Asma Jehangir gets earful of woes of Gujarat minorities

March 10th, 2008 - 12:54 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, March 9 (IANS) Noted Pakistani rights campaigner Asma Jehangir, visiting Gujarat as UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion, Sunday met activists here who told her the minorities in the state remained ignored by authorities. At a meeting held under the aegis of the All-India Christian Council, they briefed Jehangir about the problems faced by the minorities, especially in the aftermath of the 2002 communal violence in which at least 1,000 people were killed.

Muslims were being viewed with suspicion and madrassas were kept under watch under the pretext that they bred terrorism, they said.

Jehangir, who arrived here Saturday on a two-day visit to Gujarat, was told about the atmosphere of mistrust prevailing that has not spared even institutions such as police and judiciary by “stereotyping prejudices” against them, the activists said.

During the meeting, various issues such as the anti-conversion Freedom of Religion Bill, the Patan college rape case and extra-judicial killings were discussed with focus on the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, they said.

Father Cedric Prakash, a rights activist, in a letter to Jehangir, alleged there was still palpable animosity against the minorities, especially Muslims and Christians.

Earlier in the day, Jehangir visited the Sabarmati Ashram and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. She also went to the Roza of Sarkhej, the mausoleum of the great Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmed Khattu, as well as the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.

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