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SACW | Jan. 29-31, 2008 / Pakistan: U-turn time / India: OM Made Terror, Foreign Policy

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | January 29-31, 2008 | Dispatch No. 2495 - Year 10 running [1] Pakistan: (i) Time for an economic U-turn (S.M. Naseem) (ii) A recipe
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2008
      South Asia Citizens Wire | January 29-31, 2008 |
      Dispatch No. 2495 - Year 10 running

      [1] Pakistan:
      (i) Time for an economic U-turn (S.M. Naseem)
      (ii) A recipe for disaster (Rubina Saigol)
      [2] CPJ asks Karzai to intervene in Afghan death sentence
      [3] India - Jammu and Kashmir: Poll boycott sans
      guns (Editorial, Kashmir Times)
      [4] India: The Onward March of OM made Fascists Continues
      (i) Arms on show at RSS rally (Milind Ghatwai)
      (ii) One dead, clashes in Dhar as RSS ignores
      order, takes out rally (Indian Express)
      (iii) Terrorism's New Signature: Enter Hindutva Terrorists (Subhash Gatade)
      [5] India: Advani To Set India Ablaze Again (I.K.Shukla)
      [6] The Unnoticed Turn in India's foreign policy
      (i) Silence of the Lambs (Kamal Mitra Chenoy)
      (ii) A Spy Satellite and a Strategic Partnership (J. Sri Raman)
      [7] Announcements - Upcoming events:
      (i) Press Conference re continued detention of
      Dr Binayak Sen (Calcutta, 31 January 2008)
      (ii) India's Anti Nuclear Festival: Programme
      CNDP's convention, (Nagpur, 1-3 Feb. 2008)
      (iii) D.D. Kosambi Festival of Ideas (Goa, 4-7 February 2008)


      [1] PAKISTAN:


      27 January 2008


      by S.M. Naseem

      WHILE the political failure of the Musharraf
      regime is now being accepted widely in the
      country, the claim for its survival and
      perpetuation is being staked on its dubious
      economic achievements during the past eight years.

      Ironically, while the political U-turn that
      Musharraf took seven years ago, may be difficult
      to reverse, the time for an economic U-turn the
      country has avoided for so long may now have come.

      My esteemed friend and former colleague,
      Professor Aly Ercelan, who has made an admirable
      transition from the academia to social activism,
      not unlike that of his more renowned Vanderbilt
      contemporary, Nobel laureate Yunus, without
      giving up his forte of rigorous analysis, has
      forcefully exposed (Dawn, Jan 19.) the thin
      veneer of 'success' that has been achieved in
      recent years (as epitomised by the
      ice-cream-pizza-hamburger consumerism, the
      bank-credit financed automobile explosion and the
      LBOD-Chashma-Tarbela-Gwadar mega project
      development strategy) and its impact on the poor.

      The atta crisis is just the tip of the iceberg
      which has resulted in our titanic economic
      failures. As the economic shipwreck hovers on the
      horizon, the embattled crew is busy arranging the
      deckchairs to assure the passengers that it is
      nothing but a passing turbulence in the sea. What
      is really surprising is that the regime and its
      supporters not only continue to be in denial
      about the looming disaster, but that the
      president has made it a prerequisite for future
      governments to adhere to the continuity of
      policies that have been its genesis.

      The general (retd)-president has embarked on an
      eight-day largely self-imposed,
      politically-motivated European tour, including
      Davos and London, to underline his key role as
      the guarantor of the flawed western agenda of
      globalisation in Pakistan. He would try to
      convince the Davos crowd that, without him,
      Pakistan will not only become a political, but
      also an economic disaster. A major aim of the
      trip is stated to be 'image-building' and there
      are no prizes for guessing whose image is at risk.

      With the Bush administration already having given
      him the assurance that his services will continue
      to be needed in the war on terror, he hopes to
      somehow extricate himself from the external and
      political pressures mounting on him to give up
      the reins of government to ensure credible
      elections. Whether this gratuitous foreign tour
      in the midst of a critical period of extreme
      uncertainty and insecurity in the country, is
      based on false bravado or complacency, the future
      alone will tell.

      Although Pakistan's economic development since
      the Ayub years had been based on elitist and
      inegalitarian foundations, there was some
      moderation in them during the 'democratic
      interregnum' of 1972-77 and 1988-99, forced by
      the need to adopt populist policies in an
      electoral democracy. That desirable course was
      reversed and pushed back by the now-retired Gen
      Musharraf towards the Ayub era of the 1960s,
      which for all its faults had at least a modicum
      of economic rationale behind its development
      strategy, and failed largely because of its
      inability to get a majority of the population
      living a thousand miles away from the centre,
      into the loop of a virtuous circle of growth.

      The Musharraf years have been bereft of any
      economic vision, other than the regime's focus on
      reviving the economy through the largesse
      received from the US and other western countries
      in lieu of services rendered during the war on
      terror and the distribution of the benefits of
      the windfall among the regime's political allies.
      The underlying socio-economic philosophy of the
      Musharraf-Shaukat Aziz era was callous towards
      the poor and obliging towards the privileged.

      A fundamental tenet of this tunnel vision has
      been the almost total withdrawal of the state
      from its economic and social responsibility,
      including the provisioning of essential
      commodities and utilities, as succinctly pointed
      out by Ercelan. However, the distinctly
      militarist character of the regime so conspicuous
      in its political agenda has been equally
      transparent in its economic programmes.

      While profitable public enterprises, such as
      Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan
      Telecommunications Corporation have been cheaply
      privatised after being run down by the meddling
      of the government in their functioning, the
      military-run commercial enterprises were
      continually strengthened and kept out of the pale
      of privatisation.

      Luxurious housing complexes, including farm
      houses and shopping malls, have been developed
      around major metropolises by the defence housing
      authority through the acquisition of land from
      small farmers and transfer of the acquired land
      at below market prices to military personnel. The
      military also gave a shot in the arm to feudalism
      by evicting farmers on its land.

      On the other hand, no serious attempt was made to
      provide affordable housing to the poorer sections
      of the population, the cost of which along with
      that of transport, constitutes an increasingly
      high proportion of their budgets, making it
      impossible for them to cope with the rising
      prices of food and fuel.

      While the poor stand in long queues outside
      under-stocked and poorly-managed utility stores
      (which fail to cater to those who can't afford to
      buy 20kg bags), the well-heeled and privileged
      buy their provisions from defence canteens and
      department stores, providing fuel to the fire of
      disgust, anger and violence.

      Along with the military, the foreign aid and loan
      dispensing agencies have encouraged the
      privatisation of social services, especially
      education and health. Poverty alleviation
      programmes, allegedly 'home-grown', were meant
      mainly as a sop to insistent donors and were
      bureaucratically-run, with minimal impact on
      poverty reduction.

      A major problem with the assessment of the
      economic performance of the Musharraf years has
      been the credibility of the data used for
      measuring economic growth and poverty
      alleviation. Despite repeated calls by economic
      experts for creating an autonomous statistical
      commission to ensure the quality and reliability
      of economic data, the government has continued to
      doctor the data to suit its political ends.

      The tall claim of economic resurgence, made on
      the basis of high foreign exchange reserves and
      high GDP growth rates is now under serious doubt,
      as the macro-economic situation (on which the
      recent quarterly report of the State Bank has
      raised alarm bells and that poverty reduction and
      social indicators and the shortfalls in MDG
      targets indicate) has been rapidly deteriorating
      in the past few years.

      If US foreign aid and foreign direct investment,
      which have provided artificial respiration to the
      economy, also react adversely to the worsening
      perception about the Musharraf regime, worse
      could follow.

      Before it becomes too late, the doctrine of
      continuity of economic policies should be buried,
      along with kindred doctrines of necessity,
      indispensability and unity of command, which were
      forced down gullible brains in the last eight
      years or more. The time for taking roads not
      treaded for fear of upsetting the status quo has

      The writer is the author of "The Unravelling of the 9/11 U-Turn".



      Essays on Pakistan's Economy and Polity (1999-2006)
      Syed Mohammed Naseem
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      ISBN13: 9780195474992ISBN10: 0195474996 hardback, 450 pages
      Jan 2008
      $24.95 (06)

      This book presents a kaleidoscopic view of the
      major issues, both global and domestic, which
      have gained salience since the 9/11 U-Turn in
      Pakistan's policies under a military-led regime.
      Product Details
      450 pages; ISBN13: 978-0-19-547499-2ISBN10: 0-19-547499-6


      o o o


      January 30, 2008


      by Rubina Saigol

      AS a post-colonial state that came into being
      through the amalgamation of ethnically and
      linguistically diverse regions, Pakistan was
      conceptualised as a federal state that would
      accord maximum provincial autonomy to the
      federating units and ensure the fair distribution
      of resources among them.

      In an ideal federation, only a few subjects like
      defence, currency, foreign relations and
      communications belong to the centre while all
      others are considered provincial subjects. A
      bicameral legislature ensures that the federating
      units have parity in the Upper House while
      representation in the Lower House of parliament
      is based on the population.

      However, in the case of Pakistan, independence
      from colonial rule became a mere transfer of
      power from the foreign rulers to the local ruling
      classes. For the great majority of the people,
      independence did not bring the promised liberty,
      justice and equality. Pakistan remained
      essentially a colonial state where local
      colonisers replaced the foreign ones. The local
      ruling classes consolidated their grip on
      Pakistan's economic and political resources and
      developed inter-linkages with the army and
      bureaucracy to protect their hold on power.

      In return, these two non-elected and
      unrepresentative institutions increasingly
      strengthened their hold with the army extending
      its control over land and ultimately the
      corporate economy.Together the civilian and
      military rulers created an immensely centralised
      state that in essence contradicted the notions of
      provincial autonomy and devolved power.
      Centralisation of power (reflected in a long list
      of concurrent subjects in the Constitution) was
      further enabled through the introduction of
      authoritarian structures and the state's version
      of religious nationalism.

      Repeated military interventions gradually changed
      the structure of the state to such an extent that
      the roots of both federalism and democracy were
      weakened. A non-representative body in the form
      of the National Security Council was empowered to
      dismiss elected parliaments, and Article 58(2)b
      was inserted into the Constitution to enable an
      indirectly elected president to dismiss elected
      governments. Recent amendments to the
      Constitution go even further in diminishing
      citizens' rights and provincial rights.

      In Pakistan's case, the excessive centralisation
      of power, coupled with a religion-based
      nationalism and the dominance of the military,
      had another important dimension - the association
      of the state and state power with one ethnic
      group to the exclusion of others. Owing to the
      preponderance of Punjabis and, to a lesser
      extent, Pashtuns, in the army the state came to
      be viewed as primarily a Punjabi one dominated by
      a particular version of Sunni Hanafi Islam.

      The resulting exclusion was felt not only by
      other ethnic groups but also by religious and
      sectarian minorities. As the late scholar Hamza
      Alavi pointed out, the other groups - the
      Bengalis, Baloch, Sindhis and Pathans - came to
      define themselves primarily in ethnic terms.

      Conflict has been the inevitable result of the
      centralisation of power and resources, and the
      exclusion of large swathes of citizens from the
      exercise of fundamental rights. Pakistan became a
      colonial and extractive state fairly early on in
      its history. East Pakistani jute, Pakistan's
      golden fibre, was exported and the foreign
      exchange earned was spent on developing West

      Balochistan's vast mineral and gas reserves were
      exploited for development in Punjab while
      Balochistan remained underdeveloped. Uneven
      development and colonial policies of extraction,
      exploitation and the treatment of the smaller
      provinces as raw-material producing hinterlands,
      led to the rise of ethnic sentiments occasionally
      building up to outright secessionist movements as
      in former East Pakistan.

      Resistance to the state manifested itself
      sometimes in the form of language riots, and at
      other times in the form of guerilla movements as
      in Balochistan in the 1950s, the 1970s and more
      recently since the making of cantonments and the
      murder of Akbar Bugti in 2006. Occasionally,
      disaffection with Punjab and the
      military-dominated state expressed itself through
      movements for the restoration of democracy in
      which Sindh was at the forefront in the 1980s.

      Far from being a binding force across the
      provinces, religious nationalism gave rise to
      ethnic sub-nationalisms in the form of Baloch,
      Sindhi and Pashtun nationalisms. Inter-provincial
      conflicts over the distribution of water by the
      Indus River System Authority as well as over the
      National Finance Commission Award, the building
      of the Kalabagh dam, cantonments and Gwadar port,
      and the payment of royalties have intensified
      over time and the state is widely perceived by
      the smaller provinces as benefiting Punjab at the
      expense of Sindh, the NWFP and Balochistan.

      On the other hand, religious nationalism also
      generated sectarian conflict as the definition of
      the state as an 'Islamic state' necessarily meant
      that the state was up for grabs by the sect whose
      definition of 'true Islam' prevailed.
      Centralisation, authoritarianism and exclusivist
      nationalism thus engendered a number of conflicts
      that now threaten to rip apart a federation
      formed for the pursuit of rights, liberty and

      The meticulously planned and executed murder of
      Benazir Bhutto is the continuation of such
      conflicts by a short-sighted state focused on the
      perpetuation of the power of the ruling nexus
      between a discredited Punjab-based party and the

      Benazir Bhutto had become an icon of the
      federation with a following in all the four
      provinces as well as the harbinger of change
      because of being associated with moderate,
      tolerant and liberal values. She was widely seen
      as the only remaining hope for a true federal
      parliamentary democracy marked by religious
      tolerance and respect for diversity. Her ruthless
      killing which has no resemblance to the Al Qaeda
      or Taliban modus operandi has brought the state
      into confrontation with the Sindhis who feel
      deeply wounded by another leader's body coming
      home from Punjab in a coffin - her body riddled
      with cruel bullets.

      The state is similarly engaged in a prolonged
      civil war in South Waziristan, a conflict which
      has travelled to the settled areas of the NWFP.
      And since the killing of Nawab Bugti and the
      exploitation of the rich deposits of copper and
      other minerals in Balochistan, the Baloch are
      also up in arms. Sindhi, Pashtun and Baloch
      nationalisms are gaining momentum, the more so as
      the centre is seen in deep alignment with Punjab
      - a president, who is supposed to represent the
      federation and be politically neutral, in cahoots
      with a Punjab-dominated political party and
      widely seen as planning the rigged return of his
      party into power.

      The state is not even refraining from using the
      old colonial method of divide and rule - one
      ethnic group is being pitted against another in
      public advertisements. Sindhis are being told
      that a Pashtun killed their leader and Punjabis
      are being told that the Sindhis destroyed their
      properties and businesses. Such games are of
      course designed to strengthen the absolute powers
      of the military rulers and their civilian
      collaborators while simultaneously weakening the
      federating units and their people.

      As our history amply testifies, this is a recipe
      for disaster. Our rulers have a strange
      proclivity to never learn from history. The
      lessons of 1971 seem to be forgotten. We
      deliberately obliterate from memory what we
      refuse to remember. Will we remember and learn
      only when another traumatic rupture wakes us up
      from the deep historical slumber and callous



      Committee to Protect Journalists
      330 7th Avenue, 11th Fl., New York, NY 10001 USA
      Phone: (212) 465-1004 Fax: (212) 465-9568
      Web: www.cpj.org E-Mail: info@...

      January 30, 2008

      President Hamid Karzai
      Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
      C/o The Embassy of Afghanistan
      2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW
      Washington, D.C. 20008

      Via facsimile: 202-483-6487

      Dear President Karzai:

      The Committee to Protect Journalists has been
      closely monitoring the case of Parwez Kambakhsh,
      the journalism student who was sentenced to death
      on blasphemy charges by the provincial court in
      Balkh province. We are disturbed that the upper
      house of Afghanistan's parliament gave their
      public support to this verdict today, according
      to The Associated Press and the BBC.

      But we are heartened by the January 23 press
      release of the Ministry of Information and
      Culture that reaffirmed that the provincial
      court's decision in this case was not the final
      one. We welcome this as a sign that authorities
      in Afghanistan are also monitoring the case
      closely and share our concern for allowing
      Kambakhsh due legal process.

      We now urge you to encourage your government to
      act expeditiously to resolve Kambakhsh's case as
      soon as legally possible.

      The neutrality of the appeal process is
      threatened by the high profile of this case. We
      urge you, in accordance with Afghanistan's
      judicial system, to have the case transferred to
      Kabul to ensure that the trial is free of
      influences outside the jurisdiction of the courts.

      The blasphemy charges against Kambakhsh relate to
      his alleged downloading and passing to friends an
      article that discussed the rights of women in
      Islam. Kambakhsh denies doing either, according
      to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in
      Kabul. When the trial took place, it did so in
      closed session without a defense lawyer present,
      according to news reports that cited Kambakhsh's
      family. We call on you to ensure he is given a
      proper chance to defend himself publicly in a
      court, as guaranteed by Afghan law.

      Religious scholars twice recommended the death
      penalty before Kambakhsh was tried in the
      provincial court in Balkh last week, while
      another meeting of clerics in the eastern
      province of Nangarhar endorsed the official
      verdict on January 26, according to Agence
      France-Presse. These recommendations must not
      outweigh the penal code of Afghanistan, which
      should be used to address Parwez's alleged crime
      of damaging Islam.

      We appreciate that supporters of the Balkh
      court's decision have warned people outside of
      Afghanistan not to attempt to influence the
      country's internal affairs, but it must be made
      clear that Kambakhsh enjoys huge support from
      within Afghanistan. Community elders from his
      home province of Saripul wrote a letter to the
      Balkh provincial court declaring Kambakhsh to be
      a good Muslim, according to a communication to
      CPJ from the Afghan Independent Journalists
      Association. He also has the support of the
      elected provincial council in Balkh, the
      association says. And local journalists continue
      to support him despite the considerable risk
      posed by warnings not to do so from the Balkh
      Deputy Attorney General Hafizullah Khaliqyar,
      which he gave in a media briefing on January 21.

      CPJ joins with those Afghans in their belief that
      Kambakhsh does not deserve the sentence handed
      down by the Balkh provincial court. He should be
      allowed to resume his studies without delay or

      We thank you for your attention to this matter.


      Joel Simon
      Executive Director

      Ambassador William Wood, U.S. Embassy in Kabul
      Mogens Schmidt, Deputy Assistant Director-General, Freedom of Expression and
      Democracy Unit, UNESCO
      American Society of Newspaper Editors
      Amnesty International
      Article 19 (United Kingdom)
      Artikel 19 (The Netherlands)
      Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
      Freedom Forum
      Freedom House
      Human Rights Watch
      Index on Censorship
      International Center for Journalists
      International Federation of Journalists
      International PEN
      International Press Institute
      Michael G. Kozak, U.S. Assistant Secretary for
      Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
      The Newspaper Guild
      The North American Broadcasters Association
      Overseas Press Club



      Kashmir Times
      30 January 2008


      New Delhi must respond positively to UJC gesture

      The announcement by Syed Salahuddin, chairman of
      the United Jehad Council, that the militants will
      not use guns for their poll boycott campaign
      during the forthcoming elections to the Jammu and
      Kashmir assembly will be widely welcomed for more
      than one reason. The announcement reflects a
      shift in the militants strategy and an indication
      of their desire to avoid mindless bloodshed and
      to create a peaceful climate for pursuing a
      process for peace through meaningful and
      unconditional dialogue involving India, Pakistan
      and the people of Jammu and Kashmir for finding a
      solution to the vexed Kashmir problem. Ever since
      the militancy erupted in Kashmir following the
      highly rigged elections in 1987 different
      militant groups had given calls for poll boycott
      during every election, be it for the State
      assembly or Lok Sabha. There can be no denying
      the fact that a large number of voters did not
      participate in the polling and these elections in
      no way reflected the will of the people. While
      the authorities prevented the separatist groups
      from organising even peaceful poll boycott and on
      a number of occasions used force against them and
      even coerced unwilling electorates to cast their
      votes, the militant groups too used gun to
      threaten the people against joining the poll
      process. The phenomenon of poll boycott has not
      ben confined to Jammu and Kashmir. In other parts
      of the country too the voters and some political
      parties give calls for election boycott and many
      stay away from the polling. This indeed is a
      democratic right of the people to boycott the
      elections. We do not have a system of compulsory
      voting and the voters are free to exercise their
      franchise or stay away from the poll process.
      That explains the poor percentage of polling in
      different states. If the separatist groups and
      militants give a all for poll boycott and
      peacefully persuade the voters to stay away from
      the poll process then nothing should be done by
      the State authorities or central agencies to
      forcibly prevent them from having such an
      anti-poll campaign.
      The UJC decision for not using gun to force the
      people from joining their poll boycott campaign
      and not to caste votes need to be responded
      positively by New Delhi and the State
      authorities. While peaceful campaign for boycott
      should not be disrupted by arresting leaders or
      using brutal force against them, as happened in
      the past, the authorities should also ensure that
      the armed forces are not used to force the people
      to exercise their right of franchise. They should
      see to it that the polling is voluntary and
      element of force and coercion is totally
      eliminated. While asking the separatist leaders
      to join in the peaceful anti-poll campaign and
      announcing the militants decision against using
      gun to force poll boycott, Syed Salauddin has
      also made it clear that the gun will be used by
      the militants only if the security forces forced
      the unwilling voters to vote at gunpoint. New
      Delhi on its part must ensure that the polling is
      without coercion and security forces are kept at
      a distance during the election campaign.
      Unfortunately on an earlier occasion New Delhi
      missed a golden opportunity for creating a
      peaceful climate in the State by not responding
      positively to the UJC offer for internal
      ceasefire and one hopes the latest positive
      gesture of the militant groups in not using gun
      during their poll boycott campaign will receive a
      positive response from New Delhi. Though the UJC
      announcement is only for poll boycott campaign it
      does signify a welcome change in their outlook
      and strategy. It also demonstrates their faith in
      a meaningful peace process.




      Indian Express
      January 30, 2008


      by Milind Ghatwai

      BHOPAL, JANUARY 29: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak
      Sangh broke new ground in Madhya Pradesh on
      Sunday when its gun-wielding volunteers fired in
      the air at the end of an orderly Path Sanchalan
      (route march) in Satna town.

      The procession of more than 150 volunteers
      carrying guns, swords and lathis began from the
      Sangh office behind the Kotwali Police Station
      and concluded at the same spot after a round of
      the main bazaar as onlookers watched in awe.

      The firing was reserved for the end. "It was the
      work of some young volunteers who were
      overwhelmed by the occasion," explained RSS prant
      sanchalak Shankarprasad Tamrakar. "It's not
      illegal because all weapons were licensed," he
      told The Indian Express on Tuesday.

      Tamrakar admitted that firing happened for the
      first time, but justified the display of weapons
      as necessary and integral part of the procession.
      Only those volunteers who are part of the Dhwaj
      Vahini carry weapons, he claimed.

      According to him, the firing took place after
      everything was over, and hence, cannot be treated
      as part of Path Sanchalan. The local authorities
      turned a blind eye to the incident saying no one
      complained about firing. A local television
      channel showed volunteers in celebratory mood
      loading their guns and firing in the air. "They
      are following in (Narendra) Modi's footsteps,"
      said Satna's Congress unit president Pradyumna
      Singh Saluja.

      Only a day before, Jabalpur-the headquarters of
      Mahakaushal region that includes Satna -
      witnessed another huge procession of gun-wielding
      volunteers. Though there was no incident of
      firing, the number of weapons on display was

      Earlier, Path Sanchalan used to be restricted
      only to Dusshera celebrations. RSS leaders said
      only urban areas carry out processions on the
      occasion of Vijaya Dashami while in rural areas
      the local units organise them as per convenience.

      Madhya Pradesh has seen an unusual spurt in Path
      Sanchalans after the BJP wrested power from the
      Congress in late 2003.

      Ten days ago, RSS insisted on taking out Path
      Sanchalan in Badnawar in Dhar district that saw
      communal violence two days before. The violence
      ensued when RSS volunteers on "awareness rally",
      ahead of the Path Sanchalan, entered a Muslim
      locality. The route chosen by the RSS coincided
      with the one planned by Muslims for their Tazia
      procession. A few RSS activists are behind bars
      in connection with the Dhar violence.

      o o o


      Indian Express,
      January 22, 2008


      Around 1,200 RSS volunteers were arrested on
      Monday as they took out a Path Sanchalan in
      Badnawar town of Dhar district, violating
      prohibitory orders imposed in the wake of
      communal clashes. On Saturday, communal clashes
      erupted as the RSS took out an "awareness rally"
      coinciding with Muharram procession. While RSS
      leader Ashish Basu claims a few volunteers were
      attacked by a mob after they lost their way and
      strayed into a Muslim locality, a local Congress
      MLA tells a different story.

      "RSS activists attacked a Muslim family in the
      Malipura Mohalla, a Hindu-dominated area, killing
      60-year-old Abbas Ramzan. They didn’t spare
      anyone and chopped off the fingers of a pregnant
      woman in the family," local Congress MLA
      Rajvardhan Singh told The Indian Express on
      Monday. "They didn’t have the permission to take
      out a rally and despite that they went ahead.
      Even the police couldn’t stop them. Although
      authorities had imposed prohibitory orders, they
      did not announce a curfew. Despite the obvious
      violation of the prohibitory orders, the police
      did not arrest them." Defending his activists,
      Basu said the event was planned a month in
      advance and was impossible to cancel.

      Last month, RSS planned a similar Path Sanchalan
      in Dewas district which led to communal violence,
      following the murder of former pracharak Sunil
      Joshi. Joshi, an accused in a double murder, was
      gunned down in Dewas town.

      URL: www.indianexpress.com/story/264065.html

      o o o


      26 January 2008


      by Subhash Gatade





      by I.K.Shukla

      Advani's Sankalp Yatra slated to begin Feb.6 must
      be stopped in the tracks. And, he should be
      arrested for sedition and incitement to violence
      and disturbance of public order.

      The '92-'93 murders of thousands of Muslims
      India-wide in the wake of his Blood Yatrasnot not
      yet forgotten, this is the least in terms of law
      and order that is imperatively called for from
      New Delhi, if UPA as a government has even
      vestigial pretensions of governance. This time
      around, it can be more explosive, fiercely more
      destructive, facilitating BJP's win in various
      states and at the centre. That is how Modi was
      catapulted into power in 2002 Gujarat on streams
      of blood and mounds of skulls and pyramids of
      skeletons. That is how Advani had "captured" the
      Lok Sabha - through organized violence and
      wanton destruction of minority assets - hearths
      and homes, shops and offices.He still nurses
      animosity against Lalu Prasad Yadav for not
      letting him communally burn and bleed Bihar.

      Advani is presently under dual compulsion to
      outdo himself. One, Atal's shadow must be
      exorcised. Advani is impatient to demonstrate
      that the power to shake and make things happen
      centres in him alone, nowhere else. And, that he
      is not yet a dead horse vis-à-vis Modi. He is
      constrained to outperform Modi, in his eyes a
      mere tyro in terms of hierarchy and outreach. It
      is these two prongs that presage that Advani's
      Sankalp Yatra will be more deadly than ever
      before. Rajnath Singh has explicated what this
      Sankalp (determination) is for: it is to win in
      the impending assembly and federal elections.

      Advani, outside the slammer, has continually
      posed a national threat beyond words. He is
      petulant about why Afzal Guru has not been
      hanged. Why the delay? The same question with
      more urgency attaches to him. It has been over 15
      years that his involvement in the demolition of
      Babri Masjid has been slept over, and his setting
      the nation afire with his Blood Yatra camouflaged
      with phony legalisms. If the nation is not to
      burn and bleed again far more fearsomely than
      ever before, his evil design must be pre-empted
      by his arrest and the nation saved another
      ignominy of orchestrated slide into fascism.
      Things are in stark relief after Rajnath Singh's
      exhortation to other CMs of BJP-ruled states. He
      called upon them to match Modi. In practical
      terms, he has enjoined that they too sponsor in
      their respective states, the orgies of genocide
      against minorities (read Muslims) perpetrating
      mass murders, gang rapes, massive arson, and
      targeted thugee.

      These CMs are impelled to emulate if not outshine
      Modi. It is in this set of exigencies that a
      moratorium is called for on the diabolical
      project of splitting India communally and
      drenching it in blood that the RSS and its
      various outfits deem ideologically essential and
      pragmatically advantageous, in accord with their
      previous experience and earlier marches on India.

      This March on India must be squelched. This
      Caravan of Death must not be allowed to move an
      As in '92-'93, it will, in a chain reaction, set
      afire the sub-continent, Pakistan and Bangladesh
      n particular, where the Hindu minorities will be
      bearing the brunt of massive death and
      destruction inspired and instigated by the Indian
      saffronazis, the Hindu Taliban.

      No merchant of death must get away after plunging
      India into shame and infamy times without number.





      Sahara Times,
      30 January 2008


      by Kamal Mitra Chenoy

      A major shift in India's foreign policy at almost
      complete variance with non-alignment has gone
      virtually unnoticed. A revised robust form of
      non-alignment was envisaged in the UPA-Left
      Common Minimum Programme [CMP] which stressed the
      need for multi-polarity and a foreign policy
      geared to that goal. But like several other
      promises in the CMP this was not kept. Instead
      following in the footsteps of the earlier NDA
      regime, the Manmohan Singh government went in
      for a triadic strategic alliance with the US and

      While there has been much discussion on the
      Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, there has been
      much less, except by the Left, on India's
      strategic shift that this deal represents. The
      July 2005 Bush-Manmohan meeting where the basic
      decision on the deal was taken also decided on a
      joint Global Initiative for Democracy and a
      Knowledge Initiative, clearly indicating the
      so-called nuclear deal was not on nuclear energy
      alone. Weeks earlier a Indo-US Joint Defence
      Framework agreement was signed which along with
      joint exercises, indicated possible Indian
      participation in the Proliferation Security
      Initiative [PSI] which would draw Indian forces
      to checking foreign ships for nuclear materials
      on the high seas, and even joint action in a
      third country outside the UN mandate. Military
      bases were to be opened and facilities provided
      to both countries in the other country. This has
      now been encapsulated in the Logistics Support
      Agreement now vigorously opposed by the Left.

      The much discussed Hyde Act of the US Congress
      gave the whole game away. It called for an Indian
      foreign policy congruent with that of the US.
      India was explicitly expected to join the US in
      its hostile policy against Iran. And the US did
      not soften its non-proliferation agenda even for
      the receptive UPA regime. It called for India to
      sign the Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty [FMCT]
      which would curb any further nuclear weapons. It
      also called for a nuclear weapons free zone in
      South Asia, effectively calling for India and
      Pakistan to give up its nuclear weapons, without
      any corresponding commitment by the US to move
      towards global disarmament. Similarly there was
      an unstated requirement for India to continue
      with its unilateral moratorium on nuclear
      testing, without any corresponding US commitment.
      In fact a close reading of the US Congress'
      debates made it clear that nuclear testing by
      India would be a deal breaker. But to respond to
      Indian sensibilities and facilitate the passage
      of the deal, this was not explicitly stated.

      A lot of these stipulations were laid down in
      Section 103 of the Hyde Act, which President Bush
      said he, using his Presidential prerogative,
      would not necessarily implement. This was played
      up by the UPA government as a major concession.
      But this was a hedged condition. It was not clear
      which parts of Section 103 would be waived and
      for how long. In any case, well before the first
      US reactor is installed, Bush would be gone and a
      new President installed, probably a Democrat.
      Also the FMCT and Iran were mentioned in other
      sections like Section 104, which were not waived.

      The significant thing is that despite the Indo-US
      nuclear deal being put on hold because of
      sustained Left pressure, the strategic shift
      towards the US continues. The US National
      Intelligence Estimate [NIE] released late last
      year corrected the NIE of 2005, and found that
      Iran was not working towards making a nuclear
      weapon since Fall 2003. The neo-cons and Zionists
      launched a major attack on the latest NIE and
      Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened to
      go ahead on his own to bomb Iran if this was
      considered necessary. This was met with a
      deafening silence by India. In talks with Russia,
      India was offered additional nuclear reactors for
      its Koodunkulam plant, but the Indian delegation
      stalled. The only conceivable reason would be an
      attempt to give a positive signal to the US and
      its nuclear lobby that Russian competition would
      not be favoured. Similarly, there is no
      discussion on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas
      pipeline, even though the Iranians and the
      Pakistanis have come to some understanding. This
      again is a concession to the Americans.

      One of the most shameful features of this
      unsanctioned strategic shift is the shift towards
      a militarist Israel, at the cost of the
      Palestinian movement and people. The Israelis are
      now a major arms supplier to India. Israel sells
      more arms to India than to any other country.
      India was the chosen site for the launch of two
      Israeli satellites, to be followed by more. This
      is the same Israel that has violated more than
      100 UN resolutions, many of these like 242, 338,
      being of the Security Council, qualifying for the
      dubious category of a 'rogue state.' It routinely
      assassinates its opponents, builds illegal
      settlements on occupied land, and unleashes
      collective punishment against the Palestinians.
      In the fairest elections in Israel under
      international supervision, Hamas won. Through
      US-Israel machinations the PLO was facilitated to
      take over power from the Hamas. In further trying
      to destroy Hamas' political base, the Israelis
      blockaded Gaza denying it essential supplies, a
      collective punishment which was as UN officials
      pointed out a violation of international
      humanitarian law. Finally, the starving
      Palestinians broke through Egyptian checkpoints
      in order to buy food and other essential supplies.

      All through this the Indian government kept
      quiet. There was not a word of protest. European
      governments protested as did African, Asian and
      Arab governments. But the Indian government that
      had voted in the UN against the creation of
      Israel and for many decades was a staunch
      supporter of an independent Palestine with its
      capitol in Jerusalem, has shamelessly kept quiet.
      This is a very major foreign policy shift for
      which the UPA government has no parliamentary or
      popular sanction. It also makes a mockery of the
      UPA's self serving claims that it is adopting a
      principled foreign policy while continuing to
      modernize it. It evidently doesn't care how hated
      Zionism is, and in contrast how respected the
      Palestinian struggle is world over.

      The question arises: should people, citizens have
      any say in foreign policy? Well, even in the US
      they do. In the Republican and Democratic
      primaries in which millions of Americans will
      participate, foreign policy is a major issue that
      is being discussed including the war in Iraq.
      India should learn this from the West. Foreign
      policy is too important to be left to the
      politicians and the policy elite. The impact of
      West Asian policy on Iran and Israel will have
      major implications for Indian foreign policy in
      general, and on the issues of occupation and
      empire in particular. This is too important to be
      kept out of detailed parliamentary debate.

      But this is the crux of the matter. Under the
      Manmohan government, a Congress party which has a
      143 Lok Sabha seats behaves like it has 411 as in
      Rajiv Gandhi's time. And the radical shifting of
      foreign policy is being done through a politics
      of stealth: surreptitiously, quietly, with
      hidden policy conclaves. This must be stopped by
      principles politics by the Left, UPA allies and
      the social movements. Gandhi's, Nehru's India on
      vital foreign policy issues must not under
      US-Zionist pressure adopt the silence of the

      [Kamal Mitra Chenoy, is professor, School of
      International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru

      o o o


      29 January 2008


      by J. Sri Raman

      On January 21, a cloudy Monday, India's polar
      satellite launch vehicle PSLV C10 put Israeli
      satellite Tecsar into orbit. The launch was not
      conducted with the customary fanfare. The media,
      usually a special invitee and a ringside
      spectator at such events of the Indian Space
      Research Organization (ISRO), was pointedly kept
      away. Reason: Israel wanted no media witnesses at
      the launch of its spy satellite.

      Israeli daily Haaretz minced no words about
      the satellite's mission. It said that the
      "sophisticated new spy satellite ... could boost
      intelligence-gathering capabilities regarding
      Iran." In a separate analysis, the same daily
      said that the satellite "enables Israel to
      establish a new point of view in space, allowing
      it photographic angles and reception of Iranian
      communications, which were unavailable in prior
      satellite launches." A news agency quoted another
      analyst as saying that that the satellite was
      "meant to give Israel the capability to keep an
      eye on the Iranian nuclear program."

      The launch was not the first illustration of
      a strikingly significant change in India's policy
      towards Iran, long considered the South Asian
      country's "civilizational ally." India had voted
      with the US and against Iran in meetings of the
      Board of Governors of the International Atomic
      Energy Agency (IAEA) twice, in 2005 and 2006. The
      votes were widely seen as signs of a new US-India
      "strategic alliance." The launch revealed the
      third dimension that New Delhi - obviously along
      with Washington with its well-advertised stakes
      in spying on Iran - was trying to give the

      This was not an abrupt development. The
      foundation for the significantly expanded
      "strategic alliance" was laid during the term of
      the far right Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in
      New Delhi. Then-National Security Adviser Brajesh
      Mishra spelt out the idea and the objective five
      years ago. During a visit to Washington in 2003,
      Mishra declared that "a core consisting of
      democratic societies must emerge, which can take
      on international terrorism in a holistic and
      frontal manner...."

      Identifying India, the US and Israel as three
      such societies, facing "similar threats of
      terrorism," he called for their "strategic
      partnership." The Vajpayee regime's enthusiasm
      for the partnership was not confined to words. It
      had already sought and acquired "anti-terror"
      Israeli expertise for operations in Kashmir,
      which has always figured crucially in
      India-Pakistan conflicts.

      New Delhi then also lobbied for Tel Aviv's
      sale of the Phalcon airborne early warning radar
      system - jointly developed by the US and Israel.
      The negotiations reached an advanced stage
      rapidly after Mishra's appeal for a new axis. The
      Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which headed
      Vajpayee's coalition government, had always
      considered Israel a "natural ally" against
      "Islamic terror," identified mainly with
      Pakistan. With the party in power, India's new
      defense ties with Israel with a definite
      "anti-Islamist" dimension were in for a dramatic

      India's dependence on Arab oil might have
      dictated some discretion, but military relations
      with Israel were not to be reversed. The Kargil
      conflict of 1999 between India and Pakistan saw
      New Delhi seeking active Israeli support. As one
      approving report of the time put it , "Israel dug
      deep into its military equipment reserves to
      supply ordnance and unmanned aerial vehicles
      (UAV) in order to give the ill-prepared and
      ill-equipped Indian Army the edge over Pakistan
      in the 11-week-long war."

      The coming to power of the United Progressive
      Alliance (UPA) government under Prime Minister
      Manmohan Singh, after the BJP's electoral defeat
      in 2004, made only a cosmetic difference to the
      policy. The India-Israeli military relationship
      went "underground," as another analyst put it,
      but was pursued vigorously nevertheless.

      In 2006, top Indian defense officials made
      covert visits to Israel. Indian Air Force Chief
      Marshal S. P. Tyagi and the Navy Vice Chief, Vice
      Admiral Venkat Bharathan, were among those who
      made such secret trips. Bilateral military ties
      with Israel, by now the second-largest defense
      supplier to India (after Russia) with sales worth
      around $900 million a year, were to burgeon

      Advanced radars, long-endurance and
      high-altitude UAVs, electronic warfare systems
      and third-generation night-fighting capabilities
      were to figure in the talks. The priority area,
      however, remained that of missiles and
      anti-missile defense systems, with which the
      spy-satellite-launching ISRO had always as much
      to do as with civilian space programs.

      The array of missiles, on which India-Israel
      collaboration was achieved over the years, ranged
      from the air-to-surface Crystal Maze and the
      air-to-air Python to the Navy's Barak
      anti-missile defense project (embroiled in a
      corruption scandal). During his Israeli visit,
      Tyagi also reviewed the progress of the $1.1
      billion Phalcon project.

      The days of discreet visits were soon over,
      however. In July 2007, the Indian media gave
      concerted publicity and coverage to an
      India-Israel plan to jointly develop a missile
      system worth $2.47 billion. The missile system,
      expected to take four to five years to develop,
      is reportedly capable of detecting and destroying
      aircraft, missiles and drones at a range of 70
      kilometers. The entire program is claimed to be
      an extension of a $480 million Israel Aerospace
      Industries project, launched in January 2006 to
      develop a supersonic 60-kilometer missile defense
      system for the Indian Navy.

      The strategic aspect of the bilateral
      relations has not been lost sight of. In October
      2006, Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Danieli
      ruffled many feathers in India by praising the
      BJP's call for a proactive Indian role in
      dismantling terrorist camps in Pakistan and
      Bangladesh. Less than a year later, a high-level
      Israeli military delegation was reported to have
      been taken to the India-administered State of
      Jammu and Kashmir to formulate "anti-infiltration
      strategies." The Indian Army also uses a wide
      range of Israeli surveillance devices along the
      border with Pakistan.

      The launch of the anti-Iran spy satellite
      makes the ever-expanding India-Israel military
      relations a threat to peace over a larger region
      than the subcontinent of South Asia's
      nuclear-armed rivals.


      [7] Announcements:


      18 Madan Boral Lane Kolkata 700 012 Tel : 033/2237 6459

      18 Surya Sen Street Kolkata 700 012 Tel : 033/22419263


      SUB : Appeal of Sm. Anasua Sen, Mother Dr.
      Binayak Sen, National Vice President, PUCL and
      General Secretary Chattisgarh State PUCL and
      his continued Detention

      On Thursday 31 January at 2 PM

      At PRESS CLUB, Kolkata

      Sm. Aparna Sen, Sr Bibhas Chakrabarty, Sm.
      Mahasweta Devi, Sri Meher Engineer, Sri Sunanda
      Sanyal, Sm. Anasua Sen, Mother [of] Dr. Binayak
      Sen and others will be present at the Press

      Amitadyuti Kumar
      Tel 033/26801439 (M) 9433346109



      December 31, 2007

      Dear Friends,

      We enclose here the final programme of the
      forthcoming Third National Convention of the CNDP
      to be held from February 1-3, 2008 at Vasant
      Rao Despande Sabhagraha in Nagpur.

      This programme has been ratified by the Programme
      Committee that was established at the last NCC
      meeting in Sept. end, 2007 at Delhi. The idea is
      to arrange the programme so that CNDP can move
      forward politically and organizationally. Also as
      experience since the last CNDP National
      Convention (including the highly contentious
      debate on Nandigram) has shown, the political
      remit of CNDP has to be clarified in the most
      democratic way conceivable while recognizing also
      the necessity for political evolution and forward

      As of now the practical consensual agreement on
      what the CNDP takes up as its activities relates
      to four broad areas - nuclear weaponisation,
      regional and global; nuclear energy as per the
      limits in the Charter which takes up the concerns
      of transparency, accountability, safety and
      compensation but not a formal position for or
      against nuclear energy; opposition to the illegal
      occupations of Iraq and Palestine as part of a
      larger opposition to imperialist behaviour
      globally; promotion of Indo-Pakistan peace and

      We believe the finalized format meets these
      conditions and realities. We urge you to please
      come to this important event. Accommodation and
      food expenses during the period of the Convention
      will be covered. There will be a registration fee
      of Rs. 150/- per delegate ( Rs.100 for students)
      to be paid on the first day at the registration
      desk where delegates will receive their folders.

      Please inform about your arrival and departure
      time and dates to the following contacts:

      CNDP office.
      A- 124 / 6,1st Floor, Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi -16
      Phone : 011- 26517814
      E-mail : cndpindia@...

      Local contact in Nagpur
      Jammu Anand - 09923022545 (E-mail: jammuanand@...)
      15, Onkar Apartments, Near Ajit Bakery, Dharampeth,
      Prakash Meghe - 09890889391

      Accomodation At:
      160, Tenaments, Near MLA Hostel, Civil Lines, Nagpur

      Looking forward to seeing you there,


      Anil Chaudhury
      (On behalf of the NCC of the CNDP)


      Day 1: Feb 1, 2008

      09:30 - 10:30

      10:30 - 10:45

      10:45 - 10:50
      Explanation of Programme and the functions of
      the various necessaray standing committees
      dealing with various process during the

      10 50 - 11:00
      Concise report of CNDP activities since the last National Convention

      11:00 - 13:00
      Session 1: "Nuclear Disarmament - The State of the World"

      Chair - Admiral Ramdas

      Speakers -
      J. Sri Raman, John Hallam, Karamat Ali, N.D.Jayprakash & Achin Vanaik

      13:00 - 14:30

      14:30 - 17:30
      Session 2: "Indo-US Nuclear Deal".

      Chair - Illina Sen

      Praful Bidwai, Sukla Sen, Sandeep Pandey & G. Subramaniam

      17:30 onwards
      Cultural Activities / Rally

      2nd Day : Feb 2,2008 Parallel workshops

      10:00 - 13:00
      Session 1

      Palestine issue
      Feroz Mithiborewala & Kamal Mitra Chenoy

      Iran issue
      Qamar Agha & Mazher Hussain

      Millitarization / Nuclearization of South Asia
      A.S.Verma, Kavita Srivastava & Karamat Ali

      Terrorism issue and its misuse for US imperial purpose
      Achin Vanaik & Anil Chaudhary

      14:30 - 17:00
      Session II

      Nuclear Energy - Developments in India and the World
      Channa Basavaiah & Praful Bidwai

      Uranium Mining in India
      Dr. Satyalakshmi, Sri Prakash & Ghanshyam Biruli

      Health and Radiation issues
      Dr. Shakeel Ur Rahman & Dr S.P. Udayakumar

      Peace Education
      Sandeep Sethi & Sandeep Pandey

      17:30 onwards
      Cultural Activities

      3rd Day : Feb 3, 2008

      10.00 - 13.00

      (The process of the deliberations will be
      decided in due course of time and through wider

      1. Discussion on organizational matters:
      i.e. structure, sharing of responsibilities, role
      of state chapters, and their relationship with
      national coordination committee, functioning of
      secretariat of NCC, and finances.
      2. Discussion on ’boundaries’ and/or 'limits' of CNDP mandate.
      3. Presentation and discussion on
      resolution(s) facilitated By - Drafting
      committee: (Sukla Sen / Achin / Subbu /


      Kala Academy, Goa, February 4-7 2008

      4th February :
      1. Hamid Ansari , Vice President: Inaugural Lecture "DDK's Thoughts on Peace"
      2. Meera Kosambi: "DDK - the scholar and the man"

      5th .
      P. Sainath: "Rising inequality & the danger to democracy"

      Romila Thapar : D.D. Kosambi's Legacy to the Study of Ancient Indian History.

      Vivek Monteiro : Science as the cognition of necessity.

      A prizewinning exhibition of photographs by Sainath VISIBLE WORK,
      INVISIBLE WOMEN will remain open from 4th till noon 7th.

      All lectures are at DM auditorium, Kala Academy at 5.30pm

      But on 4th it will start at 5pm and seating will
      be requested much earlier; security will be
      tight on that day.

      Please spread the word and bring all your friends.


      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: http://insaf.net/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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