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Extreme Human Rights Abuses by Indian Army

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By S.O.S Kashmir

The rape in Delhi has shocked India. Has it really? Or was it the sight of thousands of young students, male and female, demonstrating on the streets and being assaulted by the police for daring to demonstrate that made some Indian citizens think seriously about the problem? As for the Congress government that has, like most of the opposition parties, tolerated this for decades, it was the bad publicity abroad that finally did the trick, but only as far as this case is concerned.

Rape takes place in police stations, in military barracks, in the streets and occasionally in some provincial parliaments. The feminist Communist parliamentarian Brinda Karat, who has long campaigned on the issue, pointed to the assault of a member of the Trinamool assembly by a male oppositionist on 11 December last year. ‘Women were not safe even inside the assembly,’ she said.

Legal activists in Kashmir and Manipur, occupied by the Indian Army, have produced report after report highlighting cases of women raped by soldiers. Response from the top brass: nil. In a country where the culture of rape is so embedded, only a determined effort on every level can change things. This will not happen if this case and others are forgotten.

In 2004, a group of middle-aged mothers were so enraged by the military raping their daughters and sisters that they organised a protest unique in the annals of the women’s movement. They gathered outside the Indian Army barracks, stripped, and held up a banner that read ‘Indian Army Rape Us.’ That image, too, shocked India, but nothing changed. Only a few weeks later another rape scandal erupted in Manipur. If the Indian state is incapable of defending its women, perhaps the world’s largest democracy should seriously consider a change of name. Rapeistan comes to mind.

Manipur District Map

I. Summary

It takes us a long time to raise our children. Then, when they grow up, they are shot. This cannot go on. We no longer want to look for our children in the morgue.

-Yumlembam Mema, women’s rights activist in Manipur

A woman is arrested at her home at night. The authorities provide her family a signed document acknowledging her arrest. The next morning, villagers find her bullet-ridden corpse some four kilometers away from her home. There are widespread protests following the woman’s death. Promises are made by the highest authorities of the country, and yet, after four years, justice remains undone. No one is punished for this crime.

This is the story of Thangjam Manorama Devi, a 32-year-old resident of India’s Manipur state. The paramilitary Assam Rifles suspected her of links to an underground separatist group and detained her on July 11, 2004. The soldiers raided her home in Bamon Kampu village a little after midnight, asking the family to wait outside while they questioned her. They then signed an “arrest memo,” an official acknowledgement of detention put in place to prevent “disappearances” and took her away. Her body was found outside a nearby village. She had been shot through the lower half of her body, raising suspicion that bullets had been used to hide evidence of rape.

Human rights violations by security forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Manipur state have occurred with depressing regularity over the last five decades. Separatist militants have also committed widespread human rights abuses. According to the police, nearly 3,000 civilians have died in the conflict since 1990. At least 1,300 militants and nearly 1,000 members of the security forces have also been killed. According to unofficial sources, at least 20,000 people may have died due to violence since the conflict began in the 1950s. But Manipur, a small state of two million people, is tucked away in the country’s remote northeastern region. Not much that happens there makes the national news-unless it is a particularly brutal attack by militants.

However, the security forces’ clear role in Manaroma’s killing captured widespread media attention. Protests erupted in Manipur, while domestic and international human rights groups demanded an immediate investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. Concerned that the government would fail to hold soldiers accountable for the killing, as had repeatedly been the case in the past, for several weeks Manipuris took to the streets. Students, lawyers, traders, mothers, journalists, and human rights activists marched every day, demanding justice. One man committed self-immolation in protest, several others attempted suicide.

The paramilitary Assam Rifles claimed that Manorama was shot dead while trying to escape. In later affidavits, the soldiers implicated said that she was helping the army locate another militant when she instead tried to escape. It is a difficult account to accept: an unarmed, handcuffed woman, wearing the tightly-bound Manipuri sarong that does not lend itself to big strides, supposedly managed to escape the custody of an armed escort. And if she did, it does not explain why the soldiers were unable to catch her and had to shoot to kill. There has also been no explanation why Manorama had not been handed over to police custody by the arresting officials of the Assam Rifles, as the law requires. Or why no female official had been brought in at the time of this night arrest, as is the rule.

Soldiers were able to arrest Manorama because they are empowered to do so under India’s Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), the 1958 emergency law under which the armed forces are deployed in internal conflicts and enjoy broad powers to arrest, search, and shoot to kill. This 50-year-old law also provides security forces immunity from prosecution and has thus protected members of the Assam Rifles-as well as soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, and other states in India’s northeast-responsible for killings such as Manorama’s from being brought before a civilian judge to be prosecuted for murder and other offenses.

Manipuris have long campaigned for the repeal of the AFSPA. Demanding that the act be scrapped, human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on hunger strike for nearly eight years. Her protest began after Assam Rifles gunned down ten civilians on November 2, 2000. She remains in judicially ordered custody, force-fed through a nasal tube.


Sharmila has been on hunger strike to demand a repeal of the AFSPA since November 2000. © 2007 AFP/Getty Images

After Manorama’s killing, 32 organizations formed a network called Apunba Lup in a campaign to repeal the AFSPA. The most heart-wrenching protest was by a group of Manipuri women, members of the Meira Paibi (“torch bearers”), who on July 15, 2004 stripped naked in front of the Assam Rifles camp in the state capital, Imphal, wrapped in a banner that said, “Indian Army Rape Us.”

Forced to respond, the state government of Manipur ordered a judicial enquiry by retired district judge C. Upendra Singh. Judge Upendra Singh submitted his report in November 2004. Almost four years later, the report is yet to be made public. As court proceedings continue, no action has been taken.


Women protest the killing and alleged rape of Thangjam Manorama Devi with a banner reading “Indian Army Rape Us” at the army headquarters in Imphal in July 2004. © 2004 AFP/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meanwhile promised justice in the Manorama case and a review of the AFSPA. In November 2004, he set up a committee headed by B.P. Jeevan Reddy, a retired judge of the Supreme Court. The report was submitted in June 2005. While the Jeevan Reddy committee report has also not been made public, the contents were leaked, and it is now known that the committee recommended repeal of the AFSPA. The report however remains with the cabinet in New Delhi for consideration, and no action has been taken.

In the Manorama case, Assam Rifles said that it ordered an internal inquiry. The army and paramilitaries never reveal the findings of internal inquiries, and thus it remains unknown if any member of the Assam Rifles was found responsible for Manorama’s killing and whether they were appropriately punished. Making a concession to public outrage, the defense ministry did release a statement on July 28, 2004 saying only that the court of inquiry had found some “lapses” by Assam Rifles personnel. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, a spokesman for the Assam Rifles said he could not say what action was taken by the court of inquiry “because the concerned officials from that time are no longer in Manipur and the records are not available.”

Meanwhile, Manorama’s family is still waiting for justice to be done. It may be a long wait. Political leaders and government officials may privately agree that Manorama’s killing was unlawful, but the Indian state has failed, yet again, to hold soldiers responsible for a serious human rights violation accountable.


Shrine in memory of Thangjam Manorama Devi outside her house. © 2008 Human Rights Watch

Continuing Security Force Abuses

After Manorama’s death, the security forces appeared to curtail their human rights violations. This did not last long. Since 2006, extrajudicial killings, torture, and other abuses have once again become common practice. According to Human Rights Alert, an Imphal-based voluntary group, in 2006 there were 17 cases in which security forces allegedly extrajudicially executed civilians; in 2007, 12 cases were documented by the group; and as of July 2008, at least 23 such cases had been listed.

For this report, Human Rights Watch investigated several cases of alleged extrajudicial killings committed by the security forces since 2006. In one case, Mohammad Ayub Khan and six others, traveling in a van, were stopped during a routine check by the 19th Assam Rifles on August 26, 2007 at Gwaltabi in Ukhrul district. The soldiers found that Ayub Khan, a mason, was carrying a large sum of money. He explained that this was cash to pay his workers. The soldiers insisted that the van, with all its passengers, be driven to the Assam Rifles camp at Litan. At the camp, Ayub Khan was separated from his co-passengers, who were released. When Ayub Khan’s family heard of the detention, they went to the camp but were not allowed to enter. His brother filed a missing person complaint at the Litan police station, saying that Ayub Khan was last seen in the custody of the 19th Assam Rifles.

On August 30, 2007, the Litan police contacted the family. They said that the Assam Rifles had informed the police that a person had been killed in an armed encounter. They suggested that the family check to see if the unidentified person was their missing relative. The family identified the person as Ayub Khan. The Assam Rifles issued a statement claiming that a suspected militant had been shot in an armed exchange and weapons had been recovered from him. Ayub Khan’s father, Mohammad Karimuddin, told Human Rights Watch that the Assam Rifles are lying:

How can there be an armed encounter with someone who is already in custody? There are witnesses who saw my son being detained. If they [Assam Rifles] thought my son was a militant, they could have arrested him. But they only wanted his money and did not want the truth to come out. So they killed him. They know that no one questions the army in Manipur.

Police Abuses

The behavior of the army appears to have encouraged the Manipur state police to act similarly. The culture of violence has become so deep-rooted that the police have in recent years committed the same abuses as the army and paramilitary forces. In several of the recent cases documented by Human Rights Watch, the alleged perpetrators belonged to the Manipur police. The Manipur state police chief, Yumnam Joykumar Singh, told Human Rights Watch: “My people have been told not to commit human rights abuses and none has occurred.” However, in the same conversation claiming that many of the militants were not political fighters but petty extortionists, he also said, “I have told my people. These fellows must be eliminated. Nothing else can cure us of this disease.”

The message to eliminate militants seems to have resonated with the police. Human Rights Watch was repeatedly told that police commandos were among the worst human rights violators in Manipur. Leitanthem Premananda was picked up on January 30, 2006 and, according to relatives, executed later that same day. Together with their neighbors and friends, the relatives formed an action committee to protest the killing; the police threatened retribution. On February 10, 2006, two leaders of the protest committee, Pechimayum Yaima Singh and Leikapokpam Bisashini, were arrested by the Manipur police. Pechimayum Yaima Singh remained in custody for two months. “My family was very worried,” he said. “Finally, we were released. But we had to promise that we stop the protests, and were threatened that we would be arrested again if we followed up on this case.”

Abujam Shidam, a well-known member of the opposition Manipur People’s Party, was arrested on January 7, 2008. While in custody, he says he was tortured by police commandos claiming to be members of a joint interrogation cell.

I was blindfolded. They started beating and kicking me, saying that I must admit I was a member of the PLA [militant group called People’s Liberation Army]. They filled buckets of water and poured it on my face. They pressed on my joints with their boots. I kept shouting that I was not a militant, but they would not stop.

While the legal impunity under the AFSPA does not formally extend to the state police, police commandos now routinely get away with serious crimes including torture, and fake “encounter killings.” As one activist described it to Human Rights Watch, “The long-term pernicious influence of the AFSPA on Manipur society is its trickle-down effect. One can argue that the rampant corruption in civil administration is a fallout of the climate of impunity generated for many decades by AFSPA in Manipur.”

Armed Groups

Indian officials and many Manipuris point out that the armed groups, commonly called “UGs” (short for “underground”), also commit serious human rights abuses. Some of these groups have a tremendous hold over Manipuri society, with ordinary citizens forced to build alliances with one group to ensure protection from the rest. Many impose a variety of diktats, including a ban on some television channels, on women wearing western clothes, the use of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol and implement such orders with force. Some groups have been responsible for attacks on ethnic minorities. For example, in March 2008, militants killed 14 migrant laborers from other Indian states and left behind a note warning others to leave Manipur. In January 2006, armed cadres belonging to United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and Kangleipak Community Party (KCP) allegedly raped 21 Hmar tribal girls in Manipur’s Churachandpur district. Militants have also been responsible for the indiscriminate use of landmines, bombs, political killings, and attacks upon those they consider to be informers or traitors.

Manipuris complain most about militant groups’ culture of extortion. The state is unable to provide protection from these extortion demands-in fact, many government officials pay themselves. Recently, there has been a spate of abductions by militant groups to recruit children into armed groups involved in fighting. At least 24 school children were reported missing in June and July 2008, leading to widespread protests. One faction of the militant group People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) admitted that that they had recruited some of the missing children.


Protest against attack by militants in Imphal, the capital of Manipur. © 2008 Human Rights Watch

Impunity

Manipuri activists do not dispute the need for strong law enforcement to end the violence perpetrated by militants. Some want the army to remain deployed to combat the UGs, while others want the army withdrawn. But all want the AFSPA to be repealed because of the open license it provides for abuses.

More fundamentally, Manipuris want the culture of impunity to end. Not only has the failure to punish Manorama’s killers shattered any existing faith in the justice system, many Manipuris feel it has also emboldened security officials to take the law into their own hands and to believe they can get away with murder. As one government official admitted to Human Rights Watch, “Known criminals are sometimes killed, but it never happens to innocents.” In this way the security forces have become judge, jury, and executioner-and have become comfortable in adopting this role.

The more or less free rein given to government forces for decades in Manipur and other parts of the northeast has had a significant impact on the country generally. Similar polcies have since been adopted to stamp out armed separatist movements in various other parts of India. Some argue that this is the only way to ensure that separatists who they “know” are guilty do not evade justice. But in the world’s largest democracy, many in the security forces appear to believe it is easier to kill suspects than to gather evidence to secure convictions, while others kill for money or promotions, as they are often rewarded for their actions.

The Indian government, while claiming a firm commitment to the protection of human rights, has consistently ignored violations by its security forces, at best attributing such acts to a few “bad apples.” As this report demonstrates, however, the problems are systemic and require systemic changes in law, policy, and practice. And even assuming the problem is “bad apples,” they are rarely investigated, let alone tried and convicted. This culture of impunity, fostered both by a lack of political will and by laws shielding the perpetrators, has led to an atmosphere where security forces believe they can get away with the most serious crimes without the threat of punishment.

Not only has the Indian government disregarded the demands of Manipuris and the findings of its own government-appointed committees, it has ignored concerns and recommendations by United Nations human rights bodies. For example, in 1997 the UN Human Rights Committee said that the continued use of the AFSPA in Manipur was tantamount to using emergency powers and recommended that the application of these powers be monitored to ensure compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, reported to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007 that despite the government of Manipur ordering “numerous inquiries into the alleged extrajudicial executions, none of them ultimately reached any meaningful conclusions.” In 2007 the Committee on the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination called for India to repeal the AFSPA and to replace it “by a more humane Act” in accordance with the recommendation contained in the leaked Jeevan Reddy committee report. The Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in February 2007 urged India to provide information on the steps being taken to abolish or reform the AFSPA and to ensure serious investigations and prosecutions of acts of violence against women by the military in so-called disturbed areas.

Key Recommendations

  • The government of India, the state government of Manipur, and all militant groups should place human rights protection mechanisms at the center of any attempt to resolve the conflict and ensure compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law.
  • The government of India should repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 as recommended by the government-appointed Jeevan Reddy committee.
  • The government of India and the state government of Manipur should investigate and prosecute government officials, including members of the armed forces, police, and paramilitary, responsible for human rights violations.
  • The government of India should arrest and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all those found responsible for the 2004 murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi.
  • Armed groups should publicly denounce abuses committed by any militant group and ensure that there is appropriate accountability for such abuses.
  • Armed groups should immediately stop the abduction and recruitment of children into their forces.

Methodology

In early 2008, Human Rights Watch travelled to Manipur to investigate the human rights situation. With the assistance of human rights activists and lawyers, we investigated 18 cases of torture and extrajudicial killing since 2006. We interviewed government officials, army officers, police officials, politicians, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders. We conducted over 60 interviews in Manipur and supplemented with follow-up research through August 2008.

For Manorama’s case, we met with Manorama’s family, the lawyers who are pursuing her case, and Judge Upendra Singh, who conducted an investigation into the incident.

Most interviews with victims or their families were conducted privately. In some cases we used local NGO partners as translators. We also held group discussions with some activists, such as the members of the Meira Paibi.

Since there is an ongoing dialogue between the government and some of the groups operating in the hill districts of Manipur, counter-insurgency operations have reduced in scale. Most of the operations are in the Manipur valley to contain the Meitei and Muslim groups. Our investigations were thus limited to the valley areas.

In order to protect victims and others who might face reprisals by either side for speaking about them, names and any information that might identify them, such as places where interviews were held or specific dates of those meetings, have in certain cases been withheld.

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Pakistani govt wants us to delay Kishenganga project: Omar

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Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday accused Pakistan for trying to “delay” the Kishenganga Hydroelectric Power project along the Line of Control in Gurez.

“Both the parts of Kashmir are constructing power projects on Kishenganga and the project that is completed first will be benefited the more.”,said Omar.

Commenting on Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz’s criticism that the Centre is exploiting the natural resources of Kashmir; Omar said, “we know who pulls their strings and at whose behest they (separatists) are making such allegations”.

“The government of Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir want us to delay the project,”Omar added.

Omar also assured people of gurez that their safety is taken as priority while the formulation and modification of Kishanganga hydel project.

“There is no threat to the existence of any tribe.Moreover, environment impact analysis of the project has not indicated any flood like situation in Wullar.”,Omar said.

Kashmir drifting in cross-currents of regional politics

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KashmirWatch

Kashmir is drifting in turbulent cross-currents of the regional politics in South Asia, a highly dreary situation, unfolding itself in a fast paced mode, making it imperative for anyone who indulges in journalistic pursuits of sorts, to speak out his mind and stated stand point, not with a view to pontificate, but to inform public opinion in performance of one’s conscionable public duty.

I venture to break the eleven month hiatus of silence self imposed of course for various reasons, and, draw public attention to the crises looming large on the horizon. I have never viewed the Kashmir problem as an unfinished agenda of the great divide of Indian Sub-continent in 1947. In my book [ KASHMIR ENIGMA ENTANGLE STRANDS ] I painstakingly expatiated that the provenance of the Kashmir Enigma were laid down by the British strategists in 1707 and not 1947 as is the popular perception. After taking a second hard look at the situation, I still find my adherence to this stand point.

1707 A.D was the period of revival of high caste Hindu Nationalism and British, were invited by the propertied class of High Caste Hindus to subvert Mughal Rule in India. It was agreed that when British depart from the Indian Sub-continent, the mantle of power will be passed on to the propertied High Caste Hindus, who would resurrect the Unified India of Ram Rajya era. Elimination of Pakistan as a State is compatible with the ideals of Hindu Nationalism.

The interim resolution of this conflict of ideals is the ideation of a federal SAARC on economic basis, with common market, common currency, common defense and common forums on regional basis for the resolution of interse territorial disputes. Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh’s strategic asseveration that Indian markets shall be opened to SAARC countries, translated into explicable parlance means that domination of the economies of the SAARC countries, by the pre-dominant and ascendant Indian economy that would gradually lead to the exclusion of rival China from South Asia and will corrode the pretentious sovereignty of the SAARC countries.

The only stumbling block in the pathway is Pakistan, that for its own existential reasons, willy nilly, has how to align with China. I am of the firm view, that U.S and China, shared common perception to dust U.S.S.R from Afghanistan since 1978, and, the Jihad against U.S.S.R was funded in a vast measure by China, through the conduit of Pakistan Army.

The second limb of my thesis is grounded upon the speculation that the Pakistan Army was never totally dependant on U.S military assistance. Mr. A.Q. Khan the Pakistani nuclear scientist should be in a position to corroborate my speculation that actualization of Pakistani nuclear ambitions and surrealistic dreams had the tacit financial approval of China. My own financial difficulties prevented me from visiting China and Pakistan to verify the actual facts. I honest to goodness, wanted to meet Late Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, then facing a murder trial to obtain his version of the scenario. I applied to Amnesty International Indian Chapter for permission to observe Bhuttoe’s trial. The request was disregarded and I tendered my public resignation from Amnesty International Kashmir Chapter as founder member. This explains why I can only characterize my view point as a speculation.

However, this speculation, leads, to still another illation that since 1978 itself U.S.A and India reached a tacit understanding that the radicalization of Talibans for fighting Jihad against Russians would inevitably lead to clericalisation of the Pakistan polity. That would in turn lead to distrust of U.S and Indian policies towards Af-Pak region.

The Indians had a nostrum to this menacing scenario. Down right at the birth of Pakistan in 1947 itself the Indian National Congress adopted a policy of supporting Baluchi and Pushtoon Nationalism. Khan Abdul Gauffar Khan and Dr Khan Sahib at the public request of Sardar Patel then voicing the sentiments of Indian National Congress boycotted 14th August 1947 Celebrations. Gous Bux Bizenjo and other ultra nationalist Baluchis, who had a personal rapport with Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, [Patron All State Peoples Conference] were totally averse to the idea of a theological State of Pakistan. The ambiguities of the Durand Live made it possible for successive Nationalist Governments in Afghanistan to support the idea of Pukhtoonistan. Russian financial support ably fuelled the fires of Afghan Nationalism. The scenario is vividly characterized by Anthony Arnold in his book Afghanistan, the Soviet Invasion in perspective in these words:-

“…..In the spring of 1955, Afghan mobs were permitted if not encouraged by the authorities to tear down the flag from Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, and from its consulates in Jalallabad and Kandhar and to loot these establishments. Pakistan promptly withdrew its ambassador, suspended Afghanistan’s transit privileges, and unleashed its own mob-violence against Afghan businesses and officials in Pakistan. The border remained closed for five months, until the United States finally prevailed on Pakistani’s to allow transit of US aid materials and equipment to Helmund Valley. The United States turned down as impracticable, however, an Afghan request to build over a thousand miles of highway through Iran to give Afghanistan an alternative route to the sea.” Unquote In my view now a reversal of situation has morphed. The killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabd did not elicit any reaction from President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia. The million dollar question is why? What about Viladmir Putin? His studied silence is eloquent. It was Bin Laden who organized Jihad against U.S.S.R in 1980. The reason is obvious. First and foremost, Russia now has been able to persuade the Islamists in Russia that they should delink themselves from Al-Qaeda. Russia in fact is turning a blind eye to the Russian Islamists getting financial support from other sources.

Now Moscow realizes that there is a present a nexus between India and U.S.A to fuel Pushtoon Nationalism, and, fund the Taliban to raise a direct insurgency in North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

This is the only plausible explanation why USA has overtly by passed Pakistan and continued negotiations with Talibans. If Talibans delink themselves from Al-Qaeda and form a government in Afghanistan the USA will support the idea of Pushtoonistan.

In the aftermath of such a situation, the U.S will be able to withdraw from Afghanistan by the year 2014. The upshot of this discussion is that Pushtoon Nationalism is now getting direct succour from India and U.S.A. The situation is to force Pakistan to federate with India at least for defense and foreign policy matters, in the name of bringing stabilization in Afghanistan. In such a dire situation, Russian and the China now have a joint interest to collaborate with Pakistan. Sergi Rogov, the Director of Moscow based institute for [U.S and Canada studies] has cautioned that avoiding this strategy will jeopardize Russian interests in Central Asia. There is reason to believe that both Russia and China would like to delink Indian – U.S.A policies in South Asia. The best way to achieve this objective is to open an Islamic insurgency in Kashmir. This theory has to some extent the support of Russian think tank led by Ruslan Ghereyer of [North Caucasus Centre of Islamic Studies]. His comment on the killing of Osama Bin Ladin was succinct in say:-

“…..The liquidation of Bin Laden will have no impact on terrorism in the world and still less in North Caucasus: on the country, it will open a Pandora box of extremism.” He in a mood of sub-audition has in fact cautioned that the Pandora Box of extremism is to be opened in Kashmir Valley. Revival of militancy in Kashmir will be fully supported by Pakistan Army. The Russians will encourage the Chinese to take the burden of Kashmiri Islamic insurgency so that the attention of USA is diverted and it is prevented from devising further strategies in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Water scarcity in Pakistan will force army to forestall any federating strategy with India even on the economic front, not to speak of defense and Foreign affairs. However, granting MNF status to India is a smoke screen.

It is my perception that water scarcity in west Punjab and the changing Russian stance towards Afghanistan and Central Asia will open up the way for Pak-China defense pact coinciding with the rise and revival of Islamic insurgency in Kashmir. The prospects of Kashmir future are bleak and dreary indeed! The downing of a NATO Helicopter with thirty eight U.S special operation group by Taliban using Rocket fire shows direct involvement of both Russia and China in arming Talibans. In the back drop of this intense hugger-mugger, India fully well knowing, the internal situation in Pakistan, that shows, that at present Pakistan is severely caught in the coils of a ferocious turbulence, the genesis of which stems from the demands for re-organization of States in Pakistan on ethnic and linguistic considerations. India is also aware that the overwidening hiatus between Pushtoons and Mahajirs in Karachi, has become unbridgeable, as three hundred people were killed in this blighted city in the deadliest month of July 2011 still invited Hina Rabbani Khar the young Foreign Minister of Pakistan for intense parleys. Such a meeting was inevitably bound to prove a non-sequitur.

Full credit goes to Hina Rabbani Khar, the brilliant, dashing smart and stylish youngster from the jetset sybaritic family of Khars, who with a broad smile, completely flummoxed the ageing old Geezer Mr. S.M. Krishna. He in his nervousness could cobble up together some incoherent, pretentious, high flown, high sounding words, more suitable to a fawner, assuring the Foreign Minister of Pakistan about India’s sincerity towards “Pakistan Integrity.”

The parleys were full of platitudes, and a lot of words were scattered higgledy piggledy about the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The two high powered executives agreed to obvious procrastination.

Hina was able to achieve her target, as procrastination should now enable Pakistan and China to announce formally about a defense pact. They are not announcing it, as they expect Iran to join them soon within a year.

A new regional situation is emerging in South Asia. It is in the interest of Pakistan and China to push the Kashmir issue to the back burner to divert attention from the construction of a huge dam in Gilgit by the Chinese P.L.A.

Indians have no answer to these questions of new emerging regional formations in South Asia. They vainly hope Pakistan would implode, but China has already shored up Pakistan. Indo-Pak parleys have shown that true politics is after all the end game of crass crackpots. This is the lesson which history teaches us.

“Sex Pollution” Book Review: Shabnum Qayoom sheds light on Lord Cyril Radcliffe’s affair with Nehru’s sister Vijaya Lakshmi

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“Sex Pollution”: While the book may be salacious in nature, it does shed light on the shady side of Jawaharlal Nehru-known for his escapades. Stanley Wolpert has written extensively about his gay lifestyle as well as his affair with Ediwina Mountbatten-the subject of a new book “Indian Summer” (Written by Edwin’as daughter).

Indus Water Treaty, Kalabagh, Kashmir, & Gurdaspur. While Qayoom has been subject of much ridicule in Bharat (aka India), he makes two poignant points which are important from a historical point of view.

Lord Cyrill Radcliff had an affair with Nehru’s sister Lakhsmi
Sheikh Abdullah was involved with Indira Gandhi and other women
Both these facts, if corroborated does put sunlight on the reasons for Gurdaspur going to Bharat and Shaikh Abdullah not doing the obvious and acceding to Pakistan-it was personal not political.

Gurdaspur and Ferozepur were Muslim majority areas given to Bharat (aka) India. In the map published Ferozepur was shown as a Pakistani city–however amazingly it ended up in “India”. The final boundary report was not published ’till August 16/17 so both countries became independent without knowing their boundaries. Gurdaspur and Ferozepur residents flew Pakistani flags and celebrated as Pakistanis–but found themselves in “India”–and had to leave

Radcliff’s cheated Pakistan out of Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. The British commission in charge of Partition handed Gurdaspur district over to India, despite being a Muslim majority district of Punjab, as they thought India to be more favourable for most. The British claims were that if India did not control Gurdaspur, then Pakistan could simply cut off water supplies to Amritsar, though they could not justify just the opposite happening. The result was of many Muslims unexpectedly forced to migrate under harsh conditions, with Hindus and Sikhs killing, raping and mutilating many. However, Gurdaspur is the district in which all roads from India in Kashmir run, and thus, Pakistan alleges that the British effectively decided the fate of Kashmir by giving India a lifeline in Kashmir.

Gurdaspur Railway Supply Line to Kashmir for India’s only land link to Kashmir. Many allege that Lord Radcliffe gave Gurdaspur to Bharat (aka”India”) so that it could invade Kashmir a weeks later. The delay in announcing the award also put pressure on the Raja of Kashmir

Pakistan also alleges that the British reasoning for handing over Gurdaspur was extremely biased, corrupted, flawed and unfair because while Pakistan was denied Gurdaspur district on the grounds of Indian water security, India maintained control over Pakistani water by retaining all the districts of Punjab in which major Pakistani rivers had their headwaters. Since Pakistan has always been an agriculture based country, it was in danger. Essentially this is seen as a veto power held by India over Pakistan agriculture. The Indus Waters Treaty signed in 1960 resolved most of these disputes over the sharing of water, calling for mutual cooperation in this regard. This treaty faced issues raised by Pakistan over the illegal construction of dams on the Indian side which limit water to the Pakistani side.

I nearly gave you [India] Lahore.” Lord Cyril Radcliffe, Chairman of the Boundary Commission, told me. “But then I realised that Pakistan would not have any large city. I had already earmarked Calcutta for India.

“The Muslims in Pakistan have a grievance that you favoured India”, I told Radcliffe. His reply was: “They should be thankful to me because I went out of the way to give them Lahore which deserved to go to India. Even otherwise, I favoured the Muslims more than the Hindus.” Lord Radcliffe to Kuldip Nayyer in 1971. Tribune India

“I had no alternative; the time at my disposal was so short that I could not do a better job. Given the same period I would do the same thing. However, if I had two to three years, I might have improved on what I did”.
– Sir Cyril Radcliffe

There is a charge that Lord Radcliff was given a bribe of 6 corore rupees by the Indian National Congress supporters to unfairly and “illegally” award Ferozepur and Gurdaspur to India. Ferozepur was the only arsenal that was supposed to be given to Pakistan. Gurdaspur was a Muslim majority area and was awarded to India. The boundary line was along the river and Radcliff unnaturally digressed it away from the river to give away Gurdaspur (the only link of India to Kashmir) to India.

The implication of the loss of Ferozepur to India was not only traumatic in human terms, but it was devastating to Pakistan in military terms. The reality behind the conspiracy to award Gurdaspur became evident a year later when Indian troops arrived in Srinagar and then Mahara Sing signed over the article of accession to India. The article of accession was never presented to the UN, and according to Alister Lamb has serious discrepancies about dates. The original article of accession has since been lost, if it ever existed.

“Alastair Lamb, Incomplete Partition (OUP, 1998) comes to the conclusion that the instrument of accession was not signed on the date claimed by the Indian government to legitimise its sending of troops into Kashmir. American scholar Stanley Wolpert relates the accession story in his 1996 book, Nehru: A tryst with Destiny, basing it on the lack of concordance between versions of the accession. Wolpert writes that Menon returned from Srinagar on 26 October ‘with no Instrument of Accession’ to report on the perilous condition in Kashmir to the Defence Committee. Only after Mountbatten had allowed the airlift of Indian troops on 27 October, did Menon and Mahajan set out for Jammu ‘to get the Instrument of Accession’. The Maharaja signed the Instrument after the Indian troops had assumed control of the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar. If Wolpert’s version is accepted then the ‘conspiracy’ of legalising the airlift becomes acceptable. Lamb thinks that it is possible that ‘certainly Menon, perhaps Mountbatten, perhaps Nehru and perhaps Patel’ were involved in this conspiracy. Lamb also claims that the document of accession does not exist.”

The book has been banned in India is not available on Amazon. However there are reviews of the book available on merinews, and various websites in Bharat do carry the information from Qayoom’s book. If Qayoom is right, the two major players in the Gurdaspur fiasco would be Laskhsmi and Radcliffe.

Vijaya Lakshmi Nehru Pandit was an Indian diplomat and politician, sister of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

In 1921 she married Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, who died on January 14, 1944. She was the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post. In 1937 she was elected to the provincial legislature of the United Provinces and was designated minister of local self-government and public health. She held the latter post until 1939 and again from 1946 to 1947. In 1946 she was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the United Provinces.

Following India’s independence from the British in 1947 she entered the diplomatic service and became India’s ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1947 to 1949, the United States and Mexico from 1949 to 1951, Ireland from 1955 to 1961 (during which time she was also the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom), and Spain from 1958 to 1961. Between 1946 and 1968 she also headed the Indian delegation to the United Nations. In 1953, she became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly

In India, she served as governor of Maharashtra from 1962 to 1964, after which she was elected to the Indian Lok Sabha from Phulpur, her brother’s former constituency. She held office from 1964 to 1968. Pandit was a harsh critic of her niece, Indira Gandhi, after Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966, and she retired from active politics after relations between them soured. On retiring she moved to Dehradun in the Doon Valley in the Himalayan foothills.

In 1979 she was appointed the Indian representative to the UN Human Rights Commission, after which she retired from public life. Her writings include The Evolution of India (1958) and The Scope of Happiness: A Personal Memoir (1979).

Her daughter Nayantara Sahgal, who later settled in her mother’s house in Dehradun, is a well-known novelist. Wiki

Lord Cyril Radcliffe gave away Gurdaspur to Bharat–thus allowing it land access to Kashmir (a natural part of Pakistan due to linguistic, religious and geographical reasons) The 1947 partition was shaped not only by decades of Indian nationalist pressure on the British Government and by the rise of civil unrest in the subcontinent after World War Two, but also by Britain’s precarious economic position in the aftermath of the war. After nearly two centuries as an economic asset, British India had become a liability at a time when Britain could least afford it. In addition, American pressure to decolonize the subcontinent influenced both international and British domestic opinion against the raj. British India became a political and symbolic liability as well as an economic problem. These factors, combined with domestic political considerations for the newly elected Labour Party, meant that ridding itself of its responsibilities in India suddenly became a priority to His Majesty’s Government (HMG). However, Indian independence had not always been such an urgent goal for the British Government. The first half of the twentieth century saw a series of small steps towards self-government in South Asia. Traditional imperialist historiography holds that these ventures marked carefully incremented progress, part of the process of training Indians to govern themselves. Other interpretations, including but not confined to South Asian nationalist schools, argue that these steps were actually sops intended to keep nationalists satisfied enough to prevent a more serious threat to British rule.5 This view holds that HMG had no intention of letting go its “jewel in the crown”-until it had no choice.

Although the British had, in 1946, considered leaving India piecemeal, transferring power to individual provences as they withdrew, they concluded that such an approach was impractical. without defining the entity or entities that would come into power, they concluded that such an approach was impractical. It would not be possible to hand over power without making it clear what international entity would take on that power; in order to define a new international entity, a new boundary was necessary. From a certain perspective, however, a rigorously and properly delineated boundary was not necessary to accomplish these political ends-any boundary line would do. Due to this fact and to a myriad of political pressures, the Radcliffe Commission failed to draw a geopolitically sound line delineated and demarcated in accordance with accepted international procedure. The Punjab’s population distribution was such that there was no line that could neatly divide Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Radcliffe’s line was far from perfect, but it is important to note that alternative borders would not necessarily have provided a significant improvement. There is, in contrast, a great deal to be said about flaws in the boundary-making procedure-and why those flaws existed. Drawing the Indo-Pakistani boundry by Lucy Chester

Author Shabnum Qayoom tries to flaunt his knowledge of Kashmir affairs and in doing so uses his quixotic and imaginary expertise to weave a book of more than 200 pages.

There is nothing new written in this book which the general public does not know. As the author has so many tales to tell from calling the first Prime Minister of free India a pimp of Sheikh Abdullah – who asphyxiated Sheikh Abdullah on important occasion with call girls; and being not averse even to the lascivious eyes of Lord Mountbatten on his sister as long as Lady Mountbatten warmed his bed.

The author further alleges that the Sheikh Abdullah received dough to stop legendary Shabun Hajam from his mission. Then, the author digs deep into the roots of Sheikh Family. He brings their ancestors history to the fore, which, according to him, is famous for producing illegitimate wards.

He doesn’t stop there. He further points out that both Bakashi Gulum Mohammad and Sadiq had their respective mistress. He is not shy of naming them. The book alleges that in the name of finding solution of Kashmir in collaboration with foreigners, Sheikh indulged in sex and sleaze with their wives.

According to the author, Sheikh was removed from prime ministership’s position in 1953 because he tried to sexually assault the wife of Rafi Ahmad Kidwai. Shabnum Qayoom does not spare even Indira Gandhi and calls her “sexy” girl, and, even puts question mark on her and Sheikh Abdullah’s closed-door meetings. And, wait there is more – the author knows than Khuswant Singh knows!

This book was brought to our attention by Dr. Lone who teaches history at the graduate level.

Removal and Detention of Sheikh Abdullah

Meanwhile, the expectation that Kashmir as an integral part of India would work out its destiny with the rest of the country in consonance with the ideals of secularism and democracy were belied with Sheikh Abdullah trying to change his stand after 1952 and beginning to think in terms of an Independent Kashmir.

Consequently, the ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’ removed Sheikh Abdullah from the Prime Ministership on 9 August 1953 and put him under detention. He was succeeded by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad as Prime Minister. This event had been preceded by efforts of the Government of India to make Sheikh Abdullah to abide by the earlier commitments in the form of an agreement reached between him and the Government of India on 24 July 1952. This agreement, interalia, conceded elected Sadar-e-Riyasat, limited jurisdiction of Supreme Court and extension of Emergency provision of the Indian Constitution at the request of the State Government

Pakistan’s claims to the disputed region are based on the rejection of Indian claims to Kashmir, namely the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja was not a popular leader, and was regarded as a tyrant by most Kashmiris. Pakistan also accuses India of hypocrisy, as it refused to recognize the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan and Hyderabad’s independence, on the grounds that those two states had Hindu majorities (in fact, India occupied and forcibly integrated those two territories). Furthermore, as he had fled Kashmir due to Pakistani invasion, Pakistan asserts that the Maharaja held no authority in determining Kashmir’s future. Additionally, Pakistan argues that even if the Maharaja had any authority in determining the plight of Kashmir, he signed the Instrument of Accession under duress, thus invalidating the legitimacy of his actions. Northern Areas are part of Pakistan and were never part of Kashmir
Kashmir and Junagarh is Pakistani territory
Pakistan also claims that Indian forces were in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed with India (Kashmir: Does the article of accession exist?), thus, Indian troops were in Kashmir in violation of the Standstill Agreement which was designed to maintain the status quo in Kashmir. This view is also echoed by many Western experts on the Kashmir conflict. [10][11]. Nehru’s commitment to the people of Kashmir

US resolutions, and Nehru speeches on disputed nature of Kashmir. Further, Pakistan as well as human rights groups across the world have alleged that Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias have been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Kashmiri civilians and gang-rapes of hundreds of women.[12][13].

Azad Kashmir

In short, Pakistan holds that

The popular Kashmiri insurgency demonstrates that the Kashmiri people no longer wish to remain within India. Pakistan suggests that this means that either Kashmir wants to be with Pakistan or independent.
Indian counterinsurgency tactics merit international monitoring of the Kashmir conflict, and the Indian Army has carried out human rights violations – including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings – against the Kashmiri people.Nehru’s Commitement to people of Kashmir and various un-implemented UN resolutions on Kashmir

Northern Areas are part of Pakistan and were never part of Kashmir. According to the two-nation theory by which Pakistan was formed, Kashmir should have been with Pakistan, because it has a Muslim majority. THE GEOGRAPHIC TWO NATION THEORY: “Pakistan” existed 5000 years ago. IVC thrives as Pakistan today . The “K” in Pakistan stands for Kashmir. The Quaid answers 3 questions in 1940 Kashmir.India has shown disregard to the resolutions of the UN (by not holding a plebiscite). THERE WAS NO “PARTITION”: For Britain ” ‘Indian’ Empire” included Somalia, Iraq, Burma, Singapore etc. For the French “India” included Vietnam (Indo-China). For the Dutch “India” included “Indo-n-asia”.

WHY WE CREATED PAKISTAN? The Pakistan Ideology. ONT vs TNT . The Kashmiri people have now been forced by the circumstances to rise against the alleged repression of the Indian army and uphold their right of self-determination through militancy. 100,000 Kashmiris died for “Tehrik e ilhaq e Pakistan”. Pakistan claims to give the Kashmiri insurgents moral, ethical and military support (see 1999 Kargil Conflict: Kargil facts). Kashmir: What was liberated in 1948? What remains?

The idea of becoming subservient to India is abhorrent and that of cooperation with India, with the object of promoting tension with China, equally repugnant.” Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

The Facts of the Award

The final boundary was not announced ’till August 16/17 a couple of days after independence

The final boundary, known as the Radcliffe award, allotted some sixty-two percent of the area of undivided Punjab to India, with fifty-five percent of the population.15 The boundary ran from the border of Kashmir State south along the Ujh River, leaving onetehsil16 of Gurdaspur District to Pakistan and allotting the remainder to India. Where the Ujh met the Ravi River, the boundary followed the Ravi southwest, until it met the existing administrative line dividing Amritsar District from Lahore District. Radcliffe was careful to specify that the relevant administrative boundaries, not the course of the Ujh or the Ravi, constituted the new international boundary. The boundary then ran through Lahore District, along tehsil and village boundaries, leaving the district’s easternmost corner in India. When the Radcliffe boundary met the Ferozepore District line, it turned to follow the River Sutlej along the administrative boundary between Ferozepore and Montgomery Districts. The Radcliffe line ended where it met the border of Bahawalpur, a princely state whose ruler, like the Maharajah of Kashmir, had the choice of acceding to Pakistan or India.

Allegations of Bias

Gurdaspur was a Muslim majority area of Punjab but handed over to India

Throughout the difficult process of partition, accusations of official partiality towards one group or another were leveled on all sides, not only in the popular press but also by the leaders themselves. For example, Justice Munir of the Punjab Commission accused Radcliffe’s top aide, Christopher Beaumont, of pro-Hindus bias. Munir claimed that Beaumont intentionally misled Radcliffe in order to achieve a result favorable to India.17

Beaumont rejects these charges as ludicrous. The most contentious point was the Ferozepore border and the nearby headworks. On August 8, Mountbatten’s private secretary, George Abell, sent a letter with a preliminary description of the Punjab boundary to Evan Jenkins, the provincial governor. This draft showed the Ferozepore area and its headworks going to Pakistan. When the final award was released, Ferozepore was assigned to India. Infuriated Pakistanis were sure that Nehru and Mountbatten had pressured Radcliffe to change his line. After partition, each side leveled accusations in the vernacular press that their opponents had successfully bribed Radcliffe to take their part.18

Many were convinced that the Commissions were a sham and that Mountbatten himself had simply dictated the new divisions. In his final report as Viceroy, Mountbatten admitted, “I am afraid that there is still a large section of public opinion in this country which is firmly convinced that I will settle the matter finally.”19 In 1992, Christopher Beaumont added his voice to the chorus of accusations against Mountbatten.20 This circumstantial evidence indicates that Mountbatten may well have influenced the final shape of the boundary award.Drawing the Indo-Pakistani boundary. Lucy Chester http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/archives_roll/2002_01-03/chester_partition/chester_partition.html#Anchor_bio

1. An early exception is Aloys Michel’s The Indus Rivers (New Haven: Yale UP, 1967): 162-194. Alastair Lamb’sIncomplete Partition: The Genesis of the Kashmir Dispute 1947-1948 (Hertingfordbury: Roxford Books, 1997): 43-92,

Patrick French’sLiberty and Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division (London: HarperCollins, 1997): 321-338, and Tan Tai Yong’s “‘Sir Cyril Goes to India’: Partition, Boundary-Making and Disruptions in the Punjab,”Punjab Studies 4:1 (1997): 1-20 also address elements of the border question. Joya Chatterji’s “The Fashioning of a Frontier: The Radcliffe Line and Bengal’s Border Landscape, 1947-52″ (Modern Asian Studies 33:1 [1999]: 185-242), provides a Bengal-centered model for analysis of the Radcliffe Commission and its impact on local communities. Edmund Heward’s description of Radcliffe’s public service, The Great and the Good: A Life of Lord Radcliffe(Chichester: Barry Rose Publishers, 1994), touches sympathetically on Radcliffe’s work in India. The boundary issue has also attracted the attention of less careful writers, including Leonard Mosley, whose The Last Days of the British Raj (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962) includes fascinating information from interviews with participants in the transfer of power but is tainted by its strong anti-Mountbatten bias and poor documentation.2. A separate boundary commission, also headed by Radcliffe, was responsible for drawing the Indo-Pakistani boundary in Bengal. My work focuses on Punjab; for the Bengal boundary, see Chatterji.

3. Heward 45.

4. To my knowledge, there are no surviving Indian participants in the boundary commission.

5. P.J. Cain and Anthony Hopkins, British Imperialism:Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990(London: Longman, 1993).

6. Thomas Metcalf,Ideologies of the Raj(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995): 223.

7. Metcalf 224-5.

8. Stanley Wolpert, ANew History of India,3rd ed. (New York; Oxford University Press, 1989): 329.

9. Wolpert 334.

10. Wolpert 335.

11. Lamb 23.

12. Wolpert 341-4.

13. Nicholas Mansergh, ed.The Transfer of Power, 1942-47 (hereafter TP) vol. XII, No. 488, Appendix 1.

14. See in particular Stephen B. Jones, Boundary-Making: A handbook for Statesmen, Treaty Editors and Boundary Commissioners (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1945).

15. Gyanesh Kudaisya, “From Displacement to ‘Development’: East Punjab Countryside after Partition, 1947-67″ in Freedom, Trauma, Continuities, ed. D.A. Low and Howard Brasted (Walnut Creek, Alta Mira Press, 1998): 74.

16. A tehsil is the administrative unit below a district, somewhat analogous to a county.

17. Mian Muhammad Sadullah, ed., The Partition of the Punjab 1947: A Compilation of Official Documents, vol. 1. (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications): xvii.

18. Lord H.L. Ismay, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay (New York: Viking Press, 1960) 442.

19. TP XII 489.

20. Simon Scott Plummer, “How Mountbatten Bent the Rules and the Indian Border,”Daily Telegraph 24 Feb. 1992: 10.

21. Alistair Lamb, cited inFrench 322.

22. TP XII 488, Appendix I.

23. Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Mountbatten and the Partition of India (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1983): 103.

24. Mountbatten insisted that later historians would vindicate all of his decisions and disprove his critics.

25. Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer delivered the insult. Philip Ziegler, Mountbatten(New York: Harper and Row: 1985): 528.

26. Mountbatten hastened to add that although the Governor of Bengal shared these economic concerns, he “had not expressed any view on this matter to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, so he could not be said to have influenced the decision.” TP XII 487.

27. A thana was a local administrative division, centered on a police station.

28. TP XII 488, Appendix I, Annexure A.

29. Collins and Lapierre 69.

30. TP XII Appendix I, No. 6.

31. TP XII 488, Appendix I.

32. TP XII 488, Appendix II.

33. TP XII 488, Appendix I, Annexure A.

34. Michel 177.

35. TP XII 488, Appendix I.

36. TP XII 389.

37. TP XII 190.

38. French 347-49.

39. Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1998): 70. Official estimates were 50,000 Muslim women abducted in India, 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women abducted in Pakistan.

40. Lamb 111.

41.French 337.

42. For a view of partition as an anachronistic approach to ethnic conflict that is bound to fail, see Radha Kumar,Divide and Fall? Bosnia in the Annals of Partition (London: Verso, 1997).

More information is available atwww.bn.com on the following books refrenced in this article:

Ritu Menon, Kamla Bhasin.Borders and Boundaries: How Women Experienced the Partition of India. Rutgers University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0813525527

Stanley A. Wolpert. A New History of India. Oxford University Press, Inc. 1999. ISBN 019512877X.

Stephen Barr Jones, S. Whittemore. Boundary-Making: A handbook for Statesmen, treaty Editors and Boundary Commissioners William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2000. ISBN 1575885654.

Lord Lionel Ismay. The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. 1974. ISBN 0837162807.

Freedom, Trauma, Continuities, ed. D.A. Low and Howard Brasted (Walnut Creek, Alta Mira Press, 1998). ISBN 0761992251.

Philip Ziegler.Mountbatten. Phoenix Press, 2001. ISBN: 1842122967

Patrick French. Liberty and Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division London: HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN 0006550452

From Calcutta to Kashmir

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By Avirook Sen

For a march that kicked off so close to my home in Calcutta’s Shyambazar, this thing has gotten somewhat out of hand, and more than somewhat ridiculous.

On January 12, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) youth wing flagged off what they called the ‘ekta yatra’ – a march for unity.

The plan was to converge on Lal Chowk in Srinagar, the arson-prone heart of Kashmir, from all over the country, to hoist the Indian tricolour on Republic Day. Assert a fundamental right, remind the fellow in the firan where it’s at, and so on. Alas, the plan lacked idiot-proofing from conception to execution.

A bunch of merry right-wing youth from Karnataka in the south, boarded a train bound for Kashmir. But sometime after midnight, when the train had barely gotten a fifth of the way there, the poor boys fell asleep, dreaming dreams of national unity.

Alert security forces grabbed their chance. At a station in Maharashtra, they detached the bogeys containing the future flag-hoisters from the mother train. They then attached the bogeys to a train headed back to Bangalore, where the volunteers had breakfast.

While the rest of us laughed our heads off, spokesmen for the BJP objected in the strongest possible terms: “Our workers had valid tickets!”

There is a sense of deja vu about these events. In late 1991, a year before they demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the BJP undertook almost the exact same march. The then president of the party, Murli Manohar Joshi, led the marchers.

Landslides (and a not a little Kashmiri outrage) prevented Joshi’s followers from reaching the spot. Joshi himself had to be flown in, amid what witnesses called the tightest security they had seen. Sympathetic commentators put the number of people getting to Lal Chowk at 40, including journalists. Curfew had been imposed on the town and announcements made that Lal Chowk had been handed over to the army.

There are varying reports of how the actual hoisting took place on January 26, 1992.

It is clear that security personnel helped Joshi with the flag, but when he was raising it to the pedestal of the clock tower on which it was supposed to fly, the rod broke and knocked the old man on the head. It has been reported that the flag was finally hoisted on a lamppost. Having raised the flag, a slightly dizzy Joshi left the scene and went off to plot the razing of a mosque.

Leading the marchers this time is a fellow called Anurag Thakur, MP, and the son of the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. An official website lists his professions as “cricketer” and “industrialist”. Though what he really does is run an export house and make sure, with a little help from papa, that he’s in control of all cricket administration in his home state.

His own webpage has a picture of a cricket team with a trophy in front, he sits in the middle with a blue jacket, the boys are in white. The header reads: “If he can do this in sports, he can do better in politics. There is a need to bring young talent to the forefronts (sic) of politics.”

By the standards of Indian politics, this chap should visit the pediatrician if he catches a cold during his march, but at 36, he’s been pushed to the forefront all right.

Now all he has to do is find a suitable lamppost, and not injure himself, or cause injury to others. In Shyambazar, where it all began, Republic Day represents a peaceful holiday. That I have from the horse’s mouth.

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.

Occupied Jammu Kashmir puppet government wants Azadi

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By: Rohit Kumar

More trouble for Corrupt Congress: Its minister wants azadi for Kashmir

“Freeing Kashmir would free a major chunk of central funds”; “If Kashmiris want azadi, give it to them”, Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma said

In an apparent nosedive for India’s moral high ground and unwavering stance on the Occupation of Kashmir, the JK government has itself – symbolically as well as politically – outshone the Kashmiri freedom fighters and civilian activists that Delhi calls ‘militants’ and terrorists. After Arundhati Roy, a sitting State Minister has also joined the azadi bandwagon – embarrassing his own government which faces precarious circumstances both at the Centre and in the volatile the state.

Sharma urged the Centre to divide the three regions of the state – give ‘azadi’ to Kashmir, make Jammu a separate state and give the Union Territory status to Ladakh. Sharma said: “If Kashmiris want ‘azadi’, give it to them.” Sharma holds the portfolio of State Health Minister along with the additional charge of Horticulture and Floriculture.

Other party leaders, including state president and MP Saifuddin Soz, could be seen squirming on the dais. Sharma went on: “While there are voices for ‘azadi’ in Kashmir, people in Jammu and Ladakh complain of discrimination in all spheres.”

Freeing Kashmir would free a major chunk of central funds that are sent for the state’s development, which ultimately end up in the Valley, State Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma said yesterday at a public rally in Bani, nearly 200 kilometres from Jammu. Sharma said: “Kashmiris take away a major share of funds allocated by the Centre and also show eyes at it. On the other hand, those who get discriminated against remain silent.” Such a situation cannot be tolerated for long, he pointed out.

He said it was time to end such regional discrimination within the state. He said those advocating unity and integrity of all the three regions in the state should be shunned.

Turning to Soz who, besides being the party’s state president, is also a Rajya Sabha member and a former Union minister, Sharma said: “I request that my proposal be implemented on ground.”

The minister’s remarks evoked sharp criticism from Opposition BJP and also colleagues in the Cabinet and party as well. While BJP leaders Nirmal Singh and Ashok Khajuria described the minister’s public statement as treason and demanded his immediate arrest and dismissal from the state Cabinet, state Congress vice president Abdul Gani Vakil said the comments were unfortnuate. He as a Cabinet minister should not have talked of ‘azadi’ to Kashmir and division of the state, he added.

A senior Congress minister from Jammu in the Omar Abdullah Cabinet who also happens to be in the camp of Saifuddin Soz, said that Sharma’s statement was against the policy of the Congress party which is committed to not only the unity and integrity of the state, but also its equitable development.

Though State Congress president Saifuddin Soz tried to counter the minister saying that unity and integrity of the state was of paramount importance and that the Congress was committed to maintaining and strengthening it, it did not satisfy many within the party. According to them, Soz was helpless to do anything in the matter as Sharma belonged to his camp in the already faction-ridden Congress unit in the state.

In a situation where he himself had been keeping a distance from those owing allegiance to Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Soz was not in a position to annoy people in his own camp, they pointed out. In typical damage-control mode, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi described Sharma’s remarks as his “personal view” and said the party’s stand “is very clear – autonomy within the framework of the Indian Constitution”.

“We are all answerable to AICC President Sonia Gandhi and what we say here will be considered as the Congress’ word and we must speak along the party line”, Soz said.

Seeking to downplay Sharma’s view, Singhvi told reporters in Delhi: “I can only describe it as a personal opinion. He was at a rally in his own home state and certainly this is his personal view.”

“Some of the words which I have heard, I can either describe it as a metaphorical speak which should not be taken literally,” he said adding, “In any case, we do not accept any such allegations.”

National Executive Member and former Pradesh President Nirmal Singh told reporters: “Sharma has taken oath under the Constitution and his statement tantamounts to treason and therefore an FIR should be registered against him and he should be arrested forthwith.”

Senior BJP leader of the state Chaman Lal Gupta said Congress should come out openly on what its minister in the coalition government has said.

Sharma alleges Jammu and Ladakh regions have been discriminated by “Kashmir-centric” leadership and “this has strengthened our view point”.

Gupta, who is BJP legislature party leader, said: “We want Congress to understand the hard fact that the government has been discriminating Jammu and Ladakh for decades and this has been rightly realised by Sharma who is a minister in the coalition government headed by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.”

Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) chief Bhim Singh accused the Congress of playing the “most mischievous game to disintegrate Kashmir from the rest of the country.”

“This is clear by the statement made by the Congress Minister in presence of JKPCC President that Kashmir should be given a ‘azadi’,” he said.