Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why should our President receive the queen’s baton?

Tarun Vijay

President Pratibha Patil is in London to receive a baton from Queen Elizabeth II on October 29. She has already received a tasteless joke from the duke of Windsor about Patels . And then the President is all ready to get the dubious distinction of the first-ever head of state of a Commonwealth country to receive the baton from the Queen Elizabeth. It’s a ‘baton’ that’s customarily given to the host country of the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth has 53 member states including Nauru, .. etc and none of them ever thought it prudent to be so obsessed with the colonial hangover that their head of the state would go and be a durbari in the former coloniser’s palace.

And our sportsmen like Kapil Dev gave a statement expressing a feel of pride for having found their names in the invite list to be in the queue and get introduced to a lady who hardly knows about their land except that her predecessors once ruled them with a barbarity that is reminiscent of the dark ages (her knowledge about us won’t be better than that of the duke of fatigue and follies who slipped over the Patels) and she never expressed any regret or remorse over what the British did to us.

Any surprises on the Indian spinelessness?

We are a nation that produced a large number of rai bahadurs and sirs and rao sahebs while ‘crazy deewane’ were becoming Bhagat Singhs and Rajgurus and Sukhdevs. There were a large section of our Indians who thought it prudent to keep a silence on Jalianwala Bagh, honour the butcher Dyer even after the gruesome incident. It’s another matter that we had those Casablancas too who preferred gallows to knighthood.

Pratibha Patil and Kapil Devs have joined the ranks of those who have no sense of history, leave aside a sense of pride in the sacrifices of revolutionaries who fought the British. We are the world’s greatest living democracy, much larger and with a better civilisational background and track record of humanity than the British. Why should a head of a democracy present herself before a queen, a symbol of a decaying, old tradition, which has lost all relevance to the contemporary values of civil society? Shouldn’t they be raising questions that why the lady occupying Buckingham Palace must remain the head of the Commonwealth? The most logical and contextually correct thing would be to have a head of a democratic sovereign as its chief and not a titular icon of a royalty that stinks with the blood of our revolutionaries and whose wealth is built on the loot of India?

Pratibha Patil hasn’t found time to visit Hussainiwala , the memorial to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Or the Jalianwala Bagh. London seems to be more inviting to her. What a shame that India should send a large contingent of sportsmen along with her.

The first question that has to raised before the lethargic neo-rai sahebs is the logic of still clinging to the Commonwealth comity? What great achievement we envisage by spending more than $1.6 billion on organizing the Commonwealth Games, which were originally conceptualized to keep the British colonial legacy alive and still require the queen to distribute largesse and announce the beginning of the games as its head. Since its inception in the new garb in1952, there has not been anyone else except the queen to head the games and it’s incumbent upon the members, all former subjects of the empire, all who had been slaves of the queen, to go to London and receive the ‘baton’ from Her Majesty so that the games are launched formally

Here are some gems of information taken from the official website of the games.

The Queen's Baton Relay

The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities. Her Majesty the Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to her Majesty the Queen .


The Relay was introduced at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. Through the 1994 Games, the Relay only went through England and the host nation.

The history of The Games

In 1911, the 'Festival of Empire’ was held in London to celebrate the coronation of King George V. As part of the festival, an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics.

From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, then the British Empire and Commonwealth Games until 1962. From 1966 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games and from 1978 onwards they have been known as simply the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Youth Games are also known as Friendly Games in the English speaking provinces of the Commonwealth.

In the baton relay, after the president receives the baton from the Queen, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chairman Suresh Kalamdi, and Olympic gold medallist and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra will then start the Queen’s Baton Relay,

The Queen's Baton relay is one of the oldest traditions of Commonwealth Games since it was first done in the 1958 Games in Wales

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 1994

The Baton was fashioned from sterling silver and was engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists' families and cultures, including a wolf, a raven and an eagle with a frog in its mouth.

Kuala Lumpur, 1998

Malaysia placed their own flavour on the Games, with the Queen’s Baton being carried into the stadium on an elephant. The baton was presented to Prince Edward by Malaysia’s first ever Commonwealth medal winner Koh Eng Tong, a gold medallist in weightlifting in 1950.

Manchester, 2002

The baton has special significance as it marks the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and was designed to symbolise the uniqueness of the individual and the common rhythm of humanity.

Opening ceremony traditions

• From 1930 through 1950, the parade of nations was led by a single flag bearer carrying the Union Flag, symbolising Britain's leading role in the British Empire.

• Since 1958, there has been a relay of athletes carrying a baton from Buckingham Palace to the Opening Ceremony. This baton has within it the Queen's Message of Greeting to the athletes.

• All other nations march in English alphabetical order.

• The military is more active in the Opening Ceremony than in the Olympic Games. This is to honour the British Military traditions of the Old Empire.

So we have a queen and her representatives to be honoured who hardly get a serious glance in their own country except when a scandal brings them to the front page of a tabloid, we have to follow the English, and run with a baton which has symbols we do not know why-“a wolf, a raven and an eagle with a frog in its mouth.” And then we have to honour the “British Military traditions of the Old Empire.” Because they killed our patriots? Someone must file an application under RTI to know how many millions have been allocated just to finalise the theme and the tamasha to start a function that would be a joke to the sacred memories of our freedom fighters.

Why can’t we spend half the money we are spending on the Commonwealth Games for training and building better and permanent facilities to identify indigenous sports talent and prepare them for the next Olympics? Why can’t we have a commonwealth of the proud, patriotic sovereign countries which would make sure that they do everything in line with the honour and pride of their language, customs, traditions and salute their patriots taking the baton from a freedom fighter who had fought the savagery of the British empire rather than go to London and bow before the British queen?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Manmohan-Wen meeting: Can Indian leadership handle China?

Tarun Vijay

The famous hotel Dusit Thani Hua Hin overlooking the gulf of Thailand, where the leaders of India and China met, proudly proclaims, "We use gifts of the heavens to create heaven on earth." It is one of Thailand's most scintillating hubs, known for its calm and serene surroundings. I don’t know if the leaders noticed it, but they surely were there to create a better atmosphere between the two nuclear-powered nations which fought a bitter war forty-seven years ago and have been under the shadow of a cold war once again.

The meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao must help calm the harshness in both the capitals. Prudence and pragmatism prevailed and the outcome was placidly correct. Just correct. Neither yielded the position he has stuck to and neither raised the decibel levels. You couldn’t have expected a tit-for-tat show there and while being conscious of the present situation, if both sides can reconcile themselves to building bridges while sorting out difference, neither loses.

Of late, the Chinese have been pricking Indian sensitivities at an extraordinarily fast pace. So much so that even the electioneering scenes in India were overpowered by the news regarding Chinese incursions, Indian rebuffs, major cover stories in media and the Arunachal CM meeting the Prime Minister.

Interestingly, in such a charged background our cool and gentle Manmohan Singh met Wen Jiabao and felt "excited" as the news reports say. I am sure this must be a reporter’s overenthusiasm, as he might have wanted to convey the thrill of the meeting. The reports said, "Manmohan Singh told Wen: 'I am excited to see you.' He said the Chinese people have had a number of achievements "and we share their sense of accomplishment". He said this in the context of the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern China."

The Chinese premier was more candid. He said, "We want to have a healthy and steady relationship with India. I hope we can use this opportunity to exchange our views on all related issues."

As any student of Chinese affairs can tell, understanding diplomacy in Mandarin is a tricky job. Each word and the length of the sentence and similes used to convey the message have to be studied carefully. The official "leaks" do not tell us whether the Indian side conveyed any displeasure or annoyance to the Chinese premier on their cold-war like interventions and the Chinese side, it appears, was calmly "just diplomatically right". It means they think what they have been doing so far is right and demands no explanation or relook.

This must worry us.

The raking up of the border issue so forcefully, in spite of an agreement that the issue will be resolved amicably and through dialogue, has surprised many. While the pro-China lobby in Delhi blamed the American influence for creating an atmosphere that would make the Indian people ask for a reprisal, the factual position about Chinese arrogance spoke a different story. The situation on the Chinese side has to be understood before any final "assault". The Chinese have grown rich, assertive and xenophobic in their global dreams. And this must make them more interventionist in near future.

It began with the Chinese incursions – observers say there had been more than 218 incursions by the Chinese security personnel since January this year. And the number of such incursions was higher in the Ladakh sector, where they have been successful to also make India dismantle a bridge on the Indus. The experts from Ladakh have been complaining that the Chinese have been intruding the Indian territory, they are not taking our land by inches but by yards. These experts also tells us the points and the nullahs where the Chinese came and then established their dominance. Yet nobody from the South Block took it seriously. Even the Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, and our foreign minister, S M Krishna, gave contradictory statements about incursions. Still the Chinese belligerence didn’t stop. China objected to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Arunachal visit, it began construction work in the Kashmir region which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, in spite of having conceded by the Indian government that Tibet is a part of China (which the nationalist school of thought will never accept), China keeps showing Kashmir as an independent country and Sikkim has yet to be shown as an Indian state. It also began giving visas to Kashmiris separately and hasn’t quite understood about the terrorist problem India is facing though it would like us to understand its jihadi headache in Xinjiang.

China opposed India’s agreement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it tried to block Asian Development Bank’s $60 million loan for a power generation project in Arunachal, and more recently it tried its hardest to coerce Southeast Asian nations against inviting India as a member of the East Asia summit. It has not only accepted a "gift" of land from Pakistan, which in fact is claimed by India, but has been strengthening Pakistan militarily by providing nuclear knowhow, among other things. On the maritime front, China is steadfastly modernizing its bases in the Indian Ocean with its port development projects going in full swing in Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

India expressed its concern over China’s new underground nuclear submarine base off the southern tropical island of Hainan. The then Naval chief, Sureesh Mehta, had publicly stated that the base poses a threat to Indian security. On the Arunachal border China has been shifting border pillars and making a dam on the Brahmaputra that would be a potential threat to the Indian people. On the Sikkim border a new highway and permanent army structures have come up. In times of any hostility, the Chinese would be able to cut the Siliguri corridor swiftly. On the other side, a joint command of Lanzhou Military Region opposite Ladakh, Himachal and Uttarakhand has come up. Tibet has become the most powerful Chinese base against India and reports say that China is in a position to send 20,000 troops anywhere on the Indian border from its Tibetan bases within two hours.

By contrast, Indian politicians have no idea what should be their Chinese policy and are busy in petty domestic rumblings or totally uninformed cacophonies. Once Arunachal used to have 12c functional air strips, now it has only two and more accurately just one, to cite an example of our preparedness. It's only after the media taking up the Chinese threat that India responded by positioning its Sukhoi war planes replacing MIGs on the northeastern front and deciding to revive its four IAF bases on the Arunachal border (Vijaya Nagar, Mechuka, Tuting and Passighat), yet the confidence level hasn’t risen high on our side.

But it would be wrong to conclude that China would engage India in any military assault soon. It would also be imprudent and pathetically unintelligent to put China in the Pakistan category. It has to be a different story – we are not "1962" and China is not Maoist either. Keeping a watch on the factual positions, building our own defence and economy, we must continue to engae China in bilateral relations.

China is already almost our biggest trade partners; in 2010 bilateral trade would be $75 billion and in 2015 it will reach about $225 billion. China is waiting to become a super power by 2030. It's not in a hurry to settle the border issue with us but at the same time it will not let India and the world community forget about its claims on Indian territory. It opposed the NEFA contingent in Asiad games in 1982, it also opposed creation of Arunachal in 1986 and it rakes up such contentious issues whenever there is any high level Indian visit to China or a big event takes place here. While India-China trade and cultural relations are given a high fillip, simultaneously the irritants are also propped up. On the Tibet issue, it’s unsparingly rude and tough. During the Beijing Olympics, when Tibetans in Delhi demonstrated before the Chinese embassy and went a bit out of control, the Chinese foreign ministry called our envoy to Beijing, Nirupama Rao (now our foreign secretary) at 2 am (see my column The two a.m. call).

So far India and its patriotic South Block officers have been resisting and giving civilized firm responses to the Chinese belligerence. Allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang and Nirupama Rao’s no-nonsense statement on Arunachal being an undisputed Indian state show it. But the war is not just about Twang or a Dalai Lama’s activities. The real zone of contention involves the emergence of the US in the region as a superior power and India’s unstoppable march ahead with a thriving democracy that may lead it to be a more acceptable world power. Certainly India will have to gear up for a bigger role and control the region independently with deft handling of the AfPak imbroglio and keeping its economy and defence options in good shape while keeping China meaningfully engaged. Can we expect this from the present crop of decision makers?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bangladeshi Hindu Abducted, Forced to Convert to Islam

Dr. Richard L. Benkin

The Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) recently reported the abduction and forced conversion of a Bangladeshi Hindu girl to Islam; two human rights organizations, Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) also investigated it. At 12:45am on 13 June, Koli Goswami was asleep in her bed when five Muslims broke into the family home in Ghosai Chandura, located in northern Bangladesh. They vandalized the home and grabbed the 21-year old the college student. She cried out, but the men easily overpowered her and covered her head to muffle the screams. When others in the house came to her aid, the perpetrators drew their guns, started shooting, and carried off the girl even as she struggled to break free. Her family has not seen her since that night three months ago. Westerners believe that forced conversion belongs to a bygone age, which is why when presenting these incidents in Washington, it is critical to provide more than horrific allegations—which, by the way, the Bangladeshis routinely deny. Verified details, separating fact from hyperbole, and demonstrating some sort of government complicity are key. In this case, bizarre and contradictory actions by the police only confirm the Bangladeshi government’s support for anti-minority violence and the ethnic cleansing of its Hindu population. According to human rights activist Rabindra Ghosh, who investigated this case, police deny that any crime occurred and refuse to pursue a case; this despite physical evidence of a break-in, which they admit having; the family’s video taped testimony; the legal complaint lodged by the girl's guardian; and the family’s pleas for them to help locate and recover their daughter. Police told GHRD and BDMW representatives on site, “It is not kidnapping. It is love affairs between kidnapper and victim.” Kidnapper? Victim? That hardly sounds like a love affair. Yet, police continue to insist that even while refusing to explain the basis for their conclusion, including their investigation, or why they dismiss the physical evidence that refutes their claim. Nor do they explain why it took five men—including an accused murderer currently charged with murder—to “convince” Koli to leave home.

These actions prompted my organization, Interfaith Strength, to investigate the matter under the direction of Bikash Halder, its Indian representative. Halder dispatched four men to the family home where they spoke with Koli’s uncle and guardian, Professor Beraj Goswami. He claims to have faced nothing but corruption, duplicity, and collusion in the crime from the police. When he filed a complaint immediately after the kidnapping, he expected quick action given the nature of the crime and the family’s obvious distress. Instead, he met with the police denial—but still insisted that producing Koli would clarify what happened that night. Instead, they produced suspect “affidavits and other so-called marriage of conversion documents,” dated from the time of the girl’s captivity. The only way to determine their veracity would be for Koli Goswami herself to testify in a safe environment that the documents were not force on her under duress.

Instead, Goswami’s told Halder, the following sequence of events occurred. First, the Investigating Officer agreed to help him in exchange for a 25,000 Taka bribe, which Goswami paid. He ordered him to return to the Nandail police station on 21 June and wait while the police retrieved his niece. After quite some time, they returned instead with an older woman covered in a Muslim Burkha and hence impossible to identify. She said she was Koli Goswami’s mother and that she and her daughter converted to Islam because of a love affair—something Koli’s real mother disputed numerous times. Goswami denies that the woman was his sister-in-law, but cannot fathom the attempted deception since he could learn the truth by speaking to the woman he knew to be Koli Goswami’s mother.
There is a final, rather chilling element to the 21 June meeting: the local Awami League MP, Major General (Retired) Abdus Salam, was present during the episode and threatened Goswami should he proceed with the case

Curiously, while the police did not produce Koli that day, they now claim that she was present at a secret hearing before a magistrate the next day, about which the family was never told until after it allegedly occurred. They cannot confirm that their daughter was there or that it even took place. Goswami “protested vehemently” and told Halder that as a result “we are afraid we may further be attacked and our adult daughters abducted.”

What is not in dispute is: there was a home invasion; a family’s daughter was taken and has not been seen since; the alleged perpetrators have been identified and at least one is a known criminal; and the police refuse to pursue a case. We also know that a magistrate and the police claim that Koli has converted to Islam, and a government official from the ruling Awami League warned the family to stop fighting it.

As noted in an earlier Pioneer article about an anti-Hindu pogrom in Dhaka, “normal legal protections are suspended for Hindus and other minorities in Bangladesh.”

Abductions, rape, and forced conversion of young minority girls is up under the current Bangladeshi government; prosecutions are non-existent. This attack on the Hindu gene pool is a key element to ongoing ethnic cleansing. As such Bangladesh’s Hindu population continues to decline—down to nine percent from almost one in five Bangladeshis at the time of independence. Incidents like these proceed with a wink and a nod from the government and silence from the international community. We can only hope that it wakes up to these atrocities before Bangladesh’s Hindus suffer the same fate as Pakistan’s.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stop Mutilation of Kerala

Dr Babu Suseelan

For centuries, India and Hindutva had always an element of fascination and mystery and allurement for foreigners. Foreign travelers, scholars and historians found in India that was a wonder to the world, that there is something different, something inexplicable, within our Vedas and our ethos.

Lured by the wealth, waves of foreigners attacked India, looted our wealth, destroyed our country, murdered our citizens and colonized us for centuries. In spite of invasion, plunder, looting and mass murder, India was kept as a nation by our Hindu tradition, superb culture and national ethos.

Now the empire builders, Islamo fascists, Marxist anarchists and colonialists have made an unholy alliance against India and Hindutva with the active support of phony secularists from within.

In this context, I am reminded of an African Proverb, "THE BEST WAY TO EAT THE ELEPHANT STANDING IN YOUR PATH IS TO CUT IT UP INTO LITTLE PIECES". This is what our enemies have been doing for years. India was stretched from Afghanistan to Myanmar for centuries and our culture had spread all mover Asia and beyond. Now Afghanistan is gone. North West is gone, Kashmir is under Jihadi terrorists, Christen rebels control Nagaland, Missioram, Assam and the North east are in turmoil. Recently the momentum to bifurcate India into pieces has intensified under the Italian Catholic Sonia Maino. Now our enemies are targeting Kerala, the land of Parasuram, and Sankaracharya.Top of Form

The trouble with Kerala started the day the Christians overtook the Hindus with the help of the European colonial rulers who made the spineless local kings to give them acres and acres of prime land and our beautiful hillocks to set up Christian schools, churches, nunneries, convents and other conversion centers. The Europeans scaled up all our highlands and paved the way for the local Christians to encroach. With the money they made from the expansive mountainous villages where they grew all sorts of cash crops, they came down to the midland and started controlling the agricultural land and the coastal areas too.

The politics was in our mouth but all our wealth and money went into their pockets. Now they sneaked into politics too and the Congress became a Catholic Congress and power soon went their way. The Communists were an anti-dote to this infectious Christians, but the Delhi Congress bosses decided to protect the so-called minorities. Bishops and Mullahs made pressure groups and vote banks. Unfortunately the Communists got scared of the central power of the Congress and so they too started making friends with the Christians and the Moslems thinking that it would make their political muscles larger, firmer and stronger. Instead they were disintegrated, divided and they too went the Congress way of seeking power by hook or crook and their musical chair went on.

In the meanwhile the Christians were patiently and stealthily westernizing the local culture by introducing the western dress, western food, western music and arts and all that looked fashionable. The foolish Indian leaders in Delhi too thought West is great and they forgot all about the East and the countries and cultural centers like Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and even the neighboring Ceylon. Instead they looked up to the West for political guidance thinking that even now India is part of the British Common or Uncommon wealth. What a fun. Making use of this opportunity, the Christian central brain encroached into all layers of public and private life, with the money they amassed exploiting the opportunities the others thoughtlessly handed over to them.

Now the Moslems with their gulf money, and Pakistan printed and distributed Indian counterfeit currency are creating economic and political havoc in Kerala. Kerala's very foundations started trembling because of all this. The liquor barons of the first generation were all Christians, although the toddy business was in the hands of the local Hindus. Even today, 80 per cent of the liquor business and the star hotel business are controlled by the Christians. Ninety percent of schools, colleges and educational institutions are controlled by Christians and Muslims.

Now the Marxist government in Kerala and Sonia government in Delhi have approved an Islamic Bank and separate Islamic universities in Kerala. The Goondaraj, and the quotation groups were deliberately brought up by these anti-national Christian groups making use of the tag of minority communities. Soon the others borrowed this and the politicians and their police too found this practice handy. There has been no leader worth the word was available in Kerala while all this happened. Even the newspapers fell asleep. Most of their reporters were bribed and purchased by the mafia which began to grow all around as wild fire. The only way out of this tragedy lies in the hands of people who can organize themselves against this malady, now that the politicians are of no help. Signs are welcome signs from here and there. But the most disappointing factor is that the college campuses and organizations of the youth are not keen as they used to in the past. The question is that of a proper leadership. Everybody around is a leader and the real leader is nowhere.

Now Hindus are fast becoming a minority in the land of Parasurama. The latest demography indicates that Hindus have a majority only in two districts of Kerala. If the present trends continue within the next ten years, Hindus will become a minority in Kerala.

We can blame bogus secular politicians to some extent for the social mutilation we witness in Kerala. But the bulk of the blame lies with the caste based leaders and their organizations. They are often doing things to appease fanatic Muslims and Christian pressure groups. The sad truth is Hindus are not united and are not exerting pressure on the politicians to do the right thing to stop mutilation of Kerala.

It is reasonable to ask our politicians: how could they do social suicide? This present trends pose a challenge for Hindus. It is up to Hindus to wake up, unite, and stand up for the preservation of our culture, protection of our state and our future. Hindus have never shown their inherent power for a long time, but if we are pushed to a garbage pit for rot, we must change things while we still have the freedom to do so.A HIPPOPOTAMES CAN BE MADE INVISIBLE IN DARK WATER (African Proverb). Ignorance can lead to potential danger. It is important to be informed and alert.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Will Rajneesh have to become a Rizwanur to get justice in India?

When silence tells a story
Balbir K Punj
The Pioneer

He and his kith and kin were hounded for over a month. No human rights organisation came to their defence. On the fateful night of September 29, the lawless arm of the law finally caught up with him. He was whisked away from Jammu to Srinagar. A week later — on October 6 — his body was found hanging in the Ram Munshi Bagh police station in Srinagar. The police said it was suicide. Just five weeks after their marriage, his bride became a widow.

Rajneesh Sharma’s only crime was that he was a Hindu from Jammu who had fallen in love with a Muslim woman from the Valley. He did not convert to Islam. Instead, the girl, Amina Yousaf, adopted Hinduism and took the name Aanchal Sharma after marriage. Her father, Mohammad Yousaf, a Sub-Inspector in the Sales Tax Vigilance Department in Srinagar, could not reconcile himself with this. At his instance, the helpful State police and the pliable, communalised administration came down heavily on Rajneesh and his family.

“My father, who works with the Vigilance Department of the State Government, knows how to arm-twist the law. He must have bribed the policemen to kill my husband,” Aanchal told the media in Jammu. “They brutally tortured my husband and killed him in cold blood,” she added. While the local media covered this macabre tragedy in detail, the national dailies, with the exception of The Pioneer, almost blacked it out.

The torture marks on Rajneesh’s body, seen by scores of people on its arrival in Jammu exposed the brutality the policemen practised. There were cigarette burn marks all over. His nails had been pulled out. Other evidence of torture suggests that he was given the option of giving up either the woman he loved or his faith. The courage Rajneesh showed in the face of such torture — which has been confirmed by post-mortem as well — needs to be commended.

True, custodial deaths are not rare in this country. But in Rajneesh’s case there is a communal angle to it. It is ironical that the same Kashmir Valley witnessed protests over the murder of tow Muslim women in Shopian. But the horrific custodial death of a Hindu man was treated with indifference. There have been numerous instances of Muslim men marrying Hindu women after converting them to Islam. Such marriages are happening all over the country. But the police are never called to intervene and the conversion to Islam is welcomed. Yet, if anyone converts the other way, all hell breaks loose.

The question here is why don’t the self-styled liberals in the country stand up and condemn the Muslim community for its allergy to someone from their own community converting to another faith although it welcomes conversions to Islam.

There are several instances of individual families and communities of all description in the country seeking to undo inter-community marriages and even punish couples involved in them. In such cases civil society and the police are supposed to protect the couples. Where individuals or communities inflict punishment on these couples, the police are supposed to investigate the deaths and prosecute the perpetrators. Civil society is expected to stand by the victims. So why is civil society silent on Rajneesh’s case?

Srinagar bursts into flames whenever someone is killed in the crossfire between security personnel and terrorists. But there have been no protests over Rajneesh’s death in Srinagar. The Omar Abdullah Government has done nothing to act against the murderers. As a mere formality, two low-ranking policemen have been placed under suspension and orders have been issued for a magisterial inquiry into the custodial death.

There is something sinister behind this apathy. It would appear that someone is trying to give the message that Jammu & Kashmir is ‘autonomous’ or in someway out of the orbit of Indian law. As the militants and the separatists push their agenda, the Hindus of Jammu are being treated as second class citizens who cannot even depend on the protection of the law. In many Islamic countries this kind of a situation is normal.

Perhaps Rajneesh’s murder is not even a crime in the eyes of the authorities in Jammu & Kashmir. Otherwise, the ‘sensitive’ majority community would have definitely protested against the actions of the police in Srinagar. The blame for this state of affairs does not lie with a particular community as such or the individuals therein. The blame lies with the system that keeps the community insular and builds high walls to protect it from the winds of change, and the ‘secularists’ who conveniently look the other way when such incidents occur.

Let us contrast the indifference towards Rajneesh’s death case with how civil society reacted in Kolkata when an influential and rich Hindu, Ashok Todi, was accused of getting the police to help him deal with a Muslim man, Rizwanur Rahman, who dared to marry his daughter. The people of Kolkata, irrespective of their religion, rose in protest. Some of India’s greatest intellectuals went and forced the Government to order an impartial probe which led to the prosecution of both Todi and the police officers who colluded with him.

Contrast Kolkata’s reaction with the deafening silence in Srinagar and Delhi over Rajneesh’s custodial death. The victim is from Jammu & Kashmir’s minority community. Will Rajneesh have to become a Rizwanur to get justice in India?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A love story ‘murdered’ in Srinagar

Tarun Vijay

Rajneesh was a small trader from Jammu often going on business trips to Srinagar. He fell in love with a girl and married her.

He wanted to be faithful to his beloved from Srinagar, who was beautiful and had unflinching trust in her life partner. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to have love bloom between Jammu and Srinagar. But it was more than that. The boy from Jammu was a Hindu and the girl from Srinagar, a Muslim. Ameena was her name and she changed her name to Anchal Sharma after marriage.

A month after the marriage the boy was picked up from his Jammu house by the Kashmir police and taken to Srinagar for "investigation". The police never registered his name, Rajneesh Sharma, as the accused who is being taken to Srinagar, but instead named his brother Pawan Sharma in police records, to confuse and hide the real identity.

The smell of a plot was there the moment they took the boy hustled in a jeep and covered with a blanket.

The boy never returned home to celebrate his first Diwali with Anchal nee Ameena.

He was found dead hanging with an iron grill in his Srinagar cell. Police said he committed "suicide". An inconsolable Anchal alleged that her parents bribed police to murder her beloved because he dared to marry a Muslim girl from the valley. Anchal’s father works in Srinagar’s police department, hence the influence was obvious.

This week Anchal would have been celebrating Diwali with her husband Rajneesh but for if this ultimate Taliban act. Surprisingly the incident, so brutal and tragic hasn’t found an echo in the elite human-rightist circles of Delhi and the self-righteous media which had taken up the Rizwan case of Kolkata at a greater war footing than it has shown regarding Chinese incursions.

Rajneesh's "murder" in a police post in Srinagar wouldn’t have occurred if Rajneesh was a "Rizwan" and the girl had remained an Ameena.

The writerati, who declare love’s supremacy whenever the boy is someone else and the girl is a Hindu (the final test one has to pass to be declared secular in this land of self-flagellation) are maintaining a studied silence. None has spoken so far. None has tried to invoke the wrath of the Women’s Commission, none has bothered to take a delegation of women to Jammu in the name of secularism and its prophets. And none has found it a deserving case for a heated debate on the sparkling channels discussing who should win — love or the colour of your faith?


Because the girl was a Muslim turned Hindu and the boy, unfortunately happened to be Hindu. Because the culprit in this case is Srinagar, the reservoir of all that is sacred in secular pantheon and the boy belongs to the Hindu Jammu and hence anything that would demand a condemnation of the Taliban in Srinagar must be held back and forgotten?

The girl, Anchal nee Ameena, said sobbingly in Jammu that the Srinagar police tortured her husband just for his crime of marrying a Muslim girl. The mother of the girl knew about the affair but insisted the boy convert to Islam, which Rajneesh refused. Anchal says Rajneesh was tortured in the police custody putting pressure on him to convert and when he refused consistently, he was murdered. The Jammu papers have reported quoting the postmortem report that police tortured the boy in custody, broke his legs, crushed his knee, gave him electric shocks and peeled his nails before declaring his "suicide". In cold blood.

In Srinagar. In a police post. He was married on August 21, "picked up" without an arrest warrant on September 29 and was found dead in police custody on October 4. Though a magisterial inquiry was ordered, no FIR was lodged till yesterday, that is, October 14, when a chief judicial magistrate in Jammu ordered an inquiry against 11 accused persons in Srinagar.

The Buddhists of Ladakh and the Hindus of Jammu have been complaining for long that Srinagar has become an alien land for them. It discriminates against them on the basis of religion. The Amarnath Shrine agitation is a recent pointer to what Srinagar does to its minorities. The forced exile of half a million Hindus from the valley is another example of the attitude that the only Muslim-majority state of India has exhibited towards non-Muslims. For a detailed factsheet regarding Srinagar’s blatant communal bias against Jammu, please see my column.

A couple of years before, the Buddhist Association of Ladakh gave a memorandum to the central government. A part of it said:

1. During 1992-99, 24 Buddhist girls from Leh district were converted to Islam and a majority of them were taken to Kargil and Srinagar.

2. Twelve villages with hamlets of Buddhists, comprising 651 families (numbering approximately 5,000) located at 40km to 60km from Kargil town were targeted for conversions. Till 2002, 72 boys and girls were converted to Islam, according to the survey conducted by the Ladakh Buddhist Association.

3. Muslims of Kargil are not allowing the LBA to repair and reconstruct a 40-year-old Gompa comprising three rooms and lying in a shambles.

4. Cremation of dead Buddhists is not allowed at Kargil and the body has to be moved at a remote Buddhist area.

5. No Buddhist sarai is allowed to be constructed at Kargil though there has been a demand for the last 35 years.

6. Kargil has 20% Buddhist population. Yet (a) only one Buddhist was appointed patwari out of 24 patwaris, the rest were all Muslims. (b) In 1998, 40 employees for Class IV were appointed in the education department; out of these only one was Buddhist, that too after his conversion to Islam.

Similar complaints, with proven statistics were given regarding discrimination against Buddhists in the area of Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS), admission to medical and engineering colleges and allocation of development funds received from the central government.

That’s Srinagar.

So who is going to help Anchal? She seems to be a courageous beloved of her "slain" husband and has been facing media crews with grit. She has refused an ex gratia grant by the state government and has demanded a CBI inquiry. The state leaders, who made a beeline to Shopian, have not bothered to say even a word of sympathy, leave aside visiting her.

Her only "crime": she loved Rajneesh.

Monday, October 12, 2009

China shows the world- How to deal with Jihad

Beijing: While coming to National Security, It seems only in India we got divided leaders and Human right activists. Though China hob-nob with Pakistan, while coming to their internal security they are committed to suppress the Jihadi elements.A Chinese court has handed down death penalty to 6 Jihadis who were involved in the Jihadi riots against Hans in Muslim dominated province of Xinijang.

According to Xinhua- Mouth piece of Communist China - Among those sentenced to death yesterday was Abdukerim Abduwayit, who was convicted of beating five people to death and an arson attack on a building.Four other men were convicted of fatal assaults on four bystanders. The sixth man who faces execution set fire to a shop, killing five people inside.

Will Our Communists who looks to China for idealogical blessings every now and then, take some cue from this?

'तुम मुझे वोट दो, मैं हिन्दुओं का सफाया करूंगा

महाराष्ट्र में चुनाव प्रचार समाप्त हो गये हैं. लेकिन इस बार महाराष्ट्र में चुनाव प्रचार अब तक के सभी विधानसभा चुनावों में सबसे हिंसक रहे हैं और अपराधियों का बोलबाला रहा है. लेकिन कांग्रेस-एनसीपी के उम्मीदवार कादिर मौलाना एक ऐसा कारनामा किया कि पूरा महाराष्ट्र सकते में है. मौलाना कादिर के नाम से चुनाव प्रचार के दौरान एक पोस्टर पूरे विधानसभाक्षेत्र में बांटा गया जिसमें कहा गया है कि आप मुझे वोट दीजिए, मैं शहर से हिन्दुओं का सफाया करूंगा.

पोस्टर के शीर्षक में लिखा गया है- "अमानुल्ला का जमाना फिर से लाना है, शिवसेना (हिन्दुओं) का शहर से नामोनिशान मिटाना है. अल्ला ने भेजा है मौलाना कदीर को, औरंग की जमीन पर फिर से चांद सितारा लहराना है." कदीर की ओर से जारी गयी अपील में कहा गया है कि "मेरे जैसे उम्मीदवार की सख्त जरूरत है जो मुसलमानों की हिफाजत करे और उनके हुकूक की रक्षा करे." इसके बाद कदीर की ओर से जारी अपील में कहा गया है कि "मैं तुम्हें यकीन दिलाता हूं कि गैर मुसलमानों की ओर से जो मुसीबतें आ पड़ी हैं उसका मुकाबला करने के लिए और कौमी ताकत बढ़ाने के िलए मेरी गुजारिश का ख्याल करते हुए और किसी को वोट देने की गलती न करें."

सैयद अब्दुल कादिर अमीर उर्फ कादिर मौलाना की ओर से जारी इस अपील की इलाके में तीखी प्रतिक्रिया हुई है. इसके बाद कादिर ने ऐसी किसी भी अपील से अपना संबंध होने से इंकार कर दिया है. कादिर ने कहा है कि इस तरह की कोई अपील उन्होंने जारी नहीं की है लेकिन अपील पर आल इण्डिया मस्जिद कमेटी का जिक्र होने पर उन्होंने कुछ नहीं कहा है.

कादिर की इस अपील पर शिवेसना ने तीखी प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए चुनाव आयोग में इस बात की शिकायत की है. संजय राउत ने आरोप लगाया है कि कांग्रेस प्रदेश का इस्लामीकरण करने पर उतारू है इसलिए उसके उम्मीदवार इस तरह से प्रचार करने के बाद भी मैदान में डटे हुए हैं.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hindu Youth Killed in Police Station for Marrying Muslim girl

Protests raged in Jammu city on Friday over the custodial death of a local youth in Srinagar. A senior police officer was thrashed by the mob.

The protestors surrounded a police bus in which around 40 jail inmates were being taken to court. Among those roughed up was an assistant commissioner of police.

What triggered the protests was the death of Rajneesh Sharma, a Jammu youth, in Srinagar. Rajneesh had married Amina Yusuf, a Kashmiri girl. She embraced Hinduism and changed her name to Aanchal Sharma.

This triggered protests in the Kashmir Valley and the police picked up Rajneesh for questioning. He died in custody.

While the police claimed that Rajneesh committed suicide in prison, his family members alleged he was beaten to death for daring to marry a Kashmiri Muslim girl.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Support Chidambaram's war

Tarun Vijay

The brutal killings and beheading of security personnel and common citizens in Jharkhand and Maharashtra must make all Indians stand up in unison to defeat the Maoists. We must shun all our differences on such occasions. Home minister P Chidambaram must get full support in his war on the Maoists. Those who know and have been interacting with him can vouch he is willing to do another Siddhartha Shankar Ray in spite of a strong pro-Naxalite lobby in Delhi. He snubbed them on one occasion and in clear words termed Maoists as ‘cold blooded murderers’. Indians, performing their duties and living as law abiding citizens can’t be allowed to be beheaded by the beastly gun wielders who say they are secular revolutionaries. Till June this year, according to home ministry sources, 1,127 incidents of Maoist violence occurred in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra, Maharashtra, Orissa and Bihar. In these, 457 citizens were killed including a two-year-old. Two hundred of those killed were security personnel and 27 special police officers, the common citizens who offer their services to help the security network. Many were killed after being declared ‘police informers’. The Maoists have destroyed 172 schools, hospitals, roads, railway stations, police posts and similar public property in the above-mentioned period. In the last 10 years the figure of the killings by the Maoists has crossed five thousand. Their sources of funds and ammunition lie in the territories of India’s sworn enemies and their boys get training in jungle warfare too by the intelligence agencies of the neighbouring countries. So, those who act to destroy our social fabric and create insurgents, those who are our enemies are their friends.

See some of the news reports about their ‘acts of bravery’: (a) Last year hundreds of them took over a town in Bihar and freed nearly 400 inmates from a jail, including many supporters, (b)This year they stole 19 tonnes of explosives from a state mining operation in Chhattisgarh, and killed more than 50 people by setting off a landmine under a truck in February, (c) The home ministry says nearly 1,000 people died in Maoist-violence last year, while a senior police officer told Reuters there were more than 20,000 armed rebels backed by hundreds of thousands of supporters, and (d) According to villagers, (in Bihar) the victims were killed after they defied Maoists and refused to hand over their land to them."They claim our land to be theirs and the incident took place at the disputed land site. They came at midnight. They caught all he people and shot at their heads from a close range," said Jawahar Singh, a villager.

Still in Delhi, one may find a number of so-called intellectuals of the secular variety trying to raise support and a respectable space for them. They base their sympathies for the Maoists on two counts: they are working for the emancipation of the poor and the downtrodden, people who are voiceless against the repression of the state apparatus, and secondly their motive is secular, they want development for people's progress and an equitable distribution of resources which the corrupt state machinery and political system doesn’t provide. Hence their fight is for the higher motives of public good, so state power must try to understand them and provide good infrastructure in the areas they are ‘active’. That alone will help people to appreciate the noble virtues of the government and they will stop helping the Maoists.

Nothing can be farther from the truth than these manufactured premises. It’s a sham apology for the murderous exploiters of the poor and downtrodden. They work in unison with the country’s enemies and hence are nothing but traitors and antinational insurgents. Nobody has any sympathy for the corrupt and lethargic policemen, politicians nor would any sane person support the lackadaisical speed of development and lack of infrastructure in the poorer, distanced pockets of rural India where the Naxalites thrive. The rich get richer and the poor get the election dates. Hospitals, schools, roads, an administration that delivers has remained a dream, still we are marching ahead and the resilience and individual brilliance of an Indian is making the nation move ahead. A lot remains to be done but is the beheading the only acceptable method to achieve that and to cleanse the system? Then how many heads must roll before the final heaven of the proletariat revolution materialises? It’s also false that the Maoists enjoy public support. Most of their cadres are drawn at gunpoint or compelled to join their ranks through threat. If the Maoists are so confident of massive public support why don’t they contest elections and make the ugly, corrupt politicians leave the space for the Red angels?

The security personnel may be as good or bad as are the pen-pushers of Delhi and Kolkata who provide intellectual shields to the murderers of Red Land. Francis, who was beheaded in Jharkhand or any other person in uniform, is also a victim of a rusted system. Policemen are ill equipped, poorly paid, asked to do difficult duty hours, and yet not given the respect they deserve. They come from lower or middle income group families, the men in white, the netajis, put tremendous pressure on them for political purposes, at the end they are held responsible for any mistake or failing to contain the lawbreakers while the politicians enjoy dinners with them in circuit houses as we saw in the last Lok Sabha elections when the same Maoist leaders were entertained by Congress leaders to ensure electoral victory in their areas of ‘influence’ in Andhra. The men in khaki are expected to protect the citizen. It’s a tall order for which they are never trained. The police and security set-up in India remains prisoner to a colonial vision. Prakash Singh, the renowned police officer, took up the issue and got orders from the Supreme Court too, but no state has shown any interest in implementing the orders. None in India has shown that he has a stake in reforming the police set up because the corrupt and rusted machinery serves vested interests. Reforming and making the men in khaki enjoy a certain degree of autonomy, better arms and modern training in guerrilla warfare and of course better salaries is on nobody’s agenda.

One has to have an intense hate and a ruthless violent mind to behead a person or to kill children.

Ruldu Ram (not the real name but the story is true), a tribal student from Chhattisgarh is the youngest child in his family. He has a younger brother and a sister. His father was a farmer, having a small piece of land in the remote part of Dantewara. For him the life remained a constant struggle, agriculture was not enough to provide for the family needs and he had to go for labour work, quite often. Still he was getting notices of demand from the local Maoist outfits: pay a thousand, or sometimes five thousand or part with your land. He was afraid but couldn’t do anything. Neither could he inform the police. The men in khaki were as unreliable. The news would soon reach the Naxalites and they would have him killed on charges of being a police informer. One day the Maoists, six of them, came to his house to demand money. He was simply unable to pay. His children and wife were all seeing him begging for his life. The Naxalites wanted money or instead asked him to join their ranks. They get new recruits like this, at the gun point. The father showed them his children and wife. Who will look after them if he goes to the jungle to take up guns for the red revolutionaries about whom he knew nothing? No idea why they are fighting, for whom and to serve what purpose. Angry Naxalite warriors beheaded him before the eyes of wailing children and a helpless wife.

This year, when the brother of Ruldu Ram’s slain father too refused Maoist’s demands, he was beheaded in his house.

Ruldu Ram is with us, a few friends who are helping children like him pursue studies and maybe he would become a police officer. His mother, with blank eyes, works in her village, often as a labourer and tries to ensure food and some education for Ruldu’s brother and sister. She has only one dream: to see children grow up and get married. She doesn’t know that her husband was slain for the cause of ‘the poor, downtrodden and proletariat’. Those who killed were ‘revolutionaries' working to bring about a ‘change in the statecraft, which is anti-people, anti-development and anti everything that their philosophy, Maoism, another name for the Communism as was practiced by Stalin and Mao’, approves of. She is ignorant. She didn't read Das capital.

There are more than 5,000 such stories. Stories of poor, ignorant, farmers and labourers, teachers and students, infants and school-going children. All of them were killed for a ‘revolution’. To bring about a change. They were either labeled police informers or were killed because they wore uniform. They were agents of the state. Hence deserved to be murdered.

And then these, the revolutionaries who killed small and petty farmers and villagers and recruited new members not through convincing them about the greatness of their ideology, but at gunpoint,’ join us or get killed’ had a number of influential dreamy eyed drawing room chocolate cheeked supporters who would discuss the poor at International addas of passionate debates and say how Naxalsim is directly connected to the lack of development and increasing corruption and anti-people policies of the government. They would say the gun wielders are not criminals, they have a dream for the emancipation of the common people, they want to serve the poor and the downtrodden and the farmers and the women.

Those providing a shield to the Maoist murderers should also be held as much responsible for the killings as are the Maoists.

Chidambaram has rightly refused to get into this ‘tackle Naxalism-Maoism through development' trap. In a civil society, development, democracy and a strong sense of respecting pluralism can have no place for violence. We are suffering too much from the bloodshed of our own people — Islamic jihad is on one side and on the other side has emerged the threat of Maoism. Both are two faces of the same coin. Both must be dealt with an iron hand. Hence, Chidambaram needs India’s support crossing all barriers of parties and ideologies.