April 30, 2005

Iranian nation will pursue nuclear fuel cycle 'at all costs': Rafsanjani

Netiran, Apr. 29th, 2005,
Word Count : 436

Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here on Friday that uranium enrichment is a right that Iran will never give up.
Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment activities will not last long, he told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran.
Iran suspended the activities as a goodwill gesture in the run-up to its talks with the European Union.

"Iran is determined to possess all branches of nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

"And we will have it at any cost.

"Iran is strong enough to prevent the Europeans from imposing an indefinite uranium enrichment suspension," Rafsanjani noted.

He went on to say that Iran would continue the talks with the European Union in order to assure the world that the Islamic Republic is not seeking nuclear weapons.

"We have enough patience to continue talks with little result in order to convince the world that we are not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

"But the Europeans should realize that this kind of attitude, under U.S. pressure, will not bring about the desired outcome," he added in comments broadcast live on state radio.

“Our nation has become invulnerable to U.S. threats,” Rafsanjani observed, saying that Iran has a powerful army and police and that the nation is vigilant.

He also stated that Iran is prepared to work out a diplomatic solution to the nuclear dispute with the European Union.

"I am telling the Americans and the Europeans that instead of pressuring Iran, we can clear up the ambiguities through talks," he said.

"We do not want challenges and adventures.

“The West does not want Iran to gain access to this technology, but, obviously, no government can deprive its people of their rights.”

Rafsanjani urged Iranians to use their votes in the upcoming presidential election to prevent the United States from weakening the Islamic state through a low turnout.

"Everybody should vote to defuse the United States' threats against Iran."

The U.S. aims to discourage public participation in the poll and to create dissension between the government and the people so that it can declare that Iran is an illegitimate country, he added.

Rafsanjani noted that the U.S. intends to create tension in the electoral process of the upcoming Iranian presidential poll.

“Unfortunately, our political groups have created some tension due to their inexperience and inappropriate bigotry, but the U.S. wants to increase this tension.

“Under such circumstances, we need national solidarity.”

Rafsanjani stressed that the next president should be able to win a great number of votes so that the people would really regard him as their representative

More raids are coming on RJD MP Md.Shahabuddin an ISI agent

Buta resists pressure against raids

30 April 2005: Some Muslim MPs and MLAs cutting across party lines tried to prevent or minimise the impact of the Bihar STF raid on ancestral properties and homes of the notorious RJD politician, Mohammed Shahabuddin, last week, and one of those who called state governor Buta Singh on his behalf was Sonia Gandhi’s self-advertised political secretary, Ahmed Patel.

Congress stalwarts said that while Shahabuddin’s mentor, railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, tried in vain with both Sonia and prime minister Manmohan Singh to stop the STF raids, Patel tried to pressure the governor, who said they were carried out in due process of law, and could not be called off.

Shahabuddin, an RJD MP, is a notorious history-sheeter, and the agencies have a dossier of his alleged ISI connections, and since the February assembly elections, he has been externed from his constituency, Siwan, for six months on orders of the district administration, and the STF raids on his properties led to the arrest of two criminal colleagues and recovery of weapons, ammunition, animal skin, night-vision devices, and stolen vehicles.

Officials said that Shahabuddin got intimation of the raids while at a Delhi farmhouse, and worked his contacts with Muslim politicians in the RJD, Samajwadi Party, Congress and other UPA allies to push Ahmed Patel to intervene on his behalf, who reportedly called Buta, hoping to bamboozle him with the weight of his alleged proximity to Sonia Gandhi.

“But the raids were authorised by Delhi,” said a senior Congressman, “at the highest levels, and therefore, Buta Singh could stand up to the pressure. Whatever Ahmed Patel might portray in the market, the top Central ministers know the inside story, because they have direct links with Sonia. Even Laloo could not stop the raids, and more are coming.”

IITs are centers for brain drain from India, Are IIMs any better?

IITs are centers for brain drain from India .. Are IIMs any better?

The Indian Institutes of Technology came in for praise
from the US Congress, first time the Congress has
honored a foreign university in this manner, for its
significant contributions to US society. The US
Congress passed House Resolution 227, introduced by
Congressman Tom Davis and co-sponsored by Congressman
Bobby Jindal, praising the stellar work done by
IITians in all walks of life in USA. Davis said the
United States must take leaf out of India's book and
devise a strategy to focus on and improve studies in
math and sciences. This rare recognition, experts say,
will help IITs solicit US government grants and
promote industry collaboration with the IITs for
sponsored research and faculty/student exchange
programmes. But from a pure national point of view
this is a tremendous and irrecoverable loss to India.
The exodus of doctors to US was stopped long ago by
suitable policies so that India has become now the
health tourist destination for many nations. We
failed to do the same for IITs because of vested
interests by our leaderships. They wanted to utilize
Indian facilities to migrate to the West. Had India
planned to regulate it from the beginning India would
have been in par with USA in engineering consultancy
and India would have been the preferred engineering
design destination. It is time to stem it in some
form or India should benefit in some form from this
exodus of our top brains out of India.

Most of the IIT graduates are going abroad after
graduation, never to return to India. More IITs are
being planned and it means more brain drain. India
loses about Rs 2 billion per year because of the brain
drain according to an UNDP report. India is
subsidizing the training of the top-level manpower of
the developed nations. What India needs is the
quality engineers opting for the national development
by taking up jobs in India, which is now filled by low
quality engineers as evidenced by the quality of works
we see all around.

Take the case of doctors; they are not available for
patients in the villages. We made various types of
entrance tests to select students for the professional
courses, which were not there earlier. This has
produced a tutorial and coaching centre racket, which
helps some coaching institutions making good money out
of the gullible parents. The commercialization racket
has hit the roof with coaching centers with admission
test, so that children can appear for better coaching
centre entrance tests, so that they can appear for the
entrance test of IIT!.

From 8th standard, onwards students and parents are
subjected to the coaching torture in a craze to get
admitted to IIT for a good future in USA. Do we need
this? The syllabus for the entrance tests is based on
degree level subjects, which is a criminal fraud on
the students. Test them on what they study up to 12th
and evaluate them psychologically before admitting
them to professional college. Even the EAMCET should
be dispensed with and children should be selected on
the basis of the intermediate results. Unfortunately
our education system is taken over by Coaching Class
Mafia. These coaching centers cover intermediate
syllabus in 3 months and the rest of the time is spent
on coaching the degree syllabus for these entrance
tests. Some of the junior colleges cum coaching
centers are run in dingy rooms, and some are even
located over vehicle service centers, where the
students had to breathe petrol and vehicle exhaust for
many hours.

Studying in an IIT is not all that pleasant. I was
not surprised by the news that in Bombay an IIT
student had committed suicide because of the stress
sometime back. Highly qualified teaching staff who
does not know teaching, and poor facilities and
extreme overload, classes from morning till late in
the night, compulsory NSS, NCC, sports activities etc,
very poor accommodation, low quality food etc add to
this stress. What I had seen in one of the IIT was
eye opening. About 500 students stay in a hostel.
They didn’t have a water heater for the
bathroom, or water cooler for drinking cold water, no
internet facility in the rooms, and not a single
washing machine for washing clothes. The students
take back the cloth to their hometown for washing,
while coming on a two or three day holidays. It was
not surprising that the nurses in some IITs have
complained of extreme smell from the students that
they hate to give injections to them when required.
Food given in some messes is worse than the food in
the cheap Udupi restaurants in Mumbai and contains no
fresh vegetables or proteins. Few years back there
was a breakout of Cholera in one of the hostel and
this year there were worms in the food in another
hostel. Once in a week chicken given at extra cost is
colored with the boot polish color that one will abhor
to eat. Just 15 computers for the students in the
library and internet surfing is a difficult issue for
the students. Projects are dumped on students without
proper guidance, and students have to get help from
parents to complete it. Workshops have very old tools
and students are not provided with protective gear.

IIT is an asset stripping government establishment
which is useful for the Western Nations. IIT is
another form of stamp paper scam that is eating in to
our national resource. It is time to privatize and
those who study in the IIT should be made to pay a
reasonable fee and then let the students go anywhere
in the world. IIT was never useful for our nuclear
programme, space programme or agricultural programme.
My rough estimate is that India lost about Rs 200,000
crores in terms of investment and expenditure and
those who are sending their children to IIT is
dreaming of a better tomorrow for them in the US.
There is nothing very special about the professors
teaching there as most of them tried to get out of
teaching professions in IITs but failed and had to
continue in teaching. The success of IIT is the
methodology of teaching and studies by the students
themselves who are highly motivated. . I had seen
that some of the IITs have poor facilities, poor
hostel facilities and very poor quality food. After
half a century of government control, the students are
no more treated as customers of these institutions.

The senior-most faculty receives less than $ 700 a
month, while 35 percent of the extra revenue they earn
from consultancy projects goes to the IITs. Outside
India, they could earn four to twelve times this
amount. So IITs are having trouble in finding
qualified candidates to fill the void left by retiring
faculty throughout its branches in Delhi, Bombay,
Madras, and elsewhere. Added to this the student
population has increased 45 percent in the last eight
years. If one asks any student they will tell you
that the available highly qualified research oriented
faculty tends to be very poor in teaching. This
results in added stress to the students in the IITs.
According to a McKinsey study the number of patents
the typical IIT was granted in 1996-97 fell way behind
those of Stanford Engineering and MIT Engineering, as
did the number of faculty citations received for

IITs that are not useful for India but is hailed as
great institutions by the West. The West is not only
getting the highly intelligent Indian but also highly
talented future generations. This has prompted Canada
to attract highly educated Asians promising jobs in
Canada matching their professional qualifications.
But these Asians never get the promised jobs and after
working for decades in ordinary non professional jobs
these immigrants have found out that what Canada is
looking for is the next generation of intelligent

Added to this, IITs being government establishments
have developed deep roots and does not consider the
students as their customers. I observed that the
students cannot sit in the chairs in the open air
theatre, but have to sit on the cement steps while
professors and workers along with their families enjoy
the comfort of the chair. The chairs are reserved
only for the staff and their families who are not
expected to use the student facilities. Normally the
facilities are meant for the students and the
teaching; staff can go out and see films of their
choice at theatres. . In many IITs, staff and their
families and visitors have become the customers of the
institution instead of the students.

IIT does not fit with India’s developments. When
Nehru inaugurated the IIT Kharagpur in 1953 it was
hoped that IITs would aid India’s development
but it ended up enriching the global economy using our
capital investment and other resources including
efforts of parents, which could be more than $500
billion as per an estimate. Grants to IITs have shown
a five-fold increase from Rs.51.75 crore in 1997-98,
to Rs.224.75 crore during 2002-03. Non-plan funding
also more than doubled from Rs.172.76 crore to
Rs.449.02 crore during the same period. All this goes
to the benefit of the west. In January 2003 some
25000 alumni of the IITians celebrated the 50th
anniversary of their alma mater in Silicon Valley.
Naturally Bill Gates, in his keynote speech said that
IITs are incredible institutions and also that the US
computer industry has benefited greatly. Not a single
IITian appeared for selection interviews in the
seventies and eighties for our Nuclear and space
research centers. We are training our best brains
for the benefit of US and other developed countries.
Politicians like Naidu have no idea of what is
happening and consequently the tuition mafia sponsored
idea of IIT is swallowed by him. We should remember
that the placement itself from IIT is just 50%. This
is reflected in many IITians writing for IPS, IAS etc.
The total unreserved seats from all IITs put
together for the Communication and Electrical
engineering subject, which is the most sought after is
just 27 seats. Yet all are trying for a seat in any
branch is only for an IIT label which is a meal ticket
to go abroad. I had seen that all want to escape the
misery called India and I can’t blame them as I
was also one who left this misery after a dozen years
in the low paid Class I service in one of the topnotch
research establishment in India. This type of brain
drain has resulted in the present pitiable leadership
problems in all areas of administration in India. So
we have in our top positions thieves and jokers like
Laloo and an imported Italian Lady with scant
knowledge of India controlling all these political

Secularists have failed once again

-- Ashok

Time and again the secularists have been tested and they have been found
wanting. Such failures clearly indicate that the concpet of secularism
as practiced in India is a political one, and essentially one of bashing
Hinduism or Hindu organisations. the following three incidents are the
latest in a long list:

1. Anupam Kher has filed a defamation case against Harkishen Singh
Surjeet, the recently retired General Secretary of Communist Party of
India (Marxist). Despite receiving nine summons, this worthy gentleman
refused to make appearance in court. The excuse was health grounds. Of
course, the gentleman was hale and hearty to indulge in political
manoevuring all this time. In case of the Kanchi Shankaracharya, the
secularists shouted at the top of their voice theirhat the law should
take its own course. It matters not that the cases were purely without
any basis. However, in case of the Marxist gentleman, the secularists
were conspicuous by their silence, and pretended that nothing untoward
was happening.

2. Sanjay Nirupam has been one of the senior leaders of theShiv Sena for
a long time. During this time, Sanjayji was always at the receiving end
of the secularists, and was branded as one of the arch communalist of
this country. Due to some reasons, he has left Shiv Sena and has joined
hte greatest secular party in India, namely the Congress led by Smt
Sonia Gandhi. So, today, he has suddenly become a secularist, and The
Times of India has reported that he is going on a secular yatra! The
secularists seem to have accepted that there is a genuine change in
Sanjayji and that his past deserves to be forgiven.

3. Laloo Prasad Yadav seems to be in all sorts of problems with respect
to many cases of corruption, with sums running to hundreds of crores.
But if one reads the secular media, one would not fully comprehend the
gravity of the situation. When Bangaru Laxman, as president of the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was seen on film to accept some Rs 2
lakhs, there was a competition amongst the secularists as to who would
use a stronger language against the BJP. And there were multiple
editorials in the same publication on the subject. But Lalooji is to be
treated with respect. Why? He is a secularist. Did he not arrest Shri
Lal Krishna Advani of the BJP during the rath yatra to demand the
reconstruction of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi mandir?

Secularism amar rahe! (Long live secularism!)

Sonia's Fear of Modi take over of BJP

Centre targets Modi anew on Gujarat riots
Anita Saluja

Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 0412 hours

Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 0954 hours IST
New Delhi, April 29: The Congress-led UPA Government
has decided to use the charges levelled by Gujarat
Additional DGP R.B. Sreekumar against the Gujarat
government as a reason to order a CBI probe into the
post-Godhra riots.

With pressure from Railway Minister Laloo Prasad
Yadav, the Centre has been contemplating a CBI probe
into the riots. On Friday, at a high-level meeting
presided over by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil —
attended by Union Law Minister H.R. Bharadwaj and
Union Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri
_ there was a consensus that a CBI probe was required.

However, since the Nanavati Commission set up by
Gujarat is already probing into the riots, the Centre
needed a defence for ordering a separate inquiry.
Sources said normally, a CBI probe is ordered only
when there is the consent of the state government.
However, in this case, since the Narendra Modi
Government would have never given a nod for a CBI
probe, the Centre found the Sreekumar issue as the way

The demand for a CBI probe into the riots has arisen
from several quarters in the past. In fact, a
three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, on May 3,
2002, had even issued notices to the Gujarat
Government, the State Home Secretary and the State
DGP, on such a petition.

April 29, 2005

Imperatives of justice


Imperatives of justice

KPS Gill

For decades, India's leadership has floundered in a miasma of sentimentality, of a false, confused and disastrous rhetoric that has enormously empowered the enemies of the law, of the state, and of civilisation. Worse, it has yielded policies that have directly undermined the capacities of enforcement agencies to effectively confront a wide range of extremely violent political actors who have persistently employed the methods of terrorism - repeatedly targeting innocent civilians and non-combatants, including women, children and the poorest of the poor. Vast areas of the country have, consequently and progressively, been surrendered to lawlessness and disorder.

Finally, however, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke out with exemplary clarity on the issue of terrorism at the Chief Minister's Conference at New Delhi on April 15, 2005, raising hopes - indeed, creating a measure of conviction - that the confusion and vacillation of the past was finally to be expelled from the national policy-framework.

Within ten days, however, the Prime Minister's perspective and position came under challenge from his own Minister of Home Affairs, exposing the incoherence of the present regime and making a mockery of the idea of collective Cabinet responsibility. It is useful to analyse the conflicting positions that are presently being projected from these two sources at the highest level of the Government.

Leaving no room for ambiguity, the Prime Minister had stated, "There can be no political compromise with terror. No inch conceded. No compassion shown... There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists. There is no cause, root or branch, that can ever justify the killing of innocent people. No democratic Government can tolerate the use of violence against innocent people and against the functionaries of a duly established democratic Government." He added, further, that "there is no place for violence and extremism of any kind in a democratic, rule-based society". Specifically referring to the tendency to underplay the growing dangers of Left Wing extremism (Naxalism), he emphasised the "inter-State and external dimension to Naxalism today. This requires greater coordination between State Governments and between the Centre and States. We have to take a comprehensive approach in dealing with Naxalism given the emerging linkages between groups within and outside the country..." And while he did state that the option of negotiations "should always be welcomed", he made it clear that this avenue could be pursued only with groups that abjured violence: "...the basic issues regarding violence and the state's obligation to curb it should be clarified at the outset, so that there are no misunderstandings or a feeling of being let down at later stages. In our country, symbols and gestures matter. Nothing should be done which detracts from the authority of the Indian state and its primary role as an upholder of public order. The state should not even remotely be seen to back away in the face of threats of armed violence."

In sharp contrast, on April 24, 2005, at a high level meeting with Ministers, Government officials, Opposition leaders and intellectuals at Bangalore, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil stated: "The Government is not interested in using weapons. They (the Naxalites) are our brothers and sisters and we know that this is a socio-economic problem rather than one of law and order. We can solve these problems through dialogue and discussions... Whatever the political difficulties, force should be used only if nothing else works and only to protect innocents. Let us deal with Naxalism as a socio-economic problem, not a law and order problem..." He did, of course, concede a secondary role to "policing", declaring, "good policing is... important for development", but his general orientation was squarely located in the "root causes" approach to terrorism that his Prime Minister had explicitly rejected.

It is evident that both these postulations have been stated with obvious sincerity, but are clearly irreconcilable within a coherent policy framework. Those who are familiar with the dynamics of governance would recognise immediately how devastating this can be; all administrative organisations - including the senior police leadership - operate within a political and policy framework, and any ambivalence, confusion, contradiction or muddleheadedness at the top of the policy pyramid impacts directly on their functioning.

In addressing them as "our brothers and sisters", and in an earlier speech, as "our children" the Home Minister has sought to establish an entirely specious distinction between "Naxalites" and other "terrorists". The truth is, all criminals - and this includes terrorists and others engaged in political crime - are at some level "our children" and "our brothers and sisters". They cannot, on this account, escape the imperatives of the justice system. Crucially, moreover, the victims of such terrorists and criminals are also "our children" and "brothers and sisters", and it is the state's primary duty to protect these vulnerable groups, rather than to seek to circumvent the law and extend extraordinary indulgences on those who torture, maim, murder and otherwise terrorise helpless citizens - citizens who continue to abide by the law, and expect the state to protect their lives and properties. To the Naxalites' victims, it matters little whether his Government is negotiating with those who terrorise him, or whether it regards them as a "law and order" or a "social" problem; their primary concern is the terror that is inflicted on them.

Worse, what is not understood by those who treat the Naxalites - or "Maoists", as they now style themselves - as a "special case" and seek a negotiated solution with them, is just how irreducibly opposed to our constitutional democracy these groups are, and how integral terrorism is to their strategy. Terror is not just an accidental element of their political strategy or military tactics; it is an essential, dictated by the ideological vision they have embraced. Mao Tse Tung declared explicitly, "To put it bluntly, it is necessary to create terror for a while in every rural area, or otherwise it would be impossible to suppress the activities of the counter-revolutionaries in the countryside or overthrow the authority of the gentry. Proper limits have to be exceeded in order to right a wrong, or else the wrong cannot be righted." The truth is, even if the traditional "class enemies" of the Maoists were all eliminated, they would continue to invent them, in order to inflict their terror. Even today, it is not the rich and the powerful who fall victim to "Maoist" violence - these can always, with rare exception, successfully bribe both the Naxalites and the politicians, each of whom is quite happy with the absence of effective administration that gives them a free run in vast areas. It is, overwhelmingly and in all theatres of such conflict, the poorest of the poor who are maimed, tortured and killed.

Policy makers are ordinarily told whatever they want to hear. But India's leaders should visit the sites of history where terrorists have - however briefly - prevailed, and should have the writings of extremist ideologues translated into a language comprehensible to our policy community, so that they can learn from the awful experience of other societies, instead of inviting comparable misfortunes on the people of this country.

Finally, it is the primary and overarching duty of the state to protect its citizens from the depredations and violence of those who refuse to accept the authority of its laws. It is time the Indian state and its Home Minister stopped fabricating excuses for those who use violence against the State and its vulnerable citizens, and fulfilled their fundamental obligation to their people

Gujarat police snatch Dawood - man, catch Mumbai cops napping -- he he he he

RK Misra/ Pramod Kumar Singh/ Gandhinagar/ New Delhi

A crack team of the Special Operations Group, Gujarat Police, arrested Izu Sheikh, one of the key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, early Friday morning from a hotel on the Andheri-Kurla Road in Mumbai, right under the nose of the city police.

The Mumbai Police were ignorant about the gangster's presence after he checked into a hotel in the Andheri-Kurla area on Thursday night. Sheikh, a trusted lieutenant of don Dawood Ibrahim, controlled the gold smuggling syndicate of "D Company" in South Gujarat and was one of the 11-member core group formed by Pakistani secret agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) reportedly to "avenge the demolition of Babri Mosque."

The team of the Bulsar district police led by Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhay Chudasama was on Sheikh's trail for his role in the shipment of two consignments of RDX in Gosabara in Porbandar and Phansa in Bulsar.

The RDX, smuggled by Sheikh, was used by Dawood and his cronies to carry out the serial blasts in Mumbai on March,12,1993. Sheikh had fled to Dubai after the 1993 serial blasts.

Indian agencies were searching for him as he was instrumental in smuggling RDX. Mr Chudasama told The Pioneer over telephone that his men were tracking Sheikh for quite some time for his involvement in the crime. There was specific information that he was expected to visit his family and would enter the country either through Bangladesh or Nepal.

Sheikh, who had not come to India after his role was established in Mumbai blasts, arrived in Mumbai via Bangladesh on Thursday night and checked into Kamariya Residencey on the Andheri-Kurla Road.

After his location was established, a Special Operations Group (SOG) team led by SP, Bulsar, raided the hotel at around 5 am on Friday and whisked him away to Bulsar, a two-hour drive from Mumbai.

When contacted, a senior Mumbai Police official feigned ignorance about the presence of Sheikh in Andheri. The fact that there was a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol against Sheikh put the Mumbai Police in a poor light.

Fifty-four-year-old Sheikh, a resident of Umergaon in Bulsar and whose real name is Izra-ul-Huq alias Izu Haji Abdul Hamid Sheikh, has been brought to Bulsar and is being interrogated, Mr Chudasama said.

Sheikh was alleged to be close to former Chief Minister late Chimanbhai Patel, but was kicked out of the Congress by then home minister CD Patel. However, it was during Chabbildas Mehta's chief ministership that Sheikh was termed a Proclaimed Offender (PO) and his property worth over Rs 2 crore attached.

The attached property included an automobile showroom, a godown in Bulsar town, four shops in Bhilad and two shops in Sari village, a hotel in Bhilad and 15 acres of agricultural land.

The case dates back to the Mumbai serial blasts. An 11- member core group in Dubai, under ISI tutelage, had masterminded a conspiracy to avenge the demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya on December 6,1992.

Soon after, two ships Bismillah and Sada-e-bahar sailed from Dubai to Karachi from where it picked up its lethal consignment. While one offloaded the booty at Gosabara near Porbandar on the Saurashtra coast, the other did so on the South Gujarat coast and sailed to Raigad in Maharashtra.

A key Dawood Ibrahim aide, Umarmian alias Mamumian Bukhari alias Mamumian Panjumian, deported back on December 8, 2004, is already in the custody of Gujarat police. Under intensive interrogation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Sheikh has been put through a lie detecter test while his brain mapping test (truth serum test) is awaited.

Mamumian, along with Izu Sheikh, constitute two critical components of the Mumbai serial blasts conspiracy and their interrogation is expected to shed light on the hitherto hidden contours of the larger conspiracy and other players.

6 Pakistani Terrorists killed in Kupwara , Kashmir


Excelsior Special Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Apr 26: In a major cordon-and-search operation, security forces have killed six militants in Chokibal area of Kupwara district today.

Informed sources in north Kashmir told the Excelsior that over a specific information troops launched a search operation in Drangiyal forest area of Chokibal in KUpwara district late last night. Early this morning, a fierce gunbattle commenced between the holed up militants and security forces which lasted for the whole day. Six unidentified militants were killed. A Defence spokesman described it as a neat and clean operation, while claiming that none of the troopers or civilians had sustained any harm. He said that after killing six spotted militants, troops extended the search operation to the adjoining forest area as some militants of the group were suspected to have escaped.

Sources said that the militants killed in the gunbattle with Army were all unidentified. However, four of them were believed to be Pakistani nationals. According to these sources, the flow of information regarding the movement and presence of armed militants had significantly increased in the last two months. It is perceived to be the result of the new political situation emerging in the sub-continent with regard to Kashmir.

Meanwhile, reports from north Kashmir added that unidentified persons kidnapped one Riyaz Ahmed Sheikh S/o Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Sheikh from his Chak Rishipora village in Kunzar, Tangmarg, last evening. Later, he was hanged to death. Reports said that Riyaz was a small-time carpet dealer. It was not immediately clear as to why Riyaz had been killed and who were his assassins.

Reports said that a thorough search at Bakhi Hakar (Handwara)---site of a gunbattle in which three militants had died last week---resulted in recovery of a large quantity of arms and ammunition today. The seizure included partly-burnt cash worth Rs 3.64 Lakh, two AK-56 rifles, one anti-tank mine, 19 anti-tank plastic mines.

How Much Will Record-High Oil Prices Hurt Global Growth?

If oil prices do shoot up to $80 per barrel—and stay at that level for one or two quarters—the global economy will likely reach a “tipping point.” In such a scenario, growth in the US economy would be cut to less than 2%, while Japan and many of the Eurozone economies would be pushed into recession. In such a scenario, the Chinese economy would also experience a rapid deceleration.

by Nariman Behravesh

Major risks remain in the oil price outlook. After all, the rise in oil prices has been driven by strong demand growth, not by supply interruptions. Global oil supplies remain stretched, and—so far—higher prices have not produced a major demand-side adjustment. The risk is that oil prices may have to keep rising until they do produce a demand-side response, by slowing the global economy sharply and by making demand growth less oil-intensive.

Global Insight has recently revised upward its oil price outlook to reflect market expectations that the supply-demand balance in petroleum markets will remain extremely tight for the next few years. We now predict that oil prices will stay in the $50 range for the balance of this year, softening toward the end of the year as both the US and Chinese markets continue to slow. However, until new supplies come on stream (probably no earlier than two or three years from now), oil prices are unlikely to fall much below $45 per barrel.

The impact of high oil prices across the world has been very uneven. The effect on the US economy has been fairly limited, thanks to strong growth momentum, macro policies that are still fairly stimulative, and the fact that the United States still produces roughly 40% of the oil it consumes. Likewise, Canada and the United Kingdom, as energy producers and exporters (as well as consumers), have been helped (and hurt) by the rise in oil prices. China has been largely immune because of its strong growth and the limited pass-through of high oil prices to consumers in the tightly controlled Chinese energy markets.

On the other hand, both the Eurozone and Japan have suffered. Sluggish growth, macro policies that are arguably too restrictive (especially in the Eurozone), and the reality that these economies must import any oil they consume are all to blame.

Many emerging markets have also not yet felt the pain of higher oil prices for two reasons. First, the rise in energy prices has been part of a broad-based rise in all commodities prices, which has helped these economies and cushioned the impact of more expensive energy. Also, as in the case of China, many of the governments in these countries control their markets for all energy sources and often pay fuel subsidies. This means that most consumers and businesses in these economies have not borne the brunt of the price rises—and consequently have not reduced energy consumption.

The longer oil prices stay high, the greater the likelihood that they will be passed through to consumers, by businesses in developed economies and by governments in emerging markets. This means higher inflation and slower consumer spending on other goods. Global Insight believes that, in the end, global output will be reduced by 1.0% to 1.5% this year by high energy prices.

If oil prices do shoot up to $80 per barrel—and stay at that level for one or two quarters—the global economy will likely reach a “tipping point.” In such a scenario, growth in the US economy would be cut to less than 2%, while Japan and many of the Eurozone economies would be pushed into recession. In such a scenario, the Chinese economy would also experience a rapid deceleration.

The strange case of Zahira & Teesta

The strange case of Zahira & Teesta

April 28, 2005

Sandhya Jain

Now that the hullabaloo over the US denial of a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has died down, it would be worth our while to scrutinise the actions and motivations of Narendra Modi's tormentors, which resulted in this denouement. Because while political analysts admit that the post-Godhra riots were no worse than riots that had previously rocked the state after Independence, social activists in Gujarat claim that media reports of 2,000 dead are false since compensation claims filed by next-of-kin of those who died number around 700.

The possibility that 1,300 'victims' never existed certainly calls for a rethink on the Gujarat imbroglio.

Indeed, with hindsight one can discern an NGO-media synergy in targeting the Modi regime throughout the riots and thereafter, and taking considerable liberties with the truth while doing so. With opinions being paraded as facts, it is time to ask some hard questions, especially since the issue has been internationalised in a manner detrimental to national dignity.

Complete coverage: The Gujarat riots

Aside from the actual number of victims in the riots, we must begin our quest for truth by scrutinising 'facts' we have not been allowed to question hitherto. The most critical of these is the so-called 'Face of the Riots,' which has been splashed across the national and international media for three long years.

Media reports claim the Rehmatnagar chawl of Gomtipur, Ahmedabad, was attacked by a mob on March 1, 2002 (after the Godhra carnage). One tailor, Qutubuddin Ansari, was immortalised as a cameraman took a picture of him standing with folded hands, tears in his eyes, pleading for mercy. The bloodthirsty mob supposedly threatening him is never shown in any picture of this incident, though it is inconceivable that a cameraman would shoot any a single frame of such a poignant event.

Yet the picture was so powerful that it silenced many who felt that the widespread nature of the Gujarat rioting indicated deeper societal tensions and could not be explained as State-sponsored violence against minorities. Hence it was something of a shock to discover that Mr Ansari was alive and well, and was desperate to evade continuing media publicity and usage of his picture. Far from perishing in the riots, he made his way to Mumbai, lived there for three years, and in February this year returned to his native city to resume his old way of life.

The media has never told us how Qutubuddin Ansari made it out of the chawl alive, why he alone from his family fled to Mumbai, who settled him there, and who indicated it was safe to come back. Since the Ansari family has also survived, and now wish to spurn the media, the question may legitimately be asked: was there a mob at all?

The second sensational, and international, face of the riots is Zahira Sheikh, who lost several family members in the attack on the Best Bakery, owned by them. Zahira famously damned Narendra Modi when she surfaced dramatically in Mumbai, claiming that her testimony in the Vadodra fast track court that led to the acquittal of 21 accused persons was inspired by fear.

A combined media-NGO synergy whipped up such a campaign that the National Human Rights Commission jumped into the fray, roundly condemned the state government and petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the riot cases out of the state. The apex court sent the Zahira and Bilkis Bano cases to Mumbai, and asked the Gujarat government to re-examine all other cases.

Now, however, it seems that the Gujarat government may have the last laugh as Zahira Sheikh accuses Mumbai activist Teesta Setalvad of physically controlling her from July 6, 2003 to November 3, 2004 and tutoring her to give a certain type of testimony in the court. The state government also pounced upon the fact that an affidavit submitted to the NHRC in the name of Zahira was actually signed by Teesta Setalvad.

When Zahira Sheikh turned against Teesta Setalvad last year and insisted she had not signed any affidavit before the NHRC seeking transfer of the Best Bakery Case outside Vadodra, the NHRC discovered that the 600-odd pages of documentation filed by Setalvad's Citizens for Peace and Justice, did not contain a single signature by Zahira.

It's an issue of swabhimaan: Modi

They were, as Zahira sneered, mere pamphlets, and it is truly shameful that the NHRC was so swayed by NGO-cum-media rhetoric that it moved the Supreme Court to take the cases out of Gujarat without scrutinising the records placed before it! The apex court has appointed a probe committee headed by Registrar General B M Gupta to ascertain the truth.

Zahira is therefore within her rights to demand the right to cross-examine the NHRC chairperson on this matter. She claims she visited the Commission along with Setalvad, who 'tutored' her on what to say there, and that she made an oral submission which was recorded by the chairperson and two other members. Zahira wishes to examine them because she says her oral testimony differs from the record which NHRC has presented to the Supreme Court. This is a serious charge and the probe committee would do well to summon the NHRC records and permit examination of the chairperson and members, if justice is to be seen to be done.

In this connection, Zahira is justified in demanding a probe into Teesta Setalvad's post-Gujarat assets, particularly since Setalvad and her NGO-media friends have spared no efforts in maligning Sheikh, insinuating that she had been 'purchased.' That Zahira is an intelligent and educated woman is obvious. She has compelled Setalvad to admit that Communal Combat is not an NGO, but a business venture of a privately-owned company called Sabrang Publications.

I think things went wrong for Setalvad because Zahira was a 'bad' victim. She just did not know how to act oppressed. Not satisfied with having made mincemeat of her former benefactress, Zahira has gone on to take potshots at the US State Department for calling Best Bakery a 'notorious case' in communalised Gujarat in its 2003-04 report.

Complete coverage: Modi's visa troubles

As America has assigned millions of dollars to fund litigation on behalf of Gujarat Muslims, the riots' most irrepressible witness quipped: 'I am applying to this programme for aid and assistance so that I may be able to explain to the world at large the exploitation in the name of secularism and protection of Muslims.'

Zahira's guts and gumption give us much to think (rethink) about. Those who lament that well organised NGOs made the Bush administration deny Modi a visa should ponder if it was the other way round, namely, that the White House nudged certain groups to protest so that it could act in a pre-decided manner. The latter strikes me as far more likely, for if genuine public anger could not stop the invasion of Iraq, a couple of well-heeled NGOs could hardly make President Bush wag his tail on the Modi issue if he didn't want to.

April 28, 2005

Savagery Repeated on Indo-Bangladesh Border

by Anand Kumar

Four years back, in the month of April, 16 Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers were killed in most brutal manner by Bangladeshis at a place called Pirdwua in Meghalaya on Indo-Bangladesh border. In a virtual repeat of that incident a BSF officer has been killed and two others seriously injured in Tripura. Ironically, this incident took place while the border talks at the director general level between BDR and BSF were into their final phase in Dhaka where both sides were deliberating on how to manage this border more efficiently.

This incident was only waiting to happen, as regular skirmishes have been taking place between the border guards of two countries since February over the issue of border fencing. As usual, both Dhaka and New Delhi have given different versions of the incident that took place on April 16. Both sides have accused each other of provoking the violence opposite Lankamura outpost of BSF which is just eight kilometers from state capital Agartala.

Bangladesh alleges that the firing took place between the two border guards when India’s Border Security Force (BSF) officials intruded into their territory. On the other hand, Indian assertion is that its border guards were abducted and dragged into Bangladeshi territory when they were investigating a reported abduction about 50 meters from the zero line and thus they were well within Indian territory. BSF believes that its personnel walked into a trap carefully laid out by BDR, which was acting in connivance with the local smugglers. The BDR resorts to such treachery, as it is allowed to get away with it.

Even if, we go by the BDR version that the officer had entered Bangladesh territory his killing is violation of Geneva Convention. India has always handed over BDR and Bangladesh army officers to the BDR whenever they were apprehended inside Indian territory in accordance with the Geneva Convention. A captain of the Bangladesh army Fazel Nooman stationed at Kaptai in Rangamati district of Chittagong Hill Tract was apprehended by the BSF on December 27, 2003, at Montali in West Tripura district and was handed over to BDR the very next day. In February an assistant sub-inspector of Bangladesh police Belal Hussain had entered India with a BDR delegation, but was found wandering around in Sabroom town in South Tripura district on February 16 by the BSF even after the other members left. He was handed over to the BDR on February 19.

It appears, Bangladesh did not want to return the BSF officer. By now, it’s an open fact that Bangladesh does not like the fencing work being done by the Indians on Indo-Bangladesh border. A fenced border creates hurdles in the path of illegal immigration, smuggling and activities of Indian insurgent groups based in Bangladesh. All this has been now part of Bangladesh foreign policy though it has never been acknowledged officially.

Besides animosity between the two border guards, deep rooted corruption is another reason for the unfortunate incident. A nexus exists between BDR and smugglers. BSF believes that one important reason for this brutal act was smuggling of Phensidyl. This is a cheap cough syrup widely abused by drug addicts in Bangladesh. Local smugglers and the BDR were angered by the efforts of the BSF officer to curb the smuggling of the syrup across the border.

Phensidyl contains codeine, an opium extraction. Under the Drug Ordinance of 1982, the Bangladesh Government had banned the product from the import list, but is smuggled into the country as an alternative to more expensive narcotics.

A powerful smuggling lobby along the Indo-Bangladesh border especially in the border along Tripura, carries out the trade. Indian intelligence sources say that the local BDR personnel get two rupees for every bottle of the syrup that is taken across the border.

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released in March 2004, reveals 28,288.71 liters of phensidyl was seized in Bangladesh between January and October in 2003. The report is also critical of Bangladesh' enforcement agencies. It blames corruption at levels of government, especially in law enforcement agencies for hampering the country’s drug interdiction efforts.

Over the past year smuggling of Bangladeshi edible oil into different parts of West Tripura has also picked up. On April 19, a team of Customs officials led by Santosh Deb conducted raids on dens of smugglers in Sonamura and Melaghar of West Tripura and recovered huge quantities of edible oil. But a group of smugglers in Melaghar market assaulted and injured the officials besides damaging their vehicle. Later, two persons, known to be accomplices of the smugglers, were arrested.

Smuggling has intensified across the Indo-Bangladesh border in south Assam’s Karimganj district. Recently, lot of illegal trade has been taking place in petrol and cattle. While petrol, concealed in plastic containers, has been increasingly finding passage into India from Sylhet, cattle in large numbers are now being furtively ferried into Bangladesh. The smugglers usually force the cattle to wade across the Kushiara river on the border. A conservative estimate by the BSF says that every year, 3,000 animals on an average are smuggled across both the land and riverine border from south Assam into Bangladesh from Karimganj and Cachar districts.

The smuggler lobby on Indo-Bangladesh border enjoys strong political support. The Bangladesh politicians including leaders of some of the Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami are known to have helped smugglers whenever, their smuggled goods were seized even by the BDR. A Bangladesh member of parliament (MP) had reportedly visited Hirapur. He had a discussion with the BDR officials after which about 200 soldiers of Bangladesh regular army, besides the BDR men, took position with guns at a forested upland close to the border. The unfortunate incident of April 16 happened after that.

Naturally India strongly protested the "premeditated and preplanned" killing of the BSF officer by men of Bangladesh Rifles. It also warned Dhaka that its "repercussions" cannot be ignored. Bangladesh Acting High Commissioner in Delhi Masud bin Momen was summoned to the South Block and was conveyed India's "deep disappointment and regret" over the incident. Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Veena Sikri called on Acting Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Sarwar Hossain Mollah to convey Indian government's strong condemnation of the incident.

Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary warned Bangladesh not to escalate border tensions by "unprovoked attacks." He said, "We're exercising maximum restraint but will be forced to take strong action against such criminal activities."

India’s Home Minister Shivraj Patil told the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of parliament) that Bangladesh Government has promised to fully investigate the killing and fix responsibility for the crime. This assurance was given by the Bangladesh Home Minister who spoke to him and expressed regret over the incident.

But overall, Bangladesh appears to be downplaying the incident. Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said, "Since we've a long 4002-km porous border with India, many incidents can take place. But this is quite unnatural to think that such incidents will affect our good relations." He also hoped that such incidents would not recur after the BDR and BSF would make joint effort to maintain peace along the border between the two neighbours.

He said both Bangladesh and India had already constituted independent committees to inquire into the incident that killed a BSF officer. A statement issued by Bangladesh ministry for interior said that a committee of four senior officers headed by Joint Secretary (Police) Anwarul Karim would investigate the incident and submit a report within seven days.

Though, both sides have formed probe committees, in the village of Lankamura and in the BSF camp, people are convinced that there’s very little to probe. They say that murdered BSF officer, Jiwan Kumar was targeted, because he had repeatedly foiled attempts to push people into India illegally. In the last two years, he had become a big hurdle for local smugglers. Though the BDR maintains that Jiwan Kumar died in the crossfire, his body bore multiple injury marks other than two bullet wounds. He had been struck with daos (machetes) and there were boot marks all over. This, BSF officials say, cannot be a crossfire casualty.

Though India has protested over the incident, it is still doubtful that the message has been conveyed sufficiently strongly. Bangladesh has apologized for the incident. But at the same time has tried to find fault with the BSF. An effort is being made to diffuse the situation after the issue was discussed between the chiefs of border guards of Bangladesh and India over telephone.

But, despite the effort to diffuse tension on the border, regular skirmishes are taking place. India has also alleged that its airspace has been violated by the Bangladesh side. The BSF inspector general for Tripura-Mizoram frontier, Suresh Kumar Dutt, stated in Kolkata that his troops observed Bangladesh military helicopters flying across the border into Indian territory. These intrusions were reported from Chotakhil, Magrum and Beltoli of Tripura. The BSF has threatened to fire at the helicopters if they fly into Indian territory again. However, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) dismissed the BSF allegation of violating Indian airspace, making a counteraccusation.

The Indo-Bangladesh border is far from being calm. The BSF chief has himself stated that the core issues like handing over Indian militant leaders taking shelter in Bangladesh, destroying militant camps, and checking illegal migration from across the border, have not been resolved in the meeting that took place at Dhaka recently. Both sides have merely agreed that these issues would be discussed at the next meeting that would take place after six months in New Delhi. Hence, the issues that have bedeviled the bilateral relationship still remain intact. Moreover, the fencing work and patrolling of BSF along the border especially after the increasing tension between the two neighbours has threatened to disrupt the economy based on smuggling. This is not to the liking of Bangladeshi sides. India must take up this issue at appropriate level so that such incidents are not repeated. Besides, the other side should also not feel that they can get away with their heinous acts time and again. We can not leave our security personals who are guarding our borders defenseless.

(The author can be reached at anandkrai@yahoo.com)

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir : Section 144 in Gilgit after 4 shot

Section 144 in Gilgit after 4 shot
Staff Report

GILGIT: Gilgit’s district magistrate imposed Section 144 in the city for two months on Wednesday after unidentified men shot and injured four people in the old polo ground area on Tuesday evening.

Sources said Shias were returning home after lighting small fires on nearby hills to mark Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth anniversary (Shias mark the prophet’s (PBUH) birthday on 17 Rabiul Awal) when unidentified men shot at them, injuring four people including police constable Muhammad Hussain, in the city’s old polo ground area.

After hearing gunshots, the entire neighbourhood erupted in gunfire, which continued for about half and hour, sources said, adding that Pakistan Army, Rangers and police reached the spot and cordoned off the area to search for weapons.

Sources said police had arrested 32 people in connection with the incident. The old polo ground area is in the city centre and is inhabited by Shias and Sunnis.

Sources also told Daily Times that the Northern Areas had witnessed the worst sectarian violence since the fatal January 8 attack on Shia cleric Agha Ziauddin Rizvi. On March 23, former Northern Areas police chief Sakhiullah Tareen was shot dead, while two Shias travelling on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) were shot dead near the proposed Basha Dam area last Saturday. They said the total number of casualties in the sectarian violence during the past four months was 35.

Several passengers wanting to travel to Rawalpindi told Daily Times that because they feared for their lives, they had refused to travel. They claimed that the KKH had become a haven for criminals and un-safe for people to travel on. They also said that the criminals killed innocent people and that so far the authorities had made no arrests. They demanded the government protect them.

Gilgit schools re-open today after one-year
Our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Following resolution of syllabus issue, the schools of Gilgit and adjacent areas which remained closed for the last one year would re-open today (Wednesday). This was decided by Federal Minister for Education Lt Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf while presiding over a meeting of Northern Area Syllabus Issue Committee here Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by Minister for KANA Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, federal secretaries of education and KANA, four provincial education departments representatives, chief secretary Northern Areas.
The committee unanimously agreed to the proposal of federal education minister to withdraw the textbooks of Islamiyat and Urdu of Punjab Textbook Board containing some controversial contents which were not acceptable to either sect and replaced by the books of NWFP Textbook Board and the National Book Foundation which were acceptable to the sects.
The committee was constituted under the chairmanship of federal education minister on the special directives of the prime minister to amicably resolve the issue so that dwellers of the area could live a peaceful life and the students can resume their schooling.
Javed Ashraf also assured the committee that in the coming review of national curriculum, all controversial contents would be removed from Islamiyat and Urdu textbooks. In consultation with the renowned religious scholars of all schools of thoughts and a controversy free textbooks and syllabi would be in positioned soon.
He stressed upon the religious scholars to shun their petty differences, which caused agony to the common people. He further urged the members of Northern Areas Legislative Council to preach peace and harmony to their people so that national cohesion and solidarity could be felt in spirit.

United States is deeply enriched by its Indian-American residents

US Congress heaps praise on IITs

April 28, 2005 12:15 IST

The Indian Institutes of Technology, in particular, and the Indian-American community, in general, came in for impassioned praise from the US Congress -- the first time the US Congress has honoured a foreign university in this manner -- for their significant contributions to society in every profession and discipline.

The US Congress passed House Resolution 227 -- introduced by Congressman Tom Davis and co-sponsored by Congressman Bobby Jindal -- praising the stellar work done by IIT-ians in all walks of life.

Davis said that the United States must take leaf out of India's book and devise a strategy to focus on and improve studies in math and sciences.

Experts say that this rare recognition will help IITs solicit US government grants and promote industry collaboration with the IITs for sponsored research and faculty/student exchange programmes.

The Congressional debate ran live on CSPAN with speeches by several Congressmen on the IITs, and when the speaker brought it to vote, it was passed unanimously.

Rep. Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York and the chief deputy whip, submitted a statement to the congressional record in support of House Resolution 227.

In a statement, Crowley said: "As the former co-chair of the Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and the representative of one of the largest concentrations of Indian-Americans in the United States, I have seen first hand the contributions my friends from India have made."

He said the IITs have for long groomed fine minds that have gone on to achieve incredible success in India and overseas.

The full text of House Resolution 227 is given hereunder:
Source : http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:2:./temp/~c109tsVk9E::

In the House of Representatives, US,

April 26, 2005.


the United States is deeply enriched by its Indian-American residents;


the Indian-American community and the graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in the United States have made valuable and significant contributions to society in every profession and discipline; and


IIT graduates are highly committed and dedicated to research, innovation, and promotion of trade and international cooperation between India and the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the valuable and significant contributions of Indian-Americans to American society;

(2) honors the economic innovation attributable to graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology; and

(3) urges all Americans to recognize the contributions of Indian-Americans and have a greater appreciation of the role Indian-Americans have played in helping to advance and enrich American society.

This resolution was passed in the context of the Global PanIIT Alumni Conference, an event which is to be held on May 20-22, 2005 in the metro Washington DC area. The Web site to visit for all information and to register is http://www.iit2005.org/.


April 27, 2005

Jeevan Kumar : Bangladesh using Indian smugglers to kill BSF men

Bangladesh using Indian smugglers to kill BSF men


How BSF men are snared by the BDR
Anand Soondas
Times News Network [April 28, 2005 ]

Agartala: The sun goes down early in Agartala. By about 5 pm, the trees begin to sway in the light breeze. Jeevan Kumar would wait for this time everyday to get into his sports gear and play volleyball with the jawans.
On April 16, the 32-year-old BSF assistant commandant had just won a point in the game when he heard that an Indian in the border village of Lankamura, Ramdhan Pal, had been abducted by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel. It would be Kumar's last game. Moments after he went into the Bangladeshi side to protest the "abduction", he was dragged in by BDR men, tortured and then shot to death. Pal later told the police he was beaten by the BDR and that he was in detention for two days.
Investigations by TOI, however, point to a larger conspiracy - of Indian villagers snaring their own officers into the BDR's den.
The story may not be as simple as what Pal made it out to be. He, for instance, did not reveal that he used to be a smuggler dealing in phencidyl, a codine phosphate-laced cough syrup that is banned in many places.
Therefore, he was among those affected by Kumar's drive against smuggling activities across the border. Also, Pal had no injury marks on his body when the BDR released him from their "custody".
"It's a farce, this Pal story," said a BSF officer at the Akhaura border, a stone's throw from Bangladesh.
"He is being interrogated by intelligence officers. He set Kumar up. The BDR did not lay a finger on him. Villagers around here, both in Bangladesh and India, depend to a large extent on smuggling. The BDR earns money from them. Kumar was an irritant to both."
There is another angle. It was Pal's son, Sanjit, who ran to Kumar, alerting him about his father's "abduction".
Then, the BSF officer's body was found in a ditch on the Bangladeshi side after he was tortured near the house of Abbas Mia, a known criminal of Bangladesh.
The fence that is coming up here is an added nuisance to smugglers and the BDR though it has helped men like Kumar in their mission.

Need to forge a political instrument

Our Correspondent

The seminar, ‘Threats to India’s Integrity,’ organized by the Centre for National Renaissance (CNR), has called for all patriotic forces to forge a political instrument to challenge the forces threatening our national integrity.

The seminar was organized in New Delhi on April 23, 2005 In his welcome address, CNR chairman Subramanian Swamy said that the threats to India’s integrity are multi-dimensional in nature, sapping the nation’s salience and eroding its substance. He listed four threats to India:

  • 1 ) those arising out of the erosion of constitutional norms, especially the devaluation of the office of the Prime Minister, as witnessed recently in Goa and Jharkhand, and the increasing subservience to the extra-constitutional force;

  • 2) the threats arising from the spread and coordination of terrorist activities within and from outside the country;

  • 3) the destabilization because of the changing communal demographic patterns;

  • 4) and the targeting by the state and foreign fraudulent organizations of renowned religious institutions, as exemplified by the audaciously fake murder case foisted on one of the revered Hindu Mutts, the Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya Mutt.

    In his inaugural address, former Defence Minister George Fernandes quoted from his interview to the Time magazine in 1959, in which he had said, “Look at what holds the country together. It is Hinduism; and as long as Hinduism lives, this country will remain united.”

    He came down heavily on the secular-liberal intellectual establishment. “In the 58th year of freedom, India faces more dangers than it has ever faced since Partition. The most dangerous among these is the so-called secular-communal divide, imposed on the country by a combine of Congress and Marxists, with the RJD playing the role of the supporting actor.

    “The secular dispensation believes that the secular chant gives them the licence to create situations which can and will create fissures in our polity which will be exploited by the nation’s enemies to their advantage. There will be more cleavages in the making and every soft opening will become an open gate for infiltration which has already overwhelmed the local population in several border areas.”

    He lambasted the hypocrisy of the secular elite: “In the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards, Rajiv Gandhi, who had now been sworn in as Prime Minister, exhorted his party men to kill every Sikh in sight with his belief that when a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake. The result was a pogrom that claimed nearly 4,000 lives of innocent Sikhs—men, women, and children. This was a secular pogrom, while what happened in Godhra was a communal killing.”

    The next greatest danger is “from those who are illiterate on matters of security and defence of the country and those who have an agenda to weaken the nation’s security and to demoralize the armed forces.” He alleged that the Tehelka scandal and the coffin scam were masterminded by the Congress president.

    In fact, he questioned the Congress’ belief in democracy. “For all his much-publicized belief in democracy, Nehru groomed his daughter to be his successor and set up a dynasty. He referred his father as a prince among men to give an aura and awe around the family. It was Indira Gandhi who gave the worst blow to our democracy b imposing an Emergency and denying the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution for the citizens and finally having the Supreme Court to declare that even the right to life cannot be claimed as long as Indira Gandhi’s dictatorship survives. What the Congress did in Goa and Jharkhand is but the tip of what is due to follow.”

    In his valedictory address, former Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi spoke about the threat of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. He lamented that any such discussion is immediately labeled as communal, bigoted, etc. “Speaking the truth is communal and saying lies is secular!” he commented angrily.

    Dr Joshi bemoaned that the state of India is at war with the Indian nation. He also expressed dismay over the fact that an extra-constitutional authority is running the country.

    In an important observation, he said that the need of the hour is to define India, its core values—in the same fashion as US conservative philosopher Samuel Huntington has defined the salience of America. “We, in India, realize that we are Indians only when there is a war or there is an external threat. Do we need an external threat to define our identity?” Joshi asked.

    In his talk, ‘Subversion of the Constitution,’ former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap traced the history of subversion and offered incisive comments. He said that the Indian Constitution is the most amended constitution of the world, having seen 72 amendments. He specifically mentioned Article 356, which was expected to be a “dead letter” and to be used in the rarest of rare circumstances, but has been used more than 100 times.

    He exploded the myth that BR Ambedkar was the “architect of the Constitution.” In fact, Ambedkar had himself said that he was merely a “hack,” Kashyap informed the seminar.Kashyap questioned the validity of the words “socialism” and “secularism” which were added in the preamble of the Constitution by an amendment. Since economic policies in the post-liberalization era are the antithesis of socialism, the Constitution gets subverted on a regular basis, he said.

    He also derided those who glorify Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her “great sacrifice,” for renouncing prime ministership. “There is not even an iota of evidence to suggest that she was ever offered the office of Prime Minister. So, where is the question of renunciation?” he asked.

    In his paper on the rising terrorist threat, Lt Gen JFK Jacob (Retd), former Punjab Governor, said that the armed forces can help the government by goading the terrorists to come to the negotiating table. But, he said, this is possible only by destroying the bases of terrorists and by cutting off their supply lines. The armed forces have done that in the past, and they can still do it. This helps the government to negotiate with terrorists from a position of strength.

    However, military solution is like surgery, which should be applied only when medication has failed. In most cases of insurgency in India, this solution is applicable, Gen Jacob said.

    J Bajaj of the Chennai-based Centre for Policy Studies presented the threat to national integrity from the demographic angle. The population of Indian religions—Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, etc—is declining, especially in the border areas, he said. He mentioned several districts of western UP where the Muslim population increased from 29 per cent to 39 per cent in the last 50 years. Then there are many districts bordering Bangladesh where the Muslim population is already in the majority. “Whenever there are changes in ethnic composition, tensions rise. And when the changes are as sudden as in many parts of India, the situation becomes uncontrollable,” Bajaj said.

    Swadeshi Jagran Manch convener S Gurumoorthy highlighted the fakeness of the Shankaracharya case, the vindictiveness of the state government, and the hand of New Delhi behind the outrage in Tamil Nadu. “No other Chief Minister than Jayalalitha could have done what was done. No other Central government could have tolerated what it did tolerate. And a leader of no other religion could have suffered in such a manner. To have a peaceful following is a disqualification for a religious leader, as also for a political leader.”

    He blasted the secular dogma that all religions are equal and so they shall be treated.

    Gurumoorthy also exposed the double-speak of the intellectual class. Most of the media and great liberals took the police version at its face value. Yet, the same people are extremely skeptical of the police’s version on encounters of terrorists, he said.

    The seminar concluded with a call “upon all patriotic forces to set aside all differences as in 1975-77 and forge together a political instrument to challenge the forces behind the threat to our national integrity.”

A solid counter punch by BJP to Congress and the Communists

BJP finally came out from its shell. After a knee shaking defeat last year and major leadership crisis with allies in NDA threatening to join the Congress, finally BJP is coming out with solid policies and grass root movements that will bring them back to power sooner than later.

BJP is organizing a farmer-awakening program that will change the landscape of Indian politics. The Congress along with the Indian Communists has fallen into the same trap that caused BJP to lose the election badly last year. The farmers and the rural sector of India especially in states that are threatened by illegal immigration from neighboring countries like Bangladesh. According to sources BJP will take the new movement straight to the rural sector abandoning its “high tech high profile fanfare”.

According to media sources, eyeing the 2006 Assam assembly elections, the BJP has launched a campaign to mobilise farmers against the alleged negligence of the Congress government in the state and its failure to channelise central funds meant for them.

"A farmer awakening campaign has already been launched in the state and tomorrow, a farmers'''' rally would be held at Sonapur near here," BJP Kisan Morcha all India Vice-President Radha Mohan Singh told reporters in Guwahati on Tuesday.

He also expressed concerned about the fall in agricultural output since 2000 in Assam as stated by the agriculture minister in the Assembly recently. Dubbing 2005 as the ''''Kishan Sangharsh Baras'''', Singh said on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, a ''''kisan sangharsh yatra'''' would be taken out from Champaran in Bihar culminating at Bordoli in Gujarat on October 31.

The BJP leader said that the people would be told that after 50 years of Independence, the BJP-led Vajpayee government was the only administration which thought about the welfare of the farmers reducing bank interest rates on loans for them, starting kisan credit cards, relief funds, etc. He claimed that 50 per cent of the marginal farmers comprising 70 per cent rural population had been ignored by the current Union Budget.


China's March on South Asia

China's March on South Asia

By Tarique Niazi

China is steadily extending its reach into South Asia with its growing economic and strategic influence in the region. China's current trade volume with all South Asian nations reaches close to $20 billion a year. Its bilateral trade with India alone accounts for $13.6 billion a year, a number set to grow to $25 billion in 2010 [1]. Except for New Delhi, Beijing runs trade surpluses with all other partners, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. But China makes up for these trade deficits with massive investment in the infrastructural development, socio-economic needs, and above all energy production of its trade partners. Fast on the heels of the U.S. offer of nuclear power plants to India, China has offered Pakistan and Bangladesh nuclear power plants of its own to meet their energy needs. Beijing also showers these nations with low-cost financial capital to help their struggling development sector. The largest beneficiaries of this economic aid are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal – in that order.

China's Growing Strategic Influence

In keeping with its economic expansion, China has deepened its strategic influence in the region, especially with India's immediate neighbors – Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Beijing has long kept a close strategic partnership with Islamabad, but its overtures to the remaining countries were hobbled by the 1962 Sino-Indian war and its protracted pariah status as the "communist other," which it endured until the early 1970s. China's entrĂ©e in South Asia gained momentum only after its conversion to the market economy in the 1980s, which filled its coffers with trade and investment dollars. Its resultant economic strength opened the path into South Asia, beyond Pakistan. China skillfully deployed economic incentives to draw Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka into its strategic orbit.

For China, Bangladesh is a doorway into India's turbulent northeastern region, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, to which China lays territorial claims. More importantly, Bangladesh is believed to be causing a seismic demographic shift in another northeastern state, Assam, where Indian leaders claim some 20 million Bangladeshis have moved in. Indian officials fear the emergence of Assam as the second Muslim-majority state within the Indian union, after the state of Jammu and Kashmir. [2] Above all, China prizes Bangladesh for its immense natural gas reserves (60 trillion cubic feet) which rival those of Indonesia. Bangladesh's geographic proximity with Myanmar makes these reserves accessible to China. India's access to Myanmar's gas reserves also hinges on Dhaka's willingness to allow a passage for laying a gas pipeline – a fact not lost on Beijing.

Unlike Bangladesh, Nepal has little energy potential to tempt Beijing, but its strategic location between China and India makes it just as important. Nepal's borders meet China's restive western province of Tibet on the one hand, and Naxalite-dominated Indian states on the other. [3] Nepal's Maoist insurgents, who control the vast swath of the countryside, have cross-border links with Naxalite Maoists in India as well. Almost 40% of India's 593 districts are, to a degree, under Naxalite influence. As a result, both China and India vie for Katmandu's favor. Since the replacement of Nepal's democratic government with an absolute monarchy in February of this year, India has cold-shouldered Nepal's King Gyanendra, while China has dismissed the seizure of power as an "internal matter". [4] In return, China wants the new ruler to stay clear of any foreign (Indian or the U.S.) influence that could make trouble in Tibet. To further the goal of status quo in Tibet, China is integrating Nepal into the Tibetan economy, and laying a highway that will connect the two.

In the same way, Beijing cherishes exclusive friendly relations with Sri Lanka, which occupies a strategically important heft of the Indian Ocean stretching from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. After 9/11, the U.S. sought access to Sri Lankan ports, airfields and air space for its armed forces under the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA). The ACSA is the first such agreement between Sri Lanka and a Western power since its independence in 1948. (Though in the early 1980s, Colombo allowed a radio transmitter on its territory to beam the Voice of America broadcasts into China, Myanmar, and North Korea.) Both China and India would prefer Sri Lanka to stay out of Western alliances, as they jostle for their respective dominant positions. Sri Lanka's prolonged ethnic conflict between its Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority has, however, strained relations between Colombo and New Delhi. India, having a Tamil-majority state of its own, treads cautiously in mediating the conflict, which makes it suspect with Colombo. China, however, has no such concerns to balance, and as a result boldly vouches for Sri Lanka's territorial integrity with little regard for the national aspirations of the Tamil minority.

Of all these nations, Pakistan's strategic significance is, nevertheless, priceless for China. Although a smaller nation, Pakistan rivals India in unconventional weapons. It has long denied India access to western and Central Asian nations, while at the same time literally paving the highway – Karakoram – for Beijing's direct access to Eurasia. Above all, it has tied down 500,000 to 700,000 Indian troops in the Kashmir Valley for the past 15 years. By keeping hundreds of thousands of Indian troops engaged in Kashmir, Pakistan indirectly helps ease India's challenge to China's defenses on their disputed border. More importantly, Pakistan emboldens the region's smaller economies to stand up to India and seek Chinese patronage, which hurts India's stature in the region.

China's Diplomatic Triumph

Besides these strategic gains, China has also benefited diplomatically from its growing influence with Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Today, all of these nations affirm the "one-China" policy that views Taiwan as an "inalienable" part of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Similarly, they are aligned with Beijing on the equally sensitive issue of Tibet, with the result that they all shun the Dalai Lama to Beijing's delight while proclaiming that Tibet is an integral part of China. In view of China's eagerness to join the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which presently represents the seven nations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, they speak with one voice for Beijing's entry into the SAARC – to the palpable annoyance of New Delhi.

India, as the resident power of South Asia, considers the region its "near abroad," and does not want Beijing to step on to its turf. What unnerves India most is China's unblinking eye on South Asia's biggest prize: the Indian Ocean. China has long been vying for access to this important waterway – most recently by building a deep-sea port in Gwadar, Pakistan, along the Arabian Sea coast. (see "Gwadar: China's Naval Outpost on the Indian Ocean" in China Brief, Vol 5, Iss 4) As much as India would like to push China out of its sphere of influence, it does not have the regional or international clout to stem Beijing's march on South Asia or the Indian Ocean.

China, however, does its part to calm the nerves in New Delhi. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's four-day visit this month (April 9-11) to India attests to China's charm offensive on New Delhi. China's major goal behind this offensive is to keep India from forging military and strategic alliances with the U.S. against Beijing's territorial interests, i.e., reunification of Taiwan with mainland China. China, well aware of India's historical concerns for its territorial integrity, deftly plays on its nationalist instincts and its visceral aversion to foreign powers. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Wen was able to convince New Delhi to agree to form the "India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity." The partnership has been touted in Beijing as "the most significant achievement" of Wen's four-nation tour (April 5-12), which took him to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. [5]

Wen Goes to New Delhi

China's role in the treaty has been to offer New Delhi mainly symbolic concessions. First, China accepted the long-disputed territory of Sikkim as part of the Indian Union. Prime Minister Wen even presented Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh with cartographic evidence of his government's changed stance: an official map that shows Sikkim in India. In response, New Delhi has already backed off its long-held stand on Tibet, accepting it as an integral part of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Second, New Delhi agreed to accept the status quo on their border dispute until a mutually satisfying resolution is found. China, however, wants to keep Aksai Chin, an area of 35,000 square miles in Ladakh, Kashmir, which it seized from India in 1962. Aksai Chin offers a rare strategic inroad into China's restive western region of Xinjiang, which makes it even harder for China to let go of it. Third, China agreed to India's bid for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat, without specifying its endorsement for veto power. Fourth, China has softened its traditional commitment to Pakistan on Kashmir. Part of China's change of heart on Kashmir also has to do with the reported infiltration of Muslim fighters from Kashmir into the Chinese Muslim-majority autonomous region of Xinjiang.

China, however, seems sincere in making these concessions, whatever their worth, to New Delhi in order to forge a "strategic partnership." For its part, India is willing to accept this arrangement to boost bilateral trade and ensure energy security, which New Delhi views as a national security matter. Moreover, China is poised to overtake the United States, with bilateral trade of $20 billion a year, as India's largest trading partner for the foreseeable future. India's giant appetite for energy resources will soon rank it as the world's third largest consumer of fossil fuels after the U.S. and China. New Delhi hopes its strategic partnership with Beijing will help sate that appetite without bidding up global energy prices.

Besides calming India, another challenge for China is to keep Pakistan on its side. Islamabad has a long history of military alliances with the U.S. starting from CENTO and SEATO in the past to its present status as the U.S.'s non-NATO ally. And unlike India, Pakistan always has been malleable to Western influence. To staunch such possibility in the future, Wen has drawn Pakistan into signing a "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Good Neighborly Relations," which binds both signatories to desist from joining "any alliance or bloc which infringes upon the sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity of the other side" [7]. Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, kept the contents of the Treaty under wraps by disallowing the release of its full text, which China's People's Daily had published anyway. Nevertheless it is obvious which of the two will have to avoid unwanted alliances, and whose interest of "sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity" will be affected.


China has invested in South Asia's smaller economies of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to gain a strategic foothold and build a diplomatic profile in the region. This effort has transformed the region from India's purported "near abroad" into China's own backyard. Its strengthened position in the region has enabled Beijing to make peace with New Delhi, drawing it out of strategic partnerships with the West. As a result, South Asia is now more likely to line up behind Beijing to defend its position on the Taiwan Strait as its "inalienable part," while freeing up Beijing's diplomatic and strategic resources to tame its apparently untamable Asian rival – Japan.

Tarique Niazi teaches Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Clair, specializing in resource-based conflict.

1. China's current trade with India ($413.6 billion), Pakistan ($3.06 billion), Bangladesh ($1.14 billion), Sri Lanka ($350 million), and Nepal ($200 million) is rapidly growing. Although reliable trade figures are not known for the remaining two South Asian states of Bhutan and Maldives, the total volume of bilateral trade between China and South Asia is all set to reach $20 billion a year. For reference, see "Boost All-weather Partnership between China, Pakistan." People's Daily, April 5, 2005. Habib, Haroon (2005). "Bangladesh, China Sign Nine Agreements." The Hindu, April 9, 2005.
2. Prominent among them is Mr L.K. Advani, leader of the opposition, who accuses Bangladesh of infiltration into Assam and neighboring northeastern states. For reference, see Dutta, Sreeradha (2000). "Security of India's Northeast: External Linkage." Strategic Analysis, vol. xxiv(8), November 2000.
3. "Naxalism" is a village-based peasant movement that is fast spreading in southern and northeastern states of India, which include Andra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jarkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu. The Naxali movement adheres to Marxist and Maoist ideologies, which are believed to bind it with Maoists in Nepal, also.
4. The Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kong Quan called King Gyanendra's dismissal of the Nepalese government "an internal matter of Nepal." see "China Hopes Nepal to Realize Social Security." Xinhuanet, February 1, 2005.
5. See Mahmood, Afzaal 92005). "Sino-U.S. Rivalry and South Asia." The Dawn, Karachi (Pakistan), April 16, 2005.
6. The treaty was signed on April 5, 2005 by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Pakistani Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz. For reference, see "Pak, China Sign Treaty of Friendship; Beijing's Assurance to Defend Territorial Integrity, Sovereignty." The Dawn, Karachi (Pakistan), April 6, 2005.

April 26, 2005

India/Sri Lanka Tilling fields for Christians : Exposing Project Joahua

Tilling the Mission Fields in Sri Lanka


By Ven Kollupitiye Samadhindriya Thero
Feb 6 2005

Concern has been voiced that Catholics planned to convert all of Sri Lanka by the year 2000. The goal was later changed to 2005 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese invasion. Rev.Sister M Immaculate in the Catholic Weekly Messenger of 18th October 1990, speaks of " spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ and the message of salvation. He brought to the world.... We [Christians] are called upon to be sacraments of salvation..... it is for us to help them to recognize Him." Although there has always been a potential conversion threats to Buddhists Hindus and Muslims from the Catholic community since 1970s a deeper threat has emerged.

The word " fundamentalism " associated with the word " evangelical " describes numerous American Protestant groups founded in the 1920s that " do battle royal for the fundamentals of the faith " [Ammerman 1994:13-14] According to Frykenberg, all fundamentalist movements regardless of religion, operates on five principles: The Truth, The Messenger, The Community,The Destiny and The Evil [ Frykenberg 1994-593] For the Christian fundamental evangelists, we find The Truth represented as the " literally inerrant " definitive final authority of The Holy Bible.The Messenger is The Preacher - often a charismatic personality who can excite and convey a sense of urgency. The Community is the selected group of The Chosen Ones with the belief in the duality of True and False, Believers and Unbelievers, Children of God and Heathens etc. The Destiny is the belief in a future Utopia which will attaind by The Chosen Ones with certain obligation to expand that community through conversion as!
a protection from The Evil and the Evil Ones.

Most Christian fundamentalists do not believe in Darwinian evolution are moralistic and anti-intellectual. They maintain a personal " born again " relationship between themselves and Jesus. They see the Asian respect for sacred texts, sacred sites,deities and respect for parents as idol worship and ancestor worship. They believe in the condemnation and dismantling of these aspects of " traditional society " Some Pentecostal sub- groups practice the belief in prophecy from The Messenger [living or dead] talking in tongues,faith healing and miraculous experiences of The Believers. All groups seem to emphasize sharing the conversion experince through "witnessing " and " testimony " [Perera 1995]

Since colonial times,the entire region of Asia has been seen as a "mission field", there to be tilled,tended and harvested, thus "civilizing" the Asian heathens. Most of the Asian evangelical churches have an affiliation with worldwide churches and evangelizing agencies. It is estimated by Cathoilc Church sources that over 300 seperate evangelical churches and para-church groups in exist in Sri Lanka : World Vision, Assembly of God, Worldwide Mission Fellowship, Jehovahs Witness, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Church of Four Square Gospel, Sri Lanka Centre for Pastoral Studies, Campus Crusade for Christ, Rural Pastors Training Center, Ceylon Every Home Crusade, Gideon International, Sri Lanka Audio-Visual Evangelism and Care, to name a few.There are currently an estimated 38,000 U.S. personnel in Protestant missions overseas. They have a combined Asian yearly operating budget of over 500 million dollars - primarily from American contributions.

To their credit, Christian Evangelism uses the most modern socio-psychological techniques and strategies available for the purpose of conversion. Regular pastoral training exists in Asian countries as well as in the countries of church of origin. Training in sophisticated communication and preaching skills, marketing strategies, modes of self-presentation, "perfprmance" techniques,media evangelism and the efficient propagation of literary translations and publications are all offered. These strategies are perfected and used to bring the " message of Jesus" to the people. The port of entry into conversions is carefully examined and determined by local need. In Napal for instance where literacy and medical attention is low,schools and hospitals are established. In Sri Lanka where litercy and poverty are both high, Bible translations,published literature and financial aid are provided.

In Sri Lanka, the evangelical movement correctly grasped the peoples respect for the written word. Literature is published and distributed in Sinhala,Tamil and English through Ceylon Every Home Crusade, Youth of Christ,Grace Evangelical Church, Worldwide Church of God etc - organizations that operates in hopspitals,universities,schools and door-to-door. They have publications on drugs,marriage,single parenting,mental illness etc.

In 1995 the International Chamber of Commerce organized a conference and trade exhibition in Colombo to give local Christian business people an oppertunity to meet with Christian business people from around the world - to share knowledge,expertise,funding information and general networking. Other conferences have focused on vocational training,computer literacy,business administration,office procedures,English language proficiency and public speaking. These are all needed and useful services but the underlying motive here is questionable.

The motive of Christian fundamentalist programs like AD2000 and Beyond,Joshua Project 1, and Joshua Project 11 was to "harvest" the unreached people groups" primarily in the countries located between 10 degees and 40 degrees North Latitude [Shashikamar 2004]. One strategy of operation is "church planting" or establishing churches in areas that have no Christians and then converting the community to fill the churches. There is a web site of "unreached areas" of the world listing locations for future conquest [see website Joshua Project 2000 - Unreached People Profile - www.ad2000.org.]

"Mission activity included meeting human needs of education,health care,emergency relief etc. but often this was to demonstrate concern for the people and gain their confidence to share the gospel which was the main objective.[Samuel 1998:6] One Christian writer observed,"Sri Lanka Christian are being viewed as vultures nurtured on foreign funds and driven to hunt for the poor mortal souls of the gullible and poverty striken non-Christen.... the church is not totally without blame." [Morgan 1997:4] "With emphasis on saving the soul rather than the body,development work and social services are only the means to an end,a means to win heathen souls for Christ now or if that is not feasible immediately to prepare the ground for future conversions" [Shah 1993:39] A Nepali Christian leader stated," I have listened to the outside critiques of the church.Mainly they have said: 1 Christians are bought with money 2 It is a western culture and religion 3 The Church has no concern for o!
ur society or our country 4 Christians are foreigners in our own country. Now I find myself siding with the critics" [Stanley 1994:16]

Unethical or illegal conversions are those defined as conversions where something of value has been given in exchange for converting to The Faith. It has long been known that money has been given for conversions particularly "to buy land, fertilizer,seed and food or free education for children has been given conversion." [Perera 1995] And appearing in a Sri Lankan newspaper,"we are aware that certain Christian sects receive massive sums of money from America and other foreign countries to be spent lavishly in remote villages comprised of only poor Buddhists in a bid to convert them to their faith by exploiting their meager economic conditions, assisting in their marriages,and helping them to secure employment." [The Island. 20th May 1993]

In February of 2002, President Bush unveiled a "faith-based" social service initiative,i.e., a new White House office to promote government aid to churches and Christian faith-based organizations to put Federal Government funds behind religious social work. This means the use of tax payers money for religious conversions. The office of Faith -Based and community Initiative was headed by director Jim Towey.This initiative to fund "salvation and religious conversion" was stalled in Congress,but has been pushed towards implementation through numerous executive orders. [Shasshikamar 2004]

TMOs [Trasnational Missionary Organizations] in conjunction with the Joshua Project,International Mission Board,Southern Baptist Convention and Christian Aid have for decades been gathering information in data banks for the purpose of coordinated conversion campaigns.These spying missions have successfully analyzed,mapped and installed U.S. government and U.S based evangelical mission agencies,shaped by the World Evangelical Fellowship into areas where the Christian population was formerly negligible.Ralp Winter,founder of the U.S Center of World Missions states that it is"the largest,most pervasive global evangelical network ever to exist". The Global Consultaion on World Evangelical [GCOWE] convention in Seoul claimed to be "the most strategic Christian gathering in history". Their purpose is to "make a priority of establishing as a minimum, a pioneer church-planting movement within every ethno-linguistic people of over 10,000 individuals by December 31,2000 [Shashikamar 2!

In India and else where,the spying operations are postal PIN code [ZIP code] based classified as to language,ethnicity,religion ststistics,conversion data,wealth,education,health needs etc The Joshua Projects objective is to (1) gather strategic population and ministry activity information (2) to be a least-reached peoples networking resource (3) to enhance the flow of information between organzations by using standardized data coding (IMA zone surveys) This data field has then been shared with U.S intelligence agencies (CIA) giving virtually real-time access to this global information.This technology has made evangelical activities potentially dangerous because this enormous data field together with Christian Right and CIA has all worked to influence foreign policy. The CIA has publicly admitted to using this information for covert intelligence operations abroad. International Director of AD2000 and Beyond,Luis Bush said,"God is allowing us to spy out the land that we might!
go in and claim both it and its inhabitants for Him." The Southern Baptist William Carlsen admitted giving an eight hour briefing to the CIA on Thailands tribal area(Colby and Dennett). John Deutch, CIA director, April 1996 admitted that the CIA uses clergymen and newspapermen as intelligence agents.Because the CIA has been courting religious missionries,they now have unparalleled reach to the remotest corners of any country. The "Far Right" Christian evangelists have always backed militarism in Afghanistan,Iraq and elsewhere in the world; so the connection between conversion and militarism and the Christian agenda must be noted [Shashikamar 2004]. It was not then surprising that the U.S. adminiistration increased foreign aid / conversion money in the Sudan from 11 to 18 Billion dollars,once rich oil deposits were discovered.This money is used not by the Sudanese but by the Christian evangelists for religious / political purposes.

On 15 January 2004,Bush again touted his faith-based initiative to the Union Bethel AME Church in New Orleans. These initiatives are designed to break the constitutional sanctity of the seperation of church and state(Americans United for Seperation of Church and State) Bush has linked domestic social policies and U.S. foreign policy with the disbursal of Aid to U.S. based TMOs,thus increasing the already $500 million donation budget to unknown heights. Bushs government has given federal grants to Christian charities that are involved in conversion activities around the world. On 3 October 2002,U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that Pat Robertsons charity, Operation Blessing, would be given grants through the Compassion Capital Fund without restrictions as to the use of funds.Operation Blessings already was a $66 million a year organization. In 1994 Robertson said in Congress that cargo planes were recruiting Rwandan refugees but in fact the plans were us!
ed to haul mining equipment in and out of Zaire for his African Development Corporation to mine diamonds. Note: Robertson and the Christian Coalition worked tirelessly to elect Bush.

In Indianapolis 22 July 1999, Bush said, "In every instance,when my administration sees a responsibility to help people,we will look first to faith-based institutions to charities and community groups that have shown thir ability to Save (religious conversion) and change lives" On 21 September 2000,in USA Today, Bush said Congress would allocate $80 Billion over the next 10 years in tax incentives to help churches provide "social services". On 14 June 2001, Methodist Church Rev. Eliezer Valentin Castanon said, "No one can honestly believe that program funded with tax dollars which requirs as a major component of treatment the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,will not advance religion." Regarding World Vision, procelytisation is an integral part of World Visions provision of development services under its much-touted programs [Shashikamar 2004]

Many Sri Lankans are well aware of the poverty-striken inhabitants of Sinhalese Buddhist villages. They are impressed with the tremendous humanitarian efforts made by Christian community to improve the conditions in rural areas. They are also aware of the situation in South Korea where an eighty percent Buddhist population was reduced to less than forty percent in just two decades due to Christian evangelism and conversions [Perera 1995]. An education program showing villagers the true intentions of evangelism is gradually beginning to surface in rural areas. World Visions "Mustard Seed Project" in the Ratnapura District was halted when their surreptitious intentions were brought to light. Their comments was,"we cannot feed individuals and then let them go to hell." There are currently several lawsuits in Sri lanka for "Illegal Conversion" activities. But it must be noted that the Southern Baptist leader Richard Land oversees the U.S. governments commitment to international !
religious freedoms whose specific purpose is to reverse the anti-conversion laws protecting against illegal conversions in foreign countries. One can assume that ample funds and expertise will be used to fight the illegal conversion lawsuits to reverse the existing laws and to fund corruptible politicians.

"Christian fundamentalism, not Islam,may have the potential to create more conflict internationally, for it can avail itself of all the advantages and power generated by a western-dominated economic system." [Brouwer 1996;9]

When foreign policy is guided by a belief that non-Christians are heathen sinners needing to be saved by the Word of God, it follows that respect for culture and the reverence for human life of these sinners is not a high priority. Considering the foreign policy of the Religious Rights, there appears to be a lack of tolerence and a lack of sympathy towards ideas of multiculturalism and pluralism in religion. It can be argued that many societies,exhibiting multiculturalism and pluralism in religion existed in relative peace before political instability and or foreign influence incited ethnic conflict. And now in places where the sanctity of religious holy spaces have been violated, the idea prevails that all "non-Christian cultures are considered pagan and therefore perverted....... "[Yu 1998:4] "Due to its insistence on an absolute truth evangelists are convinced that their version of truth is complete .....[Caplan 1995:93] The evangelical movement tends to see "American mil!
itary and economic might as guarantors of their ability to evangelize the world [Caplan 1995:97] It is interesting to note that the foreign policies of the industrial so-called Christian countries seem to reflect the arrogance of their religion. Therefore,when the ideology,money and power are all moving in the same direction,biased foereign policy is a foregone conclusion. The Final Crusade has begun.

It has often been said that there are only two real threats to the United States: China and India.If Sri Lanka destabilizes and break up into a Tamil state and possibly a Muslim state, not only will it weaken Sri Lanka but it is also expected that India will follow suit. India will loose stability and will break up into separate states. i.e Kashmir,Jammu,Punjab,Andhra Pradesh,Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This would futher weaken the whole subcontinent.

The indians in Sri lanka are primarily from Tamil Nadu and are comprised of Hindus,Muslims and Christians.Most live in harmony with the Buddhists and very few are affiliated with the LTTE.The top leadership of the LTTE is strongly influenced by Christian ideologues. Towards their goal of seperation and independence,violence and destruction has been employed. They are the original suicide bombers. Young monks have been slaughtered.Wholsale genocide has occured in villages. Buddhists holy sites have been bombed and vandalized.The United States has publicly branded them as terrorists.

It has come to light that the LTTE are funded from Tamils living abroad. What is not widely known is that all the major indirect funding in the LTTE dominted areas is from the U.S backed NGOs like World Vision. Now there is only one question to be asked. How can the United States be fighting terrorism and at the same time funding it ?


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