1984 (no justice, only insults)

We have now counted more than a hundred articles (national, international) as to why Narendra Modi should not come to power (and we mostly agree with those justifications).

However the extent to which the liberal crowd will avert their gaze to prevent an immodest look at the injustices committed against Sikhs in 1984 is something truly shameful. Has a single person even suffered one day in prison for his crimes? Why have the top people (and they are well known) gone scot-free? How is this dereliction of duty possible in a modern nation where the wheels of justice, even if slow, must turn eventually in favor of the victims? It is already 30 years past, how long must the victims endure the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune?

Now we have insults adding to injury- clean chits being issued on behalf of monsters by unworthy people. The hand of the liberals are getting stained by virtue of their acts of omission. Speak now or forever remain silent!!!

Akali Dal today staged a protest outside Congress
headquarters here against its Amritsar Lok Sabha candidate Amarinder
Singh’s alleged remarks on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.


Scores of Akali activists reached the Congress office at 24, Akbar Road,
holding placards and raised anti-Congress slogans and clashed with
police, which had erected barricades to stop them.


As the protesters refused to budge, police resorted to use of water cannon to disperse them.



 
In his recent remarks to a private channel Singh had said that he
believed Congress leader Jagdish Tytler played no role in fuelling the
violence in 1984 that left hundreds of Sikhs dead.


 

The protesters were detained and taken to a nearby police station.
……
Link: http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=838023
……
regards

0

Will “jamai-babu” go to jail?

Usually politicians are a friendly lot cutting across party lines. On public platforms they may huff and puff (and even come to blows) they mostly get along very well. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s admiration for Indira Gandhi was legendary (Indira is India and India is Indira). In turn the communists had great respect for Vajpayee, especially as the left and right joined hands for a brief while during the genocide of Bangladeshi Hindus during partition II.

However if a Modi govt comes such traditions may be a thing of the past. Modi has faced the wrath of the entire Congress machinery for a decade, because they predicted (correctly) that this was one danger-man that can scuttle the chances of the “natural ruling party.” So how will the response be in turn?

Our suspicion is they will not unleash the sword against Sonia (bahu) and the prince or even the princess. Indians are in their way touchy about these things and people still remain fond of Indira and her brood.

But the son-in-law is a different kettle of fish. He is a (non-royal) outsider and is a soft target. We suspect that people will not mind as much, especially the millions who have had to walk through airport security and observe that while all the VIPs who are allowed to pass unmolested are titled (Prime Minister etc.), there is only one (untitled) man specifically mentioned by name: Robert Vadra.
……
Notwithstanding
BJP’s assertion that there will be no witch-hunt if it comes to power,
Uma Bharati has said that Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra will be
in jail if NDA comes to power.


Bharati also alleged that Vadra had made money by breaking all the norms.

“Just because he is the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, all the Congress
ruled state governments are afraid of him. Union ministers were also
under pressure from him. He has made money by breaking all the norms,”
she charged here on Sunday night.

“Although my party gets annoyed with me, when the power will be in my hand, I will send ‘jamaibabu’ to jail,” Bharati said.

Modi has said recently that there will be no witch-hunt if the BJP comes to power.

“The main focus of the BJP-led government will be to fulfil promises it
has made to people and it will work with a positive attitude. It will
not be vindictive towards anyone. I have paid the price for the past 12
years due to others’ vindictiveness,” Modi had said.

…….
Link: http://www.delhidailynews.com/news/Uma-Bharti-repeats–Will-send-Vadra-to-jail-if-I-get-power-1398075218/
……
regards

0

Alia Bhatt shines in 2 States

The critics were luke-warm but our friends who saw the movie (across age group) liked it very much. This is also great news since newbie director Abhishek Varman has succeeded in his first attempt, OTOH Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt will prolong the stranglehold of dynasties in Bollywood (we still wish them well).

……
In
spite of the IPL fever, this film has been declared the biggest hit of
2014 so far. Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted about the film’s
success,”#2States all set to cross $ 1 million mark in USA-Canada in
opng wknd itself.
BIGGEST OPENER of 2014 there. Excellent!”




Writer
Chetan Bhagat who was in an ecstatic mood also took to Twitter to post,
“Kudos @abhivarman and his entire team | 2 States Emerges Biggest Hit
Of 2014. 2 States opening wknd ~Rs40cr, similar to 3 Idiots opening
wknd! Only this time, with debut director, upcoming actors! Miracles do
happen.” 



The
film raked in around Rs.12 crore on its opening day in the country (India).
According to sources, the first day collection for the entertainer,
directed by first-timer Abhishek Varman, is Rs. 12.42 cr net.

The movie was released in nearly 2,400 screens
worldwide. In India, “2 States” released in over 2,000 screens and
internationally, it released in close to 350 screens in 30 countries.
 

……Alia Bhatt too could not hide her excitement post the film’s release,
considering her last film Highway did not fare too well at the Box
Office. She tweeted, ” Thank you all for all the love !!!!!! Soo
overwhelmed with the response to #2states !!! We do this for you and
just you .. Thank you #1love…….

……
Review (no spoiler): Pretty Tam Brahm ‘ponnu’ plus ‘hatta katta’ Punjabi munda equals to
match made in heaven? If you go by ’2 States’, yes, but getting to it is
long and arduous. The film sets out to be a solid, emotionally
satisfying rom com, and goes well for a bit but then turns into a
too-stretched-out ‘jhagda’ between the two sets of North-South parents.
And the romance gets short shrift. 


It’s the meet–the-parents aspect of the plot, based on Chetan
Bhagat’s autobiographical novel of the same name, that becomes too much:
just why are parents in this day and age so fiercely opposed to the
union of ‘chicken’ and ‘sambhar’? Mr Malhotra (Ronit Roy) drinks and is
obnoxious. Mrs Malhotra (Amrita Singh) feels that Ananya has
‘phansaaoed’ their ‘gora chitta ladka’. The truth is that Ananya is more
‘gori’ and ‘chitti’ than their sonny boy, and holds down an equally
well-paying job. So what’s the problem?


When the going is good, both Kapoor and Bhatt, she more than he, rise above the film’s flaws. He has a few good moments. But Alia Bhatt is a surprise.
She leaves behind her earlier films, and gets into her character: she
may not be an authentic ‘Southie’ in terms of body language, but she is
all girl, easy and fresh and natural.

It’s nice to see Bollywood attempting to create a contemporary young
couple. I liked the way they proceed without fuss into that most modern
of compacts — of attraction that leads to conjugation, minus coyness
.


Get the outdated folks out of the way, make it crisper, and show us what Krish and Ananya did next. I’m waiting.
……
Link (review):  http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/movie-review/2-states-movie-review-alia-bhatt-is-easy-fresh-and-natural/2/
…….
regards

0

The Trojan Horse rolls into Birmingham

It all started with an anonymous letter. These days it is actually safer to put pen to paper since no electronic trail can be established and all the fancy govt spyware is for nowt.

The letter claims– boys and girls were
segregated in classrooms and assemblies, sex education was banned, and
non-Muslim staff were bullied. In one case it was alleged that the
teachings of a firebrand al Qaida-linked Muslim preacher were praised to
pupils.

This could be a massive hoax or it could be a careful plan by the Wahabbists to replace moderate leadership with militants in schools in Birmingham, Bradford and other locations. The Education Secretary Michael Gove is so worried that he has deputed a special Tzar to investigate the allegations. This has the appearance of an internal power struggle. The Salafists are late-comers to the party but they want all of the cake.
……..
Twenty-five schools in Birmingham
are now under investigation following 200 complaints received by the
council in relation to allegations of Islamist “takeovers”, according to
the leader of the city council


Sir Albert Bore detailed the
investigations as he announced the appointment of a new chief adviser to
deal exclusively with the fallout from Operation Trojan Horse
– a dossier claiming to reveal a plot to “overthrow” teachers and
governors in secular state schools in the city and run them on strict
Islamic principles.

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said 20 headteachers in his Perry Barr constituency alone – “virtually all Muslim heads” – had raised concerns about potential plots.

Despite fears the Trojan Horse document was a hoax,
Mahmood said he’d been made aware of similar allegations over the past
12 years and that he was confident there had been concerted attempts to
take over Birmingham schools by Islamic fundamentalists from the Wahabi
or Salafi sect.

Allegations have also emerged involving schools
outside Birmingham, including the Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise
College in Bradford.
It emerged on Monday that Laisterdyke’s entire
governing body has been sacked by Bradford council amid concerns over
poor performance and a “dysfunctional” relationship between governors,
including two city councillors, and management.

Kershaw will co-ordinate with the
existing Trojan Horse operational group, which is made up of officers
from Birmingham city council, West Midlands police, the National
Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and the school inspection authority
Ofsted.

At the weekend, it emerged that
the education secretary, Michael Gove, had personally sent Ofsted in to
inspect 15 Birmingham schools in recent weeks, after the allegations
first broke.



Concerns over how some of the city’s 430 schools were
being run first emerged when an anonymous letter known as Operation
Trojan Horse was leaked to councils and teaching unions,
claiming that a
small but radical group of Muslims were pursuing their own agenda in
the classrooms, with non-compliant headteachers and governors forced
out.

The document, which is unsigned and undated, claimed to have
caused “a great amount of organised disruption” in the city, crediting
the plan with forcing a change of leadership at four schools.

Since
the letter came to light, anonymous whistle-blowers, including former
staff, have come forward, making claims that boys and girls were
segregated in classrooms and assemblies, sex education was banned, and
non-Muslim staff were bullied. In one case it was alleged that the
teachings of a firebrand al Qaida-linked Muslim preacher were praised to
pupils.

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan
Foundation urged calm while allowing authorities to continue their
investigations. “The allegations of alleged extremist takeover of
schools in Birmingham are very serious however there is a wider concern
that this is a witch-hunt against the Muslim community.”
he said.

….
Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/19/birmingham-schools-pupils-multicultural-britain
…..
regards

0

Killed by ice, saved by ice

Filed under the truth is stranger than fiction category: the only men who escaped the (ice) cannon balls of the avalanche were under protection of a big wall of ice.

This is symptomatic of larger problems which need resolution through long-term planning and action. While Himalayas earn a lot of foreign exchange for Nepal, the high volume of thrill seekers – even so far as to creating a traffic jam at 29000 feet –  does not do any good to either man or mountain. The relentless pressure to ease access – there is actually a mad plan to attach ladders on mountains to make climbing easier (see below) – may lead to larger disasters. And now 13 Sherpas are dead due to avalanche (and they will not be the last to be killed).

Photos: Exploring Mount Everest


Another Sherpa guide has died in Friday’s Mount Everest avalanche,
bringing the death toll to 13, a Nepalese government official said
Saturday.

It is the single
deadliest accident on Mount Everest, officials said. Three others are
missing, said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti of Nepal’s Tourism Ministry, and at
least half a dozen are injured.



A group of about 50
people, mostly Nepali Sherpas, were hit by the avalanche at more than
20,000 feet, said Tilak Ram Pandey of the ministry’s mountaineering
department.



The avalanche took place just above base camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall.



Climbers and guides had
been setting the ropes for the route, acclimating and preparing the
camps along the route when the avalanche hit Friday, said Gordon Janow
with Alpine Ascents International in Seattle.

“A big piece of ice
suddenly came off the mountain. I did not think I would survive. I am
very happy to have survived,” said Wangdi, who has reached the
mountain’s summit three times before.



He and an assistant, who were attached to a safety rope, hid behind a piece of ice as the avalanche came tumbling down, he said.



“We could do that
because we were in the front,” he said. “Up to 12 of those behind us
survived, but the ones after them died. Those who had already crossed
ahead when the ice came off also survived.


……..
It was the final obstacle, the 40 feet of technical climbing up a
near vertical rock face that pushed Sir Edmund Hillary to the limit.
Once climbed, the way to the summit of Mount Everest lay open.

Now,
almost exactly 60 years after the New Zealander and his rope-mate,
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, stood on the highest point in the planet, a new
plan has been mooted to install a ladder on the famous Hillary Step, as
the crucial pitch at nearly 29,000ft has been known since it was first
ascended. The aim is to ease congestion.

“We are now discussing
putting a ladder on the Hillary Step but it is obviously controversial,”
said Dawa Steven Sherpa, who runs commercial expeditions on Everest and
is a senior member of the Expedition Operators Association in Nepal.

This
year, 520 climbers have reached the summit of Everest. On 19 May,
around 150 climbed the last 3,000ft of the peak from Camp IV within
hours of each other, causing lengthy delays as mountaineers queued to
descend or ascend harder sections.

“Most of the traffic jams are
at the Hillary Step because only one person can go up or down. If you
have people waiting two, three or even four hours that means lots of
exposure [to risk]. To make the climbing easier, that would be wrong.
But this is a safety feature,” said Sherpa, who co-ordinates the work to
prepare the traditional route up the mountain for clients who pay
between $45,000 and $75,000.

The plan has received some support from the world’s mountaineering authorities.
Frits
Vrijlandt, the president of the International Mountaineering and
Climbing Federation (UIAA), said the ladder could be a solution to the
increasing numbers of climbers on the mountain.

…….
Link (1): http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/19/world/asia/nepal-everest-avalanche/
Link (2): http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/27/mount-everest-ladder-hillary-step
…….
regards

0

Boko Haram “not unreasonable”

Nigeria may be winning on the economic front (rated #1 in Africa ahead of SAfrica) but it is surely losing the hearts and minds of its own citizens. (Step 1) The Boko Haram terrorists recently kidnapped 129 girls from a boarding school (presumably imparting western education which BH hates). (Step 2) The govt is unable to do anything about it except make a piss poor announcement that most girls have escaped. (Step 3) Some 14 lucky girls do manage to escape, 115 more are still trapped in the forest. (Step 4) The terrified, poor (in all sense of the term) parents are now scouring the forests and have contracted the services of a vigilante group.

If all this does not suggest end of times, what does? Where is the outrage?? Apparently according to the (white) liberals (of the Guardian) the outrage should be directed at the Nigerian state for not having spread the (oil) wealth around (which is fine in our opinion), however, equally they suggest that Boko Harams’ approach “makes sense” and the goal of enforcing Sharia is “not an unreasonable position.”

It is beyond us to work out a therapy for this specific condition (liberalitis) but we humbly suggest that Simon Allison talks to the dad who is on record saying that he is willing to die so that his daughter may live. It may help focus the mind.


The attack on the school was also particularly symbolic. The name
Boko Haram loosely translates as ‘Western education is forbidden’, and
the group encourages parents to send their children to Islamic schools
instead.
The attack on the school in Borno is a punishment and a warning
to those who disobey.  

This approach makes sense, in a strange, twisted
way:
it is at schools that children are inculcated with the theoretical
values of the state – in Nigeria’s case, a commitment to secular,
liberal democracy – and it is these values against which Boko Haram
fights, wanting to replace them with a strict commitment to Islamic
Sharia law.

This is not an unreasonable position. The Nigerian state has, by and
large, failed its population.
It may be awash in oil wealth, but none of
that trickles down into the population which has yet to see much in the
way of material benefits from an independent Nigeria.
Who wouldn’t be
looking for an alternative?

…..
The parents of some of
the girls abducted from a school in north-east Nigeria have headed into
the forest in a desperate search for their daughters.


More than 100 schoolgirls were taken by suspected Islamist
militants on Monday night. The military said on Wednesday that most of
the girls had escaped.


However, local officials and parents said more than 100 were still missing.


It is thought Islamist militant group Boko Haram took the girls to forested areas near the Cameroonian border.



The attack on the school in Chibok, a remote part of Borno
state, happened late on Monday. Gunmen reportedly stormed the school and
ordered the students onto lorries.


On Thursday, Asabe Kwambura, principal of the school where the girls
were abducted, told journalists that the report from the military was
“not true” and that only 14 of the 129 kidnapped girls had escaped.

Parents of the girls have told the BBC that more than 100
girls are still missing. The girls are believed to be being held in the
Sambisa forest in north-east Nigeria.


A group of parents have raised
money to buy fuel and water, and have headed into the forest with a
local vigilante group to search for the girls.
It is an extremely dangerous mission, the BBC’s Will Ross in
Lagos reports. The well-armed Boko Haram fighters have killed hundreds
of civilians this year, slitting the throats of many of their victims,
he says.


One father told the BBC he was willing to die in the forest in the attempt to free his daughter.
…..
Link (1): http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/boko-haram-will-keep-killing-and-nigerias-leaders-are-powerless
Link (2): http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27069675
……
regards

0

World of riches awaits (perfect SAT score)

He is a just a kid filled with dreams, but for now it is closer to reality with admissions to Stanford and Harvard. Another Indian who will do very well for himself in the USA (hopefully morning shows what the day will be).

However it will be great if he can come back and give something back to his impoverished nation. That “something” need not be idle money, but ideas about how to create jobs (he wants to be an entrepreneur), and develop algorithms that would help cut down waste and remove the stain of corruption from our daily lives (his preferred majors are maths and computer science).

Congratulations to Arunavha (and his family for support).
……
A
19-year-old boy from the city has received admission offers from seven
top US varsities, most of them Ivy League, after achieving a perfect
score in SAT, the standardized examination for admission to American
colleges….Arunavha Chanda had applied to eight US
universities and got through seven — Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Duke,
Cornelle, Georgia Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College.
He has
got prestigious scholarships from Columbia and Duke and financial aid
from the rest as they do not offer scholarships at under-graduate level.

Arunavha and his mother Bani, a doctor and hospital
administrator who gave up her job to take care of him when he was in
class V, are now researching on the universities to check which has the
best to offer. His father Amitabha is a consultant neurosurgeon.

At Columbia,
Arunavha has been offered the prestigious C. Prescott Davis scholarship,
awarded to the best engineering/applied sciences students across the
world. As a CP Davis scholar, he has the opportunity to enter the
university as an elite student and work on projects alongside 102 Nobel
Laureate alumni and faculty. Duke has offered him the Karsh
International Scholarship, the first to an Indian.

Arunavha sailed through with a perfect 2400/2400 in
SAT, scoring full 800 in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics Level II.
Having topped every year from class II to XII, scoring over 90% in all
subjects, his academic record was exceptional. In addition, he has won
gold medals at Olympiads and achieved international ranks of 4 and 7 in
Cyber Olympiads and has figured among the top 10 in Science and Math
Olympiads. Arunavha is also a three-time national champion in quizzing
(he won the Limca Book of Records Quiz 2011 at the national level), was
the school head boy, president of the Interact Club and a stage actor.
 
Arunavha wants to study Computer Science and
Engineering, do a second major in Mathematics and a degree course in
Theatre.

……
Link: http://article.wn.com/view/2014/04/20/Kolkata_boy_achieves_perfect_score_in_SAT_gets_calls_from_7_/
…..
regards

0

“endorsement of Modi …lose faith in humanity”

S Anand is a ferocious Indian super-caste liberal, his mission is to fight on behalf of all the down-trodden against the (as he sees it) upper-caste dominated Indian society.

The almost existential problem he faces (but refuses to acknowledge) is that the down-trodden may identify with a humble chai-wala Shudra (who is also the face of Hindutva). Indeed Modi has strongly campaigned in Bihar and in many other places as a leader of the OBCs and by necessity (and also by nature) he has had to clear out the super-caste dominated top order of the BJP.

In another life (Bollywood movie script that will never be written) Anand and Modi would have been brother revolutionaries engaged in up-ending the social order in their own way. But here they are, representing the magnetic north and south poles of an India at cross-roads.

Anand now`admits that his decision to censor (he does not like the word, naturally) Joe D’Cruz (famous Tamil author and Modi supporter) may have been made in anger/haste, but the logic of the social justice movement is relentless (see below comments of feminist translator V Geetha), any friend of Modi must be denounced as an enemy.

Anand (in our humble opinion) is too blinded by the BJP packaging. He is a smart enough guy to be able to visualize an India in which Shudras are the kings, and who are quite capable of keeping Dalits and Muslims under-foot. The upper-caste vs. the rest was a clear cut case, it is not clear how Anand and his fellow travellers will handle the rise of the dominant middle-castes (who want to terminate the Dalit Atrocities Act officially and prevent cross-caste marriage socially). Will they even bother to listen to an upper-caste guy like him?

Finally we feel compelled to repeat our statement (since we really love Americanisms), censoring speech is always wrong. All free speech fundamentalists (includes journalists and publishers, writers and readers) must believe that (bad, even evil) speech must be countered by (better) speech.



The formal agreement with D’Cruz had been signed on 7 April, and he
announced his support for Modi on 9 April. Our decision to halt the
publication was taken on the evening of 13 April (Sunday), after
speaking to both Geetha and D’Cruz, and may well have been a hasty
error of judgment.
But the sequence of events is important. When we came
to know of D’Cruz’s position via a Facebook update on 9 April we did
not jump to conclusions, and both Geetha and Navayana tried to get in
touch with him. 

However, since he would not respond to phone calls, we
both sent him separate emails expressing dismay and concern. As
publisher, my email to him on 11 April merely said this:

Dear Joe, 
I read with distress the news that you have endorsed Modi. Initially,
I thought it was a lie; that someone posted this on your FB, and
that these are not your views. I spoke to Geetha too. After some Tamil
newspapers reported this, there has been no clarification from you. This
is disturbing.

Do tell us it’s a lie. For me it’s not merely a question of whether
Navayana will publish this book or Geetha will allow you to use her
translation. Your endorsement of Modi, if it’s true, makes me lose
faith in humanity. 

Anand


There was no talk here of annulling the agreement. Geetha had sent a
similar mail a day earlier. D’Cruz chose not to respond to both of us,
but instead he was quoted by the Tamil and English media misrepresenting
our views. 

For instance, on the morning of 13 April, the Chennai
edition of New Indian Express, had this to say: On the reaction in literary circles, he alleged “certain people
blackmail.
Others threaten that my literary work that are currently
getting translated will be in trouble. For instance, a translation of
‘Aazhi Soozh Ulagu,’ which is under the process of publication in
English will be halted, they say. Some have sent hate mails that shower
abuses.”

Joe D’Cruz chose to directly speak to the media rather than
communicate with his publisher, or the translator who had worked closely
with him over several months. This, we think, was a breach of trust.
 

When the media started calling Navayana and Geetha for responses, we had
to respond. It was only after a desperate SMS on Sunday that D’Cruz
returned our call and stoutly defended his decision to support Modi.



In retrospect, I believe, as a publisher I responded more in anger than using sound judgment.

V. Geetha: “As the translator of Joe D’ Cruz’s novel, I am in the unenviable
position of feeling both bereft and bewildered. While some think that I
have taken a principled stand, others wonder if I should have separated
the work from the man. I can only say that I find it difficult,
personally, to think beyond what Modi stands for, and for me and many
others, he remains the principal architect of the Gujarat pogrom of
2002.
 

This is why I have withdrawn the translation. I would like to
reiterate that I stand by the novel, and am glad to have translated it.
However, given D’ Cruz’s insistent and clear-cut support for Narendra
Modi, I cannot bring myself to allow my translation to be published.
I
would therefore like to wait on that decision, until Joe D’ Cruz and I
can have a conversation on how we see and understand what has happened.”


…..
Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?290312
…..
regards

0

Did ISI order the hit on Hamid Mir?

Whenever the Taliban takes credit for carrying out a spectacular
attack it is time to remember the mysterious workings of the world’s
best secret service.  

Amir Mir (Hamid Mir’s brother) does not mince his
words. These folks have nothing to lose and nowhere to hide.
Amir Mir, who is also a journalist told Geo TV that Hamid had told him
two weeks back that if anything happens to him then “elements in the ISI
and its chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam should be blamed”.

…..
And what has upset the dons so much that led to this murderous assault?
He (Amir Mir) said Hamid
told him the intelligence agencies were upset with him for the coverage
of the Balochistan issue, Musharraf trial and the political interference
by security establishment.

 

A sad song which has been played numerous times (see below). Hamid Mir is reportedly
out of danger but the message that was delivered is loud and clear (again).
The only peace that is acceptable to the thugs (and their masters) is the peace of the
grave.

Does anybody remember Syed Saleem Shahzad?
He was about to publish a book detailing the role of the deep state and
Al Qaeda concerning the PNS Mehran attack. Wiki excerpts on the events
just preceding his torture and death in May 2011.

According to friends and colleagues, the ISI warned the journalist at least three times prior to his death. In October 2010, Shahzad was summoned to ISI headquarters the day after publishing a sensitive article on Abdul Ghani Baradar’s capture.
Afterwards he wrote to Human Rights Watch (HRW) predicting that he
might be detained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
agency. 

According to HRW’s Ali Dayan Hasan, he was “fairly sure that sooner or later something was going to happen”.
Shahzad informed Hasan in an email that he was threatened by an ISI
official
who had said: “I must give you a favor. We have recently
arrested a terrorist and recovered a lot of data, diaries and other
material during the interrogation. The terrorist had a list with him. If
I find your name in the list, I will certainly let you know.” 

Nine days prior to his disappearance, Shahzad met with American journalist Dexter Filkins and told him, “Look, I’m in danger… I’ve got to get out of Pakistan.”
…..
Senior
Pakistani TV journalist Hamid Mir, who faced threats from multiple
quarters here including the Taliban, was on Saturday shot at in Karachi
by four unidentified gunmen near a bridge on way to his office.

Mir, 47, sustained three bullet injuries on lower part of his body
after he was shot at near Natha Khan bridge soon after he left the
Karachi airport for his office. He was rushed to hospital where he was
operated upon.

Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat said Mir was
shot thrice, one bullet piercing his intestine while the other two
wounded his leg and pelvic area. He said Mir was “out of danger”.

According to the driver of the car, as the car slowed down near the
flyover, a gunman on a motorbike opened fire. Without waiting for a
second, he pressed on the accelerator. Geo News reported the attackers,
who were on a bike and car, followed them.

A popular news anchor, terrorism expert and security analyst, Mir currently hosts political talk show Capital Talk on Geo TV.

In November 2012, a bomb was recovered from under his car which was believed to have been planted by the Pakistani Taliban.

Geo TV
reported that Hamid had confided the same to his friends, senior
management of the channel, certain officials in the government and even
the Army.

“No terrorist organization would know that he was
coming to Karachi from Islamabad. Intelligence people are everywhere.
Only they would know his movement,” Amir said.

He said Hamid
told him the intelligence agencies were upset with him for the coverage
of the Balochistan issue, Musharraf trial and the political interference
by security establishment.

In 2011, when he had faced certain threats, he had blamed the security establishment. Amir said that Hamid had also sent a video statement in this regard to the Committee for Protection of Journalists.
….
 Link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/697721/senior-journalist-hamid-mir-attacked-in-karachi/

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Polarization and (slow) poisoning

Politicians choose to polarize communities because the votes will be secure when voters are insecure. The secular parties have preyed on the fears of the minority community, the opportunity votes lie with the BJP by preying on the fears of the majority community. When both sides do it (as is the case in India), the phenomenon is called match fixing. Entertainment for the elite while the common people have to face the consequences.

Basharat Peer makes many excellent points about the experience of muslims under Modi-raj- literally slow poisoning them with pollution- but he also does not suggest a way forward for South Asian communities to co-exist peacfully. A world renowned (Kashmiri) man of letters is unable to spare a few words about his fellow Kashmiri Pandits who have been permanently expelled from the valley. They too have their own Citizen Nagars where poisons are choking off the lives of small children. Peer is (justifiably) focused on the slums of Juhapura but prefers to avoid references to the ones closer to home in Jammu. Why not denounce the 2-nation theory as well- your villains are our heroes and vice versa– ideological poisons once injected into the system will not automatically drain away (due to vested interests on both sides).

Someone wise said on these pages that today in India you can get killed for being a muslim, while in Pakistan you can get killed for being a different type of muslim. Then again, when it comes to discussing the state of Hindus in Pakistan and in Bangladesh (and in Sri Lanka) most people prefer to avert their gaze (Hindus foremost amongst them). 

If we want to be inclusive and desire peaceful co-existence (and there is really no other rational path) we should call out all the bandits regardless of  their badge. And call for secularism in the public square. And.. the list is endless.


The
problem isn’t just about rhetoric. Judging by the evidence in Gujarat,
where Mr. Modi has been chief minister since 2001, a B.J.P. victory in
the general election would increase marginalization and vulnerability
among India’s 165 million Muslims.

Ahmedabad,
Gujarat’s largest city, has become a wealthy metropolis of about six
million people and three million private vehicles. Office complexes,
high-rise apartments, busy markets and shopping malls have replaced the
poor villages that once dotted the land. The city has a mass transit
system called People’s Path, with corridors reserved for buses.
But
Ahmedabad ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a southwestern neighborhood
and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto, with about 400,000 people. I rode
around there last week on the back of a friend’s scooter. On the dusty
main street was a smattering of white and beige apartment blocks and
shopping centers. A multistory building announced itself in neon signs
as a community hall; a restaurant boasted of having air-conditioning.
The deeper we went into the neighborhood, the narrower the streets, the
shabbier the buildings, the thicker the crowds.
The
edge of the ghetto came abruptly. Just behind us was a row of tiny,
single-story houses with peeling paint. Up ahead, in an empty space the
size of a soccer field, children chased one another, jumping over heaps
of broken bricks. “This is The Border,” my friend said. Beyond the field
was a massive concrete wall topped with barbed wire and oval
surveillance cameras. On the other side, we could see a neat row of
beige apartment blocks with air conditioners securely attached to the
windows — housing for middle-class Hindu families.
Mr.
Modi’s engines of growth seem to have stalled on The Border. His
acclaimed bus network ends a few miles before Juhapura. The route of a
planned metro rail line also stops short of the neighborhood. The same
goes for the city’s gas pipelines, which are operated by a company
belonging to a billionaire businessman close to Mr. Modi.
Mr.
Pathan has been living in Juhapura since 1988, when his father, a
retired district judge, bought a house here from a Hindu man. “My father
said, ‘When the storm comes, you don’t get more than 10 minutes to
run,”’ Mr. Pathan explained, referring to the threat of sectarian
violence. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Juhapura was a mixed
Hindu-Muslim neighborhood, but with the string of sectarian clashes in
Gujarat — in 1985, 1992 and 2002 — more Muslims began to move here,
seeking relative safety among people like themselves. Prejudice begets
riots, and riots only exacerbate prejudice, and so the population of
Juhapura has almost doubled since 2002.


After
the 2002 riots, Mr. Pathan, a teacher, began tutoring children in
Juhapura. Then he quit his job and, with his father’s support, bought a
large patch of land by the highway that runs through Juhapura. In 2008
he started his own school. Now, around 1,300 children there attend
classes in both Gujarati and English in airy classrooms. “We simply have
to help ourselves,” Mr. Pathan said.



But
self-help only goes so far, in Juhapura, and elsewhere. A large chunk
of Narol, an area on the southern edge of Ahmedabad, was once a patch of
uninhabited brushland that belonged to a wealthy political family.
After Mr. Modi’s government refused to help relocate victims of the 2002
riots, several secular and Islamic organizations and small-time Muslims
developers got involved. They bought land, cleared it, and built
tenement houses, asbestos-lined roofs and all. About 120 homes were
assigned by lottery to Muslims displaced from Naroda Patia, in northeast
Ahmedabad. 
The cluster is called Citizens’ Nagar, or Citizens’ City,
and wherever you stand in the self-made neighborhood you can see, half a
mile away, a big brown mountain: the largest garbage dump in Mr. Modi’s
boom city.
When
I walked around Citizens’ Nagar last week, the brown mountain was
burning into thick gray clouds under a harsh afternoon sun. The wind
pushed pungent fumes toward the tenements. I struggled to breathe and
feared I would vomit.
“Every
year we have lived here I feel weaker,” said Mohsin Syed, a wiry
25-year-old from Naroda Patia who now works as a carpenter in a factory
nearby. “I can’t run like I used to. I don’t eat like I used to.” He
complained of pain in his joints, said he needed surgery for kidney
stones, and added, “This place, this pollution, takes a decade off one’s
life.”

…….
Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/19/opinion/being-muslim-under-narendra-modi.html
……
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