Thursday, December 25, 2008
Terror talk easier than fighting terror
Is Congress serious?
Obliquely the UPA has admitted that terror talk could be politically rewarding, especially when it is time for general elections.
Only on politically expedient terms can the UPA's latest tough talk on terror be explained. For, it was soft-pedalling for too long. Is it really sincere? It is welcome that the UPA has at last woken up to the fact that a more effective legal framework aided by a more sophisticated investigative mechanism is needed to insulate the country against the possibility of future terror attacks. Better late than never.
The Congress Party which heads the coalition has for the last four and a half years been telling the country that the existing laws are good enough to fight terror. It used to attack the main opposition which was in the forefront pleading to put in place exceptionally innovative acts on the lines of POTA and streamlining the security forces on the lines the US and UK did after 9/11 World Trade Center attack. These special laws and effective combing and intelligence apparatus proved effective in these countries.
But the UPA continued to be in denial even as the nation paid heavily and suffered irreparable losses all these years. The new law being envisaged is akin to the MCOCA of Maharashtra. It is not much different from the POTA passed by the NDA, which the UPA made a campaign issue in the 2004 Lok Sabha poll and repealed after it assumed office.
The new Bill passed in the Lok Sabha on December 17 proposed to make certain major amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They are increasing the period of detention from 90 to 180 days, denying bail to the accused without the consent of the prosecution, shifting the burden of proof of innocence on those who are charged with committing acts of terrorism and expanding the scope of what defines terrorism. These may ultimately prove to be insufficient in taming terror considering the level of transnational reach and sustenance the terrorists have come to command.
How is it different from the laws in the US and UK? In the existing laws in US and UK confessions made before the police officer are admissible in court. This was so in the POTA. This provision is not there in the new UPA amendment.
Similarly, in US maximum an accused can be detained without bail is two days for its citizens and indefinite for foreigners. In UK this is 28 days for citizens and indefinite for foreign nationals. Laws in UK and US allow phone and internet tapping to collect evidence. This is allowed only with prior permission of court in the new Bill.
The UPA has to run against time to put the new measures in place before its five-year term gets completed in the next five months. This is a task and a risk, which the UPA would soon find not worth taking, if it has already not made up its resolve to this end. The UPA terror talk sounds poll talk simply because its intentions are not above reproach.
Even as the UAPA Bill was being debated in the Lok Sabha senior Congress Minister for Minority Affairs Abdul Rahman Antulay stunned the nation with his obnoxious remarks on the Mumbai terror attack on November 26, alluding to a Malegaon blast inquiry link. He shocked the members of his own party as he went on repeating almost verbatim the stuff that appeared in the Pakistani newspapers, GEO television debates and on jehadi websites after the Mumbai carnage. He was supported also by other controversial characters in the UPA cabinet like Ramvilas Paswan.
The Minister of State for External Affairs, Muslim Leaguer E. Ahmed had earlier courted criticism for his selective omission of the attack on Jewish Outreach in Mumbai in his report to the UN Security Council. A ruling outfit that boasts of such closet jehadis in its administrative artery cannot be expected to be sincere in fighting terror to the finish.
Enacting the law is only the first step. Political will is more crucial. Can the UPA muster that will?
1) UPA's Reluctant Half-step @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=269&page=5
2) India to fight its own battle @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=269&page=10
3) Media coverage of Mumbai attacks @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=269&page=7
Saturday, December 20, 2008
An Open Letter To Arundhati Roy
Abhinav Kumar,Dec. 19
To call the foreign funded insurgency in Kashmir and the terror attacks across the country as justified blowback for the failures of the Indian state and civil society is both false and callous. It implies a failure of the imagination and the intellect and the complete abdication of moral responsibility by you.
Dear Ms Roy,
For many years now you have enriched the public life of our nation. First, as a Booker winning novelist with a meteoric debut on the literary firmament, and then as an essayist, persistently pricking the conscience of a sometimes indifferent and ignorant nation, highlighting wide ranging issues of urgent concern. Over the years your provocative essays in the pages of Outlook magazine amount to a substantial intellectual achievement in their own right. One has not always agreed with you, but from big dams to the nuclear bomb, from the vagaries of capitalism to the dangers of American Imperialism, your writings on these important issues have left no one in any doubt about where you stand. Disagree with them as one might, your views occupied an intellectually coherent and morally compelling space in our public life.
Until recently, when one read your two pieces on Kashmir and Mumbai with a growing sense of shock, anger, pity and dismay.
As a literary device, self loathing has its uses; the God of Small Things was a splendid lesson in the use of this sentiment. However I am not sure that nations and civilizations can organize their policies around this self indulgent mood. Your two pieces, 'Azadi' and '9 is Not 11' see you as usual in top form as far as style and rhetoric are concerned, but as far as substance goes, I think you have fallen into the trap of being in love with the sound and significance of your own voice. It is still a powerful voice, a seductive voice too, but because it chooses to amplify only those other voices that are prepared to sing in chorus, it is a voice bereft of any sense of moral responsibility.
I am sure once again your latest writings will bring you further international recognition as a writer of conscience and conviction, striving tirelessly to expose the monstrosities of the Indian state and civilization. Dare I suggest that the Magsaysay and the Nobel Peace Prize, the Holy Grails of the seemingly rootless international intellectual might not be too far behind? But Madam, despite your great charm and greater intellect, this is a Faustian bargain. For in doing so you are doing irreparable harm to the very idea of the intellectual as a defender of virtue and morality in public life who too, like the problems you write about, much as he or she would want to, cannot be removed from the context (your favourite word) that created her, nurtured her and accorded the civic and intellectual space for her to articulate and propagate her views.
As someone who for the past 12 years has worn the Khaki uniform, as a servant of your favourite object of hate, the Indian state, I confess to a persistent sense of ambivalence and despair about the manner in which I am expected to serve. At the same time I cannot deny an equally abiding sense of pride in the importance of what we are supposed to do and of the importance of institutions in general in giving meaning and protection to what would otherwise be a society ruthless and brutal, beyond even your considerable powers of comprehension and description.
Therefore, I am offended and disgusted by your incomplete, incoherent and therefore immoral portrayal of the recent upheavals of Indian history. I used to think that you articulate the pain of the silent, marginalized, oppressed masses of our country. I had no idea that you held a brief for all those who never felt anything at all not just for India in particular, but who also actively profess violent rage at the shared values of the entire human race.
According to you, everything that the police and security forces do or say whether in Kashmir, or in the war on terror, or against Naxalism, is a falsehood, where as everything that is said by 'Kashmiri Freedom Fighters', or by the harmless theologians of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and their ideological cousins of the Al Qaeda, or by the peace loving disciples of Marx and Mao living a bucolic existence in the jungles of central India, constitutes sufficient grounds to indict the Indian state and civil society in perpetuity.
The people of India have always had a tradition to look up to men and woman of the arts and culture to serve as their moral compass. One really wonders what lines of logic and ethics shape your sense of moral direction.
You seem to passionately believe in and defend the 'right' of the Kashmiris to ethnic, cultural, religious and geographical exclusivism. If this is correct than why should we vilify Raj Thackeray or any other chauvinist who seeks to preserve the purity (however defined) of his people (however defined) from outsiders (also however defined)?
If the Kashmiris are justified in picking up the gun to safeguard their exclusive identity, then every part of India is justified in doing so. I do hope you have taken the trouble to examine the fundamental assumptions underlying all such movements based on an assertion of a cultural identity.
The creation of a hated outsider, in the case of Kashmir, the Indian; in the case of Raj Thackeray, the bhaiya of UP and Bihar; and in the case of the jihadists, anyone and everyone who does not subscribe to their virulent strain of Islam, including Muslims, is common to all these ideologies but you seem to pick and choose the bigotries you will demonize and the bigotries you will defend. Is it possible to freeze identity to a moment in time and on the basis of this demand recognition, retribution and rights for all time to come?
In your world view, the wrongs of Indian security forces of the last twenty years, and the failures of Indian state craft before it, are sufficient justifications for Kashmiri grievances, just as the wrongs of Babri Masjid, the Mumbai riots of 1993, the Gujarat riots of 2002, will justify Islamist terror against India, and the wrongs of corrupt governance and poor administration will justify Naxalite violence, in all perpetuity. Why should only these events be accepted as justification for settling scores by shedding the blood of innocents?
By this logic, the Crucifixion of Christ amply justifies the Holocaust. We non white societies must all be allowed eternal rights to slaughter the Europeans for the sins of colonialism and slavery. Islam itself had a long history of violent conquest and forcible conversions, perhaps that should justify an eternal crusade or dharmyudhh against Islam? The Greeks and Romans have their own scores to settle with the Christian Church. The Latin Americans have their own grievances with Spain and Portugal.
Seen this way, human history is merely a parody of the eternal theme of perpetrators and victims, and all present violence, no matter how barbaric or senseless, can be justified with reference to some past grievance, and we must allow these grievances full expression no matter what. Only then would we return to a state of original purity where all historical sins of the past and present have been fully avenged and the moral ledger as you see it stands perfectly balanced. The only thing is that after this bloody book-keeping, there may not be anyone left to enjoy the fruits of such a 'just' society.
The Indian state, whose sworn servant I am, is by no means a perfect entity. It is certainly corrupt, it is sometimes brutal and it is often indifferent to the sufferings of the weak and the powerless. But it does have a vision and aim based on certain civilizational values that are uniquely Indian. Demography and history dictates that these values have a prominently Hindu flavour. It is undeniable that these values have come under attack at times from the Hindu right as well. But even the most rabid of the Hindutva forces do not see the world united under the saffron flag by force of arms, as is the Islamist project of one world under the Green Crescent, or the Naxal project of one world under the Red Star.
It would take a pretty breathless and brainless leap of logic to equate violent, local outbursts of Hindu chauvinism, abetted by the sins of commission and omission of the state apparatus, in themselves however repugnant and indefensible, with the atrocities on a global scale that were inflicted by Communism in the 20th century or the outrages that are now threatened across all parts of the world by jihadi Islam.
To call the foreign funded insurgency in Kashmir and the terror attacks across the country as justified blowback for the failures of the Indian state and civil society is both false and callous. It implies a failure of the imagination and the intellect and the complete abdication of moral responsibility by you.
One could indeed forgive you, Ma'am, if you were purely an artist. Art has at the best of times a complicated relationship with truth and life. But in your avatar as a public intellectual, you cannot abandon your commitment to the demands of truth, accuracy and the ability to discriminate between the varieties of human experience and action. The liberties you have exercised in the past and continue to do today, however gratuitously and offensively, do not exist in a vacuum. I am not sure if any of these liberties would have a place in a Naxalite Utopia or a Jihadi Caliphate or even in a self-determined Kashmiri paradise that you eloquently espoused.
As visions of human perfectability they are far more flawed than the vision of India that you love to denigrate. In any case, the liberties that you have recently taken with the sensibilities of proud Indians too exist in a cultural, political and constitutional context, a context that is ultimately safeguarded by men such as Hemant Karkare and Major Unnikrishnan with disregard for their own life.
Remember that the next time you use your poisoned pen to vent your twisted logic on a polity that deserves better from its intellectuals.
Abhinav Kumar is a serving IPS officer. Though these are his personal views, he hopes that they also reflect the anguish of an entire fraternity of proud Indians in uniform
1) Folly of FAILURE @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=268&page=11
2) Rushdie on Terror @ http://honestreporting.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/all-terror-roads-lead-to-pak-rushdie/
3) Islam Never this Good @ http://honestreporting.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/islam-never-this-good/
Friday, December 19, 2008
Outlook India Mag.
New York (PTI): Terming Pakistan as the centre of world terrorism, noted author Salman Rushdie has said the fact is that terrorist organisations are all based in that country.
Rushdie also slammed Pakistan for its "cynical denial" that the terrorists involved in Mumbai strikes were not its nationals.
"The fact is the world's terrorist organisations are all based in Pakistan. Taliban are there, al-Qaeda are there, LeT is there. They are all there with the active support of the Pakistani intelligence," he said while participating in a panel discussion at the Asia Society.
Noted authors Mira Kamdar and Suketu Mehta were other two panelists at the discussion organised jointly by the Asia Society, the South Asian Journalist Association (SAJA) and the Indo-American Arts Council. All three authors draw their links to Mumbai.
While Rushdie was born there, Mehta grew up in the city. Kamdar lost her cousin and cousin's husband in the November 26-29 terror attack in which more than 170 people were killed.
The three acclaimed authors lashed out at Pakistan and its leadership for not taking any action against terrorists and denying that those responsible for the Mumbai strike were Pakistani despite credible proof.
"British Prime Minister Gordon Brown two days ago said that British intelligence, following up leads of various terrorists' activities, informed him that 75 per cent of what they studied led back to Pakistan," Rushdie said. Islamabad "can't go on pretending that there is no evidence. That's all garbage".
He said that "when the President of Pakistan pretends that there is no evidence against somebody, he is also complicit in that. It is time to say to Pakistan this has to stop. You can't be a member of the free group of nations, if you are among the world's sponsor of terrorism, which is what now they have been".
The Mumbai strikes, he said, were marked by brutality by the attackers and incompetence of government and security agencies in responding to them.
Expressing skepticism that Islamabad would dismantle the terror groups, the panelists, during the discussion, said the world community should send a clear message to Pakistan that terrorists are becoming a liability to that country and it is in its own interest to dismantle them.
The U.S. administration too came in for strong criticism for considering former President Pervez Musharraf an "ally in fighting terrorism" and giving billions of dollars to him without any condition that the money should be used to fight terrorists.
"We have treated Pakistan with velvet gloves and what we have got in result is zero," he said.
Rushdie said that only two months ago the Zardari government authorised the purchase of an armoured vehicle for a Lashkar-e-Toiba leader. "So he is driving around Pakistan in an armoured vehicle purchased by the army of Pakistan."
The panelists recalled that Musharraf was responsible for aiding Lashkar-e-Taeba to fight in Kashmir during his years in the army and Rushdie said he put up a western face to the Westerns but was mullah to extremists.
Rushdie strongly attacked Booker Prize winner Arundhiti Roy for linking the Mumbai terrorist attacks to Kashmir, Gujarat riots and demolition of Babri Masjid.
The terrorists, the participants said, are driven by a different philosophy and ideology and want to take the world back into the medieval ages.
But they agreed that terrorists failed in their apparent bid to split Hindus and Muslims and ignite communal riots as both the communities condemned the attacks and vowed to unitedly fight terror.
Visibly agitated at Pakistan's involvement in the terrorist attack, Suketu Mehta said, "ISI should be declared a terrorist outfit. They are behind the attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul. They are behind the attacks in Bombay (as Mumbai was called ea rlier). They should be banned first and foremost for the sake of Pakistan itself."
"Pakistan needs to understand -- and I think there should be a concerted effort on the part of the world community to help Pakistan understand -- that these groups are a liability now, they are not an asset but a liability for Pakistan," Kamdar said, adding she does not even consider Pakistan a country.
** Suzanna Arundhati Roy has given anti-India comments in the past too.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Let the incensed elite look within and find faults
A fallout of the jihadi attack on Mumbai is the huge outrage sweeping through the nation. While this anger is understandable, given the way the present ruling politicians have handled the issue of national security, what is intriguing is that the hate campaign is directed against politicians as a class. Most 24x7 news channels are ceaselessly and systematically feeding this hate. It is ‘Page Three’ personalities, particularly in Mumbai, who star in this campaign.
Most Indians would not even know what ‘Page Three’ personalities means. They are the partying type, mostly found in restaurants in five-star hotels. They are so called because once upon a time pictures of them and their parties would appear on page three of tabloids. Now they are all over the media, with many newspapers sometimes celebrating them with front page coverage.
When in the past several terror attacks took place and hundreds of people died, there was public outcry against terror. But the media never ceaselessly telecast or printed their outrage as it is doing now. What is the difference this time? This time around ‘Page Three’ celebrities are the protesters. This class had never imagined that terror would ever touch them. Now that their world has been hit, the ‘Page Three’ personalities are terribly angry.
How is this class positioned in our polity? It talks about democracy but does not vote. It talks against corruption, but does not fight it. It talks of high values but follows a lifestyle that hardly support these values. Now they are the ones anchoring the national debate on the right and wrong of politicians. Examine how dangerous this is.
Politicians are the products of elections. And elections do not yield quality leadership. For example, a Ramakrishna Paramahansa could not have found a Vivekananda in a Narendra through ballots from his co-disciples. It cannot be that democracy is good but elections are bad, as there can be no democracy without elections.
Elected politicians form the backbone of democracy. If they manipulate people, it is the duty of the elite to educate the people to be vigilant.
How many ‘Page Three’ personalities have taken to educating the people to make right choices? So their anger against politicians is because their world has been disturbed. If they feel so outraged now, what where they doing when trains and markets were being targeted by terrorists, killing and maiming ordinary people?
Now come to their targets, the politicians. Politicians are the easiest target of the elite. But in this country they are the only ones who are open to scrutiny — as to what they say or do. No one can scrutinise, say, the judges. The scrutiniser will go to jail. No one in his senses can talk against the media. Only politicians are easy subjects for cartoons or hate. But this time around, the campaign that is on after the Mumbai terror strike is not just the eruption of pent up apathy towards the politicians. It is something more.
The Mumbai terror has exposed the ruling parties at the Centre and in Maharashtra like no other act of terror has done before. The reason is self-evident.
It has touched the chattering classes who form the backbone of the ‘secular’ class. The anger of this class cannot be directed against the ‘secular’ political parties that run the country today as that would shift balance of advantage to the ‘non-secular’ Opposition. So the present rulers need to be protected. Result, the anger is intentionally directed against the political class as a whole.
Thus, this campaign against the political class as a whole conceals the real intention behind it, namely to protect the ‘secular’ Governments at the Centre and in the State which had intelligence inputs about the Mumbai terror attack via sea route but did nothing to act on them, whatever the reason for their inaction.
Portraying the entire political class as hate objects protects the ruling parties against public retribution. The present rulers had repealed the anti-terror law in India when the whole democratic world was enacting such laws against terrorism. The terror attacks multiplied in numbers under the rule of the present Government. So blaming the entire political spectrum bails out the culprits ruling India today. The Page Three icons and the media seem to be on this joint enterprise to wash off the sins of the ruling party and its leadership by targeting the political class as a whole.
Take this process to its logical conclusion. The hate against the ruling parties is being universalised thus as anger against the entire political class. Compare this anger against the politicians with how the ordinary people raised patriotic slogans, “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” when the NSG and Army commandos successfully vanquished the terrorists and again when the funeral of the slain ATS, NSG and Army fighters was taking place. Admiration for the Army coupled with hate for political class is dangerous to democracy.
In a democracy, it is necessary to let the public anger correct the ruling party that is at fault. The rulers must pay for their fault. They should not be allowed to escape punishment for their mistakes by joining the crowd of hated politicians. There is a lesson for the Opposition also; that is if it comes to power, it would be treated no differently.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
India's political leadership to blame: Wall Street Journal
AOL News, Nov. 28
New York, Nov 28 (IANS) India's ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has done little to launch an effective fight against terrorism and may 'pay a price for its incompetence' in the elections next year, the Wall Street Journal said in its lead editorial Friday.
'A lack of political leadership is to blame,' The Wall Street Journal said as India's financial capital continued to battle terrorists who had struck in 10 places in the city Wednesday.
The Mumbai terror attacks, in which at least 125 people have been killed, have been covered extensively in both the print and online edition of this New York-based daily financial newspaper.
'It (the ruling party) may pay a price for its incompetence at the national polls next year,' the newspaper said.
'Yesterday Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised that 'every perpetrator would pay the price'. Yet his Congress Party has done little more than bicker with its coalition allies over the past five years on how best to fight terrorism,' the journal said.
Observing that the attacks are a reminder that India is at the top of the terror target list, the newspaper said this is because India is an easy target.
Not only are its intelligence units understaffed and lack resources, coordination among State police forces is also poor. 'The country's anti-terror legal architecture is also inadequate; there is no preventive detention law, and prosecutions can take years,' it said.
'Wednesday's attacks should arouse Indians to better confront the terror threat, while reminding all democracies how dangerous that threat still is,' it said.
In another opinion piece published by The Journal, author Sadanand Dhume blamed the Congress for scrapping the anti-terror law POTA. 'On taking office in 2004, one of the first acts of the ruling Congress Party was to scrap a federal antiterrorism law that strengthened witness protection and enhanced police powers,' he wrote.
'The Congress Party has stalled similar state-level legislation in Gujarat, which is ruled by the opposition Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. And it was a Congress government that kowtowed to fundamentalist pressure and made India the first country to ban Mumbai-born Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' in 1988,' he said.
Dhume, a Washington-based writer and author of 'My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with an Indonesian Islamist', said the Indian approach to terrorism has been consistently haphazard and weak-kneed. Indo Asian News Service.
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( A must Read article)
http://indiaview. wordpress. com/2008/ 03/14/secularism -encouraging- terrorism/
Secularism encouraging terrorism
Former Punjab Director General of Police, K.P.S.Gill made the point that India was being ruled by pseudo-secularists who did not have the will to fight terrorism. At a meeting organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security (FINS), Gill said that “intellectuals and some political establishments are wedded to weaken the country consciously and as a programme, in the name of secularism.” As Gill saw it, Islamic fundamentalism backed by Pakistan is growing.
Something is terribly wrong not only with our national law and order system, but the distribution of prosperity throughout the length and breadth of the country. The distribution is very uneven, but that is only one aspect of the situation.
The other aspect is the growth of jehadism in the country and it has now been discovered that Karnataka has become a centre of recruitment. What comes as a shock is that the recruits are not illiterate or poor Muslims eking out a bare living, but well-educated youths among whom were noticed a civil engineer, a software engineer, a mechanical engineer with a Ph.D in computational fluid dynamics and a doctor.
Apparently there is growing radicalisation of educated Muslim youth who have pursued their education in Britain and the United States.What has India done to these youths that they should turn into jehadis and antinationals? India has gone out of its way to do what it can—including subsidising Haj visits—to the so-called minorities in the name of secularism. Even where they are in a majority, as in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslims get preference.
The damage done by Islamic terrorists in other parts of India, speaks for itself. From March 2006 to December 2007, in a space of 18 months, jehadi acts of terrorism are just unimaginable.
Consider this list:
In March 2006 there was twin bombing in Varanasi, one at the railway station and the other at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple killing 20 people.
In July 2006, seven serial bombings of a Mumbai railway station killed more than 200 and injured 700 others.
In September 2006 at least 30 persons were killed and 100 injured in twin blasts at Malegaon in Maharashtra. Not even Hyderabad, which has a large Muslim population, was spared.
On August 25, 2007, bombs ripped through crowded public areas killing at least 42 persons. It is as if these deaths do not matter. The brutal incidents are quickly forgotten.
Speaking in Bangalore on August 4, 2007, former Punjab Director General of Police, K.P.S.Gill made the point that India was being ruled by pseudo-secularists who did not have the will to fight terrorism.
At a meeting organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security (FINS), Gill said that “intellectuals and some political establishments are wedded to weaken the country consciously and as a programme, in the name of secularism.”
As Gill saw it, Islamic fundamentalism backed by Pakistan is growing with its sleeper cells increasing across the country, while extremist political leaders are posing a larger danger of dividing the society in the pretext of advocating welfare of Muslims and OBCs.
Now—believe it or not—the UPA government has decided to provide a relief package to dependents of terrorists—those very men who fought in the past against the integrity of India and were killed by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
Is anybody aware of the damage done by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir?
A souvenir of the Jammu and Kashmir police released in 2003 and quoted by another senior officer, Joginder Singh (Pioneer, February 11) provides the facts. According to the souvenir, between 1990 and December 2002 there were 56,041 incidents of violence including 10,093 explosions, 29, 931 firing incidents, 5,561 cases of arson, 763 rocket attacks, 4,597 abductions, 229 cases of hanging to death, 275 arms snatching cases and 4, 592 other acts of violence.
During those 14 years, more than 30,000 civilians were killed and security forces seized 24,785 AK—type rifles, 9,387 pistols and revolvers, 58 carbines, 91 light machine guns, 6,865 kgs or RDX , 742 rocket launchers and the list grows.
Worst, due to terrorism, 3.70 lakh Hindus and Sikhs were forced to leave the Valley and there has been total ethnic cleaning. Can we call it genocide?
So what do we do?
In the period between 2000-2003, the state got Rs 13, 188 crore as grant which is three times what Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, received—about Rs 4,047 crore.
On November 17, 2004, our kind Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh announced an “Economic Revival Plan” of Rs 24,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir.
Incidentally, according to Joginder Singh “no one really knows what was spent where and who got what”, since the state’s accounts have not been audited for our a decade.
Par for the course, one might add. Never question a Muslim majority state how it spends money. That would not be secular.
And all this, when, according to Army sources, over 2000 militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba were trying to sneak into the Valley in August 2007. Major-General Ramesh Halgali, G-O.C of the 19th Infantry Division told PTI that many militants had been brought to the border by Pakistan to wreak terror.
Pakistan gets away with murder and its patron in Washington turns a blind eye to what is going on. Pakistan is fighting terrorism, isn’t it? So what is India complaining about, is the US response. But does the large Muslim community say a word of what’s going on? Hardly.
In any event, where are the Muslim community leaders who can speak with authority? If there are any, their argument would be that one does not have to apologies every time a jehadi indulges in violence.
They become self-defensive, quoting figures to show how poor the Muslims are, and how important it is for them to attend a madrasa and the secularists lap it up, not wishing to recognise that there are poor among Hindus who do not complain, and yet they attempt to give their children as much education as is within their capacity.
A Muslim writer, Ed Hussain, in his book The Islamist, notes that Islamic extremism did not descend from another planet or was imposed on the community by outside forces. “It breeds within the community and is the product of a certain kind of interpretation of Islam”, wrote Hussain, quoting Zia-ud-din Sardar, one of Europe’s most prominent Muslim scholars.
According to Zia-ud-din, Islamists were “ nourished by an Islamic tradition that is intrinsically inhuman and violent in its rhetoric, thought and practice”.
Commenting on this Husan Suroor, writing in The Hindu (July 17, 2007) said that “more Muslims need to realise that Islamic terrorists are not simply ‘misguided’ individuals acting on a whim but that they are people who know what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately in the name of Islam.”
And that has has been most noticeable in Karnataka in recent times when police caught terrorists and one of them spilled the beans, saying eight fidayeens are presently on the loose in India and could strike any time.
All that our secularists would say is, that is not a Big Deal.
Aiding Communalism @ http://www.organise r.org/dynamic/ modules.php? name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=221&page=5
INDIA’S SECULARISM @ http://indiasecular .wordpress. com/2008/ 03/06/india- and-secularism
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http://www.rediff. com/news/ 2008/nov/ 28mumterror- shivraj-patil- is-incompetent. htm
US intelligence expert says Patil is incompetent
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Nov. 27, 2008
The war of civilisation between the Muslims and the infidels has begun in Indianterritory. So said the first statement issued in the name of the so-called Indian Mujahideen in November 2007, after the three orchestrated explosions in three towns of Uttar Pradesh outside local courts.
We saw the latest round of this war in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008, as an unestimated number of terrorists -- divided into small groups and wielding hand-held weapons and improvised explosive devices -- literally took controlof Mumbai and targeted with frightening precision famous hospitals preferred by the rich of the country and foreign tourists, railway stations, a hospital and many other places scattered across this business capital of India .
It is not just 9/11. It is not just Madrid , March 2004. It is not just London [Images] 2006. It is -- I am using the present tense because the situation is still not under control at 5-30 am despite the Army's assistance being sought -- an act of terrorism the like of which the world has not seen before. Mind boggles as one tries to think and figure out how the terrorists could have planned and carried out terrorist strikes of such magnitude, territorial spread and ferocity without our intelligence and police having been able to get any scent of it. Like what the Vietcong did during the Tet offensive
The iceberg of jihadi terrorism to which I have been drawing attention since November 2007, in article after article, in interview after interview, in discussion after discussion has struck not only Mumbai, but the Indian State .
The iceberg moved from UP to Jaipur [Images]. From Jaipur to Bangalore . From Bangalore to Ahmedabad [Images] and Surat [Images] . From there to Delhi . From Delhi to Assam . From Assam to Mumbai now -- despite the claims made by the Mumbai police some weeks ago of having discovered and crushed a plot of the IM to carry out strikes in Mumbai.
The government of Manmohan Singh reacted to the repeated warning signals of the moving iceberg since November 2007, in the same way as the Bush Administration reacted to reports about the plans of the Al Qaeda for aviation terrorism inthe US ; in the same way Megawati Sukarnoputri reacted to reports of the activities of the Jemmah Islamiyah; and in the same way Khalida Zia reacted to reports of the plans of the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen . Bovine. It just did no react.
It was in a total denial mode. I wrote and said again and again -- hand over all the investigation about the IM to a central investigating agency for a co-ordinated investigation instead of their being investigated by the police in a piecemeal manner in different states ruled by different political parties. No reaction. From a localised threat, jihadi terrorism has become a pan-Indian threat with a pan-Islamic ideology. Deal with it with a pan-Indian strategy, I said. No reaction.
The terrorists arrested some weeks ago in Mumbai, three of whom were IT experts well-placed in transnational companies, pose a new dimension of the threat. Seek the help of the US , I said. No reaction.
I drew attention to an article by Hamid Mir, journalist from Pakistan , which spoke of Indian Muslims going to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the US and which also said that India is one of the routes being used by foreign jihadisgoing to Afghanistan . No reaction, just as Rajiv Gandhi did not react to repeated wake-up calls from the then Afghan President Najibullah that Muslims from Kashmir were being trained by the Afghan Mujahideen.
In October, when I had come to Delhi for a seminar, two diplomats from EU countries sought an appointment with me for a discussion on the IM. They expressed their surprise and concern over the fact that the Indian intelligence and policeseemed to know so little about the IM despite their having arrested many perpetrators of the previous blasts and interrogated them.
Is the IM the name of an organisation or of a movement? Is it one or many organisations in different states acting, like the International Islamic Front of Osama bin Laden, as a united front -- autonomously where they can and unitedlywhere they should? Who constitute its command and control? Where are they? In India or outside? Nobody knows for certain. I could not sleep the whole of last night.
One question which kept bothering me again and again was: how safe are our nuclear establishments and material? Till now, we were greeting with glee Pakistan 's incompetence in dealing with terrorism. We can no longer do so.
We have become as clueless as Pakistan .
I wanted to write much more, but my mind doesn't work. As I watch on the TV what is happening in Mumbai, I shiver and sweat at the thought of what is waiting to happen tomorrow and where. (seventyone2W@gmail.com)
1) UPA's Politicla vendetta @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/
2) What made Hindus angry @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/why-hindusre-angry/
3) Invention of Failed Govt. @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/join-hands-to-beat-terror/
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Ka Shaji , TEHELKA
The suicide of a nun has shocked Kerala, leading the state Women’s Commission to recommend new laws to protect their rights, reports KA SHAJI
AFTER THREE decades of service, Sister Jesmi decided to leave the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC), an order of nuns under the Catholic Church in Kerala.
Citing mental harassment from her superiors as the reason, she also took voluntary retirement from the principal’s post she held at St Mary’s College in Thrissur, one of the state’s best institutions of higher education.
Sister Jesmi preferred to leave even though she knew she would have nowhere, apart from her sister, to turn for survival. Ineligible for benefits from the church, she is also debarred from demanding the return of her parental property, bequeathed to the church when she joined the order.
Four months ago, a 37-year-old nun from Alappuzha in southern Kerala was found filmed in a pornographic clip circulating via MMS, and was defrocked and sent home. The nun, who worked as a receptionist at a CMC mission hospital near Kochi, was having an affair with the hospital driver, but claimed she had no idea he was filming her. Today, nobody has a clue as to her whereabouts, or even whether her home has accepted her. She, too, has no claim over the property her parents gave the church.
In August this year, Sister Anupa Mary from Kollam in southern Kerala hanged herself in her convent room, leaving a suicide note blaming the Mother Superior, Sister Albeena. Anupa’s father, Pappachan, alleges that Albeena subjected his daughter to sexual abuse, and claims Anupa spoke of it a few weeks before she died to her mother and sister, though they kept quiet about it. There is now a police investigation against Albeena, but it is moving at a grinding pace.
Nuns who give up their vows, whether from choice or compulsion, have a bleak future in Kerala as there is no mechanism for their rehabilitation. The faithful and the Church view them with contempt; often, so do their families.
Survival becomes extremely difficult leaving, in many cases, suicide as the only solution, one that has claimed the lives of 15 nuns over the last 14 years.
It was in this context that the Kerala Women’s Commission approached the CPM-led state government, requesting it to enact legislation prohibiting girls under 18 from taking the veil, and prosecuting parents who forcibly send their daughters to nunneries.
It also wanted protection of a nun’s share in family property and legal provisions to retrieve property bequeathed to the church, at least for those who leave their orders on grounds of harassment.
“When a Kerala girl becomes a nun, her share of her parental property is normally given to her to cover her living expenses. But should she decide to renounce her vows, she gets nothing. Such girls are in urgent need of a rehabilitation programme,” says Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson Justice D Sreedevi.
But the church leadership is not ready to listen, and is attacking the entire Commission for its ‘anti-minority’ demand, even terming its members ‘Marxist devils’. “The Commission is trying to effect changes in a universal Catholic norm, which is based on canonical law,” says Father Paul Thelakkat, spokesperson of the Syrio-Malabar Church.
“As everywhere else, only a girl who completes Class XII is admitted to a Kerala convent. She then goes through a minimum five years training, meaning that she does not become a full-fledged nun until she is at least 22. So the question of inducting a minor into the nunhood does not arise.”
As per figures available from the church, Kerala has more people turning to religious life than anywhere else in India. The state has 33,226 nuns.
THE ISSUE took a serious turn after the opposition Congress joined the bandwagon, calling the Commission’s demand a challenge to religious freedom and demanding Sreedevi’s ouster. Unwilling to antagonise the church, with which it is already at loggerheads, the state government is now soft-pedaling the issue. “It is just a wish of the commission,” says CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. “Everyone can express their wish. Neither the party nor the government have taken a decision on the issue so far.”
“We are not against a religion or their legitimate rights,” counters Sreedevi. “The Commission has received several complaints of torture in convents, on which we based our recommendation to the state government.”
Not all Kerala Christians are opposed to the Women’s Commission’s efforts, however.
Joseph Pulikunnel, a prominent Catholic thinker and social activist, says Church officials neither admit to problems within the community, nor try to understand the reasons that drive nuns to suicide. “They always try to hush up such cases; they blame the victims and their families and protect the guilty,” he alleges.
Pulikunnel welcomes the legislation the Commission is demanding, and says there is no question of its constituting an interference with religious freedom. “They are only trying to protect the basic human rights of those entering nunhood. The church ought to welcome the recommendation and try its best to get the proposed legislation implemented,” he says.
The death last year of Sister Lisa, whose body was found in the guest room of her convent near Kottayam in central Kerala, is now snowballing into an avoidable controversy for the Kerala church. Sister Lisa is said to have consumed poison; a suicide note claimed “disappointment in life” as the reason for the 34-year-old nun’s extreme step. Her father, Joseph Thottathil, says she was unhappy with her impending transfer to another convent; but when the Women’s Commission sought details, they were stonewalled. The same unresponsiveness greeted their request for information about the mysterious death of another nun five years ago.
Skirting the requirements of justice is something, however, that the Church in Kerala has long witnessed. The state High Court has come down heavily on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its poor progress in an over-15-year inquiry into the murder of Sister Abhaya at a convent in Kottayam. Two priests and a nun are under the CBI scanner, but the agency refuses to arrest them “for want of evidence”.
Abhaya was allegedly murdered for accidentally witnessing the priests in a compromising position with the nun.
Sister Alice Lukose, a former proponent of liberation theology, says unless the church is able to offer women a ‘new vision’ and a ‘new way‘ of committed life, religious congregations for women will face a crisis of existence.
“Today, in every field, women are equal; in every field women have come up, except in the church. The moment the church acknowledges and allows women to be different, the church would be different,” she says. •
Deaths at Catholic Healing Centre @ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/975-deaths-at-catholic-healing-centre/39686-3.html
2 priests, nun held for Sister Abhaya murder
20 Nov 2008, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Sixteen years after Sister Abhaya was murdered and her body dumped in the well of a Kerala convent, the CBI on Wednesday arrested two Catholic priests and a nun in the case.
The CBI, which has been under pressure to act after 16 years of inactivity in the case, arrested father Jose Putarika, 56, a former Malayalam professor at the Kottayam college where Abhaya studied, and Thomas Kottor, 61, the Diocesan chancellor of the Catholic Church at Kottayam for the murder which took place in 1992.
The investigating agency also arrested 45-year-old Sister Seffi, who belonged to the same convent as Abhaya.
The Church, however, sprang to the defence of the priests arrested by the CBI. The Kottayam Diocese of the Church said the latest developments was suspicious.
"In 16 years of investigation, various teams looked into the case and could not find anything," a Church press release stated, adding that it was "surprising that in four days the team got clues leading to the arrests. The arrested are innocent and if a proper investigation is initiated then the real truth would come out."
The three accused were produced before a Kerala court where their bail plea was turned down. The court also turned down the demand that they be questioned in the presence of their counsel.
The three have been under the scanner for a long time and were even subjected to a narco analysis and polygraph tests last year.
Abhaya, a resident of Pious X Hostel, was murdered and her body dumped in the well of the Kottayam convent on March 27, 1992. She was a second year pre-degree student in BCM college, which belonged to the diocese of Kottayam.
In November, 1996, the CBI came to the conclusion that it was murder. However, it failed to arrest the accused.
Till now 13 CBI teams have investigated the case. And 12 earlier teams were unable to take the case forward. CBI joint director Ashok Kumar said the case would be taken to its logical conclusion within 30 days.
The Kerala High Court had taken over the monitoring of the investigation of the Sister Abhaya case in 1993 and has been highly critical of the CBI investigations.
The court had rejected three closure reports filed by the CBI. On September 4 this year, the court had directed the CBI Delhi unit to hand over the probe to its Kochi unit.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Rediff News - Nov. 12
Rahul Gandhi has spoken and made a point: giving tickets to family members of party leaders to contest elections 'undermines' the party because what has troubled the country is 'family', 'money', and 'patronage'.
He is actually the point he is trying to make.
Had he not been the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, he would have had his knuckles rapped by the party high command, which in this cannot happen because his mother (Congress President Sonia Gandhi) is the high command.
Denial of opportunities
Had it been anyone else, there would have been public outrage and the umbrage would have been publicly conveyed to the politician frustrated that the generation next has been denied an opportunity. They are families that have learnt that what has been secured be better kept within the family.
You don't have to look far. The latest is the example of Margaret Alva. See how she has been asked to resign all her party posts because she did whine that her son was denied a ticket for elections in Karnataka and that some tickets were sold.
Such blasphemy from Alva should actually be no different from what has been said by the fifth generation in the Nehru family, if you decide to start with Motilal Nehru. But power, and its transfer within the bloodline, has been from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, making it the fourth. Probably Nehru did not mean to have daughter Indira Gandhi [Images] to be the prime minister, but she became. Had she not been of the Nehru house?
That, the young politician by inheritance, I hope, understands is the start of dynastic politics in this country.
But poor Alva does not know that there are people like Rahul Gandhi, more equal among equals, precisely because of his birth in a family.
The dynast spoke
In other words, now the dynast has spoken. So it is wisdom, and so news. That is why his blunt conveyance of his displeasure has not made Mama Sonia Gandhi angry, leading to a swift upbraiding. You see, Rahul Gandhi's mama likes the son. Just like Alva likes hers. You are spared, she is not.
But let us not forget that Rahul's daddy would not have become a prime minister and would only continued to fly planes had he not been the son of Indira Gandhi. That was the moment when Congressmen decided that family is best to protect their own self-interests.
That is why you have promotion of self-interest on the pretext of public interest as the primary ambition of each politician in the ranks of the Congress party and it has spread to other political parties as well; there is hardly a party where such tendencies have been curbed, thought it may not be widespread. All parties are touched by this malaise.
Now that Rahul Gandhi is on a travel across the country, of course in fits and starts, not like the one long journey across the vivid, colourful, poor and subjugated country that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi undertook at the behest of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, he may learn a lot more about the local political families of the Congressmen who have held local people in thrall in their fiefdoms and survived by paying their tributes to the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Keeping it warm
Let us not forget that once a sitting member of an elected body -- panchayat to Parliament -- dies, it was the Congress that used the argument those in difficult situations, 'the sympathy factor' worked best with the emotional Indians and opted for a son, daughter or widow as a candidate in by-elections. That was promoting a family, even if indirectly, in achieving the right numbers and continued presence of a party nominee. That was the Congress contribution to Indian democracy.
That would be quite educative to the young man who is a self-confessed learner of reality.
It starts in the village panchayats. Men who have to sidestep because positions are reserved for women have almost invariably managed to find a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mother, a mother-in-law or even a sister-in-law to keep the seat warm for them till the reservation is vacated.
That is why we have apparently 'selected', and not 'elected' representatives in such constituencies, be it the village panchayat or the Lok Sabha; their stranglehold and ability to dispense patronage and in some cases, put the scare, is the main cause for the votes going their way.
One does not have to look only to Lalu Prasad Yadav [Images] for making his wife chief minister of Bihar or Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] for helping make Akhilesh Yadav, a member of Parliament. The examples abound, though some kith and kin have conducted them exemplarily and made a contribution.
So much so, there are constituencies, as in Akluj in Maharashtra, or even Baramati, Or Sangli where virtually everyone connected with the late Vasantdada Patil's family got his share of the public pie. These are places where the family matters above all. There are examples in Andhra Pradesh, or in Tamil Nadu, or well, the list can go on and on, of places and people across the wide, big country, without apparent end.
Top to bottom
These give rise, at the micro-level, to family fiefdoms where they take control of all elected offices by the sheer strength of the influence they wield and the people only rubber stamp them on the ballot papers. Technically, they are 'elected' but in reality, forced down the people's throat.
The point made by Rahul Gandhi is quite right. It, according to him, undermines the party. According to me, such nepotism undermines the nation because those who deserve to be in positions and make a difference to the country are not allowed to move beyond the fringes. In India, patronage matters. What better than patronage of a powerful family, even if it is localised in its reach?
It is only a replication at the bottom of the heap of the ills at the apex.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
In future, we will see more Indian faces of terror
Maloy K. Dhar
With the arrest of a Sadhvi and her alleged accomplices for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast, the term Hindu terrorism has got new meaning.
Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former joint director of the Indian Intelligence Bureau, has studied terrorism in-depth for many years. He has written several books on Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence and Bangladesh sponsored terrorism. Dhar took time off to speak with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa about the new trends in terrorism and also about the spate of incidents that have rocked this country in the past couple of years.
What are your views on the eye for an eye attitude of some Hindu outfits?
Newton's third law (for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction) has started taking effect. We need to find out the extent to which the Hindu mind is being influenced especially when everyone is flashing what the minorities have had to say. Yes I would say that the mentality is growing and it sure is scary. I think it is time to look beyond the Bharatiya Janata Party and other saffron outfits and think of Hindus as a whole, and see up to what extent they are being influenced.
Sir do you endorse these views?
Definitely not. I have always been saying that people should have faith in the system and try and rectify problems in a democratic manner. I am trying to moderate the system. It is very important to have the Muslims with us. We need to moderate their views too.
What are your views on the Malegaon incident in which a Sadhvi was arrested?
No one is saying anything clearly. What is happening is that the Muslims allege that they are being maligned. Now parties which depend on the Muslim vote are finding it difficult to secure those votes. Another fact is that the BJP and its allies seem to be on a better footing to face the forthcoming elections. Hence it seems as though this is an attempt to reflect terror on the BJP. Let the noise regarding this case settle down and then the truth will come out.
There are allegations that former IB and military officials trained some Hindu activists to carry out blasts. What do you have to say about this?
This is blatant falsehood and bunkum. The IB has no expertise in bomb making. Some military personnel may have knowledge regarding this. But tell me is it necessary for someone to train when all the information is so easily available on the internet. These are just allegations which have not been proven.
You have written and spoken about the presence of ISI cells in India. Despite both the IB and the police claiming to be making inroads how is it that such cells continue to function and carry out blasts at will.
The ISI cells and its modules cannot be fully unearthed. There are several reasons for this. Whenever the IB or the police go for action, a hue and cry is raised by human rights groups and the so-called secularists. Political parties are weak and they end up falling back on the support of the minorities. Electoral considerations are another reason for not being able to unearth all the cells. In our country the police are under the ruling party and unless a free hand is given there is very little chance of making headway completely. Although the IB is an old and efficient organisation, their strength in terms of man power is not sufficient. We also need is an IB which will not go by the orders of the political parties.
What about the participation of the people while gathering intelligence?
Yes that is very important. Collaboration between the people and security agencies is required and this should include the Muslim community too. The Muslim community needs to know that being inspired by Pakistan is bad for them.
What are your views on the latest instances of terrorism and the birth of the Indian Mujahideen ?
It is a new name that's it. The Students Islamic Movement of India could not possibly function under its own name once it was banned and hence it became the Indian Mujahideen. Basically the IM has the people from the same resource pool.
What do you have to say about the new age terrorist who is educated and tech savvy?
As I said before, the IM has the people from the same resource pool of SIMI . SIMI always had a pool of educated people.
Do you think that the Mumbai and Gujarat police have cracked the entire IM module?
They are making headway for sure. But getting leads is one thing and connecting it is another. Once the leads are connected, one could say that they have succeeded completely. As of now what I see is just newspaper investigation and PR work by the police to show that they are doing some work.
There is a hue and cry about the Jamia Nagar encounter, but the Delhi police maintain that this incident helped them crack the case. What are your views on the same?
Whenever such an act takes place there is bound to be a hue and cry. I would say that the operation is genuine but would also like to add that it should have been done in a better way. Encounter is a science and should be undertaken in such a manner that none can raise a finger.
We see that Jihad is becoming more home-bred. Why do you think this has happened?
It is not exactly correct to say this. It is only now that we are getting to see a more Indian face to this. It just shows that both Pakistan and Bangladesh have succeeded in creating modules in India. In the coming years we will get to see more Indian faces. The need of the hour is to eliminate these modules.
Terror has travelled south. Karnataka and Kerala have become hotbeds for recruitment and training. Did the IB see this coming?
I have shouted and screamed about this in the past. I had given a talk at the Indian Institute of Science two years back where I mentioned that several areas in both Karnataka and Kerala had several modules. But at that time no one believed me. However now everyone seems to be waking up to the problem.
Lastly please rate the states which have coped best with terror.
Well, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat have dealt best with the problem. Kerala has just woken up, Tamil Nadu is yet to wake up, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are waking up.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Jomo Kenyatta had a sharp tongue and a sharper mind, both of which he used to devastating effect while lashing out at the 'civilising' West. The White man's fictional burden of taming the savage East and enlightening the 'dark continent' was no more than a convenient cover to hide his role as the master of the subjugated races.
Colonialism and Empire-building were inspired as much by a sense of racial superiority as driven by greed; it was a complex social, political and economic enterprise facilitated in no small measure by Christian missionaries who helped deracinate the indigenous people -- the 'heathens' -- and convert them into loyal subjects of an alien Emperor.
As in India, so in the African colonies were people uprooted from their ancient cultural moorings in preparation for their political suppression and economic deprivation. They were accorded the 'privilege' of embracing a strange faith and genuflecting at the altar of Christ in exchange of what they possessed and held dear till then: Their land, their language, their rites and rituals, and their religion. By the time the natives realised that all this was no more than a con job to disinherit them and enrich their foreign rulers, they had invariably lost most, if not all, of what once belonged to them.
Jomo Kenyatta, not given to niceties and asphyxiating political correctness, put it succinctly: "When the missionaries came, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, 'Let us pray'. We closed our eyes. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible!"
At a recent gathering of Christian missionaries, I made bold to recall Jomo Kenyatta's famous comment which fetched a fusillade of denial and denunciation. I was accused of trying to divert attention from the depredations of 'rapacious' and 'murderous' Hindu mobs which have brought a 'bad name' to the land of Mahatma Gandhi, the "apostle of peace" as one of them described him. That's a Christian description, I protested, to which the response was: How else would you describe him? Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a crafty politician who made a fetish of non-violence; so call him a 'man of peace' if you must, but don't describe him as a follower of Jesus, as were the 12 apostles of Christ, which he definitely wasn't.
In any event, the Mahatma the Church now holds up to shame those who object to proselytisation and conversion through allurement and deceit, the harvesting of the souls of the poor and the vulnerable, was mercilessly denigrated and lampooned in his lifetime by Christian missionaries in keeping with their loyalty to the Empire. Charles Freer Andrews was an exception and his association with Gandhi did not exactly make him welcome in mission drawing rooms.
Many years ago, while researching the Goa Inquisition, I had chanced upon material about the attitude of Christian missionaries towards Gandhi. Those notes resurfaced while I was clearing out the accumulated, fraying papers in my study; they make for interesting reading, especially when Gandhi is being touted by Christian missionaries in an effort to silence their critics.
Gandhi's politics of peaceful resistance to colonial rule had found expression in the non-cooperation agitation. This in turn set alarm bells ringing -- the colonial establishment, including the Church, was quick to realise his potential. It retaliated in full force, using its arsenal, including missionaries and their publications. In September 1919, the Christian Missionary Review fired the first salvo, but was circumspect.
A year later, it described Gandhi as an "extraordinary casuist", an "unscrupulous and irresponsible demagogue" responsible for the disturbances in Punjab.
Urging India's colonial masters to "adequately" deal with Gandhi's "egotistical mysticism", the Christian Missionary Review said that unless put down, Gandhi and his nationalism would emerge as "one of the dangerous phenomena of present day politics in India".The terrible misdeeds of the British administration in Punjab, of which the Rowlatt Act is but only one example, found ample support among the missionaries.
Bishop Henry Whitehead not only supported the Act but went on to denigrate the nationalist agitation against it as a "striking illustration of the incapacity of a large section of Indian politicians to face facts and realities, or to understand the first principles of civilised Government". Those 'principles' were on display at Jallianwala Baag.
Marcella Sherwood, speaking on behalf of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, and Rev Canon Guildford, representing the Church Missionary Society, were to later applaud Gen Dyer's brutality, saying it was "justified by its results".
The Christian Missionary Review, describing Gen Dyer as a "brave man", said his action was "the only means of saving life".
Another missionary publication, rather disingenuously named The Young Men of India, heaped praise on Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Lt Governor of Punjab during those bleak and brutal days, saying that he was "the strongest and best ruler the country has had in modern times".
The Harvest Field, another missionary journal, was quick to point out that during the nationalist uprising against the Rowlatt Act, Indian Christians were not found "wanting in loyalty to the (British) Government".
The International Review of Missions was clear in its pronouncement that the means and methods adopted by the British to put down the uprising in Punjab were neither un-Christian nor a blot on British rule.
On the other hand, the Christian Missionary Review described Gandhi's political agenda as dangerous, predicted that it would lead to violence, chaos and anarchy. The Young Men of India, commenting on Gandhi's concept of satyagraha, declared: "Though Mr Gandhi may have satisfied his conscience as to its morality, to plain common sense it means playing with fire, with the certainty that if used with masses of Indian people, the fire will become a conflagration...".
The Harvest Field, in its May 1921 issue, put on record its belief that "Mr Gandhi's teachings" would result in "chaos and anarchy only". Gandhi, it said, had brought a "sword to his beloved land".
The Madras Christian College Magazine, in its October 1921 issue, declared, "We have always regarded the doctrines he has been preaching and the policy he has advocated as pernicious." The journal then went on to offer a homily: All those who want "peace and sobriety of life and progress" should reject the "sophistry of non-violence"
Yet today we are told by Christian missionaries to follow Gandhi's doctrines, pay heed to his philosophy of non-violence. Amazing sophistry!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Ravi Shankar Prasad
The BJP charges the Congress Party of seeking to cause damage to India’s secular and social unity at the unholy altar of vote bank and appeasement politics.
A party whose political progression over six decades has been littered by numerous such short sighted misadventures that the future generations of the country have had to pay a heavy price for, should, at this critical juncture, desist from undertaking such steps that might cause further damage to India’s social fabric and harmony.
The Congress party, which has openly patronized and encouraged elements which bred and spread terrorism, certainly has no moral right whatsoever to criticize the BJP for an action that does not have any direct or indirect support from the party or its affiliates.
Right from the manner in which the Congress encouraged Bhindranwale which led to the burning of Punjab; to overt and covert support to separatist and terrorist organizations like the ULFA in Assam and other states of the north east; to lifting the ban on SIMI after coming to power in 2004; then re-imposing the ban under the pressure and protests by security forces and other nationalist elements; by deliberately not producing relevant documents before the tribunal considering the ban on SIMI; conspicuous silence by the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi when so called stalwarts of the UPA cabinet are continuing to describe SIMI as a cultural organization; using governmental authority to promote the interests of Bangladeshi infiltrators to undo the directive of the Supreme Court judgement wherein infiltration was described as amounting to aggression on the nation; and to top it all, clouding the sacrifice of a heroic police officer in the Jamia shootout case which is a clear manifestation of the worst symptom of vote bank and appeasement politics; the history of the Congress party is but a progression of such activities that have had a direct and detrimental impact on the country’s security and social harmony.
Given this background, the BJP is amazed at the sheer hypocrisy of the Congress party over the manner in which it has sought to attack the BJP on the issue of arrests of the certain persons in Madhya Pradesh in context of Malegaon blasts particularly when the party’s position on the issue of terrorism is unambiguous i.e. that terrorists have no religion and must be punished. The BJP demands a proper, fair and professional investigation against all those who are alleged to be involved. Let evidence be produced and law take its own course.
The Party does not approve of violence at all. The BJP also seriously condemns the reported comments like "Hindu Terrorism" and Saffron Terrorism". Those who mindlessly use such terms have never used terms like "Muslim Terrorists" when many Muslims were found involved in terrorism and killing of people in various parts of the country. Some of the elements were only called "jihadis".
The BJP strongly deprecates Hindu bashing by so called pseudo secularists and some segments of the media. This is again actuated only by vote bank and appeasement politics.
The nation needs to ponder a larger question. Should we condemn an entire religion or way of life for the alleged indiscretions or misguided actions of but a few? Will our Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh like to lose some sleep over this new pernicious tendency as he lost some when an alleged innocent doctor was arrested in Australia?
Before making any other charges against any party, the Congress party would do well to seriously introspect and answer to the nation about the recent conviction of Mohammed Surti for twenty years, who was a Congress Minister in the year 1991-1993 in the then Gujarat government, on the serious charge of transporting AK 47s, hand grenades in his official vehicle in the year 1992-93 as also involvement in the bomb blasts.
Need we remind the Congress party about the conviction of another congress office bearer, Sushil Sharma, the then President of the Delhi Youth Congress in the infamous tandoor murder case or the direct involvement of Bhola Pandey in hijacking an aeroplane? Did anyone ever infer that such elements represented the entire Congress Party?
The nation requires a much more seasoned and nationalistic approach to such critical issues.
Sensitive Issue of Maharashtra
The BJP strongly condemns the merciless and brutal killing of yet another north Indian near Thane in Maharashtra when he was seeking to board a train for his hometown. Given the lack of any effective action against elements like the MNS and its leader Raj Thackrey, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ruling Congress-NCP dispensation in the state is definitely -- overtly or covertly -- encouraging or supporting such elements for extraneous political considerations.
The BJP strongly believes that India is one country and anyone and everyone has a complete right to go and settle in any part of the country, this being a Fundamental Right enshrined in the Constitution.
When Constitutional norms are being blatantly flouted repeatedly for the last so many months, why has the government of India not yet issued any directive to the Maharashtra Government under Article 355?
Even the much vocal Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan whose demand for issuing a Directive to Karnataka and Orissa government under Article 355 came up almost immediately after the unfortunate incidents in those states, are now conspicuously silent. The rank double standards of this UPA government is clearly evident.
The BJP demands proper protection for every Indian in any part of the country from such parochial elements who do not understand the identity of India. The BJP also demands a proper and fair investigation into these incidents and Central Government issuing a directive to the Maharashtra Government under Article 355.
Pioneer, Oct. 31
Little-known Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM) on Friday claimed responsibility for the serial blasts that killed 77 people in Assam and warned of more such attacks.
In an SMS message sent to local 'News Live' television channel, the ISF-IM claimed responsibility for Thursday’s blasts and threatened to carry out more bomb explosions in several parts of the Country.
The message said, "we thank all our holy members and partners" for successfully carrying out the task.
The SMS was received on the mobile of the channel's input desk from a Reliance connection with the number 98646-93690.
The mobile phone was subsequently switched off and security forces traced it to Moirabari in Central Assam's Nagaon district registered in the name of one Nazir Ahmed.
Police officials are investigating the matter.
The outfit was formed in 2000 in Lower Assam's Bodo-dominated areas "to counter" the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) and NDFB militants, police sources said.
The full text of the SMS is: "We, ISF-IM, take the responsibility of yesterday blast. We warn all of Assam and India for situation like this in future. We thank all our holy members and partners. AAamin."
KPS Gill on Terrorism @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/secularism-encouraging-terrorism/
Thursday, October 23, 2008
UPA takes U-Turn @ http://www.dailypioneer.com/130172/UPA-takes-U-turn-on-Lanka-Tamils.html
Of Tamils and Tamil Tigers
Kalyani Shankar, Pioneer
The UPA Government is in a fix over the mounting clamour in Tamil Nadu for Delhi to stop Colombo from clobbering the LTTE. The Congress, no friend of the Tamil Tigers, could lose the DMK as an ally if it does not act. Yet it can’t be seen defending the Tigers.
Is the Government going to interfere in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka or is it simply going through the motions to pacify its ally, the DMK, in Tamil Nadu? The reason for the concern is that the Sri Lankan military forces are carrying out a serious offensive against the LTTE and are said to be very close to Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the LTTE.
Lankan authorities are almost on the verge of breaking the banned LTTE and capture its leader V Prabhakaran. The Government stand makes it clear that while the matter is being taken up at the highest level, there may not be any major shift on the Sri Lankan policy because of its limited options.
Although the clashes between the armed forces and the Tamil Tigers have been going on for long, the Indian Government’s urgency to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan Government arose now because of the pressure from the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu.
For the past week, a lively political drama was being enacted in the southern State. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had gone to the extent of issuing an ultimatum to the Centre to put pressure on the Sri Lankan Government for a ceasefire, giving two weeks’ time which ends on October 29. However, the present indications are that he may not take any drastic measures to pull out from the UPA Government at the Centre.
Why have the political parties in Tamil Nadu taken up the Tamil issue now?
According to the UN, more than two lakh people have been displaced because of the military offensive in Sri Lanka.
This has led to the fear of a refugee inflow from the island nation. Political parties, including the DMK, PMK and MDMK, are concerned at the military action.
The critics of the DMK Government say that the ruling party wants to divert attention from the severe power crisis in the State. Others point out that elections are round the corner and the DMK wants to make a case for itself that it had taken up the cause of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. It is also likely the party is anxious to distance itself from the UPA to keep its options open for a post-election realignment of political parties.
The Congress, without whose support the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu would fall, is playing its own game. To show solidarity with the Tamil people, Congress MPs had attended the all-party meeting convened by Mr Karunanidhi but did not resign from the Lok Sabha as demanded by the DMK chief.
The Congress cleverly took the stand that it was all for protecting the interests of the Tamils but it was certainly against the LTTE, thereby differentiating between the Tamils and the LTTE.
The Congress has to tread carefully because there is a warrant pending against LTTE chief Prabhakaran in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. On the other hand, local Congressmen are now keen to have a tie-up with the AIADMK. The Congress has in the past tied up both with the DMK and the AIADMK.
The dilemma facing the Centre is that New Delhi has been following a hands-off policy on Sri Lanka after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Officially, India’s stand is that it wants a negotiated settlement within a united Sri Lanka, knowing that any fragmentation of that country could have serious consequences. Therefore, New Delhi cannot go beyond a point to put pressure on Colombo.
The Sri Lankan Government on its part is sending the President’s special envoy to New Delhi on October 26 while External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee may travel to Colombo later for further negotiations. However, these are mere signals. At the most, the Sri Lankan envoy may come up with a message that the military attack would be stopped if the LTTE gives up its arms and come for negotiations, but the LTTE is not ready to do so.
So where is the meeting point?
The Rajapaksa Government is determined to put down Prabhakaran now when the LTTE is weak and when the Government has an edge over the Tigers militarily. However, even if the military were to succeed in taking over Kilinochchi, Prabhakaran could flee with his followers to the dense forest. In addition, the locals may not support the military if they are still supporting the LTTE. While the Tigers are ready for an indefinite fight, the Sri Lankan Government will also worry about its international image if brutal military action is taken against LTTE.
Ultimately, the two sides should realise that a military solution is not desirable and a political solution alone would yield peace. For a political solution, both sides need to be a little more flexible. The LTTE should realise that its demand for an independent Tamil Eelam will never become a reality. The Sri Lankan Government, which shuns the idea of federalism, should be a little more flexible and offer a face-saving formula to the LTTE. Negotiations can begin only if there is readiness on their part and as of now, the Government has an upper hand.
Back in India, the Prime Minister has a difficult task. He not only has to deal with a foreign Government on a sensitive issue but also tackle the UPA partners in Tamil Nadu with kid gloves.
India has not forgotten the lessons of sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka. Above all, the political parties in Tamil Nadu should draw a line between Tamils and Tamil Tigers.
Deadly Triangle @ http://www.srilankawatch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=172&Itemid=1
LTTE & Churches @ http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1112887194