Monday, December 31, 2012

Young man campaigns against criminalization of destitutes


MUMBAI: Twenty nine-year-old, Tarique Mohammad Qureshi, wears his heart on his sleeves as he leads a crusade against criminalization of destitution. Six years ago, when he was pursuing his masters at Tata Institute of Social Science, he had enlisted local boys to help in field work. One day, many went missing; they had all been arrested on charges of beggary. Nearly 20 states and the Union Territory of Delhi treat beggary as criminal offence. State welfare departments and the local police can carry arbitrary raids to clean up the streets — anyone who looks impoverished and ragged, such as a daily wage labourer, can be picked up. Then the person is produced in a special beggar's court, where typically criminal charges are slapped and what follows is an indefinite custody.

"Beggary prevention laws — largely relics of the British era — were meant to not merely detain but also rain and rehabilitate. However, the focus stops at custodial detentions. Majority of those rounded up are the homeless, the destitute, the aged, physically or mentally disabled whose families have abandoned them and victims of sexual and domestic abuse. They are arrested based on their appearance — their only crime is destitution," says Tarque indignantly. Tarique was shocked when he went to meet the missing boys. "The custodial home was overcrowded and reeked of severe injustice and inhumane treatment. I was outwardy quiet but internally distraught. Honestly, it wasn't a well-planned intervention but an emotional reponse and Koshish — a TISS field action project was born," he added.

Tarique was the first outsider to be permitted inside a custodial home for his initial field work. Since then, with the help of various stakeholders, there has been a positive outcome resulting in the significant drop to a few hundred of those in custodial homes in both Mumbai and Delhi. Koshish has intervened in s many as 20,000 cases to date. Tarque is also a member of the working group on urban poverty, national dvisory council. Recently, Ashoka an international body of social enrepreneurs, recognizing his efforts has elected him as fellow. He follows multi-pronged approach to bring bout a system change. In Mumbai, the magistrate's office of the Beggar's Court, has permitted Koshish to collect data and evidence on those arrested, enabling subsequent appropriate action.

Those abandoned by their families are reunited with them, local NGOs provide financial support and counselling. Women are sent to women shelters and those mentally ill to facilities equipped to take care of them. An 'employers collective' encourages them to secure their worker's release and reinstate them. A 'call home' programme enables people to reach out to their families and secure release. Conditions at custodial homes are also being improved... Read more:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/29-yr-old-wages-a-war-against-criminalization-of-destitutes/articleshow/17838988.cms

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rest in Peace: Gangrape victim dies in Singapore hospital

Dec 29: Delhi Gangrape: Victim dies in Singapore hospital

This is one of the worst tragedies in recent memory. There are attacks on Indian women every day, somehow this one concentrated the sense of injustice and helplessness that we all feel. Let us remember that the bus in which she was raped was running illegally, without a permit and had been impounded six times in 2 years. We may only guess how and why it was allowed to be on the roads.

We may also wonder whether senior IAS & IPS officials, not to mention elected representatives across the political spectrum are aware of the regular intake of 'hafta' - something all private operators of transport vehicles, and all street vendors know about. The Chief Minister asks us to think and reflect. Yes, Madam, so we will. But can greater and lesser state officials ever think of a world without 'hafta'? Can we ever think of a woman entering a public transport vehicle or a police station without anxiety? May we dare to hope, even in moments of grief, that political leaders will refrain from making things worse with their insensitive and hateful remarks?

There is only a semblance of justice and fair-play in India - the dice are loaded against women, against the poor, against ordinary citizens. Their legal rights and their personal security are of least concern to the Indian establishment. This is not a matter of this or that party. In the matter of contempt for law and Constitution, not a single party's hands are clean. It is a fact of life, with deep social, economic & political roots.

A young woman went to see a film with her friend, and fell victim to a deadly cocktail of violence, contempt for women and the shameless corruption of the supervisors of Delhi's transport system. She fought her attackers and then for her life.  Her only fault was that she was a woman and she trusted the driver of what should have been a bus duly authorised to carry passengers. She did not know that even such a small assumption is too much to make in our 'world-class' capital. You never know whether you will emerge alive, dead, or fatally wounded.

Rest in peace, dear daughter, sister, friend. Those you leave behind in the world of the living cannot enjoy that luxury. 


I am saddened beyond words - Dilip

See also: A Rapist Culture




By Rashid Hussain Hussain on Facebook
लोगो के दर्द को समझो मनमोहन जी ,
उन्हें रोने दो ,
जिद छोड़ दो ,
इंडिया गेट को खोल दो ,
आज सभी को एक होने दो ,
दर्द और गुस्से को ना दबाओ ,
बहुत जला है दिल ,
और मत जलाओ ,
पुलिस को बोल दो ,
इंडिया गेट को खोल दो ,
हम एक होकर रोना चाहते हैं ,
बहुत दिनों बाद सब रोना चाहते हैं ,
हमे खुल कर रोने दो ,
जिद छोड़ दो ,
पुलिस को बोल दो ,
इंडिया गेट को खोल दो , जय हिन्द

****************************************************

Nanhi kali soney chali
Hawaa dheerey aana

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb5zE9BbBqs

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Himanshu Kumar: इन लड़कियों को वापिस कर दीजिए रमन सिंह जी

इन लड़कियों को वापिस कर दीजिए रमन सिंह जी 

लड़कियों का नाम मडकम हूँगी और वेको बजारे . लड़कियों की उम्र हूँगी- १२ साल , बजारे की- २२ साल . गांव का नाम नेन्द्रा जिला सुकमा ( पुराना नाम जिला दंतेवाड़ा ) जब आपका गाँव खाली कराओ अभियान ( जिसे आपने सलवा जुडूम कहा और जिसे आपने शांती अभियान बता कर देश को गुमराह किया और बाद में जिसे सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने असंवैधानिक घोषित किया ) के तहत जब आपके निर्देश पर आदिवासियों के गाँव के गाँव जलाए जा रहे थे . तब एक गाँव नेन्द्रा को भी जला दिया गया था ! इस गाँव की चार लड़कियाँ भी गायब कर दी गयी थीं ! 

कर्तम जोगा ,नंदिनी सुन्दर और राम चन्द्र गुहा ने सर्वोच्च न्यायालय में सलवा जुडूम के खिलाफ याचिका दायर करी सजा के तौर पर कर्तम जोगा को थाने में उल्टा बाँध कर पीटा गया और वो अभी भी कांग्रेसी नेता के घर पर हमले के उसी आरोप में जेल में हैं और उसी केस में आपने सोनी सोरी और लिंगा कोडोपी को फर्जी तौर पर फंसाया है .

राम चन्द्र गुहा को भैरमगढ़ थाने में जान से मारने की कोशिश की गयी . नंदिनी सुन्दर का एक फर्जी फोटो तैयार किया गया जिसमे वह नक्सली केम्प में वर्दी पहन कर खड़ी है . नंदिनी ने जब आपके एसपी को इस फर्जी फोटो के विषय में चुनौती दी तो आपके एसपी ने लिखित माफी माँगी ( एस पी का माफी नामा आपको दिखा दिया जाएगा ) .

खैर सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल को दंतेवाड़ा भेजा ! काफी सारे आदिवासी अपनी बात् कहने के लिये इस दल के पास आये ! ऊपर लिखी लड़कियों के परिवारजन भी आये ! अपनी शिकायत राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल को बताने के बाद जब ये आदिवासी वापिस जा रहे थे तो नेन्द्रा गांव के इन आदिवासियों को कोंटा थाने की पुलिस और सलवा जुडूम के नेता सोयम मुक्का ( जो कि एक फरार अपराधी है जिसके वारंट मेरे पास हैं ) ने रोक लिया .

इन आदिवासियों को दिन भर पीट कर शाम को इनसे स्टाम्प पेपर पर “हमें सलवा जुडूम से कोई शिकायत नहीं “ लिख कर अंगूठे लगवा कर भगा दिया गया . मैं और नंदिनी सुंदर दिन भर आपके एसपी के सामने बैठे रहे लेकिन एसपी ने इन पिटते हुए आदिवासियों की कोई मदद नहीं की . बाद में अजीत जोगी ने डीजीपी विश्वरंजन को फोन पर कार्यवाही करने के लिये कहा . हमने राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल से इन आदिवासियों की मदद करने के लिये कहा उन्होंने कहा “ हमारा काम तो इनके बयान लेने तक सीमित है इसके बाद पुलिस की जिम्मेदारी है “ .

खैर इन आदिवासियों को राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के सामने मुंह खोलने की सजा के तौर पर पुलिस और सलवा जुडूम ने इनके गाँव को चार दिन बाद फिर जला दिया गया !

इस बार आदिवासियों पर हुए हमले को हमने चुनौती के रूप में लिया था . हमने इस गाँव को दोबारा बसाने का फ़ैसला किया . हमने एक मानव कवच दल का निर्माण किया और आपको बता दिया कि अब अगर आपने इन आदिवासियों को मारने की कोशिश की तो आपको पहले हमारी हत्या करनी होगी !आपका सलवा जुडूम और आपकी पुलिस हमारी ये हिम्मत देख कर हडबडा गयी .

आपको हमारी इस पहल का कोई जवाब नहीं सूझ रहा था ! हमने इस गाँव में रहना शुरू किया ! गाँव की चार लड़कियाँ गायब थीं ! गाँव वालों ने बताया कि चारों को सलवा जुडूम और पुलिस वाले उठा कर ले गये थे !हमने चुपचाप पता लगाया दो लड़कियाँ इंजरम सलवा जुडूम कैम्प में थीं ! एक तो कैम्प के नेता बोददु राजा के घर में थी !( बोड्दू राजा भी फरार आरोपी है और वर्तमान में सुकमा जिला पंचायत का उपाध्यक्ष है इसके भी वारंट मेरे पास हैं ) हमारी महिला कार्यकर्ताओं ने चुपचाप इन दो लड़कियों को इंजरम कैम्प में से निकाल कर वापिस उन के माँ बाप को सौंप दिया .

रमन सिंह जी बाकी की दो लडकियां कहाँ हैं ? इन में से एक वेको बजारे को आपके लोग उसके बूढ़े बाप के साथ पकड़ कर ले गये थे ! अगले दिन इंजरम कैम्प में बाप की गर्दन काट दी गयी . सबको दिखाने के लिये बाप की लाश को बीच में रख दिया गया . लेकिन बेटी का आज तक पता नही चला .लड़की का भाई मेरे पास आया . मैंने कहा चलो एस पी को लिखते हैं . एस पी ने कोई जवाब नहीं दिया . हम हाई कोर्ट में गये . इस बीच मुझे दंतेवाड़ा छोड़ देना पड़ा .

पुलिस मेरे दंतेवाड़ा छोड़ने के बाद इस लड़की के भाई को उठा कर हाई कोर्ट में ले गयी ! लड़की के भाई के वकील ने कहा मी लार्ड पुलिस तो आरोपी है और आरोपी खुद पीड़ित को पकड कर आपके सामने कैसे पेश कर सकते हैं ! यह दबाव में है इसे कम से कम एक दिन पुलिस के दबाव से अलग रखिये फिर इसका बयान लीजिए ! मैं इसका वकील हूं इसे जो कहना होगा मेरे मार्फत कहेगा . जज साहब ने कहा वकील साहब आप अगर इस तरह के मामलों में हाथ डालेंगे तो आपका कैरियर खराब हो जाएगा ( ये धमकी थी जो डायस पर बैठा एक जज न्याय की मदद करने वाले को दे रहा था वाह! ) लड़की के भाई का बयान तुरंत लिया गया उसने लिखित बयान पर अंगूठा लगाया जिसमे लिखा था कि “ हाँ ये सच है कि मेरी बहन का अपहरण हुआ , ये भी सच है की मेरे पिता की हत्या हुई . लेकिन मैं नहीं जानता कि ये किसने किया ?” 

जज साहब ने उसी वख्त पुलिस के खिलाफ ये मुकदमा खरिज कर दिया ! लड़की के भाई ने फोन पर मुझे ये सब बताया मैंने उससे पूछा जज के सामने झूठ क्यों बोला ? उसने कहा पिता जी रहे नहीं , माँ को मैं ही पालता हूं , पुलिस वालों ने कहा था कि अगर ये बयान नहीं दूंगा तो मुझे भी पिताजी की तरह काट कर सडक पर रख देंगे ! मैं डर गया था ! जहां पुलिस ने कहा मैंने जज के सामने अंगूठा लगा दिया . 

रमन सिंह जी दूसरी लड़की बारह साल की थी. उसकी खोज में भी हम छत्तीसगढ़ की हर जेल में गये . हर जिले के किशोर सुधार गृह में भी गये कि शायद उसे वहाँ रखा गया हो . इस लड़की को एक लड़के ने बाल सुधार गृह में देखा था ! हम इस लड़की के भाई को लेकर हर जिले में गये . पर पता नहीं पुलिस द्वारा लड़की कहाँ गायब कर दी गई है .

रमन सिंह जी आपको तो पता ही होगा ये लड़कियाँ कहाँ हैं ! दिलवा दीजिए प्लीज़ ! हम अपनी हार मानते हैं ! अब आपके बीच में नहीं आयेंगे ठाकुर साहब . इन आदिवासी लड़कियों को माफ कर दो .हमारी बेटियाँ वापिस दे दो ठाकुर साहब !

इन लड़कियों को वापिस कर दीजिए रमन सिंह जी 

लड़कियों का नाम मडकम हूँगी और वेको बजारे . लड़कियों की उम्र हूँगी- १२ साल , बजारे की- २२ साल . गांव का नाम नेन्द्रा जिला सुकमा ( पुराना नाम जिला दंतेवाड़ा ) जब आपका गाँव खाली कराओ अभियान ( जिसे आपने सलवा जुडूम कहा और जिसे आपने शांती अभियान बता कर देश को गुमराह किया और बाद में जिसे सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने असंवैधानिक घोषित किया ) के तहत जब आपके निर्देश पर आदिवासियों के गाँव के गाँव जलाए जा रहे थे . तब एक गाँव नेन्द्रा को भी जला दिया गया था ! इस गाँव की चार लड़कियाँ भी गायब कर दी गयी थीं ! 

कर्तम जोगा ,नंदिनी सुन्दर और राम चन्द्र गुहा ने सर्वोच्च न्यायालय में सलवा जुडूम के खिलाफ याचिका दायर करी सजा के तौर पर कर्तम जोगा को थाने में उल्टा बाँध कर पीटा गया और वो अभी भी कांग्रेसी नेता के घर पर हमले के उसी आरोप में जेल में हैं और उसी केस में आपने सोनी सोरी और लिंगा कोडोपी को फर्जी तौर पर फंसाया है .

राम चन्द्र गुहा को भैरमगढ़ थाने में जान से मारने की कोशिश की गयी . नंदिनी सुन्दर का एक फर्जी फोटो तैयार किया गया जिसमे वह नक्सली केम्प में वर्दी पहन कर खड़ी है . नंदिनी ने जब आपके एसपी को इस फर्जी फोटो के विषय में चुनौती दी तो आपके एसपी ने लिखित माफी माँगी ( एस पी का माफी नामा आपको दिखा दिया जाएगा ) .

खैर सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल को दंतेवाड़ा भेजा ! काफी सारे आदिवासी अपनी बात् कहने के लिये इस दल के पास आये ! ऊपर लिखी लड़कियों के परिवारजन भी आये ! अपनी शिकायत राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल को बताने के बाद जब ये आदिवासी वापिस जा रहे थे तो नेन्द्रा गांव के इन आदिवासियों को कोंटा थाने की पुलिस और सलवा जुडूम के नेता सोयम मुक्का ( जो कि एक फरार अपराधी है जिसके वारंट मेरे पास हैं ) ने रोक लिया .

इन आदिवासियों को दिन भर पीट कर शाम को इनसे स्टाम्प पेपर पर “हमें सलवा जुडूम से कोई शिकायत नहीं “ लिख कर अंगूठे लगवा कर भगा दिया गया . मैं और नंदिनी सुंदर दिन भर आपके एसपी के सामने बैठे रहे लेकिन एसपी ने इन पिटते हुए आदिवासियों की कोई मदद नहीं की . बाद में अजीत जोगी ने डीजीपी विश्वरंजन को फोन पर कार्यवाही करने के लिये कहा . हमने राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के दल से इन आदिवासियों की मदद करने के लिये कहा उन्होंने कहा “ हमारा काम तो इनके बयान लेने तक सीमित है इसके बाद पुलिस की जिम्मेदारी है “ .

खैर इन आदिवासियों को राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के सामने मुंह खोलने की सजा के तौर पर पुलिस और सलवा जुडूम ने इनके गाँव को चार दिन बाद फिर जला दिया गया !

इस बार आदिवासियों पर हुए हमले को हमने चुनौती के रूप में लिया था . हमने इस गाँव को दोबारा बसाने का फ़ैसला किया . हमने एक मानव कवच दल का निर्माण किया और आपको बता दिया कि अब अगर आपने इन आदिवासियों को मारने की कोशिश की तो आपको पहले हमारी हत्या करनी होगी !आपका सलवा जुडूम और आपकी पुलिस हमारी ये हिम्मत देख कर हडबडा गयी .

आपको हमारी इस पहल का कोई जवाब नहीं सूझ रहा था ! हमने इस गाँव में रहना शुरू किया ! गाँव की चार लड़कियाँ गायब थीं ! गाँव वालों ने बताया कि चारों को सलवा जुडूम और पुलिस वाले उठा कर ले गये थे !हमने चुपचाप पता लगाया दो लड़कियाँ इंजरम सलवा जुडूम कैम्प में थीं ! एक तो कैम्प के नेता बोददु राजा के घर में थी !( बोड्दू राजा भी फरार आरोपी है और वर्तमान में सुकमा जिला पंचायत का उपाध्यक्ष है इसके भी वारंट मेरे पास हैं ) हमारी महिला कार्यकर्ताओं ने चुपचाप इन दो लड़कियों को इंजरम कैम्प में से निकाल कर वापिस उन के माँ बाप को सौंप दिया .

रमन सिंह जी बाकी की दो लडकियां कहाँ हैं ? इन में से एक वेको बजारे को आपके लोग उसके बूढ़े बाप के साथ पकड़ कर ले गये थे ! अगले दिन इंजरम कैम्प में बाप की गर्दन काट दी गयी . सबको दिखाने के लिये बाप की लाश को बीच में रख दिया गया . लेकिन बेटी का आज तक पता नही चला .लड़की का भाई मेरे पास आया . मैंने कहा चलो एस पी को लिखते हैं . एस पी ने कोई जवाब नहीं दिया . हम हाई कोर्ट में गये . इस बीच मुझे दंतेवाड़ा छोड़ देना पड़ा .

पुलिस मेरे दंतेवाड़ा छोड़ने के बाद इस लड़की के भाई को उठा कर हाई कोर्ट में ले गयी ! लड़की के भाई के वकील ने कहा मी लार्ड पुलिस तो आरोपी है और आरोपी खुद पीड़ित को पकड कर आपके सामने कैसे पेश कर सकते हैं ! यह दबाव में है इसे कम से कम एक दिन पुलिस के दबाव से अलग रखिये फिर इसका बयान लीजिए ! मैं इसका वकील हूं इसे जो कहना होगा मेरे मार्फत कहेगा . जज साहब ने कहा वकील साहब आप अगर इस तरह के मामलों में हाथ डालेंगे तो आपका कैरियर खराब हो जाएगा ( ये धमकी थी जो डायस पर बैठा एक जज न्याय की मदद करने वाले को दे रहा था वाह! ) लड़की के भाई का बयान तुरंत लिया गया उसने लिखित बयान पर अंगूठा लगाया जिसमे लिखा था कि “ हाँ ये सच है कि मेरी बहन का अपहरण हुआ , ये भी सच है की मेरे पिता की हत्या हुई . लेकिन मैं नहीं जानता कि ये किसने किया ?” 

जज साहब ने उसी वख्त पुलिस के खिलाफ ये मुकदमा खरिज कर दिया ! लड़की के भाई ने फोन पर मुझे ये सब बताया मैंने उससे पूछा जज के सामने झूठ क्यों बोला ? उसने कहा पिता जी रहे नहीं , माँ को मैं ही पालता हूं , पुलिस वालों ने कहा था कि अगर ये बयान नहीं दूंगा तो मुझे भी पिताजी की तरह काट कर सडक पर रख देंगे ! मैं डर गया था ! जहां पुलिस ने कहा मैंने जज के सामने अंगूठा लगा दिया . 

रमन सिंह जी दूसरी लड़की बारह साल की थी. उसकी खोज में भी हम छत्तीसगढ़ की हर जेल में गये . हर जिले के किशोर सुधार गृह में भी गये कि शायद उसे वहाँ रखा गया हो . इस लड़की को एक लड़के ने बाल सुधार गृह में देखा था ! हम इस लड़की के भाई को लेकर हर जिले में गये . पर पता नहीं पुलिस द्वारा लड़की कहाँ गायब कर दी गई है .

रमन सिंह जी आपको तो पता ही होगा ये लड़कियाँ कहाँ हैं ! दिलवा दीजिए प्लीज़ ! हम अपनी हार मानते हैं ! अब आपके बीच में नहीं आयेंगे ठाकुर साहब . इन आदिवासी लड़कियों को माफ कर दो .हमारी बेटियाँ वापिस दे दो ठाकुर साहब !

http://dantewadavani.blogspot.in/2012/03/blog-post_3130.html

Nadeem Paracha: Tracing hate - the trajectory of anti-Ahmadi politics in Pakistan

It is believed that Pakistan’s descent into the quagmire of violence, partaken in the name of religion has its roots in 1974 when the otherwise ‘secular’ government of Z A. Bhutto declared (through legislation) the Ahmadi community as a religious minority. Many Pakistani political historians have also correctly pointed out that the Bhutto government’s move in this regard set off various other scenarios that set the scene for its own dramatic downfall in 1977. Without getting into the theological debate of whether the Ahmadi community deserved excommunication from the fold of Islam in Pakistan or not, one can, however, reach a political conclusion that this issue has triggered the demise of democratic and non-religious forces that sided with those who originally initiated legislative action against the Ahmadis.


The following examples in this context should also be taken as a warning by democratic parties on both sides of the ideological divide that their ‘pragmatic’ association with fundamentalist and sectarian outfits is akin to digging a hole for themselvesFor example, in hindsight one can suggest the Bhutto regime deluded itself by believing that ousting the Ahmadis from the fold of Islam would appease the religious parties that were constantly criticising the government of being ‘un-Islamic.’ The Ahmadis’ ouster saw the Bhutto government increasingly cornering itself and offering more and more concessions to the religious parties in spite of the fact that most of these parties had been routed in the 1970 general election.
Simply put, parties that were rejected by the electorate in 1970 were actually strengthened by Bhutto’s policy of appeasement; a policy he thought was a clever and pragmatic ploy on his part to co-opt them. This unwitting and unintentional strengthening of the religious parties by Bhutto was one of the main reasons why these parties managed to unite on a single platform during the 1977 election and then, rather ironically, unleash a violent protest movement against his government that culminated in the declaration of Martial Law by General Ziaul Haq.
What is also ironic is the fact that Zia’s aggressive ‘Islamisation’ process throughout the 1980s was largely built around the unsuspecting blueprint of Political Islam that the Bhutto regime had begun to outline from 1974 onwards. But before we set out to find exactly what happened in 1974, it would also help to reanalyse the first major movement against the Ahmadi community in 1953.
In one of the most thorough books written on the rise of religious radicalism in Pakistan – ‘Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism,’ – author Hassan Abbas has painstakingly researched and detailed the 1953 incident. At the time of the creation of Pakistan in 1947, fundamentalist outfits such as the Jamat-i-Islami (JI) and the Ahrar had been discredited and sidelined due to their stand against Jinnah and the creation of Pakistan (both had labeled Jinnah as ‘Kafir-i-Azam’ or the leader of infidels). But in spite of this, both the parties’ main leadership had decided to migrate to Pakistan.
In 1951 due to a failed ‘communist coup’ attempt by some left-wing military men in league with the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and a group of progressive intellectuals initiated an intense governmental crackdown and bans against left-leaning officers in the military, the CPP and affiliated trade and labour unions. This created just enough of a void for some radical rightist forces to seep in. This opportunity was further widened by the disintegration of the ruling Muslim League (ML) that was by then plagued with in-fighting, corruption and myopic and exhaustive power struggles among its top leadership.
In 1953-54 after smelling an opportunity to reinstate their political credentials, the JI and the Ahrar gladly played into the hands of the then Chief Minister of Punjab and veteran Muslim Leaguer, Mian Mumtaz Daultana, who was plotting the downfall of his own party’s prime minster, Khuwaja Nizamuddin. With a burning ambition to become the Prime Minister after former Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan’s enigmatic assassination in 1951, Daultana was bypassed when the ML government chose the Bengali Nizamuddin as PM whom Daultana considered to be incompetent.
As Chief Minister of Punjab, Daultana was being criticised for the rising rate of unemployment and food shortages in the province. Anticipating protests against his provincial government’s failure to rectify the economic crises in Punjab, Daultana began to allude that economic crises in the Punjab were mainly the doing of the Ahmadi community... Read more:  http://dawn.com/2012/12/13/tracing-hate/

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Left is the only hope for the country: Ashok Mitra in conversation with Prasenjit Bose

Ashok Mitra and Prasenjit Bose represent two generations of the Indian Left. Mitra, 84, is a well-known economist. He was finance minister in West Bengal between 1977 and 1987 and chief economic adviser to Indira Gandhi's government. Prasenjit Bose, 38, is a former convener of the CPI(M)'s research unit. He criticised the party for backing Pranab Mukherjee's candidature as President and was removed from the party. Mitra and Bose have had their grouses with the party. Here they discuss what's left of the Left.. 

Prasenjit Bose (PB):We have been witnessing a global economic crisis for the past four years. This whole triumphalism which we saw in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union; Francis Fukuyama saying that it's the end of history. How would you look at such a prognosis today, in the light of the global crisis?

Ashok Mitra (AM):I would say that Marx's ideas about the final stage of capitalism are about to be vindicated by the latest series of developments in the United States, as well as in Europe. The falling rate of profit we have been reading in textbooks, we have been discussing galore; now suddenly we find that what Marx had predicted has come true. The United States is trying hard. The Europeans are trying to pick lessons from what their American gurus are suggesting but to no avail. Employment is falling, the rate of growth stagnates and suddenly we find, despite what lyricists on behalf of capitalism might chant, the world is really taking a shape which was foretold by Marx hundred and fifty years ago.

PB:I think that therefore there is definitely a return to the interests of Marxism, to the interests of not only the intellectual components of Marxism but also in a way we see popular movements which are coming up in Europe today, in countries like Spain and Greece; there have been huge protests by the trade unions, by the workers and it is leading to political changes as well. One doesn't know what exactly would be the outcome in the American elections but the Occupy Wall Street movement also caught the imagination of people across the world. But do you think that whereas Marx's analysis of capitalism as a crisis-ridden system, as a system ridden by exploitation; while that is getting definitely vindicated but are we today seeing, in the political domain, a return of the kind of revolutionary politics that we saw hundred years back or are there new trends that one has to look into?

AM:I do admit that there is a certain qualitative difference between what had taken place throughout the major part of the 20th century and what is happening now. Certainly as a major consequence of so-called economic liberalization which others call globalization but I wouldn't call it globalization because the original concept of globalization is very much a Marxist concept. It was Marx who talked about globalization of the working class... Read more
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ashok-mitra-in-conversation-with-prasenjit-bose/1/237608.html

Also see: 
End of the Left in India?

Maoist insurgency in India: End of the road for Indian Stalinism?


The Other Side of Maoism:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The working life of an ordinary Delhi policeman

Reviled as an ineffective, uncouth force that terrorizes people rather than protect them, Delhi Police officials find scarce favour with Delhiites. Indrani Basu of TOI spoke to a lower functionary of the force to unveil a lesser-known side of the daily functioning of the 76,000-strong team that is supposed to keep the city safe. 

"When I joined the police force, I didn't know I would spend most of my time doing things other than what I was trained for. The public expects police to help them with every problem, including matters unrelated to our work. The control room receives roughly 24,000 calls a day; 70% of these are not policing matters. Almost daily we are called in for civic disputes, problems with electric supply, presence of stray dogs, monkeys - the list is endless.  Civic agencies should handle such complaints but people call the police as other control rooms don't spring into action. We have to resolve the issue as it may become a law and order problem. There have been occasions where we've fetched electricians or other technicians to resolve some issue. 

The public perceives us as unruly and uncouth. Much of this has to do with our working conditions. Unlike other government departments, all of which have fixed work-hours, cops don't have any shift system. I may have a 12-hour duty but if I get a distress call 30 minutes before I'm to leave, I must attend to the call. This can take hours - many times the next 12 hours - to sort out. It's usual to work 24 hours without rest and continue the next day. The Delhi Police Act says an officer is on duty round the clock. A policeman gets a month's extra salary every year to compensate for working without a shift system, but this compromises quality of work. 

Many times we don't get vehicles to respond to distress calls. We usually use private conveyance to reach the crime spot: our own or an auto. There are around 15-20 cops per police station. But not more than four or five motorcycles are provided to each. Most bikes are on patrolling duty. 
Some stations have an emergency response vehicle. The conveyance allowance up to an Inspector's rank is about Rs 375 a month. This cripples our work. There is need for a proper emergency response unit for every call received; not leave an officer to his own devices. 

Investigations throw up their own kind of miscellaneous expenses that you will never see in official statistics. From getting a post-mortem done to collecting forensic reports, our pocket is made lighter in many ways. We have to submit a charge-sheet within 90 days, but with limited forensic facilities we invariably incur expenses to get test results on time. 

Provisions exist to claim investigation expenditure, but it's a tedious process. Also, there are no proper bills for most such expenses. For example, every year we remove several dead bodies. We make our own arrangements to retrieve the body and take it to the mortuary. Usually, we rope in a passerby willing to do the job in return for payment that comes from our own pocket. How can we claim such expenses? We don't even have basic facilities. No buildings or land are demarcated for police stations when an area is developed. Outposts come up based on need. Many times such outposts are mere tents. It doesn't feel like we work for a serious organization. 

Several stations don't have facilities for overnight stay though duty can stretch to three, four days continuously. Issues of mosquitoes, unhygienic surroundings and unavailability of fans plague many. Some police stations don't even have access to drinking water. There may be no water connection even. Lack of proper facilities causes us to function with a negative frame of mind. Such tough work conditions make us an unhappy lot, which sometimes compromises the police-public interface. Many cope with the pressure by resorting to corruption, anger, brutality - a vicious cycle. 

We constantly deal with criminals with no stress-relieving facilities provided. Many cops need psychological counselling, therapy to deal with their daily stress. No such facility is available. Some medical camps have raised these concerns but they are never resolved."


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Tough-conditions-but-you-expect-us-to-fix-everything-Delhi-cop/articleshow/17724796.cms

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Behind the mask of revolution. Global separatism in the Russian context

Unlike, say, Marxism or Fascism, Anarchism is not a book which humanity has finished reading. And in the current era of globalization, when national governments are in crisis and local political protests on the increase, the as-yet unread page of anarchist theory may turn out to be more relevant than ever.

‘Either the state suppresses individual rights and local life and extends its power over all aspects of human activity, which provokes struggles for power that only exchange one tyranny for another, or the state has to be destroyed. If this happens, energetic individual and group initiatives and voluntary agreements will provide the basis for the beginnings of a new life in thousands of population centres. The choice is yours!’  Pyotr Kropotkin

...The revolution of 1968 couldn't win out everywhere. The Iron Curtain and the suppression of the Prague Spring prevented the rock-n-roll wind of the 1960s storming into the communist world and reforming it. As a result, the ‘60s generation’ in these countries, unable to implement their own agenda of freedom, democracy and peace throughout the world, simply passed the baton on to their children. Gorbachev’s Perestroika, his ‘new thinking’ and the end of cold war were essentially an extended remake of 1968 from the east. Only this time the protesters more or less disassociated themselves from the Marxist-Socialist language that was totally discredited in the countries of the Eastern bloc. Instead, democratic protest actively embraced the ideas of the neoliberal school of economic thought.

At some point it even felt as though the sole point of the events of 1989-91 was to allow the East, now freed from totalitarianism, to adopt the 1968 version of the West’s system of values mixed with neoliberal pragmatism. In which case, from the political point of view, nothing new need ever happen in the world again.
In 1989 Francis Fukuyama published his famous article The End of History, announcing the ideological triumph of liberal democracy in its current state and stating that henceforth we were entering on the stage of post-history: ‘What we may be witnessing in not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.’ http://www.kropfpolisci.com/exceptionalism.fukuyama.pdf
The appearance of this overly naive and questionable theory is not surprising at all; there are other futurological theories that are even more exotic. What is really surprising is that world public opinion accepted Fukuyama's conclusions as axiomatic. Contrary to Fukuyama's prediction, and in line with the expectations of a global society tired of the political cataclysms of the 20th century, the triumph of the ideology of freedom didn't mean ‘the end of history’ at all. On the contrary, history started looking inwards. The first outcome was the permanent erosion of the world order based on the old system of nation states. However, such ideological ‘green shoots’ were not the focus of world public opinion at that point. They were completely eclipsed by the spectacular scenes of the final act of the 20th century: totalitarianism defeated without a fight, democracy and freedom triumphant on its ruins, and the end of USSR-USA nuclear confrontation. 
Perestroika successfully produced a wide-screen remake of 1968 and the world, also in widescreen format, slid into Western-style post-modern self-consciousness and ideological stagnation. The 1960's humanitarian project exhausted itself for the second and last time and in these conditions the lack of any new, positive ideas was felt ever more acutely. 
Europe tried to fill this ideological vacuum with the cult of a golden calf called the Euro. However, this idol has turned out to be so voracious and cynical that it is becoming less of a sacred object or magic wand than a huge technical problem, which ‘has at last to be addressed.’ In search of the new ideological sparring partner, the USA decided to replace world communism with global Islamism, but that strategy soon backfired in the form of the ‘Arab spring.’ ....

The young are angry again

It is fairly commonplace for activists of the Occupy Movement, and many commentators as well, to attribute the upsurge of protest activity to the state of the economy, rather than the cyclical laws of modern history. Typically, graphs of income distributions will be produced in an attempt to link the recent activity to an increase in the annual income of the richest 1% of the population. On closer examination, we see that this attempt to explain the protests by using the Gini coefficient and other economic indices is less than convincing. The last decile peak (when the rich became richer and the poor, poorer) was in 1928 during the Great Depression; at that time there were only a few protests.  The opposite is also true: in 1968, a peak period for protest, the super-rich had the lowest relative annual income of the century. 
Neither, it seems, is there any direct correlation between the economy and protests. The Occupy movement emerged not in 2008-9, when the economy was in an appalling state, but after a few years, in September 2011. It did so at the ‘appointed’ time for the beginning of the next historical cycle of social renovation. 
When ‘Occupy Wall Street’ started, it received almost universal and instant support. The USA saw the birth of more than 600 ‘communities’, which took the New York General Assembly (GANYC) as a model for their self-governing body.  The movement’s symbols and slogans were everywhere, from graffiti on the walls of buildings to the internet.  In November, the NYPD destroyed the protesters’ tent camp in Manhattan’s Zucotti Park, but the movement itself continued to evolve and spread. According to media statistics, over 40% of US citizens sympathise with the protests: CBS news/New York Times figures show that only 27% do not approve. According to Time Magazine, over 50% regard the protesters’ activities positively and only 23% negatively. And of course it is not only in the US that the public is becoming more radicalized. ..
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Writing at the end of the 19th and into the beginning of the 20th century, Pyotr Kropotkin, the theoretician of anarchism, proposed the commune as the optimal form of political organization, seeing the free cities of Europe as the closest historical analogy. Today his concept would be more likely to be described as regionalism than anarchism. 
Kropotkin saw all human history as a series of cycles in which small territorial entities such as cities and communes play a central creative and formative role, and large states and empires a destructive and parasitical one. Each cycle comes to an end when a civilization reaches an imperial dead end and exits the historical stage. His philosophy in effect challenged not only monarchies and other types of traditional authoritarian rule, but also the very idea of a centralized nation state. Moreover he did this long before the victory of this concept after World War I, when the idea of the nation state replaced the traditional monarchist paradigm. 
Kropotkin regarded the Roman Empire as an example of ‘a state in the strict sense of the word. Rome itself was the centre of everything: the economy, the military, legal affairs, education, religion and wealth. It provided laws, judges, legions for the protection of its territories, governors to rule its provinces, gods.’ He believed that, in making slaves of its own citizens, the Roman Empire signed its own death warrant and started a new cycle of history, based once more on the free creative development of regional political forms.  ‘The 12th century saw uprisings in urban communities throughout Europe....’  In the 16th century, on the other hand, emergent absolutist states destroyed the regionalist civilisation of the Middle Ages and the federation of free cities. 
Read more: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/daniil-kotsyubinsky/what-is-behind-mask-of-revolution-global-separatism-in-russian-context

Mining in Odisha: A decade of loot

At more than Rs 65,000 crore, the mining scam in Odisha has surpassed that in Goa and Karnataka. The penalties, however, came too late

In December last year, days before an inquiry commission headed by justice M B Shah was slated to visit Koira and Joda mining circles in northern Odisha, piles of documents were burnt in the office of deputy director of mines in Koira. In November this year, just days before the commission’s third visit, the Odisha government slapped a fine of Rs 65,493 crore on 104 mine lessees for extracting more than the permitted quantity of iron ore, manganese and chromite between 2000 and 2010 (see ‘Who’s who among offenders’). The commission was set up by the Centre in 2010 to probe illegal mining across India. It is expected to submit its report on Odisha by December end.
At present, of the 600 leases in the state, 388 have been either suspended or temporarily discontinued. The state environment minister recently told the Assembly that 111 mines have been listed for violating Environment Protection and Forest Conservation Acts. In October, the state government notified that second and subsequent renewal of mining leases will be restricted to captive users, that is, lessees without any industry of their own will not be eligible.
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The Rs 65,493 crore fine has been recorded as royalty for overextraction and transit passes (given by the state to vehicles carrying minerals out of mines) issued. “But what about the mining beyond leasehold areas which include forestland?” asks Union minister and Congress MP from Odisha Srikant Kumar Jena who says the total loss from illegal mining in the state is Rs 4 lakh crore. Accusing the Odisha government of hoodwinking people, Jena says, “It has imposed the fine on mine lessees to put a brave face in front of the Shah Commission.”
Horror unfolds
The decade beginning 2000 witnessed a boom in iron ore prices. To reap benefits, miners in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts, which include Koira and Joda circles, started mining in excess of the limit approved by the Indian Bureau of Mines. They stretched operations beyond their lease areas and continued extracting even after their leases had expired. Mining was done without acquiring mandatory environment and forest clearances or the “consent to establish” from the state pollution control board.
Read more: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/decade-loot

Friday, December 21, 2012

Is Greece a racist state?


Though the surge in support for the neo-fascist Golden Dawn has gained considerable attention in the international media, this phenomenon is better understood within the context of developments affecting society as a whole. It is Greek society in economic depression and its attitudes towards the other – the migrant or the foreigner – that will be the subject of this article.
Modern Greek history will be read as a history of migrations, both international and internal, older and newer migrants finding themselves in competition as they seek to renegotiate their position in society and their identities. It is in the light of these previous migrations that an effort will be made to comprehend contemporary policies and current attitudes towards immigration. European legislation on migration is increasing the instability of the Greek state at this crucial juncture, and, as a result, contributing to the magnitude of the crisis.

Urban strangers 

Migration is not new to the region. Nicholas Purcell and Peregrine Hordern have chronicled how variable microclimates in the mountainous Aegean rendered movement and hence migration a necessary technique for survival. Population hubs on islands or peninsulas were linked by sea to distant hinterlands, relying on them for nutrition and much else.
Against this backdrop, climatic, economic or political disturbances led to population movements on an even grander scale: the flow of migrants from the Balkans to the northern Black Sea coast (increasingly part of the Russian Empire) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, or migration in waves from the western to the eastern Aegean, from Greece to what is today Turkey and to Egypt in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - to cite two examples from the recent past. Unlike the nation-states which followed in its wake, the port cities of the Ottoman, Russian and British Empires provided a suitable framework for such movement, and not a few Greeks grew wealthy trading throughout the Black Sea and the Levant, even as far east as Calcutta.
Two further migrations, however, have left an indelible mark on Greek society in the twentieth century. First, the forced migration of Orthodox Christians (some Turkish speaking) from the newly constituted Turkish state, and Muslims (a large number Greek speaking) from Greece, both prior to and following the treaty of Lausanne of 1923. Their story has recently been re-narrated by Bruce Clark in his poignantly named “Twice a Stranger”.
Ethnic cleansing on this scale was justified by the requirement of creating homogeneous and hence functioning nation-states, the resulting homogeneity being primarily religious. Despite efforts to settle migrants and provide them with gainful employment, these migrants, some 20% of the total population (and over 45% in Greek Macedonia), became the determining factor in Greek politics. With little allegiance to the royalist status quo, and denigrated as an inferior underclass by the bourgeois of old Greece, urban refugees provided the backbone of the Liberal and, slightly later, the Communist party, KKE.
Already in the 1920s KKE was arguing in manifestos for the imposition of a “workers' and peasants' and refugees' government”. Though it is important to take into consideration the effects of depression in the 1930s when support for KKE surged, a direct line connects the migrations of the 1920s to the Civil War of approx. 1943-1949. 
On ethnic cleansing as an aspect of nationalism also see

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the world?

https://www.facebook.com/EvolverSocialMovement

Eye in the sky over India: Camera on a kite snaps fabulous photographs

Taken from skies high above India these startling images provide a new perspective on the country's rich culture and vibrant landscapes. Incredibly they were snapped not from the inside of an aeroplane but from camera hanging from a simple kite. For the last nine years French photographer Nicolas Chorier has been attaching one of his four specialist cameras to a simple Japanese-style kite in order to take thousands of pictures of places from above. 'From above it's a completely new vision, new perspectives, new ways to understand the landscape and heritage,' said Nicolas.. see more:
Part of the beauty of Chorier's style is it allows him to shoot buildings such as Udaipur Lake Palace in Rajasthan, from the air in an ecological way - without resorting to helicopter or plane

The iconic white stonework of the Taj Mahal with the city of Agra behind - 47-year-old Nicolas developed his passion for photography after growing up in France with weekly slide shows around the fireplace

BANGLADESH: Nothing Secular about it - by Nurul Kabir

Successive regimes in Bangladesh, including the Awami League, have betrayed secular promises to usher in a hardline Islamic State which has given a handle to fanatics to persecute and brutalise the religious minorities - Nurul Kabir; Editor New Age, Dhaka 
A Buddhist monk with the remains of his belongings in Cox's Bazar
All successive governments, including that of Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, vigorously carried forward the non-secular programmes of Sheikh Mujib, giving a fillip to the ‘backward movement’ of Bangladeshi societyTo begin with, the military government headed by Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, took away from the Constitution, by a martial law proclamation in May 1976, the provision that prohibited use of religion for political purposes. Then came another proclamation in 1977, which struck out Article 12 of the Constitution that proclaimed ‘secularism’ as a fundamental principle of the State and inserted into the book new provisions professing “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah” and pledging that “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah shall be the basis of all activities” of the State. The same proclamation inserted Bismillah-ar-Rahman-ar Rahim “in the beginning” and “above the preamble” of  the Constitution.
Later, all these ‘political misdeeds’ —from the point of view of secular, democratic values—were ratified by Parliament in 1979, with Lt Gen Ziaur Rahman heading the undemocratic State machinery as its president. Then Lt Gen HM Ershad appeared in the political scene in 1982, and drove the last nail in the coffin of secular ideals. His regime had the Constitution amended in June 1998 to declare that “the state religion of the Republic is Islam”. While the separation of ‘divine’ religion/s from the earthly affairs of the State remains one of the major components of classical democracy, the Ershad regime meshed the two. The immediate political implication was, however,  the relegation of members of the minority religious communities to second-class citizenry.
After the fall of the Ershad regime in 1990, following eight years of a movement for democracy, the BNP, headed by Begum Khaleda Zia, came to power through a general election in 1991. Notably, one of the central focuses of the BNP’s entire electoral campaign was Islam—the ‘need of defending Islam’ from the ‘un-Islamic’ political forces. The propaganda also infected the electoral campaign of other political parties. Sheikh Hasina, chief of the Awami League, which occasionally claims to be a secular party, presided over her party’s entire electoral campaign wearing a hijab (head scarf) and carrying a rosary...
...The findings of a methodical ‘inquiry into causes and consequences of deprivation of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh through the Vested Property Act’, published in 2000, point to the repression of religious minority communities by all the major political parties, especially when in power. The study, conducted by professional researchers led by Professor Abul Barakat of Dhaka University, has shown that 925,050 or 40 per cent of the total Hindu households of the country have been affected by the unjust ‘enemy property’ law of the Pakistan era, which continues to exist in independent Bangladesh under a different nomenclature—‘vested property law’... The total amount of the dispossessed land was estimated at 1.64 million acres, which is 53 per cent of the total land owned by the Hindu community and 5.3 per cent of the total land area in Bangladesh...
September 30, 2012. The people across Bangladesh came to know from media reports in the morning that a Muslim mob resorted to heinous attacks on Bengali Buddhist pagodas at Ramu and Hindu temples in Ukhia, both the areas under Cox’s Bazar district, with the pious Buddhists and Hindus of the localities haplessly witnessing the barbaric scenes at midnight. Media reports showed that certain members, belonging to all the major political parties of the ruling bourgeoisie—the ruling Awami League and its coalition partner the Jatiya Party, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and its partner in the opposition alliance, the Jamaat-e-Islami—were united in vandalising the pagodas and temples of the religious minority communities.
In a few hours, leaders of the Awami League and BNP blamed each other for the communal attacks. But, as media reports revealed, victims knew fully well that the political leaders and activists of both the political parties, one claiming to be the champion of ‘secular democratic’ Bengali nationalism and the other representing ‘Muslim nationalist’ Bangladeshi nationalism, were unanimously in the forefront of the inhuman attacks. The victims also knew, as did the print and electronic media, that the civil administration, including law enforcement agencies, did not contain, let alone prevent, the sectarian violence against the religious minority communities.
That the BNP is not a secular democratic force is well known. That the Awami League is a pseudo secular political force has been proved once again. However, in the face of genuine secular democratic protests by the media and marginalised Left forces, the government arrested more than 100 persons allegedly involved in the attacks launched at midnight on September 29; but none of the leading figures of the local Awami League, whose pictures in action have been printed in the newspapers the next day, have been arrested as yet. This is not the first time that minority religious communities have come under attack by chauvinist sections of Muslims in Bangladesh. It was just past midnight on November 19, 2003, at Sadhanpur, a small village in Banshkhali upazila, about 25 km south of the port city of Chittagong. An armed band of about 25 men stormed into the two-storey earthen house of Tejendra Lal Shil.
Twelve members of the landed family, who had retired to different rooms on the upper floor a few hours earlier, woke up with a start. They locked the doors from inside as the intruders tried to break in. Denied entry, the criminals locked the doors from outside, doused the ground floor with a petroleum product and set the house on fire. All but one of the residents, including seven women and a newborn, were burnt alive. As the screams of the dying shattered the silence and the flames dispelled the darkness and people came out of the adjacent houses, the criminals fired several gunshots and left the place. 
Only Bimal Shil, son of Tejendra, survived the carnage. He jumped out through a window and broke a leg in the process. The victims of the horrific incident belonged to the minority Hindu community, and the alleged perpetrators were fanatic sections of the majority Muslim community. “The mortal remains of the charred bodies of an entire family reminded many of the vicious killer episodes of Mississippi Burning, the celebrated Hollywood film on the Ku Klux Klan carnage,” wrote the New Age, the Dhaka-based English-language daily ,the next day. Notably, the heinous incident took place when the BNP was in power.
Predictably, the erstwhile BNP government did not bring the criminals to justice. Those involved in the massacre were reported to have been known supporters of the BNP. Similarly, the criminals belonging to the Awami League involved in the Ramu and Ukhia destruction have not been arrested as yet..
A search for historical facts has become an act of treason and prejudice in Bangladesh. The official narrative of the nation’s history is told and retold, textbooks are rewritten, and media stories depend on which party is in power. It’s a bizarre history narrative production that flips out a new version with each regime change every five years. In other words, there is no nationally agreed history of Bangladesh. For a people who claim to be authentic products of historical evolution, this is more than a bit ironic.

So who declared the independence of Bangladesh?
This is a big controversy and cleaves Bangladesh along party lines. The Awami League says that Sheikh Mujibur Rehman actually signed a ‘declaration of independence’ before he was taken away by the Pakistani forces on March 24, 1971. But to whom did he hand over this declaration? To be broadcast or distributed? But, then, would it not have given the Pakistanis all the evidence they needed to prove that he had committed treason? He should, thus, have been ‘tried’ for ‘declaring independence’ by the Pakistanis who arrested him that night. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Three more anti-polio campaigners shot dead in Pakistan


Three more health workers vaccinating children against polio have been shot dead in Pakistan in attacks blamed on Islamic militants, bringing the total killed this week to eight. Wednesday's attacks all took place in the restive western frontier province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – one just outside the city of Peshawar and two others in the town of Charsadda. Two men and a woman have been killed. The volunteers were taking part in a three-day government-led drive, supported by the World Health Organisation and Unicef, to vaccinate tens of millions of children at risk from polio in Pakistan.
After a decades-long struggle by multilateral organisations, governments and NGOs worldwide, the disease is now endemic only in three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. On Tuesday, a teenage volunteer was killed in Peshawar and four others were killed in the southern city of Karachi. It was not clear who was behind the shootings but Taliban insurgents have repeatedly denounced the anti-polio campaign as a western plot. Relatives of those shot earlier this week said several of the victims had received death threats in recent days.
Some confusion has emerged about whether and to what extent the anti-polio drive has been halted after a security meeting between officials in the hours following Tuesday's killings. The United Nations in Pakistan has pulled all staff involved in the campaign off the streets, Michael Coleman, a spokesman, said. However, the Pakistani government said immunisation had continued in some areas without UN support, although many workers refused to go out.
Women health workers held protests in Karachi and the capital, Islamabad. "We go out and risk our lives to save other people's children from being permanently handicapped, for what? So that our own children become orphans?" Ambreen Bibi, a health worker, said at the Islamabad protest. Government officials admit they have been caught off guard by the violence, saying they had not foreseen attacks in areas far from the Taliban strongholds in the north-west of the country. "We didn't expect such attacks in Karachi," said Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, minister for human rights, who oversees the polio campaign.
Some Islamists and Muslim preachers in Pakistan say the polio vaccine is a western plot to sterilise Muslims to stop population growth. Other religious leaders have tried to counter that myth.
Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/19/pakistan-polio