[sacw] SACW | 28 March 03
Fri, 28 Mar 2003 03:26:05 +0100
South Asia Citizens Wire | 28 March, 2003
#1. Pakistan Peace Coalition condemns US aggression against Iraq
#2. Boycott The Dollar To Stop The War [on Iraq]! (Rohini Hensman)
#3. Anti-war protests in India's silicon valley (Samir Kelekar)
#4. Death shall have no dominion in Kashmir (Balraj Puri)
#5. New Law to Protect Bangladesh Army from Cases of Death, Torture
and Cruelty (Saleem Samad)
#6. Gujarat Carnage ki Pehli Saalgirah (Syeda Saiyidain Hameed)
#7. Press Release on Nandimarg Massacre in Kashmir (Indian Muslim
=46ederation - UK)
#8. USA: Gujarat Alert: write to Colin Powell and Christina Rocca
#9. India: Public Discussion: Jairus Banaji and others "Gandhi and
Violent Ideologies Today". (Bombay, 28 March)
#10. USA: Public Lecture: Prof Vinay Lal on "Violence and Religious
Extremism" (April, 12 University of Minnesota)
The News International (Pakistan)
March 28, 2003
Pakistan Peace Coalition condemns
US aggression against Iraq
By our correspondent
KARACHI: United aggression against Iraq is a violation of
international norms and conventions. As such, Allied forces must be
withdrawn from war-torn Iraq and a countervailing people's force must
be formed to foil formation of an undesirable unipolar world.
The demand was made at a roundtable conference, titled, "US
aggression on Iraq and expected changes in the world order," held on
Thursday under the aegis of the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC)at the
SIDCO Centre on Thursday. Leaders from different political parties,
opinion-forming groups, civil rights activists, peace workers, and
scholars shared their views during the day-long deliberations,
chaired by well known journalists M B Naqvi while Karamat Ali was
The secretary general, Tehreek-i-Insaaf, Mairaj Muhammad Khan, said
that the way the US was killing people should be condemned. "We are
held back by our government but we all want to stop this war," he
said, adding that the US was the biggest aggressor of the past and of
this century as well. The UK and US were intrinsically aggressive
countries. The PTI leader said that they attacked Iraq on the pretext
of the weapons of mass destruction but themselves had the largest
arsenal of mass destruction. He suggested that Pakistan should move a
resolution at the UNSC denouncing US-led coalition violence. He said
"We should form a coalition with other forces like France and
The central secretary information, PPP, Taj Haider, maintained that
peace was the only way to social development and prosperity.
"Extremism paves the way for aggression in society, militarism and
parochialism," he said, adding that dictatorship not only crushed its
own people, but also paved the way for aggression from others as well.
The PML-N's Mamnoon Hussein held United States responsible for
increasing extremism in the world. "We are totally against any form
of aggression and we believed that the responsibility of regime
change lies with the people", he observed, adding that United States
had flouted all norms of the civilised world.
Kunwar Khalid Yunus of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement asserted that the
issue of Iraq and US stand-off and aggression should have been solved
by UN resolutions. He was critical of the Iraqi regime but agreed
that the decision to attack Iraq was taken very hastily. He said the
situation in Kashmir was alarming and warned that the country also
needed to think as to how to save the people of sub-continent from
The Millat Party leader, Javed Jabbar, while portraying the expected
scenario as an outcome of the war, observed that the first hypothesis
was swift attack and change of regime. He said the US would
consolidate its hegemony in the region and Syria and Iran would be
threatened. He said were that to be successful, it would further
consolidate the unipolarity. He said pockets of resistance would
continue even if they captured Baghdad. So even if Saddam died, they
could sustain the conflict and that would make it a protracted
affair. Tahir Bizenjo of the Balochistan National Democratic Party
(BNDP), Abdul Khaliq Junejo of Jeay Sindh Mahaz, and ex-Senator Iqbal
Haider, and others also spoke on the occasion.
[From: South Asia Citizens Wire, 27 March 2003 ]
BOYCOTT THE DOLLAR TO STOP THE WAR!
by Rohini Hensman
What we are witnessing could be the beginning of World War III. A
coalition of states headed by the USA is engaged in an act of
aggression, in violation of international law, in opposition to the
United Nations, and in defiance of world public opinion. The leaders
of the coalition have already warned that their strikes will kill
10,000 innocent civilians, and the actual death toll will no doubt be
much higher; it couldn't possibly be otherwise, given the terrible
blitzkrieg that is being visited upon the helpless people of Iraq and
the disruption of their food and water supplies. In other words, they
announced in advance that this is a terrorist war in which they will
knowingly be committing War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. The
Bush administration has also made it clear that after Iraq, there
will be attacks on a large number of other countries. There are
striking similarities with the situation in the late 1930s. The
attack, now as then, is not just on one country or a few countries
but on the international community as a whole. And the price of
appeasement, now as then, will be a world war much more ghastly than
A major difference, however, is that there is no military solution to
this war. The attack can be, and to some extent has been, weakened by
lack of assistance from most states, and anti-war activists must
continue to put pressure on governments not to provide any form of
support to the aggressors. But this has not prevented the war.
Criticisms of the UN for failing to stop the war are misplaced. How
can the UN pose a military challenge to a state whose stockpiles of
nuclear weapons can blow up the earth several times over, a state
which has demonstrated its readiness to use weapons of mass
destruction in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam and indeed Iraq itself,
where 40 tons of depleted uranium left after the first Gulf War
caused an epidemic of cancer and birth defects? In order to confront
the US militarily, the UN would need to have similar weapons, but
this is certainly not desirable: one of its most important tasks is
to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, not to amass them on
its own account! The importance of the UN lies in its moral
authority, and it is crucially important that this should be
strengthened by consistent opposition to a war that violates its most
fundamental principles. Kofi Annan made a timid step in this
direction when he said that if the US and UK start a war without UN
backing, this will delegitimise not the UN - as Bush and Co. were
claiming - but the war itself.
This challenge to US domination of the UN would never have been
achieved without the massive worldwide anti-war campaign. That is why
it is so immensely important to keep up the pressure on the UN, both
through demonstrations and through the appeal for an emergency
session of the UN General Assembly (envisaged by 'Uniting for Peace'
Resolution 377 of 1950) to order a ceasefire, the withdrawal of
foreign troops from Iraq, and a resumption of weapons inspections.
(See <http://www.ufp.ht.st/>www.ufp.ht.st for an online global
petition to this effect, and
for addresses of UN Ambassadors who can be petitioned individually.)
The UN should also be asked to withdraw the sanctions against Iraq
that have killed an estimated one-and-a-half million civilians, more
than half of them children, and strengthened the dictatorial power of
Saddam Hussein over the Iraqi population by giving him control over
Let's be realistic, however. None of this is going to deter Bush and
his associates, who have so far shown as little regard for the UN and
world opinion as Hitler and his associates showed for the League of
Nations and world opinion. Those of us who are old enough to have
been part of the Vietnam solidarity movement will remember that
ultimately it was US public opinion that brought the war to a halt,
and what turned US public opinion against the war was the escalating
number of troops coming back in body bags. But such a development is
not likely today, even though US and UK troops, taken in by the lies
of their leaders, did not expect as much resistance as they got.
(Note the crude macho assumption that brute force will inspire 'shock
and awe' rather than anger and contempt. How typical!)
The problem is neatly summed up by the statistic that some 42 per
cent of the US public apparently believes that Saddam Hussein was
linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A cartoon shows Bush circling
the 'Q' in IRAQ and the 'Q' in AL QAEDA and drawing a line between
them to demonstrate proof of a link, but even this is less illogical
than the actual evidence he offered, which was Osama bin Laden's
speech in which he denounced Saddam as a heretic and infidel! If 42
per cent of the US public sees this as proof of a link, and many more
support the US invasion even if it means killing thousands or
millions of Iraqis in their own country, what can we do? Clearly,
systematic brainwashing has deprived these people of the power of
logical thought and moral behaviour, and therefore appeals to reason
or ethics will not work unless a deeper change takes place.
The longer the war goes on, the more innocent victims there will be,
and the more there will be a terrorist and fundamentalist backlash
worldwide. Moreover, other states may be tempted to follow the
example of the Bush axis, and invade territory they wish to annexe or
colonise. (Israel, of course, has done it already.) The entire world
could descend into chaos. So it is in the interests of everyone
(except for relations and associates of Bush who have oil and
armaments interests) to end the war as soon as possible. However, the
war will not end if Iraq is conquered: it will merely move elsewhere,
just as it moved to Iraq once Afghanistan was conquered. A likely
next candidate is Iran, which is just feeling its way back to
democracy after the US overthrew Mossadeq half a century ago, since a
democratic Iran is as much of a threat to US hegemony now as it was
The only way to put a definitive end to the war is to force the Bush
coalition to withdraw their troops back to their own countries and
keep them there. But how can this be done? How is it possible to
control a rogue state with huge stockpiles of weapons of mass
destruction which is on a megalomaniac mission to conquer the world?
In particular, what can those of us in developing countries do? Some
of our governments have spoken out courageously against the war while
a few like Gloria Arroyo and Roh Moo-hyun have distinguished
themselves by backing it, but most have evaded the issue by saying,
in effect, 'We are helpless, there's nothing we can do.' But this is
not true; we can and must play our part in ending the war.
This is a situation where we need to adopt the tactics of guerrilla
warfare and hit at the enemy where it is weakest. The weak point of
the Bush state is its economy: it's in a mess, with a foreign debt so
massive that any developing country in a similar state would have the
IMF and World Bank breathing down its neck to implement austerity
measures. Bush, on the contrary, is splurging an estimated billion
dollars a day on this war. How can he do it? By using US control over
international financial institutions and interest rates, of course.
But this would not work if the rest of the world didn't support the
dollar by recognising and using it as the de facto world currency. If
that support is withdrawn, the dollar will crash.
Individuals can withdraw support by refusing to accept dollars and
asking for Euro or other hard currencies of countries opposed to the
war when they need foreign exchange to travel abroad, or are being
paid for work done abroad. But it would make a much bigger impact if
Third World governments convert their dollar foreign exchange
reserves into Euro and/or other hard currencies of countries opposing
the war. Governments who oppose the US-led war can see this as one
way to help stop it, by undermining the ability of the US to pay for
the war and bribe or blackmail other states into supporting it. But
even for the rest, it makes sense, and the anti-war movements in
those countries should make them see that: the dollar is already
falling, and it is in their interest not to allow their own economies
to be pulled down with it. Simultaneously, governments of countries
to which the US is indebted should stop extending the line of credit
if they wish to oppose the war in a practical manner.
Disengaging the world economy from the dollar may involve some
immediate sacrifices, but we should surely be willing to make those,
if they result in saving the lives of innocents. An added bonus is
that it will help to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict: without
billions of dollars of US financial support, Israel will be forced to
recognise Palestine and live in peace with it. Overall, in the long
run, the result will be a healthier world economy.
People living in the US will of course have to continue using the
dollar, and that is absolutely fine. The objection is not to the use
of the dollar as the national currency of the US, but to its use as
world currency, which thereby gives the US state the power to wage
genocidal wars all over the globe. Opponents of the war in the US and
allied countries have done a magnificent job mobilising protest
within those countries and channellising worldwide protest to put
pressure on the UN, and there is now more need than ever for them to
continue doing this task. It could be supplemented with a strategy of
satyagraha, non-violent civil disobedience, since this is indeed a
worldwide struggle for truth and freedom. In fact, there have already
been examples of this, with schoolchildren playing a significant
role. The answer to those who object that such actions endanger the
lives of troops in Iraq is that the only honourable way to safeguard
their lives (especially given the high rate of self-inflicted
casualties!!) is to bring them back immediately. It should also be
pointed out that while a few corporations are profiting from the war,
millions of ordinary people in the US, UK, and other coalition
countries are among those who are paying the price.
We, the people of the world, may appear to be helpless, but we are
not. Together we can stop the attack on Iraq from developing into
World War III. But we need to be decisive, and act quickly!
SACW, 27 March 2003
Anti-war protests in India's silicon valley
They were around 500 or so in number. They gathered outside the
Town Hall, a landmark in what can now be safely called the old part
of the city. You cross the newly built flyover at the Richmond
circle, and you move from the swankier part of the town that has
the M.G. Road, Indiranagar, Airport Road where many IT industries
are located, into the older areas which house the citi market, the
railway station, the bus stand. The former is very much part of the
new globalized economy while the latter thrives or rather survives
on the local economy.
Young men and women held a candle light vigil. Anti-war posters
along with calls for boycotting British and American goods greeted
the busy traffic. Among those who addressed the gathering were
former Chief Minister of Karnataka Veerappa Moiley, retired
Karnataka high court judge Mr. Balakrishna, as well as professors
from the Indian Institute of Science and the Institute of Advanced
studies. A young woman from the National Law school, the country's
famed law school, spoke out about how she dreads and fears about
the kind of world we live in.
There have been protests in Bangalore for the last several days.
Right from Monday to today, protesters have been taking out candle
light vigils at various parts of the city. Last Friday, after a
prayer at a mosque in the crowded citi market area, riots broke out
after the police refused to let the people burn an effigy of George
Bush. In the melee, around 25 buses of the state-owned transport
corporation were damaged and losses amounted to around Rs. 8 lakhs
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, at the Bangalore's IT industry
it is business as usual. As the US itself struggles with job
losses at home, and some sort of turmoil back there as to whether
US should outsource jobs abroad or not, Nasscom, India's premier
body of software companies is busy lobbying with their US customers
as to how they can get competitive advantage by outsourcing to
There now is a certain level of confidence about the skills of
the average Indian IT professional. In the latest (13 th
anniversary) issue of Express Computer, one of the premier IT
weeklies of India, Val Souza, the Editor mentions "The Giga group
predicts outsourcing to India will grow 25 percent this year. Then
there was news that a former Sun Microsystems employee is suing the
company, claiming that it wrongfully fired American workers and
retained younger (he doesn't add 'brighter') Indian software
India is a major hub for the US economy today. With more than half
of the fortune 500 companies outsourcing the work to India, India
holds a significant place in the US economical landscape.
Has the war affected the industry? A CEO of a company mentioned
that the IT industry is responding by keeping more of their staff
on-site back in the US so that the customers dont feel the pinch in
case of any eventualities due to war. Among the IT bigwigs in
India include icons such as Mr. Narain Murthy, CEO of Infosys -
India's leading IT company, who confesses of having come from
leftist leanings. Not many in India today would be in a better
position to empathise with the situation of the Iraqi people.
However, for the IT industry, the dillema is that it is important
that the investors be kept happy, and the customers be not
inconvenienced. Not many seem to have given thought to the fact
that peace-time, and not a war time, is the best time for the above.
The Hindustan Times
=46riday, March 28, 2003
Death shall have no dominion
Protests against the massacre at Nadimarg in Kashmir on March 24
have been more strident than against similar incidents before.
Despite the distraction of war in Iraq, the killing of 24 innocent
people that include 11 women and two children have been condemned by
national leaders as well as international ones.
The central and state governments have blamed Pakistan for the
carnage. Opposition parties and survivors of the victims have vented
their anger against the governments for the lapses of security and
intelligence agencies. Both accusations are not without basis.
The word 'condemnation' has lost its meaning by its excessive use in
Jammu and Kashmir. It has become too inadequate a response to the
pent-up anger of the people and fails to provide relief to injured
sentiments. The fresh assurances for their security given by
government leaders, therefore, received a cynical response at the
place of the tragedy.
More effective measures will, therefore, have to be considered by all
agencies concerned to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies and
inspire the confidence of the people. Any policy revision must,
however, take a closer look at a new dimension. The Muslims of
Kashmir are more shell-shocked this time than ever before. Not only
were the latest victims completely unconnected with any security or
government agency, but also they were not killed in any Hindu
They were a minuscule minority in an almost entirely Muslim area and
were closely knit - ethnically, socially and emotionally - with the
majority community. They were a part of those prepared to share the
trials and tribulations of Kashmiri Muslims and who hadn't joined the
1990 Pandit exodus. They had demonstrated their faith in the Muslim
community and in the tenets of Islam.
More than a challenge to the Indian State and the fate of a few
thousand Kashmiri Pandits still left in the Valley, the Nadimarg
massacre is an insult to Islam. It is also an assault on the very
soul of Kashmir and the values of a unique civilisational heritage.
The wailing Muslim men and women in the funeral procession was not
merely a testimony to their genuine sympathy for the bereaved
families, but also to their sense of guilt and realisation that the
real target of the terrorists were the humane principles of their
religion and Kashmiriyat. The spontaneous slogans against
dehshatgardi (terrorism) indicated that they had no doubt who the
That all Kashmiri leaders and parties, including militants and
separatists, have condemned the massacre shows that they have
realised the strength of popular sentiment. However, the Hizbul
Mujahideen has accused Indian security forces of orchestrating the
massacre to defame its movement. The Hurriyat has demanded an
impartial probe to find out who are responsible for the barbaric act.
If the Indian State had organised a series of mass killings of
innocent Hindus and Sikhs - from Wandhama in Kashmir in 1998 to Rajiv
Nagar in Jammu in 2002 - would it have been possible for it to keep
it a secret? Such a decision, which can only be taken at the highest
level and implemented only after it's passed through a number of
channels and hundreds of operators, would have definitely been leaked
out - as it had been when the army mowed down five innocent locals
after branding them as terrorists responsible for the killing of 35
Sikhs at Chittisinghpora.
There may have been some grey areas in the past when some individuals
were killed and the identity of the killers could not be established.
It is also possible to understand the compulsions of separatist
leaders who can't ignore the warning implied in the fate of some
leaders of the movement suspected to have deviated from any 'official
line' of the militant leadership. The killings of dissident Hizb
leader Abdul Majid Dar and senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone are
If an inquiry is needed, let Pervez Musharraf find out whether the
carnage was ordered by the ISI. He could also ascertain how much
control he has over those who carried out the Nadimarg massacre.
After all, the Pakistani general's anti-terrorism declarations have
lost all credibility and terrorists are a major threat to his regime
and to the stability of Pakistan. By diverting them to Kashmir, he
cannot become immune from the threat.
An inquiry is needed to find out the inadequacies and lapses in the
security system. It must also fix responsibility on individuals and
agencies who failed to protect a small group of innocent Kashmiri
As far as Kashmir's movement for azadi is concerned, it's high time
that it's understood that the gun has outlived its utility. The
violent movement has reached a stage when like all violent
revolutions, it has started devouring its own children. The question
of who is responsible for the massacre at Nadimarg is less relevant
than the fact that gun culture has become the greatest liability for
the 'Kashmir cause'.
It was this realisation that made people defy militants' bullets and
the boycott call of separatists to take part in the elections in
October 2002. It may not stand to logic that all those who voted have
become anti-azadi. But there is little doubt that they have realised
that azadi is unachievable through the gun. Moreover, freedom from
misgovernance, corruption and nepotism, unemployment and economic
hardship is at least as important and more urgent than azadi from
India. The separatist leaders who had underrated the wisdom of the
people have lost some of their relevance.
The message from Nadimarg is equally unequivocal. Azadi will not be
worth having if in the process the soul of Kashmir is killed. The
foremost task in Kashmir is to save this soul and repair the injuries
that have been inflicted on it. Any leadership that can't read this
message will become irrelevant.
The writer is a senior journalist based in Jammu
New Law to Protect Bangladesh Army from Cases of Death, Torture and Cruelty
Saleem Samad, OneWorld South Asia
DHAKA, February 24 (OWSA) - Amid noisy protests, the Bangladesh
parliament passed the controversial 'Joint Drive Indemnity Bill,
2003' Sunday, giving the Army immunity against legal action by civil
courts for human rights violations committed during their 87 day
countrywide anti-crime crackdown christened Operation Clean Heart.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Moudud Ahmed said the new
Bill would come into effect from January 9, the day the October 17
2002 launched operation ended, before it was restarted on February
16. Under the new law, all Army men blamed for deaths, torture and
cruelty in custody would be tried only by military courts in
accordance with Armed Forces laws.
During the operation, the crime rate in the south Asian nation
plummeted sharply, but the Army received flak for 44 deaths and more
than 100,000 suspects maimed in custody.
Opposition parties raised black flags and staged a walkout after the
Bill was passed. Legislator of the south Asian nation's leading
opposition party, the Awami League, Abdul Jalil protested, "We cannot
be party to the enactment of a law which undermines the citizens'
fundamental right to protest."
War veteran and Member of Parliament (MP), Kader Siddiqui, described
the Indemnity Bill as a "black law."
Questioning the legal status of the Army's involvement in the
anti-crime drive, executive director of rights organization
Ain-o-Shalish Kendra (ASK), Dr Hameeda Hossain said, " The Army's
practice of conducting raids, mass arrests, arbitrary detention, or
interrogation in unknown places and without the presence of
magistrates and defense lawyers is a contravention of fundamental
rights enshrined in the country's Constitution and Criminal Procedure
Quoting Article 35 (5) of the Constitution banning torture and
cruelty, leaders of the opposition said their rights had been
violated by the torture of those imprisoned under draconian detention
The general secretary of nongovernmental organization Bangladesh
Society for Enforcement of Human Rights, Sigma Huda warned that such
actions by the military would only tarnish the government's image.
Criticizing the government, opposition leader Sheikh Hasina said the
government was manipulating the Army for its own political agenda.
She alleged that the drive had resulted in the "witch-hunting" of
leaders and activists of her party, the Awami League.
=46or his part, Bangladesh Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury
claimed the joint operation had been very successful due to the
non-interference of the ruling party, and had gained the confidence
of the people, professional bodies and even opposition parties.
On January 9 the government withdrew military troops from towns and
cities where they had been stationed, promising to indemnify the
joint forces for all harsh actions initiated during the ruthless
campaign. Following reports that underworld dons, gangsters and
extortionists continued to thrive, the drive was again relaunched
UK based rights group Amnesty International urged the government to
investigate the large number of custody deaths caused by torture and
cruelty. It was alleged that one person died every two days in
makeshift Army camps where suspects were taken for interrogation.
Strangely, most of the detainees comprised activists and mid-level
political leaders who complained of cruelty during Army
interrogation. They informed the court that in the first instance,
the Army had delayed producing them in court, violating the clauses
of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Army detained lawmakers Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Talukder
Abdul Khaleque of the Awami League and Independent MP Hemayet Uddin
Auranga, without any charges, questioning them at unspecified
"interrogation cells" before producing them before magistrates.
The drive improved the country's deteriorating law and order
situation to some extent, eliciting praise from Bangladesh's apex
business organization - Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce
and Industry. It stated that the Army deployment had "rekindled hopes
in the business community".
On the other hand, rights activists were quick to point out that the
governments approach was a trifle skewed, as it failed to overhaul
the ineffectual police administration to help it function more
efficiently once the Army returned to the barracks. They stressed
that the cash-strapped and politicized police force had been grossly
undermined by over a decade of military rule.
After a brief visit to Bangladesh last year, World Bank
vice-president Mieko Nishimizu had declared that, "Bangladesh could
have better economic growth if peace and security were ensured in
public life. The law and order problem stems from misuse of power and
people's strength is the ultimate answer."
Mainstream (New Delhi)
March 22, 2003
Gujarat Carnage ki Pehli Saalgirah
Syeda Saiyidain Hameed
Today as I sit to write this piece I remember a man who was never
afraid to speak out when he witnessed injustice and oppression. His
name was Nikhil Chakravartty. I have often thought what would he have
done the day after Gujarat went up in communal flames. He would have
rushed right into the heart of the fire. He would have put his neck
on the block, he would have dipped his pen, to quote the poet Faiz
Ahmed Faiz, into his heart's blood:
Ke khoon-e-dil mein dubo li hain ungliyan mein ne
(Dipped my fingers in my heart's blood).
Today there are very few in the Fourth Estate who have the moral
fibre of Nikhilda. Hali, who wrote, in 1879, the magnum opus poem
'Ebb and Tide of Islam', lamented that there were none left of that
Kahan hain voh jazb-e-IIahi ke phande?
Kahan hain voh Allah ke paak bande?
(O where are those moments ecstatic, divine?
Those servants of Allah, so forthright, sublime?)
True, that many courageous women and men reached Gujarat and braved
the fires to show and tell the world about the depravity of human
beings. But after a whole year has passed and as we commemorate the
Saalgirah of Gujarat we have nothing to show. First, the general
interest in Gujarat is dwindling. Second, justice has been largely
ephemeral for the Muslims. While POTA is being slapped on the Godhra
suspects, none of the people named in FIRs and others who have been
identified by victims have been convicted for the killings. More than
one hundred reports have been written by various organisations. These
reports name names, narrate crimes, describe in detail the tortures,
but the perpetrators of the very crimes stalk the victims threatening
them with worse consequences, unless they withdraw their FIRs. In
this most gross and heinous misuse of justice, law enforcement is an
The main survivor of the Best Bakery massacre on March 1, 2002 in
Vadodra is 17-year old Zahira. She witnessed nine of her family
killed that fateful day. She has repeated her story ad nauseum before
the Election Commission, the National Human Rights Commission and
scores of mediapersons. Hour after hour she has sat in government
offices and courtrooms desperately appealing for justice. It took
eight months before she was given monetary compensation for the nine
killings of her kith and kin. Rs 25,000 was the princely sum she
received for her burnt house. She has decided not to wash her
blood-soaked clothes and not to marry until the guilty are punished.
=46rom the way things are her clothes will remain blood-stained.
Of the miracle of human life, the poet Iqbal wrote:
Mat sahl isey jaano phirta hai falak barson
Jab khhak key pardey sey insaan nikalta hai.
It is not easy for a human being to be created, Iqbal says. For aeons
the heavens conduct their celestial search and only then does the
human being emerge from the screen of dust.
Today we 'celebrate' one year since the flames of communal passions
destroyed the ethos of Gujarat. Many members of the human race for
whose creation the universe strives for millions of years were tossed
on the tip of a cutting machine and sliced to pieces. Such images of
Gujarat refuse to go away. They become fresh wounds with every
passing tragedy. When we see young Palestinians being gunned down in
Gaza or innocent schoolchildren being blown up in Ramallah we think
of the child victims of Gujarat who were made to drink diesel instead
of water so that their insides could be burnt by a single match, or
were simply sliced up.
Killers have no religion. Whether they are Palestinians, Jews or
Gujaratis their only creed is to create fasaad. This is an Arabic
word which has no English equivalent, mayhem hardly serves. There is
nothing more repugnant to the spirit of any religion than any
individual who creates fasaad. The Quran is filled with warnings of
Allah's wrath to those who disturb peace. The same is true of
Hinduism and all other religions. But the marauders who broke into
homes to rape, kill and burn, what faith did they profess? For that
matter those who set fire to Coach S6 of Sabarmati Express on
=46ebruary 27, which god were they trying to appease? These questions
will never stop haunting us till the day we die.
Today, I doubt if anyone who was part of the crowd which went into
the elite shopping centres and eating areas of Ahmedabad and
meticulously picked out the Muslim establishments to douse them with
highly inflammable material before striking the match, can say that
he or she can sleep a whole night without being haunted. I wonder
also if those who went into the Noorani Masjid, Isanpur Mosque,
Krishan Nagar Masjid, broke down the structures, defaced the
boundaries and desecrated copies of the Quran, can enter Mandirs and
not feel their heads throb with the sounds of hammers and bulldozers.
Perhaps all those who broke the Dargah of the poet Wali Gujarati
which sat right in front of the Police Commissioner's office in
Ahmedabad exuding barkat for Gujaratis, feel nervous when they drive
past. Like the driver of our taxi said while taking us around
Whenever we (drivers) pass this way, we swerve sharply to the right
or left so that we don't trample Pir Baba's Dargah. We are afraid of
One year has gone by, too fast or too slow. But for those who have
suffered the loss of loved ones besides losing everything they called
their own, there is only one question...who will punish the guilty?
Indian Muslim Federation (UK)
Press Release - For Immediate Issue
Dated: 26 March 2003
A COLD BLOODED MASSACRE
The Indian Muslim Federation (UK) condemns the barbaric massacre of
innocent 24 Kashmiri Pandits and their families including women and
children on Monday in village Nandimarg of Pulwama in South of
"This is the most horrific cold-blooded murder. It is one of the
darkest days of the valley. These marauder robots have no feelings,
no shame and no religion - Savages who have no regards for human
lives. It is about time that the Indian Government should take
effective steps to check this trans-border terrorism" said Shamsuddin
Agha, the President of Indian Muslim Federation (UK).
"Our hearts go to the grieving families of the victims who have
suffered irrecoverable loss. May the souls of the departed rest in
peace" Shamsuddin Agha further added.
Press release issued by:
Indian Muslim Federation (UK)
Trinity Close, London E11 4 RP
Tel: +44 20 8558 6399
=46ax: +44 20 8539 0486
IMC-USA ACTION ALERT - 26th March 2003
On March 22, 2003, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South
Asian Affairs, Ms Christina Rocca, was called to testify in a
Senatorial hearing on South Asia. When asked about the situation of
minorities in Gujarat, India, Ms Rocca said "much action" has been
taken by the Indian Government against those behind the Gujarat
"The legal system in India is agonizingly slow and that gives the
impression that nothing is happening. But the fact of the matter is
that they did take action and they are continuing to take action" she
Ms Rocca also said that the "United States has spoken out loudly and
often on the terrible events of Gujarat, and it did not in any way
get a pass from anywhere in the world, much less from the Bush
ACTION TO BE TAKEN:
1. Please fill in the form below and send it to lodge your protest.
2. Call the following people and lodge your protest:
Secretary of State Colin Powell
Tel: (202) 647-5225/ (202) 647-4000
Bureau of South Asian Affairs, Asst. Secretary, Christina Rocca
=46ax: (202) 736-4333
=46ax: (202) 647-6640
Address: 2201 C St NW,
Washington, DC 20520
=46ACTS & TALKING POINTS
1. Ms Rocca's comments are very disturbing as they ignore the
mountain of evidence compiled by organizations such as Human Rights
Watch and Amnesty International and also by the United States
Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on the
complicity and inaction of the Indian Central and Gujarat State
governments (both led by Hindutva-fascist BJP). Most cases have not
even reached the 'slow Indian legal system' as officials refuse to
file and register complaints by minority community members.
2. Such comments embolden the Hindutva-fascist groups and provide
them a sense of security, allowing them to commit more genocides in
other parts of India, as they have already threatened.
3. Human rights organizations and media have documented that the
violence in Gujarat continued for more than two months.
4. These same human rights organizations have indicted the Gujarat
administration for collusion in the murder of more than 2000 Muslims
during this period of violence. This collusion has been described as
identifying Muslims and their businesses, ordering the police to
either help in the killings or refrain from protecting the victims,
and preventing or obstructing prosecution of the accused masterminds
of the killings.
5. Unlike the British High Commissioner, the US ambassador to India
had not spoken forcefully about the massacres and gang rapes in
Gujarat, nor has the State Department.
6. The US administration must display leadership and commitment by
avoiding such distortions to the truth regarding the events in
Gujarat. Such misrepresentation of facts sends a message of approval
to the perpetrators of the killings, paving the way for more human
rights abuses in the future.
Send Email: Protest the Prejudiced Testimony of US Asst. Secretary
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 12:47:50 -0500
Gallerie Publishers, in partnership with PUKAR (Partners for Urban
Knowledge Action & Research) and Crossword Bookstore, invites
students, urban youth, and the public to a discussion the question of
"Gandhi and Violent Ideologies Today".
Three Mumbai college students, SANJAY BHANGAR, LUGANO ALVARES, and
BEHROOZ AVARI, will share their views on the relevance of Mahatama
Gandhi in today's context of violence and politics.
The discussion will be moderated by GANESH NOCHUR of Greenpeace
India, and will feature Dr JAIRUS BANAJI as a key speaker.
=46RIDAY 28 MARCH 2003
6.30 p.m. onwards
CROSSWORD Book Store
22, Bhulabbhai Desai Road (Warden Road)
Violence and Religious Extremism: Reflections on the
Human Condition in the 21st Century
A public lecture by
Vinay Lal, Ph. D., Assoc. professor, Department of
WHEN: 6:30 PM, SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2003
WHERE: 125 WILLEY HALL, WEST BANK
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Dr. Vinay Lal is an accomplished intellectual, a
prolific writer and a distinguished public speaker. He
teaches courses on South Asia including the Indian
Diaspora, Moral and Political thought of Mahatma
Gandhi, Politics of Religion and Ethnicity in South
Asia, Hindu-Muslim Encounters in South Asia etc. He
has authored several books, including his latest,
=ECEmpire of Knowledge=EE(Pluto Press, London, 2002)
The event should be of interest to the Indian Diaspora
as well as the students and observers of contemporary
Indian politics and culture.
Institute of Global Studies, University of Minnesota
Association for India=EDs Development of Minnesota
(AID-MN), Council on American Islamic Relations
(CAIR-MN), Dr. Cherian Puthiyottil of AGORA
Multicultural Center, India Association of Minnesota,
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, The policy Round
Table and the Sikh Society of Minnesota
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches will be
provided and served by CAIR-MN and volunteers.
=46or further information, please call Hyder Khan,
SACW is an informal, independent & non-profit citizens wire service run by
South Asia Citizens Web (www.mnet.fr/aiindex).
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.