Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Changing strategy of anti-India forces

Saturday July 30, 05:34 PM

By Pankaj Choudhary

Srinagar, July 30 (ANI): The suicide attack by militant outfits on Friday at Badshah Chowk after Jumma Prayer hints at a change in the strategy of anti-India forces.

At least two people were killed and 20 others were injured. At around 5.00 pm, militants hurled one hand grenade on a police Gypsy. Immediately after that fierce gun battle between security forces and militants ensued. In the cross-fire at least 20 people were injured which also included seven photo journalists. Among others, condition of two CRPF personnel is said to be critical.

Such attack has become a regular feature of terrorists who are fast losing their ground and are being cornered by people as well as security forces.

But the most intriguing aspect of this particular attack is that three militant outfits claimed responsibility. They are --- Al Masoorain, Jamiatul Mujaheedin and Islamic Front. This is in sharp contrast to earlier strategy.

Earlier, there used to be only one organisation which used to boast of having engineered such attack. But, now media offices in Srinagar would receive three - four calls from various organisations. These phone calls would pressurize media offices to tomtom their organisations' name.

Intelligence officials say that this strategy is only to please their " bosses" across the border. Not only this, these organisations claim money from their mentors across the border by assuring them that it is their outfit which has executed such dastardly acts. At the same time, these outfits also try to confuse the intelligence sleuths. However, intelligence officials say that the modus-operandi indicates the handi-work of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the parent organisation of almost all outfits. After the US administration put LeT on terrorist list, LeT decided to change its strategy. Now, it has various organistaions working with different names.

Al Masoorain, Jamiatul Mujaheedin and Islamic Front are the same organisations with different names working under the guidance of Lashkar-e-Taiba leadership and ISI .

Intelligence officials also notice one marked difference from these outfits' earlier strategy. Earlier , whenever there used to be any militant strike, then Pakistan-based militant organisation used to take responsibility.

It used to be the practice of Pakistan-based militant outfits to call Indian media agencies and claim responsibility. Most of the time they used to fax press-note on their letter -pad. But now, under the guidance of ISI a tacit agreement has been formalised between various militant organisations. No Pakistan based militant organisation has claimed the responsibility for any attack in Kashmir for last 6 months.

Strict instructions has been issued by army establishment to Pakistan - based outfits to keep silence whenever there is any major terrorist strike. According to sources, ISI has instructed that outfits operating on Indian soil should claim responsibility.

Undoubtedly , Pakistan is still working on the same thesis of inflicting "thousand cuts" to India. So much so, that Amanullah Khan , chairman of Jammu kashmir Liberation Front , has said that for all the deaths and destructions that has happened in Valley only ISI has to be blamed.

"The unending struggle"-the book authored by Amanullah Khan and recently released has revealed all these facts. Amanullah Khan has also said that Sheikh rashid Ahmed, the information and broadcasting minister in General Pervez's cabinet, used to provide all logistic assistance to militants. Khan has also said in his book that with the help of ISI and army establishment , Sheikh was running a militant camp which was equipped with all latest

technology. It may be worthmentioning here that earlier Yasin Mallik , chairperson of Indian chapter of JKLF, has also accused Sheikh rashid Ahmed of running one militant camp near Muzaffarabad , the capital of Pak Occupied Kashmir.

Despite all these revealtions Sheikh Rashid still adorns the General Pervez's cabinet.And his continuation in Gen. Pervez cabinet raises some genuine questions about the intention of Gen. Pervez who claims to be fighting tooth and nail against the terrorist outfits.Yesterday , he had a telephonic talk with our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. According to PMO, he expressed his grief over the natural calamity that has struck Mumbai.

But , he didn't say anything about the man-made calamity that has struck the valley in recent past with quick succession.

Yesterday Gen. Pervez also invited all foreign correspondent working in Pakistan and sermonised them about the role of Pakistan in " War against Terrorism" . In fact this was an image build-up exercise. Recently , the two major terrorist attack --- one in London and another in Egypt --- had once again put the Pakistan government in dock.The two terror strikes have raised serious doubts that whether Pakistani government is sincerely working against terrorists outfits or not.

In fact , British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a detailed telephonic talk with Gen. Pervez. And after that telephonic talk Gen. Pervez arrested 200 people who have links with militants outfits. Experts say this is mere eye-wash. Earlier in May 2002, Gen. Pervez has shown similar zeal and put more than 2000 people behind bar. But reports suggested that many innocent were arrested and all these fake arrest were made only to please the American bosses.

Yesterday , Gen. Pervez once again flogged his favourite " whipping -boy" ---that is Madarssa. He daclared that all 1400 foreign nationals studying in Madarassa will have to leave the country. But sources say that the number is much more than what Gen. Pervez is stating.

According to reports , about 5000 Afghani youths, with Talibani mindset , are residing in different hostels of Madarassa spread across the country. " The so-called crackdown on Madarassa is only a lip-service .... if Gen. Pervez is really sincere in his fight against terrorism then he should nail down "fundamentalist element" within ISI," say one intelligence official.

Intelligence sources also have informations that more than 2000 trained militants are waiting across the border to sneak into the Indian territories. Infiltration is still going on .... the Gurez fighting is an ample proof of Pakistani intention. Moreover, according to the Government statistics this year alone from January till 25th July altogether 518

militants were gunned down whereas the civilian casualty is 240 and the number of martyred security personnel during this period is only 100. The higher number of militants killed during the period indicates the preparedness of terrorist outfits.

Be it Ayodhya or London , be it Kashmir or Egypt.... everywhere the footprints of terrorist activities indicate the presence of Pakistani element.

Even Gen. Pervez recently admitted in his address to the nation that whenever there is any terrorist strike anywhere in the world...the foremost thing is that the name of Pakistan props up. He seemed to be annoyed because his country is earning bad name. ut then he is doing nothing.

Personal image build-up would do nothing. Either he is helpless or working according to a hatched conspiracy. On TV screen he would chide terrorist outfits but on the other hand he would have secret parleys with them.

This double standard would not last long. And gradually the international community has come to know that it is only Pakistan where breeding grounds for militant outfits are available easily. (ANI)

A Quranic concept of terrorism

Author: N.S. Rajaram
Publication: The American Thinker
Date: July 22, 2005

Jihad is the ‘evil ideology’ that is driving terrorism. Muslims should take the lead in rooting out this barbarism.

Early reports indicate that there were no fatalities from four coordinated explosions that again targeted Londons’ transit system yesterday, July 21, 2005, exactly two weeks after the Islamikaze carnage of July 7, 2005 that killed over 50 persons. Perhaps we will also be spared the surreal drama that is enacted each time there is a major Islamikaze terrorist attack: politicians and various other “experts”—non-Muslim and Muslim alike—start praising Islam. They tell us that Islam is a noble religion that stands for peace and compassion and abhors violence. This is what Mr. Tony Blair did immediately following the London bombings of 7/7/05. It is now all but an obligatory ritual.

The major players in this post-attack drama are Muslim leaders and academics. They voice apprehensions about the possible ‘backlash’ against innocent Muslims, resulting from the terrorist acts of a minority. They assure us that the terrorists are acting against the teachings of Islam. This is soon followed by a third act, an airing of Muslim grievances— the war in Iraq, the Palestinian problem, and of course the oppression of Muslims in non-Muslim countries like Britain. The talk is always about backlash and grievances, rarely about their own responsibility in allowing fanaticism to flourish in their midst.

In all this there is an unstated assumption that the root causes of terrorism lie outside the teachings of Islam. If that is the case, how are we to explain the fact all the terrorist attacks—from New York to London to Bali—have one thing in common: that they were perpetrated by groups acting in the name of Islam? It is hard to believe that the Bali bombings had anything to do with Iraq or Palestine.

In this drama of denial and diversion, there is always a reluctance to mention the one word that goes a long way towards explaining terrorism: Jihad. While Mr. Blair talked about an evil ideology of hate, he did not mention Jihad. Neither did the British Muslim leaders who promised full cooperation. All spoke in vague terms— about fighting ‘extremism and fundamentalism’ without telling us how.

At this moment of crisis, what the world needs is clarity, not obfuscation. Fortunately, we have a lucid explanation of Jihad and terrorism by one of the founding fathers of modern terrorism, the late General Zia-ul-Haq, former president of Pakistan. He sponsored one Brigadier Malik to produce an authoritative military manual on Jihad called The Quranic Concept of War.

In his laudatory foreword to the book, General Zia wrote:

“JIHAD FI-SABILILLAH (Jihad in the path of Allah) is not the exclusive domain of the professional soldier, nor is it restricted to the application of military force alone. The book brings out with simplicity, clarity and precision the Quranic philosophy on the application of the military force, within the context of the totality that is JIHAD.”

Indeed it does. Brigadier Malik writes,

“the Holy Prophet’s operations …are an integral and inseparable part of the divine message revealed to us in the Holy Quran. … The war he planned and carried out was total to the infinite degree. It was waged on all fronts: internal and external, political and diplomatic, spiritual and psychological, economic and military.”

Another point made by the author is that the war should be carried out in the opponent’s territory. “The aggressor was always met and destroyed in his own territory.” The ‘aggressor’ is anyone who stands in the way of Jihad.

Where does terrorism come in the picture?

“The Quranic military strategy thus enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the heart of the enemy, known or hidden…”

It doesn’t stop here, for Brigadier Malik assures us:

“Terror struck into the hearts of the enemy is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved… Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him.” (Original emphasis.)

That is to say, the enemy should be made to live in a state of perpetual terror. We should be grateful to Brigadier Malik and the late General Zia for spelling it out with such clarity. We no longer need to grope in the dark to identify this “evil ideology of hate” in Mr. Blair’s picturesque phrase.

Though little known in the West, The Quranic Concept of War is widely studied in Islamic countries. It has been translated into several languages including Arabic and Urdu (the official language of Pakistan). Indian soldiers have recovered Urdu versions of the book from the bodies of slain militants in Kashmir.

It is no coincidence that the trail of terrorism today should lead to General Zia. By making Jihad the centerpiece of Pakistan’s politics he ensured that Jihadist thinking would dominate all aspects of Pakistani politics in both domestic and foreign affairs. And now British investigators have determined that three of the four suicide bombers responsible for the carnage in London on 7/7/05 were Muslims of Pakistani descent, who had recently flown to Karachi and attended Pakistani madrassas known to be run by terrorist organizations.

That this barbarous act of terrorism has indelible links to Pakistan is hardly surprising—for at least a quarter century, Pakistan has been a fountainhead of jihadist ideology—embodied in the The Qur’anic Concept of War—and a tactical training center for jihad terrorists. Indeed, even during the current Musharaf administration’s purported crackdown on Al Qaeda networks, as terrorism expert Con Coughlin observed,

“…the inescapable conclusion is that Pakistan forms the epicentre of Osama bin Laden's unremitting campaign of terror against the West.”

In the face of this, Mr. Blair’s actions in the days following the London blasts are not reassuring. Plans to deport all known Muslim fanatics allowed into Britain may accomplish little. Islamic terror is increasingly becoming home grown and will be more so in the future. What is needed is a method of combating indoctrination of young Muslim minds on English soil.

The so-called “blasphemy law” recently passed by the House of Commons is a knee-jerk reaction to pressure from Muslim groups. It will only shield Islam from honest review and criticism that the situation now demands. It is just a step removed from allowing Islamic courts and an Islamic thought police to function. This is what one expects in countries like Saudi Arabia, not Britain.

What is needed now is the exact opposite of such censorship: a free debate over all aspects of Islamic teachings and practices, especially Jihad. After all, Christianity and Hinduism, the other two major religions of Britain enjoy no such immunity. Nor have they asked for it.

Muslim leaders need to go beyond condemning violence and voicing grievances. They need to root out this evil from within their ranks. If they are really sincere about fighting terrorism, they should come out openly against the barbarism that is Jihad, and not hide behind vague statements about extremism and fanaticism. Mere lip service will not do.

Dr. N.S. Rajaram is a mathematician and historian of science. He lives in Oklahoma City and Bangalore, India



by B.Raman

(Observations made by the author at the Round Table on "Ayodhya and London: Lessons for the Future" organised by the International Terrorism Watch Project of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) at New Delhi on July 29,2005)

The world is back to 9/10. The jihadi training centres have started functioning full time once again in different parts of Pakistan. The jihadi terrorist training infrastructure in Afghanistan, which the US had destroyed through its air strikes during the course of its "Operation Enduring Freedom", has been fully restored ----this time in Pakistani territory. This has been stated not only by outside observers, but also by prestigious sections of the Pakistani media such as the "Herald", the monthly published from Karachi by the "Dawn" group of publications.

2. Afghanistan, which witnessed fairly peaceful Presidential elections last October, has started sliding slowly back into its traditional anarchy. The remnants of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, which had been driven out of Afghanistan by the US-led coalition, are back in increasing force in the Pashtun majority areas of the country. Others have joined them such as Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami (HEI), the Hizbut Tehrir (HT) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). And they have been getting the support of the fundamentalist political coalition of Pakistan called the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which is in power in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and is a member of the ruling coalition in Balochistan. The MMA's support for the terrorist elements has been corroborated by none other than Lt.Gen Syed Safdar Hussain , the Pakistani Corps Commander at Peshawar.

3. Suicide terrorism, which had disappeared from the terrorist landscape of Afghanistan, has made its re-appearance after three years. Following allegations of the descecration of the Holy Koran by the Americans at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, the Islamic world witnessed widespread anti-US demonstrations, but these were peaceful except in Afghanistan, which saw serious incidents of anti-US violence. Not a day passes without clashes, raids, beheadings etc by the terrorist combine in Afghanistan. A US helicopter was shot down killing all its 17 occupants. Three members of a US Special Force unit were killed. Earlier this month, when the US troops chased a raiding party, it crossed over into the Waziristan area of Pakistan. For the first time since the beginning of "Operation Enduring Freedom", the US troops exercised the right of hot pursuit and killed all the members of the raiding party in Pakistani territory.

4. Pakistan continues to be the most important hub of jihadi terrorism in the world. It is a veritable warren of jihadi terrorists of various hues, generations, vintages and nationalities.There are 220 references to Pakistan in the report of the US National Commission on 9/11, which was released last year. Since the attempt to blow up the New York World Trade Centre in March,1993, there have been very few international terrorist strikes during the investigation of which Pakistan and Pakistanis had not figured in some connection or the other.

5.In violation of the promises repeatedly made by Gen.Pervez Musharraf to the US, he has not taken any action against the Pakistan-based jihadi terrorist training infrastructure directed against India. Nor has he acted against the Taliban leaders and cadres operating against Afghan and American troops in Afghanistan from Pakistani territory. The only limited action he has taken is against some operatives and cadres of the Al Qaeda, who pose a threat to US nationals and interests. Even that action has not led to the arrest or killing of Osama bin Laden and his No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who continue to operate from the tribal region straddling across the Pakistan-Afghan border and periodically disseminate video/audio recorded statements inciting their followers in different countries to step up their jihad.

6. Musharraf's televised address to his nation on July 21,2005, in the wake of the London explosions, calling upon his security forces to crack down on the extremists and terrorists operating from Pakistani territory, has not been taken seriously by large sections of his own people, who look upon the present crack-down, which has reportedly led to hundreds of arrests, as another eye-wash and another instance of shadow-boxing.

7. This is the third crack-down ordered by Musharraf since 9/11. "How many crack-downs make a genuine crack-down," asks Capt. (retd) Ayaz Amir, the reputed Pakistani columnist of the "Dawn". When his own people don't believe him, it is surprising how the Americans believe him.

8. Bangladesh has become the second major hub of jihadi terrorism in the Asian region. The terrorist training camps of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), a member of bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF), located in Bangladesh territory have been training jihadi terrorists from Southern Thailand. Bangladesh continues to provide safe sanctuaries, funds and arms, ammunition and explosives to various anti-Indian terrorist groups---jihadi as well as non-jihadi.

9. Southern Thailand has joined southern Philippines and Indonesia as another favourite ground for jihadi terrorists in South-East Asia. Since the beginning of 2004, about 800 persons have been killed there---suspected terrorists as well as innocent civilians. Explosions using mobile phones, assassinations of officials at point-blank range and beheadings of not only Buddhists, but also Muslims co-operating with the authorities----these are the terrorist repertoire taught at the training centres in Bangladesh. According to the " Daily Times", a prestigious daily of Lahore, (July 18,2005) jihadis from Southern Thailand continue to come to Pakistan for training and the plan for the jihad in Southern Thailand was finalised at a clandestine meeting oj the jihadi leaders in Lahore.

10. There have been more acts of suicide terrorism in Iraq during the last two years than during the previous two decades in the entire world. More innocent civilians and government workers have been killed in Iraq by terrorists during the last two years than in the entire world during the previous two decades. In July,2005, alone, there have been 55 attacks of suicide terrorism in Iraq's Sunni Triangle . There has been an unending flow of volunteers for suicide terrorism in Iraq---about two-thirds of them from Saudi Arabia and the rest from Syria, Kuwait, Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

11. Saudi Arabia continues to bleed despite the ruthless measures taken by the security forces to eliminate the Al Qaeda from its territory. Suspected complicity of elements from the intelligence and
security agencies of the country with the terrorists have made the task more difficult. The energy security of many countries, including India, could be jeopardised, if the terrorists ultimately prevail in Saudi Arabia.

12. Jihadi terrorism has spread to Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, Spain and the UK and has re-appeared in Egypt from where it had disappeared since 1997. Suicide terrorism has claimed its first victims in the UK. The Muslim immigrant communities in the countries of the European Union (EU) have become the Western hub of international jihadi terrorism. The largest number of terrorist suspects detained for questioning in the EU countries after the Madrid blasts in March,2004, were Moroccans and Pakistanis or people of Moroccan and Pakistani origin. The Saudis, the Egyptians, the Moroccans and the Pakistanis constitute the driving force of jihadi terrorism today, whether in the East or the West.

13. One finds jihadi terrorists of three different vintages operating in different parts of the world. Those of the Afghan vintage, who are now in their late 30s or 40s; those of the Bosnian vintage, who are now in their late 20s or 30s; and those of the Iraqi vintage, who are in their 20s. They do not all belong to the Al Qaeda or to any other single organisation. They belong to different organisations, divided into a number of small cells, which have learnt to operate autonomously even in the absence of or without the need for a central command and control.

14. What unites them is not a single organisation or a single united front like the International Islamic Front (IIF) or a single leader, but a widely shared anger against the US and those perceived as co-operating with it. They also have a widely-shared objective, namely, the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate and the elimination of the US influence from the Islamic world. The US occupation of Iraq and the US counter-terrorist methods, with the emphasis on the use of the military approach, have considerably contributed to this anger, but it is not the only reason for the anger. Their perception that the US is the only power capable of standing in their way and frustrating their objective of achieving an Islamic Caliphate is another important factor.

15. They have proved wrong much of the conventional wisdom regarding terrorism. Poverty is not the cause of their anger. Many of these terrorists are the children of well-to-do, if not affluent, families. Lack of education and the consequent unemployment are not the cause of their anger either. Many of them are university graduates----having done their studies in science and technology. Not all of them are the products of the madrasas. Some of them are the products of reputed secular educational institutions. Not all of them are the products of jihadi terrorist training camps. Many are self-taught in the fabrication and use of explosives.

16. Many of them are graduates of the Internet, which is their alma mater. They have converted the Internet into a virtual global madrasa and a virtual global training centre. They have mastered the use of the innovations of science and technology better than the intelligence and security agencies. They are technology savvy, without being technology slavish.

17. As Dr.Marc Sageman, a former CIA operative, has remarked, the international network of jihadi terrorists has grown organically. It has grown like the Internet. It would be very difficult to trace the evolution of the Internet, the various stages in its growth. So too in the case of the international jihadi terrorist network.

18. This is the nature and magnitude of the threat which the international community faces today and is likely to face for another five to 10 years to come. How to face this threat? What are the post-9/11 lessons? What are the lessons of Ayodhya, London and Sharm-el-Sheikh? How to deal with these terrorist networks effectively and make them wither away?

19. Lucidity in analysis and assessment has to be the starting point of any effective counter-terrorist and counter-terrorism doctrines. The counter-terrorist doctrine focuses on the terrorist organisations and their networks. It treats terrorism as a modus operandi and as a crime, which has to be eradicated. The counter-terrorism doctrine treats terrorism as a phenomenon, which has non-security related aspects, requiring equal and simultaneous attention. The counter-terrorism doctrine seeks to provide a humane corrective to an exclusively security-driven approach to terrorism.

20. The first and the most important lesson of 9/11 is that terrorism is an absolute evil and cannot be justified by any cause. Even Musharraf had to admit this in his televised address to the Pakistani people on January 12,2002. No one has underlined this more eloquently than Mr.Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General.

21. In his address on March 10,2005, to the four-day international summit on "Democracy, Terrorism and Security," held at Madrid, to coincide with the first anniversary of the Madrid blasts, he said: " We cannot, and need not, redress all the grievances that terrorists claim to be advancing. But we must convince all those who may be tempted to support terrorism that it is neither an acceptable nor an effective way to advance their cause. It should be clearly stated, by all possible moral and political authorities, that terrorism is unacceptable under any circumstances, and in any culture."

22. This lesson regarding the unacceptability in a civilised and law-abiding world of the use of terrorism as a means of articulating grievances, even if they be legitimate, has been learnt by the international community after the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists of different hues over the years. We cannot and should not forget this lesson. If we do so, it will be at our own peril.

23. The spread of terrorism is due to the fact that unity of action against the civilised world by the terrorists is not matched by equal, if not stronger, unity of action by the international community. This unity of action has been weakened, if not thwarted, by hair-splitting arguments over the definitions of terrorism and the root causes of terrorism.

24. Can we tell the relatives of the thousands of men, women and children killed in Asia, Europe, Africa and the USA that we could not protect them and save their lives just because we could not agree on the definitions of terrorism and what are the root causes of terrorism.

25. Everybody knows what is an act of terrorism. Hijacking an aircraft is terrorism, even if it be for a political objective. Planting explosives in the means of public transport is terrorism. Targeted assassination of individuals is terrorism. Planting explosives in public places is terrorism. Throwing hand-grenades at civilians is terrorism. Any organisation, which indulges in these acts, is a terrorist organisation and any State, which supports and assists such organisations, is a State-sponsor of terrorism.

26. The second lesson is that we have to make a clear distinction between the root causes of terrorism and the root causes of anger in an aggrieved community, which are exploited by terrorists. We have allowed terrorists and dubious human rights organisations to define what are the root causes of terrorism, thereby playing into the hands of terrorists.

27. A root cause of terrorism is what facilitates the murderous acts of the terrorists and helps them to go unpunished. We again owe it to Mr.Kofi Annan for introducing a healthy balance in this debate on the so-called root causes and removing any confusion. He told the Madrid summit on March 10: " Groups use terrorist tactics because they think those tactics are effective, and that people, or at least those in whose name they claim to act, will approve. Such beliefs are the true “root cause” of terrorism. Our job is to show unequivocally that they are wrong."

28. The conventional wisdom that lack of development is a root cause of terrorism has been proved wrong in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Spain and England. There has been an impressive growth in the Pakistani economy since 9/11. This has had no impact on the growth of terrorism from its territory.

29. There are five root causes of continuing and thriving terrorism. The first and the foremost root cause of thriving terrorism is the failure of the international community and the individual victim-States to make it clear to the terrorists that terrorism does not and will not pay. A soft State, which fails to deal with terrorism effectively and lets itself be intimidated by the terrorists, is the primary root cause. The action of the Indian Government in December,1999, in releasing some terrorists to meet the demands of some Pakistani jihadi hijackers paved the way for the attack on the Legislative Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir in October,2001, the attack on the Indian Parliament in December, 2001, and the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist, in Karachi in January-February,2002. The withdrawal of the Spanish troops from Iraq soon after the Madrid blasts paved the way for the recent London explosions.

30. The second root cause of thriving terrorism is the failure of the international community to act firmly against the State-sponsors of international jihadi terrorism. The collapse of the USSR and other Communist States of East Europe brought about the collapse of the Red Army faction of Germany, the group led by Carlos and other ideological groups, which were dependent on the support of the Communist States for their existence. Terrorism bred by other States withers away when deprived of such support. The jihadi terrorists are able to survive because of the support and complicity of States such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. After 9/11, one hears less and less the argument of one nation's terrorist being another nation's freedom-fighter. But, one still finds that one nation's State-sponsor of terrorism is another nation's stalwart ally against terrorism

31. The third root cause is the double standards adopted by certain nations in their attitude to terrorism. For them, terrorism is what threatens the lives of their citizens and their national interests. What threatens the lives and interests of others is acceptable and understandable behaviour, even if perceived by the victims as terrorism. India has been a major victim of the double standards by the US and other Western countries. Hopes that after 9/11 the US would discard these double standards have been belied. Pakistan's complicity with the anti-Indian terrorists is not viewed with the same glasses as its complicity with the anti-US terrorists. One finds these double standards not only in governmental, but also in non-governmental, including academic circles. It is such double standards which convey a wrong message to terrorists that terrorism pays in certain circumstances.

32. The fourth root cause of thriving terrorism is the unsatisfactory implementation of UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 by many States, particularly Pakistan, and the failure of the international community to act against them. Pakistan has repeatedly avoided extending mutual legal assistance to India in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases. It has avoided the arrest and deportation of 20 terrorists figuring in the INTERPOL's Red Corner Notices, who are wanted in India for indulging in acts of terrorism. It has violated the Conventions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation by failing to arrest and deport hijackers. It has avoided freezing the bank accounts of many jihadi terrorist leaders and organisations and of Dawood Ibrahim, the notorious mafia leader, who was declared by the US Treasury Department as an international terrorist in October 2003. The US had requested the UNSC to move for the freezing of his bank accounts. Pakistan has chosen to ignore this.

33. The fifth and final root cause of thriving terrorism is found in our own civil society and not in those of others. That is the opposition of our liberal elite to the legal empowerment of our police and other security agencies to enable them to perform effectively their counter-terrorist responsibilities. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were in the forefront of the national and global battle against terrorism and sacrificed their lives in the cause of counter-terrorism. They never hesitated to give the police and other agencies the required capabilities. How unfortunate their own party should now refrain from emulating their example!.

34. A satisfactory counter-terrorist doctrine, which provides for effective action to remove the above-mentioned five root causes of terrorism, will help to bring terrorism under control, but it will not help to eradicate terrorism unless it is combined with an effective counter-terrorism doctrine. The counter-terrorist doctrine, which is meant to deal with terrorism as a crime, seeks to neutralise the existing terrorist leaders, their followers and their organisations. The counter-terrorism doctrine seeks to prevent the flow of new volunteers to the terrorist organisations. For this purpose, it pays attention to the grievances of the community from which the terrorist organisations draw their volunteers, in order to deny these organisations the opportunity to exploit those grievances for keeping terrorism alive.

35. While the counter-terrorist doctrine seeks to remove the root causes of terrorism, which act as its oxygen, the counter-terrorism doctrine seeks to address the root causes of the grievances or anger nursed by the community. Among such root causes of grievances or anger, one could mention perceptions of injustice to the community, perceived violations of its human rights, a perceived insensitivity to their problems and difficulties, over-reaction by the security forces in terrorism-related situations, disproportionate use of force while implementing the counter-terrorist methods, bad governance, poor political leadership, the absence of a grievances monitoring and redressal machinery, the political grievances relating to various issues etc.

36. Any State has to address legitimate root causes of grievances and anger if it has to stop the flow of new volunteers to the terrorist organisations. The success of counter-terrorist policies depends on the national will and international co-operation. The success of counter-terrorism policies depends purely on the national will.

37. India is an oasis in a world devastated by jihadi terrorism of the Al Qaeda variety. Our Muslims, whether in J&K or Gujarat or elsewhere in the country, have had reasons for anger. Some of them have even taken to terrorism to give vent to their anger as one had seen in J&K, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu. But their anger, however intense and however justified, has not diluted their patriotism and their sense of values. India's Muslim community, the second largest in the world, has kept away from the Al Qaeda and the IIF. It does not support pan-Islamic ideas of an Islamic Caliphate. About a dozen Indian Muslims went to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions in the 1980s to be trained in the jihadi training camps, but they never joined the Muslims from other nations in their jihad against the Soviet troops.

38. The Americans did not capture a single Indian Muslim in Afghanistan. One Indian Muslim living in Saudi Arabia participated in the jihad against the Serbs in Bosnia. No Indian Muslim has gone to Iraq to join the jihad there.

39. The report of the US National Commission on 9/11 contains 220 references to Pakistan, but just one reference to India. The reference is about a visit to India by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad for unknown reasons. There is one confirmed instance of a Hindu convert to Islam from East Africa living in the UK helping the Al Qaeda. Another instance has come from Mumbai. There is an as yet unconfirmed instance of a Gujarati Muslim living in the UK being in touch with the Al Qaeda and having played a role in the recent London explosions.

40. These are exceptions, which prove the general rule that the Al Qaeda and the IIF have so far had no major base of support in India or amongst Muslims of Indian origin living abroad. This speaks highly of our Muslim community, our political leadership, our policy-makers and our security bureaucracy. The world has much to learn from India. How to continue to keep India such an oasis? That is one of the questions we have to address , while drawing lessons for the future. We cannot afford to be complacent that India does not provide a fertile soil for the Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda may not be active in India, but many of the Pakistani members of the International Islamic Front are. They could turn out to be the Trojan Horse of the Al Qaeda.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Brutality that boomerangs

By Saree Makdisi, Saree Makdisi, a professor of English literature at UCLA, is teaching in London for the summer.

Iam angered and sickened by the bombings here in London on July 7, but I am equally angered by the unthinking reactions in the United States and Britain to those disgusting attacks.

The usual self-congratulatory contrast between "our" civilization and "their" barbarism has set the stage for a cycle of moralistic inquiries into the motivations of suicide bombers and the supposed duty of "good" Muslims to restrain "bad" ones.

Few have noticed that suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. Fewer still seem to notice that what happened in London is what occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

But, you may say, our forces don't deliberately target civilians. Perhaps not. But they have consistently shown themselves to be indifferent to the civilian casualties produced by their operations.

"Collateral damage" is the inevitable result of choosing to go to war. By making the choice to go to war in Iraq, we made the choice to kill tens of thousands of civilians. It does not matter to bereaved parents whether their child was killed deliberately, as the result of a utilitarian calculation of "the greater good," or of the callous indifference of officials from a distant power.

American and British media have devoted hours to wondering what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. No one has paused to ask what would cause a seemingly normal young Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and drop bombs on a village, knowing full well his bombs will inevitably kill civilians (and, of course, soldiers).

Because "our" way of killing is dressed up in smart uniforms and shiny weapons and cloaked in the language of grand causes, we place it on a different moral plane than "theirs."

I read an article about a Marine sniper who was given a medal at a California ceremony for having shot dead 32 Iraqis during the battle for Fallouja last year — young men who were defending their city from an invading army. A nod to their deaths was made by the sniper and a chaplain, but these are the sentiments that struck me:

"He didn't kill 32 people," said a sergeant major. "He saved numerous lives…. That's how Marines look at it." And his mother said, "It's difficult. You send off your little boy and he comes back a man who has protected everyone."

Clearly, "our" lives are all that matter and "their" lives literally don't count.

And are we really expected to believe that such brutal indifference to other people's lives has nothing to do with what happened in London three weeks ago?

"It is by distortedly exalting some men, that others are distortedly debased," the Anglo American revolutionary Thomas Paine warned two centuries ago. As a result, he added, "a vast mass of humankind are degradedly thrown into the background of the human picture." His point was that if people are treated inhumanly, they will cease to act humanly.

Our governments dismiss out of hand any connection between the London bombings and the war in Iraq. Such attacks, they say, predate 2003. But Iraq was first invaded in 1991, not 2003. Then a decade of sanctions against that country killed a million Iraqis, including 500,000 children. Over the same period, unwavering support for Israel has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinians and the total paralysis of an entire people. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered by U.S. and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

At no point has peaceful protest, persuasion, demonstration, negotiation or remonstration made so much as a dent in the single-minded U.S. and British policy. If all legitimate forms of dissent go unheeded, illegitimate forms will be turned to instead. Some will resort to violence, which does not produce the desired result but may, by way of unthinking reaction, give vent to the inhumanity with which they have been treated for so long. Paine was right: People who are treated brutally will finally turn into brutes.

This is not a war between "civilization" and "barbarism" but a war between one form of zealotry and another, one form of ignorance and another, one form of barbarism and another. More of the same, underwritten by ignorance, will not yield solutions. The time has come to be human, and — motivated by sympathy, actuated by reason — to think and act as human beings, not unthinking brutes.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why can't we talk about faith?

by Keron Cato

Unless you are among fellow believers at a religious gathering, the quickest way to clear a room or create an enemy is to begin talking about religion. It's like turning a light on in a room full of cockroaches. They all scatter in various directions. Even worse, passions can flare and horrible insults be exchanged.

Such is the state of religion in polite (secular) Canadian society. We go on and on about freedom of religion and free speech, but when it comes right down to it, we are guilty of stifling that very freedom. We are afraid of religious dialogue, and even more afraid of certain people of faith, especially when they hold strong views contrary to our own values.

You know the people I'm talking about. They're the ones we consider old-fashioned, archaic, backward, regressive, crazy and, even worse, worthless. They're not like us. So we dismiss them as being strange and foolish.

In preparation for this column, I decided to retrieve the thoughts of my closest buds about faith in Canadian society. One friend, who describes herself as an agnostic, said that in Canada "it's whatever floats your boat" when it comes to faith and religion. My Hindu friend loves the fact that she has never been discriminated against based on her religion. However, she does sigh at the fact that her religion has been reduced in the minds of many to a thing of fantasy and mysticism. This could explain the recent Fashion Cares faux pas, when Hindu religious imagery was appropriated for a fashion show in what the community regarded as a degrading and insulting way. Another friend said she'd get back to me but neglected to do so.

I sensed discomfort. Let's just say that my little survey was the shortest one in history. Before long, we had moved on to something we can all agree about, food. Nothing will create a bond like sharing some idle conversation over a good meal.

And therein lies the problem with faith in Canadian culture. Although Canadians like to think of themselves as tolerant and open-minded, we are only truly tolerant of things we can identify with. Everything else leaves us running for the dark when the light is turned on.

Worse yet, we are becoming a nation that has come to equate agreement with tolerance and acceptance. To disagree, especially vocally, is to be intolerant and hateful. How else would you explain the horrible name calling directed toward prominent religious and political figures as well as religious institutions that opposed same-sex marriage and fought to keep the traditional definition alive? Why is it so easy for us to dismiss religion as a source of hate and intolerance, but not secular institutions and laws? Why are we so quick to blame society's ills on religion and the faithful?

The answer is simple. Faith and religion are easy targets. They intrinsically hold a great deal of power over the human mind and life. Faith operates on a different level than any other human attribute. It asks us to go beyond, far beyond, our human state and to believe in a power much greater than ourselves. That is difficult for many people to grasp, even frightening to some.

Where does that leave faith in our increasingly secular and liberal Canada, where almost anything goes? Not in a good place. Not when it comes to the borderline where religion and secularism meet. While there are many issues on which religion and the secular world can agree, there are many where they cannot and likely never will.

Faith and religion put limits on human behaviour. Secularism and liberalism seemingly do not. Therefore, the two worlds will always have disagreement and, at times, serious conflict. The trick is to find ways in which both can live together in peace, even when they do not agree. It is not the responsibility of one side, such as the faithful, to do the mending in this relationship. Both sides must work at it. As the saying goes, "you can't clap with one hand."

The struggle over the redefinition of marriage has left many in the faith community slightly disillusioned with the democratic process and even moreso with the idea of religious freedom. Many in the faith community say that when contentious issues are put to the test, religion always loses.

Anyone who values freedom and democracy and human rights should find that extremely disturbing. We have work to do. Let us not shut out people of faith in the name of political correctness or human rights. After all, the faithful are human as well and their rights can and have been violated throughout history. Let us love one another, even when we completely disagree on serious issues.


In Awe Of The White Man's Burden

Author: Partha Chatterjee
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 19, 2005

The British built abridged institutions, Mr Singh

There are reasons why the last surviving English gentlemen are today only to be found in India. They have brown skins, they don't speak the Queen's English, but in their hearts they are deeply appreciative of the legacies of British colonial rule. They care little for most aspects of contemporary British culture, though. They have no interest in British domestic politics. They have no taste for British art. They sneer at the British fondness for badly cooked curries. They rejoice in the fact that the best English literature today is produced by the ex-colonised. They watch the English football league on television but are fearful of the fans.

It is not the real Britain of Blair and Bradford and British Rail that they think about when they speak longingly of the British connection. The Britain they conjure up in their minds is an idea that once had real referents that have now almost completely vanished from the face of Britain. Yet the myth continues to gain strength among India's elites.

One wouldn't have suspected that Manmohan Singh might become an articulate proponent of this myth. But then the weight of mediaeval ceremonies practised at Oxford convocations can have strange effects. As he admitted, it was "a very emotional day" for him, even when he had already earned an earlier doctorate from the same university — one for which he had laboured hard. But then, come to think of it, why shouldn't Singh believe in the supposed virtues of the British empire? He is an economist-bureaucrat, virtually untouched by the rough and tumble of electoral politics. It shouldn't surprise us if he shares the desires and prejudices of India's professional middle classes.

What is this myth of "the beneficial consequences" of British rule? The PM spoke at Oxford of "good governance", mentioning, in particular, the rule of law, constitutional government, a free press, a professional civil service, modern universities and research laboratories. He forgot to add, however, that each of these elements of modern governance was introduced into India not in the form in which it was practised in Britain but always with crucial exceptions.

Thus, the British in India resisted the jury system or even habeas corpus outside the Presidency towns, resisted the trial of Europeans by Indian judges and, at every whiff of "sedition", enacted emergency laws that would have been unthinkable in Britain. Constitutional government was introduced, but even in the last elections held before Independence, less than 10% of Indian adults were eligible to vote. Elected provincial ministries were allowed, but British governors had virtually unlimited powers to accept or dismiss ministers, and civil servants were required to send confidential reports directly to the governor without the knowledge of elected ministers.

A free press? Yes, but only in the English language. Everywhere in India, until the last days of the Raj, the vernacular press lived under severe censorship laws. Singh is highly appreciative of the civil service, especially the district administration, created under British rule. The much celebrated steel frame epitomised the paternalist, and profoundly authoritarian, ethos of British colonial rule. Indians, it was believed, were moral infants, unable to protect or look after themselves. They had to be ruled by a benevolent master.

It was a form of government that was, of course, being abandoned in Britain even as it was introduced into India. Can one imagine a twentieth-century Britain governed by district magistrates? Finally, it is astonishing that Singh believes that the modern universities and research laboratories of India were set up by the British. Of the 20 universities of pre-Independence India, the majority were funded through endowments and donations by Indians. All postgraduate departments and science institutes were set up at the initiative of Indian educationists and against the vested interests of the colonial survey establishments. Modern education in India was a nationalist achievement, not a colonial gift.

All regimes, even the most repressive, have some beneficial effects: this is trivially true. The interesting question is when, where and why one chooses to point them out. We are being told that it is a sign of our growing self-confidence as a nation that we can at last acknowledge, without shame or guilt, the good the British did for us.

I suspect it is something else. The more popular democracy deepens in India, the more its elites yearn for a system in which enlightened gentlemen could decide, with paternal authority, what was good for the masses. The idea of an Oxford graduate of 22 going out to rule over the destiny of 100,000 peasants in an Indian district can stir up many noble thoughts in middle-class Indian hearts today.

But then, one should not be too harsh on the PM. He has, one assumes, only expressed a no longer secret desire of the Indian elite. Mahatma Gandhi, always more perspicacious than others, had noticed it 100 years ago. What the Indian middle classes, clamouring for self-government, really wanted, he said, was "English rule without the Englishman".

The writer is director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NY mayor apologises for bus raid

NY mayor apologises for bus raid
By Laura Trevelyan
BBC News, New York

The mayor of New York has apologised to five British tourists who were removed from a bus by police and forced to kneel on the pavement.

Michael Bloomberg said the men represented no threat whatsoever.

The men, who are all members of the Sikh religion, were on a tourist bus on Sunday when a worker became suspicious.

Security in the city has been increased since the London bombings and residents have been urged to report anything out of the ordinary to the police.

'No hard feelings'

The double decker bus was evacuated in Sunday's incident.

Armed police handcuffed the men with their arms behind their backs and ordered them to kneel on the pavement by Times Square.

However, the police later decided they represented no threat and released them.

Mayor Bloomberg warned the police to use common sense and avoid pigeon-holing people such as South Asian-looking Britons.

However, the mayor defended the police's show of force, saying they did not have any option based on what the bus tour operator had reported to them.

One of the five men from Birmingham told the New York Daily News there were no hard feelings. He said the incident had not ruined the men's trip.

Two-thirds of Muslims consider leaving UK

Vikram Dodd
Tuesday July 26, 2005
The Guardian

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have thought about leaving Britain after the London bombings, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.

The figure illustrates how widespread fears are of an anti-Muslim backlash following the July 7 bombings which were carried out by British born suicide bombers.

The poll also shows that tens of thousands of Muslims have suffered from increased Islamophobia, with one in five saying they or a family member have faced abuse or hostility since the attacks.

Police have recorded more than 1,200 suspected Islamophobic incidents across the country ranging from verbal abuse to one murder in the past three weeks. The poll suggests the headline figure is a large underestimate.

The poll came as British Islamic leaders and police met to try to boost recruitment of Muslim officers, improve efforts to protect Muslims from a backlash, and improve the flow of information from Muslims to the police about suspected terrorist activity.

Nearly two-thirds of Muslims told pollsters that they had thought about their future in Britain after the attacks, with 63% saying they had considered whether they wanted to remain in the UK. Older Muslims were more uneasy about their future, with 67% of those 35 or over having contemplated their future home country compared to 61% among those 34 or under.

Britain's Muslim population is estimated at 1.6million, with 1.1million over 18, meaning more than half a million may have considered the possibility of leaving.

Three in 10 are pessimistic about their children's future in Britain, while 56% said they were optimistic.

Nearly eight in 10 Muslims believe Britain's participation in invading Iraq was a factor leading to the bombings, compared to nearly two-thirds of all Britons surveyed for the Guardian earlier this month. Tony Blair has repeatedly denied such a link.

Muslim clerics' and leaders' failure to root out extremists is a factor behind the attacks identified by 57% of Muslims, compared to 68% of all Britons, and nearly two-thirds of Muslims identify racist and Islamophobic behaviour as a cause compared to 57% of all Britons.

The general population and Muslims apportion virtually the same amount of blame to the bombers and their handlers, with eight in 10 or more citing these as factors.

The poll finds a huge rejection of violence by Muslims with nine in 10 believing it has no place in a political struggle. Nearly nine out of 10 said they should help the police tackle extremists in the Islamic communities in Britain.

A small rump, potentially running into thousands, told ICM of their support for the attacks on July 7 which killed 56 and left hundreds wounded - and 5% said that more attacks would be justified. Those findings are troubling for those urgently trying to assess the pool of potential suicide bombers.

One in five polled said Muslim communities had integrated with society too much already, while 40% said more was needed and a third said the level was about right.

More than half wanted foreign Muslim clerics barred or thrown out of Britain, but a very sizeable minority, 38%, opposed that.

Half of Muslims thought that they needed to do more to prevent extremists infiltrating their community.

· ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,005 adults aged 18+ by telephone on July 15-17 2005. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Illegal immigration biggest threat to India: Advani

Press Trust of India
Posted online: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 at 1706 hours IST

New Delhi, July 26: Asserting that illegal immigration was the biggest threat to national security, Opposition on Tuesday made a scathing attack in the Lok Sabha on the Congress-led coalition charging it with attempting to bring IMDT Act in a different form to perpetuate its votebank politics.

Initiating a discussion on an adjournment motion on the issue of infiltration from Bangladesh in eastern parts of the country, leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani said the votebank politics had become ‘biggest disaster for the country’.

This is the first adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha since the Congress-led UPA came to power 14 months back. Noting that the ‘continued aggression’ from Bangladesh had been on for several years since independence, Advani hailed as ‘historic’ the Supreme Court judgment striking down the controversial Act which had been in force since 1983. He said it was a victory for people of Assam.

He said the late Indrajit Gupta, who was the Home Minister in the United Front government in 1996-98, had told Parliament that there were one crore people from Bangladesh residing illegally in India. He said the magnitude of the problem could have grown much more in the last eight years.

Advani demanded that government should accept the apex court judgement and implement it in letter and spirit.

The BJP chief said the fact that a Group of Ministers was set up by the Centre make the people of Assam suspect that the Congress was trying to bring some other version of IMDT Act through the backdoor.

“I will like to caution this government against any such move,” he said.

Quoting extensively from the Supreme Court judgement, Advani said the presence of such a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, which runs into millions, is in fact an aggression on the state of Assam.

The apex court, he said, held that by persisting with this ‘discriminatory law’ the government of India has failed to discharge its duty to protect the state from external aggression and internal disturbance.

Advani also quoted from a speech made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he was leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha in which he had expressed concern over the infiltration.

Rebutting Advani’s contentions, leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee asserted that the ‘gross misuse’ of the Foreigners Act had led to enactment of the IMDT Act.

He said the cut-off date of March 25, 1971, was decided after an agreement between then Bangladesh President Mujibur Rahman and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Quoting figures, Mukherjee pointed out that out of 3.68 lakh cases handled by IMDT Tribunals, only over 11,000 persons were detected as foreigners and deported. The Tribunals under the Foreigners Act had dealt with over 5.17 lakh cases and declared about 28,000 as foreigners.

Maintaining that he could not cross the path of the Supreme Court, he said but we have a right to disagree with the apex court's verdict which has declared the IMDT Act ‘null and void’.

Maintaining that he had dealt with the issue for long as chairman of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, Mukherjee said the Supreme Court verdict against the IMDT Act did not prevent Parliament to make a law to ‘ensure the genuine rights of genuine citizens’.

He said the Tribunals under the IMDT could not function properly due to lack of infrastructure.

Reacting to BJP charge that Congress was interested in having the IMDT Act to garner minority votes, Mukherjee said his party was not in power for long time in Assam as well as at the Centre, indicating why those in power like the Assam Gana Parishad in the state and BJP at the Centre did not do away with the law. “Let us not do politics on this issue,” he said.

He asked BJP and AGP as to what was the reason for their “jubilation after the law was declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court after 22 years” and asserted hundreds of people cannot be “thrown out of the country at the point of bayonet”.

Basudeb Acharia (CPM) contended that the Supreme Court was not justified in scrapping the Act. He said the border with Bangladesh was porous and there was scope for illegal migration but felt this could not be constituted as ‘external aggression’.

Mohan Singh (SP) said Parliament should correct the situation created by the apex court’s verdict by bringing a new legislation.

Former BJP minister joins PM in lavishing praise on British Raj

Jul. 26, 2005

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has angered the BJP with his remarks at Oxford on the British empire, got support from unexpected quarters on Tuesday when former BJP minister Jagmohan complimented the British for their liberal approach saying this had helped India discover its own civilisation. Speaking about Britain’s contribution to Indian culture, he cited Lord Curzon’s ‘‘phenomenal achievement’’ in setting up an organisation for preserving ancient monuments in India and William Jones’ discovery of Kalidasa’s Shakuntala. Delivering a lecture on his book, Soul and Structure of Governance in India, here today, Jagmohan said it was British liberalism and humanism that had led to the translation of the Vedas and Upanishads ‘‘which helped us discover how great a civilisation India was’’. It wasn’t as if Jagmohan was not aware of the context in which his praise would be taken for he did briefly refer to Singh’s comments on the British. In doing so, he sought to give the other side of the coin by pointing out that the last years of British rule were ‘‘tragically inglorious’’. He said: “When the British became a little dishonest, they followed the policy of divide and rule and the ICS collapsed.” Criticising post-Independence India, Jagmohan said Indian leaders lacked vision. “The nation has paid a heavy price for this historic lapse... it’s the need of the hour to undo the lapse and make good the deficiency of the past 57 years.’’ Jagmohan said incorporating Vedanta in the Constitution could be a step in this direction. “Practical Vedanta is wholly compatible with the ideals of secularism and pluralism.’’ Jagmohan’s book on governance mirrors his views. One chapter looks at the infrastructure put in place by the British and cites the “great work” they did in researching J-K while the next one discusses the inglorious last years of the Raj.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gurumurthy gets charge sheet in contempt case

Monday July 25, 11:28 PM

By Indo-Asian News Service

Chennai, July 25 (IANS) Swadeshi Jagran Manch convener S. Gurumurthy was Monday handed copies of a charge sheet for "distracting the police from doing their job" while probing a murder charge against the Kanchipuram Shankaracharyas.

Columnist Gurumurthy received the 26-page charge sheet at the judicial magistrate's court in the temple town of Kanchipuram.

A warrant was issued against him last month on a petition filed by the police, accusing him of "withholding information from the special team" investigating the murder of temple official A. Sankararaman in September.

Gurumurthy had written several articles after Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, a main accused in the case, was arrested in November, questioning the police investigation.

The investigating team had questioned him in January and alleged that he "was withholding vital clues and misleading the police" in the case.

The state had the slapped a contempt case against him. The police had also issued a warrant against Gurumurthy, who surrendered before the magistrate's court and was granted bail.

Muslims join MBBS under quota

Vijayawada, July 25: For the first time in the State, Muslims enjoyed the benefits of the reservation policy extended to them by the Rajasekhar Reddy government. As many as 104 Muslim candidates took admission in the MBBS course and 13 Muslim candidates opted for the BDS course out of the total 152 MBBS and 50 BDS seats allotted to them at the counselling being conducted by the NTR University of Health Sciences, on Monday.
Muslims were given reservation benefits under the BC �E� category.

Overcoming an initial legal setback, the Congress government has come out with quota system for Muslims who constitute 9.2 per cent of the State�s total population of 7.5 crore. However, the creamy layer among Muslims, with an annual income above Rs 2.5 lakh, were excluded from the purview of reservations.

As the university officials started counselling for the Muslim candidates, a few Muslim leaders from the city visited the university and interacted with the students and parents on the counselling process. Vijayawada West MLA Shaik Nasar Vali was among those who visited.

Meanwhile, the counselling at Hyderabad was delayed as the top ranker in the BC �E� category failed to produce the caste certificate for the counselling. As the officials insisted on having the caste certificate, the candidate, M.A.M. Mudabir, rushed to the mandal revenue office to get the certificate. The officials waited for Mudabir to come back with the certificate till 11 am and finally resumed the counselling with the next candidate.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The sound 'n' fury of Congress fundamentalism I


Dr Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to England paid a handsome tribute to British Administration during the period of British rule in India. His visit coincided with the murderous attacks by Muslim extremists on different parts of London city resulting in great loss of life and property. The British Government has proved him right by taking stringent action against the terrorists without making any political distinction between 'minority rights' and 'majority rights'. The British Government has given a clear message that anything can be a matter of negotiation excepting anti-national and anti-social terrorism. The situation in India is both ghastly and tragic where the policemen on the spot are expected to lay down their lives for the country and the politicians in authority reserve the Divine Right to go to and fro with gay abandon like Mughal emperors, from multiple points of vacillation and oscillation for indefinite procrastination. Aldous Huxley in 'Ends and Means' succinctly described this type of disastrous situation in another context: 'The claims of national society have always, as a matter of brute fact, been identified with the claims of a ruling oligarchy.' The present state of anarchy in India is a direct political outcome of what can be called 'The UPA Oligarchy'. In that wobbly system, oligarchy and anarchy are bound each to each with a 'secular' fervour.

The time has come for a new Mahatma Gandhi to emerge on the national scene to launch a new national democratic movement, within the framework of existing law, called 'QUIT UPA GOVERNMENT IN INDIA'. The UPA Government is wedded to the philosophy of minority fundamentalism in a manner which threatens the internal security of India. Sporadic or organised acts of violence by minorities, more precisely by the disgruntled militant Muslims, are viewed with 'secular' compassion and consideration, treating them as minority rights.

The congress party during the last 50 years has used terms like 'Fundamentalism' and 'Secularism' like disposable condoms depending upon the political exigencies of the moment and the harsh realities of ground level partisan electoral politics in different States from time to time. I am not very sure whether any one in the Congress party knows the real difference between these two terms. Hindus have been noted for their tolerance and broadmindedness from times immemorial. It is the Congress Party which has given the message of minority fundamentalism and majority isolationalism under the mischievous umbrella of 'secularism' which was cleverly introduced by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as a political talking point after independence and which was given legal sanctity by Indira Gandhi through the 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution.

The tragic fact of modern history is that the seeds of Government-sponsored fundamentalism in post-independent India were sown in an unintended manner by the great Mahatma Gandhi who, out of his deathless idealism and burning desire for uniting the Muslims and Hindus for reaching the goal of 'Swaraj', agreed to lead the Khilafat Movement (1919-1924). The Turkish Sultans had claimed to be the caliphs of the Muslim world for over four centuries. As long as the Mughal Empire had been in existence, the Muslims of India had not recognized their claim.

Tipu Sultan was the first Indian Muslim who, having been frustrated in his attempts to gain recognition from the Mughals, had turned to the Sultan of Turkey to establish a legal right to his throne. After the deportation of Bahadur Shah in 1858, when the Muslims of the Sub-continent had no sovereign ruler of their own, they began to see the necessity of recognizing the Sultan of Turkey as their caliph. The European powers had played a leading role in reducing the might of Turkey in Europe to Eastern Thrace, Constantinople and the straits in the Balkan Wars (1912-13). To seek revenge, the Turks decided to side with the Germans against the Allied Forces during World War I. The Indian Muslims supported this decision.

After World War I, the Ottoman Empire faced dismemberment. The Muslims of India had a strong feeling of identity with the world community of Islam. They had seen the decline in the political fortunes of Islam as the European powers conquered the Muslim lands one after the other. The general impression among the Muslims of India was that the Western powers were waging a war against Islam throughout the world in order to rob it of all its power and influence. The Ottoman Empire was the only Muslim power that had maintained a semblance of authority and the Muslims of India wanted to save the Islamic political power from extinction.

Under the leadership of the Ali Brothers, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali, the Muslims of South Asia launched the historic Khilafat Movement in 1919 to save the Ottoman Empire. Mahatma Gandhi stepped into the scene after Jalianwala Bagh and linked the larger issue of Swaraj with the Khilafat issue to associate Hindus with the Khilafat movement. The ensuing movement was the first countrywide popular movement. But unfortunately, while the Hindus of India inspired by the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi were willing to treat the Muslims as their equals, the Muslims right from 1921 wanted to be treated as 'minorities'.

The British Government cleverly sensing the divide between the Hindus and the Muslims started encouraging the Muslims behind the scenes in a manner which went unnoticed even by the Congress stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and Motilal Nehru. Only a few practical men like Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Rajaji saw through the wicked game of the Muslims and the British in the aftermath of the Khilafat Movement.

Dr Hedgewar, one of the greatest sons of India, realised the great danger to national integrity arising from the British policy of colonial appeasement of the Muslims and the congress political ideology of meek appeasement of the Muslims after 1921. When the British Government announced the mischievous 'Communal Award' in 1932 Dr Hedgewar gave a strong warning that the poison of separatism implanted in the body-politic would sooner or later result in the partition of the country. He thus clearly foresaw the tragedy of Indian partition which was to come after 15 years in 1947.

Dr Hedgewar was convinced that if the two-pronged attack of British domination and Muslim separatism had to be met, the only effective course was to awaken and organize the Hindu people and imbue them with an intense spirit of nationalism. It was only on the bedrock of such national strength that the British power could be humbled and the Muslims made to realise that their interests are better served by their merging in the main national stream rather than siding with the foreign masters. It is the realisation of this basic fact of our national life that formed the ideological base of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh.

As R C Majumdar, doyen of Bharatiya historians told a group of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh in Calcutta in 1960: 'All the programmes of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh have been visualised with a great aim and plan by its founder, the late Dr Hedgewar, for whom I have very high respect.

He started the work with a sublime view in mind - of imparting the true spirit of nationalism, and of making the nation self-reliant and powerful. He rightly and fearlessly declared that Hindus are the true nationals of this great country. Many feel ashamed to openly accept this fact, though at heart they feel its veracity. We must acknowledge boldly that it is Hindu history, Hindu culture, Hindu civilization that this country is proud of. When people speak of the great past and the great heritage of the country, I do not know why they should feel ashamed to declare that their past is the Hindu past and that the heritage they are talking about is the Hindu heritage.'

The views of Dr Hedgewar were no different from the following words of Annie Besant, a Catholic woman from Ireland who was also a great fighter for India's freedom even before the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi on the Indian national scene:

'The religion based on the Vedas, the 'Sanathana Dharma' or Vaidhika Dharma, is the oldest of living religions, and stands unrivalled in the depth and splendour of its philosophy, while it yields to none in the purity of its ethical teachings and in the flexibility and varied adaptation of its rites and ceremonies. It is thus adapted to every human need, and there is nothing which any religion can add to its moulded perfection. The more it is studied, the more does it illuminate the intellect and satisfy the heart.'

As such, the essence of national freedom which Dr Hedgewar envisaged and which his successor Dr Golwalkar concretised and stabilized in a very large measure, lay in the redemption and revivifying of the eternal values of 'Sanathana Dharma' and Hindu culture. Foreign slavery was like the eclipse over the sun of Hindu nation; and once that eclipse was removed, its inner brilliance would burst forth on the entire world.
The sound 'n' fury of Congress fundamentalism-II


Mahatma Gandhi wrote a controversial article in the 'Harijan' in which he said: 'Every Hindu is a coward and every Muslim a bully.' There is categorical documentary evidence available to show that even this elevated soul could not properly understand the nuances of the Muslim psyche. His sustained attempts to understand this psyche began in South Africa in 1893 and ended with the partition of India in 1947. His coming forward to lead the Khilafat Movement in the larger interests of 'Swaraj' did not move the Muslims at all.

Though he sang 'Ishwar Allah Tero Naam' all his political life, yet to most of the Muslims in India he appeared to be a kafir or an infidel. To save India from being partitioned, the Mahatma also offered the Prime Ministership of Independent India to Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Such was his anxiety to keep Muslim goodwill. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, though he did not state in so many words, yet considered Mahatma Gandhi as a Hindu infidel. The passionate forces of fundamentalist Islam represented by Mohammed Ali Jinnah easily rode roughshod over the puerile and anaemic forces of secularism represented by Gandhi and Nehru at the time of partition.

However, Jinnah, true to his word if not his faith, at least succeeded in protecting the Muslims of Pakistan. Gandhi and Nehru, Gandhi true to his word and faith and Nehru true neither to his word nor faith, together bungled in creating an India of total confusion where nothing has been defined till date including fundamentals like nationhood, citizenship, national identity, which are the warp and woof of the fabric of any sovereign nation.

As a result, any citizen from any country including unknown islands from the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean or some remote village in any of the not so well known countries of Africa or Latin America can make it to the highest public offices in the land through sheer money power or blatant familial influence acquired through matrimonial alliances or inheritance or though partisan political patronage. Indeed the law of the jungle (criminal men with dubious records) has replaced the rule of law.

A wonderful opportunity to create a great Indian Hindu nation called 'Bharat' was lost by the Congress party at the time of Independence. The congress party functioned almost as an unchallenged monopolist in the political scenario of the time. Reasonable and balanced cries of several small political parties about atrocities done to the Hindus at the time of partition were not only ignored but brushed aside in a monarchical and monotheistic manner by Pandit Nehru. The tragic assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was converted into a political handle by Jawaharlal Nehru and company for imposing a ban on the RSS and in the process giving a feeling of special status to the Muslims and second-class status to the Hindus.

Thus the process of political appeasement of the Muslims which began with Gandhi in a sublime context in 1919 at the time of Khilafat Movement was consolidated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru after independence in 1947 in the sordid context of electoral politics. This was indeed Jizya in reverse gear!

Nehru's contempt for the Hindus and even some great leaders like Pandit Madan Mohan Malavia and Rajendra Prasad is too well known to merit any detailed reference here. His romantic attachment and fascination for the Muslims was greater than Jinnah's attachment to his coreligionists, if not for anything, at least for garnering the Muslim votes in several parts of the country starting from the first General Elections in 1952.

Even when he wrote his well-known and popular books like 'Discovery of India' and 'Glimpses of World History', he only spoke about the mythical past of India and then completely jumped over the difficult and controversial period relating to that of Muslim invasions and conquests. He wrote eloquently about Chinese Pilgrims coming to Nalanda in Bihar, Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. Yet he took care to remain silent as to why the structures in Nalanda and several other parts of Northern India were in ruins. Why Elephanta was in ruins or why Bhuvaneshwar was desecrated - these questions did not seem to have bothered Nehru at all.

He wrote to Indira Gandhi: 'I can write about the rise and fall of Rome, the conceit of Constantinople, the pride of Pompeii and count the palpitations of a peasant's heart'. Such a sensitive soul was just not worried about the destruction of Somnath Temple by Mohammed of Gazni in the first quarter of the 11th century AD.

As a historian, I am overawed by the scrupulous concern for fidelity to facts shown by many Muslim historians during the last 1000 years. Nowhere have they tried to hide the fact that they came to establish Quwwatul Islam, which means the might of Islam, in India. What is notable is that various deeds of comprehensive brutality relating to desecration of temples were recorded by the Sultans themselves or by their Court Chroniclers.

These desecrations had a cruelly vicarious side to them. For, there is no record or mention anywhere that the idol of the presiding deity was removed and handed over to the priest concerned for taking it away to another temple. In fact, in many cases, there are gleeful references that the idol was destroyed and its broken pieces were placed below the entrance of the Mosque, so that they could be trampled upon by those who came for their 'Ibadat'.

One desecration, however, that takes the cake is the one that was perpetrated at Mehrauli, which until about 700 years ago was the centre of Delhi. It is situated next to the famous Qutub Minar. The masjid was named after by builder Qutubuddin Aibak, as Quwwatul Islam which, translated into English, means the might of Islam. Nehru conveniently ignored these facts in his 'Glimpses of World History'.

In the preamble to the Indian Constitution, our founding fathers had declared: 'We the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, democratic, republic and give to ourselves this Constitution.'


Though the word 'secular' was not specifically inserted by the framers of our Constitution, yet the objects of secularism in letter and spirit were enshrined in the Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution i.e., right to freedom of religion under the Fundamental Rights chapter of the Constitution.

The philosophy of Indian secularism is that the State should neither sponsor nor favour any religion and should treat all religions equally. Religious tolerance and equality are the components of Indian constitutionalism. These principles are inserted in the Constitution as Right to Freedom of Religion under Articles 25 to 28 of Part III of the Constitution. Article 25 guarantees freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

This Article ensures equality of all religions and thus promotes secularism. Article 26 deals with freedom to manage religious affairs. These rights are not absolute, reasonable restrictions can be imposed to maintain public order, morality, health and subject to 'other provisions of this part'. The characteristic feature of Indian civilisation is tolerance and this religious tolerance is patent in these Articles of the Constitution.

Eminent jurist and writer D D Basu has described the expression 'secular' as vague. According to him the expression 'secular' qualifies the expression 'republic'. 'Secular' means a republic in which there is equal respect, for all religions. The Constitutional authority HM Seervai, also expressed that 'secular' may be opposed to 'religions' in the sense that a secular State can be an anti-religious State. In this sense the constitution of India is not secular, because the right to the freedom of religion is a guaranteed fundamental right.

The political process of State-sponsoring of minority fundamentalism inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, strengthened and stabilised by Nehru was finally given a sacred, sacrosanct and legal shape by Indira Gandhi for her narrow political ends through 42nd Constitution Amendment in 1976. Ever since then the term 'secular' has been used as a free-size all purpose machine gun by almost all political parties against the Hindu majority during elections for their respective partisan purposes.

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

This is UPA nonsense as history

Prithviraj and Shivaji war-scared. Rana Pratap died young of “injury while trying to draw a stiff arrow.”

By R. Balashankar

Ram and Krishna never lived. Prithviraj Chauhan was “punished” by Muhummad Ghuri for “conspiracy,” Shivaji never faced open battles and won only by “treachery.” These are not extracts from a Pakistani book. But the “facts” mentioned in the Government of India textbooks, issued by Arjun Singh’s NCERT.

The Union HRD minister’s campaign to paint the education field red has resulted in this absurdity being taught as history. The NCERT, has replaced all the text books in schools. Old Communist historians have been dusted out of the closet and made to author textbooks for children. Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra, Ram Sharan Sharma and et al, have authored the textbooks of various senior classes. Page after page, the tone, the language and the presentation are aimed at insulting the national heroes.

Sample this, “archaeological evidence should be considered far more important than long family trees given in the Puranas because Puranic tradition can be used to date Ram of Ayodhya to 2000 B C but diggings and extensive exploration in Ayodhya do not show any settlement of the time.” (Ancient India, Ram Sharan Sharma, book for Class XI)

And he had this to say about Mahabharata, “Although Krishna played an important role in Mahabharata, inscriptions and sculptural piece found in Mathura dating back to 200 BC and 300 AD do not attest to his presence. Because of this, ideas of an epic based on Ramayana and Mahabharata have to be discarded.”

If Ram and Krishna are to be discarded, are we to hold on to Ghuri and Gazni? On Prithviraj, Satish Chandra says that in his second battle with Ghuri (lovingly called in the book as Muizzuddin Mohammad bin Sam) Prithviraj escaped from the battlefield while his side suffered losses. “he was captured near Saraswati (present day Sirsa)… he was allowed to rule Ajmer for sometime.” Soon, he was “executed on a charge of conspiracy against Ghuri.” Here again, Chandra dismisses the legend of Prithviraj as bunkum based on a later day folk ballet written by Chand Bardai. In one sentence he washes off collective memory and folk sources, now considered as important evidence in history. Jaichand, who is synonymous with betrayal has been given the hounours in heroism by Chandra. He died fighting Ghuri, according to him.

Chandra dismisses the legend of Prithviraj as bunkum based on a later day folk ballet written by Chand Bardai. In one sentence he washes off collective memory and folk sources, now considered as important evidence in history.

All the books newly introduced by Arjun Singh go on and on about the greatness of the Mughal rulers, the “strategic” mistakes they committed. Nowhere the books mention the kind of loot, plunder and destruction each of the invader unleashed on the Hindu population and its properties. There is no dearth of primary source to write a honest history. But these communists are more interested in suppressing the truth and suggesting falsehood. All these marauders had their official diarists with them, who recorded the events of the day. The Marxist historians had sufficient proof readily available with them to write if they sought for facts. But they didn’t.

Hasan Nizami, in the early 13th century wrote an eye-witness account of the conquest of Delhi by Qutbuddin Aibek, in 1192. Here are some extracts “the conqueror (Aibek) entered the city of Delhi, which is the source of wealth and the foundation of blessedness. The city and its vicinity were freed from idols and idol-worship and in its sanctuaries of the images of the gods, mosques were raised by the worshippers of one god… Qutbuddin built the Jami Masjid at Delhi and adorned it with stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants and cover it with inscriptions in Toghra, containing the divine commands.”

While discussing Ramayana and Mahabharata, the latest findings in Dwarka are not even mentioned in the NCERT books. The ASI report on Ayodhya is yet to be released, but the author dismisses the excavations lightly. When they discuss the Mughal rulers they discuss their architecture, literature and governance. But on most of the Hindu rulers, only their battle defeats are elaborated. On Aurangzeb the biased Chandra says “Aurangzeb has been unjustly maligned … the Hindus had become disloyal due to the laxity of Aurangzeb’s predecessors, so that Aurangzeb had no choice but to adopt harsh measures and to try and rally the Muslims on whose support in the long run the empire had to rest.” So to please the Muslims, he imposed jazia on Hindus. Has anyone heard such non-sense in the national History textbooks?

Shivaji, who is normally addressed by Indians with the sobriquet Chhatrapati was only a chieftain, according to Chandra. Shivaji “conquered Javli from the Maratha chief Chandra Rao More. The Javli kingdom and accumulated treasures of the Mores were important and Shivaji aquired them by means of treachery,” Chapter 19 of the Medieval India textbook of Chandra says.

Shivaji is grudgingly dismissed in two pages. Prithviraj in six lines. There is hardly any mention of Rana Pratap and Haldighati. The bias, in these books is unbelievable. It is untruth, myth and fiction passed off as history. There is no end to Muslim rulers’ broad mindedness and Hindu meanness. And this is the history we are teaching our children.

The Muslims had raised a hue and cry about a book under the NDA government, which had described Mohammad as the founder of Islam. The book Comprehensive Study of History and Civics for Class VI in Uttar Pradesh had said that Quran was a compilation of his teachings. The Muslims objected saying that the Quran were not teachings but divine revelations and Mohammad was the last of the Prophets of God.

Can historians who are in the pay-roll of ideological groups in the country get away with distorting our national history? Is this the heritage that the UPA government wants the children of India to inherit? Systematically and determinedly, the UPA is trying to undermine the national pride, self-respect and the glorious history. Pandering to the communists and the vociferous minorities the government is abandoning its role in safeguarding the national interest. Arjun Singh is the henchman for all this.

Atrocities on Hindu catch US Congressmen's attention

Author: Lalit K Jha
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: July 14, 2005

Two senior US Congressmen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Gary Ackerman, who are also the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, have expressed concern over alleged human rights violation of the minority Hindus in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh and the State of Jammu and Kashmir as well.

Stating that there is a need to raise voice on this issue, the two Congressmen have Wednesday endorsed the report on the status of Hindu human rights in Bangladesh and Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, which gives details of alleged atrocities against the minority Hindus.

"The human rights violations that are occurring against Hindus must no longer be ignored without reprobation," Lehtinen observed, after reviewing the report prepared and released by the Tampa (Florida)-based Hindu American Foundation on July 13.

Titled "Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir: A survey of Human Rights 2004", the 71-page report is a compilation of media coverage and first-hand accounts of alleged human rights violations perpetrated against Hindus because of their religious identity in these areas.

Making observations after reading the report, Lehtinen said: "Hindus have a history of being peaceful, pluralistic and understanding of other faiths and peoples, yet minority Hindus have endured decades of pain and suffering without the attention of the world."

In his quick reaction, Ackerman stressed the fundamental nature of religious freedom and supported the concept of the annual report produced by Foundation, which is mainly run by the second generation Hindus.

"The Foundation has done some important work in this regard by compiling their 2004 Survey of Human Rights by helping to defend the rights of Hindus around the world to practice their religion without intimidation and by shining a light on those who would take away their religious freedoms," Ackerman said.

Applauding the efforts of the Hindu American Foundation for bringing awareness to this issue, Lehtinen said: "I look forward to working with it to help address this scar on the international human rights community."

Ackerman, on the other hand discussed the obligation of the U.S. Congress to speak out against international human rights abuses. "By working alongside organizations such as the Hindu American Foundation, we can help to ensure violations to religious freedom are documented, and challenged across the world," he said.

The Hindu American Foundation president, Mihir Meghani, said the report would now be an annual affair.

He observed that human rights violations against Hindus are repeatedly being ignored by the rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and also government commissions like the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom that routinely fail to specifically highlight the plight of Hindus in the regions where they comprise a minority.

The report urged the international community to "compel' the governments of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India to respect the human rights of Hindus as an urgent priority.

The report refers to the alleged anti-Hindu atrocities that have accelerated after the ruling Bangladeshi National Party-Jamat-e-Islami coalition government came to power.

Meghani said the Foundation leaders were gratified by the Congressional support for the report.

A congressional resolution emphasizing various aspects of the report is being actively discussed, he said. Both the Congressmen Lehtinen and Ackerman pledged to continue working with the Hindu American Foundation on these human rights issues, Meghani said.


'University of Jihad' teaches students hate and bigotry

Publication: The Times
Date: July 15, 2005

Introduction: The loss of innocent lives is regrettable, but the British should think why it all happened.

Sporting black turbans or skull caps, the young men squat on a carpet in a crowded classroom and listen in silence to a lecture given by a thickly bearded, middle-aged cleric.

The students are at the final stage of their religious education at Darul Uloom Haqqania, one of Pakistan’s leading institutions of Islamic learning. Situated in the town of Akora Khatak, near Peshawar, the radical seminary is often described as the “University of Jihad”.

At least two of the London suicide bombers attended such a school.

The seminary, which was established in 1947, has been the cradle of the Taleban militia that ruled Afghanistan for more than five years before being ousted by the American-led coalition forces in 2001. Many of the Taleban leaders had graduated from the school.

The seminary has also been a recruiting centre for militant Pakistani groups fighting Indian forces in the disputed region of Kashmir. Many of its 2,500 students come from Afghanistan. But the number of foreign students has fallen after government pressure.

“The bomb attacks in London are the reaction against the British Government’s support for America’s war against Muslims,” said Maulana Samiul Haq, a fiery, black-turbaned cleric who is head of the seminary. He is also an MP in Pakistan. “The loss of innocent lives is regrettable, but the British Government should think why it all happened. It is time to review its policy on Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The school teaches the concept of jihad to prepare students to fight for the cause of Islam. “Jihad is an essential part of Islam,” said Mr Haq.

The proliferation of jihadi organisations in Pakistan over the past two decades has been the result of the militant culture espoused by radical madrassas, the hardline religious schools, like Darul Uloom Haqqania. They pose a threat to Pakistan’s internal security as well as abroad. Madrassas were once considered centres for basic religious learning, mostly attached to local mosques. The more formal ones were used for training clergy. The evolution of simple religious schools into training centres for Kalashnikov-toting religious warriors is directly linked with the rise of militant Islam.

Most of the pupils come from the poorest section of society and receive free religious education, lodgings and meals. Most of the madrassas have been isolated from the outside world for centuries. Students are brainwashed and the textbooks provide a one-dimensional world view that restricts their thought process.

Conditions in the schools are regularly condemned by human rights groups as crowded and inhuman. The day begins at dawn with morning prayer. A simple breakfast of bread and tea is served, followed by lessons, which continue until evening.

The students are subjected to a regime as harsh as any jail and physical abuse is commonplace. In many schools students are put in chains and heavy iron fetters for the slightest violation of rules. There are almost no extracurricular activities. Television and radio are banned. Teaching is very rudimentary and students are taught religion from a highly traditional perspective.

At the primary stage, pupils learn how to read, memorise and recite the Koran. Though the focus is on religious learning, some institutions also teach elementary mathematics, science and English.

The most dangerous consequence of the schools is that students emerge ill-prepared for any work except guiding the faithful in rituals that do not require great expertise. Job opportunities for graduates are few and far between. They can only work in mosques, madrassas or religious parties and their business affiliates.

The education imparted by traditional madrassas spawns factional, religious and cultural conflicts. It creates barriers to modern knowledge and breeds bigotry, laying the foundation on which fundamentalism is based. Divided along sectarian lines, these institutions are driven by the zeal to outnumber and dominate rival sects.

The rise of a jihad culture since the 1980s has given them a new sense of purpose. The number of madrassas multiplied and clergy emerged as a powerful political and social force. At independence in 1947 there were only 137 madrassas in Pakistan. Government sources put today’s figure at 13,000 with total enrolment close to 1.7 million.


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