Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's Give Away Kashmir

Oflate, Iam copying the content of good articles appearing in other websites like or and pasting them in my blogs. Ofcourse, Iam not claiming them as mine and that's the reason Iam quoting the name of the author and the original link of the article. I hope the authors wont mind free circulation of their articles.

In the same context, I happened to read an article in regarding the present violent incidents in both Jammu and Kashmir. This article was written by Mr.Ramananda Sen Gupta, Chief Editor for The link to the original article is here - Let's Give Away Kashmir.

Give away Kashmir. Give it the azadi that the people are demanding.

Because our democracy, God bless it, does not allow us to ‘trample over’ the wishes of the people.

And while we are at it, perhaps we should ‘give away’ parts of the northeast as well. Because people there too are chafing over ‘Indian rule.’

In other words, instead of summarily trying and executing the people who blatantly abuse, denigrate and desecrate our nation, who openly raise anti-national slogans on our soil, we should actually bow before their demands. That has been the long-standing demand of our friendly neighbor, Pakistan.

But all of a sudden, sections of the Indian mainstream media -- and people like Arundhati Roy -- are echoing these views.

‘What if he (Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a separatist ‘leader’) and his followers were to adopt the strategies of non-cooperation and satyagraha, which were used (by Gandhi) to gain independence?’ asks Jug Suraiya in an article titled ‘India Minus K-word’, in the Times of India dated August 20, 2008. ‘Could the Indian state use physical force against such a peaceful mass movement — if in fact it did arise, as some say it now has — and still retain its moral idea of itself?’

“If you believe in democracy, then giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination is the correct thing to do. And even if you don’t, surely we will be better off being rid of this constant, painful strain on our resources, our lives, and our honor as a nation?” argues Vir Sanghvi in the Hindustan Times. (Think the unthinkable, August 16)

“India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India,” pontificates Ms Roy, the writer turned whatever.

But if I was scared when I read all this, I was downright terrified when a reasonably reliable contact in one of our intelligence agencies hinted that this was actually a “trial balloon” being floated at the behest of the UPA government, to gauge the people’s reaction to such a proposal.

But then, should I expect better from a government which actually wanted the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India, clearly linked to the recent terrorist attacks, to be lifted?

So, give in to the demands of people like Yasin Malik, the gent who is not sure whether he wants to be a Gandhi or a terrorist swine. The man who a few days ago was ready to go on a "fast-to-death" like the Mahatma, all for peace, and then let it be known that he was ‘co-ordinating’ his activities with Hafiz Sayed, the maniac who heads the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Let the terrorists win.

Give away Kashmir. After all, it has been a drain on the national exchequer for over 60 years. As Vir Sanghvi explains, “Kashmiri are Indian citizens but Indians are not necessarily Kashmiri citizens. We cannot vote for elections to their assembly or own any property in Kashmir. Then, there is the money. Bihar gets per capita central assistance of Rs 876 per year. Kashmir gets over 10 times more: Rs 9,754 per year. While in Bihar and other states, this assistance is mainly in the forms of loans to the state, in Kashmir 90 per cent is an outright grant. Kashmir’s entire Five Year Plan expenditure is met by the Indian taxpayer.”

Which is why J&K has 3.56 per cent poverty level while Maharashtra has about 25 per cent.

The BJP had pledged to rescind Article 370, which grants special rights to Kashmiris, but reneged on this after coming to power. Apparently doing so could lead to the accession of the state itself being questioned or revoked. Excuse me? So all that talk about the state being an integral part of India is horse manure?

So, after subsidizing the state for so long, we should just walk away? After strident declarations, three wars, we should now hand it over on a plate to Pakistan, with our compliments?

Mansoor Ijaz , a Pakistani-American who was reportedly used by President Bill Clinton to mediate on the Kashmir dispute, once told me that “Pakistan had too much blood invested in Kashmir to just walk away.”

India, if we are to accept the Suraiyas, Sanghvis and Roys, obviously does not. We can shrug off the blood being shed by our men in uniform each and every day in Kashmir. Just like we did after the 1971 war, when we agreed to release 90,000 Pakistani Prisoners of War and return more than 15,000 sq km of captured territory, without settling the Kashmir dispute once and for all.

The latest agitation in Jammu and Kashmir was sparked over the allotment of some forest land for Amaranath pilgrims. The separatists immediately denounced this as an attempt to change the demography of the state. They should know, having successfully cleansed the Valley of Pandits earlier.

The government’s knee jerk decision to revoke the allotment of land sparked off protests in Jammu, and there were reports of a blockade of the Kashmir Valley by the Hindus of Jammu. “It’s now Jammu vs Kashmir!” screamed our headlines.

Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then declared her support for a march --sponsored by the fruit-growers association of Kashmir and the Hurriyat Conference -- towards Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan occupied Kashmir -- to sell their produce.

Instead of letting them go there and then permanently blocking their return, Indian security forces broke up the march. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, a separatist leader, and three others were shot dead by unknown assailants, though our men in uniform were immediately blamed. On the other side of the border, a similar march by Pakistanis reportedly carrying food and other essential items for their brethren in the Valley was halted by Pakistani security forces using tear gas at Chakothi.

But hold on. A week before that, the Indian home ministry said there was “credible and mounting evidence that Hurriyat was using the contrived complaint of an 'economic blockade' to nudge the people to look towards Pakistan-controlled Muzaffarabad.”

Briefing journalists, a senior Intelligence official vehemently rejected reports about the blockade, and said as of the morning of Wednesday, August 13, “over 236 trucks and tankers carrying oil, gas, sheep, medicines and poultry products crossed the Jawahar Tunnel from the Jammu side early in the morning, and at least 82 of these vehicles had reached Srinagar by afternoon.”

As for the trucks reportedly stranded in the Valley, he said a particular transport operator, known to be a Hurriyat man, was stubbornly refusing to let his fleet move towards Jammu despite being repeatedly assured of full security. This, the official argued, indicated that the “so called blockade” had been staged by Pakistan’s ISI and the Hurriyat, to help the latter regain some of its fast eroding credibility in the Valley.

Give away the Kashmir Valley. Forget its economic and strategic importance, it’s immense potential for power generation, and the fact that it gives access to the river heads of the mighty Indus, the Jhelum and Chenab, which flow into Pakistan. Forget land access to Ladakh.

And forget the fact that we will be creating a Waziristan on our borders. Let the Kashmir Valley become the new headquarters of the Taliban, the Al-Qaeda, the LeT, the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

All this, because we do not have the leadership or the statesmanship to tackle the root cause of all the unrest in Kashmir: Pakistan.

If we were to divert or dam the three rivers that feed Pakistan, we could turn that nation into a desert. Have we ever considered leveraging this, the Indus Water Treaty be damned? Surely even the thick-skinned ISI, and the Mad Mullahs who lead the militants, would come to heel when faced with the prospect of indulging in urine therapy to quench their thirst?

We boast of being a superpower in waiting. If India and Indians think that Article 370 in law or "in effect" needs to be abrogated or "ignored" - then let us do it - openly or through subterfuge. Big countries do this all the time. Threaten something bigger, and then revoke the offensive Article, legally or illegally.

“I don't think we yet understand power. I don't think we understand power at all,” Arundhati Ghose, one of India’s finest diplomats, once told me.

“Economically, today we have more power, relatively, compared to what we had 10 or 20 years ago. But we do not understand it. We do not how to use it, we don't know how to project it, we are uncomfortable with it. We are more comfortable with the powerless. If you have power, you have to be able to use it, to leverage it. Be very clear about what it is you want,” said the lady who torpedoed American attempts to force us to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in August 1996.

And for those who tout our democratic traditions, they need to know that:

Democracy must work for the 500 million people of the Gangetic plains too.
Democracy means that we must punish, not reward, ethnic cleansing.
Democracy means that we must not allow a Waziristan next to Himachal Pradesh.
Democracy means that we must not allow appeasement of the worst human rights abuses.
Democracy means that we must treat all religious groups "equally."
Democracy means the state has the right to do whatever it takes, including the use of brute force, to check elements that threaten it.

Whether it is the Kashmir Valley militants or the Naxals, anyone who believes that force, violence and attacks against specific groups helps their cause must be taught, forcefully if needed, that it does not. Because otherwise we could say that the extreme Hindu groups also are a people's movement against Muslims, so, should we now allow them to target and kill Muslims?

As for morality, let us be very clear that when we're talking about the well being of more than a billion people - moral principles which guide our individual daily lives are not adequate. National priorities cannot be evaluated based on our individual moralities.

Anyone who promotes secessionism or separatism -–violently or peacefully -- should be tried and punished under stringent sedition laws. The boundaries of our nation are not negotiable.

Anyone who uses religion to justify terror or other anti-national acts is the diseased north end of a south-bound swine. And should be treated as such.

And anyone who feels that this is not their country is welcome to try their luck elsewhere.

If we cannot do all this, then why Kashmir, we might as well give away India.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chiranjeevi Launches Praja Rajyam

Telugu's Mega Star, Chiranjeevi launched his own party today at the temple town of Tirupati. The name of the party is Praja Rajyam (People's Rule).

As per accounts, more than 10 Lakh People (1 Million) attended the launch of the new party.

Chiranjeevi, who sounded emotional on seeing such a huge gathering, said, "These eyes of mine are blessed to be witnessing such a wonderful sight."

He also went on to say that he was here to serve the people and told the people that he understood the problems as he too came from a very humble background.

The crowd was beyond control and screamed "Jai Chiranjeeva" as he decended upon the temple town of Andhra Pradesh.

However, as he started speaking, the entire crowd went quiet and began listening to him patiently.

Flowers were showered on the mega star the moment he walked up to the dais and as he waved and greeted the crowd, the people danced and shouted as though there was no tomorrow.

The temple town had not seen so much activity in a long time. The town was probably reminded of the days of N T Rama Rao who launched his party in Tirupati in similar fashion.

The fans say that the crowd present is nearly 10 lakh. However, when one looks at the sea of humanity present at Tirupathi, you could say the crowd is as much as the eye can see.

Praja Rajyam:

Praja Rajyam (People's Rule) is the name of the political party of the Telugu superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.

The much-awaited name was unveiled by the star before a sea of humanity at Tirupati on Tuesday evening in a filmi style.

Developing the suspense and anxiety of the audience comprising of hundreds of thousands of men, women and youths, Chiranjeevi said that the name was chosen because his party was born from the hearts and minds of the people.

"Who called me into politics. It was you people. What do you want? It should be rule by the people for the people," he said.

Without going into the details of the policies and programmes of his party, Chiranjeevi said it will be a secular, pro-poor party.

"It will be the part of backward and weaker sections, farmers, labours, and women. It will be party, which will fight for social justice which will take Andhra Pradesh towards economic development and prosperity and industrial development. It will make the state a Santosha Andhra Pradesh, Chirunavvulu Andhra Pradesh and Ananda Andhra Pradesh," he said.

He promised top priority to the farmers, universal access to good education and healthcare to all the people on the lines of developed countries.

"My dream is to provide high-quality healthcare of corporate sector hospitals to the people in districts," he said.

Jai Chiranjeeva !!


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One Year Since Hyderabad Blasts is a full one year since 40 innocent people, both Muslims and Hindus, lost their lives in the twin blasts that rocked Hyderabad on 25th August 2007. Go through my previous post on the same - Hyderabad Blasts - Incapable Government

So...a question arises. Are the Islamic Terrorists responsible for this act arrested, tried and is justice done ?? The answer is glaringly big NO. It clearly shows that the Government of Andhra Pradesh is completely incapable of handling such situations. They have no spine to act against the perpetrators. The reason - age old Vote Bank Politics of Congress Party. It is afraid that it would lose Muslim votes if they act strictly on the intelligence passed on by the Intelligence Bureau to the State Intelligence Department.

Andhra Pradesh Police have to learn lot of lessons from their counterparts in Karnataka, Rajasthan and most importantly, Gujarat. Ironically, these are the states ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is accused of toying a pro-Hindutva line. But, not one says that Congress is toying a pro-Muslim line. Reason ? Every god damn politician in India - from the congress to pseudo secularists like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam singh yadav, Mayawati, Ram Vilas Paswan, Karunanidhi, Deve Gowda, Chandra babu naidu and a million more toe the pro-minority line as they know that Hindus are always divided when it comes to casting votes.

Until these politicians act spinelessly, India should brace for more terrorist attacks. These politicians are not ready to bring back anti terror laws like TADA and POTA which have played a good role in bringing down terrorist acts.

Why is the Central Government taking time in hanging Afzal Guru, who is the mastermind behind the Parliament Terrorist Attack ?? We should understand that these are hard core terrorists who dont see whether they are killing a Hindu or a Muslim. They dared to strike at the heart or Indian Democracy and we need to respond accordingly.

Afzal Guru must be hanged immediately and through this we should send a message to the terrorists that We Are Not Going To Sit Idle. We Will Strike Back !!

Maybe, India needs a person like Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi to take such bold decision.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Mushraff Resigns

Amid intense speculation that President Pervez Musharraf may step down before Pakistan's ruling coalition begins impeachment proceedings against him, the beleaguered ex-military ruler has begun his address to the nation. There are reports he could announce his resignation during the speech.

In his address to the nation Musharraf said, "I have confidence in self and on God that no chargesheet can stand against me. No charge can be proved against me, because I have never done for myself. I have done all for Pakistan."

Musharraf said he was proud of his achievements. He defended his economic record. “We have taken the nation forward,” he said.

Musharraf said his priority has been to evolve democracy in Pakistan

He also criticised his detractors during the speech. “I have kept Pakistan’s interests over and above everything, I am proud to have fought for the country,” he said. The Pakistan president added all allegations against him were baseless.

Musharraf said he had always been open to reconciliation with politicial parties.

According to government sources, Musharraf has agreed to step down from his post. Musharraf's spokesperson, however, has denied reports that the Pakistan president is set to quit.

Meanwhile, the country's ruling coalition has prepared impeachment charges accusing Musharraf of violations of the constitution and misconduct.

Musharraf, 65, came to power in a 1999 coup and has anchored Pakistan's alliance with the United States, especially since Pakistan signed up for the US-led campaign against terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Following are some of the political, economic and diplomatic implications of his expected resignation.

Future Course Of Action for Mushraff:

When Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf's wife Sehba came to their son Bilal's graduation from Stanford some months back, the joke in the overseas Pakistani community was how she made time to meet with American real estate agents to check out homes in the US for the couple’s impending exile.

Not so funny now. With the hour-by-hour ratcheting of pressure on Musharraf by Pakistan’s civilian leadership and intervention by the country’s long-time patrons to arrange his exit, there is serious speculation about where in the world the beleaguered, despised, and unwanted dictator will be shunted to.

The United States and Britain remain top of the list of with Turkey and Saudi Arabia the other options. A wicked idea floated by Musharraf-haters: Send him to Neharwali-gali in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj, where the Pakistani general was born and grew up till he was a toddler.

Considering the nostalgia that some in India’s security establishment have begun expressing for Musharraf, forgetting his Kargil misadventure and perfidy, it’s not a bad option for the dictator, because no one else wants him - not even his patron-till-recently United States, whose President, if reports from Pakistan are to be believed, does not even answer his friend’s phone calls.

Musharraf himself is said to be keen to remain in Pakistan, hoping that the civilian rulers will soon make a meal of the situation to allow him a comeback. One version has it that he has told them he has no money to live in exile (unlike the two principals who have returned to Pakistan to rule the roost for now).

But the new rulers are equally adamant that he be sent out so they are rid of a potentially explosive situation if he remains at home.

According to Pakistani writer Tariq Ali, sanctuaries in Manhattan, Texas and the Turkish island of Büyükada are being considered for Musharraf. The toothless dictator ''would prefer a large estate in Pakistan, preferably near a golf course, but security considerations would make that unfeasible.''

Musharraf is a security hot potato wherever he goes, including in Pakistan, considering the number of people who want him dead.

In fact, some Pakistani newspapers are reporting that the Pakistani security agencies themselves are not keen to guard Musharraf because he is a sure-fire candidate for assassination attempts. Turkey, a country Musharraf grew up in as a young boy, is said to think on similar lines.

The US, which has quietly dumped him, is not really keen on hosting him, although he can easily come and stay here as a private citizen since his son Bilal and brother Naved are both residents here.

''Bilal’s two-bedroom flat in Canton (in Massachusetts) isn’t big enough to hold a Boston Tea Party but then the guest list has shrunk since the day Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (de jure) was made dysfunctional,'' the columnist Farrukh Saleem observed tartly in The News .

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice more than hinted that Musharraf is not welcome in the U.S as a political refugee.

''This is an issue that is not on the table,'' she told Fox News when asked about the prospect of Musharraf in U.S, while supporting Pakistan’s return to democracy. ''I want to keep our focus on what we must do with the democratic government of Pakistan. We have been supportive of their new democratic government as witnessed by the President's meetings with Prime Minister Gilani. So this is a matter for Pakistan to determine.''

London is also being floated as an option considering the prominent role being played by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, a former UK High Commissioner to Pakistan (whose grand-father gave Pakistan the eponymous city of Lyallpur, now renamed Faisalabad) in arranging for Musharraf’s safe exit.

But U.K has the same security issues as US - fear of not only an Islamist strike, but also attention from civil society and human rights activists angered by Musharraf’s nefarious role in the war on terror, including extra-legal handing over of Pakistani suspects to Washington for booty, about which he boasts in his book In The Line of Fire .

Ironically, Musharraf’s safest option is probably Saudi Arabia, to where he exiled his current nemesis Nawaz Sharief.

The Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrim bin Abdul Aziz visited Pakistan over the weekend to negotiate a deal ''so that nobody is humiliated.'' But the whisky-swilling, dog-loving, media-crazy dictator is not the ideal guest for the fundamentalist kingdom.

With the clock winding down for impeachment proceedings to begin, Musharraf is said to be digging in his heels, disregarding the advice of his many patrons in U.S, U.K and Saudi Arabia to leave.

Tariq Ali’s prediction: ''Musharraf will not go gentle into that golf course.'' It’s a bogey that fills Pakistan’s patrons with fear.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Appeasement Is Never Good For A Nation

Here is a good article regarding the continuing spate of violent incidents in Jammu and also the Kashmir Valley.

Wanted to share this nice article which appeared on Rediff at the following location and written by Mr.Lalit Koul who is the President, Indo-American Kashmir Forum, a US-based advocacy group -
Appeasement Is Never Good For A Nation.

10,000 forest trees are chopped down to build the Mughal road in Kashmir. No one makes a noise.

Acres of land in the Kashmir valley are given to install mobile phone towers. No one screams.

Acres and acres of land in the Kashmir valley are allotted to lay sewage and drinking water pipes. No one objects.

But when 40 hectares of uninhabitable land is handed over to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to provide better facilities to the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, all hell breaks loose.

Why? Because the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board caters to Hindu pilgrims who want to visit the Amarnath shrine in the valley of Kashmir. It is as simple as that.

Politically correct politicians, policy-makers and administrators might try to tell you that it is not about religion, but the fact of the matter is that it is all about religion. It is a design by communal forces within the valley to completely Islamize the valley by removing every symbol of Hinduism and other faiths from the valley.

Today, these communal forces are preventing the setting up of facilities for the yatra, tomorrow they will even go to the extent of banning the yatra altogether.

The land transfer fiasco has already consumed the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Congress government and is on its way to now adversely damage the state's economy. The fear psychosis has already resulted in a sharp decline of tourists to the valley. Counter-strikes and bandhs announced by the pro-land-transfer parties within the Jammu province have paralyzed the life in that part of the state as well.

So far it has been a win-lose situation in favour of communal forces in the valley.

Let us take a hard look at the arguments presented by the locals who opposed the transfer of land:

1. The allotment would have adversely affected the environment around the area. One wonders where these tree-hugging environmentalists were when the same government allowed the felling of 10,000 forest trees to build the 89 km-long Mughal road.

40 hectares of land that was going to be used to provide temporary shelters and night-time facilities to pilgrims was in fact going to help in proper maintenance of the current day waste that actually pollutes the environment. But who can argue with senseless politicians who instigate people to come out on the streets?

2. The allotment is the government's ploy to settle Hindus from outside the state to change the demographics of the valley. Look, who is talking! One has to only go back 18 years in the history and check who changed the demographics of the valley.

Islamic terrorists changed the demographics of the valley by ethnically cleansing Kashmiri Hindus from the valley. I wonder where these we-do-not-want-to-change-demographics-folks were when Kashmiri Hindus were slaughtered and the valley's demographics were altered.

One would like to ask a few questions:
a. Is 40 hectares of land enough to settle so many Hindus that it would change the demographics of the valley?
b. By putting this argument of demographic change, are the valley's Muslims implying that Hindus are not welcome in the valley anymore? And I do not mean the Hindus from outside Kashmir. I mean the Hindus from the state of Jammu & Kashmir itself.

What if the Hindus, who hold the state subject certificate of J&K state and are legally allowed to purchase land in any part of the state want to purchase land in the area around the Holy Amarnath? Are the valley's Muslims saying that those Hindus cannot buy the land there and settle down? Is that what they are implying? Are they trying to protect the environment by preventing the Hindus from settling in the valley?

Another argument Kashmiri Muslims present is that the land cannot be allotted to the Shrine Board because Article 370 does not allow anyone outside of J&K to own land. Their argument is that since the J&K governor is the chairman of the board and he is an outsider, this transfer of land is illegal.

How dumb does one have to be to understand that the land is transferred to the Shrine Board which is an institution based in the state of J&K and created by the J&K government. The land is not transferred to the chairman or the CEO of the board per se.

Having touched upon the outlandish arguments of those who oppose the allotment of land, let us look at some facts and the real story:

It was during the first three years of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-Ghulam Nabi Azad coalition government that the original proposal of land transfer was initiated and cleared. It was under Mufti Sayeed's leadership that his forest minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal and law minister Muzzafar Hussain Baig originally cleared the proposal. It just so happened that due to red tape, the proposal was finally approved by the cabinet when Azad had taken over as chief minister during the second three-year part of the six-year term.

The same PDP led by Mufti Sayeed was originally okay with this proposal. But as soon as the PDP smelt that terrorist outfits like the Hizbul Mujahideen were not in favour of the allotment of land and realised that it could become a polarising issue to whip up sentiments to garner votes in the upcoming assembly election, it backtracked.

Since it is an election year, the National Conference and other smaller political parties would not let the PDP cash in on this opportunity alone. They jumped into the fray and whipped up sentiments by fooling the local Kashmiri Muslims. And that leaves the Congress. How could the Congress not try to cash in on this polarising issue in an election year?

Azad did not waste any time and revoked his cabinet's decision to appease the Kashmiri Muslim vote bank. He did not just stop there. In addition to revoking his own order, he also effectively disbanded the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Now that is some level of appeasement! That is the real story behind the story.

It is an issue created by Mufti Sayeed to polarise the vote banks. It is his design of playing politics with the religious sentiments of lakhs of Hindus from all over the country.

Now that we know the real story behind the story, how about the Hindu pilgrims who want to visit the shrine and what about their fundamental rights to practice their religion with complete security, dignity and honour?

Isn't it a shame that Hindus living in India, where 80 per cent of population is Hindu, cannot freely visit the shrine and expect better facilities? It is only in India that the majority community has to make all the sacrifices in favour of minorities because our politicians believe in appeasing Muslims at the cost of Hindus.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on a television debate on this issue asked why there is a need for land and new facilities when the pilgrimage has been going on for many years.

Does Omar Abdullah mean to say that there is no need to improve the facilities provided during the treacherous pilgrimage? Is he implying that if the yatris were okay for so many hundred years, then why change and improve the facilities?

I have never heard him say such things with regards to the Haj pilgrimage. Every year Muslims from Kashmir and the rest of the country want better facilities and subsidies for Haj pilgrims. But when it comes to providing better facilities to Shri Amarnath pilgrims, it becomes a sore point for Kashmiri Muslims and their leaders.

Heavy rains, snowstorms, landslides and hostile environment took away 256 lives during the yatra in 1996. And Omar Abdullah has the audacity to promote the status quo!

Some of you might argue that it was not the valley's Muslims, but the political parties and terrorists who opposed the land transfer order and forced people to come out on the streets.

I can buy that argument, but that does not absolve the valley's people from their responsibility? They cannot always support these fundamentalist forces and then at the same time claim innocence.

They did the same in 1989 and in the early 1990s when they either stood as mute spectators or as vocal supporters while Kashmiri Hindus were ethnically cleansed. As a good citizen, it is incumbent upon them to raise their voice against these dreaded forces and stop this madness.

If they sincerely believe in peace, then they need to stand up and reject these terrorist outfits and their masters. Conversely, if they don't, then they are as much party to the madness as the principals and thus need to be held accountable.

Appeasement policies are never good for a nation, particularly for a nation like India that is so diverse in ethnicity and culture. Whether it is amending the Constitution during the Shah Bano case, releasing terrorists during the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case, freeing dreaded terrorists during the IC-814 hijacking or continuing the temporary Constitutional provision of Article 370, all such policies will one day result in the nation's doom.

It is incumbent upon the leaders of the nation as well as the citizenry to be on guard and not allow such appeasement policies to take effect in a nation that is based on the concept of secularism, democracy and fairness to one and all.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hindu Intifada (Uprising)

This is a news article in Rediff that I found very interesting and wanted to share with all of you. The article was written by Kanchan Gupta, associate editor, The Pioneer and you can find the original link
Jammu's Hindu Uprising.

Jammu is burning. And as of now it appears unlikely that the rage sweeping through the entire province can be doused in the coming days. On Monday, the police, clueless as to how to handle the situation and directed by an inspector general of police who is an outsider, shot at protesters in Samba. They did not shoot to injure or scare away the crowds chanting slogans against Governor N N Vohra and waving the national tricolour. They shot to kill by aiming their guns at the protesters' heads.

The brutal response of the administration and Vohra's inability of to gauge the extent of popular disquiet and outrage have only strengthened the resolve of the protesters to continue with their agitation. The relentless bandh and blockade of highways has been extended by another five days. People continue to defy curfew and army pickets, pouring into the streets in hundreds, something unprecedented in India.

What we are witnessing in Jammu is a Hindu intifada: The young and old, men and women, youth and children are locked in an unequal battle with the police -- and, since Friday, the army -- demanding the immediate revocation of the government order cancelling the transfer of 800 kanals of land to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board. The land was meant for creating temporary facilities for pilgrims who trek to the Amarnath shrine every year, braving inclement weather and jihadi attacks.

It's been more than a month that the Hindus of Jammu have taken to the streets, burning tyres, taunting policemen, braving tear-gas and real bullets, violating curfew and blockading the highway to Srinagar. The images emanating from Jammu are eerily similar to those that emanated from Gaza and the West Bank during the Palestinian intifada. More tellingly, the tactics that have been adopted by the protesters are those that have often brought the Kashmir valley to a standstill. If you look at the photographs of the Hindu intifada, you will get a sense of how Jammu has decided to give Kashmir a taste of its own medicine -- in this case it is Dum Dum Dawai (a public thrashing).

The details of the land transfer fiasco are well-known. The Congress-Peoples Democratic Party government headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad had instructed the forest department to transfer the land to the SASB. Within days Muslims in the Kashmir valley, led and instigated by pro-Pakistani separatists, took to the streets, insisting no land should be provided for pilgrim facilities.

The All-Parties Hurriyat Conference spread three canards: First, the transfer amounted to alienation of 'Kashmiri land'; second, it would lead to intrusion of 'Hindu culture' in Muslim Kashmir; and, third, it would cause ecological damage.

The PDP, sensing an opportunity to revive its pro-separatist -- if not brazenly anti-India/anti-Hindu -- image in the run-up to the assembly election in Jammu & Kashmir, joined the protest and subsequently withdrew from the government. To his credit, Azad stood firm and refused to budge from his government's decision, till N N Vohra took over as governor, replacing Lieutenant General S K Sinha (retd).

Vohra, in his capacity as ex-officio chairman of the SASB, wrote a letter to Azad, returning the land and also offering to relinquish the board's task of organising the annual yatra, thus making the pilgrimage to the Amarnath shrine subordinate to the valley's Muslims politics and Delhi's equally odious politics of Muslim appeasement.

Vohra reportedly sent his letter to Azad at 8.30 pm on June 28. "The news of that abject surrender provoked an explosion of outrage across Jammu," says a senior member of the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, a broad-based organisation without any political affiliation which is at the forefront of the protest.

"The governor has violated the SASB Act. He cannot act unilaterally. Any decision of the board has to be endorsed by at least five members," says Professor Hari Om, academic and vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Jammu and Kashmir unit. "He is also in contempt of the high court which had passed an interim order approving the transfer of 800 kanals of land to the board in Baltal," he adds.

For all his efforts to appease the Muslim protesters in the Kashmir valley by 'returning' the land that had been allotted for Hindu pilgrims, Vohra was unable to save the Congress-PDP government. The PDP pulled out from the ruling alliance on June 28; on July 1, Azad, obviously under mounting pressure from his party bosses in Delhi, reversed the earlier decision.

Meanwhile, in Jammu there was a spontaneous shutdown on June 30. "I don't recall such a massive bandh in recent years," says a lawyer who has been involved with the protest; he does not wish to be named, fearing harassment by authorities. Neither do the protesters wish to be identified because they fear they will be picked up from their homes by the police who take their instructions from Srinagar.

So, every morning, afternoon, evening and night, students, workers, professionals, senior citizens and housewives take to the streets, engaging the police in dogfights, hurling tear-gas shells back at their tormentors, chasing cops when they are outnumbered, retreating into narrow alleys when the men in uniform re-gather, and then surging out all over again. Their faces masked with handkerchiefs, they hurl stones; their eyes reflecting their rage. Scores have been shot and wounded; three of them have died; a young man was chased across rooftops by the police -- he jumped to his death.

"Each death only makes us more determined. We are not going to be bullied by the valley anymore. Jammu wants a voice of its own. Jammu's Hindus will no longer tolerate oppression by Kashmir's Muslims," says a young protester, still in his teens, from his house in downtown Jammu. His voice has just begun to crack.

The day after the June 30 bandh, Jammu flared up with street marches and protest rallies. The authorities responded by clamping curfew, in an effort to force people to remain indoors, till July 7. Women came out of their homes and dared the police to shoot them. An enduring image of the Hindu intifada is that of an aged woman, a Pandit who was forced out of the valley along with her family and three lakh other Pandits in the early days of jihadi terror, threatening a Kalashnikov-sporting policeman at a curfew picket with her tattered and torn slipper.

On July 7, the Congress-PDP government officially exited office; the next day the Sangharsh Samiti suspended its agitation, giving the governor a fortnight's time to either have the land restored to the SASB or resign from office. "Vohra did neither. He only added fuel to the fire. He has been insensitive and his actions have only served to provoke the protesters," says a senior official in the Jammu administration.

"Years of neglect of Jammu by Kashmir has resulted in what you are seeing today. The people are frustrated. The Pandits have at last found a platform to vent their anger. Jammu has more people than Kashmir, but the lion's share always goes to the valley," says Professor Hari Om.

Jammu province has 37 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies. The Kashmir valley has 46 assembly seats and elects three Lok Sabha members of Parliament. Of the 37 assembly constituencies in Jammu province, 25 have a Hindu majority population; the remaining 12 have a Muslim majority profile. "Our voice naturally gets drowned," says an advocate who is a member of the Sangharsh Samiti.

The natural beneficiary of the Hindu intifada would be the BJP. It could end up sweeping all the Hindu majority seats in Jammu province and even emerge as the single-largest party in the next assembly. The Muslim vote in the valley would be divided between the National Conference and the PDP. The Congress could get wiped out -- it has little to claim as support in the valley; following the intifada in Jammu, it can't look forward to winning 15 seats in this province as it did in 2002.

This should have set alarm bells ringing at the Congress headquarters in Delhi. Strangely, the party's 'high command' doesn't seem to care. Or so it would seem from the near non-response to the protest.

Vohra and his patrons in Delhi have "clearly underestimated the determination of Jammu's long-suffering Hindus who have had to cope with denial and deprivation for decades as the state government focuses only on the Kashmir valley," the advocate- activist says.

This explains what happened on July 22. Kuldeep Raj Dogra, in his mid-30s, who was participating in a hunger strike at Jammu's Parade Ground, decided to do something tragically dramatic: He consumed poison, stood up to read out a passionately patriotic poem he had penned, faltered and fell dead. "It was his way of registering his protest against Omar Abdullah's speech in Parliament... he was incensed by the National Conference leader's duplicity," says Professor Hari Om.

The police panicked. They forcibly took away Dogra's body to his hometown, Bisnah, 15 km from Jammu, and "tried to cremate it using old tyres, kerosene oil and liquor", according to a Sangharsh Samiti leader. His widow Shilpi tried to prevent the cremation and raised a hue and cry. The police have been accused of "insulting, abusing and assaulting" Shilpi to silence her. But a huge crowd gathered and snatched Dogra's body from the police. It was taken to Jammu and the situation subsequently just went out of control.

Since then, the Hindu intifada has gathered both force and speed. Curfew has been clamped on all of Jammu and Samba. The army has been called out. The governor has been virtually forced to remain confined within the Raj Bhavan by protesters who continue to gather at the gates in large numbers with every passing hour. Vohra's 'eight-point formula', which included 'allowing' the SASB to 'maintain infrastructure during the yatra period', to end the deadlock, has been spurned. The Sangharsh Samiti is adamant that it will settle for nothing less than restoration of the 800 kanals of land to the SASB for Hindu pilgrims.

Just how determined the protesters are can be gauged from the manner in which thousands of them laid siege to the airport after hearing that Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti were flying in. They had to be flown from the airport to Raj Bhavan in a helicopter after the protesters refused to let them through.

Since Friday night, the intifada has escalated and spread to virtually every corner of Jammu province. Protesters, defying curfew, have been relentlessly pouring out into the streets throughout the night, daring policemen and army personnel to shoot them. Two men were shot dead, 35 were injured when the police fired on protesters ransacking the district magistrate's office in Samba. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, the intifada was truly raging in Jammu and beyond.

All trucks headed for Srinagar have been stopped by protesters at Samba and on the Jammu-Pathankot national highway. No trucks are being allowed to enter Jammu from Srinagar. Kashmir's Muslims could yet get to know what it feels like to be at the receiving end of popular fury and mass anger, as opposed to the valley's made-in-Pakistan rage.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

My 100th Post !!

Being my 100th Post, I planned to write something good after all the grim news I was posting !!

Our former employee, Abdul Mobeen got married on Saturday and he took the pains to visit our office and invite us even though we are from different companies now.

It was raining donkeys on that day but no one is complaining. While Hindus are performing Pujas in Temples, Muslims are doing Namaz - both for common goal - Rains !!

All the roads choked with heavy traffic jams and big big potholes on the roads as if there was aerial bombardment.

It was mentioned that the event starts at 8PM. True to my nature, I reached dot on time but found that I was the first person to reach that place !! True to Hyderabadi style, people started coming from 8.45PM onwards and the event started at 9.30PM !! Met Mobeen, gave the gift and we proceeded for dinner.

Persons who came there from our company are Siva Prasad, Tulasi Ram Reddy, Sahiti came along with her younger sister as her husband went to Bengaluru to attend another marriage and Shipra came along with her hubby Anand and their cute kid, Shreyas.

Even though, being a pure vegetarian, I had no trouble during dinner as the hosts were very caring and made sure veggies got what they wanted and no non-veg stuff. The food was awesome - true to Hyderabadi style !! Came to know that the non-veg stuff is also quite mouth watering.

In Muslim marriages, the bride would be sitting at one part of the Marriage Hall while the Bride Groom at the other part and both parts would be separated by a big curtain making it impossible to see what's going on the Women's side. Since Men were not allowed to venture towards the women's side, we had no clue how Mobeen's wife looked like !!

The rain didnt stopped even till 11PM. I dropped off Tulasi at his place and by the time I reached back Home, it was almost Midnight!!

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Government Surrenders

Yet again, in a show of weakness, the Andhra Pradesh State Government has shown its weakness to please a regional party in Hyderabad.

In my previous post about MLA, Afsar Khan's attack on Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials in front of Police.

A meeting was conducted on Saturday at MLA, Akbaruddin Owaisi's house between the MLA's and GHMC Officials. Both sides agreed to withdraw cases on each other and compromise.

It is good that peace prevailed but what about the four hours of traffic jam created by these buggers ??

End of the day, it is again the common man who suffered and the rich and powerful went scotfree !!