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SACW | July 1-2, 2008 / Anti-Americanism & Taliban / Kashmir Tribunal Under Attack

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | July 1-2 , 2008 | Dispatch No. 2533 - Year 10 running [1] Pakistan: (i) Anti-Americanism & Taliban (Pervez Hoodbhoy) (ii) Ripple
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
      South Asia Citizens Wire | July 1-2 , 2008 |
      Dispatch No. 2533 - Year 10 running

      [1] Pakistan:
      (i) Anti-Americanism & Taliban (Pervez Hoodbhoy)
      (ii) Ripple Effect: Appeasing the militants (Omar R. Quraishi)
      [2] Bangladesh: Repeal New Terror Law (Human Rights Watch)
      [3] India: International People's Tribunal on
      Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered
      Kashmir under attack
      (i) Press Release and Appeal for Solidarity from the Tribunal
      (ii) A Message of Solidarity from Holland
      (iii) Write letters of protest
      [4] India: A Dangerous Trend in Goa
      [5] USA/India: Letter to Condoleezza Rice for the
      continuation of visa ban on Modi
      [6] India: Trouble In The Valley (Balraj Puri)
      [7] India: Hundreds March in India for Gay Rights (Emily Wax and Ria Sen)
      [8] India: 'Maoist rebels are mirrors of our own
      failings as a nation' (Sudeep Chakravarti)
      [9] UK: Dangerous territory of Multiculturalism (Rahila Gupta)
      [10] Announcements:
      (i) Protest against racial discrimination (New Delhi, 3 July 2008)
      (ii) Join Satyagraha In the Narmada Valley (11 July 2008)
      (iii) Workshop on the Impact of the 1947
      Partition on the Classical Music of South
      Asia(New Delhi, 22-23 August 2008)



      July 01, 2008


      by Pervez Hoodbhoy

      THE recent killing of eleven Pakistani soldiers
      at Gora Prai by American and Nato forces across
      the border in Afghanistan unleashed an amazing

      Prime Minister Gilani declared, "We will take a
      stand for sovereignty, integrity and
      self-respect." The military announced defiantly,
      "We reserve the right to protect our citizens and
      soldiers against aggression," while Army chief,
      Gen Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, called the attack
      'cowardly'. The dead became 'shaheeds' and large
      numbers of people turned up to pray at their

      But had the killers been the Taliban, this would
      have been a non-event. The storm we saw was more
      about cause than consequence. Protecting the
      sovereignty of the state, self-respect, citizens
      and soldiers against aggression, and the lives of
      Pakistani soldiers, suddenly all acquired value
      because the killers were American and Nato troops.

      Compare the response to Gora Prai with the near
      silence about the recent kidnapping and slaughter
      by Baitullah Mehsud's fighters of 28 men near
      Tank, some of whom were shot and others had their
      throats cut. Even this pales before the hundred
      or more attacks by suicide bombers over the last
      year that made bloody carnage of soldiers and
      officers, devastated peace jirgas and public
      rallies, and killed hundreds praying in mosques
      and at funerals.

      These murders were largely ignored or, when
      noted, simply shrugged off. The very different
      reactions to the casualties of American and Nato
      violence, compared to those inflicted by the
      Taliban, reflect a desperate confusion about what
      is happening in Pakistan and how to respond.

      Some newspaper and television commentators want
      Pakistan to withdraw from the American-led war on
      Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to stop US fuel and
      ammunition supplies into Afghanistan, and hit
      hard against Afghan troops when provoked. One
      far-right commentator even urges turning our guns
      against the Americans and Nato, darkly hinting
      that Pakistan is a nuclear power.

      There is, of course, reason for people in
      Pakistan and across the world to feel negatively
      about America. In pursuit of its self-interest,
      wealth and security, the United States has for
      decades waged illegal wars, bribed, bullied and
      overthrown governments, supported tyrants,
      undermined movements for progressive change, and
      now feels free to kidnap, torture, imprison, and
      kill anywhere in the world with impunity. All
      this, while talking about supporting democracy
      and human rights.

      Even Americans - or at least the fair-minded ones
      among them - admit that there is a genuine
      problem. A June 2008 report of the US House
      Committee on Foreign Affairs entitled The Decline
      in America's Reputation: Why? concluded that
      contemporary anti-Americanism stemmed from "the
      perception that the proclaimed American values of
      democracy, human rights, tolerance, and the rule
      of law have been selectively ignored by
      successive administrations when American security
      or economic considerations are in play".

      American hypocrisy has played into the hands of
      Islamic militants. They have been vigorously
      promoting the notion that this is a bipolar
      conflict of Islam, which they claim to represent,
      versus imperialism. Many Pakistanis, who
      desperately want someone to stand up to the
      Americans, buy into this.

      This is a fatal mistake. The militants are using
      America as a smokescreen for their real agenda.
      Created by poverty, a war-culture, and the
      macabre manipulations of Pakistan's intelligence
      services, the militants want more than just to
      fight an aggressor from across the oceans. Their
      goal is to establish their writ over that of the
      Pakistani state. For this, they have been
      attacking and killing people in Pakistan through
      the 1990s, well before 9/11. Remember also that
      the 4,000-plus victims of jihad in Pakistan over
      the last year have been Muslims with no
      connection at all to America. In fact, the
      Taliban are waging an armed struggle to remake
      society. They will keep fighting this war even if
      America were to miraculously evaporate into space.

      A Taliban victory would transport us into the
      darkest of dark ages. These fanatics dream of
      transforming the country into a religious state
      where they will be the law. They stone women to
      death, cut off limbs, kill doctors for
      administering polio shots, force girl-children
      into burqa, threaten beard-shaving barbers with
      death, blow up girls schools at a current average
      of two per week, forbid music, punish musicians,
      destroy 2000-year statues. Even flying kites is a
      life-threatening sin.

      The Taliban agenda has no place for social
      justice and economic development. There is
      silence from Taliban leaders about poverty, and
      the need to create jobs for the unemployed,
      building homes, providing education, land reform,
      or doing away with feudalism and tribalism. They
      see no need for worldly things like roads,
      hospitals and infrastructure.

      If the militants of Pakistan ever win it is clear
      what our future will be like. Education, bad as
      it is today, would at best be replaced by the
      mind-numbing indoctrination of the madressahs
      whose gift to society would be an army of suicide
      bombers. In a society policed by vice-and-virtue
      squads, music, art, drama, and cultural
      expressions would disappear. Pakistan would
      re-tribalise and resemble a cross between Fata
      and Saudi Arabia (minus the oil).

      Pakistanis tolerate these narrow-minded,
      unforgiving men because they claim to fight for
      Islam. But the Baitullahs and Fazlullahs know
      nothing of the diversity, and creative richness
      of Muslims, whether today or in the past.
      Intellectual freedom led to science,
      architecture, medicine, arts and crafts, and
      literature that were the hallmark of Islamic
      civilisation in its golden age. They grew because
      of an open-minded, tolerant, cosmopolitan, and
      multi-cultural character. Caliphs, such as
      Haroon-al-Rashid and Al-Mamoun, brought together
      scholars of diverse faiths and helped establish a
      flourishing culture. Today's self-declared
      amir-ul-momineen, like Mullah Omar, would gladly
      behead great Islamic scholars like Ibn Sina and
      Al-Razi for heresy and burn their books.

      Pakistan must find the will to fight the Taliban.
      The state, at both the national and provincial
      level, must assert its responsibility to protect
      life and law rather than simply make deals. State
      functionaries, and even the khasadars, have
      disappeared from much of the tribal areas.
      Pakistan is an Islamic state falling into anarchy
      and chaos, being rapidly destroyed from within by
      those who claim to fight for Islam.

      Pakistanis must not be deceived. This is no clash
      of civilisations. To the Americans, Pakistan is
      an instrument to be used for their strategic
      ends. It is necessary and possible to say no. But
      the Taliban seek to capture and bind the soul and
      future of Pakistan in the dark prison fashioned
      by their ignorance. As they now set their sights
      on Peshawar and beyond, they must be resisted by
      all possible means, including adequate military

      The writer teaches at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

      o o o


      The News,
      June 29, 2008


      Appeasing the militants

      by Omar R. Quraishi

      Both the federal and the NWFP government's
      strategy -- if there indeed is one -- of fighting
      extremism and increasing Talibanisation in the
      country is flawed to say the least. Of late,
      there has been talk -- and it's been going on for
      some time now -- that pro-Taliban militants have
      surrounded the capital of NWFP, Peshawar, from
      the north, south and west and that it is only a
      matter of time before they make their move on to
      the city.

      This may sound like an alarmist scenario to some
      but it is not entirely unexpected to think that
      the Pakistani Taliban would stop at expanding
      their growing influence from beyond all of FATA
      to the settled districts of the NWFP and that
      having Peshawar under their control would perhaps
      be their crowning glory. If and when such a
      doomsday situation happens, the XI corps may be
      pressed into action, with an infantry division
      based in Peshawar and Mardan and an armoured
      brigade at Nowshera.

      Signs of the extremists extending their sphere of
      influence to the city's district have already
      been reported with shopkeepers in the Peshawar's
      outlying areas saying that local militants have
      come to them and warned them to close down all
      shops that sell videos CDs, DVDs and cassettes.
      This was followed by the kidnap of several
      Christians from a Peshawar neighbourhood,
      ostensibly by militants of the Lashkar-e-Islam,
      which has been more or less allowed by the
      federal government to establish a strong foothold
      in Khyber Agency, which straddles Peshawar.

      And around the same time that all this was
      happening came the depressing news that the town
      of Jandola in South Waziristan had fallen to
      Baitullah Mehsud's men. This obviously means that
      the peace talks between the federal government
      and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan are not
      delivering, and there is probably good reason for
      that -- foremost being the severe reaction from
      America and other western allies of Pakistan, all
      of whom seem convinced that allowing such deals
      only benefits the Taliban and consequently
      al-Qaeda and that the next attack on US soil will
      probably emanate from these sanctuaries provided
      to the militants by the Pakistan government.

      Many in the country call this a blatant
      interference in Pakistan's internal affairs.
      However, even keeping America, NATO and other
      western stakeholders aside, is it really in
      Pakistan's own interests that extremists and
      fanatics clearly bent upon creating their own
      Taliban state be given such a free hand in the
      country? Have we not seen their misdeeds in
      attacking schools and colleges for girls, have we
      not seen that through their frequent attacks on
      video and music shops, on barbers and in general
      on anyone who disagrees with them (he or she is
      called a U.S. spy and summarily executed, and the
      dead body, usually, thrown on the roadside) that
      these people have no problem in using the sword
      (and of course the Kalashnikov) to enforce their
      literalist and obscurantist interpretation of
      religion on everyone else.

      As for the NWFP provincial government, it has to
      be said that while it may be well-intentioned and
      is sincere in wanting peace to return to the
      province, surely it needs to re-examine its
      approach vis-a-vis the militants in Swat. For
      weeks, the district was under curfew and a
      military operation was in full swing, which
      caused hundreds of deaths and led to many
      arrests, with the military then proudly claiming
      that the militants had been driven out of the
      district, had surrendered or were on the run.

      Why, after such success against them, enter into
      a deal that allows them precisely the kind of
      autonomy and power in their area of influence
      which they wanted in the first place? Why give
      Maulana Fazlullah the right to have his own radio
      station when such a concession is allowed to no
      other citizen of Pakistan? Does this mean that
      the power of the militants is such that the state
      -- not by admission but indeed by its actions --
      is willing to capitulate and allow them a degree
      of freedom which taken to its logical culmination
      may well end up threatening the country's
      territorial integrity?

      This is, of course, compounded by the fact that
      the people of this country are fed a healthy diet
      of half-truths and fibs and presented only one
      side of the story. For instance, according to a
      recent survey conducted in Pakistan while over
      half of those surveyed were concerned over the
      growing influence of the militants, a mere eight
      per cent wanted the government to fight and
      eliminate the militants. Compared to this, around
      fifty per cent thought that the problems
      affecting the country internally were being
      caused by America (proof, if ever it was needed,
      that we are also the land of the conspiracy

      It is probably these very people who also think
      -- like many educated and apparently moderate
      people -- that those who died at Lal Masjid were
      all 'innocent' done to their deaths by a military
      under (who else's) America's influence. Of
      course, these people have forgotten the vigilante
      actions of the Lal Masjid students, the several
      kidnappings and hostage-takings they were
      involved in and the routine threats they used to
      give to Islamabad's shopkeepers to not sell music
      or video products. Of course, 'innocent students'
      involve themselves in such things, defy the writ
      of the state at will, go around kidnapping people
      and summarily trying and convicting them of moral
      turpitude -- and that's why the government sees
      it fit to not even prosecute them!

      Perhaps, the fact that Peshawar is now encircled
      on at least three sides by sympathisers and
      supporters of the Lal Masjid vigilantes and who
      owe their allegiance to the likes of Baitullah
      Mehsud, will awaken those Pakistanis who still
      are unable to see where the real danger to their
      country comes from. And maybe, just maybe, this
      will bring them around to repudiating the passive
      support, nay sympathy or even admiration, many
      ordinary Pakistanis -- brainwashed and
      indoctrinated by years of Islamisation and
      appeasement of militants by military-led or
      military-controlled governments -- have for such

      The writer is Editorial Pages Editor of The News



      Human Rights News


      (New York, June 30, 2008) - Bangladesh's new
      counterterrorism ordinance violates fundamental
      freedoms and basic fair trial rights and should
      be repealed or amended to meet international
      standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The
      military-backed interim government kept secret
      the far-reaching provisions of the new law until
      its adoption on June 11, preventing the public
      and civil society from commenting on the law's

      The ordinance sets out an overly broad definition
      of terrorist acts, including mere property crimes
      as well as attacks targeting individuals,
      contrary to United Nations recommendations. It
      criminalizes speech meant to support or "bolster
      the activities of" a banned organization, without
      showing that such statements constitute
      incitement of criminal conduct. The new law also
      allows convictions for financing terrorism based
      on mere suspicion of criminal conduct, violating
      the basic criminal law requirement of proving
      guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

      "Bangladesh needs fair and effective laws to
      combat terrorism," said Brad Adams, Asia director
      at Human Rights Watch. "But, as we've seen in
      countries around the world, bad counterterror
      laws drafted in secret lead to abuses and a loss
      of public support for legitimate counterterror

      Among the new counterterrorism law's worrying provisions are:

      * The law's definition of terrorist acts is
      overly broad. Besides violent acts and
      kidnapping, acts that cause "damage to any
      property of any person" may be deemed terrorist
      under the law if they are carried out for a
      specified purpose. As the UN Special Rapporteur
      on Counterterrorism and Human Rights has
      explained, the concept of terrorism should be
      limited to acts committed with the intention of
      causing death or serious bodily injury, or the
      taking of hostages, and not property crimes.

      * The law provides that a person may be held
      criminally liable for financing terrorism if that
      person is involved in financial transactions for
      which there is merely a "reasonable suspicion"
      that the money will be used to fund a terrorist

      * The law allows an organization to be banned
      as terrorist because it has "cooperated" with
      another organization deemed terrorist. Moreover,
      the government may ban an organization as
      terrorist based simply on "reasonable
      allegations" of involvement in terrorist

      * The law criminalizes speech meant to
      support or "bolster the activities of" a banned
      organization, without any showing that such
      statements constitute incitement of criminal
      conduct. To comply with international protections
      on freedom of expression, laws should only allow
      for the criminal prosecution of direct incitement
      to terrorism - that is, speech that directly
      encourages the commission of a crime, is intended
      to result in criminal action, and is likely to
      result in criminal action.

      * The law allows the imposition of the death
      penalty for certain offenses that cannot be
      considered among the "most serious crimes," as
      required by international law. Human Rights Watch
      opposes the death penalty in all circumstances
      because it is inherently cruel and irrevocable.

      "The ordinance sweeps far too broadly, disregards
      normal standards of proof, and establishes harsh
      penalties for anyone who publicly expresses
      support for a banned organization," Adams said.
      "It is also deeply regrettable, in a country
      where serious problems have been identified in
      due process of law, such as the use of torture to
      gain convictions, that the ordinance allows the
      death penalty."

      The Bangladesh government has been under pressure
      by its international supporters to adopt
      counterterror legislation. Human Rights Watch
      urged the United Kingdom and United States and
      others not to push Bangladesh into adopting laws
      that violate basic rights or to adopt them
      without adequate public consultation. The
      government should ensure that civil society and
      the public are given a fair opportunity to review
      and comment on any future counterterrorism

      "It's shocking that such an important law could
      be enacted in the shadows, without public input -
      particularly by a government that says it is in
      power to reform the political system," Adams said.




      Srinagar, Tuesday, 1 July 2008

      From: International People's Tribunal on Human
      Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir

      Khurram Parvez, Tribunal Liaison
      +91-9419013553; +91-194-2482820
      khurramparvez@...; kparvez@...

      On Monday, June 30, the state forces attempted to
      assassinate Advocate Parvez Imroz, co-convener of
      the International People's Tribunal on Human
      Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir
      (http://www.kashmirprocess.org). His statement is
      included below.

      Advocate Imroz is co-founder of the Jammu &
      Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and
      the Association for Parents of Disappeared
      Persons (APDP). He is a distinguished human
      rights lawyer and recipient of the
      Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize
      of 2006.

      Advocate Mihir Desai, Legal Counsel for the
      Tribunal, said: "This reflects the legal and
      political impunity under which the CRPF and the
      SOG operate in the state".

      Dr. Angana Chatterji, Tribunal co-convener, said:
      "The attempt to assassinate Advocate Imroz is
      cowardly and brutal. This act of the police
      displays the arrogance and the state of exception
      in place in Indian-administered Kashmir. This
      attack is an attempt to halt the International
      People's Tribunal from continuing its work. Our
      findings on the mass graves earlier and last
      week, and the state's attempts to intimidate and
      threaten us, evidence the Government of India's
      abject disregard for justice".

      Last week the Tribunal's investigation into mass
      graves and nameless in Baramulla and Kupwara led
      to the targeting and harassment of co-conveners
      Dr. Angana Chatterji and Advocate Imroz, and
      Tribunal crew. The surveillance by intelligence
      personnel has escalated: Mr. Khurram Parvez,
      Tribunal Liaison, has been previously targeted
      and remains under surveillance, and Dr. Chatterji
      was again harassed by intelligence and police on
      June 30 while conducting Tribunal work. Dr.
      Chatterji, Advocate Imroz, Advocate Desai, and
      Mr. Parvez and other members of Tribunal met with
      families who narrated that their sons had been
      killed by the police in the violence of last
      week. The Tribunal conducted its work in
      curfew-like conditions as Srinagar and various
      parts of Kashmir remains extremely volatile
      following last week's events.

      This latest attack is an escalation in the forms
      of state-led intimidation, harassment, and
      assault aimed at the Tribunal. The attack on
      Advocate Imroz attempts to make vulnerable the
      Tribunal and to instil fear in other Tribunal
      members in an attempt to stop this process. The
      Tribunal Conveners, Angana Chatterji, Parvez
      Imroz, Gautam Navlakha, Zaheer-Ud-Din, the
      Tribunal Legal Counsel, Mihir Desai, and Tribunal
      Liaison, Khurram Parvez, remain committed to the
      work on justice and human rights in
      Indian-administered Kashmir.

      Angana Chatterji, Parvez Imroz, Gautam Navlakha,
      Zahir-Ud-Din, Mihir Desai, Khurram Parvez
      Tribunal Conveners, Legal Counsel, and Liaison

      - - -

      Advocate Parvez Imroz's Statement:

      On 30 June 2008, at 10.10 pm, when Parvez Imroz
      and his family was about to retire for the
      evening, Roksana, his wife informed him that
      there was a knock at the front door. She was
      extremely afraid, given the two prior
      assassination attempts on Advocate Imroz's life.
      She and Advocate Imroz asked 'Who are you?' to
      those at the front door. They responded
      aggressively, asking Advocate Imroz by name to
      open the door. Advocate Imroz was apprehensive
      after the intimidation of the Tribunal last week
      when it was undertaking a fact-finding on mass
      graves in Baramulla and Kupwara. He went to
      another room at the back of the house and shouted
      across to his brother, Sheik Mustaq Ahmad, who
      lived next door. Mr. Ahmad shined a torch at
      Advocate Imroz's door and asked the persons at
      the front door to identify themselves. The
      persons knocking at the door very aggressively
      asked Mr. Ahmad to shut off the torch. Meanwhile,
      Advocate Imroz's nephew came out of Mr. Ahmad's
      house and ran toward Advocate Imroz's house,
      fearful, as he stated later, that Advocate Imroz
      was being taken by the army.

      Then, the perpetrators fired one shot in the
      dark, and it appeared that shot was fired in the
      direction that Advocate Imroz's nephew was coming
      from. The lights down the path had been broken.

      After seconds, the perpetrators threw a grenade
      in Advocate Imroz's compound outside his front
      door, which exploded into a fireball. They also
      threw a tear gas and fired two blank shots while
      leaving. The perpetrators left at around
      approximately 10.30 pm. On the way, the
      perpetrators beat one male neighbour.

      Meanwhile, community members had made an
      announcement from the village mosque, and people
      had gathered down the path. The villagers also
      stated that they had seen one large armoured
      vehicle and two Gypsy cars, and men in CRPF
      (Central Reserve Police Force) uniform and SOG
      (Special Operations Group) uniform.

      [Note: Advocate Imroz's home is located in
      Kralpura village approximately 8 kilometres from

      o o


      IKV Pax Christi

      The Netherlands / Utrecht, 1 July


      IKV Pax Christi expresses its deep concern and
      shock about the attempt, in the night of June
      30th 2008, to assassinate Advocate Parvez Imroz,
      distinguished human rights lawyer and co-founder
      of the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil
      Society (JKCCS) and the Association for Parents
      of Disappeared Persons (APDP) based in
      Srinagar, capital city of Indian-administered

      An attack apparently carried out by state actors
      c.q. men in CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force)
      uniform and SOG (Special Operations Group)
      uniform, who brutally targetted Imroz and his
      family in their residence.

      As Dutch National Peace Movement
      (www.ikvpaxchristi.nl) we work in international
      partnership with Advocate Imroz cum suis since
      over seven years and highly respect the
      courageous work done and the persistence to fight
      against humanrights violations and impunity in
      the conflict ridden society of Kashmir, against
      all odds.

      As co-convener of the International People's
      Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in
      Indian-administered Kashmir
      (http://www.kashmirprocess.org), Imroz took up
      the task to investigate facts and figures on
      humanrightsviolations in a process of coming to
      truth and justice.

      Advocate Imroz was awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux
      International Human Rights Prize in 2006. As
      European civil society and international
      partners, we honoured him and all the members of
      his organisation for this international

      It is very unfortunate that in Kashmir and India,
      authorities fail to understand the importance of
      his work and his contribution to come to justice
      and true democracy in Kashmir. It is of great
      concern and clearly unacceptable that he, on the
      contrary, is harassed and has to fear for his

      IKV Pax Christi declares its solidarity with
      Imroz and those who cooperate with him in a non
      violent struggle for truth and justice, for
      recognition of people's basic human rights and
      for enlarging the role of independent civil
      society as an actor in creating a future in
      freedom and democracy.

      We appeal global civil society to likewise
      express their solidarity to Advocate Imroz and
      family, will urge international diplomatic and
      political actors to appeal for protection of
      humanrights defenders like Imroz c.s. and
      address state authorities in Delhi and Srinagar
      to seek accountability.

      In solidarity

      Mrs. Drs. Marjan Lucas, Senior Staff
      IKV Pax Christi - The Netherlands
      PO Box 19318, 3501 DH Utrecht

      o o

      (iii) WHAT YOU CAN DO:

      Individual and Groups from around the world are
      requested to write faxs and e-mails to the Indian
      Authorities to protest against intimidation,
      harassment of the People's Tribunal on Human
      Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir

      You may write:

      Mr Shivraj Patil
      Minister of Home Affairs
      E-mail: svpatil@...
      Fax Number: 00 + 91 -11-23794833

      Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad
      Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
      Fax Number: 00+91 -194-2479133



      Navhind Times
      June 30, 2008



      FRIDAYS incident of wanton violence in Margao is
      enough for any Goan to hang his head in shame.
      The manner in which some miscreants tried to
      exploit the case of an eve teasing for furthering
      their politico-religious gains is indeed
      deplorable. This was not the first time Margao
      has witnessed communal tension. Last year too,
      Margao witnessed a similar situation on the issue
      of alleged misbehaviour with a woman by a shop
      owner. In both the incidents no caste or religion
      was involved. But the religious bigots who have
      been waiting in wings to spread communal hatred
      were quick to grab the opportunity and indulge in
      arson and violence.

      Goa is no more immune to the communal divide and
      none else but the Goans are to be blamed for
      this. Ever since the Curchoerem-Sanvordem
      incident when a masjid was attacked and damaged
      by some miscreants in 2006, communalism has
      raised its ugly head in one form or the other.
      What is ironical is that this communal divide is
      more prominent in south Goa, which has a
      comparative cosmopolitan image: The people are
      literate and the region is economically advanced
      and comparatively developed.

      In fact the cosmopolitan character is the perfect
      fodder for the communal forces. They are aware
      that people of these areas are more vulnerable.
      This is the reason that these forces indulge in
      reckless violence. What happened in Goa, hurling
      petrol bomb on Hospicio hospital, setting on fire
      the motorcycle at Calmati and indiscriminate
      stone throwing, are manifestations of this
      psyche. The criminals resorted to tried and
      trusted mechanisms to coerce and terrorise the
      common people.

      It would not be exaggeration to blame the
      political parties and politicians for creating
      this situation. Their sustained harping on
      'outsiders' and 'migrants' has simply divided the
      society and strengthened the element of mistrust
      and hatred. If a migrant has turned suspect in
      the eyes of the local people, he too has become
      suspect in the eyes of the migrants. This
      situation would certainly not augur well for Goa.
      For achieving their narrow political gains these
      people have simply been trying to polarise the

      There is little doubt that Friday's incident was
      blown out of proportion by elements who have been
      thriving on such issues. It was merely an eve
      teasing case and the person who had committed the
      offence could very well have been arrested. But
      unfortunately, religious bigots used the
      opportunity to deliver provocative speeches and
      were also found to be planning to assault some

      In this scenario, the fight against crime and
      criminals has been put on a back burner. The
      sufferer is the common people, and in broader
      frame, the humanity. The government has to act
      tough against such elements that are out to
      destroy the social and communal harmony on the
      plea of fighting the migrants. Instead of
      becoming captive to such slogans, the government
      should have a pragmatic look. A violent act does
      not discriminate between a native and a migrant.
      For it both are soft targets. The government
      ought not forget that everywhere these forces
      have been using such jargons and cliche to
      survive and thrive. What is happening in Goa is
      no an exception. This is the part of greater
      mechanism of the communal forces.




      July 1, 2008

      The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
      Secretary of State
      U.S. Department of State
      2201 C St. NW
      Washington, DC 20520

      Dear Secretary Rice,

      It has come to our attention that the Chief
      Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi is once
      again planning to apply for a visa to enter the
      United States. We urge the State Department not
      to allow Mr. Modi to enter the country under any
      conditions, as the circumstances under which he
      was denied a visa in 2005 remain largely
      unchanged, and the minority communities in his
      state continue to face systematic human rights

      The United States should not unwittingly be the
      platform from which these unrepentant and yet
      ascendant forces in India exploit the opportunity
      to rally the support base among Indian Diaspora
      communities and raise international legitimacy
      and standing. It would be dangerous at this
      juncture of Indian political process to give Mr.
      Modi that long denied and therefore much coveted

      Not only was Mr. Modi responsible for the deaths
      of over 2,000 Muslims and the displacement of
      200,000 more, but six years after the
      Gujarat-state sponsored violence, the Muslim
      community in Gujarat is subjected to a
      devastating economic and social boycott,
      institutionalized at every level. Most have
      received little, if no compensation for the
      deaths of loved ones and loss of property;
      thousands are still displaced, without homes,
      work, or access to decent schools for their
      children. At the level of the courts too, Muslims
      in Gujarat have received little justice, barring
      a few exceptions; and the few that have managed
      to push their cases forward have met with
      threats, physical harm and harassment.

      As recently as April 2008, Mr. Modi enacted the
      anti-conversion law in Gujarat that effectively
      bars religious conversions, thereby crippling the
      provisions of religious freedom in the state.

      In a recent expose by the investigative magazine
      Tehelka, the Gujarat state prosecutor appointed
      by Mr. Modi was captured on video confessing to
      protecting the perpetrators of the 2002 violence.
      Further, one of the accused involved in the
      killings, confessed to Mr. Modi having
      transferred several court judges as to protect
      him from any convictions.

      Noting the prejudice extending at every level of
      the state apparatus, the Supreme Court ordered
      cases related to the 2002 massacres to be moved
      out of Gujarat.

      Mr. Modi has not only expressed no remorse for
      the 2002 violence; but he has continued to
      justify them, as he has a spate of extra judicial
      killings (fake "encounter killings") by his
      police. And, the state continues to persecute
      civil society groups who have been trying to
      speak up for the victims under very difficult

      Attached please find the reports of human rights
      organizations and related references on Gujarat.


      Coalition Against Genocide

      Bureau of Democracy
      Human Rights and Labor
      Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
      India Desk
      Democracy and Global Affairs

      The Coalition Against Genocide includes a diverse
      spectrum of organizations associated with Indian
      Americans that have come together in response to
      the Gujarat Genocide to demand justice and
      accountability. This letter has been endorsed by
      the following constituent organizations of the
      Coalition Against Genocide:

      1. Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia (ASDSA)
      2. Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM)
      3. Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH)
      4. Coalition for a Secular and Democratic India (CSDI)
      5. Dalit Freedom Network (DFN)
      6. Dharma Megha Inc.
      7. Friends of South Asia (FOSA)
      8. Gujarati Muslim Association of America (GMAA)
      9. Hindu Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment
      10. India Development Society
      11. India Foundation Inc.
      12. Indian Buddhist Association
      13. Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA)
      14. Indian Muslim Educational Foundation of North America (IMEFNA)
      15. Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC)
      16. International Service Society
      17. International South Asia Forum-NY (INSAF-NY)
      18. Muslim Vohra Association
      19. Muslim Youth Awareness Alliance (MYAA)
      20. Non-Resident Indians for Secular and Harmonious India (NRI-SAHI)
      21. Seva International
      22. Sikh American Heritage Organization (SAHO)
      23. South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC)
      24. Supporters of Human Rights in India (SHRI)
      25. Vedanta Society of East Lansing


      Dr. Hyder Khan
      Phone/Fax: 443-927-9039


      Five years on - the bitter and uphill struggle for justice in Gujarat
      Amnesty International Report, published on March 2007, 19 pages.

      India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police
      Amnesty International Briefing, published on May 24, 2007, 15 pages.

      India: Gujarat Chief Minister Endorses Unlawful Killings
      Human Rights Watch, December 7, 2007

      Gujarat state fails to protect women from violence
      Amnesty International Report, published on 27 January 2005

      DISCOURAGING DISSENT: Intimidation and Harassment
      of Witnesses, Human Rights Activists, and Lawyers
      Pursuing Accountability for the 2002 Communal
      Violence in Gujarat
      Human Rights Watch Report, published September 2004, 30 pages.

      Devil's Advocate
      (Transcript of Gujarat Advocate General Arvind
      Pandya confessing to protecting the perpetrators
      of 2002 Gujarat massacres, captured on a hidden
      camera by Tehelka Magazine in a recent expose)
      VIDEO CONFESSION: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9KlevWeYrE

      "After Killing Them, I Felt Like Maharana Pratap"
      (Transcript of Babu Bajrangi's confessions caught
      on a hidden video camera by Tehelka Magazine in a
      recent expose)
      VIDEO CONFESSION: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfnTl_Fwvbo



      The Times of India
      1 July 2008


      by Balraj Puri

      Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing significant
      tensions - both religious and regional - over the
      allotment of forest land to the Shri Amarnathji
      Shrine Board, which is headed by the governor of
      the state.

      A range of parties - separatist and mainstream -
      the Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce and
      Industry and civil society groups have joined in
      protest against the transfer of land and the
      issue has inevitably taken a violent turn.

      To be sure, the transfer of land was not the sole
      cause of sharpening the divide between the two
      principal regions of the state. A simmering
      discontent, due to a number of factors, has just
      come to the fore.

      In a way, militancy provided an outlet for those
      aggrieved by a sense of alienation in the Valley.
      Its decline in recent years, the uncertain policy
      of the new civilian government in Pakistan on
      Kashmir and its recognition of the mainstream
      leaders of the Valley - Omar Abdullah and
      Mehbooba Mufti, the presidents of the National
      Conference and PDP respectively - has eroded the
      political space for separatist groups to some

      Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who leads the largest
      conglomeration of separatist parties was a
      staunch supporter of President Pervez Musharraf
      and his admiration for the Pakistan president
      continues even after the defeat of pro-Musharraf
      parties in Pakistan's general elections.

      Syed Ali Shah Geelani who represents the rival
      and extremist group, the Hurriyat Conference, was
      a persona non grata in Pakistan's previous regime
      and continues to be so even after the change of
      guard there.

      He found a godsend opportunity on the issue of
      transfer of government land to the Amarnath board.

      He set up a broad-based committee called Action
      Committee Against Land Transfer headed by the
      former president of the Kashmir Bar Association.

      Though the Mirwaiz faction is trying to mend its
      fences with the new Pakistan government, it feels
      neglected by the government of India.

      It therefore un-conditionally joined the
      Geelani-sponsored committee. The mainstream
      parties, not be left behind, have been more vocal.

      While the fears expressed by the extremists that
      the move was motivated to settle Hindus from
      outside the state on the land acquired by the
      board - in order to reduce Kashmiri Muslims to a
      minority - are certainly far-fetched, there is no
      denying that the government has bungled the issue.

      It took about three years for the government to
      finalise the deal in May after prolonged
      deliberations at various levels.

      It did not clarify its position till the popular
      protest against the land deal mounted in the
      Valley. Even then the defence of the deal was
      mainly left to the governor and his secretary and
      the CEO of the board, Arun Kumar.

      As both of them were outsiders and the latter
      reportedly said that the land in question was
      purchased permanently by the board on a payment
      of Rs 2.5 crore, sentiments were further
      infuriated in the Valley.

      Late in the day, deputy chief minister and PDP
      leader Muzaffar Baig tried to exonerate his party
      by saying that it was blackmailed by the Congress
      to support the land deal under the threat that it
      would otherwise stop construction of the Mughal
      Road which connects the Muslim majority part of
      Jammu region viz Rajouri and Poonch with Kashmir.

      It brings no credit to either of the coalition
      partners. It was as bad for the Congress if it
      did use blackmail as for the PDP to be

      The concerned secretary had pointed out in his
      note that the Supreme Court had decreed against
      transfer of forest land to anybody without its

      But the law minister overrode the objection on
      the ground that the particular Act under which
      the apex court passed the order did not apply to
      the state under Article 370.

      The forest minister thereupon passed the transfer
      order. The chief minister released a nine-page
      explanation about the entire problem as late as
      on June 15.

      He clarified that the land has not been sold and
      its use for providing shelter and toilet
      facilities to pilgrims was limited to the yatra
      period and no permanent structure is to be
      constructed on it.

      In fact, as the new governor stated, the land has
      neither been transferred nor has the board made
      the payment. But it was too late to placate the
      angry protesters and political parties have
      demanded the complete revocation of the land deal.

      Meanwhile, the passions of Hindus in Jammu are
      equally inflamed. The sangh parivar is being
      supported by the BSP and the Panthers Party in
      condemning the agitation in the Valley as

      There have been demonstrations, traffic blockades
      and bandhs. The BJP even threatened to block
      supplies to the Valley. Governor N N Vohra has
      communicated to the government that the shrine
      board does not need the land.

      While it should help in defusing the situation in
      the Valley, the government will have to contend
      with the adverse reaction of Hindus in the state.

      But above all, the real challenge that the
      situation poses to all political parties - in
      particular those claiming to be secular - is the
      restoration of regional and religious harmony in
      the state.

      (The writer is director, Institute of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs.)



      Washington Post
      June 30, 2008


      by Emily Wax and Ria Sen
      Washington Post Foreign Service
      Monday, June 30, 2008; Page A08

      NEW DELHI, June 29 -- Waving rainbow flags and
      chanting "Gay India does exist," nearly 1,000 gay
      activists and their supporters marched in
      coordinated parades in three Indian cities
      Sunday, demonstrating their growing confidence
      and hope for change on a subcontinent where
      homosexuality is illegal.

      Activists in New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata
      called the parades the largest display of gay
      pride in India's modern history. They said the
      public rallies would have been impossible just a
      decade ago in this largely conservative nation,
      where marriage is seen as an important societal

      "Today a celebratory march occurred," said
      Pramada Menon, 42, a human rights activist who
      deals with sexuality issues. "I am excited that
      globalization has made sexual orientation a
      celebration. Today, we are ready to walk without

      The Indian Penal Code contains a colonial-era
      provision known as Section 377, which prohibits
      sexual activity that is "against the order of
      nature." The statute carries punishment of up to
      10 years in prison.

      The law has been repealed in other former British
      colonies. Human rights groups, in a challenge at
      the Delhi High Court, are asking the judges to
      declare that India's law does not apply to
      consenting adults. The court is set to hear
      arguments this week.

      "In India, gays and lesbians still live highly
      closeted lives," said Vikram Doctor, 40, a member
      of the Queer Media Collective. "There is still
      violence. There are still many desperate suicides
      by gay couples. There is still harassment. And
      there is still intense pressure to marry those
      they do not want to be with. But today we have a
      voice. This march has taken on a momentum of its

      Section 377 has been widely used to blackmail
      gays in highly organized rackets, according to
      Doctor and other activists. Marriage in India is
      highly valued and is sometimes a lucrative
      business arrangement between families.

      "I wish to tell people, the judiciary and the
      government that gays do exist," said Alok Gupta,
      28, a lawyer who focuses on gay rights.

      In India's capital, New Delhi, the parade was
      more a celebration than a protest. Festive
      drumming filled the hazy air as marchers unfurled
      banners that read "Queer Dilliwalla," or resident
      of Delhi, and "377 Quit India."

      The parades were peaceful, amid a heavy police
      presence. Attendees included families pushing
      strollers, foreigners and transvestites clad in
      bright saris and rainbow boas.

      Wearing a T-shirt that said "Stonewalled," with
      an image of a famous ancient Indian sculpture of
      two women embracing, Giti Thadani, 47, a member
      of Sakhi, an organization for lesbians, said she
      remembered when the first openly gay organization
      formed in the mid-1980s. It had just four members.

      "Then it was very difficult," she said. "Today,
      young Indians are economically independent --
      they have access to information and they have
      their own sexual preferences. They don't always
      want to be married off at a young age. This
      parade is a sign of modernity."

      Lesley Esteves, 32, one of the main organizers of
      the event, said the day was "a tangible sign of
      progress," but added: "The road is still long.
      The battle is far from over."

      India's conservative Hindu nationalist party, the
      Bharatiya Janata Party, has openly disagreed with
      the movement, calling it "un-Indian and against
      families." But leaders said they did not wish to
      protest the parades, so as not to give more
      attention to the issue.



      Inter Junction
      June 18, 2008


      Sudeep Chakravarti is a writer, practicing
      futurist, and media consultant based in Goa,
      India. A former career journalist, Sudeep was
      Executive Editor with the India Today Group, and
      Consultant Editor for the Hindustan Times. Widely
      published in journals on economic policy,
      geopolitical affairs, and human interest issues,
      Sudeep is the editor of The Other India (Books
      Today, 2000) and co-editor of The Peace Dividend:
      Progress for India and South Asia (Lotus Roli,

      Sudeep is also the author of the critically
      acclaimed and popular novel Tin Fish (Penguin,
      2005) and the recently published Red Sun: Travels
      in Naxalite Country (Viking/Penguin, 2008), a
      work of narrative non-fiction about India's
      present-day Maoist rebellion. His second novel,
      Once Upon a Time in Aparanta (Penguin, 2008),
      will be published in August this year.

      In an email interview with Rohit Chopra about Red
      Sun, Sudeep describes the failings of the Indian
      state and society that have engendered and
      sustained Maoist rebellion, the massive denial
      about the issue, and why prosperous 'middle
      India' needs to be shaken out of its mall-stupor
      and awakened to the reality of the situation.

      What made you write this book? Why did you feel this story had to be told?

      I have spent my career as a journalist, both as
      reporter and editor, tracking India's economic
      development, meeting those on the "street", as
      well as top ministers, entrepreneurs, and
      executives from India and abroad; and attending
      summits from Delhi to Davos. I am a direct
      beneficiary of India's ongoing economic
      liberalization and freedom of expression that
      India's urban middle classes have come to take
      for granted. But there is an issue I did not wish
      to keep quiet about. Except for perhaps a 'unity'
      based on the rupee, corruption, cinema, and
      cricket, there is a grave disconnect between
      urban and rural India and even within urban
      India. This disconnect is economic, social, and
      political. Seventy percent of India is away from
      the 'growth party'. To imagine that India can be
      unstoppable with its gross poverty and numbing
      caste issues is to be in lunatic denial, a
      display of unstoppable ego.

      Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country was a story
      waiting to be told. There is a fairly large and
      excellent body of non-fiction writing on the
      Naxal movement of the 1960s and early 1970s and
      on various subsequent extreme-Left incarnations
      through the 1980s, in several Indian languages
      and in English. But besides the occasional media
      coverage around the time of major skirmishing
      between rebels and security forces, there isn't a
      book on the movements of today as driven by the
      Communist Party of India (Maoist) that attempts
      to demystify the Naxal movement.

      The second reason for the book was that there is
      a great lack of telling the human story about and
      around the present play of Left-wing rebellion.
      Typically, one comes by statistics and glib sound
      bites. The dispossessed and the dead are not
      numbers; they were-and are-people. With Red Sun I
      have attempted to humanize a very tragic
      conflict, of a country at war with itself.




      The Guardian,
      June 26, 2008


      Minority girls' rights will be low priority while
      the terror agenda panders to male community

      by Rahila Gupta

      'I can't tell people what is happening at home",
      a new report by the NSPCC, draws long overdue
      attention to the plight of south Asian children,
      not just as victims of violence but as witnesses.
      It highlights the cultural context - isolation,
      fear of racism, language barriers, uncertain
      immigration status, cultural and religious
      pressures to keep the marriage going - which
      means that Asian women on average take 10 years
      to leave a violent relationship, thus exposing
      their children to substantial psychological and
      physical damage.

      Once a woman makes that leap, what awaits her are
      underfunded, overcrowded Asian women's refuges.
      What might stop her accessing even these services
      are nervous social workers, police officers and
      teachers who are hindered by "political
      correctness", says the NSPCC, from intervening in
      Asian "cultural practices". This is not new. It
      is not so much political correctness but the
      ideology of multiculturalism that has given rise
      to this situation.

      Tolerance of "cultural practices" by state
      agencies has been going on since at least the
      1980s. Black feminists have campaigned hard
      against this aspect of multiculturalism, which
      has given unelected community leaders autonomy in
      the domestic, cultural and religious affairs of
      the community. For a mainstream organisation like
      the NSPCC to lend its weight to the issue adds
      impetus to the critique.

      As a result of campaigning, and the Victoria
      Climbié case, there have been substantial shifts
      in policy. Guidelines based on the underlying
      principle that "multicultural sensitivity is not
      an excuse for moral blindness" were drawn up by
      the government to enable schools and other
      agencies to deal sensitively with issues like
      forced marriage. The report rightly identifies
      this as a concern for Asian women and girls. As
      implementation has been patchy, the government
      has finally agreed to put these guidelines on a
      statutory basis in the autumn that will allow
      NGOs to hold state agencies accountable.

      Although the uneven delivery of services is still
      an issue, the fact that the NSPCC has highlighted
      this as its big conclusion feels curiously
      outdated because the debate has changed.
      Multiculturalism came under attack in the Cantle
      report in 2001 into the race riots in Bradford
      and was further discredited in the wake of the
      7/7 bombings.

      In the government's war against terror, "building
      cohesion" has become the new holy grail. Within
      this policy construct, single-group funding has
      fallen out of favour. Paradoxically, the funding
      of Muslim groups continues apace, while secular
      groups are being hit. Specialist organisations
      catering for those vulnerable groups at the
      centre of the NSPCC report are to have their
      funding cut. Southall Black Sisters' struggle to
      replace the core funding under threat of
      withdrawal by Ealing council is one of the most
      widely publicised examples of this. The NSPCC
      makes a welcome case for the continuing need for
      a specialist sector but fails to make the links.

      It is this failure that takes the NSPCC report
      into dangerous territory, when it calls for the
      engagement of faith and community leaders in the
      fight against domestic violence. It is precisely
      these leaders - who act as gatekeepers to the
      community and cry racist when the state
      intervenes - who account for the nervousness of
      state agencies. The NSPCC organised a conference
      aimed at the Muslim community which was attended
      by 50 imams. It found unsurprisingly that, "for
      some imams, the issue of domestic abuse is not on
      their radar". Perhaps the most telling statement
      of all was that "many mosques are the premises of
      men only". In the teeth of such entrenched
      patriarchal attitudes, calling for the training
      of imams feels like trying to empty a lake with a
      teacup. When the Muslim Parliament of Great
      Britain reported on the extent of child abuse in
      madrasas in 2006, little action was taken.

      In this new political climate, minority girls'
      rights are again being sold down the river. The
      political correctness the NSPCC highlights is
      about to get worse. Commander Steve Allen of the
      Metropolitan police, at a recent conference on
      domestic violence, said the government's agenda
      on terror is hampering police work on issues such
      as forced marriage because the government is keen
      not to alienate those same leaders in the fight
      against extremism. Perhaps we need the kind of
      research that demonstrates how children exposed
      to violence develop a tendency to extremism as
      adults before the government will show greater
      commitment to minority women.

      · Rahila Gupta is a founder of Southall Black
      Sisters and author of Enslaved: The New British


      [10] Announcements:


      - ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Amrit Sharma <amritsikkim@...>
      Date: Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 4:24 PM
      Subject: Protest against the discriminatory policy of Urban Pind- Please
      To: Susan Abraham <susana.abraham@...>, jkidwai@...

      Dear Friends,

      Last Thursday, June 19th, a young woman
      photographer from Nagaland was kept from entering
      a Delhi lounge bar, Urban Pind, on their expat
      night, because she was from the Northeast. Her
      friends, a German professional and a south Indian
      editor, were allowed in, and others
      poured in, and the management, after seeing the
      Naga woman's face, said she wasn't 'of the right
      profile' and demanded to know which country she
      was from. The woman has sent Urban Pind a legal
      notice, and since then, the management has tried
      to deny charges. On national television, the
      owner of Urban Pind, Mr Farooq, admitted he has
      made a mistake, but is still refusing to contact
      the girl's lawyers or make a public apology, as
      per the legal notice.

      This is just one of other incidents at Urban Pind
      and other bars, lounges etc in Delhi. One of many
      incidents of discrimination against people from
      the Northeast - and indeed those of all non
      'Indian' colours and ethnicities. This incident
      has sparked a wave of outrage nation wide, as
      well as an outpouring of frustration from people
      who have until this moment been unable to speak

      We, those who stand up against racial
      discrimination in India, are planning to organise
      a peaceful protest outside Urban Pind, this
      Thursday, July 3rd, starting 8 pm.

      Please spread the word and let us know if you
      would like to be a part of this protest.We are so
      encouraged by everyone's support, and count on
      you to join us this Thursday. We would be glad
      any suggestions or assistance in planning the
      protest, please mail us with your
      feedback. Let's all stand up and fight the good fight.

      Full details are available on the links to media
      coverage below, on the Facebook group 'Boycott
      Urban Pind' and a blog devoted to the fight
      against racial discrimination


      NDTV prime time coverage - India in 60

      CNN IBN features the incident in their daily news bulletins

      Times Now

      An article by Indian Express which first documented the incident



      62 Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Badwani, M.P.- 451551. Ph. 07290-222464, 09424855042
      nba.badwani[at]gmail.com, nba.ashish[at]gmail.com, nba.medha[at]gmail.com
      Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Dhadgaon, Nandurbar,
      Maharashtra 425414. Ph: 02595-220620,

      27th June 2008


      No doubt every monsoon brings along with it a new
      lease of life and a green glitter. However, it
      also brings in a threat and a challenge for
      people in the Narmada valley as in the other
      river valleys, where the rivers are dammed and
      the people and the natural environs are doomed
      and drowned. Even after 24 years of struggle, the
      adivasis in the Satpudas and Vindhyas and the
      farmers, fish workers and others in the Nimad
      region of Madhya Pradesh have had to continue to
      struggle for their rights. Their battle is also
      for the rightful share of dalits, adivasis,
      farmers, fish workers and all those who toil with
      nature and their own labour, harnessing and
      developing the natural resources in the human

      This year too, the first phase of the Satyagraha,
      on the bank of the river will start on July 11th,
      2008 in Chimakhedi, the third village from the
      Sardar Sarovar Dam site falling in the Nandurbar
      district of Maharashtra. With the best of its
      lands and generations-old habitats already gone
      under waters since 1994, the young and the old in
      Chimalkhedi have been in the battle filed always,
      to get the land and abadi needed even to start a
      new life. The people in the three states, who
      have staked their lives and livelihoods, have
      kept the dam at 122 mts and not allowed the State
      to bury the communities in a watery-grave. They
      would come together in Chimalkhedi, with our
      supporters from all over, with a pledge for truth
      and determination to face the challenge of rising

      The truth that lies behind the facade of
      drum-beating related to the giant dam, stands
      exposed when the NBA has dug out massive
      corruption in rehabilitation, no compliance on
      legally mandatory environmental measures, the
      economic and financial non-viability. It has also
      brought out the skewed distribution of benefits,
      which are not even attained, beyond 10% and are
      being diverted to the corporates, the urban
      elites at the cost of the needy and the planned
      beneficiaries. The dam is not yet permitted to go
      beyond 122 mts, to its full height, (138.68 mts),
      since the Centre has not permitted erection of 17
      mts high gates. The struggle needs to be taken
      forward through non-violent yet militant ways to
      compel the state to look back and look forward
      with the people and take to the just path. The
      Satyagrahis, would once again declare that they
      would not move out, come what may, unless, they
      get a better life and the promised land to live
      on and that they would not approve of even an
      inch of construction beyond 122mts. The adivasis
      of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and
      the farmers and others from Nimad in the plains
      would also come together, to put forth their
      views and vision. Supporters from various
      people's organizations, especially the people
      affected by the construction of ill-planned dams
      and unjust development projects in other areas,
      and from different states and cities would be
      with us on this day of inauguration and

      You are earnestly invited to express solidarity
      and join the struggle at this crucial point of
      time. We would be happy even if you make it for a
      day and return the same night from Vadodara
      (Baroda). We would be happier if you stay on the
      banks of the Narmada for at least one or two more
      days to have a glimpse of the various regions and
      get acquainted with the latest situation and the


      Yours sincerely,

      Noorji Vasave, Ashish Mandloi, Kailash Awasya,
      Raman Bhai Tadvi, Noorji Padvi, Kamla Yadav,
      Bawa Mahariya, Kapilaben, Yogini/Chetan, Mohan
      Patidar, Gokhru Bhai, Champalal,
      Siyaram/Amarnath, Medha Patkar, Pervin
      Jehangir, Shyam Patil, Suniti S.R.

      . Please reach Badwani on the 10th or
      Baroda by 11th early morning. You can come via
      Dhule, Khandwa, Badwani or Indore.
      . Vehicles will start from Badwani in the
      very early hours of 11th morning and from Baroda
      by 7:30 a.m. on the 11th. Depending on the
      number of persons coming via Dhule or Indore
      vehicles may be arranged from those two
      centers as well.
      . Please bring with you, light baggage with
      rain coats, torch, light shoes and light bed
      sheets, with medicines and biscuits/fruits, as
      per need. We would of course be providing the
      transport including boat, food and the minimum
      possible arrangements in the difficult
      circumstances, faced by the people.
      Contributions are most welcome.
      . Please let us know if you would stay back
      on the 11th night and till when. While some will
      be helped to return to Baroda on the same night,
      the others can return to Baroda, visiting the
      resettlement sites of Gujarat on the 12th, or to
      Badwani or beyond (Indore or Dhule) on the 12th
      or 13th as per your convenience. There will be no
      long walks involved, while a mix of private
      (maximum) and some public transport in groups
      will have to be resorted to.


      Badwani - Ashish Mandloi 07290-222464, 09424855042, Umesh Patidar --
      Indore - Chinmay Mishra 09893278855, Amulya Nidhi -- 09425311547
      Dhule - Shyam Patil 09423496020, 02562-246419,246367
      Pune - Suniti S.R 09423571784, 020-24251404
      Mumbai - Pervin Jehangir 09820636335, 022-22184779
      Dhadgaon - Yogini Khanolkar 09423944390
      Baroda - Champalal 09893500772

      - - -


      22 and 23 August 2008, New Delhi

      Dear friends,
      Asian Scholarship Foundation, Bangkok, and Jamia
      Millia Islamia, New Delhi, invite scholars,
      musicians, students and enthusiasts of Hindustani
      classical music to participate and contribute to
      an 2-day workshop of dialogue and music-making
      where we expect to have several musicians and
      scholars from India, Pakistan and (hopefully)
      Bangladesh. If you have been involved in a unique
      research or documentation about the development
      of classical music in the post-1947 South Asia,
      and would like to share your work or findings
      with others, kindly send us the details. Or if
      you are simply interested in this theme, you are
      welcome to join us in August in an informal

      The idea for this workshop evolved out of a
      larger research and documentation work carried
      out by the Delhi-based filmmaker and researcher,
      Yousuf Saeed, who spent a few months in Pakistan
      in 2005 for a fellowship on the music of South
      Asia. Yousuf's work culminated in a research
      paper as well as a feature-length documentary
      film Khayal Darpan that has been widely screened,
      initiating a dialogue about concerns such as the
      survival of classical music and national identity
      in South Asia. The August workshop is part of a
      series of such dialogues which would be carried
      out in different parts of South Asia. We hope to
      bring together scholars, musicians, historians,
      and students of music and cultural studies in an
      informal setting to reflect upon the various
      issues in the study of music emerging in the
      context of modernity. Some of the following
      themes or panels would form a part of this

      1. Cultural identity and the making of nations
      2. Partition and the music gharana narratives
      3. Traditional knowledge-transmiss ion affected by the border
      4. Between popular and elite: Music adapting to the changing audience

      More details about these <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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