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Monday, 30 November 2009

India’s Silent Sufferers

By: Mamoona Ali Kazmi

According to a recent report of National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), violence against women is rampant in India, with southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh having the worst record for crimes against women. For the year 2007-08, NCRB recorded 24,738 cases of crimes committed against women including 1,070 cases of rape, 1,564 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 613 cases of dowry deaths and 11,335 cases of domestic violence in Andhra Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh has also witnessed a stepping of crime against women with the state recording 21,215 cases of violence including 2,066 cases of dowry death, 1,532 cases of rape and 3,819 cases of kidnapping. The NCRB also highlighted many incidents of rape of minor girls committed by the police personnel. Similarly, Haryana a small state has recorded 4,645 incidents of crime with as many as 269 cases of dowry deaths and 488 cases of rape. Bihar leads in cases of domestic violence with 59 percent of married women suffering domestic violence. The NCRB recorded 7,548 cases of crime with 1,555 rape cases, 1,172 dowry death cases and 1,260 kidnapping and abduction cases in the state. These are the statistics of only the reported cases whereas several cases of violence against women goes unreported due to social stigmas attached to them and due to the fear of reprisals and threats from the culprits.

Women in India suffer at different levels and due to different reasons. Violence against women in India is conducted irrespective of caste and class. Women in general and low caste women in particular are the victims of violence.  Even the Hindu religion does not provide any security to this creature. The Hindu Holy text sanctify the killing of infant girls, by parents who deem themselves not capable of shouldering the responsibility of having a girl child. The Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita calls women embodiment of the worst desires and justifies the killing of women. “Killing of a woman, a shudra or an atheist is not sinful. Woman is an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealously and bad character. Women should never be given freedom”. Bhagvad Gita (Manu 1X. 17 and V.47, 147).The modern democratic India follows these religious teachings of hatred and enmity towards women. The change does come but only in the techniques of the violence. In past, in Hindu society new born girls were buried alive now new born baby girls are either strangled to death or aborted during pregnancy. According to a UNICEF report released in December 2006, about 7,000 fewer girls than expected are born daily in India, and about 10 million fewer girls than expected were born in the past 20 years due to sex discrimination.

Women in India are considered a stigma to honour and are victim of almost all kinds of violence such as rape, domestic violence, abduction, dowry deaths and honour killings. The women living in insurgency infested areas are victims of duel violence. On the one hand they are victimized by army personnel and on the other by rival ethnic groups. Similarly, women other than Hindus particularly Muslims and Christians are victims of hate crime.

Not all sexual harassment and rape cases are reported in India. But by considering the reported cases it becomes evident that in India a women is raped every 29th minute. The NCRB unearthed some extremely disturbing trends in India. Statistics suggest that in 2005 around 50 women were raped and 480 molested and abducted every day. The gravity of the problem is that Indian laws are not very strict for such type of violence against women. No capital punishment is awarded in such cases. Apart from harassment, throwing strong acids such sulphuric acid on the face of the girls and women is rampant in India. This is the most heinous and severe punishment deserving crime. There is no separate law to deal with acid attackers in India. Organizations such as the Campaign and Struggle against Acid Attacks on Women (CSAAAW) are fighting to get acid attacks recognised as a separate crime and an extension of other forms of gender violence. Even a small state like Bangladesh realized the gravity of acid attacks and introduced death penalty against the crime. The Indian government has promised a new law to tackle increasing acid attacks, but that brings no cheer to those who know all too well what they are fighting against a system of hierarchies that rationalises violence. The problem is not acid but the thinking of men that they can control and dictate terms to the women in their lives. There is a need of a law that can restrict the sale of acid and bring offenders to justice. Law only cannot correct these social imbalances there is need that these laws should be implemented in true spirit.

Dowry deaths are also frequent in India.  This is the worst crime against the women next to rape. A married girl is burnt to death or killed or tortured by her in-laws and husband for not providing enough gifts or money to them by her parents. Every day 50 cases of dowry related violence are reported and every 3rd minute a case of violence against women is registered in India. Apart from these several women in the tribal areas of India are killed on the pretext of practicing witchcraft. Low casts girls especially dalits in their childhood are made Devdasis to serve God in the temple and they have to leave their home and stay in the temple complex. These girls grew up in the temples and are exploited afterwards

Honour killings are widespread in India and 95 percent of victims of such killings are women. Honour killings in India are classified broadly into two segments, those undertaken by families to protect the honour of individual families and those ordered by caste panchayats to protect caste honour. History of honour killings showed that the victims were beaten to death or pushed into a corn bin. In some cases, the women were asked to get into a narrow tunnel which would be covered with a slab so that they would die of suffocation. Women who were perceived to sully family honour were either murdered or forced to commit suicide. In some cases, unprivileged and dispossessed families living in a feudal society murdered girls the moment they felt they would not be able to protect them from the evil intentions of an all-powerful local zamindar or a chieftain. Brinda Karat MP and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member said, “I had asked a question in parliament on the number of killings related to honour that had taken place so far and the reply I received from the government was that they do not recognize such a category and, therefore, there was no separate collection of such data”. There is no legal definition of the term honour killing or honour crime. As a result, the perpetrators of such crimes more often than not get away with murder, torture, assault, and violation of laws regarding atrocities committed on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. And they continue to commit them with impunity.

There is a need that Indian government should take urgent measures to create awareness through education on the need to end such social crimes against women and initiate comprehensive measures to curb honour killings, acid attacking, rape and dowry deaths etc. In India, there is no respect for women, Dalits and minorities. The government needs to realise that acid attacks and other brutal assaults on women are a manifestation of an ingrained inequality. These attacks are not just about the women they target, they are also about the society that allows such attacks, the hierarchies it has internalised and the voices of protest it has silenced.

RAW’s Dangerous Plan of WMDs

By Sajjad Shaukat

Since 9/11 tragedy, western high officials and their media have been propagating in the world that Pakistan-based Islamic militants can use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) inside the US and Europe. In this context, in connivance with Israeli secret agency, Mossad, Indian secret agency, RAW intensified its propaganda campaign against Pakistan. In this regard, RAW also got the support of strong Indo-Israeli-lobbies, working in the US and Europe.

Impressed by the propaganda launched by the secret agents of RAW, in the recent past, while manipulating Taliban’s advances beyond Swat, west misperceived that Pakistan could be overtaken by the extremists who could also possess nuclear weapons. On April 21 this year, a report of the Council on Foreign Relations, an American think tank, blamed: “The geographic proximity of Pakistan’s nuclear programme to these sophisticated terrorists and the recent history of illicit transfers of material and know-how pose a unique threat.”

On the other side, Pakistan’s strong assurance about the safety of nuclear weapons, and successful military operations which flushed the Taliban out of Buner, Dir and Swat castigated the nefarious designs of RAW. Meanwhile, Indian endeavour to isolate Pakistan in the aftermath of Mumbai carnage of November 26 was also thwarted.

It was owing to the victory of military operations which broke the backbone of the Taliban militants that American and western high officials have been highly appreciating Pakistan’s forces, donating million of dollars for the IDPs. Besides other western leaders, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and US Central Command (CENTCOM) Chief Gen David Petraeus praised Pakistan’s armed forces in achieving quick success against the insurgents. 

Frustrated in isolating Islamabad, Indian RAW has made a most dangerous plan against Pakistan. Certain reports suggest that Indian RAW in connivance with Israeli Mossad has planned to use weapons of mass destructions inside the US homeland and major European countries. Particularly employment of these fatal weapons against NATO forces in Afghanistan are also part of this plan. The main aim behind is to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly using these chemical, biological and nuclear weapons through some Taliban militants.

A number of developments endorse these facts. As regards the acquisition of WMDs, some Indian army officers and RAW agents are already in cooperation with the Hindu fundamentalist organizations. In this connection, last year, arrest of a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit and a retired army Major Samir Kulkarniand along with two of the suspects, having close ties with prominent politicians of BJP, VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal indicated collaboration between Hindu extremists and army officers, covertly backed by RAW. In this respect, investigation of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra disclosed that these army officials helped train the Hindu terrorists and provided them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and including other Indian cities.

Besides, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had charged the Indian Gujarat state administration for officially supporting the massive massacre of Muslims in in 2002. Demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 is another instance of this kind. Nevertheless, in all these events RAW played a key role cladestinely.

All these developments prove that despite tight security, RAW could provide the Hindu terrorists with unconventional weapons. 

RAW might have already obtained these fatal weapons as past record of Indian proliferation show. Some months ago, death of India’s nuclear scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam raised new apprehension in this regard. He was missed from the scenario and after a couple of days; his dead body was recovered from the Kali River. Indian police concocted a story that Mahalingam had committed suicide by jumping into the river. It is a big joke to hide some real facts behind his death because wisdom proves that if an educated person decides to commit suicide, he will definitely adopt a soft way to eliminate his life. Notably, Dr. Haleema Saadia disclosed that death of the scientist is a conspiracy�as soon as his dead body was found, within no time; the police had announced that Mahalingam had committed suicide.

In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized eight Kg. of nuclear material from Arun, an engineer in Chennai including two other engineers. It was reported that the uranium was stolen from an atomic research center. On November 7, 2000, IAEA revealed that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA had remarked that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts.

On January 26, 2003, CNN pointed out that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipments entailing titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps. Indian investigators acknowledged that the company falsified customs documents to get its shipments out of India.

In 2004, when the issue of international nuclear black market came to surface, Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr. A.Q. Khan was only blamed by the US-led west for proliferation activities by neglecting the western nationals and especially those of India. While in February, same year, India’s Ambassador to Libya, Dinkar Srivastava revealed that New Delhi was investigating that retired Indian scientists could possibly be engaged in “high technology programs” for financial gains during employment in the Libyan government.

On June 12, 2004, Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation (BNC), an American company was fined US $ 300,000 for exporting a nuclear component to the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in India.

In December 2005, United States imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile goods and chemical arms material to Iran in violation of India’s commitment to prevent proliferation. In the same year, Indian scientists, Dr. Surendar and Y. S. R Prasad had been blacklisted by Washington due to their involvement in nuclear theft. In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.

Nonetheless, in collaboration with the RAW officials, smuggling of these fatal weapons has continued intermittently by the Indians.

R. Peter and D. Sagan in the book, ‘Planning the Unthinkable’ remark that unconventional weapons could serve specific objectives of terrorists for which conventional weapons are less suited.

Although these lethal poisons seem to be mysterious, yet still could be within the reach of some Hindu terrorists with the help of RAW.

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, weapons of mass disintegration and their components are easier to acquire. The fears are widespread that unemployed Russian scientists who disappeared might have provided RAW officials with expertise and material regarding these devices. RAW has also got these destructive weapons from extremist Jews and Israeli Mossad. Such chemical and radiological materials could have also been smuggled inside India by the Hindu fundamentalists with the covert backing of RAW. This agency might have already purchased the same from the global black market.

With the help of RAW, these Hindu terrorists of BJP, VHP, RSS, Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal might have overcome the obstacles in the acquisition of the weapons of mass destruction. RAW could have also arranged for them ‘dirty nuclear bombs.’

While, western public is already biased against the Muslims, especially Pakistan owing to failure of their governments against war on terror particularly in Afghanistan, Indian RAW has decided to avail this golden opportunity by obtaining weapons of mass destruction secretly, and using them in the US and Europe including their employment against the NATO forces in Afghanistan. RAW’s sole aim is to provocate Americans against Pakistan which is the only Islamic nuclear country, threatening Indian hegemony in the region. Thus Indian RAW could create a dangerous misunderstanding in which US could also use small nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and our tribal areas which it considers sanctuaries of Al Qaeda-related terrorists. And Pakistan could also be asked to rollback its atomic programme.

Now, the right hour has come that the US and other major powers must pay full attention on the activities of RAW and Hindu terrorism in respect of weapons of mass destruction, if they want to stop a vast catastrophe in the world.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations. Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

Pakistan surprised over UK demand of "do more"

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said that Pakistan is surprised over UK's demand of "do more", local media reported Monday.
    Basit said those posing statements regarding whereabouts of the Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden had better share with Pakistan the information about him if possessed.
    The spokesman said Pakistan has either killed or arrested as many as 700 members of Al-Qaeda during last seven years and none must doubt Pakistan's efforts to curb terrorism.
    "Nobody knows the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and if any one knows, he ought to inform Pakistan at government level," he concluded.
    Responding to the statement by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown demanding Pakistan to "do more" and tracking down Osama Bin Laden, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday that "On one hand, the world community including Britain praises Pakistan in its efforts on war on terror and appreciates its efforts in military operations while on the other side, they ask for more."
    "If they ask to do more, it seems an out of context thing," said Gilani, who left Islamabad on Monday for a four-day official visit to Germany and the United Kingdom.