Oops! But What Do You Expect Under PER?

 It would seem that my previous post on police requirements for the observation of the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi was incorrect.   There was no police requirement to register although many Hindus thought there was, and the multi-religious umbrella group Interfaith went so far as to protest the presumed requirement.   What lessons can be taken from this misinformation?  

It would appear the original story was spread by people opposed to Sanatan Dharm Sabha (and possible also to Government) but with absolutely no response from the police or news items in the media yet another six was scored by those opposed to the Bainimarama government.  They must be loving the inept PR.

The main problem is PER (the Public Emergency Regulations) that makes everyone so jittery and unwilling to seek out further information that false news is allowed to spread and fester.  But even with  PER retained  surely someone in the police or government could have leapt into the breach to quash the misinformation before it spread.   No more on this for the moment but would those readers who have the ear of a Cabinet  Minister please do tell him or her  just how damaging these situations are, and how easy it is to avoid them.

Thakur Ranjit Singh's comment on the post "Police Heavy-handedness Shows No Understanding of ..." explains all:

It has now been confirmed by Radio Tarana in Auckland, through an audio recording from the General Secretary of Sanatan Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, Mr Vijendra Prakash that there was NO such requirement or directive from any authority about any restrictions on celebrating Ram Naumi. He said that there were no restrictions on celebrating Ram Naumi but police permission may be required for large gatherings. He did not define what "large gathering' meant. But he reiterated that there was NO RESTRICTIONS OR CONDITIONS on celebrating Ram Naumi. He attributed the misinformation to mischief makers, who were fellow Hindus who were trying to tarnish the good name of Sanatan in Fiji.

Hope this clarifies this matter for time-being and Croz may wish to get back to his source of information to obtain documentary proof if any restrictions were placed. Otherwise we should believe what has been clarified by Vijendra Prakash of Sanatan in Fiji.

As a former Executive of Sanatan Sabha in Fiji I can vouch for the principles of freedom of religion promoted by Sanatan in Fiji and I cannot believe they would ever go ahead to place any such restrictions.
[A copy of Radio Tarana audio file (in Hindi) was provided to Croz Walsh]


Anonymous said…
You don' seem to get it Croz. The PER is an important tool for this government and the RFMF. It allows them to control the media and public. It ensures they remain above the law. It helps then ensure truth on anything stays hidden and it helps put forward a image of legitimacy. It allows them to put a positive spind on everything and it allows then to smash any opposition (sometimes phyisically).

I honestly don't see them dropping it anytime soon. The military people I speak to say they can't believe it wasn't thought of or implemented earlier. If it was none of their men would have had to go before the courts.

Croz, the PER is probably the only solid part of the roadmap and itis here to stay.
Cicero said…
It's all "politics by another means"....

In Afghanistan and one or two other places which resemble its complicated and historically-challenged situation, politics are conducted "by other means". Has it not occurred to us that Fiji is rife with this? No matter where or by whom it may daily be experienced in one place or another. This is the Augusta, Georgia Test: the Masters by another means!
Muanikau said…
Interfaith Search is a credible organization, and I have little doubt that the Sanatan was part of the problem in the (mis) information relating to ‘large gatherings’; and the need (probably) for its own affiliates to register with the central body.

I agree completely with you about the need to remove PER and the relative incompetence of the current regime with respect to PR.
Muanikau said…
Just an update on the Ram Naumi and police permit saga.

On 6 April a group’s permit to hold Ram Naumi celebration was revoked because it wasn’t registered with the Sanatan Sabha.

Apparently in one Nasinu suburb the police required home-owners to obtain police permits to celebrate Ram’s birthday with family and friends.

There might have been misunderstanding and confusion about the requirement to (a) register with the Sanatan and (b) obtaining police permits, but the ground reality from the two instances above clearly illustrate the difficulties that some Hindus have faced.

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