Friday, 17 December 2010

Digvijay Singh reignites controversy over Karkare's killing

Slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare
Congress leader Digvijay Singh's statement has reignited the debate over the mysterious circumstances in which former ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed during the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Of course, Singh didn't mean that 26/11 was planned by the so-called Hindu terrorist groups but the fact that Karkare was killed during the terror attack on Indian soil by Pakistani terrorist groups, gave the impression that Digvijay was accusing Hindu organisations for planning the attack.

Digvijay was speaking at the function to release a book written by journalist Aziz Burney that suspected the role of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the Mumbai terrorist strike. The book is named '26/11-RSS ki Saazish'. Naturally the Congress leader can't plead absolute innocence.

While the theory of Hindutva organisations' involvement in 26/11 is totally absurd and ruled out, the conspiracy theory about Karkare's killings has many more takers than we believe. This issue hasn't been discussed in mainstream media.

Many of us squirm when someone raises the same suspicion that the groups who were upset with revelations in Malegaon blast case found an opportunity and bumped off Karkare. He had arrested Abhinav Bharat's Pragya Thakur and this had angered the Sangh Parivar.

Digvijay wasn't wrong when he said that Karkare was getting threats. This is a fact that he had been threatened and was facing increasing pressure. Even a senior BJP leader like LK Advani had spoken on behalf of Pragya Thakur.

Karkare's jacket had also gone missing. It was not clearly established who had asked the officers to reach the Cama Hospital. The reluctance of police in providing details of another slain police officer's wife Vinita Kamte led to more suspicions. The missing bullet proof jacket added to the controversy.

It is not too surprising for many to believe that a sniper killed Karkare and his fellow policemen. Conspiracy theories exist everywhere in the world.

When a radical group with links to RSS could plot Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, another right-wing militant group may have planned to target Karkare. It is not as implausible either.

At least, at a theoretical level a section can smell rat. In America, there are a large number of citizens who still believe that 9/11 was not the work of terrorists but a sort of 'inside job'. They are free to believe but the outrage is unnecessary.

It is better if a proper investigation is conducted as per the recent High Court directive. As far as political parties are concerned, BJP gets exceptionally angry at such charges because it has to protect its mother organisation, RSS.

As far as Congress is concerned, if Digvijay Singh keeps making such statements, it his stock that will fall among the electorate as popular opinion doesn't seem to be in favour of those floating the conspiracy theories.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Monstrous murder: Software engineer kills wife in Dehradun

The common belief that educated person gets more sensible, understanding and humane has once again been shattered.

The brutal murder in Dehradun where software engineer Rajesh Gulati, 37, killed his wife Anupama and cut her into 70 pieces to hid the body, shows that educated persons are often more methodical when committing crimes.

He was disposing the pieces in a local forest one by one when the police arrested him. US-return Gulati was already facing a case of domestic violence which was filed by his wife.

Gulati killed Anupama by strangulating her in October and hid the body parts in the deep freezer. But his brother-in-law had got suspicious as Gulati didn't tell anyone about his wife's whereabouts.

This is not the first such incident. of crime. In recent years the most despicable crimes involving murders of friends, lovers, paramours and spouses have been committed in the most grisly manner by highly educated persons.

Software engineers have been arrested for planned murders in different cities in India. In Bangalore, a techie had planned his wife's murder with such precision that police were almost misled until he was arrested. In Hyderabad and other cities also BPO and software employees have been arrested.

Navy officer Liutenant Jerome Mathew and his model girl friend Monica Maria were arrested for the murder of a top media executive Neeraj Grover in Mumbai. In that incident also, the body was chopped off and hidden in separate bags for disposal.

Murders and crimes of passions among educated persons reflect a worrying trend. If it's stress level, then poor persons are more stresses as they have to battle multiple problems. Or is is that educated persons are ebtter planners and tend to be more cunning in their approach!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Harsh Truth: Hindu Terrorism exists in India just like Muslim Terror

Probably most of us were skeptic when we first heard that Malegaon blasts were planned by a radical Hindu group but it was believed that they were just a few fanatics.

But when Swami Asimanand, a godman and spiritual guru, who built the Shabra Dham pilgrimage and who had close links to top RSS, VHP and BJP leaders, is found involved in terrorism plots and targeting our own country, it is nothing less than a shock.

He was absconding for long. CBI has now arrested this 'religious man' whose acts have shamed us. Perhaps all of us are yet to come to terms with the gravity of his misdeeds. He was doing what the worst enemy of India would do.

His involvement in bomb blasts in Jama Masjid, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Dargah and Samjhauta Express show that he was a fanatic in saffron robe. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its sister organisations have links with such militants and this is something that can't be ignored.

It should be investigated if he got money from somewhere or got funds from outside or was he an agent of foreign power to create instability. It is surprise that such big network remained hidden from the intelligence agencies until ATS Maharashtra's chief late Hemant Karkare began unearthing the gang.

It is now time for serious focus on Hindu extremism. Just like Muslim or Islamic terrorism, there is a strong Hindutva or Hindu terror. Just like criminals come from all religious, terrorists and traitors can be born in any community.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Third generation of Thackerays & need to reinvent Shiv Sena

Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena is known for inciting mob violence, dividing citizens on communal lines and spreading hate among different sections of society.

It is not surprising that the party is once again indulging in cheap politics. Frustrated by its failure to capture power in Maharashtra due to the rise of Raj Thackeray's MNS, Shiv Sena leaders are again at their vitriolic worst.

Uddhav's son Aditya Thackeray announced that Rohinton Mistry's book Such a Long Journey was harsh on his grandfather and the clowns at the Bombay University duly obliged by banning the book that had been part of syllabus for several years.

Sena leaders can't be expected to read the book but they should have known that the writer was more harsh on Indira Gandhi for clamping emergency than Bal Thackeray's antics. The recent statements of Sena and the party's stand on burqa is once again proof of the fact that we can't afford to ignore Sena.

The ridiculous demand to ban burqa is not unexpected from Shiv Sena, given its track record. But it's time that the laws are updated and vitriolic statements or speeches are brought under the ambit of hate crime so that the guilty be punished.

It is visible to all and sundry that the Shiv Sena is increasingly getting marginalised. The Marathi manoos also doesn't care much about them. In the last 40 years, the party has hardly done any constructive work. It has targeted South Indians, Muslims and North Indians.

The Sena is against English-speakers and against Hindi-speakers also. Its leaders have acted as hooligans and its cadre has taken part in rioting. Uddhav Thackeray was expected to give a new direction to the party but he failed to revive it and now his son Aditya has taken plunge into politics.

But he should try to understand that unless he does anything constructive, he can't save the party. Forget Parliament or Assembly, even municipal polls would be difficult to win unless Shiv Sena reinvents itself and the party leaders do serious groundwork rather then restricting themselves to issuing statements and vandalism.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Pakistan dumps Urdu, plea against English as official language dismissed

The official language of Pakistan continues to be English, sixty years after partition and the formation of the country on religious lines.

The High Court dismissed the plea for replacing English with Urdu as the state language.

Technically, the reason was that the petitioner didn't appear but anyhow it tells the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan that it has yet to have a state language which is widely understood and spoken.

The founder of Pakistan Mohamed Ali Jinnah had got Pakistan on the basis of religion but he had vowed that the new state would be secular, non-discriminatory and have Urdu as its state language.

Sixty years, several 'revolutions', and coups were witnessed but Pakistan has abandoned almost everything what its founder had dreamt of.

It became a religious state. Shias were harassed and Ahmedis were declared non-Muslims. Secularism went to dustbin and Urdu is now a relic. Or the rulers of Pakistan want to keep the poor citizens carrying Urdu while the sophisticated class would conduct its business in English just like the Burra Sahibs or the White Masters.

This helps in keeping the ruler-ruled relationship. Politicians like Zardaris and their children who can speak in English and the Urdu speakers will look at them in awe. Urdu, Panjabi, Sindhi, Saraiki, Pashto and many major languages are spoken in Pakistan but it chooses English.

At least in India, Urdu is one of the official languages recognised in eighth schedule along with Hindi and other major regional languages. Urdu is also the official and second state language in UP, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Pakistan has truly failed its visionary. If the country and leaders had self-respect, they should have made Urdu not the state language but given it the status of national language. We have no right to say whether Pakistan is a successful state or failed state.

But what we don notice is that it has deviated and drifted from its path in a big way and this is another proof. Alas, leaders and citizens equally chant Jinnah's name and his photographs hang everywhere but Pakistan has abandoned and jettisoned his legacy.

Read the post: 'Hasn't Pakistan failed Jinnah'

Sunday, 10 October 2010

BJP fails to take initiative on Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir verdict, loses historic opportunity

The BJP had a historic opportunity to take a lead over Congress after the High Court verdict on Ayodhya that divided land between the three claimants, but the party failed to take initiative, and once again seems to have lost the chance..

When Muslim voices in favour of reconciliation were emerging, the BJP leaders should have taken initiative and gone ahead with meeting Muslim clerics including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Deoband and Jamat Islami, which would have put moral pressure on Muslim leadership to reciprocate.

But the BJP leadership kept mum, even looking shocked by the verdict of Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench. Its leaders spoke in different voices, some favoured the decision while others didn't want to share even 1/3rd of the disputed land with Muslims.

Some Sangh Parivar elements and leaders of VHP, Bajrang Dal and other groups said that they would not let mosque built near the temple. By taking an initiative at dialogue and reconciliation, BJP could have improved its image and its gesture would have earned it goodwill among the peace loving Indians.

Congress was in a tough situation but BJP threw the opportunity. The parties will go to the Supreme Court and the case may take years. Meanwhile, verdict of the criminal case of Babri Mosque demolition can come in the meanwhile and some party leaders can be indicted, which will be another problem for the BJP.

The LK Advani era has gone and under the new president Nitin Gadkari, BJP had a chance to emerge as a responsible party. But it failed to rise the occasion and none its leaders could play or speak like a statesman.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Rahul Gandhi equates RSS with SIMI, confused BJP falls in Congress trap

During his visit to Madhya Pradesh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said that the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) are equally fanatic.

The statement hit the BJP like a bombshell and its leaders issued a range of statements, some termed Rahul immature, others said he was unaware of history while some made harsh comments against the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Such was the mad rush that almost every BJP leader spoke on the issue. Reactions ranging from 'Rahul's statement is childish' to 'it is political crime' ensured that Rahul's utterances got prominence, more so because of the heavy criticism.

The BJP-ruled government in Madhya Pradesh had set a new precedent and for the first time given status of State Guest to Rahul Gandhi during his visit. But he said that it didn't matter to him, instead, his statement that termed RSS, a Hindu fundamentalist organisation, at par with Muslim fundamentalist group SIMI, embarrassed the government.

Madhya Pradesh plays a important part in Congress' scheme of things. With a strong Dalit, Tribal and Minority population, the party wants to win the state again after two successive losses. By attacking RSS, Rahul sent a message post-Ayodhya verdict that the Congress was clear about its secular policy.

The links of Madhya Pradesh-based Hindutva groups involved in terrorist activities is well-known. While SIMI is a banned organisation and RSS has also been banned many times in the past, the comparison may not look that odd.

RSS has dozens of frontal organisations including VHP and Bajrang Dal that have been involved in communal riots and large-scale violence. But the growth of BJP has given somewhat respectability to RSS though it never participated in the freedom movement.

The BJP appeared confused as to how to react to Rahul Gandhi's sudde attack. While its leaders were speaking in different voices, dismissing him as an 'inexperiences politician' would not help. There was not a single rational or proper response fromt the party.

On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi seems to be playing his cards well. By targeting RSS, the mother organisation of BJP, he has touched the BJP's raw nerve. After all, the more BJP leaders will target him, the more his political stature will rise.

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Kashmir Problem: Here stones are returned with bullets

Once again Kashmir is on the boil. Teenagers and young boys are being killed in cold blood while those who protest by throwing stones are termed as terrorists.

It is indeed ironical that political parties organise violent protests all over India and nowhere army or police fire at the demonstrators except in Kashmir.

In Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and other Maoist-affected states, CRPF personnel are killed by dozens and their vehicles blown up--like 76 personnel killed by Naxalites in one go in Dantewada--but there is no sense of outrage or voices for reprisal. The Centre refuses to send army or order air-strikes against the Naxals.

But the same CRPF personnel can't tolerate stone-pelters in Jammu & Kashmir? At least, they can show slight restaint and avoid shooting in the head and chests. But attitudes are hard to change.

Politicians, public and the paramilitary forces consider Kashmiris as 'others'. In rest of India, violent demonstration are dealt with cane-charge or rubber bullets but in Kashmir, youths are shot dead in cold blood.

But this pain of Kashmiris is not understood properly in other parts of the country. One of the reasons is the biased coverage of events in a section of media. While demonstration and even violent protest is considered a sort of democratic right elsewhere, things are seen differently when it comes to Kashmir.

Congress and BJP workers organise 'bandhs' and go on rampage. But when Kashmiri youths protest, media term them 'militants' and it is alleged that the young stone throwns are acting on behalf of Lashkar or HuJI terrorists.

Kashmiris have been facing this media discrimination for decades. Linking ordinary boys to terrorist groups is even more criminal. While media should be sympathetic to families of kids who are hit with bullets in the chests, instead, the jingoist journalists look at Kashmir from an altogether different patriotic prism.

Mainstream Indian media is sympathetic to Kashmiri Pandits (KPs). But they should rather ask Congress and BJP that what the two major parties did for the KPs. They also forget that the Pandits were not killed by Kashmiri Muslims.

There was no such genocide in J&K. Sikhs, Christians and Muslims have also faced mass killings in Delhi, Orissa and Gujarat. Migrants are attacked and killed in Maharashtra, Dalits targeted in Haryana. Which community hasn't suffered?

Thousands of Kashmiris who have died in the insurgency in the last few decades are mostly Kashmiri Muslims. The Kashmiri Muslim has been suffering at the hands of militants and has also endured the excesses of police and army.

Sadly, everything petaining to Kashmir is communalised. Kashmiris are looked at with suspicion outside their state. For students, it is extremely difficult to get accomodation in Delhi, or even faraway Mumbai.

Other than job or business, Kashmiris want to be treated at par as citizens of the country. They should get the feeling that they belong here and rest of India must stand by them. They are Indian citizens and should be made to feel like that.

Contrary to the much-hyped special status for the state under Article 370, in reality Kashmiris feel that there is no respsect for their feelings. Even their lives are not considered precious enough.

But the real problem of Kashmiri is that not just others but their own leaders also let them down. Does Omar Abdullah appear angry when youths are shot dead on the streets of Kashmir? No. He isn't. And here lies the misfortune of Kashmiris.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Sohrabuddin Encouter: Innocent Kausar's killing haunts Gujarat police

More than Sohrabuddin Sheikh, it is the murder of innocent Kausar Bi that is haunting Gujarat police. After the arrest of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, new revelations expose that how senior officials colluded to not just run extortion rackets but build empires.

Intoxicated by power, they used criminals to further their agenda. In India, it seems that perhaps anyone who is poor and has no connections can be killed and the encounter passed off as genuine, because ordinary middle-class or poor can't fight the system. After all, affording lawyers' fee for higher courts is not easy.

But Sohrabuddin Sheikh's brother Rubabuddin defied this perception. He decided to fight case and approached Supreme Court. In India where 95% encounters are false, the Apex Court ordered a fresh investigation.

It came out that cops were functioning as dons with the backing of their political masters. Sohrabuddin may be a criminal but his wife, Kausar Bi, was killed in such a manner that it can put to shame the most ferocious of criminals.

The cop-criminal nexus worked along with traders. When marble traders of Rajasthan gave 'supari', Gujarat police obliged. DG Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN were some of the names in this story.

Sohrabuddin and his wife were abducted during the bus journey, kept in a farmhouse. First, Sohrabuddin was murdered in cold blood and it was termed an encounter. Later Kausar allegedly raped and burnt. Her remains were disposed off.

In Indian society, casteist and communal politics has divided citizens and civil society hardly raises voice. Police remain an instrument of powerful. This happened in Sohrabuddin case. Amit Shah and the cops involved in the murders may not have realised then that law will ultimately catch them.

Amit Shah was Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's close confidante. Shah may have thought that he would never get caught. He is suspect in the Rs 16n00 crore fraud. Ketan Parekh was saved after he paid a bribe.

About 42 cooperative banks lost huge money and many were closed. How many ordinary families lost their hard-earned money! Such nexus of crime and corruption causes devastation. A few years later, law has caught him with all of them. Let's see.

Monday, 1 March 2010

MF Hussain: Hounding India's greatest artist for political purposes

Renowned painter MF Hussain is among India's most famous artists but today he is forced to take up the citizenship of the tiny Qatar, just because of our collective hypocrisy and failure to take on mob violence.

For centuries, India has celebrated nature and divinity. Our temples bear testimony to the fact that gods and goddesses were depicted in nude. It was not that Husain was the only painter who has made such paintings.

Hindu artists have drawn such paintings and lesser known Muslim artists have followed suit. But Maqbool Fida Husain became a victim of the right-wing communalists because it was an era when controversial issues were discovered so as to create a communal divide and get electoral benefits by consolidating Hindu vote.

Like Ayodhya and Hubli's Idgah Maidan, it was an issue created to polarise electorate and to instil a feeling of victimhood among the 'beleagued Hindu majority populace'. Across India hundreds of cases were registered against Husain, whose exhibitions were attacked and for whom life was made difficult in India.

Threats were issued openly and he was forced to leave the country. The self-styled moral guardians of Hindutva failed to realise that they were taking on man who had taken Indian art to the international fora.

He was already 81. But for the right-wing militants who were attacking galleries wherever Hussain's work was displayed in India, were not bothered. Husain was a big name and whenever they attacked him, it made news.

All these years he has lived abroad, but never uttered a word about what he faced in his own country, his motherland. He has apologised though he needn't do it. He never asked for citizenship and when it was conferred upon him, he simply accepted it.

We, as a nation, have already failed him. We couldn't act when the goons were gunning for the man who is now in his nineties. With his silence and graceful ways, MF Husain who took Indian art to dizzy heights, has shown his detractors in extremely poor light.

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