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SACW | 2 June 02

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch | 1 June 2002 http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex South Asians Against Nukes: http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex/NoNukes.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2002
      South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch | 1 June 2002

      South Asians Against Nukes:

      #1. Pakistan: Government must show some spine (Editorial: Daily Times)
      #2. Joint Statement by Pakistan India Peoples Forum For Peace and Democracy
      #3. International Peace Bureau poster-protest action against the
      danger of a nuclear war in
      Kashmir (geneva, 5 June)
      #4. . . . Revealing a Gap Between The Leaders and the People (Nafisa Hoodbhoy)
      #5. Let Sanity prevail over war cries! (Editorial, INSAF Bulletin)
      #6. Press Release Censor Board at war with " WAR AND PEACE " (Anand
      #7. Citizens Protest Against Police withdrawl of permission
      #8. 'Gujarat carnage was planned much before Godhra' (Peoples Union
      for Democratic Rights, India)



      The Daily Times (Lahore)
      June 02, 2002 Main News

      Editorial: Government must show some spine

      In an attempt to placate the irrational religious right-wing lobby
      yet again, the government has agreed to revive the clause in the
      voter registration form pertaining to the religious beliefs of the
      voter. The clause was inserted into the form following General Ziaul
      Haq's decision to introduce the separate electorate system and
      required voters to state their religion. If the voter declared
      himself/herself a Muslim, he/she was then required to declare that
      he/she believed in khatm-e-nabuwwat (Finality of Prophet Muhammad's
      (PBUH) prophethood). The idea was to make sure that the Ahmadis or
      Qadianis who had been declared non-Muslims in 1974 would not be able
      to sneak back into the fold of the true Muslims. And so it had
      remained until the universally disclaimed separate electorate system
      was reviewed, found to be seriously lacking, and finally scrapped by
      the Musharraf government.
      Inevitably, therefore, since all Pakistanis irrespective of their
      religion were now eligible to vote under one system like equal
      citizens, the clause about one's religion became totally redundant
      and was deleted. But the religious right wing, which was already
      smarting from the government's decision to do away with separate
      electorates, began to clamour for a revival of the old form. But,
      instead of telling them to go fly a kite as it did immediately
      following 9/11, it sent the good-natured and mild-mannered
      information minister, Mr Nisar Memon, to powwow with them. Powwow
      with them? That was like the Romans throwing Christians to the lions
      in the Coliseum. In exchange for a meeting with General Musharraf,
      the government has conceded a revival of the clause pertaining to
      religion in the voter registration form.
      "Its no big deal" says the government. But if that's the case, why
      was the clause taken out in the first place? Indeed, if the
      government could weather the storm threatened over the abolition of
      the separate electorate system, why did it succumb to the storm in a
      teacup threatened by the same people? Was the government strong then
      and is weak today?
      It may be more complicated than that. Clearly, the government has
      taken the line of least resistance at this time because it wants to
      co-opt the right wing, especially the six party Mutahidda
      Majlis-e-Amal. We say this because when the government took the
      decision to change tack on Afghanistan, it did so without paying any
      heed to this very right wing. Not only did it put down the vociferous
      protest demonstrations, it arrested the main leaders of the religious
      parties and did not let them go until they agreed not to rock the
      boat. This approach was successful beyond the government's hopes and
      came as a surprise to it. In fact, the inability of the religious
      right wing to foment serious trouble stunned many observers who had
      predicted otherwise on the basis of unchallenged or untested
      historical assumptions. What went right?
      Both the government and the pundits forgot one new fact that impinged
      on the situation: despite their much flaunted fire-power and
      trouble-making capacity, these groups had rarely, if ever, faced a
      state fully resolved to putting religious oppositionists down on any
      issue. With a superpower breathing down its neck, Islamabad suddenly
      acquired the spine to tell the religious right where to get off. Thus
      at the end of the day, what matters is not so much the ability of
      troublemakers to stir trouble as it is the willingness of the state
      to knock out that capacity.
      Traditionally, governments in Pakistan have tried to hide their lack
      of political will with the argument, and on the pretext, that the
      price for putting an end to the "nuisance value" of the rightwing is
      prohibitive. In other words, since their demands are not substantive,
      it is better to give in to them rather than stir a hornets' nest.
      This mindset and such arguments have never been anything but pure
      opportunism. On the basis of such opportunism have the functionaries
      of the state deluded themselves and hoodwinked us.
      General Musharraf has time and again "resolved" to turn Pakistan into
      a progressive, modern state as envisaged by the Quaid-e-Azam. But the
      Quaid clearly envisaged a state where every Pakistani, regardless of
      his religion, was free to go about his/her business without any
      interference from the state. This was confirmed by the findings of
      the inquiry committee following the anti-Qadiani riots of 1951. In
      fact, the Munir Report explained how the situation was allowed to
      deteriorate by the government of the day and argued that if political
      expediencies and squabbling had not gotten into the way, the
      rampaging politico-religious mobs could have been handled by a
      district magistrate and a superintendent of police!
      Now, more than ever before for a myriad of reasons, the Musharrafic
      state needs to challenge some highly retrogressive laws and mindsets
      inherited from the past. The issue is not one trying to ride the
      crest of religious extremism and violence. It is one of turning it
      back. And this wont happen unless the state shows the spine, at
      least, of the District Magistrate and the SP!



      [Published in the Pakistani Daily DAWN dated 30th May 2002.]

      Joint Statement

      We, who are committed to help achieve the aspirations of the common peoples of
      Pakistan and India, urge our respective governments to exercise
      restraint in the
      current surcharged atmosphere. The entire world is anxious that there should be
      no war between the two countries of Pakistan and India that need, instead, to
      work hard on economic development and cultural enrichment with a view to
      improving the lot of the majority of their peoples.

      As of now, the threat of war from miscalculation or accident is quite serious.
      Regrettably there has been a deliberately cultivated war hysteria in both
      countries. Should a war break out, for whatever reason, it runs the grave risk
      of escalating to the level of nuclear exchanges.

      We assert that no cause is worth fighting with nuclear weapons. Though both
      governments have painted themselves into a corner through their belligerent
      posturing, they must nevertheless beat a political retreat. Justice and sanity
      demand nothing less. Neither government should offer gratuitous provocation
      or insult to the other. In the face of stark danger of a possible
      nuclear war, it is of
      utmost importance that the armed forces of both sides simultaneously move
      back to their peacetime stations.

      Resolving the basic disputes between the two countries is necessary and will
      take time. But the immediate prerequisite is the return of normalcy and
      resumption of dialogue, not only between politicians or bureaucrats but even
      more importantly, between the concerned citizens of the two countries who
      must be free to meet and communicate with each other whenever they wish.
      Therefore, it is of utmost importance that along with the mutual disengagement
      of the two armed forces, the recent extraordinary restrictions on means
      of communications that prevent people-to-people dialogue and cultural exchanges
      from taking place, be removed. Indeed, they should be promoted through easing
      of visa regimes.

      We urge the two governments to take all necessary steps to achieve this
      disengagement of armed forces and restore normal relations
      and appeal to the international community to support this process. Politics in
      both countries must be de-militarised as much as possible. It must be
      first and foremost, towards fulfilling the human needs and aspirations of the
      citizens of our two countries. There must be no support to terrorism, direct or

      We oppose it in all forms whether cross-border or within our countries, whether
      carried out by individuals, groups or governments.
      We declare our common commitment to promote secularism, democracy,
      justice and peaceful co-existence.

      Signatories from India: Tapan Kumar Bose, Admiral R. Ramdas, Achin Vanaik,
      Latha Jishnu, K.S. Subramanian, Joseph Gathia, Syeda Hameed, Prakash Louis,
      Vijayan M.J. Ranjana Padhi, Vineeta Bal, Jawed Laiq, Suneeta Madhu Prasad,
      Gautam Navlakha, Sagri Chhabra

      Signatories from Pakistan: I.A. Rehman, M.B. Naqvi, B.M.Kutty, Dr.
      Haroon Ahmed,
      Karamat Ali, M. H. Askri, Rahat Saeed, Zaheda Hina, Anis Haroon, Naseem Gandhi,
      Shahid Fiaz, Omar Farooq, Saleem Raza, Baseer Naveed, Aqeel
      Billgrami, Iqbal Alvi,
      Zameer Niazi, Brig. Abid Rao, Dr. Tariq Suhail, Dr. Zaki Hassan,
      Tahir Mohammad Khan,
      Gul Rehman



      EMERGENCY ACTION! The International Peace Bureau invites all friends of
      peace to join us in a poster-protest against the danger of a nuclear war in

      WEDNESDAY June 5 at 12h30 - Place des Nations [Geneva, Switzerland]

      Please bring a placard or poster with a clear message of protest (English,
      French...) against the danger of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
      This is intended as a 'brief photo-opportunity' - we plan to finish by about

      All are welcome

      Info: 022 731 6429
      New India-Pakistan pages on website see www.ipb.org



      The Washington Post
      Sunday, June 2, 2002; Page B02

      . . . Revealing a Gap Between The Leaders and the People

      By Nafisa Hoodbhoy

      WESTFIELD, Mass.

      A group of women from India and Pakistan who came here for a peace
      conference in April returned home to find their countries on the
      brink of a nuclear catastrophe. One of the delegates wrote back to me
      about the "horrific atmosphere of war," which can be averted, she
      said, only through "sheer good luck."

      Luck, of course, plays a magnified role in the lives of many on the
      subcontinent who cannot rely on receiving the staples that most
      Westerners take for granted. But sheer chance is not what anybody
      wants to think is the only thing between rice-for-lunch-as-usual and
      a nuclear conflagration that U.S. experts estimate could kill as many
      as 12 million people.

      Yet that is what the escalating political rhetoric has made women
      like these believe -- that the tensions, the saber-rattling, the
      missile tests and the brutal deaths on either side of the Line of
      Control in predominantly Muslim Kashmir have less to do with the
      hopes of the ordinary people than with the self-serving and mercurial
      goals of their leaders. With a leader like President Gen. Pervez
      Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 in a military coup, Pakistanis
      fear all the more that their country's response will be a military
      one. How ironic it was, one Indian delegate pointed out during the
      conference, that with flights and overland travel between their
      countries cut off, these women had to travel to the United States --
      more than 7,000 miles away from home -- in order to meet face to face
      with their counterparts.

      The delegates had gathered at the conference, titled "Women of
      Pakistan and India: Rights, Ecology, Economy and Nuclear
      Disarmament," at Westfield State College just as the war clouds were
      forming over the subcontinent. Tensions had been building since
      January, when India accused Pakistan of supporting the Kashmiri
      militants' attacks on its parliament in Dehli on Dec. 13 -- and
      retaliated by massing its troops on the border. The potential for a
      nuclear exchange has since been triggered by the Islamic militants'
      attack on an army camp in mid-May. The raid killed more than 30
      soldiers and family members. That's when Indian Prime Minister Atal
      Bihari Vajpayee rallied troops for an all-out war. In a show of
      defiance, Pakistan tested three missiles last week (all of them named
      after Muslim conquerors of India) that are capable of launching a
      nuclear attack on the Indians. The United States is taking all of
      this seriously, urging Americans to get out of India and withdrawing
      all but essential embassy personnel.

      For the 10 women from India and Pakistan, coming to Westfield was an
      occasion to analyze how governments on each side had hijacked
      discourse to portray the other as the "enemy." Growing up in
      Pakistan, I was a witness to the constant hammering by
      state-controlled television about "Indian atrocities in occupied
      Kashmir." In fact, the phrase masla-i-Kashmir ("the problem of
      Kashmir") has for me become a metaphor for any problem that can never
      be solved.

      I heard those thoughts echoed in the views of the Indian women at the
      conference. Journalist Kalpana Sharma blamed her nation's worsening
      relations with Muslims, and by association with Pakistan, on the rise
      of the Hindu fundamentalists in India -- the ruling Bharatiya Janata
      Party (BJP) and its coalition partner, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
      (VHP). India, Sharma said, had buckled under fundamentalist pressure
      and escalated its military budget after the disastrous conflict near
      the Kargil area of Kashmir that nearly led to war in 1999. And the
      costs for ordinary people are clear. India has cut back on the social
      sector, she said, and instituted higher taxes on its people.

      For Anis Haroon, director of a women's non-governmental organization
      in Karachi, the U.S. support for Musharraf after Sept. 11 "had carved
      out a permanent role for the army in Pakistan." This, she said, had
      come with costs, strengthening the military crackdown on
      demonstrations by political parties, civil liberties groups and women
      protesting against discriminatory laws. In early May, for example,
      Pakistani authorities arrested women gathering to oppose the Hudood
      Ordinances, which demonstrators say end up punishing female victims
      of rape.

      Civil liberties have taken a beating inside India as well, agreed the
      Indian women. Ruchira Gupta, a member of a women's group in Bombay,
      pointed to the Indian parliament's passage of the Prevention of
      Terrorism Act (POTA) on March 26 as an example. POTA was advocated by
      BJP Home Minister L.K. Advani to counter what he called "the
      terrorism" launched by Pakistan. But Gupta argued that the act would
      cramp the press, militarize the society and lead to injustices for
      Muslim minorities.

      Both governments, these women believed, were responsible for recent
      atrocities. The Indians blamed the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in
      February following an attack on Hindus in a train on the "frenzy
      whipped up by the BJP" which forms the central government in Gujarat.
      The Hindu delegates said that organizations they belonged to had
      visited the area to distribute food and clothing to Muslim victims.
      Correspondingly, Pakistani delegates said that the Gujarat violence
      had not resulted in reprisals against Hindus in Pakistan -- showing
      that such violence is not supported by ordinary people.

      Indeed, my experience shows that all too often it is the self-serving
      leaderships in the two countries that thwart the people's desire for
      peace. I saw this firsthand in 1995. As a journalist, I was invited
      to join the official Pakistan delegation to the Fourth World Women
      Conference in Beijing. The country was then ruled by Prime Minister
      Benazir Bhutto, who was keen to portray a liberal image at the
      conference. But we were instructed by a male leader of our group to
      counter the Indian delegates each time the subject of Kashmir came
      up. I watched as the leaders of both the Indian and Pakistani
      delegations engaged in allegations and counter-allegations over
      Kashmir. Slowly the hall began emptying as U.N. delegates walked out
      of a meeting that was supposed to unite the women of the world.

      The discussions at Westfield did not fracture along these lines
      because the women were not here to promulgate their governments'
      policies. Instead, they discussed how Sept. 11 has caused India and
      Pakistan to vie for U.S. attention over Kashmir. Even as India
      conducts its propaganda war against militants, it stopped Kashmiri
      women from attending our conference. The pressure was coming from the
      Hindu right wing, who, as Indian delegate Urvashi Batalia noted, had
      been cashing in on the "demonizing of Muslims."

      U.S. dependence on Pakistan in its fight against terrorism appears to
      have given legitimacy to the military government, argued Zubeida
      Mustafa, a senior editor from Pakistan's daily Dawn newspaper. In
      Pakistan's April referendum, journalists observed few voters at the
      polling booths. A colleague wrotethat a polling officer he visited
      had recorded only 125 votes by closing time. The officer told him
      rather casually that he forged the remaining votes after deadline
      because the local police directed him to show a voter turnout of
      nearly 900 and to ensure a "yes" vote of around 98 percent, giving
      Musharraf five more years in office.

      With only the facade of being elected, Pakistan's military government
      has not had to answer to its people about the failure to improve law
      and order. Earlier this year, targeted killings of Shia doctors by
      Sunni extremist groups forced physicians to flee the country.
      However, no action was taken until last month, when a suicide bomber
      killed 14 people in Karachi, including 11 French men working on a
      submarine project. Under severe international pressure, the Musharraf
      government cracked down on the Sunni militant groupLashkar-i-Jhangvi
      -- which has been linked to the killings of Shia doctors. Later,
      three members of this same group were accused in the brutal murder of
      American journalist Daniel Pearl.

      In December, when I last visited Pakistan, I was curious to see how
      the Musharraf government would rein in Kashmiri militants. The
      Islamic militants who were brought into the region by the United
      States during the Cold War had turned to jihad in Kashmir after the
      Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Since then about two dozen
      militant Islamic groups fighting for Kashmir under the United Jihad
      Council have established headquarters in Pakistan.

      It's not as if Kashmiris welcome such support. One Kashmiri from
      Srinagar, Farooq Lone, who now lives in Islamabad, told me that
      Kashmiris are "fed up" with Pakistan-based militants who attack
      Indian forces and leave the Kashmiris to face the vengeance of the
      repressive Indian troops. More than 35,000 people have been killed in
      Kashmir since the militants entered the fray 13 years ago. Lone's
      family supports the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, whose moderate
      Kashmiri separatist leader, Abdul Ghani Lone, was recently
      assassinated. Although India has never allowed a plebiscite in which
      the Kashmiris could decide their own fate, the Indian government had
      been wooing moderates such as Lone for elections planned in Kashmir
      in September. His murder deals a further blow to any peace prospects.
      And it is a further example of the voice of the people being stifled.

      The issue of Kashmir -- left dangling by the British in 1947 when
      they divided India and then departed without forcing a plebiscite --
      has come to haunt the United States almost 55 years later. It is an
      issue that is not going be resolved by luck or through a U.S.
      admonition to Pakistan to stop abetting militants. Instead, the
      United States will have to throw its weight behind the United Nations
      to enable the people of Kashmir to decide their own fate. That
      appears to be the only choice if the world is to be successful in
      fighting the roots of terrorism.

      Nafisa Hoodbhoy, who worked for 16 years for Dawn newspaper in
      Karachi, Pakistan, teaches at the University of Massachusetts,
      Amherst, with a focus on women, politics and the media in Pakistan,
      Afghanistan and Iran.



      INSAF Bulletin [2] June 1, 2002

      [International South Asia Forum
      Secretarial office: 2520 Lionel Groulx #13, Montreal, QC, Canada H3J
      1J8 (Tel. 514 939-2522)
      e-m insaf@... visit our website http//www.insaf.net)
      Edited by Daya Varma [Produced by CERAS, the Montreal Affiliate of INSAF ]


      Hardly had people breathed a sigh of relief after the
      December-January standoff between India and Pakistan, the two
      governments are at it again. Nearly one million troops are facing
      each other along the border in the midst of renewed rhetoric,
      threats, counter-threats and uncertainty. Thousands have been
      displaced from their traditional homes along the border. On May 22,
      Vajpayee told soldiers at the front line to prepare for a "decisive

      Assuming that General Musharraf is really for the liberation of
      Kashmir from Indian control (which is doubtful given the callousness
      towards the people he already rules), he is being foolish enough to
      think that this can be done by allowing Jihadi infiltrators; all that
      such moves can do and have done is to disarm genuine movement of the
      Kashmir people. At the same time India can deal with these
      infiltrators in the way it had done in the past without mounting a
      military threat against Pakistan. Or, may be outdone by Pakistan as
      America's favorite pawn in the region, Vajpayee may just be using
      threats to get greater acceptance from the US than it has been able
      to get so far. US on its part may be encouraging India to keep the
      pressure to allow it greater control over Pakistan.

      On balance it seems that India needs an excuse and Musharraf is
      willing to provide one. General Musharraf once again reiterated "no
      organization in Pakistan will be allowed to indulge in terrorism in
      the name of Kashmir" and responded positively to the initiative of
      Russian President Putin for a peace talk. For India, this is not
      enough; it has refused to engage in a dialogue. What will be enough,
      no one knows. BJP needs war, or at the very least war jingoism, not
      so much to fight infiltrators from Pakistan but to retrieve its
      sagging support amongst the people of India.

      Unfortunately, the destiny of more than a billion people rests upon
      the whims of two reckless heads of the state- neither of whom seem
      to care the consequences of a war on their own people much less on
      the people of their rival country. They have nuclear arms and each
      can be irresponsible enough to use them. Vajpayee once again is
      talking of a decisive battle - which simply translated means
      inflicting heavy loss to Pakistan. Pakistan seems to believe that it
      is OK to use nuclear weapons as a deterrence.

      War is the only solution they can think of precisely because they do
      not wish to think or care to think. When governments do not care how
      many innocent civilians and soldiers will perish in a nuclear war but
      rather what will be the percentage of the population that will
      perish, they have reached insanity. Yet, they must be stopped from
      proceeding with their pursuit of war as a solution of anything. Both
      must leave the issue of Kashmir to the people of Kashmir.



      Press Release
      Censor Board at war with " WAR AND PEACE "

      War and Peace a three hour long documentary by Anand Patwardhan won two
      major awards at the recently concluded 7th Mumbai International Film
      Festival the Best Film/Video of the Festival, and the International Jury
      The video begins and ends with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. Focusing on
      the danger of nuclear war in the Indian subcontinent it goes on to
      describe the problems faced by people living near nuclear testing and
      mining sites, the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the culpability of
      the USA in using Atom bombs on a nation that was about to surrender, the
      globalization of the arms trade, but most of all it derives its power and
      emotional appeal from the growing movement for peace both in India and in
      We submitted the film to be certified by the Censor Board on April 15.
      Following the wide acceptance garnered by the film from the press and
      public alike, we felt this would be a mere formality. We were wrong. From
      April 15 till April 30 we were twice issued the wrong forms by the Censor
      Board, causing long delays. Finally our preview tape was accepted on
      Board, causing long delays. Finally our preview tape was accepted on
      April 30 but fault was found with the paging of the transcripts, and
      later, with the binding of the transcripts. In any case our tape remained
      with the Censor Board from April 30 till today (more than a month).
      Finally on May 27 our application was deemed correct and complete. Now a
      new saga began. We were asked to stay in touch with an officer of the
      Censor Board who would set up the Censor screening after the examining
      committee had been named. We called this officer everyday for four days
      only to be told that there was a delay because the Censor Board needed to
      locate a Japanese translator who could verify that our Japanese
      translations were correct. This seemed to be a strange problem as the
      only Japanese in our video is the testimony of Atom bomb survivors and
      this is hardly controversial enough to warrant such scrutiny of the
      Censor Board!
      What we had first thought to be mere bureaucratic delay and incompetence
      turned out to be something much more deliberate. The Sudhir Yardi
      Memorial trust had obtained special permission from the Police and
      Entertainment Tax Departments to screen " War and Peace " at the YB
      Chavan Centre in Mumbai on the 1st of June as it was an award winning
      film and it was a non-commercial screening. On May 30, Mr. Vijay Desai of
      the Chavan Centre received an angry call from Mr. Singhla, Regional
      Officer of the Censor Board, Mumbai threatening dire consequences if the
      screening went ahead.
      I phoned Mr. Singhla to find out whether in view of the impending
      screening, the Censor viewing could be expedited or if special permission
      could be granted for the screening. He was brusque and arrogant while
      denying the permission and stated that the Censor viewing would take its
      own time. He also added that our video would run into trouble because it
      had references to the Tehelka arms scandal which was sub-judice. I was
      shocked. Not only is he wrong in that the Tehelka issue is up before a
      fact finding commission of enquiry and not in a court of law and
      therefore cannot be sub-judice, but how did he know that our video had
      referenced Tehelka? This is a tiny fraction of our 3 hour video and
      occurs toward the end. Dd the Regional Officer watch our video himself
      before constituting an examining committee? Is that the act of an
      impartial officer or of an interested party?
      I went on to point out that the Films Division of India which comes under
      the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting had not only awarded our
      video but was about to screen all award winning films and videos of MIFF
      2002 in Kolkata regardless of whether they had censor
      certificates. " War and Peace " was to be the inaugural film on 31st
      May. At this Mr. Singhla laughed and said " Let us see how they show the
      film " .
      He was right. This Regional Officer has powers that go beyond his region.
      I learnt on May 31 that our video had been withdrawn at the last minute
      from the Kolkata festival. The Films Division could not use the argument
      about the censor certificate as many films they were showing had no
      certificate. So they told the press that our video " had not arrived " .
      When the press contacted us we had documentary proof that the Films
      Division had signed a receipt for the film two weeks ago! Then they said
      that the film had arrived but the quality was bad. But I had a letter
      from them only three days ago inviting me to come to Kolkata for the
      inauguration. The letter does not mention either the non-arrival or the
      bad quality of our video.
      I do not blame officials of the Films Division of anything more than
      wanting to protect their jobs. They were going to show " War and
      Peace " in all sincerity until rudely stopped by some invisible force.
      This invisible force has in the last 15 years taken our country to the
      abyss. I want this invisible force to come clean and reveal itself to the
      public gaze. Let it openly declare that it does not believe in democracy
      or in the values propagated by Mahatma Gandhi. These values of
      non-violence and religious tolerance are what " War and Peace "
      celebrates and hopes to rekindle in our psychologically and physically
      scarred region of the globe.

      Anand Patwardhan 1st June 2002 [Mumbai]



      01 Jun 2002

      Dr. Ram Puniyani
      EKTA(Committee for Communal Amity
      Mumbai 400076, (5723522,5725045)


      The decision of Mumbai police to withdraw permission for holding the
      National Convention for Peace Secularism and Democracy, to be held in
      Mumbai (June 1,2) is most condemnable. Large number of delegates committed
      to Peace and Secularism were to assemble to chalk out a plan to strengthen
      the democratic and secular values, to dispel the myths about the 'other'
      communities, to ensure communal amity from local to national level. Also
      prominent peace activists and intellectuals were to participate in this.

      It is not only a infringement on democratic rights of the citizen's to
      assemble and exercise their democratic right but also the signs of times
      where talking about peace and secularism is looked at with suspicion. In
      the present atmosphere where the police itself are communalized to a great
      extent, as obvious from its role in current Gujarat carnage and the not so
      long ago Mambai riots, it should alarm the citizens at large about the
      direction in which we are heading. It is time that police authorities are
      trained in the democratic values, communal harmony and concept of civic
      peace cutting across different communities. There is a need to nurture the
      values of Communal Harmony inherent in our constitution; there is a need
      to promote the values of pluralism, which can act as the only guaranty
      against the repeatedly occurring communal violence. We urge upon the state
      authorities to snub the highhanded attitude of the police authorities and
      ensure that all necessary permission be granted to this convention.


      Dr. Ram Puniyani(EKTA)
      Anand Patwardhan(Film maker)
      Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer(CSSS)
      Dilip Simeon (Researcher)
      Dolphy D'Souza (VOTE)
      Flavia Agnes (Majlis)
      Nasreen Fazalbhoy(Sociologist Mumbai University)
      Pervin Jehangir(NBA)
      Dr. Sanjay Nagaral (Consultant,Jaslok Hospital)
      Sanober Keshwar(CPDR)
      Shaina Anand (Chitrakarkhana)
      Prof. Sudhir Paranjape(Indian Institute of Social Sciences)
      Suma Josson (Filmaker)



      The Hindu
      June 2, 2002

      'Gujarat carnage was planned much before Godhra'

      By Our Special Correspondent

      NEW DELHI JUNE 1. The groundwork for the Gujarat carnage was
      put in place long before the Godhra carnage on February 27,
      according to a fact-finding report by a Delhi-based rights
      organisation, People's Union For Democratic Rights. In its report
      "Maaro, Kaapo, Baaro: State, Society and Communalism in
      Gujarat,'' PUDR has said that the organisers of the carnage tapped
      on a seam of hatred, based on anti-Muslim propaganda, which had
      been carefully cultivated over many years.

      The hate propaganda increased in the six months prior to February,
      the report claims. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal
      organised "trishul" distribution ceremonies in villages with a Muslim
      population, and speeches were made abusing and threatening
      Muslims. In Pandarwada, where one of the worst massacres took
      place, such a meeting was held about a fortnight before the attack,
      the report says. And "organisational meetings'' were held in many
      villages, affected by the Godhra incident, on the evening of
      February 27 and 28.

      In many cases, those who attended the meetings participated in the
      attacks that followed.

      The PUDR team spoke to officials, members of traders'
      associations, the VHP, the Jamait-e-Ulema Hind and NGOs, visited
      21 relief camps and 75 villages and towns.

      The report focuses on the rural areas and small towns of the six
      worst-affected districts. It provides detailed lists of people —
      several of them functionaries of the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang
      Dal — named as organisers and attackers. It also gives a list of
      victims in some of the mass killings, which establish that their
      numbers were higher than the ones the Government will admit to.

      The report illustrates how the criminal justice system in the State is
      complicit in the denial of justice to the riot victims. It corroborates
      the widely-reported fact that police is making a mockery of the
      investigative process. And that even the courts have shown a
      reluctance to do their job.

      It cites the instance of 137 victims from Himmatnagar who moved
      the High Court, pleading registration of FIRs relating to the burning
      of their shops and businesses establishments. Despite an
      assurance from the State, the High Court failed to pass an order or
      chastise the administration for failing in its duty. No FIR has been
      lodged so far.

      Another instance it has cited is with respect to 22 persons arrested
      for the massacre of over 24 persons on March 3 from Ode village
      in Anand. The court granted interim bail to them for "celebrating

      The report also says that the Gujarat Government is not serious
      about providing relief to the affected. While the focus has been on
      the abysmal conditions in the Ahmedabad relief camps, with 22
      toilets for 12,000 people at the Shah Alam camp, the situation in
      the rural areas is far worse. Most have no sanitation or medical

      The district authorities do not have a complete list of camps in their
      jurisdiction and the official figures underestimate the numbers in
      camps. They claimed, for instance, that the population in the relief
      camps of Anand district was 1254. The PUDR team found that the
      Kohinoor Rahat camp in Anand town alone had 1155 persons and
      that there are 17 camps in the district.

      While Gujarat had not set up any camps, it had issued guidelines
      on the basis of which it `recognised' only a small number of them.
      Most camps in the rural areas were not recognised and, therefore,
      did not even receive the insufficient, and irregularly provided, food
      rations that the Government was doling out as relief.

      Most of the NGOs running the camps "are really religious
      organisations or trusts,'' according to the report. The Government's
      failure to provide relief is pushing people into the folds of religious
      organisations, "which would further communalise society.''


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