Thursday, July 8, 2010

Octavia Nasr Bites the Dust After Condoling Hezbollah Leader's Death

Octavia Nasr, a 20-year veteran at CNN, has been unceremoniously fired for speaking her mind via twitter. She was found "guilty" by CNN management of praising Lebanese Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah after his death in the following text message:

"Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah ... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot".



Just last month, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas was forced to retire after criticizing Israel. Her "crime" was that she replied to a question about Israel as follows:

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine." She went on to say that the Palestinians are "occupied" and that the Jews should "Go home" — to Germany, Poland, America and "everywhere else."

These are just the latest examples of the absolute control exercised by the Israel lobby over the US media. Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post and the rest of the big corporate media companies with the largest megaphones are either directly owned or controlled by prominent pro-Israel, often pro-Lekud, Jewish-Americans or self-proclaimed Zionists like Rupert Murdoch of Newscorp. The one sore thump that stuck out until a few years ago was Ted Turner, but he was quickly removed soon after CNN's merger with Time Warner.

Given the overwhelming pro-Israel Jewish-American control of the mass media, the Israeli Lobby has reliable allies in the mainstream American media: the debate among Middle East pundits, the journalist Eric Alterman writes, is "dominated by people who cannot imagine criticizing Israel".

Here is how Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt describe the US media bias for Israel:

Alterman lists 61 "columnists and commentators who can be counted on to support Israel reflexively and without qualification". Conversely, he found just five pundits who consistently criticize Israeli actions or endorse Arab positions. Newspapers occasionally publish guest op-eds challenging Israeli policy, but the balance of opinion clearly favors the other side. It is hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing a piece like this one.

"Shamir, Sharon, Bibi – whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me," Robert Bartley once remarked. Not surprisingly, his newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, along with other prominent papers like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times, regularly runs editorials that strongly support Israel. Magazines like Commentary, the New Republic and the Weekly Standard defend Israel at every turn.

Editorial bias is also found in papers like the New York Times, which occasionally criticizes Israeli policies and sometimes concedes that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, but is not even-handed. In his memoirs the paper’s former executive editor Max Frankel acknowledges the impact his own attitude had on his editorial decisions: "I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective."


Following the recent deadly Israeli commando attack on the Gaza Flotilla, the world saw a powerful campaign by the pro-Israel US media to control the explanation of "violence" to suit the Israeli narrative of the massacre of unarmed peace activists by the Israeli military.

The firings of Helen Thomas and Octavia Nasr are yet another chilling message to all journalists to toe the pro-Israel line or else..

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pictorial Review of Young Gaza Victims

Israel's Gaza Attack is Criminal, Not Defensive

Is Obama True Friend of Israel?

Who Rules America?

The Nakba

Warsaw's Nazi Concentration Camp

Pakistani Media Revolution

Gaza Flotilla Massacre and US Media Coverage

37 comments:

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

Quite hypocritical from Americans and West in general..Imagine the brouhaha if it had happened in any of the Islamic countries(Okay, Turkey included)? As a matter of fact, the western media is not free. In fact not at all. It is only marginally better than Islamic or Chinese media. Muslims have their own Taboos namely religion whereas West has its own Taboo,ie, Israel and Jews. But respected papers like NYT and The Economist are clever to portray themselves as neutral by publishing the "grievances" of Palestinians. That is in most cases nothing more than a tactical acknowledgment that enemy is also human, as they are normally reluctant to criticize the perpetrators. Most of them are not willing to conduct a honest analysis of financial crisis that wrecked so many lives, they know very well what kind of actions from which people caused it.(Imagine, if all these bankers were Arabs or Gypsies or Asians with very small noses, how American media would have reacted).

Ironically, both of these affected journalists are non Muslim, female Arabs - groups that quite often Jewish media says who are oppressed in their home societies and are to be saved by the West.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

Khaleej times editorial

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2010/July/editorial_July16.xml&section=editorial&col=

Data Cruncher said...

"In fact not at all. It is only marginally better than Islamic or Chinese media. "

marginally as in not losing one's life or hand for saying this. In islamic world, one faces a genuine threat of being maimed or killed. In your own kerala this happened this week to a christian professor when his hand was chopped off.

Also jews do not expect others to follow their expectations. In islamic countries, it is 100% OK to abuse jews, their religion etc. However muslims are offended if Danes draw cartoon in their country (as if they are answerable).

I am not disagreeing that when it comes to jews there is lot of double standards, but saying "only marginally better" is a stretch.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is part 1 of an interesting recent article by Muqtedar Khan about the pandemic of hypocrisy that affects both East and West:

Yes, we Muslims are hypocritical. We demand equality under the law wherever we live as minorities and practice systematic inequality wherever we are in power. In most Muslim societies men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, are treated unequally by law. Sometimes culture and sometimes religion is used
as cover to privilege the rights of Muslim men over all others. Even in societies where there is no democracy and absence of rights is a chronic condition, Muslim men still suffer less than others.

We thought we could get away with it. But unfortunately the age of globalization and its pervasive media has exposed us. In the West we say Islam is a religion of equality, but in the Muslim lands, we say equality is not justice. Justice is to give (or withhold) rights to others as determined by God. So in Egypt, Bahai's are denied their religious identity. In Malaysia men can divorce but women cannot. In Pakistan Muslims can preach but others cannot. In Saudi Arabia - the Mecca of Islam -- No one except Muslims can publicly worship.

Today we are engaged in a battle to define Islam. Islamophobes are trying to paint it as a creed of intolerance and hatred and as an ideology of terror. Muslim extremists are defining it as an exclusivist and narrow ethos that has no tolerance for difference and no appetite for self-criticism. But even in this battle we are hypocritical. We talk of rights when we speak for Palestinians, we indeed scream in agony for justice for Gaza; but we are relatively silent, as if our consciences are dead, when the houses of worship of Ahmediyas (a Muslim sect) are blown up. We hear of Muslim youth going from New Jersey to Israel to struggle for Gaza, from Virginia to Pakistan to fight against the Americans, from Minnesota to Somalia to fight against God knows who, but no one ever goes to fight against al-Qaeda.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is part 2 of the article by Muqtedar Khan:

When we talk of Islam, we are quick to assert that God made Muslims the best of communities for the rest of the World (See Qur'an 3:110). But we live our lives as if we are a community against the rest of the world.

So, that is that. We Muslims are hypocrites, but what about Americans? What about the city on the hill?

Buses in New York City today are carrying hateful advertisements promising to help Muslims who leave Islam. Six hundred residents of Rutherford County in Tennessee came out to object to the proposed construction of a Mosque. A woman in Oklahoma places a yard sign opposing a Muslim neighbor she never met. GOP Congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik sees Muslim places of worship as a threat to Tennessee's moral and political fiber. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) displayed his latent Islamophobia on the Senate floor while criticizing candidate for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, as a Sharia sympathizer. And the state of Oklahoma, where Muslims are less than 1 percent of the population, wants topass a law forbidding the implementation of Sharia. This is just a sample of the Islamophobia manifest in the past two weeks in America as Muslims increasingly become targets of rising prejudice in American society.

When Muslims object to mockery of Islamic symbols, we scream freedom of speech. We call it an important institution of our culture and of democracy itself. But when Helen Thomas expresses her opinion, we destroy her career and her legacy. We preach to Muslims the virtue of democracy and peaceful opposition. But when the Muslim students of the University of California try it by demonstrating at a speech of the Israeli Ambassador, they are promptly punished.

We take pride in our democracy. We are especially proud of our protection of freedom of religion. But when it comes to living up to our values with regards to Muslims, we are falling woefully short. If we cannot practice our values when Muslims are involved, then we also do not have the moral ground to lecture them. We wage wars abroad to defend 'American values' and wage campaigns at home to eviscerate them.

Today, Muslims and Americans stand united as victims of this pandemic of hypocrisy.

Muslims are inheritors of one of the greatest value systems of human civilization, Islam, but we are losing it by not practicing what we preach. Americans have developed one of the greatest systems of governance, democracy, and now we are jeopardizing it by allowing our prejudice to overwhelm our decency.

I would rather we compete in realizing our values in real life than racing to become the champion of hypocrisy.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@DC
"In your own kerala this happened this week to a christian professor when his hand was chopped off."

Yes, noone believes that Islamists are torchbearers of freedom of expression. I am just talking about hypocrisy. When Islamists have hypocrisy, we are already hearing about it a lot, so let us see how good the other side is. In Kerala, the mainstream media reacted to this disgusting hand cutting incident as if this is the first time, there has been violence in the name of religion or politics. It was just a few years ago that a teacher was brutally murdered in front of his students in Kerala. That was done by Communists and they were justifying that by saying that teacher was a member of RSS and a killer himself. When TamilNadu CM Karunanidhi said that Ram is a fictional character, a bus was burned which killed 10 persons, but the media in Kerala is discussing an incident where an empty bus burned by an Islamist politician as if this is the biggest security threat in India.

"Also jews do not expect others to follow their expectations. In islamic countries, it is 100% OK to abuse jews, their religion etc. However muslims are offended if Danes draw cartoon in their country (as if they are answerable)."

That is Islamist stupidity and Fascism which is nowadays the main point of discussion in mainstream Western Media. What I'd like to see is some honesty about freedom of expression from its own proponents. These two journalists had excelled in their career and was sacked for expressing their views privately. There is abundant hateful articles in mainstream American and European media which sometimes result in violence against Muslims like it happened like last year against an Egyptian woman in a German court room. That is accepted with the argument that Islam is not a race, hence it(and its followers) can be maligned. But then why do they demonize Iran, Saudi etc. for following their own ideology? Do you think that if AlJazeera had fired Octavia Nasr for expressing pro West views, there wouldn't be any outcry in the West about this?

Anonymous said...

Anyone answer just one simple question:

Why do muslims have problems with EVERY other major civilization?

Hindus,Orthodox Christians,Catholics,Protestants,Buddhists etc etc

Also why do you deleberately provoke other people by using freedom of speech and expression and religion which does not exist in ANY muslim country to do useless provocative things like building the 9/11 mosque at ground zero of NYC or buying up underfunded churches and converting them into mosques in the EU ?

Mayraj said...

http://www.google.com/search?q=octavia+nasr+cnn&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

On July 7th, CNN International fired its Murrow Award-winning journalist and Senior Editor of Middle East Affairs, Octavia Nasr. Her sacking was the fallout of a July 4th tweet by her that read: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.” (In case anyone interprets this as "support for Islamic terrorists", it is worth noting that Nasr lost family members in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.)

Regardless of your opinion of Fadlallah's complex political legacy, for millions of people worldwide he was highly regarded as a spiritual teacher and religious scholar. In particular he was distinguished by his progressive teachings regarding the position of women in Islam. Ms. Nasr’s comments were merely a reflection of this widely-held respect (http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/06/nasr-explains-controversial-tweet-on-lebanese-cleric/).

For CNN to have proceeded with her dismissal is an indicator of the limited space they allow for perspectives that beg to differ with the dominant narratives of Islam and other perceived threats to Western interests.

CNN claims to “Go Beyond Borders” yet seems afraid to transcend the groupthink that cages the mainstream media’s coverage of the region. If you disagree with their knee-jerk reaction

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Why do muslims have problems with EVERY other major civilization?"

Muslims like me do not have a problem with any civilization worth its name.

I only have a problem with bigots like you who are found in every "civilization" and insist on creating negative stereotypes of those who are different from them to justify their extreme hatred and venom, including well-organized pogroms like the ones in Bosnia, Gaza, Gujarat, Orissa, Delhi, etc. etc.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@Anon

"Hindus,Orthodox Christians,Catholics,Protestants,Buddhists etc etc

Also why do you deleberately provoke other people by using freedom of speech and expression and religion which does not exist in ANY muslim country to do useless provocative things like building the 9/11 mosque at ground zero of NYC or buying up underfunded churches and converting them into mosques in the EU ?"

Muslim countries like Syria are home to some of the most exotic Orthodox Christian communities. Also Coptic Christians make up for upto 20% of Egypt - if they had been living in Europe, they would have been forced to convert to Catholicism in one of the many Crusades.
So historically I do not see any problem though Muslims have committed their share of violence in the past, but much less than Westerners both in terms of absolute number of casualties and also number of conflicts started.
I think 9/11 Mosque is unnecessary because of sensitivities - but it shows that it is not just Muslims, but everyone has their limits for what they could tolerate as it is shown by the firing of these journalists for a tweet. As for Mosques in Europe, you are ignorant - most Mosques are in empty Garages or Cellars because of popular opposition against building of Mosques in any visible parts of the town. That is also a limitation of freedom of religion, however they are reluctant to admit.

Data Cruncher said...

"Buses in New York City today are carrying hateful advertisements promising to help Muslims who leave Islam. "

This got to be biggest hypocritical joke muslims are capable of. After all islam is the only religion which welcomes conversion to islam, but conversion out of islam has only one solition: Death.

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "After all islam is the only religion which welcomes conversion to islam, but conversion out of islam has only one solition: Death."

I think you are now turning into a Islam-hating bigot, devoid of reason, just pushing anti-Islam propaganda for the sole purpose of distortion and defamation.

First, you ignore the fact that it's a narrow and unsupported interpretation that says conversions out of Islam are punishable by death. I, for one, do not accept this interpretation. I firmly agree with what the Quran says "La Ikraha Fiddeen"...There is no compulsion in religion.

Second, how many such cases of death penalty for conversion have you seen? Can you say that this punishment, or other similar punishments, are regularly carried out in Muslim nations?

Data Cruncher said...

Can you pls focus on the subject instead of what I am. I am glad that you are not using "narrow interpretation" instead of out-of-context crap which you always use to defend.

Since when you, a single person, become a representative of entire 1.5 billion muslims. Stop pushing grandiose self praise statement.

"Second, how many such cases of death penalty for conversion have you seen? "

Reminds me of Ford joke "our customers have choice of any color for the car as long as it is black".

How many cases of conversion is there in islamic country, unless we come to a brilliant conclusion that not one muslim in 57 islamic countries feel the need to convert out of islam.

The most recent case was that of Abdul Rahman of Afghanistan who had to run away to Italy after Karzai was forced to save him from certain death.

All ex-muslims who are vociferous critics of Islam are all living in West.


And the country you love to compare yourself, there are millions of Hindus who converted to Islam and living. AR Rahman is one.

Data Cruncher said...

You diss Indian and Pakistani education as something which
does not encourage critical thinking, but himself display
in spades in being an automated robot in following islam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L9qFPF3djQ&feature=related


I urge you to watch "Hoodbhoy vs Naqvi: Pak Higher Education" program .
Kindly pay very close attention to the remarks of the host and the
commentary of Pervez Hoodbhoy throughout. (I don't care about what
the other two program participants have to say, as they have
almost zero crediblity and are representative of our self-serving
bureaucracy).

In case it is not obvious to you, (the right kind of) education
is what empowers a person to think critically for himself, for
a society to evolve progressively, and for a nation to develop
and prosper.
This is the reason why west and now even china and india are ahead
of us.

Zen, Munich, Germany said...

@DC

Islamic theocracies like Saudi or Iran has obvious limitations on freedom of religion. In Europe where I live, they are quick to point out this. Europeans can convert to Islam whereas the other way is not possible. Here you must be very careful before you take this on face value. To begin with the freedom of choice that Europeans enjoy is not a concession they had given to Islam - it is just that most Europeans are secular to the point that they don't want any religion. Most of them gave up Christianity and a very very small minority chose Islam or Buddhism. I havent come across a single incident in Germany where Muslim communities are actively involved in Dawa(proselytization) whereas there are several Christian missionaries that aim to convert Muslims or "offer help to Muslims" in a disparaging way as Riaz' article pointed out.
Also it is ridiculous for some Europeans to complain that Christian missionaries in Iraq are getting attacked, given the war and invasion - let us say if a group of Muslim countries invade France and try to convert them to Islam, I can imagine the hostility they would face from natives.

But in USA, it is very difficult for a Muslim to hold higher office. Obama was forced to prove that he is NOT a Muslim - where is the freedom of religion there? If he had said that he is an Atheist/Muslim or even a liberal non Church going Christian, he wouldnt have become President. While we understand obvious limitations of freedom in Islamic countries, it would be a logical error to take Western world's argument on face value. In India, it is possible to be a devout Muslim, even if you are a convert, and still become a famous Music director and India deserve a pat on her back for this tolerance.

reformistani said...

Losing your job for posting something on twitter. That is scary.

http://reformistani.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

@anon
churches in europe are not being converted into mosques due to lack of funds; quite the opposite, but due to low attendance...there is growing secularisation

Anonymous said...

PAGE 1

John Dayal. President, All India Catholic Union. (AICU)
Hindutva terror network targeted Christians in Madhya Pradesh

The Hindutva terror groups linked with a series of bomb blasts in Muslim shrines and other places Rajasthan and Maharashtra terror have also killed Christian activists and targeted evangelistic work in the tribal belt of India.

Police investigators have traced the murder of Malwa Christian leader Pyar Singh Ninama to hit men of the terror gangs responsible for bombing the world famous Ajmer Sharif shrine.

According to news reports this morning in the New Delhi edition of Mail Today and Rediff, the Malwa region in western Madhya Pradesh is a focal point and recruiting ground of this terror group which also has as its members retired and serving officers of the Indian Army, who may have sourced the explosives used by the group.

This is the first time official information has come about the network which so far was presumed to be working against Muslims alone.

The following is the text of the Rediff illuminating report: published July 12, 2010:

Most names figuring in the investigations of the 2007 bomb blasts in Ajmer, at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid, and in Malegaon hail from Madhya Pradesh's [ Images ] Malwa region. Rediff.com's Krishnakumar Padmanabhan traces the common thread that could have brought these men together.
What started as minor skirmishes between two groups vying for power seven years ago in a small Madhya Pradesh cantonment town was the beginning of the phenomenon that is now spoken about as Hindu terrorism.

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Rajasthan [ Images ] Anti-Terror Squad made a string of arrests from in and around Indore and established that the 2007 bomb blasts in Ajmer and Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid were the handiwork of the same group of people.

At least three of the accused in the bomb blast case were charged with the murder of a tribal leader from the Congress party in 2003.

As like-minded men began coming together and plotting heinous attacks, the Madhya Pradesh establishment turned a blind eye. Investigators now say the perpetrators found haven in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, as they wreaked havoc in other parts of the country.

In 2003, towards the end of Digvijay Singh's [ Images ] tenure as chief minister in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress party had strengthened its hold in its traditional areas — the party base, the minorities, and the Adivasis.

In Malwa's tribal belt, Pyar Singh Ninama, a local tribal strongman, was the party's face among the Adivasi population. Around that time, accusations began to trickle

Anonymous said...

PAGE 1

John Dayal. President, All India Catholic Union. (AICU)
Hindutva terror network targeted Christians in Madhya Pradesh

The Hindutva terror groups linked with a series of bomb blasts in Muslim shrines and other places Rajasthan and Maharashtra terror have also killed Christian activists and targeted evangelistic work in the tribal belt of India.

Police investigators have traced the murder of Malwa Christian leader Pyar Singh Ninama to hit men of the terror gangs responsible for bombing the world famous Ajmer Sharif shrine.

According to news reports this morning in the New Delhi edition of Mail Today and Rediff, the Malwa region in western Madhya Pradesh is a focal point and recruiting ground of this terror group which also has as its members retired and serving officers of the Indian Army, who may have sourced the explosives used by the group.

This is the first time official information has come about the network which so far was presumed to be working against Muslims alone.

Anonymous said...

PAGE 2

The following is the text of the Rediff illuminating report: published July 12, 2010:

Most names figuring in the investigations of the 2007 bomb blasts in Ajmer, at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid, and in Malegaon hail from Madhya Pradesh's [ Images ] Malwa region. Rediff.com's Krishnakumar Padmanabhan traces the common thread that could have brought these men together.
What started as minor skirmishes between two groups vying for power seven years ago in a small Madhya Pradesh cantonment town was the beginning of the phenomenon that is now spoken about as Hindu terrorism.

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Rajasthan [ Images ] Anti-Terror Squad made a string of arrests from in and around Indore and established that the 2007 bomb blasts in Ajmer and Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid were the handiwork of the same group of people.

At least three of the accused in the bomb blast case were charged with the murder of a tribal leader from the Congress party in 2003.

Anonymous said...

page 3

As like-minded men began coming together and plotting heinous attacks, the Madhya Pradesh establishment turned a blind eye. Investigators now say the perpetrators found haven in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, as they wreaked havoc in other parts of the country.

In 2003, towards the end of Digvijay Singh's [ Images ] tenure as chief minister in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress party had strengthened its hold in its traditional areas — the party base, the minorities, and the Adivasis.

In Malwa's tribal belt, Pyar Singh Ninama, a local tribal strongman, was the party's face among the Adivasi population. Around that time, accusations began to trickle

that Christian missionaries were stepping up efforts to get more Adivasis into their fold. Around that time a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Sunil Joshi, was 'sent' as the Mhow pracharak from Gujarat, where it was said the heat was on him following the 2002 riots.

Anonymous said...

page 4

In Mhow -- an acronym for Military Headquarters of War -- the Sangh Parivar was virtually a family. The most active among them were Lokesh Sharma, his cousin Jitender Sharma -- from the RSS and Bajrang Dal respectively -- and Devendra Pandya, who were working to spread Hinduism in adjoining tribal areas.

On the other hand, Ninama, a converted Christian, was seen as nudging his fellow tribals towards Christianity. The two groups were soon at loggerheads and in one of the ensuing clashes, Pandey's choti (tuft) was allegedly cut off. In apparent revenge, three people including Ninama and his son, were brutally killed.

Cases were filed against Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Ramesh Sharma, a businessman from neighbouring Pithampur, and 10 others. While most of them are still in jail and the case is before the court, Lokesh Sharma and Joshi were never caught.

Here is where the seeds of what is now seen as Hindu terror were sown.

Anonymous said...

page 5

Investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Anti-Terror Squads of Rajasthan and Maharashtra [ Images ] have revealed that the lynchpin was Sunil Joshi, who was murdered in December 2007.

That case is still unsolved. While initially, the Students Islamic Movement of India [ Images ] was suspected, later, there were murmurs that his Hindu rivals could have murdered him.

Lokesh Sharma is accused of planting the bomb in Ajmer.

Locals say soon after the Ninama murder case, Joshi's stock rose among hotheaded youngsters.

In the assembly election that followed a couple of months after Ninama's murder, the Congress party was voted out, and the Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] came to power.

Around this time, some local residents claim Joshi and Lokesh Sharma began to be seen in public quite often.

Anonymous said...

page 6



"Digvijay Singh had often spoken about how the violent activities of the Hindu groups was fast turning to 'terrorism'. He said he had evidence that they were gaining bomb-making capabilities. But then he was voted out at a crucial juncture," says Manohar Limbodia, a veteran journalist.

With what was seen as a friendly BJP government, Joshi began to operate quite openly, mobilising support.

"Joshiji was someone who would say one death from our side should be avenged with five from the other side. The youngsters liked him and his approach a lot," a Bajrang Dal activist in Mhow recalls, speaking on condition that he would not be identified for this report.

As it was becoming evident that Joshi was going down an aggressive path, the RSS publicly distanced itself from him.

"Though the RSS distanced itself from the likes of Joshi, we could see that he had the support from within the organisation and also local BJP leaders. Joshi and his group could not have operated without strong support," a businessman, familiar with the Sangh Parivar in Dewas, where Joshi was murdered, says, again speaking on condition that he would not be identified for this report.

Anonymous said...

page 7



Soon after the Ninama murder case, the police defused a bomb at the venue of a Muslim congregation in Ghansipura, Bhopal, which they now allege was planted by the same group behind the terror attacks.

It was an improvised device with explosive material stuffed in metal pipes, connected to a mobile phone. The bomb was set to explode when the mobile rang, but the police defused it in time.

Had that bomb exploded it would have been the first attack of Hindu terror in the country.

How did those who came together in Mhow establish contact with foot soldiers like Ramji Kalasangra (who allegedly made the bombs used in the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid attacks) and Sandeep Dange (who is alleged to have 'facilitated' the others in executing the blasts) on the one hand and alleged masterminds like Colonel Prasad Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Thakur on the other hand?

"The RSS has many organisations," says Deepak Joshi, son of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kailash Joshi and the BJP legislator from Hatpipliya, Dewas. "There are also different kinds of people. First, there are the RSS members. Then there are people who might be involved in the RSS's activities without being members. Then, there are people from sister organisations like the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), Bajrang Dal, etc. Finally, there are people who believe in the ideology but are not associated in any way with any organisation. There are about five or six RSS events in a year where all the four kinds of people come together. Since they are all from the region and had extremist leanings, that is how these people must have met."

Anonymous said...

page 8

Explaining how various people could have gotten to know each other, he says he had met Pragya Thakur about 10 times. "She has sat in the exact place where you are sitting. The connection between her and me is that we are both from the ABVP. She was very aggressive from those days, and I did not make any efforts to know her better," he adds.

But he shies away from dubbing the phenomenon as Hindu terrorism.

"It is not organised to begin with," he says, "And it does not have the sanction or approval of an organisation like the RSS."

He accepts that the likes of Sunil Joshi did have support at the local level.

"When the police said Sunil Joshi was in hiding, I had met him at an event. He told me he was being framed," says the BJP MLA. "In small places, it is not difficult to meet and get to know people. In Madhya Pradesh, a lot of BJP politicians owe their career to the RSS. And some of them may have shared beliefs with people like Sunil Joshi. In the end, such politicians end up using these people for their personal gains."

How did the Malwa region become the hotbed for Hindu terror?

The Malwa region is predominantly tribal. Indore, which is the biggest city in the region, does not have much of an Adivasi presence. But Dhar is 75 percent Adivasi, Jhabua is nearly 100 percent Adivasi. Balwani, Khargon and Khandwa are 50 percent Adivasi.

Anonymous said...

page 8

The Hindus form the second biggest community. They comprise Malis from Rajasthan, Jats, Thakurs, Baniyas and Brahmins.

"More than the composition, the reason the region has been the hotbed of radical Hinduism is because of the leaders," says Limbodia. "Nagpur may be the seat of power for the RSS, but Malwa is the front. RSS stalwarts like Khushabhau Thakre, Pyarelal Khandelwal and Suresh Soni hailed from the Malwa region and shaped the RSS philosophy. That way, this region is the cradle of the RSS."

"It is not just Hindu terror," says Kamil Seher, a hotel owner in Pithampur, an industrial area. "The Pithampur-Dhar region was the base for SIMI [ Images ]. They used to train there. Before that, the Dawood Ibrahim [ Images ] gang used to be active here. Now the Maoists are also entering this region. Why, some time ago, even an LTTE [ Images ] (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) soldier was arrested from a Pithampur factory, where he was working as a gunman for the owner."

"If you are working in a factory, and you bring in someone from your village to stay with you, how would we know if he is a criminal or not?" asks Seher.

Anonymous said...

page 9


He alleges that though the likes of SIMI leader Safdar Nagori were arrested, those who were pumping money and were the brains of the outlawed organisation got away.

"If with an organisation like SIMI, money power and clout could work, how will anyone be able to get close to the top of the Hindu terror hierarchy, if it exists?" he asks.

While the official RSS line is that those arrested are not part of the organisation, it is reported to be helping the accused's families and has arranged for lawyers to fight their cases.

"The RSS arranged for lawyers in Ajmer and Hyderabad to take up my brother's case," confirms Jitender Sharma, Lokesh Sharma's cousin. "I am thankful to the organisation. But at the same time I understand why they want to distance themselves in public. There is a Congress government at the Centre, and all the three states where the terror charges have been filed are also ruled by the Congress, which wants to link the RSS with terrorism. For the Congress, the RSS is the biggest enemy, not the BJP. They want to finish off the RSS."

Jitender's version of what happened is different.

"I was with the Bajrang Dal and Lokesh was with the RSS. Under Digvijay Singh, Hinduism was under attack. So we tried to get a case filed against him. But it is not easy to get the police to file a first information report against the state's chief minister. So we indulged in chakka jams (blockades), and jail bharo protests on a small scale. The state police had marked us from that time. There were a lot of small cases (filed) against us. But we are not people who will get into hardcore criminal activities. At the most we would have stoned a few shops during bandhs," he says.

Anonymous said...

page 11



"Even before the Ajmer blasts, they all met in a temple in Bhopal. What did the police do? After the blasts too, the Vasundhara Raje government (in Rajasthan) did not do anything," says Naveen Mali, a businessman and community leader in Mhow. "Only after (Congress Chief Minister) Ashok Gehlot [ Images ] took over did things start moving. True, it smacks of politics, but then something happened and something had to be done."

The Dewas-Indore belt was home for those accused in the terror cases.

"They thought they would be safe as long as they could strike in other states and hide here. They thought they were untouchable. They never expected the police from other states to come looking for them," says Limbodia.

Though Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare [ Images ] blew the lid off the Hindu terror phenomenon when he cracked the Malegaon blast case, it is the Rajasthan ATS, with its sweeps into border towns and midnight arrests, that has struck terror in the hearts of those hiding in the region.

"The Rajasthan ATS comes and picks up people for questioning and drops them back whenever it wants to. The local police is clueless. They come to know only when the Rajasthan ATS informs them as a formality about who they are taking away with them. Sometimes they don't even do that," says Seher about the arrests that the neighbouring state's police have made in Pithampur.


"The Shivraj Singh Chauhan government (in Madhya Pradesh) is not very strong," says Jitender Sharma. "In Gujarat, (Chief Minister) Narendra Modi [ Images ] doesn't allow the ATS to touch anyone. But here, the ATS from other states walk in freely and pick up whoever they want to whenever they want.

Anonymous said...

page 10

Though he does not criticise the RSS, Jitender does not have the same feelings about the BJP and its local leaders.

"Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is the BJP MLA for Mhow, has done nothing. He used Lokesh during elections and after that has turned a blind eye," he alleges.

Jitender is now fighting a lone battle to save his cousin.

"First he was implicated in the Ninama murder case. He lost five years of his life hiding from the police. Only last year he got married and his son was born this year. But he hasn't been able to see his son. We are poor people and now his family is struggling to make ends meet and also spend on the legal proceedings."

Though others do not buy the witch hunt theory, they agreed that the Congress party being in power at the Centre and the three states involved is the prime reason the case is moving at this pace.

"These people first surfaced in 2003," says journalist Manohar Limbodia. "After a few failed attempts, they executed their first attack in 2007. Wasn't four years enough for the state police to act? In fact, had any party but the BJP been in power in Madhya Pradesh, you might not be talking about a phenomenon called Hindu terror today."

gunam said...

Hi,

North eastern state of india , the conversion is complete and it is a christian majority.

slowly the hindus are understanding the game of christians. Further they are encouraged by the protection given by the gcc countries for the religion / culture.

So hindus are also doing the same and to some extent, i feel it is correct.

White are the worst hypocrats. They talk what suits them. Still they are yet to find the wmd in iraq.

Conversion is an idea to change the demography and every culture and individual has the right to fight for the protection otherwise, it will hindus will be like aborgins of australai, newzealand and canada.

Data Cruncher said...

"North eastern state of india , the conversion is complete and it is a christian majority.
"

In Pakistan this is impossible. For every one arrival to christianity, there will be one departure from this world. No wonder you won't find a single case of conversion.

Plus good ol blasphemy law can be used to kill any priest.

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "In Pakistan this is impossible. For every one arrival to christianity, there will be one departure from this world. No wonder you won't find a single case of conversion."

Not only is it possible for people to convert out of Islam, it is happening with many Christian missionaries operating openly in Pakistan.

No one, I repeat no one, has ever been executed by the government in Pakistan for leaving Islam.

Data Cruncher said...

"Not only is it possible for people to convert out of Islam, it is happening with many Christian missionaries operating openly in Pakistan.

No one, I repeat no one, has ever been executed by the government in Pakistan for leaving Islam."

No one has been executed because no one converted in the first place. After all everyone loves to see their head above the neck, not below it.

Can you show some link of Pakistanis converting to christianity. Some interview shunterview of someone converting out and society accepting that bitter truth.

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "No one has been executed because no one converted in the first place. After all everyone loves to see their head above the neck, not below it..."

The missionaries working in Pakistan are not stupid or crazy. If they didn't see results, they wouldn't be there.

Unlike Israel and several Indian states, there are no laws against proslytization in Pakistan, allowing missionaries to work.

Israel has made it illegal to do missionary work in Israel. Especially Christianity. Christians are allowed in the country but are not permitted to try and spread the New Testament. Its punishable up to 1 year in jail to proselytize in Israel.

Data Cruncher said...

"The missionaries working in Pakistan are not stupid or crazy. If they didn't see results, they wouldn't be there.

Unlike Israel and several Indian states, there are no laws against proslytization in Pakistan, allowing missionaries to work. "

For a man who claims to write everything based on facts, it is amusing to see to claim this with no facts on his side, numbers to show christians converted from Islam. You are basing your conclusion on conjectures, not facts.

Don't muslims show with pride the number of goras who convert to islam in west. Why can't you do the same now.

Pakistan need not ban conversion. Centuries old tradition of fear of death and social ostracization is enuf. Only a fool will dare attempt to convert out of islam.

BTW in UK some 5 yrs back a Pakistani Nazir Hussain converted to Chrisitanity and his house and BMW car was vandalised by 'peace loving' muslims calling him a chrisian pig. BBC program Dispatcher showed his plight.

Data Cruncher said...

And the case of Rifqa Berry last year in US. That case clearly showed leaving islam is unpalatable for muslims and even blood relations do not matter.

Take the case of Egypt. That country has around 12% non muslims. Officially there is no law against conversion. however if anyone converts out of islam, then he ceases to exist from govt records and he can not pass his assests to his children. that becomes state property after his death.