Saturday, April 23, 2011

Behind the Enemy Lines!

Dhirendra  Sharma

The force of  social change and reform  is such that any progressive paradigm would  arouse negative emotions in chauvinists.  Since the conservatives  cannot face  challenges  of  progressive ideas, they  resort to  communal -civil disorder and  violence.  Most often then not, the emotions are fuelled by the political and religious vested interests.

 Today, e.g., no one  would believe that  until  the  19th century,  workers and   women had no rights to vote.  Karl Marx (1818-83) was the first to call “Workers of the World Unite”. And the Christians used to burn the witches to control the plague epidemics in Europe.  

In the United States, anti-slavery movement  lead to the Civil War ( 1861-65). Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) banned  the Slavery,  but the  Messiah of Liberty  was assassinated by  a faithful   Christian, the  follower  of  Christ.  
In India, the Hindus used to burn  young widows ( sati) while chanting the Vedic mantras.  Swami Dayananda Sarasvati ( 1824-1883) was the first social reformer who condemned the bigotry. He stopped  idol worship, advocated equal rights for women and the dalits (out-castes).  The Swami in his  magnum opus    Satyartha Prakahs ( Light of Truth)  detailed why  he  was “Not a Hindu”. In 1883  he was  killed with poisoned food served by  his brahman  Hindu cook.

So,  the struggle against socio-economic discrimination,  and  injustice is  common and universal.   Not any community, region or religion specific.   The Islamic jihadi violence too is indicative   of   the same conflict between the new  world order challenging  the traditional belief systems.  But   the contractors of faith   trying to      enforce obedience against questioning the outdated  belief systems.   The Islamic world is facing today anti-Blashfamy  reform  movement.

But smuggling arms, conspiring  suicide bombing, killing and kidnapping of    unarmed citizens for any Divine or Messianic  Mission, specially   against the democratic governance, cannot and must not   be  condoned as defending Human Rights  of  minority or sub-nationalist aspiration.  In the name of  the Human Rights of  Kashmiris or the Palestinians, e.g.,  attacking   airports, and   towns and cities,  and destruction of  educational centres  cannot be justified. The question is then not the colour or the creed  of the conspirators but  how can    we,  disown the past,  and move   forward  with a futuristic vision of  21st century Democratic United Nations.

Once  I  visited Auschwitz camps  where    million Jews systematically  were sent to gas chambers.  That was the 20thcentury, the Age of Social Revolution spreading in Europe.  But the   followers of  the Messenger  of Peace, were trying to Save the World for the Second Coming of the Son of  Mary.   During the 1946-48 partition in India,   I  witnessed the killing of innocent men, women and children belonging  to both Divine Faith ( Hindus and Muslims).  I saw   at Amritsar Railway station  trains  streamed in from  across the divided border  - massacred – human bodies hanging from the roof  and protruding out of the windows…

Whom should I hold guilty ?  Where should I go seeking the justice?  But in 1984, I defended many Sikh families and protected the Sikh Temple ( Gurudwara), in my  neighbourhood,  in New Delhi.  Still, I could  do nothing  to help  300 innocent –men, women and children,  many of them Sikhs  who were drown in the deep   sea     when  an Air India flight  was destroyed in the mid-air over the Atlantic Oceon, by the  Sikhistani Singhs ( Lions).  The Saint Bhindrewala had vowed  “to clear ( kill)  all Hindus from Panjab”.  That was what the Sant  told me one dark  night in Jalandhr.

In 1989. after  a  trekking expedition  in Kashmir,  as  I arrived at a village,   I noticed a huge Mosque built just over the rampart  of  the ancient Buddhist site of  Avantipuram.  Many   black banners  were  hanging around in  the village. Perhaps   in protest against “ Indian occupation”,  I thought.  NO, the Kashmiris were mourning the death of Ayatollah Khomeini (1900-89),  the founder of the  Shite fundamentalist republic in Iran  (in 1979).

  Who was he?. “Oh, you don’t know! He was (Peace be upon Him)…a Great  Soul,  the Saint of  Shias.  (wo ek bahut badi atmaa the..)  and that it  was he who had got  “The Mosques built  here  …”  confirmed  the village school teacher.

To my Kashmiri  hosts,  I narrated how   an old man  during the partition days, went on fast  demanding the Hindus stop  killing of  Muslims  in  India. The Mahatma  was killed by   a Marathi  Hindu manoos. That was the great soul Gandhi. But   the late Khomeini  led  Shias and Sunnies to kill each other and more than 100,000 Arab- muslims – Iranian  and Iraqis  fought  an unending war   with  guns Made-in- USA. But  “ you Kashmiri brothers  tell me that  the Khomeini  was a  Great Soul (“ badi atma”)   who made muslim brothers to kill each other!”

The next day  in Srinagar, I visited “Freedom Fighters” in their den.  They told me they received  arms training, and money from  other  “brother countries”.  On the wall  the banner read: “hans-ke liya hai Pakistan, Lad-ke lenge Hindustan.”  ( By laughing we got Pakistan. By fighting we”ll capture India).  Next day, the local media reported  acid attacks  on  the college-going Kashmiri  girls.  I asked   local  friends  to condemn  the attack on  the girls.

   “You will fly  out  of  here  tomorrow.  But our homes would be bombed…”.  lamented the helpless muslim Kashmiri intellectuals.

I do not deny violation of  Human rights in Kashmir and Palestine. But there  are no innocent leaders and preachers on any side.   The Friday sermons in the Mosques  do not speak of  Human Rights but call for Jihad.

Brother Shabir Shah is the   Mandela of Kashmir, who  lost his youth 25 years inside the   Indian jail. He was visiting us in Delhi. One  Friday, he was taken  to  the Jama Masjid Mosque,  and was asked  by the  Shahi Imam  to speak on  the atrocities of  Indian soldiers.

 “I have come here to do ibadat, ( prayer) not politics.”  retorted Shabir  Shah. I wanted to take him to the Gandhi Samadhi ( Raj Ghat).
  “I would be killed..” confined the  brother Shabir.

I learnt that  Marx and Gandhi are not covered by the Blashfamy laws.
The genesis of  Kashmir and  the Palestine   is  rooted  in denial of Democratic paradigm. In the  21st century Space Age, no nation can be governed by the  preachers of  age-old  belief systems.

Dhirendra Sharma  ( Sharma is author of India’s Commitment to Kashmir).

(The responsibilities of the contents of the article rest on the writer)

Dhirendra Sharma
Centre for Science Policy/Concerned
Scientists & Philosophers,
"Nirmal-Nilay", Dehradun 248009 (India).
+(0135) 2735 627.Mob. 989788 3741
Mo. 989788 3741.

Pakistan: US drone raid 'kills 25' in N Waziristan

At least 25 people have been killed in a US drone strike in the troubled Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan, officials told the BBC.
Missiles were fired on a large compound in the town of Spinwam, but five women and four children in a nearby house were also killed.
The area is a haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Meanwhile, at least 13 soldiers died when hundreds of insurgents attacked a checkpoint near the Afghan border.
Pakistani security officials told the BBC that Afghan militants had crossed the border and stormed the army post in the Lower Dir area.
Security forces temporarily abandoned the post but now, residents say, they are back in control and have placed the entire area under curfew.
Pakistani-US tensions
Pakistani officials say four missiles were fired on a large compound occupied by supporters of local militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, in Spinwam, 40km (25 miles) north-east of the tribal region's main town of Miranshah.
Several people were also wounded in Friday's attack, a local intelligence official was quoted as telling AFP news agency.
The US does not routinely confirm it conducts drone operations in Pakistan.
But analysts say only American forces have the capacity to deploy such aircraft. US drone attacks have escalated in the region since President Barack Obama took office. More than 100 raids were reported last year.
Many militants, some of them senior, have been killed in the raids, but hundreds of civilians have also died.
Drone strikes are are hugely unpopular with the Pakistani public. Correspondents say they have the tacit approval of the authorities, although Pakistani leaders deny secretly supporting them.
The BBC's Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says there have been few drone attacks in Spinwam, making it a comparatively safe place for militants who have been chased out of other militant strongholds in North Waziristan.
A drone strike in North Waziristan on 17 March killed some 40 people, most of them believed to be civilians attending a tribal meeting.
In a rare public condemnation, Gen Kayani called that raid "intolerable and unjustified".
Friday's strike comes a day after Pakistani army chief, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, told the US military's top officer, Adm Mike Mullen, that drone strikes complicated Pakistan's "national" war against the militants.
It also comes amid a deepening rift between the US and Pakistan. On Wednesday Adm Mullen accused Pakistan's spy agency of having links with militants targeting troops in Afghanistan.
Anti-American feeling has been on the rise in Pakistan, stoked by the row over CIA contractor Raymond Davis, arrested and later released after shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore in January.
Recent reports in the US from unnamed Pakistani officials, suggest Pakistan demanded certain restrictions to the CIA's activities in Pakistan, including their drone programme.

Experience has taught Nakamura how to persevere

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Staff writer
YOKOHAMA — If the J. League is looking for inspiration as it prepares to restart the season on Saturday, Shunsuke Nakamura knows more than a thing or two about triumph over adversity.
News photo
No looking back: Yokohama F. Marinos midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who played overseas for several seasons, says he has no regrets about the way his career has gone. AP
The Yokohama F. Marinos midfielder is one of hundreds of players getting ready to return to action this weekend, six weeks after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast and cast the new J. League campaign into limbo with only one round of games played.
Nakamura, however, is more than just another player. A legend in Japanese soccer with 98 caps to his name and a bulging medal collection from four gilded years in Scotland with Celtic, Nakamura returned to Marinos early last season to see out his playing days at the club where it all began.
If that suggests a career of unfettered success, however, the reality is somewhat different. Last year's demotion from national team linchpin to World Cup bench-warmer was just the latest in a series of disappointments for a player who has inspired as many naysayers as disciples, and marked a cruel end to an international career that never had the chance to truly flourish on the biggest stage.
For all the setbacks, however, Nakamura's enthusiasm remains as strong as ever.
"Since the earthquake, everyone has been collecting money and doing other things to help," he said at Marinos' training ground earlier this week. "The fixture schedule changed after we had played only one game, and that has made it difficult to keep in good condition. So after all that, I'm glad that the J. League is about to restart. After everything that has happened, I want to help bring a bit of good news to people and give them something to enjoy."
Having retired from the national team after the World Cup, that enjoyment will have to come from watching Nakamura wear the blue of Yokohama alone.
"Now I only have to play in the J. League, and at my age that makes it easier to stay in shape," the 32-year-old said. "In the past, when I was in Italy or Scotland, it took a long time to come back to Japan by plane and it left me tired. Now I can concentrate only on Marinos and my family.
"Marinos was the club that I belonged to and supported when I was young, so coming back here only makes me happy."
But Nakamura's return to Yokohama last February was not quite so simple. An expected transfer after leaving Celtic in the summer of 2009 failed to materialize when he instead accepted an offer from Spanish side Espanyol, finally arriving at Marinos eight months later when it became clear that his failure to make an impact in La Liga was jeopardizing his place on the national team.
e_SDLqTransferring from one club to another is not an easy process, so what happens happens," he said. "I didn't play so many games in Spain and I wasn't able to show what I could do in that half-year. But it would be a waste not to use that experience, and in that sense it was a very important time for me. I don't wish that I had come direct from Scotland to Marinos, because going to Spain was a valuable experience."
The price he would ultimately pay for that experience, however, was his starting place in Japan's World Cup team. With Nakamura struggling for form and fitness and the national team heading to South Africa on the back of a string of poor results, manager Takeshi Okada took drastic action in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
A tactical reshuffle meant Nakamura was consigned to the bench, and he stayed there for all but the final 26 minutes of Japan's first-round defeat to the Netherlands. Having been left out of the 2002 World Cup squad and failing to do himself justice in 2006, the impact was devastating.
"I don't know if disappointed is the word," he said. "I didn't expect it — I didn't even play. It felt like my whole world had collapsed. But it was just one more experience for me, and I wanted the team to do well so I knew I had to get over it and do what I could. But it was disappointing."
Players with a weaker mentality would have crumbled in the same situation, but Nakamura has suffered enough disappointment to know that there is always a way back.
e_SDLqWhen you are lacking in something, you have to be humble enough to recognize that," he said. "For example, if I'm playing well and the manager substitutes me, rather than think 'this guy doesn't know what he's doing,' I'm the type to ask myself 'What is it that I haven't done well enough?'
"At the World Cup it was the same. I thought about what it was that I wasn't doing well enough and what I would have to do to overcome that.
"It's about the ability to take a good look at yourself and see where you're going wrong. Of course there are times when that doesn't work, but it all depends on how you reflect on what has happened and use it to move upward. That's a habit I've had since long ago."
Having now entered the final phase of his career, Nakamura certainly has plenty to reflect on.
"There is nothing that I wish I had done differently," he said. "Maybe I should have gone to Spain instead of Italy when I first went to Europe. But I've given my all in everything I've done, and if something didn't work, then I thought about why it went wrong. But I've got no regrets."

 23/4/2011 9:14:59 AM

IInd phase of WB Assembly elections underway

Kolkata:  Polling began this morning in 50 constituencies for the second of the six-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal in which an electorate of 93.33 lakh will decide the fate of 293candidates.

Tight security arrangements are in place for peaceful polling in 22 constituencies in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia and 11 in Birbhum, having a total of 11,531 polling stations.

Some of the prominent candidates whose fortunes will be decided are Abhijit Mukhkerjee, son of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee from Nalhati seat, Panchayat minister and CPI(M) leader Anisur Rahaman, former High Court Judge Nure Alam Chowdhury, a Trinamool Congress candidate contesting from Murarai and Rukbanur Rahman, brother of late computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman from the Chapra constituency.

BJP has fielded candidates in all seats, followed by CPI(M) in 31, Trinamool Congress in 29, BSP in 27 and Congress in 21 seats.

Police said 480 companies of central para-military forces have been deployed in the three districts. The six-phase election is scheduled to end on May 10. (PTI)


Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Health News:Sat, April 23, 2011

Sat, April 23, 2011:  Health News - Morning & evening Report :

Morning Medical Bulletin released by Director, SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram at 0800 hrs. by reads:
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba continues to be in the same critical condition as yesterday. He continues to be very critical.
He is still on ventilator support. A cycle of slow haemodialysis has been completed on Him this morning.
He continues to be under close scrutiny and round the clock treatment by the panel of doctors attending upon Him.
For more details,please visit the following links:

ISI not behind Mumbai attack, says Rehman Malik

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 23, 2011

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ISI not behind Mumbai attack, says Rehman Malik

Anita Joshua

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday categorically stated that the Inter-Services Intelligence was not involved in the Mumbai terror attack and maintained that Islamabad had no issues with New Delhi helping Afghanistan in its development provided there was no presence of the Indian Army on that side of the Durand Line.

Mr. Malik made these remarks while interacting with an Indian media delegation that is visiting the country on the invitation of the Pakistan government.

Replying to a host of questions, the Minister side-stepped controversial issues such as the alleged Indian hand behind the unrest in Balochistan and how the visa situation between the two countries had been complicated by India's insistence on having every application scrutinised by the Union Home Ministry.

About the recent bonhomie between the two countries, Mr. Malik said that while the two sides were confident of being able to make some progress, “neither side wants to create a hype because there are issues that cannot be addressed overnight.”

As for the progress in the Mumbai terror case that is going on in Pakistan, he said there was enough evidence but the courts had to go through a process that could be time-consuming.

Courtesy:The Hindu

India Good Friday Pictures & Photos A nun holds a cross as she participates in a procession marking Good Friday in Jammu, India, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP Phot ...more »

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Courtesy: Newshopper:sulekha.

IPS officer accuses Modi of instigating Gujarat riots

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Police officer's affidavit

Victimisation of Teesta Setalvad, CJP and Victim Survivors

Gujarat police officer implicates Modi in riots

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 23, 2011
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version

Gujarat police officer implicates Modi in riots

Manas Dasgupta & J. Venkatesan

“He told us to let rioters ‘teach a lesson' to Muslims”
AHMEDABAD/NEW DELHI: A senior Gujarat cadre police officer, Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Chief Minister Narendra Modi directed top police officers on the eve of the 2002 pogrom to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” and “teach a lesson” to Muslims following the Sabarmati Express carnage in which Hindu passengers died.

Mr. Bhatt also accused the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team of trying to “cover up the larger conspiracy and official orchestration” behind the riots.

The 1988 batch IPS officer, now principal of the State Reserve Police Training College, Junagadh, said that he was present at the high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister on the night of the Godhra incident on February 27, 2002, in his capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the State Intelligence Bureau, Gandhinagar, the post he held from December 1999 to September, 2002.

He said he was told by the State control room about the meeting convened by Mr. Modi and instructed to remain present there with the then Director-General of Police, K. Chakravarthi. He surmised that he was asked to attend the meeting because his boss, the then Additional Director-General of Police, Intelligence, G. C. Raigar, was on leave that day.

According to Mr. Bhatt, whose testimony had been recorded by the SIT probing a complaint by Zakia Jaffrey, wife of a slain former Congress MP, “Mr. Narendra Modi said [at the February 27 meeting] that the bandh call had already been given, and the party [the BJP] had decided to support the same, as incidents like the burning of kar sevaks at Godhra could not be tolerated. He further impressed upon the gathering that for too long, the Gujarat police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against the Hindus and Muslims while dealing with communal riots. This time, the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again. The Chief Minister, Mr. Modi, expressed the view that the emotions were running very high amongst the Hindus, and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent out their anger,” the affidavit states.

Mr. Bhatt said he had given an account of the meeting in his depositions before the SIT. He claimed that at the conclusion of the February 27, 2002 meeting, the officials present tried to tell Mr Modi that his decision to bring the bodies of the kar sevaks burnt in the Godhra train carnage to Ahmedabad in the light of the “Gujarat Bandh” called by the VHP and backed by the ruling BJP could cause widespread communal riots across the State, and that the police neither had the manpower nor resources to deal with such a situation.

Mr. Modi, however, was unrelenting and told the police officers that an incident like burning the kar sevaks could not be tolerated and that the Muslims had to “be taught a lesson.”
Mr. Bhatt said the effects of Mr. Modi's “directions” widely manifested in the “half-hearted approach and lack of determination” on the part of the police in dealing with the “widespread incidents and orchestrated violence” during the “state-sponsored bandh” and the days that followed.

Mr. Bhatt said that during his interactions with the SIT in November 2009 and subsequent meetings, he provided its investigators with all the details, but the SIT was disinclined to follow up on important leads. He also alleged that the SIT had chosen to coerce certain witnesses into refraining from stating the true facts. He said the special investigators appeared reluctant to examine the existence of any larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat riots and urged the Supreme Court to direct them to ensure that the investigation was carried out in all aspects.

The case, in which Ms. Jaffrey has asked that an FIR be registered against Mr. Modi, comes up for hearing on April 27.

Bangladesh ferry tragedy toll reaches 32

Bangladesh –

Article published the Friday 22 April 2011 –
Latest update : Friday 22 April 2011


(A Bangladesh ferry carrying more than 1,000 people capsized in November 2009.
Reuters:File Photo)

The death toll following a ferry accident in the east of Bangladesh rose to 32 on Friday, with more bodies expected to be recovered after rescue workers managed to raise to sunken vessel.

The MV Bipasha on Thursday collided with the wreck of a cargo ship that had sunk a few days earlier in the river Meghna at Sarail, 90 kilometres from Dhaka.

Local media said 200 people were on board the vessel, most of them asleep, when the collision happened.
Local police recovered five more bodies on Friday after the search operation was suspended late on Thursday due to poor visibility.

On Friday afternoon a salvage vessel had succeeded in raising the ferry from the riverbed and emergency workers were scouring the site for more bodies.

Boats are the main form of inter-district travel in Bangladesh’s remote rural areas, but accidents are common owing to lax safety standards and overloading.

More than 150 people have died in the last six months in ferry accidents.

Naval officers have said that 95 per cent of Bangladesh’s hundreds of thousands of small and medium size boats do not meet minimum safety regulations.