The 28,000 victims of terrorism

8 04 2009
July 7, 2005
Source: Timesonline

New figures show dramatic increase in global attacks

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THERE were nearly 3,200 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, the Bush Administration said yesterday, using a broader definition that increased fivefold the number of incidents that Washington had previously tallied for 2004.

In figures published in April, the US State Department said that there were 651 significant international terror incidents, with more than 9,000 victims.

But under the newer, less-stringent definition of terrorism, which counts domestic attacks without an international element, the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) reported 3,192 attacks worldwide, with 28,433 people killed, wounded or kidnapped.

Iraq, with 866, had the most attacks against civilians and other non-combatants, according to the report. Under the April figures, Iraq was considered to have suffered 201 attacks in 2004.

The new tally included attacks on Iraqis by Iraqis, a category previously excluded because it was not considered international terrorism. But attacks against coalition forces were omitted, because soldiers are considered combatants. Insurgent attacks on Iraqi police, deemed non-combatants, were included.

The Bush Administration’s terrorism figures have been the subject of repeated controversies. Last year the State Department withdrew its annual report on global terrorism after claiming that terrorism incidents had been declining for three years and that 190 cases reported in 2003 represented the lowest total since 1969.

American officials trumpeted the report as evidence that the US was winning the War on Terror. But the document was found to be full of errors, and officials acknowledged that it had vastly understated the number of attacks.

This year the State Department decided not to publish the terrorism figures in its annual report. It handed the responsibility to the new NCTC. John Brennan, its interim director, said that the methodology that produced the April statistics was so flawed that the numbers were unreliable.

For example, when Chechen rebels blew up two airliners over Russia in near- simultaneous attacks last year, only one attack was counted under the old system.

On board one aircraft were 46 Russians. The other had 43 Russians and one Israeli civilian, a foreign citizen. That allowed only the second attack to meet the criteria for international terrorism, which under the old system required terrorists to claim at least one citizen from another country among their victims.

According to the NCTC figures, America suffered only five terrorism incidents last year, which included an arson attack in Utah for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Mr Brennan said that the low number of attacks on US soil reflected the good job that the Bush Administration has done in protecting the US homeland. But he noted that many attacks overseas are aimed at American and Western interests. According to the report, only 19 per cent of terrorist incidents last year were attributable to Islamic extremists.

A quarter were recorded as secular or political attacks, but it said that the motives for 56 per cent remain unknown. Asked how the NCTC distinguishes between freedom fighters and terrorists, Mr Brennan said that the centre’s database is not “black and white and perfect”.

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Militants marry Kashmiri girls on gunpoint

9 02 2009

Srinagar, Feb 07:

Source: Zeenews

Militants in Jammu and Kashmir have been forcing young girls to get married to them at gun-point only to abandon them later. Such an instance came to light when sixteen-year-old Fatima Bi of Kishtwar district gathered courage to narrate her misfortune.

Fatima said she was abducted by Sher Khan, the then divisional commander of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), a Pakistan militant group four years ago. Sher Khan and his associates tortured Fatima for eight days until she gave in to their demands and agreed to marry Hashim, a HuJI worker. She managed to run away and got a police complaint registered against Sher Khan, who was later arrested.

“There was this one Bilal, then another one named Ansari, there was a third man also, I don”t remember his name. They used to keep me in a room and beat me with iron rods. They used to tell me that if I don”t get married according to their will and wish, I would have to face dire consequences. I used to tell them I want to get married to a man I chose for myself. Sher Khan used to head these people,” said Fatima.

Fatima said that such horrendous abduction was still taking place, and authorities should put a check on them. “The girl has given a very different story and she has given a nerve shaking story in terms that she was forcibly married to a person against her will when she was a minor girl. It was done by a Sher khan and his associates who were running a HuJI organisation in this area,” said Haseeb Mughal, superintendent of police, Kishtawar district. Shehnaz of Doda district too was abducted just like Fatima.

“These militants they are dreadful people. They come to our village, sit and eat here, utter bad words for women, abuse them. But now the police is with us, I am sure we can also hit back at them,” said Shehnaz. Shehnaz felt that the future forced brides like her was dark. Many have to up bring their children alone, when their militant husbands get arrested. Society, too, sees them as an outcast. Police officials say that the militants get married in order to mingle with the locals and avoid any suspicious eyes on them. Though the authorities have been trying to tackle the issue but they express their helplessness, as such incidents come to light only when the forcibly married girls gather the strength to register a case.

ANI





So they are terrorists now? By Dr Shabir Choudhry

13 10 2008

Source: pakistan christian post
When a head of state makes a statement it is regarded as an official policy of the country; and now it is official that Kashmiri struggle is ‘terrorism’ and all those associated with it, including leaders of APHC are ‘terrorists’, claims President of Islamic republic of Pakistan, Asif Zardari.

It is different matter that Pakistani establishment has hitherto projected leaders of the APHC as ‘holy cows’, which must not be criticised or opposed; if anything they must be respected and followed. Asif Zardari might have had his reasons and compulsions when giving this very bold interview to very prestigious newspaper Wall Street Journal.

But compulsions and requirements of powerful military and ISI, which is known as state within state, could be different from that of Asif Zardari; and it remains to be seen if they will accept this doctrine or will continue their old policies of supporting, training and promoting ‘jihad’ and militancy. It is not secret anymore that it was their considered policy to ‘keep India bleeding’ and to ‘keep India engaged’ or bogged down in Jammu and Kashmir; and that time it was perceived as in the best interest of Pakistan.

Nations best interests do change with time, but question is since when Pakistan has become a nation? Where and when they have discussed and reached a consensus that so and so policy is in the best national interest? There have always been forces within Pakistan competing against each other and undermining national interest. Policy of ‘adhocism’ always prevailed there with no system of check and balance or any kind of accountability or transparency.

My colleagues and I were fiercely attacked and a malicious campaign against us was launched with help of Pakistani agencies some years ago because we refused to accept the APHC as representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and demanded politics of accountability and transparency. We criticised role of these leaders and not only refused to follow them but also questioned about their sincerity, legitimacy and action plan for the Kashmiri struggle.

This vicious campaign was initiated against us because we challenged those who were puppets of the Pakistani establishment and were protecting and advancing ‘interest’ of Pakistani establishment. We stood our ground and claimed that the policy of communalising Kashmiri polity with violence, hatred and extremism will ultimately hurt people of Jammu and Kashmir; and might destabilise the Pakistani society as well.

When bombs were exploding outside the borders of Pakistan it was promoted as a ‘Jihad’ by Pakistani establishment and media because they were behind all this; and mosques and their imams and other Islamic organisations were urged to preach this ‘jihad’ and recruit people for waging it outside borders of Pakistan. For this ‘noble cause of jihad’ millions of dollars were spent and huge network was established.

We opposed this kind of ‘Jihad’ because it was a ‘proxy war’ of Pakistan presented to people of Jammu and Kashmir and the world at large as a Kashmiri struggle; also because it immensely increased suffering and problems of the people and unleashed forces of communalism, terrorism, extremism and hatred.

Asif Zardari has turned decades of Pakistani policy on its head; and it sent shock waves not only to the Pakistani establishment but also in many quarters around the world. It also shocked some Kashmiris as they still thought Pakistan was sincere with the cause of Kashmir; and in frustration and anger they burnt effigy of Asif Zardari.

Apart from the above U turn, he boldly claimed, “India has never been a threat to Pakistan”. That statement in practise means that it is always Pakistani military, which initiated wars with India and caused death and destruction of thousands of people in wars of 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999, and not to mention proxy wars. Similar views have been expressed by some Pakistani writers, and Asif Zardari’s statement is supporting that view point, no matter if Pakistan’s strong establishment and military likes it or not.

In line with tradition of Pakistani politics the Pakistani government and members of establishment tried to limit the damage by saying that Zardari Sahib didn’t say that. But the fact is he did say it and no one is taking explanations of Ms Shery Rehman seriously. If he really has not said it then why doesn’t he sue Wall Street Journal? It is clear that he won’t because he has no legs to stand. He knows that the interviews of this kind are recorded and could be produced in the court.

Also Asif Zardari stunned everyone by acknowledging that the USA has permission to attack and kill militants and terrorists inside Pakistan. Of course with every strike more and more civilian are killed and maimed. Previously all government leaders were yelling that they will not allow any country to attack Pakistan or undermine its sovereignty. One wonders where they stand after this revelation. Either there was total lack of coordination, consultation and understanding among different branches of the government and rulers, or they were issuing these statements for public consumption knowing full well that they were wrong and didn’t mean anything.

However crucial question for people of Jammu and Kashmir is can they rely on Pakistan anymore? A government or rulers who feel no shame in killing their own people with F16 fighters, helicopter gun – ships, tanks and bombs even in holy month of Ramadan, will they spare us Kashmiris when and if we demanded and took certain measure that we want Pakistan to leave from Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan. One has to remember that despite virtual collapse of system because of militancy in 1990, killings, destruction and human rights abuse on the Indian side of the divide the authorities there did not use tanks or jet fighters to eliminate militants.

Moreover a government or rulers who give permission to foreign powers to violate Pakistani sovereignty, cross over to Pakistani territory and use their lethal weapons to kill people and destroy their properties, can we trust these rulers? Killing militants or Terrorists is one thing, but killing of innocent people men, women and children who are generally killed in these attacks cannot be condoned; and it is not proper to cover all these atrocities under the umbrella of ‘collateral damage’.

One can agree that extremists and terrorists are threat to every civilised society, but there must be unity of thought and action on this. You cannot pick and choose in this matter, and say that one kind of terrorism is justified because it furthers ‘our national interest’ or strategic policy; and the other kind of terrorism is wrong as it hurts us and directly challenges ‘our national interest’, writ of government and strategic policy.

If violence and terrorism is wrong in Pakistan then it is also wrong in Jammu and Kashmir, and appropriate measures need to be taken in order to stop and contain terrorism. Government of Pakistan and its agencies must abandon its old policies and stop supporting those who have been actively and deliberately promoting violence in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.

Also government of India and Pakistan must not give undue importance to those who took part in violence and have been promoting it for so many years, as that is tantamount to rewarding their past violent or ‘terrorist actions’. Both governments stop human rights abuse in their respective parts of the State and support those forces who believe in non military solution of the Kashmir dispute; those forces who promote liberal and democratic politics and rule of law.

*Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.





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





Agitation in Jammu and Kashmir: A study in contrast

21 08 2008

Source: TOI
JAMMU: The peaceful demonstrations in this otherwise bustling city, in stark contrast to the high decibel protests in Srinagar, said it all.

If the idea was to play on the contrast with Srinagar in communicating that they have been differentiated against, Jammu’s agitationists succeeded in sending across the message quite clearly. In prominence are community langars in every locality where daily wagers and the poor are being fed by households that can cook their meals even as the more than month-long bandh continues. The picture is one of bonhomie among citizens, irrespective of denomination.

And clearly, any attempt to suggest that a single political party has taken over the movement that the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti has sustained for 53 days is clearly a non-starter. There is a rare unity to be seen in Jammu for a cause that seems to have built up over years of what the people here see as institutionalised neglect.

Also, there is a careful attempt to ensure that it does not take a communal turn. This was clear when a local BJP leader confided that a proposal by Baba Ramdev to join the movement by marching up to the Amarnath shrine with a contingent of sadhus had to be stalled, so that it did not create communal trouble and spoil the “legitimate demand” to allow the shrine board to use the adjacent land for pilgrims’ facilities.

Even BJP, which has taken up the Amarnath issue to build up a national level campaign against the ruling Congress for “offending the sentiments of Hindu pilgrims”, has had to redraw plans to participate in a rally organised by the Sangharsh Samiti.

In fact, BJP has called it “communication gap” between the two organisations. Going on the backfoot after being snubbed by Sangharsh Samiti chief Leela Karan Sharma, who denied there were any plans for a rally, leave aside any invitation to BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh to participate, the party’s state president Ashok Khajuria told TOI , “The Sangharsh Samiti is the last word on this movement and BJP is only one among its 42 member units and hence will follow what the Samiti says.”

Interestingly, a good number of field level National Conference and PDP workers in Jammu have joined the Samiti. Surinder Singh Shinghari of NC, a corporator from the city’s Bakshinagar area, has resigned from his party and post and joined the movement. He is not the only one.

It is not easy for a city that thrives essentially on trading and business activities to sustain complete closure of shops and business establishments for 53 days without having any idea as to how much longer they will have to take it. Leela Karan Sharma said, “We are ready to talk as equals to all – the Centre, Kashmiri leaders – but only if our core issue of allowing the High Court order on the land is reverted back to.”





Colours of patriotism paint Jammu

21 08 2008

Source: Daiy pioneer

Kumar Uttam | Jammu

Tricolour in hand, protesters shout ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’

The sun is about to set on the city and the roundabout is deserted. A youth suddenly emerges from one of the bylanes, carrying a National Flag in his hand and shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Soon, the solitary protest at Kacchi Chhawani Chowk in ‘paralaysed’ Jammu turns into a mass frenzy as hundreds join him to express solidarity for a cause that has gone far beyond the Amarnath land row.

In fact, the Tricolour has united people in this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir to fight the “neglect” they faced in the last 60 years. The controversy over allotment of a land plot to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was a mere flashpoint. “We raised the Tricolour and were greeted with bullets. They (separatists) in Kashmir hoisted Pakistan’s flag and brought the Government to its knees. It will not be allowed to continue any more,” thunders Subhash Dogra, a protester.

Everyone in Jammu has suddenly turned leader, brushing aside allegations that “communal elements” are controlling the movement. “We are leaders in ourselves. Nobody is leading us. We are ready to face problems today to ensure a better future for the generations,” adds Gurpreet Singh, owner of a few taxis. Though he has been getting no business for 50 days, he is ready to bear the losses for “many more months” but not the humiliation at the hands of the Government.

Everyone in Jammu has just one complaint. “Kashmir wants freedom, we love our country. They got everything, we were left empty-handed,” people living in the Mishriwalla refugee camp on the Jammu-Akhnoor highway say.

A senior employee in the Divisional Commissioner’s office revealed more. “You don’t get promotions on time if you are not from the valley. Jammu has more population and area, but Kashmir gets better representation in all Government bodies and organisations. Jammu contributes the most to the State’s exchequer, but Kashmir reaps the benefits. Electricity dues are more in Kashmir, but Jammu faces power cuts,” he told The Pioneer.

The Amarnath controversy has come in handy for all those who nurse the “wound of neglect”. They are in no double minds — the Government revoked the allotment of the land to the shrine board for a Hindu yatra under pressure from the same separatists whom they have been appeasing since Independence.

“We have to restore the pride of Baba Amarnath and that of Jammu. We are not going to be defeated at the hands of the anti-nationals. We will be on the roads until the target is achieved,” says 80-year-old Anil Sharma, as he and his grandson Ankit raise slogan of ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ outside Sarwal police post in Rewari locality.

Police have lost public sympathy (they allegedly fired at peaceful protesters and manhandled many) and the Army faces a situation it never confronted before. “How can you expect us to fire at them or even wield a lathi when they come with a Tricolour in their hands and shout slogans in favour of us?” says an Armyman posted in the most sensitive Kacchi Chhawani Chowk of Jammu.

Jammu has been simmering for the last 60 years. It for the first time they have been heard.





Colours of patriotism paint Jammu

21 08 2008

Source: Daiy pioneer

Kumar Uttam | Jammu

Tricolour in hand, protesters shout ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’

The sun is about to set on the city and the roundabout is deserted. A youth suddenly emerges from one of the bylanes, carrying a National Flag in his hand and shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Soon, the solitary protest at Kacchi Chhawani Chowk in ‘paralaysed’ Jammu turns into a mass frenzy as hundreds join him to express solidarity for a cause that has gone far beyond the Amarnath land row.

In fact, the Tricolour has united people in this winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir to fight the “neglect” they faced in the last 60 years. The controversy over allotment of a land plot to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was a mere flashpoint. “We raised the Tricolour and were greeted with bullets. They (separatists) in Kashmir hoisted Pakistan’s flag and brought the Government to its knees. It will not be allowed to continue any more,” thunders Subhash Dogra, a protester.

Everyone in Jammu has suddenly turned leader, brushing aside allegations that “communal elements” are controlling the movement. “We are leaders in ourselves. Nobody is leading us. We are ready to face problems today to ensure a better future for the generations,” adds Gurpreet Singh, owner of a few taxis. Though he has been getting no business for 50 days, he is ready to bear the losses for “many more months” but not the humiliation at the hands of the Government.

Everyone in Jammu has just one complaint. “Kashmir wants freedom, we love our country. They got everything, we were left empty-handed,” people living in the Mishriwalla refugee camp on the Jammu-Akhnoor highway say.

A senior employee in the Divisional Commissioner’s office revealed more. “You don’t get promotions on time if you are not from the valley. Jammu has more population and area, but Kashmir gets better representation in all Government bodies and organisations. Jammu contributes the most to the State’s exchequer, but Kashmir reaps the benefits. Electricity dues are more in Kashmir, but Jammu faces power cuts,” he told The Pioneer.

The Amarnath controversy has come in handy for all those who nurse the “wound of neglect”. They are in no double minds — the Government revoked the allotment of the land to the shrine board for a Hindu yatra under pressure from the same separatists whom they have been appeasing since Independence.

“We have to restore the pride of Baba Amarnath and that of Jammu. We are not going to be defeated at the hands of the anti-nationals. We will be on the roads until the target is achieved,” says 80-year-old Anil Sharma, as he and his grandson Ankit raise slogan of ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ outside Sarwal police post in Rewari locality.

Police have lost public sympathy (they allegedly fired at peaceful protesters and manhandled many) and the Army faces a situation it never confronted before. “How can you expect us to fire at them or even wield a lathi when they come with a Tricolour in their hands and shout slogans in favour of us?” says an Armyman posted in the most sensitive Kacchi Chhawani Chowk of Jammu.

Jammu has been simmering for the last 60 years. It for the first time they have been heard.