memotopm



MEMORANDUM

TO
THE PRIME MINISTER AND CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA

4
JANUARY 2011

 

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITYÂ’S
CONCERN AT TARGETING OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS BINAYAK SEN, TEESTA
SETALVAD, AND OTHERS

 

HUMAN RIGHTS AND
FREEDOM OF FAITH UNDERPIN INDIAÂ’S SECULAR DEMOCRACY

 

 

To


HonÂ’ble the Prime
Minister of India and the Chief Justice of India

New Delhi

 

Excellencies

 

New Year Greetings from
the small Christian community of India, especially those of us
living in the national capital. We wish you, and our beloved
motherland, a future of great peace and harmony to compliment its
economic growth. Both are essential to ensure human dignity and a
life of security for our fellow citizens, specially the marginalised
and the religious minorities.

 

Two thousand years ago,
as He came into Jerusalem to a tumultuous welcome by the poor, Jesus
said “I tell you, if I told these people to be quiet, and they were
silent, the very stones would shout out! JesusÂ’ call for human
equality as children of the one God and for their rights – and the
mass support that he elicited in his short life — was seen as a
threat not only to the delicate arrangement between the Jewish
officials and the Roman Empire, but  potentially a threat to Rome
itself.

 

Today the largest
democracy in the world is faced with similar situations. It is in
deep distress and anguish that we point out to you that  Human
rights defenders are being targeted, and silenced, by all sorts of
forces – from sections of the judiciary, administration and police
on the one hand to political extremists on the other hand.

 


Small and perhaps
powerless we may be, but as a community and as people committed to
peace with justice, we cannot remain as silent spectators to such
erosion of truth and injustice. We are in fact in duty bound to
speak out, for these elements of civil society, and these few brave
men and women were the ones who spoke for us and shared our tears
when we were persecuted and attacked in recent years.


 

It should be cause of
concern to the emerging superpower that it has not been able to
build up a sufficiently strong civil society and civil liberty mass
movements to match the economic growth. These are required to
monitor fault lines and lacunae in the administration of justice. A
few daring individuals such as Binayak Sen and Teesta Setalvad— at
great risk to their own lives — and a handful of human rights groups
have kept alive the spirit of the Constitution and taken up the
cause of the common people  victimized by extremist groups or a
power-crazed governance system.

 


We call upon you, as
heads of the Administration and the Judiciary to see that this
haunting of these two activists ends forthwith. The sentencing of
Sen to a life term must be reviewed and the police case against Ms
Setalvad rescinded.

 

We take this opportunity
to also call upon the government to bring forth legislation to
ensure the security and freedom of Human Rights and Rights to
Information Activists across the country, and to also urgently enact
legislation to prevent Communal violence, the bane of our society.
We would be failing in our duty to a majority of our brethren if we
do not also take this opportunity to remind both of you of the
demand of Dalit Christians for the restoration of their
Constitutional rights.

 

With warm regards

 

DelhiÂ’s Christian
Community, here represented by

 

Dr John Dayal, Member,
national Integratiopn Council

Fr Dominic Emmanuel,
svd, spokesman, Delhi Catholic Archdiocese

Sr Mary Scaria, scjm,
Advocate Suprme court of Inda

Mr S Chinappa,
President, Federation of catholic Associations, Delhi

Adv P I Jose

Advocate Tehmina Ram
Arora, Evangelical Fellowship of India

Rev Madhu Chandra, all
idia christian council

Natiponal Council of
Churches

United Christian
Action

 


 

 


 

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