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Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai attacks’

Indian Government Pulled Own Foreign Minister’s Leg

NEW DELHI, India—This is not the first time that Indian extremists have sabotaged crucial peace talks with Pakistan.

On 19 February 2007, one day before Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri landed in New Delhi for peace talks, a bomb exploded aboard Samjota Express, or the friendship train launched as a peace gesture. Fifty nine Pakistani visitors to India were burned alive. Cynically, the Indian government accused ISI and Kashmiri freedom fighters but it turned out later that serving Indian Military Intelligence Officers and members of a Hindu terror group were involved. The Indian officers were arrested for a trial but a gradual blackout was slapped on the investigations.

It was the clearest evidence to date proving the existence of a pro-war camp in New Delhi that springs into action whenever anyone in the Indian government decides to discuss Kashmir with Pakistan.

It is almost if there is an undeclared gag on Indian politicians warning them of consequences if they dare try to resolve disputes with Pakistan.

Unfortunately, the American and British media and politicians continue to turn a blind eye to the existence of extremists in New Delhi.

The same Indian pro-war camp sprung into action on 15 July 2010. And its latest victim was Indian’s own foreign minister S. M. Krishna.

Mr. Krishna realizes the bitter truth: His government, or influential elements within it, pulled his leg as he landed in Islamabad for crucial peace talks with Pakistan.

A bitter Mr. Krishna accused his own government’s interior secretary G. K. Pillai of sabotaging Krishna’s visit to Pakistan.

Pillai “would have been wiser” if he had not made his damaging statement, said Krishna in a television interview with CNN-IBN on Wednesday.

Mr. Pillai, of course, acted on behalf of all the extremists in New Delhi in scuttling the talks.

This political tussle in New Delhi was as intense as the melodramatic Indian movies.

As Mr. Krishna’s plane touches down in Islamabad on 15 July, 2010, Mr. Pillai in New Delhi issued a statement claiming Pakistani government and ISI were directly involved in Mumbai attacks.

This statement ties Mr. Krishna’s hands and poisons the expected talks before they even begin.

Could anything be more dramatic than this?

Krishna told CNN-IBN’s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesi that the Indian home secretary was almost responsible for destroying the talks with Pakistan.

“Well, in hindsight, I think Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit,” said Krishna.

But the real question that Mr. Krishna avoided discussing in public, possibly because it is damaging to India, is this: Who within the Indian government planned to sabotage talks with Pakistan?

Someone brave in the Indian media will have to step up and expose the pro-war camp within the Indian government, military, intelligence and Hindu extremist and terror groups. This pro-war Indian camp is violently opposed to peace in Pakistan and Kashmir.

Pakistani government officials, the military, and the Pakistani civil society have to step up and draw the world’s attention to the terrorists in New Delhi who burned 59 Pakistanis alive one day before Pakistani foreign minister landed in New Delhi on 19 Feb.

It is not Mumbai attacks of 2008 but the Samjota Express attack of 2007 that hold the key to exposing who is stalling efforts to resolve Kashmir and other disputes between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan Rules Out Banning Hafiz Saeed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has ruled out barring Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed from giving public speeches targeting India.

“In a democracy, there is freedom of expression in Pakistan as in India. There are all sorts of people making all kinds of speeches. There are people with extremist views in both India and Pakistan…. and there is nothing you can do about it. There are views being expressed in Pakistan that I can do nothing about,” foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Saturday night.

He, however, said the “positive” thing is that the views of extremist elements do not reflect that of the majority opinion either in India or in Pakistan.

“The overwhelming majority of people do not agree with hate speeches. They want normalisation, they want peace, they want growth, they want development”, he said.

Asked if the tone laid down in Bhutan after the meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani on the margin of SAARC summit yielded fruits, Qureshi said: “I think there is progress”.

He said the fact that Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Pakistan and met her Pakistani counterpart, that Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram came to Pakistan and had “candid discussion” with his Pakistani counterpart “I consider this progress”.

In this context, Qureshi also cited his meeting with Chidambaram discussing issues of concern.

Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

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At least 35 die as Maoists blow up bus in India

RAIPUR: At least 35 people were killed after Maoist rebels blew up a bus carrying police and civilians in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Monday, an official said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters in the state capital Raipur that the dead included 11 police personnel.

“Twenty-four civilians and 11 policemen have died and 15 persons including 14 police personnel were injured in the blast,” the chief minister said.

He said an unspecified number of bodies were still trapped in the mangled bus following the mine blast in Dantewada district, a Maoist stronghold where rebels ambushed and killed 75 policemen last month in the bloodiest massacre of security forces by the extremists.

Television footage showed bodies laid out on the road next to the wreckage of the bus. The front portion of the vehicle had been almost completely destroyed by the force of the blast.

“The killing and targeting of innocent civilians travelling on a bus is to be strongly condemned by all right-thinking people,” Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told reporters in New Delhi.

The security men among the dead and injured were special police officers, who are recruited from the civilian population to help security forces in anti-Maoist operations, said S.R. Kalluri, deputy inspector general of police.

The left-wing guerrillas have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive against them that began late last year in the forests of the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches across north and eastern India.

The insurgency began in the state of West Bengal in 1967 in the name of defending the rights of tribal groups, but attacks have since spread to 20 of India’s 28 states.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has labelled the insurgency the biggest internal security threat to India.
Tribal groups and many rural areas have been left behind by the country’s economic development, and the poverty and discontent with local government corruption is seen as a major source of Maoist support.

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Freedom struggle in Indian Occupied Kashmir heats up

Freedom struggle in Indian Occupied Kashmir heats up

SRINAGAR, India — Militant violence is surging in Indian-controlled Kashmir after years of declines, officials say, warning of increased insurgent infiltration from Pakistan and a bloody summer ahead.

Nearly everyday, the crackle of gunfire and the roar of mortars can be heard somewhere in the towns and forests of the scenic Himalayan region, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan but divided between them.

Most recently, Indian soldiers have been hunting Muslim militants for more than a week in a thickly forested area northwest of Srinagar, the region’s main city. The operation, one of the largest in years, has already left 11 suspected rebels and four soldiers dead amid the rugged terrain, said Indian army spokesman Col. Vineet Sood.

On Friday, police said that suspected rebels threw a grenade at government forces as they fired rubber bullets to disperse nearly 150 anti-India protesters in Srinagar, wounding four security forces and one civilian.

Hemant Lohia, a top police officer, said two of the injured troops were in critical condition.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The army is gearing up to meet new challenges as this summer is going to be a hot summer in terms of security,” India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony recently told reporters. Summers have traditionally been a time of increased fighting in Kashmir, as snow melts in Himalayan mountain passes and militants are able to slip across from the Pakistani-controlled portion of the territory.

Police say they have arrested 10 Kashmiri teenagers just this month — six allegedly trying to cross to the Pakistani side for arms training and four looking for weapons training on the Indian side.

According to police records, 76 suspected militants and 23 members of the police and the army have been killed in the first four months this year. Thirteen civilians have also died in the conflict.

During the same period last year, 53 militants, 15 members of various security forces and five civilians were killed.

The spike in militant violence follows a decline that began in 2004, after India and Pakistan initiated a peace process, that reduced bilateral tensions but made little headway in settling the two nation’s core dispute over Kashmir. The violence could complicate efforts by the South Asian rivals to restart the peace talks that were frozen after 10 Pakistan-based militants attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008.

Analysts say massive street protests that roiled Indian Kashmir over the past two years may have paved the way for the resurgent militant attacks.

The protests were sparked by local issues, such as a state government decision to transfer land to a Hindu shrine, but quickly became the region’s largest-ever protests against Indian rule, often bringing tens of thousands of people into the streets. Rock-throwing would lead to government forces firing tear gas and even live ammunition, leading to pitched clashes. Overall, more than 60 protesters have been killed and hundreds more wounded.

Meanwhile, Indian authorities launched a massive arrest campaign, hauling in hundreds of protesters.

The crackdown “is radicalizing the situation,” said Noor Mohammed Baba, a professor at the political science department of Kashmir University. “The scenario becomes more favorable for radical elements to take over.”

Security forces, with long experience at fighting militants, have had more trouble neutralizing street protests.

Until there is forward movement toward resolving the festering Kashmir dispute, it will be difficult to end the protests, analysts say.

“They don’t fear armed militants as much as youth in the streets now,” Baba said.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have fought two wars over Kashmir and, since 1989, Muslim militants have fought in Indian-controlled Kashmir for independence or merger with Pakistan.

More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in what seemed like relentless cycles of fighting and crackdowns.

India accuses Pakistan of funding and training militants in the Pakistani-held Kashmir, and helping them slip over to the Indian side to fight.

Islamabad denies that, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the rebels. Violence surges in Indian Kashmir after decline By AIJAZ HUSSAIN (AP)

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50,000 Kashmiris detained under draconian law

May 5, 2010 1 comment

In Indian occupied Kashmir, over fifty thousand civilians have been detained under the draconian law, Public Safety Act, during the last twenty one years of the uprising against Indian occupation.

This was revealed by the President of the Bar Association of the occupied territory, Mian Abdul Qayoom, while talking to Kashmir Media Service in Srinagar, today. The draconian law authorizes the occupation authorities to detain a person for a period up to two years without producing him before a court of law. Mian Abdul Qayoom said that presently 800 to 900 persons were behind the bars under the Public Safety Act and it was invoked against 250 Kashmiris only in the current year.

He said during a period of one year, the draconian law was slapped seven times on APHC leader, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, eight times on Mussarat Alam Butt and four times each on Muhammad Yousaf Mir, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Hafizullah and Bilal Siddiqi.

Later, Mian Abdul Qayoom and the vice president of the Bar, Aijaz Beidar visited Bandipore to express solidarity with the families of illegally detained civilians.

Meanwhile, Sopore remained tense for the third day, today, over the killing of a youth. The locals told mediamen that the killing was the handiwork of Indian troops. All markets and educational institutions remained closed and transport was off the road. A bomb blast occurred, today, in the Hari Singh High Street area of Srinagar without causing any causality. An army trooper committed suicide by hanging himself on a ceiling fan at an army camp in Udhampur. This has brought the number of such deaths amongst the troops to 176 since January 2007.

In London, the Executive Director of Kashmir Centre, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl, in a statement, deplored the silence of the international community over the discovery of unnamed graves in the occupied territory.

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India court to deliver verdict on Kasab

India court to deliver verdict on Kasab

An Indian court will deliver a verdict on Monday in the trial of a Mumbai suspect accused of being the lone surviving gunman in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a case that has strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Mohammad Ajmal Kasab is charged with 86 offences including waging war on India and murder. He could face the gallows if found guilty. Kasab was caught on tape strolling through Mumbai’s main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back, prosecutors say. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station. (Reuters)