Archive for May, 2008

Riots in Rajasthan

He was on his house’s roof, when he heard people shouting and running for shelter towards their houses. “There is riot in the city” someone shouted. Abdul Ghani’s house was in the Keer Khera mohalla of Chittore Garh. He thought his house was safe, as he had enmity with none. There were two more houses in the mohalla which belonged to the Muslims.

Suddenly he saw a crowd of fanatic people shouting slogans against Muslims heading towards his house. Now he was a bit anxious, as he had an adolescent daughter. He rushed down and closed the main gate of his house and bolted it thoroughly. Then he called his wife and daughter to the inner room and closed it firmly. He heard the sound of breaking of the main gate and in no time the rioters were on the door of the inner room in which he had hidden himself with his daughter and wife. The door could not resist the bumping and it fell open. Abdul Ghani now gathered his whole courage and tried to stop the hooligans from entering the room but he was hit by a knife in his belly, again and again, till he fell unconscious. Now his wife Bismillah tried to defend her daughter but she was beaten by sticks so badly that she had multiple fractures. Now the girl was there, unprotected and afraid. They dragged her and brought out to the street. There were about 40 people who ripped her clothes to make her stark necked. The intention was obvious. A few people of the mohalla felt ashamed as the girl belonged to their locality. They came to her rescue and the girl was saved except for some bruises on her body.

The riot broke in the city on the day of Holi. It was not all of a sudden, but well designed by the communal forces. The Police and administration didn’t take any action for complete four hours. The miscreants burnt, ransacked and looted the shops of Muslims freely for four hours. The Police Control room happens to be only 30 feet away from the Dargah of Sufi saint Hazrat Chal-Phir Shah, where all the menace was going on and the rioters were selectively burning and looting the shops belonging to the Muslim community. Even if there had been a shop of a Hindu among the Muslim shops, it was evacuate sympathetically and then the Muslims’ shops were set afire. The shameless nuisance continued even after curfew was imposed in the city.

Though it is commendable on the part of the Police, that they prevented any direct clash between the communities, but just after gaining control, they started arresting innocent people from both sides in the name of `rapid action’ till the number reached to about 45. Most of the detainees had nothing to do with the riot. The actual culprits, against whom FIRs have been lodged with their names, are still roaming about fearlessly and threatening the victims, even after one and a half month. According to the local residents, the offenders belong to the ruling party BJP and are fully protected.

During this unfortunate riot, about 60 shops, belonging to the Muslims were burnet, damaged or looted. According to the survey done by the administration, the loss amounted to Rs. 63 lakhs, but according to the local people, it amounts to about Rs. 85 lakhs to One Crore. Till now only 8 persons have been paid Rs. 50,000/- each and 49 have been offered Rs. 2000/- to 5000/- in lieu of their damaged properties worth lakhs of Rupees, what a joke? Really the communal forces must be rejoicing on the success of their plan to pull down theMuslims economically. Most of the victims have refused to accept such a meager help from the government.

The District Chittore Garh of Rajasthan has been in the clutches of the fascist and communal forces since a year. Recently in the month of December, 2007, on the very next day of Eidul Azha, 6 villages of Kapasan Tehsil of the district faced fierce riots in which several acres of fields with the crop either awaiting to reap already reaped and dumped there, were set ablaze, 19 tube wells were destroyed, hundreds of meters of PVC pipes were burnt, a tractor and a motor cycle were set on fire as well as quintals of fodder and manure. Here too is the same story. FIR was lodged against 51 people, but not a
single was arrested from among the chief culprits who are threatening the plaintiffs and amusing that you can do nothing against us.

Recently a delegation of Rajasthan Muslim Forum (a united forum of the Muslim organizations of the state) headed by Er. Muhammad Salim (State President JIH and member Forum) has visited the affected areas of the district. The villagers of Raghunath Pura, Umand, Hathiyana etc., informed the delegation that the culprits are enjoying the shield provided by the ruling party. They also complained against the District Collector P. L. Agrawal, Kapasan Tehsildar Himmat Singh and sub-section officer Manveer Singh Atri of being communal and biased against the Muslim Community and said that due to these officers the culprits could not be nabbed till now.

Here, (Kapasan Tehsil) also, the compensation amount being given to the sufferers is very small which they have denied to accept. Tehsildar Himmat Singh is reportedly forcing them to accept the amount and threatening that they will be charged falsely with serious allegations if they refuse to take the compensation.

The overall situation is that the district is fully in the hold of the communal and fascist forces, who consider themselves above the law. They are pretty confident, that no action will be taken against them. Another tragedy is that the Opposition party Congress didn’t play any role in bringing the rioters behind the bars or in availing justice for the victims. Moreover, some members of the party were found to be indulged in the December 07 riots of the Kapasan Tehsil.

The Rajasthan Muslim Forum has demanded from the government to arrest the culprits without delay, release the innocent people, give away the appropriate compensations for the losses and take stern action against the officers who are guilty of saving the criminals and discriminating communally.

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@ Received from South Asia Contact Group on 11 May 2008

NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds

THE WELL-researched book is the result of two events; the national systemic bending-over-backwards to ‘render justice’ to the Muslim victims of the Gujarat riots and the denial of a visa to the Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi, by the US state department. The first was a process and the second an incident, and both the process and the incident were authored by the same group of prominent ‘peace’ and human rights NGOs and individual activists whose signature tune is ‘anti-Hindu’.

This book is not about the hundreds of NGOs working with great dedication among the socially and economically backward sections of our society motivated only by the inspiring vision of transforming social attitudes and the quality of life of the people amongst whom they live and work. But it is about those NGOs and activists whose ’peace’ and human rights activism cloak deep political ambitions and objectives not restricted to participating or influencing electoral politics but aimed at shaping the character and direction of the Indian polity in a manner which derives from their warped notion of the Indian nation. Their political ambitions and activism are essentially undemocratic and anti-India nation.

Notwithstanding the fact that important democratic institutions including the NHRC, Parliament and the Judiciary have repeatedly shown a marked tilt towards minorityism and have rushed to do the bidding of the ‘peace’ and human rights activists profiled in this book, these persons have nevertheless shamed our judiciary, our men in uniform and our polity with their criticism of these pillars of our democracy on foreign soil and even before foreign governments. Parliament should consider suitable restrictions being placed on retired judges, retired armed force personnel including and above the rank of Brigadier, retired bureaucrats including and above the rank of Assistant Secretary and retired policemen including and above the rank of SP from undertaking projects for foreign or foreign-funded think-tanks and from deposing before foreign governments and their departments on any issue without prior permission from the Government of India.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has been sitting for over five decades on the title suit of the Ramjanmabhumi while the Supreme Court promptly issues interim orders on cases filed by the Muslim community seeking to deny Hindu access to the site; those guilty of the genocide of Sikhs during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, those guilty of the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and those that render Kashmiri Hindus alive in the notorious Radhabai Chawl incident during the Mumbai riots of 1992, have all escaped the notice and attention of these very national institutions and the same ’peace’ and human rights activists who continue to campaign for the Muslim victims of the Gujarat riots of 2002.
There is a growing perception among the Hindu intelligentsia that ‘peace’ and human rights NGOs and activists are holding all democratic institutions in the country hostage to international opinion about democracy and good governance to serve the cause of ’secularism’ in a peculiarly on-sided fashion, which may be interpreted to be anti-Hindu.

The well researched book exposes that India’s so-called secular polity is teetering perilously on the brink of minorityism aided and abetted in no mean measure by this well-networked group of Hindu-baiters who have succeeded in cleverly cloaking their congenital anti-Hindu bias in the garb of constitutional ’protection of minority rights’ discourse. These NGOs and other politically motivated activists have embarked on the twin mission to weaken India’s political will to deal ruthlessly with Islamic, Christian and Naxal terrorism and to de-Hinduise the nation. A group of nationalist Indians – some of them residing abroad – came together to profile these ’internationally acclaimed’ ’peace’ and human right NGOs and activists with a view to exposing their anti-India and anti-Hindu activism.

The most striking feature of this book is that, in spite of the fact that the authors never discussed which NGOs to put under the scanner and which activists to expose when they began to write the book, they all zeroed in on the same groups! The book offers a veritable mine of information on these NGOs and activists – who are their supporters, partners and collaborators, what they say, what they write and their position on important national issues. What the compilers have presented, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. They have provided endnotes and appendices, which will enable the interested reader to dig deeper.

The book argues that contrary to doctored public opinion, these internationally- acclaimed NGO’s and activists are a threat to communal harmony and India’s democratic ethos. Communal harmony and democracy are naturally and best protected only when 85 per cent of this nation’s population repose faith in the country’s democratic institutions.

The book exhorts the reader to raise his voice too as a political Hindu to render service to this great nation’s well being.

In this second and revised edition of the book a new chapter, exposing AID, has been added, as well as a number of new appendices that include Narendra Modi’s speech at a book release function. The book exposes Nirmala Deshpande, Arundathi Roy and Admiral Ramdas and their kind much better and the kind of industry of which they are a part. Arundhati Roy, soon after Pokharan 2, said that she was a mobile independent republic. Roy also said she is not a flag-waving patriot. But since Roy has a passport, it must have something to do with the Indian nation. So, the Indian nation is relevant at least to the extent that it allows these people to travel abroad to badmouth this country.

The clearly reveals the position of these so called NGO activists in regard to national territory, to opinions they express in regard to Jammu and Kashmir, the kind of nonsense they speak on American and Pakistani soil about our jawans, is a cause of grave concern, because they are members of either the National Integration Council or of CABE or of the National Advisor Council of the UPA government. And they are not above glorifying terrorism.

With facts the book argues that the so-called NGOs have no faith in our elected parliament, they have no faith in our judiciary, they have no faith in the NHRC. They go to the US state department to depose before it, begging the US State Department to come to India and protect India’s democracy. It is high time legislation is put in place banning such people from deposing before alien governments against the Indian Army and India’s democratic institutions. Very little is generally known about the kind of position these people take on American soil against the Indian nation, or their position on Jammu and Kashmir, or what they are to say about our army. We have our jawans dying day in and day out protecting our territory, protecting our right to live. Why is it that the media does not do an expose of these people, on what they have stated about Jammu and Kashmir, what they have stated about Naxal terrorism, what they have stated about India’s defence requirement, what they have stated about the Indian Army? What is the opinion that they have about India’s democratic institutions? Every major issue concerning national security, every issue concerning national interest, they reduce to the politics of minoritysm.

Arundhati Roy, for example, speaks for effect. She puts words cleverly together. And, mindless that we are, we are so fascinated by the English she speaks that we fail to subject the contents to critical scrutiny. In fact, she has run down everything that is sacred or reverent to large sections of India’s people. The book has documented, word for word, what they have said, and the kind of patrons they have found abroad. Why do the European Parliament and the US State Department support these activists? The compilation prompts us to look at these questions and gives us the need to have the courage to look at the answers. Releasing the book on September 9, 2006, KPS Gill noted his surprise ‘that anti-nationals in our country are respected, and nationalists are derided. These days our country is fighting terrorism. But our so-called intellectuals have made efforts unparalleled in the history of the world to decry and deny our success in fighting terrorism’.

Vigil has placed before the readers, world for word a true picture of the so-called NGOs. One must have the courage to look at the book dispassionately. The book exposes the illustrious people who find international patronage. This brilliantly analysed and thought-provoking book is a must for all those who love India.

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Reviewed by Pradeep Kumar, Meri News: Power to People, 29 March 2008

Runaway State-Building

Conor O’Dwyer (2006) Runaway State-Building: Patronage Politics and Democratic Development, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 278pp, ₤ 33.50, 0 8018 8365 2

Runaway State-Building offers a comparative analysis of democratic performance in three newly democratized countries of Eastern Europe –Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Employing both quantitative and qualitative analysis and drawing upon the literature on party politics and theories of organization, especially of Weberian bureaucracy, O’Dwyer introduces the idea of ‘runaway state-building’ which refers to ‘rapid expansion in the size of the state administration without a commensurate increase in its professionalism and effectiveness’ (p.28). What causes runaway state-building; and why have certain states performed better in comparison to others although democratic transition occurred during the same time? The answer, according to him, lies in the intertwining of party-building and state-building where patronage politics plays a significant role.

O’Dwyer partly disagrees with Martin Shefter that democratic transition into unconsolidated state bureaucracies results in rampant patronage politics. According to him, ‘[s]tate administrations in new democracies may be predisposed to patronage politics, but they are not predestined to it’ (p. 19). He identifies three basic factors affecting the state-building process – ‘demobilized societies, delegitimized states and varying logics of party competition’; his emphasis, however, lies on ‘the quality of party competition’ (p.170).

In demobilized societies, elections provide an opportunity for the citizens to punish the non-performing governing parties. In robust party competition system, the ‘fear of losing’ power is high which ultimately constrains patronage politics and holds parties accountable. Runaway state-building occurs when the opposition parties fail to constrain the government. Due to the lack of any credible challenge, the fragmented parties and ‘weak governance system’ in Poland and the ‘dominant party system’ in Slovakia are heavily involved in patrimonialism to legitimize their authority, and are more prone to ‘fictitious universalism’ – ‘preserving nominally free benefits for which under-the-table payments are necessary’ (p. 143). However, the presence of robust competition, a credible opposition and a ‘responsible party system’ has shielded the Czech politics from runaway state-building. Extending the argument to other new democracies in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, he makes a ‘huge comparison’ (p. 171) which conforms and also concludes that ‘patronage-driven expansion’ not only weakens the state effectiveness but also undermines ‘the legitimacy of the new democratic order itself’ (p. 192).

Two of the shortcomings are the author’s non-recognition of the role of civil society which was active during the transition; and his over emphasis on the role of political parties which suffer from centralization of authority and lack of grassroots social base. Despite this, the uniqueness of the book lies in its theoretical sophistication substantiated by numerous empirical comparisons across the globe which makes it a valuable contribution to the literature on comparative politics and political sociology.

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Reviewed by Sarbeswar Sahoo in Political Studies Review, January 2008, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 140-41