May 07, 2005

Iran says external factors preventing conclusion of nuclear talks

Netiran, May. 6th, 2005,
Word Count : 697

Iran said Thursday it was close to a final solution to conclude the case with Europe over its nuclear energy programs, stressing, however, that external factors are delaying the issue to be terminated.
Sirous Nasseri, the head of Iran's nuclear negotiating team with the European three of France, Germany and Britain, told a news conference that the fact the negotiations have become prolonged is because of external factors which cannot be controlled.

"Even though the final solution is close to us, it is not clear whether it will be available to Iran and the EU trio six months later," he said.

Nasseri said Iran and the EU-3 have been able to set the stage for a long-term compromise over Iran's nuclear energy plans, stressing that this was a primary objective of the Paris deal.

He added that the EU side has repeatedly told the Iranian delegation that they are waiting for the results of Iran's upcoming presidential polls.

This, he stressed, has no justification for us.

"We have clearly and resolutely told them that the issue of Iran's nuclear energy program is not something which will concern only the current or the next administration [in the country] and will rather concern all the Iranian nation and the future generations," Nasseri said.

The Iranian negotiator said the Europeans are currently acting as a barrier that prevent a serious tension between Iran and the US over the nuclear energy activities of the Islamic Republic, and that they try to clam the situation so that they can arrive at an acceptable compromise with Iran over the issue.

Nasseri said the Americans want to take up a bullying approach toward Iran over its nuclear energy plans, stressing that the US and Europe seem to be arriving at a solution which would be acceptable to Iran, as well.

"Our people have always wanted two things from us. Firstly, they do not want Iran to withdraw from its positions in the talks because they consider the issue as important, and secondly, they want the talks to proceed on a peaceful procedure," he said.

Also, Manouchehr Mottaki, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the conference that Iran has been able to raise "logical and sound" positions in the nuclear talks with the European countries.

Mottaki said the Europeans have always been against Iran's nuclear fuel cycle work, stressing that they have failed to provide logical and legal justification for this position.

He said Iran has been able to prove to the world over the past two years that its nuclear plans are civilian, and that this has already been testified by the reports of relevant world bodies that Iran's nuclear plans indicate no irregularities.

Still, the Majlis deputy said, we will never back up from this national demand (peaceful nuclear technology).

Mottaki said the negative aspect of Iran's nuclear talks with EU trio is the fact that opportunities are being wasted.

"One of the dangers of this wasting of the opportunities is the international conditions and we can never have any guarantees from the other side of the talks that they will not have resolutions approved at the Security Council or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which will not be acceptable to us," he said.

Commenting on the remarks by EU Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana about Iran's starting uranium enrichment activities, Mottaki said Iran does not necessarily consider the starting of uranium enrichment activities as tantamount to the cancellation of the [Paris] deal.

The MP's remarks on this issue were complemented by Nasseri who said: "Iran's interpretation is that Paris negotiations had a goal and it was an intermediary agreement that both sides negotiate with each other in a calm and tension-free environment until they arrive at an agreement which will be acceptable by both sides."
"From our point of view, that agreement is now on the table," the head of Iran's negotiating team said.

Nasseri further said compromise is the basis of Iran's talks with Europe, stressing, however, that it would be illogical if France, Germany and Britain merely call on Iran to just continue the talks

US Constraining Basell Sale to Iran, Daily, May. 5th, 2005
Word Count : 302

The United States is ratcheting up the pressure on Basell, a European company which is the world's top maker of the plastic polypropylene, to prevent its purchase by Iran, a senior official said.
“All evidence is indicative of the fact that the National Petrochemical Company is the winner in the tender for Basell sale. The current foot-dragging in naming the winner is due to pressure applied by the United States on the venders,” NPC chief Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh told reporters.

Iran's state-owned National Petrochemical Company (NPC) is trying to buy Basell from Germany's BASF and Royal Dutch/Shell in a deal that could be Iran's biggest commercial investment abroad since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
But the transaction expected to be worth around 4.4 billion euros ($5.7 billion) has been complicated because some of Basell's assets are based in the United States at a time when relations with Iran are extremely difficult.
Nematzadeh said: “Ten companies are bidding to purchase Basel and NPC has managed to attract all views by offering proper prices.”
A US State Department official told Reuters earlier this week that the US government had expressed its concerns to Basell's owners, BASF and Shell, about a potential sale to Iran.
Sources close to the situation have said BASF and Shell are nearing a deal to sell Basell for the 4.4 billion euros either to the Iranians or a group of Indian investors, but that several deadlines to complete the transaction have slipped by.
"We are still negotiating for buying Basell but it has not yet reached a conclusion, although NPC is in a better position than its competitor," Nematzadeh said.
Netherlands-based Basell is the world's top maker of polypropylene, used in a range of applications from auto steering wheels to packaging, and polyolefin products

Bangladesh Factor Affecting Insurgency in North-East

Anil Kamboj
Security Analyst based in Delhi

The northeastern region of India covering a total area of about 2,55,000 sq km is surrounded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. Less than one percent of the external boundaries of the region are contiguous with rest of India while remaining 99 percent form international borders. There is not only geographical isolation of this region but also absence of cultural and psychological integration with the mainstream. Many ethnic groups in the region especially in the areas bordering the international boundaries have more in common with the population living across the boundary than with the rest of India. Bangladesh has been active in exploiting the situation in the Northeastern region and this has had impact on the overall security in the region.

East Pakistan had aided many insurgent activities in the India's northeast. After birth of Bangladesh till Mujibur Rehman was in power the relations were cordial. But, soon after his assassination, the forces used to the Pakistan way of thinking took over and earlier policy of hoisting anti-India insurgents on Bangladesh soil was revived.

Influx from Bangladesh is a major problem for the Northeast. There are estimated to be 15 to 18 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India who have spread all over in the Northeast with the bulk in Assam. Three to five million have spread over to Bihar, Bengal and to other parts of India. 'Operation Pin Code' is yet another motive of Pakistan ISI to pan-Islamise the Northeast. The aim is to first raise a Jihadi group to carve out the Bangladeshi dominated border areas of Assam as new districts of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has become very important to forces linked to al Qaeda. They have also managed to pool in ULFA leaders into this. Bangla Bhai, alias Siddiqul Islam, is leading violent campaign preaching militant Islam in different border districts of Bangladesh. His group comprising about 10,000 members is organising meetings and preaching Jihad. His Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh with ISI patronage has already made a dent in Assam. Khaleda Zia's government has been a spectator to the designs of fanatical elements across Bangladesh. Her coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami, is a fundamentalist political entity with no concern for any secular values. The impact of fundamentalism can be felt in some parts of the Northeast.

Madarssas have begun to proliferate in a big way both in Bangladesh as well inside India along the border areas. In Bangladesh there are about 64,000 Madarssas and the students who graduate from these religious seminaries are often lured by fundamentalists and fall prey to the attraction of Jihad. Matter of concern is the Madarssas proliferating along the Bangladesh border some of which harbour fundamentalist as well as insurgents/militant groups crossing over. Madarssas in Chittagong Hill Tract have been used by Harkat-ul-Jihad for arms training.

Inside Bangladesh there are a number of training, liaison camps and safe houses for the underground insurgents of the Northeast India like ULFA, Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam, NDFB, NSCN (IM), PLA, KYKL etc. ULFA leaders permanently reside in Dhaka and Chittagong. They are running lucrative business in Bangladesh and are living a luxurious life. ULFA seems to have a working relationship with the present Bangladesh Government. Recent Indian intelligence reports have indicated that there are at least 190 militant camps inside Bangladesh which train and house Northeast militants with the help of ISI and al Qaeda.

From Bangladesh, the ULFA has made contacts with arms dealers in Cambodia and Thailand. Cox's Bazaar became a transit route of weapons. Bangladesh also served as a place for currency conversion and flowing finances out of country. As a result of harbouring insurgents, Bangladesh has been flooded with small arms specially the Chittagong Hill Tracts. These weapons have been procured from insurgents groups in Myanmar and are brought by small speed boats to Chittagong ports or to unmonitored Cox's Bazaar's port and further purchased by other insurgent groups of North-East.

The presence of number of terrorists like Harkat-ul-Jihad, Al-Islami, Islami Liberation Tiger of Bangladesh, Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chatra Shibir, Arakan Rohingya National Organization etc in Bangladesh have made their impact in North-East insurgency. Linkages have been established between Harkat-ul-Jihad, Al-Islam and al Qaeda.

Pakistan under pressure from Western countries may have slowed down the pushing of terrorists into J&K but has now concentrated its attention towards Northeast India through Bangladesh which has turned into a hub centre for the terrorist organizations. The hostile attitude of Bangladesh can be seen in the recent border area incidents. It is a matter of deep concern for India


Indian scientists set to break West's nuke monopoly

Indo-Asian News Service

Kolkata, May 7, 2005

In a major leap for India's nuclear research, scientists in Kolkata have reached the advanced stage of constructing a superconducting cyclotron that could break the monopoly of the West in the field.

To be operational in two years, this powerful cyclotron being developed at the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) here, namely K500, would be the seventh of its kind in the world. There are three such cyclotrons in the US, one in Canada, one in Italy and one in the Netherlands.

"K500 would be indigenous and three times more powerful than the existing cyclotron here operational since 1980. It will be used by our scientists for carrying out highly advanced research experiments in nuclear science," the centre's director Bikash Sinha

"The majority of components were fabricated in the country and some of them, including the superconducting coil, at the VECC itself."

"The construction implies an important technological fallout in the field of cryogenics and superconducting magnets.

"It has applications in the areas of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for medical diagnostics, energy storage devices, rapid transport utilising magnet levitation," Sinha said.

"The international nuclear physics community has also shown a keen interest in using this facility for collaborative research. We want to make it internationally available and it is our fond desire that scientists from abroad outsource from us," he informed.

During construction, the superconducting magnet, the largest in the country, was energised to produce a very high magnetic field of 48 kilogauss. The energising coils, through which several hundred amperes of current flows, remains at minus 269 degrees centigrade with the help of about 300 litres of liquid helium in a special vessel called cryostat. The performance was highly satisfactory.

"Everything went off very smoothly. The coil was perfectly immersed and nothing happened," said Sinha.

What is K-500

K-500 is a superconducting cyclotron is being constructed at VECC Kolkata.
This will be constructed in two years

It would be the seventh of its kind in the world. US has three, one each in Canada, Italy and Netherlands

This will be helpful in highly advanced research experiments in nuke science
It has an important technological fallout in the field of cryogenics and superconducting magnets

K-500 is indigenous and three times more powerful than the existing cyclotron operational since 1980

May 06, 2005

Industrialists terrorised by Communist Government of West Bengal

After nearly three decades of communist rule, the state has been reduced to penury. Its debt has risen to one lakh crore of rupees and nobody says a word about it. Jyoti Basu's Communist party has now been reduced to a party of thugs and gangsters-and this admission comes from the officials of the party themselves.

Only the other day Mr Azim Premji made a powerful attack on the 'bundh culture' in West Bengal. A day after his attack comes news that the authorities who produce Amul milk in West Bengal are fed up with terrorism let loose on them by government officials. The charge against Amul is that they are producing more milk! Not less! In any civilized state, a manufacturer would be complimented for producing more of any product and thus providing jobs for more people. In West Bengal, a private party is not allowed to produce more than the norms laid down by the government.

Mr Rahul Kumar, Managing Director, Amul, has been quoted as saying that he is "fed up" with the state government's attitude and that he "never imagined that he would have to face such a situation" in West Bengal. Poor man. He evidently does not know how a corrupt communist government works.

Amul has a milk processing plant at a place called Chanditala. The communist government had imposed an order on the plant limiting its production to 80,000 liters per day. But peasants are producing more milk and the plant happily went on to process 1,30,000 liters a day to the delight-and profit-of the milkmen in the surrounding areas. This is resented by Buddhadev Bhattacharjee's communist government which apparently runs a milk plant of its own and does not want competition from an efficient and incorruptible plant such as Amul. Hence the harassment of Amul authorities. If Amul has its way it can increase its production to 2,25,000 liters a day most successfully. The communist government of West Bengal does not want more production. Nor is it interested in peasants' prosperity. It is interested only in power. To think, therefore, that the Leftists will establish a 'credible alternative' in Delhi is a joke. They have some base in West Bengal and in Kerala. Elsewhere in thi! s vast country they don't have a leg to stand on. They have no credibility. And if they are in power in West Bengal it is out of pure communist goondagiri. Right from the village panchayat level to the highest administrative level, the state is governed by naked terrorism. Industrialists do not want to move in, and their worries have now been publicly articulated by the likes of Azim Premji. So where do we go from here? Pranab Mukherjee would not have expressed his doubts about the possible longevity of the UPA government without sound reason and inside knowledge of what is going on. By his statement, Mukherjee has sounded the warning gong. The Congress cannot fight the communists. Only the BJP can. And the country must know that.

UPA-NDA deal on Laloo-Modi in offing

There are the makings of a deal between the UPA and the NDA, in that if Laloo Prasad Yadav is implicated in the burgeoning Bihar flood scam and is dropped from the Union cabinet, the BJP will ask Narendra Modi to go.

Top government sources said that Bihar governor Buta Singh at the Centre’s behest has recommended a CBI inquiry into the flood scam, in which Laloo’s brother-in-law, Sadhu Yadav, is already implicated, and the agency has been indicated politically to investigate in a direction to implicate Laloo as well.

Exceptionally, the CBI’s Patna unit has already been alerted to prepare to investigate the flood scam and implicate Laloo and his family and associates, and the political trade-off is that once Laloo is dropped as a consequence of these investigations, Modi in Gujarat would go.

The contours of this deal are yet unclear, because while the prime minister’s office knows about it, it is not a party to it, and obviously the Congress leadership is handling it, but the identity of those who have accepted this deal on the BJP side is unknown, although top officials say the deal has been run through the former PM, A.B.Vajpayee, and BJP president L.K.Advani.

Balochistan : Puzzle of balochis

Discussion on the blog:
an excerpt says "A small tribal guerrilla war, supported by a few secret special forces [what if they got caught?] and some Dollars could [speculation again] easily escalate and lead into an independence movement in Baluchistan which would be hard to overcome by military means."

"I wonder how:
Total population of Pakistan: 160 million
Population of Baluchs: 5.6 - 7.5 million"

Here is the Response:

But remember that the military is 90% Punjabi -- the Sindhis are against it, the Seraiki speakers are not interested, and the Pushtuuns have divided loyalties. That leaves about 60 million..

However, Pakistan will not muster volunteers for this fight. So the Baloch are really fighting a mercenary occupation army whose maximum strength is 600,000 (if every soldier were moved from the frontier with India and Afghanistan and patrolling Sindh), while virtually every Baloch male will fight as a matter of honor. So the number of troops will not do much.. that leaves the question of air force, far better equipped troops, etc.

As far as the population goes, Pakistan is trying to do a demographic transformation to make the Baluch a minority in their province. But the terrain is inhospitable and Pakistanis are not likely to move from the fertile plains to a desert before infrastructure is built for them -- which is what Pakistan is trying to do in order to encourage Punjabi migration. So the Baluch have limited time to react and they know it. If they do not react, they are history as a people with a land.

How christian CM-YSR ensures infiltration of christians into Tirupathi

-- Anonymous

Y "Samuel" Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), the CM of Andhra Pradesh, is
proving to be the greatest facilitator of christian missionary work in

Readers will recall that just a few days ago, he ensured the entry of
JRG Wealth Management Limited, organization owned by a Kochi based
syrian christian, G B Mathew, into the decision making and
procurement process of Prasadam materials for Ugranam of the Bhagawan
Venkateshwara Mandir in Tirupati.

And now, he has gone ahead in bringing in a deal between the SVIMS
(Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences owned and run by the
TTD) and the Frontier Lifeline and Dr K.M. Cherian Heart Foundation of
Chennai. Dr Cherian is a christian and the founder of Madras Medical
Mission, a true missionary hospital in Chennai. This telemedicine
facility was inaugurated by YSR yesterday, with his interaction with
Dr Cherian and his team through video conference.

While I do not intend to belittle the professional competance of Dr
Cherian, I am amazed and deeply hurt that the CM could not pick up
Hospitals owned and run by Hindus for a tie up with a premier
institution owned by one of the most sacred Mandirs of the Hindus. And
the money for which comes from common Hindu Bhaktas like you and me.
There are atleast a dozen or more institutions that can match up,
rival and even surpass the facilities offered by Dr Cherian and his team.

Perhaps, YSR does not consider hospitals owned and run by Hindus as
worthy of this alliance. Hospitals of eminence like the Apollo
Hospitals (Incidentally, the Chairman, Dr Pratap C Reddy comes from
Aragonda, about 40 Kms from Tirupathi and Apollo has a hospital
facility at Aragonda also), Sri Ramachandra Medical College and
Hospitals, Sri Sai Baba's wonderful hospital at Puttaparthi, Mata
Amritanandamayi's Hospital at Kochi, Narayana Hridayalaya of
Bangalore, the Escorts Hospital or for that matter any super
speciality hospital run by Hindus in his capital city- Hyderabad, as
worthy of associating with SVIMS.

YSR has also laid foundations for construction of Vasantha Mandapam in
Tirumala, renovation and construction of a new building for the Sri
Venkateshwara Oriental College in Tirupati etc., One should get into
the details of which firm of contractors has been awarded with the
contract for construction.

I will not be surprised if the study would reveal christians being the
benefactors of such contracts. Cost of the projects- Rs 109 Crores.

The converts like YSR are under constant compulsion to prove their
loyalty to the church.

What next Reddy? Affliliate the TTD Veda Patashala to the Vatican?

Go ahead. No body will raise their little finger in protest as you
systematically siphon Mandir funds for proselytization.

I am sure that by the end of his tenure, he will annexe TTD to Opus Dei.

Perhaps, with Hindu passivity at such a peak, he might even manage to
replace the Shanku/Chakra with the cross.

Bhagawan Balaji, Hum Hinduom ko kuch Sadbhuddhi Dijiye. Aur Hindu
Organizations ko kuch Buddhi Dijiye.

Balochistan : Puzzle of balochis

Discussion on the blog:
an excerpt says "A small tribal guerrilla war, supported by a few secret special forces [what if they got caught?] and some Dollars could [speculation again] easily escalate and lead into an independence movement in Baluchistan which would be hard to overcome by military means."

"I wonder how:
Total population of Pakistan: 160 million
Population of Baluchs: 5.6 - 7.5 million"

Here is the Response:

But remember that the military is 90% Punjabi -- the Sindhis are against it, the Seraiki speakers are not interested, and the Pushtuuns have divided loyalties. That leaves about 60 million..

However, Pakistan will not muster volunteers for this fight. So the Baloch are really fighting a mercenary occupation army whose maximum strength is 600,000 (if every soldier were moved from the frontier with India and Afghanistan and patrolling Sindh), while virtually every Baloch male will fight as a matter of honor. So the number of troops will not do much.. that leaves the question of air force, far better equipped troops, etc.

As far as the population goes, Pakistan is trying to do a demographic transformation to make the Baluch a minority in their province. But the terrain is inhospitable and Pakistanis are not likely to move from the fertile plains to a desert before infrastructure is built for them -- which is what Pakistan is trying to do in order to encourage Punjabi migration. So the Baluch have limited time to react and they know it. If they do not react, they are history as a people with a land.

Religious Bias Probed at Air Force Academy

Religious Bias Probed at Air Force Academy

Associated Press Writer
Wed May 4, 7:30 AM ET

The Pentagon will investigate complaints of widespread proselytizing and favoritism for Christians at the Air Force Academy, its second probe of the Colorado Springs campus in two years.

The announcement Tuesday by Michael L. Dominguez, acting Air Force secretary, made clear that the actions of senior commanders would be reviewed to see if they "enhance or detract from a climate that respects both the free exercise of religion and the establishment clauses of the First Amendment."

Among the complaints: A professor who required cadets to pray before taking his test, a Protestant chaplain who warned anyone not proselytizing would "burn in the fires of hell," and a football coach who hung a locker room banner announcing: "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."

Two years ago, the Defense Department and the Air Force sent teams to the academy after nearly 150 women came forward to say they had been assaulted by fellow cadets over the past decade. Many alleged they were punished, ignored or ostracized by commanders when they spoke out.

The academy's top commanders were replaced and officials began intensive efforts to change a climate they said had made the scandal possible.

The latest task force will be led by Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, and is to give a preliminary report by May 23. The academy released a statement saying it would cooperate with the investigation.

The academy said the religious tolerance problem came to light through internal surveys, and commanders then invited staff and cadets to report religious discrimination. Fifty-five cases were reported.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which investigated, said prayers were held before academy sanctioned events and students, faculty and staff frequently pressured cadets to attend chapel and receive religious instruction.

The academy's No. 2 officer, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, is a self-described born-again Christian, and critics say he frequently mixes religion with his official duties.

In an e-mail in May 2003 he urged cadets to "ask the Lord to give us the wisdom to discover the right. ... The Lord is in control. He has a plan for ... every one of us." Later he issued a memo stating that cadets are accountable first to their God.

Academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker said Weida now runs his messages by several other commanders before sending them. Weida did not immediately respond to a request for an interview Tuesday.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State said evangelical Christians wield too much power.

"The close relationship between the academy and evangelical Christianity sends a message of exclusion to those of other faiths," said Rev. Barry Lynn, the group's executive director.

Lynn praised the formation of the task force but said members planned to monitor the situation. After the complaints became public, commanders organized religious tolerance classes and ordered everyone at the academy to attend.

Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group based near the academy, criticized the investigation.

"The Air Force trains the cadets to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary, and even to imply that it is wrong to talk about the ultimate meaning of life, which is religious, is absurd," said Tom Minnery, director of public policy.

May 05, 2005

Hindu magistrate, Muslim lawyer trapped in communal divide

Hindu magistrate, Muslim lawyer trapped in communal divide

MALEGAON (MAHARASHTRA), MAY 4: As local police nervously watch, an alleged affair between a Hindu magistrate and Muslim lawyer has flared communal tensions in this teeming Maharashtra town known for its powerlooms and sectarian violence.
Lawyer Noorjehan Mohammed Hussein Ansari (24) and Judicial Magistrate First Class Balasaheb Hiralal Bharaskar (31) were dragged out of a state rest house on March 7 by four Muslim youth who allegedly ‘‘caught them in a compromising position’’.
Ansari initially accused the judge of rape. And Bharaskar, a probationary magistrate with two children, was arrested and removed from service—he was later granted conditional bail.

But now, Ansari says she had accused the judge under duress from police and a local madarsa cleric. She has also withdrawn her complaint and rubbishes the ‘‘story’’ that the town—290 km north of Mumbai and 75 per cent Muslim—has come to accept as the truth.

She says she will now approach the High Court for justice. ‘‘I want an in-depth inquiry into the incident and action taken against the madarsa and the youth,’’ she told The Indian Express.

‘‘How can I have an affair with him (Bharaskar) when I don’t even know him? That day I was taking a walk when some young men chased me and tried to outrage my modesty. I went into the rest house for safety,’’ she says, adding that Bharaskar was actually trying to help her.

The four young men allegedly took the couple to cleric Mufti Mohammed Ismail at the Mohammediya Madarsa ‘‘to do justice’’. Soon, an angry mob gathered there till a police lathicharge restored order. The cleric then handed over the couple to the police and Ansari filed a FIR accusing Bharaskar of raping her several times.
‘‘They took us to the madarsa, where I was forced to file a case of rape. The mufti also asked the magistrate to convert to Islam and marry me but we refused to do so,’’ she says.

In the profession for six months, Ansari is Malegaon’s fifth female Muslim lawyer. The incident has ruined her life and made her insecure, she says.
Bharaskar was a lawyer at Ahmednagar for seven years and became a magistrate after four attempts at passing the examination. He was posted at Malegaon in January. He was not available for comment.

His lawyer, who requested anonymity fearing reprisals, says that the case had been fabricated by the police and the mufti. He insisted Bharaskar had only tried to save Ansari from being beaten up by the young men, who were allegedly stalking her. ‘‘There is no illicit relationship involved,’’ says the lawyer.
The cleric, meanwhile, denies allegations that he had asked Bharaskar to convert or marry the lawyer. ‘‘I told her I could not ask anyone to convert as it’s a personal decision,” says Ismail.

Malegaon SP Raj Vardhan says the case is under investigation. ‘‘The truth will come out,’’ he says.

Take them out of seventh century

Balbir K Punj

The Malegaon 'scandal' involving a lady Muslim lawyer and a Hindu Magistrate that made six-column front page news in a national daily (The Indian Express, May 5, 2005) is a presage of doom, should Islam prevail over other parts of India. Such an incident occurring in an otherwise predominantly Hindu State like Maharashtra makes one apprehensive about the state of affairs in Muslim-dominated parts of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc.

On March 7, a 24-year-old lady Muslim lawyer Noorjehan Ansari and Class I Judicial Magistrate Balasaheb Hiralal Bharaskar-who were then recently posted at Malegaon-were dragged out of a State rest house by four Muslim youth who had allegedly "caught them in a compromising position". They took them not to the Police but to the mufti (Muslim jurist or counsel, popularly known as Qazi), Mohammed Ismail of the local madarsa for 'justice'.

Noorjehan had initially accused Magistrate Bharaskar of rape, which led to his imprisonment and termination of service. But now the truth has come out as the accused, driven by scruples of conscience (one assumes), has decided to spill the beans. She now says that she had accused the Magistrate, a complete stranger to her, under duress by the police and the mufti. The Magistrate, far from harming her was actually trying to help her. On that fateful day, when she was taking a walk, some young men chased her and tried to outrage her modesty. She took shelter in the rest house for safety. But soon four of those men barged into the rest house and took the woman along with the Magistrate to the mufti with an ulterior motive.

She also informed that the mufti had told Bharaskar to convert to Islam and marry her, and only then he could be spared. The Qazi now denies the allegation of coercion for conversion. But those familiar with Islamic history have reason to feel otherwise. All through the Islamic era, Kings and Qazis offered Hindu subjects guilty of offending Muslims, absolution from offence on condition of accepting Islam. Such torment was meted out to Guru Teg Bahadur, Bhai Mati Das, Vir Hakikat Rai before they preferred Martyrdom.

So after all tall claims of post-modernism and progressiveness, are we moving towards a medieval India, bedevilled by increasing aggressions of Islam? The model nikahnamah (marriage code) released by All India Personal Law Board was recently in news. I am not going into the nitty-gritty of the nikahnamah which might be one and a half step forward for those who lag by hundreds of miles. But it underlines the prominent role of Qazis in Muslim divorce cases.

In 'secular' India, none except a Muslim can practice polygamy. A marriage can be solemnised by a priest but can be annulled by a court of law, in a process that is often protracted, acrimonious and expensive. But for Muslims, not even a cleric is necessary to dissolve a marriage. Mere utterance of the word talaq thrice would do. The model nikahnamah has chosen to retain triple talaq as an integral part of the sharia, though simultaneous utterance is now counselled against.

In matters of criminal law, Indian Muslims have conveniently parted ways with the sharia and accepted being governed by the law of the land. Otherwise, a Muslim might lose his right arm for stealing, or be publicly stoned to death for committing a rape. Such medieval barbaric penalties are still prevalent in some Arab countries. But they have kept personal laws out of the purview of the state's law. When Allahabad High Court in 1994 denounced the power of a Muslim husband to throw his wife out by uttering talaq-talaq-talaq as contrary in spirit to the Indian Constitution, the highly agitated ulema said that no attempt to interfere with the sharia would be allowed. Independent India has tolerated all these under the name of 'secularism'.

The Shah Bano Case (1985) exemplified the extent to which 'secular' India could buckle under pressure of the ulemas. The Rajiv Gandhi Government that enjoyed three-fourth majority in the Parliament got the Supreme Court's order abrogated through Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. The Supreme Court had held that a divorced Muslim woman was entitled to get maintenance from her husband under 125 CPC. Shah Bano's husband Mohammed Ahmed Khan had argued that marriage under the sharia being a contract, he was not liable to give her maintenance.

I shall not dwell on the legal merit and inadequacy of the MW (PRD) Act, 1986. But it is a fact that Congress buckled under the ulema who deemed Supreme Court's verdict an attack on Islam. The fundamentalists' muscle flexing was evident -there would be some direct action if the law were to prevail in place of the sharia.

In days of the British rule, a counsel of the Muslim offender who killed a Hindu (Kafir) used to argue that the accused had done no wrong according to the precepts of the sharia. Lawyers as eminent as Asif Ali had reasoned so. The British judges who had established the modern legal system in India, of course rejected such arguments. Today we hear of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind openly raising the demand for establishment of sharia courts throughout the country.

While there is dishonesty in the Indian establishment's approach, the AIMPLB modus operandi smells of conspiracy. Population control, for the umpteenth time now, has been repudiated as counter-Islamic. Maulana Rabey Hasni Nadwi, Chairman, AIMPLB had categorically declared so after Census 2001 became public. How is it that several self-assured Muslim countries in the world have long done away with polygamy, Wakf, whilst also implementing family planning? Family planning seems Islamic when a Muslim is the absolute master and Islam prevails. But it seems blasphemous in a Dar-ul-Harb (enemy territory or non-Islamic land) which is yet to be converted into a Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam). In a democracy where each individual has just one vote, the most effective strategy to gain back India as Dar-ul-Islam is to procreate more.

It is naive of 'secularists' to argue that the desire for reform must come from within the society. Sadly, they display no interest to understand Islam, the only religion that has defied any change for the last 1400 years. There can be no reformer in Islam since Allah says in the Qur'an, "This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (sura-5 ayat-3). So there can be innovation in religion. Its latest craze is to take the world back to seventh century Arabia. Indeed there are some moderate and progressive Muslim countries that were influenced by the West in the 19th and 20th century. But things are regressing now.

The Indian 'welfare state', in the name of 'secularism', has allowed two sets of laws, education system and women's rights to exist. This has kept mullah-bound Muslims poor, unhygienic, uneducated and unemancipated. Mullahs only concern is to spread the sway of Islam, without really improving the daily lives of its folks. This 'secularism' has now become a nuisance widening the chasms between Muslims and the remaining society. A society bereft of reforms becomes ntolerant and aggressive. India will paradoxically do the biggest disservice to its pluralist ethos if it allows such orthodoxy to flourish and impinge upon others' lives. We cannot prove our love for Muslims by feigning a predilection for its orthodoxy. To love the patient is not to love his disease.

(The writer, a Rajya Sabha MP and Convener of BJP's Think Tank can be contacted at

Pakistan: Economic and Security Progress and Political Stagnation

Source : CSIS

Washington’s March 25 decision to allow the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan and President Pervez Musharraf’s April visit to India capped a year of economic progress and greater political tranquility in Pakistan. Musharraf remains army chief and has kept tight control of the political system. With national elections two years away, he is working on political deals to guarantee his reelection. The India-Pakistan peace process will continue, though real settlement negotiations will require more policy changes than either side has been willing to make thus far. Pakistan’s long-term domestic challenge is still there: to rebuild institutions and deal with extremists who flout the government’s authority.
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The coups in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine are under study in Russia for learning the lessons taught

The coups in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine are under study in Russia for learning the lessons taught

Russian Security Council secretary Igor Ivanov said it in the interview to the journal Strategiya Rossii (Russia's Strategy).

In his opinion, "a change of power by undemocratic methods" has taken place in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

"When they speak of 'velvet' revolutions, victory of democracy in these countries - all this makes me skeptical", Igor Ivanov stressed, calling all the three "unconstitutional change of power".

"Imagining for a moment something like that in countries of West Europe, I strongly doubt that Western democracy could have put up with such practices of coming to power", Igor Ivanov said.

But, he said "they are the realities and we as a state should reckon with them", which means maintenance of relations in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan with those who have assumed responsibility for the political processes in their countries.

"On the personal plane, what has happened can be assessed however emotionally but, in relations between the countries, sober sense and the analysis of the situation should predominate", Igor Ivanov noted.

To him, the main mistake made by these countries' authorities in recent years is that no solid democratic institutions have been built up.

Igor Ivanov stressed that "in any case an analysis of the situation is required so that with its help to learn lessons from practice".

"We in Russia have been making, especially in recent months, the required steps in this respect", he stressed.

"On one hand, the state and the system of power are being strengthened. One the other hand, power-society dialog is becoming fuller", explained the secretary of the Russian Security Council.

In his opinion, "the rate of movement in these two directions will make it possible to retain political stability in the country".

Courageous officers who raided Shahbuddin's Siwan : IntelliBriefs Salutes Mr.Chandrakant Anil, Mr.Ratn Sanjay

India's Most Wanted

I appeal to the Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, to personally intervene to ensure Anil-Ratn's security -- to withdraw Shahabuddin's Z-security and accord it to Anil-Ratn instead.


I have never met Chandrakant Anil. Nor Ratn Sanjay. Yet I salute this 1991 IAS and 1998 IPS duo currently serving Siwan. I believe the entire Indian civil service, should give them a standing ovation and support them for doing what few in the system have had the courage to do. They have put their own lives at stake, becoming marked men forever, by putting the common weal before personal safety or career. They have protected democracy and shown us a sterling example of what good governance means in the rough and tumble of day-to-day life in one of India’s most backward states. If only the rule of law had been upheld by the civil service on the very first day when the first version of Shahabuddin attempted to raise his head in Siwan,, we would have been spared all that's followed.

But, finally, by reading out the law to Mohammed Shahabuddin, MP, in his own language, the duo has redefined the lingua franca of good governance in Bihar. Raids on Shahabuddin's house have revealed tiger and deer skins, night-vision goggles, laser-aided guns and other arms with markings of Pakistan ordinance factories. Further photos of the honourable MP with some of India’s most wanted criminals have reportedly been seized. In other words, a man who sits inside the hallowed walls of Parliament is a national security threat! And the union government continues providing him Z-category security, to protect a habitual criminal. What a shame.

Can Shahabuddin explain to the nation why, and how many times, he visited Kashmir and the border areas in the past four or five years? Did he go there to procure the rocket launchers with which he fired on SP B.S. Meena? He is also said to have had the president of the Siwan Policemen’s Association killed because he refused to support him in the recent elections. Lastly, there's the matter of those who have vanished from Siwan. Every child in Siwan knows where these people vanished, and where more than a hundred bodies lie buried now. The government should order this private graveyard, bang in his backyard, to be dug up, bodies exhumed, scientific identification done and the pictures displayed for the nation to see, so that shame is out in the open and not hidden. And to see that justice is done to the perpetrator of this outrage.

Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Bihar, should now seize all the properties, which are known to be owned by or captured by the honourable MP through benami methods, and auction them; re-open his tax returns which have been quietly filed away for years, and freeze his bank accounts. The honourable MP has violated almost every law of every department and yet no one has had the courage to look at him till date.

We all have, at one time or the other, lamented, in drawing room conversations, about the degeneration of the system in India. Despite our spectacular achievements in other fields, we are reducing ourselves to a nation of hand-wringers when it comes to standing up for the right and doing something about it. The time has come for every right thinking Indian to standup and be counted. To support Anil, Ratn and others like them who, in the face of several insuperable odds, are saving that very system that most only talk about saving.
Each time we talk about saving it, and don’t do anything, we are saving the nation on a part-time basis - something no nation can afford.

To those who are scared to take him on, all I ask is: Would they have reacted similarly, if Shahabuddin had targeted their own family in any one of these ways? Why then a different attitude when it comes to the public cause? We often forget we are holding a trust - called the IAS - given to us by the people through the Indian Constitution, and not something we have got due to the abiding grace of any individual, no matter how powerful he may be. We owe a solemn responsibility to uphold this trust, conscientiously and faithfully. And if we cannot act, we should resign and make way for someone who can stand up.

In this context, I feel compelled to recount a conversation I had with a not-so-honourable occupant of yet another high, honourable, constitutional position in India, on October 16, 1996. He, along with many other ‘honourables’, appalled at the rate at which we were demolishing illegal buildings in Delhi to restore public land for public purposes, and after holding out several threats to me and my family, and after physically trying to harm us, finally said: "Why don’t you select a different, smaller target and forget about this?". To which I replied, precisely what I have argued above: "I hold a trust called the IAS- If I do not have the courage to take on the biggest offender first, I should resign from the service and make way for someone else who can."

The British ruled India with just two or three provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, namely Section 133 (public nuisance), Section 144 (Unlawful assembly) and a few others. Today, with many more powerful laws in the arsenal of the modern administrator, he is often unable to control even petty law and order issues, what to speak of controlling habitual criminals like Shahabuddin. What an inescapable irony of history: too many laws, yet too little justice; too much of government, but too little governance.

All right thinking IAS officers must form a collective action group to support those who silently toil and uphold the law. The time has come to realise that the myriad conduct rules cannot be for good officers in the IAS alone, while others who devour the fence from within -- and the political executive -- have none whatsoever. This asymmetry must end. As also must end the legacy of administrative impotence which has slowly crept into the system in Bihar (and in different degrees, elsewhere), often under the guise of ‘remaining balanced’, or for ‘not acting in haste’ or something else equally laudable. All these are indeed extremely important and worthwhile canons of administration, if we have a strong state, functioning in normal circumstances; not after we ourselves reduce the state to spectacular impotence, through decades of masterly inactivity and cowardice, as has happened in Bihar.

Unless the like-minded in the IAS support the countless faceless yet courageous officers like Anil-Ratn, who to a lesser or greater degree, are doing a phenomenal, yet unsung job, of upholding the law, every single day, the service would continue to lose professionalism, whatever execution capabilities it has at present and public respect, at an even greater pace than what is happening today. And we will get blamed for anything and everything from the Latur earthquake to the Asian tsunami!

I appeal to the Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, to personally intervene to ensure Anil-Ratn’s security -- to withdraw Shahabuddin’s Z-security and accord it to Anil-Ratn instead. The PM should act, and not allow Shahabuddin to do so.
A public acknowledgement that officers like them in the service are examples of how good officers should be, and that they are indeed coveted. This one act would be applauded much more than one thousand words on administrative reforms. If this PM, of unimpeachable integrity, doesn’t act now to protect officers who stand up for the public good, no one else perhaps ever will.

What is paramount to appreciate is that while Anil and Ratn are exceptional, they are not exceptions. There are many officers in the service, who if given a similar opportunity, will do exactly the same. I for one would happily give up my current position at a premier international financial institution (IFI) and go to an equally challenging district in Bihar if I am ordered to do so by the government and given a similar mandate. I am fully aware that I am just a very small cog in the proverbial wheel of government, yet if it helps, I am offering to do so now - which would be my modest contribution to strengthen the best career in the world, the IAS, in my own small way.

And I am not alone. There are many more like me in the IAS and IPS, who would readily do so. Sadly, public perception is not this. Public perception needs to be changed and directed to the fact that India possesses one of the most brilliant higher civil service in the world, which sits on top of one of the most appalling lower civil services, thereby often becoming the object of public opprobrium. Having had the benefit of seeing the IAS, the multilateral world and the private sector from very close quarters, I can aver with confidence that the canvas, the diversity of work, the opportunity for having impact on the lives of the common people, civil service outclasses all others.

Individuals will come and go. But institutions have to go on forever if we, India’s gen-next, aspire to build anything close to a modern, prosperous country. The time has now come for individuals to (re)create institutions, so that, someday institutions can create individuals. To stop being a nation of hand-wringers, when it comes to standing up and acting for the common weal. And to realise that we cannot save the country on a part-time basis.

Srivatsa Krishna is an IAS officer.These are strictly his personal views and not those of any institution, he is associated with, in any way. But he fervently hopes these are also the views of India, and of every right thinking Indian.


RSS : Sting Operators( aka Tehelka) stung by truth

India's No.1 sting operators Tehelka decided to have a go at Sangh. On scanning the galaxy of Sangh leaders they zeroed on Shri Madhavrao G. Vaidya, who was a spokesperson of Sangh. He has retired 16 months back from this responsibility and has gone back to Nagpur. He has some land at a nearby village Taroda and sometimes he also stays there to attend his personal work. Shri Vijay Simha, a journalist from Tehelka met him and asked for an interview. Shri Vaidya refused to give any interview regarding Sangh and asked him to contact the present spokesperson Shri Ram Madhav for that purpose. After much persuasion, he agreed, but insisted that Tehelka must send him a written questionnaire and he will send his written replies.

The technique of a personal interview is varied. But the main weapon to confuse an interviewee is to put a question and if he/she is giving a correct answer, put him another question before he finishes his reply. This technique is used by even an old reporter of BBC was interviewing Netanyahu, once the PM of Israel. The same was used against Shri Narendra Modi by a TV channel. But he pointedly completed the answer to his first question and then went on to the next. Shri Vaidya is dedicated Swayamsevak since 40s. He was a Sanskrit professor in a Nagpur College. Later he was the editor of Tarun Bharat Nagpur for years, which he ran successfully. Thus he has a long experience of journalism and has seen the thin and thick in the prime years of Sangh, was an ideologue and formed an important member of the core body deciding the policy matters of Sangh.

His answers are lucid, clear and pointed. He analyses the questions and separate the husk from grain and points out the inconsistencies in the questions. If they are loaded and asked with a prejudice, he understands them and says so. Most importantly, he does not try to answer such questions with the false basis on which the question is asked, but first demolishes the basis which the interviewer has taken for granted and then gives his answer straight and to the point. Shri Simha has used all the techniques in asking the questions. But Vaidya was not trapped.

Tehelka could not twist the answers given by Shri Vaidya as they were in writing. But what it has done is to misuse its prerogative of editors to:

1.. Change the order of questions instead of printing them in the same order as in their questionnaire
2.. Doctor the text by just dropping inconvenient portions and lastly,
3.. Not printing some important questions and answers. They asked 25 questions and printed only 14.

We obtained the text of questions and answers from Shri M. G. Vaidya and are reproducing it in the annexure. It is printed in the same order in which the questions were asked and answered by Shri Vaidya with the following features:

At the end of the question the number at which it is printed is given in bracket. The question which was answered but was not printed or the portion, which was not printed, is given in italics. It will be noticed that the dropped portions are inconvenient for Tehelka to print and do not go with the aim of the article which was written by Simha. Many of them were prejudiced and asked with the intention of creating confusion. But the answers are very clear and in fact satisfactory and beyond criticism.


Original Text of questions and answers of the written interview given by Shri M. G. Vaidya to Tehelka.

Q.1: How has the R.S.S. changed from earlier times?
A.: The R.S.S. was founded in 1925. Many a change has been effected like in any living organism. In the beginning only school going young boys attended the Shakha. So the programmes were conducted in the evening only. Later on employed people came to attend; for their convenience, the morning Shakhas were started. Afterwards, the RSS reached the rural areas. For labourers and farmers, the night Shakhas were started.

There was change in the ceremonial uniform also. The pant as well as the shirt was of the same colour viz khaki. During the Second World War, the then British Govt imposed restrictions on the drill-exercises conducted by private organizations. One restriction was that the drill should not be conducted in uniform and the uniform was defined as the identical colour of the pant and the shirt. The RSS changed the colour of the shirt from khaki to white. Formerly long boots were an essential part of the uniform, now ordinary boots do.

Many changes took place in the nature of the physical programmes also. Nagpur being its birthplace, the RSS adopted and adapted the physical training routinely given in the ‘akharas' (traditional gymnasiums) e.g. wielding lathi (stick) sword and spear. Later on they were dropped and ‘soorya-namaskar’, Niyuddha (similar to Judo-karate), and yogasanas were introduced. Even some of these programmes were waived to suit the swayamsevaks who were above 45 years. Sizeable number of Swayamsevaks in the age group of 45-70 are daily attending the shakhas; for them ‘yogasanas’ and ‘dhyan’ are the programmes.

The original prayer of the RSS was partly in Marathi and partly in Hindi, a typical reminder of the bilingual character of the province named as Central Provinces and Berar, which contained eight Marathi-speaking districts and fourteen Hindi –speaking districts and of which Nagpur was the capital. When the RSS spread to different parts of the country, it adopted its present Sanskrit prayer from the year 1940. Even the orders in the Shakhas, which were formerly a mix of Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit, were all changed to Sanskrit. So it is a gradual evolution. The spirit is the same the form has changed. You can call it a gradual enfoldment.

Q.2: What do you think of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination? Was it good or bad? Why? (8)
A.: It was bad. It hurt our culture, our value system. The RSS condemned the crime. The then RSS Chief Shri M.S. Golwalkar, while condoling Mahatma’s death had written to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on 31st January 1948 “This vile act is a blot on our society”. He called it an “abominable act”. To Sardar Patel, in his Hindi letter he said “such a heinous and abominable incident has probably never been witnessed before...... It is difficult to find words to condemn the person who has committed the crime.” All swayamsevaks share this sentiment.

Q.3: What are the RSS views on Muslims? (9)
A.: Being staunch Hindus, we do not have any prejudice against any religion. But the behaviour of the majority of Muslims had become strange after 1947. The British rulers tried hard to dissuade the Muslims from joining the mainstream movement for independence. They nurtured and nourished their separatist tendencies; and Muslims-fell victim to the British strategy. This resulted in the vivisection of our beloved Motherland. The RSS experiences pain about this vivisection. It is remarkable that 85% of the Muslims, who were not to go to their dreamland of Pakistan and were destined to remain in Bharat voted for Pakistan. In 1946 elections, the Congress was for “Akhand Bharat” and the Muslim League for divided Bharat. And in all the constituencies reserved for Muslims, where the entire electorate used to be Muslim, 85% voters voted for partition. We could have forgotten this ‘sin’, but their attitude still persists; and many of our political parties, for their narrow political ends, even now pamper to their separatist mentality. Instead of strengthening the 15% that voted against partition, the Congress, which came to power in 1947, followed policies that nourished fissiparous tendencies of pro-partition Muslims Why, is there no uniform Civil Law? Why is there special article 370 for J & K state? Why is Haj-subsidy given? Why there different criteria to judge the below-poverty-line status? They say that they want to preserve the special identity of the Muslims. Has the separate identity of the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists obliterated by following the uniform civil code? In Goa, there is a common law of marriage and divorce for all citizens, including Muslims. Has the religious identity of the Muslims vanished? Why is there article 370, only for the J & K state? Is it not a fact that it is so, because it is a Muslim majority state? Why were 5% Kashmiri Hindus hounded out of the Kashmir valley? Why in Western Pakistan Hindu population, which was 18% in 1947, is now just 1%? And in Bangla Desh, why is it reduced from 38% to 9%? The Muslims owe an explanation for it. We know that there are patriotic Muslims also; and they share the RSS view of one nation, one people. Quite a few of them might be attending the RSS Shakhas also. Even admitting that the Muslims are a religious minority, their special rights should be restricted to religious sphere only. They should not be extended to the political, administrative, economic or social spheres. Irrespective of the religious denominations, all have equal rights. The value of each citizen’s vote is the same, then why this craze for separate treatment?

Q.4: Why are there no Muslims in the RSS hierarchy? (10)
A.: We do not maintain a religionwise, caste-wise or language-wise register, because we do not make a distinction on these counts. Our set up is based on unmitigated commitment to and sacrifice for our ideology and ideals. Those who fulfill this condition, they go up. It will be profitable and appropriate to address this question to the Muslims.

Q.5: Will you ever have women in the main RSS set up? (11)
A.: There is a separate organization for women known as the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the short form of which is also RSS. They form part of our ideological ‘Pariwar.’ We and they both are satisfied with this dispensation. Did you receive any complaints from the female society, on this score?

Q.6: Guruji Golwalkar had said the RSS has nothing to do with politics. How do you explain the RSS moving to politics with the BJP now? (It has its men as secretaries in the BJP)? (2)
A.: You ought to have given the context in which Shri Guruji said so. It was in Shri Guruji’s Sarsanghchalakship that the Bharatiya Jan Sangh was started; and a few top RSS pracharaks like Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya, Nanaji Deshmukh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kushabhau Thakre were released from their responsibility in RSS to associate and help Dr. S.P.Mukherji, the founder of the Jan Sangh. What Shri Guruji insisted on was that the Jan Sangh should work as an independent and autonomous body. The RSS men, who went to different fields of social activities, were expected to establish the RSS ideology of cultural nationalism (i.e. Hindu Rashtra) in their spheres of activity and work there with the RSS character of regarding the country and the society above any individual. I need not here, elaborate the connotation of ‘Hindu’ as accepted by the RSS. It is not religious, but nationalistic, because it is cultural and moral. One who regards this land as his motherland and therefore is not shy to say ‘Vande Mataram’, takes pride in the country’s glorious past and subscribes to its ethos or culture, I mean Value-system is a Hindu. It has little to do with his way of worship or faith. The aim of the RSS is to organize the entire society. It has not envisaged itself as an Organization ‘in’ the society. It is an organization ‘of’ the society. Therefore, it has allowed its workers to work in various spheres of our social life. Politics is one such sphere, not the only one. RSS is aloof from election-politics, competitive politics to gain and retain political power. It is aware of the influence of politics on social behaviour and has concern for what happens there. But it does not aspire for power for itself. Even in Jansangh times, the RSS men like Upadhyaya, Vajpayee and Deshmukh occupied responsible positions in the party. The RSS constitution prevents the RSS office holders from holding positions in the political party. RSS Swaysamsevaks are free to join any political party that does not believe in violence and has no extra-territorial loyalties.

Q.7: Why is the RSS secretive body even in 2004?
A.: It is not a secretive body. It was not so before and is not so even now. It functions in the open, in the open ground. How can it be secretive Dr. Hedgewar had put a model of our family life for the RSS. We have many a meeting without any agenda; we unofficially meet on several occasions; many of the things are meant for us as in a family. So, for many years, we ignored the publicity part, so much so that there was not even a nominal ‘publicity’ department till 1994. This gave an impression that the RSS is a secretive association. This also gave an opportunity to RSS baiters to rant mischievously and malignantly to malign it and create a negative image of it.

Q.8: Golwalkar had also said that violence has no place in the RSS. How do you explain the Gujarat riots in this context? (12)
A.: The Gujarat riots were not sponsored by the RSS. No organization had sponsored them. It was an emotional outburst of a reaction of all the Hindus to the Godhra massacre. Nobody expected that the Gujarat Hindu would be as ferocious as the Jihadi Muslim mobs. No Hindu leadership can provoke the Hindu masses like that, which is a prerogative of the Muslim masses and their leaders. It is a typical Hindu mentality of self-condemnation and condonation of others, that puts under carpet the Godhra massacre and concentrate on its violent reactions. You also are a typical Hindu and therefore are disturbed by the unprecedented happenings in Gujarat. Were you equally moved by the plight of Kashmiri Hindus? Have you ever thought it fit to visit Kashmir valley and try to understand the atmosphere there? In the heart of your heart, you might be thinking that it is normal for Muslims to kill, to rape, to intimidate and drive out people disliked by them.

Q.9: What about the RSS accounts? Why is there such a fuss about it?
A.: The RSS accounts are in perfect order from the day of its inception. We have not heard about any fuss about it. If at all any fuss can be imagined, it must come from the Swayamsevaks of the RSS. How are others concerned about that? RSS does not approach any body for grant or charity.

Q.10: Why does the RSS try to unite Hindus on an anti-minority platform?
A.: This is a blatant misconception. Had there been not even a single person of so called minority, RSS would have thought it imperative to unite the Hindus, for the simple reason that the destiny of this country is inextricably linked with the people known as Hindus. Where Hindus become a minority, there is every danger of that part, getting alienated. Why was Pakistan created? The root cause is that Hindus there had become a minority. Why are Hindus hounded out of Kashmir valley, because Hindus are a minority. Why is there problem in Nagaland? Because Hindus are a minority. So, to keep the country united and integrated Hindu - unity is essential. Hindu people are divided into various castes and languages; Because of appreciation of plurality in all forms of social and religious activities, differences naturally arise. These lead to division and mutual distrust. Therefore, it is of vital importance to lay stress on the underlying unity. RSS is engaged in doing that. It does not aim at eliminating plurality it aims at making people realize the inherent unity underlying that plurality. RSS has been working for the last 78 years. No organization worth its name can sustain, not to speak of flourishing, on the basis of any negative platform. We are a tolerant people. But should that mean that we should tolerate the intolerance of others? RSS says no; and Hindus of your ilk call it anti-something. It may sound ironical but it is true that Muslims understand RSS better than Hindus.

Q.11: Does the RSS swear allegiance to the constitution of India? (12)
A.: The mildest answer to this question is that it is an absurd question, if not born out of prejudice or malice or both. The constitution is the primary law of the land and every citizen is bound to honour it. But even this primary law is subject to change, because it has a certain contemporary quality about it. It is not the last word of any prophet. Had it been so, it would not have incorporated a methodology for change. It is now about ninety times that we have changed it Mrs. India Gandhi even dared to change the preamble which is the soul of any constitution. This question ought to have been put to Mrs. Gandhi (I mean the late one) whether she owed allegiance to the Constitution.

Q.12: Why does the R.S.S. not propagate secularisms?
A.: Why should it do so? Voltaire the celebrated French thinker had aptly stated, “If you talk to me, please, define your terms.” I will better ask a secularist, “Please define secularism?” Are you accepting the meaning of the term as given in any Standard English dictionary? I have before me a “Random House Dictionary.” Here the meaning of the word ‘secular’ is given “of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual or sacred, temporal” According to the RSS the state is secular, it must be secular because it does not deal with religious or spiritual things. It is a mundane affair. According to Hindu Culture, it is as natural as a man to have two legs. The advice for a secular state should be directed to those, who advocate a theocratic state. Did RSS ever advocate the concept of a theocratic state? In the whole world, hardly you will find a Muslim majority state a secular state. They should be taught the virtues of a secular state. In Europe, because the spiritual and temporal authorities were concentrated in one individual, or you may say in one institution, there was a cry and indeed need for a secular state. No such thing happened in a majority Hindu state. Nepal proclaims herself as a Hindu Nation, and yet there are mosques and churches there. Can you establish a temple of Lord Tirupati in Saudi Arabia, or Iran or Afghanistan or Pakistan? May I tell you that before 1976, the word ‘secular’ was not present in our constitution? Was our constitution from 1950 to 1976 non-secular or theocratic? We have adopted another meaning of the word ‘secular’, and it is a right meaning i.e. the state is not an irreligious institution; but it respects all religions equally; the state is not favourable to any one religion. The RSS stands by this interpretation. I will like to ask whether a state that frames its laws on the consideration of separate religions, can be called secular? We have such laws: a different law of marriage for different religions; and different status for stares that have a majority of Muslims. A central law of restricting the number of ministers, is not applicable to J & K State. Even Assembly elections there are held every six years. Why? Can this state be called a true secular state? Please pose this question to your Leftist friends who supported the demand for Pakistan on religious basis and who still support different laws for different religious communities. As far as RSS is concerned it is for a genuine secular state. Besides, secularism is a quality of a State and statecraft. Individual life can be religious I trust, you are not advocating the banishment of religion as had happened in the USSR.

Q.13: The RSS is probably the only organization that takes minors in its wings.
A.: No Even the primary and secondary schools, even private schools can and do take minors in their wings. For what? To give them ‘Samskaras’ of education. The RSS too invites the young boys to give ‘Samskaras’ of discipline, obedience and good character, through the method of physical exercises. No minor is administered the pledge of the RSS.

Q.14: What do you intend to do about the negative image of the RSS
A.: Nothing special. We try to project the correct picture of the organization. It is the media, both printed and electronic, that creates our image. We try to inform the media. I hope that you do not expect us to bribe the media or terrorize them. On your part, you can help project a correct image of the RSS. The RSS will be satisfied with that.

Q.15: How will you improve the RSS relations with the church and the mosque?
A.: Our main target is to transform the Hindu Society into a harmonious entity. AS for the Church or the Mosque we are not averse to meeting their leaders. Discarding any idea of prestige, the RSS Sarsanghchalak went to the Catholic Church to meet with the Bishops there. They insisted that the meeting be held in their Church and we went there. Then leaders of the Protestant Churches came to Nagpur and the RSS Central office accorded them, a hearty welcome. These meetings were followed by the meetings with the Christian Laity. We had a meaningful discussion with them. So also there were some meetings with Muslim clerics. Those who believe that there can be different ways of worship and faith, generally understand our point of view. But those who stick to evangelical dogmatism that there cannot be salvation outside the Church natural fail to understand the RSS. So is the case of those who regard all idol-worshipers as infidel (Kafir) fit to be annihilated or condemned to eternal hell cannot understand us. They regard us as obstacles in their path of conversion. And we, indeed, are an obstacle in their path. We want them to accept the concept of plurality of faiths. We have no quarrel with those who accept this concept. Acceptance and appreciation of plurality is the basic characteristic of Hindutva. Will you make some efforts to convince the ‘church’ and the mosque to say that there can be salvation outside the church also and that ‘kafirs’ too have a right to live honourably?

Q.16: What do you think of the BJP? Has it been true to the RSS idealism and ideology? (3)
A.: As stated earlier, it is an independent and autonomous organization, with its own constitution and programmes and policies. Because some of our Swayamsevaks are there, we expect them to propagate the concept of cultural nationalism and genuine secularism. BJP does not consist of RSS members only. There are many others who do not have the RSS background. The BJP is free to chalk out its policies and programmes and freedom means freedom to commit mistakes also.

Q.17: Isn’t it time for a successor to take over from Atal Bihari Vajpayee? (4)
A.: It is for the BJP to decide about it. The RSS does not come into the picture.

Q.18: Who will take his place? How does the RSS view freshening up of the BJP? (5)
A.: The first part of this question is irrelevant for the RSS. The answer to question No. 17 is applicable here also. We appreciate every attempt at freshening, not only of the BJP, but also of all parties. In the history of Buddhism it is recorded that after every hundred years, there used to be a ‘Sangeeti’ i.e. a congregation that reviewed the tenets and practices in that religion. I don’t know when did that exercise stop. Freshening is good for all social institutions including RSS. You just have a cursory look at the top RSS office holders. Majority of them are in early fifty’s and the old have volunteered to make way for them,

Q.19: The BJP has held its recent meeting in a seven-star hotel in Mumbai? Is this the kind of culture the RSS wants? (6)
A.: As stated earlier. It is for the BJP to address such issues. RSS, however is always for simplicity. I personally am ignorant as to what five-star or seven-star luxuries mean.

Q.20: The RSS felt that friction between, BJP leaders was one reason for it doing poorly in the recent elections. How do you plan to sort it out?
A.: This question like asking since when have you stopped beating your wife. Who told you about the RSS feelings? At least I am unaware of it. The latter part is irrelevant.

Q.21: What bout the temple at Ayodhya? What does the RSS plan to do on that issue?
A.: The temple is there. It is a make shift structure. A grand structure has to be erected. I can’t say when it will be done. But it will be done. No power in our country can remove the idol of Ram-Lala from its present site, unless somebody invites some new Babar of 21st Century and shares his intention to demolish it, or some Aurangzeb occupies the throne at Delhi. I don’t envisage such eventuality. But at the same time the RSS has no plan of its own. It was the VHP that started the agitation and the RSS supported it with full strength. It is for the VHP to plan when the plan comes the RSS will give due consideration to it and then decide.

Q.22: Ashok Singhal has been talking of a new party. Do you think there should be a Hindu League, like the Muslim League, to project the Hindu point of view? (14)
A.: As far as my knowledge goes Shri Singhal did not talk of a new party; he spoke about an ‘all Hindu forum’. You should approach him to explain, what he means by it. The latter part of the question betrays a pathological mindset to juxtapose everything that is Hindu with the Muslim. Please extricate yourself from this morbid mindset. Try to view ‘Hindu’ in a positive manner. Were there no Hindus before the Muslim prophet? According to RSS ‘Hindu’ stands for nationalism. They are not just a community. In this country they are the nation, because, the people are the nation. To compare any Hindu organization with Muslim League is tantamount to insulting the Hindu.

Q.23: The Gujarat experiment seems to be rebounding on the RSS pracharak Narendra Modi? Your comment.
A.: Again a loaded question; as if I am in a witness box and you are cross-examining me on behalf of somebody whose brief you have taken. The purpose of a good journalist should be to elicit information and not to attempt to elicit answers favourable to his views. For your information, Narendra Modi is not a pracharak. He became the Chief Minister by undergoing the democratic process sanctioned by the system of parliamentary democracy that our people adopted; and he, we think, knows his responsibility.

Q.24: What do you think of the call to purge the administration of RSS men. (1)
A.: We do not care about it. It is Government’s prerogative to take action against its employees. Those who will be affected by it, have a recourse to judiciary. In the past, some Swayamsevak did choose that path and they got redress. This Govt. may repeat that endeavour. Those who are inclined to embrace the Muslim League, will, naturally, be uncomfortable with the RSS. RSS does not function, with Govt. support and approval.

Q.25: Is forced celibacy among RSS pracharaks a good thing?
A.: Again a loaded question. How can RSS force anybody? What sanctions does it have? There are umpteen examples of pracharaks, leaving that order and adopting a family life. Have you ever heard of any pracharak having been excommunicated on this score? ‘Pracharkatva’ is absolutely voluntary. It cannot be otherwise. There is no separate pledge for a pracharak.

Anti-Hindu , Anti-India gangup in USA


In The Line Of God's Periscope

If the Christian right and liberal advocacy groups have their way, not just Modi but
other parivar members too might have to say goodbye to America


It shouldn't come as a surprise if more US visas are denied to more BJP leaders in
the future. The unofficial "BJP watch" in America is in overdrive, emboldened and
elated by the surprisingly successful campaign against Narendra Modi, targeted for
his crimes of commission and omission in Gujarat. The denial of a visa to Modi was
only the first step in a campaign being contemplated to put the spotlight on other
Sangh parivar eminences and systematically defrock them. Working with legal
precedent in US law, Indian Christian and Muslim groups as well as Left-leaning,
secular academics are determined to increase the heat on the parivar elite,
isolating and impugning them and ultimately discrediting the BJP and its cousins.

The campaign is in the planning stages but the fervour to 'punish' those seen as
responsible for a series of crimes, from the Babri Masjid demolition to the murder
of Graham Staines and sons to the Gujarat pogrom, is evident. The church and other
groups are determined to have a loud voice in changing US policy towards the BJP by
using the influence of both the right-wing and liberal advocacy groups, influential
Congressmen and their hot button issues, the bedrock of Christian conservatism in
America and the heightened role of religion in a White House ruled by a president
who owes his re-election to the evangelists. In the coming weeks, church groups and
the Coalition Against Genocide comprising NGOs and academics will decide on a
strategy to tell the "real" story of the saffronites. Ideas include getting top
Hindutva leaders declared persona non grata, a goal many consider overstated but
which could make for tough politics were the BJP to return to power.

The antennae of mainstream Christian groups such as the US Conference of Catholic
Bishops with a following of 63 million, the Southern Baptist Convention with 16
million members and the National Council of Churches, an organisation of 36
churches, are up and listening. Statements from Indian politicians are closely
analysed. Vastly funded and supported by a plethora of Christian websites and news
organisations like the Christian Broadcasting Network and Christian Today, they know
every time a missionary is attacked. American evangelists, who have given Christian
activism a bad name, track cases of persecution.

Congressman Joseph Pitts, a conservative Republican who mounted pressure on the
State Department in the Modi case, told Outlook bluntly, "A number of the BJP's
policies are terrible and anti-democratic." He has visited Gujarat, witnessed the
aftermath, heard horrifying testimonies from survivors and walked through Ehsaan
Jaffri's burnt-down house. He said the US government was looking very seriously at
human rights violations in India. "We'll continue to monitor the situation. I'd like
to make it clear that the US Congress and the US Department of State did not bring
the atrocities linked with Narendra Modi to light out of the blue. All this
attention is due to the fact that we are listening to the people of India who are
deeply disturbed by and directly affected by the actions of Modi and his cohorts."

To explain the American ire, which has taken some time to rise, analysts point to
the country's deeply religious roots. Says Bruce Robertson, professor, international
relations, Johns Hopkins University, "In America, we are particularly sensitive to
how Christians are treated. We are a very conservative country but with all its
faults, religious freedom is the touchstone of all our freedoms. The organised
church and the broader community are keeping an eye on the situation. Attention
levels were raised after the burning of the Australian priest and his sons," he

"Had it happened in the US, federal marshals would be all over and indictments would

In India, rapes of nuns and the so-called reconversions of Christians should be
cracked down upon, not winked at," said Robertson, who was raised in India where his
father was a missionary. He says he speaks as someone who's seen both sides. He
condemns some of the tactics evangelists use but says "under no circumstance do they
justify rape and murder". Gujarat only confirmed the Christian right's worst fears.
The BJP and its wider philosophy were seen as a reversal from India's pluralistic
ideals. "The organised church sees the BJP as a renegade community within the Hindu
tradition. Many Americans see it as the Ku Klux Klan-overtly racist and overtly
supremacist," Robertson said.

The failure of the BJP leadership to punish Modi fuelled a wider campaign in the US
to isolate those seen as perpetrators of crimes against minorities. John Prabhudoss,
leader of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations of North America
(FIOCONA), says while the first Bush administration was "wrongly advised" on the
BJP, the climate has now changed. A Madurai-born Christian who worked on Capitol
Hill to highlight Modi's record, Prabhudoss says, "We have put the issue in the
forefront. Unless the BJP changes its philosophy, it will be in trouble. We'll force
the US administration to recognise that this philosophy is detrimental to developing
Indo-US relations."

The Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom, a coalition of 70 ngos and
religious leaders from different faiths launched under the leadership of prominent
ultra-conservative Senator Rick Santorum and the House majority whip Congressman Roy
Blunt, is a key watchdog group. Meeting bi-weekly with a "core group" of Capitol
Hill staffers, it was important in influencing the Modi decision. Senator Santorum's
office told Outlook that he was a strong supporter of religious freedom, both in
this and other countries. "Every individual should have the right to believe
whatever he or she chooses (including the freedom to convert) without the fear of
persecution from the government."

Benjamin Marsh, a resident fellow at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy and
Washington director of the Dalit Freedom Network, tracks anti-conversion bills in
India and keeps the US Congress informed. "The issue is not a political party but
the ideals of Hindutva which profess that India is a Hindu country, not a vast,
pluralistic land where other religions can co-exist," Marsh says. The
anti-conversion laws are overly broad and cover activities protected by
international law such as the ability to share one's religion and provide relief, he
adds. Conversions are a "freedom of religion" issue. "In our mind, it's expression.
Conversion is a respected activity. If you can't choose your religion, what freedom
do you have?" he asks.

Marsh says Hindu leaders should fight conversions "not on political but cultural
grounds" via religious campaigns and by inviting others into the conversation. "The
Christians combated eastern religions not through laws but by re-evangelisation of
society," he said, referring to the '60s when Hindu godmen were making inroads into
American society. The BJP may find the advice gratuitous but if the campaign against
it gathers strength, Modi wouldn't be the end of the chapter.

May 04, 2005

The Defence Industry in the 21st Century - Thinking Global ... or thinking American?

The Defence Industry in the 21st Century - Thinking Global ... or thinking American?

The defence industry has reached a crossroads over its future according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. 'The Defence Industry in the 21st Century' looks at how the industry has evolved since the end of the Cold War and discusses what has shaped the industry that exists today. DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

The paper examines the recent history of the global defence industry, from the decline of the Defence Industrial Base (DIB) and post Cold War consolidation to the world post 9/11. Then - most importantly - we outline the five major implications of these changes for contractors. It is these key five components that can, and should be, used as a basis for discussions with our defence clients, helping us to identify opportunities. They are:

*) Maximising the value of the domestic national market
*) Investing in the right capabilities and partners
*) Developing international markets
*) Securing scale and scope economies in an industry that discourages integration
*) Leveraging industrial participation and COTS within the supply chain

The defence industry has reached a crossroads over its future according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. 'The Defence Industry in the 21st Century' looks at how the industry has evolved since the end of the Cold War and discusses what has shaped the industry that exists today.

In particular, the report focuses on two major issues: the continuing decline of what has been called the Defence Industrial Base and a process of consolidation that saw a quarter of the world's largest defence companies leave the sector during the 1990s. Those that remained grew larger through a series of consolidating mergers and a more collaborative international security community appeared to be emerging to respond to what were largely regional outbreaks of war.

Now, as the defence industry faces further challenges in the changing nature of conflict, the threat of international terrorism and the unrelenting pressure on public funds, the report assesses the implications of these changes for contractors. It identifies five main elements which should be incorporated in defence contractors' business strategy. Together these elements constitute a complex, sophisticated and radical change for the industry:

· Maximising the value of the domestic national market
· Investing in the right capabilities and partners
· Developing international markets
· Securing scale and scope economies in an industry that discourages integration, and
· Leveraging Industrial Participation and COTS technology within the supply chain

The report also addresses the future and speculates on how the industry might look if some current industry trends prevail. In calling for debate on the future, it addresses two scenarios. At one extreme, the US would dominate the supply of the world's arms, effectively deciding when and where they could be used. At the other, defence technology would flow freely between allies and no one nation would have the complete industrial capability to wage war without the support of its allies.

Richard Hooke, Global Aerospace and Defence Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, commented:

"Both scenarios may appear unlikely but close examination of what is happening now and assessment of the implications is needed. A number of overseas companies have successfully invested in the US defence industry and secured important business on major programmes with the US Department of Defense. This implies a more open US policy and the emergence of a more interdependent, global defence industry.

"On the other hand, the US continues to spend as much on defence as the rest of the world put together, it is resisting Europe's call for it to relax its grip on technology and allow its transfer to American allies and US private equity houses are playing an active role in acquiring defence industrial assets overseas and reshaping Europe's defence industry. These factors point to an American domination of the world's supply of arms in future."

The central question is whether the future is shaped by business logic, by market forces, by political will, by social forces, by a combination of these or by chance.

US BRAC recommendations follow lengthy process

BRAC recommendations follow lengthy process

by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

5/4/2005 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Few people dispute that the U.S. military has too much infrastructure to face the threats and opportunities of the 21st century. The question is, what is the best way to close or realign installations to match challenges of the new world?

Since 1988, the answer has been the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and that process continues to move ahead with a new round in 2005.

While closing an individual base can be a problem, the process is designed to be nonpartisan, officials said. The first BRAC round came during the Reagan administration, the second in the first Bush administration and the third and fourth were under President Clinton.

Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen first proposed the current round soon after taking office in 1997, officials said. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has been asking for a new round of closures and realignments since taking office in January 2001.

BRAC is a challenging process, officials said. The four previous BRAC rounds -- in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 -- brought about 97 major closures, 55 major realignments and 235 minor actions, according to Defense Department figures. Overall, officials said closing and realigning these installations saved American taxpayers about $18 billion through fiscal 2001 and a further $7 billion per year since.

A BRAC report submitted in March 2004 estimated there is a 24-percent excess capacity in DOD.

Civilian and military leaders in the department have stressed that the military must become more agile and flexible to face the new challenges. Officials have repeatedly said the BRAC process must be seen as part of a larger effort to restructure the global footprint of the U.S. military. As part of this, U.S. bases overseas will close or morph into nonpermanent installations. Officials estimate the number of troops in Europe will drop from 100,000 to about 50,000.

In Korea, the number of U.S. forces is already dropping from 34,000, but officials have not released a final target number for troops on the peninsula.

The BRAC 2005 process builds on lessons learned from past rounds. Essentially, this year's legislation took previous versions and amended them, officials said.

This year's BRAC round was part of the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. The process began with a memorandum from Secretary Rumsfeld to defense leaders titled "Transformation Through Base Realignment and Closure."

By the end of 2003, DOD officials published the draft selection criteria. In March 2004, department officials submitted the force-structure plan and infrastructure inventory to Congress. The next month, Congress approved the final selection criteria.

In March 2005, the president nominated the commissioners that will serve on the BRAC Commission. This month, Secretary Rumsfeld will send the department's closure and realignment recommendations to the commission, officials said.

This year's BRAC Commission members are former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, commission chairman; former Nevada Rep. James H. Bilbray; Philip Coyle, a former DOD director of operational test and evaluation; retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., a former commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command; former Utah Rep. James V. Hansen; retired Army Gen. James T. Hill, former commander of U.S. Southern Command; retired Gen. Lloyd "Fig" Newton, former commander of Air Education and Training Command; former Transportation Secretary Samuel K. Skinner; and retired Brig. Gen. Sue Ellen Turner, former director of nursing services for the Air Force surgeon general.

The basic process is simple, officials said. The military services and joint cross-service groups develop closure and realignment recommendations. Military value is the primary consideration.

The law also mandates that department officials use a 20-year force-structure plan in forming their recommendations.

The services examine each base's "service-unique" function. In a difference this year, cross-service groups will analyze functions that cross service lines. For example, all services have warehouses. So a joint group will analyze warehouse functions for all the services, officials said.

Cross-service groups are examining seven functional areas: educational and training, headquarters and support activities, industrial, intelligence, medical, supply and storage, and technical.

The most recent previous BRAC round used similar joint-service groups, but they could not make recommendations to the secretary. This year, recommendations from the joint groups are considered by the secretary the same way the services' submissions are.

Officials said Secretary Rumsfeld will publish his recommendations in the Federal Register by May 16 and will submit his recommendations to the BRAC Commission and Congress.

Once he submits his recommendations, the commission will hold hearings and examine the recommendations. The commission process runs through September. The commission sends an "all-or-nothing list" to the president, meaning the president can approve all of the closures and realignments on the list or disapprove the entire list. If he approves, the list goes to Congress.

The House and Senate have 45 "legislative days" to disapprove the list. If they do nothing, the list automatically is approved and has the "force and effect of law," officials said.

The man who broke Pakistan

The man who broke Pakistan

General (Retd) JFR Jacob

In the run-up to the 1971 Indo-Pak war, one of Lt General JS Aurora's first missions was to organise the Mukti Bahini into a fighting force. The refugee problem from then East Pakistan had grown quite serious, and Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram was sent by Indira Gandhi to persuade the United Front Government to set up camps for a tide of human settlers in West Bengal.
(File photo) Lt General JS Aurora watches as Lt Gen AAK Niazi of Pakistan Army surrenders after the liberation of Bangladesh

The political leadership at the Centre was well aware that the crisis was going to hit a fever pitch very soon. But the State Government had its limitations; the problem was more in the nature of an external threat. We - that is, Lt General JS Aurora and I, (as the Chief of Staff in the Eastern Command) - were closely involved in administration and planning to deal with this threat.

The preparations went on for months. We worked, in conjunction with the Army Headquarters, towards ironing out the logistical difficulties. An entire infrastructure of roads, communication and bridges had to be built. The East Pakistan theatre presented peculiar problems because the Eastern Command of the Indian Army had been organised for mountain warfare.

With monsoon due to arrive, we trained our men in riverine engagement with the enemy and prepared the Mukti Bahini for guerrilla warfare. There were no Indian troops in Tripura. We had 30,000 tonnes of supplies transported to the State. It was all meticulously carried out.

Early on December 3, 1971, Pakistan launched air strikes on a number of Indian airfields. The Pakistani army also shelled Indian positions in the western sector. The Indian forces made rapid gains and by December 15, Dacca fell. I was ordered by General Sam Manekshaw to get a surrender on the morning of December 16. I arrived alone at Dacca but Niazi wasn't prepared to surrender. He only wanted a ceasefire and withdrawal under UN. Niazi took a great deal of persuasion to agree to a surrender. In fact, in his account, he accused me of blackmail. The surrender was negotiated and signed in four hours.

I drove to the airport with Niazi to pick up Aurora and others. A simple ceremony was arranged on the Race Course with the public of Dacca looking on. The surrender was signed by both Niazi and Aurora. The people of Dacca were exuberant and wanted to lynch Niazi. We had trouble getting an Army car and driving him to safety. We then returned to Calcutta.

Niazi had 30,000 troops in Dacca. He could have fought for several days more with the UN in session. Incidentally, on December 13, there was an American resolution calling for India's withdrawal under UN, which was vetoed by Russia. On the 15th there was a Polish resolution when it was part of the Soviet block. Bhutto tore that resolution up because it did not condemn India as aggressor. On December 16, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced in Parliament that West Pakistan forces in Bangladesh had surrendered unconditionally in Dacca at 4.31 pm.

The credit for that famous victory goes not just to the commanders but equally to the officers and men who fought that war. Nearly 1,200 of our men were killed and 4,000 wounded. The latter are generally forgotten. It was their bravery that that led us to our great and decisive military triumph; not only did we liberate a country but also took 93,000 enemy soldiers as prisoners.

I knew General Aurora since 1951-52, when he was an instructor at Staff College, Dehradun. We were all young majors. He was physically tough and active. He was a good communicator, outgoing, and compassionate. He was also deeply religious. He had been in indifferent health for the last few years and had a pacemaker fitted sometime back.

I will remember him as a colleague, a comrade-in-arms and a thorough gentleman. I had the highest regard for him and his charming wife, Bhanti, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. They were a devoted couple