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SACW | 1 July 02

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch | 1 July 2002 [ INTERRUPTION NOTICE: Please note that there will be no SACW dispatches between the period 3 July - 11/12
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2002
      South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch | 1 July 2002

      [ INTERRUPTION NOTICE: Please note that there will be no SACW
      dispatches between the period 3 July - 11/12 July 2002 ]

      South Asia Citizens Web:

      South Asians Against Nukes:


      #1. Sri Lanka: Political power over ethnic identity (Ram Manikkalingam)
      #2. Possession and Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia (R
      Rajaraman, M V Ramana, Zia Mian)
      #3. India: NDA's Presidential Missile - Kalam: boon or bane? (Praful Bidwai)
      #4. India: The siege is from within. A way of life has been seized
      upon as a means to political power and a religion held hostage.
      (Soutik Biswas, Sanjay Suri, S. Anand)
      #5. India: Petition to Protest Against Ban on Anand Patwardhan's
      Film, "Ram Ke Naam" by Malappuram District Collector In Kerala
      #6. Two reports on Gujarat



      Political power over ethnic identity
      By Ram Manikkalingam

      The civil war in Sri Lanka consists of three distinct conflicts. Most
      observers focus on the ethnic conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese,
      or the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan state and the rebel
      Tamil Tigers. But they pay scant attention to the political power
      conflict among the three main forces that currently have a stake in
      political rule in Sri Lanka - the Tamil Tigers, the United National
      Party (UNP) and the People's Alliance (P.A.). While the Tiger desire
      for absolute power in the Tamil areas has kept the war going, the
      competition for political power between the P.A. and the UNP has
      prevented the war from ending.

      Conflict over power among political parties is a vital element of
      democracy in any country. It prevents the state from becoming an
      oligarchy or, worse, a tyranny. While the power conflict between the
      UNP and the P.A. is good for democracy, it is bad for resolving the
      ethnic conflict. Ending political competition between the two major
      political parties is not required for them to work together to
      resolve the civil war. The political competition for power between
      the two political parties should be channelled so it does not
      undermine efforts to end the war. By voting for Chandrika Kumaratunga
      as President and Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, the Sri
      Lankan people have called on the two leaders of the main political
      parties to do precisely this.

      The ethnic conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese is commonly
      considered the hardest to resolve. Most descriptions of Sri Lanka's
      ethnic conflict (or for that matter any ethnic conflict) are
      variations of the hate-and-greed explanation. These descriptions
      depict Tamils and Sinhalese as either hating each other, because of
      conflicting nationalisms, or competing with each other for resources
      because of greed. Where the nationalism comes from - ancient history,
      myth, or recent acts of violence - is less relevant than that it
      exists and manifests itself in mutual hostility between Tamils and
      Sinhalese. Similarly, where greed comes from - individual interests,
      group solidarity or nationalist passion - is less important than that
      it ultimately leads ethnic groups to get into conflict.

      While this explanation - that Tamils and Sinhalese are enmeshed in a
      conflict over ethnic identity and material resources - may have had
      some relevance in the past, it is becoming less and less plausible
      today. Most Tamils and Sinhalese desire an end to the war. They have
      come to realise - whether enthusiastically or reluctantly - that a
      solution to the conflict will require the Central government
      dominated by the Sinhalese to share political power with other ethnic
      groups, particularly the Tamils. Whatever the various solutions
      proffered, they invariably converge on some form of federalism.
      Except for some Sinhalese and some Tamils, the majority of the people
      in Sri Lanka are beginning to accept such a solution. Even those who
      are critical of federalism are less concerned that it will give more
      rights to Tamils than they deserve, than that it will enable the
      Tigers to consolidate their power and establish a separate Tamil
      authoritarian state.

      The proposals presented by President Kumaratunga in July 1995 form an
      important basis for pursuing a political solution. The proposals,
      presented after the Tigers violated the ceasefire, go beyond a
      unitary state. They acknowledge the discrimination that the Tamil
      people faced at the hands of the Sri Lankan State since Independence
      and seek to redress it through regional autonomy. The point is that
      there is no mystery about what the outlines of a political solution
      to the ethnic conflict will look like. While most academic and
      journalistic observers continue to focus primarily on the ethnic
      conflict in Sri Lanka, this is probably the least challenging
      obstacle to peace today.

      Addressing the ethnic conflict is complicated by the armed conflict
      between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan State. Although the armed
      conflict is generally viewed as stemming from the ethnic conflict, it
      is also distinct in character. States claim a monopoly over the
      legitimate use of force in a given territory. So any state will
      repress those who seek to oppose it by force. It matters little to
      the state that those who oppose it do so on the basis of democracy,
      ethnicity or regionalism. And when it comes to suppressing an armed
      rebellion, it matters little whether the state is capitalist or
      socialist, authoritarian or democratic. All states have acted with
      varying degrees of violence and repression in stemming armed
      rebellions. So also have rebel groups opposing states. There are two
      ways armed conflicts between states and a rebel group can end - when
      one side defeats another or when both sides concede that they cannot
      defeat each other. It is not clear if this has happened in Sri Lanka.

      The current ceasefire agreement between the government of Sri Lanka
      and the Tigers is an attempt to resolve the armed conflict. Prime
      Minister Wickremesinghe and the Tiger leader signed it. The previous
      P.A.- led government was involved in drawing up key elements of it,
      such as the list of items to be lifted from the embargo. The Sri
      Lankan State has conceded that the cost of defeating the Tigers is
      one that it does not wish to bear. The Tigers have yet to do so. They
      are either bluffing, that is, they have admitted it among them but do
      not wish to do so to others. Or they are simply buying time. Whatever
      the drawbacks to the ceasefire agreement (and there are many), it is
      still an attempt at resolving the armed conflict between the Tamil
      Tigers and the Sri Lankan State, without granting either side a
      decisive military victory.

      Addressing the armed conflict is complicated by the political power
      conflict among the main contenders for political power in Sri Lanka -
      the ruling UNP led by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, the Opposition
      P.A. led by President Kumaratunga and the Tamil Tigers led by their
      leader V. Prabhakaran. There is a distinct power conflict among these
      three contenders that is derived from competition over the business
      of rule. The UNP and the P.A. compete over who gets to rule the Sri
      Lankan State, while the Tigers seek to rule a separate Tamil one.

      This competition cannot simply be reduced to varying ideologies of
      nationalism or competing policies over how to resolve the ethnic
      conflict or, for that matter, different socio-economic policies.
      Political parties are built around the express intent of securing
      political power. They may have different ideological leanings or
      social bases and therefore wish to carry out different programmes.
      Still, one of their central goals is to rule, simpliciter, not only
      ruling in order to do something else. Clearly, all three parties -
      the UNP, the P.A. and the Tigers - do not contend for power the same
      way. The P.A. and the UNP do so through more or less democratic
      means. The Tigers do so through more or less violently
      anti-democratic means. Yet, an important part of what they all
      contend for is power.

      The position taken by these parties in elections over the past two
      years helps illustrate the distinction between policy on the ethnic
      conflict and political alliances to secure power. During the last two
      parliamentary elections and the most recent presidential elections,
      the UNP opposed the P.A. government's political proposals for
      resolving the conflict - saying that it had granted too much autonomy
      to the Tamils. At the same time, the UNP supported talking to the
      Tamil Tigers, who were asking for a separate state.

      This seemingly contradictory position - opposing Tamil autonomy, but
      supporting a dialogue with the Tamil extremist Tigers - can be
      reconciled. The UNP as a political party seeking to run the state was
      seeking Tiger support to obtain Tamil votes in areas under Tiger
      domination, while keeping its Sinhala base satisfied. Similarly, the
      Tigers seeking a separate state were implicitly supporting a
      political party that sought to dilute measures granting autonomy to
      Tamil areas. The Tigers expected the UNP to be more conciliatory
      towards them than the P.A. would be.

      The point here is not that the UNP (or Tigers) is opportunistic and
      the P.A. is not. Nor is it the point that there are no differences of
      opinion among members of the UNP and the P.A. as a whole about the
      ethnic conflict.

      In fact, historically, the P.A. has tended to be more Sinhala
      nationalist than the UNP. Rather, it is that apart from all the
      claims and counter-claims about the conflict based on ethnicity,
      there is a competition between the political parties over who gets to
      rule Sri Lanka that is quite distinct from the ethnic conflict.

      And this competition adds to the complexity of resolving the civil
      war. All Sri Lankan governments have sought to, for better or for
      worse, address the ethnic conflict through regional autonomy and the
      armed conflict through ceasefires and/or military confrontation.
      Other than sporadic efforts, they have all paid little if any
      explicit attention to addressing the political power conflict among
      the main parties.

      The proposal to set up an interim administration under Tiger control
      in the Northeast of Sri Lanka is an attempt to address the desire for
      political power of the Tigers. The UNP-led government hopes to entice
      the Tigers by granting them de facto rule over the Northeast. Human
      rights groups are concerned that the Tigers will use the interim
      administration to violate the rights of people living in the
      Northeast, engage in ethnic cleansing, and prepare for war. Others
      argue that an overall political settlement needs to be worked out
      prior to setting up an interim administration. The interim
      administration will then become a means to a clear political goal,
      rather than a halfway house that both parties haggle over until
      conflict breaks out. Whatever the validity of such criticisms (and
      they are all valid), the UNP-led government's proposal to set up an
      interim administration constitutes a pragmatic recognition that the
      political power conflict with the Tigers is distinct from the ethnic
      conflict with the Tamils.

      Even as it is addressing the political power conflict with the
      Tigers, the UNP-led government, however, is failing to address the
      conflict over political power with the P.A. The political power
      conflict between the P.A. and the UNP is harder to resolve (though
      not bloodier) than that between either one of them and the Tigers.
      This is because, even in the worst case where the Tigers control the
      Northeast or even establish a separate state, the P.A. or the UNP can
      still rule from Colombo. However, if either the P.A. or the UNP
      controls all political power in Colombo, the other party is
      automatically excluded. Thus the P.A. and the UNP are more reluctant
      to share power with each other than with the Tigers, although they
      are both ideologically closer to each other than each is to the

      Recent efforts by the UNP to weaken the constitutional authority of
      President Kumaratunga are an example of this unwillingness to share
      power at the Centre. The UNP is rushing through amendments to the
      Constitution that will prevent the President from dissolving
      Parliament. The President of Sri Lanka wields the power to dissolve
      Parliament a year after it is elected under the present
      semi-presidential system. When the President and the Prime Minister
      are from the same party, this power does not differ significantly
      from that of the latter under the parliamentary system. However, when
      they are from different parties, these powers provide a critical
      source of authority for a President without a parliamentary majority.
      With the threat of dissolution hanging over the government, a
      President can cajole the ruling party to act in ways that take the
      interests of the Opposition are taken into consideration.

      The political rationale presented by the UNP for amending the
      Constitution to limit the President's powers is to prevent her from
      jeopardising the peace process by dissolving Parliament. But as Sri
      Lankan political columnist Tissaranee Gunesekere has astutely
      observed, this amendment is either unnecessary or counterproductive.
      It is unnecessary if the peace process is working, that is, there is
      no resumption of war and the negotiations are proceeding steadily. In
      such circumstances, even if President Kumaratunga were to dissolve
      Parliament, the UNP is likely to come back to power with a greater
      majority, not a lesser one. On the other hand, if the peace process
      collapses, this amendment is not going to protect the UNP from a
      serious political setback that may even cost them their majority in

      The efforts to weaken the constitutional authority of the President
      are counterproductive in yet another way. They jeopardise rather than
      strengthen the peace process. By aggravating tensions between the
      P.A. and the UNP further, they reduce any incentive on the part of
      the P.A. led by the President to support the peace efforts of the
      Prime Minister. And if these tensions continue after the collapse of
      the peace process, they will weaken the Centre's capacity to defend
      itself from a Tiger onslaught.

      There is a great deal of common ground in the approach of the two
      political parties to addressing the civil war. Both argue that a
      political solution to the ethnic conflict will require regional
      autonomy in predominantly Tamil areas. Both parties hope that
      negotiating with the Tigers through Norwegian facilitation might lead
      to a reduction in the armed conflict. Still, they emphasise slightly
      different approaches. The President has argued in favour of a
      political solution to the ethnic conflict throughout her career as a
      political activist and leader of the country. She presented the most
      extensive devolution package ever drafted by a Sri Lankan government.
      She has consistently acknowledged the grievances of the Tamil people
      and has sought to mobilise support for political devolution at a
      moment when it was hardest to do so - in the midst of war. The
      President, who called for "maximum devolution" to the Tamil people in
      her policy statement to Parliament at the beginning of the previous
      peace process, has gone much further than the Prime Minister who
      calls for "extensive devolution". The President has both the
      political courage and the charisma to provide leadership to the
      country in devising a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

      Through the ceasefire agreement the Prime Minister has demonstrated
      that he has the confidence to take a number of risky steps to reduce
      the armed conflict. While he may never have been associated with
      previous calls for a negotiated settlement, he has also never
      obstructed efforts to do so. When President Kumaratunga presented
      wide-ranging devolution proposals in July 1995, then Opposition
      leader Wickremasinghe criticised it in Parliament, but he did not
      oppose it outside. He made an important break with the Sri Lankan
      tradition of the Opposition always mobilising Sinhala nationalists
      against any political concessions made to the Tamils by the
      government. More recently, he supported President Kumaratunga when
      she initiated indirect talks with the Tiger through Norwegian
      facilitation. In the past few months he has worked hard to diffuse
      opposition to the peace process with the Tigers. The Prime Minister
      has shown that he has the skills and the patience to negotiate an end
      to the armed conflict with the Tigers.

      There is a natural division of political labour between the two main
      political parties in Sri Lanka that can help the country wend its way
      towards peace. Sri Lankans can encourage the two parties to compete
      with each other for power by pursuing two parallel but complementary
      aspects of a peace process - addressing the armed conflict and the
      ethnic conflict - rather than obstructing each other's effort to do
      so. If the political moment is ripe and the proper political
      incentives are created, this collaboration can be institutionalised
      in a bipartisan negotiating council as peace negotiations proceed.

      The negotiating council can be co-chaired by the President and the
      Prime Minister, who together can appoint its members. The negotiating
      council ought to have two subcommittees- one to deal with the armed
      conflict and the other with the ethnic conflict. The Prime Minister
      can chair the subcommittee that deals with the armed conflict, an
      area where he has already made some headway. The President can chair
      the subcommittee that deals with the ethnic conflict, an area where
      she has been more forthcoming. The role of this committee will be to
      advise and guide the negotiating team representing the Sri Lankan
      government. Ultimately, who has more influence in shaping the peace
      process will depend on the relative power of the two political
      parties among the people. While there is no assurance that the
      negotiating council will ensure that the two political parties
      co-operate with each other, it can provide an institutional framework
      that will enable the two major political parties to collaborate
      better in negotiating an end to the war.

      Clearly none of this will guarantee that the peace process will
      succeed, particularly if the Tigers believe they have more to gain by
      going to war than working towards peace. Peace processes rarely
      succeed, even when both parties negotiate in good faith. When one
      party has consistently demonstrated nothing but bad faith, it is even
      less likely to do so. To counter the possibility of failure, the best
      that the President and the Prime Minister can do is make preparations
      for war together, just as they ought to make preparations for peace

      If there is unity in peace, there is likely to be unity in war.
      However, disunity in peace, will invariably lead to disunity in war.

      In the past few years, rhetoric aside, the P.A. and the UNP have come
      a remarkably long way towards a common position on resolving the two
      central conflicts that plague Sri Lanka - the ethnic conflict and the
      armed conflict. The people of Sri Lanka by voting for two political
      parties to rule them together have called on their leaders to set
      aside partisan differences that obstruct the peace process. Both
      parties must come to realise that an end to the civil war will
      ultimately benefit them both. Because whichever political party wins
      the competition to rule Sri Lanka, it will still have to deal with
      the ethnic conflict, on the one hand, and the armed rebellion of the
      Tigers, on the other.

      (The writer is a Fellow of the Open Society Institute and an
      Assistant Director at the Rockefeller Foundation, based in New York.
      This article expresses his personal views and not those of either of
      the institutions).

      Daily Mirror (Colombo)
      Friday, 28 June 2002



      Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai, India)
      June 22, 2002

      Possession and Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

      An Assessment of Some Risks

      This paper examines some of operational requirements and the dangers
      that come with the possibility that in the foreseeable future India
      and Pakistan may deploy their nuclear arsenals. The authors first
      describe the analytical basis for the inevitability of accidents in
      complex high-technology systems. Then they turn to potential failures
      of nuclear command and control and early warning systems as examples.
      They go on to discuss the possibility and consequences of accidental
      explosions involving nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.
      Finally some measures to reduce these risks are suggested.

      R Rajaraman
      M V Ramana
      Zia Mian




      The Praful Bidwai
      Column - June 24

      - NDA’s Presidential Missile

      Kalam: boon or bane?

      By Praful Bidwai

      Is Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam an eminent scientist with an exceptional
      record and worthy vision, a secularist of integrity, who personifies
      India’s “composite culture”, behind whom the entire nation should
      unite? Or is he merely the RSS’ “poster-boy Muslim”, a “Kalam Iyer”
      (as his colleagues call him), the kind who takes pride in knowing
      Sanskrit but no Urdu, and who plays the rudra veena and reads the
      Bhagwad-Gita every day?

      The issue has proved divisive enough to split not just the
      Opposition, but even the People’s Front, which tried to forge a
      distinct identity within it. Never before have such heavy charges
      been traded between politicians over a single individual, including
      Ms Sonia Gandhi. The Kalam issue demands a dispassionate discussion
      which goes beyond icons and does not shy away from a good look at our
      science and technology establishment.

      However, two things should be clear. One, the BJP/NDA is making a big
      hullabaloo about a “consensus” around Mr Kalam. But the “Missile Man”
      was not its first choice. Its original favourite until June 8 was
      Vice-President Krishna Kant. Then, it suddenly switched to
      Maharashtra governor P.C. Alexander for reasons connected with the
      BJP-Shiv Sena’s bid to topple the Congress-NCP state government. This
      happened against Mr Vajpayee’s wishes and his “understanding” with Mr
      Chandrababu Naidu. Mr Naidu went into a sulk.

      At this point, the BJP’s internal power dynamics took over. Mr
      Vajpayee proposed Mr Kalam’s name to outmanoeuvre his own party
      colleagues. Thus, it is for cynical reasons that Mr Kalam emerged as
      NDA candidate. The Opposition played its cards poorly. Rather than
      hold wide consultations and develop a fallback option in case
      President Narayanan refused re-nomination, it put all its eggs in one
      basket. The Congress did not use its 14 chief ministers to evolve a
      multi-party candidate. And the Left didn’t apply its mind enough.

      Secondly, whatever Mr Kalam’s other qualifications, he lacks
      experience in public life, government or Parliament. In our
      Constitutional scheme, the President’s is a political office. He/she
      is not a decorative figure, but is called upon to counsel the Cabinet
      and exercise discriminating judgment on sensitive matters. True, the
      President need not have a party background. But s/he cannot be
      uncoached in politics. Thus, Dr Radhakrishnan was an academic, but
      had served as ambassador to the USSR. Barring Gyani Zail Singh and
      V.V. Giri, all our Presidents have been men of learning, typically
      with high qualifications from world-class universities. But they were
      also experienced diplomats, administrators or legislators with a deep
      understanding of the Constitution and the peculiarities of our

      Mr Kalam lacks such experience or orientation. He is an engineer who
      became a manager of cloistered defence-related programmes, with
      little exposure to the broader process of governance. He has an
      over-simple, untutored and at times unpardonably naïve understanding
      of Constitutional issues, development priorities, and the
      relationship between military and human security. Even a casual
      reading of his Wings of Fire and Vision-2020 will confirm this.
      Naivety marred his first two post-nomination press conferences, at
      which he evaded inconvenient questions and took a position on
      avoidance of war with Pakistan through nuclear deterrence, which is
      at odds with the official view.

      Mr Kalam believes India is a “developed nation. We are among the top
      five … in terms of GDP… Our poverty levels are falling, our
      achievements are being globally recognised today. Yet we lack the
      self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation.” But
      underdevelopment is not just a function of GDP. Even in nominal GDP
      terms, India is lower than Holland (pop. 15 million). Over half our
      population lives on less than $2 a day. The per capita
      income-differential between India and the developed world is roughly
      1:40, higher than 50 years ago. What should especially shame Indians
      is not just poverty, but staggering income inequalities. Growth alone
      cannot address these. Mr Kalam has no understanding of these or of
      the structural constraints, including hierarchy, caste and
      illiteracy, which keep India backward.

      Similarly, Mr Kalam shows little comprehension of the complex,
      double-edged character of technology itself. Technology can liberate.
      But it can destroy too-that’s what nuclear missiles, biological
      weapons and mind-control technologies do. Mr Kalam bemoans our
      “negativism”: “We are the second largest producer of wheat … [and
      rice] in the world …” But he doesn’t reflect on the fact that we also
      have the second biggest population in the world-and the biggest
      collection of the hungry, the crippled, the diseased, the deprived …

      Such attitudes do not speak of wisdom. Truth to tell, Mr Kalam’s
      thinking is full of poorly constructed, half-baked or undigested
      ideas. For instance, he advocates such weird things as “bio-implants”
      for “deficient” brains (reminiscent of eugenics?), compulsory
      sterilisation, using nuclear fission (why?) to power short-haul
      airplanes, and combining the occult with modern science. He believes
      India is eminently capable of making anti-ballistic missile shields,
      when even the US has so far proved unable to master that technology
      which involves, among other things, reliably detecting launches in
      distant continents, and then accurately attacking incoming
      missiles-akin to hitting a bullet travelling at 24,000 km/sec with
      another travelling at the same velocity!

      As Princeton-based physicist M.V. Ramana says, Mr Kalam tends to
      “dress up even mediocre work with the Tricolour to pass it off as a
      great achievement. In his autobiography, he says he
      reverse-engineered a Russian rocket-assisted take-off system, simply
      borrowing the crucial motors. Publicly, however, it was passed off as
      an ‘indigenous development’”. Here lies the crux. Mr Kalam is not a
      scientist. He has discovered nothing new about the physical world. He
      is an engineer who has manipulated aspects of the physical
      reality-essentially to military ends. His doctorate is honorary, like
      Ms Jayalalithaa’s.

      The performance of the two institutions closest to him, Indian Space
      Research Organisation and Defence Research and Development
      Organisation, has been deeply unsatisfactory. Besides the rather
      primitive, short-range Prithvi (range, 150-250 km), their most
      important achievement has been the Space Launch Vehicle rocket. But
      this used an imported, not Indian, guidance system. The SLV-3 was the
      base for the original Agni (range, 1,500-2,500 km). But that Agni
      model went through three tests-one success, one failure, and one
      “limited success” (i.e. partial failure)before being declared a
      “technology demonstrator”, rather than a prototype that would fly.
      Since then, there has been a longer-range Agni-II (2,500 to 3,000 km)
      missile, and a renamed, wholly new, Agni-I (range 700-900 km)
      unrelated to the original missile. Both were developed largely after
      Mr Kalam quit the DRDO.

      India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (launched
      1983) is hardly a success story. Of the five different
      missile-classes it was meant to develop, only two have become
      (quasi-)operational. The Trishul, Nag and Akash are nowhere near that
      status, despite long delays and massive cost-overruns. No Indian Navy
      or Air Force ship or plane carries a DRDO missile. The army’s main
      anti-tank missile, the Milan ATM, is French in origin. All three
      forces’ anti-aircraft weapons are of Russian origin.

      To be fair, Mr Kalam must be judged by the performance of the DRDO as
      a whole. He headed it for long years. This record is embarrassingly
      poor. The DRDO has never completed a major project on time. Its
      weapons are often of indifferent quality, e.g. the 5.56 mm basic
      infantry gun. Some of its big-ticket projects, like the AWACS
      Advanced Airborne Warning Systems or the aircraft carrier, are big
      disasters. Three of its most expensive projects, the Main Battle
      Tank, Light Combat Aircraft, and Advanced Technology Vessel (nuclear
      submarine) have each soaked up Rs 2,000 crores-plus, without
      delivering results. The Arjun MBT is so heavy that the army prefers
      Russian T-90 tanks. The LCA doesn’t even have an Indian engine. And
      the ATV’s design isn’t ready-after 20 years of “work”.

      The DRDO can annually burn Rs 3,600 crores of public money without
      producing decent results-at least partly because it is shielded from
      public scrutiny, including the Comptroller and Auditor General’s.
      Such “power without responsibility” has given the military-industrial
      complex (MIC) a bad name everywhere. In India, jingoism and
      militarist nationalism have made the MIC a holy cow. In this respect,
      Mr Kalam represents the seamy, undemocratic side of the Complex. His
      elevation to India’s highest office will not only depoliticise and
      lower its stature. It will put the terrible stamp of militarisation
      on Rashtrapati Bhawan.

      In principle, elevating Mr Kalam to the Presidency is no different
      from making Dr A.Q. Khan Pakistan’s president in a warlike situation.
      Mr Kalam will also serve to whitewash the BJP after the Gujarat
      carnage. His “Hindutva-friendly” image will marginalise all those
      Muslims who don’t follow the Sangh stereotype: i.e. Urdu-speaking
      meat-eaters who don’t read the Gita, but who are no less Indian for
      that. India’s non-executive President is meant to reflect and defend
      a pluralist culture. Mr Kalam does not. He, it bears recalling,
      refused to publicly condemn those culpable for the Gujarat massacre;
      he only said the events were “very sad”. Is that the kind of
      presidential wisdom and candour we deserve?-end-



      Outlook Magazine | Jul 08, 2002

      A Faith Besieged
      The siege is from within. A way of life has been seized upon as a
      means to political power and a religion held hostage.




      A new petition has been submitted by Mukundan C. Menon,
      mukundancmenon@... petition title is PROTEST AGAINST
      COLLECTOR IN KERALA.. The petition URL is
      The petition is directed to The Chief Minister of Kerala,
      Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala



      Two reports on Gujarat:

      1) Violence In Vadodara
      by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) - Vadodara and Vadodara Shanti
      June 26, 2002

      Available online at:


      2) AT THE RECEIVING END: Women's Experiences of Violence in Vadodara
      By: People's Union for Civil Liberties, Vadodara and Vadodara Shanti Abhiyan
      May 31, 2002 published June 26, 2002

      PDF File - 29 pages Available online at:
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