BJP’s Rashtriya Ekta Yatra: Heading In Wrong Direction

By M. Zajam,

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) fascination with Muslims, Kashmir, Pakistan and Yatras is never going to end. Its politics and programs revolve mainly around these issues. Latest in the series, Rashtriya Ekta Yatra, is heading towards Kashmir for hoisting flag in Lal Chowk, Srinagar on 26th January. This yatra started on 12th January from Kolkata will pass through 11 states before reaching Srinagar. Earlier Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP had also hoisted flag in Lal Chowk in 1992 under heavy security cover.

This time flag hoisting is planned when normalcy has just returned to valley after weeks of unrest. J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah has requested Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) to reconsider its decision as it is likely to disturb peaceful conditions in the valley. This Ekta Yatra has even divided BJP led National Democratic Alliance. Janata Dal (U) National President and NDA convener, Sharad Yadav, has requested BJP to call off the yatra stating nothing should be done to hamper the peace. Interlocutors appointed by Government of India has brought good news from Kashmir saying that most people they met in the Valley were against a UN resolutions or plebiscite to resolve the Kashmir issue. Kashmir panel head Dilip Padgoankar said most people reiterated their faith in democracy, fundamental rights, pluralism and tolerance. These interlocutors have been meeting people from all section of society for past few months to get their views about the Kashmir problem.

By hoisting National Flag, BJP claims it is trying to prove that Kashmir is integral part of India. It seems only BJP and Kashmiri separatist are in doubt about Kashmir being integral part of India. In 2008 Jammu and Kashmir assembly election was a success with 61% of voters turning up at polling booth braving separatist boycott call and harsh winter. This election was held in the month of November and December with last phase voting taking place on 24th December 2008. Voting percentage had increased by whopping 17%. Message from Kashmir was laud and clear. Recently concluded Bihar election recorded only 52% voting held in the pleasant month of October and November.

Bigger threat

If BJP really wants to do a service to Nation, their fascination with Kashmir, Pakistan and Muslims should end and they should focus on bigger threat India faces today.

BJP Rashtriya Ekta Yatra should have headed to North East instead of North West. They should have planned to hoist National Flag in Arunachal Pradesh close to border with China.

China has become very aggressive in North East India and specially Arunachal Pradesh. In fact it considers Arunachal Pradesh as part of China and often denies visas to those from the state saying they are from the same country. Former Chief Minister Gegong Apang was not given a visa stating that being a citizen of China he required no visa to enter his own country. In 2007, a study tour to Beijing of over 100 IAS officers was cancelled after China refused to give a visa to an officer from Arunachal Pradesh. In continuation of this policy, off late China has been issuing stapled visa for Arunachal Pradesh residents ignoring India strong protest.
Recently two Arunachal sportsmen were issued stapled visa by China, in spite of India raising ‘serious objections’ to the this practice during Chinese Premier recent India visit. These two sportsmen were not allowed to leave by the Indian government due to visa row. All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has decided to protest “humiliation” meted out to sportsmen by boycotting the Republic Day celebration and all function of national importance.

China has launched own mapping service similar to Google Earth on 18th January 2011.This service known as “Map World” is showing Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin- two area in dispute with India – as part of China. Arunachal Pradesh that China has always claimed as “southern Tibet” as part of its territory. The map has China’s borders covered up to Arunachal Pradesh. Also, the Aksai Chin area, which is part of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir has been included by the map as part of China’s Xinjiang province. Two countries have held 14 rounds of talks on border dispute.

Growing nexus

The Chinese have provided shelter to many insurgent groups functioning in northeast India since the sixties. There are reports of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) cadres being trained by Chinese. Arrested Manipuri terrorist group leader claimed that banned outfit ULFA military chief Paresh Baruah is enjoying Chinese hospitality. The security agencies are worried over the growing nexus of China with other insurgent groups of North Eastern states. It is also involved in actively training and arming insurgent groups in Manipur and Nagaland. 400 cadre of a Manipuri insurgent group, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), have undergone arms training in China’s Yunnan province.

Since 2005, 4621 persons have lost their lives including 333 security forces in terrorist violence in North East India. 13 Out of 34, declared as terrorist organisations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, are based in North Eastern states.

Security agencies are also concerned as Chinese weapons in large numbers are finding their way to the northeastern states. Arrested National Socialist Council of Nagaland -Isak-Muivah (NSCN: I-M) arms procurer told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that NE insurgent groups are procuring weapons from weapon supplier in mainland China. These groups even acquired Anti-aircraft guns from China.

In June 2010, All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (Ansam) had enforced economic blockade of Manipur which lasted for more than two months. ANSAM had blocked the National Highways 39 and 53, the lifelines of the landlocked State. Blockade badly affected normal life in Manipur and people were forced to buy Rice at Rs.150-200 a kilogram, a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refill at Rs.2,000, petrol at Rs.200 a litre, and diesel at Rs.150 a litre . It took two months for the Center to act and use force to lift this economic blockade. This caused lots of tension and resentment in the region.

Many were killed when clash broke out in bordering areas of Goalpara district in Assam and Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district in January this year between Garo and Rabha. Garos are a majority in Meghalaya but a minority in Assam; Rabhas are a majority in Assam and a minority in Meghalaya. Plans to reduce tension in these border areas will be appreciate and welcomed.

Attacks on Hindi speaking migrant workers in NE states are regular occurrences. Last November, 14 people were killed in attacks on migrant workers by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). Assam has also witnessed attacks against hindi speaking migrants and Marwaris. National Integration Yatra in these areas to boost confidence of migrant population and inculcate Idea of India in NE India.

‘India’s enemy number one’

China is increasing its military power and influence in the strategically crucial Indian Ocean. China has become very generous off late with other Indian oceans nations. Chinese companies are involved in developing Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. Chinese government is providing 85% of the funding for this project. Apart from Sri Lanka, China is also building ports in Chittagong in Bangladesh, Kyaukpyu in Burma and Gwadar port in Pakistan. Indian security experts are concerned with these aggressive plans of China to encircle India.

In 1998, George Fernandes then Defence Minsiter in BJP led NDA government, had declared China as “India’s enemy number one”. Fernandes in a television interview stressed that the threats emanating from China showed that Beijing posed the greatest potential threat to India. He argued that China must be perceived as a threat by “any person who is concerned with India’s security.” He suggested it was not in India’s interest to understate problems with China. Fernandes had very few public defenders and Kanchi Shankaracharya was one of them.

In an interview in 2008, he maintained his stand on China, saying that China is ‘still potential threat number one and could become an enemy’. He added that India’s attitude towards China was because of the 1962 war. “I have a feeling that what happened in 1962 is still affecting people’s mind and they can’t get out of it,” he said.

China using Pakistan

China has been a strong ally of Pakistan’s for years. China has provided Pakistan with technical expertise in developing many weapon programs. It has also helping the country build nuclear reactors. China has deployed about 11,000 troops in the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the Occupied Kashmir for developing road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. Former USA ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, who is now Henry Kissinger Senior Fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations – a prestigious US-based think tank, have said “China using Pakistan to slow India’s rise”

He added, Many Indian strategists think that there’s some evidence that China’s preoccupation with Pakistan and its long-time close links is closely connected to the Chinese realisation that if India is preoccupied, pinned down by cross-border terrorism from Pakistan and problems in the India-Pakistan relation, then it will slow the rise of India as a great power.

In Nepal, Maoist led government is overactive in strengthening ties with China. China has embarked on a railway project connecting the Tibetan capital of Lhasa with Nepal border town of Khasa. This is seen as an effort to reduce Nepal dependence on India for trade and economy. Nepal is also acquiring modern weapons from China. In September 2008, China announced a $1.3 million military aid package for Nepal and three months later PLA promised another $2.6 million for the same purpose. Chinese envoy in Nepal Quo Guohang has assured Nepal by stating that if Nepal faces threats to its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, China would help it not only militarily but also financially and diplomatically.


China has increased spying activities in India. Last week three Chinese spies were detained by police for allegedly taking pictures of vital installations near Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh. An Indian PAN card, two mobiles and a camera were recovered from them.

China has set up numerous study centers to spy on India. Named “Nepal-China Study Centers”, they are located on Indo-Nepal border. Many Chinese firms headed by former PLA officers have established its base in Nepal.

In 2009, the department of telecommunications,(DoT), citing security concerns, had asked private operators to avoid using their equipment in 20 of the 29 states. Earlier, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s tender for 93 million GSM lines, DoT decided to keep out the Chinese from states that shared borders with China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

China is mounting almost daily cyber attacks on both Indian government and private computer networks. Chinese are constantly scanning and mapping India’s official networks to have an idea on how to disable the networks or distract them during a conflict. In a coordinated attack in 2009, Computers of nine key Indian embassies, including offices in the US, UK and Germany, were infected by the mysterious GhostNet, a China-based cyber espionage network that has been uncovered by a Canada-based research organisation. India’s premier National Informatics Centre (NIC), which governs and hosts all government websites, was infected by the mysterious GhostNet many times.

China never misses any chance to bully India. In 2008, China had summoned Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao to the foreign office past midnight to convey concerns over storming of its embassy in New Delhi by some Tibetan protesters.

On 20th January, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari accompanied by a seven-member party delegation has begun his five-day goodwill tour of China. While his Youth Brigade of his party is heading towards Kashmir for flag hoisting. BJP target is way- way off the mark.

BJP should divert some of its energy towards North Eastern states as well. It is very much part of India and China is hell bent on creating trouble there. Declaring Arunachal Pradesh as part of China is attack on Indian sovereignty by China. People of Arunachal Pradesh are losing hope and their boycott of this year Republic Day is a warning signal. Is BJP ready to pick this signal? or BJP is too busy in its love affairs with Kashmir and has no time to look anywhere else. BJP narrow vision is not doing any good for the country and such narrow vision is not expected from a national party which has ruled India for six years. People of Arunachal Pradesh will be thankful to BJP and India, if one yatra and flag hoisting is arranged with same vigor and enthusiasm as shown in current Rashtriya Ekta Yatra.

Response To A Pakistani View Of Indian Muslims

Indian Muslims Protest Against PakistanDubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi in a column in Khaleej Times on 1 March 2009 charges that Indian Muslims are hell-bent on portraying Pakistan as a terrorist hub. However, the entire world is now witness for what really Pakistan stands for. Danish Ahmad Khan responds to Rabia Alavi’s article.

“Why have Indian Muslims, most whom seem well-educated and demonstrate sound judgment on all other matters under the sun, suddenly lose sight of their bearings (and manners) when it comes to attacking all things Pakistani, be it the country’s politics, culture, food or fashion. Why are they hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub?” This statement from a Dubai-based Pakistani writer Rabia Alavi whose half of extended family are Indians, is really shocking indeed. I don’t know how this Pakistani woman gathered the gumption to dub we, Indian Muslims, as nonsensical and the ones who are ‘hell-bent on defying common sense when it comes to writing off a whole country as being a terrorist hub’. I just wonder why doesn’t this Pakistani writer – who is seemingly possessed with a squint and blinkered vision – see to it that it is Pakistan which is in fact proving to be no less than a terrorist hub when it comes to attacking all things Indian. My dear Ms. Rabia Alavi have you forgotten the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which claimed several Indian lives irrespective of the religions these martyrs belonged to. Which country did these ‘Islamic heroes’ nay ruthless inhuman killers belonged to? Can you deny that these ‘Jihadis’ did not belong to Pakistan? Your Pakistani government has itself publicly acknowledged that these goons hailed from Pakistan, whom it firstly tried to portray as non-state actors. Are YOU a MUSLIM or not? Are the rulers of Pakistan MUSLIMS or not? Does Islam ask to settle political scores by slaughtering human beings whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims? Is this what is JIHAD you Pakistanis call or think so? What kind of Islam are you Pakistanis propagating? You Pakistanis first of all need to get lessons regarding the true teachings of Islam. We, Indian Muslims, really don’t need to take lessons from you all. Your kind of Islam has miserably failed you all no ends, and Pakistan, which was formed in the name of Islam, is fast approaching to don the status of a failed state. Just cite me a single reason as to why we, Indian Muslims, shouldn’t acknowledge and proclaim Pakistan as a terrorist hub.

I simply look askance when Rabia Alavi daringly asks: “But why do Indian Muslims trouble themselves with Pakistan’s worries anyway? Don’t they have enough of their own? Need I remind them how uncomfortable their minority status is for them? Are they not second-class citizens in their own country? Are they not troubled by the countless assaults on the country’s minorities, the destruction of Babri Masjid or the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat? Don’t they worry about the Modis and Sadhvi Pragyas of their country?” This is simply ridiculous. For your kind knowledge Ms. Rabia Alavi, we, Indian Muslims, don’t ever care about Pakistan or its worries. But, isn’t it a fact that Pakistan is constantly after us trying to create troubles whenever it’s possible. And, 26/11 Mumbai attacks is just another add on in its long list of crimes. Rabia would do well to at least acknowledge the fact that we, Indian Muslims, never sought help from Pakistan or any other country for that matter to take care of our problems. We, Indian Muslims, are ourselves strong and capable enough to tackle our own problems whenever need be. I don’t buy your theory that we, Indian Muslims, are second-class citizens in our own country. Let me state that we, Indian Muslims, are thankful to the Almighty Allah and our country’s system of governance that we exercise our democratic rights on our own free will without any sort of coercion or favour whatsoever. Whenever need be we, Indian Muslims, have changed governments at the Centre and in the states that failed to deliver either in terms of development or providing security to lives of people. Yes, I do acknowledge that communal riots did take place. But, these are now becoming things of the past. Rabia, but what about democracy in Pakistan. Just see how the Pakistani Generals trample your democratic rights at their own free will. It is pitiable that even after 60 years of independence you all are struggling to let democracy prevail in Pakistan in true sense of the term. Isn’t it a sorry state of affairs for your beleaguered country? Don’t you have your own problems? What about Jiye Sindh movement, Mohajirs and NWFP? Aren’t these grave problems for Pakistan which it has squarely failed to handle? What about Pakistani Muslims who are being slaughtered daily by Talibani jihadists. Aren’t you seeing this? Don’t you have the courage to take these Talibani jihadis head on. I know you are meek and a coward. You won’t even dare to write or talk about the tribals in North West Frontier Province of your country Pakistan. If you ever dare to do so, well you know your fate? DEATH at the hands of NWFP Talibani jihadis! Ms. Rabia, I’m sorry to state that YOU are not a real Pakistani as you are writing sitting pretty well ensconced in secure confines in Dubai. And, just look at me. I’m writing my comments sitting in my own homeland. Just look how much guts you possess and what I possess. This is enough to prove that I’m not a second-class citizen, while I just feel sorry about your status at this critical juncture which your country is presently in.

Ms. Rabia Alavi, do you know that the foundations of the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan was laid by an aristocrat Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who wasn’t concerned with Islam at all except being a namesake Muslim. By the way, don’t you know that fact that your Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah profoundly enjoyed alcohol, never entered a prayer hall or Masjid except for his marriage with Zoroastrian Rutten Bai. Jinnah loved consuming pork flesh and extracted its soup. Don’t you know that consuming pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam? And, you still revere this Pork eating and wine consuming Mohammad Ali Jinnah – your GREAT Quaid-e-Azam!! Please don’t take my comments as otherwise. I suppose this is what you really asked for while initiating needless debate regarding actions of Indian Muslims vis-à-vis Pakistani Muslims.

Civil Revolution May Usher A Constitutional Democracy In Pakistan

Pakistan NavyPakistan avoided yet another crisis. Although oscillating between corrupt civilian governments and military dictatorships, crises have been a way of life for Pakistan. But this crisis was different. It was not particularly for or against a leader. It was the third act of a grass-roots movement, led by the lawyers, in favor of the rule of law under a constitutional framework.

Pakistan appears to be on the verge of emerging as a functioning Constitutional Democracy, with primacy of laws and constitution that has eluded Pakistan for 61 years of its checkered history. Continue reading Civil Revolution May Usher A Constitutional Democracy In Pakistan

Lahore Attack: The Blame Game

Playing CricketIn Life, the Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams tells us the story of the residents of the planet Krikket—Krikketers. The Krikketers had never imagined that a Universe could exist outside their little planet. Due to a certain chain of events, however, when they did discover than many worlds lay outside of their little planet, they were shocked. So they resolved to do the only thing possible to get things to fit their world view: they would destroy the rest of the Universe. Continue reading Lahore Attack: The Blame Game

Price Of An Indo-Pak War

Jinnah Mausoleum, KarachiIn the after-effect of Mumbai terror attacks, while India and Pakistan seem to sit at the threshold of a possible war and hawks in both the countries talk of ‘final battle’ terrorists thrive on the growing conflict between the two nations. Two-way communication has been riddled with knee-jerk reactions, war of words, hatred, misunderstanding, and eventually war hysteria. India wants Pakistan to act while Pakistan is aggressive in denial. Historically, the rivalry between India and Pakistan resembles the traditional family hostility of two brothers of the same mother. Already we have fought three major wars, in addition to countless skirmishes during the last 60 years of our existence. Continue reading Price Of An Indo-Pak War

Countering Pakistani Terrorists’ Anti-India Propaganda

Translated From Urdu By Yoginder Sikand

Pakistan TerrorismFor almost two decades now, self-styled jihadist outfits based in Pakistan have been engaged in a war against India in Kashmir. This war of theirs has no sanction in Islam, which does not allow for proxy war, and that too one declared by non-state actors. It is an explicit violation of all Islamic principles. These outfits, which have considerable support inside Pakistan, see the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir as a religious struggle, and they wrongly describe it as a jihad. Continue reading Countering Pakistani Terrorists’ Anti-India Propaganda

Tackling Terrorism: A Call To Hindu And Muslim Religious Leaders

Maulana Waris Mazhari
(Translated by Yoginder Sikand)

Inter-faith DialogueThe recent assault on Mumbai is the most deadly terrorist attack that India has witnessed so far, and it has shaken every Indian. Every one of us is asking how it is that we have become so vulnerable and what it is that we must do to confront this situation. It has become a sort of fad to blame politicians for all our ills and problems. Continue reading Tackling Terrorism: A Call To Hindu And Muslim Religious Leaders

Terror In The Name of God

“Never forget that the life of this world is only a game and a passing delight, a show ….the life of this world is nothing but means of deception:. (The Quran, Al-Hadid: 20)

“There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim” (Baba Guru Nanak Sahib)

According to media reports, it is possible that the recent deadly assault on Mumbai was masterminded by the Lashkar-e Tayyeba, a Pakistan-based self-styled Islamist terrorist outfit. Continue reading Terror In The Name of God

Iqbal, Jinnah And The Lost Glory Of The Muslims Of India

 Muslim Boys' in IndiaThe fierce controversy that raged in the minds of the Muslims of India over the issue of pan-Islamism and nationalism in the decades preceding India’s independence and partition in 1947 was profoundly influenced by three pre-eminent leaders of India’s Muslims of that time. These were Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Abul Kalam Azad. Continue reading Iqbal, Jinnah And The Lost Glory Of The Muslims Of India