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SACW | 14 March 03

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 14 March, 2003 ____________________ Contents: #1. Indo-Pak: the gains from peace (Akmal Hussain) #2. Partition, Cold War, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 13, 2003
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 14 March, 2003



      #1. Indo-Pak: the gains from peace (Akmal Hussain)
      #2. Partition, Cold War, and the conflict in Kashmir (Uday Singh Mehta)
      #3. Eyewitness account of Indo-Pak match in Austin
      #4. The Politics of Cricket - Some Reflections - by Lalita Ramdas
      #5. Cricket, women and war (Kalpana Sharma)
      #6. On War, Peace and Cricket: Reflections on the India-Pakistan
      World Cup Encounter (Ravi Rajan)
      #7. Dial-a-mantra (Rukun Advani)
      #8. Letter to Ali Chacha (Mukul Dube)
      #9. Gujarat riots film banned [in India] (Monica Chadha)
      #10. Hindutva at Work: Hindutva newsletters mailed to defence officers
      #11. India's hard men (Financial Times)
      #12. 'European Union and Netherlands should suspend official aid to
      Gujarat' (India Committee of the Netherlands)
      #13. Committee Against War on Iraq is also organizing a human chain
      on the 15th in Delhi.
      #14. U.S. Academics in India and Sri Lanka Against War
      #15. Book Review : Has Shiv Sena a future? (A.G. Noorani)



      The Daily Times
      Friday, March 14, 2003

      Indo-Pak: the gains from peace

      Dr Akmal Hussain

      Underlying the persistent tension between India and Pakistan is the
      misconceived notion that relations between the two countries can only
      be conducted within the framework of a zero-sum game: Where
      Pakistan's gain constitutes a loss for India and vice-versa. This
      misperception is rooted in the mindset of bureaucracies and some
      members of the ruling elite in both countries. It is the basis of the
      view that patriotism requires maintaining a combative posture towards
      the neighbouring country.
      Yet an objective assessment of the imperatives of state security and
      nation building in India and Pakistan requires a more enlightened
      view: Patriotism can be better expressed through seeking cooperation
      which can enable an improvement of the material well-being and
      flowering of the creative potential of their respective peoples. This
      becomes apparent when we focus on the human condition and the
      physical environment of South Asia.
      Consider, because of inadequate diet of lactating mothers and poor
      health facilities, millions of children are born stunted in body and
      mind. Similarly millions of people die from water-borne diseases, due
      to the fact that the majority of the population in South Asia does
      not have access to hygienic drinking water. A large proportion of the
      population that manages to survive, lives in a state of malnutrition
      due to inadequate food and is subjected to life long suffering
      because of lack of health facilities. Of those who manage to survive
      these hazards only a few succeed in acquiring an education and many
      of those who do, face unemployment. Continuing conflict between India
      and Pakistan will only mean continuing suffering for their people.
      Peace and cooperation will help to overcome this suffering. Therefore
      it is not a zero-sum game. Not only the present life of the people of
      South Asia but their physical life support systems in the future
      depend upon cooperation.
      In spite of the great variety of culture, language and perception
      amongst the sovereign states of South Asia, it is an undeniable fact
      that the geographical entity of South Asia constitutes an integrated
      eco-system. This is dominated by two sub-systems, namely the
      Himalayan mountain system and the seas in the south, which influence
      the entire region in terms of climate, the rivers, the state of soils
      and other vital resources. The consequence of a common ecology is
      that human intervention in one country affects human existence in
      another. For example rapid depletion of forests in the water-shed
      areas of Nepal results in devastating flash floods in Bangladesh.
      Similarly deforestation in water-shed areas in India results in
      increased soil erosion, more muddy rivers and hence premature
      clogging up of the dams downriver in Pakistan. Again if neighbouring
      countries set up thermal plants without treating the poisonous
      sulphur exhaust, wind currents in summer will carry the pollutants
      from West to East and in winter from East to West across
      international borders. Finally throwing untreated industrial waste
      into a river upstream by one country can cause toxicity and the
      consequent elimination of fish species and mangrove forests
      downstream for another country.
      To the extent that the people of South Asia share the same air and in
      some cases the same rivers, it means that the lungs and intestines of
      people in one country are being affected by the way people of the
      neighbouring country dispose of their industrial effluents. In this
      sense the relationship between our peoples even where it is not
      visible, is truly organic! Therefore, as in the case of society, the
      environment provides a dimension for reaching out across national
      frontiers in South Asia for collective well-being.
      What are the specific areas in which Regional Cooperation could be
      pursued in South Asia? Some of the more urgent ones are as follows:
      i) Cooperation to build economic infrastructure to enhance
      investment, growth and employment in the two countries.
      ii) Sharing of knowledge on institution building and low cost
      technologies for improving health, sanitation, provision of clean
      drinking water and education.
      iii) Joint efforts at re-forestation of water sheds, and the
      treatment of industrial and urban effluent waste could help reduce
      soil erosion, devastating flash floods and toxicity of rivers.
      iv) Sharing of bio-saline research and technical know-how on
      controlling desertification of soils. (For example use of plants such
      as Halogenic Phradophytes for controlling salinity).
      v) Sharing of know-how on ecologically sound industrial
      technologies and cost effective and safe methods of effluent disposal.
      vi) Sharing of information on water-flow of rivers, especially
      flood forecasting.
      vii) Engaging in joint projects for the development of Himalayan
      resources, especially the prevention of deforestation and soil
      erosion on the mountain slopes.
      viii) To collect, systematise and subject to scientific evaluation
      the traditional knowledge systems of South Asian communities, which
      have experience of innovative techniques of conducting their economic
      existence in a harmonious relationship with nature.
      India and Pakistan can increase their individual gains through peace
      and cooperation. It is not a zero-sum game. The attempt to improve
      the conditions of human life and to conserve the natural environment
      can be a powerful cohesive force in the region. There is nothing to
      lose but our misconceptions and our lives to win!
      Dr Hussain is a leading economist and author and co-author of many books



      Boston Review | February/March 2003

      Partition, Cold War, and the conflict in Kashmir.

      Uday Singh Mehta



      Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 11:16:12 +0530
      Eyewitness account of Indo-Pak match in Austin

      After hesitating initially on whether we could summon what it takes
      to stay up all night, a friend and I decided to go ahead and check
      out the India-Pakistan world cup cricket game. For me, it was at
      least as much to watch the crowd reactions as anything else (it was
      the first cricket match I was about to watch after many years). But
      the prospect of watching some potentially great cricket after being
      out of the loop for so long was also fairly enticing.

      First stop: Bismillah restaurant, a smallish Pakistani-owned joint a
      couple of miles north of the campus area (where I live). The crowd
      strength here was about 30 - 35 Pakistanis and perhaps 10-12 Indians.
      I discerned three groups - about 8-10 older (50's) Pakistanis sitting
      behind me, another group of 8 or so much younger, Westernized gang
      and a third group that seemed to be more from a working class
      background. The Indian group was all bunched up at the back of the
      room, except for me and my friend who were sitting right up front
      near the large TV screen.

      Pakistan opened, and the initial cheers were for Saeed Anwar's
      strokes, which I joined in. For a while things were fairly calm. Then
      Zaheer Khan picked up Taufiq's wicket. "WafadarŠwafadari dikha raha
      hai!" ("how loyal Š.trying to show his loyalty") shouted someone from
      behind me. I spotted a man with glasses, probably in his late 50's.
      Some of the Pakistanis sniggered. It was all too obvious why Zaheer
      Khan had been singled out for the sarcasm. Pakistan continued to
      build up a respectable total, and the cheering grew louder and more
      enthusiastic. The hip crowd of guys and gals sitting near me were now
      clapping enthusiastically. Two Pakistani fans next to me, I noticed,
      were also clapping politely at good Indian deliveries.

      Pakistan racked up a respectable total of 273. After the lunch
      interval, Sachin the superstar let loose an incredible set of strokes
      that were a delight to watch. The loud roars from the Indian camp at
      the back of the room were met with expressions of irritation among
      the Pakistani fans. The working class group however reacted in a
      fairly poker-faced manner, except for one particular (again, older)
      fan with a thick moustache and a craggy face who, at one point, let
      loose a sarcastic comment about the cheering.

      Then Sehwag fell in one of his carefree hitting sprees. The next ball
      trapped Saurav Ganguly for an LBW. The Pakistani crowd was now
      roaring. As Mohammad Kaif walked in to take his place, I heard
      another loud comment behind me "Dekho, aur ek wafadarŠdikhade teri
      wafadari!". I couldn't help turning around and casting a baleful
      glance at the group of grinning men. The atmosphere had turned
      electric. The match was poised in balance, and everyone in the room
      knew that it was anybody's game.

      The next two overs were marked by aggressive appealing by Pakistani
      players, but Kaif seemed unruffled. Then Sachin was back; and more
      boundaries followed. As the runs continued to mount, it seemed that
      India had regained the upper hand. The Indians in the room were now
      smiling, and the smiles stayed even when Sachin survived a couple of
      close calls. As the applause grew more confident, I heard a
      muttering, and then "Unhone qualify kiya hai na, isiliye morale oopar
      hai unka, nahin to abhi out ho jaate." The man with the glasses
      behind me, again. I turned to my left and noticed that craggy-face
      was scowling. The hip youngsters had fallen silent, and one young
      woman had her head sunk as though in silent contemplation.

      About 100 runs short of victory, Tendulkar fell to a brilliant
      delivery. The Pakistanis showed signs of tremendous relief rather
      than joy. I sensed that the Indians were disappointed but not overtly

      At this point, we decided to leave for another venue: Shalimar
      restaurant. It was a whole different world over there. The proprietor
      had rigged up a huge room with two big-screen projections. The crowd
      strength was at least 300. It was clear that the Indian fans
      outnumbered the Pakistanis here; my guess at the ratio was 3:1.

      Within minutes I spotted two core groups of Indian supporters - one
      about 30 strong in the center that seemed to be led by a young man
      with a red T-shirt. At the back was another enthusiastic Indian
      group, smaller but almost as vocal. At this point it seemed to me
      that it was going to be India's day. The crowd clearly felt the same
      way. As the magic number of 274 galloped closer, red-shirt was having
      the time of his life.

      The cheers were getting wilder and slogans were being raised. At
      first I heard "That's the way, aha, aha, I like it, aha, aha". It was
      quickly followed by "Bharat Mata ki JAI". The JAI was ear-splitting,
      even the quieter Indian fans were now bellowing their hearts out. "Jo
      jeeta wo sikandar" and "Hame jeetna aata hai" were followed by
      another round of "Vande Matarams" and then "aha aha" was back. Then a
      short burst of "Pakistan Hai Hai" and "Pakistan Murdabad".

      The Pakistanis attempted to launch their own weak counter attack with
      "We want Shoaib", which was cut off by another sound stroke by
      Yuvraj, and the Indian cheers were back. Red shirt was now dancing
      and flaying his arms wildly. I could almost swear that I saw him
      froth at the mouth. The Vande Matarams were now much more aggressive,
      being directed directly at the Pakistanis.

      Then the magic figure was reached and all hell broke loose. The
      Pakistanis began leaving quickly, clearly sullen and disappointed.
      Red-shirt was surpassing himself, his group began a little jig. The
      wild gesticulations and jeers were not hard to miss. The chauvinism
      was apparent.

      Good cricket was surely appreciated by many in the crowd, but for
      many others, clearly, darker emotions were at work. I have never
      witnessed a communal riot, and never once did I sense the slightest
      possibility of violence among this crowd. Yet the emotions were not
      pleasant, the perfectly acceptable joy of a victory was laced with a
      raw meanness that won't be easy to forget. The certainty that I would
      have seen probably the exact same spectacle from the other side had
      Pakistan won was doubly depressing.

      Later I heard that back home in cities with names like Bombay and
      Delhi, India exploded with raucous celebrations and processions
      through the night; in Ahmedabad Muslim shops were looted and burnt,
      and in Bangalore Hindus and Muslims clashed violently. And at the
      Indo-Pak border in Punjab this remarkable incident - thousands of
      enraged fans throwing stones and hurling abuses at each other at the
      international border.

      It may be the last India-Pakistan cricket match I will dare to see
      for a long time.

      -- Sarang Shidore



      South Asia Citizens Web

      The Politics of Cricket - Some Reflections - by Lalita Ramdas - Feb 27/28 2003

      Last evening I had a call from a journalist friend in a major English
      language newspaper, asking me to share my responses on the way almost
      warlike noises were being made in several quarters around the
      forthcoming cricket match between India an Pakistan - for a piece
      they were planning to write. I asked her to send me the kinds of
      questions they wished to address - and I am forwarding for your
      interest, the questions and also my answers.

      The India Pakistan cricket match is being played in south Africa on
      sat March 1. Let me also add that today is the 28th Feb - yesterday
      marked one year after Godhra, Gujarat, and today the `anniversary' -
      of some of the worst sectarian killings - nothing short of state
      sponsored genocide of thousands of innocent Muslim citizens of `free,
      independent and secular' India, home to approx 135 million Muslims.
      Door Darshan broadcasts - [which is the only channel which we in
      rural India are privileged to watch on our increasingly digitalized
      TV system] - have only focused on the `tributary' events by the Shiv
      Sena and the VHP in Godhra and sanctimonious comments on how there
      should be `no more Godhras'. Till this morning there was no mention
      of the killings that continued unchecked for days, even weeks, after
      Godhra - and no comment to say that the country remembered and
      mourned them too, and this is something we never want to see again.

      Instead, in the regional newspaper reports of the early morning news
      coverage, was a prominently displayed computer generated photograph
      in a Gujarati daily, of the match between India and Pakistan where
      our players are shown in army fatigues holding guns (Kalaskhinovs?)
      instead of cricket bats in their hands. Can our youth and our public
      that seeks instant excitement and sensationalism for a daily diet,
      possibly escape making the connections between Pak-India cricket -
      war - enmity - and Mians ?

      The next section carries the questions from the newspaper [in smaller
      black print], with my responses in colour.

      Newspaper Editor - Here are our questions:

      -- Do you feel it is important for areas like sports
      to be free of political enmity? Is this possible?

      LR: The answer is an emphatic yes - there should be no question of
      `enmity' - political or otherwise either in sports, culture, the arts
      and crafts, or in business, trade and commerce for that matter.
      We will probably find that a large majority of Indians would share
      this view if they were left to form their own opinions without the
      nuances and interpretations to which we are subjected.

      Do you feel sorry when you see the manner in which
      the India-Pakistan match is being built into a `war'?
      Why do you think this is happening?

      LR: It is with a deep deep sense of sadness at one level, and yes,
      with some anger and helplessness, that one has observed over the
      years how we have allowed our obsession about Pakistan to vitiate
      almost every sphere of interaction between the two countries and
      peoples. When this is superimposed on our other `national obsession'
      - namely cricket - the outcome is bound to be nothing short of
      incendiary! And it would be true to say that there is a definite
      undercurrent of this being `built' into a war - almost like the
      `proxy' war which we are constantly told about, most likely with an
      eye to the elections.

      The answer to your second question, as to `why this is happening' is
      less easy. Those answers have to be sought in the complex web of
      history, of our colonial past, of the bitterness of partition, of the
      shared heritage, and of our fractured and fragmented present. Above
      all else it is my firm conviction that leadership in post
      Indepedence India has to bear the primary responsibility for having
      been unable to educate and prepare our people to understand and
      accept 1947; to be able to point with pride to our being the second
      largest Muslim nation in the world after Indonesia; and above all
      else to build on the foundations of our Constitution and its deep
      commitment to honouring and protecting secularism, pluralism and
      diversity. The present party in power in this country must accept a
      large part of the responsibility for the present atmosphere of
      heightened suspicion bordering on hatred, of both Pakistan, and by
      extension through having created a highly inflammatory set of
      connections, with the Muslim in India today.
      To my mind there is no disputing the fact that the roots of this
      lie in the dangerous ideology of Hindutva, Hindu Rashtra, and the
      two nation theory as propounded by the founders of the RSS long
      before Independence. And across the border in Pakistan there is a
      similar mind set together with an understandable fear, bordering on
      paranoia with respect to India and our intentions, which permeates
      into the very fibre of their being. Finally, media on both sides
      plays into these fears and paranoias instead of allaying them.
      I remember the piece you did for us on the fleet
      parade. Why did you feel that having involved Pakistan
      would have been an important gesture?

      LR: Yes, I was happy that your newspaper saw fit to carry it -
      although there were many angry reactions to my plea that Pakistan's
      Navy should have been invited to participate in the International
      Fleet Review! Involving Pakistan together with the host of
      neighbourhood navies would have sent out a very positive signal that
      even though there are deep seated, one can say intractable, political
      differences, we are still ready to engage with each other as
      professionals, especially in the armed forces. The Indian Navy
      advertised the event far and wide as `Building Bridges of Friendship'
      - and it would have been in keeping with the well known philosophy of
      those who sail the seas and who view the sea as their common home and
      one that unites those whom it touches. Imagine what it would have
      done to gain us worldwide acclaim for displaying a high level of
      maturity! Even at the height of the cold war, the Russians and
      Americans kept meeting and talking. It is utter foolishness on the
      part of our leadership to refuse to dialogue with Pakistan. If
      anything, this mantra of "we shall not talk until Cross Border
      terrorism ends" has now become an irritant in the comity of nations -
      be it within SAARC or NAM or various other bi and multi-lateral

      -- Why do you feel it is so important for people in
      India and Pakistan to interract?

      LR: Generations of Indians and Pakistanis have grown up without
      knowing anything about each other - people who share a thousand years
      of history, not to mention linguistic, cultural, religious and other
      ties. This has done incalculable damage - especially to young people
      who have no historical memory of a pre-partition era, and whose
      images of each other have relied solely on the biased projections of
      their leaders, text books and media. When people start meeting and
      getting to know each other, the myths and stereotypes gradually get
      clarified and relationships begin to develop. The realization will
      soon dawn that there are more things that we have in common than
      those that divide us, and once people have a stake in building peace
      and friendship, there is little that governments can do to sustain
      prolonged hostility. Millions of decent, ordinary families found
      themselves separated geographically and politically in 1947, but
      emotional bonds have not been wiped away. It is time that leaders on
      both sides understood this. In the context of the dignity, security
      and wellbeing of the 12% Indian Muslims who live in the geographic
      entity that is India - this is critical.
      The constant taunt that they are more loyal to Pakistan, and are
      secretly all `Pakistanis' at heart, is totally undeserved as it is
      mischievous. Loyalty to country and patriotism is not the preserve of
      Hindus alone!

      -- Are people-to-people initiatives becoming more
      difficult? What are the increasing obstacles that you
      are noticing?

      Sad but true - yes it is becoming increasingly more difficult to
      sustain and strengthen the several people-to-people initiatives that
      exist in both countries. The march of events ever since 9/11 2001 has
      inexorably worsened the environment. Events in our own backyard - be
      it the attack on Parliament, or the eye-ball to eye-ball
      confrontation on the borders between two nuclearised armies, all of
      these have collectively contributed to the present impasse and
      created more and more obstacles in the way maintaining contact. There
      is no direct means of communication between us [Pakistan and India]
      any more - no Dosti Bus, no Samjhauta Express - no flights. Those who
      can afford it have to pay a vast amount to come and go via Dubai -
      the bulk of citizens can no longer visit each other for Id, for a
      workshop, for a peace march, or for a shaadi or a funeral. Our
      diplomatic missions are reduced to a formality. Officially at the
      highest levels our leaders refuse to acknowledge each other - be it
      at SAARC or NAM or other similar forums. And on the ground, the
      simple folks are those who suffer. Militants and terrorists are not
      waiting for visas and official permissions to cross over for their
      nefarious purposes! Politically let us talk, identify and deal with
      the issues which give rise to militancy and terrorism; at the same
      time liberalise contact, travel, communication without adding to the
      war psychosis all round.

      There seems to be a feeling that it is wrong to be
      playing cricket with or interacting with Pakistanis
      when "they are killing our boys at the border". As
      somebody with a services background, how would you
      respond to this overwhelming belief?

      As someone who has grown up in the armed forces - being daughter and
      wife of Naval men - both of whom who reached the highest rank in the
      service, I should possibly have had every reason to react in the way
      you describe above. Fortunately I grew up in an environment where we
      were taught to respect human beings and their dignity regardless of
      their nationality or creed - and although we were aware that
      `Pakistan' was a difficult neighbour, that did not mean that you
      treated them for ever as the sworn enemies. Over the years one has
      been able to separate the `people' from `the state' - whether it is
      India, Pakistan or the USA today - where even as their president
      tramples on all forms of domestic protest, the voices of people in
      their millions are speaking up for peace and against waging war on

      If they are killing `our boys', let us not forget that we too are
      killing or have killed `their boys'. We need to remember the courage
      and the love that spoke through women like the mother of an officer
      killed in Kargil when the body of her son was brought home to Kerala
      - just praying that no more young men - Indian or Pakistani -should
      have to die in vain; or the widow of Daniel Pearl - who did not see
      that seeking revenge would solve the problem of terrorism; or all
      those families of the victims of 9/11 who have called for peace and
      not attacks on innocent Arabs and Muslims.

      We need to play cricket together - and in each others' countries -
      and remember what the sporting spirit is all about , not see it as
      `war' - a fight to the finish; we need to sing and dance together at
      youth camps, jamborees and training programmes; we need to send
      Shahrukh Khan and Amir Khan across the border; and we need to bring
      their best singers and qawaals across here. TV and Newspapers need to
      talk about all the good things that are also happening on both sides
      - like the children coming for heart or kidney transplants to
      Bangalore from Pakistan, or youth exchanges where young Pakistani and
      Indian boys and girls have become friends for life Š Š.and , and
      Šand. And it is only then as people begin to rediscover the joys of
      being good neighbours at peace with themselves and each other again,
      that they will themselves begin to reject the politics of hate and
      divisiveness which is what keeps both politicians and the armament
      industry in business!

      You had asked for short answers - once before I had told you that if
      we really want answers and to explore the truth about Indo-Pak
      relations - it cannot come through one liners!

      But I know you will do a good job in getting to the sense of this,
      despite having to wield the inevitable editorial axe.


      Lalita from Bhaimala Village, Alibag



      Magazine section of The Hindu
      Sunday, Mar 09, 2003

      Cricket, women and war




      Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 10:05:36 -0800

      On War, Peace and Cricket: Reflections on the India-Pakistan World
      Cup Encounter

      By Ravi Rajan




      The Magazine section of The Hindu
      Sunday, Feb 23, 2003






      25 February 2003

      Dear Ali Chacha,

      Your unusually sharp response to my jibe about the Chief Minister of
      Madhya Pradesh makes me state my case against him at some length. As
      I told you, Digvijay Singh and I were at the same school, where he
      was two or perhaps three years my senior. He was the squash champion
      and beat me regularly, though I like to believe that he had to work
      to win. I remember him as well mannered, sartorially elegant, and not
      at all a bully ñ which last endeared him to the younger boys. He was
      a decent enough role model. So much to establish that I have nothing
      against the man personally. Digvijay Singh is today the head of a
      large province. That M.P. is run by the Congress makes him an
      anti-ruling party figure of prominence. His public statements must be
      seen against this backdrop. If, in the privacy of his home, Digvijay
      Singh chooses to worship termites and drink the urine of bandicoots,
      I can have no objection: that is, I could not care less. But when in
      his role of Chief Minister and opposition leader he makes a public
      statement that the slaughter of cows should be banned throughout
      India and that he personally values and drinks cow's urine, he is
      well outside his own home. No Chief Minister has any business to
      declare what is good for provinces other than his own. By doing that,
      he meddles in their affairs and challenges their right to decide
      their own policies. Second, when the country is ruled by
      obscurantist forces which claim to be Hindu, any attempt by an
      opposition figure to portray himself as more Hindu than them is
      suspect. When such an attempt is made by a leader of a party which
      claims to be secular, it is a great deal worse than merely
      mendacious. Clearly the man wants to retain the constituency he
      holds as a "secular" leader and at the same time to win over the
      decidedly un-secular voters who have climbed on to the Hindutva
      band-wagon. By mincing his words, he hopes to attract a group which
      is fundamentally opposed to the one he is pledged to lead and defend.
      I see in this a gaoler who with one hand fetters a captive and with
      the other, pretends to offer to to the poor wretch the wide expanse
      of sky. Doing some good does not license a person to do bad things
      as well. This is not a matter of summing positive and negative to
      arrive at zero. Your foundation has benefited from the munificence
      of Digvijay Singh's secular persona, and no doubt he has helped other
      secular or Muslim causes too. But in his pronouncements relating to
      bovines, I see only a shabby cheat playing a filthy game.




      BBC News
      Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 08:57 GMT

      Gujarat riots film banned [in India]
      By Monica Chadha
      BBC correspondent in Bombay





      Hindutva newsletters mailed to defence officers

      NDTV Correspondent

      Saturday, February 22, 2003 (New Delhi):

      Hindutva organisations have now begun spreading their propaganda
      within the defence forces. Over the past year, a number of army
      officers across the country have been receiving a newsletter with
      communal messages.

      The banner headline on the letter reads: "Stop Islamisation of India.
      Karo ya maro. Hindutva ke naam par shastra uthaaoŠ

      This propaganda is cleverly designed to influence the minds of
      defence officers who are being sent a 12-page monthly newsletter.

      "Everyone has a right to propagate their views but that does not mean
      that you spread communal hatred. This is criminal and punishable
      under Section 298 of the Constitution," says former attorney general
      Jayant Das.

      B L Sharma Prem, a senior VHP leader and former BJP member of
      parliament, who is responsible for bringing out the newsletter, says
      he is only exercising his democratic right.

      "It is for the Indian army and not the Pakistani army. We are sending
      this to the police also. If anyone doesn't like it, they can return
      it," says B L Sharma 'Prem', Central Secretary VHP and publisher
      ofAbhay Bharat.

      When NDTV asked Defence Minister George Fernandes whether he was
      aware of the propaganda drive, he professed ignorance saying he had
      no knowledge of the matter.

      "I interact with army and Defence Ministry on a daily basis. But I
      don't know anything about this. This is the first time we have heard
      of this," George Fernandes said.

      One of the great strengths of Indian democracy has been that the army
      has remained completely apolitical. Now a number of officers are
      upset with this attempt to draw serving officials into what is
      essentially a political debate.



      Financial Times (UK) Feb 24, 2003

      LEADER: India's hard men

      A year ago India was scarred by some of the worst sectarian violence
      since partition, when up to 2,000 Muslims were killed in pogroms in
      the western state of Gujarat, ostensibly sparked by an arson attack
      by Muslims on a train that killed 59 Hindu activists. Human rights
      organisations in India, the US and Europe implicated two
      organisations in the well-orchestrated attacks, the Vishwa Hindu
      Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and its youth offshoot, the
      Bajrang Dal (devotees of the monkey-god Hanuman).

      Now a Financial Times investigation has established that these groups
      receive extensive funding from Indians abroad, collected mainly as
      tax-free charity donations to front organisations in the US and the
      UK. This fundraising is coming under increasing scrutiny. So it
      should-as should the links between these groups and India's ruling
      Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

      Behind the VHP and the Bajrang Dal stands a quasi-paramilitary body,
      the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or Association of National
      Volunteers), which is the mother organisation of the Hindu revivalist
      BJP. Described by Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, as
      "an Indian version of fascism", the RSS is at the centre of a protean
      network of front organisations. This structure facilitates
      arm's-length money-raising. It also makes it easier for the RSS to
      deny it is inciting agitation against Muslims and Christians.

      Tragically, the BJP is increasingly adopting RSS campaigning tactics;
      the combine won a landslide in December's election in Gujarat, after
      a string of crushing defeats, blamed by RSS leaders on the party's
      attempts to blunt its fundamentalist agenda. The BJP rules in
      coalition in New Delhi, but without any such restraint in Gujarat,
      which has become the RSS laboratory. But even in the national
      government in Delhi, 16 of the 30 cabinet ministers are RSS
      members-including Atal Behari Vajpayee, the prime minister-and the
      influence of this shadowy group on government is palpable.

      The Indian subcontinent, trapped in a stand-off between Muslim
      Pakistan and predominantly Hindu India-both nuclear-armed-has more
      than enough instability without a replication of this conflict inside
      India. Friends of democratic India such as the US and the UK need to
      make this point forcibly and to choke off the flow of funds to the
      RSS and its front organisations.

      The RSS spends heavily on welfare and religious schools, but so do
      Islamist groups in the Muslim world-a danger the world has woken up
      to. Such ostensibly charitable activities are one reason for the
      groups' success. They also help pull in donations from people unaware
      of how some of their money is used.

      The UK is formally investigating two RSS fundraising affiliates, and
      is considering an inquiry into the VHP. The US has also started
      carefully scrutinising RSS front organisations. That probe should go
      ahead unimpeded by Washington's ambition to develop a strategic
      alliance with India as a counterbalance to China's weight in Asia.



      India Committee of the Netherlands Utrecht, March 11th 2003


      'European Union and Netherlands should suspend official aid to Gujarat'

      Both the European Union (EU) and The Netherlands have thus far
      continued their official development co-operation with the state
      government of Gujarat (India), also after Chief Minister Modi of the
      ruling BJP won the elections in December 2002 after a hate campaign
      against the Muslim minority. Since June 2002 the EU and The
      Netherlands have not publicly raised their voice again about the
      massacre supported by the Modi-government on more than 2000 Muslims
      in Gujarat, even though it is becoming clear that surviving victims
      have no access to justice and are hardly being rehabilitated and
      compensated. The position of The Netherlands and the EU calls for an
      explanation in the light of 'good governance' criteria, including
      respect for human rights, that especially The Netherlands considers
      to be thé cornerstone for government to government development

      Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have end of February
      2003 send out press releases making statements that those guilty of
      the violence in Gujarat still go unpunished and that there has hardly
      been any relief and rehabilitation for the victims. According to
      Amnesty International 'the right to equality before the law is also
      routinely violated in Gujarat' and the recommendations of the
      official National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have so far been
      ignored. The NHRC has published some very critical reports on the
      issue in the first half of 2002 but had to stop its activities after
      the election victory of Narendra Modi. Modi is the new hero of the
      Hindu nationalist BJP party (which is in power in Gujarat and also
      leading a national coalition government-and in Gujarat), but also a
      number of strongly related mass organisations of Hindu
      fundamentalists that are working to create a 'Hindu Nation'.

      Both The Netherlands and the EU financially support programmes of the
      government of Gujarat in the areas of primary education, health care,
      drinking water and rehabilitation of the victims of the earthquake
      that hit Gujarat in 2001. In 2002 The Netherlands supported the
      government of Gujarat with ¤12,5 million. Through non-governmental
      organisations the Dutch also supported a programme for victims of the
      massacre. The EU supports the government of Gujarat in 2002 and 2003
      with ¤40 million for a health sector reform programme and post
      earthquake re-development. In addition the EU supports
      non-governmental organisations in Gujarat with an amount of ¤55
      million. However, neither the European Union nor The Netherlands have
      taken a public position on the question if official development
      co-operation with the government of Gujarat is still justified, and
      if so why, in a situation which can certainly not be characterised by
      'good governance'. Two questions seem to be crucial here: -is the
      continued co-operation with the government of Gujarat not a
      justification of a government that is co-responsible for mass murder,
      does not punish those that are responsible, ignores the victims and
      discriminates the Muslim minority? -are the programmes supported by
      The Netherlands and the EU being negatively effected by a government
      that discriminates Muslims?

      The India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) is of the opinion that
      the official development co-operation with the government of Gujarat
      should be suspended until these questions are answered and until the
      recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, Amnesty
      International and Human Rights Watch are satisfactorily implemented.

      The statements of both Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights
      Watch are supported by the conclusions of a recent visit (27-29
      January) of a team consisting of, among others, the directors of
      Action Aid (New Delhi) and the Confederation of Voluntary Agencies
      (COVA) from Hyderabad. According a report from the COVA director Ali
      Asghar about this visit, the police is pressurising victims to
      withdraw cases and complaints they have filed and several of them are
      still living in makeshift camps and rented rooms in small towns
      because they cannot return to their village. The reason is 'the
      economic boycott imposed by the Hindu right wing parties'. Asghar
      also writes: 'There are a number of welfare schemes of the government
      that could benefit the victims. Bu they have not been able to access
      these because of non-cooperation from the officials and also because
      of rampant corruption'. Asghar further describes a recent case of
      setting on fire 31 houses of Muslims in the city of Dahod 'with the
      police as a bystander all the time'. The main accused, including a
      BJP leader, are still roaming free. Instead the police arrested 40
      young Muslim men, part of whom are still in police custody. Around
      600 people are now living in a relief camp and they have not received
      any assistance from the administration so far.

      Previous history On February 27th a train coach with mainly Hindu
      pilgrims was set on fire and 59 person were burned to death. It is
      still not clear who the perpetrators of this horrible act are. Right
      after this 'violence of unprecedented brutality targeting the Muslim
      community spread in the state and continued in the next three months,
      leaving more than 2000 people killed. The state government,
      administration and police took insufficient action to protect
      civilians and in many cases may have colluded with the attackers and
      actively participated in the violence'. (Amnesty International in
      press release on 26 February 2003). In a systematic manner,
      pre-planned according to a large number of independent reports,
      properties of Muslims-houses, shops, mosques etc. worth roughly ¤700
      million-were looted and burned. Many women were raped on a large
      scale by mobs and often killed thereafter. According to the same
      independent investigations, the government of Gujarat - especially in
      the first few days after the attack on the train in Godhra - did not
      interfere in the orchestrated violence while ample evidence has been
      provided that the police, other officials and politicians have in
      fact actively participated in the violence and protected the guilty.

      On 23rd of April the Indian Ambassador in Madrid was officially
      summoned by the Spanish chairmanship of the European Union on the
      issue of Gujarat. Furthermore on the 2nd of May the European Union,
      during a official meeting high-level meeting between India and the EU
      in New Delhi, expressed its deep concern about the situation in
      Gujarat to the Indian authorities. During the same period an internal
      EU-report was leaked mentioning 'the clear evidence of complicity by
      state ministers [of the Modi government] in the Gujarat killings'
      (The Week, May 12 2002). Another leaked Netherlands report also
      referred to the targeting of Muslims and indicted Gujarat Chief
      Minister Modi for his failure to protect the minorities (The Week).
      The government of India, 'loosing its diplomatic cool.. responding in
      a tone of unseemly anger' (tehelka.com, 24 April 2002), accused the
      EU of playing 'a partisan role which could affect the friendly
      relations between India and the European Union, as well as with the
      European countries (The Hindu, April 26 2002). This didn't stop the
      European Parliament to adopt a resolution on May 16th 2002 asking the
      government of India and Gujarat to 'continue their investigations Š
      independently and impartially and to bring those responsible to
      justice, irrespective of their positions, religion, identity of
      political belief'. The resolution also stated that 'numerous
      independent inquiries by human rights organisations confirm that
      state officials and police of Gujarat were involved in the clashes'.

      At the end of June 2002 the Dutch Minister of Development
      Co-operation, Mrs. Eveline Herfkens, wrote in a letter to ICCO, the
      India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and six other NGO's that
      'the governance situation has come under considerable pressure
      because of what happened'. Furthermore she wrote: 'I assure you that
      I will continue to follow up on the developments in Gujarat. It is of
      great importance to follow up to what extent the Indian central and
      Gujarati state government will match deeds with words, will take
      preventive measures to stop repetition of violence, will undertake
      action to bring the perpetrators of violence to court, take care of
      an adequate rehabilitation of the victims and implement measures to
      counter discrimination of religious minorities (in particular in
      programmes that are financed with Dutch funds). I have requested Her
      Majesty's Ambassador in New Delhi to continue to report about this to

      o o o o

      For the press reports of both Amnesty International and Human Rights
      Watch about Gujarat see: -www.indianet.nl/pb030226.html

      For six recent stories by Navaz Kotwal of Commonwealth Human Rights
      Initiative (CHRI) about individual victims of the violence and
      impunity in Gujarat see: www.indianet.nl/gujarat.html

      Further information mail to Gerard Oonk, co-ordinator India Committee
      of The Netherlands; E-mail: g.oonk@...

      Website: www.indianet.nl



      Dear Friend,

      Global campaign against the threat of war against Iraq by the
      aggressive, imperialist American political establishment on the
      increase. Irrespective of this fact, the American regime is bent on
      going for war. To resist this global threat for peace, security and
      global integrity, the Global Peace Movement is planning to hold
      demonstrations all over the world on the 15th.

      To resist war and to express our solidarity with the global peace
      initiatives, the Committee Against War on Iraq is also organizing a
      human chain on the 15th in Delhi. The programme is as follows:

      Human Chain Formation
      Date: 15th March, Saturday Time: 3.30 pm Venue: Mandi House, New
      Delhi Please do come and mobilize
      others to come.

      Prakash Louis For Committee Against War on Iraq 13.3.2003

      Prakash Louis Executive Director Indian Social Institute 10,
      Institutional Area Lodi Road New Delhi 110003 Tel: 4625015, 4622379,
      4611745 Fax: 011-4690660 Email: prakash@...

      o o o

      The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace [India] is fully
      backing the anti-war movement in India and is part of the Committee
      Against War on Iraq and will be participating in the proposed
      March 15 and subsequent actions. Please join us.
      Achin Vanaik



      The onus is on the US
      March 13

      As American scholars in South Asia, we feel a responsibility to
      express our grave concern with, and disassociation from, the recent
      direction of the United States foreign policy as it has been
      expressed by the administration [...].



      Frontline, March 01 - 14, 2003

      REVIEW ARTICLE: Has Shiv Sena a future?
      A.G. NOORANI

      The Charisma of Direct Action: Power, Politics and the Shiv Sena by
      Julia M. Eckert; Oxford University Press; pages 307, Rs.595.



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