Maulana Mahmood Madani, India Today Conclave 2009

13 03 2009

Transcript of address by Maulana Mahmood Madani, former Gen Secy, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind

The Dalai Lama made some valuable suggestions in the first session. If we follow them, it will mean a solution to 90 per cent of our current problems.

Today’s subject is what is the role of religion? In fact, the greatest problem is terrorism, which is a fact. And terrorism is giving a bad name to it. Today’s topic has changed from religion to Islam. But the crux of the problem is that terrorism is being used for political gains. People are using religion for political gains.

Who has been maligned by this? Religion, or plainly speaking, Islam. On the other side are those who have started the war on terror. It has its speakers, writers and fighters and they too have targeted Islam. One of the speakers said terrorism cannot be fought because there is no weapon to prevent suicide bombers. But I feel responsible people should neither lose hope nor show pessimism.

Some of us are putting up resistance against those who cause terror as well as those who are fighting it. Both—people who are causing terror as well as those who have started the war on terror—are helping breed terrorism. I meet people who disdain my appearance, especially my turban, my beard and my dress. To them, I am the symbol of a terrorist. Branding a particular appearance as terrorist or jihadi is helping terrorists achieve their nefarious designs.

A terrorist should never be called a jihadi. Jihad is mandatory for every Muslim as enshrined in the Quran but we will have to differentiate between jihad and terrorism. Jihad is being given a wrong connotation—shedding blood, indiscriminate killing, suicide bombing—and this has boosted the morale of the terrorists. Opposition to terrorism is the greatest jihad which is incumbent on every Muslim. We are also struggling to save the image of Islam and its misuse by vested interests.

I could not understand fully what Irshad Manji had said therefore I don’t know how to react. I hold madarsas is high esteem. I know of an organisation that runs 3,000 madarsas and another 12,000 are associated with it but these are an asset to India as well as Indian Muslims.

I am asked on television whether I love Islam or my country more. This is a tough question. If I say Islam, they call me unpatriotic. I am always asked to prove my loyalty to either Islam or to India. Now I say, I have two eyes and you should tell me I keep and which I should give away. But I give preference to my religion which has inculcated in me the spirit to lay down my life for the sake of my motherland.

Islam respects women but Muslims do not follow that. At the same time, Islam does not have casteism as well as parochialism but our society still practices it.

I regard India as a magnificent country and the best country for Muslims on this planet. We have a pluralistic society which is why India has spread the message of a civilised society. Our culture inspires us to love, not hate.

Women have different roles to play in a society and it is a known fact that if women are literate that community will remain literate. But women today face two cultures—one that raises the banner of advancement by creating nudity and the other that seeks to imprison them by curbing their rights. I feel women should be given the freedom to do what they want to do.

Transcript of Q&A session with Irshad Manji, Maulana Mahmood Madani and S. Gurumurthy

Akbar (moderator): …that was raised to Maulana Mohammad. Ali and he gave this answer in 1925 after the Khilafat movement. And I must say I was so happy to hear about gender bias, I say this to audiences which are predominantly Muslim when I get an opportunity to address them and I am very pleased that at his last conference about seven thousand Maulvis were there in Hyderabad when he was launching his continued effort to explain and challenge the philosophy of terrorism which he is doing all over the country, he asked me to speak and there I thought it more important.

And I keep telling my fellow Indian Muslims that if you do not eliminate gender bias in your society, you are not going to enter the 19th century – who is inviting you into the twenty-first? You are just not going to get it. And in fact it is a very valid point that he made that it is really the struggle for modernity that we are facing. I know the Pakistani High Commissioner is here, but I will beg his pardon, because I do want to make a point which I hope you will not take amiss – I do believe it very strongly so therefore I am making it, not in the purpose of nationalism but I hope with a little more, let us say, less emotional objectivity.

What is the difference between India and Pakistan? Indians and Pakistanis are the same people, they have same strengths, same weaknesses. I believe, it is my view, that we have moved in different trajectories because the idea of India is stronger than the Indian and the idea of Pakistan is weaker than the Pakistani. That is the basis. And what is it?

Basically, I believe that India was fashioned around a modern idea which is built around, what might be called, three equalities and one equity. Three equalities being equal political right, democracy – one vote, one person, religious rights – secularism, irrespective of your religion you are equal before the law, number three – gender equality, critical, gender equality is critical for the creation of a modern society, and fourth economic equity – you cannot have economic equality that is an absurdity, but economic equity over and over again our various government, successive governments have actually fashioned economic policy with a view that there can growth without social justice, there cannot be.

So, this is what makes us a modern state and I do not really believe that faith is sufficient glue for the creation of a nation. If any faith, if for example Islam was sufficient for creation of nationhood, why would there be twenty-two Arab countries? As simple as that, however, I know nobody is asking for the revocation of the two nations but I think it may still make sense for the revocation of what might be called the two nation theory.

Finally one point that Guru you made about the cutting of trees. No author can ever resist an opportunity to plug his book. Right! If you read the Shade of Swords, Hazrat Abu Bakr who was the first Khalifa to send out army, right, he defined the ten rules of Jihad. Rule number eight or seven is very clear, seven is that you cannot kill innocents and so on that is well known and well advertised. Rule number eight that you cannot destroy palm trees, that you cannot destroy trees; you cannot do what is called destruction of fields which is part of Koran philosophy.

You cannot touch anyone worshiping, even if it is idol worship and so on. So there are great things that we have to find in common, the point is what to find what is in common rather than to find what creates conflict. And I think on that note may I, there is still time, may be take questions. I am sure there are questions. Please identify yourself. I will have one request, which is not a request, please be brief and make it a question rather than a viewpoint. Remember that Uncle Aroon has invited only three speakers.

Irshad Manji: I must tell you that I don’t consider myself a moderate Muslim at all. There is nothing moderate about my position. What I am is a, mind it, reformed Muslim and it is a very important distinction that Americans, especially as they stumble over themselves to determine who is an extremist and who is moderate, I think the more important distinction to be made today is who is a moderate and who is a reformer. Let me just quickly explain what I mean by this distinction.

Moderate Muslims certainly denounce violence that takes place under the banner of Islam. In many cases, public opinion has pushed them to do so. But the problem is they still deny the role that religion plays in inciting the very violence that is committed in religion’s name. You will often hear the next time a bombing or a beheading takes place, an Islamist group claims credit for this, you will often hear moderate Muslims say – no, no, please don’t misunderstand, Islam has nothing to do with this.

Not only is this dishonest, as many of the terrorists themselves prove, when they quote from scriptures, okay, not only is it dishonest, but it is dangerous, because in their denial moderate Muslims in effect hand over the opportunity for reinterpretation to those with already malignant intentions. In effect moderate Muslims say, “you terrorist get to walk away with the show, we are not going to come back at you with bold and competing reinterpretations – we can’t, because if we did, then we will be acknowledging that religion does really play a role”.

And we can’t go there since Islam is perfect. We reform minded Muslims, who are in a much smaller vocal category, we say – hold on, we must go there. Just as liberal Jews and liberal Christians had reinterpreted their violent passages for a brand new context, we have to do the same. And reinterpretation is not the same as re-writing. As a matter of fact, the Kuran itself contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think and analyze and reflect instead of versus that tell us only what is right or only what is wrong. In other words, three times as many verses promoting ‘Ichdihat’ than verses promoting blind submission. So by that calculation alone, I believe Sir, reformed minded Muslims are at least as authentic as the moderate mainstream and quite possibly more constructive. Thank you.

Question: My name is Dinesh Trivedi. Evidently there is so much of light out here, the light of knowledge, yet there is so much of darkness outside. My question is, is this terror purely money and business oriented or is conflict of civilization?

Answer (Gurumurthy): See, it is a mix of both. The war on terror is as bad, as Dr. Madani said, Jihad itself. And there is a mix up of so many things – geo-politics, money, economic interests, personal prejudices and so you are absolutely right there is a civilizational dimension as well as political and economic dimension. But, the more important thing which I tried to emphasize, may be in a lighter vein I distinguished, how some religions have been able to avoid this kind of situation in which the monotheistic faith have landed themselves.

See single god religions have to be more careful. A multi-god religion like Hindu religion, you know, we made peace between gods, got them married or whatever and ensured that gods lived in peace. The monotheistic faith have allowed their gods to clash. It is purely failure of interpretation according to me. No god can clash with other gods. He can only try to see my flock is retained with myself.

So I think there is a tremendous failure of religious failure in monotheistic faith and more in Islam and to that extent I agree with my fellow panelist Irshad Manji that there is a failure of leadership and what requires, and I wouldn’t exactly use the word ‘reformed’ because it is not a very good word in these days because economic reforms have thoroughly failed, and so I would like to use the word ‘introspection’ instead of reform. Every religion needs introspection. Every segment of a religion needs introspection and every leader and faithful needs introspection.

Maulana Mahmood Madani: Me is bare mein kehna chahonga ki Guruji ne jo bat kahi hai who, partially me use agree karta hoon, ki yakinan apna muhasba hame khud karna chahiye aur sab mazab walon ko iske bare me dekhna chahiye, karna chahiye aur kiya bi jata raha hai, lekin reinterpretation ka jo issue hai, who bhi bilkul hona chahiye. Usse bhi mein agree karta hoon ki reinterpretation bhi hona chahiye, lekin mein isse agree nahi karta hoon ki reinterpretation kaun karega. Yahan par masla khada ho jayega ki reinterpretation kaun karega. Hamare yahan bahut sare legal problem aati hain to uske bare mein legal opinion li jati hain, Soli Sorabji ko pucha jaata hain – Mehmood Madani ko koyi nahin puchta uske bare mein na. Nahin puchta na? Kay Sanjay Dutt election lad sakte hai ya nahi lad sakte, mujhse nahin pucha jata hai. To baat yeh hai ki jo logon ki jo field hai, us field ke logon ko usmein kaam karna chahiye aur jaroor karna chahiye.

M.J. Akbar: Just one point. The three major monotheistic faiths – Christianity or Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one thing in common, they have the same God.

Question: You know I was wondering listening to all of you, what would be the final aim of, if I may say, the top management of terrorism? The people down, they use perhaps religion to make good people into terrorist, so they feel that alright if you do this you will go to heaven so people at the lower rungs what they do I can understand, but the real managers or the management of terrorism, what do they want and do they think they will succeed? Bombay saw about two hundred people dead, the papers mentioned that they were aiming at five thousand people to be there. Even if that had happened and what then, but if that happened do you think the terrorist would have earned whatever was ruling of a nation or capturing of a nation? What is it that the terrorist wanted?

Answer (Gurumurthy): For the terrorist, terror is an advertisement, it is a public relation campaign, it is a motivational exercise. This is where Bush went wrong. He made terrorist larger than they are, more powerful than they are, more motivated than they are. The hatred against Bush transformed into motivation for terror. We should never handle terror that way. The most important way of handling terror is for people here who accrue higher positions in the society to understand that you cannot tackle terror purely by modernity. Modernity is one of the targets of terror.

So we must understand the actual ground level reality and try to think of it. Actually, I find layers and layers of differences. So my feeling is a very powerful sustained dialogue is needed. And I found, probably Maulana Madani is one of the most important personalities of “Orthodox Islam”. But I don’t find any difficulty in talking to him. Both of us understand religion. Only those who understand religion, religious sentiments, can have the dialogue. We must promote dialogue between religions – honest dialogue, sincere dialogue, not false dialogue that all religions are same. They are not same.

All religions have the same goal – they don’t have the same goal. They don’t have the same methods. But all religions must learn to live together is the principle. That is the only way by which we can get over this menace, I entirely agree with Doctor sahab that we are promoting terrorists when we club them with Islam. But I would certainly say that Islamic scholars like him must come out and clarify that non believers in Islam do not mean Kafirs. Generally non-believer is a Kafir.

You ask a Hindu, he will say a Christian according to him is a believer; a Muslim according to him is a believer, only the person who doesn’t believe in any religion, a Hindu will consider him a non-believer. But a non-believer in Islam is considered to be a ‘non-believer’, then the problem arises. That is what I told him before we came here and that is my appeal to him. If this concept is accepted all the space which the terrorist want to occupy is denied to them.

M.J. Akbar: ‘Lakun De Nakun Velyadin” – very important and basic principle of the Koran, your religion for you and my religion for me. As simple. That is the best definition of secularism. We don’t impose upon each other. May I just in answer to that have one sentence? One of the purposes of top management, that was really a very good question, is to destroy alternative models of society through chaos with your inability to defend yourself. So each time it is a major test.

Question (Mohini): My question is to Madani Sahab. Religion is a personal affair. It is my personal relationship with my god. That is it. Why should any Mullah or any Sankaracharya or the Akal Takht or the Pope in Rome tell me what sort of relationship I should have with my God? Apne kaha ki kisi religious leader to precepts lay down karne hain. I don’t accept that. Can you convince me?

Answer (Madani): Dekhiye baat yeh hain ki, yeh baat bilkul sahi hai ki kisi ko, kisi ke saath zabardasti karne ka koi hak nahin hain. Lekin jab ham ek society mein rahte hain to hamari ek us society ko jo hum munasib samajhte hain – hamse sawal kiya jar aha hein ki ye Jihad ho raha hain, ab Jihad ke bare me bataye ki kya hai yeh. Yeh Jihad hai? Hum kehte hain Jihad nahin hain yeh fasad hain. Kehte hain na! Aur usko log pasand bhi karte hain, kyonki woh zarorat hai, woh zarorat hai is waqt ki hame kehne hai, ladna hain un logon se joh Jihad ke naam par fasad faila rahain hain. Asi hi doosere issues par bhi, jisko sahi lage maan lo, nahi sahi lage mat maano. Zabardasti toh kuch hein nahin isme. To joh bhi mazhab ho, jaise kal Dalai Lama Sahab the, woh compassion ki baat karte theh, love ki baat karte theh, aur bahut sari baatein unhon-ne kari. Kisi ko achcha lagega bilkul manega, kisi ko achcha nahin lagega to woh apne dil mein hate leke baithega – ki hame hate hain aur hate mein hi rahna hai.

To hain bhi hate wale log duniya mein. Yeh apni apni choice kit baat hain. Hum to bata sakte hain ki duniya ko modernization ki tarafh is taraf lejane wale log bahut bada challenge ban ke hain. Hamari civil society break ho rahi hain, tuth rahi hain. Hamara joh Hindi mein kehte hain, English zaban mein to culture kahte hain, Urdu mein hum log tehzeeb kahte hain. Hamari tehzeeb khatre mein hein. Tehzeeb alag cheez hai, mazhab alag cheez hai. Mazhab bilkul alag cheez hai – woh individual matter hain, bilkul sahi. Lekin hamari ek tehzeeb hai, hamari ek society hain, India ki bhi apni ek tehzeeb hai – sanskriti, hamari sanskriti joh hain, hame usko bachana hai. Hum modern ho jayen, bilkul ho jayen – apne kapdon se, apne khane pene se, lekin vichar se hamen modern nahin hona chahiye. Vichar hamara wahi rahna chahiye jo hamari sanskriti ne hame diya hain. Yeh ek khayal hai, aapko nahin achcha lagta nahin maniyein.

Question (Mohini): Aap keh rehe the ki jo interpretation hain religion ka woh kisi Maulvi se, ya Akal Takht se aana chahiye.

Answer: Meine Maulvi se nahin kaha. Dekhiye, har cheez ka ek field hai. Us field ka joh specialist ho usise aap karaiye. Jho aadmi jis field ke baare me jaanta nahin, mein Indian Penal Code ke baare mein nahi jaanta, kuch pada nahin uske baare mein, meri who field nahin hai, to mujhse uske baare mein koyi bhi nahi poochtha. Lekin dharam ke baare mein sab log sab se poochne lagte hain aur sab bolne lagte hain. Yeh problem aa jaati isme thodi se.

Question: I’am Anuradha from the SRM University. When a child is born, you know, the child is neither a Hindu or a Christian the child just takes the religion that the family follows. Later the child also has a choice to convert into the religion the child likes. What is the significance of religion? How important are these interpretations to them? Will our children become the victims of religion because we are not agreeing on a common understanding of what religion means to us.

Answer (Irshd Manji): If I may try to answer that very profound question and it is deep. Something else that is deep today in this modern world is the sense of meaninglessness. You know, we live in an age as everybody knows, of globalization and this relatively free movement of capital, of goods, of people, even of jobs what few exist now, but what it suggests is that people are thrown into chaos of their own. And so many people around the world don’t quite know who they are.

And so in a time of such aggressive fluidity it is easy for religion to become calcified to be source of absolutes and for people to cling and to be able to say through this I know who I am.

The problem with that notion of who I am is that it is actually not about who you are at all, it is about what you are. Identity is only about what you are. It is constructive, often in relation to the other – integrity, which is not identity. Integrity is much more complex. It takes into account your particular values, your personal narrative, your authentic journey in this world.

That I believe is one of the great transitions that we have both the opportunity and the challenge to make through our children, you know, in the years coming is that transition from identity into integrity and what are we teaching our children about integrity. If anything, do we even use that word in our own languages? Do we even understand that concept of homeness.

Because it allows us to be many contradictory things at once, whereas identity allows you to be only one thing at once and that reduces you as a multi-faceted human being to something far less than you actually are. And I wanted to springboard after that idea to quickly address the Gentleman’s question about – what is it that the terrorist want? I know sir, I remember very clearly that you were asking about the top tier management. But my constituency is a relatively a young one. In the people from whom I hear around the world are in their teens, in their twenties and in their thirties and many young fundamentalist actually do e-mail me, usually to berate me, but then I, you know, engage in conversation and I come to learn some of the insights about how they got to be where they are.

I must tell you I am amazed that this not reported in the media. But I hear this over and over again from young radicalized Muslims in the West that they are not just fighting, what so many people say is the racism of their society – that is easy, that is a lazy answer, what they tell me is that they are also actually fighting what they call the tribalism within their own, Pakistani in many cases, I am thinking of the U.K. in particular or Bangladeshi communities in particular, where their elders are saying to them this is who you are – which is really to say what you really are, this who you are, this is where you belong, this is what you believe. No questions allowed. End of story.

And you know what, in this world of free movement of information these kids are not to be infantilized that way. Do we really think that they are that stupid? Do we not realize that they are making decisions every single day as they navigate information and misinformation on the Internet. They feel utterly humiliated by their own and not just by their so-called outside oppressors. And so that makes them extremely vulnerable to anybody who preaches to them. And that is the power of religion.

Akbar: Thank you very much. Must compliment India Today for putting together such an erudite panel. Just by way of observation that is not a question, nothing official about it, for that I get plenty of opportunity otherwise, M.J. you talked about the two nation theory and very rightly said that what the two nations truly exist, that is a matter of fact, matter of history. But as regards the theory itself, let me tell you that this is still the feeling in Pakistan – that this is the glue which keeps the people of Pakistan together. But, I must also quickly add that this is in no way to suggest that on the average the people in Pakistan do not want good, better relations with India.

That is besides the point. But the fact of the matter is that the two nation theory, you know, sixty plus years ago there was an idea, a realization – the two nations have come to stay, but at the same time as I have said there is a genuine desire on both sides, I believe, to improve relations with each other. So that is about the two nation theory. Maulana Sahab aapne farmayah ki yahan aapko badhi pazerahi milti hai, yahan aapko badhi achi tarah se sunah jaata hain. Mein aapko yakin dilate hoon ki aap Pakistan Tashreef layen, apko wahan bhi isi kisem se aapko haatho haath liya jayega, jis tarah yahan liya jaata hain.

Question (Aroon): I am Aroon uncle, Aroon Chacha. It seems to me that most of terrorism which is happening today is happening in the name of Islam for whatever reason. And it seems to me also that they are also winning this war in terms of hearts and minds. What is it specifically that the Panel would suggest for media, politics, society as a whole, that how do you counter it? I know it is a big large issue, people had said in our conclave that you know, it is poverty, it is discrimination and the war on terror creates its own reaction. But, I think that these are all a minority. How do we fight this war on terror as individual, physically. Theological debates can happen, but in the end we have to deal with this on the ground.

Answer (Madani): Media ke point of view se keh rahan hoon, Islamist terrorist ka labze bandh kardena chahiye, isseh uneh support milit hai. Jihadi kehna bandh kar dena chahiye, agar musalman hain to kaha jaye Muslim terrorist. Islamic na kahen. Islamic keh dene se woh baat wahan chali jaati hain ki ye unko support hain. Unko usseh alag karna hai. Choteh se group mein unko sideline karna hai pure muslim ummah se aur Islamic world se.

Gurumurthy: Islamic scholars should be asked to deny that Hindus are Kafir. Second India is not Darul Harab. This should be unanimous opinion. Not one institution saying it and others denouncing it. This is the only way you can win a theological test with terrorism. See you can never contain it by any other means – secular means, modern means, military means, political means are inadequate. You have to get into the core of what is their claim over Islam. Their claim over Islam is that non-Muslims are non-believers, non-believers are not Muslims. You have to say non-believer means you don’t believe in any religion. The Hindu position should be taken by Islamic scholars; that is the only answer and the entire intellectual establishment should demand it.

Madani: Dekhiye, Muslaman is mulk mein minority hain and minorities hi kafi chalta bhi hai uske hawale bahut sari baaten hoti hain, seedhi bhi or ulti bhi. Mein manta hoon ki musalman is mulk ki second-largest majority hain aur musalman is mulk ka asset hain aur ushe asset banna hai, ushe mayus nahin hone dena hain, hopelessness usme paida nahi hone deni hain, usko mainstream me lana hain.

Yeh joh sawal aata hai baar baar, Musalman is mulk ko Darul Harab manta hai – achcha nahin mante ho to sabit karo, sab log mil karke fatwa do. Isi tarah se kaha jaata hai, ke tum log kafir mante ho isliye problem.

Hum kahten hain hum kafir nahin mante hai isliye problem hai, uske bawajood bhi problem hai problem ke bahut sare sources hain. Please gaddhe me mat dalo, deewar se mat lagao, aise kaam mat karo ki jisse logon mein hamesha yeh baat paeda rahe ki hum to mujrim hain. Terrorism pe humne shuruh kiya aur kafhi kuch kiya to kisi sahab ne mujhe kaha ki pahle fatwa lao tab manenge. To hum fatwa le Aaye. Ab kahene lage ki Darul Aman mano aur iska fatwa do. Woh fatwa bhi leaye. To ab sabh log mil kar ke kehane ke baad aur bhi kayi sawal khade ho gaye, log karte rahenge.

Irshad Manji: I haven’t had a chance to answer that question. Very briefly, we talk about you know ensuring that various schools of Islamic thought can agree that Hindus are not Kafirs or infidels of any kind. This again inculcates the Islamic interfaith blessing for marriage the one that is translated into Hindi actually makes the case for why the Hindus are believers in a way that Muslims can accept, so for those of you who are interested there are some copies for you.

Aroon chacha you asked and again I am taking you literally, you asked what is it that individuals can do because we are talking big pictures concepts here, what is it that you can do?

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Islamists blame India for Bangladesh mutiny IANS

10 03 2009

Source: Express buzz

DHAKA: As agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived here to help probe last week’s mutiny, rightwing Jamaat-e-Islami party Sunday accused India of being behind the killings inside the Bangladesh border guards’ headquarters.”The killing mission was executed from Indian intelligence headquarters through close monitoring,” Matiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, said while addressing a meeting of his party here.

India pulled a masterstroke by destroying the border guards and trying to weaken Bangladesh’s army and national security, he said, claiming that Indian media ran the news of the carnage citing Indian intelligence sources before the local television stations could cover it.

Some Indian media, quoting intelligence sources, earlier pointed the finger at Jamaat claiming the Islamist group sparked the mutiny in Bangladesh to divert attention from the prosecution of Jamaat-e-Islami members on trial for war crimes committed in the 1971 war of independence. Meanwhile, two agents of the FBI arrived here Sunday to help Bangladesh probe the mutiny that left dozens of army officers dead.

“They will sit with the home ministry officials Monday to agree on terms of reference for their operation in Bangladesh during the investigation,” a ministry official said.

The agents are expected to visit the crime scene and examine the evidence along with investigators from the Criminal Investigation Department of the police, he added.





Bangladesh Rifles Uprising : A Jihadi Warning

28 02 2009

Source: DIKGAJ’s Blog

I began to write this post on the 26th of December last year, but held it as I thought it might appear too paranoid. Now the drama of the BDR uprising made me rethink that my earlier worry about the real strengths of the Jihadis within the Bangladesh state machinery and armed forces were justified. I have already written at some length about the general long term societal balance of forces within Bangladesh society. Here I have maintained that the forces of Bengali nationalism is slightly weaker than the forces of Islamic retrogression – and it has been so right from the post-47 start of the journey as part of Pakistan.

The immediate background of the BDR uprising could turn out to be a damp squib officially – it will be blamed on long-standing grievances, and “wayward” soldiers. But it takes a greater significance in the light of the recent urging by the emissary of Pakistan to the BD government to drop the proceedings towards war-crimes trials of the Rajakaras and the AlBadrs, Al shams for their atrocities during ‘71. On top of that the AL led government moves ahead with transit and trade agreements with India, a reasonable and pragmatic move on the part of Bangladesh as the country is even now crucially dependent on Indian imports of essential commodities. This draws immediate vehement protests by the nearly decimated BNP, as expected. Just like many political parties in Pakistan, a lot of political careers are made in Bangladesh by inflating up the “demonic” “Hindu” India. However, it is Pakistan’s palpable fear at possible re-exposure of Pakistan’s role in the ‘71 war of liberation that is significant.

Why does Pakistan have to be so paranoid about it ? It is already almost 40 years old – and could be passed off as a historical event, and not redounding on the current regime! There could be question of compensation and fear by a bankrupt Pakistan government. But financial compensation is a lesser worry, given the Pakistan government’s traditional expertise in moving money around meant for one purpose to fuel another pet agenda, and the fact that it can still milk the USA for some time into the near future. With the increasing acceleration of the Pakistani Army and the Taleban coalescing into a neo-Caliphate on the gray borderland between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the now overtly Jihadi Pakistani state can be worried that the war-crimes trials could damage and expose the true character of Jihadi Islam, to a population which has so far proved a safe haven for Jihadi terror to be launched on India. It is the ideological delegitimization that worries the Jihadis of the subcontinent, and the transit agreements could actually cover eventual move towards military agreements between India and Bangladesh to destroy the Jihadis themselves in the eastern part of the subcontinent.

I will primarily characterize this election as a four-cornered struggle for state power in which the forces in order of “strength” are (1) the military establishment (2) the Jamaat (3) the Awami League and associates (the so called “great alliance”) (4) the BNP +non Jamaat associates. The military as per my earlier analysis is in favour of Islamic consolidation of the state regime – in tune with the power base of the military command among the elite of Bangladeshi muslim society, whose prime feudal motivations of gaining and controlling “land” and dominance over society is best served under strengthened Sunni Wahabi authoritarian framework. The military has consistently reasserted its dominance over the state machinery whenever it had felt that its long term strategy of bringing Bangladesh closer to the Islamic axis centred in Saudi Arabia is being threatened – this was why it eliminated Mujibur and even its own – like Jia, or leftist “heretics” like Col. Taher. At present, the prime tool is the Jamaat. As I have mentioned before, the Jamaat will be the key political force which can be used by the military to serve its agenda. The Jamaat was allowed to suffer the least in the anti-corruption drive against the political establishment. To be fair, the military’s weakness for the Jamaat could be coming out of reasons very similar to those that kept the two major political groups also “strangely” weak towards the Jamaat – that all the political elite including the Jamaat share core social networks at the same level and that all the non-Jamaat political elite share political secrets as to activities during the 71 struggle as well as post-Independence that could be used by the Jamaat to manipulate them.

The Jamaat is the direct descendant of the philosophy of Moududi – the ideologue and founder of a strict Wahabi/Sunni interpretation of Islam whose core message therefore almost always inevitably landed up into the domain of cataclysmic confrontation with everything deemed “unIslamic and therefore anti-Islamic”. The top leadership has been accused persistently of war-crimes but they take pride in claiming that apparently none of these accusations could be proved – they can do so, as the Bangladesh military post-Independence ensured (with the help of factions within the “liberators”) that cases/investigations/charges were withdrawn and that the Jamaat were politically rehabilitated. The Jamaat has minuscule vote share, but displays an impact and influence on Bangladesh state power hugely out of proprtion to its apparent electoral strength. The Jamaat will be the most likely stable political Islamic group to receive Saudi and extended Islamic expansionist network support, and this Islamic axis will see Bangladesh and Jamaat’s role as crucial to its overall expansionist agenda of takeover of the subcontinent in the name of Islam. The Jamaat of course has now turned ultra-nationalist and pretends to fight “colonial aggression” which of course as conveniently for Islamic agenda is seen only in India which is portrayed as “Hindu/Kaffir”. Hiding under the ultra-nationalist slogans is of course the mother of all colonialism – the ultimate Jihadi Islamic takeover of not only Bangladesh but the entire subcontinent – an experiment already started by the Taleban in the west of the subcontinent. The recent Mumbai attacks is a signal that Islamic agenda for the subcontinent is intensifying and Indian “war posturing” will be used as a rallying cry and panic button to push further for Islamic consolidation in Bangladesh. (Mumbai Islamic message)

The Jamaat’s strength does not lie in numbers, but the social networks among the elite, the theologians and the international Jihadi and Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism – (1) the military has ensured that it suffered almost nothing in the anti-corruption drives and so will claim themselves as “pure” and untainted compared to the others – and is likely to be rewarded for this by the electorate (2) the various military regimes as well as political ones, by failing to try the culprits of war-crimes and infighting among the “liberators” has ensured that newer generations have far less concerns about what happened almost 40 years ago than other “more pressing” concerns (3) the Islamic propaganda machinery allowed to flourish under the pro-Islam military regimes as well as political forces have been able to increase the rate of Jihadi Islamization of the rural as well as a section of urban Bangladeshi youth – Islam holds several attractions for males especially – it promises all that they biologically desire, consumption, women and power – without having to make the hard effort of intellectual skills development required to compete in a modern knowledge based economy, or having to tolerate modern rights given to women over their sexuality or their bodies. (4) sections of the younger generations are likely to be relatively free of qualms about experimenting with an authoritarian Islamic system which of course at first they would like to believe would be along the lines of Malaysia or Iran- especially since the military has succeeded in discrediting the pre-existing political establishments. All these factors could have been instrumental in repeating the general pattern observable all over the subcontinent – of increasing radicalization of younger recruits who gravitate to the armed forces in Islam dominated countries.

The Awami League represents strongest electoral combine as of date but will have to reckon with the Jamaat. The BNP has taken a bad knock but will not lag far behind the Awami League, as the military would have strong connections with the setup and would like to keep it afloat as a second line of defence and the major political face of the Islamic agenda which will be led from behind by the Jamaat – this is simply a tactic to allow the Jamaat to grow and takeover.

The uprising was most likely to have been carefully planned, with sleepers trained by Pakistan and Jihadi organizations acting in careful coordination to use genuine grievances and liquidate the older generation of commanding officers – a group less likely to be submissive completely to the charms of the Jihadis. The core group has most probably now vanished, and been taken to safe havens maintained by the Jihadis in West Bengal under a tolerant Leftist regime. This was simply a warning, in showing that the force which is on the border of Bangladesh is out of control, and that the Jihadis still hold the keys of state power. It could not have happened unless key elements of the security apparatus allowed it to happen.





Terrorism Versus South Asian Trio

24 02 2009
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

A South Asian task force against terrorism – is this an idea whose time has come?

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh seems to think it has. The task force was one of her election promises and, after winning a tidal vote to power, she has opened talks on it with two important visitors, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

Few, however, can miss a familiar pattern in Dhaka’s moves in the matter. Election promises, as a rule, sound more enthusiastic than ensuing action on them. If Prime Minister Hasina is sounding far more cautious about the task force than during the poll campaign, official constraints are not the only obvious reason.

Even more obvious is an ironical fact that militates against formation of such a force by the South Asian countries concerned – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (with the Himalayan states of Nepal and Bhutan figuring only as occasional havens of terrorists and Sri Lanka harboring a different species of terrorism). The fact is that the three countries cannot agree more on terrorism, but cannot act less together against the threat.

Theoretically, conditions cannot be more congenial for action on the idea. The people have pronounced their verdicts against terrorism in all three countries in unambiguous terms. A notable result of the Pakistan elections to decide on the post-Musharraf dispensation was the rout of religion-based parties with a record of relations with fundamentalists and extremists, especially in the frontier provinces. In Bangladesh, the landslide victory for Hasina and her Awami League (AL) came with a lethal electoral blow to the Jamat-e-Islami (JeI), an ally of Begam Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and an accomplice of terrorist outfits.

The electorate in India won’t exactly spring a similar surprise with an anti-terrorist vote, though it has rejected the far right Bharatiya Janta Party’s anti-minority take on terrorism in a recent round of state-level elections. In the nearly three months since the terrorist strike in Mumbai, both the ruling Congress Party and the BJP have revealed an unstated bipartisan consensus on according prominence to such threats in their campaigns for the parliamentary elections due by May 2009.

Officially, too, the three countries profess anti-terrorist policies of a similarly high priority. Islamabad has repeatedly been at pains to remind the region and the world that the country’s democratic forces are a direct victim of terrorism, having lost Benazir Bhutto in a bomb blast. Dhaka makes a similar claim, with the grenade attack of 2004 on a Hasina rally among the oft-recalled instances of grisly terrorism. As for India, the Mumbai outrage of November 26, 2008, was only the latest in a long series of terrorist attacks on the nation and its successive governments.

The popular and official consensus among the three countries on terrorism, however, has not made coordinated action against it any easier in practice. On paper, India and Pakistan have in place a joint mechanism against terror, set up during the five-year old “peace process” as a response to past instances of extremist violence. Even a joint investigation of the Mumbai case, however, remains an impracticable idea, despite India’s “dossier” on the subject made available to Islamabad and Pakistan’s detailed response to it.

Domestic opposition would not allow further progress in the direction easily. Online tirades against “traitors” in the Islamabad establishment, who have reported findings of the official investigation about Pakistani links to Mumbai, represent only the tip of an iceberg. Experts on talk shows on Indian television channels compare cooperative investigation of the case with consultations over a house break-in with the burglar himself.

Pakistan’s investigators may not have pleased many in the Hasina dispensation by publicizing their finding about the possible involvement in Mumbai of the Harakat-ul-Jehad-al-Islam (HuJI) of Bangladesh. Dhaka, however, has concealed any displeasure over the finding. It has, actually, admitted the possibility. It is a safe bet, though, that this is going to be no prelude to any joint Pakistan-Bangladesh exercise on the issue.

Domestic political compulsions, again, are sure to derail any effort in this direction. The opposition BNP is not going to be a silent spectator of any investigation of India’s worst-ever terrorist strike involving Bangladesh. Nor is any Dhaka-Islamabad cooperation in the cards, even as the Hasina regime promises to hasten trials in cases of “war crimes,” committed during the Bangladesh war of 1971 by fundamentalist and other forces opposed to a break up of erstwhile Pakistan.

Hasina has, of course, discussed the task force with Mukherjee during his recent visit to Dhaka. Even before details of the proposal could be divulged, Khaleda and her party came out with strong disapproval of any arrangement that would let India use Bangladesh’s territory for fighting its own battles. The fear is that the task force may help India counter separatist movements on the border of Bangladesh in the name of fighting terrorism.

In theory again, all the three countries are anti-terror allies of the US. Richard Holbrooke, special US envoy for India and Pakistan, has stressed this in Islamabad and New Delhi, while Boucher has done so in Dhaka. The formulation, however, is extremely unlikely to help the speedy emergence of the proposed force. Experience has shown the extremely limited extent to which the alliance can be advanced in each of the three countries. Washington has not won the unqualified support of the allies for the main objective of its anti-terror war in the region.

Pakistan cannot possibly acquiesce on US drones’ attacks on Pashtun areas even if described as part of an all-out offensive against al-Qaeda. India cannot agree to any proposal for US peacemaking in Kashmir, peddled as a ploy to help Islamabad focus on the al-Qaeda terrain. And we do not quite know whether the Pentagon is really unhappy about a splinter of al-Qaeda shifting from the Pakistan-Afghan border to Bangladesh and surviving as the HuJI.

All told, the time for the task force may not be yet. The time will come only when the people of the three countries prevail over political forces with the stake in perpetuating regional tensions and conflicts. It will come only when South Asia chooses to counter terrorism for its own sake and not in the cause of a superpower as it is popularly perceived.

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A freelance journalist and a peace activist in India, J. Sri Raman is the author of “Flashpoint” (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributor to Truthout.





Pakistan-Bangladesh plan a Mughalistan to split India

30 12 2008

Source: Bengalgenocide

Mughalistan (or Mughalstan) is the name of an independent homeland proposed for the Muslims of India. This Mughal-Muslim state in the Indian subcontinent will include all of North India and Eastern India, and will be formed by merging Pakistan and Bangladesh through a large corridor of land running across the Indo-Gangetic plain, the heartland of India. This Mughalistan corridor will comprise Muslim-majority areas of Northern India and eastern India that will be partitioned for the second time in history.

The comprehensive plan for a second partition of India was first developed by the Mughalstan Research Institute (MRI) of Jahangir Nagar University (Bangladesh) under the patronage of the two intelligence agencies, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Bangladesh’s Director General of Forces Intelligence, DGFI. The “Mughalistan Reaserch Institute of Bangladesh” has released a map where a Muslim corridor named “Mughalistan” connects Pakistan and Bangladesh via India.
The Pakistani Punjabi-dominated ISI’s influence on MRI is evident even in the Punjabi-centric pronunciation of the word ‘Mughalstan’ (without the “i”), instead of the typical Urdu pronunciation (Mughalistan). Islamic Jihadis in India have been well-armed and well-funded by the neighbouring Islamic regimes, as part of Operation Topac – the late Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq’s grandiose plot to balkanize India.

Not surprisingly, Osama Bin Laden has thrown his support behind the concept and creation of this Greater Pakistan to “liberate” the Muslims of India from the Hindus. The Mumbai underworld (led by Karachi-based don Dawood Ibrahim who executed the gruesome 1993 Mumbai bombings), Jamaat-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen have declared their unified support for creating this undivided Islamic nation in the Indian subcontinent. The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahideen are working in tandem with the aforementioned organizations to waged Jihad against the Hindus of India.

It is important to note that in its “holy war” against India, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba has openly declared Hindus to be the “enemies of Islam” who should all be converted or killed. The Lashkar-e-Tayyaba group has repeatedly claimed through its journals and websites that its main aim is to destroy the Indian republic and to annihilate Hinduism. Jaish-e-Mohammed has vowed to “liberate” not just Kashmir, but also to hoist the Islamic flag atop the historic Red Fort after capturing New Delhi and the rest of India.

SIMI has championed the “liberation of India through Islam” and aim to restore the supremacy of Islam through the resurrection of the Khilafat (Islamic Caliphate), emphasis on the Muslim Ummah (Islamic) and the waging of Jihad on the Indian state, secularism, democracy and nationalism – the basic keystones of the Indian Constitution – as these concepts are antithetical to Islam. The Indian Mujahideen have sent several emails claiming responsibility for several bombings in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad (in Uttar Pradesh), Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and New Delhi in 2007 and 2008. The emails refer to notorious Islamic conquerors of India (Mohammed bin Qasim, Mohammad Ghauri and Mahmud Ghaznawi) as their role-models, refer to Hindu blood as “blood to be the cheapest of all mankind” and taunt Hindus that their “[Hindu] history is full of subjugation, humiliation, and insult [at the hands of Islamic conquerors]”.

The Indian Mujahideen’s emails warn the Hindus to “Accept Islam and save yourselves” and or else face a horrible fate: – “Hindus! O disbelieving faithless Indians! Haven’t you still realized that the falsehood of your 33 crore dirty mud idols and the blasphemy of your deaf, dumb, mute and naked idols of ram, krishna and hanuman are not at all going to save your necks, Insha-Allah, from being slaughtered by our [Muslim] hands?”


Background

Pakistan’s emergence in 1947 was as a “mutilated, truncated, moth-eaten Pakistan, in M.A. Jinnah’s own words, because the Muslim League’s original plan did not envisage the partition of Punjab and Bengal. Today, Mughalistan is Jinnah’s dream come true.

The Partition of India provided temporary respite to the Indians and merely postponed the inevitable outcome. By 1971, all across Sindh, Western Punjab, Gandhara (Kandahar) and Eastern Bengal, the native populations of the Indian Religionists (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains) have been wiped out almost entirely by conversion, massacre and mass exodus. Extrapolating this scenario, we find ominous results. This Islamic beach-head, which squeezes India from both sides (Pakistan and Bangladesh), gradually links up with a Fifth Column within India and gains fresh territorial and demographic victories within the last two decades (Kashmir valley, several districts of West Bengal and Assam, Malappuram district in Kerala and the Hyderabad-Deccan region). The Islamic Anschluss creeps steadily and bloodily, until the Western beach-head (Pakistan) is linked up demographically with the Eastern beach-head (Bangladesh) through the formation of a Islam-dominated belt called “Mughalstan”, that will then run through Jammu, Mewat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

Jammu & Kashmir

It is an open secret that wherever the Muslims are in a majority, the rights and freedom of the non-Muslims are severely curtailed. Take for example Kashmir. It’s the only state in India which is a Muslim majority and let us see what happened there. Hundreds of temples were razed, Hindus were forced to flee, their women were raped, children were killed and houses forcibly occupied. The entire Kashmiri Hindu population (known as Kashmiri Pandits) having been driven away, killed or converted between 1990 and 2000 in a silent, mass genocide. The Muslims in Kashmir have been enjoying a special status under Constitution’s Article 370, hardly any central law is enforced there, the number of income-tax payers is among the lowest and unlike other poor states, J&K gets 90 per cent central financial assistance as grants and only 10 per cent as loans. Still there are complaints that a ‘Hindu central government discriminates’. The other minority, Buddhists mostly located in Ladakh, too, are harshly treated and discriminated against by the mainly Sunni Muslim governance in Srinagar. The Buddhist Association, Leh, has been submitting memorandums to the central government about how Buddhist youths are denied jobs and a fair chance to join the Kashmir Administrative service and professional colleges in spite of clearing the entrance exams. The number of Buddhist minorities is fast decreasing causing concern amongst their leaders. Even their dead are not allowed to be buried in Muslim-majority Kargil area and monasteries have been denied to be built. Leh district continues to see rampant conversions of Buddhist women to Islam.


The Kashmir Valley today has a 98 per cent Muslim population. Poonch district, which is contiguous with Pakistan, has a Muslim majority. Jammu district has seen regular attacks on Hindu civilians and temples. The Hindu-population of the adjacent district of Doda is being squeezed out by Islamic violence. As a result, Doda is now a Muslim-majority district, where the population ratio between the Muslims and the Hindus in Doda district is now 55:45. Doda town has a 90 per cent Muslim population. Out of the seven subdivisions, Banihal, Kishtwar and Balesa are Muslim dominated areas. Bhaderwah, Thathri and Ramban have a Hindu majority. In Ladakh, Kargil district has a Muslim majority.

Northern India

In the backward Mewat region of Haryana (and Rajasthan), Muslims form 66% of the local population. In 2005, the Congress (I) state government in Haryana quietly created a Muslim-majority district called Mewat, by vivisecting Gurgaon district. This move strengthened the clout of Islamic groups in the region. After all, it was in Haryana’s Mewat region in 1992, that Muslim mobs in Nuh town had hacked Hindus, destroyed Hindu temples and brazenly slaughtered cows openly on streets after seizing them from Gau Shalas (cow shelters). Today, the mass conversion of Hindu villagers to Islam, purchasing tens of thousands of Hindu girls for use as sex-slaves, cow-slaughter and social boycott of Hindus is common in Muslim families in Mewat. The average Muslim birth rates of 12-15 children per household in Mewat is increasing even more by cases like the Mohammed Ishaq family where the patriarch has sired 23 kids from his wife, Bismillah.

The 2008 bomb blasts targeting Hindu temples and civilians in Jaipur underscore the rising tension in Rajasthan.

Muslim-majority cities like Old Delhi and Malerkotla (in Indian Punjab) provide not only shelter to Jihadi terrorists, but also geographic continuity to Muslim-dominated districts of western Uttar Pradesh (UP), especially Agra, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Meerut, Bijnor as well as Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Bareilly, Saharanpur and Moradabad. Muslim attacks on Hindu religious processions, religious riots and bomb blasts are common place in UP as was seen in Mau, Ayodhya, Lucknow and Kanpur. The UP state population of Muslims has risen to 18% today.

Next door, Bihar has a 17% Muslim population and religious tensions are simmering.

Along the Indo-Nepal border of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, around 1900 Islamic seminaries have come up on both sides of the Indo-Nepal border in recent times. “There has been an exponential increase of Madrassas on both sides of Indo-Nepal border in the recent past of which around 1100 are in India while the rest are in Nepal,” revealed Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Tilak Kak. These large number of Madrassas, which serve as have come up in a disproportionate way and are not proportional to the Muslim population in the area. India’s Task Force on Border Management, in its report of October 2000, wrote about the ominous developments along the India-Nepal border: “On the Indo-Nepal border, Madrassas and mosques have sprung up on both sides in the Terai region, accompanied by four-fold increase in the population of the minority community in the region. There are 343 mosques, 300 Madrassas and 17 mosques-cum- Madrassas within 10 kilometres of the border on the Indian side. On the Nepal side, there are 282 mosques, 181 Madrassas and eight mosques-cum- Madrassas. These mosques and Madrassas receive huge funds from Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Managers of various Madrassas and Ulema maintain close links with the embassy officials of those countries located at Kathmandu. Financial assistance is also channelized through the Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah), Habib Bank of Pakistan and also through some Indian Muslims living in Gulf countries. Pakistan’s Habib Bank, after becoming a partner in Nepal’s Himalayan Bank, has expanded its network in the border areas including Biratnagar and Krishna Nagar. It is suspected that foreign currency is converted into Indian currency in Nepal and then brought to India clandestinely. Madrasas and mosques on the Indo-Nepal border are frequently visited by prominent Muslim leaders, Tablighi Jamaats (proselytizing groups) and pro-Pak Nepali leaders. Officials of Pak Embassy have come to notice visiting Terai area of Nepal to strengthen Islamic institutions and to disburse funds to them. Pro-Pak elements in Nepal also help in demographic subversion of the Terai belt.”


West Bengal and Assam: The Weakest Links in the ChainAccording to the 2001 census, the Muslim population is 28% of the total West Bengal population. In Assam, the Muslim population comprises atleast 31% of the total state population.

Arun Shourie wrote this in the Indian Express in 2004:

“Muslims in India accounted for 9.9 per cent (of India’s population) in 1951, 10.8 per cent in 1971 and 11.3 per cent in 1981, and presumably about 12.1 per cent in 1991. The present population ratio of Muslims is calculated to be 28 per cent in Assam and 25 per cent in West Bengal. In 1991 the Muslim population in the border districts of West Bengal accounted for 56 per cent in South and North Parganas, 48 per cent in Nadia, 52 per cent in Murshidabad, 54 per cent in Malda and about 60 per cent in Islampur sub-division of West Dinajpur. A study of the border belt of West Bengal yields some telling statistics: 20-40 per cent villages in the border districts are said to be predominantly Muslim. There are indications that the concentration of the minority community, including the Bangladesh immigrants, in the villages has resulted in the majority community moving to urban centres. Several towns in the border districts are now predominantly inhabited by the majority community but surrounded by villages mostly dominated by the minority community. Lin Piao’s theory of occupying the villages before overwhelming the cities comes to mind, though the context is different. However, the basic factor of security threat in both the cases is the same.

Figures have been given showing the concentration of Muslim population in the districts of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh starting from 24 Parganas and going up to Islampur of West Dinajpur district and their population being well over 50 per cent of the population. The Kishanganj district (of Bihar) which was part of Purnea district earlier, which is contiguous to the West Bengal area, also has a majority of Muslim population. The total population of the districts of South and North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda and West Dinajpur adds up to 27,337,362. If we add the population of Kishanganj district of Bihar of 986,672, the total comes to 28,324,034. (All figures are based on the 1991 Census.) This mass of land with a population of nearly 2.8 crores has a Muslim majority. The total population of West Bengal in 1991 was 67.9 million and of these, 28.32 million are concentrated in the border districts, with about 16-17 million population of minority community being concentrated in this area. This crucial tract of land in West Bengal and Bihar, lying along the Ganges/Hughly and west Bangladesh with a population of over 28 million, with Muslims constituting a majority, should give cause for anxiety for any thinking Indian.’’
And what if, from these figures, I had advanced two warnings. First,
‘‘There is a distinct danger of another Muslim country, speaking predominantly Bengali, emerging in the eastern part of India in the future, at a time when India might find itself weakened politically and militarily.’’

And second that the danger is as grave even if that third Islamic State does not get carved out in the sub-continent into a full-fledged country? What if I had put that danger as follows?
‘‘Let us look at the map of Eastern India — starting from the North 24 Parganas district, proceeding through Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and West Dinajpur before entering the narrow neck of land lying through Raiganj and Dalkola of Islampur sub-division before passing through the Kishanganj district of East Bihar to enter Siliguri. Proceed further and take a look at the north Bengal districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar before entering Assam, and its districts of Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Barpeta. A more sensitive region in Asia is difficult to locate…’’

To quote Sandhya Jain’s article “India’s Cancer Wards” in “The Pioneer”:

‘Mr. R.K. Ohri, ex-IGP, Arunachal Pradesh, cautioned that an Islamic Caliphate is rising on India’s flanks, from Bangladesh to West Asia, and that the shadow of the Mughalistan corridor is now visibly manifesting in various districts along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh border. The demand for a ‘Muslim Banghboomi’ has already been raised, warns ex-MP B.L. Sharma (Prem). Traveling in West Bengal to check out certain atrocities against Hindus some years ago, his convoy was attacked by Bangladeshis. When demographer J.K. Bajaj and his colleagues prepared a mathematical model of the demographic challenge facing India, they found it exactly matched the map prepared by Bangladesh’s Mughalstan Research Institute. Experts feel the latter has been prepared by the ISI because the ‘Mughalstan’ spelling indicates a Punjabi mind!

Bangladesh’s reputed human rights activist Salam Azad laments that Bangladesh is the best place in the world for the return of the Taliban. Madrasas, he said, are teaching that “Muslims are the best in the world; non-Muslims will be converted, beaten, killed, married, raped, because non-Muslim women are regarded as maal-i-ganimat (free war booty)… Minorities will be oppressed, indigenous people will be attacked, in my country there is oppression everywhere and this is being done by the so-called educated people of the madrasas.”

West Bengal BJP leader Tathagatha Roy said the extent of atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh can be seen from the fact that in several districts there was not a single woman between the ages of seven to seventy years who had not been raped in that country. He apologized for the indifference of the BJP Government which did not grant refugee status to Hindus fleeing oppression in Bangladesh. North Eastern Students Organisation chairman Samujjal Bhattacharya said all 49 tribal belts and blocks in Assam have been occupied by Bangladeshis. The shadows have spread to Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya

Today, Hindus residing within a 50-km radius of the border are feeling the heat. They are being harassed on Indian soil and forced to move as the infiltrators establish themselves along this corridor, thus de facto extending the Bangladesh border into India.’

The West Bengal administration, which had taken a serious view of the problem in the initial stages of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government, now seems to have accepted it as a fait accompli. The chief minister had adopted some steps to contain the menace when the BJP strongman L.K.Advani was the union home minister from 1998-2004. But his initiative has slackened after the installation of the UPA government at the Centre since 2004.

In case the ramifications of the unfolding scenario are not yet clear to Indians, the bomb-blasts and religious riots are a roaring continuation of the 1400-year Jihad against India – an ongoing war that will culminate in the Islamisation of what’s left of Hindustan. Already the demographic battle is underway and the Mughalistan scenario looks feasible. The book “Religious Demography of India” published by A P Joshi, M.D. Srinivas and J K Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Chennai, reveals that in 2001, Muslims comprise over 30% of the total population in the Indian-subcontinent (comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). The total Muslim population zoomed from 12.5% (1991) to 30.3% (2001), in just 10 years (from ex-IAS officer V.Sundaram’s article in “News Today”: Deathly Demographic warnings for India).

According to the 2001 census report, Indian population is 1,027,015,247.3. Of this, 1.5 crore people are Bangladeshi infiltrators who are living in India. The Intelligence Bureau has reportedly estimated, after an extensive survey, that the present number is about 16 million. The August 2000 report of the Task Force on Border Management placed the figure at 15 million, with 300,000 Bangladeshis entering India illegally every month. It is estimated that about 13 lakh Bangladeshis live in Delhi alone. It has been reported that one crore Bangladeshis are missing from Bangladesh [August 4, 1991, Morning Sun] and it implies that those people have infiltrated into India. These infiltrators mainly settle in the north-east India and in West Bengal. This is shown by the fact that there has been irregular increase in the Muslim population in these states and many of the districts have become Muslim majority. The proportion of Muslims in Assam had increased from 24.68 per cent in 1951 to 30.91 per cent in 2001.Whereas in the same time period the proportion of Muslims in India increased from 9.91 per cent to 13.42 per cent. In West Bengal, the Muslim population in west Dinajpur, Maldah, Birbhum and Murshidabad 36.75 per cent, 47.49 per cent, 33.06 per cent and 61.39 per cent respectively, according to 1991 census.

This has not only caused the burden on the Indian economy, but also threatens the identity of the indigenous people of the north-east of India. In Tripura, another north-eastern state of India, the local population has been turned into a minority community over a short period of time by the sheer numbers of cross-border migrants from Bangladesh. In 1947, 56 per cent of Tripura’s population consisted of tribal (or indigenous) population. Today this stands at a 25% of the total. In many districts these infiltrators are the one who decides the outcome of elections. Outcomes of the 32 per cent of Vidhan Sabha seats in Assam and 18 per cent of seats in West Bengal are decided by them. This is due to the fact that political parties are helping them to get ration cards and voters ID and hence using them to win elections.

According to the report, at present there are 80 lakh Bangladeshi infiltrators in Bengal, 55 lakh in Assom, 4 lakh in Tripura and 5 lakh in Bihar (Katihar, Purnia and Kishenganj districts) and Jharkhand(Sahebganj district). As far as West Bengal is concerned, the concentration of infiltrators is quite marked in the border districts like North and South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and North and South 24 Parganas. The affected areas in Assom are Dhubri, Goalpara, Karimganj and Hailakandi, while a similar scenario is noticeable in Kailashar, Sabrum, Udaipur and Belonia areas in Tripura. Pakistan’s ISI is believed to have a hand behind this large-scale infiltration which has been playing havoc with the economy of Bengal and Assam. Home ministry sources say Harkat-ul-Jehadi-Islami(HUJI), the dreaded militant outfit active in Bangladesh, has succeeded in sending a large number of militants along with the infiltrators to West Bengal.

The Home ministry had laid stress on an early completion of barbed-wire fencing along the borders with Bangladesh. Of the 2216 km-long border the fencing could be completed only along 1167 km till 2007. The continuous infiltration has brought about serious demographic changes to Bengal’s border areas and made the border-map, drawn after the 1974 Indira-Mujib agreement, somewhat irrelevant. The Centre has consequently sought a detailed report from the state government on changes in the population pattern in 66 blocks of nine border districts.

DGFI & ISI Plan To Capture West Bengal and Assam Through Vote Machinery

To facilitate Mughalistan and the concomitant partition of India and Bengal, the DGFI-ISI have jointly planned to change the demography of West Bengal and Assam on a priority basis.
As many as 53 out of 294 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal have a high concentration of voters who happen to be illegal Muslim from Bangladesh. Similarly, the fate of 40 Assembly seats in Assam depends on the votes cast by illegal Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators. All this has been revealed by a recent report of the union home ministry on infiltration from India’s neighbour. The report has been prepared on the basis of facts and figures provided by the Task Force on Border Management and Assam’s former governor S.K. Sinha.

As such the Bangladeshi Muslims can control the West Bengal Assembly, and dictate terms to the state government of West Bengal in all respects. The picture of plight of majority Hindu electorates worsened in the State, as Muslim electorates have a clear majority in three districts viz. Malda, Murshidabad & North Dinajpur and 63 (sixty three) blocks in West Bengal. Again, an analysis upon the projection into the 2001 Census hints at abnormal Muslim growth everywhere in West Bengal, where the Muslim population is 28% of the total state population.
There are at least 5 powerful Muslim ministers in the West Bengal state cabinet: Abdur Rezzak Mollah (Minister of Land & Land Reforms), Anisur Rahaman (Minister of Animal Resources Development), Mortaja Hossain (Minister of Agriculture, Marketing & Relief, Minster of State), Anarul Haque (Minister of State for Public Health, Engineering) and Abdus Sattar (Minister of State for Minority Development & Madrasa Education).

In West Bengal, there are 45 Muslim Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) out of 294 seats. There are 5 Muslim Members of Parliament from West Bengal out of 42 seats: Mohammed Salim (Calcutta North East), Abu Ayes Mondal (Katwa), Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury (Malda), Abdul Mannan Hossain (Murshidabad) and Hannan Mollah (Uluberia), all of whom strength the control of Islam in various government institutions and the police hierarchy.
As the UPA Central Government and the CPI(M) State Government have paid no attention for the threat of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators in West Bengal, the Bangladeshi Muslims have captured land, money and unequalled power of voting throughout the border districts in Bengal in many places.

With the passive support of both the UPA Central Government and the CPI(M) State Government and with the active support of all the political parties in West Bengal (except for the BJP) for winning the Muslim votebank’s support, the DGFI & ISI has actively put down roots in the soil of West Bengal for their purposes. Not only are they successful in the ongoing demographic change of West Bengal by means of mobilizing the election machinery of Bengal, they have also opened their fronts everywhere in smuggling, trafficking, drug peddling, illegal cow smuggling, trans-border gang robbery and of course terrorism, with the active grassroots support to the Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami-Bangladesh (HUJI-B), Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Now in its most advantageous position, the DGFI & ISI’s joint collaboration is now promoting activities of Mughalistan in Kolkata, Howrah & other districts. The Dhaka-based Mughalistan Research Institute has identified various areas marked as “Mini Pakistan” in W.Bengal & Eastern India. This Mughalistan, as we know, comprises the entity of Greater Pakistan, right from Afghanistan to Myanmar including Bangladesh, whole of W. Bengal, Assam & many other portions of India. This Pan-Islamic movement gets petro-dollars from the Arab World and fake Indian Currency from Pakistan and Bangladesh for the maximum manifestation of their plans. The Muslim infiltration from Bangladesh gives oxygen to the Pan-Islamic movement in India. Now they have direct access into the West Bengal State Assembly and into the Ministry of Bengal within Writers Building, Kolkata. But sadly, West Bengal’s vote politics undermine the situation by turning a blind eye to this colossal tragedy, unabashedly providing voters’ ID cards to the Muslim infiltrators and setting a dangerous peril for Bengali Hindus and India.
The North-Eastern region is connected to rest of India by a small strip called “The Siliguri Corridor” or “Chicken’s Neck”. The Islamists have planned to isolate the North-East of India from the rest of India, in order to facilitate the creation of Mughalistan. This Operation is named as “Operation Pin code”. For this they have planned to infiltrate 3000 Jihadis into North Eastern region. According to the Task Force, there are 905 Mosques and 439 Madrasas along Indo-Bangladesh border on the Indian side.

Some excerpts from the report, “Demography survey on eastern border” by Bhavna Vij-Aurora in “The Telegraph” are startling. “There have been reports that more Madarsas and mosques are sprouting along the borders, which in itself is an indication of increased Muslim population in the area,” disclosed an intelligence official. The last such study was done by the Intelligence Bureau and the home ministry in 1992, and their report kept a secret in view of the sensitive findings. It was ultimately leaked and the estimated number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh was anywhere between 1.5 crore and 2 crore. It’s time for a fresh survey, according to sources. There have been renewed intelligence reports that militants are using madarsas and mosques as safe havens, and also for storing arms and ammunition. According to reports, the largest number of madarsas and mosques has come up in bordering areas with Nepal, lower Assam and Bengal. This complements another secret survey that has revealed that nearly 40 per cent villages in the border districts of Bengal are predominantly Muslim. There are reports that concentration of the minority community, including the Bangladeshi immigrants in the villages, has resulted in the majority community moving to urban areas. Along with madarsas and mosques, a large number of Muslim NGOs have sprung up in the area bordering Nepal. Most of these madarsas are used for anti-India activities by Pakistan-backed terrorists. The NGOs ostensibly work for the social and educational uplift of the Muslim community and receive substantial and completely unregulated funding from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya and other Islamic countries,” an intelligence report said.”

When India was partitioned in 1947 on religious grounds and Muslims got West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), they had a vulture´s eye on the entire north-east. Muslims were not satisfied with both the Pakistans. They wanted the whole of the north-east region (undivided Assam) integrated with East Pakistan. Manul Haq Chowdhury, Jinnah´s private secretary, who remained in Assam and later became a minister in Assam assembly, wrote to Jinnah in 1947: “Quaid-e-Azam, wait for the next thirty years, I shall present Assam to Pakistan on a platter.” Since then, a sinister game plan to ‘grow more Muslims in the north-east’ has been going on surreptitiously.

Today, out of the total 24 districts of Assam, six districts, namely, Nagaon, Goalpara, Dhubri, Karimganj, Barpeta and Hailakanndi have 60 per cent Muslim population while other six, namely, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Kamrup, Nalbari, Darang and Cachar districts have above 40 per cent of them. Out of the 126 assembly seats, the election of 54 MLAs depends on the Muslim vote bank. There are 28 Muslim MLAs and four ministers, namely, (i) Rocky Bul Hussain (Nagaon), Minister of State for Home Affairs; (ii) Ismail Hussain (Dhubri), Minister for Flood; (iii) Dr Nazurul Islam (Doboka), Minister for Food and Civil Supply, and (iv) Misabul Hussain Laskar (Borkhola, Cachar), Minister for Cooperatives.

There are two Lok Sabha MPs in Assam, namely, Anwar Hussain from Dhubri and A.F. Gulam Osmani from Barpeta and one Rajya Sabha MP, Smt. Anwara Timur (Nagaon). The Muslim community of Assam has provided one former Muslim Chief Minister—Smt. Anwara Timur (Nagaon) and one former President of India—Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (Lakhtokia, Guwahati). Earlier, in the Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) Ministry, headed by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, there were two Muslim ministers, namely, Maidul Islam Bora from Kamalpur, Kamrup district and Sukur Ali from Barpeta. Several high-ranking officers including deputy commissioners are from this community. Obviously, the Muslim community, including the Indian Muslims and the Bangladeshi Muslims, have become a dominant group in Assam and it is they who decide who would be the Chief Minister of Assam and what would be the major policies of Assam pertaining to detection and deportation of illegal Muslim migrants and care of Muslim welfare.

Tarun Gogoi, the Congress(I) Chief Minister of Assam, is giving all protection to these Muslims due to political compulsions. The Assamese community has been overpowered by Muslims. These Bangladeshi Muslims are sneaking into upper Assam too, creating serious problems for the Assamese. The demography of Assam has drastically changed and the very existence of the indigenous people is threatened. The manifold growth in Muslim population has overburdened Assam and the Assamese people are feeling harassed and tortured. The livelihoods of the local people are getting snatched away by these illegal Muslim migrants. The Janjati (indigenous tribal) communities in Assam are not organized. Therefore, their land and forests are very often forcefully occupied by these Muslims. The Nelli massacre in 1983 was the worst clash between the local people and Bangladeshi Muslims in which several Lalung Janjati people were reportedly killed and many Lalung villages were burnt.

These Bangladeshis have illegally sneaked into Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura too. They are marrying the local girls of influential people and are thus getting protection from their in-laws’ families. After marriage with a Janjati girl, they convert her to Islam. They purchase land in the Janjati belts in the name of their Janjati wives by producing Janjati certificates in her name. Now, the new generation of Muslims, i.e. the Janjati Muslims, is growing. They give Muslim names to their children but the clan remains that of local wives, like Saidullah Ningrum, Azad Lingdoh (Khasi Muslims), Nizamuddin Semia, Akram Semia (Naga Muslims), Shahabuddin Chowdhury, Akbar Laskar (Assamese Muslims) and others. In Assam, Muslims are using Assamese surnames like Hazarika, Barbhuian, Bargohain, Bhuiyan, Bora, Gohain and others. There are Meitei Muslims too in Manipur.

In Nagaland, the Muslim menace is more serious. Dimapur has become the den of these Bangladeshi Muslims. They constitute the leading labour force in the agriculture sector owned by the Naga community. The majority of rickshaw-pullers, auto-drivers and other manual labourers is now of Bangladeshi Muslims. This has given rise to robbery, theft, illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and liquor, smuggling of pornographic films and vulgar literature and an unprecedented rise in crime, flesh trade and prostitution. This influx has narrowed the jobs of lay workers too.

The Nagaland state capital, Kohima, has become the second biggest haven for the illegal migrant Muslims who occupy most of the shops in the main market, P.R. Hills and other localities. They marry Angami girls and become sons-in-law of the Naga people.

Similarly, all the district areas such as Mokokchung, Wokha, Zunheboto, Phek, Mon and Tuensang are infested with them. They are sneaking into the interiors of Nagaland. In places like Jalukie in Zeliang area, Naginimora, Tizit and other central places of Nagaland, the pain of the presence of migrant Muslims is felt by the local Naga populace. Some ten years before, the students´ bodies had agitated against these foreigner Muslims. But the agitation was silently withdrawn reportedly due to threats from Bangladesh that the Government of Bangladesh would demolish all the camps of Naga undergrounds established in the territory of that country if the Bangladeshi Muslims were harassed in Nagaland. On seeing this unprecedented growth of Muslim population in Nagaland, S.C. Jamir, the then Chief Minister, once stated, “Muslims are breeding like mosquitoes in Nagaland.”

As a result of such illegal migration of Bangladeshi Muslims and their nuptial ties with the local Naga girls, a new community called Semiya or Sumias has already emerged in the state. Their number is estimated to be several thousand. The concentration of the Semiyas is the highest in Dimapur and Kohima districts respectively. There are fears among many that the voters’ list might have been doctored to accommodate the Semiyas as well other immigrants. The result of such immigration is gradually being felt in the state.
According to a Dimapur-based newspaper, on any Muslim religious day at least half of the shops in Kohima and some 75 per cent in Dimapur remain closed. It is also a fact that control over business establishments is fast receding from the hands of the locals. A recent survey conducted by the state directorate of Agriculture showed that 71.73 per cent of the total business establishments are being controlled and run by non-locals. Out of the 23,777 numbers of shops in the state, the local people own only 6,722 shops. Since the illegal migrants provide cheap labour, they are aggravating the unemployment problem. Besides, they pose a threat to the internal security as well. Reliable sources indicate that they are also involved in various unwanted activities like drug peddling and flesh trade.

The Big Picture

The following map shows the concentration of Muslims and Hindus in the Indian subcontinent today. The highlighted areas show riot-prone regions of India where aggressive Muslim populations range from atleast 20% to 100% of the population.

Lest one mistakenly thinks that Mughalistan is the culmination of the Islamisation of India and that somehow the rest of India will be spared its fate, it must be stressed that this second partition of India is only the beginning. In Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh, northern districts of Karnataka and certain areas of Maharashtra, the growth of Muslims is very high. Likewise, in Kerala, the Muslims now constitute 25% of the state’s population. Malappuram district was carved out to create a Muslim majority district by the Communist government headed by E.M.S Namboothiripad. Today, the entire Malappuram district enforces the weekly holiday on Friday (not Sunday) for schools and businesses, while Hindus in neighbouring Kozhikode (Calicut) and Kannur are intimidated through high-profile massacres like in Marad. The planning and execution is well underway to ensure a continuing Anschluss where several Muslim majority pockets such as Moplahstan (in Kerala) and Osmanistan (in the Deccan) will gradually spread in size and link up with Mughalistan to form a Greater Mughalistan.
This Greater Mughalistan is of strategic significance as it will provide a contiguous, strategic corridor linking the Ummah into a pan-Islamic Caliphate. The ISI-DGFI-Indian Jihadi triumvirate has fondly nicknamed this pan-Islamic Caliphate as Islamistan (meaning “Land of Islam”), a synonym for `Islamic World’ or `Dar-ul-Islam’. This geographical Islamic crescent will link the Islamic Middle-East to Islamic South-East Asia, with the new Islamic World stretching all the way from Morocco and Bosnia in the West to Malaysia and Indonesia in the East.

There are Muslims in India today who dream of “Mughalistan” and are working relentlessly towards a further partition of India by creating “Mughalistan” in the UP-Bihar-Bengal-Assam corridor. It remains the focus of mainstream groups like the Tablighi Jamaat (who have methodically radicalised the ordinary Muslims) as well as underground terror groups like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Indian Mujahideen, who have blown up several Indian cities killing thousands of people. Until Mughalstan is achieved, Indians will continue to see serial bomb-blasts, attacks on Hindu festivals and temples, killings of Hindu activists, conversions of Hindu women and socio-economically backward sections, and brazen cow-slaughter that will continue endlessly until the Hindu mind becomes too numb and shell-shocked to look at the bigger picture, or comprehend the future – that Mughalistan is inevitable (“Mughalstan Paindabad”).
Lessons of history have been quickly forgotten. Indians have become twisted “politically correct” escapists who prefer to turn a blind eye to reality. Now it is not about just Kashmir any more, it is all of India that Pakistan wants. And the creation of Mughalistan is not a question of “If”, but “When”. Unless we stand up and stop it.
All Indians, secularists and nationalists alike, must act quickly. We should ponder upon the future of India that we will bequeath to our children in the near future, if the plan of Mughalistan is allowed to proceed unhindered. Indians have to start taking responsibility for their future generations. We must do everything in our might, to ensure that the tide of Islamic expansionism is restricted and reversed, beginning right now.
The common man should take all possible measures politically, socially and economically to single-mindedly achieve this goal.




Why Kashmir is up in flames ?

29 08 2008

Source: Rediff.com

Colonel Dr Anil A Athale (retd)
August 29, 2008

As someone who has been active in resolving the Kashmir issue since 1990, recent events did not come as too much of a surprise. Many observers have commented that the situation is back to the days of 1989-1990. They are only partially right, on the surface it does appear so, but there are major differences. How the situation is similar and yet different is an important issue since the Indian response has to be based on sound analysis lest we repeat our past mistakes. Public memory is short but it is the job of analysts to remember the past and bring it to public notice.

Rollercoaster public opinion in the Kashmir valley

The first thing to understand about the people of the Kashmir valley is that their views are fickle and can see radical changes.

In 1947, in the wake of the tribal invasion led and masterminded by Pakistan, the valley welcomed the Indian Army [Images] with open arms. One of INPAD’s members, retired Lieutenant General Eric Vas remembers that the soldiers were showered with rose petals. It was thanks to Sheikh Abdullah’s secular leadership as well as the Sufi tradition that Kashmiris rejected the poisonous Muslim League propaganda. In 1965, when Pakistan repeated the 1947 feat and sent in infiltrators, there were very few takers for the idea of merger with Pakistan and the infiltration failed to achieve the goal of engendering an insurrection.

In 1975-1976, when Sheikh Abdullah was the chief minister, there was a widespread movement in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to march to Indian Kashmir — an exact opposite of the present Kashmiri slogan of ‘Chalo Muzaffarabad’.

On April 1, 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by military dictator Zia-ul Haq. His hanging sparked off large-scale violence in the Kashmir valley. Those owing allegiance to the Jamaat-i-Islami, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, were the main target of attack. Their houses were destroyed by firebombs. The provocation: The Jamaat had distributed sweets to celebrate Bhutto’s hanging. It was the Indian Army that rescued Geelani and his people.

On April 4, 1979, Kashmiris held a massive congregation in Hazratbal to thank Allah that they were a part of India and paraded a donkey with a placard that read ‘I am Zia-ul Haq’.

The flip side

Post-1947 support for India vanished in a few years. In the late 1950s when Nehru sent Haribhau Pataskar to gauge public opinion in the valley (in order to hold the referendum he had promised), Pataskar told him that the valley was all for joining Pakistan.

Sheikh Abdullah, who was elevated to the status of ‘Pir’ (holy man) by Kashmiris, fared no better. He died in 1982. Within seven years, his birth and death anniversary became occasions to burn his effigy. A police guard was placed to protect his grave from vandalism. He now became the ‘great betrayer’ from his erstwhile position of ‘Lion of Kashmir’.

Zia-ul Haq, the Pakistani dictator, saw a total reversal of fortunes. His bemedalled photographs began to adorn the homes of Kashmiris.

The late Hamid Dalwai, a Muslim reformist from Maharashtra, recounted his encounters in Kashmir that aptly sums up the reasons for Kashmiri flip-flop. He asked several people as to why they were unhappy in India. The answer given to him by one shikara owner was that they had everything going for them in India, “but after all, must we not care for the flag of Islam?”

Understanding the present crisis

The year 2008 till July was extraordinarily peaceful by Kashmir’s standards. Pakistan was so embroiled in its internal crisis that it had no time to devote to Kashmir.

The present crisis in Kashmir erupted when an innocuous transfer of land to build temporary facilities for Amarnath pilgrims was made an issue by politicians like Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah. The usual Srinagar [Images] protests by unemployed youth and crowds on hire so rattled the government that it revoked the land transfer. At that stage, a little firmness and explanation that the land was being given to a statutory body established by the state legislature and that too for temporary structures should have doused the fires in the valley. But with an eye on upcoming elections, the People’s Democratic Party and the National Conference jumped into the fray and made allegations about attempts being made to change Kashmir’s demography!

When the land order was revoked, the government thought that like countless other surrenders earlier, it will get away with this one too. In any case the prime minister was busy sewing up the nuclear deal with the US and the supreme leader of the ruling combine was enjoying the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images] in the company of her family! Nobody had much time to devote such trifling matter as a major crisis in Jammu and Kashmir [Images].

The reaction in Jammu came as a surprise to one and all (including the ineffectual Bharatiya Janata Party which later tried to jump on the bandwagon). Frankly, the protests in Jammu had very little to do with the Amarnath land transfer issue. It was a spontaneous outburst of pent-up anger at the last 60 years of mollycoddling of the valley and discrimination towards the region. Other hilly states like Himachal Pradesh [Images] or Uttarakhand [Images] are marching ahead of J&K.

It is the obduracy of the valley — that sees demons in any and every attempt at economic development as ‘Indian imperialism’ — that has got the people of Jammu agitated.

The measure by former governor retired Lieutenant General S K Sinha to extend the Amarnath Yatra [Images] saw a bonanza in the shape of over 500,000 pilgrims making the arduous trek. Even at an average spending of Rs 2,000 per pilgrim, it meant over Rs 100 crore was pumped into the state’s economy, directly benefiting the common man. That this was opposed surely takes the cake, as the world over religious tourism is being encouraged.

To be continued…

Colonel Dr Anil Athale (retd) is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Fellow at the United Services Institution, Delhi [Images], and coordinator of the Pune-based Institute for Peace and Disarmament