Archive for November 19th, 2008


November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008





The news of Indian Navy sinking a pirate vessel may shoot the adrenaline up in some of the more exuberant ‘patriotic’ groups that are eternally suffering from insecurities and inferiority complex of one kind or another; but for more sober analysts, the development should appear to be fraught with dire possibilities for which neither India nor its people in general are prepared.


India, after the Manmohan Singh signed Indo-US strategic agreement, is being dragged into all the trouble spots of the world, where the US/UK/Israel axis had either suffered a big mauling or is not prepared to shed the blood of their own citizens, if that can be helped.


Manmohan Singh and his team should have kept the people of India aware of the downside of all these misadventures, which are being touted as the coming of age of India’s super power ambitions, if at all we ever had them. India’s age-old ethos is inward looking. It has never had the seven seas in its calculations to be able to enjoy a peaceful and contented life. It was a Mecca for others. It never ventured out to find another Mecca for itself and its people. Times have changed, but it does not have to be addressed by such a drastic manner, that Indian people have to sacrifice their inbred need and feeling for security to copy the more adventurous ways of the West that thrived on colonizing and dreaming up new versions of the New World Order, every turn of the season.


The coast of Somalia and its neighbours have a long history of lawlessness and entanglement with the western colonizers. India, for which Uganda of Idi Amin is still a nightmarish recollection, is poised to extend its relationship with African and Muslim world countries, under prodding by the Axis. If it starts with sending out war ships to engage elements that had never had a one to one with India, it would certainly be faced with a kind of public animosity from the people of Africa, who are not given to reason out right or wrong, when dealing with an outsider.


India has a big future of economic cooperation with Africa and the Middle East. If it is forced to follow the line of the Axis, by putting out its ‘armed might’ to get a new introduction with the New Africa, it is doomed to put the future of its people at great risk, both inside and outside its boundaries.


It could have better followed the Chinese example and should not have to be dragged into the great game of playing a new bwana in the bush land. It should beware of the Zionist New World Order planners, who thrive entrapping new victims into wars and strife to fulfill their own agenda and profit from the misfortune of others. History is too fresh for Indians not to recall how the two wars were managed by the conspirators and how even advance countries like UK and US had fallen to their machinations with eyes wide open.


India should learn from the history before it is dragged into bloody conflicts in other theaters, where its stake and its defences, at least for now, do not match up to make it worthwhile following through with knee-jerk reactions.


India’s responses to liberate the Indian captives on its hijacked ship, was a perfect example of how India has repeated and will repeat the Kandahar hijack scenario, by paying ransom rather risking the lives of its people.


Let us admit it, without any sense of false pride, that India and its people do not have the stomach to face such choices, and its leaders should remain fully aware of the limitations that its people impose on their capacity to play in the ‘big league’.


The Somali area is fraught with lawless people. They have bloodied much bigger and much stubborn armed nations than India. It is sheer foolishness to expose a soft bellied India and its people to such dubious misadventures, without fully realising the consequences of its failure.


India, whose top priority is to fight terrorism, will be inviting a new wave of challenges from terrorists of other persuasions that had not yet diverted their attention to the Indian peninsula.


No doubt, India had the luxury of basking in the neutral space between the two super power rivalries during the cold war. But to pick up the role of the policeman of the Indian Ocean should wait the demand by acclamations from the neighbours around the big lake. It should not be rushed on the malicious machinations of the discredited western axis.


India should be free to choose the manner and tenor of its new role in the area and goodwill rather than flexing the muscle-power should be the byword that should form its guiding mantra.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Sanjarpur still living in fear, hasn’t lost hope – By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,

November 19, 2008

Sanjarpur still living in fear, hasn’t lost hope

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: What greets you first when you enter Sanjarpur is the graveyard-like silence and a curfew-bound deserted street. There is no curfew officially but people think it safe to remain indoor even in daytime. So much is the impact of havoc and fear caused by the follow-up of the Batla House encounter.



The narrow, dusty road snakes through the village and a few minutes in car after you leave the highway you are at the heart of sleepy Sanjarpur – an open space surrounded by houses with some dozen chairs in the middle indicating people, both mediapersons and human rights activists, have frequented the place since one of the most controversial encounters took place in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar on September 19.

Sajid (17), younger of the two slain suspected terrorists, and Saif who was picked by the ATS from the House L-18 on the day, were from this village.


Sajid’s brother Arif in centre

Sajid’s brother Arif looks shocked and traumatized and also tired of talking to press persons and social workers. He just says that F word is still ruling the roost as the village of 15000 people (with 65% Muslims) is yet to fully come out of the trauma and fear.

Someone informs elders of the village and soon come in many including Saif’s father Mohd Shadab, a politician and a famous district court advocate Wasiuddin. Shadab is former vice president of Azamgarh district unit of Samajwadi Party.



About two months after the encounter, has the situation improved?

“The entire Azamgarh district particularly the village of Sanjarpur is still frightened. Every child is in fear. Even small children are in tension and not taking much interest in education. They fear any sudden and sad incident. The guardians also are not giving much attention to children’s education. They fear STF or ATS may anytime land in the village and pick one,” Shadab told


(From right) Saif’s father Shadab, Advocate Wasiuddin and others

Students who were living in Delhi are not willing to go back. Their guardians also fear the worst, says he.

“We have worked hard to educate our children but the incident has forced us to pull them back. Guardians are concerned about their children’s safety in Delhi, so they are not willing to let them go again. They even think to give them village level education but not send them out,” says Shadab who is locally known as Mister.

But how far will you keep your children at home, how will you give them higher education, what is the way-out?

“First of all there is a need for the government to remove the fear of people. There is a need for promotion of peace and security and this can be done only by the government, state and central. The government should take initiative. They should remove fear and instill confidence among people,” he says, adding, only then people can think of sending their children out.



He relates his visit to Delhi Police’s Special Cell office to meet his son Saif who was arrested from the flat and some others picked later from Jamia Nagar area. All were from Azamgarh. “Saif and other youths in the custody were looking very frightened mentally. We went there after gathering much courage. We were holding back our tears so that they do not get nervous,” Shadab says in choked voice.

Why was Azamgarh targeted?

“Apparently because people here were doing well financially and in education. They are financially sound and literacy rate was going up, people were pushing their children to higher education. Sanjarpur was leading the district in education and youths from the village were going ahead. The incident has shaken their confidence and ambition and shattered their dream,” he says.

Most of the students from the village living in Delhi have come back. Some went back but many are staying back as their guardians are not allowing them to go. They say they will not educate but not sacrifice their children.

Around a dozen students have stayed back. But none of them were willing to come before the media. Though this TCN correspondent was accompanied by known locals faces including two village heads, guardians were not ready to bring them out.

Advocate Wasiuddin is angry over the manner the encounter took place and the refusal by the government of judicial enquiry into the incident.



“They failed in nabbing culprits behind Delhi serial blasts and under pressure and to get accolade they did Batla House. The youths were innocent, why didn’t they arrest them if thousands of security men had surrounded the area and the building,” Wasiuddin asks.

Why they have refused to order enquiry into the case is because they know they committed wrong and want to hide something. To say that the enquiry will dampen the spirit of security persons is absurd as enquiries have been conducted in several encounters in the blast and only then truth could come out and guilty officers were punished. The Sohrabuddin and Connaught Place encounters are living examples, he adds.

“We condemn terrorism and want hardest punishment for terrorists, but first crime should be proved. Muslim religious leaders have condemned it and issued fatwas but after every blast innocent Muslims were picked and no proper investigation was carried out,” says he adding that this will give way to uneasiness in the society and increase terrorism.

Saif’s father Shadab hopes that “all the youths from Azamgarh arrested in connection with blasts will be acquitted as they are innocent. The blood of those killed will not go in vain.”

Britain Grapples With Role for Islamic Justice – By Elaine Sciolino – The New York Times

November 19, 2008


Britain Grapples With Role for Islamic Justice

Published: November 18, 2008

LONDON — The woman in black wanted an Islamic divorce. She told the religious judge that her husband hit her, cursed her and wanted her dead.

Danfung Dennis for The New York Times

A distraught wife seeking a divorce in a London Islamic court as the judge, Suhaib Hasan, talks with her husband by phone.

Danfung Dennis for The New York Times

Men praying at a Shariah council in London. Islamic judges usually urge troubled couples to try to preserve their marriages.

But her husband was opposed, and the Islamic scholar adjudicating the case seemed determined to keep the couple together. So, sensing defeat, she brought our her secret weapon: her father.

In walked a bearded man in long robes who described his son-in-law as a hot-tempered man who had duped his daughter, evaded the police and humiliated his family.

The judge promptly reversed himself and recommended divorce.

This is Islamic justice, British style. Despite a raucous national debate over the limits of religious tolerance and the pre-eminence of British law, the tenets of Shariah, or Islamic law, are increasingly being applied to everyday life in cities across the country.

The Church of England has its own ecclesiastical courts. British Jews have had their own “beth din” courts for more than a century.

But ever since the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev.Rowan Williams, called in February for aspects of Islamic Shariah to be embraced alongside the traditional legal system, the government has been grappling with a public furor over the issue, assuaging critics while trying to reassure a wary and at times disaffected Muslim population that its traditions have a place in British society.

Boxed between the two, the government has taken a stance both cautious and confusing, a sign of how volatile almost any discussion of the role of Britain’s nearly two million Muslims can become.

“There is nothing whatever in English law that prevents people abiding by Shariah principles if they wish to, provided they do not come into conflict with English law,” the justice minister, Jack Straw, said last month. But he added that British law would “always remain supreme,” and that “regardless of religious belief, we are all equal before the law.”

Conservatives and liberals alike — many of them unaware that the Islamic courts had been functioning at all, much less for years — have repeatedly denounced the courts as poor substitutes for British jurisprudence.

They argue that the Islamic tribunals’ proceedings are secretive, with no accountability and no standards for judges’ training or decisions.

Critics also point to cases of domestic violence in which Islamic scholars have tried to keep marriages together by ordering husbands to take classes in anger management, leaving the wives so intimidated that they have withdrawn their complaints from the police.

“They’re hostages to fortune,” said Parvin Ali, founding director of the Fatima Women’s Network, a women’s help group based in Leicester. Speaking of the courts, she said, “There is no outside monitoring, no protection, no records kept, no guarantee that justice will prevail.”

But as the uproar continues, the popularity of the courts among Muslims has blossomed.

Some of the informal councils, as the courts are known, have been giving advice and handing down judgments to Muslims for more than two decades.

Yet the councils have expanded significantly in number and prominence in recent years, with some Islamic scholars reporting a 50 percent increase in cases since 2005.

Almost all of the cases involve women asking for divorce, and through word of mouth and an ambitious use of the Internet, courts like the small, unadorned building in London where the father stepped in to plead his daughter’s case have become magnets for Muslim women seeking to escape loveless marriages — not only from Britain but sometimes also from Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany.

Other cases involve disputes over property, labor, inheritances and physical injury. The tribunals stay away from criminal cases that might call for the imposition of punishments like lashing or stoning.

Indeed, most of the courts’ judgments have no standing under British civil law. But for the parties who come before them, the courts offer something more important: the imprimatur of God.

“We do not want to give the impression that Muslims are an isolated community seeking a separate legal system in this country,” said Shahid Raza, who adjudicates disputes from an Islamic center in the West London suburb of Ealing.

“We are not asking for criminal Shariah law — chopping of hands or stoning to death,” he continued. “Ninety-nine percent of our cases are divorce cases in which women are seeking relief. We are helping women. We are doing a service.”

Still, there is ample room for clashes with British custom. Three months ago, for example, a wealthy Bangladeshi family asked Dr. Raza’s council to resolve an inheritance dispute. It was resolved according to Shariah, he said. That meant the male heirs received twice as much as the female heirs.

Courts in the United States have endorsed Islamic and other religious tribunals, as in 2003, when a Texas appeals court referred a divorce case to a local council called the Texas Islamic Court.

But Shariah has been rejected in the West as well.

The Canadian province of Ontario had allowed rabbinical courts and Christian courts to resolve some civil and family disputes with binding rulings under a 1991 law. But when the Islamic Institute on Civil Justice there tried to create a Shariah court, it was attacked as a violation of the rights of Muslim women.

As a result, Ontario changed the entire system in 2006 to strip the rulings of any religious arbitration of legal validity or enforceability.

In Britain, beth din courts do not decide whether a Jewish couple’s marriage should end. They simply put their stamp of approval on the dissolution of the marriage when both parties agree to it. The beth din also adheres to the rules of Britain’s 1996 Arbitration Actand can function as an official court of arbitration in the consensual resolution of other civil disputes, like inheritance or business conflicts.

“People often come to us for reasons of speed, cost and secrecy,” said David Frei, registrar of the London Beth Din. “There’s nothing to prevent Muslims from doing the same thing.”

In Britain’s Islamic councils, however, if a wife wants a divorce and the husband does not, the Shariah court can grant her unilateral request to dissolve the marriage.

Most Shariah councils do not recognize the Arbitration Act, although Mr. Straw has been pushing them in recent months to do so. The main reason for their opposition is that they do not want the state involved in what they consider to be matters of religion.

The conflict over British Shariah courts comes at a time when Islamic principles are being extended to other areas of daily life in Britain.

There are now five wholly Islamic banks in the country and a score more that comply with Shariah.

An insurance company last summer began British advertising for “car insurance that’s right for your faith” because it does not violate certain Islamic prohibitions, like the one against gambling.

Britain’s first Shariah-compliant prepaid MasterCard was begun in August.

Here in London, Suhaib Hasan’s “courtroom” is a sparsely furnished office of the Islamic Shariah Council in Leyton, a working-class neighborhood in the eastern corner of the city. It has no lawyers or court stenographer, no recording device or computer, so Dr. Hasan takes partial notes in longhand.

“Please, will you give him another chance?” he asked the woman in black who was seeking divorce — that is, before she brought in the weighty voice of her father.

“No, no!” the woman, a 24-year-old employment consultant who had come seeking justice from 200 miles away, replied. “I gave him too many chances. He is an evil, evil man.”

“I’ll give you one month’s time to try to reconcile,” Dr. Hasan ruled.

Then her father tipped the scales.

“He was not a cucumber that we could cut open to know that he was rotten inside,” the father testified. “The only solution is divorce.”

Apparently convinced, Dr. Hasan said he would recommend divorce at the London Central Mosque, where he and several other religious scholars meet once a month to give final approval to cases like this.

Dr. Hasan, a silver-bearded, Saudi-educated scholar of Pakistani origin, handles the Pakistani community; an Egyptian ministers to the ethnic Arab community, while a Bangladeshi and a Somali work with their own communities.

The council in Leyton is one of the oldest and largest courts in the country. It has been quietly resolving disputes since 1982 and has dealt with more than 7,000 divorce cases.

Under some interpretations of Islamic law, a woman needs the blessing of a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence to be divorced, while a man can simply say three times that he is divorcing his wife.

Dr. Hasan counsels women that they must have their civil marriages dissolved in the British civil system.

“We always try to keep the marriages together, especially when there are children,” said Dr. Hasan’s wife, Shakila Qurashi, who works as an unofficial counselor for women.

If the husband beats her, she should go to the police and have a divorce, Ms. Qurashi said. “But if he’s slapped her only once or something like that,” she said, “and he admits he has made a mistake and promised not to do it again, then we say, ‘You have to forgive.’ ”

One recent afternoon, the waiting room was full of women and their family members.

A Pakistan-born 33-year-old mother of five explained that her husband would beat her and her children. “He threatens to kill us,” she said, as her daughter translated from Urdu. “He calls me a Jew and an infidel.” Dr. Hasan told her to immediately get police protection and request an Islamic divorce.

Another woman, 25, wanted out of a two-year-old arranged marriage with a man who refused to consummate the relationship. Dr. Hasan counseled dialogue.

“Until we see the husband,” he said, “we can’t be sure that what you’re saying is true.”

Basil Katz contributed reporting.

Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror – By Mustafa Khan

November 19, 2008






Malegaon Blast: Crime Trail of Terror

By Mustafa Khan

As investigations into recent bomb blasts are still underway and it is difficult to prove what we write howsoever we may try to be objective there is still the emergent need for introspection that cannot be denied to journalism. Whatever you read between the lines may open up a new vista which may have till now been choked up by the ‘dumping of toxic feelings” by leaders and religious biased groups.  Much of the coverage on Malegaon is bound to generate heat in debates and discussions where cool-headed analysis in the national interest is required.

The evolving scenario makes one wonder as to what has been happening when we were ‘sleeping’. Therefore we walk a tight rope in dealing with bomb blasts and the cases of Sonal Shah, now on the advisory committee of President elect Barack Obama.

It is reported in a Marathi daily of Malegaon that Sadhvi Pragyasingh has confessed that foreign fund was used in the bomb blast in Malegaon. This contrasts with what has been reported that Lt Col Purohit had misappropriated military intelligence fund.  Both the sources of funding are serious and dangerous for the country. They involve fraud nationally and internationally that goes against the grain of the army that has had world opinion on its sides till recently as far as discipline is concerned. Therefore the necessity of each one accused in terrorism facing scrutiny at all levels and from all angles.

Purohit had taken Rs 20,000 from Mr. Shirish Yeshwant Date who had family acquaintance with him for getting him licence for arms.  Purohit supplied false information by giving bogus documents stating that Date lived in the defence colony of Deolali, Nasik. This fraudulent means of getting money is debauchery.

Mystery surrounds the arrest of Sudhakar Chaturvedi who was arrested from Dadar railway station on November 4 with a country-made revolver and a fake army identity card. If Purohit could give fake residence certificate that Date lived in defence colony of Deolali he could provide fake army identity card as well. It is reported that he not only knew the Malegaon conspiracy but was very much present in Malegaon itself.

BJP is the only political party that boasts a separate retired army personnel cell. One such retiree is the chief minister of Uttarakhand B C Khanduria retired Major General.  Another retired officer and BJP member, Sabyasachi Bagchi proudly says that RSS develops the character of the young people. It is this character building that makes them good soldier. If this were so why has the training of RSS gone haywire in the case of Purohit? Of greater concern is the interference of the party and its ideology in the armed forces through this association. SS Raikar of Bhonsala military school is also a retired person from the army. He allowed the school premises for terror, hatching conspiracy as well as arms training and providing accommodation.

The former governor of Jammu and Kashmir SK Sinha has allegedly allowed Dayanand Pandey to stay in the official residence.

Why have these army men behaved the way they have done? A neutral source retired Lt Gen V.R. Raghavan, former director-general of military operations blames “ultra nationalism of a narrow kind” responsible for the criminality of the contaminated serving and retired army officers. Thus what Bagchi says is eyewash.

No less is the case of Sameer Kulkarni who had taken deposit money from a customer to provide him a computer. Failing to supply he issued a cheque as the customer threatened him. The cheque bounced. The police registered a case against Kulkarni.

Dayanand Pandey’s first appearance in the court on November 17 is of grave import as he broke down and begged that the court should rather hang him but not touch his laptop. What is there in the laptop that he should be so much concerned about it? A popular news channel probed the matter and believes that the Pandey must have stored nude pictures of women and great men of his acquaintance. This bonanza of pornography is bound to shame him along with all those who figure in the collection. The police again used the old technique of retrieving the deleted files for clues. Or is the suspicion real that there is similar delay here as it was in the case of Purohit’s laptop. The delay in finding the laptop was a ruse behind which lies the real intention of deleting the more serious files? Pandey had harboured criminals in his ashram in Dhand, Ahmadabad. It is also believed that Ramji Kalsangar alias Ramnarayan Singh was sheltered there. On Friday November 14 2008 Dayanand Pandey committed perjury by saying that he was not Dayanand Pandey but Amritanand Dwivedi. He has other aliases as well and that is why the Kanpur judicial magistrate Mukesh Kumar Singh on Thursday noted the multiple names adopted by Amritanand while granting transit remand to ATS as he felt certain that Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Swami Amritanand Dev were aliases of the same person who heads the Sharada Sarvadnya Peeth in Jammu.


His craze to false identity is venal as he was in Gorakhpur in 2006 at the invitation of BJP MLA Shiv Pratap Shukla as Jagatguru Shankracharya. He fled when a man asked about his identity. Murkier still was his craze to meet devotees only at night when he was in Faridabad staying at Mata Mandir as self styled Jagatguru Swami Amritanand Devtirth Maharaj.


He also committed embezzlement as president of Sharda Peeth of Jammu where he called himself Swami Amritanand. He was thrown out of the Peeth. But he was so Machiavellian that he soon started Sharda Sarvgya Peeth of his own and called himself Swami Amritanand Dev Teerth.

A fuller list of his crimes should make the BJP and RSS and other right wing affiliates of the Sangh Parivar sit up and face the nation to clarify whether they still want identity based politics and governance. Will they still misappropriate funds raised in the US in the name of relief and divert it to buy pouches of food and wine and distribute cash for those who perpetrated the pogroms in Gujarat 2002 with connivance of the government of Narendra Modi?

Ramesh Upadhya’s stalking a woman and giving her phone number on website as a call girl and also cheating the woman through the matrimonial site by showing that he was 37 and not 57 have a damaging effect on the kind of people in the Sangh Parivar.

These disrepute people under prosecution threaten to lower the position of India in the world opinion thanks to the Sangh Parivar’s involvement. If a serving lieutenant colonel of the Indian army is supplying 60 kg of RDX for terrorism that too against visiting Pakistanis then in what way are the ISI and extreme Hindu groups different in ideology and practice. On November 15 the ATS claims that the bomb blast in Malegaon is linked to the February 7, 2007 blasts on Samjhauta Express carrying Pakistanis because RDX was used in both the incidents. But two days later it allegedly changes its stance under the goading of the Intelligence Bureau. All through the government of India has been blaming the ISI of Pakistan for all the blasts in the country and especially the Samjhauta Express blasts. As to the foreign funds used in Malegaon attack it is necessary to look at how the funds end up in India, the real end users. There are documented proofs that huge amounts of money collected in the US go into the accounts of VHP and other conglomerates of RSS. Sonal Shah and her father Ramesh have been in the core group of VHPA [America] and have been instrumental in sending fund under the name of Eklavya Vidyalaya for backward tribals. But the real use is not to ameliorate the lot of the tribal people by educating them, it is rather to convert them to Hinduism if they are animists or have taken to Christianity. In the recent anti- Christian riots in Kandhamal of Orissa and other parts of India it is this fund that played havoc as it did in 2002 against the Muslims of Gujarat. The backward community of Charras was roped in by the RSS to wreak “vengeance” on the Muslims by slaughtering them. This confession is caught on camera and no action has been taken as if that was not terrorism.

George Fernandes had asked the army chief, the Air Marshal, and the Admiral to report the Kargil war to MPs. When the three went to the place it was the party office of BJP. That is how the Sangh parivar interferes in the affairs of the armed forces, directly.