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SACW | July 30-31, 2008 / Black July: Colombo, Swat, Ahmedabad / Jihadi Undies / Indore Under Hindutva

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire | July 30-31, 2008 | Dispatch No. 2546 - Year 10 running [1] Sri Lanka: No Lessons Learnt From Black July of 1983 (Feizal Samath)
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2008
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | July 30-31, 2008 | Dispatch No. 2546 -
      Year 10 running

      [1] Sri Lanka: No Lessons Learnt From 'Black July' of 1983 (Feizal Samath)
      [2] Pakistan:
      (i) Red mist
      (ii) Taliban warn 'un-Islamic' businesses of dire consequences
      (iii) Terrorists develop 'suicide underwear' (Imran Asghar)
      [3] Bangladesh: Make women ineligible to become head of govt, state
      Khelafat Andolon tells govt in dialogue
      [4] India - Bombings in Gujarat:
      - Bomb blasts and Instant Suspects - How the politics of hate is
      being taken for granted as Necessary Routine (K.M.Venugopalan)
      - 'Cold-Blooded Murderers' (C.M. Naim)
      - The Larger Toll of India's Terror Blasts (J. Sri Raman)
      - India should not become like Israel, beyond repair and utterly
      vulnerable (Jyotirmaya Sharma)
      - The Gujarat Bombings: Real terrorists and blockbuster villains
      (Mukul Kesavan)
      - A city divided (Amrita Shah)
      [5] India: Communal Violence in Indore (Jaya Mehta, Vineet Tiwari)
      [6] India: Secularism and nations survival (V R Krishna Iyer)



      Inter Press Service
      23 July 2008

      Inter Press Service


      by Feizal Samath

      COLOMBO, Jul 23 (IPS) - On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the
      1983 anti-Tamil pogrom in Sri Lanka there are few signs that any
      positive lessons have been learnt from the gory events that changed
      this island nation's history and sent a once booming economy into a
      downward trajectory.

      Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the think tank Centre
      for Policy Alternatives and an often-quoted political analyst, says
      billions of dollars have since been spent on the quarter century of
      ethnic strife that followed 'Black July'.

      "We are nowhere near a solution than we ever were,'' he said, adding
      that the present government does not seem interested in a negotiated

      Most victims from the Tamil minority community are reluctant to speak
      about the terrible tragedy that befell them on Jul. 24, 1983 and
      thereafter. "Why talk about the past?" said one elderly Tamil woman
      when asked to comment.

      Widespread riots broke out in Colombo and southern Sri Lanka a day
      after 13 government soldiers were killed in an ambush by Tamil rebels
      in the northern city of Tamil-dominated Jaffna. Angry mobs from the
      majority Sinhalese community retaliated by attacking and killing
      Tamil residents, raping their women and setting fire to homes and
      shops. The pogrom followed bouts of anti-Tamil violence in 1958 and

      A Tamil industrialist K. Vignarajah spoke of how his wife, who owned
      and managed two garment factories that were razed to the ground, was
      devastated by the events. "Sarada (wife) was shocked and shattered by
      the events. We lost a house too but thank God nothing happened to
      us," he said, adding that soon after that the couple and their
      10-year-old daughter left for Britain.

      "Sri Lanka would have been a paradise and even better than Singapore
      if not for this conflict," Vignarajah, now an international
      consultant on garments and a stock market investor, says. "It was the
      absurdity of chauvinistic politicians who are responsible for this
      situation. We have many friends amongst the Sinhalese," he added.

      Vignarajah's daughter lives and works in Britain, but he, after
      spending time in the southern Indian city of Chennai, has returned to
      Sri Lanka.

      Around 1981-82, Sri Lanka -- the first South Asia country to
      liberalise its economy, far ahead of India -- had a booming economy
      and was heading for the kind of prosperity enjoyed by the 'Asian
      Tiger' economies when the conflict reversed the trend.

      Will Sri Lanka ever recover from this crisis? Noted peace activist
      Jehan Perera believes the situation has improved compared to the
      pre-1983 period as people now freely speak out on Tamil rights and
      Tamil autonomy. "Unlike earlier there is no animosity by the
      Sinhalese against the Tamils. Earlier because of the Tamil insurgency
      (and demands for an independent homeland), many Sinhalese saw the
      Tamils as their enemy.''

      Perera added that there is a widespread view that the Liberation
      Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has been leading the war against
      Colombo to secure a separate homeland in the north and east of the
      island for the Tamil minority, must be ''crushed''. "This is not an
      anti-Tamil feeling,'' he insists.

      During the July 1984 riots many Sinhalese residents saved the lives
      and properties of Tamils from the gangs defying a curfew to maraud
      and rampage. Some Tamils were sheltered in Sinhalese houses during
      the violence as the mostly Sinhalese police and military looked on.
      The estimates of casualties varied from between 400 to 3,000 Tamils
      dead while more than 18,000 houses and commercial establishments were
      razed to the ground.

      Hundreds of thousands of Tamils fled the country to India, Europe,
      Australia and Canada while Tamil youth joined various Tamil militant
      groups, including the LTTE, in droves. The LTTE later emerged as the
      most ruthless guerrilla group in the world, set up funding and
      promotion offices overseas and coerced Tamil expatriates to fund
      their war machine.

      Many professionals from other communities have also left the country
      and still remain out as Sri Lanka struggles to contain a conflict
      that has cost more than 80,000 lives -- including combatants from
      among the military, the rebels, and civilians -- besides untold
      billions worth of damage and lost opportunities. Tourism, among the
      country's chief revenue earners, is now struggling to recover while
      garments exports and remittances from over a million Sri Lankan
      workers in the Middle East make up for the main earnings now.

      Since 1983, the total economic loss, according to some estimates in
      1998, is 1.27 times of Sri Lanka's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while
      a million people have been displaced internally. However, the economy
      has grown at a creditable five percent on an average annually since
      1983 while drawing small levels of foreign investment.

      The 33-month-old government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after a
      couple of months trying to talk to the LTTE, launched a military
      offensive two years ago that has seen a great degree of success. The
      rebels have largely been driven away from the eastern region and have
      suffered serious reverses in parts of their main stronghold in the

      Journalists are not permitted into the war zones. The few conducted
      trips by the military are not enough for an independent assessment of
      what parts remain under LTTE control or where its reclusive leader
      Velupillai Prabhakaran operates from. Kilinochchi, the town where the
      rebels have their official headquarters, is constantly being bombed
      by government war planes.

      "I can't see any peace (in the near term)," says Saravanamuttu,
      adding that the army commander who said the rebels would be destroyed
      by the end of 2008 now says it would take the whole of 2009. ''Even
      if the government succeeds in chasing the Tigers from their
      headquarters, they will go into the jungle and resort to guerrilla
      warfare as before, unless there is a political settlement."

      Perhaps the worst consequence of the protracted conflict has been the
      rising level lawlessness in society prompted by a sense of impunity
      that soem say has origins in the fact that none of the perpetrators
      of the 1983 violence were brought to trial. Human rights violations,
      by all parties, have steadily increased over the years.

      Lately, the number of abductions of civilians -- mostly Tamils
      suspected of being connected to the LTTE -- has intensified, while
      assaults and harassment of journalists, critical of the war, have
      increased. This has not helped the cause of Tamil-Sinhalese amity.

      Clashes between the Tamils and the Sinhalese majority originated with
      British colonial rulers favouring the Tamils in administrative,
      educational, and economic situations. Post independence the situation
      reversed with the majority community ruling the country and cornering
      plum jobs and the larger chunk of resources. Soon Sinhalese and Tamil
      sub-nationalism began to grow and became sharply polarised.

      "I am not bitter and have no regrets but I feel sad for my country,"
      says Chris Kamalendran, an experienced Tamil journalist and a victim
      of the riots. Kamalendran, living with his father, mother and other
      family members in the predominantly Sinhalese town of Homagama, south
      of Colombo, saw a mob --of mostly neighbours -- set fire and loot the
      family home. "I was angry, hurt and wanted revenge," he recalled,
      adding that he was restrained by moderate Sinhalese friends.

      Kamalendran -- like many Tamils and Sinhalese -- is desperate for a
      solution in his lifetime so that "my daughter won't suffer''.
      Believing in communal amity, he has married a Sinhalese woman and has
      a daughter who follows Buddhism, the majority religion. But, he says,
      the problem will drag on ''until a national leader capable of
      providing a viable political settlement emerges''.



      [2] PAKISTAN:


      RED MIST

      July 24th 2008 | DELHI
      From The Economist print edition

      Frightening and senseless threats to our correspondent from angry jihadists

      BY SOME reckoning, the leaders of Islamabad's Lal Masjid, or Red
      Mosque, ought to be in prison. For six months last year, led by two
      clerical brothers, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the mosque was
      a jihadist citadel. In the heart of Pakistan's capital, the brothers
      sent forth Islamist vigilantes. They kidnapped six Chinese women whom
      they accused of selling sex. They threatened to break the heads of
      music-cassette vendors. When President Pervez Musharraf demurred, the
      Red Mosquers bunkered down.

      A siege ensued. "We will defend ourselves even to death," said Mr
      Ghazi, at a press conference inside the mosque's fortified walls. He
      spoke truth. A year ago this month, the then General Musharraf sent
      in the troops. In the ensuing gun-battle, Mr Ghazi and over 100 of
      his followers were killed. Mr Aziz escaped in a burqa; but was soon
      arrested. He has been charged with kidnapping and other crimes. But
      most of his accomplices are still at large. They include his wife,
      Umme Hassan, who ran a seminary for female jihadists. Indeed, she and
      her fellows have since set up shop in another seminary, outside

      There, they like to rage against the government, the army,
      America-and, this month, our correspondent. An eminent Pakistani
      newspaper editor, and long-time contributor to The Economist, Najam
      Sethi has often aroused the wrath of his Islamist compatriots. But
      this latest incident, inspired by the liberal editorial line of
      Aajkal, an Urdu newspaper that he edits, is especially troubling. On
      July 11th-five days after a suicide-bomber killed 19 people, mostly
      policemen, near the Red Mosque- its clerics held a protest in
      Islamabad against Mr Sethi and his newspaper. They objected mostly to
      a cartoon it had printed, depicting Ms Hassan in the act of teaching
      burqa-clad students "how to kidnap Chinese masseuses".

      Mr Sethi and his supporters defended the paper's right to a little
      harmless satire. In response, the clerics have claimed that the
      cartoon was blasphemous-and even compared it to cartoons in Denmark
      that ridiculed the Prophet. This is nonsense. It is also a supremely
      reckless way to criticise Mr Sethi. As the government has thankfully
      realised; it has sent armed guards to his newspaper and his house.

      Why are these hoodlums free to terrorise law-abiding Pakistanis? It
      may be that many Pakistanis sympathise with their cause. After all,
      it is widely believed that hundreds of good Muslims died at the Red
      Mosque. But that is no excuse for the government to refrain from
      using the law to restrain those who incite violence.

      o o o


      Daily Times, July 31, 2008


      * Group sets 15-day deadline for CD shops, cafes to close down
      * Says women to wear hijab or be ready to get burnt with acid

      by Shahnawaz Khan

      LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Islami Taliban Pakistan (TITP) has distributed a
      fifteen-days notice to several "un-Islamic" businesses in Kot Addu to
      shut down or face dire consequences.

      The TTIP wrote threatening letters to owners of CDs shops, Internet
      cafes and cable service providers urging them to close down their

      Similarly, the group warned that women must wear hijab to ensure their safety.

      Muzaffargarh District Police Officer (DPO) Shahzad Sultan told Daily
      Times that Rao Yasin, owner of Nomi Video Center, at Railway Road
      received one such letter.

      Sultan said the police have increased the security though it could
      not independently confirm the group's activities.

      Kot Addu Police Station House Officer (SHO) Irfan Khosa said that
      another person, who requested anonymity, received a similar letter
      and the police have registered a case in this regard.

      The letter, typed and printed on computer, had Baitullah Mehsud's
      photograph on it along with two gunmen, Khosa said. There were also
      Quranic verses about Jihad around the picture, he added.

      The message said that Western and Indian media was damaging the
      character of youths and madrassah students, the official said. The
      business of music and movies is 'Haram', it added.

      The message then warned that those who continued their businesses
      after the 15-day deadline expired would be dealt with sternly.

      Acid: The second paragraph said that within five days of the receipt
      of the letter, every woman not wearing Hijab would be disfigured with

      Very soon we would cleanse earth from the traitors of Allah, the
      third paragraph said.

      Name of Khalid Mehsud, purported local Taliban leader, was printed at the end.

      o o o

      Daily Times
      July 31, 2008


      by Imran Asghar

      RAWALPINDI: Would-be suicide bombers could be using explosives
      "underwear briefs" rather than explosives jackets to evade
      "conservative" body searches, sources said on Wednesday.

      Sihala Police College forensic lab sources told Daily Times that the
      study of recent suicide attacks showed that suicide bombers used
      "explosives-laden" under-garments, briefs in particular, to carry out
      the attacks.

      The sources said that the explosives could weigh between five
      kilogrammes to seven kilogrammes, made deadly by adding glass
      splinters, metal ball bearings and bullets. The law enforcers
      normally search upper body parts sparing the "privates", the sources
      said, hence assailants are increasingly using the lower body parts to
      dodge the searches. The sources said that forensic experts were
      trying to devise methods to pre-empt suicide bombing. The experts
      have achieved successes in "Post Bombing Investigation," the sources
      said, adding that resources are sharpening "Pre Bombing
      Investigation" techniques.




      The Daily Star
      13 July 2008


      by Staff Correspondent

      Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan (BKA) yesterday called upon the interim
      government to make women ineligible for becoming head of the
      government or the state.

      "We have told the government to take measures so that men hold the
      top executive positions and no woman assumes the responsibility of
      head of state or government," said BKA Secretary General Muhammad
      Zafrullah Khan in a joint press briefing following the party's
      dialogue with the panel of advisers led by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin

      The BKA during the dialogue also suggested reintroducing presidential
      form of government in the country and mentioning religion of voters
      on voter identity cards to determine their religious identity.

      The party urged the government to implement the recommendations made
      by Baitul Mukarram National Mosque's acting Khatib-led committee that
      was formed to review the National Women Development Policy 2008.

      A seven-member delegation of the BKA, led by Amir-e-Shariah Shah
      Ahmedullah Ashraf, attended the dialogue and demanded the release of
      those held for violence from the Baitul Mukarram area during a
      demonstration over the National Women Development Policy 2008.

      The party, however, demanded promulgation of a law banning
      destructive activities such as hartal and blockade.

      BKA at the talks put forward a 30-point demand that includes
      formulation of an electoral policy. They demanded that the policy
      would have to ensure a free, fair, meaningful and acceptable election
      while barring the agnostics, identified corruptionists, black money
      holders, murderers, terrorists, convicts and bankrupts from
      participating in the elections.

      They also proposed increasing parliamentary seats in accordance with
      the rising population in the country.

      Zafrullah said handing over the responsibility of the country's
      education to any NGO would be disastrous. "We also urged the
      government [to take a stand] against foreign interference in our
      internal affairs," he added.

      [. . .] .



      30 July 2008

      About the Bomb blasts and Instant Suspects

      by K.M.Venugopalan

      Same story, in which Muslims as a community end up being repeatedly
      asked to prove their credentials in patriotism and Muslim youths get
      arrested arbitrarily after every blast, is being played out, with
      only minor changes in scripts.

      This is in great contrast with material evidences like and artificial
      beards and wigs (obviously kept for using as make up material for
      disguising as Muslim terrorists) reportedly found by police in a VHP
      headquarters where two VHP workers died in an accidental bomb blast
      in Nandhed, Maharashtra.

      Similar incriminating evidences which directly point to the
      involvement of the RSS were reportedly available in the course of
      investigation of so many incidents of blasts,for example Ajmeer,
      where names of Muslim organizations had been given out in the first
      place as suspects.

      The role of Narendra Modi''s administration and the top brass of the
      BJP in the post-Godhra pogroms of 2002 is already too well-known to
      mention again.

      This is not to suggest that Jehadi Islam propagating hatred in the
      name of Islam together with a few real Muslim Organizations
      committed to a politics fuelled only by the feeling of insecurity so
      rampant in the community, and quite a few of them dependent largely
      on ideological distortion of Islam supporting institutionalized
      violence against women are just non-entities.

      On the contrary, I wish to suggest that the Jehadi Islam is like a
      twin brother of VHP/RSS brand of Hinduism. Both will join hands on
      every occasion where people begin to ask questions when their genuine
      voices are being suppressed, pre-empted by these crooked politicians
      representing the forces of obscurantism. For example Ajmeer, where
      names of Muslim organizations had been given out in the first place
      as suspects.

      The role of Modi's administration and the top brass of the BJP in the
      post-Godhra pogroms of 2002 is already too well-known to mention

      This is not to suggest that Jehadi Islam propagating hatred in the
      name of Islam together with a few real Muslim Organizations
      committed to a politics fuelled only by the feeling of insecurity so
      rampant in the community, and quite a few of them dependent largely
      on ideological distortion of Islam supporting institutionalized
      violence against women are just non-entities.

      On the contrary, I wish to suggest that the Jehadi Islam is like a
      twin brother of VHP/RSS brand of Hinduism. Both will join hands on
      every occasion where people begin to ask questions when their genuine
      voices are being suppressed, pre-empted by these crooked politicians
      representing the forces of obscurantism.

      o o o

      29 July 2008


      'I read the email, purportedly from 'Indian Mujahideen', with
      increasing dread and disgust. Dread for what it can cause, and
      disgust (and worse) for the minds that created it... ...

      by C.M. Naim

      We shared the email from "Indian Mujahideen", received by some media
      outlets minutes before the blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26, with
      Professor Naim and wondered if he might want to comment on it. Given
      the inflammatory potential, and the readers' right to be informed
      about the contents of this email, we also solicited his views on
      whether or not it should be published in full as it clearly seemed to
      be aimed at stoking communal passions so as to set off a
      conflagration. This is Professor Naim's response. We hope to share
      more responses from others in the days to come


      I read the e-mail with increasing dread and disgust. Dread for what
      it can cause, and disgust (and worse) for the minds that created it.
      It also made me aware, more than ever before, the constraints under
      which press must work.

      It is a carefully prepared document, by someone who is fairly well
      educated and informed. The English has only a few errors. The
      arguments are made in a 'rational' manner, showing the 'cause' first
      and only then the 'effect.' The document is laid out and printed with
      care and expertise. The two signatories must be quite 'modern.' They
      may even take pride in being so good at controlling modern (Western)

      The writers wish to project a facade of calm, deliberate thinking,
      but they do lose it several times. Their anger and feelings of hatred
      take over. Of course, they are not themselves victims of the crimes
      they mention. They are self-appointed revenge-takers, with no thought
      for what their actions might bring to many more innocent people even
      on their side of the religious divide, not to mention the innocent
      non-Muslims whom they intend to make targets of their hatred.

      Most of the 'villains' they list by name and charge with specific
      criminal deeds are indeed villains. But the self-proclaimed
      'Mujahids' expose their imbalanced thinking when they generalise and
      accuse undifferentiated groups. To their own mind, of course, there
      is no imbalance. For them the entire world is divided into four
      groups: themselves, the Righteous; their enemies, the Kaffirs; the
      traitors among their own, the Munafiqs; and the rest of their own who
      must fit themselves into one of the preceding categories before they
      could count for anything. Otherwise the latter don't matter to the
      writers one bit. That's how all fascists think. Come to power, their
      first targets will be women and children.

      How does one respond to what they write? (this is in response largely
      to the portions that we have excised, at least for now, from the
      'Indian Mujahideen' email which appears as a link at the bottom of
      this page)

      On 'facts' they are not wrong. The verses they quote are in the
      Qur'an, and the translations are well accepted. The liberals
      introduce History when they interpret, placing every verse in some
      'historical' context; the fundamentalists take the verses literally
      and as universally applicable. For them Qur'an is above history.
      Their translations or interpretations also do not employ such
      expressions as 'metaphorically speaking,' 'symbolically speaking,'
      and 'psychological truth.' Anyone who charges them of putting 'God's
      Truth' into a context not intended at the time of its revelation is
      wasting his breath. But that's what Asghar Ali Engineer and C M Naim
      will do in a knee-jerk fashion. Beyond that, we may only hope that by
      doing so we succeed in convincing at least a few among the Mujahids'
      intended Muslim audience to think in terms of their own lived and
      felt religion, i.e. the Islam of their mothers and grandmothers along
      side the Islam of their fathers and grandfathers, the Islam of the
      indigent and weak, the Islam of the sufis, the Islam that puts faith
      in a God who is foremost 'Most Gracious, Most Merciful.'

      One cannot hope to convince the writers of the pamphlet of anything.

      One can only hope to limit their influence. That's where Asghar Ali
      Engineer and C M Naim serve no purpose. The burden lies entirely on
      the Ulama of Deoband and Nadwa, and on the qazis and muftis in large
      and small towns. I deliberately leave out people like the Madani
      brothers and the heirs of Banatwala and Uwaisi-they are unscrupulous
      political beasts, as much interested in power as the writers of the
      pamphlet, though in different ways. Asking them to do something would
      only give them undue public attention. Common Muslim is to be
      protected from them as much as from the Mujahids. But the former
      should be asked to stand up and be counted. And they should also be
      asked to restrain themselves within secular laws when they start
      declaring Ahmadis and Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie infidels and
      heretics and therefore to be hurt and harassed.

      Remember in Pakistan the downward slide in its polity began when the
      'socialist' Z A Bhutto converted the Pakistani parliament into an
      inquisition and had Ahmadi Muslims declared non-Muslim-just to save
      his own hold on the state. It is a slippery slope to perdition, this
      business of mixing religion and politics.

      Should you publish it?

      Do you always publish everything that comes to you for publication?
      What would I do if I were in your position? At this moment I would
      not put the pamphlet on the web, though I'm sure a Google search
      tomorrow or day after would show that it is being read in abundance.
      I would send it to the Mufti of Deoband, with a formal request for a
      fatwa. 'The people who make these claims in the name of Allah and His
      Prophet and cause bloodshed and disharmony between people in the land
      where they live, are these people righteous Muslims?'

      To my mind, they are cold-blooded murderers. They are also pathetic
      in their anxiety to be seen as the sole perpetrators of these crimes.
      If they were any different, they would come forward and take the
      'credit' and its consequences publicly, thus saving innocent people
      from being killed in a spiral of vengeful killings. They are both
      cowards and criminals.

      My asking for a fatwa against them is not a political act; it's an
      appeal to the Ulama to take some bold and sustained steps against the
      menace that will eventually destroy them too. They have access to
      mosques, pulpits and madrassas; only they can make them secure. Their
      fatwa will not make any difference to these 'modern' Mujahids, but it
      may give some comfort to the victims and will strengthen those among
      the pious who wish to condemn and oppose this monstrous subversion of
      their religion.

      C.M. Naim is Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

      o o o


      by J. Sri Raman

      truthout.org, 29 July 2008

      Indian activists hold candles and protest the violent suicide attacks
      that have taken place across the country. (Photo: Reuters)

      Terror and tragedy have revisited parts of Ahmedabad, capital of
      India's state of Gujarat, which have yet to forget the fascist
      violence witnessed in the early months of 2002.

      Narendra Modi, who had presided over a pogrom then as the state's
      chief minister, was at the helm again on July 26, when a series of 16
      bomb blasts shook the city and the country. Six years ago, Modi had
      defended the massacre as something the religious minority deserved.
      He was back at his demagogic best now, describing the blasts as "a
      war on India."

      He hardly needed to say who, he thought, had declared the war.
      His flock knew fully well whom he had in mind: Pakistan and its
      "fifth column," the Indian Muslims. The Ahmedabad blasts have brought
      a fresh reinforcement of ammunition for the far right.

      The people of India cannot be blamed for seeing the latest in a
      long series of such blasts as a war on them. They could not but
      identify with the very common, surviving victims - including a street
      vendor of vegetables, a disconsolate wife and an eight-year-old boy
      who had just acquired a bicycle but won't ride it any more - of the
      terror strike that has so far claimed a toll of 49 lives. More may
      die in the crowded hospitals, two of which also were targeted in the
      first instance of its kind in India.

      Muslims were among the victims, and they were recognizable in
      their caps among the mourners. No religious-communal riots have thus
      far followed the blasts, as was excitedly anticipated by some experts
      of the security establishment. The far right, however, has never let
      such facts deter it unduly.

      It hopes to draw greater mileage from the Ahmedabad outrage for
      following blasts in better-known Bangalore, the country's cyber
      capital occupying a prominent place on the world's outsourcing map.
      Just a day before, on July 25, Bangalore rocked with six blasts,
      though these claimed a toll, mercifully, of only two lives.

      On December 28, 2006, unidentified gunmen opened fire in
      Bangalore's prestigious Indian Institute of Science, then hosting an
      international conference, and killed one scientist. Ever since, the
      city has been much discussed as a target of economic importance for

      The Ahmedabad and Bangalore blasts have come just over two months
      after the explosions in Jaipur. The seven terrorist bombs in the
      colorful capital of the state of Rajasthan, a tourist favorite,
      claimed no less than 80 innocent civilians.

      Five basts similar to those in Ahmedabad and Bangalore killed 13
      people in three cities - Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad - in India's
      most populous state of Uttar Pradesh on November 23, 2007. On August
      26 of the same year, two explosions killed 42 in the southern city of
      Hyderabad, also known as a hub of information technology.

      Of more far-reaching consequences were the seven bomb blasts in
      suburban trains in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on July 11, 2006, in
      which 209 were killed. We can keep going all the way back to the
      Mumbai blasts of March 1993 - 13 of them, with an unbeaten toll of
      over 250 lives. But we won't, as the Jaipur bombings mark a line of
      departure in the far-right discourse on the subject.

      Until the Mumbai train blasts, the investigative agencies and
      others had made a practice of immediately and instinctively
      attributing such strikes to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
      (ISI). This instrument of Pakistan's Army had certainly never
      carefully concealed its activities in India's Punjab, when it was
      facing a separatist insurgency, or in Kashmir, especially in the
      eighties. After the terror on trains, the far right (which made no
      fine distinction between the ISI and the rest of Pakistan) started
      talking even more than before of the Indian Muslims' role in it all.

      After 7/11, which some proudly called India's own 9/11, Modi
      struck again. At a Mumbai rally, he proclaimed: "Not all Muslims are
      terrorists. But all terrorists are Muslims." Other far-right
      crusaders against terrorism were quick to take the cue. And they have
      been loud in their warnings against local "jihadis." Terrorist blasts
      have, since then, been attributed to an alliance of the
      Laskar-e-Toiba, a Kashmir militant group with a base in Pakistan and
      a homegrown Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

      If the far right has found proof of this alliance, it has yet to
      be shared with the public. Nor have the official agencies, which have
      distinguished themselves only by a dismal record of investigation in
      these cases.

      According to a review, the investigative agencies have not solved
      any of the 11 terrorist blast cases since 2005, and have not obtained
      a single conviction. Many of the persons arrested and charged in
      these cases were released for lack of evidence.

      Confronted with this failure, the far right counters by
      attributing it to the absence of a sufficiently tough law against
      terrorism. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the far right's political
      front, claims that the government in New Delhi has fortified
      terrorism by scrapping a law the previous regime under the BJP had
      enacted. The draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), modeled on
      the Patriot Act of the US and enacted in compliance with the
      post-9/11 command of the George W. Bush administration, met with
      popular resistance. The present rulers had to abolish it in order to
      keep a promise to the voters.

      Revival of the POTA is now likely to figure as a major item in
      the BJP's manifesto in the coming polls to some State Assemblies and,
      more importantly, in the general election due in May 2009. Party
      leader Lal Krisha Advani, projected as the prime minister-in-waiting,
      has seized the moment to stress the demand. Modi, whose own
      prime-ministerial ambitions are hardly a secret, may be expected to
      magnify the issue, taking advantage of the blasts in his backyard.

      The blasts cannot but strengthen the campaign in India's external
      covert operations agency for a similar battle on Pakistan's soil (see
      South Asia Awaits Another Secret War, Truthout, July 18, 2008). They
      will also help the far right's long-pursued designs to deepen the
      religious divide in India and pit its people against each other for
      political profit

      The explosions, in other words, can only empower further the
      Modis of India and their militarist counterparts in Pakistan.

      o o o

      Mail Today
      June 29, 2008


      by Jyotirmaya Sharma

      THE blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad once again would generate a
      largely futile debate about the internal security scenario in India.
      Political parties will fling charges of incompetence and
      ineffectiveness at each other. Calls to revive draconian laws such as
      POTA will grow louder. Very few voices will dare suggest that beyond
      questions of administration and policing lie larger issues of
      politics. And beyond the arena of politics are issues of whether we
      are any longer capable of living together in peace as civilised
      people. The BJP has always advocated special laws in order to tackle
      terrorist acts, a demand that loses its legitimacy at the very
      threshold of its ideological stand on minorities, and more so its
      recent record in a state like Gujarat. Administrative and police
      reforms make sense only when they go hand in hand with political and
      electoral reforms. Generating hysteria about the state of India's
      internal security often is a way for arguing that we become a
      surveillance state, more or less on the lines of Israel, a country
      that the Sangh Parivar greatly admires. Neurosis of the kind that
      Israel harbours leads to mindlessness of a high order, as was evident
      last May during my trip to that country.


      The El Al security staff at Mumbai airport were not only suspicious
      of my beard and less than comforting looks, but also were greatly
      concerned about the fact that I was going to make a " presentation"
      at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem without a computer or any
      slides or charts or graphs to show. I did not even have a pen drive
      in my possession to prove that I was indeed going to give a lecture
      at a university in Israel, for which I had a bonafide invitation.
      Worse still, the stamp of my visa, which read, " Invited by the
      Hebrew University of Jerusalem" was not good enough for the national
      carrier of that state. The security officer, then, proceeded to ask
      me why I taught political philosophy, and I was asked to give a small
      " presentation" on what I understood by political philosophy.
      Further, having noticed a copy each of my recent books in my hand
      luggage, the security officer proceeded to ask me what these books
      contained. I tried to give a gist of what they said. On hearing me,
      she asked, " Are you a Hindu?" I said I was a Hindu. " Why do you,
      then, write against Hinduism?" When I refused to answer such inane
      questions, she demanded that I present before her a gist of the paper
      I was going to present at the conference in Jerusalem. Had I agreed
      to do so, it would have made some sense to her because I write about
      contemporary India. But what if I was a scholar of Panini's grammar
      or of the philosophy of Bhartrihari? This wasn't enough. She demanded
      to know why I had recently switched from being a journalist and gone
      back to being an academic. None of this has a bearing on whether I
      was a potential terrorist or whether my tract on Hindutva was good
      enough, in itself, to blow an aircraft in mid- air. But the hysteria
      about security, which feeds on stereotypes, is also about proforma
      driven mindlessness. As I tried to contend with the security officer,
      who happened to be Indian, I wondered whether she might also be a
      sympathiser of the Shiv Sena or the BJP. Working for the Israeli
      national carrier and her own political affiliations, perhaps, had
      come to a happy and diabolical synthesis.


      In Israel itself, the suffocating preoccupation with security is
      alarming for someone who still manages to live in relative freedom,
      where one does not have to go through innumerable checks of identity
      and person to enter a university or a restaurant. The surveillance
      and security mechanism in that country is today independent of the
      democratic process and feeds on systematic brutalisation of everyone
      alike who refuses to participate in the Zionist nationalist vision.
      One has to go not too far from Jerusalem to see what the Israeli
      state has done in the name of security and demography to the many
      villages scattered in South Hebron. In this instance, the Israeli
      state has actually legitimised the Jewish settlers in Palestinian
      territories to oppress and dehumanise an entire population, the more
      malignant version of our own Salwa Judum. Of course, none of this
      helps in the long run. There is nothing one can do to prevent a
      suicide bomber from carrying out an attack and every bit of the
      oppressive security mechanism comes tumbling down with every such
      instance of gratuitous violence. The residual effect of this endless
      preoccupation with guns, closecircuit cameras, X- ray machines and
      identity cards is the creation of a Humpty Dumpty state and society,
      utterly vulnerable and beyond repair. Once such a state is created,
      the silent and disapproving majority goes into sullen silence and
      seldom questions the ways in which a democratic state argues in the
      name of saving human lives and protecting its citizens. This silence
      is the victory of the state as well as the terrorist. Caught between
      the two are ordinary human lives, insecure and vulnerable, and ready
      at all times to surrender liberties in the name of preserving the
      fundamental unit of existence, life itself.
      On the flight back from Israel, the scene at the airport was no
      different. But the security officer, a lady, was less aggressive and
      less self- righteous. She too asked me questions about the conference
      paper I had given in Jerusalem as well as the lectures I had
      delivered elsewhere. The joy of returning home made me summarise for
      her a talk I had given at the Haifa University. I told her that there
      was a man called Gandhi in India. He was of the opinion that fear
      leads to force. But the initial application of force, if it is not
      legitimate and ethical, leads to greater fear. Greater fear, in turn,
      leads to reliance on greater force. It is a spiral that has no end
      and leads to destruction, brutalisation and annihilation. The
      security officer was a bright young girl. She smiled and let me go.
      The message had hit the target. Of course, I did not have the heart
      to tell her that I was carrying with me vivid memories of witnessing
      a brutal police reaction in South Hebron to a joint Israeli-
      Palestinian peace demonstration, and also had in my much searched and
      X- rayed bag, a documentary about the moral bankruptcy of the Israeli
      state, that was far more explosive than anything they could have
      found in the bag of a potential terrorist. What I could not tell her
      was that I live in mortal fear of my own country turning out this way.

      o o o

      The Telegraph
      31 July 2008

      - Real terrorists and blockbuster villains

      by Mukul Kesavan

      All acts of terror are shocking but the Gujarat bombs, both the ones
      that went off and the ones that didn't, are peculiarly unnerving. Not
      because of the evident planning and coordination of the explosions -
      synchronized or serial explosions seem to have become a standard
      feature of terrorist violence in India in recent times - but because
      the people who designed these carnivals of violence seem to be
      post-modern villains who both quote from and take their cues from
      popular cinema.

      When I first read reports in the newspapers that the pattern of the
      Ahmedabad bomb explosions seemed inspired by Ram Gopal Varma's film,
      Contract, I didn't pay much attention. The reports claimed that there
      were uncanny similarities between the film and the terrorist
      atrocity. The terrorists in the film had apparently set off
      explosions in hospitals a little while after the first blasts, to
      target relief and rescue operations. Real life and real conspirators
      appeared to have mimicked the movie because the hospital bombings in
      Ahmedabad occurred an hour after the first explosions. Doctors were
      killed and, according to news reports, some good samaritans who had
      helped the people injured in the earlier blasts by taking them to
      hospitals, lost their lives as well. I thought this was a coincidence
      rather than a connection. I was sceptical because it seemed unlikely
      that terrorists about to do something as hideous and irreversible as
      blowing up people randomly, would need a Bollywood storyline to
      inspire them.

      I began to take the connection more seriously when I read the
      threatening email sent to news outlets just before the blasts by a
      sender named 'Indian Mujahideen' from an email address that read:
      alarbi_gujarat@.... "await 5 minutes for the revenge of
      GUJARAT" was the subject line and the body of the email carried a
      message that the stagiest scriptwriter in Hindi cinema would have
      hesitated to write for its most lurid villain:

      "In the Name of Allah
      The Indian Mujahideen strike again!
      Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!"

      The hideous truth was that the person who sent the email was in
      earnest because five minutes after it arrived the bombs did in fact
      go off and dozens of people in Ahmedabad felt the "terror of Death".
      That's when I began to wonder about the imagination of the
      conspirators and its connection with the tropes of popular cinema.
      There are so many movies made in Hollywood that feature a mocking
      villain taunting both law-enforcers and the fearful public with
      forewarnings of attacks, that it began to seem reasonable to suspect
      that life was, in this case, imitating art.

      It was Wednesday's headlines about the 18 bombs in Surat that didn't
      go off that seemed to confirm the merger of real terrorists and
      villains in summer blockbusters. Eighteen live bombs were defused by
      policemen in Surat throughout the day. For three days running, the
      police had recovered unexploded bombs and cars loaded with
      explosives. Many of these bombs were found in congested,
      working-class areas in the city where terrorists had successfully set
      off bombs on the first day of the violence. This time round it seemed
      as if the plotters wanted the police to find the bombs because the
      newspapers reported that the the explosive devices weren't wholly
      concealed. The explosives had been made into boat-shaped objects and
      wrapped to be visible in coloured paper. They were placed, in two
      instances, in front of police stations. It was as if the bombs were
      props in a lethal Easter-egg game, where the policemen were the
      children and the terrorists were the designers of the diversion.

      The use of plot-lines from popular cinema, the warning email before
      the event, just to let the world know that the conspirators are in
      complete control, the taunting 'treasure hunt' with bombs at every
      streetcorner, even on the doorsteps of police stations suggest
      perpetrators who don't just watch popular cinema as much as live and
      breathe it. The grotesque playfulness of the Surat episode is
      particularly hard to reconcile with the idea of adult vengeance for
      the Gujarat pogroms.

      This isn't to say that the pogrom of 2002, where Muslims were
      massacred in public view in the presence of policemen, wasn't on the
      minds of the bombers. It may well have been. But it's hard to believe
      that anyone who had been directly affected by the killings would have
      plotted his revenge in this preening, taunting, clever-dick way. "The
      Indian Mujahideen strike again!" - this isn't raging grief from a
      pogrom victim; it's a line out of Zorro.

      Because revenge for the Gujarat pogrom this is not. If anything, the
      bombings will help consolidate the systematic subordination of the
      province's Muslims that has been accomplished over the past six
      years. Every bomb that exploded (or didn't) helped demonize the
      community further, justified greater police surveillance and
      encouraged talk of 'the enemy within'. There's something surreal
      about an act of allegedly Muslim vengeance that allows Narendra Modi
      to look statesmanlike in the face of violent provocation. One
      newspaper speculated that Modi's restraint was part of a concerted
      effort to re-make his resume for a future bid at becoming prime
      minister. If it was, then the 'Indian Mujahideen' were supplying the
      cues for a script not of their devising.

      For what it's worth, I don't think these explosions are the work of
      local Muslims. If the name "alarbi_gujarat" is any guide, the
      perpetrator's provenance is more likely to be Arabia than Gujarat. If
      it is an Indian Muslim who organized these explosions, he is a
      comfortable, tech-savvy, grandstanding hipster who probably plays
      first-person shooter games on a game console while drinking in the
      kool-aid of some internet hate site. There's a remote-controlled
      cleverness to the operation, a leering detachment that suggests a
      villain who lives half his life in a virtual world and the other half
      at the movies. May he spend the rest of it in solitary confinement,
      in a windowless cell.

      o o o

      Indian Express
      July 31, 2008


      by Amrita Shah

      Ahmedabad's divisions must be addressed for its own security

      It is not generally recalled that Ahmedabad is one of India's oldest
      surviving cities. Founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah (after whom
      the city is named) and then in turn Mughal, Maratha and British,
      Ahmedabad will be 600 years old in 2011. The original city was the
      walled city on the eastern side of the Sabarmati which runs through
      the city dividing it into two, one representing the past and the
      other the present aspect of the city. On the eastern side is a warren
      of intricately carved pols, temples, mosques and gates; the compounds
      of numerous textile mills that once gave Ahmedabad the tag
      "Manchester of the East"; and Shahibaug, the gardens laid out by Shah
      Jahan when he was viceroy in Gujarat, where Ahmedabad's old money has
      its mansions. On the west bank are modern institutions such as the
      IIM, busy shopping areas and the fast expanding residential areas of
      the upwardly mobile and aspiring middle and upper class.

      Almost all the bombs that comprised Saturday's serial blasts were set
      off on the eastern side of the river. This today is an area of
      crowded markets selling hardware and electronics, chemicals traders
      and neighbourhoods of the genteel, the lower middle class, former
      mill-workers and the poor. The Civil Hospital, also a target, is one
      of the country's oldest and most efficient hospitals, a sprawling
      facility spread over 110 acres with specialists that draw equally
      from the low income groups in the city and prosperous Indians from

      What did those who planted the bombs hope to achieve with their
      attack? Given that a group with Islamic overtones has claimed
      responsibility and that Ahmedabad was the nerve centre of the 2002
      communal violence, probably the worst assault on the Muslim minority
      community in post-independence India, revenge seems a clear motive.
      But the blasts are clearly also part of a larger pattern to
      destabilise Indian cities.

      And India's seventh-largest city is a significant target. Despite a
      dip in the '80s and '90s, the city has come to be the centre of a
      thriving pharmaceutical and chemicals industry. Home to leading
      pharma companies, Zydus Cadila and Torrent, the fast growing Adani
      group, Nirma and a clutch of foreign concerns including Bosch
      Rexroth, the city is also a leading supplier of denim, gems and
      jewellery. Six years ago NASSCOM rated it fifth in a list of most
      attractive destinations for IT-enabled services. In recent years the
      city has expanded and undergone a further makeover with massive
      malls, new hotels, transport and beautification projects and the
      emergence on its outskirts of the Gujarat International Finance Tec
      City (GIFT), a futuristic-looking 27,000 ha finance and business

      In fact, Narendra Modi has staked his reputation on development and
      while reports suggest his growth figures may have been wildly
      inflated, his vision of Ahmedabad as an emerging Singapore has
      fuelled optimism in the state. It is possible that Modi's reluctance
      to upset the city and the state's progress - evidenced in his focus
      on economic growth early in his last election campaign - is the
      reason for his uncharacteristically neutral response to Saturday's
      attacks, unlike his stance after the Godhra incident in 2002. Recent
      hoardings in the city, among other things, also suggest that his
      ambitions have expanded beyond Gujarat. And with an eye to Delhi it
      is possible that he wants to shed his demagogic image and project
      himself as a statesmanlike figure.

      The consequences of anti-minorityism, however, cannot be wished away
      so easily. The last six years have seen no further disturbances in
      Ahmedabad, unusual for a city known for endemic communal violence.
      Yet this calm is a mere veneer and discrimination from Hindus and
      fear among Muslims has driven the latter out of mixed neighbourhoods.

      Migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan form a substantial part of
      these enclaves; they were prominent targets in the 2002 riots. These
      and other victims have rebuilt their lives but still live with
      memories of past horrors and a belief that the state is not
      even-handed in its treatment of its citizens. Religion however is not
      the only grounds of disparity. Moving about the city, it is
      impossible to miss the blatant difference between the gleaming towers
      and lifestyle of the nouveau riche and the proliferating slums of the
      back streets.

      Migration, discrimination and a growing disparity among the rich and
      the poor - these are the features prominently visible in Ahmedabad;
      they are also emerging characteristics of many Indian cities today.
      Suggestions made by intelligence authorities of local involvement in
      the blasts have still to be fully probed but these are possibly some
      issues for policy-makers to address for long-term measures in the
      fight against terrorism.

      Mumbai-based Shah is the author of 'Hype, Hypocrisy and Television in
      Urban India'



      The Economic and Political Weekly
      July 26, 2008


      by Jaya Mehta, Vineet Tiwari

      The "Bharat bandh" of July 3 saw communal violence erupt in Indore,
      with the police either on the sidelines or allegedly conniving in the
      attacks on the minorities. A number of events preceded the flare-up.
      Now fear and insecurity haunt the minority areas.

      In the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu
      Parishad's (VHP) call for an all-India bandh, Indore witnessed
      widespread violence on July 3 and 4, 2008. Eight persons died. (Seven
      of them were Muslims.) Many people were injured and were admitted to
      hospitals in a serious condition. This was just a glimpse of the
      communalist forces active in the town and in Madhya Pradesh (MP).


      Indore has had a glorious past of communal harmony. The Holkar state
      was known for its secular and progressive rule in the region. Indore
      was also a major textile centre in central India. Hindu and Muslim
      labourers worked side by side and the working class culture
      constituted a major bulwark against caste and religious divides.
      However, the mills have closed down. Indore is no longer an
      industrial town. It is now a major business hub and a real estate hot
      spot. Trade union politics has given way to communal politics. The
      working class culture has been replaced by the neorich culture of
      shopping malls.

      The town is flush with loads of unaccounted money. At the same time,
      unemployed youth are available in large numbers for recruitment into
      various activities which characterise the distorted lumpen capitalism
      of our time.

      After the BJP government came to power in the state again in 2003 the
      Hindu right wing organisations geared up their activities on all
      fronts and the local administration supported them. 'Path
      sanchalans'are organised regularly by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
      (RSS) in different parts of the town. All public parks are used for
      morning 'shakhas'. The premise of a girls' college has been taken
      over to build a temple complex. 'Surya namaskar' is compulsory in all
      government schools.

      Communal politics has made deep inroads in the administrative setup
      as well as in the audiovisual and print media. Temples in the
      premises of police stations are a common feature.

      It is in this milieu that activists from the Bajrang Dal and other
      allied organizations have routinely registered their rowdy presence
      at the railway station, at the airport, in hospitals, and of course,
      on the streets. The Christian and Muslim communities have been
      attacked innumerable times. The Muslims retaliate locally. The
      Christians lodge their protests in various secular forums. However,
      the skirmishes occur with greater frequency than before.

      As a background to the violence on July 3 and 4, one needs to mention
      two specific occurrences during the past year.

      (1) Karbala Dispute: Over the last 150 years or so Muslims have been
      using a particular piece of land, the Karbala ground, for their
      three-day long fair of Moharram. This land was given to them in 1890
      by Holkar rulers. They have all the necessary proof regarding legal
      ownership of the land. In 2000, Bajrang Dal, RSS, VHP and BJP
      activists claimed that there was an old Hanuman shrine in the
      ground.A Hanuman idol was installed and they started worshipping
      there every Tuesday.

      The case went to court. In 2006, the court mandated that such
      activity should stop. A huge protest was organised against the ruling
      in April 2006 and the 'aarti' continued. Taking no cognisance of the
      court order, the administration decided that the Hindu organisations
      would be allowed to perform aarti on Tuesdays and the Muslims would
      continue using this ground for the Moharram fair.

      In 2007, Moharram fell on January 30, a Tuesday. The clashes between
      the two communities started 10 days in advance. Muslims were
      humiliated and beaten up mercilessly both by the saffron brigades and
      the police. One old imam in a mosque was beaten up by the police and
      both his legs were fractured.

      On January 30, the administration decided that the Muslims would use
      the ground till 9 pm. After that the ground would be vacated for the
      Hindus to perform the aarti. The Muslims gathered on Karbala ground
      in a large number (about 5-10,000).

      At 9 pm, a small group of Hindus reached there. The collector
      requested the Muslims to vacate the ground. The humiliated mass in
      thousands refused to vacate and were assaulted by the police. The
      Karbala issue has become a ready excuse for starting a confrontation
      at any time. The Hanuman idol is there, the mazaar or the dargaah is
      there in the other corner of the ground. Despite the presence of
      police security, the area is always tense.

      (2) arrest of SImI activists: On March 27, 2008, the Madhya Pradesh
      police made a sensational arrest of 13 Students' Islamic Movement of
      India (SIMI) activists, who included Safdar Nagori, the
      organisation's top leader and Shibly Peedical Abdul, a Kerala born
      computer engineer, sought by the police since 2006. The media
      publicity that these arrests got generated an impression in the town
      that many Muslims in Indore had links with the terrorist
      organisation. A number of innocent people have been harassed by the
      police in this connection.

      The cases were registered in Pithampur, an industrial suburb of
      Indore which belongs to Dhar district. The bar council of Dhar passed
      a resolution that no lawyer would take up the cases of those arrested
      in SIMI connections. When one lawyer came forward to take up the
      cases he was beaten up in the court. In this way, those arrested were
      denied their fundamental right of defence. Incidentally, Dhar has
      also been experiencing communal politics since the Babri demolition.
      The issue of Kamaal Moula masjid and 'Bhojshala' is known to everyone.

      It is against this tense background that one looks at the happenings
      from July 3 onwards.

      Chronology of Events

      The VHP and BJP gave a call to observe the Bharat bandh on July 3 to
      protest against the Jammu and Kashmir government's order revoking the
      transfer of 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board.
      The local leadership of BJP and the allied organisations naturally
      decided to make the bandh a big success. It was an opportunity to
      once again demonstrate their power. As the day broke, the saffron
      activists unleashed a reign of terror determined to stop all routine
      activities and in addition harass Muslims in the town in whatever way
      possible. At around 10 am, the bandh supporters marched in a
      procession and entered the Badwali Chowki, a Muslim dominated area.
      They shouted provocative slogans and misbehaved with local residents.
      There was not enough of a police force to control the hooligans. This
      happened afterwards in other Muslim dominated areas - Ranipura,
      Lodhipura, Mukeripura, Narsinghbazar, etc.

      In Khajrana area, rowdy mobs of 10-15 teenage boys spread out and
      attacked, with hockey sticks, Muslim men and women walking on the
      roads. The victims were poor labourers wanting to go for work. Two
      women were coming home after a funeral. All these people were
      stopped, their religion was ascertained by their looks or by their
      names, and then they were beaten up. The police did not help the
      victims. They were left unattended on the road. When the Muslims went
      to the police station, there were only a few constables present and
      they refused to lodge their complaint. The Muslims then attacked the
      police station. This was sufficient for the police to behave in the
      most brutal manner. The bandh supporters were there in large numbers.
      The local 'patidar' community arrived on the scene with private guns.
      Some ammunition and arms was reportedly with Muslims also. There was
      firing resulting in the loss of three lives. Incidentally, all the
      three were Muslims. In Mukeripura area, when a mob of bandh
      supporters were near a masjid, they shouted provocative slogans.
      There was stone pelting from the rooftop of a building.

      The bandh supporting mob started throwing stones in retaliation. On
      the local television channels one could see that the police stood by
      helpless, unable and unwilling to stop the violence. In all, four
      people died in the violence which erupted in the town on July 3,
      2008. Apart from three Muslims who died in Khajrana, one Sindhi Hindu
      youth died in Mukeripura. Local residents reported that he was
      playing cricket outside his house, when the saffron cadre took him to
      the riot affected area. He died there with head injuries. Police and
      district administration imposed curfew in four areas of the town.

      The next day, on July 4, fresh violence erupted in many other areas
      and in Juna Risala, two lives were lost because of police firing.
      Newspapers say that Muslims coming back from the nearby masjid after
      'namaz' in Juna Risala started throwing stones and petrol bombs. The
      police was thus forced to open fire. However, according to the
      residents in the area the reality was just the opposite. The Muslims
      werecoming back peacefully after the namaz.

      A petrol bomb was thrown on a scooter standing near the masjid. It
      caught fire, the Muslims were agitated. The saffron squads were
      present on the spot. The stone throwing took place from both sides
      and the situation got out of control. The police resorted to teargas
      shells and firing almost simultaneously. The area also has police
      residential quarters. The Muslims threw stones and petrol bombs on
      those houses and people witnessed that there was firing from the roof
      tops and from windows of the police quarters. Two people died in the
      firing (both Muslims). After this, curfew was imposed in the whole

      On July 4, when curfew was imposed in the whole town, a religious
      procession of Venkatesh Mandir was not stopped in the Chhatripura
      area. Some 3,000 people participated in the procession. It is to be
      noted that the procession was taken out in an area, which had
      witnessed rioting and killing just a day before. Sumitra Mahajan a
      Member of Parliament, Mahendra Hardia a legislative assembly member,
      and many other BJP leaders participated in this procession. The
      police and administration found themselves helpless. Kailash
      Vijayvargiya, a minister in the state government, was given the
      responsibility of restoring peace and order. He repeatedly alleged
      that SIMI has been behind this eruption of violence. The director
      general of police reasserted this allegation. When asked to provide
      satisfactory evidence, the press was informed that the police was
      looking for evidence.

      The very next day the Pithampur police recovered four live country
      made bombs, eight detonators and batteries from a mine in the
      vicinity of the Pithampur-Rau bypass. Although the police did not
      explicitly connect the riots with the discovery of bombs and the
      detonator, all the newspapers prominently placed the two news items
      adjacent to each other.

      The curfew continued for five days. Sewa Bharati, an RSS outfit,
      offered help to the curfew affected people by providing them food.
      Along with food, they also distributed copies of a local eveninger,
      which had brought out a special issue on SIMI's activities in Indore.
      At the same time, the Bajrang Dal activists stood outside a hospital
      (Rajeshri Hospital) and did not allow Muslim riot victims to be
      admitted there.

      On July 7, 2008, the BJP leaders took out a peace march in a
      riot-affected area. The implicit message to the minority people was -
      "Look, nothing happened to us and nothing will happen to us. You be
      aware of our strength". The collector and superintendent of police
      (SP) reaffirmed the message. There are hoardings in the town asking
      the union government to take back the Haj facilities from Muslims.
      The Congress leaders came and took the BJP, RSS and district
      administration to task. They addressed the press and raised a big
      protest in the assembly at Bhopal. With the elections approaching,
      the focus will soon shift from providing real justice to the victims
      to collecting votes.

      After five days of curfew the town limped back to normalcy. Like
      Ahmedabad, Indore is also divided into two. The Muslim majority areas
      are simmering with anger and a sense of terrible insecurity. These
      areas are still under police guard. In many households the earning
      members are still not able to resume their work. The other side has
      resumed its normal life. The middle class Hindu community blames the
      Muslims for the disturbance in the town. The Hindu right wing
      activists go on with the refrain that they wanted a peaceful bandh;
      it is because of the noncooperation of Muslim community at large and
      the militancy of SIMI activists that bloodshed occurred.

      Administration and Police

      Both the collector and SP in the town took charge just about a month
      before the violence. The administration was admittedly unprepared for
      the violence which erupted in the wake of the bandh call. The police
      force recruited in the sensitive Muslim majority areas was inadequate
      and did precious little to confront the saffron squads harassing the
      Muslim families.

      On July 4, the Khajrana area was under curfew. The police van arrived
      there on the pretext of guarding the streets under curfew and entered
      the Muslim residential area. Reportedly, the police force went on a
      rampage without any provocation from any quarter. The police threw
      stones at Muslim houses and vehicles parked in the street.

      There is the more serious question of police opening fire at Khajrana
      on July 3 and at Juna Risala on July 4. The Muslims in Juna Risala
      refused to perform the last rites of the dead, till the first
      information reports (FIRs) were lodged against three policemen.
      Reportedly, even though the FIRs have been lodged, no action has been
      taken against them. On the other hand, the bandh supporters demanded
      that the FIRs be taken back. Any action against these policemen would
      bring down the morale of the entire police force<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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