Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jinnah’s Pakistan Vs Islamic Pakistan

The liberal Pakistani politician Governor Salman Taseer paid the ultimate price for trying to change blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Did he cross the laxman rekha drawn by the radicals, when he opposed the blasphemy law of Pakistan? Does this indicate to the west, that the fundamentalists are still the most feared in Pakistan?

The reaction of Pakistanis to the brutal assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer has come as a shock to the world. The billions of dollars the United States poured to combat extremism in the country failed to bring desirable fruits.

This assassination proves one point. Economic well being does not stop one from becoming a radical. That people tend to extremism due to their weak economic status seems to have totally been rejected by this incident in Pakistan. Mumtaz Qadri, the body guard of Taseer ,who assassinated him hails from a well-to-do family.

The growing influence of militant Islam in Pakistan and the ignorance of the feeling of the masses by the leadership has caused this incident.

Taseer had been a man of liberal views. No one bothered. But when he opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy law and called it a Kala Qanoon (Black Law), he bit more then he could chew. Presently under the law, people insulting Prophet Muhammad or desecrating Holy Qur’an are liable to strict punishment.

The stand taken by the governor that the blasphemy law should be scrapped, not amended, might had created an apprehension among the extremists that blasphemy would be a norm if there existed no punishment for the blasphemers. The governor was gunned down by the person who was assigned to safeguard him. Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the assassin, said he did it for protecting the honour of Prophet Muhammad.
Taseer is not the first person to pay for blasphemous remarks or activities. Section 295 C of Pakistan Penal Code prescribes death sentence with fine or without fine for any one insulting Prophet.

The reports say that say that between 1986—the year when the present shape of the law was introduced—and 2010 as many as 989 cases of blasphemy were reported. In 2009, around 112 cases of blasphemy—against 57 Ahmadi, 47 Muslims and 8 Christians—were filed. At least 35 of the accused have been killed extra-judicially. The murder of Taseer is only an addition to the long chain.

Taseer is believed to have been assassinated for relentlessly defending Aasiya Bibi. It was in November 2010 that an anti-terrorism court of Pakistan condemned Aasiya Bibi, a member of Christian minority, to death for having allegedly committed blasphemy to the Prophet Muhammad during her argument with two Muslim women in June 2009. She reportedly has moved to Lahore High Court against the decree.

Even Pope Benedict XVI has intervened in the case and demanded Aasiya be released. He said that he prayed God for any person facing such a circumstance that their human status and respect be considered.

There was every possibility that a higher court would possibly acquit her of the charge. This was the best and sure way to have Bibi rescued from the clutches of the blasphemy law. Many local courts decreed death sentences against the accused under blasphemy law, but none of the verdicts could be implemented till now.
Instead of waiting for the judicial process, Mr. Taseer approached Asif Ali Zardari for a presidential pardon to Bibi. He even proceeded to meet her at Sheikhupura district jail.
The extremists, who look for any pretence and chance to eliminate the liberals, found the behaviour of Taseer an enough reason. Time and again they took law and order in hand for executing the blasphemers.

Even though Taseer himself did not commit blasphemy, yet his unrelenting support for Aasiya Bibi in a show of liberalism proved fatal for him. As a matter of fact, Islam does not allow undue bloodshed. The killing of Taseer in the name of the religion, the analysts say, is against the peaceful teachings of Islam.

With extremism having crept in the Pakistani society, especially in the wake of the US-Afghan war, Pakistanis is all praise for Qadri. Except a few modern educated people, rest of the nation is either presenting Qadri as a hero of Islam or preferring silence over the murder of Taseer. No mention of condemning the killer.
Even the Pakistani media did not condemn Mumtaz Qadri in its strongest terms. “When Pakistan's television anchors and newspaper columnists describe Salman Taseer's assassination a tragedy, they are not telling us the whole truth. Because many of these very anchors and columnists have stated, in no uncertain terms, that by expressing his reservations about the blasphemy law, Salman Taseer had crossed a line on the other side of which is certain death,” commented Mohammed Hanif, a former editor of the BBC Urdu service.

Using the media some extremists showed support to Mumtaz Qadri and lauded him. “The situation has become worrying because people are coming on national television and justifying Taseer’s assassination,” said human rights activist Asma Jahangir.
A liberal legislator from Karachi, Sherry Rehman, who recently introduced a bill to amend the blasphemy law, has been politically isolated since Taseer's murder, threatened by protesters. For quite some days she had to be in seclusion at her home, under special police guard.

“I am amazed at the ferocity of the onslaught,” Rehman reportedly said. “I was trying to find a middle ground, but now no one wants to touch the issue. I think this retreat is going to set the country back for years to come.”

The murder of Taseer has silenced the liberal voices and the government for the time being bowing to the pressure of the Islamists agreed that no amendments would be made to blasphemy law. This, the fundamentalists see as their victory.

The common Pakistani praises Qadri for what they call is his bravery. Hours after the assassination of Taseer over 500 scholars praised Qadri and urged people to boycott the funeral ceremony of the “blasphemer or face the consequence”. The prayer leader of Lahore’s historic Badshahi Masjid declined the administration’s request to lead the funeral prayer.

Mass rallies were taken out in Qadri’s support and, thousands of supporters marched in the streets, praising him as a heroic defender of Islam.

“Mumtaz Qadri sacrificed himself to protect the sanctity of our prophet, and every one of us here is ready to do the same thing,” reportedly said Abdul Majid, a seminary student who was among tens of thousands of supporters who rallied in Karachi demanding that the country's blasphemy law be preserved.

A group of young lawyers even showered rose petals over Qadri, before his court appearances. And they enthusiastically took up his defense.

It was seen as a stark turnabout for a group that just a few years ago looked like the vanguard of a democracy movement. They waged months of protests in 2007 and 2008 to challenge Pakistan’s military dictator after he unlawfully removed the chief justice.

This shows how Islamization has worked among the Pakistanis. The appearance of hundreds of Facebook pages supporting Mumtaz Qadri is clear evidence that modern educated section of Pakistan too could not remain unaffected from the wave of Islamization. Usually, the Facebook users are not the students of madaris located in backward areas.

Even moderate Pakistani ulama, who are against taking law in their hand in the name of Islam, are not condemning what Qadri did when he killed Salman Taseer.
They, too, believe that blasphemy cannot be forgiven in any circumstances. Many local courts decree death sentences against the accused under blasphemy law, but none of the verdicts are implemented ever. They take this as a reason for justifying the extra-judicial killing of blasphemers.

On the occasion of Conquest of Makkah, when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came in power, he forgave everyone except 16 people. Among them were two women and two men who would pass satirical comments on the Prophet. He ordered that they must be killed even if found clinging to the cover of holy Ka’ba.

Likewise, two Jews of Madinah Ka’b Bin Ashraf and Abu Rafe were also killed for their blasphemous remarks. A blind companion of Prophet, killed a Jewish poetess who would insult Prophet in her poetry, and the Prophet praised him.

It is argued that blasphemy law is a highly sensitive issue for many Muslims in Pakistan, a deeply impoverished country of 180 million. But this law has also been misused and manipulated to target minority groups, including Christians and Shiite Muslims, and to settle personal scores. The government has assured that the blasphemy law will not be repealed, a demand made by some politicians, but it seems to likely go ahead with some amendments ensuring the law is not exploited wrongly.
Leaving aside whether or not the blasphemy law should be scrapped, the question arises why anyone should insult the religious icons of any community. Why to provoke anyone’s sentiments? Should freedom of expression be barred when it puts others in trouble and hurt their sentiments? The radical elements of a religion usually abstain from abusing other religion. While in the name of liberalism and freedom of expression, religious icons are often ridiculed.

Sometimes extremism is the outcome of provoking religious sentiments.

Speculations are also being made about political conspiracy behind assassination of Taseer. Federal law minister Babar Awan of the PPP described it as a “political assassination”. He said it raised several questions. Even before the statement of Awan the country was rife with conspiracy theories arising from what isn’t a secret in Pakistan—the Sharif brothers were known to have been at loggerheads with Taseer, a successful businessman with interests in media and telecom (he was the publisher of Daily Times and owned TV channels.)

Yet the majority opinion goes that Taseer was killed for his blasphemy. In the words of Hanif “The line that Governor Taseer is supposed to have crossed did not get drawn just by the text of a fatwa, or by the orders of Gen. Zia who promulgated the blasphemy law as it exists now. Religious groups are not the only ones responsible. The op-ed writers whose work reads like bloodcurdling fatwas are also not the only ones to blame.”

What the whole story speaks about is that the extremists have entered nearly every part of Pakistani society, even the rank-and-file in security forces, as the assassination showed. And it is now near to impossible to cleanse Pakistan from them. Better to leave them unprovoked especially as regards their religion.

By: A Hameed Yousuf
ahameed12@gmail.com

Letter To The Editor

UPA Not Government Of People

Sir, The cover story “UPA-3: The Dream Of Congress Ends With 2G” (MS, January Issue) made a good reading. Corruption is all that describes the UPA government. Though ruling as a representative of common people, yet UPA is more concerned about corporates. It strikes arms deals worth millions of dollars with other countries while in its land people are committing suicide as they do not have anything to eat. Can it not spend the same amount for feeding poor? The sooner people understand anti-poor policies of the UPA the better it would be. Anjali, via email

Hindus Don’t Believe In Violence

Respected Sir, This is with reference to the article “In The Name Of Rama” (Media Scan, January 2011). The writer seems to be of a communal mindset. I wonder how such an article spreading communalism has been given space by Media Scan. To my knowledge, the magazine is secular in nature. There is nothing new in the article. Just old theories exploited by the extremists to create hatred regarding the Hindu community. Ignoring the developmental activities carried out by Hindu organizations, the writer has taken into consideration only some incidents that could give a bad name to the community. Rama was the messenger of peace and all Hindus believe in peace. P. Kumar, Gujarat

Act Tough On Terrorism

Sir,
Apropos to the editorial of January issue, it is evident that terrorism cannot be bound with any religion or colour. The use of the terms like saffron terrorism, Islamic terrorism, Christian terrorism and Naxal terrorism is utter injustice to these words. Actually the word terrorism itself needs to be defined. In the view of public, the police are the protectors of their lives and properties while the same police terrorize the thieves and the criminals. Tough action is needed against terrorism. Md. Nawaz, Bangalore

Barring Freedom Of Expression


Dear Editor, By slapping criminal charges against the Tehelka reporter K. K. Shahina, the Karnataka police have set a bad precedent of suppressing the voice of truth. Freedom of expression must be respected by everyone. What was the fault of Shahina if she had tried to investigate whether the police version about Madani being involved in the Bangalore blasts was correct or not correct? If his implication is based on factual grounds, the police should not feel troubled by independent investigation in the case. Abu Bakar, Kerala

SIT Cheated People’s Expectations


Respected Editor, That SIT reportedly gave clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is unexpected and shocking. Modi was completely involved in the Gujarat 2002 riots. He was the CM of the state and it was his duty to protect its citizens. He did not do it. So Modi must be held responsible for his shortcoming. We had a lot of expectations from the Supreme Court appointed SIT regarding justice in the riots case, but the agency too seems to have fallen in the hands of the communal elements. It should be kept in mind that a community disappointed from justice resorts to violence and extremism. In their view, by doing so they individually are able to punish those meting out injustice to them directly or indirectly. Ashfaq Ahmad, via email

Eliminate Corruption

Sir, With reference to the article “Third Pillar Of Democracy Crumbling” (Media Scan, January), it is tragic that even judiciary has become corrupt. It illustrates how the government has failed to fight corruption almost in every department. So far, for the citizens judiciary has been the last resort for justice, but if the judges too are affected by “uncle judge” syndrome, then where should we go for justice? I do not say that every judge is corrupt, but there ARE some, who are damaging the reputation of the judiciary. They must be recognized and punished for their doings. Rubia, Lucknow, U.P.

Why Should The Gujjar Protest Concern Us

The Gujjars’ movement emanating from the feeling that they have been ignored by the government represents the increasing anger of the farmers throughout India. Will the government wake up?

The Gujjar movement in Rajasthan has ended. But it gave a lesson. I wonder if the government will ponder upon it. First we should know the reason why Gujjar launched their agitation.

Gujjars are farmers whose lives depend on cattle. Breeding livestock and selling milk are their main sources of income. They have been breeding cows and sheep for centuries. Gradually cattle breeding transformed into buffalo breeding. And buffalo milk dominated the market. Earlier, Indians did not breed buffalos.

It was after 1950 that Milk Co-operative Movement started with the help of ADDP. The criterion for judging the quality of milk set at the time changed completely the direction of cattle breeding and the market of milk. The quality of milk was judged as per the percentage of fat in it. The more the fat the better milk. Interestingly, the criterion of fat was made because it can be measured easily by lactometer. To our officers, this was the easiest way to measure quality of milk.

With the start of the post-fifth decade-Milk Co-operative Movement, the use of milk was mostly done in preparing tea. The tea with thicker milk was considered better. These two reasons led to more usage of buffalo milk compared to that of cow.
The demand of buffalo milk increased in the market. The meaning of breeding livestock changed in the country to only buffalo breeding. It led to a greater change.

If we compare between the price of forage for buffalos and the price of milk during last 25 years, we come across a huge difference. For some years it was in the ratio of 1/3. To elucidate, if Rs.One was spent on buffalos’ feed, it would produce milk worth Rs. Three. Thus, the Gujjars benefitted.

But the last ten years changed the scenario. The price of forage increased. The ways of cultivation changed. Crops changed. The production of forage decreased. Water started disappearing. This went hand in hand with the increasing price of fat.
The farmers began feeding food concentrate forage to buffalos. Food concentrate forage is made out of oil cakes. Oil became expensive and so was oil cake. The forage for the buffalos automatically became more costly. But the government viewing the interests of urban consumers checked increase in milk price.

The other reason for trouble was the introduction of synthetic milk in the market. Consequently, the price of milk could not become as much as it should be according to the demand and supply rule of the market.

Besides, the ghee business too became a bane for Gujjars. The business of impure ghee is larger than of pure ghee. It, too, stopped the increase in milk price. For the last ten years, Gujjars have been in constant loss.

The less income put Gujjars in anxiety. Gujjars felt they were getting poor due to their old business and that it brought them inadequate income. In such a situation, if a political party or leader promises a bright future for them, these impoverished peasants will naturally support them. But it is not the farmers of only Rajasthan but also those of the rest of India are angry.

Railway tracks and roads are blocked not only by Gujjars but also by the farmers in Andhra Pradesh districts of Nellore and Kadapa. They demand the government should come up with a solution to their problems.

Unseasoned rain and less price of produce by farmers made their lives a torment. As the first step the farmers negotiated with the government but having this failed they resorted to agitation. The Andhra farmers enjoy the support of the opposition. In Tamil Nadu, too, farmers face difficulties. The farmers of sugarcane and silk are meted out discrimination. Their land have been allotted to builders and the farmers were not given due compensation. Sugarcane farmers do not get suitable price for the produce. The only option left before farmers is to launch a movement.

Karnataka farmers are in a different situation. The price of the seeds cultivated through traditional way has decreased. The farmers who would cultivate Bio-Cottons have to sow B. T. Cotton. The farmers in Kolar district of Karnataka are leading a movement against the deputy commissioner over tomato price. Due to tomato price, a farmer in Dharwad has committed suicide.

The Kerala farmers growing coconut are in more abysmal condition. In 1996, the price of a 100 kg of coconut was Rs. 5553. Since then it has been on continuous decline. Farmers are incurring loss.

The famers associated with rubber and tea farms have been undergoing the same problem. Everywhere the expenses on the crops are increasing while at the same time the price of the produce becoming less.

Throughout the country, the famers of tilhan (oil crops) face the heat of the government policies. During 1980 and 1993, the product of oil crops had doubled but the government now imports cheaper oil seeds from abroad under its liberal policies. India is the biggest country to import oil seeds. The price of seeds has decreased and the farmers are no more interested in cultivating oil crops seeing its unavoidable loss.

In the seventies Mahendra Singh Tikait led a kisan movement in Western U.P. He got strong support of the farmers. The farmers of that time cultivating sugarcane, wheat, barley and grams faced the situation tantamount to that of today’s Gujjars. The expenses over sugarcane, wheat, barley and gram increased and the government had controlled their prices. Cultivation was proving harmful to farmers. Later on when the situation changed, the kisan movement stopped.

Today, the farmers are facing increasingly worse situation all over the country. The turnover from the crops is miserably little. Their farms are acquired by the government in the name of highways, expressways, industries, SEZs and development.

Dadri, Nandigram, Agra and Aligarh are some of the regions where farmers are wakening. If the government does not adopt any solid approach to solve the problems of the farmers, the whole country will do what Gujjars are doing today.

Since 1991 India witnessed personalization and liberalisation. People were told everything will be ok within 20 years and we will get developed. But, the effect of those policies has appeared in rich becoming richer and poor growing poorer. The subsequent distance between the urban and rural India has pushed the country into anarchy. The stock exchange of the country is in good condition but the farmers throughout the country are resorting to suicides.

Maharashtra tops the states as regards suicide cases. Strangely, on one hand Maharashtra has the economic capital of the country (Mumbai) in it. If the state is abode for most of the billionaires in the country, then it is also where poor farmers live who do not have any other option but to kill themselves.

The farmers of Andhra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh follow those of Maharashtra in committing suicide.

Have a look at the statistics and you will be astonished to find that between 1997-2001, around 15,747 farmers committed suicide ever year. And this number increased to 17,366 per year during 2001 to 2007. After 2007, the suicide ratio of farmers has been increasing. The farmers of Vidarbha cultivating cotton are most vulnerable to commit suicide.

The expense over one hectare farm of cotton in the rest of country is Rs. Sixteen thousand, while in Vidarbha it is around twenty to twenty two thousand rupees. In the region, marginally 146 kg cotton is produced in one hectare and it is sold in the market for Rs. 35-48 per kg! (It brings maximum Rs. 7, 008 per hectare.) The cotton farmers are in economic loss. The situation has worsened to an extent that they have no options left. Most of the deaths are in the 25 to 45 age range.

Whether they are the cotton farmers of Vidarbha, tomato peasants of Andhra or farmers of Kerala growing coconut and tea, they all have been feeling that the government policies have pushed the traditionally employed people in to unemployment.

So, the Gujjar movement should not be taken merely as an agitation for reservation and a movement of a certain community. Or it will be a fatal mistake. Some days ago Gujjars launched a movement. But tomorrow other farmers will do the same. And if it happens, the country will no more remain stable.

Santosh Bhartiya
santoshbhartiya@hotmail.com

Swami’s Confession Leaked: Why?

The leaked confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand has been given wide coverage as it could prove crucial in solving the blasts mystery. But to an equally important aspect there have been little attention: why and how the statement was leaked.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav alleged that CBI deliberately leaked the confession. “This deliberate leaking of document confirms further the alleged interest of agencies is not to probe cases but malign the reputation of the organisations and individuals,” he said.

The selected leakage of confidential documents has been a headache for the Indian government.

At a time when the investigating agencies are reaching out to the black sheep among Hindu brethren—also the alleged executors of the blasts—the disclosure may play a spoiler.
Swami may be convicted based on his confession, but the other Hindutva elements can easily escape from the clutches of the probing agencies.

From the time their names were leaked to the time the agencies will crack down on them, they will find enough time to destroy evidences. Could this leakage become possible as there are RSS sympathizers in the agency who do not want to see the outfit in trouble?

Or the leakage was done because some impartial officers in the agency feared that truth might be suppressed as was done in the Gujarat riots cases.

Allegations have been made that behind CBI not investigating Gujarat Chief Minister Modi in the Gujarat 2002 riots cases, there was a Congress hand. It is said that the UPA-2 conveyed to the BJP that they would not pursue a CBI inquiry against Modi and in return BJP agreed to acquiescence on the nuclear liability bill.

RSS And Assassination Seva


Recently, the role of many RSS members involved in the blasts rocking India has been revealed. Will the government declare it an outlawed organization or try to appease hindus and remain silent.


The confessions of Swami Aseemanand that Hindutva elements are behind many blasts has brought a lot of troubles for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the umbrella organization of Sangh Parivar. From demands for having a close watch over RSS shakhas to demands for immediately banning the outfit have surfaced.

Former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare had long back suggested ban on the radical outfit Abhinav Bharat, which carries forward the RSS mission, when he came across some Hindutva faces during probe of Malegaon 2008 blasts. But now, RSS itself once more is under scanner of the investigating agencies. It remains to be seen what steps the government takes to heal the cancer before it is too late.

The efforts of Karkare had unmasked the Hindutva terrorists who at some time in past were associated with RSS. And now the nefarious acts of active members of the outfit have come forth as a result of probe in right direction.

Some analysts have been opining that the RSS members assigned to give India a bloodbath, first separated themselves from RSS and then formed their own organizations to carry out blasts across the country. The founder of Jai Vande Matram Jan Kalyan Samiti, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur arrested in connection with the Malegaon 2008 blasts was once an active member of the RSS. Likewise Pramod Mutalik, the Ram Sene Chief who has been active in vandalizing South India had been a member of Bajrang Dal’s Karnataka unit.

The involvement of the former members would have not been so harmful to RSS, if the hands of some active members like Indresh Kumar, Swami Aseemanand, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma and Sandeep Dange had not been unveiled in several blasts.

RSS pracharak Ram Chandra Kalsangra alias Ramji is alleged in terror strikes in different places between December 2002 and 29 September 2008and has been absconding since October 2008.

A member of the RSS Central Committee Indresh Kumar is said to have mentored and financed the RSS pracharaks behind Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Makkah Masjid terror strikes.

Another senior RSS pracharak Sandeep Dange was a key figure in the long running conspiracy to bomb Muslim places of worship and Muslim neighbourhoods.

While Devendra Gupta, the RSS vibhag pracharak from Bihar, has been accused of having provided logistics to Hindutva terrorists for terror strikes.

And Lokesh Sharma is said to help in triggering the bombs at Makkah Masjid and Ajmer Sharif.

In the wake of the proofs emerging of RSS being actively involved in the anti-nation activities, many organizations have called for a ban on the outfit. According to them, the demand of justice is that RSS too should be banned the same way SIMI was outlawed.

The chairman of the Popular Front of India E.M. Abdul Rahiman urged the investigating agencies to expose and bring to book all the top leaders of RSS ‘which is the power house of terrorism in India”. “The confession statement of Aseemanand is proof enough for the role of RSS central leadership in the recent incidents of terror such has Malegaon, Makkah Masjid, Ajmer and Samjhauta Express. It is shocking that the RSS central leadership has constituted a core group to carry out blasts across the country and entrusted the task of executing the same to its National Committee member Indresh Kumar. But surprisingly the investigating agencies have not yet arrested him or they are not even willing to expose other RSS leaders involved in this anti national terror conspiracy,” he said.

He also demanded a thorough watch on RSS shakhas and their programmes from top to bottom throughout the country in the best interest of the society and nation.

Contrary to its claims, the RSS does not represent Hindus nor is it patriotic to India. It is a group of Hindutvadis who do not worship the idol of Ram nor follow his teachings of peace and tolerance. Hence the propaganda by a section of the media that crackdown on RSS is crackdown on Hindu community is baseless. RSS does not have anything to do with Hinduism. Its philosophy is Hindutva in which violence is a recommended work.

On the national or shakhas offices of RSS the Indian tricolour flag does not wave. They have their own agendas of terrorizing minorities and killing peace loving Hindus in India (Goa blasts on Diwali eve); earlier by orchestrating riots and now through changed modus operandi of bomb blasts.

It is said RSS never took part in freedom movement. But it takes the credit of killing father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. And now they are murdering innocent Indians.

Arguments may be made that the terror blasts were the work by individuals and they cannot be attributed to the organization. Recently, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat stated that there is no place for radicals in the organisation. “RSS has always asked members with extremist views to leave,” he said.

But the high degree of sophistication in the planning and devices used, with RDX and complex bomb designs being deployed in several of them, it is almost indigestible that it can be done on an individual level. So, the questions like “Given that most of the foot-soldiers accused for these blasts are of very humble backgrounds, is it possible that they could execute these blasts without support and sanction from the top?” are doing rounds. When strictly hierarchical and disciplined nature of the organisation is a well established fact, is it possible that they were acting without the knowledge of their superiors?

Evidences about the involvement of RSS pracharaks in a series of blasts, are growing continuously.

It is by time that either the RSS does a cleansing within and mete out the stringent punishment against its members involved in terror blasts.
Or the inner voice of all the Hindutva extremists—the executors of blasts—who caused many innocents being put behind bars should prompt them to do prayschit (penance) as did Swami Aseemanand.

Aseemanand, according to the media reports, made his confessional statement only after his conscious prompted him to let the world know the reality after he found his innocent co-inmate in the jail one Kaleem being punished in Makkah Masjid blast case.

According to Aseemanand, he made this statement “so that real culprits can be punished and no innocent has to suffer”.

However, the confessional statement by Aseemanand shows how systematically and easily the Hindutva terrorists executed their plans. How they brainwashed Hindu youth, spread a vast network across India and gained every type of support without the probing agencies letting have any clue about their plots.

Though saffron leaders have accused the UPA of misusing the CBI and other probing agencies but it does not affect the result these agencies reach after investigation.
Tragically, many so-called secularists are making the terrorism threat by RSS light by trying to portray it as a political issue between the Congress and the BJP. It is tantamount to undermining a dangerous threat to India’s stability. Time is to act tough against terrorism. It is in the interest of India to stop playing politics on this serious issue.

The result of the recent probe in the blasts cases though is startling but not unexpected. For its anti-nation activities RSS has been banned earlier. But when let roam free its members are busy destroying India. The sooner the outfit is banned for ever the safer India will be.

Vellayappa Ajay
vellappa.ajay@gmail.com

Bomb blasts not a monopoly of Islamic militants

On 8th May, 2002, in Karachi, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus killing himself and 13 others including 11 French engineers working with Pakistan to design Agosta 90B class submarines for Pakistani Navy.
Al-Qaeda was blamed for the blast and according to the reports, later on one Sharib Zubair, who was believed to have masterminded the attack, was arrested. In 2003, two men were sentenced to death for the bombing by a Karachi court. There were several convictions in the case. In all, it was also taken as another addition to the blasts the Islamists executed in Pakistan.
Nevertheless, recently there have been speculations that the blast was political in nature. Now, the media reports suggest it was done in retaliation against French government cancelling the huge kickback it promised to offer to Pakistan in connection to a 1990s submarines deal between the two countries.
At the time, beating the rival offers by Swedish and German contractors, French defence contractor, the DCN, had succeeded to sell three Agosta-90B submarines for 825 million euros (an estimated $1.23 billion) to Pakistan. It was the second stint in power of Benazir Bhutto between 1993 and 1996 and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, now Pakistani president, was then a key minister in her cabinet.
The media reports talked about suspected widespread scam surrounding the deal and France ordered judicial investigation in the case.
As a result of the developments in the investigation of the case some official Pakistani documents have been found. According to the documents published by the French website Mediapart, Zardari benefited from massive, secret payments amounting to several millions of euros connected to the sale of French submarines.
However, with the change of government in France the payback was stopped. Increasing evidence suggests that the cancellation of the commissions, ordered by former French president Jacques Chirac, was decided after it was discovered they were in part re-routed back to France to fund political activities of Chirac’s principal political rival, Edouard Balladur.
In November 2010 a Pakistani newspaper wrote, “The implication is that he (Zardari), and key pals, organised the attack as an act of revenge over the stoppage of kickback payments after a change of government in France - a mafia-style action aimed to ensure that promises of kickbacks were not broken.”
Allegations against Zardari may or may not be true. But it least provides a logical point to the demands that a parallel investigation, to the assumption that every terror act must be handiwork of Islamic radicals, should be done. Islamic terrorism has been used as a scapegoat for political revenges.
Blasts politics has been in use also for creating divisions among different communities both in Pakistan and India. On his visit to India, once the general secretary of JUI and member of National Assembly of Pakistan, Hafiz Husain, was asked why Shi’ah and Sunni Muslims were engaged with each other in Pakistan. “We (the Shi’ah and Sunni) , at top level, try our best to live in peace, but they are the people (neither from Shi’ah community nor from Sunni) who carry out terrorism against the personalities and holy places of both the communities and the media successfully paint it as Shi’ah-Sunni conflict,” he replied.
The recent confession by RSS leader Swami Aseemanand too has that the blasts in Ajmer Dargah was aimed at diverting Hindu devotees from visiting the Dargah. While in the words of the union home ministry it was an attack by radical Salfi Muslims who are against Sufi Islam.
There is need to understand the harms of stereotyping Islamic terrorism. It not only shakes the confidence of a certain community in the government but also lets the self-interested terrorists rampage through the peaceful society.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Case Of 09/11 News

The BBC Urdu news website was at it again. When as usual I opened the BBC Urdu website and scrolled down the page to “Is Waqt Ki Maqbool Tareen Khabren” (Most Popular News Items Of the Time), I was shocked to find a news item “Nawjawan Ladki Ko Sar-e-Aam Kodon Ki Saza (Young Girl Flogged Publically) featured in them.
Immediately, I could recollect a barbaric scene, a video clip of a young girl being flogged in public by the Taliban. About two years back, BBC Urdu reported an incident of the same nature in Swat Valley of Pakistan and claimed that some Taliban-like people lashed a young girl ( between 12 & 17 years of age) with more than 15 lashes in public view.



The incident was reported after the Pakistani troops signed a peace agreement with the Taliban of Swat Valley in February 2009 facing criticism by West. In May 2009, the Pakistani troops and the Taliban again fought with each other as the treaty was reportedly broken.
Though the BBC report did not mention any sure reason behind the punishment, yet some of the media reports suggested that the “married girl” had been “living with her father in-law without her husband’s permission”.
On January 17, 2011, the BBC publishes a similar report dealing with the same kind of incident. I thought to myself, “What kind of people are these Taliban! They were thrown out of rule long back in 2001. They were made to flee into caves and mountains by the U.S. troops and left shattered. It marked the end of their struggle for establishing Islamic rule. But whenever they find any chance they do not miss it to implement what they call Shariah Law. They flogged an innocent girl some years back and now they have done it again.”
I clicked the news headline and a news item with a video popped out. I started reading and when after reading some paragraphs it seemed to me that I had read this news article before, I checked the date. “Last updated” on “Thursday, 2 April, 2009, 17:19 GMT 22:19 PST”, the news read.
Oh! So this was the same news i had read two years earlier. Perhaps, for some technical reasons it featured as one among BBC Urdu’s Most Popular stories of January 17, 2011: “Aishwarya Denies and Salman Quits Wine”, “Nawaz Sharif in Sindh”, “Photos of Golden Globe Award”, “Pakistan Leads By 11 Runs” and “Young Girl Publically Flogged”.
But such type of mistake is impossible by a well organized and professionally handled BBC! Especially when the authenticity of the video itself on which the news is based was questioned in the past. In the words of BBC Urdu, the Taliban (Pakistan) spokesperson Muslim Khan when contacted had said he did not know about this incident. He had also maintained that the video was morphed and that the Taliban did not punish publically.
What may be the reason that a 2009 story reappeared in 2011. Just as it grabbed my attention it must have attracted a lot of readers. So this is how BBC Urdu increases the readership. People are interested in such news item. The common man reads the news and forms his views on certain issues without even bothering of the authenticity of what he is reading.

By: A H Y