, 2008, Goans answered a call by the Council
for Social Justice and Peace -- and braved some rain -- to
attend a rally opposed to communal violence. People from
different areas of Goa joined the meet to condemn the
incidents of violence against Christians in Orissa and
Karnataka.

CICH, a local campaign group called The Citizens' Initiatives
for Communal Harmony (CICH), argued that the desecrations
were "all taking place in one belt in South Goa and seemed
designed to deliberately polarise communities." CICH is
represented by social campaigner Ramesh Gauns and lawyer
Albertina Almeida. This group has also questioned the logic
of "projecting Muslims as repositories of violence".

Citizens have taken up other initiatives too.

After the March 2006, anti-Muslim riots in
Curchorem-Sanvordem, Goa's secular lobby was quick to study
the issue. Some who didn't agree with the findings of the
report raked up a controversy over it in cyberspace. Yet, its
study did put out a whole lot of useful and surprising
information about the way communalism is being built in Goa,
often without even being noticed.

This notwithstanding, on June 12, 2008, the
Additional Sessions Court of Margao acquitted 23
persons who were charge-sheeted for the arson and
assault during the March 2006 communal riots in the
Curchorem-Sanvordem twin towns. Addl Sessions Judge
Dilip Gaikwad gave them the benefit of doubt.

Earlier this year, a body calling itself the Akhil Goa Mandir
Suraksha Samiti, headed by the 'Dharmajagran Pramukh'
Rajendra 'Raju' Velingkar, son of RSS leader Subhash
Velingkar, lead the call for a protest strike in Goa over the
mysterious attacks on temples.

But this is one side of the story.

There are still positive examples. At the village and town
level, there are instances of people living in amity and
peace, for generations. Goans share some religious festivals
-- in places like Fatorpa, Mapusa and a few other spots.
Catholics, for the most, acknowledge their Hindu roots.
Dividing lines between 'we' and 'them' are not so clear-cut
here, though increasingly this is sought to be made so.

Concern over communalism continues to show up though.

In mid-November 2008, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind "vowed to
build a secular and prosperous Goa and not to allow
polarisation of the state on communal lines."

In October 2008, the Citizens' Forum for Secularism and
Communal Harmony fact-finding committee pulled up the police
administration for its failure to check communal violence in
Margao and Rumdamol on June 27 this year.

It is not as if we lack the law to tackle communalism.

The Indian Penal Code has clear-cut laws against destroying,
damaging or defiling a place of worship or sacred object,
with the intent to insult any religion (Sec 295, IPC). On the
law-book too are laws against maliciously insulting any
religion (295A), causing a disturbance to religious worship
(296), trespassing into a place of worship (29), or even
"uttering any word or making any sound" with the intention to
wound religious feelings (298). But, as one could guess,
these are seldom implemented, by a State which is itself
appears lackadaisical about the growth of communalism.

* * *

Goa's reality is different from that across the country. Our
history is different, so is our demography, and the relations
between communities.

What is the same however is the manner in which
this region too is prone to sustained communal
propaganda, the political interest in instigating
communalism, and the growing pressures to find
scapegoat-communities in times of economic
pressures and change.

Ironically, contrary to the widely-held view, Goa has not
always been the haven of peace it is made out to be.

On the contrary.

This tiny region has been the hotbed of communal battles,
caste conflict and theocratic intolerance for much of the
past centuries. But the good side of this bad story is that,
despite all that has happened -- or perhaps, because of it --
Goa has been less prone to go in for blatant communal
bitterness for much of the recent past. The state seems to
have realised that religious-based hate doesn't pay, and
solves no problems. Suspicions, and communal, politics do
linger on though.

The villain of the piece has been Portuguese
colonial rule. A few decades after settling in Goa,
in the mid-sixteenth century, the colonial ruler
began a policy of Lusitanisation and religious
conversions. Even in the 20th century, Salazar's
Estado Novo was known for its theocratic approach
and modus vivendi with the Vatican.

But contrary to the lore perpetuated by contemporary
communalism in Goa, it was not the Portuguese alone that
adopted policies of religious intolerance. Nor were the
Portuguese persistently biased against whom they defined as
The Other. Portuguese policy also hurt diverse segments of
the population, cutting across religious lines.

Initially, the colonial rulers slaughtered the Muslim
population of a Muslim-ruled Goa. The belief of some
influential players then was that the Hindus of Goa could
utilise the Portuguese to oust the then Muslim rulers is also
documented. But, for some time during their long regime, the
Portuguese gave Goa stints where anti-clerical politics saw
the expulsion of the Jesuits and other religious orders.

On the other hand, the Portuguese intolerance
during its rule in parts of Goa (the 'Old
Conquests' central core, ironically more Catholic
today) is also well documented. There is no denial
about the Hindu or Muslim shrines destroyed and
rebuilt as Catholic places of worship or even
forts.

Anyone wanting to rake up a bad row could create dozens of
Ayodhyas here. Though of course things are more complex than
that, because together with the shrines, the a section of the
people too were converted. Most of the latter are today
content to belong to the faith they are part of.

In addition, religious conflict wasn't the the only or prime
driver of colonial rule, as is sometimes sought to be
suggested. Likewise, religious minorities of today should not
be confused with the colonial rulers of the yesterdays.

This situation is ripe with other contradictions too.

A researcher planning to take up this issue listed
a number of religious monuments that got caught in
the religious intolerance of the past. Such as the
Muslim cemetery and mosque site near the fortress
in Chapora; the Reis Magos fortress and church
site, built on a Hindu temple; the Rachol Seminary,
built on a mosque site; monuments at Velha Goa; and
temples temples around Ponda, that were created as
"fugitive" religious sites.

Those raking up issues against the Portuguese policies on
religion often gain support from the 'New Conquest' areas,
areas where ironically enough colonial religious intolerance
was not fierce, or hardly felt.

Goa nowadays often gets reminded about the Inquisition in
Goa. Sometimes, the motives are genuine; at other times, the
intention is simply to justify more present-day communal
intolerance on the basis of the bigotry of the past.

Goa's complex history says it all. The post-1910 Republican
regime in Lisbon in fact made attempts to make up for periods
of anti-Hindu bias, till Salazar set back the clock.

Post 1963, after one-man one-vote electoral politics were
introduce in Goa, political parties played to communal
galleries to lesser or greater extent. The MGP, UGP, BJP,
Shiv Sena, Goa Congress, among others, have banked on getting
the votes sometimes with overt and unchecked appeals to
religion. Congress' attempts to garner votes involves a more
complex process of incorporating regional leaders -- of
diverse local community or caste groups -- together with a
role for money and migrant votes.

But during the BJP rule one had Governors like the
RSS-linked Kidar Nath Sahani highlight the
importance of rebuilding temples demolished by the
Portuguese and "erstwhile regimes" as part of the
"nation building task" in October 2003. It boggles
the mind how such sectarian talk can be tolerated
by a high functionary of a secular state.

There were other trends that caused concern in that period.

In early 2003, when the controversial Marathi play "Mee
Nathuram Boltoy" was staged in Kala Academy, the character
Nathuram Godse (Gandhiji's assassin in real life) got loud
applause from the audience.

There was a controversy over scrapping of some religious
holidays; hot-heads managed to get into the Archbishop's
House on an excuse; and, contrary to national policies to
have a force representative of the populace, only a tiny
number of minorities were recruited to crucial sectors like
the police. This was justified on the grounds that Catholics
anyway disliked working as stereotyped constables.

A controversial VCD, communalising the past via a
religiosity-suffused interpretation of history, was released
by the government. State monies were passed on to allegedly
partisan bodies in the wake of the Gujarat quake.

Samata Andolan, a body campaigning on social issues, then
also blamed the BJP Goa government of handing over over
primary schools to the Sangh Parivar "without complying
required formalities."

"How does (ex-chief minister Parrikar) justify the
thousands of saffrons he has recruited into
government service ever since the BJP took over the
reins two years ago?" charged lawyer Aires
Rodrigues, currently a vocal supporter of Mr
Parrikar, whom he now sees as the only option for
Goa.

Winds blowing in the rest of the country are also bound to
affect Goa.

Outlook, the New Delhi-published magazine, offered some
surprising info recently. In its issues of Sept 28, 2008 and
Oct 6, 2008, it reported a link between Hindutva terrorism
and Goa. Some of those involved in recent cases of violence
had got trained in making timer-bombs. Said Outlook, "Panse
(one of those involved, also) underwent training by the VHP
and Bajrang Dal at Goa for two years." Names of other groups,
like the Sanatan Sanstha, which publishes a newspaper from
Goa, have also come up in connection with this controversy.

But even while attempts are on to widen the communal rift,
some understand that religious-infighting doesn't make any
sense, and the State swims or sinks across communities.

As Prof Afonso put it, "It is my belief that the hope of
sustaining Goa and enriching Goan cultural identity depends
on healing of the old wounds that have divided the Hindus and
Catholics."

ENDS

------------------------------------------------------------
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------

According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2, 2008
had the following toll:

ORISSA
Districts hit 14
Villagers destroyed 300
Houses burnt 4,300
Homeless 50,000
People murdered 57
Fathers, pastors or nuns injured 10
Women gang-raped 2
Injured 18,000
Churches destroyed 149
Schools, colleges destroyed 13

KARNATAKA
Districts devastated 4
Churches attacked 19
Nuns, women injured 20

KERALA
Churches damaged 3

MADHYA PRADESH
Churches damaged 4

DELHI
Churches destroyed 1
Attempts made 4

TAMIL NADU
Churches attacked 1

UTTRAKHAND
Murdered 2 (aged priest and employee)

------------------------------------------------------------
First published (in a slightly differing version) in Goa
Today, December 2008 issue.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-03 01:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh
Miguel Braganza
2009-01-04 06:07:00 UTC
Permalink
Dear Dr. Santosh Helekar,

Benjamin Disraeli, when he was the PM of UK, is credited with the statement, "There are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Mark Twain is credited with the coinage of the term "lies of virtuous ecstasy"

The "communal cauldron" has been stirred in the crusades, jihads and Kalinga war, then in the land of Alexander the Great [ Macedonia-Serbia-Croatia] and continues to be so in Iraq, Afganistan, West Bank and the Gaza strip is the latest of this strip-tease.

In the present day, journalism and truth seldom share the same PC or news report. Even advertorials and advertisements come through as "Reporter copy" or "News Desk" copy.

John Dayal has been a "Working Journalist" [within the definition of Goa Union of Journalist or GUJ for membership] and continues to be a "Press Note Journalist" and "Ghost Writer" like so many "have been journalists" and Editors, including one who is now the Vice-President- Communications for a 'Group of Companies' with interests in "Hospitality" [read, 'Hotels and casino', including one unit allegedly coming up near Tirthbag beach close to Vengurla], "Infrastructure" [ read "mining and transport of ore'] and the latest euphemism "Mineral Farming" [read iron ore mining and "planting" reports. stories and advertorials in daily newspapers and weekly tabloids]

Frederick Noronha is also a journalist on the Goanet, besides other places. He has already disclaimed responsibility for the data by prefacing his sentence thus, "According to John....." Dayalu or otherwise. ;-)

Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere rhetoric?

Mog asundi

Miguel

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 17:59:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Santosh Helekar <chimbelcho at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Goanet] Stirring the communal cauldron
Message-ID: <562745.4367.qm at web110313.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh



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Santosh Helekar
2009-01-04 08:21:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel Braganza
Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere
rhetoric?
Dear Miguel,

No. You have told me more than I needed to know. Thanks. Mark Twain also wrote that journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft and admires the thief.

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-04 12:39:34 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Santosh's positions on this.

Views from the other side of the divide would give an entirely
different picture, quite contrary to the one painted by John Dayal.
Here are just a few links from some past instances, gathered from RSS/
Hindu sources to illustrate just exactly this:

http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/14.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0700/91.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/45.html

An independent analysis from an objective secular perspective must
therefore not quote or rely on facts provided by people who have their
own vested agendas and interests.

While Frederick got almost everything else right in his column, he
committed a gross error by relying on John Dayal as his data source,
someone who is a known Christian propagandist and someone who has made
quite a few baseless, religiously motivated and unsubstantiated claims
in the past.

Cheers
Sandeep

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed >>here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a >>journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent >>sources for any factual information he provides his readers.
Cheers,
Santosh
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-05 16:52:06 UTC
Permalink
*Santosh Helekar:*
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has
listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian
campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his
readers.Cheers,Santosh
Response:
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi goon attacks you or
tries to burn your home or property or attempts to rape a member of your
family, please remember to call for at least two independent witnesses,
preferably not belonging to your religion. Otherwise if the media publicizes
your misfortune, your word and that of the journalist will count for
nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of Gotham) on Goanet.

Regards,

Marshall
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 18:06:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi
goon attacks you or tries to burn your home or property or attempts to >rape a member of your family, please remember to call for at least two
independent witnesses, preferably not belonging to your religion. >Otherwise if the media publicizes your misfortune, your word and that of >the journalist will count for nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of >Gotham) on Goanet.
I humbly request Marshall to kindly not resort to name-calling.

I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent sources before they report something as fact. It is to protect people's rights, including a victim's right to privacy. It is also to guard against the spread of rumors and false allegations, and to prevent incitement of communal/sectarian feelings and violent action.

The sarcasm in the above post from Marshall misleads people as to what they should do in the event that they become victims of a crime. I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:

1. Call for help, and seek medical help.

2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.

3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.

4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.

5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.

Cheers,

Santosh
Roland Francis
2009-01-05 20:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Santosh,
Here's what you might not have fully grasped:

That victims call press conferences precisely because that may be the
only way to get the police to register the offence. They are fully
cognisant and do not need us to advise them that they are at risk of
losing their privacy in the process. That is a price they are willing
to pay to get justice in India. That is also a price that they are
also willing to pay knowing that inevitably politicians will want to
take advantage of their situation.

Mostly, there is no such thing as independent judicial inquiry in
India. See the inquiry that has absolved Narendra Modi of the Gujarat
carnage. If there is such an animal (and there sometimes is) then the
report just gathers dust.

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Roland.
Post by Santosh Helekar
1. Call for help, and seek medical help.
2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.
3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.
4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.
5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.
Cheers,
Santosh
Mervyn Lobo
2009-01-06 02:42:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
?
Roland,
I invite you to visit?and experience?Texas for yourself. The people there
are the friendliest residents of the approx 30 states I have visited. The
friendliest are those from the group you use derogatory names to
describe.

Lastly, Goans fit in easily in Texas. The majority of the people
have Goan sounding names and look like Goans too.

Mervyn3.0


__________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now at
http://ca.toolbar.yahoo.com.
Mervyn Lobo
2009-01-06 02:42:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
?
Roland,
I invite you to visit?and experience?Texas for yourself. The people there
are the friendliest residents of the approx 30 states I have visited. The
friendliest are those from the group you use derogatory names to
describe.

Lastly, Goans fit in easily in Texas. The majority of the people
have Goan sounding names and look like Goans too.

Mervyn3.0


__________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now at
http://ca.toolbar.yahoo.com.
Mervyn Lobo
2009-01-06 02:42:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
?
Roland,
I invite you to visit?and experience?Texas for yourself. The people there
are the friendliest residents of the approx 30 states I have visited. The
friendliest are those from the group you use derogatory names to
describe.

Lastly, Goans fit in easily in Texas. The majority of the people
have Goan sounding names and look like Goans too.

Mervyn3.0


__________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now at
http://ca.toolbar.yahoo.com.
Roland Francis
2009-01-05 20:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Santosh,
Here's what you might not have fully grasped:

That victims call press conferences precisely because that may be the
only way to get the police to register the offence. They are fully
cognisant and do not need us to advise them that they are at risk of
losing their privacy in the process. That is a price they are willing
to pay to get justice in India. That is also a price that they are
also willing to pay knowing that inevitably politicians will want to
take advantage of their situation.

Mostly, there is no such thing as independent judicial inquiry in
India. See the inquiry that has absolved Narendra Modi of the Gujarat
carnage. If there is such an animal (and there sometimes is) then the
report just gathers dust.

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Roland.
Post by Santosh Helekar
1. Call for help, and seek medical help.
2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.
3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.
4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.
5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.
Cheers,
Santosh
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-05 23:21:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Santosh Helekar
As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual
information he provides his readers.
I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an
ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent
sources before they report something as fact.
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?

I am quoting a statement, attributing it to the person who made it,
and also clearly stating his affiliations. Just as I have quoted the
conflicting views and claims of others elsewhere in the article.
Post by Santosh Helekar
But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries
such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody
should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations
and political activists.
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism,
it is precisely the perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have
played a key role in allowing the truth to emerge.

But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those
endless, hair-splitting arguments, but instead focus on the
substantiative issues raised.

FN
Roland Francis
2009-01-05 20:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Santosh,
Here's what you might not have fully grasped:

That victims call press conferences precisely because that may be the
only way to get the police to register the offence. They are fully
cognisant and do not need us to advise them that they are at risk of
losing their privacy in the process. That is a price they are willing
to pay to get justice in India. That is also a price that they are
also willing to pay knowing that inevitably politicians will want to
take advantage of their situation.

Mostly, there is no such thing as independent judicial inquiry in
India. See the inquiry that has absolved Narendra Modi of the Gujarat
carnage. If there is such an animal (and there sometimes is) then the
report just gathers dust.

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Roland.
Post by Santosh Helekar
1. Call for help, and seek medical help.
2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.
3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.
4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.
5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.
Cheers,
Santosh
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-05 23:21:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Santosh Helekar
As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual
information he provides his readers.
I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an
ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent
sources before they report something as fact.
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?

I am quoting a statement, attributing it to the person who made it,
and also clearly stating his affiliations. Just as I have quoted the
conflicting views and claims of others elsewhere in the article.
Post by Santosh Helekar
But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries
such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody
should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations
and political activists.
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism,
it is precisely the perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have
played a key role in allowing the truth to emerge.

But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those
endless, hair-splitting arguments, but instead focus on the
substantiative issues raised.

FN
Roland Francis
2009-01-05 20:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Santosh,
Here's what you might not have fully grasped:

That victims call press conferences precisely because that may be the
only way to get the police to register the offence. They are fully
cognisant and do not need us to advise them that they are at risk of
losing their privacy in the process. That is a price they are willing
to pay to get justice in India. That is also a price that they are
also willing to pay knowing that inevitably politicians will want to
take advantage of their situation.

Mostly, there is no such thing as independent judicial inquiry in
India. See the inquiry that has absolved Narendra Modi of the Gujarat
carnage. If there is such an animal (and there sometimes is) then the
report just gathers dust.

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Roland.
Post by Santosh Helekar
1. Call for help, and seek medical help.
2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.
3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.
4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.
5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.
Cheers,
Santosh
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-05 23:21:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Santosh Helekar
As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual
information he provides his readers.
I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an
ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent
sources before they report something as fact.
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?

I am quoting a statement, attributing it to the person who made it,
and also clearly stating his affiliations. Just as I have quoted the
conflicting views and claims of others elsewhere in the article.
Post by Santosh Helekar
But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries
such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody
should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations
and political activists.
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism,
it is precisely the perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have
played a key role in allowing the truth to emerge.

But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those
endless, hair-splitting arguments, but instead focus on the
substantiative issues raised.

FN
Goanet Reader
2009-01-02 21:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Communal cauldron: Goa isn't doing enough to hold things in check

By Frederick Noronha
fn at goa-india.org

Goa can't but feel the heat. Communal conflict from other
parts of India has left scars and created distrust of a new
kind. This has brought in its impact from Orissa and coastal
Karnataka, not far from home. Earlier, similar trends were
witnessed in Gujarat's tribal areas.

Christians, who form a "major minority" in Goa, have shown
signs of worry over the anti-Christian violence reported from
these areas. Hindus, on the other hand, who have had a
complex but often peaceful relationship of coexisting with
Christians here, appear somewhat defensive about an issue
which they have little control over.

Meanwhile, with elections round the corner, tempers
have been getting heated in Goa itself. The series
of attacks on temples, still unexplained at the
time of writing, has made the mood in the majority
Hindu community restive and neglected.

"The Congress government can't even protect the 'moortis'
(statues) just outside Panjim, and they were damaged
yesterday. Corruption has also spiralled," said a barber in
the city. "I'm not saying the BJP wasn't tainted by
corruption. But they at least delivered results. And Panjim
was better maintained when they were in power."

* * *

Debates over secularism and communalism have turned into
means of scoring points. Both the Congress and the BJP resort
to this.

For instance, the BJP, whose wider network and affiliated
fronts played a role in stoking up temperatures in 2006 riots
at Curchorem-Sanvordem, went on to blame the Congress for
allowing such violence to hit Goa during the latter's rule.

Congress' spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu, on the other
hand, blamed the BJP for itself being behind the recent
temple desecrations. This came inspite of the fact that the
Congress government so far failed to nab any suspects.

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat offered a Rs 100,000 reward
for information leading to the trail of the miscreants. Kamat
also asked citizens in Goa not to allow Goa to see a repeat
of what already happening in Karnataka and Orissa. Citizens
too have attempted some initiatives, but it is clear that
these are certainly not sufficient.

Goa home minister Ravi Naik likewise critiqued the
BJP, in another statement, saying its temple
politics was meant to dividing people. While such
political games go on, the State pays a big price
for its lethargy with the communal virus spreading.

* * *

Over time, the polarisation is simply getting worse.

Misunderstandings mark relationships between Goa's three main
communities. If the 20th century in Goa was spent in caste
battles -- Brahmins versus Chardos among the Catholics, and
Bahujans versus the 'upper' castes among the Hindus -- now
the focus is going to building suspicion among different
religious groups.

Hindu-Muslim mistrust appears to be growing.
Catholics and Hindus have a bone to pick in some
places. "To construe superficial conviviality and
cosmetic bonhomie as deep rooted communal harmony
is just fooling ourselves," argues Ave Cleto
Afonso, a retired philosophy prof formerly with the
Dhempe College. Afonso recently translated the 1923
book 'The Hindus of Goa and the Portuguese
Republic'.

Likewise, the growing immigrant Muslim population of Goa has
become the target of campaigns both on communal or regional
grounds, with Catholics also showing some signs of buying
'anti-outsider' arguments too here.

One concern that has to still be sufficiently address is that
communal lobbies could have infiltrated key government
departments. Sometimes, too, the media coverage of certain
issues is shocking. Sections of the vernacular press in
particular are known to have taken a rather shrill position
on communalism.

There are other irritants within the population. Catholics, a
majority in the state till a little less than a century ago,
today feel swamped. Their numbers declined due to their
outmigration, in-migration, and lower birth rates. Since the
1960s, their shrinking access to political power has had its
impact.

On the other hand, the average Hindu isn't able to
access trends like out-migration, which creates
easy earning opportunities for many Catholics.
Increasingly, both communities are also seen to
compete in each other's territory -- government
service was once a domain which Catholics
dominated, while enterprise was where the Hindu had
strengths. New and unexpected elements enter the
equations. Both communities, for instance, are
showing signs of disliking Muslim vendor
competition that has grown in the markets.

Due to accidents of the past, Goans can have very differing
ideas of their history and their culture. Minority
communalism doesn't get addressed as much as it should.
Goans, of all religions, also tend to have fewer campaigners
over secularism; most are easily polarised over lines of
religion, compared to the situation elsewhere in India.

* * *

Goa is not immune to concerns that dominate the wider
national agenda. Recent attacks on some churches and found
their echo here too.

Sites like the Thane-based hindujagruti.org -- which
describes its goal as a "mission is to serve (the) Hindu
Dharma and Nation" -- has pages on its sites devoted to news
that highlights the negatives of Christianity and Islam. Some
of this touches on Goa too.

For instance, it quotes the RSS-linked Karnataka
chief minister saying "Christian organisations
(are) flaring up social tension". It likewise
highlights the arrest of "two Christians" for the
swamiji's murder in Orissa, and the controversy
over a translated Bible in the Jharkhand assembly.
Likewise, it says, "Christian nuns claim false rape
in India to defame Hinduism". Some of its other
reports point to a Christian-Hindu feud over a
Lahore temple, and a charge that 'Once a Hindu
converts, his loyalties shift'.

In the recent anti-Christian campaigns, some involved have
faulted Christian conversion policies as provoking conflict.
While certain sects are indeed on an aggressive evangelical
drive, conversions are a non-issue for a number of mainstream
denominations, including the Catholics.

In Goa, in fact, the Catholics themselves feel the pressures
coming from up when other, smaller, fringe Christian groups
seek to lure over Catholic adherents, not unsuccessfully. So
if conversion was the issue, there's no explanation why
Catholic religious places and personnel should be targeted.

But issues apart, the jostling for space is visible.
Sometimes not just metaphorically.

News reports from Margao (Herald, Oct 3, 2008) pointed out
that only a wall separates the existing masjid and the
newly-built Durga Mata temple at the Goa Housing Board plot
in Rumdamol. Recently, Muslims held Id prayers there, while
local Hindu leaders fixed their religious ceremony to install
a religious figure of Durga at around the same time, giving
the authorities some tense moments.

* * *

For the average citizen, most would obviously wish to simply
live in peace. But that's not how it always works out.

There are a number of reasons one could attribute to the
growth of communal politics in Goa too. One clearly is the
role played by politicians and the press. The first is search
of easy votes, and the latter going out for circulations.

But there are also other reasons. The global shift to the
Right in politics, visible since the 1980s, is making its
impact felt here too. Identity-politics is a good substitute
-- and divisionary tactic -- to avoid taking on more tougher,
real-world, concrete issues.

Likewise, the ascendence of conservative leaders at the helm
of many religions -- from Popes, to politicians claiming to
speak in the name of Hinduism, and militants claiming the
Muslim space -- only complicates the issue. Growing Christian
Evangelicalism, and the ascendence of the Christian Right
till Obama's recent election in the distant US has influenced
the debate on Goan shores too.

Spilling over into the Panjim Azad Maidan, this sometimes
shows up in the form of noisy prayer meetings. This is a
questionable policy at best which sees the municipality grant
permission for the use of this public space to just about
anyone who pays their price.

Even the stray religious conversion that happens here is
reason enough for the sections of the local vernacular media
to blow-up the issue. A case of a family from Parra, sometime
back, opting to change their religion lead to columns of
newsprint being devoted to this issue.

On the other hand, Christian arrogance is visible when it
comes to dealing with other religions. In part, this comes
from a monotheistic faith, with concepts like "false gods"
being part of its doctrine; but this makes for an incongruous
situation in the early 21st century. More so in times when
one has to accept that nobody has a monopoly over the truth.

Likewise, different political parties too have
tried their hand at playing the communal game.
While the saffron BJP has been often blamed, the
Congress itself hasn't been above majoritarian
politics (or minority versions of the game, in some
parts of the country). Its role in the anti-Sikh
riots, attempting to lure Christian votes in the
North-East or Salcete, and unlocking the Ayodhya
controversy with Rajiv Gandhi's shilyanyas is only
too well known.

In Goa, for their part, a number of political parties have
played their own sectarian, if not communal, role. Both the
MGP (which dominated Goan politics in the 1960s and 1970s)
and the BJP have played their part. So have some politicians
within the Congress, and the Goa Congress was decidedly a
party aiming to build a decidedly Catholic support-base. In
the 1960s, the UGP-MGP divide was also based on such a logic.

Arms of the State also play a role.

Young lawyer Jason Keith Fernandes wrote about an exhibition
held at the Kala Academy in Panjim, which he termed
"invitation to hate". This 2007 event aimed "to 'educate' the
average Hindu about the violence by Muslims on the Hindus of
Kashmir and Bangladesh." It came up via the French
Catholic-born Francois Gautier, now a staunch supporter of
the "Hindu nationalist movement".

When in power, the Rane Congress government spoke
of stopping the "sprouting of illegal constructions
and encroachments in public property". It did so
even as a debate raged on the need for a law to
tackle "communalism" in the state. Given the manner
in which some politicians and sections of the media
have been going after Muslim places of worship on
grounds of being illegal, the implications of such
an official stand would be clear to anyone who
takes a second look.

When in power, the Congress's role has sometimes itself been
questionable.

Take the case of Tariq Ahmed Battlo, arrested amidst much of
an outcry and media sensationalism at Margao, and alleged to
be a Tehrik-ul-Mukahidin militant. On July 10, 2008, he was
given the benefit of the doubt, and set free.

Strangely, just around the time of the Sanvordem-Curchorem
riots, Goa's Congress Rane-led government had publicly
announced his arrest (probably even before the police
formally arrested him, or staged his arrest), along with
charges that RDX too had been seized from him at Margao.

During the discussion on the Goa 2006-07 budget,
then CM Rane also announced plans for a law to
prevent communal disturbance. Nothing of that kind
has happened yet. And communal incidents keep
getting stoked, while an impotent State -- or one
which chooses to be -- looks on helplessly.

Suddenly, unusual issues crop up. As noted above, the concern
of "illegal constructions" was made central to the debate of
communalism in Goa some time ago.

Religious shrines have been sprouting all around, but it is
only "illegal" Muslim shrines that get targeted. Even before
the 2006 anti-Muslim violence at Curchorem, a campaign was
created over this issue.

Media reports highlight a number of such issue. For instance,
the December 2005 attempt to burn a mosque at Mardol; the
October 2005 desecration of a mosque at the Mapusa housing
board; the villagers demand for the demolition of a masjid
project under construction in Curti, on October 15-16, 2005.

* * *

"Communal danger (is) knocking on Goa's doors," argues
journalist Vidyadhar Gadgil, also a campaigner against
communalism and its spread. But others have critiqued
secularism campaigners for highlighting the ills of 'majority
communalism' often, while ignoring the problem of its
'minority' counterpart.

Gadgil himself warns that communal elements are likely to
want the tempo "built up and sustained" even as elections
approach. Argues he: "Citizens of Goa, irrespective of faith
and community, have been outraged by the violence against the
Christian community, and have united to condemn the
violence."

Gadgil contends that the blame needs to be placed where it
belongs. Critiquing the impact of the Hindutva ideology, he
believes, cannot be neglected if one is not to attempt "a
frantic and desperate (and doomed) attempt to be
non-partisan."

But others see the issue differently.

Dr Anand Virgincar of Margao, now based in the UK,
has another take on this. Joining a discussion on
the maverick GoenchimXapotam mailing-list in
cyberspace recently, he contended that "there is no
malice, let alone hatred, between the vast majority
of Goan Catholics and Hindus". Virgincar added that
"the vast majority of BJP/MGP voters in Goa -- and
there were 276,000 odd at the last elections -- are
not communal." Besides, he posited, the current BJP
leadership in Goa is "probably the least interested
in fomenting strife between communities -- as
compared to both BJP and non-BJP leaders across the
country. The recent Orissa violence is a case in
point. Ex-CM Manohar Parrikar "not only condemned
the violence but made a clear statement that there
is no Christian missionary activity encouraging
religious conversions in Goa," argued Virgincar.

But he argued "anti-Hindutva protestors (are) making
anti-Hindu statements ... in their over-enthusiasm". "While
faults with the Hindu religion are displayed in all their
glory -- often concealed as criticism of Hindutva -- any
wrongs within the Catholic faith are swept under the carpet,"
he argued. Bigots were left arguing such issues in the online
world, he said.

"Any moderate Hindu or a BJP or Manohar Parrikar supporter,
reading such hateful propaganda, would be a potential recruit
for their cause -- and their dream of collecting an entire
generation of militant Goan Hindus," argued Virgincar, who
uses the cyber-identity of 'Mahatma Sachin'.

But even if individuals are well-meaning, the reality of
communal ideologies needs to be taken into account.

For instance, R.S.Golwalkar, head of the RSS for nearly 30
years, perceives the 'Golden Age' India as a "full-fledged
nation of Hindus", with other communities living here being
either guests like Jews and Parsis, or "invaders" like
Muslims and Christians.

Different other quarters define the issue differently too.

For its part, the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, a body promoting the
language, recently said any attempt to amend the Official
Language Act of Goa "would only foment trouble in the Goan
society and divide the people on communal lines."

But others like the pro-Romi Konkani ex-Speaker Tomazinho
Cardozo argue contrarily. Cardozo commented recently:
"Traditionally Goans, Hindus as well as Christian, loved and
still love their own religions and at the same time they
respected and still respect the religious feelings of each
other. This is the foundation of communal harmony and peace
among Goans."

Solutions that are offered similarly differ.

South Goa collector G P Naik spoke in terms of a three-tier
peace committee "for managing conflict situations arising in
South Goa district." Margao itself was the seat of communal
tensions on June 27, 2008.

As an editorial in the Herald newspaper commented:
"The communal violence that engulfed Margao is an
extremely ominous indicator of the times to come.
Is Goa's commercial capital now going to be rocked
by communal violence every time a Hindu and a
Muslim have a fight, for whatever reason? The last
two times that the town has seen communal tension,
the events have been frighteningly similar."

On September 16, 2008, Goans answered a call by the Council
for Social Justice and Peace -- and braved some rain -- to
attend a rally opposed to communal violence. People from
different areas of Goa joined the meet to condemn the
incidents of violence against Christians in Orissa and
Karnataka.

CICH, a local campaign group called The Citizens' Initiatives
for Communal Harmony (CICH), argued that the desecrations
were "all taking place in one belt in South Goa and seemed
designed to deliberately polarise communities." CICH is
represented by social campaigner Ramesh Gauns and lawyer
Albertina Almeida. This group has also questioned the logic
of "projecting Muslims as repositories of violence".

Citizens have taken up other initiatives too.

After the March 2006, anti-Muslim riots in
Curchorem-Sanvordem, Goa's secular lobby was quick to study
the issue. Some who didn't agree with the findings of the
report raked up a controversy over it in cyberspace. Yet, its
study did put out a whole lot of useful and surprising
information about the way communalism is being built in Goa,
often without even being noticed.

This notwithstanding, on June 12, 2008, the
Additional Sessions Court of Margao acquitted 23
persons who were charge-sheeted for the arson and
assault during the March 2006 communal riots in the
Curchorem-Sanvordem twin towns. Addl Sessions Judge
Dilip Gaikwad gave them the benefit of doubt.

Earlier this year, a body calling itself the Akhil Goa Mandir
Suraksha Samiti, headed by the 'Dharmajagran Pramukh'
Rajendra 'Raju' Velingkar, son of RSS leader Subhash
Velingkar, lead the call for a protest strike in Goa over the
mysterious attacks on temples.

But this is one side of the story.

There are still positive examples. At the village and town
level, there are instances of people living in amity and
peace, for generations. Goans share some religious festivals
-- in places like Fatorpa, Mapusa and a few other spots.
Catholics, for the most, acknowledge their Hindu roots.
Dividing lines between 'we' and 'them' are not so clear-cut
here, though increasingly this is sought to be made so.

Concern over communalism continues to show up though.

In mid-November 2008, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind "vowed to
build a secular and prosperous Goa and not to allow
polarisation of the state on communal lines."

In October 2008, the Citizens' Forum for Secularism and
Communal Harmony fact-finding committee pulled up the police
administration for its failure to check communal violence in
Margao and Rumdamol on June 27 this year.

It is not as if we lack the law to tackle communalism.

The Indian Penal Code has clear-cut laws against destroying,
damaging or defiling a place of worship or sacred object,
with the intent to insult any religion (Sec 295, IPC). On the
law-book too are laws against maliciously insulting any
religion (295A), causing a disturbance to religious worship
(296), trespassing into a place of worship (29), or even
"uttering any word or making any sound" with the intention to
wound religious feelings (298). But, as one could guess,
these are seldom implemented, by a State which is itself
appears lackadaisical about the growth of communalism.

* * *

Goa's reality is different from that across the country. Our
history is different, so is our demography, and the relations
between communities.

What is the same however is the manner in which
this region too is prone to sustained communal
propaganda, the political interest in instigating
communalism, and the growing pressures to find
scapegoat-communities in times of economic
pressures and change.

Ironically, contrary to the widely-held view, Goa has not
always been the haven of peace it is made out to be.

On the contrary.

This tiny region has been the hotbed of communal battles,
caste conflict and theocratic intolerance for much of the
past centuries. But the good side of this bad story is that,
despite all that has happened -- or perhaps, because of it --
Goa has been less prone to go in for blatant communal
bitterness for much of the recent past. The state seems to
have realised that religious-based hate doesn't pay, and
solves no problems. Suspicions, and communal, politics do
linger on though.

The villain of the piece has been Portuguese
colonial rule. A few decades after settling in Goa,
in the mid-sixteenth century, the colonial ruler
began a policy of Lusitanisation and religious
conversions. Even in the 20th century, Salazar's
Estado Novo was known for its theocratic approach
and modus vivendi with the Vatican.

But contrary to the lore perpetuated by contemporary
communalism in Goa, it was not the Portuguese alone that
adopted policies of religious intolerance. Nor were the
Portuguese persistently biased against whom they defined as
The Other. Portuguese policy also hurt diverse segments of
the population, cutting across religious lines.

Initially, the colonial rulers slaughtered the Muslim
population of a Muslim-ruled Goa. The belief of some
influential players then was that the Hindus of Goa could
utilise the Portuguese to oust the then Muslim rulers is also
documented. But, for some time during their long regime, the
Portuguese gave Goa stints where anti-clerical politics saw
the expulsion of the Jesuits and other religious orders.

On the other hand, the Portuguese intolerance
during its rule in parts of Goa (the 'Old
Conquests' central core, ironically more Catholic
today) is also well documented. There is no denial
about the Hindu or Muslim shrines destroyed and
rebuilt as Catholic places of worship or even
forts.

Anyone wanting to rake up a bad row could create dozens of
Ayodhyas here. Though of course things are more complex than
that, because together with the shrines, the a section of the
people too were converted. Most of the latter are today
content to belong to the faith they are part of.

In addition, religious conflict wasn't the the only or prime
driver of colonial rule, as is sometimes sought to be
suggested. Likewise, religious minorities of today should not
be confused with the colonial rulers of the yesterdays.

This situation is ripe with other contradictions too.

A researcher planning to take up this issue listed
a number of religious monuments that got caught in
the religious intolerance of the past. Such as the
Muslim cemetery and mosque site near the fortress
in Chapora; the Reis Magos fortress and church
site, built on a Hindu temple; the Rachol Seminary,
built on a mosque site; monuments at Velha Goa; and
temples temples around Ponda, that were created as
"fugitive" religious sites.

Those raking up issues against the Portuguese policies on
religion often gain support from the 'New Conquest' areas,
areas where ironically enough colonial religious intolerance
was not fierce, or hardly felt.

Goa nowadays often gets reminded about the Inquisition in
Goa. Sometimes, the motives are genuine; at other times, the
intention is simply to justify more present-day communal
intolerance on the basis of the bigotry of the past.

Goa's complex history says it all. The post-1910 Republican
regime in Lisbon in fact made attempts to make up for periods
of anti-Hindu bias, till Salazar set back the clock.

Post 1963, after one-man one-vote electoral politics were
introduce in Goa, political parties played to communal
galleries to lesser or greater extent. The MGP, UGP, BJP,
Shiv Sena, Goa Congress, among others, have banked on getting
the votes sometimes with overt and unchecked appeals to
religion. Congress' attempts to garner votes involves a more
complex process of incorporating regional leaders -- of
diverse local community or caste groups -- together with a
role for money and migrant votes.

But during the BJP rule one had Governors like the
RSS-linked Kidar Nath Sahani highlight the
importance of rebuilding temples demolished by the
Portuguese and "erstwhile regimes" as part of the
"nation building task" in October 2003. It boggles
the mind how such sectarian talk can be tolerated
by a high functionary of a secular state.

There were other trends that caused concern in that period.

In early 2003, when the controversial Marathi play "Mee
Nathuram Boltoy" was staged in Kala Academy, the character
Nathuram Godse (Gandhiji's assassin in real life) got loud
applause from the audience.

There was a controversy over scrapping of some religious
holidays; hot-heads managed to get into the Archbishop's
House on an excuse; and, contrary to national policies to
have a force representative of the populace, only a tiny
number of minorities were recruited to crucial sectors like
the police. This was justified on the grounds that Catholics
anyway disliked working as stereotyped constables.

A controversial VCD, communalising the past via a
religiosity-suffused interpretation of history, was released
by the government. State monies were passed on to allegedly
partisan bodies in the wake of the Gujarat quake.

Samata Andolan, a body campaigning on social issues, then
also blamed the BJP Goa government of handing over over
primary schools to the Sangh Parivar "without complying
required formalities."

"How does (ex-chief minister Parrikar) justify the
thousands of saffrons he has recruited into
government service ever since the BJP took over the
reins two years ago?" charged lawyer Aires
Rodrigues, currently a vocal supporter of Mr
Parrikar, whom he now sees as the only option for
Goa.

Winds blowing in the rest of the country are also bound to
affect Goa.

Outlook, the New Delhi-published magazine, offered some
surprising info recently. In its issues of Sept 28, 2008 and
Oct 6, 2008, it reported a link between Hindutva terrorism
and Goa. Some of those involved in recent cases of violence
had got trained in making timer-bombs. Said Outlook, "Panse
(one of those involved, also) underwent training by the VHP
and Bajrang Dal at Goa for two years." Names of other groups,
like the Sanatan Sanstha, which publishes a newspaper from
Goa, have also come up in connection with this controversy.

But even while attempts are on to widen the communal rift,
some understand that religious-infighting doesn't make any
sense, and the State swims or sinks across communities.

As Prof Afonso put it, "It is my belief that the hope of
sustaining Goa and enriching Goan cultural identity depends
on healing of the old wounds that have divided the Hindus and
Catholics."

ENDS

------------------------------------------------------------
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------

According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2, 2008
had the following toll:

ORISSA
Districts hit 14
Villagers destroyed 300
Houses burnt 4,300
Homeless 50,000
People murdered 57
Fathers, pastors or nuns injured 10
Women gang-raped 2
Injured 18,000
Churches destroyed 149
Schools, colleges destroyed 13

KARNATAKA
Districts devastated 4
Churches attacked 19
Nuns, women injured 20

KERALA
Churches damaged 3

MADHYA PRADESH
Churches damaged 4

DELHI
Churches destroyed 1
Attempts made 4

TAMIL NADU
Churches attacked 1

UTTRAKHAND
Murdered 2 (aged priest and employee)

------------------------------------------------------------
First published (in a slightly differing version) in Goa
Today, December 2008 issue.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-03 01:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh
Miguel Braganza
2009-01-04 06:07:00 UTC
Permalink
Dear Dr. Santosh Helekar,

Benjamin Disraeli, when he was the PM of UK, is credited with the statement, "There are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Mark Twain is credited with the coinage of the term "lies of virtuous ecstasy"

The "communal cauldron" has been stirred in the crusades, jihads and Kalinga war, then in the land of Alexander the Great [ Macedonia-Serbia-Croatia] and continues to be so in Iraq, Afganistan, West Bank and the Gaza strip is the latest of this strip-tease.

In the present day, journalism and truth seldom share the same PC or news report. Even advertorials and advertisements come through as "Reporter copy" or "News Desk" copy.

John Dayal has been a "Working Journalist" [within the definition of Goa Union of Journalist or GUJ for membership] and continues to be a "Press Note Journalist" and "Ghost Writer" like so many "have been journalists" and Editors, including one who is now the Vice-President- Communications for a 'Group of Companies' with interests in "Hospitality" [read, 'Hotels and casino', including one unit allegedly coming up near Tirthbag beach close to Vengurla], "Infrastructure" [ read "mining and transport of ore'] and the latest euphemism "Mineral Farming" [read iron ore mining and "planting" reports. stories and advertorials in daily newspapers and weekly tabloids]

Frederick Noronha is also a journalist on the Goanet, besides other places. He has already disclaimed responsibility for the data by prefacing his sentence thus, "According to John....." Dayalu or otherwise. ;-)

Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere rhetoric?

Mog asundi

Miguel

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 17:59:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Santosh Helekar <chimbelcho at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Goanet] Stirring the communal cauldron
Message-ID: <562745.4367.qm at web110313.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh



Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Go to http://messenger.yahoo.com/invite/
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-04 08:21:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel Braganza
Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere
rhetoric?
Dear Miguel,

No. You have told me more than I needed to know. Thanks. Mark Twain also wrote that journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft and admires the thief.

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-04 12:39:34 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Santosh's positions on this.

Views from the other side of the divide would give an entirely
different picture, quite contrary to the one painted by John Dayal.
Here are just a few links from some past instances, gathered from RSS/
Hindu sources to illustrate just exactly this:

http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/14.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0700/91.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/45.html

An independent analysis from an objective secular perspective must
therefore not quote or rely on facts provided by people who have their
own vested agendas and interests.

While Frederick got almost everything else right in his column, he
committed a gross error by relying on John Dayal as his data source,
someone who is a known Christian propagandist and someone who has made
quite a few baseless, religiously motivated and unsubstantiated claims
in the past.

Cheers
Sandeep

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed >>here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a >>journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent >>sources for any factual information he provides his readers.
Cheers,
Santosh
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-05 16:52:06 UTC
Permalink
*Santosh Helekar:*
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has
listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian
campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his
readers.Cheers,Santosh
Response:
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi goon attacks you or
tries to burn your home or property or attempts to rape a member of your
family, please remember to call for at least two independent witnesses,
preferably not belonging to your religion. Otherwise if the media publicizes
your misfortune, your word and that of the journalist will count for
nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of Gotham) on Goanet.

Regards,

Marshall
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 18:06:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi
goon attacks you or tries to burn your home or property or attempts to >rape a member of your family, please remember to call for at least two
independent witnesses, preferably not belonging to your religion. >Otherwise if the media publicizes your misfortune, your word and that of >the journalist will count for nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of >Gotham) on Goanet.
I humbly request Marshall to kindly not resort to name-calling.

I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent sources before they report something as fact. It is to protect people's rights, including a victim's right to privacy. It is also to guard against the spread of rumors and false allegations, and to prevent incitement of communal/sectarian feelings and violent action.

The sarcasm in the above post from Marshall misleads people as to what they should do in the event that they become victims of a crime. I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:

1. Call for help, and seek medical help.

2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.

3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.

4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.

5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 21:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I
am doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
Hi Roland,

I hope your long distance assessment of India is not anything like your doubts about Texas. In either case, I would prefer to trust the opinion of a journalist who actually lives in India, and practices his profession in an ethical and impartial manner to the best of his abilities e.g. Valmiki Faleiro. But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations and political activists.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 02:43:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?
1. An article entitled "The three foundations of journalism" at -
http://www.rap21.org/article18465.html

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Accuracy":

"Accuracy: Every journalists code stresses the need for accuracy. There are no prizes for being fast and wrong. Writing for a journalist is the skill of presenting information clearly, concisely and effectively. It is based on hard facts, so the reporter must know how and where to find reliable information. A critical challenge is how to reconcile conflicting accounts of the same event. Many journalistic organisations insist on the two source rule that means that every fact must be confirmed by two independent sources before it can be taken as reliable."

2. An article entitled "Media and Conflict in the Philippines" from the Committee of Concerned Journalists at -
http://www.concernedjournalists.org/media-and-conflict-philippines

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Dispassionate Reporting":

"Recognizing the fallibility, if not the occasional deceit of sources, individual reporters and various news organizations develop standards for testing the truthfulness of a story. Are two or more independent sources providing the same information? Did the journalist see and hear the evidence himself or herself or get it secondhand? What are the credibility, reputation and motivation of the source?"

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-06 03:44:03 UTC
Permalink
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism, it is precisely the >>perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have played a key role in allowing the >>truth to emerge.
But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those endless, hair-splitting >>arguments, but instead focus on the substantiative issues raised.
--------------------------------------------
My response:

Frederick needs to be quite happy that his column is being critiqued,
discussed and deliberated. My general observation is that whenever
something like this happens, it tends to generate a wider interest and
a larger readership. I have a strong hunch that those who have not
read his column in the first place may have revisited it and done so
now.

I personally have no problems per se with this column and I do commend
FN for bringing up a lot of valid points in it. I said it before in
the GX Forum( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GoenchimXapotam/message/16264
) and I would repeat once again that in my opinion this is one of FN's
most objective pieces and I would give him a score of 8 out of 10 on
this one.

However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor
where he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would
have been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

In any case, what has happened in Orissa is ghastly, horrendous and
cowardly and the gravity of the crime would not in any way come down
if subsequent investigations reveal discrepancies in facts and
figures. I do not think anybody would try to mean or even remotely
suggest this. I entirely endorse FN's contentions that we need to
focus on the substantiative issues raised by him rather than be caught
up in non-issues.

Incidents like these put the very idea of India, a land of unity in
diversity, to threat and shame and there is a need for an honest
objective analysis that dissects the roles of all the players
including the roles of political parties, religious leaders, Hindutva
organizations, Maoists and Christian missionaries in this communal
strife. Such an analysis devoid of political motives is necessary to
prevent such horrendous crimes from being repeated in the future.

Cheers
Sandeep
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 06:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Santosh Helekar:
I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian,
Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:1. Call for
help, and seek medical help.2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed
criminal complaint.3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any
independent judicial inquiry.4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime
against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists
will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you
say in the print media and the internet.5. Don't call a press conference if
you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and
self-respect.Cheers,Santosh

Response:
It appears that Santosh is used to living in ivory towers and totally
removed from ground realities. All the above steps will probably work well
in countries like USA, Western Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand which
are mature democracies with the rights of all its citizens protected by the
state and civil society.
In India, which in reality, is a functioning anarchy, things are totally
different. Those who exercise power or control financial resources call the
tune. The police, the administration and even to some extent the judiciary
is putty in their hands. Gujarat and Orissa would not have happened had the
state administration come down heavily on the anarchists. When the state
administration and the police turn a blind eye or connive in the violence,
whom does the victim go to seek help? Are you aware that the medical reports
of the nun who was raped was suppressed by the police for 38 days? Are you
aware that rapes, killings, destruction of property took place in the
presence or connivance of the police? When a victim faces a dead end, where
does such a person go to get justice? And when those who report on the
violence are demonised and their reputation and character torn to shreds by
vested forces, what does one do? Would anyone seek protection of a person
who stood passively while their family members were hunted and killed before
their eyes, while their female members were raped in their presence, while
their homes and belongings were burnt to ashes? It is all very well for
those who are not affected by the violence to preach, and take theoretical
positions, which will work well in the classrooms.
Next time, you are in India, I suggest you pay a visit to any of the mission
stations and witness and experience for yourself how life is out there for
the poor and the marginalised and for those who are working selflessly to
uplift them. Speak to Seby Rodrigues and the other persons fighting the
mining lobby. Listen to their experiences. If you do not get touched and
sensitized, you would have to be a very hard hearted human being.

Regards,

Marshall
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 09:55:45 UTC
Permalink
Sandeep Heble:
However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor where
he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would have
been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

Response:
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles. However, the
RSS does not represent the hindus much though they would like to believe so.
In fact I find the above post of Sandeep contradictory as in an earlier post
he recognised the difference between hinduism and hindutva.

Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.He is
a human rights activist. John Dayal has been nominated for the coveted Human
Dignity Award 2008 in recognition of his services in the field of human
rights.
http://www.india-server.com/news/human-dignity-award-for-john-dayal-5160.html

He is a former editor of Delhi Mid-day and a journalist. He is an office
bearer of some christian bodies and has been acting as spokesperson for the
christian community.If you call that vested interests and consider it
a crime, yes then he is guilty.( As has been George Menezes also a former
President of the AICU). Till date I have not read nor come across any hate
literature / articles under his signature. If you have come across any, I
would be obliged if you could draw my attention to the same. Anyone who
represents or fights for the underdog is always disliked /hated by vested
interests. Even Seby Rodrigues has been called a naxalite by Manohar
Parrikar.

It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility
before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for
Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and
sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.If Sandeep wishes to
give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John
Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day. If you will read
today's newspapers about what the Supreme Court has to say on the Orissa
violence, it will give you an indication.

Regards

Marshall
Mario Goveia
2009-01-06 06:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 15:56:30 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Mario asks:

Hanh? ".....things in the redneck state being what they are."????

What the heck is this baseless slander of Texas all about? Is Roland confusing Texas with Ontario perhaps?:-))
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 17:21:06 UTC
Permalink
I had stated in this thread what in my opinion would be the right thing to do if anybody becomes a victim of a violent attack. I had suggested that he/she should file a criminal complaint and seek law enforcement action. I had also suggested that he/she should not politicize or communalize the crime against him/her, and not call a press conference if he/she wants his/her privacy, dignity and self-respect to remain unharmed.

Marshall who has no clue about my background disagreed with me, and accused me of being out of touch with poor people and victims of crime in India, and that in India what I said above is not what a crime victim should do. Marshall also appears to believe that information regarding communal violence when presented by a single religious and political campaigner or a spokesperson for a religious or political organization representing one of the sides in the conflict, is to be taken to be factually accurate, and not biased and communally slanted in any way. Samir says he agrees with Marshall on all of these issues 100%.

However, neither of them has explicitly stated what steps should be taken by a victim of a violent crime, and whether they would like the victim to divulge facts about the crime against him/her to a religious and political campaigner or spokesperson of a religious and political organization belonging to his/her own religion and political party. I would therefore like to ask them the following questions:

1. What steps should a victim of a violent crime committed in India take?
2. What should a Christian or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Hindu?
3. What should a Hindu or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Christian?
4. What should a Hindu or Christian victim do if the criminal happens to be Muslim?
5. What should the victim do if the criminal happens to belong another religion or creed?
6. Which Hindu religious and political campaigner or spokesperson for a Hindu religious and political organization would you trust to give you accurate facts about communal violence involving Hindus and Christians or Hindus and Muslims?

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 02:04:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles.
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.
He is a human rights activist.
If you call that vested interests and consider it a crime, yes then he is guilty.
It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.
If Sandeep wishes to give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day.

--------------------------------------------------------
My consolidated Response:

It is an irony of our Nation that while the propagation of orthodox
Hindutva is considered as bad and evil (and rightly so) the
propagation of an orthodox intolerant brand of Christianity is
considered an acceptable proposition. It is a sad predicament that our
major religions continue to be represented by Orthodox leaders who
have their own vested agendas and hidden interests. Leaders who have
been found to have placed religion above Nation in the past!

Maybe John Dayal is a human rights activist, RSS workers are too. But
he is also ideologically associated to several Christian bodies like
the All India Catholic Union, All India Christian Council, United
Christian Action, and Member of Justice and Peace commission
Archdiocese of Delhi. That is not per se a crime and I never said it
was. But that makes him a Christian activist rather than a secular
liberal activist. And India needs more of the latter.

While John Dayal has often highlighted the hate-crimes perpetrated by
Hindu groups against minorities and nobody should have problems with
that, it is his silence against violence committed by Christian groups
against Hindu Minorities in the North East that worries me. Or his
marked silence and/or even support to orthodoxy, intolerance and abuse
of the laws by radical evangelical outfits.

Besides, John Dayal has made baseless, religiously motivated and
unsubstantiated allegations in the past. He has fabricated stories and
communalized law-and-order incidents like the Gang rape of Jhabua
Nuns. He has made wild politically motivated allegations like blaming
the Sangh Parivar outfits for the series of bomb attacks on churches,
even though investigations have revealed the role of Pak-based Deendar
Anjuman. He has purportedly made false accusations against VHP-A (
http://www.vhp-america.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5
). The list would go on.

Marshall needs to stop hallucinating when he implies that I cannot see
the truth, just as he needs to stop hallucinating when he refers to
Santosh as a Sangh Parivar sympathizer. Questioning the motives and
credentials of individuals like John Dayal does not mean that one does
not recognize the truth of what has happened in Orissa or what is
happening in the rest of India. Different people would however analyze
the reasons and suggest the remedies differently. Marshall needs to
understand and accept this plain simple fact before he lets his
imaginations run wild.

For the records, some Christian leaders too have criticized John
Dayal's credentials and motives. For instance, Mr PN Benjamin, the
head of Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue (BIRD) had this to
write in his letter addressed to him:
"You refer only good old Gandhi and say you cannot be compared with
him. No wonder. I respect your honesty because Gandhi never bore false
witness against anyone, though he was not a Christian. But, the John
Dayal, I know of dishes that out (falsehood) profusely especially when
he goes to the US and appears before USCIRF and his Christian
evangelist friends there who ostensibly bank-roll his activities both
in the US and in India."
( Source: http://hindtoday.com/Blogs/ViewBlogs.aspx?HTAdvtId=2681&HTAdvtPlaceCode=IND
)

There are enough valid reasons for being skeptical of leaders like
John Dayal, who are known for their one-sided propaganda and even
anti-Indian postures. Like placing religion above the Nation and
making anti-Indian statements in the past like: "The US government was
too quick to remove India from the list of terrorist countries. The
AICU is going to make an independent enquiry into this grave incident.
[. . .] Anti-Christian violence is escalating in Maharashtra."
(Source: http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=3506 )

India faces a clear choice. Either it must grow by weeding out all
forms of religious radicalism which is what a secular liberal
progressive Nation must do or perish by giving orthodox religious
groups and/or leaders a free hand. A Nation that needs to chart a
modern path, a path of freedom free from orthodoxy, intolerance and
hatred, therefore needs neither a Togadia or Singhal nor a John Dayal.

Frederick is well within his rights to quote such people if he wants
to and I am well within my rights to observe that facts and figures
from a neutral source are likely to be more credible than facts and
figures from religiously motivated sources like John Dayal.

Cheers
Sandeep
Bosco - Goanet Volunteer
2009-01-07 06:07:18 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

Considering that we dont know each other personally and the inherent impersonal
nature of communicating by email, please temper your comments before demonizing each
other or anybody else and driving this thread to a premature termination.

Since Frederick has indicated the John Dayal page on wikipedia has been compromised
perhaps those interested in understanding / learning more about John Dayal could
read his blog.....:

http://johndayal.sulekha.com/

or any of his published works......:


Author/ Edited Anthologies:

Equity - Freedom of Faith in Secular India 2007

Gujarat 2002 - Untold and Retold Stories (Media House) 2002

For Reasons of State (with Ajoy Bose) (Vision Books) 1977

Commissions of Enquiry (With Ajoy Bose) 1979

Indian Cinema Superbazar (Ed: Aruna Vasudev)(France)

Ethics of Peace (Ed: UCIP) 1995

Wadhwa Commission (Ed: Dr. M P Raju) (Media House) 2000

Legal Struggle of the Dalits [Co-authored with Adv Edward Arogia Doss] [scheduled to
be published later in 2007]


http://johndayal.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/05/john-dayal-s-new-book.htm


.......before making up their mind about the man.


But please, NO Name-calling!!!

Thank you - Bosco
Goanet Admin
http://www.goanet.org
Where Goans Connect
Cecil Pinto
2009-01-07 09:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Hartman de Souza wrote:
However when Sandeep Heble casts aspersions against my old friend, comrade
and colleague at Patriot newspaper, New Delhi, I am afraid I must ignore my
distaste for fundamentalists and jump into the fray.
...
...
...

One could go on and on with unmasking Heble's obvious Jan Sanghi/RSS roots,
but this is, frankly, of no use.

------------------


Dear Hartman,

I have not been following the 'John Dayal' debate so I will not
comment on that, but I usually read Sandeep Heble's posts because I
find them rational and well thought out. Sandeep has always struck me
as an intelligent, well-informed, articulate, concerned and
responsible person. And of course totally secular in his approach -
never fundamentalist.

Your allegation that Heble has 'Jan Singhi/RSS roots' is most
intriguing. If you have proof of this allegation please place it on
the table. Else I think you owe us an explanation and Sandeep an
apology.

Cheers!

Cecil

==========
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-07 11:50:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cecil Pinto
Your allegation that Heble has 'Jan Singhi/RSS roots' is most
intriguing. If you have proof of this allegation please place it on
the table. Else I think you owe us an explanation and Sandeep an
apology.
Is "having Jan Sanghi/RSS roots" a cardinal sin :-) Pun intended!

I think not!

Vidyadhar Gadgil has himself been in the RSS for a year or two, if I
recall rightly what he mentioned. For a (usually) "upper" caste
Maharashtrian boy (and now, in many more parts of India) being in the
RSS is simply like membership of a boys club, the Boy Scouts of the
post-Empire just after the sun set on it, Mocidade Portuguesa in
Salazar's Goa, or the Young Pioneers of the former Eastern Bloc
countries.

Then, we have all kinds of influences in our own lives. I myself was a
rather conservative Catholic in my younger, early teen days, looking
on with suspicion on the gods and beliefs of others! (This is not to
suggest one doesn't carry biases or bigotry now, in different forms.)

But, at the end of the day, our actions and attitudes TODAY matter
more than the connections of the past. Gadgil is as secular as they
come (a bit too much, if you ask me!) despite or because of his
background. I know of some strident campaigners for secularism, the
kind who might even alienate ordinary religious folk, in places like
Delhi, who had their initial lessons in the RSS.

Membership of organisations is one thing; current attitudes and values
is another. The two may not be directly related too..... I know a lot
of Congressmen who strike me as being pretty communal, casteist or
sectarian at least. Ditto for politicians of other parties. Leftists
who are unwilling to admit the politics of caste while talking
exclusively about class. Feminists who might end up being chauvinists
and inconsistent in a different sense. Secular campaigners who worship
the gods of modernity, science, knowitallism or whatever,.

At another level, one needs to remind oneself that the Jan Sangh (or
the BJP in its post-"Gandhian" "socialism" avatar) is just another
party for many Indians. Like how the Salcete (or other) Catholic would
not believe there's anything particularly sectarian or communal in
supporting the UGDP, Goa Congress or United Goans. It may be a tiny
core that sets the agenda, and fuels communal attitudes of a party,
but for most of the voters, a party is just that. A party, of the
political kind. A choice to misrule and corruption. A "vote for
change", as Obama promises half-the-world away.

Of course, this is all in the spirit of engendering debate. I know
that Hartman's comments were made in the heat of the moment, and
Hartman thanks for showing magnamity in taking back unfair words said
in haste and hurry :-) It's right to recognise that we all can also be
wrong. FN
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-07 11:50:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cecil Pinto
Your allegation that Heble has 'Jan Singhi/RSS roots' is most
intriguing. If you have proof of this allegation please place it on
the table. Else I think you owe us an explanation and Sandeep an
apology.
Is "having Jan Sanghi/RSS roots" a cardinal sin :-) Pun intended!

I think not!

Vidyadhar Gadgil has himself been in the RSS for a year or two, if I
recall rightly what he mentioned. For a (usually) "upper" caste
Maharashtrian boy (and now, in many more parts of India) being in the
RSS is simply like membership of a boys club, the Boy Scouts of the
post-Empire just after the sun set on it, Mocidade Portuguesa in
Salazar's Goa, or the Young Pioneers of the former Eastern Bloc
countries.

Then, we have all kinds of influences in our own lives. I myself was a
rather conservative Catholic in my younger, early teen days, looking
on with suspicion on the gods and beliefs of others! (This is not to
suggest one doesn't carry biases or bigotry now, in different forms.)

But, at the end of the day, our actions and attitudes TODAY matter
more than the connections of the past. Gadgil is as secular as they
come (a bit too much, if you ask me!) despite or because of his
background. I know of some strident campaigners for secularism, the
kind who might even alienate ordinary religious folk, in places like
Delhi, who had their initial lessons in the RSS.

Membership of organisations is one thing; current attitudes and values
is another. The two may not be directly related too..... I know a lot
of Congressmen who strike me as being pretty communal, casteist or
sectarian at least. Ditto for politicians of other parties. Leftists
who are unwilling to admit the politics of caste while talking
exclusively about class. Feminists who might end up being chauvinists
and inconsistent in a different sense. Secular campaigners who worship
the gods of modernity, science, knowitallism or whatever,.

At another level, one needs to remind oneself that the Jan Sangh (or
the BJP in its post-"Gandhian" "socialism" avatar) is just another
party for many Indians. Like how the Salcete (or other) Catholic would
not believe there's anything particularly sectarian or communal in
supporting the UGDP, Goa Congress or United Goans. It may be a tiny
core that sets the agenda, and fuels communal attitudes of a party,
but for most of the voters, a party is just that. A party, of the
political kind. A choice to misrule and corruption. A "vote for
change", as Obama promises half-the-world away.

Of course, this is all in the spirit of engendering debate. I know
that Hartman's comments were made in the heat of the moment, and
Hartman thanks for showing magnamity in taking back unfair words said
in haste and hurry :-) It's right to recognise that we all can also be
wrong. FN
Pravin Sabnis
2009-01-07 11:10:45 UTC
Permalink
I can personally vouch that my friend,?Sandeep Heble is a very sensitive and humane person in reality. His various postings on the Goanet?reflect his concern over the?communal slants given to various topics.?His?views can be challenged but to label him a bigot is unfair.?We must be careful in condemning somebody just because we disagree with that persons view, facts or opinions.
?
regards
Pravin


Check out the all-new Messenger 9.0! Go to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/
Fr. Ivo C da Souza
2009-01-07 12:13:23 UTC
Permalink
From: "Pravin Sabnis" <pravinsabnis at yahoo.com>
I can personally vouch that my friend, Sandeep Heble is a very sensitive and
humane person in reality. His various postings on the Goanet reflect his
concern over the communal slants given to various topics. His views can be
challenged but to label him a bigot is unfair. We must be careful in
condemning somebody just because we disagree with that persons view, facts
or opinions.
***I do appreciate discussion on journalistic ethics. Let it be
scientifically geared and ethically guided. Let us be "secular", even when
we speak of Religion, respecting the views of others. Science does not
contradict Religion. While reading the news, we need also genuine views. I
read different news on Orissa happenings and keep it for myself.
Here it is:
Protect Christians or step down, India's top court instructs officials
Posted by: "Ancy S DSouza Paladka" MangaloreanCatholics at gmail.com salusoz
Tue Jan 6, 2009 3:25 pm (PST)
Protect Christians or step down, India's top court instructs officials in
Orissa (Subscribe to RSS Feed)

New Delhi, Jan. 6, 2009 (CWNews.com) - In a searing criticism of the
Hindu-nationalist government leadership in Orissa, India's top federal court
has said that state leaders should resign if they cannot stop violence
against the Christian minority there.

"We will not accept the persecution of minority. If the state government is
unable to protect them, it should resign," declared the federal court. The
court was responding to a petition for protection entered by Archbishop
Raphael Cheenath of Bhubaneswar. The petition cited the lack of security
especially in the Kandhamal district, where thousands of Christians have
fled from their homes to escape roaming Hindu mobs.

"It is the duty of the state government to protect the minority community,"
the federal court stated. Addressing their criticism directly to government
leaders, the judges said that officials in Orissa had offered protection to
Christians "only after 50,000 people of the minority community fled to the
jungles."

The orchestrated violence against Christians in Kandhamal was let lose by
Hindu groups following the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati-- the
foremost figure among the Hindu nationalist groups in Orissa-- who was shot
dead on August 23. Although Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for the
murder, Hindu groups said the murder of the Hindu leader was a Christian
conspiracy. In the aftermath of the killing, Hindu mobs attacked Christians
in dozens of locations over a period of several weeks, with local police
doing little to curb the violence. More than 70 Christians were killed, and
over 6,000 homes looted or destroyed along with 200 churches. Roughly half
of the 100,000 Christians in the Kandhamal district were driven from their
homes.

Source: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/features/index.cfm?recnum=60270

***Are these communally biased news? Where is the truth? How to reach it?
What we want is peace. Let us all struggle for human rights. There is
rampant violation of basic human rights in India. Let this Forum help the
cause. Let our discussion unite us...
Regards.
Fr.Ivo
Fr. Ivo C da Souza
2009-01-07 12:13:23 UTC
Permalink
From: "Pravin Sabnis" <pravinsabnis at yahoo.com>
I can personally vouch that my friend, Sandeep Heble is a very sensitive and
humane person in reality. His various postings on the Goanet reflect his
concern over the communal slants given to various topics. His views can be
challenged but to label him a bigot is unfair. We must be careful in
condemning somebody just because we disagree with that persons view, facts
or opinions.
***I do appreciate discussion on journalistic ethics. Let it be
scientifically geared and ethically guided. Let us be "secular", even when
we speak of Religion, respecting the views of others. Science does not
contradict Religion. While reading the news, we need also genuine views. I
read different news on Orissa happenings and keep it for myself.
Here it is:
Protect Christians or step down, India's top court instructs officials
Posted by: "Ancy S DSouza Paladka" MangaloreanCatholics at gmail.com salusoz
Tue Jan 6, 2009 3:25 pm (PST)
Protect Christians or step down, India's top court instructs officials in
Orissa (Subscribe to RSS Feed)

New Delhi, Jan. 6, 2009 (CWNews.com) - In a searing criticism of the
Hindu-nationalist government leadership in Orissa, India's top federal court
has said that state leaders should resign if they cannot stop violence
against the Christian minority there.

"We will not accept the persecution of minority. If the state government is
unable to protect them, it should resign," declared the federal court. The
court was responding to a petition for protection entered by Archbishop
Raphael Cheenath of Bhubaneswar. The petition cited the lack of security
especially in the Kandhamal district, where thousands of Christians have
fled from their homes to escape roaming Hindu mobs.

"It is the duty of the state government to protect the minority community,"
the federal court stated. Addressing their criticism directly to government
leaders, the judges said that officials in Orissa had offered protection to
Christians "only after 50,000 people of the minority community fled to the
jungles."

The orchestrated violence against Christians in Kandhamal was let lose by
Hindu groups following the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati-- the
foremost figure among the Hindu nationalist groups in Orissa-- who was shot
dead on August 23. Although Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for the
murder, Hindu groups said the murder of the Hindu leader was a Christian
conspiracy. In the aftermath of the killing, Hindu mobs attacked Christians
in dozens of locations over a period of several weeks, with local police
doing little to curb the violence. More than 70 Christians were killed, and
over 6,000 homes looted or destroyed along with 200 churches. Roughly half
of the 100,000 Christians in the Kandhamal district were driven from their
homes.

Source: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/features/index.cfm?recnum=60270

***Are these communally biased news? Where is the truth? How to reach it?
What we want is peace. Let us all struggle for human rights. There is
rampant violation of basic human rights in India. Let this Forum help the
cause. Let our discussion unite us...
Regards.
Fr.Ivo
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 11:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Let me first categorically assert that the intentions of my post were
not in any way meant to discredit John Dayal or show him in poor
light. If my earlier posts appeared in that way, I sincerely
apologize for the same as I have realised that the wordings of the
post were quite unfair to him.

I would accept the words of Hartman and Frederick that John Dayal is a
great humanitarian ? something that I never disputed in my earlier
posts in the first place. As a matter of fact, some of the most
orthodox Missionaries who operate on Indian soils too are sincere
humanitarians. Being involved with a few social groups and having done
joint events with them, I can say with a large degree of conviction
that they too are good human beings whose love and concern for fellow
humans are qualities that are worthy of emulation.

I however believe that the ideological positions John Dayal or radical
evangelical groups hold are not in the interests of a modern
progressive society that a liberal Indian would wish to see.
Intolerance is a viscious cycle that results in violence that begets
in further violence; and in communal clashes it is always the innocent
citizens who suffer.

There is therefore a need to weed out all forms of intolerance,
orthodoxy and irrational behavior. This is the path that most modern
progressive Western democracies followed when they adopted a model of
secularism that was essentially anti-religion and if we want to
prevent communal clashes from happening this is the path that India
will need to emulate.

Through further investigations, I have susbsequently learnt that John
Dayal was a progressive liberal leader in the past. However, while he
presently opposes the orthodoxy in Hinduism (which is a good thing) he
somehow does not seem to do the same when it comes to opposing the
fundamentalists operating in his religion.

My objections to him are therefore limited to this and if my opinions
about him are wrong, then the correct approach will be in presenting
the facts in a sincere and articulate manner, without resorting to
unfair name-calling.

For the records, I have nothing to do with RSS or Jana Sangh or BJP or
any other religious or political groups.

Finally, thanks to Cecil, Anand, Santosh, Bosco, Frederick and a few
others for their gracious support.

Cheers
Sandeep
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-07 18:49:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sandeep Heble
I would accept the words of Hartman and Frederick that John Dayal is a
great humanitarian ? something that I never disputed in my earlier
posts in the first place. As a matter of fact, some of the most
Just to point out: I didn't say John Dayal is a "great humanitarian".
I did say there are clear attempts to discredit him online, apparently
because of his campaigns to raise issues about religious intolerance
and communalism in India. Whether or not I agree with John Dayal's
priorities and approaches, this is despicable.

(Similar is the case with others who campaign on these concerns, such
as Vijay Prashad, who are victims of calaumny spread by Web 2.0
initiatives that were set up to empower the average citizen!)

While my colleague Hartman criticised Sandeep Heble, used some strong
word, and was gracious enough to have apologised for it, in fact, I
believe that in recent times, Sandeep's posts have brought in a voice
of reason to Goa-related debates in cyberspace.

On the other hand, I am concerned by the approaches of some other
middle-of-the-roaders who seem more ready to buy into communal
propaganda, to pick up from and point to dubious websites and use
these as evidence, and to duck major issues while getting every caught
up with details.

I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar, whose recent
priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of the VHPA
Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and Vijay
Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer lengthy
arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along communal
lines specially in Goa, et al...

As for the others, who interprete everything in religious terms -- of
whichever religion's perspective -- they have been with us for long,
and one doesn't expect any better. But even if rational voices get
polarised, then isn't it cause for concern? FN
--
FN * Independent Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
M: +91-9822122436 P: +91-832-2409490
Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
2009-01-07 18:49:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sandeep Heble
I would accept the words of Hartman and Frederick that John Dayal is a
great humanitarian ? something that I never disputed in my earlier
posts in the first place. As a matter of fact, some of the most
Just to point out: I didn't say John Dayal is a "great humanitarian".
I did say there are clear attempts to discredit him online, apparently
because of his campaigns to raise issues about religious intolerance
and communalism in India. Whether or not I agree with John Dayal's
priorities and approaches, this is despicable.

(Similar is the case with others who campaign on these concerns, such
as Vijay Prashad, who are victims of calaumny spread by Web 2.0
initiatives that were set up to empower the average citizen!)

While my colleague Hartman criticised Sandeep Heble, used some strong
word, and was gracious enough to have apologised for it, in fact, I
believe that in recent times, Sandeep's posts have brought in a voice
of reason to Goa-related debates in cyberspace.

On the other hand, I am concerned by the approaches of some other
middle-of-the-roaders who seem more ready to buy into communal
propaganda, to pick up from and point to dubious websites and use
these as evidence, and to duck major issues while getting every caught
up with details.

I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar, whose recent
priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of the VHPA
Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and Vijay
Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer lengthy
arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along communal
lines specially in Goa, et al...

As for the others, who interprete everything in religious terms -- of
whichever religion's perspective -- they have been with us for long,
and one doesn't expect any better. But even if rational voices get
polarised, then isn't it cause for concern? FN
--
FN * Independent Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
M: +91-9822122436 P: +91-832-2409490
Mario Goveia
2009-01-07 20:26:29 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 07:34:29 +0530
From: "Sandeep Heble" <sandeepheble at gmail.com>

It is an irony of our Nation that while the propagation of orthodox
Hindutva is considered as bad and evil (and rightly so) the
propagation of an orthodox intolerant brand of Christianity is
considered an acceptable proposition.

Mario observes:

Sandeep,

Once again we see some chaff among the wheat. Where the heck did you get the idea that the propagation of an intolerant brand of Christianity is an acceptable proposition? You just made that up.

As the only source of reason, truth and peace on Goanet, I must advise you that starting an essay with such contrived codswallop as your opening premise shown above, dilutes the rest of your thoughts, and should be avoided in the interests of credibility.

In case you are tempted to defend the indefensible, you will have to overcome the intellectual obstacle of my repeated characterizations of extremist Christians as fascists, just as Hindutvadis are fascists, not to mention Islamic terrorists.

You would do a lot better if you started with a specific and accurate premise as the foundation for whatever else you may want to say.

I would be hard pressed to characterize anything I have seen on Goanet as anything more than biased and passionate advocacy of a poster's point of view rather than anything inherently evil or deliberately destructive.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-07 19:58:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar,
whose recent priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of
the VHPA Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and
Vijay Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer
lengthy arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along
communal lines specially in Goa, et al...
Frederick is now trying to use the crutch of a shameless guilt by association to discredit me in a public forum by using the same guilt by association tactic. And this while whining about what he calls attempts to discredit John Dayal and Vijay Prashad.

I guess Frederick believes he has the right to discredit private citizens in public forum but we do not have the right to criticize or question the credibility of journalists like him or activists and campaigners.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-07 19:45:58 UTC
Permalink
Mario has very nicely stated why it would be unwise to trust what is reported by a journalist who has an overt bias in favor or against one side in a communal conflict. I illustrate below how in the past the National Commission of Minorities has disputed the "facts" reported by the religious campaigner that Frederick used as the only source in one of his recent articles.

THE ALLEGATION OF COMMUNAL VIOLENCE by Frederick's source

"The aicc and AICU sent a team of academicians and human rights activists including John Dayal, and Jesuit Fathers Jacob and Sebastian to Mathura to assess the situation in western UP. The aicc/AICU statement reminded authorities that though each incident of violence had its own genesis, they were knit in a pattern because of the campaign of hate and openly declared mission of the Sangh Parivar that they will oppose missionary activity in the country using force if required. In the latest incident in Haryana 3 nuns of the FMM order going to the midnight Easter mass at the Rewari Catholic Church were stalked and attacked by unknown men on a scooter on Saturday/Sunday midnight."

Excerpt from a statement issued by Joseph D'Souza, Chairman, All India Christian Council and John Dayal, National Secretary for Public Affairs, All India Christian Council on April 25, 2000

For the full statement please see this link: http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/1369/42/


REFUTATION OF THE ALLEGATION by The National Commission of Minorities

"The Deputy commissioner of Rewari accompanied by Fr. Philip and two nuns Sr. Ludmila D'souza and Sister Gertrude Ashram, Rewari visited the commission on 27th April, 2000 on the request of the commission to brief on the incident which took place on 22nd April, 2000 where in two out of the three nuns were injured. Sister Ludmila who was unhurt gave out the details of the accident. The Deputy commissioner was of the view that this is a case of an accident and there were no communal overtones. This was fully corroborated by Fr. Philip Parmar and the two nuns who went to the extent of stating that the motive behind the publicity with regard to the above accident is not understood as the atmosphere in Rewari has all along been very peaceful. They also mentioned that some western forces were trying to give a political colour to the incident and create a wedge among the Hindus and Christians residing in the town. We are therefore of the view that this is a
case of simple accident and that no communal meaning be attributed to it."

Excerpt from a report prepared by the National Commission of Minorities team consisting of Justice Mohammed Shamim, Chairman, Mr. Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, and two members, Mr. John Joseph and Lt. Gen. A. M. Sethna (Retd) sometime after April 27, 2000

For the full report please contact The National Commission of Minorities at http://ncm.nic.in/

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-07 20:07:59 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 17:09:23 +0530
From: "Sandeep Heble" <sandeepheble at gmail.com>

This is the path that most modern progressive Western democracies followed when they adopted a model of secularism that was essentially anti-religion and if we want to prevent communal clashes from happening this is the path that India will need to emulate.

Mario responds:

Sandeep,

Buried deep within your philosophical ruminations I often find some gratuitous chaff among the wheat that are whimsically created out of whole cloth. Your sentiments may not rise to the level of religious antipathy, but they come awfully close. I pointed out one instance recently where you turned an anti-religious insult completely on its head, using your personal presumptions to try and explain what another poster had not said. Another example is shown above.

Secularism is the notion that religion should be excluded from official governmental decision-making and institutions. This is a good thing. Nowhere in true secularism is there any hint of an essential "anti-religious" sentiment. In fact, true secularism allows unfettered religious practice but keeps it out of the public domain.

For example, in a modern cradle of implacable secularism, religion makes only one direct and obvious appearance in the original US Constitution that seems to point to a desire for some degree of religious freedom. That appearance is in Article 6, at the end of the third clause:

"No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

The First Amendment to the US Constitution refers to religion thus:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

That's it. Short aand sweet but saying it all.

Thus a) a person's religion is not permitted as a qualification for any public office, and b) the US legislature can pass no law establishing any particular religion, or prohibiting the free excercise of a citizen's choice of a religion, or, by extension, atheism.

I wouldn't consider any of this anti-religion, just the opposite; it prohibits government from interfering in a citizen's religious choice or practice.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-08 04:03:08 UTC
Permalink
Is "having Jan Sanghi/RSS roots" a cardinal sin:-) Pun intended!
I think not!
Vidyadhar Gadgil has himself been in the RSS for a year or
two, if I recall rightly what he mentioned. For a (usually)
"upper" caste Maharashtrian boy (and now, in many more parts of India)
being in the RSS is simply like membership of a boys club, the Boy
Scouts of the post-Empire just after the sun set on it, Mocidade
Portuguesa in Salazar's Goa, or the Young Pioneers of the former
Eastern Bloc countries.
Why is Vidhyadhar Gadgil not guilty by association with RSS?

On another front, when Frederick was discrediting someone else, using garbage, whom he referred to as a strange person for some reason, he called it rightful criticism of a public figure or some such thing. Now when people are merely unwilling to believe the "facts" reported by journalists and activists because of their overtly stated biases, he is whining that these poor upright folk like John Dayal and Vijay Prashad are being unfairly discredited on Goanet.

What a spectacular display of talking from both sides of his mouth, and both ends of his body!

This is pure self-serving political posturing based on convenience and the wind, not secularism or concern for the minorities of any kind.

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-08 17:25:30 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 23:40:26 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

Mario and Santosh,

I find this quite absurd.

You have a problem with John Dayal for riding into Israeli-Palestinian
clashes with Palestinian fighters in a jeep rather than embedded with
an Israeli tank?

Have you considered that he wanted to report a perspective other than
what Israel would "manage" for the reporters it took?

Mario responds:

Roland,

What is absurd is that you missed the context of Hartman's comments. He
was proudly citing this, and John's warnings to Sikhs, as examples of his
journalistic integrity, which normally includes objectivity.

I know you missed the context of my remarks which suggested that John should
not have accepted favors from either side.

Roland wrote:

Have you considered that while the world would see the Israeli side of
the equation, John Dayal may have wanted to show the scene from the
other side?

Mario responds:

I'm not sure what news you have been following, but the media and
governments worldwide, other than the US, are reflecting primarily the
Palestinian side, and always have. When was the last time you heard the UN
demand that the Palestinian terrorists and their state sponsors curb their
unilateral attacks on Israeli civilians, and only wake up when Israel
retaliates?

Roland wrote:

Are you too too drunk with the power and propaganda that the US foists
upon the rest of the world?

Mario responds:

In fact, I have never been more sober, since I never drink during the day, even
when I'm offered "power":-)) We are just coming off a US election
that was heavily skewed by a lack of journalistic integrity.

Is it "power and propaganda" when a country, USA, helps another duly
constituted country, Israel, to survive being wiped off the map? You seem proof
that the propaganda from the Palestinian side has been pretty effective.

"Drunk with power" would fit a situation where Israel, with US help,
was annexing the entire region, which they could if they wanted to. In fact,
the US has been trying to broker a two-state solution and encouraged Israel to
withdraw from Gaza and southern Lebanon, under land for peace agreements. They
gave up the land alright, but got no peace in return.

Perhaps you are unaware that there was a two-state solution brokered by the
Brits and the UN in 1947, which the radical Arabs have never accepted.

The US had nothing to do with the failure of the Palestinians to accept
Israel's right to exist since 1947, the subsequent preemptive invasion of
Israel by five Arab armies to "push the Jews into the sea" without any
thought of negotiating their grievances through the UN, and the founding
charters of the three major terrorist organizations, Hamas, Hezbollah and
Islamic Jihad, which require the elimination of Israel?

Do you even know that the terrorist's maps of the region show no Israel?

Everything else going on in the region flows from the failure of the radical
Arabs to accept Israel's right tot exist and from the founding objectives of
these three major terrorists organizations, aided and abetted by Syria and Iran.
This is why there can unfortunately be no peace in the region, or even any
meaningful negotiations, until these organizations change their tune, or are
eliminated themselves.

Here is a sobering analysis of the situation, with no rose tinted glasses:
http://www.cleveland.com/obrien/index.ssf/2009/01/hamas_is_wrong_dead_wrong.html
Mario Goveia
2009-01-09 05:43:52 UTC
Permalink
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 00:19:11 +0530
From: "Frederick \"FN\" Noronha" <fn at goa-india.org>

I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar, whose recent
priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of the VHPA
Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and Vijay
Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer lengthy
arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along communal
lines specially in Goa, et al...

Mario responds:

Fred,

Wouldn't you be far more productive, not to mention, honest, if you trained your sights on Narendra Modi and the VHP instead of continuing to slander an American woman whose only connection to the VHP is that she raised funds in the US for earthquake victims in Gujarat.

Furthermore, you continue to discredit John Dayal by mentioning him in the same sentence as Vijay Prashad. Unlike Dayal, who can only be accused of bias, Vijay Prashad is one of the most hard working termites in the foundations of the capitalist system that sustains the economies of the free world, provides virtually all the considerable private charitable donations in the free world, and sustains his own profession and position at an American university. This guy feeds on the very system that he seeks to discredit and destroy.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia that sums up how cockeyed this guy's thinking is:

"Prashad offered a communist view of Mother Teresa's missionary work in Calcutta, designating her as a representative of the collective 'bourgeois guilt' of western nations. In the same article he also commented on Mother Teresa's alleged links with Charles Keating and Michele Duvalier (wife of Baby Doc Duvalier). Denouncing the 'cruel rule of capital' he also offered the view that the communists of Calcutta were the 'real nameless Mother Teresas who conduct the necessary work towards socialism, for the elimination of poverty forever'."

If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has caused already.

"A communist is someone who reads Marx. An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" - Ronald Reagan.
Roland Francis
2009-01-09 23:53:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario Goveia
If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has caused already.
Comment:
By this logic, if an honest bureaucrat in India were so honest that
things improve, more bureaucrats would be emulating him, rather than
pressuring his superiors to transfer him to the trash heap of remote
postings where his example would not matter.
Post by Mario Goveia
"A communist is someone who reads Marx. An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" - Ronald Reagan.
Comment:
Ronald Reagan also said: "I've laid down the law, though, to everyone
from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is,
wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."


Roland Francis
Toronto
+1 (416) 453.3371
Roland Francis
2009-01-09 23:53:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario Goveia
If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has caused already.
Comment:
By this logic, if an honest bureaucrat in India were so honest that
things improve, more bureaucrats would be emulating him, rather than
pressuring his superiors to transfer him to the trash heap of remote
postings where his example would not matter.
Post by Mario Goveia
"A communist is someone who reads Marx. An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" - Ronald Reagan.
Comment:
Ronald Reagan also said: "I've laid down the law, though, to everyone
from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is,
wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."


Roland Francis
Toronto
+1 (416) 453.3371
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-09 18:51:43 UTC
Permalink
Fred,
Wouldn't you be far more productive, not to mention, honest, if you >trained your sights on Narendra Modi and the VHP instead of continuing to >slander an American woman whose only connection to the VHP is that she >raised funds in the US for earthquake victims in Gujarat.
Furthermore, you continue to discredit John Dayal by mentioning him in >the same sentence as Vijay Prashad.? Unlike Dayal, who can only be >accused of bias..........
Frederick has finally admitted elsewhere that his views are politically motivated and biased, and that the same is true of everybody else. So I guess that should settle the issue as to why he has to hear from the other side(s) on Goanet. Why independent corroboration of facts, copied and pasted here, is necessary. And why journalists, activists and campaigners need to be questioned and criticized in public forums.

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-10 02:46:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario Goveia
If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries
would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of
history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has
caused already.
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2009 18:53:26 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

By this logic, if an honest bureaucrat in India were so honest that
things improve, more bureaucrats would be emulating him, rather than
pressuring his superiors to transfer him to the trash heap of remote
postings where his example would not matter.

Mario responds:

Whereas my observation has a foundation in actual recent history, the problem with your comment is with its premise.

An honest bureaucrat is virtually an oxymoron. Since you haven't noticed, amazingly after having lived in India and Canada, nothing improves under a bureaucracy, because that would make the bureaucrat obsolete. A bureaucrat's career advancement comes from making the problem bigger, or at least maintaining the status quo.

This is one of the reasons that India went mostly sideways for 50 years and was a contributing factor to the implosion of the old Soviet Union.

Roland wrote:

Ronald Reagan also said: "I've laid down the law, though, to everyone
from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is,
wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

Mario responds:

I think this shows that Reagan was not only honest but had a sense of humor, both traits I would highly recommend to you.
Goanet Reader
2009-01-02 21:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Communal cauldron: Goa isn't doing enough to hold things in check

By Frederick Noronha
fn at goa-india.org

Goa can't but feel the heat. Communal conflict from other
parts of India has left scars and created distrust of a new
kind. This has brought in its impact from Orissa and coastal
Karnataka, not far from home. Earlier, similar trends were
witnessed in Gujarat's tribal areas.

Christians, who form a "major minority" in Goa, have shown
signs of worry over the anti-Christian violence reported from
these areas. Hindus, on the other hand, who have had a
complex but often peaceful relationship of coexisting with
Christians here, appear somewhat defensive about an issue
which they have little control over.

Meanwhile, with elections round the corner, tempers
have been getting heated in Goa itself. The series
of attacks on temples, still unexplained at the
time of writing, has made the mood in the majority
Hindu community restive and neglected.

"The Congress government can't even protect the 'moortis'
(statues) just outside Panjim, and they were damaged
yesterday. Corruption has also spiralled," said a barber in
the city. "I'm not saying the BJP wasn't tainted by
corruption. But they at least delivered results. And Panjim
was better maintained when they were in power."

* * *

Debates over secularism and communalism have turned into
means of scoring points. Both the Congress and the BJP resort
to this.

For instance, the BJP, whose wider network and affiliated
fronts played a role in stoking up temperatures in 2006 riots
at Curchorem-Sanvordem, went on to blame the Congress for
allowing such violence to hit Goa during the latter's rule.

Congress' spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu, on the other
hand, blamed the BJP for itself being behind the recent
temple desecrations. This came inspite of the fact that the
Congress government so far failed to nab any suspects.

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat offered a Rs 100,000 reward
for information leading to the trail of the miscreants. Kamat
also asked citizens in Goa not to allow Goa to see a repeat
of what already happening in Karnataka and Orissa. Citizens
too have attempted some initiatives, but it is clear that
these are certainly not sufficient.

Goa home minister Ravi Naik likewise critiqued the
BJP, in another statement, saying its temple
politics was meant to dividing people. While such
political games go on, the State pays a big price
for its lethargy with the communal virus spreading.

* * *

Over time, the polarisation is simply getting worse.

Misunderstandings mark relationships between Goa's three main
communities. If the 20th century in Goa was spent in caste
battles -- Brahmins versus Chardos among the Catholics, and
Bahujans versus the 'upper' castes among the Hindus -- now
the focus is going to building suspicion among different
religious groups.

Hindu-Muslim mistrust appears to be growing.
Catholics and Hindus have a bone to pick in some
places. "To construe superficial conviviality and
cosmetic bonhomie as deep rooted communal harmony
is just fooling ourselves," argues Ave Cleto
Afonso, a retired philosophy prof formerly with the
Dhempe College. Afonso recently translated the 1923
book 'The Hindus of Goa and the Portuguese
Republic'.

Likewise, the growing immigrant Muslim population of Goa has
become the target of campaigns both on communal or regional
grounds, with Catholics also showing some signs of buying
'anti-outsider' arguments too here.

One concern that has to still be sufficiently address is that
communal lobbies could have infiltrated key government
departments. Sometimes, too, the media coverage of certain
issues is shocking. Sections of the vernacular press in
particular are known to have taken a rather shrill position
on communalism.

There are other irritants within the population. Catholics, a
majority in the state till a little less than a century ago,
today feel swamped. Their numbers declined due to their
outmigration, in-migration, and lower birth rates. Since the
1960s, their shrinking access to political power has had its
impact.

On the other hand, the average Hindu isn't able to
access trends like out-migration, which creates
easy earning opportunities for many Catholics.
Increasingly, both communities are also seen to
compete in each other's territory -- government
service was once a domain which Catholics
dominated, while enterprise was where the Hindu had
strengths. New and unexpected elements enter the
equations. Both communities, for instance, are
showing signs of disliking Muslim vendor
competition that has grown in the markets.

Due to accidents of the past, Goans can have very differing
ideas of their history and their culture. Minority
communalism doesn't get addressed as much as it should.
Goans, of all religions, also tend to have fewer campaigners
over secularism; most are easily polarised over lines of
religion, compared to the situation elsewhere in India.

* * *

Goa is not immune to concerns that dominate the wider
national agenda. Recent attacks on some churches and found
their echo here too.

Sites like the Thane-based hindujagruti.org -- which
describes its goal as a "mission is to serve (the) Hindu
Dharma and Nation" -- has pages on its sites devoted to news
that highlights the negatives of Christianity and Islam. Some
of this touches on Goa too.

For instance, it quotes the RSS-linked Karnataka
chief minister saying "Christian organisations
(are) flaring up social tension". It likewise
highlights the arrest of "two Christians" for the
swamiji's murder in Orissa, and the controversy
over a translated Bible in the Jharkhand assembly.
Likewise, it says, "Christian nuns claim false rape
in India to defame Hinduism". Some of its other
reports point to a Christian-Hindu feud over a
Lahore temple, and a charge that 'Once a Hindu
converts, his loyalties shift'.

In the recent anti-Christian campaigns, some involved have
faulted Christian conversion policies as provoking conflict.
While certain sects are indeed on an aggressive evangelical
drive, conversions are a non-issue for a number of mainstream
denominations, including the Catholics.

In Goa, in fact, the Catholics themselves feel the pressures
coming from up when other, smaller, fringe Christian groups
seek to lure over Catholic adherents, not unsuccessfully. So
if conversion was the issue, there's no explanation why
Catholic religious places and personnel should be targeted.

But issues apart, the jostling for space is visible.
Sometimes not just metaphorically.

News reports from Margao (Herald, Oct 3, 2008) pointed out
that only a wall separates the existing masjid and the
newly-built Durga Mata temple at the Goa Housing Board plot
in Rumdamol. Recently, Muslims held Id prayers there, while
local Hindu leaders fixed their religious ceremony to install
a religious figure of Durga at around the same time, giving
the authorities some tense moments.

* * *

For the average citizen, most would obviously wish to simply
live in peace. But that's not how it always works out.

There are a number of reasons one could attribute to the
growth of communal politics in Goa too. One clearly is the
role played by politicians and the press. The first is search
of easy votes, and the latter going out for circulations.

But there are also other reasons. The global shift to the
Right in politics, visible since the 1980s, is making its
impact felt here too. Identity-politics is a good substitute
-- and divisionary tactic -- to avoid taking on more tougher,
real-world, concrete issues.

Likewise, the ascendence of conservative leaders at the helm
of many religions -- from Popes, to politicians claiming to
speak in the name of Hinduism, and militants claiming the
Muslim space -- only complicates the issue. Growing Christian
Evangelicalism, and the ascendence of the Christian Right
till Obama's recent election in the distant US has influenced
the debate on Goan shores too.

Spilling over into the Panjim Azad Maidan, this sometimes
shows up in the form of noisy prayer meetings. This is a
questionable policy at best which sees the municipality grant
permission for the use of this public space to just about
anyone who pays their price.

Even the stray religious conversion that happens here is
reason enough for the sections of the local vernacular media
to blow-up the issue. A case of a family from Parra, sometime
back, opting to change their religion lead to columns of
newsprint being devoted to this issue.

On the other hand, Christian arrogance is visible when it
comes to dealing with other religions. In part, this comes
from a monotheistic faith, with concepts like "false gods"
being part of its doctrine; but this makes for an incongruous
situation in the early 21st century. More so in times when
one has to accept that nobody has a monopoly over the truth.

Likewise, different political parties too have
tried their hand at playing the communal game.
While the saffron BJP has been often blamed, the
Congress itself hasn't been above majoritarian
politics (or minority versions of the game, in some
parts of the country). Its role in the anti-Sikh
riots, attempting to lure Christian votes in the
North-East or Salcete, and unlocking the Ayodhya
controversy with Rajiv Gandhi's shilyanyas is only
too well known.

In Goa, for their part, a number of political parties have
played their own sectarian, if not communal, role. Both the
MGP (which dominated Goan politics in the 1960s and 1970s)
and the BJP have played their part. So have some politicians
within the Congress, and the Goa Congress was decidedly a
party aiming to build a decidedly Catholic support-base. In
the 1960s, the UGP-MGP divide was also based on such a logic.

Arms of the State also play a role.

Young lawyer Jason Keith Fernandes wrote about an exhibition
held at the Kala Academy in Panjim, which he termed
"invitation to hate". This 2007 event aimed "to 'educate' the
average Hindu about the violence by Muslims on the Hindus of
Kashmir and Bangladesh." It came up via the French
Catholic-born Francois Gautier, now a staunch supporter of
the "Hindu nationalist movement".

When in power, the Rane Congress government spoke
of stopping the "sprouting of illegal constructions
and encroachments in public property". It did so
even as a debate raged on the need for a law to
tackle "communalism" in the state. Given the manner
in which some politicians and sections of the media
have been going after Muslim places of worship on
grounds of being illegal, the implications of such
an official stand would be clear to anyone who
takes a second look.

When in power, the Congress's role has sometimes itself been
questionable.

Take the case of Tariq Ahmed Battlo, arrested amidst much of
an outcry and media sensationalism at Margao, and alleged to
be a Tehrik-ul-Mukahidin militant. On July 10, 2008, he was
given the benefit of the doubt, and set free.

Strangely, just around the time of the Sanvordem-Curchorem
riots, Goa's Congress Rane-led government had publicly
announced his arrest (probably even before the police
formally arrested him, or staged his arrest), along with
charges that RDX too had been seized from him at Margao.

During the discussion on the Goa 2006-07 budget,
then CM Rane also announced plans for a law to
prevent communal disturbance. Nothing of that kind
has happened yet. And communal incidents keep
getting stoked, while an impotent State -- or one
which chooses to be -- looks on helplessly.

Suddenly, unusual issues crop up. As noted above, the concern
of "illegal constructions" was made central to the debate of
communalism in Goa some time ago.

Religious shrines have been sprouting all around, but it is
only "illegal" Muslim shrines that get targeted. Even before
the 2006 anti-Muslim violence at Curchorem, a campaign was
created over this issue.

Media reports highlight a number of such issue. For instance,
the December 2005 attempt to burn a mosque at Mardol; the
October 2005 desecration of a mosque at the Mapusa housing
board; the villagers demand for the demolition of a masjid
project under construction in Curti, on October 15-16, 2005.

* * *

"Communal danger (is) knocking on Goa's doors," argues
journalist Vidyadhar Gadgil, also a campaigner against
communalism and its spread. But others have critiqued
secularism campaigners for highlighting the ills of 'majority
communalism' often, while ignoring the problem of its
'minority' counterpart.

Gadgil himself warns that communal elements are likely to
want the tempo "built up and sustained" even as elections
approach. Argues he: "Citizens of Goa, irrespective of faith
and community, have been outraged by the violence against the
Christian community, and have united to condemn the
violence."

Gadgil contends that the blame needs to be placed where it
belongs. Critiquing the impact of the Hindutva ideology, he
believes, cannot be neglected if one is not to attempt "a
frantic and desperate (and doomed) attempt to be
non-partisan."

But others see the issue differently.

Dr Anand Virgincar of Margao, now based in the UK,
has another take on this. Joining a discussion on
the maverick GoenchimXapotam mailing-list in
cyberspace recently, he contended that "there is no
malice, let alone hatred, between the vast majority
of Goan Catholics and Hindus". Virgincar added that
"the vast majority of BJP/MGP voters in Goa -- and
there were 276,000 odd at the last elections -- are
not communal." Besides, he posited, the current BJP
leadership in Goa is "probably the least interested
in fomenting strife between communities -- as
compared to both BJP and non-BJP leaders across the
country. The recent Orissa violence is a case in
point. Ex-CM Manohar Parrikar "not only condemned
the violence but made a clear statement that there
is no Christian missionary activity encouraging
religious conversions in Goa," argued Virgincar.

But he argued "anti-Hindutva protestors (are) making
anti-Hindu statements ... in their over-enthusiasm". "While
faults with the Hindu religion are displayed in all their
glory -- often concealed as criticism of Hindutva -- any
wrongs within the Catholic faith are swept under the carpet,"
he argued. Bigots were left arguing such issues in the online
world, he said.

"Any moderate Hindu or a BJP or Manohar Parrikar supporter,
reading such hateful propaganda, would be a potential recruit
for their cause -- and their dream of collecting an entire
generation of militant Goan Hindus," argued Virgincar, who
uses the cyber-identity of 'Mahatma Sachin'.

But even if individuals are well-meaning, the reality of
communal ideologies needs to be taken into account.

For instance, R.S.Golwalkar, head of the RSS for nearly 30
years, perceives the 'Golden Age' India as a "full-fledged
nation of Hindus", with other communities living here being
either guests like Jews and Parsis, or "invaders" like
Muslims and Christians.

Different other quarters define the issue differently too.

For its part, the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, a body promoting the
language, recently said any attempt to amend the Official
Language Act of Goa "would only foment trouble in the Goan
society and divide the people on communal lines."

But others like the pro-Romi Konkani ex-Speaker Tomazinho
Cardozo argue contrarily. Cardozo commented recently:
"Traditionally Goans, Hindus as well as Christian, loved and
still love their own religions and at the same time they
respected and still respect the religious feelings of each
other. This is the foundation of communal harmony and peace
among Goans."

Solutions that are offered similarly differ.

South Goa collector G P Naik spoke in terms of a three-tier
peace committee "for managing conflict situations arising in
South Goa district." Margao itself was the seat of communal
tensions on June 27, 2008.

As an editorial in the Herald newspaper commented:
"The communal violence that engulfed Margao is an
extremely ominous indicator of the times to come.
Is Goa's commercial capital now going to be rocked
by communal violence every time a Hindu and a
Muslim have a fight, for whatever reason? The last
two times that the town has seen communal tension,
the events have been frighteningly similar."

On September 16, 2008, Goans answered a call by the Council
for Social Justice and Peace -- and braved some rain -- to
attend a rally opposed to communal violence. People from
different areas of Goa joined the meet to condemn the
incidents of violence against Christians in Orissa and
Karnataka.

CICH, a local campaign group called The Citizens' Initiatives
for Communal Harmony (CICH), argued that the desecrations
were "all taking place in one belt in South Goa and seemed
designed to deliberately polarise communities." CICH is
represented by social campaigner Ramesh Gauns and lawyer
Albertina Almeida. This group has also questioned the logic
of "projecting Muslims as repositories of violence".

Citizens have taken up other initiatives too.

After the March 2006, anti-Muslim riots in
Curchorem-Sanvordem, Goa's secular lobby was quick to study
the issue. Some who didn't agree with the findings of the
report raked up a controversy over it in cyberspace. Yet, its
study did put out a whole lot of useful and surprising
information about the way communalism is being built in Goa,
often without even being noticed.

This notwithstanding, on June 12, 2008, the
Additional Sessions Court of Margao acquitted 23
persons who were charge-sheeted for the arson and
assault during the March 2006 communal riots in the
Curchorem-Sanvordem twin towns. Addl Sessions Judge
Dilip Gaikwad gave them the benefit of doubt.

Earlier this year, a body calling itself the Akhil Goa Mandir
Suraksha Samiti, headed by the 'Dharmajagran Pramukh'
Rajendra 'Raju' Velingkar, son of RSS leader Subhash
Velingkar, lead the call for a protest strike in Goa over the
mysterious attacks on temples.

But this is one side of the story.

There are still positive examples. At the village and town
level, there are instances of people living in amity and
peace, for generations. Goans share some religious festivals
-- in places like Fatorpa, Mapusa and a few other spots.
Catholics, for the most, acknowledge their Hindu roots.
Dividing lines between 'we' and 'them' are not so clear-cut
here, though increasingly this is sought to be made so.

Concern over communalism continues to show up though.

In mid-November 2008, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind "vowed to
build a secular and prosperous Goa and not to allow
polarisation of the state on communal lines."

In October 2008, the Citizens' Forum for Secularism and
Communal Harmony fact-finding committee pulled up the police
administration for its failure to check communal violence in
Margao and Rumdamol on June 27 this year.

It is not as if we lack the law to tackle communalism.

The Indian Penal Code has clear-cut laws against destroying,
damaging or defiling a place of worship or sacred object,
with the intent to insult any religion (Sec 295, IPC). On the
law-book too are laws against maliciously insulting any
religion (295A), causing a disturbance to religious worship
(296), trespassing into a place of worship (29), or even
"uttering any word or making any sound" with the intention to
wound religious feelings (298). But, as one could guess,
these are seldom implemented, by a State which is itself
appears lackadaisical about the growth of communalism.

* * *

Goa's reality is different from that across the country. Our
history is different, so is our demography, and the relations
between communities.

What is the same however is the manner in which
this region too is prone to sustained communal
propaganda, the political interest in instigating
communalism, and the growing pressures to find
scapegoat-communities in times of economic
pressures and change.

Ironically, contrary to the widely-held view, Goa has not
always been the haven of peace it is made out to be.

On the contrary.

This tiny region has been the hotbed of communal battles,
caste conflict and theocratic intolerance for much of the
past centuries. But the good side of this bad story is that,
despite all that has happened -- or perhaps, because of it --
Goa has been less prone to go in for blatant communal
bitterness for much of the recent past. The state seems to
have realised that religious-based hate doesn't pay, and
solves no problems. Suspicions, and communal, politics do
linger on though.

The villain of the piece has been Portuguese
colonial rule. A few decades after settling in Goa,
in the mid-sixteenth century, the colonial ruler
began a policy of Lusitanisation and religious
conversions. Even in the 20th century, Salazar's
Estado Novo was known for its theocratic approach
and modus vivendi with the Vatican.

But contrary to the lore perpetuated by contemporary
communalism in Goa, it was not the Portuguese alone that
adopted policies of religious intolerance. Nor were the
Portuguese persistently biased against whom they defined as
The Other. Portuguese policy also hurt diverse segments of
the population, cutting across religious lines.

Initially, the colonial rulers slaughtered the Muslim
population of a Muslim-ruled Goa. The belief of some
influential players then was that the Hindus of Goa could
utilise the Portuguese to oust the then Muslim rulers is also
documented. But, for some time during their long regime, the
Portuguese gave Goa stints where anti-clerical politics saw
the expulsion of the Jesuits and other religious orders.

On the other hand, the Portuguese intolerance
during its rule in parts of Goa (the 'Old
Conquests' central core, ironically more Catholic
today) is also well documented. There is no denial
about the Hindu or Muslim shrines destroyed and
rebuilt as Catholic places of worship or even
forts.

Anyone wanting to rake up a bad row could create dozens of
Ayodhyas here. Though of course things are more complex than
that, because together with the shrines, the a section of the
people too were converted. Most of the latter are today
content to belong to the faith they are part of.

In addition, religious conflict wasn't the the only or prime
driver of colonial rule, as is sometimes sought to be
suggested. Likewise, religious minorities of today should not
be confused with the colonial rulers of the yesterdays.

This situation is ripe with other contradictions too.

A researcher planning to take up this issue listed
a number of religious monuments that got caught in
the religious intolerance of the past. Such as the
Muslim cemetery and mosque site near the fortress
in Chapora; the Reis Magos fortress and church
site, built on a Hindu temple; the Rachol Seminary,
built on a mosque site; monuments at Velha Goa; and
temples temples around Ponda, that were created as
"fugitive" religious sites.

Those raking up issues against the Portuguese policies on
religion often gain support from the 'New Conquest' areas,
areas where ironically enough colonial religious intolerance
was not fierce, or hardly felt.

Goa nowadays often gets reminded about the Inquisition in
Goa. Sometimes, the motives are genuine; at other times, the
intention is simply to justify more present-day communal
intolerance on the basis of the bigotry of the past.

Goa's complex history says it all. The post-1910 Republican
regime in Lisbon in fact made attempts to make up for periods
of anti-Hindu bias, till Salazar set back the clock.

Post 1963, after one-man one-vote electoral politics were
introduce in Goa, political parties played to communal
galleries to lesser or greater extent. The MGP, UGP, BJP,
Shiv Sena, Goa Congress, among others, have banked on getting
the votes sometimes with overt and unchecked appeals to
religion. Congress' attempts to garner votes involves a more
complex process of incorporating regional leaders -- of
diverse local community or caste groups -- together with a
role for money and migrant votes.

But during the BJP rule one had Governors like the
RSS-linked Kidar Nath Sahani highlight the
importance of rebuilding temples demolished by the
Portuguese and "erstwhile regimes" as part of the
"nation building task" in October 2003. It boggles
the mind how such sectarian talk can be tolerated
by a high functionary of a secular state.

There were other trends that caused concern in that period.

In early 2003, when the controversial Marathi play "Mee
Nathuram Boltoy" was staged in Kala Academy, the character
Nathuram Godse (Gandhiji's assassin in real life) got loud
applause from the audience.

There was a controversy over scrapping of some religious
holidays; hot-heads managed to get into the Archbishop's
House on an excuse; and, contrary to national policies to
have a force representative of the populace, only a tiny
number of minorities were recruited to crucial sectors like
the police. This was justified on the grounds that Catholics
anyway disliked working as stereotyped constables.

A controversial VCD, communalising the past via a
religiosity-suffused interpretation of history, was released
by the government. State monies were passed on to allegedly
partisan bodies in the wake of the Gujarat quake.

Samata Andolan, a body campaigning on social issues, then
also blamed the BJP Goa government of handing over over
primary schools to the Sangh Parivar "without complying
required formalities."

"How does (ex-chief minister Parrikar) justify the
thousands of saffrons he has recruited into
government service ever since the BJP took over the
reins two years ago?" charged lawyer Aires
Rodrigues, currently a vocal supporter of Mr
Parrikar, whom he now sees as the only option for
Goa.

Winds blowing in the rest of the country are also bound to
affect Goa.

Outlook, the New Delhi-published magazine, offered some
surprising info recently. In its issues of Sept 28, 2008 and
Oct 6, 2008, it reported a link between Hindutva terrorism
and Goa. Some of those involved in recent cases of violence
had got trained in making timer-bombs. Said Outlook, "Panse
(one of those involved, also) underwent training by the VHP
and Bajrang Dal at Goa for two years." Names of other groups,
like the Sanatan Sanstha, which publishes a newspaper from
Goa, have also come up in connection with this controversy.

But even while attempts are on to widen the communal rift,
some understand that religious-infighting doesn't make any
sense, and the State swims or sinks across communities.

As Prof Afonso put it, "It is my belief that the hope of
sustaining Goa and enriching Goan cultural identity depends
on healing of the old wounds that have divided the Hindus and
Catholics."

ENDS

------------------------------------------------------------
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------

According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2, 2008
had the following toll:

ORISSA
Districts hit 14
Villagers destroyed 300
Houses burnt 4,300
Homeless 50,000
People murdered 57
Fathers, pastors or nuns injured 10
Women gang-raped 2
Injured 18,000
Churches destroyed 149
Schools, colleges destroyed 13

KARNATAKA
Districts devastated 4
Churches attacked 19
Nuns, women injured 20

KERALA
Churches damaged 3

MADHYA PRADESH
Churches damaged 4

DELHI
Churches destroyed 1
Attempts made 4

TAMIL NADU
Churches attacked 1

UTTRAKHAND
Murdered 2 (aged priest and employee)

------------------------------------------------------------
First published (in a slightly differing version) in Goa
Today, December 2008 issue.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-03 01:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh
Miguel Braganza
2009-01-04 06:07:00 UTC
Permalink
Dear Dr. Santosh Helekar,

Benjamin Disraeli, when he was the PM of UK, is credited with the statement, "There are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Mark Twain is credited with the coinage of the term "lies of virtuous ecstasy"

The "communal cauldron" has been stirred in the crusades, jihads and Kalinga war, then in the land of Alexander the Great [ Macedonia-Serbia-Croatia] and continues to be so in Iraq, Afganistan, West Bank and the Gaza strip is the latest of this strip-tease.

In the present day, journalism and truth seldom share the same PC or news report. Even advertorials and advertisements come through as "Reporter copy" or "News Desk" copy.

John Dayal has been a "Working Journalist" [within the definition of Goa Union of Journalist or GUJ for membership] and continues to be a "Press Note Journalist" and "Ghost Writer" like so many "have been journalists" and Editors, including one who is now the Vice-President- Communications for a 'Group of Companies' with interests in "Hospitality" [read, 'Hotels and casino', including one unit allegedly coming up near Tirthbag beach close to Vengurla], "Infrastructure" [ read "mining and transport of ore'] and the latest euphemism "Mineral Farming" [read iron ore mining and "planting" reports. stories and advertorials in daily newspapers and weekly tabloids]

Frederick Noronha is also a journalist on the Goanet, besides other places. He has already disclaimed responsibility for the data by prefacing his sentence thus, "According to John....." Dayalu or otherwise. ;-)

Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere rhetoric?

Mog asundi

Miguel

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 17:59:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Santosh Helekar <chimbelcho at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Goanet] Stirring the communal cauldron
Message-ID: <562745.4367.qm at web110313.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh



Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Go to http://messenger.yahoo.com/invite/
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-04 08:21:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel Braganza
Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere
rhetoric?
Dear Miguel,

No. You have told me more than I needed to know. Thanks. Mark Twain also wrote that journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft and admires the thief.

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-04 12:39:34 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Santosh's positions on this.

Views from the other side of the divide would give an entirely
different picture, quite contrary to the one painted by John Dayal.
Here are just a few links from some past instances, gathered from RSS/
Hindu sources to illustrate just exactly this:

http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/14.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0700/91.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/45.html

An independent analysis from an objective secular perspective must
therefore not quote or rely on facts provided by people who have their
own vested agendas and interests.

While Frederick got almost everything else right in his column, he
committed a gross error by relying on John Dayal as his data source,
someone who is a known Christian propagandist and someone who has made
quite a few baseless, religiously motivated and unsubstantiated claims
in the past.

Cheers
Sandeep

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed >>here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a >>journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent >>sources for any factual information he provides his readers.
Cheers,
Santosh
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-05 16:52:06 UTC
Permalink
*Santosh Helekar:*
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has
listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian
campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his
readers.Cheers,Santosh
Response:
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi goon attacks you or
tries to burn your home or property or attempts to rape a member of your
family, please remember to call for at least two independent witnesses,
preferably not belonging to your religion. Otherwise if the media publicizes
your misfortune, your word and that of the journalist will count for
nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of Gotham) on Goanet.

Regards,

Marshall
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 18:06:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi
goon attacks you or tries to burn your home or property or attempts to >rape a member of your family, please remember to call for at least two
independent witnesses, preferably not belonging to your religion. >Otherwise if the media publicizes your misfortune, your word and that of >the journalist will count for nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of >Gotham) on Goanet.
I humbly request Marshall to kindly not resort to name-calling.

I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent sources before they report something as fact. It is to protect people's rights, including a victim's right to privacy. It is also to guard against the spread of rumors and false allegations, and to prevent incitement of communal/sectarian feelings and violent action.

The sarcasm in the above post from Marshall misleads people as to what they should do in the event that they become victims of a crime. I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:

1. Call for help, and seek medical help.

2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.

3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.

4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.

5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 21:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I
am doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
Hi Roland,

I hope your long distance assessment of India is not anything like your doubts about Texas. In either case, I would prefer to trust the opinion of a journalist who actually lives in India, and practices his profession in an ethical and impartial manner to the best of his abilities e.g. Valmiki Faleiro. But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations and political activists.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 02:43:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?
1. An article entitled "The three foundations of journalism" at -
http://www.rap21.org/article18465.html

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Accuracy":

"Accuracy: Every journalists code stresses the need for accuracy. There are no prizes for being fast and wrong. Writing for a journalist is the skill of presenting information clearly, concisely and effectively. It is based on hard facts, so the reporter must know how and where to find reliable information. A critical challenge is how to reconcile conflicting accounts of the same event. Many journalistic organisations insist on the two source rule that means that every fact must be confirmed by two independent sources before it can be taken as reliable."

2. An article entitled "Media and Conflict in the Philippines" from the Committee of Concerned Journalists at -
http://www.concernedjournalists.org/media-and-conflict-philippines

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Dispassionate Reporting":

"Recognizing the fallibility, if not the occasional deceit of sources, individual reporters and various news organizations develop standards for testing the truthfulness of a story. Are two or more independent sources providing the same information? Did the journalist see and hear the evidence himself or herself or get it secondhand? What are the credibility, reputation and motivation of the source?"

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-06 03:44:03 UTC
Permalink
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism, it is precisely the >>perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have played a key role in allowing the >>truth to emerge.
But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those endless, hair-splitting >>arguments, but instead focus on the substantiative issues raised.
--------------------------------------------
My response:

Frederick needs to be quite happy that his column is being critiqued,
discussed and deliberated. My general observation is that whenever
something like this happens, it tends to generate a wider interest and
a larger readership. I have a strong hunch that those who have not
read his column in the first place may have revisited it and done so
now.

I personally have no problems per se with this column and I do commend
FN for bringing up a lot of valid points in it. I said it before in
the GX Forum( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GoenchimXapotam/message/16264
) and I would repeat once again that in my opinion this is one of FN's
most objective pieces and I would give him a score of 8 out of 10 on
this one.

However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor
where he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would
have been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

In any case, what has happened in Orissa is ghastly, horrendous and
cowardly and the gravity of the crime would not in any way come down
if subsequent investigations reveal discrepancies in facts and
figures. I do not think anybody would try to mean or even remotely
suggest this. I entirely endorse FN's contentions that we need to
focus on the substantiative issues raised by him rather than be caught
up in non-issues.

Incidents like these put the very idea of India, a land of unity in
diversity, to threat and shame and there is a need for an honest
objective analysis that dissects the roles of all the players
including the roles of political parties, religious leaders, Hindutva
organizations, Maoists and Christian missionaries in this communal
strife. Such an analysis devoid of political motives is necessary to
prevent such horrendous crimes from being repeated in the future.

Cheers
Sandeep
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 06:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Santosh Helekar:
I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian,
Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:1. Call for
help, and seek medical help.2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed
criminal complaint.3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any
independent judicial inquiry.4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime
against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists
will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you
say in the print media and the internet.5. Don't call a press conference if
you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and
self-respect.Cheers,Santosh

Response:
It appears that Santosh is used to living in ivory towers and totally
removed from ground realities. All the above steps will probably work well
in countries like USA, Western Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand which
are mature democracies with the rights of all its citizens protected by the
state and civil society.
In India, which in reality, is a functioning anarchy, things are totally
different. Those who exercise power or control financial resources call the
tune. The police, the administration and even to some extent the judiciary
is putty in their hands. Gujarat and Orissa would not have happened had the
state administration come down heavily on the anarchists. When the state
administration and the police turn a blind eye or connive in the violence,
whom does the victim go to seek help? Are you aware that the medical reports
of the nun who was raped was suppressed by the police for 38 days? Are you
aware that rapes, killings, destruction of property took place in the
presence or connivance of the police? When a victim faces a dead end, where
does such a person go to get justice? And when those who report on the
violence are demonised and their reputation and character torn to shreds by
vested forces, what does one do? Would anyone seek protection of a person
who stood passively while their family members were hunted and killed before
their eyes, while their female members were raped in their presence, while
their homes and belongings were burnt to ashes? It is all very well for
those who are not affected by the violence to preach, and take theoretical
positions, which will work well in the classrooms.
Next time, you are in India, I suggest you pay a visit to any of the mission
stations and witness and experience for yourself how life is out there for
the poor and the marginalised and for those who are working selflessly to
uplift them. Speak to Seby Rodrigues and the other persons fighting the
mining lobby. Listen to their experiences. If you do not get touched and
sensitized, you would have to be a very hard hearted human being.

Regards,

Marshall
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 09:55:45 UTC
Permalink
Sandeep Heble:
However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor where
he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would have
been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

Response:
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles. However, the
RSS does not represent the hindus much though they would like to believe so.
In fact I find the above post of Sandeep contradictory as in an earlier post
he recognised the difference between hinduism and hindutva.

Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.He is
a human rights activist. John Dayal has been nominated for the coveted Human
Dignity Award 2008 in recognition of his services in the field of human
rights.
http://www.india-server.com/news/human-dignity-award-for-john-dayal-5160.html

He is a former editor of Delhi Mid-day and a journalist. He is an office
bearer of some christian bodies and has been acting as spokesperson for the
christian community.If you call that vested interests and consider it
a crime, yes then he is guilty.( As has been George Menezes also a former
President of the AICU). Till date I have not read nor come across any hate
literature / articles under his signature. If you have come across any, I
would be obliged if you could draw my attention to the same. Anyone who
represents or fights for the underdog is always disliked /hated by vested
interests. Even Seby Rodrigues has been called a naxalite by Manohar
Parrikar.

It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility
before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for
Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and
sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.If Sandeep wishes to
give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John
Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day. If you will read
today's newspapers about what the Supreme Court has to say on the Orissa
violence, it will give you an indication.

Regards

Marshall
Mario Goveia
2009-01-06 06:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 15:56:30 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Mario asks:

Hanh? ".....things in the redneck state being what they are."????

What the heck is this baseless slander of Texas all about? Is Roland confusing Texas with Ontario perhaps?:-))
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 17:21:06 UTC
Permalink
I had stated in this thread what in my opinion would be the right thing to do if anybody becomes a victim of a violent attack. I had suggested that he/she should file a criminal complaint and seek law enforcement action. I had also suggested that he/she should not politicize or communalize the crime against him/her, and not call a press conference if he/she wants his/her privacy, dignity and self-respect to remain unharmed.

Marshall who has no clue about my background disagreed with me, and accused me of being out of touch with poor people and victims of crime in India, and that in India what I said above is not what a crime victim should do. Marshall also appears to believe that information regarding communal violence when presented by a single religious and political campaigner or a spokesperson for a religious or political organization representing one of the sides in the conflict, is to be taken to be factually accurate, and not biased and communally slanted in any way. Samir says he agrees with Marshall on all of these issues 100%.

However, neither of them has explicitly stated what steps should be taken by a victim of a violent crime, and whether they would like the victim to divulge facts about the crime against him/her to a religious and political campaigner or spokesperson of a religious and political organization belonging to his/her own religion and political party. I would therefore like to ask them the following questions:

1. What steps should a victim of a violent crime committed in India take?
2. What should a Christian or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Hindu?
3. What should a Hindu or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Christian?
4. What should a Hindu or Christian victim do if the criminal happens to be Muslim?
5. What should the victim do if the criminal happens to belong another religion or creed?
6. Which Hindu religious and political campaigner or spokesperson for a Hindu religious and political organization would you trust to give you accurate facts about communal violence involving Hindus and Christians or Hindus and Muslims?

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 02:04:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles.
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.
He is a human rights activist.
If you call that vested interests and consider it a crime, yes then he is guilty.
It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.
If Sandeep wishes to give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day.

--------------------------------------------------------
My consolidated Response:

It is an irony of our Nation that while the propagation of orthodox
Hindutva is considered as bad and evil (and rightly so) the
propagation of an orthodox intolerant brand of Christianity is
considered an acceptable proposition. It is a sad predicament that our
major religions continue to be represented by Orthodox leaders who
have their own vested agendas and hidden interests. Leaders who have
been found to have placed religion above Nation in the past!

Maybe John Dayal is a human rights activist, RSS workers are too. But
he is also ideologically associated to several Christian bodies like
the All India Catholic Union, All India Christian Council, United
Christian Action, and Member of Justice and Peace commission
Archdiocese of Delhi. That is not per se a crime and I never said it
was. But that makes him a Christian activist rather than a secular
liberal activist. And India needs more of the latter.

While John Dayal has often highlighted the hate-crimes perpetrated by
Hindu groups against minorities and nobody should have problems with
that, it is his silence against violence committed by Christian groups
against Hindu Minorities in the North East that worries me. Or his
marked silence and/or even support to orthodoxy, intolerance and abuse
of the laws by radical evangelical outfits.

Besides, John Dayal has made baseless, religiously motivated and
unsubstantiated allegations in the past. He has fabricated stories and
communalized law-and-order incidents like the Gang rape of Jhabua
Nuns. He has made wild politically motivated allegations like blaming
the Sangh Parivar outfits for the series of bomb attacks on churches,
even though investigations have revealed the role of Pak-based Deendar
Anjuman. He has purportedly made false accusations against VHP-A (
http://www.vhp-america.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5
). The list would go on.

Marshall needs to stop hallucinating when he implies that I cannot see
the truth, just as he needs to stop hallucinating when he refers to
Santosh as a Sangh Parivar sympathizer. Questioning the motives and
credentials of individuals like John Dayal does not mean that one does
not recognize the truth of what has happened in Orissa or what is
happening in the rest of India. Different people would however analyze
the reasons and suggest the remedies differently. Marshall needs to
understand and accept this plain simple fact before he lets his
imaginations run wild.

For the records, some Christian leaders too have criticized John
Dayal's credentials and motives. For instance, Mr PN Benjamin, the
head of Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue (BIRD) had this to
write in his letter addressed to him:
"You refer only good old Gandhi and say you cannot be compared with
him. No wonder. I respect your honesty because Gandhi never bore false
witness against anyone, though he was not a Christian. But, the John
Dayal, I know of dishes that out (falsehood) profusely especially when
he goes to the US and appears before USCIRF and his Christian
evangelist friends there who ostensibly bank-roll his activities both
in the US and in India."
( Source: http://hindtoday.com/Blogs/ViewBlogs.aspx?HTAdvtId=2681&HTAdvtPlaceCode=IND
)

There are enough valid reasons for being skeptical of leaders like
John Dayal, who are known for their one-sided propaganda and even
anti-Indian postures. Like placing religion above the Nation and
making anti-Indian statements in the past like: "The US government was
too quick to remove India from the list of terrorist countries. The
AICU is going to make an independent enquiry into this grave incident.
[. . .] Anti-Christian violence is escalating in Maharashtra."
(Source: http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=3506 )

India faces a clear choice. Either it must grow by weeding out all
forms of religious radicalism which is what a secular liberal
progressive Nation must do or perish by giving orthodox religious
groups and/or leaders a free hand. A Nation that needs to chart a
modern path, a path of freedom free from orthodoxy, intolerance and
hatred, therefore needs neither a Togadia or Singhal nor a John Dayal.

Frederick is well within his rights to quote such people if he wants
to and I am well within my rights to observe that facts and figures
from a neutral source are likely to be more credible than facts and
figures from religiously motivated sources like John Dayal.

Cheers
Sandeep
Bosco - Goanet Volunteer
2009-01-07 06:07:18 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

Considering that we dont know each other personally and the inherent impersonal
nature of communicating by email, please temper your comments before demonizing each
other or anybody else and driving this thread to a premature termination.

Since Frederick has indicated the John Dayal page on wikipedia has been compromised
perhaps those interested in understanding / learning more about John Dayal could
read his blog.....:

http://johndayal.sulekha.com/

or any of his published works......:


Author/ Edited Anthologies:

Equity - Freedom of Faith in Secular India 2007

Gujarat 2002 - Untold and Retold Stories (Media House) 2002

For Reasons of State (with Ajoy Bose) (Vision Books) 1977

Commissions of Enquiry (With Ajoy Bose) 1979

Indian Cinema Superbazar (Ed: Aruna Vasudev)(France)

Ethics of Peace (Ed: UCIP) 1995

Wadhwa Commission (Ed: Dr. M P Raju) (Media House) 2000

Legal Struggle of the Dalits [Co-authored with Adv Edward Arogia Doss] [scheduled to
be published later in 2007]


http://johndayal.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/05/john-dayal-s-new-book.htm


.......before making up their mind about the man.


But please, NO Name-calling!!!

Thank you - Bosco
Goanet Admin
http://www.goanet.org
Where Goans Connect
Cecil Pinto
2009-01-07 09:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Hartman de Souza wrote:
However when Sandeep Heble casts aspersions against my old friend, comrade
and colleague at Patriot newspaper, New Delhi, I am afraid I must ignore my
distaste for fundamentalists and jump into the fray.
...
...
...

One could go on and on with unmasking Heble's obvious Jan Sanghi/RSS roots,
but this is, frankly, of no use.

------------------


Dear Hartman,

I have not been following the 'John Dayal' debate so I will not
comment on that, but I usually read Sandeep Heble's posts because I
find them rational and well thought out. Sandeep has always struck me
as an intelligent, well-informed, articulate, concerned and
responsible person. And of course totally secular in his approach -
never fundamentalist.

Your allegation that Heble has 'Jan Singhi/RSS roots' is most
intriguing. If you have proof of this allegation please place it on
the table. Else I think you owe us an explanation and Sandeep an
apology.

Cheers!

Cecil

==========
Pravin Sabnis
2009-01-07 11:10:45 UTC
Permalink
I can personally vouch that my friend,?Sandeep Heble is a very sensitive and humane person in reality. His various postings on the Goanet?reflect his concern over the?communal slants given to various topics.?His?views can be challenged but to label him a bigot is unfair.?We must be careful in condemning somebody just because we disagree with that persons view, facts or opinions.
?
regards
Pravin


Check out the all-new Messenger 9.0! Go to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 11:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Let me first categorically assert that the intentions of my post were
not in any way meant to discredit John Dayal or show him in poor
light. If my earlier posts appeared in that way, I sincerely
apologize for the same as I have realised that the wordings of the
post were quite unfair to him.

I would accept the words of Hartman and Frederick that John Dayal is a
great humanitarian ? something that I never disputed in my earlier
posts in the first place. As a matter of fact, some of the most
orthodox Missionaries who operate on Indian soils too are sincere
humanitarians. Being involved with a few social groups and having done
joint events with them, I can say with a large degree of conviction
that they too are good human beings whose love and concern for fellow
humans are qualities that are worthy of emulation.

I however believe that the ideological positions John Dayal or radical
evangelical groups hold are not in the interests of a modern
progressive society that a liberal Indian would wish to see.
Intolerance is a viscious cycle that results in violence that begets
in further violence; and in communal clashes it is always the innocent
citizens who suffer.

There is therefore a need to weed out all forms of intolerance,
orthodoxy and irrational behavior. This is the path that most modern
progressive Western democracies followed when they adopted a model of
secularism that was essentially anti-religion and if we want to
prevent communal clashes from happening this is the path that India
will need to emulate.

Through further investigations, I have susbsequently learnt that John
Dayal was a progressive liberal leader in the past. However, while he
presently opposes the orthodoxy in Hinduism (which is a good thing) he
somehow does not seem to do the same when it comes to opposing the
fundamentalists operating in his religion.

My objections to him are therefore limited to this and if my opinions
about him are wrong, then the correct approach will be in presenting
the facts in a sincere and articulate manner, without resorting to
unfair name-calling.

For the records, I have nothing to do with RSS or Jana Sangh or BJP or
any other religious or political groups.

Finally, thanks to Cecil, Anand, Santosh, Bosco, Frederick and a few
others for their gracious support.

Cheers
Sandeep
Mario Goveia
2009-01-07 20:26:29 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 07:34:29 +0530
From: "Sandeep Heble" <sandeepheble at gmail.com>

It is an irony of our Nation that while the propagation of orthodox
Hindutva is considered as bad and evil (and rightly so) the
propagation of an orthodox intolerant brand of Christianity is
considered an acceptable proposition.

Mario observes:

Sandeep,

Once again we see some chaff among the wheat. Where the heck did you get the idea that the propagation of an intolerant brand of Christianity is an acceptable proposition? You just made that up.

As the only source of reason, truth and peace on Goanet, I must advise you that starting an essay with such contrived codswallop as your opening premise shown above, dilutes the rest of your thoughts, and should be avoided in the interests of credibility.

In case you are tempted to defend the indefensible, you will have to overcome the intellectual obstacle of my repeated characterizations of extremist Christians as fascists, just as Hindutvadis are fascists, not to mention Islamic terrorists.

You would do a lot better if you started with a specific and accurate premise as the foundation for whatever else you may want to say.

I would be hard pressed to characterize anything I have seen on Goanet as anything more than biased and passionate advocacy of a poster's point of view rather than anything inherently evil or deliberately destructive.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-07 19:58:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar,
whose recent priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of
the VHPA Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and
Vijay Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer
lengthy arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along
communal lines specially in Goa, et al...
Frederick is now trying to use the crutch of a shameless guilt by association to discredit me in a public forum by using the same guilt by association tactic. And this while whining about what he calls attempts to discredit John Dayal and Vijay Prashad.

I guess Frederick believes he has the right to discredit private citizens in public forum but we do not have the right to criticize or question the credibility of journalists like him or activists and campaigners.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-07 19:45:58 UTC
Permalink
Mario has very nicely stated why it would be unwise to trust what is reported by a journalist who has an overt bias in favor or against one side in a communal conflict. I illustrate below how in the past the National Commission of Minorities has disputed the "facts" reported by the religious campaigner that Frederick used as the only source in one of his recent articles.

THE ALLEGATION OF COMMUNAL VIOLENCE by Frederick's source

"The aicc and AICU sent a team of academicians and human rights activists including John Dayal, and Jesuit Fathers Jacob and Sebastian to Mathura to assess the situation in western UP. The aicc/AICU statement reminded authorities that though each incident of violence had its own genesis, they were knit in a pattern because of the campaign of hate and openly declared mission of the Sangh Parivar that they will oppose missionary activity in the country using force if required. In the latest incident in Haryana 3 nuns of the FMM order going to the midnight Easter mass at the Rewari Catholic Church were stalked and attacked by unknown men on a scooter on Saturday/Sunday midnight."

Excerpt from a statement issued by Joseph D'Souza, Chairman, All India Christian Council and John Dayal, National Secretary for Public Affairs, All India Christian Council on April 25, 2000

For the full statement please see this link: http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/1369/42/


REFUTATION OF THE ALLEGATION by The National Commission of Minorities

"The Deputy commissioner of Rewari accompanied by Fr. Philip and two nuns Sr. Ludmila D'souza and Sister Gertrude Ashram, Rewari visited the commission on 27th April, 2000 on the request of the commission to brief on the incident which took place on 22nd April, 2000 where in two out of the three nuns were injured. Sister Ludmila who was unhurt gave out the details of the accident. The Deputy commissioner was of the view that this is a case of an accident and there were no communal overtones. This was fully corroborated by Fr. Philip Parmar and the two nuns who went to the extent of stating that the motive behind the publicity with regard to the above accident is not understood as the atmosphere in Rewari has all along been very peaceful. They also mentioned that some western forces were trying to give a political colour to the incident and create a wedge among the Hindus and Christians residing in the town. We are therefore of the view that this is a
case of simple accident and that no communal meaning be attributed to it."

Excerpt from a report prepared by the National Commission of Minorities team consisting of Justice Mohammed Shamim, Chairman, Mr. Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, and two members, Mr. John Joseph and Lt. Gen. A. M. Sethna (Retd) sometime after April 27, 2000

For the full report please contact The National Commission of Minorities at http://ncm.nic.in/

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-07 20:07:59 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 17:09:23 +0530
From: "Sandeep Heble" <sandeepheble at gmail.com>

This is the path that most modern progressive Western democracies followed when they adopted a model of secularism that was essentially anti-religion and if we want to prevent communal clashes from happening this is the path that India will need to emulate.

Mario responds:

Sandeep,

Buried deep within your philosophical ruminations I often find some gratuitous chaff among the wheat that are whimsically created out of whole cloth. Your sentiments may not rise to the level of religious antipathy, but they come awfully close. I pointed out one instance recently where you turned an anti-religious insult completely on its head, using your personal presumptions to try and explain what another poster had not said. Another example is shown above.

Secularism is the notion that religion should be excluded from official governmental decision-making and institutions. This is a good thing. Nowhere in true secularism is there any hint of an essential "anti-religious" sentiment. In fact, true secularism allows unfettered religious practice but keeps it out of the public domain.

For example, in a modern cradle of implacable secularism, religion makes only one direct and obvious appearance in the original US Constitution that seems to point to a desire for some degree of religious freedom. That appearance is in Article 6, at the end of the third clause:

"No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

The First Amendment to the US Constitution refers to religion thus:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

That's it. Short aand sweet but saying it all.

Thus a) a person's religion is not permitted as a qualification for any public office, and b) the US legislature can pass no law establishing any particular religion, or prohibiting the free excercise of a citizen's choice of a religion, or, by extension, atheism.

I wouldn't consider any of this anti-religion, just the opposite; it prohibits government from interfering in a citizen's religious choice or practice.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-08 04:03:08 UTC
Permalink
Is "having Jan Sanghi/RSS roots" a cardinal sin:-) Pun intended!
I think not!
Vidyadhar Gadgil has himself been in the RSS for a year or
two, if I recall rightly what he mentioned. For a (usually)
"upper" caste Maharashtrian boy (and now, in many more parts of India)
being in the RSS is simply like membership of a boys club, the Boy
Scouts of the post-Empire just after the sun set on it, Mocidade
Portuguesa in Salazar's Goa, or the Young Pioneers of the former
Eastern Bloc countries.
Why is Vidhyadhar Gadgil not guilty by association with RSS?

On another front, when Frederick was discrediting someone else, using garbage, whom he referred to as a strange person for some reason, he called it rightful criticism of a public figure or some such thing. Now when people are merely unwilling to believe the "facts" reported by journalists and activists because of their overtly stated biases, he is whining that these poor upright folk like John Dayal and Vijay Prashad are being unfairly discredited on Goanet.

What a spectacular display of talking from both sides of his mouth, and both ends of his body!

This is pure self-serving political posturing based on convenience and the wind, not secularism or concern for the minorities of any kind.

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-08 17:25:30 UTC
Permalink
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 23:40:26 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

Mario and Santosh,

I find this quite absurd.

You have a problem with John Dayal for riding into Israeli-Palestinian
clashes with Palestinian fighters in a jeep rather than embedded with
an Israeli tank?

Have you considered that he wanted to report a perspective other than
what Israel would "manage" for the reporters it took?

Mario responds:

Roland,

What is absurd is that you missed the context of Hartman's comments. He
was proudly citing this, and John's warnings to Sikhs, as examples of his
journalistic integrity, which normally includes objectivity.

I know you missed the context of my remarks which suggested that John should
not have accepted favors from either side.

Roland wrote:

Have you considered that while the world would see the Israeli side of
the equation, John Dayal may have wanted to show the scene from the
other side?

Mario responds:

I'm not sure what news you have been following, but the media and
governments worldwide, other than the US, are reflecting primarily the
Palestinian side, and always have. When was the last time you heard the UN
demand that the Palestinian terrorists and their state sponsors curb their
unilateral attacks on Israeli civilians, and only wake up when Israel
retaliates?

Roland wrote:

Are you too too drunk with the power and propaganda that the US foists
upon the rest of the world?

Mario responds:

In fact, I have never been more sober, since I never drink during the day, even
when I'm offered "power":-)) We are just coming off a US election
that was heavily skewed by a lack of journalistic integrity.

Is it "power and propaganda" when a country, USA, helps another duly
constituted country, Israel, to survive being wiped off the map? You seem proof
that the propaganda from the Palestinian side has been pretty effective.

"Drunk with power" would fit a situation where Israel, with US help,
was annexing the entire region, which they could if they wanted to. In fact,
the US has been trying to broker a two-state solution and encouraged Israel to
withdraw from Gaza and southern Lebanon, under land for peace agreements. They
gave up the land alright, but got no peace in return.

Perhaps you are unaware that there was a two-state solution brokered by the
Brits and the UN in 1947, which the radical Arabs have never accepted.

The US had nothing to do with the failure of the Palestinians to accept
Israel's right to exist since 1947, the subsequent preemptive invasion of
Israel by five Arab armies to "push the Jews into the sea" without any
thought of negotiating their grievances through the UN, and the founding
charters of the three major terrorist organizations, Hamas, Hezbollah and
Islamic Jihad, which require the elimination of Israel?

Do you even know that the terrorist's maps of the region show no Israel?

Everything else going on in the region flows from the failure of the radical
Arabs to accept Israel's right tot exist and from the founding objectives of
these three major terrorists organizations, aided and abetted by Syria and Iran.
This is why there can unfortunately be no peace in the region, or even any
meaningful negotiations, until these organizations change their tune, or are
eliminated themselves.

Here is a sobering analysis of the situation, with no rose tinted glasses:
http://www.cleveland.com/obrien/index.ssf/2009/01/hamas_is_wrong_dead_wrong.html
Mario Goveia
2009-01-09 05:43:52 UTC
Permalink
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 00:19:11 +0530
From: "Frederick \"FN\" Noronha" <fn at goa-india.org>

I expect more from individuals like Dr Santosh Helecar, whose recent
priorities seem to have included jumping to the rescue of the VHPA
Inc-linked Sonal Shah, to seek to discredit John Dayal and Vijay
Prashad, to question activists and campaigners, to proffer lengthy
arguments that deny the possibility of a polarisation along communal
lines specially in Goa, et al...

Mario responds:

Fred,

Wouldn't you be far more productive, not to mention, honest, if you trained your sights on Narendra Modi and the VHP instead of continuing to slander an American woman whose only connection to the VHP is that she raised funds in the US for earthquake victims in Gujarat.

Furthermore, you continue to discredit John Dayal by mentioning him in the same sentence as Vijay Prashad. Unlike Dayal, who can only be accused of bias, Vijay Prashad is one of the most hard working termites in the foundations of the capitalist system that sustains the economies of the free world, provides virtually all the considerable private charitable donations in the free world, and sustains his own profession and position at an American university. This guy feeds on the very system that he seeks to discredit and destroy.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia that sums up how cockeyed this guy's thinking is:

"Prashad offered a communist view of Mother Teresa's missionary work in Calcutta, designating her as a representative of the collective 'bourgeois guilt' of western nations. In the same article he also commented on Mother Teresa's alleged links with Charles Keating and Michele Duvalier (wife of Baby Doc Duvalier). Denouncing the 'cruel rule of capital' he also offered the view that the communists of Calcutta were the 'real nameless Mother Teresas who conduct the necessary work towards socialism, for the elimination of poverty forever'."

If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has caused already.

"A communist is someone who reads Marx. An anti-communist is someone who understands Marx" - Ronald Reagan.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-09 18:51:43 UTC
Permalink
Fred,
Wouldn't you be far more productive, not to mention, honest, if you >trained your sights on Narendra Modi and the VHP instead of continuing to >slander an American woman whose only connection to the VHP is that she >raised funds in the US for earthquake victims in Gujarat.
Furthermore, you continue to discredit John Dayal by mentioning him in >the same sentence as Vijay Prashad.? Unlike Dayal, who can only be >accused of bias..........
Frederick has finally admitted elsewhere that his views are politically motivated and biased, and that the same is true of everybody else. So I guess that should settle the issue as to why he has to hear from the other side(s) on Goanet. Why independent corroboration of facts, copied and pasted here, is necessary. And why journalists, activists and campaigners need to be questioned and criticized in public forums.

Cheers,

Santosh
Mario Goveia
2009-01-10 02:46:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario Goveia
If communism was so successful in eliminating poverty, more countries
would be adopting it, rather than relegating it to the thrash heap of
history, where it really belongs, after all the untold misery it has
caused already.
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2009 18:53:26 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

By this logic, if an honest bureaucrat in India were so honest that
things improve, more bureaucrats would be emulating him, rather than
pressuring his superiors to transfer him to the trash heap of remote
postings where his example would not matter.

Mario responds:

Whereas my observation has a foundation in actual recent history, the problem with your comment is with its premise.

An honest bureaucrat is virtually an oxymoron. Since you haven't noticed, amazingly after having lived in India and Canada, nothing improves under a bureaucracy, because that would make the bureaucrat obsolete. A bureaucrat's career advancement comes from making the problem bigger, or at least maintaining the status quo.

This is one of the reasons that India went mostly sideways for 50 years and was a contributing factor to the implosion of the old Soviet Union.

Roland wrote:

Ronald Reagan also said: "I've laid down the law, though, to everyone
from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is,
wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

Mario responds:

I think this shows that Reagan was not only honest but had a sense of humor, both traits I would highly recommend to you.
Goanet Reader
2009-01-02 21:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Communal cauldron: Goa isn't doing enough to hold things in check

By Frederick Noronha
fn at goa-india.org

Goa can't but feel the heat. Communal conflict from other
parts of India has left scars and created distrust of a new
kind. This has brought in its impact from Orissa and coastal
Karnataka, not far from home. Earlier, similar trends were
witnessed in Gujarat's tribal areas.

Christians, who form a "major minority" in Goa, have shown
signs of worry over the anti-Christian violence reported from
these areas. Hindus, on the other hand, who have had a
complex but often peaceful relationship of coexisting with
Christians here, appear somewhat defensive about an issue
which they have little control over.

Meanwhile, with elections round the corner, tempers
have been getting heated in Goa itself. The series
of attacks on temples, still unexplained at the
time of writing, has made the mood in the majority
Hindu community restive and neglected.

"The Congress government can't even protect the 'moortis'
(statues) just outside Panjim, and they were damaged
yesterday. Corruption has also spiralled," said a barber in
the city. "I'm not saying the BJP wasn't tainted by
corruption. But they at least delivered results. And Panjim
was better maintained when they were in power."

* * *

Debates over secularism and communalism have turned into
means of scoring points. Both the Congress and the BJP resort
to this.

For instance, the BJP, whose wider network and affiliated
fronts played a role in stoking up temperatures in 2006 riots
at Curchorem-Sanvordem, went on to blame the Congress for
allowing such violence to hit Goa during the latter's rule.

Congress' spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu, on the other
hand, blamed the BJP for itself being behind the recent
temple desecrations. This came inspite of the fact that the
Congress government so far failed to nab any suspects.

Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat offered a Rs 100,000 reward
for information leading to the trail of the miscreants. Kamat
also asked citizens in Goa not to allow Goa to see a repeat
of what already happening in Karnataka and Orissa. Citizens
too have attempted some initiatives, but it is clear that
these are certainly not sufficient.

Goa home minister Ravi Naik likewise critiqued the
BJP, in another statement, saying its temple
politics was meant to dividing people. While such
political games go on, the State pays a big price
for its lethargy with the communal virus spreading.

* * *

Over time, the polarisation is simply getting worse.

Misunderstandings mark relationships between Goa's three main
communities. If the 20th century in Goa was spent in caste
battles -- Brahmins versus Chardos among the Catholics, and
Bahujans versus the 'upper' castes among the Hindus -- now
the focus is going to building suspicion among different
religious groups.

Hindu-Muslim mistrust appears to be growing.
Catholics and Hindus have a bone to pick in some
places. "To construe superficial conviviality and
cosmetic bonhomie as deep rooted communal harmony
is just fooling ourselves," argues Ave Cleto
Afonso, a retired philosophy prof formerly with the
Dhempe College. Afonso recently translated the 1923
book 'The Hindus of Goa and the Portuguese
Republic'.

Likewise, the growing immigrant Muslim population of Goa has
become the target of campaigns both on communal or regional
grounds, with Catholics also showing some signs of buying
'anti-outsider' arguments too here.

One concern that has to still be sufficiently address is that
communal lobbies could have infiltrated key government
departments. Sometimes, too, the media coverage of certain
issues is shocking. Sections of the vernacular press in
particular are known to have taken a rather shrill position
on communalism.

There are other irritants within the population. Catholics, a
majority in the state till a little less than a century ago,
today feel swamped. Their numbers declined due to their
outmigration, in-migration, and lower birth rates. Since the
1960s, their shrinking access to political power has had its
impact.

On the other hand, the average Hindu isn't able to
access trends like out-migration, which creates
easy earning opportunities for many Catholics.
Increasingly, both communities are also seen to
compete in each other's territory -- government
service was once a domain which Catholics
dominated, while enterprise was where the Hindu had
strengths. New and unexpected elements enter the
equations. Both communities, for instance, are
showing signs of disliking Muslim vendor
competition that has grown in the markets.

Due to accidents of the past, Goans can have very differing
ideas of their history and their culture. Minority
communalism doesn't get addressed as much as it should.
Goans, of all religions, also tend to have fewer campaigners
over secularism; most are easily polarised over lines of
religion, compared to the situation elsewhere in India.

* * *

Goa is not immune to concerns that dominate the wider
national agenda. Recent attacks on some churches and found
their echo here too.

Sites like the Thane-based hindujagruti.org -- which
describes its goal as a "mission is to serve (the) Hindu
Dharma and Nation" -- has pages on its sites devoted to news
that highlights the negatives of Christianity and Islam. Some
of this touches on Goa too.

For instance, it quotes the RSS-linked Karnataka
chief minister saying "Christian organisations
(are) flaring up social tension". It likewise
highlights the arrest of "two Christians" for the
swamiji's murder in Orissa, and the controversy
over a translated Bible in the Jharkhand assembly.
Likewise, it says, "Christian nuns claim false rape
in India to defame Hinduism". Some of its other
reports point to a Christian-Hindu feud over a
Lahore temple, and a charge that 'Once a Hindu
converts, his loyalties shift'.

In the recent anti-Christian campaigns, some involved have
faulted Christian conversion policies as provoking conflict.
While certain sects are indeed on an aggressive evangelical
drive, conversions are a non-issue for a number of mainstream
denominations, including the Catholics.

In Goa, in fact, the Catholics themselves feel the pressures
coming from up when other, smaller, fringe Christian groups
seek to lure over Catholic adherents, not unsuccessfully. So
if conversion was the issue, there's no explanation why
Catholic religious places and personnel should be targeted.

But issues apart, the jostling for space is visible.
Sometimes not just metaphorically.

News reports from Margao (Herald, Oct 3, 2008) pointed out
that only a wall separates the existing masjid and the
newly-built Durga Mata temple at the Goa Housing Board plot
in Rumdamol. Recently, Muslims held Id prayers there, while
local Hindu leaders fixed their religious ceremony to install
a religious figure of Durga at around the same time, giving
the authorities some tense moments.

* * *

For the average citizen, most would obviously wish to simply
live in peace. But that's not how it always works out.

There are a number of reasons one could attribute to the
growth of communal politics in Goa too. One clearly is the
role played by politicians and the press. The first is search
of easy votes, and the latter going out for circulations.

But there are also other reasons. The global shift to the
Right in politics, visible since the 1980s, is making its
impact felt here too. Identity-politics is a good substitute
-- and divisionary tactic -- to avoid taking on more tougher,
real-world, concrete issues.

Likewise, the ascendence of conservative leaders at the helm
of many religions -- from Popes, to politicians claiming to
speak in the name of Hinduism, and militants claiming the
Muslim space -- only complicates the issue. Growing Christian
Evangelicalism, and the ascendence of the Christian Right
till Obama's recent election in the distant US has influenced
the debate on Goan shores too.

Spilling over into the Panjim Azad Maidan, this sometimes
shows up in the form of noisy prayer meetings. This is a
questionable policy at best which sees the municipality grant
permission for the use of this public space to just about
anyone who pays their price.

Even the stray religious conversion that happens here is
reason enough for the sections of the local vernacular media
to blow-up the issue. A case of a family from Parra, sometime
back, opting to change their religion lead to columns of
newsprint being devoted to this issue.

On the other hand, Christian arrogance is visible when it
comes to dealing with other religions. In part, this comes
from a monotheistic faith, with concepts like "false gods"
being part of its doctrine; but this makes for an incongruous
situation in the early 21st century. More so in times when
one has to accept that nobody has a monopoly over the truth.

Likewise, different political parties too have
tried their hand at playing the communal game.
While the saffron BJP has been often blamed, the
Congress itself hasn't been above majoritarian
politics (or minority versions of the game, in some
parts of the country). Its role in the anti-Sikh
riots, attempting to lure Christian votes in the
North-East or Salcete, and unlocking the Ayodhya
controversy with Rajiv Gandhi's shilyanyas is only
too well known.

In Goa, for their part, a number of political parties have
played their own sectarian, if not communal, role. Both the
MGP (which dominated Goan politics in the 1960s and 1970s)
and the BJP have played their part. So have some politicians
within the Congress, and the Goa Congress was decidedly a
party aiming to build a decidedly Catholic support-base. In
the 1960s, the UGP-MGP divide was also based on such a logic.

Arms of the State also play a role.

Young lawyer Jason Keith Fernandes wrote about an exhibition
held at the Kala Academy in Panjim, which he termed
"invitation to hate". This 2007 event aimed "to 'educate' the
average Hindu about the violence by Muslims on the Hindus of
Kashmir and Bangladesh." It came up via the French
Catholic-born Francois Gautier, now a staunch supporter of
the "Hindu nationalist movement".

When in power, the Rane Congress government spoke
of stopping the "sprouting of illegal constructions
and encroachments in public property". It did so
even as a debate raged on the need for a law to
tackle "communalism" in the state. Given the manner
in which some politicians and sections of the media
have been going after Muslim places of worship on
grounds of being illegal, the implications of such
an official stand would be clear to anyone who
takes a second look.

When in power, the Congress's role has sometimes itself been
questionable.

Take the case of Tariq Ahmed Battlo, arrested amidst much of
an outcry and media sensationalism at Margao, and alleged to
be a Tehrik-ul-Mukahidin militant. On July 10, 2008, he was
given the benefit of the doubt, and set free.

Strangely, just around the time of the Sanvordem-Curchorem
riots, Goa's Congress Rane-led government had publicly
announced his arrest (probably even before the police
formally arrested him, or staged his arrest), along with
charges that RDX too had been seized from him at Margao.

During the discussion on the Goa 2006-07 budget,
then CM Rane also announced plans for a law to
prevent communal disturbance. Nothing of that kind
has happened yet. And communal incidents keep
getting stoked, while an impotent State -- or one
which chooses to be -- looks on helplessly.

Suddenly, unusual issues crop up. As noted above, the concern
of "illegal constructions" was made central to the debate of
communalism in Goa some time ago.

Religious shrines have been sprouting all around, but it is
only "illegal" Muslim shrines that get targeted. Even before
the 2006 anti-Muslim violence at Curchorem, a campaign was
created over this issue.

Media reports highlight a number of such issue. For instance,
the December 2005 attempt to burn a mosque at Mardol; the
October 2005 desecration of a mosque at the Mapusa housing
board; the villagers demand for the demolition of a masjid
project under construction in Curti, on October 15-16, 2005.

* * *

"Communal danger (is) knocking on Goa's doors," argues
journalist Vidyadhar Gadgil, also a campaigner against
communalism and its spread. But others have critiqued
secularism campaigners for highlighting the ills of 'majority
communalism' often, while ignoring the problem of its
'minority' counterpart.

Gadgil himself warns that communal elements are likely to
want the tempo "built up and sustained" even as elections
approach. Argues he: "Citizens of Goa, irrespective of faith
and community, have been outraged by the violence against the
Christian community, and have united to condemn the
violence."

Gadgil contends that the blame needs to be placed where it
belongs. Critiquing the impact of the Hindutva ideology, he
believes, cannot be neglected if one is not to attempt "a
frantic and desperate (and doomed) attempt to be
non-partisan."

But others see the issue differently.

Dr Anand Virgincar of Margao, now based in the UK,
has another take on this. Joining a discussion on
the maverick GoenchimXapotam mailing-list in
cyberspace recently, he contended that "there is no
malice, let alone hatred, between the vast majority
of Goan Catholics and Hindus". Virgincar added that
"the vast majority of BJP/MGP voters in Goa -- and
there were 276,000 odd at the last elections -- are
not communal." Besides, he posited, the current BJP
leadership in Goa is "probably the least interested
in fomenting strife between communities -- as
compared to both BJP and non-BJP leaders across the
country. The recent Orissa violence is a case in
point. Ex-CM Manohar Parrikar "not only condemned
the violence but made a clear statement that there
is no Christian missionary activity encouraging
religious conversions in Goa," argued Virgincar.

But he argued "anti-Hindutva protestors (are) making
anti-Hindu statements ... in their over-enthusiasm". "While
faults with the Hindu religion are displayed in all their
glory -- often concealed as criticism of Hindutva -- any
wrongs within the Catholic faith are swept under the carpet,"
he argued. Bigots were left arguing such issues in the online
world, he said.

"Any moderate Hindu or a BJP or Manohar Parrikar supporter,
reading such hateful propaganda, would be a potential recruit
for their cause -- and their dream of collecting an entire
generation of militant Goan Hindus," argued Virgincar, who
uses the cyber-identity of 'Mahatma Sachin'.

But even if individuals are well-meaning, the reality of
communal ideologies needs to be taken into account.

For instance, R.S.Golwalkar, head of the RSS for nearly 30
years, perceives the 'Golden Age' India as a "full-fledged
nation of Hindus", with other communities living here being
either guests like Jews and Parsis, or "invaders" like
Muslims and Christians.

Different other quarters define the issue differently too.

For its part, the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, a body promoting the
language, recently said any attempt to amend the Official
Language Act of Goa "would only foment trouble in the Goan
society and divide the people on communal lines."

But others like the pro-Romi Konkani ex-Speaker Tomazinho
Cardozo argue contrarily. Cardozo commented recently:
"Traditionally Goans, Hindus as well as Christian, loved and
still love their own religions and at the same time they
respected and still respect the religious feelings of each
other. This is the foundation of communal harmony and peace
among Goans."

Solutions that are offered similarly differ.

South Goa collector G P Naik spoke in terms of a three-tier
peace committee "for managing conflict situations arising in
South Goa district." Margao itself was the seat of communal
tensions on June 27, 2008.

As an editorial in the Herald newspaper commented:
"The communal violence that engulfed Margao is an
extremely ominous indicator of the times to come.
Is Goa's commercial capital now going to be rocked
by communal violence every time a Hindu and a
Muslim have a fight, for whatever reason? The last
two times that the town has seen communal tension,
the events have been frighteningly similar."

On September 16, 2008, Goans answered a call by the Council
for Social Justice and Peace -- and braved some rain -- to
attend a rally opposed to communal violence. People from
different areas of Goa joined the meet to condemn the
incidents of violence against Christians in Orissa and
Karnataka.

CICH, a local campaign group called The Citizens' Initiatives
for Communal Harmony (CICH), argued that the desecrations
were "all taking place in one belt in South Goa and seemed
designed to deliberately polarise communities." CICH is
represented by social campaigner Ramesh Gauns and lawyer
Albertina Almeida. This group has also questioned the logic
of "projecting Muslims as repositories of violence".

Citizens have taken up other initiatives too.

After the March 2006, anti-Muslim riots in
Curchorem-Sanvordem, Goa's secular lobby was quick to study
the issue. Some who didn't agree with the findings of the
report raked up a controversy over it in cyberspace. Yet, its
study did put out a whole lot of useful and surprising
information about the way communalism is being built in Goa,
often without even being noticed.

This notwithstanding, on June 12, 2008, the
Additional Sessions Court of Margao acquitted 23
persons who were charge-sheeted for the arson and
assault during the March 2006 communal riots in the
Curchorem-Sanvordem twin towns. Addl Sessions Judge
Dilip Gaikwad gave them the benefit of doubt.

Earlier this year, a body calling itself the Akhil Goa Mandir
Suraksha Samiti, headed by the 'Dharmajagran Pramukh'
Rajendra 'Raju' Velingkar, son of RSS leader Subhash
Velingkar, lead the call for a protest strike in Goa over the
mysterious attacks on temples.

But this is one side of the story.

There are still positive examples. At the village and town
level, there are instances of people living in amity and
peace, for generations. Goans share some religious festivals
-- in places like Fatorpa, Mapusa and a few other spots.
Catholics, for the most, acknowledge their Hindu roots.
Dividing lines between 'we' and 'them' are not so clear-cut
here, though increasingly this is sought to be made so.

Concern over communalism continues to show up though.

In mid-November 2008, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind "vowed to
build a secular and prosperous Goa and not to allow
polarisation of the state on communal lines."

In October 2008, the Citizens' Forum for Secularism and
Communal Harmony fact-finding committee pulled up the police
administration for its failure to check communal violence in
Margao and Rumdamol on June 27 this year.

It is not as if we lack the law to tackle communalism.

The Indian Penal Code has clear-cut laws against destroying,
damaging or defiling a place of worship or sacred object,
with the intent to insult any religion (Sec 295, IPC). On the
law-book too are laws against maliciously insulting any
religion (295A), causing a disturbance to religious worship
(296), trespassing into a place of worship (29), or even
"uttering any word or making any sound" with the intention to
wound religious feelings (298). But, as one could guess,
these are seldom implemented, by a State which is itself
appears lackadaisical about the growth of communalism.

* * *

Goa's reality is different from that across the country. Our
history is different, so is our demography, and the relations
between communities.

What is the same however is the manner in which
this region too is prone to sustained communal
propaganda, the political interest in instigating
communalism, and the growing pressures to find
scapegoat-communities in times of economic
pressures and change.

Ironically, contrary to the widely-held view, Goa has not
always been the haven of peace it is made out to be.

On the contrary.

This tiny region has been the hotbed of communal battles,
caste conflict and theocratic intolerance for much of the
past centuries. But the good side of this bad story is that,
despite all that has happened -- or perhaps, because of it --
Goa has been less prone to go in for blatant communal
bitterness for much of the recent past. The state seems to
have realised that religious-based hate doesn't pay, and
solves no problems. Suspicions, and communal, politics do
linger on though.

The villain of the piece has been Portuguese
colonial rule. A few decades after settling in Goa,
in the mid-sixteenth century, the colonial ruler
began a policy of Lusitanisation and religious
conversions. Even in the 20th century, Salazar's
Estado Novo was known for its theocratic approach
and modus vivendi with the Vatican.

But contrary to the lore perpetuated by contemporary
communalism in Goa, it was not the Portuguese alone that
adopted policies of religious intolerance. Nor were the
Portuguese persistently biased against whom they defined as
The Other. Portuguese policy also hurt diverse segments of
the population, cutting across religious lines.

Initially, the colonial rulers slaughtered the Muslim
population of a Muslim-ruled Goa. The belief of some
influential players then was that the Hindus of Goa could
utilise the Portuguese to oust the then Muslim rulers is also
documented. But, for some time during their long regime, the
Portuguese gave Goa stints where anti-clerical politics saw
the expulsion of the Jesuits and other religious orders.

On the other hand, the Portuguese intolerance
during its rule in parts of Goa (the 'Old
Conquests' central core, ironically more Catholic
today) is also well documented. There is no denial
about the Hindu or Muslim shrines destroyed and
rebuilt as Catholic places of worship or even
forts.

Anyone wanting to rake up a bad row could create dozens of
Ayodhyas here. Though of course things are more complex than
that, because together with the shrines, the a section of the
people too were converted. Most of the latter are today
content to belong to the faith they are part of.

In addition, religious conflict wasn't the the only or prime
driver of colonial rule, as is sometimes sought to be
suggested. Likewise, religious minorities of today should not
be confused with the colonial rulers of the yesterdays.

This situation is ripe with other contradictions too.

A researcher planning to take up this issue listed
a number of religious monuments that got caught in
the religious intolerance of the past. Such as the
Muslim cemetery and mosque site near the fortress
in Chapora; the Reis Magos fortress and church
site, built on a Hindu temple; the Rachol Seminary,
built on a mosque site; monuments at Velha Goa; and
temples temples around Ponda, that were created as
"fugitive" religious sites.

Those raking up issues against the Portuguese policies on
religion often gain support from the 'New Conquest' areas,
areas where ironically enough colonial religious intolerance
was not fierce, or hardly felt.

Goa nowadays often gets reminded about the Inquisition in
Goa. Sometimes, the motives are genuine; at other times, the
intention is simply to justify more present-day communal
intolerance on the basis of the bigotry of the past.

Goa's complex history says it all. The post-1910 Republican
regime in Lisbon in fact made attempts to make up for periods
of anti-Hindu bias, till Salazar set back the clock.

Post 1963, after one-man one-vote electoral politics were
introduce in Goa, political parties played to communal
galleries to lesser or greater extent. The MGP, UGP, BJP,
Shiv Sena, Goa Congress, among others, have banked on getting
the votes sometimes with overt and unchecked appeals to
religion. Congress' attempts to garner votes involves a more
complex process of incorporating regional leaders -- of
diverse local community or caste groups -- together with a
role for money and migrant votes.

But during the BJP rule one had Governors like the
RSS-linked Kidar Nath Sahani highlight the
importance of rebuilding temples demolished by the
Portuguese and "erstwhile regimes" as part of the
"nation building task" in October 2003. It boggles
the mind how such sectarian talk can be tolerated
by a high functionary of a secular state.

There were other trends that caused concern in that period.

In early 2003, when the controversial Marathi play "Mee
Nathuram Boltoy" was staged in Kala Academy, the character
Nathuram Godse (Gandhiji's assassin in real life) got loud
applause from the audience.

There was a controversy over scrapping of some religious
holidays; hot-heads managed to get into the Archbishop's
House on an excuse; and, contrary to national policies to
have a force representative of the populace, only a tiny
number of minorities were recruited to crucial sectors like
the police. This was justified on the grounds that Catholics
anyway disliked working as stereotyped constables.

A controversial VCD, communalising the past via a
religiosity-suffused interpretation of history, was released
by the government. State monies were passed on to allegedly
partisan bodies in the wake of the Gujarat quake.

Samata Andolan, a body campaigning on social issues, then
also blamed the BJP Goa government of handing over over
primary schools to the Sangh Parivar "without complying
required formalities."

"How does (ex-chief minister Parrikar) justify the
thousands of saffrons he has recruited into
government service ever since the BJP took over the
reins two years ago?" charged lawyer Aires
Rodrigues, currently a vocal supporter of Mr
Parrikar, whom he now sees as the only option for
Goa.

Winds blowing in the rest of the country are also bound to
affect Goa.

Outlook, the New Delhi-published magazine, offered some
surprising info recently. In its issues of Sept 28, 2008 and
Oct 6, 2008, it reported a link between Hindutva terrorism
and Goa. Some of those involved in recent cases of violence
had got trained in making timer-bombs. Said Outlook, "Panse
(one of those involved, also) underwent training by the VHP
and Bajrang Dal at Goa for two years." Names of other groups,
like the Sanatan Sanstha, which publishes a newspaper from
Goa, have also come up in connection with this controversy.

But even while attempts are on to widen the communal rift,
some understand that religious-infighting doesn't make any
sense, and the State swims or sinks across communities.

As Prof Afonso put it, "It is my belief that the hope of
sustaining Goa and enriching Goan cultural identity depends
on healing of the old wounds that have divided the Hindus and
Catholics."

ENDS

------------------------------------------------------------
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------

According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2, 2008
had the following toll:

ORISSA
Districts hit 14
Villagers destroyed 300
Houses burnt 4,300
Homeless 50,000
People murdered 57
Fathers, pastors or nuns injured 10
Women gang-raped 2
Injured 18,000
Churches destroyed 149
Schools, colleges destroyed 13

KARNATAKA
Districts devastated 4
Churches attacked 19
Nuns, women injured 20

KERALA
Churches damaged 3

MADHYA PRADESH
Churches damaged 4

DELHI
Churches destroyed 1
Attempts made 4

TAMIL NADU
Churches attacked 1

UTTRAKHAND
Murdered 2 (aged priest and employee)

------------------------------------------------------------
First published (in a slightly differing version) in Goa
Today, December 2008 issue.
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-03 01:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh
Miguel Braganza
2009-01-04 06:07:00 UTC
Permalink
Dear Dr. Santosh Helekar,

Benjamin Disraeli, when he was the PM of UK, is credited with the statement, "There are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics."

Mark Twain is credited with the coinage of the term "lies of virtuous ecstasy"

The "communal cauldron" has been stirred in the crusades, jihads and Kalinga war, then in the land of Alexander the Great [ Macedonia-Serbia-Croatia] and continues to be so in Iraq, Afganistan, West Bank and the Gaza strip is the latest of this strip-tease.

In the present day, journalism and truth seldom share the same PC or news report. Even advertorials and advertisements come through as "Reporter copy" or "News Desk" copy.

John Dayal has been a "Working Journalist" [within the definition of Goa Union of Journalist or GUJ for membership] and continues to be a "Press Note Journalist" and "Ghost Writer" like so many "have been journalists" and Editors, including one who is now the Vice-President- Communications for a 'Group of Companies' with interests in "Hospitality" [read, 'Hotels and casino', including one unit allegedly coming up near Tirthbag beach close to Vengurla], "Infrastructure" [ read "mining and transport of ore'] and the latest euphemism "Mineral Farming" [read iron ore mining and "planting" reports. stories and advertorials in daily newspapers and weekly tabloids]

Frederick Noronha is also a journalist on the Goanet, besides other places. He has already disclaimed responsibility for the data by prefacing his sentence thus, "According to John....." Dayalu or otherwise. ;-)

Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere rhetoric?

Mog asundi

Miguel

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 17:59:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Santosh Helekar <chimbelcho at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Goanet] Stirring the communal cauldron
Message-ID: <562745.4367.qm at web110313.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed here. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his readers.

Cheers,

Santosh



Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Go to http://messenger.yahoo.com/invite/
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-04 08:21:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel Braganza
Do I need to tell you that your question below is mere
rhetoric?
Dear Miguel,

No. You have told me more than I needed to know. Thanks. Mark Twain also wrote that journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft and admires the thief.

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-04 12:39:34 UTC
Permalink
I agree with Santosh's positions on this.

Views from the other side of the divide would give an entirely
different picture, quite contrary to the one painted by John Dayal.
Here are just a few links from some past instances, gathered from RSS/
Hindu sources to illustrate just exactly this:

http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/14.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0700/91.html
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0500/45.html

An independent analysis from an objective secular perspective must
therefore not quote or rely on facts provided by people who have their
own vested agendas and interests.

While Frederick got almost everything else right in his column, he
committed a gross error by relying on John Dayal as his data source,
someone who is a known Christian propagandist and someone who has made
quite a few baseless, religiously motivated and unsubstantiated claims
in the past.

Cheers
Sandeep

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Goanet Reader
THE TOLL
------------------------------------------------------------
According to editor turned Christian campaigner John Dayal,
the anti-Christian violence between August 24-Ocober 2,
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has listed >>here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian campaigner. As a >>journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have at least two independent >>sources for any factual information he provides his readers.
Cheers,
Santosh
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-05 16:52:06 UTC
Permalink
*Santosh Helekar:*
I wonder if Frederick has checked the accuracy of the toll numbers he has
listed here with a Muslim, a Buddhist or some other non-Christian
campaigner. As a journalist, I understand it is his responsibility to have
at least two independent sources for any factual information he provides his
readers.Cheers,Santosh
Response:
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi goon attacks you or
tries to burn your home or property or attempts to rape a member of your
family, please remember to call for at least two independent witnesses,
preferably not belonging to your religion. Otherwise if the media publicizes
your misfortune, your word and that of the journalist will count for
nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of Gotham) on Goanet.

Regards,

Marshall
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 18:06:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Hear ye all men and women!!! Next time any hindutvawadi
goon attacks you or tries to burn your home or property or attempts to >rape a member of your family, please remember to call for at least two
independent witnesses, preferably not belonging to your religion. >Otherwise if the media publicizes your misfortune, your word and that of >the journalist will count for nothing, as per some of our wisemen (of >Gotham) on Goanet.
I humbly request Marshall to kindly not resort to name-calling.

I think Marshall does not understand why journalists have an ethical obligation to make sure that they have two independent sources before they report something as fact. It is to protect people's rights, including a victim's right to privacy. It is also to guard against the spread of rumors and false allegations, and to prevent incitement of communal/sectarian feelings and violent action.

The sarcasm in the above post from Marshall misleads people as to what they should do in the event that they become victims of a crime. I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:

1. Call for help, and seek medical help.

2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed criminal complaint.

3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any independent judicial inquiry.

4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you say in the print media and the internet.

5. Don't call a press conference if you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and self-respect.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-05 21:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roland Francis
Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I
am doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.
Hi Roland,

I hope your long distance assessment of India is not anything like your doubts about Texas. In either case, I would prefer to trust the opinion of a journalist who actually lives in India, and practices his profession in an ethical and impartial manner to the best of his abilities e.g. Valmiki Faleiro. But I tend to agree with you regarding the politicization of judicial inquiries such as the inquiry pertaining to Narendra Modi. That is why nobody should trust campaigners and spokespersons for religious organizations and political activists.

Cheers,

Santosh
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 02:43:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederick &quot;FN&quot; Noronha
Could Santosh tell us where he derrived this understanding from?
1. An article entitled "The three foundations of journalism" at -
http://www.rap21.org/article18465.html

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Accuracy":

"Accuracy: Every journalists code stresses the need for accuracy. There are no prizes for being fast and wrong. Writing for a journalist is the skill of presenting information clearly, concisely and effectively. It is based on hard facts, so the reporter must know how and where to find reliable information. A critical challenge is how to reconcile conflicting accounts of the same event. Many journalistic organisations insist on the two source rule that means that every fact must be confirmed by two independent sources before it can be taken as reliable."

2. An article entitled "Media and Conflict in the Philippines" from the Committee of Concerned Journalists at -
http://www.concernedjournalists.org/media-and-conflict-philippines

Here is the pertinent quote under the subheading "Dispassionate Reporting":

"Recognizing the fallibility, if not the occasional deceit of sources, individual reporters and various news organizations develop standards for testing the truthfulness of a story. Are two or more independent sources providing the same information? Did the journalist see and hear the evidence himself or herself or get it secondhand? What are the credibility, reputation and motivation of the source?"

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-06 03:44:03 UTC
Permalink
In situations where the State has sided with the forces communalism, it is precisely the >>perople whom you seek to de-legitimise who have played a key role in allowing the >>truth to emerge.
But, of course, I would not like to get caught up in one of those endless, hair-splitting >>arguments, but instead focus on the substantiative issues raised.
--------------------------------------------
My response:

Frederick needs to be quite happy that his column is being critiqued,
discussed and deliberated. My general observation is that whenever
something like this happens, it tends to generate a wider interest and
a larger readership. I have a strong hunch that those who have not
read his column in the first place may have revisited it and done so
now.

I personally have no problems per se with this column and I do commend
FN for bringing up a lot of valid points in it. I said it before in
the GX Forum( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GoenchimXapotam/message/16264
) and I would repeat once again that in my opinion this is one of FN's
most objective pieces and I would give him a score of 8 out of 10 on
this one.

However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor
where he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would
have been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

In any case, what has happened in Orissa is ghastly, horrendous and
cowardly and the gravity of the crime would not in any way come down
if subsequent investigations reveal discrepancies in facts and
figures. I do not think anybody would try to mean or even remotely
suggest this. I entirely endorse FN's contentions that we need to
focus on the substantiative issues raised by him rather than be caught
up in non-issues.

Incidents like these put the very idea of India, a land of unity in
diversity, to threat and shame and there is a need for an honest
objective analysis that dissects the roles of all the players
including the roles of political parties, religious leaders, Hindutva
organizations, Maoists and Christian missionaries in this communal
strife. Such an analysis devoid of political motives is necessary to
prevent such horrendous crimes from being repeated in the future.

Cheers
Sandeep
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 06:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Santosh Helekar:
I think it is best for any person who is attacked by a Hindu, Christian,
Muslim or any other kind of criminal to take the following steps:1. Call for
help, and seek medical help.2. Call the police, and lodge a detailed
criminal complaint.3. Cooperative fully with criminal investigators and any
independent judicial inquiry.4. Don't politicize or communalize the crime
against you because your privacy will be lost, and politicians and activists
will misuse you for their own selfish purposes by distorting everything you
say in the print media and the internet.5. Don't call a press conference if
you want to maintain your privacy and your dignity and
self-respect.Cheers,Santosh

Response:
It appears that Santosh is used to living in ivory towers and totally
removed from ground realities. All the above steps will probably work well
in countries like USA, Western Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand which
are mature democracies with the rights of all its citizens protected by the
state and civil society.
In India, which in reality, is a functioning anarchy, things are totally
different. Those who exercise power or control financial resources call the
tune. The police, the administration and even to some extent the judiciary
is putty in their hands. Gujarat and Orissa would not have happened had the
state administration come down heavily on the anarchists. When the state
administration and the police turn a blind eye or connive in the violence,
whom does the victim go to seek help? Are you aware that the medical reports
of the nun who was raped was suppressed by the police for 38 days? Are you
aware that rapes, killings, destruction of property took place in the
presence or connivance of the police? When a victim faces a dead end, where
does such a person go to get justice? And when those who report on the
violence are demonised and their reputation and character torn to shreds by
vested forces, what does one do? Would anyone seek protection of a person
who stood passively while their family members were hunted and killed before
their eyes, while their female members were raped in their presence, while
their homes and belongings were burnt to ashes? It is all very well for
those who are not affected by the violence to preach, and take theoretical
positions, which will work well in the classrooms.
Next time, you are in India, I suggest you pay a visit to any of the mission
stations and witness and experience for yourself how life is out there for
the poor and the marginalised and for those who are working selflessly to
uplift them. Speak to Seby Rodrigues and the other persons fighting the
mining lobby. Listen to their experiences. If you do not get touched and
sensitized, you would have to be a very hard hearted human being.

Regards,

Marshall
Marshall Mendonza
2009-01-06 09:55:45 UTC
Permalink
Sandeep Heble:
However, John Dayal's credibility in wide Hindu circles is a bit poor where
he is seen as a religious/political campaigner having his own
vested agenda and I felt that the acceptability of his column would have
been wider had FN relied on facts from neutral sources.

Response:
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles. However, the
RSS does not represent the hindus much though they would like to believe so.
In fact I find the above post of Sandeep contradictory as in an earlier post
he recognised the difference between hinduism and hindutva.

Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.He is
a human rights activist. John Dayal has been nominated for the coveted Human
Dignity Award 2008 in recognition of his services in the field of human
rights.
http://www.india-server.com/news/human-dignity-award-for-john-dayal-5160.html

He is a former editor of Delhi Mid-day and a journalist. He is an office
bearer of some christian bodies and has been acting as spokesperson for the
christian community.If you call that vested interests and consider it
a crime, yes then he is guilty.( As has been George Menezes also a former
President of the AICU). Till date I have not read nor come across any hate
literature / articles under his signature. If you have come across any, I
would be obliged if you could draw my attention to the same. Anyone who
represents or fights for the underdog is always disliked /hated by vested
interests. Even Seby Rodrigues has been called a naxalite by Manohar
Parrikar.

It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility
before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for
Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and
sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.If Sandeep wishes to
give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John
Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day. If you will read
today's newspapers about what the Supreme Court has to say on the Orissa
violence, it will give you an indication.

Regards

Marshall
Mario Goveia
2009-01-06 06:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2009 15:56:30 -0500
From: "Roland Francis" <roland.francis at gmail.com>

Perhaps your advice is better suited to Texas. Even then, I am
doubtful, things in the redneck state being what they are.

Mario asks:

Hanh? ".....things in the redneck state being what they are."????

What the heck is this baseless slander of Texas all about? Is Roland confusing Texas with Ontario perhaps?:-))
Santosh Helekar
2009-01-06 17:21:06 UTC
Permalink
I had stated in this thread what in my opinion would be the right thing to do if anybody becomes a victim of a violent attack. I had suggested that he/she should file a criminal complaint and seek law enforcement action. I had also suggested that he/she should not politicize or communalize the crime against him/her, and not call a press conference if he/she wants his/her privacy, dignity and self-respect to remain unharmed.

Marshall who has no clue about my background disagreed with me, and accused me of being out of touch with poor people and victims of crime in India, and that in India what I said above is not what a crime victim should do. Marshall also appears to believe that information regarding communal violence when presented by a single religious and political campaigner or a spokesperson for a religious or political organization representing one of the sides in the conflict, is to be taken to be factually accurate, and not biased and communally slanted in any way. Samir says he agrees with Marshall on all of these issues 100%.

However, neither of them has explicitly stated what steps should be taken by a victim of a violent crime, and whether they would like the victim to divulge facts about the crime against him/her to a religious and political campaigner or spokesperson of a religious and political organization belonging to his/her own religion and political party. I would therefore like to ask them the following questions:

1. What steps should a victim of a violent crime committed in India take?
2. What should a Christian or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Hindu?
3. What should a Hindu or Muslim victim do if the criminal happens to be Christian?
4. What should a Hindu or Christian victim do if the criminal happens to be Muslim?
5. What should the victim do if the criminal happens to belong another religion or creed?
6. Which Hindu religious and political campaigner or spokesperson for a Hindu religious and political organization would you trust to give you accurate facts about communal violence involving Hindus and Christians or Hindus and Muslims?

Cheers,

Santosh
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 02:04:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marshall Mendonza
I do not know which Hindu circles, Sandeep is referring to. From the links
he provided earlier, I would presume he means hindutva circles.
Post by Marshall Mendonza
Dr John Dayal is no Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal or Francois Gauntier.
He is no ideologue nor belongs to any ideological driven organisation.
He is a human rights activist.
If you call that vested interests and consider it a crime, yes then he is guilty.
It is an example of our myopic vision that John Dayal carries credibility before the National Human Rights Commission, The National Commission for Minorities, the Supreme Court of India, the National Integration Council and sundry other institutions but not to some like Sandeep.
If Sandeep wishes to give greater credence to information and news from RSS sources than to John Dayal, so be it. We are all free to believe what we want to. But the truth
cannot be kept hidden forever. It will emerge one day.

--------------------------------------------------------
My consolidated Response:

It is an irony of our Nation that while the propagation of orthodox
Hindutva is considered as bad and evil (and rightly so) the
propagation of an orthodox intolerant brand of Christianity is
considered an acceptable proposition. It is a sad predicament that our
major religions continue to be represented by Orthodox leaders who
have their own vested agendas and hidden interests. Leaders who have
been found to have placed religion above Nation in the past!

Maybe John Dayal is a human rights activist, RSS workers are too. But
he is also ideologically associated to several Christian bodies like
the All India Catholic Union, All India Christian Council, United
Christian Action, and Member of Justice and Peace commission
Archdiocese of Delhi. That is not per se a crime and I never said it
was. But that makes him a Christian activist rather than a secular
liberal activist. And India needs more of the latter.

While John Dayal has often highlighted the hate-crimes perpetrated by
Hindu groups against minorities and nobody should have problems with
that, it is his silence against violence committed by Christian groups
against Hindu Minorities in the North East that worries me. Or his
marked silence and/or even support to orthodoxy, intolerance and abuse
of the laws by radical evangelical outfits.

Besides, John Dayal has made baseless, religiously motivated and
unsubstantiated allegations in the past. He has fabricated stories and
communalized law-and-order incidents like the Gang rape of Jhabua
Nuns. He has made wild politically motivated allegations like blaming
the Sangh Parivar outfits for the series of bomb attacks on churches,
even though investigations have revealed the role of Pak-based Deendar
Anjuman. He has purportedly made false accusations against VHP-A (
http://www.vhp-america.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5
). The list would go on.

Marshall needs to stop hallucinating when he implies that I cannot see
the truth, just as he needs to stop hallucinating when he refers to
Santosh as a Sangh Parivar sympathizer. Questioning the motives and
credentials of individuals like John Dayal does not mean that one does
not recognize the truth of what has happened in Orissa or what is
happening in the rest of India. Different people would however analyze
the reasons and suggest the remedies differently. Marshall needs to
understand and accept this plain simple fact before he lets his
imaginations run wild.

For the records, some Christian leaders too have criticized John
Dayal's credentials and motives. For instance, Mr PN Benjamin, the
head of Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue (BIRD) had this to
write in his letter addressed to him:
"You refer only good old Gandhi and say you cannot be compared with
him. No wonder. I respect your honesty because Gandhi never bore false
witness against anyone, though he was not a Christian. But, the John
Dayal, I know of dishes that out (falsehood) profusely especially when
he goes to the US and appears before USCIRF and his Christian
evangelist friends there who ostensibly bank-roll his activities both
in the US and in India."
( Source: http://hindtoday.com/Blogs/ViewBlogs.aspx?HTAdvtId=2681&HTAdvtPlaceCode=IND
)

There are enough valid reasons for being skeptical of leaders like
John Dayal, who are known for their one-sided propaganda and even
anti-Indian postures. Like placing religion above the Nation and
making anti-Indian statements in the past like: "The US government was
too quick to remove India from the list of terrorist countries. The
AICU is going to make an independent enquiry into this grave incident.
[. . .] Anti-Christian violence is escalating in Maharashtra."
(Source: http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=3506 )

India faces a clear choice. Either it must grow by weeding out all
forms of religious radicalism which is what a secular liberal
progressive Nation must do or perish by giving orthodox religious
groups and/or leaders a free hand. A Nation that needs to chart a
modern path, a path of freedom free from orthodoxy, intolerance and
hatred, therefore needs neither a Togadia or Singhal nor a John Dayal.

Frederick is well within his rights to quote such people if he wants
to and I am well within my rights to observe that facts and figures
from a neutral source are likely to be more credible than facts and
figures from religiously motivated sources like John Dayal.

Cheers
Sandeep
Bosco - Goanet Volunteer
2009-01-07 06:07:18 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

Considering that we dont know each other personally and the inherent impersonal
nature of communicating by email, please temper your comments before demonizing each
other or anybody else and driving this thread to a premature termination.

Since Frederick has indicated the John Dayal page on wikipedia has been compromised
perhaps those interested in understanding / learning more about John Dayal could
read his blog.....:

http://johndayal.sulekha.com/

or any of his published works......:


Author/ Edited Anthologies:

Equity - Freedom of Faith in Secular India 2007

Gujarat 2002 - Untold and Retold Stories (Media House) 2002

For Reasons of State (with Ajoy Bose) (Vision Books) 1977

Commissions of Enquiry (With Ajoy Bose) 1979

Indian Cinema Superbazar (Ed: Aruna Vasudev)(France)

Ethics of Peace (Ed: UCIP) 1995

Wadhwa Commission (Ed: Dr. M P Raju) (Media House) 2000

Legal Struggle of the Dalits [Co-authored with Adv Edward Arogia Doss] [scheduled to
be published later in 2007]


http://johndayal.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/05/john-dayal-s-new-book.htm


.......before making up their mind about the man.


But please, NO Name-calling!!!

Thank you - Bosco
Goanet Admin
http://www.goanet.org
Where Goans Connect
Cecil Pinto
2009-01-07 09:11:42 UTC
Permalink
Hartman de Souza wrote:
However when Sandeep Heble casts aspersions against my old friend, comrade
and colleague at Patriot newspaper, New Delhi, I am afraid I must ignore my
distaste for fundamentalists and jump into the fray.
...
...
...

One could go on and on with unmasking Heble's obvious Jan Sanghi/RSS roots,
but this is, frankly, of no use.

------------------


Dear Hartman,

I have not been following the 'John Dayal' debate so I will not
comment on that, but I usually read Sandeep Heble's posts because I
find them rational and well thought out. Sandeep has always struck me
as an intelligent, well-informed, articulate, concerned and
responsible person. And of course totally secular in his approach -
never fundamentalist.

Your allegation that Heble has 'Jan Singhi/RSS roots' is most
intriguing. If you have proof of this allegation please place it on
the table. Else I think you owe us an explanation and Sandeep an
apology.

Cheers!

Cecil

==========
Pravin Sabnis
2009-01-07 11:10:45 UTC
Permalink
I can personally vouch that my friend,?Sandeep Heble is a very sensitive and humane person in reality. His various postings on the Goanet?reflect his concern over the?communal slants given to various topics.?His?views can be challenged but to label him a bigot is unfair.?We must be careful in condemning somebody just because we disagree with that persons view, facts or opinions.
?
regards
Pravin


Check out the all-new Messenger 9.0! Go to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/
Sandeep Heble
2009-01-07 11:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Let me first categorically assert that the intentions of my post were
not in any way meant to discredit John Dayal or show him in poor
light. If my earlier posts appeared in that way, I sincerely
apologize for the same as I have realised that the wordings of the
post were quite unfair to him.

I would accept the words of Hartman and Frederick that John Dayal is a
great humanitarian ? something that I never disputed in my earlier
posts in the first place. As a matter of fact, some of the most
orthodox Missionaries who operate on Indian soils too are sincere
humanitarians. Being involved with a few social groups and having done
joint events with them, I can say with a large degree of conviction
that they too are good human beings whose love and concern for fellow
humans are qualities that are worthy of emulation.

I however believe that the ideological positions John Dayal or radical
evangelical groups hold are not in the interests of a modern
progressive society that a liberal Indian would wish to see.
Intolerance is a viscious cycle that results in violence that begets
in further violence; and in communal clashes it is always the innocent
citizens who suffer.

There is therefore a need to weed out all forms of intolerance,
orthodoxy and irrational behavior. This is the path that most modern
progressive Western democracies followed when they adopted a model of
secularism that was essentially anti-religion and if we want to
prevent communal clashes from happening this is the path that India
will need to emulate.

Through further investigations, I have susbsequently learnt that John
Dayal was a progressive liberal leader in the past. However, while he
presently opposes the orthodoxy in Hinduism (which is a good thing) he
somehow does not seem to do the same when it comes to opposing the
fundamentalists operating in his religion.

My objections to him are therefore limited to this and if my opinions
about him are wrong, then the correct approach will be in presenting
the facts in a sincere and articulate manner, without resorting to
unfair name-calling.

For the records, I have nothing to do with RSS or Jana Sangh or BJP or
any other religious or political groups.

Finally, thanks to Cecil, Anand, Santosh, Bosco, Frederick and a few
others for their gracious support.

Cheers
Sandeep

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