SACW | April 22-25, 2009 / Taliban / War / Disarmament / Binayak Sen / Polls / S Africa: Yusuf Dadoo Conference
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Fri Apr 24 19:54:36 CDT 2009
South Asia Citizens Wire | April-22-25, 2009 | Dispatch No. 2618 -
Year 11 running
- Editorial: The army must face up to Taliban (Daily Times)
- Where were you, dear sisters? (Zubeida Mustafa)
 Even If The War Ends, There is No Solution Till There is
Reconciliation, Dialogue and A Reform of the Sri Lankan State (Ahilan
+ EU Declaration on Sri Lanka
 India: For nuclear sanity (Praful Bidwai)
 India - Chhattisgarh: Appeals for the release and access to
medical care for Dr Binayak Sen
- Dr Binayak Sen in Danger - Chhattisgarh administration actively
undermining health care (Letter by Illina Sen)
- India’s celebrated former Judge Justice Krishna Iyer’s plea on
behalf of Binayak Sen
- Press Release Amnesty International on Prisoner of Conscience Dr
- Front Line expresses concern regarding denial of medical
treatment to Dr Binayak Sen
 Political Franchise and Indians Abroad (Prithviraj Datta)
 India: Uphold our laws which say that even Qasab has a right to
fair trial (Rajeev Dhavan)
 India: Pariahs in our own home (Ather Farouqui)
 India: Riots, Communalism and Freedom of Expression
- A Darkness Unforgotten (Rahul Bedi)
- BJP Manifesto: Rehashed Communal Agenda (People's Democracy)
- Communalism in coastal Karnataka (Govind D. Belgaumkar)
- Anhad submits letter to Election commission re attack in Gandhinagar
- Catholic Church demands ban on film
 India - Madhya Pradesh: Forcible Abduction By the forest
officials of our Election campaign co-ordinator
 South Africa / India Diaspora: Call for papers for Yusuf Dadoo
(i) Seminar: "Workers Movement : New Challenges, New
Possibilities'' (New Delhi, 25 April 2009)
(ii) Lecture "Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Democracy and Dissent in
India Today" by Prof. Ilina Sen (Bangalore, 30 April 2009)
April 23, 2009
EDITORIAL: THE ARMY MUST FACE UP TO TALIBAN
The majority opinion which not so long ago favoured the Nizam-e Adl
Regulation (NAR) in Swat is now shifting away from a pro-Taliban
stance and conceding that Pakistan might have to fight them as
Pakistan’s own war after all. This has happened owing to developments
that were predictable to the entire world but not to most Pakistanis
because of a media bias. The Swat Taliban have finally said that they
are not bound to honour the peace accord between the government and
the TNSM cleric Sufi Muhammad. That puts paid to the NAR.
Sufi Muhammad was supposed to declare war against the Taliban if they
did not abide by the NAR, but he has instead condemned the
Constitution of Pakistan as an infidel institution. A kind of jihadi
nepotism has overcome him as he refuses to see what his son-in-law
Fazlullah is doing in Dir and Buner in violation of the accord.
Indeed, the Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan has denounced those who
criticise the Sufi’s “verdict” against democracy and insists that his
brand of shariat will be applied throughout Pakistan, with jiziya
(protection tax) imposed on non-Muslims. (Jiziya can be
retrospective, amounting to crores of rupees, as happened in the case
of the Sikh community in Orakzai.)
There’s more disquieting news. Like all Taliban, including some pro-
Pakistan warlords like Maulvi Nazir, the Taliban spokesman has
welcomed Al Qaeda and its leadership to the areas conquered by the
Taliban and vowed to help such formerly state-backed jihadi
organisations as Lashkar-e Tayba and Jaish-e Muhammad in addition to
the “foreign” outfits such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, to
consolidate their hold on Pakistan’s territory. The chief of the
Lashkar is in protective custody and the Jaish chief has been made to
“disappear” for the same reason — if they are visible, there may be
pressure to extradite them.
The message is clear: the Taliban are linked to Al Qaeda and they are
counting on such elements in Punjab to help them take their war down
to other parts of Pakistan. When the Swat deal was being sewed up,
only the MQM objected, but it was soon isolated in parliament when
the National Assembly voted in favour of the NAR. The media-
mujahideen acted in the same irresponsible manner in which they had
acted during the Lal Masjid affair by siding with the Taliban over
the videoed whipping of a 17-year-old girl. The Supreme Court added
its bit by releasing the Lal Masjid cleric who immediately announced
his resolve to spread the Taliban shariat in Pakistan.
Interior Adviser Mr Rehman Malik has growled ineffectually in reply
and the advocate general in Peshawar has asserted that the High Court
will exercise full authority over the qazi courts in Swat. But
everyone knows that the advocate general will never go to Swat to say
this and risk getting his head chopped off at a Mingora square. Mr
Nawaz Sharif has expressed concern after his party kept saying it was
not Pakistan’s war that the army was fighting against the Taliban.
His refusal to morally support the PPP government earlier and his
party’s rejection of an ISI briefing on the matter in a joint
parliamentary session had actually made the army back off.
Finally, it is the army that has to step forward and face the
Taliban. It has baulked so far because of adverse public opinion and
an equally lethal media tilt. But now that the politicians are waking
up to the danger and the media is increasingly disabused, the army
must end its India-driven strategy and try to save Pakistan from
becoming the caliphate of Al Qaeda. In fact, Islamabad has to reach
an understanding with New Delhi over the matter in order to get the
army to mobilise in the numbers required. However, if this is not
done, the people will have to fight the war on their own. The MQM is
asking the right question: what if the Taliban come and the army is
not there to protect us?
Swat is the challenge staring us in the face. If we don’t accept it
and fight the Taliban, then the world will have to come and fight it
the way it thinks fit. *
o o o
22 April 2009
WHERE WERE YOU, DEAR SISTERS?
by Zubeida Mustafa
The failure of their representatives to articulate public concern has
upset women. — APP/File Photo
Much has been said about the shameful performance of our parliament
on April 13 when it approved the controversial Nizam-i-Adl Regulation
without much of a murmur.
The two members who protested, MQM’s Farooq Sattar and the PML-N MNA
from Chakwal, Ayaz Amir, have received much-deserved accolades —
albeit given grudgingly to the MQM. But why did the others lose their
voice? What happened to the women?
Why could not there be a full-fledged debate on an issue that
promises to have a profound impact on the future of Pakistan? Its
devastating implications for women have already started manifesting
themselves, as demonstrated by reports from Karachi of men walking up
to women demanding that they cover themselves ‘properly’. A woman
even complained of having been threatened with a gun. These incidents
vindicate the fears that have been expressed in women’s circles about
the tidal wave of Talibanisation sweeping the country.
It was the failure — or helplessness — of our parliamentarians that
was disturbing. It is now clear that military rule and pseudo
democracy under the patronage of the army have wrought untold ravages
on Pakistan’s political institutions over the years, undermining
democratic structures so badly that even the restoration of democracy
has not revived their working fully.
The failure of their representatives to articulate public concern on
that fateful day has upset women all over the country. It has
prompted an angry email from Lila Thadani of the Sindh Adyoon Tehrik,
Sukkur, charging Bushra Gohar and Nafisa Shah (MNAs from the ANP and
the PPP respectively) of acting for the sake of party ‘loyalty and
She says, ‘Remember dear sisters, your parliamentary slots will not
remain for life. You will have to climb down and be with the rest of
us. How will you be able to face us and the true reality after
selling your soul to power? … Speak up or ship out, now. You are
better outside than inside that pointless white cube of a parliament
on Constitution Ave.’
It was, therefore, seen as a weak and belated rescue attempt when a
female voice was raised in the house the next day. Sherry Rehman, the
PPP MNA who recently bowed out as the information minister, made a
spirited speech on a point of order expressing strong reservations
about the implementation of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009 in Swat.
Conceding that this system had been in force in the valley in the
1990s, she pointed out that circumstances were different then.
The state had executive control over the land unlike today when the
writ of the ANP government doesn’t run there. She had a point when
she said angrily, ‘I ask the ANP, which pressured the government to
pass the regulation in the National Assembly, to tell us who will
protect the rights of women in Swat now.’
Sherry also asked for a debate on the flogging incident, saying this
act had been in clear violation of the laws of the land and pointed
to the danger of people being subjected to Taliban vigilantism and
public brutality. Yes Sherry’s fear is spot on — for this is exactly
what worries people, mainly women, today, but not the
parliamentarians who have yet to debate the flogging incident. Why
This question is to an extent answered by Aurat Foundation’s report,
Performance of Women Parliamentarians in the 12th National Assembly,
launched recently. It sheds some light on the attitudes of our
lawmakers and confirms the non-role of the National Assembly in
Pakistan’s system of governance. Sifting through a mountain of
National Assembly records to collect data and statistics, Naeem Mirza
and Wasim Wagha, the authors of the report, have made a monumental
contribution to the recording of parliamentary history.
No analysis is needed to show the shoddy performance of the
Assembly that functioned in 2002-2007. Figures speak louder than
words. Here is some striking statistical information taken from the
report: The assembly held a total of only 43 sessions in five years
and met on 608 working days. It failed to fulfill the minimum
requirement of 130 days in the final year when it met on 83 days.
This information does not reveal the entire truth for each day’s
session on an average lasted for less than an hour in the first year
and two hours in the following years. Sixty-eight times the quorum
was not complete and only 50 bills were passed in five years (mostly
without a debate) of which 38 became acts. The 12th assembly may have
operated under the shadows of a military dictatorship but this does
not exonerate parliamentarians for their indifferent performance.
The report focuses on women and their efforts to preserve the
public space they have created for themselves in politics. It sheds
light on the grit of a handful of women parliamentarians (60 on
reserved seats and 13 on general seats) in a house of 342 who took
bold initiatives and struggled against heavy odds to make their
presence felt. The assessment of women parliamentarians is purely in
They emerge as an active lot who spoke prolifically (3,698
interventions), questioned sensibly (2,724 questions) and took their
responsibilities seriously. But who were these women? The report
grades the first 25. And is it surprising that of these 22 were from
the opposition parties? Now that the boot is on the other foot their
parliamentary activism has been muted. The MMA women who continue to
sit on the opposition benches admit that they do not believe in
challenging the male public space.
What is needed is an analysis of the role of women parliamentarians
in the context of the freedom allowed to them. Evidently at the root
of the problem is the flawed mode of election of women legislators on
reserved seats. Appointed from party lists, they are denied a
constituency while their fate is in the hands of the party
leadership, predominantly male. Since women parliamentarians are
unwilling to join hands across party lines on issues concerning women
there is no hope that their problems will be resolved through
 Sri Lanka:
EVEN IF THE WAR ENDS, THERE IS NO SOLUTION TILL THERE IS
RECONCILIATION, DIALOGUE AND A REFORM OF THE SRI LANKAN STATE
Ahilan Kadirgamar speaking on Canadian Radio
EU DECLARATION ON SRI LANKA
April 25 - May 08, 2009
FOR NUCLEAR SANITY
by Praful Bidwai
India should welcome Obama’s call for a nuclear weapons-free world
and launch a spirited campaign for the rapid elimination of nuclear
PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s April 5 speech in Prague calling for a world
free of the scourge of nuclear weapons is a major foreign and
security policy initiative that deserves applause. If he pursues its
logic through to the end with the same since rity and passion with
which he outlined his commitment “to seek the peace and security of a
world without nuclear weapons”, he could be the first United States
President to go beyond nuclear arms control and to put nuclear
weapons elimination on the global agenda. That would mark a turning
point for strategic thinking the world over and open up new avenues
through which to seek security.
This remains a big “if”. Obama has not yet worked out the doctrinal,
strategic and practical consequences of his fundamental premise that
a secure world without nuclear weapons is both possible and
desirable. His speech only outlines some necessary steps but without
specifying their sequence or time frame, numbers (of weapons to be de-
alerted or destroyed), the roles of different actors, the function of
legally binding treaties, and so on.
But Obama has stated some premises upfront and emphasised their moral-
political rationale in a way no major global leader has done in
recent years. Thus, he said, “the existence of thousands of nuclear
weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War”; these are “the
ultimate tools of destruction”, which can erase the world “in a
single flash of light”. The global non-proliferation regime is in
crisis and “the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up”; soon, “we
could reach the point where the centre cannot hold”.
“We are not destined,” said Obama, “to live in a world where more
nations and more people possess [nuclear weapons]. Such fatalism is a
deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear
weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves
that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.” Logically, fighting
fatalism means putting “an end to Cold War thinking” and reducing
“the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy”.
This sets Obama miles apart not just from George W. Bush but also
from Bill Clinton. Obama is effectively reversing a long tradition
beginning with the Ronald Reagan presidency towards either a
hardening of the U.S. nuclear posture, or the development of new
weapons such as “Star Wars”-style ballistic missile defence (BMD),
itself premised on even more dangerous doctrines than that of nuclear
deterrence, which is fatally flawed.
Thus, the U.S. has failed, even two decades after the Cold War ended,
to move beyond relatively paltry reductions in its nuclear arsenal
through the Moscow Treaty of 2002. Under Bush, it refused to take
2,200 weapons off “launch on warning” alert. The U.S. military
establishment wants to develop a Reliable Replaceable Warhead for
existing ones, find new uses (for example, bunker-busting) for old
weapon designs, and has yielded to pressures from the nuclear weapons
laboratories to modernise and refine existing armaments and do
experimental work on fusion weapons at the expensive National
Bush was not only obsessed with perpetuating America’s nuclear
superiority. He gave it a particularly deadly edge through BMD
deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic, thus exacerbating
tensions with Russia and destabilising strategic balances worldwide.
Bush also blurred vital distinctions between conventional and nuclear
weapons, unsigned the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and
abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.
Bush’s BMD programme will militarise and nuclearise outer space, in
which the U.S. seeks “full-spectrum” dominance. His paranoid response
to the September 11 attacks resulted in the worst-ever fiasco in the
history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at its
important review conference in 2005, liquidating all the significant
gains made at the 2000 review.
Obama promises to change course, radically. He has spoken more boldly
and honestly in favour of a nuclear weapons-free world than any other
U.S. President in decades. He has gone further than any other in
acknowledging that the U.S. bears a “moral responsibility” for
nuclear disarmament because it is the only power to have used the
horror weapon. This speaks of exemplary moral clarity, as does his
statement that the U.S. must take the lead on disarmament. However,
that cannot be said about four other propositions in Obama’s speech.
First, he betrays an unpardonably naive faith in nuclear deterrence:
“Make no mistake. As long as [nuclear] weapons exist, the U.S. will
maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary.
…” He also believes in extended deterrence – deploying nuclear
weapons in non-North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.
This column has dissected the fallacy of nuclear deterrence far too
often to warrant further comment other than that it is a fallible,
fragile and unreliable basis on which to premise security (via a
balance of terror). It involves unrealistic assumptions about
capabilities and doctrines, symmetrical perceptions by adversaries of
“unacceptable damage” means, and the complete absence of
miscalculations and accidents – 100 per cent of the time.
Second, Obama continues to repose faith in BMD – he congratulated the
Czech for their “courage” in hosting it – although he qualifies his
support by saying BMD must be “cost-effective and proven”. This
ignores BMD’s primitive, as-yet-premature status in intercepting
missiles, and worse, the danger of escalating military rivalry to
uncertain and risky levels where an adversary could feel tempted to
neutralise a putative BMD advantage by amassing more missiles or
launching wildcat strikes.
Third, Obama, like Bush and Clinton, makes a specious distinction
between responsible/acceptable/good nuclear powers (the Big Five-plus-
Israel-plus-India-plus-non-Taliban-Pakistan) and irresponsible/
dangerous ones (Iran, North Korea). This permits double standards and
detracts from the universal urgency of abolishing all nuclear
weapons. Obama’s endorsement of Bush’s Proliferation Security
Initiative – unilateral interception at sea of suspect nuclear-
related materials – follows from this.
Finally, Obama believes that disarmament may not be achieved in “my
lifetime”. Such pessimism is unwarranted. Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi’s thoughtful plan for global nuclear disarmament, presented to
the United Nations General Assembly in 1988, set a 15-year timeline
for complete nuclear elimination. This is realistic – if the U.S. and
the international community musters the will for an early disarmament
If Obama effects deep cuts in U.S. nuclear weapons through the
promised Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia this year, and
launches a drive for banning nuclear testing and ending fissile
production worldwide, the momentum can be accelerated, especially if
U.S. policy shifts to no-first-use. After all, even the Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse – George P. Schulz, William J. Perry, Henry A.
Kissinger and Sam Nunn – believe that nuclear weapons abolition can
be achieved in the foreseeable future.
Obama’s speech provides an opportunity to all those who believe in
complete nuclear weapons elimination, a cause kept alive by the peace
movement, a coalition of states, and several expert commissions.
India too professes a commitment to this goal and must seize this
India’s lukewarm response
Regrettably, Indian policymakers have extended a lukewarm, if not
cold, welcome to Obama’s speech. So fearful are they of pressure on
India to sign the CTBT that they are clutching at straws. One such is
Obama’s statement that “my administration will immediately and
aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the CTBT”. This is different
from what he wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
before he was sworn in: “I will work with the U.S. Senate to secure
ratification of [CTBT] at the earliest practical day, and then launch
a major diplomatic initiative to ensure its entry into force.” (The
letter was suppressed by South Block.)
Indian policymakers are also reportedly relieved that Obama has not
reiterated his letter’s reference to India’s “real responsibilities –
[including] steps to restrain nuclear weapons programmes and pursuing
effective disarmament when others do so”. They are also pleased that
Obama has appointed Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat Congresswoman, as
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
rather than Robert Einhorn, described by India’s nuclear hawks as “an
ayatollah of non-proliferation”.
Such timidity is unbecoming of a nation that claims to be proud of
its pro-disarmament record and has pledged to fight for a nuclear
weapons-free world. India opposed the CTBT in 1995-96 not for its
intrinsic flaws or demerits but because it wanted to test nuclear
weapons. Having done so in 1998, India should sign and ratify the
treaty. Even Arundhati Ghose, who famously declared that India will
not sign it “not now, not ever”, now says that she sees no problem
with its signature. This may show a deplorable level of cynicism, but
it is nevertheless a ground for correcting course and returning to
the disarmament agenda.
Logically, this includes several steps such as the CTBT, Fissile
Material Cut-off Treaty, regional nuclear risk-reduction and
restraint measures (including forswearing missile test-flights and
keeping delivery vehicles apart from warheads) and, of course, deep
cuts in nuclear weapons by all the nuclear weapons states, beginning
with the U.S. and Russia.
India must boldly seize the initiative by updating the Rajiv Gandhi
plan, opposing BMD and proactively arguing for rapid strides towards
the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Here lies the litmus
test of India’s commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world and of its
creative and principled diplomacy.
 INDIA - CHHATTISGARH: APPEALS FOR THE RELEASE AND ACCESS TO
MEDICAL CARE FOR DR BINAYAK SEN
Dr Binayak Sen in Danger - Chhattisgarh administration actively
undermining health care
Letter by Illina Sen
India’s celebrated former Judge Justice Krishna Iyer’s plea on behalf
of Binayak Sen
Press Release Amnesty International on Prisoner of Conscience Dr
Front Line expresses concern regarding denial of medical treatment to
Dr Binayak Sen
 Indian citizens living overseas
April 23, 2009
POLITICAL FRANCHISE AND INDIANS ABROAD
Would it be right and fair if the expanding Indian expatriate
community is given the right to vote in the Indian elections? asks
Every step of the way
This is a peculiar election season for Indian citizens living
overseas. Booming economic opportunities mean that there are more of
us than ever before in history. Thanks to advances in
telecommunications, we’re also more plugged into events back home
than previous generations of expatriates. This increased awareness
amidst greater numerical strength feeds a sense of political
alienation from the events back home, spurring influential Indians
living abroad to call for the extension of voting rights to the
The justification for this claim is not easily dismissed: given that
so many Indian citizens now live abroad and yet remain culturally
rooted in India, it is only fair that they should share in the right
to choose their government. Mere geographical dislocation ought not
to be a reason for the disenfranchisement of citizens. Further, those
who support the expansion of voting rights to Indians abroad cite
examples of other countries which have done the same for their
overseas citizens — member countries of the European Union and the
United States of America among them. A true democracy, it is argued,
should not bar its citizens from voting on trivial grounds.
There are good reasons of principle, however, as to why Indian
citizens living abroad should not be allowed to vote. Firstly, for
better or worse, India’s political system is based on local
representation. Citizens only get a direct say in determining who
represents their constituency as a member of parliament, a member of
the legislative assembly, and so on, in descending order of
granularity. How the rest of the government is constituted — who
becomes prime minister, what the cabinet looks like, how the
president is elected, and so on — is a decision for the parties which
come to power to make. The people are only indirectly implicated in
the process of constituting the government, and if they are
dissatisfied with this, their primary mode of redressal is to vote
their favoured candidates out of power the next time around. Voters
are not required to think of the greater good of the country when
casting their vote (though this is a desirable civic quality), they
are only expected to vote for the candidate they think would best
represent their interests.
The representatives of the people, on the other hand, are made
accountable both to the people of India as a whole (as a collective)
and to the members of their constituencies (as individual
representatives). This is the peculiar genius of the Westminster
system: it requires macro-governance and micro-governance at the same
time. Now, extending the right to vote to Indians living abroad
disrupts the principle of local representation underlying the Indian
electoral system. No matter how well-informed an Indian living abroad
is about the events in her constituency, she is situated in a
different context from her counterpart back home. While the overseas
Indian reads or hears about the political situation in Calcutta, the
resident Calcuttan lives it. The fact that resident voters are more
connected to the political reality in their constituency raises two
implications for the exercise of voting rights: the local resident is
likely to be better informed about the problems of her constituency
than her counterpart living overseas, and she is also more deserving
of representation since those problems are more immediate for her.
In relation to the first implication, expats, no matter how well-
informed they may be, are necessarily limited to secondhand
information about their constituencies back home. The diversity of
views and sources of information available to the resident, views not
necessarily expressed in newspaper editorials, blogs and other forms
of globally accessible media, make them likely to be better informed
about the conditions of life in the constituency. Thus, when
residents vote, they perform their roles as engaged and informed
citizens. Expatriates, by virtue of their greater distance and
reliance upon secondhand news, cannot be informed to the same degree.
To allow them to vote from this position of necessary ignorance would
amount to a devaluation of the norm of active citizenship which, at
least in theory, underlies the design of the Indian democratic system.
From the second implication of the differing contexts in which the
expat and the resident live their lives, we can see that the
political needs of the resident are very distinct from those of the
expat. Residents, quite obviously, are subject entirely to the
demands and the authority of the Indian State. Their political
grievances can only be redressed by the Indian State, through its
various forms and agencies. To them, therefore, the vote is an
essential means of ensuring that their views are heard, their
This is not true of expats, however. Their daily lives are not
mediated to the same degree by the Indian State. The sources of their
most immediate political grievances are likely not to lie within the
Indian State, but rather in the countries in which they reside as
foreign nationals. To allow expats to vote as members of the
constituencies to which they belonged while they were in India thus
does violence to the notion of local representation. It allows those
whose existence is far less dependent on the government of India to
get an equal say in the political decisionmaking process with those
who have no option but to depend on the Indian State. Yet, the Indian
State does not interfere in the day-to-day existence of the Indian
expat in the way it does with the resident, and it is for this reason
that local representation remains the most effective way to ensure
democratic self-government in the Indian political context.
There is another, more abstract, reason for voting rights to remain
confined to resident Indians. The right to vote is one of the most
fundamental aspects of civic life, it is nearly central to the
meaning of citizenship in a democracy. While many political
privileges have been extended to overseas citizens in the past, this
is the one right which has remained unavailable to them. This is
rightly so, for the right to vote is the benefit which one derives
from being an engaged citizen of India. It is the reward one
receives, in addition to the ability to hold constitutional office
and be a member of the government, for contributing to public life
This is not to deny, of course, the significance of the contributions
overseas citizens have made, and continue to make, to the development
of India. However, the options available to overseas citizens for
enriching civic life in India are far more limited, and usually
(though not exclusively) revolve around economic contributions.
Resident Indians, on the other hand, contribute economically,
socially, and culturally to making India what it is. They do not
split their civic identity with another political group (like “Indian-
Americans” for example), nor do other national entities make demands
on their efforts (an Indian living in Calcutta is not governed by the
American Constitution, whereas an Indian living in New York is).
Their contributions go, first and foremost, towards Indian society.
Everything they do, therefore, is ultimately bound by the Indian
State, and the claims the State makes on them are wholly unique.
It is for this reason that resident Indians, and they alone, should
be given the right to determine who governs them. Self-government has
a whole different meaning, and is a more pressing need, for them than
for citizens living abroad. It is only fair that its rewards, too,
should flow to them rather than to their overseas counterparts.
The author is a doctoral candidate in political theory at Harvard
University. He is an Indian citizen
20 April 2009
UPHOLD OUR LAWS WHICH SAY THAT EVEN QASAB HAS A RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
by Rajeev Dhavan
WHEN it comes to terrorists, is the Indian legal system, an
unrecognised Guantanamo? Consistent with aberrational practice,
terrorists are tortured by the police, vilified by the media,
threatened by fundamentalists and jingoists, denied legal and
constitutional rights and pressurised into confessions.
Under Article 22( 1) of the Constitution of India, no person who is
arrested “ shall be denied… a legal practitioner of his choice”.
Legal aid is also, an objective in the Directive Principles of State
Policy ( article 39A). This is further elaborated in the Legal Aid
Act ( Section 12( g)). Under the Advocates Act only “ advocates” who
are recognised have the right to practice in India ( Section 29- 30).
A special provision says that “ any Court, authority or person may
permit any person not enrolled as an advocate under this ( i. e.
Advocates Act) to appear before it or him in any particular case”.
In the early fifties QC’s ( Queen’s Counsel) like Dingle Foot and D.
W. Prett from England appeared in India’s Supreme Court.
Distinguished counsel like Geoff Robersteon QC from England have
appeared in Africa and the South Pacific including Fiji. Yes, yes, we
are not Fiji. But are we better or worse? The entire Qasab affair
appears to be a farce. In sessions cases, the Criminal Procedure Code
says that where the accused is indigent, “ the Court shall assign a
pleader for his defence at the expense of the State” ( Section 304
CrPc)”. This is the solemn duty of the court. The Maharashtra rules
issued by the Bombay High Court as early as 1982 affirm this duty,
for which Qasab qualifies.
There is an old cab rank rule lawyers should take up cases
irrespective of any bias or favour. “ Cause lawyers” ( those fighting
for a cause) suggest they will not take up particular classes of
cases involving corruption or terrorism.
Recently, the best of such lawyers plunged into supporting terrorist
cases against Muslims from the 2002 Gujarat riots.
But Qasab has had no such luck. The Supreme Court in the Hoskot
( 1978), Khatoon ( 1980), Khatri ( 1981) Ranjan Dwivedi ( 1988) and
various other cases has stressed that right to counsel means rights
to “ effective” counsel from the beginning to the end. This has been
continued by the International Commission of Jurists’ Berlin
Declaration ( Clause 7). It cannot be said that this has happened for
Qasab. He has been given inferior publicity chasing lawyers. They are
not the best. Even so, the Shiv Sena opposed even these lawyers doing
Two lawyers were assaulted. Anjali Waghmare is the wife of a police
The Metropolitan Court Bar Association issued a boycott call against
By 16 April 2007, Judge Tahilyani doing the Bombay case removed
Waghmare because she was also a state appointed lawyer for a victim
and had contacted a witness for the prosecution. S. G. Kazmi is now
Qasab’s lawyer. He is under pressure too and has advised Qasab to
stop smiling in court. This, too, has hit the headlines.
Qasab is being tried for some 168 offences. The Constitution says
that he is entitled to a lawyer of his choice ( Article 22).
According to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of these provisions,
the lawyer must be effective for the client and meet the court’s
Judge Tahilyani is wrong when he says that Qasab’s request for a
Pakistani lawyer is legally impermissible. This is simply not
correct. The Judge or Bar Council has the power to allow a non-
Indian advocate or person to appear for Qasab by way of a special
dispensation under the Advocates Act.
Are we afraid that a Pakistani lawyer will come and play havoc with
the court; and draw publicity? The Indian legal system has enough
provisions to secure a dignified trial. Let Qasab have a lawyer of
his choice. This is his constitutional right. Give it to him.
Hindu fundamentalists have no illusions about the kind of justice
Qasab is entitled to. According to Saamna, the Shiv Sena’s
mouthpiece, Qasab should simply be publicly executed by hanging. This
is Shiv Sena justice. It is also Taliban justice. Should India accept
this talibanisation — which is not being done directly but in slow
stages by denials and intimidation? Unfortunately, fundamentalist
coercion exists in India and is on the increase.
Earlier before Waghmare joined the team, three other lawyers ( Ashok
Saroji, Mukesh Deshmukh and B. N. Law) were subject to public ire.
If the best of lawyers could defend the accused in the Indira Gandhi
assassination case, the Bombay riots case, Gujarat carnage and the
Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, why should Hindu fundamentalist
deprive Qasab of a counsel of his choice? Whether Qasab was tortured
may emerge. Qasab says his confession was given under coercive
In Indian law, confessions to the police are generally not
admissible. This was a British- India deviation from the common law.
But those to a magistrate are. Qasab’s was a magisterial confession.
He has retracted it.
I have taught courses to police officers including those from Mumbai.
With some reluctance, police officers say that it is only by pressure
and torture that they can solve cases. In terrorist cases, they feel
they have the nation behind them. This is especially true in cases
where the terrorists are from Pakistan. Even secularists step back.
The hate game is on. The BJP leadership murmurs they want to bring
back a strengthened POTA. This will introduce a kind of automaticity
in terrorist cases.
But the BJP leaves it to its fundamentalist allies to drum up lumpen
support all over India where Muslims and ISI sponsored terrorism are
an issue. Muslim groups are put on the defensive to swear loyalty to
India. The ‘ terrorists’ trials are not fair in a lumpen atmosphere,
where even lawyers are intimidated.
This is simply unacceptable.
The rule of law cannot be replaced by rule by mob.
We are concerned here with both guilt and sentencing.
Under these pressures, the court is asked to convict and sentence to
We have something to learn from a courageous Priyanka Gandhi meeting
Nalini, convicted of a former Prime Minister’s murder, and asking for
her release. This shows the statesmanship of a Nehru or a Nelson
India is governed by two pillars: democracy and the rule of law.
Fundamentalists have attacked and undermined both. But Indian
governance cannot be defended unless both are saved from the hysteria
of Hindu fundamentalism.
Judge Tahilyani is under pressure. He must try the case with
characteristic impartiality. But he must also defend that part of the
rule of law which gives all accused a fair trial. Chief Justice
Swatantra Kumar of the Bombay High Court would do well to use a
public platform to warn those who intimidate lawyers that the law of
contempt could visit those who persist in this activity.
Fiat Justicia ruat caelum.
Let justice be done even if ( fundamentalist) heavens fall.
The writer is a wellknown jurist and lawyer
The Times of India, 23 April 2009
PARIAHS IN OUR OWN HOME
by Ather Farouqui
Ghettoisation is a grave and complex part of the communalism problem
plaguing this country. The ghettoisation of Muslims has a decisive
on communalism but, unfortunately, it remains a theme ignored in
public discourse. It is common knowledge that during the last two
decades, Muslim families have faced enormous difficulties in renting
houses in Hindu-majority areas in India, as Hindu landlords tend to
shun Muslim tenants even if they belong to the same social class and
enjoy an equal or better footing in society.
In Mumbai, for instance, some housing societies refuse membership to
Muslims openly. In other cities too it is difficult for a Muslim to
get an apartment in a housing society. In cities like Delhi, housing
societies generally do not say no to Muslims openly but adopt various
Muslim ghettoisation began in the mid-1970s, gathered pace in the
1980s and is now a well-established and worrying phenomenon. The
Muslim population in many north Indian villages has been forced to
migrate to Muslim localities in nearby towns. The situation is such
that at present even new settlements and illegal and irregular
colonies in urban India are ghettoised.
In general, Muslims today are forced to settle in Muslim-predominant
areas, where poor infrastructure and civic facilities pose immense
problems, for which only the government is to blame. Until the early
1990s, one could find Muslim government servants occupying government
housing in areas where the majority of the population was not Muslim.
But even here, a reverse trend has been visible lately. Take just one
example: Muslim teachers in Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi,
reputedly an enlightened place with a liberal outlook, prefer to live
in Muslim-dominated colonies rather than on the university campus.
The end result of this phenomenon is that Muslim families are seen
only in areas that can be termed as Muslim clusters. It is important
to note that families that moved from the old city to New Delhi some
50 years ago are now moving back to their old family houses simply
because they do not feel secure in Hindu-dominated areas.
For instance, Jamia Nagar, in south Delhi, boasts a sizeable Muslim
elite, which shifted there after 1992. Land costs here have now shot
through the roof owing to the demand-supply mismatch, with each new
day bringing more families, placing undue stress on the already poor
infrastructure. The state of affairs is such that this area, which
adjoins the Jamia Millia Islamia campus, a central university, does
not even have a government dispensary or a nationalised bank branch
(though there is one on the university campus).
Jamia Nagar conjoins many Muslim colonies such as Batla House, Zakir
Nagar, Abul Fazl Enclave, Ghaffar Manzil, Noor Nagar, etc. This whole
area, with a population of about 10 lakh, is a victim of official
apathy. And this is just the case of Delhi, the national capital.
This scenario is common to other parts of the country as well.
Who is responsible for this growing ghettoisation of the Muslim
population? Undoubtedly civil society is to blame. The Bhagalpur
riots of 1989 were responsible for the migration of rural Muslims in
north India and the demolition of the Babri masjid
on December 6, 1992 and the resultant backlash all over the country
were the last nail in the coffin of Hindu-Muslim neighbourhoods. In
contrast, there are fewer incidents of non-Muslims, particularly
Hindu families, living in Muslim-dominated areas that have faced a
similar situation during communal riots.
The question to ask is: Does this represent the death of our hitherto
composite culture, with its liberal, tolerant and understanding
outlook? Or can we still do something to save it? What can be done to
set the clock back and foster secularism? It will take a lot of
courage and will to figure out the answers but that is the only way
Indian democracy can survive.
The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator.
 India: Riots, Communalism and Freedom of Expression
A Darkness Unforgotten
by Rahul Bedi (Tehelka)
BJP Manifesto: Rehashed Communal Agenda
Communalism in coastal Karnataka
by Govind D. Belgaumkar (The Hindu)
Anhad submits letter to Election commission re attack in Gandhinagar
Catholic Church demands ban on film
 India - Madhya Pradesh: Elections:
Adivasi Ekata Sanghthan
Borgaon District Khandwa
Date : 20.04.09
The Chief Election Commissioner
Sub.: Forcible Abduction By the forest officials of our Election
campaign co-ordinator, Mr. Gopal Dubey.
We are a people's organization working for the upliftment
of the adivasis, rural people and other down-trodden masses of
Khandwa and Burhanpur districts of Madhya Pradesh. We encouraged the
rural people to field their own candidate in the Lok-Sabha election
with a view to intervene in the democratic process.
Today around 5.45 pm. ( 5.30 pm - 6 PM) some forest
officials came with two vehicles ( one white jeep and another white
pick-up to Borgaon market place. Our campaign in the market was
finished. Workers were in the office and some were taking snacks
outside. Probably Mr. Gopal Dubey who was in the office discussing
with the workers was called by somebody on his mobile. He came out
and was looking for the caller who were stationed with two vehicles
at a distance. All except one were in plain clothes. Suddenly,
Gopal Dubey was grabbed by some people and forcibly put into the
white Jeep . Our people ( Ashok Jamra and Gopal Solanki of village
parsiapati) saw Gopal resisting and shouting for rescue. The forest
officials kicked and thrashed him and pull his hair to forcibly
pushed him into the vehicle. His kurta was tored off. Our people who
were out chased the two vehicles but they sped away. While chasing
the above mentioned witnesses could recognize only three abductors -
Mr. Sharma ( a 2 star deputy range officer),Mr. Bhuria, the range
officer and Mr. Santosh, the driver (all were in plain cloth ), only
one officer was there sitting in the front with his official dress.
We immediately complained to the police chowkey, Borgaon and the
District Election officer, Khandwa , the collector.
Going by such earlier incidents, put to use by the forest
officials, we are very much sure that they will use torture method
and implicate him in false cases. The timing of forcible abduction
is also very significant and has been a convention followed by the
forest officials in this area. They abduct him in the evening, shall
keep him in a confinement and torture him mercilessly. Next day, he
will be taken to a secluded place in the jungle and shall be
photographed with the carcass of a wild animal and will be booked and
then he will be produced before the court and sent to the Jail
This has been the inhuman practice done by the forest department
against which we have had petitioned to the Hon’ble High Court ,
Jabalpur . The Hon’ble court sent on enquiry team in the month of
November,2008.The forest officials along with the D.F.O. Burhanpur
used all the means to suppress the people’s opinion During that time
the D.F.O. Burhanpur had threatened Gopal Dubey saying that Gopal
was recognized by him and he would shoot him when in sight.
Therefore, this is another instance of illegal and
undemocratic way to harass and torture the activists – violating
every norms of human and democratic rights. Moreover, this is also a
means to terrorise and disenfranchise the locals which the forest
officials are involved in for a longtime. We strongly suspect the
hand of the Ruling Party to influence as well as dissuade the voters
and hamper our election campaign.We therefore, request you to
intervene in the matter, set our worker free and punish the culprits.
1. Ashok Jamra
Candidate for the Lok Sabha Election
from Khandwa M.P.
Note- Gopal bhai has been falsely implicated by the Forest Deportment
1. POR 1299/4dated 17.3.09, IFA, 1927 under section 26(1)
2. POR 1299/5 dated 18.4.09 under Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972,
section 9, 44 and 50 and IFA, section 25 he has been severely beaten
up. His bail petition was repeatedly rejected first by the Lower
Court on 19.4.09 and on 22.4.09 by the District Judge on the plea
that investigation is going on.
We are going to High Court and also the Election
 CALL FOR PAPERS FOR YUSUF DADOO CONFERENCE
Abstracts should be submitted to Omar Badsha at omar at sahistory.org.za
CONFERENCE TO MARK THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF YUSUF DADOO
Hosted by the Centre for Sociological Research-University of
Johannesburg and South African History Online.
September 4th - 6th 2009
Yusuf Dadoo: 1909- 2009 – Marxism, Non Racialism and the shaping of
the South African Liberation Struggle
The conference forms part of a series of events to mark the 100th
year of Dadoo’s birth.
Yusuf Dadoo left a formidable political legacy. This covers a number
of fields spanning the relationship between transnational identity,
racial identity, national liberation, socialism, non-racialism and
Today we are challenged by the imperatives of globalization and the
power of the nation-state, by neo-liberalism and the struggle for
socialism, non-racialism and xenophobia. The labels might be
different and the political conjuncture significantly changed but the
challenges that animated Dadoo and his generation are similar. Dadoo
and the liberation movements were concerned with the creation of a
progressive global movement that would advance the interests of the
oppressed and marginalized in the era of globalization. It is
especially opportune then on this the 100th anniversary of Dadoo’s
death to critically engage with the issues of this liberation
With this in mind, South African History Online and the Centre for
Sociological Research at the University of Johannesburg issues a call
for papers for a conference to be held in September 2009 in
Johannesburg South Africa. We are committed to critically engaging
with Dadoo’s legacy, interrogating impulses of the time that might
have been written out of history and crucially wanting to ask if the
solutions that Dadoo and his generation sought in building non
racialism and socialism have anything to say to the present
generation and the striving to build a democracy in the context
globally the contemporary configuration of economic and political
power relations and locally the legacies of apartheid.. We envisage
sharp intellectual engagement over a two-day period. We will allow
sufficient time between the deadline for submission and the
conference to give participants the opportunity to read the papers so
that they can engage more meaningfully in dialogue. We hope too that
this conference by focusing on the life and times of a leader who
played such a major role in shaping our notion of an inclusive
nationhood and whose personal integrity and sacrifice inspired
generations of activists will in turn inspire new research and
interpretations of the liberation struggle.
“He dedicated his life to the course of national liberation, socialism
and world peace”-inscription on Dadoo’s tombstone
THEME 1: Transnationalism: Indians in South African Politics and anti-
colonial and anti-imperialist struggles.
Our concern here is not with the “Indian Problem” but with the
creation of a new community arising out of the disparate class,
language and regional groups that came from the Indian sub
continent. We hope to explore the role played by Gandhi and the
Indian Congress in the forging of a new Indian and South African
identity and the struggles of immigrant communities for citizenship.
We invite papers that respond to the following issues:
What was the nature of the relationship between the Indian elite and
nationalism in South African and India?
How did this relationship inform or inhibit the emergence of the
South African identity? How did Dadoo address this central issue in
forging a common struggle?
Dadoo and his contemporaries received their early schooling in India
- how did this shape their understanding of the use of non violence
as a strategy in the anti-colonial struggle.
THEME 2: Dadoo in search of a United Front: Passive Resistance, ethnic
mobilisation, and the forging of multi racial alliance politics
The period 1939 and 1959 witnessed sea changes in the economic and
political landscape both locally and globally. The coming to power
of the National Party saw the inauguration of apartheid. The
dominated classes responded with the building of the Congress
Alliance and the launching of the Freedom Charter. Dadoo was central
to these developments which saw the cementing of ties between
communists and nationalists.
The period also saw the independence of India. India was at the
forefront of the struggle to isolate the apartheid regime and the
building of the non-aligned movement. Dadoo’s relationship with
Gandhi withstood the antipathy between Communists and the Congress
Party in India and this relationship was consolidated under Nehru’s
leadership of India.
We are particularly keen to solicit papers on three themes
1). The debate in the 1940s over issues of class and race, non-
racialism/multi-racialism, a single organization and separate
organizations of the oppressed and disenfranchised. 2). The nature
of the local Indian Congresses relationship with the Indian
liberation struggle 3). The politics of the Congress Alliance and the
search for a fighting non-racialism 4). Did Marxism inform the
debates over political strategy and organizational form?
THEME 3: Dadoo, and the Armed Struggle
Dadoo through the 40s and 50s was committed to non-violent
resistance. He like so many others of his generation embraced armed
struggle. How do we explain this change in approach? How was the
armed struggle conceptualized? What role did the Party play in this
debate? How significant was the fact that MK was non-racial while the
ANC was still limited to Africans?
These are among the themes we hope to solicit papers on.
THEME 4 : Dadoo, Tambo, exile and the liberation struggle in the Era
of Cold War Politics.
Here we are particularly interested in the politics of exile. How
did the Alliance reconstitute itself? How did the Alliance manage the
Cold War divide? What was the SACP/ANC relationship with the Soviet
Union? What was the relationship of the Alliance with the broader
anti-apartheid movement? What was the relationship between the Party
and the ANC? How did the Alliance react to revelations of the Stalin
THEME 5: Dadoo, Morogoro and the turn to the Left.
What was the significance of Morogoro? What was Dadoo’s role? Can the
conference be conceptualized as a turn to the left? How did the
Alliance respond to internal developments like the rise of the Black
Consciousness Movement and the trade unions.
THEME 6: The Politics of writing biographies
Post-apartheid South Africa has seen a slew of political
biographies. We want to have papers that debate the pros and cons of
biography for the writing of political history.
Theme 7 We invite potential contributors to suggest additional topics
that fall within the broad theme of the conference.
SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
Deadline for abstracts: Date 15th June 2009
Format of submissions:
* Presenters’ details (name, postal address, telephone and fax
numbers, email address)
* Title and organisational/institutional affiliation (if any)
* Title of paper
* Abstract of a maximum of 300 words in Microsoft Word or Rich Text
* Indicate to which conference theme(s) the paper is linked.
Abstracts should be submitted to Omar Badsha at omar at sahistory.org.za
This will be a conference covering two days and two nights. The venue
for the conference is the University of Johannesburg.
The conference fee will be R400, which will include, food and
conference documentation. A 10% discount will be offered for early
registration and requests for subsidisation will be considered. The
organizers will also endorse letters to funders requesting that they
meet the travel costs of those whose abstracts which have been accepted.
Special efforts will be made to accommodate student and
representatives of former liberation Organisations and Trade Unions.
We are also putting out a call for assistance to compile an online
archive of documents, photographs on Dadoo, the TIC, SACP and the ANC
to form part of SA history liberation history and the Dadoo feature on
SAHO website: http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/special%
You are cordially invited to a seminar on "Workers Movement : New
Challenges, New Possibilities'' to be held on Saturday, 25 th April,
2009 at Hindi Bhavan, Delhi at 4 p.m.. The idea behind this programme
is to listen to trade union activists / intellectuals-activists
connected /concerned with the workers movement and hopefully generate
Com P.K Shahi (AIFTU), Prabhu Mahapatra ( scholar-activist /labour
historian) and Sanjay Kumar ( St Stephen's College) have agreed to
share their ideas.
"Workers Movement : New Challenges, New Possibilities''
Time : Saturday, 25 th April 2009, 4 p.m.
Venue : Hindi Bhawan, (near Bal Bhawan), 11 Vishnu Digambar Marg,
Organised by :
New Socialist Initiative
A Collective Committed to the Regeneration of Revolutionary Socialist
Contact : 9868240689 / 9871499738 / 9868940920 / 9868663932
See attached document in Hindi at:
11th Kappen Memorial Lecture
Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Democracy and Dissent in India Today
Prof. Ilina Sen
5.00 p.m. 30 April 2009
Institution of Agricultural Technologists
15, Queens Road, Bangalore 560 052. Ph: 22384175
We are happy to invite you to the 11th Kappen Memorial Lecture by
Prof. Ilina Sen on Thursday, 30th of this month at 5 p.m at the
Institution of Agricultural Technologists, Bangalore.
We take pains to identify persons of commitment and integrity.
Persons who can speak to our times with clarity and bring about
healing. Prof. Ilina Sen is a well known feminist scholar, human
rights activist, and author. She is a professor of Gender Studies at
Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University in Wardha, and manages an innovative
NGO, Rupantar in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Ilina and
her husband Dr. Binayak Sen have worked for three decades among some
of India’s most impoverished and socially stigmatized populations
(miners, peasants and India’s indigenous groups) on issues of health,
livelihood and civil liberties.
On May 14, 2007, Dr. Binayak Sen was arrested in Raipur, under the
controversial Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. While Binayak
remains in jail, Dr. Ilina Sen has co-coordinated his legal defense,
been his publicist and liaison agent, raised funds, worked as a college
teacher, and looked after the wellbeing and education of their two
daughters. (Please visit www.binayaksen.net)
We look forward to your participation.
Please join us for tea at 4.30 p.m.
David Selvaraj / Mercy Kappen
South Asia Citizens Wire
Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. An offshoot of South Asia Citizens Web: www.sacw.net/
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
More information about the SACW