Bomb blasts in India

Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 12:24 pm
that's what the above article does - but you have to go to the original source, i didn't have time to paste every link in here manually.
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 12:25 pm
....plus BBC is British. They do have good coverage, but when it comes to newspapers in the U.S. , CSM provides far better international coverage than most other papers.
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2007 09:09 am
Curfew in Agra; Taj Mahal shut
29 Aug, 2007, 1657 hrs IST, AGENCIES
The Economic Times

AGRA: The world-famous Taj Mahal was closed to tourists on Wednesday after officials in the Indian city of Agra imposed a curfew following rioting that left one person dead and 50 hurt.

Rioters fought pitched battles with police, pelting them with stones, glass bottles and setting vehicles alight, after a speeding truck had crushed four Muslims to death in the morning.

The Uttar Pradesh state government issued an advisory asking tourists to stay in their hotels until order was restored in the city, 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of New Delhi, with the curfew effectively blocking access to the 17th-century monument to love.

The Muslims, part of a community that makes up 20 per cent of Agra's 1.6 million population, were on their way home after observing a festival that falls about two weeks before the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"Four died in a road accident earlier in the day and one more was killed in violence that broke out later," said Mukesh Meshram, a senior official in Agra district.

News of the accident, some four kilometres from the Taj Mahal, spread quickly and residents spilled onto the streets, witnesses said. Earlier J N Chamber, a senior government official, told a news channel that special anti-riot police had been sent to the area to contain the unrest.

Hotels and tour operators organising visits to the white-marbled monument said Indian and foreign visitors were safe.

Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child, the monument is normally open to visitors for about 12 hours from 6.30 am (0100 GMT).

"Some visitors from our hotel had been to the Taj this morning but they have all come back safe," said Mukesh Rai, who organises visits to the mausoleum.

"There is one way still open and three of our visitors who had gone came back very soon, well before the curfew was declared," he added. "I don't see any escalation in the crisis."

Sunil Sharma, who works with another hotel, said half a dozen visitors from there who toured the Taj earlier Wednesday also returned safely.

"I think things are settling down," he said. But an official for the luxury Mughal Sheraton, one-and-a-half kilometres from the Taj Mahal, said it had received many cancellation requests since Wednesday morning.

"The main motive of people visiting Agra is to see the Taj, and when they heard about the curfew, I think people preferred to cancel," the official, who declined to be named, told media.

Some 20,000 workers toiled for more than 20 years to build the tomb in an age of opulence when Muslim rulers mined precious gems to fund construction of grand projects.

Almost three million domestic and foreign tourists visit the Taj annually, more than any other tourist site in India. In July, it was voted as one the world's top new "Seven Wonders" through a mobile phone text message and Internet poll.
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Reply Wed 29 Aug, 2007 01:08 pm
India finds unity in terror
The Asia Times
By Sreeram Chaulia

NEW YORK - Saturday's terrorist blasts that killed at least 43 persons and injured more than 100 in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad were neither endemic nor unique. They followed a long succession of mass-casualty attacks on "soft" targets by jihadi fundamentalists beyond the volatile northern region of the country. Ironically, while causing excessive human loss and pain, they also added to the creeping sense of unity in what is touted as the most multi-ethnic and divided society in the world.

The idea of India as a "single nation" has often been pooh-poohed

as an absurdity or even a monstrosity by critics. Winston Churchill, the late British prime minister and defender of empire, famously quipped, "India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator."

Indeed, throughout history, the Indian state has rarely managed to unify politically all the territories within its region. Prior to the British, only the Mauryan Empire (324-186 BC) and the Mughals during Aurangzeb (AD 1658-1707) could claim to have done so.

The post-colonial Indian state inherited this unifying impulse and has deployed mind and sinew to defending what it stiltedly calls "the unity and integrity of the country". Its track record in border control and nation-building has been relatively superior to that of other multicultural societies such as Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Indonesia. Yet barriers of region, religion, caste and language have always cast a (sometimes violent) pall over the nationalist ideal and called into question the mythology of an India united from "Kashmir to Kanyakumari".

A growing middle class, the national electronic and print media, the permeation of Bollywood's glorified version of "Indian" culture, the nationalist appeal of sports such as cricket, and the rise of the Indian economy (which creates a common market for everything from soap to mobile phones) have all contributed to the fusion of India's 1.2 billion citizens, 28 states, 22 official languages, six principal religions, and thousands of castes and sub-castes.

An unexpected addition to this list of unifying forces is terrorism, which has made Indians conscious of and sympathetic to their countrymen throughout the nation. Bomb attacks targeting civilians have, over the years, taken on such an all-India face that no corner of the country is immune. Blood on the streets in Pahalgam, Malegaon, Coimbatore and Guwahati has drawn a red line across the map, bonding places and people who had practically nothing in common. The improvised explosive devices that blew on Saturday made Hyderabad the latest addition to the macabre network.

Before the 1990s, terrorism was largely confined to the northern regions, particularly the insurgency-affected states of Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab and in and around the capital Delhi.

But in 1993 when serial blasts shook Mumbai, western India entered the maelstrom. The first alarm in southern India was sounded in 1998 when the Coimbatore bombings killed 46 people and injured more than 200. Although low-intensity terror attacks have struck eastern India since the 1950s, the scale of damage achieved by separatists in Assam after allying with Islamist groups is of national proportions.

Today, the dreaded activities of Lashkar-i-Tayyaba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, and even al-Qaeda are as well known to an average Malayali as to a Kashmiri and are as loathed by Bengalis and Telugus alike.

Terrorism is uniting India not only geographically, but also in terms of its extremely diverse social segments. The choice of LeT to shoot an elite Indian Institute of Technology professor in Bangalore in 2005 and regularly to mow down scores of poor shepherds in Rajouri brings the high and low of India together in mourning. The jihadist massacres of Hindu pilgrims on the way to Amarnath or while chanting hymns in Akshardham and of Muslim worshippers in Malegaon or Hyderabad spans a divide in the mind of the Indian citizen watching, reading and hearing of the tragedies from a distance.

Most certainly, the intentions of many terrorist attacks in India are to provoke riots and divisions based on identity, but the effect has boomeranged. Indians at many levels of society reject negotiations with hijackers, hostage-takers and ransom demanders. After decades of bearing the infamous badge of a "soft state", India is increasingly a "hard society" that is opposed to the ideology of intolerant jihad.

Questions remain, of course, regarding the quality of India's unity against terror. Being antagonistic to terrorists and their credo is not the same as being adequately equipped to detect and prevent future attacks. The degree of cooperation between citizens and law-enforcement agencies is badly scarred by the image of the latter as corrupt, unjust and criminalized. The level of cross-religious and cross-community trust to form civic committees or watch groups against bigotry, violence and rioting still leaves much to be desired. Last but not least, the grievances against the Indian state in some sensitive regions are still boiling and prolonging the cycles of radicalization.

There can be no denying that the ubiquitous "external hand" renders domestic counter-terrorism efforts difficult. India exists in a dangerous neighborhood. However, the basic fabric of Indian society will have to show its civilizational strength to tide over this difficult period in its history. Every time an attack happens, the national media celebrate that the victimized town or city has immediately "bounced back" or "returned to normalcy". While this may be a sign of the inherent strength of India to absorb wounds and move ahead, it should not end up becoming a saga of forgetfulness or callousness about the value of life.

Just being grateful that we were not "there" when the horror hit and then proceeding with business as usual will only unite India in apathy, not action against terror.

Sreeram Chaulia is a researcher on international affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse University, New York.

(Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Reply Mon 3 Sep, 2007 07:39 am
hi dagmaraka

just this weekend I read Arundhati Roy's book

'the algebra of infinite justice'

have you read it? If you are interested in the politics of India
- it is invaluable. And very moving.

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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2007 02:13 pm
"Many die in India ethnic clashes
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta


( for your kind information I was born in India and live in Germany)
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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2007 02:23 pm
Arundhati Roy a rare bird in the indian forest( sub-continent)
A respectable one to boot with.
Forget about the computer half-backed couch potatoe intellectuals who vomit some pious words .
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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2007 02:25 pm
Thanks, Endy, thanks, Rama.

I will have to check that book out. I read her novel (the God of Small Things) and many random articles - she is socially outspoken in quite a few areas.

Rama, i've been following the Northeast for quite awhile. Have been to Nagaland 2 years ago. It's sad that people with many similar ideals and goals (freedom, self-determination, preservation of land, etc...) fight against each other and not unite to determine peaceful future on those lands together.... but that's how it usually goes with self-determination movements around the globe. Plus the Indian government does not make it any easier.. .
Where are you from in India originally?
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Reply Tue 4 Sep, 2007 02:40 pm
Exposing hypocarcy
Exposing hypocracy is more vital and important
than upholding commerical- corporate oriented
citizens sans civil courage.
Nobody in this forum wish to fight against the participants.
I for one will be the last one to indulge in verbal venom.
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 08:08 am
'Hindu Terrorists' and Call for Suicide Squads

Ram Puniyani

The bombs which exploded in Gadkari Rangayatan on 4th June 2008, injured seven people. In one of the few cases of success in investigating such cases in Maharashtra or anywhere for that matter, the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Police, succeeded in nabbing the culprits. As it turned out, contrary to the prevalent practice of pointing the finger to Huji or SIMI or some such organization, this investigation did lead to the real culprits, who happened to be part of Hindu Janjagaran Samiti (HJS), an outfit of Sanatana Ashram in Panvel. These culprits were also involved in other blasts, in Vashi, Panvel and Ratnagiri. In Thane the blasts were done to protest against the play Amhi Pachpute, a satirical play on Mahabharata. The allegation was that it insults Hindu Gods. The earlier blast in Panvel was in a theater where the film Jodha Akbar was being screened. In this film the Hindu princess is married to Akbar, a Muslim king, and that is regarded by these outfits as insult to Hindu religion.

One recalls that in a serious case of blasts in Nanded in April 2006 two Bajrang Dal workers died when making bombs. Similar incidents of bomb blasts were witnessed in many places around that time, Parabhani, Jalna, Aurangabad. Most of these were in front of the mosques. How far the Nanded investigation 'leads' were traced is yet to be known. ATS did investigate the links of the dead with Bajrang Dal, an RSS affiliate. At the same time the injured were visited in the hospital by the top brass of local BJP and associates. Local BJP MP told the police not to harass people, those linked to the culprits in the wake of the Bajrang Dal involvement in the bomb making. In Nanded, ATS also found fake moustache and pajama kurta, the idea being that the culprits will dress like a Muslim while doing these black deeds.

In most of the cases of blasts all over the country, as per the set pattern, the terrorists from across the border and local Muslims are presented as the culprits. For some days media carries the reports and some Muslims are apprehended. In case of Jaipur blasts the local Bangladeshis are being harassed to the limit as the report of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties shows. But after first few days the real culprits and the definitive investigation is no where in sight. By now, in popular psyche it has been entrenched that all terrorists are Muslims, and the matter stops there. The Maharashtra ATS needs all the compliments for overcoming the social stereotypes and biases to unravel the truth.

In the wake of this comes the call for formation of suicide squads by the self proclaimed Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hindu Hearts) of Maharashtra, Bal Thackeray. Earlier also he had exhorted Hindus to form the suicide squads, and now he repeats the same call. This shows the absolute bankruptcy of the social and political understanding of the real causes of terrorism or other social issues. His criticism is not that this act by the activists of HJS are condemnable, his call is why the Hindu terrorists are using low intensity bombs, they should use more dangerous one's and that they should blast "mini Pakistans", i.e. Muslim majority localities. One has to understand that ghettotization, what Thackeray derogatorily calls mini Pakistans, is itself due to the fear complex, physical insecurity induced by communal violence.

In the wake of the Thane blasts the HJS disowned those who were involved in the act, saying that they had nothing to do with the blasts and that they do want to protest against the play Amhi Pachpute, but peacefully. Nothing new, most of such organizations disown their trained cadre when caught in the act. Nathuram Godse, murderer of Mahatma Gandhi was quickly disowned by RSS. In an interview to Times of India in 1998, Nathuram's brother Gopal Godse did confess that his brother and he were always part of the RSS and that they did not show the RSS connection in the court to shield the parent organization. Dara Sing's, murderer of Pastor Graham Stains, was part of Bajrang Dal, but this association could be undermined and bypassed in investigation.

How popular mind has been doctored into believing something becomes obvious from this act of terror. In a talk show, which took SMS poll at the same time, 97% respondents said that the organization involved in this blast (HJS) should not be banned. Bajrang Dal despite its involvement in Nanded case faced no wrath from the authorities. SIMI on the other hand was banned for its alleged involvement in acts of terror. A case of double standards has been ingrained into the society and has been institutionalized over a period of time.

After the dangerous and insane call given by Thackeray, the student wing of Shiv Sena has been putting the posters that they endorse their chief and that acts of terrorism are justified. Question is can the cancer of terrorism, which has multiple reasons be contained by suicide squads or by acts which Thackeray and his ilk is propagating. The cure of the disease lies in the underlying etiology. Broadly one can say that terrorism can fall in two major categories. One those which take place semi-spontaneously, after an individual or group perceives that a wrong, injustice has been done to her and that chances of getting justice for this are remote. These are the acts which occur after pogroms against a particular community. The example of this is the attack on Adivasi procession in December 2006 being followed by the blast in Guwahati Delhi Rajadhani express. The acts of terror occurring after the communal violence in Mumbai and Gujarat can be clubbed in this category.

The second ones' are the type where a conscious, calculated indoctrination is undertaken in pursuit of a political ideology or economic goal. Murder of Pastor Stains by Bajrang Dal's Dara Singh, Nanded blasts, the Al Qaeda and its fall outs come in this category. In case of Al Qaeda US had set up/funded Madrassas to indoctrinate the Muslim youth so that they can be made to fight against the Communist armies in Afghnistan. They were also supplied with arms by US. In Nanded and Thane type of blasts, the underlying reason is the indoctrination of youth by RSS ideology, the misconceptions has been planted that terrorism is due to teachings of Islam and nature of Muslim community. This indoctrination is resulting in acts like the ones' in Nanded. While there is a veneer of Nationalism in this RSS ideology, it essentially looks at people along religious lines, communal identities and teaches its followers to 'hate others' and this culminates in burning of Pastor Stains or massive pogroms against minorities. It is not for nothing that US based Terrorism Research institute put RSS in the category of terrorist organizations in 2005. These types of organizations, RSS or Hindu Jagran Samiti may not give the direct training in arms but their ideology of 'Hate other' leads to the indoctrination leading to terrorist acts. The success of these organizations lies in projecting that the Hindu community is under the threat from minorities. And that's how Dara Singh is projected as 'Hindu Dharm Rakshak' (savior of Hindu faith). The other common factor is that though these individuals are part of such organizations their connections are kept discreet on purpose and they are quickly disowned by the parent organization.

Coming to Bal Thackeray, one realizes the limitation of our legal system. Bal Thackeray in the wake of Babri demolition said, he is proud if Shiv Saniks have demolished the Mosque, he also gave a call that Hindus should become aggressive. Now he repeats the call for formation of Suicide squads to attack minorities. We are helplessly watching that no action is taken against such spewing of poison! If state cannot act against such 'hate speech' can the communal harmony prevail?

One has to come back to the understanding that there are different causes of acts of terror. Intolerance for others, orthodoxy in religious beliefs and sticking to narrow understanding of one's history and indoctrinated mindset being the major such causes. In different ways Al Qaeda, Taliban, Bjarang Dal and RSS fall in the same category. The double standards of social and legal norms are operative not only in the investigation but also in the way of dealing with those inciting the communities into 'hate other', into undertaking violence and divisive acts. One is sure the Government will make some noises that action is being contemplated against Thackeray, HJS etc. but when the crunch time will come, some convenient excuse will be found to back out from punishing/ banning them. Can crime be contained in such a society where society has come to 'tolerate' the selective inaction of the state apparatus? Can such crimes be eradicated without applying similar yardsticks to all of them? And finally can we prevent acts of terror by following these double standards?


Issues in Secular Politics

June 2008 III

For circulation

[email protected]

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Reply Mon 29 Sep, 2008 04:41 am
It shows....what is the level of security is there in India. Guys only people save themselves by being the alert citizens of the country.
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