Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Once again I am happy that I am not a US citizen

A BBC producer in Gaza says people are desperately seeking refuge, but there are no safe places.

Cold blooded massacre of Palestinians by Israeli bombing is continuing in Gaza.

Israeli Tanks are waiting at the border to enter and kill anybody left behind. The World is reacting slowly.Most of the European Countries[with the obvious exception of UK ],
Russia,China,Latin American Countries,African Countries,Asian countries including India, and the Arab-Islamic countries has all called for an immediate halt to Israeli attacks.
But the only country in the World who have the power over Israel to halt the bombings in Gaza
is siding with the aggressor.

An injured Palestinian boy is being loaded on to an ambulance

Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, was responsible for the outbreak of violence and called its rocket attacks ”completely unacceptable. These people are nothing but thugs,” he said. “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.

”In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement that said: “The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza'.
An aide to President-elect Barack Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, said he had discussed events in Gaza with Ms. Rice in an eight-minute telephone call initiated by Mr. Obama.

In the campaign, Mr. Obama made statements that sounded similar to those issued by the Bush administration on Saturday.

The wounded were ferried to hospital in cars and ambulances,
while reports said the city's mortuaries were full

This was India's official reaction.
The Government of India has been closely monitoring developments that have been unfolding in the Gaza Strip. While India is aware of the immediate cross-border provocations resulting from rocket attacks particularly against targets in southern Israel, it urges an immediate end to the use of force against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip that has resulted in large numbers of casualties. India hopes that on-going efforts within the region to restore peace would be supported.

May be little tame but at least we, India is asking for immediate stoppage of Israeli attacks.

Once again I am happy that I am not a citizen of United States of America.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mr Editor, Why are you so blood thirsty?

Israel strikes as India dithers is the provocative headline in one of our so called National Newspaper, The New Indian Express [NIE] today.
205 killed,300 injured is the proud proclamation below the headline.
The report is about the massacre of Palestinians living in Gaza by Israeli bombings. Contrast the NIE headline with that of London Times or Washington Post from countries who are staunch allies of Israel. No other newspaper in the World it seems is as blood thirsty as NIE.

NIE wants India to do an Israel.That is to bomb Pakistan. Or the Editor may want us to bomb Bangladesh and Afghanistan as well. He may be pleased if we bomb Iran also.
Now is there any rational in this malicious comparison between the situation in the Middle East with that of Indian subcontinent?
Israel-Palestine issue is the fight for the same piece of land in the Middle East between the Jews and Palestinians. It has no similarities to the issues in Indian Subcontinent.

A hallmark of the Israel-Palestine conflict has been the level of violence witnessed for virtually its entire duration. Fighting has been conducted by regular armies, paramilitary groups, and terror cells. Casualties have not been restricted to the military, with a large loss of civilian life on both sides. Even after so many years and deaths of millions no solution is in sight.

Is the NIE so blood thirsty as to make Indian subcontinent another Middle-East?

What will happen if India bombs Pakistan?
What is the purpose of bombing Pakistan?
Has pre emptive strikes reduced the threat of terror anywhere in the World?
Such attacks will only play in to the hands of extremists.Such an attack will destabilise the Civilian Government in Pakistan and Army and Islamists will take over.
Have the editor of the NIE thought about the events that will follow dragging India to a never ending conflict with a Islamist Military Government?
Since Mumbai terror attacks the NIE is baying for blood in its war-mongering pseudo patriotic fervour. I hope the readers of NIE will realise it and reject such ideology.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Antulay's Conspiracy theory and its aftermath

On December 17 Union Minority Affairs Minister A R Antulay while talking to media remarked about Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare's death in Mumbai terror attacks. This was what he said.

'There is more than what meets the eyes. Karkare found that there are non-Muslims involved in the acts of terrorism during his investigations in some cases. Any person going to the roots of terror has always been the target."

"Superficially speaking they (terrorists) had no reason to kill Karkare. Whether he (Karkare) was victim of terrorism or terrorism plus something. I do not know," he added.

The main thing to be noted here is Antulay never said Karkare was killed by Hindu extremists.He was only asking for an enquiry to confirm or reject the rumour that Karkare might have been mis-directed to go straight in to the hands of Terrorists by some one with vested interests in sabotaging the Malegaon probe.

The same day I watched CNN IBN TV channel's 9pm news.Antulay was being interviewed by Rajdeep Sardesai.
Antulay was saying the same thing.'Why Karkare went to Cama Hospital instead of Taj and Oberoi? Was he mis directed?'

Sardesai was trying again and again to make Antulay tell that he thinks it was not LeT terrorists who killed Karkare but Hindu extremists.

Antulay did not oblige.He reiterated that he want an enquiry to ascertain whether there was a conspiracy in directing Karkare to Cama Hospital where he was shot dead by Islamist terrorists.

The death of Hemant Karkare in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack did raise some eyebrows even before Antulay's statement on December 17th. Questions were asked and conspiracy theory whispered.This was mainly seen in the Urdu Press,Muslim oriented websites, but surprisingly also in some anti communalism and dissent websites. Comments to some blog posts also raised conspiracy theory against Hindu extremists.As far as I know neither the Mumbai Police nor the State and Central Governments did come out with a clarification until the controversial statement by its own Minority Affairs Minister.If such a clarification was issued earlier,especially by the Home Minister Chidambaram this controversy would not have occurred.

What was Antulay's actual motive behind this statement?
Did he really believe in the conspiracy theory he advocated?

Very unlikely. If he really believed in that first thing he would have done is to discuss it with his colleague, Home Minister Chidambaram. It appears that he have not done that.There are reports [originating from sources close to Antulay]that he tried to raise this issue with Maharashtra Government,but there is no proof. Even he was unsuccessful in raising the issue with State Government,He should have raised it in Delhi in the Government circles or with in the Party under closed doors.

Was he worried that Malegaon probe will suffer because Karkare is dead? Till now he has never asked for an assurance from the Government Home ministry that the probe will go on as expeditiously as before when Karkare was at the helm.
So the fact is the real motive behind Antulay's statement was to get maximum publicity to himself as the saviour of minority rights.Lately Antulay seems to have no backers in Congress high command.Most of the pro-minority actions of the Central Government was portrayed to be done by other Ministries like that of Arjun Singh.Even in Maharashtra Congress he had no friends.There was a high possibility that he might not get a Lok Sabha seat in coming Parliament elections. So Antulay statement was just a statement for survival for himself in Indian politics and not for the Muslim community. He was defying the Congress high command saying I am the real minority leader and you should not sideline me.

The reactions to statement was interesting.
Most of the commentators in TV news Channels were calling Antulay a traitor,an ISI agent, an Islamist terrorist etc etc. Most main stream newspapers followed suit.Even some who had raised doubts about Karkare's death joined hands to condemn Antulay.This reaction was not surprising after witnessing the jingoism and hate mongering of major section of Indian media after 26/11. Some Muslim websites tried to defend Antulay while others distanced themselves from him.But an objective analysis of the event was lacking in the media.
The reaction from the political parties were on the expected lines.BJP was parading it as yet another evidence of Muslims being always anti-national. The Congress distanced itself from Antulay statement but was not brave enough to accept his resignation. The Left was critical of Antulay's intention while Lalu Yadav and Paswan did not find anything wrong in it.
After few days Home Minister Chidambaram made a detailed statement in Lok Sabha refuting the conspiracy theory. Antulay quickly accepted it with glee[ he had never believed in that theory at the first place]. The Congress and the Government wants to close the chapter of this whole episode. But is it that easy? Can that undo the damages?
What damage the Antulay statement did?
1. Many People, especially Muslims still believe the conspiracy theory,though there is no proof.Many reasons are raised for the disbelief in Police version of events.A well meaning but naive friend of mine told me couple of days ago that it was necessary for the Government to scuttle Malegaon probe because if the truth come out it will be defaming to the Indian Army and there by to the Country.So to prevent this and also to prevent a big communal riot due to the revelations the Congress Government had to eliminate Karkare.The number of backers to the conspiracy theory must have multiplied several times due to Antulay's statement.This result in Mulims going in to a self denial mode. Muslims in India need not feel guilt for Pakistani Islamist's action.But they should be ever vigilant to prevent hijacking of Islam by these terrorists.In a self denial mode vigilance will be lacking.
2.Antulay statement helped to reinstate the general belief that politicians are just self serving opportunists. Lack of credibility of Politicians especially from the minority community may create frustration and encourage terrorism.
3.Pakistan Government under pressure from International community used the twisted interpretation of Antulay's statement by Indian TV Channels to good effect.[Indian Channels were claiming that Antulay said it was not LeT Terrorists who killed Karkare]. This resulted in the continuation self denial mode in Pakistan.
4.The BJP's accusation of 'Congress pampering the minorities against National interest will have more takers after the Antulay incident.The fact that a Minister in the Union Cabinet was not sacked for an untimely and self serving statement in this time of great trial to the Indian State showed Congress in poor light.
5. The chant of the Sangh Parivar and its supporters in the Media that Muslims always support the interests of Pakistan became more louder.
6.Instead of attacking the Sangh Parivar for its volte-face in conducting a hate campaign against Karkare before his death and now praising and parading his martyrdom,Congress was pushed to a defensive attitude.
The Central Government should have come out with a detailed clarification about the circumstances behind Karkare's death immediately.Also Congress should have been bold enough to sack Antulay the Minorities Affair Minister from the Cabinet for going public with his statement [ not for his conspiracy theory]. Such a brave action along with a proclamation of strong resolve to continue the probe to bring the master minds of Malegaon blasts to justice would have reduced most of the damage produced by Antulay's statements.

Lessons to be Learnt

1. The Media should learn to respect and unbiasedly analyse the views of those who do not toe their line. What they are doing now is distorting the views and defaming the persons holding such views instead of logical analysis.Otherwise they cease to be a [non partisan] Media.

2. Congress should learn that protecting minority rights do not mean protecting self serving and unscrupulous politicians. Such actions not only result in loss of face for the Party but will help indirectly in encouraging communalism.

3.Various religious groups in India should realise that most politicians who claim to champion their cause wants to attain and retain power at any cost including at the cost of their own Community's well being.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Proposed Christmas day Orissa Bandh called off

Happy news at last.
The proposed Christmas day 12 hour shutdown [Bandh] in the State of Orissa was called off late evening on Friday .
What ever the reason for this change of mind let me congratulate and thank the organisers of the proposed Bandh for calling it off. I hope the measure will bring some relief to the beleaguered people of Orissa.
The people whose actions that might have made the VHP change its mind include
1.Naveen Patnaik,Chief Minister of Orissa [although an ally of BJP] who strongly opposed the Bandh
2.Chandan Mitra, journalist and BJP Rajya Sabha member and Dharmendra Pradhan BJP Lok Sabha MP who negotiated [may be as advised my Mr Advani] with the VHP and the Chief Minister so that the BJP-BJD alliance will not fall before Parliament elections.
3.Pressure from European Union diplomats who toured the State recently
4. Pressure from National Human Rights Commission
I thank each one of you who supported this cause and signed the petition appealing for postponement of Christmas day Bandh.
Our fight for an India where everyone gets Justice should continue. Let us be alert about any injustice happening in our Country we all love

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A plea to postpone the Orissa Bandh to be held on Christmas Day

To Mr.L.K.Advani Opposition Leader Lok Sabha, New Delhi
Dear Mr LK Advani,
A 12 hour Bandh [shutdown] have been called in the State of Orissa by Swami Laxmananda Saraswati Sradhanjali Samiti supported by the Viswa Hindu Parishad[VHP] on December 25 2008,the day of Christmas. We the people of India request you to please use your influence on the organisers to postpone this Bandh which is planned for the Christmas Day, since a Bandh on a day of festivities for Christians may lead to further division of people on religious lines. The country has just suffered terrible Terrorists Attacks in Mumbai and we all need peace and unity at a time like this. This gesture of yours will go a long way towards bringing harmony and Unity amongst the people of Orissa.
Thanking You,
Citizens of India
Click here and sign this petition to prevent further division of people on religious lines

Edited on Decemebr 22 2008

The proposed Bandh had been called off.So I am closing the petition

Orissa Bandh call on Christmas day.A call for more rioting?

A 12 hour Bandh [shutdown] have been called in Orissa by Swami Laxmananda Saraswati Sradhanjali Samiti a front organisation of Viswa Hindu Parishad[VHP] on the day of Christmas.The call is to protest against the inaction of the State Government in arresting the killers of Swami Laxmananda, a prominent VHP leader of Orissa.
Swami Laxmananda along with 4 others was killed on the night of 23rd August 2008 by about 30 armed men. According to the Police, Maoists [Left extremists] was behind the attack.But the Hindutva extremists lead by VHP accused militant Christians for the killing. They organised a massive communal riot in many Districts of Orissa for weeks,killing many Christians,raping nuns and destroying churches.
Later prominent Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda claimed responsibility to the murder. The VHP was not at all convinced. They are still insisting that the Swami was killed by Christian groups.
They issued an ultimatum to the Government to arrest the Christian militants. The Government have arrested a few suspects who are Maoists. VHP is not satisfied. They have now called for a Bandh on Christmas day. The State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is firmly opposing the call for bandh on the most important day for the Christian World.But it was the same Chief Minister who under pressure of its ally BJP in the ruling coalition allowed the terror on Christians to continue for days.
So the communal divide is deepening in Orissa. The Sangh Parivar want to transform Orissa to another Gujarat. All is set for a violent Bandh on December 25. How can we prevent it?
Will an online petition to Mr L.K.Advani the Opposition leader will help to dissuade the VHP from organising the Bandh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Second Terrorist strike in Maharashtra and the Double Standards of News Channels

As predicted and feared the attack have started.Terrorists in Mumbai have attacked unarmed civilians because they want everybody to see the World in their eyes, the Islamist eyes. Now another group of terrorists have started their attack on unarmed civilians because of the same reasons.This terrorists want everybody to toe their line,the Shiv Sena line.The goons of Shiv Sena have attacked the office of a Lawyer in Amaravathi,Maharashtra because he is not obeying them.

Now you will recall the 'heroic' and 'brave' stand taken by our News Channels against terrorism.They were in fore front signing petitions against terror,in uniting the masses against Pakistan,braying for blood of Politicians etc etc.

One thought we will see the same brave stand against another attack by terrorists on civilians. I came to know about this attack while watching the BBC News at 930PM today.I had watched all the four 'anti-terror' English News Channels from 9 TO 9.30 PM but did not came to know about the attack. Then suddenly BBC was showing visuals of flag waving goons entering the Lawyer's office and vandalising it shouting slogans.
Hey what is this...? Did I sleep while watching Indian News channels? No I did not.

Now I was curious. I waited and waited for another 2 hours watching CNN-IBN,NDTV,Times NOW, and Headlines Today,to see some thing about that incident.
Nothing was there till 10pm. Then CNN IBN started to discuss 'Should Kasab get Legal Help?' Now I thought they will show some visuals that I saw in BBC News.Nothing like that.CNN IBN just showed a procession of terrorists of Shiv Sena going to the lawyer's Office shouting slogans, then CUT. I am sure they have the visuals but they did not show it. [may be because it was too violent?]
I wondered why they are discussing 'Should Kasab get legal help?' instead of 'Should we tolerate more terrorism from Shiv Sainiks?'
Around 11.15pm I was alert enough to see some visuals of Terrorists marching to Lawyer's office in NDTV, similar to that shown on CNNIBN.It came and went off fast.It seemed these channels suddenly had become sensitive to how viewers will be affected by violent scenes.So just the procession was shown.Also no replaying again and again like the R.R.Patil, Deshmukh or Achuthanandan incidents.
Then I came on line to see how our 'anti-politician/terror' channel's websites covered the incident.
As I had not heard a single mention of the incident from our most anti-terror of all, Times Now I went to their website. There were about 50 stories on the headlines page but nothing about this terrorist act.How can Arnab of all people miss it? Now I clicked on to second page.No...nothing was there.....hey yes there is as the last but one. I clicked on the link expecting to see a photograph of Saffron terrorists waving thrissuls and flags. But there was only a picture of one terrorist,Kasab with his AK 47. Did I clicked the wrong page? I checked.No the story I wanted was there, but not the picture I wanted.It was like showing L.K.Advani's picture along with a story about Islamist terrorists.Why they did not get a single picture of Shiv Sainiks in action?Why they did not show the broken furniture and glass panes?
I went to other News Channel websites too. All now suddenly seemed to be soft on terror, the terrorism by Shiv Sainiks. Why this double standards?
Here is the TIMES NOW report Read how NDTV and CNNIBN covered it.
They all seemed to be silently justifying Terrorists entering forcefully a Lawyer's office,destroying the furniture and breaking glass panes. There was no information in the reports of whether a case has been registered or anyone arrested.There was no anguish or anger expressed about State not doing anything against this terrorists.

But a silver lining I could see is in the response of citizens to this incident. Almost all who commented spoke against this terrorism by Shiv Sainiks.

We will see this double standards from our mainstream media again and again unless we the Citizens of India cried foul in a loud and clear manner.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attack--The Politics behind blaming Politicians

Last few days I was wondering why there was a politician bashing frenzy in our 'National Visual Media' followed on cue in some parts of Indian blogosphere.Let me examine this in detail and try to find an answer.

When a Country is attacked in such an audacious and ruthless way as the LeT Terrorists did in Mumbai in the last week of November 2008, the first reactions usually are shock,disbelief and numbness. Almost everybody felt that and such reaction was visible in the interviews,in letters and emails in Newspapers and Visual media during the first few days.

Then questions began to be asked. Who is behind the attack?How we could be attacked so easily? Who is to be blamed for this attack? . . . . etc

That those behind the attack were Islamist terrorists, probably members of LeT from Pakistan with or without the support of ISI,was evident. Predictably angry words demanding action against Pakistan State was heard loud from the TV studios.

How we could be attacked so easily?

Now everybody became experts in guns and security systems. The 303 Rifle [I knew the name of it only after the Mumbai attacks]which we always thought was adequate became an outdated gun fit to be thrown in to dustbin. The fact that most of the Policemen have not fired a shot from his gun for several years was discovered. How easily we can succumb to the bullets of a Jihadi terrorist firing indiscriminately with his A K 47 came as a chilling fear in our minds.Some Politicians have SPG protection with better guns became a talking point.Demands that we also should have same security was raised.
Now let me share with you what the real Security Experts in the World are saying.

'The style of attacks in Mumbai represents a complete change from traditional terrorist operations. Mobile, trained and well prepared terrorist units engaged on suicide missions outside conflict zones are a new phenomenon'.

Speaking to London’s Sunday Telegraph, Britain’s former SAS Chief explained that the U.K. was not prepared to handle such an attack. “Our unarmed police would be able to do very little except report in. There would be many hours of chaos before the police, backed by the military counter-terrorist response teams, were in a position to contain, let alone neutralise, the terrorist threats.” The worry is that the obvious effectiveness of these terrorist actions will inspire similar training for strikes around the world.
In short this was quite an unexpected mode of attack.It is always easy to be wise after the incident.

Who is to blame for this attacks?

The obvious choice would be the Government which includes the Concerned ministries in both Central and State Government,Intelligence agencies, Police, Coast Guard, Navy and the Hotel authorities who it seemed were warned few days ago.

So how did our Visual media act?

The main aim of the Visual media was to earn maximum Television Rating Points.So they wanted to channelise the shock and anger of Citizens in such a way that more people will watch their channels. Thus the Visual media rather than being the messenger started behaving like the actor,like the chosen one who will clean up the mess in the system.They started the blame game.

Now training guns against the Police is tricky. Some of the senior most officers have been killed in the attacks, and the story of heroism of many Police men on that dreaded days were being published one after the other. Same is true for the Navy as the Naval commandos did a commendable job. Coast Guard and Intelligence people are invisible culprits,not a good choice at throwing stones and earning TRP.Even though Ratan Tata himself said he was warned few days ago before the attack,but could not do much to increase the security,he could not be blamed because he is the poster boy of India Inc and such a story may result in loss in ads.

The TV Channels who came under severe attack for its insensitive TRP hunting 24 hour coverage of 26/11 attacks wanted to deflect criticism from themselves. There was a real fear among them that the Government will set up a regulatory authority for Visual media in view of that atrocious coverage.Most probably it was to counter this threat that they started a vicious campaign against Politicians as a class. More over they realised that such a malicious campaign will increase their viewership and TRPs.
The celebrities and urban elite who never had any love for politicians[unless they want some favour from them] gleefully joined. They were seen furiously shouting from the TV studios that they are paying huge amount of taxes and they should be assured fool proof security.[ie those who are not in the Income tax bracket-may be around 70% of Indian Population,need not have security but they should as they are paying for it.The truth is the percentage of their income the poor pay as indirect taxes when they buy things for their day to day life is much greater than what rich pay].There were even 'threats' that they will stop paying taxes unless they get SPG protection like the Politicians. Even the name of Gandhiji was heard comparing this threat with his Salt Sathyagraha
A Mumbaikar signing a protest petition

Why the upper class reacted like that? They are the financially most secure group of our country.All of them have well paid jobs,or profit making businesses, their kids gets high quality education from expensive private schools,they go to the high tech Private hospitals for their needs. They do not worry about the cost of Rice, kerosene and vegetables.They are not bothered about droughts,availability of drinking water,cost of essential medicines etc.They are used to buy everything including Politicians using their money clout.Actually they do not need Politicians.If Politicians are not there less the bother.They want Government only for their physical security so that they can go on amassing wealth and have a fabulous life.[But they may need the Government during recession]They are jealous that the Politicians whom they can easily buy with their money have more security than themselves.
Some of the middle class,[who always aim to be and apes the upper class] took the same Politician bashing line following the 'National' Visual media.
Some Bloggers followed suit.There were calls for military rule, or an 'autocratic' rule by Industrial Icons of India like Tata and Narayana Moorthy. One [may be as an insensitive joke]was saying the 'whole country' wanted the terrorists to kill Parliamentarians in the 2001 Parliament attack. The point of Paying Income taxes 'regularly' came again and again, meaning the defaulters and poor need less security. Petitions asking for immediate attack on Pakistan based Terrorists camps were passed around for signatures.

The poor will never behave this way.For them the politicians are their link to the Government. If they want cheap Rice or Kerosene, or an School near by they tell their needs to their local politicians.Especially this happens during the elections. Many promises are given and votes taken. Some may be implemented usually near to the next election.Most of the promises are not fulfilled.Still they,the poor feel important.That is why they have great enthusiasm for voting during elections.

The English news channels and those who fell in to their trap believed that there was widespread anger throughout the country against 'Politicians' as a class. Actually there was never such a thing outside the big Metros and the Internet.In most of the small towns in India including mine the Political and Social leaders along with the Public.belonging to all religion and Parties came together for silent processions and prayers. Most notable was the emotion and passion against terror from the Muslim Community. This lack of frenzy against politicians as a class were evident from almost all regional language newspapers and TV channels and also from the English newspapers that I read published from South of the Country. The Nation as a whole closed ranks in mourning and deep determination to fight the terror unitedly.This was in sharp contrast to the braying for the blood of Politicians that emanated from the TV Studios.

The review of mistakes that we might have made allowing the cold blooded murder of hundreds in Mumbai should not be done in hysterical frenzy but with a calm and calculated approach.
This Post is not to absolve the Government or the Political leaders from the blame for 26/11,but is to warn the Public not to fall in to the trap of Corporate Media and the elite,having vested interests in defaming politicians, especially those whom they cant buy.Defaming Political Parties and Politicians as a 'Class'[rather than constructive critisism] will make India another Pakistan.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attack.Why blame the Politicians?

So much have been shown on the TV and written in newspapers and blogs about the cowardly attack by Jihadi terrorists on major landmarks of Mumbai in the last week of November 2008.

The major corporate 'free' TV channels and bloggers [mainly from urban India] has proclaimed loud the name of the major culprit of this terror attack, The 'POLITICIAN'.
I am confused. Let me try myself to get out of this confusion by asking myself some simple questions and trying to answer it.

1.Who actually carried out the Mumbai terror attack?

A. About 10 men most probably coming from Karachi via sea armed with modern weapons and ammunition and a will to kill innocents with impunity.

2. Which organisation is behind this attack?

A. Most probably a Jehadi terror organisation rooted in Pakistan.Whether it is LeT or someone else is irrelevant to this discussion.

3.Why this organisation [or other such terror groups] is carrying out such cowardly acts?

A. The primary proclaimed aim of terror organisations like Lashkar-e Taiba is to integrate 'Muslim' Kashmir with Pakistan. It also aims to introduce fundamental Islamic rule in whole of South Asia. It considers the Indian State, Israel and other Western countries to be enemies of Islam.By attacking high profile targets where Westerners are around[5 star Hotels] and targets where they can get maximum innocent victims like Railway Station and Shopping Malls they believe that they will

a) Get maximum publicity for their cause

b) be able to increase the Hindu Muslim divide in India,there by destabilising it

c)induce a Hindu backlash in India which will help them to get more supporters in Kashmir and in Pakistan[where they don't have much public support,but only the support of ISI]

d) induce a military response from India against Pakistan which will help in uniting whole of Pakistan and most Muslim countries against India

e) get further funding from those who are happy seeing attacks against Israel,US and India

4. From where do such Terror outfits get money,logistic and moral support for its Terror activities?

A.USA first funded such Terror outfits during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan to fight along with Taliban against Russians.US funding was through Pakistan Army's Intelligence wing the ISI.But Pakistan's ISI made it sure that these organisation fight for the 'Kashmir liberation' also.Thus the logistic support was given both overtly and covertly by Pakistan Army.

The moral and monetary support for terror come from Muslims all over the world.They spread the real and unreal stories of atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir and other parts of India to get donations.Donations are also obtained under the cover of charity from unsuspecting Muslims. They brain wash their recruits to make them willing for fidayeen attacks by showing them real and/or fake evidence of State and Saffron attacks against Indian Muslims. Lately organisations like LeT is also turning in to a pan-Islamic Jihadi group, supporting the so called 'suppressed Muslims all over the World.

5.What is the level of support such terror groups have among ordinary Muslims?

A. Most Muslims do not support such terror groups working in the name of Islam.This is true in almost all parts of the World.

6. Could we have prevented Mumbai Attack?

A. It is said that there were some information with Indian and American intelligence agencies about an impending attack.But such claims always surface after a big terror strike as in case of 9/11 and need not be taken too seriously. Most Intelligence agencies get tons of information of which more than 90 percent will be false. Anyway they conveyed the same to security agencies about a possible attack on 5 star Hotels.The ATS it seems conveyed the message to Hotel authorities to beef up their security as admitted by Ratan Tata. But the overall response by Police and Hotel authorities proved to be grossly inadequate.

7. What can we do to prevent further Terror attacks?

A.Terrorism have to be fought both ideologically and Physically.

Physical fight against terrorism includes

a)modernising and revamping our Security forces and Intelligence agencies,

b) Tight security at our borders against attack from Air, Land and Sea.

c) Diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to make ISI stop funding and training the terrorists.

d) Diplomatic pressure on US and friendly Islamic countries to make Pakistan clamp down on the terror outfits working there.

e) Being tough on all home grown jihadi elements so that they wont raise their heads.
f) Clamp down on all types of communal propaganda by both Sangh Parivar and Muslim fundamentalists
g) Speedy and just handling of all cases of atrocities against minorities
h) Utmost care to see no innocent Muslim is victimised in our War against terror.
i) Making sure that there wont be any Saffron or State sponsored terrorism against minorities

Ideological fight against Terrorism include

a) Active fight against all kinds of discrimination against Muslims in our mind,our Public space,Work space,homes etc etc.
b)Active discouragement of religion and Caste bank politics.People first should resolve not to vote on the basis of religion or caste.
c) Making stricter laws so that religious symbols or places are not used for political purposes.
d)Active encouragement of non-separatist political leaders of Kashmir.Government and the people should try to win the heart and mind of Kashmiris by good will measures and not by heavy security presence.
e)Promote rapid development in Kashmir so that employment opportunities increase considerably
f)Promote subsidised school education to all People so that illiteracy is wiped out in India
g) Ensuring that no sections of population or regions are left out in the economic growth of India.

These are some measures which may help.The chance of another such attack will recede if we could implement all these proposals.
It is not easy but if there is a collective will we may be able to achieve some of these.
Still there is no 100 percent guarantee that there wont be any terror attack.So be prepared.
8.Why Politicians are blamed for Mumbai Attacks?
A.Going through the blogs and citizens and reporters comments in the English TV Channels the focus of blame is on Pakistan and Indian Politicians.Pakistan we can understand,but why Indian politician?
Politicians are blamed because they failed to assure security to ordinary citizens of India.
Let me examine this issue in detail.
There has been a number of terrorist attacks in our Country. Two of our Prime ministers were assassinated by terrorist strikes,one by Sikh terrorists and other by LTTE.The seat of Political Power of India,the abode of Politicians,our Parliament were also attacked. This shows that many a time Indian State were not able to provide security even to its political leaders or its Parliament.This also shows that mere physical measures are not enough to prevent terrorism.
Yes I agree that our security forces have to be modernised and revamped.Many such measures have been taken over last 2 decades, but they are clearly not enough.

It is not only our security that is lacking in our country.We lack in good Roads,affordable good quality education and health care,affordable housing, safe drinking water etc etc. More children are killed everyday from preventable diseases in our villages than those killed by terrorists in all the terror attacks put together.
9/11 attack on World Trade Centre in US was a bigger and more terrible attack than Mumbai Attacks.It revealed a bigger lapse in security than our 26/11. Still I don't remember US politicians being attacked like this. Now I will come to my last question.
9.9/11 was never repeated in USA.But we are having repeated terror attacks. Why?

A. Simple answer will be USA is not India. We are a thickly populated poor,mulit lingual,multi religious country bordered by hostile neighbours.We also have Sangh Parivar, an aggressive communal movement of majority community with a long history of atrocities against minorities. We also now have a home grown Islamic Jihadi movement getting active support from outside.Considering all this our track record against terrorism is not bad.

In conclusion let me say that I am fairly satisfied with the way our Political leaders, both in the ruling Party and the Opposition handled this unprecedented situation after the Mumbai attack. As the new Home minister pointed out there has been lapses in security.The lapses according to him will be rectified soon.Let us believe him.Our role as a citizen in the ideological battle against terrorism is most important.Let us fulfill our role so that our children may be able to live in a terror free India.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama's middle name.A fodder to hatemongers?

Obama's middle name.A fodder to hatemongers?

The full name of Barack Obama, the USA President elect is Barack Hussein Obama Jr. He is so named because his father was the Late Barack Hussein Obama Sr.
Barack Hussein Obama Sr was born in Kenya to a family who followed Islam as religion.But by the time he fathered our President elect,Obama Sr was an atheist.Obama hardly know his father as the couple separated when he was 2 years of age.
Obama Jr's mother was born to a white Christian family.She did not had any firm belief in any religion.Obama says she had the Bible, Koran and Gita on her book shelves.

Obama baptized in 1988 while he was working as a community organiser for Black Churches.

By now I think every one know that Obama's middle name is Hussein, as it was given wide publicity by the Pro Republican bloggers and media in USA.In USA among the Conservative Whites anything related to Arabs or Muslims is considered bad.That is why when McCain was asked if it was appropriate to use the Senator Obama's middle name,[while referring to him in campaign speeches] McCain said, "No, it is not. Any comment that is disparaging of Senator Obama is totally inappropriate."
It should be noted that instead of coming out boldly saying you can use the middle name Hussein,Obama's campaign thanked McCain's for his apology, claiming a victory.
John McCain supporter Gayle Quinnell told the crowd at a McCain Rally in Minnesota that "Obama is an Arab." McCain took away the microphone but failed to address Quinnell's unabashed bigotry or the incidents of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-African American bigotry that has become an increasingly regular feature of GOP rallies as the election draws near. "No ma'am," he says. "[Obama's] a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."

The part of Sen. Barack Obama's biography that gets the most attention is not his race but his connections to the Muslim world.

Since declaring his candidacy for president in February, Obama, a member of a congregation of the United Church of Christ in Chicago, has had to address assertions that he is a Muslim or that he had received training in Islam in Indonesia, where he lived from ages 6 to 10. While his father was an atheist and his mother did not practice religion, Obama's stepfather did occasionally attend services at a mosque there.

Despite his denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Obama is a Muslim, a "Muslim plant" in a conspiracy against America, and that, if elected president, he would take the oath of office using a Koran, rather than a Bible.
All this shows how calling some one a Muslim is a slur in USA among a large section of people.

In India, another country like USA with rising hate-Muslim rhetoric orchestrated by Sangh Parivar the middle name of Obama was much of a talking point in right wing Press and Blogs.

B. Raman who once headed the Counter-Terrorism Division of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) wrote in SIFY.COM:

It is said that as a student he had more Pakistani friends than Indians. He felt more comfortable in the company of the Pakistanis than Indians. It was his choice and nobody could grudge it.As I read about Obama’s visit to Pakistan in the 1980s, I could not help thinking of dozens of things. Of the Afghan jihad against communism; of the fascination of many Afro-Americans for the jihad; of the visits of a stream of Afro-Americans to Pakistan to feel the greatness of the jihad; of their fascination for Abdullah Azzam, who came to Pakistan in the 1980s and started teaching in the International Islamic University in Islamabad.; of the fascination of some Afro-Americans for him; of the frequent visits of Cat Stevens, the pop singer, to Pakistan and of his fascination for Islam and the on-going jihad; of his conversion to Islam.
See how quickly Obama was linked to the Jihadi movement because of a visit to Pakistan.
When Obama was asked about South Asian situation in MSNBC interview his comments on Kashmir caused a furore in some section of Indian media.

What did Obama say?
He said we’ve got to work with the newly elected government[in Pakistan] there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.”

Both Bill Clinton and George Bush had said similar things especially at the beginning of their Presidency,but those statements did not cause such a furore.

It seems that Obama's middle name will always remain a fodder for the hate-Muslim campaigners especially if he try to resolve the situation in Muslim dominated countries like Palestine,Iran,Afghanistan,Pakistan and of course Iraq.Any change in the USA's stand under Obama in comparison to Bush policies will be considerd a climb down attributed to his so called Muslim roots. Presence of such strong Right wing hate-mongers may hamper the functioning of Obama as President. If Obama try to circumvent it by trying to be more tough against Iran, Ha mas,Hezbollah and Taliban he will find it difficult to resolve any of these issues.The purpose of those who highlight the Obama's Muslim sounding middle name is just that.Try to prevent resolution of these issues.

Let us hope that Obama can rise tall above all these and be a true World Statesman.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Mania

The impulse for this post is the Obama Mania seen in the Indian blogosphere. Many bloggers [pareltank,IHM] are trying to find out 'Obama' among Indian political leaders and choices range from Omar Abdulla to Priyanka.

What is so great about Obama?
He just won US presidential election. He won with Democratic party ticket.
After 8 years of Bush and the state of US economy so bad any Democrat would have won the race.
Obama have proved to be good orator.He may have some vision, but how good will be his administration, we have to wait and see.Let us judge him after 4 years.

Looking for Indian Obama is the typical mainstream Media ploy of trying to make the irrelevant relevant.Some channels already did that.Why should the bloggers who represent alternative media toe the same line?

How can we compare Obama with Indian political leaders?
By his looks?
By his race?
By his oratory skills?
By his vision for US foreign policy?
By his vision for his people?
The only relevant comparison can be in his vision for his people.[I wish the media do that] By that I mean we can compare Indian political leaders and Obama by their policies for their citizens[Indians and Americans] that they claim they will implement when they get power. Any other comparisons will be like comparing Sachin Tendulkar with Manmohan Singh, an absurdity.

So let us see what is Obama vision for the citizens of his country.I have only included those policies which I feel is relevant to Indian citizens.
All taken from Barak Obama's official campaign website
1.Economy and Jobs:
a.Windfall profit tax; Taxing the super rich [oil] companies to give energy rebate to middle and low income families
b.State Growth Fund to prevent state and local cuts in health, education,and housing expenditure to ensure there wont be job lose.
c. Tax cuts to 95 percent of working people.
d. Invest in the Manufacturing Sector and Create 5 Million New Green Jobs
e.New Jobs Through National Infrastructure Investment
f.Increase in investment in Science and research.
g.Support small business by giving tax breaks
Strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. Will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.Will ensure that his labor appointees support workers' rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year
3.Protect Home ownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud
Will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. Will also make sure home buyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and they will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners.
4.Reform Bankruptcy Laws
Will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension investments.
5.Work/Family Balance
Will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical Leave Act, provide low-income families with a refundable tax credit to help with their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.
a.Zero to Five Plan: Will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
b.Make Math and Science Education a National Priority
c.Address the Dropout Crisis
d.Expand High-Quality After school Opportunities
e.Support 'Make College A Reality" initiative
a.provides affordable, accessible health care for all.
b.Lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market
c.Require hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data

d.Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anti competitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care
a.Expand Access to Jobs
b.Raise the Minimum Wage
c.Expand Paid Sick Days
d.Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing

All these are his electoral promises.Let us see whether he can do justice to these promises.
Also when we look for Indian Obama please look for some one with similar policies or vision and is able to win votes.Only such discussion is relevant in Indian context.