Archive for April, 2010

Foreign policy: India’s diffidence problem – Harsha V Pant

Foreign policy: India’s diffidence problem
April 15, 2010 15:10 IST

India [ Images ] is a major power today in its own right. While much of the world has started to acknowledge it, Indian policy-makers remain diffident, almost apologetic, about their nation’s rising profile, writes Harsh V Pant.
In the last few days, India has engaged with two major powers — China and the US — at the highest levels. Both are vital states in so far as Indian national security interests are concerned and both deserve to be treated with a degree of seriousness reserved for great powers.
But what is equally important to recognise is that India is also a major power today in its own right. While much of the world has started to acknowledge it, the Indian policy-makers remain diffident, almost apologetic, about their nation’s rising profile. And when they interact with major powers, they reveal this weakness embedded in the Indian psyche.
So when External Affairs Minister S M Krishna [ Images ] went to Beijing [ Images ] to mark the 60th anniversary of India’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China, he ended up pleading once again for Chinese support for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. It is unseemly for a nation that claims to be a rising power in the international system beseeching Beijing for its support, again and again, and then again, only to be rebuffed. More damagingly, it betrays a lack of confidence in India’s own ability to define the terms of debate of its rise in the global inter-state hierarchy.
China is not going to support India’s candidature for the Security Council, at least not in the foreseeable future. If the Indian foreign policy establishment cannot understand this basic fact of Asian geo-strategy, they have no right to be running this nation’s foreign policy. And if there is some psychological need that gets satisfied in asking this question time and again why can’t it be done outside the public glare, saving the Indian public constant humiliation?
Every time India asks for China’s support and gets a negative answer it underlines China’s status as the pre-eminent Asian power that reserves the right to grant India the privilege of being in the Security Council.
It should also be asked why does India have to waste so much of its diplomatic capital on an issue that is not likely to get resolved anytime soon. And why should India care about this so much. Even as the UN’s failures have become self-evident over the years, Indian political elites have continued to view it as an almost indispensable actor in global politics that needs substantial Indian diplomatic investment.
While this fascination with a moribund institution may not have had any cost in the past when India was on the periphery of global politics, today’s India cannot afford to cling on to that same old worldview. India’s experience with the UN has historically been underwhelming, to put it mildly. India’s interests have suffered whenever the nation has looked to the UN for support.
Yet for most of the Indian policy establishment the role of the UN in Indian foreign policy continues to be one of using the organisation “as a manifest of our desire to be a responsible world citizen.” It is time to disabuse ourselves of the notion that India is going to be a permanent member of the Security Council anytime soon and that too with China’s support.
Instead, Indian policy-makers should work towards an eventuality where India gets invited to join the Security Council by virtue of sheer heft in global politics.
India’s obsequiousness towards China is not the only problem. It’s evident in India’s engagement with the US too. The Indian prime minister’s reception in Washington was no doubt warm. All the right things were said and the Indian government’s media managers underlined that President Barack Obama [ Images ] was indeed sensitive to Indian concerns.
The nation was told that Obama “fully understood our concerns about the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan” and “was engaging” Islamabad [ Images ] on these issues. Again, while one cannot quarrel with these assertions, it has become a regular feature of Indian diplomacy to press America toward securing its own regional security interests. The speed with which India has outsourced its regional foreign policy to Washington is astonishing.
New Delhi [ Images ] is now reduced to pleading with Washington to tackle Pakistan and to rein in Pakistan army’s [ Images ] nefarious designs against India in Afghanistan, in Kashmir [ Images ] and elsewhere.
It is true that India and the US share a set of common goals in the region. There is a fundamental convergence between India and the Obama administration in viewing Pakistan as the source of Afghanistan’s insecurity and the suggestion that the world must act together to cure Islamabad of its political malaise. In recognising that the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan constitute the single most important threat to global peace and security, arguing that Islamabad is part of the problem rather than the solution, and asking India to join an international concert in managing the Af-Pak region, the US has made significant departures from its traditionally held posture towards South Asia.
But it is equally true that a divergence has emerged between American and Indian interests in recent times. Indian regional policy should be based on an unambiguous assertion of its vital national interests, not on the hope that eventually America is there to pull its chestnuts out of the fire. By failing to craft its own narrative on Af-Pak ever since the US troops went into Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, New Delhi has allowed America to dictate the contours of Indian policy towards the region, doing much damage to India’s credibility as a regional power of any consequence.
The US will only take India seriously when India starts taking itself seriously and starts behaving like a major power. The same applies to China. China is nothing if not pragmatic in its foreign policy. China’s support for India’s candidature to the Security Council’s permanent membership will come when India’s rise becomes a reality that Beijing can no longer ignore.
A diffident India will continue to crave for the attention of Beijing and Washington but will not get it in return. A confident India that charts its own course in world politics based on its national interests will force the world to sit up and take notice.
For all the breast beating in recent years about India emerging as a major global power, Indian strategic and political elites display an insecurity that defies explanation. A powerful, self-confident nation should be able to articulate a coherent vision about its priorities and national interests without apologies. The brazen display of a lack of self confidence by Indian elites in their nation’s abilities to leverage the international system to its advantage will only weaken India over the long term. India should assess its interests carefully and learn to stand up for them.

Inhuman rights – by Uday Mahurkar

Inhuman rights
Uday Mahurkar
March 25, 2010

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/89840/Inhuman+rights.html?complete=1

For eight long years, Gujarat 2002 has stood out as one of the worst episodes in our calendar of atrocity. Since then, the country has witnessed ugly sparring over the bloody riots between the Gujarat Government and the votaries of the Hindutva movement on one side and the human rights lobby on the other.
Setalvad is alleged to have included charges that were retracted later by the witnesses.
Meanwhile, the state Government, Chief Minister Narendra Modi in particular, has been repeatedly accused of direct or indirect involvement in the riots. In March 2008, the Supreme Court (SC) appointed the Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation Director R.K. Raghavan, to reinvestigate nine major cases in the Gujarat riots of 2002. Charges flew back and forth once again last week when human rights activists called for the prosecution of Modi for his involvement in the riots in response to a petition.
The latest round of sparring began after the SIT sought Modi’s presence in response to an SC petition by Zakia Jafri, a riot victim and the widow of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, accusing Modi and 61 others of being involved in riots and hatching a conspiracy to kill Muslims. Ehsan was among the 69 people killed by a riotous Hindu mob in the Gulberg Society case.
“For eight years, canards have been spread against me. But the truth cannot be suppressed.”
NARENDRA MODI, Gujarat Chief Minister
Significantly, in March 2003, the SC had stalled the trial of nine Gujarat riot cases, thanks to the relentless campaign by the human rights activists seeking justice for the Muslim victims. The riot victims said they won’t get justice as long as the Gujarat Government had a role in the police probe and the subsequent trial. The SIT is reinvestigating the cases under the virtual supervision of the apex court, with even the judges and public prosecutors being selected under the SC’s monitoring.
As the SIT goes about its task, more and more evidence is surfacing that the human rights lobby had, in many cases, spun macabre stories of rape and brutal killings by tutoring witnesses before the SC. In the process, it might have played a significant role in misleading the SC to suit its political objectives against Modi and his government.
Last week, one of the most horrible examples of cruelty resurfaced once again as the trial of the Naroda Patiya case, where 94 persons were killed, began in the SC-monitored special court in Ahmedabad. Soon after the riots, the human rights activists and the Muslim witnesses had alleged that a pregnant woman Kausarbanu’s womb was ripped open by rioters and the foetus was flung out at the point of a sword. The gruesome incident was seen as the worst-possible example of medieval vandalism in the modern age.
The wait for justice for Gujarat’s riot victims is still not over
Last week, eight years after the alleged incident, Dr J.S. Kanoria, who conducted the post-mortem on Kausarbanu’s body on March 2, 2002, denied that any such incident had ever happened. Instead, he told the court: “After the post-mortem, I found that her foetus was intact and that she had died of burns suffered during the riot.” Later Kanoria, 40, told INDIA TODAY, “I have told the court what I had already written in my post-mortem report eight years ago. The press should have checked the report before believing that her womb was ripped open. As far as I remember, I did her post-mortem at noon on March 2, 2002.”
A careful study of the three police complaints, claiming that Kausarbanu’s womb was ripped open by the rioters, shows several loopholes. While one complaint accuses Guddu Chara, one of the main accused in the Naroda Patiya case, of ripping open Kausarbanu’s womb, extracting her foetus and flinging it with a sword; another complaint accuses Babu Bajrangi, yet another accused in the case, of doing the act. A third complaint, on the other hand, does not name the accused but describes the alleged act.
Modi will also have reasons to smile at the affidavits filed by the Muslim witnesses in the SC in 2003 at the behest of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Teesta Setalvad on the basis of which the trial in nine cases were stalled for six long years. The most glaring hole is in the affidavit of Nanumiya Malek, a key witness in the Naroda Gam case. In his affidavit before the SC filed on November 15, 2003, Malek stated that a newly married woman called Madina, who lost four of her relatives, including her husband in the riots, had been raped by the rioters.
“Her (Kausarbanu) foetus was intact and she had died of burns suffered during the riot.”
Dr J.S. KANORIA
Malek’s affidavit states: “I was witness to the crimes of murder and rape that took place on Madina and her family. I also saw seven people being burnt alive, including four orphans. I request the SC to keep the details of this rape victim confidential since she is alive and use it only for the purpose of trial and conviction of the rapists.” But on May 5, 2009, in his statement before the SIT, Malek said: “I had wrongly claimed that Madina had been raped. I made the charge because of Teesta Setalvad’s pressure. I kept on telling her not to include that charge in my affidavit, yet it was included.”
In her statement before the SIT on May 20, 2008, Madina, who has remarried now, said: “The charge made by Malek claiming that I was raped by a riotous mob is false. I wasn’t raped. When the riotous mob put my house on fire, I tried to run but was attacked by a rioter who injured me with a knife. Later I managed to merge in a Muslim crowd.”
There are six other affidavits filed by different Muslim witnesses on November 15, 2003, that wantonly allege rape in the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya riot cases without giving any details. Interestingly, all the affidavits have a uniform language: “Over 110 persons were not simply killed, but raped and mutilated as well, including young children. We urge the SC to stay the trials and transfer them to a neighbouring state and also order fresh investigation.” The affidavits state that they had been filed at the behest of Setalvad and in the presence of her co-activist Rais Khan.
“I had wrongly claimed that Madina was raped. I made the charge because of Teesta Setalvad’s pressure.”
NANUMIYA MALEK
If this wasn’t enough, other glaring attempts by human rights activists to tutor witnesses have come to the fore. For example, soon after the Gulberg massacre in which Ehsan Jafri was killed, nearly a dozen Muslim witnesses told the police that Jafri had fired in self-defence, killed a rioter and injured 14 others. They also said that this led the mob to resort to violence and attack Muslims in Gulberg with vengeance. But almost half of them who deposed before the special court have retracted from this statement.
The statement of Imtiaz Pathan in the Gulberg trial also raises eyebrows. He told the special court that before being killed, Jafri told him that Narendra Modi abused him (Jafri) on phone when he sought protection during a mob attack. Incidentally, there is no record available of Jafri having made any call to Modi. Pathan didn’t name Modi in the first police statement he made soon after the riots. Interestingly, he has also identified as many as 27 individual attackers from a mob of thousands of rioters.
When the SIT started taking statements of witnesses in the Gulberg Society case, around 20 witnesses came with typed statements. But the SIT objected to it, citing Section 161 of the CRPC, saying that the police must record the statement of a witness. So when the SIT forced the witnesses to give their statement during the interrogation, there was a vast difference between the ‘readymade typed’ statements and the oral evidence that the police had received earlier.
As a senior lawyer defending the accused puts it: “The witnesses under the influence of the human rights activists didn’t allow videotaping of their statements while they were being recorded. There is an obvious attempt on the part of activists to dictate not just the SIT, but also the courts.” Last week, INDIA TODAY quizzed Setalvad about the charge of tutoring the witnesses and creating false evidence before the courts in the 2002 Gujarat riot cases.
Her response: “I am under no obligation to respond to your questions.” The human rights activists’ band seems to believe that one side’s suffering is greater than the other’s.
Credibility Gap
Then
In his petition before the SC, Nanumiya Malek, a key witness in the Naroda Gam case, says that a married woman called Madina had been raped by rioters. Now
Malek later told the SIT that Madina’s rape was an accusation put forth at the behest of Teesta Setalvad. Madina also denied the charge.
Then
For the past eight years, human rights activists and Naroda Patiya victims have alleged that the rioters ripped open the womb of the pregnant Kausarbanu. Now
Dr J.S. Kanoria, who conducted a post-mortem on Kausarbanu’s body, says she died of burns during the riot and that her womb was intact.
Then
While reinvestigating the Gulberg case, the SIT comes across nearly 20 witnesses who came with their readymade, typed statements to which the SIT objects. Now
The Muslim witnesses refuse to videotape their statements. The statements that are recorded by the SIT do not match the readymade statements.
Then
Imtiaz Pathan, a key witness in the Gulberg case, tells the special court that Ehsan Jafri was abused by Modi when Jafri called the latter seeking his help during the riots. Now
The SIT has not been able to find any evidence or a record of Ehsan Jafri making a phone call to Narendra Modi.
Then
In their 2003 SC petition, Muslim witnesses accused the rioters of raping women. As a result, the trials of nine major cases were stalled for over six years. Now
In their statements made before the SC-appointed SIT, the witnesses haven’t accused the rioters of raping women.

Hyderabad riots – one killed, 36 injured

36 injured in Hyderabad riot.
Violence premeditated: Police Commissioner.
Hyderabad toll rises to Two; violence in new areas
First Published : 30 Mar 2010 06:25:45 PM IST||Last Updated : 31 Mar 2010 08:25:29 AM IST||Express Buzz
HYDERABAD: One more person was stabbed to death in Hyderabad Tuesday, taking the toll in the communal violence to two while riots spread to new areas and curfew was imposed in the limits of eight more police stations.While curfew continued the old city without any relaxation, it was imposed in new areas following fresh clashes.Hyderabad police Commissioner A.K. Khan said Tuesday evening that indefinite curfew would be in force in Afzalgunz, Begumbazar, Shahinathgunz, Tappachaputra, Asifnagar, Mangalhat, Kulsumpura and Habibnagar police stations.This has taken the number of police stations under curfew to 25. Indefinite curfew was imposed in all 17 police stations in the south zone (old city) Monday night and it continued Tuesday without any relaxation.He also imposed prohibitory orders banning processions and rallies across this Andhra Pradesh capital after clashes in new areas.The communal violence, which was so far confined to the old city, spread to other areas in the city, triggering tension.One person was stabbed to death in Karwan area adjoining the old city. One person was killed Monday.

Old Hyderabad tense curfew to continue till 6 pm
Press Trust of India, Tuesday March 30, 2010, Hyderabad

Curfew has been extended till Wednesday morning and patrolling intensified in communal violence-hit areas of the old city where clashes during the last three days left one dead and 80 injured.

The situation was, however, “totally under control” with the deployment of a large number of central security forces, Hyderabad City Police Commissioner A K Khan told reporters.

Curfew was imposed last evening in 17 police station areas of South Zone after fresh violence erupted in Moghalpura, Shalibanda, Charminar, Aliabad, Falaknuma, Shamsheergunj and Lal Darwaja localities.

“We have intensified patrolling in lanes and by-lanes in curfew-affected areas where communal clashes took place during the last three days,” Khan said. He said though the situation was tense, it was totally under control with the deployment of a large number of security forces including RAF and CRPF.

Replying to a query, he said the decision to relax curfew would be taken tomorrow after monitoring the situation. He warned that stern action would be taken against those involved in communal clashes.

Due to curfew, 10th class examinations in 140 centres in South Zone area have been postponed, South Zone DCP Madhusudhan Reddy said.

Osmania University authorities, meanwhile, announced that the degree examination scheduled to be held from tomorrow has been postponed to April 7.

One person was stabbed to death on Monday and another hurt in the Shalibanda area. Another person was injured when a vehicle was attacked at Khilwat Chowrasta. About 130 persons, suspected to be involved in the communal clashes, have been taken into custody so far, police added.

The Centre has rushed 1,800 paramilitary personnel to restore peace in the sensitive areas. The entire force has been put on alert to maintain law and order in view of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

http://vhpsampark.org/index.php/Jihad-Watch/hyderabad-riots-shocking-visuals-of-shiv-mandir-cow-shelter-set-on-fire.html