Rohit Kumar's Views

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Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights

BJP supporters vow to march to Kashmir

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Thousands of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters massed on a bridge to the disputed Kashmir region on Tuesday as officials sought to stop a flag-raising ceremony that could spark violence.

Workers of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hold national flags and shout slogans during a protest on a bridge at Madhopur, in the northern Indian state of Punjab

Police faced off with flag-waving BJP workers as authorities sealed routes into Kashmir to thwart the planned raising of the national flag in the state that has been racked by unrest by Muslim separatists opposed to Indian rule.

Police forced about 7,000 marchers on to buses and drove them away, police sources said, while the remaining 2,500 protesters attempting to cross the border from the Jammu region into Kashmir faced arrest or detention.

Officials in Kashmir fear that the symbolic show of Indian cental control over the disputed region could reignite separatist protests in which more than 100 people were killed last year.

The BJP has gained political ground through recent pressure on the ruling coalition struggling with graft and it hopes to show the government’s weakness on Kashmir, a potent symbol of India’s territorial integrity, with state elections looming.

But the main oppostion party risks a backlash. The government has criticised it for “divisive politics” and its nationalistic rhetoric may alienate secular Indians and other political parties.

“There is no justification whatsoever to push a political agenda that will certainly affect peace and law and order in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Home Minister P. Chidamabaram said in a statement.

“It would be most unfortunate if the BJP leaders defy the restrictions placed by the state government or deliberately cause a breach of the peace.”

The state government, backed by the ruling Congress party, sealed all road links into the state, media reported, a day after BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were detained at the airport in the main Kashmiri city of Srinagar and sent back out.

Senior BJP officials have said raising the national flag in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, to celebrate India’s Republic Day on Wednesday, was a patriotic right, and have vowed to push on with their march to the city.

“We have started march towards J&K … We are marching in a group of 500 people holding tricolour (flag)… Huge police presence on the other side of the bridge,” Swaraj, the BJP leader in the lower house of parliament, posted on Twitter.

Republic Day has traditionally been a lightning rod for anti-Indian protests in the Himalayan region which is at the heart of hostilities between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, who both claim it.

“The (BJP’s) aggressive and adamant stand … betrays a dangerous inability to understand the subtlety and calibration needed in a place like Jammu and Kashmir,” the Indian Express newspaper said in an editorial.

“Aggressive postures aimed at little more than self-serving polarisation will do no good to any cause, least of all one proclaimed in the name of this country’s unity.”

Militants backed by Pakistan have been battling Indian security forces in Muslim-majority Kashmir since 1989. Tens of thosuands of people have been killed in the violence.

Meet the landlord

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Chicago Tribune

China holds almost $1 trillion in U.S. debt. That gives it a huge stake in our nation’s future. Much like a landlord or banker, China relies on us to pay our bills. Considering how the U.S. is asking the world to keep lending us money, we have a financial interest in making sure China remains satisfied with its huge investment here. Otherwise our borrowing would become more costly and difficult.

We’re also a vast market for Chinese goods. Those imports from across the Pacific have helped suppress inflation here – by keeping U.S. retail prices in check – even as the Federal Reserve has printed money to cover our soaring national debt. And contrary to popular impressions, we ship a lot of our goods to fast-growing China as well. It’s fashionable in some circles to blame China for hollowing out the U.S. manufacturing sector, but the trade relationship has helped both countries much more than it has hurt.

Keep those thoughts in mind when China President Hu Jintaoarrives in Chicago on Thursday. He’s planning a state-visit-slash-trade-mission aimed at highlighting the pragmatic examples of economic cooperation with America’s industrial and agricultural heartland. He picked the right city: Chicago’s ties with China run deep, thanks in no small part to pioneering local companies such as Motorola.

In advance of Hu’s trip, China has sought to downplay tension over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the military attacks of its client state North Korea, and its own record of human-rights abuses. Instead, the debate over our mutual economic future has taken center stage.

Protectionists led by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have dusted off proposals for punitive legislation. “China doesn’t play by the rules and seeks unfair economic advantage,” Schumer recently complained, citing the undervalued currency that makes Chinese goods so cheap that U.S. companies can’t fairly compete.

Schumer would lower the bar for Washington taking action against currencies deemed “misaligned.” His notion is unworkable, but that’s beside his point – which is scapegoating China for the U.S. job losses of recent years.

Yes, raising the value of China’s currency would help lift the U.S. economy at the margin. But America’s problems have much more to do with out-of-control borrowing and spending by our citizens and government alike, not to mention an easy-money policy that the Fed continues today.

A better approach would be impressing Hu with Chicago’s free-market traditions.

Inside China, the cheap currency has kept wages low, hurt living standards and raised prices for food and other necessities. Letting market forces prevail would boost domestic consumption, helping China and the U.S. in the long run. Let’s hope that in addition to some ceremonial trade deals, America’s most prominent landlord takes home a fundamental lesson from his visit to our city.

Modi’s method

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By Sadiq Naqvi

After the genocide in 2002 and a string of fake encounters targeting Muslims, the ‘Hindutva lab’ is again active. Now, secular social activists are being branded as Maoists and jailed
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi

“The Gujarat government likes to keep stories on terror alive,” says Mukul Sinha, leading human rights lawyer based in Gujarat. Thirteen people have been arrested recently under one omnibus FIR for alleged propagation of the banned Maoist ideology in ‘Vibrant Gujarat’.

The FIR (No. I-37/2010, dated February 25, 2010, under sections 120 (B), 121 (A), 124 (A) and 153 A (B) of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 38, 39 and 40 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 1967) was lodged by Ravindra B Nikam, a sub-inspector with the Special Operations Group of Gujarat Police. It alleges a conspiracy against the State and points to the Maoist movement in Gujarat and north Maharashtra. It does not name any of those who have been arrested. Ironically, not a single instance of Maoist violence has been reported from Gujarat.On June 17, 2010, Abdul Shakeel Basha, a well-known social activist, was picked up by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police while he was leaving for work. His wife, Anju Shakeel, had no clue where he was until Special Cell officers brought Basha to his house in south Delhi for collecting evidence.

Basha, the Gujarat Police alleges, was an active member of the CPI-ML (People’s War) (now CPI-Maoist) from 1996 to 2004 and was trying to spread the Maoist movement in urban areas even after that. Sources close to Basha reveal that he was being followed for 20 days before he was finally arrested. “They even knew what he ate on the platform in Bhopal where he had gone for a public meeting on the gas tragedy,” says one of them. The police even tried linking him with some Islamist organisation, but failed to find any evidence.”I know Basha since 2004 and he has been working with us till 2008. As far as I know, he has no connections with the Naxals,” says Harsh Mander, member of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

Basha worked with him in Aman Biradari, an NGO working with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat genocide and for the homeless in Delhi, before founding another organisation, Haq, in 2008.”Basha has been fighting for the rights of the homeless and poor in Delhi. I have known him since 2004 and he was working closely with us,” says Indu Prakash Singh of Indo-Global Social Service Society, a Delhi-based NGO. He adds that even if Basha had Naxalite links earlier, he has now completely disowned the ideology and was leading a normal life. “How can they arrest someone because he was a member of an organisation that was banned after he had quit it?” he asks.

Hardnews learnt that even the police admit Basha is a “good man” and has an absolutely clean record since 2004. A source revealed that the police is pressurising Basha to become a police approver.Basha had worked in Mumbai after the 1992 pogrom of Muslims, helping the people to start their lives afresh. Shifting to Gujarat later, he worked first with industrial workers and then with Nyayagraha, a campaign of Aman Biradari for providing legal aid to the victims of the 2002 genocide.Basha’s activism has repeatedly exposed illegalities committed by the BJP-led government in Gujarat. “Two years ago, a young boy had been picked up by Gujarat Police from Seelampur in east Delhi. Basha had been instrumental in getting him released. The police had to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the boy,” informs a close aide of Basha.

Basha is not the only activist behind bars in Gujarat. There are 12 others who were arrested without any evidence of involvement in Maoist activity. One of them, Sulat Pawar, was recently released on bail after the court found no prima facie evidence against him. Pawar, the police alleged, had gone to Kerala for arms training.The civil society in Gujarat is aghast over the spate of arrests. All the arrested activists were working within the framework of the Indian Constitution. Avinash Kulkarni (57) was working with tribals in Dangs district for the last two decades, with the latest thrust being on the implementation of the Forests Rights Act. He was also opposing attempts of the Hindutva forces to instigate tribals against other minorities.

Bharat Pawar (40) was a local resident who had housed Kulkarni in Dangs. Makabhai Chaudhuri (49) and Jayaram Goswami (52) fought for the rights of quarry workers and diamond labourers, while Satyamrao Ambade (47) and Niranjan Mahapatra (37), nabbed from Surat, worked with textile workers’ trade unions. KN Singh (47), arrested from Bhavnagar, worked for local and migrant industrial workers, representing their cases in labour courts.”

No act of violence has been reported till date in which Kulkarni was involved. The police allege that he had sent two people to Kerala for arms training some 10 years ago. So how come they did nothing violent all these years even after being trained?” asks Ambrish Mehta, a civil rights activist who has worked with Kulkarni.Ten of the 13 accused have been arrested on charges of being members of CPI-ML (Janashakti). “Janashakti has been an overground organisation since 1992. Is it a crime to be a member of an overground organisation?” asks Kavita Srivastava of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Charge-sheets have been filed against 10 of the accused, in which the police claim that they are “professional revolutionaries” and “members of either CPI (Maoist) or CPI-ML (Janashakti)”, and that intending to usurp political power through violence, they had formed a ‘Surat Area Committee’ of the Maoist party. Mukul Sinha rubbishes these allegations, saying there is no Naxal presence in the area. Activists believe it is a ploy to get more funds from the Centre.”

Nothing has been recovered from Basha. The police have not been able to provide any evidence of the conspiracy, neither have they recovered any arms. One of the accused had named Basha in his confession to the police. That confession obviously does not hold ground in the court of law,” Basha’s lawyer Bilal Kagzi told Hardnews from Surat. Indeed, the bail of Sulat Pawar has created hope for activists. “There is no evidence against any of them, except the so-called ‘naxal literature’ the police claims to have seized from the accused. All of them will be ultimately released by the court of law,” says Mehta.

Activists point out that this repression is part of Narendra Modi’s agenda of ‘development’, pitched to assure the corporates that no one will be allowed to stand in their way. “The people who have been arrested are all secular and progressive, and were opposed to this Hindutva regime,” says Hiren Gandhi of Darshan, an NGO where Shrinivas Kurapati (34), another activist arrested for alleged Maoist links, used to work. “Now that the Modi government has been exposed and discredited on the Islamist terror front, this seems to be the new tactic,” says Srivastava.”

It’s a ploy to create a fear psychosis in the state,” says Sinha. This view is also echoed by Harsh Mander. “POTA was indiscriminately used against Muslim youth in the early part of the decade. Now, social activists seem to be their new target,” he told Hardnews.

Police action apart, there are other sinister ways to silence activists. Amit Jethwa, a prominent Right to Information activist, was shot dead near the Gujarat High Court on July 20, 2010, where he had filed a Public Interest Litigation charging Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, BJP MP from Junagadh, with running illegal mines and stone crushers in the Gir forest and on the Saurashtra coast. Jethwa’s father has alleged that the MP is behind this brutal murder. The MP is since absconding.”Anybody taking up issues that concern the bread and butter of the poor can be branded a Maoist. This witch-hunt is going on across the country,” says Gautam Navlakha, PUDR.Many others share this view. “The State does not want people to organise themselves. All those arrested are either trade unionists or were organising the tribals.

Anybody engaged in organising tribals can be termed a Maoist and put behind bars,” says Colin Gonsalves, senior Supreme Court lawyer.

India at War with Itself by Alan hart

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By Alan Hart

“Among the questions open and honest dialogue would need to address is the extent to which outside forces are having a significant influence on India’s drift to war with itself. It’s not too much of a secret that for more than a decade (and perhaps much longer) Israel’s Mossad has been advising, some say directing, India’s intelligence agencies. The cover story is co-operation in the “war against global terrorism”. But it’s not unreasonable to speculate that agents of Zionism and its neo-con associates are complicit in stoking Hindu-Muslim tensions…. because of the disparity between Indian and Pakistani conventional forces, Pakistan’s leaders would have to decide, possibly within two days or less, whether to agree to end the war on India’s terms and effectively surrender, or to go nuclear.”

The starter question I asked myself when I was thinking about what I might usefully say here today was this: How serious a threat to stability, and perhaps even democracy, are India’s insurgency movements?

From afar the insurgency situation in India is, to say the least, very complicated. There are two types of insurgent movements: movements for national self-determination – Assam, Kashmir and the Sikhs; and movements for social or economic justice and often both.

In all there are said to be some 30 armed insurgency organizations, but in 2007 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the growing influence of the born-again Naxalites or Maoists as “the most serious internal threat to India’s national security.”

Two years later (last year), the data seemed to confirm that view. The Naxalites or Maoists were by then active across 220 districts in 20 states – about 40% of India’s geographical area. According to the Research and Analysis Wing of Indian intelligence, there were 20,000 armed Naxalites and 50,000 regular or fulltime organizers and mobilizers. And all of those numbers are, apparently, growing.

It seems to me that it’s not too much of an exaggeration – and possibly not an exaggeration at all – to say that India is at war with itself. That was, in fact, the title of an article in 2007 by Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights in New Delhi.

How are the Indian authorities fighting this war?

As announced by Prime Minister Singh, there’s a two-pronged strategy – “effective policing” and “accelerated socio-economic development programmes”.

Events on the ground since that strategy was implemented suggest that “effective policing” is a euphemism for central and state government counter-violence and repression. Put another way, India’s security services (central and state) have at least matched the excesses of the Naxalites, including unlawful killings in fake encounters – incidents fabricated by security forces to justify the murder of dissidents.

The judgment of those who don’t have to peddle official propaganda seems to be that the counter-insurgency policy of the security services is counter-productive. Chakma put it this way. “Whenever security forces are deployed in a concerted manner, they only accentuate the conflict through gross human rights violations.”

As the conflict escalates, human rights monitoring is becoming next to impossible, but Chakma still insists that, “despite the difficulty of such a route, the Naxal conflict can only be addressed through the rule of law and rights-based approaches to development.”

On the former, Chakma said, the government “must” ensure compliance with articles of the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of the victims of non-international armed conflicts, the forcible displacement of civilians, the destruction of the means of survival of civilian populations; and accountability for violations by security forces.

Chakma concluded: “Insurgent movements like that of the Maoists are in large part sustained by the human rights violations of the government. India has never before relied on the rule of law to combat its rebels. Such an approach may be New Delhi’s best and only option.”

That conclusion makes sense to me as far as it goes. Counter-insurgency operations anywhere are doomed to failure if the security forces don’t put appropriate and necessary effort into winning hearts and minds. But the main point I want to make to you today is this.

The insurgency in all of its manifestations and the counter-insurgency operations of the security forces in all of their manifestations are only the casing of the ticking time-bomb under India’s democracy. The explosive substance inside the casing is, in a word, POVERTY.

Way back in the early 1970’s when I made Five Minutes To Midnight, my documentary on global poverty and its implications for all, some of the most revealing sequences were filmed in India. On locations up and down and across the country, I asked the poorest parents what they most wanted. One woman – her answer was to be echoed by many in India and on all the continents of the world – replied, “Education for my children so they don’t have to live like animals as we do.”

More than three decades on, India, despite its emergence as something of a development tiger, has the highest illiteracy rate in the world – 70% if my information is correct. But the lack of formal education is only one measure of poverty. The others are the lack of the basic necessities for life – adequate shelter, sanitation, clean water, nutrition, health care and work and job opportunities.

In the years that have passed since I made Five Minutes To Midnight, India’s population has doubled to 1.1 billion. Of those about 800 million – more than 60% of the total – are poor, many living on the margins of life and lacking some or all of the basic necessities as I’ve just summarised them.

Once upon a time the poor of India (and the poor of the world) didn’t know they were poor. Today, and because images of anything can go global in minutes if not seconds, they do know. Today the poor of India are becoming more and more aware of the affluence of the relative few who are benefiting from the country’s development boom. And that as I see it is why the rich-poor division is the ticking time-bomb under India’s democracy.

On recent visits to India I was shocked by the way in which the relative few are flaunting their wealth. And I came to the conclusion that unless India’s politicians commit themselves to fighting and winning the only war that matters, the war on poverty, there will come a day when the country will be torn apart by the despair and rage of the poor.

If that was only the conclusion of a visiting Englishman, I suppose it would not matter too much if at all. But let me tell you this.

One of my dearest friends in India is Zafar Saifullah. He is the only Indian Muslim to have served as Secretary to the Cabinet of Central Government. On one of my recent visits, Zafar hosted a lunch for me to meet and talk with a number of retired Permanent Secretaries to various Central Government Ministries. They were, in other words, the real life Sir Humphreys of their time. (I’m assuming that you’re all aware of the fictional Sir Humphrey as in the BBC’s Yes, Minister and then Yes, Prime Minister).

In conversation with these distinguished gentlemen, I expressed my fear that if real progress was not made on tackling poverty and closing the rich poor gap, there would come a time when India would be torn apart by unthinkable violence. My expectation was that these real life Sir Humphreys would respond to me with something like: “No, no, Alan. You’re exaggerating. Things will never get that bad.”

What they actually said was, “We share your fears for our country.”

Let’s now return to the Naxalites or Maoists.

The success of the Maoist Movement of Nepal, supported, ironically, by the Indian Government, has given further impetus to the Maoist or Naxalite Movement in India. In Nepal, the forest dwellers have taken over the country and are now its rulers. And it’s what happened in the forests of India that is a key to understanding.

The lowest of India’s forest dwellers are the adivasi. According to one of the legends that support India’s diabolical caste system, the adivasi were punished by the gods for killing a Brahmin (a member of the highest caste – the 5% which more or less rules and controls India. One could say that Brahmins are the Zionists of India). The punishment was that the adivasi should live with animals like animals. Like other animals in the forest they own nothing and they prey on the weaker. When mineral deposits were discovered in some of the forested areas, the authorities decided that the adivasi should be relocated. But they refused to be moved. Because they had no title, they were determined to hold on to what they actually held. That set in motion a cycle of resistance and reprisals – the latter including rapes and murders – which assisted the insurgency movement to grow and become more powerful.

The leaders of the Maoists or Naxalites of India speak the language of the poor, but are they only doing so because it serves their ultimate purpose – winning power in New Delhi? I think that’s a fair question but it’s also irrelevant. The point is, surely, that the Naxalites or Maoists and all other insurgency groups can only benefit – grow in strength and power – from the despair of the impoverished masses.

From the perspective of the central and state authorities, the Naxalites or Maoists and all other insurgents are terrorists. For the sake of argument, let’s say they are and then ask the question – How can terrorism be defeated?

I address this question in Volume 3 of the American edition of my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. I say it is not complicated and that I can answer it in a very few words -147 to be precise; and that I would expect an averagely intelligent child to grasp their meaning. (Actually the shortened quote I am about to read from my book is only 122 words).

As all real experts on what is called counter-terrorism know, terrorists cannot operate, not for long, without the cover and the practical, emotional and moral support of the community of which they are a part. When that community perceives itself to be the victim of a massive injustice, and if that injustice is not addressed by political means, the community will cover, condone and even applaud the activities of those of its own who resort to terror as the only means of drawing attention to the injustice, to cause it to be addressed. It follows that the way to defeat terrorism – the only successful and actually proven way – is by addressing the genuine and legitimate grievances of the host community. The community will then withdraw its cover and support for its terrorists; and if they continue to try to operate, the community will oppose them by exposing them -reporting them to the authorities if reasoning fails.

Those are my 122 words of basic explanation. There are many case studies to support it. In Northern Ireland, for example, the British Army did not defeat provisional IRA terrorism. The terrorists called off their campaign when they had no choice – because the Catholic host community would not cover and support them any longer. And that happened only because the British government summoned up the will to risk the wrath of militant Protestantism by insisting that the legitimate grievances of the Catholics of Northern Ireland be addressed.

If the logic of that explanation is applied to the insurgency in India, it follows, surely, that the only effective counter-insurgency strategy will be one that addresses the legitimate grievances of the impoverished masses – those who will support the insurgency organizations in greater and greater numbers if only out of despair and no hope for anything better from central and state governments.

It has been argued by its defenders that the caste system has kept a sense of order and peace among the people and that it still works well because it is a way of “preventing society disintegrating into chaos”. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that it also sanctions honour killings, as the case of Nirupama Pathak, a 22-year-old journalism graduate student from northern India, demonstrates. Her Brahmin family fiercely disapproved of her engagement to a young man she met at school who was from a middle-upper caste. When she told her family of her plans to marry him, she was accused of “defiling” her Hindu religion. Nirupama was subsequently found dead in her bedroom. She had been suffocated. Police eventually arrested her mother on suspicion of murder. The charge may or may not be dropped). My own view is that a continuation of the caste system – I’ve already described it as diabolical – will contribute to the despair and lack of hope that is fuelling support for the insurgents.


My short answer begins with the observation that they have learned nothing from the mistake made by the major Western powers when they were exploiting their control of the world’s resources including peoples for their own development purposes.

Simply stated, the problem is not capitalism – in my view it’s the only system that can deliver. The problem is the short-sighted and stupid way capitalism has been managed.

How different and better would the world be today if in the early 1960’s or thereabouts those responsible in the West for the management and oversight of the capitalist system had taken stock of the global situation and said to themselves something like the following:

“We are very good at the supply side of the equation – manufacturing, producing and selling, but we live in a world in which the vast majority of its inhabitants, actually about 80% of them, are too poor to buy what we have to sell. Unless we are prepared to invest in these people and in other ways assist their development, in order to bring them into the global market place as consumers, we will run out of customers in the numbers needed to buy what we have to sell, and our capitalist system will be doomed.”

Because stock-taking of that kind did not happen, those responsible in the West for the management and oversight of capitalism pumped their societies with credit, to keep the consumerism of 20% of the world’s people going. Throughout the West citizens were not only encouraged to want more and more of everything, they were assisted to buy more and more of everything, even when doing so required them to live way beyond their means and get deeper and deeper into debt. A crash was made all the more inevitable when the major banks stopped being concerned with assisting the creation of real wealth for all and turned their institutions into gambling casinos with various kinds of debt instruments that did not represent real money.

Simply stated the Western economies are now in a terrible mess – in my view a mess that could take us all the way to World War III – because of what I have described as the shortsighted and stupid way capitalism has been managed. This management failure has demonstrated that a system which encourages and serves the greed of the few at the expense of the many is not sustainable.

And that in my view is the lesson India’s governing authorities must learn if at a foreseeable point in the future democracy in India is not to be undermined and destroyed by violence – the product of the despair of the poor – on an epic and unthinkable scale.

The India that is known to the world is a country of Gandhian non-violence. In reality it is ruled by central and state authorities which look with favour on the excesses of the military and other security services which are fuelling the insurgencies. Should we in the outside world care?

I say “Yes!” and here’s why.

Major wars often start because Governments feel the need to deflect the attention of their own peoples away from the mess within and have somebody, some outside party, to blame.

That being so, there must be at least the possibility that if ever the authorities in India fear they are going to be overwhelmed by the insurgents, they could opt for war with Pakistan. Flashpoint Kashmir. If that happened, and because of the disparity between Indian and Pakistani conventional forces, Pakistan’s leaders would have to decide, possibly within two days or less, whether to agree to end the war on India’s terms and effectively surrender, or to go nuclear.

In my view the best way to guarantee that such a catastrophe won’t happen, either by design or default, is through open and honest dialogue about the real causes of the insurgencies in India.

Among the questions open and honest dialogue would need to address is the extent to which outside forces are having a significant influence on India’s drift to war with itself. It’s not too much of a secret that for more than a decade (and perhaps much longer) Israel’s Mossad has been advising, some say directing, India’s intelligence agencies. The cover story is co-operation in the “war against global terrorism”. But it’s not unreasonable to speculate that agents of Zionism and its neo-con associates are complicit in stoking Hindu-Muslim tensions.

By giving Zionism and its neo-con associates something of a free hand, I think India’s authorities have seriously compromised their country’s independence on counter-insurgency policy. If, as Chakma said, India must “rely on the rule of law” in order to have a chance of defeating its rebels, that is never going to happen as long as Zionism is allowed to call at least some of the counter-insurgency shots. Zionism has complete contempt for the rule of law. An India which takes Zionism’s advice is, in my opinion, an India that will be torn apart by unthinkable violence in a foreseeable future.

I prefer to end my presentations on a hopeful and inspiring note. On this occasion I have some difficulty but I’ll try this.

In Bangalore in 2007, I participated in an Empower India Conference organised by the Popular Front of India, and which apparently took a year to organise. The climax was a public meeting in the grounds of the Shaheed Tippu Sultan Nagar Palace. It was a most inspiring event. It was attended by in excess 100,000 people. Quite a good number, but most impressive of all was the fact that about 80% of those who came to listen were young people. Unlike so many young people in so many nations, they were opting into and not out of politics. They not only wanted new politics, they were demonstrating their wish to participate.

That tempts me to say in conclusion that although there is good reason to fear for the future of democracy in India, it’s not yet time to abandon hope that it could be renewed and strengthened. If India can find the way to make capitalism serve the needs of ALL of its people and give new life to democracy, it could become a model for the whole world.

At the present time it seems to me that India has a choice of futures. One is something approximating heaven on earth. The other is hell.

About Alan Hart:

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…

As a correspondent for ITN’s News At Ten and the BBC’s Panorama programme (covering wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world).
As a researcher and author.
As a participant at leadership level, working to a Security Council background briefing, in the covert diplomacy of the search for peace.
He’s been to war with the Israelis and the Arabs, but the learning experience he values most, and which he believes gave him rare insight, came from his one-to-one private conversations over the years with many leaders on both sides of the conflict. With, for example, Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine. The significance of these private conversations was that they enabled him to be aware of the truth of what leaders really believed and feared as opposed to what they said in public for propaganda and myth-sustaining purposes.

It was because of his special relationships with leaders on both sides that, in 1980, he found himself sucked into the covert diplomacy of conflict resolution…

President Carter had been prevented by Prime Minister Begin from involving the PLO in the peace process, an opening made possible because Arafat had signalled, secretly and seriously, that he was ready to make peace with an Israel inside more or less its pre-1967 borders. Carter was in despair and said, in private, that events had once again proved that it was impossible to advance the peace process by institutional diplomacy (because of the pork-barrel nature of American politics and the Zionist lobby’s awesome influence). It was then suggested to Alan that he should undertake an unofficial, covert diplomatic mission to get an exploratory dialogue going between Arafat and Peres, with himself initially the linkman. The assumption at the time was that Peres would win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term. The initiative was funded by a small number of wealthy British Jews led by Marcus Sieff (the Chairman of Marks and Spencer) with the approval of Lord Victor Rothschild…. It happened and enough progress was made to get Peres and Arafat into public dialogue in the event of Peres winning the 1981 election. Unfortunately, and against all expectations, he did not.

In the course of this mission, Alan learned two things. The first was the truth about the miracle of Arafat’s leadership – his success in persuading his side (most of it) to be ready for unthinkable compromise with Israel for peace. (Which was why Alan wrote his first book Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker). The second was why it is difficult to impossible for any Israeli prime minister, even a rational, well-motivated one, to make peace on any terms the Palestinians can accept.

A decade later, this initiative became the Oslo process, which might have delivered peace if Prime Minister Rabin had not been assassinated by a gut-Zionist.

Alan has long believed that what peacemaking needs above all else is some TRUTH-TELLING, about many things but, especially, the difference between Zionist mythology and real history, and, the difference between Jews and Judaism on the one hand and Zionists and Zionism on the other. (The Zionism of the title and substance of Alan’s latest book is, of course, political Zionism or Jewish nationalism as the creating and sustaining force of the Zionist state, not what could be called the spiritual Zionism of Judaism).

Alan is also credited with having played a leading role in getting the ‘North-South’ issue onto the agenda for political and public debate throughout the Western world and beyond. In 1973, frustrated by the mainstream media’s refusal to come to grips with issues that really matter, he set up his own independent production company (World Focus) to research, film, edit and promote the first ever documentary on the full and true dimensions of global poverty and its implications for all.

The end product, a two-hour film titled FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, had its world premiere, hosted by Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, at the formal opening of the 7th Special session of the UN General Assembly, (called to discuss the need for a New World Economic Order); was screened on television in most countries of the North; was versioned for schools in many countries; and became something of a standard work of reference. (The visual impact of the production was supplemented by statistics then new to the world including, for example, the estimate that, in the South, 15 million children under five were dying each year from a combination of malnutrition and easily preventable diseases – in a word, poverty).

To make the project work, Alan, on the strength of his international reputation, raised £1 million in grants from international development institutions and governments and put together a think-tank of world leaders to advise him.

Alan is a fiercely independent thinker. He hates all labels and isms and has never been a member of any political party or group. He prefers to judge issues on their merits. When asked what drives him, he used to say: “I have three children and, when the world falls apart, I want to be able to look them in the eye and say, ‘Don’t blame me. I tried.'” Today he gives an improved answer, one borrowed from a conversation with Dr. Hajo Meyer, a Nazi holocaust survivor and a passionate anti-Zionist. When Alan asked him why he was still campaigning at the age of 82 even though he was being reviled by Zionism, he replied: “The first person I see when I get up in the morning is me.” Alan, too, has to be able to live with himself. He believes that heaven and hell are states of mind. Hell, he says, “is when you know that the end of your life is approaching and that you have not used your talents and resources as well as you could have done to make a difference – i.e. when you realise upon reflection that you have wasted your life. Heaven is contemplation of the approach of death without fear because you know that, on balance, you’ve done your best to make a difference.”

Top Indian agency absolves Pakistan of fomenting unrest in Kashmir

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Blames Omar Abdullah for creating the mess; Indian police on verge of revolt; Pakistani spokesman says Kashmiri struggle is indigenous(Special to The News)

By Arun Rajnath

NEW DELHI: A leading Indian intelligence agency has absolved Pakistan of any involvement and fomenting unrest in the Kashmir Valley but has blamed chief minister of Indian-held J&K Omar Abdullah for messing up the situation.

A report on the Kashmir situation handed over by the Intelligence Bureau to the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi also blames some second wrung separatist leaders of trying to cash in on the situation, officials who have seen the report say.

A recent visit to Srinagar by this correspondent revealed that the crisis has deepened so much that the local police force in the Valley is on the brink of revolt.

Some quarters contend that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has lost control over the administration and infighting within the ruling National Conference has intensified.

According to the IB report, all frontline separatist leadership is either in jail or under house arrest or under strict monitoring, hence, it is not possible for them to directly instigate protestors to adopt extreme steps. There has been no terrorist activity in the Valley during protests, or no attempt of infiltration during these anarchic days. That shows that Pakistan cannot be blamed for the situation in the Valley.

When contacted Additional Director General (Media and Communication) for Ministry of Home Affairs Onkar Kedia was out of station on leave but his deputy, Director (Media and Communication) for Ministry of Home Affairs Ravinder Singh simply said: “I have no knowledge of any such report.”

Spokesman of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi Press Minister Shah Zaman when asked to comment on the report told this correspondent: “Pakistan has never interfered in Kashmir. We give diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir. There is no interference from Pakistan’s side. Kashmir is a disputed area and Pakistan and India should resolve it according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

The Pakistani official said as far as the present uprising in Kashmir is concerned, it is entirely indigenous. “If human rights violations continue and army and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would continue their operations, Kashmiri people would also continue to protest.”

When this correspondent recently visited Srinagar, it was clear that prior to the deployment of the Indian army, only CRPF was entrusted with the job of maintaining law and order in towns but the local police force remained complacent or silent spectators.

In the first of the two major instances, in Maisuma when locals assembled before the police station and raised slogans against the government and shouted pro Azadi slogans, police kept silent and took no action. In Batmalu where some agitated local youth gathered outside the police station, the police refused to act. The administration had to send in CRPF to disperse the mob.

A veteran Indian police officer on request of anonymity said: “I would say that local policemen are fed up with the government because we have to face the ire of people. Police easily becomes the target for no fault of theirs. Government and top administration are chiefly responsible for the situation.”

When asked if the provincial police force was close to a revolt, he said: “You have freedom of speech, so you can use any word. But I feel ‘revolt’ is a strong word. You can say the provincial police force is dissatisfied and to some extent it has become disenchanted with the Omar administration. This could prove dangerous in the long run.”

On the other hand infighting within the ruling coalition has erupted. Central minister for health and family welfare and former chief minister of the state Ghulam Nabi Azad and former water resources minister Prof. Saifuddin Soz (both Congress) do not even talk to each other. Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah is their common political foe. Both of them are allegedly trying to unseat Farooq’s son Omar Abdullah.

Congress party sources say since Prof. Soz has been deprived of the Cabinet berth in the Centre, he wishes to be adjusted in the politics of the Valley.

As far as National Conference is concerned, two leaders have silently emerged as contenders for Omar Abdullah’s position. They are J&K law and parliamentary affairs minister Ali Mohammad Sagar and finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather.

A confidant of Abdul Rahim Rather said: “Omar Abdullah does not even take calls from Mr. Rather, and he superciliously ignores many senior leaders of the party.”

When asked about alleged infighting within the National Conference, Rather’s confidant said: “In fact infighting is not new to the party. As a matter of fact it has surfaced during the present Kashmir crisis. National Conference has become Jebi Party (pocket party) of the Shaikh family.”

The confidant sarcastically added: “Omar Abdullah is surrounded by some young ministers and his business partners. In fact, the state administration is being run on the lines of a business house. The Omar administration directly deals with the CRPF ignoring ground realities and local police administration. You should know that local police administration does have influence over local population because they interact directly with one another, but since ‘businessmen’ rely more on CRPF, the situation is getting out of control.”

He said: “On the one hand Mr. Rather openly criticises the CRPF for its extreme actions, and on the other, chief minister praises the role of the CRPF and claims everything is under control. Anybody can smell discontent within the party.”

Maruti-Suzuki car dealer and Omar Abdullah’s advisor and spokesperson Devender Rana is a big car dealer and owns showrooms in Srinagar, Jammu and New Delhi. He belongs to Jammu and he is said to be a business partner of Omar Adbullah. He was, however, not available for comments despite repeated attempts to get Omar Abdullah’s point of view.

Meanwhile, Farooq Abdullah urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram on July 10, 2010 to pre-empt any move of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prof. Saifuddin Soz that could prove dangerous for his son.

Congress sources say both the leaders have categorically told him that to maintain law and order is a state matter, and Omar Abdullah has to stop the situation from worsening.

Bait For A Kill

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IN KALAROOS, a remote village of frontier district Kupwara, memories of the security forces’ misadventures are kept alive in a graveyard that contains scores of bodies of unidentified men killed in numerous gunbattles with the army in Machil sector. Some of the graves have ‘epitaphs’ that could help identify those buried in them. Thus, a small tin plate erected on one of the graves says “Safaid dadhi wala (White bearded)”, another nearby has “Kala dress wala (Dressed in black)”. Most graves are just distinguishable by soil piled high. Two bodies bear the ‘distinguishing mark’ of smears of blue ink used by woodcutters to mark logs in the forest.

CRUEL END The three young men from Nadihal village who were killed in a fake encounter by the army.

Three graves are empty: the authorities dug them up recently to exhume bodies of young men killed near the Line of Control (LoC). Villagers say they were innocent boys and the encounter was fake. At the root of this bloodshed is a new ‘system’ put in place where Special Police Officers (SPOs) share ‘actionable intelligence’ with the army in return for handsome amounts of money. It enables the security forces to claim victories and produce bodies, all in the name of containing militancy.

A recap of the events that led up to the excavation of these bodies might make the picture clearer.

It was raining heavily when at 2 am on April 30 when a few soldiers led by Major Opinder Singh of the 4 Rajputana Rifles arrived at the Kalaroos police post. They wanted to register an FIR about an infiltration bid from the Pakistani side of the LoC in which three “terrorists” were killed. The major claimed five weapons – four AK rifles and one pistol besides assorted ammunition-were recovered. But the soldiers had not brought with them the weapons and the bodies, insisting that it was impossible to transport them from the forest.

The SHO of Kupwara Police Station insisted on retrieving the bodies and doing a post-mortem. The latter revealed that all three were shot in the head. Among the locals who helped bury the bodies was Mohammad Maqbool, a former militant who had crossed over to the Pakistani side 18 years earlier. “Immediately on seeing the bodies and the clothes, I figured out they could not have infiltrated from the other side,” Maqbool said. “It is a tough 15-day route and your body cannot be in such condition if you have just come in [infiltrated].”

“A police officer claims armymen paid Rs 1.5 lakh to Bashir for luring the three men”

The people of Kalaroos protested but were, as usual, given short shrift. Then, three weeks later, policemen in civvies started quietly guarding the graves. For just 50 km away in Nadihal village, police were investigating the disappearance of three friends, Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone – all in their twenties.

What seems to have happened is this: one Bashir who was dismissed as SPO after being found guilty in a case of extortion lured the three young men from Nadihal village on April 25 on the pretext of getting them daily wage employment with the army. Shahzad had told a friend that the three were taken in an army vehicle to a forward army post in Machil sector where they were shown to some heavily armed men dressed in civvies and brought back. Back in Kalaroos, they were paid Rs 500 and promised “some work” for which they would be paid Rs 2,000 each.

Instead, they seem to have been handed over to Major Opinder Singh of Rajputana Rifles. A top police official who wished not to be identified insinuated the army paid at least Rs 1.5 lakh to Bashir for bringing in the three men.

In their frantic efforts to trace their sons, families of the three slain villagers were taken to a police Special Operations Group (SOG) at the Sheeri camp near Uri border area in Baramulla district. They were told that the three missing villagers “were sent by the ISI to Pakistan” and that no further effort should be made to look for them.

“The Army needs kills and the SPOs reap benefits,” alleges a senior police official. “It is a business in Kupwara and other border areas. It is like demand and supply of human beings and there is a market for it.” The SPOs identify soft targets for the army, the police official said, and this process has been going on for a decade.

The last person Shahzad had met before his disappearance was his close friend Fayaz Wani, whom he told he was going to “do some work for the army”. Fayaz was called for questioning. While on his way to meet the SP of Sopore, he was kidnapped by three men near Baramulla bus stand and taken straight to the Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) of security forces in the town. He recognised one of his kidnappers, Qayoom, an SPO and a former militant. The SPO accused Fayaz, a former LeT militant himself who surrendered in 1998, of killing Shahzad and selling weapons and explosives to militants. “Since I knew Bashir (Qayoom’s brother) was involved in Shazad’s disappearance, I understood the SPO brothers wanted to frame me,” Fayaz told TEHELKA. Fayaz was tortured till he fell unconscious for three hours and the Sopore police reached him.

NO FAULT OF THEIRS Jabeena, widow of one of the victims, Shahzad Ahmad Khan, with her son.

During earlier investigation by Sopore police, Bashir was interrogated but revealed nothing. After the revelations by Fayaz on May 20, police investigators confronted Bashir who finally revealed how the three missing Nadihal villagers were handed over to Rajputana Rifles. “Under sustained interrogation Bashir revealed the whole story,” said Altaf Khan, SP Sopore, who cracked the whole case. The next day, photographs of three “infiltrators” killed in the intervening night of April 29-30 appeared in a local Urdu daily, raising questions about who they were.

KUPWARA’S ADDITIONAL SP Mohammad Yousuf cites the instance of an SPO Imran Joo who had lured two youth from the border town in similar circumstances. He was about to hand them over to some army officer in Keran sector – contiguous with Machil – near the LoC when the police informed higher army authorities. Both Zahoor Ahmed Malik of Halmatpora village and Shariq Ahmed of Dardhara in Kupwara, have since been handed back to their families.

Major Opinder’s unit has since moved out from Machil sector and relocated to Meerut. A court martial has been ordered while an internal army inquiry is also on.

Now, all such incidents have come under the scanner. This year so far, the army figure for those killed along the LoC is 29 persons, out of which just three were identified. At least 571 militants have been killed in the state since 2008, most of them along the LoC. Media is not allowed to access the encounter sites and have to solely depend on the army versions.

According to human rights groups based in Kashmir, up to 8,000 people have disappeared in the state since 1990. Many were identified when families painstakingly found out on their own how they were killed and buried as unidentified in numerous graveyards along the border.

Canada denies visa to ex-Indian army officer for IHK abuses

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NEW DELHI: Just days after Canada refused visa to a retired Indian trooper of Border Security Force (BSF) on charges of involvement in human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), one more incident of a denial of visa to a retired Lieutenant General of the Indian army by the Canadian Home Office on the same grounds has come to light.

A retired Lieutenant General of the Indian army, AS Bahia, who served as a member of the Defence Appellate Tribunal, told the media that the Canadian Home Office refused to grant him a visa because he had served in the sensitive location of IHK and his unit, the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), was involved in human rights violations in IHK.

The issue first came to light when the Canadian High Commission denied visa last week to a retired Border Security Force (BSF) trooper Fateh Singh Pandher on grounds that he was associated with a notoriously violent force that indulged in human rights violations in IHK. Canada has denied visas to a member of the Indian Armed Forces Tribunal, three serving Brigadiers, a retired Lieutenant General and a former senior IB official on the grounds that their organisations have been engaging in violence. In another revelation, two Brigadiers were denied visas in 2008 and another in 2009. A retired Lieutenant General RN Bhatia was also refused visa in 2008.

Separately, India said on Thursday it had summoned Canada’s high commissioner and lodged a strong protest after several officials linked with its security establishment were denied Canadian visas.

The visa rejections, on grounds of human rights records, came to light just weeks before Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to travel to Toronto for a G20 meeting. Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna expressed hope that Ottawa would solve the issue appropriately.