Saturday, March 01, 2008

US peace centre removes Gandhi’s grandson, family protests

MUMBAI: Mohandas K Gandhi’s family is planning a series of protests in an attempt to pressure the Indian government to intervene on behalf of the independence leader’s grandson, who was removed as president of a US peace centre over intemperate remarks about Israel and Jews, family members said Friday.

Arun Gandhi was forced to resign last month from the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester in upstate New York after an uproar over a newspaper essay he wrote calling Israel and Jews the biggest players in a culture of violence that “is eventually going to destroy humanity” (Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence).
He later apologized “for my poorly worded post” (A. Gandhi's apology) posted Jan 7 on the Washington Post’s Web site, saying he should not have implied that Israeli government policies reflected the views of all Jewish people.

The family is not seeking to have Arun Gandhi reinstated as head of the institute he founded, but rather to highlight a controversy the family sees as “a witch hunt” and an act of censorship, said Tushar Gandhi, Arun Gandhi’s son. Both Tushar and Arun Gandhi were arrested and then released earlier this week after staging a public protest in Mumbai. “It is not a selfish motive to protect my father’s interests,” Gandhi told The Associated Press. “This is to make people aware that the land of freedom is not really free.”

Arun and Tushar Gandhi, along with nearly two dozen activists and family members, held a demonstration Tuesday in downtown Mumbai near a statue of Mohandas K Gandhi. The protesters were all arrested for unlawful assembly before being released. ap


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