January 14, 2006

Balochistan : 'Musharraf will not know what has hit him' -- Akbar Bhugti

"Musharraf is right that this is not 1970. He will not know what has hit him," --- AKBAR BHUGTI

Musharraf's Other War

By Zahid Hussain
A thin-framed man with a cropped beard, Karim Baksh leads a group of Baloch guerrillas dug into position under a huge rock on the edge of a dusty road, a few miles away from a government paramilitary post. The ricocheting of machine-gun fire echoes in the distance.
"Let them come here, they will not be able to go back alive," Baksh laughed, stroking his Kalashnikov rifle. The others nodded approvingly. "Our men are spread all over," he claimed, pointing his finger towards the brown, parched hills. There were only a few thatched hutments scattered around the vast, barren land. The treacherous terrain made it an ideal location for guerrilla warfare.
The guerrillas, who claimed to be members of the shadowy Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), appeared well trained and were armed with machine-guns and rocket-launchers. One of the men was constantly on a wireless set receiving information about the movement of government troops. The fighters were from both the Bugti and Marri tribes. It was certainly, by far, a different outfit to the groups that confronted the Pakistani army with bolt rifles in the 1970s. Some of them were veterans, while others belonged to a new generation of fighters who were getting a crash course in guerrilla warfare.
A school dropout, the 30-year-old Baksh took up arms almost a decade ago. "It was difficult to continue my education after the tenth class and I could not find any employment," he said. The others were even less fortunate. They never went to school at all and got involved in the conflict at a very early age.
Javandan sat quietly in a corner, playing with his rifle. His neatly curled black beard and greenish eyes betrayed his Marri antecedents. He seemed to be the most experienced of the group. "We are all united now in the struggle," he said, finally breaking his long silence. "They are bombarding our areas and killing innocent people. We don't have any choice but to fight."
The BLA, whose name first emerged during the 1970s, originally comprised mainly the Marri tribesmen loyal to Nawab Khair Baksh. But later its composition changed with members of the Bugti and Mengal tribes joining its ranks. Today, the BLA boasts many members from an educated, middle-class background. The present conflict in Balochistan has, for the first time, united the educated Baloch with the tribesmen. "People feel that they won't get their rights through democratic and legal means," said Dr. Abdul Hayee Baluch, a leader of the Balochistan National Party.
It is the first time that the two largest Baloch tribes have set aside their differences to join hands in the struggle. The Bugtis sat on the fence when the Marris led the armed insurrection in the 1970s. More than 6000 Baloch and around 3000 soldiers were killed in the bloody conflict, which ended after General Zia-ul- Haq declared amnesty and allowed Khair Baksh to return home from his self-exile in Afghanistan. Thousands of Marri fighters received weapons training in Afghanistan during that period and they form the nucleus of the guerrilla forces now fighting in Balochistan.
Though the primary loyalties of the Baloch insurgents may lie with their tribal chiefs, they also appeared to be politically aware, religiously listening to the BBC Urdu service whenever possible. "What are you fighting for?" I asked. "We want the right of self-determination," they replied in unison. They were obviously well tutored.
The BLA resurfaced after the arrest of Khair Baksh in 2000, on charges of the murder of a high court judge. Initially the government dismissed the existence of the BLA, but now senior security officials concede that the group is behind the current insurgency. Intelligence agencies have accused the BLA of receiving financial aid and weapons from India. "We have evidence that the insurgents are getting help from India and some other countries which are not happy with China's involvement in the construction of Gwadar port," says a senior security official. Some intelligence officials claim that Indian intelligence agents were providing guerrilla training to the insurgents. These allegations, however, are rejected by Baloch leaders.
The BLA operates a website, "Baloch Voice," which carries reports of their actions. It has its own flag and national anthem. Its spokesmen, who identify themselves as Azad Baloch, Meerak Baloch and Col. Doda Baloch, regularly call newspaper offices in Quetta. The group is believed to have more than 5000 well trained men in its ranks. Though the identity of its leadership remains secret, it is reportedly led by Ballach, the younger son of Khair Baksh. A sitting member of the Balochistan assembly, Ballach, who is a graduate of Moscow University, is one of Pakistan's most wanted persons. His brother Meheryar, a former provincial minister now based in Dubai, is also part of the BLA leadership.
Pakistani security forces find themselves locked in a new and even fiercer battle in Balochistan. Baloch nationalists have led four insurgencies - in 1948, 1958-59, 1962-63 and 1973-77 - which were brutally suppressed by the army. Now a fifth is underway and this time the insurgents are much stronger. They are armed with more sophisticated weapons and possess a modern communications system. Can an already overstretched military deal with the increasingly volatile situation in Balochistan ?
Balochistan has remained relatively quiet for almost two decades and the return to civilian rule in 1988, brought the Baloch nationalists into the political mainstream. Although their major demands relating to natural gas royalty and allocation of resources remained unfulfilled, democracy, at least, provided the Baloch a sense of political participation. The tension started mounting a few years ago when the military government announced its intention to set up three new cantonments in Balochistan. The move was seen as a means to further tighten federal control over the province and the apprehension was not without basis. The problem of Balochistan has been chronic and is a direct consequence of an over-centralised system. The fresh deployment of army personnel further fuelled the discontent.
Under the current constitutional arrangement and the practices that have grown around it, economic resources and political power are concentrated with the federal government. The situation in Balochistan has been particularly worse, and even the maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the federally controlled paramilitary troops. The master-servant relationship is much more stark in Balochistan than in any other province. The return of military rule has further aggravated the situation, and even the present pro-military provincial government wields no real power.
The federal government has completely ignored the long-standing demands of the nationalists to review the royalty formula on Sui gas, which had remained constant since 1952, and increase the province's share in the NFC award. Despite the government's claim of spending 120 billion rupees on mega-projects, there has not been much change in the lot of the locals, who remain the most deprived and backward section of society.
Despite such massive investment in the province, feelings of resentment against the centre run deep. There is an underlying fear that the benefits of these projects will not reach the local population and will be siphoned off to the Punjab instead. The nationalists have strong reservations on the construction of a new deep-sea port in Gwadar. They fear that the mega-project, which is being developed with the help of China, will lead to a massive influx of outside workers and turn the local population into a minority. The nationalists maintain that the project has been launched without taking the Baloch representatives into confidence. They contend that the Baloch would hardly benefit from Gwadar, or indeed any other mega-projects, as most of the jobs in the federally controlled organisations would go to the Punjab and other provinces according to the quota system. Meanwhile, land grabbing by the military further exacerbated the situation.
The Ormara naval base is another big project which has come up on the Makran coast, but Balochi nationalists maintain that the development of the second largest naval installation has not helped improve the socio-economic conditions of the local population. According to Baloch leaders, only 40 people in a population of more than ten thousand, have been given employment - and that too as daily wage workers. No educational institution has been established in Ormara town and electricity is available for only a few hours a day. Similarly, the Bugtis complain that they too are not given jobs at the Sui gas plant.
It is ironic that Balochistan, which fulfils 50 per cent of Pakistan's gas requirement and is rich in mineral resources, finds it difficult to pay the salaries of its employees. Balochistan has sought a loan of around 24 billion rupees from the Asian Development Bank at the direction of the federal government, to service foreign and federal debts amounting to 44 billion rupees. Due to its extreme financial crisis, its overdraft with the State Bank has gone up to14 billion rupees. Apart from debt-servicing foreign and federal loans, the Balochistan government pays 200 million rupees per month to the State Bank in interest for the overdraft. While President Musharraf has admitted that the province has faced injustice in the distribution of resources, a long-term solution to the problem has yet to be found.
The government often accuses Baloch tribal chiefs of blackmailing the centre and opposing development work in the area. Though this may be true to some extent, interestingly enough, the majority of the chieftains, particularly the most retrogressive ones, have always sided with the establishment. And while corruption is endemic, again it is the establishment itself that is responsible. Patronage and bribes are commonly used establishment tools to buy loyalties of corrupt politicians and perpetuate their own control.
The situation exploded last year when Bugti tribesmen, protesting against the rape of Dr. Shazia Khalid in the high-security PPL residential compound guarded by the army's elite Defence Security Group, blew up the gas installations at Sui, disrupting gas supply to the Punjab and other parts of the country for several weeks. The subsequent armed clashes between Bugtis and the security forces resulted in scores of deaths. The stand-off ended after both sides agreed to pull back from their positions and the federal government gave an assurance to implement the Senate Committee Report on Balochistan. But the promise never materialised.
Musharraf and the military leadership were not prepared to concede to Balochistan's genuine economic and political demands. Instead of addressing the Baloch grievances politically and through negotiations, the military-led government has resorted to greater use of force. Musharraf threw fuel on the fire last year when he declared : "Don't push us. It isn't the 1970s when you can hit and run and hide in the mountains. This time you won't even know what hit you." The comment provoked a strong reaction from the Baloch leaders who warned the army not to create a 1971-like situation which led to the disintegration of the country.
Sporadic incidents of violence continued after the Sui incident, but the situation flared up last month after the insurgents launched a series of rocket attacks during President Musharraf's visit to a newly constructed army garrison in Kohlu. According to informed sources, some of the shells fell less than a 100 yards from Musharraf. It was a close call. The next day a rocket hit an army helicopter carrying the Inspector General , Frontier Corps, Maj Gen Shaukat Zamir Dar, and his deputy, Brigadier Saleem Nawaz.
Following those incidents, security forces mounted a massive operation in the Marri area using air force jets and helicopter gunships. The military authorities claimed the offensive was directed against "miscreants" and aimed at destroying "terrorist camps," but many women and children were are also reportedly killed in the bombings. Senator Sanaullah Baloch alleged that security forces used poisonous gases against the people. According to official and unofficial sources, the security forces also suffered huge casualties during the operation in the Marri area.
The ongoing operation has now been extended to many other areas and thousands of paramilitary and regular troops with heavy machine-guns and artillery have been moved into the Bugti areas.
Dera Bugti looks like a town under siege, with heavily armed paramilitary troops positioned on the surrounding hills and check posts set up at the entry points. All the posts vacated by Bugti tribesmen after the March agreement have now been occupied by army troops. Heavy artillery guns and armoured cars are deployed all along the roads leading from Sui to Dera Bugti.
"It is a war now," declared Akbar Bugti, who is confined to his bullet-ridden fort. A mortar attack in March had left a huge crater on the roof of his living room and 60 of his tribesmen were killed in that attack. He himself narrowly escaped death, when a splinter brushed past his head. Heavily armed tribesmen, with flowing beards and huge turbans coiled around their heads, guard the place. Some of them have taken up positions in the bunkers around the fort.
The white-bearded charismatic tribal chieftain, who is in his late '70s, accused the government of colonising Balochistan. "We are fighting for the control of our national wealth and for our political rights," he said. The Bugti tribe owns the land which contains Pakistan's largest natural gas fields. But the majority of the tribesmen live in abject poverty, with no employment or basic health and education facilities. " We are not scared and will fight back," he warned, sounding bitter over the government's backtracking on last year's agreement. "The troops sneaked in under the cover of darkness, into positions which we had vacated under the agreement. They do not want peace. They are mistaken if they think they are superior and can eliminate us." His grandson is being accused by military authorities of being involved in the bombing incidents in Karachi and Balochistan.
The conflict has already taken a huge economic and political toll. Billions of rupees are being spent on the establishment of cantonments and the deployment of troops. However, the use of brute force has only aggravated the situation. Hundreds of people have been killed in this war, which seems to have no end in sight. Several government soldiers have been killed over the past few weeks as the insurgents intensified attacks on security forces, key economic and government installations and railway tracks.
Bugti warned that the Baloch were much better prepared to fight the army now. "Musharraf is right that this is not 1970. He will not know what has hit him," he laughed. Heavy fighting broke out as we left Dera Bugti.

BALOCHISTAN : 'Accept us as equal federating units or we will try to get rid of you'

Cover Story
"Accept us as equal federating units or we will try to get rid of you"
-Sanaullah Baloch
Senator (BNP)


By Naveed Ahmad

Q: How do you characterise the situation in Balochistan today?
A: The situation is getting worse in Balochistan because the military has moved three brigades into District Kohlu and Dera Bugti. Twenty-one fighter jets flying from Sibi, Jacobabad and Loralai are involved in carpet bombing there. They have also used poison and phosphorus gases without declaring a particular target. Some 180 deaths have been caused by the bombing.
The military is denying access in the region to our political workers and even the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. However, when the military permitted the HRCP to visit the affected districts, the bombing was stopped to give a different image. So far, some 122 children have died; most of them belong to the nomad villagers who live in tents but keep migrating. Unfortunately, wherever the military sees some tents, they take these to be militant camps.
At the same time, the Frontier Corps has virtually surrounded Makran region. Some 450 people have been arrested from Turbat district. Chaghi, Kharan and the central districts of Balochistan are tense and face similar oppression. The government is deliberately trying to instigate the people of Balochistan.
Q: What is the reason behind this showdown with the government?
A: We do not accept the ruling military junta. We want to live in the country in a democratic manner as a federating unit instead of becoming a colony of Islamabad. We see Islamabad as another East India Company which had spread a network of roads, railway lines and tunnels to meet its objectives. Islamabad is working in a similar fashion to annex the natural assets of the Baloch people.
First of all, Islamabad exploited our natural gas resources and then used the province's strategic location for testing nuclear devices and established cantonments but no development work was carried out.
Q: How do you want to deal with the East India Company?
A: Decisive moments come in the life of every nation. So far we have been adopting democratic and peaceful means but with little success. Khuda Baksh Marri and Attaullah Mengal have tried their best to seek the rights of the province through democratic institutions and being part of the government. I have been part of parliament for the past nine years and these institutions have become debating societies. The parliament has failed to deliver owing to a variety of factors. There are not many choices: either accept us as equal federating units or we will try to get rid of you, no matter what the cost.
Q: But there are differences amongst the Baloch leaders.
A: For the rights of Balochistan, all the leaders have come together and the old differences cannot overshadow the situation.
We have a four-party Baloch Ittehad on the lines of the PLO and the Hurriyet Conference. No doubt there are minor differences amongst the four parties about the alliance's constitution, yet we have chosen to stay together for a larger cause. Baloch leaders are also part of ARD and PONM at the national level.
Q: What have Baloch leaders contributed when they governed the province?
A: From the 1948 accession to Pakistan till today, the Baloch nationalists have ruled for only 37 months i.e. the nine-month rule of Attaullah Mengal, a year of Akhtar Mengal and 16 months of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. During Attaullah Mengal's term, the province's first university, medical college and board of secondary education were set up. The same NAP government established the first industrial city of the province, in Hub. The government was dissolved after nine months because they were doing so much for the people. Let's come to Akbar Khan Bugti's rule of 18 months, the Benazir government could not agree with him on the rights of the province. Then Nawaz Sharif made a commitment with his ally Akhtar Mengal that after the passage of the 13th amendment, he would announce a mega constitutional package on provincial autonomy. Unfortunately, he could not come up with a package after 14 months despite forming committees and debating the matter for so long. None of the Baloch leaders have been allowed to rule the province for more than 18 months. Since 1948, 23 governors have been appointed in Balochistan, only 10 of them belonged to the province while the remaining were outsiders. General Rahim-ud-Din was in the chair for nine years in the Zia era.
Q: You don't seem to accept the recent development packages announced by the Musharraf regime.
A: First of all, let me make it clear here that General Musharraf has not announced any package for Balochistan. It's all propaganda and drama. China and Pakistan are collaborating to build the Gwadar port and no Baloch consent was sought before making the deal with the Chinese people. There is no development project in Kohlu as 450 million rupees have been earmarked for the establishment of a cantonment there and another 450 million for a road to a gas well. The remaining amount in the so- called package was announced some nine years ago for the Sibi and Dera Murad Jamali road. The money has never been released. From lack of clean drinking water to other amenities of life, everything is missing in the district.
The Baloch hatred against the Musharraf regime is extremely high because on September 23, 2003, the provincial assembly passed a resolution against the construction of cantonments. In utter disregard of the unanimous resolution of the assembly, he flies into Kohlu to inaugurate a cantonment on December 14, 2005.
Please acknowledge that the Baloch petroleum resources have brought prosperity for the domestic gas consumers, private sector and industry. The fertiliser industry and domestic consumers are being given a subsidy worth 20 billion rupees every year. Balochistan deserves a representative government without any involvement of the intelligence agencies such as the ISI. The sitting government is involved in the worst kind of corruption and over the past three years, it has resorted to an overdraft of 14 billion rupees.
Q: The government accuses the Baloch nationalists of politicising development issues and keeping the people backward to serve the sardars' interests. Why do you oppose a network of roads, railway tracks and other necessary infrastructure?
A: This is a grave misconception which has been deliberately created by the military and intelligence agencies. Before establishing Gwadar port, we have demanded the setting up of a marine biological institute and a mineral development research institute near Saindak to train the local people. Similarly we have demanded the establishment of an arid agriculture research institute to tap the enormous potential of the province.
Some 35,000 paramilitary troops are stationed in Balochistan and each individual costs roughly 15000 rupees a month while there are 12000 teachers with an average monthly expenditure of 6000 rupees each. We want the government to abolish the FC and instead raise an army of teachers. I can bet no one would oppose the opening of universities and schools in Balochistan.
Q: It is said that the Baloch nationalist leadership belongs to the sardars and nawabs and is meant to protect their interests.
A: I don't agree with such critics. I belong to a middle class family which was never involved in politics and parliament. Similarly, Rauf Mengal is the son of a small shopkeeper. All the representatives from the nationalist parties belong to the middle class. Even in Akbar Khan Bugti's party, Senator Amanullah Karnani comes from a very poor family.
Q: How do you look at the acts of sabotage and militancy on the part of the Baloch Liberation Army or Baloch Liberation Front?
A: There is no doubt that the BLA or BLF enjoy enormous acceptance and respect amongst the common Baloch people. They have internationalised the Balochistan cause which we (the politicians) have failed to do. The BLA or BLF is targeting locations which were illegal and caused inconvenience to the people. There were 600 illegal checkposts of the paramilitary force where officers and JCOs alike were minting money from innocent people. They were posted on border routes and we have ties across the border so billions of rupees were being minted by the paramilitary forces. The BLA attacked only those checkposts which were harming the common people.
The militants have targeted only those railway tracks and pipelines which were used to suck up our petroleum and mineral resources but the due royalty was never paid to the people. The government has been violating the constitution's article 158 and neither the judiciary nor the establishment have tried to get the royalty rights implemented. Naturally, there was a vacuum for a force which could stop an unconstitutional thing from happening. That is why the BLA or BLF enjoy a better level of respect than the Baloch political parties. Being a public representative, I cannot say that they are wrong. The first blunder was committed by the government by deploying the troops and giving a free hand to the ISI and other intelligence organs.
The next blunder was linking up of a cantonment with a mega project, thus giving birth to a perception that the military would come along to annex the resources and projects. The military is buying land and erecting housing schemes wherever there is a mega project or a vital natural resource. The BLA and BLF activists are not crazy. They are highly educated young people who are fully aware of the problems faced by their people.
Q: Do you get any kind of support from India which has two consulates close to the Balochistan border, in Iran?
A: This is totally untrue. No one has better relations with India than General Pervez Musharraf himself. The best chance for India to intervene was in 1973 when a full blown insurgency was underway. The fact is that the Baloch movement is totally indigenous, motivated by political frustration, fuelled by Islamabad's decades of indifference. Such allegations are being levelled to create an excuse for a military operation.
Such movements take birth everywhere due to sheer inequalities. Pakistan should learn a lesson from Yugoslavia and Indonesia. The country is heading towards Balkanisation. Indonesia took a wise step after a series of blunders in East Timor and with Finnish mediation, the Indonesian government has agreed to give provincial autonomy to the Aceh freedom fighters. The agreement signed in Finland between the Aceh movement and the Indonesian government is greatly similar to what we demand from Islamabad.
Q: There is an energy and water crisis looming over the country, so why do you oppose the construction of the Kalabagh Dam?
A: As long as Sindh and NWFP don't accept it, Balochistan will never accept the controversial mega dam. If Sindh is converted into a desert and its socio-economic situation worsens, then Balochistan would not be able to escape from its impact. We get six per cent water from Sindh for some of our irrigated lands.
There is no doubt that Pakistan would be an energy-starved country after 2010 but we would not let her explore more resources in the province through the use of force. The Baloch people would not even spare the trilateral pipeline if the excesses do not come to an end. Pakistan is dependent on Sindh and Balochistan for energy resources as 96 per cent of gas production comes from these two provinces but both are deprived of its benefits. There is a huge difference in gas prices in Balochistan and Punjab.
Q: What is the future of the movement against Kalabagh Dam?
A:I don't think Islamabad is serious about building the dam. The issue was only raised to overshadow a military operation in Balochistan.
Q: What are the prospects for a political dialogue?
A:The parliamentary committee failed to deliver, despite a sincere dialogue over 70 days. Mushahid Hussain started inviting the land mafia people to committee meetings, which was strongly opposed by the Baloch leadership. He also tried to create a Baloch-Pashtun divide.
Senator Mushahid developed mistrust amongst the committee members and we lost confidence in him. Meanwhile, there was a blast in Quetta which claimed some lives. The government used it as an excuse to launch a military operation and 200 to 250 people were arrested in just one night. At this point we resigned from the committee.
Today, 490 days have passed and the committee report has yet to be presented and implemented. As usual, the committee politics is being used to suppress resentment instead of addressing it. Now whosoever from the Baloch side becomes party to the dialogue would lose his credibility. The issues have been identified and the government should have the political will to correct its blunders.

Brouhaha in Balochistan

Brouhaha in Balochistan
Meenakshi Iyer (HindustanTimes.com)

New Delhi, January 14, 2006|17:07 IST
Pakistan seems to be having a tough time battling the brouhaha over Balochistan.

As if its neighbour's 'friendly' concern over the restive province was not enough to irk the nuclear nation, the trouble has come knocking from inner circles.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a key party allied to Musharraf, threatened to quit the ruling coalition if a military crackdown in troubled Balochistan province was not halted.

An editorial in Pakistan's Daily Times says, "While an exaggerated sense of external threat will not do Pakistan any good, what is happening internally is quite heart-breaking".

The able General managed to convince MQM's Altaf Hussain that the military action in Balochistan was not an "operation". At the same time almost, it named India as the fomenter of trouble in the restive province.

In an interview to a private channel in India, Musharraf said: "There are a lot of indications, lot of financial support, support in kind being given to those who are anti-government, anti-me..."

Now the catch that the editorial points out is, "Was the Indian interference gambit used to get the MQM to relent?" It says that there seems to be more to the situation than meets the eye.

The MQM's withdrawal may result in the dissolution of the PML-led provincial government in Sindh, where the MQM's 42 legislators form the largest block in the 167-seat local assembly.

As regards the question of Indian interference, as said in reports here earlier, it has been brewing since the installation of the new political order in Afghanistan and the restoration of Indian consulates there.

The Pakistan intelligence is of the opinion that India's RAW is involved in the entire issue.

Clearing the myth, the Daily Times explains, GEO TV's Kamran Khan had announced last November that the Karachi bombing was traced to ...the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which was connected through the Indian consulates in Afghanistan to RAW. He had called on former Balochistan police IG to confirm this... But the IG did not do that, saying instead that in past the BLA had been funded by Baloch sardars in exile".

Also, Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao insisted that he had no proof of RAW being involved in the bombing in Karachi in 2005, when he was asked by Khan.

The editorial concludes by saying that "no one outside Pakistan is going to believe Islamabad's story" and it is high time that "Islamabad should pause and meditate a bit more on the wisdom of the divisive policies it is pursuing".

Meanwhile, Pakistan's powerful tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti also denied claims by President Musharraf that his group was being supported by New Delhi.

"President Musharraf is using his favourite weapon - lies," Bugti said in a satellite-phone interview from his headquarters at Dera Bugti town in the volatile province.

Balochistan tribesmen have waged a revolt against the central government in the province during the past year and a half, targeting government installations, railway tracks and gas facilities with bombs and rockets.

They are demanding a bigger share of the region's natural resources and jobs in state projects as well as more political rights, and they also oppose the setting up of military garrisons

Brinda Karat's and Hindustan Times trashed on ner

Hindus on the web have trashed hindustantimes.com.
urn on the heat, Hindus! more power to you!


New Delhi, January 6, 2006

Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha Brinda Karat's remarks and allegations on yoga guru Ramdev have irked the surfers. It's quite clear they are extremely angry with both the MP and HindustanTimes.com.

Almost all felt Karat was working at the behest of the MNCs who are angry with Ramdevji for advocating against their wares.

The surfers have accused us of being partisan because they thought we gave a 'misleading' headline.

In our story 'Ramdev's medicines have animal matter: Ramadoss', they said that the Health Minister stated very clearly that the samples were not collected by a Government department, but were provided by the MP herself. So, how could we presume that they were true, they screamed?

Kolkata's Shiva felt this was "an example of irresponsible journalism."

He further added, "The heading is very misleading as it points fingers at Swami Ramdev but the detailed article tells that the samples were not directly collected from his organisation. It has been supplied by Karat and not from his organisation."

Many bought the logic that all this was being done at the behest of influential MNCs.

Sangeeta from New Delhi was quite clear on this point.

She said, "It is clear the media works just like a business house and tries to spread sensationalism by giving such titles. It is not Hindustan Times that is spreading such rumours. They are guided by companies such as Pepsi and Coke who also fund them. Every channel is unnecessarily highlighting this because it makes good business sense."

Some like Panjak from Bangalore were appalled at Hindustan Times, picking on anything remotely connected with a "Hindu" tag and brandishing it as pro-BJP issue.

Here's how he explained it.

"I just fail to understand why Hindustan Times has to colour everything politically. What has BJP got to do with Baba Ramdev? Or is it that anybody who preaches the established Hindu lifestyle is a BJP-walla? Is it because Brinda Karat can't stand Ramdev?"

He had a request for Karat. "Do whatever political hara-kiri you want to, but please for God sake do not mess up things which otherwise are okay. Call Vajpayee names, call BJP names, call Congress names, do whatever you please, spare the life and the lifestyle, unless your sole agenda is to dismantle everything that has anything to do with Hindu belief system."

Is Karat listening?

Anuradha of Dubai was alarmed at the extent to which political system had been bought by MNCs.

She was her caustic best and said, "Thank you Karat for being a traitor and betraying your nation and people for your personal benefits. You have sold our future to multinationals!"

"Your actions will destroy the sanctity of an individual and institution who have contributed immensely to the benefit of Indians."

LC Kapur from New Delhi was of the opinion that the basis of any treatment was to give relief to the patient.

He said, "Allopathic drugs contain so many components that are tremendously toxic and harmful but are still used with the underlying intention of curing the suffering."

So why target Ramdevji, he asked?

Michelle Sharma of Mumbai felt sorry that "we still have selfish leaders as politicians who will go to any extent to fulfil their greed even if it costs the nation."

This is reason why we have been enslaved so often in our history, she felt.

"Baba Ramdevji has done such a good job for humanity and his instructions will ensure that Indians will have healthy minds and healthy bodies. He has earned the ire of some multinationals who have hired our corrupt politicians who will do anything for personal favour," she said firmly.

JS Acharya from Hyderabad took a more balanced approach on the issue. While he was clear no one ought to be victimised for political ends, he admitted that quackery was widespread in the country in the garb of Indian systems of medicine.

But a professional, A Bhatia of Thane expressed implicit faith in Ramdev.

Here's what he said. "You should study what Swamiji has to say before treating the matter so lightly. There is a lot of wisdom gathered from our rishis, which he is spreading. My comments are based on my personal experience. I am from IIT Roorkee and have been in medical engineering for 35 years with a close interaction with the best in medicine."

Kedarnath Aiyar from Mumbai was point blank in targeting HindustanTimes.com for the headline.

"Please ask yourself if your headline is fair and unbiased vis-a-vis what you have reported in the body of the news report? Please be careful in reporting on the subject. Ramdoss himself admits that the samples were sent by Karat and not picked up directly from a pharmacy in Haridwar. And in all these, the real authorities, the FDA, are nowhere in the picture."

Sanjeev was San Francisco was certain of a conspiracy here.

"Brinda Karat got her own bottle of Ayurvedic medicine and got tested with human DNA. If you want to defame any pharmaceutical company, buy some medicine from the market and add some ant killer in it and pay huge sums of money to MPs to defame that company because there are no norms to collect the sample and no laws of the land."

Asking HindustanTimes.com to be careful, Catcanind from New Delhi, said, "I am not partner of Swami Ramdev, but I have seen patients who are content with his medicines."

Mitesh from Edison, US called it "a Leftist conspiracy aimed at harming Ramdevji's image".

Amit from Kurukshetra felt it is very "easy for people like Brinda Karat to tamper with reports".

He went on to add, "Ramdevji is clean. He is just trying to save people and India from these multinational companies and their bad effects of their medicines. It is really sad that a person like Ramdevji is being accused of all this."

18 killed in Balochistan violence

* 12 militants killed
* 3 FC personnel killed in landmine blast
* Rocket attack kills 3 soldiers
* Gas pipeline blown up near Kandhkot

QUETTA: Eighteen people including 12 suspected tribal militants and six security personnel have been killed in violence-wracked Balochistan since Wednesday.

Pakistani security forces shot dead 12 suspected tribal militants on Wednesday after a roadside bomb blast killed three soldiers, a government official said. The incidents near the Pirkoh gasfield, about 400 kilometres southeast of Quetta, were the bloodiest for months to rock the increasingly volatile province.

The three paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers died and three were wounded when their vehicle carrying food for the gasfield was hit by a remote controlled bomb, District Coordination Officer Abdul Samad Lasi said. Shortly afterwards dozens of armed insurgents attacked the gasfield, which is near Dera Bugti, and soldiers retaliated, killing 12 miscreants, Lasi said.

However, the Jamhoori Watan Party rejected the government’s account of the incident. Party secretary general Agha Shahid Bugti denied that any tribesmen were killed in the clash, saying that 12 civilians who were arrested after the blast in Pirkoh were “later killed in the custody of the paramilitary forces”.

He said 16 civilians also died in shelling and rocket attacks by paramilitary forces late on Tuesday in Dera Bugti town and Loti area. Separately, a rocket fired by suspected tribal militants struck a camp housing soldiers at Margat Indus, a coal mining area about 75 kilometres east of Quetta, killing three, security officials said on Friday. Pakistani military officials were not immediately available for comment. The BLA claimed responsibility for the attack.

Also, two bombs damaged a short stretch of railway track in Quetta late on Thursday, but no injuries were reported, police said on Friday. A railway official said the line had since been repaired.

Meanwhile, suspected tribal militants blew up a gas pipeline near Kandhkot town, Sindh, on Thursday, but supplies to consumers were not significantly affected, police and a gas company official said. agencies


Pakistan is a country in turmoil. Its latent instability is now tearing at its tenuous fabric. The disastrous earthquake in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has shown up the terrible inadequacies in its infrastructure and its much-vaunted Army that reeled back as if hit by a sledge-hammer when faced with the task of rescuing the victims, feeding, clothing and sheltering them. They flustered, and all the Blanco and spit and polish of the parade ground left them “flapping”, to use an Army term. A very poor score-card, and the Paki Army didn’t ‘pass the square’, to use another “pongo” _expression. I don’t intend to gloat over the misfortunes of this benighted country, but I must throw in a few caveats to protect India from getting overwhelmed by the euphoria of the biryani guzzling “mehrmanowazi” of its inhabitants. But let’s keep moving.

The Shia/Sunni schism is alive and well and the Battle of Karbala continues to be fought in Gilgit, Baltistan and, of course, in Balochistan, particularly the latter, where the tribal loyalties of the Marri and Bugti have come to the fore. But what is bugging the Baloch? To start with, Balochistan was a “reluctant bride” when Pakistan was created. The Baloch were never asked whether they wanted to be incorporated into the newly-created country. Balochistan is by far the largest territory, area-wise, in Pakistan. It also has four large princely states, consisting of Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat, the last being the biggest. Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, the Nawab of Kalat, opted for independence and this move caused the Pakistan Army to intervene and Mir Ahmad Yar Khan was forced to sign the accession to Pakistan. But, unlike India, the princely states survived in Balochistan, as did the princely states of Mardan, Dir, Swat, Chitral and Hunza in the NWFP and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and Bhawalpur in Punjab. Pakistan is still a feudal society and no attempt has been made to introduce agrarian reforms. Large areas of the Punjab are still owned by absentee landlords, like the powerful families of Malik

Feroze Khan Noon, Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani, Mian Mumtaz Mahommed Daultana, Syed Ahmed Nawab and Shah Gardezi. To a smaller extent, the great landlords of Sindh, like the Bhuttos of Larkana, Mohammed Ayub Khusro and Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, are powerful figures in Pakistan politics. And over-riding all this feudal power-play is the Punjab-dominated Pakistan Army, with huge land-ownership, investments in industry and bloated with US dollars in aid, petro-dollars from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and last, but by no means least, the narco-dollars from Afghanistan, thanks to the opium trade. But all this political and economic power is in the Punjab. Balochistan was a neglected backwood, even before India’s Independence. The barren, treeless Suleiman Mountains can barely sustain life. With the exception of some glorious apple, peach and stone-fruit, dry-fruit orchards and rock-melons around Quetta, the rest is left to the goats and sheep of the tribes. The Baloch was never considered as good recruitment material for the Indian Army and even though there was one regiment, the 10th Baluch Regiment, its composition was Pathans, Dogras, Brahmins and the Punjab Mussalman. Not a Baloch in sight. Another reason for neglect was Balochistan’s close proximity to Iran and its substantial Baloch ethnic minority in the South East.

The discovery of the SUI oil and gas field opened a new dimension for Balochistan, but, unfortunately, the beneficiaries were Karachi and the Punjab.


Hardly any oil or gas was piped to the villages and very few royalties went into the coffers to develop Balochistan. This is the main bone of contention, and the

blowing up of the pipe-lines by the Marri and Bugti tribes. But there are many smaller

issues, such as:
The port of Gwadar on the Makran coast and the Chinese Naval Shipyard next door has been built by imported labour from the Punjab. Very little employment has gone to the Balochs.
A large Cantonement has been built to house the Punjabi army and navy. Although all this development is in Balochistan hardly any employment or contracts have gone to the Balochis.
The Balochis are mainly Shias, whereas the Punjabis are mainly Sunnis, as are the Pukhtoon, who have flooded into border towns like Quetta, as Taliban insurgents..
Pakistan exploded its atom bomb underground in the hills of Balochistan. Fear of nuclear contamination is very real.
The Makran Highway displaces thousands of Balochis with inadequate compensation.

All the above factors contribute to the growing discontent of the Balochis and the over-reaction by Musharraf using both air and ground forces to quell the uprising.

The discontent in Sindh is an old simmering Shia/Sunni hatred, once again fed by the pro –Punjab bias in Pakistan politics. Unlike poverty-stricken Balochistan, the Sindh has a rich agriculrure, based on irrigation from the Indus. The construction of the Kalabagh Dam will feed irrigation canals in South Eastern Punjab, depriving Sindh of scarce water, even the Karachi megapolis, the unstable economic hub of Pakistan. Water resources are going to decrease in the years to come and Pakistan will try and get a bigger share of the Indus Valley water shared with India. Water is going to become a major problem, aggravated by the Water Grid starting in India to inter-link all the rivers in the country. By contrast the water scarcity in Pakistan has hardly any counter-vailing alternatives.

The Shia/Sunni schism is alive and well in Sindh and extends right into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, areas of Balochistan, Gilgit, Chitral and Hunza. These are Shia-majority areas. The largely Sunni Punjab-based army is trying desperately to dilute the demography by settling ex-servicemen in these areas, particularly in Gilgit and Baltistan. This is creating a backlash from the local population who are already deprived of democratic rights by the Northern Areas Administration, which governs the domain like a colony from Islamabad, with no voting rights. The tragedy is that this pocket of misery is of India’s own making, a part and parcel of the blundering stupidity of Nehru and his


benighted Congress Party. Although these areas were not badly hit by the Kashmir earthquake, the roads leading into the territories were crippled, causing shortages in all supplies.

The Pakistan economy has been shaky at the best of times. Rebuilding the POK countryside, providing schools and hospitals, roads and bridges, proper housing and employment is a mammoth task in spite of the foreign aid that has poured in. India, on the other hand, has escaped with only minor damage. The contrast between the two sides of the Line of Control (LOC) must gall the Pakistan Army, but in particular the fundamentalist groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and even the Bangladeshi Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami(BHJIB), whose raison d’etre is to Balkanise India, destroy its economy and create a Caliphate extending from Afghanistan to Myanmar, with Pakistan at its centre. This is not paranoia but the avowed intention of the Pakistan ISI, the Mullahs, and, of course, the Ulema. One of the basic tenets of Islam is that once a territory has been under Muslim rule it is forever a part of the Dar-ul-Islam, as is Spain, the latest example if once again Islamising “Andalus” in Iberia. These are not fantasies but realities in the Muslim ethos. So, what can India expect in the years ahead?
As the Indian economy surges ahead, by comparison the Pakistan economy will fall further and further behind. This will cause increase a hatred, envy and resentment, particularly among the fundamentalists named above. We can expect a substantial increase in insurgency in Kashmir as the LOC has become much more porous with the dismantling of the fence built by the Indian Army. In addition, the victims of the earthquake are desperate for employment to earn money to rebuild their lives. The fundamentalist groups are flush with money from the Middle East and Pakistan, and the victims will flock to the jihadi banner, not because of belief but because they will be paid to fight.
The rust bucket states of U.P., Bihar and West Bengal are teetering on the brink of collapse, due to corruption and bad governance. They also have a substantial Muslim population. An ideal breeding ground for ISI sleeper-cells that can link up with the Maoist rebels in Nepal, where the ISI is also very active. India has made a complete political mess of this huge area and its come-uppance is fast approaching.
There are over 10 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam and West Bengal and India has not taken any positive steps to deport these persons back to Bangladesh. To compound the problem, there is no proper fencing in vast stretches of the border and Bangladeshis can just walk across unprotected paddy fields into Assam. What is even worse is that corrupt politicians provide these illegal immigrants with ration-cards and other documents to legitimize their presence in India, all for the sake of getting their votes. The situation is an absolute disgrace and India will pay dearly for this treachery in the not-too


distant-future as the demography in North-Eastern India changes. Once again the ISI has realised India’s vulnerability and has combined forces with

secessionist groups like ULFA and terrorist groups from Tripura, Manipur, Mizoran, and Nagaland, that move freely across the unsecured borders and disappear back into the shelter of Bangladesh. India’s ineptitude and corrupt politics will eventually result in the annexation of North Eastern India by Bangladesh. The future does not bode well for India.

Now, let us return to the terrorist groups like (Let), (JEM) and (HUJIB). They are sitting pretty in Pakistan and Bangladesh, knowing full well that their governments will not ban them from operating, although polite noises will be made to satisfy international public opinion, that they are opposed to terrorism. What is worse is that a lame duck India does not retaliate with pre-emptive strikes across the border. It is a one-sided farce, with India at the receiving end of the terrorist attacks in Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, and now Bangalore, and this is only the beginning. The terrorists are probing the soft under-belly of a flabby country that does not seem to have the guts to strike back. They have nothing to fear and this will embolden them to bigger and better adventurism. India’s much-vaunted IT Industry in Bangalore and Hyderabad is imploding as the infrastructure, particularly the traffic grid-lock, brings the cities to a stand-still. Companies like Infosys are already talking of out-sourcing their future growth to other cities in India and overseas. A terrorist threat, particularly to the 622 Multi-nationals, will put a cap on India’s economic growth – a most desirable outcome for Pakistan and Bangladesh. The attack on the Indian Institute of Science was not a meaningless, vicious affair. It was testing the water for bigger attacks to come. The Multinational Companies (MNC) are big pussycats that frighten easily. They have no desire to get embroiled in internecine squabbles of the host country. The infrastructure mess in Bangalore is causing second thoughts on future investment. A major terrorist threat and they will pull up their stumps

and play elsewhere! Pakistan and Bangladesh have won!

As time goes by, India’s viability as a functional democracy becomes questionable. India, beset with bureaucratic and political corruption, ineptitude, greed and lack of any resemblance of patriotism and fair play, makes a mockery of democracy.

In my opinion India is at a cross-roads. Terrorism must be ruthlessly crushed once and for all, if necessary by interdiction, and pre-emptive force, or it will engulf us. To hell with pandering to a potential third column. Either be an Indian and behave like one, or

pack your bags and leave the country. And last, but by no means least, the politicians MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE to the people, who pay for their perks and privileges, or they will LOSE them.

Tough talk? Of course it is! You don’t make omelettes without breaking eggs! The mettle of India is under test. If we succeed, and we MUST, there is no limit to glory and greatness. If we fail, God forbid, we will, once again, be under a ruthless Islamic yoke,

as an infidel PARIAH!


January 13, 2006

Is China grooming 'another Tibet'?

by Frederick Stakelbeck Jr, The Washington Times
December 29th, 2005

Over the past 10 months, the Himalayan nation of Nepal has adopted a potentially explosive pro-China foreign policy strategy designed to expand diplomatic and military relations between the two countries. The genesis of this policy can be traced to February, when dictatorial King Gyanendra seized absolute power by suspending free elections and democratic reforms.

Since then, Katmandu has come under intense pressure from traditional allies India, Britain and the United States, all of which imposed a range of tough sanctions, essentially freezing all military exchanges. All three countries have stated recently that military assistance to Nepal would resume only when King Gyanendra has handed over executive power to a democratic government and addressed human-rights concerns.

Facing the prospect of escalating internal unrest from an alienated public and a rising Maoist insurrection, war-torn Nepal has turned to alternative sources for military support, namely, mainland China. This new relationship poses difficult questions for India and the United States, testing the resolve of the world's two largest democracies.

In November, Royal Nepalese Army Gen. Pyar Jung Thapa secured a "no strings attached" grant of $12 million from China, the first such assistance since 1998. That same month, Nepal's Kantipur Daily reported that truckloads of arms and ammunition had crossed over the China-Nepal border under the close escort of the Chinese army.

Just a few weeks earlier, Gen. Thapa met with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan in Beijing. During their meeting, Gangchan indicated that his country would continue to promote military cooperation with Nepal, noting that bilateral relations have "witnessed progress." Later, Liang Guangile of the Chinese People's Liberation Army discussed issues related to Taiwan and Tibet with Gen. Thapa.

Although Indian and U.S. military aid to Nepal still far exceeds China's recent "donations," expanded military cooperation sends a clear message to New Delhi and Washington that Beijing plans to increase its influence in the region. All of this makes economic competitor and past military adversary India especially nervous. "It is a serious concern for India especially if the [defense] agreement with China is to be a long-term plan," one Indian defense official said.

In the past, India has supplied Nepal with rifles, Lancer helicopter gun ships, armored vehicles and ammunition in order to support democracy efforts and to repel Maoist activities on its northern border. For its part, the United States has supplied Nepal with millions of dollars in military aid and tens of thousands of M-16 assault rifles, while Britain has provided "non-lethal" equipment such as transport helicopters and trucks.

Nepal's military relationship with China is a national security concern for India, raising questions regarding China's ultimate intentions and the use of Nepalese territory to spy on Indian military installations. In addition, the joint Pakistan-Chinese construction project at the port of Gwada and the use of Myanmar's Cocos Islands by China also have New Delhi concerned.

With several lucrative oil and gas pipeline deals in the works, agreements to jointly construct north-south roads and railways, and ongoing discussions designed to create an "information superhighway" between the two countries, Katmandu is beginning to view Beijing as a powerful and influential regional friend and a possible long-term alternative to India and the United States.

But the government of King Gyanendra has recently bolstered military and political ties with coup supporters Pakistan and Russia as well. Nepalese Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey visited both countries in October, sending a message to New Delhi and Washington that a growing regional security concern may be on the horizon.

In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in November, seven U.S. congressmen urged the secretary to chair a high-level group to discuss, develop and implement a strategy to address the situation in Nepal. "We believe that a package that combines diplomatic intervention, economic development, and restoration of civil security is required to persuade King Gyanendra to embrace democratic governance," they noted.

Nepal may not become another Tibet in the near future; however, Beijing could gradually bring its considerable influence to bear on the tiny, poverty-stricken nation in an attempt to change the leadership in Katmandu. The first steps have already taken place.

India and the United States should make every attempt to prevent further destabilization in Nepal and deter further Chinese influence, which will only serve to agitate an already unstable regional security situation.

Frederick Stakelbeck Jr. is a foreign affairs analyst based in Philadelphia.

January 12, 2006

Collapse of the Indo-European theories

January 13, 2006

The fuss over Witzel's antics in California schools should not blind us to the emerging story-- the continuing erosion of the Indo-European theories that have held the fort for well over a century. As the report below shows genetics has dealt a death blow to these nineteenth century ideas.

But note how they are still trying to protect the linguistic version of the Aryan-Central Asian origin theories even though the biological version has collapsed thanks to genetics. I draw attention in particular to the last statement:

"I think if you could get into a time machine and visit northern India 10,000 years ago, you'd see people . Similar to the people there today," Underhill said. "They wouldn't be similar to people from Bangalore [in the south]."

How does he know, when he doesn't have any such time machine? Is this supposed to be science? And why does he think that the distribution of languages 10,000 years ago was the same as it is today? When ecology was quite different and North India and Eurasia (including Central Asia could not support much population?

And why stop at 10,000 years, and not 15,000 years?

How did language come then-- and why did it have to come from the West and not go the other way? This is an attempt to preserve the Eurocentric Indo-European theories in the face of scientific contradictions. Not so different from the tricks they used when Harappan archaeology brought into question their Aryan invasion theory.

So attack comparative linguistics as phoney. A creation like the 'Aryan' theories. I will accept Indo European only when they produce some ancient examples in Indo european-- not their own creations.

It is full of holes.

Languages like people moved from south and east to north and west. The same is true of agriculture.

We need a new model for the evolution of languages in India, to begin with. Drop all these invasion/migration ideas and look only at data, ecology and natural history including genetics. comparative linguistics has collapsed. All its assumptions are false.

N.S. Rajaram


India Acquired Language, Not Genes, From West, Study Says
Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News
January 10, 2006

Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading
Central Asian steppe dwellers, a new genetic study reports.

The Indian subcontinent may have acquired agricultural techniques
and languages-but it absorbed few genes-from the west, said Vijendra
Kashyap, director of India's National Institute of Biologicals in

The finding disputes a long-held theory that a large invasion of
central Asians, traveling through a northwest Indian corridor,
shaped the language, culture, and gene pool of many modern Indians
within the past 10,000 years.

That theory is bolstered by the presence of Indo-European languages
in India, the archaeological record, and historic sources such as
the Rig Veda, an early Indian religious text.

Some previous genetic studies have also supported the concept.

But Kashyap's findings, published in the current issue of the
Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, stand at odds with
those results.

True Ancestors

Testing a sample of men from 32 tribal and 45 caste groups
throughout India, Kashyap's team examined 936 Y chromosomes. (The
chromosome determines gender; males carry it, but women do not.)

The data reveal that the large majority of modern Indians descended
from South Asian ancestors who lived on the Indian subcontinent
before an influx of agricultural techniques from the north and west
arrived some 10,000 years ago. (Sic: This is pure conjecture-- no evidence that agricultural techniques came from north and west. 10,000 years ago, agriculture was possible only in tropical Asia, not temperate Eurasia which was too cold.)

Most geneticists believe that humans first reached India via a
coastal migration route perhaps 50,000 years ago.

Soon after leaving Africa, these early humans are believed to have
followed the coast through southern India and eventually continued
on to populate distant Australia.

Peter Underhill, a research scientist at the Stanford University
School of Medicine's department of genetics, says he harbors no
doubts that Indo-European speakers did move into India. But he
agrees with Kashyap that their genetic contribution appears small.

"It doesn't look like there was a massive flow of genes that came in
a few thousand years ago," he said. "Clearly people came in to India
and brought their culture, language, and some genes."

"But I think that the genetic impact of those people was minor," he
added. "You'd don't really see an equivalent genetic replacement the
way that you do with the language replacement."

Language, Genes Tell Different Tales

Kashyap and his colleagues say their findings may explain the
prevalence of Indo-European languages, such as Hindi and Bengali, in
northern India and their relative absence in the south.

"The fact the Indo-European speakers are predominantly found in
northern parts of the subcontinent may be because they were in
direct contact with the Indo-European migrants, where they could
have a stronger influence on the native populations to adopt their
language and other cultural entities," Kashyap said.

Sic: There is a simpler explanation-- there is no such thing as Indo-European, either of race or language. All the contradictions disappear and go back to the drawing board without any of this nineteenth century baggage. Start from scratch.

Sic: A preposterous contradiction-- there were no Indo-European migrants but Indo-European languages evolved because the natives came in contacts with these "migrants" though there was no migration?

He argues that even wholesale language changes can and do occur
without genetic mixing of populations.

"It is generally assumed that language is more strongly correlated
to genetics, as compared to social status or geography, because
humans mostly do not tend to cross language boundaries while
choosing marriage partners," Kashyap said.

"Although few of the earlier studies have shown that language is a
good predictor of genetic affinity and that Y chromosome is more
strongly correlated with linguistic boundaries, it is not always
so," he added.

"Language can be acquired [and] has been in cases of 'elite
dominance,' where adoption of a language can be forced but strong
genetic differences remain [because of] the lack of admixture
between the dominant and the weak populations."

If steppe-dwelling Central Asians did lend language and technology,
but not many genes, to northern India, the region may have changed
far less over the centuries than previously believed.

"I think if you could get into a time machine and visit northern
India 10,000 years ago, you'd see people . Similar to the people
there today," Underhill said. "They wouldn't be similar to people
from Bangalore [in the south]."

Law firm retained to represent hindus in california textbook efforts

DATE: January 12, 2006

Sacramento, California.: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has retained the law firm of Olson, Hagel and Fishburn, LLP of Sacramento, California to represent the Foundation in its interactions with the California State Board of Education (SBE).

The SBE is currently considering a determination of the California Curriculum Commission that several edits and corrections of textbooks regarding the teaching of Hinduism to public school students be accepted.

The Vedic Foundation (VF) and Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) previously submitted extensive edits as part of a lengthy review process conducted by SBE and the Curriculum Commission. HAF became involved in the process when it became apparent that the SBE and its staff failed to adequately address a substantial number of the VF
and HEF edits, and improperly allowed certain individuals to undermine the procedures available for public debate and resolution of these issues. The most recent example of this appears to have occurred at a January 6, 2006 meeting in which previous determinations of the Curriculum Commission were apparently re-opened and reviewed in a private session from which VF, HEF and HAF
were excluded.

Although a final determination with respect to these matters may be made by the SBE at its February meeting, attorneys representing HAF are planning to appear at the SBE meeting January 12, 2006 and provide Board members with the attached statement.

"We believe that the Curriculum Commission of the California State Board of Education made its recommendations to the SBE based on an accurate understanding of science, history and the sentiments of
those people in California that actually practice the Hindu faith being taught in schools," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., Legal Counsel of HAF. "It would be completely inappropriate – and we believe illegal – for those recommendations to be modified by the staff and Board
members as the result of a closed meeting. HAF is committed to ensure that a fair and open process is followed, and the decision to retain counsel on this matter reflects our concern that the appropriate process is perhaps not being followed in this case."

A lack of communication from the office of the SBE to HAF regarding these concerns, despite numerous attempts, led the foundation to retain counsel.

"We are fully cognizant of how strongly our constituents feel about the textbook issue, and we at HAF are determined to utilize every possible option to ensure that the SBE process remains fair and impartial for Hindu Americans," added Ms. Shukla.

The Sacramento based law-firm will handle communication with the SBE on behalf of HAF and ensure that the concerns of the Hindu American community regarding textbook portrayals of Hinduism are conveyed.

Attorneys at HAF continue to provide background material, the context of the current controversy and perspectives of the Hindu American community to the firm.

"Hindus throughout the United States are watching this process with concern since the results have broad implications for all Hindus. For many years, Hinduism was taught from a non-Hindu perspective. All that we are asking is that Hinduism be taught as per state law,
which asks that the education `Instill in each child a sense of pride in his or her heritage; develop a feeling of self-worth…; eradicate the roots of prejudice... and enable all students to become aware and accepting of religious diversity while being allowed to remain secure in any religious beliefs they may already have'", said Mihir Meghani, M.D., President of HAF.

The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non- partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism

Foreign spy flying Cessna plane over ISRO and Filming in Kerala

This has come to our attention from our IntelliBriefs source in Kerala that , the other day a foreigner ( either Italian or Swiss) came to Thiruvananthapuram, hired the Cessna plane belonging to the Trivandrum Flying Club, flew over the city and filmed the entire sensitve defense installations which include the ISRO Indian Space Research Organisatio's VSSC, the premier Space Research Centre of the country.

The fact is that as per the legislations of the country, no foreigner is allowed to fly over the the cities in hired planes and film the locations without the permission of the defence forces. But in Kerala, it is reported that a senior offiocial (it goes without asking that he is a Christian) forced the flying club authorities to take the foreigner for a joy ride. The interesting thing is that the foreigner left the country with all ther video rercordings.

Now public representatives must question the government , particularly Civil aviation and Defense minister , demanding answers -- who is the person and for what reason he came to Kerala, who allowed him to fly violating the law of land . If this incident is ignored , such things will repeat leading to undermine our national defence and security .

Hindu girl, 13, raped by christian pastor

COIMBATORE: Charles (45), a pastor, who had sexually abused 13-year-old Lakshmi, an inmate of his orphanage, committed suicide on Tuesday by throwing himself before a running train at North Coimbatore Railway Station.

Police had been searching him.

The orphanage run by pastor Charles had been functioning at Mongampalayam village on the Annur-Mettupalayam road. Lakshmi alleged that he had been sexually abusing her for a year.

A complaint was lodged with Karamadai police on Sunday. Charles had been at large and the police were in search of him. On Tuesday, around 8.30 AM, Charles threw himself before the Palakkad-Tiruchy train at North Coimbatore Railway Station.

Though he was immediately rushed to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), doctors could not save his life. The condition of Lakshmi was said to be critical.

The lower part of her body was not functioning and her kidneys were totally damaged, police sources said.

Lakshmi, daughter of Maarathal, belonged to Karattumedu near Mettupalayam. Her father Mariappan died in 2001. She has a sister Chithra (10) and brother Aruchamy (5).

Pastor Charles had approached Maarathal a year ago and told her about the orphanage for poor children. He assured her children free education, accommodation, clothing and food at the orphanage.

Maarathal, who was struggling to make both ends meet, agreed to send Lakshmi and Chithra to the orphanage. Later, she used to visit her children quite often. Both the girls stayed there for a year.

Lakshmi attained puberty in November last and Charles told Maarathal to take her home. A few days after the girl returned home, she developed urinary problems and her health began to deteriorate fast.

She was admitted to the Mettupalayam Government Hospital. The doctors found that her kidneys had been damaged and the lower part of her body had slowly begun to stop functioning.

She was later taken to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) for treatment. Only then, Lakshmi told her mother that pastor Charles had been sexually abusing her. Charles had been giving her contraceptive pills.

Maarathal lodged a complaint with the Karamadai police on Sunday. As the pastor was said to be in Chennai, the police filed a case and spread a net for him.

After the pastor’s suicide, the Railway police have filed a case and are investigating. The incident was reported to the Karamadai police, who were in search of him.

Pastor Charles was a native of Ernakulam, Kerala. He was married to Vijaya and had been living in Coonoor. He had two sons, Ditto and Daniel. Vijaya was taking care of a prayer house at Mettupalayam while Charles was running the orphanage.

A few years ago, he started the orphanage at Karattumedu and then shifted to Mongampalayam on the Annur-Mettupalayam road.


Germany's Jewish Population on the Rise

By Lisa Bryant
12 January 2006

Bryant report - Download 782k
Listen to Bryant report

SOURCE : Voice of America

Six decades after the Holocaust, Germany's Jewish population is soaring, thanks, largely, to a flood of new Jewish immigrants from former Communist countries. Indeed, in recent years Germany has boasted the world's fastest growing Jewish population. But the immigration boom is also fueling new tensions.

By almost any benchmark, Boris Rosenthal is a German success story. Fifteen years after arriving here with his family and a few suitcases, the 48-year-old native Ukrainian juggles a teaching job with a blossoming musical career. Today, he speaks proudly in his adopted language about his new life in Berlin.

Rosenthal says he is not a typical immigrant. Unlike many newcomers, he says he identifies with the German mentality. When he came here, he says, he wanted to work immediately and be active in his new home.

There are other reasons why Rosenthal is a different kind of German immigrant. He is among an estimated 200,000 Jews from former Communist states who have flocked here in recent years. These new immigrants are known here simply as "Russian Jews" although they come from many different countries.

Concrete slabs of Germany's national Holocaust memorial sit in front of Reichstag dome in Berlin
They took advantage of what has been a virtual open-door immigration policy by the German government, partly to atone for the Holocaust. And, says Julius Schoeps, a Jewish history professor at the University of Potsdam near Berlin, these immigrants are reviving Germany's once-minute postwar Jewish community.

"The future of this community was very bad. There was no future. The idea was to bring Jews from Russia to strengthen the Jewish community. It succeeded," he said.

Since 1990, the number of registered Jews in Germany has soared from 30,000 to nearly 106,000. That figure may double, some estimate, if those who are not formally part of the Jewish community, and therefore are not counted, are added in. In Berlin alone, there are at least seven synagogues, three Jewish schools and an array of Kosher stores and cafes. Jews here describe some latent antisemitism in Germany, but nothing very worrisome.

But the immigration boom is fueling tensions between more observant, second-and third-generation Jews and the new arrivals, who come here with a laundry list of needs and only a sketchy grasp of their religion. The newcomers guarantee a future for Judaism in Germany. But says Michael May, executive director of Berlin's Jewish community, it is unclear what kind of future that will be.

"I don't know where this community is going because I am coming from a German-Jewish background first of all because of my age, second because I have relatively elderly parents who were imbued with this German-Jewish culture and this is definitely disappearing," he said. "There are relatively few people who can continue with this tradition. And on the other hand, you have this new Russian-Jewish tradition which has come in of the 21st century, which will create its own culture...and we don't know where we'll stand in 10 or 20 years."

Such soul-searching coincides with tighter German guidelines requiring prospective immigrants to speak German and be under 45 years old. That is likely to reduce Jewish immigration to Germany. Jews here are divided over the new policy.

Rosenthal, the Ukrainian musician, believes the immigration boom is slowing anyway because of better conditions for Jews in former Soviet countries, conditions that did not exist when he left the Ukraine in 1990. At a Berlin Jewish school, where he now teaches music, Rosenthal recounts his own story.

Back in his Ukrainian home town of Lemberg, Rosenthal did not know much about his Jewish roots, except that "Jew" was stamped on his former Soviet passport as his "nationality." And that he was sometimes the butt of antisemitic jokes. He went to his first Hanukkah celebration at the end of the 1980s. Not long afterward, he had a chance to emigrate.

As a newcomer in Berlin, Rosenthal's first job was digging graves at a Jewish cemetery. But he slowly stitched back his former career as a singer and orchestra conductor. Later, he was offered his current job as a music teacher.

Other immigrants are not so lucky. Many are unemployed. Germany's smaller, more established Jewish community is struggling to meet their needs. That has caused friction between the immigrants and those born in Germany, says Irene Runge, who heads Berlin's Jewish Cultural Association.

"The Russian Jews feel they're neglected, they're humiliated. And the German Jews say they're so aggressive and they're only asking to get things, and they don't give anything," she said.

The German and Eastern European Jews also have different tastes in music, literature and fashion.

More importantly, perhaps, many immigrants like Boris Ladoniski are not particularly religious. At a cafe in Berlin, the 30-year-old Russian native talked about what it means for him to be Jewish.

"Most Jews in Russia aren't religious, and I'm not terribly religious either," he said. "But it didn't mean they didn't feel Jewish. It was a different sense of Jewishness, which was based more on the history of the family, on culture, on the stories, the songs you heard."

An uncounted number of Jewish immigrants have not joined Germany's Jewish community. Some do not the meet the community's strict definition of a Jew, that is, converting or having a Jewish mother, rather than simply having one Jewish parent, which qualifies a person as Jewish under Germany's immigration law. But Ladoniski also says that many immigrants are simply not interested in joining.

"It's increasingly a problem for my generation, because many people do not see what should be the benefit in being a member of the community," he continued. "Especially if you're in your thirties, if you have a German education and you're integrated into German society."

But some experts say this new, less-religious generation of German Jews is not necessarily a bad thing. Faith, they say, is only part of a complex set of factors shaping the future of Judaism in Germany.

CHINA'S GLOBAL REACH:Markets, Multinationals, and Globalization

Markets, Multinationals, and Globalization

(Book Excerpt)
by George Zhibin Gu

Chapter 3 All Players Are Important

Today China is the biggest new frontier for international companies. In many ways, the Chinese market has a more international flavor than many other markets around the globe. Many unique characteristics have evolved along the way. Countless international businesspeople are singing their favorite songs and doing their traditional dances—all in one theater. So far, some have danced better than others.

Overseas Chinese Inc vs. foreign multinationals
Up to now, the “Overseas Chinese Inc.” has been the biggest investor in Mainland China. The United States is in second position, followed by Japan and numerous European nations and South Korea.

Businesses from Hong Kong had an early start. Most if not all of the factories in Hong Kong have moved over the border. Today, about 240,000 Hong Kong residents work and live in China. Their employers are mostly small and midsize companies. They mostly focus on low-end consumer products. Their strengths are best shown in their vast numbers.

China’s expanding market has created tremendous opportunities for the global giants, especially in capital-intensive and high-tech sectors. These giants have made a huge difference in connecting China to the global markets.

US multinationals vs. others
Overall, on a global basis, the U.S. companies as a group are the biggest. The power of the United States is the most influential in many markets. In China as of now, U.S. players are just one among many foreign business groups.

Relatively speaking, the Koreans are more active today than the Americans. To the Koreans, coming to China is a necessity, for their home market is small. They aim to use China as a new engine for growth. But the U.S. companies have a huge market at home. They are less willing to venture out. Except for a few large players and high-tech companies, most sizable American companies have only 10% or less international business. This is quite different from the situation for many leading companies in Europe, Japan, and South Korea. They may have much bigger international sales than their U.S. counterparts.

In China, many Korean companies have been latecomers in relation to Japanese and Western companies. But they have made great strides. Several are already household names, especially LG, Hyundai, and Samsung.

LG has been a star performer. By 2003, LG had invested $2.4 billion in China. The company has become a leader in the consumer electronics and home appliances sector. Its China business reached $8 billion in 2003 and $10 billion in 2004. LG is still expanding its investment programs and hoping to make China its second home.

Samsung is another success story. Its product lines—semiconductors, mobile phones, consumer electronics, and home appliances—fit China’s needs. By now Samsung has transferred most of its personal computer manufacturing to China.

What underlies the success of Korean companies is a combination of good timing and the right products. Above all, the Koreans are committed to China for the long term. The Korean success has inspired envy among international competitors.

In fact, Korean companies now treat China as their own production center as well as a big market. The average monthly salary for a manufacturing job is $1,524 in Korea, but only $115 in China. In addition, China is a huge market, much bigger than Korea—something the Korean companies cannot ignore. They intend to move most of their production from Korea to China, increasing the efficiency and profitability of expanding around the globe.

It seems that the Korean giant Samsung has found jade in China. Samsung intends to make China its biggest market, hoping to reach $14 billion in sales by 2008. To this end the company has been adding new programs. This has already made Samsung a leader in China. The Korean giant will become even more powerful, for it has found a big space in China.

How do Chinese consumers view foreign players in general? They seem to pay less attention to national origins than one might think. In many ways, they are rather indifferent to nationality. To consumers, all the foreign players are important.

Auto competition
In the auto market, all the American players are in China today. As is true internationally, GM and Ford are only two players among many in China. The largest player so far is Volkswagen. Volkswagen has been operating in China since 1985. But GM set up its Shanghai joint venture only in the late 1990s. Volkswagen has kept its leadership role by expanding its programs and adding joint ventures. In Volkswagen’s global sales, China now accounts for about 20%. Volkswagen is adding 10 billion euros and wishes to make China a center of its global business.

Moreover, GM confronts numerous competing players in its price range. Honda and Toyota are two of these. Korea’s Hyundai landed in China in 2002. Hyundai hopes to make China its biggest market and is now in a hurry to achieve this goal. So far, progress has been huge. In 2004, Hyundai sold 150,000 cars in China, making it one of the top four car makers here. Another U.S. giant, Ford, does not want to be left behind. Its most recent project was to build an auto factory in Nanjing in partnership with Japan’s Mazda and a Chinese company. At the present time, all global auto players are busy. They expect China’s auto market to reach 10 million by 2010, from 5.2 million in 2004.

All in all, China has become a new arena for global business. All multinationals have taken their unique roles. They are all important for now, and they all want to become even more important. In order to do so they must fight hard with one another, besides China Inc.

© 2005 George Zhibin Gu
Editorial Archive

George Zhibin Gu, author and business consultant based in China, is the author of a newly released book, Made in China: Players and Challengers in the 21st Century (Portuguese edition, (www.CentroAltantico.pt) and of a forthcoming book, China's Global Reach: Markets, Multinationals and Globalization (www.Trafford.com, Sept 2005).

George Zhibin Gu, PhD
Publisher and webpage: www.Trafford.com/05-1822 ISBN: 1-4120-6911-4
Shenzhen, China

China Oil Giant Reaches Deal to Buy Major Stake in Nigerian Oil Field

By Luis Ramirez
10 January 2006

Listen to Ramirez report

The giant Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, CNOOC, has reached a deal to buy a 45 percent stake in a Nigerian oil field for more than $2 billion. The purchase, if approved by both governments, would be China's first major venture into oil-rich Nigeria.

The deal is part of China's bid to look for other energy sources to quench a mounting thirst for oil caused by its rapidly expanding economy.

Energy will be high on the agenda when Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing visits Nigeria next week as part of a West African tour. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, on Tuesday said China is looking to expand its partnership with the West African nation, which is the world's eleventh largest producer of oil.

Kong says the Chinese and Nigerian governments will sign two important agreements: one on economic and technology cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on developing a strategic partnership.

CNOOC's bid to buy into the Nigerian oil field comes after its attempt to buy a major U.S. oil company failed last year. American lawmakers blocked the bid, citing security concerns.

Analysts say the Nigerian bid will not be easy for CNOOC, which has no experience in dealing with Nigeria - a country rated as a difficult place to do business. The international anti-corruption group Transparency International ranks the country as the sixth most corrupt nation in the world.

James Brock is an independent energy consultant based in Beijing. He says western oil corporations with much more experience have faced serious challenges, and he says he expects CNOOC's experience to be no different.

"The western companies such as Shell and Chevron did not bid on this block and that would imply they didn't believe the values were there," he said. "So this is certainly a hurdle which CNOOC will have to overcome."

India last month blocked a bid for the same stake by its state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, saying it was not commercially viable.

Energy analysts say that in many ways, China has no choice but to take such risks as its energy needs continue to mount.

The need for new oil sources is also driving China to strengthen ties with the left-wing president-elect of Bolivia, Evo Morales, whose country has vast gas reserves. Mr. Morales, who has pledged to nationalize the Bolivian gas industry, visited Beijing this week and received Chinese assurances of aid and trade deals

The Threat to India's High-Tech Sector

The Threat to India's High-Tech Sector
January 11, 2006 23 59 GMT


By Fred Burton

A recent attack at a scientists' convention in Bangalore underscored the risks to core segments of the global economy in a place that is not widely recognized as a terrorist target: India. The threat does not come from al Qaeda necessarily, but there are at least two groups in the region who are ideologically motivated to strike at economic targets -- and there is evidence that both recently have turned their gaze toward India's high-tech sector.

Under any circumstances, India's "high-tech corridor" would make an attractive target for rebel or militant groups looking to make their mark in world affairs. India's combination of low-cost labor and a highly educated, English-speaking work force has made it a significant component in the business of many multinational corporations (MNCs) -- especially in the software, e-commerce and customer-service industries. As many as half of the Fortune 500 are customers of Indian information-technology companies, and nearly as many of these firms reportedly have outsourced their customer service and support functions to India -- numbers that are undoubtedly higher in the technology and e-commerce sector. Some of the largest U.S.-based companies -- including Microsoft Corp., General Electric Co. and HP --- employ thousands of workers in India directly. And in addition to that, the country plays host to large numbers of expatriates and steady flows of Americans and Europeans traveling on business.

In short, from a security standpoint, the options and opportunities are rich for anyone with a grudge against Western commercial interests or looking to attack the Indian economy or government itself.

While all of these factors have been in place for some time, India has been regarded as a relatively safe and stable environment since the tech boom of the late 1990s -- despite some violent internal conflicts. More recently, however, the threat level -- specifically for multinational corporations -- has ticked upward, as groups that previously focused attacks strictly against the government begin to shift their thinking and targeting ideologies.

Currently, the two main threats to India's high-tech sector are posed by the Naxalites and the jihadists.

The Naxalite Threat

"Naxalite" is a general term describing numerous Maoist groups that are waging a low-intensity insurgency in several states. These groups emerged from a division in the Indian communist movement that corresponded with the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s. Since 1967, the Naxalites have been waging what they call a class struggle against the central government, with the aim of establishing a communist regime.

Over the years, one Naxalite group -- the People's War Group -- has targeted Indian police, government officials, MNCs, landlords and other institutions, through bombings and assassinations, in the name of class struggle. New Delhi's response, in addition to traditional uses of federal police and paramilitary troops, has included forcibly displacing local tribes that sympathize with the Maoists and, allegedly, using vigilantes to attack the Naxalites and their supporters. It is believed that several states also use private armies and other organizations to roust out the Maoists: In Jharkhand state, for example, the government has sponsored hunts by villagers -- backed by police -- for Naxalites and their sympathizers.

This long-running conflict shows no signs of easing. The Naxalites believe that the security sweeps are intended to drive out tribal elements that resist the entry of multinational corporations into India, and have pledged to lead a popular insurrection against the government to combat what they view as oppression of the peasant class. The insurrection, the Naxalites say, will include raids of government arsenals in order to arm tribes in the so-called "Red Corridor" running south from Nepal.

The Maoists also have issued a direct threat to MNCs: In mid-December, the central committee of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army told a "select group" of Indian journalists that their organization plans to attack multinationals and government institutions in several states. (The guerrilla group is the militant wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) -- not to be confused with India's two mainstream communist parties, which both support the government currently in power.) As we noted at that time, the attacks were threatened in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra states. The Maoists specifically mentioned the Dandakaranya region of Orissa state, where the central government waged a campaign to forcibly displace Naxalite sympathizers among the local tribes.

So far, the closest thing to an attack on the high-tech sector that the Naxalites have carried out was an October 2003 strike against the convoy of N. Chandrababu Naidu -- often referred to in the press as India's "High-Tech Czar," because he has been the driving force behind much of the sector's development in that country. Four Claymore-type anti-personnel mines exploded as Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state in northeastern India, passed by on his way to a shrine. Eight more mines were discovered later at the ambush site -- enough to have destroyed every vehicle in the convoy had they all detonated.

Significantly, the Naxalites have carried through on threats issued against government targets -- for example, the top police official in Manipur state was killed Dec. 31, 2005, in a vehicular ambush -- and in our view the warning issued in December should be viewed seriously. Not only do the Maoists view the high-tech industry as a symptom of an oppressive capitalist system, but they recognize that foreign investment in India's technology sector is critical for the country's economic growth and thus represents a potential vulnerability for the government they want to destroy. Furthermore, attacking economic infrastructure targets is a central tenet of asymmetrical warfare.

The Jihadist Threat

The second threat emanates from -- not surprisingly -- the jihadists. Islamist militants -- specifically the Kashmiri militant group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) -- have a history of carrying out attacks in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai, and Indian police and intelligence forces have arrested militants in Hyderabad and other southern cities. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to presume that jihadists are capable of carrying out attacks in the high-tech corridor.

Capabilities mean little, however, without intent.

The LeT -- which is believed to have links to al Qaeda -- has been blamed by the Indian government for an attack Dec. 28, 2005, at the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) in Bangalore. In that incident, a gunman armed with an AK-47 jumped from a car and shot into a crowd of academics (all in fields related to computing and operations research), killing one person and injuring three others. Someone else in the car lobbed a grenade, which failed to detonate. Authorities later announced an arrest in connection with the case.

Whether or not allegations are on the money that LeT is responsible for this apparently amateur or opportunistic attack, the nexus to the high-tech sector is difficult to miss. Moreover, a few days after the IIS strike occurred, authorities arrested two men whom they suspect of planning attacks against the tech industry in Hyderabad and recovered a cache of explosives.

During the past year, there have been other indications of risks that could be construed as touching on the tech industry: In March, Indian media reported a threat to Western interests in Bangalore based on evidence recovered during a raid on a LeT safe-house in New Delhi. And in October, the U.S. State Department issued a warden message warning U.S. citizens about potential terrorist attacks in India. The message, which specifically mentioned possible suicide car bombings, said the attacks could be directed against U.S. interests in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata.

As in other parts of the world, the Islamist militants active in India are attempting to drive the central government out of areas they consider to be Muslim land, so that they can establish the rule of Shariah. At this point, traditional guerrilla activity is confined mainly to the northern province of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been disputed territory between India and Pakistan since they became independent from the British in 1947. After the Soviet Union's defeat in Afghanistan, Islamist militants backed by Pakistan have dramatically increased their activities in Indian-administered Kashmir. But they also have resorted to terrorist attacks against targets beyond that region -- such as the 2001 bombing of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.

In the eyes of Islamist militant groups, hitting a U.S. or other Western multinational in India would damage India's high-technology sector -- which depends heavily on foreign investment -- by making other companies reluctant to invest in the country and possibly scaring away companies that are already there. And from an ideological standpoint, attacking a U.S. business would mark a continuation of what al Qaeda's leaders have called "the jihad against the Jews and Crusaders".

Considering the Stakes

The repercussions of any attack against India's high-tech sector would be felt far beyond India. Even a strike targeting an Indian multinational, such as Infosys Technologies, or an Indian company that outsources call center services to U.S. companies, such as Wipro Spectramind, would affect U.S. and European multinationals by extension.

On a tactical note, we have noted previously that business targets in India must be considered very differently from diplomatic missions. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, for example, is an "Inman" building, meaning that its architecture includes security features (few windows, anti-vehicle barriers and large stand-off perimeters) designed to mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack. While some Foreign Service officers complain about working in such fortress-like conditions, these buildings are indeed very difficult to attack. On the other hand, there are hundreds or thousands of MNC offices in India with very little security. The buildings are not designed to withstand truck bombs, lack blast-resistant windows, and have very little stand-off distance from streets and driveways. Stand-off distance, of course, is the single most important factor in protecting a facility from a large vehicle-borne explosive. These buildings are vulnerable.

Moreover, businesses usually do not have the option -- as do diplomatic missions -- of closing down in the face of a terrorist threat. This is as true for call centers and customer-service businesses that require around-the-clock staffing -- and India is home to many of these -- as it is for software-development companies that have a financial imperative to meet client deadlines. Business closures cost time and money, and in industries with razor-thin profit margins, these can have a disproportionate impact on a company's bottom line.

When an attack in the high-tech sector occurs -- and we use the word "when" deliberately -- multinationals and local outsourcing companies will step up their security measures or move facilities elsewhere in reaction. Either move will impact the company's bottom line and will send economic ripples that will be felt far beyond India.

Considerations for EP Teams

The Dec. 28 strike at the IIS in Bangalore was eye-opening -- not necessarily because of the damage or profile of the casualties, but because the institute is a high-profile location that regularly plays host to CEOs and other ranking businessmen from Western countries. As hubs of international commerce, Bangalore and Hyderabad can be compared to Tokyo and Paris as destinations for VIP business travelers. Technology titans and billionaires pass through with a frequency that is unheard-of elsewhere in the developing world.

As potential targets in their own right, executives are vulnerable from many angles.

In many if not most cases, these executives travel in India with the same level of protection they would receive in Tokyo or Zurich: a single, unarmed executive protection/corporate security officer. Executive protection (EP) officers are unarmed for both practical and other reasons. For one thing, obtaining the permits to carry weapons in foreign cities is next to impossible, and most corporations do not want to risk the embarrassment that would ensue if their security officer was caught carrying a weapon without proper authorization. As a practical matter, a single security officer with a handgun -- no matter how well-trained -- could do little to protect a CEO from several better-armed assailants or against a bomb. The "Die Hard" hero who can single-handedly defeat a team of terrorists with his pistol exists only in the movies -- and even in "Die Hard," John McClane had four hours to do it. In reality, corporate EP officers can be multi-tasked to the extreme; frequently they spend most of their time worrying about logistics and transportation, with security for their CEOs an afterthought at best.

Quite often, chauffeurs and cars provided by hotels are used for the traveling business team's transportation. While such vehicles are convenient and relatively inexpensive, and their drivers sometimes have good area knowledge, they are potential security nightmares. In fact, such drivers frequently are hired because of their skill in keeping cars free of dings, dents and breakdowns in what can be routinely chaotic traffic conditions. They would be very ill-prepared to protect their passengers in the event of a vehicular attack by a terrorist or would-be kidnapper or assassin. In all likelihood, they would freeze or be unwilling to ram a blocking vehicle (or otherwise damage their own vehicle) in order to "get off the x" and escape from an attack site. In addition, most hotel limousines are not armored vehicles and would afford little protection from small-arms fire or bomb blast and fragmentation.

As a result of budget and manpower limitations, many corporate EP teams are not able to conduct thorough security work ahead of an executive's trip. Quite often, a corporate chairman or CEO will visit a number of cities or countries in the course of an overseas trip -- forcing EP officers to leapfrog from city to city with very little preparation time for tasks such as conducting route analyses. Bomb sweeps of hotel rooms, cars or meeting rooms also are frequently not performed -- whether because of cost considerations, concerns about appearances or failure to understand potential threats.

But in India, that may have to change. The threats now emerging to the Indian technology sector from jihadists and Maoists will not diminish in the foreseeable future, nor will a massive or sustained campaign be necessary to cause considerable harm to the Indian or global economies.