SACW | Sept. 22-24, 2008 / Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and Taliban / Bangladesh emergency / India: Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Karnataka / Nuclear Hubris
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Tue Sep 23 23:06:22 CDT 2008
South Asia Citizens Wire | September 22-24, 2008 | Dispatch No. 2571
- Year 11 running
 U.S. military frees Afghan journalist from Bagram (CPJ Press
 Bangladesh: Emergency withdrawal has more to do with people
(Editorial, New Age)
 Pakistan, Allah and America:
(i) Why was the Marriott Targeted? (Tariq Ali)
(ii) Pakistan: Taliban threats to Media (Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy)
 India: While the Secular State Sleeps, The Hindu Right unleashes
a wave of violence wherever it can
(i) An Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Karnataka from St.
Joseph’s College, Bangalore (Fr. Ambrose Pinto)
(ii) Now, Karnataka (Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed)
(iii) Law and order must be an article of faith (editorial,
(iv) Yeddyurappa protests too much (Editorial, The Hindu)
(v) Restraining thin-skinned Fanatics (Editorial, EPW)
(vi) Knocking on Goa's Doors (Vidyadhar Gadgil)
 India: Nuclear hubris (Praful Bidwai)
(i) Pakistani community and human rights organizations for a protest
rally (New York City, 24 September 2008)
(ii) Book Release of Hindi Book on Bhagat Singh (New Delhi, 26
(iii) Upcoming Film Screening of 'Firaaq' at the London film Festival
(London, 16 and 19 October 2008)
(iv) Daniel Pearl World Music Days (1st - 31st October 2008)
(v) Call for Papers, 12th annual conference of The Indian Political
Economy Association (Kurukshetra 15-16 November, 2008)
Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Ave, 11th floor
New York, NY 10001
U.S. MILITARY FREES AFGHAN JOURNALIST FROM BAGRAM
New York, September 22, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists
welcomes the U.S. military's release of imprisoned journalist Jawed
Ahmad from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Sunday, 11 months after
he was first detained. But CPJ calls again on the U.S. military to
end its practice of holding journalists without charge on an open-
Ahmad, 22, was never charged with a crime, and military officials
have never explained the basis for his prolonged detention. Ahmad,
who is known by his nickname Jojo and also uses the surname Yazemi,
does not know why he was freed, according to an interview with the
Canadian Globe and Mail. Ahmad worked most recently as a field
producer for the Canadian broadcaster CTV and had several other
freelance clients in the past.
Ahmad said he was detained at a NATO airfield near the southern city
of Kandahar where he worked, after being invited there by someone who
said he was a U.S. public affairs officer, according to the Globe and
Mail. He was later transferred to the U.S.-operated air base at
Bagram, he said. He told the newspaper he was beaten, that two of his
ribs were broken, and that he was deprived of sleep.
“We are relieved that Jawed Ahmad has been freed and we wish him the
best with his return to work,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia Program
Coordinator. “But he has lost almost a year of his life being held
without charge and says he was brutally treated by his captors. His
case adds to the U.S. military’s appalling record of detaining
working journalists in conflict zones, without a modicum of due
process, based on allegations which are shrouded in secrecy and have
apparently proved to be unfounded.”
The U.S. military detained Ahmad on October 25, 2007. CPJ publicized
his case after being alerted by Carlotta Gall, The New York Times
reporter based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, who had worked with him.
A Pentagon spokesman told CPJ in February that Ahmad had been
classified as an “unlawful enemy combatant” but did not provide
information about the allegations or evidence against him.
A statement issued today by Capt. Christian Patterson, a spokesman
for the U.S.-led coalition, said Ahmad had been released because he
“was no longer considered a threat.” The statement offered no
explanation for the 11-month detention. Ahmad told the Globe and Mail
his U.S. interrogators were suspicious of his reportorial contacts
with local Taliban.
CTV News President Robert Hurst issued a statement to CPJ today. “It
is startling that U.S. military authorities released Jojo Yazemi on
Sunday morning without any explanation about why he was apprehended
in the first place and then declared an enemy combatant,” Hurst said.
“CTV News is also concerned about his health after he recounted his
treatment while in U.S. custody. Our priority now is to get Jojo
Yazemi back to Kandahar and reunited with his family.”
CPJ research shows that at least one other journalist remains in U.S.
military custody. Freelance photographer Ibrahim Jassam, who was
working for Reuters in Iraq, was detained September 2 by U.S. and
Iraqi forces; he has not been charged. The U.S. has held dozens of
journalists in Iraq, at least 10 of them for prolonged periods,
according to CPJ research. Associated Press photographer Bilal
Hussein was released in April after a two-year detention on
unsubstantiated allegations of collaborating with local insurgents.
On May 1, Sami al-Haj, a Sudanese cameraman for Al-Jazeera, was
released from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after six
years in detention. Al-Haj, also designated an “enemy combatant,” was
never charged with a crime.
23 September 2008
EMERGENCY WITHDRAWAL HAS MORE TO DO WITH PEOPLE
IN HIS address to the nation on Saturday, the chief adviser to the
military-controlled interim government made it clear that the state
of emergency could at best be relaxed to allow for more spontaneous
election-related activities of the political parties but would, in no
way, be completely withdrawn before the general elections. The
Election Commission seems to be toeing the government’s line. In an
apparent attempt to justify the perpetuation of the state of
emergency, the government and the commission argue that a plunge in
law and order was not desirable to anyone, implying that the
maintenance of law and order depended on the state of emergency being
in force. We agree that a deterioration of law and order is not
desirable; however, the chief adviser, his government and its
military mentors, and the commission need to realise that the
maintenance of law and order does not and must not depend on the
perpetuation of the state of emergency. Maintenance of law and order
is an ordinary function of the government and should be carried out
through the use of the law enforcement agencies and within the ambit
of the ordinary laws of the land.
The two major political parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party
and the Awami League, have thus far held firm in their demands for a
complete withdrawal of the state of emergency before the
parliamentary elections. Of late, however, there seem to have been
some softening in their stance on other election related issues.
While they remain firm on their demand for a withdrawal of the state
of emergency before the parliamentary elections and deferment of the
upazila elections further, they have agreed to draft ‘provisional’
party constitutions in order for them to be registered with the
Election Commission before the parliamentary elections and thus
contest the polls. Such a softening of position is indeed welcome. We
have maintained all along that all-contested and credible elections
to the ninth Jatiya Sangsad are a primary prerequisite for
restoration of unhindered political process.
However, we are afraid that the major political parties may
eventually soften their position vis-à-vis general elections under a
state of emergency. Our case for a complete withdrawal of the state
of emergency has all along been based on the premise that the
suspension of the people’s fundamental rights is contrary to the
advancement of democratic ideals. Thus far, the interim government
seems to have viewed the issue in terms of gains or concessions with
regard to its dealing with the political parties. The government, and
also the political parties, need to realise the people at large have
more at stake in this regard. Besides, as we have pointed out time
and again, it is foolhardy to even expect any progress on the path of
democracy if the people, who are the greatest stakeholders in our
democratic quest, are not allowed to exercise their fundamental
rights. Hence, for the sake of the people and democratic order, we
urge the current regime once again to withdraw the state of emergency
at the earliest and to return to the people their full fundamental
and democratic rights. That, we believe, must be the first step
towards return to a democratic order.
 Pakistan, Taliban and America:
September 23, 2008
THE DEADLY BLAST IN ISLAMABAD
WHY WAS THE MARRIOTT TARGETED?
by Tariq Ali
The deadly blast in Islamabad was a revenge attack for what has been
going on over the past few weeks in the badlands of the North-West
Frontier. It highlighted the crisis confronting the new government in
the wake of intensified US strikes in the tribal areas on the Afghan
Hellfire missiles, drones, special operation raids inside Pakistan
and the resulting deaths of innocents have fuelled Pashtun
nationalism. It is this spillage from the war in Afghanistan that is
now destabilizing Pakistan.
The de facto prime minister of the country, an unelected crony of
President Zardari and now his chief adviser, Rehman Malik, said, "our
enemies don't want to see democracy flourishing in the country". This
was rich coming from him, but in reality it has little to do with all
that. It is the consequence of a supposedly "good war" in Afghanistan
that has now gone badly wrong. The director of US National
Intelligence, Michael McConnell, admits as much, saying the Afghan
leadership must deal with the "endemic corruption and pervasive poppy
cultivation and drug trafficking" that is to blame for the rise of
The majority of Pakistanis are opposed to the US presence in the
region, viewing it as the most serious threat to peace. Why, then,
has the US decided to destabilize a crucial ally? Within Pakistan,
some analysts argue this is a carefully coordinated move to weaken
the Pakistani state by creating a crisis that extends way beyond the
frontier with Afghanistan. Its ultimate aim, they claim, would be the
extraction of the Pakistani military's nuclear fangs. If this were
the case, it would imply Washington was determined to break up
Pakistan, since the country would not survive a disaster on that scale.
In my view, however, the expansion of the war relates far more to the
Bush administration's disastrous occupation in Afghanistan. It is
hardly a secret that President Karzai's regime is becoming more
isolated each passing day, as Taliban guerrillas move ever closer to
When in doubt, escalate the war, is an old imperial motto. The
strikes against Pakistan represent - like the decisions of President
Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, to bomb and then invade Cambodia -
a desperate bid to salvage a war that was never good, but has now
gone badly wrong.
It is true that those resisting the Nato occupation cross the
Pakistan-Afghan border with ease. However, the US has often engaged
in quiet negotiations with them. Several feelers have been put out to
the Taliban in Pakistan, while US intelligence experts regularly
check into the Serena hotel in Swat to meet Maulana Fazlullah, a
local pro-Taliban leader.
Pashtuns in Peshawar, hitherto regarded as secular liberals, told the
BBC only last week that they had lost all faith in the west. The
decision to violate the country's sovereignty at will had sent them
in the direction of the insurgents.
While there is much grieving for the Marriott hotel casualties, some
ask why the lives of those killed by Predator drones or missile
attacks are considered to be of less value. In recent weeks almost
100 innocent people have died in this fashion. No outrage and global
media coverage for them.
Why was the Marriot targeted? Two explanations have surfaced in the
media. The first is that there was a planned dinner for the president
and his cabinet there that night, which was cancelled at the last
The second, reported in the respected Pakistani English-language
newspaper, Dawn, is that "a top secret operation of the US Marines
[was] going on inside the Marriott when it was attacked". According
to the paper: "Well-equipped security officers from the US embassy
were seen on the spot soon after the explosions. However, they left
the scene shortly afterwards."
The country's largest newspaper, the News, also reported on Sunday
that witnesses had seen US embassy steel boxes being carried into the
Marriott at night on September 17. According to the paper, the steel
boxes were permitted to circumvent security scanners stationed at the
Mumtaz Alam, a member of parliament, witnessed this. He wanted to
leave the hotel but, owing to the heavy security, he was not
permitted to leave at the time and is threatening to raise the issue
These may be the motivations for this particular attack, but behind
it all is the shadow of an expanding war.
Tariq Ali’s latest book is ‘The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of
September 22, 2008
PAKISTAN: TALIBAN GOES AFTER MEDIA
Publishers receive death threats, many blame U.S. for troubles
by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
 India: While the secular state sleeps, the Hindu right unleashes
a wave of violence everywhere
Hate And Anger Won't Bring Votes; People Always See Through Divisive
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF MINISTER OF KARNATAKA FROM ST. JOSEPH’S
Dear Sir, We write to you as members of the Staff of St.
Joseph’s College and as secular citizens of the state of Karnataka
deeply distressed by the recent attacks on educational institutions
and churches in Mangalore and elsewhere in Karnataka.
We are a college of 126 years, the very first private college of the
city with a rich legacy of educating generations of students of
different faiths in the ideals of democracy and secularism.
Thousands of citizens in the state owe their education into
secularism to this college where students have lived and learned as
members of one human family. We are also aware of your high esteem
for the college. It is due to that high regard for the institution
that you had admitted your son here and he had successfully passed
out from the portals of the college.
Our contributions to the nation goes right back in time, to those
dark and frightful years of British imperialism. We as an
institution, perhaps the only one in the state, have participated in
the freedom struggle of the country.
The college had protested against British colonialism, raising the
National Tricolor as a banner of national revolt on our premises
against the British Raj. Our students were hunted and jailed by
British Police for participating in the Quit India movement.
The names of Ratnakar Rai and Kripakaran are synonymous with the
early struggles while Deendayalu Naidu and P.S. Sundaram Reddy were
with the Quit India movement. Several of our students were tortured
and repressed in these jails for their struggles for the freedom of
Fr. Ferroli, the Warden was, interned in the jail in Whitfield. and
Fr. Boniface D’Souza, was the person who prevented the police from
taking students into custody during the last phase of the freedom
struggle. That spirit of secularism and nationalism still exists in
this campus and we have not deviated from that. It is this love for
the nation that prompts and urges us to write to you.
Over the years, we have educated a variety of students, pundits,
scientists, activists, journalists, technocrats, bureaucrats,
politicians, businessmen, sportspersons and women primarily from the
state of Karnataka though there have been students from outside the
state and the country. We have never imposed a world-view of our own
on the students. Instead we have encouraged critical thinking and
Freedom of thought and expression has always characterized education
in St. Joseph’s. We can claim with tremendous pride that we have
produced stimulating intellectuals, prominent change-makers at the
grass root level and provided able administrators to the nation and
particularly to the State of Karnataka.
M.P. Ghorpade, Kumara Bangarappa, M.P. Prakash, Bachche Gowda,
Narayanaswamy, Allum Veerabhadarappa and a host of bureaucrats are
all our former students. Many of our former students work in
different fields of life as innovators and policy-framers. Moreover
we have enhanced our services these many years to foster the needs
and desires of the marginalized.
We continue to admit and provide educational opportunities to a wide
community of educationally and socially backward classes, scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes. We have thus produced sensitive and
learned leaders among the Dalit and backward communities. We are
extremely proud of students from subaltern communities who have
turned into agents of radical social change. Our credentials as a
secular and progressive institution concerned about the well-being of
all is a truth well known to all.
St. Joseph’s College belongs to no party. But we remain concerned
with what is taking place in the state. Inculcating social awareness
and increasing social concern is one of the main thrusts of the
college. As an educational institution with high moral and ethical
credentials, we are concerned about the divisive politics that
polarizes people on the basis of religion.
Your party has come to power on the plank of development. You have
also celebrated with great pride your hundred days in power claiming
that nearly 90% of your development manifesto has been fulfilled. We
may have different view of that but we will not debate that here.
What disturbs us is the mean claim that your party and your cadres
make that Christian institutions are involved in forced conversion
just to defame and malign.
Every citizen in this country has been given the right to practice,
profess and propagate one’s religion by the Constitution. In fact,
the college is administered on the principles of egalitarianism,
concern for the weak and compassion to the suffering—universal human
doctrines which are Christian as well.
If you consider commitment to a set of values as conversion, we are
quite proud. That has been our heritage. But when your affiliates
attack us on the issue of conversion, we are fully aware that you are
being frivolous. You do not believe in it. Nobody else believes in
it. You are simply using the community as a tool for political purposes.
In the last 126 years, lakhs have passed out from the institution.
The world famous scientist, Raja Ramana, former election commissioner
of India Krishna Murthy, large number of cricketers and hockey
players who have brought glory to the state have studied here. We
also wish to mention here Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living
fame and Veerendra Heggade of Dharamastala are our former students.
There are some monks of Sri Ramakrishna Mission and Buddhist
monastries educated here.
Even today we teach a number of the children of your party
functionaries. Your cadres speak of conversion. Such divisive
language to defame institutions and the community for political
purposes is against the spirit of secularism and we do not appreciate
that coming from the head of the government of Karnataka.
In writing to you, we want to make it clear that we have no personal
interests. Our concern is the state of Karnataka and its people. This
state does not need debates on conversion or terrorism. What the
state needs is debate on development, inequalities, peace and harmony.
There has been in the last few days a campaign of hate that has been
systematically carried out by your affiliates and sometimes your own
cadres. They have victimized innocent citizens, harmed and destroyed
people and their lives. They have violated the dignity of women
including the cloistered religious nuns recently who spend time in
prayer and are out of touch with the rest of the world. They have
devastated neighborhoods and the everyday harmony of human existence.
Is this truly development? How can we build development without peace
and harmony? And how can we build peace and harmony without development?
Peace and harmony on the one hand and development and growth on the
other are mutual and inter-dependent. We could debate this issue and
other issues of marginalization of people, hunger and inequality
instead of the trivial issue of conversion.
Instead of encouraging your cadres and your affiliates to burn and
destroy churches and create disharmony, can you not encourage them to
work for literacy, employment, food, shelter and clothing? Instead of
destroying the secular fabric of cultural and religious inter-
relationships, can’t you stop fanning hatred by not supporting
spurious ideas such as forced conversions and terrorism?
Your affiliates may assume, that by all this hate and anger, your
party may gain more seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections
because of the disastrous polarizations between communities. But that
may be far from the truth. People always see through such divisive
Only economic development for the masses and the just practice of the
secular constitution can promise you votes. So we appeal to you, as
an educational institution of higher learning with a history of 126
years, that was a part of the freedom struggle, to work for
secularism, harmony, tolerance, and development so that together we
may build a humane and progressive human community in Karnataka.
We as a college community urge you most sincerely to stop hate, stop
destruction of Churches and educational institutions and restore
peace and harmony in the state. We assure you of our cooperation in
the task of building a secular state in the true spirit of diversity
Of course, we shall continue to dissent in the true democratic spirit
of the Constitution when the Constitution of the land is under attack.
Dr. (Fr.) Ambrose Pinto SJ
and 75 staff members.
o o o
Sep. 27-Oct. 10, 2008
Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed
Sangh Parivar activists vandalise churches in Mangalore on the
pretext of fighting forced conversions.
The damaged case holding the statue of Mother Mary at the Adoration
Monastery in Mangalore.
A LARGISH crucifix with Jesus Christ’s left hand dangling from the
nail hangs in a corner of the prayer hall, which can accommodate some
70 persons. The monstrance kept in a wooden cabinet mounted on the
wall at the altar lies broken. The Adoration Monastery, on Milagres
Road in Mangalore city, was attacked by activists of the Sangh
Parivar on September 10, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-
led government completed 100 days in office in Karnataka. The
monastery, located near the 300-year-old Milagres Church, is revered
greatly by the local Catholic community. Ten nuns of the order of
Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration live here a life of prayer, as a
At the Believer’s Church in Ganjimath, a half hour’s drive from the
city, vandals were unable to enter the church as it was locked from
outside. So they went around the building, breaking all the windows.
When the church was opened, shards of glass were found lying on the
floor of the prayer hall like macadam. Every Sunday some 50
worshippers congregate in this hall. “Four young men damaged the
building. They sped away before we could do anything,” said Father
Josemon of the Believer’s Church.
These two prayer halls were among the 15 places of worship of
Christians that were vandalised in the second week of September in
Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chickmagalur districts of Karnataka by
young men affiliated to the Bajrang Dal and other Sangh Parivar
organisations. At a press conference convened after the attacks,
Mahendra Kumar, State convener of the Bajrang Dal, and M.B. Puranik,
Dakshina Kannada district chief of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP),
claimed responsibility for the acts and described them as a
“spontaneous upsurge” of the Hindu community.
These incidents are perhaps the most blatant attacks against the
Christian community in the State. The previous week, churches in
Davangere district were attacked and subsequently the Hindu Jagran
Vedike gave an ultimatum to a local church to close down. Similarly,
in Bondel in Dakshina Kannada district, saffron flags appeared
overnight on a plot of public land used irregularly by Christians in
the area. Members of the Bajrang Dal also barged into St. Aloysius
College, Mangalore, a day after it was kept closed for a day in
support of the Christians of Orissa who were attacked in August. Even
the State president of the BJP Minority Morcha and nominated MLA,
Derrick Fullinfaw, was not spared. His car was damaged in an attack
The spate of anti-Christian incidents has led to a sense of
insecurity among the community. While attacks on churches have been
reported in the State in the past, they have become more frequent
since the BJP came to power.
According to Sajan George, editor of Persecution Update India, an
online magazine that chronicles attacks against Christians in India,
“56 major attacks” have taken place against Christians in the State
since June 2008. Only 24 such attacks took place between January and
May. Sajan George defined major attacks as incidents involving
“physical violence, destruction of property and desecration of prayer
A senior official of the local administration of Mangalore, who did
not want to be named, said that “members of the Sangh Parivar have
been emboldened since the BJP government came to power”. Some
Christians called for a bandh in Mangalore following the attacks, and
for the first time Catholic youth were mobilised to come out on the
streets in protest. They were primarily motivated by the religious
symbolism of the Adoration Monastery.
On the day of the bandh, the Christian protesters were manhandled by
the police. Sister Mary Carmel, the convent’s superior, alleged that
at the monastery the police threw stones, injuring the protesters and
breaking a case holding a statue of Mother Mary.
According to an eyewitness, Arun Lobo, around 1,000 Christians who
were peacefully protesting inside the premises of the Holy Cross
Church in Kulshekhar were caned and teargassed by the police. Twenty-
three of them were arrested after the police chased the group into
the church premises. Many of the victims alleged complicity of the
police with the Bajrang Dal, saying that they saw a group of men
hanging around the policemen deployed, although Section 144 was
imposed on the city. The Deputy Commissioner of Mangalore City,
Maheshwara Rao, denied that the police were partisan in their behaviour.
The local media’s role during the violence was not objective, to say
the least. A local journalist with an English-language daily said
that the local language press was prejudiced against the Christian
community in its reportage of the events. Further, in the Permanur
church in Ullal, some mediapersons actually provoked and taunted a
group of Christians who had gathered there, leading to police action
against the Christians. The mediapersons were also allegedly involved
in desecrating the church and beating up Christians.
Christians form 8.7 per cent of the population of Dakshina Kannada
district, and 90-95 per cent of them are Catholics. Along with the
districts of Udupi and Karwar, Dakshina Kannada has become
communalised over the past couple of decades with increased animosity
between the Hindu and Muslim communities.
Christian protesters who were chased by the police into the St.
Sebastian church at Thokuttu in Mangalore on September 15. They were
brought out of the church and arrested.
The coastal area, according to Professor Valerian Rodriguez,
Chairperson, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, “has been systematically communalised over the
past couple of decades with the growth of Hindutva organisations and
a ‘communal regime’, to use political scientist Paul Brass’ phrase,
has come into being in the area”. In spite of this trend, the
Christian community in the area has largely shared cordial relations
with Hindus. A small minority of Christians who believe themselves to
be converts from high-caste Hindus has even been politically
supporting the BJP.
In the recent incidents, members of the Sangh Parivar targeted the
activities of New Life churches. New Life is a term used to describe
churches established in the area since the 1980s with the global,
particularly American, growth of Born Again Christian groups. The New
Life Fellowship (NLF) was established in the area in 1983 and
includes non-Catholic and non-mainline Protestant churches. There is
also a subtle theological estrangement in the area between the
Catholics and members of New Life groups. Some New Life Churches,
which are more fervent and charismatic in their demonstration of
faith than the institutional Catholic Church, have been successful in
stealing adherents from the Catholic order, causing some resentment
among the Catholic clergy.
Vinay Shetty, district convener of the Bajrang Dal, proudly stated
that the Bajrang Dal supported the acts against the churches, which
he called “conversion centres”. Threatening “more action” if the
conversions did not stop, he demanded that Roman Catholic Church
representatives in the area stand by the Bajrang Dal in endorsing a
complete ban on religious conversions. Much of the violence against
Christians is justified by members of the Sangh Parivar on the
grounds of opposing “forced conversions”. While there have been cases
of conversion in the area there is no record of how many people have
converted. Shetty alleged that 800-900 families had converted to
Christianity in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts over the past 10
years. It is difficult to obtain figures about the number of converts
from members of fringe Protestant Christian Churches such as the
Believer’s Church and the NLF, but they did not deny that voluntary
conversions, a constitutional right, had taken place.
Suresh Naik, 30, who joined the Believer’s Church a few years ago,
told Frontline that the conversions he witnessed were merely
spiritual exercises and were not “forced”.
Members of the Sangh Parivar, however, allege that while in some
cases money is not offered as an inducement, there is a persistent
effort by members of the New Life Churches to degrade the Hindu
religion. Terming this as “brainwashing” and “mental torture”, they
argue that this constant rhetoric forces people to re-evaluate their
own beliefs. They call this form of conversion “forced”, arguing that
the pamphlet “Satya Darshini”, which they claim was distributed by
members of the NLF, provided ample proof of this. The provenance of
this pamphlet is uncertain because senior members of the NLF denied
they had anything to do with it.
The text of the pamphlet, which is an autobiographical note of a
Brahmin who converted to Christianity in 1972, critically examines
the idea of caste hierarchy and supports his argument with the Telugu
poet Vemana’s verses.
Another allegation against members of the NLF, brought by Shetty, is
that they have been inducing people to convert by offering them “Rs.
3,000 as a one-time payment and a regular commission for bringing in
new converts, as they have large foreign funds”. Pastor Menzes,
senior pastor of the NLF in Dakshina Kannada district, denied the
allegation of foreign funding or of conversion by inducement and
stated that the only source of NLF funding was the tithe (one-tenth
of the income) that the faithfuls contributed.
During the bandh called against the attacks, a member of a Hindutva
group was stabbed, leading to the call for another bandh the next
day, this time led by the Sri Rama Sene, a peripheral group of the
Sangh Parivar. The Rama Sene bandh, which was a total success, led to
some disturbances. According to a report in a local newspaper, a
Muslim was stabbed.
K. BHAGYA PRAKASH
A Church after it was ransacked by miscreants at Bada village near
Davangere on September 7.
In this communally sensitive area, Muslims have not got involved in
the incidents of the past few days, but there is a looming threat
that, with aggressive Hindutva on display, things could spiral out of
The local administration fears that a Hindu-Muslim riot could be far
more serious than the disturbances witnessed in early September.
Serious Hindu-Muslim riots in the area took place in Suratkal in 1998
and in Mangalore in 2006.
Given the sensitive nature of the issue, the local administration and
the State government should have taken swift action against those
involved in the church attacks and against senior members of the
Bajrang Dal in the State who have openly endorsed the violence.
Instead, the response of the government has not been effective enough
to allay the fears of the Christians. There has not been any
unequivocal condemnation of the incident by any senior leader in the
government. Senior Cabinet Ministers preface any response to
questions about the violence with a statement about “conversions”.
They deny that the police have been tardy in dealing with complaints
from Christians. This is an allegation that many Christians,
including H.T. Sangliana, Member of Parliament representing Bangalore
North, have been making.
Home Minister Dr. V.S. Acharya, in response to a question about the
vandalism, condemned the incidents but only after he pointed out that
there were “reports of conversion there”. Chief Minister B.S.
Yeddyurappa told mediapersons that the incidents were a “backlash” of
“forced conversions” and has refused to take any action against the
Bajrang Dal. This, in spite of the fact that members of the National
Commission for Minorities, who visited the area, stated that no
forced conversions had happened in Udupi.
H.D. Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister, has condemned the incidents
and called for a judicial probe. But the culpability of the Janata
Dal (Secular) cannot be ignored. Its refusal to support the BJP when
it was the latter’s turn to lead the government in the State led to
the recent elections that brought the BJP to power. Even the Congress
has not carried out any sustained campaign in the coastal area
U.R. Ananthamurthy, the Jananpith Award winner, alleged in a press
release that the BJP wanted to consolidate its Hindu vote bank as it
knew that Christians would not vote for it.
The attacks on the churches are certain to lead to a polarisation of
voters along religious lines. This in turn might help the BJP
increase its vote share in the Lok Sabha elections, which are due
early next year.
o o o
LAW AND ORDER MUST BE AN ARTICLE OF FAITH
September 22, 2008
Article 355 of the Constitution is startlingly clear: “It shall be
the duty of the Union to protect every state against external
aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government
of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of
this Constitution.” It is even more startlingly clear that the
attacks against Christians and Christian institutions in Orissa,
Madhya Pradesh and now Karnataka are ‘internal disturbances’ that the
state governments are unable or unwilling to tackle head-on. After
Sunday’s multiple attacks on churches in Karnataka, Chief Minister
B.S. Yeddyurappa pretty much threw up his hands, admitting that there
has been a “lapse” in police action in the state. With the situation
similar in the two other NDA-ruled states, the imposition of Article
355 — along with the imposition of national Emergency (Article 352)
and President’s Rule (Article 356) one of the three ‘emergency
provisions’ — is ripe.
There continues to be much pussyfooting about taking action against
the groups spreading anti-Christian mayhem in the three states. It
was the Centre’s stern warning to the Yeddyurappa government that
resulted in the arrest of Bajrang Dal convenor Mahendra Kumar last
week. That the state required a central rap on its knuckles to
finally bring in someone who was merrily claiming responsibility for
anti-Christian violence is shocking. Whatever be the political
compulsions of state governments dithering from taking action against
marauding goons, the Centre will be turning a blind eye if it doesn’t
force law and order back in the three aforementioned states. And if
need be — and this seems increasingly to be the case — Article 355
could be the answer.
Instead of playing out the ‘identity politics’ game with parts of
India spiralling into violent squabbles, someone has to fix the
notion that all Indian citizens are protected by the State. If the
state governments are too timid or unwilling to do that, the Centre
o o o
September 24, 2008
YEDDYURAPPA PROTESTS TOO MUCH
Whatever Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa might have to say about the
political motives of the Centre in issuing an Article 355 advisory on
the thuggish attacks on Christian institutions in Karnataka, two
aspects of the truth stand out. The first is that the law and order
machinery of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first government in
southern India was atrociously slow to respond to the widespread
targeted violence by Hindutva groups across the State. Secondly, only
after the central advisory was issued did the State government order
a judicial inquiry into the violence and act (in minimalist fashion)
against Bajrang Dal activists who were openly inciting violence
against the minority community. It says a lot about the BJP’s current
political agenda that it took several days of terror and intimidation
by Hindutva activists for its government in Karnataka to announce
that it would invoke the Anti-Goonda Act against those vandalising
Christian prayer halls and churches. For more than a week, Chief
Minister Yeddyurappa did nothing to assuage the feelings of the
minority community. When eventually he called on the Catholic
Archbishop of Bangalore, Bernard Moras, to ‘hear’ the grievances of
the community, it seemed no more than a gesture of political
necessity. What is damningly clear is that without the combined
pressure from the central government, secular opposition parties,
human rights groups, and the media, the BJP regime would have allowed
the situation to worsen in the expectation of making political
capital out of communal violence.
For his part, Archbishop Bernard Moras did well to speak truth to
power. He conveyed to the Chief Minister a law-abiding but
defenceless community’s sense of deep hurt and horror at the
violence. He pointed out that police was trying to pass off the
organised violence against Christians as cases of petty theft and
burglary. The systematic nature of the communal attacks and the
threats issued by local Bajrang Dal leaders were being deliberately
overlooked in the investigations. The Archbishop’s post-meeting
outburst in front of the media was also fully justified. After all,
the Chief Minister could not resist blaming the Congress and the
Janata Dal (Secular) for ‘conspiring’ to bring down his government by
‘organising’ the attacks. No sober person wants the Centre to intrude
into the constitutional domain of the States. But for Karnataka to
invoke the federal principle in this case — which has raised
questions about a constitutional breakdown down the road — is of no
avail. If the Yeddyurappa regime and the sangh parivar fail to learn
the proper lessons from this ugly chapter, they will certainly make a
mess of the electoral mandate the BJP won in May.
o o o
Economic and Political Weekly
September 13, 2008
RESTRAINING THIN-SKINNED FANATICS
The Supreme Court finds no reason for the initiation of criminal
proceedings against M F Husain.
In the last decade, fanatic groups have increasingly been resorting
to vandalism to express their vehemence against artists, writers and
filmmakers, whose works and views have, they claim, hurt their
sentiments. Painter M F Husain's works d epicting Hindu goddesses in
the nude have been the target of violent protests by groups espousing
the ideology of Hindutva, the severity of which has led the 93-year
old painter to live in self-imposed exile in Dubai since 2006. Now
the Supreme Court has ruled that his Bharat Mata (depicting a nude
woman on the con- tours of the Indian map) is a work of art and
refused the initiation of criminal proceedings against him. However,
the ruling is not likely to change the opinion of his detractors or
lead to Husain's return soon to India.
Since 1996, Husain's art shows in Delhi, Ahmedabad and London have
been vandalised, his house in Mumbai attacked by the Bajrang Dal and
criminal cases filed against him. While the artist community largely
continues to support him, the state machinery (including the present
United Progressive Alliance government, which asked police chiefs to
take "appropriate legal action" against him in 2006) has proved to be
ineffectual in dealing with his tormentors. In fact, the first ever
India Art Summit (supported by the union ministry of culture and
inaugurated by the culture and tourism minister) held in Delhi last
month excluded his works on grounds of "security". This provoked the
cultural group Sahmat to hold a Husain exhibition at the same time
but at a different venue. Predictably, Sahmat's exhibition was
attacked by a little known Hindutva group. Prominent artists had
pointed out that Husain had single-handedly put Indian art on the
world map and that the organisers were playing into the hands of the
extremist groups by excluding his works. The government excused
itself on the grounds that it was not consulted about the choice of
artists at the art summit.
While the Supreme Court's ruling is welcome, court judgments do not
necessarily deter groups bent on using violent intimidation to
extract political mileage. In 2000, filmmaker Deepa Mehta could not
shoot her movie Water, based on the plight of Hindu widows, after
Hindutva groups destroyed the film's sets saying the subject was anti-
Hindu. The then Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Uttar
Pradesh cancelled the permission to shoot the film on the plea of
"people's protests". Whether it is the attack on the Bhandarkar
Oriental Research Institute in Pune (the author of a controversial
book on Shivaji was based there) or the refusal to "allow" cinema
theatres in Gujarat to exhibit actor Aamir Khan's films (the boycott
provoked by his stand on the Narmada dam issue was later with-
drawn), the pattern in the response of political parties in general
and the concerned state governments in particular is the same:
statements of condemnation are muted and the law and order machinery
goes through the motions of dealing with the bigots half-heartedly.
It is left to the victim's fraternity (again, it is a small minority
that dares to express an opinion) or a small group of concerned
citizens to express solidarity with the victim and protest the attacks.
How may campaigns by fanatical political outfits whipping up hysteria
against what they decide is "offensive" in the fields of art,
literature and cinema be rendered worthless in the eyes of the
people? The defence of freedom of expression does not happen in a
vacuum but in an environment where democratic rights are protected
and bigots are deterred from taking the law into their own hands.
What does it say of us as a society when artistic freedom, indeed,
even the freedom to express one's views is being hemmed in more and
more by thin-skinned fanatical groups with hardly any fear of
o o o
19 September 2008
KNOCKING ON GOA'S DOORS
by Vidyadhar Gadgil
Hard on the heels of the communal violence in Orissa, we have an
outbreak of communal violence in Karnataka. In both cases, it is the
Christian community that has been attacked and the purported reason
has been protests against conversions. The BJP is in power in both
Karnataka (on its own) and Orissa (as a coalition partner).
After the attacks in Karnataka, the BJP Chief Minister of Karnataka B
S Yediyurappa, a man with very strong RSS links, has assured strict
action against the miscreants. But even this statement, the very
minimum that could be expected, has not come without the customary
rhetoric about conversions, notwithstanding the fact that there has
not been a single complaint about illegal conversions in Karnataka.
In effect, the message sought to be sent out is that the Christian
community deserved what happened. While the promised action against
those guilty of the attacks on churches and Christians is awaited,
there has been action of another kind - against those, both
Christians and others, protesting the communal violence in Karnataka.
Obviously, Yediyurappa means to keep his oft-repeated promise to
convert Karnataka into another Gujarat.
The rising communal temperature in the country should come as no
surprise. With the 2008 general elections approaching, calculations
within the BJP suggest that it would not be able to get more than 140
seats, while it would need at least about 180 to be sure of forming a
coalition government at the centre. Given this scenario, those within
the BJP who have been pushing for a hard-line communal mobilisation
agenda (the 'Modi line') have prevailed.
The Amarnath issue came as a great opportunity for the BJP. The party
milked the issue for every last drop of political mileage, not only
in Jammu but all over India; little did it care that the consequent
blockade of the Kashmir valley set back the normalisation process in
Kashmir by many years, and further deepened the alienation felt by
the average Kashmiri from the Indian nation.
But one Amarnath does not an election make: the tempo has to be built
up and sustained. The obvious targets for this are the states where
communal propaganda has been going on for years, and where there are
friendly governments in power. It is in this context that the
communal violence in Orissa (and parts of MP) and Karnataka against
the Christian community has to be seen. We can expect more trouble
spots to emerge in the months ahead.
Such strategies of communal polarisation can sometimes cause some
collateral damage to the BJP's own short-term interests, and one of
the sites of such collateral damage is in Goa. The citizens of Goa,
irrespective of faith and community, have been outraged by the
violence against the Christian community, and have united to condemn
the violence. The rally in Panjim on 16 September saw thousands of
citizens of all communities come together to oppose communalism.
For a few years now, ever since it realised that it is well-nigh
impossible to win an election in Goa without at least a portion of
the Catholic vote, the state BJP has put its efforts to woo the
Catholic vote into overdrive. But now the BJP finds its strategy in
shambles, with the Catholic community completely alienated and other
communities too increasingly sceptical of the BJP's bonafides. It is
in this context that one has to understand the crocodile tears being
shed by Manohar Parrikar over the communal violence in Karnataka.
The fact of the matter is that the Goa BJP has no choice but to be
seen condemning this violence (though even this condemnation has been
qualified with dubious figures indicating that in Goa it is Hindu
shrines that are more under attack than churches or mosques). Coastal
Karnataka is just too close by, and culturally similar, to be
studiously ignored the way Parrikar ignored communal violence in
other parts of the country. About Orissa he continues to maintain a
glacial silence. He has consistently refused to utter even a word of
condemnation or protest over Gujarat; whenever the topic has come up
in interviews, he has only said that Gujarat is not relevant, and we
should talk about Goa. Let us take his advice and do just that.
The March 2006 communal violence in Sanvordem-Curchorem awakened
Goans to the harsh reality of communalism in their midst. People
realised that the strong syncretic traditions of Goa were
insufficient bulwark against the systematic communal propaganda being
carried out by various Hindutvavadi organisations like the Bajrang
Dal, the VHP, the RSS, the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti
Samiti. These bodies have been working to communalise Goan society
for many years ; and it is the BJP which has benefited politically
while professing to have nothing to do with it (convincing nobody
except those who, for whatever reason, deliberately refuse to see).
In the post-Sanvordem era, we have been treated by the HJS to an
exhibition on Kashmir, which was used to portray Muslims as the
common enemy of Indians. The same body has been organising a series
of 'Dharma Jagruti Sabhas', ostensibly meant for 'defence of the
Hindu faith'. Margao has been teetering on the brink of communal
violence, and serious conflagrations have been narrowly avoided twice
in the past year. During the most recent incidents in Margao, the
Bajrang Dal leader Jayesh Naik openly appealed to 'all Goans,
including Hindus and Christians', to unite against Muslims. There
have also been many smaller incidents.
Certain other factors have also helped make the situation in Goa more
fertile for communalism. The years when the BJP was in power enabled
infiltration of elements from the Sangh Parivar into governmental
bodies. Also, the anger against anti-people development, which found
expression in the agitations against the Regional Plan and mega-
projects, has sometimes taken a communal turn, in that migrants are
targeted. Fortunately, the leaders of these movements, while
recognising that excessive in-migration is a genuine problem,
realised that it was the development paradigm that was at fault, not
the migrants who come to Goa for work. But those elements which take
a more Goan-chauvinist line on such issues have made common cause
with the BJP, and served as its frontmen, ratcheting up the right-
wing rhetoric. As a result, much of the brunt of the anti-migrant
feeling has been felt by migrant Muslims in Goa, although they are
only a small part of the overall migration into Goa.
All in all, communalism is not just knocking on Goa's doors; it has
made a full-fledged entry. It is only if all secular-minded citizens
unite, to oppose forces who would use the pretext of religion to
achieve political ends that Goa will be able to fight the menace of
September 27 - October 10, 2008
by Praful Bidwai
Nationalist euphoria over the NSG waiver will breed monumental
arrogance, great-power delusions, and contempt for peace among our
THE headlines reporting the waiver granted to India by the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG) from its nuclear trade rules could not have
been more breathless or gung-ho – to the point of hysteria: “Nuclear
apartheid ends”, “Nuclear dawn”, “India N-abled”, and so on. Even
more excessive were the television and newspaper comments that followed.
This was India’s Moment of Triumph, its arrival on the world stage as
The Sixth Power, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “Second
Revolution” (the first being the 1991 neoliberal policy), as well as
the world’s acceptance of India’s indispensability as a fully-paid
member of the cabal that sits at its High Table.
Why else would the major powers, which set up the NSG in response to
the Indian nuclear test of 1974, now bend over backwards to
legitimise India’s nuclear weapons and agree to resume nuclear trade
with it by granting it the “clean and unconditional waiver” it
wanted? Why should they accommodate India into the world’s apex power
structure unless they genuinely respect its strategic importance, its
burgeoning economy, its “unimpeachable” non-proliferation record, its
robust democracy, and growing status as a “knowledge-based” society,
much like the United States?
For supporters of the waiver, and more generally, of the U.S.-India
nuclear deal, a major point to celebrate was that India did not
merely win a moral victory at Vienna. It played the power game,
ruthlessly and consummately, and demonstrated it does not lack “the
killer instinct”, which does not come easily to this “non-violent and
peace-loving” land. India must now savour this power and its exercise
– in a word, flex its muscle and make the transition to Great
Powerdom that it has shied from making.
The NSG waiver was going to be an uphill task. It did not go through
at first shot, on August 21-22, because as many as 20-odd of the
NSG’s 45 member-states moved more than 50 amendments to the U.S.-
drafted resolution. Besides, a “like-minded” group of six states –
Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and
Switzerland – crystallised, which led the opposition. The group was
cautious and stressed that it was all in favour of the waiver but
wanted to weave it in with the NSG’s all-important non-proliferation
The U.S. and India jointly managed to break the solidarity of the
“like-minded”. The U.S. used crude, raw power, thuggish tactics (what
else is ‘strong arming’?), and all manner of threats. The pressure it
exercised was described as “brutal and unconscionable” by former
United Nations Disarmament Undersecretary Jayantha Dhanapala.
Regrettably, India too used ‘with-us-or-against-us’ threats – in a
sharp, shameful departure from its normal diplomatic approaches based
on reasoning and invocation of universal principles.
On September 5, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee issued a
statement saying that India had always believed in nuclear
disarmament, and opposed proliferation and an arms race. This, it was
claimed, brought about a change of heart among the dissenting six and
others, eventually ensuring the victory of ‘sweet reason’.
Pranab Mukherjee’s statement does not square up with India’s record
in initiating and sustaining a nuclear race in South Asia for three
decades. Nor did he offer the much-sought legally binding commitment
not to test. He only reiterated India’s unilateral moratorium, which
can be lifted easily and unilaterally. The plain truth is that the
waiver was not a victory for India based on a shared commitment with
the NSG to nuclear arms control, restraint and non-proliferation. It
was a triumph of crass realpolitik, based on bribery, muscle power
Pranab Mukherjee’s statement, however, offered an opportunity to many
NSG member-states, including Japan and Germany, to enter reservations
in the form of “national statements”. They interpreted it to mean
that nuclear cooperation with India would cease in case India tested.
According to reports, there was also an informal understanding
amongst many NSG members that they would not transfer “sensitive”
technologies such as uranium enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing
Is the waiver, then, “clean and unconditional”, as India all along
insisted? Strictly speaking, no. India formally accepted only one of
the three conditions proposed by NSG dissenters: periodic review of
compliance with its non-proliferation commitments. But the other two
conditions – exclusion of enrichment and reprocessing from nuclear
trade, and terminating trade in the event of testing – were inserted
into the “national statements”.
Since then, some of the euphoria over the waiver has been dampened by
the realisation that it was not quite unconditional, and that the
U.S. is stalling over honouring the commitments made in the 123
Agreement, which it says are only “political” and not legally
binding. Whether this is only a tactic to sweeten the 123 Agreement
for the consumption of the U.S. Congress before it ratifies it, or a
line drawn in stone, will soon become clear.
However, another media campaign has now broken out, which insinuates
that the George W. Bush administration was never entirely serious or
unanimous about pushing the deal through on the terms agreed with
India, and that a certain “non-proliferation lobby” or “the non-
proliferation underground” has been active in ensuring that the Hyde
Act prevails over the 123 Agreement as far as Congress goes. This has
the potential of nullifying a substantial part of the deal, one which
concerns the leading power that took the initiative in proposing it
and piloting it through numerous fora.
Yet, none of this is likely to temper the irrational exuberance of
the powerful pro-deal lobby, which sees the waiver as a sign of
India’s triumph and rectification of a historic wrong via the lifting
of “unfair” sanctions through which “innocent India” was punished for
conducting the 1974 test. But contrary to received wisdom, rather
propaganda, India did not conduct the test by using “indigenously
developed” materials or self-reliant technologies.
The critical materials were imported or illegitimately procured. The
plutonium for the test came from the CIRUS reactor built with
Canadian-U.S. assistance, which was only meant for “peaceful
purposes”. Hence, the hypocritical “peaceful nuclear explosion”
description. In reality, India had cheated the world by diverting
civilian material to military use – thus becoming a proliferator.
Unfortunately, the NSG made a dangerous distinction between “good”
and “bad” proliferators and rewarded India for being Washington’s
friend. Tomorrow, another country could exploit the same distinction.
This will undermine the global non-proliferation norm. What of the
claim that the deal will bring India into the global “non-
proliferation mainstream”? The deal will do nothing of the sort. It
will allow India to produce more bomb-grade material. Under it, India
will separate military-nuclear facilities from civilian ones.
However, India will only put 14 of its 22 operating/planned civilian
reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
It can use the remaining eight to produce weapons-grade plutonium –
estimated as enough for 40 Nagasaki-type bombs annually. India can
produce additional bomb-fuel from military-nuclear facilities and
This makes nonsense of India’s professed “credible minimum
deterrent”, understood as a few dozen weapons. (How many bombs would
it take to flatten five Chinese or Pakistani cities? 15, 20, 50?)
India already has an estimated 100 to 150. Adding to them will
accelerate the vicious nuclear arms race with Pakistan, and more
ominously, with China. Yet, the mainstream Indian nuclear debate
reflects none of these anomalies, hypocrisies and contradictions.
The nuclear hawks are jubilant that even if the 123 Agreement is not
quickly ratified by the U.S. Congress, the NSG waiver will remain a
major achievement – and a tribute to India’s rising power in the
world. It effectively allows India not only to keep its nuclear
weapons, but to expand its atomic arsenal although it is not a
signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the only state to
have that privilege.
This mindless celebration of power, that too of power based on mass-
destruction capabilities, represents a serious retrogression from the
ethical and political imperative of a nuclear weapons-free world. It
is profoundly tragic and deplorable that within this framework,
India’s growing power is separated from its larger, global and
universal, purposes. It is not the kind of power that can be used to
make the world a better place, only to threaten non-combatant
civilians with mass annihilation.
It is not a sign of policymakers and shapers in a responsible rising
power that they should be oblivious to the consequences of a narrow,
parochial decision that helps their weapons arsenal but harms the
world. Quite simply, the Indian elite has erased its own memory.
Nuclear weapons are nothing to be proud of. They are an unmitigated
evil and must be eliminated. So greatly is it in the thrall of social
Darwinism that it has come to believe that nuclear weapons give
security, prestige, real power and even respect. This is reflected in
the mainstream nuclear debate, too, where the dimension of peace and
disarmament has been absent – unlike after the 1998 tests.
The sad truth is that by making the peace dimension disappear from
public discourse, the United Progressive Alliance has achieved what
the far more right-wing National Democratic Alliance could not.
Please join the NYC Pakistani community and human rights
organizations for a rally / protest on
Sept 24th 2008 12:00pm-5:00pm,
In Front of UN Building in NYC on 47th and 1st Ave
This is the time when NRO president Asif Ali Zardari will be
speaking in front of world leaders at the UN.
1) Restoration of judges with an executive order and reinstatement of
Justice Iftikhaar Chaudhry in Pakistan as soon as possible.
2) Provide basic necessities , food, shelter, clean water, basic
education, electricity, gas, jobs and SECURITY to people of Pakistan.
3) Preservation of fundamental Human Rights for ALL Pakistanis.
* This community based protest is about the Military actions and air
strikes against Pakistanis in North West Frontier by Allied
forces (US-Pakistan). Hundreds of innocent civilians , children and
women are getting killed everyday. Asif Ali Zardaari and team took
the oath to take care of people of Pakistan by providing security,
justice and basic living necessities of life, but so far they have
failed and did not keep their promises.
* There will be groups from Civil liberty of Pakistan, Pak American
Lawyers association, Women's fight against torture, International
human rights, and US civil rights organizations.
For Lawyers movement, please contact: Saajid Jaffrey at 917-399-8123,
Ramzaan Rana at 516-376-1868, Shahid Mehar 917-496-8686, Iqbal Kanjan
Book Release Function Announcement:
Hindi translation of the book 'To Make The Deaf Hear : Ideology and
Programme of Bhagat Singh and His Comrades' by Irfan Habib
Hindi Title: Behron ko sunnay key liye: Bhagat Singh aur unkey
Sathion ke vichardhara aur karyakram
Release by: Prof. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya
About the book by the Author: S Irfan Habib
A discussion on the book between Krishna Sobti and Asad Zaidi
A comment by Satyam, the Hindi translator
Date: 26 September 2008
Times: 5.30 pm
Venue: Triveni Kala Sangam, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi
(iii) Film Screening of 'Firaaq' at the London film Festival
I am writing to let you know that my directorial debut feature,
Firaaq, will be screened in London, for which the schedule is given
below. I don't know how to get the tickets, but I am sure you would
know all about it. As the screenings are in the afternoon and rather
early on in the festival, it would be great if you could dig into
your mailing list and ask your family/ friends to come for the film.
Info about the film is on www.firaaqthefilm.com The screening
schedule is as follows:
16/10/2008 13:30 National Film Theatre 1
19/10/2008 13:30 Odeon West End 1
Daniel Pearl World Music Days - October 1st - 31st
An international network of concerts using the power of music to
reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity.
The Daniel Pearl Foundation invites you to join us in promoting
international friendship by dedicating a musical performance this
October as part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days.
Inspired by the legacy of journalist and musician Daniel Pearl, World
Music Days uses the universal language of music to spread a message
of hope and unity across cultural divides. By simply including a
dedication from the stage or in the program of your upcoming
performance, you will reaffirm your commitment to international
friendship and take a stand against the divisive forces that took
Danny's life. As a member of this global network of concerts, your
music will inspire your audiences with a sense of unity and purpose.
World Music Days is an "awareness raiser," not a fundraiser. There is
no financial obligation to participate.
"Together with a diverse group of Honorary Committee artists, we
celebrate and support the Foundation's mission of using the power of
music to promote cross-cultural understanding and remind people of
all cultures and religions that we share a common humanity." - R.E.M.
How It Works – 2 Simple Steps
1. Participating is easy. Just click "Sign-Up," create a User Name
and Password, then register your upcoming performances scheduled
between October 1- 31, 2008. Prelude and Encore events are also
welcome. Your event information will be included in our online Events
Calendar that receives both local and international exposure.
2. At your event - simply make a dedication from the stage or in the
printed program supporting the theme of "Harmony for Humanity". Click
here to see Sample Dedications
"Tonight's Junoon concert is dedicated to Danny Pearl...his life was
brutally taken away by those who only bow to the gods of hate,
fanaticism and bigotry. Danny you will be missed by all of us who
still believe that goodness and courage can overcome all injustices."
"Harmony for Humanity" – The World Music Days eStage
During the entire month of October, World Music Days presents eStage,
an online multimedia gallery that features a Streaming Internet Radio
Station. eStage showcases original music, lyrics, poetry, stories,
art, photography, video and articles provided by participants like
you that support Danny's belief that music, journalism and dialogue
can build bridges across cultural divides and help achieve
Make your voice heard by visiting eStage, and add your music and
words on the theme of "Harmony for Humanity."
* Submit your recorded music for international radio play
* Send digital art or photos for the eStage gallery
* Submit an original poem or story
* Report on a World Music Days event in your area
* Offer your thoughts on what "Harmony for Humanity" means to you
About World Music Days
Daniel Pearl World Music Days was created in response to the 2002
kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at
the hands of extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Danny's family and
friends came together to work towards a more humane world, forming
the Daniel Pearl Foundation, whose mission is to promote cross-
cultural understanding through journalism, music, and dialogue.
Danny was a talented musician who joined musical groups in every
community in which he lived, leaving behind a long trail of musician-
friends spanning the entire world. Commemorating Danny's October 10th
birthday, World Music Days uses the universal language of music to
encourage fellowship across cultures and build a platform for
"Harmony for Humanity." Read more.
Call for Papers
12th annual conference of
The Indian Political Economy Association
Theme: Inclusive Development and Shifting Power Balance
Venue: National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra
Date: 15th and 16th November, 2008
Prof. V. Upadhyay
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Indian Institute of Technology,
New Delhi - 110 016
e-mail: ipea.india at yahoo.co.in
Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit
citizens wire service run since 1998 by South
Asia Citizens Web: www.sacw.net/
SACW archive is available at: http://sacw.net/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
More information about the SACW