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Archives for : Congress

Did Cong loosen the CBI case against Modi for Nuclear Bill in 2010?

Nuclear issues have been a wild-card in the Indian politics in the recent years, affecting quite a few unexpected turns. Manmohan Singh who as a Finance Minister discouraged nuclear energy in the early 1990s for economic reasons, found merit in the same for political reason during his bonhomie with George W. Bush’s America.

The former PM got so obsessed with the nuclear deal that he put his government at the stake in 2008, and played a political maverick by shunning the Left allies and wooing the Samajwadi Party. This move surprised even his political mentor Sonia Gandhi as she maintained a distance from the UP satrap ever since Mulayam Singh ridiculing her during the 2004 campaign.

Modi congress deal for nuclear liability

Later, when the Nuclear Liability Bill came to an impasse’ in the parliament, the Congress party again had to make amends with the principal opposition, the BJP. The BJP then was strongly opposed to several provisions of the draft Bill, including the ridiculously low cap on the liability and the attempts to let of the foreign suppliers.  On that occasion, the Congress party allegedly struck a deal with the BJP to loosen the CBI hook on Narendra Modi who was then facing serious charges of abetting communal violence in Gujarat in 2002 and the Shohrabuddin fake encounter case. The allegations about a Cong-BJP deal were leveled by two prominent regional leaders who themselves faced such arm-twisting at several occasions by the Centre using the CBI.

During the whole discussion on the nuclear deal, Modi did not utter a word then. Now it seems to be pay back time for him, with his government’s u-turns on nuclear policy and his nuclear shopping spree. The Modi government is unceremoniously dumping the positions taken by BJP over last 10 years when it was in opposition, be it its reservations on the IAEA protocol, nuclear liability, its demand to review the green clearance for Jaitapur or its support of the issues raised by Koodankulam villagers as genuine and real.

It would not be surprising if Modi uses the nuclear wild-card and allow exemption for the US companies from the Nuclear Liability Act, to enhance his stature with the US and other international powers looking for a pie in India’s nuclear market.


Clean chit for Modi: BJP-Congress deal

AG Khan | September 2010

No, neither Afzal Guru is Congress’ son-in-law as Gadkari lambasted nor are minorities as Sudarshan bewailed. The VIP to claim such preference is none other than Narendra Modi who got a clean chit from CBI over Sohrabuddin encounter case as a quid pro quo for BJP’s support to the Congress’ pet project to offer immunity to the American suppliers of useless nuclear technology to India.

Almost all the opposition parties were stunned to see the new duet sung by the duo on the nuclear deal. Both the houses were paralysed when angry RJD and SP members stormed the wells of the two houses. “The Congress and the BJP are one,” accused Mulayam. Lalu declared, “They have struck a deal over the nuclear bill to bail out Modi.” The cordiality of the new “relationship” was seen at Shahnawaz’s iftar party where beaming Congressmen led by the prime minister himself were hugged by jubilant Saffronites.

For the Congress to seek BJP support was a priority. The nuclear bill has to be passed before Obama arrives next November. American firms supplying nuclear reactors will not be responsible for another Bhopal-like disaster. Indian life, we all know, is very cheap. The BJP, on the other hand, had to seek Congress “favour” as exposures involving RSS activists in bomb blasts across the country began upsetting them. The Bellary mining scam had been another thorn in their flesh as BSP and Andhra parties wanted the dismissal of the BJP government in Karnataka. For BJP, it was business as usual. Sushma tried to convince that they had agreed “with our point of view”. Arun Jaitley further said that the seven suggested changes incorporated now have made them join the bandwagon. So, Modi can relax. CBI is no longer “an extended arm of Congress”! The hand is out for Lotus friendship!


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Congress – Stirring the volatile Sikh religious pot


Picture shows the president of the Haryana Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee being greeted by elated members after the announcement of a separate Gurudwara body formation for the State. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
The HinduPicture shows the president of the Haryana Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee being greeted by elated members after the announcement of a separate Gurudwara body formation for the State. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

The move to create a separate management committee for Sikh shrines in Haryana has raised serious concerns about the politicisation of the Sikh clergy

The Congress government’s move in Haryana to have a Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) of its own in order to manage Sikh shrines in the State, has stirred the volatile Sikh religious pot. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab is crying foul at the move, even as the Congress is determined to break the hegemony of the SAD-controlled SGPC of Punjab on Sikh institutions. After weeks of acrimonious statements from both sides, the Haryana Assembly passed the Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, setting the stage for a confrontation between the two parties.

In 1996, SAD shed its Sikh religious moorings to become a secular democratic party with the aim of working for all communities. In practice, the party continues with its ‘gurudwara politics’ through the elected house of the SGPC, which is dominated by SAD members.

The devaluation of Sikhdom’s apex institutions like the Akal Takht and the Amritsar-based SGPC due to their politicisation has irked Sikhs so much in recent years that few tears are now being shed for the attack that the SGPC is facing from the Congress-backed Sikhs of Haryana. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal tried to dramatically describe it as, “the third assault on Sikhs by the Congress after Operation Bluestar and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots”, but save the Om Prakash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and a half-hearted Bharatiya Janata Party, no one across the socio-political spectrum is supporting him. As Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, a noted Sikh scholar and author of the SGPC’s white paper on Operation Bluestar, told The Hindu, “The Sikh religion today has become subordinate to politics.”

Obvious motives

The motives of the Haryana government are all too obvious. With the Assembly elections looming in October, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, whose stock among non-Jats is at an all-time low thanks to his pro Jat policies, is on a mission to woo all communities. He promised a Haryana SGPC in his first tenure in the 2005 election manifesto, and in 2007 he constituted a panel under Finance minister H.S. Chattha to explore its feasibility. The Chattha panel claims to have received more than two lakh affidavits from Sikhs in Haryana in support of a separate Haryana SGPC, and last week Mr. Hooda announced its formation. This was followed by the passing of the Bill that seeks to constitute a separate SGPC for Haryana.

Haryana claims that a separate statutory body to manage its own gurudwaras flows from Section 72 of the Punjab State Reorganisation Act 1966 that provides for separate statutory bodies in successor States of erstwhile joint Punjab. Legal opinion is currently divided on this and a final interpretation of the Act could well reach the courts. Mr. Badal has described Haryana’s move as “illegal and unconstitutional” because the SGPC is constituted under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, a Central law. Many in SAD were hoping that with the pro-Badal National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, Haryana’s legislation will be blocked when it is sent to the President for assent. But Haryana has taken the stand that it is competent to enact the law on its own and the Bill requires only the approval of the State Governor.

But why do Haryanvi Sikhs want a separate body to manage their shrines, almost five decades after Punjab was split into three States? The main grouse is that SGPC takes collections (estimated to be about Rs. 170 crore) from Haryana gurudwaras but does not spend it in the State. Further, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress spokesperson and Haryana minister, says, “Haryana’s Sikhs are not given employment or representation in SGPC-run religious and educational institutions in the State.” Giving an example of the hegemony of the Badal family over SGPC, he points out, “The SGPC-owned Miri Piri Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Shahabad was taken over by a Trust, which has Mr. Badal as its head.”

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar denies most of the charges and counters them by accusing the Haryana government of creating hurdles for SGPC projects in the State.

But the Congress is more irked by the manner in which the SAD leadership uses Haryana’s gurudwaras as platforms to help the INLD to win Sikh votes. Last year, the Congress lost control of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) when SAD ousted a Congress-supported group in the elections. The new body of the DSGMC campaigned aggressively for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Hooda is clearly determined to prevent the SGPC from doing the same in favour of the INLD in Haryana, and backed the demand of Haryana’s Sikhs to break away from the SGPC’s hold. He has the support of Punjab Congress leaders who would also like to see diluted the control of SAD on Sikh religious institutions.

The SAD is virtually isolated in its stand as the Aam Aadmi Party, some radical organisations like the Dal Khalsa in Punjab, and some overseas Sikh organisations are also in favour of a separate Haryana SGPC. The SAD’s requests to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to prevent Haryana from enacting its law have not yielded anything substantial, which is why hours before the Bill was passed Mr. Makkar formed a sub-committee to manage Haryana’s gurdwaras.

Some serious concerns

But beyond the politics of wooing the Sikh vote bank, the controversy has raised more serious concerns about the politicisation of the Sikh clergy and its “misuse” by SAD for political ends. The Akal Takht has already taken a beating for intervening in a political fight. When Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh from the Akal Takht invited Sikh leaders of Haryana to discuss the issue some days ago, they did not go. Many saw this as a disrespect of the Akal Takht. But worse was to come. A committee appointed by him that went to reason with Sikh leaders of Haryana at Kurukshetra was given a mouthful. Dr. Dhillon says, “Mr. Badal controls all the important appointments in the SGPC and the Akal Takht. When vested political interests come into play, then such things are bound to happen.”

Gurpreet Singh of United Sikhs, a Sikh socio-cultural organisation, says: “The image of the religion is certainly dented by all this and the SGPC needs to introspect on why Haryana’s Sikhs want to control their gurdwaras. Vast numbers of Sikhs are said to be deserting the faith, because the guardians of the faith are busy doing politics instead of protecting its basic tenets. Interestingly, Mr Hooda did not go ahead with the HSGPC during the ten-year UPA rule because its Sikh Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, did not approve of it. With Mr. Singh out of power and a high stakes election on the horizon, Mr. Hooda has the Sikh vote on his radar.

Mr. Badal has warned that Haryana’s move could disrupt peace and harmony, but this is not the last word on this contentious issue.

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If anything happens to me, IB and government are responsible’ – S P Udayakumar, anti nuke activist

June 19, 2014 13:57 IST,
A Ganesh Nadar in Nagercoil,
S P Udaykumar

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‘Both (the BJP and the Congress) are two sides of the same coin. Both are equally corrupt, both are equally communal and anti-India.’

‘The government doesn’t listen to people’s opinion anymore. They are more interested in pleasing their foreign masters and their corporate friends. They are not interested in the people of India.’

‘I am a threat to nuclear energy. I am a threat to the global nuclear industry. The governments of India, Russia, France and America are all together now. We are a threat to all of them. Their business interests are hurt. They are going to dump their outdated technology on the hapless people of India.’

Anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar, who has been called ‘a threat to the economic security of India’ in a secret report on NGOs the Intelligence Bureau submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office, and who has sent a legal notice to the home ministry for ‘defaming’ him, speaks to A Ganesh Nadar.

S P Udayakumar, the anti-Koodankulam activist, is an upset man today. He feels false propaganda against him by the government has endangered him and his family. “What if people believe this nonsense that I am a threat to the economic security of my country? They might attack us on the road. As it is my school has been attacked twice earlier.” Udayakumar has even dashed off a legal notice to the Union home ministry for ‘defaming’ him in the matter and to clear his name.

He is the leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy that has been spearheading an agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for three years now. He has more than 300 cases against him and he contested the Lok Sabha elections unsuccessfully on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket from Kanyakumari.

A secret Intelligence Bureau report to the PMO has named Udayakumar in a list of NGOs it calls a ‘threat to the economic security of the country’.

There are three specific allegations against him:

The Ohio University funded his protest.

Americans funded his protest.

Certain European countries funded his protest and his contact man was a German national who was asked to leave India.

Udayakumar, who has a doctorate in political science, rubbished these allegations and also spoke at length on how he is dealing with the situation. He spoke to’s A Ganesh Nadar in Nagercoil.

The first allegation is that Ohio University funded your protest?

John Powell was my boss between 1997 and 2001, when I worked at the University of Minnesota. I returned to India in 2001. Powell moved from the University of Minnesota to the University of Ohio as the director of the Kirwan Institute.

He called me and said ‘Why don’t you join me as the work is similar to what you were doing in Minnesota?’. They were studying the relation between poverty and race. I agreed and went and worked there. I joined as a research fellow of the international programme.

We were focusing on globalisation, minority welfare, racism and other related issues. We were doing research. None of our projects had anything to do with India, or nuclear power in India or nuclear power in any other country in the world. The Kirwan Institute was least bothered about India’s development or about India’s nuclear activities. This is a fact.

You have a doctorate from Ohio University?

I have a PhD in political science from the University of Hawaii.

Tell me more about Ohio.

This was a research institute set in a reputed university of the United States. To call that institute an NGO is complete nonsense. They will not fund any protest against nuclear energy. They are an institute researching race and poverty.

What were you doing there? Connecting race and poverty?

Yes race and poverty, minority welfare and globalisation. How all the benefits of globalisation are heaped on the top of the pyramid and not at the bottom. How racism plays a role in opportunity structure.

Many of my projects have been published in reputed magazines and books.

You firmly believe that there is a connection between race and poverty?

Oh yes. If you look at the global composition you will see that most of the poor people are coloured. If you look at opportunities, white people have a lot more opportunities than the coloured people. It is obvious that there is a correlation between race and poverty.

Why are the Adivasis and Dalits poorer than the Brahmins in this country?

You are saying that in India there is a relation between poverty and caste?

Yes. Minorities are poorer than the majority in the population. It is the same structure all over the world. Opportunities are availed by people who have more power. The so called superior races and higher castes have got more opportunities and political power and they lead better lives with more amenities.

Let’s go to the next allegation: ‘Udaykumar got unsolicited contract benefits’. It’s obvious you did not ask for it, but you got it. Another allegation is that the Americans funded the protests because Koodankulam is a Russian project.

(laughs) I don’t believe that out of 120 crore people, the Americans would choose Udayakumar to protest against Koodankulam because it is a Russian project. I am not a movie actor, I am not a religious guru, I am not a sports hero.

They chose you because you worked there.

Yes, I studied there, I worked there. But Subramanian Swamy and P Chidambaram also studied there. There are lot more powerful people who have studied and worked there. I am an insignificant person. I am a small little man from a little town called Nagercoil.

If they wanted to stop the nuclear project would they chose Udayakumar or Dr Manmohan Singh or one of his ministers?

Why would they choose a Hindu to talk to the fishermen community to agitate? (Most fishermen in Koodankulam are Christians). I do not belong to their caste, religion or profession.

It is a completely absurd and nonsensical claim. Actually the Americans would be more interested in running the Koodankulam plant than shutting it down.

Only if the Koodakulam plant runs will they get a chance to honour the Indo-American nuclear deal.

In spite of India having a nuclear deal with the US, it is the French and the Russians who have got plants here, not the US. So they are upset and are sponsoring protests.

That is why my bank accounts have been verified twice. The accounts of the Tuticorin social service have been checked. Every church in this area has come under the scanner. They have frozen my bank accounts and my school trust accounts for two years. They have not found anything. They have analysed all my transactions.

They have concluded that I have received money from the Americans. It is a completely absurd statement. It is not based on facts.

What about your European donors and your German contact?  

Sonntag Rainer is not my German contact. He is a friend I met in my hometown Nagercoil. When he first came to India someone had given him my address and he came and met me. He was a nature lover and joined our agitation against Koodankulam as a wellwisher. He used to stay in a very cheap hotel, he wasn’t rich.

Once in a while he used to come home and eat with us. He didn’t have money to give us, neither was he funneling money from Scandinavian countries to us as alleged by the IB.

One day, in February 2012, I was told that Rainer was being deported. Rainer did not give me any map. I know more about Indian nuclear activity than Rainer. He doesn’t need to tell me or show me where the nuclear installations are. So the news about maps on laptops is nonsense like everything else in their report.

All information is available on the internet or you can Google it. We don’t need Rainer. If he had really indulged in anti-India activities they should have put him in jail, not deported him. They knew they did not have a case to keep him in jail so they deported him. He has not been in touch with me after going back.

He was made an example for others. If you protest against the government you have had it. The government doesn’t like anyone finding fault with it or going against it. Activists are always prosecuted to stifle their voice in favour of the poor and weak.

Your agitation, though powerful, was finally a failure. You could not stop the plant and you could not get them to implement even one of the safety measures you suggested.  Your agitation too has closed down.

The agitation has not stopped. Even now as we speak, there are 200 to 300 people sitting in the pandal at Idinthakarai. They are sitting in protest. The protest is not a failure, it is not over.

Yes, we have not been able to stall the plant but we never claimed that we would be able to stall it. We are fighting the monstrous State of India. We don’t have their access to taxes, technology or manpower. We don’t have their political power or anything like that.

Why are you calling the Indian government monstrous?

It is so huge. It doesn’t listen to people’s opinion anymore. They are more interested in pleasing their foreign masters and their corporate friends. They are not interested in the people of India.

You made these allegations against the Congress government which is no longer in power. You cannot say the same thing about the new government.

This government also favours foreign interests and multinational corporations. They want to ‘develop the country’ at the cost of local people and the environment.

So you think the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are the same?

Both are two sides of the same coin. Both are equally corrupt, both are equally communal and anti-India.

You mean anti-India or anti-environment?

Anti-environment, anti-people and therefore anti-India. If you are pro-India you should support the people of India. You should value Indian life. You should give priority to Indian interests and not foreign interests.

When you start working for foreigners, making sure their agreements are honoured, making sure they make good profits, then you are anti-India.

One of the reasons the US has not come to India is the nuclear liability law. Are you not going to give credit to the government for framing that law?

They are now trying to bend that law to accommodate US interests. Just to get foreign funds they are finding loopholes in that law. Just look at defence procurements. Just look at FDI is so many sectors of the economy.

If you are interested in India’s interest in many of these sectors, these guys should not be allowed like defence, railways. They are a security threat in these sectors. Our interests should be protected and promoted.

You want weapons to be made by Indian companies?

I don’t believe in weapons. You give the people their basic amenities, you look after them properly. Now they have nothing, give them something worthwhile. Give them a good life. Then they will want to fight and defend their country. Now they have nothing to lose, they won’t fight and you need a mighty army with imported weapons to defend our borders. First look after the people and then look for weapons and the army.

You were earlier a national security threat, now you are a threat to the economy?

I am a threat to nuclear energy. I am a threat to the global nuclear industry. The governments of India, Russia, France and America are all together now. We are a threat to all of them. Their business interests are hurt. They are going to dump their outdated technology on the hapless people of India.

We point out their faults and so we are being targeted. Unfortunately some people in this country believe these stories. That is the irony of it.

This is becoming a threat to my life and to the security of my family.

How and why do you say that?

When they name me like this. When they call me an Indian a security threat for whatever reasons, it sends a wrong message to the wrong people. When I walk on the streets someone may say here goes a traitor and attack me. I might get killed. My school has been attacked twice. You know my people were attacked inside the Tirunelveli collector’s office in full view of the public.

If something happens to me the Intelligence Bureau and the Government of India are responsible. By maligning me and putting my life at risk.

There is a saying ‘give a dog a bad name then hang him’.

Exactly. That’s a very good proverb, very appropriate.

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FIR against Ramdev likely in Mumbai

May 6, Mumbai


Women’s groups are upset with yoga guru for his ‘honeymoon’ comment

Thanks to the intervention of Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, women’s organisations here are likely to file an FIR against yoga guru Baba Ramdev at the Azad Maidan police station on Wednesday.

The Mahila Haque Sangharsh Samiti comprising the Ambedkar Mission-Mumbai, the AITUC, the Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti and the Republican Panther Forum Against Oppression of Women, besides individual signatories, sought to lodge a complaint against Ramdev on Monday for his controversial “honeymoon” comment that hurt Dalit sentiments.

The yoga guru, addressing a gathering in Lucknow in April, attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying, “He goes to Dalits’ houses for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, his luck could have clicked and he would have become Prime Minister.”

These comments did not go down well with many women’s rights and Dalit organisations leading to FIRs being filed across the country, including in Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mangalore.

Women’s groups in the city too sought to file a complaint but were apparently refused by officials at the Azad Maidan police station stating that the offence was not committed in their jurisdiction.

“We showed them press clippings from different cities where FIRs have been filed. But they refused saying they would consult their legal department. They also declined to give us anything in writing, including the reason why they were refusing to file the FIR,” read a joint press release issued by the organisations.

“The speech was aired on national television. This gives anybody from anywhere the right to file a complaint,” said lawyer Lara Jesani, speaking for the group.

Following the police officers’ refusal, the representatives approached the office of the Mumbai Police Commissioner on Monday. After having failed to meet the CoP that day, the group’s representatives finally met him on Tuesday. Following the meeting, Mr. Maria directed the Azad Maidan police station to file the complaint, said Sujata Gothoskar of Forum Against Oppression of Women.

The FIR is likely to be registered on Wednesday.


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Gujarat model hyped ? The Clash of Models

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 01, 2014

First Published: 00:49 IST(1/5/2014) | Last Updated: 12:58 IST(1/5/2014)
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Gujarat’s developmental model has dominated this election season, thanks to BJP’s PM candidateNarendra Modi making it a poll issue and the Congress hitting back with vengeance.

Modi showcased his state’s model to project his performance. The Congress called it a ‘toffee’ model that India does not need. TMC said the West Bengal model was better while Telugu Desam Party said the Gujarat model was inspired by the one it had designed for Andhra Pradesh.

The parties, however, have failed to project more equitable models of development that could be adopted by the next government.

Pranob Sen, chairman of National Statistical Commission, said there is no clarity on the Gujarat model. “There is no development model that can be a template for entire country. It has to be a mix and match as different models deliver different results. One should remember that the Centre frames broad policies and the state implements them. There cannot be one central model of development,” he said.

The best way, others said, is for the states to learn from each other’s successes and failures. If one looks at state-wise socio-economic indicators, some non-Congress ruled states achieved much more than Gujarat in providing basic minimum facilities to people and in equitable distribution of wealth.

Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, for instance, provided drinking water facilities to more people than Gujarat between 2001 and 2011. They also did better in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates. Tamil Nadu recorded higher state gross domestic growth between 2005-06 and 2012-13. “Tamil Nadu has done as well as or better than Gujarat,” Sen said.

The primary school dropout rates in the traditionally backward and BJP ruled states – Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh – were lower than in Gujarat. A Central government official attributed it to expansion of primary school network in these states and effective monitoring as they had more out-of-school children than Gujarat.

BJP patriarch LK Advani had patted Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh for their performance, adding they were heading backward states unlike a developed one by Modi. BJP won state assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in December 2013 for the third consecutive time, like in Gujarat.

Chhattisgarh and Nitish Kumar-led Bihar beat Modi’s home state when it came to rise in per capital income. The reason was the low base of per capita income in these two states. Chhattisgarh’s annual per capita income rose by 11.16% and Bihar’s by 14.77% compared to 10.47% for Gujarat.

Traditionally, the northern states have been laggards in socio-economic development compared to southern states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. A planning commission study of 2012 said that the northern states were catching up on human development indicators by adopting southern success models.


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Sikh Group to Challenge Dismissal of 1984 Case against India’s Congress Party



New York (April 28, 2014)

While acknowledging that corporate entities like Congress party of India can be sued under Alien Torts Statute (ATS), Judge Robert W. Sweet of US District Court dismissed the 1984 rights violation lawsuit against Congress party for failure to show sufficient “touch and concern” to the United States.

The rights group “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ) will challenge the dismissal of 1984 rights violation case against India’s Congress party before the US Court of Appeals on the grounds that this case sufficiently “touches and concerns” the United States and SFJ has “institutional standing” to seek “declaratory judgment” on November 1984 violence against the Sikh community.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, an appeal has to be filed with the US Circuit Court within 30 days from the date of District Court’s order. Sikh right group’s appeal against the order of Judge Sweet dismissing the 1984 rights violation case is due by May 23.

On the issue of corporate liability, Judge Sweet, citing the case of Balintulo v. Daimler AG ruled that “Daimler seems to concretely establish that a corporate defendant can be liable under the ATS, assuming that the statute’s “touch and concern” requirements are adequately alleged”.

“Accordingly, the fact that Defendants are incorporated does not, in and of itself, relieve them of liability under the statute or remove this Court’s jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ allegations.” Stated April 24  ruling of the Judge Sweet.

“Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ combined facts, even if credited, are insufficient to establish that the conduct sufficiently “touched and concerned” the United States to establish jurisdiction under the ATS and dismissal is appropriate under 12(b)( 1)”

Mounting a legal challenge to the District Court’s ruling that claims of November 1984 victims do not “touch and concern” the US and are barred under Kiobel, the rights group will argue the appeal before US Court of appeals that the plaintiffs have already been granted refugee status by California Federal Court for being victims of violence committed by the Congress party in India which proves plaintiffs’ sufficient connection to the United States.

SFJ will also challenge the denial of its standing in this case, on the grounds that Federal Law grants “institutional standing” to human rights groups to seek “declaratory judgments” by the US Courts. In this case, SFJ is seeking judgment to declare November 1984 violence against the Sikh Community after the assassination of Indira Gandhi as “Genocide”. The monetary compensation in the case against Congress Party is being sought only by the individual plaintiffs who are survivors or legal heirs of the 1984 victims.

Terming the April 24 decision as beginning of the long legal uphill road for the victims to hold the “powerful and untouchables” accountable for their crimes against the Sikh community, attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun stated that rights group will give documentation, evidence and testimony before court of appeals that India’s Congress party commands, controls and directs the functioning of New York based entity INOC (Indian National Overseas Congress), thus, satisfying Kiobel’s requirement of “touch and concern”.

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Delhi cops, govt ‘colluded’ during 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Cobrapost Sting

By  on April 22, 2014

A sting operation by Cobrapost on several police officers serving in Delhi during the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 allegedly exposes how the police refused to act against the rioters, partly because they wanted to be on the right side of the Congress government of the day, and partly because the police force itself had got communalized.

Based on a series of interviews by an undercover reporter with six station house officers (SHOs) of the time, from areas where the riots took place, the sting apparently brings to light ‘confessions’ by many of them. The interviews of two senior officers, ACP Gautam Kaul and then police commissioner S C Tandon, however, yielded no such confessions.


While Tandon parried all the questions, Kaul claimed that on one occasion when he went to check out reports of rioting near Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, he had to flee since he was alone in front of a hostile mob.

While TOI cannot vouch for the authenticity of the interviews, if they are true they reveal how an entire police force not only failed to act, but colluded with the government of the day to teach Sikhs “a lesson” in one of the worst examples of state-sponsored violence against a religious minority.

The SHOs interviewed were Shoorveer Singh Tyagi of Kalyanpuri, Rohtas Singh of Delhi Cantonment, SN Bhaskar of Krishna Nagar, OP Yadav of Srinivaspuri and Jaipal Singh of Mehrauli. Amreek Singh Bhullar, who was SHO of Patel Nagar at the time, was also interviewed. He had submitted an affidavit to an inquiry commission accusing some local leaders of not just participating in the riots but whipping up mobs into a frenzy.

Among the more shocking revelations is that messages were broadcast directing the police not to take action against rioters shouting slogans of “Indira Gandhi zindabad” and that bodies of victims were in some cases dumped far away from the scene of the rioting to reduce the official toll of the riots.

According to some, while news of arson and rioting poured into the police control rooms, only 2 per cent of the messages were recorded. Later, entries in police logbooks were changed to get rid of evidence of inaction on the part of senior officers.

Senior officers did not allow subordinates to open fire on rioters. Even the fire brigade refused to move to areas where cases of arson had been reported. The police also did not allow the victims of rioting to file FIRs or when they did file FIRs, clubbed many cases of murder and arson from disparate places in a single FIR.

At least three of the SHOs castigated Tandon for mismanagement. Tyagi, for instance, insisted that, “knowingly or unknowingly, he (Tandon) was under the influence of the government. He mismanaged in the beginning and in the first two days the situation went out of control.”

Yadav too accused Tandon of not providing leadership to the force, while Bhaskar said that instead of singling out some SHOs, the police chief’s head should have rolled.

The Ranganath Mishra Commission and the Kapur-Kusum Mittal Committee, both set up to inquire into the riots, held Tandon responsible for breakdown of law and order. When the Cobrapost reporter met Tandon, he refused to comment, saying anything said by him could create a controversy in poll season.

Bhaskar maintained that messages for reinforcement sent by him were ignored by senior officials. Bhullar accused additional CP Hukam Chand Jatav of refusing to act even when the press informed him about murders and arson taking place. According to Bhullar, Jatav was in the control room in Karol Bagh when a reporter passed on the information to him, but he responded by saying he was in the control room and no such thing had happened. “He knew everything lekin wahan se move hi nahi kiya,” claimed Bhullar.

Rohtas Singh, one of the officers indicted by the inquiry commissions, maintained that DCP Chandra Prakash did not allow him to open fire on the rampaging mobs. According to Singh, “he told me, and gave me in writing, that Indira Gandhi’s murder is big enough an event. Now should you make an even bigger event by opening fire?”

Singh insisted that he could have substantiated his charges if only wireless messages had been faithfully recorded. “If those messages had been recorded, I could have proved many things, but not even two 2% were recorded in the log book of the control room,” he said in Hindi, alleging also that Chandra Prakash had changed messages that would indict him.

Singh also admits to the force having got communal. “I have no hesitation saying that our policemen who were drawn from the local men too had become communal-minded,” he candidly observed.

The interviews also reveal how the police tried to put a spoke in the wheels of justice once the rioting abated following the intervention of the Army after three days. First, they did not register cases and when they did, they clubbed disparate cases in one FIR.

According to Bhullar, “The police did not register cases, instead they tried to suppress cases. They knew there were huge riots in their areas, so they tried to minimize, even picked up corpses and dumped them in Sultanpuri, to save their jobs.”


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Congress and BJP Manifesto – Real differences

The very real differences between the BJP and Congress agendas

A look at the manifestos of the Congress and the BJP and what they offer to the voters

Mihir S Sharma  |  <news:geo_locations>New Delhi 

 Last Updated at 16:25 IST

The similarity between the manifestos of the Congress and the BJP – the latter came out today – has caused much comment. If anything, this reflects the ideological convergence between the two largest parties on many economic issues. But a detailed reading provides considerable texture to the differences and to the similarities, underlining the different focuses of the two parties.

What, first, are the big expensive similarities?

· Housing for all (free in neither, low-cost in both)
· Healthcare for all (free in neither, low-cost in both. Free medicines from the Congress)

If anything, this reinforces the idea that both parties are committed to a welfarist idea of India. The anti-dole rhetoric of the BJP is not reflected in its most important actionable promises. In neither manifesto is the cost of these initiatives estimated, or their impact on the fiscal deficitmentioned. Additional evidence of this welfarist convergence is the manner in which the BJP promises to better implement the Congress’ Right to Food – and the Congress promises to expand the BJP’s Antyodaya programme, which targets food to the very poorest. Both parties also promise to refocus welfarism on outcomes and the quality of services provided.

There are several concepts in the Congress that are not in the BJP’s. Some of these may surprise reformists – though, of course, the party’s ability to implement them will be questioned given its recent history in power.

·         Replacing subsidies with user charges: The word “subsidies” is not found in the BJP’s manifesto, although a generic commitment to fiscal discipline is. The Congress, on the other hand, promises to reduce subsidies: “Given the limited resources, and the many claims on the resources, we must choose the subsidies that are absolutely necessary and give them only to the absolutely deserving. We will also consider introducing sensible user charges…”

·         Financial sector reforms: Although a hallmark of the last NDA government, the BJP has largely ignored financial openness and innovation; the Congress, however, promises an actionable timetable on financial-sector reform, already the subject of an excellent report from Ajay Shah and others.

·         Direct benefit transfers: Another way to reduce the subsidy bill, and one much beloved of economists. The Congress, in spite of recent problems with Aadhaar, repeats that it will follow through with this if returned to office. The BJP mentions cash transfers not at all.

·         Education/skill vouchers, for SC/ST: A very popular idea with economic liberals is the provision of choice to those who want to invest in their human capital. The Congress suggests it will provide vouchers, redeemable against any course, for young people from Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes who want to develop their skills.

·         Unique ID: Aadhaar is repeatedly mentioned in the Congress manifesto. Not only is that not mentioned in the BJP’s, but neither is the NDA’s own project, the National Population Register. There is, however, an odd mention of “ID cards for labourers in the unorganised sector” in the BJP’s manifesto. If this is different from Aadhaar, then it will involve considerable duplication; making it compulsory might well raise red tape and reduce unemployment. It’s probably a product of the widespread phobia about Bangladeshi immigration.

·         Providing proteins, not just carbs: A constant refrain of those who disapprove of the current approach to food security has been the over-emphasis on foodgrain at the cost of other essentials. The Congress says that it will also include, under the Antyodaya scheme, protein-rich pulses and cooking oil.

·         Animal husbandry: Oddly, unlike in the Congress’, I couldn’t find a mention of animal husbandry, a fast-growing rural business, in the BJP’s manifesto at all. A vegetarian Gujarat model?

Here are some concepts in the BJP’s manifesto, but not in Congress:

·         “Port-led development”: Spinning off Narendra Modi’s efforts in Gujarat, ports are given special emphasis by the BJP, and largely ignored by the Congress. The BJP’s manifesto emphasises not just building and improving ports, but also coastal highways, special railway lines linking the hinterland to active ports, and “agri-rail”, presumably with refrigerated cars.

·         River interlinking (“based on feasibility”): Like ports, river inter-linking was one of the big ideas of the Vajpayee era. Since then it’s run into much trouble. But the BJP’s manifesto, in keeping with a larger emphasis on infrastructure development, resurrects the idea.

·         Special credit facilities to real estate sector: A promise in the BJP’s manifesto, as part of its effort to ensure a home for all. Can wind up being a handout to bankrupt developers and greedy politicians, without real structural reform of the sector.

·         New specialised banks: Not fazed by the mockery of the “women’s bank” that Finance Minister P Chidambaram announced last year, the BJP has suggested two such tokenist institutions: a“worker’s bank” and a “mobile women’s bank”.

·         Online learning: Unlike the Congress, the BJP has figured out that “massive open online courses”, or MOOCs, are perhaps the quickest and best way to scale up education. This is in keeping with its stated focus on younger, more aspirational people.

·         Tourism: Not mentioned in the Congress’ manifesto, but a major thrust focus in the BJP’s. This is in keeping with Mr Modi’s speeches. In the book Moditva, it is even suggested that tourism reduces terrorism.

·         Factories as families: One unusual suggestion in the BJP’s manifesto: “Encourage industry owners and labour to embrace concept of Industry Family, in which industry owners and labour bond as a family.” This is either very Gandhian or very Japanese.

·         Fast-track courts for hoarders: The UPA has repeatedly tried to blame hoarders and black-marketeers for volatile food prices. It is the BJP, however, that promises fast-track courts for hoarders as a way of controlling food inflation. Mr Modi has often complained that the Centre shut down special funding for states’ fast-track courts.

·         AyurgenomicsMany were puzzled by this commitment from the BJP: “We will start integrated courses for Indian System of Medicine (ISM) and modern science and Ayurgenomics.” (Ayurgenomics is apparently the Ayurveda of genetics.)

What phrases are missing in both the manifestos?

·         “Privatisation” or “disinvestment. Once the touchstone of reformist foreign policy; now neither party appears to want to touch the public sector. The BJP has long trumpeted the NDA’s record on disinvestment; it seems to have very noticeably retreated from any such agenda.

·         “The United States of America”. Neither manifesto so much as mentions the US. The BJP’s talks vaguely about “mending equations” and avoiding “being led by big power interests”. The Congress’ mentions Pakistan, China, Brazil, South Africa, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, SAARC, and even the Non-Aligned Movement. But the US is clearly political poison right now.

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Will choose BJP over Congress: Kumar Vishwas #AAP

TNN | Apr 6, 2014, 01.54 AM IST


Will choose BJP over Congress: Kumar Vishwas


English: This is well renowned poet.

English: This is well renowned poet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Referring to us as ‘urban naxals’ is like calling the Sangh communal. It is the work of dissatisfied Congressmen,” Kumar Vishwas said.


NEW DELHI: In remarks that can stoke political controversy, AAP‘ s Amethi candidate Kumar Vishwas has said that given a choice between the Congress and BJP, he would prefer the latter. He also praised RSS for its discipline and even said that branding the Sangh as communal was the work of ‘dissatisfied’ Congressmen.


The AAP leader, who is facing a tough electoral battle against Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s Smriti Irani, was responding to a question on AAP being accused of being “urban naxals”.


“Referring to us as ‘urban naxals’ is like calling the Sangh communal. It is the work of dissatisfied Congressmen,” he said.


In an interview to ABP news, Kumar Vishwas said if it came to choosing between Congress and BJP, he would prefer the latter. He said he had voted for the BJP five years ago years ago and praised RSS for its discipline. He even said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had recognized Sangh’s patriotism by inviting them to participate in the Republic Day parade after the war with China, and Sangh volunteers were recruited for manning traffic in Delhi during the 1965 war.


The party sought to distance itself from Kumar Vishwas’s statement and offered no comment.


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#Sundayreading – Anybody But Modi {ABM} gathers steam

Anybody But Modi gathers steam

ABM is a political formation whose members seek to identify a party best positioned to vanquish the BJP
Anybody But Modi gathers steam

A file photo of Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Varanasi. The ABM is a post-2011 phenomenon, gathering members directly proportionate to the rising crescendo of Modi for PM. Photo: Hindustan Times
It’s an acronym that is spreading like a contagion far beyond Delhi, where it was coined. I came to know about it when I asked a radical Left friend about the party she planned to vote for in the Lok Sabha elections. A legitimate question considering the only elections worth voting for the Left in Delhi are those of its universities. She threw a withering glance at me, and then said, “I am a committed ABM member. And hello, ABM isn’t a bank.”

Since then, I have met many ABM members, including the owner of a famous website. They provided me an insight into their motivations. To begin with, ABM is a political formation which has neither a structure nor wishes to capture power. It is, in fact, a state of mind, brought about because of an obsession with the formation’s one-point charter, from which the acronym is derived—Anybody But Modi.

Its members seek to identify a party best positioned to vanquish the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the constituencies on whose electoral roll their names figure, and voting for it, whether or not they believe in its ideology. To vote against the BJP is to also vote against Narendra Modi, its prime ministerial candidate. It is what you call tactical voting. For many, though, it is a conscience vote, entailing the abandonment of an ideology they have subscribed to till now. Since my friend never had a chance to vote for the Left in the Lok Sabha elections, she always voted for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to demonstrate her fidelity to subaltern politics. Not this election, though, for she doesn’t want to waste her vote as the BSP can’t win in any of Delhi’s seven constituencies.

You might think that she is Muslim, because it is assumed Muslims will, once again, tactically vote against the BJP, apprehensive about their security under Modi’s regime. But she isn’t Muslim, as isn’t former foreign minister Jaswant Singh, who exhibited the ABM symptoms weeks before he was expelled. Participating in a debate on the LILA website on 10 March, he wrote that contemporary Indian politics was witnessing a competition between the extreme and the moderate. The extreme succeeds only for a brief while, for it is ultimately consumed by the “fire that it tries to inflame”. No prizes for guessing who Singh was alluding to. Yes, Muslims alone do not comprise the ABM formation.

Do not also commit the mistake of including in this formation all those who are clubbed in the category of secular, anti-BJP voters. In reality, a substantially large number of them are non-BJP voters, pulled to one of the many parties in the election fray because of their ideology, or because they have been voting for them traditionally, or they are mesmerized by its leaders whose caste-religious identity they share. To be a committed ABM member, you must have a deep antipathy to Modi, toxic enough to cast aside your existing ideological affinity for one party in favour of another one only because it can trounce the BJP.

The ABM is a post-2011 phenomenon, gathering members directly proportionate to the rising crescendo of Modi for PM. It received a fillip from the battering of the Congress in the assembly elections in December and the astonishing performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi. These results conveyed that the Congress couldn’t become a pan-India bulwark against Modi, that it was imperative to rally behind a party expected to lead the fight against him in an ABM member’s constituency.

Overnight, the ABM membership swelled. It includes constitutionalists, communists, socialists, liberals, secularists, Muslims, devout Hindus dismayed at the politicization of their religion, bohemians, gays, lesbians, people in live-in relationships, feminists, bookworms, scholars, conservatives who don’t wish to impose their values on others, and victims of policies favouring big business. Ostensibly, a majority of non-Muslim ABM members are often, but not always, middle class as well as upper caste.

For instance, in Varanasi last week, an intellectual from a Dalit caste muttered wistfully, “Arvind Kejriwal.” He added, “Nothing can make me happier than seeing him defeat Modi. Hindutva’s sharpest edge is reserved for us Dalits, and Modi symbolizes that.” Yes, he is an ABM member. The man who fixes my computer was an ardent Modi fan, but perceiving an authoritarian streak in him, he wouldn’t vote for him now. Yes, the computer man is an ABM member. A friend trembles at the idea of India having a Prime Minister whose administration in Gujarat stalked a woman. He, for sure, is an ABM member.

Opposition to Hindutva is a sufficient but not a necessary reason to qualify for an ABM membership. A person can become a member of ABM for his or her deep distrust of Modi for reasons ranging from his authoritarian style of governance to his affinity for big business to his disdain for opponents to his penchant for cultivating a cult following and operating in a controlled environment, the most apt example of which is his refusal to give a live interview to the media.

Before writing this paragraph, I called my radical friend to ask whether the waiter I had met in a plush hotel in Varanasi could wear the ABM badge. You see, the waiter, a traditional Congress voter, had confessed that he would have voted for Modi had Kejriwal not parachuted into Varanasi. “BJP to businessmen ki party hai,” the waiter added, persuaded by AAP’s diatribe against crony capitalism.

The friend sighed at the anecdote and said, “Wish the idea counter to Modi’s had had time to develop sinews.” For now, though, the ABM factor will influence her voting decision, but she feels real sad for all those ABM comrades who will have to vote for the Congress in states where it is the only opposition to the BJP. Democracy, too, can provide us with cruel choices.

Ajaz Ashraf is a freelance journalist.


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