India Appeases Radical Islam : Wall street Journal

30 11 2007

By SADANAND DHUMENovember 27, 2007; Page A18
Friday’s multiple bomb blasts in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh — which killed 13 people and injured about 80 — ought to give pause to those who see the world’s largest democracy as a linchpin in the war on terror. India’s leaders and diplomats seek to portray the country as a firebreak against radical Islam, or the drive to impose the medieval Arab norms enshrined in Shariah law on 21st century life. In reality, India is ill- equipped to fight this scourge.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati visits a man injured in last Friday’s bomb blasts in Varanasi.
Like neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, (and unlike Turkey or Tunisia) India has failed to modernize much of its Muslim population. Successive generations of politicians have pandered to the most backward elements of India’s 150-million strong Muslim population, the second largest in the world after Indonesia’s. India has allowed Muslims to follow Shariah in civil matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. An increasingly radicalized neighborhood, fragmented domestic politics and a curiously timid mainstream discourse on Islam add up to hobble India’s response to radical Islamic intimidation.

Most Indian Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism, and are more concerned with the struggles of daily life than the effort to create a global caliphate. Muslim contributions to the fabric of national life — most visible in sports, movies and the arts — should not be dismissed. Furthermore, religious zealotry in India is not a Muslim monopoly. Still, the notion that Indian Islam is uniquely tolerant, or somehow immune to the rising tide of world-wide radical sentiment, is a myth.
Last year, Haji Muhammad Yaqoob Qureshi, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, publicly offered a $11 million bounty for beheading the Danish cartoonists who had drawn the prophet Mohammed. In high-tech Hyderabad, parts of which are Muslim strongholds, three sitting legislators of a local Islamic party recently roughed up Taslima Nasreen, a Bangladeshi author critical of her country’s treatment of its Hindu minority and her faith’s treatment of women. Last week, the government of West Bengal state in eastern India had to call in the army to quell Muslim rioters in Calcutta, whose demands included Ms. Nasreen’s expulsion from the country.
India’s historically weak-kneed response to radical Islamic intimidation only encourages such behavior. In 1988, India was the first country to ban Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” (Ayatollah Khomeini issued his infamous death sentence on the author only after reading about disturbances in India.) In 1999, after terrorists hijacked an Indian aircraft to then Taliban-controlled Kandahar, New Delhi responded by releasing three prominent Islamic militants from prison in Kashmir. One of them, the British-Pakistani London School of Economics dropout Omar Saeed Sheikh, went on to mastermind the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. True to form, the authorities have responded to the latest outbreak of violence in Calcutta by bundling off Ms. Nasreen to distant Rajasthan, and from there to Delhi.
As in other democracies — Britain and Holland to name just two — a permissive approach toward radical Islam has only made the country more vulnerable to terrorism. In August this year, 42 people died in attacks on a Hyderabad restaurant and an open-air auditorium. Last year, a series of explosions on commuter trains in Bombay killed over 200 people. Two years ago, the Hindu festival of Diwali was rung in with bombs that claimed 62 lives in Delhi.
New Delhi has blamed the attacks on groups such as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Bangladesh’s Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami. Though much of India’s terrorism problem is imported, part of it is homegrown. Instead of reflexively blaming Islamabad, Indians need to ask themselves why foreign terrorists appear to have little trouble recruiting accomplices from India. (The Uttar Pradesh attacks appear to be the work of a previously unknown outfit called Indian Mujahideen.) The bromide about the lack of Indian Muslim involvement in international terrorism, accepted unquestioningly by much of India’s liberal intelligentsia, must be called into question after the involvement of Indian doctors in this year’s failed attacks in London and Glasgow.
India’s experience offers important lessons to other democracies struggling to integrate large Muslim populations. It highlights the folly of attempting to exempt Muslims from universal norms regarding women’s rights, freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry. It reveals that democracy alone — when detached from bedrock democratic principles — offers no antidote to radical Islamic fervor.
Mr. Dhume is a fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. “My Friend the Fanatic,” his book about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, will be published by Melbourne next year.

click here for the article on Wal street journal article

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India: states of insecurity Courtesy : Open democracy

30 11 2007

Ajai Sahni
A fresh bombing wave in Uttar Pradesh and land-confrontation in West Bengal expose the Indian polity’s security failures, says Ajai Sahni.
28 – 11 – 2007

A series of blasts in court compounds across three cities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh killed fifteen persons and injured over eighty on 23 November 2007. They are the latest link in a chain of comparable terrorist attacks by Islamist groupings that have long received safe haven, sustenance and support from Pakistan and, increasingly, Bangladesh – a chain that includes, over the past three years alone, major terrorist strikes in Delhi, Bangalore, Ayodhya, Mumbai, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Malegaon, Panipat, Ajmer and Ludhiana, and lesser attacks at a number of other locations.

For the complete article click here





Recollecting FACT Exhibitions in US

26 11 2007

Exhibition on Atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh at the Capitol Hill

Courtey: www.indoamerican-news.com

WASHINGTON, DC — An exhibition of pictures, posters and panels vividly describing the atrocities on Hindus in the Bangladesh caught the attention of influential Congressmen and key policymakers from the Bush Administration this week. The two day-exhibition titled Asru was held at the Rayburn House Office Building at the US Capitol on July 30 and July 31. The panel of some 27 exhibits, which graphically chronicled deteriorating condition of the Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh over the past several decades, was put together by the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) and Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism(FACT).

Complete story Click here


US exhibit whips up support for Kashmiri Pandits

Courtesy: India Abroad (Rediff)


Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC | September 22, 2005 21:46 IST
Last Updated: September 23, 2005 00:33 IST

It was called A Glimpse of a Tragedy Without an End.

This exhibition, held at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, USA, focused on the fate of Kashmiri Pandits and apparently attracted some 15,000 viewers.

A special guest on the first day was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee. A Texas Democrat, she is longtime member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, (a group, established in 1993, of Congress members who push the Indian-American community’s agenda on Capitol Hill ie in Congress). She is also current co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Pakistan and Pakistani Americans.

Jackson-Lee said she is “very involved with this matter (the alleged ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits by Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Valley)” and pledged to follow up on the issue.

More click here





Fundamental issues: Burqa dutt, Selective appliance of Freedom of expression

24 11 2007

As ironies go, it probably doesn’t get any better than this. A panic-stricken Marxist government bundling up a feminist Muslim writer in the swathes of a protective black burqa and parceling her off to a state ruled by the BJP — a party that the Left would otherwise have you believe is full of religious bigots.

The veil on her head must have caused Taslima Nasreen almost as much discomfort as the goons hunting her down. She once famously took on the ‘freedom of choice’ school of India’s Muslim intelligentsia by writing that “covering a woman’s head means covering her brain and ensuring that it doesn’t work”. She’s always argued that whether or not Islam sanctifies the purdah is not the point. A shroud designed to throttle a woman’s sexuality, she says, must be stripped off irrespective. In a signed piece in the Outlook called ‘Let’s Burn the Burqa’, Nasreen took on liberal activists like Shabana Azmi (who has enraged enough mad mullahs herself to know exactly what it feels like) for playing too safe on the veil.

So, does that make some of you feel that she’s only got what she asked for?Or do we need to shamefully concede that the public discourse on creative freedom and individual liberties has got horribly entangled in a twisted version of secularism and political hypocrisy?

Nasreen may well be an attention-seeker who is compulsively provocative and over-simplistic in her formulations on Islam and women. Her literary worthiness could be a matter of legitimate dispute and her eagerness to reveal her personal sexual history a complete turn-off. Many of her critics condemn the Bangladeshi writer for her propensity to ‘seek trouble’ in a country that has been generous enough to offer her asylum.

But when confronted with India’s larger claim to being a democratic, free society, none of that is really the point. All great art is historically rooted in irreverence and disbelief. And all open societies must permit absolute freedom to individuals — artistes or not — to question and reject inherited wisdom. Nasreen has been reduced to living the life of a fugitive on the run all because some fringe Muslim group decided to mix up the carnage in Nandigram with literary censorship and because the CPI(M) government was too nervous to question the bizarre juxtaposition of the protestors.

The Taslima Nasreen controversy is not as important for what it says about her as it is for what it says about us — as a country and as a people.

We may want to brand Nasreen as an ‘outsider’ who is not worth the turmoil she causes. But we aren’t qualitatively different when it comes to our own people either. Much the same arguments and adjectives (publicity-hungry, insensitive, arrogant, childishly provocative, etc.) were used to justify the forced exile of India’s most celebrated painter, M.F. Husain. India’s elite may trip over itself to own one of his frames, an aspiring middle-class may invest in him like they once did in gold and starlets may twitter incoherently at the possibility of being immortalised on the great man’s easel. But it hasn’t moved any of us into campaigning for a 92-year-old man pushed out of his own country.

Joking with me recently, Husain said he was living the life of a global jetsetter — dividing his time between London and Dubai. Then, suddenly, the quivering voice dropped to a faint whisper, as he said, “I don’t think I can come back home till the BJP is willing to change its mind.”

And so, these are the befuddling contradictions of India’s political establishment.

The BJP is upset at the writer being tossed around from state to state like a “football” and wants India to grant Nasreen a permanent visa and political asylum. In other words, it’s quite happy for Islam to be brought under the microscope of literary scepticism. But if Husain wants to interpret Hindu goddesses in his characteristically iconoclastic style, that’s not just unacceptable. It’s reason enough to send him to jail.

The Congress, with quintessential timidity, wants to offend no one. So, it’s worked out a piecemeal arrangement wherein every few months, it nervously tiptoes around the issue and extends Nasreen’s visa, hoping that no one will really notice. Its state unit in West Bengal has called Nasreen’s autobiography a “piece of pornography” and supported the West Bengal government’s decision to ban it.

If the BJP is comfortable in politically exploiting radical Islam to its advantage, the Congress is careful to not offend its practitioners for exactly the same motivated reasons. If you remember, the Prime Minister made it a point to take an official position against the Danish cartoonist who allegedly disrespected the Prophet. And it’s a matter of some irony that it’s under this government’s Home Ministry that Husain was slapped with court notices.

And finally, the ‘progressive’ Marxists not just banned Nasreen’s book (this in a state where the Chief Minister sees himself as a poet and literary philosopher), their party leader declared without any embarrassment that if Nasreen was going to be “so much trouble” she should just pack her bags and leave. The Left has treated the protests by the Muslim Right as worthy of response, but shown only reflexive contempt for the same sort of complaints from the Hindu Right.

So, what about the rest of us?

Have we been less hypocritical than our political leaders? Or have our positions, too, been coloured by prejudice?

Do we show the same anger for the ‘liberal’ politicians who push a writer out of her home as we do for the goons who vandalised the fine arts faculty in a university in Gujarat? Does a twisted notion of secularism make us respond to censorship differently when it applies to the Hindu majority? We are quick to condemn the lunatics who wield trishuls and wear saffron. But isn’t it time that the skull-capped and long-bearded version of fanaticism and hooliganism receives our contempt in exactly the same measure?

Creative freedom cannot be applied selectively. Otherwise, our self-image of being an open and proud democracy will need another look in the mirror.

Barkha Dutt is Managing Editor, NDTV 24X7
barkha@ndtv.com





The Aurangzebs are here allaround

24 11 2007

I cant resist saying this otherwise who on earth would go to an extent of killing unknown and anonymous people whom they have not met ever in their life or know their faces for whatever ideology they represent and however true it is.

This report from Hindustan times shows things as they are if not more clear.

Close on the heels of Friday’s blasts in Uttar Pradesh, another email threatening a series of explosions, including an attack on the visiting Pakistani cricket team, is doing the rounds on Saturday.

Television channel ‘India TV’ here claimed to have received an email from “guru_boys2000@yahoo.com” on Saturday morning in which the message threatened the visiting Pakistani cricket team to withdraw from the Test series.

The source and authenticity of the message were yet to be verified. “We will check the message once the television channel hands us over the email,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar said.

Today’s email threatened blasts in various places in Chennai, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Islamabad.

Various Television channels had received an email on Friday also which landed minutes after the first blast rocked the holy town of Varanasi.





World without terrorism: : Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger! – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

24 11 2007
World without terrorism

The FACT India event was organised earlier in Feb 2007
This is just recollection courtesy: hindujagruthi

‘Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger. The mice are eating at it but it is still sleeping’ was the mention made by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a program “World Without Terrorism” recently organized at St. Andrew’s College, Bandra (W) Mumbai, by FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) and ‘THE ART OF LIVING’.

The convenor of the conference was a French Journalist Francois Gautier, who heads FACT. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Shri. Gopinath Munde, Shri. Karthikeyan were present. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar began with a prayer –

‘Sahana vavatu, Sahanau Bhunaktu, Sahaviryai Karavavahai, Tejasvinavadhitamastu Ma Vidvisavahai Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih’.

[May He protect us both. May he nourish us both. May we both work together with great energy. May our study be enlightening and fruitful. May we never hate each other. Om Peace Peace Peace.]

A Kabir bhajan (Ajapa Jap Japo Bhai Sadho) was sung dedicated to the victims of the Mumbai train blasts on 11.07.06, after a film tribute was paid to the victims. Their families were also invited to the conference.

Sri Sri Ranishankar said ” words cannot console the pain of those that lost their near and dear ones. Sharing their pain might give them relief. Appreciate this enormous task undertaken by Francois Gautier to print what is really happening in the world“.

2000 US soldiers are dead and the whole world takes notice, but what about the 7 lac Iraqis. Nobody is talking about them. Nearly 4 lakh Kashmiri Pandits live in tents and they have been so for the last 20 years and nobody knows what really happened. Whatever we do know, is only what the political parties want the public to know. Exhibitions create awareness.

Fighting in the name of religion is exactly opposite of what Dharma teaches. There is no compassion, no bhav. We are not civilized if we do so without compassion and bhav. There is terrorism, naxalism, fractionalism, it is a fact that Factionalism kills at least 5-6 people everyday in Andhra Pradesh. Govt. policies should change with the situation. We have to be alert. Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger. The mice are eating at it but it is still sleeping.

There is no education, If we do not shoulder our responsibility. In UP villages Osama is treated as a hero. Knowledge is important for enlightenment. We have to come together to protest against terrorism. This is an appeal to you that you should all put pressure on the Govt.

When I was in the US, I met the intellectual think tank of the US, who asked me what advice I had for President Bush & PM Blair. I replied, you catch the terrorists, don’t kill them, and give them to me. I will mend them and send them back to you. We need to teach every child lessons human values.

Sleeping humanity needs to be roused. Violence is terrorism, work against it even if you have to sacrifice your life. At least you would have sacrificed your life for society.

Francois Gautier, French Journalist:

Terrorism has entered our lives, it is blind and it reaches everybody regardless of race, religion, caste. Yet we are disconnected with terrorism. It is blind, cruel, pitiless and we are ignorant about it. FACT does conferences and exhibitions to bring awareness among common people. Terrorism often affects minorities. Nobody hears about their plight. 3,50,000 Kashmiri Pandits (KP) live as refugees in their own country. Minorities don’t count because they are not vote banks. We live in a politically connected world. In Bangladesh minorities are persecuted. It is important to connect with the victims, feel their pain, and have compassion.

Terrorism is not glamorous. It doesn’t attract attention; there is no social or political support. FACT has had unconditional support of Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji). We should feel from the heart. Problem of terrorism is ours too, Its not just ‘theirs’. Only then awareness will grow. Once there is awareness, then take action – write in newspapers, contact TV channels, don’t be passive.

Shri. Gopinath Munde, BJP:

Threat of terrorism exists the world over. In the last 22 years it has spread everywhere in India & people know this. Terrorism and criminal behavior are different. Terrorism is a process, which is systematic in its training and thought. It is fanatic. Die and let die is their motto. Terrorism is being promoted by Pakistan. Pak has waged an undeclared war against us. They have had a hand in all the blasts.

It is as if we are sitting on a fuse with the refugees from Bangladesh infiltrating into India. They should be deported. There are 45,000 of them in Mumbai who are not Indian citizens.

There is also a need for an international treaty where terrorists will not be given asylum by other countries. To end terrorism we will have to sacrifice ourselves, blood will flow. It is the responsibility of every citizen of India to come together to finish this problem.

TADA & POTA should be reinstated. Afzal’s attack was an attack on India’s culture, India’s freedom & its people. Human Rights Organisations should fight for just issues and not ask for clmency / pardon for such terrorists.

There should be fast track courts. Delayed justice is justice denied. Armed Forces & the police should step up. Shoot at sight orders need to be given. Police need to be given modern, powerful weapons. Central and state intelligence should be competent.

Shri. Karthikeyan, Ex-Director of CBI and Human Rights Commission:

The victims are not the targets. By killing them terrorists convey a message. But the message is also not clear. In creation there is harmony. Man disturbs the harmony created by God. ‘Spirituality’ will liberalise politics, socialise business and secularise religion.

: Terrorism can be attributed to the following factors: –

: * Commercialization of police
: * Decrease in role models
: * Decadence of spiritual values
: * Increase in corruption among ruling elite
: * Decay of political parties
: * Indifference of the ruling parties
: * Mis-governance

Merely strengthening the police or army is not enough. No cause can justify terrorism. Terrorism makes Hamlets of decision makers.

‘Stop pitying yourself, wake up – Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji

‘Stop pitying yourself. Wake up. Awaken the courage and the challenging soul, spirit inside you. Your spirit of challenge will give peace to the departed souls. Get out of victim consciousness.’ – This was said by Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji when he was asked to respond to a letter written by a child of a victim of the Mumbai blasts.

After the above segment there was a Bangladesh panel representing the minorities in Bangladesh who are suffering at the hands of Jamat-e-Islam and other religio-political groups. The Christians were represented by Ms Rosalyn da Costa who chaired the panel, who is an activist working with Human Rights of Minorities in Bangladesh. Hindu Bengalis were represented by Ms. Aroma Dutta, the Ahmadi Muslim sect represented by activist, journalist -filmmaker Mr. Shariar Kabir, the Chittagong Hill Tract Buddhists represented by Dr. Pragyalankar Bhikku and a young Buddhist Surojit who has sought political asylum in France since 2003.

The segment started with a film by Shariar Kabir called ‘SOS’ which showed violence committed against the minorities especially the Ahmadis, Bengali Hindus. Houses are ransacked, pillaged, burnt, the women raped and the men beaten. This is a regular state of affairs in Bangladesh. Ms. Rosalyn da Costa spoke about how tense they all are because of the forthcoming elections in January 2007. Her name has not appeared on the voters list.

After a struggle of 5 years Ms. Aroma Dutta has managed to get a law passed and a book published which safeguards land belonging to the minorities.

There was a slide show by Dr. P. Bhikku, showing massacre of Buddhists (men, women, children, monks) from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) [CHT was an independent Buddhist Kingdom before the British invaded.] During 1947 they wanted to be a part of India but were unable to represent themselves and formulate a policy, hence had to remain with Bangladesh. They have been undergoing atrocities since the 80’s.

Rape as a silent genocide is tool of choice in Bangladesh. Surojit a young Buddhist has sought asylum in France since 2003 as have many youngsters, out of no choice. They have been separated from their motherland and families. Surojit started off in English and then said that he preferred to speak in Hindi, as he felt English was not equipped to bring out the pain & suffering of the Buddhists. He said Hindi would help him communicate his pain better.

Shariar Kabir:

Pakistan is exporting ‘Jehad’ in India, Bangladesh and Central Asian Countries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should stop exporting ‘Jehad’ in Bangladesh. The west is not taking a serious stand about Terrorism in our countries. When Mr. Kabir was asked how USA could intervene in the Bangladesh crisis. Mr. Kabir replied, that political intervention in Pakistan, economic intervention in Myanmar and military intervention in Iraq has been counterproductive. US calls the Jamaat-e-Islam as a terrorist group in Pakistan but the same group in Bangladesh is hailed as Liberal Democratic party. Why the double standards?

One can visit his site www.secularvoiceofBangladesh.org and read his paper. The Ahmadis, Sufis are targeted by Jamaat-e-Islam because they do not follow the same tenets. Also Sufism has drawn a lot from Hinduism & Buddhism. These 2 groups are considered Kafirs.

Post – lunch session had the Kashmir Panel and the Terror Panel where a film, on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits was shown.

This panel consisted of Shri. Ashok Pandit and Shri. Moti Kaul and a lady who represented Kashmiri Pandits; Shri. K.P.S. Gill, Shri. B. Raman, Shri. Brahma Chalani & Shri. Balbir Punj who represented the Terror Experts and Shri. Mihir Meghani who represented the Hindu American Foundation.

Shri. Ashok Pandit, Film Producer:

What pains me as a citizen of a so called secular democratic country is that our country is not secular. It is a country aspiring to be secular. It is not a democracy. What pains me is that I’m a refugee in my own country. Silence is a bigger terrorist in India. We have maximum security in the state on 15th Aug. The PM speaks from within bullet-proof security. Fear to India is not Pakistan or Osama Bin Laden. India should fear the so-called educated people who are protected by the Govt.

Shri. K.P.S. Gill, Ex-Director General of Police for Maharashtra States:

India gained freedom in 1947; the constitution was formed in 1951, which does not mention terrorism. Nobody expected the country to be in the state it is today. We were supposed to be a Democracy and rise in Democracy. It did not happen. As terrorism grew we tried to fight it. We found a way in Punjab, which is a rare recorded instance in history where it is said terrorism was defeated.

Certain countries in the West back terrorism. We now choose to honour those who brought it in. Justice Lahoti in Punjab state found a way. Why can’t we do it again? State included certain elements of the Govt. who tried to undo, destroy what had been achieved. It is surprising that some of the silent supporters of those who mischievously tried to destroy the instrument, which fought terrorism, are enjoying benefits of the State today. They didn’t succeed because of a large number of people.

How are we going to fight terrorism in the days to come? Our country needs a state of peace where all people can live without fear, irrespective of caste or creed. Our Democracy has become a mere attempt centered around efforts to win elections Democracy should be a system of politics which speaks the truth, sticks to the truth and finds out what is the truth. For sake of elections, political parties speak blatant lies, tolerate murder of citizens. To fight terror is the work of the Govt. Our duty is to see to it that the Govt. performs its duties. Terrorism can be stopped in a week but are we willing to protect our society. We cannot exist in weakness. If every court & police station does what it is meant to do, terrorism will finish. You cannot negotiate write terrorists. You have to bring them to justice. Bring about law & order, terrorism will vanish, secularism will emerge automatically.

Shri. Moti Kaul:

State & Centre Govt. are not keen on the KPs returning to the valley. KPs will remain rootless & eventually become extinct.

Shri. B. Raman, Research Scholar:

Terrorism is in India since 1989. Jehadi ideology has to be understood. First loyalty to Islam & then to the country. Religious solidarity is more important than cultural solidarity. Muslims do not recognise National Frontiers. They talk about religious obligations to protect their religion.

Terrorism victim activity is important. After the Twin Tower disaster in the USA the public put pressure on the Bush Govt. to take action. People have to activate themselves, put pressure on the Govt., and take Govt. intelligence agencies to court. In India Govt. takes everything for granted. We lack political will. The police are demoralized when it comes to investigations. Our country has a very good investigation system, but every time the police apprehend a terrorist or related individual, pressure is put on them in the name of community & religious bias. When the police went to the PM Dr. M. Singh with a list people they had zeroed in on, connected to the blasts the PM said, ‘do not make this a community investigation’. If there is a problem in Nagaland one would have to start investigating there and not in Goa or some place else. The police are thwarted at every step.

Shri. Brahma Chalani, Nuclear technology expert:

[He made it a point to say that it took a foreigner to try to awaken us against this menace]. There was no mention in the New Delhi newspapers about the anniversary of the Delhi blasts but all the newspapers brought out front page articles remembering the 1st anniversary of the London train bombings. We are callous. Why are we indifferent, insensitive to what the country is going through? India has the highest incidence of terrorist violence in the world. It is a testing ground for trying new terrorist acts. A new method or terrorist act is first tested in India. India’s response is survival by a thousand bandages. Pakistan’s response is death by a thousand cuts.

Between inaction & war lie a 100 different options. Pursue options that are prudent & feasible. We need new laws. Law enforcement with a larger counter terror strategy will be better equipped to counter terrorism. Terrorism is not a law & order problem. No western democracy allows any act of terrorism to go unpunished. Those who seek to bleed India need to be kept on tenterhooks. Do not reward those who undermine the country. Retaliation is a whole range of actions. We need political will, need to change our thinking, mindset and response to terrorist acts.

Shri. Mihir Meghani, President of a Hindu organization in US:

Hindus don’t have a voice. The rights of Hindus in other countries are not adequately represented. 15 % of world’s population is Hindu & who is going to represent them? Every religion is represented in the UN except Hindu.

Shri. Balbir Punj, Member of Rajyasabha:

I

n 1987 when I was a journalist with Indian Express, C.B. Pandit, a correspondent in Kashmir sent a list of 35 temples in Kashmir, which were burnt and/or damaged. B.K. Verghese of Indian Express wrote back saying, ‘Withhold the story. It will raise communal temperature in the country.’ Babri Masjid was the first un-Islamic act by Hindus in India. Demolition of any religious place is bad. Mr. Punj asked Verghese why he didn’t publish about the 35 temples that were destroyed in Kashmir & why now was there a hue & cry about the Babri Masjid; to which Mr. Verghese said that it was an old matter & it is ethically not right to corner him about it now.

There is lack of commitment to truth & objectivity. Terrorists or rather Muslims are not the only terrorists. There are Hindu, Christian, Maoists who are also terrorists, but none is inspired to kill others by the faith in which they are born. It is only the Jehadis who kill in the name of faith. Other terrorist groups LTTE, Maoists have certain demands, which if fulfilled, will become peaceful. The Jehadis demand on the other hand is – you believe in my God, Prophet that is the only right way to live. If you don’t or you don’t convert, I will kill you even if I get killed in the process.

Either one dies a spiritual death i.e. change your faith or a physical death. In India there is one Ishwar, His names are different. Jehadi elements claim there is only one God & those who don’t accept this God are not fit to live. 65000 people have died in J & K because of terrorism & there have been less than 70 convictions. It is not for us to punish terrorists. It is up to God to do so. All we can do is ensure a quick meeting between terrorists and God.

Ms. Coomi (Educationist):

Can we combat terrorism through education? Yes, by changing the mindset at a very early age J. Krishnamurthy spoke about developing rational mind and the religious mind i.e. spirituality. Anything done through spirituality succeeds because it enables you to see ‘self’ & others also as ‘selves’. Begin to see ourselves as spirit first, human beings next, then Hindu and so on. Genuinely respect differences. Peace & Conflict resolution courses should be a part of school & college curriculum.





World without terrorism: : Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger! – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

24 11 2007
World without terrorism

The FACT India event was organised earlier in Feb 2007
This is just recollection courtesy: hindujagruthi

‘Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger. The mice are eating at it but it is still sleeping’ was the mention made by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a program “World Without Terrorism” recently organized at St. Andrew’s College, Bandra (W) Mumbai, by FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) and ‘THE ART OF LIVING’.

The convenor of the conference was a French Journalist Francois Gautier, who heads FACT. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Shri. Gopinath Munde, Shri. Karthikeyan were present. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar began with a prayer –

‘Sahana vavatu, Sahanau Bhunaktu, Sahaviryai Karavavahai, Tejasvinavadhitamastu Ma Vidvisavahai Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih’.

[May He protect us both. May he nourish us both. May we both work together with great energy. May our study be enlightening and fruitful. May we never hate each other. Om Peace Peace Peace.]

A Kabir bhajan (Ajapa Jap Japo Bhai Sadho) was sung dedicated to the victims of the Mumbai train blasts on 11.07.06, after a film tribute was paid to the victims. Their families were also invited to the conference.

Sri Sri Ranishankar said ” words cannot console the pain of those that lost their near and dear ones. Sharing their pain might give them relief. Appreciate this enormous task undertaken by Francois Gautier to print what is really happening in the world“.

2000 US soldiers are dead and the whole world takes notice, but what about the 7 lac Iraqis. Nobody is talking about them. Nearly 4 lakh Kashmiri Pandits live in tents and they have been so for the last 20 years and nobody knows what really happened. Whatever we do know, is only what the political parties want the public to know. Exhibitions create awareness.

Fighting in the name of religion is exactly opposite of what Dharma teaches. There is no compassion, no bhav. We are not civilized if we do so without compassion and bhav. There is terrorism, naxalism, fractionalism, it is a fact that Factionalism kills at least 5-6 people everyday in Andhra Pradesh. Govt. policies should change with the situation. We have to be alert. Hindustan is like a sleeping tiger. The mice are eating at it but it is still sleeping.

There is no education, If we do not shoulder our responsibility. In UP villages Osama is treated as a hero. Knowledge is important for enlightenment. We have to come together to protest against terrorism. This is an appeal to you that you should all put pressure on the Govt.

When I was in the US, I met the intellectual think tank of the US, who asked me what advice I had for President Bush & PM Blair. I replied, you catch the terrorists, don’t kill them, and give them to me. I will mend them and send them back to you. We need to teach every child lessons human values.

Sleeping humanity needs to be roused. Violence is terrorism, work against it even if you have to sacrifice your life. At least you would have sacrificed your life for society.

Francois Gautier, French Journalist:

Terrorism has entered our lives, it is blind and it reaches everybody regardless of race, religion, caste. Yet we are disconnected with terrorism. It is blind, cruel, pitiless and we are ignorant about it. FACT does conferences and exhibitions to bring awareness among common people. Terrorism often affects minorities. Nobody hears about their plight. 3,50,000 Kashmiri Pandits (KP) live as refugees in their own country. Minorities don’t count because they are not vote banks. We live in a politically connected world. In Bangladesh minorities are persecuted. It is important to connect with the victims, feel their pain, and have compassion.

Terrorism is not glamorous. It doesn’t attract attention; there is no social or political support. FACT has had unconditional support of Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji). We should feel from the heart. Problem of terrorism is ours too, Its not just ‘theirs’. Only then awareness will grow. Once there is awareness, then take action – write in newspapers, contact TV channels, don’t be passive.

Shri. Gopinath Munde, BJP:

Threat of terrorism exists the world over. In the last 22 years it has spread everywhere in India & people know this. Terrorism and criminal behavior are different. Terrorism is a process, which is systematic in its training and thought. It is fanatic. Die and let die is their motto. Terrorism is being promoted by Pakistan. Pak has waged an undeclared war against us. They have had a hand in all the blasts.

It is as if we are sitting on a fuse with the refugees from Bangladesh infiltrating into India. They should be deported. There are 45,000 of them in Mumbai who are not Indian citizens.

There is also a need for an international treaty where terrorists will not be given asylum by other countries. To end terrorism we will have to sacrifice ourselves, blood will flow. It is the responsibility of every citizen of India to come together to finish this problem.

TADA & POTA should be reinstated. Afzal’s attack was an attack on India’s culture, India’s freedom & its people. Human Rights Organisations should fight for just issues and not ask for clmency / pardon for such terrorists.

There should be fast track courts. Delayed justice is justice denied. Armed Forces & the police should step up. Shoot at sight orders need to be given. Police need to be given modern, powerful weapons. Central and state intelligence should be competent.

Shri. Karthikeyan, Ex-Director of CBI and Human Rights Commission:

The victims are not the targets. By killing them terrorists convey a message. But the message is also not clear. In creation there is harmony. Man disturbs the harmony created by God. ‘Spirituality’ will liberalise politics, socialise business and secularise religion.

: Terrorism can be attributed to the following factors: –

: * Commercialization of police
: * Decrease in role models
: * Decadence of spiritual values
: * Increase in corruption among ruling elite
: * Decay of political parties
: * Indifference of the ruling parties
: * Mis-governance

Merely strengthening the police or army is not enough. No cause can justify terrorism. Terrorism makes Hamlets of decision makers.

‘Stop pitying yourself, wake up – Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji

‘Stop pitying yourself. Wake up. Awaken the courage and the challenging soul, spirit inside you. Your spirit of challenge will give peace to the departed souls. Get out of victim consciousness.’ – This was said by Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji when he was asked to respond to a letter written by a child of a victim of the Mumbai blasts.

After the above segment there was a Bangladesh panel representing the minorities in Bangladesh who are suffering at the hands of Jamat-e-Islam and other religio-political groups. The Christians were represented by Ms Rosalyn da Costa who chaired the panel, who is an activist working with Human Rights of Minorities in Bangladesh. Hindu Bengalis were represented by Ms. Aroma Dutta, the Ahmadi Muslim sect represented by activist, journalist -filmmaker Mr. Shariar Kabir, the Chittagong Hill Tract Buddhists represented by Dr. Pragyalankar Bhikku and a young Buddhist Surojit who has sought political asylum in France since 2003.

The segment started with a film by Shariar Kabir called ‘SOS’ which showed violence committed against the minorities especially the Ahmadis, Bengali Hindus. Houses are ransacked, pillaged, burnt, the women raped and the men beaten. This is a regular state of affairs in Bangladesh. Ms. Rosalyn da Costa spoke about how tense they all are because of the forthcoming elections in January 2007. Her name has not appeared on the voters list.

After a struggle of 5 years Ms. Aroma Dutta has managed to get a law passed and a book published which safeguards land belonging to the minorities.

There was a slide show by Dr. P. Bhikku, showing massacre of Buddhists (men, women, children, monks) from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) [CHT was an independent Buddhist Kingdom before the British invaded.] During 1947 they wanted to be a part of India but were unable to represent themselves and formulate a policy, hence had to remain with Bangladesh. They have been undergoing atrocities since the 80’s.

Rape as a silent genocide is tool of choice in Bangladesh. Surojit a young Buddhist has sought asylum in France since 2003 as have many youngsters, out of no choice. They have been separated from their motherland and families. Surojit started off in English and then said that he preferred to speak in Hindi, as he felt English was not equipped to bring out the pain & suffering of the Buddhists. He said Hindi would help him communicate his pain better.

Shariar Kabir:

Pakistan is exporting ‘Jehad’ in India, Bangladesh and Central Asian Countries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should stop exporting ‘Jehad’ in Bangladesh. The west is not taking a serious stand about Terrorism in our countries. When Mr. Kabir was asked how USA could intervene in the Bangladesh crisis. Mr. Kabir replied, that political intervention in Pakistan, economic intervention in Myanmar and military intervention in Iraq has been counterproductive. US calls the Jamaat-e-Islam as a terrorist group in Pakistan but the same group in Bangladesh is hailed as Liberal Democratic party. Why the double standards?

One can visit his site www.secularvoiceofBangladesh.org and read his paper. The Ahmadis, Sufis are targeted by Jamaat-e-Islam because they do not follow the same tenets. Also Sufism has drawn a lot from Hinduism & Buddhism. These 2 groups are considered Kafirs.

Post – lunch session had the Kashmir Panel and the Terror Panel where a film, on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits was shown.

This panel consisted of Shri. Ashok Pandit and Shri. Moti Kaul and a lady who represented Kashmiri Pandits; Shri. K.P.S. Gill, Shri. B. Raman, Shri. Brahma Chalani & Shri. Balbir Punj who represented the Terror Experts and Shri. Mihir Meghani who represented the Hindu American Foundation.

Shri. Ashok Pandit, Film Producer:

What pains me as a citizen of a so called secular democratic country is that our country is not secular. It is a country aspiring to be secular. It is not a democracy. What pains me is that I’m a refugee in my own country. Silence is a bigger terrorist in India. We have maximum security in the state on 15th Aug. The PM speaks from within bullet-proof security. Fear to India is not Pakistan or Osama Bin Laden. India should fear the so-called educated people who are protected by the Govt.

Shri. K.P.S. Gill, Ex-Director General of Police for Maharashtra States:

India gained freedom in 1947; the constitution was formed in 1951, which does not mention terrorism. Nobody expected the country to be in the state it is today. We were supposed to be a Democracy and rise in Democracy. It did not happen. As terrorism grew we tried to fight it. We found a way in Punjab, which is a rare recorded instance in history where it is said terrorism was defeated.

Certain countries in the West back terrorism. We now choose to honour those who brought it in. Justice Lahoti in Punjab state found a way. Why can’t we do it again? State included certain elements of the Govt. who tried to undo, destroy what had been achieved. It is surprising that some of the silent supporters of those who mischievously tried to destroy the instrument, which fought terrorism, are enjoying benefits of the State today. They didn’t succeed because of a large number of people.

How are we going to fight terrorism in the days to come? Our country needs a state of peace where all people can live without fear, irrespective of caste or creed. Our Democracy has become a mere attempt centered around efforts to win elections Democracy should be a system of politics which speaks the truth, sticks to the truth and finds out what is the truth. For sake of elections, political parties speak blatant lies, tolerate murder of citizens. To fight terror is the work of the Govt. Our duty is to see to it that the Govt. performs its duties. Terrorism can be stopped in a week but are we willing to protect our society. We cannot exist in weakness. If every court & police station does what it is meant to do, terrorism will finish. You cannot negotiate write terrorists. You have to bring them to justice. Bring about law & order, terrorism will vanish, secularism will emerge automatically.

Shri. Moti Kaul:

State & Centre Govt. are not keen on the KPs returning to the valley. KPs will remain rootless & eventually become extinct.

Shri. B. Raman, Research Scholar:

Terrorism is in India since 1989. Jehadi ideology has to be understood. First loyalty to Islam & then to the country. Religious solidarity is more important than cultural solidarity. Muslims do not recognise National Frontiers. They talk about religious obligations to protect their religion.

Terrorism victim activity is important. After the Twin Tower disaster in the USA the public put pressure on the Bush Govt. to take action. People have to activate themselves, put pressure on the Govt., and take Govt. intelligence agencies to court. In India Govt. takes everything for granted. We lack political will. The police are demoralized when it comes to investigations. Our country has a very good investigation system, but every time the police apprehend a terrorist or related individual, pressure is put on them in the name of community & religious bias. When the police went to the PM Dr. M. Singh with a list people they had zeroed in on, connected to the blasts the PM said, ‘do not make this a community investigation’. If there is a problem in Nagaland one would have to start investigating there and not in Goa or some place else. The police are thwarted at every step.

Shri. Brahma Chalani, Nuclear technology expert:

[He made it a point to say that it took a foreigner to try to awaken us against this menace]. There was no mention in the New Delhi newspapers about the anniversary of the Delhi blasts but all the newspapers brought out front page articles remembering the 1st anniversary of the London train bombings. We are callous. Why are we indifferent, insensitive to what the country is going through? India has the highest incidence of terrorist violence in the world. It is a testing ground for trying new terrorist acts. A new method or terrorist act is first tested in India. India’s response is survival by a thousand bandages. Pakistan’s response is death by a thousand cuts.

Between inaction & war lie a 100 different options. Pursue options that are prudent & feasible. We need new laws. Law enforcement with a larger counter terror strategy will be better equipped to counter terrorism. Terrorism is not a law & order problem. No western democracy allows any act of terrorism to go unpunished. Those who seek to bleed India need to be kept on tenterhooks. Do not reward those who undermine the country. Retaliation is a whole range of actions. We need political will, need to change our thinking, mindset and response to terrorist acts.

Shri. Mihir Meghani, President of a Hindu organization in US:

Hindus don’t have a voice. The rights of Hindus in other countries are not adequately represented. 15 % of world’s population is Hindu & who is going to represent them? Every religion is represented in the UN except Hindu.

Shri. Balbir Punj, Member of Rajyasabha:

I

n 1987 when I was a journalist with Indian Express, C.B. Pandit, a correspondent in Kashmir sent a list of 35 temples in Kashmir, which were burnt and/or damaged. B.K. Verghese of Indian Express wrote back saying, ‘Withhold the story. It will raise communal temperature in the country.’ Babri Masjid was the first un-Islamic act by Hindus in India. Demolition of any religious place is bad. Mr. Punj asked Verghese why he didn’t publish about the 35 temples that were destroyed in Kashmir & why now was there a hue & cry about the Babri Masjid; to which Mr. Verghese said that it was an old matter & it is ethically not right to corner him about it now.

There is lack of commitment to truth & objectivity. Terrorists or rather Muslims are not the only terrorists. There are Hindu, Christian, Maoists who are also terrorists, but none is inspired to kill others by the faith in which they are born. It is only the Jehadis who kill in the name of faith. Other terrorist groups LTTE, Maoists have certain demands, which if fulfilled, will become peaceful. The Jehadis demand on the other hand is – you believe in my God, Prophet that is the only right way to live. If you don’t or you don’t convert, I will kill you even if I get killed in the process.

Either one dies a spiritual death i.e. change your faith or a physical death. In India there is one Ishwar, His names are different. Jehadi elements claim there is only one God & those who don’t accept this God are not fit to live. 65000 people have died in J & K because of terrorism & there have been less than 70 convictions. It is not for us to punish terrorists. It is up to God to do so. All we can do is ensure a quick meeting between terrorists and God.

Ms. Coomi (Educationist):

Can we combat terrorism through education? Yes, by changing the mindset at a very early age J. Krishnamurthy spoke about developing rational mind and the religious mind i.e. spirituality. Anything done through spirituality succeeds because it enables you to see ‘self’ & others also as ‘selves’. Begin to see ourselves as spirit first, human beings next, then Hindu and so on. Genuinely respect differences. Peace & Conflict resolution courses should be a part of school & college curriculum.