Monday, October 5, 2015

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting

Why is India summarily rejecting Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s peace overtures at the UN? Will Pakistan’s dossiers on Indian supported terrorism get the world’s attention? How’s India’s “muscular” foreign policy breeding resentment in Nepal and other countries in South Asia region?

Is the murder of an Indian Muslim for allegedly consuming beef an isolated incident? Or is it part of the Modi’s India’s sharp right turn? What can India’s Hindu Nationalists learn from the consequences of religious radicalization in Pakistan?

What does the fall of provincial capital Kunduz to the Taliban mean for the future of Afghanistan?

Will President Obama’s strong reaction to Oregon mass shooting finally help shape public opinion for gun control legislation in America?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

India-Pakistan Tensions; Kunduz Fall; Delhi Beef Murder; Oregon Shooting from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rise of the Sangh Parivar in India

Modi's Foreign Policy Blunders

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Proxy War Against Pakistan?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

VPOS Dailymotion Channel


Riaz Haq said...

#India-#Pakistan border is so closely guarded that it can be seen lit up from space in night's darkness via @qzindia

The border between India and Pakistan is one of the few international boundaries that can be easily identified from space.
Late last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Earth Observatory shared a nighttime image of the international border that divides India and Pakistan.
Amid countless dots and some larger blobs of yellow, the border between the two countries can be seen as a distinct, brightly-lit orange line—thanks to the security lights that run the length of the boundary.
Nearly 2,000 kilometres, out of about 3,300 kilometres, of the India-Pakistan border is floodlit, according to Indian government officials, which racks up massive electricity and diesel bills.

One of the most heavily militarised international borders, the Radcliffe Line—the boundary demarcation line established during Partition in 1947—divides the two nuclear-armed nations. Both countries have thousands of troops stationed all along its length, especially in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region. These troops are served by hundreds of kilometres of roads that run alongside the boundary.
The photograph was taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, using a Nikon D4 digital camera and a 28-millimetre lens. “For scale, the distance from Karachi to the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains is 1,160 kilometers (720 miles),” NASA’s Earth Observatory said.
But this is not NASA’s first photo of the international border.

Another night view of the border zone, “looking southeast from the Himalaya,” was taken four years ago, on Aug. 21, 2011. Again, the borderline appears as an orange line, flanked by a number of cities on both sides.

The top left cluster is New Delhi. The cluster next to the border on the other side is Lahore, while the cluster right at bottom centre is Islamabad. The photograph was taken with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 16-milimetre lens.
“Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan,” NASA said. “The lines of major highways connecting the cities also stand out. More subtle, but still visible at night, are the general outlines of the towering and partly cloud-covered Himalayas to the north.”
In comparison, daytime images of the region are less revealing. The following photograph of the region was clicked on June 14, 2014.

Riaz Haq said...

The divide between #India and #Pakistan is so deep you can see it from space. Only such border in the world. #NASA

See that border between India and Pakistan? Well, it's one of the very few international boundaries that can be seen at night, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.

The satellite image was released by NASA last month and posted on the organization's Facebook page two days ago. The post has gone viral, with more than 17,000 shares.

The India-Pakistan border is one of the most heavily guarded in the world. Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, disputes between the two countries have led to three wars and thousands dead.

The boundary between the two countries wasn't always so easily visible from space. In 2003, the Indian government decided to use floodlights on part of the border to deter arms trafficking and smuggling. And this year, a plan was announced to replace some of those floodlights with LED lights to save electricity and increase visibility, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper.

This isn't the first time that NASA has released a photo of the border. Here is one from 2011, showing the border, as well as big cities in both countries.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian woman fined $400 for carrying 2 #cow urine bottles in baggage into #NewZealand. #India #BeefPolitics #Modi …

An Indian-origin woman has been slapped with a hefty fine of 400 dollars by New Zealand customs for not declaring two bottles of cow urine.

Border officials fined her after she failed to declare two bottles containing cow urine as part of her luggage after her flight landed here.

The woman was slapped with a fine of 400 New Zealand dollars (USD 260).

“When the officers started to inspect the contents of the luggage, they found two bottles of cow urine for medicinal purposes,” said Antony Owen, Ministry for Primary Industries central region team manager for border clearance.

Owen said the belief animal products have a healing properties can stop people from thinking they need to declare it.

“We probably get things like this because they are related to culture, religion or traditional medicines. When they fall into that category that can cloud people’s judgement sometimes in what they’re declaring,” he was quoted as saying by New Zealand-based 3 News.

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. cannot afford to forget #Afghanistan and #Pakistan. #Taliban #Nukes US-#Pakistan #nuclearenergy deal #India

A third round (Afghan-Taliban talks) was scheduled for early August in Murree (Pakistan). But it was torpedoed by the leak from Afghanistan that Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s supposed leader, had actually been dead for two years. After a brief interlude, Akhtar Mohammed Mansour became leader of the Taliban. U.S. officials believe he launched the recent offensive in Afghanistan to consolidate his control of the group, and they’re wary of resuming the talks until the violence ebbs.

The White House is also exploring what could be a diplomatic blockbuster: possible new limits and controls on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Such an accord might eventually open a path toward a Pakistani version of the civil nuclear deal that was launched with India in 2005.

The nuclear dialogue is especially important because it would begin to address what U.S. officials for two decades have viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous security problems. A source familiar with the talks said Pakistan has been asked to consider what are described as “brackets.” Pakistan would agree to restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India’s nuclear threat. Pakistan might agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, for example.

In return for such an agreement, the source said, the United States might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the United States is a member. At U.S. urging, that group agreed to exempt India from rules that banned nuclear trade with countries that evaded the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This so-called “civil nuclear agreement” allowed India partial entry into the club of nuclear powers, in exchange for its willingness to apply International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to its civilian program.

Pakistan prizes its nuclear program, so negotiations would be slow and difficult, and it’s not clear that Islamabad would be willing to accept the limitations that would be required. But the issue is being discussed quietly in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington Oct. 22. Any progress would break a stalemate that has existed since the United States detected Pakistan’s nuclear program in the mid-1980s, and especially after Pakistan exploded its first weapon in 1998.

The United States may have forgotten Afghanistan and Pakistan, but those volatile countries haven’t forgotten about the United States. The dangers are as real as ever, and so is the need for aggressive diplomacy to reduce the threat.

Riaz Haq said...

On way out, #India's Manmohan gave PM #Modi file on hush-hush #Kashmir talks (backchannel diplomacy) with #Pakistan …

Kasuri’s book quotes General Musharraf as stating that the secret Kashmir agreement envisaged joint management of the state by India and Pakistan, as well as demilitarisation of the territory.
The Indian negotiator said the final draft of the framework agreement in fact spoke of a “consultative mechanism”, made up of elected representatives of the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as well as officials of the two national governments. The consultative mechanism, he said, was mandated to address regional “social and economic issues”, like tourism, religious pilgrimages, culture and trade.
New Delhi, the official said, had rejected General Musharraf’s push for institutions for joint management of Kashmir by the two states, arguing it would erode Indian sovereignty.
Prime Minister Singh’s hand-picked envoy, Ambassador Satinder Lambah, and General Musharraf’s interlocutors, Riaz Muhammad Khan and Tariq Aziz, held over 200 hours of discussions on the draft agreement, during 30 meetings held in Dubai and Kathmandu.
Lambah, a former intelligence official recalled, was also flown to Rawalpindi on a Research and Analysis Wing jet as negotiations reached an advanced stage, travelling without a passport or visa to ensure the meetings remained secret.
“In early talks,” the Indian diplomat said, “Pakistan reiterated its public positions, calling for international monitoring of the Line of Control, and so on. However, it became clear that both General Musharraf and Prime Minister Singh were keen on arriving at an agreement that would allow them to focus on their respective agendas, without conflict over Kashmir sapping their energies.”
“Each paper exchanged between the two sides,” the diplomat said, “was read by him personally, and his instructions were then given to Lambah. There were just two people in the Cabinet, and perhaps three more in the bureaucracy, who were privy to what was going on.”
Later, Prime Minister Singh’s interlocutor on Kashmir, now Governor N N Vohra, was also tasked with briefing secessionist leaders in the state on the looming deal. “I think the agenda is pretty much set,” Kashmir leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in an April 2007 interview. “It is September 2007,” he went on, “that India and Pakistan are looking at, in terms of announcing something on Kashmir.”
Prime Minister Singh, a former aide involved in the talks said, was scheduled to begin consultations with his Cabinet and opposition leaders on the deal, when a tide of protest unleashed by Pakistani lawyers pushed General Musharraf into a corner in March, 2007. “He seemed confident the talks would soon be able to revive,” the aide said, “but ended up being swept out of office”.

Riaz Haq said...

It's not one or two incidents like Dadri beef murder, it's over 600 attacks on minorities, including Christians and Muslims, that have occurred since Modi took office as PM last year. It's time for sane Indians to take notice and speak out strongly against this madness.

Riaz Haq said...

Ayush Khanna on Pak Tea House:

"There can never be a pan-Hindu consensus that hinges on faith. The attempt to create such a consensus would involve a whitewash of thousands of years of irreconcilable debate and contradiction within Hinduism, a flourishing heritage that should be the basis for our freedoms in all spheres and a heritage that should be reflected in our laws by doing away with the ban on cow slaughter, section 377, the blasphemy law and all other colonial hangovers. Nehru’s words regarding the redeeming of our pledge is about doing exactly that."

"Right wing Hindutva in India is a confused ideology, the imposition of which will be enormously detrimental to the heterogeneous construct of everyday inclusive peace in India. The ideology seeks to homogenize people, for the electoral expediency of the BJP, by curtailing the freedoms of a very heterogeneous people. The murders of intellectuals like Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi and the emerging role of the right wing Sanatan Sanstha are attempts to do exactly this."

Riaz Haq said...

UP's Mainpuri, #India cops' vehicles gutted. #Hindu mob chases 4 accused of cow slaughter #Beef via @timesofindia

AGRA: A riot-like situation broke out in UP's Mainpuri, about 100km from Agra, on Friday after a mob chased down and nearly lynched four men accused of killing and skinning a cow. Two of them were hospitalized in critical condition.

A contingent of the PAC had to be called in after rampaging mobs set on fire more than a dozen shops. They also targeted police vehicles, two of which they gutted, and personnel, injuring 7 cops. Many local residents, too, were hurt in clashes that followed. Tear gas had to be used to disperse the arsonists.

READ ALSO: Dadri lynching — BJP netas under UP cops' lens

It all started when at around 8am a group of people said they saw four men skinning a cow. Soon a crowd materialized out of nowhere and started advancing towards the four who were seen with the cow. While two managed to escape, the other two were caught. Later it transpired that it was a dead cow that the men were skinning and that its owner had actually allowed them to do so.

About 500 people had gathered at the spot by 9am. Angry villagers demanded that the men who killed the cow get instant, public justice. Policemen who ruled out meting out any punishment on the basis of allegations were beaten up by the ferocious crowd. Within hours flames were seen leaping out of makeshift structures dotting the streets in the area as arsonists roamed around with rods, bamboo sticks and guns. People in the locality rushed to shut down shops and head home.

IG, Agra Zone, DC Mishra told TOI that "the cow was a dead one". He added, "The men were only removing the skin for sale to a tannery. Our initial probe shows that they had not killed the cow.

Kanti said...

There is no chance of resolving any issues regarding Kashmir or anything else for that matter. Nothing will change.
You have been blogging for over a decade and the jazbaati position you take makes my point certain that there will be no reconciliation. End of story!

Riaz Haq said...

Kanti: "There is no chance of resolving any issues regarding Kashmir or anything else for that matter. Nothing will change. "

Though the current environment looks really bad for Kashmir resolution, I still believe Indians will do the right thing after they have tried everything else.

In fact, Indians came extremely close to doing the right thing twice; once under BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajapayee and again under Manmohan Singh.

Ex Indian intelligence chief AS Dulat has said that India and Pakistan came very close to resolving Kashmir at the time of Musharraf-Vajpayee Agra summit.

“This is when L. K. Advani surprised Musharraf by asking for Dawood Ibrahim. This took Musharraf back and a shadow was cast thereafter on the Agra summit.” “As Mr. Mishra put it: “Yaar, hote-hote reh gaya … Ho gaya tha, who toh.” Ex Indian Intelligence Chief A.S. Dulat

More recently, It's been widely reported that ex PM Manamohan Singh said backchannel diplomacy brought India and Pakistan very close to agreement on Kashmir in 2007-8 at the time of Musharraf's exit.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan agreed to ditch its long-held position seeking a Kashmir solution through the implementation of a UN resolution for a referendum and agreed not to redraw borders during secret negotiations with India in 2007, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy revealed.
Satinder Lambah, India’s backchannel man on the secret talks between India and Pakistan, told HT in an exclusive interview, the leadership on both sides had firmed up an agreement but it was not finally signed because of domestic turmoil that led to Pervez Musharraf’s removal.
“What we were working on, agreed there would be no reference to the United Nations resolution or a plebiscite in Kashmir. Both sides had agreed that borders cannot be redrawn,” said Lambah.
Without going into the detailed specifics of the framework agreement between the two countries, Lambah revealed the military establishment in Pakistan -– the army and the ISI -- was on board and the agreement required discussions within the ruling party and with opposition leaders in India. The former special envoy has not shared his views on the negotiations apart from a speech he gave at Srinagar’s Kashmir University in May 2014.
“We had an assurance from the military government of that time (under President Musharraf). The negotiators from Pakistan could not have been finalised it if the establishment had not been on board,” he said.
Several leaders in Pakistan, who may have been privy to the agreement, said that India had agreed to the demilitarisation of Kashmir. But Lambah said, “We had agreed to the reduction of military troops, not paramilitary and that was subject to Pakistan ensuring an end to hostilities, violence and terrorism. That was a major prerequisite. There was no timeline by which the agreement was to be signed. The only time limit was that terrorism must end.”
Barely a year after the broad contours of the agreement had been painstakingly worked on by both sides, Mumbai saw a major attack in November 2008, despite the categorical assurance from Pakistan that it would not allow non-state actors to use its soil to export terror.
“Mumbai was a very unfortunate incident and that did stop the dialogue. There was a break but we had already finished most of the work by then. After the Mumbai attacks, there were limited (back channel) contacts but what was agreed on by the Musharraf government was not disowned by the successive governments (headed first by the PPP under Yousaf Raza Gillani and currently by Nawaz Sharif).”
The core agreements centered around the cessation of all hostilities and terrorism, a joint mechanism for socio-economic subjects only and an understanding that like all states, Jammu and Kashmir too would have autonomy in respect to revenue, finance and law and order.
Lambah maintains the agreement is a “win-win for Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu and Kashmir” and can be the basis for all governments, including the present one led by Narendra Modi.
“It was not negotiated keeping an individual or party in mind. Everyone has their own style. Pursuit of peace with Pakistan and a discussion on Kashmir has been undertaken by different prime ministers and I have no doubt that future governments will follow the same path.”
On the issue of Kashmiri separatists meeting Pakistani leaders, which has become a stumbling block in talks between India and Pakistan, Lambah said, “In the past, Vajpayee, Advani and Manmohan Singh have met Hurriyat leaders and also given them visas to visit Pakistan. As regarding Pakistan, I fail to understand why they want to talk only to the Hurriyat and not also to the elected mainstream leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.”

Riaz Haq said...

Dadri killing premeditated, says #India's National Commission for Minorities - The Hindu. #beefmurder #Modi #BJP …

“A sacred place like a temple was used to exhort people of one community to attack a hapless family”.

Debunking the notion that the Dadri lynching was an “accident,” the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) says the assembly of a mob that killed Muhammad Akhlaq on September 28 was a “premediated” act of violence.

The NCM is a government-run body with a mandate to safeguard the constitutional rights of the religious minorities.

On October 10, its team visited Bishara village in Dadri district of western Uttar Pradesh to probe the killing.

The report dispels the claim that the assembly of the mob was “spontaneous.” According to the report: “The team feels that a crowd of large numbers appearing within minutes of the announcement from the temple’s loudspeaker and at a time when most villagers claimed they were asleep seems to point to some premeditated planning.”

Since Union Minister Mahesh Sharma concluded that the incident was an “accident,” the report challenges the notion, saying: “A sacred place like a temple was used for exhorting people of one community to attack a hapless family.” Therefore, calling it an accident would be an “under-statement.”

On the night of September 28, the priest of the temple made a loud announcement that the remains of a slaughtered cow were found near Akhlaq’s house. Hearing that, a mob broke into Akhlaq’s house, accusing him of eating and storing cow meat, and killed him instantly.

The NCM team has expressed concern at the growing vigilantism in western Uttar Pradesh. It perceives the ongoing moral policing in the region as a “malaise” which is “spreading fast.” Picking holes in the functioning of the police, the report says intelligence-gathering “is no more occurring in the rule book of the authorities. It has to be revived with utmost sincerity.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Army Chief to PM #NawazSharif Govt: Implement National Action Plan. Finish the Job Against the #Taliban

Ahead of a trip to Washington, Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif has sounded the alarm over the lack of follow-up by the government to secure hard-won benefits from the military's operation against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

Sharif was speaking on Monday during a corps Commanders Conference at Army HQ in Rawalpindi. A statement by the military's Inter Services Public Relations media branch said Sharif "underlined the need for matching/complementary governance initiatives for long-term gains of operation and enduring peace across the country. Progress of National Action Plan’s implementation, finalization of [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] reforms, and concluding all ongoing [joint investigation teams] at priority, were highlighted as issues, which could undermine the effects of operations."

The National Action Plan is a 20-point endeavor put in place by the government in January after the December 2014 TTP attack on a school in Peshawar that saw 145 killed (132 children) and 114 injured.

Among other measures it aimed to provide a holistic approach to combating terrorism by implementing a series of criminal justice and financial reforms allowing for the curtailment of hate speech and organizations, raising new counterterrorism units, and improving the access to communications traffic available to the intelligence services.

However, measures to clamp down on banned organizations, hate speech and terrorism financing, and the planned reform of religious schools, have not met with the desired progress.

Completing investigations into terrorism cases by the Joint Investigation Teams and much-needed improvements in governance in cleared areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are cause for particular concern, analysts said.

Under these circumstances Claude Rakisits, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, says Sharif's concern is unsurprising.

"It is a well-known fact in the counterterrorism business that, unless civilian administrators immediately implement governance plans, such as rebuilding destroyed schools, hospitals and other social services at the end of a military operation, all the hard-won gains made by the military can very quickly disappear," he said.

Adding, "While it is very important to diminish the terrorist and insurgence threat by degrading the fighters' military capability, it is probably just as important, if not more, to deal with the civilian population which has to return to those areas which have been devastated by the fighting.

"Accordingly, the basic societal needs of the general population, which has been fundamentally traumatized, displaced and probably physically hurt, must be met quickly, effectively and with compassion. Not to do so would lead to an already dissatisfied population possibly longing for the days before the military operations."

But in this realm, the military has little influence, Rakisits said.

Very familiar with the areas where the anti-TTP operations are ongoing, analyst, author, and former Australian defense attache Brian Cloughley agrees the military is limited in what it can do, but highlights the issue of religious schools.

"The Army can't be blamed for being frustrated over the failure to get tough about madrassas," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Beef Dominated #Modi-#NawazSharif Conversation When #India and #Pakistan Ldrs Met Briefly in #Paris :-) #BJP #Cow

If there was one thing that was pretty much guaranteed to come out of the short meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the COP21 climate conference in Paris, it was satire.

Photos showed the leaders of the two estranged neighbors shaking hands and sitting down for a chat on Monday, the first day of crucial talks to try to broker a deal that would limit rises in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius.

The meeting between Messrs. Modi and Sharif was significant, coming three months after Pakistan called off talks aimed at restarting a stalled dialogue with India in August, amid escalating diplomatic tensions and cross-border violence.

But it was also prime territory for parody and both Indian and Pakistani media were quick to capitalize on the opportunity for puns.

India’s most widely-read English-language newspaper, the Times of India, ran the headline: “Climate Change? Modi, Sharif go into brief huddle in Paris.” Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper ran a report on the short meeting by the Associated Press of Pakistan headlined: “Fence Mending: Ice Melts as Nawaz, Modi shake hands.”

Neither side has so far disclosed what the leaders were talking about or how long the meeting lasted.

A blog post on the website of Pakistani daily newspaper Dawn carries the headline: “Exposed! What Nawaz and Modi Really Talked About in Paris.” A series of nine images speculates on the content of a conversation between the two leaders on the sidelines of the climate-change conference this week.

In speech bubbles imposed on a photograph of the two men sitting side by side on a couch, Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is shown initiating a conversation with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi about his intent to order “beef biryani,” a rice dish.

The meme was a jab at recent developments in India, where public debate has been dominated for weeks on subject of religious tolerance. Critics of Mr. Modi, a politician with Hindu nationalist roots, say he hasn’t done enough to protect Muslims and other minorities.

The current bout of national soul-searching in India, which has prompted protests by intellectuals, artists, actors and others, followed the killing of a Muslim man by a mob for allegedly slaughtering a cow — an animal deeply revered in Hinduism.

Mr. Modi, whose conservative backers are pushing for greater limits on cow slaughter and beef eating, described the death as unfortunate but said the central government shouldn’t be held responsible, noting that similar killings had happened under previous administrations.

In the Dawn blog post, Mr. Modi is shown advising Mr. Sharif against ordering the beef dish. “Order some veggies instead,” Mr. Modi is shown saying.

Riaz Haq said...

"9 out of 10 #Indians who eat #beef are from #Indian Institutes of Technology" #India's Minister Giriraj Singh. #IIT …

The Modi minister, known for his controversial statements, dropped another bombshell on Thursday.
M I Khan reports.

Giriraj Singh, a member of Narendra Modi's council of ministers, now has a peeve against IITians.

"Aaj samaj mein jo bachche gir gaye hain ha, gau maans kha rahein hain. Padhe likhe dus log jo gau maans kha rahein hain unmein se nau IITs ke hain (People who have fallen in society eat beef. Out of 10 educated people who eat beef, 9 are from IITs)," Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Nawada, Bihar, said on April 21.

Earlier, Singh demanded that the voting rights of couples with more than two children be revoked, to develop the nation.

"If Malaysia and Indonesia can make such a law, why can't we?" the minister asked, adding, "The nation won't progress without population control."

"There must be a balance. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians -- all must have at least one to two children. Those who don't follow, their voting rights must be revoked," Singh declared.

"A law is needed on population control for all religions if development is required," he added.

On Wednesday, Singh said if India did not change its population policy and enforce a two-child norm for all religions, then the nation's daughters would not be safe and may have to wear a veil as they do in Pakistan.

Speaking at a cultural yatra in West Champaran's Bagaha town, Singh was apparently referring to Bihar districts Araria and Kishanganj, where the Muslim population has increased faster than the Hindu population.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Why #India's food police are kicking up a storm, checking for #beef in biryani. #beefban #BJP #Modi

When police in northern India recently began checking dishes of mutton biryani to ensure that they did not contain beef, critics said it was another example of what they are calling "food fascism".
The recent drive happened in a Muslim-dominated cluster of villagers in Haryana state, which is governed by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The state has some of the most punishing laws against cow slaughter, a special police force to protect cows, and the curiously named "cow service commission", among other things.
Volunteers and vigilantes keep watch in villages to check if anyone is slaughtering or transporting cows. Village councils have been telling local Muslims to stop selling biryani.
Why the humble cow is India's most polarising animal
A night patrol with India's cow protection vigilantes
Last week samples of biryani were taken away by the local police after "some people" complained that beef was being used. Poor biryani sellers complained they had lost their livelihood and pictures showed empty stalls on the local highway.
India's Hindu majority see cows as a sacred animal but many other Indians eat the meat. According to government data, some 80 million Indians - one in every 13 - eat beef or buffalo meat. Most of them are Muslims. But more than 12 million Hindus also eat the meat.
The cow is India's most political animal. But, as historian DN Jha says, it has "become more political under the BJP governments in Delhi and in some states, which are obsessed with beef bans and cow slaughter".

Riaz Haq said...

NY Times Editorial: Vigilante Justice in #India. #Hindutva #gaurakshak #beefban #Islamophobia #Muslims #Lynching

A shocking rise in vigilante violence is threatening the rule of law in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is partly to blame for encouraging Hindu furor over the slaughter of cows. Underlying the problem is a lack of faith by many Indians in the ability of the police and the judicial system to deliver justice.

Mob killings of Muslims and Dalits, members of India’s lowest caste, suspected of killing cows or eating beef have occurred with alarming frequency. Seven people were killed recently in two separate episodes. In both cases, the attacks were blamed on a message circulated on WhatsApp warning of child abductors in the state of Jharkand.

Yet, in one case, local strongmen intent on preventing the victims from buying land may have helped stoked the crowd’s anger. Even worse, one survivor said police officers egged the crowd on. In the other case, the three victims were Muslim cattle traders, casting doubt on that theory as the only motive.

A shocking video, widely circulated last week on social media in India, shows a man in one attack covered in blood, cowering on the ground and begging for his life before a mob kicks and beats him to death. Two officers in charge of police stations in the area have been suspended, some 20 people have been arrested and an investigation has begun.

Meanwhile, many of India’s police officers are poorly trained, underpaid and corrupt, and the country’s judicial system is staggering under an enormous backlog of cases. More than 40 percent of high court judgeships remain unfilled.

Prime Minister Modi spoke out last August against right-wing Hindu cow vigilantes after four Dalits accused of killing a cow were brutally beaten by a crowd, but he has remained conspicuously silent since, despite an alarming increase in mob violence. Mr. Modi and senior members of his party need to condemn rumormongers bent on mayhem, many of them connected to local politicians and Hindu militant groups. Mr. Modi also needs to bring the same zeal to overhauling India’s policing and judicial system that he has brought to other issues, lest law and order in India give way to the bloodlust of the mob.

Riaz Haq said...

Toll From Vigilante Mobs Rises, and #India Begins to Recoil. #hinduterrorism #Modi #Lynchistan #Islamophobia #Cow

“It does no damage whatsoever to Modi and his party, because what this protest says is, ‘Muslims are getting lynched,’ and a lot of Hindutvas out there will say, ‘That’s the point,’ ” Mr. Vij said, referring to far-right Hindus. “Society at large is turning right-wing. How long that crest is going to be is the most interesting question, and the fact is nobody knows. Not anytime soon.”

On Thursday, Junaid Khan, a 15-year-old madrasa student, was riding a crowded passenger train home from Delhi when a group of assailants, after deriding him as a “beefeater” and removing his skullcap, fatally stabbed him and threw him off the train. The same day, in Kashmir, Mohammed Ayub Pandith, a plainclothes police officer, was beaten to death outside a mosque by members of a mob who took him for an informer.

The hashtag “Lynchistan” trended on Twitter. “May the silent be damned,” wrote the scholar Pratap Bhanu Mehta in a furious column. And Saba Dewan, a filmmaker living outside Delhi, wrote a Facebook post calling for a protest against rising violence toward Muslims and lower-caste Indians, and the idea spread with extraordinary speed, inspiring demonstrations in 11 cities. On Wednesday evening, about 2,000 people gathered at sunset in central Delhi, carrying posters with the words “Not in My Name.”

“One needs not only to protest, but to record our complete anguish,” said Amitabha Pande, a retired civil servant who voted for Narendra Modi in 2014, in the hope that as prime minister he would modernize India’s economy. He said his faith in Mr. Modi collapsed the following year, when the prime minister failed to condemn the lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq in the village of Dadri.

“He has forgotten the fundamentals of the Constitution that he was supposed to uphold, which is the right to life,” Mr. Pande said. “The fact that he did not come out openly and condemn the Dadri murder, that is when I decided this man does not deserve to be here.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s traditional medicine #Ayurveda prescribes #beef for several disorders. #Hindutva #BJP #AyurvedaDay #Modi

Ancient Indian scriptures imposed no bar on eating beef and, in fact, ayurvedic Acharya Charaka had recommended beef for some disorders, said veteran scientist P M Bhargava in his letter to President Pranab Mukherjee marking his returning the Padma Bhushan.
TOI on October 29 first reported the decision of Bhargava, 87, the founder director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, to return the award he got in 1986, as a mark of protest against rising intolerance in the country.
Quoting Charaka Samhita, Bharagava said: "The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual labour."

Bhargava said the lynching of Mohamed Akhlaq in Dadri "probably by fringe elements related to BJP" showed "the control that BJP wants to have on what we may eat ... just as it wants to control what we may wear, or whom we may love, or what we may read."
He called the Modi government "the least knowledgeable" about science. "I am a professional scientist with an experience of 65 years. I have also had the occasion of interacting on matters of science with the governments at the Centre since Independence. I find the present government the least knowledgeable and least concerned about science. The climate of religious conservatism that we have today is a major obstacle in the functioning of science and thus in meeting developmental objectives.
Bhargava was among the second batch of more than 100 scientists to sign an online petition last month against the "rejection of reason' that led to the assassinations of scholar M M Kalburgi, rationalist Narendra Dabhoklar and communist Govind Pansare.

In his letter to the President dated November 6, made available to TOI, the scientist named BJP and RSS behind the climate of intolerance. "No one would be more aware than you that, de facto, BJP is the political front of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and functions under the leadership of RSS that is fully committed to the ideology of Hindutva, which I find divisive, unreasonable and unscientific," he said.
Noting that according to the Constitution, one of the duties of our citizens is to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform, the letter said: "Steeped in superstition, unreason and irrationality, much of what RSS and BJP do goes against the grain of scientific temper. An example would be the recent statement of Shri Mohan Bhagwat who heads the RSS that marriage is a contract according to which the woman is supposed to be only a housewife and not work outside."
Bhargava said the Padma Bhushan had been very dear to him. "My returning it to you, for whom I have much respect and admiration, is an expression of my concern at the currently prevailing socio-politico situation in the country."

Riaz Haq said...

Modi govt exports beef worth Rs.113 crores to Pakistan

As per the government data by Ministry of Commerce (Government of India), India has exported huge quantity of buffalo meat to neighbouring countries in South Asia. The Government of India data further shows that India has exported Rs.113.10 crores of Beef (Buffalo) to Pakistan.

According to United States Department of Agriculture data, India became number 1 in Beef export replacing Brazil. The latest data from 2016 show India and Brazil tied on top — with both countries accounting for just under 20% each of the world’s total beef exports. They, along with Australia and New Zealand, are the world’s largest beef exporting countries, as per the US data.

It needs to be mentioned here that India does not export officially export the meat of cows and the beef export here means buffalo meat.

The large chunk of India’s buffalo meat exports are to Asian countries — 11 of the top 15 destinations for buffalo meat by value in 2015-16 were in Asia and 3 in Africa (Algeria, Egypt, and Angola). Russia was the 15th destination — at No. 15 in the list of the top 15.

Vietnam is the largest market for India’s buffalo meat worth 13,125 crore in 2015-2016 followed by Malaysia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Iraq stands fourth for India’s buffalo meet worth 767 crore.

It may be noted that Vietnam does not consume all the buffalo meat and bulk of its import from India make way to China.A grey market has developed in recent times, with Chinese traders reportedly using Vietnam’s Haiphong port to bring in Indian buffalo meat loaded on small vessels.

As per the Ministry of Commerce and Industry report, India exported 11, 92,327 tonnes worth 23,646 crores of buffalo meat from April-February 2016-17.

India’s beef export is attractive in the world due to its lower prices, along with the proximity to key consuming markets in Southeast Asia and West Asia,

It is really paradoxical that on the one hand the BJP government is pushing hard for a complete ban on beef including buffalo pan India and on the other hand, the government does not hesitate to export beef even to an ‘enemy’ country like Pakistan.