Archive for October, 2008

India: A Fistful of Follies By Amaresh Misra

October 31, 2008

India: A Fistful of Follies


A Perspective on Maharashtra incidents, bomb blasts and  the current political crisis           


                                        By Amaresh Misra



        After writing so much and achieving at least something, on the recent spate of violence/bomb blasts/attacks on minorities, the Maharashtra and Assam events leaves writers and commentators like Ghulam Muhammad and me numb. The arrest of Pragya Singh, and the whole needle of suspicion towards ex and serving army officers in the 29thSeptember Malegaon blasts has confirmed what we have been saying all along: that terror indeed has a face; that the Indian Mujahideen and SIMI were creations of the Indian security forces and the real wires of terrorism are linked inextricably to the hate/fascist ideology of the RSS-BJP. RSS-BJP in essence is a home grown, terrorist-fascist force par excellence―and it is not the first time that they have bared their fangs.

I still remember a meeting with the anti-RSS, pro-Muslim Shanakaracharya Swami Swarupanand, the Shankaracharya of Dwarika and Badrinath. In this, the Shankaracharya had stated clearly and I quote, `Amaresh these Sanghis are the most criminal of all forces. They run a secret wing of assassins. They have been indulging in murder and arson since their birth. They are adharmis like Ravana and they dare to pose as Hindus! They have even tried to assassinate me!’

        This is the Shankaracharya speaking―it is also clear that there was a secret nexus between the RSS and the British during the 1947 partition riots. In an article published earlier, Akhilesh Mittal, the columnist of Asian Age and Covert, has exposed the entire conspiracy by highlighting a true case which I am quoting from the original article:


Hard evidence of the nexus between the British government of India and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) is available in A Life of Our Times, the memoirs of Rajeshwar Dayal, ICS published by Orient Longman in 1998.

The RSS was supplied detailed maps of towns and villages to enable them to attack Muslims.

Dayal says: “At a cocktail party, in early 1946, the Chief Secretary told me, almost casually that I would be the next Home Secretary of the U.P. I happened to be the first Indian officer named to the post which had hitherto apparently been reserved for British officers.”(Page 77).

As Home Secretary Rajeshwar Dayal became privy to the most confidential information “I must record an episode of a very grave nature. When communal tension was still at fever pitch, the Deputy Inspector General of Police Western Range a very seasoned and capable officer, B.B.L. Jaitley arrived at my house in secrecy.

He was accompanied by two of his officers who brought with them two large steel trunks securely locked. When the trunks were opened, they revealed incontrovertible evidence of a dastardly conspiracy to create a communal holocaust throughout the western districts of the province.

The trunks were crammed with blueprints of great accuracy and professionalism of every town and village of that vast area prominently marking out the Muslim localities and habitations. There were also detailed instructions regarding access to the various 
locations, and other matters which amply revealed their sinister purport.”

Dayal took the incriminating evidence to the Chief Minister Gobind Ballabh Pant “There, in a closed room, Jaitley gave a full report of his discovery backed by all the evidence contained in the steel trunks.

Timely raids conducted on the premises of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) had brought the massive conspiracy to light. The whole plot had been concerted under the direction and supervision of the Supremo of the organisation himself.

Both Jaitley and myself pressed for the immediate arrest of the prime accused Shri Golwalkar, who was still in the area. Pant decided to put the matter before his cabinet. There were RSS sympathisers in the Congress and the presiding officer of the Legislative council, Atma Govind Kher was a sympathiser and his sons were known to be members of the RSS.

The action taken was not arrest but a letter to Golwalkar stating the evidence and asking for an explanation. As could be expected Golwalkar slipped away and managed to elude the couriers. “This infructuous chase continued from place to place and weeks passed.”

The next paragraph, on page 94 of the book speaks for itself “Came 30th January 1948 when the Mahatma, the supreme apostle of peace fell to a bullet…”

These maps could have originated only in the British Surveyor General’s office. The British administration was known for the passionate zeal with which they guarded maps. That these were made available to the RSS is evidence of the link. 


Further, in a book written by Alex Von Tunzelmann, called `The Indian Summer: secret history of the end of an empire’, the author has exposed how the 1947 August-September-October Delhi `riots’were no riots―they were in fact an armed uprising conducted by RSS in alliance with retired army officers and personals against the secular basis of the new Indian nation state. Nehru was aware of the RSS plot, as was Patel―and Nehru gave Patel a stern warning to choose sides at this very moment. Patel caved in―then the Indian army was brought in to crush the anti-Muslim RSS rising, which left hundreds of thousands of Muslims of old Delhi dead.

These two instances show that RSS’ criminal character has a long history. In contemporary times, since 1990, with Advani’s first Rath Yatra these forces have persisted with just one agenda: anti-Muslim, anti-secular, anti-constitutional tirade. In the process, they have given birth to the Mumbai riots, then the backlash the Mumbai Bomb Blasts, then a whole spate of terrorist activities when the NDA was in power, and then the 2005-06-07 Mumbai, Malegaon, Nanded, Nagpur, UP terror attacks and then the latest spate of violence beginning with the 26th July Ahmedabad Blasts. Since that date in less than six months India has seen 64 serial blasts in six states leaving 215 dead and 900 injured.

        To further elaborate an earlier point: What has become now of Indian Mujahiden and SIMI? Why is the media not screaming about them after the latest Assam Blasts? Which new `terror’ organization and which devilish scheme the Indian security forces will come up with now?

        In India there is a clear alliance between a large section of Indian State (bureaucrats and security officials), the communal/fascist forces, the opportunist elements in the Congress and the BJP, the two main parties, and a large section of the Indian corporate pro-US, business class and leading media houses. The latter in fact have emerged as a major rallying point for fascist forces. Imagine after the death of several North Indians in lynch-style Ku Klux Klan marka attacks in Mumbai, Rajdeep Sardesai, the editor of CNN-IBN writes a letter to `his dear friend’ Raj Thackeray in Hindustan Times (31-10-2008) hailing him for representing Marathi sentiments but then advising him not to resort to violence against North Indians! Sardesai goes on to mention that after all he to is a migrant in Delhi!

        Now Delhi liberals, who hate UP and Bihar wallasas much as any elite in Mumbai, will welcome Rajdeep Sardesai’s article as a voice of sanity or something. But Rajdeep does not even question Raj Thackeray’s attempts to project himself as a protector of Marathi Manoos. Rajdeep nowhere raises the issue of backward caste and Dalit Marathis and how they have been cruelly suppressed in the name of Marathi unity and how the latest attack on North Indians is also a ploy to deflect the growing power aspirations of Dalits and the Marathi OBCs and MBCs―power aspirations which would threaten ultimately the unchallenged rule of the Marathi-Maratha forward castes.

        In Maharashtra, the Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena, as well Raj Thackeray all represent the Marathi forward caste―so does Rajdeep Sardesai and a whole lot of other Marathi intellectuals. The voice of the Vijay Tendulkar type Marathi liberal has been suppressed―now Rajdeep type individuals with a new, Anglicized, neo-forward caste tinge are in the field. However much they might not like the `violence of it all’ they share certain basic, elitist, anti-North Indian assumptions of the Maratha and Indian metro city forward castes. This neo-liberal/city elite is also mortally afraid and will continue to act buddy-buddy with Raj Thackeray, a clone of the even the most second rate Nazi trooper.

        The larger question is why are North Indians being targeted systematically? And what is the role of corporate houses?

        Since 2006, more than Rs. 80, 000 crore investment, mainly in the auto industry, is coming Maharashtra’s way. Concentrated in the Mumbai-Thane-Nasik triangle, this investment seeks to edge out especially the small auto part, indigenous manufacturers dotting the triangle.  The only way to do so is to encourage the large scale migration of the labor of the region―who happen to be North Indians!

        This scheme fits in well with the Congress game of making one Sena (MNS) compete against the other (Shiv Sena) with an eye to the next elections. Rajdeep of course has not mentioned the Congress-NCP game or the linkages with the corporate lobby―it is clear that in this win-win situation the corporate lobby and the Maharashtra Government as well as the communal fascist forces are hand in glove. If the North Indians die in Ku Klux Clan Style attacks; so be it.

        Perhaps these actors realize, or perhaps they do not, that a wider game is being played in India; the British East India Company came and colonized India through India’s eastern shore; the new game of global/US/finance capital is to effect an East India Company kind operation from the western shore. In this, first communists are browbeaten―like they were during the rise of Bal Thackeray―and then fascist, anti-Muslim forces are encouraged―and now North Indians are targeted. The aim is to create a situation where the Central or the Federal Indian power loses its grip over at least Gujarat (where Modi, the great friend of corporate-fascist India is ruling) and Maharashtra. The failure of the Central Government to act against Raj Thackeray is a deliberate move by the arch criminal Shiv Raj Patil, India’s Home Minister who also hails from Maharashtra, to suspend his own powers and that of the Indian State!

        But―again―why North Indians and people of UP and Bihar? The reason is simple―UP and Bihar are   the centers of anti-colonial resistance in 1857 and beyond. During the Mughal, Gupta and the Mauryan period too these two areas constituted the heartland, the base of India’s rise as a world empire. These areas are very fertile and peasant dominated with abundant resources, scope for development and Industrialization and a proud people who never gave up their freedom. What is more, UP and Bihar are home to the most stable, truly traditional and humanist-modern sections of Sanatan Dharma and Islam, the two great religions of India.

        These religions and Hindi-Urdu Belt peasantry resisted not just the British forces in 1857; they also struck a mortal blow to the world’s first corporate state―the East India Company. In fact, from 1857 till the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, private corporate state ceased to exist.

The 1990s and after are periods when under the IMF-World Bank, global capital went on the offensive against the state power as a whole in different countries. The idea was to dismantle/discredit state power as such and pave the way for the gradual privatization of entire, social-public and state sectors.

        In this, the concept of nation and nationhood was a major problem; nations of the developed world were still fine; but, according to the new emerging corporate logic, third world country states presented an anomaly partly because their overall orientation, despite several distortions, was socialist and nationalist―and partly because the global private sector found dealing with third world bureaucracy and respecting sovereignty a problem. This has been laid out bare in several books and plans, chiefly the PNAC (Plan For a New American Century), made by Neo Cons who acquired power under George Bush.

        The 9/11 attack forced global forces to pause and take a second look at the dismantling of state process. But in the name of war of terror, even war, warfare and military equipment was privatized. Right now in Iraq a large, parallel mercenary force run by a Christian Right Wing Company called Blackwater almost equals the US army strength. Through Blackwater and other such companies, Bush outsourced not just prisons and tortures but military operations. Blackwater is a profit making company like the British East India Company. When it operates on foreign soil, it is exempt from American laws, from Geneva conventions―as the latter concerns States only!

        Now if we come to India and the Ken Haywood angle in the Indian Mujahideen story, ignored by the Indian media, we see that Ken Haywood was an employee of a private multinational company called Campbell White, which was linked to the right wing Potter House Church in Arizona, which in turn was close to the most virulent, fundamentalist sections of America’s bible belt.

       Now it is not too incredible I hope to at least think that terror in India has been outsourced to private companies who for the moment are operating covertly for the time being.

       While the arrest of Pragya Singh and the exposure of her network is a welcome step, the total neglect of the Ken Haywood angle makes the Indian State susceptible to manipulations of private, International outfits, who are partly controlled by the CIA and the Mossad but are also capable of wringing themselves out of the control of any state agency. So it is possible that even RAW and the ISI do not have control over what is happening in India, and by extension in Pakistan. Only a thorough investigation, by a JPC can reveal the truth as to who started this process of privatizing terror. Organizations like Abhinav Bharati and the Bhonsale Military Academy found to be linked with Pragya Singh and the Malegaon Blasts are like Blackwater only―they are private outfits, which adhere loosely to the RSS and the Hindutva ideology, but are also capable of becoming a loose cannon.

        The Assam blasts may also be a work of private forces beyond the control of ULFA or HUJI.

        In this entire conspiracy, the Congress, the BJP, media houses and communal forces are primarily to blame―for they have supported privatization of media, security and terror―everyone knows how Lal Krishna Advani allowed a number of private organizations, bearing loose adherence to the Sangh ideology, to hold armed training camps during his tenure as the Home Minister.

        So there are two types of forces working against India and the idea of India―a section of the fascist forces inside and outside the state forces are targeting minorities―in the name of combating terror, they have institutionalized Muslim persecution in particular.Their long-term goal is to stem the tide of social change in India, roll back the OBC-MBC-Dalit assertion and create a chaotic situation in which the Parliamentary form of Government may get suspended and a Presidential form is instituted, suited more to the bipolar Congress VS BJP polity. In this conspiracy to roll back parliamentary democracy and suspend/change the Indian constitution written by Baba BhimRao Ambedkar, both the Congress and the BJP are hand-in-glove.  The corporate sector is backing this line of thought.      

        Then there are private forces, supported by foreign money, which are working sometimes in tandem with   state forces and sometimes independently, to create fissures, and divide Indian society at all possible communal, regional and other levels. The role of Indian corporate houses and security elements in furthering these forces is paramount.

        In certain situations, these two forces―State-communal and private-communal-mercenary―come together as in the Malegaon blast, the Mumbai incidents and the Assam blasts. It can be seen that the Assam blasts occurred just when the heat on Raj Thackeray got intense and investigations in the Praggya Singh case were revealing the face of real actors like the private Abhinav Bharati militia.

        In Mumbai, the Maharashtra Government is behind Raj Thackeray and the corporate lobby is behind the Maharashtra Government. The UP Bihar labor is labor-intensive and the new foreign investment coming into Maharashtra is technology-intensive. This is the economic reason behind the fake encounter of Rahul Raj of Bihar, the killing of Dharmadeo Rai and several other people from UP and Bihar.

        The Indian State therefore is being held hostage by two forces―a section of its own personal and secondly by private, national and International players working either with an ideology to create instability in India and Pakistan, or just like mercenaries working to create anarchy and perpetuate the forces of darkness as per their calling.

        Despite the American economic crisis and the world financial meltdown, foreign capital needs enclaves in India where things like sovereignty do not interfere with its activities. The Mumbai-Thane-Nasik triangle is one such enclave―so Raj Thackarey has powerful International backing and International forces have reached a point where after weakening the central Indian State during the liberalization era they are now dealing directly with states, encouraging them not to follow central dictates. Hence the scenario that Vilasrao Deshmukh is not listening to Man Mohan Singh or the Central cabinet and Maharashtra seems to have seceded from India. Hence the scenario in Gujarat and Orissa as well where too State Governments are not listening to the Center.

        The Center of course is weakening itself―in India we are seeing a war of Center against Center, state against center, state against state. The ultimate aim of anti-national foreign and domestic players is to encourage the security forces and government elements of various states to seek Independent actions and ultimately secession.

        The media is not even reporting cases like that of Allahabad and UP where an Islamic preacher named Zakir Naik was transported suddenly from Mumbai to create controversies about Imam Hussein and his status in Islam and polarize and divide Muslims also; this modern exercise was in stark contrast to earlier crude infightings between different Muslim sects, which did not carry the Zakir Naik type modern-political implications.

        Hindus have already been divided between Hindutva and Sanmatan Dharma―despite knowing that Sanatan Dharma is the Hindu religion, media and other forces have always depicted Hindutva as representing Hindus.

        Similar ploys are on to divide Indian Sikhs and Christians; the folly of Yogendra Yadav type figures is apparent in that while writing about how injustices produce terrorism and the like, they do not even hint at the wider conspiracy against the nation. Then they create non-issues like the unease felt by Hindus over minority communalism where no such unease exists―and moreover has Yogendra Yadav spoken to Sanatan Dharma leaders to find about their unease? It is obvious that Shri Yadav is bothered mainly about Hindutva forces and thinks they represent Hindus!

        In America, the military-Industrial complex is fighting back to hold on to `privatization of war and misery’ agenda against the espousal of more State intervention by Obama. The Obama Vs right wing conflict will determine in a way whether private corporate forces, and the military-Industrial complex will rule the roost. In India the communal-fascist-media-private corporate- nexus fears losing their grip over India―Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister is their leader―notice how the media has let him off!

These forces have somehow convinced the Congress and the BJP to go in for a Presidential style of Government as in that it will be easier to control the OBCs, MBCs, Dalits, women and minority aspirations. Failing that, a military-fascist coup cannot be ruled out.

        In this grave crisis, defeating the Congress and BJP is the main task of all secular-democratic, constitutional forces. Before that getting rid off the enemy number one of the Indian nation and people―Shivraj Patil―and then the enemy, number two―Raj Thackeray―is essential.    

        Intellectuals in west and North India do not realize that they are playing with fire. Shivraj Patil, Raj Thackeray, and Rajdeep Sardesai do not know the power of UP and Bihar people. If the police was not backing Raj Thackeray, UP and Bihar people would have retaliated in so many words to telling effect.

        Remember that UP and Bihar fought as a social structure to combat fascism and economic liberalization―see how the BJP has been marginalized in both the states. The pro-US, foreign-Indian corporate lobby will never forgive UP and Bihar for standing for Indian sovereignty, honor, deen and honor. UP and Bihar will resist forever corporate homogeneity and the rule of Ambanis and Tatas and Thackerays.

        The UP-Bihar angle links the Raj Thackeray episode, with bomb blasts and fake encounters like those of Batala House in Delhi and Rahul Raj in Mumbai. All are different sides of the same coin. In fact by killing Sajid and Atif in Delhi and Rahul Raj in Mumbai, the Delhi and Mumbai Police have de-communalized encounter killings―the sight of two similar fake encounters―one in which innocent Muslims were killed and another in which a Hindu fell to police bullets are before the nation to see and review.

The parallels are glaring and too close for comfort.

In India, Muslim persecution is now synonymous with persecution of North Indians. These two are synonymous with the persecution of Indian honor, sovereignty and dignity. In Raj Thackeray, the Maharashtra Government has created a Bhrindanwale. But this time, not the Indian army but the people of India, particularly of the North will exercise their supreme sovereign right to kill the state-sponsored paper tiger.

        Understand this: people of UP and Bihar fought and resisted against the British almost single-handedly for 200 years. Raj Thackeray and Shivraj Patil are nothing before them; note this: people of Bihar have asked Lalu to give them just two trains to Mumbai. They have nothing against ordinary Marathis. But they will show Raj Thackeray who is what; also the father of Dharmdeo Rai, the UP boy lynched in Mumbai, has returned the 2 lakhs offered to him by the State Government. He has declared a Rs. 20,00,000 supari on Raj’s head. And let me make this clear―in the coming war Marathi Dalits and MBCs will ultimately supportUttar Bharatis. 

        The answer to the question as to why 1857’s 150thcelebrations did not take place, and why such a historic opportunity of celebrating national sovereignty was let go off by the Indian State is this: 1857 created problems once it was `appropriated’ from the perspective of criminal-intellectuals like Swapan Das Gupta and Chandan Mitra by a Left nationalist like me―after all I wrote a 2000 page two volume magnum opus on the subject which no one could ignore. Giving importance to a subject like 1857 meant giving importance to me, which meant giving importance to Muslims, North Indians and Marathi Dalits OBCs and MBCs―the three forces behind 1857 and persecuted the most under the current dispensation.

Of course liberals like Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Mehta and Yogendra Yadav too did not utter a word of support for, me, or 1857.   

The silver lining is that the Congress and the BJP have not been able to polarize the situation. The BJP has fallen down the electoral ladder; the Congress hopes to scramble up but it is doubtful whether it will be able to form the next government without the Left or the third front.

In this scenario, the task is to form a new patriotic, democratic front, a people’s movement for civil rights and national sovereignty. Whether you call it the All India Patriotic Front (AIPF) or the Indian Patriotic Civil Liberties Union (IPCLU), this exercise will be friendly towards efforts aimed at building a new democratic political platform such as the Jan Sangharsh Morcha (JSM), the beginnings of which are already seen in UP where the JSM is organizing a huge rally on 10th November 2008. The next phase is to organize a march against Shivraj Patil in Delhi―and then a giant civil rights march early next year in Delhi to highlight two issues: enactment of civil rights laws like `atrocities against minorities (prevention)’ act and `torture and compensation’ act.                    



Media now demonising entire cities of India, after demonising entire communities – By Ghulam Muhammed

October 29, 2008



Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Media now demonising entire cities of India, after demonising entire communities


The greatest danger to India’s integrity and security comes not from politicians, terrorists or police, but from the insensitive and immature initiatives by the media. A new trend is to focus on entire towns and cities, as the hotbed of terrorism. Azamgargh and Bhatkal are now the flavour of the season. Any sober thinker will agree that by such infantile exercises of demonising of an entire city, we are demonising, our own law and order authorities, our own people who are in the saddle in these now suspect areas. There does appear any method to this madness, except if you take up the remote possibility that there is design to focus all Muslim concentration areas and put them under pressure, so that the ruling clique can deal with the demoralized Muslims in a high-handed manner on the basis of their ‘debased’ catagorisation. British colonials had a policy of declaring a whole community as ‘criminal’, or Western imperialists summarily declare a whole community or country as terrorist country and start adverse actions against them; thus legitimizing their nefarious plans against their adversaries. It seems that same policy, under foreign guidance is being followed by media, that first demonised the whole community as well as their religion and now switched to go piece-meal as and when politics demands their help in neutralizing all opposition to the ruling oligarchs.


The test of secular evenhandedness will come about when media starts declaring the towns and cities associated with the arrested Sangh Parivar accused, and sends out reporters to dig out how deeply such terrorist activities had been supported by the people of those cities at large. 


There is no doubt that the marauding West has chosen Media as the most effective and the most preferred vanguard instrument of its policy of carrying war to opposing camps. The Age of Communication has further made the task much swifter, much more effective and much more economical. We in India, who are now become the willy-nilly clients of the western dominance in practical all affairs of our existence. It is now for the people of India to be on guard as to how this western co-opting of our media can impact our polity and how we become victims of other people’s machination; as the control and management of this powerful instrument of public policy is increasingly getting out of our hands. For us to safeguard our freedoms, our integrity, our unity, our security, we must guard against all such nefarious initiatives by our media and condemn them as soon as they raise their heads.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



Mahesh Vijapurkar, former Bombay beureau chief of The Hindu writes in Outlook Magazine:

“Initially Raj Thackeray tried to develop a different Identity for his MNS. He gathered educated young men, including professionals and dipped into their minds to devise a constructive, long term strategy. That, however, was not to be.  

“That is when the media, not fate, intervened.

“The turning point was his speech at a non-descript function in suburban Mumbai in February. Raj has compared his love for Maharashtra to Amitabh Bachhan’s passion for Uttar Pradesh. But the press distorted his word and reported that Raj had criticised the Big B. The young politician issued denials till he became blue in the face. But the media had found its whipping boy. The spin given was that Raj was against Biharis and UPites. And as this anti-north Indian tag stuck, the MNS chief realised he had found a plank that had resonance among ordinary Marathis. “


Beaten to death for being a ‘bhaiyya’ – Mumbai Mirror – TOI

October 29, 2008

Beaten to death for being a ‘bhaiyya’



The attackers were fellow commuters who got into fight with victim and his three friends over a window seat




Nilesh Nikade

Satya Prakash and Dheeraj are among the three survivors. The four friends were attacked on a Khopoli-CST local

A migrant from Uttar Pradesh died after being beaten up on a local train by fellow commuters who allegedly humiliated him and his three friends on Tuesday afternoon after learning that they were ‘bhaiyyas’.

The deceased is Dharam Dev, 25, a resident of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. Dev was working as a helper at a construction site and was residing at Vashi phata. On Tuesday, he was on his way to Faizabad, along with his friends Dheeraj Kumar Verma, Satya Prakash and Virendra Rai, when they were cornered by other commuters at Khopoli, about 60 km from Mumbai.

The four went by bus to Khopoli where they boarded the 1.57 pm local for CST. 

Dheeraj said, “We were occupying the window seat but a group of 8 to 10 commuters, who appeared to be local villagers, forced us to vacate it. Then they asked if we were ‘bhaiyyas’? When we said ‘yes’, they started abusing us.”

The four men refused to take the abuse lying down. By then, the train had started moving. When it crossed Lowjee station, the other commuters allegedly overpowered the four men and started beating them up. 

“We were slapped and kicked. They made us sit like a ‘murga’ and apologise. Even after that, they were not satisfied and one of them kicked Dharam Dev’s stomach rendering him unconscious,” Dheeraj alleged. The commuters got down at Karjat while Dev and his friends continued their journey on the same train. When Dev said he could not bear the pain, Dheeraj called up the Railway Protection Force (RPF) control number 22620800, which is displayed in trains, from his mobile phone at 2.49 pm. 

The RPF control room confirmed receiving a call from a passenger informing that his friend was unconscious and needed urgent medical assistance.

“The person informed us that the train was reaching Neral. We immediately informed the station manager. However, the train had crossed Neral by then. We then informed station officials of Shelu and Wangani, but no policemen are posted there to tackle such situations,” RPF officials said.

D N Adhikari, deputy station master at Badlapur railway station, acted on the information received from the RPF and rushed Government Railway Policemen (GRP) personnel to attend to Dev and his friends. Dev was rushed to Dubey Hospital near Badlapur station, but was declared dead on arrival.

Satya Prakash, his friend, said, “We were helpless and scared. We had not imagined something of this sort could happen on our way back home. We have informed Dharam Dev’s family. They are coming to Mumbai.” 

At the time of filing this report, GRP were recording statements of the victims at the hospital.

A K Sharma, commissioner, GRP, said, “As per our information, the person died at the hospital. The information we have so far suggests that there were no external injuries on the bodies of these men. We are awaiting the results of their medical examination.”

Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Rejoinder to Yogendra Yadav’s TOI article: “Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist” (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).




If Yogendra Yadav is referring to the currently popular definition of the word ‘terrorist’, he is wasting his time on matters that are only part of the bigger whole. He must first clearly visualize what he would like to treat as terrorism and what he will not accept as terrorism. Peace cannot be achieved by one-sided colored view of the total picture. An analyst should be prepared to view both sides of the coin.


The timing of his article in TIMES OF INDIA, today, on Oct 28, 2008, a few days after ATS has made some arrests of Hindu Radicals from Sangh Parivar, is very significant as much as, before the public exposure of the involvement of Sangh Parivar’s minions in bombings and communal rioting, the whole blame of such ‘terrorism’ was squarely placed on a convenient agencies created invention called SIMI.


Even now in his present article, he seems to have written an apologia for the Hindu involvement in terror attacks, when he has finally brought up the subject of what triggers ‘terrorism’. I have not come across any of his writing earlier than this, trying to figure out what motivated SIMI to commit bombings, if at all it is involved and if they were subjected to some injustice.


If his main objective is to project how ‘injustice’ impacts the victims, he has not bothered to even hint what injustices had been inflicted on SIMI or Bajrangis and by whom.


If it is the state that is guilty of injustice, then why is Yadav so hesitant, circumspect and scared to take on the state as the real culprit who organises such orgy of violence for its own political exigencies?


Yadav wants to invite the victims to choose, either to become a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist.


However, it is not so easy to make a choice.


Even Gandhi and Mandela did not become ‘heroes’, without British co-opting them into carrying on their own political agenda. British were mortally afraid of another ‘mutiny’ in India. They transported Gandhi, a genuine pacifist — back to India to pacify Indian people —- just as they used to transport indentured labour to distant lands. It is the British that got Jinnah to organise a big welcome in Bombay for Gandhi, to project Gandhi as a big national leader. At every step of the way, Gandhi was courted at the highest level, to help British colonialists to maintain peace in the land. It is the British that left India for their own violation or compulsions, and not necessarily on Gandhi’s peace efforts.


British got Mandela out of prison after 27 years, when it became impossible to continue apartheid due to pressure from US Human Right groups, who wanted all US investments to pull out of South Africa as per US law requirements.


Terrorism in India has wider nuances than what Mr. Yadav has tried to present by way of enticing people to junk ‘terrorism’. His is a very noble exercise. 

However, if he really wants to contribute to clear up terrorism, he should do a deeper study of who is the mastermind behind the curtain manipulating of the pawns on the chessboard.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


TIMES OF INDIA – October 28, 2008


Injustice can produce a Gandhi, a Mandela or a terrorist

By Yogendra Yadav, 

Co-director of Lokniti and senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, reminds us that a terrorist is someone who at one point believed in the system

Terrorism is politics by other means. More often that not, a terrorist is a failed or disappointed reformist, someone who at one point believed in the system. Almost every act of mad terrorist violence is shaped by deep passion, not very different from the emotion that shapes any form of creativity. The wounds that a terrorist inflicts on scores of innocent victims are rationalized in the name of justice.

There are no doubt many a mercenaries among the ranks of terrorists, but those who we call terrorists often see themselves as nothing less than heroes, as persons who refuse to take it lying down or follow the conventional and ineffective ways of responding to a perceived injustice. Theirs is often the determination that produces a Gandhi, the quest for justice that creates a Mandela. When this kind of a person takes to terrorism, we lose a vital energy that could have shaped the idea of India.

If we agree that terror is failed politics, then the solution lies in firmly closing the back door of politics of terror and making sure that the front door of democratic negotiation, protest and contestation is kept open.


We have to think, in other words, about what the terrorists wish to say, about how they could have said it without taking this route. The trouble with so much talk about terrorism and ways of eliminating it is that it discusses only one half of the solution. Security experts talk only about how to close the back door of terror. But you cannot close all the doors for someone. You have to think equally hard about how to keep the front door of democratic politics firmly open for those who see no hope in the system.

This is not as simple as it looks. Following this simple formula requires complex negotiation with the orthodoxies that we have surrounded ourselves with. It requires not just confronting the bundle of lies perpetrated by communal politics, we also need to face some of the orthodoxies, silences and half-truths of the secular discourse.

How, for instance, do you firmly close the door of terror? This is not just a question for security agencies and terror experts, but also a question for human rights activists and secular politics. Left to themselves, the security experts will come up with solutions that are worse than the problem itself. Laws like POTA or AFSPA may occasionally succeed in nabbing a terrorist who escapes the net of ordinary laws, but the real-life implementation of such laws is bound to create many more terrorists than it nabs. Encounters like Jamia Nagar strike at the public trust in the police force. Reports like the Nanawati Report on Gujarat strike at the public confidence in judges as custodians of truth. The recent violence in Orissa strikes at the idea of rule of law. But those of us who rightly oppose these have a positive duty too. We must come up with an alternative, democratic way of dealing with the terrorists – Jehadis, Bajrang Dalis or whatever variety – that is at once effective and can respect the rights of every citizen.

The more important question in the long run is how do you keep open the doors for democratic negotiations? This brings us face to face with the delicate question of the involvement of some Indian Muslims in the recent acts of terror. Unfortunately one section of opinion in our country does not wish to acknowledge this fact while the other section does not want to look at the reasons why they may have taken to terror. It is only when we acknowledge that a tiny section of the Indian Muslim youth may be involved in it that we can begin to address some of the underlying reasons.

The way to keep doors for democratic politics open for this section of the Muslim youth is to create a space for open discussion about the condition of the Indian Muslims. The Sachar Committee report has done a great service to the country by making it possible to talk about some of these questions. Now we need to take the next step by debating the ways of addressing the disadvantage and discrimination that the Muslims face in every walk of life. We need to discuss modalities of affirmative action for the Muslims. We need to find ways of improving the political representation of the Muslims. Above all, the public arena needs to open itself to hear the voice of the Indian Muslims, their aspiration for dignity, identity and justice.

Secular politics has to evolve a language to speak about these issues to the public at large. In order to do so, it has to begin to address some difficult questions: How do we address some of the legitimate fears of the Hindus about large-scale institutionalized conversions? What are the rights of the Hindu minorities in J&K or in the North East? How do we react to the patently anti-democratic edicts of the Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee? Politics of secularism must not be seen to be weak on minority communalism.

If terror is politics in a distorted mirror, it follows that peace has to be politically crafted. This requires nothing short of renewing the idea of India for a new generation. This requires steadfast commitment to truth and the courage to question our own orthodoxies. We could do worse on a day to remember the maryadapurushottam.



Butcher and Bolt: Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan

October 28, 2008

The killing fields

John Sweeney

Published 23 October 2008


What are we doing in Afghanistan? A superb new history shows how successive invaders have tried, and failed, to bring order to the country through force

An Afghan man rides his donkey beside the Band-e-Amir lake.


Butcher and Bolt: Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan


David Loyn


Hutchinson, 351pp, £18.99



The Duke of Wellington was a cantankerous reactionary but he knew a thing or two about Afghanistan: “a small army would be annihilated and a large one starved”. On 13 January 1842, a sharp-eyed sentry in Jalalabad saw the more-dead-than-alive figure of the British army surgeon Dr William Brydon crossing the plain, struggling to stay on his pony. He had a bad head wound and was bleeding from the hand. When eventually the pony was taken into a stable, it lay down and died.

Roughly 16,000 British troops and camp followers hadn’t made it from Kabul – one of the most terrible defeats of British military might in the 19th century, commemorated in Lady Elizabeth Butler’s painting Remnants of an Army. Brydon was the sole survivor. The massacre of Lord Elphinstone’s army prompted a series of revenge attacks by the British, which developed into wars. In 1849, 1850 and 1851, huge numbers of British troops swarmed into Afghanistan, butchered and then bolted. And still the Afghans fought back.

In 1860 the British took Peking but a few years later they were back in Afghanistan’s borderlands with 12,500 troops – more than the army needed in order to subdue the Chinese capital – and still the Afghans fought back.

In 1878 came the Battle of Sangin. The British had immense advantages in material – better guns, better communications, better everything – but still the Afghans fought back.

On 17 January 1880 a small and extremely emaciated Talib, or religious student, approached a group of British Royal Engineers in Kandahar and tried to stab Sergeant Miller to death. This incident was the first recorded suicide attack in Kandahar. The Afghans were fighting back, asymmetrically.

The British looked at the map and drew a line – a smudge, more like – along the highest ridges of the Suleiman Mountains, dooming generations of local people yet unborn to almost constant war. Right now, US drones are buzzing along that very line between Pakistan and Afghanistan and getting shot down.

In 1893 the Amir of Afghanistan, a “cunning rogue” named Abdur Rahman, talked sweetly with the British but also wrote a book in which he attacked the infidel and called for jihad, using exactly the same extracts of the Quran as Osama Bin Laden did a century later. The Afghans were fighting back, ideologically.

At the fag end of the 19th century Sir Lepel Griffin, a man of rare sceptical intelligence, wrote to the Times, thundering: “this policy consists in spending a quarter of a million annually on a post of defence and observation which defends and observes nothing, and on the maintenance of a road which leads nowhere”.

Oh dear. And after that came the Russians in 1979, and exactly the same thing happened to them. And now it’s happening to the Americans and the British. Captain Leo Docherty, an officer of the Guards, fought battles in Sangin in 2006 that were first fought in 1878. He reflected on British policy: no proper plan, but “disjointed ill-considered directives from headquarters . . . an illusion . . . the time spent there now seems to be an egotistical folly . . . a tragic replay of Soviet clumsiness”.

Oh dear me. David Loyn, a long-time BBC foreign affairs reporter, has written a brilliant history book of Afghanistan’s wars of the past two centuries, but more importantly the evidence he amasses poses a primary question about the war being fought inside Afghanistan: are we sure this is a good idea? The lesson from history suggests it might not be.

This presents a horrible quandary. Al-Qaeda committed mass murder in Manhattan on 11 September 2001 and the whole operation was cooked up in Bin Laden’s bases in Afghanistan. If the west’s forces – chiefly the United States, Britain and Canada – pull out, it is inevitable that the Taliban will return to power and that al-Qaeda won’t be far behind.

General Sir Mike Jackson, the most thoughtful British soldier for a generation, said a few months ago that the war must be fought, because otherwise we hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban and then on to al-Qaeda. Anyone who believes that the Taliban/al-Qaeda don’t pose a threat to the western world is daft. Too many people have died in Baghdad, Islamabad, Madrid, Bali and London since the 11 September 2001 attacks for anyone to hold the idea that the threat is imaginary or that the US will just turn the other cheek.

On the other hand, the Afghan narrative is almost absurdly unchanging. Any foreign military adventure in Afghanistan is doomed to fail: the land is unforgiving and the people are hostile, secure in their Islamic faith – which ratchets up to a fresh level of purist absolutism with every bomb that falls. They may lose battle after battle, but still they fight.

Loyn writes well of the Soviet invasion, of how the Soviet generals bombed, tortured and shot civilians willy-nilly, and yet still they lost and had to leave Afghanistan in defeat. He quotes the great Italian journalist Tiziano Terzani: “War is not a profession for Bin Laden and his people. It’s a mission. Its roots lie in the faith they acquired in the close-minded Quranic schools, and above all in their deep feelings of defeat and impotence, in the humiliation of a civilisation, Islam, which was once great and feared but which now finds itself increasingly marginalised and offended by the overwhelming power and arrogance of the west.”

Is there a solution? Probably not. Absolutist Islam lacks the means but not the will to defeat the west. The west has the means but not the will to defeat absolutist Islam, least of all inside Afghanistan. However, it might help if we dumped well-intentioned fantasy. Loyn makes the point, again and again, that first British, then Soviet, and now US policy on Afghanistan has been formed by tellers of fairy tales in London, Moscow and Washington and not by the complicated and difficult reality on the ground. It is clear that he admires much about Afghans. He is one of very few reporters who have spent time with the Taliban – and found the men who protected him personally honourable, respected by their communities and very much in control on the ground. He is not mindless of the dark side in Afghanistan: of how, in the chaos after the Russians left, a tank battle took place between two commanders as they both wanted sex with the same boy; how the Taliban murders schoolteachers who seek to give girls an education; how the Taliban’s logic acts like a kind of “anti-matter”, a black hole that engulfs the western mind.

Loyn is clear that much of the “mud” attached to the Taliban can more accurately be applied to the entire Afghan mindset, especially that of the Pashtun heartland: deeply conservative, contemptuous of externally imposed “democracy”, unbothered about liberal rights or the education of women. He writes that “the simple narrative of heroes and demons – ‘mujahedin good, Taliban bad’ – imposed on Afghanistan was another externally drawn picture: an Afghanistan of the western mind”.

In 2001, a few days after western troops marched into Kabul, some BBC colleagues and I drove up from the south through the Khyber Pass and entered Afghanistan. The people didn’t look overjoyed to see us. Near Jalalabad, going in the opposite direction to Dr Brydon on his dying pony, our driver suddenly picked up speed and began to drive murderously fast. We were being chased by the Taliban. A few hours later, four foreign journalists were murdered on the same road, almost certainly by the people who had pursued us. If this was a liberation, it wasn’t universally popular, to put it mildly.

I remember listening, once we arrived in Kabul, to people like William Reeve, the BBC reporter in Kabul before, during and after the 11 September attacks who got bombed out of his chair by the Americans, got back in it and carried on broadcasting. He said that the Taliban had stopped poppy production, had stopped corrupt roadblocks springing up everywhere, had enforced “sharia” law – and any form of justice is better than the anarchy that flows from gun law. As far as Afghans were concerned, the Taliban weren’t as black as they had been painted.

The solution for people who have spent a long time in Afghanistan was a different one: to work with the Taliban and somehow to uncouple the Afghan fighters from al-Qaeda. Seven years of killing later, it feels a bit too late to try that now. So, western policy seems glued to fighting a war that many people in the know are now saying the west is never going to win: “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here . . .”

Butcher and Bolt challenges such rigidity of thinking. Loyn rubbishes the Americans’ supernatural belief in technology above all things, and points out that the Taliban have one and a half million recruits in Pakistan’s madrasas, just over the border. It is a bleak conclusion to a book that should be a must-read for every politician who sends our squaddies into Afghanistan – but one based fairly and squarely on the weight of history.

John Sweeney is an award-winning investigative journalist

US studying features of Islamic banking – Md. Rasooldin – Arab News

October 28, 2008

The Middle East’s Leading English Language Daily   —  

Sunday 26 October 2008 (27 Shawwal 1429)

US studying features of Islamic banking

Md. Rasooldeen | Arab News

INTEREST: Robert M. Kimmitt, US deputy secretary of the Treasury, right, and US Ambassador Ford M. Fraker at the press conference held at the US Embassy in Riyadh on Saturday. (AN photo by Mohammed Rasooldeen)

RIYADH: The US government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis, Robert M. Kimmitt, US deputy secretary of the Treasury, said at a press conference held at the US Embassy here yesterday.

Kimmitt, who is on an official visit to the Kingdom, also held discussions with Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf. Today, he is scheduled to meet Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Gov. Hamad Al-Sayari, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Gov. Amr Al-Dabbagh, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, and Saudi investors and bankers. He said that the agenda for the G-20 summit to be held in Washington on Nov. 15, has to be carefully prepared since important topics are to be discussed in just one day. “I am not sure that Islamic banking will also be itemized in the agenda, but it is a subject that is often dwelt in the public and private sectors,” he noted. He said that experts in the US Treasury Department are currently learning the important features of Islamic banking.

However, he added that his country is focusing on activities of various governments and central banks in tackling the economic issues. He pointed out that the member countries in the G-20 also includes Islamic countries such as Indonesia and Turkey, besides the Kingdom which has been a member for the past 10 years. Representatives from these countries could present their experiences of Islamic banking in the light of the prevailing situation.

He hoped the G-20 summit will provide an effective platform for the member countries to exchange their views on the current economic problem and lay out a plan for the countries to draw out their respective national plans to ease the situation.

Commenting on his meeting with Al-Assaf, Kimmitt said the items that could be included in the agenda were also discussed. “The geographical representation from member countries would provide a broader view of the crisis and would also benefit the non-member countries through their experiments,” he added.

The G-20 summit, said Kimmitt, was proposed by Europeans which was readily accepted by President George W. Bush, who is seeking a common response to the global crisis.

Spelling out the purpose of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Kimmitt said that he has been associating with the Kingdom for more than two decades, but this is a significant visit since he was coming to the Kingdom at a time when there is a threat to the global financial market. “It’s an opportunity for me to present the US perspective … and hear from the Saudi leadership on the current situation in the Kingdom and in the region,” he said, adding that even at a time of crisis, US wants to stress its commitment to tell the countries in the region of the US open investment policies.

Pointing out that a good number of American investors are coming to the Kingdom, Kimmitt said the US government expects reciprocation in the same manner. The deputy secretary is slated to visit the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq where he would meet the leadership and investors on similar lines.

Graham Turner on Keynes Misunderstood

October 27, 2008

Graham Turner on Keynes Misunderstood

Appropos the debate about Keynes below Graham Turner of GFC Economics and author of The Credit Crunch, submitted a fascinating article to the FT on this subject. In it he cites the experience of Japan’s failed attempt to kick-start the economy with public works expenditure in the 1990s.



” Between 1992 and 2002, eleven supplementary budgets were unveiled in a desperate bid to stimulate economic growth. These fiscal initiatives alone cost the taxpayer Y132.6tr. The budget deficit, using the OECD general government measure, soared to a peak of 8.0% of GDP by 2002. Between 1990 and 2005, the debt to GDP ratio climbed from 64.7% to an unthinkable 175.3%.


“And yet the policy failed, because it did not adhere to the prescription set out by Keynes. He was quite clear that the priority of any government or central bank should be to lower interest rates. Monetary policy should be the first line of attack during the onset of a depression.


” Furthermore, it might not be enough to get short term interest rates down. By 1933, short term interest rates had fallen sharply, but long term borrowing costs remained elevated. This was a major concern and strong area of disagreement at the time with classical economists. There was a problem with bond markets, Keynes argued. Investors might find it difficult to accept lower yields even as short term interest rates fell. This liquidity preference lies at the heart of Keynes’s most important and relevant lesson for today. But it is being ignored.

“Keynes succeeded in shifting the debate, and a deliberate policy to drive long term interest rates was
embraced in both the US and UK. The tide began to turn. The recovery was at times patchy. But there can be
no disputing the impact of this more radical monetary policy in providing some relief for economies scarred
by the stock market crash of 1929,and an intensifying depression. Furthermore, one can safely assume that
the policy would have been a good deal more beneficial if it had been implemented sooner. This policy of
quantitative easing can be a powerful antidote, but it has a limited shelf life. Leave it too late, and the impact
will inevitably be diluted, as deflation intensifies.

“Japan’s troubled experience highlights the perils of ramping up government borrowing before the full
range of monetary options has been exhausted.

“Every time the government announced more fiscal spending, the bond market would tumble and yields
would rise. That would drive up private sector borrowing costs, because lending rates were indirectly priced
off government bond yields. Within six to twelve months, corporate bankruptcies would start to rise again.

“This was a classic case of ‘crowding out’. The looser fiscal policy was accelerating the slide into deflation, as more and more companies defaulted. “

One of the hatemail sent to Seema Mustafa for her article

October 27, 2008

One of the hatemail sent to Seema Mustafa for her article on Rape of a Christian Nun in Orissa


———- Forwarded message ———-

From: B.V.Shenoy <>
Date: Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 12:43 PM

27th October, 2008
Dear Seemaji,
Several points in your article, “IN DEFENCE OF SECULARISM” (NIE, 27th Oct.) call for the strongest possible rebuttal and countering. Therefore, please permit me to say the following:
1. The Orissa nun didn’t show any extraordinary courage in “coming out with her testimony”. She was actually paraded before the press by the Christian church leaders of Delhi. In fact, it was arrogant defiance by the church of the SC order to her to cooperate with the Orissa police in Orissa and also to pressurise the Supreme Court to revise its unpalatable order against CBI inquiry. She meekly submitted to the diktats of these cheerleaders and only read what was handed down to her to read. She also didn’t show any courage in answering the questions from the media. In fact, the media merely swallowed whatever was read to it by her and then she was whisked away. So much for the courage and “right to privacy”, the violation of both of which the church didn’t give a hoot about.  
2. It appears from your article that you went to Kandhamal with the sole purpose of collecting dirt against the Hindu groups. You, for instance, have nothing to say about the other “nun”, who was supposed to be a Hindu girl gang-raped and then burnt alive by the Bhajrangis, under the impression that she was a Christian nun. It was said to have been witnessed by a missionery priest. For several days, our secular media had gone ballistic and international with this juicy piece of sensation. Even the Vatican was very upset that the raped and murdered girl happened to be a Hindu, robbing it (the Vatican) of all its sensational international coverage. Perhaps this particular newsy item didn’t come on your radar as subsequently even the church leaders started contradicting the eye-witness priest and later it became evident that the whole thing was concocted by the church in Kandhamal!
3. You also seem to have nothing but contempt for the religious leaders, Christian as well as Muslim, who open dialogues with the RSS and the VHP. For your information, even the Christian leaders of Kerala thought it wise to “open” a dialogue with the RSS/VHP. The Roman Catholic church in Mangalore was the first to hold a dialogue with the Hindus and agree to “control” the delinquent factions of their church. They also had the grace to admit that the pentacostal and New Life churches had perhaps gone overboard with their “evangelical” activities. They had further owned up to the fact that these churches are a law unto themselves.  
4. The Greatest secular messiah, V.P.Singh thought nothing of joining hands with the BJP when it suited him. All the other leaders you have named are state leaders. But, there too, you have pointedly not mentioned the name of Naveen Patnaik. Why? Is he any less secular? And what about Karunanidhi? Also absent is the name of the secular icon, Deve Gowda. The point is that contrary to the media’s own formulations of secularism and Hindu-Right wing fundamentalism, the politicians of all hues, including that of Red, are nothing if not realists. And to them the BJP is a party eminently suitable to join hands with if it leads them to power.
Yours sincerely,



Kandhamar Nun Showed How, It is for Us to Learn The Lesson – By

October 27, 2008

Kandhamar Nun Showed How, It is for Us to Learn The Lesson


By Seema Mustafa


It took a lot of guts for the Orissa nun to come out with her testimony. I had visited the exact spot in Kandhamar district, just days after she was raped, and the burnt jeep, the desecrated statues of Jesus Christ, the broken windows bore testimony to the gruesome violence in the name of religion. Villagers looked on from a distance but when we went and spoke to them the story came pouring out. Yes a priest and nun were caught by the mobs, they were stripped and beaten, they were paraded through the village to the market place where the police stood and watched, and yes the nun was raped.

And what has happened since? Nothing. For days and weeks the Navin Patnaik government stood by and did nothing to protect the poorest of the poor as they were killed, and turned out of their houses just because they were Christians and refused to give up their faith. The attackers speak of conversion, but there has been no forcible conversion, only conversion under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution that gives every single religion in this country the right to preach and propagate. The force was being used then, and is being used now, to beat Christians into renouncing their religion and embracing the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and RSS version of Hinduism.

The nun was not in hiding, she was in hospital, physically and mentally traumatized. She was treated for not just the bleeding wounds but also for the mental trauma, and has only just about recovered sufficiently to come out in public with her story. It took courage, and she should be respected for what she did. Not just for herself, not just for the Christians but for women and humanity. Her right to privacy has to be respected, and it is now for this UPA government that somehow still claims it is secular to ensure that she and the other victims of the horrific violence in Orissa and Karnataka must not be dragged through the coals. The nun is right, and any one who has visited Kandhamar can vouch for this. It is not safe for her to even step inside that state, let alone the district and be questioned by a police force that has done great disservice to the uniform by allowing the mobs to terrorise and brutalise a community.

Some sections of the Christian community, probably in sheer desperation, opened dialogue with the RSS and its ilk. Others criticized them, for they know that this dialogue is false insofar as the RSS and its front organizations are concerned, and its leaders use it to project themselves as one, secular and two, as alternatives to the state with the power to restore peace. Some time ago, religious Muslim leaders too opened this dialogue with the RSS and even attended BJP conferences and meetings to prove their “we are all one” point. In some ways they are, because fundamentalism regardless of the religion gets together at some point, particularly when it has to counter its real opponent: secularism.

Secularism is an ideology that works around the fundamental principle of equality and justice. It is unfortunate that those in power today cynically exploit this to suit their ends. The BJP is more honest, it does not even bother to pay lip service to the cause, and basically denounces all those who do not agree with its divide and rule policy as pseudo secularists or anti-nationals. The Congress remains as hypocritical as always, and has become an expert at fiddling while mobs destroy lives and homes. The regional parties are not exactly communal but are totally opportunistic using specific vote bank policies with more dexterity now than even the Congress did in its better days. The regional leaders do not hesitate to join up with communal parties as and when it suits them but to give them their due, the Nitish Kumars, Chandrababu Naidus and Mayawati’s do manage to preserve some levels of communal amity. After all today the unrest amongst the minorities is greatest in Congress ruled states and not inBihar, or for that matter Uttar Pradesh (except for Azamgarh that had a direct link with Delhi) where despite the large Muslim population, the atmosphere is more peaceful and harmonious.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has disappeared from view. His greatest achievement has been to escape the axe after he assured Congress president Sonia Gandhi that his loyalty to her could never come under question. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is wandering the world, earning accolades for the nuclear deal and for growth gone wrong. Parliament in a parliamentary democracy has been diminished as an institution. The government is directly responsible. It has done away with the monsoon and winter sessions. It has reduced the sittings this year to just 40 days. The country is reeling under the impact of violence, inflation and a collapsing economy. But the government does not feel that there is any need for Parliament to discuss these and any number of burning issues, as it does not want to be held accountable for non governance. It does not care for either Parliament or for parliamentary democracy as under the Congress, the executive has been given the full mandate to be reckless.

India is a pluralistic state. It is any number of states and any number of peoples all rolled together under one nation, one flag and one Constitution. Its oxygen is freedom based on justice and equality. It will disintegrate and die if it is deprived of any of these, and is compelled to adopt a monolithic mantle that is totally unnatural to its existence. Fundamentalist groups insist on imposing their ideologies, their religions, their thoughts, their justice, their vision on people, even as they create the concept of the ‘other’ and try and unite their supporters to combat the opponents. If India has to survive and flourish as a healthy, breathing, vibrant democracy, secularism has to be protected and nurtured.

The nun from Kandhamar has shown us how. It is for us to learn the lesson.

FOR THE RECORDS: ‘I was raped, and now I don’t want to be victimised by the Orissa police’ – THE INDIAN EXPRESS

October 25, 2008…/377595/

‘I was raped, and now I don’t want to be victimised by the Orissa police’

The Indian Express
Posted: Oct 25, 2008 at 2305 hrs IST

 On August 24, around 4:30pm, hearing the shouting of a large crowd, at the gate of Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre, I ran out through the back door and escaped to the forest along with others. We saw our house going up in flames. Around 8:30 pm we came out of the forest and went to the house of a Hindu gentleman who gave us shelter.


On August 25, around1:30 pm, the mob entered the room where I was staying in that house, one of them slapped me on the face, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head with an axe. Others told them to take me out to the road; I saw Fr. Chellan also being taken out and being beaten up. The mob consisting of 40-50 men was armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron-rods, sickles etc.They took both of us to the main road. Then they led us to the burnt Janavikas building saying that they were going to throw us into the smouldering fire.

When we reached the Janavikas building, they threw me to the verandah on the way to the dining room which was full of ashes and broken glass pieces. One of them tore my blouse and others my undergarments. Fr Chellan protested and they beat him and pulled him out from there. They pulled out my saree and one of the stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah mentioned above. When it was over, I managed to get up and put on my petticoat and saree. Then another young man caught me and took me to a room near the staircase. He opened his pants and was attempting to rape me when they reached there.

I hid myself under the staircase. The crowd was shouting “where is that sister, come let us rape her, at least 100 people should rape.” They found me under the staircase and took me out to the road. There I saw Fr. Chellan was kneeling down and the crowd was beating him up. They were searching for a rope to tie us both of us together to burn us in fire. Someone suggested to making us parade naked. They made us walk on the road till Nuagoan market which was half a kilometer from there. They made to fold our hands and walk. I was in petticoat and saree as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip even there and I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back several times.


When I reached the market the market place about a dozen of OSAP policemen were there. I went to them asking to protect me and I sat in between two policemen but they did not move. One from the crowd again pulled me out from there and they wanted to lock us in their temple mandap. The crowd led me and Fr. Chellan to the Nuagaon block building saying that they will hand us over to BDO. From there along with the block officer the mob took us to police outpost Nuagaon, other policemen remained far.

The mob said that they will come back after eating and one of them who attacked me remained back in the police outpost. Policemen then came to police outpost. They were talking in a very friendly manner with the man who had attacked me and stayed back. In police outpost we remained until the inspector in charge of Balliguda with his police team came and took us to Balliguda. They were afraid to take us straight to the police station and they kept us sometimes in jeep. In the garage, from there, they brought us to the station. The inspector in charge and other Government officers took me privately and asked whatever happened to me. I narrated everything in detail to the police, how I was attacked, raped, taken away from policemen paraded half naked and how the policemen did not help me when I asked for help while weeping bitterly. I saw the inspector writing down. The inspector asked me “are you interested in filing FIR? Do you know what will be the consequence?” At about 10:00 pm I was taken for medical check-up accompanied by a lady police officer to Balliguda Hospital. They were afraid to keep us in police station, saying the mob may attack police station. So the police took us to the IB (Inspection Bungalow) where CRP men were camping.

On August 26 around 9:00 am, we were taken to Balliguda police station. When I was writing the FIR, the I I C asked me to hurry up and not to write in detail. When I started writing about the police, the I I C told me, “This is not the way to write FIR, make it short”. So I re-wrote it for the third time in one and half page. I filed the FIR but I was not given a copy of it.

At around 4:00 pm the inspector in charge of Balliguda police station along with some other government officers put us in the OSRTC bus to Bhubaneswar along with other stranded passengers. Police were there till Rangamati where all passengers had their supper. After that I did not see the police. We got down near Nayagarh and traveled in a private vehicle and reached Bhubaneswar around 2:00 am on August 27.

State police failed to stop the crimes, failed to protect me from the attackers, they were friendly with the attackers. They tried their best that I did not register an FIR, not make complaints against police, police did not take down my statement as I narrated in detail and they abandoned me half of the way. I was raped and now I don’t want to be victimised by the Orissa police. I want CBI enquiry.

God bless India, God bless you all.