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SACW | 3 Oct. 2003

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | 3 October, 2003 [1] Pakistan-India: Genghis Khan can t be our model (Praful Bidwai) [2] Indo-Pakistan travel links (Salahuddin
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2 7:28 PM
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 3 October, 2003

      [1] Pakistan-India: Genghis Khan can't be our model (Praful Bidwai)
      [2] Indo-Pakistan travel links (Salahuddin Mirza)
      [3] India: Write to Medical Council of India re how a fascist doctor
      is tarnishing a profession
      [4] India: Justice in a secular society (Rajeev Dhavan)
      [5] India: New Muslim secular group formed
      [6] India: '84 riot victims put Best foot forward (Sreelatha Menon)
      [7] URLs and Reports on Internet Censorship in India
      [8] USA: "Promise of India" campaign for Communal Harmony



      The Hindustan Times
      October 3, 2003

      Genghis Khan can't be our model
      Praful Bidwai

      We should all be utterly horrified and disgusted at a report in this
      paper (September 28) on two grisly episodes amidst growing skirmishes
      in the Rajouri sector of the Jammu and Kashmir border with Pakistan.

      Last month, says the story, Pakistani troops crossed the Line of
      Control and ambushed a Jat Regiment unit, killing four soldiers.
      Then, in medieval-style triumphalism, they cut off the head of an
      Indian soldier and "carried it back... as a trophy", along with a
      light machinegun.

      In gory retaliation, Indian soldiers last week ambushed and killed
      nine Pakistani troops. "And for gruesome impact, the Jats brought
      back the heads of two Pakistani soldiers." These events are repulsive
      to a civilised conscience for many reasons. Killing 'enemy' soldiers
      is in the first place unlawful unless war is declared. In no other
      circumstances do soldiers enjoy immunity under international law for
      using force against an adversary.

      When Indian and Pakistani armies kill one another's troops almost
      casually through incessant shelling or ambushes - which has long been
      a routine at the LoC - they commit grossly irresponsible acts. These
      show their leaders' contempt for human life.

      Legality apart, once you lower the threshold for pulling the trigger
      - for example, merely because the 'other side's' sentry comes into
      your view across the LoC, or because you want to make a (false)
      statement of power/dominance at Siachen - you risk wanton, mindless
      bloodletting. When 'eye-for-an-eye' retribution and revenge prevail,
      professional armies are reduced to feuding groups of mafiosi stalking
      each other in senseless vendettas.

      Wantonly killing soldiers is illegal, morally repugnant and
      militarily irrational. Mutilating dead soldiers' bodies is downright
      barbaric. It is indefensible under any circumstances - no matter how
      grave the provocation and how reprehensible the adversary's conduct.

      Minimally, civilised societies, or societies that aspire to that
      description, don't commit and can't permit certain acts not only
      because their consequences will be bad, or because the outcomes would
      be worse than the starting point, but because they are inherently
      wrong and intrinsically evil - and hence impermissible. Genghis Khan
      cannot be their model.

      It is futile to plead for exceptions to this norm. For, once you
      accept a sliding scale of morality, there's no stopping your own
      slide down the slippery slope of compromises leading to the abyss.

      One cannot duck the issue by saying "war is hell", there's bound to
      be killing and maiming. It's precisely because war is violent and
      terrible, that its conduct must be regulated. One doesn't have to be
      a pacifist to say this. Humanity - including generals and
      war-planners - has itself evolved elaborate rules and conventions not
      only about the justice of going to war, but about just means of
      waging it (jus in bello). Wars are horrible. But some - like those
      against tyranny or colonialism - can be just. However, they must be
      fought justly, following rules.

      There are clearly defined rules about whom you can attack and by what
      means. Non-combatant civilians cannot be targeted. The use of force
      cannot be indiscriminate or disproportionate. Inhuman, degrading or
      cruel methods are banned. There are rules about reprisals and sieges,
      about the rights of prisoners of war and ordnance-factory workers,
      and about application of the vital principle of non-combatant
      immunity in varying circumstances.

      These rules, embodied in international humanitarian law and the
      Geneva Conventions, are enforceable. Their violations can invite
      severe penalties - as happened to Nazi war criminals and is likely to
      happen to the perpetrators of the Rwanda and Bosnia genocides.

      The least the Indian and Pakistani armies can do is court-martial the
      culprits of the two recent gory incidents, and send out a categorical
      message that Genghis-style methods are impermissible. The urgency of
      this arises from past examples. During the Kargil conflict, Pakistani
      troops mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers. This was widely
      publicised and rightly shocked the public. But Indian troops,
      shamefully, did the same thing. They hung the head of at least one
      Pakistani soldier from a tree - apparently for 'inspiration'. This
      fact was widely known, but censored.

      This raises a larger ethical issue. If one cardinal principle of
      justice-in-war is non-combatant immunity - that is, civilians must
      not be targeted - then certain kinds of weapons themselves become

      Mass-destruction weapons belong here. They quintessentially target
      civilians and kill massively in horrific and inhuman ways. The damage
      from nuclear weapons lasts for many generations and tens of thousands
      of years.

      The world has negotiated agreements to (verifiably) abolish chemical
      (and less rigorously) biological weapons. It's legally committed to
      abolishing nuclear weapons. The world's highest international law
      forum has held them illegal and 'generally incompatible' with
      international humanitarian law.

      The World Court pronounced its profoundly important judgment in 1996
      outlawing nuclear weapons. India passionately argued for their
      abolition, indeed for declaring even their manufacture and possession
      "a crime against humanity".

      Two years later, the Indian government committed that very crime.
      Five years on, it's about to deploy nuclear weapons and building two
      underground bunkers to protect the cabinet from a decapitating strike.

      Nothing highlights more effectively the contrast between security for
      the cabinet and insecurity for India's citizens - millions of whom
      have become vulnerable to a holocaust that will make Genghis Khan
      look like a playful schoolboy and medieval scalp-hunters like angels.



      Dawn - Letters to the Editor
      2 October 2003

      Indo-Pakistan travel links

      Now it is apparent that the hopes that the Indo-Pakistan relations
      will soon be normalized have been dashed to pieces and we are back to
      square one, hurling allegations and abuses on each other. It is no
      use blaming one party or the other: we are only concerned with the
      net result.
      However, re-establishing the travel links and either abolishing the
      visa system or rationalizing its procurement and making it easier and
      cheaper need not wait for the settlement of the disputes. It is a
      humanitarian issue and affects a man's basic right to visit his
      relatives and friends even though they may be living in an 'enemy
      What crime have the citizens of the two countries committed to be
      punished with denial of this right? Or, was it a crime for the
      Muslims of India to struggle for Pakistan and then, some of them
      moving to it? It is only they, and the Hindus of Sindh, who suffer
      from this continued denial.
      I urge the two governments to consider the ordeal of the common
      people and work out some formula under which restrictions for the
      Indo-Pakistan travellers are reduced to the minimum - and till this
      is done, at least the Lahore-Delhi bus service may be run on rational
      and practical considerations of requirements. At least 200 passengers
      should be enabled to commute daily either way, and for this the
      frequency and the number of buses need to be increased.
      Visa procurement is a big problem. It costs more to go to Islamabad
      to obtain the visa than going to one's destination in India. If
      deputy high commissions cannot be re-opened in Karachi and Bombay
      (and new ones opened in Kolkata and Hyderabad Deccan, and Mirpurkhas
      in Pakistan), can't visa officers be posted at these places or can't
      visa be given by post?
      Future generations will surely laugh at the irrationality of the
      present system of visa. We often hear of rationalization of prices or
      rationalization of this or that system. Why should we not consider
      rationalization of the visa system as well?
      Even 'adabi' and literary activities are adversely affected. The
      Mushaira Committee of 'Sakinan-i-Shahr-i-Quaid' is holding the annual
      Aalami Mushaira on Oct 4. It applied for NOC for 13 poets and was
      given the same for 11, out of which only four could obtain visa from
      our high commission in Delhi, and even they have not been able to
      manage their seats in the bus because of heavy advance bookings in
      the twice-a-week 34-seater bus service. As a result, the Indian poets
      will be conspicuous by their absence, and the Mushaira will be the
      poorer because of this. A cultural void has been created by the
      prevailing restrictions on the Indo-Pakistan travel.



      Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 18:30:13 +0530
      From: Sama <samasaro@...>

      Dear Friends,

      Medico Friend Circle has lodged a compliant with the Medical Council of
      India (MCI) against Dr. Pravin Togadia on 24.06.03. The complaint has been
      lodged as a follow-up of MFC's fact-finding investigation in Gujarat and
      last year's Annual Meet. It is our submission that Dr. Pravin Togadia, who
      is registered with the Council, has committed misconduct as defined under
      the Sections 1.1.1 & 1.1.2 and 5.1 & 6.6 of the Indian Medical Council
      (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics), and has breached general
      Medical Ethics, for which he deserves to be acted against and punished. He
      is also guilty of violating Sections 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code
      (see attached).

      On September 2nd, MCI requested the Maharashtra Medical Council to look into
      the matter, which is surprising. Further, in the Mid Day of September 19,
      Dr. P C Kesavankutty Nayar, acting president of the MCI, stated in an
      interview, "We have not received it. If we do, we will act immediately."
      (Revoke rabid Togadia's licence: Medicos, by Kavita Krishnan)
      [ http://web.mid-day.com/news/city/2003/september/64239.htm ]

      Given the history of the MCI in India, it is unlikely that any serious
      investigation in the doctor's participation in violence and hate
      campaign will be carried out unless a strong public pressure is applied. We
      would like all of you to come forward and send your signatures, so that we
      can strengthen the campaign. This strength is very important as only a few
      people speaking on behalf of MFC will not suffice. The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan
      (JSA) also has taken up the issue for mass mobilization. JSA has also
      provided the platform for MFC to hand over the complaint formally to NHRC.

      We have attached a draft of the signature petition. Please sign the petition
      and send it to MCI with a copy to the Medico Friend Circle. Please feel free
      to change or add to the draft if you feel it necessary and send it to the
      MCI on your letterheads.

      The contacts of MCI are as follows:
      Fax: +91 11 23236604
      Emails: mci@..., contact@...

      Alternatively, if you agree to be a signatory, send us your name,
      organisation (if any) and address. We will add a list of all the names under
      the petition and send it to MCI.

      In Solidarity,
      Sarojini and Amar Jesani
      On behalf of MFC

      For more details please contact:
      (a) Manisha Gupte - Managing Trustee, Medico Friend Circle - masum@...
      (b) N.B. Sarojini, Convenor, Medico Friend Circle - samasaro@...
      (c) Amar Jesani - jesani@...
      (d) Sanjay Nagral: nagral@...
      (e) Anant Phadke: amolp@...

      Visit MFC at http://www.mfcindia.org

      J-59, Saket, 2nd Floor, New Delhi 110017

      o o o


      The President,
      Medical Council of India,
      Firoz Shah Kotla Road,
      New Delhi 110002.

      Dear Sir/Madame,

      We have come to know that the Medico Friend Circle and over 50
      medical doctors have filed a complaint to the Medical Council of
      India stating that Dr. Pravin Togadia has harmed the dignity and
      honour of medical profession; and violated some other guidelines of
      the Code of Medical Ethics of the Medical Council. This complaint, as
      we have come to know about, is using the media and other reports to
      point at his participation in the campaign of hate against the
      Muslims, advocacy of violence, instigation of mobs to indulge in
      violence, threatening health professionals providing care to Muslim
      patients, asking them to discriminate on religious lines, and so on.

      We do not know whether the allegations contained in this complaint
      before you are true, but we do believe that they very serious
      allegations of misconduct against a doctor because if found to be
      true, then people's trust in and the credibility of the Medical
      Profession and the Medical Council of India would be shaken. Only an
      immediate, impartial and efficient national level investigation by
      the Medical Council of India could prove or disprove the truthfulness
      of allegations.

      Therefore, we strongly feel, and urge you to:
      (a) To undertake immediate and thorough investigations in the press
      reports and the allegations contained in the said complaint;
      (b) To ensure that such investigation is done by a national
      independent authority consisting eminent and ethical doctors and

      We hope that needful will be done at the earliest.

      Thanking you.



      The Hindu, Oct 03, 2003

      Justice in a secular society
      By Rajeev Dhavan

      Confronted with communal terrorism from within, India's justice
      system is in danger of losing its secular soul.

      JUSTICE IN a secular society can be neither blind nor blindfolded.
      The slovenly breakdown of India's legal system has produced amazing
      ironies. After the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Government of India hired
      the American `India' expert, Marc Galanter, to file an affidavit in
      New York that India's civil justice system could not deliver justice
      to the victims. Subsequent events have made this startlingly amazing
      confession mild by comparison.

      In 2000-01, Nadeem who took refuge in London from being tried in the
      Gulshan Kumar murder case almost succeeded in convincing the British
      courts that a Muslim could not get justice in India. He escaped
      extradition because the case against him was not credible. On July
      15, 2003, Abu Salem who was wanted in the Bombay blast cases of 1992
      pleaded before a Portuguese court that he would be victimised by
      Indian courts because he belonged to the minority community. If this
      plea succeeds - as it nearly did in Nadeem's case - India's criminal
      system will suffer yet another shameful reprimand.

      On September 13, 2003, a dramatic confrontation was reported. B.N.
      Kirpal, former Chief Justice of India, offered expert testimony for a
      Japanese company that its case should be heard in New York and not
      New Delhi. On the other side was A.M. Ahmadi, another former CJI, who
      refuted Mr. Kirpal's depressing but accurate prediction that the case
      in India would take 20 years, to counter predict that a case in Delhi
      would take one year. The former CJIs sparred with each other in a
      foreign jurisdiction to denigrate or defend India's justice system.

      Earlier in 2000-01, S.P. Bharucha, another former CJI, made an
      oft-quoted remark that 20 per cent of the Indian judiciary (that is 1
      in every 5 judges) was corrupt. In response all kinds of solutions
      have been offered: fast track courts, summary procedures, draconian
      anti-terrorist legislation like POTA and the Malimath Committee
      proposals for adopting a brand new criminal justice system. While we
      grope for a solution, the justice system declines in credibility to
      produce strange dichotomies. Its Supreme Court and some High Courts
      enjoy an enviable international reputation for imagination and
      courage. The rest of the justice system lapses into disrepair.

      What are we to make of all this? Is the system just over-burdened?
      Does the answer lie in pumping in more resources? Or in restyling
      procedures? This is what successive Governments, Law Commissions or
      specialist committees say. But while more resources and more courts
      may change things a bit, there are new challenges, which pose threats
      that go to the root of governance.

      There are very severe indictments that India's justice system is
      class-based, communal, anti-women, anti-Dalits and the oppressed.
      Cases of Dalit and tribal oppression are on the rise. Violence
      against women goes unpunished. The minorities are scared that they
      will not only not get justice, but will also be brutalised. Beyond
      equality before the law lies equality of treatment and an equality of

      A multi-cultural secular state needs to view justice in terms of the
      confidence it inspires. Following the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the
      destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the crisis of confidence in
      India's justice system has deepened - all the more so after reviews
      of the working of the anti-terrorist legislation (TADA and POTA) have
      shown that these measures were wilfully used against the minorities.

      In 2003, we witness remarkable contrasts, which present the
      `communal' crisis confronting justice. At the end of June 2003, the
      judgment in the Best Bakery case produced the worst of justice. The
      judgment is a tour de force of strange insights wholly out of place
      in a criminal case. The National Human Rights Commission had to take
      the case to the Supreme Court because the Gujarat Government failed
      to move on incontrovertible indications that the Muslim witnesses
      were threatened into submission.

      In the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, V.N. Khare, was forcefully
      forthright in exposing the rotten state of affairs. Tenaciously
      getting to the truth, he condemned the Gujarat Government for its
      inaction asking it to quit if it could not govern fairly. On
      September 19, 2003, the Chief Justice went further to record the
      statement of the State's Director-General of Police that the Best
      Bakery casewitnesses had been "won over" to expose the worst endemic
      tendencies in which communal injustice in India is enmeshed. What the
      Supreme Court proceedings have done is to restore confidence that the
      Indian justice system has the capacity to correct itself in communal
      cases of a failure of justice.

      As if to reinforce the confidence, on September 22, 2003, a trial
      court in Orissa sentenced Dara Singh to death and 12 persons to life
      imprisonment for the murder of Graham Staines and his children in
      1999. I do not support the death penalty. But the death penalty in
      this case was consistent with the Supreme Court's principle that it
      can be imposed in the "rarest of rare" case of extreme depravity. But
      what astounds is Dara Singh's decision that he will not appeal, and
      face the gallows to become a "martyr" in the cause of communal
      killing. He does so on the confident assumption that there are many
      who regard his cowardly killing as an act of `Hindu' heroism. Behind
      the face of `secular' justice lurks a frightening monster, which
      exalts communalism as an act of grace.

      The third major recent case is that of the Babri Masjid demolition,
      in which several BJP leaders were charged by the Rae Bareli court for
      various offences connected with the destruction of the mosque in
      1992. But the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, was let off because
      of some evidence that he might have tried to restrain the miscreants.
      But surely this was a matter for trial. Mr. Advani was on the same
      terrace as the others. Having arrived there after several provocative
      `rath yatras' (celebratory processions), his segregation into
      innocence required a probe through a trial. But instead of
      representing the triumph of secular justice, the case was twisted
      into political controversy. The Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, treated
      the destruction of the mosque as a political case concerned with
      public order offences. Murli Manohar Joshi resigned from the
      ministerial post but with equivocal party political results. Mr.
      Joshi's judicial appeal threatened Mr. Advani by claiming
      similarities with the latter. What should have been an occasion for
      reinforcing secular justice was converted by the BJP in power and its
      other supporters into a tamasha (spectacle).

      It seems amazing that those who rule India seem to make a virtue of
      communal atrocity. Surely, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
      should appeal Mr. Advani's case to obviate the charge that political
      pressure has elevated India's Deputy Prime Minister above the law.
      Even more ironical is Mr. Advani's, Mr. Joshi's and others' plea of
      innocence of a crime they make political capital of. Surely they
      should declare that they had nothing to do with the destruction of
      the Masjid, and that they disapprove of the destruction and support
      making amends by re-building the mosque. But the BJP White Paper on
      Ayodhya (1993) gives a truer picture of the hate underlying this
      wanton act. What do we make of a system of governance in which the
      top leaders who run India take a silent pride in communal
      destruction, treat - as Mr. Jaitley does - the 1992 event, which
      shattered peoples' faith in Indian secularism, as a public order
      problem and are unable to publicly apologise for this act while they
      profess their innocence.

      Poor management, delays and insufficient resources are not the only
      things wrong with India's system. There is something more that robs
      the system of its credibility and legitimacy. There is a declining
      faith in India's justice system on the part of the minorities and the
      deprived. When the system succeeds in delivering secular justice, it
      is mocked at by politicians in positions of power. When the system
      fails, it shocks to undermine peoples' faith. If India is to stay
      together, it cannot be a random communal democracy unbounded by the
      rule of law. Confronted with communal terrorism from within, India's
      justice system is in danger of losing its secular soul.



      The Times of India

      New Muslim secular group formed
      TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2003 10:00:48 PM ]

      MUMBAI: Gandhi Jayanti this year will witness the formation of a new
      national body - Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD).

      The members of the new body include educationists, businessmen,
      doctors, lawyers, journalists, artistes, and women activists from
      Pune, Kolhapur, Kolkata, Bhopal, Allahabad, Patna and elsewhere in
      the country.

      Among the issues that the MSD will look at will be the growing
      religious intolerance, the Ayodhya issue, culture policing, the
      Uniform Civil Code, state subsidy for Haj and population control.



      Delhi Newsline
      October 01, 2003

      '84 riot victims put Best foot forward
      Sreelatha Menon
      New Delhi, September 30: Encouraged by the National Human Rights
      Commission's successful intervention in the Best Bakery case which
      led Supreme Court to give the victims new hope, families of the 1984
      Sikh riots victims are planning to take the same route. The over 5000
      families in the seven resettlement camps in the Capital are
      approaching the NHRC with an appeal to speak for them.

      The President of the 1984 riot victims camps, Atma Singh, said that
      nearly two decades after the riots which killed over 3000 people, not
      a single accused has been brought to book. These camps include the
      ones at Tilak Vihar, Sangam Park, Raghuvir Nagar, Madipur,
      Jahangirpuri, Garhi and Rohini Sector 16.

      The memorandum to be submitted says the way NHRC dealt with the Best
      Bakery case has given them hope that minorities can get justice.
      Hence, they wished NHRC would take up their case now.

      It is being pointed out that the Delhi Government never went in
      appeal or sought review of judgements of lower courts in any higher
      court when the accused were let off one after another, Singh said. In
      Delhi as in Gujarat, both the accused and people in high positions
      who instigated the riots were given state protection, he alleged.

      ''We have attached a list of hundreds of victims who have been marked
      untraceable by Delhi Police in courts and whose cases have been
      closed. We will appeal to the commission to take up this list and
      reopen their cases to get them justice,'' Singh said.

      He said the memorandum pointed out that despite thousands of deaths
      in Delhi in 1984, neither was a single FIR filed, nor any MLC or
      post-mortem done.

      The memorandum names then Home Minister Narasimha Rao and
      Lieutenant-Governor T N Gavai for ''not trying to stop the riots'',
      Atma Singh said.

      ''We have pinned our hopes on Justice J S Anand and we have also told
      him that the pensions and jobs promised to the victims' families were
      not given. We have mentioned that the Ahuja Commission report in 1985
      had identified 2773 persons as victims. But the government of Delhi
      does not recognise this list.



      Blocking of Yahoo groups content in India . . .
      [Update : morning of 03 October. 2003]



      o o o

      Business Standard, October 02, 2003

      Access denied

      Devangshu Datta
      Published : October 2, 2003

      On September 10, 2003, the Department of Telecommunications, under
      the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT),
      issued a terse communique to Internet service providers.

      Signed "Jayant Kumar (Director LR II)", this ordered Indian Internet
      service providers (ISPs) to block access to http://groups.yahoo.com/

      The order came from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team
      (CERT-In). Through a notification in July, the government designated
      CERT-In as the authority for blocking of sites. This was the first
      time CERT-In asserted its right to censor content.

      The Kynhun group consists of about 25 members of a minority in
      Meghalaya. They exchanged posts detailing petty harassment by local

      Most posts were uncomplimentary about state and Central government
      sentiments that Kynhun members would be better off if Meghalaya was
      not part of India, or if their specific minority wasn't part of

      We see a lot worse on a daily basis in the media but presumably
      somebody with a thin skin and connections in the MCIT was hassled
      enough to try and stop this being disseminated.

      The follow-up to the order was Kafkaesque. It isn't easy to block a
      single Yahoo! group. Most ISPs complied with the directive by
      blocking all Yahoo! groups.

      So, thousands of forums discussing classical music, trading stocks,
      how to do better in competitive exams and so on became inaccessible
      to Indian surfers. This is equivalent to banning all taxis because a
      taxi was once used to carry a bomb.

      The government, as is its wont, ignored protests and refused to
      clarify what it found offensive about Kynhun and what norms, if any,
      applied to the decision on the ban.

      Most Indian surfers will still find all Yahoo! groups inaccessible
      although some ISPs have now put a specific block on Kynhun.
      Enterprising people trying to access their own Yahoo! groups have
      found ways around this.

      Any material on an open server can be accessed regardless of blocks.
      The Chinese discovered this years ago for, the People's Republic
      routinely blocks content. As routinely, dissidents bypass those

      The Kynhun incident has induced many Indian surfers to take crash
      courses in the mechanics of anonymous proxies and web-mirrors. Kynhun
      has seen more traffic post-ban than it could ever have dreamt of.

      A block works by refusing to route to a domain. Domains are defined
      in terms of four three-digit numbers.

      The first number is a country locale, the second is a regional
      locale, the third set is assigned to a specific organisation and the
      fourth set is assigned by that organisation. The assigning authority
      is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

      For example, is a MTNL Delhi domain. The number "204"
      is India-specific, "94" is Delhi, "192" is MTNL. The last set of
      numbers, from 0 to 255, may be assigned by MTNL to whoever it
      chooses. An Internet address, like www. mtnl.net.in, is "translated"
      into domain numbers.

      An ISP block can be bypassed by using an indirect route. To use an
      analogy, A may be prevented from speaking to B. But A may speak to C
      and C can speak to B and relay messages.

      The via media is an "anonymising (or "anonymising" since spelling is
      important in queries) proxy". Free anonymisers are easy to setup and
      widely available. When a domain is accessed through an anonymiser,
      the ISP knows nothing about it.

      Web-mirrors operate by copying the content to another domain, which
      is not blocked. The government uses mirrors, for instance, when
      relaying the Budget speech or election results, since traffic at
      those moments would overload a single site. Unless the mirror is
      continuous, content won't update realtime.

      The inherent absurdity of censoring web-content in a democracy will
      obviously not be realised in the circles empowered to do it. If a
      site complaining about corrupt section officers in Shillong can be
      blocked, presumably sites discussing corruption elsewhere can be as

      The government did not consider it necessary to make any explanation
      on this occasion to the millions it inconvenienced. It won't in
      future when it inevitably blocks something else; just as inevitably
      those blocks will also be bypassed.

      o o o

      Pune Newsline
      October 01, 2003

      Yahoo group users fail to Net any results
      Express News Service
      Pune, September 30: WHEN Shahid Burney tried to access a Yahoo group
      on the right to information that he is a part of, the group account
      was difficult to access.

      Several Yahoo group users like Burney have been facing a problem
      since the past week and a half.

      ''I had been trying to get through yesterday but to no avail,'' says he.

      The problem has been attributed to the Indian government's Computer
      Emergency Response Team which has imposed a blanket ban on Yahoo
      groups in response to secessionist group Kinhun's postings.

      ''The trouble in accessing the Yahoo e-group is because of a
      government order on for the past few days,'' says an executive at the
      VSNL helpdesk.

      ''India is the biggest democracy and yet, we're behaving like
      totalitarian regimes on this issue. One cannot police the Net like
      this. Why should so many people suffer for the fault of a few,'' says
      S Joshi, who has not been able to access yahoo groups where he is
      part of an alumni network.

      o o o

      [Abridged version of :
      'Staring Back:The Indian government is pitted against Yahoo.
      From The Asian Wall Street Journal ]

      Financial Express
      October 03, 2003

      Try Staring Back, It May Work
      Why governments believe they can bully corporates

      An obscure Internet newsgroup has threatened the free flow of
      information across India's information superhighway, pitting the
      Indian government against Yahoo, one of the world's most popular
      search engines. Last week, India decided to ban the newsgroup of the
      separatist Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), called
      kynhun Bri U Hynniewtrep, because it carried reports India considers
      anti-national. India has banned the HNLC, which wants an exclusive
      state for the Khasis in Meghalaya.

      When India asked US-based Yahoo to block the newsgroup, the company
      declined. Carrying out such an order may even be illegal under US
      laws. Yahoo was being consistent: When France asked Yahoo to stop
      selling Nazi memorabilia from its website because of France's strict
      anti-racism laws, Yahoo removed such items from its French website.
      But when a French judge asked Yahoo to remove such items from its
      US-based site, Yahoo questioned the extra-territorial application of
      French laws.

      Undeterred, India called in its Computer Emergency Response Team,
      whose actions have disabled access from India to all Yahoo groups at
      the time of writing. This action severely disrupted
      cyber-conversation in India. While Yahoo did the right thing in
      dealing with the Indian request, its defiance would have made more
      sense if it had shown similar zeal last July, when China asked Yahoo
      to sign a pledge to monitor its Chinese language Internet portal for
      information and content that "might jeopardize state security and
      disrupt social stability." At that time, Yahoo complied without much

      True, China did not pick on Yahoo alone, and asked hundreds of
      domestic academic institutions and Internet companies to sign a
      verbose statement drafted by a Chinese Internet society. But the
      impact was chilling; in effect, Yahoo was promising to supervise all
      websites to which its search engine pointed, to block anything that
      the Chinese authorities might deem anti-national, and to report such
      content to the authorities. Beijing was, in effect, asking private
      companies to do its dirty work of censoring information and
      conversation. Other search engines - Google and Alta Vista - declined
      to sign the pledge, and China blocked their sites.

      China's leaders want the Internet's commercial benefits without the
      social upheaval that the net's iconoclastic, barrier-busting spirit
      may spark. China makes such demands because other businesses have
      acquiesced in the past. Rupert Murdoch's Star TV network dumped the
      BBC World Service because Beijing did not like the content, a
      Murdoch-owned publishing company reneged on a deal to publish Hong
      Kong's former Governor Chris Patten's memoirs, and Mr Murdoch
      ridiculed the Dalai Lama's preference for certain brands.

      Businesses of course have to make money, and Yahoo can't afford to
      ignore China. Governments, too, have to govern; and occasionally even
      ostensibly democratic governments crack down on civil liberties. In
      the Indian case, both Yahoo and India have come off poorly. India is
      proud of being the world's largest democracy. "The Indian government
      has done what it thought best in the short term. But it has given the
      HNLC more visibility and importance than otherwise warranted. People
      should be free to read or reject what such groups say. Both the
      government and the armed groups should respect the public perspective
      and not try to force their views," says regional expert Sanjoy
      Hazarika, consulting editor at The Statesman newspaper and managing
      trustee of the Center for North East Studies in New Delhi.

      Democracy apart, blocking Internet discussion lists disrupts India's
      ambition of becoming an IT superpower. And Indians know how to beat
      the system. During the Kargil War with Pakistan, overzealous Indian
      officials had asked Indian ISPs to block the website of Dawn, the
      Pakistani newspaper. Indian websites promptly provided how-to
      instructions on their sites, allowing net users to bypass the ban on

      But Yahoo can't afford to be smug. Principles are worth something
      only if they are not expendable when the going gets tough. Yahoo
      kow-towed, instead of standing firm to China. As Mr Patten observed
      on leaving Hong Kong in 1997, the main problem with the international
      community is that it does not treat China as a normal, regular
      country. If China glares, stare back, he said. If it throws tantrums,
      ignore it. But too few businesses and political leaders take this
      advice to heart. Noticing corporate pusillanimity in the face of
      Chinese firmness, other countries believe they too can bully

      [This article from the Wall Street Journal has been edited for space]



      "Promise of India" campaign for Communal Harmony

      Promise of India is a coalition of US-based Indian non-profit
      organizations who have come together to strengthen the democratic,
      secular, and pluralistic fabric of Indian society. The campaign will
      be officially launched on this day and information about the various
      programs to be organized by the coalition will be announced.
      Representatives from the sponsoring organizations will be present to
      sign the Promise of India Appeal, an urgent call to the people and
      the government of India to restore communal harmony.
      When: Saturday, October 4th, 2003, 2 PM - 4 PM
      Where: India Community Center, 555 Los Coches St., Milpitas, CA
      Who : Sponsored by AID, AIF, ASHA, CAC, ICA, ICC, PrajaNet and TiE.
      Additional sponsors will join in the coming weeks.
      Contact: Raju Rajagopal 510-559-1049
      This event is free.
      More info at <http://www.promiseofindia.org>http://www.promiseofindia.org


      Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on matters of peace
      and democratisation in South Asia. SACW is an independent &
      non-profit citizens wire service run since 1998 by South Asia
      Citizens Web (www.mnet.fr/aiindex).
      The complete SACW archive is available at: http://sacw.insaf.net

      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
      necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.

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