Posts Tagged ‘India’

Religious fanatics in India and Pakistan

January 18, 2017
Nasir Khan, January 18, 2017

(I wrote the following piece in reply to a comment by a Facebook friend.)

Both Hindu and Islamic architecture have influenced each other in many ways. By its appearance, Jejuri Temple seems to be a clear example of this interaction in architecture.

Regarding your views on the division of Hindus and Muslims, my reply is: If these people, Hindus and Muslims, regard one another as human beings first where people’s religious beliefs are left as their personal matters and nothing more, then a common human and humane bond will emerge that will allow cultural diversity but wherein all people will stand for common humanity and common political, social and economic rights and obligations.

But in India and Pakistan things are working in the reverse order. In these countries, the first consideration is towards religious identity while what is obviously common, our common humanity and our oneness as human beings, is pushed out of sight! The result is fanatics and fundamentalists in Hindus and Muslims have made living for ordinary people difficult.

The Hindutva fanatics in India have poisoned the minds of vast numbers of Hindus and have made them anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan by their continuous propaganda. Many feel that is the only way to make India a purely Hindu state by preaching the mantra of Akhand Bharat. There is so much hatred against Muslims and Islam in Indian right-wing Hindus, which I find hard to believe.

In Pakistan, the right-wing religious and political parties have equally viciously poisoned the minds of millions of people for establishing a theocratic state instead of a modern democratic state.

Consequently, their continuous indoctrination and misleading information against the non-Muslims has relegated religious minorities in Pakistan to a secondary status. The victimisation of some innocent people for having violated the so-called blasphemy laws of Pakistan under concocted charges is a living proof of the cancerous fanaticism and primitive mindset that once flourished in the early middle ages.

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Some Comments on Resolving the Kashmir Conflict

January 19, 2011

by Nasir Khan, January 19, 2011

Editor’s Note: Gorki wrote a comprehensive comment on my article ‘Resolving the Kashmir Conflict (Foreign Policy Journal, January 13, 2011 ) in which he offered his perspective and also raised some important questions. In reply, I have written the following remarks. For the sake of convenience, I have split his comment into a few parts followed by my reply:

Gorki:

Dr. Khan I find your article useful because it allows one to hear the views of the Kashmiris themselves regarding the Kashmir imbroglio.

On the face of it your statement “The best course left for India is to make a break with its previous policy, and accede to the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris. This will not weaken India; instead, it will show the strength of Indian democracy as well of the humane aspects of Indian cultural tradition…” sounds reasonable and taken in isolation such views even find many sympathetic listeners in India itself. However the Indians must keep other consideration in mind that cannot be considered imperialistic by any stretch of imagination.

Nasir:

Gorki , thank you for your balanced opinion on a number of points and the important questions you have raised in your comment. I will try to reply to some points.

My roots are in the Indian culture and I am deeply proud of our historical heritage. I am well aware of the Indian Civilisations stretching back to the time of the Indus Valley Civilisation, some five thousand years old. Merely because of the hostile Indo-Pak relations since the partition of India in 1947, the Kashmir Issue has been the main cause of tension between the two states, I have regarded both India and Pakistan as parts of the same body, the body being the subcontinent of India that holds diverse races, cultures and mores showing much diversity while geographically belonging to the same entity. We can compare the subcontinent’s position with the broad geographical areas identified with Europe. In Europe there have been many languages, diverse cultures, political and religious conflicts for well over two thousand years. Despite all that various nations and people of this continent identity themselves with Europe and its civilisations, old and new. In a similar way, as an individual I identity myself with the subcontinent. My regional identity with Kashmir and the historical connection I have with with Kashmir is only natural; it is the affinity of part with the whole. As such they are mutually interdependent, not exclusive of each other.

Gorki:

The reality is that the entire former British India is organically connected and anything that happens in one part has an echo elsewhere in the sub continent. For example when a sacred relic went missing for 17 days from the Hazrat Bal mosque in 1963; there was rioting all over India. Thus any action in or regarding Kashmir cannot be taken in isolation.

While self determination and independence by themselves are honourable goals, anyone arguing for self determination only for the Kashmiris of the valley would either have to argue on the basis of some kind of Kashmiri exceptionalism or else should be willing to accept similar demands for self determination from others such as the Sikhs in the Indian Punjab and the Baluch in Pakistan. Conceding any such demands then would risks major man made disasters like the ethnic cleansing and huge population displacements that occurred in the wake of the partition in 1947.

Nasir:

Here your formulation about the organic connection has the Spencerian undertones! We have histories of India and Indian states before the British came. When the British gradually took over different parts of India by force of arms or by their political skills (and tricks), our people and many of our rulers evinced little concern to what happened to small or big states who were being devoured by the East India Company. Some of them had treacherously sided with the Farangis against those Indian rulers who resisted the British. This is also our history.

The instance of the disappearance of a holy relic in Kashmir you cite has more to do with religious feelings and identities than with the organic connection throughout the subcontinent. Such relics can also be seen as having extra-territorial dimension and impact.

In fact, we have seen major political conflicts and killing of innocent people by the Indian state (and also by Pakistani army in the Northwest Pakistan at the bidding of the United Sates as a continuing policy of crushing and eliminating those who resist and oppose the American wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan). The vast majority of these countries has not shown much resolve to oppose the policies of their governments. But, a religious relic or what believers may call a ‘religious place’ is something different! That moves our masses, and they do what they think is serving their deities!! We know how the religious passions of ordinary people inflamed by rightist forces in India in which the Indian rulers were implicated, led to the destruction of the Babri mosque by the Hindu mobs and the killing of thousands of innocent Indian Muslims in Gujarat.

But what sort of policies a state formulates and implements has a direct bearing on the political developments of a country. The same is true in the case of India; a wise political lead by responsible politicians influences and shapes the political landscape.

Now the question of ‘Kashmiri exceptionalism’ if India and Pakistan hold plebiscite to meet the demands of the people of Jammu and Kashmir: I myself, do not regard the case of Jammu and Kashmir an exceptional one; but no doubt there is a historical context to it. The circumstances under which India extended its control over Jammu and Kashmir is much different from other princely states. At the end of the British rule in India and the partition of India by the imperial rulers, there were 562 princely states, big and small, over which the British held suzerainty or ‘paramountcy’ as in the case of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. We know how these princely states were incorporated into the two new states. How India extended its control over Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is relevant to the whole question of the Kashmir Issue. After the military conflict and the ceasefire mediated by the United Nations, both India and Pakistan agreed to hold plebiscite that would enable the people of J&K to determine their future. That promise still remains unfilled and the consequences of that denial have been catastrophic for India, Pakistan and especially the people of J&K.

The Kashmir Conflict continues to be the unfinished task of the 1947 partition. This conflict has not disappeared; neither will it go away because the bullet has so far overridden the ballot and common sense.

Gorki:

Letting Kashmir valley join Pakistan OTOH would in essence be conceding the two nation theory; again not without risks. As you rightly pointed out, India remains a home to some 130 million Muslims. Letting the Muslims of the valley to go join Pakistan would in no way enhance the security of the non-Kashmiri Muslims elsewhere in India and if anything would make them even more insecure and strengthen the very forces of Hindutva that you pointed out threaten India’s fragile communal amity. (Ironically this is exactly what happened to the Indian Muslims of UP and Bihar who had allowed themselves to be emotionally led into voting for the AIML’s election plank of a Pakistan in 1946 which then left them high and dry).

Even within the state of Jammu and Kashmir itself, there would be major upheavals in case the current structure is tampered with. What would happen to the minority Muslims in Jammu and Ladakh?
Also if one argues that Kashmir is a homeland for the Kashmiris then what happens to other non Kashmiri populations of the valley such as the Gujjars etc.? Where would their homeland be?

Nasir:

Here you raise some important questions and also some legitimate concerns. First, the ‘two nation theory’. In fact, the partition of India was on the basis of  the two nation theory. For the sake of argument, I will say that if the people of J&K join A or B country, or decide for some other option they should have the democratic right to do so. The organic linkage you seem to emphasise in case the Valley joins Pakistan is worthy of consideration, but what Kashmiri Muslims want is their right to determine their future and to gain freedom. What that freedom entails is the freedom from Indian rule. This is their wish and to crush their aspirations the Indian state has used more than half-a-million soldiers. They have killed more than one-hundred-thousand people. It is military occupation of a country where India has committed horrific war crimes.

Who contributed to such a perspective that shaped the political history of India and led to the division of India by the British? Well, an easy way for amateurs is to have a bogeyman to explain away the historical facts and blame the Muslim leadership for all that! Even before Mr Gandhi came to India from South Africa, one of the most prominent Indian politician at that time was Mr Jinnah, who was commonly known as the ‘ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’. He had the vision of a democratic, united India at the end of the British raj. But alas that was not to happen because this liberal, secularist lawyer was able to see the machinations of the Hindu leadership of the Indian National Congress and other Hindu militant organisations standing for the Ram raj and the Hindu domination of the whole sub-continent.

In my political work, at no time have I ever said what the people of J&K should stand for or how they should decide about their future. Neither have I ever advocated that the people of the Kashmir Valley should join Pakistan. That is something for the affected people to decide.

The Kashmiris’ demand and their struggle for Azaadi (freedom) is not directed against any other people, ethnic or religious minorities, who make up the population of their country. The people of J&K, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., have traditions of tolerance and inter-religious accommodation. In 1947, I was a six-year-old; I had seen how Hindus and Muslims had a shared and fraternal existence in our area. If the people of J&K are given a chance to live as free human beings and not under the terror of military power of India, then our age-old traditions of mutual respect and acceptance will reassert. That will be a good example for the Hindutva rightist forces that pose a great threat to the Indian democracy and religious minorities, Muslims being their major target.

I am also conscious of the dangers you rightly point to if the ‘current structure’ is changed. But I don’t suppose you offer your solution as the continued rejection of the demands of the Kashmiris because that safeguards some ‘ideal’ unity of India, knowing that India has carried out a militarist solution to crush the demands of the Kashmiri freedom movement. Simply put, it has been state terrorism by an occupying power. This short-sighted policy will fail in the long run as it has failed in the past.

Gorki:

You rightly mention that Kashmir is currently a big source of contention between India and Pakistan. However how certain can anybody be that this will not be the case if this issue is sorted out? Former Pakistani president, General Musharraf once said that India will remain Pakistan’s considered foe even if Kashmir issue is resolved. There are people with strong following in Pakistan who argue for waging a war on ‘Hindu India’ to conquer the Red Fort and restore the Mughal Empire. What of those?

Nasir:

If the main source of conflict between India and Pakistan is resolved according to the wishes of the people of J&K, then we expect the two neighbours will live amicably side by side and their bilateral relations and socio-cultural contacts will increase which will benefit all the people of the region. What Musharraf said is his view and it should not be taken too seriously. Apparently, the climate of hostility and mutual recriminations between India and Pakistan since the partition, people on the both sides have been fed on cheap propaganda. The nonsensical slogans to restore the Mughal Empire is the daydreaming of some Rip Van Winkles who are living in past, not in the twenty-first century.

Gorki:

I agree with you however that the current stifling atmosphere in Kashmir has to come to an end; human rights violations need to be investigated in a transparent manner and the culprits have to be vigorously prosecuted. Kashmiris need to feel that they control their political and economic destiny in their own hands. For this to happen however both the Indian state and the Kashmiri separatists have to demonstrate courage and pragmatic far sightedness.

The state has to take the above listed steps in the short run. In the long run it has not only to deliver on the economic measures promised previously but also to scrupulously avoid the mistakes of the past such as blatant rigging of elections as it did on the 80s in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.
For their part the Kashmiri separatists have to realize that the peaceful and constitutional methods of protest are in the best interest of all Kashmiris and the constitution is their best ally. India is not an empire; it is a Republic and a civic nation.
The constitution does not hold the rest of India in any special position over Kashmir; if anything it is the Kashmiris who hold a special place within the constitution.
Today if the separatists were to come to power via electoral politics, there is absolutely nothing that such a government could not do within the existing framework to better the life (or freedom) of an ordinary Kashmiri that it could do if they had complete ‘Azaadi”.

Nasir:

Some suggestions you make and the prognosis you offer are reasonable. If Kashmiris hold a special place in the Indian Constitution, then obviously Indian control over Kashmir was unlike any other princely state. That also shows that the Indian government had political considerations to accord special status to Kashmir within the Union. But what stops the Delhi government from acceding to the demands of the people of J&K to plebiscite? Why should a great power like India be so afraid to listen to the voice of the people instead of using state terror to crush them?

It is also possible that the vast majority may opt for India. Thus by a generous and courageous political move, India has the power to defuse the conflict for ever. If that happens, then those who stand for separation from India will lose and the consequences will pacify all sides. This can usher in a new era of improved inter-communal and regional relations. Religious fundamentalists and rightist forces on the both sides will not be able to exploit the religious sentiments of the people any longer. That will be a victory of the common sense over emotionalism and communal frenzy.

Gorki:

There is already a precedent of such a dramatic change in political struggle within India. In the 1980s many Sikh leaders were charged with sedition and jailed for demanding a Khalistan and burning copies of the Indian constitution as protest. Today, one of those former separatist is an all powerful Chief Minister in Punjab and there is no opposition because the remaining separatists cannot list a single point in which way the life of an average Sikh would be different in an independent Khalistan.

I do hope to hear form you.
Regards.

Nasir:

In India there are still many regional and ethnic conflicts. I don’t think the Khalistan movement ever had any justifiable political stance and I am happy it reached its cul de sac. But we should be aware of the pitfall of equating Khalistan with the Kashmir Conflict.

Finally, it has been a pleasure to respond to your wise and erudite comment.

Cordially yours

Nasir Khan

Resolving the Kashmir Conflict

January 14, 2011

by Dr. Nasir Khan, Foreign Policy Journal, January 13, 2011

Almost the whole world had condemned the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. Such terrorism had also, once again, reminded us how important it is to combat the forces of communalist terror and political violence in the Indian subcontinent. But what is often ignored or suppressed is the fact that there are deep underlying causes of the malaise that erupts in the shape of such violent actions; the unresolved Kashmir issue happens to be the one prime cause that inflames the passions and anger of millions of people.

Kashmir Conflict

However, to repeat the mantra of “war on terror” as the Bush Administration had done for the last eight years while planning and starting major wars of aggression does not bring us one inch closer to solving the problem of violence and terror in our region. On the contrary, such short-sighted propaganda gimmicks were and are meant to camouflage the wars of aggression and lay the ground for further violence and bloodshed. The basic motive is to advance imperial interests and domination. The so-called “war on terror” is no war against terror; on the contrary, it has been the continuation of the American imperial policy for its definite goals in the Middle East and beyond. Obviously any serious effort to combat terror will necessarily take into account the causes of terror, and not merely be content with the visible symptoms.

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Nasir Khan: Will Obama help Kashmiri struggle against Indian rule?

October 30, 2010

Response to Shahid Siddiqi’s analysis of India’s occupation of Kashmir

By Nasir Khan,  Axis of Logic, Oct 30, 2010

Response by Axis of Logic reader, Nasir Khan on Obama’s November Vist to India: Help Kashmiris gain their right to self-determination.

Mr Siddiqi, I am sure you know what Obama stands for. Please let me add a bit on this score. The whole world knows him as a staunch defender of the policies of Israel who is flanked by and pushed around by Zionists. He has also earned himself the distinction of being a true successor to George W. Bush since stepping in the White House because he has not only followed the war policies of Bush but also extended the war of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is responsible for the almost daily killings of the Pakistanis by drone missile attacks. Let us keep in view the fact that his hands are sullied with the blood of hundreds of innocent Pakistanis and there is no end in sight to such savagery. Obama does not stand for: kill first and explain later. He has a freehand in killing by his advanced technological devices and as far as he is concerned that is the end of the matter. Why? Because he represents the power of American imperialism, military-industrial complex and the corporate interests. That also means there is no inhibition or restraint on what he does. The determining factor in all this is the global military power and influence of the United States.

Will Obama do anything to stop India from its inhuman atrocities and oppression in Kashmir and seek a solution to the Kashmir Issue? I think, we should come out of such make-believe world of illusions. He wouldn’t do anything of the sort. There are many reasons for that. At present American imperialism, India’s Hindutva leadership and the Zionist rulers of Israel are close strategic and military partners. The last thing on their agenda can be solving the Kashmir Issue. They have other considerations for the region and the Middle East!

As far as the present Pakistani rulers are concerned, they are pawns in the hands of the Washington rulers. They dance to the tunes of or the crack of the whip of the Pentagon and the State Department obediently. They have allowed the United States military to use Pakistani airport Shamsi and other military facilities to launch drone attacks on Pakistanis. In return for American money and to appease the Washington rulers, Pakistani army in Waziristan has been acting  as a mercenary force killing and destroying its own people. So American drones and Pakistan army supplement each other. They are making the world safe for democracy and advancing ‘American’ values!

Source: Axis of Logic

The Following  photos are reproduced from Shahid R. Siddiqi’s article ‘Obama’s November Vist to India: Help Kashmiris gain their right to self-determination.

INDIAN BRUTALITY IN KASHMIR

Indian troops kill 72 Kashmiris in August: Report

September 1, 2010
Indian troops killed 72 Kashmiris including 31 teenagers and four women during August, a Kashmiri news agency reported.

World Bulletin / News Desk, Sep 1, 2010

Indian troops killed 72 Kashmiris including 31 teenagers and four women during  August, a Kashmiri news agency reported.

The Himalayan region is at the heart of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan, who have fought two of their three wars over the issue since they won freedom from British rule in 1947.

According to the data compiled by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, of those people three were killed in custody.

Kashmiris see India as an “occupier” and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.

The Indian troops also damaged a residential house during the month, according to the report.

On Tuesday, Indian forces fired and wounded five civilians in Maisuma neighborhood of Srinagar. Five people were injured Monday when police fired on a group of men playing a board game, local residents said and called the shooting unprovoked.

Human rights workers have complained for years that innocent people have disappeared, been killed by government forces in staged gunbattles, and suspected rebels have been arrested and never heard from again. Authorities routinely investigate such allegations, but prosecutions have been rare.

Authorities deny any systematic violations and say all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.

The Resentment Against Indian Rule Persists in Kashmir

August 10, 2010
By Raoof Mir, Foreign Policy Journal, Aug 10, 2010

People of Kashmir carry the body of a man shot by Indian police in Srinagar on August 3, 2010 (Press TV)
People of Kashmir carry the body of a man shot by Indian police in Srinagar on August 3, 2010 (Press TV)

Recently I was asked by one friend of mine who works as a reporter in a ‘reputed’ regional Telugu daily, the reasons for ‘gun culture’ and ‘stone pelting culture’ in the Indian administered Kashmir valley: “Why is it that people of Kashmir don’t peacefully complain about their problems to the government?”

I replied to him that it is the cynicism and the distrust of the people with the system. My friend didn’t ask me what that actually meant. I wanted to explain to him about the life of common people in Kashmir, the diabolical role of Indian army, and their impunity for human rights violations.I wanted to explain to him how a knock on the door late at night or sneaking away to smoke a cigarette at night sends spasms of anxiety through the people, afraid that this might be their last breath.

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Kashmir death toll rises as India faces fresh protests

August 8, 2010
Women attend the funeral of Mohammad Iqbal, a Kashmiri youth, in Srinagar this week. Kashmiri separatist leaders have appealed for calm in the biggest anti-India protests in two years, which have killed dozens of people. Photograph: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi, The Irish Times, August 7, 2010

THE DEATH toll from the recent round of recurring clashes between demonstrators and the security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir province is now close to 50.

Most of the dead were shot by the security forces for defying a curfew.

Since the middle of June, the Kashmir valley has been rocked by violent agitation. Protesters, angry over decades of repressive Indian rule over their disputed Muslim-majority Himalayan province, have hurled rocks and set government buildings and vehicles alight.

The demonstrators, mostly young men, have been joined by thousands of women, some carrying sticks and stones and chanting: “We want freedom” and “Blood for blood”.

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The only package Kashmir needs is justice

August 5, 2010

Siddharth Varadarajan, The Hindu/India, August 5, 2010

T+ ·   T-
SEEKING JUSTICE: Protesters set ablaze police vechile after two young men were killed in firing in Pampore on August 1, 2010. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
SEEKING JUSTICE: Protesters set ablaze police vechile after two young men were killed in firing in Pampore on August 1, 2010. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
If the Prime Minister [Dr Manmohan Singh] does not take bold steps to address the grievances of the Kashmiris, there’s no telling where the next eruption will take us.

Whatever his other failings, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah deserves praise for acknowledging that the protests which have rocked the Kashmir valley these past few weeks are ‘leaderless’ and not the product of manipulation by some hidden individual or group.

This admission has been difficult for the authorities to make because its implications are unpleasant, perhaps even frightening. In security terms, the absence of a central nervous system means the expanding body of protest cannot be controlled by arresting individual leaders. And in political terms, the spectre of leaderless revolt makes the offer of ‘dialogue’ or the naming of a ‘special envoy’ for Kashmir — proposals which might have made sense last year or even last month — seem completely and utterly pointless today.

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INDIA: DIAL M FOR MASSACRE

July 1, 2010

Clinching documentary evidence corroborates serious charges against Narendra Modi and key officials in his administration

BY TEESTA SETALVAD, Combat Communalism, June 2010

Three months ago, our covert story, SIT-ting on the Truth (March 2010) exposed the frivolous and shallow investigations of the Gujarat massacres undertaken by the high-profile Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court and headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan. One of the major issues raised was the deliberate refusal of SIT – influenced as it was by the three officers of the Gujarat police cadre, Shivanand Jha, Geeta Johri and Ashish Bhatia – to examine available documentary evidence to pin responsibility for complicity and gross dereliction of duty by top police officers, civil servants and politicians.

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Gujarat: All’s Not Well With Your Home, Chief Minister Modi

May 29, 2010

Tehelka Magazine, Vol. 7, Issue 22, June 5, 2010

NARENDRA MODI HAD ONCE BRAZENLY UPHELD SOHRABUDDIN’S FAKE KILLING. NOW, AS THE CBI  ARRESTS TOP COPS,THE DIRT BEGINS TO UNRAVEL IN GUJARAT, SAYS RANA AYYUB

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Present continuous TEHELKA has persistently tracked the unraveling of the ‘encounter’ killings by Gujarat Police

IS THE noose tightening around Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his administration’s alleged complicity in the 2002 massacre of Muslims? Is nemesis, as the cliché goes, finally catching up with him for a string of allegedly fake encounter killings of “terrorists” by his police? It may be too early to call curtains for arguably India’s craftiest politician that Modi has turned out to be over the last eight years. Yet, the arrest of a top police officer in Gujarat by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may well begin to unravel the Modi era.

Indeed, so thoroughly alarmed are the Bjp, Modi, and others implicated in the Muslim massacres and the encounter killings, that there is a clear last-ditch attempt at preventing the CBI from establishing the truth. The latest round started on january 12 this year when the supreme Court ordered the CBI to reinvestigate the 2005 encounter killing of Gujarat businessman sohrabuddin shaikh, his wife Kauserbi, and an associate of his, tulsi prajapati. sohrabuddin, a small time extortionist, was killed in a joint encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in November 2005 when he was travelling with his wife Kauserbi, on charges of being a Lashkar-e-tayyeba member on his way to Gujarat to assassinate Modi. A similar theory was given at the time of the Ishrat jahan encounter a year before and later proved as fake by the justice tamang Committee.

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