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SACW | June 1-3, 2007

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | June 1-3, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2414 - Year 9 [1] Sri Lanka: Halt Reckless Attacks that Victimise Civilians and Negotiate Responsibly
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2007
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | June 1-3, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2414 - Year 9

      [1] Sri Lanka: Halt Reckless Attacks that Victimise Civilians and
      Negotiate Responsibly (National Peace Council)
      [2] Bangladesh/Canada: Reject the Appeal for Asylum of Sheikh Mujib's
      killer (Mozammel H. Khan)
      [3] Amid growing political dissent, Pakistan aims to curtail live TV
      coverage (CPJ)
      [4] Southasian mea culpa - Self-criticism came more readily to our
      forebears. (Jawed Naqvi)
      [5] Video: Pakistan - Judicial Crisis and the Future of Democratic Reform
      [6] Full text of the Affidavit of the 'non-functioning' Chief Justice
      of Pakistan
      [7] India: Counterfeit Encounters and the 'Nation' (Harsh Mander)
      [8] India: Art Imitates Life (Vinay Bharat-Ram)
      [9] Audio: India - M.F. Husain in the Center of India Art Controversy
      (Philip Reeves)
      [10] Press Statement by All India Secular Forum
      [11] Announcements:
      (i) Launch of Muktnaad: Youth Aman Karwan (Ahmedabad, 5 June 2007)
      (ii) The Peaceworks human rights defenders programme (Calcutta, 18-26
      June 2007)


      ____


      [1]

      National Peace Council
      of Sri Lanka
      12/14 Purana Vihara Road
      Colombo 6
      Tel: 2818344, 2854127, 2819064
      Tel/Fax:2819064
      E Mail: npc@...
      Internet: www.peace-srilanka.org

      30.05.07

      Media Release

      HALT RECKLESS ATTACKS THAT VICTIMISE CIVILIANS AND NEGOTIATE RESPONSIBLY

      A continuous worsening of the human security of the people
      accompanies the escalation of military operations between the
      government and LTTE. Some of the more serious incidents in recent
      weeks have included the closure of the entry points into the LTTE
      controlled Wanni area, bomb blasts that have killed civilians in
      Colombo, and the continuous assassinations, abductions and child
      recruitments.

      The National Peace Council condemns the recent attack by the LTTE on
      a security force bus ina crowded suburb of Colombo on the main road
      during rush hour. The remote-controlled claymore mine killed eight
      persons, seven of them civilians, and has severely injured more than
      thirty others, most of them civilians. This attack is in a long line
      of similar attacks by both the government and LTTE that have
      victimised civilians in the north and east, and also in Colombo.

      In particular, the reckless use of bombs, whether by land or air,
      that ostensibly have a military objective but which terrorise the
      civilian population is an unacceptable means of combat. Such actions
      are not in keeping with the goals of democracy, liberation and equal
      rights that the protagonists to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict claim to
      uphold.

      In the Wanni, the firing at the checkpoint of the International
      Committee of the Red Cross last week has led to the closure of the
      entry point into the LTTE-controlled territory at Omanthai. There is
      the likelihood of a humanitarian crisis developing in those areas, as
      food and other essential supplies will not be able to get through to
      the people.

      LTTE fighters and government security forces are destroying the
      country's infrastructure with their bombs and artillery, and billions
      are spent on more and more hi tech weaponry. While the country's
      economy gets drained, those who benefit are the foreign arms
      manufacturing companies and their commission agents.

      Ironically, the government and LTTE both claim with words that they
      are prepared to negotiate with one another. The National Peace
      Council demands that they show with deeds what they claim with their
      words. Being consistent in word and deed, thereby generating trust,
      being prepared to share power and privileges with others, and valuing
      life as the supreme value above all others, is the road to peace that
      needs to be taken.


      Executive Director
      On behalf of the Governing Council

      ______

      [2]

      REJECT THE APPEAL FOR ASYLUM OF MOHIUDDIN IN CANADA

      May 30, 2007

      Ms. Dinae Finley
      Honourable Minister of Immigration

      Subject: Reject the Appeal for Asylum of convicted self-confessed killer

      Dear Minister,

      We have come to know from a report of the Toronto Star (May 30,
      2007) that the government of Canada is considering giving Asylum to a
      (once self-confessed) person by the name of Major (Retd.) Mohiuddin,
      a citizen of Bangladesh. In 1975 Mr. Mohiuddin, in cold blood,
      participated in the brutal killings of Bangabandhu (means 'friend of
      his people') Sheikh Mujubur Rahman, the then President and founding
      father of the Republic of Bangladesh including most of his family
      members, the children and the unborn. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not
      only a great statesman, a few years ago he was adjudged the greatest
      Bengali (in both Bangladesh and India) ever born by a survey by BBC
      radio.

      Trial of this heinous crime started in 1997 and it took two years
      in open court with full legal help on the part of the convicts and
      Mr. Mohiuddin was awarded death sentence, along with a dozen of his
      co-accomplices, in absentia since Mohiuddin was absconding. The case
      automatically went to the High court for review and the lower court
      verdict was upheld. The appellate division of the Supreme Court has
      yet to hear the appeal and the sentence could be carried out only if
      the Supreme Court upholds the verdict. If Mohiuddin is sent to
      Bangladesh, he will still have the opportunity to appeal and as such
      he is not going to gallows automatically. All along, the higher
      judiciary in Bangladesh has absolutely been independent and the
      government of the day is no friend of Sheikh Hasina, the former PM
      and one of the two surviving daughters (who has been on Germany on
      the fateful night) of Mohiuddin's victims.

      Canada is country where rule of law reins over the rule of tyranny;
      it is believed to be a safe haven for those struggling for upholding
      human rights and the right to life. It must not be transformed into a
      den for any convicted killer who has taken away the right of his
      fellow human souls' right to lives, in cold blood.

      As a proud Canadian citizen and the convener of a Human Right group
      whose members are relentlessly working to uphold human rights around
      the Globe and Bangladesh in particular, I fervently appeal to the
      Minister to reject the appeal of Asylum of Mr. Mohiuddin outright,
      reemphasizing once again in clear term that the Canadian Society has
      no room for convicted killers and the cold blooded murderers.

      Sincerely,

      Prof. Mozammel H. Khan, Ph. D., P. Eng.
      Convener
      Canadian Committee for Human Rights and Democracy in Bangladesh

      ______


      [3]

      The Committee to Protect Journalists
      www.cpj.org

      AMID GROWING POLITICAL DISSENT, PAKISTAN AIMS TO CURTAIL LIVE TV COVERAGE

      New York, June 1, 2007-The Committee to Protect Journalists is
      concerned about reports that the Pakistani government will seek to
      restrict live television broadcasts of anti-government demonstrations.

      The reports, from several local news outlets and sources, come as
      news outlets face increasing official pressure for covering the
      street demonstrations sparked by President Pervez Musharraf's ouster
      of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. The judge is seeking
      reinstatement after being removed March 9 on allegations of
      misconduct. After a live national television broadcast of a Bar
      Association seminar on the issue, during which the audience chanted
      anti-army slogans, Musharraf and Information Minister Mohammad Ali
      Durrani both made critical remarks about the event and called for
      Pakistanis to respect the military.

      On Thursday, Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani told a
      press conference that existing regulations covering live broadcasts
      will be strictly enforced. The Nation on Friday quoted Durrani as
      saying that private TV channels must seek prior permission to cover
      sensitive live events and that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
      Authority rules prohibit the broadcast of programs "against the armed
      forces and judiciary."

      The Dawn daily, citing unnamed Information Ministry officials,
      reported Friday that the government "was planning to make it
      mandatory for televisions channels to seek prior permission for live
      coverage of outdoor events." The newspaper said that "if applied
      strictly, the government may restrict all live coverage, particularly
      of events like opposition rallies or events relating to the judicial
      crisis."

      "Restricting live outside broadcasts is blatant censorship that
      undermines the government's repeated claims of fostering a free
      press," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director. "Such censorship,
      coupled with the threats and violence directed toward journalists in
      recent months has put Pakistani media under tremendous pressure at a
      time when the country most needs a free and unfettered press."

      In a statement issued Friday, the Pakistan Federal Union of
      Journalists (PFUJ) "deplored the government decision to impose a ban
      on live coverage by private TV channels in violation of Article 19 of
      the constitution." The PFUJ said it will challenge the rulings in
      court.

      In an April 24 letter, CPJ called on Musharraf to "to reverse the
      government's recent anti-press actions and allow for greater public
      criticism of your administration in the media." In May, CPJ named
      Pakistan one of the world's worst backsliders on press freedom after
      documenting a series of anti-media incidents in 2007.

      ______

      [4]

      Himal South Asian
      June 2008

      SOUTHASIAN MEA CULPA
      Self-criticism came more readily to our forebears.

      by Jawed Naqvi

      Introspection and self-absorbed bigotry have traditionally walked
      hand-in-hand in Southasia. Megalomaniac rulers, the leech-like
      priestly classes and their bete noire, the serenely divine dervishes
      representing the hoi polloi, have coexisted for centuries. Jawaharlal
      Nehru himself quoted Alberuni, the 10th-century Afghan chronicler, to
      support this lacerating critique of the Subcontinent. For India's
      sciences, languages and its architectural splendour, Alberuni had
      unalloyed praise. About its people, though, he said: "They are
      haughty, foolishly vain, self-contained and stolid. They believe
      there is no country like theirs, no nation like theirs, no science
      like theirs, no religion like theirs." How did Nehru respond to such
      criticism, centuries later? In the Discovery of India, he describes
      Alberuni's views as "probably a correct enough description of the
      temper of the people".

      Alberuni was relentless in his scrutiny of India's cultural
      demeanour, which he thought was not too dissimilar at times to any
      frog in the well. "According to their belief", Alberuni wrote, there
      is no race on earth like theirs, and no created being besides them
      have any knowledge or science like theirs whatsoever. Their
      haughtiness is such that if you tell them of any science or scholar
      in Khorasan or Persia, they will think you to be either an ignoramus
      or a liar. If, however, they had travelled and mixed with other
      nations, they would soon change their mind, for their ancestors were
      not as narrow-minded as the present generation is. It took a
      large-hearted intellectual of Nehru's stature to understand and
      accept this devastating commentary on historical India and its ruling
      elites.

      A 'foreigner' such as Alberuni should not, of course, be readily
      accepted as a stand-alone source of such a harsh evaluation of a
      people. Let us therefore turn to the home-grown Bhakti movement, in
      medieval India. Straddling the entire diversity of the Subcontinent,
      where it spread to the remotest of corners, the movement threw up an
      amazingly critical worldview. And among its foremost objectives was a
      square challenge of what the dervish-like Bhakti preachers considered
      to be an incorrigible moral decay.

      If we were to call a Hindu a 'rogue' in India today, we would risk
      starting a communal flare-up. Similarly, neither would it be
      politically wise to call a Muslim a 'pervert'. But 500 years ago, the
      saint-poet Kabir was delivering these rebukes to both communities in
      equal measure, through popular poetry. "The Hindu doesn't let you
      touch his pots and pans over claims of possible contamination, but
      you would often find him prostate at the prostitute's feet," he
      declared. "Muslims marry their cousins, eat dead animals and scream
      atop their fragile mosques as though God were deaf."

      Far from being harassed or hounded by his powerful pre-Mughal
      quarries, Kabir set off a bizarre competition between Hindus and
      Muslims - both of whom he berated roundly - as each clamoured to
      claim his legacy. The seer would be lucky today not to be lynched by
      those he dared to address so acidly five centuries ago. Kabir lived
      not far from the sacred ghats of the Ganga in Benaras, where
      religious zealots recently hounded out the film crew of a movie about
      Hindu widows. That movie, Water, had later to be shot in Sri Lanka,
      and was subsequently widely lauded.

      India allergy
      Religious and nationalist fervour share a common characteristic:
      their followers believe that theirs is the best. There is great irony
      in this regard contained in a moving poem by Allama Iqbal, one which
      India later chose to accord the status of a national song. In the
      1930s, Iqbal wrote: "Saare jahaan se achha Hindustan hamara" (Our
      Hindustan is better than any other nation in the world). Now, if you
      were to take a fleeting poetic thought such as this to heart, hitch
      it to a newfound nuclear prowess, and you happen to be surrounded by
      countries who fear your overbearing narcissism, you would spell
      trouble for both yourself and those neighbours you seek to befriend.

      This is more or less how SAARC - the brainchild of Gen Ziaur Rahman -
      was born in 1985. "To tell you frankly, we were all a little allergic
      to India, so we decided to engage it collectively," explained General
      Hossain Mohammed Ershad, who hosted the first summit in Dhaka.
      (Ershad made these remarks in a televised discussion with this writer
      in 1997.) India's army had helped to liberate Bangladesh from a
      sectarian, Punjabi-dominated West Pakistan. And yet, Dhaka chose to
      turn against its former 'benefactors' in New Delhi. Was there
      something wrong with India's body language towards Bangladesh
      following the brief honeymoon period in 1971-72, that such tension
      should arise between India and Bangladesh that today you can cut with
      a knife? It seems so, but the problem has never been publicly or
      truthfully discussed. Is Bangladesh an ungrateful neighbour? Perhaps
      both sides could use a little self-criticism?

      But let us not pick on any one country. Instead, let us discuss all
      the SAARC member states, and their chemistry with each other. There
      are admittedly ethnic tensions between Bhutan and Nepal related to
      the refugee matter. There may also be some small issues pertaining to
      a trade corridor between Nepal and Bangladesh. But that is about it.
      There is no foul chemistry between these countries, much less any
      suspicion of an imminent military assault. So why is it that India
      has been viewed with such disfavour by its neighbours?

      Take India's helping hand to Sri Lanka. In the 1970s, it had
      militarily bailed out Sirimavo Bandaranaike's Sinhalese-dominated
      government in the face of a Marxist revolt. It also gave moral and
      political support - including alleged military training - to Sri
      Lanka's Tamil minorities. And yet, Rajiv Gandhi was butted by a
      miffed Sinhalese soldier at an official guard of honour in Colombo,
      before being killed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman near Madras some
      years later. It was all extremely tragic, but how do we explain this
      bristling rage from the very people one had tried to help?

      Or, take India's ties with landlocked Nepal. The one lasting memory
      among the people there - despite India being the artery, a veritable
      lifeline to Kathmandu - is the image of the crippling economic
      blockade that New Delhi imposed on its northern neighbour in 1989.
      Some Nepali analysts acknowledge the culpability of the royal palace
      in forcing India's hand, but the lasting rancour in Kathmandu is
      palpably anti-Indian. Why? Was there introspection, much less any
      self-criticism, by either India or Nepal over this easily avoidable
      standoff? If there was, we have not heard of it.

      A country such as Bhutan, supposed to be umbilically linked with
      India's political and diplomatic postures, finds itself occasionally
      strained by the bear hug. The tiny Maldives, whose government the
      Indian Navy saved from a certain coup in 1988, does not exactly seem
      to reciprocate the enthusiasm with which India seeks its welfare.
      About India-Pakistan ties, the less said the better. Each side bears
      such enormous and deep-rooted grudges against the other that we
      should count ourselves truly lucky that the nuclear-armed neighbours
      are currently at least talking.

      Far from making an objective and critical self-evaluation of their
      poor bilateral relations, the rhetoric from India and Pakistan has
      been marked by double standards. For example, Pakistan has often
      slammed Indian-sponsored elections in Jammu & Kashmir as 'fake', but
      has not considered making room for a credible civilian democracy in
      its own wider patch. Another example is worth recalling. India held
      up the last Kathmandu SAARC Summit because it disapproved of a
      military coup against Nawaz Sharif by General Pervez Musharraf. But
      India seemed to have forgotten that the first host of the SAARC
      summit, Gen Ershad, was himself a military dictator with blood on his
      hands. And who was the Pakistani leader at that summit shaking hands
      with Rajiv Gandhi? General Zia ul-Haq, of course, the guru of all
      coup leaders!

      Meaningless jingoisms
      It was Imtiaz Alam, the Pakistani founder and secretary-general of
      the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA, a promising platform
      for Southasian media until it began carting dubious politicians
      around for powwows at fancy holiday resorts), who once hit the nail
      directly on the head. A few days after India and Pakistan exploded
      their bombs in May 1998, Alam visited Delhi for a discussion with the
      Indian media on the road ahead. His observations at the end of the
      conference were withering: "We are here ready to concede that
      Pakistan has done horrible things in Jammu & Kashmir. We have
      fomented terrorism there. But we want the Indians also to say 'mea
      culpa'. But all we hear from them is, 'Yes, you are right, Pakistan
      has done a lot of harm to us!'"

      Clearly, the media in Southasia has, for the most part, followed
      rather than challenged the accusatory stance of its jingoistic
      political leaderships. We refer derisively to American and British
      journalists in Iraq as the 'embedded media', but do we ever look at
      our own culpability in this regard? Continually and truthfully doing
      so could, little by little, work to bring about a revolutionary
      change - perhaps with regards to what Alberuni and Kabir found
      missing in our spirits.

      ______


      [5]

      Pakistan: Judicial Crisis and the Future of Democratic Reform
      Date: May 29, 2007
      Time: 12:00 noon - 1:15 p.m.

      Speaker(s):
      Najam Sethi
      Editor, Pakistan Weekly, "The Friday Times"

      Shuja Nawaz
      Pakistani journalist, completing the book, Crossed Swords: Pakistan
      and Its Army, for Oxford University Press

      Hassan Abbas
      Research Fellow, Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs,
      Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and
      Author of Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and
      America's War on Terror

      Host(s):
      Lisa Curtis
      Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation
      Details:
      Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

      VIEW EVENT: http://multimedia.heritage.org/content/wm/Lehrman-052907a.wvx


      ______


      [6] [ the original and unedited text of the Affidavit of the
      'non-functioning' Chief Justice of Pakistan]

      IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN

      (Original Jurisdiction)

      In Re:

      Constitutional Original Petition No: ___21___ /2007

      Chief Justice of Pakistan,
      Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,
      Chief Justice House,
      Islamabad

      ------------------------------------------------------------------ Petitioner
      VERSUS
      The President of Pakistan,
      The Referring Authority,
      Presidency,
      Islamabad.

      AND OTHERS
      ------------------------------------------------------------- Respondents


      AFFIDAVIT OF THE PETITIONER,

      MR. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,

      Chief Justice of Pakistan,


      I, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, The Chief Justice of
      Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as the "deponent") do hereby
      solemnly affirm and state on oath as follows:

      That the deponent has filed the titled petition in this Hon'ble Court
      under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of
      Pakistan 1973, inter alia, assailing the Reference No.43/2007 dated
      March 09, 2007; Notification No. F.1 (2)/2005.A.II dated 09-03-2007,
      whereby the deponent was illegally and unlawfully restrained to
      perform his constitutional functions as a judge of this Hon'ble Court
      and as Chief Justice of Pakistan; Order dated March 09, 2007 passed
      by the Supreme Judicial Council; Notification No.F.1(2)2005.A.II
      dated 15-03-2007 whereby the deponent was sent on compulsory leave
      with retrospective effect and the constitution and competence of the
      Supreme Judicial Council as well as the mode and manner of the
      proceedings before the Council.

      2. This affidavit is being filed in support of the contentions,
      assertions and pleas raised in the above titled petition. The
      deponent verifies that the contents of the titled affidavit are true
      and correct to the best of his knowledge, information and belief and
      nothing has been concealed. In addition to the facts narrated in the
      titled petition; the deponent states that:

      A. On March 09, 2007, the deponent headed Bench No.1 of this Hon'ble
      Court as Chief Justice of Pakistan and heard several cases till about
      10.30am. The Bench rose briefly and had to reassemble for the day
      except the deponent who left for the Army House, Rawalpindi to meet
      the President of Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as "Respondent")

      B. The deponent arrived at Army House, Rawalpindi at about 11-30am
      along with his staff/protocol staff. The deponent was shown to a
      waiting room/visitors room. After five minutes of his arrival, the
      Respondent, wearing his Military Uniform came into the room along
      with his MS and ADC. As soon as the Respondent took his seat, a
      number of TV cameramen and photographers were also ushered into the
      room. They took several pictures and made movie footage.

      C. While discussing the SAARC Law Conference, SAARC Chief Justices
      Conference and the concluding session of the Golden Jubilee ceremony
      of the Supreme Court, the Respondent said that a compliant against
      the deponent had been received by him (Respondent) from a Judge of
      the Peshawar High Court. The deponent replied that it was not based
      on true facts as his case had been decided by a two member bench and
      that attempts were being made to maliciously involve the other member
      of the Bench as well. On this the Respondent said that there are a
      few more complaints against the deponent as well. After saying so, he
      directed his staff to call the other persons.

      D. On the direction of the Respondent, the 'other persons' entered
      the room. They included the Prime Minster, DG MI, DG ISI, DG IB, COS
      and another official. All officials (except DG, IB and COS) were in
      uniform.

      E. The Respondent started reading from small pieces of paper with
      notes on them which he had in his hand. There was no single
      consolidated document. The allegations which were being put to the
      deponent had been taken from the contents of a notorious letter
      written by Mr. Naeem Bukhari with absolutely no substance in them.
      The deponent strongly refuted these allegations as being baseless and
      engineered to defame him personally and the judiciary as a whole. The
      deponent promptly denied the veracity and credibility of these
      allegations as well.

      F. On this the Respondent said that the deponent had obtained cars
      from the Supreme Court for his family. The allegation was vehemently
      denied by the deponent. The Respondent went on to say that the
      deponent was being driven in a Mercedes, to which the deponent
      promptly replied 'here is the Prime Minister, ask him, he has sent
      the Car himself'. The PM did not reply to this answer even by
      gesture. Surprisingly the Respondent went on to say that the deponent
      had interfered in the affairs of Lahore High Court and had not
      accepted and taken heed of most of the recommendations of the Chief
      Justice of Lahore High Court.

      G. The Respondent insisted that the deponent should resign. The
      Respondent also said that in case of deponent's resignation, he (the
      Respondent) would 'accommodate' him (the deponent). He also said in
      case of refusal to resign, the deponent will have to face the
      reference which could be a bigger embarrassment for the deponent. The
      deponent finally and more resolutely said 'I wouldn't resign and
      would face any reference since I am innocent; I have not violated any
      code of conduct or any law, rule or regulation; I believe that I am
      myself the guardian of law. I strongly believe in God who will help
      me'. This ignited the fury of the Respondent; he stood up angrily and
      left the room along with his MS, COS and the Prime Minister of
      Pakistan, saying that others would show evidence to the deponent.
      (This has now been admitted by the Respondent in his interview given
      to AAJ TV). The meeting continued for not more than 30 minutes.

      H. The DG MI, DG ISI and DG IB remained behind and continued to sit
      with the deponent. They did not show the deponent a single piece of
      evidence. In fact, no official except DG ISI had some documents with
      him but he also did not show any thing to the deponent. They,
      however, said that the deponent had secured a seat for his son in
      Bolan Medical College when the deponent was serving as a Judge of
      Balochistan High Court. They (except DG, IB) insisted that deponent
      resign while the deponent continued to assert strongly that the
      allegations were baseless and for a collateral purpose.

      I. During the subsequent hours, the deponent was forced to stay in
      that room. Sometimes, all the persons would leave the deponent alone
      in that room but would not allow the deponent to leave it. It was
      obvious that the deponent was being watched by a close circuit camera
      because whenever he tried to open the door to go out, he was
      confronted by an officer who prevented the exit of the deponent;
      several times the deponent expressed the desire to leave but was told
      by military officials to stay/wait. Once the deponent was even told
      that respondent would be seeing him again. At one point, the deponent
      requested that at least his staff/protocol officer be called inside
      the room as the deponent wanted to talk to him but was told that he
      could not come inside. The deponent then requested that his
      staff/protocol officer be told to pass on the message to the
      deponent's family that he was at Army House, Rawalpindi and that his
      programme to go to Lahore had been cancelled.

      J. Despite several attempts to leave the room and the Army House, the
      deponent was made to stay there on one pretext or the other. His
      request to bring his car to the porch for departure was also denied.
      After the first meeting with the Respondent which lasted for not more
      than 30 minutes, the deponent was kept there 'absolutely against his
      will' till past 5pm.

      K. After 5pm, DG MI came in again and told the deponent that his car
      was outside to drive him 'home'. DG, MI came out of the room and once
      outside told the deponent, 'this is a bad day, now you are taking a
      separate way and you are informed that you have been "restrained to
      work as a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of Pakistan''.

      L. When the deponent saw the car of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he
      discovered that his car had been stripped of both the flag of
      Pakistan and the emblem flag. The staff officer of the deponent
      informed him that Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal had taken oath as Acting
      Chief Justice and it had been shown on TV. The driver also informed
      the deponent that he had been instructed not to take the deponent to
      the Supreme Court while on way to the residence of the deponent.

      M. While on the way, the deponent directed the driver to go to
      Supreme Court but an Army official prevented the deponent's car near
      the Sports Complex from proceeding further. In the meanwhile, Mr.
      Tariq Masood Yasin, SP, also appeared; He ordered the driver to come
      out of car so that he could drive the deponent and also asked the
      deponent's gunman to come out of the car as well. The deponent said
      'okay, I will not go to the Supreme Court but my driver will drive my
      car and my gunman will escort me home'. Only then, did Mr. Tariq
      Masood Yasin, SP agree to let the car be driven by deponent's driver.

      N. The deponent got home at about 5.45pm and was shocked to see
      police officials and agencies personnel without uniform all over his
      residence. The deponent also discovered that landline phones had
      already been disconnected; Cell Phones, TV, Cables and DSL had been
      jammed or disconnected. The deponent and his family were completely
      cut off for several days from the outside world.

      O. By 9pm, March 09, 2007, the vehicles which were in official use of
      the deponent including a Mercedes had been taken away by means of a
      lifter. Latter on, the same night, one vehicle was brought back but
      the key was not handed over to the deponent or someone on his behalf.

      P. On March 10, 2007, the deponent received a 'Notice' from Supreme
      Judicial Council ("Council") whereby the deponent came to know that a
      Reference (No.43/2007) had been filed by the Respondent before the
      Council. There was also a copy of the Order passed by the Council
      whereby deponent had been restrained to function as a Judge of the
      Supreme Court and or Chief Justice of Pakistan. The copy of the
      aforesaid Reference had also been appended with the Notice with
      without any annexure or supporting documents for perusal of the
      deponent.

      Q. It was also surprising for the deponent to note that the aforesaid
      reference came up for hearing on March 9, 2007 after 6pm in indecent
      haste. Two members of the Council as was evident from news published
      in daily Nawa-i-Waqt dated March 10, 2007, had been flown to
      Islamabad in special flights, from Lahore and Karachi simply to
      participate in a meeting of the Council. In fact, no meeting had been
      called by the Secretary of the Council namely Mr. Faqir Hussain. No
      one had issued either agenda for the meeting or notice thereof.

      R. The Council, rather than merely scrutinizing the material, if at
      all and serving notice on the deponent (without prejudice to the
      rights and interest of the deponent as averred in the titled
      petition), went ahead and passed an order very detrimental to the
      interests of the deponent as well as the interests of the
      institution. The deponent was restrained to perform his functions as
      a Judge of the Supreme Court Judge and or Chief Justice of Pakistan.

      S. The deponent further states that he had been detained along with
      his family members including his infant child of seven years from the
      evening of March 9, 2007 till March 13, 2007. The personal and
      private life of the deponent and his family suffered a great shock
      and the concept of privacy appeared as if it was an impotent word.
      The deponent could not use any vehicle since there was none. The
      deponent had to walk till the other end of the road when the police
      officer confronted him and manhandled him as has now been established
      by a judicial enquiry.

      T. The Supreme Court staff attached to the deponent was reportedly
      missing and had been kept at an unknown place. An attempt was being
      made to fabricate the evidence through them by coercive means against
      the deponent. Even other employees working at the residence of the
      Deponent were taken and made to appear before some agency officials.
      They were released after 2/3 days. The grocery man was not allowed to
      go to collect grocery; he was made to wait till an agency official
      accompanied him to the market and back.

      U. The chamber of the deponent was sealed and certain files laying
      therein were removed and some of them had been handed over to the ISI
      under the supervision of the newly appointed Registrar. Such an act
      was contrary to all norms and practices of judiciary. The deponent
      being the CJP was entitled to occupy his chamber along with his staff.

      V. On account of deployment of heavy contingents, no one was allowed
      to meet the deponent freely, in as much as his colleagues were not
      allowed access to meet him. Even a retired judge of this Hon'ble
      Court Mr Justice (R) Munir A Sheikh was not allowed to meet the
      deponent.

      W. The deponent was not all alone to suffer this agony. Even his
      children were not allowed to go to school, college and university.
      The deponent and his family members were deprived of basic amenities
      of life, i.e. medicines and Doctors, etc.

      X. Even when ordered by the Council, the deponent was deprived of the
      assistance of his counsels to seek legal assistance regarding legal
      and factual issues involved in the reference. The deponent and his
      family have been made to go through a lot of mental, physical and
      emotional agony, torture and embarrassment and words could never be
      enough to properly and adequately express that.

      Y. All these tactics were used to put pressure on the deponent so
      that he may tender his resignation from the office of the Chief
      Justice of Pakistan. But after March 13, 2007 when the deponent
      succeeded in establishing at least some contact with his lawyers team
      during a brief appearance before the Council and after March 16,
      2007, the on going pressure to 'resign the office' was released to
      some extent.

      Z. The deponent now believes that his entire house has been bugged
      and at the Sindh House which is located right opposite the residence
      of the deponent, the officials of the agencies other than police have
      established a place therein to keep an eye on those who come and
      visit me, etc.

      AA. On account of the facts stated hereinabove, the children of the
      deponents are so scared that they could not go to school or
      university. As a result thereof, one of my daughters failed to appear
      in her exams (1st year, Federal Board) whereas my other daughter who
      is a student of Bahria university is not being allowed to take her
      examination (1st semester) due to lack of attendance in internal
      studies. My younger son is also not in a position to attend his
      school because of circumstances through which I am passing.

      Deponent

      Verification:

      Verified on oath this ___29____day of __May__2007 at Islamabad that
      the contents of the above affidavit are true and correct to the best
      of my knowledge, belief and information and nothing has been
      concealed therein from this Hon'ble Court.

      Deponent

      ______


      [7]

      Hindustan Times 13 June, 2007

      COUNTERFEIT ENCOUNTERS AND THE 'NATION'

      by Harsh Mander

      The current wave of outrage in the country over the horrific murders
      by the men in khaki in Gujarat is likely to be transient, a passing
      squall. The dust that it raises will rapidly settle, and we will
      forget, in the same way as we have expelled from memory so many
      similar inequities of the recent past: the women who stripped
      themselves naked in anguish in Manipur to protest the violations of
      security forces, the staged killings of innocents as militants in
      Kashmir, the mass cremations of thousands of young men who were
      abducted by the police and later dubbed Khalistani extremists in
      Punjab in the troubled eighties, counterfeit encounter killings of
      alleged Naxalite sympathisers in backwaters of rural ferment and
      oppression for decades in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Chatisgarh, and
      bogus encounters of alleged terrorists in the country's capital, to
      name just a few. Even less do we even register the routine killings
      of the poorest tribals or dalits after torture and extortion in rural
      police outposts, or numerous judicial commissions of enquiry that
      testify to the open participation of men in uniform in the slaughter
      of minorities in communal riots.

      The Central Bureau of Investigation, in 1996, submitted a report to
      the Supreme Court that established that in just three crematoria of
      Amritsar, as many as 2097 illegal cremations were carried out by
      security forces between 1984 and 1995. An independent human rights
      investigation established that illegal disposal of bodies by security
      forces were not confined to three crematoria of Amritsar.
      Disappearances occurred in all districts of Punjab. In nearly 60 per
      cent of the cases, the persons who 'disappeared' was subsequently
      reported to have died in police 'encounters'. The victims included
      doctors, lawyers, journalists, students, businessmen, even government
      civil and police employees. In over 25 per cent if the cases, the
      police not only took away the victim; it also destroyed, damaged or
      confiscated family property. In an equal number, police abducted and
      killed more than one member of the same family. The police routinely
      refused to inform the victims' families, and extorted money from them.

      The Supreme Court referred the matter to the National Human Rights
      Commission, and did nothing when the Commission took a minimalist
      interpretation of its ambit. After around ten years of tortuous
      proceedings, pursued resolutely by brave and devastated families of
      the victims and supported by dedicated human rights defenders like
      Indira Jaising, Ram Narayan Kumar and Ashok Agrawaal, the Commission
      refused in the end to hold any officer or agency accountable for the
      violations, and declined to investigate disappearances,
      extra-judicial executions, custodial deaths and illegal cremations
      throughout Punjab.

      In Andhra Pradesh, again for a decade, a committee of concerned
      citizens convened by SR Sankaran, have tirelessly pressed for the
      deployment of moral, democratic and legal instruments to try to stem
      the unending brutal spiral of violence that has seized many
      impoverished districts of Telengana. They observe that the State
      continues to portray the Naxalite movement as a law and order
      problem, and refuses to recognise it as an expression of people's
      aspirations to a life of dignity and equality. The State response
      remains violent, including physically liquidating hundreds, mainly
      youth, in encounters. The committee finds that these 'encounter
      killings are not isolated aberrations or unintended transgressions of
      law by individual police personnel' but is in fact a deliberate
      system response of the State to crush a complex societal problem
      through indiscriminate killings. It concludes that 'encounters
      introduce terror as a component of governance and erode its very
      democratic essence'.

      But there are few to heed these voices of humanity. In Gujarat, in
      response to a question from a member of the assembly, as many as 21
      encounter killings by the state police were reported between 2003 and
      2006. But the list submitted by the Gujarat government did not
      include the names of Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi, which is a grave
      breach of privilege. A deliberate murky cloud of official secrecy
      continues to cloud the numbers and circumstances of encounter deaths
      by the Gujarat State police.

      However, even this limited official report again raises disturbing
      questions. Six of those killed were already in police custody, and it
      is incredible that they could possess firearms in custody to warrant
      killing by the police in self defence. In one case, the police claim
      that two policemen fired six rounds to kill a man with a dummy
      revolver. In no case was there a post mortem, or the statutory
      magisterial enquiry. There are no materials to even subsequently
      justify the inference that they were terrorists or grave offenders.
      All these facts were brought to the notice of the Supreme Court in a
      petition earlier this year by BG Verghese and lawyer Nitya
      Ramakrishnan, but the court did not find enough basis to order an
      enquiry into the encounter killings.

      Each nation must strike a fine ethical and political balance between
      protecting its security and the rights of its people. In India, the
      choice of the executive, and even the judiciary, have tilted mostly
      in favour of permitting the uniformed forces to break the law of the
      land with impunity, even to kill, especially in times of perceived
      threats to national integrity - cheered along by most segments of the
      middle classes. Policemen themselves often claim that are motivated
      by a higher love for the nation. Many are, but not those who kill
      unarmed people in defiance of the law of the land. KPS Gill, who led
      the security forces in Punjab in the decisive 'bullet for bullet'
      bloody combat against militancy of the late 1980s, describes his
      forces as men who 'fight and die for India' and 'who risked their
      lives in defence of the State'. The disgraced Gujarat police officer
      Vanjara also fashions his encounter killings as 'deshbhakti'
      (patriotism), and claims that with his arrest, 'the battle lines are
      drawn', presumably in his war against the Muslim community, which is
      of course viciously demonised as terrorists implacably unfaithful to
      their motherland. LK Advani as the Union Home Minister in 2001
      announced in Punjab that his government was 'contemplating steps to
      provide legal protection and relief to the personnel of the security
      forces facing prosecution for alleged excesses during anti-insurgency
      operations' in Punjab, Kashmir and the north-east.

      A faked killing is not an aberration of a few runaway miscreant
      police officers; it is an integral if shadowy element of the system
      itself, one in which the State eliminates people outside the process
      of the law, as an instrument to tame civic dissent. These bullets
      indeed crush with State terror and lawlessness, the weakest and most
      disenfranchised of our people, particularly if they are restive -
      religious and ethnic minorities, dalits and tribal people,
      agricultural workers and slum dwellers. These are the very people who
      are excluded from that 'nation' which the trigger-happy police forces
      claim to defend.
      We may forget and move on, but for those loved ones were felled by
      furtive bullets fired by agents of a democratic State that functions
      lawlessly, there will be no closure or healing. They may never have
      even seen the bodies of their loved ones, and the dead have no
      opportunity to defend their honour. It is only truth, however ugly,
      told with unflinching honesty, which would heal their unassuaged
      agony. For this to happen, the leaders, the courts and the people of
      this land need to stand tall on the side of justice. No State is
      genuinely secure of foundations of injustice.


      ______


      [8]


      The Times of India
      31 May, 2007

      ART IMITATES LIFE

      by Vinay Bharat-Ram

      Why should I defend M F Husain? By doing so I am defending my own
      identity as an Indian and Hindu. The controversies raised by his
      detractors over his paintings being "obscene" are laughable.

      To make such a claim on the basis of Hindu sentiments is deeply
      offensive, not only to Hindus of this generation but also to our
      ancestors.

      I draw attention to Konark and Khajuraho, albeit with some
      trepidation. What if some misguided representatives of the sangh
      parivar or their ilk would set out to destroy these priceless
      heritage sites much in the same manner as the Taliban destroyed the
      Bamiyan Buddhas?

      The depiction of sensuality in modern works of art pales in
      comparison to the sculptural splendour of male and female poses
      depicted in both Konark and Khajuraho, the former being the temple of
      the Sun God and the latter built around the temples of Shiva,
      Lakshmana and other gods and goddesses.

      One of the universal symbols of Hindus is the Shivling positioned on
      Parvati's yoni, which has been the object of worship for centuries.

      There is perhaps no more explicit propitiation of a phallic symbol in
      any culture. If we go to the temple of Kamakhya, we would witness
      Hindus worshipping Parvati's genitals.

      Not only that, the red liquid that pours from the deity is applied on
      the foreheads of worshippers. We have the venerable Kamasutra which
      has for ages been regarded as a handbook of erotic pleasure.

      Husain has drawn criticism for his portrayal of Bharat Mata in the
      nude, never mind that the Goddess Kali is always shown without
      clothes.

      I would say that in this case obscenity lies in the eye of the
      beholder. I see her breasts as symbolic of nurturing the infants of
      the land and her fertility, that of populating Bharat with sons and
      daughters.

      Husain has celebrated Bharat Mata no differently than i would worship
      the Shivling as representing procreation.

      If we were to explore this theme further, we would come across
      explicit poetic descriptions of the love-making of Radha and Krishna
      in Jayadeva's Geet Govind, not to mention the long passages on
      foreplay.

      Likewise, one could quote endless romantic passages about Shiva and
      Parvati from Kalidasa's Kumara Sambhavam, as well as shlokas
      describing Goddess Saraswati's breasts.

      Our culture is ancient and arguably not without its blemishes such as
      the caste system and the once prevalent practice of sati.

      At another level, however, it has prided itself on its inclusiveness
      and plurality. Vedantic and Puranic beliefs, for example, do not
      converge; yet they coexist.

      There is no single revealed truth in the Vedas. In fact, they talk
      about a perpetual search for the truth.

      The Puranas, on the other hand, give us innumerable gods and
      goddesses to worship while they seldom connect with the Vedas.

      Together, they range from the worldly to the other-worldly without
      imposing any single body of beliefs. Our ancient tracts, in fact,
      also include treatises on atheism.

      Furthermore, as Amartya Sen says, India has had a long tradition of
      critical reasoning and public deliberation not only in science,
      mathematics and philosophy but also in various forms of artistic
      expression.

      Unsurprisingly, therefore, different religions flourished here and
      different art forms have found freedom of expression.

      It is sad, indeed, that 60 years after political independence we seem
      to be heading towards cultural bondage.

      We see Hindu culture being hijacked by a set of unlettered youth
      whose patron saints are some frustrated old men with their own
      political agendas.

      In the name of hurting Hindu sentiment, for example, somebody kicked
      up a row about Shilpa Shetty being kissed by Richard Gere.

      A highly regarded young artist at the fine arts faculty of M S
      University was imprisoned for having painted some objectionable
      pictures, which also led to the suspension of the head of the
      department.

      If we go back a little in time, Deepa Mehta's shooting of the film
      Water in Varanasi was abandoned because some hooligans, no doubt with
      state support, claimed that Hindu culture was being shown in a poor
      light.

      There were objections to a kissing scene in Dhoom-II, starring
      Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, forgetting that in far more prudish
      times in the 1930s kissing in films was not found to be objectionable.

      The latest uproar over Vasundhara Raje Scindia, chief minister of
      Rajasthan, being portrayed as Goddess Annapurna in a poster which has
      ostensibly hurt Hindu sentiment.

      What about the thousands of Ramleelas every year in which ordinary
      people dress up as Lord Ram, Hanuman and Sita? The list of atrocities
      committed on society in the name of moral policing is a long one.

      It is ironical that it is all in the name of protecting Hindu
      culture. The truth is that we have acquiesced in the rape of our
      culture, allowing motivated forces to talk down to us about
      protecting Hindu values.

      How dare any group try to miniaturise a gloriously inclusive
      civilisation to fit its constrained mindset and then impose it on us
      with the use of muscle power?

      Let confrontation take the form of informed debate, as has been our
      tradition since the first millennium BCE. Is the Hindu Taliban too
      cowardly to choose that path?

      The writer is CMD, DCM Group.

      ______


      [9]

      M.F. HUSAIN IN THE CENTER OF INDIA ART CONTROVERSY
      by Philip Reeves

      Broadcast on National Public Radio in the US on May 29, 2007.
      Interviews with Husain, Rajeev Dhavan, Ram Rahman, Parul Dave
      Mukherjee and Shubha Mudgal singing her protest, Anjolie Ela Menon
      speaking at the Delhi protest.

      Listen to the broadcast:
      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10438377

      ______


      [10]

      All India Secular Forum
      [2 June 2007]

      STATEMENT

      All India Secular Forum strongly condemns the action of the
      Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Margao, Goa, banning lecture organised
      by the Citizen's Initiative for Communal Harmony (CICH) in
      association with the Goan Ramnath Kare Law College in Margao on May
      24 th 2007. The lecture was on "Communal Threats To Secular Democracy
      In India" by the General Secretary of All India Secular Forum Prof.
      Ram Puniyani and well known activist working for peace and communal
      harmony. The SDM acted upon a letter from one citizen Shivanand
      Karapurkar apprehending social tension in view of the lecture. The
      letter was also addressed to the Election Commission taking advantage
      of the forthcoming elections in Goa. The Chief Election Commissioner
      later admitted that the action of the SDM was wrong but refused to
      take any action against him. The SDM's action will only embolden the
      communal forces which do not have people's support but cleverly
      manipulate state machinery to subvert democratic rights of the people
      who had gathered to listen to the lecture. We laud the courage of the
      management of Kare Law College who, inspite of severe pressure from
      fundamentalist forces in Margao to cancel the lecture, opted to
      pursue the agenda of peace and harmony .

      The incident shows that the civil servants, including the police are
      either communalised or always take a path of least resistance, even
      if that be against the rule books and against the Constitutional
      Values. Our fragile democracy is vulnerable communal and
      fundamentalist forces and we require robust civil liberties movement
      to make such police officers and civil servants accountable to law.

      All India Secular Forum calls upon all the democratic forces to
      strongly condemn the curbs placed on the free speech at the instance
      of communal forces who swear in the name of the Constitution to be
      able to form the government and subvert the Constitutional values.
      All India Secular Forum also calls upon the people of Goa to defeat
      the communal and anti-democratic communal forces, viz. the Sangh
      Parivar.

      All India Secular Forum
      C/o. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
      602 & 603 Silver Star, Prabhat Colony Rd., Behind BEST Bus Depo, Santacruz (E),
      Mumbai: - 400 055.
      E-mail: <mailto:csss@...>csss@...


      ______



      [11] ANNOUNCEMENTS:

      (i)


      Dear Friends,

      We invite you to the flag off ceremony of

      Muktnaad: Youth Aman Karwan

      on June 5, 2007 at 11am

      Behavarioul Science Centre ( BSC)

      Xavier's College Campus, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad

      Exhibition and performance of Street Play: H...Sa

      Three Youth Aman Karwans will leave Ahmedabad on 5th afternoon and
      would travel across Gujarat covering all 25 districts doing close to
      1000 performances over the the next three months. In all these 1000
      locations they will hold discussions, debate on various
      issues,perform, screen films, put up exhibitions and also locate new
      young people to join the movement for restoring democracy .

      Please do join us.

      Shabnam Hashmi
      ANHAD
      Tel-25500844/ 25500772

      PS:- This is an invitation to attend which is going to many media
      friends too, please donot file any stories . We request you to cover
      the actual flag off and write after you have seen the programme.

      ______

      (ii)

      In The Rights Direction
      The Peaceworks human rights defenders programme

      A human rights workshop at SWAYAM, 9/2B Deodar Street,
      Calcutta-700019 conducted by human rights lawyers Oishik Sircar and
      Debolina Dutta.

      The PEACEWORKS Human Rights Development programme is an initiative to
      work with young people to train them and to create a collective of
      human rights defenders.
      It is a process of capacity building and sensitizing young volunteers
      through interactive workshops and films on gender, sexuality,
      globalization, and law, to enable them to understand with precision,
      conceptual issues concerning social justice.

      WORKSHOP FROM
      18 JUNE TO 26 JUNE

      ELIGIBILITY: AGE 18 AND ABOVE
      REGISTRATION FEE: RS 1000
      SEATS: 20
      LAST DATE FOR
      REGISTRATION: 10 JUNE

      CONTACT:
      SEAGULL ARTS AND MEDIA RESOURCE CENTRE
      36C, S.P. MUKHERJEE ROAD,
      CALCUTTA-700029
      PHONE: 24556942/43

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

      Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), 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/

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