From the secret US documents it has become clear that “ISI paid Talibans to kill Indians.” Since long India has been telling Pakistan government and even USA that all attacks across the LoC, particularly the 26/11 attack in Bombay, were engineered and supported by Pakistan government through Taliban with the guidance, even help and direction by ISI. For years Pakistan had been hood-winking and denying and USA to keep Pakistan as an ally in war against Taliban in Afghanistan, continued to give billions of dollars to Pakistan.
Now the truth, about Pakistan financing Talibans to kill Indians as well has come out because of Wiki leak, US secret documents numbering 91,000. One and the most important fact relating to India is that “ISI paid Talibans to kill Indians”. To kill Indian contractors, engineers and workers engaged in Afghanistan’s road developments ISI paid Talibans 15000 to 30,000 US dollars. To quote from the secret US document regarding attack on Indian embassy in Afghanistan. “ISI gave orders to conduct attacks against Indian consulships in Kabul, Herat, Kandhar and Mazar-e-sharif”. During 2004-7, the present Pakistan Army chief Ashfaq Kayani was head of ISI. One of the reports in secret documents clearly mentions about attack on Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008. This report is entitled “Threat to Indian Embassy” that Taliban are planning an attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul.. and that an engineer had been designated for this purpose and a budget of 1,20,000 dollars kept for this operation.” After six days attack on Indian Embassy took place killing 41 persons including two Indian diplomats and two Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel. In another report it was mentioned that “ Sarajuddin Haqqani was ordered by ISI to eliminate Indian nationals working in Afghanistan.” In attacks on Indians and Indian establishments in Kabul on 12 April 2008 two Border Road Organization personnel were killed and on Feb 26,2010 two Kabul guest houses used by Indian government were targeted.
Here are some eye opener extracts from an article in New York Times which also relates to the secret documents.
“The documents-spanning January 2004 through December 2009-illustrate in mosaic detail why the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001. They sketch a war hamstrung by an Afghan government, police force and army of questionable loyalty and competence, and by a Pakistani military that appears at best uncooperative and at worst to work from the shadows as an unspoken ally of the insurgents.
The documents do not contradict official accounts of the war. But in some cases the documents show the US military made misleading public statements-attributing the downing of a helicopter to conventional weapons instead of Stinger-like heat seeking missiles, for the first time shown to be part of the Taliban’s arsenal, or giving Afghans credit for missions carried out by US commandos.
The reports portray a resilient insurgency that has bled US forces through a war of small cuts. Taliban intimidation of Afghan officials and civilians- applied with pressure through violence, money-comes through in hundreds of reports.”
Most of these documents show virtual failure of US in Afghanistan as Taliban have become stronger today than they were in 2001. The question arises as to why America is fighting a war against Taliban in Afghanistan which USA cannot win. America should press upon Pakistan that extension must not be given to Kayani as Pakistan commander-in-chief, who was responsible as ISI Chief for financing and encouraging Talibans both against India and Afghanistan. If Pakistan does not remove Kayani, USA must stop assistance of billions of dollars mainly to finance the Pakistan army and indirectly secretly to Talibans who are becoming stronger in Afghanistan even before 2001 and threatening US Army with new weapons like missiles. It is regrettable that USA has not learnt lesson from intervention in China and then Korea and finally from humiliating defeat in Vietnam war, in which more than 80,000 American soldiers lost their lives.
Pakistan, by allowing America to kill Talibans in Pakistan through Drone attacks, particularly in NWFP and Baluchistan has resulted in frequent suicide bombing, by Taliban of NWFP and Punjab, in Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar.
It is significant that P J Cowley, America’s State Deptt spokesman has said that Pakistan should now deal strongly with planners and perpetrators of 26/11 attack on India to mend its relation with India. In Melbourne Congressman Ed Royee said that because of Pakistan’s obsession with India Pakistan is “digging its own grave”. British PM David Cameron who is on a visit to India, has said on July 28 that “Pakistan must close terrorist camps”. On July 29 despite stir in UK and protests in Pakistan he said that he meant every word of what he said a day earlier, adding “presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan is not acceptable.”
Thus before any further dialogue between Indian and Pakistani leaders, Pakistan should show tangible proof of taking strong action against those Pakistanis responsible for Mumbai attack.
Demand and periodic agitation for creation of three new states viz, Gorkhaland, Talengana and Vidharba has been three or more decades old. While during last decade or so new states of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Uttaranchal Pradesh have been carved out though there was no upsurge matching the demand for creation of, particularly, Gorkhaland and Telangana.
Demand for separate of Gorkhaland has been the oldest, since the demand for separation of Gujarat from Maharashtra and creation of Punjabi speaking state of Punjab and separate Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Though States Reorganization Commission had erred in clubbing Maharashtra and Gujarat as well as in keeping Haryana and Himachal with Punjab. The mistake of SRC was rectified after prolonged agitation in Punjab and Gujarat-Maharashtra.
There has been right from beginning resistance to conceding state of Gorkhaland though linguistically there is nothing in common between Gorkhas and Bengalis, though Gorkha dominated areas have been part of Bengal during British times. So many agitations and after many meetings, it now seems that there is imminent possibility of compromise and conceding of Gorkha interim authority as proposed by the Central government and West Bengal government. It is reported that on July 24, 2010 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) agreed to the proposal of Centre. Negotiations on the jurisdiction of proposed Gorkha interim authority will commence on August 17. It is hoped that the proposed tripartite meeting between representatives of Central government, West Bengal government and GJM will be fruitful and useful. It will make Darjeeling once again a great tourist centre for both Indian and Foreign tourists.
Demand for separate Telengana state, too, is very old. Though because of fast unto death by Telangana’s present day leader, K Chandrashekhra Rao, to break his fast and avoid unrest as after the first Telengana leader Sriramalu’s fast unto death and his ultimate death, government virtually agreed to concede to creation of Telengana. But because of Andhra Pradesh capital going to Telengana there were second thoughts. B N Srikrishna committee was appointed to consider the feasibility of separate Telengana state. The committee is to submit its report on 31 December 2010. If this Committee does not recommend separate Telengana state, Rao threatens to launch massive agitation. There are by-polls on July 27 on 12 Assembly seats which became vacant as TRs supporters had resigned. The results of these by-polls will show whether people of Telengana area are for the creation of separate state of Telengana. However if Telengana state is not conceded the issue will remain alive as it has been for last more than 30 years.
Demand for separate state of Vidharba out of Maharashtra is also very old but there has not been much agitation. Because of INC leader and central cabinet minister Chavan, the demand remains latent. But a time may come when Chavan, who founded INC to oppose the Congress, particularly in Maharashtra wants, the demand for vidharba will once again become strong. Will the central government wait for agitation to concede to their decades old demand?
Finally, still it is pertinent that centre should intervene and have tripartite meetings for Telengana and Vidharba also just as for Gorkhaland, so that these 30 years old problems are solved once for all.
Throughout her tenure as Railway Minister in UPA government, Mamata Banerjee, leader of Trinamool Congress of West Bengal has done nothing to streamline Railways functioning and prevent the possibility of accidents. All these years she has been busy with West Bengal policies to become ultimately the Chief Minister. She has many times skipped attending crucial cabinet meetings even when in Delhi.
In the latest train disaster in Sainthia that occurred at 1:50 AM on July 19, 2010 in which 66 unfortunate passengers lost their lives and more than 100 got injured, many seriously. But Railway Minister reached after 7 hours at 9 AM. Had Mamata given instructions to send rescue teams and relief trains promptly many lives could have been saved as many seriously injured could be sent to nearby hospitals for emergency treatment. But Mamata Banerjee simply and spontaneously blamed CPI and CPM for conspiracy. It is apparent that both time and money, as a cabinet minister of government of India she used for her personal benefit. Instead of serving efficiently as a railway minister, Mamata from day one indulged in West Bengal politics, first to win corporation elections, which she won. Thereafter she has been busy in wooing public for forthcoming state assembly elections so as to realize her ambition of becoming CM of West Bengal. Central Government kept quiet because support of Trinamool MP’s was essential for UPA Government to survive. So Mamata had her way.
Now about a number of train disasters, and mishaps during Mamata’s Mamata’s tenure as Railway Minister. There have been two horrible accidents in two months of June and July 2010 besides seven other comparatively minor accidents, a total of nine accidents during the span of one year between 2009 and 2010. Yet there have been two more instances on July 20 when prestigious Rajdhani Express was about to meet twice serious accidents when like Sanitha train tragedy as the coupling connecting the engine to the train broke. Why? Where were the technicians and engineers to check whether coupling was strong enough or well connected? Though the coupling was attached to the train in 3 hours by the engineers, the Rajdhani train had hardly covered 25 Km that the coupling again gave way and the engine decoupled again. Ultimately another engine was brought from Mughalsarai, Rajdhani to resume journey. Passengers were lucky that there was no train coming from one side or the other to hit their Rajdhani. But what can be said about Railways efficiency or carelessness?
To recollect, long back when Lal Bahadur shastri was Railway Minister in Pandit Nehru’s Cabinet there occurred a Railway accident. Promptly, Shastri accepted moral responsibility for the mishap and resigned as Railway minister. Mamata should have realized that gravity of first major railway disaster on May 29,2010, when Maoists tempered with railway line killing 148 passengers. But our Railway Minister instead of taking prompt remedial action blamed the West Bengal DGP and Police. Similarly in the Saithia accident she promptly blamed CPI and CPM instead of initiating action to fill important crucial vacancies. It is reported that “there are around 98000 sanctioned posts for railway drivers who operate about 17000 trains daily on the Indian Railway network. There are 26000 vacancies out of then 14000 for assistant loco pilots alone”, said shiva Gopal Mishra general secretary of Northern Railway men’s Union.
In addition there are 85,100 safety related posts lying vacant as per CAG’s report. CAG castigated “railways had failed to show any improvement in signaling and telecommunication systems.” Had steps been taken to improve the vital safety measures, these disasters could be averted. Why lakhs of posts in railways are lying vacant when there is so much unemployment and so urgent a need for filling these parts?
It is reported that many files are piling up on Railway ministers table, some important files lying on her table for months because Mamata Banerjee is not available or attending office. Tenders beyond the value of Rs 100 crore even for the purchase of safety equipment cannot be issued without her approval and signatures. So there has been inordinate and unforgiveable delay in the purchase of safety equipment during Mamata Banerjee’s ministership.
Mamata did nothing to get at least crucial vacancies filled and essential equipment purchased since she became Railway Minister by her own choice. It is still high time that instead of being known as absentee railway minister Mamata gracefully quits or relinquishes railway portfolio, so that there are no further train disasters and loss of hundreds of lives.
It is months that Kashmir Valley is passing through one of the worst prolonged crisis. The present crisis started with the death of one Kashmiri youth on June 11, when during an agitation in which he was ahead, a teargas shell hit his head and he died. Thereafter the disturbed conditions got worsened almost every day because of hard liner Huruyat’s instigation, pelting of stones on police and CRPF personnel started and went on for days. In self defence and to curb violent agitation police and CRPF had to fire which resulted in the killing of 13 persons including a nine year old boy and 25 year old woman. As the situation was getting out of control Chief Minister Omar in consultation with Central Government of India called the Army a fortnight back. Curfew had to be imposed a number of times so that there is no agitation and Army troops won’t be required to use force, leading to killing of anyone. The Army personnel maintained utmost control while marching through streets of Srinagar and other disturbed areas of valley like Avantnag and Baramulla. During the relaxation of curfew, which was essential, so that citizens could come out and purchase essential commodities like rice, wheat, pulses and vegetables etc. During relaxation of curfew there was no disturbance.
However on Sunday the July 18, a class XII student of Gurunanak School Baramulla, north of Srinagar got drowned, because it is said by the locals that Army cops chased him. So that once again situation does not get out of control in Baramulla, hundreds of troops started patrolling streets as a preventive measure in some areas of Srinagar.
Now question arises as to what is the root cause of sporadic crisis in Srinagar and in many parts of the valley though, Jammu area has been peaceful throughout the present crisis though, Jammu area is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In brief it must be stated that Kashmir problem is as old as India’s Independence and creation of Pakistan. Even before the accession of Kashmir, newly created Muslim state of Pakistan equipped and transported from NWFP area militants to capture Srinagar. When these Pakistani militants captured Baramulla India had to airlift the Army troops to reach Srinagar in time before the intruders from Pakistan capture Srinagar airport. Thus Kashmir crisis for the last 62 years is Pakistan’s creation. Tension and sporadic crisis continue despite Indian Army’s heroic efforts to throw out the Pakistani Army and temporary settlement of LOC (Line of Control) and despite limited wars between Pakistan and India. This is in short the cause of Kashmir crisis, engineered financed for sending Pakistani citizens, now more from Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir.
What is the solution? What is the way of ending Kashmir crisis once for all? Now that when Pakistan is in the words of US President Obama ‘cancer of terrorism.’ Because of upsurge of Taliban militants and terrorists in not only NWFP and Baluchistan but whole of Pakistan by suicide bombing upto Lahore, Pakistan cannot be expected to control the Taliban and other militants from entering Kashmir valley and cause unrest, agitations and instigation.
India has to show it determination as a strong country to prevent crossing of LOC from Pakistan. Station more Army units in areas like Baramulla and Srinagar. Curfew may have to be relaxed often for long, for the citizens of Kashmir, who are Indian citizens so that they can be engaged in useful activities like harvesting fruit particularly apples and transport to India and also the other activities like making wonderful shawls and handicrafts so that they are proud of their hard work and good earnings by their own labour.
At political level in Kashmir, Omar Abdulla should consult frequently and impress the opposition parties, which have to be there in a democracy and elected government. Kashmir has been integral part of India since times memorial, even during Muslim and Mughal rule, British rule and shall ever remain as paradise of India.
It is reported in American press that now after almost two years of Obama being first non-white elected as US President, his popularity in US has gone down. Sixty percent of Americans are now not happy with Obama and his policies at home and abroad, economic policies because of steep decline in economy because of uncontrolled recession and in foreign affairs apparent failure of USA both in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan there are at present 1,50,000 soldiers more than 50 percent being US soldiers. Despite such an armed intervention in Afghanistan for the last more than 10 years Taliban threat to American soldiers and Karzai Government has not and does not seem to be over in the near future. Despite Drone attacks in Taliban hide-outs in hilly tracts of NWFP and Baluchistan, Taliban suicide attacks in Lahore and latest one in busy market of Peshawar killing more 150 innocent unarmed citizens, men, women and children is horrifying. What has America achieved by fight against Taliban in Afghanistan and NWFP and Baluchistan. American intervention has created worst ever suicide bombing in Pakistan killing thousands.
The question arises. Is Obama only to be blamed for American decline in international relations as well as in America? No, certainly not. Obama unfortunately, for him, became President of USA when both Afghanistan and Iraq were on fire. In contrast America was having no problems at home and abroad before George Bush became the President of USA. Taliban problem was initially created by America as to evict the Soviet Communist from Afghanistan and end the Communist rule there. America encouraged so called Talibans in Afghanistan and NWFP and Baluchistan in Pakistan by giving them money and arms in abundance. Though America succeeded in ending communist rule in Kabul but failed miserably to control Talibans which was America’s own creation with the help of Pakistan.
Similarly in Iraq President Bush’s attack on Iraq though it was verified by Americans themselves that Sadam Hussain did not have and was not in a position to have nuclear bombs. Despite the proof given by the American Scientists and nuclear experts George Bush launched an absolutely unnecessary attack on Iraq when American troops were already engaged in a war in Afghanistan to end the Taliban dominance in Kabul and introduce in Afghanistan democratic rule.
This is the legacy that unfortunately Barrack Obama had when he assumed American Presidency as first non-white American elected peacefully with majority of Americans all over America feeling happy that America has really become a democratic state where all Americans are equal whether they are whites or coloured or even if they are immigrants from India and rest of world. That is why Bobby Jindal, an Indian American became the first Governor of an American State and another Indian American woman, Nikki Haley is likely to take oath and become governor of another American State.
All this shows and confirms that it is not Obama who is to be blamed for failure of American policy at home and abroad. Though there is just now fall in Obama’s popularity it is hoped that after American and Nato troops get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, too, is left alone by the end of 2010, America and Obama will again shine in the comity of nations.
FIFA World Cup was the happiest occasion for the whole world as it extended to almost 30 days. Televisions all over the world remained switched on for 12 to 18 hours every day. Even in a country like India T.V Channels of NDTV 24-7 and India News remained switched on in most of the homes and even in offices. If India had been one of the 32 countries in FIFA Indians would have watched T.V with greater enthusiasm and in greater numbers. It is a bit regrettable that from Asia only three small countries, Japan, North Korea and South Korea were amongst the 32 nations participating in FIFA while even China and Australia remained unrepresented.
FIFA world cup competition was mainly between four European countries viz. Spain, Germany, Netherland and Italy and four Latin American countries viz. Brazil, Argentina, Chili and Uruguay. Mexico, England, France and USA were there to play one or two matches each. There was a small country of Africa namely Ghana which played well and won a match like Japan and Korea. South Africa though not a prominent Soccer playing country organized the FIFA World Cup splendidly. Never before in 2004 or earlier World Cup became so interesting and charming because of dance and drama which was a daily feature to entertain the spectators in Johannesburg and on T.V the whole world.
When German team defeated Brazil in quarterfinal to reach semifinal the entire Germany celebrated it and on the other hand all the spectators of Brazil, which had been winning World Cup many a times, actually cried and their tears could not be wiped. Similarly when Spain triumphed in the final by defeating Netherland thousands of Spanish citizens who had specially come to South Africa celebrated the victory with such an enthusiasm that the whole world enjoyed their Jubilation in Spain and in the stadium of Johannesburg. In contrast the team of Netherland and the country were in sorrow because Netherland had lost the final by one goal and that, too, scored in extra time.
After jubilations and happiness, there was sorrow. It is unfortunate and regrettable that while the victory celebrations of Spain were going there was suicide bombing twice in Uganda killing 74 including an American on the spot and injuring many more including a dozen Americans. Here are some extracts from Wall Street Journal.
“The three prolonged attack unfolded around 10:30 PM local time said Ms Nicholas, as some fans watched the final World Cup match in South Africa between Spain and Netherlands on television. The blasts occurred at a Rugby club, an Ethopian restaurant and a bar popular with foreign tourists. The police suspected suicide bombers carried out the attacks because some body parts were charred beyond recognition but some investigation were continuing, she told reporters in Kampala. Meanwhile the Islamic militant group al Shahaab in Somalia claimed responsibility for the attack.”
“We have reached our objective” said the senior al Shahaab militant, who declined to be named. “We killed many Christians in the enemy capital (Kampala)” he said in a telephone interview. The report mentions: Several Americans, part of a Church group from Pen Sylvania were wounded at the Ethopian restaurant where the second blast occurred. The blasts marked a violent end to what had been largely peaceful World Cup in South Africa.”
“American President Barack Obama is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda. The US President has pledged US assistance to Uganda following violence. British and French leaders also condemned the cowardly blasts.”
As the news reached USA in no time and as Americans were injured and some killed and the attack is said to be by Islamic militants on Christians there was spontaneous condemnation by world leaders the same day, the same time. Indians and Indian leaders, too, are shocked and condemn the cowardly attack on peaceful Ethopian and Americans watching the World Cup final on Television.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) GDP growth of China and India is the highest in the entire world. India comes as number one because India is a democracy while, though China’s GDP, set to grow during 2010, is a little higher, China is a dictatorship with controlled economy, though with doses of liberalism. However it is heartening to note that whole of Europe America and even Japan are far behind in GDP growth. According to latest IMF figures of GDP growth during 2010 of selected important countries of the world is as under:
High growth countries of GDP
China – 10.5%
India – 9.5%
Brazil – 7.1%
Modest growth of GDP
Mexico – 4.5%
Russia – 4.1%
USA – 3.3%
Slow growth of GDP
Japan – 2.4%
France – 1.4%
Germany – 1.4%
UK – 1.3%
Negative growth of GDP
Spain (-) 0.4%
There are more than one hundred countries whose growth of GDP% has not been mentioned in the Newspapers. There are countries of Europe like Holland, Denmark, Italy and Portugal as well as Czechoslovakia and other countries of Eastern Europe. No country of Middle East and Africa has been mentioned. P-rosperous countries like Turkey, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand have been forgotten.
Just as Chinas high GDP is because of China’s dictatorship under Maoist communism but India’s highest GDP amongst Democracies of the world is despite India’s 30 per cent people living below poverty line and most of them not in regular organized or unorganized employment because they are either landless farmers or from so called SC and other backward classes. In addition India’s polities and political parties are not stable. Besides there are many corrupt leaders of political parties, other politician and even civil servants and some army officers.
In spite of all these shortcomings India is shining because of industrial growth which is highest, mainly due to cheap labour. A worker in American and European industry costs 50 times more than an Indian worker. Thus India’s achievement is remarkable in export of textiles, handicrafts etc. In addition India’s Technocrats of information technology, Business managers and doctors as well as world famous entrepreneur like Mittals amongst the Richest ten people of the world. They have done India proud and has contributed the most in India’s growth to make India shine, almost the most, in the comity of nations.
Solar power aircraft invented and successfully launched by Swiss Scientists heralds a new era which will certainly lead to decline in the use of petroleum and other fossil fuels for energy. Not only that the solar powered aircraft cruised round the world during sunlight but even at night it continued its 24 hours journey round the world with solar energy that had been collected in the aircraft and preserved for use during the night. It is a great and almost unprecedented landmark in the use of solar energy.
Since more than a decade solar energy is being used all over the world for democratic purposes as well as for villages in India, in particular in place of electricity. In Germany use of fossil fuels has almost been ended and replaced by solar energy and nuclear power. All over the world use of fossil fuels has come down because of consciousness to reduce global warming as it is causing havoc because of unprecedented floods in parts of Northern Europe and Alaska in North America because of melting of snow in the Arctic.
Now about some facts about the aircraft that travelled round the world with solar power on 8th of July 2010 as reported by Reuters’. “The Solar Impulse HB S/A, a glider like aircraft with 63.4 metre wingspan (almost as wide as an airbus A 340’s) set world records for the longest and the highest solar power flight in Thursday morning by remaining airborne for 26 hours and 9 minutes. At night it used solar energy in stored batteries.”
“ The carbon fiber aircraft reached a maximum speed of 68 knots (126 kmph) and a maximum altitude of 8564 metres.”
“The projects next milestone will be a solar powered Atlantic crossing for which another prototype will be built.”
There are photographs of the Chief Engineer Scientist as well as the caleberated pilot. “ Solar Impulse team Chief Bertrand Piceard and CEO and pilot Andre Borschberg celebrate after landing at the Payerne airport in Switzerland on Thursday morning. Piceard already holds the record for completing the first round the world flight in a hot air balloon in 1999.”
Journey round the world from a balloon in 1999 to solar powered aircraft in 2010 is a remarkable achievement and it gives Switzerland and the whole world, pride and hope that during next 10 years, at the most there will be further outstanding achievements in the use of solar power. A day may come that all aircrafts all over the world use solar power in all their flights though it will take time to manufacture new aircrafts made of carbon fiber or some newly invented material for using and preserving solar energy.
Eliminating use of petroleum products and fossil fuels will certainly not only lead to decline in global warming but may in a decode or so absolutely eliminate global warming.
Because of increase in petroleum prices, there has been, perhaps for the first time a Bharat Bandh of such a magnitude, supported by all the 20 opposition parties led by BJP and left parties. Political parties like BJP and the leftist parties like CPI & CPM which have nothing in common and ideologically opposed to each other from inception joined together for the first time in Bharat Bandh. Even S.P of Mayawati has been hostile to both BJP and leftist parties joined the Bandh. UPA II of Sonia Gandhi, its Chairperson and Manmohan Singh its PM provided them the opportunity, as never before, to join a common national agitation ie, Bharat Bandh.
This Bharat Bandh resulted in complete shut down of India that is Bharat. There were no flight, incoming and outgoing, Trains did not start or were stopped by protestors on the way. Buses did not move out though in Mumbai 80 buses were badly damaged. More than 40,000 trucks did not move from anywhere. No taxis, no auto rikshaws, no hand pulled or cycle rikshaws were seen anywhere. Despite heavy rains in parts of India roads were full of protestors with flags of various opposition parties raising slogans against price rise of essential commodities like rice, wheat and Dal besides declared increase in petroleum prices. There were loud slogans against Congress and UPA. There was some violence here and there but mostly it was a peaceful agitation or Bharat Bandh.
Many opposition leaders were arrested or courted arrest like BJP President Nitin Godhkari, Arun Jaitly and Rajnath Singh, to name a few. However many Shiv Sena workers in Mumbai were arrested, though all were released after the Bandh ended.
But loss to the country of thousands of crores of rupees cannot be ignored. Worse than that is the loss of daily wages to lakhs of poor workers and farm laboures who work and earn a few rupees for their family’s daily food. Due to inflation of food articles, prices are high- price of 1kg of rice is now 35 to 50 rupees while a few years back it was only Rs 15 per Kg. Similarly price of Dal has skyrocketed from Rs 20 Kg to Rs 100 KG or even more: Rise in petroleum prices will further add to inflation of food articles, vegetables and even fruits because transportation cost will increase.
Inflation and Bandh politics hits the 30 to 40 percent poor the most and also further 20 to 30 percent of lower middle class. It is only upper middle class and rich and very rich classes whose food budget is 10 percent or less of their monthly income who are not affected by inflation and Bandhs.
There are no total strikes or shut downs in any other country, not to speak of Europe or USA Australia but any other country of Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Why Bandhs are in India alone? Why can’t India, which is rising in information technology and other spheres, do without Bandh politics? Government of India and all the opposition leaders should ponder over it and find the solution so that there is no Bharat Bandh again and no Bundhs or shut-downs in other states and India continues to rise in all spheres of economy.
It is only after 2004 that there have been news in media and press about Fatwas by Muslim clerics against Muslim women. Some Fatwas are: that it is against shriat that Muslim women should go out for work and do work where there are men; that if a family lives on a woman’s earnings it is sinful (haraam) and that woman should not contest Panchayat or other elections without veil (Burqua) and canvassing should be done by men on behalf of women and not by women themselves.
However the worst and most unlawful Fatwa was of 2005 against a Muslim woman who was molested by her father-in-law. This unfortunate woman’s name was Imrana. The clerics, instead of imposing rigorous and exemplary punishment on rapist father-in-law of Imrana, the fatwa ordered that Imrana’s marriage is dissolved, not only that, but further ordained that she should marry the rapist father-in-law. What a Fatwa judgment where criminal is awarded and honoured and dishonoured woman victim is punished? This Fatwa raised hue and cry even amongst educated and cultured Muslims demanding that Muftis and clerics should desist from issuing such disgraceful fatwas. It is heartening to note that an eminent Muslim Khalil Ahmed, a former executive director of Shantha Biotech has said: “Muslim women are emancipated lot and they have moved ahead in India. Clerics come from different socio economic class. Society needs people who can march ahead and take our nation ahead.”
It is equally important to mention that Turkey, which was a Muslim Caliphate, was the first Muslim country, under Kamaal Attaturk to grant social equality to Muslim women in 1918. He even banned wearing veil (Burqua) by Muslim women. He ordered the police to forcibly remove veil, if any woman was found wearing it. There was, therefore, no question of issuing fatwa in Turkey after Attaturk came to power. Even today Turkey is the most modern Muslim country in the world.
After Muslim women of Turkey got social equality, it was only India which gave under 1950 constitution social equality to women irrespective of their religion. Thus constitutionally Muslim women of India has social equality with Muslim men. If Imrana, even after the issue of illegal fatwa by clerics, had gone to court against her rapist father-in-law, the court definitely would have imposed exemplary punishment on her rapist father-in-law. Such a decision would have deterred clerics from issuing such disgraceful fatwa in future.
What is the long-term solution or remedy of issuing such illegal fatwas? Protests by educated Muslims and few articles in newspapers or magazines cannot solve this problem and make muslim women of India socially and actually equal to men. They should rather demand legal ban on fatwas through constitutional amendment/provision if necessary. As India is a secular democratic country, Parliament would be fully justified in passing such legislation, banning fatwa so that muslim women of India are treated equal to women of other religions in all respect, in getting education and doing all types of jobs in science, technology and civil sciences and fighting elections like other women of India independently and fearlessly.