Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Posts Tagged India

BURNING KASHMIR by Eric Margolis

India cannot stand media neutrality on Kashmir border disputes

The problem was a cover story about the border dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarized regions. The report included a map showing the territory claimed by either side without taking a position on their territorial claims. The Indian authorities nonetheless insisted on a white sticker being placed over the map in each copy sold in India, depriving the country’s readers of a factual analysis of the border dispute.

L'article de The Economist censuré avec du sparadrap

Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours. Ever since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kashmir’s border have been both a cause and symptom of the tension between India and its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours

Carte des fronitères entre l'Inde et le Pakistan

Anticipating the censorship of the regional map in its 21 May 2011 issue, The Economist added a box entitled “Missing map?” at the end of report. The box said:

Sadly India censors maps that show the current effective border, insisting instead that only its full territorial claims be shown. It is more intolerant on this issue than either China or Pakistan. Indian readers will probably be deprived of the map on the second page of this special report. Unlike their government, we think our Indian readers can face political reality. Those who want to see anaccurate depiction of the various territorial claims can do so using our interactive map at Economist.com/asianborders

Territorial disputes continue to be a highly sensitive subject for India’s government. When the Chinese foreign ministry issued new passports in November 2012 with a map of China on pages 8 and 46 showing territory claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and India as Chinese, all of these countries protested but India was the only one to respond by producing new visas for Chinese citizens with a map of India that showed its version of the Sino-Indian border dispute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 20, 2010

The world’s longest-running international conflict – Kashmir – has burst once more into flames.

At least 69 Muslim Kashmiris protesting Indian rule have been shot down in the street by Indian paramilitary police in recent weeks. Scores more have been wounded as unrest spreads across the Himalayan mountain state. Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, is under military curfew.

Indian and Pakistani military forces are on heightened alert as a result of the growing tensions.

A century ago, the great British geopolitician, Sir Halford Mackinder, called Kashmir one of the world’s primary strategic pivots – the nexus of continents, empires, and civilizations.

In my first book, `War at the Top of the World,’ which explores the Afghanistan and Kashmir conflicts, I described Kashmir as “the world’s most dangerous crisis.”

The danger still remains. India and Pakistan, now both nuclear-armed, have fought three major wars over Kashmir. They remain at scimitars drawn over the divided state. India keeps 500,000 troops and paramilitary police in Kashmir.

In 1999, Pakistani troops moved into the Indian-ruled Ladakh region of Kashmir, nearly provoking another war between the two old foes. Both sides put their nuclear forces in high alert. India and Pakistan have only a hair-trigger three minute alert window once they get warnings of enemy attack. This is almost launch on warning; the potential for an accidental war is enormous.

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would kill and injure tens of millions – and produce clouds of radioactive dust that would pollute all of Asia’s major rivers and, eventually, the entire globe.

I have frequently been under fire on the tense Pakistani-Indian cease fire line, known as the Line of Control, that divided Kashmir into Indian and Pakistani-ruled portions. Border clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops have frequently threatened to escalate into a wider conflict in the south on the broad plains of Punjab.

Kashmir, some 92,000 sq miles (239,000 sq km), is roughly the size of Great Britain. It has 11 million people, which makes it larger than half the world’s nations. Eight million Kashmiris live in the Indian-ruled portion; 3 million in the Pakistani part. Another million people of Kashmiri origin live in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is part of historic Kashmir.

Like so many of our world’s problems, the Kashmir conflict harks back to the British Empire. In 1947, Imperial Britain divided the Indian subcontinent into India and the Muslim majority state of Pakistan. Millions of Hindus and Muslims died in the ensuing carnage of partition.

Kashmir was an independent princely state ruled by a Hindu maharajah. Seventy-seven percent of Kashmiris were Muslim; 20% Hindu; and the rest Sikhs and Buddhists. The Hindu prince wanted to join India, but most of his people wanted union with neighboring Pakistan.

Violence erupted. Pakistan and India went to war over Kashmir. By the time the UN imposed a cease-fire, India held two-thirds, including the Vale of Kashmir, and Pakistan one third of the beautiful mountain state. They have sparred and warred over Kashmir ever since.

Further complicating matters, during the 1950’s, China quietly occupied and annexed Kashmir’s 15,000 ft Aksai Chin region in order to build a military road linking its westernmost Xinjang province (the scene of the recent uprising by Muslim Uighurs) with Tibet.
China also claims the Indian-held Ladakh region of Kashmir as part of Chinese-ruled Tibet. Ladakh is also called “Little Tibet.”

Anti-Indian sentiment in Kashmir simmered until 1989 when full-scale rebellion or intifada by Kashmiri Muslims erupted. India battled for a decade to crush the uprising, often using tactics that Indian human rights groups and foreign rights groups condemned as brutal and violations of human rights. Massacres, torture, collective reprisals and gang rape became common. So did massacres of Hindus and Sikhs by Muslim insurgents.

Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, armed and aided Kashmiri mujahidin, and helped sustain the popular uprising, until 9/11 2001 when Washington forced Pakistan to mostly end its intervention in Kashmir.

After 40,000-80,000 deaths, most of them Muslims, India seemed in recent years to have extinguished the uprising. But now, it has sprung once more to life, sharpening Indian-Pakistani tensions and drawing China into the dispute.

In 1948, the UN Security Council ordered a plebiscite to determine if Kashmiris wanted to remain in India, or join Pakistan. India has adamantly rejected the UN resolution and insists Kashmir is a purely internal matter.

The uprising, asserts Delhi, is all due to “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan. So the conflict has festered for 62 years – even longer than the dispute over Palestine. Further complicating matters, numerous Kashmiri Muslims are calling for an independent state and demand Pakistan return Gilgit-Baltistan (“Northern Territories” to Pakistan).

Now, the Kashmir conflict can no longer be avoided. It has become part of the arc of crisis that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and India’s violence-plagued western regions. Recent murderous attacks on India by Pakistan-based extremists were motivated by the ongoing conflict in Kashmir.

Equally worrying, there are reports that Chinese troops have entered northern Pakistan, adjacent to Kashmir. Beijing says these troops are helping repair the fabled Karakoram Highway (KKH), the only land link between close allies China and Pakistan. I have been over this 15,000 ft-high marvel carved from the ever-shifting mountains, one of my most hair-raising, thrilling adventures.

China is just finishing a deepwater port and naval base on Pakistan’s western Arabian Sea coast at Gwadar. I first wrote about this highly strategic port in a 1980’s New York Times op-ed piece, predicting it would become a major strategic issue.

Gwadar will afford China’s expanding navy a supply base and safe haven that gives onto the Indian Ocean and Gulf. Today, 55% of China’s oil comes from the Gulf; in a few years, some 80%. Gwadar lies right on China’s vital oil artery.

New roads, a railroad, and a gas pipeline are building northeast from Gwadar to the KKH, then into China. India is increasingly alarmed by this strategic development, which it claims is part of China’s growing “encirclement” of India. Furthermore, India also warns that Chinese troops along the KKH are ready to intervene in Kashmir in the event of a new conflict between Delhi and Islamabad.

In spite of great reluctance, Washington is slowly being drawn into the Kashmir dispute. The US wants India and Pakistan to resolve their bitter Kashmir conflict so that the bulk of Pakistan’s army, now deployed against an attack from India, can be sent into action in Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier (recently miserably renamed, Pakhtunkhwa). But this cannot happen so long as Kashmir burns, so Washington is tip-toeing into a new diplomatic mess in the Himalayas.

What a tangled web we weave…..Afghanistan can’t now be solved without stabilizing Pakistan. But Pakistan will remain unstable and angry so long as the Kashmir conflict continues. But the Bush administration allied the US with India, infuriating old ally Pakistan which sees India and now the US as its principal enemies.

Enter the dragon, China, Pakistan’s closet current ally, expanding its power westward towards the oil-rich Gulf. Sir Halford Mackinder, it appears, was quite right about Kashmir, which lies at the nexus of these great events.

Copyright Eric S, Margolis 2010

This post is in: Asia

, ,

No Comments

It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’- By Audrey Truschke

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurangzeb Alamgir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir-Muslim History Distortions by Hindus in India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’
By

Audrey Truschke

 
Whatever happened in the past, religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. It is thus disingenuous to single out Indian Muslim rulers for condemnation without owning up to the modern valences of that focus.
 
The idea that medieval Muslim rulers wreaked havoc on Indian culture and society – deliberately and due to religious bigotry – is a ubiquitous notion in 21st century India. Few people seem to realise that the historical basis for such claims is shaky to non-existent. Fewer openly recognise the threat that such a misreading of the past poses for modern India.
 
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor (r. 1658-1707), is perhaps the most despised of India’s medieval Muslim rulers. People cite various alleged “facts” about Aurangzeb’s reign to support their contemporary condemnation, few of which are true. For instance, contrary to widespread belief, Aurangzeb did not destroy thousands of Hindu temples. He did not perpetrate anything approximating a genocide of Hindus. He did not instigate a large-scale conversion program that offered millions of Hindu the choice of Islam or the sword.
 
In short, Aurangzeb was not the Hindu-hating, Islamist tyrant that many today imagine him to have been. And yet the myth of malevolent Aurangzeb is seemingly irresistible and has captured politicians, everyday people, and even scholars in its net. The damage that this idea has done is significant. It is time to break this mythologized caricature of the past wide open and lay bare the modern biases, politics, and interests that have fuelled such a misguided interpretation of India’s Islamic history.
 
A recent article on this website cites a series of inflammatory claims about Indo-Muslim kings destroying premodern India’s Hindu culture and population. The article admits that “these figures are drawn from the air” and historians give them no credence. After acknowledging that the relevant “facts” are false, however, the article nonetheless posits that precolonial India was populated by “religious chauvinists,” like Aurangzeb, who perpetrated religiously-motivated violence and thus instigated “historical injustices” to which Hindus can rightly object today. This illogical leap from a confessed lack of reliable information to maligning specific rulers is the antithesis of proper history, which is based on facts and analysis rather than unfounded assumptions about the endemic, unchanging nature of a society.
 
A core aspect of the historian’s craft is precisely that we cannot assume things about the past. Historians aim to recover the past and to understand historical figures and events on their own terms, as products of their time and place. That does not mean that historians sanitize prior events. Rather we refrain from judging the past by the standards of the present, at least long enough to allow ourselves to glimpse the logic and dynamics of a historical period that may be radically different from our own.
 
Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”
 
In the case of Indian Muslim history, a core notion that is hard for modern people to wrap our heads around is as follows: It was not all about religion.
 
Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him.
 
Regardless of the historical motivations for events such as premodern temple destructions, a certain percentage of modern Indians nonetheless feel wronged by their Islamic past. What is problematic, they ask, about recognising historical injustices enacted by Muslim figures? In this regard, the contemporaneity of debates over Indian history is crucial to understanding why the Indo-Islamic past is singled out.
 
For many people, condemnations of Aurangzeb and other medieval Indian rulers stem not from a serious assessment of the past but rather from anxieties over India’s present and future, especially vis-à-vis its Muslim minority population. After all, one might ask: If we are recognising injustices in Indian history, why are we not also talking about Hindu rulers? When judged according to modern standards, medieval rulers the world over measure up poorly, and Hindu kings are no exception. Medieval Hindu political leaders destroyed mosques periodically, for instance, including in Aurangzeb’s India. Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs” for one reason: They were perpetrated by Hindus rather than Muslims.
 
Religious bigotry may not have been an overarching problem in India’s medieval past, but it is a crucial dynamic in India’s present. Religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. Non-lethal forms of discrimination and harassment are common. Fear is part of everyday life for many Indian Muslims.  Thus, when scholars compare medieval Islamic rulers like Aurangzeb to South Africa’s twentieth-century apartheid leaders, for example, they not only display a surprising lack of commitment to the historical method but also provide fodder for modern communal fires.
 
It is high time we discarded the pernicious myth of India’s medieval Muslim villains. This poisonous notion imperils the tolerant foundations of modern India by erroneously positing religious-based conflict and Islamic extremism as constant features of life on the subcontinent. Moreover, it is simply bad history. India has a complicated and messy past, and we do it and ourselves no justice by flattening its nuances to reflect the religious tensions of the present.
 

Audrey Truschke is a historian at Stanford University and Rutgers University-Newark. Her first book, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court will be published by Columbia University Press and Penguin India in 2016. She is currently working on a book on Aurangzeb that will published by Juggernaut Books.

 

, , , ,

No Comments

Pakistan’s external debt set to grow to whopping $90b :Pakistan Will Be Blackmailed to Rollback Nuclear Program if Imminent Default

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DebtBomb

 

 

Pakistan’s external debt set to grow to whopping $90b

 

Pakistan Will Be Blackmailed to Rollback Nuclear Program if Imminent Default

Western nations with connivance of World Bank and IMF have a plan to Denuclearize Pakistan.

First part of the plan to which Nawaz Sharif,Ishaq Dar,and Asif zardari are privy to borrow heavily until debt reaches $200 Bn.

Second part ask Pakistani people to pay such enormous taxes,so they are forced to make a choice: 1) Nuclear Program Rollback or 2)Debt Relief

Then present demarche, either pay up or roll back Nuclear and Missile Programs

Nawaz Sharif & Asif Zardari are part of this Plan. Pakistan Military is unaware of this plan 2023′

Nawaz sharif will again be re-elected with considerable flow of funds from the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Israel.

 

 

 

Experts say country desperately needs to increase exports, arrest increase in debt. PHOTO: FILE

Experts say country desperately needs to increase exports, arrest increase in debt. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s external debt is projected to grow to a whopping $90 billion in the next four years and the country will need $20 billion a year just to meet its external financing requirements amid concerns that all constitutional arrangements put in place to manage debt have become ineffective.

The external debt figures compiled by renowned economist and the country’s former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha are about $14 billion higher than the projections made by the International Monetary Fund.

Moody’s report: International bonds weaken Pakistan’s debt affordability

Dr Pasha on Saturday shared his doomsday scenario in a National Debt Conference, arranged by the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) – an independent think tank.

Dr Pasha’s projections are based on official data. The $14 billion difference was mainly on account of foreign loans that will fly in to finance China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. The government is not including CPEC loans in total public debt.

“At the moment, we do not have details about the loans that will be taken under the CPEC,” said Ehtesham Rashid, Director General of the Debt Office at the Ministry of Finance, while responding to these projections.

He said once details are available, the Office may have to re-do the entire debt management strategy.

There is enormous support for the CPEC in Pakistan but this game-changing corridor has financial implications for the country that have to be highlighted for better management of debt, said Dr Pasha. His comments come after State Bank of Pakistan governor Ashraf Wathra in an interview last week said there was a need to divulge more details on the debt and investment portions of CPEC, stressing the need for more transparency on part of the government.

Dr Pasha said by 2018-19 amortisation payments would double to $8.3 billion. The current account deficit – the gap between external payments and receipts – will exponentially widen to 4% of the total size of the economy against this year’s level of just under 1% of GDP, he said.

Pakistan to get another $502m IMF loan

The current account deficit will widen due to import of machinery and plants for CPEC projects, in addition to imported fuel like Liquefied Natural Gas and coal.

As against IMF’s projections of just $8.6 billion requirement, Dr Pasha said that total external financing needs, including bridging the current account deficit and repayment of loans, will alarmingly triple to $20 billion by 2018-19.

“This will push the total external debt to $90 billion by 2018-19, showing a growth of 38% over current volume of the foreign debt of over $65 billion,” said Dr Pasha.

He said Pakistan’s exports would have to improve to at least $36 billion if the alarming increase in debt was to be arrested. The country’s exports currently hover around the $24-billion mark.

Constitutional arrangements

The constitutional arrangements put in place to better manage debt are not effectively working as there is hardly any serious debate in the Council of Common Interests and National Economic Council on the debt issue, said Abdul Wajid Rana, former Secretary Finance. He said the Debt Management Office has become subservient to Secretary Finance and was not autonomous.

Transparency

Sakib Sherani, former Principal Economic Advisor to Ministry of Finance, said that the government was playing with debt numbers. His comments come after the government’s decision to exclude non-plan loans from public debt.

He said the debt-to-GDP ratio has become irrelevant in case of Pakistan as the country lacks the capacity to repay the debt even at its current 65% level of debt-to-GDP ratio.

Pakistan agrees to slap billions in new taxes

“In case of Pakistan, the debt-to-revenue ratio is more relevant. 350% would be the limit, beyond which it wouldn’t be sustainable. Currently, this ratio stands at an alarming 523%,” said Sherani.

“By 2018-19, the debt-to-revenue ratio will be over 750%,” said Dr Pasha.

In order to ensure transparency, there must be a law requiring government to take parliamentary approval of any deal signed with the foreign governments and lending agencies, said Dr Kaiser Bengali, an economic consultant to government of Balochistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2015.

, , , , ,

No Comments

PTT SERIES ON OUR SIKH BROS: SIKH GENOCIDE IN INDIA BY MANWINDER SINGH GIASPUR & REMEMBERING THE MASSACRE OF SIKHS IN JUNE OF 1984 BY SIMRAN JEET SINGH

PTT SERIES ON OUR SIKH BROS: SIKH GENOCIDE IN INDIA BY MANWINDER SINGH GIASPUR & REMEMBERING THE MASSACRE OF SIKHS IN JUNE OF 1984 BY SIMRAN JEET SINGH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Simran Jeet Singh Headshot

 

 
 

 

 

 

REMEMBERING THE MASSACRE OF SIKHS IN JUNE OF 1984

 

 
 
 
 
DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE, SIKHS AROUND THE WORLD COMMEMORATE A RECENT HISTORICAL EVENT: OPERATION BLUESTAR OF 1984, A GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED MILITARY OPERATION THAT RESULTED IN COUNTLESS CASUALTIES AND THE DESTRUCTION OF ONE OF THE MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT GURDUARAS, THE DARBAR SAHIB OF AMRITSAR (I.E., THE GOLDEN TEMPLE).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sikhs constitute one of the many persecuted minority communities in India, and their commitment to standing for justice has made them a regular target of oppression for centuries.
Approximately one decade prior to the massacre of 1984, Sikh leaders of Punjab drafted the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, a document that called for a social revolution within India, demanding rights for oppressed minorities such as women, lower castes and impoverished communities. The resolution also demanded increased state autonomy, guarantees of constitutional rights and equality of citizens regardless of caste, religion or gender.
In the face of government resistance, the Sikhs raised the banner of the Dharam Yudh Morcha, threatening to protest peacefully until the federal government acknowledged the Anandpur Sahib Resolution and implemented change. They made their voices heard through campaigns that blocked off streets (rasta roko), railways (rail roko), canals (nahar roko) and work (kam roko). These protests threatened the economic and social stability of the country, and this played a major role in the Government’s decision to attack the core of the Sikh community. The government employed popular media to project Sikhs as being anti-national and secessionist, and used this as a pretense for the military operation in the theo-political capital of the Sikh tradition.
On June 1, 1984, the Indian Government launched Operation Bluestar, a full-scale assault on dozens of gurduaras around the Sikh homeland of Punjab. While coordinating attacks on these centers for worship and learning, the Government focused its attention on the most venerated and historically significant of gurduaras — the Darbar Sahib.
The invasion of the Indian Army was by no means a spontaneous reaction to the threat posed by protesting Punjabis; rather, the Indian Military prepared and simulated this operation for several months prior to its execution. The army’s assault included the deployment of tear gas, army tanks and 70,000 troops. Observers have widely speculated that the timing of the attack was also carefully selected to coincide with the first few days of June, a moment during which Sikhs around the globe commemorate the martyrdom of their fifth Guru, Guru Arjan. Guru Arjan is celebrated for many reasons, including his role as the architect of Darbar Sahib, and Sikhs flock to this site in Amritsar every June to honor his contributions.
As in years past, on June 1, 1984, Sikhs were filling the complex to pay their respects when Indian military forces arrived and placed them under siege. A deliberate and calculated massacre ensued, perpetrated by a government against its own citizens. Anthropologist Joyce Pettigrew explains the purpose of the invasion: “The Army went into Darbar Sahib not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow at their spirit and self-confidence.”
S.M. Sikri, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, elaborates by describing Operation Bluestar as a “massive, deliberate and planned onslaught to the life, property and honor of a comparatively small, but easily identifiable minority community.”
Eyewitnesses tell a story different than that of the Indian government published in the “White Paper on the Punjab Agitation.” Devinder Singh Duggal was responsible for overseeing the Sikh Reference Library and recalled that the Army fired on the complex for several hours starting around 12:30 p.m. on June 1. The next day passed relatively peacefully as the military lifted the curfew and allowed large numbers of Sikhs to enter the complex. After filtering innocent civilians into the complex, the Army again sealed the exits to Darbar Sahib, cordoned off the borders of Amritsar, and imposed a strict curfew.
At approximately 4 a.m. on June 4, the Army assault re-commenced and continued unabated for more than 48 hours. Survivors vividly recall seeing piles of dead women and children on the ground as an armored carrier and eight tanks entered the complex in the early morning of June 6. Army officers announced from inside the tanks: “Please come out. God’s blessings are with you. We will help you reach home absolutely safe and sound.” Survivors testify that those who came out in the open were shot down at sight.
Brahma Challeney of the Associated Press of America reported that a large number of innocent Sikhs were brutally murdered — some officers used the Sikhs’ turbans to tie their hands behind their backs, while other officers made rounds among the captives and executed each at point-blank range. The Indian Government has denied these statements, but eyewitness testimonies and post-mortem reports have invariably corroborated these accounts.
In order to conceal the extent of its assaults and grave human rights violations, the Indian government broadened its exile of all media outlets by barring access to organizations offering humanitarian aid. Social interest groups such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Human Rights Reporters were denied entry into Punjab, and as a result were extremely limited in their abilities to evaluate and respond to the atrocities of Operation Bluestar.
The number of civilians murdered in Operation Bluestar remains unknown. While the most conservative estimates place the number of casualties around 675, independent and reputable sources estimate a minimum of 10,000 casualties. Joyce Pettigrew reports that a senior police officer in Punjab assessed the number of casualties as closer to 20,000.
The Committee on Human Rights openly criticized the unjust attack against innocent Sikhs, particularly when there were no allegations against them:
The most disturbing thing about the entire operation was that a whole mass of men, women, and children were ordered to be killed merely on the suspicion that some terrorists were operating from the Golden Temple [i.e., Darbar Sahib] and other Gurdwaras. Thus such a major military attack resulting in the massacre of largely innocent people was undertaken on mere suspicion which had been created by the statements of police and the government themselves.
The violation of human rights in 1984 is not just a Sikh issue — it is an issue of minority rights in India. Countless minority groups have been targeted and oppressed in the 65 years since the independence of India, and the continued denial of justice perpetuates the marginalization of these groups. Until there is accountability for these human rights violations, minority communities will continue to feel isolated and aliened. And as long as this continues, Sikhs across the globe will continue to stand up against these injustices.
This essay has been adapted from the latest edition of Gunisha Kaur’s book on human rights violations in Punjab, ‘Lost in History: 1984 Reconstructed.’
MORE: Human Rights Violations Sikhism India Sikhism Human Rights Golden Temple Sikh Massacre Operation Bluestar Anti Sikh Violence Sikhs in India

Posted: Updated:
 
 
 

During the first week of June, Sikhs around the world commemorate a recent historical event: Operation Bluestar of 1984, a government-sanctioned military operation that resulted in countless casualties and the destruction of one of the most historically significant gurduaras, the Darbar Sahib of Amritsar (i.e., The Golden Temple).
Sikhs constitute one of the many persecuted minority communities in India, and their commitment to standing for justice has made them a regular target of oppression for centuries.
Approximately one decade prior to the massacre of 1984, Sikh leaders of Punjab drafted the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, a document that called for a social revolution within India, demanding rights for oppressed minorities such as women, lower castes and impoverished communities. The resolution also demanded increased state autonomy, guarantees of constitutional rights and equality of citizens regardless of caste, religion or gender.
In the face of government resistance, the Sikhs raised the banner of the Dharam Yudh Morcha, threatening to protest peacefully until the federal government acknowledged the Anandpur Sahib Resolution and implemented change. They made their voices heard through campaigns that blocked off streets (rasta roko), railways (rail roko), canals (nahar roko) and work (kam roko). These protests threatened the economic and social stability of the country, and this played a major role in the Government’s decision to attack the core of the Sikh community. The government employed popular media to project Sikhs as being anti-national and secessionist, and used this as a pretense for the military operation in the theo-political capital of the Sikh tradition.
On June 1, 1984, the Indian Government launched Operation Bluestar, a full-scale assault on dozens of gurduaras around the Sikh homeland of Punjab. While coordinating attacks on these centers for worship and learning, the Government focused its attention on the most venerated and historically significant of gurduaras — the Darbar Sahib.
The invasion of the Indian Army was by no means a spontaneous reaction to the threat posed by protesting Punjabis; rather, the Indian Military prepared and simulated this operation for several months prior to its execution. The army’s assault included the deployment of tear gas, army tanks and 70,000 troops. Observers have widely speculated that the timing of the attack was also carefully selected to coincide with the first few days of June, a moment during which Sikhs around the globe commemorate the martyrdom of their fifth Guru, Guru Arjan. Guru Arjan is celebrated for many reasons, including his role as the architect of Darbar Sahib, and Sikhs flock to this site in Amritsar every June to honor his contributions.
As in years past, on June 1, 1984, Sikhs were filling the complex to pay their respects when Indian military forces arrived and placed them under siege. A deliberate and calculated massacre ensued, perpetrated by a government against its own citizens. Anthropologist Joyce Pettigrew explains the purpose of the invasion: “The Army went into Darbar Sahib not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow at their spirit and self-confidence.”
S.M. Sikri, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, elaborates by describing Operation Bluestar as a “massive, deliberate and planned onslaught to the life, property and honor of a comparatively small, but easily identifiable minority community.”
Eyewitnesses tell a story different than that of the Indian government published in the “White Paper on the Punjab Agitation.” Devinder Singh Duggal was responsible for overseeing the Sikh Reference Library and recalled that the Army fired on the complex for several hours starting around 12:30 p.m. on June 1. The next day passed relatively peacefully as the military lifted the curfew and allowed large numbers of Sikhs to enter the complex. After filtering innocent civilians into the complex, the Army again sealed the exits to Darbar Sahib, cordoned off the borders of Amritsar, and imposed a strict curfew.
At approximately 4 a.m. on June 4, the Army assault re-commenced and continued unabated for more than 48 hours. Survivors vividly recall seeing piles of dead women and children on the ground as an armored carrier and eight tanks entered the complex in the early morning of June 6. Army officers announced from inside the tanks: “Please come out. God’s blessings are with you. We will help you reach home absolutely safe and sound.” Survivors testify that those who came out in the open were shot down at sight.
Brahma Challeney of the Associated Press of America reported that a large number of innocent Sikhs were brutally murdered — some officers used the Sikhs’ turbans to tie their hands behind their backs, while other officers made rounds among the captives and executed each at point-blank range. The Indian Government has denied these statements, but eyewitness testimonies and post-mortem reports have invariably corroborated these accounts.
In order to conceal the extent of its assaults and grave human rights violations, the Indian government broadened its exile of all media outlets by barring access to organizations offering humanitarian aid. Social interest groups such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Human Rights Reporters were denied entry into Punjab, and as a result were extremely limited in their abilities to evaluate and respond to the atrocities of Operation Bluestar.
The number of civilians murdered in Operation Bluestar remains unknown. While the most conservative estimates place the number of casualties around 675, independent and reputable sources estimate a minimum of 10,000 casualties. Joyce Pettigrew reports that a senior police officer in Punjab assessed the number of casualties as closer to 20,000.
The Committee on Human Rights openly criticized the unjust attack against innocent Sikhs, particularly when there were no allegations against them:

The most disturbing thing about the entire operation was that a whole mass of men, women, and children were ordered to be killed merely on the suspicion that some terrorists were operating from the Golden Temple [i.e., Darbar Sahib] and other Gurdwaras. Thus such a major military attack resulting in the massacre of largely innocent people was undertaken on mere suspicion which had been created by the statements of police and the government themselves.

 
 

The violation of human rights in 1984 is not just a Sikh issue — it is an issue of minority rights in India. Countless minority groups have been targeted and oppressed in the 65 years since the independence of India, and the continued denial of justice perpetuates the marginalization of these groups. Until there is accountability for these human rights violations, minority communities will continue to feel isolated and aliened. And as long as this continues, Sikhs across the globe will continue to stand up against these injustices.
This essay has been adapted from the latest edition of Gunisha Kaur’s book on human rights violations in Punjab, ‘Lost in History: 1984 Reconstructed.’

, , , , , ,

No Comments

Peshawar attack.Terrorism at it’s worse. What to do? by Shams Z Abbas

pakistan-taliban-peshawar-pakistani-men-carry-an-injured-school-girl-to-a-hospital-following-an-attack-by-taliban-gunmen-on-a-school-in-peshawar-on-december-16-2014

Peshawar attack.Terrorism at it’s worse. What to do?  

Shams Abbas

Pakistan seems to be in a state of shock and rightly so.Do we deserve this brutality when the larger majority of our people are moderate and peace loving Muslims.Many are in a state of disbelief.they feel,Muslims cannot do this to Muslims.So then who is behind it?

While there are many players in the promotion of domestic homebred terrorists,we must not ignore, the role of geo political strategies and compulsions of the powers which have been the major players in the Af-Pak region.These powers ‘objectives aim at ,consolidating their presence, and to control Afghanistan.Indeed these powers want Pakistan to do their bidding to ensure that the region remains in their control.This may not necessarily coincide with our policy in the region.I had forwarded an article earlier ,from which I am repeating the relevant excerpt.

Excerpt from the article ,’WHO CREATED THE TALIBAN AND WHO FUNDED THEM’

 
image.adapt.960.highQUOTE
Just as in Libya and Syria where the US and its Persian Gulf allies funded terrorist fronts in bids to overthrow each nation’s respective governments, this unholy alliance is working in Pakistan to create a militant front, with which to menace political groups ,in Islamabad and ,reorder the country to reflect and serve their collective interests. And just as in Syria now, where the US feigns to be locked in battle with terrorists of their own creation, the fact that the US is funding their own enemy billions of dollars while allegedly fighting them in Afghanistan creates a perpetual conflict justifying their continued intervention in the region – overtly and covertly.

When a terrorist attack is carried out in Pakistan by the “Taliban,” it must then be looked at through this lens of global geopolitical reality. Attempts by the Western media to reduce this recent attack to mere “extremism,” preying on global audiences emotionally, provides impunity for the state-sponsors of the Taliban – those funding, arming, and directing their operations across the region, and then benefiting from their horrific consequences.

It appears, just as in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, the West and its allies are waging a proxy war in Pakistan as well. Attempts to exploit the tragedy in Peshawar compound this insidious agenda. Those across Pakistan’s political landscape must understand that their is no line these foreign interests are unwilling to cross in achieving their agenda – be it a line crossed at a perceived ally’s expense, or a perceived enemy’s expense. UNQUOTE.

It is therefore important to caution that our Anti terrorism Action Plan should focus on:

I. The US – AFGHANISTAN – INDIA  role and historical perspectives. These are well understood and I need not repeat. Suffice it to say, that the USA and INDIA have an overwhelming role in Afghanistan and with the advent of the MODI-Doval DOCTRINE, we can expect India to feel neglected if Pakistan and Afghanistan resolve their differences.Ideally there should be synergy in the objectives of achieving stability.In that India,Pakistan and Afghanistan have to jointly work with American and Chinese support. A strong diplomatic offensive needs to be vigorously pursued.

2. We need to be prepared for a long drawn out war against terror.While these terror acts have most certainly a foreign dimension,this foreign linkage can only be successful  through the cooperation of local misguided extremist religious elements.We need to focus on them in entirety, using full force of the law enforcing agencies and quick dispensation of justice.

3. This is also an opportunity to acknowledge that our defensive mechanisms to protect ourselves from potential attacks, have not used modern technology and electronic surveillance options.Our security and intelligence are both, not matching, the devious and ever changing methods, being used by the terrorists.The nation needs to be comprehensively educated.

Why cannot the Pak- Afghan border be fenced.Why cannot the movement to and fro of  Afghans and persons from Pakistan be controlled and checked.Which country in the world allows such easy access.
Why are we harboring three million Afghan refugees.So that ,some from them , can play  havoc with our law and order.There is a need to send them back.

4. The government in power must-stop, games of brinkmanship and playing politics.The media and the channels have consistently been discussing politics and politics only.

Anti  terrorism strategies,economy,law and order are not talked about or  discussed at length,
considering that these issues are more important than politics.

5. Has  the time not come for the judiciary to look into it’s past performance ,which in the context of ,decision of priority cases, related to terrorists ,has been extremely dismal.Why do we have a judiciary if we do not feel safe or get timely justice.If the  judiciary cannot reform itself in 67 years ,will it ever?

The issues of importance for the common man ,take precedence over political expediencies. Drastic changes are  urgently needed ,to improve the performance of the judiciary.

6. Committees need to be Action Committees not assembling and dispersing committees. Lot of action plans were made in the past. Many APC’s and committees formed. The recommendations are in place.These need to be implemented and a follow-up mechanism put in place.

Today  Ifthikhar Chaudhry is saying ,that the ban on executions was illegal? Why did it take him so many years to realize this.That too after retirement. Why shouldn’t Zardari and his Jiyalas be made answerable.

The then Army Chief Kiyani ,should have been more forceful with his recommendations and anti terror plans.

Where goes Independent  thinking.Indeed the much touted independence of judiciary is negated by Ifthikhar’s admission that the ban on executions was illegal.The ex CJP is now throwing the blame on Zardari and Nawaz by implication.

7. Much has been talked about a moderate RELIGIOUS narrative .This is vitally important to offset the extremist narrative propagated by men like MULLA AZIZ  and his likes .They sit on pulpits of mosques and breathe extremism and RELIGIOUS fundamentalism down people’s throats and ears.Many believe them and are misled.Their pupils come from all over.

The thousands of Medressahs have according to a report 2.5 million students.That is a large number to be put just into religious education at the cost of depriving them of their right to broad based education.

Don’t we know what is to be done in this respect?Why are we afraid of catching the bull by the horns.For how long?Will this menace become any less if we do nothing about it.

Time for thinking is over.Procrastination is criminal.Measures need to be taken.Action with effect from yesterday is the way forward .This has to be  well strategised, both, at the International level and by attacking the domestic terror bases ruthlessly.

Shams Z Abbas

Pakistan seems to be in a state of shock and rightly so.Do we deserve this brutality when the larger majority of our people are moderate and peace loving Muslims.Many are in a state of disbelief.they feel,Muslims cannot do this to Muslims.So then who is behind it?

While there are many players in the promotion of domestic homebred terrorists,we must not ignore, the role of geo political strategies and compulsions of the powers which have been the major players in the Af-Pak region.These powers ‘objectives aim at ,consolidating their presence, and to control Afghanistan.Indeed these powers want Pakistan to do their bidding to ensure that the region remains in their control.This may not necessarily coincide with our policy in the region.I had forwarded an article earlier ,from which I am repeating the relevant excerpt.

Excerpt from the article ,’WHO CREATED THE TALIBAN AND WHO FUNDED THEM’

 
QUOTE
Just as in Libya and Syria where the US and its Persian Gulf allies funded terrorist fronts in bids to overthrow each nation’s respective governments, this unholy alliance is working in Pakistan to create a militant front, with which to menace political groups ,in Islamabad and ,reorder the country to reflect and serve their collective interests. And just as in Syria now, where the US feigns to be locked in battle with terrorists of their own creation, the fact that the US is funding their own enemy billions of dollars while allegedly fighting them in Afghanistan creates a perpetual conflict justifying their continued intervention in the region – overtly and covertly.

When a terrorist attack is carried out in Pakistan by the “Taliban,” it must then be looked at through this lens of global geopolitical reality. Attempts by the Western media to reduce this recent attack to mere “extremism,” preying on global audiences emotionally, provides impunity for the state-sponsors of the Taliban – those funding, arming, and directing their operations across the region, and then benefiting from their horrific consequences.

It appears, just as in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, the West and its allies are waging a proxy war in Pakistan as well. Attempts to exploit the tragedy in Peshawar compound this insidious agenda. Those across Pakistan’s political landscape must understand that their is no line these foreign interests are unwilling to cross in achieving their agenda – be it a line crossed at a perceived ally’s expense, or a perceived enemy’s expense. UNQUOTE.

It is therefore important to caution that our Anti terrorism Action Plan should focus on:

I. The US – AFGHANISTAN – INDIA  role and historical perspectives. These are well understood and I need not repeat. Suffice it to say, that the USA and INDIA have an overwhelming role in Afghanistan and with the advent of the MODI-Doval DOCTRINE, we can expect India to feel neglected if Pakistan and Afghanistan resolve their differences.Ideally there should be synergy in the objectives of achieving stability.In that India,Pakistan and Afghanistan have to jointly work with American and Chinese support. A strong diplomatic offensive needs to be vigorously pursued.

2. We need to be prepared for a long drawn out war against terror.While these terror acts have most certainly a foreign dimension,this foreign linkage can only be successful  through the cooperation of local misguided extremist religious elements.We need to focus on them in entirety, using full force of the law enforcing agencies and quick dispensation of justice.

3. This is also an opportunity to acknowledge that our defensive mechanisms to protect ourselves from potential attacks, have not used modern technology and electronic surveillance options.Our security and intelligence are both, not matching, the devious and ever changing methods, being used by the terrorists.The nation needs to be comprehensively educated.

Why cannot the Pak- Afghan border be fenced.Why cannot the movement to and fro of  Afghans and persons from Pakistan be controlled and checked.Which country in the world allows such easy access.
Why are we harboring three million Afghan refugees.So that ,some from them , can play  havoc with our law and order.There is a need to send them back.

4. The government in power must-stop, games of brinkmanship and playing politics.The media and the channels have consistently been discussing politics and politics only.

Anti  terrorism strategies,economy,law and order are not talked about or  discussed at length,
considering that these issues are more important than politics.

5. Has  the time not come for the judiciary to look into it’s past performance ,which in the context of ,decision of priority cases, related to terrorists ,has been extremely dismal.Why do we have a judiciary if we do not feel safe or get timely justice.If the  judiciary cannot reform itself in 67 years ,will it ever?

The issues of importance for the common man ,take precedence over political expediencies. Drastic changes are  urgently needed ,to improve the performance of the judiciary.

6. Committees need to be Action Committees not assembling and dispersing committees. Lot of action plans were made in the past. Many APC’s and committees formed. The recommendations are in place.These need to be implemented and a follow-up mechanism put in place.

Today  Ifthikhar Chaudhry is saying ,that the ban on executions was illegal? Why did it take him so many years to realize this.That too after retirement. Why shouldn’t Zardari and his Jiyalas be made answerable.

The then Army Chief Kiyani ,should have been more forceful with his recommendations and anti terror plans.

Where goes Independent  thinking.Indeed the much touted independence of judiciary is negated by Ifthikhar’s admission that the ban on executions was illegal.The ex CJP is now throwing the blame on Zardari and Nawaz by implication.

7. Much has been talked about a moderate RELIGIOUS narrative .This is vitally important to offset the extremist narrative propagated by men like MULLA AZIZ  and his likes .They sit on pulpits of mosques and breathe extremism and RELIGIOUS fundamentalism down people’s throats and ears.Many believe them and are misled.Their pupils come from all over.

The thousands of Medressahs have according to a report 2.5 million students.That is a large number to be put just into religious education at the cost of depriving them of their right to broad based education.

Don’t we know what is to be done in this respect?Why are we afraid of catching the bull by the horns.For how long?Will this menace become any less if we do nothing about it.

Time for thinking is over.Procrastination is criminal.Measures need to be taken.Action with effect from yesterday is the way forward .This has to be  well strategised, both, at the International level and by attacking the domestic terror bases ruthlessly.

Shams Z Abbas

, , , , ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar