Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another nun row rocks Kerala church9

Nov 2008, 0440 hrs IST, Ananthakrishnan G , TNN

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A church in Kerala is in the throes of yet another scandal even as controversy over the death of sister Abhaya is yet to settle. Relatives of a Catholic nun have alleged that she is being forcibly kept in mental hospitals to prevent her from revealing the alleged 'sexual misdemeanours' in the convent. But the convent denies the charge and insists that she is a psychiatric case.

Sixty-year-old Treesa Thomas, who was attached to the Divine Mary Convent at Anchal in Kollam district, was admitted to a hospital run by the Church in Thodupuzha in October. "About two weeks back, she was shifted to the government mental asylum in Thiruvananthapuram," the nun's sister-in-law Tresyamma told TOI over phone from Kottayam.

The mater came to light after the nun's nephew Benny filed a complaint with the Kerala Women's Commission. Benny alleged Thomas, who has been a nun for the last 43 years, was forcibly admitted to the hospital to prevent her from spilling the beans on "illicit affairs between priests and sisters" and to make her statements look silly. It also claimed that a nun, who was unable to bear the torment, had ended her life in the convent sometime back.

Benny lives in Ireland and had come home in connection with the baptism of his kid which is when the family got the wind of the matter and decided to take it up with the authorities. Following the complaint, commission member P K Sainaba visited the nun and recorded her statement.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Right at the Edge

....When I asked Jan, the tribal elder, about the negotiations that Ghani had described for me — talks between the country’s new civilian leaders and FATA’s tribal elders — Jan laughed. “The only negotiations are between the army and the Taliban, between the army and Baitullah Mehsud,” he said. “There are no government officials taking part in any negotiations. There are no tribal elders taking part.
....It’s a very close relationship,” Jan said, describing the meetings between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban. “The army and the Taliban are friends. Whenever a Taliban fighter is killed, army officers go to his funeral. They bring money to the family.

...And then the retired Pakistani official offered another explanation -- one that he said could never be discussed in public. The reason the Pakistani security services support the Taliban, he said, is for money: after the 9/11 attacks, the Pakistani military concluded that keeping the Taliban alive was the surest way to win billions of dollars in aid that Pakistan needed to survive. The military's complicated relationship with the Taliban is part of what the official called the Pakistani military's "strategic games." Like other Pakistanis, this former senior official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of what he was telling me.

"Pakistan is dependent on the American money that these games with the Taliban generate," the official told me. "The Pakistani economy would collapse without it. This is how the game works."
.....Finally, there is the problem of the Pakistan Army’s competence. For all the myths that officers like Musharraf have spread about the institution, the simple fact is that it isn’t very good. The Pakistan Army has lost every war it has ever fought. And it isn’t trained to battle an insurgency. Each of the half-dozen offensives the army has launched into the tribal areas since 2004 has left it bloodied and humbled.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buddhist monk desecrates Hindu temple in Colombo

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 September 2008, 05:53 GMT]
Colombo Additional Magistrate Ajith Anawaratne Wednesday ordered to remand the Chief Incumbent of Grandpass de Mel Watte Buddhagaya Viharaya, Sri Sapugasyaye Dhammanada Thero and three of his associates for destroying the adjoining Sri Muththumariamman Hindu temple in the early hours on Wednesday.

The Sri Muththumariamman temple is located in highly Muslim populated Khettarama in Grandpass.

On Tuesday, the consecration (Kumpaapisheakam) ceremony was held in which hundreds of devotees took part. During the night that followed, the Buddhist monk and three of his associates got into the temple through the roof and smashed the newly built Amman statue, Vishnu statue, Ramar statue and Sivalingham.

However, residents in the surrounding area alerted the Police. The police rushed to the temple and arrested the culprits and produced them at the courts on Wednesday.

Source: TamilNet

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sad but this is what will happen if we appease islamic jihadis


Exiles in ghettos keep fire blazing

Muthi (Jammu), Aug. 24: They live eight, often ten or twelve, to a room. To call them rooms is a stretch; hovels is more appropriate — barely six by eight, the asbestos ceilings knocked low over them, a vast and suffocating narrow-laned warren. They do with temporary power pulled on illicit lines, they have little access to water, they share unsanitary community bathrooms. They live marooned in the putrid discharge oozing from them, amid foraging pigs and pie-dogs.

These are Kashmiri Pandits uprooted from their Valley moorings two decades ago, and Muthi, on the forsaken outskirts of Jammu, is their home — a blistered tinderbox of frustration and rage, spewing communal pus. In Muthi, and other similar “migrant camps” littered around Jammu, could lie some of the clues to why this crisis has caught fires that refuse to die.

It’s so angry, it doesn’t even want to talk. “Go away, just go away,” protests P.N. Dhar, a former government employee and community leader. “What have you come here now for? To use us to douse the fires those (expletive deleted) Kashmiri Muslims are lighting up? Too late, now it’s our turn to light the fires, to get some notice from this country.”

Men from the ghetto have gathered around Dhar and it is instantly evident they have unspent payloads of fury and hatred accumulated over the years; they are now letting it off.

“This country has only been bothered about (expletive deleted) who carry Pakistani flags and spit on patriots,” says Sahabji Chrungoo, originally from Baramulla. “Nobody came when we were thrown out, nobody bothered when we were killed, nobody listened when we warned secession had gripped Kashmir. But how long could you have ignored it? This had to happen. If we have to light fires now to get attention, so be it. But this time, we will have it our way.”

As an unprecedented regional-communal conflict consumes the state, the Valley’s ousted Kashmiri Pandits have become Jammu’s sword-arm in battle. It’s a sword smelted in decades of unassuaged grievance and of rancour and prejudice. It’s a sword that has verily stabbed the celebrated and inclusive notion of “Kashmiriyat” to death and invoked in its place a ghoulish spectre of intolerance that threatens to extend the current rift.

Agnishekhar, convener of Panun Kashmir, the umbrella body of ousted Pandits, isn’t even remorseful or apologetic about pronouncing “Kashmiriyat” dead.

“What about it?” he asks combatively. “Where is composite culture when all Hindus have been driven out of the Valley, out of their homes and farmlands? They killed Kashmiriyat, not us. Don’t expect secularism of us when you are pandering to all shades of Islam and anti-nationalism in the Valley. Who is secular in the Valley that Jammu is being called communal in contrast? Those who are unleashing cries of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic rule)?”

The Panun Kashmir leader won’t openly admit it, but the strident “Bam-Bam Bole” movement across Jammu is an hour of vindication that he is loath to let go of.

“We have been waiting for this for long,” he says. “Jammu didn’t exactly welcome us when we were driven out of the Valley in 1989-90, we haven’t had it easy here. But now Jammu seems to have understood what the problem with Kashmiri Muslims is, it has risen and we are with Jammu. This is not about land in Amarnath, this is about a deeper malaise of which Amarnath is only a symptom. Kashmir has held India to ransom for too long, now it is our turn. Half the Kashmiri leadership deserves to be put behind bars for sedition, we deserve to be reinstated to our homes.”

Does he realistically believe, though, that he and his fellow Pandits can make their way back to the Valley laden with such loathing? That they can even, in this surcharge, visualise the “yatra” to Amarnath proceeding next year?

“That is for the government to ensure,” Agnishekhar says. “Why does the law of the land not run in Kashmir, can Indians not go there? The government and secularists of this country have nothing to say of the anti-national Islamists of Kashmir, all they can do is blame us. What for? For agitating with the national flag?”

As his Muthi compatriots gather, a little clutch that has mushroomed in minutes, Agnishekhar, also a Hindi writer of fair renown, crossly throws off the burden of bigotry from his doorstep.

“I was once known as a progressive writer, until they threw me out for protesting the ouster of Pandits and began calling me a religious zealot. But should I not even protest my circumstances? Won’t you if you were thrown out of home? Hum aah bhi karen to ho jaate hain badnaam, woh katl bhi karen to charcha nahin hota (I get defamed if I so much as complain, they commit murder and yet get no blame).”

Agnishekhar claims no allegiance to the BJP or the Hindu rightwing, he’s been a Congressman all his life, paid obeisance to Nehru. He does concede, though, that today his worldview is closer to the Hindu rightwing.

“Where are Nehru’s children, where is the Congress, feeding the Muslim communalists of the Valley?” he asks. “It’s the BJP that helped us in crisis, if anybody did, we have to be grateful. And now we have to fight its battle to the very end.”

The assemblage behind him, virulently anti-Muslim and sporting saffron bandannas, is ominously nodding approval.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Suzanna Arundhati Roy gets a kick in the rear


Congress, BJP slam Arundhati Roy’s remark
Tuesday, 19 August , 2008, 22:08

New Delhi: Arundhati Roy came under attack from the Congress as also the BJP over her controversial statement on Kashmir with the ruling party dubbing her a "loose cannon" and the main Opposition saying her remarks were "nothing short of sedition."

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said the author and activist was a "loose cannon who has abused liberal traditions of India to the fullest."

"I think it is a great tribute to the tolerance of India's ethos that a person who openly calls for cessation of India is not being locked up and the keys are not being thrown away."

Echoing similar sentiments, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said Arundhati's statement was "outrageous."

"This is outrageous. This is against national spirit and nationalism. She is attacking the integrity of the country. This is nothing short of sedition," he said, adding that the country did not approve her stand.

Mission Kashmir


Much has been said about the Kashmir issue since protests started to rock Jammu and the Kashmir valley. Many commentators have offered ways to resolve the crisis and not all agree with the official line on Jammu and Kashmir. Such a wealth of diverse opinion is welcome and we may thank our democracy for it. However, we ought to remember that Kashmir is a complex problem that dates back to 1947 and no one has yet found a readymade solution. Yes, the temptation to get over, at any cost, a dispute that has consumed so much in time, money and lives is high in the country. But overly simple attempts to settle the Kashmir issue could create new problems without resolving old ones. Issues have gone beyond the Amarnath land controversy.

What are the proposals suggested to resolve the Kashmir issue? One, Kashmiris are alienated from the Indian state and want to join Pakistan. So let them go. Two, Kashmiris are a pampered lot and the mass protests in the Valley are a threat to the territorial integrity of India. The protests should be crushed and Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir, withdrawn to integrate the state with the rest of India. Third, we must recognise the Kashmiri sentiment of alienation and negotiate with all groups, including separatist ones, on a platform of autonomy to the state.

To examine the first proposal, the UN resolution calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to decide its accession to India or Pakistan in effect rules out the option of an independent Kashmir. A plebiscite is possible only if India and Pakistan both withdraw their armies from the region. That's unlikely to happen at this point. True, separatists in Kashmir demanding freedom are supported by Pakistan. But Islamabad's vision of 'azadi' for Kashmir doesn't include an independent Kashmiri nation but mere integration of the region with the Pakistani state that is called Azad Kashmir. Various surveys, such as the one carried by Outlook magazine in 1995, suggest that a merger with Pakistan is not a preferred option in the Valley. Moreover, at the core of the pro-Pakistan argument is the view of India as a Hindu state.

It rejects the notion of a secular India and argues that religion ought to be the foundation for a nation. According to this view, Pakistan is the destined home for the subcontinent's Muslims. The Kashmir valley has a Muslim majority; ergo, give it to Pakistan. However, another partition on the basis of religion might sharpen the communal divide in this country. India is home to more than 150 million Muslims and less than five million of them live in Kashmir. The rest are not asking for a separate nation; by and large, they are as contented in India, warts and all, as the other communities of this nation are. But any further territorial realignment on the basis of religion might open old wounds.

The main target of the integrationist politics of right-wing politicians is Article 370. They want the article to be withdrawn. This is impractical. Article 370 is an article of faith born out of the terms under which Jammu and Kashmir joined the Indian Union. It is more than a legal clause that determines relations between Srinagar and New Delhi. The controversial provision is loaded with symbolism and tampering with it will only strengthen the separatist argument that Hindu India wants to dilute the unique character of Kashmir. Clearly, the Han Chinese model of national integration practised by Beijing in Tibet is not an option that can be supported, for moral as well as practical considerations, by those who want a genuine resolution of the dispute.

That leaves us with the autonomy option. This seems to be the only feasible solution at the moment. Article 370 can be the foundation to restructure autonomy for Kashmir.

Sections of the separatist leadership in Kashmir have hinted that they are willing to explore this option. New Delhi should be bold to explore innovative suggestions, including a negotiated return to something like the pre-1953 status of the Jammu and Kashmir state. The present international line of control should stay, but more transit points and trade routes could be opened along the border. Any proposal for autonomy has to be discussed in Parliament and a national consensus has to be obtained on it.

Political parties must rise above immediate electoral interests and see the long-term gains for the country if this tortuous issue is to be resolved amicably. At stake in Kashmir is not merely the might of the Indian state, but also its ability to be flexible and accommodative within a liberal and democratic framework. The world is watching us.

Bold and imaginative leadership on the part of New Delhi as well as Kashmiri leaders is necessary. The challenge is to negotiate a common ground. Alienation is as much an issue of perception as it is of ground realities. The Kashmiri's sense of fear or anger is fuelled by propaganda unleashed by Pakistan as much as it is a result of mismanagement of the problem by successive governments in Srinagar and New Delhi. A spot of skillful statesmanship is urgently required from all sides.

Islamic terrorists learning human rights in universities


Usman Agarbattiwala, who was arrested in Baroda, gave initial hints of the operation to the Gujarat police. A confidant of Kapadia, Usman was doing a diploma in human rights at Baroda University. The SIMI leadership (or Indian Mujahideen leadership) wants its cadres to penetrate the legal field, media and human rights outfits all over India.

Friday, August 22, 2008

For us camp is the only home


PoK refugees in Jammu and Kashmir are housed in camps scattered across the Jammu, Kathua, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur districts. These camps consist of cramped, one-room units that offer their inhabitants very little protection and security. Sanitation and drainage is poor. Residents also lack access to basic healthcare services.

Mishro Devi, a resident of Gadigarh camp, Jammu, migrated from Mirpur to India in 1947. Her children were born and raised at the camp. Trapped in debt and with no prospect of employment, two of her sons committed suicide. Charan Kaur lives in a one-room hut in Bhour camp. Her family fled to India in 1965. “I don’t have any source of income and there is no family member to support me,” says Kaur. “Back home, my father owned several orchards. I never thought I would be forced to live on charity,” she adds.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up five working groups to broaden the scope of the dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir. The groups were set up to deal with confidence-building measures within the state, improve relations across the Line of Control (LoC), monitor good governance, further economic development, and iron out wrinkles in Centre-state relations. Surprisingly, the status, return and rehabilitation of PoK refugees were not on the working groups’ agenda. Nor were representatives of PoK refugee organisations invited to be part of the working groups.

In April 2007, RUF galvanised members of the refugee committee in Jammu to march towards the international border. The rally was scheduled to cross the border and enter PoK as a gesture of protest. The third round-table conference on Kashmir was being held in New Delhi at the time. Though the state police stopped protestors from crossing the border, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad met representatives of the community and assured them that measures would be taken to chalk out an official relief policy. He ordered an all-party committee set up to look into the demands of the refugees.

The committee, which comprised members of prominent political parties in the state including the Congress, National Conference and PDP, was asked to look into two issues -- the comprehensive settlement of PoK refugees and the question of delimitation. Though members of all political parties agreed on the humanitarian issue of refugee rehabilitation, they differed on the issue of delimitation. The committee was disbanded as members could not see eye-to-eye on delimitation due to political differences.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Giving Kashmir away? No way


August 21, 2008

Is it an orchestrated coincidence or random chance that on August 17, two leading national dailies prominently carried commentaries advocating independence for the Kashmir Valley? With surprising ease and lack of angst, each author has argued in favour of secession by part of an integrally constituted state of the Union of India.

Tremendous efforts by all the state and non-state personae in Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of India over the last six decades have seen sharp ups and downs, almost see-saw phases in the feelings of alienation followed by assimilation, poverty followed by growing prosperity among the people of this state.

The last few years have brought in the most sustained period of political stability, free and fair elections, economic recovery and strengthening integration, achieved through painstaking efforts and sagacity by all players. Heading into the November 2008 state assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir, the separatist groups found themselves on the sidelines, threatened with further irrelevance and declining support should these elections be held as smoothly and with equally wide participation as those in 2002.

The Amarnath Yatra [Images] land issue that surfaced in June has been extremely poorly handled by the state and central governments at every stage. The nation needs answers and accountability about why in less than two months the marginalised separatist groups are once again being allowed to set the political agenda in the Valley. Why have no efforts been made to explain the reality of the proposed temporary land allocation scheme (for the Amarnath Yatra) to the agitating people in the Kashmir Valley? Why have the strong feelings of every community in Jammu over the cancellation of the allocation been so deliberately ignored and under-estimated? Why is it that even the most elementary efforts were not undertaken to disabuse the people of Kashmir Valley about a so-called economic blockade? If there was at any point the possibility of a shortage of essential supplies for the people of the Kashmir Valley this should have been overcome by arranging sufficient airlifts and/or trucking in such supplies through the alternative Manali-Leh route.

At the same time, no matter how serious these lapses, the answer cannot be to suggest that the Kashmir Valley be allowed to secede from India. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is as much a composite whole as the human body is. If there is an ailing part of the body, you diagnose the problem and take remedial measures, not carelessly, almost casually, suggest an excision and discarding of the offending section.

For those who advocate a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], there are some questions. Do they feel that Jammu and Kashmir legally and constitutionally cannot be considered a part of India? On what basis can there be a referendum in the Kashmir Valley, or separate referenda in Jammu, Ladakh and the Valley? On what basis can "independence" be considered as the so-called third option? Should the proposed referendum be based on the UN resolutions of August 1948 and January 1949? Or are such sentiments the manifestation of a simultaneous bout of exasperation and giving in to the separatists who have been quite unnecessarily allowed to mount pressures in a sudden reversal of the peaceful situation that existed in the state prior to June?

The UN resolutions of 1948/49 (adopted by the UN Commission for India and Pakistan) are unequivocal and specific in making the proposed plebiscite in all the five regions of Jammu and Kashmir conditional upon (i) withdrawal of Pakistani troops from all the areas of the state of Jammu and Kashmir that it has occupied (this includes PoK, the Northern Territories and the Shaksgam valley that has been ceded by Pakistan to China); and (ii) the withdrawal by Pakistan, from these occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir, of their tribesmen and nationals not ordinarily resident in these areas. The UN Commission in an aide-memoire issued on January 14, 1949, stated that in the event of Pakistan not implementing these pre-conditions, India's acceptance of the UN resolutions would no longer be binding on them.

As recently as March 2001 former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking in Islamabad [Images], accepted the legal and practical difficulties in implementing the UN resolutions and hence their irrelevance. It is evident that the UN resolutions no longer provide any basis for holding referenda either in the Kashmir Valley or in Jammu and Ladakh.

Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, and will remain so. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir itself recognises this. Any move to hold a referendum in any part of Jammu and Kashmir would contradict the fundamental statement in Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir that 'the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India'. Section 147 prohibits any amendment of Section 3 by the state legislature. In any case, India has stringent laws that forbid secessionist activity.

It is time that the people of India and all national political parties come out unequivocally against anyone who advocates secessionism. In this context, the print and electronic media too should be more responsible about giving prominence to such views.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Indian islamic terrorists

How Gujarat did it
Ashok Malik
From Pioneer, 19 Aug 2008

At various stages, other States encountered the Indian Mujahideen terror network. Political compulsions or a weak will forced them to back away. Gujarat pressed on. That is why the Modi Government's mechanism to fight terror is the only one working

In February 2008, a terror suspect in Bangalore was interrogated and subjected to narco-analysis. His revelations were both chilling and fascinating. It was apparent that he was part of an all-India jihadi network and blurted out plans to launch terror strikes at various locations in the country. There were early clues, for instance, that Gujarat too would be a target, as indeed it turned out to be on July 26.

The confession was considered simply too combustible. The administration led by the State Governor -- Karnataka was then under President's rule -- sat on the narco-analysis report and did not share it with other State Governments.

As early as 2006, SIMI cadre held a 'commando training camp' in Kerala's Ernakulam district. It was a rehearsal for a terrorist attack and the police made arrests. However, the would-be terrorists were soon released. As the Kerala Home Minister told mediapersons this past week, "Terrorists are operating in Kerala but their main activities are outside the State. When we took police action against some of them, there was a hue and cry from human rights activists saying that minorities were being targeted."

After a spate of attacks, the Uttar Pradesh Police began investigating sleeper-cells and terrorist operatives within its territory. All was going well till the leads started to point to a madarsa and a maulvii who seemed to hold the key. Worried about a possible community revolt, the State Government retreated.

the Ahmedabad and Surat bombings case and laid bare the structure of Indian Mujahideen, the SIMI offshoot that has emerged as India's home-grown Al Qaeda. It is now clear that The information cited above has all come to light after the Gujarat Police crackedother States and their police forces had, at various stages, encountered the same terror matrix but had baulked at tough action.

If the Gujarat Police succeeded, first and foremost it was because it faced no political pressure, was not told to be over-sensitive to religio-political concerns and was promised support against tendentious and sometimes treacherous criticism from the army of civil rights activists who are, inadvertently or otherwise, crippling India's war against jihad.

By just allowing a professional police force to do its job, the Gujarat Government accomplished three things. First, it identified the perpetrators of not just the Ahmedabad bomb blasts but also of many other recent terror strikes -- Jaipur, Bangalore and Hyderabad, for instance.

Second, it has debunked the idea -- always specious -- that mysterious men from 'across the border' came to India, triggered terrorist attacks and then, with astonishing speed, 'fled' to Bangladesh, Pakistan or elsewhere. India can no longer pretend it is immune to global radical Islamism.

If one considers the demographic composition of the Indian Mujahideen members and resource persons who have been named or arrested, an interesting mix emerges. There are white collar professionals -- ranging from doctors to IT specialists -- religious preachers and small-time fixers from the underworld who have seamlessly made the switch from organised crime in the 1990s to terrorism today.

What unites these disparate elements is a common interpretation of religious duty, one that is inspired perhaps by jihad icons like Osama bin Laden. Their cause is pan-Islamic; it has nothing to do with Kashmir, poverty or any perceived oppression in India. A mastermind of the Gujarat conspiracy was an engineer who worked for a Wipro Technologies affiliate in Mumbai. He resigned in 1998, allegedly saying he wanted to devote himself to "religious work".

That is why to claim that the Gujarat bombings may have been vengeance for the post-Godhra violence, which took place in 2002, is laughable. The seeds of Indian jihad were sown in the 1990s, as they were in the rest of the world.

Despite the recent arrests, the battle against terrorism is far from over. It would be worth studying what the Gujarat Government is doing to take on the enemy. It is one thing to give the police operational autonomy; there is also a capacity-building process underway, one that other States could learn from.

The Gujarat Government has announced the setting up of two new institutions. A Forensic Sciences University will offer post-graduate and doctoral courses in the use of new techniques and technologies to study crime -- be it cyber-crime, detonating sophisticated explosives, narco-terrorism, money-laundering.

That aside, a Suraksha (Security) University will offer graduate-level training to those who want to join the intelligence, police or military services or set up their own security agencies, and want to intellectually equip themselves for their future careers. This represents a dramatic shift from a mindset that sees policing or the providing of security as a non-cerebral task that only requires muscles and batons.

The Gujarat template cannot work if it is limited to one State. It has to be scaled up and institutionalised nationally if India is serious about fighting its war on terror. The combination of determined detection, political resolve and anticipatory thinking that the Gujarat Government and its police have shown is waiting to be adopted across the country.

Of course, there is the inevitable political consequence. The arrest of Mufti Abu Bashir and his accomplices has put terrorism back on the electoral agenda. The BJP can claim that it is better equipped to meet the challenge than a confused Congress, dragged down further by compromised regional allies.

The real benefit will, however, accrue to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He now has the trademark on combating terrorism, having established himself as the one political administrator most alive to and capable of thwarting India's domestic jihad. He is the last man standing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Amarnath Yatra, Reclaiming India - Tarun Vijay


None should say Omar is not allowed in Jammu. Let him come, listen and speak. Like any other Indian should feel free to visit Kashmir or any other part of the nation. He is welcome to visit my home even if he denies me a piece of land in Kashmir. Why should a few words uttered by him make me change my Indian-ness? If he spoke in Parliament as a Muslim, asserting his Islamic identity, let denial of land to Hindus be his Islam and my Hinduness must keep my nation as a free democracy where difference of opinion is a natural phenomenon unlike Islamic countries.

I had listened to Omar Abdullah when he was in Vajpayee's cabinet and felt he had great potential to be an influential Indian leader. He spoke for India and brilliantly too. Now, if he has chosen to be just a regional one, it's his choice.

But he must stop to think why he can own a bungalow in Delhi or Bangalore and at the same time deny that privilege to a fellow Indian in Kashmir?

Kashmiri Muslim leaders would like to enjoy the fruits and liberties of a Hindu majority democracy but vehemently deny that to Hindus in their area of influence. Why?

When they are in a minority they crave and get special privileges. But once a majority, every single right to be at par is refused to other minorities.

It's the same phenomenon all over the globe. A direct consequence of turning Wahabi. Wahabi intolerance and separatism is poisoning Muslim brotherhood too. A brilliant report in TOI elaborating how Wahabi elements are gaining ground in the small towns of Gujarat and the softer, humane version of Islam, the Bareilevi school, which is resisting their aggressive expansionism makes an interesting reading and gives a frightening picture of the inter-communal strife within Muslim society.

Kashmir is predominantly Sunni and Wahabi. Hence the intolerance that denies even the basic features of Kashmiriyat.

And see what the de-Indianised intellectuals wrote on the front pages in Delhi's newspapers: "All over a piece of land!" Really?

Then why are the Indian soldiers defending a barren piece of dead snow in Siachen? Or what's that piece of cloth known as the Tricolor? Is it worth dying for?

Jammu is witnessing a mass patriotic uprising, unprecedented till now. It's a Second Ayodhya enveloped in the Tricolour outshining the 1952 Praja Parishad movement, which demanded one flag, one constitution and one head of the state. Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was martyred for this cause in the jail of Sheikh Abdullah, grandfather of Omar. The situation hasn't changed in the last 56 years. It has in fact worsened.

Such a mass movement goes beyond the controls of any party or organisation. For the last 20 days, the roads are empty and markets closed. The sudden eruption of protests has seen grandfathers and grandsons and mothers and grandmothers ringing bells against Muslim separatism and shouting at the top of their voice: "Har har Mahadev". Such a protest by every single member of families who had never come out for a public demonstration can't be engineered. It's an uprising, a spontaneous expression of anger accumulated in the last five decades of misrule by people of suspect loyalties. The Doctor’s Association, Bar Association and Govt. Employees Association, Sikhs, Gujjar-Bakkarwal Muslims and Congress MLAs defying their party, the Hotel Association and every single sect of Hindu society have joined and supported the movement.

One young man, Kuldeep Kumar Dogra, took his life in utter disgust after reciting a patriotic poem before the hunger strikers in Jammu. Policemen in plainclothes forcibly took his body away and tried to burn it in his village in the dead of night without even informing his family. A monk saw them burning the pyre with country-made liquor and used car tyres and managed to alert the villagers. The policemen ran away seeing the protesters swelling in number. And none of the human rightists raised a voice of dissent. Did the policemen belong to India or an enemy country?

In fact the whole movement is a revolt of Tricolour people against unpatriotic politics on Kashmir. It's an effort to reclaim India in a region where the central leaders and regional parties have abandoned the idea of pan-Indian nationalism and geographical integration. India has been reducing every day in the valley and the seculars keep on counting their votes and encouraging separatists at the cost of an Indian identity.

After all, the Amarnath Shrine Board was created on the recommendation of the Nitish Sengupta Committee formed by the state government in 1996 when more than 250 Amarnath pilgrims died in a snowstorm. That made the state government realize that facilities are inadequate and hence a committee was formed under the chairmanship of retired senior IAS officer Sengupta. The government accepted the recommendations of the committee a year later and decided to create a separate board on the pattern of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board through an act passed by the Farooq Abdullah goverment in 2000. The Secretary, Tourism Depaetment, was appointed CEO of the board.

Initially, toilets and other facilities were added but they proved inadequate as neither the office of the shrine board was set up nor any staff worth its name was appointed. It was only when Gen. SK Sinha took over as Governor in 2003 and hence became Chairman of the Shrine Board that the office was established with Arun Kumar, IAS, as its full-time CEO. Kumar changed the entire gamut and pilgrims were provided with livable camping facilities.

Earlier, mahants and local interest groups were taking home all the offerings of the shrine. Now the shrine board regulated the income, spending it on providing more facilities to pilgrims and regularizing the fare structure regarding pony hiring, collies, camping sites, toilets and emergency medical help. The chief mahant was given huge compensation and other Muslim helpers were employed in the board. Kumar also introduced bacterial toilets using the latest Japanese technology which was environment-friendly and turned night soil into usable fertilizer for local farmers. Prior to this, concrete toilets had proved a colossal waste as they would get choked and the entire structure needed to be demolished. But this had proved profitable for the local contractors; hence, when the new green technology was introduced the contractors’ lobby protested and the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayed, halted the work in 2005. As a result of it, the Shrine Board approached the High Court which gave a stay order and the work continued.

It's noteworthy that during the while that the Secretary, Tourism was acting as the CEO of the Shrine Board, all the toilets and camping facilities were constructed on government land and nobody objected. It was only when the bribe channels were stopped for the politicians’ protégés that they objected to government land being used for pilgrims. Hence, after the stay was obtained from the High Court, the Shrine Board asked the state government in 2005 to regularise use of government land by formally transferring a few plots of land to the board en route to the Amarnath shrine. It took three years to take a decision and finally on May 26 this year, the state cabinet passed a proposal diverting (not selling or leasing) 38 hectares of land near Baltal to the Shrine Board on a temporary basis at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. The Minister of Forest, under whose jurisdiction the land was diverted for the Shrine Board's use, was a member of the PDP headed by Mufti.

After the order was signed, word spread that a huge amount of land had been given to Hindus and now they would come and outnumber Muslims. It's a plot against Kashmiri Muslims, it was argued. An anarchical agitation began with Mufti, the Hurriyat and Omar Abdullah uniting to deprive Hindu pilgrims a camping facility.

They needed to support their false presumptions and Arun Kumar's press briefing was used for this purpose by communalising his innocuous statement regarding environment and Hindu-Muslim solidarity. Kumar’s entire press briefing is audio recorded and though he has been suspended and an inquiry instituted, nothing can be proved against him. In fact he is being punished for providing pilgrims better facilities.

This is the genesis of the whole issue.

The same government has given hundreds of acres of land to Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University in Rajouri and to the Islamic University in Pampore. None objected. The all-encompassing nature of Hindus is taken for granted as is their timidity.

You can tell the facts to those who would like to consider them and not to those who play petty communal politics. Governor Vohra acted on the advice of North Block and not only took back the letter for land allotment on behalf of the Shrine Board without taking board members into confidence, but also gave the charge of providing facilities to the pilgrims back to the state tourism department, which means the same murky business flowering again. With the Shrine Board having no CEO at present, since Kumar's suspension hasn't been revoked, yatra arrangements are in limbo. The Governor's secretary, who has a hundred other tasks, has been asked to take care of the yatra.

Hindus have never been treated so contemptuously as is being done under the UPA dispensation. Kashmir is the land of Shiva, the greatest place of the Shaivite school of Hindu dharma. At every mile there was a Shiva temple, but most Hindu temples have been razed in the valley during the Islamic Jihad. More than 70 lakh pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi and Amarnath every year and contribute enormously to the economy of the state. Yet, Hindus have always been looked down upon and driven out of their homes and hearth. This is the Kashmiriyat of the valley's politicians and patriotism of their protectors in Delhi. The Kashmiri leaders, so possessive about a hundred acres, never raise their voice to take back 78,114 sq km of Jammu and Kashmir under the illegal possession of Pakistan. Thousands of square km of land to Pakistan can be tolerated, but "not an inch" to Hindus.

It was the political expediency of the communally "secular" leaders that created the land row, but now the agitation has gone beyond the land issue becoming a symbol of the struggle to ensure India's return to the valley. The un-Indian elements have to be defeated so that the honour of the Triclour can be protected in our land. The only fear is that the politicians of Delhi may compromise, betraying the cause of the people anytime.

This is the time when a complete abolition of all those acts which segregate the valley from rest of the country are being demanded, including the obnoxious Article 370, and a grand plan to have patriots shifted from various parts of the country to Kashmir valley is implemented, with priority given to soldiers who have served in the area.

Jammu's agitation to reclaim India in J&K has to be supported by every patriotic Indian. It's a pain of Indian nationhood and not just of the Jammu region. Failing this movement will fail India.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Now, Church fights conversion as Mizos embrace Judaism

Pioneer, July 10, 2008

Alarmed at the prospect of hordes of Mizos embracing Judaism and deserting the Church for Jerusalem, Christian groups are believed to have lodged their protest with the Union Home Ministry and blocked the migration of Israel's lost tribe to the promised land.
Hundreds of newly-converted tribal Jews in Mizoram feel "devastated" after New Delhi refused them permission to migrate to Israel. The denial, the Jewish community leaders say, follows protests by Christian groups.

Full Text :

Now, Church fights conversion as Mizos embrace Judaism

Syed Zarir Hussain | Aizawl

Alarmed at the prospect of hordes of Mizos embracing Judaism and deserting the Church for Jerusalem, Christian groups are believed to have lodged their protest with the Union Home Ministry and blocked the migration of Israel's lost tribe to the promised land.

Hundreds of newly-converted tribal Jews in Mizoram feel "devastated" after New Delhi refused them permission to migrate to Israel. The denial, the Jewish community leaders say, follows protests by Christian groups.

"We are shattered with the Indian Government rejecting our applications for migrating to Israel," Jeremia Hnamte, administrator of the Mizoram chapter of the Shavei Israel Organisation (SIO), said.

The SIO is a group headquartered in Jerusalem and dedicated to searching for lost tribes of Israel and helps them return to their Promised Land. Rabbinical leaders announced in 2006 that some 6,000 members of the Bnei Menashe tribe in India's North-East were descendants of ancient Israelites or one of the Biblical 10 lost tribes. The recognition from Israel came after tribe members sent scores of applications seeking to migrate to Israel, or the "Promised Land", saying it was their right to do so.

According to Israeli law, every Jew enjoys the "right of return" or the right of abode in the country. "We understand that a group of Christians lodged a formal protest with the Indian External Affairs and Home Ministry saying they should not allow Mizo Jews to migrate to Israel and stop conversions," Hnamte said.

"We are fighting for our right to migrate and hope to get a positive nod from the Indian Government soon." "There was tremendous pressure from the Church and the Mizoram Government on New Delhi to force Israel to ban the conversions," a community elder of the Bnei Menashe tribe said requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, a group of about 200 Mizos were awaiting clearance from the Government after they were officially recognised as Jews.

After the recognition, a group of rabbis visited Mizoram last year and converted the batch of nearly 200 Mizo tribal people to Judaism after they took a holy dip at a mikvah or a ritual bath.

"The new converts are practising the religion perfectly. Once they are allowed to migrate to Israel, they will undergo a year-long course there to learn other aspects of Judaism at Government expense," Itzkhak Colney, a Jewish clergy, said.

Colney was a convert and migrated to Israel in 1997 and is now in Mizoram to help the locals here to preach Judaism and the Hebrew language among the Mizo Jews.

Some 1,000 people from Mizoram and neighbouring Manipur State have migrated to Israel since 1994 when a private body, the Amishav Association took up their case. The last batch of 218 Mizos left the North-East for Jerusalem in 2006.

Mizoram is a predominantly Christian State, while most Manipuris follow Hinduism. Most Jews in the two States were Christian by birth.

Apart from names, the converts share many practices in common with traditional Jews - such as keeping mezuzahs or parchment inscribed with verses of the Torah at the entrance to their homes. The men wear a kippah or headgear during prayers.

"I have no regrets at all to leave my birth place because Israel is our Promised Land. We are dying to leave," Peer Tlau, a practising Jew in Mizoram, said.

"A vast majority of the people do not know Hebrew although many of them are now earning the language and following the religion like the one practised in Israel," Zaitthangchungi, a local researcher and author of a book Israel Mizo Identity, said.

Letter to the Editor:

Church converts too
This has reference to Mr Syed Zarir Hussain’s report, “Now, Church fights conversion as Mizos embrace Judaism”, published on July 10.

I am surprised by the opposition of the Church in Mizoram to conversion of Mizos (born Christians) to Judaism while it is only too eager to convert Hindus to Christianity. This is transparently dishonest. But what is deplorable is that the Government of Mizoram, which should have been secular and neutral, is lending its support to the Church.

On the world scene, Christians constitute the largest section of humanity followed by Muslims. Jews do not constitute even one per cent of the world Christian population. The Church should have been liberal and gracious to Mizo Jews — after all, Jesus himself was a Jew — instead of being niggardly and reactively panicky.

One wonders why, the human rights busybodies, who are quick to jump to the aid of minorities, are silent on this issue. I, as a senior citizen, appeal to the Government of India, which prides itself as secular to recognise the rights of the Mizo Jews to migrate to Israel and facilitate their passage to their promised land.

SC Panda

Bhagat Singh again called terrorist : July 10, 2008

From the PIONEER

Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Amidst the ideological arm-wrestling of political parties of the country, history texts are always at the receiving end. The recent one is labelling the freedom fighters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Ram Prasad Bismil as 'terrorists'. The 12th class text books circulated by the National Institute of Open School (NIOS) has used the word "Aaatankwadi" (Terrorists) for the legends Bhagat, Azad and Bismil who sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle of India.

The words like Aatankwad, Aatankawadi or Aatankwadiyon have been used 11 times for the extremist freedom fighters in the text book's page no 170-171 in the chapter titled 'Bhartiya Rashtriya Andolan (1905-39)'. The book, published in July 2007 by Indian Printers Association under aegis of Central Government have been edited by Anita Priydarshni and co-ordinator Naina Dasgupta. The panel includes history scholars from across the country including top professors from Delhi University.

In a couple of instances a line says - "during the Simon Commission protests Lala Lajpat Rai was injured which infuriated the terrorists". At one point the text book says - "the terrorists under the banner of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was led by Chandrashekhar Azad".

Enraged over the issue, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Prof Jagdish Mukhi has written a letter to the Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh and NIOS Chairman M C Pant demanding immediate removal of the word terrorists used for the great freedom fighters. "They must use dignified words to glorify their sacrifices. They belonged to the Garam Dal and thus should be termed as Krantikari (. Calling freedom fighters as terrorists is undone and the people of India would not spare the writers who have committed such a blunder. This has been done at the instance of the ruling UPA Government and its supporters including the Leftists,"Mukhi said in the Capital on Thursday.

Where is the outrage?

Court convicts parents for murdering daughter in Mumbai

Mumbai, July 11: Parents of an 18-year-old girl were sentenced to life by a Court in Mumbai for murdering and cutting her into several pieces.
Additional sessions judge O S Jaiswal on Friday held Mohammad Munna Sardar Khan (38) and his wife Shenaz Khan (35) guilty of murdering their daughter on July 2, 2006 and for disposing off her body by cutting it into 11 pieces and dumping them in a gunny bag.

The gruesome act was committed by the parents after their daughter Mehnaz Khan eloped and married a Hindu boy.

The Court, while sentencing them to life imprisonment, observed that it is not a “rarest of the rare case” since they cut her into 11 pieces only after strangulating her to death with a towel. {Who is this judge Jaiswal, two maniacs cut a teen in 11 pieces and it is NOT rarest of rare crimes, WTF??}

The Court considering the two accused’s moral responsibility towards their five other children showed leniency and sentenced them to the minimum punishment of life.

Defence Advocate Wahab Khan argued before the Court on Friday, “They committed the murder only to set an example for their two other daughters so that they also do not follow their sister’s track.” On July 2, 2006 Khan and his wife had learnt that their daughter had eloped with a Hindu Maharashtrian boy Vidyanand Jadhav to Panvel and had got married to him there.

When the Khans learnt of it they went to Panvel and pleaded with Mehnaz to return home. Khan and his wife assured Mehnaz that once she comes home they would accept her marrige to Jadhav.

However after she returned home at 2300 hrs, Khan strangulated Mehnaz to death while her mother sat on her to avoid her to escape.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rubbing Eyes: In Defence Of The State

Can't believe that TOIletries have grown a pair of balls and actually printed this article.

Source: TOI

The Indian state has become a favoured punching bag for intellectuals of all hues from fuchsia pink to carmine red, especially when it comes to its handling of terrorism. The vituperation is directed at almost everything the state does in this regard, from targeting suspects to methods of interrogation to counter-terrorism tactics.

An attempt is made to paint the state as a macabre monster whose only objective is to target the innocent, incarcerate the hapless, throttle all forms of dissent, routinely use sadistic torture during interrogation and regularly arrange elimination of suspect individuals through what is known in India as 'fake encounters' with the state's security apparatus.

Words like 'pogrom', 'fascism', 'decimation' and 'atrocities' are glibly bandied about in the outpourings of these concerned individuals in all manner of media. Those not living in this country, but knowing about it solely through this blame lens, may be forgiven for concluding that India is governed by some highly vicious form of resurrected Nazism instead of being one of the world's freest democracies.

The more mischievous among those who posit themselves as 'radical thinkers' freely interchange the state with the majority community and label the latter, by inference, as vile, vicious, vindictive and violent. In some insanely devious manner, these would-be Lancelots — but in reality Don Quixotes — transform the victims of terrorism into its perpetrators.

These human rights defenders are also very selective when it comes to berating the state for its acts of omission and commission. While there is outright condemnation of the pressure exerted by the security forces during anti-insurgency operations, there is no word on the inhuman killings and exploitation of their own people by the insurgents, whether it is Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland or Assam.

The 'protectors of the suppressed' maintain a studied silence when Naxalites calculatedly go about ruthlessly eliminating all those who come in their way of establishing hegemony over remote tribal areas. But they lose no time in raising a horrified outcry when the Naxalites start getting a taste of their own medicine by villagers who are organised into self-defence forces by the state.

It's not for me to seek to flip off the sanctimonious halos of these 'intellectual' vigilantes. They are welcome to this headgear, to the extent that they limit their criticism to the wrongdoings of the crooked in the state apparatus. But, consider what the impact is when they indulge in constant carping and wholesale denunciation of everything that the state does. No matter how thick-skinned the persons manning the security apparatus of the state may be, at one time or the other, this continuous criticism starts to demoralise them. At this rate, our security personnel may soon reach that state of mind when they feel that it is pointless risking their lives for an ungrateful public and perform with the minimum effort needed to retain their jobs.

Unfortunately these knights of human rights have a way with words and a gift of the gab that makes them darlings of the mainstream media. They have a high public profile which makes our political masters wary of them. The defence for the state is put up very weakly and, therefore, lacks conviction. Who, for example, pays heed to the pathetic bleating of Union home minister Shivraj Patil?

Recall the Naxalite insurgency in West Bengal in the seventies and the Khalistani imbroglio in Punjab in the eighties. It was only a strong response from the state which finally put an end to those near civil war situations. In many places, the country again faces similar crises. If political will is weakened by the constant criticism of state action, those at the helm may not find the courage to take the harsh steps needed to counter insurgency decisively. Ironically, the ones most hurt because of this are the aam aadmi, those that the human rights defenders seek to protect.

The writer is a Bangalore-based business analyst.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Indian Supreme Court is a farce

Two articles:

SC refuses to be drawn into Amarnath shrine land row

Fearing 'judicial overreach' criticism, it refused to examine the legality of Ghulam Nabi Azad government's decision to revoke allotment of nearly 40 acres of forest land at Baltal to the shrine board to erect make-shift camping sites for pilgrims.

.....The bench(Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and G S Singhvi) refused to get into the political arena as the allotment and its revocation had triggered violent protests in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region, respectively. {These venal cowards should resign and wear bangles if they are so afraid of consequences while pronouncing verdicts. Lesson they have given to Hindus is, riot and protest violently just like mohammedans and we (SC) will sh*t in our pants and reserve the verdict.}

"The courts have suffered enough criticism. We will not deal with this issue," the bench said.
We don't find Nandy's articles objectionable: SC

The Gujarat government and the state police attracted stinging criticism from the Supreme Court on Tuesday for filing an FIR against political psychologist and sociologist Ashis Nandy for allegedly promoting enmity between communities in an article he wrote analysing the outcome of the 2007 assembly poll.

While their observations about the diminishing tolerance for criticism appeared to apply to the political class as a whole, the court made a specific reference to the situation in Gujarat. “Why are people coming from the land of Mahatma Gandhi so intolerant towards such criticism? There are worst examples than this.” {It is the land of Lord Ram, Krishan too, who taught never to tolerate lies or adharm and if need be, fight for it but the 'secular' judges won't understand it. Same Justices Altamas Kabir and G S Singhvi did not think about judicial over-reach in this case.}

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TOI Goof Up: Cops stunned over Nazi man's capture

BANGALORE/BELGAUM: Sunday morning's reports about the capture of a former Nazi official on the Karnataka-Goa border have stunned even the authorities of both states.

Karnataka home minister V S Acharya claimed no knowledge of any such operation. "We should have known about it by now," he said. Goa IGP Kishan Kumar also had no clue.

In what must have had readers spill their morning cuppa, a section of the media carried reports based on a release circulated via email, that a certain German intelligence agency, Perus Narkp, and Indian intelligence agencies had picked up Johann Bach (88), a former Nazi officer accused of killing of 12,000 Jews in the run-up to the second World War, in the jungles of Khanapur on Friday.

The agencies, the release claimed, had apprehended Bach, who had been absconding for 50 years. According to the reports, he was a high-ranking Waffen SS (Schutzstaffel) colonel in Nazi army.

Indian newspapers fall for Nazi hoax

The press release has been regurgitated on the front pages of the Deccan Herald and the Indian Express and inside the Telegraph, citing Perus Narkp, “the intelligence wing of the Berlin-based German Chancellor’s Core (sic)”, as the source.

Perus Narkp, a not especially Germanic name, is an anagram of “Super Prank”.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ahmadiyas are Indians, too

Liberty abridged

The Pioneer Edit Desk, Editorial, 18 June 2008

Ahmadiyas are Indians, too

The cancellation of a conference of the Ahmadiya community by the Andhra Pradesh Government last Sunday is a gross infringement of the secular principles on which the country is founded. The State Government cancelled this conference, which was to be held at the open air Lalitha Kala Thornam in Hyderabad, by citing a patently spurious 'technical' reason -- that there was a "major breakdown" in the electricity supply line. This would have held more water had it not been that several fundamentalist Muslim organisations, which are not particularly representative but claim to be so, had threatened to besiege the place if the Ahmadiyas were allowed to hold the proposed meeting. Clearly the Congress Government in the State was eager to oblige these organisations and thus appease mullahs as part of the party's minority appeasement policy that subverts India's secular polity and divides its society along communal lines. This abject capitulation is in keeping with the manner in which the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre has been pandering to Muslim fanatics under the cover of 'secular' politics. Such capitulation flies in the face of constitutional guarantees and is unacceptable. Followers of every religion, faith and sect are free to practice and preach their beliefs in India; by disallowing the Ahmadiya conference, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, which has sworn to uphold the Constitution of India, has abridged this fundamental right and thus harmed the cause of liberty. Indeed, what the Congress has done is to legitimise the persecution of Ahmadiyas by fundamentalist Muslims -- what is widespread in Islamic countries where theocracy prevails over democracy, has now been given official recognition in India. Coming as it does in the wake of Bangladeshi dissident writer Taslima Nasreen being hounded out of this country simply because some mullahs and their cohorts wedded to intolerant Islam and given to violence in the name of Islam willed it so, the cancellation of the Ahmadiya meeting only serves to confirm, if at all confirmation was needed, that the Prime Minister's "Muslims first" policy is in reality "Muslim fanatics first" policy. In the process, India has been shamed, though not for the first time on account of the Congress's perverse notions of 'secularism'.

The Ahmadiyas are as Islamic as those Muslims who deny them the right to practice Islam and thus denude them of their religious identity. In any event, it is not for a secular state to decide who is or is not a Muslim -- or, for that matter, a Hindu, a Christian or a Sikh -- nor is it incumbent on a secular state to accept the primacy of one sect over another. What the Andhra Pradesh Government has done, and knowingly so, is to set an extremely dangerous and sinister precedent. Its decision will embolden fanatics to force their warped perception on both the state and society. To prevent this from happening and to dampen the spirit of those who are celebrating the suppression of the rights of Ahmadiyas in free India, everybody who cherishes liberty and pluralism must protest against the Andhra Pradesh Government's decision. It would be nice to see our self-righteous human rights activists speak up in support of the Ahmadiyas. It would also be in order for the Opposition to rally support for this persecuted community, unless it is as desperate as the Congress to stoop to any extent for a fistful of votes.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You represent India not China, BJP reminds CPI

Bhartiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Sunday expressed concern over Communist Party of India general secretary A B Bardhan's remarks that the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal would make India a US outpost against China.

In a statement issued to the media on Sunday, Rajnath said: 'The CPI in its over-enthusiasm towards China seems to have forgotten that it is not a Chinese but an Indian political party. Ever since the idea of the nuclear deal has been mooted, the Left Front parties have consistently indicated that they are more concerned about protecting China's interests than our own national and strategic interests.'

'The BJP is the only political party that has opposed the proposed nuclear deal on pure nationalistic grounds. Playing the role of a constructive opposition party, the BJP has vociferously protested against certain provisions of the proposed deal that could jeopardize our long term strategic sovereignty and interests,' he said.

'Instead of properly addressing the nationalist concerns being raised by the BJP, the UPA government and its allies are consistently engaging in regular bouts of verbal boxing through the media and in the public domain without recognising the fact that such statements and public posturing could actually jeopardize our long term and strategic relations with both the United States and China.

'The Left parties are trying to politicize the issue in an attempt to regain their losing political relevance and mass support. However, in this process the Left parties are in reality thoroughly exposing their true colours and their cross border affiliations before the public,' he added.

Source: Rediff

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pusillanimous and Fattu Kerala Women's Panel

Start of christian bigotry against women and cowardice of Kerala's Women's Panel. Read on,

Kerala women's panel freezes move on nuns

VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram

Faced with stiff opposition from the powerful Christian Church and Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Kerala State Commission for Women, nominated by the CPI(M)-led LDF regime, has decided to put in cold storage its recommendation for a law to impose restrictions on girls becoming nuns in Christian convents.

The commission decided on Wednesday to submit its recommendation for a law to ensure that girls below the age of 18 were not made nuns and for other controls only after elaborate studies in the context of the widespread protests and the CPM's official announcement that it was not interested in the issue. CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday told newspersons that girls becoming nuns in convents was an issue of the Christian religion and the Marxist party had nothing to do with it.

The Women's Commission had taken the decision on June 3 while acting upon a complaint. Suggesting a law for ensuring a higher age limit for girls to become nuns, the panel had also said that parents who forced their children to become nuns before the age of 18 should be punishable under law. It also wanted a portion of ancestral property to be registered in the name of the nun and a scheme for rehabilitation of nuns if they quit convents. The Church had seen all this as an infringement on its religious rights.

The decision taken by the commission, headed by chairperson Justice D Sreedevi, or the recommendation for law on nuns had become a huge controversy after various leaders and priests aired strong objections to it, saying the Church had its own stringent laws regarding induction of nuns and their life. The Church had interpreted the decision of the commission as part of a conspiracy to defame and destroy it.

The Congress demanded the resignation of commission chairperson Justice Sreedevi, who had admitted that the panel had not conducted any studies before deciding to recommend the revolutionary law. State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said the commission's move was a continuation of the programme designed by the CPM to restrict the constitutional rights and freedom of religious minorities.

Sources said the commission's decision to impose a freeze on its move was the direct result of the CPM's not looking interested in it. The new controversy is detrimental to the interests of the CPM, which has already been facing opposition on various fronts from the Church, in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The CPM State secretary said the party had nothing to do with nuns or the commission's recommendation. He said no discussions had taken place in the party on the matter. The CPM is already facing the Church's ire on several issues.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Conference said the commission's decision was "an accident" which occurred due to its ignorance. The Church had earlier clarified that its canon laws had prescribed the minimum age for girls for being appointed nuns as 18 years. It had also clarified that no girl could be made a nun unless she chose the path herself.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Old 2006 article: RSS for Dalit head priests in temples

RSS for Dalit head priests in temples

NEW DELHI: In what could raise eyebrows in several circles, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh mouthpiece Panchjanya has suggested that Dalits and other backward classes be trained and appointed as head priests at major temples in the country.

TOI's breast beatings

Here They Go Again

Competitive identity politics in Mumbai has taken yet another ugly turn. In the process, it has chipped away, again, at India's liberal, democratic foundations.

When activists claiming allegiance to the Shivsangram Sangathana - which has links with the NCP - vandalised the house of Loksatta editor, Kumar Ketkar, on Thursday, it was our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression that was under assault, along with the life and property of Ketkar and his wife.

Vinayak Mehte, a former NCP MLC, claimed his organisation was upset by an editorial written by Ketkar, which had criticised the Maharashtra government's decision to erect a statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea.

Anyone who has read the editorial will see that it simply did not denigrate the great Maratha warrior. What it did was ask whether such a project was necessary when the state had so many pressing problems - including farmer suicides and malnutrition - facing it. {Can't it be argued that why can't Mr Ketkar write about "pressing problems" and focus on them instead of going after the statue of C. Shivaji Maharaj?}

It's a valid question, and as a journalist Ketkar has the right to raise it. Indeed, any other citizen could have asked the same. Freedom of expression is every Indian's fundamental right.

However, such questioning in Maharashtra seems to be an invitation to trouble, especially if Shivaji figures in the equation. We know that the Shiv Sena links pride in the warrior and his heritage to Marathi asmita and sets its cadre amok, especially in Mumbai, whenever it decides this pride has been offended in a book, a movie or elsewhere.

Successive administrations of other political dispensations, instead of countering this regressive brand of politics, have adopted it.

Though the NCP and the Congress do not speak the language of Bal Thackeray or Raj Thackeray - at least officially - they are in effect doing so by merely watching instead of coming down hard on the violent mobs. Four years ago, it was the Congress government that banned historian James Laine's book on Shivaji and an NCP-backed organisation that ransacked Bhandarkar Institute in Pune.

In their crude attempts to gain political capital by presenting themselves as protectors of Shivaji's legacy, political parties in Maharashtra are impoverishing India's liberal tradition.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Gujarat, freedom of the press is under attack as well, for different reasons. Angered by investigative reports against him by this newspaper, Ahmedabad's police chief O P Mathur - instead of suing for defamation - pressed sedition charges. {Shri OP Mathur should have labelled TOI jholawallas as treasonous bast*rds, which TOI is, and given them a sound beating, who cares for the evidence. TOI does it again and again, it is just a matter of time when the tables are turned against these delusional and retarded TOI jholawallas.}

This is a dangerous move. It could have damaging consequences for not just journalists but all citizens. Freedom of expression, which includes the freedom of the press, is vital to a healthy democracy, which protects individual and collective rights.

Increasingly, in one way or another, we seem to be fighting a losing battle {You will lose, no doubt in my mind, because satyameva jayate, truth always wins} against those who have little regard or respect for the liberal values on which this nation was founded.

Indian church and their bigotry against women

Kerala women's panel, Church lock horns over nuns
J Gopikrishnan | New Delhi

A major controversy has erupted in Kerala with the State women's commission asking the CPI(M)-led Government to enact a law barring appointment of girls under 18 years of age as nuns by churches. Accusing the Church of "brain-washing adolescent girls" to accept "sisterhood", the commission has called for protection of their property rights.

The issue has brought the Church and the State Government face to face, with the clergy launching a 'crusade' against the women's commission. The Congress has sided with the Church and dubbed the commission's recommendation "anti-minority".

The recommendations, mooted by KWC chairperson Justice D Sreedevi, include banning the entry of girls below the age of 18 into convents, penal provisions for parents and/or persons forcing the girls into sisterhood, ensuring that the property rights of girls appointed by convents are protected and re-habilitation of those withdrawing from 'sisterhood'. The other recommendations which irked the Church are preventing the bequeathal of nuns' properties to the Church and provisions for retrieval of such properties as and when nuns decide to quit the convent.

The Church has vehemently opposed the KWC move and described the recommendations as a "thoughtless process". It was allowing only girls above 18 years of age as nuns, it clarified.

"The commission's remarks have hurt the sentiments of the community of nuns and priests, who have been serving the society irrespective of caste and creed for centuries," said the Major Archbishop of Syro Malankara Catholic Church in a Press release. He said that the commission should have studied the issue before commenting on it. "According to our canon, no person can become a priest or nun without attaining 18 years of age. However, prescribing an age limit for a person interested in priesthood would be a breach of individual freedom," he said.

"As a matter of fact, no woman can be a nun before the age of 20. Then too, a person takes temporary vows initially," Rev Dr Babu Jospeh, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishop Council of India, said.

But the KWC chairperson refutes the arguments. "I have seen a lot many incidents to the contrary and received several complaints. I agree that a girl becomes a nun only after 18 or 20. My objection is against the recruitment of poor girls at the age of 12 or 13 by providing/promising free education, accommodation and offering money to their parents," Justice Sreedevi told The Pioneer over telephone from Thiruvananthapuram.

"The girls are being moulded or brainwashed at a tender age to accept the life of nuns. This is not fair. How can a parent decide the fate of his daughter without her consent? I am not against any religion. I am here for social justice and empowerment of women," argued Justice Sreedevi.

While the Church denied appointing under-18 girls to the convent, it stoutly defended the property right provisions. "As regards the right to family property, first of all it is the prerogative of parents to bequeath their property to their children. As per the Church rules, the share of property given to a religious person becomes the property of the organisation he/she belongs to.

This is so because of (a) a religious person voluntarily renounces the right to individual ownership of property at the time of becoming a permanent member of a religious congregation; (b) a religious person is entitled to all the legitimate rights within the religious congregation; and (c) in a religious congregation all properties are held in common," said Rev Dr Babu Jospeh.

"It would have been highly desirable had the Kerala Women's Commission ascertained all the right information regarding the Church's practices and then made its recommendation," he added.

However, dissenting notes were heard from within the community. Joseph Pulikunnel, who has been campaigning for reforms in the Catholic Church, termed the commission recommendation "a landmark". He said there were cases of girls below 18 years of age, especially those from poor families, who had been forced to join convents. Then, he added, there had been instances of nuns who left convents after some years and failed to get back their family assets. He chose to describe the commission's recommendations as an issue of human rights rather than that of religion.

To get the early-bird advantage, the Congress spared no time in reacting. State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala slammed the KWC recommendations as "anti-minority" and demanded the ouster of Justice Sreedevi. Reacting to the Congress' allegation, Justice Sreedevi said she was sad about the stand of political parties "who are supposed to lead the moves ensuring social justice and empowerment of women".

"Such parties should look at their past and glorious deeds of their predecessors in a bid to achieve social justice. But now all of them are looking for vote banks. Anyway, I am committed to my point and there's no going back," she added.

Major provisions in the recommendation

# Ban the entry of under-18 girls to convents

# Prosecute parents/persons forcing girls to become nuns

# Protect the family share of girls who become nuns

# Nuns' properties should not be bequeathed to churches

# Rehabilitate girls who leave churches

Source: Daily Pioneer

UPA Govt lacks determination to fight terrorism: Experts

In what is being seen as a major failure for the counter-terrorism response of the UPA Government at the Centre and those in the States, investigations into most sensational terror attacks during the last four years are mostly incomplete and key "plotters" and "executioners" still traceless. In most of the cases relating to terrorist strikes -- including the recent ones like Jaipur serial blasts (May 13, 2008), Ajmer Sharif dargah blast (October 11, 2007) and bomb blasts at the Mecca Masjid (May 18, 2007) -- the agencies are yet to conclude the investigation.

Former director of Intelligence Bureau AK Doval told The Pioneer that single-minded determination was lacking to fight terrorism both at the policy formulation and execution levels. "The counter-terrorism efforts leave much to be desired," he added.

The Samjhauta Express blasts (18/19 February, 2007) incident is still being probed by the Haryana Police. The Union Home Ministry is awaiting the result of narco-analysis test of SIMI activists Safdar Nagori, Kamruddin, Parvez, Abdul Razak and Raies, who were arrested in Madhya Pradesh. Haryana Police had also questioned the SIMI activists and is expected to send a report to the Centre about the progress of the investigations into the case that left nearly 70 dead and injured over 100 persons.

Likewise, in the Malegaon blasts (September 8, 2006) case, the prosecution is solely dependent on the six accused persons' confessions, recorded under Section 18 of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Of these six accused, three did not confirm their confessions before the judge and the case is still lingering in the courts.

Investigations into the Mumbai local train blasts case (July 11, 2006) have concluded and chargesheets filed against 13 persons. But 15 accused, including 10 Pakistani nationals, are still absconding. The fugitives have also been chargesheeted. The MCOCA designated court, Mumbai, has issued non-bailable warrants against these 15 absconders. Red Corner Notices have been issued against two absconding accused, Rizwan Dawrey and Rahil Sheikh. The 13 accused are using all delaying tactics, like challenging the provisions of MCOCA, non-signing of charges, boycott by their lawyers. Now they have levelled allegations against the MCOCA special judge, according to the inputs available with the Union Home Ministry.

After receiving a setback at the Bombay High Court, these accused have filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court and challenged the constitutional validity of MCOCA. A petition by the accused regarding their not having faith in the special judge has also been dismissed by the Bombay High Court.

In the Aurangabad arms haul case (May 9 to 14, 2006), a chargesheet has been filed against the 17 arrested persons, but eight accused are still wanted. One of the main accused wanted by the anti-terrorist squad, Mumbai, is Zabiuddin who is believed to be in Bangladesh.

Chargesheets have been filed in the Varanasi bomb blasts case (March 7, 2006. An accused was killed in an encounter in May that year and another prime suspect is in judicial custody. However, an Indian and three Bangladeshis are still wanted. Even Red Corner Notices could not be issued against the wanted Bangladeshi nationals for want of personal details. The chargesheet has been filed against prime accused Waliullah and another accused Shamim, who is absconding.

The terrorist attack at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (December 28, 2005), is still being investigated. However, eight accused -- mostly owing allegiance to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba -- have been arrested. Seven of the eight accused in the case have been chargesheeted.

There are eight accused in the Delhi triple blasts case (October 29, 2005). Of these accused, three Indians have been prosecuted and two wanted accused -- Abu Hufeza and Rashid -- have been killed in an encounter. The remaining three, including Abu Alqama and Zaid, are still at large as Red Corner Noticess could not be issued against them for want of personal details.

The case pertaining to the attack on Ram Janmabhumi Complex in Ayodhya (July 5, 2005) is at evidence stage. There are five accused and an Allahabad court has examined 18 witnesses. Of the six wanted accused, two have been liquidated in encounters and efforts are being made to find out the names and addresses of the remaining four accused.

The Centre is still to draw any lesson from the past terror attacks for putting in place an effective mechanism to counter the intensity as well as the spatial spread of terrorist outfits. Incidentally, it is happening despite intelligence assessments about the possibility of more terror attacks by the growing presence of sleeper cells, which are funded through a sophisticated network of hawala operators.

Coordination from the multi-agency centre and joint task force on intelligence of the Intelligence Bureau and the regular follow-up meetings of the Union Home Ministry with the States where terrorist strikes have occurred, has hardly helped in improving the situation.

Counter-terrorism expert Ajay Sahni said, "In the absence of intensive intelligence build-up, post-incident investigations are unlikely to produce results as terrorist outfits operate in a highly decentralised manner and execute their designs through an opportunistic alliance at the field level."

The basic police paraphernalia, technical infrastructure, specialised training and the requisite numbers in the police and investigating agencies are lacking, Sahni said. "The lack of coherent policy at the political executive level, both at the Centre as well as in States, is the greatest failure. The political executive has failed to frame an institutionalised response to the threat posed by the terrorist outfits," he added.

At dead end

# Jaipur serial blasts (May 13, 2008) Sixty-nine killed, 100 injured.

Being probed by Jaipur Police and supported by the Central intelligence. No headway so far

# Attack on CRPF Group Centre at Rampur (January 1, 2008)

Seven CRPF personnel & a civilian killed, five injured. Terror module responsible identified, six LeT terrorists, including three Pak nationals, arrested. Further investigation continues

# Ajmer blasts (October 11, 2007) Three killed, 28 injured.

Case being probed by the Rajasthan police, yet to be wrapped up

# Bomb blasts in Shingar Cinema Hall, Ludhiana

Three persons arrested. Investigation still continues in the case

# Mecca masjid blasts (May 18, 2007), Hyderabad

Ten killed, 50 injured.

Case stll being probed by CBI

# Samjhauta Express blasts (February 18/19, 2007)

Sixty-seven killed, dozens injured

SIMI cadres believed to be behind the blasts put to narco analysis tests, reports being analysed, probe continues

Source: Daily Pioneer

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nato general’s sarcastic remarks against Pakistani troops


This is how he was quoted while describing the incident in a report carried by a Western wire service. “Pakistan had a very difficult year, with a huge wave of suicide bombers, the Lal Masjid event, 257 soldiers captured by 20 insurgents.” (ROFLOL)

There was no doubt that he was sarcastic while referring to the incident. He made sure that he highlighted the figures to make the point as to how Pakistan Army was faring in its campaign against the militants. So he gave those figures about 257 soldiers getting captured by 20 insurgents only.

Ansar Burney deported-TOI's lazy jholawalla's

India sends back Ansar Burney: TOI
Burney said he was not given any reason by the immigration officials but was told to go back to Dubai.
And TOI's lazy assed ch*tya journalists too did not investigate the reasons for his deportation, contrast the TOI's stupid journalists with paki-jihad-journos. Way to go.

India deports Ansar Burney: Daily Times (Paki paper)
Sources said, however, that Burney had a visa to disembark at a different port, but he chose to arrive at the Delhi airport without seeking a prior permission.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Is Binayak Sen a traitor?

After reading a lot of sympathetic articles about Dr. Binayak Sen in various media forms, one question always remained on top of my mind since no article I read mentioned it in detail. What are the charges against Dr. Sen?
Rediff: Why Dr Binayak Sen must be released
Times Of India: TODAY'S ARTICLE: Respect Civil Rights
The detention of Binayak Sen, a respected doctor and civil rights activist, by the Chhattisgarh government is a blot on our democracy.{How it is a blot is never explained?} The Chhattisgarh police arrested him a year ago under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 on charges of aiding Maoists.

The police have charged Sen, winner of the 2008 Jonathan Mann award for global health and human rights instituted by the Global Health Council, of acting as a courier for Maoists{There are other serious charges too but the lazy jholawalla never bothers to read them}. His appeal for bail has been turned down despite appeals from many public intellectuals across the world, including 22 Nobel laureates{Have they all protested against Gitmo?}. Clearly, the court and police are unwilling to consider his exemplary record as a health and civil rights activist in one of the most underdeveloped regions of the country.{Can an exemplary record of a person save himself from punishment in the court of law? First time I'm hearing this kind of plea-bargain}

The Chhattisgarh government's stance on the issue compromises its responsibility to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Every citizen has a right to speech and association and the government ought to protect these rights.{Is it applicable, when the speech and association both are illegal} Even if one assumes that Sen is sympathetic to Maoist ideology, as alleged by the police, he has a right to uphold his views unless proven to have violated the law in the process{why is the police holding him in jail, for mauj-masti}. He also has a right to a speedy and fair trial. {no special favors for anybody, everybody should be treated the same}Sen is held guilty by association {try 'association' with Islamic jihadis and see the results for yourself} and the government is unwilling to recognise its mistake despite pleas from all around.{plea's by breast-beatings and loud wailings does not count as evidence and facts}

The Chhattisgarh government has a hard task at hand, no doubt. Maoists are a powerful threat and have stretched the resources of the government. Unfortunately, the government's policies to counter them are bad in law and practice. Security measures like Salwa Judum and harassment of political and civil rights activists have only eroded the credibility of the government. A strong civil society that vouchsafes political and economic rights is necessary to expose extremist ideologies like Maoism.

As India sets out to expand its influence in global affairs, its record on civil rights will increasingly be under scrutiny. No government can claim special powers and suspend civil rights like freedom of speech and association. Extremist political groups like Maoists don't thrive because of a liberal legal framework, but they certainly would benefit from its absence.

Sen's trial has now started after a year spent in prison. Scores of similar undertrials languishing in Indian jails fare worse. It just doesn't do any good to India's brand image as a country that protects civil rights. Democracy enhances India's soft power potential on the world stage. However, disregard for democratic rights will take the sheen off India's patchy but promising record as a liberal democracy.

If you read the charges (incl sedition and treason) against Dr. Sen, they are very serious and the law should take its own course but no, strangely the jholawallas want special treatment for Dr. Sen since he is a winner of some humpty-dumpty award and since a few nobel laureates spoke for him, Dr Sen should be freed. What kind of cuckooland they are living in? The insistence of special treatment for Dr Sen, based on wailings and breast-beatings, casts doubts on their claims. Law of the land must be respected and should be equal for everyone, no exceptions. Let the law take it own course. With every passing day, I'm arriving at "When the Indian English Language Media" is your enemy, you are on the right side.

Update: 'Dont lecture us on Binayak Sen': Govt of India
The Indian government has reacted strongly to international appeals for the release of Dr Binayak Sen who is in a Chhattisgarh jail for the past one year, for his alleged links with Naxals.
Senior government sources have told Times Now Binayak Sen is not absolved of his involvement with Naxals. The Court has taken a decision on Sen's bail and now the State Government is the final authority. However, the Government feels that the issue around Dr Binayak Sen is a well orchestrated campaign and just because he is selected for a western award, doesn’t make him less guilty in their view. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the State Government is right in opposing Dr Sen's appeal.