This is the cry of post-insurgency youth, born after 1989 when militancy crept into an otherwise quiet scene. This is violent in the sense that they pelt stones, but different because they have not taken arms from Pakistan as the militants did. Nor have they any "top contacts" which even the political leadership in the opposition maintains with Delhi.
This angry, amorphous force has no defined leadership. The different places in the valley have different hands to guide. The baton of the movement is in the hands of the new generation. What strings them together is the anger against the establishment at Srinagar and at Delhi.... It is not correct to say that hardliner Syed Gillani is their leader. He sees to it that he is not out of step with them. His fundamentalism carries weight. Yet, when he tried to convert them into non-violent protesters he failed. The pelting of stones is their way of saying that they do not agree to the various formulas which have been presented for the solution of Kashmir. -- Kuldip Nayar
General Yahya Khan was riding the crest of popularity in 1970 when Cyclone Bhola hit East Pakistan. The apathy, neglect and incompetence of the “West Pakistani- Punjabi” administration in the wake of death and destruction — over 3 million people were displaced and hundreds of thousands died — provoked such bitter and large scale resentment that the Bengalis swept away all West- Pakistan allied parties and gave a thumping vote to the nationalist Awami League of Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman in the general elections that followed. That set the stage for civil war, dismemberment and regime change in Pakistan in 1971....
Mr Zardari has survived a running political crisis for two years. Will his luck hold in the next two months? The natural disaster has stacked the cards in the hands of General Kayani, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. The game they play will have meaningful consequences for Pakistan. -- Najam Sethi
In any case, the wide world knows that the political demand of the agitators is azadi (freedom) though no two Kashmiris might agree on what it means. Mehbooba Mufti, the strident leader of the PDP, has said that to her azadi means that Kashmir should have the use of both Indian and Pakistani currencies and there should be joint councils for the two parts of Kashmir divided by the LoC. She insists that this would be “within the Indian Constitution”. This contention is surely debatable, to say the least, but then her proposal can be the starting point of a dialogue.
It might help if all concerned start the dialogue by accepting two unalterable parameters. One, that all Kashmiri groups should put forward an agreed demand for autonomy rather than ask New Delhi to do so. And two, when Dr Singh says that the Indian Constitution is broad enough to accommodate Kashmiri aspirations he means exactly what P.V. Narasimha Rao had stated in 1994: “Minus azadi sky is the limit to Kashmir’s autonomy”. It goes without saying that regional autonomy within the state of Jammu and Kashmir is also a must. Jammu and Ladakh have their legitimate aspirations, too. -- Inder Malhotra
What type of independent country the secessionists are imagining? Are they not learning anything from the internal situation of Pakistan? Are they not aware of the economic and psychological state of the people of Pakistan and Pak Occupied Kashmir? In fact, some people by misguiding the Kashmiri youth in the name of religion and independence want to convert this heaven (Kashmir) on earth into a hell state like Afghanistan. Their claim of preserving Kashmiriyat is also fake. Otherwise thousands of non-Muslim Kashmiris would not have been forced to leave Kashmir by these forces. Without these non-Muslim Kashmiris, the true Kashmiriyat is incomplete. The Kashmiri youth should remain alert from such actions of these secessionists. They should also think about the tourism potential Kashmir (including POK) holds. It would have been much better, had these separatists launched a movement with the Kashmiri youth for inclusion of POK in the Indian boundary and thus unification of this heaven on Earth so that the people of POK can also become economically strong and make their place also a tourist hotspot like the Heaven on Indian Earth “Indian Kashmir”. -- Tanveer Jafri
The date August 15th, 1975 was the darkest hour for all Bangladeshis and a blot on the history of Bangladesh. On this day, a group of legally armed personnel accompanied by the forces of evil, brutally killed the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman....
A group of people with malevolent agenda, who were brainwashed to derive their only element of identity from religion, and not from language, culture, history and ethnicity, launched their drive to inexorably take over the state through a process of creeping annexation. The killers of Bangabandhu, were not only protected by an Act of Parliament that effectively prostituted the sanctity of the Constitution, but also rewarded with plush diplomatic assignments abroad. Quite a few of those who were party to this heinous crime against the constitution remain free and have evaded the long arms of the law and justice even till today.
It took thirty-four years for the nation to partially de-stigmatize itself from the biggest shame of its history by legally bringing to justice those of the absconding killers whom the state was able to apprehend and bring back to Bangladesh, but several others are still absconding. A new generation has shaken free from the deliberately and maliciously stoked identity crisis finally. They have spoken, loudly, clearly and in unequivocal terms, in the national parliamentary elections of December 2008, demanding that the wrongs of the past be addressed and fixed once and for all. This is a collective catharsis that the nation needs to undergo, in order to move forward to state consolidation and progress. This is perhaps the last opportunity for the nation to stand on its own feet with dignity and pride on the firm grounds of the secular values and democratic ideals that our society has adhered to and cherished for eons. Only then will the soul of Bangabandhu, the greatest Bangalee of all time, finally rest in peace. Only then shall Bangladeshis completely regain their self-respect in their own eyes. -- Message from Bangladesh High Commissioner to India. -- Tariq A. Karim, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India
General Hameed Gul's emblematic response to WikiLeaks ('This is pure fiction') was as unconvincing as ISI's refutation. Talking to Guardian, ISI spokesperson said: 'It's very strange that such a large cache of information can be leaked to the media so conveniently. Is it something deliberate? What is its purpose?'. The ISI gentleman is advised to scour last week's newspapers to find that it indeed is not very strange. And yes it is 'deliberate'. A whistleblower has deliberately leaked. ...
Similarly, throughout the 1980s, Islamabad was saying that Pakistan's nuclear programme was meant for peaceful purpose. In 1998, suddenly a mushroom cloud appeared over Chaghi. During the 1990s, the militancy in Kashmir was declared 'indigenous' by Islamabad. At the same time, vernacular rags used to proudly report on coffins arriving Punjabi villages from Valley carrying 'martyrs' bodies. In a few months time after tit for tat test in Chaghi, Kargil was alight. Pakistan refused a hand in the conflagration. Later on, an elected prime minister was exiled for betraying Kargil. More examples can be cited but let us restrict to Taliban. It was repeated on daily basis that Pakistan did not arm Taliban to capture Kabul in 1997. In the wake of 9/11, Gen. Musharraf on state TV was heard saying: 'What have I not done for Afghanistan and Taleban?'. Should one apply the logic Gen. Gul is grafting on Collin Powel, at least Pakistani generals can never be trusted. Only General Zia, the most pious one, lied dozens of times about '90 days'. Gen Gul has a valid objection when he says the Afghan War Logs cannot be verified. One hopes, when in future intelligence reports are leaked to Pakistani media ('uncircumcised' Taliban etc), he will not flaunt them on talk shows before verifying them.-- Farooq Sulehria
Photo: General Hameed Gul
Although Pakistani propaganda often asserts that LeT is a Kashmiri organisation moved by the Kashmiri cause, it is nothing of the kind. The 3,000-odd foot soldiers are drawn primarily from the Pakistani Punjab. Indian intelligence today estimates that LeT maintains some kind of presence in twenty-one countries worldwide with the intention of supporting or participating in what its leader Hafeez Saeed has called the perpetual “jihad against the infidels.” Consequently, LeT’s operations in and around India, which often receive the most attention, are only part of a large pastiche that has taken LeT operatives and soldiers as far afield as Australia, Canada, Chechnya, China, Eritrea, Kosovo, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and even the US.
Military leaders in Rawalpindi have thus not only failed to understand that American concerns about LeT derive fundamentally from its own growing conviction that the group’s activities worldwide make it a direct threat to the US, but they also continue to harbor the illusion that their current strategy of unleashing terrorism will enervate India, push it out of Afghanistan, and weaken US stabilisation efforts there. Such a strategy is designed to make Islamabad the kingmaker in determining Kabul’s future. This too promises to become one more in the long line of cruel illusions that has gripped Pakistan since its founding. -- Ashley Tellis
The second erroneous assumption was the one made in India that the confirmation of ISI's virtual control of Taliban attacks targeting Indians in the WikiLeaks documents meant India should call off the dialogue process with Pakistan entirely. The assumption was strengthened when General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who had been at the helm of the ISI during the critical 2004-2007 period mentioned in the leaked documents, was given a three-year extension as Army chief. But if anything, the WikiLeaks revelations prove how easily the dynamics on the ground change — not just in the Af-Pak context but also in the India-Pakistan one. In such a situation, New Delhi must remain as engaged as possible rather than disengage, and play its game with many of the original principles in place. At the top of those principles are its promises to the Afghan people to help reconstruct the torn nation and to not forget the consequences of allowing the Taliban back into government in Kabul — a subject South Block briefly showed an alarming degree of flexibility on. India needs a more direct role in Afghanistan that is not, as at present, contingent on the pleasure of the U.S. and the UK and the displeasure of Pakistan. – Suhasini Haider
Ever since Kayani replaced Musharraf, there has been mounting evidence that the Pakistan army is seeking to renew hostility with India....In February, Kayani told journalists the Pakistan army was an ‘India-centric institution', adding that this “reality will not change in any significant way until the Kashmir issue and water disputes are resolved”. Language like this fits well with the intellectual climate of Pakistan's armed forces. Lieutenant-General Javed Hassan — who played a key role commanding Pakistan forces during the Kargil war — was commissioned by the army's Faculty of Research and Doctrinal Studies to produce a guide to India for serving officers. In India: A Study in Profile, published by the military-owned Services Book Club in 1990, Hassan argues that is driven by “the incorrigible militarism of the Hindus.” “For those that are weak,” he goes on, “the Hindu is exploitative and domineering.”
Faced with a flailing war against jihadists at home, Kayani's anti-India platform offers the army the strategic equivalent of an escape button: precipitating a crisis with a historic adversary, secure in the knowledge that Pakistan's nuclear umbrella guarantees it protection from a large-scale war. Pakistan's military, many Indian foreign policy analysts believe, precipitated the bruising showdown between Foreign Ministers SM Krishna and Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad last month, undermining the fragile dialogue between the two countries.
India and Afghanistan are just parts, though, of the third, and most important project: guaranteeing the political primacy of the Pakistan army. -- Praveen Swami
According to the CBI, many people paid them millions in bribes to stage fake encounters or get trumped-up charges dropped. Mr. Shah also covered up the Rs.1,030 crore Madhavpura Bank fraud by a notorious stockmarket scamster, Ketan Parekh. Gujarat's Criminal Investigation Department had found that Mr. Shah helped Parekh jump bail for a Rs.2.5 crore bribe. It recommended a CBI investigation.
Deep at work here is the BJP's notion of democracy as a mere instrument of power, to be used through elections. This view undermines the content of democracy -- rule of law, human rights and constitutional freedoms -- and is incompatible with a civilised social order. The BJP is increasingly isolating itself from the aspirations and concerns of the Indian people, including the middle class, its sole (and shrinking) constituency. As it gets Modi-fied, the BJP forfeits its claim to being a party which abides by the law of the land and the ground-rules of democracy. Such a party can only have a bleak future.-- Praful Bidwai
The WikiLeaks portray a war in which the United States has a vastly insufficient force on the ground that is fighting a capable and dedicated enemy who isn’t going anywhere. The Taliban know that they win just by not being defeated, and they know that they won’t be defeated. The Americans are leaving, meaning the Taliban need only wait and prepare. The Pakistanis also know that the Americans are leaving and that the Taliban or a coalition including the Taliban will be in charge of Afghanistan when the Americans leave. They will make certain that they maintain good relations with the Taliban. They will deny that they are doing this because they want no impediments to a good relationship with the United States before or after it leaves Afghanistan. They need a patron to secure their interests against India. Since the United States wants neither an India outside a balance of power nor China taking the role of Pakistan’s patron, it follows that the risk the United States will bear grudges is small. And given that, the Pakistanis can live with Washington knowing that one Pakistani hand is helping the Americans while another helps the Taliban. Power, interest and reality define the relations between nations, and different factions inside nations frequently have different agendas and work against each other. -- George Friedman
From the Urdu Press:
In an editorial, Delhi-based daily Hindustan Express (July 26) writes: “The arrest of the confidant of Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi, senior leader of BJP, and minister of state in the Gujarat home ministry, and that too on charges of committing heinous crimes, is not an ordinary incident in India’s history. The significance and implications of this arrest are evident to every Indian and for this reason the Sangh Parivar is certainly dumbstruck... The meaning of Amit Shah’s arrest is clear: not just Modi, but the entire BJP leadership is in the dock... The long arm of the law, that has seized Amit Shah’s neck, can also reach the necks of his masters.”
The daily Sahafat , published from Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Dehradun, in its editorial on the same day entitled, ‘Ab Modi ki baari hai’ (now it is Modi’s turn) writes: “In the Gujarat cabinet, the level to which Amit Shah enjoyed Narendra Modi’s confidence could not be equalled by any other minister or BJP leader. Therefore, the political fall of Amit Shah is being considered as the greatest setback of Modi’s political career, and the question is being raised as to whether Modi can come out of this setback.”
According to Delhi-based daily Hamara Samaj (July 26), “the CBI has performed its role in a perfect manner, the result of which is before us... This case has made it absolutely clear that no citizen of the country is above the law.” --Compiled by Seema Chishti
Gilgit-Baltistan has a history of thousands of years of exploitation of its ravines as battlefields by colonial and imperial forces. After 63 years of Pakistani presence, the position is no different. The province has become a military garrison and staging post for militants and Pakistani secret service agents. Today, there is one Pakistani soldier for every 25 local habitants.
The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have since faced humiliation, suffering and political and emotional exploitation at the hands of their Pakistani rulers who treat them as captives and their land as a colony. Their story of freedom and self-determination has been transformed by Pakistani rulers into one of subsistence and marginalisation. -- Ali Rinchen
I hold the leaders of Kashmir primarily responsible for the mess in which we are today. It is customary to the leadership of Kashmir to blame mostly Central Govt., also called India here. And sometimes, Pakistan and ISI and military of Pakistan and of course there are lot of people in Pakistan who would like to settle scores with India for the creation of Bangladesh. I don’t deny that they would like to exploit every situation in Kashmir that they can find and even in the rest of India. I accept that as a great possibility and probability.
Let us accept our responsibility
But it is time that the people who are in politics in Jammu & Kashmir must accept our responsibility. We have failed our people, we have failed the nation, and unless we accept our responsibility we will keep on blaming the Indian State, Indian leadership, Indian Security Forces, Indian Army, our own people, we will have conspiracy theory, we will say that this has happened in 53, that happened in 75, then this happened to autonomy, our resolution, we are not getting sufficient funds, they don’t trust us, we don’t trust them. We have to look into our hearts and minds and we have to find reasons why we are today got in a vicious circle.
We have betrayed our young generation
We have betrayed our young generation; we have imbibed in them impossible dreams. We have spoken one language in Kashmir, another in Delhi. When we go to Pakistan and we have meetings with Musharraf, we apologise to them for having acceded with India. We say our fathers and grandfathers have committed a treachery, we have acceded with India. We go to Delhi and we speak a different language.
We have been telling our young generation that you deserve independence, India is a Hindu country. We have been misleading them. If today our young children are out on the streets, and they challenge our police people and security forces, they go and challenge them to shoot them, and they are shot at. We are responsible, and I don’t know how long we will be responsible for killing our young people like betraying them. A young child of 9 years gets killed and I feel responsible. I am responsible. I belong to a system which has led to this situation, and we think of small political gains.
Mainstream political parties too trying to score small political points
Even the mainstream political parties are trying to score small political points. We are betraying our own population, our own people. These young children are the product of violence. They are born after 1989. They have seen only violence, gore, blood, betrayal. Even today, whether they are separatists, or whether they are mainstream parties, we don’t have the collective wisdom, or collective courage to go and tell them the truth. We are not prepared to tell them the truth. We are betraying the nation and our children. That is the truth.
The Taliban’s unwillingness to engage in hypocritical niceties is reassuring. It has driven a point that India has always been mindful of: The West’s defeat in Afghanistan is certain to have grave consequences for the entire region. What we don’t say openly is that the catastrophe isn’t going to be confined to the people of Afghanistan who may have to endure another spell of medievalism. The images of a triumphant Taliban chasing out the mightiest armies of the Western world are certain to bolster the self-image of Islamist invincibility. It is a different matter that this so-called invincibility didn’t happen solely because of the fearless idealism of the Taliban but because the medievalists were assisted by a Pakistan that used the West’s money and arms to subvert the donors. What matters is that as the ‘endgame’ in Afghanistan approaches, it is both Pakistan and its pet Islamists who are exultant. It is possible that the Islamists may turn on their Pakistani Army benefactors at a subsequent date. For the moment, there is an expectation of imminent victory in the Islamist world.
The psychological impact of the elation at having defeated two superpowers is already being felt on the streets of Kashmir — billed, along with Palestine and Afghanistan, as worthwhile jihadi causes. It is time for India to factor this religious triumphalism in its counter-insurgency strategies. New Delhi can no longer remain content that the West is going to do its dirty work in Afghanistan. Either India has to engage more purposefully in Afghanistan to prevent Pakistan from re-acquiring its ‘strategic depth’ or it must be prepared to be permanently beleaguered in Kashmir (not to mention the second front opened by Maoists in central India).
For too long, India has been inclined to remain in denial about the ideological winds blowing through the Khyber Pass. There were good, pragmatic reasons to do so. Unfortunately, that time has passed. As the West confronts defeat in Afghanistan, India has to refashion the priorities of its own self-preservation. There is defeatism in the West and this mood mustn’t infect India. -- Swapan Dasgupta
Officers of the Jammu & Kashmir cadre, especially those who joined the cadre before the 1980s, would tell you that the most serious law and order problem in Srinagar was when unruly mobs would indulge in intense stone-pelting. If it were wintertime, an occasional fling of the ‘kangri’ (a small earthen pot containing burning charcoal) would add spice to the proceedings. The local executive police, aided by the Jammu & Kashmir Armed Police and the CRPF, would counter with lathi charge, and tear gas. Officers who manned the district police, and the district Special Branch and the CID Special Branch, were carefully chosen for their local knowledge, and would invariably give advance information about upcoming law and order problems...
In the last week of July 1980, there was a civilian-military clash, when some civilians allegedly roughed up some Army men late in the evening, which was followed by retaliation by the Army unit. The SSP of Srinagar was also seriously injured in the attack. The whole of the following day there was curfew, and attacks on the police by stone pelting mobs. This writer was in charge of the police deployed in the city.
Around 3.30 pm, when clashes were still going on, there was a message from the house of the Chief Minister, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. The message stated that the Chief Minister would like to visit Lal Chowk and address the people...
The Chief Minister arrived at Lal Chowk and somehow got on top of a bus, and then he addressed the mob for about an hour. He explained the reason the Army was in Kashmir, said that it is going to remain there, and that the people should learn to live with the forces. He explained to the people the ground realities, and the role of various factors, including the State Government. The people then dispersed peacefully.
That was the last time I saw a mass leader in communication with his people during a crisis. It may not be as easy to speak to people today, and may need much more security for a Chief Minister to go around. But the need for communication between the ruler and the ruled in a democracy cannot be overemphasised. - Radha Vinod Raju
Balochistan has been subjected to military suppression since Pakistan came into being. The 1948 accession of the province to Pakistan was obtained under duress from the Khan of Kalat, the head of the Baloch tribal confederacy. Revolts took place in 1948, 1958-62, 1963-69 and then in 1973-77. The last insurgency, like the others, ended in a military stalemate, general amnesty for the rebels and political compromise with the Centre. In its wake, the moderate tendency amongst the Baloch nationalists, of which Jalib was a part, won the day and dominated the nationalist discourse for the next 25 years, having convinced the Baloch people that armed struggle was not the way and that the parliamentary road would yield better results by fighting politically for the province’s rights within the federation. However, the results of this peaceful political engagement only led to greater frustration, despite moderate nationalists being elected to the provincial assembly and even forming governments. None of the issues agitating Balochistan since 1947, foremost amongst them being control of their natural resources — gas, arguably undiscovered oil, coastal potential and minerals — were even remotely addressed, except as lip-service. -- Rashed Rahman
Pakistan’s blatant end- run around the US in Afghanistan has become obvious. So we are finding a much more cynical American attitude towards the Pakistanis. Reports in the American media, investigations by their Congressional committees have begun focusing on the GHQ’s favourite jihadi group— the Lashkar- e- Tayyeba. The more ominous ones say that the Lashkar has now fully become party to the war against the United States forces in Afghanistan. Meanwhile even as the GHQ focuses on the Afghan front, the time bomb that is Pakistan itself continues to tick. The Tehreek- e- Taliban Pakistan attack on the shrine of Datta Ganj Baksh, said by some to be Lahore’s patron saint, brought home the lesson that is driven home to children: if you play with fire, you could burn yourself. Pakistan is like a bomb whose fuse has been lit on two ends. Contrary to popular perception, those two ends are not in Kabul and New Delhi, but within Pakistan itself. -- Manoj Joshi
While the killing of 94 Ahmediyas in prayer may have evoked a mute response, the suicide bombing at Datta Darbar, the shrine of the revered Sufi saint Hazrat Ali Hajveri, that killed 41 devotees some weeks later brought thousands out on the streets in protest. Shops shut down in cities across the country to mark the people's outrage. Interestingly, the target of the protests has been the Punjab government, not the federal government.
According to analysts based in Pakistan, this was not just outrage at the government's failure to maintain law and order, this was anger against the State government run by the PML-N's Shahbaz Sharif for its perceived support to extremist groups. It was Mr. Sharif who last year pleaded with the Taliban not to attack targets in Punjab because they were “of the same ideology.” It was his Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, who campaigned along with leaders of the anti-Shi'a radical group SSP, and his government that admitted to giving grants of Rs.8.2 crore to Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud Dawa last year. Most notably in the protests, it was the clerics of the Sunni Ittehaad Council themselves who demanded that the government stop funding Saeed's outfit. The demand also points to the widening rift between Pakistan's original and majority Barelvi ‘Sufi-ist' followers and Wahabi Deobandis like Saeed, who not only rants against India but also targets Ahmediyas, Sufis and Shi'as in his speeches.
For India, the ISI's backing for Saeed continues to be the main concern, but internally now it is the provincial government's ties to the Punjabi Taliban that are taking the spotlight. The Sharifs, particularly Mian Nawaz Sharif, are known to be fervent followers of the Tablighi Jamaat — the all-powerful sect that provides inspiration to jihadi groups — especially those based in Punjab. The small town of Raiwind on Lahore's outskirts houses the world headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, as well as, interestingly, the Sharifs' own sprawling estate. It was at this Tablighi centre that the men arrested for carrying out the Ahmedi mosque massacres stayed and, according to reports, police captured a large stash of arms from another Raiwind hideout some days ago.-- Suhasini Haidar
Even if the establishment had no direct hand in the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, the ensuing tension was helpful because it gave the Pakistani army an alibi to resist American pressure to do more on the Afghan front. Though the Manmohan Singh government almost immediately indicated that it had no intention of taking military action, the absence of dialogue for more than a year allowed Islamabad to keep up the illusion that the primary threat confronting the country was India and not terrorism. Today, with Pakistan under pressure to open the North Waziristan battle front, New Delhi's willingness to resume sustained high-level dialogue is aimed as much at making bilateral gains and building trust as at creating a conducive regional atmosphere for military operations against the Taliban and other extremist groups.
The attempted bombing of Times Square in New York by a terrorist with links to Pakistan-based groups and the recent suicide attack on the shrine of Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore also mean the domestic and international alignment of stars is the most propitious for such an undertaking. But India has a vital role to play in not giving the Pakistani military an excuse to sidestep this vital agenda. During his visit to Islamabad, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna should try to review the full-range of confidence-building measures India and Pakistan have agreed to in recent years and discuss ways of taking them forward. Back channel talks will have to wait but that does not mean India should resist the resumption of ‘front channel' talks on Kashmir if the requirement of domestic optics makes them necessary for Pakistan. -- Siddharth Varadarajan
Needless to say beef is amongst the cheapest sources of proteins for the poor, especially dalits and adivasis. Till just a couple of decades ago there were many communities who were preferring beef to other expensive protein rich food. At the same time the minorities, Muslims and Christians, for whom, beef is neither a taboo nor a compulsion, are being looked down on this pretext. Large propaganda campaigns are on through which minorities are being demonized around the issue of beef eating and cow slaughter. One recalls the incident of Jhajjer where 5 dalits were done to death on the suspicion of killing a cow and VHP’s Acharya Giriraj Kishore justified the event as saying that cow is so sacred for Hindus that killing of dalits does not matter. Similarly, Sheikh Rahman a cattle trader was killed in Orissa on the cooked up charge of selling cows for slaughter. -- Ram Puniyani
Gen. Kayani was the first Pakistan Army Chief to openly declare that their legitimate aim was to secure “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. “We want a strategic depth in Afghanistan but do not want to control it”, he had declared at a press conference in February this year.
He was clearly addressing the Americans and had added that Pakistan’s “strategic paradigm needs to be fully realised”, meaning that India had to be kept out or restrained in Afghanistan. He had warned that an environment hostile to Pakistan could strain its battle against militancy and extremism. In other words, Kayani wants to regain what his Army had lost in 2001: dominance in Afghanistan.
Such a denouement is completely unacceptable to India. India’s new ambassador to Kabul, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who must have had an inkling of what is brewing in Af-Pak, had warned of preciselt such a scenario in a recent paper published by the Washington thinktank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Now that Mr Mukhopadhaya is in Kabul, he will have to face considerable pressure to reconcile the very contradictions he has written about. His success or failure will not only determine the history of India’s relations with Afghanistan but also that of the Afghan people, who have experienced the Pakistani scourge once before. -- Indranil Banerjie
The restrictions on Uyghur freedom of speech have intensified since the events of 5 July 2009. The state’s top-down intervention in Uyghur affairs, which refuses genuine consultation with or meaningful participation by members of the Uyghur “national minority”, entrenches the deep sense of grievance against the Chinese state over a range of issues: employment policy, social discrimination, the elimination of Uyghur as a language of instruction, and the demolition of Uyghur homes (see "Kashgar's old city: the politics of demolition", 3 April 2009). But now that the accounts of Uyghur eyewitnesses of the turbulence in Urumchi have emerged to offer a clearer picture of what happened, it is time for the international community to take Uyghur voices more seriously. The testimonies of Uyghurs about the violations of human rights they have endured must not be treated as a political tool in the debate about the region’s status; rather, they should be seen through the lens of international law and domestic legal obligations that oppose state-sanctioned violence against citizens (see Yitzhak Shichor, "The Uyghurs and China: lost and found nation", 6 July 2009). -- Henryk Szadziewski
As an organisation, the RSS has denied involvement with any terrorist act. But it has also admitted that some of these suspects had been its members. Now, police are investigating the link between those arrested for the Ajmer blast and Malegaon suspects Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Col Srikant Purohit, Maj (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, Swami Dayanand and Swami Aseemanand. The Rajasthan police is also investigating possible links between the Ajmer, Goa and Mecca Masjid blasts: for instance, the likelihood of a SIM card being used to trigger them.
But there’s a crucial difference in the coverage of these cases. The Muslims who were illegally detained and tortured were immediately profiled as terrorists; fantastic profiles of The Jehadi Terrorist, his background, upbringing, indoctrination and training were on the front pages and on hour after hour of airtime. The Hindutva extremists held in the same cases, however, are being referred to just as suspects. Nowhere to be seen is the thriller vocabulary of ‘modules’, ‘sleeper cells’ and ‘concentric circles’. No wonder the common Muslim feels discriminated against.
Therefore, a cautionary note for the media is quite in order: Do not unthinkingly accept axiomatic government handouts and join it in hounding those who speak up for human rights. Instead of beating down the doubting Thomases, ask the right questions yourself. You may well end up saving the irreparable human cost innocents—like those held and tortured for the Ajmer blasts—are forced to pay. -- NEELABH MISHRA
However, as of now the US is in the driving seat so far as the mining affairs of the country are concerned. The Pentagon who made the startling discovery, has set up a task force to help Afghanistan government develop a system to deal with mining affairs. The entire affair of seeking international bids will be managed by the US as Afghanistan’s mining ministry is not capable of handling such a gigantic task. It clearly means that all the mining rights will be awarded to the American and European companies. It will, therefore, not be an exaggeration to say that the ‘mineral war’ will end in the economic balkanisation of Afghanistan. The Taliban will play a crucial role in this new war as a large part of the minerals are beneath the area dominated by them. The Taliban has been carrying on its ‘jihad’ with the money earned through opium trade which is worth $4billion annually. The haram money was a constant embarrassment for the fighters of jihad. Now, they can dictate terms to the bidding countries, to the Afghan government and the US and earn ‘legitimate’ money by allowing them to start mining operations in their area, thus giving legitimacy to their ‘jihad’. At the same time the wealth may further strengthen their physical base and, therefore, their political clout. -- Sohail Arshad