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SACW | Sept 30-Oct 2, 2009 / Tribute to Dr. Faheem Hussain

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    South Asia Citizens Wire | September 30 - October 2, 2009 | Dispatch No. 2656 - Year 12 running From: www.sacw.net [ SACW Dispatches for 2009-2010 are
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      South Asia Citizens Wire | September 30 - October 2, 2009 | Dispatch No. 2656 - Year 12 running
      From: www.sacw.net

      [ SACW Dispatches for 2009-2010 are dedicated to the memory of Dr. Sudarshan Punhani (1933-2009), husband of Professor Tamara Zakon and a comrade and friend of Daya Varma ]

      ____

      [1] Doing the Right Thing in Sri Lanka (Rohini Hensman)
      [2] The Grameen Bank, Micro-credit and the NGO Paradigm in Bangladesh (Lamia Karim)
      [3] Pakistan: Faheem Hussain - As I Knew Him (Pervez Hoodbhoy)
      [4] India: Cycle of State / Non State Violence & Eroding Human Rights
      - Close encounters (Antara Dev Sen)
      - Social activists and innocents are the latest targets in Manipur’s unending cycle of repression (Divya Gupta)
      - Illegal Detentions and Torture Continue in Gujarat: A press release by relatives of victims and by human rights activists
      - Operation Green Hunt, the offensive against Naxals, might blow up in our faces (Shoma Chaudhury)
      - IAF seeks permission to open fire at Maoists
      - Letter from Bombay: Anatomy of a Siege (Marie Brenner)
      [5] India: Resources For Secular Activists
      - Fourth pillar, fifth column (Jawed Naqvi)
      - It's About Choice (Editorial, The Times of India)
      - Political Communalisation of Religions and the Crisis of Secularism (D L Sheth)
      - An Interview with D.R. Goyal
      - Sangh's motorised cow drive before the Assembly elections
      [6] Hawks quarrel over the deadliness of India's nuclear bomb:
      - Cry for India (Editorial, The Economic and Political Weekly)
      - A New Nuclear Debate in India (J. Sri Raman)
      [7]  Announcements:
      (A) “Delhi Rally” Program - National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (New Delhi, 2 October 2009)
      (B) Dr Faheem Hussain's memorial (Lahore, 4 October 2009)
      (C) Daniel Pearl Awards for cross-border investigative journalism

      _____


      [1] Sri Lanka

      http://www.sacw.net/article1159.html

      DOING THE RIGHT THING IN SRI LANKA

      by Rohini Hensman

      Freedom for Vanni Internally Displaced Persons

      It was a relief to hear that the government of Sri Lanka was at last responding to mounting domestic and international criticism, and had begun releasing the Vanni IDPs. Perhaps the shocking report in the Sunday Times on 6 September about human trafficking at the internment camps was partly responsible. An exemplary piece of investigative journalism, it revealed that up to 20,000 IDPs had been ransomed by desperate relatives who were able and willing to pay lakhs of rupees to secure their release, and had left the camps. This exposes so-called ‘screening’ for what it is: a cover for a lucrative flesh trade, carried out with the collusion of elements in the government and armed forces who get a cut out of it. It also explains why the camp authorities refused to release a one-year-old child to leave with its grandmother, in a case cited by V. Anandasangaree of the Tamil United Liberation Front: since an infant could hardly be suspected of being a dreaded LTTE terrorist, the reason was surely that a ransom had not been paid.

      One would have to be naïve indeed to believe that those who have been ransomed are ‘innocent’ while those who remain are more likely to be LTTE cadres. On the contrary, anyone in the camps who had any value for the LTTE diaspora would certainly have escaped by now. Conversely, we can be sure that the unfortunate souls left rotting in these camps are of no interest to whatever remains of the LTTE. They are the victims, not perpetrators, of crimes. The UN too seems to have woken up to the fact that by funding these camps it is colluding, willy-nilly, in a crime against humanity â€" the denial of liberty and other fundamental human rights to a civilian population â€" and has made it clear that it cannot continue doing so much longer. UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe reiterated the demand that the Vanni IDPs should be granted freedom of movement during his recent visit.

      While we welcome the government’s announcement that it is willing to release IDPs from the camps to relatives willing to house them, it is a matter of concern that even while President Rajapaksa was telling Mr Pascoe that the reason so few IDPs had been released to live with their relatives was because there were so few applications, the GA of Vavuniya was refusing to release IDPs to their relatives! This suggests that ransoms are still being demanded, and IDPs unable to pay them are not being released. The condition that IDPs should be released only to relatives makes sense for unaccompanied children, but why can’t adults go and live in rented accommodation instead of staying with relatives if they so choose?

      Furthermore, the whole farce of ‘screening’, which has been dragged on for more than four months, should be stopped. The best proof that the LTTE is no longer a threat in Sri Lanka is the release of top LTTE cadres Daya Master and George Master, who were with Prabakaran almost to the very end. Would the authorities have released them on bail if there were any danger from the LTTE? Hardly. If they can be released, why are lakhs of innocent civilians being detained? Did the President avoid the UN General Assembly because he was unable to answer this question?

      Release should not be confused with resettlement. IDPs who wish to go and live outside the camps should be free to do so. Those who wish to remain in the camps until their original habitats are de-mined and reconstructed should be allowed to remain, but should be free to move in and out of the camps instead of being imprisoned in them as they are now, and free to leave permanently as and when they wish. The only condition attached should be that they inform the international and local agencies which are providing for them whenever they leave for good, to make it clear that there is no need to feed them any longer. The resources freed by their departure could be used to speed up de-mining and reconstruction in the war-devastated areas, and will undoubtedly improve conditions for those who choose to remain in the camps. The release of all the Vanni IDPs would end this shameful chapter in Sri Lanka’s history.

      Resettlement

      Pressure on the government to ensure speedy resettlement of all IDPs should also be kept up. This should include not only IDPs who fled the recent fighting but also those who were displaced earlier, including Muslims displaced in 1990. Citizens’ committees would need to be set up to deal with problems, such as those which occur where others are living in the homes of displaced people who wish to return. It will not be easy, but with goodwill, these problems can be resolved, and the sooner the better. All those who want to return to their original homes should be accommodated, if not in their original homes, at least in the neighbourhood, or in some other place of their choice. This is the only way to reverse the ethnic cleansing drives carried out by both the state and the LTTE, and rebuild integrated communities.

      An unnecessary obstacle to resettlement is created by the government’s designation of some of the areas from which people have been displaced as ‘High Security Zones’ (HSZs), some of which double as ‘Special Economic Zones’(!). Earlier attempts to dismantle these were stalled by the argument that they were necessary so long as the LTTE had not been disarmed. Now that the LTTE has definitively been disarmed, they serve no justifiable purpose. The only way their persistence can be explained is as a form of ethnic cleansing, since in practically every case, the people displaced by them are Tamils and Muslims. A good example is Sampur in the East, where the inhabitants were driven out by shelling and are now being denied the right to return, while India colludes in this ethnic cleansing by undertaking to build a coal-fired power plant on their land. The process of resettlement cannot be regarded as complete until people displaced by HSZs have also been granted the right of return. But, some people argue, the LTTE is still a threat, and therefore we need to retain the HSZs, along with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency provisions. Is this true?

      Is the War Over? Or Was the President Lying?

      Back in May, President Rajapaksa gave a speech in which he claimed that ’our Motherland has been completely freed from the clutches of separatist terrorism’. He spoke of ‘the proud victory we have achieved today by defeating the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization’ and ‘the defeat of the LTTE and the breakdown of their armed strength’. There was no ambiguity about his words: he told us that the war was over, the LTTE defeated, their armed strength broken down. On this understanding, there were widespread celebrations, and the President gained enormous popularity.

      There is no reason to suppose that the President was lying. Yet in August a senior government official was reported as saying that the LTTE was still capable of reorganising in Sri Lanka, and in September IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne reiterated that the threat of the Tamil Tigers is still alive in Sri Lanka, and they have not been completely defeated. On the face of it, these people were implying that the President was a liar when he said that Sri Lanka had been completely freed from separatist terrorism, and a fraud for claiming credit for the defeat of the LTTE. So why does the President tolerate such insults from his underlings?

      The reason seems to be that the government is caught in the same trap of war-dependence which was the downfall of the LTTE. A war justifies repressive measures that would never be acceptable in peacetime, and the LTTE would have been unable to function without these. That is why it broke one ceasefire after another, let slip one opportunity after another to negotiate a just peace. But this had a disastrous effect on its support base. With all due respect to the soldiers who risked and lost their lives in the war, their courage alone would not have brought about the defeat of the LTTE. The Israeli armed forces are many times stronger than the Sri Lankan military, and the Palestinians’ arsenal is pathetic by comparison with that of the LTTE, yet the Palestinian resistance has survived for over sixty years. That is because it has the support of the people: precisely what the LTTE lost due to its dependence on war.

      The last straw appears to have been the peace process which began in 2002. It ushered in an unprecedentedly long cessation of hostilities, and made it clearer than ever that the LTTE was incapable of handling peace. I was among those who criticised the 2002 CFA for allowing the LTTE a free hand to kill Tamil dissidents, conscript children and prepare for war, but in retrospect, I can see that it also served a positive purpose. Karuna’s defection was only the visible tip of a vast iceberg of discontent, as Tamil people who had hoped the LTTE would deliver them from fear, humiliation and violence realised that it offered them only more of the same. Their disillusionment and consequent withdrawal of support allowed the state to defeat the LTTE.

      Now the Rakapaksa regime faces the same dilemma that Prabakaran faced earlier: if the war is over, how can it justify the measures that give absolute and unaccountable power to the state? So it has to invent an ’LTTE threat’ in order to continue with policies that would be unacceptable in peacetime. But the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka are not fools. They will realise, like the Tamil people before them, that this ‘threat’ is simply being concocted to justify disastrous economic and political choices. With all the fire and brimstone directed against foreign-funded NGOs, it is amusing to note that Sri Lanka now has a government that is dependent on foreign funding. The Ministry of Finance and Planning reported in August 2008 that the national debt stood at over 3 trillion rupees, with 1.39 trillion being foreign debt. The IMF loan eased the immediate problem, but at the cost of getting the country deeper in debt: in other words, it can repay its debts only by expanding them, placing an ever greater burden on the people. If the EU GSP+ facility is lost, the economy will plunge even deeper in the red. In this context, detaining lakhs of civilians and expanding the armed forces constitute unnecessary and ruinous expenditures.

      The social and political costs are equally huge. Horrific reports of police brutality, including the murder of two boys, Dhanushka Aponso and Dinesh Fernando, at Angulana and the abduction and torture of student Nipuna Ramanayake by SSP Vaas Gunawardene and other officers of the Colombo Crime Division, are reminiscent of the murders of the schoolboys of Embilipitiya, and result from the same conditions: rampant impunity for crimes committed by politicians in power, the state security forces and the police. This impunity, in turn, is fostered by the suspension of the rule of law resulting from the PTA and Emergency Regulations, which can only be justified by claiming that the LTTE is still a threat.

      The only way to reverse the degradation of Sri Lanka’s economy and polity is to acknowledge that the war is over and take the appropriate measures: release all the Vanni IDPs immediately, slash military spending, dismantle the paramilitaries, redeploy demobilised soldiers to civilian reconstruction tasks, replace military and ex-military administrators with civilian ones, dismantle the HSZs, resettle all displaced civilians including those displaced by HSZs, repeal the PTA and Emergency Regulations, restore democratic rights, especially to freedom of expression, and release J.S. Tissainayagam and others incarcerated for exercising this right. The best way to ensure that Sri Lanka retains its EU GSP+ facility is to do the right thing, failing which, the government must take full responsibility for the loss of jobs and revenue.


      _____



      [2] Bangladesh:

      sacw.net,12 September 2009

      THE GRAMEEN BANK, MICRO-CREDIT AND THE NGO PARADIGM IN BANGLADESH

      by Lamia Karim

      This article is an abbreviation of a longer article that appeared in Cultural Dynamics, 20(1); 5-29, 2008 entitled "Demystifying Microcredit: The Grameen Bank, NGOs and Neoliberalism in Bangladesh."

      In this paper, I argue that the developmental NGO is the purveyor of a new economic sovereignty that is represented by corporate capital interests and local institutional interests (NGOs), and is an architect of neoliberalism within a modernist developmental discourse of poor women’s empowerment through the market. Focusing on the micro-credit policies of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and three other leading non-governmental organizations in the country, I analyze the centrality of gender in the expansion of globalization and neoliberalism in Bangladesh.1 I examine how Bangladeshi rural women’s honor and shame are instrumentally appropriated by micro-credit NGOs in the welfare of their capitalist interests. I analyze this relationship between rural women and NGOs by placing it within the economy of shame, a concept I explain later.

      Full Text at: http://www.sacw.net/article1100.html

      _____


      [3] Pakistan:

      (i)

      http://www.sacw.net/article1158.html

      FAHEEM HUSSAIN - AS I KNEW HIM

      by Pervez Hoodbhoy (1 October 2009 )

      It was mid-October 1973 when, after a grueling 26-hour train ride from Karachi, I reached the physics department of Islamabad University (or Quaid-e-Azam University, as it is now known). As I dumped my luggage and "hold-all" in front of the chairman’s office, a tall, handsome man with twinkling eyes looked at me curiously. He was wearing a bright orange Che Guevara t-shirt and shocking green pants. His long beard, though shorter than mine, was just as unruly and unkempt. We struck up a conversation. At 23, I had just graduated from MIT and was to be a lecturer in the department; he had already been teaching as associate professor for five years. The conversation turned out to be the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Together with Abdul Hameed Nayyar - also bearded at the time - we became known as the Sufis of Physics. Thirty six years later, when Faheem Hussain lost his battle against prostate cancer, our sadness was beyond measure.

      Revolutionary, humanist, and scientist, Faheem Hussain embodied the political and social ferment of the late 1960’s. With a Ph.D that he received in 1966 from Imperial College London, he had been well-placed for a solid career anywhere in the world. In a profession where names matter, he had worked under the famous P.T. Mathews in the group headed by the even better known Abdus Salam. After his degree, Faheem spent two years at the University of Chicago. This gave him a chance to work with some of the world’s best physicists, but also brought him into contact with the American anti-Vietnam war movement and a powerful wave of revolutionary Marxist thinking. Even decades later, Faheem would describe himself as an "unreconstructed Marxist". Participating in the mass anti-war demonstrations at UC had stirred his moral soul; he felt the urge to do more than just physics. Now married to Jane Steinfels, a like-minded soul who he met in Chicago, Faheem decided to return to Pakistan.

      Faheem and Jane made an amazing couple. Fully immersed in the outstanding causes of the times, they seemed to have a limitless amount of revolutionary energy. Long before I knew them, they had been protesting against the Pakistan Army’s actions in East Pakistan. As Faheem would recount, this was a lonely fight. Many Marxists in those times, inspired by Mao’s China, chose to understand the issue in geopolitical terms rather than as a popular struggle for independence. Some leftists ended up supporting the army’s mass murder of Bengalis.

      With Bangladesh now a reality, things moved on. Bhutto’s rhetoric of socialism and justice for the poor had inspired nascent trade union movements to sprout across Pakistan’s cities. Many, however, quickly turned into organizations for labour control rather than emancipation. There were genuinely independent ones too, such as the Peoples Labour Federation (PLF), an independent Rawalpindi based trade union that saw through Bhutto’s shallow rhetoric. In the early 1970’s, Faheem and Jane were highly influential in this organization, sometimes providing security and cover to its hunted leadership. Iqbal Bali, who passed away in the middle of this year, would vividly recount those days.

      Very soon, I joined the small group of leftwing activists that looked up to this couple for instruction and guidance. We formed study groups operating under the PLF, both for self-education and for spreading the message through small study groups of industrial workers. Some, including myself, branched out further, working in distant villages. Gathering material support for the Baloch nationalists, who were fighting an army rejuvenated by Bhutto, was yet another goal for the group. The dream was to bring about a socialist revolution in Pakistan.

      All this crashed to an end with Bhutto’s death by hanging in 1979 and the subsequent consolidation of General Zia-ul-Haq’s coup. Pakistan’s Dark Age had just begun. Although Bhutto’s regime had turned repressive and violent in its last desperate days, it was gentle in comparison with what was to follow. With dissent savagely muzzled, the only option was to operate underground. On 3 November 1981, three of our QAU colleagues and friends were caught, imprisoned, and savaged by the military regime. Jamil Omar, a lecturer in computer science and the "ring leader" - was tortured. Two others - Tariq Ahsan and Mohammed Salim - were also imprisoned and their careers destroyed. Their crime was involvement in the secret publication of "Jamhoori Pakistan", a 4-page newsletter that demanded return to democracy and the end of army rule. A triumphant Zia-ul-Haq went on Pakistan Television, congratulated the men who had succeeded in arresting the teachers, and pledged to "eliminate the cancer of politics" from Quaid-e-Azam University.

      Although Faheem was not directly involved in "Jamhoori Pakistan", we knew he was being closely watched by the intelligence and could have chosen to hide. Instead, with characteristic fearlessness, he did all that was possible to help locate the abducted teachers, and then to secure their release. Tariq Ahsan wrote to me from Canada that "His solidarity during those long years was an invaluable source of support for our families and friends."

      But the struggle took its toll. By the mid 1980’s, Faheem was in the doldrums. Situated in an academically barren environment, he was able to publish little research of worth. Politically, there was no chance of doing anything significant in the climate of repression. Things had gone downhill in personal terms as well - his marriage with Jane was coming apart. To the great sorrow of their friends, the couple parted ways and Jane returned to America. Encouraged by Faheem, she had written school books on Pakistani history that are still sold and used today. In 1989, Faheem left QAU formally but his involvement in academic and political matters had already dropped off in the year or two before that.

      From this low point in his life, Faheem struggled upwards. Initially in Germany, and then elsewhere later, he now concentrated solely upon his profession and was able to learn an impressive amount of new physics. Professor Abdus Salam, who by now had received a Nobel Prize for his work, invited Faheem to become a permanent member of the theoretical physics group at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy. Faheem remained there until his retirement in 2004. Getting this position was no mean achievement: theoretical physics is a fiercely competitive and notoriously difficult subject. Faheem was the first Pakistani to publish a research paper in one of its most challenging areas - superstring theory.

      With a cheerful and positive disposition, and an abiding concern for the welfare of others, Faheem quickly became popular at the ICTP. His laughter would resonate in the institute’s corridors. With time, he took on administrative responsibilities as well and was instrumental in setting up a "Diploma Programme" that admits students from third world countries for advanced studies in various areas. Now married to Sara, a beautiful and even-tempered Italian woman, he was equally comfortable with Italians and Pakistanis or, for that matter, Indians. To Faheem, a cultural amphibian, differences between nations carried no meaning.

      And then came retirement time. What to do? I wrote to Faheem: come back! He agreed. Finding money was not a problem - Pakistan’s higher education was experiencing a budgetary boom. But his old university, plagued by base rivalries and a contemptuous disdain for learning, refused. Specious arguments were given to prevent one of its own founding members, now one of Pakistan’s most distinguished and active physicists, from being taken on the faculty. Initially at the National Centre for Physics in Islamabad, Faheem was eventually offered a position at the newly established science faculty of LUMS in Lahore.

      Faheem’s unpretentious mannerisms and gentleness of spirit ensured that LUMS too was enamored of him. Asad Naqvi, one of Pakistan’s leading physicists and a faculty member at LUMS, wrote to me upon hearing of Faheem’s death: "I am lost after hearing this. I only knew him for about 5 years, and in that short time, I had grown really fond of him. We are all poorer today, having lost such a lovely person who touched us so deeply."

      Surely, there shall be many other such tributes from Faheem’s many friends. But, to be true to him as well as my own self, I must admit that in later years we did disagree on some important things - "unreconstructed Marxism" to me is an anachronism, a relic of the 1960’s and still earlier, meaningless in a world that has become far more complex than Marx could have possibly imagined. Nor can I reflexively support today’s so-called "anti-imperialism" of the left that ends up supporting the forces of regressive fundamentalism. But let these issues stand wherever they do. Why is it necessary for friends to agree upon everything?

      From atoms to atoms - death is inevitable, the final victory of entropy over order. Meaningless? No! To have lived a full life, to have experienced its richness, to have struggled not just for one-self but for others as well, and to have earned the respect and love of those around you. That is a life worth living for. Faheem, my friend, you are gone. May you now rest in peace, with a job well done.

      _____


      [4] India: State and Non State Violence and Eroding Human Rights


      Deccan Herald
      1 October 2009

      CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

      by Antara Dev Sen

      The Centre has now filed an affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan killing to support her mother’s call for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry. And to counter the claim of the Gujarat government that, in gunning down the teenaged student and her friends in 2004, it had acted on the advice of the Centre. But you said they were Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) terrorists, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government to the Congress-led Centre.

      We merely talked of a tip off, said the Centre. The affidavit, said home minister P. Chidambaram, “did not give a licence to the state government to kill innocent people”.
      Curiously, instead of focusing on the illegal and immoral act of staging an encounter, the debate now seems to be centered around whether or not the youngsters were terrorists. “The LeT’s official website has claimed that all four were their agents, then why is the Government of India trying to prove the contrary?” argued BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Adding, “It seems the institution of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is under threat”.
      Sadly, the danger is far greater. It is not the IB, or any particular government or any political party, but the very idea of democracy that is under threat. By sidestepping the main issue of individual freedoms and right to life and offering full-throated non-arguments about “terrorists”, we are hitting at the very foundation of our democratic state. Whether the victim of an extra-judicial killing deserved to be killed or not is not the point. In a democratic state we need accountability and fair treatment. Without which we cannot hope for justice.
      Ishrat’s case was a fake encounter, ruled Gujarat Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang. It appears that Ishrat Jahan, 19, Javed Ghulam Sheikh, 19, Amjad Ali, 25, and Jisan Johar, 17, were not linked to any terror group and were killed in cold blood by the state.
      The Gujarat police kidnapped them from Mumbai, brought them to Ahmedabad, murdered them in custody, lined up their bodies on the streets at night, planted weapons on them and pretended they were Pakistan-supported LeT terrorists who had come to kill Narendra Modi. The fiendish cops were led by D.G. Vanzara, then DIG (now in jail for faking the “encounter” killing of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi) and his deputy N.K. Amin, along with several other top police officers including then Ahmedabad police commissioner K.R. Kaushik and the then chief of the Crime Branch, P.P. Pandey.
      And what are we, the people with a voice, the students, the media, the aam janata that keeps democracy in motion doing about such calculated murders? What do we do when we see justice being thrown out of the ring as politicians wrestle with mob sentiments and twisted reasoning, much like the monstrous men in a WWF wrestling match? We cheer them on. They play to the gallery and we, the gallery, play along.
      Because it is the laziest thing to do. It’s easy for us to accept victims of encounters as terrorists and to support their murder. We skip all the steps between an “encounter killing” and its justification. First, was it a real encounter or a staged killing? Second, if real, was killing the only option? Third, was the victim a truly dangerous criminal or armed terrorist? And finally, did the victim really deserve to die? There could be several more steps between the killing and the justification, but that doesn’t concern us.
      We ignore the process and base our support on assumptions. Here’s our lazy logic. First, the victim was an armed terrorist. Second, he must die to make us safe. Third, the police killed him to protect us. Finally, the police must be hailed as heroes. This social sanction allows the police to get away with murder.
      Exactly a year ago, we saw the “encounter” at Batla House near Delhi’s Jamia Millia University that killed two youngsters. Encounter specialist M.C. Sharma was killed in the incident, apparently shot by the “terrorists”. The media served up the police version almost verbatim, hailing the heroic Sharma as a braveheart killed by “terrorists”, zealously demanding bravery awards for the hero and denouncing the boys killed and captured by the cops. The boys, some of them students at Jamia, were from Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, which the media promptly renamed Atankgarh (terror-fort). And except for a couple of notable exceptions, made no attempt to probe the holes in the police theory. The boys were presumed guilty, thus their killing was justified and their assumed killer made the superhero. Never mind that Sharma had been in fake encounters before, like the one at Ansal Plaza where two people were murdered and passed off as Pakistani terrorists â€" in fact as members of the LeT, like Ishrat and friends.
      The police do seem to have this nasty habit of killing Muslims and passing them off as Pakistani terrorists. But if you thought not being a Muslim protected you from such “encounters”, think again. They could pretend you were an armed criminal. Like they did with Ranbir Singh, 24, the management student killed in Dehradun in August. Or they could pretend you were linked to extremists, like they did when they killed Chungkham Sanjit and the young and pregnant Rabina in Imphal in July. It’s easy to get away with murder in Manipur, like elsewhere in the neglected Northeast. The security forces, with their special impunity in the troubled states, can murder, rape and torture at will.
      And that is a power they are willing to share in Naxalite-dominated regions. Vigilante groups armed and empowered by the state are joining in these extra-judicial killings while we sigh about the “Naxal menace”. There are thousands of encounter killings around the country, from Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat to Chhattisgarh and Assam, and we support it all out of sheer laziness. Some of those killed may be Naxals, some may even be terrorists. But most are not. The point is not whether the victims were innocent or culpable. But whether they got justice. That’s the only way to protect our human rights.
      Due process of law, which is tossed aside through security measures like encounter killings and tough terror laws, must be respected if we are to keep ourselves and our democracy safe. We must stop supporting instant justice by the police. Because we cannot be a nation of lynch mobs. And finally it is fair procedure â€" and not murderous cops â€" that protects us and all that our nation stands for.

      * Antara Dev Sen is editor of The Little Magazine.

      o o o

      manipur crackdown: Aftershocks Of A Daylight Murder
      Social activists and innocents are the latest targets in Manipur’s unending cycle of repression.
      by Divya Gupta (Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 40, Dated October 10, 2009)
      http://www.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=cr101009aftershocks_of.asp

      o o o

      Illegal Detentions and Torture Continue in Gujarat: A press release by relatives of victims and by human rights activists
      http://www.sacw.net/article1157.html

      Weapons Of Mass Desperation:
      Operation Green Hunt, the offensive against Naxals, might blow up in our faces.
      by Shoma Chaudhury (Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 39, Dated October 03, 2009)
      http://www.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=Ne031009coverstory.asp

      IAF seeks permission to open fire at Maoists
      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/IAF-seeks-permission-to-open-fire-at-Maoists/articleshow/5077761.cms

      o o o

      Letter from Bombay: Anatomy of a Siege
      by Marie Brenner (Vanity Fair, November 2009)
      http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/11/taj-hotel-siege-200911?printable=true


      _____


      [5] India - Resources For Secular Activists :

      (i)  

      Dawn, 01 Oct, 2009

      FOURTH PILLAR, FIFTH COLUMN

      by Jawed Naqvi

      A healthy trend is perceptible in Pakistani journalism of late to question the ISI’s role in and hold over the fate of the country. In India though institutions such as RAW and IB are still largely treated as holy cows and remain undiscussed and uncritiqued.â€"AP/File Photo

      QUEEN Victoria cancelled her £500 subscription with a leading British wire agency for giving spurious intelligence in the Crimean War.

      Kim Philby worked as a journalist both before and after becoming a spy for Britain, even as he earned part of his keep from Moscow.

      In an era of embedded journalism the collusion between spies and journalists has not vanished; it has, in fact, become legitimate. An American reporter single-handedly created the much-needed mythology against Saddam Hussein to legitimise the US invasion of Iraq and of its subsequent occupation.

      Assassins too have posed as journalists. Rajiv Gandhi and Ahmed Shah Masood were victims of killers who found access to their quarries with the help of accreditation cards. Iranian leader Ali Khamenei lost a hand to a bomb hidden in a journalist’s tape recorder. Last week, plainclothes policemen pretending to be journalists trapped an alleged Maoist leader in West Bengal. A few have expressed anguish over this underhand method of catching a fugitive since it undermines the credibility of the media. The problem is more entrenched.

      It is tempting to suspect Pakistani journalists who scream inanities about India on television and in newspapers as being influenced or at least encouraged by the espionage agency there. The same suspicion is legitimately aroused when Indian journalists rant, almost always on cue, against Pakistan. They equally quickly shut up when the prompt is given to do so.

      In the Orwellian nightmare the brainwashed sheep chant ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ at the start of their revolution against man’s exploitation of fellow animals. After the revolution dissipates and animal icons acquire the mannerisms of their foe â€" man â€" the sheep switch to chanting ‘two legs good, four legs bad’. In the Murdochian nightmare of today no need is felt to change the sheep’s tune. It is far easier to change the subject and the headline.

      Journalists who struggle to remain upright against the daily body blows to their profession are, therefore, truly courageous. I eagerly await a matching triumph of journalism from an Indian TV channel to its Pakistani counterparts who frontally took on their state and the government recently to establish a vital fact.

      The Pakistanis defied their oft-lethal establishment to prove to the world that the sole living terrorist from the Mumbai massacre was indeed their own fellow citizen. The family of Ajmal Kasab was skilfully brought into the frame to defy Islamabad’s fiat, which had initially decried claims of Kasab’s Pakistani citizenship.

      The Tehelka exposés of shady defence deals and more recently of fascistic methods of carrying out religious massacres could be considered India’s contribution to courageous journalism.

      It is not easy to take on the might of the state, of course, which includes the police, the army, the judiciary and lawmakers among its key props. Increasingly, business houses are becoming important ancillaries of the state. Government officials and ministers are fired or appointed at their bidding.

      American journalism has been more robust in several crucial ways than many others in exploiting the chinks in the armour of the secretive state. The CIA, the FBI and other state outfits are, wherever possible, kept accountable to the people by the legislature. They are kept subjected to incessant media scrutiny too. A healthy trend is perceptible in Pakistani journalism of late to question the ISI’s role in and hold over the fate of the country. In India though institutions such as RAW and IB are still largely treated as holy cows and remain undiscussed and uncritiqued.

      It is another matter that one or two former officers from these outfits chose to vent their anguish at the state of play through autobiographical books. Maloy Krishna Dhar’s account of his days as the additional chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) is noteworthy.

      In his survey of the Mumbai bombings of 1993 he reveals a few interesting facts, which may be of particular use to journalists. He describes how he infiltrated the underworld led by Dawood Ibrahim to track people and maritime landing points involved in the act of terror.

      ‘I kept the director (of IB) informed, without going through the official channel of the Bombay unit of the IB,’ he writes in his book Open Secrets: India’s Intelligence Unveiled. ‘I was, in fact, freelancing in Bombay at my own risk, as a journalist from a reputed English daily. I had in my possession at least three faked identity cards of the leading papers, and one identity card of a TV channel. Obviously, our boys in the technical wing of the IB had manufactured these.’

      Dhar openly confessed to his sympathy with the Hindu right. He names senior RSS leaders as his personal friends whose homes he would visit for discussions and meals. He says he was opposed to the demolition of the Babri mosque, however, lest he is accused of approving an illegal act.

      In this strange mélange between journalism and intelligence, laced with a particularly insidious religio-nationalist ideology, Dhar says the second person he contacted during that assignment in Mumbai was Dhirubhai Ambani, the late billionaire tycoon.

      ‘Ambani was amazed to see a comparatively junior officer approaching him on mundane matters like opening the roadblock to my meeting with Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena supremo, Keshu Bhai Patel, the BJP leader from Gujarat and Chhabil Das Mehta, the chief minister of Gujarat.’

      Ambani was ‘acclimatised to the officials in Delhi in matters of money, business and transactions,’ Dhar notes encouragingly. ‘To my amazement the much adored and vilified tycoon was more than cooperative. I found him to be highly patriotic and concerned about the stability of the western region of the country where most of his major ventures were located.’

      Bal Thackeray ‘minus his standard behavioural peculiarities’ received Dhar well. Thackeray introduced Dhar to members of ‘XXX Rajan and YYY Gawli’ gangs. These men drove him ‘to the deeper niches of the Bombay underworld’. There he met people who knew of certain youths who had gone to Pakistan for subversive training.

      It is not clear whether Dhar met the underworld in his avatar as a journalist or as a sleuth. He says he was ‘impressed’ by Bal Thackeray’s ‘firm commitment to narrow Maharashtrian cause, Hindu nationalism and his sway over sizeable sections of the underworld and organised groups of criminals. However, I did not like tinges of intolerance in him’.

      Dhar may not be alone â€" as a sleuth or as a journalist â€" in his affection for the religious right. There is a certain gentleman from the Indian army intelligence being currently investigated for plotting bomb blasts to trigger communal violence. Indian journalists â€" once a true blue fourth pillar of its democracy â€" are heirs to a lofty tradition started by Gandhi and Nehru. They are best equipped to confront the fifth column within.

      The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.

      o o o

      (ii)

      The Times of India
      23 September 2009

      EDITORIAL : IT'S ABOUT CHOICE

      What could cause the Darul Uloom Deoband and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind to join forces with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad? Answer: homosexuality, which according to all of the above should be severely punished by the law. Sikh and Christian bodies are also negative about repealing the parts of Section 377 which criminalise homosexuality. Joining them is a motley group of godmen, astrologers, politicians and now even a child rights group, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

      Such a grand alliance is bound to make any move to decriminalise homosexuality a political hot potato, even if that is what the Indian Constitution's guarantee of equal rights to all citizens demands. Not surprisingly the Union cabinet played safe and lobbed the ball back to the Supreme Court, when asked for the government's position on whether gay sex ought to be legalised or not, following landmark legislation by the Delhi high court which declared much of Section 377 unconstitutional.

      When India, in general, is keen to protect minorities of all sorts, what is it about this particular minority the homosexual community that presents seemingly intractable problems? It's that homosexuals snap the bond between sex and procreation, invoking the spectre of individual pleasure that exceeds any collective, utilitarian ethic.

      The interesting thing about Section 377 is that it outlaws not just homosexual behaviour, but most forms of heterosexual activity that even lawfully married couples engage in. The only kind the law permits is that with direct procreative potential. Canute-like, Section 377 attempts to lock sex into a utilitarian grid.

      Historically, most societies have sought utilitarian control over sex. Religions, especially proselytising ones, would like to multiply their numbers. Thus the biblical injunction to go forth and multiply. Socialism enforces an all-embracing altruism. According to its calculus individual pleasure can open the floodgates to selfish bourgeois vices. That's why most communist countries brutally suppressed homosexuality. Ditto for fascist states. Authoritarian societies, in general, tend to see homosexuality as disruptive of social order and cohesion, a quality they prize above anything else.

      Early industrial capitalism, too, would like to expand the labour force to multiply production and profits. That gives it an interest in encouraging procreative heterosexual behaviour and driving homosexuality underground. It's only in late 20th century, post-industrial capitalism predicated on consumption as much as it is on production that the equation begins to shift. With the modern consumer, individual pleasure matters and choice comes into play. Procreation and perpetuation of race/religion/society/nation aren't everything. Add to that the green imperatives of the early 21st century, and growing populations with expanding ecological footprints even begin to look menacing.

      The principle of choice can also extend to sexual lifestyles. Homosexual activity has been around for ages. But the notion of 'lifestyle', a peg on which one hangs one's very identity, emerges only under modern consumer capitalism. One can 'consume' alternate sexualities. In that context the emergence of sexual minorities is a marker of ongoing globalisation. It's no accident that with liberalising and globalising tendencies washing up on Indian shores, the question of gay rights has come to the fore as well.

      Take the gay pride parades which are being held in more and more Indian cities, reaching Bhubaneswar and Chennai this year. The annual parades are held in sync with similar events in cities across the world, and commemorate the Stonewall riots that took place in New York's Greenwich village in 1969. On June 27 of that year police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the area. While such raids had been routine, on that occasion the crowds fought back and the neighbourhood erupted in riots and protests for the next few days. That event sparked the worldwide gay liberation movement. No wonder that Bhim Singh of the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers' Party describes the movement to legalise homosexuality as an "American invasion".

      It's the 1960s that mark the shift to post-industrial capitalism, spurred by the global communications revolution which began that decade (causing Marshall McLuhan to quip, famously, that electronic technology was contracting the world into a "global village"). According to social thinker Anthony Giddens the communications revolution dating from the 1960s ushered in a more radical and thoroughgoing modernity than that of the Enlightenment, touching the core of private life and incorporating what he calls 'emotional democracy'. This is associated with the rise of new social movements that emphasise life politics (to do with private life) rather than emancipatory politics (to do only with public institutions).

      When Vikram Seth and others wrote an open letter addressing the government and judiciary, urging the overturning of Section 377 which "punitively criminalises romantic love and private, consensual sexual acts", quite apart from the utilitarian value of combating HIV/AIDS, it's also the private rights of the citizen that they are concerned to defend. It's time for the state to treat Indian citizens as adults, moving away from the patron-client relationship preferred by our political and bureaucratic elites.


      o o o

      (iii)

      POLITICAL COMMUNALISATION OF RELIGIONS AND THE CRISIS OF SECULARISM
      in: The Economic and Political Weekly,September 26 - October 02, 2009

      by D L Sheth

      The Indian state has managed the asymmetrical relationships in a hierarchical, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society by redefining, institutionally and legally, the relationship among communities, and between them and the state in the terms of secularism. This recognised the basic rights of individuals as citizens and their collectively held cultural rights as members of communities. However, this framework has now been replaced by a new form of pluralist discourse that totalises interests and community identities, and this has resulted in a battle between majoritarian and minoritarian communalism. The Congress-led coalition’s victory in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll has given it a second chance after 2004 to restore the secularisation process by shifting the focus of the development discourse from communality to the backwardness of groups, which has remained submerged within every community of faith.

      Full Text at: http://www.epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/13967.pdf

      o o o

      (iv)

      AN INTERVIEW WITH D.R. GOYAL
      Frontline, Vol:26 Iss:19, Sep. 12-25, 2009
      http://www.flonnet.com/fl2619/stories/20090925261912000.htm

      o o o

      (v) SANGH'S MOTORISED COW DRIVE BEFORE THE ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
      http://tt.ly/2W

      _____


      [6] India: Quarrel Over the Deadliness of the Nuclear Bomb


      The Economic and Political Weekly
      September 26, 2009

      EDITORIAL : CRY FOR INDIA

      What does it say about us when our policymakers squabble about the deadliness of a nuclear bomb?

      Pity our bomb makers. They have the difficult job of deciding if one of the devices they tested under the sands of Pokhran in 1998 could be good enough for a thermonuclear bomb that has the power to murder a few million people or if it can murder only a few hundred thousands. (To "murder" is surely the appropriate word to describe the use of a nuclear weapon.) The squabble, in which our bomb makers have descended to calling each other names, could have been dismissed as a ridiculous turf war if only it had not been about something as horrific as the potency of a nuclear bomb. Everyone from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh onwards has deemed it important enough to have a say on the "yield" of the thermonuclear device tested on 11 May 1998. Pity then the issues of bread and butter, social tensions and environmental degradation that have been pushed out of the public eye because our legendary club of strategic affairs experts is once more ruling the air waves and pouring ink all over the newspapers on the potency of India's "hydrogen (H)-bomb". The quarrel among serving and retired scientists, defence personnel, political officials and commentators would not be worthy of comment if it were not for the larger and very serious issues involved. Whether or not the thermonuclear device of Pokhran lived up to its expectations is irrelevant. Indeed, the international scientific community tracking these matters had expressed an opinion soon after May 1998 that India's H-bomb test was a "dud". Those views were dismissed in those heady days of jingoistic fervour. What has come out into the open now is that there were divisions within officialdom at that time as well about the result of the test. (We should not forget though that there is no difference of opinion whatsoever about the "success" of the fission tests for the conventional nuclear bombs, which can murder a few hundred thousands in densely populated centres.)

      There is a simple answer to why the spat has resurfaced. Even as they are united in their fervour that India must be a nuclear weapons state, there has always been a certain schism between the nuclear weapon scientists as a group and the strategic affairs/ international relations community. For the former, bigger and more is better; for the latter what matters is the quality of a so- called "minimum deterrent". Some in the scientific community also feel that a few tests as in Pokhran in May 1998 do not make India nuclear weapons capable. The argument is that the established five nuclear powers (the United States, the former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and China) carried out dozens of tests before they were confident about their nuclear capability. If in 1998, political considerations - the need not to displease the US too much by going on a spree of nuclear tests - led to a moratorium, the matter has now acquired a new urgency. The urgency is that unlike the George Bush administration, the Barack Obama presidency gives some importance to controlling what the Americans call "nuclear proliferation". India may be a bit player in these matters and also call itself "a responsible nuclear power". However, since the government of India seeks a seat at the high table, it will have to observe the etiquette of that table, and for the US it appears that signing and adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is now once again a priority. If Obama insists and India decides to sign, the option of further testing of the H-bomb device will disappear.

      Those inside and outside government who make strategy cite India's "no first use" policy and the philosophy of a so-called "credible minimum nuclear deterrent" to argue that we need not worry about whether or not we have a H-bomb. And that India's policy is not to win a nuclear war but to deter a potential attack. What is relevant then is the creation of "a reliable, robust and survivable" nuclear arsenal that can withstand an attack and inflict "unacceptable damage" on the aggressor. Hence, according to this school, whose views form the basis of the Indian Nuclear Doctrine, even if the thermonuclear test was a fizzle, India has a sufficient number of proven 25 kiloton (kt) warheads to constitute a "credible minimum nuclear deterrent".

      In the end, the only question that matters is if nuclear weapons provide or endanger security. Whatever the phalanx of strategic affairs experts may say, the answer is unambiguous. The availability of nuclear weapons does not prevent wars. The history of south Asia since 1998 itself offers sufficient proof - remember Kargil 1999? Nuclear weapons increase risks and provoke war-like behaviour - remember the many threatening statements both India and Pakistan made in 1999, 2001 and 2002 on using the bomb? Nuclear weapons are unique for they inflict immense human suffering - can we ever forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki? And, finally, there is no bigger case against nuclear weapons than the moral argument about the use of this "Destroyer of Worlds".

      After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said, "The atom bomb has deadened the finest feelings which have sustained mankind for ages...It has resulted for the time being in the soul of Japan being destroyed. What has happened to the soul of the destroying nation is yet too early to see."

      If Gandhi were to hear the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of India say in 2009 that India need not worry, because it is capable of unleashing a 200 kt atomic weapon, then surely the soul of this nation that calls him its "Father" has also died.

      o o o

      truthout.org, 22 September 2009

      A NEW NUCLEAR DEBATE IN INDIA

      by J. Sri Raman

      As an anti-nuclear-weapon activist of India, I am abashed to admit this. But the main nuclear debate in the major South Asian country has not been the one between nuclear militarists and their opponents. It has been the one between two schools of nuclear militarism. The debate has acquired a new dimension, with the hawks of all these years suddenly made to appear doves.

      The US has figured in the debate all through. If George W. Bush initiated the earlier polemics by presenting a nuclear deal to India, the current controversy has a Barack Obama connection.

      India's nuclear-weapon tests of May 1998 in the desert site of Pokharan did provoke some serious protests from sections that saw what these presaged for South Asia. These, however, led to no national debate. The voice of the anti-nuke agitators was drowned in the high-decibel celebrations of Pokharan II (as the test series was named, Pokharan I was given as the title of the "peaceful nuclear explosion" conducted at the same site in 1974).

      The nation witnessed its first major nuclear debate after former President Bush and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in Washington in July 2005 and announced their decision to go for a "US-India nuclear deal." Right from then, a loud and lacerating political controversy raged in India over the deal, until July 2008 when the Singh government won a parliamentary confidence vote on the issue.

      Yes, we in the anti-nuke camp declared war on the deal, too. We did so because the deal gave India the dubiously high status of a nuclear-weapon state, with which Washington and its allies were willing to do nuclear business. The "civilian nuclear cooperation agreement," signed in March 2006, clearly helped and did not hamper India's strategic nuclear program. Under the deal, New Delhi could keep specified strategic nuclear reactors out of the purview of the inspectors of he International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And the nuclear commerce, for which the deal opened the doors, freed up India's indigenous nuclear fuel resources for use in its weapon program.

      Our case was a cry in the wilderness, only faintly heard in the mainstream media with headlines reserved for the war of militarists. The main discourse was dominated by opposition to the deal from a point of view diametrically opposite to ours. The far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was in power 11 years ago and presided over Pokharan II, decried the deal as an attempt to derail the weapon program.

      A tokenistic Washington position about future Indian testing (which was to be allowed anyway if a changed strategic situation was deemed to demand it) was presented as proof that the deal sought to "cap" New Delhi's strategic nuclear schemes. Even sections of the left joined this lopsided opposition to the deal by seeing it as an attack on India's "sovereignty" in relation to its strategic nuclear program.

      It is over the issue of testing again that the current, second major Indian nuclear debate has erupted. The sides, however, are not he same.

      On the deal, pitted against each other were the BJP and its fiends on the one hand and Singh's Congress Party and its allies on the other. The BJP and the Congress are now on the same aide of the barricades.

      Some prominent individuals, too, have switched sides, most notably former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. The BJP first hailed Kalam, scientist operationally in charge of Pokharan II, as the father of the Indian bomb and helped him into the presidential palace in New Delhi. It, however, condemned him as a compromiser of India's sovereignty when he upheld the deal as the answer to the country's need for uranium. But the party and Kalam are making common cause in the current controversy.

      No mystery shrouds their motive. Both of them share a stake in preserving Pokharan II as a symbol of Indian pride. And the controversy has put that avowed achievement in question.

      It all began when K. Santhanam, a scientist who worked under Kalam in 1998, was reported on August 27 as trashing the test series. He was quoted as alleging, in effect, that the leaders of the then BJP-headed government and the nuclear establishment had lied to the nation about the tests. According to him, as many foreign experts had said at the time, the thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb tests had ended in a "fizzle."

      A "fizzle" occurs when the testing of a nuclear bomb fails to meet its expected yield or falls short by 30 percent or more. The yield is the amount of energy discharged when a nuclear weapon is detonated, with the amount being expressed in kilotons (thousands of tons) or megatons (millions of tons) of trinitrotoluene (TNT).

      A hydrogen bomb can produce far greater destructive power than an atom bomb. The biggest bomb tested by the Soviet Union is said to have produced 50 megatons of explosive power - nearly 3,000 times more destructive power than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which killed 80,000 people instantly, according to the most conservative estimate. This is the weapon India has, the BJP and its band claim. It is what India has yet to acquire, Santhanam and others wail.

      Santhanam put the yield at 15 to 20 kilotons, or less than half the officially claimed 45 kilotons. The pride-puncturing estimate has the predicted reactions from everyone with a reputation resting on Pokharan II. It has also been rejected by the reigning nuclear establishment.

      Past heads of the establishment, however, have condemned official claims on Pokjaran II almost in a chorus. One of them, former chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) P. K. Iyengar, has also added a political dimension to the debate that is bound to embarrass the Pakistan-obsessed BJP.

      According to Iyengar, the tests were done in haste at the bidding of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government of the day in order to beat Pakistan to it. He says that, in March 1998, two months before Pokharan II, India's intelligence probably found out that the Pakistanis were about to test. "If Pakistan fired an explosion before India," asks Iyengar ironically, "what would a common man in India have thought?"

      A more intriguing question is: why are Santhanam and others raising the issue over a decade after the event? Writes Ramesh Thakur, director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Waterloo, Canada: "The reason for Santhanam's revelation may be to put pressure on the government to conduct further tests for validating the design of India's hydrogen bomb, before the window is closed if the Obama administration ratifies the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and pressures remaining hold-outs to follow."

      The demand by Santhanam and others for more tests, despite India's voluntary moratorium on testing, reinforces Thakur's reasoning.

      Added to this, perhaps, is an anti-China angle. The controversy has broken out around the same time as India is witnessing a media-powered campaign to create new tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. Santhanam has strengthened this suspicion by calling for "a series of thermonuclear bomb tests" in order to "protect the nation's security" from China. "We are totally naked vis-à-vis China" and its nuclear might, he adds.

      The best answer to this bogey comes, ironically, from a security analyst long associated with the bomb lobby. K. Subrahmanyam, in a newspaper article co-authored with scientist V. S. Arunachalam, points out: "... even with 25-kiloton fission bombs, the damages are going to be far more extensive than what Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered, given the higher population densities in the cities of China and South Asia and the urban development of recent years. Therefore, the Indian deterrent posture will not lose its credibility if India is compelled to rely on fission weapons only."

      The article goes on to say what Indian and Pakistani militarists can do to the people of South Asia with the nuclear arsenals they already have. "In a nuclear war, once the missiles are launched, entire countries on both sides become battlefields. It is difficult to control or regulate the firing of the missiles since both sides are under compulsion to use the missiles before they are eliminated by the enemy strike. As soon as the first city is hit, populations of all cities would attempt to empty out into the countryside since there will be panic that their own city will be the next target in the next few minutes."

      The article adds: "Think of the entire urban population of a country becoming internally displaced persons in a matter of hours." The authors, however, do not argue against strategic programs that can bring no security to the region and its people.

      Participants in India's main nuclear debate think pretty little about this and other possible fallouts of their folly. The anti-nuclear-weapon activists, meanwhile, can only hope at the most to have their say in the alternative media.


      _____


      [7] Announcements:

      (A) “DELHI RALLY” PROGRAM - National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM)


      [1] September 30, 2009, Wednesday:

      Welcome to the guests who are coming from outside Delhi! For your stay, we have booked Garhwal Bhawan (on Panchkuian Road; phone: 011-23540380) which is close to Jhandewala Metro Station. (Directions- From New Delhi railway station, you can take a pre-paid auto which will charge around 30 to 40 rupees. The prepaid booth is on Paharganj side of the station. In case you want to take the Metro, the station is on Ajmeri Gate side. Please take metro from there to Jhandewala. When you come out of the Jhandewala station, ask for Garhwal Bhawan. It is very close to the station. If you have any questions, please call us: Ahivaran Singh - 9811330977; Shree Prakash - 9871880686; Kabir Arora - 9911879675; or S. P. Udayakumar - 09865683735.)


      [2] October 1, 2009, Thursday

      7:30 AM: Breakfast at Garhwal Bhawan
      8:00 AM: Buses leave Garhwal Bhawan to Indian Social Institute (ISI) near Sai Temple.

      9:00 AM to 1:00 PM: National Seminar on

      “Nuclear Threats to India’s Children and Their Futures”

      Venue: Indian Social Institute (ISI)
      Near Sai Temple, 10, Institutional Area, Lodi Road , New Delhi - 110003
      Phone: 24622379/ 24625015 Extn: 780/781

      Opening Songs: Sowmini & Venice
      Welcome Address: S. P. Udayakumar, PMANE, CNDP
      Inaugural Address: Achin Vanaik, CNDP

      Speakers:
      Sheelu, Women’s Collective,
      Sukla Sen, CNDP,
      Binalakshmi Nepram, CAFI,
      Anil Chaudhury, PEACE, CNDP
      Soumya Dutta, BJVJ, Delhi Platform
      V. T. Padmanabhan
      Gurshant Singh, IDPD

      Sharing
      (Anti-nuclear activists sharing info on local nuclear woes, struggles, and strategies followed to contain the nuclear menace)

      Saraswati Kavula, Movement Against Uranium Project, Andhra Pradesh
      Samuel Jyrwa, Khasi Students Union, Meghalaya
      Neeraj Jain, Jaitapur Struggle, Maharashtra
      Santanu Chakraverti, Haripur Struggle, West Bengal
      B. M. Kumaraswamy, Kaiga & Gulbarga, Karnataka
      Kishore Kumar Patnaik, ODAF, Orissa
      Initha and A. S. Ravi, PMANE, Koodankulam NPP, Tamil Nadu

      Keynote Address: Praful Bidwai, CNDP

      Politics of Nuclear Energy and the Indian State

      Audience Interventions and Interactions

      Vote of Thanks: Rishab Khanna, IYCN

      1: 30 PM to 2:30 PM: Lunch at ISI
      2:30 PM: Buses leave for Garhwal Bhawan

      (Afternoon: Free Time)
      3:30 PM to 5:00 PM: Press Meet at IWPC, Windsor Place
      6:00 PM to 7:00 PM: Memorandum to H. E. The President of India
      8:00 PM: Dinner at Garhwal Bhawan

      NAAM Strategy Meeting at Garhwal Bhawan


      [3] October 2, 2009, Friday (Gandhi Jayanti)

      7:30 AM: Breakfast at Garhwal Bhawan
      8:00 AM to 11:00 AM: NAAM â€" Networking; State-level meetings
      11:00 AM: Buses leave Garhwal Bhawan to Rajghat
      11:30 AM: Programs

      · Wailing and Crying at Gandhi Samadhi about India’s reckless nuclear policies, programs and projects.

      · National appeal from Rajghat to all the Gram Sabhas across the country to pass a resolution condemning India’s nuclear policies and programs, and demanding the closure of the local nuclear-rel
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