Mumbai under seige

Friday, November 28, 2008

Terror struck the country’s financial capital late tonight as “coordinated” serial explosions (12 of them) & indiscriminate firing rocked areas across Mumbai. City was held on gun point as terrorist fired gun shots on the streets of the city. Which at this point of time seems like complete planned attack. City beared a Gaza strip look with gun being fired from AK-47 and grenade being shot at will. Several police personal and citizen were dead. Foreign nationals, Anti Terrorist Squad officers & Media persons were targeted. The first incident took place between 10.15 pm and 10.30 pm when bullets, apparently from automatic weapons, were fired at police and paramilitary forces outside the Taj Mahal Hotel in south Mumbai. Minutes later, bullets were fired near Hotel Trident - another five-star hotel - barely a kilometre away from the Taj. Trident is in a high security zone and lies just behind Air India and Maharashtra legislature buildings. Unidentified persons also opened random firing near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, headquarters of the Central Railway, which is a world heritage building and remains crowded almost throughout the day. According to sources, two men rushed into a local train stationary at CST and fired indiscrimately. The next time he raises the issue of terrorism in Parliament, CPM member N N Krishnadas will be able to speak from his personal experience as he had a providential escape from the gun-toting extremists who barged into the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Wednesday night.Death was never so near, it was terrible,” the Left MP from Palakkad in Kerala told Deccan Herald from Mumbai over telephone.His colleagues Vikhe Singh Patil from Maharashtra and Lalmani Prasad from UP were still inside the hotel and rescue operations were on when he spoke to media on Thursday evening.
“We reached Mumbai on Wednesday as part of a Parliamentary Committee visit and were allotted rooms in the third floor,” Krishnadas said.“Around 9.40 pm, myself and another MP Bhupinder Singh Solanki were having dinner at the Shamiana Restaurant in the hotel and suddenly two masked men barged in firing indiscriminately,” he said.One foreigner was shot dead on the spot. It was a matter of a few minutes, and before they could figure out anything, the hotel staff escorted them out through an emergency door to the first floor lobby.“When we reached there, we could see about 150 people lying on the floor to save themselves from fire and counter-fire and the whole night we were there in that position,” he said adding that other two MPs were in their rooms at that time.

Around 9.40 pm, myself and another MP Bhupinder Singh Solanki were having dinner at the Shamiana Restaurant in the hotel and suddenly two masked men barged in firing indiscriminately,” he said.One foreigner was shot dead on the spot. It was a matter of a few minutes, and before they could figure out anything, the hotel staff escorted them out through an emergency door to the first floor lobby.“When we reached there, we could see about 150 people lying on the floor to save themselves from fire and counter-fire and the whole night we were there in that position,” he said adding that other two MPs were in their rooms at that time.
Around 9.45 am on Thursday, commandoes evacuated them and escorted them to the Asadnagar Police station, from where they were taken to the Bank of Baroda guest house at Churchgate. Solanki, who also witnessed the 2001 Parliament attack, said the Mumbai attack was deadlier than the one in Delhi.
Target Points:-
The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,Apollo Bunder, S.Mumbai
Hotel Oberoi/Trident Nariman Point,S.Mumbai
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Railway Station
Police headquarters in S. Mumbai
Metro cinema, S. Mumbai
JJ school of Art, N.A. M. G. Road, Fort, S.Mumbai
Leopold's restaurant, Colaba, Nawroji F Road,S.Mumbai
Blast in a taxi in Vile Parle, N.Mumbai
Western Expressway, S.Mumbai
Cama Hospital, Mahapalika Marg, S.Mumbai

Sequence of events:-
Wednesday, 26/11/2008
Millitants enter city via sea on boat.
Cafe Lehold, Nawroji F Road,Colaba, South Mumbai faces first attack at (09:30 PM IST, Wednesday, 26/11/2008)
Militants open fire at CST,Railway Station & UNESCO World Heritage Site(10:15PM IST)
Gun battle at Metro cinema (10:20 AM IST)
Millitants enter Cama Hospital, (10:30PM IST)
Militants hijack police gypsy and open fire on public at Colaba with AK-47, AK-56 & hand grenades (10:33PM IST)
Hotel Taj was one of the flashpoint, where 17 blasts has been reported so far (10:45 PM IST).
ATS chief Hemant Karkare (IPS) broght dead at JJ Hospital with 3 bullets, after leading operation at Cama hospital (02:20 AM IST, Thursday, 27/11/2008)
ATS officer Ashok Kamte killed at cross fire with millitants at Metro cinema.
Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, JJ school of Art is under attack
More than 100 people have been killed & 283 have been injured.
5 terrorist have been killed in encounter in Hotel Taj.400 people were rescued from Hotel Taj & 170 from hotel Oberoi.
9 terrorists (alleged) have been captured by ATS (5:30 AM IST)
119 of 125 dead are Indian national rest 6 are foreigners.
Several people are held as hostages in Hotel Taj, Nariman Point & Oberoi(Trident)
Milltary has started several operations with ATS, CRPF, STF, Mumbai Police ( including CST which is now under millitary control).
Navy being called by Home Ministry, central.
NSG (National Security Guards) commandos have been air lifted from New Delhi to Mumbai for anti-terrorists operations (05:00 AM IST, Thursday, 27/11/2008)
NSG reaches Mumbai (07:00 AM IST)
No order from Police commisioner & Home Ministry to start operation.
City under complete control of Military, NSG, STF,ATS,CISF & Mumbai Police.
'Deccan Majahedeen' claims responsibilities of attack via e-mail to news agencies/channels.
Cama Hospital cleared of milittants. Under army control now. (08:30 AM IST)
A couple and old lady dies in 'threat firing' early in morning (08:45 AM IST)
NSG trying to negotiate with millitants but fails. (08:45 AM IST)
NSG commandos (200 of them) with help of STF, ATS,Military (5 columns, 800 in numbers) & Navy starts special operation to gush out millitants now, probably 2 or 3 of them. 6 foreign nationals among 15-20 hostages. (08:50 AM IST)
Few (approx.40) people, all civilians, move out of the hotel as NSG moves in. (09:10AM IST)
Anti-terrorist operations on at 3 places viz. Taj Palace, Hotel Oberoi (also known as Trident) & Nariman Point (09:20AM IST)
An hour after operations began, no clue about the progress as no gun-shots heard in last 30-35 minutes(10:30 AM IST)
NSG asks media not to go into detail of operation on air as millitants might be wtching on TV. Media asked to take cautious approach at immensely tense and vulnerable situation (10:35 PM IST)
Citizens,World & Media wait & watch as NSG and rest do hard job at ground zero.30-35 persons remain hostage, including 2MPs (10:50 AM IST)
DGP AN Roy : " Complicated operation, time factor not known". Terrorists are believed to be asking ransom. Operation continues.....(13:25 HRS IST)
Hotel Taj Palace free of hostages, search on there for any hiding terrorists. Final assault at Taj. Hostage crisisis at hotel Trident/Oberoi & Nariman point. NSG go all out at terrorist at these 3 places. (14:30 HRS IST)
Coast Gaurd & Indian Navy launch massive search operation at Indian coasts looking for escaping millitant's boat (14:45 HRS IST)
Indian coast Guard & Indian Navy get hold of MV Alpha by which terrorists supposedly reached Mumbai (via Gateway of India) from Karachi Port, Pakistan(15:45 HRS IST)
6 Blasts occur in Oberoi in last 15 minutes, gunbattle continues at Trident & Nariman Place. (16:05 HRS IST)
Atleast 200 people are feared stuck in Hotel Oberoi as intense gunbattle continues to rescue citizens of difffrent nations. (17:45HRS IST)
6 fresh blasts at hotel Oberoi/Trident & Nariman house (18:00 HRS IST)
Fire again breaks out at Taj Palace (18:10 HRS IST).
1 alive terrorist of Pakistan national captured from Taj hotel (18:25 HRS IST).
Terrorist kill their own head, who was master mind of this attack, body was recovered by STF in Mumbai (19:00 HRS IST)
Hotel Taj palace is now free of militants, struggle continues at Oberoi though, 2 force personnel killed. (22:00 HRS IST)
26th hrs after it all started, the fight continues as brave hearts continue their fights & Mumbai struggle for euillibrium (23:00 HRS IST)
Friday, 28/11/2008
7 rescued from Hotel Oberoi including 3 foreigners (00:05 HRS IST)
Rescue operations carry on at Hotel Oberoi (00:30HRS IST)
2 NSG commandos injured in operation at Hotel Oberoi (02:30 HRS IST)
Fresh fire break out Hotel Oberoi (03:00 HRS IST)
More person brought out of Taj Palace (05:00 HRS IST)
Army,NSG & STF decides to air drop commandos at Nariman point as it gets difficult to gush them out (05:45 HRS IST)
Operation continues at Oberoi & Nariman place (07:30 HRS IST)
More grenades blasts at Nariman Point (08:30 HRS IST)
Helicopter continue to hover around Nariman Point, as rescue operation continues (09:45 HRS IST)
Operation reaches decisive phase as security forces corner terrorist at Nariman point (10:05 HRS IST)
ATS officers under attack:-
ATS Special squad ACP, Ashok Kamte (IPS), is reported to have died in Operation
ATS encounter specialist ACP Vijay Salaskar (IPS) is also dead as bullet hits his head in cross-fire.
ATS chief Hemant Karkare (IPS) is dead in operation.
3 more senior ATS officers of IPS ranks are fighting for their life in hospitals.
16 police personnel including 4 senior officers (3 of IPS Rank) died in operations. 2 SI, 2 ASI & 6 constables include among police deaths.
STF, NSG, Millitary & ATS trying to crack into hotels. Cross fire still on.
CISF deployed at airport.
Millitary & STF do flag march to restore normalcy in the city
Fire still on at Taj Palace.
Emerging hostage situation in Taj Palace, Oberoi hotel and Cama Hospital.
All educational institute & Govt,PVT. office to remain close today.
No trading at BSE & NSE: SEBI
Domestic & international flights cancelled/delayed
Local train run late
England cricket tour of India has been cancelled.
Championship matches shifted out of Mumbai.
Australia rejects to visit India for T-20 cricket championship.


With love from Jaipur

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some snaps from last visit of Jaipur,Rajasthan,India
Jaipur, the pink city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11kms from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and the King took great interest while designing this city of victory. He consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the lay out of Jaipur.
The Red wall
After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Due to this reason, he focused on his scientific and cultural interests to make a brilliant city. Being, a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture. Vidyadhar referred the ancient Indian literature on astronomy, books of Ptolemy and Euclid, and discussed the plan with the King

Road less travelled

With a strategic plan, the construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, whereas the remaining seven blocks were allotted to the public. In order to ensure the security, huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates. According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent.

The Puppet Royal Pillars

The Musician


Terrorism and Human Rights

The Silence and Outrage

Suddenly there is ambiguous silence on GUJCOC after the of arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh. The euphoria that was on wheel has come to a sudden halt, where one after another related to Ahmedabad serial bomb blast and Surat are arrested. The ambiguous silence is very meaningful.

The fate of the euphoria depends on the so called ATS's finding of the involvement of so called terror trio, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt. Colonel Srikant Purohit, self styled Shankaracharya Dayanand Pandey and others in series of bomb blasts in different parts of the country which has been castigated as UPA's vilification campaign" to "malign" Hindutva and vowed to counter "attacks on Hindu seers and Indian soldiers". Panipat Conclave with a -"inspired by political motives" which was attended by BJP President Mr. Rajnath Singh, RSS chief Mr.K C Sudarshan, VHP International President Mr.Ashok Singhal, VHP general secretary Mr. Praveen Togadia, Shankaracharya of Nirmal Peeth, chief ministers of BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, among others. In Rajnath Singh's opinion, "It looks like part of a larger conspiracy. It is sending a wrong message to our brave Army, which is in the forefront of fighting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast." There by a ploy to politicize by claiming to speak on behalf of Army. The Sangh Parivar has raised the issue that the Saints and the Sadhvis with the saffron clothes cannot be terrorist.Is it the so called plank on terror for election has been lost ? And are they again trying to seize the opportunity to communalize the whole issue as an attack on Hindutva and create a communal divide? The Gujarat Connection – The Military Camp in Gujarat

Gujarat is not free from the terror link. The military training in Bhat in Gandhinagar on the bank of Sabarmati which resembles Chambal by the controversial Lt. Colonel Srikant Purohit to 500 youths has come to light. The camp took place in an ashram between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. which belongs to the controversial Dayanand Pandey, who has five ashrams in Ahmedabad.

The close proximity of the trio, Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt. Colonel Srikant Purohit and Dayanand Pandey has become an open truth. It has also come out during the bomb blast that Sadhvi Pragya Singh as well as Dayanand Pandey were present in Surat, where 29 unexploded bombs recovered with the stamp of ordinance factory of Madhya Pradesh. Again Sadhvi Pragya Singh's association with Swami Asimanand of Dang from 1998 and the arrest of Sunil Dahade close associate of Swami Asimanand from Vapi has raised questions about the Malegaon link to Gujarat.

Swami Asimanand the main architect of Dang's anti Christian drive in 1998 and reconversion resulting waves of attacks on Christians through out the country, gruesome killing of Fr. Graham Stein with his sons in Orissa, is now hiding and skipped to attend the much publicized Ram Katha in South Gujarat. Earlier there were instances of encounter deaths including Sohrabuddin in the state.

The Gujarat Police gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Singh but as the Gujarat links are revealed, now they want to question all the accused which the Nasik court denied and directed the Gujarat Police to follow official procedure.

Legacy of Nathuram Godse

Himani Savarkar who said "If we can have bullet for bullet why not blast for blast." She gave a clean chit to Lt. Colonel Srikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh and collecting funds for trial, and held meeting in Pune praising the martyrdom of Nathuram Godse and praising Lt. Colonel Srikant Purohit as Mangal Pandey of 1857and advocated for Hindu Rashtra and declared second class citizens those are against it.

The sudden visit of Ms. Himani Savarkar of Abhinav Bharat, the niece of Nathuram Godse to Baroda and the sudden appearance of poster pasted on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Baroda, saluting the martyrdom of Nathuram Godse to commemorate his martyrdom year. The gist of the poster is, "If dedication to the country is a sin I owe that sin, if it is holy, I have a right to claim it." Nathuram Godse is dead but his legacy of hatred still thrives on. He is the martyr! But not a terrorist!

On the other hand Mr.Pravin Togadia is very active in defending those accused, "A Hindu by definition cannot be a terrorist." Describing a sadhvi as a terrorist sin, Mr. Narendra Modi too said, that the Army officer were doing their duty for the sake of motherland and he charged the UPA Govt. deliberately attempting to demoralize the security forces, suspecting them to be behind terrorist activities.

On one hand VHP, BJP and RSS are sharing one platform, rousing patriotic frenzy and on the other hand Narendra Modi's Govt. is dissociating from VHP for obvious reason known to himself. A phony war between Modi and VHP is going on where Mr. Ashok Singhal has come to take charge against Modi's Govt. It is a maneuver trick by Modi to camouflage his relations with VHP and remain insulated from any eventualities. Of course RSS repeatedly reiterate that it would not campaign for BJP.

The link of terrorism is spreading the span from Malegaon to Nanded, Kanpur, Jammu, Samjhauta express and so on. More over there are series of accidental bomb blasts here and there in different parts of the country with the recovery of unexploded bombs. Are these incidents isolated ones as was told about the blast in Kanpur in last August where two activists of Bajrang Dal died while making bombs?

The elections are going on in six states. These issues may have some impact on vote bank for both Congress and BJP. Sadhvi Pragya Singh has already become the Poster girl for BJP in the election. The BJP never lost any opportunity to clamour for stringent POTA like law, whenever there was any bomb blast.

Euphoria for GUJCOC and Zero Tolerance

Gujarat has been demanding for GUJCOC which is denied by Congress led UPA Govt. at Centre.

The GUJCOC was passed in Gujarat Assembly in April-2003. It was returned by the NDA Govt. The GUJCOC was again sent back for approval on June 19, 2004 . The Gujarat government again passed resolution to give consent to GUJCOC in last September, 2008. The similar kind of law MOCOCA is operating in Maharashtra led by UPA, But MOCAO was introduced in Maharashtra when NDA was in power. A euphoria had been created centering round GUJCOC and Modi appeals the people, NRIs, to write postcards, send e-mails to P.M. He appealed to make it a peoples' movement. Modi said "those who are less for terror and more for terrorists are the one who opposes GUJCOC and POTO". A war hysteria like atmosphere was created against the UPA Govt. As if there is a warring situation between Centre and State.

In absence of GUJCOC or POTA the accused can be booked under Indian evidence act as now many are arrested as terrorist in Gujarat. But Modi wanted MOCOC and POTA like act. Mr. L.K.A dvani goes to the extent "This is a war against Nation and not against any particular party" . He called for zero tolerance towards terrorism. Of course during the regime of NDA, when POTA was very much operative, there were attacks on Parliament, Akshardham and incident of going to Kandahar to negotiate with the terrorists and so on. As soon as POTA was scraped, by the UPA Govt. just before one month of its lapse UPA was promulgated with provisions of POTA except the clause on confession before police.

A case was filed in Gujarat High Court against UPA Govt. on consent to GUJCOC. The UPA government in its reply in Gujarat High Court said since GUJCOC is similar to POTA the Indian government is bound by its electoral promises, so it can not allow it. Where as Modi says "Without a tough law like GUJCOC I feel helpless in dealing with terrorism".

Narendra Modi spoken to the Prime Minister in person in Ahmedabad: 'I am anguished to note that the government of India has not given any serious thought to any of my suggestions. Let not another city be added in the list of terrorist attacks. Let not more people lose their lives and limbs..' At one point it appeared that UPA Govt may concede to GUJCOC.

In the National Integration Council held on 13th October, the issue of terrorism was forced by the BJP leaders side tracking the issue of communalism in Kandhamal and Karnataka. Advani had declared BJP's poll agenda, NDA will enforce POTA if elected at centre.

Whereas Congress advocates for Federal Investigating Agency which will contain terrorism more stringently. It is clear that "More draconian anti terrorist law" are in card whether it is a UPA or NDA led Govt. in coming days.

Modern Terrorism Gift of America

The modern terrorism is associated with liberalization, globalization and is a gift of American Imperialism. The U.S. Patriotic Act followed by the United Nations Security Council's resolution 1373 against terrorism after 9/11 catastrophic incident in America, resulted endless bombing and devastating the whole Afghanistan to end the centre of terrorism and flush out Osama Bin Laden in the name of War on Terrorism. As the junior partner of the U.S. Imperialism, the then NDA government held the joint session of Lok Sabha-Rajya Sabha which was only the third time in the history of the Indian Parliament that the extraordinary measure of calling a Joint Session was taken. POTA became law with 425 votes for the Act and 296 against, after a 10-hours debate.

Ironically the then Jansangh and later BJP opposed D.I.R., MISA during emergency by Indira Gandhi. Advani pleaded to enact it as a 'duty to International community." Ram Jethmalani, who was Union Law Minister at the time POTA was passed, told the media later that he deeply regretted it afterwards. "I supported it only because it was done in obedience to United Nations Security Council resolutions," he said.

And the present Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India Mr.Balakrishnan says a draconian law is likely to be misused. But all the ruling parties in this capitalist society are fond of draconian acts in the name of ensuring rule of law.

Draconian Acts in India

Though India attained freedom in 1947, number of draconian colonial laws are still operative in our country. Soon after the Indian constitution was accepted in 1950, the Indian government Promulgated PD (Prevention-Detention) Act: which lapsed finally in 1969 and paving path for MISA.
About 1,11,000 people were detained under MISA during emergency by Ms. Indira Gandhi.

There are a number of oppressive laws passed in the name of curtailing "terrorist" activities. At the Central level, there is,

The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act 1911,

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958,

The Disturbed Areas Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967,

The Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act 1974,

The Disturbed Areas Special Courts Act 1976,

The National Security Act 1980,

The Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act 1980,

The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982,

The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act 1982, 10 Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA) [Because of pressure of people's movement it was scrapped , but remained in force till May 1995]

The Religious Institution (Prevention of Misuse) Ordinance 1988,

The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1988,

The Indian Telegraph Act,

The Information Technology Act 2000,

The Prevention of Terrorism Act, (POTA) 2002 [The government was forced to repeal the law on September 21, 2004] and so on.

The list of State-specific legislation includes

The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978, the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1988

The Assam Preventive Detention Act 1980,

The Maharashtra Prevention of Communal, Anti-Social and other Dangerous Activities Act 1980,

The Bihar Control of Crimes Act 1981,

The Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers and Drug Offenders Act 1981,

The Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum Grabbers Act 1982 and others like this.

The Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act 1985,

The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum-Grabbers Act 1985,

The Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act 1986.

Inspite of all this, not only central government , many state governments want more and more stringent law. The Rajasthan Control of Organized Crime Bill, 2006 . A draft of the Madhya Pradesh Control of Terrorism, Unlawful Activities and Organized Crime Bill: A draft of the Andhra Pradesh Control of Organized Crime Bill are awaiting the clearance of the Central Government since 2006. There is Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Act 2002 in Karnataka. As a matter of fact MCOCA, KCOCA all these were came in effect during NDA rule and states were also ruled by BJP led NDA.

The Violation of Human Rights in India

The misuse of the draconian acts and violation of human rights in India in past has remain a major concern for all democratic loving citizens.. The Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (TADA) – Act in 1987 was one of the most draconian acts in India. TADA remained in force for 10 years (up to 1995) Due to country wide protest it was dropped in 1995.During this period. 77,500 people were arrested. Only 19,000 people were arrested in Gujarat alone, where there was no militant activities. Out of this only 8000 cases were tried and 725 persons were convicted with the percentage of 0.81%.

On POTA Justice A.S. Anand the chairperson of NHRC said, "It did have some provisions to safeguard against its misuse though those provisions may not be enough. Care has to be taken to see that the provisions of POTA are not abused. There are apprehensions that POTA can be misused. Any law can be misused. What we have to see is whether there is an inbuilt mechanism to safeguard the Act from being misused.

But more safeguards are required to be provided against its abuse. The rights of a person in uniform are equally important as those who belong to civil society and a balanced approach to both was necessary.

No civilized country could allow terrorism to flourish, but one has to differentiate between a criminal and a terrorist. While all terrorists are criminals, it does not necessarily mean that all criminals are terrorists."

The NHRC warned that " if enacted, would have the ill-effect of providing unintentionally a strong weapon capable of gross misuse and violation of human rights which must be avoided particularly in view of the experience of the misuse in the recent past of TADA and earlier of MISA of the emergency days.-" and stressed for proper investigation of crimes, efficient prosecution of criminal trial". It again said it was not for any lack of laws but for lack of the proper utilization of this laws, lack of proper investigation, prosecution and lack of adequate number of courts for trial of offense .

As mentioned above the TADA was grossly misused in Gujarat and so also POTA which was targeted particularly against the Muslim community. It was first used in Godhra riot case and the confession was derived by the police by applying usual inhumanly torture. The blind, disabled, youths & minors were not spared from being arrested under POTA. Despite the recommendations by the POTA Review Committee headed by Justice Jain they were not released. On Godhra train Tragedy , the Jain Commission found that, "there was no evidence to suggest that the so-called conspiracy was allegedly hatched with an intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people to qualify as a terrorist act, as defined under Sub-section 1(a) of Section 3 of POTA." Though the Supreme Court has asked to drop the cases as per the recommendation of POTA Review Committee, they are yet to be released.

The figures of POTA detainees in Gujarat and all over the country will speak itself how it has been misused and how many are still in prison under TADA and POTA though these acts are lapsed. Justice Rajendra Sachar criticized the UPA Govt. for it's failure to repeal POTA retrospectively. In June 2005 the POTA Review Committee reported that there were 11,384 persons wrongfully charged under POTA who should have been charged under regular law. According to Ministry of Home affairs , the NHRC recorded 6923 cases against the police, 35 against armed forces, and 39 against Paramilitary Force for violence against human rights in 2006 & NHRC has received 82,000 complaints of human rights violations during 2007.

Violation of Rights in Gujarat

According to Government of Gujarat figures, 223 persons remained "missing" after the 2002 violence, a majority of whom were Muslims. As per the version of family members and NGOs many were killed and their bones were found in mass graves. In December 2005 and August 2006, two such mass graves came to light in Kidiad town and in the Panam river bed near Lunawada town.

The Gujarat Government claimed that police initially arrested 5,384 persons in the city of Ahmedabad and 24,683 persons in the state as a whole and a very few number of these investigations actually led to convictions.. There was continued concern about the failure of the Gujarat government to arrest and convict those responsible for the 2002 violence. Convictions of Hindu perpetrators of the violence were minimal, while acquittals were common. According to an October 2006 report submitted by the federal government to an UN agency, six cases resulted in convictions, whereas 182 cases were acquittals. After agreeing to re examine the closure of 1,600 complaints as per instruction of the Supreme Court, Gujarat police concluded that a majority of cases could not be reinvestigated due to lack of witnesses. Empowered with POTA, there was ghettoisation of Justice in Gujarat .

Prevention of Anti Social Activity(PASA) is very much operative in Gujarat to control anti social activities. 40% cases lack evidence. In last two years , out of 3085 cases of PASA , the Review board has released 1175 due to lack evidence. In Ahmedabad alone out of 956 held under PASA, 236 released and similarly 246 out of 659 in Surat, 112 out of 429 in Baroda , 6 out of 6 in Gandhinagar. The use of PASA is more political than criminal or to enhance the figure of arrest for the sake of police record.

Necessary Safeguards

In the wake of violation of Human Rights related to terrorism the Amnesty International, UN Special Rappoprteur for Terrorism and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and many others have always expressed concern that the human rights should be protected while combating terrorism. They have said laws against terrorism are ineffective and creating counter terrorists. They emphasized that the rule of law should be the bedrock of global fight against terrorism. The Amnesty International asked the Government of India to enact legislation to protect the Human Rights as per International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and reform all Penal Code.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned compromising human rights while fighting terrorism.

Even Supreme Court of India said in 1996, "Experience shows that worst violations of human rights take place during the course of investigation, when the police with a view to secure evidence or confession often resorts to third degree methods including torture and adopts techniques of screening arrest by either no recording the arrest or describing the deprivation of liberty merely as a prolonged interrogation"

Supreme Court also said terrorism thrives when human rights are violated. Justice Rajendra Gadkar expressed anxiety about the extra ordinary powers and warned the detrimental effect long back. He said, "freedom of the citizens cannot be taken away". Justice Jain said every terrorist may be criminal but every criminal cannot be labeled as a terrorist to set the motion the more stringent provisions of anti- terrorist law.

The True Color of UPA Government

But Mr. M. Verrapa Moily, the Chairperson of Administrative Reform Committee too favors stringent laws like POTA or TADA and says UAPA has no teeth in comparison of TADA and POTA where there are provision for designated courts and special courts. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has, however, have no provision for special courts. Moily says, "There is ample evidence to indicate that terrorists have been able to escape the law either by exploiting the loopholes or by intimidating witnesses to subvert justice,". This reflects the attitude of Congress led UPA Govt. on Anti Terror Act.

Religion and Terrorism

Is there any link between Terrorism & religion? Though this question surfaced in 2006 blast in Nanded it has come out again centering round the arrests of Pragya Singh, so called Shankaracharya - Dayanand Pandey. So long there was no problem when terrorism was associated with Muslims but as soon as Hindu terrorism is used, it has become difficult to digest.

The type of terrorism are different from place to place. The terrorism in Assam or the terrorism in Kashmir or in North East or previously in Punjab are different in nature and objective. The terrorism of PLO or the Irish freedom fighters are also different. There are 100 types of terrorism as per the definition of U.S. A. The Supreme Court of India also tried to define terrorism in a limited sense but there is no single definition on terrorism.

Face less Terrorism

The terrorism is faceless and has no religion but the face was given to Islam after the 9/11 creating a Islamophobia through out the globe . The war on Terrorism was targeted towards Muslim. Of course the American society has tried to unmask the design of Bush of his War on Terror. The Oscar awarded film Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore has raised the question on the so called War on Terror. A section in U.S.A. also believes that the attack on WTC was self implicated injury by Bush.

Prior to giving a name to the terrorism a conducive mind was prepared through world wide debate on the book 'Clash of Civilizations & the Remaking of World Order ' written by Huntington funded by C.I.A. and the opinion was created all over the world that Islamic world is barbaric .The fingering on Islam was so deep that one after another films were produced on Islamic terrorism and media was in sway. Film "Wednesday" is just an example in India.

Between 2004 and 2008, India has witnessed at least 25 major bomb blasts , in which 717 people were killed and hundreds injured. In all 8 Mosques and 2 temple were attacked. But all the time it was painted as the act of Muslim Terrorism. But why the Muslim would attack their own place of prayers - the Masjid ? The answer was that the Muslims are doing so to provoke the Muslims against the Hindus and all believed it because the propaganda machinery as well as the administration were hammering the mind of people continuously.

Undoubtedly both the BJP and the Congress are trying to garner votes in the present state assembly election and ensuing Lok Sabha poll centering round terrorism. When BJP term it as a political conspiracy and Congress accuses in the words of Abhishek Sanghvi as an attempt to "infiltrate, influence and convert" our institutions including the Army. Truly , the issue of Terrorism is lost in this electoral battle.

Infiltration of Militant Majoritism in Administration It can be brushed aside that the Militant majoritism is being practiced for last twenty years and entrenched into the govt. administrations. The film "Shaurya' has tried to just give a hint of the attempt of safronisation of Army. Are the retired Military officers giving training to the Hindu militants in Bhosle Military academy in Nasik, which was founded by Munje in 1930s? The link of Military personnel, Sadhus, Sadhvi, Abhinav Bharat, Bajarang Dal, Durga Vahini and so on is an alarming signal. The involvement of captain Purohit is now an open truth.

The Genuineness in Combating Terrorism

The Nanded Bomb blast which took place in 2006 was dropped in a hush hush way but why and under whose hidden instruction. And now on the eve of the election the UPA appears to be over enthusiastic to pursue the cases of bomb blasts one after another creating a shadow of
doubts. Can it be ruled out that after so much exercise of the ATS and shadowing it's web of enquiry length and breath of the country, creating so much hype with shocking news everyday would again be dropped out because of lack of evidence? In India many cases were dropped because of lack of evidence. Even the Muslims are suspicious about the time chosen by Congress led UPA create such hype. Jain Hawala is just one to mention among many where from Advani was implicated

The Double Standard of Advani

On one hand there is a demand for stringent law against the terror and on the other hand the high profiled leaders like L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh are vocal fuelling Hindu anger with a threat of civil war by Rajnath Singh which clearly exposed the narrow sectarian attitude of Sangh Parivar combating the terrorism. Tackling terrorism should be uniform and there should not be any discrimination between the religion. But unfortunately the whole Sangh Parivar has come out nakedly opposing the investigation of the Terror Trio and others by ATS. The judicial enquiry should be applicable to all the accused irrespective of caste, creed, position, religion, region where human rights be the core of concern for not only the human right activist but all ruling parties and Citizens . But it is absolutely missing from the so called aggressive protagonist of POTA, GUJCOC Mr.
L.K. Advani, is very partisan. His utterances may give wrong signal to the investing agencies of the Govt. The leading News Papers of the country have cautioned BJP and Advani for the irresponsible outrage and to mind his words.

Extra-constitutional means to defame Terror probes Advani who tried to remain aloof from the whole issue and was in dilemma to own or disown Sadhvi Pragya Singh, now he has opened his mouth, when Pragya Singh alleged in her affidavit that she was , "physically and psychologically tortured and abused in obscene language "in custody. At this the heart of Advani melted and outrageously said, "barbaric treatment" meted out to a "spiritual person". Advani who had so far taken the "terror is terror" line, maintaining that the BJP has nothing to do with Pragya Singh and, if found guilty, she should be punished. The Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh called Mr. L.K. Advani to allay the fear on investigation by ATS and sending the National Security Advisor Mr. M K Naryanan to meet the BJP leader on Friday to discuss the ongoing ATS probe where Intelligence Bureau ChiefMr. P C Haldar will also be present. To this Advani reportedly told the Prime Minister, "They are welcome. But no one can restrain me from reacting to such barbaric treatment to a sadhvi, sanaysin." It is yet to be seen what is going to happen after the 26th. November Religious meet in Delhi which was decided in Panipath Conclave.

All the accused under POTA in Godhra cases like Maulavi Umarji were similarly treated. Blind and boys of minor age were not spared. Their affidavits were not admitted or read. The tears of the family members never moved the heart. Of course there is "No Remorse". Though POTA review Panel recommended to drop the cases due to lack of evidences.

The Supreme Court has also asked to drop the cases but the Godhra accused are still languishing in prison and never Advani or his comrades in arms expressed any concern for them. Now the MCOCA has been invoked on all ten accused as a part of an organized crime syndicate where the confession before the police is considered valid.. This MCOCA was made applicable in Delhi through a Home Ministry order of February 1, 200 by N.D.A. Govt.

What MCOCA can be? Death sentence or life term and a penalty of Rs 10 lakh, Special courts to try terrorism cases in time-bound manner, Bail provisions tougher than those in CrPC, Attachment of property bought by terror funds, Cops can intercept, record electronic & oral communication, Statements given to police admissible as evidence in court.

The ATS finding can be questioned. Even the Narco test is a human right violation. But, Justice Manmohan of Delhi High Court has upheld the validity of Narco analysis in view of "growing terrorism and heinous crime" and emphasizing the Constitutional rights remain infringed and thorough and proper investigation be under taken.

Compensation are declared for the alleged accused arrested in Hyderabad bomb blast by Andhra Pradesh Govt. Will the same will be followed in Gujarat and other states?

What Mr. Advani and his colleagues should learn from this Malegaon Sadhvi episode that draconian laws, like POTA. MCOCA or GUJCOC can back fire. There should be a general consensus for judicial enquiry and criminal Justice and respect for human rights and democratic rights. The emergence of extra constitutional power based religious fundamentalism has to be contained to safeguard the multiculturalism tradition of our country. But Kandhmal is still on boiling pot. As per the Chief Minister of Orissa the normalcy is yet to be restored.
All Orissa Bandh call has been given again this year on 25th.

December. The tribal organization headed by Kui Samaj has given a fresh call demanding the with drawl of Military force from Kandhmal.

More over sordid tale of the gang rape of the nun which shocked the Nation is facing now public rape in the name of defaming Hinduism.

A Fatwa against Terrorism

All the human rights organizations of our country and the world have expressed concern for the detainees and the accused and raised voice against the abuse of power which must be honored. Here the Sangh Parivar has absolutely failed to rise above their narrowness. How far it is advisable to use extra-constitutional means to defame terror probes. The core of the all religion is peace. Recently the Muslim clerics gathered in Hyderabad and condemned terrorism and are out to spread the message of peace throughout the country. They have declared Fatwa against Terrorism. In contrast the Hindutva forces are spreading the hatred without having a scant respect for Multi Culturalism, endorsing the Golwalkar's dictum who said, that Hindus could profit from the Nazis who raised race pride by purging the Jews. He said the foreign raiders of Hindustan , the Muslim and the Christians must accept Hindu Culture or subordinate to Hindu Nation claiming nothing, deserving no privilege.

Custodial Deaths -Alarming

Once one is in police custody, the hell fall on the accused. There are many custodial deaths in the country, and the third degree method is applied to derive confession with utter disregard to the warning from Supreme Court, NHRC and other human rights organizations. The statistics of NHRC shows that in the last five years 7,468 persons at an average of 1,494 persons per year or four person in a day died in police and prison custody in India from 2002 to 2007. However, these figures represent only a fraction of the actual cases of torture.

Cases of torture not resulting in death are not recorded. But once one is accused as a terrorist, there is absolute rationalization of violation of all kinds of human rights. This is case in Guantanamo or the Iraqi prisoners treated by the U.S. troops.

Under these circumstances can we distinguish between their terrorist and our terrorist? Let the law take its course. Let the investigation on terrorism be meticulous, impartial and transparent.

Resist Fascist Onslaught

The fundamental rights of the citizens are inscribed in our Constitution. But it takes no time to trample them in the name of country's security. Due to bad governance there are communalism, casteism, parochialism, regionalism, terrorism and to control them draconian laws are enacted. The power has been concentrated in the hand of bureaucracy. The rule of law replaced by rule through draconian laws.

There is a competition between the ruling parties who can provide stable govt. to keep growth rate of the economy in the name of globalization and liberalization unchecked so there is a peculiar combination of development with the violation of human rights in the name of war on terrorism. In the present neo liberal economy and the issue of terrorism is taking centre stage and the mind of the people is diverted towards communalism and ethnic conflict.

There is a competition between main ruling parties Congress and BJP who can be more effective, soft or hard towards terrorism. In this conflict the core issue of terrorism is lost and the human right is crucified. Under this circumstance when there is Kandahmal and the serial bomb blasts across the country, the implication of draconian acts of POTA or GUJCOC has to be grasped.

A true religious person can never support terrorism on behalf of his / her religion. The self proclaimed appointee of these terrorist organizations operating in the name of religion must be combated and isolated not only by a political will of the govt. but by creating a strong socio political cultural movement involving the broadest section of the people infusing the spirit of religious tolerance and secularism. More the secularism is strengthened in the society the religious fundamentalism and terrorism is defeated. Terrorism should be dealt firmly involving the whole society, by de-communalization and de-criminalization of police and the administration.


Zardari – Enamoring India’s Chattering Class

Conversing at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, President Asif Ali Zardari succeeded in doing what many Pakistani leaders have done before him, enamoring the chatterati in New Delhi with his glib responses and hollow promises playing to a gallery of the Indian hoi polloi.

What Zardari said was sweet music for the ears of those who feel that every new Pakistani leader who comes to power is a liberal who seeks better cooperation and good relations across the border or the Line of Control. While optimism is important in international relations, false hopes can lull a nation into slumber as has happened with India in the past, be it Lahore in February 1999 or nine years later in February 2008 when an elected government only resulted in violation of the Cease Fire on the Line of Control after it had held out for many years of President Musharraf’s leadership. The message to those who could read it was clear; the Army is more reliable than the political class.Coming to President Zardari’s assertions during the video conferenced HT summit. The one that has drawn maximum media attention was response to a student from Stephen’s College, Delhi "Will you use nuclear weapons against India?". Pat came the reply, “I can assure you that Pakistan will not be the first country ever to use (nuclear weapons). I hope that things never come to a stage where we have to even think about using nuclear weapons (against India).” This reply seems to have taken even seasoned Indian Television anchor Karan Thapar off guard as he applauded the President after confirming that he was giving an assurance of a, “no first use” stating, “If so, you have just made headline news.” Thapar seemed to ignore the caveat by Zardari, no first use only if India is willing to sign Non Nuclear Treaty in South Asia. The import of the same was also obviously missed by the seasoned interlocutor who anchors the supposedly hard hitting interview program on India’s leading English news channel, CNN IBN, The Devil’s Advocate.

A non nuclear treaty in South Asia as proposed by Pakistan from time to time with a nuclear China armed with IRBMs and ICBMs would be a non starter as far as India is concerned. So Zardari very effectively entrapped his audience. Possibly policy watchers in Beijing would also have cheered their all weather friend proposed to shackle India’s nuclear arsenal to the unstinted advantage of its northern neighbor. So much for our strategic acumen.

By striking an emotional chord of, "I do not know whether it is the Indian or the Pakistani in me that is talking to you today," Zardari added to his appeal even stating that Kashmir, " belongs to Kashmiris." If that be so Mr President why is Islamabad continuing to hold a large portion of the state of Jammu and Kashmir including the Northern Areas beholden to Pakistani, “democracy”.

And even as the country is negotiating with the IMF with a MOU in the offing he claimed that Pakistan, “want(s) to move from aid to trade." Reality however is different as Pakistan faces an inflation of over 25 percent for the first time in thirty years. Thus it is aid from China, UAE and Saudi Arabia that will possibly bail out the country even as the Army has suspended construction of its new General Headquarters in Islamabad due to paucity of funds.

Perhaps the most ludicrous proposal by Mr Zardari was that of a smart card based e enabled visa between India and Pakisan. With reports of terrorists continuing to travel to India from outfits as the Jaish e Mohammad and the Lashkar e Taiyyaba, easing travel between the two countries is far fetched. Pakistan has to first clamp down on the likes of Hafez Sayeed the head of the Markaz ud Dawa mother organization of the Lashkar before India can consider relaxation of the visa regime.Seeking answers to strategic issues as nuclear strategy and Kashmir from an elected President of Pakistan is passé when the geometry of power indicates the Chief of the Army staff continues to occupy the apex of the triangle. Other nations seem to be more perceptive as General Kayani is feted by the President in Turkey and the NATO brass in Brussels, we have Zardari trying to pretend he is the boss. It is time India’s chattering classes and hard nosed journalists as Karan Thapar get realistic about Pakistan.


Erstwhile splendour

Erstwhile splendour... A tableau carrying an idol of Lord Hanuman floats on Yediyur lake in Bangalore as part of a theppotsava organised by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike during the Kadlekai Parishe


Saffron Terror

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hindu terror and Islamic terror are two sides of the same coin, is the new ‘secularist’ slogan. This is the saffron variety of terror, we are told. Meanwhile, the Sangh Parivar while retaining faith in their “Hindu cannot be terrorist” axiom, has strangely again succumbed to these ‘secularist’ tactics by publicly disowning use of the term ‘Islamic terror’ in the vain hope that the former would take pity and eschew from the newly created Hindu counterpart. But the din of Hindu terror has become louder with every passing day. It is almost inexplicable the manner in which the Malegaon blasts has shared media space despite its minimal magnitude. In contrast, a succeeding Assam blast which killed almost 15 times more people vanished despite proof emerging of a Muslim Congress member’s complicity in the blast The ‘secular’ media has charged the ‘saffron’ party of having politicized the terror debate by defending the accused or more precisely the linkage of Hindutva with terrorism. For instance, the Statesman, in a scathing editorial accuses Rajnath Singh of being responsible for giving currency to what is called “Islamic Terrorism.” But this gives rise explicitly to the question, that why has the mainstream English media including the TOI and the HT which have never dared used the term “Muslim Terror” consistently been using unproven associations of Hinduism with terror? . It almost seems that the same sanctimonious media is carefully grooming Hindu terror in their aura of false consciousness, as a balancing act against future Muslim terror episodes. But as we shall soon see, the politicization of debate on the Hindu terror has little to do with the BJP and more to do with the ‘secularist’ camp.Initially, it is imperative that we understand that reason why ‘Muslim terror’ is a legitimate association. Contrary to the general misunderstanding, it does not connote that all Muslims are terrorists and neither attempts in any way to associate the entire Muslim community with terror. Instead, it largely signifies that the driving ideological force behind terrorism of this variety is Islam. I will not go into the debate on the violent verses of the Quran promoting Islamicization of the whole world and whether those verses are read out of context by Islamists, as very often scriptures can be interpreted in diverse ways. But the ‘secular’ compromise in deriving a counterpart of Islamic terror is illogical since Hinduism and Islam are poles apart in their belief structures, secondly there have been no Hindus who have been ready to blow themselves up in the service of their religion which is a global phenomenon with Jihadi warriors, thirdly the accused in the Malegaon blast cases were at most reactionaries against Islamic terror but never have they have claimed to derive inspiration from Hindu theology Coming to the politicization of the Malegaon blasts, it is not to be forgotten that soon after the arrest, the initial statement by the BJP was the law should take its own course, although there was a general feeling of disbelief which was natural since previously no Hindu had been implicated in any bomb blasts. It were only the ‘secularists’ and the Islamic apologists who adopted “we always told you so!” attitudes. For the Congress, it was a godsent opportunity to win back the confidence of the Muslim community after the Batla House encounter in which suspected Muslim terrorists shot dead a police officer in cold blood. In a brazen act of minority appeasement, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari issued an insinuation wondering whether Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad terror strikes were outsourced by Sangh parivar affiliates to the SIMI/IM. 2 It is foolish to expect that the BJP would have remained silent in the face of such unfair ‘secular’ aggression.

Under the circumstances, one could not help notice the absolutely unprofessional and biased manner in which the ATS operated. Daily new masterminds moving from periphery to center, selective leakage of rumours to the ‘secular’ media, character assassination of the accused, RDX in today and out the next day, RSS involved yesterday- RSS the target tomorrow; all theories which are ample testimony to the nature of its functioning. As Kanchan Gupta writes, “If the ATS were really serious about its job and under “zero political pressure”, it would have steered clear of media publicity, put together the evidence, presented it in a court of law and secured convictions”

A Sadhvi was arrested on the charge that her own bike was used in the blasts which B Raman, the anti terror expert reasoned was absolutely improbable. When a three tier Narco test came out negative, it was blamed on her yogic powers of evasion! A telephonic conversion which was not recorded but overheard by a witness is also doubtful at best, since one cannot envisage how a telephonic conversion can be heard both ways except through a speaker phone which is not used for private conversations! accused her of being a woman of loose character, who masterminded the blast to avenge the murder of her boyfriend Sunil Joshi who was eliminated by suspected SIMI activists 3 this year. In spite of such depraved conspiracy theories besotted with the idea of casting aspersions on her chastity, even if proven true would actually reduce the current case to nothing more than personal vendetta, certainly not religion based terror! It is astonishing that the horrifying affidavit filed by the Sadhvi Pragya, accusing ATS of torture both physical and mental was conveniently ignored by every human right group substantiating the suspicion that they operate primarily as minority terrorism right groups. Worse, the journalist turned cartoonist Jug Suraiya caricatured the tortured Sadhvi through a sickly ‘secular’ joke in the Times of India. Those, who shed copious tears for suspected jihadis tortured in police cells lose track of the fact, that men (and women) who are ready to blow themselves in the service of their religion will never confess their crimes under ordinary circumstances. Even when innocent as in Hyderabad, it is part of the collateral damage a community experiences which refuses to take accountability for their deviant children and the ideology which moulds them. All in all, collateral damage needs to be distinguished from political witch-hunts.Then, a serving colonel of the army was arrested and immediately made the kingpin of the Samjhauta blasts. Less than 24 hours later, a red faced ATS retracted their claim when a forensic lab confirmed that it was not RDX which was used in the blasts.4 The Army also dismissed claims that 60 kg of RDX could be amiss from their stores, even as the ATS considered the missing RDX to have been dumped in the Jhelum. Meanwhile, the ATS keeps exploring possibilities for abuse of this waterproof, undiscovered yet missing RDX.

When a Hindu seer was arrested, the apprehension of Hindu leaders was considered communal tactics. But could a sincere Hindu help recalling the infamous, Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati conspiracy case in which the ‘secular’ media played such an egregious role in defaming both him, and the Math that the Andhra High Court was compelled to intervene and issue a stern warning to all these agencies of ‘secular’ terror, for “the amount of disrepute and sacrilege inflicted upon Sri Jayendra Saraswati, as of now, is so enormous that it has hardly any comparables"5 It seems the ‘secular’ media derives some perverse pleasure in slandering Hindu godmen. Or else what can explain several reporters calling this Shankacharya as an imposter with an alias in Dayanand Pandey, oblivious of the Hindu sanyasa tradition in which one renounces his previous identity while taking up a life of renunciation. This also points to the disconnect between Macualay’s children and the real India. Another channel dug up porn in his laptop, as if they had private access to it. More pertinently, even if true how does watching porn make a terrorist of a man, even if a deviant seer? The ATS web keeps expanding every day, through the fallacious accusation of ‘guilt by association.’ Everyone in contact with such important public figures like the colonel, the shankacharya and the sadhvi are now considered a threat and suspect. An endocrinologist was publicly defamed; then attempts were made to malign Sri Sri Ravi Shankara of the prestigious Art of living foundation. The enlightened Swami calmly took on the ‘secularist’ media and informed that it was his solemn duty to transform the lives of all including terrorists, and he rightly explained the radicalization of certain Hindu groups as a consequence of the shadow of Islamic fundamentalism looming large over the nation. To Mr Vir Sanghvi’s sophistical allegory in the Hindustan Times 6 I posit the counter question - What happens if the police suspected an imam and tried to arrest him. Immediately thousands of Muslim men, women and children would have rushed to the streets with the cry of “Islam in Danger.” The police fearing a riot would avoid arresting the accused – this is exactly what happened when recently the Jaipur Police tried to arrest Abdul Matin, a fanatical cleric of Benares! Even if arrested, the terrorist sympathizers in the media and in the civil rights and the human right groups would have rushed to his defense, while supposedly secular politicians would hurry to his home to console his family and promise that they would leave no stone unturned in getting him released. There are several such crypto Muslim terrorists including a prominent Delhi based cleric who have been left untouched. Moreover, how much loyalty some Muslims have for India can be comprehended by Mr Sanghvi when he notices how much respect they shared for M C Sharma who died defending the cause of his motherland. The politicization of Malegaon by the ‘secular’ forces is also suggested by the fact that MCOCA has been applied on the accused through exploitation of loopholes in the law. The two main suspects Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt-Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit had no crime history while to invoke the MCOCA, the prosecuting agency needs to ascertain that the suspects have at least two major criminal involvements registered with the police anywhere in the country, and so the ATS invoked a 4 yr old case against a minor accused Rakesh Dhawade 8 and consequently charged all the 11 accused with conspiracy to wage war against the nation. But in stark contrast, the god fearing Muslim students who are said to have murdered M C Sharma and are also accused in the Delhi blast case were never charged under MCOCA, possibly to appease Muslim voters before the Delhi Assembly poles where Congress fortunes hang in the balance. 9 Is it not hideous hypocrisy, that while a terror law like POTA is repealed, and GUJCOCA denied, an exactly similar law like MCOCA is considered essential for law enforcement in Maharashtra run by the same Congress government!

All in all there is a conscious attempt by some political parties to divert attention from the failures of the current government to tackle Islamic terror, which has killed thousands of innocent Hindus since it came to power. Such myopic vision which does not extend beyond the next election may provide some immediate electoral gain but in the long run will only spell doom for the nation.


Women and Words

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Words for me are just balm - they soothe me when the anguish is too deep," mused Lahore-based writer Feryal Ali Gauhar. "In an increasingly insecure world, a woman speaks of conflicts generated, engendered and perpetrated by men." Gauhar studied Political Economy at McGill University, trained in documentary film production in Europe and teaches film at Lahore's National College of Art. Her first novel 'The Scent of Wet Earth in August' was published by Penguin-India in 2002 and she has recently completed a second novel 'No Place for Further Burials', which focuses on the American presence in Afghanistan.Gauhar was one of four women writers speaking in the basement Lecture Room of New Delhi's India International Centre on September 22. The occasion was the release of 'And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women', a collection of short stories by 24 Pakistani women writers, published by Women Unlimited. The other three writers present were Muneeza Shamsie (the editor of the volume), Humera Afridi and Sabyn Javeri-Jilani. While Shamsie and Gauhar live in Pakistan, Afridi is presently based in New York and Sabyn in London. In fact, of the 24 short story writers in the anthology, half live in Pakistan while the other half are based in the West.Gauhar was particularly eloquent about being in India: "I traversed the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk as a child. I remember the family packing a few belongings and travelling by train to Amritsar, from there to Bharuch, then a tonga and a bullock-cart...I'm still travelling. Coming here is very difficult, because it is like being home and yet not being home."Afridi traced her urge to write to the state of virtual exile she has been in since childhood: "My family left Pakistan and I grew up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I don't know whether I would have become a writer if I hadn't been torn from Pakistan. I began writing poetry when I was 16 and, ever since, writing has become a sort of home. The UAE was a hostile and alien environment, where my identity was always being questioned. The desire to compensate for my dubious identity became an impetus for my writing." Afridi went to America to study English at Mount Holyoke and Carnegie Mellon universities, and is presently completing her Masters in Creative Writing from New York University. She has taught English in Jeddah, Dubai, Dallas and New York City. Having lived in six places during the past 10 years, she feels her writing "is neither here nor there. Moving so much, I have taught myself to appropriate cities. The novel I'm writing is situated in six places. Moving can, finally, be liberating..."Sabyn Javeri-Jillani was born and studied in Karachi. She moved to England five years ago and writes for Pakistani and British publications on culture and entertainment. "In South Asia, we come from such rich traditions of storytelling. All of us have many stories within us," adding, "Karachi remains central to my work. I find that physical distance enables you to reach out to those nooks and corners of your mind and unravel memories. My writing explores the question of being suspended between different cultures. I write about home, but is home the place where you have your roots or the place where you take wings and fly?" Muneeza Shamsie was born in Lahore, educated in England and lives in Karachi. She noted that the theme of 'quest' runs like a thread through all 24 stories in the collection. She recalled that as a student in England, "I couldn't find a context for myself in geography, history, science or literature. South Asian writing attracted me because it challenged the Empire." Having edited two anthologies of Pakistani English writing - 'A Dragonfly in the Sun' (OUP, 1997) and 'Leaving Home' (OUP, 2001) - Shamsie feels that Pakistani women writers are at the "extreme edges" of both English and Pakistani literature.While Shamsie is 'regrettably' monolingual, Gauhar speaks and writes in Urdu, Punjabi and English. She writes a column on political economy in the newspaper 'Dawn', but much of her creative writing is in indigenous tongues. "I wrote 'The Scent of Wet Earth' in Urdu and Punjabi, and later translated it into English," she reveals. "Instinctively, I find it contrived to write in a language so distanced and not even adequate to convey the emotional landscapes of a people. How can I write of the degrees of sadness mingled with joy in the month of saavan (monsoon) in the English language...?"Gauhar believes that the process, and not the product, is important for her. "The process of writing keeps me sane." Gauhar described three years spent making a film on four colorful characters in Shahi Mohalla (literally 'royal neighborhood', as Lahore's red light area is euphemistically called). She felt privileged to have met and got to know such people. She notes that traditions like 'dastaangoz' (literally, storytelling) are to be found in regional languages, but not in English - "globalization has destroyed a lot". When asked whether she would like to write a novel in half-English and half-Urdu, Gauhar quipped, "Yes, par aap publish karenge?"(Yes, but will you publish it?)All four writers reflected on their state of being 'hybrid', as South Asians who write in English. Afridi noted that she writes for a multi-ethnic Diaspora, as much as for herself. Gauhar acknowledged there are pressures on the writer today. Her novel 'No Place for Further Burials' features deaths of Afghans and Americans in Afghanistan and was considered too sensitive for publication in America, because the American public has been deliberately misinformed about the number of American militiamen killed in Afghanistan. It is a test of integrity whether a writer succumbs to such pressure or remains true to the essence she wants to share. Gauhar noted, "For me, any death is a death too many, whatever the color of the corpse." Afridi wryly noted that you don't usually earn from writing fiction, so it can sometimes be difficult to justify such writing to one's own self! On a question on women's writing specifically, Gauhar remarked, "Writing may be the only avenue of expression for many women. Men may whistle, saunter around and behave badly. In Pakistani society, we women do not whistle, wink or make salubrious noises. Women who were courtesans discussed sexuality over the centuries, and strung words together to compose songs. But those who composed at home were not recognized. It is the positioning of women - performing is out of bounds for us, as it was for middle-class Indian women a hundred years ago. You cannot sing and dance without being noticed, but you can write quietly."The evening succeeded in bringing about a deepened understanding and awareness of the concerns of contemporary Pakistani women writers. Indian writers share many of these concerns. Clearly, direct cultural and literary exchange across our borders is an idea whose time has come.


Kashmir Elections : Vote Against Separatism

Jammu and Kashmir goes to elections on 17 November. This would be a seminal third round of hustings after militancy broke out in the state in 1989. Elections in 1996 and 2002 were regarded as free and fair and there is no reason to believe that the current ones under the watchful eye of the Election Commission in India would not be so. Elections are proposed to be held in seven phases keeping in view the need for deployment of election staff and security personnel. The first phase would begin on November 17, followed by polls on November 23, 30, December 7, December 13, 17 and 24. Results would be announced on December 28.The National Conference was the first party to announce participation in the elections. But the Party was careful to delink participation from meeting aspirations of the people for solution of the dispute. “The elections will not have any effect on Kashmir issue. And whether people participate in elections or not, it will not affect resolution of Kashmir issue,” was the line taken by National Conference president Omar Abdullah. Omar also highlighted to the cadres the challenges facing the Party in participation in the process. “First, you have to face those who don’t want the elections. Second challenge is from those parties which would participate and confront you. You have to defeat them,” he said.The National Conference (NC) is a party which has always opted for elections and it has a strong hold in the rural areas in the Valley as well as the hill regions of Jammu. In the previous elections it had won more seats that the PDP, but the latter aligned with the Congress to form the government. The NC is hopeful of working on the anti incumbency factor to its advantage. Thus it is emphasizing more on normal day to day, bread and butter issues.The PDP has also announced participation in the elections. It is fighting on an agenda for virtual autonomy for Kashmir, which delinks the region from other parts of the state. Knowing that its strength is in the Valley, the PDP leadership has shrewdly adopted such a volatile plan. The Hurriyat Conference and other separatist outfits on 19 October said they will boycott the assembly elections which they termed as a "futile exercise". "Hurriyat has nothing to do with this meaningless exercise and would ask the people to stay away from it as well," Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat moderates.The logistics exercise for the elections is quite cumbersome. There are 8109 polling booths, with 4,378 in Kashmir and 3,731 in Jammu division; quite a few of them are in remote areas where the polling staff would have to trek on foot for many days. The Valley had a total electorate of 32,60,663 in January-February. The district-wise break-up is: Kupwara 3,41,004, Varmul (Varmul+Bandipore) 7,04,284, Srinagar (Srinagar+Ganderbal) 6,94,760, Budgam 3,83,914, Pulwama (Pulwama+Shopian) 4,32,434 and Islamabad (Islamabad+Kulgam) 7,04,264.The electorate of Jammu division as per the revised rolls is 30, 84,417. The district-wise break-up of the division is: erstwhile Doda, 4,58,621, Rajouri 3,53,457, Poonch 2,59,580, erstwhile Udhampur 4,93,694, Kathua 4,02,747, erstwhile Jammu 11,16,318.There are sound reasons for early polls in Kashmir as return to a democratically elected government is the best form of governance for the people that would reduce burden on the administration both in the Centre as well as in the state. The battle between the pro and anti election lobbies in Kashmir is likely to intensify in the days ahead. With the Congress, National Conference and PDP in the fray the election campaign is likely to gather momentum. Simultaneously the anti election campaign would be some what muted with pressure from the security forces and its impact would be in the urban areas in Kashmir rather than the rural areas.With the parties fighting in Kashmir on a similar agenda PDP of self rule and NC of autonomy, elections are delicately poised particularly in constituencies where there is likely to be low polling. Here personal standing of local candidates may make a difference swinging the votes in his favour.In most of the rural areas polling generally exceeds over 40 percent and this trend is likely to be sustained, with some areas even registering polling over 60 percent. The critical areas of downtown Srinagar and Sopore amongst others are not likely to register very high percentage even being restricted to single digit. Here the candidates who wins even a few thousand votes may be declared a winner and this is probably motivating a large number to jump in the fray.While the electoral results will be known almost a month and a half later on counting of votes on 28 December, the people and the main stream political parties of Kashmir have already given a strong verdict against the separatists. This group of political radicals in the state is holding the masses to ransom and preventing the fruits of development reach the grass roots by their dissident agenda. Ironically all separatist leaders living in plush bungalows in Srinagar are beneficiaries of the very state that they oppose and have nothing in common with the youth whom they incite to violence in the streets of Srinagar. The elections should drive home the message to their supporters that democracy, development and political aspirations can go hand in hand for there is enough scope in the manifestos of parties participating in the elections which will provide autonomy with responsibility, the ultimate test of democracy.


Washington Summit: Expect Major Showdown Between US and World Powers

Monday, November 10, 2008

Whether it is the ASEM summit in Beijing or the G-20 meeting convened by President George W. Bush in his last weeks in office, it is obvious that the present global financial turmoil is recognized as being an international problem that needs to be handled globally in a cooperative manner. It is difficult to find a precedent for such a cooperative approach towards finding a global solution. That should demonstrate beyond all doubt the globalised character of the international economy and the degree of economic interdependency that has developed among nations of the world. The last comparable crisis of similar global magnitude was the Great Depression of early thirties of the last century, though it was not tackled globally in a cooperative way. That too called for a massive intervention by the state in the US. On that account, there was a significant amount of opposition to the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the devotees of free market. But the opposition did not prevail then, just as it has not in the case of the present crisis.What we are missing today is leadership of Roosevelt caliber. In his inaugural speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that what people had to fear was fear itself.That sentiment will apply to the situation today also. The Roosevelt era was the beginning of the rise of the US as the hegemonic power in the world. The Second World War and the Cold War which lined up Western Europe, Japan and, after 1971, China too, behind the US made the second half of 20th century an American century. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and communism as an ideology was abandoned in most of the world, including China and Russia. Economically, the international system got globalised. The European Union evolved with a GDP close to that of the US. Russia, China, Brazil and India emerged as trillion-dollar economies. Increasingly, the centre of gravity of international economy was shifting to Asia. A significant proportion of American GDP was generated from financial services. Going in for several layers of mortgages and derivatives was considered innovative and a smart trade practice and crony capitalism ensured that regulation though prescribed by law was not enforced with necessary vigor. At one point of time the irrational exuberance of the market was commented upon in the US but was not followed up with greater vigilance by the regulating agency. In the last few years, the possibility of likely retrenchment in the US economy had been forecast in international intelligence assessment documents, though not the magnitude and rapidity of decline. The net result of all these developments is, to quote Manmohan Singh, "when the capital development of a country becomes the by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done."Therefore, there are proposals for radical overhaul of the Bretton Woods institutions and to develop a global polity to provide effective governance and supervision of globalization of economy. In 1945 the victorious US had its way in fashioning the global economic order and shaping the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Today, the US is not a victorious power but in need of global assistance for its economic recovery. There is clear realization within the US that days in which the Americans could sustain an extravagant consumerist lifestyle based on the savings of the rest of the world and financed by massive trade deficits and foreign investments are over.After this crisis, foreign investors will be very careful in accepting the ratings offered by US credit rating firms and exposing their investments to US financial institutions without extraordinary checks. The US will be the world's largest debtor country and will have deficit budgets for many years to come. Against this background, the US will face major problems in financing its expanding social security and medicare. It is therefore natural to expect the impact of these factors on the US foreign policy and exertion of sobering influence on the possibilities of adventurism resorted to by American power.The US is no doubt the pre-eminent military power of the world. But in today's balance of power system the military power of the US is not likely to play the role it did during the Cold War period. After this debilitating financial crisis the US will no longer be looked upon as a pre-eminent economic power as it has been in the last six decades. If there is to be a new international economic supervisory and regulatory regime for the globalised economy it is bound to make the US less untethered than it has been so far. While the US has been the engine of global economic growth till now, the International Monetary Fund predicts that this time economic recovery of the industrial world will depend on the fast growing emergent economies of China, India, Brazil and Russia, which will act as engines of growth.In these circumstances the international order in the post- financial crisis era is bound to undergo radical changes, though it is difficult to predict the scope and nature of the changes. In all likelihood the US may lose part of its economic pre-eminence. The emerging economies will play a more significant role in international economy with necessary political impact on international politics. Yet one cannot rule out the possibility of the US remaining the number one economic power in the world. When there is a major economic recovery after a major recession, the scope and nature of recovery will be influenced to a large extent by technological progress that takes place during that period.New non-polluting automobiles, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy conservation, technology and further advances in information and communication technology are all expected to develop in the near future. The pecking order in the new economic hierarchy will to a considerable extent be determined by the success of the various major powers in tapping these emerging technologies and harnessing them for their recovery and advancement. There is vast scope for both cooperation and competition among the major industrial powers and emerging powers in this respect for mutual benefit.The European countries appear to favor a more rigorous supervisory and regulatory mechanism as a solution to the present crisis. India and other developing countries, including China, may press for more expenditure in infrastructure projects, financed partly by international financial institutions and partly by developed countries. This will be a classical Keynesian approach of spending large sums as a "counter-cyclical device". They are likely to go along with Europe on the creation of an effective supervisory and regulatory mechanism. Will the US go along with these approaches in the G-20 summit to be held in Washington Nov 15? Unlike in the days of the Great Depression when the focus was on the recreation of jobs through massive investments in infrastructural projects, this time the US focus will also be on safeguarding the economic and technological pre-eminence of itself in the international system. The US is also less likely to be amenable to an international supervisory and regulatory regime. One should expect a major confrontation between the US and the rest of the major powers of the world on how far the US is prepared to come into a rule-bound international financial system.


Saintific Harvest

The overzealous secular media in India is doing a great disservice to Christianity by harping on mythology that Christianity in India is two thousand years old. Even Vatican has not made such a claim because there is absolutely no historical evidence about it. Interesting fiction about Saint Thomas coming to Kerala and his interactions with the Kings and Namboothiris (Kerala Brahmins) are all very good stories to read. Even his escapades in Madras and martyred burial in Thomas Mount make very good bedtime stories for kids but lacks any sort of historical evidence.
For those familiar with the terrain and social setup in Kerala in the heydays of Namboothiris, the stories about one Arab national challenging and changing their religion can be termed as nothing but preposterous. The story about Saint Thomas is nothing but a clever ploy of some Indian Christians to score over their cousins in Europe – a joke that has become serious.The apex hierarchy of Christianity in Vatican knows this more than anyone else. The simple fact that only very few Indians opted for Christianity in the period preceding the colonial era of Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British, clearly shows lack of appeal of the new religion for the Indians. But the picture changed with the advent of Europeans and much more after India declared itself independent with a secular democratic constitution. Unlike those in the African continent, Indians had their own religions from time immemorial and the new religion of the Europeans never made any appeal to them. Aggressive marketing and coercing could make some impact when the rulers were White. But that too has changed and accelerated efforts are proving counter productive. Vatican has realized that time has come for a more systematic attempt to garner more souls. Hence the new trick of ‘saint’ific harvesting. Hollow HallowsEverything about the organized religion is alien to Indians. We worship Nature and see the element of God in everything. But if someone says that God is someone like us sitting in heaven and he made all of us, and that he is monitoring all our activities for reward and punishment, we can only laugh at them. If they still insist that we must join them in their prayers we will. For Indians who could think of millions of forms of God for ease in worship adding a couple of new forms is not a difficult exercise. But when these fanatic missionaries in their misguided enthusiasm for harvest try to slander other religions and other beliefs which are well above their understanding capabilities, there will be reactions and retributions. Those who complain about such natural reactions have only themselves to blame. They are only harvesting what they are sowing.Increasing failure to attract more and more people by the methods adopted so far has pushed Vatican into the saintific mode now. One helpless Indian nun has already made it and a few more Indian Saints are on their way in the beatification pipeline. The whole exercise is funny and devoid of any logic and conviction. How do we classify someone who has been sick all her life, who did not do any sort of social service nor display any extra-ordinary qualities during her lifetime as a saint fifty years after her death? The argument of divine intervention to work out miracles after one’s physical existence got over is nothing but ridiculous to anyone with minimum intelligence. Within a herd of devout followers it is not impossible to produce proof for any miracle. But for outsiders especially rational Indians most of the newly manufactured saints will have only hollow hallows around their heads. Evil IntentionsThe whole exercise would have been appreciated by the truly secular Indians if the intentions are noble. Knowing Vatican with all its stated and hidden objectives the danger that lies ahead for India and Indians is obvious. The whole idea of creating saints out of Indians is to camouflage the harvest with Indian saints as bait. The poor and vulnerable can be easily cornered into the harvest net if there are local signs in the paths leading to the faith trap. In a democratic country with unlimited freedom the possibilities of coercing or luring people to change faith by denigrating their current one or by supplying milk powder and rice are getting very much difficult. The new episode of manufacturing saints is only an innovative idea for continuing with the old conversion game.Millions and millions of dollars have been pumped into India for various methods of religious conversion so far. If the money received so far by the various service organizations are distributed among the poor in India, the country’s poverty line would have faded out by now. The evil intentions of the church becomes very evident when we realize the fact that poverty and misery have increased manifold in African continent where the missionaries had a free run for over a century by now. With their simple beliefs and simple needs, the people in that continent led far more happy and contented lives. The same thing happened in Latin America where locals led a far more contented life before another clever ideological ploy of the church namely Liberation Theology wrecked havoc. The liberators have become dictators and poverty has become much more rampant. All said and done, the ultimate objective of the harvesters is crystal clear – unhindered proselytization and capture power. The mindset of Indians has always been democratic and India shall remain a democratic nation forever. In a democracy it is the number of people that matters. The sole objective of harvesting souls (including the latest version of saintific harvest) is only to get more numbers under the organized banner for the ultimate capture of power. The declared objectives of service to poor and salvation for the individuals are only face saving declarations to hide the real intentions. Once the number is significant enough we can see the next phase of the game in the form of insurgency in Nagaland and Mizoram, and finally sedition as in East Timor. India is very much in focus for intensive religious conversion and the return of White rulers for loot and plunder once again.


Revamp the police

Monday, November 3, 2008

If there is one factor which will determine the success or failure of the Indian state in combating terrorism, it will be our commitment to improving the efficiency and performance of the police which includes the intelligence agencies also. Much has been said on the subject. With the government dragging its feet in the matter, the Supreme Court had to intervene and issue comprehensive guidelines to the Centre and the states on September 22, 2006. The apex court gave six directions to the states and one to the Union government. The directions to the states were aimed at insulating the police from extraneous pressures, giving them functional autonomy, making them more accountable, separating investigation from law and order duties in the metropolitan towns, introducing transparency in the selection of police chiefs, and giving a statutory minimum tenure to officers posted in the field. The central government was directed to constitute a national security commission, co-opting the heads of the central police organisations and involving them in decisions to upgrade the effectiveness of the forces and improving the service conditions of its personnel. There has been some compliance, but mostly in the smaller states. The bigger the state, the more entrenched the vested interests, greater the resistance. The Supreme Court has constituted a monitoring committee to oversee the implementation of its directions in various states. It is obvious that unless the judiciary cracks the whip and makes an example of one or two non-compliant states, things would not move and the much needed reforms would remain an aspiration. That would be a tragedy for the country. You cannot face formidable challenges of the present times with a police force which was raised to meet the challenges of a medieval past. The issue is not of empowering the police. It is of having a police which look up to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the country in the discharge of their functions. The harsh truth is that the police today are more concerned with carrying out the diktat of the executive rather than protecting the life and property of the common man. There are a number of other administrative measures which would need to be taken to give greater muscle to the police. We are heavily under-policed. The police-population ratio in India is 1:694. It is 1:334 in the US, 1:290 in the UK and 1:416 in New Zealand. What is worse, even with less manpower on the ground, there are huge vacancies in several states. According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics for the year 2006, as against a total sanctioned strength of 12,09,904 civil police including district armed police as on December 31, 2006, there were only 10,91,899 policemen on the rolls. The vacancies were particularly acute in UP (1,19,893 against a sanction of 1,33,595) and Bihar (43,273 against a sanction of 56,341). The state governments have themselves to blame for these shortfalls. The recruitment procedures also leave much to be desired. Unfortunately, it is tainted in most of the states. In UP, a scandal was unearthed in recruitments and 12 IPS officers were suspended. But unfortunately, follow-up action was not taken to its logical conclusion. The UP government does not have the courage to nail the political bigwigs who were at the root of the scam and the central government, for political reasons, is not prepared to hand over the investigation to the CBI. A constable who pays to be recruited cannot be expected to be honest. It is like poisoning the roots. The procedures need to be cleansed. The examples of Karnataka and Rajasthan could be emulated. Modernisation of police forces should get high priority. The Centre has been liberal in releasing funds. Here also, the state governments have been tardy in properly utilising them. Training remains a neglected area. As recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Veerappa Moily, the deputation to training institutions must be made more attractive in terms of facilities and allowances so that the best talent is drawn as instructors. Besides, training should focus on bringing attitudinal change in police so that they are more responsive and sensitive to citizens’ needs. Intelligence will have to be professionalised. It is presently geared more to collecting intelligence about political adversaries rather than elements trying to disrupt peace and communal harmony. The Intelligence Bureau needs substantial augmentation in its strength, which has been ordered now. The multi-agency Centre also needs to be beefed up. R&AW was defanged by one of the former prime ministers. The organisation must be given teeth. The law enforcement agencies would also need legislative back-up. A stringent anti-terror law should be placed on the statute book. An extraordinary situation, as the Law Commission, said, calls for an extraordinary law. Besides, as recommended by the Malimath committee, the Padmanabiah committee and recently by the Moily committee, the country must have a federal investigating agency. Anyone can see that the state police spokesmen are making contradictory claims and there is inadequate coordination among them. A centralised agency would obviate turf wars and ensure better coordination among the states. The stakes are very high. The threat is getting magnified with every passing day. Our first line of defence has to be strengthened. There is no room for any further delay.


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