LeT owns up to Kupwara, Army fears worst not over

26 03 2009

Source: IBNLIVE

New Delhi: Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba has claimed responsibility for the six-day long gunbattle between the Indian Army and terrorists in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir.

Seventeen terrorists and eight Armymen are reported to have been killed in the gunbattle – one of the bloodiest in recent months.

The LeT on Tuesday sent a letter to a local newspaper in Kashmir last night owning up to the encounter. In the letter to Kashmiri daily Rising Kashmir, LeT spokesman Dr Abdullah Gaznavi writes, “We received prior information about the army movement and laid an ambush in the forest. Indian forces have lost 25 army men including a Major while 50 of them have been injured. Ten LeT Mujahideen also achieved martyrdom in the gunfight. India should understand that the freedom struggle in Kashmir is not over. It is active with full force”.

While firing in the area has stopped, combing operation is on in the area. Four AK-47 rifles and some ammunition have also been recovered from the site.

Among those killed are Major Mohit Sharma, a decorated Army officer and a 19-year-old trooper of the special forces Shabir Malik.

In a press conference organised by the Indian Army on Wednesday, Brigadier Gurmeet Singh confirmed the death toll and said most terrorists had been gunned down.

“The weapons that have been recovered from the terrorists in the two encounters signal that they were trained,” Singh said adding the infiltrators included “foreign militants”.

In what seemed to be a confirmation of Gaznavi’s warning, Brig Singh said Army feared an infiltration attempt by 300-400 terrorists in the area.





‘Militants waiting to infiltrate across the border’

26 03 2009

Mir Ehsan Posted: Mar 25, 2009 at 1427 hrs IST
Source: Indian Express
The senior army commander said that the militants killed in the encounter were highly trained, well equipped.The senior army commander said that the militants killed in the encounter were highly trained, well equipped.

The senior army commander said that the militants killed in the encounter were highly trained, well equipped.

Srinagar: As the combing operation in the forests of Kupwara is still going on, Army claims that all the slain militants were foreigners owing allegiance to Lashkar-e-Toiba. So far, seventeen militants and eight soldiers have been killed in the operation.

Brigade General Staff 15 Corps, Brigadier Gurmeet Singh said the operation is going on in the thick forests of Kupwara in the difficult mountainous terrain. “The militants were primarily an infiltration group attempting to infiltrate and a reception party,” he said. “The slain militants were foreigners owing their allegiance to Lashkar e Toiba.”

Singh said that the majority of the militants have been killed. “Remnants if any, will also be eliminated.”

The senior army commander said that the militants killed in the encounter were highly trained, well equipped. “We have received latest weapons, communication system and maps from the slain militants,” he said adding that the items recovered from the slain militants are being used by the state.

Brigadier Singh termed it as a first major infiltration attempt and said that more militants from across the Line of Control are waiting to sneak into the Valley. “As per intelligence reports 300 to 400 militants are awaiting on other side of the Line of Control to sneak into the Valley. We are prepared to tackle any infiltration attempt,” he said.

Singh said this is the time when militants try to infiltrate into the Valley as not only border fencing is buried under the snow also the snow starts to melt. Besides, huge quantity of war like ammunition, army has so far recovered 23 AK rifles from the encounter site.





Pay-up time

12 02 2009

Source: Frontline
NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN

Pakistan: None of the first steps of the Obama administration has given the kind of unconditional reassurance that the Pakistanis want.

SHERIN ZADA/AP

A MAN CARRIES his elderly mother on his back as the family flees from the troubled Swat valley on February 1 as fighting between the militants and the security forces escalates.

THE bad news arrived quickly. Just three days after the Obama inauguration, the new United States administration made it plain to Pakistan that the winds of change sweeping America would not travel as far the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, at least not in the way that the rulers in Islamabad desired. If anything, the relationship might grow more difficult. The message came riding on two missile attacks on suspected militant compounds, within hours of each other, on the evening of January 23: one in North Waziristan and the second in South Waziristan.

The number of people killed in the attacks may have been 20. It is likely that there were both civilians and militants among the dead. It has always been impossible to verify such information. In Pakistan, the question is not so much if Al Qaeda operatives were among the dead. The missile attacks, launched from unmanned Predator aircraft, generically known as drones, are seen as violations of the country’s air space, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

There have been more than 30 such attacks since August 2008. Despite the Pakistani government’s protests against such incursions during the days of the Bush administration, the attacks continued, increasing in frequency and appearing to gain in precision. It led to the widespread belief that Pakistan’s civilian government was complicit in them. A Washington Post report in November 2008 said the Pakistan People’s Party-led government had given the Bush administration the green signal to carry out such attacks in the tribal areas. The understanding, according to the Post, gave Islamabad the right to protest against the attacks to keep domestic public opinion satisfied. Obama’s Defence Secretary Robert Gates told a congressional committee recently that the drone attacks would continue and that the decision had been conveyed to the Pakistani leadership.

The government has strenuously denied any secret understanding with the U.S. on the attacks. From President Asif Ali Zardari to Prime Minister Yusouf Raza Gilani to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, all Pakistani leaders have made the point that the missile attacks were “counter-productive”: they fanned the flames of militancy that is eating the region – when civilians get killed, their fellow tribesmen, looking for revenge, swell the ranks of the Taliban and pro-Al Qaeda elements.

Pakistan’s influential media even went so far as to advise the government to stop the drones militarily, and, for a few days last year, the Pakistan Air Force flew sorties over the tribal areas in a sort of show of force. But as Qureshi once told reporters in his hometown Multan, when they asked him why the country could not stand up to the drone attacks in the same way that they had dealt with the alleged air space violations by the Indian Air Force in the wake of the Mumbai attacks: “Pakistan cannot equate the U.S. with India.” An indication that there was a limit to how far the government could go in challenging the drones. This also became evident when drones attacked a target in Bannu, which is not a territory in the lawless tribal region known as FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area) but a “settled” district in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Some days before the Obama inauguration, Gilani told the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistan parliament, that the incoming administration would not carry out missile attacks inside Pakistani territory. That turned out to be an incorrect reading of the new U.S. administration’s intentions.

In fact, none of the first steps of the Obama administration has given the kind of unconditional reassurance that the Pakistanis want from their patron country. In keeping with the new President’s campaign promise to focus on the “war on terror” in Afghanistan, his agenda for foreign policy, announced the day after his January 20 inauguration, gave top billing to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in the way Pakistan wanted.

The agenda document spoke about refocussing American resources to deal with what the document described as the “greatest threat” to U.S. security: “the resurgence of the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan”. It spoke of increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and asking the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to do the same, while promising more money for economic development to the war-torn country. The new administration has said it will make the Afghan government “do more” in terms of cracking down on the illicit opium trade and on corruption. For Pakistan, the new administration has promised more “non-military” aid, while holding it “accountable” for security in the border region with Afghanistan.

Hussain Haqqani, Islamabad’s Ambassador to Washington, told Geo television that if U.S. policy was not “positive”, Pakistan “will have to review its options”. He expressed the hope that President Obama would give a “patient hearing” to Pakistan’s concerns.

The increase in non-military aid is expected to come via the Biden-Lugar Bill, a bipartisan draft legislation sponsored by Joseph Biden – now the U.S. Vice-President – and adopted by the Senate in September 2008.

The Bill, which the House of Representatives is yet to take up – it lapsed with the inauguration of the new administration and will need to be reintroduced in the Senate – proposes tripling Pakistan’s non-military financial aid over the next five years in recognition of the need to stabilise the country’s economy and democratic institutions, making the bilateral relationship more oriented towards Pakistan’s people rather than its military. It also makes military aid conditional on greater accountability from the Pakistan security forces.

Specifically, the proposed legislation authorises $7.5 billion over the next five fiscal years ($1.5 billion annually) under the Foreign Assistance Act. It also advocates an additional $7.5 billion over the subsequent five years, subject to improvements in the political and economic climate.

ASIF HASSANAFP

JAMMAT-E-ISLAMI ACTIVISTS demonstrate against the missile strikes after Barack Obama took over as President, in Karachi on January 25.

It makes military assistance beginning in 2010, and new military sales beginning in 2012, conditional on certification by the U.S. Secretary of State that Pakistani security forces “are making concerted efforts to prevent Al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups from operating in the territory of Pakistan; are making concerted efforts to prevent the Taliban from using the territory of Pakistan as a sanctuary from which to launch attacks within Afghanistan; are not materially interfering in the political or judicial processes of Pakistan”.

The increased non-military aid would address Pakistan’s contention that militancy must be tackled not by the military alone, but through economic development of the border regions, giving people education and jobs and “mainstreaming” them.

Pakistan had also hoped that Obama’s promised special envoy to the region would be mandated to work with India as well to press for a solution to the Kashmir issue. During his campaign, Obama said in an interview that a solution to the Kashmir problem was vital for peace in Afghanistan. The reasoning: the Kashmir issue is the cause of Pakistan’s insecurity with India, leading to its continuing quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan through jehadist proxies. Therefore, a resolution of the problem is as vital for the stability of Afghanistan as it is for peace between India and Pakistan.

In the event, the appointment of the tough-talking Richard Holbrooke as Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan caused disappointment in Pakistan that Obama had backed down, in the face of aggressive Indian diplomacy, from his resolve that the U.S. must help find a solution to Kashmir. But Pakistani leaders have continued to emphasise that Holbrooke’s mandate must be expanded to include India and Kashmir. In fact, the Foreign Ministry press release welcoming his appointment studiously avoided mentioning the two countries included in his mandate, stressing instead the word “region”.

The concern in New Delhi is whether Holbrooke will lean towards Pakistan’s view of the Afghan crisis or whether he will lean on the Pakistan military to produce the keys that can unlock the puzzle. Accepting Pakistan’s position would be no less than accepting jehad and terrorism as legitimate instruments of foreign policy. Leaning on the Pakistan military, on the other hand, would amount to challenging the nature of the Pakistani state.

Finally, the realisation that jehad is unviable has to come from within Pakistan, as it now has over the Taliban takeover of Swat. The picturesque valley in the NWFP, once a holiday destination for tourists, is now under the grip of a Taliban group under the leadership of Fazlullah, a mullah with extreme views who has thrown in his lot with the South Waziristan-based warlord Beithullah Mehsud.

Fazlullah’s marauding militants run a virtual parallel government in Swat. They brook no defiance and have imposed their extreme version of Islam on the people, making men wear beards and salwars that must end above the ankles, and women wear the shuttle-cock burkha, which was once unknown in that part of the world. Disobedience means death, with the body hanging in the main square in Mingora, the big town in Swat. The chowk itself has come to be known as “khooni chowk” (bloody square) or “chowk zibakhana” (slaughterhouse square). The valley was known for its vibrant singing and dancing, but that has ended, and an estimated 300,000 people of the total population of 1.6 million people have fled the district. No elected representative from Swat has dared to step into his constituency in months.

After a national outcry against the Pakistan Army for doing nothing to bring the situation under control, Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the valley in a prelude to a fresh round of operations.

But Pakistanis still tend to see the situation in Swat in isolation, as if it has no connection with the larger issue of jehadist militant groups raised by the Pakistani state for proxy wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

These groups and their virulent ideologies are eating at the very vitals of the country, threatening to tear it apart politically and socially, while their actions abroad threaten to push Pakistan out of the comity of civilised nations.

The message from Swat is that it is easy to start a jehadist war but containing it means a systemic overhaul that is not possible only by pasting a democratic face to the state. And in this lies the challenge for U.S.-Pakistan ties, as much as it does for the India-Pakistan relationship.•





Poonch encounter ends,finally :Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar

9 01 2009

January 09, 2009 02:14 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2009 12:58 IST

Source: Rediff

The nine-day-long gun battle in the Bhatidar forest area of Poonch district has officially been called off even though deliberate searches shall continue in the area “to look for any tell-tale signs there”.

So far, two Army troopers, one special police officer (SPO) and four militants have been killed in this operation against the militants. But the bodies of the slain militants have not yet been recovered.

Having spilled over more than nine days, this is the longest operation carried out by the Army against the militants ever since the present violence started here in 1989.

“The possibility of the terrorists having slipped out taking advantage of the rugged terrain and the prevailing climatic conditions cannot be ruled out,” said the statement issued Friday by the Indian army’s [Images] 16th Corps whose trooped engaged the militants for nine days in the Bhatidar forests of Mendhar area of Poonch district.

Brigadier General Staff of 16 Corps, Brigadier Gurdeep Singh had ruled out the possibility of the militants having used concrete bunkers during the encounter with the army troopers in the area.

“They had used natural caves in the area as their hiding places. During the course of the flushing out operations a couple of natural caves were destroyed,” he said.

“Deliberate searches in the area will continue to look for any tell tales signs,” the army’s spokesman said.

Seven people, including four militants and three security personnel, were killed in the first three days of the battle that began Jan 1. But the army has not yet recovered the bodies of the killed militants.

A source in the army said no exchange of fire had taken place with the hiding terrorists throughout Thursday, though the troops had been on alert.

The soldiers had busted three hideouts and all they found were edible oil, dal, rice and cooking gas cylinders. “All the caves where the militants were hiding had two openings,” the army source said.

The battle started when terrorists killed two army men – a junior commissioned officer and a soldier – while they were laying a cordon.

The militants had taken away the rifle of the JCO, whose body was found two days later.

Singh had said the militants tried to breach the cordon Tuesday night “but the troops fired at them pushing them back into the jungle”.

Mendhar has always been a traditional infiltration route of militants sneaking into the Indian side from Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between the two countries. It provides access to the Kashmir Valley through mountain passes.





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.




2008 J&K polls: End of separatist forces

29 12 2008

NEW DELHI: The 2008 J&K assembly poll has scored over the 1996 and 2002 polls, not only in terms of minimal violence and high turnout, but als
o due to the fact that the “azaadi” rhetoric of the separatist forces was seen making way for development issues in shaping the voters’ mind.

According to a senior official closely associated with the conduct of assembly poll in J&K , the declining infiltration and militant activity in the state had laid the foundation for good voter participation in this assembly election. The official pointed out a good turnout was seen in almost all by-elections held following the 2004 parliamentary poll, the latest being the one in Baderwah where the then chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, won by an impressive margin.

The high voter interest is seen to be linked with the low levels of militancy and infiltration seen over the last couple of years, thanks to Pakistan’s pre-occupation its domestic matters and fencing of border stretches in J&K. The reduced interest of Pakistanbacked terror groups like Hizbul Mujahideen ensured that no candidate was killed this time compared to 2002 when 50 political activists, including two candidates, were killed.

The NC bore the brunt of the political killings, losing up to 30 political workers including its candidate from Lolab constituency, the then law minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone. The absence of a similar bloody show in 2008 was enough to instil confidence in the voter to come out and exercise his franchise.

About 220 civilians and 148 security personnel were killed during the poll period in 2002. The comparative casualty figures for 2008 polls are 12 civilian and five security personnel. The impressive 86% fall in militancyrelated incidents between the assembly polls in 2002 and 2008 may never have been anticipated in the pre-poll scenario, which was marred by the Amarnath agitation and its apparent fallout in the Kashmir region.

The agitation was milked by the separatist forces to renew their ‘azaadi’ rhetoric: So much so, at one point of time, all the parties in J&K including PDP and NC were doubtful of holding assembly in the first place. But the Election Commission stood its ground and decided to call the separatists’ bluff by going ahead with the poll, even at the risk of a low turnout.

Of course, in the end, the people rejected the separatists’ call for a poll boycott with an overwhelming response during polling spread over seven phases.

The Union home ministry did its bit by not only providing the requisite Central forces — over 700 companies — for keeping vigil during the poll but also quietly restricting the movement and public appearances of key separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Omer Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani while the poll process was on.

This put the separatist issues on the back burner, enabling the J&K electorate to focus on what may well have been real issues like development and infrastructure . As a senior official put it, the six years of governance in J&K, that too reasonably peaceful, may have added to popular expectations that developments works and welfare schemes would be given a push.

The EC too left no stone unturned to ensure that poll is free of any rigging and there was no coercion whatsoever of the voter by the Army or other security forces. It is believed that the Commission had even spoken to the military brass in Jammu and Kashmir in this regard. The three-member EC mostly worked from behind the scenes, leaving the deputy election commissioners to interact with the chief electoral officer on the conduct of poll.

By deploying micro-observers , the EC ensured that each and every act of the pollrelated officials and police personnel was subject to close scrutiny, leaving little scope for any poll irregularities.

That the state administration and security forces fully cooperated with the EC is obvious from the conducive atmosphere in which the campaigning took place. Due to the secure environment provided by security forces and police , as many as 4,277 election meetings were held by various political parties across the state, up from a total of 2,031 poll rallies held during the 2002 election.

SRINAGAR: A resurgent National Conference emerged the single-largest party in a hung Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday and is all poised to

Omar Abdullah in Ganderbal

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah waves to supporters during a victory celebration in Ganderbal, Srinagar. (AP)

stake claim for forming the next government with Congress support. ( Watch )

NC, which has got 28 seats, exactly the same number that it had in the dissolved Assembly, said it will approach “like minded” Congress, which bagged 17 seats, for forming the next government after the five-week seven-phased polls that recorded a high 61 per cent turn-out defying separatists’ boycott calls and militant guns. The Congress lost three seats.

Back-channel talks have already begun between the two parties, sources said, adding Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who is said to have good equations with Omar, is expected to play a key role in forging a partnership.

An NC-Congress combine can cross the magic half-way mark of 44 in a House of 87 but there there are six independents besides the three-member Panthers Party from whom it could also count on for support.

The PDP, which shared power with Congress on a rotational basis for last six years, came second with a tally of 21 seats, a gain of five over the 2002 elections.

Cashing in on the Amarnath land row, the BJP put up an impressive performance clinching 11 of the 37 seats at stake in Jammu region. The saffron party had only one seat in the last Assembly. The CPI-M could only win one of the two seats it had.

The 38-year-old Omar Abdullah, the scion of the Abdullah family, who steered NC for a shot at power, said his party would approach the Congress for forming the next government.

That the state administration and security forces fully cooperated with the EC is obvious from the conducive atmosphere in which the campaigning took place. Due to the secure environment provided by security forces and police , as many as 4,277 election meetings were held by various political parties across the state, up from a total of 2,031 poll rallies held during the 2002 election.





LeT is looking at India through the global lens

29 12 2008

Source: TOI
Were the masterminds and perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage influenced by al- Qaida, the chief proponent of global jihad? In future, will sub-continental terrorists prefer to attack the ‘crusader and Jewish’ target set identified by the global jihadists as opposed to ‘Indian government and Hindu’ targets? The Mumbai attack was unprecedented in target selection; of the five pre-designated targets. Was the target selection influenced by India’s alliance with the US and Israel? The method of operation was classic al-Qaida style – a coordinated, near simultaneous attack against high profile and symbolic targets aimed at inflicting mass casualties. The only difference was that it was a fidayeen attack, a classic LeT modus operandi.

With the US deepening its political, economic and military ties with India, will Muslim extremist groups in the subcontinent come under the operational and ideological influence of al-Qaida? The Mumbai attack was a watershed. It demonstrated the stark departure by the LeT from being an anti-Indian to both an anti-Indian and an anti-western group. LeT’s direct and operational role in Mumbai attack surprised the security and intelligence services of Pakistan, India and other governments. Very much a group founded to fight the Indian presence in Kashmir, LeT has evolved into operating against targets throughout India. Today, it has moved further from a national to a regional and a global group.

Although its rhetoric has been anti-Indian, its anti-western rhetoric has grown significantly since 9/11. The mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi directed LeT military operations even outside the Indian theatre. He dispatched LeT trained Pakistani and foreign operatives to Chechnya, Bosnia and Southeast Asia. And since 2003, they have been sent to assess the situation in Iraq, and later to attack US forces in Iraq. Although LeT operatives have been arrested in the US, Europe, and in Australia, LeT was not a priority group for the international community. It is because LeT did not align itself with al-Qaida and refrained from operating in Afghanistan. But it maintained relations with al-Qaida at an operational level.

Until Mumbai, LeT has been in the category of Islamist nationalist groups. Some groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizbul Mujahideen remained Muslim nationalist groups. In contrast, groups in Egypt, Algeria and Indonesia that began with local agendas transformed into groups with regional and international agendas.

After the US intervention in Afghanistan, the epicentre of international terrorism has shifted from Afghanistan to tribal Pakistan. The influence of al-Qaida is profound on groups in tribal Pakistan such as Tehrik-e-Taliban and on mainland Pakistani groups. The insurgency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas is spilling to NWFP and beyond. To contain their influence, the Pakistan government proscribed a number of militant groups. By 2008, exploiting the political instability, a number of these banned groups, that adopted new names, began to operate openly.

Over time, both New Delhi and Islamabad are likely to realise the need to fight a common threat, both ideologically and operationally. Mumbai has demonstrated that the pre-eminent national security challenge facing both India and Pakistan is terrorism and not each other.

The writer teaches at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, one of the world’s largest counter-terrorism centre. He is the author of the bestselling Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror





Anti-terrorism laws in India & The need of POTA

13 10 2008

Siddharth – Law student Source: legal services

In the new millennium, we face the very real and increasing prospect that regional aggressor, third-rate armies, terrorist groups and even religious cults will seek to wield disproportionate power by acquiring and using weapons of mass destructions – Secretary Of Defense William Cohen Of U.S.A.

Introduction
First in Varanasi then in Delhi then in Mumbai local trains and I do not think there is even a need to mention the continuing terrorist’s barbaric activities in Kashmir. The bomb blasts have outraged every patriotic Indian. No civilized nation can allow this kind of barbaric inhumanity to be partly or fully supported or sponsored by any neighbor or domestic insurgents. The only way we can combat it is to minimize, if not eliminate, such occurrences. Prevention is crucial; and laws like Pota can prevent such occurrences. Acquittals even in a case like Parliament attack occurred because of poor prosecution rather then because of Pota.

After the 9/11 attacks on the world trade center the world’s outlook towards the terrorist and terrorist organization has changed the laws have become much more stringent to curb such activities. The Indian outlook also changed specially after the 13 December attack on the Indian parliament which is seen as a symbol of our democracy then it became necessary to enforce a law which would be more stringent so that the terrorist can not go Scot free because after the lapse of TADA in 1995 following the wide spread complaint that it was being abused there was no law which could be used as a weapon against the rising terrorist activities in India.

India is facing multifarious challenges in the management of its internal security. There is an upsurge of terrorist activities, intensification of cross border terrorist activities and insurgent groups in different parts of the country. Terrorism has now acquired global dimensions and has become the challenge for the whole world. The reach and methods adopted by terrorist groups and organization take advantage of modern means of communication and technology using high tech facilities available in the form of communication system, transport, sophisticated arms and various other means. This has enabled
them to strike and create terror among people at will. The criminal justice system was not designed to deal with such type of heinous crimes. In view of this situation it was felt necessary to enact legislation for the prevention of and for dealing with terrorist activities

In 2002 March session of the Indian parliament the Prevention Of Terrorist Activities Act was introduced and it had widespread opposition not even in the Indian parliament but throughout India especially with the human rights organization because they thought that the act violated most of the fundamental rights provided in the Indian constitution. The protagonists of the Act have, however, hailed the legislation on the ground that it has been effective in ensuring the speedy trial of those accused of indulging in or abetting terrorism. POTA is useful in stemming “state-sponsored cross-border terrorism”, as envisaged by the
then Home Minister L.K. Advani. The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA), was seen as a controversial piece of legislation ever since it was conceived as a weapon against terrorism.

What is terrorism?
The term “
terrorism” comes from the French word terrorisme, which is based on the Latin verb terrere (to cause to tremble). It dates back to 1795 when it was used to describe the actions of the Jacobin Club in their rule of post-Revolutionary France, the so-called “Reign of Terror“. Jacobins are rumored to have coined the term “terrorists” to refer to themselves. Terrorism refers to a strategy of using violence, social threats, or coordinated attacks, in order to generate fear, cause disruption, and
ultimately, brings about compliance with specified political, religious, or ideological demands. The European Union includes in its 2002 definition of “
terrorism” the aim of “destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country.” Terrorism is defined in the U.S. by the Code of Federal Bureau of Investigation as: “.the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The FBI further describes terrorism as either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base, and objectives of the terrorists.

Anti-Terrorist Laws in U.S.A. and Pakistan.
In Pakistan-
In 2002, ordinance was issued for the inclusion of military officers in the panel of judges to try
terrorist offences. This not only
undermines the independence of the judiciary but makes the anti-terror law in the country even more draconian Described as necessary that appropriate administrative and judicial measures
be adopted to fight a spate of terrorist activities and
commission of heinous offences in Pakistan these anti-terrorism laws opened the door to grave violations of human rights including the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the right to liberty and security and the right to fair trial. Inter alia, they provide for the creation of anti terrorist courts and give wide powers of arrest and interrogation to the police and army.
Amnesty International has criticized the legislation in its report,

Legalizing the Impermissible: the new anti-terrorism law. It is important to note that the existing legal and judicial system is already equipped to deal with offences referred to in the act. The problem then seems to be a lack of implementation, not a lack of laws. However, in an attempt to hide this inefficiency, Pakistan adopted the anti-terrorist acts which provide speedy trial without necessary guarantees for the accused, unfair trials and license to kill etc.

The right to shoot to kill 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act Under Section 5(2)(1): an officer of the police, armed forces and civil armed forces may: (i) after giving prior warning use such force as may be deemed necessary or appropriate, bearing in mind all the facts and circumstances of the situation, against any person who is committing, or in all probability is likely to commit a terrorist act or a scheduled offence, and it shall be lawful for any such officer, or any superior officer, to fire, or order the firing upon any person or persons against whom he is authorized to use force in terms hereof The enactment of broad provisions empowering summary executions is not the way a modern civilized state ought to act. Rather the government should set strict limits to the circumstances in which firearms could be used to prevent arbitrary killing by the security forces. The broad powers given to the police and consequently, to the military and civil armed forces contravene major international standards of human rights. Indemnity for acts done in good faith: Section 39 of the act says: No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this act.? This is tantamount to providing impunity to the security forces for abuses, including extra judicial killings. To explicitly place any acts of police or other law enforcement personnel, including possibly random resort to lethal force, outside scrutiny and accountability may give law enforcement personnel the impression that they may commit such acts with impunity if only they can claim to have done them in good faith. It breaches a basic requirement of the rule of law, namely its equal and exception less application to everyone. Confessions to police made admissible in court: The provision in the act in section 26 which says: The special court may, for admission of the confession in evidence, require the police officer to produce a video
tape together with the devices used for recording the confession
.

Article 14(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan prohibits the use of torture, though only in the limited context of extraction of confessions: No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence. However, Pakistani law enforcement officials, to extract confessions from the accused, routinely use torture. Lending greater legal weight to confessions and putting pressure on police to speedily resolve crime may indirectly contribute to the continued and perhaps increased use of torture.

The right to be tried in a public place without prejudice to the defendant: Section 15 of the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act states, The
government may direct that for the trial of a particular case, the court shall sit at such place including the place of occurrence as it may specify.
This is intended to expose the defendant to public expressions of outrage, anger or even violence for his deeds, to humiliate him and to deter others by the specter of public exposure; it does not appear to serve the purpose of helping the judiciary establish the truth and do justice in a detached circumspect manner and in calm circumstances. The right to be presumed innocent: The act lays down that only special courts may grant bail to people tried for offences under the act but they may not release a defendant on bail if there are reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of the offence with which he has been charged and unless the prosecution has been given an opportunity to ?show cause why he should not be released. This gives the prosecution the right to veto to deny bail.

The right to appeal: Section 31 of the act reads: A judgment or order passed, or sentence awarded, by a special court, subject to the result of an appeal under this act shall be final and shall not be called in question by any court. The possibility of the defendant to appeal to a court in the regular judicial system, either to the provincial high court or the Supreme Court of Pakistan is therefore excluded. People convicted and sentenced by the special courts are clearly disadvantaged in so far as their legal remedies are restricted: they have only one possibility of appeal, whereas people convicted by regular courts may
also appeal to the Supreme Court. This provision violates the principle of equality before law laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan. It is one of the fundamental principles of international human rights law. Moreover, the right to appeal is restricted in so far as it is subject to severe time limitations. The defendant may not in seven days be able to present an adequate appeal while the prosecution has 15 days for the appeal.

Moreover, the right to appeal of those facing the death penalty also appears to be seriously infringed under the act. Death penalty: Under Section 7(1) of the 1999 Amended Anti-terrorism Act, for terrorist acts resulting in death, courts have to mandatory impose the death penalty. This does not give any discretion to the judiciary. Section 22 of the 1997 Anti Terrorism Act, The government may specify the manner, mode and place of execution of any sentence passed under this act, having regard to the deterrent effect which such execution is likely to have?. Section 22 opens the possibility for public executions
of the death penalty,

In U.S.A.-
Since its passage following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Patriot Act has played a key part and often the leading role in a number of successful operations to protect innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists dedicated to destroying America and our way of life. While the results have been important, in passing The Patriot Act, Congress provided for only modest, incremental changes in the law. Congress simply took existing legal principles and retrofitted them to preserve the lives and liberty of the American people from the challenges posed by a global terrorist network. Congress passed the
USA PATRIOT Act in response to the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001. The Act gives federal officials greater authority to track and intercept communications, both for law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering purposes. It vests the
Secretary of the Treasury with regulatory powers to combat corruption of U.S. financial institutions for foreign money laundering purposes. It seeks to further close our borders to foreign terrorists and to detain and remove those within our borders. It creates new crimes, new penalties, and new procedural efficiencies for use against domestic and international terrorists. Although it is not without safeguards, critics contend some of its provisions go too far. Although it grants many of the enhancements sought by the Department of Justice, others are concerned that it does not go far enough.

Criminal Investigations: Tracking and Gathering Communications-Federal communications privacy law features a three tiered system, erected for the dual purpose of protecting the confidentiality of private telephone, face-to-face, and computer communications while enabling authorities to identify and intercept criminal communications. The Crime Control and
Safe Streets Act of 1968 s give authorities a narrowly defined process for electronic surveillance to be used as a last resort in serious criminal cases. When approved by senior Justice Department officials, law enforcement officers may seek a court order authorizing them to secretly capture conversations concerning any of a statutory list of offenses.

Foreign Intelligence Investigations- The Act eases some of the restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States, and affords the U.S. intelligence community greater access to information unearthed during a criminal investigation, but it also establishes and expands safeguards against official abuse. More specifically, it: permits roving surveillance (court orders omitting the identification of the particular instrument, facilities, or place where the surveillance is to occur when the court finds the target is likely to thwart identification with particularity).

Alien Terrorists and Victims- The Act contains a number of provisions designed to prevent alien terrorists from entering the United States, particularly from Canada; to enable authorities to detain and deport alien terrorists and those who support them; and to provide humanitarian immigration relief for foreign victims of the attacks on September 11.

New crimes: The Act creates new federal crimes for terrorist attacks on mass transportation facilities, for biological weapons offenses, for harboring terrorists, for affording terrorists material support, for misconduct associated with money laundering already mentioned, for conducting the affairs of an enterprise which affects interstate or foreign commerce through the patterned commission of terrorist offenses, and for fraudulent charitable solicitation. Although strictly speaking these are new federal crimes, they generally supplement existing law by filling gaps and increasing penalties.

New Penalties: The Act increases the penalties for acts of terrorism and for crimes, which terrorists might commit. More specifically it establishes an alternative maximum penalty for acts of terrorism, raises the penalties for conspiracy to commit certain terrorist offenses, envisions sentencing some terrorists to life-long parole, and increases the penalties for counterfeiting, cyber-crime, and charity fraud.

Other Procedural Adjustments: In other procedural adjustments designed to facilitate criminal investigations, the Act: increases the rewards for information in terrorism cases; authorizes ?sneak and peek? search warrants; permits nationwide and perhaps worldwide execution of warrants in terrorism cases; eases government access to confidential information;
allows the Attorney General to collect DNA samples from prisoners convicted of any federal crime of violence or terrorism; lengthens the statute of limitations applicable to crimes of terrorism; clarifies the application of federal criminal law on American installations and in residences of U.S. government personnel overseas; and adjust federal victims? compensation and assistance programs.

History of anti-terrorism laws in India.
Terrorism has immensely affected India. The reasons for terrorism in India may vary vastly from religious to geographical to caste to history. The Indian Supreme Court took a note of it in
Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab [1994] 3 SCC 569, where it observed that the country has been in the firm grip of spiraling terrorist violence and is caught between deadly pangs of disruptive activities. Apart from many skirmishes in various parts of the country, there were countless serious and horrendous events engulfing many cities with blood-bath, firing, looting, mad killing even without sparing women and children and
reducing those areas into a graveyard, which brutal atrocities have rocked and shocked the whole nation Deplorably, determined youths lured by hard-core criminals and underground extremists and attracted by the ideology of terrorism are indulging in committing serious crimes against the humanity.

Anti-terrorism laws in India have always been a subject of much controversy. One of the arguments is that these laws stand in the way of fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution. The anti-terrorist laws have been enacted before by the legislature and upheld by the judiciary though not without reluctance. The intention was to enact these statutes and bring them in force till the situation improves. The intention was not to make these drastic measures a permanent feature of law of the land. But because of continuing terrorist activities, the statutes have been reintroduced with requisite modifications.

At present, the legislations in force to check terrorism in India are the National Security Act, 1980 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. There have been other anti-terrorism laws in force in this country a different points in time. Earlier, the following laws had been in force to counter and curb terrorism. The first law made in independent India to deal with terrorism and terrorist activities that came into force on 30 Dec 1967 was

– The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967
The UAPA was designed to deal with associations and activities that questioned the territorial integrity of India. When the Bill was debated in Parliament, leaders, and cutting across party affiliation, insisted that its ambit be so limited that the right to association remained unaffected and that the executive did not expose political parties to intrusion. So, the ambit of the Act was strictly limited to meeting the challenge to the territorial integrity of India. The Act was a self-contained code of provisions for declaring secessionist associations as unlawful, adjudication by a tribunal, control of funds and places of work of unlawful associations, penalties for their members etc. The Act has all along been worked holistically as such and is completely within the purview of the central list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

– Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA)
The second major act came into force on 3 September 1987 was The Terrorist & Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987 this act had much more stringent provisions then the UAPA and it was specifically designed to deal with terrorist activities in India. When TADA was enacted it came to be challenged before the Apex Court of the country as being unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of India upheld its constitutional validity on the assumption that those entrusted with such draconic statutory powers would act in good faith and for the public good in the case of
Kartar Singh vs State of Punjab (1994) 3 SCC 569.
However, there were many instances of misuse of power for collateral purposes. The rigorous provisions contained in the statute came to be abused in the hands of law enforcement officials. TADA lapsed in 1995. Other major Anti-terrorist law in India is The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 which was enforced on 24th April 1999. This law was specifically made to deal with rising organized crime in Maharashtra and specially in Mumbai due to the underworld. For instance, the definition of a terrorist act is far more stretchable in MCOCA than under POTA. For, POTA did not take note of organised crime as such while MCOCA not only mentions that but, what is more, includes `promotion of insurgency’ as a terrorist act. Again, the onus to prove a person guilty under POTA lies on the prosecution while under the Maharashtra law a
person is presumed guilty unless he is able to prove his innocence. MCOCA does not stipulate prosecution of police officers found guilty of its misuse. But POTA did.

The need of POTA.
It is normally said that terrorism is a low intensity war. But the loss, which our country has suffered in the last two decades due to the rise of terrorist activities, has been on a very large scale. This country has fought four high intensity wars and in those wars we have lost more then 6000 people. We have already lost more then 70000 civilians. In addition, we have lost more then 9000 security personnel. Almost six lakh people in this country have become homeless as a result of terrorism. Outside the expenditure on our armed forces, merely for maintaining the entire set up to fight insurgency, to fight cross-border terrorism, the economic cost itself has been Rs 45000 crore. The budgetary increase itself in the last 15 years, because of terrorism or anti-insurgency activities, has been 26 times. We have no record of the explosives that have been used in various parts of the country. We have a record of crime. But the explosives that have been confiscated by our security agencies weigh 48000 kilos. If our security forces had not been vigilant enough to confiscate these explosives, they would probably have been enough to take care of every inch of Indian soil.

What are the regions that are affected: It is not only Kashmir; Punjab too has suffered. Also Mumbai, Delhi and other regions of the country like the North East. Development has suffered, the economy has suffered. You have now a brand of Maoist terrorism; People’s War Group and other groups. A large part of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand right up to the Nepal border is affected. We had insurgency and terrorism in Tamil Nadu. We lost two of our former
prime ministers to this kind of terrorism.

In terms of our sovereignty, unity and integrity and our feeling of nationalism, terrorism strikes at each one of them. This is the enormity of the problem that we are addressing. But it is also said that our criminal law systems have broken down; it seems to be a sad fact to accept. Are we aware of the conviction rate under the so-called ordinary laws- At times we try and conceal the figures and say that in India the conviction rate is 40%. But that 40% is actually a camouflage because every time there is a challan and somebody pays Rs 100 as fine, it is recorded as a conviction. Every time somebody feels guilty and pays a
fine under company law, we take it as a conviction and then claim that the conviction rate is 40%. In heinous crimes like murder, the conviction rate under the so-called normal processes has come down to 6.5%. There are several reasons for this. One is that when we deal with hardened criminals, some of our old notions of criminal law have to change. It is a sad reality that crime in India has become a low risk business. It is a high profit business with a 93% probability that you can commit a hard crime and get away with it.

So it becomes very necessary in a country like India that if a law regarding terrorism is enacted it should be made so stringent that the culprit be bought to book and does not go scot-free just because of the loopholes and lacunaes in the ordinary law because when our neighboring nation Pakistan which is the cause of perpetrating terrorism in India and can have such stringent laws why can not we have such laws.

Analysis of some important sections of Pota-
In the case of
People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India (UOI) (2004) 9 SCC 580 the constitutional validity of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 was discussed. The court said that the Parliament possesses power under Article 248 and entry 97 of list I of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India to legislate the Act. Need for the Act is a matter of policy and the court cannot go into the same. Once legislation is passed, the Govt. has an obligation to exercise all available options to prevent terrorism within the bounds of the constitution. Mere possibility of abuse cannot be a ground for denying the vesting of powers or for declaring a statute unconstitutionally. Court upheld the constitutional validity of the various provisions of the Act.

1.Section 3(a) Defining terrorist act- Whoever with the intent of threatening the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India or strike terror in the minds of people or any section of the people does any act or thing by using dynamite or explosive substances or inflammable substance or firearms or other lethal weapon or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemical or any substance of a hazardous nature in such a manner as to cause death or injuries to any person or loss or damage to property or disruption of any supplies or services essential for life.

Case Law- Devender Pal Singh Vs. State of N.C.T. of Delhi 2002 (1) SC (Cr.) 209 In a case where 9 person had died and several other injured on account of perpetrated acts The court said that such terrorist who have no respect for human life and people are killed due to there mindless killing. So any compassion to such person would frustrate the purpose of enactment of Tada and would amount to misplaced and unwarranted sympathy. Thus they should be given death sentence.

Argument against- trade union activity would be affected because whoever disrupts essential supplies would be covered under POTA.Argument in favor- at least our trade union leaders are nationalist leaders. Nobody has ever suggested that when our trade union leaders go on strike, they threaten the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India.

2. Section 4 Possession of certain unauthorized arms– Where any person is in unauthorized possession of any- bombs, dynamite or hazardous explosive substance or other lethal weapons capable of mass destruction or biological or chemical substances of warfare in any area, whether notified or not.

Case Law- Sanjay Duttt Vs. State through C.B.I 1994 SCC 410 The expression possession though that of section 5 of Tada has been stated to mean a conscious possession introducing thereby involvement of a mental element i.e. conscious possession & not mere custody without awareness of nature of such possession and as regards unauthorized means and regards without any authority of law.

Argument against – That an offence coming under the Arms Act has been brought under POTA, irrespective of whether a person carrying such arms has any nexus with a terrorist.

Argument in favour – Firstly the section clearly says that any person who has unauthorized possession of arms that is does not possess a proper license for the arms. This section is only making the law stringent by stating that anybody who possesses arms should also possess proper license from the proper authority.

Secondly it also states weapons should be capable of mass destruction or biological or chemical substances of warfare so why would any person without any reason possess such kind of weapons and that to unauthorized

3. Section 7 Powers of investigating officers – If any officer (not below the rank of SP) investigating an offence committed under this act, has reason to believe that any property in relation to which an investigation is being conducted represents proceeds of terrorism he shall with prior approval in writing from Director General of Police of which the property is situated can make an order to seize or attach such property.

Argument against – The petition articulates the fear that permitting a police officer to act on the basis of his belief will be “draconian and unguided.

Argument in favour – Case Law – T.T. Anthony Vs. State of Kerala 2001 Cri LJ 3329 This plenary power of police to investigate a cognizable offence is not unlimited. It is subject to certain limitations such as if no cognizable offence is disclosed & still more if no offence of any kind is disclosed the police would have no authority to undertake an investigation.

4. Section 21 Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation-
(1) A person commits an offence if
(a) He invites support for a terrorist organization , and
(b) The support is not , or is not restricted to, the provisions of money or other property

(2) A person commits an offence if he arranges, manages or assists in managing or arranging a meeting which he knows is-
(a) to support a terrorist organization, or
(b) to further the activities of a terrorist organization , or
(c) to be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to a terrorist organization.

(3) A person commits an offence if he addresses a meeting for the purpose of arranging support for a terrorist organization or to further its activities.

Case Law – Vaiko’s Case One of the petitions in this regard admitted by the Supreme Court has been filed by Vaiko, the general secretary of the (MDMK), a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. Vaiko had defended POTA in Parliament during the debate on it. Therefore his petition challenging the validity of Section 21 of the Act
assumes particular significance. Under this Section, a person commits an offence if he invites support for a terrorist organisation, and even if the support is not confined to the provision of money or other property. He is guilty if he arranges or addresses a meeting which he knows is meant to support a terrorist organization or to further its activities. Vaiko was arrested under this Section on the basis of certain remarks saying that “
I was a supporter of LTTE once. I was a supporter of LTTE
yesterday; I am a supporter of LTTE today and I will be a supporter of LTTE tomorrow.
” Then, he asked his audience whether the LTTE had engaged in terrorism for the sake of violence or had taken up arms to suppress a culture. Mr. Vaiko, was in detention for 17 months, did not choose to seek bail on a matter of principle.

When we looked at various chapters internationally, it was found that as far as membership of a terrorist group is concerned, the British law has an exclusive chapter on banning terrorist organizations. After banning a terrorist organization, membership of a terrorist organisation, ipso facto, becomes a punishable act.

5. Section 22- Fund raising for a terrorist organization to be an offence-
(1) Whoever commits an offence if he-
(a) invites, receives or provides money or other property
(b) intends that it should be used, or has reasonable cause to suspect that it may be used, for the purposes of terrorism.
The second component that was not there in TADA is, if you try and earn money through a crime, that is, through terrorism, there are two offences which flow out of that. Whoever funds terrorism is also held guilty. By funding terrorism you are abetting terrorism. You are giving resources to terrorism. The old terrorist laws the world over never had a chapter on funding of terrorists. But now you must create a fear and scare in the minds of those who fund terrorists.

What you earn out of crime is not your private property, it is against public interest and must belong to the state. The UN passed a draft Money Laundering Bill which all of us have been debating. The whole concept of money laundering is that profits out of crime must be confiscated because they cannot belong to an individual. Is it the argument today that since India is now to have a provision where profits from terrorism will be confiscated, it is a draconian provision.

6. Section 27 Powers to direct for samples, etc.- when a police officer investigating a case requests a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to obtain hand writing, footprints, photographs, blood, saliva, semen, hair, voice of any accused person reasonably suspected to be involved in the commission of this act it will be lawful for the judge to give such orders as the case may be. If any accused person refuses to give such samples the court shall draw adverse inference against the accused. Case Law – S. Srinivasa Vs. M/s Deccan Petroleum Ltd. 2001 Cri LJ 659 The court said where the order of refusal to issue summons for production of document was prejudicial to accused then such order is not sustainable. The most important part of the section says that the power to take samples is not given to the police authorities but when a police officer
investigating a case requests a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to obtain samples of any accused person reasonably suspected to be involved in the commission of this act and then if only the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate gives the order to obtain such samples its only then he can force the accused to give such samples. If any accused person refuses to give such samples the court shall only then draw adverse inference against the accused.

7.Section 32 Certain confessions made to police officers taken into consideration – A confession made by a person before a police officer not lower in rank than a S.P. and recorded by him out of which sound or images could be reproduced shall be admissible in trial of such person for the offence under this act. Case Law – Devender Pal Singh Vs. State of N.C.T. of Delhi 2002 (1) SC (Cr.) 209 The court said that it is entirely to the court trying the offence to decide the question of admissibility or reliability of a confession in its judicial wisdom strictly adhering to law it must while so deciding the question should satisfy itself that there was no trap. No track and no importance seeking evidence during the custodial interrogations and all the conditions recquired are fulfilled. If the court is satisfied then the confessional statement will be a part of the statement.

Confessions could be made admissible evidence. In respect of confessions, we have given the facility of video recording. After that, within 48 hours, the person should be produced before a magistrate. The magistrate will ask whether it was voluntary or not. If the accused says that it was not voluntary, that he had been assaulted and coerced, the magistrate will have a medical examination done. So, a safeguard has been put in.

State (N.C.T. of Delhi) Vs. Navjot Sandhu @ Afsan Guru (2005) 11 SCC 600 this was an appeal against convictions in view of attacks made on parliament. The matter was relating to admissibility and evidentiary value of evidence that retracted confessions cannot be acted upon by Court unless it is voluntary and can be corroborated by other evidence. Confession of accused can be used against co-accused only if there is sufficient evidence pointing to his guilt confession made under POTA cannot be used against co-accused as POTA operates independently of Indian Evidence Act and Indian Penal Code. Section 10 of Evidence Act has no applicability as confessionary statement has not been relied on for rendering conviction.

Admissibility of intercepted phone calls, intercepted phone calls are admissible piece of evidence under ordinary laws even though provisions of POTA cannot be invoked as it presupposes investigation to be set in motion on date of its interception. Impact of procedural safeguards under POTA on confession. Confession made involuntary is inadmissible evidence. If procedural safeguards have not been complied it will affect admissibility and evidentiary value of evidence being proved all charges beyond reasonable doubt convictions were upheld.

8. Section 45 Admissibility of evidence collected through the interception of communication (1) Notwithstanding anything in the code or in any other law for the time being in force the evidence collected through the interception of wire, electeronic or oral communication shall be admissible as evidence against the accused in the court during the trial of a case.

It is said that TADA was misused. Probably it was misused. I would like to point out that one of the great weaknesses in TADA a structural defect was its dependence on witnesses; eyewitnesses and humble citizens appearing against terrorist groups. Anybody from Punjab, Mumbai or Kashmir will testify that the average citizen is scared of coming and honestly deposing before these institutions. This is a threat that the witnesses face against terrorist acts. So how can a normal person be able to give a statement before the court

So there is a need bring in a provision that when terrorist gangs communicate with each other, intercepts of their communication should be allowed and these intercepts should become admissible evidence in court. So, when you arrest terrorists, you do not need a humble citizen to come and give evidence against them. You produce the recording of that
intercept. At that moment, it becomes admissible evidence. Under normal law it is not admissible evidence. We examined the suggestion and accepted it. One of the strengths of this law is actually on the question of intercepts becoming admissible evidence. It is one reason why in Maharashtra, the conviction rate has reached 75% plus under MOCA.

9. Bail provision This language of a bail provision, the CrPC normal bail provisions, will not apply: ?That no person will be released on bail unless the public prosecutor has an opportunity or where he opposes the application, there is a reasonable opportunity of believing that the person is innocent and shall not commit an offence. This was the language under TADA.

The language was diluted under POTA.10. Action against police officer .There is a provision that in case any police officer misuses this law for his own personal purposes or for collateral reasons, he will be prosecuted under POTA itself. Several safeguards have been incorporated in the Act to minimize the possibility of its misuse. Some of the main safeguards are as follows:
(i) Investigation of an offence under the Act is to be done by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.
(ii) No court can take cognizance of an offence under the Act unless sanction of the State.
(iii) The Act provides safeguards against abuse of the provision relating to admissibility of confession made before a police officer.
(iv) Intimation of arrest of the accused will have to be provided to a family member immediately after arrest and this fact is to be recorded by the police officer.
(v) Provision for prosecution of police officers for malafide actions under the Act and compensation to affected persons in such cases.

The State Government/UT Administrations were advised to ensure that the provisions of this law are used only against the terrorists and not against the innocent. They were also advised to sensitize the police officers and others concerned with the implementation of POTA on the need to ensure its fair and transparent operation and to also install a mechanism to oversee the implementation of the Act.

MCOCA does not stipulate prosecution of police officers found guilty of its misuse. But POTA did. Under POTA a police officer found guilty of malafide action could be jailed for up to two years but MCOCA offers no such protection. Finally the law extended to the state of J&K unlike other laws.

Consequences of repeal of POTA-
Finally on September 17, 2004 the Union Cabinet in keeping with the UPA government’s Common Minimum Programme, approved ordinances to repeal the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 and amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. By the promulgation of 1.Ordinance No.1 of 2004, it repealed POTA, a law specially designed to
deal with the menace of terrorism with its repeal, the state apparatus combating terrorism has been debilitated.

2. By Ordinance No 2 promulgated on the same day, virtually all the penal provisions of Pota concerning terrorist organisations and activities were transferred to the pre-existing milder sounding Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). By Ordinance No 2, the definition of unlawful association has been expanded to also include any association which has for its object any activity which is punishable under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, or which encourages or aids persons to undertake any such activity, or of which the members undertake any such activity. Section 153A is about promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.

3. There would be no arrests made after the ordinance is promulgated.

4. Among the special provisions dropped are those restricting release on bail and allowing longer periods of police remand for the accused. Now suspected terrorists may roam free under the bail a rule, jail an exception dictum. The police will not get sufficient time to interrogate the accused to investigate the cases which, by their very nature, are complex. In Pota, as in Tada earlier, confessions made before a police officer of the rank of superintendent were admitted as evidence.

5. All terrorist organizations banned under POTA would continue to remain banned, under the Unlawful Activities Act, after the repeal of the Act.

6. Some of the clauses contained in POTA, which will be completely dropped in the amended Unlawful Activities Act, are: the onus on the accused to prove his innocence, compulsory denial of bail to accused and admission as evidence in the court of law the confession made by the accused before the police officer.

7. In another major departure from Pota, the government has removed all traces of strict liability. Meaning, the burden of proof has shifted from the accused to the police. There is no presumption of guilt under UAPA. Like under any other ordinary criminal law, the police will have to establish that the accused person had a criminal intention for committing the offence in question.

8. But beware, these concessions from the internal security establishment have not come without a price. As reported recently in the Indian Express, UAPA is more draconian than Pota when it comes to the admissibility in evidence of telephone and e-mail intercepts. The police can now produce intercepts in the court without abiding by any of the elaborate safeguards provided by the repealed law. Thus, if the police cannot anymore extract a confession in custody, they have been given
more scope than before to plant evidence in the form of interceptions.

9. Another glaring shortcoming in the new law pertains to the dichotomy in the provision for banning terrorist organisations and unlawful organisations. UAPA was originally meant only for banning unlawful organisations. Now it has a separate chapter for banning terrorist organisations as well. Thus, the procedures prescribed by the same law for the two kinds of bans are different. But the problem is that the procedure for banning a group on the charge of terrorism is easier than to ban it on the milder charge of unlawful activities. The government cannot, for instance, ban any group for unlawful activities without
having its decision ratified within six months by a judicial tribunal headed by a sitting high court judge. There is no such requirement if the ban is on the charge of terrorism. This anomaly has arisen because of the strategy adopted by the UPA government to
hide special provisions in an ordinary law.

So what remains on the statute books- The UAPA was designed to deal with associations and activities that questioned the territorial integrity of India. When the Bill was debated in Parliament, leaders, cutting across party affiliation, insisted that its ambit be so limited that the right to association remained unaffected and that political parties were not exposed to intrusion by the executive. So, the ambit of the Act was strictly limited to meeting the challenge to the territorial integrity of India.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004
It would however be simplistic to suggest, as some critics did, that the new law has retained all
the operational teeth of Pota or it has made only cosmetic changes. The difference between Pota and UAPA is substantial even as a lot of provisions are in common.

A brief outline of the amended act:
The Act does not define the word
terrorist in its definition clause but defines a terrorist act. The word terrorist is to be construed according the definition of the terrorist act. Terrorist act is defined in the Act as – Whoever, with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country, does any act by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisons or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological or otherwise) of a hazardous nature, in such a manner as to cause, or likely to cause, death of, or injuries to any person or persons or loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property or disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country or causes damage or destruction of any property or equipment used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies, or detains any person and threatens to kill or injure such person in order to compel the Government in India or the Government of a foreign country or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act, commits a terrorist act (Section 15).The above definition did not exist in the 1967 Act. The previous Act only defined and dealt with unlawful activity. An unlawful activity includes an activity which intends to bring about cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union, or which incites any individual or group of individuals to bring about such cession or secession; or which disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, or which causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India Section 2(o).

Whether an association is unlawful is to be declared by the Central government by giving the grounds for such a declaration. Section 3 Thereafter; it is referred to the Tribunal Section 4. A notice is issued by the Tribunal to the association concerned to show cause why it should not be declared unlawful. To ascertain whether there is sufficient cause for declaring the association unlawful.

For taking cognizance of any offence under this Act prior sanction of the Central or the State government, as the case may be, is necessary. Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, is made applicable in matters of arrest, bail, confessions and burden of proof. Those arrested are to be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours, confessions are no longer admissible before police officers and bail need not be denied for the first three months. The presumption of innocence leaving the burden of
proof on the prosecution has also been restored.

The evidence collected through interception of wireless, electronic or oral communication under the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act or the Information Technology Act or any law being in force has been made admissible as evidence against the accused in the court Section 46.The amended Act provides for following penalties: Offence Includes Penalty

Being a member of an unlawful association A person who is and continues to be a member of such association, takes part in meetings, contributes to, or receives or solicits any contribution for the purposes of the association or in any way assists the operations of such association. If such person is in possession of unlicensed firearms, ammunition, explosive, etc, capable of causing mass destruction and commits any act resulting in loss of human life or grievous injury to any person or causes significant damage to any property, and if such act has resulted in the death of any person. In any other case Imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and fine.

Death or imprisonment for life.
Imprisonment for not less than five years. Dealing with funds of an unlawful association Includes an association declared unlawful by the central government. Such association is prohibited from dealing in any manner with moneys, securities or credits pays. Imprisonment upto three years, or fine, or both. Contravention of an order made in respect of a notified place Includes use of articles for unlawful activities found in a notified place (i.e. a place used for unlawful association and so notified by the central government). Imprisonment upto one year. Unlawful activities Includes taking part in or committing an unlawful act, advocating, abetting, advising or inciting the commission of any unlawful activity. Assisting an unlawful organization in its activities. A term of seven years and fine.

Imprisonment upto five years or fine, or both. The amended law now contains new provisions dealing with terrorist acts,
the offences and their punishments. Chapter IV, sections 15-22. The following table summarises these provisions:
Offence Punishment Terrorist act Resulting in death of any person In any other case Death or imprisonment for life.
A term for not less than five years.

Raising funds for a terrorist act Term not less than five years. Conspiracy Term not less than five years. Harbouring Imprisonment for not less than three years. Being a member of a terrorist organization The term may extend upto
imprisonment for life.

Holding proceeds of terrorism May extend to imprisonment for life. Threatening witnesses Imprisonment upto three years.
There is a provision in the Act which provides for enhanced penalties. Any person aiding a terrorist or acting in contravention to Explosives Act, 1884, the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 or the Inflammable Substances Act, 1952 or the Arms Act, 1959, or has unauthorized possession of bombs, explosives, etc, will be punished with a term not less than three years and may extend for life (Section 23). The Act also gives power to the Central and the State Governments, as the case may be, to forfeiture the proceeds of terrorism. The investigating officer is empowered to seize the concerned property with the prior approval of the Director General of the police of the State (Section 24 and 25). Cash (including monetary instruments) can also be seized if it is intended to be used for purposes of terrorism. The Court confirms the seized property and orders its forfeiture Section 26. An appeal to the High Court against the forfeiture is allowed within one month from the date of receipt of such order.

Chapter VI of the amended Act gives power to the Central government under section 35 to add or remove an organization in the schedule as a terrorist organization. Under section 36, an application can also be made to remove an organization from the schedule. Such an application can be made by an organization or any affected person. The offences and penalties under this chapter as given below:
Offences Punishment
Membership of a terrorist organization (S. 38) Imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Supporting a terrorist organization (S. 39) Imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Raising funds for terrorist organization (S. 40) A term not exceeding fourteen years.

The Act also provides for protection of witnesses under section 44 such as keeping the their identities secret even in orders, judgments and records of the Court, issuing directions to secure the identity of the witnesses and by imposing punishment for contravention of any such directions.

Conclusion
Various suspicion and voices have been raised by people NGO’s under the pretext of constitution, constitutional provisions, and equality before law and civil rights. All these organizations must keep in mind that provisions are there in the constitution where reasonable restrictions can be enforced even upon the liberty of people and in view of the increasing terrorist activities in the nation more particularly in view of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center which killed more then 3000 people and 13 December attack on the Indian Parliament and large number of terrorist activities not only in J&K, N.E., A.P., and other
areas of our country need for promulgation of POTA type legislation becomes the need of the hour. However there are numerous safeguards to prevent the abuse of above legislation by unscrupulous investigating officers, which are being ignored by various organization professing the repeal of such law. The attention of those who are against this legislation is invited to object and reason for which POTA was enacted. The repeal of Pota is just party politics to gain for their party’s vote bank. If you do not give to your security forces and investigative forces the legal power, human rights violations will be much worse. Therefore, if you want, out of concern for human rights, the powers not to be misused, you cannot sustain a situation where you do not give powers to the police but put pressure on it to deliver. You will have a situation of anarchy.

Therefore, let us all understand the problem we are now dealing with. And this problem requires various kinds of provisions. Legitimate power has to be given because this is an extraordinary situation. Extraordinary situations require extraordinary remedies. Please do not advise us to use velvet gloves. Terrorism has several consequences that have to be faced in the context of a growing threat to the country. References have repeatedly been made to laws in other countries. It is very dangerous to quote selectively. Let us not selectively take our lessons from America. With all due respects to those great countries, when 3,000 people sadly died in the World Trade Centre, the US president said that a war had been launched on America. When 61,000 people and 8,000 security persons have died here, we are advised to show restraint. We are advised that this is the remedy; that we should deal with it under the normal procedure. Learning from this experience, I would urge
the people who are opposing this law to once again reconsider their stand because posterity eventually will decide that this country, for its integrity, sovereignty and unity certainly needs this law. Quite clearly, there is a crying need to fight the menace of terrorism unitedly. Partisanship of any sort in dealing with the ISI-sponsored terror attacks in India should be abandoned forthwith. Today terrorism has reached the heart of India in New Delhi’s Parliament House. And to suggest that preventive detention laws without any safeguards whatsoever against their misuse were required in those relatively peaceful times in
the Seventies and Eighties but are not required now, even with safeguards against their misuse, is to betray a sickening streak of partisanship.

To the extent it detracts from presenting a united front against terrorists, the governments myopic stand on POTO and MCOCA in Delhi represents a greater threat to national unity than even the threat of the ISI-sponsored terror. So it becomes very necessary in a country like India that if a law regarding terrorism is enacted it should be made so stringent that the culprit be bought to book and does not go scot-free just because of the loopholes and lacunae’s in the ordinary law because
when our neighboring nation Pakistan which is the cause of perpetrating terrorism in India can have such stringent laws then why can not we have such laws. Indian law as it stands today has come around in strange circumstances as the earlier legislation was found capable of being misuse. This law is less harsh than the previous anti-terrorism laws in India and is not equipped by way of express provision for discretion to deal with a vast variety of terrorist activity or other activities connected with perpetration of terrorism. Therefore I am of the considered opinion that the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act should be brought back for curbing terrorism and such like activities with a strong arm, which may help in preventing and deterring such activities.





Azadi not viable for Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

7 09 2008

Source: Rediff.com

September 07, 2008 16:26 IST
Independence or accession to Pakistan is not a viable option for the people of Kashmir, says National Conference chief Omar Abdullah while noting that essentially a political solution needs to be worked out for the ills plaguing Jammu and Kashmir [Images].

“I do not believe that independence for Kashmir is a feasible or a viable option and I stand by that,” he told Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate programme.

Abdullah also felt that India “flunked a single window system” opportunity under then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [Images] to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Asked if he was prepared to voice his stand on the issue of independence in Srinagar [Images], which recently witnessed protests with people shouting slogans for azadi, he said: “Be that as it may, it’s not my job to follow popular mood. It’s my job to tell the people what I believe is in their interest and I sincerely believe that it is not in their interest. It is not a viable alternative to suggest azadi or even accession to Pakistan,” the NC leader said.

He said “I believe that you can give Kashmir independence but you cannot give Kashmir freedom under the circumstances that prevail within the subcontinent –India, Pakistan and China. Even if India and Pakistan were somehow to decide to give the state independence, it will never be really free.”

On the problems facing Kashmir, Abdullah said the Valley needed political handling and not economic reconstruction packages and confidence-building measures.

Noting that he has been voicing his view that Kashmir is essentially a political issue in various forums including the Prime Ministers round table conferences, Abdullah said, “It needs political handling. Its not good enough that you give a Rs 24,000 crore economic reconstruction package or you announce all sorts of confidence-building measures. Its essentially about the political solution that you need to work out there.”

Backing the recent agreement between Jammu and Kashmir government and Shri Amarnath Yatra [Images] Sangharsh Samiti, he said, “the bottom line for me is that if you dont agree with this agreement you might also turn around and say that you are against the yatra because there is nothing in this that should give anybody a cause for concern.”

On if India had lost a chance to sort out the Kashmir issue in 2005-2006 with Musharaff, Abdullah told Thapar that the former Pakistani military ruler was a “single window system” and India flunked this opportunity.”We lost it. Its gone. Musharaff was a single window system so to speak, that we had to deal with in Pakistan. That window has gone. We flunked it. All of us, we all played a part in it….Well we are living to rue it now. Had we worked out a solution with Pakistan in 20062007, we wouldn’t (have) seen Kashmir inflamed in 2008,” he said.

Asked if he agrees with National Security Advisor M K Narayanan’s view that the Kashmir situation was not as bad as in the 1990s, Abdullah said,”Its bad. The difference between now and 1990s is that there are no guns and to that extent yes, the NSA is right when he says its not as bad as 1990 because in 1990 people like myself, my party colleagues, we were all fleeing.But I think he is being a little careful in assessing the actual mood of the people because the size of the protests that you saw in Kashmir, I think should give him more cause for concern than he is publicly stating,” he said.

The NC chief also claimed that the recent protests in the Valley were spontaneous and that there was no Pakistani involvement in them.

Replying to questions on assembly polls in Kashmir keeping in view the present situation, Abdullah said they were possible by January next year, the due date.





Kashmiri separatists are isolated from reality Colonel Dr Anil A Athale (retd)

2 09 2008

source: Rediff.com

Colonel Dr Anil A Athale (retd)
September 02, 2008

The second part of Colonel Athale’s analysis of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir [Images]

Part I: Why Kashmir is up in flames

In a television debate, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah mocked a Jammu Muslim who supported the agitation. Little does he or others realise that the Muslims of Jammu have also suffered from the stupid government policy of appeasing the separatists and kicking the nationalists. Just one example should suffice. School teachers’ jobs in even remote Jammu regions go to Kashmiris from the valley. The teachers so appointed (at a good salary) are absent most of the time except on the first every month to collect their salary. The education levels among Jammu’s Muslims are abysmal. In a tehsil of Mendhar in Poonch district, for example, there is not a single graduate!

In Rajouri division, when I led a team of scientists ten years ago (in an attempt at bringing in horticulture technology to J&K to better people’s life), we were aghast to see a soil testing laboratory that had a clean look about it — all the equipment for soil testing was never used! This is the legacy of valley appeasement that the Jammu people revolted against.

The Hurriyat and other separatists, marginalised by the peace process, jumped into the fray, cried wolf and went back to the bad old days of shutdowns and marches to the United Nations office in Srinagar [Images]. A new innovation this time round was a call to march to and a threat to take their fruits to Pakistan. In a reversal of fortune the slogan of ‘Azadi’ (freedom) was replaced by the cry for merger with Pakistan.

Root causes of current unrest in Kashmir

The root cause of the present trouble in the valley is the fact that beginning in the 1980s the Sufi tradition of Kashmir has been on the retreat and in its place the virulent Waahabi/Deobandi Islam has become the dominant creed. Saudi money, the influx of mullahs from UP have dealt a death blow to the Kashmiriyat that took pride in tolerant Islam. The burqa, totally alien to Kashmir, made its appearance. Sufi shrines like the one of Baba Rishi at Tannemarg (on the way to Gulmarg) and Charar-e-Sharif were burnt down by the militants. Girls schools were destroyed and Ayesha Andrabi of Dukhtaran e Millat was emboldened to throw acid on girls daring to wear jeans. The State, such as it was, abdicated its responsibility and watched helplessly. This is the underlying cause of the present unrest — neither the use of force by security forces nor the so-called economic blockade.

The idea of Kashmiriyat today exists only in the minds of a lunatic fringe of candle carrying peaceniks and in the studios of politically correct television channels.

But it will be wrong on the part of the Indian State and even more for the Kashmiris to think that they can repeat the shenanigans of the early 1990s.

Changed geopolitics

The world, specially the West, has changed radically since 1989-90. The sole superpower was then in support of the Kashmiri cause, such as it was. BBC, the paragon of Western objectivity, repeatedly showed a clip of a toothless old Kashmiri woman shouting ‘We want Sharia’ in Kashmir. The US was bent upon teaching a lesson to erstwhile Soviet allies like India. Osama bin Laden was the blue-eyed boy of the Americans and Mujahids (Muslim religious fighters) were still basking in the afterglow of the victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan. The West had still to learn the disaster that awaited it by patronising the Waahabi creed.

The attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, changed all that.

One wonders if the Kashmiri separatists have noticed the absence of any comment from the West on the current happenings in Kashmir. Even the Pakistanis appeared surprised, though delighted, by the present happenings. The Pakistan Senate promptly passed a resolution condemning ‘excessive’ use of force by the Indians. It was comic since at that very time Pakistan was using helicopter gunships and fighter aircraft against its own tribals in the frontier area. The day the march to Muzaffarabad took place, over 50 Shia Muslims were killed in an attack on a hospital in Pakistan. Pakistanis were delighted that while Baluchistan and the tribal areas were in open revolt against the federal authorities, Kashmiris were clamouring to join them. Pakistanis were indeed grateful that at least someone in world thought that they were not a failed State.

But despite some noises, even Pakistanis seemed aghast at the movement in Kashmir. Thanks to the peace process and people to people contacts, most Pakistanis now accept the secular credentials of India. The average Pakistani is keen to establish trade, cultural and educational contacts with India.

Is there a way forward?

The valley Kashmiris’ outburst was and is like a reaction of a spoilt child who revolts irrationally when denied his demands. The reaction in Jammu was the first time ever that the valley people received a jolt. It is noteworthy that the troubles in J&K, of the separatist variety, are confined to Srinagar valley. It is the valley that is out of sync with the region and the world. There is no hope of any support to the irrational demands of a fundamentalist minority.

Neither the US nor UK wants another safe heaven for the Al Qaeda [Images] to come up in the subcontinent. Even China, which faces Muslim separatism, is wary. The Russians know what it is like to create another Chechenya.

Kashmiri separatists are isolated from reality. India must sit tight and not succumb to pressure tactics. After relative peace that Kashmir has got used to, let there be a dose of unrest for the Kashmiri to come to his collective senses.

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