From the category archives:

Action Alerts

Monday March 19, 2012

Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos is calling on all people of conscience to protest TIME magazine’s cover story as well as the article by Brookings Institution Managing Director praising Mr. Narendra Modi, for distorting the truth by omitting details of Mr. Modi’s dismal human rights record.

Background Information

The TIME cover story (Asia Edition) comes on the heels of a blog article by the Managing Director of the Brookings Institution that appears to be along the same lines, projecting Mr. Modi as India’s “most admired and most feared politician,” even eulogizing his apparent concern for the environment, while glossing over the details of Mr. Modi’s role in the murderous carnage of 2002.

Narendra Modi

Although TIME’s cover story is not an endorsement, it contains inaccuracies, half-truths and glaring omissions of pertinent details on Mr. Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister. These betray its real objective – an attempt by APCO Worldwide, Modi’s PR firm in Washington DC – to combat negative coverage of their client’s documented connivance in gross human rights violations, in order to project him as a Prime Ministerial candidate.

A Tehelka news report highlights the fact that the Gujarat government has been paying Rupees 1.5 million per month to APCO since 2009 to bring about the image makeover. The report also mentions that the firm is managing “Modi’s own behavior and projection for which the cost has been $25,000 per month since 2007.”

Action Requested (CALL & EMAIL)

Contact TIME and the Brookings Institution and ask them to correct the misperceptions created by the stories they ran on Mr. Narendra Modi, by follow-up articles that are balanced. Please see talking points below when contacting Brookings and TIME.

Brookings Institution
Phone 202.797.6105 (Media) or 202-797-6200 (President’s Office)
Email: wantholis@brookings.edu, communications@brookings.edu, stalbott@brookings.edu

TIME Magazine
Phone: 1-866-550-6934.
Email: asialetters@timeasia.com, letters@time.com, enquiries@timeasia.com
Web : http://ideas.time.com/submit-a-letter-to-the-editor/

TALKING POINTS:

When you write or make a phone call, make some of the following points, in addition to points from the references below:

1. On the 10th anniversary of Gujarat massacres, your article is projecting its perpetrator as a PM candidate rather than focusing on 10 years of injustice and violence at his hand. It is an insult to the thousands of victims of the Gujarat violence that are still suffering from Modi’s discriminatory policies.

2. Instead of rehabilitating the victims of the Gujarat pogrom, Modi is busy rehabilitating his own blood stained image using public money meant to serve the people. Your article is a contribution to his misguided campaign that comes at the expense of justice and reparation for the Gujarat 2002 victims. 10 years after the violence, a recent survey shows that there are still 16,000 victims from the 2002 violence languishing in squalid refugee camps which do not receive any support from the government.

3. Gujarat under Mr. Modi has one of the highest levels of hunger and malnutrition in India, according to an NCAER study from 2011. The falling human development indices, rampant corruption and multi-million dollar scams, and entrenched discrimination against minorities belie Mr. Modi’s claim of a “Vibrant Gujarat.”

4. The Indian courts are censuring Mr. Modi for contempt of court and assessing the evidence collected by human rights organizations and investigative journalists to determine whether Mr. Modi can be prosecuted for his direct responsibility in the Gujarat massacres of 2002

5. Human rights organizations have repeatedly pointed out that the victims of the Gujarat carnage of 2002 have not only been denied justice, but also basic amenities in the many refugee camps that continue to shelter them

6. The complicity of the state government in allowing the killing of over 2,000 people, brutal sexual violence against 800 women, and the displacement of over 150,000 people has been well documented by human rights organizations and investigative journalists

7. In 2005, the US State Department, in an unprecedented move, placed a ban on Mr. Modi from entering the US on the grounds of egregious religious freedom violations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

Followup Action

After writing or making the call, please do the following:

1. Report your feedback to info@iamc.com
2. Pass on this action alert to all your friends

RELATED LINKS:

REFERENCES TO TIME & BROOKINGS ARTICLES

India’s Most Admired and Most Feared Politician: Narendra Modi
http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2012/0316_modi_antholis.aspx

Why Narendra Modi is India’s Most Loved and Loathed Politician
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109164,00.html

MODI’S PR FIRM HAS HISTORY OF WORKING FOR DICTATORS

Modi gets PR firm Apco Worldwide to hardsell Vibrant Gujarat
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/modi-gets-apco-to-hardsell-vibrant-gujarat-2011/373266/

APCO Worldwide: Modi’s image builders have dictators on client list
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/specials/Modis-image-builders-have-dictators-on-client-list/articleshow/2600140.cms

What lies on the other side of US’ praise of Modi
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws190911Politics.asp

THE MYTH OF VIBRANT GUJARAT

Marketing a Myth (of Gujarat’s Economic Prosperity) by Lyla Bavadam, Frontline Magazine, May. 07-20, 2011
http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2810/stories/20110520281001800.htm

Relative Development of Gujarat and Socio-Economic Differentials By Dr. Abusaleh Shariff
http://www.cjponline.org/GujaratReview070311.pdf

High income, yet high hunger levels in Gujarat
By VIDYA SUBRAHMANIAM, THE HINDU, February 13, 2011
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1448215.ece

Myth of Vibrant Gujarat
http://www.anhadin.net/IMG/pdf/Myth_of_Vibrant_Gujarat_EDigest.pdf

GUJARAT MASSACRES

A Decade of Shame
http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20120309290400400.htm

Muslims are Gujarat’s new outcastes: Survey – DNA, March 2, 2012
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_muslims-are-gujarats-new-outcastes-survey_1657290

2002 riots not spontaneous: Study
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-29/ahmedabad/31110513_1_anti-muslim-bjp-mla-scs

No entry for Modi into US: visa denied – Times of India, March 18, 2005
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2005-03-18/india/27866126_1_business-visa-gujarat-riots-immigration-and-nationality-act

Congressional Resolution H.RES 569: Recognizing the tenth anniversary of the tragic communal violence in Gujarat, India
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.RES.569:

India: A Decade on, Gujarat Justice Incomplete – Human RIghts Watch, Feb 24, 2012
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/24/india-decade-gujarat-justice-incomplete

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The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called upon Indian Americans and all people of conscience to contact the Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar, and urge decisive action on the recent brutal killing of innocent villagers in Forbesganj by the Bihar Police.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Call Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office and demand that the State Government take the following immediate steps in response to the merciless killing of innocent villagers in Forgesganj, Bihar on June 3, 2011

  1. Immediate suspension of police officers involved in the massacre
  2. Immediate issuance of compensation to the families of the victims
  3. A CBI Inquiry into the incident and prosecution of the culprits to the full extent of the law

Please leave your message for the Chief Minister, with the person who answers the phone. If you are comfortable leaving your call back number, please do so. Please be polite but firm. Remember, emotional outburts do not help and can be counterproductive.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Bihar Chief Minister’s Official Phone numbers are:

  • +91 612-2201000
  • +91 612-2222079 (R)

After making the call, please do the following:

  1. Report your feedback to info@iamc.com
  2. Pass on this action alert to all your friends. You can do so by clicking the link: Forward this email

BACKGROUND:

On June 3, 2011, residents of the Rampur and Bhajanpur villages under Forbesganj block in Araria district came out, after the Friday Prayer, to protest against the blockade of the connecting road between the two villages for a factory. Without using any other measures to disperse the crowd, the police opened fire on the protestors. When protestors ran, they were chased all the way into their homes, where the police entered and killed them, including two women and a 6 month old infant at point blank range. 

a 6 month old infant at point blank range

a 6 month old infant at point blank range


Police brutality in Forbesganj, Bihar
Videos of the bodies of victims, obtained by news portal twocircles.net, show bullet marks on the head, neck, chest and abdomen, and evidence that the bullets were fired at point blank range. Moreover, the videos also show bullet marks on the walls and windows of the homes. 

The Bihar state government has done little besides ordering a judicial probe, which is yet to begin. The incident, in which a toddler and a pregnant woman were among those killed by the police, has sent shock-waves across the nation. The apathy of the Bihar government however, is evident from the fact that the police officers involved have not been suspended, and no compensation to the families of the hapless victims has been announced. Analysts expect little to come out of the judicial probe.


Victims of Police firing in Forbesganj, Araria in Bihar

IAMC believes preventing such horrific incidents from being repeated requires a decisive action on the part of the state and central governments. The propaganda against the region launched by the BJP and ABVP, with baseless allegations of the Muslim-majority villages being a “haven for terrorists”, played a decisive role in this senseless loss of life.

Indian American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at www.iamc.com.

RELATED LINKS:
TwoCircles.net:
Forbesganj Firing: Police killed women, infant at pointblank range
Rediff:
Forbesganj firing: A tale of police brutality
IBN Live:
Sharad Yadav says judicial probe in Forbesganj firing “discourages private investment”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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ACTION ALERT

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August 31, 2006

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May 03, 2006

The state of Gujarat, India is again experiencing violence directed at the minority Muslim community. The outbreak of violence was started off by the demolition of a 300 year old historical Muslim shrine. The police shooting at the protesters and the subsequent attacks by mobs have led to a death toll of six with many others seriously injured. One man was burned alive by a Hindu extremist mob of 1,500 that had besieged a Muslim neighborhood. Numerous Muslim localities in Vadodara are reported being besieged by violent mobs as we speak.

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