Posts Tagged 'gujarat'

Aseemanand questions bail to Malegaon 7, claims was tortured

Aseemanand questions bail to Malegaon 7, claims was tortured
Author: D K Singh
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: November 28, 2011
URL:
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/aseemanand-questions-bail-to-malegaon-7-claims-was-tortured/881306/0

Ten days after seven accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case were
released on bail, partly because of his confession that Hindu extremists
were behind the attack, Swami Aseemanand has questioned the decision,
reiterating that he had already retracted that statement made by him
under “extortion”.

In a memorandum sent to President Pratibha Patil yesterday, with copies
to the prime minister, home minister and the National Human Rights
Commission among others, Aseemanand also alleged that he had been
tortured “on account of my religion”.

“How can my extorted confession that was retracted be taken… to the
aid of the Malegaon accused when no court has pronounced on my retracted
confession? How can NIA (National Investigation Agency) support the bail
pleas of Muslim accused in the Malegaon case in the face of the
confession by these accused and the inputs shared by the government of
India with the US and the UNO?” Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Aseemanand, who
had been arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case in 2007, says in the
memorandum.

“What a travesty of justice! On one hand a Hindu sanyasi like me is
being made to suffer unimaginable and unbearable indignities by
investigating agencies and state actors so as to extort my confessions.
On the other hand, Muslim accused in the Malegaon case are allowed bail
on the stand of the Union Home Ministry and the NIA using this extorted
(retracted) confession,” stated Aseemanand.

In November 2010, he had been arrested by CBI officials from Haridwar en
route Delhi, said Aseemanand. “CBI officials on several occasions
stopped the vehicle on the roadside in pitch dark and made me kneel on
the ground. After putting pistol on my temple they threatened to kill me
if I did not act as per their desire. Upon my refusal they threatened
that they would push me towards on-coming speeding traffic and that my
death would be in accident. In this situation I felt ashamed that as a
Hindu I have no human rights; I was subjected to torture on account of
my religion. In custody, I was isolated. Losing all hope and to save my
family members, I succumbed to their pressure and torture.”

He said that CBI officials “tortured” him to give 164 statements. He
alleged that even in judicial custody CBI and NIA personnel enjoyed free
and unregulated access to him. “On occasions even after midnight I was
insultingly treated and (accused of) involvement in various blast cases.
They also threatened to eliminate my mother, brother, and other
relatives if I did not succumb to their demands,” stated Aseemanand,
adding that when he was produced before the magistrate in Delhi on
December 18, 2010, CBI officials were present in plainclothes and one of
them “directed” him to depose “as per his instructions and the typed
statement given by him”.

“Because of the immense mental and physical pressure I could not muster
enough courage to tell the magistrate that I was making the statement
under compulsion.”

He gave graphic details of his “unbearable physical torture” and stated,
“They indicated that if I ever failed to tow their line, my mother would
be brought from Hubli, I would be subjected to indignities before her
after being undressed.”

“While in judicial custody in Tihar jail, I was kept in a cell along
with two Muslim prisoners. They knew who I am. I was under traumatic
condition and had no courage to resist the threats. I made the statement
before the court as desired and tutored by the CBI officials,” said
Aseemanand.

He said on January 15, 2011, he was taken to the room of “Dept”
Superintendent, Central Jail Ambala, where NIA officials were present.

They gave him draft of the statement and directed him to make the said
statement before the magistrate.

“Surrounded by such desperately deadly law enforcement agencies I again
succumbed to the dictates of NIA officials and got recorded confessional
statement on 15.01.2011 before the Panchkula court,” said Aseemanand,
adding that ATS Rajasthan too “forced” him to write an application to
become approver in the Ajmer blast case.

“Madam President, my confession was a result of the unimaginable
physical and mental torture. This has been retracted. No judicial court
has pronounced on my confession one way or the other. How can the
accused in the Malegaon be shown indulgence of bail on the basis of my
retracted confession when they had themselves given their confessional
statement in the case? I get an impression that I am being targeted
because I am a Hindu…,” said Aseemanand.

He added, “Madam President, it is astonishing to learn how after
carrying out detailed investigations, and having informed the United
Nations and the US about the involvement of Lashkar-e-Toiba and HUJi
terrorist behind the Samjhauta blast, the home ministry has taken a
summersault and started to rely upon criminally extorted confessional
statement, which has already been retracted by me.”

Narendra Modi on poetry, politics and Rahul Gandhi as PM

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/narendra-modi-on-politics-poetry-and-rahul-gandhi-as-pm-134238

This interview is from Society magazine; its views do not necessarily reflect those of NDTV.

Meeting Narendra Modi was like meeting multiple personalities at one time. I have always perceived Modi as a man of steel having gone through fire. The constant picking and media barbs have not left him embittered. This could be attributed to his strong and courageous personality and being centred in spirituality.

Modi is the only CEO Chief Minister so-to-say who has corporatised political administration in his well groomed and well kept state! As I proceeded to Modi’s residence for a chat,
en route, the typical attributes associated with a politician were all missing. No hangers-on, no party flags or king size cut outs, no party men shouting slogans while lounging around and awaiting a darshan of their party honcho, and no desperate security frisking. One enters a ‘peace zone’ of sorts when you step into his home surrounded by well manicured lawns.

As I was ushered into his neatly laid out home cum office, I saw Vivekananda’s bronze figurine tucked in the corner of his work station. The freewheeling tete-a-tete that followed gave an astonishing insight into the man, the mystic and the leader, rather than the controversial politician that Modi is made out to be. My initial apprehension, going by his public image of a darting and intimidating person, was put to rest at the very outset. Modi seemed cheerful, gentle and benign. There was no attempt to overpower and manipulate my thoughts, no overtones or undercurrents. Modi exuded brilliant command over the session, was clearly defined in his approach and was never caught off guard.

“I make political statements only before elections. There is much more to talk about than my political opponents,” he quips. We agree. Here is a man who has become synonymous with dedicated hard work and administrative genius so much so that he is the only politician for whom a temple is built by his people. His state shines luminously as a model city. No doubt there are still issues to be addressed in the vast canvas, but Gujarat most certainly has filed past other states in showing an all round progress-industrialisation, infrastructure, tourism and a total turnaround.

The architect of this new and shining Gujarat, Narendra Modi, is surely someone you will either adore or despise but certainly won’t ignore. His political strategies that raised him from being a party worker to the Chief Minister for three terms in succession field him as a strong potential Prime Ministerial candidate from amongst the rest of the regional leadership. The writing on the wall is clear that if the nation chooses to vote out the Congress, Modi is the first choice of the people.

With the grim scenario that the nation faces today, the need of the hour is an able administrator who can fix the fractures within our system. Today, regional leaders like Narendra Modi, Ashok Gahlot, Sheila Dikshit and Nitish Kumar are in the public discernment as the ideal options for replacing their national counterparts at the helm.

With a proven track record of excellent governance in his kitty, Modi chooses to play the cards about his national political agenda only when the time is ripe. Among the disadvantages Modi faces is his love-hate equation with the media. And so, here was an opportunity to peel the stern communalistic facade, and peep into the man behind the iron curtain. Is he as blunt and intimidating as he seems from a distance? As ruthless as he is made out to be? As communal minded as he is perceived? What is his typical day like? Does Modi like to watch TV soaps and sob with them? When did he last take a holiday and where does he really like to unwind? Many such questions flooded my thoughts and my research furnished no insight into the man that Modi is. His political track record reveals him as an uncompromising and shrewd politician. Besides, the magnificent transformation he achieved in the eyes of his own people, from being an anti-hero to a hero, is a case study in itself. To the people of Gujarat, Modibhai, as he is fondly addressed as, is like no one else. They view him as a brilliant politician, an efficient administrator, an able strategist and ultimately, a competent leader who has staked all his might in serving his people. Indeed, all this and more is supported by the progress that Gujarat has recorded as a model state in the country with maximum NRI investment and all around growth. The accent is on ‘systematic, non-corrupt and good governance’ rather than mere tactics for political survival.

Modi is a proud man who can flaunt his report card and by quizzing him to talk about his state, you have turned him on, so to say! “In Gujarat’s model of governance, we have moved out of the traditional piecemeal actions and knee-jerk reactions. We now look at a whole new approach to the fundamental changes that would yield qualitative and quantitative leaps. My role is that of a facilitator and the real credit goes to Team Gujarat and the people of the state,” preens Modi. However, history can’t be recalled without associations of landmark events to fundamental authors. Like Gandhi and the freedom fight, Nehru and the Kashmir goof-up, Sardar Patel’s police action in the Razaka movement of the Nizam State, Indira Gandhi and the Emergency, and when it comes to Modi, you cannot finish the breath without remembering the infamous Gujarat riots.

Though the riots will continue to haunt Modi, he has made a conscious effort to heal the wounds and has worked in a sustained way to make the media take note of the immense progress made in the land of the Mahatma. His image as the ‘merchant of death’ is reversed to that of the ‘Sultan of good governance’. As shrewd and emphatic as Chanakya in his political arbitration and in the stringency of administrative competence, Modi is aligned in the league of the legendary Gujarat leader, Saradar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

However, Modi’s modesty is outraged at the comparison with the legend and he springs up in protest. “It is unfair to compare anyone with Sardar Patel. He was a great stalwart. We are lucky that his soul is there to inspire us. He was an iron man because he stood by his commitment to his ideology and thoughts. Even in the face of opposition to his stand, he never succumbed. No toothless ruler can rule the country,” he interrupts your thoughts.

Going to office is a rather academic activity for Narendra Modi. He has drawn a definite blue print for his people and his personal political agenda. His hours spent in the office are channeled towards proactive administration rather than for political sustenance, Probably, Modi feels best when he talks about his innovative governance, and his schemes are no mere eyewash. Looking closely, his schemes are universal in nature, not to be constricted by boundaries either. An offspring of a middle class family in Vadnagar in Mehsana district of north Gujarat where Modi completed his schooling, he was conferred his PG in Political Science from the Gujarat University. As a young man, he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing and was involved in the anti-corruption Nav Nirman Movement. After working as a full time organiser there, he was later nominated as its representative in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The upward climb had no stopping. But, amidst all the sound and fury, wouldn’t we like to know how his growing up years impacted Modi as a person? “I am just an aam admi, a common man. I live and think like a common man despite the trappings of power. My family background was very humble. My growing up was also nothing extraordinary. There were no unusual aspects to my life to have made me blossom into someone special. Neither my mother nor my father was the sarpanch of any village. It was a bewilderment to even know what it was like to be a Panchayat member. So, whatever is attributed to an ordinary man is applicable to me. I am happy with the small mercies of life. Even if a child tells me, ‘Uncle, you have done a good job,’ I feel joyous. And, the endeavour is to not do anything wrong so that you could be centred in joy,” proffers Modi. Modi likes to believe that he is driven by the will of God when he says, “I had not shown any temperament to be in mainstream politics in my growing years. Even now, administration within the government framework is an absolutely apolitical activity for me. I hardly spare one or two hours in a month for political activities. I am totally dedicated to my job. I don’t see this office as a political one. While you are elected to work, there should be no politics at all. If there is politics, it means you are a failure. You are not a Chief Minister for those who have voted for you but for those who have not voted for you.”

Usually, the day begins early for Modi. “I have been an early riser since the beginning. My initial life demanded labour and effort for survival, so I am very hard working by nature. I would toil more than my peers. Be it sports, theatre activities or even reading a book, I would feel I should read faster and more books than the others. Lazing around is not in my nature. Even today, I don’t avail a Sunday. I remember when I was a child, during the India-China war, 50 kilometres from my village; there was a railway junction from where the army was dispersing aid to the war field. I accompanied some young men who went there to serve tea and snacks and give a pep talk to boost the soldiers’ spirits. I didn’t know what exactly this whole act was about, but I was there,” recalls Modi.

A strong national fervour was bound to be embedded with such an exposure at such a tender age, and it sure did. Modi embarked on a political pathway with the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and as a swayamsevak, he had to go underground during the Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. He joined the BJP in early 1987. “I helped maintain relations between the RSS and the BJP. In 1988, I was recognised as a master strategist of the party and was entrusted with the post of General Secretary of the Gujarat State BJP unit. Between 1988 and 1995, I successfully carried out two major projects of the BJP initiated by LK Advani-the Ayodhya Rath Yatra and the march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. In 1995, I became the National Secretary of the party with the charge of five major states. In1995, the BJP came to power with a two thirds majority in the Gujarat Assembly. Since then, Gujarat is under the rule of the BJP. In 1995, I was promoted to the post of General Secretary (Organisation) of the BJP. I held the office till October 2001 and then became the 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat,” writes Modi in his introduction on Facebook.

“Being in the RSS, I got a chance to work at every level of the organisation, which helped me in building my character. Basically, I am not built only for politics. I am an ardent lover of nature. My interest is mainly culture and character building. Now, political instability has becomes a part of politics. You need diligence and commitment to succeed in politics,” says Modi. An avid reader, biographies of great men catch his fancy apart from philosophical books, and he unwinds by reading and writing poetry. “Poetry which had something to say about life and its varied facets used to captivate me. Now, I just flip the pages as that phase of my life is over. But, I have published my poems and the beauteous nature has always been my muse, my inspiration. I am a big environment buff and even in my own state, a lot has been done to protect and nurture the environment,” he muses.

Recalling his growing years, Modi says, “From a very young age, I have been writing books and I also wrote columns with pseudo names. During the Emergency, I used to run a newspaper, called Satya Samachar. I was barely 20 plus then and during that time, I would unearth whatever was censored, publish them and distribute copies as an awareness campaign. The government had also issued a warrant in my name. Recently, I wrote a book on the environment, titled, Convenient Action, which was launched by Abdul Kalam. It is about various environment problems and solutions and Gujarat practices all of them.”

Modi the Mystic

Modi revealed in a television programme that he lived in the caves of the Himalayas for four years before he made his foray into public life. To retain one’s composure on the face of a storm reveals one’s inner spiritual strength. “A stress buster is needed for the one who feels stress. For the one who has authored his life with detachment, where is the question of stress? I am a totally detached person. I am here, but I don’t feel I am a Chief Minister. I am a CM only when I sign on the dotted line. Even that is because someone has to take the responsibility,” he says emphatically.

Not one of the temple going politicians who always look to the almighty for solutions to problems of their own making, Modi says, “I am not religious. I go to the temple on the Gujarat New Year day. I can’t claim to be spiritual because it’s a very profound epithet. But, I like it when I get to read or hear anything related to the spiritual world. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for many years. Detachment is something I believe in practising for my spiritual self. In fact, with great difficulty, I have torn myself away from pursuing mendicancy in totality to be a part of this world. The call of the Himalayas has been put on the back burner. When the time is right, it is like crossing from one room to the other for me. You will be surprised to know that despite having lived in this house for 10 years now, until of late, I didn’t even know how the entire house looked. I only used spaces like my office, bedroom, dining room and the study. Only when recently there was a move to relocate my library did I take a tour of the rest of the building. That is what I mean by detachment. And, what makes me angry? That’s the problem. I don’t get angry, but have to enact anger in order to get work done.” (Laughs)

So, where does spiritually and politics bifurcate? “There is a problem only when they bifurcate. They should not be cut off. Gandhi was immersed in spirituality all his life and it is this spirituality that inspired him to serve the society. This inspiration sustains because it is a power. This is where we are erring,” he pontificates.

Moments to Cherish

Modi lives his life purely with an agenda for his people with no personal strings attached. However, were there any moments he stole for personal gratification amidst the dust and din of politics and work? He recollects, “After being the CM for two consecutive terms, I had two desires. One was to unearth my childhood friends with whom I had completely lost touch. One day, I sat up and listed all the names I could remember. I remembered them all but had lost track of their whereabouts. Some 35 names popped up. I wanted to invite them to the
Chief Minister’s residence and share my childhood with them and also because I wanted to remind myself about the real Modi lest I lose sight of him. So, I spent time with my friends getting down-to-earth. They too felt that if I remembered and spent time with them after having reached where I have then I must be fine. So, that was my test. The other desire was to get together all the teachers in my lifetime and honour them. One of them was 93-years-old. I invited them here and organised a big function to honour them. It gave me immense happiness that I was able to honour and say thanks to those who have contributed their might in shaping me. So, I fulfilled both my desires and I am happy about it.”

Contributory Influences

An ardent bachelor, one hardly hears about Modi’s family. “On my birthday, I go home to visit my mother and spend a few minutes with her. That’s my only contact with my family. I left home when I was 17. And, I went back after 35 years. I left home in order to serve the society and the country. Then, I was drifting to different destinations and landed as the CM. I eat simple food-khichdi, chapatis, kadhi and stuff like that. I am a 100 per cent vegetarian,” he says.

“As a 13-year-old, I used to read Vivekananda. I don’t have a political background. I hadn’t seen the Chief Minister’s chambers before I became one. I had not seen the Assembly before I became an MLA. I didn’t know how a government functioned. I didn’t know anything. I was fortunate to physically visit more than 400 districts where I stayed overnight. That’s why I am conversant with the problems of Hindustan. Probably, amongst all the politicians, I have visited the maximum number of villages. I have visited more than 50 per cent of the state and for 35 years, I was only travelling all over. This has given me a lot of strength. This contributed to my vision for the state and has translated into the progress of the state in all sectors. The other thing is my temperament to write, and to think out of the box is my innate nature,” stakes Modi.

Pro Hindutva

Branded as the messiah and ambassador of Hindutva, Modi has had much at stake due to the image. However, he vindicates his core philosophy in his inimitable rhetoric. With a stern voice, he says, “The government’s work is to function in accordance to the constitution. I am committed to the constitution of India. Being a Chief Minister, I have to follow the word and spirit of what the constitution states. If I say violence is bad, what is wrong in it? If I believe that we must love nature, what is wrong? If I say, serve the poor, what is wrong in it? If I say, sarva pantha samabhav-no discrimination of religion-what is wrong in it? And, if this philosophy is called Hindutva then why should one feel shy?”

The Bachchan Factor

Even as Modi’s Hindutva has triggered controversy, there was a hullaballoo over the choice of the Big B as the brand ambassador of Gujarat. Unflustered, Modi simplifies the entire saga, “I was taking up the promotion of tourism in the state. Gujaratis are the best tourists but Gujarat was never a tourist destination. I wanted to change this because all the elements needed for exotic tourism are inherent here. So, someone had to do something. Around the time I picked up this campaign seriously, Amitabh Bachchan came to me as he wanted me to watch his film Paa. I liked the film. Then, we got chatting and he said I could count on him if at all there was anything he could do for me. I have no personal needs, but it occurred to me that if he could do something for Gujarat, I would be happy. He said he had only his voice and his face as his fortune. I immediately asked him if he would promote our tourism. He willingly agreed to do so and what’s more, he does not charge us a single rupee and has always given as much time as we required for the shoots without even once shifting or cancelling a schedule. This is sheer service to the state. What more can I ask for when someone gives so much love to my state? I repeatedly express my thanks to him.”

Genesis of Controversy

The ghost of the 2002 riots haunts Modi as a convenient silencer and a political weapon. To Modi, it is a dream to find a benign press that would put the past behind and pat him for his good deeds. So, being the blue eyed boy of the media is indeed on Modi’s wish list. The media, Modi feels, keeps scratching the wounds of the riots, not allowing them to heal despite the dramatic amendments he has made. “It would be good if I were liked by the media world,” he rues.

Personal and Political Philosophy

Political commentators feel that the veteran politician has all the exposure and experience it takes to shoulder the responsibility at the helm of the country with ease, if given a chance. Does he not see himself playing a bigger role in national politics? “For me, any remote villager from Hindustan, even if he is repairing shoes, is doing national work. Even if a small individual averts an impending accident, it is a service to the nation. I don’t believe that it’s only by holding certain posts that you can serve the nation. Even now, whatever, I am doing is service to the nation. It does not matter from where and how you do it. It is a media created trend that if any Chief Minister does good work, he has to be spoken about being fit to be the next PM. We have seen this happen in the case of Chandrababu Naidu, Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar, ND Tiwari, and others. It is a very big club but I don’t want to become a member of that club. To me, as Raja Ranthidev said, ‘Neither do I desire to rule nor do I desire liberation or rebirth. If I do have any desire, it is to wipe the tears of the poor.’ That was the philosophy of our country. What better inspiration can we have than this? Whatever work is entrusted to us, the benefit must reach the last person in the periphery,” he says crystal clear in his thoughts.

National Politics

While the media is going hammer and tongs about the suitability of Rahul Gandhi to take over the leadership of the nation and Rahul himself making inroads at the grassroot levels to entrench his presence, Modi’s take on the situation is of everyone’s interest. “Well, I don’t want to discuss this. One has to first explore where the grassroot is. As for Rahul Gandhi having the makings of a national leader, analyse the ingredients needed for that first. It is not my job to analyse anyone. Everyone works in his own way. The country is watching the centre’s performance. The Prime Minister himself stated that he has problems and that he is constrained. After this, there is no need for any editorial debates about their performance. He has confessed he has his limitations,” he sums up.

Keeping Terror At Bay

One of the major achievements of the Modi government is its success at keeping terror at bay even though the state shares a boundary with Pakistan. Even as the Al Qaeda has administered a threat letter to Modi, he refuses to lend terrorism any religious association. He explains, “It is not in good taste to associate terrorism with any religion. Terrorism has no religion and you cannot associate it with humanity. Someone who is human can’t be a terrorist. Only the one who ceases to be a human being becomes a terrorist.”

Success Mantra

“Success is a relative term. By and large, success is measured in comparison with someone else’s. I feel success is something that satisfies your inner conscience and tells you that you have done the right thing. Success should not be measured on a scale. If I can please a person by some gesture then I have found success,” Modi believes.

Personal Style

Modi has authored his own style statement that is now world renowned. “Well, when I was travelling extensively, I used to take a small bag and keep all my stuff in it. I used to then wash my own clothes. So, just as a space-saving and soap economising measure, I used to chop away the long sleeves of my kurtas. That’s how the half sleeve kurta became my style statement. You can find the Modi kurta even in London and New York and also in our own Khadi Bhandar,” says he blushing.

Network

Twitter and Facebook are now public forums and no surprise that Modi is present there. How net savvy is the Gujarat Chief Minister? “The communication revolution has set in and there is nothing wrong in using these mediums. I am an avid user of Twitter, I use Facebook, I send emails, I keenly keep track of how this medium is developing. In this age, information is power and through social networking, you can get and disseminate information fast. I believe in keeping communication with people alive. There are rarely any calls I don’t return or mails I don’t respond to. I surf the net and read the newspaper early morning over a cup of beverage, listening to my morning ragas,” he says.

Leaving FootPrints

All those who have achieved prominent public presence nurture the desire to be immortalised for their deeds. Modi has made service his axiom. How would he like to be remembered in posterity? “I should be able to serve the poor even more. Why should I be remembered? Why should I have such a dream? I am not an idealist. You behold the Ajantha Ellora caves. They are immortal. Does anyone know who created them? So, my philosophy is, we have been given a mission, we need to finish it before we quit. As far as the work is remembered, it’s still acceptable, but what is the need to remember the person behind it? I don’t even have the stature to give a message to anyone. I am a very small person. I don’t have the right. But, I love this country and its people and I give them the assurance that whatever task I am entrusted with, I will never spare any effort to fulfill it. I will work as hard as I can.”

Men of steel are rare to find and here is one, self made. It’s time we saw Modi in a new light-as a catalyst of change and growth. Though he insists he doesn’t harbour great political ambitions, only time will tell if this iron man of Gujarat gets the opportunity to rule the Delhi darbar.

MOOD GAUGE

MOOD GAUGE

Source: Organiser Date: 10/1/2011 6:54:45 PM

Modi’s message: Will it work?

Shift in Muslim vote inevitable

By GVL Narasimha Rao

Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana Mission is an attempt by the Gujarat Chief Minister to make Muslims equal partners in the process of development rather than treat them differently as vote banks. The message from the three-day fast by Narendra Modi is loud and clear. Muslims are an integral part of the state’s populace and they would neither be singled out for special treatment nor discriminated against.

The results of such non-discriminating governance paradigm are already showing. The human development and economic well being indicators show that Muslims in Gujarat are a much better lot than their counterparts elsewhere in the country, notably in states ruled by pseudo-secular parties.

Hitherto, Muslims were taken in by the bogus promises of the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties. The Congress party and other ‘secular’ parties have always benefited immensely by demonising the BJP and its leaders among Muslims and developing the Muslim community as a vote bank. What they got in return was a raw deal from parties that secured their support. The condition of Muslims is the worst in states like West Bengal where the Muslims overwhelmingly supported the Left regime for decades.

With his Sadbahavana Mission, Narendra Modi has begun a process of reconciliation with the minority community not by appeasement but by creating awareness and arousing aspirations for better development. Muslims are responding to Narendra Modi’s call because he is speaking with conviction and from a position of strength.

Nationwide, Narendra Modi is perceived to be an icon of development, a role model for efficient governance and a symbol of honest governance – virtues that are extremely rare to find in politics today. For the same reasons, Narendra Modi has been rated as the best Chief Minister in the country by India Today’s “Mood of the Nation” surveys year after year.

Muslims are also experiencing the same level of development as those belonging to other religions. In the last year’s local body polls in Gujarat, more than 120 corporators elected on BJP ticket were from the Muslim community. The tremendous response from the Muslim community to the Sadbhavana fast has rattled the Congress party so much that it has begun to organise campaigns in all districts of Gujarat to woo the minority voters.

If Narendra Modi’s efforts pay off in next year’s assembly elections in Gujarat, he may be able to replicate elsewhere in the country. In that event, proving its critics wrong, the BJP may be in a position to dent the Muslim vote bank outside Gujarat as well.

Had Muslims been vehemently opposed to Narendra Modi in Gujarat and unwilling to support his non-appeasement policy, the Congress party would have never felt threatened and organised campaigns to woo minorities. That Muslims would heavily oppose Narendra Modi in elections, if he is given a national role is the most aggressively circulated myth by the opposition parties in the country.

The reality is that the Muslims have always voted vehemently against the BJP in national elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999 even when a moderate Atal Behari Vajpayee was projected as Prime Minister. Yet, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in all these elections and grew from strength to strength despite stiff resistance from the Muslims. What I am saying here about the Muslim consolidation against the BJP is based on evidence and not a hypothetical analysis.

The same BJP which was not favoured by the Muslims attracted allies in 1998 and 1999 parliamentary elections despite the Muslim community’s fears and opposition to its ascension to power at the Centre. Admittedly, the allies needed the BJP because it had a popular leader in Vajpayee who could sway general masses. Muslims were also not opposed to Vajpayee as a leader and respected him, but they never supported the BJP in any significant measure in any election held under Vajpayee’s leadership.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had once told a media acquaintance in a personal conversation, ”Who wants the BJP to get the Muslim votes for us? We want the BJP to win Hindu votes for us.” For potential allies of the BJP, electoral success is all that matters and it does not matter whether the votes come from Hindus or Muslims.

Alliance Expansion

The BJP’s success in expanding the NDA would depend on the appeal and popularity of the BJP and its leadership. No party does anybody a favour in politics. Therefore, the BJP need not bend over backwards to appease any potential allies. Parties join the alliances for their own political success. Potential allies would like to deal with a party and a leader with stature, nationwide appeal, authority and an ability to strike deals.

With the BJP on a bounce, a number of parties are likely to sign up with the NDA. The most likely allies would include the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Chautala led INLD, Ajit Singh led RLD, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) etc. Alliances with regional parties like Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress and Trinamul Congress also cannot be ruled out.

The future augurs well for the BJP and its return to power is being widely speculated. The BJP neither needs to dilute its ideology nor be apologetic about its non-appeasement policy for Muslims. The BJP is a national party with much strength and should not follow the minority agenda set by some regional allies for their own selfish considerations. Parties are known for their core beliefs and principles and they should never be compromised at the altar of short term political success.

Rahul Baba grow up, and then visit Gujarat next time

http://deshgujarat.com/2010/11/28/rahul-baba-grow-up-and-then-visit-gujarat-next-time/

Rahul Gandhi’s Gujarat visit on 26 November didn’t invoke much interest. The visit was somewhat talked about, only because of Rahul’s hinted utterances against Narendra Modi.

It’s difficult to understand what Rahul achieves by carrying out such paratroop visits to Gujarat, and selective interaction with youths? Rahul’s 2007 Gujarat election road shows and rallies were much hyped in media, but in Surat, or in Vadodara, wherever he carried out party campaign, the BJP was victorious with thumping majority. Ditto in Bihar recently.

Not many youths who attended his Gujarat interaction functions of 26 November were impressed. The youths complained that Rahul’s answers on corruption, and Gujarat’s development related issues were not straight-forward, realistic and convincing enough. The youths say they don’t think Rahul has his own ideas on betterment of the country or society.

While main agenda of Rahul was to convince the youths that they should join politics, and they need no godfather or some relative in Congress party to go ahead, the point highly discussed among the youths was that Mr. Rahul himself is holding higher position in country’s politics today, only because of the fact that he is son of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Nobody has any doubt about the fact that Sonia became Congress President because she was widow of Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv could become Prime Minister because his mother was Indira Gandhi. Indira could become Prime Minister because her father was Jawaharlal Nehru. Now when Rahul Gandhi come to the youths to tell them that they would get fair chance in politics according to their capacity, disregarding of the fact that whether they are relative or disciple of some big shot in the party, why one should believe him?

One of the worst things about Rahul’s Gujarat visit was that, he targeted popular Chief Minister Narendra Modi by comparing him with China’s Mao. Now how can one compare Modi with Mao? Did Mao fight elections and rule the nation? Modi has been victorious and re-elected three times with thumping majority within democratic framework of the nation. If Modi is like Mao, then who the Gujaratis are according to Rahul? Do Rahul believe they are like revolutionary Army-men of 1920s China?

Rahul said in Gujarat rich have become richer and poor poorer. Sorry to say that Rahul has no knowledge on ground reality of Gujarat. The seepage of development has been upto ground level here. If Rahul is not informed about recent Gujarat rural area election results by his partymen, then we should be sorry for the fact that he is dis-informed, but if Rahul has that information, then sorry for his illusion.

The most offending act of Rahul during this visit was his chanting of 2002 riot mantras. Rahul still sees Gujarat through the prism of year 2002 riot. If Rahul wants to chew and spit again and again that 2002 chewing gum, then he should first grow up and then come to Gujarat next time. Do we see Delhi through the prism of year 1984? Was there no riot in Gujarat before Narendra Modi? And would there be none after him? Were all riots in the world history happened under the area ruled by Narendra Modi? Did Narendra Modi’s entire 9-year-long term witnessed riot everyday? Will paratroopers like Rahul continue to come to Gujarat and talk nothing else but 8-year-old riot?

Rahul’s 26 November visit only proves that he is a political extension of Teesta Setalvad. In Rajkot, he told the students that he understands Gujarati. But the sad part is that Rahul does not seem understanding Gujarat enough. And the 2002 prism that he has adopted to look at Gujarat, would not allow him to see anything but a bunch of rioters who elect Mao!

Next time grow up, and then visit Gujarat Rahul.

Complicated encounters

Complicated encounters
Ajit Kumar Doval
Posted: Wed Aug 04 2010, 02:42 hrs

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/desperate-congresss-votebank-politicssame-way-its-trying-to-protect-afzal-guru/655825/

Beware of half truths — because you may be holding the wrong half. After having seen and read so much about the Sohrabuddin episode in the last five years, one might believe one knows it all. Sohrabuddin is now cast as an innocent victim of police excess.

However, it would be worthwhile to explore the real facts about Sohrabuddin, the nature of police encounters, and the real issues at stake. Sohrabuddin was an underworld gangster who was involved in nearly two dozen serious criminal offences in states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. He maintained transnational links with anti-India forces from the early ‘90s onwards, until his death in 2005. Working with mafia dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Abdul Latif, he procured weapons and explosives from Pakistan and supplied them to various terrorist and anti-national groups (had it not been for his activity, at least some terrorist acts could have been averted). Sohrabuddin was solidly entrenched in the criminal world for a decade-and-a-half. Around the time he was killed, the Rajasthan government had announced a reward on his head. In 1999, he had been detained under the National Security Act by the Madhya Pradesh government.

In a 1994 case investigated by the Ahmedabad crime branch, he was co-accused along with Dawood Ibrahim and convicted for five years, for waging war against the Government of India, planning an attack on the Jagannath rath yatra in Orissa, and other offences under the IPC, Arms Act, etc. During the investigation, 24 AK-56 rifles, 27 hand grenades, 5250 cartridges, 81 magazines and more were seized from his family home in Madhya Pradesh. In 2004, a fourth crime was registered against him by Chandgad police station of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra under sections 302, 120 (b), and 25 (1) (3) of the Arms Act, for the killing of Gopal Tukaram Badivadekar. As fear of him often silenced people from reporting his whereabouts, let alone deposing against him, the Rajasthan government had to announce a reward on his head after he killed Hamid Lata in broad daylight in the heart of Udaipur, on December 31, 2004. So much for Sohrabuddin’s innocence.

However, irrespective of who Sohrabuddin was and what he did, the use of unaccountable force against him is indefensible is the public view of many (often at variance with their private view). There are many who feel that there is a higher rationale for such actions in compelling circumstances, as the law of the land has repeatedly found itself helpless in dealing with individuals bent on bleeding the country. Their argument, that the rule of law is a means to an end and not an end in itself, often finds support in the jurisprudential principles of salus populi est suprema lex (the people’s welfare is the supreme law) and salus res publica est suprema lex (the safety of the nation is supreme law). Even the Supreme Court of India, in the case of D.K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal [1997 (1) SCC 416] accepted the validity of these two principles and characterised them as “not only important and relevant, but lying at the heart of the doctrine that welfare of an individual must yield to that of the community.” The validity of the principles of salus populi est suprema lex and salus res publica est suprema lex could have been part of an enlightened national discourse, and what could be the governing instrumentalities, empowerments, legal checks and stringent processes if these principles were to be invoked. It is better to accept reality as it is and then strive to change it for the better, rather than what we wish it to be. Feigned ignorance is the worst type of hypocrisy.

But there is another vital question that needs to be addressed. While pursuing the Sohrabuddin case, was the government really serious about stopping the menace of fake encounters, or was it pursuing a different agenda? Encounters have been taking place all over the country under all regimes, at times degenerating into what are called fake encounters. Between 2000 and 2007 there have been 712 cases of police encounters in the country with UP topping the list at 324, and Gujarat figuring almost at the bottom with 17.

In some of the cases there was not much on record, even to establish the criminal past of those killed. Settling political scores through security and investigative agencies like the CBI is not only bad politics, but also destructive for the nation’s security. To convey the impression (explicitly or implicitly) that Sohrabuddin was targeted for belonging to a particular community, thereby creating a sense of insecurity in a section of society, is detrimental to national interests. It is little known that a large number of Sohrabuddin’s victims were Muslims while a good number of his closest associates (including Tulsiram Prajapati, who was also killed in a similar encounter), were Hindu. William Blake could not have been more right when he said that “a truth that is pursued with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent”.

The other negative impact of the Sohrabuddin case is the impression it is creating that all encounters in which police and security forces are involved, are fake. Society needs to be reassured that the majority of encounters are genuine and mostly in response to murderous attacks on security personnel. The fact that, on average, over 1,200 policemen get killed every year grappling with terrorists, insurgents, underworld mafia and other anti-social elements, bears ample testimony to this fact. Playing up a few aberrations and blowing them out of proportion and presenting them as the only truth is not in the national interest.

The other downside of the publicity around such cases is that it erodes the people’s trust in governance. Administrations begin to be seen as instruments of repression and self-aggrandisement and politicians as perceived as manipulating their power for political and personal gains. This erosion can lead to a dangerous delegitimisation of the polity. Democratic politics is an exercise in regime-legitimisation, and to lose the confidence of the governed would set the government on a self-destructive path.

The writer is former director of the Intelligence Bureau

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.

2,000 Gujarat tribals return to Hinduism in Surat

2,000 Gujarat tribals return to Hinduism in Surat
http://deshgujarat.com/2009/12/21/2000-gujarat-tribals-return-to-hinduism-in-surat/

By our correspondent
Surat, 21 December, 2009
As many as 2,000 tribal people(officially registered about 1700) from remote parts of eastern and southern Gujarat tribal belt today reconverted to Hinduism in a function held at Adajan area in Surat.
Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Shree Swami Narendracharya Maharaj of Nanij presided over the purification ceremony — a several-hour long function. Wearing dhotis and sporting the sacred thread, the converts’ heads were tonsured to signify their rebirth. During the purification ceremony, the converts who felt cheated after going to Christianity apologized to their forefathers for betraying their faith. Converts were purified by Panchagavya and Bhabhuti. Converts were given fresh ‘Vastram’. The affidavits will be made and later registered to complete the formalities
The entire conversion process was similar to the one when 350 years back Shivaji Maharaj brought Netaji Palkar into Hindu dharma by performing the purification process.