Posts Tagged ‘Amaresh Misra’

A Muslim Revolt: The Hidden story of Congress’ stunning victory in UP – By Amaresh Misra

May 18, 2009

A Muslim Revolt: The Hidden story of Congress’ stunning victory in UP

 

                           By Amaresh Misra

 

        Each and every observer of Indian politics is angling for a simple answer to the vexed question: how and why did the Congress perform so well in Uttar Pradesh?

        The answer however is complex: apart from other reasons, the Muslim voting pattern in UP proved decisive. Muslims were known to be disillusioned with Congress beyond repair. Then what made them switch over from the BSP or the SP to the Congress, and that too at the last minute?

         Since 2004, Muslims in UP have been nursing a sense of betrayal vis-à-vis the SP and the BSP. This  alienation was sharpened after the Batala House encounter, in which boys from Azamgarh were targeted systematically by the UP ATS. Yet, Muslim MPs of the BSP and SP were virtually gagged by their respective party leaders—the MPs were unable to even demand a judicial probe in the affair. After that episode most Muslim MPs were seen more as third grade power brokers

        The incident and its fallout, and the wave of Muslim persecution that followed the July 26th 2008 Ahmedabad/Jaipur and subsequent bomb blasts, led Muslims to grope for a way to establish their independent forums. The thinking amongst the new Muslim leadership then was that if 7% Yadavs in UP can capture power, negotiate with the central government, cut deals and make and unmake governments on the basis of 18% Muslim votes, why can’t, Muslims form alliances with other castes and bargain or negotiate directly?

        This thinking found an echo in the Ulema Council of Azamgarh in eastern UP, which emerged suddenly in the wake of the Batala House encounter. The Council rejected Muslim power brokers; it was soon taking protest trains to Delhi and Lucknow; opposition to all four major parties—the SP, BSP, Congress and the BJP—was announced. Riding on a wave of popular support, the Council also announced 7 candidates—including one from Lucknow in Avadh—from UP for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

        In the wake of the Council’s appeal, several other small Muslim parties of UP also formed a Muslim political front. That this phenomenon was not limited to UP, was borne out by Badruddin Ajmal who also tried taking his AUDF outside Assam and launch it in Maharashtra and UP.

        In Kerala and Bengal as well, attempts were made to float independent Muslim political parties. The Jamat-e-Islami too experimented with the idea. Factions of the Jamiat Ulama Hind also were seen looking for Independent options.

        None of these Muslim formations envisaged themselves as a communal forum. Right from AUDF to the Ulema Council, the attempt was to attract as many Hindus as possible.

         Most, not all, Muslim formations were led by Ulemas, the Deobandis in particular. Jamiat Ulama Hind was always the premier Indian Deobandi organization—it had opposed Jinnah’s two nation theory before partition and had stood by the Congress in the post-Independence phase. Yet on eve of the 2009 elections it was locked in internecine internal strife.

        Otherwise also, the Ulemas were facing a crisis of credibility. Most of the Delhi and Lucknow Ulemas, the two major cities with a sizeable concentration of Muslim clerics, had issued political fatwas in the past. Looking upon political fatwas as retrograde, the Muslim electorate had rejected these; however, the Ulemas of the AUDF and Ulema Council were seen in a different light. Both Badruddin Ajmal and Amir Rashadi, the convener of the Ulema Council, were respected for having aroused political aspirations amongst Muslims.  

        But as the 2009 elections proceeded, it became clear that even the AUDF and the Ulema Council were not sticking to their promise of carving out an independent niche for Muslims. The Ulema Council and Amir Rashadi were seen as hobnobbing with the BSP and the BJP, while the AUDF was looked at as a rich man’s Bania-Muslim party, lacking a sense of real Muslim issues at the grassroots outside Assam. It was not interested say, in uniting the Barelvi and the Shia Ulema and in issues like Muslim harassment by the Indian State.

        In UP, the Ulema Council seemed to be on its own trip—parochialism ruled the roost—the attempt was to remind the Muslims repetitively that they have to create their own BSP.

        In this, the Ulema Council missed a vital point—namely that Indian Muslims are not Dalits. They do not have a BAMCEF type support organization; secondly, they form part of the ex-ruling class and would like their party to be progressive and forward looking as well.

         In Azamgarh and other strong Ulema Council constituencies, the Council failed to link the issue of Muslim persecution with the massive anti-BJP, anti-sectarian, middle-path undercurrent that was perhaps the single most important feature of the 2009 elections. 

        Seeing their leaders lacking in anti-BJP fervor, Muslims began to doubt the secular credentials of the  Ulema Council. The same happened to a lesser degree with the AUDF on seats outside Assam. Then, the Lucknavi Ulema issued directives or semi-fatwas, asking votes blatantly for the Lucknow BSP candidate, known as a big neo-rich, money-bag.  

Enraged Muslims of Lucknow revolted—the  Ulema Council failed to read, or ignored deliberately, the anti-big Ulema sentiment. Ditching the Ulema Council as well, Muslims voted en masse for the Congress all over Avadh.     

         For the first time in the history of Independent India, Muslims launched a passive political revolt against their own Ulema, who filled their own pockets while the community starved; who bought huge donations from Arab countries for madrasasbut seldom paid heed to the plight of the Muslim under-trials; who while asking Muslims to unite themselves remained fragmented; who never taught the Muslims their glorious secular past in India or elsewhere; who kept the community backward while acting as dishonorable and parochial middlemen. While reaping the harvest of what Shah Waliullah and Shah Abdul Aziz—the  premier, reformist Muslim clerics and political thinkers of the 18th-19thcentury—sowed, these Ulemas had forgotten to even mention their legacy.      

This anti-Ulema revolt is against Muslim power brokers as well—that is why there are so few Muslim MPs in the new Lok Sabha. Secular forces ought to grab this moment and provide justice and a modern vision to Muslims. This is also the time for the non-Ulema, non-broker Muslim leadership to assert itself.      

 

(The author is a historian and was the Lucknow Lok Sabha candidate of the Ulema Council) 

The Battle of Azamgarh – By Amaresh Misra

March 8, 2009

The Battle of Azamgarh 

 

                                    By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

      Right now, a new kind of a battle is going on in India. For the first time since Independence, Muslims of a whole region right in India’s heartland—the district of Azamgarh in Poorvanchal (East Uttar Pradesh)—have launched an Independent mass movement. Till date, from its own resources, the Ulema Council, an umbrella organization of leading Muslim clerics of the district, has succeeded in bringing hundreds and thousands of ordinary Muslims to Delhi, and then Lucknow in protest rallies. Several of the young boys and men from middle, lower and working classes arrived in trains booked in advance by the Ulema Council.

For the first time in the history of mass movements in India, railways were used as a means and a mode of protest. The issues the protestors raised included a judicial enquiry into the Batala House encounter, an end to Police atrocities and terror, picking of boys without warrants by the UP-ATS from villages of the district, the maligning of boys from a whole district as terrorists, and the refusal of `civilized’ citizens in Mumbai and Delhi to give houses on rent to students and residents of Azamgarh.

It is difficult to conceive that any other district of India would have risen en masse on these issues—in Azamgarh, till October 2008, just a month after the Batala House encounter, and two months after Abu Bashar, the main accused in the July 26thAhmedabad Blasts was picked up from the Sarai Meer village, the situation was so bad that any ATS man in plainclothes could enter a village and harass and torture Muslims at will. Azamgarhis were practically lynched in Delhi by blood thirsty fascist crowds on at least two occasions.

Formed in September 2008, the Ulema Council fought back and in a very short time, by December 2008, the tide began to turn. The aggressive stance taken by the Ulema Council leaders forced the local Police and the ATS to put a stop to the open beating and harassment of Muslim youth. At several places, where the ATS arrived to take boys into custody, villagers came out in hordes—the ATS had to retreat. The issue against police atrocities became one of self-respect and human dignity.   

Poorvanchal is the area where the BJP-VHP-RSS saffron brigade has also unleashed a reign of anti-Muslim terror. Presenting a deadly mixture of Hindutva politics and mafia activities under police protection, Adityanath and his son Yoginath, the BJP MP from Gorakhpur, are virtually a law unto their own. Recently, they even had the gumption to kill a Muslim Police Inspector in broad daylight.

After the Batala House encounter, BJP leaders of Azamgarh were talking openly about turning Azamgarh into another Gorakhpur or even Gujarat. In fact, the BJP and VHP leaders gave a slogan—Azamgarh shuruaat karega, UP Gujarat banega. To counter this, the Ulema Council gave the slogan:Azamgarh shuruaat karega, poora Bharat swarg banega.

   This basic spirit of Muslim led Indian secular nationalism, in which instead of a Hindu-Muslim or even a police Vs Muslim fight the Azamgarh battle has become part of the larger war for secularism in India, has surprised armchair liberals—unlike other such initiatives undertaken by other social forces, the Azamgarh phenomenon has some very specific features. For one, it is in tune with the post 26/11 mood of national secular unity and decline of communal feeling. It has nothing to do with Muslim League type exclusive Muslim assertion. It includes a vast majority of Pasis, Chamars, Rajbhars, Musahars and Nonias, other Most Backward Hindu Castes and poorer sections from amongst the upper castes, who too have borne the brunt of police and mafia-Hindutva atrocities.    

          Secondly, this movement has deep roots in Azamgarh’s history. In 1857, this was the district which provided the British with one of the fiercest resistance in Eastern India.  Most of the sepoys of the East India Company Bengal Army came from Avadh and Poorvanchal (east UP).    An entire infantry regiment, the 17th BNI, which remained in the frontline during the battles in Avadh and Lucknow, was made up of Muslims, Rajputs and Yadavs of Azamgarh. The Pulwar Rajputs of Azamgarh and Muslims of the Belariagunj, Sarai Meer and Beni Para (the upsurge areas of the current movement) are mentioned in British records as one of the toughest anti-colonial resistance fighters.  

       During the 1942 Quit India movement, one of the first attacks on Police stations and Kotwalis were reported from Azamgarh. One by one, all districts of Poorvanchal followed Azamgarh’s lead—soon the entire region from Jaunpur to Ballia was out of British hands, the police fleeing almost to a man.  

       In the post-Independence era, one of the first anti-Congress opposition party MLA was elected from Azamgarh. In the 1960s, when the notion of independent Muslim assertion was unheard of, Azamgarh was home to Muslim Majlis, a secular movement of Dalit-backward-Muslim elements started by Dr. Faridi of Lucknow.

       In the 1970s and 1980s, upwardly mobile and politically and socially conscious Azamgarhis began to move out—in Mumbai, Dubai, and the US, wherever they went, they built small businesses and prospered to a certain extent. Then they came back to their villages—in the 1990s, Azamgarhis decided to send their boys and girls to for higher education, especially to centers like Delhi.

       It was because of a desire for education that boys from Azamgarh rented houses and began staying in Okhla and the Jamia Nagar-Batala House area. At the same time the Delhi Police began to be fed with reports that a lot of Muslim boys from Azamgarh were settling down in the city.  BJP UP circles viewed the social mobility of Muslims with envy and suspicion; during Advani’s tenure as the Home Minister, Azamgarh boys were screened regularly by the Delhi Police.

After the 12th September 2008 Delhi blasts, there was immense pressure on the Delhi Police to do something. The department already had a ready data on Delhi based Azamgarh boys. Sajid and Atif, the victims of the Batala house episode, seemed to have been made the scapegoat, and Azamgarh the ready villain, by the Delhi Police.    

Only Ulemas could have countered this kind of a state terror.  Indian Ulemas played a glorious role during the Indian freedom struggle. Hundreds and thousands died during 1857 wars. Then in the 20thcentury, Indian Ulemas opposed Jinnah’s two nation theory. After 1947, they went back to theirmadrasas and khanqahas (hospices). Now, 17 years after the Babari Masjid demolition, and 7 years after the Gujarat riots, they have again emerged for direct political action. In fact the Ulema Council has fielded 5 candidates from UP in the coming Parliamentary elections—in the days to come they will field more. Besides the BJP, the Ulema Council has rejected SP, BSP and the Congress for pursuing a negative brand of secular politics. Elsewhere in India too Muslims are forming secular parties under their leadership—Badruddin Ajmal’s Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) is expanding to Maharashtra and Bengal. Kerala is witnessing the rise of the Popular Front. Even Jamaat-e-Islami is contemplating a secular political party.  

Muslims say that for 44 years they tried first, the upper caste Hindu secular leadership—and then after 1991 the Backward and Dalit Hindu secular forces. All three took them for a ride. Now the current mood is to take leadership in their own hands and forge alliances with different social forces and Hindu castes. The Indian (chiefly Hindu) political class should take note as to why this is happening—isn’t it true that the story of current Muslim assertion includes the recent history of betrayal by the Indian state of its own promises given to Muslims, written as law in the Indian constitution?        

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin – By Amaresh Misra

December 24, 2008


Monday, December 22, 2008

Mumbai Carnage: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin

By Amaresh Misra

It is 11.41 PM in India on 22nd December 2008 in India. Barely an hour ago, the Mumbai Police have come out with a statement, on the last day of the Indian Parliament, after AR Antulay, the Indian minority affairs minister was getting increasing support from all secular, Left and even BJP backed parties for his questioning of circumstances surrounding Hemant Karkare’s death and demand for a probe into the same.
The Police statement sounds like a Post Mortem report—but it not one, we are told—it is a statement on the kind of bullets Karkare received on his body. The statement says “four bullets were found on Hemant Karkare’s body; none of the four bullets found on Karkare’s body were from a Police weapon; Karkare was shot by terrorists and his death has nothing to do with the Malegaon blast investigations”.
I leave it to readers to draw their conclusions on the cruel joke which the Mumbai Police and the establishment behind it is playing with Indian, Muslim, Hindu and Marathi sentiments. Have you ever heard of a Police statement which explains that `none of the bullets found on Karkare’s body came from a Police weapon?’ And that his death had nothing to do with Malegaon investigations?
This is not a statement. It is a foolish defense—an epic slip of the official whip—of an indefensible truth—that Karkare was indeed killed by a Police weapon and that his death was a direct result of Malegaon Blast investigations.
The establishment—not just the RSS minded forces but also the pro-US, pro-Israel lobby in Congress and other `secular’ parties—seems frightened, especially by the stand taken by Muhammad Salim, the CPI-M MP, who along with Sandeep Dixit of the Congress, gave one of the best speeches in the Parliament when the debate on the Mumbai carnage began. Muhammad Salim is the young, modern face of the Indian Muslim and his coming out in Antulay’s favor was `dangerous’.
I am not drawing this conclusion—it is emerging from reading the Police version backwards, from the perspective of Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammett and Ibn-e-Safi. Common sense has deserted the Mumbai Police. This if any is God’s justice and nature’s revenge on killers and rapists like Rakesh Maria, the Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, and surprisingly and shockingly the chief investigator in the Mumbai carnage.
By issuing this statement when only a day is left for Parliament’s winter session, when both Antulay and this author were getting increasing support from ordinary Hindus and Muslims for their `conspiracy theories’, the Mumbai Police has admitted its guilt. If the Indian judicial system fails to punish the Mumbai or whichever Police killed Karkare, then God’s and people’s justice will take over.
The Police statement fails to address the basic questions: who sent Karkare, Salaskar and Kaamte to Cama hospital to get killed? Where is Karkare’s mobile phone? Who is the person he was talking to when his last footage was shown on TV? Why have Karkare’s calls not been traced through the satellite system? Karkare was given Z security—where was the Z security when Karkare went into the field? How can an ATS chief enter into a battle with terrorists without at least a dozen members of his 400 strong ATS team, equipped with semi-automatic weapons? Where was the Mumbai ATS team? There are three versions of the chain of events leading to Karkare’s death—which version is true which false?
Karkare was unveiling the uncomfortable truth that terror has a different side to it; according to Karkare’s investigations into the Malegaon blasts, terrorists did not come merely in the shape of `Muslim’ skull caps or beards or Pathan suits. They could also don the tika and pseudo-Hindu, anti-national, anti-Sanatani, anti-secular saffron robes.
For the first time since Independence, Karkare was not just taking the ever alive RSS backed Hindutva terrorism head on; he was wittingly or unwittingly challenging American and Israeli backed Islamophobia. Karkare was challenging directly CIA and Mossad—people who do not take this seriously, whether or not they believe in any `theory’, are simply dumb.
Imagine the repercussions had Karkare been allowed to go ahead with the full probe on Malegaon investigations. Imagine Praveen Togadia behind bars; imagine Narendra Modi behind bars; imagine even Sudarshan and LK Advani behind bars—above all imagine the nightmare of New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, The Economist and all pseudo-liberal newspapers who have gone along and played the American-Israeli game of demonizing Islam and creating the image of the `Islamic terrorist’, only and only because, after the demise of the Soviet Union, Islam is the only ideology left in the world possessing a concept of jihad or dharmayuddhya, i.e. a fight against injustice, and the only barrier in the way of the American-Israeli loot of Asian resources.
Imagine the discomfiture of even the Guardian newspaper for which Arundhati Roy’s generalized, superficially anti-American but pro-western-liberal-Imperialist stance, of a pseudo-girlish `oh-my-God’ kind of horror at dirty Indian realities—realities created by the west, but which the West prefers to look condescendingly at, an attitude Arundhati Roy never questions—is the most comfortable kind of third world liberalism that they can live with.
As the Government of India prepares for war with Pakistan at American-Israeli behest, a small happening, Hemant Karkare’s Post Mortem non-report/report, Mumbai Police’s `forced confession’, is standing in its way.
The battle for India’s souls has just begun—tomorrow do not believe a word of what headlines of leading Indian newspapers will scream. They are dead serious about their lies and half-truths—and they know it.
Just 500 meters away from Nariman House, there is a station of the Grenadier Battalion; it was ready to go into action at 11 PM on 26th November; timely action by this force could have saved hundreds of lives—but this battalion and other army units were not pressed into action till 5or 6 AM after the NSG arrived. Why this deliberate callousness? Who is responsible for these orders? Shouldn’t he or she, or hees and shees, be publicly hanged?
Mumbai Police is one of the strongest bastion, of RSS-underworld-Mossad-US alliance, which uses the ISI and a part of RAW as tools. Sonia Gandhi must realize this before it is too late. These forces killed her husband and her mother-in-law. They will not spare anyone. The CPI-M should also realize that as the Congress fails the historic duty of saving India from disintegration, chaos and fascist/colonial takeover rests on its shoulders. Let all Left, secular and patriotic forces see in the Mumbai carnage the first direct assault Mossad-CIA backed ISI, underworld and Hindutva agents on India’s sovereignty.
For those who do not believe that RSS can use Dawood (now a CIA asset) or Vice versa or that ISI can use RSS or Vice versa, what about Indranesh, an accused in the Malegaon Blast investigations taking Rs 3 Crores from the ISI, something mentioned by Karkare in the Malegaon file?

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Was the Mumbai attack a contractual-terrorist operation? – By Amaresh Misra

December 11, 2008


Did Mumbai terrorists work through Bona-fide Indian Police Informers?

Was the Mumbai attack a contractual-terrorist operation?

By Amaresh Misra

A new revelation, which actually repeats a pattern seen before, casts its own shadow over the Mumbai terror attack.

A report, appearing on several Indian and International news agencies claims that, persons who probably brought SIM cards used by Mumbai terrorists could have been Police informers and people working for different Indian State Police or intelligence forces:

“One of the two Indian men arrested for illegally buying mobile phone cards used by the gunmen in the Mumbai attacks was a counterinsurgency police officer who may have been on an undercover mission, security officials said Saturday, demanding his release. The arrests, announced in the eastern city of Calcutta, were the first since the bloody siege ended. But what was touted as a rare success for India’s beleaguered law enforcement agencies, quickly turned sour as police in two Indian regions squared off against one another.

Senior police officers in Indian Kashmir, which has been at the heart of tensions between India and Pakistan, demanded the release of the officer, Mukhtar Ahmed, saying he was one of their own and had been involved in infiltrating Kashmiri militant groups. Indian authorities believe the banned Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has links to Kashmir, trained the gunmen and plotted the attacks that left 171 people dead after a three-day rampage through Mumbai that began Nov. 26.

The implications of Ahmed’s involvement – that Indian agents may have been in touch with the militants and perhaps supplied the SIM cards used in the attacks added to the growing list of questions over India’s ill-trained security forces, which are widely blamed for not thwarting the attacks.

Earlier Saturday, Calcutta police announced the arrests of Ahmed and Tauseef Rahman, who allegedly bought SIM cards by using fake documents, including identification cards of dead people. The cards allow users switch their cellular service to phones other than their own.

Rahman, of West Bengal state, later sold them to Ahmed, said Rajeev Kumar a senior Calcutta police officer.

Both men were arrested Friday and charged with fraud and criminal conspiracy, Kumar said, adding that police were still investigating how the 10 gunmen obtained the SIM cards.

But the announcement had police in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, fuming.

We have told Calcutta police that Ahmed is “our man and it’s now up to them how to facilitate his release,” said one senior officer speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information. Other police officials in Kashmir supported his account.

The officer said Ahmed was a Special Police Officer, part of a semiofficial counterinsurgency network whose members are usually drawn from former militants. The force is run on a special funding from the federal Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Sometimes we use our men engaged in counterinsurgency ops to provide SIM cards to the (militant) outfits so that we track their plans down,” said the officer.

Police said Ahmed was recruited to the force after his brother was killed five years ago, allegedly by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants for being a police informer.

About a dozen Islamic militant groups have been fighting in Kashmir since 1989, seeking independence from mainly Hindu India or a union with Muslim-majority Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety.

The Calcutta police denied the claims from Srinagar. “This is not true,” said Kumar.

The bungling and miscommunications among India’s many security services comes as police said they were re-examining another suspected Lashkar militant who was arrested nine months before the attacks carrying hand-drawn sketches of Mumbai hotels, the train terminal and other targeted sites”.

It is a standard and understandable practice of Indian security forces to use captured militants or ex-militants with grievances for counter-insurgency operations. What is strange is that SIM cards purchased by these agents working for Government agencies were used by Mumbai terrorists. We can see here a direct clash between the Kashmir and the Calcutta Police.

This could have been dismissed as a one off instance were it not for the fact that even earlier there have been reports of Police informers and even Pakistanis working as double agents for RAW being framed in terror attacks in India.

One such affair is the strange case of the Red Fort terror attack, resembling the Parliamentary attack, in December 2007. A man named Muhammad Arif alias Ashfaq was caught and sentenced to be hanged for being the mastermind. The Court let all other `terrorists’ go.

Tehelka has this to say in a report:

“Arif candidly acknowledged that he was a Pakistani in his statement under Section 313 of the CrPC. But he also explained in detail the circumstances under which he came to India. Arif claimed that he was an operative for RAW, India’s external intelligence agency. His statement reads: “I used to work for the ‘X’ branch of RAW since 1997. On the last day of June 2000, I went to Kathmandu to give some documents to Sanjeev Gupta. I reached there from Pakistan by a PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) flight on my passport number 634417… Sanjeev Gupta accompanied me to Raxaul and from there I came to India by train. He gave me the address of one
Nain Singh and his telephone number (6834454), saying he would accommodate me. Nain Singh gave me a room in his own house. He advised me not to tell my real name and address to anyone, and to say that I was a resident of Jammu.”

The evidence gathered by TEHELKA indicates that Arif wasn’t lying. He did stay with Nain Singh, who was working for RAW and who admitted before the court that he was employed with the Cabinet Secretariat, the usual euphemism for RAW. Arif stayed for oneand- a-half months in Nain Singh’s house in south-east Delhi’s Okhla village. While Nain Singh acknowledged Arif’s stay in his house, he explained it away by saying that the house belonged to his mother. “Azam Mailk was a tenant in the house. He brought Arif to my mother. I was not in Delhi at the time. Arif informed me that he was a resident of Jammu. I told my mother that the house should not be rented to a Kashmiri. Thereafter he vacated the house within one-and-a-half months.” When the court asked Nain Singh about what he did, Singh replied: “I cannot disclose my present official address. I cannot produce my identity card in the open court (the identity card was shown to the judge and returned). I am working for the Cabinet Secretariat. I cannot disclose whether I am working for RAW.”

But this aspect and Nain Singh’s credentials were not probed:

“Nain Singh was not cross-questioned. The police did not deem it fit to investigate what a Pakistani national charged with a terror attack was doing staying in the house of a RAW operative. Instead, the Special Cell made Singh a government witness. The Delhi High Court took strong exception to this. Says the High Court judgement, “Nain Singh, who appears to have been working for some intelligence wing of the government, definitely cannot be made a prosecution witness. It cannot be expected that he wouldn’t have known that the person to whom he let out his house was a foreigner who had gained illegal entry to India.” Why are Arif’s links with Nain Singh not being enquired into? Are those working for intelligence agencies above the law? The High Court raised objections but went ahead and endorsed Arif’s death sentence. Arif may well be guilty but can he be hanged when so many questions remain unanswered?

There are more loopholes. Phone records indicate that Arif and Nain Singh did not sever their relations after the Pakistani moved out of the RAWofficers’ home. Not just this, Arif was in touch with two officials in the Special Cell ― Inspector RS Bhasin and Ved Prakash ― because they had been introduced to him by Nain Singh. The Delhi High Court in its judgment, however, says: “It appears to us that the accused must have taken some advantage of his acquaintance with the police and intelligence officials, and under the shelter of that acquaintance must have been carrying out nefarious activities.”

The court recognises the fact that Arif was getting some leverage from the Special Cell but stops short of critically examining the phone records according to which Arif and the Special Cell officers were in regular touch with each other. Another question rises over how a man acquainted with members of the Special Cell could have plotted and carried out the attack without their having any idea of it? At any rate, the fact that Arif was in touch with the officers even before the attack casts serious doubts on the objectivity of the investigation”.

In the light of such evidence, it is pertinent to look at what Arif has to say. He denies any role in the Red Fort terror attack. Instead, he alleges that the Special Cell operatives, whom he was in touch with, have falsely implicated him in the case. In his statement, Arif mentions an amount of Rs 7 lakh sent to Nain Singh through Sanjeev Gupta for Arif’s use. “But Nain Singh did not admit to receiving the money… I spoke to Sanjeev Gupta and opened an account with HDFC Bank. My chequebook remained with Nain Singh. Whenever I needed money, I used to take it from Nain Singh. My asking for money used to annoy Nain Singh, and he ultimately got me falsely involved in this case.”

A bank account was indeed opened in Arif’s name at HDFC with the help of fake documents. Arif had a fake ration card and a fake driving licence. His bank account number, 0891000024344, had Rs 5,53,000 at the time of his arrest. According to the police, the money had come through hawala transactions. A person who had access to his account would have gained if Arif was not in the picture.

Arif told the court he had become adamant in demanding his money from Nain Singh. He alleged that on December 25, 2000, Nain Singh called him to his residence, where he met Bhasin and Prakash. The two took Arif to the Lodhi Colony police station and, along with a Sikh officer, interrogated him. “They asked about my entire background,” Arif told the court. Thereafter, he was dropped off at Singh’s house from where he went to his home in Ghazipur in East Delhi. He was arrested there later that night.

The key evidence that links Arif to the site of the crime are the call records of his two mobile phone numbers (9811278510 and 9811242154), which the police claim were used from a single handset (IMEI number 445199440940240). However, TEHELKA’s investigation shows that the records were tampered with (see box). The tampering was done in such a manner as to show that both numbers were used from one phone in Arif’s possession.

There are several inconsistencies in the police version. The time of Arif’s arrest is not the same in the FIR and the arrest memo; the pistol number recovered from Arif recorded in the seizure memo is different from the one mentioned in the expert examination report ― the High Court called it “an inadvertent error by the writer”. There were no public witnesses when the evidence was collected, either at Red Fort or at Arif’s house. While Head Constable Satbir Singh claims that an AK-47 was found near Vijay Ghat, his colleagues claim it was an AK-56.

There is confusion over the route the terrorists are said to have taken to enter Red Fort. While Captain SP Patwardhan says they would have entered from the Saleem Garh Gate/Yamuna Bridge, the cops says they came from the Lahori Gate. The two gates are at opposite ends of the Red Fort complex. The rope the terrorists allegedly used to let themselves down from the walls of the Fort was found lying in a coil on the Fort’s terrace. Nobody saw the terrorists’ faces. The only description available is of two men dressed in black. The chowkidar on duty at the Lahori Gate was never questioned. A call was made from the number 9811278510 to BBC journalists in New Delhi and Srinagar just after the Red Fort attack. The caller said the attack had been carried out by the LeT. Mool Chand Sharma, an inspector in the Special Cell, said in his statement: “I reached Red Fort along with my staff at about 10:45pm.

The commissioner of police and senior army officers were already there. There I came to know that terrorists belonging to the LeT had shot dead three army personnel and escaped.” How did Sharma know the attackers were from the LET even before the investigation had started? To send a man to the gallows on the basis of such flimsy evidence is nothing if not a mockery of justice. Is Arif an easy scapegoat, or is he just a pawn in some greater conspiracy? Hanging him will not provide the answers”.

So what do we make of all this? Has anyone mentioned the Red Fort case? There have been so many instances when several Police agents etc have been double crossed and killed. The pattern seems to be that either these forces are being used by Indian State actors who are aware of their existence or that our security forces have been infiltrated or both.

The second shock comes from the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP); there an India Today report discloses that the Rampur Police has disclosed that much before the Mumbai attack, they had caught a terrorist in Rampur who had confessed about impending attacks not just in Mumbai but Taj and other destinations:

“Mumbai Police had clear intelligence inputs on an imminent terrorist attack, according to the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police. Contradicting Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil’s claim, the STF said Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorist Fahim Ahmed Ansari, presently lodged in Rampur jail, had revealed the plan to it and to Mumbai Police which had interrogated him in February-end.

Fahim was nabbed by the STF on February 10 this year, along with two others, for his involvement in the Rampur CRPF camp attack on January 1, 2008 in which seven soldiers and a civilian were killed. UP police had proclaimed him mastermind for the planned Mumbai attack right after it recovered a map of Mumbai with important establishments earmarked and railway tickets from Lucknow to Mumbai from him. On Thursday, additional director general of police (STF) Brij Lal reiterated the claim: “Fahim was mastermind for the Mumbai attack. He was assigned to make arrangements for terrorists in Mumbai and had visited it several times in this regard. He had revealed all this to us and to Mumbai Police.”

Two terrorists had been nabbed along with Fahim on February 10 – Muhammad Anwar and Arshad Ali. The U.P. STF had arrested three others of the group from Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow on the same night (February 10) and identified them as Sabauddin Ahmed, Abu Zar and Abu Sama. Sabauddin was also involved in attack on Bangalore’s Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) on December 28, 2005 in which a professor had died.

The U.P. STF had said that they were fidayeens, trained to attack military camps, police establishments and important civilian centres and were on their way to Mumbai. Brij Lal said when the information was conveyed to Mumbai Police, it took Fahim on remand in the last week of February before he was sent back to Rampur jail in March. “He had revealed during interrogation in Mumbai that he and Anwar had visited all important centres in Mumbai, including the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Taj Mahal Hotel,” he said.

U.P. police also believe the Fahim link gets credence from the fact that the attacks in Mumbai bear a striking resemblance to the attack in Rampur as terrorists ran amok in the city and took people hostage. “Since the Mumbai and Rampur attacks have the same pattern, we believe the terrorists had shelved their Mumbai plan for some time only to execute it to deadly effect now with minor changes in the blueprint,” said a top U.P. police officer. Sources in Uttar Pradesh home department say now Fahim and Anwar would be brought to Lucknow from Rampur jail in a day or two for fresh interrogation”.

Rakesh Maria of the Mumbai has confirmed that “Fahim might be the mastermind behind the Mumbai attack”.

So, if this is Rakesh Maria’s attiude, then what about all the stories that Kasab the terrorist caught by the Police is telling? For the record, Kasab did not mention even once the name of Faheem.

This might be because Kasab did not know about the existence of Faheem―if that is the case, then the Mumbai attack seems much more and more a contractual-mercenary operation, during which the direct executors, people like Kasab, do not know either the `mastermind’ or the mastermind behind the mastermind, who would have given the supari or the contract for the operation.

So, the question which no one is asking, that was this a contract operation? And who might have given out the contract?

This again brings the question of who would benefit from Karkare’s death and the timing of the Mumbai attack―it is important to emphasize that all contractual terrorist operations are, and I am quoting a CIA manual here (the CIA and the Mossad excel in contract terrorism as can be seen from several books, especially on CIA-Mossad operations in Beirut and Lebanon) “in essence a question of gamble. We do it to achieve multiple objectives. But it is almost impossible that all those objectives will be met; even if one or two are met, the operation is a success”.

The Mumbai attack has the appearance of a `multiple objective’ strike, in which some objectives like Karkare’s death were met and some, like BJP’s winning elections in Delhi and Rajasthan were not.

The Times of India does it again –VIII – By Ghulam Muhammed

December 4, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Times of India does it again –VIII

The city of Mumbai is barely recovering from one of the most unforgettable ordeal of siege and mass murder. The people of the city are in shock. A wave of intense feelings for fellow human being is sweeping over the city and a small beginning is made by people gathering around Gateway of India, in front of the Taj Palace Hotel, to register their defiance in the face of the terror attack. The mood is that of common bonds and the sense of one nation, one people. The time is to bond together and seek strength in unity of the people. However, India’s foremost newspaper has ideas of its own. It has given full freedom to one of its correspondent to sow the seeds of dissention and hate. Under the pretext of confronting the hate brigade, Times of India’s Muslim face is donned by Mohammed Wajihuddin and he is vigorously projecting and supporting a group of pseudo-Leftists with Muslim and Semi-Muslim names, that are out to spread hate and dissention in the society, with their most negative sloganeering that could only be the standard trade mark of the Hindutva Brigade, that thrives in demonising artificially invented enemies. The death of ATS Chief Karkare has virtually silence the Saffron brigade and it seems now their mission has been taken over by a professional group of agitators that hardly care for the community that they profess to support or protect. Muslims organisations, especially the religious kind and their social groups, have organised huge Muslim congregations all over the country, and categorically declared that neither they nor their religion supports terrorists and killing of the innocents. However, both the Saffron and Leftists will not rest and keep insisting that like their 5-time prayers, Muslims should condemn those fictitious terror groups that are conjured by the West or our own Hindutva zealots when they were in power. If the saffron hooligans will collar lone Muslims and force them to say Vande Mataram, the pseudo-Leftists want Muslims to organise ‘tabarrah’ rituals to demonise all the villains that come handy for them to force a sense of guilt by association on mainstream Muslims. In these disturbed times, instead of building bridges and promoting human brotherhood, they are bent on shaping up their own version of ‘Muslim leadership’ that casts divisions in Muslim community in the name of religion, as they would like to perceive it. They have become so desperate that it is reported they have manhandled a known liberal and promoter of composite Hindu-Muslim culture, historian, writer and activist, the venerable Amaresh Misra, in the august presence of Swami Agnivesh, for appearing to be a threat to their brand of phony Muslim courtship, that hardly has any mainstream following.

And the medium to give shape to such divisive forces, is none other than the Grand Old Lady of Boribunder, which fortunately escaped disaster when the terrorists banged on its closed shutters, pulled down by their alert security guards. Or they would have made news rather than just managing news in a most cocky and arrogant manner, without a constructive thought for building a peaceful composite society.

It is time they understand and acquire a sense of responsibility in managing the media power that goes with their enterprise, or they may have to face widespread public rebuke, if they persist playing dirty politics in matters of sowing divisions in Muslim community, through the means of hired hands and mercenary social activist groups.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

ALL INDIA PATRIOTIC FORUM – Convener – Amaresh Misra

November 15, 2008

ALL INDIA PATRIOTIC FORUM

 

                                  PREAMBLE 

 

 

I am happy to announce the formation of All India Patriotic Forum. This will be a new kind of a roving, internet based, activist civil rights-political platform. The Forum has been formed by several prominent constituent organizations who feel that Indians have to be empowered in civil rights first—there can be no modern, democratic society without civil empowerment. Civil empowerment is the first step towards social and political empowerment.

While there are parties and organizations fighting for social and political empowerment of minorities and weaker sections, there is no organization fighting consistently for civil empowerment of the Indian underprivileged. In their individual and collective capacity, human rights groups are doing great work. But they often get bogged down in firefighting, responding to threats on issue by issue basis. In any case, human right groups are involved basically in fighting against human rights abuses. The need of the hour however is also to form a long-term, strategic  perspective—especially about human and civil rights issues in India.

The fact is that in India, the concept of civil society and citizens with civil rights protected by law is weak. The influence of  penal-bureaucratic-Statist mindset is overwhelming—this mindset reduces the concept of civil society to a society protected merely by penal laws, which are to be enforced by law enforcement agencies. Besides giving enormous power to State agencies, this mindset militates against any concept of individual and community rights vis-à-vis the State, the concept that not just violation of human life, but violation of human dignity of individuals and communities constitutes a crime.

It is because of this reason that there are no laws in India against say, using abusive-racist-communal language against communities and persecuting community and individual groups. When Bal Thackeray called Muslims `Laandiya’, he could be booked at most under Indian Penal Code (IPC) laws which are very general and do not mention or take into account, such specific communal and racist abuses. If a police officer tortures an under-trial, then that under-trial has no law or section to file a case against the police officer. The most he can do is to file a writ petition or register FIR. Even if a FIR is registered, it will be under section 307 (attempt to murder)—because there are actually no laws that specifically constitute a section where a crime like torture in custody is punishable by law.

India functions as per a written constitution, where Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 guarantee equality before law, fundamental right to life, and non-discrimination on the basis of caste, community or religion. So India has a secular constitution and a secular penal law—but there are no specific guarantees to see to it that the articles of constitution are implemented in letter and in spirit.

America offers a good example where despite a written constitution which promised that all men born are equal, that no discrimination ought to be made on the basis of race of color, a civil war had to fought, to protect the constitution. Further, a civil rights bill was enacted in the 1960s, almost a hundred years after the civil war, which guaranteed the rights of blacks and minorities and the end of segregation through separate laws.

The lack of civil laws leads to unchecked statism and power to the state—at the same it weakens the state as society does not have strong civil laws and rights which promote adherence to the state. In fact, this is the dialectics of the situation—statism flourishes on denying individual rights—but it is only and only those rights that actually guarantee the development of a citizen of a civil society of a nation. And a national entity with a strong civil society will always have more nationalism and loyalty to the State. The State which denies civil rights to its citizens, despite appearing `strong’, is actually a weak state as it does not command the natural loyalty of its citizens, many of whom have been denied the full benefits of peaceful existence protected by civil laws and individual rights.

In India, right before our eyes we are witness to the phenomenon of the strong Indian state failing to act against challenges to Indian sovereignty in Maharashtra and Gujarat, mounted by self serving regional players. Civil rights are the nut and bolts of any society, nation and State power. Without civil rights, a State remains a porous State however strong are the postures that it takes.

Hence, in India we see a situation where a `hard’ Indian State in Kashmir and the North-East ultimately fails to act against communal and fascist forces by and large. This situation is a direct result of lack of civil rights in Kashmir and the North-East—the existence of these rights would have stopped human rights abuses, knitted the two regions closer to the all India fabric and helped the Indian State concentrate on the real challenges.

 

It is also the case that legal awareness about even available legal redress is very weak. This can be seen in several cases where Muslim boys in particular have been picked up at random by the Police after bomb blasts; often they have been let off; but in at least 8 cases out to 10 those boys and their families have not sought legal redress. There is no actually legal cell in India working consistently to bring legal relief to victims of communal persecution.

 

Lack of civil rights is an invitation to fascism and colonialism in India. As the strong state in form, becomes weak in practice, fascist elements will gain control in the name of order and more power to the center and this will alienate further the Indian people from the Indian state. Ultimately a foreign power will start knocking at India’s door.

 

It is to make people realize these dangers and fight against them, that AIPF has been formed. The sad case in our country is that a whole battery of well meaning secular intellectuals have little concept of civil nationalism; perhaps, this is because India is a young state. Either ways, it is the bounden duty of activists, patriots and intellectuals to address this problem.

In India several political formation including those of the third front emerge from time to time and they do come to power also for short periods. But these forces and the Left movement at large, which have fought several battles for justice and sovereignty in India, have failed to articulate the problem of ensuring civil rights to its citizens, and building a civil-composite nationalism where all people and communities feel that they are part of a single whole.                  

    As India slowly slides towards Fascism, liberal individuals/formations, democratic and Left forces lack information and feedback about Human Rights abuses and Muslim persecution. These forces, despite their genuine efforts on several fronts, have failed in pinpointing the role of security forces in profiling minorities, especially Muslims and in inventing the whole specter of Muslim terrorism, especially organizations like SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen (IM).

          In India what we are seeing today, as witnessed in several incidents from Batala House encounter to Assam bomb blasts a twin process—the institutionalization of fascist Muslim persecution through democratic institutions and slow coming to the fore, over-ground one may add, of majority-Hindutva-fascist-terrorism which is openly justifying bomb blasts in Muslim areas. The phenomenon of Saadhvi Pragya Singh and the whole conspiracy that is slowly being unearthed in the Malegaon Blast case speaks precisely about this aspect of the present crisis. The Raj Thackeray affair in Mumbai shows that there is a final conspiracy to break the Indian nation and state, by playing, along with the communal card the regional card as well.

Aims and Objectives

         

         

The AIPF shall pursue the following aims:

 

1.    Create Civil rights awareness and Civil Empowerment Forums all over India through workshops, seminars etc.

2.    Collect a proper data base for Civil rights and Civil Rights abuses in India, for different castes and communities in India, as per the specificity of the Indian situation.

3.     Work as a liaison Forum between different secular forces, NGOs and other organizations and form adjunct organizations concerning civil rights as and when the need arises   

4.    Create special awareness about minority rights and the concept of civil-composite-democratic nationalism as opposed to fascist nationalism and nationalistic chauvinism.  

5.    Working politically to act as an open Forum to bring together different political forces, especially of the Third Front and the Left on several issues, especially those concerning civil rights. Helping those political forces in particular who make the implementation of civil rights laws in India.

6.    Act as a global Forum for peace, harmony and civil rights awareness, working with similar Civil Rights organizations all over the world, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

7.    Facilitate a sense of history where the role of minorities in the history of nations, like the role of Muslims in the Indian freedom struggle is highlighted. This point makes the AIPF a research center as well. The AIPF will sponsor research and other activities in this field.

8.    To make special use of the audio-visual medium, especially films and theater, to spread civil rights awareness and civil-composite nationalism. This will involve making films and creating works of art that will spread the message of unity in diversity and communal harmony and would focus especially on changing the sense of history, from a communal to a secular one, with a special emphasis on themes like 1857, the first war of Indian Independence, which presents a shining example of civil-composite nationalism wherein all castes, communities and religions of India participated with equal vigor.     

9.    To organize social and political actions for the implementation of civil rights and against violation of human and Civil rights.

10.                       To form legal cells all over India to protect the legal rights of minorities and oppressed sections.

 

The AIPF will have a loose structure; anyone (individual or group) wishing to contribute to the above aims in whatever capacity is welcome to work for it, irrespective of whether they belong to some party or formation. This is not a NGO or civil rights organization in the conventional sense.        

     

First Action

 

 

In association with American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI), Tehrik-e-Hind, Vishva Sanatan Dharma Parishad, the All India Muslim Mahaz, and several other organizations, the AIPF is organizing a civil rights march in India in early 2009. The march will have two issues: the enactment of a `atrocities against minorities (prevention)’ act and a `torture and compensation act’. These actions will ensure that calling Muslim a Laandiya, or similar names to Sikhs and Christians, or torturing and picking up Muslim/Sikh/Christian boys for interrogation, or not giving flats on rent or to buy on the basis of religion become punishable offences.

The march will impress upon all secular political parties to include these issues in their programs. The march will also mark the first step towards the civil empowerment of Muslims and other minorities—it will be followed by other measures for other weaker sections like Adivasis and Dalits. The Torture and Compensation act will cover all citizens of India.

For this purpose, the AIPF has invited the AFMI office bearers from the US to come to India and address Muslim and other organizations so that the date, time and tenor of the proposed civil rights can be fixed.

The meeting will be held on 28th December at the India Islamic Center, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

 Detailed information and invitation will follow.

 

 

Amaresh Misra,

 

Convener,

 

All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF)

 

                    House No. 688, 1st Floor,  Sector 14, MG Road,

                    Gurgaon, Haryana, National Capital Region (NCR)

                    PH-91-9250305699

                

US elections: An Indian Perspective By Amaresh Misra

November 4, 2008

US elections: An Indian Perspective 

 

                                                          By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

          As America goes to vote on 4th November 2008, a hitherto unseen specter is haunting the historic Obama-McCain stand-off; till now, electoral Pundits have relied basically on the traditional theory of both the Democratic and the Republican Party possessing roughly a 37%-37% base vote ― and then the 20-26% Independent voter deciding the final outcome.

 

The Independent mantra however is questionable ― it gives too much power to spin doctors on either side of the political divide and to the idea that voters in the middle can be swayed almost exclusively by a media blitzkrieg or some zany twists, like the nomination of Sarah Palin.

 

Laws of political science inform that the notion of the Independent voter cannot exist in a political vacuum. There has to be some magnetic pull, emerging from the base vote category, which can trigger the decisive slide of the Independent voter towards the winning side: in this scenario, it is unlikely that the phenomenon of hockey moms or even Wal-Mart moms, or any other Independent category, voting any which way independently will decide the next American President.

 

Similar is the case with the impact the current Wall Street collapse; growing economic problems shifted media focus away from Sarah Palin; there was an uneasy question mark over the fundamentals of supply side Reagan-economics and the economic philosophy America should adopt for the 21st century. But, historically, economic uncertainty, unless it is of the Great Depression type with a figure like Roosevelt stimulating a class polarization, leads to less, not more voter participation in the electoral process; moreover, voters tend to vote both right and left in such an atmosphere.

 

 To understand the invisible specter that seems to haunt the American electoral fight, one may have to look towards India, a country where regular elections since 1952 have thrown up what is known as a `base assertion’ ― as  opposed to the `Independent voter assertion’ ― theory.

 

While America has a Presidential system, Indian democracy has a Parliamentary system; but electoral trend behavior in democracies has shown a wide level of similarity.

 

In India, from 1952 and roughly till the late 1980s, the Congress Party was able to win elections after elections because of the assertion of a single bloc: the minority-Muslim voter. Fighting on a socialist plank, Congress always formed a coalition of social forces and got the vote of the vast majority of India‘s poor. Yet within that coalition, it was the assertion of the minority-Muslim vote in successive constituencies that provided the resources and the atmospherics for the non-Muslim poor to assert as well.

 

A quick look Congress’ electoral graph over the years reveals a startling pattern: the party suffered significant defeats whenever, within the pro-Congress coalition, the minority-Muslim vote dipped by as little as 2-3%; thus in the 1967 General elections, the Congress lost more than 100 seats; in the 1977 General elections, when minority-Muslim support dipped by 10%, the Congress party was for a moment wiped off from the Indian electoral scene.

 

By the early 1990s, following a series of anti-minority-Muslim measures, most importantly the decision by a sitting Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao (who wanted to attract Hindu votes to the party) to allow the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, a town in the province of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the party lost the minority-Muslim support for the first time over an extended period. Consequently, throughout the 1990s, the Congress was relegated to an unthinkable third position, as the Hindu Nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and a new secular and Left leaning anti-Congress front of regional parties slugged it out in the electoral arena.

 

Thus was born the phenomenon of regional secularism, wherein in UP and Bihar, two of India’s most populous states, backward caste, anti-Congress, anti-BJP Hindu leaders stormed to power, mainly on Muslim support. In both UP and Bihar Muslims formed roughly 15% of the total population. But their unprecedented electoral group-base assertion swayed the Independent voter completely in the favor of regional secularists.

 

A similar phenomenon accompanied the rise of Mayawati, the Dalit leader in UP, in the 1990s; Dalits, or the lowest of the low caste, comprise 22% of UP’s population; earlier, they used to vote for the Congress; but then, their vote was not part of a singular group assertion. Mayawati was able to triumph because the Dalits decided to jettison the Congress and identify with her totally.

 

In the American elections, the most obvious and simple aspect― the African American black vote in Obama’s favor― may well prove to be the most relevant in the final count. True, the black vote has traditionally been with the Democratic Party; and often, black assertion was not enough for a Democratic Party victory. But it has to be seen and analyzed as to how many times black assertion was base assertion― it seems that the three times when black assertion was base assertion, with Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton, the Democratic Party made history.

 

In the 2000 and 2004 American elections, Bush was able to defeat the Democrats, because somewhere along black assertion did not approximate in intensity to base assertion. On the other hand, the Christian Right, perhaps for the first time, asserted as a base for Republicans. Interestingly, the white vote, like the Hindu vote in India as such can never form a base assertion vote― it has been seen that in democracies, majority communities are too fragmented along class, regional or ethnic lines, to comprise a base assertion vote. The assertive minority vote has been decisive― and yet, ironically, it has remained so far the least recognized element of pre-election calculations.

 

In America, black assertion in Obama’s favor, is leading also to a pro-Democratic swing of Hispanic and white working class voters, much more than this otherwise would have been even in an economic crisis situation. In fact, the economic crisis has led blacks, the worst hit, to assert more as a group― few will recognize this at the end, but on 4th November 2008, America‘s 12% minority blacks will play the determining role in choosing the next President of their country.          

 

India: Civil Rights or Civil War? By Amaresh Misra

October 1, 2008

India: Civil Rights or Civil War?  

 

                                         By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

        The recent series of bomb blasts that have rocked India―a series which has become a proverbial dark tunnel where no end is in sight―denote a new pattern. Till now communal riots were engineered by communal forces and the fascist part of the Indian state machinery to polarize society. This trend reached its apogee in the Gujarat 2002 riots.

 

        The communal forces both inside and outside the Indian State machinery learnt some important lessons from Gujarat; chiefly that in this time and space, in the 21st century, it is very difficult to get away with organized pogroms―ultimately you have to pay a political price which the BJP did in the 2004 elections.

 

        The communal forces then conjured a new phenomenon―why not start engineering bombs first in Hindu dominated areas, and then in Muslim areas?

 

        The trend began with the July 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts in `Gujarati Hindu dominated’ first class compartments of the Mumbai metro rail; soon there were blasts in Muslim areas of Malegaon and Hyderabad.

 

In 2008, with elections just around the corner in April-May 2009, and the BJP getting relegated to the third position in electoral calculations in the post-nuclear deal vote phase, the bomb blast phenomenon has become endemic. From July 2008 at the time of writing this piece here have been several blasts―in the past week, blasts have occurred almost daily.

 

One thing is clear―it is not that bomb blasts are being engineered to create communal riots. That (communal riots following bomb blasts) simply has not happened―the new mantra seems to be of bomb blasts replacing communal riots. This means that if in the past riots were engineered to create communal polarization the same kind of polarization is being sought to be created by engineering bomb blasts.

 

So the pattern―4 blasts in a Hindu dominated area; then one or two in a Muslim dominated area―soMalegaon and Modesa after Bengaluroo, Ahmedabad and the two blasts in Delhi.

 

This is a foreign pattern for even Indian communal forces; this trend has been seen in areas where Mossad and CIA operate; a similar/exact phenomenon was seen in Lebanon where Beirut, a beautiful and cosmopolitan Asiatic city was turned into an arena of sectarian Muslim-Christian conflict with bomb blasts being engineered every day in respective Muslim-Christian areas, something which now even Hollywood films (see Spy Game) admit as a CIA ploy to destroy Lebanon.

 

The post-American invasion Iraq situation too sees a similar thing―of sectarian Shia-Sunni violence being generated by the bomb blast phenomenon, engineered by the CIA, private US mercenary firms like Blackwater and the US forces.

 

A third region is Pakistan where too blasts take place respectively, in Shia or Sunni, Sindhi or Mohajir, NWFP or Punjabi or Baluchi areas alternately and with regularity. Here the western game is clear―America andIsrael have been working for decades to dismemberPakistan and control its nuclear arsenal.

 

India was spared of this ordeal till 1991 as Prime Ministers like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and even Rajiv Gandhi, did not allow Mossad-CIA penetration.

 

Before liberalization during Narsimha Rao’s regime, Indian passport holders could not travel to two places: Israel and South Africa. India was at the forefront of the International crusade against apartheid and the denial of a homeland for Palestinians.

 

Why is it that after liberalization, which was initiated soon after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, India recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations―and then the Babri Masjid demolition incident occurred?

 

So three things are related―liberalization of the Indian economy, the change in Indian foreign policy from an anti-Imperialist, pro-Third World position to a pro-American, pro-Israel stance, and the increasing persecution of Muslims, in an institutionalized form.

 

See that these three developments occur side by side―and now in 2008 we see India being turned into another Lebanon.

 

The biggest delusion of the RSS-BJP is that by blaming organizations like SIMI or Muslim `terrorists’ for the recent blasts they are doing some service to the nation. On the contrary, by not exposing the foreign Mossad-CIA hand, they are going against the interests of India. Why did the BJP-RSS not cry foul over the flight of Ken Haywood from India after the email sent by the so called `Indian Mujahideen’ group was traced to his computer in Navi Mumbai? Why was there no demand for a probe into the role of this dubious American national with shady evangelical, anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim connections in America

 

These connections can be seen by clicking on links like http://www.phillyimc.org/en/node/71510  or http://www.stlimc.org/newswire2008/yahooindiabombingkenneth-haywoodcampbell-white039s-computer-and-strange-fox-news039-fr orhttp://www.indianexpress.com/story/348646.html  or http://szamko.gnn.tv/blogs/29130/Haywood_Escapes or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hvHOJNxzhM&feature=related and on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaZejnHLhrc&feature=related

  

This is a question I would like to put before people like Javed Anand―did they write anything on the Ken Haywood angle?

 

This is a question I would like to put before Yogendra Yadav―we were engaged in a debate over SIMI and the wider Muslim question in India―a debate in which Shri Yadav differed on several points but agreed on one that innocent Muslims are being persecuted and liberals, secular forces or any religious group with a conscience ought to fight against the persecution.

 

Now the question is: Is Shri Yadav ready to demand a probe and come out on the streets on the issue of the Ken Haywood angle or the Bajrang Dal angle (that they were caught making bombs which exlodd in their faces)? Is he willing to write as a member of the Governing Council of the ICSSR or otherwise against the total lack of concern in the Indian security agencies towards the Ken Haywood angle and the total failure to investigate into several instances where Bajrang Dal and Hindu Munaani and other RSS outfits have been found making bombs?

 

Another question: Are people like Tavleen Singh, who speak about `Islamic terrorism’, ready to even consider discussing the Ken Haywood or the Bajrang Dal angle in the recent bomb blasts and violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka?

 

If Tavleen Singh is not willing to discuss the foreign or the RSS angle then there is something seriously wrong somewhere―I have mentioned earlier that SIMI or the Indian Mujahideen is a fiction, a phantom like the WMDs in Iraq―why can’t the liberals see this?

 

I was reading Shashi Tharoor’s piece in the Times of India; I have also seen Karan Thapar writing against violence perpetrated by VHP on Christians in Orissa. All this is very good and welcome―but why haven’t Shashi Tharoor or Karan Thapar ever written on violence against Muslims in India? Why hasn’t Karan Thapar ever written on the Ken Haywood angle? In the Times of India piece, Shashi Tharoor makes it a point to condemn `both’ types of violence―he is again placing the fictitious `Islamic terrorism’ and the invented `Indian Mujahideen’ at par with Bajrang Dal and the VHP―he does not even mention the RSS―what kind of a secularism and liberalism is this?           

 

Let me be very clear and cloud―today, supporting the persecution and the arrest and the torture of thousands of Muslim youth, is tantamount to being anti-national. Today being anti-Muslim is tantamount to being anti-national. All newspapers and people in the media have to realize this―including people like Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Vinod Mehta―that you will be held accountable personally for Muslim persecution―and for not exposing the Bajrang Dal-Ken Haywood angle in the deaths of countless Hindus and Muslims during the `bomb blast season’ underway―by nationalists―and this is coming from me, a left and a religious Sanatan Dharma Hindu figure, not a rootless, westernized pseudo-secular personality.

 

   What India needs today are not just protests―we need a special prevention of atrocities against minorities act―something which makes refusal of housing and flats to minorities, refusal by a Police officer to register a FIR by minorities, or to act in their protection, failure of a District Magistrate or a Senior Superintendent of the Police to prevent a riot or a bomb blast, the picking up of Muslims and other minorities without a formal charge, the very idea of detention of Muslim youths after blasts, or encounter killings, the calling of Muslms by the nameLaandiya or Katua, a stringent crime with due punishment.

 

India already has a prevention of violence/atrocities against Scheduled castes act―it is a crime to call a Dalit a Chamar; or not to register his or hers FIR. Why can’t a similar act, be enacted for the minorities?

 

In India the so called war against terror, against SIMI or the Indian Mujahideen is a fictitious, bogus war―the recent bomb blasts were engineered by security forces, and foreign agencies and RSS-Bajrang Dal. The real war is against Muslim/minority persecution, the appropriate response to Batla House type fake encounter killing, and the extension of civil liberties guaranteed in the Indian constitutionSee the history of nations―in America and Europe mere constitutional guarantees were not enough―specific new laws had to be enacted from time to time to abolish slavery, protect minorities, and end persecution, segregation and racism.

 

America passed through its civil rights moment in the 1960s―India has to confront its own civil rights moment now. There is a simple message to Indian liberals―either support, the demand for a special civil rights act for minorities or perish―for soon the fascist forces persecuting Muslims will turn against you.

 

If there is a civil war in India on this issue―so be the case; in any case with direct American intervention in Pakistan, conflict between America and India is very near. Liberals do not understand this but the Indian army does―so there is bound to be a double civil war in India―one against foreign intervention in the Indian sub-continent and the other against anti-national fascist forces.

 

Where do liberals stand in this fight? The anti-national forces want India to be invaded―that is why they are launching Muslim persecution so that when NATO forces  attack India, the country is weak internally.

 

They are of course deluded―as the history of 1857 shows, Indian Muslims are the single most nationalist forces alive in India today―persecution or no persecution, they will fight foreign invasion.

 

 But what is our duty? The best course is to launch a mass movement now to end persecution and guarantee civil rights to Muslims and other minorities; otherwise a civil war, a military response against Modi and the RSS to save the Indian constitution and the Indian republic is imminent. Choose what you want…                  

                                                             

 

Prof. Iqbal A. Ansari, noted Human Rights Activist, joins SIMI debate

September 12, 2008

 

Prof. Iqbal A. Ansari, noted Human Rights Activist, joins SIMI debate

 

 

Dear Yogendra Yadav/Ghulam Muhammed/Javed Anand/ Teesta Setalvad,

 

Having read with interest the exchange of emails, enclosed is my own opinion along with some papers. I hope the Citizens’ Declaration will receive your attention.

 

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

Iqbal A. Ansari

 

 

 

Debating SIMI’s Rights and Wrongs

Law, Secularism & Human Rights

 

 

[The following are excerpts from email exchanges mainly between Amresh Misra and Yogendra Yadav over Javed Anand’s article “Suspect SIMI? Of Course” (Indian Express, ……….). Apart from the timing and the title of the article, Javed Anand’s presumption that by welcoming the lifting of the ban on SIMI, the Muslim community is expressing its ideological solidarity, which, in his view is nothing short of suicidal, gave rise to rather harsh response from Ghulam Muhammed, to which exception was taken by Yogendra Yadav….which led to Amresh Misra and Yogendra Yadav exchanging messages, which along with my own comments readers may find enlightening.

 

Also reproduced below is part of my critique of Justice Dhingra’s shockingly pro-establishment judgment in 2003, sentencing Yaseen Patel and Ashraf Jaffary, who were alleged to be members of banned SIMI, for pasting posters calling people to establish Khilafah, in place of Nationalism – Ed.]

 

SIMI & Hindutva Outfits

 

It must be stated that SIMI is a group of zealots inspired by a political Islam which is anti-liberal, anti-modern humanistic, which rejects every other culture and religion as anti-god and in that sense it is very dangerous for Muslims, for India and for humanity. Their ideology should be politically, socially and spiritually opposed and defeated, as all other anti-liberal, anti-humanist ideologies like that of the RSS-VHP-BJP- Bajrang Dal which are dangerous for the Hindus, India and mankind should be politically defeated. In case imposing a ban on their activities was considered extremely necessary by generally political consensus, the banning process should not treat Islamist formations as necessarily ‘anti-national’ and Hindutva formations as inherently ‘national’. However individuals associated with these organizations should not be treated as criminals and put behind bars and even otherwise persecuted.

 

Iqbal A. Ansari (From an article of 2003)

 

 

If the Accused Are Muslims, Police Testimony Alone Is Sufficient for Conviction: Justice Dhingra on SIMI Case

 

 

Iqbal A. Ansari

 

On 21 July, 2003 the Addl. Sessions Judge S.N. Dhingra, of the Designated POTA Court New Delhi held two young Muslims, Mohd Yaseen Patel and Mohd Ashraf Jaffary guilty under sections 20 of POTA and 124-A of the I.P.C and sentenced them to five and seven years imprisonment under the two sections for waging war against India and disturbing communal harmony. They were alleged to have been associated with the banned organization SIMI and were apprehended by the police while they were allegedly pasting posters on 27 May 2002 on the wall of Jamia Millia Islamia University Library, New Delhi at about 1:50 P.M., which read:

 

“Destroy Nationalism, Establish Khilafah”. According to the statement of Mrs. Farhana Jaffary, wife of Mohd. Yaseen Patel, the police had raided their house during the night of 26/27 May and arrested Mohd Yaseen Patel and her brother Mohd Ashraf Jaffary, who was staying with them in her house in Zakir Nagar. The allegation of pasting of posters on JMI Library wall was called a pure fabrication.

 

The police did not produce any independent witness under the plea that people did not want to be involved in criminal cases to avoid harassment. But what prevented the police to even inform the University Proctor, and the Librarian? The Vice-Chancellor’s office is just across the road from the library. Members of the public may not easily volunteer as witness as claimed by the police, but it constitutes part of University officials duty, especially of Proctor’s staff to keep a watch over whatever is happening, especially in a criminal case by outsiders. Instead of questioning the police officials, who were the only witness in the case, about this serious failure, Justice Dhingra accepted every word of the police statement and allegations as gospel truth under the plea that “there is no reason why the investigation officer should have falsely implicated the accused person or the police persons should have deposed against the accused persons unless they were not actually caught indulging in the act of pasting antinational posters on the wall”.

 

In another judgment delivered by the same learned judge S.N. Dhingra on 27 August 1996, in case No. 34/95 State Vs. Shyam Vir and others arising out of riots in Tirlokpuri, Delhi in 1984, he had observed that the police and the entire criminal justice system was subservient to the political masters.

 

Bemoaning that in the 50th year of independence no serious effort had been made to reform the police the learned judge described the true character of the crime investigating agencies in India as “gifts of colonial era of British Empire. They are aimed to sub serve their political masters faithfully”.

 

How come that Justice Dhingra holds a diametrically opposite view now about the role of the police in this case, as independent, conscientious and dutiful servants of society dedicated to upholding rule of law? What inference, can be drawn about the role of the Courts according to his lordships own observations?

 

I would like to remind Justice S.N. Dhingra of his own telling remarks made in the judgment of 1996 referred to above that “governmental lawlessness had to be checked”. In the course of the judgment Justice Dhingra had expressed the opinion that not only the police but also “Courts are more available to the wealthy, powerful and resourceful persons. The rich and resourceful are often able to wriggle out of the legal net. The law enforcement agencies are more favorably inclined to the strong and powerful, to the detriment of weak and powerless”.

In times of divisive politics and social inter-group conflicts, it is the judiciary that people look up to for justice. Let the people not get the impression that judiciary has started losing the capacity to transcend existing political climate of opinion and ideological considerations. I have to add that POTA is part of this lawlessness of the government, whose very justice basis provides scope of abuse against political opponents, as has been realized by lits framers. What is not so commonly realized is the fact that POTA is part of ‘jurisprudence of suspicion’ and is supportive of the ideology of Hindu nationalism as the Annual Report of the Union Home Ministry has discussed terrorism within the country, primarily in terms of Islamic fundamentalism and radical leftist movements.

 

The judiciary therefore need to be more than ordinarily careful in deciding cases related to persons belonging to vulnerable minority religious groups, accused of charges of sedition and waging war against the nation on the basis of posters and pamphlets and other reading material, the like of which was stated by the police to have been seized when they raided the house of the two accused in Zakir Nagar, New Delhi.

 

Justice Dhingra’s judgment appears to be setting example contrary to his own preaching on the right of all sections to equal justice. Justice appears tilted in this case, tangibly and palpably, in favour of the political establishment and its subservient police and investigating agencies.

 

 

 

Dear Amresh Misra, Yogendra Yadav, Javed Anand and Ghulam Muhammed,

I consider it a bane of Indian public discourse that it has still not come out of the communal-secular paradigm of pre-1947 era, which distorts very formulation of most issues especially those related to Muslims as a religious community. What is needed is an all embracing human rights perspective, of which secularity of State and public institutions is a necessary part, which alone can ensure equal  rights to all individuals and groups. May I know, if Yogendra Yadav is aware of the reality of the communalization of not only the police but the majoritarian orientation of the justice system which has made delivery of secular justice uncertain, especially to Muslims? That is one major reason for the desperation of Muslim youth, which got first manifested in Mumbai 1993, by isolated individuals without any Muslim political and religious group’s support. If “Indian Mujahideen” has really come into existence, all of us need to give highest priority to vigorously pursuing the reform of the police & justice system for impartial law-enforcement for prevention and control of violent conflicts and prompt untainted delivery of justice, that one largely finds in the Western democracies including the U.S.A, where the white American who killed a Sikh in the wake of 9/11 mistaking him for an Afghan Muslim was sentenced to death within two years. Its being a hate crime was given due consideration by the trial court.

All votaries of secularism must keep in view that there cannot be any democratic governance without rule of law; and there can be no secular state without secular justice. However, traditional societies do not live by law alone. Ethno-religious issues causing Hindu-Muslim conflict over more than 150 years, which have been periodically exploited for political mobilization, cannot be left to be resolved by law alone. Rule of law is a necessary but not sufficient condition for managing diversity and ensuring equality in a country like India. It requires conciliation through institutionalized dialogue which needs establishing a statutory Community Relations Commission (CRC) for monitoring, prediction and management/ resolution of inter-religious/ethnic/linguistic conflicts over issues like cow, conversion, Ayodhya, Bande Mataram – which I recommended in the report that I wrote on behalf of the NCM Committee headed by Justice Tarkunde in 1999.

All those recommendations which we started formulating since 1994 in the CFD – CSSS Seminar in Mumbai jointly organized by me and Asghar Ali Engineer, were used by Teesta & Javed Anand in the workshop that we jointly organized in Delhi in 2004 under the Minorities Council, Citizens For Justice and Peace and Communalism Combat, which led to the framing of the Bill on ‘Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity’ and also specific suggestions on police reform and the proposal for the CRC. Shabnam Hashmi, Harsh Mander & Colin Gonsalves also jointly brought out a good Draft Communal Crimes Bill 2004.

 

May I ask Javed Anand to remind Teesta as well as Shabnam Hashmi, Harsh Mander and Colin Gonsalves and others working in this area to jointly meet to decide on modalities of a campaign for a minimum agenda for reform of police & justice delivery system and for constituting a statutory CRC/ National Peace Council?

 

Our civil society initiative supported by a good number of eminent citizens of all communities resulted in the formation of Inter-Community Peace Initiative in 2001 to promote both rule of law and dialogue, whose Conciliation Group brought out Position Papers on most contentious issues. There was fairly good measure of success on the issue of cow, about which my plea to Muslims to declare that they will not slaughter cow for food or ritual sacrifice, in deference to sentiments of sections of Hindus, gained increasing acceptability. However my efforts directed towards preventing Ayodhya II during 1999-2000 failed to yield any result, simply because in spite of reasonable stance of leading Muslim ulama, with whom I was in close touch, the pious looking, soft spoken Shankaracharya Jayanendra Saraswati of Puri turned out to be a spokesman of RSS-VHP.

 

During all this period I pointed out that traditional Hindus should not allow VHP-RSS to monopolise the Sanatan Dharma Hindu religio-cultural space, as the Hindutva ideology of nationhood – nation worship distorts Hindu religious traditions as well as its being anti-humanistic. Alas search for genuine representatives of non-Sangh Hindu Sanata Dharma, having standing in the community did not yield any result. Hence Ayodhya II, which led to Gujarat 2002, which is encouraging home grown terror.

Now I feel encouraged by Amresh Misra’s insights and perspectives. Shall we all along with other friends have a meeting in October 2008 to revive the ICPI, whose mission statements, aims and objects etc. were all adopted after thorough discussion among friends from right, left and center in January 2001 at Gandhi Peace Foundation.

 

II

 

While discussing legality of the ban on SIMI and political advisability of lifting the ban, besides my observations made in 2003, in the critique of Justice Dhingra’s judgment in Patel and Jaffary case the following may be kept in view:

 

1. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2006 like POTA has majoritarian orientation. Let us examine and amend it so that Shiv Sena and Hindutva formations, which are inherently xenophobic, exclusivist and violent and whose agenda of hate and revenge is responsible for periodic violence against Muslims (and now Christians) and many other regional-linguistic communities, are brought under its scanner. Let us recall the characterization of Mumbai riots (1992-93) by AM Rosenthal of the New York Times as essentially anti-Muslim pogrom, and his observation that Hindu hate literature against Indian Muslims is almost exactly the same in manufactured paranoia as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Hitler’s favourite.

 

There should be no place for such organizations in India which claims to be a secular liberal democracy with human rights commitment. Why do they survive and prosper? Rosenthal again gives the answer: Shiv Sena could have been put down in hours. The state and national governments behave like Weimar reborn – disorganized frightened, gutless.

 

2. SIMI as initially conceived and organized was not committed to using force or aggressive campaigning of its bigoted ideology of political Islam, though it must be acknowledged that SIMI’s majoritarian ideology of Islam did not wholly owe to the rise of Hindutva in 1980s, its radicalization and possible involvement of some of its members in providing some support to violent acts owes to the aggressive Hindutva campaign after Meenakshipuram (1981) , Ramjanambhoomi Movement (1984); opening of the gate of Babri Masjid (1986); Shilanyas (1990), Demolition & Riots (1992-93). Hence Guru Al Hindi’s characterization of Hindutva politicians as ‘evil’, the police as ‘wicked’ and ‘justice’ as ‘hellish’.

 

In my opinion it is the illegal ban and consequent indiscriminate persecution of innocent Muslims of all types and ages in the name of SIMI which has hardened sections of Muslim youth into doing their worst.

 

Lifting the ban is the only ethical, legal and secular political option. But all those Muslims who are committed to justice, peace and democracy should expose the dangers of aggressive tribalisation of Islam by SIMI. In the post-ban period, along with strengthening institutions of rule of law, letting SIMI get normalized and possibly reformed and mainstreamed will have greater success than continuing the State’s repression.

 

Most important aspect is the socio-political psychology of minorities, especially Muslims. For the Muslim community SIMI has had a marginal existence, even a source of threat to its fair treatment in the country. But singling out SIMI for ban and repression of many innocent Muslims in the name of SIMI, has led to the process of increasing owning of SIMI by the community.

 

It is this situation-specific owning that Javed Anand (whose sense of belonging to the Muslim community as well as to justice and peace, in my opinion, is genuine) took as a sign of Muslim solidarity with SIMI; hence his effort to warn us of the danger, which Yogendra Yadav welcomed for the health of secular politics. I agree with Yogendra Yadav that Muslims should frankly discuss in public the failings and negative trends  within the Muslim community, including their anti-humanistic interpretation of Islam – which I have been doing – but it is true that most Muslim intellectuals feel that to establish their secular credentials, they must not voice genuine grievances and demands of Muslims.

 

The treatment of Muslims by the media, especially electronic has not been fair in the current phase of assumption of Muslim guilt unless proven innocent. Hence the ‘Indian Munjahideen’s’ curse against them. But except for a few newspapers and channels it might have been more for commercial reasons of media competitiveness than any communal bias, as has happened in Aarushi case. In any case the way some channels have presented mere suspects in bomb blast cases as proven anti-national criminals requires the Supreme Court and the Press Council to lay down stricter guidelines. My NCM Report (1999) included recommendations for empowering proposed CRC to advise, warn and initiate legal proceedings against erring sections of media, especially when potential for mischief far outweigh considerations of earliest /instant information to the public.

 

The lawlessness of the lawyers and Bar Associations, denying the suspect/ accused right to fair trial which requires competent counsel of his choice, is no less reprehensible than police lawlessness. It is well that the PUCL has sent a letter on April 15 2008 to the Bar Association of India reminding it the right of accused to a competent counsel of his choice and fair trial.

 

It is time that secular intellectuals paid attention to the near absence/marginal presence of Muslims in effective positions in most national institutions, especially of governance – all wings and branches of the police and the judiciary – and in various Commissions and the media, which is largely responsible for their distorted anti-secular functioning by neglect or design. It will require implementing the human rights norms on socially diverse composition of all institutions. Unfortunately India takes legitimate pride in its cultural diversity, but its record of social exclusion is appalling, the crucial reason of which lie  in raising the false alarm of ‘secularism in danger’ to deny sectional demands of Muslims, as communal. Hence the need for paradigm shift from secular-communal to concerns related to Human Rights, Justice, Peace & Inclusiveness which require the secularity of the State to uphold rule of law, and ensure substantive equality to vulnerable, and disadvantaged minorities especially Muslims, which necessitates affirmative measures for their adequate presence in effective positions.

 

III

 

Irrespective of genuineness of its authorship, I would like to draw the attention of friends to the following observations made in the email signed by Guru-Al-Hindi and Al Arbi on behalf of ‘Indian Mujahideen’, after Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts.

 

“Think of the fraud perpetrated on us in the name of Nanavati Commission. Remember the blasphemy of the Government in the name of judiciary and fast-track courts”

“The terms Democracy, secularism, equality, integrity, peace, freedom, voting, elections are yet another fraud with us”

 

“You try to fool us in the name of fast-track courts made for ’93 riot cases, through which you wish to free the actual Hindu culprits like Madhukar Sarpotdar who was caught red-handed with illegal firearms while the innocent Muslims arrested in the bomb blast case are being tried in the courts for years and years. Is this the hellish justice you speak of?”

 

“You agitated our sentiments and disturbed us by arresting, imprisoning, and torturing our brothers in the name of SIMI and the other outfits in Indore, Ujjain, Mumbai and in other cities of Karnataka.”

 

In the second email the state of policing and justice system is more pithily described in the following words:

 

“In our last email (ID: guru-alhindi@yahoo.fr password: newdelhi) we told you about Krishna Commission. In that commission it is very clear that the cops who brutally killed the Muslims and destroyed their properties have got promotions and are enjoying good government support, whereas the innocent Muslims who lost everything in riots are still waiting for justice.

 

In Gujarat also Narendra Modi who gave the orders to kill the Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 won two consecutive term of vidhaan sabha.

 

Now, we want to shift your attention towards Hyderabad, where recently the Muslim women peacefully protesting against the arrest of innocent Muslim youths, were kidnapped and were tortured brutally by Hyderabad cops.

Babu Bajrangi who killed the Muslim women in their pregnancy and kept their child on spear is moving freely in Gujarat.

 

Bal Thackeray is free Ijaz Pathan is dead, Tiger Memon still running away, and Shiv Sena continues to spread its Terror on the streets of Mumbai and Maharashtra. The modest Muslim who went for the revenge of the demolition of Babri Masjid were arrested and tortured on the charges of treachery, the rest who fled away from India are now being brought back from different countries of the world. This is only to make Muslims to realize their second class status in the country.”

 

The two letters are written in a language of a tribal leader who having been hurt to the core is overpowered by rage and starts raving and invoking the wrath of God, who he considers to be on his side. In this unsound state of mind he boasts of his omnipotence which will destroy the enemy and all those who he imagines are even remotely related to the enemy.

 

Let not our outrage over such a tribal leader of the dark ages make us totally ignore the genuineness of the cause of his rage lying in ‘wicked police’ and ‘hellish justice’ and ‘evil politicians’ especially, though not exclusively, of the Sangh Parivar/ Shiv Sena. While there is a need, especially for the Muslim community, to prevent the rise of such Muslim bigotry by all reformative educational means, the Hindu community should not always use the protective cover of ahimsa and ‘equal respect for all religions’ and liberals of secularism, while ignoring the basic requirements of justice to the vulnerable sections. It is unfortunate that no heed is being paid either by the civil society including the political class and the media or the state and central governments, to the sources of Muslim youth’s anger and desperation lying in persistent denial of justice as repeatedly stated in the email, though its linkage with acts of terrorism in Mumbai (1993) and in Coimbatore (1998) have been recorded by Justice Srikrishna and Justice Gokula Krishna, in their reports.

 

Riots and terror of retaliatory communal-jihadi variety are two sides of the same coin. It is unfortunate that the considered opinion of the fifth report of the Administrative Reforms Commission as well as pronouncements of the Supreme Court twice during the hearings of Gujarat carnage 2002 cases that communal violence poses more serious threat to the state and society than terrorism has not attracted enough public attention – which has made Prime Minister Manmohan Singh routinely declare during the last SAARC summit that terrorism is the greatest threat to the countries of the region, which makes him easily lay the entire blame at the others’ door. Why should ripping open a pregnant woman’s womb and smashing the foetus be considered a lesser threat to the nation and the State than killing of an infant by splinters of an exploded bomb operated by a terrorist not present to witness the scene, though both cause similar outrage to our conscience? Does gang raping of women and burning them alive and videotaping all the scenes not pose any threat to the State? Should the nation take it in its stride, only because it is labeled as ‘riot’? I am enclosing the copy of a Citizens’ Declaration on Protection of Innocent Persons During All Situations of Use of Force by all parties i.e. the State, the militant political groups and organized hate groups. I would like you to give your consent for signature and lend support by getting it signed by eminent citizens that you know.

 

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

Iqbal A. Ansari

 

iqbalansari35@gmail.com

 

 

Ongoing discussion on SIMI

September 3, 2008

ONGOING DISCUSSION ON SIMI


———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Amaresh Misra misra.amaresh@gmail.com

Date: Sep 1, 2008 3:00 AM

Subject: urgent

To: yusuf5@yahoo.com, yogendra.yadav@gmail.com, ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com, DR MUJAHID GHAZI Ghazi <urdutalkradio@gmail.com>, gautam adhikari <gautam.adhikari@timesgroup.com>, ghosesagarika@gmail.com, gmoonis <gmoonis@bidmc.harvard.edu>, shahid_ali_khan@yahoo.com, SHRIKUMAR PODDAR <shrikumar@comcast.net>, Shakir Husain <shusain6147@gmail.com>, arif durrani <dxb.arif@gmail.com>, aps khati <sanjaykhati@gmail.com>, Suman Tarafdar <suman.tarafdar@gmail.com>, sai@rediff.co.in, Aamir Suhail <asuhail@gmail.com>, akam47@yahoo.com, biju2u@gmail.com, su204 <su204@aol.com>, Shahran Asim <shahran.asim@gmail.com>, saeed325@hotmail.com, sanjay.verma2@timesgroup.com, randeep ramesh <randeepramesh@yahoo.com>, Arundhati Roy <perhaps@vsnl.net>, perwaizjafri@yahoo.com, padmaalva@hotmail.com, parampuri@gmail.com, pjoshi@hindustantimes.com, punyaprasun@gmail.com, Fayyaz Khan <fayyaz.khan@att.net>, wkhan@optonline.net, webel.susmita@hotmail.com, Ashhar Hashimi <ashharhashimi@gmail.com>, tarun@tehelka.com, Arun Tripathi <tripathiarunk@rediffmail.com>, Terrie Albano <talbano@pww.org>, Rasheed Ahmed <rasheed_imc@yahoo.com>, ahmadcameron@yahoo.com, shahid askari <shahidaskari@rediffmail.com>, bishmoitra <bishmoitra@outlookindia.com>, Bibek Debroy <bdebroy@gmail.com>, Crispin Bates <Crispin.Bates@ed.ac.uk>, Meenal Baghel <meenal.baghel@timesgroup.com>, soumya bhattacharya <soumya@hindustantimes.com>, balmukund.sinha@timesgroup.com, barkha@ndtv.com, Admiral Bhagwat <admiralvb@hathway.com>, chawla.48@gmail.com, chitrangada.c@gmail.com, HARI DESAI <haridesai@gmail.com>, diwakar.asthana@timesgroup.com, duleepcmatthai1@dataone.in, eshwar.niwas@gmail.com, editor@urdutimes.net, Editpages <editpages@thehindu.co.in>, editorinchief@tribuneindia.com, editor@cobrapost.com, gmoonis@yahoo.com, gopalrai1975@rediffmail.com, haiderkazim@gmail.com, hussainanwer786@yahoo.co.in, indrajit hazra <Ihazra@hindustantimes.com>, Radio Islam <producer@radioislam.com>, Mohsin Jamali <mjamali76@yahoo.com>, ketkarkumar@gmail.com, khalidjk@sify.com, tariq.faizi@gmail.com


                SIMI Question: The Political aspect

 

                                                By Amaresh Misra

         

This might be considered a delayed response to Shri Yogendra Yadav’s last, detailed comment on the SIMI Question. I am on a US lecture tour to promote awareness about Indian history and 1857; the past few days were hectic and I had no time on my hands.

Shri Yadav raises four positions on the SIMI question: The Ghulam Muhammad line, the Amaresh Misra line, the Javed Anand line and the establishment line. Distancing himself from the establishment line, Shri Yadav finds empathy with the Javed Anand line. He says that the Amaresh Misra line improves upon the Ghulam Muhammad line but does not `delink’ SIMI from Indian Muslims at large—Shri Yadav broadly believes that innocent Muslims and SIMI sympathizers, are being harassed in SIMI’s name even though, as per law, the organization might not have been linked to any terror attacks. He says that we can only fight such harassment, or the secular forces will be more emboldened if secularists distanced themselves from SIMI.

          The question is political for Shri Yadav raises the issue of winning the mainstream Hindu population to the secular cause and that this `winning over’ will be difficult if secular forces or Muslims welcome the lifting of a ban on SIMI. Now let us make one thing clear: were Muslims or the Urdu media welcoming the lifting the ban on SIMI per se? I guess not—since several innocent Muslims were harassed in SIMI’s name, they were welcoming relief for those victims. In fact if you read Urdu editorials carefully, you will find that they have not expressed support for SIMI’s ideology—for them SIMI’s ideology remains, a non-issue.

          Now Shri Yadav might say that this is precisely the point: SIMI’s ideology is not a non-issue, if only because mainstream Hindus have a supposed dread of SIMI.

          Shri Yogendra Yadav might not realize this—but this is exactly the argument put forward by soft Hindutva or pseudo/weak secular forces: fight Muslim persecution but do not raise the name of the association in whose name Muslim persecution was generated (for fear of a Hindu backlash). The same `backlash specter’ is raised when Bal or Raj Thackeray or Narendra Modi or Advani are to be arrested.   

          The problem is that this is impractical—in a political battle you have to focus on the main enemy—Shri Yadav says that secular forces ought to avoid, the label `pro-Muslim’ if they want to win mainstream Hindus over to the secular cause. I pose a counter question: what if secular forces, largely liberal Hindus like Shri Yogendra Yadav, have by and large, under the plea that the RSS will be strengthened, avoided defending civil rights guaranteed to Muslims under the Indian constitution as a minority group?

          To me that is the main problem—in the name of delinking SIMI from Indian Muslims Shri Yadav gets his priorities wrong—SIMI’s name was never linked with Indian Muslims in the first place—the linkage is an invention of communal forces in India and the Indian security forces. It is a diabolical design to identify all Muslims with SIMI and then persecute them.

          So SIMI more or less is an `invention’—the same way in which `the existence of WMDs in Iraq‘ was a lie and a fraud perpetrated by George Bush and his cohorts on the world, or the `Jewish enemy’ was invented by Hitler.   You do not fight malicious, fascist stereotypical inventions by `delinking’ them from a community—you expose them by pointing out  how and why they are inventions and what harm these inventions are going to do.

          Indian secularists have to make a choice here—whether you regard `SIMI as a terrorist organization’ construct as an `invention’. Many of Mr. Yadav’s doubts stem from the concern that what if tomorrow some terror links of SIMI are discovered?

          This `what if’ line is very dangerous—unconsciously it promotes murder. At the time of the Iraq invasion when the US State and Intelligence agencies were proclaiming for a `fact’ that Saddam Hussein has WMDs, Indian `liberals’ like Tavleen Singh and the like also insisted that one should not oppose the invasion blindly as there could be some truth in the WMD allegations. The same argument that `mainstream American or the world opinion will be alienated’ was given; in the end, what happened? Ultimately the American establishment was proven to be wrong—it’s `leftist’ and Muslim critics proven right. There were no WMDs in Iraq—so what is now the accountability of those intellectuals who misused their unique position by posing ifs and buts in a clear cut situation where the illegal American invasion had to opposed, without any doubts, simply because it was an evil act.

          Of course, these people are intellectuals—so they are spared the burden of accountability—even though their ambivalence ended them making an accomplice in mass murder in Iraq.

          I was amongst those who disagreed with Saddam and said so openly—but that did not come in the way of me defending Saddam’s legal rights against America. According to Shri Yadav’s logic, even if you disagree with SIMI’s thinking, you should `delink’ yourself from defending it, as that would send a `wrong message’.

          Message to—what—the RSS? In fact the opposite is true and I would like Shri Yadav to ponder over this question: that the real `delink’ that ought to be made is between the RSS and the Hindus. In a Hindu majority country, the RSS-BJP has never won more than 15-20% of the vote as a single party. The RSS-BJP ought to have won 300 seats in the Indian Parliament at least once; the fact that they did not shows how much they do not represent Hindus.

          I do not think even Shri Ghulam Muhammad for once said that SIMI represents the entire Muslims of India. His position is similar to that of mine that you cannot defend an `abuse’ by separating the content from the form arbitrarily. SIMI is the `form’, the bugbear that has been invented by the communal forces in the Indian State power. You do not `delink’ the bugbear—you expose it as a bugbear and how it was used to persecute Muslims.

          Muslims have never associated RSS with all Hindus—in fact if you go to Deoband, there is a whole subject on Sanatan Dharma—you might  know that Sanatan Dharma is the real religion of Hindus—the four Shankacharyas have condemned the RSS on several occasions and if you ask the Sanatan Dharma religious leaders they too say that SIMI is an invention!

          Sanatan Dharma forces were engaged actively in defeating the BJP in the 2004 elections—I know this for a fact as I was part of these campaigns in UP in several constituencies where the BJP lost, was reduced to 10 seats in UP and lost the national mandate. When Golwalkar was alive he had a debate with Swami Swarupanand, the Shankaracharya of Badrinath and Dwarika, in which Golwalkar said that he regards Lord Rama as a `Mahapurush’ and not a God. Swarupanand replied that in that case, Golwalkar is close to the position adopted by Ravana—who too refused to believe that Rama is God’s incarnation.

          Mark the subtle nuances of the Swarupanand-Golwalkar debate—the Shankaracharya is saying early on what he said right after the Mandir movement—that the RSS is atheist and `aadharmik’—RSS as fascists do not believe in the concept of God as a power independent of human will. True religion materializes—gives a concrete form and meaning—to spiritual reality. On the other hand, fascism spiritualizes material reality i.e. it ascribes divine status to a material entity like race, or homeland. In RSS run schools, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh are not worshipped—an abstract concept of the `motherland’ is worshipped—this concept has vague territorial boundaries and transforms into a tyrannical monster whose abstract will has to be enforced by force.

           Any religion like Islam or Sanatan Dharma, which believes in a formless God existing independent of man’s will, reinforces humanism and enlightenment as it tends to take human endeavor towards understanding that formless reality. By contrast, fascist thinking blocks enlightenment as formless reality is not recognized there—instead divinity is ascribed to an abstract but grotesquely distorted and concrete entity like the race or the nation or the motherland.

That is why democracy is the opposite of fascism—the former rests on questions and doubts and celebration of difference in the human quest towards the understanding his or hers relationship with the formless reality—democracy believes that human mastery is never complete. Fascism however marks the `end of history’ and the depiction of the State or `Bharat’ or a race as an end to itself, as a truth unto itself, as perfection ordained and immutable, something before which the human head should bow down; religion says that man can only bow before the formless God; Muslims are justified therefore in challenging RSS’ concept of nationalism—in the latter nation is divine—it is not a man made, civilizational entity. If you recognize nation as a man made, civilizational entity, then you have to recognize Muslim contribution and the like. On the other hand, if the nation is a fixed, complete, divine entity from before—even before the Muslims came, then Muslims obviously have no part to play in the making of that nation. They are outsiders—the `other’ which has to be `purged’.

          Because Hindus too believe in a formless God (Brahma) they also do not worship the nation and they do not understand when the RSS asks them to do so—that is where Islam and Sanatan Dharma stood shoulder to shoulder in 1857 and they do so now. So Sanatan Dharma Hindus will not be effected or prejudiced against Muslims if SIMI’s `invention’ is exposed or Muslim persecution is sought to be ended; you do not have to `delink’ SIMI and Muslims in order to defend the latter—if you do so, you will fall into the perfect trap set by the fascists.

          Hindus are dismayed even more than Muslims because fascists have taken over the media and they project a distorted Hindutva image of Sanatan Dharma. In fact Hindus will support a position that fearlessly questions Muslim demonization in the name of SIMI. For the public at large, SIMI’s ideology is an academic question that only diverts attention from the real issues.

          I have experience in dealing aggressively with the RSS and winning over even a section of the RSS support base. I hope you are aware of this; I have never had to explain to Hindus that what is SIMI or its ideology—I merely say that this is an `invention’ created to divert our attention.

          I would again urge you that the Javed Anand’s line is a smoke screen, a variant of the Establishment line only. In the light of arguments given above, please consider this—without exposing SIMI as an invention of security/communal forces you will not be able to fight Muslim persecution. The communal forces will trap you in a position where you will have to chuckle and pass over the torture and killing of `Muslims who have SIMI links’. This is what happens in reality—and I am sorry to say, this is where liberals like you fail. I have the experience of fighting for the cause of 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast accused with the blessings of the Badrinath Shankaracharya. And I was able to extricate several innocent victims out of the mess.

          In a letter written to Rajiv Gandhi just after the infamous `shilanyas’, which opened the floodgates of communal politics in India, Shri Kamala Pati Tripathi, the Indira Gandhi loyalist and UP’s Chief Minister, openly stated that `the only way to fight the RSS was in the streets with Lathis’; and that Rajiv Gandhi is making a huge mistake in giving them leverage in Ayodhya. Shri Tripathi was not a radical—but he was a Sanatan Dharmi; note the aggression in his tone.

            In India, often you have to be seen as pro-Muslim in order to fight fascism—this is what your enemy does—you do not have to fear it—Hindus know who is who and what is what; it is the fascist forces who want you to throw away the secular cause, or fight the secular cause `in a certain safe way’, who instill the fear that if you will talk about the right of Muslims you will be labeled as pro-Muslim.

Mulayam Singh Yadav did not fall into this trap when he was called Maulana Mulayam by Advani. Nehru did not reply when he was called pro-Muslim.

Please take note…                                         

                                                                                       


Regards
Amaresh Misra

==============================================

Yogendra Yadav <yogendra.yadav2@gmail.com>                                 

 

5:45 am (4 hours ago) 

                         

yogendra.yadav@gmail.com       

                         

TO: Amaresh Misra <misra.amaresh@gmail.com> 

 

 

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                                    Sep 3, 2008 5:45 AM   

                                    Re: urgent           

                                    gmail.com          

Amresh ji

 

Thanks for your response. I really appreciate the tone of this exchange from you. Like the previous pieces, this piece also serves to remind me of how much I share with you, especially your emphasis on sanatana dharma. This latest piece also brings out three very basic differences between our positions:

 

1. You are convinced that SIMI’s terror links are an invention as much as Iraq’s WMD were; I am not, for I do not think we have seen enough credible evidence at this stage to be so sure of this judgment.

 

1A. You think that my agnosticism on this question is dangerous for it can support the evil. I recognise its risk (especially if I do agree with you some time later that SIMI terror link was purely a figment of imagination) but would knowingly opt for this in the present condition of partial information. I fear that the cost of your reading going wrong are so high (as it would then definitely lead to an inescapable link between Indian Muslims and terror) as to be completely unacceptable to me.

 

1A. You think that without exposing SIMI as an invention of security/communal forces it is not possible to fight Muslim persecution. I believe on the contrary, that it is counter-productive to get into a position on SIMI-terror link if our main purpose is to defend the innocent victims who are being harassed in the name of SIMI.

 

2. You believe that secularists in India should be prepared to be seen as “pro-Muslim” in order to fight fascism. I believe that secularists should neither be pro-Muslim (or pro-Hindu etc) nor be seen as such. They should simply follow a principled line and be assiduously truthful and take care that they are seen to be doing so. (in this pursuit they are bound to seen as pro-this or pro-that, but that should not deter them). The future of politics of secularism depends to my mind being able to capture this place in public consciousness.

 

2A. You think that in our context the secular politics should oppose majority communalism while tolerating minority communalism (is this a fair summary? I was not sure and would like to be corrected). I disagree. I believe that while there must be special legal and constitutional safeguard for minorities, there must not be any special concession to minority communalism.

 

3. You are convinced that the line you are suggesting is not only correct, but is self-evidently so for most ordinary Indians. Your experience tells you that it is enough to just say to your audience that SIMI-terror link is an invention. My experience is no doubt more limited but very different from yours. What I have learnt from my experience is that most ordinary people (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and so on), non-communal by nature, do not accept very easily the arguments that people like you and me put forward, that they suspect us to be partisan, that we need to earn their respect and credibility. If secular politics has to have wider acceptance in our society (in every community, including among Hindus) then it must be able to converse with these ordinary people. (I might add in parentheses that you may have inadvertently misreported my argument on this point. I have nowhere spoken about “winning the mainstream Hindu population”; you may have read someone else’s position into mine. I do believe that making secularism acceptable and attractive to the population at large, including but not limited to the mainstream Hindus population, should be the concern of any serious politics of secularism.)

 

In any dialogue it is something of an achievement to be able to agree on what we disagree upon. I would need to wait for some time, learn more and reflect on this issue before I can take this exchange any further. Allow me to close this exchange with a quote from (who else?) you: “[democracy] rests on questions and doubts and celebration of difference in the human quest … democracy believes that human mastery is never complete”. I sincerely hope that politics of secularism will continue to be democratic in the terms that you describe so powerfully.

 

Thanks for taking our time during your travel abroad,

 

Yours

 

Yogendra Yadav