Posts Tagged ‘Indian’

When Will India Quit Kashmir?

October 20, 2008

Kashmir Watch, Oct 19, 2008

Dr Abdul Ruff Colachal

After protesters thronged to United Nations Military Observer Group office in Srinagar demanding the resolution of Kashmir dispute, as it is already known, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to visit India towards the end of this month or in early November.  Another important move in this regard is that United Nations Secretary General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Major General Kim Moon Hwa of the Republic of Korea as Chief Military Observer in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Major General Kim will replace Major General Dragutin Repinc of Croatia.

The historic opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads for trade would be supplemented by some more bold initiatives to facilitate Kashmir resolution process, both on bilateral and internal fronts. Kashmir resolution process involves not only various shades of political opinion but all sections of the society. In a historic decision, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu (CCIJ) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJKCCI) on Oct 14 formed a 32-member joint chamber of commerce. But the cross-LoC trade cannot be an alternative to Kashmir solution.

The latest developments in the State offer Government of India an opportunity to reinforce its resolve of working through peaceful means and through public participation towards the resolution of the problem.

Freedom Leader Geelani

Calling for a complete shutdown on October 24, the United Nations Raising Day, the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday urged masses to send emails, letters, faxes, telegrams and SMS to the UN’s New York headquarters to press for granting Right to self determination (RSD) to people of Kashmir to determine their fate.

Indian Terrorism

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed claimed the State had started witnessing continuous changes of great importance and substance after the 2002 elections transforming its ground scenario positively and this had resulted in consistent increase of public participation in the democratic processes and his party contributed to it. Let that be. But he should enter now the freedom movement by actively involving himself with the freedom leaders fully committed to the cause of full and complete freedom from foreign occupation.

An international organization research on the Kashmir conflict, 7thspace.com, to assess experiences with violence and mental health status among the conflict-affected Kashmiri population, has reported that 85 per cent of Valley population have confrontation with the violence while 66 percent have witnessed torture. The survey reported that the civilian population in Kashmir is exposed to high levels of violence, as demonstrated by the high frequency of deliberate events as detention, hostage, and torture. Respondents reported frequent direct confrontations with violence since the start of conflict, including exposure to crossfire (85.7%), round up raids (82.7%), the witnessing of torture (66.9%), rape (13.3%), and self-experience of forced labor (33.7%), arrests/kidnapping (16.9%), torture (12.9%), and sexual violence (11.6%).The survey found high levels of psychological distress that impacts on daily life and places a burden on the health system. Ongoing feelings of personal vulnerability (not feeling safe) were associated with high levels of psychological distress. Over one-third of respondents were found to have symptoms of psychological distress, women scored significantly higher. A third of respondents had contemplated suicide.

India Destroys Medicinal Fauna of Kashmir

Kashmir is infested with Indian terror forces, agents and pro-India elements sabotaging the cause of freedom. India argues it has every right to heavily militarize Jammu Kashmir and kill the Kashmiri Muslims stock and barrel. Around 60,000 troops are posted in the Gurez which has a habitation of only 30,000 people. The ecology of Gurez is under threat as the army troopers deployed in the border area have been accused of vandalizing the environment by extracting valuable medicinal plants and minerals. Gurez has got vast resources of precious and costly medicinal plants and minerals, which were extracted legally by the locals till 1989 when armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir. After the turmoil, thousands of soldiers were deployed in Gurez and they continue to man each and every ridge.

The locals said that valuable medicinal plants like Kuth (Saussurea cosstus), Diosoriea (Dioscorea deltoidea), Mushki Bala( Veleriana wallichii) Guchies (Morchella esculenta), Black Zeera, Artimesia, Bellodona, Podophyllum (Banwangon) are found in abundance in Gurez. They said that had these natural resources been extracted by the state administration with the help of locals, the economy of the border area would have received a boost. They, however, alleged that the troopers are illegally extracting the natural resources, posing ecological and economic threat to the border area.  “There are legal, scientific and technological methods to extract the medicinal plants from the forests. However, troops during illegal extraction are not following these methods and destroy the precious and costly medicinal plants for their monetary benefits,” they said. “We were exporting medicinal plants legally worth crores of rupees to other parts of India and world before start of militancy. After the deployment of army personnel in Gurez, peaks encumbered with medicinal plants and minerals are now on the verge of extinction.

Continued . . .

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Targeting Muslims and Christians

September 25, 2008

Humra Quraishi | Kashmir Times online

There’s an ongoing sense of alienation coupled with helplessness amongst the Muslims and Christians. And why not? Look at the way there’s been an ongoing systematic attack on the Christian property and churches in at least three BJP run states of this country. An unabated state of terror seems unleashed on the Christians. And what is the establishment at the Centre doing to cry halt?

Can you imagine such blatant forms of destruction going on, and yet we sit like mute spectators. Helplessly watching this horror show, where the police and politicians are holding sway.

And don’t ask me how upset are the Muslims residing in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar and surrounding localities. And this feeling of utter helplessness cum anger is spreading out, at the way and manner in which the police conducted that so called encounter at Jamia Nagar’s Batla House. No, none of the residents believe the police theories. As a young person commented “Jamia Nagar seems another Srinagar in the making.. there’s police all around, encircling the place, barging into homes, harassing us…we want justice because we don’t believe these stories getting churned by the police.”

And on September 22, at the Press conference held at the Press Club of India, the Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims, supported by Gopal Rai -convenor of Teesra Swandheemta Andolan and Bhai Tej Singh -president Ambedkar Samaj Party, minced no words in their utter disgust at the recent happenings. I quote from their press statement -” …We feel that the Muslim community in general and the Muslim youth in particular are being targeted in the name of fighting terrorism. While security agencies should go about their work to secure the country from terror and make inquiries and arrest the accused and suspects, the same must not take place in an intimidating and insensitive manner. We are opposed to the insensitive style of the police functioning which creates terror and panic in the Muslim localities. We condemn the security and intelligence agencies’ rush to the media after any such incident with theories and conclusions before any real and proper investigation.. More specifically, we reject the Batla House style of encounter killings. We fail to understand why the alleged terrorists were not caught alive. People in the area believe that it was a fake encounter, that it was a one -sided and pre-planned affair. With this encounter the police has discovered a new ‘mastermind’ for all the explosions in the past, which means that India will no longer face terrorist blasts. We demand a high level judicial enquiry into the Batla House encounter so that all facts come out…”

WHERE’S INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM?

I think what we lack today is serious investigative journalism. The way we go on and on repeating the versions provided by the police. And I find it frightfully upsetting when the electronic media puts it all so very simply – a so and so in police custody has admitted he’d committed the crime, “usne apna jurm qubool kar liya. “ As though some ‘nikah’ ceremony was taking place! How very simplistic ! How very naive ! How very insensitive! As though the hapless detained creature has any other option in the midst of the third degree torture sessions he must be getting subjected to !

And how dare we pass judgements that he or she caught is actually a terrorist. Maybe the actual terrorist is sitting high up and here we go nabbing and killing some poor hapless souls ! How do we know that the so called ‘caught terrorist’ is actually the culprit! Maybe he is framed and with that sits ruined for years to come!

Tell me how many of these arrested students would have the means to fight a legal battle for justice, to prove their non – involvement, their innocence. In this context I feel that Professor Mushirul Hasan’s decision to fight the legal battle for the two arrested students of Jamia Millia Islamia is the right decision. After all, they are students of this university and with that they have every right to get justice in a democratic set – up.

DOES THIS GOVERNMENT REALIZE …

In fact, whilst I’m keying in these sentences, what’s hovering around is this thought – does the very establishment realize that the very alienation of the minority communities isn’t really healthy for the very fabric, for the very system Yet, this alienation is going on because of the sheer ruthlessness of the machinery and the way and manner in which the minorities are getting side tracked. Today, talk to any Muslim or Christian (bypassing those who are sitting in political camps) and they’d invariably relay a deep sense of anguish cum alienation There’s little trust in the police and the politician and with that insecurities hit as never before.

There seems only one way out. Apolitical from the majority community has to come forth and speak out at what’s been happening. The concerned citizens of this country from all cross sections will have to voice their disgust cum concern at what’s been happening! Hounding and pounding of innocents has to be halted before our secular fabric gets totally twisted, riddled with fears and suspicion of the so called ‘other’.

SOME OF THOSE QUESTIONS DOING THE ROUNDS –

Shabnam Hashmi, Satya Sivaraman, Manisha Sethi, Tanweer Fazal, Arshad Alam, Pallavi Deka have raised these queries about the so called encounter at Jamia’s Batla House, together with this backgrounder.

I quote them -” Some Questions about the Counter-Terror Operation at Jamia Nagar, New Delhi- A team comprising activists, academicians and journalists visited the site of the police operation against alleged terrorists staying in an apartment in Jamia Nagar in the afternoon of 20.09.2008 (Saturday). Two alleged terrorists Atif and Sajid, along with Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell died in the operation while a third alleged terrorist was arrested.

On the basis of our interactions with the local residents, eye witnesses and the reports which have appeared in the media, we would like to pose the following questions:

1) It has been widely reported (and not refuted by the Police) that in early August this year Atif, who is described by the Delhi Police as the mastermind behind the recent terrorist bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, underwent a police verification exercise along with his four roommates in order to rent the apartment they were staying in Jamia Nagar. All the five youth living in the apartment submitted to the Delhi police their personal details, including permanent address, driving license details, address of the house they previously stayed in, all of which were found to be accurate.
Is it conceivable that the alleged kingpin behind the terrorist Indian Mujahideen outfit would have wanted to undergo a police verification- for whatever purpose- just a week after the Ahmedabad blasts and a month before the bombings in Delhi?

2) The four-storeyed house L-18 in Jamia Nagar, where the alleged terrorists were staying, has only one access point, through the stair case, which is covered by an iron grill. It is impossible to leave the house except from the staircase. By all reports, the staircase was taken over by the Special Cell and/ or other agencies during the counter-terror operation. The house, indeed the entire block, was cordoned off at the time of the operation.

How then was it then possible, as claimed by the police, for two alleged terrorists to escape the premises during the police operation?

3) The media has quoted ‘police sources’ as having informed them that the Special Cell was fully aware about the presence of dreaded terrorists, involved in the bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, staying in the apartment that was raided.

Why was the late Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, a veteran of dozens of encounter operations, the only officer in the operation not wearing a bullet proof vest? Was this due to over-confidence or is there something else to his mysterious death during the operation? Will the forensic report of the bullets that killed Inspector Sharma be made public?

4) There are reports that towards the end of the counter-terror operation, some policemen climbed on the roof of L-18 and fired several rounds in the air. Other policemen were seen breaking windows and even throwing flower pots to the ground from flats adjacent or opposite to L-18

Why was the police firing in the air and why did it indulge in destruction of property around L-18 after the encounter?

5) The police officials claim that an AK-47 and pistols were recovered from L-18.

What was the weapon that killed Inspector Sharma? Was the AK-47 used at all and by whom? Going by some reports that have appeared (see ‘Times of India’, 20.09.08), the AK-47s have been used by the police only. Is it not strange that alleged terrorists did not use a more deadly and sophisticated weapon like the AK-47, which they purportedly possessed, preferring to use pistols?

We feel that there are far too many loose ends in the current story of the police encounter at L-18 in Jamia Nagar. We demand that a fair, impartial and independent probe into the incident be initiated at the earliest to answer the above questions as also any other ones that arise from the contradictions of the case.

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).


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