CERAS Annual General Meeting
Prominent documentary filmmaker from India and several partners of CERAS highlighted the organization's Annual General Assembly held on November 8, 1998.
After a brief message of welcome from the President Daya Varma, Anand Patwardhan, well known for his films on progressive political themes, screened three videos. "Fishing in the Sea of Greed","We are not your Monkeys" and a music video on anti-nuclear theme.
In the second part of the morning session, a group of Canadian youths, who had gone to India to build web sites for various NGOs cooperating with CERAS, spoke of their experience, and gave a brief demonstration of one of the web sites they have built: http://www.south-
asian-initiative.org After which, representatives from International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD), South Asia Partnership (SAP), Pakistan Association of Quebec (PAQ), South Asian Women's Community Centre (SAWCC), National Association of Canadians of Origin in India (NACOI), and National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) informed the guests of their organization / association's work with the aim of future collaboration with CERAS.
After the morning session, the participants (about 75 in all) at the AGM were treated to a delicious South Asian lunch prepared by Ruqsana.
In the afternoon the members of CERAS participated in the business session. The President and the Treasurer presented their respective reports, the members briefly discussed the programme for the upcoming year and elected a new Board whose members are:
Pierre Beaudet, Peter Caines, Paresh Cattopadhyay, Dolores Chew, Aditya Dewan, Minoo Gundevia, Humeira Iqtidar, Shree Mulay, Omer Salim, Naushad Siddiqui, Daya R. Varma.
VHP Reviving 'Sati'
From: Deccan Herald,
February 9, 1999.
The practice of 'sati' abolished by William Bentinck in 1828 is being revived by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the 52nd Hindu calendar century beginning next month which it declared as the 'Hindu centenary'.
International vice-president of the VHP Acharya Giriraj Kishore who once reacted to the Roop Kanwar case by saying that "Hindu dharma has no space for sati" was now defending the practice: "There is nothing wrong if any woman who cannot bear the separation from her husband opts to join him in his funeral pyre."
The VHP leader said the revival of 'sati' would not be out of tune with the VHP's ideology of establishing Hindu Rashtra.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy launched his reform movement against the heinous practice in the 18th century. The spirit of humanism that inspired the social reformer to take up cudgels against such dogmatic beliefs is now being negated by the likes of Dharmendra Maharaj, the priest who presided over the ritual of self-immolation committed by Roop Kanwar upon the death of her husband in Rajasthan. Dharmendra Maharaj of Jaipur, is in no mean a position within the hierarchy of the religious parliament. He is the president of the Sansad's Kendriya Margadarshan Samiti, the steering committee of the religious parliament. It was he who moved the resolution at the Sansad here to implement the agenda of the Hindu Rashtra and gave the call to the Bharatiya Janata Party to work towards forming Hindu Rashtra.
When this correspondent asked Acharya Giriraj Kishore why Dharmendra Maharaj had such an important position in the religious parliament, he evaded a direct answer.
Most of the 50-odd sadhvis who participated in the parliament consisting of about 5,000 sadhus, strongly disapproved of the revival of the practice of 'sati'. Sadhvi Meerama of the Ramanuj Sampraday had categorically opposed the practice. Having been an ascetic for the past 40 years, she now condemns 'sati' as a brutal act.
Sadhvi Paramanandamayi of the Bharat Sewashram's women's wing also condemned it and observed that, "Very often such heinous acts are committed to extort the property of the widows."
Christian Headcount in Gujarat
We reproduce below an English translation of a circular sent by the director general of police (intelligence) Gujarat state.
To: ALL DSPs and Police Commissioners of Gujarat State Police
For Information: Police Ahmedabad; IGPs of all Ranges. (Through: DS. Police Control)
From: Director of Police (Intelligence), Gujarat State, Ahmedabad.
Ref. No.: D.2: Hindu Ð Chriti/83/99 Date 02.02.1999 (1058)
Presently, the incidents of class-conflicts between Hindus and Christians are increasing very much. It is very necessary to stop these activities.
In your district:
1) What is the total population of Christians?
2) Which all places do they live in?
3) At which places are their missionaries located? (Along with the number and name.)
4) They are encouraged by which foreign countries?
5) From which foreign countries and how much amount of grant do they get? How do they make use of it?
6) Population of Christians in your district, taluka-wise and village-wise. You are requested to give information about the name, address and telephone numbers of their main leaders.
7) In the last five years, how many cases of class-wars between Hindus and Christians have been registered in your district? What was their result in the court?
8) How many Christians are involved and in which all offences? You are requested to certainly send the name, address and the case registration number of the offender along with their dossiers.
9) In your districts what type of trickery is being used by Christian Missionaries defilement activities? How are they increasing it?
10) How many and what type of vehicles do they possess? You are requested to inform the number of vehicles.
11) Amongst them, how many have got what all types of licenses for keeping weapons? When were these licenses issued to them?
12) What all arrangements have been made by you for their security? You are requested to inform the number and the approximate amount of expenses incurred after their security.
13) You are requested to send the dossiers of all such Christians who are involved in criminal activities and having criminal attitude."
NOTE: You are kindly requested to send the above information after completing the necessary procedures before 15.02.1999.
Reproduced from Communalism Combat,