Archive | India

The Resolve of the Republic Day 2017 for an India of Liberty and Equality

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On the 67th anniversary of its proclamation, the Indian Republic finds itself in a veritable state of siege. The government of the day and the corporate-communal cabal that it represents and serves so brazenly have mounted a multi-pronged assault on the constitutional basis and framework of the Republic of India. The principles and values enunciated in the Constitution are being subverted in every possible way and the institutions that had been built to promote and protect the rights of the citizens and the collective interests and aspirations of the people are being systematically hijacked and destroyed.

Indeed, the RSS has time and again made it clear that it does not recognise the Constitution as the basis of the modern Indian Republic. For the RSS, the Republic is just an ornamental attire for the ancient civilization of India; and the RSS notion of civilization is more a matter of mythology than history. Manusmriti, that obnoxious charter of social slavery and human indignity is the real constitution for the RSS. Just the other day, speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival RSS ideologue Vaidya yet again questioned the inclusion of the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble to the Constitution while calling for an end to the system of reservations. Caste is the essential pillar of the RSS’s its cherished Brahminical order so reservation continues to be an anathema.

What makes the situation really alarming is that the RSS war on the Constitution and the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic is today being waged from the vantage position of state power. And Narendra Modi is spearheading this war with his brazenly dictatorial style of governance. The absolutely arbitrary way the government has imposed the disastrous demonetization decision on an unsuspecting citizenry has no parallels in the history of the Republic. Defying every tenet of economic rationality and established procedures of collective functioning and parliamentary accountability, the Prime Minister subjected the country to an unprecedented spell of economic disruption and devastation. NarendraModiis invoking the common people’s desire to punish the corrupt and check growing inequality, but the fact is in the first two years of his rule, the share of the top 1% has jumped from 49% to 58% of the total wealth in the country.

Nearly three months since the scrapping of 86% of currency in circulation, the cash crunch still continues to dog the people. And the chaos on the cash front has now triggered a serious economic slowdown. What is really galling is that instead of making any efforts to address the grave situation and mitigate the crisis, the government is coercing the predominantly cash-reliant unorganised sector and small and medium enterprises that account for the lion’s share of employment in India to go for digital transactions, thereby subjecting the entire economy to a severe squeeze. The coercive push for cashless transactions is exposing the cash-dependent and digitally ill-equipped Indian economy to increased financial uncertainty and unprecedented domination of global capital and big corporations.

The Modi government is also trying to redefine the Republic by amending the Citizenship Act of 1955. In keeping with the BJP’s well-known concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to introduce a distinction among refugees on the basis of their religious affiliation and identity. According to theAmendment Bill, non-Muslim refugees coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan without valid travel documents would not be treated as illegal migrants and would be allowed to apply for Indian Citizenship on easier terms than are currently prescribed for persons seeking the status of naturalised Indian citizens. This is a brazen attempt to define citizenship on a religious basis and sanctify the hounding of Muslim immigrants as infiltrators.

People with diverse religious affiliations may and do come to India to seek refuge and asylum. They are propelled by a variety of circumstances ranging from social and political persecution to economic misery, natural calamities and climate change. In a secular democratic republic, religious affiliation must not be made the basis to decide on either citizenship or the question of treating refugees with justice, dignity and humanitarian considerations. The Bill also seeks to cancel the registration of Overseas Citizens of India if they are found to violate any Indian law ‘for the time being in force’. While the government provides safe passage to economic offenders like Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, it evidently seeks to stifle dissent among NRIs and OCIs by threatening them with deregistration for opposing injustice and oppression in India which can easily invite prosecution under one of the many draconian laws currently in force.

Clearly, the Sangh brigade wants Indians to behave like docile subjects blindly obeying the rulers and not as free citizens equipped with fundamental rights including the right to dissent which is absolutely central to democracy. Their idea of citizenship is derived from the obnoxious Manuvadi order that justifies coercion and domination while incriminating every quest for justice, freedom and equality. The Sangh brigade champions the worst of India’s feudal traditions and colonial customs, albeit with the full backing of India’s crony capitalists and the masters of the imperialist world order. We can see this idea in action whether in the treatment meted out to Indian citizens in the name of demonetization or in every other coercive attempt to impose their parameters of pseudo-patriotism and communal nationalism.

Republic Day 2017 therefore calls upon us to uphold the dreams and rights of free citizens to develop modern India on the cardinal principles of liberty, equality and fraternity and defeat every dictatorial attempt to subject the Indian people to a renewed reign of social slavery and submission.

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India: BJP’s Poisonous Poll Campaign

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IN THE ONGOING ASSEMBLY ELECTION CAMPAIGN in various states, most notably the state of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has once again unleashed a communal campaign aimed at consolidating Hindu voters against the imaginary Muslim enemy.

The BJP Manifesto for Uttar Pradesh promises to set up ‘anti-Romeo quads’ outside college campuses. While the BJP President Amit Shah claims these are aimed at curbing incidents of sexual harassment of women students, the BJP’s national co-convenor Sunil Bharala has made the communal and anti-women agenda of ‘anti-Romeo squads’ amply clear. Bharala declared that the squads are aimed at acting against Muslim men involved in “love jehad” – the BJP’s term for consensual relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women.

This is not the first time the BJP has invoked the bogey of “love jehad” in an election campaign. Bharala also recalled that danger of “love jehad” was the rallying cry for the communal violence of Muzaffarnagar in 2013 that had helped Modi win the 2014 polls. During the 2014 poll campaign, BJP President Amit Shah had invoked the Muzaffarnagar communal violence to ask the Jat community to vote BJP, saying “people are forced to riot” when “a community violates the honour of our daughters and sisters.” A recently leaked audio clip also revealed Amit Shah appealing to the Jat community not to desert the BJP in 2017, reminding them that their proximity to “BJP ideology” goes back several centuries, “farther back than riots.” Shah, in this appeal, reminded the Jats that Sanjeey Balyan (Modi Cabinet Minister accused in Muzaffarnagar riots) had “aged 7 years in the past 2 years helping to free riot-accused (Jat) boys.” In flagrant violation of EC rules against communal and casteist campaigns, the BJP is invoking imaginary rapes and real anti-Muslim riots to appeal to Jats and Hindus to vote for the BJP.

The BJP’s star campaigner in UP Yogi Adityanath has also repeatedly invoked the “dangers of love jehad” and campaigned for “anti-Romeo squads.” It may be remembered that the same Adityanath was among the BJP MPs who, in 2010, publicly declared their defiance against the party whip issued to vote for the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament. Adityanath’s attitude sums up the BJP’s ideology towards women: their posture of ‘protection’ only masks their hostility to women’s own autonomy and assertion.

Along with “love jehad”, Adityanath is leading BJP’s UP campaign with another mythical bogey: that of the “exodus of Hindus from Kairana.” Adityanath has compared Kairana in Western UP to Kashmir in 1990, claiming that Hindus are being forced to flee – in spite of the fact that Hindu residents of Kairana have declared such claims of a communal exodus to be bogus. Adityanath claims that Eastern UP is free from such eviction of Hindus and crimes against Hindu women, because of the countervailing presence of his own vigilante Hindutva brigade.

The BJP Manifesto and campaign in UP also promises to abolish the practice of triple talaq – declaration of divorce in one sitting – prevalent among Muslims. A whole gamut of personal laws – including but not confined to Muslim personal laws – require reform to ensure gender justice. By focusing on triple talaq alone, the BJP projects the Muslim community as uniquely opposed to gender justice and progress. The BJP Manifesto’s promises of ‘anti-Romeo squads’ (with the undertone of protecting Hindu women from Muslim men) and ‘abolition of triple talaq’ (to protect Muslim women from Muslim men) offers a platform for anti-Muslim consolidation in a progressive and pro-women guise.

Modi, addressing election rallies, taunted the former PM Manmohan Singh for his ability to ‘wear a raincoat while taking a shower’ – i.e maintain a clean image while being surrounded by scams. The metaphor applies much more aptly to Modi himself. Manmohan Singh could project an appearance for personal honesty in spite of his Government’s involvement in rampant scams and crony capitalism, but he and his Government did face the brunt of public anger for the same. Modi both as CM of Gujarat and as PM of the country has managed to evade scrutiny and accountability not only for cold-blooded encounter killings on his watch, but also for violations of civil liberties and witch-hunt of activists as well as for a series of scams and instances of crony capitalism benefiting corporations like Adani, the Ambani brothers, Raheja, Mallya and Lalit Modi.

Modi has mastered the art of wearing a raincoat not only in a scam-shower but in a bloodbath. His lieutenants are openly using communal mud and blood to tarnish the poll climate – even as Modi himself cloaks himself in the raincoat of ‘development.’ In fact, Modi, Amit Shah and the BJP hope that the communal hate-mongering will be able to deflect from widespread public resentment against the Note Ban diktat. The ongoing Assembly polls are an occasion to administer a firm rebuff to the communal propaganda of the BJP and assert the democratic concerns of the people.

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Dance of Fascism in Delhi University

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The events of Delhi University are ominous. ABVP, the stormtroopers of the RSS, rioted for two consecutive days in Delhi University, using bricks, stones and sticks to prevent a seminar from taking place. The Delhi Police colluded with this assault, with its men joining ABVP in assaulting women students and journalists. Three constables have now been suspended – but this gesture only begs the question about who was giving the orders to Delhi Police to permit a riot on the University campus?

Several facts are notable here. The Delhi Police refused to file an FIR against the ABVP cadre that were indulging in open, wanton violence and celebrating by dancing atop a Delhi Police bus. Instead the Delhi Police did a lathi charge on the students peacefully waiting outside the police station for an FIR to be lodged. Rights activists have pointed out that the Supreme Court judgement in Lalita Kumari vs State of UP (2013) has laid down mandatory guidelines for police to register an FIR in case of a cognizable offence. On whose orders did the Police refuse to file an FIR against the many instances of openly recorded violence by cadre of the ruling party’s student outfit?

It emerges that the DCP in charge of the Delhi University North Campus is the same Jatin Narwal who, as DCP in charge of Patiala Court last year, had allowed goons to rough up JNUSU President Kanhaiya as well as teachers, lawyers, journalists and activists inside the Court premises last year. Narwal still faces an ongoing case in the Supreme Court regarding his role on that occasion. There appears to be a clear pattern where the Police officer knowingly allows a pre-planned assault by an organised mob, as the police force stays away from acting to arrest or disperse the mob.

The remarks of Minister for State for Home Kiren Rijiju on the episode further reinforce the conviction that the ABVP riot had the sanction of the Home Ministry under which the Delhi Police operates. Mr Rijiju has declared that “No anti-India slogans will be allowed in the name of freedom of speech. Freedom of expression in the country does not give anyone the right to make college campuses hub of anti-national activity.” This statement begs many questions.

First, the ABVP violently attacked a seminar – on the pretext of the speakers it invited and not on the basis of any slogans. Second, is the Minister implying that the ABVP has the freedom to throw stones and bricks and assault teachers, journalists and students but students do not have the freedom to debate? Third, as a representative of the country’s Home Ministry Mr Rijiju should answer, whether he believes it is nationalist of the police in Bastar to rape and murder adivasi women – but anti-national of a JNU activist to speak about such rapes and murders? Is his Ministry approving of the police-approved vigilante groups that attacked Bela Bhatia or Soni Sori in Bastar, just as the police-approved ABVP attacked students and teachers in Delhi University?

Fourth, how can ABVP or the BJP have any right to brand Umar Khalid as ‘anti-national’? The Delhi Police is yet to chargesheet Khalid for his alleged acts of ‘sedition’ last year. Yet the ABVP is using Khalid’s presence at a Seminar to unleash a riot against thousands of students and teachers waiting to hear him speak. Fifth, a number of men accused of being ISI agents have been found linked to the BJP and VHP. Why do arrests of their men for ISI links not make BJP and VHP ‘anti-national,’ but Umar Khalid or Shehla Rashid are declared ‘anti-national’? Is it because of their outspoken views against Hindutva and the Modi Government?

Finally, what views are ‘anti-national’? ABVP leader, former Joint Secretary of JNUSU Saurabh Sharma declares on Twitter that JNU is anti-national because it is a hurdle to India’s becoming a Hindu Nation. Why is it not ‘anti-national’ for ABVP to call for turning secular India into a Hindu Nation, but ‘anti-national’ for students to support – or discuss and debate – Kashmir’s right to self-determination or Bastar’s right to democracy?

On campuses and in the country, the freedom to express dissent, and debate freely is the essence of democracy. For ruling party-backed goons to attack democracy with open violence in the capital city, is a sign of growing fascist forces in India. The students and teachers of Universities are at the forefront of the resistance to fascism however – as displayed by an inspiring march in Delhi University that defended the ‘right to debate and dialogue’ from the violence unleashed by goons.

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How Orientalism Pitted Hindus against Muslims in India?

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The most outstanding feature of Islam is its history; if you study Islamic history, you would come to realize that Islam did not spread by force alone, it was the superior moral appeal of its peerless ethics that won the hearts and minds of medieval masses. For instance: Mongols conquered most of the eastern lands of the Islamic Empire during the thirteenth century, however, the Muslims of those lands did not convert to the religion of the conquerors: that is, the Mongolian Shamanism. Instead, the conquerors adopted the religion of the vanquished, i.e. Islam. Not only the Mongols, but several Turkish tribes also voluntarily converted to Islam. Such was the beauty of Islamic teachings and its sublime moral appeal in ancient times.

During the medieval times, when Europe was going through an age of intellectual and moral regression, Islamic culture thrived and flourished under the Abbasids, Ottomans and Mughals. Muslims ruled over India for more than six centuries; despite that, at the time of the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, Hindus outnumbered Muslims three to one (there were only 100 million Muslims in the population of 400 million Indians in 1947). That’s how tolerant and inclusive Islamic culture was back then. By comparison, the Red Indians of America and the Aborigines of Australia were reduced to a tiny minority of those continents after the European invasions.

The Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire were regarded as benevolent rulers by ancient historians. But when India was conquered by the British Empire, their Orientalist historians deliberately propagated the myth of supposedly “savage and rapacious” rule of Muslims in India in order to sow the seeds of dissension between Muslims and Hindus. In the nineteenth century, the newly established British education system in India deliberately portrayed Muslim rulers of India as marauders, rapists and looters in order to malign them. By contrast, the British rule in India was portrayed in a positive light: that the British Empire built roads and railways and established schools, colleges and hospitals in India.

If we were to compare the British and Muslim rules in India, the Muslim rulers at least resided in India and shared their wealth and fortune with their subjects. The British rule, on the other hand, was a foreign rule; the affairs of the state were run by viceroys and governors on the behalf of the monarchs of England who resided thousands of miles away in London. A small number of European colonizers in India treated their subjects as untouchables; they traded raw materials for pennies and sent finished goods back to the Indian market with huge profits, thus enriching themselves and the British Empire.

Up until 1857, the Hindus and Muslims of India were united enough to rise up in arms together against the British colonizers under the nominal command of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. But after that, the British education system introduced by Lord Macaulay in India entrenched communal divisions and made it virtually impossible for Hindus and Muslims to understand each other, even though both religious communities were the victims of exploitation of foreign rule.

Regarding the notion peddled by the Orientalist historians that Muslims or Islam were somehow foreign to India, we need to settle on the definition of nativity first. If an Indian settles in the US, for instance, how would you define such a first generation immigrant? Since he was brought up in India and subsequently migrated to a Western country, therefore such a first generation Indian-American would have more in common with Indians than Americans, as such. But how would you identify the children of an immigrant who have been brought up and educated in the West? The second generation Indian-Americans, for all practical purposes, would be more American than Indian in their outlooks.

Similarly, although I concede that the invading armies of Muslim rulers from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran were foreign to India; but once they settled in India, made Delhi their seat of governance, intermarried and gave birth to Indian children, then how come the descendants of such benevolent rulers be labeled as foreign invaders? Excluding a few odd adventurers, like Mahmud of Ghazni, who had his seat of government in Afghanistan but plundered the wealth of India by conducting raids on Somnath, the Muslim rulers of India, particularly the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire, were as much native to India as the Hindu and Sikh rajas and maharajas.

Notwithstanding, the only true sociological definition of nation is ethno-linguistic group. The concept of modern nation state, particularly in multiethnic federations like India and Pakistan, is an artificial construct which is predicated on nothing substantive but on myths, fables and symbols. Rather than monolithic communities, the Hindus and Muslims of India were more parochial and tribal in character.

The astute Orientalist historians of British India debunked the myth of six centuries’ old Muslim rule in India by calling them “marauders” and substituted it with the fables of the pre-Christ Maurya Empire in order to forge and reify Hindu identity against Muslims. The primary concern of impoverished Indian masses was to earn bread and butter for their families. The metanarratives of Hindu and Muslim nationalism were taught by the British rulers, Hindu elites and Muslim ashrafiya to their subjects in order to distract and exploit them.

Here, let me clarify that I am not giving a free pass to the Muslim rulers of India. Their rule must have been as tyrannical as any other undemocratic, elitist rule throughout the history has been. I am only contending that the Muslim rulers were deliberately singled out and vilified in order to sow the seeds of dissension between the two communities.

After all, if the British rulers who resided in England and ruled over India can be hailed as saviors who built roads and railways and established schools, colleges and hospitals, not by academics but by common Indian citizens, then why can’t the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire that ensured peace and stability in India and built architectural wonders in Delhi, Lahore and Agra be granted a similar level of deference?

By the British divide-and-rule policy in the Indian context, it is generally assumed by Indian historians that the British rulers used the Muslim minority against the Hindu majority by giving the former preferential treatment, separate electorates etc. but the fact is often overlooked that the British imperialists in equal measure used the Hindus against the Muslims by vilifying the latter’s culture, rule and religion.

Moreover, the partition of Bengal on religious lines in 1905 was another classic instance of the British divide-and-rule policy through demographic change. In this case, the British imperialists cleverly partitioned the Hindu-majority Bengal province into the Muslim-majority East Bengal and the Hindu-majority West Bengal. As a consequence, the Hindus felt aggrieved and launched a mass movement against the partition; the Raj obliged the Hindus by accepting their demand of reunifying Bengal in 1911 which created a sense of alienation and deprivation among Muslims.

This time around, however, despite unifying the province along linguistic lines, at the same time the British rulers split up Bihar and Orissa province to the west and Assam province to the east; thus, reducing the initial Hindu majority (pre-1905) that included Bihar, Orissa and Assam, in favor of Muslim majority (post-1911) in the reunified Bengal. Additionally, the British rulers also devised separate electorates for Muslims in 1909; thus, pitting one community against the other which had lived peacefully for centuries before the arrival of British in India.

Finally, rather than cultivating inclusive Indian nationalism that would glorify Hindu, Muslim and Sikh identities and histories in equal measure, the British rulers maliciously nurtured exclusionary Hindu and Muslim nationalism in order to divide the communities and prolong the British rule. As several contemporary Indian historians have contended that Muslim nationalism in India was a reaction to exclusionary Hindu nationalism.

The political leadership of India was the product of British education system that forged artificial identities and entrenched communal divisions, therefore it was not possible for them to rise above their communal prejudices and work for the betterment of all Indians as a nation. This self-serving, divide-and-rule policy by the British rulers and their Hindu, Muslim and Sikh collaborators eventually led to a carnage and mass exodus of people on the eve of independence the likes of which history has seldom witnessed.

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An Open Letter to the Army Chief

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– Kavita Krishnan

Dear General Bipin Rawat,

You have warned Kashmiri civilians that if they fail to cooperate with Army operations, the Army will not hesitate to fire on them. You have added, for good measure, that not only those who pelt stones but even those who raise anti-India slogans or display anti-India flags will be likewise treated as “terrorists.”

By doing so, you have admitted that the Indian State is at war with the people of Kashmir. You have admitted that contrary to the claims of the Indian State based on election participation, ordinary Kashmiri civilians are not supportive of the Indian State or Indian Army.

Why do Kashmiri youth and women pick up stones, raise anti-India slogans and obstruct Army operations against militants? Is it simply because they are brain-washed by Pakistan? To find an answer, I read about Waqar Ahmad Moharkan (http://kashmirreader.com/2017/02/21/5-months-jail-psa-20-firs-waqar-loved-india/) and what put a stone in his hands and an azaadi slogan on his lips.

Waqar, now 24 and facing a slew of cases relating to last year’s uprising, says that he “loved India once” but “the word India now makes me mad…I was living in a dreamland till I met with reality of their brutality.”

During a curfew break in the 2008 protests, Waqar went out on his bike to buy milk, and was stopped at a petrol pump by CRPF troopers. “I greeted them politely. I told them curfew has been lifted and I had to buy milk. There were about 12 of them there. They encircled me and beat me up with lathis and gun butts. One of them thrust the barrel of his gun into my mouth so that I wouldn’t shout,” and declared that all Kashmiris were “traitors and Pakistanis.”

He says, “When they finally stopped I got up, parked my bike and for the first time in my life picked up a stone and threw it at them with all my strength and all by myself I said ‘hum kya chahte, azadi.” He then sought out stone throwers to learn the art of stone pelting.

I also read about 13-year-old Saqib in this (https://kafilabackup.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/kashmir-fft-report.pdf) enquiry report into the 2010 mass uprising. Saqib – much like every Kashmiri child I and other members of a solidarity team that visited Kashmir in November 2016 met – was very sure that azaadi for him means self-determination, a choice made between India, Pakistan or an independent Kashmir, a historical commitment that he insists India owes the people of Kashmir.

The team members probed how Saqib imagined azaadi: “What possibly could azaadi mean to Saqib? A major criterion emerges a little while into the conversation: azaadi means in part, to be free of “Major Sharma”, the local army commander who made it a regular routine to swagger into Saqib’s school in the company of other soldiers from his unit – all displaying lethal firearms – to threaten children that they should participate in protest demonstrationsonly at enormous risk to their lives.”

General Rawat, it seems from these testimonies that the stone-pelting Kashmiris are being produced, not by Pakistan, but by the very presence of Indian armed forces in the Valley. The report https://kafilabackup.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/kashmir-fft-report.pdf cited above estimates that there are 90,000 Indian armed persons deployed in Kashmir (for a population of 5 million) on counter-insurgency operations alone (not counting those on patrolling, guard duty, on the Pakistan border and in artillery and air-defence units) – “already close to the number that the British Raj needed in terms of European administrators and military officers in order to control 300 million or so Indians.” The actual number may be much higher: “People in Kashmir believe that there is probably one armed person of the Indian Army and paramilitary for every 12 of them .” Why are Indian Army and paramilitary forces present in such concentration among Kashmiri civilians, if not to suppress and subjugate the will of a civilian population?

Will the fear of being killed by your troops deter Kashmiri civilians from protesting? To the people of Kashmir, it is hardly news that they may be killed during civilian street protests. In 2010, for instance, 112 Kashmiri civilians were killed over 4 months when CRPF and police fired at civilian protests and funeral processions across the Kashmir Valley. Last year, over 100 Kashmiri civilians protesting on the streets have been killed, 1178 received pellets in their eyes (52 of them were blinded, 300 including 150 minors partially lost vision) and 4664 persons received bullet injuries in different parts of the bodies. When Kashmiris know that they can be killed even for demonstrating on streets or mourning in a funeral, why would they be deterred by your threat that they may be killed while obstructing an Army operation against militants?

The sad truth is that you have only given voice to a policy that the Indian State has already been following – and it hasn’t worked. The official line of the Indian State used to be that they are out to “win hearts and minds” of ordinary Kashmiri people while cracking down on “terrorists.” A commentator, writing in robust defence of you, has reminded of the doctrine attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, “If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” (https://scroll.in/article/829668/counterpoint-general-rawat-has-only-stated-the-obvious-about-fighting-fire-with-fire-in-kashmir). Well, most Kashmiris will tell you that India has held them by the balls for decades and has still failed to win their hearts and minds.

Many Indians feel that to question the presence of the Indian Army and its right to use lethal force against anti-Indian Kashmiris amounts to an intolerable insult to the patriotic soldiers who are being killed in the Valley.

Can we pause and ask ourselves – how much do we really care, as a country, for the soldiers drawn from amongst the poorest Indians? They are a useful stick with which to beat up dissenters and questioners. They die – and their deaths allow us to be self-righteously and aggressively ‘patriotic’ at their cost. If any of them – like BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav – dares to complain about the indignities to which soldiers are subjected, he is treated just as ruthlessly as other dissenting citizens are treated http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bsf-cancels-tej-bahadur-yadavs-vrs-denies-wifes-claim-of-his-arrest-4504980/.

The Armed Forces of any country are meant to fight wars against enemies. Civilian discontent against a State and even civilian demands for self-determination, for azaadi from a State, have to be recognized as political not military issues. When our political masters refuse to recognize – let alone solve – the political question of Kashmir, they demand that our soldiers risk their lives and peace of mind to suppress the will and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Is this just?

I’m sure you’re aware that of the alarming suicide and fragging rates among Indian soldiers http://www.oneindia.com/feature/suicides-graver-than-enemies-armed-forces-1487700.html. When reasons for these are discussed, one possibility is rarely ever admitted – the fact that being asked to kill and commit atrocities for a cause that you know in your heart is unjust, puts an incredible strain on the human mind and spirit.

For the sake of the Kashmiri people – but also for the sake of Indians deployed in the Armed forces – surely it is time we recognize the Kashmir issue as a dispute; demand a political solution; and seek withdrawal of Indian Army and paramilitary forces from civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir as a necessary first step towards resolution of the dispute? 

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Samjhota Express Incident Revisited

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By Sajjad Shaukat

On the midnight of 18-19 February 2007, India-Pakistan Samjhota Express train was bombed in

which 68 Pakistani nationals were killed. A Hindu extremist leader Swami Aseemanand, a leader

of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has confessed that he was involved in several bombings

incidents. He also claimed to have been a part of the incident.

In fact, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails in every field at the cost of other

minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defense forces secretly. This could be judged

from the incident, when on April 6, 2008 in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded,

a bomb went off. The investigation proved that these militants were found in the bomb-making

and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra

arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they

were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive

RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further

disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota

express, which burnt alive 70 Pakistanis.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) was convinced that Sadhu Swami Aseemanand, a

Hindu right-wing leader was directly involved in the Samjhota Express blast. Sources in NIA

further pointed out that besides Lt. Col. Purohit, other Indian army officials were also behind that

train-bombing. In this regard, a court in Panchkula, Haryana has recorded Aseemanand’s

statement which confirmed the NIA inquiry.

Aseemanand’s statement in the Samjhota Express blast case was recorded under Section 164 of

the Criminal Procedure Code before a magistrate. His earlier admission was recorded in the

Mecca Masjid case, which was being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Sadhu Aseemanand stuck to his confession that Hindutva radicals were behind the bomb attack

on the Samjhota Express. Aseemanand, Aka Naba and Kumar Sarkar, named absconding

Hindutva militants—Ramji Kaisangra and Sandeep Dange as the key plotters in that terror

attack.

Sources of the NIA also disclosed that the confession in connection with the Samjhota Express

blast practically rules out the involvement of other groups.

In the Samjhota Express case, the probe team has found that the bomb used in the train waskept

in a suitcase that was bought from a shop of Indore’s Kothari Market. The suitcase had cloth

covers stitched by an Indian local tailor. The NIA was now trying to get details of those who

bought the suitcase and covers.

It is notable that Dr. J C Batra, who is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, was

asked to give opinion on Aseemanand’s confession. He appeared very defensive and as usual

started accusing Pakistan’s its primary intelligence agency ISI—its so-called history for such

activities, alleging that even this could be an ISI plot. He further said that Swami’s statement

does not have much legal value as circumstantial evidence is also needed, while adding that RSS

is being wrongly implicated and there could be others involved who are not being exposed. In

this regard, a Pakistani parliamentarian, Mr. Mian Abdul Sattar, parliamentary secretary for

planning and development, who was accompanying him, later stated that that he was told by Mr

JC Batra that the Indian Army was involved in this case and there “are efforts to shield it from

getting exposed”.

Swami Aseemanand also confessed in the court that several RSS preachers and Sang activists

were directly involved in planning, financing and executing Malegaon, Samjhauta Express,

Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts. He stated that various leaders of Hindu communal organizations

including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram and Vanvasi

Kalyan Ashram were also behind these blasts.

It is mentionable that in various tapes, LT. Col Purohit said, “We are all on the same plane,

Hindu Rashtra (Nation)”. He even claimed that Gen. J J Singh is “with us”. (Former Singh was

Army Chief till Sept. 2007). Significantly, Purohit mentioned that “one of our own captain had

visited Israel”, and demanded “continuous supply of arms, training, an office with a saffron flag

in Tel Aviv, political asylum and support for our cause of a Hindu Nation in the UN.” The

Israelis, he added, gave “a very positive response.”

In this context, exposing the nexus between Bhartia Janta Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the then Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on

January 20, 2013 that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP

were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were behind the

Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. He added, “We will have to think

about it (Saffron terrorism) seriously…Hindu extremist parties BJP and RSS were involved

many times in Hindu Muslim violence in India, especially Gujarat and Babri masjid incident.”

The then India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid endorsed Shinde’s statement, saying

that it was based on facts. Meanwhile, Indian Home Secretary R K Singh revealed that during

investigation the government had found ten names of the Hindu extremists, associated with RSS,

who were involved in these terror attacks including Ajmer Sharif.

Similarly on July 19, 2013, the Indian ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-

attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001

were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

While, India has always accused Pakistan’s ISI of these acts of terrorism, but it is quite silent

over Hindutva-terror which has obtained a new face, under the fundamentalist Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi, as Indian RAW, country’s high officials and fundamentalist parties

have co-relationship.

Nevertheless, despite the confessions of Swami Aseemanand, instead of taking action against the

culprits of the Samjhota Express explosion, the Supreme Court of India accepted the bail of

Swami Aseemanand after the covert interference of the Modi-led authorities who changed the

investigations in this respect in order to weaken the case.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Samjhota Express Incident Revisited

RSS Agenda: India, Again, Threatens Surgical Strikes

NOVANEWS

Image result for INDIA LEADER CARTOON

By Sajjad Shaukat

In the aftermath of the terror attack at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC)

with Pakistan, India has been deliberately increasing war hysteria against Pakistan in accordance with the agenda of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The situation developed after the Uri base assault has clearly proved that with the help of Indian

intelligence agencies, particularly RAW, India has itself arranged the attack not only to defame

Pakistan, but also to achieve a number of sinister aims.

After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including

their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who target the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir and the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba controlled by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in it. Under the mask of the Uri base

assault, India started mobilization of troops near the LoC to wage a limited war with Pakistan,

while considering surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir.

New Delhi claimed on September 29, 2016 that it carried out surgical strikes on terrorist launch

pads across the LoC in Pakistani side of Kashmir.

On the other side, in a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) rejected Indian

claims by saying, “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated by India. Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC…the notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being

deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects…to create media hype by rebranding

cross border fire as surgical strike is a fabrication of truth.”

Meanwhile, the representatives of The Washington Post and The New York Times, who visited

the villages adjoining LoC in the disputed Kashmir region have reported that the people they met

there told them that there were no surgical strikes.

Reports suggest that myth of Indian surgical strikes was exposed. Hence differences existed

between the civil and military leadership—as to how cover the falsehood. In this regard, Indian

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and country’s former Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag had

decided to prepare a ‘fake video’ of surgical strikes so as to pacify the Indian public and media.

In this context, Indian Express wrote on October 5, 2016, “Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay

Nirupam on Wednesday attacked BJP even as he continued to face flak from several quarters for

suggesting army’s surgical strikes could be “fake” Unfazed by the heat, even from within his

party, Nirupam fired a fresh salvo accusing BJP of trying to extract political mileage out of the

national security issue with eyes set on ensuing elections in the state to be held next year.”

It is mentionable that since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader

Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in wake of

continued sieges and prolonged curfews, Indian forces have martyred more than 150 innocent

persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani.

In wake of new phase of uprising in the Indian Held Kashmir, pressure on the BJP-led Indian

government of Modi has been mounting both domestically and internationally.

But, setting aside the internal and external pressure, days after being named the new Indian

Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat said on January 3, this year that so-called “surgical strikes”

against Pakistan were meant to deliver a message. While threatening Islamabad, Gen. Bipin

Rawat told NDTV in an exclusive interview that the possibility of similar action in the future

could not be ruled out by adding, “If there are terrorist bases across and if they continue to

disrupt the situation on our side of the Line of Control then we have a right to take action against

the terrorists.”

In response, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims

by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible

recurrence.

According to ISPR, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces

were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”

However, like the BJP-led Modi government, Indian new army chief is also following the RSS

agenda which is, the real controller of Indian internal and external policies, based upon anti-

Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach.

Taking cognizance of various developments such as unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism,

persecution of minorities, forced conversions of other religious minorities into Hindus, ban on

beef and cow slaughter, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum and creation of war-

like situation with Pakistan, analysts have still been opining that being the leader of the BJP,

Indian Prime Minister Modi is implementing the fundamentalist agenda of his party with the

support of other Hindu fanatic outfits. But, a Mumbai-based writer, author and lawyer, A. G.

Noorani in his article, “Modi’s loyalties,” published in a Pakistan’s leading daily, on October 10,

2015 proved with authentic events and arguments that Hindu fundamentalist party, RSS is the

real controller of India and BJP is only a show piece.

In the article, A. G. Noorani said, “It was an unprecedented journey; but caused little surprise.

On September 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Nagpur, the headquarters of the

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to present himself before the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Almost his entire council of ministers and the BJP’s parliamentary board were there to

demonstrate their accountability to the RSS. On Oct 2, a dozen or so junior ministers of state got

into a huddle with senior RSS functionaries in New Delhi in what was described as a regular

review meeting. A press release issued thereafter revealed: The prime minister said he was proud to be a Swayamsevak and he had reached where he had because of the values he had imbibed as

a member of the RSS.”

A. G. Noorani elaborated, “Modi is a lifelong RSS activist (pracharak), having left his family to

dedicate himself to the organisation. It, in turn, ensured his rise to the post of the highest

executive of the country. The entire exercise was a flagrant violation of the fundamentals of the

parliamentary system.”

The writer pointed out, “The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is an RSS man who was

seconded to the BJP along with many others—recently the RSS model is unique. It has a parivar

[family] of 40-plus organisations. The RSS is their ideological fountainhead. It is also the BJP’s

muscle; it provides the cadres and foot soldiers who are indispensable at election time. Bhagwat

disapproves of the personality cult which Modi and his men have built up ever since he became

prime minister.”

He wrote, “The stark reality is that the BJP can never be a right-wing party in the traditional

sense. Its ideology binds it to the RSS which also controls it organizationally.”

He explained, “The word ‘fascist’ was aptly chosen. As Donald E. Smith says in his classic India

as a Secular State—The leader principle, the stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural

superiority, ultra-nationalism infused religious idealism, the use of symbols of past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of the religious or ethnic minorities from the

nation-concept—all of these features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in

Europe. A responsible correspondent reported in August that the RSS membership is growing at

10,000 to 15,000 recruits every month and says it has reached every district except parts of

Kashmir and Assam. The RSS influence on governance was obvious when Atal Behari Vajpayee

was prime minister. It successfully vetoed Jaswant Singh’s appointment as finance minister. The

RSS shadow lurks ominously on issues dear to it. Ram Madhav specifically mentioned Kashmir

as one of them; which implies also relations with Pakistan.”

Nevertheless, these new revelations prove that all the extremist parties like VHP, Bajrang Dal,

Shiv Sena and other extremist outfits including his own ruling party are subsidiaries of the RSS,

while under the influence of RSS; Prime Minister Modi has been rapidly radicalizing India.

While, the constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious

minorities, but in practice, ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu politics and culture dominated by the fundamentalist parties—under the control of RSS have been

propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into

unending violence against the Muslims and Christians including other minority groups.

In fact, Modi who was also a volunteer worker of the extremist Hindu terrorist outfit RSS since 8

years of age is a natural born Hindu extremist, while RSS involved in Muslim genocide, rape of

women, demolition of mosques and alive burnings of the innocent persons.

It is noteworthy that especially, on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, BJP got a

land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014, and enabled BJP hardliner, Narendra Modi to

become Indian prime minister who was so far seemed to be implementing his party’s extremist

agenda by giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism—not only against other minorities, but also

against Pakistan, as under his direction, New Delhi has intensified unprovoked firing at the Line

of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border. Now, these latest

revelations clearly indicate that the Indian Prime Minister Modi follows the instructions of the

RSS which is the main decision-making party and real controller of India.

In this respect, some reliable online sources have disclosed that a secret meeting of RSS took

place under Mohan Bhagwat, Chief of RSS which was also attended by Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi,

serving 3 rd  term as General Secretary of RSS, Sureshi Sony (Secretary), Krishna Gopat, Majoj

Biyani and Dr Subhash Bhambre (Minister of State for Defence). Important details reported

about the meeting are—RSS wants BJP to be more aggressive towards Pakistan. Across Line of

Control/Working Boundaries/International Boarder operation has been planned against Pakistan in the near future, most likely before UP election to favorably impact the outcome of elections.

These reports also revealed that RSS wants BJP to build Ayodhya Temple after forming

government in UP. Prime Minister Modi has made important appointments recently including

COAS, RAW and IB Chiefs. BJP/RSS now have their “own men” to lead these organizations.

Modi with ambitious newly appointed Chief’s and DGMO may resort to some limited action

against Pakistan which can be used for political gains through inflated projection. Possibility of a

“False Flag” act of violence followed by a limited cross LOC/WB/IB action by Special Forces or

infantry will be high until the elections are over.

Indian new army chief has been portrayed as an expert of “Surgical Strikes” to domestic

audience, as Corps had conducted “cross border strikes” against Naga rebels in Myanmar.

Para-drop practices have been conducted recently in Kishtwar in Indian Occupied Kashmir

(IOK)—Samba, Jammu and Bhatinda. Practice of “Surgical Strikes” was conducted by D Force

RRF in Batote (IOK). Possible objective of these exercises could be—make videos/ photographs

which can be used to add credibility to a future fake activity.

New Delhi can use any pretext to obtain its sinister designs against Islamabad. In this

connection, Kashmiri freedom fighters attacked on General Res Engineers Force (GREF) Camp

in Batal (Akhnoor) on January 9, 2017. In this connection, Indian media reported that 3 x GREF

employees were killed in an attack by terrorists on January 9, 2017 at GREF camp, located 2 km

from LOC in Batal village. Indian media also stated that the attackers came from across the

LOC. The exact number of attackers is still not confirmed contrary to that, actual facts are GREF

is a subordinate organization of border Roads Organization (BRO).

The Indian authorities have been quick to link them to Pakistan. Indian media is not giving it due coverage, as has been done in previous incidents. Because, Indian Army might be making the groups for launching another surgical strikes—Indian designs to use such fake incidents to

malign Pakistan and to use them as a justification for any surgical strikes may be exposed.

Nonetheless, the Modi government and its new army chief who are acting upon RSS agenda by

considering surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir or limited war in Kashmir in wake of intermittent

firing across the LoC by targeting the villages of Azad Kashmir are badly mistaken, if they

overestimate India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. Pakistan’s Armed Forces are

fully prepared to give a matching response to any such an attack by Indian forces. So, our forces

are ready to conduct a real strike on an opportune moment.

Posted in IndiaComments Off on RSS Agenda: India, Again, Threatens Surgical Strikes

KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER

NOVANEWS

KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER AND REJECT THE MOSSAD-RAW ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE THEM ON SECTARIAN LINES
by Jonathan Azaziah

Here we go! Let it rock Kashmiris! In response to RAW’s agents burning pictures of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Rouhani last Friday, Kashmiris in Srinagar gathered in massive numbers–some brothers say hundreds, others say thousands–on Sunday to counteract the hatred, sectarianism and division represented by these degenerates in the pay of Hindutva and Zionism.

The defiant demonstrators waved Hizbullah’s flags, held up Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr’s (R.A.) pictures and chanted against all forms of sedition. Shi’a, Sunnis, Sufis and even a few Sikhs were present as booming cries of “Death to India!”, “Death to ‘Israel’!” and “Death to Al-Saud!” rang throughout the Kashmiri capital’s streets. Just in case it needed to be said, and for some, clearly it does – THIS IS THE TRUE FACE OF THE KASHMIRI AZADI (FREEDOM) STRUGGLE. Unity and Resistance. And this isn’t a mere slogan either. It’s not even a way of life. It just is. That’s how Kashmiris are and this is what Kashmiris do. Being split on ethnic or sectarian lines is NOT in their nature and it is NOT going to happen; Kashmiris aren’t going to be bullied, nor will they be browbeaten into accepting something alien to their culture, history and identity.

Not by RAW’s subversion.

Not by the brutality of the Indian occupation army.

Not by the usurping Zionist entity’s thirst for expanding its global hegemony.

Not by Saudi Arabia’s petrodollar-fueled Wahhabi-Takfiri fanaticism either.

The fight for Azadi in the Vale is one that encompasses all peoples from all Islamic schools of thought and all faiths. Going on seven decades, Kashmiris have consistently rebuked every one of the Indian regime’s attempts to fracture and factionalize them. And nothing exemplifies that more than the raising of the Lebanese Islamic Resistance’s yellow banner. Hizbullah fights to unify the region. Kashmiris struggle to unify the Valley. The two go together like Wazwan followed by Kahwah on the day that the whole of Kashmir is liberated from the Indian occupation’s reign of terror.

Posted in India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on KASHMIRIS WAVE HIZBULLAH’S BANNER

Pak-India Water Dispute Accelerates

NOVANEWS

Image result for Pak-India Water PHOTO

Sajjad Shaukat

Pakistan is a grave victim of water scarcity, because of being on lower riparian in relation to the

rivers emanating from the Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK). India has never missed an opportunity to

harm Pakistan since its inception; it is creating deliberate water shortages for Pakistan with the

aim to impair Pakistan agriculturally. Historically, India has been trying to establish her

hegemony in the region by controlling water sources and damaging agricultural economies of her

neighbouring states. India has water disputes with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Indian

extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has given the concerned departments to continue

construction of dams has ordered diverting water of Chenab River to Beas, which is a serious

violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. Therefore Pak-India water dispute has accelerated.

In this regard, an article By: Zofeen T. Ebrahim, Joydeep Gupta (Co-Authors) under the caption,

“India resists World Bank move to resolve Indus Water Treaty dispute”, published in The Third

Pole and reproduced-updated by a Pakistan’s renowned daily on January 6, 2017 is notable.

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta wrote, “India has asked the World Bank not to rush in to

resolve a dispute with Pakistan over the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects. Indian

officials told a World Bank representative in New Delhi on January 5 that any differences over

the projects can be resolved bilaterally or through a neutral expert. Pakistan has objected to the

projects–being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir–on the grounds that they violate the 1960

Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) between the two countries. After India rejected the charge, Pakistan

has gone to the World Bank–the designated IWT mediator.”

They indicated, “Islamabad has also asked the United States (US) government to intervene, and

has added the component of water security to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

agreement. Of the rivers in the Indus basin, the Indus and the Sutlej start in China and flow

through India before reaching Pakistan. The other four rivers–Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Beas –

start in India and flow to Pakistan”.

The writers pointed out, “The Kishanganga project is on a tributary of the Jhelum, while the

Ratle project is on the Chenab. The State Department in Washington has already said it wants

India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues bilaterally, a route favoured by India.”

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta elaborated, “As the dispute flared up, the World Bank

had recently suspended all proceedings–the setting up of a court of arbitration or the appointment

of a neutral expert. On January 5, World Bank representative Ian H Solomon met officials of

India’s External Affairs and Water Resources ministries in New Delhi in an effort to break the

deadlock.The Indian delegation, led by Gopal Baglay, Joint secretary in the Ministry of External

Affairs, made a detailed a presentation on the two projects to support their argument that neither

project violated the IWT. After the meeting, a government official told journalists that the Indian

side had described the objections raised by Pakistan as “technical”, and therefore they would be

best resolved by a neutral expert.”

They wrote, “Pakistan has dismissed this suggestion earlier, and is seeking a full court of

arbitration. The World Bank had agreed to a court of arbitration and then to the appointment of a

neutral expert, leading to objections by both countries. That was when both processes were

suspended. Explore: World Bank pauses dam arbitration to ‘protect Indus Waters Treaty.’ At the

January 5 meeting, Solomon did not raise any question on the designs of the two projects,

according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Instead, he explored ways to resolve the

dispute. With nothing decided, the World Bank official is going from New Delhi to Islamabad to

continue this effort. The official added that India is fully conscious of its international

obligations and is ready to engage in further consultations to resolve the differences regarding

the two projects. Under the IWT, India is allowed only non-consumptive use of water from the

three western rivers in the Indus basin–Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.”

The co-authors mentioned, “The Kishanganga and Ratle projects are on the western rivers. They

are run-of- the-river hydropower projects that do not hold back any water, though Pakistan’s

objection is about the height of the gates in the dams from which water is allowed to flow

downstream. The three eastern rivers–Ravi, Beas and Sutlej–are reserved for the use of India.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan. The Pakistani government approached the World Bank last September,

saying the design of the Kishanganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under

IWT, and sought the appointment of a court of arbitration. Since the Kishanganga project has

been going on for years, the “inordinate” delay by Islamabad to approach the World Bank would

give India more time to complete its projects, Jamait Ali Shah, former Indus Water

Commissioner on behalf of the Pakistani government, told thethirdpole.net”.

Their article pointed out, “However, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar wrote to the World

Bank on December 23, stressing that it was not withdrawing its request to set up a court of

arbitration. This was followed by a call from the outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry to

Dar, saying that the US would like to see an amicable solution to the transboundary water row.

Karachi-based newspaper…quoted diplomatic observers in Washington to say, “seriousness of

this dispute, particularly the fear that it may harm the treaty, forced Mr. Kerry to make this call.”

The writers explained, “For a while now Pakistan has also wanted to bring China into the picture.

At the sixth meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC which was held in

Beijing on December 29, a special group on water storage was formed to pre-empt any “severe

water crisis” impacting economic and food security of Pakistan, an official statement said. After

a Chinese delegation visits Pakistan later this month, the JCC – the highest policy-making forum

of the CPEC – may consider including the Diamer-Bhasha dam into the CPEC agreement.

Planned at an estimated cost of around USD 15 billion, if Pakistan succeeds in getting the dam

financed under CPEC, planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal would consider it a

“landmark achievement”. Both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have refused

to lend money to Pakistan for this hydropower project. Pakistani experts react leading lawyer and

former federal law minister, Ahmer Bilal Soofi termed the inclusion of water security into CPEC

essentially a |political choice for Pakistan and China” though the issue does not “squarely fall

within the otherwise commercial mandate of CPEC”.

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta wrote, “Speaking to thethirdpole.net, Soofi said Pakistan

and China need to exchange notes on a “contradicting state practice of India as an upper riparian

to Pakistan and a lower riparian to China, that will help both the states to confront India.” He

further added that Pakistan should raise its voice at an international level that “India’s building of

reservoir and fully utilising the water storage capacity under the treaty poses a serious threat to

Pakistan in particular backdrop of India’s present posturing as it improves India’s capability to

manipulate water flows into Pakistan.” This was echoed by former commissioner Shah who said

the international community should be duly briefed about the “dilution of the violation of the

provisions of the treaty” by India. At the same time, he said both countries should continue to

work closely and quietly to resolve the grievances and find a middle ground”.

They added, “The recent stance by India where it “lobbied aggressively and influenced” the

World Bank, he feared, had further undermined the already “fragile” treaty. “The WB needs to

take the right action–which is to act as arbitrator in this matter, as it has done before,” pointed

out water expert Simi Kamal.The reason why the IWT, 74 pages long with 12 articles and 8

annexures and has no expiry date, has worked so far, she said was partly because the Bank acted

as a third party. “The Bank needs to maintain this role and not back off now, when its arbitration

role is most required in the face of a belligerent Indian government.”

According to the writers, “Kamal further said the solution lay not in the pause by the Bank “or

for hawks to call for dismantling the treaty”, but for both governments to act responsibly and for

the Bank to play its role in "containing adventurism by either government–in this matter the

Indian government”. Shah also felt when Pakistan plans to proceed with such cases, it never does

its homework thoroughly and therefore always appears the weaker party. The same was endorsed

by noted economist Kaiser Bengali when he told thethirdpole.net that he found “the intellectually

deficient and politically inane manner in which Pakistan has been pursuing the matter”, criminal.

Bengali had little confidence in the Pakistan IWT team. He said, “It has no strategy on dealing

with water issues with India. Pakistan’s chief negotiator for more than a decade and a half had

limited intellectual capacity to lead on such a strategically life and death issue,” he said”.

They indicated, “He said Pakistan keeps harping on the "spirit" of the agreement. “Four decades

after a treaty is signed, what matters is the letter of the print, not the spirit of the time when the

document was signed.” Bengali believed India was not violating the letter of the agreement.

“India has been building power plants on western rivers, but not diverting any water”. Nor, he

said, were Pakistan’s contentions on the design "substantive enough to warrant a full scale

confrontation”. He also observed, like Shah, that differences can and should be resolved in a

more “low key” manner. He feared that since India was not violating the treaty per se, if Pakistan

does take the latter to court, it will meet the same fate as the Baglihar Dam case of 2007”.

Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Joydeep Gupta maintained, “While Indian officials maintain that they are

sticking to the IWT, the government has hardened its stand in recent months after attacks on

Indian Army camps in Kashmir by suspected militants. (Read: South Kashmir's role in anti-India

struggle) New Delhi had earlier said it was setting up a task force to examine what projects it

could undertake in the three western rivers of the Indus basin under the ambit of the IWT. In the

last week of 2016, the government announced that the task force would be headed by Nripendra

Mishra, principal secretary to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Nevertheless in light of the above article, it is mentionable that since the 9/11 tragedy,

international community has been taking war against terrorism seriously, while there are also

other forms of bloodless wars, being waged in the world and the same are like terrorism. Political

experts opine that modern terrorism has many meanings like violent acts, economic terrorism

etc., but its main aim is to achieve political, economic and social ends. Judging in these terms,

Pak-India water dispute which has become serious needs special attention of the US and other

major powers, as India remains stern on her illegitimate stand in this respect.

Posted in India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pak-India Water Dispute Accelerates

India’s Man-Made Economic Calamity

NOVANEWS

India’s Man-Made Economic Calamity: How Many Will Die from Starvation, Malnutrition and Disease as a Result of Modi’s Demonetization?

modi

At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking:  How many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi’s demonetisation?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages, already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash.[1][2]  This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation’s currency worthless as legal tender—a draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament, or the people.

The so-called demonetisation policy has had devastating effects across all sectors of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.

But the worst-hit are the poor, the day-laborers, and the rural and semi-rural working class who make up around two-thirds of India’s population—over 650 million people.  The majority of these people have no bank accounts or credit cards.  Nationwide, only 53% of Indians have bank accounts, and more than 300 million people have no government-approved ID which they needed to convert their hard-earned cash into approved denominations.[3]

Ironically, those worst-hit are the people who helped vote Modi into power, believing his populist rhetoric.  Now, while they and their families go hungry, they outwardly give lip-service approval to Modi’s dictatorial scheme, which was supposedly designed to root out “black money”, ie, money that the rich and well-off hide from the tax authorities.  But inwardly, they are seething with anger at what is being done to them.[4]

It is clear that India’s corporate-controlled mainstream media will continue to grossly underreport the havoc that Modi has wreaked upon the nation with his disastrous, ill-conceived experiment in social engineering.[5]  It is also clear that the opposition parties in India are weak, divided, corrupt, and unable to come together and put an end to this unfolding tragedy.

Massive relief efforts should be underway to help all those who face shortages of food, medicine, and cash.  Whether this means an immediate reversal of demonetization or interim measures, they should be carried out nationwide.  But this is not happening.  Instead, Modi arrogantly and defiantly defends his suicidal policy, while his party has launched a huge propaganda campaign extolling the benefits of India’s supposed transition to a digitalized cashless society.  This is insane, as over 95% of the country’s transactions are done in cash.

Many more months will elapse before the government prints up the replacement currency and before the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have been recalibrated with the necessary new hardware and software.  Right now, almost none of the ATMs work, despite the government/media lies and misinformation.  While the bureaucrats and banks dither, how many people will die from hunger, starvation, or preventable disease because they and their children couldn’t get food or medical treatment?[6]

Perhaps it is time for intervention on a global scale.  This issue should be brought before the attention of the United Nations.  If necessary, resolutions should be passed condemning India’s government for its monumental negligence, inhumanity, and murderous scheme which affects one-sixth of humanity.  Other groups that monitor human rights worldwide should be involved as well.

Notes

[1] Harsh Mander, “Crisis of cashlessness: Demonetisation is hurting rural India, drying up wages, household supplies and food”.  Indian Express, Dec. 24, 2016. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/demonetisation-crisis-of-cashlessness-4442343/

[2]   Right To Food Campaign, ” Demonetisation Undermines The Right To Food And The Right To Life”.  Countercurrents.org, Dec. 28, 2016.  http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/28/demonetisation-undermines-the-right-to-food-and-the-right-to-life/

[3] Amit Varma, “Narendra Modi takes a great leap backwards. Mao would approve”.  Times of India, Nov. 22, 2016.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/all-that-matters/Narendra-Modi-takes-a-great-leap-backwards-Mao-would-approve/articleshow/55517238.cms

[4] Vanita Akhaury, “Demonetisation effect: Hungry stomachs are making poor seethe to the point of silent revolt.” Firstpost.com, Nov. 19, 2016.  http://www.firstpost.com/business/demonetisation-effect-hungry-stomachs-are-making-poor-seethe-to-the-point-of-silent-revolt-3114038.html

[5]    “Demonitization 2016: Arrogance, Audacious & Atrocious”.    Nov. 30, 2016. http://nharshakumar.blogspot.in/2016/11/demonitization-2016-arrogance-audacious.html

[6]   A petition calling for the reversal of demonetisation and for Prime Minister Modi to step down can be found at:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Prime_Minister_of_India_Say_Sorry_and_Resign/?cznTtlb

Posted in IndiaComments Off on India’s Man-Made Economic Calamity

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