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Walk across at Wagah
Irfan Husain

Clearly, I had not factored in the mean-spiritedness of South Asian Babus and their political masters. With an unerring instinct for making life difficult for me, they have, with infinite malice, decided that senior citizens will only get visas on arrival at the land border at Wagah, between Lahore and Amritsar. This means that if I want to go to Mumbai from Karachi, I will have to take a flight to Lahore, then take a taxi to Wagah, cross the border on foot, take another taxi to Amritsar, and then get on a plane or train to Delhi….

Justice in Maharashtra (Local Muslims Need Not Apply)
Jyoti Punwani

In Bhartiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat, a fair trial is an impossibility when the accused are Hindu BJP supporters, and the victims are Muslims. Thus the Best Bakery case, named for the incident during the 2002 riots in which 14 persons were burnt alive, saw all 21 accused acquitted in Gujarat. Tried in Mumbai, nine were convicted. The Bilqis Bano case had 12 of the 20 accused convicted in Mumbai....

The substantial public support for the movement in the first phase had made Team Anna over ambitious and they failed to acknowledge the dissenting voices both from within and from the various civil society members and groups. The outside support of civil society began to dwindle as one after another the members began to distance themselves from the movement….

An Appeal to a Naroda Convict
Najeeb Jung

We wish to purge ourselves of the prison of this memory by confronting it, by bringing the guilty to book, by doing what the South Africans did, by walking the path of truth and reconciliation. To quote Nelson Mandela, “ As I walked out of the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison”. But truth first: no real reconciliation can come from the sort of willed nostalgia that the apologists for Gujarat government wish to inflict upon us....

The Face of the Gujarat Police
Ujjwala Nayudu

Dahyabhai Gobarji Vanzara, the “encounter king” of Gujarat police, was seemingly indomitable until his arrest in 2007 for staging the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. The flamboyant Chudasama, 47, is called “well-networked”, “star cop” and “dreadful” in the same breath....

A Terror Tale with Plenty of Loose Ends
Imran Khan

However, civil society activists remain skeptical of the police’s claims. The family of the arrested men has accused the police of arresting them on false charges. And Muslim groups have accused the police of fabricating evidence and victimising innocent members of the minority community. They point out to several previous instances where high-profile arrests made by the police resulted in acquittals….

Naroda Patiya: A Partial Sense of Closure
Anumeha Yadav

“The mob killed my mother Abida Bibi. They flung my seven-year old niece Gulnaz Bano into the fire. She died. My sister Saeeda died of burns at the hospital the next day. I was attacked by swords and lost my 11-month-old daughter while trying to flee. I found her at the Shah Alam camp two months later,” says Naimuddin. His wife Naseem*(name changed) was gang raped by four men; her left arm chopped off with a sword, he adds....

Gujarat ex-Minister Kodnani is no less guilty than Pakistani Terrorist Qassab
Antara Dev Sen

Kodnani helped kill 35 kids, 32 women and 30 men. Almost as a reward, Mr Modi made her state minister for women & child development.

Our justice system presented us with two enormously important judgments on Wednesday, August 29. Both were about mass murder. Both were about massacres that had horrified the nation. Both had a sectarian angle. Both verdicts proclaimed that there was a larger conspiracy and meticulous planning behind the mass murders. Both found the accused guilty of pre-meditated mass murder.

But we responded to these two verdicts very differently. Which once again gives away our shameful prejudices, mindless priorities and silent fears.

Mindlessness On The March
Ayaz Amir

If there was an international shoot-in-the-foot prize Pakistan would win it hands down, our genius for self-inflicted injuries surpassing that of all competitors. We don’t need RAW, Mossad or the CIA to conspire against us. We are self-sufficient in this department, no conspiracy from those quarters coming close to what we can do to ourselves.

 

The Naroda Patia verdict has renewed public faith in the Indian judicial system
Mukul Kesavan

 

Ten years after the Gujarat killings, a special court in Ahmedabad has found 32 people guilty of premeditated violence in the massacre of 99 Muslims in Naroda Patia, one of the many murderous sprees that made up the pogrom of 2002.

This is a landmark judgment because in India the instigators of murderous communal violence are almost never held to account. A decade is a long time, but given that three decades have passed since the organised murder of Sikhs in 1984, in which time some of the principal accused died unpunished, ten years from murder to conviction begins to seem like judicial alacrity. Even those who consider the judgment an inadequate accounting for the pogrom, who feel that justice requires the conviction of the authorities accused of colluding in the killings, must see this as a sustaining victory in the long struggle for the truth.

The judgment holds out the hope that the endless, attritional battle to establish the facts about the killings of 2002 wasn't futile, that India's judicial system is still capable of reminding the powerful and their clients that total impunity is not theirs to command.

GUJARAT RIOTS: Naroda Patiya verdict: The sting in the story
Ashish Khetan

It was unprecedented. Never before in the history of Indian journalism had there been a reportage that had caught killers, rapists and rioters giving a graphic account of their crimes. The first-hand accounts left little doubt that it was a State-sponsored pogrom. And it was all in the can. We had also nailed the real story of the Godhra train burning. The star police witnesses were caught on camera telling how police had tutored them to give false testimonies and framed a spontaneous communal riot into a cold-blooded conspiracy.

The turnout at the Tehran Summit of NAM is itself a proof that the forum has not lost its significance, though the dispensation of the Cold War under which it first came into being is no more existent. The world is still under the hegemony of different military and economic powers with the lone superpower exercising its overall control on the world affairs.

Looking at the figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently for Bihar for 2011, one realises that the State has actually become an increasingly unsafe place for women. The crime rates against them have increased from 6,186 cases in 2008 to 10,231 cases in 2011, a 65 percentage point increase in just the last three years.

Separated at birth
By Saif Shahin

Separated at birth
Saif Shahin

Much is made these days of the apparent likeness between India and Israel. Both are supposed to be modern democracies. Both, it is pointed out, are also fighting Islamic terrorism. But this is a superficial comparison. There is no dearth of modern democracies in the post-Cold War world, and no dearth of nations fighting Islamic terror either, post-9/11. For two nations to be considered alike, they ought to be similar in ways that are more fundamental and, at the same time, that also set them apart from other nations.

It is not India but Pakistan that shares a number of such traits with Israel.

Keep At Bay Communal Elements
Najeeb Jung

Why are Ministers/ Chief Ministers flaunting their connections with so called maulanas and sundry sadhus and priests? Why must we always look for compromise and polite dialogue and be seemingly reluctant in meting out harsh punishment that is possible under law and the Constitution? Why are Chief Ministers, District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police not held responsible for either having inadequate intelligence or lacking the courage to combat communal passions frontally? Communalism must be fought at all levels, starting with schools.

It surprises me when sections of Muslims object to the Gita being taught as part of the curricula, equally as sections of the Hindu right would not appreciate the teaching of the Quran. It is high time we started dialogue across the board among all sections of society, in schools and universities, in think tanks and social forums on the intrinsic beauty of each faith. It is imperative to understand that no faith can possibly be superior or inferior to another and learn of the positive aspects of each faith. Frankly speaking, if blood is the price of freedom then India has overpaid.

Modi’s Murderous Minister: What can be said of civil society in Gujarat when its woman minister for women  and child welfare is convicted of conspiracy to murder women and children
Aakar Patel

What can be said of civil society in Gujarat when its minister for women development and child welfare is convicted of rioting against women and children? On August 29, for the first time in India, a sitting MLA (what is called MPA in Pakistan) was found to have instigated violence in the worst of the 2002 incidents. Twelve people testified to minister Maya Kodnani assisting and egging on the rioters in the Ahmedabad suburb of Naroda Patiya. A total of 96 Muslims were killed that night, 34 children including a newborn, 32 women and 30 men.

Politics of Power
Najam Sethi

Politics of Power
Najam Sethi

Is Imran Khan's tsunami "full of sound and fury signifying nothing", as Shakespeare would say? Imran claims his party's "card holding" membership has crossed the 10 million mark, no mean achievement. He insists PTI will hold transparent and genuine internal elections soon, which is not to be scoffed at.

 
The Tehran Tightrope
C. Raja Mohan

The Tehran Tightrope
C. Raja Mohan

As the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia deepens and acquires sectarian colours, India has walked the tight rope in the Middle East. India’s economic interests today are concentrated on the Arab side of the Persian Gulf — where nearly six million Indians work and send billions of dollars home.

 

Ignoring The Minorities
Zeeshan Adhi
Unfortunately, and one wishes to say this with utmost caution, the international community is not only slow in its response, but also appears to be biased. Despite clear indications of mass killings, it seems that the international community is complacent with only paying lip service to the problem, and essentially agreeing with the Burmese government that it is an internal matter of Burma.

 

Burma Killings:  Think Before You Point Fingers
Shehlah Zahiruddin

So when you hire someone from your own religion or community instead of basing the decision on merit, you have sowed the seed of hatred and racism. When you talk in a prejudiced manner in front of your children whether in jest or otherwise, you are sowing the seeds of hatred. When you are not giving yourself an alternative perspective on your own history, you are sowing the seeds of hatred….

In A Triumph of Lies, A Lesson For The Mass Media
Praveen Swami

For Indians, this ought to be a matter of serious concern. Informal digital information networks are becoming increasingly available to peoples with at best limited engagement with mass media or other institutions of critical thought. This means the cultural tools to determine precisely what information is credible and what is propaganda — no easy task even in the most sophisticated media cultures — simply do not exist.

Ethnic Conflict In India
Praful Bidwai

Another source of conflict is over political representation in the larger Western Assam region, where the Muslims have made gains using democratic instruments. The Bodos drove them out forcibly – in 1992, 1996 and 2010, but failed this time around. The Bodos form only 20 percent of BTAD’s population and don’t enjoy social-economic hegemony.

Cyber Terrorism: Living With the Reality of Virtual Threats
Shashi Tharoor

Social networking websites are also increasingly becoming targets, not only because of the massive databases they provide, but also in order to spread malware that infect computers. On Facebook there are 50 million Indian users and even if a small fraction of them click unsuspectingly on a malevolent but seemingly ordinary link, you have that many computers opened up to risk and infection. Cyber attacks, to state the obvious, can be very personal.

 

Hindu Exodus from Pakistan with Fear
Ruchika Talwar

“Whoever gets a chance to flee, irrespective of religion and destination, is leaving. The minorities have been suffering more. A few years ago, the Christians were persecuted. I have dealt with their cases. The Sikhs were attacked three-four years back. Now it is mainly the Hindus. In 2012 alone, more than 45 cases have been reported so far.” Rubbishing the argument that the cases of conversion by Hindu women were voluntary...

 

Twenty per cent of banned hate sites in India put up by Hindu groups: Bid to Target Minorities, Fan Tension
Deeptiman Tiwary

NEW DELHI: The clamour over Pakistan fanning communal passions in India through social networking sites has missed a crucial detail. Around 20% of the web pages — blocked by government agencies — were uploaded by right-wing Hindu fundamentalists seeking to polarize the country on communal lines.

In these posts doctored images or videos showing alleged atrocities against tribal Bodos by Muslims have been tagged with provocative captions and point to extremist Hindu groups trying to fish in troubled waters to target minorities and fan tensions.

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