Saturday, November 22, 2008


It’s beyond doubt now, Hindutva's fascist ideology endangers India's secularism
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt Nov. 23rd, 2008
The big shroud of lies covering many bomb blast incidents in India, falsely implicating Kashmiri and Indian Muslims, looks disappearing. The last few days were particularly and shockingly interesting. India's premier investigating agency, CBI, on Nov 12 told a Delhi Court that two Kashmiri youth arrested from Delhi in Feb 2006 by Delhi Police, falsely implicating them for carrying out bomb blasts in the capital, were innocent. It also sought action against the three police officials involved in their illegal detention. On the other hand, the 22 Muslim youth who were under detention for their suspected involvement in Hyderabad blasts were released last week. They were among 70 others who had been picked up by the Hyderabad Police investigating the Makkah Masjid blast that killed nine people on May 18 and the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat house blasts that killed 42 people on August 26 last year. Ironically, all these youth had been even charged with 'connections with SIMI'.As the Hindutva hand behind the gruesome bomb blasts at Malegoan, Ajmer Sharief, Hyderabad and on Samjhauta Express stands exposed, some very disturbing questions arise: what about many other such incidents? Who carried them out? Our memory must not fail us in recollecting all the fire-talk that parties like the BJP would do after such incidents. The way Hindutva parties like the BJP had made "incidents" like these and Muslim and Kashmir bashing staple fodder for their narrow political goals today stares at their faces. The Congress Party cannot be absolved of the blame either. At the heart of India's establishment and the indirect recipient of profound intelligence reports, it is impossible that the Congress leadership was unaware of the truth. What the Congress seems to be doing today is cashing on a reality for the forthcoming elections which it was already aware of. That certain Hindu extremist groups were involved in terrorist activities is nothing new. That these groups harbour certain fascist ideologies which can be termed as simply catastrophic is also nothing novel.Beyond all the cynical politicking, what is shocking is the level of involvement of diverse political and religious figures of India in the exposed Hindutva terror network. What is also ominous is the manner these extremist groups were using terrorist acts in creating a situation of mayhem and chaos – something which could only fuel a catastrophic backlash against the Muslims in India and Kashmir. Newspapers in India have revealed that many leaders of mainstream Hindutva parties were aware of the activities of the terrorist network working under the banners of Abhinav Bharat and Jammu-based Kalyan Trust. There are reports which suggest that this terrorist network includes many more people, and is not confined to people like Mahant Dayanand Panday, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Singh. A news report in the Times of India on Nov 16 provides some interesting insights into other details of this terror network.When Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh offers BJP leader, L K Advani, to share details of the activities carried out by this Hindu extremist network in private, it means many details are simply beyond public consumption. It looks what is being made public is just a tip of the iceberg. Times of India in a report on its front page on Nov 16 quoted one of the accused as saying that "leaders of the mainstream Hindutva groups were aware of their activities." The most worrisome is this terror group's aborted plan to kill 'a prominent Hindu leader of Delhi', as detailed in a Times of India report "Delhi-based Hindu leader in terror crosshairs, says ATS." This extremist group's Jammu connections and the involvement of some figures who have wielded power and clout in the State's establishment are highly worrisome. Lt Col Purohit, according to newspaper reports, has already trained at least 500 Hindu youth in carrying out subversive activities, many of them from Jammu. Sixty kgs of deadly RDX explosive was obtained by Lt Col Purohit from J&K in 2006 alone. Indian Express on Nov 13 has revealed that Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has acquired details about Mahant Amritanand alias Dayanand Pandey connections in Jammu. It is curious the manner he was able to register a trust namely Kashyapmeru Shankaracharya Amritanand Vedic Vishva Kalyan Trust using a Jammu-based chartered accountant V K Kapoor's residential address as the address of the trust. V K Kapoor was quoted by Indian Express as saying that he came in contact with the Mahant some years ago at the residence of former BJP MLA, Rishi Kumar Koushal - who incidentally happens to be the founder of the Jammu Praja Parishad. Certain reports in India's national newspapers looking at the establishment of the Sharda Sarvagya Peeth in Jammu and its funding also point towards the need for in-depth investigations. That Mahant Dayanand Pandey after coming to Jammu changed his name and even got away with that puts a lot of light on how J&K's security apparatus works with a one-eyed approach. What is disturbing is that the accused Mahant had even shared the dais with the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti in Jammu, providing crucial support to the Amarnath 'movement' this year. The Mahant has been networking with the Hindutva groups and even sections of J&K's bureaucracy and establishment, actively campaigning for the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into three regions, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - a very Hindutva idea. And yet the State's security apparatus has been doing nothing.Although members of the Sangharsh Samiti today are dissociating themselves from the subversive activities of the Mahant, it is unlikely that there was an absolute innocence in Jammu's Hindutva circles about the activities of his group. Indian Express on Nov 13 in a front page piece gave astonishing details about the Mahant's links and connections quoting the website It revealed that Hindutva ideologue, Veer Savarkar's daughter-in-law, Himani Savarkar, at the launching of Abhinav Bharat, lauded the role of the Mahant in his work for the 'Hindu cause'. The figures of the trust include people like former ABVP national executive member, Pragya. The Mahant in the same website counts a host of political leaders ranging from BJP General Secretary, K.N Govindacharya, to present Congress Working Committee member, M.L Fotedar, as 'advisors'. It is well known that certain groups within the Hindutva fold have espoused the lofty goal of Akhand Bharat, which runs counter to India's constitutional commitment to secularism. It is also well known that these groups have always been interested in the Nazi Party's tactics in provoking a holocaust against the Jews. If this Hindutva network's these subversive acts point to imitation of the Nazi Party's tactics of creating conditions of a catastrophic backlash against India's Muslims, then surely it is a time for the Indian state to act. And act tough. Looking at the level of involvement in this terror network, India's secularism stands at test. For the larger good of the concept of India as a secular country, this brand of Hindutva espousing fascism needs to be defeated. Feedback at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kashmir votes for democracy and development, not India

Courtesy: Yahoo News dt. Nov. 18th, 2008 By Krittivas Mukherjee
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - A good turnout at the start of Jammu and Kashmir elections may mean separatists misread a desire for development and democracy, analysts and voters said on Tuesday, but is not necessarily a vote for Indian rule. While it is too early to draw firm conclusions from Monday's first stage in a seven-part election across a very diverse state, the turnout in parts of the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley was a surprise for separatists who had heatedly called for a boycott. This year has seen some of the biggest anti-India protests in the Kashmir Valley since an insurgency began in 1989, but voters like 70-year-old Abdul Ahad Bhat said they wanted to cast their ballots even though they had taken part in protest marches.
"Independence is a separate issue from the need for a better life, which a good administration can provide," he said. "So there is no contradiction if a Kashmiri votes today and goes out and raises Azadi (freedom) slogans on the streets tomorrow."
Turnout in the 10 seats contested on Monday across Jammu and Kashmir was 64 percent. More surprising perhaps was a turnout of 59 percent in three seats contested in the Kashmir Valley, up from around 55 percent in the same seats in 2002. Previous elections have seen militants threatening violence to enforce their call for a boycott, and Indian soldiers trying to coerce people to vote. This time the militants said they would not interfere and the soldiers kept a lower profile. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference which had called for a boycott, questioned the official figures and said free and fair voting was impossible in the presence of hundreds of thousands of troops. But more mainstream political parties appeared to have won some listeners by arguing that the need to choose good government that can build roads and improve civic amenities would not necessarily undermine the independence movement. "This appealed to the people -- for them development still is the immediate need, said Noor Ahmad Baba, dean of social sciences faculty in Kashmir University. "They know independence is a higher, time-consuming goal." "It means ... the Hurriyat leadership does not have a finger on the pulse of the people. Yet this will not undermine the separatist movement because the political parties clearly delineated the freedom struggle from these elections." The biggest surprise came in the separatist stronghold of Bandipora, with turnout reaching 57 percent on Monday, up from 31 percent in 2002, when militant threats almost certainly kept many people away. The mountains around the town had been a hideout for militants from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.
Many voters said they still wanted independence as firmly as ever, but experts said a successful election across Kashmir would give the state and central government the chance to offer better governance and defuse the independence movement to some extent. At least 42 people were shot dead by police when hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims took to the streets this year shouting "Azadi" (freedom). "It needs to be seen how New Delhi leverages this election," Baba said, adding better governance might only temporarily temper the desire for independence in Kashmir, where more than 42,000 people have been killed during a two-decade-long revolt.
Political columnist Ghulam Nabi Khayal says Kashmiri Muslims will wait and watch for a while. "If they get nothing this time, the Hurriyat will use them," he said.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

‘Troops use rape as war weapon in Kashmir’

Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt Nov. 17th, 2008 by Rashid Paul
Srinagar, Nov 16: Even though India is a signatory to various international covenants calling for protection of rights of women in conflict zones, rape is being used as a war weapon in Kashmir by Indian armed forces.This was stated by Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who teaches at the department of Law, Kashmir University and is also a noted columnist, on the second day of a two-day seminar on “women and the law” held at the varsity.While enumerating international resolutions and covenants guaranteeing protection of women in areas of armed conflict, he said, “India is a signatory to these agreements but its armed forces are using rape of Kashmiri women as a war weapon.”He said when pilots of Indian fighter jets were shot down by Pakistani troops during Kargil war, India complained to Pakistan that it was not treating well the pilots whether dead or alive. “But it continues to treat inhumanly the non- combatants like women in Kashmir,” he added. “In villages, cities and towns rape is used to counter rebellion,” he said.Referring to the interview of a former top commander of paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) in a Jammu based newspaper wherein the official had “explicitly admitted” abuse of women as a tactics to fight armed independence insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir,Showkat said if militants sneak in to a house, the house is blasted and male members of the house have to flee to escape torture and women are put in to a precarious situation. He said women are also the major sufferers in disappearance cases at the hands of state forces. Citing the case of Masooda Parveen versus State, he said the Supreme Court of India declined to provide ex gratia to the woman whose husband was killed by forces in custody. “The Supreme Court said that the woman is not entitled to any ex gratia because her husband was connected with insurgency in Kashmir. Any such help would down the morale of the security forces, the Supreme Court had declared,” Showkat said.He wondered how the dependants of a militant or pro-freedom activist can be unfairly treated for the actions of that male member. “If a dog is killed by Srinagar Municipality women activists in India create a furore. But they wink at the plight of women at the hands of Indian security forces in Kashmir,” he lamented.He said the central government even declined the sanction to prosecute its troops who have been found guilty of committing grave human rights abuses in Kashmir. “Furthermore tough laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provide them immunity,” he added.

Lt Col procured 60 Kgs RDX from JK

Courtesy:Daily Greater Kashmir dt.Nov. 16th, 2008
New Delhi, Nov 15: Prime accused in Malegaon bomb blast case, Lt Col Prasad Purohit allegedly procured 60 kgs of RDX from Jammu and Kashmir in 2006, a part of which is suspected to have been used in the Malegaon blast and also in the Samjhauta Express train explosions, the prosecution told a court here, giving a new dimension to the ongoing ATS probe.Special Prosecutor for the ATS, Ajay Misar told the court that a witness submitted that in 2006 Purohit had claimed he had 60 kgs of RDX in his possession which he had got from Jammu and Kashmir.The RDX is suspected to have been used in the September 29 Malegaon blast that left six dead and the twin explosions in Samjhauta train last year.Purohit gave a portion of the RDX to one Bhagwan who is suspected to have used in Samjhauta Express blast, Misar said.He said the Army officer was directly involved in the Samjhauta Express blasts that killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis.The Samjhauta Express was full of Pakistani visitors when the bombs went off on board. Of the 68 who died, 42 were Pakistanis. The blasts were triggered by low-intensity explosives which were accompanied by inflammable material. Three unexploded suitcase bombs were later recovered from the train.Ironically, India had then blamed Pakistan and Pakistani militants for the blasts.The Samjhauta Express runs between Delhi and Lahore and was a symbol of improving in India-Pakistan relations.Meanwhile, Maharashtra ATS has alleged that Purohit is a recruit of Swami Amritanand Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey who they claim masterminded the Malegaon blasts. The ATS says that Purohit organised RDX for that terror attack too.Purohit has admitted that he met Sadhvi Pragya Thakur — the other key accused in the blast case — through the Swami.Narco analysis on Purohit has revealed that he had already been tasked by Army Intelligence to gather information on SIMI. AGENCIES

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kashmiri detainee’s letter reveals ‘mental torture’ of Muslim inmates

Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. Nov. 13th, 2008 by Rashid Paul
Srinagar, Nov 12: A Kashmiri prisoner in Kotebalwal jail, Jammu in a secret letter to his family has accused the jail officials of tormenting Muslim imamates psychologically by desecrating religious scriptures besides routine physical torture.The detainee, Tariq Ahmed, son of Ghulam Nabi Shah of Bijbihara has sent a letter to his relatives narrating his ordeal at the hands of the jail authorities. The letter, a copy of which lies with this newspaper has been sent and signed by Tariq on November 4. “While I was being produced before a court in Islamabad on October 31, I dared to complaint against the torture I was subjected to by the jailors. In return I was subjected to worst emotional trauma when Jagdish Manhas, the jail officer, snatched a copy of Quran from me and threw it on the ground,” Tariq wrote in the letter.“They tore apart the Holy book. I tried to stop them. However, they were raging in anger and beat me remorselessly. The emotional punishment was unbearable and I broke down,” he said.The detainee writes that Jagdish Manhas, Havildar Tilak Raj and other two sentries on August 11 hammered him mercilessly.“I was penalized as I had complained to jail superintendent and his deputy that prisoners were being provided subhuman foods and there was no respect for jail manual”, he said.“The beating was so ruthless that blood streaked out from my body. The wounds were deep and could not heal till the date of my hearing at Islamabad. I showed my wounds to the judge and narrated my woes to him,” Tariq writes.“This enraged the officials and they defiled my Quran and also thrashed me,” Tariq said. He has sought action against the jailors and asked for their trial for “committing crimes against humanity.”A spokesman of Kashmir High Court Bar Association strongly condemned the incident and said it is a reflection of plight of detainees face in different jails within and outside the sate. The spokesman said if prisoners continued to be treated like this the Bar Association will have no choice but to take corrective measures against the jailors.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 6: When Earth Saw Blood

November 6: When earth saw blood
Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008
Abdul Majid Zargar
November 6, 1947 has a very special significance for the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir. Indian Army had already landed in Srinagar on October 26, pursuant to a controversial accession deal alleged to have been consummated between Mahraja Hari Singh and Indian Government. Hurt at the loss of northern areas, and fearing reprisals at the hands of people, Maharaja had fled Kashmir valley to rest in the safe environs of Jammu.
Upon reaching Jammu he spewed venom against Muslims, and privately ordered his army and a band of fanatics aided and abetted by RSS cadres to butcher them. An organized genocide of Jammu Muslims was carried out by them in all areas of Jammu. Muslim Women were abducted and raped. Even the daughter of the most popular Muslim leader of Jammu at that time, Chowdhary Ghulam Abbas was not spared. Men and children were massacred, and the weapons to carry out the carnage, swords and rifles, were provided by the Dogra Army. Local Police and administration acted as a mute and willing spectator. The Muslims were massacred by the same ruler who was supposed to be their savior. The pogrom bears very close resemblance to the Gujarat carnage enacted in 2002.A gory incident needs a mention here. Thousands of Jammu-city Muslims were made to assemble at parade ground on the promise of safe passage to Sialkot. They were herded like cattle in many trucks, and brutally killed near Samba and Kathua borders. No mercy was shown to these defenseless persons by the people and administration of Jammu who otherwise would swear by secularism and non-violence.It is said that Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah made frantic calls to New-Delhi to impress upon Maharaja to stop the genocide of Muslims but it all fell on deaf ears. The administration there was either too busy with the aftermaths of partition or were deliberately ignoring his calls.Here is another incident. A few thousand Hindus migrated from Muzaffarabad and reached Kashmir. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah made elaborate arrangements for their transportation to Jammu. These tonga drivers of the 250 tongas that were arranged, were Kashmiri Muslims. They were butchered in Jammu after they faithfully helped dropped the migrant passengers at their destination. These are the historical memories that have their relevance even today. Kashmiri Muslims need to keep this in mind while deciding their future at any given moment. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, who was instrumental in making us fall in the Indian lap, in 1947, owes an answer to those innocent Jammu martyrs, on the day of Reckoning. Let his son and grand son take a note of this and rectify the mistake committed by their ancestors.

Lt Colonel stationed in Kashmir main suspect of Hindu terror attacks

MALEGAON BLASTS (Courtesy Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008)
Mumbai, Nov 8: The Maharashtra ATS made a sensational disclosure in the Malegaon investigations on Saturday about the nature of Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit’s involvement in the blast that killed six people last September. Till now, Lt Col Purohit’s role has been in the realm of speculation and information derived from sources. But now, a New Delhi based news chaneel NDTV has the Anti Terror Squad’s official version, which clearly indicts Purohit for supplying the RDX used in the blasts. There are suspicions that he may have been involved in the further blasts. Investigations show that Purohit, a high ranking army officer, procured the RDX and was familiar with arms and ammunition. Purohit was involved in training accused in bomb making. An wire agency report said that police and central security agencies are trying to trace the links of two of the persons arrested in connection with Malegaon blast to Jammu and Kashmir amidst suspicion that the RDX used in the Maharashtra town could have been smuggled from the militancy-hit state. Officials in ATS suspect Purohit, after being posted in Military Intelligence, used his contacts built during his tenure in Jammu and Kashmir where he was stationed with the 41 Rashtriya Rifles. ATS say that the accused Rakesh Dhavde, Jagdish Mhatre received weapons from Purohit and it was on Purohit’s instructions that the money was given to those involved in blast. ATS has also found out that Purohit attended secret meetings of Abhinav Bharat in Jabalpur and Bhopal. Purohit’s links to Abhinav Bharat have been confirmed by Pragya Thakur, Ramesh Upadhyay, and Sameer Kulkarni. Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad which is probing the Malegaon blast case has made more arrests. Six people were killed in the blast on September 29. Two more people have been arrested from Pune and Vapi in connection with the blast. The blast probe has put some army officers under the scanner. So far 11 people, including a serving Lieutanant Colonel have been arrested. The ATS has arrested the following persons for allegedly being involved in the September 29 blasts in Malegaon - Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Shivnarayan Kalsangra, Shyam Sahu, retired army major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Rakesh Dhawde, Jagdish Mhatre and Srikant Purohit.

Kolohai Glacier Shrinking Fast

Study Blames Temperature Rise, Army Vehicles, Cement Factories
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 9th, 2008 by ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Nov 8: One of the largest glaciers of Kashmir Himalayas, Kolhai, has shrunk considerably due to unprecedented increase in temperature and high levels of pollution caused by the emission of green house gases by military vehicles and cement plants, a recent study reveals.A study Glacier recession in Kashmir by Muneer Ahmad, an environmental expert from the National Geophysical Research Institute, Uppal, Hyderabad, says the Kolhai glacier has been shrinking since 19th century, but in the last decade it has been receding quite fast. The spatial extent of the Glacier has changed from 19.34 square kilometers to 17.23 square kilometers in 2001 in the past decade. The rate of retreat in 2007 was 21.88 meters in the main snout, the study says.Several small glaciers have disappeared completely in some areas, the thickness of glaciers has reduced by more than two-thirds, and most of the springs in the Valley have dried up, and the remaining are drying up, the study says.Glaciers are important source of fresh water in the Valley, and any change in the temperature or winter precipitation in the form of snowfall influences the flow in the hydrological system of the Valley.“The quantity of snowfall has been clearly reduced over the last few decades. Cement making plants in the Kashmir Valley are producing heat-trapping gases that could lead to no snow in the plains in the next two decades,” the study says.The study further reveals that more than 300 military convoys producing high-level green house gases move across the Valley everyday. “The gases emitted by these vehicles disturb the atmosphere of the Valley. The annual Amaranth Yatra is proving disastrous to the fragile environment of the area,” it states.The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment in Rio recognized that fluctuation in the size of glaciers is an important indictor of climatic change.The study states that receding of the glaciers has increased the amount of sediments in Lidder catchment in Pahalgam. Lidder Valley forms base of the two main ice fields, the Kolahoi and Shesram. And it is the source of two main upper streams, the West and East Lidder that join near Pahalgam.The study underscores the need for a detailed data on the sediments from glaciated zone. It states that qualitative and quantitative data of water from glaciers and snowfall go a long way in planning, estimating, and forecasting the power generation of glaciated river basin well in advance.