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Christian groups back away from activist

Anna Hazare castigated for apparent support of politician thought to be one of the most corrupt

Anna Hazare (sitting left) Anna Hazare (sitting left)
  • ucanews.com reporter, Ahmedabad
  • India
  • April 14, 2011
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Christian activists and rights groups in Gujarat are distancing themselves from anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare,  saying today that his actions have political ramifications.

Church leaders, who had extended their support to Hazare n his campaign for special legislation to fight corruption, criticized him after he praised Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for development work in the state and urged other chief ministers to emulate him.

Modi is largely held responsible for the anti-Muslim riots of 2002 in which around 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

“Hazare has defocused the whole battle of corruption by highlighting Modi’s Gujarat where corruption has become endemic,” said Jesuit human rights activist Father Cedric Prakash.

Father Prakash, who directs the NGO Prashant (tranquility), was the only Christian leader from Gujarat to have participated in Hazare’s fast and sit-in at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

He said: “It is very disappointing for Hazare to have praised Modi."

Father Joseph Appavoo, who directs Kheda Social Service Society, said “Hazare’s interest in checking corruption seems doubtful with his praise of Modi, a non-believer in democracy and involved in violation of human rights’’.

Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi, said “Being one of the founders of the movement against corruption, I reiterate my commitment to fight against it but in the same breath I would also like to alert the masses against the poison of communism too”

Well-known dancer and human rights activist Mallika Sarabhai, who also supported Hazare’s campaign, threatened to distance herself from him.

She said there has been little rural development under Modi and the state witnessed maximum corruption under him, such as million dollar scams in projects related to water conservation, dam construction and fisheries.

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