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AHMEDABAD, India (UCAN) -- Church people and activists have rallied behind a Jesuit priest police interrogated for alleged anti-national activities in Gujarat state, western India. On June 10, the state's Criminal Investigation Department, or Crime Branch, summoned Father Cedric Prakash, 53, to its headquarters to question him about his activities. It was the third time in two months that the priest faced police interrogation. The Crime Branch is based in Gandhinagar, the state capital, 900 kilometers southwest of New Delhi. Father Prakash directs Prashant (tranquility), a human rights center in Ahmedabad, some 30 kilometers further southwest. Two days earlier, police came to the center and questioned the priest on the basis of an e-mail complaint from a right-wing Hindu group member who accused the priest of anti-national activities. The first interrogation was on April 26 night, when a policeman asked the priest about his overseas trips and interviews he gave to some controversial Muslim websites. On June 10, Father Prakash wrote to the federal National Human Rights Commission accusing the police of harassment. Father Prakash said the interrogators termed his activities anti-national. "If fighting for human rights, truth, justice and for the oppressed is anti-national, then I have nothing to say," he told UCA News June 11 at his center, between answering calls expressing solidarity from in the country and abroad. The priest said his bishop, Jesuit provincial and colleagues support him. Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Gandhinagar confirmed to UCA News that he is convinced whatever Father Prakash is doing is for society's benefit. "The entire Church is with him," the Jesuit prelate added. On June 11, about 60 activists gathered at Prashant to discuss ways to protest the "harassment" of social activists in Gujarat. Several people spoke about controlling what they called the state's "fascist government," which they alleged has indulged in intimidation including withdrawal of grants for social works. The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people's party) has been ruling the state since 1995, except for a one-year period. During its rule the state witnessed a number of attacks on minorities, especially Christians and Muslims. Hindu-Muslim riots two years ago killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. The riots started after a suspected Muslim mob torched a train coach killing 59 Hindu volunteers. Many of the speakers at the June 11 meeting have worked at or helped Father Prakash's center. One of them, Sheba George, a Christian married to a Muslim, said her organization that works among women has not received state grants for the past two years. "Being a Christian married to a Muslim is the main reason," she claimed. Several people hugged Father Prakash to assure him of their support. Father Prakash said the police also questioned him about his visit to a federal jail in Ahmedabad where some people booked under a controversial anti-terrorism law are detained. The priest said he visited the jail with written permission from its officials as part of his social and educational work. "Under the jail ministry, I have been involved in jail reforms for the past 20 years," he said. He went to the Crime Branch headquarters with two changes of clothing in anticipation of being arrested himself. "I fear nobody who tries to harm the body. That is the teaching of Jesus that is embedded in me," said the priest, who was beaten in 1992 while protesting the demolition in Ayodhya, northern India, of an ancient mosque. Shabnam Hashmi, one of the people who met June 11 at Prashant, alleged that most activists who met June 1 to draft a charter of demands to present to the new federal government have faced police harassment. They received "feelers" from the crime branch or the Charity Commissioner, who deals with charitable organizations. "But I would like to remind the government that such intimidation will not deter us," Hashmi asserted. On April 12 this year, Father Prakash's center received police protection following threats by Hindu activists. However, the protection was withdrawn "mysteriously" after a few days, says Father Prakash's letter to the human rights commission. The Gujarat government refused to cite reasons why Father Prakash was questioned, saying police have the power to summon anybody on suspicion. Crime Branch office sources said, "As far as this case is concerned, the chapter is closed." For Father Prakash, however, the fight for human rights goes on. Reacting to media reports that the government was allegedly upset by his criticism overseas of the rights situation in Gujarat, and was planning to seize his passport, he pointed out that overseas visits are not his main agenda. "Even if they impound the passport, they cannot curtail my freedom of speech, my fight for justice and truth," he said. END