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The Frontier Post, Updated on 3/6/2002 10:48:36 AM

Thugs in Delhi Fort -- I

Mubarik Shah

What an irony! The September 11 epic has turned yesterday’s mass murderers, thugs and criminals into today’s prosecutors, jury and judges.

The gang now holding the New Delhi fort is the case in point.

The band is being led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), an agglomeration of chauvinist Hindu nationalists whose godfather is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a known racist, puritanical and intolerant proponent of a domineering Hindu faith and culture.

The BJP is its political face, presented expediently in a somewhat palatable fashion.

Its offshoots like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal ( BD) are its hit squads.

They terrorise Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities.

They demolish their mosques and burn their churches and other places of worship.

They murder their preachers, missionaries and spiritual guides.

They rape their women, nuns and female social workers.

A leading light of the sect is Lal Krishna Advani.

Holding the key charge of home affairs and internal security, this card carrying RSS activist carries the distinction of spearheading the demolition of historic Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992.

Uttar Pradesh, the state where Ayodhya is situated, was then under the BJP rule.

For the feat, he had a chariot specially built and fitted and rode all through the country for several months, inciting the Hindus to march on to Ayodhya.

The federal state investigators indicted him in the demolition.

He is still facing a judicial commission on the charge.

For a cabinet peer, he has Uma Bharati.

She, too, is arraigned before the commission.

She provided powerful demagogic props to his demolition mission.

With her renowned penchant for lewd language, she warmed up the Hindu mobs and was on the spot when the clan’s charged demolition squads broke through the security barricades, stormed into the mosque and tore it down.

For the saffron-clad priestess, her affair with a senior BJP official hogs more limelight in the domestic press nowadays than her hate campaigns against the Muslims and breakneck drives on sports cars in her home constituency.

As sports minister, she is making waves by stonewalling resumption of cricketing ties with Pakistan to the great chagrin of millions of the sport enthusiasts among her own compatriots.

In the cabinet, Advani and Bharati have the company of Murli Manohar Joshi, another accused facing the judicial commission.

He was then heading the BJP, mobilising the organisational support for Advani’s demolition operation.

Presently, as human resource development minister, he is creating ripples at home for rewriting the history textbooks, which he claims is intended to correct the facts but critics insist it is intended to distort the facts to give them a pro-Hindu twist.

At that time, he was also frantically engaged in rallying the Hindu support for the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution giving special status to Kashmir, even as New Delhi had long impoverished that poor dispensation unrecognisably to swallow up the disputed territory.

Towards the end of 1991, he declared to do on Kashmir, where popular uprising against Indian occupation was raging, what Advani was doing on the Babri mosque.

He vowed to lead a “victory march” from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, hoist the Indian flag at Lal Chowk, its central square, on India’s coming republic day, and teach a lesson to the “Kashmiri Muslim traitors”.

Like Advani, he had a lorry specially fitted and painted with pictures of dead leaders idolised by Hindu nationalists and patriotic slogans and set out on his ekta yatra (unity journey) in Advani’s rathyatra-style.

However, he couldn’t draw any matching Hindu crowds.

At his march’s last leg, he had only a handful of companions left as he came out of Jammu city on January 26, 1992, and took the road to Srinagar.

Even they soon dropped off one by one, losing the guts to confront the hazards lying ahead.

To quench his gladiatorial ambitions, a nervous Indian occupation force lifted him and his party state legislators and escorted them in military helicopters to Srinagar amid the heaviest security.

They descended on a city placed under curfew yet ringing with gunfire.

In less than 10 minutes, he was rushed through his “victory flag hoisting” and flown back to Jammu’s safety.

These BJP celebrities have as cabinet colleagues two full ministers and one minister of state of Shiv Sena, a rabid Hindu outfit whose religious fanaticism, bigotry and belligerence need no introduction.

Its supremo, Bal Thackeray, openly threatens the Indian Muslims either to convert to Hinduism or face the consequences.

He is implicated in the anti-Muslim riots triggered at his behest by his cadres in Bombay and parts of the Maharashtra state, his stronghold, following the Babri mosque’s demolition.

His marauding goons butchered no less than 2,000 Muslims.

This former newspaper cartoonist and a powerful rabble-rouser holds his party cadres in thrall.

Shiv Sena ministers in Vajpayee’s cabinet are under his thumb.

They speak his voice.

One of them is also indicted in the anti-Muslims riots.

An avowed sworn enemy of Pakistan, he shares Bharati’s hatred of even India’s cricketing ties with this country.

He has earned a particular notoriety for setting his foot soldiers on to ripping up pitches to thwart these cricket matches.

With this galaxy of BJP and Shiv Sena stars in Vajpayee’s ministry sits Jagmohan, a full minister popularly known to the Indians as the ‘destroyer of Delhi’s Turkman gate” and to the Kashmiris as the ‘butcher of Kashmir”.

This former bureaucrat first shone on the public horizon in the mid-1970s as the hatchet man of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and her then political heir-apparent, Sanjay Gandhi, her younger son who died prematurely in a plane crash.

He won their hearts when on Sanjay’s bidding he bulldozed off a large shantytown in Old Delhi in an overnight operation, throwing thousands of its residents homeless and killing scores of others who resisted his action.

That was in April 1976 when Mrs Gandhi held India under Emergency Rule.

An impressed Mrs. Gandhi picked him up in 1984 to deliver her the dismissal of Farooq Abdullah’s elected government in Kashmir to punish him for calling a conclave of her political opponents in Srinagar soon after assuming the chief minister’s office in 1983.

The incumbent governor, B K Nehru, though a relation and a former civil servant, was not prepared to oblige her by bending the rules.

But Jagmohan was.

He took over as governor in April and in less than three months he dismissed Farooq Abdullah to replace him with his brother-in-law G.M.Shah on July 2.

For the bestiality of his disposition and penchant for strong-arm methods, he was the natural choice for reappointment as the Kashmir governor when in December 1989, V P Singh formed his Janata Party’s minority government with the BJP’s outside support.

The entire state administration in Kashmir had by then collapsed and it was under the complete sway of an insurmountably spiralling Kashmiri resistance.

The BJP was pressing hard for crushing the uprising with brutal force.

Singh’s kitchen cabinet, including home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and foreign minister Inder Kumar Gujral, all Congress turncoats, went along the BJP’s view that a heavy dose of baton would subdue the Kashmiris.

And at BJP’s instance they all zeroed in on Jagmohan as the man to administer that dose.

Curiously, according to Jagmohan’s own account in his book My Frozen Turbulence, it was Gujral, a self-proclaimed man of peace and dialogue, who rang him up at midnight and called him for an emergency meeting at Sayeed’s residence.

There, he was told of his appointment as Kashmir governor and asked to proceed at once to Srinagar to take over.

He arrived there by a special plane on January 19, 1990, and assumed his charge the same day.

The very next day, he ordered fire on a procession of unarmed civilians, including children, women and elderly people, in the city.

They were protesting against unwarranted and the most intense-ever house-to-house raids by the Indian paramilitaries in the morning.

More than one hundred protestors were killed and many more injured.

The horrific massacre sealed the Kashmiris’ alienation with India to the point of no return and snowballed their fledgling upsurge into a mass movement.

To subdue the Kashmiris with a savage military action behind the curtain, he threw out foreign journalists from Srinagar and banned the state to foreign media.

To make for greater freedom of action, he persuaded the Hindus in the Valley to migrate and transported them out en masse, “convinced that their refugee status would generate support for the whiphand-tactics which appealed to his temperament”, notes Indian editor M J Akbar in his book, Kashmir: Behind the Vale.

These poor souls, the victim of his perfidy, since then continue living miserably mostly in squalid camps in Jammu region, unattended and forgotten, to be remembered only by the Indian officialdom when its propaganda needs so require.

Jagmohan’s state terrorism was, however, failing to deliver.

Instead, it was infusing more life in the Kashmiri resistance.

On March 1, some one million Kashmiris came out to throng the streets of Srinagar in protest against his repression.

He responded by opening fire on the protestors, killing scores of them on the spot, and placing the city under indefinite curfew, which they observed in violating, not in compliance.

New Delhi finally concluded that he had become a liability as his mail fist was proving counterproductive.

According to various published Indian sources, an angry V.P.Singh denounced him, in a meeting with his close aides, as Hitler and held his ham-handedness responsible for turning the Kashmiri uprising into a mass movement.

And his chapter came to a close when on May 21, 1990, he ordered shooting on the thousands-strong angry crowd carrying home from the hospital the body of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq, slain earlier in the morning at his residence by unidentified gunmen who the Kashmiris believe were Indian intelligence operatives.

He was asked to quit the same day and was instantly replaced by Girish Chandra Saxena, a former RAW chief.

Saxena was a serious operator.

He was one of the three top RAW officials who on Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s instructions had planned and executed an operational plan in 1983 to destabilise Sri Lanka by sponsoring and fanning Tamil militancy in the island state.

He combined his intelligence background and experience with the military muscle to hammer the Kashmiri into submission.

He was as devilish in using his juggernaut to crush the Kashmiris as in wiping out their towns and cities.

In January 1993, he had the whole of apple city of Sopore torched down when two Indian security personnel were killed there in an encounter with the freedom fighters.

More than 40 of its residents were shot dead point-blank by his soldiers.

Yet, in spite of all his brutalities he too couldn’t subdue the Kashmiris.

In March 1993, New Delhi replaced him with former army chief General K V Krishna Rao in the hope that his military background might help, a hope that too couldn’t materialise.

About five years ago, the BJP had Saxena reinstalled as Kashmir governor, the position he is still holding.

Jagmohan now sits in Parliament on the BJP ticket and holds the charge of urban development in the Vajpayee ministry.

Throughout the five months of his gubernatorial assignment in Kashmir, Jagmohan operated directly under George Fernandes, then minister-in-charge of Kashmir affairs in New Delhi.

His many Indian apologists contend he had no hand in Jagmohan’s savaging of the Kashmiris.

They would have it believed that this socialist was rather unhappy with his murderous campaign.

But public records do not bear out if ever this socialist-turned-opportunist joined issues with him on this score.

Nor did he make an issue of it with the government in New Delhi.

On the other hand, Jaya Jaitley, the lady on whom he has bequeathed his Samata Party’s presidentship, was quite vocal in taking the Indian military to task for trampling on the Kashmiris’ human rights.

Married to an IAS officer Ashok Jaitley with long stints of posting in Kashmir, this one-time human rights activist had profound first-hand knowledge of the conditions in the state.

When Jagmohan took over and unleashed the Indian military on the Kashmiris, Ashok was the second top-most bureaucrat in the state and Jaya was there living with him.

 

The Frontier Post, Updated on 3/7/2002 9:14:51 AM
Thugs in Delhi Fort -- II

Mubarik Shah

The Indian soldiers were then felling the Kashmiris to crush their uprising as blithely as were they felling the trees in the state forests to furnish their homes or sell on the lumber market to line their pockets.

Jaya spoke up; Fernandes kept quite.

She denounced the soldiers for “committing excesses” against the Kashmiri civilians and famously branded them as ‘murghi chores’ (chicken thieves).

In their cordon-and-search raids, they were widely found involved in plundering homes, not sparing even the chickens of their residents from looting.

Ironically, she herself was caught on the film by Tehelka.com, striking a deal at night with its reporters masquerading as arms dealers at defence minister Fernandes’ official residence in the famous defence ministry corruption scam that this Indian portal broke last year.

The scandal threw her in the soup and Fernandes in a spot.

She saw her reputation going deep in the mud, as the scam came close on the heels of the raid on her home by the sleuths of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the infamous cricket match-fixing scandal in which her daughter was allegedly involved.

He had to resign in the face of intense public censure.

A few months ago, he was reinstated but to be confronted with yet another, and emotionally explosive, scam: import of exorbitantly-priced coffins for the Indian soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil skirmish.

The scam has earned him the label of ‘coffin chore’ (coffin thief) from the Indian public, while the Opposition is asking for his head.

Despite his being defence minister, Vajpayee had to keep him out of his recent meetings with opposition leaders on the border standoff with Pakistan, as they are too averse even to sit with him.

With Vajpayee sit, both in parliament and in his cabinet, Tamil nationalists, all sympathetic to and supportive of Sri Lanka’s Tamil secessionists.

Two of their parties, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), have indeed been the makers and breakers of his governments.

The moving spirit behind these powerful regional parties of Tamil Nadu state have been two charismatic Tamil nationalists, M.

Karunanidhi and late M G Ramachandran, with close links with Sri Lankan Tamil secessionists.

Old buddies of the Madras tinsel world, they had joined up, the former as scriptwriter and the latter as lead actor, to produce “inspirational nationalist” films for the cinema-crazy Tamils across the Palk Strait.

In politics, too, they made their debut together with the DMK under the tutelage of party founder C N Annadurai, an avowed protagonist of a separate, independent and sovereign Tamil country.

Both developed links with Sri Lankan secessionists when DMK came to power in Tamil Nadu in 1967 under Annadurai’s chief ministership with Karunanidhi as his public works minister.

Both deepened those connections when Karunanidhi assumed the chief minister’s office two years later following Annadurai’s death.

However, after Mrs. Indira Gandhi sacked Karunanidhi’s government in 1972 for “Constitution’s violation and breakdown in administration”, they fell out bitterly.

Ramachandran split the party to form his AIADMK and both went for different factions of the feuding Madras-based Sri Lankan Tamil secessionists to train, arm and raise them into their private militias.

Ramachandran became the godfather of V Prabhakaran-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Karunanidhi of Sri Sabaratnam-led Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO).

Karunanidhi, however, fell on bad times after his DMK’s defeat in the 1972 state assembly polls.

He was implicated in an abortive assassination attempt on Mrs Indira Gandhi in Madurai in Tamil Nadu and remained mired in troubles for a long time.

His political misfortunes affected his links with TELO as well.

Ramachandran, on the other hand, was on ascendancy and so was the LTTE.

His AIADMK kept winning the state assembly polls for him to remain Tamil Nadu’s chief minister from 1977 until his death in 1987.

And with his active patronage, the LTTE kept gaining an upper hand over its rivals in the factional fighting both in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

Because of bad blood between Mrs. Gandhi and Karunanidhi and his own rivalry with him, Ramachandran developed close rapport with her.

And when in 1983 she launched into destabilising Sri Lanka, as much for her personal hatred of its President J.R.

Jayewardene as for his resistance to her moves to dictate his internal and external policies, Ramachandran became her key player in the RAW-designed plot to sponsor and fan the Tamil militancy in the island state.

He was the main conduit for Indian supplies of arms and money to Sri Lanka’s Tamil militants.

And Tamil Nadu turned into the principal training ground for the militants and the springboard for launching them into Sri Lanka.

Out of around 30 training camps established by the Indian intelligence agencies in northern and southern India, most were located in Tamil Nadu.

For a political heir, Ramachandran had groomed Jayaram Jayalalitha, the actress who paired up with him in lead female roles in his films.

But on his death, she could wrest the AIADMK’s leadership from his family after ugly street brawls.

But Karunanidhi, who had come out of his political wilderness by then, was too clever for her: he wrenched away from her the main control of Sri Lankan Tamil militancy.

Two years later, in 1989, he also recaptured power in the state when he led the DMK victoriously in assembly polls and became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

But prime minister Chandra Shekar sacked his government in January 1991 for his “ having secret links with the LTTE”.

Vajpayee first came to power, in 1998, with Jayalalitha-led AIADMK’s decisive parliamentary support.

In return, she wanted the dismissal of Karunanidhi’s state government in Tamil Nadu.

As much her own bete noire as of her mentor, he had humbled her earlier in the state polls and had instituted a string of corruption cases against her.

As Vajpayee dithered to grant her wish, she withdrew her support and his government collapsed after a few months.

Now he has come to power with the critical parliamentary backing of Karunanidhi’s DMK.

One of the two MPs he has sent up to Vajpayee’s cabinet is his nephew: Murasoli Maran, commerce minister.

Though the Vajpayee government maintains a posture of neutrality in the Sri Lankan imbroglio, the Tamil nationalists including the DMK backing his administration in parliament mince no words in making it known about where lie their true sympathies and support.

Is this band of mass murderers, state terrorists, proven communalists, religious extremists, sponsors of militancy, and exporters of terrorism to sit in judgement on Pakistan? Is this gang of thugs to certify if General Musharraf is matching actions with his words? Could there be anything more perfidious than this?

 

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