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SACW | 2 August 02

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August 2002 From South Asia Citizens Web: http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex __________________________ #1. Truth behind the MORI poll
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2002
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August 2002

      From South Asia Citizens Web:
      http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex

      __________________________

      #1. Truth behind the MORI poll on Kashmir
      #2. India: Gujarat Faces Another Bout Of Violence (Batuk Vora )
      #3. India: Submissions to the Election Commission on the Elections in Gujarat
      On Behalf of SAHMAT (Rajeev Dhavan)
      #4. Pogrom in India - Gujarat: An Eyewitness Account (Shubhra Nagalia)
      #5. India: Committee for Fair Trial of the POTA Accused - An Urgent Appeal
      #6. Booklets on inter-communal and inter-religious harmony (Yogi Sikand)
      #7.India: Anti Nuclear Street play in Chandigarh (6 Aug.)

      __________________________


      #1.

      Daily Times, Lahore, August 1,2002.

      Op-ed: Truth behind the MORI poll on Kashmir

      A detailed analysis of the recent MORI poll on Kashmir
      reveals that people in the Kashmir Valley are alienated
      from both India and Pakistan.

      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_1-8-2002_pg3_3

      same article with online references:
      http://www.mindspring.com/~akhila_raman/akhilamori-links.htm

      _____


      #2.

      Batuk Vora

      GUJARAT FACES ANOTHER BOUT OF VIOLENCE:
      Now is the turn of 'Spiritual Terrorists'

      Ahmedabad: All those who have not yet fully fathomed the root cause
      of the communal carnage in Gujarat that shook whole of India for as
      long as three months, feel dumbfounded again while witnessing a sort
      of "spiritual terrorism", this time launched allegedly by Dada
      (Pandurang Athvale) and his dynastic successor Didi's followers
      within Swadhyay Parivar against the dissidents, comprising most of
      the Dada's 'old and pioneer' disciples.

      Both the groups have filed police complaint at Ahmedabad against each
      other alleging threats, violent intrusion, beating up and fear of
      murder. Late night's incident on July 27 at Ahmedabad, when a few
      dissidents, visitors from Mumbai, were roughed up, beaten and abused
      while they were waiting for more supporters to come from North
      Gujarat for a meeting.

      "This has once again brought out their tactic of spiritual terror and
      fascist method commanded from Parivar's present managers from Dada's
      official headquarters, Nirmal Niketan at Mumbai," according to a
      leading Swadhyay rebel Mahesh Shah, an industrialist, who had to go
      underground following a vulgar and violent attack on him and some of
      his colleagues. Didi is also now an accused in above police complaint.

      A command issued from the headquarters was "Didi and now even Dada
      want all members to close their minds and just do what they preach.
      No religious song to be sung of anybody else, no worshipping of any
      other idol, no attention to any other godly figure than that of Dada.
      This is their command," Shah told this writer. He further said that
      "so far they have not killed anybody but they certainly want to badly
      hurt us and terrorize our families so that we do not raise our voice."

      Pandurang Athvale is a Magsaysay and Templeton awards winner carrying
      on his Swadhyay bhakti movement since more than 50 years in both
      Gujarat and Maharashtra. Hundreds of simple farmers have donated part
      of their cultivable land and its all products to Yogeshwar Bhagvan as
      per Dada's ordain. One senior former colleague not willing to be
      identified, told that Dada himself was now determined to corner all
      the wealth and encouraging Didi to spread such a terror. Chronology
      of such 'spiritual terror', as related to this writer by several of
      those dissidents besides Mahesh Shah, run as follows:

      "I have a thousand young chaps similar to LTTE fighters; They would
      jump from the tall terrace of Oberoi Hotel here if I command and
      would finish anyone without blinking their eyes if I command 'God
      would never forgive such traitors'- these words did not come from any
      Islamic Jihadi or terrorist but from Jayshree Talvalkar 'Didi,'
      adopted daughter (Dada's brother's sibling) as quoted by Chitralekha,
      a monthly magazine from Mumbai- July 8.

      Following this Ahmedabad based Justice B.J.Diwan resigned and 13
      other trustees, including Mahesh Shah, were kicked out from trusts.
      Later, Diwan's resignation was rejected by other trustees (Mumbai's
      Samkalin Daily- June 25). Diwan told the press that he was shocked to
      hear Dada saying that all the trust wealth "belongs to me now."

      Following phone threats and mail threats given to Ahmedabad based
      Pankaj Trivedi and Mumbai based old colleagues of Dada like Hemraj
      Ashar, Ramdas and Jagdish Shah, physical attacks started with beating
      up of Dada?s old disciple Satish Jagjivan Rudhani at Rajkot by seven
      people last October. Rebels told that Satish was actually close to
      Dada and once taken to Japan with him on his trip. Associated for 21
      years with Swadhyay Parivar, Satish was beaten up, according to
      Rajkot daily Fulchhab and Sanj Samachar, by a gang of 8 Swadhyay
      faithfuls from nearby Padadhari town by intruding in his bungalow and
      beating him up mercilessly in naked condition in front of his wife by
      pulling out the towel while the latter came out from the bathroom
      "They were shouting at him 'why did you utter a word against Dada' "

      Later in December 2001, Ahmedabad based Pankaj Trivedi received a
      most abusive letter of threat to his life. The letter also mentioned
      that his wife and daughter would be raped if he ever spoke against
      Dada or Didi. Trivedi filed a police complaint against one Bakabhai
      Patel.

      Mahesh Rawal, a local follower attended a meeting called by the
      dissidents on July 26 at Ahmedabad. Next morning, his house was
      surrounded by 25 white-sari clad Swadhyay faithful ladies, carrying
      placards as 'traitor' and 'turncoat' and spreading terror by shouting
      slogans in his neighborhood.

      One Devesh Pandit tried to convene a meeting of at his place in
      Chicago, USA, and invited around 250 members for that purpose. But a
      faithful of Dada Arjun Desai called 700 members commanding them not
      to attend Devesh's meeting. Arjun Desai is the ex-president of
      Chicago branch.

      Indubhai Poptani, a poet based at Porbandar, was told to write a poem
      (stuti) on Didi. He refused by saying that how to write it when he
      had no devotional feeling for Didi. He received a threat to his life
      in front of his wife who suffered a heart attack. She was removed to
      a hospital. Popatani's Bhav poems on Dada were quite popular among
      vast mass of followers in Saurashtra. Dada had even gifted Rs 10,000
      to his kids for 'sweets' on his visit to his house. "May be he
      thought this would silence me", Popatani said.

      Prof. S.K.Joshi of Jalgaon in Maharashtra was one of the close
      associate of Dada for many years. Dada had even once named him as a
      'role model' for all other Swadhyay Parivar members. He said "what
      actually happened was that I had organized Bhil adivasi farmers to
      grow fruit orchards in and around 28 Gnaeshwar Vriksh Mandirs (tree
      temple). It gave an income of about Rs 1 crore. Dada did not allow
      even rotten fruits to be eaten by Bhil kids. I questioned this
      practice and since that time I was hounded with 'spies' watching my
      home for eight days in three shifts and later shouting S.K. Murdabad
      slogans! I am still living under constant fear. But I am determined
      to carry on that noble activity in my own way with cooperation from
      at least 200 other followers meeting with me every week. I have found
      that both Dada and Didi want nothing else than lots and lots of
      income which nobody could question about its use"

      Incidentally, Sadhana, an RSS monthly organ in Gujarati, has highly
      lauded in a picturesque article Swadhyay Parivar's Vriksha Puja (tree
      worship) movement as a Hindu cultural tradition. It has not spoken a
      word about what the senior Dada followers now talk about Dada and
      Didi. All the four attempts to reach Didi and even Dada for comments
      failed.

      Some observers see this as a slow but sure attempt of penetration by
      RSS Parivar into the millions-strong equally Hindu adherent Swadhyay
      Parivar, having fat asset accounts in around 100 trusts and
      properties, all over Gujarat and Maharashtra, besides millions of
      dollars in London and America. Ex-chief justice of Gujarat High Court
      B. J. Diwan, a close former colleague of Dada and member of one of
      the trusts, told recently to the Gujarati media that "they have Rs
      200 crore in trust accounts and Rs 500 crores in immovable property
      account, which is now claimed by Dada himself as his own, and not of
      God as he used to tell earlier." Another old colleague says "they may
      not have anything less than Rs 1000 crores."

      "Perhaps, RSS wants Swadhyay Parivar to support its own communally
      surcharged political activities. Actually, Dada had once celebrated
      RSS founder Hegdevar's birth anniversary," said another senior Dada
      follower. THE END

      _____


      #3.

      Submissions to the Election Commission on the Elections in Gujarat

      On Behalf of SAHMAT
      (8, VBPH, Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110 001 / Telephones 3711276, 3351424)

      By Rajeev Dhavan

      http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex/SAHMATsubmissiontoEC.html

      _____


      #4.

      From: Liberation, June 2002.

      Pogrom in India - Gujarat: An Eyewitness Account
      by Shubhra Nagalia

      http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex/MLonGujarat062002.html

      _____


      #5.

      From: "Gautam Navlakha"
      Subject: An Urgent Appeal
      Date: Fri, 02 Aug 2002 11:29:32 +0530


      Committee for Fair Trial of the POTA Accused

      An Urgent Appeal

      Dear friends,

      We have tried to provide, as far as we could,
      information on the ongoing POTA trial of the century! All of us
      who protested against the ordinance as well as the bill on POT
      were of the opinion that it turns the rule of law on its head and
      that abuse is inherent in it. We have ofcourse the experience of
      TADA. But it is surprising that when the first trial began, in
      the Parliament Attack case, the media began to provide, with
      honourable exceptions, the prosecutor's side of the trial. It is
      a rare occurence if the defence version find a place in the
      media. As a result key aspect of the police case that raise
      disturbing question about country's criminal justice system find
      no mention in these news reports or in the opinion pieces.

      Recall that the critics had pointed out that a police force
      which routinely violates the rule of law would use draconian laws
      such as POTA as a shield to hide their lawless ways. But the
      Union Home Minister and the then law minister in the central
      government had defended POTA by claiming that the rights of the
      accused are protected and pointed to the procedures laid out for
      among other things interception, confession etc. Now the
      procedures are meant to lend authenticity to the, say, a tapped
      conversation, by ensuring that non-evidence does not become part
      of evidence presented before the Court. Since rules governing
      investigation under POTA favour the law enforcement authorities
      the only safeguard available to the accused are those provided
      for in the procedures. Now that the trial has begun in the
      Parliament Attack case there is need to look closely at the trial
      taking place before a Designated Court under POTA?

      Let us look at some aspects of the Parliament Attack Case.

      I. The attack took place on December 13 2001 and brought India
      and Pakistan, two nuclear armed countries, on the brink of war. A
      million troops were deployed by the two sides and millions of
      land mines laid. And so far nearly 80 soldiers and scores of
      civilians have lost their lives due to "accidents" (land mine
      blowing etc). The entire media and all government and oppositionb
      leaders declared it to be a terrorist attack. Security experts
      had a field day holding forth. And yet the Special Cell of the
      Delhi Police, on December 13, they the FIR not under POTO, then
      in opretaion, but under "normal" IPC and CrPC? It was only on
      December 19, six days later, they invoked POTA. Why?

      II. The special cell of the Delhi police began intercepting
      mobile conversations on December 13 under section 5(2) of the
      Telegraph Act. Rules framed pursuant to the 1996 Supreme Court
      judgement on a petition filed by the PUCL obliges the police to
      undertake interception only under an authorisation signed by the
      Union Home Seceretary. As Manoj Mitta pointed out (Indian Express
      July 25, 2002) the authorisation letter were dated December 31,
      2001 and January 19 2002 permitting tapping of phones (including
      mobiles which were by then already in police custody)
      prospectively for 90 days.

      III. The Telegraph Act makes intercepts inadmissible as evidence.
      But POTA allows it. However, POTA lays down a procedure including
      among other things to inform the accused ten days prior to
      beginning of trial/hearing/ proceedings under Section 44. But
      this was not done. Neither when the chargesheet was filed nor
      later were the accused furnished copy of the order of the
      Competent Authority ten days before the trial. This was not done.
      But the H'nble Court ruled that such evidence are admissible in
      the ongoing trial. But it is unclear whether the evidence made
      admissible should follow the procedures laid down under section
      44 of POTA or while the evidence becomes admissible under POTA
      the procedures can be given a go by?.

      IV. Now the conversation between SAR Geelani and his brother Shah
      Faisal was in Kashmiri. There were in all three intercepts in
      Kashmiri language on December 13. The person intercepting knew
      not a word of Kashmiri. An "expert" was brought in to translate
      the next day ie December 14. Now Delhi has a very large
      population of Kashmiris in government service as well as in trade
      and other professions. A qualified translator from Kashmiri to
      hindi were available then as well as later. But the Special cell
      brought in a person who has passed sixth form, cannot write hindi
      and can only read and speak it. He translated and another person
      wrote it down. It is this translation that is used as key
      evidence to charge Geelani. Intriguingly, there is no Kashmiri
      transcript of the intercept ie of the original kashmiri language
      conversation. There is no explanation for why a transcript was
      not prepaered. Especially when the call records show the
      intercept to be more than 2 minutes whereas the "translation"
      used by the prosecutor as evidence runs for around a minute!

      The long and short of it is that a person can be incarcerated for
      months, prosecuted and perhaps even convicted on such flimsy
      "evidence". So the issue remains whether fair trial is possible
      under POTA.

      Take another instance. Under POTA's Chapter III a procedure is
      laid out when an organisation is banned under it. Now Akhil
      Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj, a 23 year old welfare organisation of
      Nepali people living and working here, was banned on July 3. On
      July 11 at 5.30 pm 13 persons including four Nepali citizens were
      abducted by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police from a public
      place. Nine of the Indians were let off at around 8-8.30 pm. At
      11 pm the four Nepalese citizens were served 'quit India' notice
      and deported at 11.30 pm the same day. When habeas corpus was
      moved in the Delhi High Court it emerged that the police mistook
      P Chhteri for B Chhetri (general secretary of Nepali Ekta Samaj).
      They also didnot know that he had an Indian wife and child living
      in Sikkim. That his wife and child ought to have been provided an
      opportunity to meet Partha Chhetri. All four were first deported
      claiming Nepali authorities wanted them and subsequently changed
      to claiming Indian considered them "undesirable"? Why because
      they wrote against the autocratic monarchy in Nepal, and were
      sympathisers of Maoists ie their crime was their political views.
      But there were no warrants for their arrest. Their name is not
      among the list of 44 persons wanted by Nepal. They had committed
      no crime in India for which they were wanted or became
      "undesirable alien".Three out of four were journalists.
      International covenant oblige India not to send a person to
      hostile country where their lives could be in danger. In Nepal
      more than 100 journalists have been arrested and scores have
      disappeared the most celebrated being the custodial killing of
      Krishna Sen a much loved litterateur and journalist. Reporters
      without Borders and Committee for Protection of Journalists (US)
      have documented attacks on journalists in Nepal. But above all
      under POTA Section a person accused of being a member of a
      banned organisation is entitled to be given an opportunity to
      show under Section 20 that he/she became a member when the
      organisation was not declared as a terrorist organisation, or
      taken part in any activities of the organisation after its
      declaration as a terrorist organisation or that he had ceased to
      be a member of the banned oganisation. While no time is specified
      to enable a person to prove all the above, by no stretch of
      imagination is half an hour provided to the four persons deported
      under Foreigners Act section 3(92c) suffice.

      and 108 others

      Take the arrest of Yasin Malik on March 25 under POTA when he
      was addressing a press conference at the Hurriyet office after
      the police leaked news of his involvement in a 'hawala racket'.
      The case is ingeneous. A young man and woman from J&K returning
      from Kathmandu claimed to have received $100,000 from Abdul Qadir
      to be given to Yasin Malik. Despite intensive security checkup at
      Kathmandu and Delhi the couple escaped all attention until they
      were intercepted on the highway between Jammu and Srinagar. They
      promptly confessed to being carriers of 'hawala' money. Abdul
      Qadir denies having been to Nepal in last seven years. The man
      Mushtaq Ahmad on his release from jail in February 2000 ceased to
      be a JKLF member let alone a spokesperson he was said to be by
      the cops. Under section 32 of POTA "confession" of an accused
      against a third person is inadmissible as evidence. Yet, this
      sufficed to arrest Yasin Malik while he was addressing a press
      conference. He was beaten up on his right ear by SP Manohar Singh
      of SOG while in police custody demanding that he make a
      "confession". His health is frail (kidney, heart and recent micro
      surgery in his right ear). And he was attacked by the Shiv Sena
      goons when he was taken to the government hospital for a medical
      checkup. In a final twist when the designated court gave him bail
      on July 25, and pointed out that since the money said to be meant
      for the accused never reached him and since the two accused have
      retracted their confession the accused should be "set at liberty"
      after he furnishes bail. He was promptly placed under preventive
      detention for two years!

      The detention of Syed Geelani and his journalist son-in-law is
      equally omnious. His detention was much publicised for receiving
      'hawala' money, was finally not charged under POTA but detained
      under Public Safety Act. The charges are absurd: that he is
      member of Jamaat i Islami, for criticisng US war against
      Afghanistan, for describing himself as Pakistani! But receiving
      funds illegally figures as one among 15 charges against him and
      not even on top of the list! His son-in-law journalist Iftekhar
      Geelani was detained for violaion of Official Secrecy Act which
      is patently absurd. The evidence of Indian troop movement relates
      to period before 1996 are available on the internet
      (http://www.issi.org.pk/). And failing to make a case against him
      they have charged him under the Pronographic Act!

      So dear friends please understand how easy it is to frame a
      person on dubious ground and to convict them under POTA. At times
      it suffices to detain a person and deport them to hostile
      territory where their lives are in danger. Many a crime are being
      committed under the name of "national security", media told to
      stay away in matters of "national security" (a press conference
      held on July 13 at the Delhi press club attended by more than 30
      reporters and journalists was blacked out. Coincidence or living
      under a state of "undeclared emergency" there is need for
      vigilance.

      What can we do? Lots? Write to newspapers asking for fair
      coverage. Not for exclusive coverage or favourable opinion. None
      of that. Just requesting them to report truthfully. The fact that
      government has been unable to put a lid on Iftekhar Geelani's
      case, despite invoking national security, is because the Delhi
      Union of Journalists rallied behind their colleague and have kept
      up the pressure ensuring that newspaper editors and proprietors
      donot succumb to government arm twisting. Which is to say that it
      is possible to fight censorship by remaining vigilant. Because
      rule of law and justice for all is an intrinsic part of our
      struggle for a democractic India.

      gautam navlakha/ kumar sanjay singh/ tripta wahi/ vijay singh

      _____


      #6.

      Dear Friend,

      Greetings.

      We have published several booklets on inter-communal and
      inter-religious harmony, which you might be interested in procuring:

      The Muslim Rishis of Kashmir: Harbingers of Love and Justice
      [pp.100]: This booklet provides a general overview of Muslim Rishism,
      the only indigenous Sufi order in Kashmir, established by the
      fourteenth century Hazrat Nuruddin Nurani [also called Nund Rishi or,
      by the Hindus, as Sahazanand]. The focus of the book is on the role
      of the Muslim Rishis in promoting social reform and communal harmony
      in Kashmir. It contains selections of Nund RishiĆ­s mystical poetry.
      [Available in Urdu and English]

      Hindu-Muslim Syncretic Shrines in Karnataka [pp.60]: This booklet
      examines the history of seventeen saints and religious figures in the
      south Indian state of Karnataka, focussing their role in promoting
      inter-communal harmony and amity. [Available in English]

      Voices from the Valley: Contemporary Kashmiri Sufi Perspectives
      [pp.64]: This booklet consists of a series of interviews with
      practising Sufis as well as social activists and academics in
      Kashmir, on issues related to the role of Sufism in promoting peace
      and communal harmony. [Available in English]

      Crossing the Border: Shared Hindu-Muslim Traditions [pp.52]: This
      booklet is a collection of short essays on men of God who spent their
      lives crusading against communal rivalries, calling for Hindus and
      Muslims and others to recognise their common humanity and live in
      peace and harmony. Included are pieces on Guru Nanak, Bulhe Shah,
      Dara Shikoh, Sarmad Shahid, Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janan, Kutuban and Ras
      Khan, as well as essays on the Imamshahi Satpanth in Gujarat, the
      Natha-Tantra interface in Bengal, and the Meo Muslim Mahabharata.
      [Available in English]

      The Chishti Sufis of India [pp.48]: This booklet provides a general
      introduction to the life and teachings of the great Chishti Sufi
      masters of India, focussing on their role in promoting peace and
      harmony between people of different faiths. It also includes excerpts
      from their writings and poetry. [Available in English, Urdu and Hindi]

      The Islamic Movement and the Political Challenge [pp: 31]. This
      booklet is a summary in English of an Arabic book written by the
      Lebanese-born Islamist political activist Mustafa Tahan, exploring
      the vexed issue of political Islam [Islamism] and its bearing on
      questions such as democracy, secularism and the rights of minorities
      and women. [Available in English]

      The Deendar Anjuman [pp.64]: This booklet looks at the teachings and
      history of the now-banned Deendar Anjuman, exploring its links with
      the Lahori Ahmadis. It examines the claims of the founder of the
      sect, Siddiq Hussain [b.1886] of being the incarnation of a Lingayat
      saint, Channbasaveshwara and how the sect has sought to use the cover
      of inter-faith dialogue to promote its own agenda, not hesitating to
      use violent means for its own purposes. [Available in English].

      The Pranami Faith: Beyond Hindu and Muslim [pp.80] [Author: Dominique
      Sila-Khan]: This booklet provides an overview of the life and
      teachings of Mahamati Prannath [Meher Raj Thakur], the seventeenth
      century founder of the Pranami religion, who claimed to be the Kalki
      Avatar of the Hindus and the Imam Mahdi of the Muslims. It focuses,
      in particular, on his role in promoting inter-communal amity.

      All booklets are priced at Rs. 10 each, plus Rs. 2 per booklet
      postage within India. Payment by MO, cheque or in the form of unused
      postage stamps. You can place orders by writing to Yoginder Sikand at
      <mailto:ysikand@...>ysikand@...

      Do also have a look at our monthly web-magazine Qalandar, devoted to
      a discussion of issues related to Islam and inter-faith relations in
      South Asia on:
      <http://www.islaminterfaith.org/>www.islaminterfaith.org


      Regards,

      Yoginder Sikand

      ______


      #7.

      Science & Technology Awareness Group (STAG), Chandigarh
      Chetna Manch, Chandigarh
      Sahit Chintan, Chandigarh
      Chandigarh School of Drama

      invite all interested to witness a street play
      by Gursharan Singh and his group
      on Hiroshima Day, 6 Aug 2002,
      at 5:30 p.m. at Sector 17 plaza in Chandigarh.

      This is part of a series of activities being organised
      by STAG over the last few weeks and continuing.
      Aug 6 activities include attempt to sensitise children and
      teachers in some local schools - locating
      ground zero in case of a possible nuclear attack in Chandigarh
      and visualising the extent of destruction followed by discussions.

      _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

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