Archive for August, 2008

Where have all the Neo-cons gone? By Ghulam Muhammed

August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Where have all the Neo-cons gone?


If Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s theory is to be believed, they have all landed in Georgia, in a last ditch attempt to force another war on the US, so another warmonger, John McCain can win the presidency of the US, in the coming November 4 US Presidential election, thus perpetuating the legacy of the discredited US President Bush.


Eight years back, they had delivered a coup by getting their candidate, George W. Bush elected through any number of series of dirty tricks and covert strategies, including the intervention of Supreme Court, when the Democratic nominee, Al Gore lost by few votes, running into hundreds, in the total votes of millions. However, their role in using Bush to invade Iraq, as one of the most dreaded danger to Israel  and their choice of Afghanistan for the next target of their concocted war on terror, had so enraged the people back home, that one by one, they chose to fly off from the discredited Bush regime’s most important cabinet posts. However, one can be sure, though they have gone underground, and have no face to come out as strongly as at the time of George Bush, their public drubbing does not preclude their active behind the scene conspiracy to once again subvert America’s democracy and manage such public issues at the fag end of the campaigning, that their nominee, John McCone, should have smooth sailing, while Barack Obama takes the dirt roads.


One of the most daring plans is to instigate a confrontation with Russia.  With the rise of Putin, who early on sensed the stranglehold of Israeli and other Jewish robber barons tightening around Russian economy and used his popular power base, to throw out the Jewish conspirators from their economic perches, from where they had planned to take out Putin. Not willing to suffer defeat, they have regrouped around the weaker states around the Russia’s underbelly, organised the so-called democratic revolutions, got their proxies to head the governments and have been using these neighbouring countries as a staging ground to take on Putin and his power base.


Israel had been major arm supplier to the small nation of Georgia, whose obliging President had been forced to take the most audacious and most foolish step of using his armed forces to move into South Ossetia and triggered a armed conflict with Russia, thus providing Bush regime an opportunity of saber rattling in the Europe and impressing on Americans to vote John McCain, as safety and security of the US and Europe is at stake and he as a ‘war hero’, the better candidate to wage wars.


So the neo-cons are gone into hiding, but are still operative behind the scene to stage a second coup, by derailing a popular candidate and pick up the war machine that the US has been to carry out their warped Zionist New World Order agenda. This time around, they have got key people at the helm of affairs in NATO countries, like the Hungary-born French President Nicholas Sarkozy and foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, both Jewish as well as another Jewish Foreign Secretary David Miliband in UK, who are in the forefront of war and peace in Europe and are naturally fully available to the neo-cons to do their bidding in the larger interest of Israeli and Jewish interest around the world.


In two interviews with BBC and CNN, Russian Prime Minister Putin has directly accusing US of instigating Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to move forces into South Ossetia, against all mutual understandings between the two neighbouring countries, so that a Republican President is re-elected in the next election, perpetrating Bush policies on Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.


The world cannot just wait and see that a new cold war is about to be provoked for private gains of a vested interest group. India among the non-aligned nations, must take lead in cautioning all concerned not the play with the peace of the world.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




Ghulam Muhammed’s response to Tavleen Singh’s email:

August 30, 2008

Ghulam Muhammed’s response to Tavleen Singh’s email:

from Ghulam Muhammed <>    hide details  11:46 pm (4 minutes ago) 


to Tavleen Singh <>  


date Aug 30, 2008 11:46 PM  


subject Re: your communal letter  




Saturday, August 30, 2008




Dear Tavleen Singhji,




Thanks for your kind response to my kind of letter. You magnanimity is acknowledged.




You however did not reply to my accusation that you did not use the word URDU in your article, not even once, even though now you profess Urdu to be your language. I have been noticing this ‘benign’ or rather ‘malign neglect’ of URDU with your kind of journalists.




Again, when you presume, that since I am not from UP, Bihar, Punjab or Madhya Pradesh, Urdu is not my language, you yourself want to limit the majesty of Urdu language that has spread out all around the world and though it has been deliberately and communally banished from its own native place of northern India and Punjab, it has kept alive by the kind of people in India, whom you continue to detest, when you say Faraz does not need defenders like me. URDU is not a territory. It belongs to its lovers, be that from any religion, any region, any ethnicity, any caste, any status in life or any ideology. It is the bigoted who have slotted the most secular of languages in Indian history.




For your information, I am from Uttar Bharati parentage, with my mother language being URDU. I have studied in Urdu medium school till SSC. Still I am the last person to claim any exclusive rights on Urdu, in as much as it belongs to all its lovers.




You are right when you say that I am communal. I am proud to be a minority communal who is fighting the majority communalism. I am from a victimized minority and I need not apologise for my minority communalism.




You have every right to detest Islamism and Jihadism on the ground that they are guilty of violence. My charge against you is that you are not against the violence of the Hindutva kind, and have shown no inclination to oppose them as you so most vehemently oppose and condemn the supposed acts of commission and omission by Islamists. Yours is a one-eyed brand of justice.




You have dared me, not to give Urdu a religion. I firmly believe that that will be the death of Urdu. On the other hand, I have legitimate question to ask of you: why majority of Urdu-bashers are from one particular religion only — the extremist Hindutvadis? Why have you not come out publicly against those religionists who have for 60 years institutionalized active discrimination and demonisation of Urdu with the result that millions from three generation of even Urdu speaking people had been deprived of their favourite Urdu. Why Punjab turned the partition experience into communal divide and targeted Urdu as the ‘language of the enemy’. Was it not the religion that came into picture to distort and obscure the beauty of Urdu? Now I will dare you, Tavleen Singhji, to shun the religious prejudice and give URDU its due. Don’t bring religion into Urdu discourse.




If as you claim, Urdu is yours, how can any one take it away from you on the basis of religion? Your blame game is very spacious and convoluted.




It is the continuous demonisation of India’s Muslims, as the ‘other’, that has so poisoned the nation, that a big responsibility rests on people of your kind, to stop and ponder deeply, as to where you are dragging this nation. India is at the threshold of disintegration and the blame will entirely lie with the likes of you.




I will write with full sense of responsibility that your poison pen is one of the most virulent instruments to succor and sustain the communalism of the majority. Politicians had resorted to organise communalism for their vote bank politics, but journalists of your kind have given the divisive communalism a life of its own.




I hope you will realise the dangers inherent in your obsessive hatred of Muslims in general and accept the fact that India can only survive and prosper, when all its diverse communities are treated with equal respect, dignity and fairness. We have seen how great Mughal Empire disintegrated when it lost its goodwill with the people. At this point of time, India is in the grip of a tyrannical regime and I am among a vast group of people that feel you as a regular columnist are part of that tyrannical regime.




Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai








On 8/30/08, tavleen singh <> wrote:

– Hide quoted text –


Dear Mr. Ghulam Muhammed,


I usually do not reply to your kind of letter. I do this time only in the faint hope that I might help you understand that it isn’t me who is communal but you.


For a start Urdu. I am Punjabi and  have lived all my life in Delhi. Urdu is my language as much as Punjabi is. I think you are not from Northern India and so Urdu is not your language but when Muslims from across the Indian sub-continent claimed it as theirs they took it away from us whose language it really is. We should have fought for it sooner and we did not but if you are not from northern India Urdu is not your language.  Get that through your head.


After that ponder a little on your charge that I  have damaged Hindu-Muslim unity. Its true that I detest Islamism and jihadis of every kind and I think the world needs to deal as harshly with them as we would with other cowards who fight wars by killing innocent women and children in the name of some ridiculous god. I do not believe that religion has any place in the public square. Believe what you want to, worship who you want to but in your private space. I have attacked Hindus and Sikhs when they have tried to impose their religion on the public square and I will attack Muslims who do it. If that is communal I am proud to be communal.


But, please don’t you ever dare try to give Urdu a religion. If you know anything of this language or respect it even a little people like you should stay away from it. The last thing Faraz, God rest his soul, needs is defenders like you.




Tavleen Singh



August 28, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


To: The Editor, Afternoon, Mumbai






This has reference to Tavleen Singh’s article: A literary interlude (Afternoon, Aug 28, 2008).


This is Tavleen Singh in all her communal glory. She writes a thousand-word article on the occasion of the sad passing of Ahmed Faraz, Urdu’s most loved poet during current times. She cherishes her chance meeting with him at New Delhi airport. She extols him for his gazals that is the rage of the gazal lovers all over the world. She mentions the names of Ghalib, Mir, Iqbal, Faiz, Saadat Hasan Manto, and Munshi Prem Chand. It is a tribute to her journalistic integrity that in full commitment to her brand of communal writing, she succeeds in completely avoiding the word: URDU.


Is Urdu so untouchable; so unmentionable?


The nearest she comes to acknowledge the existence of URDU as an Indian language, when she writes: It is sad that these wonderful writers are not translated into other Indian languages and their works are not taught in Indian schools. This is at best a backhanded acknowledgement that URDU is an Indian language.


It is time Tavleen Singh reflects how much damage she has done to the Hindu-Muslim unity of the nation by her warped line of communal writings. It is time she starts rebuilding the bridges that had been torpedoed.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Arushi and SIMI – By Ghulam Muhammed

August 28, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Arushi and SIMI


Arushi and SIMI, thanks to media, have become household names in India. However, there is a strange link between the two, which will escape a cursory reader. Both became national issues, due to the peculiar state of affairs prevalent in India, giving unfettered liberty to both, police and media to impinge on the rights of the common people.


Arushi, was the unfortunate young girl, murdered in her own house. Police and media played havoc with the investigation of the murder case, filing public pronouncements by the hour. As they changed the fictitious scenarios about whodunit, they kept changing the culprits. The whole nation was glued to their TV screens, being fed with most outlandish crime stories spun on the bare facts of the case. Police even arrested Arushi’s father. Her whole family came under outrageous defamatory description of their supposedly lurid lifestyle, pairing male and female characters in so many mind-boggling permutation and combination, that ordinary people had nothing but abject hatred for the whole group of people picked up by the police.


Within days, there was a media backlash, both against the police and against erring media, when analysts wrote article after article, condemning their own fraternity, in organising a ‘trial by media’ frenzy, that had no relevance to the rule of law, by which our nations stands.


Thanks to the Arushi case, judges in courts did come out with generalized rulings against such travesty of laws. However, the government kept its silence, as if it all hardly concerned it.


A similar case can be made out about SIMI. The demonic avatar of SIMI was deliberately created by a conspiracy by two non-Congress Hindutva protagonists for political expediency. They were not satisfied with the ongoing demonisation of Muslims, on which their political stakes were based. By denigrating everything Muslim and Islamic, they tried to build up their Hindu vote bank.


To compound the misery, the Leftist too joined the bandwagon by scaring the Muslim community about the most terrifying backlash by ‘the Hindu extremists’. The Leftists/Communists posed as secular friends of the Muslims, but in fact, had chosen the scare-tactic as the best means to demoralize the Muslim vote bank and claim their allegiance and trust.


This strange jugalbandi between the so-called secular Left and the Hindutva Right, all concentrating on the biggest problem that the nation is supposed to face, has left the people most confused.


Instead of exposing the real culprits of these scare-mongering games, the politicians from both Right and Left seem to be hand in glove in demonizing of Muslims, by every means possible, every opportunity at their command. It is the politicians, who are the motivating factor in police, investigating agencies and media, all indulging in fictionalising the real life, in a heady abandon, without any fear whatsoever of any accountability.


They are hardly aware of the dire consequences of their speedy slide into a fascist society, where India will eventually be left gasping for air of freedom and sanity.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




August 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



Without holding any brief for United States’ UN ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, or for that matter for Asif Ali Zardari, a New York story on how State Department officials, like Richard Boucher and others had ganged up on a US citizen of Afghan origin, does show up the racial and ethnic divide that rules in Bush administration. The Anglo-Saxons, Europeans and Jews hold first class citizenship, while Asians and Africans are treated like dirt. Even though laws on US books are very stringent on any such discrimination, this real life story will bring out how even a Newspaper of the status of New York Times, does not feel any qualms in reporting open discrimination in Administration ranks.

The story also shows up; in comparison, how blatantly American Jewish officials keep their private communications open with Israelis authorities and nobody gets any wiser.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



U.N. Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned




Published: August 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is facing angry questions from other senior Bush administration officials over what they describe as unauthorized contacts with Asif Ali Zardari, a contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.




Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a longtime friend of a leading Pakistani politician.

Mr. Khalilzad had spoken by telephone with Mr. Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts, a senior United States official said. Other officials said Mr. Khalilzad had planned to meet with Mr. Zardari privately next Tuesday while on vacation in Dubai, in a session that was canceled only after Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, learned from Mr. Zardari himself that the ambassador was providing “advice and help.”

“Can I ask what sort of ‘advice and help’ you are providing?” Mr. Boucher wrote in an angry e-mail message to Mr. Khalilzad. “What sort of channel is this? Governmental, private, personnel?” Copies of the message were sent to others at the highest levels of the State Department; the message was provided to The New York Times by an administration official who had received a copy.

Officially, the United States has remained neutral in the contest to succeed Mr. Musharraf, and there is concern within the State Department that the discussions between Mr. Khalilzad and Mr. Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister, could leave the impression that the United States is taking sides in Pakistan’s already chaotic internal politics.

Mr. Khalilzad also had a close relationship with Ms. Bhutto; flying with her last summer on a private jet to a policy gathering in Aspen, Colo. Ms. Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan in December.

The conduct by Mr. Khalilzad, who is Afghan by birth, has also raised hackles because of speculation that he might seek to succeed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan. Mr. Khalilzad, who was the Bush administration’s first ambassador to Afghanistan, has also kept in close contact with Afghan officials, angering William Wood, the current American ambassador, said officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter of Mr. Khalilzad’s contacts. Mr. Khalilzad has said he has no plans to seek the Afghan presidency.

Through his spokesman, he said he had been friends with Mr. Zardari for years. “Ambassador Khalilzad had planned to meet socially with Zardari during his personal vacation,” said Richard A. Grenell, the spokesman for the United States Mission to the United Nations. “But because Zardari is now a presidential candidate, Ambassador Khalilzad postponed the meeting, after consulting with senior State Department officials and Zardari himself.”

A senior American official said that Mr. Khalilzad had been advised to “stop speaking freely” to Mr. Zardari, and that it was not clear whether he would face any disciplinary action.

In 1979, Andrew Young was forced to resign as the American ambassador to the United Nations over his unauthorized contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Administration officials described John D. Negroponte, the deputy secretary of state, and Mr. Boucher as angry over the conduct of Mr. Khalilzad because as United Nations ambassador he has no direct responsibility for American relations with Pakistan. Those dealings have been handled principally by Mr. Negroponte, Mr. Boucher and Anne W. Patterson, the American ambassador to Pakistan. Mr. Negroponte previously was the United Nations ambassador, and Ms. Patterson the acting ambassador.

“Why do I have to learn about this from Asif after it’s all set up?” Mr. Boucher wrote in the Aug. 18 message, referring to the planned Dubai meeting with Mr. Zardari. “We have maintained a public line that we are not involved in the politics or the details. We are merely keeping in touch with the parties. Can I say that honestly if you’re providing ‘advice and help’? Please advise and help me so that I understand what’s going on here.”

This is not the first time Mr. Khalilzad has gotten into trouble for unauthorized contacts. In January, White House officials expressed anger about an unauthorized appearance in which Mr. Khalilzad sat beside the Iranian foreign minister at a panel of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, and a request from Mr. Khalilzad to be part of the United States delegation to Davos had been turned down by officials at the State Department and the White House, a senior administration official said.

Richard C. Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton, said the administration was sending conflicting signals. “It is not possible to conduct coherent foreign policy if senior officials are freelancing,” he said.

It has long been known that Mr. Zardari, who has been locked in a power struggle with Mr. Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister whose party left the governing coalition on Monday, planned to run for president, administration officials and foreign policy experts said.

“I know that Zardari’s interest in becoming president has been clear for quite some time,” said Teresita C. Schaffer, a Pakistan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The Bush administration has long been uneasy with the idea of Mr. Sharif as a potential leader of Pakistan, and now that Mr. Musharraf is out of the picture, the administration, despite public protestation of neutrality, is seeking another ally.

“It distresses me that the U.S. government has not learned yet that having ‘our guy’ is not a winning strategy in Pakistan,” Ms. Schaffer said. “Whoever ‘our guy’ is isn’t going to be the only guy in town, and if we go into it with that view, we’ll bump up against a lot of other guys in Pakistan.”

A senior Pakistani official said that the relationship between Mr. Khalilzad and Mr. Zardari went back several years, and that the men developed a friendship while Mr. Zardari was spending time in New York with Ms. Bhutto.

The Pakistani official said the consultations between the men were an open exchange of information, with each one giving insight into the political landscape in his capital.

“Mr. Khalilzad, being a political animal, understood the value of reaching out to Pakistan’s political leadership long before the bureaucrats at the State Department realized this would be useful at a future date,” the official said. The ambassador “did not make policy or change policy, he just became an alternate channel,” the official said.

Of Mr. Khalilzad’s Pakistan contacts, Sean I. McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said, “Our very clear policy is that the Pakistanis have to work out any domestic political questions for themselves.” Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said, “The Pakistani elections are an internal matter for the Pakistani people.”

Helene Cooper reported from Washington and Mark Mazzetti from New York.








A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Role of Israel in Russian-Georgian war

August 25, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008


A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Role of Israel in Russian-Georgian war


It should be an adage by now that wherever there is war in the world; Jews/Zionists/Israelis must be involved on one side or other or possibly on both sides.


The recent confrontation between Russia and Georgia, where Georgia a very small nation, with historical problems with its bigger neighbor, Russia, would not have taken place, without Georgia being instigated into initiating a unilateral aggressive action by moving forces in disputed territory and triggering a countermove by Russian counter-measure by attacking advancing Georgian armed forces. Israel comes into the picture as the main supplier of arms to Georgia and by providing the requisite political support from the captive US administration. The situation on the ground has become so serious that for the first time after the winding up of the Cold War, US and Russian forces are now within 15 minutes driving distance, confronting each other. All this the sole doing of the Jewish/Zionist/Israeli war machine, that is always in the forefront of creating  trouble in all corners of the world and benefiting from not only becoming the main suppliers of goods and services but the chief strategist and tacticians of the whole war scenarios.


Google has no less than 9934 articles as of this hour, listed on its site on the subject of ‘Israel’s role in Russia-Georgia war’.


It is pity that in India, our media is so engrossed in demonizing the Muslims as terrorists all over the country, some would say, all on behalf of US/Israel prodding, that they fail to inform their citizens, what they are bargaining for in going with the international war conspirators.


Indian government has used or one could say, misused its executive powers, without bothering to take its people into confidence, by opening up to the US and Israel, mainly in defence and intelligence contracts worth billions of dollars. Both the warmonger countries not only supply the hardware for warfare but gratuitously lay down the ground work to see that all such purchases are used too. The blood of our soldiers is of course, will be our main loss, besides colossal waste of our national wealth.


All our politicians who swore by their patriotic commitment to their country are blind to figure out, where the merchants of death and destruction are leading us to. India will pay heavily, if it does not keep the warmongers away from its shore. In the light of the recent Russia-Georgia confrontation, India should fall back on its Non-Alignment role in world politics, lest it may be drawn into the circle of violence, by its unadvised cozying up to the US, UK, Israel.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Please, set Kashmir free – Malavika Sangghvi – DNA English Daily, Mumbai

August 25, 2008


Please, set Kashmir free


Malavika Sangghvi

Saturday, August 23, 2008 21:56 IST     


As the daughter of a Kashmiri Hindu, whose family left its ancestral home in Srinagar during the turmoil that followed Partition, I would like  to express a sentiment that I still haven’t heard in the rhetoric about Kashmir.


I speak for those for whom Kashmir is not a symbol of one-upmanship with Pakistan, not a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that is intrinsic to the sovereignty of India  and not a football to be kicked around by cynical politicians, but as the daughter of a family in whose very lifeblood Kashmir courses every moment.


Cut our hearts open and you will see Kashmir, put your ear to our sighs, and you will hear our yearning for the land where our family spent its last days intact and happy before Partition scattered us to the winds, rendering us refugees.


Growing up dislocated in Mumbai, as a child, it never failed to surprise me when people who often hadn’t so far stepped out of their suburb, would say: “Kashmir is ours! We will never give it up! Let them try and take Kashmir from us!”


Even at that early age, when I could have mistaken their jingoism for kindred sentiment, I realised that their virulence had nothing to do with my family’s love for Kashmir, but was misguided machismo.


And I would find myself seething with rage at the audacity of their presumption. “But Kashmir was never yours,” I’d say in my mind. And sometimes, when more provoked: “You don’t deserve Kashmir!” And then I’d go home to my mother, whose ever present, unshed tears for her homeland were a leitmotif of our life in Mumbai.


Throughout my childhood, my family would go back to Srinagar (the ancestral home in Vazir Baugh had to be sold when my widower grandfather became too old to live alone) to stay with Muslim friends, with whom we shared a poignant empathy: we had lost Kashmir because we had moved away; they were losing it everyday, living there, witnessing its destruction. Over kawha, we would watch as the elders of our family weep for what had been.


Like a woman too beautiful for her own good, Kashmir was a tragedy even then. It produced an ache in our hearts when we heard its name and thought of its ill fate: and then, because you cannot sit weeping over lost Valleys all your life, when we returned home we put Kashmir on the backburner.


And on that backburner, Kashmir fermented Sheikh Abdullah, a man whose commitment to India was unquestionable, was humiliated, jailed, alienated. The most unimaginable genocide was committed on the people. Entire generations of its sons were mowed down by an army whose presence was as large as it was unpopular. And in its knee-jerk, misguided, ill-conceived approach to Kashmir the Indian polity revealed its shallowness.


But through this all, intrinsically, those of us who have Kashmir in our bloods, know that the Kashmiri Pandits who have been driven out of their homeland are not enemies of the Kashmiri Muslims, in fact they are both victims of the historic blundering of the Indian government’s Kashmir policy.


Take away Delhi’s political brinkmanship, take away the Hindutva sentiment that has played so neatly into the hands of Pakistan and its fishing-in-troubled-waters game and you may be surprised at how harmoniously Kashmir’s Hindus and Muslims can live.


So, on behalf of my mother, my family, and all those who have loved and lost Kashmir, I beg:   Please. We have done enough damage to and in Kashmir. Enough to last many lifetimes. The chinars are tinged with too much blood. We have failed Kashmir and we don’t deserve her anymore. Leave Kashmir alone. Set her free.




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Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s response by Ghulam Muhammed

August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s response:


Dear Yogendra Yadavji, Aadaab


Thanks for your more detailed analysis of the discussions and issues. I would like to be brief.


1. I could not figure out what is your idea of when a religious becomes communal. That has to be sorted out.


2. SIMI ban has been around for some years. Their activities in the open had been for years. To treat them as criminal, administration had to prove in court of law, that they have been criminal.


Even if some cases are on record, of their ‘terrorist’ activities, can those act or acts be summarily pin down to SIMI the organisation, to Muslim the community, or to Islam as the religion or even extended to the whole Ummah, or as per US dictates, to the world’s most infamous Al Qaeda?  Can collective punishment over guilt by association either by the courts or by media is permissible under the law of the land?

3. Is there any accountability that devolves on the police and media to restrain them for arbitrary demonisation of Indian citizens, by treating them as guilty before the court charging them as such and disregarding the most simple and basic assumption of innocence till proved guilty.


If an injustice has been committed by the State agencies or the media, what punishment should be passed on to the guilty and what compensation to the victims are to be awarded, in monetary terms and as rehabilitation? In the globalised world, now that media is more or more controlled by foreign investors, they cannot be free to subvert Indian society with impunity, while they could pay heavily in their own countries for such crimes.


4. You cited the case of Narendra Yadav. Is there any law in the land that will put him on trial for the oft repeated charges of genocide and use of state machinery to carry out an organised pogrom? Who will prosecute a Chief Minister or a Prime Minister for that matter? Can his/her immunity be lifted?



Mere condemnation is not enough. Mere academic discussions are not enough. We must act to safeguard the people from the possible tyranny of the criminals, who hide behind laws that British colonialists had originally put in place to protect their British administrators from any accountability. Indian people are no longer under colonial regime of their elected administrator.

These are some of immediate concerns. I hope we will invite and welcome all who wish to participate in the discussions.




Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

On the politics of secularism: A response to Amresh Misra

August 24, 2008


On the politics of secularism: A response to Amresh Misra
OR how should we respond to SIMI
Yogendra Yadav
Amaresh ji
Thanks for your considered and detailed response in a very short time. I am grateful for your constructive response to my plea to shift this debate from personalities to issues and evidence, even if your understanding of issues may be different from mine. Your response enables us to move into a realm of meaningful, even instructive, differences.
We both agree on what the crucial questions are: Should we at this moment in history focus our analytical attention on the characterisation of SIMI? Is that characterisation at all relevant to making sense of the current predicament of the Indian Muslims? If this exercise is relevant and necessary, what should be our characterisation of SIMI? And what are the implications of such a characterisation for those who believe in a plural and secular India?
You have made a forceful plea that the our focus today should be on the plight of the Muslim community that faces persecution by state agencies, that SIMI’s ideology and track record is irrelevant to defending the legal and constitutional rights of the innocent Muslims who are being implicated and targeted as ‘terrorists’. Your answer obviates the necessity of answering the other two questions, but you do give a glimpse of your answers on the these questions. You seem to be saying that SIMI may be communal, but is not involved in murders and terrorism like Bajrang Dal and that in any case Muslim communalism cannot be equated with Hindu communalism. Therefore we patriotic and secular Indians should not focus on of SIMI and its faults (at least not in public) but focus instead on exposing the conspiracy to implicate, harass and brand Indian Muslims on false charges of association with SIMI. I sincerely hope that I have not misunderstood or misreported you.
If I disagree with you, it is not because I disagree with much of what you document in this latest essay. On the contrary, it is precisely because I am in fundamental agreement with some aspects of your reading of the current situation that I fundamentally disagree with your approach on what is to be done. I cannot possibly disagree with you that a very large number of innocent Muslims have been rounded up by various arms of the state, subjected to all forms of harassment and torture. What is worse, an ordinary Muslim is being made to carry the tag of being a potential terrorist, an eternal suspect, a second rate citizen in his own motherland. This is not happening just in Gujarat but all virtually all over the country, cutting across the colour of the ruling party — BJP, Congress or CPM. All this happens in the name of SIMI or some other organisations about which the state agencies can produce some evidence and can fabricate the rest. The media is happy to lap up all the real and fabricated evidence, which in turn deeply affects the public opinion, especially the mind of an ordinary god-fearing, nation-loving Hindu. Both of us agree on this much.
Our differences are about how do we respond to this situation.  We could say either of the following:
1. SIMI is a religious organisation that functions well within the legal-constitutional norms. Why can’t Muslims have and associate with a student organisation on religious lines? What’s wrong if the community and its leaders celebrate the lifting of an unjust and illegal ban on this organisation? It’s the duty of every secular Indian to defend the rights of a disadvantaged minority to organise itself. I read this to be Gulam Muhammed’s argument.
2. SIMI is a communal organisation but the allegations about its linkage with terrorist activities are baseless. If Hindu and Sikh communal organisations can exist in this country, why not those of the Muslims? If anything we should be more tolerant of the minority communal organisations, for this is less dangerous for the country than majority communalism. Unless its terror links are established in a court of law, we must support and defend the right of Muslim community to associate with it and oppose the witch hunt against SIMI members and sympathisers. Let me call this Amresh Misra position for I take this to be the burden of your argument.
3. SIMI is communal organisation and some of its members and leaders may well have terror links. We may not have legally admissible evidence but circumstantial evidence cannot rule out this connection. The real point however is that SIMI does not represent the Indian Muslims. We must publicly distance ourselves from SIMI but focus our attention on defending those innocent Muslims who have had nothing to do with SIMI but are being hunted with the help of fabricatd evidence or those who have had sympathies with SIMI but have nothing to do wtih terror. I take this to be the Javed Anand position.
4. SIMI is communal, terror linked organisation and a threat to national unity. A Muslim communal organisation of this kind poses a special threat today to national security in the context of global Islamic terrorism. It is imperative to use all the might of the state to nip this in the bud, even if the cost is some regrettable compromise of human rights. I would call this the Establishment Line that has strong backing from within BJP to Congress to CPM.
Which of the four political lines should we choose to follow? This is not dispute about semantics or a hairsplitting luxury only armchair academics can afford. I am sure you would recognise that this is in essence a political question. Which of the political lines we choose today could determine the future of secularism in this country. On the one hand, a failure to address the widespread persecution of Muslims and to defend their legal-constitutional rights in this hour could lead to an undermining of their faith in the constitutional order and indeed an undermining of the idea of India. On the other hand, an inability to distinguish itself from a simple minded pro-Muslim posture and to attend to the real apprehensions of a very large section of non-communal Hindus could erode the popular support for secularism and could thus dig the grave for our secular republic. We cannot refuse to make a choice either or be seen to be endorsing all these lines. We have to make a political judgment here.
You have asked me about where I stand on this. As you can guess, I cannot possibly endorse the first (Gulam Muhammed line) or the last (Establishment Line). Gulam Muhammed line is correct if and only if we are completely sure of two things: that SIMI is merely a religious organisation and that there is not a shred of evidence of the involvement of some of its members and leaders in terrorist activities. I am personally not sure of either of these. From whatever limited information we have which is not controversial, it is clear that we are not dealing with simply a religious organisation, that if there is something called communal then SIMI is a communal organisation, just as Bajrang Dal or All India Sikh Students Federation is. I may not advocate a ban on Bajrang Dal, may even demand that all such bans be revoked, but I do not see how I can possibly celebrate the lifting of ban on it, even if on orders of the court. An endorsement of such an organisation would mean that secular politics will not stand above the majority-minority divide but will be seen as a partisan pro-Muslim action.
The Amresh Misra line is no doubt an improvement upon the first one, but I find it hard to agree with it. It shares one feature with Gulam Muhammed line: It works only and only if we are absolutely sure that it is completely baseless to link SIMI in any way with any form of terrorism. I think it is extremely risky to make this assumption at this stage. The evidence is unclear and is likely to remain so for some time (largely because state agencies could be as partisan in producing evidence as the supporters of SIMI) and therefore we will have to take a call partially in the dark. I think at this stage we cannot rule out the involvement of some members and leaders of this organisation in some activities that run against the letter and spirit of law and the spirit of our nationalism (the exact nature of activity, its justification or otherwise, the status of members involved and the seriousness of their involvement are issues that we can keep debating).I also disagree with the idea that we should ask for legally admissible proofs verified by courts to take a critical stance against SIMI; if so, we should ask for the same before blaming Narendra Modi for Gujarat massacre and the Congress for anti-Sikh massacre. Finally, while I recognise the distinction between aggressive (often majority) and defensive (often minority) communalism, I do not think that the way to mark this distinction is to oppose the former and tolerate the latter.
My real problem with the first two lines is not just the possibility of a factual error in a foreseeable future, something all of us are prone to all the time, a risk that political action must take. My real problem is that both these lines can lead to political suicide for Indian secular politics. Both these take for granted the association of the SIMI with the Indian Muslims and do not interrogate its claims to representing an ordinary Indian Muslim. Should their judgment prove to be even partially incorrect — should we discover at some point some credible evidence of SIMI-terror links — then this reading would encourage the opposite of what it intends. It would actually feed into the Hindu communal canard linking Indian Muslims to terrorism. That is why I think it is crucial to delink SIMI from Indian Muslims. There is no doubt that in the recent past a section of the Indian Muslims may have developed some sympathies for SIMI, thanks to the campaign launched by the security establishment (exactly as George Bush’s actions made Osama bin Laden something of a hero among the Indian Muslims). But an overwhelming majority of Indian Muslims has nothing of do with SIMI and the world view it represents. That is why it is crucial that secular politics must distance itself from SIMI and question any association between SIMI and the Indian Muslims. It is vital that this separation be carried out publicly and now, if we are serious about the future of secularism in this country.
That is precisely what I find attractive in Javed Anand line. Its public distancing from SIMI may prove to be a great asset for secular politics. That this critique of SIMI comes not from a right wing Hindu fanatic is precisely its strength. This line enables us to draw some distinctions that are fundamental to any secular political action: between SIMI and Indian Muslims, between Indian Muslims and ideology of terrorism, between secular politics and pro-Muslim politics. It allows us to focus on the real issue without taking on an excess and fatal baggage: the issue of harassment, witch hunt and indictment of ordinary Muslims. This is what secular politics should focus upon, while distancing itself and Indian Muslims from SIMI and similar organisation. SIMI (or for that matter RSS) must have the protection of the law of the land and its activists (even those who may be found guilty of terror links) must enjoy basic human rights. I believe that it is counter-productive to ban communal organisations and am opposed to any special laws that deny a due process to anyone accused of terrorism. But I do not see how the defence of these can become the primary locus of secular politics.
I am sorry this response has become longer than I had intended it to be. But as I read and re-read your responses and the posts from Gulam Muhammed saheb, I became more aware of the significance of what we are dealing with and the importance of having some clarity about it. I am grateful that you took a small and half-baked intervention of mine seriously and pushed me to think more systematically about this subject.

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce – By Amaresh Misra

August 23, 2008

The SIMI Question: The Underlying Farce 


                                                          By Amaresh Misra



          Shri Yogendra Yadav has responded to my article `The SIMI Question: Indian democracys acid test with a plea for a debate on the issue: what should be our stand on SIMI? I do welcome a debate on this issue and there is no doubt in my mind about Yogendra Yadavs integrity or his genuine concern for secularism.   

          However I would like to raise a counter question: is this question relevant at this juncture? In my previous article I made it clear that one can disagree vehemently with SIMIs ideologybut is disagreement enough for physical persecution of Muslims or even SIMI? Can one persecute for a crime under IPC sections someone who merely discusses, in private meetings, some abstract jihad, or says things like `secularism: NO; nationalism: NO? By that measure all Left parties can be taken to task for advocating at some point or the other overthrow of the Indian ruling classes or the Indian State.

          Application of constitutional law is not based on utterancesto persecute someone, first a charge has to be fixed. Like in the 1993 Mumbai I discovered a legal monstrosityapparently the Mumbai Police had booked several individuals who had the intention of taking revenge for the 1992-93 riots. But these individuals were not responsible even by the polices own charge-sheet of executing the bomb blasts on 12th March 1993. Legally, you cannot book someone for expressing the `intent, or `imagining a crime.

          Let me give an example: there were four or five different conspiracies to kill Mahatama Gandhi; but only Nathuram Ghodse committed the act of pulling the triggerwere all other individuals involved in other conspiracies booked for that one particular act of Nathuram Ghodse? Of course notbooking others for expressing the intent of doing what Ghodses did would be a legal joke.

          But the same legal joke was played on Muslims arrested for the 1993 blastsseveral were tortured; their lives were destroyed. Later, even the TADA court found `fantastic Mumbai Polices attempt to create several `chains that led to the blaststhe TADA court questioned that how could people involved in `other chains, who were unable to even execute their `designs were booked for a crime committed by a different `chain?

          Sorry to say thisbut Javed Anands comments and observations are plainly sillyand this is not a personal comment. It is a political commentin all examples given by Javed Anand there is not one, I repeat not one, instance where SIMI members are seen or heard by eye witnesses as planning specific bomb blasts or terror attacks. Eyewitnesses, merely record SIMI members as praising Bin Laden or vowing revenge for Gujaratbut since when has this become a crime in Indiawhere is the evidence that these utterances led to specific terror incidents?

          Javed Anand has failed to cite one instance of specific evidence for a specific act. One is really amazed at his naivety or deliberate attempt to mislead people when he writes that are the blasts after blasts, in city after city of India in recent years, part of the “jihad” espoused by SIMI? The investigating agencies obviously believe this to be the case. Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? Admittedly, they have yet to establish the terrorism charge against SIMI activists before any court of law in any of the blast cases.

          Note the lines I have underlinedhere Javed Anand is actually making a case that Indian agencies should be trusted Why else would SIMI activists be routinely detained, arrested, interrogated, charge-sheeted and put on trial? He writes

          Javed Anand would have retained some credibility had he at least distanced himself from security agencies. Even the Government of India is skeptical about the `secularism of its security forcesonly the RSS and the BJP and the Sangh Parivar hail security agenciesknown for persecuting, killing and torturing Muslims in particularas `heroes. So where, in which camp, does such a statement take Javed Anand?   

          Shri Yogendra Yadavs plea for a debate on SIMIs ideology shall have to wait for the right timeor it can be done in private gatheringsit cannot be made into a public issue by Indian patriots and secularists not because it will `weaken the fight against Muslim persecution. I am not in favor of such arguments. SIMIs ideology should not be made an issue simply because it is a non issue. A person is dying on the streetare we going to determine ideology before trying to save him or her?

          Another thing: the RSS would have been harmless if it had just spoken about Hindu Rashtra and the likebut since its inception, then in 1947 and then now, the RSS has worked to kill people systematically. The RSS stands in a league different from SIMI. Those disagreeing with SIMIs ideology must understand thisSIMI cannot be compared with Bajrang Dal.  Javed Anand writes that the first ban was slapped on SIMI in 2001, the chief ministers of Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan made a strong case before the NDA for a simultaneous ban on SIMI and the Bajrang Dal. And rightly so…”

          SIMIs utterances are verbal and defensive in nature; Bajrang Dal has killed women and children and boasted about thiscan they be placed at par?

          Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru categorically said that while Hindu communalism is dangerous and on the offensive, Muslim communalism is defensive in nature. Here the father of Indian secularism is clearly stating that both cannot be placed at par.

          It is the issue of placing Bajrang Dal and SIMI on one platform that is disquieting. This is not only a legal travesty but a political travesty as well. The RSS since its inception as been opposed to the creation of a secular Indiathey are the number one force responsible for partition. New research, recently declassified British secret records and documents reveal that in 1947, the `communal riots of Delhi, in which tens of thousands of Muslims were massacred, was not a riot at allit was an armed uprising staged by the RSS to kill the new Indian nation-State in its infancy and proclaim a Hindu Rashtra. The Indian army with the active backing of Nehru was used to crush this revolt.

          Now see the pattern of recent actions against SIMI activists for the Ahmedabad Blasts and the so-called `cracking of the case by Gujarat Police and Narendra Modi: in March 2008, Safdar Nagori, the supposed `head of SIMI organization is arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Policenote that the BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh. Nagori `confesses to the existence of armed camps in Gujarat. Amongst others, he `gives the names of Zahid Sheikh and Usman Agarbattiwala as SIMI associates to the MP Police.

          Now, according to a pro-Modi report written for by some Sheela Bhatt, and corroborated by other reports in the Times of India and the Indian Express, after the July 2008 Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts   “the Gujarat police’s databank of SIMI members in Ahmedabad had some names including that of Zahid Sheikh. They picked him up and started interrogating him extensively.

`He is a fanatic. He is not a Gujarati, he is not an Indian. He claims he is merely a soldier of Islam. These accused don’t belong to even their own families,’ said a source in the police.

`You will have to understand the identity of the perpetrators of the bomb blasts’. Their `transnational identity itself is an anti-national act’, says one of the interrogators”.

          Just note the pattern here—the Gujarat Police just picks up the databank they have on SIMI members and arrest Zahid Sheikh because his name was given by Safdar Nagori during his March interrogation! Just that! No other evidence! Sheikh is presumed guilty and `transnational’ only because he says `he says that he is a soldier of Islam’!

          Similarly, a Baroda officer of the Gujarat Police   got from the databank a file on SIMI activists living in Baroda. The blue file had a professionally prepared dossier on SIMI activists, and the opening page featured Usman Agarbattiwala complete with his photograph.

Asthana went through the accompanying details like Agarbattiwala’s telephone numbers, his work, background and the names of all his relatives that were in the dossier.

Immediately, details of Agarbattiwala’s telephone calls, both made and received, were procured. It took relentless work through day and night to make the chart of the most frequently made calls from his phone. They were then narrowed down and owners of those numbers were detected and, in turn, the printouts of those phone calls were procured. A professional hard work done with the help of computers in the police headquarters in Kothi area yielded fantastic results.

Asthana’s team created a cluster of cell phone movement among select persons. These movements were finally narrowed down to Agarbattiwala, Kayamuddin Kapadia, Imran Sheikh and Iqbal Sheikh. In no time Agarbattiwala, Imran and Iqbal were picked up. Along with others Joint Commissioner of Police Pravin Kumar Sinha and inspector Karimbhai Polra played an important role in Asthana’s team.

The first copy of the interrogation report was sent to the Ahmedabad team which was narrowing down on local SIMI activists including Zahid Sheikh. Agarbattiwala’s cracking proved very crucial. Bhatia and Chudasama cracked Zahid Sheikh as much as they could. In Baroda, Iqbal was a new entrant to SIMI ranks but some of the detainees were tough nuts to crack who had undergone special training to withstand police methods. On the basis of the early lead provided by the interrogations in Baroda and Ahmedabad, teams of Gujarat police travelled to Kerala, Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to collect a variety of documentary evidence.

By August 8-9, Modi knew his state police was just days away from success that has eluded the police in other Indian states wracked by terrorism”.

          This fawning, pro-Modi article, a farce in the name of journalism, lets the cat out of the bag. In every case, Police officers just had to check the SIMI databank or connect phonecalls and presto—they had their culprit! How much more ridiculous can you get? The fact remains that even Safdar Nagori’s confession to the MP police is suspect—Nagori was tortured and his appeal is lying before the courts. So how can the police arrest Zahid and Agarbattiwala?

          Then the Gujarat Police goes to UP—and picks up Abu Bashar—because he too is linked with SIMI! And now Abu Bashar is the mastermind!

          The kind of story the Gujarat Police has made up makes one’s head spin—the Maharashtra Police did the same thing after the 1993 blasts and several blasts hence. They have not been able to prove even one, repeat even one, of their stories in a court of law.

          Now while Muslims are being picked up in SIMI’s name, the lead shown by the email sent through Ken Haywood’s email is allowed to go cold—in fact the Gujarat Police says that SIMI activists hacked into Haywood’s system!    

          Who is this Haywood? The mail sent by `Indian Mujheedin’ claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts, came from his computer. The investigative agencies knew of this on 26th July—what was the need to give a clean chit to Haywood? Why was he allowed to flee India? Why was his passport not impounded?

Here is a profile of Haywood’s background and that of his Company, issued by an American website: “Campbell White is the name of the Company…Campbell White’s MD is pastor Dan Rubianes, the head of the Door Christian Centre…a church with origins in Arizona in the US but relatively new to India. Door Christian Centre is a part of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship Ministries, also known as the Potter’s House. Haywood is a functionary of the Potter’s House in Mumbai”.

Moreover, the Indian Express found that the Mumbai office of the MNC is located in two small adjoining rented rooms on the ground floor of Sanpada railway station complex in Navi Mumbai. The two rooms also serve as prayer rooms on Sundays and Thursdays for the Potter’s House. A notice pasted on the wall says the community service has been cancelled until further notice and is signed by Haywood.

The Express continued, explaining that “physical and Internet-based checks on other past and present employees of Campbell White like Scott Grabowska, a former Mumbai-based international protocol trainer, David Curwen-Walker, a senior operations manager, and Jonathan Heimberg, a senior information services manager, both in Bangalore, have shown links to the church. For instance, Curwen-Walker and Heimberg head the Door churches at Kammanahalli and Koramangala in Bangalore.”

The American website asks: “this is all very good stuff, but if the Indian press had been doing its job it could have circulated this information on the day that Haywood was linked to the Ahmedabad bombs. Still, the American press has been even worse, with the only coverage of Haywood’s curious case being a short piece in the Kingman Daily Miner.

          I would ask Shri Yogendra Yadav—what is all this? Is it not becoming apparent that there is a dubious company with a dubious foreign-Christian-evangelist-American background somewhere linked to the terror attacks? Now in India things have come to this—that Indian Muslims will be persecuted on imaginary links with SIMI but foreign nationals will be let off! The Haywood angle at least ought to have been investigated.

          By saying that despite disagreeing with SIMI, the organization cannot be put at par with the RSS or the Bajrang Dal, I think I have made my position clear on a vital issue on which Mr. Yogendra Yadav wanted some discussion; but what about Haywood and the ridiculous manner in which Zahid Sheikh, or Agarbattiwala or Abu Bashar were picked up?

          It would be of great service to the nation if Shri Yogendra Yadav picks up his pen or his laptop, and conducts his own investigations to write a detailed story of the ongoing `SIMI being terrorist’ farce in any one of India’s national newspapers or magazines.