Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dak Bangla Intelligence Scan - Digest 544 - 24JAN '05

There are 25 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. BANGLADESH: The next Islamist revolution?

From:Naeem Mohaiemen

2. INDIA: Orissa - Forced deportation to Bangladesh 19-22 JAN [5

From: Dak Bangla

3. BANGLADESH: Islamic Groups 20-22JAN [2 News Clippings]
From: Dak Bangla

4. INDIA: In the grip of Maoism

From: Dak Bangla

5. INDIA: North East Insurgency Report 22-23JAN [9 News
From: Dak Bangla North East India Monitors

6. UPI Intelligence Watch

From: Dak Bangla

7. GLOBAL JIHAD: Four Months on Planet bin Laden

From: Dak Bangla


From: Kaladan Press Network

9. Why the World Likes Kicking the U.S. Puppy

From: Dak Bangla

10. IRAQ: Interior Minister Refuses to Say Whether Terror Chief Is

in Custody
From: Dak Bangla

11. Salman Rushdie: Do we have to fight the battle for the

Enlightenment all over again?
From: Dak Bangla

12. Islamophobia myth

From: Dak Bangla

13. JIHAD - Part 2

From: Khilafah

14. Deepak Chopra tackles world peace

From: Dak Bangla

15. PAKISTAN: Balochistan - Opening another Front?

From: Dak Bangla

16. INDIA: North East Insurgency Report 23JAN [14 News Clippings]

From: Dak Bangla North East India Monitors

17. Readers Reaction : The Next Islamist Revolution

From: MBI Munshi

18. The emerging Bay of Bengal

From: Dak Bangla

19. REPORT: Heroin Production and Trafficking in Indo-Burma Border

From: Dak Bangla

20. BANGLADESH: Islamic Groups 24JAN [3 News Clippings]

From: Dak Bangla

21. INDIA: Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) 23JAN [2 News
From: Dak Bangla Intell Agency Monitors

22. PAKISTAN: Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) 23 JAN [3 News

From: Dak Bangla Intell Agency Monitors

23. Feature Article: Pipes, Polls and Paranoia

From: Dr.Habib Siddqui

24. BANGLADESH: 50 injured as Bangla Bhai's men clash with police

From: Dak Bangla

25. BANGLADESH: The wrath on Jatra: Too tendentious to overlook

From: Dak Bangla

Message: 1
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 15:03:27 -0000
From: Nameem Mohaiemen
Subject: BANGLADESH: The next Islamist revolution?

Bangladesh was supposed to be a model of democratic tolerance. But that was before militants like Bangla Bhai began their reigns of torture and
the cry went up for a new Taliban.

January 23, 2005

The Next Islamist Revolution?

Before dawn one morning this past November in Bagmara, a village in northwestern Bangladesh, six puffy-eyed men gathered beneath a cracked-mud stairwell
to describe a man they consider their leader, a former schoolteacher called Bangla Bhai. The quiet was broken now and then by donkey carts
clattering past, as village women, seated on the backs of the carts, were taken to the market. The women wore makeshift burkas -- black,white,
canary yellow -- and kept their heads down, and this, the men explained, was Bangla Bhai's doing.

Last spring, Bangla Bhai, whose followers probably number around 10,000, decided to try an Islamist revolution in several provinces of
Bangladesh that border on India. His name means ''Bangladeshi brother.'' (At one point he said his real name was Azizur Rahman and more recently
claimed it was Siddiqul Islam.) He has said that he acquired this nom de guerre while waging jihad in Afghanistan and that he was now going to
bring about the Talibanization of his part of Bangladesh. Men were to grow beards, women to wear burkas. This was all rather new to the area,
which was religiously diverse. But Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, as Bangla Bhai's group is called (the name means
Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh), was determined and violent and seemed to have enough lightly armed adherents to make its rule stick.

Because he swore his main enemy was a somewhat derelict but still dangerous group of leftist marauders known as the Purbo Banglar Communist
Party, Bangla Bhai gained the support of the local police -- until the central government, worried that Bangla Bhai's band might be getting out
of control, ordered his arrest in late May.

''There used to be chaos and confusion here,'' Siddiq-ul-Rahman, one of Bangla Bhai's senior lieutenants, said through an interpreter that
morning in Bagmara. The sun was coming up and a crowd was gathering. Siddiq-ul-Rahman boasted that police officers attend Bangla Bhai's meetings
armed and in uniform. The Bangladeshi government's arrest warrant doesn't seem to have made much difference, although for now Bangla Bhai
refrains from public appearances. The government is far away in Dhaka, and is in any case divided on precisely this question of how much Islam and
politics should mix. Meanwhile, Bangla Bhai and the type of religious violence he practices are filling the power vacuum.

Bangladeshi politics have never strayed far from violence. During the war for ndependence from Pakistan, in 1971, three million people died in nine months. Thuggery has been a consistent feature of political life since
then and is increasingly so today. This has made it difficult to get an accurate picture of phenomena like Bangla Bhai. Under the current
government, which has been in power since 2001 and includes two avowedlyIslamist parties, journalists are frequently imprisoned. Last year, three were killed while reporting on corruption and the rise of militant
Islam. Moreover, 80 percent of Bangladeshis live in villages that can be hard to reach and are under
the tight control of local politicians. Foreign journalists in Bangladesh are followed by intelligence agents; people that reporters interview
are questioned afterward.

Nonetheless, it is possible to travel through Bangladesh and observe the increased political and religious repression in everyday life, and to
verify the simple remark by one journalist there: ''We are losing our freedom.'' The global war on terror is aimed at making the rise of
regimes like that of the Taliban impossible, but in Bangladesh, the trend could be going the other way.

In Bangladesh, ''Islam is becoming the legitimizing political discourse,'' according to C. Christine Fair, a South Asia specialist at the
United States Institute of Peace, a nonpartisan, federally financed policy group in Washington. ''Once you don that religious mantle, who can
criticize you? We see this in Pakistan as well, where very few people are brave enough to take the Islamists on. Now this is happening in
Bangladesh.'' The region, Fair added, has become a haven where jihadis can move easily and have access to a
friendly infrastructure that allows them to regroup and train.

Another close observer of Bangladeshi politics, Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights watch, told me recently: ''The practical effect of politics
along religious lines is that you start to accept a religious identity and reject every other. It's absolutely crucial to understand that this
is happening in Bangladesh right now.'' This was not supposed to be the fate of Bangladesh, which fought its
way to independence 34 years ago. While its population of 141 million is 83 percent Muslim, the nation was founded on the principle of secularism,
which in Bangladesh essentially means religious tolerance. After the guiding figure of independence, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was assassinated in
1975, military leaders, seeking legitimacy, allowed a return of Islam to politics. With the return of fair elections in 1991, power became
precariously divided among four parties: the right-leaning Bangladesh National Party (B.N.P.), the mildly leftist
Awami League, the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami and the conservative Jatiya. The two leading parties are led by women: the B.N.P. by the current
prime minister, Khaleda Zia, widow of the party's murdered founder; the Awami League by Zia's predecessor as prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed,
herself the daughter of the assassinated founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Zia and Sheikh Hasina, as she is known, have a legendary antipathy toward each other. Each of their parties regularly accuses the other of
illegal acts. When Sheikh Hasina very narrowly escaped assassination last August, B.N.P. activists all but accused her of staging the attack in
order to acquire political advantage. Zia's government has been unable to identify the assassins -- who lobbed grenades into a party rally,
killing at least 20 and wounding hundreds -- and Sheikh Hasina has refused even to discuss the investigation with the prime minister, saying:
''With whom should I meet? With the killers?''

The political breach between those two parties is being filled primarily by Jamaat-e-Islami, which agitated against independence in 1971 and
remains close to Pakistan. The group was banned after independence for its role in the war but has slowly worked its way back to political
legitimacy. The party itself has not changed much -- it was always socially conservative and unafraid of violence. The political context, however,
has changed enough to give it greater power. Since 2001, Jamaat-e-Islami has been a crucial part of a governing coalition dominated by the
B.N.P. The two parties have ties dating to the late 1970's, but it is only since 2001 that a politically aggressive form of Islam has found, for
the first time since independence, a strong place at the top of Bangladeshi politics.

It has found a corresponding position at the bottom of Bangladeshi politics as well, in the social scrum that produces figures like Bangla
Bhai. (Opposition politicians have linked Bangla Bhai to Jamaat-e-Islami, a tie that Jamaat and Bangla Bhai have both denied.) The border
provinces have, since independence, harbored a proliferation of armed groups that either Bangladesh, India, Myanmar or Pakistan, or some region or
faction in one of those countries, has been willing to support for its own political reasons. By the early 1990's
Islamist groups began appearing, mainly at the periphery of the jihad centered on Afghanistan. The most important of these has been the
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji), which has been associated with Fazlul Rahman, who signed Osama bin Laden's famous declaration in 1998 endorsing
international, coordinated jihad -- the document that introduced Al Qaeda to the larger world. But Bangla Bhai's group and others have since
emerged and are making their bids for power.

''Bangladesh is becoming increasingly important to groups like Al Qaeda because it's been off everyone's radar screen,'' says Zachary Abuza,
the author of ''Militant Islam in Southeast Asia'' and a professor of political science at Simmons College in Boston. ''Al Qaeda is going to
have to figure out where they can regroup, where they have the physical capability to assemble and train, and Bangladesh is one of these key

Six years ago, Huji chose its first prominent target: Shamsur Rahman, who is Bangladesh's leading poet. Recently, at his home in Dhaka, Rahman
began telling me the story of the attack as he pulled a sheaf of papers from a pigeonhole in his writing desk, on which sat a bottle of
black-currant soda and a copy of Dante's ''Inferno.'' Above the desk hung an ink sketch of the Nobel Prize-winning Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore,
as well as a yellowing photograph of Rahman's father.

Rahman, who is 75, is birdlike and wears his hair in a fluffy white pageboy. Most of his poems are love poems, but some address the rise of
militant Islam in his country. ''I am not against religion,'' he said, smiling wryly. ''I am against fanaticism.'' He reached for his mug of hot
water. It was the holy month of Ramadan, and Rahman's family had just broken the day's fast.

Downstairs, four policemen were eating a meal prepared by Rahman's daughter-in-law Tia. Rahman has lived under police protection since Jan.
18, 1999, when three young men appeared at his house and asked for a poem. Tia refused to let them in. The poet was resting, she said. But the
men begged for just a minute of his time, so Tia obliged. Immediately one of the men ran upstairs and tried to chop Rahman's neck with an ax.
''He tried to cut my head off, but my wife took me in her arms and my daughter-in-law too,'' Rahman recounted. The two women fended off the
blows until the neighbors, hearing their screams, rushed into the house and caught the attackers.

Rahman gestured toward the women standing in the doorway. Tia looked exhausted. The hair around her face was damp from cooking. Rahman's wife,
Zahora, not more than four feet tall, held her diminutive hands in front of her and smiled. (She understands English but cannot speak it.)
Rahman pointed out the shiny scar on her arm. Zahora patted her husband and took his empty mug to the kitchen. ''They wanted my head, not a
poem,'' he said.

The attack led to the arrest of 44 members of Huji. Two men, a Pakistani and a South African, claimed they had been sent to Bangladesh by
Osama bin Laden with more than $300,000, which they distributed among 421 madrassas, or private religious schools. According to Gowher Rizvi,
director of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard and a lecturer in public policy, bin Laden's reputed donation is
''a pittance'' compared with the millions that Saudi charities have contributed to many of Bangladesh's estimated 64,000 madrassas, most of
which serve only a single village or two. Money of this kind is especially important because Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the
world. Out of 177 countries on the United Nations' Human Development Index, Bangladesh is ranked 138, just above Sudan. The recent tsunami
that devastated its neighbors hardly touched it -- a rare bit of good luck for the country, as most catastrophes seem somehow to claim their
victims in Bangladesh.

In Bangla Bhai's patch of northwestern Bangladesh, poverty is so pervasive that, for many children in the region, privately subsidized
madrassas are the only educational option. For the past several years especially, money from Persian Gulf states has strengthened them even more.
Most follow a form of the Deobandi Islam taught in the 1950's by the intellectual and activist Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, who was born in India in
1903 and defined Muslim politics in opposition to Indian nationalism. While Maududi's original agenda was reformist, the Deobandi model is now
better known from the madrassas of Pakistan, where it gave rise to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Whether Maududi intended it or not, his
teachings have become synonymous with radical Islam.

In November, in a shop in the Bagmara bazaar not far from where Bangla Bhai used to hold his meetings, two young men sat waiting to tell their
stories about the cruelty and repression of Bangla Bhai's movement. Everyone here wanted to talk about this, they said, but were afraid of the
consequences. Several days earlier, Bangla Bhai's cadres had beaten a university student caught smoking cigarettes, another banned act.

''We weren't allowed to sell these,'' said one of the men, a 20-year-old shopkeeper, holding up a pack of Player's Gold Leaf he kept on a low

His friend, a thickset man in a white kurta -- a long-sleeved shirt extending below the waist -- sat on a carton next to the counter, with a
blue mobile phone in his hand. He played with the phone distractedly as he described the announcements Bangla Bhai's men had made, beginning
last summer, over the loudspeaker, demanding that people come watch public punishments. He told me that over the past months he himself had seen
more than 50 men hanged upside down by their feet from bamboo scaffolding and beaten with hammers, iron rods and the field-hockey sticks that
are commonly used in Bangladesh as weapons. He winced for a second recalling these tortures, and then his fleshy face lost all expression.

''In this place people live in fear,'' the shopkeeper said. ''They still punish people. If anyone is not keeping Ramadan, even if it's a sick
man and he's eating in a restaurant, they treat them badly.''

The thickset man scanned the street over his shoulder and added, shaking his head, ''They wanted the regime of the Taliban here.''

Taskforce against Torture, a Bangladeshi human rights organization founded three years ago, has recorded more than 500 cases of people being
intimidated and tortured by Bangla Bhai and his men. One of them is Abdul Quddus Rajon, a postmaster from Shafiqpur, a village near Bagmara. He
is 42 and comes from a wealthy family of moderate Muslims. Rajon was abducted early last May when two men in green headbands showed up at the
post office on a motorbike. They forced him onto the bike and demanded his brother's phone number. Abdul Kayyam Badshah, Rajon's brother and
the leader of a banned Communist Party, was wanted by the government and being pursued by Bangla Bhai's men. Rajon refused to give them the
number, so they took his mobile phone and drove him to one of Bangla Bhai's camps.

Rajon told me when I met him that he was held with 15 other men in two rooms. ''For four days they tortured me,'' he recounted. Every morning,
his captors, who Rajon said were not more than teenagers, took him to a cell and beat him.

Bangla Bhai's men demanded 100,000 taka for his release, about $1,600. Rajon eventually agreed to pay. Before his release, he said, his
captors tried to intimidate him into becoming more observant. ''They took me in front of a mosque and told me to promise I would keep my beard and
pray five times a day, and to never tell anything about Bangla Bhai's camp,'' he said. ''They wore beards and long kurtas like religious men,
but that was the only way in which they were religious.'' He pulled up the cuffs of his khakis to reveal deep black gashes in his shins.

''Eleven days later,'' he said, ''they caught my brother.'' At noon on May 19, Rajon was awakened by a loudspeaker. Bangla Bhai's men were
announcing that his brother's trial would start the next day and he would be sentenced to death. ''I tried to contact the state minister and the
superintendent of police by telephone,'' Rajon said. ''Because if Badshah was accused, he should be tried according to the laws of the land.
But they wouldn't talk to me.'' (According to The Daily Star, Bangladesh's leading English-language newspaper, the local government has been
accused of colluding with Bangla Bhai.)

The next morning, Badshah was found hanged by his feet from a tree near a police station. He had been beaten to death. Rajon first heard about it
through whispering in the village. ''A policeman was wandering around asking people if they were glad my brother was dead,'' he said. In the village
and the surrounding districts, Bangla Bhai's spate of killings and torture continued for another month. One man was dismembered. Another,
according to local journalists and villagers who told me they heard him, had a microphone held to his mouth while he was tortured so that the
entire village could listen to his screams.

Communists are just one target of Islamic militants in Bangladesh. Most attacks have been carried out against either members of religious
minorities -- Hindus, Christians and Buddhists -- or moderate Muslims considered out of step with the doctrines espoused at the militant madrassas.
International groups like Human Rights Watch cannot gather information freely enough to be certain of the scope of the problem. Yet anecdotal
evidence is abundant. In Bangladesh, as part of the militant Islamists' agenda, religious minorities are coming under a new wave of attacks.
One of the most vulnerable communities is that of the Ahmadiyya, a sect of some 100,000 Muslims who believe that Muhammad was not the last
prophet. (The Ahmadiyya are the subject of a Human Rights Watch report to be published next month.) In Pakistan, the Ahmadiyya have been declared
infidels and many have been killed. In Bangladesh, religious hardliners have burned mosques and books and pressured the government to declare
the sect non-Muslim. Last year, the government agreed to ban Ahmadiyya literature; earlier this
month, however, Bangladesh's high court stayed the ban pending further consideration by the court.

But those who oppose the Ahmadiyya are not giving up. At a recent rally in Dhaka, 10,000 protesters gathered outside an Ahmadiyya mosque as one
Islamic leader intoned from a parade float, ''Bangladesh's Muslims cast their vote to elect the current government, and the current government
is not paying any heed.'' Police officers in riot gear tightened their formation protecting the mosque. ''Beware, we will throw you out of
office if you do not meet our demands,'' he said. ''No one will be able to stop the forward march of the
soldiers of Islam in Bangladesh.''

The Ahmadiyya are hardly the only group at risk. ''For the Hindus, the last couple of years have been disastrous,'' says Ali Dayan Hasan of
Human Rights Watch. ''There are substantial elements within the society and government itself that are advancing the idea that Hindus need to be
expelled.'' On the ground, attacks against Hindus include beatings and rapes.

''Minority communities in the country are feeling less safe,'' said Govind Acharya, Amnesty International's country specialist for Bangladesh.
''The Hindus, the Ahmadiyya and the tribals in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are all leaving. This demographic shift is the most problematic for
the identity and the future of the country.''

The permissiveness of at least some within the Bangladeshi government and the police in allowing violent groups like Bangla Bhai's to pursue
their agendas has only increased the political legitimacy of such groups. Mohammad Selimullah, the leader of a militant Islamist group based
across Bangladesh's eastern border in Myanmar, was arrested in Chittagong early in 2001, and he admitted in court that more than 500 jihadis had
been training under him in Bangladesh. On his computer, intelligence sources found photographs to be sent to donors showing Islamic soldiers
at rest and at attention, armed with AK-47's and wearing shiny new boots. Selimullah said that his group received
weapons from supporters in Libya and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Last spring in Chittagong, 10 truckloads of weapons -- the largest arms seizure in Bangladesh's history -- were captured by the police as they
were being unloaded from trawlers. The tip-off most likely came from Indian intelligence, which monitors the arms being sent to Islamist
separatist groups in India's northeast. Haroon Habib, a leading journalist in the region, has written that a leader of the government's local
Islamist coalition was helping to hide the weapons.

Several months later, under increased pressure from the European Union and the United States to crack down on terror, Bangladeshi security
forces raided two camps in the Ukhia area belonging to Huji. Local journalists say that both camps, which were not far from Chittagong, have now
been destroyed, but no one can get close enough to be sure. What is certain is that the attack didn't drive the militants out of the region.
Four months ago, five more members of Huji were arrested in Chittagong.

In this environment, Bangladesh's radical leaders have ratcheted up their ambitions. Responding to the American invasion of Afghanistan,
supporters of the Islamic Oikya Jote (I.O.J.), the most radical party in the governing coalition and a junior partner to the Jamaat-e-Islami,
chanted in the streets of Chittagong and Dhaka, ''Amra sobai hobo Taliban, Bangla hobe Afghanistan,'' which roughly translates to ''We will be the
Taliban, and Bangladesh will be Afghanistan.''

The I.O.J. is considered a legitimate voice within Bangladeshi politics. The I.O.J.'s chairman, Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini, who has served as a
member of Parliament for the past three years, says he believes that secular law has failed Bangladesh and that it's time to implement Sharia,
the legal code of Islam. During our two hourlong meetings, the mufti -- a welcoming and relatively open man with a salt-and-pepper beard and
teeth dyed red from chewing betel -- asked if he could take photographs and pass them along to the local press to show his constituents that he
is so powerful the Western press now comes to him.

The mufti presides over his father-in-law's mosque and madrassa, Jamiat-Qurania-Arabia, in Dhaka, where the traffic caused by 600,000 bicycle
rickshaws, more than in any other city in the world, is so intense that it can take hours to travel fewer than 10 miles from Louis Kahn's ethereal
Parliament -- a relic of a more hopeful period in Bangladesh's democracy -- to the warren of lanes in the old part of town where the mufti is
based. At the mosque, he almost overfills the armchair in which he stations himself. He admits that as an Islamic state, Bangladesh still has far
to go.

''As we are Muslim, naturally we want Bangladesh to be an Islamic state and under Islamic law,'' the mufti said. Amini is the author of books
in Arabic, Bangla and Urdu. (He learned Urdu while completing graduate work in a madrassa in Karachi, Pakistan.) He recently completed a
multivolume set of laws and edicts, or fatwas. The mufti is renowned for his fatwas, which, he said, he issues almost every day when people come to
him with questions about the application of religious law. The mufti has also issued fatwas against
the secular press when they investigate the rise of militant Islam in Bangladesh. When he advocates punishment for those who offend Islam, he
said, he does not intend to preach violence. The young men of Huji who attacked the poet Shamsur Rahman were studying in one of his madrassas
in Chittagong.

The mufti said that the only reason he is not a government minister is that the current regime snubbed him out of fear as to how his
appointment would look. The West would see both him and Bangladesh as too extremist. The mufti has been named in Indian intelligence documents as a
member of the central committee of Huji (itself linked to Al Qaeda), an association he would, of course, deny. He is also rumored to have close
friends among the Afghan Taliban, which he denies, while adding that it's better not to discuss the Afghan Taliban, as they are so frequently
misunderstood. Besides, he says as the corner of his mouth twitches into a smile, the Taliban are running all over his madrassa, as the word
''talib'' means only student.

Outside his office, the sound of boys' voices reciting the Koran rises and falls. Fifteen hundred students study at the madrassa, and the
mufti's party, the I.O.J., sponsors madrassas all over the nation; how many, he claimed not to know. Financing, the mufti said, comes mostly from
Bangladesh itself, but some money also arrives from friends throughout the Arab world.

Of all his political influence, the mufti is most proud of his fatwas, which, he said, give him a means to speak out against those who violate
Islam. ''Whoever speaks against Islam, I issue a fatwa against them to the government,'' he said. ''But the government says nothing.'' He
shook his head, frustrated. That's next on his agenda: to pressure the government to recognize his religious injunctions. ''It's possible,'' he
said, ''now more than ever.''

Eliza Griswold is a writer based in New York.

Message: 2
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 11:24:46 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: INDIA: Orissa - Forced deportation to Bangladesh 19-22 JAN [5


01. BJP too demands stay on deportation of Bangladeshis:

Bhubaneswar, Jan 22 : With its Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally
demanding a stay on the deportation order served on hundreds of
illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Orissa, the ruling Biju Janata Dal
government is in a tight spot.

The BJP says the district administration concerned has served
deportation notices to many Hindus and has demanded a review.

The state home department last week ordered the district
administration of coastal Kendrapada, 93 km from here, to deport
1,550-odd identified Bangladeshi immigrants for staying illegally in
the state.

Over 800 of them have been served with notices to quit and the rest
are to be served with the notices soon.

"We feel there are mistakes in the identification process," state BJP
president Jual Oram told IANS.

"There is a difference between Bangladeshi infiltrators and refugees.
The administration has served notices on most of the refugees who are
Hindu. We don't want refugees to get deported," he said.

"We want an immediate stay on the move and a fresh review." He said
the state BJP had sent a team to the region. "They will return soon
and submit a report on this," he said.

The BJP is a coalition partner of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's

The state government had identified about 3,000 "infiltrators", a
majority of them Hindus, in different districts of the state a couple
of years ago. Twenty-one of them were arrested from the southern
district of Nabrangpur in 2002.

Bangladeshi nationals living in Orissa were divided into three
categories as per the central government's orders.

Those who came to the state before March 25, 1971, would not be
disturbed. The people who came between March 25, 1971, and Dec 16,
1971, have been served with notices.

Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, declared its independence on
March 26, 1971. Millions of refugees had fled across the border to
India in the eight months of turmoil that followed. It culminated in
the December 1971 India-Pakistan war following which Bangladesh
became an independent nation.

The Orissa government had asked permission from the central
government for deporting the identified Bangladeshis, a state home
department official said.

"We have ordered their deportation on the central government's
directives," he said. The state government had earlier deported 103
"infiltrators" between 1973 and 1993, he said.

Interestingly, the opposition Congress party and the right-wing
Bajrang Dal have also opposed the deportation move saying the process
of identification was "wrong".

"There are an estimated 15,000 Bengali-speaking voters in nine gram
panchayats (village councils) in Kendrapada and the district
administration has described them as infiltrators," local legislator
and senior Congress leader Nalinikanta Mohanty said.

"If the state does not stop this move we will launch an agitation,"
he said.



02. India, Kalam uncle, please save us from dying in Bangladesh,
plead school kids

School children, asked to quit the country by the government on the
ground that they were Bangladeshis, on Saturday made a fervent appeal
to President A P J Abdul Kalam to intervene and save them from
imminent deportation.

The children, who are students in government-run primary schools in
the Mahakalapada block of Kendrapara district, launched a postcard
campaign urging the president to stop the move to throw them out of
the country.

Addressing the President as 'Kalam uncle', they said they were born
and brought up in India, which was their own country, former Ramnagar
sarpanch, Bijay Shukla said.

''We are small children from Mahakalapada block of Orissa's
Kendrapara district. The government says we are Bangladeshis. It
wants to send us to Bangladesh. We are Indians. We know that you love
children. Please have mercy. Save us from dying in Bangladesh'', they
pleaded in the postcards.

The children have virtually stopped going to schools after being
served the 'Quit India' notices during the last few days.

In a related development, the local people including those served
with the quit notices have also sent a petition to UPA chairperson
Sonia Gandhi seeking her intervention in the matter.

Meanwhile, the notice service exercise entered the eighth day on
Saturday with police and revenue officials having already given the
documents to over 1100 persons including women and children asking
them to leave the country within 30 days.



03. 'Quit India' notice to these proud 'Indians'

KENDRAPARA: ''Amra bharater shantan. Amra jabona'' (we are all
Indians. We'll not leave). This is the common refrain being heard in
the villages under Mahakalapada block of the coastal Kendrapara
district these days.

With 'quit India' notices served on nearly 700 of the 1,551
identified 'Bangladeshi infiltrators' till Wednesday, confusion
reigns supreme in the area with the people, asked to leave the
country being at a loss, wondering as to what lay in store for them.

They are supposed to quit the country within 30 days of the serving
of the notice. Unless they quit on their own, they would be arrested
under the provisions of the Foreigners' Act, 1946 and handed over to
the BSF for deportation on the Indo-Bangladesh border, revenue
officials said.

''Why are they asking us to go? Where'll we go? This has been our
home for all these years,'' said an old sobbing woman who has been
served the notice in Ramnagar village.

The area that was the scene of hectic fishing and cashew nut
cultivation has been reeling under the shock of the sudden
development with normal life affected. People are found gathered at
different spots discussing the situation and what to do next.

A visiting scribe was mobbed by about a dozen persons at Bahakuda
hamlet pleading that their plight be published in the newspapers
which might save them from deportation.

The jeep of the a revenue official, who came to the village, was also
surrounded by the group. Visibly moved by the tears of the
frail-looking men, he muttered, ''I'll convey your feelings to the
collector saheb'' before driving off.

Many of the identified 'infiltrators' have produced documents of some
form or other to the effect that they had settled in the area prior
to the cut-off date of December 16, 1971, the day East Pakistan was
liberated and re-christened as Bangladesh, fixed by the government.

''I was born and brought up here. My father Upen Baidya had migrated
from the Shyamnagar village of Khulna district in the erstwhile East
Pakistan to the uninhabited Bahakuda in 1953,'' said Ashutosh Baidya.

''As his other family members were killed in the post- partition
disturbances, my father remarried here. I was born in 1960 on Indian
soil and I am proud to be an Indian,'' he said.

The local people are also disturbed over the development as they have
formed a Utkal-Bangiya Surakhya Samiti to lend moral support to their
neighbours facing the quit notice.

Some of the villagers are angry alleging that there had been
'unmistakable' clerical errors in the preparation of the list as
people rehabilitated under the refugee rehabilitation scheme were
also being asked to leave.



04. Confusion among villagers identified as infiltrators

Kendrapara (Orissa), Jan 20 : With 'quit india' notices served on
nearly 700 of the 1,551 identified "Bangladeshi infiltrators" in this
coastal district, confusion reigned supreme as the people asked to
leave the country being at loss, wondering as to what lay in store
for them.

"Amra bharater shantan. Amra jabona" (We are all Indians. We'll not
leave). This is the common refrain being heard in the villages under
Mahakalapada block of the district.

They are supposed to quit the country within 30 days of the serving
of the notice. Unless they quit on their own, they would be arrested
under the provisions of the Foreigners' Act, 1946 and handed over to
the BSF for deportation on the Indo- Bangladesh border, revenue
officials said.

"Why are they asking us to go? Where'll we go? This has been our home
for all these years," said an old sobbing woman who has been served
the notice in Ramnagar village.

The area that was the scene of hectic fishing and cashew cultivation
has been reeling under the shock of the sudden development which
affected normal life. People gathered at different spots discussing
the situation and what to do next. PTI



05. Quit India notice separates wife from her husband

UNI Kendrapada, Orissa Jan 19: The fate of a refugee woman is hanging
in balance as she is the only member from her family to be served
quit India notice by the Orissa government.

Ms Karuna Chakroborty, a resident of coastal Ramanagar hamlet under
Mahakalpada block in Kendrapara district, is worried now as she will
be deported to Bangladesh leaving her family in Orissa after a month.

Ms Karuna has stopped taking meals ever since she has been served
with the notice by the district authority for illegally staying in
Orissa without any valid document.

Her parents came to Orissa in 1956 and settled in Ramanagar village
in the district. Later, she got married to one Mr Sibananda
Chakrovorty of the same village. Ms Karuna?s family has been enrolled
as a registered refugee settled in the village. Her father has also a
valid refugee registration card and voter identity card to prove that
they are legitimate residents living in India.

Local sarpanch, Mr Mrutunjaya Mandal said that if Ms Karuna is
treated as an immigrant and served with the quit India notice then
what would be the fate of her spouse and other family members.

Ms Karuna?s husband puts the blame on the faulty enumeration drive
conducted jointly by the revenue and police officials a couple of
years ago, which would cause his wife to be separated from her family
and deported to Bangladesh.

He is contemplating moving Orissa High Court against the quit India
notice served to Ms Karuna.

Similarly, Mr Asuthosh Mandal, an inhabitant of Kharanashi village,
is now in a state of panic after receiving the quit India notice and
totally confused as to what to do with his family members, who have
been asked to leave the village voluntarily within 30 days from the
day of receiving the notice.

The 70-year-old man alleged that the state government has served quit
India notices to his family despite the fact that he has holding all
valid documents to prove his legitimacy to live in Orissa.

Such is the fate of more than 30 people in the coastal villages of
Mahakalpada, who had been served with quit India notice. All of them
claim that they were from the districts of West Bengal and could not
be termed as infiltrators from Bangladesh.


Message: 3
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 12:09:05 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: BANGLADESH: Islamic Groups 20-22JAN [2 News Clippings]


01. Experts alarmed by extremist tilt in BangladeshAdd to Clippings

KOLKATA: Those with any concern for democracy should be alarmed by
the condition in Bangladesh. For the country which once fought
famously to preserve its language is fast turning into a hub of
fundamentalist, Islamic groups in South Asia.

India has a major role to play in helping democratic institutions
flourish in Bangladesh. This was the clear message from authors and
academics from the beleaguered state at a seminar in Kolkata on
Saturday. The conference on "Civil society, human rights and
minorities in Bangladesh" was organised by Campaign Against
Atrocities on Minorities in Bangladesh in association with Bangladesh
Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.

According to noted Bangladeshi author Salam Azad, there is an effort
at Talibanizing Bangladesh. "Given Bangladesh's social organisation,
it would be easy to do so. A close associate of Osama bin Laden had
recently been to Cox's Bazar, where there are hundreds of
fundamentalist camps."

Azad clearly stated that the democratic sections in the Bangladeshi
society which safeguarded Bengali nationalism were now in peril and
fundamentalist organisations were emerging as a major political



02. Bangladesh now has 31 Islamic militant groups: rights group:

Kolkata, Jan 20 : A Bangladeshi human rights group today claimed
that 31 Islamic militant outfits were operating in the country now,
targetting non-Muslims and seeking to establish a "greater Islamic
nation" including parts of some adjacent Indian states.

"As per our findings, 31 Islamic militant groups are now operating in
Bangladesh. They are mainly targetting non-Muslim people. They also
want to set up a greater Islamic nation with parts of some adjacent
states of India," Rosalyn Costa, who heads the rights group 'Hotline
Bangladesh', said here.

Costa was speaking at a press conference to announce a two-day
international conference on 'Civil Society, Human Rights and
Minorities in Bangladesh' being organised Campaign Against Atrocities
on Minorities in Bangladesh (CAAMB) and the Bangladesh
Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) from January 22.

The conference is to be addressed, among others, by controversial
Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

Describing Bangladesh as a 'cocoon of terrorism and violence,' she
said that over the past three years, a large number of ammunition,
including grenades, had been smuggled into the country and 'freely'
used against minorities.

"A section of Islamic seminaries known as qaumi madrasas have become
the breeding ground of Islamic terrorism. They are intolerant of
democratic and progressive views," Costa said, adding that the murder
of liberal Bangladeshi litterateur Humayun Azad and the attack on
writer-film maker Shahriyar Kabir were cases to be noted. PTI

Blaming the politically conscious sections in Kolkata and Bengal of
being blind to the threat posed by fundamentalists in Bangladesh,
Azad said that in a fortnight after the October 2001 election in
Bangladesh, 1.5 million Hindus had fled to Bengal and Tripura.

Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party should not be treated
in the same footing because minorities had been more secure under
Awami League rule, he said. A u t h o r Taslima Nasrin likened the
atrocities on religious minorities in Bangladesh to the genocide in

She read out three of her poems, condemning rapes of Hindu women in
Bangladesh, attacks on Muslims in Gujarat and seeking religious
tolerance. Dwikhondito in Kolkata. Former vice-chancellor of Calcutta
University, Santosh Bhattacharya and writer Shib Narayan Roy
advocated a proper policy on India's intervention in helping
democratic institutions flourish in Bangladesh.

Former Asiatic Society president Amalendu Dey said that the secular
fabric in India would be in danger if illegal migration from
Bangladesh continued.


Message: 4
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 11:44:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: INDIA: In the grip of Maoism


In the grip of Maoism
By Sultan Shahin

NEW DELHI - The Communist Party of India (CPI Maoist) and Janashakti,
the two main Maoist groups in the south Indian state of Andhra
Pradesh on Wednesday pulled out from the three-month-old peace talks
initiated by the state government, with the consent of the central
government. The blame game has since ensued, with both the state
government and the Maoists refusing to claim responsibility for the

A joint statement issued by leaders of the two Maoist outfits said
the decision to pull out was in protest against the intensified
combing operations by "Greyhounds", the elite force of the police,
and the "encounter killings taking place on a daily basis".
Denouncing the Congress Party-led coalition government's policies as
anti-people, they issued a call to the people to wage a war for a new
democratic society.

The strongly-worded statement came barely two hours after a cabinet
meeting chaired by chief minister Rajashekhara Reddy resolved to go
in for the second round of talks with Maoist leaders and initiate
other conciliatory measures, such as slowing down the combing
operations and asking the police to observe restraint.

Within hours of the announcement, however, state Home Minister K Jana
Reddy appealed to the Naxalites - as Maoists are called in India, as
the present phase of Maoist rebellion had started in a village called
Naxalbari in West Bengal in 1967 - to reconsider their decision, as
the government, he said, remained committed to continuing the peace
talks. Talking to reporters, he urged them to view the recent police
encounters as "unfortunate incidents". He assured them that there
would neither be combing operations nor any repression. Asserting
that the police had been instructed to avoid excesses, he said the
Maoists should also see that there was no loss of life or destruction
of property. They should also desist from carrying weapons while
visiting villages. The minister assured them that he would consult
political leaders and mediators in the talks to create a congenial
atmosphere for holding the next round. He asked both sides to observe
restraint as this process would take about a fortnight.

The Maoist statement was signed by top rebel leaders, the CPI
(Maoist) State Committee secretary, Ramakrishna, the North Telangana
Special Zonal Committee secretary, Jampanna, the Andhra-Orissa Border
Special Zonal Committee secretary, Sudhakar, the Janashakti State
secretary, Amar, and senior leader, Riyaz. Four of these leaders had
participated in the first round of peace talks held between October
15 and 18, 2004. They said they accepted the government's formal
invitation for talks for finding a solution to problems facing the
state, like restoration of democratic rights, land distribution, the
World Bank's diktats and a separate Telangana state to be carved out
of Andhra Pradesh. "But," they said, "the government did not conduct
itself with responsibility during the talks." These developments,
they said, proved that the ruling classes would not resolve people's
issues through talks. They accused the government of trying to
suppress the Maoist parties in the name of negotiations.

These developments came after three consecutive days of encounter
killings by police and reprisals by Maoists resulting in the death of
10 persons, including nine extremists and a village chief. Maoists
burnt a bus and destroyed two liquor shops in Guntur district. A
strike called by Janashakti evoked only partial response in several
districts; though, it was quite successful in Warangal. Once again,
with the Maoists vowing to avenge the killing of its cadre by the
police in alleged encounters, the police department is moving a
proposal to provide bullet-proof cars to the ministers from
Telangana. The previous Chandrababu Naidu regime, too, had provided
such facilities, though the chief minister himself had barely
survived an assassination attempt. As many as 50 bullet proof
vehicles had been bought to provide security to the ministers.

In another quick response, the central government is backing the
formation of state-level task forces that would be required to
coordinate operations "on both sides of the border", as a top Home
Ministry official put it on Wednesday, to curb the spread of Maoism.
The Maoist threat is widespread in nine states and growing in at
least six more states. The most affected are Bihar - the eastern
state bordering Nepal - Orissa, West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Madhya
Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and now Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. "These
joint forces will be set up very soon," an official told reporters of
the outcome of the second meeting of the special task force on Maoism
held in Raipur on Tuesday. The center would foot the bill of kitting,
training and modernizing the special police force meant to fight the
Maoists for three years.

In another desperate move, New Delhi on Tuesday announced it is
increasing paramilitary forces recruitment from 10% to 40% in
militancy-hit and border areas. The cabinet committee on security,
which met in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, cleared the proposal to streamline recruitment into
paramilitary forces in the special states. Speaking to reporters
after the meeting, Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that
recruitment in the special states will depend on the population. He
said that the states have been asked to prepare an action plan to
fight the Naxalites.

There is predictable gloating in the hardline-strategist circles at
the failure of these talks, as they can again say "we told you so".
Similar reactions had greeted the failure of talks initiated by the
previous government. But whenever meetings of the Home Ministry's
parliamentary committee are held, reports Kuldip Nayar, veteran
journalist and former member of parliament and former high
commissioner to London, the only solution suggested is to have "a
serious dialogue". "Even when there are talks - as those that took
place in Andhra a month ago," Nayar wrote recently, "the police
dictate the rules. There is no generosity, not even an attitude of
give-and-take. The Naxalites are treated as criminals, not rebels.
The government tends to end peace talks abruptly because it believes
that it can suppress such movements by force." Nayer thinks that the
Maoists have come to symbolize hope, however fleeting and however

The establishment attitude is symbolized by M K Narayanan, the
present officiating national security adviser and a special adviser
to the prime minister on internal security. He is a former director
of India's intelligence bureau famous in intelligence circles for
having been a brilliant officer.

Before rejoining the government, Narayanan wrote an article entitled
"How to contain the extreme left". His concluding remarks would show
the pious emptiness at the heart of the government: "With
'Bonapartism' riding roughshod over 'revolutionary' communism, talk
of peaceful conflict resolution has its limitations. The frustrating
experience of the aborted talks [2000-2002] between the Andhra
Pradesh authorities and the Peoples War [or PW, with the Committee of
Concerned Citizens acting as the mid-wife] - confirms this
hypothesis. Moreover, revolutionary movements that do not believe in
democracy, or so-called 'liberating movements' that do not endorse
democratic and civil society norms, are unlikely to accept an
agreement within a constitutional framework. Meanwhile, the fact that
the PW is currently engaged in eliminating some of its erstwhile
leaders, accusing them of having betrayed the struggle, does not
provide much comfort about the future of peaceful negotiations."

While accepting that "more than law and order issues are, hence,
clearly involved", Narayanan is unable to come up with any clear
strategy, except suggesting that human-rights groups should stop
highlighting police brutalities. He goes on: "What is needed is a
common strategy to deal with left wing extremism. As attacks on the
state apparatus multiply, they could further damage the foundations
of the democratic political system. A weakened state cannot possibly
deal with this kind of challenge, and this is precisely what constant
criticism and carping by human-rights watch groups tends to do. It is
not merely a question of demoralizing those engaged in countering
extremist violence, but of undermining the edifice itself."

Independent observers find it difficult to understand how the Maoist
problem would go away even if "constant criticism and carping by
human-rights groups" were to cease. What is apparently required is an
attempt to understand what makes the Maoists tick and formulate
strategies accordingly. After all, they are running parallel
governments in large parts of rural India. Nothing can happen in
rural and small town Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra
Pradesh and parts of other states without Maoist permission.

One example would suffice. The political strongman of Bihar, union
railway minister and head of the ruling party in the second largest
state in the country, Lalu Prasad Yadav, was not able to hold a rally
in the state capital Patna recently, because, angered by his decision
not to allow a Maoist rally, the latter did not permit him to
organize a rally either. His party has been winning elections in
Bihar for four consecutive terms only because he is able to make a
deal with the Maoists before every election. If he fails to do so
this time, there is no way he can win the forthcoming state elections
in a few weeks from now. The same was true of Andhra Pradesh in last
year's elections: the Congress-led coalition won because the Maoists
decided not to enforce the election boycott they routinely pronounce
in the areas where people were going to vote for the Congress and its

The Maoist phenomenon

Asia Times Online made an effort to understand the Maoist phenomenon
at the ground level earlier this month. This correspondent spent a
week in the Maoist heartland of Bihar and Jharkhand, in the adjoining
districts of Aurangabad and Palamau. As the overwhelming majority of
the people in these states, as in other affected states, are just
trying to eke out a living and could be counted as have-nots, they
have no reason to fear the Maoists. Unlike in the big cities, where
the middle classes have something to lose, people here are too poor
to consider the Maoists a menace. Indeed, their own kith and kin are
joining the red brigade in ever-growing numbers, as other employment
opportunities are few and far between. Maoists look after these
frustrated youths and give them something to do. In fact the moment
it gets known that someone has turned Maoist, his stock in the family
and the village rises. He becomes a person to be feared.

The most shocking revelation for a city-dweller fed a daily media
diet of stories that depict the Maoists as terrible criminals is the
respect and awe in which these groups are held as providers of
justice and equality to the rural social fabric. In conversations
with the village folk, this correspondent asked repeatedly about the
so-called kangaroo courts through which the Maoists are said to
dispense summary justice. But people from different backgrounds and
castes were unanimous that the punishments meted out were just and
only to criminals who were known to have committed these crimes.
There is very little kept private in the countryside. Everybody knows
who is doing what.

Justice for the exploited is hard to come by through the judicial
system. Poor people accused of crimes for which the maximum
punishment on conviction would be a month in prison are known to have
languished in jails for as long as three decades and come out just
because some human-rights group noticed them and filed a
public-interest case in the supreme court. On the other hand, the
influential and wealthy would either never go to jail or even if they
do, they live a luxurious life even there: they simply put the
jailers on their payroll.

Also, India has always had a village judicial system called the
panchayats. This system can sometimes be very cruel and very unjust.
But it enjoys wide acceptability. The only difference between the
Maoist courts and panchayats is that while the latter is mostly run
by upper caste and influential Hindus, and usually perpetrate
injustices to the lowly castes, the former are run by the deprived
sections of society who mete out instant punishments to those who are
known to have either raped a low caste woman or exploited a poor
person in some way.

While the upper castes and the wealthy will not hear a good word
about Maoists, the local populace insists that Maoists do not engage
in indiscriminate killings and that punishments meted out to
individuals are well deserved. If it is illegal, it is only as
illegal as the judicial decisions taken by upper-caste run panchayats
that routinely order killing and the rape of lower caste men and
women if they try to step out of line. A dalit (untouchable) boy
seeking to marry a higher caste girl, for instance, would be
routinely ordered by the panchayat to be killed by his own parents.
In many cases parents of both the boy and the girl would themselves
kill their children if ordered by the panchayats. Panchayats can even
order women to be gang-raped if full view of the village if they have
caused them some offence like refusing to work in the fields or in
the household for free. But the power of such upper-caste panchayats
lies highly diminished in areas where Maoists rule.

Apart from being harsh toward the upper caste and wealthy in clear
cases of rape, exploitation or other crimes, the Maoists are also
unforgiving toward those who have the wherewithal but will not pay
taxes to the parallel government, or would try to hide their incomes.
No business or development activity can take place in these states
unless the businessman or the contractor has paid 10% of his income
to the Maoists. The road linking Daltonganj, the Palamau district
headquarters to a sub-division town Garhwa, for instance, could not
be repaired for years as the contractors was elusive and did not want
to share his income with Maoists. Traveling on this road last
fortnight, however, this correspondent found that the construction
activity has started now and roadside villagers infer that some deal
must have been made.

Many agree that criminal elements have infiltrated the Maoist
movement. As the movement has grown, it has inevitably become
somewhat unwieldy. But Maoist supporters say that crimes are
committed by criminal elements in the name of Maoism. Such criminals
are, however, never spared by the movement. They are invariably found
out and punished. It is only when the police commit crimes and
ascribe them to Maoists that the latter are unable to counter as the
police is a largely faceless force and its functionaries keep getting
transferred from one area to another. It is difficult to carry out a
vendetta against individual police officers. The continuing battle
with the police is of course another matter. Only a fortnight ago a
senior police officer and six of his colleagues were gunned down by
Maoists in north Bihar.

The Maoist phenomenon received a fillip from the lack of development
in rural areas. But now it has itself started promoting
underdevelopment. Modern communication facilities like telephone and
expanding road networks, for instance, are inimical to the Maoist
enterprise. Residents of an upper-caste and wealthy Brahmin village
called Ketat, for instance, feel safe because they have telephones
and are also situated on a road going to Garhwa Road which has a
police station. They have never suffered a Maoist raid.

Villagers of nearby Kamta say the same thing. Here the residents are
Muslim and a couple of them perhaps prosperous enough to be paying
small taxes to the Maoists; but again they are situated on the
roadside and have telephone connections which could be used for
calling the police; so they have remained safe so far. But what makes
them afraid is the proximity of Kothilwa Mountain. Hills and
mountains provide the best refuge and an impregnable defense to the

Maoist exploits and dare-devilry have become the stuff of legends in
the area. With nothing better to do villagers and shopkeepers in
small towns narrate detailed stories of how a certain person was
gunned down by Maoists and for what reason. One prosperous Muslim
resident of Chhatarpur, a roadside town on the Daltonganj-Aurangabad
road, for instance, was killed because he would not surrender his
licensed gun to the Maoists. But how the Maoists managed to eliminate
him is a story with several spins. Some tales focus on the bravery of
the Haji, who was finally killed while traveling in a jeep, some on
the effectiveness of the espionage network run by the Maoists, from
whose net few escape. As the overwhelming majority of people have
nothing to lose, except by accident if caught in some rare crossfire,
they seem to be enjoying the raging battle being fought between the
Maoists on the one hand and the police or the upper-caste militias on
the other.

On the growing spread of Maoism, a resident of Nawa, a small township
on the same road, said; "Virtually every family has a Maoist member.
If you stay the night here, and walk on the road after nightfall,
every passerby would greet you with the Maoist slogan "Laal Salaam"
[Red Salute] and you might face difficulties if you don't greet the
fellow back with a Laal Salaam yourself."

One thing about Maoists that has caught the imagination of many in
the areas this correspondent traveled thorough is their fierce
secularism and opposition to discrimination on grounds of caste.
Maoist, or for that matter other mainstream communist leaders, have
traditionally come from the upper castes and wealthy classes. But
they mix with the lowest of the low among India's numerous castes
without showing the slightest sense of superiority. Maoist cadres
come from all castes and communities, though it would be difficult to
find upper caste people except at the leadership level. In a country
where nearly all political parties have fixed vote banks among
certain castes and communities, many common people find it admirable,
indeed awe-inspiring.

Everything in India boils down to caste, in the final analysis. Upper
castes long for the time when the lower castes knew and were resigned
to their lowly place in society. They are determined to perpetuate
the millennia-old system of caste discrimination and appalling
exploitation of the poor for as long as possible. They have created a
whole host of militias to counter the Maoist onslaught. These
militias engage in indiscriminate killings of lower caste villagers
and display unspeakable brutality in killing women and children. A
vicious cycle of retaliatory killings goes on.

Thoughtful individuals in Bihar and Jharkhand's villages suffering
from the Maoist threat say that the only way to counter Maoism would
be to provide good governance, development and social justice. But
now Maoism itself would come in the way. Like everybody else in the
business of administering the country, Maoists, too, have developed a
vested interest. A civil war can be quite profitable for some.

Similarly, the police have a vested interest in the survival of
Maoism. It is this ongoing struggle with Maoism that brings to them
millions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition, part of which they
can sell to the Maoists and boost their income. Maoists have now come
to welcome encounters with the police as it is an easy way of
snatching sophisticated weapons and ammunition. All the licensed guns
in the countryside have either been taken back by the state or looted
by the Maoists. The citizenry is entirely at the mercy of the two
governments, one overt and the other covert, one rules by the day and
the other by night.

It is possible that M K Narayanan is right, after all, and the likes
of Kuldip Nayar wrong. What is there to talk about with the Maoists?
If good governance and social justice is impossible to provide, all
that governments can do is deal with the consequences of ill
governance, as best as they can and for as long as they can.
Apparently, India is in for a long-drawn-out and even fiercer battle
with the Maoists. If the government can draw together immense
firepower for the battles ahead, the Maoists have the resources to
either loot or buy the same firepower from the government forces
themselves. Corruption and caste supremacy can hardly go together.

Sultan Shahin is a New Delhi-based writer.


Message: 5
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 22:32:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla North East India Monitors
Subject: INDIA: North East Insurgency Report 22-23JAN [9 News



01. Gogoi on hit list of ULFA: Official

GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is in the hit list of the
proscribed ULFA and the Centre has been asked to provide him suitable
security in view of the threat perception, Home Commissioner B K
Buragohain said today.

Buragohain told reporters in presence of Gogoi the centre had
recently informed the state government that the Chief Minister was in
the insurgent outfit's hit list.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sought a report from the
state government on the threat to Gogoi's life, Buragohain added.

The Home Commissioner, however, denied a media report the MHA had
also sought a report on the Republic Day boycott call given by the



02. Gogoi accuses AGP of joining hands with ULFA:

Guwahati, Jan 22 : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today accused
main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) of joining hands with the
proscribed ULFA by asking people to boycott all Republic Day official

"No political party in the country has ever given such a boycott
call. The ULFA has also called for boycott. The AGP by giving the
call has joined hands with the ULFA," Gogoi told reporters here.

"It is surprising that the AGP has called for the Republic Day
boycott," he said.

The AGP boycott call was to protest against the alleged "miserable
failure of the state government to protect the lives of innocent
people." "At the official Independence Day celebrations in Dhemaji
last year many children died in a bomb blast. There is no guarantee
that the same will not be repeated this time," AGP General Secretary
Dilip Saikia said.

Saikia pointed out that the administration had issued an order to
bring the students to I-day when 13 of them got killed in a bomb

The chief minister also assured that all precautionary measures had
be taken to see that a similar situation was not repeated.

"We will ensure that there is security during the Republic Day," he
added. PTI



03. Bomb explosion by ULFA, time devices recovered in Assam:

Sibsagar, Jan 22 : The banned ULFA today detonated a powerful bomb in
upper Assam's Sibsagar district and planted another on a main power
line tower in Tinsukia district in the run up to the Republic Day.

A time device hidden by the insurgents in the jungle areas along a
road at Nitai village under Demow Police Station went off around 11
A.M. Though none was injured in the blast, district Superintendent of
Police D Hazarika told PTI.

The explosion created a one and a half feet deep crater and its sound
could be heard beyond a distance of one kilometre, Hazarika said.

The bomb may have been hidden in the area for using later on but
accidently went off before time, he added.

The area had been cordoned off and search operations launched in the
area to detect more such devices and those responsible for using

A report from Tinsukia district said four time devices attached to
the main electric tower were recovered at noon and none was injured,
at Ultapool, under Digboi Police Station.

The patrolling personnel of the Village Defence Party (VDP) detected
the explosives and informed the concerned police station. The army
personnel defused the explosives, the sources added. PTI



04. Northeast militants planning to attack civilians: officials:

Guwahati, Jan 22 : Thousands of soldiers have taken up positions in
the restive northeast where anti-India separatists plan to attack
civilians ahead of Republic Day celebrations Jan 26, officials
Saturday said.

"There are reports of militants trying to strike at children and
innocent civilians, besides crowded marketplaces," an Assam police
official said.

"Troops have been deployed in all vulnerable areas in the northeast
and we are also conducting aerial surveillance over vital government
installations to thwart any attempts by militants to strike before
the Republic Day," a senior army commander told IANS.

At least 10 rebel groups have urged a boycott of Republic Day
celebrations in five of the seven northeastern states, with Mizoram
and Nagaland being the exceptions.

In the run-up to the celebrations, militants of the outlawed United
Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) staged a string of blasts and other
attacks in Assam, killing three people and blowing up at least two
oil pipelines.

The ULFA had owned up carrying out at least six explosions this week
- the latest in a series of blasts that had rocked the state. Such
violence is common in the northeast, a cauldron of rebel outfits
fighting for causes ranging from autonomy to independence, ahead of
the Republic Day celebrations and other national events.

The ULFA, fighting for an independent Assamese homeland, claimed
responsibility last August when 15 people died, many of them
children, and 24 were wounded in a landmine blast at a college ground
during an Independence Day parade in eastern Assam.

The blast marked a departure from the ULFA's usual strategy of
targeting security forces and government installations. Thousands of
Assamese took to the streets in protest.

There are at least 30 rebel armies in the northeast that say they are
trying to protect their ethnic identities and accuse New Delhi of
plundering resources in the region, which is rich in tea, timber, oil
and minerals.

Assam and Nagaland are still reeling from a string of 15 blasts in
two days of violence last October in which 80 people were killed and
150 wounded. It was the worst round of rebel violence since
independence from Britain in 1947.




05. 15 killed in strikes on Indian rebels in Myanmar: separatist

GUWAHATI, India (AFP) - Ongoing heavy fighting in the thick jungles
of Myanmar between government troops and Indian separatists has left
at least five rebels and 10 soldiers dead, a rebel leader said.

Kughalo Mulatonu, a leader of the National Socialist Council of
Nagaland (NSCN), which is fighting for a tribal homeland in India's
northeastern state of Nagaland, said that the rebels were killed in
intense shelling.

The bombardment began late Wednesday and was continuing, he said.

"Myanmarese soldiers attacked some of our bases with rocket launchers
and mortars, killing five of our fighters," Mulatonu told AFP by
telephone from somewhere along the India-Myanmar border.

"We also killed 10 of their soldiers in retaliatory strikes."

He said the attacks were taking place along the Chindwin River in the
north of Myanmar, close to the abandoned World War II Shempuyang

He said the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, which was formed
in 1980, has at least 50 camps with some 5,000 guerrilla fighters
entrenched in fortified bunkers in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar.

"Our fighters are prepared to die. We are not going to leave our
bases," Mulatonu said.

An Indian intelligence official said authorities were monitoring the

"We don't know about the casualties but something is happening
there," he told AFP, asking not to be named.

"Keeping that in mind, we have put the border on alert and security
has been beefed up at vulnerable points to prevent militants from
sneaking in."

India and Myanmar share a 1,640 kilometer (1,000 mile) long unfenced
border, allowing militants from the northeast to use the adjoining
country as a springboard to carry out hit-and-run guerrilla strikes
on federal soldiers.

On a visit to India last October, Myanmar's General Than Shwe pledged
that his government would not let Indian rebels operate from its

The last time Myanmar launched a military operation against National
Socialist Council of Nagaland and other Indian rebels was in 2001
when at least a dozen separatists were killed.

More than 50,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the
northeast since India's independence in 1947.



06. Not an inch of Assam's territory will be given to Nagaland: CM:

Guwahati, Jan 22 : Not an inch of Assam's territory would be given to
Nagaland and there would be no compromise on the territorial boundary
of the state", Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said today.

"Our stand is very clear. We are very firm that we will not give one
inch of Assam land and we will stick to the Constitutional
territorial boundary of our state", he told reporters here.

To a querry on the Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other neighbouring
states uniting on not allowing their territory to be taken by
Nagaland, he said, there was no such immediate move.

On the centre moving out 40 companies of paramilitary troops from
Assam for deployment in the three states going to the polls, Gogoi
said he would take up the matter with the centre.



07. NSCN prepared for peace parlays with GoI:-
NSCN Camp Hebron (Nagaland)

By Gaurav Shrivastava

The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) has
reportedly endorsed their leaders move to take the rebel group's
peace parleys with the Indian Government forward.

The concluding day of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) Fourth Naga People's
Consultative Meeting saw the declaration of four points, all of them
aimed at ensuring the success of the ongoing Indo-Naga peace talks.

Representatives of various intellectual organizations from all across
the Naga dominated areas endorsed the declaration that stated "Naga
people and organisations covering across the length and breadth of
Naga Homeland after two days of intensive, sincere and honest
interaction with the Collective Leadership of the National Socialist
Council of Nagalim.

The four points declared were as follows: (1) The fullest support for
an honourable solution to the Indo-Naga political issue on the basis
of the uniqueness of Naga history and situation; (2) That the
unification of all Naga areas is legitimate and therefore
non-negotiable; (3) That the political solution should be found
through peaceful means; and (4) That both Government of India and the

National Socialist Council of Nagalim uphold utmost honesty and
sincerity towards finding a political solution."

Though the NSCN (I-M) has been making these demands from the
beginning, its decision to put forth the declaration before a cross
section of Naga society is aimed at trying to strengthen its stand
once again before beginning a second round of negotiations with New

"Today here we declare, we will never let you down. We will never
disappoint you. May God bless Nagaland, Kuknalim (Victory of the
land)", said NSCN general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to the cross
section of people present at the meeting.

Special Emissary of the collective leadership General (Retd.) V S
Atem appealed to the mass representatives to take the resolution to
their respective villages. In his thanks giving speech Atem said, "We
will fight to the finish till the victory is won".

The meeting is crucial in the sense that the next round of Indo-Naga
peace talks are scheduled in the last week of this month and stating
'peaceful, negotiable, honourable solution upholding honesty and
sincerity' for political solution to the five decades old problem
shows seriousness on the part of the NSCN (I-M).

Later on, talking to a select group of mediapersons on the sidelines
of the meeting, chairman Isak Chisi Swu made it clear that the
solution cannot be within the Constitution of India. He stressed that
there can be no change in the perceptions of NSCN and there is no
need to change the approach of the organization.

"There will be no change in our attitude, as our meeting with the
people (cross section of Naga society) has strengthened us."

Till date the issue of reconciliation with rival groups was being
raised, today in a significant statement Isak Swu revealed that the
representatives of rival groups had also met the NSCN collective
leadership. "NNC, NSCN (K) met us, they explained us everything
whatever they have done and apologized."

On the issue of how long it would take for any solution to come
about, Muivah said that it was too early to say anything at this
juncture. Throwing the ball into the court of the Government of India
he added: "Sometime it depends upon the other side also, we have to
make adjustments".

The meeting organised to strengthen the ongoing Indo-Naga political
peace talks was attended by intellectuals from all across Naga
dominated areas including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Myanmar
(Burma/ eastern Nagalim).

Representatives from Meghalaya, Naga NGOs, tribal organisations,
student bodies and village heads from all across Nagaland were also

All the NSCN office bearers, including steering committee members,
council of ministers, military commanders were also present at the

The meeting is being viewed as the final ground work by the NSCN
(I-M) towards the materialization of the Indo-Naga political
dialogue, which is a tough negotiating table.

It may be mentioned here that the neighbouring states of Assam,
Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur are opposed to the integration of Naga
dominated areas, making it clear that they would not part with even
"an inch" of their land.

This is a major hitch and one that could take years to solve.


08. Naga unification call cause flutter in State
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 22: Two NGOs and several political heavy weights of
the State while strongly opposing NSCN (IM) consultative meeting's
declaration that unification of all Naga areas is legitimate and
therefore non-negotiable has categorically termed the resolution as
one sided and improper for peaceful coexistence.

The resolution was taken at the end of a two day consultative meet at
camp Hebron attended by the collective leadership of the NSCN (IM)
and Nagas from different parts of the North East region.

"This is just a one sided declaration made only by the Nagas and
hence it cannot be taken into consideration by the whole people of
the north east region", said UCM president Sapamcha Jadumani.

As the Central Govt in its common minimum programme had already noted
that the boundaries of north east States should not be altered under
any circumstances, the Centre should not endorse such declaration, he
said adding that if the Centre make any attempt to implement the
declaration then the people of Manipur will definitely rise up in
arms and launch uprising even worse than the one witnessed in 2001.

All Manipur United Clubs' Organization (Amuco) advisor Dr Dhanabir
Laishram said such arbitrary move is very unfortunate on the part of
the Nagas as they had made the declaration without consulting
representatives of its immediate neighbors.

"We respect the ongoing Naga peace process and definitely want peace
in the region but peace should not be brought at the cost of other
communities" said Dhanabir.

Okram Joy MLA and president of the Opposition Manipur People's Party
quipped "such one sided declaration cannot be applied in today's
modern democracy".

"If the Nagas have made a decision to unite all Naga inhabited areas
there's no reason why the Meeteis cannot claim for unification of all
Meeteis residing in Assam, Tripura, Nagaland and even in Bangladesh,"
Joy added.

In view of the CMP of the UPA Ministry "I don't think the Centre
would endorse such declaration", Joy added.

Sericulture Minister N Mangi of CPI said the party had already taken
its firm decision to protect and preserve the territorial integrity
of Manipur under any circumstances and would not make any compromise
on this sensitive issue.

It was only on the insistence of the left party that the UPA Govt
inserted to preserve the political boundaries of North East region in
the CMP.

CPI unit general secretary B Sharma also reiterated that the party
would not keep mum on any move to alter the boundary of the State.




09. Ultras kill one in Tripura:

Agartala, Jan 22 : A truck driver was shot dead by the insurgents of
outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-Biswamohan group)
at Baraigota in West Tripura district, police said today.

A group of armed militants stormed into the room of a manager of a
brick klin at Baraigota, 12 km from Kalyanpur police station, with
the intention of kidnapping him last night but the manager was not

The ultras then tried to abduct one Parimal Sukladas, 35, driver of a
lorry who was sleeping in the manager's room. When the driver raised
an alarm, he was fired upon him from point blank range killing him on
the spot, police said. PTI


Message: 6
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 22:34:48 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: UPI Intelligence Watch


UPI Intelligence Watch

By John C. K. Daly and Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst

Washington, DC, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Indians learn a lesson from Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may have taught the world a
crucial lesson that could transform the way nations deal with
guerrilla insurgencies. The Indian government and army has studied
closely the success of his much criticized barrier in dramatically
slashing the incidence of suicide bomb attacks against Israeli
civilians operated from Gaza and the West Bank and has now applied
the same lessons to its long guerrilla conflict in Kashmir, with
equally successful results.

Sharon's barrier -- which in reality is a wall and other forms of
defensive fortifications along much of its length as well -- slashed
the number of such successful attacks by well over 90 percent, and
casualties to a comparable degree. India therefore applied the same
lesson to its long, ongoing struggle against Muslim mujahedin
guerillas in predominantly Muslim Jammu and Kashmir. The fence has
proven such a success that India is now constructing a similar
barrier along its border with Muslim Bangladesh in the east.

Home Affairs Minister Sripakash Jaiswal said Tuesday that even though
the new security barrier cutting off Kashmir from neighboring
Pakistan was not yet fully completed, the number of guerrilla attacks
in Kashmir had already fallen to a marked degree in recent months. As
a result "similar efforts are on along our border with Bangladesh to
put up a barbed wire fence and in some places to erect electric
fences to prevent illegal infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals and
to check (the) movement of militants," he said.

The success of the new security fortifications along India's border
with Pakistan is particularly striking for several reasons. First, it
is powerful evidence that Sharon's strategy -- much criticized by
both Western liberals and Israelis hawks for being either too harsh
or too defensive -- can work not only in the densely populated,
limited areas of Israel and the West Bank but also elsewhere in the
world, even on a much larger scale.

Second, the Israeli barrier was meant to primarily protect Israelis
from attacks that came from overwhelmingly Palestinian areas. The
same strategy appears to be working in preventing attacks from groups
operating out of Muslim Pakistan, even though the population of Jammu
and Kashmir is overwhelmingly Muslim on the other side of the border.

Third, the success of the barrier so far appears to support the
contention of successive Indian governments that the decade and a
half of major scale guerrilla violence in Jammu and Kashmir was
overwhelmingly carried out by groups operating from across the border
in Pakistan, and not by groups indigenous to the Muslim population of
the state.

Fourth, now that India has followed Israel in demonstrating the
success of this strategy against militants, it remains to be seen
whether other governments will apply it against other guerrilla
insurrections in their territories, and if so, with what results.


Nepal's Maoists take aim at India

Indian intelligence chiefs believe Nepal's Maoist revolutionaries are
ambitiously trying to "metastasize" their rebellion into at least
five states of India.

"We have got some very disturbing reports about Maoist insurgents
trying to establish links with militant groups from the northeastern
state of Assam and then penetrate into the region to create terror,"
Minister of State for Home Affairs Sripakash Jaiswal said Tuesday.

Jaiswal said Indian intelligence had confirmed that leaders of the
growing Maoist insurgency that has gained serious legitimacy in
remote and mountainous Nepal were already in contact with the United
Liberation Front of Assam. He warned that the spread and growth of
the insurgency could also have "adverse impact" on India's border
states of Sikkim, Uttaranchal, populous Uttar Pradesh and West

"There are plans by the Maoists to try and enter our territory in an
attempt to destabilize internal security and we have cautioned all
state governments that share a border with Nepal to be vigilant, he

That will be no easy task. India shares a common land border of
nearly 1,100 miles with Nepal across some of the most mountainous
territory in the world.

But Jaiswal said the attempt would be made. "We have put our soldiers
on full alert along the border with Nepal and have decided to double
the strength of border guards and increase the number of check posts
to prevent infiltration of guerrillas from Nepal," he said.

The great nightmare of Indian security strategists in recent years
has been that the handful of small-scale, low-level guerrilla
insurgencies and militant movements that have been spluttering in
diverse parts of the country, especially in its eastern region, might
make common cause and find a way to pool their resources while
accessing outside expertise.

Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will be particular causes of concern
for the New Delhi government. West Bengal lies alongside Muslim and
democratic Bangladesh, where Indian security analysts fear al-Qaida
and similar groups have quietly been organizing in depth over the
past two years. Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state with
more people than the entire Russian Federation.

The long-running Maoist insurgency has steadily gained ground in
Nepal in recent years. It gained an important boost when Nepal's
constitutional monarchy was disrupted by the sensational mass slaying
of the royal family on June 1, 2001. King Birendra and eight members
of his immediate family were gunned down by his own son and heir,
Crown Prince Dipendra. The king was succeeded on the throne by his
brother, King Gyanendra.


Message: 7
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 21:54:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: GLOBAL JIHAD: Four Months on Planet bin Laden


By Jody K. Biehl
Spiegel Online

French journalist George Malbrunot spent 124 days as a hostage of
Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq. The experience nearly broke him, but
it also offered him stunning insights into the way jihadist groups
operate. He returned convinced of one thing: America's policy is

The two Mercedes came out of nowhere. Within seconds, the car
carrying French reporters Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot and
their driver skidded to a halt, caged in along the perilous road
heading south from Baghdad to Najaf. The men knew this was a
dangerous road. They had even warned colleagues not to take it. Now,
they were pawns in Iraq's most dangerous game - abduction.

Immediately, eight men in white hooded robes ripped open the car
doors, tied the reporters up and threw them into the Mercedes.
Luckily, both speak Arabic, Chesnot more fluently than Malbrunot, so
they could talk to their assailants and plead their innocence. Right
away, they declared themselves as French, as reporters, and as men
who understood the resistance.

"We immediately distanced ourselves from the Americans and stuck to
the French position," Malbrunot said Wednesday from his family's home
in Paris. The two were taken to a small cell and interrogated for
hours by masked men holding guns. "We told them we were French
journalists and that we were there to do our work and show the
realities of the resistance."

They thought being French would be the equivalent of a white flag, a
"get out of jail free card" or at least a means of assuring a timely
release. France has long believed that it has a special relation with
the Arab world and that it wields more leverage than other nations.
Yet not even their Syrian driver was let go until November. And to
the shock of French leaders, hostage negotiators and the public, the
two also remained in captivity. French news organizations ran the
men's photos every day after their Aug. 20 kidnapping and banners
with their faces went up all over Paris. The government sent several
teams to negotiate clandestinely. Yet, still, the men remained
captives for close to four months. Malbrunot is convinced that their
"Frenchness" kept them alive.

"If we had been American or British or Italian they would have killed
us," he said. "Being French was the best card we had." If so, then
the second best was being well-known. "We had the feeling that our
captors were quite proud to negotiate with France, such a big
country. And I think it did help that our names were in the news. A
dead hostage has no value."

Planet bin Laden

Now, safely returned to the arms of his Parisian family, he says over
the months of their captivity, he and Chesnot slowly began to realize
that they were "living on planet bin Laden." References to chief
Osama abounded, he said, and there was much talk of living by Muslim
law. Resilient, tough-minded and good-looking, Malbrunot, 41, became
an instant celebrity in France the minute he and Chesnot, 38,
disappeared. Now, a month after his release, he offers a curt
assessment of where America's Iraq policy is headed: "Straight into a
wall." He also has some blunt advice for journalists planning to
cover the war. "Don't go to Iraq," he said. "You will be killed. No
story is worth your life."

Such skepticism toward the US presence in Iraq is not surprising
coming from a Frenchman. After all, France opposed the Iraq war from
the start. Yet, Malbrunot speaks from a slightly different
perspective, one nuanced by over four months on the inside. For 124
days, Malbrunot lived his kidnappers' anger and mercilessness, and
his life balanced on their fanaticism and on their ever-changing

The two were imprisoned in a cramped cell, and Malbrunot admits that
his vision was somewhat limited. Still, he says, his abduction
brought him closer to the extremist underbelly of Iraq, closer to
"these people who are extremely cruel" and for whom violence is an
integral part of daily life. Free since Dec. 21, he still has trouble

"They Have Weapons and Money"

"These people will not surrender," he said, referring not only to the
what he estimated to be the 15,000-17,000 member strong Islamic Army
in Iraq which kidnapped him and Chesnot, but also to the dozens of
other Islamic fundamentalist groups fighting in the country. "They
have time, they have weapons, they have money. And, they are fighting
at home. I am afraid it will only get worse, that they will get more
and more power. It frightens me." What's worse, he said, is that in
US President George W. Bush, "they have a great partner." Neither
side is willing to budge.

During their captivity, Malbrunot, a free-lance reporter for the
conservative French daily Le Figaro, and Chesnot, of Radio France
Internationale, were moved six times, mainly shuffled about in the
trunks of cars. For two weeks, he and Chesnot lived in a
mosquito-infested cell with a corner hole serving as a toilet. Later,
their conditions improved to one room with a toilet. The men never
saw the faces of their captors - all wore balaclavas. They were often
handcuffed, blindfolded, interrogated, and subjected to odd demands -
including that they convert to Islam. At one point, they were told
they would be killed unless France revoked a law banning Muslim head
scarves from being worn in public schools.

Although he kept telling himself he would live, Malbrunot admits, a
few times, he broke down in anguish and tears, convinced he would
die. Yet often, he acted like a clear-headed Cartesian, cozying up to
guards, trying to be friendly and extract bits of information about
where he was, what was happening in the world and to whom the men
were reporting. Four other prisoners with whom he briefly shared a
cell were beheaded.

What Do the Kidnappers Want?

Malbrunot is still trying to sort out his disjointed impressions.
Before his abduction, he had never heard of the Islamic Army in Iraq,
an extremely fundamentalist group with close ties to Osama bin Laden.
Now he knows a lot. They are, for example, better organized and
wealthier than he ever imagined - even more so now than a mere six
months ago, he said. Also, he says, they are adamant jihadists,
convinced that they are waging war to defend the Muslim faith against
the West. "There was a lot of talk about chief Osama (bin Laden),
references to Chechnya and how the Muslim world is fighting the
Western world in Chechnya, Pakistan and Afghanistan." Some of the men
had been Saddam Hussein loyals - including one who claimed he was
Saddam's personal secretary.

The Islamist cells are also very compartmentalized, and they divide
their work carefully. Some do the kidnapping, others the
interrogating, others the judging, others the guarding and - he
assumes - others the killing. They also have surprisingly strong
contacts in Europe. And although they operate separately, they
sometimes coordinate with other insurgent groups - including that run
by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted insurgent
in Iraq for whose capture the US has offered a $25 million reward.
Malbrunot says that these fighters will not give up until the last of
them is dead. As such, he sees little hope in upcoming elections on
Jan. 30.

"One of our jailers told us they have four enemies," he said.
"American soldiers and other coalition members, collaborators, which
meant businessmen - Italian, American or even French - who are
working there, the Iraqi police and spies." Any new Iraqi government,
he said, will be viewed as an enemy, just as the Americans - and even
secular Arab leaders - are viewed. The group's main goals are far
from modest. They want to defeat America in Iraq, drive a wedge
between Europe and America and "overthrow the Arab leaders in Egypt
and Saudi Arabia and return to the caliphate (Islamic rule) from
Andalusia (Spain) to China."

Staying Alive in the Hands of Extremists

Compared to what Malbrunot has read about hostages in Lebanon and
other places, he says they were well fed and cared for. Aside from
one slap on the face, they experienced no violence. Their captors
served them regular, if repetitive, meals of beans, chicken, rice,
dates and tea. Still, each lost one to two kilos per week. Their
jailers told them how to sleep in the proper Muslim way, prohibited
them from smoking as it is against Muslim practices and said they
were allowed to pray, but only in the Muslim manner.

One of the hostages' strategies was to get to know their guards, who
always stood at the door holding a Kalashnikov. They asked the guards
about their children, their families, anything they could think of.
"My obsession was to drag things out. The longer we lasted, the surer
we were that we would be released. But we were scared," he said. The
guards were friendly, but "we also knew they could get an order and
kill us the next day."

At one point in their captivity, they talked to the jailers about
journalists, why they were targets and what they generally did with
them. "They told us that with journalists they respect the position
of their countries. We asked them why they don't bargain for
journalists. They said journalists are enemies and we kill them."

On Jan. 5, two weeks after Malbrunot and Chesnot's release, another
French journalist, Florence Aubenas who works for the liberal daily
Liberation disappeared while on assignment in northern Iraq. No sign
of her has yet appeared and no group has taken responsibility for her
kidnapping. It could mean, said Malbrunot, that she is not the victim
of a political group, but that of criminals.

Land of War

The cruelest moment of their captivity came on Nov. 8, when their
guards made them believe that one of them was to be killed. The
waiting was excruciating. Each time the door opened, they thought one
of them would be taken. Huddling together, the men held hands and
made oral wills. They asked the other to deliver messages to their
families. They cried. They prayed. Ironically, they both reconnected
with their Christianity.

And then, suddenly, about a week later, the mood lightened and they
began to hope again. In early December they were even given shampoo
and allowed to look in a mirror for the first time. On December 21,
they were thrown into the trunk of a car and delivered to French
officials at the side of a road. For the first time in four months,
the men saw the sky. One French paper, the Canard Enchaine claims
France spent £15 million to free them. The government denies it, but
nonetheless is embroiled in a bitter, backstabbing debate about what
went on behind the scenes to secure their release. Malbrunot says he
has no idea whether Paris paid a ransome.

Malbrunot and Chesnot - who is currently in Jordan preparing to move
from the Middle East back to France - are now writing a book about
their experiences. Neither plans to return to Iraq any time soon. One
of the last things their captors said to them was, "Don't come back
here. We don't want you. Iraq is a land of war."


Message: 8
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 09:28:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Kaladan Press Network


Dated: Sunday, January 23, 2005


Chittagong, Jan-23: Rohingya Arakanese leaders welcome the recent call
of US President; George W. Bush to bring freedom to the darkest corners
of the world and Dr. Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, Burma:
"outposts of tyranny".

After hearing Bush�s speech, in which the American President emphasized
his country�s intention to expand freedom and support the growth of
democratic movements and institutions around the world, some Rohingya
Arakanese leaders along the Bangladesh Burma border reacted with

U Htun Sien, the spokesman of Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
said, �We have strong confidence on US President Gorge W Bush and Dr.
Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State that they will play active role to
bring up democracy, human rights, peace and justice, toppling the
military regime in Burma. We request to US to take all possible initiatives
for the reformation of Burma as a country of peace building.�

Mr. Mohammad Sadek, the General Secretary of Rohingya Youth Development
Forum (RYDF) stressed that US President George W. Bush shall give more
and more attention on Burma�s human rights violation and dictatorial
systems, where the modern colonialism has taken place in the country.

We believe that all kinds of colonialism, racism and unequal peace
process would be barred in Burma with the approval of Senate, while Mr.
Bush said that the Burmese democracy activists will be much encouraged
when they know that the president of a super-power is backing their cause
of restoration of democracy and rule of law in Burma.

�The US shall apply all kinds of pressure to see tangible results in
Burma. Washington will have to make a hard decision in 2006, when Burma
is due take over chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations, or Asean, and hold a regional summit,� said the Rohingya youth

AFK Jilani, a leader of NLD, Arakan State, and exile in Bangladesh
said, �The hint of Dr. Condoleezza Rice is quite appropriate for terming
Burma as "outposts of tyranny". So, we are very much hopeful that she can
put pressure to explore human rights sustainability in Burma in order
to review the policies of ASEAN and China towards military tyranny. We
are grateful to Dr. Rice and urge her to do for the resoration of
freedom, liberty and democracy in Burma.

According to Mr. Aman Ullah, Secretary of Working Committee for Arakan
State Constitution Drafting, �We still remember the address of James A.
Baker, the then US Secretary of State, before the foreign minters of
ASEAN States meeting in Manila on July 26, 1992. In which he urged ASEAN
leaders to send �a loud and clear� message to Burma about what he
termed its deplorable human rights record, especially �over the tragic
plight of some 2,70,000 Rohingya refugees who driven from their homes into

We expect from the new secretary of state that more loud and clear
message to the military junta in Rangoon to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and political prisoners to respect the 1994 UN General Assembly
resolution about Tripartite Dialogue.

It is a good opportunity for getting Mr. Bush in second time and also
getting Dr. Rice who can play vital role for the political changes in
Burma. They can also check the situation within all Burmese Opposition
Forum in home and exile, especially constitutional affairs to reform the
country with genuine federal union of Burma, said Mr. Aman Ullah.

According to a report of Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) �Understanding
Burma� mentioned that �the power of SPDC is rooted in the deep racism
that has permeated Burmese society since its beginnings; not only the
racial supremacy complex which many Burmans are brought up with, but the
racism of the Karen against the Burmans, the Burmans against the Shan,
the Shan against the Wa, the Wa against the Shan, the Mon against the
Burmans, the Rakhine against the Rohingyas, the Burmans against the
Chinese, the Christians against the Buddhists and etc.�

Meanwhile, today�s political movement in homes and abroad is lingering
by ethnic, religious and cultural conflict, while it creates
misunderstanding among the groups. Influence has been imposed in the alliance by

�Everybody has responsibility to respect human rights and dignity,
while ensuring rights of all ethnic minorities of Burma in all affairs
including constitutional affairs so as to be able to end racism,
colonialism, discrimination and etc.� said Mohamed Taher, a spokesman of Arakan
Human Rights Organization (AHRO).

Besides, Ross Dunkley, the chief editor of the Myanmar Times, a
semi-government publication in Rangoon, has said: �One thing is pretty common.
They all want George W. Bush and the UN to come into Myanmar (Burma)
with a whole lot of guns and airplanes and jets and to solve the problem.
They believe that's possible."

Other opposition groups inside and outside Burma favor increased
pressure and tougher sanctions against the generals. # #

Message: 9
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 21:36:25 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: Why the World Likes Kicking the U.S. Puppy


Why the World Likes Kicking the U.S. Puppy
By Susan Campbell

The character of the American people resembles that of a friendly
chocolate Labrador retriever puppy, eagerly approaching acquaintances
and strangers alike, giving from the heart with glee. But the rest of
the world seems to hate Americans because they perceive us as being
not so warm and cuddly.

Lately, we've been in the doghouse.

Americans didn't have to be shamed into contributing generously to
relief efforts in Asia, but are we required to give until it hurts to
prove our charitable character?

The American people step up when help is needed, but must we always
provide a banquet? Our economy is already being bankrupted by the
U.S. government's misuse of funds in a senseless war. So we can't
afford an open-wallet policy — even if the world's opinion of us
sinks further.

Our charitable character makes us vulnerable. We have too much trust
and remain optimistic, generous and good-natured — despite the
widespread criticism we have received.

After disastrous events fade from view, we quickly get amnesia. Our
citizens return to business as usual in a short time, because we are
resilient survivors.

Presumably, the rest of the world feels contempt for the perceived
short attention span of the American public. It might suspect that
we're suffering from a collective attention deficit disorder. The
truth is, we're just always looking for the next big thing. Americans
continue to move forward, but that's not a character defect.

We give away the whole enchilada to any foreigner who immigrates to
the U.S. in search of our fabled American dream. But the members of
the global community probably despise us because they think we're
greedy workaholics who are prone to neglecting hearth and home to
pursue the almighty greenback, while they put family first.

The citizens of the world likely conclude that we are a nation of
conspicuous consumers who can never acquire enough material
possessions, even as numerous displaced casualties overseas are
scrambling to survive another day.

The Asian disaster hasn't humbled Americans into adopting a more
modest lifestyle. We're spoiled by all the creature comforts, while
tsunami victims are struggling to sustain their lives.

Americans may soul-search to discover why we can't seem to win in the
world's opinion, but the bottom line remains: Although our detractors
might resent us, many of them yearn to live in our country. While
we're sipping the heady wine of a prosperous and progressive society,
those in other nations often keep sucking on sour grapes. Their envy
should not be our problem.

The American character has apparently endured a universally generated
bad-publicity campaign. But we should hold our heads aloft, not hang
them in shame.

We lavish love like a Labrador puppy and open our wallets when any
region requires assistance. The charitable character of the American
people is like the pick of the litter. We enjoy playing, but we will
bite when provoked. That's what keeps our nation strong.

Susan Campbell is a freelance writer from Los Angeles.


Message: 10
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 21:49:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: IRAQ: Interior Minister Refuses to Say Whether Terror Chief Is
in Custody


Iraqi Interior Minister Refuses to Say Whether Terror Chief Is in
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's interior minister on Saturday refused to
comment on rumors that the top terror leader in the country had been
taken into custody.

"I wouldn't like to comment for the time being," Interior Minister
Falah al-Naqib said when asked about rumors that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
had been arrested. "Let's see. Maybe in the next few days we will
make a comment about it."

Pressing him, a reporter asked, "Does that mean he is in custody?"

"No comment," the minister repeated, although he said that arrest
warrants had been issued for al-Zarqawi and several officials from
Saddam Hussein's regime, including Saddam deputy Izzat Ibrahim
al-Douri and the ousted leader's half brother, Sabaawi al-Hassan.

The rumors followed an interview aired on an Arab television station
earlier this month in which a Saudi man arrested for a deadly truck
bombing claimed that he heard from other insurgents that al-Zarqawi
had been arrested by Iraqi police in Fallujah but released because
authorities didn't recognize him.

Rumors spread that Iraqi authorities had al-Zarqawi in custody but
were waiting to announce it just before the Jan. 30 elections.

Al-Zarqawi, the leader of Iraq's al-Qaida affiliate, has claimed
responsibility for numerous attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces, along
with the kidnappings and the beheadings of several foreigners,
including Americans.

In an audiotape posted Thursday on the Web, a speaker who identified
himself as al-Zarqawi called on his followers to prepare for a long
struggle against the Americans and denounced Iraqi Shiites for
fighting alongside U.S. troops in last November's assault on the
rebel stronghold of Fallujah.

The United States has offered a $25 million reward for al-Zarqawi's
capture or death - the same amount as for Osama bin Laden.


Message: 11
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 22:03:51 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: Salman Rushdie: Do we have to fight the battle for the
Enlightenment all over again?


Salman Rushdie: Do we have to fight the battle for the Enlightenment
all over again?

Democracy is not a tea party. In the end, a fundamental decision has
to be made: do we want to live in a free society or not?

I was in Washington just before the Iraq war began and was invited to
speak to groups of senators of both parties. The most obvious
distinction between the Democrats and the Republicans was that the
Republicans used exclusively religious language. They discussed why
they hadn't seen each other at a certain prayer meeting. One Senator
said to me, in tones of genuine horror, that what he disliked most
about Osama bin Laden was that he called America a Godless country.
He said: "How can he call us Godless? We're incredibly God-fearing!"

I said: "Well, Senator, I suppose he doesn't think so." But his
outrage at being presented as un-Godly was undeniably sincere. He
meant business. And the increasing power of God-fearing America - of
the Christian coalition, Mel Gibson variety - subsequently determined
the result of last November's presidential election.

Now I come back to Britain and discover another kind of "anschluss"
of liberal values in the face of resurgent religious demands. It
seems we need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over
again in Europe too.

That battle was about the church's desire to place limits on thought.
The Enlightenment wasn't a battle against the state but against the
church. Diderot's novel La Religieuse, with its portrayal of nuns and
their behaviour, was deliberately blasphemous: it challenged
religious authority, with its indexes and inquisitions, on what it
was possible to say. Most of our contemporary ideas about freedom of
speech and imagination come from the Enlightenment. We may have
thought the battle won, but if we aren't careful, it is about to be

Offence and insult are part of everyday life for everyone in Britain.
All you have to do is open a daily paper and there's plenty to
offend. Or you can walk into the religious books section of a
bookshop and discover you're damned to various kinds of eternal
hellfire, which is certainly insulting, not to say overheated.

The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which
people will never be offended or insulted, have the right to call on
the law to defend them against being offended or insulted, is absurd.
In the end a fundamental decision needs to be made: do we want to
live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where
people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people
get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against
each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.)

At Cambridge I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never
personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people's
opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely
rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial
distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue
of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you
say that any idea system is sacred, whether it's a belief system or a
secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune
from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought
becomes impossible.

With their "incitement to religious hatred law", this government has
set out to create that impossibility. Privately they'll tell you the
law is designed to please "the Muslims". But which Muslims, when and
on what day?

The ability of this law to protect "the Muslims" seems to me
arguable. It is entirely possible that instead it will be used
against Muslims before it's used against anyone else. There are
identifiable racist and right-wing groups in this country who would
argue that Muslims are the ones inciting religious hatred, and these
groups will use, or try to use, this law.

There is no question that there also are Muslim leaders who are
anxious to prosecute - for example - The Satanic Verses, and will try
to do so if this law is passed. So this law will unleash some major
expressions of intolerance.

Already rioting Sikhs have forced the closure of Gurpreet Kaur
Bhatti's play, Behzti, in Birmingham and the government has said
nothing to criticise what was effectively criminal action. Hanif
Kureishi made one of the best comments about all this, when he noted
that the theatre was a temple, too - just as much as the fictional
temple in the play. Evangelical Christians caught on quickly and
protested against the BBC's screening of Jerry Springer. The Opera.

I took issue with the Granta editor Ian Jack when he declared that he
was perfectly happy for the British police to defend Wapping when
print workers were striking, but not the Birmingham theatre from the
offended Sikhs. Forgive me for not seeing the logic of the principle
of "restraint" he invoked. It seems to me to be a liberal failure to
say that even though we don't understand what is upsetting the
offended, we shouldn't upset them. That's condescension. That's
saying "you can have your little religion over there in the corner
and we won't fool with you."

What this kind of attitude ultimately does, and what the Government's
law will do, is to undermine a principle of free expression which
affects everyone in this country, religious or not. If we cannot have
open discourse about the ideas by which we live, then we are
straitjacketing ourselves.

It does matter that people have the right to take an argument to the
point where somebody is offended by what they say. It's no trick to
support the free speech of somebody you agree with or to whose
opinion you are indifferent. The defence of free speech begins at the
point when people say something you can't stand. If you can't defend
their right to say it, then you don't believe in free speech. You
only believe in free speech as long as it doesn't get up your nose.
But free speech does get up people's noses. Nietzche - as Matthew
Parris recently reminded us - called Christianity "the one great
curse" and "the one immortal blemish on mankind". Would Nietzsche now
be prosecuted?

There is a long tradition of irreverent, raw, and critical remarks
about religion in this country, some by very eminent thinkers, some
by our favourite comedians - like Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder
muttering "Bad weather is God's way of telling us we should burn more
Catholics." Even if the Government doesn't think that such remarks
will find their way into court prosecutions, the very possibility
that they might, at the discretion of the Attorney General, will be
enough to bring down the curtains of self- and corporate censorship.

It will be a sad day if this bad law comes into effect. If it does,
we shall have to break it and have it tested in the courts which one
hopes will recognise its manifest absurdity.

Salman Rushdie is President of American PEN, and a supporter of
English PEN's Free Expression is No Offence campaign


Message: 12
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 22:44:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: Islamophobia myth

Issue 107 / February 2005

Islamophobia myth
Kenan Malik

If there is a backlash against British Muslims, where is the evidence
for it? Scaremongering about Islamophobia promotes a Muslim victim
culture and allows some community leaders to inflame a sense of
injury while suppressing internal debate. The new religious hatred
law will make matters worse

Ten years ago, no one had heard of Islamophobia. Now everyone from
Muslim leaders to anti-racist activists to government ministers wants
to convince us that Britain is in the grip of a major backlash
against Islam.

But does Islamophobia exist? The trouble with the idea is that it
confuses hatred of, and discrimination against, Muslims on the one
hand with criticism of Islam on the other. The charge of
"Islamophobia" is all too often used not to highlight racism but to
silence critics of Islam, or even Muslims fighting for reform of
their communities.

In reality, discrimination against Muslims is not as great as is
often claimed. When making a film on Islamophobia for Channel 4, I
discovered a huge gap between perception and reality. One issue is
police harassment of Muslims. Last summer, the home office published
figures that revealed a 300 per cent increase in the number of Asians
being stopped and searched under Britain's anti-terror laws.
Journalists, Muslim leaders and even the home office all shouted
"Islamophobia." "The whole Muslim community is being targeted by the
police," claimed Khalid Sofi of the Muslim Council of Britain.

The bald figure of a "300 per cent increase" suggested heavy-handed
policing at the very least. But dig a little deeper and the figures
show that just 3,000 Asians had been stopped and searched in the
previous year under the Terrorism Act. Of these, probably half were
Muslim. In other words, around 1,500 Muslims out of a population of
at least 1.6m had been stopped under the terror laws—hardly a case
of the police targeting every Muslim.

A total of 21,577 people from all backgrounds were stopped and
searched under the terror laws. The majority—14,429—were white.
Yet when I interviewed Iqbal Sacranie, general secretary of the
Muslim Council of Britain, he insisted that "95-98 per cent of those
stopped and searched under the anti-terror laws are Muslim." The real
figure is 14 per cent (for Asians). However many times I showed him
the true statistics, he refused to budge. His figures appear to have
been simply plucked out of the sky.

There is disproportion in the treatment of Asians: they make up about
5 per cent of the population, but account for 14 per cent of those
stopped under the Terrorism Act. Could this be because of anti-Muslim
prejudice? Perhaps. But it is more likely to be because most
anti-terror sweeps take place in areas—near Heathrow airport, for
instance—where many Asians happen to live. Almost two thirds of
terrorism stop and search operations took place in London, where
Asians form 11 per cent of the population.

The claims of Islamophobia become even less credible if we consider
all stop and searches. Only a tiny proportion of the 869,164 stop and
searches in 2002-03 took place under the Terrorism Act. If there were
widespread Islamophobia within the police force, we should expect to
find Asians in disproportionate numbers in the overall figures. We
don't. Asians are stopped and searched roughly in proportion to their
population, if age structure is taken into account.

All these figures are in the public domain. Yet not one reputable
journalist challenged the claim that Asians were being
disproportionately stopped and searched. So pervasive is the
acceptance of Islamophobia that no one even bothers to check if it is

In the debate about stop and search, there is objective data against
which to check claims about Islamophobia. For physical attacks,
however, the truth is harder to discern. The definition of a racist
attack has changed radically over the past 20 years. These days
everything from name-calling to brutal assaults is included in the
figures. The problem is compounded by the fact that, following the
MacPherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the police
are obliged to accept the victim's perception of an attack. If the
victim believes it to be a racist attack, the police have to treat it
as one, leading to a large subjective element in the reporting.

If statistics for racist attacks are difficult to compile, it is even
more difficult to define an Islamophobic attack. Should we treat
every attack on a Muslim as Islamophobic? If an Afghan taxi driver is
assaulted, is this a racist attack, an Islamophobic incident or
simply a case of random violence? Such uncertainty gives licence to
peddle all sorts of claims about Islamophobia. According to Iqbal
Sacranie, Muslims have never faced greater physical danger than they
do now. The editor of the Muslim News, Ahmed Versi, similarly
believes that, "After 11th September, we had the largest number of
attacks ever on Muslims."

My personal experience and the statistics that do exist both
challenge these claims. When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s,
racism was vicious and often fatal. Stabbings and firebombings were
routine in some parts of Britain. In May 1978, over 7,000 Bengalis
marched from Whitechapel to Whitehall in protest at the murder of
garment worker Altab Ali near Brick Lane—one of eight racist
murders that year. In the decade that followed, there were at least
another 49 such killings. For Muslims, the end of the 1980s—from
the Rushdie affair to the first Gulf war—was particularly tough. I
used to organise patrols on east London estates to protect Asian
families from racist attacks.

Britain is a different place now—even for Muslims. There are still
racist attacks. Early in December, three young Muslims were beaten up
in Manchester by a 15-strong gang in what the police described as a
"dreadful racial attack." Yet we have moved a long way from the 1970s
and 1980s, and I get little sense of the intensity of racism that
existed then.

What statistics are available lends weight to this personal
perception. The EU was so concerned about attacks on Muslims in the
aftermath of 9/11 that it commissioned a special report. In the four
months following the attack on the World Trade Centre, the EU
discovered around a dozen serious physical attacks on British
Muslims. That is a dozen too many, but it does not amount to a
climate of Islamophobia.

Even Muslim organisations that campaign against Islamophobia find it
hard to make the case that attacks on Muslims are routine. The
Islamic Human Rights Commission monitored 344 attacks on Muslims in
the year after 11th September. Most were relatively minor incidents
such as shoving or spitting.

For Muslim leaders, inflating the threat of Islamophobia helps
consolidate their power base, both within their own communities and
wider society. British Muslims have long looked with envy at the
political power wielded by the Jewish community, and by the status
accorded to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. One of the reasons
for setting up the Muslim Council of Britain was to try to emulate
the political success of the board. Muslim leaders talk about using
Islamophobia in the same way that they perceive Jewish leaders to
have exploited fears about antisemitism.

Exaggerating anti-Muslim prejudice is also useful for mainstream
politicians, and especially for a Labour government that has faced
such a political battering over the war on Iraq and its anti-terror
laws. Being sensitive to Islamophobia allows them to reclaim some of
the moral high ground. It also allows Labour politicians to pitch for
the Muslim vote. Muslims may feel "betrayed" by the war on Iraq,
trade minister Mike O'Brien wrote recently in the Muslim Weekly, but
"the Labour government is trying to deliver an agenda that has shown
consideration and respect for Muslims." According to O'Brien: "Iqbal
Sacranie, the general secretary of the Muslim Council, asked Tony
Blair to declare that the government would introduce a new law
banning religious discrimination. Two weeks later, in his speech to
the Labour party conference, Tony Blair promised that the next Labour
government would ban religious discrimination. It was a major victory
for the Muslim community in Britain."

Pretending that Muslims have never had it so bad might bolster
community leaders and gain votes for politicians, but it does the
rest of us, Muslim or non-Muslim, no favours at all. The more that
ordinary Muslims come to believe that they are under constant attack,
the more resentful, inward-looking and open to extremism they are
likely to become.

In the course of making my documentary, I asked dozens of ordinary
Muslims across the country about their experiences of Islamophobia.
Everyone believed that police harassment was common, although no one
had been stopped and searched. Everyone insisted that physical
attacks were rife, though few had been attacked or knew anyone who
had. What is being created here is a culture of victimhood in which
"Islamophobia" has become a one-stop explanation for the many
problems facing Muslims.

Consider the social problems which beset Muslim communities.
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, who make up almost two thirds of the
Muslim population in this country, are more than twice as likely to
be unemployed than whites; the average earnings of Muslim men are 68
per cent that of non-Muslim men; 65 per cent of Bangladeshis are
semi-skilled manual workers compared with 23 per cent among other
ethnic minorities and 15 per cent among white Britons; 54 per cent of
Pakistani and Bangladeshi homes receive income support; in 2000, 30
per cent of Pakistani students gained five or more good GCSEs,
compared with 50 per cent in the population as a whole. It has become
common to blame all of this on Islamophobia. According to the Muslim
News, "media reportage on Islam and Muslims has a huge impact on
Muslim labour market performance."

Unemployment, poverty and poor educational achievement are not,
however, new phenomena in Muslim communities in this country, and the
causes are many and varied. Racism plays a role. But so does class.
The social profile of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis is closer to that
of Afro-Caribbeans than it is to Indians or Chinese. While the latter
are often from middle-class backgrounds, most Bangladeshis,
Pakistanis and Afro-Caribbeans come from working-class or rural

Some also point the finger at cultural practices within some Muslim
communities. "By and large," the journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
acknowledges, "the lowest achieving communities in this country are
Muslim. When you talk to people about why this is happening, the one
reason they give you, the only reason they give you, is
Islamophobia." It is not an argument that Alibhai-Brown accepts. "It
is not Islamophobia that makes parents take 14-year-old bright girls
out of school to marry illiterate men."

Alibhai-Brown disagrees with me about the extent of Islamophobia,
believing that it is a major force shaping Muslim lives. But, she
adds, it has also become "a convenient label, a figleaf… and all
too often Islamophobia is used to blackmail society."

What all this suggests is the need for a frank, open debate about
Muslims and their relationship to wider British society. The
likelihood of such a frank, open debate is, however, not very high.
"Islamophobia" has become not just a description of anti-Muslim
prejudice but also a prescription for what may or may not be said
about Islam. Every year, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
organises a mock awards ceremony for its "Islamophobe of the Year."
Last year there were two British winners. One was Nick Griffin of the
British National Party. The other was Guardian columnist Polly
Toynbee. Toynbee's defence of secularism and women's rights, and
criticism of Islam, was, the IHRC declared, unacceptable. Isn't it
absurd, I asked Massoud Shadjareh of the IHRC, to equate a liberal
anti-racist like Polly Toynbee with the leader of a neo-fascist
party. Not at all, he replied. "We need to engage and discuss. But
there's a limit to that." It is difficult to know what engagement and
discussion could mean when
leading Muslim figures are unable to distinguish between liberal
criticism and neo-fascist attacks. It would be tempting to dismiss
the IHRC as a fringe organisation. But it is not. It is a consultant
body to the UN. Its work has been praised by the Commission for
Racial Equality. More importantly, its principal argument—that in a
plural society, free speech is limited by the need not to give
offence to particular religious or cultural groups—has become
widely accepted.

So the government is proposing new legislation to outlaw incitement
to religious hatred. The serious and organised crime and police bill
will make it an offence "to knowingly use words, behaviour or
material that is threatening, abusive or insulting with the intention
or likely effect that hatred will be stirred up against a group of
people targeted because of their religious beliefs." Supporters of
the law claim that it will extend to Muslims, and other faith groups,
the same protection that racial groups already possess. Sikhs and
Jews are protected by the Race Relations Act. The new law is designed
to meet the Muslim concern that they have been left out.

But it is already an offence to incite religious hatred. The 1986
Public Order Act was amended in 1998 to include the offence of
"religious aggravation." A person commits an offence if he "displays
any writing, sign or other visible representation which is
threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a
person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress." The
offence "may be committed in a public or private place." Shortly
after 9/11, Mark Norwood, a BNP member, was convicted under this law
after he placed a poster in his window with a picture of the World
Trade Centre in flames and the slogan "Islam out of Britain."

In any case, there is a fundamental difference between race and
religion. You can't choose your skin colour; you can choose your
beliefs. Religion is a set of beliefs. I can be hateful about other
beliefs, such as conservatism or communism. So why can't I be hateful
about religion too?

Some supporters of the law insist that it will continue to allow us
to mock and criticise religions. But in practice the law could be a
nightmare to enforce. Every Muslim leader I have spoken to wants to
use the law to ban The Satanic Verses. Ahmed Versi, editor of the
Muslim News, thinks that Margaret Thatcher should have been
prosecuted for suggesting that after 11th September there had not
been "enough condemnation of terrorism from Muslim priests."

Ten years ago, the Tory government rejected a similar law because
ministers feared that it could be used to ban The Satanic Verses.
Today, home office ministers and the director of public prosecutions
assure everyone that this won't happen. "We will still be free to
insult each other," the director of public prosecutions, Ken
Macdonald, told me. This means many Muslims will not be satisfied.
Having encouraged exaggerated fears about anti-Muslim prejudice, and
led Muslims to believe that the new law has been designed to meet
their concerns, ministers might find it difficult to dampen Muslim
expectations. The current view of the courts is that any material
that encourages public disorder can be seen as inciting racial or
religious hatred. So the new law may establish an incentive to create
public disorder as disgruntled groups attempt to censor what they
regard as offensive. The scenes in Birmingham outside the Sikh play
Behzti may be repeated many times.

In a sense, though, the flaws in the proposed law are irrelevant,
because its real value is not practical but, in the words of the
director of public prosecutions, "symbolic." The legislation sets
out, not to provide legal remedy for a real problem, but to make a
moral statement about what is and is not socially acceptable. The aim
of the law is not to censor us, but to get us to censor ourselves.

The irony of this approach is that it undermines what is valuable
about living in a diverse society. Diversity is important, not in
itself, but because it allows us to expand our horizons, to compare
different values, beliefs and lifestyles, and make judgements upon
them. In other words, it allows us to engage in political dialogue
and debate that can help to create more universal values and beliefs,
and a collective language of citizenship. But it is just such
dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that
contemporary multiculturalism attempts to suppress in the name of
"tolerance" and "respect."


Message: 13
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 22:20:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Khilafah
Subject: JIHAD - Part 2

JIHAD - Part 2
uploaded 23 Jan 2005

'Jihaad' is extracted from the source, 'Jaahada' and it measured upon
the fourth verb structure, which means interaction between two sides,
al-Mufa'ala. Another example is 'Al-Khisaam' which means to quarrel
and is extracted from its roots source 'Khaasama' . Also, there is
the example of 'Jidaal', which means to discuss or to argue and is
taken from the root source 'Jaadala'.

In the tongue of the Arabs, al-Jihaad means, 'exerting ability and
effort to do an action or express opinions'.

In Al-Munjid, the words Jaahada, Mujaahada and Jihaadan means,
'exerting effort and ability to push the other away'.

In the Tafseer of al-Naysaboori it is clearly stated that 'al-Jihaad'
means to exert effort to achieve the objective or what is intended.

After all of these related definitions of the word 'al-Jihaad' in the
language, it is possible to give a clear linguistic definition, which
is: 'al-jihaad is the exerting of all effort and ability between two
sides by the least.'

Based on the linguistic definition, the exerted effort could be via
material weapons or without a weapon, with money or without money.
Also it could be the struggle between two opposing desires exerting
effort (jihaad) to overcome the other.

It could also be by words and could be by refusing to do an action or
to speak. An example of this is like the one who disobeys his parents
when they order him to disobey Allah (swt) and the person becomes
patient and perseveres when his parents insist in ordering him. And
it is like the one who abstains from committing a haram desire when
his nafs calls him to it. This is what is mentioned in Hashiyat
Al-Jamal in al-Jalalayn: 'Jihaad is to have patience on difficulties.
It could be during war and it could be inside the nafs.'

Based on this linguistic definition, the opponent that the Muslim
engages Jihaad against could be his own nafs, or the shaiytan, or the
transgressor or the kuffar. Additionally, by this definition, Jihaad
could also be that which is in the way of Allah (swt) 'Fi Sabeel
Lillah'. So the Jihaad could be undertaken to please Allah (swt) or
to please the shaiytan, like the jihaad of the Kuffar against others.
Al-Naysaboori, wrote,

'It is exerting effort to achieve the objective or what is intended
regardless of the nature of the objective intended by the one who is
exerting the effort.'

The Quran used the word 'Jihaad' in describing the activity of the
kaafir fathers to make their believing children reject true belief.
Allah (swt) says,

'If they do jihaad to make commit association with me - do not obey
them' (TMQ Surah Luqman 31:15)


Message: 14
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 23:20:26 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: Deepak Chopra tackles world peace


India-born Spiritual leader Deepak Chopra tackles world peace

NEW YORK - It's an incongruous image: Deepak Chopra, leader of a
spiritual movement that has introduced millions of Americans to the
benefits of positive thinking, waving a cell phone in the air as he
lists its capacities for destruction.

'I could be sitting anywhere in the world and move a few electrons
from here, and I'll interfere with the power grid for the entire
state of New York,' he says. 'Or I'll interfere with air traffic
signals so no plane can land at JFK. What is military power going to
do then'.

Chopra hasn't snapped. He's explaining what he sees as the
ineffectiveness of conventional warfare in an age when terrorists can
wreak havoc without a single armed troop.

What's needed instead, he says, is a return to the ancient principle
that peace begins within: Just as individuals can now perpetrate mass
violence, individuals must also take responsibility for creating
world peace.

That's the message of Chopra's new book, 'Peace Is the Way,' which
offers seven daily practices that he says will create inner peace
and, by extension, a more placid world.

Is it naive to think enough people will adopt his ideas to make a

'We have to try. If you ask anybody on the street, 'Do you want peace
of mind in your life and in your relationships'' nobody is going to
say no,' he says. 'Magnify that a few million times - that's what we

It's that steadfast optimism that has become Chopra's trademark. He
has made a career of purveying hope, earning an estimated $10 million
$ 7.6 million) to $15 million ($11.5 million) by selling 20 million
copies of his 40 books and operating a successful wellness center in

His legions of fans include the Dalai Lama, former Nobel laureates
Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams and Oscar Arias, and former U.N.
Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose endorsements fill the
first few pages of 'Peace Is the Way.'

He has also become the unofficial television spokesman of the New Age
movement, appearing on scores of TV talk shows each year, from 'The
Oprah Winfrey Show' to 'The O'Reilly Factor.'

It's easy to see why. Wearing a pair of rainbow-framed reading
glasses and speaking in a voice that rarely deviates from a singsong
cheerfulness, Chopra comes across as casual and approachable. During
a recent interview in a lounge at his midtown Manhattan apartment
building, he is dressed in a sweater and slacks and weighs a few
pounds more than the average health expert.

True to his image as an unflappable guru, Chopra - who's about 58 but
doesn't remember exactly when he was born - says notoriety doesn�t
faze him. He says he leads a normal family life with his wife, Rita,
and has two grown children and a granddaughter.

'I don't get drawn into the melodrama,' he says. 'I meditate two
hours every day and exercise every day. Once in a while, I feel
stressed, but not really. It's not in my nature.'

Another key to his success lies in his ability to make ancient Hindu
teachings relevant to a contemporary audience, says Bawa Jain,
secretary general of the World Council of Religious Leaders.

'There are great Indian leaders who know their scriptures in depth,
but the way Deepak communicates, I don't see anyone else having that
ability,' says Jain, who has known Chopra for about 12 years. 'He's
very carefully crafted those scriptures to have application to our
lives, and then marketed them very well. And God bless him for it.'

His previous writings have instructed readers how to adopt a positive
attitude to combat chronic illnesses such as addiction or insomnia,
and in 'Peace Is the Way'. Chopra treats violence in similar terms.

'Like any habit, war has worn a groove in our minds,' he writes in
the first chapter. 'We reach for war the way a chain-smoker reaches
for a cigarette, muttering all the while that we have to quit.'

It may surprise some, but Chopra is writing from personal experience.
In the mid-1980s, when he was chief of staff of New England Memorial
Hospital near Boston, Chopra was on the brink of an emotional
breakdown. He drank, smoked and was a self-described caffeine addict.
In desperation, he turned to yoga and meditation to relieve his
stress, and began to see their positive contrast to the 'pill-pushing'
he says he did as a conventional doctor.

He also traveled to India, where he was born and earned his medical
degree. There, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a meditation teacher and
spiritual leader who famously served as guru to The Beatles in the
1960s. The Maharishi introduced Chopra to Ayurvedic medicine, which
uses herbal mixtures to stave off illness.

After returning to the United States, Chopra founded an Ayurvedic
health center in 1985, the same year he quit his hospital job. He
started writing books, with the first, 'Creating Health,' appearing
in 1987. His breakthrough success came with 'Ageless Body, Timeless
Mind,' published in 1993, in which he argued that people could slow
the aging process through meditation, better diet and self-affirmation

In 1996, he opened The Chopra Center in La Jolla, California. A day
spa at the center offers massages, aromatherapy and other 35-minute
treatments ranging in price from $95 to $185 ; seminars and retreats
with titles like 'Renewal Weekend' and 'Journey Into Healing' are also

As Chopra's fame and financial success grew, he began to sever his
ties to the Western medical establishment, letting his medical
licenses expire in Massachusetts and California.

The estrangement was mutual. Some mainstream doctors dismissed
Chopra's mind-body approach as ineffective in treating disease, and
in the early 1990s he was accused of making a backhanded pitch for
his health center when he wrote an article in the Journal of American
Medical Association about the benefits of herbal medicine.

Today, he maintains his goals are altruistic, and says he channels
much of his earnings to charity.

'I've become successful by nurturing people,' he says. 'I haven't
done it by selling weapons.'

Recently, he has even made some amends with the medical community. He
teaches a course at Harvard Medical School once a year, and he says
courses at The Chopra Center are now certified by the American
Medical Association. He is again a licensed medical doctor in
California, though he only rarely sees individual patients.

'I was criticized, called a fraud - it was a very cantankerous and
antagonistic relationship (with the medical mainstream). So I basically
left. Now I get constantly invited to give talks at medical schools,
and professional societies are giving me honorary memberships,' he says
with a laugh, and shrugs.

'I guess we've come full circle.'


Message: 15
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 04:34:50 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: PAKISTAN: Balochistan - Opening another Front?

Balochistan: Opening another Front?

Kanchan Lakshman
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management; Assistant Editor,
Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution

As the people of Pakistan celebrated Id-ul-Azha, there was an
unexpected and uncertain lull in violence in the province of
Balochistan. In the days before the annual Muslim 'festival of
sacrifice', the Pakistan Army had moved nearly a division into the
Sui and Bugti areas, following crippling attacks on the Sui gas
purification plants and pipelines. There were heightened anxieties
that this was the beginning of a new and brutal crackdown in this
sprawling, restive and backward province.

Balochistan has been simmering for decades, but temperatures have
risen drastically over the past year. 103 people died and over 300
were wounded in insurgency-related violence in 2004. Things were
brought abruptly to a boil in Sui after the Army sought to cover up
the brutal gang-rape of a woman doctor at the Sui Refinery in the
night of January 2-3, allegedly by an officer and personnel of the
Army's Defense Security Guards (DSG) who are charged with the
protection of the sprawling gas installation. While the status of
women leaves much to be desired in Balochistan, the incidence of rape
is extraordinarily low, and tribesmen react with extreme violence to
this particular crime.

Nevertheless, the ferocity of the attacks on the critical gas
infrastructure was symptomatic of a wider and more intense anger than
the reaction provoked by the rape incident. Just between January 7
and January 12, for instance, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan
Sherpao disclosed that as much as 14,000 rounds of small arms, 435
rounds of rocket and mortars, and 50 to 60 rounds of multi-barrel
rocket launchers had been fired by the rebels. At least 15 persons
had been killed in these attacks and there was extensive damage to
the main purification plant and pipelines. The pipeline has been
frequently attacked in the past, but supplies have seldom been
disrupted for more than a couple of days. This time around, however,
it is estimated that a complete restoration of supplies would take
nearly a month. Sherpao also disclosed that gas supply to 22 per cent
of total consumers in the country had been stopped. According to
analyst Rashed Rahman, moreover, the power and fertilizer sectors,
almost the entire industrial sector in the North West Frontier
Province (NWFP), some industries in Punjab and Sindh, and even
commercial and domestic consumers have been deprived of gas supply
either completely or at certain peak hours. A spokesman for the Sui
Southern Gas Pipelines Ltd. disclosed that gas-distribution company
had been "forced to implement a 14-hour load management schedule for
gas consumers in Sindh province". The Punjab province was also facing
a shortage of 460 million cubic feet in its daily requirement of
1,650 million cubic feet according to the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline
Ltd, which is responsible for the distribution of gas to 2.25 million
consumers in about 430 cities, towns and villages in the provinces of
Punjab, the NWFP and the Federal capital, Islamabad.

Stung, President General Pervez Musharraf had warned the rebels,
"Don't push us… It is not the '70s. We will not climb mountains
behind them, they will not even know what and from where something
has come and hit them."

By January 17, Nawab Akbar Bugti, the sardar (chieftain) of the Bugti
tribe that dominates the Sui region, was complaining, "There are
activities in the area which suggest that they intend only a war
against us. For the last two days there has been a full military
build-up in the area. According to my information, 36 trucks loaded
with army men have reached [the area] and more are coming from
different [army] cantonments. At Sibi air base, six gunship
helicopters have landed. Today [Thursday] aircraft and helicopters
have been flying in our skies for ground checks. They have also
brought tanks and 12 artillery pieces." It was Nawab Bugti who had
widely publicized the rape incident, and had publicly named the
alleged perpetrator, one Captain Emad and three soldiers of the DSG,
and intelligence sources indicate that the bulk of the subsequent
attacks on the Sui infrastructure had been executed by members of the
Kalpar sub-tribe of the Bugti tribe. During combing operations in and
around Dera Bugti, some 80 persons were reported to have been
arrested and an unspecified number of weapons seized. On January 20,
troops demolished houses allegedly used by the tribesmen to launch
the rocket attacks and secure areas near the gas field. Apart from
beefing up its Forces in the Bugti-Sui areas, ostensibly to guard oil
installations, the Army has expanded its base of operations and
efforts to consolidate operational capacities are visible, including
the buildup of focused intelligence on specific targets that are to
be taken up in the next and potentially intensive phase of
operations. Sources indicate, moreover, that a Cabinet meeting held
on January 17, 2005, had secured near-unanimity on the
intensification of military operations against the Baloch rebels,
though a 'consensus' on securing a 'negotiated settlement' with
Baloch leaders was projected in the Press.

It was the dissent of the Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) leaders in the
Cabinet that has, however, imposed a measure of caution in this
process. The exiled MQM leader (currently in London) Altaf Hussain
had also threatened that his party would pull out of the Government
if there is a crackdown in Balochistan, and another prominent Sindhi
leader, the National People's Party (NPP) Chief, Ghulam Mustafa
Jatoi, had turned Musharraf's threat on its head, declaring that the
Sindhis would not abandon the Baloch and that "It is no more an era
of the 1970s, everyone now possesses lethal weapons."

While the Government at the Centre would not be affected by an MQM
pull-out, the coalition Government in Sindh could collapse, and the
sectarian violence that long dominated the province could revive.
With Sindh and Balochistan destabilized, an opportunistic escalation
in NWFP would be a distinct possibility, and the whole situation in
Pakistan could acquire a 'house of cards' profile. As commentator
Ayaz Amir expressed it, "The Pakistan Army cannot afford another
operation against its own people."

There is, however, a strong constituency, particularly within the
Army and intelligence, who believe that the 'low-intensity' approach
to the Baloch insurgency has failed and that a change in tactics is
now necessary.

Nevertheless, attempts at political management have gone side by side
with the beefing up of Forces in the province. There have been
unsuccessful efforts to neutralize the MQM's sway in Sindh by
reviving the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and sources indicate that
Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief, Lt. Gen. Pervez Kiani, and
National Security Advisor, Tariq Aziz had flown to meet the exiled
PPP Chief, Benazir Bhutto, in Dubai to try and work out a deal. A
deal with the PPP at this stage is, however, impossible, since Bhutto
can hardly afford to be seen as bailing out the military regime and
supporting a military crackdown.

At the same time, a Parliamentary sub-committee on Balochistan headed
by Mushahid Hussain has recommended a 15 to 20 per cent increase in
gas royalties (a long-standing grievance has been the pittance
Balochistan receives as compensation for its natural resources;
Sindh, according to one report, receives Rs. 140 as royalty per
million BTU (British Thermal Unit), Punjab, Rs. 80 to 190;
Balochistan receives just Rs. 36); 20 to 30 per cent resource
allocation for local development; and constitutional changes for
greater provincial autonomy. The Committee has emphasized a political
solution to the problems of the Baloch.

All this may, however, be too little, too late. Earlier, on December
17, 2004, Ataullah Mengal, a Baloch nationalist leader, Chairman of
the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM), and chief of the
Mengal tribe, had walked out of the Parliamentary sub-committee
declaring that 'nothing could come of it.' Nawab Bugti has also
declared that "Military operation and negotiations could not continue
side by side."

Underlying the entire conflict is a crisis of faith. Islamabad has
never trusted the Baloch. And the Baloch find little reason in their
history to trust Islamabad. Worse, recent developments in the
province have immensely intensified their apprehensions. One of their
greatest fears, as articulated by Nawab Bugti, is that "They are
trying to change the Baloch majority into a minority by accommodating
more than five million non-locals in Gwadar and other developed
areas." Another is that the power of the Sardars and the relative
autonomy long enjoyed in wide areas of the province is being
destroyed by Musharraf's plans to transform all 'B areas' into 'A
areas', and to bring them under centralized systems of policing and
administration. The sheer distance the situation in Balochistan has
traversed is reflected in the irony of the fact that Nawab Bugti, one
of the most vehement voices of opposition to Islamabad today, was, in
fact, the Governor of Balochistan during the rebellion of the 1970s,
and sided with the Army in the widespread repression that crushed
that movement.

The truth is, Musharraf's plans for Balochistan - whether military,
economic or political - stand in irreducible opposition to
perceptions of local interest among the people of the province. That
puts Islamabad squarely between a rock and a hard place in this
strategic and resource-rich land that has long remained on the
periphery of Pakistan's projects and perceptions.

Volume 3, No. 28, January 24, 2005

Message: 16
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 05:11:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla North East India Monitors
Subject: INDIA: North East Insurgency Report 23JAN [14 News Clippings]



Assam Tribune - Editorial

01. Blame game

The political parties have resorted to a blame game on the failure to
seal the international border to prevent infiltration of foreign
nationals and free movement of insurgents but no party can escape the
responsibility for the present situation as over the years, the issue
of border management in the North East failed to receive due
attention from successive Governments at the Centre.

During his recent visit to Assam, the Union Minister of State for
Home, Sriprakash Jaiswal alleged that the previous National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government did not give due attention to
completion of the fencing along the Assam-Bangladesh border and
claimed that the present Government has taken up the matter
seriously. But the NDA leaders, on the other hand, have been alleging
that successive Congress Governments at the Centre failed to complete
the border fencing and due importance was not given to the matter.
But the fact remains that both the major national political parties-
Congress and the BJP must take the responsibility for the delay in
completion of the fencing along the porous Indo-Bangla border.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is now demanding that an electric
fencing with floodlights should be installed along the border to
check infiltration, but such a demand should have come long back and
it remains to be seen whether the Central Government headed by Dr
Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, accepts the demand
in the interest of protecting the identity of the indigenous people
of Assam, who are threatened in their own land because of the
demographic invasion of foreign nationals.

The decision to erect fencing along the Indo-Bangla border was taken
after the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, but unfortunately,
till date, the fencing has not been completed and the quality of the
fencing left much to be desired. The fencing is broken in many parts,
making it easy for the infiltrators, insurgents and smugglers to
sneak into India from Bangladesh and this happened mainly because of
faulty design of the fencing. In most places in Dhubri and Karimganj
sectors, the fencing is constructed at a much lower height than the
border roads and the same remains under water during the rainy
season. If the Government is really serious on sealing the
international border, responsibility should be fixed on the persons
responsible for the faulty design of the fencing. Way back in 1998,
the then Governor of Assam, Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha submitted a report
to the President of India where he highlighted the poor quality of
the fencing and suggested that the quality of the fencing should be
improved to
bring at par with that of Punjab. But so far, the Central Government
has not acted on the report of the Governor to improve the quality of
the fencing, which raised doubts on the sincerity of the Government
in checking illegal migration of foreigners to Assam.

In addition to completing the fencing on war footing, the Central
Government should give stress on border management as a whole in the
entire north eastern region, which is surrounded by foreign countries
on three sides and connected with the rest of India only by a
chicken’s neck corridor of 22 kilometres in North Bengal. Proper
border management will not only check infiltration of foreigners and
movement of insurgents, but also check smuggling to a great extent.
If smuggling can be checked and steps are taken for opening up of
trade ties with the neighbouring countries, the north eastern region
as a whole with abundance of natural resources, will be economically

Of course, with the Look East policy adopted by the Central
Government and holding of the India-ASEAN car rally, there is ample
scope of improvement of trade ties between India and the ASEAN
countries through the north eastern region and the Prime Minister,
during the flagging off of the car rally expressed the view that the
backward region can become the hub of trade and commerce between
India and ASEAN nations. One hopes that the Government of India takes
steps for translating the vision of the Prime Minister into reality
as soon as pOSSIBLE.



02. ULFA running out of allies
By A Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 23 – The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is
running out of allies in the North East even as it is increasingly
coming under the all-engulfing embrace of the Pakistani
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Islamic Jehadi elements
entrenched in Bangladesh. The National Democratic Front of Bodoland
(NDFB), one of the ULFA’s key partners for several years, has
broken out of the “strategic alliance” led by the ULFA, security
sources said.

The isolation is becoming more and more evident, the sources pointed
out, citing the latest Republic Day boycott call issued by the
ULFA’s publicity wing on behalf of four militant outfits. Joining
the boycott call this time, along with the ULFA, are the Kamatapur
Liberation Organisation (KLO), the Manipur People’s Liberation
Front (MPLF) and the Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF).
Apart from the MPLF and the ULFA, the other two outfits are not of
much consequence the sources feel.

A glaring absentee from the list of boycotters is the NDFB. “It
means the Bodo outfit is making an effort to veer round to the
consensus of holding discussions with the government,” the sources
said. The NDFB, it may be mentioned, has already announced a
unilateral ceasefire with the outfit considerably curtailing its
activities in recent times. Though the Centre is yet to come out
openly with its stance on the talk offer, apart from merely stating
that it is watching the developments, something concrete could come
up soon, the sources informed.

The NDFB’s decision of not joining the other militant groups in
calling for the Republic Day boycott, could eventually pave the way
for fruitful discussions between the outfit and the government. But
as far as the ULFA is concerned, it is a major strategic setback, the
sources felt. For years, the ULFA had depended on the Bodo outfit for
logistical support in the areas where the former dominated. Those
areas included almost the entire stretch of middle and lower Assam
north of the Brahmaputra.

“The NDFB was also instrumental in introducing the ULFA to the
possibility and viability of operating ultra bases in Bhutan and the
Garo Hills of Meghalaya,” the sources stated. Though the Bhutan
camps have been dislocated after the Bhutanese government launched a
military offensive against Indian ultras there, the Garo Hills is
still a major base as well as transit route for the ULFA. The
cooperation of a section of the local people to carry out their
activities in the hills was facilitated to a large extent by the
NDFB’s close links with the Garo militant outfit A’chik National
Volunteer Council (ANVC).

Now with both the ANVC and NDFB deciding to take the peace path, the
ULFA could witness a drastic change in the ground situation in the
Bodo-dominated areas of Assam as well as the Garo Hills. “This is
perhaps the reason why the ULFA has not been as active in lower Assam
as it has been in upper Assam of late,” the sources felt.

The parting of ways between the ULFA and the NDFB has not been
amicable. This is pretty evident from the tenor of the statement
issued by the ULFA’s mysterious Rubi Bhuyan on Republic Day eve.

“Today, a sharp polarisation is taking place among the armed
struggles of the region. At one pole is the host of ethnic-exclusive
organisations who have entered into ��ceasefire agreements’ and/or
��peace talks’ with the Indian government. At the other pole stand
the revolutionary organisations of historical states of Assam,
Kamatapur, Manipur and Tripura who are holding fast to their guns to
continue their liberation struggle until sovereignty and independence
is achieved. This polarisation was bound to emerge given the
ideologies of ethnic-based struggles which fit well within the Indian
state structure and becomes handy tools for ��divide and destroy’
game of Indian colonial policies,” the militant statement stated.


03. Intelligence reports warn of N-E ultras threat on R-Day:

New Delhi, Jan 23 : Security agencies apprehend a threat to the
Republic Day celebrations from north-east ultras with intelligence
inputs pointing to this and have chalked out elaborate protective

arrangements for the smooth conduct of the programmes.

Intelligence reports have warned that ULFA, NDFB, KLO and like-minded
outfits have planned to sabotage the celebrations through bomb blasts
or other terrorist acts, police sources said.

The reports indicate that insurgents may try to use sniper fire to
target some prominent political leaders of the country.

Bhutan king Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who will be the Chief Guest for
this Republic Day, also figures in the target list as he had ordered
flush-out operations in his country against north-east insurgents
last year.

In view of the reports, multilayered security arrangements have been
worked out to prevent any untoward incident.

Delhi police will mobilise entire 65,000 personnel besides about 200
from the para-military forces to assist them.

Commandoes of NSG, Delhi police and para-military forces will be
deployed at various places and quick reaction teams deputed at other
vantage points to prevent anny attack.

All PCR vans will be mobilised to patrol Delhi's roads during the
celebrations. PTI



04. No responsibility for any R-Day violence: ULFA
By A Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 23 – The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) today
said that the outfit would not be responsible if the Government
machinery or anti-ULFA forces target innocent people to put the blame
on the ULFA. Talking to The Assam Tribune over telephone from an
undisclosed location, the ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah
called upon the people of Assam not to attend India’s Republic Day
celebrations and avoid boarding Government vehicles from the midnight
of January 25 to the evening of January 26 and said, “The ULFA
would not be responsible if any unfortunate incident takes place.”
He alleged that there is every possibility of anti-ULFA forces trying
to indulge in some kind of action against innocent people to put the
blame on the ULFA.

Replying to a question on the media reports of the ULFA targeting
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, the
ULFA commander-in-chief said that some intelligence officials were
spreading such rumours with a view to getting awards during India’s
Republic Day. “If they have any specific information, they should
make it public. We do not make public our strategy and our planning
is not so weak that everyone would know about it. Once we targeted
former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and no one was aware of
the same,” he added.

Commenting on the possibility of talks with the Government of India,
Baruah said that it would depend entirely on the sincerity of the
Government. He expressed the view that noted litterateur Mamoni
Raisom Goswami was trying her best to initiate talks but so far the
Government of India has not shown sincerity on the issue. He said
that the ULFA proved its sincerity for talks by dropping two
preconditions but the Government of India did not reciprocate. He
asserted that the ULFA would come for talks only if the Government of
India agrees to discuss the issue of sovereignty of Assam.

Baruah asserted that there was no rift in the ULFA on the issue of
talks with the Government as claimed by certain sections. “The ULFA
chairman also made the organisation’s stand clear on the issue of
talks and we are all united on the issue. Our jailed leaders have
also made the organisation’s stand clear time and again on the
issue of talks,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday
admitted in a press conference that the State Government had received
an intimation from the Centre, which said that he was in the hitlist
of the ULFA.



05. Nagaland and Assam feuds over territorial boundaries
Sonia Joshi, Special Correspondent

Assam and Nagaland have started their cold war on territories and
that is becoming an irritating factor for the Central Indian
Government. This can cause problems in Naga peace talks and also
flare a new nationalist sentiment in Assam.

Not an inch of Assam's territory would be given to Nagaland and there
would be no compromise on the territorial boundary of the State,"
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Saturday. "Our stand is very
clear. We are very firm that we will not give one inch of Assam land
and we will stick to the Constitutional territorial boundary of our
State", he told reporters here. To a querry on the Arunachal Pradesh,
Manipur and other neighbouring states uniting on not allowing their
territory to be taken by Nagaland, he said, there was no such
immediate move. On the Centre moving out 40 companies of
para-military troops from Assam for deployment in the three States
going to the polls, Gogoi said he would take up the matter with the




06. Public support sought for R-day strike

The Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, Jan 23: In line with the Republic Day boycott call given
jointly by four underground groups of the region, the umbrella
Manipur People’s Liberation Front, MPLF, has appealed to the people
ofManipur to make the general strike called on that day a successful

The permanent body of the MPLF, in a statement, said people should
stay off the roads, shops and business establishments should remain
closed, and there should be no public entertainment during the period
of the strike. The general strike, it may be mentioned, will be from
1 am till 6 pm on January 26.

The MPLF however stated that the media and medical services will be
exempt from the purview of the bandh.

It may be mentioned that the MPLF, along with the Kamotapur
Liberation Organisation, United Liberation Front of Asom and Tripura
People’s Democratic Front, had jointly called a boycott of the
Republic Day celebrations in the north-east region. Several other
groups have also seperately called for a Republic Day boycott.



07. Two UG cadres killed, arms recovered

The Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, Jan 23: In a counter insurgency operation carried out by the
Army in the border area of Churachandpur district, troops killed two
suspected MPA cadres in Shingmun area of Henglep sub-division and
recovered four weapons including two automatic rifles, one grenade
launcher and one pistol, said a PIB (defence wing) release.

In addition, they unearthed another cache of ammunition, mines,
explosives, radio sets and rations belonging to valley based
insurgent groups in the Singhat sub division.

The statement further said that the continuing success of Army
operations in these areas will go a long way in providing a secure
environment for the public to carry out their function without the
fear of UGs. The recovered arms and ammunition are being handed over
to the police.



08. Four injured in wanton firing by gunmen

The Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, Jan 23: Four youths were injured, one of them critically when
some unidentified persons suspected to be members of a faction of a
valley underground group opened fire in the middle of a crowd at
Yumnam Leikai around midnight last night under Imphal West police

All the injured were evacuated to RIMS hospital soon after the
incident. Among them, Yumnam Shyamananda Singh, 30, was hit in the
head, and his condition is reported to be critical. He was referred
to JN hospital from RIMS early this morning.

Among the others, Yumnam Sashikumar Singh 25, sustained a bullet
wound at his left hand, Ningthoujam Meghamani Singh 34, was injured
in his right leg and Ngambam Shanker Singh 23, was injured at the
right hand.

According to the victims, the incident occurred in the midst of a
classical music concert which was being held last night at Yumnam
Leikai Lairembi Lampak in connection with the Imoinu festival.

According to sources, at around 12.30 am, some local volunteers were
seen chasing some youths who were said to be involved in snatching of
money from the public earlier in the evening in the area. The youths
on the other hand, suddenly opened indiscriminate fire toward the
crowd injuring the four youths.

Later the unidentified gunmen numbering about eight managed to escape
under cover of darkness.

Another local source said, yesterday night around 11.30 pm about
seven or eight armed persons who claimed to be members of an UG
faction had thrashed some members of the public who had come to
attend the classical music nite held at Yumnam Leikai Lairembi Lampak
and also reportedly snatched money from various persons at
Thumbuthong Hanba bridge at gun point.

At least two persons identified as Chontham Romi 30 of Yaiskul and
Waikhom Naocha 14 of Yumnam Leikai were injured by the gunmen. On the
other hand, after hearing the reports of looting of public money and
brutal assault on innocent youths, the local public attempted to
catch the assailants but they managed to escape after opening firing.

In the meantime, a projectile which was removed from Ng. Shanker
after operation at RIMS was seized by the Imphal west police today.



09. Jawan among 6 shot during festive joy

Imphal, Jan 23: One jawan of the India Reserve Battalion was among
six persons shot at and injured by four unknown persons who came in a
two wheelers. The gun totting youths opened firing to the crowds who
were enjoying the festive joy of the traditional Ima Imoinu
celebrations at Yuman Leikai ground here on Saturday night, the
police said. The injured persons were rushed to the RIMS, the police
added. No underground outfit claims responsibility over the firing so



10. Five UGs held

IMPHAL, Jan 23: Commandos of Imphal west police today arrested four
cadres of PREPAK and one KNF (P) activist while the Imphal west
district narcotic cell picked up two women for possessing contraband
heroin No. 4.

According to a press statement, two PREPAK activists identified as
Waikhom Chingkheinganba Mangang, 21, son of W Sanatomba and Thingujam
Kumarjit Singh, 20, alias Rakesh alias Kapchao son of Th Ingocha
Singh both of Oinam Thingel Aheibam Leikai were arrested from their
locality in the wee hours today.

Another team of Imphal west commandos also arrested two more PREPAK
activists identified as Longjam Somen alias Ibomcha, 23, son of L
Budhi of Samurou Makha Leikai, bearing army no. 812 of batch-15 and
Abujam Shashikumar alias Chacha, 26, son of A Keshokumar of Samurou
Awang Leikai with one demand letter of PREPAK from the possession of
Somen at around 7 am today.

The commandos also picked one KNF (P) activist identified as Jangboi
Kipgen, alias Kaisat Zou, 27, son of Mangsei of Songlong village,
Senapati district from a place near Phulchand Trilokchand oil pump
along NH-39 at around 4.10 pm today and seized two live rounds of 9
mm ammunition, one Bolero Mahindra jeep bearing registration no.
MN01K/4234 and one an RC book of the vehicle owned by Haokhotinlen
Vaiphei son of late Thangkholal of S Molnom village, Senapati
district at present residing at Lamphelpat.

On preliminary interrogation, Jangboi disclosed that he is the home
secretary of KNF (P).

Further, at about 9.30 am today, two women identified as Nemneikim
Haokip, 30, daughter of late Thangpao Haokip of Canan Veng, North AOC
and Nengboi Doungel, 30, wife of Lamthang Doungel of Saikul Haokip
Veng from their rented house owned by Kh Deben Singh of Soibam Leikai
for drug trafficking.

Fifteen grams of heroin powder was also seized from the possession of
Nemneikim Haokip, the release added.



11. Manipur tribal students, teachers threaten stir from Jan 28
From A Correspondent

IMPHAL, Jan 23 – Tribal students and teachers demanding various
welfare measures for them have threatened to launch State-wide
agitations from January 28. Strongly opposing appointment of
non-locals as assistant teachers under Autonomous District Council,
Chandel, the tribal students’ bodies of Chandel district, in a
joint memorandum to Tribal Development Minister on January 11
contended that appointment of non-locals is against the provisions
given in the State Gazette and it would not be tolerated by the
student community.

The memorandum said that out of 144 assistant teachers to be
appointed, ninety five candidates of the post are non-local.
Demanding that these non-local appointees should be replaced by the
local candidates, the students’ body warned of launching various
forms of agitation if the matter is not resolved by the Govt within
January 29. The students’ bodies included Mongsang Naga Students’
Union, Moyon Naga Students’ Union, Lamkang Naga Students’ Union
and Anal Naga Students Union.

Meanwhile, All Manipur Autonomous District Council Adhoc Teachers’
Association decried alleged discrimination and gross negligence on
the part of the State Government towards the grievances of adhoc
teachers working in various schools under Autonomous District

In a memorandum to Chief Minister, the association rued that even
after six months of appointment, the teachers have been left in the
lurch and not given their salaries. Since the appointments have been
made by the State Government, inspite of some flaw in the process, it
is the duty of the Government to protect the rights of the teachers
and regularized their services, the memorandum said, adding that the
Government has no right to play games with the life of the teachers.
The aggrieved adhoc teachers also warned of taking up agitation if
Government do not act positively and take up remedial measures within
January 28.


12. Suicide bid by student leader foiled in Manipur
From A Correspondent

IMPHAL, Jan 23 – A suicide bid by the president of the All Manipur
Vocational Students’ Union, (AMVSU) was foiled by the security
guards of the Chief Minister at his official gate here on Saturday. M
Premier Singh, president, AMVSU set afire his trouser and tried to
forcibly enter the gate of the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on
Saturday afternoon. But the security guards of the Chief Minister
came out and foiled the attempt. The student leader sustained burn
injuries on his legs.

The Union which had started agitation since December 17 with several
demands and called off the agitation following an agreement with the
Government has resumed its agitation to protest the State
Government’s failure to honour the earlier agreement. It may be
mentioned that classes of vocational institutes remained closed since
Thursday following indefinite cease work strike launched by the
Vocational Education Employees’ Association.

On January 6 last, the AMVSU had withdrawn its agitation after an
agreement in a meeting with State Education Minister Francis
Ngajokpa. During the meeting, Francis Ngajokpa agreed to take up
immediate action for intensification of classes of vocational
education for students in order to complete the syllabus, assessment
of training raw materials requirements and immediate supply,
assessment in evaluation of training equipments for vocational
trades, rationalization of vocational teaching staff and placement of
vocational teachers in schools where there are no teachers and review
of class room requirements and furniture.

The Minister also agreed to refer the matter to the State Council of
Vocational Education or any appropriate committee at the earliest to
formulate line of action for vocational education.

The Union general secretary Kh Bedakumari said the vocational
students are facing a lot of difficulties in their study due to lack
of subject teachers and required infrastructure like laboratory
equipment, etc.

Moreover, there is no scope for higher studies in the State once the
students passed their class XII, he pointed out. As per the
guidelines of National Education Policy, 1986, State Council of
Educational Research and Training has started vocational courses in
some schools of the State since the academic session 1996-1997 with
Central sponsorship. But all these schools offering the courses do
not have any of the basic required infrastructures, he said. The
students’ body also expressed strong reservation against the
attitude of the Director of SCERT when the aggrieved students went to
present their case to him.



13. Security beefed up in Tripura for R-Day celebration

AGARTALA, Jan 23 – Security has been tightened in Tripura and all
police stations in the State are put on alert in view of the Republic
Day boycott call issued by four insurgent outfits, police said.

Patrolling by paramilitary forces has been stepped up in
insurgency-prone areas and the BSF has been asked to keep a strict
vigil on the 840-km-long border with Bangladesh as ultras may sneak
into Indian territory from their camps in Chittagong hill tracts and
Sylhet district of the neighbouring country, they said.

Security has been stepped up at vital installations like the
Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, Assembly house and Government offices and a
strict vigil is being maintained in the urban areas. Four insurgent
outfits--ULFA, Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), Manipur
People's Liberation Front (MPLF) and Tripura People’s Democratic
Front (TPDF), the political wing of the banned All Tripura Tiger
Force (ATTF)--have called for a general strike on January 26. –PTI



14. AAPSU calls bandh on Republic Day

ITANAGAR, Jan 23 – The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union
(AAPSU) has called for a dawn-to-dusk statewide bandh on Republic Day
to press for its demands including deportation of Chakma-Hajong

Announcing this at a press conference here, AAPSU president Byabang
Taj and general secretary Gumjum Haider said January 26 would be
observed as ��black day’ as the Central and state Governments did
not lend ear to their demands including deportation of Chakma-Hajong
refugees from the state and conversion of Arunachal University into a
central one.

They said all business establishments, educational institutions and
offices would remain closed and no vehicles would ply. However,
essential services have been kept out of the purview of the bandh.


Message: 17
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:12:46 +0600
From: MBI Munshi
Subject: Readers Reaction : The Next Islamist Revolution


Dear All,

The opinions expressed in Ms. Eliza Griswold's article 'The Next
Islamist Revolution?' (New York Times Magazine (January 23, 2005))
raises some intriguing points about the perceived religious
intolerance growing within Bangladesh. The country that is described
in that piece is not a country that I recognize nor one that fits
accurately, in any way, my own perceptions or understanding of the
religious and social dynamics working in the country.

I have lived in Bangladesh for almost 8 years and cannot subscribe to
any of the allegations made in the piece. For each of the incidents or
events related, there are more plausible and factually grounded
explanations that have not apparently been researched or investigated
by Ms. Griswold. The phenomenon described as Bangla Bhai is a case in
point. It is stated that the agenda of the group led by Bangla Bhai is
to foment an Islamist revolution in several provinces of the country.
In this regard, the efforts of Bangla Bhai have been uniquely
unsuccessful. That he has some support from the populace in the region
is down to his reprisals against what Ms. Griswold rightly calls the
'leftist marauders known as the Purbo Banglar Communist Party.' There
is no indication at all that the people of the region have any
sympathy with Bangla Bhai's pan-Islamist revolutionary agenda. He
certainly possesses a populist appeal principally because he is
considered by many as the lesser of two evils. The armed cadres of the
Purbo Banglar Communist Party have been terrorizing villagers in a
wide swath of Bangladesh, reaching from the North West right down to
the South West of the country, ever since independence and only now
are they relenting in the face of violent opposition instigated by
Bangla Bhai and government law enforcers. This is more an issue of
constitutionality and the rule of law than one of religious

The wearing of burkas (Islamic dress) by women is a common sight in
rural Bangladesh and I am a little surprised that Ms. Griswold would
consider this worthy of comment or as a sign of Bangla Bhai's
influence in the region. Ms. Griswold, then proceeds to make numerous
further errors concerning the culture, politics and history of
Bangladesh. She correctly states that Bangladesh fought a war of
independence in 1971 against Pakistan but then she announces the now
discredited figure of three million dead in the nine months of war. If
she had taken the time to read even Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize
winning book 'interpreter of maladies' (2000) she could have guessed
the figure to be nearer three hundred thousand dead. This is still no
small figure, but the purpose behind this exaggeration would appear to
confirm Ms. Griswold's assessment that, 'Thuggery has been a
consistent feature of political life since then and is increasingly so

This remark appears intended to create a moral equivalence between the
Pakistan army of 1971 and the four party alliance that governs
Bangladesh today. Ms. Griswold should have been informed (or done the
necessary research) that the greatest period of thuggery after
independence occurred during the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government of
1971-1975 and the Sheikh Hasina government of 1996-2001. Neither of
these regimes were known to espouse an Islamist agenda but were
considered no less ruthless, brutal, intolerant and exploitative
(probably more so) than any of the other governments that have ruled
Bangladesh during the last 34 years since independence. In fact, these
two so-called 'secular' periods (an inference adopted and encouraged
by Ms. Griswold) in Bangladesh history were renowned for their
oppressive and restrictive attitude towards political dissent and

From this analysis it would be impossible to draw the blatantly
contradictory conclusion that Ms. Griswold has so effortlessly done,

"Under the current government, which has been in power since 2001 and
includes two avowedly Islamist parties, journalists are frequently
imprisoned. Last year, three were killed while reporting on corruption
and the rise of militant Islam. Moreover, 80 percent of Bangladeshis
live in villages that can be hard to reach and are under the tight
control of local politicians. Foreign journalists in Bangladesh are
followed by intelligence agents; people that reporters interview are
questioned afterward. Nonetheless, it is possible to travel through
Bangladesh and observe the increased political and religious
repression in everyday life, and to verify the simple remark by one
journalist there: ''We are losing our freedom.''"

It seems with all the restrictions that are placed on foreign
journalists (related in the above quotation) it in no way hampered Ms.
Griswold in compiling a report so full of errors and flaws culminating
in absurd and contradictory conclusions. I need not remind
journalists in Bangladesh that press freedom was completely done away
with during the 'secular' regime of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and that
journalists were routinely murdered and maimed during the term of
Sheikh Hasina's government.

For these reason, we cannot make such simplistic assessments that

(1) Bangladesh has a government composed of religious parties;

(2) That this has resulted in an increase in religious fanaticism in
the population;

(3) This in turn has helped the creation and growth of terrorist
organizations in the country;

(4) That due to the above three factors the government has taken on a
systematic policy of eliminating minorities and placing restrictions
on press freedom;

(5) That the above factors will encourage international terrorist
organizations such as Al-Qaeda to set up base in Bangladesh.

This appears to be the tendentious logic of Ms. Griswold and the
experts from the United States Institute of Peace and Human Rights Watch
(neither of which is above controversy) that she calls in aid of her

The point that seems to have escaped Ms. Griswold is that using the
same logic the assessment fits much better the situation of the United
States, Israel and the previous BJP government of India (maybe even
the Brahmin dominated present one) but this fact has never featured in
the New York Times Magazine. It does not, however, reflect in any
sensible way the circumstances of Bangladesh. The BNP government has
an overall majority of MP's in Parliament even without the aid of the
two religious parties. Overall, the representation of religious
parties in parliament is insignificant. There is no empirical evidence
that there has been a substantial shift in the religious sentiment of
Bangladesh to a more aggressive and assertive Islamic world view.
Bangladesh has always had to live with terrorist groups of varying
political shades ranging from the extreme left and most recently to
the extreme right. In none of these cases have these groups come close
to acquiring state power (except possibly Col. Taher) and are unlikely
to gain much sympathy from the people in the future. At most, we can
say that the government of the day has dealt incompetently with many
of the political conflicts within society but we have no proof that
they have engineered such conflicts for political gain. In fact, we
must assume that due to the adverse international media attention the
government would avoid such adventurism.

We can therefore confidently dismiss Ms. Griswold's theory of
impending Islamic revolution in Bangladesh. But we still have to find
a culprit for the August 21 bomb attack on an Awami League rally and
for the physical assault on Professor Shamsur Rahman which seems to be
Ms. Griswold's last line of refuge. I have already provided my
opinions on the AL bomb attack in my article, 'Politics over dead
bodies – A result of India's fear of a Brihot Bangladesh' and as for
Professor Shamsur Rahman my article 'Freethinkers regularly silenced
in Bangladesh' is equally relevant and I think provides a conclusive
answer to that mystery. In both cases, I directly accuse India of
involvement in these incidents and my opinions have not changed.
Predictably, Ms. Griswold raises the Ahmadiyya issue which was at one
time a cause for concern and much public disorder but which has
recently subsided. I presume that it will again become a hotly
contested issue simply because India wishes to undermine the present
administration before the next elections in early 2007. For readers
interested in the Ahmadiyya controversy please read my article 'The
Ahmadiyya's � Muslim, Heretic or Paid Agents' and the follow up

The simple reason why I find all this talk of Islamic revolution in
Bangladesh so bizarre and profoundly uninteresting is due to the
scholarly findings of Richard M. Eaton in his book 'The rise of Islam
and the Bengal Frontier 1204-1760' (winner of the Albert Hourani Book
Prize). He relates very precisely how Islam came to Bengal and the
cultural changes or assimilations that occurred over the centuries and
which still persist today and in the end prevents or restrains
religious zealotry and bigotry,

"In the 'success stories' of world religions, and the story of Islam
in Bengal is surely among these, the norms of religion and the
realities of local social systems ultimately accommodate one another.
Although theorists, theologians, or reformers may resist this point,
it seems nonetheless to be intuitively grasped by common folk …

"What made Islam in Bengal not only historically successful but a
continuing vital social reality has been its capacity to adapt to the
land and the culture of its people, and while transforming both."

I think a simpler way of saying this would be to trust the common
sense of ordinary people. They are unlikely to follow blindly the
ideological preaching of half-educated mullahs that ignores
generations of moderate Sufi teachings that originally brought Islam
to Bengal on a mass scale. Ms. Griswold relies too much on newspaper
reports of, The Daily Star, Prothom Alo and Janakantha which have
created legends and myths around what appear fire spewing religious
fanatics ravaging the Bangladeshi countryside. I am sure it makes for
good copy but bears little resemblance to realities in Bangladesh and
the less said about the 'experts' the better.

The remainder of Ms. Griswold article is a regurgitation of news
reports emanating from the local newspapers in Bangladesh and some
international news networks that have been refuted on so many
occasions that it does not bear my time to rehearse the oft repeated
press releases and essays on the subject. Ms. Griswold admits that
many of the incidents are based merely on anecdotal evidence and I
dare say her theories are founded on conjecture and hearsay. If this
is the quality of investigative journalism in the West then we indeed
have something to worry about – but it isn't religious fanaticism –
but more a question of objectivism and the professionalism of western

M.B.I. Munshi
Bar-at-Law & Advocate (Supreme Court)
'Rakta Komol'
House No. F-86,
Road No. 5,
Chairman Bari, Banani,
Dhaka - 1213, Bangladesh

Faculty of Laws
Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics
House 50 (New), 750 (Old) Satmasjid Road
Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka - 1209

27 Fordwich Road
Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire AL8 6EX

Email to DakBangla from M.BI.Munshi in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Message: 18
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 05:17:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: The emerging Bay of Bengal


The rise of India and China is a powerful phenomenon that is
influencing economics and security globally, but also regionally in
places like the Bay of Bengal. New Delhi, partly because it is
determined to be a powerful regional actor, and partly because it is
acting to contain China, is proceeding in a manner that constitutes a
powerful prod to the gradual integration of the Bay of Bengal.

The emerging Bay of Bengal
By Donald L Berlin

The Bay of Bengal basin, the Indian Ocean zone most ravaged by
December's tsunami, is fast becoming a more integrated and
well-defined strategic and economic arena.

The tsunami contributed to this by causing India to reach across the
bay to help its neighbors. Operating partly from a Unified Relief
Command in the Andaman Islands, New Delhi sent a hospital ship and
other help to Indonesia in Operation Gambhir and a larger flotilla
and helicopters to Sri Lanka in Operation Rainbow.

Apart from this humanitarian effort, there have been several striking
economic initiatives of late that also are knitting the region
together and blurring the boundary between South and Southeast Asia.

Most recent were agreements this past month among India, Bangladesh
and Myanmar affirming their intention to cooperate in natural gas
exploration and to build a gas pipeline, the "Eastern Corridor
Pipeline", from India, through Bangladesh, to Myanmar. A parallel
India-Bangladesh press statement, an Indian quid pro quo, affirmed
New Delhi's willingness to: 1) Allow the increased transit of
commodities between Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh through India (ie
via the strategic Siliguri Corridor); 2) Allow the transmission of
hydro-electricity from Nepal and Bhutan through India to Bangladesh;
and 3) Undertake greater efforts to reduce the trade imbalance
(presumably through the removal of trade barriers) between it and
Bangladesh. These agreements, if implemented, constitute a striking
advance in the normally quite sour relationship between Dhaka and New

These agreements come immediately after a transportation initiative
of another kind: the first annual India-ASEAN car rally. The event,
which sent a caravan of vehicles in a drive from Assam through
Myanmar and other countries to Indonesia's Batam island in November
and December, was intended to underscore the growing integration of
the Bay of Bengal region and the importance of the highway complex
that India is building between Kolkata and Bangkok. So far, New Delhi
has built and maintains about 160 kilometers of road just east of the
India-Myanmar frontier. This will be followed by Indian construction
of other road segments in Myanmar. India also has extended a US$56
million line of credit to Myanmar to modernize the Mandalay-Yangon

South Asian nations also have concluded several broad pacts with
their Southeast Asian neighbors, once again tying together the states
of the Bay of Bengal. Most recent were a number of landmark
agreements concluded between India and the 10 ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) countries at the 10th ASEAN summit in
Vientiane in November. Key here was a long-term plan committing India
to creating a free-trade area by 2011 with five ASEAN members -
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore - and by 2016
with the rest - the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

This free-trade area agreement comes in the wake of a February 2004
free-trade pact achieved by India and five other countries of a group
called the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and
Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). This pact commits the three most
advanced members, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, to trade
liberalization by 2012, with the others following within five years.

These multilateral economic initiatives parallel others that are
bilateral and that increasingly will connect the South Asian and
Southeast Asian economies of the Bay of Bengal. Of equal or greater
importance, these lands also are becoming more intertwined, for
better or worse, in the security realm.

Two main factors are promoting this process. One is the growth of
mainly bilateral security ties. The other is a recent increase in
strategic interest, and power projection capability, by Bay of Bengal
states near the western mouth of the Malacca Strait.

The deepening bilateral interaction, with India usually in the lead,
has been reflected in a variety of recent developments.

Closest to home, India recently expressed an increased commitment to
Sri Lanka's territorial integrity. New Delhi also will soon sign a
Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand Indian training programs for
Sri Lankan troops, strengthen intelligence sharing, and provide
defense supplies, including transport helicopters and the refit of a
Sri Lankan warship. These states also conducted their first combined
military exercise when the Indian Coast Guard and Sri Lankan navy met
for Exercise Eksath last month.

With Myanmar, security ties were advanced most recently when
strongman Khin Nyunt, known for his pro-China inclinations, was
deposed in October. Less than a week later, Than Shwe, head of
Myanmar's ruling military junta, visited India and signed three
agreements, including a "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation
in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues", including
terrorism, arms smuggling, money laundering, drug trafficking,
organized crime, international economic crime and cyber crime. The
general, the first Myanmar head of state to visit India in several
decades, also assured the Indian leadership that Myanmar would not
permit its territory to be used by any hostile element for harming
Indian interests. Soon thereafter, India and Myanmar launched
coordinated military operations against rebels operating along the
India-Myanmar frontier.

With Singapore, India forged a pact in 2003 in which the two nations
extended their existing program of combined naval exercises to
encompass air- and ground-force maneuvers and to initiate a
high-level security dialogue and intelligence exchange. Last March,
the two states conducted the first of these regular conversations on
security. They also followed through with their first combined air
exercise this past October, and will exercise their armies together
from February to April this year in India. New Delhi also has stated
its willingness - in principle - to allow the Singaporean air force
to use Indian ranges on an extended basis.

India also registered less dramatic, but also significant, advances
in security ties with Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia - with which
India initiated regular patrols of the Six Degree Channel, the
strategic shipping route immediately west of the Malacca Strait.

This zone is significant in that it is here, at the western mouth of
the Malacca Strait, that the second factor is at work knitting the
region together strategically. Here, India, Myanmar, Thailand,
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia all have been strengthening their
capacities to affect military outcomes, motivated by concerns about
each other - or China - and by anxieties about terrorism, piracy and
other transnational problems.

Concerns about Beijing's intentions here recently increased after
Chinese President Hu Jintao said his country faces a "Malacca
dilemma" - the vulnerability of its oil supply lines from the Middle
East and Africa to disruption - and after the Indian navy and
coastguard seized two alleged Chinese spy ships in this area in
November. China also is considering funding construction of a $20
billion canal across the Kra Isthmus that would allow ships to bypass
the Strait of Malacca. The canal project would give China port
facilities, warehouses and other infrastructure in Thailand aimed at
enhancing Chinese influence in the region.

Based on such concerns, India created a unified military command
here, the Andamans and Nicobar Command, several years ago. Most
recently, it was planning to station Su-30 MKI long-range
fighter/bomber aircraft on Car Nicobar beginning this month. The
effort likely was intended to complement a similar deployment of
Su-30s, also undertaken with China in mind, to Bareilly Air Base near
the China-India border. While the Car Nicobar deployment now has been
aborted because of the December tsunami, India's air force chief says
the deployment will proceed within six months. The tsunami disaster
also forced the cancellation of the India's biennial MILAN naval
exercise, in which most Bay of Bengal navies would have exercised
together next month.

Malaysia, also concerned about the Andaman Sea and nearby Malacca
Strait, recently built a series of radar stations along the west
coast of the peninsula to oversee traffic in the strait. Malaysia is
also acquiring a variety of new naval platforms. Perhaps more
importantly, the Malaysian navy is building new bases to strengthen
its hand in the strait and the Andaman Sea, including facilities at
Langkawi island and Sitiawan. Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur's only port
directly fronting the Indian Ocean, will house the navy's Area Three
Headquarters and will be a staging point for the deployment and
management of soon to be acquired submarines. The Sitiawan facility,
on the other hand, is part of a larger plan to equip Malaysia's naval
air component, for the first time, with fixed-wing aircraft. Key here
is Kuala Lumpur's agreement to buy 18 Russian-made Su-30MKM fighter
jets. With a range of some 2,700 kilometers, they will be armed with
supersonic X-31A missiles designed to strike sea-based targets.

The rise of India and China is a powerful phenomenon that is
influencing economics and security globally, but also regionally in
places like the Bay of Bengal. New Delhi, partly because it is
determined to be a powerful regional actor, and partly because it is
acting to contain China, is proceeding in a manner that constitutes a
powerful prod to the gradual integration of the Bay of Bengal. Its
economic and military initiatives, and those of its neighbors, will
shorten distances and connect the various lands of the bay - a
process that will be good economically but worrisome strategically as
it will be harder to buffer relations among these armed powers. While
this is a region with a long way to go toward regional integration,
the interaction among the lands of the bay now is greater than at any
point since World War II.#

Dr Donald L Berlin is a professor of international relations at the
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. He focuses on
strategic issues in the Indian Ocean region. The views expressed here
are those of the author and do not represent official positions of
the US government or any of its agencies.


Message: 19
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 06:00:55 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: REPORT: Heroin Production and Trafficking in Indo-Burma Border

Most of the heroin trafficked to India passes through Tamu to Moreh,
Chandel District of Manipur State. Within north-western Burma, heroin
is often transported by the police officers, soldiers and prison
guards when they are ordered to escort prisoners from their work
sites back to towns. From there, large amounts of heroin are stashed
in army conveys, which travel to the border avoiding inspection at
the check points along the way. Moreover, the traffickers pay Burma
Army officials a fee for carrying shipments and to pick-up the heroin
at border towns such as Tamu.


Heroin Production and Trafficking in Indo-Burma Border
T. Siamchinthang

Today, the Indo-Burma border is the worlds biggest heroin trafficking
area and heroin is frequently described as Burmas most valuable
export. Since Burmas military regime, then called the State Law and
Order Restoration (SLORC), seized power in Burma in 1988, opium
production, from which heroin is refined, has risen to over 2,030
metric tons annually, amounting to 60 per cent of world supply.
Heroin from Burma has usually supplied the North America and
Australia markets while previously most of the heroin sourced in
European originated from the Golden Crescent, Pakistan, Afghanistan
and Turkey. Over the past two years, a growing portion of the
European heroin market has been Burmese heroin trafficked out of
north-west Burma.

Heroin production in northwest Burma is burgeoning and new refineries
are appearing. The improvement in drug enforcement in neighbouring
Thailand and China since the early 1990s has served to open up new
trade routes for both raw opium and heroin from Shan State to the
plains around Mandalay, through Chin State and Sagaing Division to
north-east India.

According to Images Asias November 2004 report, Most of Burmas opium
for conversion into heroin is grown in Shan State, in the infamous
Golden Triangle region. Despite the military juntas claims that they
are actively combating drug production and distribution, many areas
of Shan State saw massive increases in poppy cultivation after they
came under the control of military regime.

The Burmese military has been laying landmines in the border areas
where India, Bangladesh and Burma meet since mid-1997 in an attempt
to prevent militant insurgency. High-level anti-insurgency
authorities from Burma and north-east India have increasingly
profited from the narcotics trade, taking bribes not to send Burmese
military troops into areas where refineries are located. Large
amounts of narcotics are carried through official border crossings in
north-east India, including at the Moreh-Tamu border point, as well
as across paths over the mountains that form much of the border
terrain. In north-western Burma, there are three new drug-related
trends, all of which involve the participation of Burmese higher

(i) Opium production is increasing in the Chin and Naga hills.

(ii) Heroin refineries have been established in the north-western

(iii) Heroin trafficking from the Shan State through north-west Burma
into north-east India is increasing dramatically.

The plain areas in north-west Burma are primarily inhabited by ethnic
Burmans, while the hills are settled by Nagas, Chins (who refer to
themselves as Zomi) and the Kukis. Like the Zomis in Chin State, the
Kukis and Nagas have formed armed resistance organizations which are
fighting against the Burmese military regime for various degrees of
political autonomy. There are also Nagas, Zomis and Kukis in the
Indo-Burma border areas fighting for autonomous regions in India.
Some insurgents are fighting for independence in territory that
includes parts of Burma, India and Bangladesh.

The largest Naga resistance organisation, the National Socialist
Council of Nagaland (NSCN) split into two factions in 1988. The
faction led by Isaac-Muivah (NSCN-IM) has been especially active in
Indo-Burma borderlands while the faction led by Khaplang, a Burmese
Naga (NSCN-K), has in the past been more focused on fighting the
Army. The Zomi Re-Unification Organisation (ZRO) and its armed wing,
the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), and the Kuki National Army (KNA)
are also active in Chin State and north-east India.

Cultivation of Opium Poppies

Previously, numbers of Zomi villagers based in the Tedim area of Chin
State and in Sagaing Division produced relatively significant amounts
of opium. As some farmers under pressure from military extortion,
forced labour and relocations find it harder and harder to survive
growing ordinary crops the temptation to grow opium has increased. In
northern Chin State along the Indo-Burma border, most of opium poppy
fields are found around the Tedim township but there are a few
optimum cultivation areas in Tonzang and Than Tlang townships. In the
south, in areas such as Paletwa township, the climate is not
conducive to growing opium. Opium cultivation also takes place in the
Naga hills of Sagaing Division.

Production of Heroin

In the past, mostly opium was trafficked into north-east India.
However, since heroin factories have begun to appear in Chin State
and Sagaing Division in the early 1990s, locally produced opium as
well as opium from Shan State are now refined in the area. According
to the Geopolitical Drug Dispatch, Heroin Laboratories and drug
export routes have now shifted to the south west (from Kachin State
and the Chinese border). Major drug production units are now
operation along the Chindwin river near the North-East India Border,
under direct protection by the Burmese Army, far from zones
controlled by the India North-East rebels and from the notorious
Golden Triangle rather than heading up to the Chinese border, trucks
leaded with raw opium and heroin began heading down the Central plain
to the South around Mandalay. Shortly afterward, other sources in
India reported that the north-east region of Nagaland, Manipur and
Mizoram were flooded with heroin. (The Geopolitical Drug Dispatch,
Edition No. 24, December 2004).

As reported in the Geopolitical Drug Dispatch, a string of six new
refineries were identified along the Chindwin River, close to the
north-east Indian border:

1) North of Singkaling Hkamti, near Tamanthi where the Burma Armys
52nd Regiment is headquartered

2) Homalin (222nd Regiment Headquarters)

3) Moreh and Kaleymyo (89th, 228th and 235th Regiment Headquarters)

4) Tedim (89th Regiment Headquarters)

5) Paletwa on the western edge of Chin and Arakan States.

For the first time refineries are being established in traditionally
white or areas where there is no north-east Indian rebel presence and
close to major Burma Army installations. Most of the opium and heroin
trafficked over these routes from Shan State enters Kalay and Tahan,
a Sub-Division of Kaleymyo, where there is a heroin refinery.
Observers report that in Kalaymyo, Sagaing Division, Burma Army
officials have established heroin refineries inside their main
military camp. According to locals, heroin produced from this
refinery is sent to north-east Indian insurgents, particularly the
United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and the Peoples Liberation
Army (PLA) in Manipur Valley, the United Liberation Front of Assam,
(ULFA) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)-Khaplang

Trafficking Routes

North-west Burma and north-eastern Indian states extend from Sagaing
Division to Tamer to Manipur and Kalay/ Tedim to Mizoram.

From the main refinery at Kalaymyo, under the control of a
businessman who works with well-known drug-traffickers from
north-west Burma as well as the army, there are three major drug
trafficking routes (see map for major routes):

1) To the north towards Khampat and Tamumoreh and from there to
Imphal, Manipur

2) To the west towards Rikhawdar/ Champhai and from there to Aizawl,

3) To the south-west towards Lunglei and continuing north to Aizawl.

Other trafficking routes to Indias north-east include:

1) from Khamti area through Noklok to Magokching in Nagaland

2) from Tamanthi and Homalin to Somra and from there northwards
through Jessami to Kohima in Nagaland

3) From Paletwa to Alikudam in the Chittagong Hills Track of
Bangladesh, to Coxs Bazaar and Chittagong.

4) Some heroin is also trafficked over the Arakan State border into
Bangladesh, then on to India.

Most of the heroin trafficked to India passes through Tamu to Moreh,
Chandel District of Manipur State. Within north-western Burma, heroin
is often transported by the police officers, soldiers and prison
guards when they are ordered to escort prisoners from their work
sites back to towns. From there, large amounts of heroin are stashed
in army conveys, which travel to the border avoiding inspection at
the check points along the way. Moreover, the traffickers pay Burma
Army officials a fee for carrying shipments and to pick-up the heroin
at border towns such as Tamu. From there it is brought into India
both in trucks and by individuals. Drugs coming from Burma into
Manipur are mostly sent to Patna, one of the major drug distribution
centres in India, and to three other distribution points; Kathmandu,
Delhi and Bombay. From their, they are further trafficked on to the
international market, which is now overwhelmingly reliant on Burmese


The consequences for India, Burma, Bangladesh and the international
community are extreme. In Burma the addiction rate has increase
dramatically over recent years. The World Health Organisation
believes there are over 600,000 heroin addicts in Burma, more than 2%
of the population, and double this number of users of drugs.
Non-government organisations working in the region believe the real
number may be two or three times this again. The dire economic
situation in Burma is contributing to the rise of an opium-based
economy in the areas reliant not only on opium cultivation but on
narcotics trade. Addiction to heroin in the north-east Indian states
of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland has skyrocketed.

According to Bertil Lintner, there were 12,000 drug addicts in Burma
in 1989. Two years later, there were at least 25,000 addicts. In the
north-east Indian
states there are more than 90,000 HIV/AIDS carriers, identified as
heroin addicts who shared needles to inject their drugs. Manipur, a
state of only 1.2 million people by 1992 had the highest incidence of
drug-related AIDS infections in India.


There is a direct correlation between the expansion of military
control in north-western Burma and the increase in the production and
trafficking of drugs along the Indo-Burma border. As locals in these
inter-state borderlands find it increasingly difficult to make ends
meet because of extortion, forced labour, and other demands enforced
on them by the Burmese military regime, they have become more willing
to plant poppies. The payment of bribes to local authorities, happy
to supplement their meagre income, ensures that poppies can be grown
and heroin produced even in the border areas close to Burma Army
bases. Drugs are transported by or with the collusion of Burma Army
and intelligence personnel. Moreover, the military juntas involvement
in the heroin trade is being enhanced and facilitated by the
expansion of roads in the north-east India along which a growing
number of army vehicles are circulating that can carry narcotics
without being checked. With no concerted attempts as yet to stem the
flow of narcotics through north-western Burma, the twin plagues of
increased addiction and rapidly spreading HIV/AIDS continue to
devastate the region#


Message: 20
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:08:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: BANGLADESH: Islamic Groups 24JAN [3 News Clippings]


01. Militants clash with police in Bangladesh, 40 injured

DHAKA - About 40 people were injured in northern Bangladesh Monday
when militants attacked a police station in a bid to recover the
bodies of three comrades, officials said.

More than 200 militants stormed the police station in Bagmara town,
340 kilometres north of the capital Dhaka, before they were repelled
by paramilitary border guards and armed police.

Reports said at least 20 suspected militants were detained.

The attackers wanted the bodies of three former students at a local
'madrassa', an Islamic religious school, who were killed overnight in
a gunfight with activists of the secularist Awami League,
Bangladesh's main opposition party.

The three were identified by police as members of the banned Islamic
organization Bangla Bhai, which wants to replace the country's
western style parliamentary democracy by Islamic Sharia rule.

The Islamic group has been blamed for a series of bomb attacks on
concerts, movies and art expositions recently in the northern
Rajshahi region where it is based.



02. Fundamentalist groups active in Bangladesh border: Report

Islamic fundamentalist groups, including some with possible ties to
the al Qaeda, are gaining strength in areas of Bangladesh bordering
India, a US daily claimed on Monday.

"Bangladesh is becoming increasingly important to groups like the al
Qaeda because it has been off everyone's radar screen," an
investigative article published in The New York Times quoting an
expert, Zachary Abuza, as saying.

"Al Qaeda is going to have to figure out where it can regroup, where
it has the physical capability to assemble, and Bangladesh is one of
these key places," the report said, quoting Abuza.

The report said last spring in Chittagong police captured 10
truckloads of weapons -- the largest arms seizure in Bangladesh's

"The tip-off most likely came from Indian intelligence, which
monitors the arms being sent to Islamist separatist groups in India's
northeast," it claimed.

Bangladesh has repeatedly denied presence of militant camps on its
territory. However, the report said the government has little control
over the fundamentalist groups in the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The report also claimed Islamist militants had carried out most
attacks against members of other religious minorities, including
Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and even moderate Muslims considered
not adhering to the doctrines espoused at madrasas.

"For the Hindus, the last couple of years have been disastrous," the
article quoted Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch as saying.

"There are substantial elements within the society and the government
that are advancing the idea that Hindus need to be expelled," he

The report said a man who waged 'jihad' in Afghanistan and now
settled in Bangladesh's border areas has formed a group called
'Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh' (Awakened Muslim Masses of
Bangladesh), which wanted to bring Taliban-type fundamentalist regime
in the country.

The man, known as 'Bangla Bhai', is 'determined and violent' and
seems to have enough men - perhaps 10,000 lightly armed adherents -
to make his rule stick.

He identified himself as Azizur Rahman and more recently as Siddqui
Islam. He wants men to sport beards and women to wear burkhas in a
place that is religiously diverse, the article noted.

His sworn enemy, the article said, was a 'somewhat derelict but still
dangerous group of Leftist marauders', known as the Purbo Banglar
Communist Party.

Bangla Bhai's group has tortured its opponents, often by hanging them
upside down from trees and beating them with iron rods, and even
executed people, the report stated.

The madrasas in the villages are said to be getting money not only
from al Qaeda but also from Saudi Arabia. Arms are coming to these
areas from Libya and Saudi Arabia, among other sources, the report

Though the Bangladesh government, worried that Bangla Bhai's band
might be getting out of control, ordered his arrest in late May, it
did not make any difference except that he now refrains from public
appearances. Even policemen in uniform attend his meetings, the
report claimed.

The global war on terror was aimed at making the rise of regimes like
the Taliban impossible, but in Bangladesh the trend could be going
the other way, the report remarked.

The border provinces have, since independence, harbored many armed
groups. By the early 1990's, Islamist groups from the nation began
appearing, mainly at the periphery of the jihad in Afghanistan, the
article said.

The most important of these has been the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam.
But 'Bangla Bhai's' group and others have since emerged and are
making their bid for power, the article said.

Six years ago, HUJI targeted Bangladesh's leading poet Shamsur
Rahman. This resulted in the arrest of 44 members. Two men, a
Pakistani and a South African, claimed they had been sent to
Bangladesh by Osama bin Laden with over $ 300,000, which they
distributed to 421 madrasas.

But, according to the report, Gowher Rizvi, director of the Ash
Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard, said
bin Laden's reported donation was 'a pittance' compared to the
millions that Saudi charities had contributed to many of Bangladesh's
estimated 64,000 madrasas.

Money of this kind is especially important because Bangladesh is one
of the poorest countries in the world.

In 'Bangla Bhai's' turf in northwestern Bangladesh, poverty is
pervasive, the report said.

For the past several years, money from Persian Gulf states has
strengthened the fundamentalist groups even more.

The permissiveness of at least some within the government and the
police in allowing violent groups like that of Bangla Bhai's to
pursue their agendas has only increased the political legitimacy of
such groups, the report added.


03. US, Bangladesh fast becoming a `Talibanised' state: NYT

Washington, If Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime was seen till a
few years ago as the fount of radical Islamism, Bangladesh isn't too
far behind if a New York Times Sunday feature report is to be

According to the Daily Times which quotes from the feature
extensively, a former Bangladeshi Taliban fighter named "Bangla Bhai"
is trying to turn his country into another Afghanistan under Taliban

According to the feature, Bangla Bhai aka Azizur Rehman is reportedly
using his Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh group to coerce men into
growing beards and women to wear burqas.

The group is said to be both determined and violent about having its
way and considers the Purbo Banglar Communist Party as his principal

According to the Daily Times, the Khaleda Zia Government has already
ordered Bangla Bhai's arrest last May, but this radical fighter has
eluded the law and refrains from public appearances.

Taskforce against Torture, a Bangladeshi human rights organisation
founded three years ago, has recorded more than 500 cases of people
being intimidated and tortured by Bangla Bhai and his men.

One man was quoted as saying that he was taken in front of a mosque
and told to promise that he would keep his beard and pray five times
a day, and to never tell anything about Bangla Bhai's camp. (ANI)


Message: 21
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:32:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla Intell Agency Monitors
Subject: INDIA: Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) 23JAN [2 News


01. Insider-outsider debate singes RAW

NEW DELHI: Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the country's external
intelligence agency, is busy fending off attempts to poach its turf
while the government seeks reach a conclusion over who should head
the set-up after current chief spook C D Sahay retires on January 31.

A change-of-baton at RAW would usually be expected to be a discreet
affair, the very nature of the agency's brief being antithetical to
public exposure. But this time around, the RAW chief's post is
subject to a fierce tug-of-war with a lobby seen to be connected with
the domestic intelligence agency, the Intelligence Bureau, staking a
claim to the job.

The argument that RAW insiders were not capable of managing the
agency's affairs in the light of joint secretary Rabindra Singh's
embarrassing defection last year has been used in a concerted
fashion. Whether the job goes to seniormost insider, J K Sinha, or
the former Tamil Nadu DGP I K Govind, is still not clear. But given
the Augean stables that RAW has been painted as, the Centre's choice
will have far-reaching implications for the intelligence agency.

While the Rabindra Singh episode has cracked RAW's immunity,
dispassionate observers wonder whether too much is being made out of
one mishap. They tend to agree with the view of RAW professionals
that safeguards have been put in place and that other agencies, IB
included, have their skeletons too. As has been revealed by former IB
staffers, the domestic agency has had its share of political

While RAW's weaknesses in aspects of organised crime and terrorism
have sometimes come to the fore, there have been successes too. These
include keeping links with anti-Taliban factions such as Masood Shah
open even at the height of Pakistan's influence over Afghanistan.
This proved critical in the post-Taliban phase.

There is also concern that in an organisation where bonds of trust
and professionalism are crucial, whether the appointment of an
"outside" nominee will resolve matters. Already, the agency is
suffering from a crisis of confidence as selective appointments —
relatives of top bureaucrats regularly make the grade — have sapped
RAW's efficiency. The agency boasts of throughbred professionals in
its ranks, but irregular appointments can exact a heavy cost from an
organisation which, with every desk handling sensitive information,
cannot offer safe places for under-performers.

What the government may also have to keep in mind is that there are
close to 40 officers from the Research and Analysis Service manning
middle and top positions in the organisation. In an agency already
having to cope with irregular appointments, the arrival of an
outsider — irrespective of the merits of the person — will be
read as a negative signal.

As it is, efforts at RAW to supercede officers found to be
professionally wanting has only been partially successful. While an
additional secretary, two joint secretaries and a director have been
superceded, the cleansing drive has been hamstrung by the fact that
adding to the stagnating will have its own drawbacks.



02. Missing RAW official lives in Jackson Heights, New York
Swati Chaturvedi

Rabinder Singh, a former RAW official, suspected of being a CIA mole
and who disappeared after coming under the scanner is now living in
New York.

Authoritative sources confirmed to The Tribune that Rabinder Singh
had taken a circuitous route via Nepal receiving the CIA help and
entered the USA in December. Rabinder Singh is living in a
condominium along with his wife at Jackson Heights, New York.

This forms a part of the investigations done by former Intelligence
Bureau chief M. K. Narayanan into Rabinder Singh’s disappearance.
Mr Narayanan is now National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister.

The identification of Rabinder Singh’s location is only the tip of
the iceberg. Suspicion is now centered on some of the property
transactions that he is believed to have carried out for other senior
RAW officials.

It now transpires that Rabinder Singh who has several relatives
abroad, including close connections of his wife, is
“facilitating’’ purchase of foreign properties abroad for some
compromised officials.

These officials are the one’s who tipped him off and even helped
him escape from India.

The sources say the government knew of Rabinder’s huge spread of
properties including farmhouses.

Yet no action was taken. Till date his property has not been seized
and the delay has led to disquiet in security circles.

A former IB Director says, “Rabinder Singh could not have left the
country unless he was provided help by the government which seems to
have clearly looked the other way. Once he came under surveillance,
how could he outwit the watchers unless he is Houdini? In any case
the silence on the issue is seriously worrisome.’’

The government is learnt to have confronted the Americans on the
issue, but so far has been completely stonewalled on the subject. The
view seems to be that the issue cannot be pushed too much.

Security experts are also worried at the gaping holes his defection
has revealed. They say that the roles of other officials in the
escape have to be probed and all gaps plugged since the American
angle is critical to the country’s internal security.

Mr Narayanan is learnt to have recommended that action be taken
against some other officials’ who are suspected of being involved
in the defection. Besides, he has recommended that the surveillance
mechanism be completely changed and exemplary deterrent action be


Message: 22
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:43:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla Intell Agency Monitors
Subject: PAKISTAN: Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) 23 JAN [3 News


01. Pakistan joins US in attacking Iran over support for terror
By Massoud Ansari in Karachi

Pakistan, one of America's most important allies in the war on
terror, has blamed Iran for fuelling a growing insurgency in
Baluchistan, the strategically sensitive province where militant
tribesmen have recently launched a series of terrorist attacks.

Officials in Islamabad believe Iran is encouraging "intruders" from
its own Bal-och community to cross the 550-mile border with the
Pakistani province, and give support to the rebels.

"All this violence is a part of a greater conspiracy," a senior
government official told The Telegraph. "These militants would not be
challenging the government so openly without the back-up of a foreign

Pakistan's support would be important for any United States-led
action against Iran, whose fundamentalist regime was last week put
firmly in the sights of the second Bush administration by the
vice-president, Dick Cheney, who said: "You look around the world at
potential trouble spots - Iran is right at the top of the list."

Pakistan's ISI intelligence service set up a unit in the provincial
capital, Quetta, last year to monitor suspected Iranian activity in
Baluchistan. Officials say that in addition to directly supporting
the insurgency, Teheran's state-controlled radio has launched a
propaganda campaign against Islamabad.

"Radio Teheran broadcasts between 90 and 100 minutes of programmes
every day which carry propaganda against the Pakistan government,"
said a former interior minister. He added that Iran was suspected of
providing financial, logistical and moral backing for the insurgency.

Iran is said to be taking advantage of unrest among tribesmen who
claim to have been denied the benefits of Baluchistan's natural gas
fields. Earlier this month, rebels disrupted gas production in a
series of rocket and mortar attacks, which killed eight people.
However, Islamabad is delaying a formal complaint to Teheran in the
hope that private diplomatic channels may prove more effective.
Meanwhile, large numbers of troops are hunting rebels in the

In the latest attack, a bomb exploded near an army lorry in a crowded
market in Quetta yesterday, killing eight civilians and a soldier -
an assault that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the country's information
minister, blamed on "enemies of Pakistan".

Pakistani officials believe that Teheran – already furious at
Pakistan's support for the US-led war on terrorism – has stepped up
its activity in Baluchistan because of its anger at the construction
of a vast deep-water port at Gwadar, close to the border, which it
fears could be used by Washington as a base for monitoring Iran.
America believes that Iran is pursuing an advanced nuclear weapons
programme in addition to sponsoring terrorism, and has repeatedly
accused Teheran of fomenting trouble within Iraq. Last week, the
journalist Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker that US special
forces had carried out recent reconnaissance missions inside Iran to
identify nuclear, chemical and missile sites that could be targeted.

Although the Bush administration brushed aside the claims, the report
heightened the belief that America is preparing to take action.



02. Maoists threaten India's internal security

Rapidly and insidiously, a new internal security threat, posed by
Left extremists, popularly referred to as Naxalites, is taking shape
in India. Unlike secessionist movements fuelled by communal, ethnic
and linguistic identity politics that have severely tested - and
continue to test - the resolve of the Indian state, the newly
emerging threat will challenge India's democratic polity and rule of
law as never before.

While other threats to India's internal security have been region- or
state- specific, the threat posed by Naxalites is not contained
within a particular area. It casts a sinister shadow from Andhra
Pradesh in the south to Bihar in the east. Naxalites have already
created a 'Compact Red Zone', a corridor across India where Left
extremists run a parallel administration with the help of brute force
and terror.

Starting from the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh, the 'Compact
Red Zone' runs through eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar. It links what the Naxalites describe as the "liberated
zones" of India with the Maoist-held territories of Nepal; a 'Red
Corridor' that has united far-Left comrades in these two neighbouring

The magnitude of the threat posed by Left extremists in India is
underscored by the fact that as many as 156 districts in 13 States
have been officially listed as "affected by Naxalite violence". In
2003, the threat existed in 55 districts in nine states.

In Nepal, which is in the grip of a rapidly snowballing Maoist
insurgency, almost all the 75 districts of that country are now under
the control of Left extremists.

With the geographical spread of the area of their violent political
activity expanding by leaps and bounds, Naxalites in India, armed
with weaponry and communication systems far more sophisticated than
those provided to state police forces (in Andhra Pradesh they are
using wireless scanners that can tap into any frequency of police
communications), are targeting civil administrators, policemen and
politicians with increasing impunity and chilling brutality.

By killing representatives of the state, especially policemen posted
in remote rural areas, they are able to instil fear among villagers,
most of them impoverished landless farmers, as well as ill-equipped
policemen. Thus they are able to establish a parallel system of
"administration" of forcibly collecting "taxes" that fund their
activities, meting out "justice" through kangaroo courts to eliminate
"class enemies", and recruiting fresh cadre through a process of
forced and aggressive indoctrination.

The ferocity of Left extremism can be gauged by two recent incidents:
In Bihar, seven policemen, including a superintendent of police, were
killed in a landmine explosion executed by Naxalites Jan 5. In Uttar
Pradesh, a police convoy was ambushed and 17 policemen were shot

The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh that came to power in the
summer of 2004 tried to reason peace with Left extremists belonging
to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of India
(Marxist-Leninist), the two umbrella organisations under which
Naxalites have now organised themselves. It also lifted the ban on
these groups. Strategically, that was a disastrous move. The previous
Telugu Desam Party government had launched a massive offensive
against the Left extremists and was able to bring the situation in
many areas under control. That advantage has now been lost.

On the eve of the peace talks in October last year, a senior Naxalite
leader was quoted as saying: "By going to the talks, we are not
declaring any ceasefire... Talks are a part of our tactical line.
Naxalism is not a problem, it is a solution."

Using the ruse of peace talks and the unilateral ceasefire imposed by
the Congress government in the state and the placatory attitude of
the Congress-led government in New Delhi, the Left extremists have
regrouped, re-armed and launched a vicious counter-offensive, forcing
the police to respond. The Naxalites, having forced the police to
act, are now using it as a convenient excuse to call off the peace
process and return to the path of armed violence.

From Andhra Pradesh to Bihar, the situation is equally alarming. Not
only are lives periled but development is affected. As K.P.S. Gill,
who has battled many insurgencies, recently commented, it does not
make sense to build roads and bridges that cannot be used for fear of
death at the hands of Naxalites.

Nor does it make sense to pretend that Naxalites pose a "law and
order problem". The threat from Naxalites is much more than that -
they pose a totalitarian challenge to India's democratic polity and
rule of law; they pose an ideological threat that questions the
legitimacy of the Indian state.

Seen from the perspective of internal security, the Naxalites are
fast turning into India's 'Fifth Columnists', more than willing to
join hands with external forces that have been trying to undermine
India's territorial integrity and rend its social fabric. From arms
running to narco-terrorism, they are involved in every possible act
of subversion.

The Naxalite movement that we see today is a far cry and far removed
from the movement that was born in 1967 at Naxalbari, a village of
West Bengal. What we saw then was the splintering of the communists
into radicals and moderates; what we are seeing now is abusing the
barrel of the gun for furthering negative power politics.

In the east, India's Naxalites have teamed up with Nepal's Maoists to
create disaffection among people of Nepalese origin who have been
living for generations in Darjeeling and Dooars in West Bengal and in
lower Sikkim. The purpose is to engineer a movement for
'self-determination' which could unleash violence on a wide scale and
much worse than what was witnessed during the Gorkhaland agitation.

India's intelligence agencies have evidence to prove that Naxalites
are being used by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for
drug trafficking and pumping fake currency notes. In return, ISI is
providing the Naxalites with sophisticated weaponry and the know-how
for making and using improvised explosive devices. Seized weapons and
ammunition bear witness to this evidence.

Impossible and illogical as it may appear, there is also the very
real possibility of the Islamic fundamentalist right and the
Marxist-Leninist fundamentalist Left joining hands, united by the
purpose of subverting the Indian state. Soon after the arrest of
Maulana Naseeruddin, one of the prime accused in the murder of
Gujarat's former home minister Haren Pandya, Naxalites in Andhra
Pradesh came out in support of the Dasargah-e-Jehad-e-Shahadat's
demand for the unconditional release of the accused.

Naxalite leader Ramakrishna circulated a letter among media,
demanding the suspension of police officers who permitted the arrest,
filing of a criminal case against the Gujarat police and a public
apology. He also wanted the Naxalite-friendly Congress state
government to issue a blanket order banning the police from entering
Muslim houses or areas without permission.

Ironically, most states where Naxalite violence is on the rise are
ruled by parties or alliances that are members or supporters of the
coalition government in New Delhi. And unlike the Congress government
in Andhra Pradesh, which now increasingly appears to be repaying a
debt of gratitude for electoral support to the Naxalites, the other
state governments are unwilling to seek accommodation with the far
Left, but are unable to move in tandem in the absence of any clear
central policy.

This is not the first time that the Indian state has slept while a
deadly threat has taken shape and form. If left alone, today's
Naxalite menace could become no less dangerous than the war the
Maoists are waging in Nepal with stunning success.

(Kanchan Gupta, a current affairs analyst, has worked in the previous
Vajpayee administration.


03. Militants in Varanasi jail in contact with ISI

In a serious breach of security, hardcore militants lodged in the
Varanasi Central Jail have allegedly been in telephonic conversation
with officials of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, sources
said on Saturday.

The details of the conversation came to light earlier this week
during a raid by Intelligence Bureau officials, sources told PTI.

The officials, who have already communicated to their superiors and
the Union home ministry about the incarcerated militants' nexus with
ISI, were reportedly startled at the incident, especially since a
jammer system was in place in the jail, they said.

The collusion of some senior jail officials in facilitating the
conversation through mobile phones could not be ruled out, sources

The IB officials have gathered details of telephone calls made on
three occasions in the last 15 days, they added.

The Union home ministry was probing the matter, the sources said.


Message: 23
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:35:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Dr.Habib Siddqui
Subject: Feature Article: Pipes, Polls and Paranoia


The Cornell survey also revealed something that shows how little
Americans know about Islam. Almost half (46%) the respondents could
not even answer two basic questions: what name Muslims use to refer
to God (Allah) and the name of the Muslim holy book (Qur'an). Did not
we know that people are afraid of things they are ignorant about -
ignorance leads to suspicion; suspicion leads to fear and anxiety,
which contribute to hatred? I am really amazed at the level of
ignorance of our 21st century Americans.

Et Tu Daniel? Pipes, Polls and Paranoia
Dr.Habib Siddqui

Nearly a quarter century ago, I came across the writings of Professor
Richard Pipes. His specialty was Soviet Union history. I learned that
he was a teenager when he fled from Nazi-occupied Poland with his
family during World War II. He was a refugee and the son of refugee
parents who, like many naturalized Americans, had settled in this
country, and later became a history professor at Harvard University.
I enjoyed his scholarly work on minorities in the Bolshevik Russia,
and developed a profound respect for this Jewish scholar. And to this
day, I still read his scholarly work.

I was unaware of the existence of any other Pipes of standing until
the Rushdie affair steamed up. So entered the other Pipes - a Daniel
Pipes - like a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. In his writings, I saw
the signatures of those homo demons from the past, the ideologues of
Nazism and Fascism. His writings epitomized racism, bigotry,
anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim paranoia.

It is a travesty of the political process and the deepest of ironies
that his work nonetheless rewarded him with a much-coveted
Directorship at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He acts as if he has
borrowed pages from das schwarze Korps, der Stuermer and voelkischer
Beobachter to apply against Muslims. Little did I know that he's the
son of that internationally renowned historian of Russia and the
Soviet Union - Dr. Richard Pipes - the scholar whom I hold in esteem!
Et tu Daniel!

Truly, life is full of mystery! Things that we least expect can
happen sometimes. When Richard the father rebukes Russian nationalism
for its intolerance "toward Jews, partly for religious reasons,
partly because they refuse to dissolve without a trace in the ethnic
community in the midst of which they live," here is Daniel the son
advocating Muslim pogroms in the West. How ironical! Who would have
expected the children and grandchildren of refugees, the
ghetto-dwellers and victims of pogroms, Fascism and Nazism to behave
like their evil persecutors? Is it a case of collective amnesia or of
some serious mental ailment? Whatever may be the reason, the truth is
it's a nasty reality today.

So what is new with Daniel's xenophobia? In a December 30, 2004 essay
"Why The Japanese Internment Still Matters" (Star-Telegram) he
displays his sickening passion by supporting the concept of rounding
up millions of Muslim Americans and interning them in concentration
camps. He agrees with the Fox News Channel contributor Michelle
Malkin, a right-wing author of a recently published, controversial
book "In Defense of Internment: The Case of Racial Profiling in World
War II and the War on Terror" that suggests that in time of war,
'civil liberties are not sacrosanct' and governments should take into
account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in their
homeland security policies and engage in 'threat-profiling.' I am not
surprised. Malkin's thesis, as has been reviewed by others, is a good
example of the "war-is-peace, tyranny-is-freedom,
civilization-is-barbarism, liberation-is-occupation,
you-are-with-us-or-against-us" worldview, propagated by the
social-Darwinian neoconservative hawks running
the Bush Administration.

To support his sinister proposal on internment of Muslims, Daniel
cites a poll, conducted by sophomore students in the Department of
Communication at Cornell University. The report was released on Dec.
17, 2004. He writes, "For years, it has been my position that the
threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security
measures on Muslims. � And so, I was encouraged by a just-released
Cornell University opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S.
population agreeing with this proposition. Specifically, 44 percent
of Americans believe that government authorities should direct
special attention towards Muslims living in the United States, either
by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring them,
monitoring their mosques or infiltrating their organizations."

In an earlier article, "Improving Islam's Reputation" (Jewish World
Review, July 29, 2003), Daniel wrote, "Americans are increasingly
negative about Islam and Muslims - or so reports the Pew Research
Center for the People and the Press in an important opinion survey�In
November 2001, 59 percent registered positive views [about Muslim
Americans]. That number declined to 54 percent in March 2002 and now
stands at 51 percent." (The survey was conducted during the June 24 -
July 8, 2003 period.)

If the sampling plan for the surveys above can be trusted, these are
obviously worrisome statistics. How much did TV (especially Fox) and
Radio Talk show programs, and Church teachings contribute to
poisoning the minds of Americans against Muslims and Islam? (Before
9/11, among all religious groups, Muslim Americans had the least
crime rate in the USA.) The Cornell University survey, fortunately,
provides some answers to these important questions. It revealed,
something that I have been stating for quite some time, that there
seems to be a direct relationship. For example, twice as many
respondents who pay a high level of attention to TV news felt
personally in danger from a terrorist attack, as compared to
respondents who pay a low level of attention to TV news. The
percentage of respondents entertaining negative image about Islam
shot up by a whopping 18% (from 47% to 65%) amongst highly religious
people. Forty two percent of highly religious respondents believe
that Muslim Americans should register their
whereabouts with the federal government. Republican respondents
entertained more negative image about Muslims than Democrats.
Christians with a high level of religiosity are almost twice as
likely to agree with the government measures to monitor Internet and
outlaw un-American actions, and that the media should not report
criticisms of the government in times of crisis. Talk about a free
society! I wish the Democrats had some clue as to how strong the
Christian Right movement has become in America.

Americans were made to think negatively about the effect of
madrasa-training in Muslim countries, and the impact of al-Jajeera TV
on inciting resistance against American and Israeli forces in the
Middle East, but not about what their own Churches and the media were
doing to create negative stereotypes against Muslims. Dr. James
Shanahan, one of the authors of the Cornell report, said: "� Our
findings highlight that personal religiosity as well as exposure to
news media are two important correlates for support for restrictions
[on civil liberties]. We need to explore why these two very important
channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding.

How much did neoconservatives contribute to polarizing American
attitude against Muslims and Islam? How about Daniel himself? How
about Richard Perle and his hate spewing book - An End to Evil? How
about the hate literature published and promoted by Christian
Zionists? Is there a connection with the resolutions passed during
the Jerusalem Summit, held October 12-14 of 2003, in exploiting the
scene? One need not go any further than reading and listening to
understand their harmful effects.

The Cornell survey also revealed something that shows how little
Americans know about Islam. Almost half (46%) the respondents could
not even answer two basic questions: what name Muslims use to refer
to God (Allah) and the name of the Muslim holy book (Qur'an). Did not
we know that people are afraid of things they are ignorant about -
ignorance leads to suspicion; suspicion leads to fear and anxiety,
which contribute to hatred? I am really amazed at the level of
ignorance of our 21st century Americans. How can you blame them when
their powerful priest Pat Robertson, one of the iconic figures behind
the Christian Right movement that got Bush reelected, preaches that
Muslims worship Hubal, the moon-god of pagans (of the pre-Islamic

In my essay "An Analysis of anti-Muslim polemics," I stated, "If the
Crusaders knew as much about Muslims as Muslims had known about them,
the sad event probably would not have happened. It is clear that the
situation has not improved." Once again the Cornell survey bolsters
my theory. When Americans know about Islam, away from the
agenda-driven American media's disinformation campaign and the
hate-campaigns by agents of bigotry, their fear about Islam and
Muslims would also taper down.

Now that we know about the negative impact of media and Christian
religiosity on American perception about Muslims and Islam, my
question is: what did neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes achieve for
America and her President? According to an AP poll conducted Nov.
19-27, 2004 across Europe, at least seven in ten (>70%) in France,
Germany and Spain said they have an unfavorable view of the U.S.
president. Just over half of the French and Germans said they have an
unfavorable view of Americans in general, and about half of Spaniards
felt that way. Especially inclined to have an unfavorable opinion of
Bush in those countries were people between ages 18 and 24. A
majority of all respondents in France, Germany and Spain said they
were disappointed that Bush won a second four-year term, defeating
Democrat John Kerry. The negative image is not limited to those
countries only. A majority of people in Britain, America's strongest
ally in the Iraq war, has an unfavorable view of Bush. Six in 10
(60%) Britons said they were disappointed he was re-elected. In
Canada, about the same number of Canadians said they were
disappointed with the re-election.

Can Daniel guess why such a negative image about Americans and
President Bush, in spite of his reelection victory? An earlier AP
poll conducted by Ipsos, an international polling firm, in Britain,
Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain and the United States,
in March 2004, showed that just over half in Mexico and Italy had a
negative view of Mr. Bush's role. In Britain and in Canada,
two-thirds had a negative view. Three-fourths of those in Spain and
more than 80% in France and Germany had a negative view of Mr. Bush's
role in world affairs.

Another poll requested by the European Commission (conducted 8-16
October, '03 by Taylor Nelson Sofres/ EOS Gallup Europe and results
released in Oct. 30, 2003) showed that Europeans believe the United
States contributed the most to world instability. According to the
same survey, over half (59%) of Europeans thought that Israel
presented the biggest threat to world peace.

Are the Europeans anti-Semitic? Or, is it Sharon's war crimes in the
Occupied Territories, approved and aided by the Amen Corner in the
Capitol Hill that is responsible for such an incriminating result? Is
the negative perception in Europe, Canada and Mexico about Bush and
America linked to trustworthier media and less Christian religiosity
there? Or, is it because of Bush doctrine, written by
neo-conservative hawks?

A new Gallup poll (conducted Jan. 7-9) released on Jan. 12, 2005
finds Americans tilting against the war in Iraq, with 50% now saying
it was a mistake to send U.S. troops into Iraq. (Note: In November
1966 the negative view in Vietnam was only endorsed by 31%, and in
July 1967 it reached 41%. After reaching 53% in August 1968, it hit
60% in January 1971.) Last year at this time, 59% said it was worth
going to war in Iraq. The poll finds 56% of Americans disapproving
the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, up from 51%
in November. Just 42% approve. When Americans were asked how well
things are going for the war in Iraq, 40% say they are going well,
and 59% say they are going badly. This is a decline of 6% in optimism
since September. And this, in spite of the gag order forbidding
display of pictures of American-flag-draped coffins of soldiers
returning home for burial.

There is no denying that the neoconservatives orchestrated the war in
Iraq. They misled the world with false claims. (I won't be surprised
if the source for the so-called 'faulty' intelligence originated with
them.) No WMDs were found, and the CIA hunters for biological,
chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq have now returned home. (Bush
expressed disappointment that no weapons or weapons programs were
found, but had to call off the search.) Bush was their front man, but
they were the ones manipulating and running the show. And at what a
miserable cost! The war has cost America 200 billion dollars (the
destruction of properties in Iraq alone is estimated at more than a
hundred billion dollars) and has resulted in the deaths of more than
a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians (outside Fallujah). If America
were to pay reparation for her illegal war in Iraq, the cost may run
into hundreds of billions of dollars. Iraq is unstable and insecure,
her treasures looted, and infrastructure bombed out. There is no sign

that the situation inside Iraq would quickly improve after the
U.S.-sponsored election this month. This is the Iraq that neocons
have presented us! Their tricks have made our world more insecure
than ever before, sowing the seeds of 'clash of civilizations.'

A poll conducted by Zogby International, the most trusted name in
opinion survey, last year (July 2004) found that even in 'friendly'
Arab countries, the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by overwhelming
majorities (98% in Egypt, 94% in Saudi Arabia, 88% in Morocco, 78% in
Jordan, and 73% in UAE). Compared to April 2002, these numbers are
higher (except in UAE).

A new pre-inaugural poll, reported by NPR on Jan. 13, '05, shows that
President Bush's public approval rate (who was named the Time
Magazine's Man of the Year in 2004) in America lags those of other
recent second-term presidents. Bush begins his second term with a 50%
approval rating - well below the support enjoyed by President
Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton at the start of their second

All these polls are ominous signs for America and President Bush.
Many noted international analysts view Bush as a reincarnation of
Adolf Hitler. America is loathed around the world. Except "buying and
bullying" influence, she has little leverage.

So, rather than shedding crocodile tears for Muslim Americans' image,
Daniel and his ilk should examine at their own culpability and work
towards improving the image of Bush and America around the world.
That would be more productive and commendable. Otherwise, it won't be
too long that their honeymoon with Bush would be over. And who knows
they might find themselves in the same spot visited by Julius
Streicher for committing crimes against humanity!

Email to Dak Bangla from Dr.Habib Siddiqui who writes from the US

Message: 24
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:51:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: BANGLADESH: 50 injured as Bangla Bhai's men clash with police


50 injured as Bangla Bhai's men clash with police
Procession bid foiled; 64 JMJB cadres held; 8 cops among injured
Staff Correspondent, Rajshahi

At least 50 people, including eight policemen, were injured in
clashes between police and Bangla Bhai-led Jagrata Muslim Janata
Bangladesh (JMJB) at Bhabaniganj in Bagmara yesterday noon.

Reinforcements from the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), the Rajshahi
police line and three neighbouring police stations were involved in
the clashes, which ensued after police foiled a JMJB attempt to
organize a procession in protest against the lynching of three JMJB
men on Saturday night.

Police rounded up 64 JMJB cadres for clashing with police, but did
not detain any of the leaders who led the attacks.

Tear gas shells, rubber bullets and brickbats were used during the
clashes, police said.

A curfew-like situation now prevails at Bagmara following the
incident, as police and Rab forces patrol the region and the streets
remain deserted.

The injured policemen include Golam Kibria, officer in charge of the
Bagmara police station, Sub Inspector (SI) Salauddin, SI Mahbub
Hossain, SI Sanaullah, SI Monirul, ASI Zahangir, Havildar Poritosh
and constable Ershadul.

Since being barred for the first time by law enforcement agencies,
JMJB men have started gathering arms and recruiting armed cadres from
different parts of the country, sources told.

Our sources last evening witnessed some JMJB leaders vowing to

retaliate for the lynching and to battle against law enforcement

agencies if the situation demands.

"I heard one of our leaders calling upon his senior to come to
Bagmara immediately with heavy arms for the retaliation. He vowed to
fight with police and Rab," said a source inside JMJB.

Ordered by their leaders, JMJB cadres from different upazilas and
even from Naogaon and Natore started gathering in the morning at
Sikdari, Hamirkutsa, Talgharia, Goalkandi, Taherpur, Jhikra and

By noon, with their numbers reaching several thousands, they gathered
at the Bhabaniganj Boys' High School field and chanted slogans
against the lynching of their three fellows.

'We will not let the blood of the martyrs go unpunished.' 'The
administration should answer for killing our people.' 'Blood for
blood,' were the slogans used by the agitating JMJB men, sources

Police intercepted them using batons as they brought out the
procession at the school gate. JMJB men retaliated with bricks and

"We asked them not to move for the criminals, but they did not heed
us," said OC Kibria, speaking by cell phone. He added that the
clashes lasted for half an hour.

He said police lobbed three tear gas shells, several rubber bullets
and blank shots to disperse the mob.

In the afternoon, locals said, Rab and police indiscriminately forced
bearded youths into the town's saloons, forcing them to shave.

SI Mahbub Hossain of Bagmara PS filed a case after the clashes,
accusing the JMJB cadres of attacking police and interrupting
government work.

Some local villagers, meanwhile, criticized the police for their
actions. "Police should take a lesson from the incident that
terrorism can not be eliminated through terrorism," said an area
dweller, adding that the police have backed JMJB since its founding
on March 31, 2004.

"Yesterday's incident is nothing different from rearing a snake with
milk and bananas", commented pro-liberation doctors' association
president Dr. Sayed Safiqul Alam.

Yesterday's clashes resulted from an earlier incident on Saturday
night, when a mob lynched three bearded men of the fugitive terrorist
Bangla Bhai-led Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh at the Bagmara

The lynching ensued immediately after a militant group bombed to
death a villager and injured 30 others while running away from a
foiled attempt on the life of Sreepur union council chairman Mokbul
Hossain Mridha, who belongs to the Awami League (AL).

Local AL members called a half-day hartal in the Taherpur
municipality on Tuesday and a protest meeting on Wednesday for
attacks on AL leaders.

Mokbul Mridha, 48 and vice president of Sreepur union AL, was
attacked at approximately 8.30pm on Saturday while walking home with
local AL advisor Yusuf Ali Pramanik.

As many as 11 masked men waylaid them at Kuthibari. "Seven of the
attackers swooped down on us and hit Mridha with an iron rod on his
head," said Yusuf Talking to The Daily Star.

They then fired three shots, one hitting Mridha in the hip as he was
jumping into a roadside ditch, said Yusuf. Mridha was later admitted
to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH).

The attackers, meanwhile, started to flee as villagers began chasing
them. Cornered at Khoira beel, the attackers then hurled a bomb and
killed Mahbub Hossain Dewan, 35, the AL publicity secretary at ward
no. 9 of Taherpur municipality.

Some 30 persons were also injured in the bomb attack. Nine of them
were admitted to RMCH with splinter wounds to their bodies, including
their heads, faces, and eyes.

Infuriated at the bomb attack, villagers jumped in the beel and
caught three of the attackers, beating them to death on the spot.
Three others escaped.

The incident was the first time that villagers turned out against
JMJB since the militant band started operations on March 31 of last
year, unleashing a violent campaign in which as many as 15 have been
killed and several hundred others tortured, allegedly with police
support on the plea of eliminating outlaws.

The lynched persons were identified as Abdur Rahman, a 20-year-old
Alim (intermediate) student of Taherpur Madrassah; Ibrahim Hossain,
an 18-year-old SSC examinee from Bhabaniganj High School; and Abdul
Baki Murad, 22, a man from Pallapara, Adamdighi in Bogra, Bangla
Bhai's home.


Message: 25
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:53:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Dak Bangla
Subject: BANGLADESH: The wrath on Jatra: Too tendentious to overlook


The wrath on Jatra: Too tendentious to overlook

There have been at least six bomb attacks on village fairs or jatra
shows in the northern districts of the country over the last two
months. The attackers seem to be working to cut off the people from
their traditional cultural moorings. They are prepared to go to any
length to achieve their goal. Suddenly it appears that some people
are trying to change the cultural course of rural life.

This is certainly an ominous development for society as a whole. The
attackers cannot be allowed to pursue their ill-conceived mission
which seeks to destroy a folk culture form handed down from
generation to generation. Their activities are not only a cultural
affront but could also breed divisiveness and chaos in rural life.

The issue also has a bearing on law and order as the attackers are
using bombs and other small arms. The assault points to the dangerous
proliferation of small arms in the country with some ulterior
motives. This is something that the law enforcers must combat with a
sense of urgency.

Now, who could possibly be the perpetrators of such crimes against
folk culture and its adherents? Some men having been caught with
bomb-making materials earlier on reportedly admitted to having links
to a fanatic militant group. And the suspected attackers are believed
to have been associated with the infamous leader of the JMJB which is
a self-styled vigilante group operating in North Bengal. Going by
such indications, militancy of the obscurantist kind might have been
the driving force behind the attacks.

Let's have a thorough investigation into the tendentious attacks so
as to get to the bottom of them and bring the real culprits out in
the open for punishment.