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SACW #1 | 2-3 April 2005

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    South Asia Citizens Wire #1 | 2-3 April, 2005 [1] Pakistan: Musharraf s pragmatism on Hudood laws (Editorial, Daily Times) [2] Pakistan - India:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2 3:58 PM
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      South Asia Citizens Wire #1 | 2-3 April, 2005

      [1] Pakistan: Musharraf's 'pragmatism' on Hudood laws (Editorial, Daily Times)
      [2] Pakistan - India: Sleepwalking towards
      danger, F-16s and all (Praful Bidwai)
      [3] India: Reflections on Visa Denial to Modi etc . . .
      - The conscience of the king (Ram Puniyani)
      - Ostracise villains of democracy (Anil Dharker)
      - The Countdown Begins . . . Pinochet, Milosevic
      And Now 'India's Very Own Nero' (Subhash Gatade)
      - Sympathy For The Devil (Ruchir Joshi)
      - Legality of denying visa (Rajeev Dhavan)
      - Stung by the West - Why the American rebuff of
      Modi could be good for India (Ramachandra Guha)
      - Theater Of The Absurd (Kamayani Swami and Ali Mir)
      [4] India - Karnataka: Cowed Down By Cow (Mukundan C Menon)
      [5] India: Press Release (Citizens for Justice and Peace)
      [6] Announcements:
      (i) Upcoming Seminar: . . . imperialism, war,
      divisive politics based on religious and ethnic
      identities (New Delhi, April 3-5 )
      (ii) Film Screening: Highway Courtesans (Chicago, April 4 and April 8)


      --------------

      [1]

      Daily Times - April 01, 2005


      EDITORIAL: Musharraf's 'pragmatism' on Hudood laws

      Speaking at an international conference in
      Islamabad on March 30, General Pervez Musharraf
      said that he would support some changes in the
      Hudood Ordinance to expunge provisions
      contradictory to Islam (our italics). However, he
      said, "a mere change in the law is not
      sufficient. We need to change the mindset [of the
      people]".
      Let's consider these two statements in the same order.
      The laws under the Hudood Ordinance are
      considered Islamic under the fiqh. While there
      are some verdicts by the higher courts calling
      for a review, most religious scholars are by and
      large agreed that the laws conform to Islamic
      jurisprudence as laid down over centuries. But
      General Musharraf's view is "enlightened" and
      implies a process of ijtihad which can only be
      done through inductive reasoning. But that has
      not happened in reality. Indeed, Pakistan's
      scholars and judges have relied on deductive
      reasoning according to the parameters set by
      medieval religious scholasticism, a classical
      example of this being the verdict by the Supreme
      Court Appellate Bench on the issue of riba.
      Despite enlightened obiter dicta, the court
      refused to look at riba in any way except in
      terms of the medieval practice of usury. It would
      not entertain arguments pegged to the modern
      banking system, the issue of interest in light of
      modern economic and investment structures, etc.
      In other words, the judges took a literalist view
      of riba. How does General Musharraf propose we
      change this approach?
      The other interesting observation relates to
      General Musharraf's contention that he is
      inclined to support some changes. This, at best,
      could mean that he is ready to nudge the civilian
      government to initiate the process of a review of
      the Hudood laws. But there are two problems with
      this: it is now an established fact that the
      ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q put together and
      propped up by General Musharraf has more
      'anti-enlightened moderation' elements than those
      who believe in his (General Musharraf's)
      enlightened worldview. This is amply clear from
      the government's readiness to make concessions to
      the MMA, as on the issue of the religion column
      in the machine-readable passport as well as the
      manner in which the ruling MPs refused to support
      the honour-killing bill tabled by the government
      itself. Taking this record into consideration we
      are not sure what General Musharraf means when he
      says that he would like to support such a move.
      The second problem relates to the whole idea of
      leaving such a crucial step to a bumbling
      civilian government half in love with the
      mullahs. We know that General Musharraf has the
      power to institute change by a nod rather than by
      a stroke of the pen regardless of public opinion
      and the predilections of either his own flock or
      the opposition. So why cannot he, if he really
      feels so strongly about the need to review these
      laws, take the bull by the horn and put his money
      where his mouth is?
      He has also said that laws alone do not make any
      difference; we need to change the mindset. On the
      face of it he is right. But two things need to be
      pointed out. Progressive legislation and its
      subsequent enforcement are always important
      aspects of helping a norm develop and evolve. And
      the state plays an important role in doing so.
      Two, the mindset we need to reverse was also
      created by the state under the military dictator
      General Ziaul Haq after he mounted a careful,
      multi-pronged assault on this society and managed
      to reach this level of regression through
      consistent effort. If General Musharraf believes
      in his vision, he has his task cut out for him.
      He is the man to reverse that process in the same
      way and by the same means that General Haq helped
      it evolve. General Musharraf has to begin with
      progressive legislation and effective
      enforcement; at the other end of the scale, he
      needs to use the media and other methods of
      communication to create space for a more
      enlightened worldview. General Haq used the
      mosque and the syllabi to do mischief; General
      Musharraf needs to neutralise the mosque, revise
      the curriculum, and use the state media to
      counter his predecessor's capers.
      The important thing is that General Musharraf
      will have to be as consistent and on the ball as
      General Haq. Nothing less will do. He will not
      just have to support such legislation but
      arm-twist the Q-League to deliver. We know he can
      do it and it's time the Q-League paid back the
      debt it owes General Musharraf.
      The time for half-measures and this sort of
      'pragmatism' is long past and the battle-lines
      are clearly drawn as far as the right wing is
      concerned. Retreats will only whet the appetite
      of the religious parties for more space. That has
      been the lesson of this country's 57-year-long
      history.

      ______


      [2]

      The News International - April 02, 2005

      SLEEPWALKING TOWARDS DANGER, F-16s AND ALL

      Praful Bidwai

      The speed with which the United States has rushed
      to offer substantial military deals to India and
      Pakistan after Secretary of State Condoleezza
      Rice's flying visit is truly breathtaking. Within
      hours of announcing that it would supply the
      latest version of F-16 warplanes to Islamabad,
      Washington told New Delhi that it was willing to
      sell not just F-16s but also a bigger, multi-role
      warplane, the F-18, which the US hasn't sold even
      to its NATO allies.

      Indeed, what's on the cards so far as India goes
      is not just sale of sophisticated weapons systems
      by the US, but joint or licensed production,
      complete with technology transfer. The US has
      tied up this offer with other "sweeteners",
      including a lifting of a three decades-long
      embargo on cooperation in civilian nuclear
      technology with India, possible cooperation in
      space, and a greater role for India in global
      institutions.

      Senior US officials say in their background
      briefings that this is part of a major move,
      which aims to help turn India into "a major world
      power in the 21st century", with all the military
      implications that that has.

      Pakistani and Indian responses and
      counter-responses to these US manoeuvres confirm
      and reinforce, on every count, the fear expressed
      in this column two weeks ago of a runaway South
      Asian arms race, fuelled this time not by two or
      more rival powers, but by the same state. It's as
      if Indian and Pakistani policy-makers were
      obsessively enacting the roles assigned to them
      in a tragic script, executing each step like
      half-zombies.

      Each set of actors proffers a half-coherent
      rationale or explanation about why they are
      making certain choices. Yet, both deny the
      compelling, ineluctable consequences of their own
      actions -- an inevitable mutual arms race, and
      greater insecurity for both.

      Consider the Pakistani argument. The Foreign
      Office says the US decision to "supply F-16s is a
      trend in [the] positive direction... It lays
      [the] foundation for a long-term and solid
      relationship." According to Foreign Minister
      Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, "Pakistan's purchase of
      F-16s would not amount to starting an arms race
      or inducting a new weapons system as Pakistan
      already has a fleet of these planes."

      However, if India were to procure new weapons,
      including Phalcon air-defence systems or
      Patriot-II missiles, it would introduce new
      uncertainties and rivalries and call for an
      appropriate, "matching", response from Pakistan.

      It's another matter that Pakistan is planning to
      buy not just qualitatively more sophisticated
      versions of the F-16 than it had bought in
      1988-89, but also larger numbers of them
      (reportedly, something like 70). General Pervez
      Musharraf says: "the F-16s will increase
      Pakistan's strategic capability and deterrence...
      The inclusion of P-3C Orion aircraft, F22-P
      frigates and acquisition of F-16 fighter aircraft
      would certainly enhance the offensive punch of
      our defence," and "help our strategy of defensive
      deterrence."

      Similarly, the Indian logic runs thus: Pakistan
      does not need F-16s to fight terrorism; there are
      other ways of "rewarding" it for cooperating with
      the "war against terrorism". F-16s will have an
      adverse impact on the subcontinental security
      environment. Their sale will divert attention and
      resources to arms acquisition when bilateral
      relations are improving. Defence Minister Pranab
      Mukherjee says the sale's timing "may jeopardise
      ... confidence-building measures"; in the past
      Pakistan did not fire "a single shot at any other
      direction but India."

      This is not all. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is
      expected to tell President Bush next month in
      Moscow that "mere words" won't "sweeten" the deal
      enough for India. The Indian Air Force isn't
      particularly impressed with the F-16/18 offer
      because it considers the French-made Mirage more
      "attractive". Besides, an Indian official says:
      "we still don't know the terms and conditions
      [for the sale of F-16s]... At the end of the day,
      Pakistan has got the planes, and India, loads of
      sweet assurances."

      The Indian reasoning, like Pakistan's, elides
      over some basic assumptions. New Delhi wants to
      maintain its "natural" airpower asymmetry or
      superiority over Islamabad. (India has about 30
      squadrons, as against Pakistan's 20, and plans to
      add another 126 warplanes to its existing total
      of 680 combat aircraft, against Pakistan's 415
      planes).

      Overemphasis on the firmness of the US's F-16
      commitment to Pakistan also helps play down the
      higher size and "quality" (if that's the word!)
      of the package being offered to India.

      Yet, it's clear that Pakistan is about to spend
      some $35-40 million apiece on each of the 70
      F-16s of the latest make. The total spending will
      be about 10 times what Islamabad commits to
      health and education. Likewise, India too will
      give up the opportunity to build several
      medium-size rural hospitals or scores of
      elementary schools for each of the fancy, lethal,
      toys it buys.

      This colossal expenditure will ultimately help
      neither India nor Pakistan. It will only help
      Lockheed Martin, the F-16's manufacturer, which
      has already sold more than 4,000 planes to 24
      countries, and raked in billions of dollars in
      profit.

      The F-16 deal will give a fresh lease of life to
      the company's factory in Fort Worth, Texas, which
      has reduced its workforce by 800 to 5,000 over
      the past year. Pakistan's F-16 order, as an
      industry analyst puts it with characteristic
      cynicism, is "a happy juxtaposition of the wants
      and needs" of an ally in the "war on terrorism"
      and Lockheed's profit-line. An even "bigger
      issue" for the Military-Industrial Complex's is
      the chance to sell 100-plus warplanes to India!

      Nothing would more graphically and literally fit
      the description of global merchants of death
      thriving on the insecurities of states thousands
      of miles away, each of which turns to them for
      ever deadlier weapons even as it turns its back
      upon its own poor citizens and their
      survival-related needs.

      There is a way to avert this zombie-like embrace
      of danger, this great march of folly. And that's
      to put the issue of conventional arms reduction
      on the bilateral dialogue agenda. There is
      immense scope for reducing or even abolishing
      several classes of conventional armaments,
      starting with landmines (which end up wantonly
      killing and maiming innocent civilians). The
      potential in our two countries for pruning
      defence expenditure is stupendous.

      India and Pakistan would do well to explore this.
      Making knee-jerk responses to arms procurement
      will draw them deeper into strategic rivalry and
      eventually impact their mutual dialogue. Changing
      this will need patience and recognition of the
      constraints within which both establishments work.

      Musharraf is already beginning to show fatigue
      with confidence-building measures, accompanied by
      little progress on substantive issues like
      Kashmir. His Pakistan Day speech bears eloquent
      testimony to this.

      He is of course right to say the
      Srinagar-Muzafferabad is not a substitute for a
      resolution of the Kashmir issue. But that
      resolution isn't going to happen in a jiffy. A
      good deal of groundwork will have to go into it,
      with a series of alternative solutions and
      formulas being thrown on the table for informal
      and formal discussion. That process must begin
      soon. But it cannot be sustained in the long run,
      even the middle run, unless India and Pakistan
      consciously avert a spiralling arms race that
      will vitiate the climate for dialogue.

      ______


      [3]

      Indian Express , April 01, 2005

      THE CONSCIENCE OF THE KING
      by Ram Puniyani

      Pratap Bhanu Mehta's article 'Justice by Law',
      (IE March 25, 2005), while trying to present a
      balanced view of the issue, finally slips into a
      formal view, the one adopted by PM Manmohan
      Singh, that Modi being an elected representative
      of the people, should have been given the visa by
      the US, and not doing so is an affront to India.

      Needless to say, the issue cannot be taken as
      black and white. There are shades of grey and
      even in a democracy, those areas need to be
      respected and upheld.

      Democracy is not a static process and we are
      aware that the likes of Modi have used democracy
      to usurp democracy itself, Hitler being the prime
      example of this phenomenon.

      In the ongoing debate, the major issue is neither
      the nature of the US or formal legal positions.
      What we have witnessed is a gross violation of
      democratic norms, the massive carnage, which in
      turn was cleverly maneuvered to polarise the
      community and to come back to power.

      It was precisely because of the power of the
      Hindu right that this pogrom was unleashed and it
      delivered the desired result for the Hindu Right,
      i.e. its return to power in Gujarat and to hold
      the existing and create a new vote bank for
      itself.

      During the pogrom, we helplessly witnessed a
      President urging the Prime Minister to act, a
      Prime Minister who swung like a pendulum from
      "Raj dharma should be followed" to "what face
      will I show to the world", to even contemplating
      the dismissal of Modi. We witnessed multiplespeak
      by the ruling establishment.

      Power should not be the only criterion of
      legality-as Modi has been flaunting shamelessly
      (I represent five crore Gujaratis!). What if he
      had been sacked by the Central government during
      the carnage as was being contemplated?

      While Manmohan Singh does take a legal position,
      the deeper question is what is the litmus test of
      democratic ethos? What do we do of the Supreme
      Court's verdict that it is not possible to get
      justice in Gujarat? What do we do of the reports
      of the National Human Rights commission? No
      doubt, the answers are not easy.

      The issue is not about applauding the decision of
      the US; the issue is to look at the grey zones of
      democracy. Also, it is quite likely that the US
      might not have denied the visa had the human
      rights groups there not campaigned systematically
      using the provisions of US law itself.

      The choice for us is to either surrender to
      formalism, like Pratap Bhanu Mehta does, or
      sustain a democratic pressure as a possible check
      on the authoritarian arrogance disguised as
      democracy for the sake of convenience, of Modi
      and his ilk.

      The writer is a human rights activist


      o o o


      Indian Express - April 01, 2005

      OSTRACISE VILLAINS OF DEMOCRACY
      by Anil Dharker

      So, is Narendra Modi feeling like a hero again?
      And this time a ''national'' hero? Three years
      ago he was the darling of the mobs of Gujarat,
      but now he is on a real centrestage, in the
      middle of an international diplomatic row, with
      the entire Government of India on his side.

      On the face of it, it was good and right that the
      Government, rising above party politics, stood up
      for a principle. On the face of it, it was just
      and right that the Prime Minister should have got
      up in Parliament and spoken against the US
      decision. On the face of it, it was correct and
      right that official India should object to the
      denial of a visa to Modi, since that ''disregards
      the fact of the Constitutional position of the
      Chief Minister of Gujarat as a democratically
      elected leader''.

      But what if we go beyond the surface? Is there
      any substance at all in the US position? The
      person of Narendra Modi has to answer for what
      happened in Gujarat between February and May
      2002. Most of us will not need reminding that it
      was he who instigated and provoked violence
      against Muslims; we will not need reminding of
      his government's direct and indirect involvement
      in the killing of 2,500 innocent Muslims; nor
      will we need reminding that the police stood by,
      and sometimes participated in rape, arson and
      looting of Muslim women and their homes.

      The horror didn't end there. The Modi government
      tried to wind up refugee camps and ordered the
      inmates to go back to non-existent homes in now
      openly hostile areas; it then began a massive
      cover-up to make sure that no one, whether cop,
      politician or murderous rioter, was ever caught
      and convicted. The intimidation and/or buying
      over of witnesses continues even today to ensure
      that justice can never ever be served.

      Yes, Modi is a democratically elected leader. But
      was he democratically elected leader of only a
      ''section'' of the population of Gujarat? Was his
      mandate to ''eliminate'' other sections of his
      state? As a democratically elected leader, was he
      supposed to enforce the rule of law or subvert
      the law?

      In a civilised and functioning democracy, an
      elected leader is answerable to the electorate:
      if he doesn't perform, or his appeal diminishes,
      he will pay the price at the hustings. But is
      that enough comeuppance when every tenet of
      democracy is broken and the state itself turns
      criminal? In the normal course of things, you
      expect a higher authority of some kind to step in
      and restore a sense of order and justice. But
      what if they don't want to (as the NDA government
      at the centre so obviously didn't)? Or can't (as
      the judicial system becomes helpless without
      proper investigation of cases and without
      witnesses)?

      Gujarat may be the worst case of state-sponsored
      terrorism in our history, but unfortunately, it
      isn't the only one of its kind. There were the
      riots in Mumbai in 1993, the massacre of Sikhs in
      1984, the Sanjay Gandhi-inspired violations of
      human rights in 1975-77. Whatever their
      differences, they have one thing in common: Not
      only did everyone know in a general sense who was
      responsible; but also the specific identity of
      the main villains was part of public knowledge.
      And yet not one wrong-doer has been tried or
      jailed.

      In this, of course, we are not alone. Most
      developing democracies have a problem dealing
      with their errant ruling elite: They are just
      allowed to get on with it. That's because it
      suits every political party to be flexible about
      the application of law and because the criminal
      justice system is generally not independent
      enough to bypass the political system. In short,
      every developing democracy builds in an
      arrangement where its own political criminals go
      scot free.

      Are we happy with that?

      There does exist an ever higher justice system
      through the International Court of Justice (or
      the World Court), but it can only take up cases
      brought to it by the nation concerned or in
      concurrence with that country, a real Catch-22
      situation designed to let criminal political
      leadership go scot free.

      There seems to be room here for a little moral
      outrage. The US, post Iraq, may not be the ideal
      candidate for an expression of that outrage, but
      there aren't too many countries around without
      some skeletons rattling in their closets. We'll
      take moral outrage wherever it comes from.

      So instead of taking our own moral stand against
      ''their'' moral stand, let's applaud the fact
      that at last someone has stood up for that
      seemingly old-fashioned concept of right and
      wrong. And while we applaud, let's hope that this
      concept is catching.


      o o o

      www.sacw.net | April 1, 2005

      THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS . . .
      PINOCHET, MILOSEVIC AND NOW 'INDIA'S VERY OWN NERO'
      by Subhash Gatade

      It is definitely a moment of celebration. After
      the huge embarrassment faced by the Hindutva
      brigade over cancellation of US visa to Modi has
      come another good news. Herr Modi, the anointed
      successor to the Advani-Atal duo had to cancel
      his visit to UK supposedly at the advice of the
      PMO. It is also being said that he himself called
      the PMO and his cohorts declared it as the PM
      personally calling him. Actually looking at the
      massive protests which waited him there
      accompanied by the inability shown by the British
      police to defend him who was to go on a private
      visit the 'lion' of Gujarat ( as his people
      declare him to be one) rather preferred to wag
      his tail. It is also a possibility that with the
      readiness shown by families of two British Muslim
      citizens who had been killed by the frenzied mobs
      in Gujarat in 2002 to file a case against Modi in
      the British court it was construed risky that he
      travels outside. His sympathizers still
      remembered the plight of the ex-dictator of Chile
      Augusot Pinochet who could save himself from
      arrest in Britain in late 90s over his crimes
      against humanity after lot of efforts.

      Ofcourse alongwith celebration, it is also a time
      to acknowledge the sincere efforts put in by the
      south asian diaspora mainly from the Indian
      subcontinent for their resolve, determination and
      persistence in making it happen.

      It cannot be denied that the changes in the power
      equations at the national level coupled with the
      need for refurbishing their own image after the
      Iraq fiasco has played an important role in the
      sudden realization of the Bushes about the
      'virtues of religious freedom' but those external
      factors in no way undermine the efforts put in by
      the secular diaspora.

      It has been quite some time that they had been
      putting in efforts to expose the anti-human
      policies of the Sangh Parivar, to demonstrate how
      a section among the diaspora itself has succumbed
      to its fascist politics and focussed on the way
      in which Herr Narendra Modi spearheaded the
      genocide in Gujarat. Even a close look at the
      list of the organizations in US which formed part
      of the 'Coalition against Genocide' makes it
      clear that it was infact a rainbow coalition
      which had on the one hand many left
      intellectual-activists as its members but on the
      other hand many religious foundations/formations
      like the Vedanta society had also joined together
      with these efforts.

      The overseas community of these secular and
      democratic minded people mainly based in USA and
      Britain who yearn for a more humane, more just
      subcontinent free of hatred among its own people
      towards each other definitely deserve a BIG
      THANKS for their efforts. During the dark times
      which we passed through when the
      secular-democratic forces in the country had been
      put on the defensive during the regime of the
      'Swayamsevak' Prime minister, their efforts in
      very many ways had come as a silver lining. May
      it be their efforts in bringing out the 'Funding
      Hate' report or similar report by the Awaaz
      people in Britain which proved in no uncertain
      terms how the Hindutva goons based there collect
      funds from wellmeaning people there supposedly
      for development work and channel the money
      collected to spread hate or the similar campaigns
      they took up with limited resources had always
      enthused us. It cannot be forgotten that they
      kept exposing the links between the Hindutva
      groups with the Zionist groups there and
      explained how despite having altogether contrary
      opinion about the 'social engineering' project of
      Hitler dotted with Aushchwitzs, how 'hatred
      towards Islam' is acting as a binding force for
      them.
      [. . .]
      Full text at: http://www.sacw.net/Gujarat2002/Gatade01042005.html


      o o o o

      [SEE ALSO]

      The Telegraph - April 03, 2005

      SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
      - US democracy, though badly damaged, has lumbered into action
      by Ruchir Joshi
      http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050403/asp/opinion/story_4538168.asp

      The Hindu - April 1, 2005
      LEGALITY OF DENYING VISA
      by Rajeev Dhavan
      The controversy over the U.S. denial of a visa to
      Narendra Modi cannot be raised to the level of an
      international crisis.
      http://www.hindu.com/2005/04/01/stories/2005040102541000.htm

      The Telegraph - April 02, 2005
      STUNG BY THE WEST
      WHY THE AMERICAN REBUFF OF MODI COULD BE GOOD FOR INDIA
      by Ramachandra Guha
      Back in the 1850s, Karl Marx wrote a series of
      essays on the results of British rule in India.
      These essays were marked by an ambivalence that
      was uncharacteristic as well as profound.
      http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050402/asp/opinion/story_4553939.asp

      Outlook - March 21, 2005
      THEATER OF THE ABSURD
      by Kamayani Swami and Ali Mir
      http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050321&fname=modivisa&sid=1


      ______


      [4]

      Indian Currents, Issue 14, 3 April 2005

      COWED DOWN BY COW

      By Mukundan C Menon

      The Udupi-Mangalore belt in South Canara of
      Karnataka was rocked by violence unleashed by
      Sangh Parivar in the third week of March. All in
      the name of protecting the proverbial Holy Cow.

      Notably, the series of violent incidents started
      soon after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s
      three-day 'Pratinidhi Sabha' concluded at
      Mangalore on March 12 expressing serious concern
      on "declining Hindu population" turning it to
      "minority community" in many parts. Later,
      addressing the RSS rally, its Sarsangha
      Sanchalak, K. S. Sudarshan, called upon to
      rebuild India on Hindu philosophy "where soul is
      as important as the mind and body".

      The series of violence started the very following
      day with the shocking incident of stripping,
      assaulting and parading nude of two Muslim cattle
      traders, Hajabba (60) and his son Hasanabba (25),
      for about three hours at Adiudupi on March 13
      night by activists of Hindu Yuva Sena, Bajrang
      Dal and VHP alleging that the victims were
      transporting a calf in their Maruti van from
      Moodbettu of Kodavoor violating the cow slaughter
      ban in the State. The assault left Hasanabba’s
      nasal septum leg fractured and Hajabba’s spine
      damaged seriously. Both were admitted to hospital.

      What followed was a series of agitations, charges
      and counter-charges. It culminated into massive
      violence in Mangalore on March 24-25, when the
      RSS unleashed attacks on Muslims and clashed
      repeatedly with the police. Tension loomed large
      in Mangalore on Good Friday with clamping down of
      prohibitory orders.

      The Chairperson of Karnataka State Minorities
      Commission, Mohammed Masood, wanted the
      Government to formally declare Udupi and Dakshina
      Kannada as communally disturbed districts. "The
      prevailing social situation", he said, "is
      unbearable for Muslims as the fundamentalists are
      undermining the economic and social spheres of
      minorities, especially Muslims".

      According to Mazood, the police failed to handle
      the stripping and parading incident appropriately
      which "sent wrong signals to the Muslim
      community". Although action should have been
      taken against the Sub-Inspectors of both Malpe
      and Udupi Town police stations, only the former
      had been placed under suspension, he said. He
      also demanded forces with special powers to be
      deployed to handle such situations.

      The "Karnataka Komu Sauharda Vedike" organised a
      massive rally and dharna in front of Udupi Deputy
      Commissioner’s office on March 19 to protest
      against the stripping incident and demanding
      stringent actions against the culprits involved.
      Their memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner also
      demanded banning of "reactionary organizations"
      indulging in violence, action against the police
      personnel who support "reactionary forces",
      resignation of political leaders on moral grounds
      owing responsibility for the incident, and action
      against a section of media for wrong reporting.

      The Udupi district president of Vedika, Rama
      Diwana, in particular, demanded suspension of
      Superintendent of Police, S Murugan, and Deputy
      Superintendent of Police, U R Pangam.

      In a separated statement, Vedika President, Prof.
      Rachappa, and Secretary, K. P. Sripal, said: "The
      fascist face of Sangh Parivar has been exposed
      with this incident. The massacres and communal
      violence being perpetrated by Sangh Parivar has
      now entered Karnataka. A fascist organisation
      like the Sangh Parivar which believes in violence
      has no moral right to talk about Naxalites or
      non-violence."

      A memorandum to Governor T. N. Chaturvedi
      submitted by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)
      said: "The act of fanatic Hindu groups were
      inhuman and barbaric which were against the human
      civilization and not heard of in recent years
      except at Abu Gaib jail in Iraq."

      Senior police officers, especially the Udupi
      Superintendent of Police, S. Murugan, was
      criticized severally for his lapses as well as
      for his alleged pro-Hindutva leanings. The
      Additional Director-General of Police (Law and
      Order), Subash Bharani, and Inspector-General of
      Police (Western Range), H.N. Sathyanarayana Rao,
      have reportedly sought explanations from Murugan
      about the lapses relating to the stripping
      incident.

      Murugan reportedly came to know about the
      stripping incident only when the Chief Minister,
      N. Dharam Singh, called him from Bangalore to get
      the details. Senior officers claim that stripping
      incident missed their attention since they were
      attending another communal flare-up at Majoor,
      which turned out to be a minor one, at that time.

      Question of jurisdiction dispute also caused the
      police lapse. The Sub-Inspector of Malpe police
      station, C. D. Nagaraj, did not follow up the
      stripping incident since it started at Moodabettu
      area, which falls under the Udupi two police
      station limit. Although Cr.P.C. stipulates that a
      place where an offence is initially committed is
      important, no officer can shrug his
      responsibility on the plea that it falls beyond
      his jurisdiction limits. Interestingly, both
      Malpe and Udupi town police stations functioned
      under the Udupi Circle Inspector of Police,
      Praveen Naik.

      Shockingly, the police officers failed to take
      cognizance of the offence even after news reports
      appeared in the local media. Apparently, the
      reality stared in their face after the report
      about the incident highlighted in a Kannada daily
      was raised in the Assembly. Later, both Udupi
      Circle Inspector Praveen Naik and Malpe
      Sub-Inspector Nagaraj were placed under
      suspension.

      Although the cow slaughter has been banned in
      Karnataka, militant Hindu bodies take it upon
      themselves to enforce the law by forcibly
      blocking transportation of all cattle, especially
      cows. Since majority of cattle traders are
      traditionally Muslims, it easily gives avenue for
      occasional communal frictions. And, there was a
      motivating pattern. The Hindu militancy on cow
      slaughter in Dakshin Canara belt increased after
      news reports described how Dara Singh, the killer
      of Graham Staines and his two children in Orissa,
      started his own movement in forcible preventing
      cows transported to West Bengal. Through South
      Canara cattles are transported to Kerala, the
      foremost beef eating state in South India which
      is free from cow slaughter ban.

      According to officials, transportation of cattle,
      especially cows, is on the rise in the recent
      past, creating occasional frictions between two
      communities. Notably, stringent official actions
      against transportation of cattle started under
      the influence Hindu militancy especially after
      the NDA dispensation occupied Central power in
      1998-99. Notably, only cow slaughter has been
      banned in Karnataka, and not transportation of
      cattle. However, officials connive with
      unofficial Hindu militants’ move to frustrate
      Muslim traders transporting cattle of all kinds
      in the name of Holy Cow.

      For the record, police officials say that the
      incidents of Hindu organisations confronting
      people transporting cattle and assaulting them
      "are viewed seriously" and cases were booked
      against people indulging in such acts.
      "Similarly, we also take a serious view of people
      transporting cattle, especially cows, in
      violation of laws." Police sources also maintain
      that they seriously take into account the
      underlying tensions while dealing with such cases
      since, more often than not, "people transporting
      cattle are Muslims and those opposing them are
      Hindus", which has all elements of communal
      tension.

      Yet, police always are keener to take action
      against the cattle traders, than the perpetrators
      of violence against them, under the notion that
      "prevention (of cattle transportation) is better
      than cure".

      At an All Party Peace committee meeting held at
      Udupi Deputy Commissioner's Office on March 22,
      the Deputy Commissioner T. Sham Bhatt announced:
      "The district administration will provide
      information about Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act
      to the public. If there is any violation of law,
      information should be given to the departments
      concerned. No one should take law into his hands.
      If the officials did not respond, then superior
      officials should be approached."

      As arrests started belatedly on the stripping
      incident, various Sangh Parivar bodies started
      making allegations to divert attention from the
      main issue. The Udupi district unit of Hindu Yuva
      Sena took out a protest march on March 17 against
      what it termed "political attempts" to implicate
      them in the case. It wanted the police to stop
      arresting its activists and the cases filed
      against them should be withdrawn. Instead, the
      district administration should take action
      against those violating the Cow Slaughter
      Prohibition Act, the Sena resolution demanded.

      Diverting the issue to new dimensions with a
      tinge of jingoistic sensationalism, the Udupi
      district President of BJP, K. Raghupati Bhat,
      alleged that pro-Pakistan slogans were raised at
      the March 19 rally by the Karnataka Komu Sauharda
      Vedike. Besides raising "anti-India and
      anti-Hindu slogans", speakers at the rally
      insulted Swamijis of the Ashta Mutts and the
      whole Hindu community. According to Bhat, "the
      rally was supported by divisive forces,
      naxalites, and Pakistani agents".

      Armed with baseless reports in a section of local
      media, other Sangh Parivar bodies also alleged
      that Pakistan flags were waved at the rally.
      There were also demands to arrest all of them as
      subversive elements, and to treat those who
      engaged in cow slaughter as criminals.

      Officials, however, disputed these allegations as
      frivolous. According to Udupi Superintendent of
      Police, Murugan, nobody was heard shouting
      pro-Pakistan slogans in the police video graphs
      of the entire rally.

      He also disputed the allegation about waving
      Pakistan flag, saying that the flag shown in
      certain press photographs was not the national
      flag of Pakistan. To prove his point, the SP took
      out a calendar of flags and showed that
      Pakistan’s national flag was different from those
      appeared in some newspapers.

      "I am receiving calls from both sides — one side
      asking how the "Pakistani flag" was allowed to
      display in the rally, and another saying that the
      flag used was not "Pakistani flag", the exhausted
      officer on apparent verge of dejection said.

      Stoutly refuting charges of using Pakistan flag
      and raising pro-Pak slogans, president of Udupi
      district of Karnataka Komu Sauharda Vedike,
      Sriram Divana, demanded legal action against the
      newspapers which had wrongly depicted a flag of a
      "dargah" as the national flag of Pakistan. All
      the slogans shouted at the rally were
      pre-determined and not one of them was
      anti-patriotic, he said. With the aid of
      photographs, he showed the drastic difference
      between the "dargah flag" and Pakistan national
      flag. The lone exceptional similarity between the
      two, however, is its green color.

      That leaves a moot question to ponder: Is green
      colour, too, a taboo for Hindutva variety of
      patriotism?

      http://www.indiancurrents.com/Mukundan%20C%20Menon.htm

      ______

      [4]


      PRESS RELEASE [CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE]


      Urgent

      March 31, 2005

      The Citizens for Justice and Peace [CJP] would
      like to express it's concern at the sensational
      reports carried in some newspaper publications
      yesterday. These concern vile and malafide
      allegations made against our Secretary, Teesta
      Setalvad by Ms Zahira Shaikh. First and foremost,
      it needs to be understood that a high level
      inquiry is afoot, being conducted by the
      Registrar General of the Supreme Court of India.
      As part of this process, both Ms Shaikh and us
      were expected to file affidavits. Our affidavits
      filed by our President, Mr Tendulkar and our
      secretary, Ms Setalvad were filed three weeks
      back on March 9, 2005. We thought that normal
      procedure and decorum require that since they
      were subject to an inquiry they should not be
      publicised. Ms Shaikh has chosen another route
      and in her recent affidavit has chosen to once
      again attempt to vilify Ms Setalvad's personal
      character when in fact both she and the forces
      behind her wish to derail the justice process for
      all Gujarat victims.

      The media at this juncture needs to play a role
      befitting it's status and prestige. We urge the
      media that has done much to keep the issue of the
      Gujarat carnage alive to rise above narrow
      sensationalism and look at the more serious
      issues involved here. The issues raised by us in
      our affidavit are substantive and open for
      perusal. The fact that Ms Shaikh decides to
      question a body like the National Human Rights
      Commission [NHRC] speaks for itself. Added to
      this is the fact that substantive issues of fact
      raised by the CJP in it's affidavit, including
      the fact that Ms Shaikh had over 12 months living
      independently in Mumbai (with her mother and
      brothers) to hurl allegations but chose to wait
      until the trial had begun and independent
      witnesses had deposed and identified the accused
      to do so, is in itself very suspicious.

      It needs to be recalled that it was when Ms
      Shaikh was asked to file details of her and her
      family's bank accounts in February 2005 by the
      Supreme Court that she lashed out asking an
      inquiry into not the CJP's but Ms Setalvad's
      accounts. Ms Setalvad has acted as Secretary of
      the CJP in full compliance with the wishes of the
      Board of Trustees. She is not in this case
      functioning as an individual. She represents the
      entire Board. This fact is being deliberately
      hidden from public view.

      It may also be in order to recall the role played
      by the CJP as an organisation and through it's
      Secretary in bringing issues of justice to
      victims of the Gujarat carnage. For those
      interested, information is available on the
      several and sustained legal initiatives
      undertaken by us. The recent vile allegations are
      part of a wider design to obscure this
      contribution from public view and deter anyone
      else from coming to the legal aid of victims of
      communal crimes. To reduce the entire dangerous
      and sordid effort to narrow character
      assassination and mudslinging does not befit the
      fourth estate that needs to be concerned with
      issues and processes within a democracy and the
      subversive efforts to de-rail them.

      Vijay Tendulkar,
      President

      On behalf of the Board of Trustees, CJP

      Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400049 Phone: 2660 3927 /2660 2288
      e-mail: cjp02in@...



      ______


      [5]

      [Announcements: ]

      (i)

      The seminar is open to all

      Dear Friends

      The 18th Congress of the Communist Party of India
      (Marxist) will be held in Delhi from 6th to 11th
      April, 2005. As part of the pre-Congress activities we
      are organising a seminar that will address the major
      issues confronting the people today - imperialism,
      war, race and divisive politics based on religious and
      ethnic identities. The seminar shall explore the
      socialist vision of sustainable development that is
      people-centred and self-reliant in approach. You are
      all invited for this seminar.

      Regards

      Prabir Purkayastha


      Venue: Constitution Club,
      Dates: 3-5th April,
      Time: 10.00 AM to 5 PM

      Indian Sovereignty and the Neo-liberal Agenda

      Financial Sector, Industry and Infrastructure
      3rd April 10.00-1.00 PM
      Chair : Ashok Mitra
      Sitaram Yechury, C.P.Chandrasekhar, Dipankar
      Mukherjee, Prabir Purkayastha, Jayati Ghosh

      Agriculture, Public Distribution and the Social Sector
      3rd April 2.00-5.00 PM
      Chair: Ashim Dasgupta,
      Utsa Patnaik, Madura Swaminathan, Imrana Qadir,
      V.K.Ramachandran, Venkatesh Athreya

      Imperialism Political Economy of Imperialism
      4th April 10.00-1.00 PM
      Chair: Amiya Bagchi
      Prabhat Patnaik, Abani Roy, SP Shukla,
      Speakers from Cuba, Brazil, Russia

      Imperialism, Militarisation and West Asia
      4th April 2.00-5.00 PM
      Chair Irfan Habib
      Aijaz Ahmed, N.Ram, Walden Bello, Brinda Karat,
      Speakers from Palestine, West Asia, France.Italy,
      Venezuela

      Democracy and Socialism
      Democracy and Exclusions: Communalism and Caste
      5th April 10.00-1.00 PM
      Chair: Debabrata Biswas
      T. Jayaraman, Satyajit Rath, Malini Bhattacharya, S.K.
      Thorat, Tanika Sarkar

      Democracy and Political Participation
      5th April 2.00-3.30 PM
      Chair: B.V.Raghavulu
      Surya. K. Mishra, Thomas Issac, U.Vasuki

      The Socialist Vision
      5th April 3.30-5.00 PM
      Chair: Prabhat Patnaik
      Prakash Karat, Subhashini Ali, Speaker from Cuba


      ____


      (ii)


      Chicago International Documentary Film Festival presents:

      HIGHWAY COURTESANS

      TWO SCREENINGS:

      MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2005 AT 1.30 PM. / GALLERY THEATRE

      and

      FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2005 AT 8.00 PM. / CHOPIN THEATRE

      In central India, the network of villages known as the Bachara have been
      held together for centuries by a unique custom: the first-born daughters of
      nearly every family become roadside prostitutes known as the Khilawadi ("the
      ones that play"). Filming over nine years, director Mystelle Brabbee follows
      three articulate young women, Guddi, her sister Shana and their neighbor
      Sungita, as they serve a daily stream of roadside truckers to support their
      families. Their work forms the core of the local economy, but their
      contemporary ideas about freedom of choice, gender and self-determination
      slowly intrude on the Bachara way of life. Guddi, seen from the ages of 16
      through 23, emerges as the film’s central character when she decides to
      leave the family business despite incurring the wrath of her father and
      brothers. Although achieving success as a teacher and community activist,
      she clearly struggles with tradition, family and love in hopes of realizing
      her dreams. Highway Courtesans resists easy moralizing and reveals the very
      real costs – financial, social and personal – for breaking with time-honored
      practice.

      Directed by Mystelle Brabbee

      Country of production: USA, India
      Year: 2004
      Language: Hindi, English
      Mins: 71

      Production company: Flip Side Films
      Producers: Mystelle Brabbée, Anura Idupuganti, Tom Donahue

      www.chicagodocfestival.org/highway_coutresans.htm

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

      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.sacw.net/
      SACW archive is available at: bridget.jatol.com/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/

      Sister initiatives :
      South Asia Counter Information Project : snipurl.com/sacip
      South Asians Against Nukes: www.s-asians-against-nukes.org
      Communalism Watch: communalism.blogspot.com/

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