Posts Tagged ‘VHP’

RE: SONAL SHAH – ‘Transition official rejects ties to controversial Hindu group’

December 13, 2008

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20081210_7973.php

Transition official rejects ties to controversial Hindu group

BY GAUTHAM NAGESH, GNAGESH@NEXTGOV.COM 12/10/2008
After weeks of questions, Obama transition team member and former Google executive Sonal Shah renounced on Wednesday her former connection to a Hindu organization accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India.
In a statement obtained exclusively by Nextgov and National Journal, Shah said if she could have anticipated the role of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the 2002 outbreak of communal violence in the Indian state of Gujarat, she never would have associated with the group’s U.S. branch a year earlier:

“In 2002, Gujarat suffered one of the most profound tragedies in its long history when extremist political leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that resulted in the deaths of thousands. Had I been able to foresee the role of the VHP in India in these heinous events, or anticipate that the VHP of America could possibly stand by silently in the face of its Indian counterpart’s complicity in the events of Gujarat in 2002 — thereby undermining the American group’s cultural and humanitarian efforts with which I was involved — I would not have associated with the VHP of America,” Shah said in her statement.

The controversy escalated in early December when Shah asked supporters for their help in stopping the spread of allegations that she had been a member of VHP.

In an e-mail sent to her political supporters on Friday, Shah asked for help combating the allegations and expressed fear that the Obama transition team would ask her to resign as a result of the story.

“I need your help,” wrote Shah. “This is gaining legs as the National Journalalso picked it up and likely Fox. I need to moblize [sic] people against the leftists and the right wing. There is a likely chance that they will ask me to resign as team does not need my publicity.”

The controversy has been gathering steam in the Indian press and South Asian blogosphere for weeks, but it went mainstream on Thursday when former GOP Senator Rick Santorum published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer questioning the appointment of Shah to the transition team — prompting a post in the Government Executive and National Journal’s Lost in Transition blog on Friday.

Shah, a Google executive who previously worked for Goldman Sachs and served as a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration, wasappointed to the Obama transition team in November and has since been tapped to be part of the three-person team to develop technology policy. She also is reportedly being considered for Energy secretary. But her appointment to the administration has drawn strong reactions from the South Asian community. Many prominent Indian-Americans have stood behind Shah, but others have raised doubts about her past. Shaikh Ubaid is part of a group including several Muslim and Sikh associations and dozens of college professors that sent letters to Shah and President-elect Barack Obama, requesting further information on Shah’s past associations.

“When she was appointed, it was initially a proud moment for us, her being an Indian-American,” said Ubaid in an interview given before Shah’s latest statement. But reports about her past ties to the VHP gave Ubaid and others cause for concern.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad is an international Hindu organization that is a part of the Sangh Parivar, the Indian nationalist movement organized around Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. The Bharatiya Janata Party is the political face of Hindutva; VHP is the social wing of the movement.

The nonprofit group Human Rights Watch and the State Department have condemned the BJP-led government and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for not stopping the 2002 violence in Gujarat following the burning of a train containing Hindu pilgrims by a Muslim mob. In rioting that followed, more than 1,000 people were killed — most were Muslims.

“I’m not saying Sonal Shah is involved in that,” Ubaid said. “But we have questions.”

On Nov. 11, Shah released a statement calling the allegations “baseless and silly reports” stemming from her charitable work for victims of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. She denied any involvement in Indian politics, but her critics quickly pointed out that nowhere in the original statement did Shah formally acknowledge her role in VHP-America or specifically condemn the violence in Gujarat and the actions of Narendra Modi.

Ubaid and Vijay Prashad, a South Asian history professor at Trinity College who wrote a November article for the CounterPunch Web site questioning Shah’s ties to VHP, pointed to a recent interview in which a VHP-America leader indicated that Shah was more than tangentially connected to the group. Prashad, interviewed before Shah’s latest statement, called her a leading figure of the organization from 1998 to the early 2000s and said her claims of having participated only in the organization’s earthquake relief efforts were disingenuous.

“I can understand someone raised in a suburb, whose parents are apolitical, coming to college, seeing the earthquake, finding an organization and getting involved in raising funds [without knowing any better],” said Prashad. “But here is someone not from an apolitical household. She was well-aware of the politics. And she had been in a leadership role. It was not just happenstance.”

Shah’s brother, Anand Shah, said she was co-opted by the organization’s leadership who were eager to show a younger face to the public.

“If the situation wasn’t what it is, if it was someone else, I would be asking these questions,” said Anand Shah. “It’s not a nonserious issue; the questions being raised are legitimate ones.” But he added that he hoped people would judge his sister by her own words and actions, and not by her associations.

The text of Sonal Shah’s full statement is as follows:

I was recently maligned by a professor at a college in Connecticut who wrote an article in CounterPunch accusing me of association with Hindu extremism. Then, a few days ago, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, published an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, to which this site linked, that echoed the CounterPunch accusations. These attacks sadden me, but they share one other thing in common: the accusations are false.

In reaction to these attacks, my closest friends — and many strangers — have rallied to my side. I am touched by this outpouring of support. And as painful as this episode has been for me personally, I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with the seriousness that it deserves, but the conversation should proceed on the basis of verified facts and reasoned argument, not innuendo and defamation.

Indian politics and history are contested and emotive, but also unfamiliar to most Americans. I understand why so many Indians and Indian-Americans feel strongly about religious extremism in India, because I share the same concerns.

I am an American, and my political engagements have always and only been American. I served as a U.S. Treasury Department official for seven years, and now work on global development policy at Google.org. And I am honored to serve on the Presidential Transition Team of President-elect Obama while on leave from Google.org.

I emigrated from India at the age of four, and grew up in Houston. Like many Americans, I remain proud of my heritage. But my engagement with India has been exclusively cultural and humanitarian. After the devastating earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, I worked on behalf of a consortium of Indian-American organizations to raise funds for humanitarian relief. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHP-A), an independent charity associated with the eponymous Indian political group, was among these organizations, and it was the only one to list my name on its website. I am not affiliated with any of these organizations, including the VHP-A, and have not worked with any of them since 2001.

The experience with the Gujarat earthquake did, however, teach me an important lesson. It pointed up a lack of dedicated infrastructure to help alleviate suffering in India, so together with my brother and sister, I founded Indicorps, an organization modeled on the U.S. Peace Corps that enables young Indian-Americans to spend a year in service to marginalized communities in India. The fellows come from every religious background, and have worked among every religious community in India. Indeed, some Indicorps fellows focus on inter-faith dialogue as part of their projects.

In 2002, Gujarat suffered one of the most profound tragedies in its long history, when extremist political leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that resulted in the deaths of thousands. Had I been able to foresee the role of the VHP in India in these heinous events, or anticipate that the VHP of America could possibly stand by silently in the face of its Indian counterpart’s complicity in the events of Gujarat in 2002 — thereby undermining the American group’s cultural and humanitarian efforts with which I was involved — I would not have associated with the VHP of America.

Sadly, CounterPunch and Senator Santorum have suggested that I somehow endorse that violence and the ongoing violence in Orissa. I do not — I deplore it. But more than that, I have worked against it, and will continue to do so. I have already denounced the groups at issue and am hopeful that we can begin to have an honest conversation about the ways immigrant and diaspora communities can engage constructively in social and humanitarian work abroad.

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CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS! – Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

November 26, 2008

ViaMedia.MumbaiNews

http://www.viamedianews.com

FRONT-PAGE AND EDIT PAGE NEWS AND ANALYSIS FROM MUMBAI’S URDU NEWSPAPERS TRANSLATION FROM URDU FREE SERVICE FOR WORLD MEDIA

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

CIA, MOSSAD HAND BEHIND SANGH PARIVAR’S EXTREMISTS!

Central Intelligence Agencies vigilant investigating in the aftermath of Malegaon blast; Enquiry being held into the February 2007 visit of prominent Israeli religious delegation and meetings with Hindutvadi Sadhu, Sanths and political leaders; Mossad infiltration a cause of deep concern for Intelligence officials

New Delhi, November 25: (Agencies) – According to an exposé in a national daily published from Madhya Pradesh and several other cities, in the aftermath of the arrests of Sadhu, Sadhvi, and other extremist Hindutvadis as involved in the Malegaon bomb blast, Intelligence agencies are now concentrating on foreign connections of the radical Hindutvadis.

In an special report published by the national daily, it has exposed this sensational news that in central intelligence agencies are to be believed, extremist Hindutvadis have got support and motivation from Israeli secret agency, Mossad’s operations against the Arab and Muslim countries in the past.

The newspaper writes that relations between Mossad and CIA are world known. Report mentions that intelligence agencies are worried about the infiltration of Mossad and CIA in the country. According to undisclosed sources, Indian intelligence agencies are now examining the full details of the visit of Israel’s religious leaders to India and their meetings with Sadhu, Sanths. Intelligence agencies are investigating all those Hindu and Muslim leaders that the Israeli religious delegation had met.

According to the newspaper, it was during the rule of BJP’s Atul Behari Vajpayee; a beginning was made for the visits of Hindutvadis, and especially Sadhus and dharam gurus of the Sangh Parivar to Israel. These visits have been on the increase. It was during Vajpayee’s time, that the visits to Israel and consequently the relations and contacts of Sangh Parivar Dharam gurus and Hindutva leaders with Israel increased manifold.

According to the newspaper, for last ten years, the central intelligence agencies have been closely studying and analyzing the growing strength of Hindutvadi and Sangh Parivar organisations and the increasing violence through these organisations against Muslims, Christians, and minorities in Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and other states. Intelligence agencies have disclosed that the visits of Jews and Israeli rabbis was not very frequent in the past, but it has increased to worrisome proportions, during last few years. Of all, the most studied is the February 2007 visit to Delhi of the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders. The delegation was headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger.

In this delegation, Jewish religious leaders from Israel as well as others rabbis from Belgium and Spain too were included. In India, the Israel Jewish religious delegation met important Hindutva leaders, which included especially the RSS Chief K. S. Sudharshan, President of VHP, Ashok Singhal, VHP leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

After the meeting of the Sadhu Sanths and Jewish leaders, both delegations had issued a common manifesto.

In this meeting, Jewish Rabbis expressed grave concern over the details of the terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by Muslims, as narrated by Hindu dharam gurus. Secret Service sources disclosed that at the invitation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders, a delegation of Hindutva leaders had visited Israel this year. In this, some leaders of Sangh Parivar too were included.

The national daily, published from Madhya Pradesh and other places, in its report has exposed that the officials of the national intelligence agencies have categorically stated that American secret service agency, CIA together with Israel’s secret organisation Mossad, has carried out several secret operation all over Asia.

And now that the bomb blast of Malegaon and Modasa had involved the names of the fake Shankaracharya Amaranand alias Dayanand Pande, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, enquiries and investigation of relations between Jewish and Hindutva religious leaders from Israel and India are being severely felt and is being analyzed. This was disclosed by the newspaper report.

(Translation from Urdu)

Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Front Page News

Why investigation of Israeli connection of Hindutvadis?

New Delhi, November 25: The way ATS has arrested Hindutva extremists belonging to Sangh Parivar, in connection with Malegaon bomb blast, facts have emerged of international networking and support to Hindutva radicals. This has alarmed national intelligence community. India’s internal and external intelligence agencies and RAW have got busy trying to figure out if there is some big international conspiracy is being hatched behind the activities of hardline extremists of Sangh Parivar. According to secret sources, back in February 2007, an Israeli delegation headed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yonah Metzger, and accompanied by several high ranking Jewish religious leaders, had visited India. This Jewish Religious delegation held meetings with many Sadhus, Sanths and Dharam gurus. The delegation also met some Muslim leaders. Now intelligence agencies have started investigations of the meetings of the Israeli delegation and local Sadhus, Sanths and dharam gurus. It is mentioned that the delegation of Israeli Jewish religious leaders has met leaders and dharam gurus from RSS, Sangh Parivar, VHP and BJP. Lal Krishna Advani had arranged a dinner for the visiting Israeli Jewish religious leaders’ delegation and others included in the delegation, at his own residence. According to high official, though the meeting of Sangh Parivar’s leaders to Israeli delegation is not of undue importance, but the way America’s secret service, CIA and Israel’s secret agency, Mossad, are infiltrating in Central Asian and South Asian countries, it is giving strength to the suspicions that in such delegations, members of foreign intelligence get included and through interaction and infiltration, secret operations are carried out. Those organisations that organise and support such visits and meetings, may or may not be aware of the secret mission of foreign agencies, the truth can come out only on investigations. For this reason, the national agencies are now concentrating on investigation of Sangh Parivar and its connections with Israeli lobby and Mossad.

(Translated from Urdu)

Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, Sadhvi said ‘my people’ set off Malegaon bomb: Purohit to CBI – INDIAN EXPRESS

November 24, 2008

http://www.indianexpress.com/story_print.php?storyid=389786

Togadia funded Abhinav Bharat, Sadhvi said ‘my people’ set off Malegaon bomb: Purohit to CBI

Shishir Gupta

Posted online: Nov 24, 2008 at 0131 hrs

New Delhi, November 23 : Arrested Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit has told the CBI that VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia was involved in the formation and funding of Abhinav Bharat, the radical Hindu group at the centre of investigations into the September 29 Malegaon blast.
The officer has also said that Swami Aseemanand of Dangs had told him that Sunil Joshi — the man to whom Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur sold her motorcycle that was used in the Malegaon blast— was also involved in the Ajmer Sharif shrine bombing of October 11, 2007.

Sunil Joshi, whom Swami Aseemanand described to Purohit as “apna banda” (our man), was murdered in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh in the last week of December, 2007. The swami, originally Jatin Chatterjee of Bengal, is on the run.

The CBI interrogated Purohit in connection with its investigations into the May 18, 2007 blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid.

Purohit is understood to have told interrogators the name of a serving Colonel of the Army, his neighbour in Panchmarhi, who attended key meetings of Abhinav Bharat, including one allegedly hosted by the senior New Delhi endocrinologist R P Singh in Faridabad in January this year.

The Army has denied that any of its officers besides Purohit is under the scanner in the Malegaon probe. Dr Singh has denied involvement in the blast conspiracy.

The CBI report records competing claims made by Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya on the Malegaon blast. Purohit claimed to have met Pragya on October 5, 2008 to tell her that “our people” had carried out the killings in Orissa, burnt down two churches in Karnataka, and also carried out the Malegaon blast. To which, says the CBI report, the Sadhvi retorted: how could Purohit claim that Abhinav Bharat had been responsible for the Malegaon blast, when it was actually her people who had carried out the attack?

Purohit told interrogators that one Prashant Hartalkar, who he identified as the VHP’s Maharashtra chief, had called him on the phone to say that Pravin Togadia wanted him to find out who was investigating the Nanded blast case. In April 2006, an explosion in the home of an alleged RSS worker in Nanded, Maharashtra, killed two men who were suspected to have been putting together a bomb.

The CBI report details plans by Abhinav Bharat to try and ultimately replace the RSS and VHP as the standard-bearer of the ‘Hindu cause’. Purohit claimed to have told VHP leader Eknath Rao Shete that “the RSS needs to change its dress code to attract the youth of the country”.

Purohit also gave details of the conspiracy to eliminate RSS leader Indresh Kumar for ‘getting Hindus killed in Nepal’. He admitted he had, at the behest of Dayanand Pandey (alias Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Mahant Amritanand) and the Pune-based veteran RSS leader Shyam Apte, given a weapon to one Alok, a colleague of the Kolkata-based radical Hindu activist Tapan Ghosh, on April 11-12, 2008 in Bhopal. Next month, he had sent 12 rounds of ammunition to Alok, meant to be used to kill Indresh.

Purohit told the CBI Pandey had asked him to get RDX or some other explosive as “Guru Agya”. But it is not clear if he actually got the explosives.

Pandey also made Purohit contact Dr R P Singh over the telephone in August 2007. The report quotes Singh as having told Purohit that Indresh had “sold off Hindus in Nepal”, a job for which he (Indresh) had been given Rs 3 crore by the ISI. Purohit conveyed this to Togadia, who said that he already knew about this.

Purohit’s interrogation report includes several other details:

• Purohit first met Togadia in February 2006 in Nashik at the home of the local VHP unit head Vinayak. In December that year, he met Togadia in Mumbai and apprised him of the Abhinav Bharat concept. In March-April 2007, Togadia told Purohit over the phone the names of donors to the trust. In August-September, 2007, Togadia gave him Rs 2 lakh, which were subsequently passed on to Abhinav Bharat’s Samir Kulkarni. On August 2, 2008, Togadia severely reprimanded Purohit for breaking up the VHP’s Madhya Pradesh unit.

• On February 2, 2008, Shyam Apte gave Rs 2 lakh to Purohit, and orders to kill Indresh. Purohit passed on the money to another activist, Rakesh Dhawade, who gave him the weapon for Rs 50,000. This weapon was given to Alok. Dhawade, Purohit said, claimed to have trained the RSS cadres who died in the Nanded blast. Purohit had given Dhawade Rs 3.2 lakh the month before, to buy another four weapons.

• The same month, Purohit met Sandip Dange and Ramji Kalsangra with Samir Kulkarni. Ramji and the Purohit exchanged numbers, and decided to keep Kulkarni out of the operation.

• On April 11-12, 2008, Purohit spoke to Sadhvi Pragya at the instance of Aseemanand in Bhopal. The Sadhvi told the officer that Indresh was like a father to her. In June 2008, she told Purohit that she did not want to work with him. He met her five days after the Malegoan blast.

• Apte and Pandey insisted on killing Indresh. Dange called up Purohit repeatedly for arms-training. In July 2008, all those who had come for arms to Abhinav Bharat scattered, including Tapan Ghosh.

• On August 3, 2008, Pandey directed Purohit to get RDX for Ramji at a meeting in Mahakaal Dharamsala. Towards the end of the month, one Pravin Patil came to Panchmarhi to state that he had gained knowledge of explosives through Internet research.

• On Oct 23, 2008, Purohit was interrogated by Col Srivastava of the Army about the Malegaon blast. The Colonel got him to talk to Dr R P Singh.

AN OPEN LETTER TO MS. SONAL SHAH, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S TRANSITION ADVISORY BOARD

November 21, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO MS. SONAL SHAH, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S TRANSITION ADVISORY BOARD 

“Your recent statement on Hindu nationalist groups raises more questions than it answers.” 

November 20, 2008 

Dear Ms. Shah, 

We are a coalition of Indian-American groups and individuals representing diverse faiths, interests, and political affiliations, who are looking forward to working with the administration of President Obama to ensure that the interests of all Indian-Americans have a place in its policies. We represent families who have grievously suffered from theVishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) led pogroms against Muslim minorities of Gujarat in 2002; Christians, whose communities and places of worship are under assault by VHP and its various creations for no other reason than the faith they were born in, or chose; Hindus and human rights activists who have been fighting, often at great peril to their persons, against religious bigotry and violence being fanned by the VHP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and their various incarnations in India as well as in the United States (the Sangh Parivar). 

As you can understand, we are legitimately concerned about reports of your personal links with the VHP — whose social values, politics, and actions are antithetical to President-elect Obama’s message of hope and inclusiveness — and how those links might possibly influence your role in the transition team and the new administration’s policies towards India and Indian-Americans.

Your recent public statement, therefore, that your “personal politics have nothing in common with the views espoused by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or any such organization” is a welcome one, and we fully expect that your actions on the transition team will be faithful to that assertion. 

However, your statement does not allay all of our concerns, given the irrefutable public record of your and your family’s linkages to the VHP and other Sangh Parivar organizations, as confirmed in recent utterances by RSS circles in India and by VHP America. We would like to share those concerns with you in the hope that you will respond to them:

To begin with, like you, many of us were engaged in relief work in the aftermath of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, when we came away with admiration for Gujarat’s civil society, despite persistent allegations that VHP and RSS were cynically using the disaster relief efforts to further their sectarian agendas. Many of us returned to Gujarat promptly in 2002 to provide relief and succor to battered Muslim (and Hindu) families, following the unprecedented violence directed against them — this time despite the openly obstructionist tactics of the Gujarat government. This period was followed by systematic intimidation of activists by the state: e.g. frivolous lawsuits against Ms. Mallika Sarabhai, a renowned artist and community activist, which prompted the Supreme Court of India to intervene on her behalf. And more recently, emboldened by their impunity in Gujarat, the Sangh Parivar has been orchestrating wide-spread violence against Christians in several BJP and BJP-partnered states of India, which has renewed the public demand for a ban on the VHP and its affiliate, the Bajrang Dal. 

We remind you of this recent history to express our dismay and disappointment that at no time during this terrible period are we aware of any statement from you dissociating yourself from these dreadful acts of VHP and RSS, especially given your proximity to these organizations: As a person associated with VHP/RSS’s earthquake relief efforts in 2001, we are not aware of any acknowledgment from you of their widely reportedsectarian bias in providing relief. We are not aware of any assistance from you or by IndiCorps to the thousands of families affected by the 2002 communal pogroms, nor are we aware of your speaking out against the funding of organizations implicated in these hate campaigns by charities in the United States, with some of whom you have been partnering. And, more recently, we have not heard any condemnation from you of the spate of violence against Christian Adivasis being orchestrated by VHP, for which the BJP-partnered government in Orissa has been severely indicted by India’s National Commission for Minorities

In the face of these facts, your bold assertion that you have “always condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool” is deeply troubling.

Furthermore, the revelation that you were part of the inner circle of VHP America at the time of the Gujarat earthquake indicates that your role was not confined only to humanitarian relief — an important detail that you did not address in your statement. And your consistent support for Ekal Vidyalayas (a VHP-founded movement with the major objective of countering Christianity among Adivasis), which has been found by the Human Resources Ministry of Government of India to be conditioning the minds of young children against religious minorities, adds to our fear that you have not fully distanced yourself from VHP’s intolerant, anti-minority ideology. 

As you know better than most of us, President-elect Obama set a high standard of openness and personal accountability for himself during the campaign. We note from recent events that he is setting a similar standard of transparency for the transition team. In that spirit, we hope that you too will take personal responsibility for your undeniable past links with the Sangh Parivar and reconcile your recent statement against the VHP and the RSS with your silence amidst the most egregious human rights violations by them in Gujarat and elsewhere. We further hope that you will unequivocally disown and repudiate your and your family’s past and current associations with the VHP and all other Sangh Parivar organizations.
And, as a prominent Indian-American, we hope that you will join us in our call to the governments of India, Gujarat, and Orissa to speedily bring justice and rehabilitation to the thousands of victims of the Sangh Parivar’s anti-minority violence and to take immediate and effective measures to prevent such violence in the future.
These steps will lend much credence to your statement that you do not subscribe to the views of Hindu nationalist groups.
As for your comment that you have been the subject of “Ridiculous tactics of guilt by association”:

Being everyday victims of guilt by association in the US as well as in India for being Muslims, especially in Gujarat, many of us can and do recognize the insidious nature of blog postings that you may be the subject of. Others among us have been the target of preposterous accusations by supporters of VHP and RSS and have been labeled as anti-Hindu, anti-Indian, pro-terrorist, etc., for seeking justice for India’s minorities.

In contrast, your family’s connections with the Sangh Parivar have been long, deep, well documented, and presumably continue to this day. So we must respectfully reject any parallels drawn between attempts during the campaign to find President-elect Obama guilty by association and legitimate questions about your past affiliations. 

In closing, the Indian and Indian-American media have widely covered your appointment to the transition team with justifiable pride, and have spoken very highly of your credentials. We join them in congratulating you and in applauding President-elect Obama for demonstrating his commitment to true diversity by appointing an Indian-American woman to his closest advisory board. We have no doubt that you will bring your expertise to bear upon the many difficult decisions that the transition team will have to make in the next few weeks. But we also sincerely hope that your actions on the team will be mindful of the welfare and aspirations of all Indians, including minority communities, which are under unprecedented attacks by Hindu nationalist groups.

We wish you all the best in your endeavors and we look forward to your response. 

Sincerely, 

A Coalition of Concerned Indian-Americans

For further information on this letter, please contact:

Dr. Angana Chatterji, achatterji@ciis.edu, phone 415-575-6119/415-640-4013
Ravi Ravishankar, ra.ravishankar@gmail.com, phone 503-867-0853
Dr. Shaikh Ubaid, su204@aol.com, phone 516-567-0783

Endorsing Organizations:

American Muslim Physicians of Indian Origin (AMPI)
Association of Indian Muslims in America (AIM), Washington DC
Friends of South Asia (FOSA), San Jose, California (www.friendsofsouthasia.org)
India Foundation, Michigan
Indian Muslim Council (IMC), Morton Grove, Illinois (www.imc-usa.org)
Indian Muslim Education Foundation (IMEFNA), North America
International Service Society, Michigan
Non-Resident Indians for a Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI), Michigan
Sikh American Heritage Organization, Wayne, Illinois
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Greater Vancouver, Canada (sansad.org)
Supporters of Human Rights in India (SHRI)
The Coalition for a Secular Democratic India (CSDI), Chicago. Illinois
Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Michigan

Personal Endorsements: 

George Abraham
Girish Agrawal
Rasheed Ahmed
Shahid Ali, M.D.
Khalid Azam
Dr. Chinmoy Banerjee
Dr. Angana Chatterji
Nasir Chippa
Gautam Desai
Shalini Gera
Sapna Gupta
Nishrin Hussain
Mohammad Imran
Imtiazuddin
Kaleem Kawaja
Attaulla Khan
Wasim Khan, MD, MPH
Alex V. Koshy
Kursheed A. Mallick, M.D.
Saeed Patel
Shrikumar Poddar
Raju Rajagopal
Ravi Ravishankar
Dr. Svati Shah
Dr. Hari Sharma
Ramkumar Sridharan
Raja Swamy
Dr. Shaikh Ubaid

An Open letter to the National Integration Committee By Amaresh Misra

October 11, 2008

An Open letter to the National Integration Committee

 

Subject: The continuing Muslim and minority persecution in India                                               

 

 

                                                       By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

          I, along with my fellow citizens of India, am addressing this letter to the meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) on 13th October. This Government of India body has the premier task of fighting communal forces and facilitating Indian national Integration  

 

Dear senior members of the NIC,        

 

You all know me as a historian and the author of `War of Civilizations: India 1857 AD’, the two volume authoritative work on 1857, India’s first war of Independence. I have been instrumental in making the world aware that India fought a great anti-colonial battle in the 19th century and that 10 million Indians were killed by rampaging British troops during the 1857 wars.

          1857 offers a shining example of national integration. There is no place from Gilgit to Tamil Nadu and Manipur to Maharashtra which was not affected by the great war of the Indian people. Hindus and Muslims fought as brothers. Kattar Hindu Sepoys or peasant soldiers went to Delhi to install, Bahadur Shah Zafar as India’s Emperor. When Rani Lakshmi Bai died she had only 250 Pathan-Muslim soldiers with her—all of whom perished in the fatal battle with the British. In Ayodhya, right near the spot where the Babari Masjid was demolished, Maulavis and Pundits were hanged together side by side. There was no distinction—Hindus and Muslims were one.

          Who can deny this history? I am a firm believer in policies and programs of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. But some elements in our society, represented by the RSS are hell bent upon in negating the Nehruvian legacy, secular-Sanatani Hindu ethos and the Muslim contribution to Indian history. Sadly, present-day secular forces seemed to have surrendered before them—how else you all, esteemed members of the NIC, can define the Batla House encounter? During this encounter, the Home Minister of a secular government was sitting in the control room of the Delhi Police supervising the suspect encounter of two Muslim boys in the Jamia Nagar area. Is this democracy? Even if we accept the police version that the boys were masterminds or something of the blasts that rocked Delhi on 12th September who has the right to kill them in full public view? Isn’t this unconstitutional?

   During my travels to the US I unearthed a widespread plot to destabilize India. This plot is being hatched by American and Indian Right Wing elements—but is being resisted by American Democrats. Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi are part of this plot; what do you make of Tata shifting his Nano car to Gujarat? It means that even the corporate lobby has thrown in its lot with fascists.

What is the long-term design of the American-Israeli plot? It is to butcher Indian Muslims, sound a death knell to Indian nationalism, and erode India’s sovereignty. Let this letter serve as a warning to people like Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi, who are not even a speck of dust as compared to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. A thousand Shivraj Patil, Narendra Modi and toady figures like Ratan Tata, will die a thousand deaths before their American masters can destroy India—a country built by the sacrifice of millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

 The bomb blasts that have rocked India since July 2008 have all been planned by the Home Ministry to effect Muslim persecution and communal polarization and destroy Indian nationalism. The reason: for Shivraj Patil, Narendra Modi and Ratan Tata, and the Indian corporate lobby, the current world economic crisis presents a dilemma. These forces want to rule the world through neo-liberal economic policies, which are failing even in America. In India, the current, neo-liberal economic policies have caused untold damage: while the corporate lobby stands strengthened, the peasantry and the Adivasis, the OBCs and the Dalits are all seeing a decline in their income. Unemployment and inflation is rampant. In the name of privatization, India’s Independent Industrial base has been eroded.

It is clear that that impoverished masses of India, the vast majority of minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs are restless. India wants a more pro-people, anti-corporate house economic policy. People want more empowerment, progress and prosperity. They are dissatisfied not only with the Modi-Tata economic policies, which have  made even the rich amongst OBCs, Dalits and minorities poor, but also with the entire ideology of fake Brahminism, which has been used since the British era to suppress minorities and Dalits.

RSS type Hindutva forces, created primarily by the British, are afraid of Sanatan Dharma, the true religion of Hindus. The reason is that Sanatan Dharma and Islam have worked in an historical alliance to create the great Indian composite culture which made India a superpower during the Mughal era.

Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi hate the Indian composite culture. They also hate Hindus and Sanatan Dharma—like the British, Shivraj Patil and Narendra Modi know that as long as Sanatan Dharma and Islam exist in India, no harm can come to India’s sovereignty.

The American establishment—not the American people—are uncomfortable with Indian sovereignty; because Indian sovereignty implies anti-Imperialism and national dignity. America wants to turn India into a client-state, with limited sovereignty. What is best way to do this? From the American right wing perspective, a fascist Indian government which can curb nationalist and democratic elements is the best government.

It is clear that this fascist government can never come to power through votes. So the American game-plan is to organize bomb blasts, destabilize India, divert the attention of people from their real issues and then have a communal-fascist government assume power through largely undemocratic means in the name of `national security’. This fascist government will dismantle Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar’s constitution, thus disenfranchising the Dalits and minorities and all patriotic, peace loving and democratic people of India.    

What national security can Modi or Shivraj Patil provide India—they are already sold out to American interests. Who is India’s Home Secretary—he is the same anti-national figure who was the District Magistrate of Faizabad when the Babari Masjid was demolished.

Just pause and think for a moment—the Home Ministry since the time of LK Advani had enrolled unemployed Hindus and Muslims—these boys were exploited and used to plant bomb blasts. Then some organization like SIMI or the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was created and Muslims persecuted!

This has been the game-plan and Modi and Shivraj Patil think Indians are not aware of this? 

                 The recent Bomb Blast phenomenon stinks, from top to bottom. In March 2008 the Madhya Pradesh Police arrests Safdar Nagori, an alleged SIMI activist—then the Police of various states make a data bank of SIMI based on his confession. In India give any one, even Shivraj Patil, the home Minister to the police and in 24 hours the police will have even his confession as a the most dreaded terrorist of the country!

          What kind of a mockery is the Indian Mujahideen (IM)? We, the common people of India, know that the IM is a creation of the Home Ministry—Muslim boys being picked up from Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, UP and several other areas are all innocent victims of a foreign plot to destabilize India. The current Home Secretary is the same person who was the DM of Faizabad during the demolition of the Babari Masjid. How could the UPA government allow this to happen? How could a secular government allow a communal bureaucrat to become the Home Secretary in the first place?

          There is something clearly something very wrong here—Muslim boys are being picked up, while Ken Haywood, the American citizen form whose computer in Navi Mumbai the email sent by IM was traced is let off! There is not even a police investigation! And no one makes it an issue!

          Suddenly beginning from July 2008 we see pattern in which bomb blasts rock India with regularity, the media starts demonizing Muslims with impunity, and then the RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal, the entire saffron brigade goes on a rampage in Orissa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra killing Christians and Muslims? In Orissa women are raped—a similar thing happens in Dhulia where a pregnant women were raped—all this shows that Gujarat 2002 is repeating itself. Only this time, the communal elements have the protection of the Indian state.

          In Assam, the VHP is spreading false stories that Muslims are attacking Hindus. It is being openly said by the VHP in Assam that   

          The worst fears of secular forces have come out to be true—communal elements have taken over parts of the Indian State—this much is clear. The RSS is openly challenging the Indian State—everyone knows that the BJP is politically isolated and does not stand a chance in the 2009 elections. The entire Sangh Parivar has put in all its might now to unleash a reign of terror and sabotage the very fundamentals of Indian democracy and constitution.

          I ask the Dalit leaders attending the NIC meet—in front of your very eyes, the constitution of Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar is being trampled upon—what are you doing about it? Everyone knows that the RSS has always hated the Indian constitution and the very idea of India as a secular state—why then is there no talk of banning the RSS?   The RSS has openly challenged the Indian State. RSS chief Sudarshan has openly exhorted his cadres to attack minorities—I am attaching this statement: “Dear Hindus, In the rule of Congress Hindus, Hindu Saints and Hindu leaders are attacked. Hindus sentiments are hurt on the issues like Amarnath Pilgrim, Ram Setu etc. For these we should start praying and chanting for 10 minutes not only for the defeat of Congress in the coming election but also to destroy anti-Hindu and anti-nation Congress, Communist, anti-Hindus and pseudo Hindus”.

          What kind of poison is this—what is the Government of India doing about this? This is the same language Hitler used against Jews and Communists in the 1930s—is it part of the anti-national plan of Modi, Patil and the RSS to turn India into another Germany of the 1930s?

 

          Members of the NIC, please act before it is too late. Ban the Bajrang Dal, VHP and the RSS. Constitute a judicial enquiry into the Batla House encounter. Request the UPA Government to put a stop to acts of Muslim persecution and arrests. Publish a white paper on terrorism, which shows the real face of the culprits. Enact a new law which prevents atrocities against minorities and Adivasis.

Please do not be scared of a Hindu backlash or some such nonsense—I assure you, these people have killed Sharma, their own man during the Batla House encounter. Hindus have no sympathy for them. Talk to ordinary Hindus—they are nationalists and they want a revival of composite culture. They know that Indian Muslims have a long history of nationalism—if Muslims had really wanted to take revenge, they would have attacked Modi or Advani. They would not have attacked ordinary, innocent Hindus and Muslims in cowardly bomb blasts.

          It is known the world over that blasts which kill ordinary people are the handiwork of International, anti-national, evil and fascist forces. These forces can never become popular. So they execute blasts in order to create terror and ensure that people do not protest, or come out to vote against them.

 

Any Indian supporting RSS is anti-national—and he or she will be given an appropriate response.    

      

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA – By Shabnam Hashmi & Ram Puniyani

September 16, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA

 

September 15, 2008

New Delhi

 

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singh,

 

The blasts in Delhi (September 12, 2008) are another in the series of tragic blasts in which scores of people have been killed. We strongly condemn the blasts and demand a proper, unbiased investigation into the same. We demand that the guilty be punished. At the same time it seems that our investigating agencies are ignoring some thing very crucial in the matters of investigating the acts of terror.

 

The acts of terror have been occurring and Home Ministry is watching helplessly. While the current investigation is totally focused around SIMI, many an alleged culprits have been put behind the bars, despite which now some unknown entity Indian Mujahideen seems to have been projected as being responsible for the current ones. At the same time another stark truth is being deliberately sidelined and undermined. And that relates to the blasts done by Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagran Samiti. We fail to understand as to why the investigation authorities are turning a blind eye to some of the well established facts.

 

1. In a serious case of blasts in Nanded in April 2006 two Bajarang Dal workers died when making bombs. Similar incidents of bomb blasts were witnessed in many places around that time, Parabhani, Jalna and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Most of these were in front of the mosques. The Nanded investigation ‘leads’ were not followed. On the contrary the investigation in that direction was not pursued at all. The attitude of police in this investigation has been totally lax. Social activists made the complaint about this to Human Rights commission. The commission summoned the Superintendent of police, Nanded, in its hearing held on 17thJune. The SP failed to turn up for hearing! There seems to be a deliberate cover up of this important finding of Maharashtra Anti terrorist Squad. ATS did investigate the links of the dead with Bajrang Dal, an RSS affiliate. At the same time the injured were visited in the hospital by the top brass of local BJP and associates. Local BJP MP told the police not to harass those related to the culprits in the wake of the Bajrang Dal involvement in the bomb making. In Nanded, ATS also found fake moustache and pajama kurta, the idea being that the culprits will dress like a Muslim while doing these black deeds.

 

2. A bomb blast took place at the RSS office at Tenkasi, in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu on January 24. After a thorough investigation, the Tamilnadu Police had arrested 7 persons belonging to Sangh Parivar outfits. They had confessed that they indulged in this terror act to instigate the local Hindu population against the Muslims.

 

On further investigation, the Tamilnadu Police arrested Siva Alias Sivanandam, who is the General Secretary of Hindu Munnani at Kadayanallur, a neighbouring town of Tenkasi. Formed in 1980, Hindu Munnani is a frontal organisation of Sangh Parivar operating in Tamilnadu.

 

Siva, who has earlier worked in quarries in the neighboring state of Kerala had supplied the ammonium nitrate and other raw materials for preparing the bombs.

 

3. The bombs which exploded in Gadkari Rangayatan on 4th June 2008 injured seven people. Again Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad succeeded in nabbing the culprits. The culprits were part of Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), an outfit of Sanatana Ashram in Panvel. These culprits were also involved in other blasts, in Vashi, Panvel and Ratnagiri. We have not heard anything about the further tracing of this very important lead.

 

4. On 24th August, in Kanpur two Bajrang Dal workers died while making bombs. Rajiv alias Piyush Mishra and Bhupinder Singh were killed while making crude bombs on Sunday afternoon.

 

On 25th August, Monday, police recovered some crude hand grenades, lead oxide, red lead, potassium nitrate, bomb pins, timers and batteries from the spot, inside a hostel in Kalyanpur area of Kanpur, about 80 km from Lucknow. No further investigation, why?

 

Every time there is a bomb blast immediately the agencies and the media declare that it is done by some Muslim organization without any proof. Hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up, what follows are illegal detentions, torture, arrests, harassment of families, forcing the families and victims to sign blank papers. For years these helpless victims are tortured in jails, denied legal aid, even lawyers who try and fight their cases are attacked openly in courts. Their images tarnished for life time. If they are lucky they get let off after years as neither the agencies or the police have any proof against them. The cacophony of stricter laws rises so that a police can extract a confession by third degree torture and present that as evidence.  Through this systematic vilification campaign the process of demonization of minorities continued unabated.

 

If we look at the timing of the terror attacks it is very clear that one and only one political outfit is gaining from it and that is Sangh. With their eyes on the central government their agenda of polarizing the voter is going ahead successfully.

 

On the other hand there are constant attacks on minorities on one pretext or another. Orissa thousands of Christians have been attacked, rendered homeless, their homes ransacked and looted and burnt down, churches attacked and even orphanages are not left alone.

 

Karnataka a similar picture is emerging. We have personally briefed very senior people in the government and the Congress party about the Karnataka situation and that it might explode but nothing was done and we have seen what has happened yesterday.

 

While we write to you now, the police are firing at Muslims in Yakutpura in Vadodara. Yesterday during the Ganpati procession a local dargah was broken down and shops of Muslims looted and ransacked. Already one boy has died and many are injured.

Last few days the only Muslim village Nandepeda in the Dangs, Gujarat has been attacked, ransacked. Villagers have been beaten up brutally including women and children. All men have fled to the jungles. The police not only took away all the goods but before going they poured kerosene into the eatable good so that they could not eat anything too. A proposed VHP rally today was stopped after spending 4 hours on the phone and pressuring various police departments. 

 

UPA had formed the National Integration Council under tremendous pressure. The first agenda papers which were prepared, if you remember, were highly communal and objectionable. A number of us had raised it during the meeting and the Home Minister had replied’ treat them as scrap’ in your presence. Probably the Home Minister realized that people like us were too uncomfortable to have in the NIC, who would raise these questions. The NIC was never convened again. It was supposed to meet every six months.

 

The country unfortunately has been given on a platter to the Sangh and the government looks helplessly in providing security to ordinary citizens whether they are victims of terror attacks or victims of the constant attacks by the Sangh Parivar’s various outfits.

 

We hope you will intervene and question why are such clear cases of involvement of RSS affiliates in terror attacks being ignored. It seems the investigating authorities deliberately want to cover up the role of RSS affiliates in these acts of terror. Can the real truth behind the dastardly acts come out without properly investigating these incidents, where the culprits’ involvement is very clear? We urge upon you to instruct the investigating authorities to pursue the investigation in an unbiased, honest and professional manner. The life of innocent citizens is at stake and such irresponsible cover will definitely prevent the real truth from coming out. For the sake of fairness, honesty and the values of our constitution, we need to pursue these cases in their logical direction.

 

Can we look forward to you, Mr. Prime Minister to make your Government to rise above partisan attitude and unravel the truth behind the blasts which are rocking the country in a painful way?

 

Sincerely

 

 

Shabnam Hashmi, Member, National Integration Council

Ram Puniyani, Social Activist, and writer

The SIMI question: Indian democracy’s acid test

August 21, 2008

The SIMI question: Indian democracy’s acid test

 

                                                              

By Amaresh Misra

 

 

          The lifting of the ban on SIMI by the Special Tribunal constituted under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2006, headed presently by Justice Geeta Mittal, needs to be welcomed by all secular Indians.

 

The persecution meted out to SIMI cadres during the past 15 years is nothing short of a legal scandal; the recent Tehelka story on the subject paints a frightening story of deliberate negligence, blatant disregard of the rule of law, violation of constitutional and civil rights of Indian citizens and cynicism towards the secular ideology of the Indian nation-state, by functionaries of Indian State agencies themselves. In the name of combating SIMI, ordinary Muslims were demonized, picked up from their homes in broad daylight, given third and fourth degree tortures and made to `confess’ to `crimes’ that were never proven. It is therefore painful to see so called secularists like Javed Anand taking—at this juncture, when some legal relief to beleaguered Muslims of India seems to be in sight, and when it is becoming apparent that the bomb blast phenomenon in India is a handiwork of communal elements in State services and the RSS-Sangh Parivar—the Urdu media and Muslim organizations to task for welcoming a plainly legal judgment!

 

          The Supreme Court since then has stayed the lifting of the ban—and this seems to give comfort to Mr. Javed Anand! Mr. Anand has failed totally in distinguishing between support for SIMI’s ideology and opposing persecution of Muslims in SIMI’s name. One can remain deadly opposed to SIMI’s ideology—but if a secularist or a leftist fails to welcome the lifting of the ban on SIMI then he or she is either willfully ignorant or willfully supportive of the Indian brand of fascism.

 

          Several quotes form Lenin and Mao can be presented to prove the point that leftists have to stand up for persecuted religious minorities irrespective of the ideologies of their representative or fringe organizations. But in India of late some pseudo or fake version of secularism has gained currency. Mr. Anand raises the question of going beyond the `law’ and seeing the SIMI threat on the `ideological’ plane; Mr. Yogendra Yadav in his reply to Mr. Ghulam Muhammad’s very reasonable riposte to Mr. Javed Anand goes one step further to say that there is `truth’ beyond `law’!

 

          Come on, people—are we discussing philosophy, the nature of truth etc. here? What kind of ridiculous levels are we descending to? Mr. Javed Anand and Mr. Yogendra Yadav ought to answer two questions: whether the ban on SIMI was justified on legal grounds? Just a simple Yes or No—and whether the lifting of the ban is as per the spirit of the Indian constitution—again a simple Yes or No; there are no other issues involved—the Urdu media has been at the forefront of fighting all anti-national conspiracies; it is more patriotic than the Indian English media for sure. There are several stories which the Urdu media highlighted and which the English media picked up later—the Urdu media began the whole debate around the non-implementation of the Sri Krishna committee in 2007-2008; the English media picked up the theme later.

 

          When the Urdu media welcomes the lifting the ban on SIMI, it is acting not as a `Muslim media’ but as a responsible `Indian media’ conscious about the constitutional rights of all Indian citizens. The Urdu media was vocal about Muslim persecution in India not because Urdu is spoken and read largely by Muslims, but because they realized the unconstitutional nature of that persecution. The Urdu media in the 1990s has also been very vocal on atrocities on Dalits and the OBCs. It has carried long campaigns against several ills within the Muslim society, including the spread of ideas which even faintly suggest terrorism of any kind. Its nationalist and secular credentials are beyond doubt. The Government of India has had to consistently support the Urdu media and shield it from vicious attacks from communal forces because of this very reason.

 

          There was an attempt by communal elements in the Maharashtra State administration to book a journalist called Danish Riyaz in July 11 2006 Mumbai blasts; Danish was used to put pressure on the Urdu Times, which had spoken out consistently against minority persecution in general; one can cite several such instances.

 

          It is people, like Javed Anand who need to be a taught a lesson in secularism. They represent a section which makes fun of Muslim religious beliefs in the name of secularism—they shed crocodile tears over Muslim persecution without once daring to confront the RSS head on—have Javed Anand or Javed Akhtar or Yogendra Yadav been able to stand up against the RSS on any public platform? The RSS loves them for they represent some caricature of secularism, which can easily be used to paint secularism as against religion and Muslim appeasement.

 

          Defending the constitutional rights of Muslims is a political question—today in India, the ideology of SIMI etc is a non issue. The real issue is whether we will allow the RSS-Sangh Parivar and other fascist forces to derail the idea of India as a secular republic.

 

Mr. Javed Anand therefore stands guilty of creating an issue where there is none and therefore helping the RSS indirectly. Anti-religiosity has never been the hallmark of Indian secularism—in fact in the Indian context anti-religious secularism has always ended up as being friends of fascism which too is anti-religious; in fact, the pseudo-westernized culture of the Indian secular elite has been responsible to a great degree for the rise of the RSS; what India needs is indigenous secularism, of the Ganga-Yamuni Tehzeeb variety.

 

Recently, when the Shankarcharya of Puri attacked Narendra Modi for dividing Hindus and Muslims and for planting bombs in Gujarat to defame and persecute Muslims, Mr. Javed Anand or Mr. Yogendra Yadav did not come forward to welcome the statement. Here was a golden opportunity to harness the liberal tradition within the mainstream, the anti-RSS majority Sanatan Dharma Hindu element, to the cause of secularism. But people like Mr. Javed Anand and Mr. Yogendra Yadav of course, have no conviction in the power of the Shankaracharyas to fight the RSS. They do not realize that India has remained secular for so long, that in a Hindu majority country like India, Hindutva fascists have failed to secure more than 20% votes ever, because of the pro-Muslim nature of Sanatan Dharma, which had allied with Islam during the Mughal era and in 1857.

 

          Papers like Indian Express stand guilty of going against their own traditions of fearless journalism. I have contributed a lot to Indian Express’ edit page, mostly on themes like 1857. But any article against Muslim persecution has been shot down. I am saying this openly and blaming the Indian Express edit page editor Saubhik Chakravarty and Shekhar Gupta for their subtle and not so subtle anti-Muslim biases. Somewhere down the line, every pseudo-westernized Hindu holds an unexplained grudge against Muslims. This translates into biases in the media. I am a member of the Governing Council of the ICSSR. And if I can be published on several issues and rejected on issues of Muslim persecution, then you can imagine the treatment a Muslim journalist gets in the Indian Express.

 

          So it is true that the Indian `secular’ English media suffers from a pro-Hindutva bias. Even a rookie journalist will tell you that. A legal case has to be brought out against the Indian Express and the Times of India. India needs tough anti-defamation and anti-discrimination laws, where people would have the right to sue the Indian Express and the Times of India.        

 

One has to understand that in India secularism has been protected by the `illiterate’, non-westernized peasants and the common sense of the ordinary Indian. Indian/Hindu modernism and modernists have surrendered before fascism; on the contrary Indian/Hindu tradition and traditionalists have fought against the RSS. This dialectics needs to be understood—the soul of India needs to be understood in the fight against fascism. For fascists are pseudo-modernists of a different variety. And they fear not modernism but the everyday religious-traditional-political consciousness of the Hindu and Muslim Indian peasant.   

 

         Right now also it is not some so called secularist but a traditional politician like Digvijay Singh, the ex-CM of MP, who in an interview given to Tehelka, has openly spoken about the BJP-VH-RSS making bombs in India—Mr. Singh has said also that he has direct evidence in this matter. But of course, why would Mr. Javed Anand or Mr. Yogendra Yadav write on this, or welcome Mr. Singh’s statement or demand an enquiry into the role of RSS in the bomb blasts that have been rocking India? And why would the Indian Express publish any such thing?  

August 7, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

 

WHAT A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IN INDIA!

 

ON THE BASIS OF A POLICE OFFICER’S REPORT, A MUSLIM STUDENT’S ORGANISATION IS BANNED BY THE EXTREMIST HINDUTVA LEADER L. K. ADVANI, WHOSE OWN ORGANISATION HAS PLAYED HAVOC WITH PEOPLES LIFE. ADVANI HIMSELF IS TO BE PROSECUTED OVER HIS ROLE IN THE DEMOLITION OF BABRI MASJID AND THE MASSACRES OF MUSLIM THAT FOLLOWED. SINCE WHEN A POLICE OFFICER’S WORD HAS BECOME LAW OF THE LAND!

 

THIS POLICE OFFICER’S REPORT WAS NEVER JUDGED FOR VERACITY AND OVER THE ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF JUST FOUR INDIVIDUALS, THE THEN HOME MINISTER, L. K. ADVANI, BANS AN ALL INDIA MUSLIM ORGANISATION ON THE SPURIOUS ALLEGATIONS OF TERROR.

 

SUBSEQUENTLY, HUNDREDS OF SIMI MEMBERS WERE ARRESTED AND TORTURE FOR POSTHOMOUSLY BELONGING TO A ‘BANNED’ ‘TERRORIST’ ORGANISATION.

 

INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS SHOULD NOT BE A PARTY TO A WITCH-HUNT OF INDIAN MUSLIMS AND FOLLOW THE CRIMINAL ABUSE OF POWER BY THE BJP LED NDA COALITION GOVERNMENT OF THE PAST.

 

IT SHOULD DO JUSTICE. IT SHOULD NOT GET BROW-BEATEN BY FASCIST PARIVAR TO SUBVERT THE LAW OF THE LAND, IN LETTER AND IN SPIRIT.

 

GHULAM MUHAMMED, MUMBAI

 

 

 

 

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/MM/navigator.asp?Daily=MMIR&login=default

 

 

 

SIMI was banned on the basis of this officer’s report

   

SP SARANG AWAD

 

Then Deputy Superintendent of Police Sarang Awad’s report had revealed SIMI’s involvement in anti-India activities

 

DEEPTIMAN TIWARY

 

 

   The Delhi High Court order on Tuesday lifted the ban on Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The news shocked Sarang Awad, Superintendent of Police (Highway Patrol), the officer on whose report the Centre issued a notification banning SIMI under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2001.

 

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

 

The Nagpur police in 2000 had got information that terror elements were planning to blow up the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in the city. After explosives were found at the site, a hunt was launched to find the people behind the act.

 

   A breakthrough in the case came when the Jalgaon police headed by then Dy SP Sarang Awad in May 2001 arrested four men with explosives and subversive literature. On interrogation, they revealed that they were SIMI activists, and that one of them, Sheikh Shakeel Sheikh Annan, was the president of SIMI’s Jalgaon unit. They also revealed that before planting the explosives near the RSS headquarters, they had crossed the border at Kashmir and received training from terror outfits.

 

   Awad who was the complainant and investigating officer of the case said, “We found a lot of subversive literature in Urdu and Arabic urging Muslims to join a jihad. We also found a diary with names and phone numbers of people from across the border.”

 

   Police investigations also revealed that the operatives had exchanged emails with groups across the border. Later, many operatives who were involved in the conspiracy, were arrested from Kashmir and Delhi.

 

REPORT CAUSES BAN

 

After filing the charge-sheet, Awad made a report on SIMI’s increasing involvement in subversive activities, which was forwarded to the Union government. When the Union Home Ministry, then led by L K Advani, received the report, establishing SIMI’s involvement in anti-India activities, it issued a notification banning the organisation for two years. Awad said, “We established that the accused were active SIMI members as their bank accounts were receiving funds from the SIMI unit in Delhi and Bihar. We showed SIMI’s links across the border and its activities inside the country. We had shown how educated youngsters had been imparted training in making bombs. We had solid evidence which would stand in any court and that’s why most of the accused got convicted in the case.” Awad concluded by saying, “The outfit has been a big threat to our internal security — at least that’s what I found when I prepared the report.”