It was not my intention earlier to be frivolous about _this_ thread,
nor is it now. Since it involves so many human lives and outraged
feelings of a large section of people, I'll try to elaborate rather
than just shrug it off or avoid it as a mere difference in perception
which it is not. The idea or intent is not to run down any individuals
but to offer a perspective.
 
Reports like that in "The Dawn" of Pakistan reflecting, for example,
 the "Khalistan Calling" view from Vancouver, to which
I responded, will still bring about the same response from me. As
will anything else that _merely_ offers the feelings from any other
outside-India agency/party. (That does not mean that I'd ignore it,
just that I'd treat it within the context of a much larger view.) Having
said that, let me also say very simply that the Pakistani/Khalistani
view is not credible at all, and as long as we are just talking about
that, I am more than willing to be misunderstood.
 
Those looking for a more detailed answer may refer to my post to the
postcolonial list under the subject header "Re: Kashmir is not East
Timor". It is dated September 23, 1999. [No idea about the archives
of that, so in case it's not available, I'd be willing to send it back-
channel to whoever wants it.]  
 
Though I wrote before reading the post on "other" view points
in India, which I later found merely referred to a report in TOI,
I am willing to address the other questions raised in the context
of all the other "evidence" - circumstantial, "hard" & conjectural.
 
I'd confine myself here to the reasons I had then, last Sunday, Mar
26 for thinking it to be a convincing enough case as there isn't _any_
evidence apart from the propaganda from Pakistan Press (which is
not credible) nor any reasons to believe otherwise. Incidentally,
General Musharaff was on record recently to say that he has given
the press in Pakistan freedom to write anything about individuals
(including him, that is) but not against Pakistan or its interest.
 
Now back to the brutal killings of sikhs: why would Pakistan-backed
terrorists wish to do it? (Okay, let's be even more generous as Time
was and assume that it is possible that this heinous act may not have
been approved by Pakistan military; but as we would see, there is no
reason for Indian authorities to do it as alleged by the reports from
Khalitan or Pakistan press).
 
The short answer is: because they couldn't see anything other than
this desperate attempt to internationalise the issue.
 
A simple call for azadi by bands of disgruntled youth in India
(i.e. parts of the valley) which was turned into a proxy war
against India in the winter of 89 (time of a govt. NOT dominated
by 'hindu nationalists', but one with a Kashmiri muslim Home
Minister) & then turned within a year into a full scale jehad against
India has been acknowledged from the time of Benazir Bhutto's
celebrated "azadi, azadi, azadi" speech in favour of Kashmir's
"freedom" & that the whole idea was to somehow avenge 1971.
That the various politicians in New Delhi or Srinagar (mostly muslim,
here) before and after have, to put it mildly, not been been able to
handle it is a different subject. Yes, ordinary, harmless people have
suffered & the intent in  all of this is not to condone it or shrug it
off as "collateral damage" as some of the 'civilized' nations seem to.
The human tragedy is very real & overpowering. And to suggest that
it is ignored is travesty of truth & to try & understand something ought
not to be equated with approving it.
 
Manohar Joshi's book, "The Lost rebellion" examines sensitive
issues like the 'Indian atrocities', those committed by Afghan
terrorists based in Pakistan, infamous alley-deaths & how well
documented the media charges against the alleged army violence
is and how it is addressed, among much else, and I'd suggest a
reading of that for those who might be interested. Also puts the
role of various politicians in the rest of India, in J&K & in
Pakistan in perspective.
 
Also useful in this context would be to see something which went
unnoticed in all this:
 
"Kashmir crucial to our survival": Pakistan President Rafiq
Tarar:
 http://www.timesofindia.com/240300/24home1.htm
 
As a baffled Indian Govt. spokesman, describing it as a "curious
and absurd" statement asked, "how can a part of this country be
crucial for the survival of another country?" So I think it's futile even
to think for a moment that Pakistan is asking for independent status
for the valley-vallahs.
 
I thought it would be well known to all what "hard evidence" I was
talking about, but some friends have pointed out that those who may
not have bothered to see the newspapers may need it pointed out.
I think I'll refrain from getting into my fantasies, but in the front
page news in the day previous to my last mail, for example, was:
 
 http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/250300/detFRO03.htm
 
The intercept with the Indians from much before (mentioned in the
above link too) or the reports in the newspapers of March  26
itself - the day I wrote - for example:
 
http://www.indiaserver.com/thehindu/2000/03/26/stories/01260008.htm
 
provide enough "hard evidence" but  of course all of that could be
dismissed as "cooked up" if we merely buy into the Pakistani
propaganda. But shouldn't we examine them in light of the eye-
witness accounts? And that all accusations of "cooking up" are
under the hawk-eye of the  media that is willing to take on the army
even (as at the time of Kargil); the fact that all protests & allegations
by various sections, including those of the hardcore terrorists are
noted and addressed?
 
Isn't the person arrested alive and in custody? Wasn't his arrest
possible because of the help of the villagers?
 
So what is one to do? Have an "international enquiry"? Who wants
that? India or Pakistan? Wouldn't India know that any such incident
in the glare of world media would bring it into focus? Would India
wish that to happen when Clinton is visiting & to risk plunging the
country into a mad binge of rioting which is hardly likely to assure
Clinton to invest.
 
As for the RAW chief being a sikh, it was in the context of Akali
Dal response to Chauhan-Tohra-Rode, as reported in the Asian Age.
I thought it would be well-known that such statements on the part
of Akali Dal (very significant because even this faction has had
trouble with RSS' Singh Sabhas and of BJP's attempts to bring
in prominent erstwhile Congress Sikh leader Ahluwalia to counter its
dependence on its ally the AD) were made AFTER meeting the
survivors and ascertaining their views in re: the possible killers.
The suggestion was that there was much more to consider than merely
what "The Dawn" reported. The state of the Sikh politics & the
right-wing there cannot be dissociated from the turn this controversy
took, and how rumours have gained circulation.
 
And there is no reason to doubt the survivors's reliability as
witnesses (or to put it mildly, very distressed, anguished
complaints and concerns; or not to take them seriously). Would
they allow the allow the BSF, poice, and military personnel into
the Gurudwara if they believed they were responsible for the
massacre? (cf: the first report of the incident in various newspapers
on March 22).
 
Why would there be survivors - and not accidental - at all? Why
would they helpfully provide the  "Jai Ram/Jai Bharat/Jai Hind/Happy
Holi" angles?
 
To start with,  Rashtriya Rifles looking after this area, is made up
largely of Sikh soldiers from the Punjab Regiment. The murderers
obviously behaved as the Lashkar-e-Taiba literature indoctrinates
them to believe Indian soldiers would, a misrepresentation that
finds frequent references in LeT lit. which also claims that the
gurkha soldiers eat their dead parents' bodies, btw. Such is the hatred
they are reared on. There is much more to go on about that, but
for the time being, I'd let it be.
 
I think the trouble with all us 'secularists' is that because of our
very legitimate and genuine concern againt the rise of 'hindutava'
almost anything that can put it under attack always comes into
operation at the slightest of possibility. Even the media is not
averse to it. Of course political opposition against any support
of fascistic policies has to go on, but not on mere hunches.
There is a space for even hunches to be voiced, concerns to be
aired and to examine them, but does it mean that we should just treat EVERYTHING done by GoI in which BJP is the principal political
party as part of a sinister plan? Must we bring in our partisan 'party'
politics into serious and larger issues? Or to assume that those who
point this out are Hinduttava or even BJP supporters?
 
I am not suggesting that possibilities should NOT be considered,
just that all the factors should be taken into account. RSS has
already been under suspicion by _all_ sections because of
their sikh sabhas, recent Gujarat fiasco and so on. I offer that in
light of the other available evidence, the above ruse was used by
the killers and their patrons. Oh, what is there to suggest that RAW
didn't do it under that cover so as to deflect attention? I'd offer that
by doing so there was MUCH more to lose and almost nothing to
gain & India was not in any desperate position or feeling cornered
as Pakistan was. After Kargil, any such large killings are a matter of
concern for the GoI as the public opinion against it mounts. And all
the other "evidence" points to the contrary. Even the quickness with
which it was immediately suggested by militant groups that it was a
GoI conspiracy to discredit them. I mean, since it is well known that
there are a whole lot of them in operation, could one of them speak
for all of them? When even the so-called hurriyat leaders claim that
they don't know at least 70% (how they get that figure is a different
debate) of the foreign militants in operation - this came from Shabir
Shah on camera on Star news.
 
Even now, I'd be concerned more about the morale of the army and
the sikhs in it, and of the minority and concerned, easily swayed people
who are willing to entertain almost ANY doubt, any rumour and not
look at the total picture.
 
Who would wish to add layer upon layer of deviousness (they were
actually Indian agents but dressed up in Indian armed forces clothes
so as NOT to appear Indians and also helpfully yelled out the above,
and waved bottles of rum while they were at it and leave behind
witnesses?)
 
Keeping an open mind is one thing but surely we have to look at it in
context, not the least of which is that Indian army is under George
Fernandes, whose credentials about human rights and fascists like
hindutva are pretty convincing & also because any act of violence in
Kashmir is under close media scrutiny. Because Pakistan wishes to
keep the Khalistanis, whatever their numbers, on their side, and also
to sow the  seeds of suspicion in the minds of the sikhs, minorities
and concerned & general junta who are against  'hindutva' - yours
truly being one of them - something like this WAS required. So that
there would be general confusion.
 
OTOH, GoI (which as should be remembered is dependent
on the parties of people like Fernandes & Naidu too, to name only
two) would not want to bring any such suspicion of any Indian
people against it. Which is happening. That it is happening by
itself and to the extent focuses on the fascisistic hindutva/khalistani
forces elsewhere in the country is a good thing, I'd reckon. But not
vis-a-vis the total picture in Kashmir.
 
Consider the logistics of involvement of so many men who also
leave behind eye witnesses. Not accidentally but deliberately.
One has to read many newspaper accounts, try & talk to the people
who have met the survivors, if not the survivors themselves before
one thinks there is no evidence or that it is all "cooked up" (by an
agency called 'raw', ironically).
 
Unless of course it was a US backed operation, as a friend
suggested, facetiously, maybe to bring Sonia into power, given the
excessive spy-thriller/magic-realistic type approach of Clinton's
arrival in Pak, and accounts of US vehicles driving on the wrong
side of Pak roads, which wished to bring out the role of all sorts of
religious-right and their possible involvement.
 
IF the arguement is that it was India's intent to highlight
cross-border-terrorism (as if it needed any highlighting to the
Americans or others) and wished to simply try to pass it off as yet
another pak-based terrorist killing, would it not just do it without
leaving any witnesses and to "cook up" so convincing evidence
- as it seems to be suggested its agencies are able to do - that it
would be absolutely above suspicion and no group could even
suggest that it was India's doing? Say, an attack on some of the
sarkari-muslim supporters of Farooq Abdullah, if not on him itself?
Or on some lower-level BJP type people in Jammu? Or on some
symbolic govt. building?
 
Weren't the "intrusions" at Kargil denied all along for such a long
time? Wasn't there taped evidence of intercepts available then with
the Indian govt. between the very same gentleman who is now CEO?
(Of course help of the US agencies in this evidence being available
was always suggested) And was there any response when it was even
played on radio/TV or shared? Didn't the same gentleman as on that
intercept quietly deny all involvement & eventually throw out the
Pakistan PM who had earlier talked of peace with India?
 
But if all that is interpreted to mean that one thinks there _could_
be no _possibility_ of _any_ foul play or that one is immune to the
real and genuine fears of the Indian minorities in general; or the
sikhs in particular within the country and outside who have had
simmering discontent particularly because of the 1984 perpetrators
remaining unpunished, Operation Blue Star etc. among many other
things, one does feel it important to point out that one looks at
the _plausibility_ factors, taking an overall view - of all the
"evidence" available. Such wounds do take long to heal, and that's
why one feels even more concerned and angered by the seriousness
of this & the ease with which we are willing to believe almost
anything. Or to doubt everything. Or of the Pakistan press to play
it up. But I am more than willing to take a stand on this and risk
being called full of 'nationalist fervour' as a back channel post
from one Kalikanya accused.
 
With all my differences with Khushwant Singh, I do have sympathy
with his impotent rage and his questions to Farooq Abdullah, Advani
& Fernandes, about their respective failures and those ARE legitimate questions, but even there one has to get into the very many issues
involved & also ask if the same concern should not be voiced when
other casualities occur? When the army/BSF men die? When muslim/
hindu lives are lost in the valley? Thankfully even Khushwant Singh
is convinced of this much that whoever it was did it so as to
_internationalise_ the issue, as per his Malice column in the HT last
Saturday.
 
The present Pakistan admin. or those who may have gone out of its
control, on the other hand, have no credibility to start with & nothing
to lose by any of its acts. When cornered, they are driven to such acts because that starts yet another vicious cycle of protests by various
vested interests, more violence which is continually stoked. GoI cannot
wish to risk any such public opinion. It has enough resentment against
it among the middle-classes, no matter what one Pankaj Mishra says:
the thinking sections of the 'middle classes' do not approve of any
_hindu nationalism_ or necessarily support a hard-line. One just has to
see the united protests against the ICHR, Deepa Mehta  (but no body mentions the charges of plagiarism against her) & much more. Or the
overall jubilation when the Lahore Bus happened. All those
keep getting mentioned here from time to time. But not the situation in 
PoK, the militant training camps, the other ethnic problems of Pakistan, China's doings in Aksai Chin...
 
Wouldn't India rather keep it a Vale of Silence, if it could, rather than
(even risk) having it splashed all over the world and lend credence to
Pakistani rhetoric & US concerns of a "nuclear flashpoint", "most
dangereous spot on earth", "tinderbox" etc? And not even wish to risk
these kind of charges which are being levelled now and also have to
deal with further discontent & simmering resentment, fear and anguish
among minorities & all those thinking classes? And if they are so good
at "cooking up" surely they would also consider the added pressure
from human rights organisations, legal and civic rights activists,
international & national press AND propaganda? And also how the
violent spirals let loose by them go out of hand? Wouldn't it wish to
just  sweep away charges of its 'army's atrocities' or brutalities under
the carpet rather than have them aired all over the place? It wouldn't
certainly allow the BBC type agencies to land up there at the scene of
the crime and allow whatever reportage they wish to.
 
The charge of turning on the sikhs & muslims also is not credible in
the present gruesome case, because the stakes include dealing with
external threats in Kashmir and the army does have a very sizeable
number of sikhs. To have a demoralised army with even a fraction
of the number of sikhs having suspicion about its own govt's role
in the murder of its members is more than reason enough. 
 
Who does it suit to cause confusion and mayhem in India?
The ruling GoI badly dependent on allied support which could
collapse at the whiff of any evidence - and with so many agencies
& men involved & a watchful media, it is not possible for any thing
like this to go unnoticed - or the henchmen of the admin from across
the border which wishes to internationalise Kashmir? The latter's ploy
works because after having sowed these seeds and letting loose a
new cycle of violence, it doesn't have to do anything more, apart from
repeating the old allegation again and again. ANd there are pretty
large number of well-meaning people willing to buy it.
 
And not just that, the idea is to create trouble at an all-India level,
among the various other fundamentalist and even common people.
And try to provoke the other, in this case, the internal enemy/fascists,
the Hinduttava/khalistani elements, all over the country. So in India
there's a fresh upsurge of  violence. Would it happen in Pakistan?
Who would suffer? The Kashmiris - the sikhs - the muslims - the
hindus - the christians & many other innocent people - all over India
in short, the Indians. Does ANYONE suffer in Pakistan? Who was in 
such a, well, painted corner as to resort to desperate, dastardly deeds
like this? Not the GoI, I'd submit. Pak admin. was already discredited
after Kargil & the army takeover & the highjacking & this was supposed
to be an attempt to discredit the Indian govt & cause absolute mayhem
in India when Clinton was here. That is my case. Sure Pakistan &
Pakistanis would like to believe just the opposite, and perhaps some Khalistanis & some sections of India, and if not to believe that, then to
try and  project it as that, and they are welcome to it which is one of
the reasons I am not in a mood to talk to them or to convince them.
But I do wish that those with genuine worries will look at all the
aspects before concluding that there is no evidence or that it is all
cooked up. If they wish to keep an open mind about that, that's okay,
I guess. What more can be said about that?
 
There _is_a very genuine, instinctive, visceral reaction to any
brutal side of the state machinery, or any violence, in a very large
majority of Indians. We have not become brutalised, nor has
affluence made us so nor indeed have we become intolerant.
We just have to look at Mr. Lamba's and Mousami's reactions, to
name two people who spoke up. It is very much there in me too,
I submit, to incredulous gasps. That is India's strength and
weakness which the external fascistic enemy seeks to always
exploit. And with the press there & general media more than
willing to propagate only the official p.o.v. people perhaps there
still  aren't aware of their atrocities anywhere. A post to H-Asia by an American professor at Texas was quite revelatory on some of
these issues, some months back. I'd be pleased to share with those
interested.
 
(Does it mean that in India one neglects the internal fascist elements,
be they khalistanis/hindutva or others? NO! But one certainly looks
at ALL the factors rather than just some of them. Now as to what
COULD be a possibility, of course, there always could be a
possibility of ANYTHING. The stories of abductions by aliens could
also be true. But more seriously, in this case, if one looks at a much
larger picture, one looks at what the "evidence" presented there is.
Whether it's just an expression of a possibility, an innuendo or direct accusation, or is there anything more  to it. In this case it was nothing
but propaganda.
 
If we take the recent high-jacking to Afghanistan, it would be
recalled that the dreaded terrorists demanded in exchange were in
jail (i.e. not killed just like that) and alive and healthy (ie not
tortured) and yet it's recorded evidence that they showed up in
Pakistan after being released in Afghanistan. Now all this not to
suggest that there are NO brutalities by state-agencies in India,
merely that we are not to look at them as just going about brutally
indulging in killing people, even dreaded wanted criminals, leave
alone indulging in genocide of innocents. Or that they just kill
whoever they suspect to be a Paksitan-agent. As for one Kashmiri
Hindu army officer who apparently met one Pankaj Mishra & had
some brave confessionals to make - I have nothing to say about its
authenticity or possible conflation to overall Indian army attitude, but
offer the speculation that perhaps the hardening of attitude may have
had something to do with how even captured terrorists are allowed to
walk away in the face of terrorist threats to innocents? Perhaps the
judicial system does need more than an overhaul. All those, including
whatever harm and brutalities ordinary people suffer, IS a very legitimate concern. Isn't there a case for strengthening whatever systems of a
civilised society are in place rather than weakening them? Including the
army? The system isn't supposed to prevent stupidity and viciousness
at all times, as a friend pointed out recently to me, but it has got to
have mechanisms to uncover truth, reconcile and adjudicate it. That
each life has value is shown by attaching a kind of bureaucratic/religious
ritual to each death. Which is why instead of thinking that there is NO evidence, shouldn't there be an effort to ensure that whatever there is,
is examined in proper context & so on? Instead of saying that it is bad,
shouldn't some effort go into fixing it?
 
There IS a case for ensuring that ordinary valley-vallas do not get
affected and not further alienated and that sense of alienation IS
presented in Indian media, composed of its middle-class, not
getting into their intellectual & cultural lives. Indian thinking-classes
are not SO stupid to think that once we have got Pakistan declared
a terrorist state, or once the cross-border terrorism stops, it'd
all be hunky dory. Or that it is ALL Pakistan's fault. Nor is
the
level of discourse in the country. But surely it is not too much to
ask for this terrorism to stop, if the real concern is for the people?
So that at least an effort can be made to be able to talk to them?
I don't ever see any Pakistani voice even suggesting so much as
an indirect condemnation that IF Pakistan-backed terrorists are
involved, in any killings, it is a dastardly crime against humanity and
should not be done.
 
My main problem with all my friends in this & other issues is that
our attentions are always focussed on one type of fascism / fundamentalism/younameit - the hindutva - but not on
the other - the isalmist/the Khalistani/the militarist - whatever else -
and this seems to seep into our other views and interpretations
more than looking at the total picture and in our hurry to condemn
what we KNOW we need to fight (which we have to, along with
social justice and so on) we jump to all sorts of conclusions like
there is NO evidence, it is ALL cooked up, and such. To say that
perhaps risks getting called a Sangh Parivar apologist or a BJP
poster-boy or a closet-hindutavadi or a nationalist or a Paki-basher
or Muslim/Sikh hater or whatever. I mean, I am tempted sometimes
to just don the darned Saffron or Green or whatever & changemy
name too, while I am at it. And maybe I could also provide some
ancestral and familial connections to prove my syncretic roots.
Wonder if that would give me more credibility. I think not. I guess
I'd still be as foolish and rush in where the angels fear to tread.
 
What is convincing proof? What is convincing? What is conclusive?
All those are serious issues to discuss & has to be done with
reference to all the evidence and listening to various sikh & other
voices here in India. Those who have met the survivors and listened
to them and also examined the various facets of this very complex
issue. Who are the best impartial judges of this? I'd say that by
itself is a complex and involved debate. But should of course be
encouraged.
 
I would submit that a fairly large - not sure if it's predominant -
section of all Indian classes think the same instinctively even
if they are not articulating it. When civilians die anywhere there
is an outrage. (But why should this outrage be so severe only when
it is members of one particualr community? Why not so sensationalist
when, say, ordinary muslims or hindus die in Kashmir? Or even the
security personnel?) I would start sounding too jingoistic if I start on
the Kargil war and how the dead on two sides were treated. But as
concerned people should we not be at least questioning it? We are
either too busy pushing our favourite causes or too polite to speak
freely, frankly & fearlessly, to use a friend's expression.
 
Thankfully with more affluence, we'd be able to do it more usefully.
WIth more affluence it'd be possible to even actually see what's
happening. And we do want it for all the Indians and that's why it's
important to try and involve the  people of Kashmir to try and find
creative, credible ways of helping us all grow more affluent. Affluence
of the middle classes is not going to be possible if a sizeable part of
India or Indians are bleeding and suffering under the yoke of fascism -
or under an armed attack, & suppression of them by the army is
obviously not the idea supported by Indian thinking or even other
classes. And of course MUCH needs to be done to be able to talk to
Kashmiri people. But that's not going to be possible unless the guns
keep booming.
 
And actually, apart from human grounds, the same wish people in
India have for people - as against the army which rules the writ
always - in Pakistan too. Not for purely altruistic or noble-savage
reasons either. (*Whoever* the Aryans were or *wherever* they
came from, as far as I am concerned, I don't want them crossing
our LOC). Out of sheer common sense. Unless it is affluent and
stable, we know we'd always have trouble living with it & we do
not want to have desperate situations where human lives are at
stake. I am sure that is the general impression there too about us.
So of course to state the obvious, that everybody knows, it is in 
everyone's own interest for Pak to have the same anti fascistic
ideological position & it would help if they got somewhere close
to a democracy too. To use guns to stop people from voting is
certainly not a way of furthering democracy or furthering social
justice or human rights or ensuring the people's wishes. That Indian
democracy needs major overhaul by itself is a different story but
at least over a period of time, the people have been able to move
forward - Andhra being a prime example of suffering from New
Delhi's and local politicians' heavy-handedness - wherever people
have used the ballot and not the bullet. That there was no one on
the sidelines to provide them with bullets or hitmen is also a difft.
story.
 
I realise the folly of even mentioning Clinton, as Clinton-speak is
easy to, well, swallow and lead to interesting digressions as to
what is is etc. As of course the various interpretions of remarks
like: "there are elements within Pakistan government that have
supported those who engaged in violence in Kashmir" & such.
 
But, this comes from a Pakistan press coverage of what he said to
Indian Parliament:
 
"I share many of your government's concerns
about the course Pakistan is taking; your
disappointment that past overtures have not
always met with success; your outrage over
recent violence. I know it is difficult to be a
democracy bordered by nations whose
governments reject democracy".
 
Now of course he didn't say that in Pakistan or to directly,
pointedly accuse it about the sikh killings; but what _did_ he
say:
 
"I share your conviction that Human Rights
of all [kashmiri] people must be respected... But a
stark truth must also be faced - there is no
military solution to Kashmir. International,
sympathy, support and intervention cannot
be won by provoking a bigger, bloodier
conflict. On the contrary, sympathy and
support will be lost and no matter how
great the grievance, it is wrong to support
attacks against civilians across the Line
of Control. "
 
That he did not say anything direct at the time of Kargil
either and of course it can be believed by those willing to
that those were not Pakistani troops, or as General Musharraf
later said, everybody was involved. Or whatever one wishes to
believe. Of course Clinton's perceptions by themselves are not
that important & my reference is in context of the fact that he
happened to be here and the US intelligence in the subcontinent
was more than active then.
 
In a different post, under a different heading - and I don't speak
for my friend here - whose views I inflicted on the list - I talked
of culpability. My reading of which is to suggest that we are all
culpable for all the violence - including the state violence - around
us - or what happened in Delhi in 1984 for example - or the
senselessness of the Operation Blue Star, Ayodhya to name only
some, as well as what is happening now in J&K and very many
other parts of the country. And we can't just keep keeping an open
mind and think that sure _anything_ is possible and condemn Indian
democracy, phoolan devi or whoever and then happily go back to
our lives and hope it would all sort itself out. And we do have to
know that fundamentalism/totalitarianism is to be fought if we are to
survive for what is at stake is plurality and secularism and
democracy, indeed the very idea of India which rejects the two nation
theory & the idea of Pakistan which somehow seeks to cling on to it to
validate itself, despite it having been discredited. That's the battle
line, as far as I am concerned, and I am all for fighting it, letting
it be very clearly known that LOC is the line to stick to, no point
going back in history (else it becomes a question of how far are
we should go) & acknowledging Pakistan as a sovereign country &
letting its people figure out a way of defining their country the way
they want to. One of the reasons why I thought this present Indian
PM deserved credit was that for the first time you had a leader from
a party with affiliations with those groups who often have been found
to be crying over the bharat-mata-ke-tukRe or yearning for an
_akhand bharat_ or United India etc. standing at the minar-e Pakistan
& acknowledging and affirming that India wished it well and other
such goodly stuff which is why - and not because of any idiotic
sense of _hindu nationalism_ that part of GoI policy was welcomed
across the spectrum (not the secularists though, who kept insisting
that it was a mistake: we can _never_ trust Pak, we should have been
more vigilant etc. I agree with the latter part, but not that we shouldn't
have done it in the first place. But does that make me into supporting
a tough line, aggressive or hindu nationalism now? One of the first
questions the secularists wished to ask when consensus around LoC
was sought to be built was - whatever happened to getting PoK &
Aksai Chin back. I mean, aren't we gonna leave our party politics out
ever? I am more than willing to which is why I am all for supporting
whoever talks of a peaceful solution. But what am I doing about it all
is a question I will rather leave unanswered here for now.
 
Now a word about human rights and other conspiracy theories and
so on. I think with all of middle class India's faults, the press is
far more freer and capable of taking on the army & the GoI -
as we found at the time of Kargil - and if there is occassion to
discuss it someplace outside this list, I'd be happy to discuss the
Indian press role in covering this latest issue. Those who see the
various media coverages will know even about the role of the press
in this regard. And in the times to come as the events unfold. And
to the extent it brings infame to the internal fascist elements in
the country, I say more power to the press!
 
KPS Gill was mentioned. Now he is difficult to discuss as that
results in various digressions about various testosterone related
charges against him - or to be accused of condoning state brutalities
- which he's addressed rather elqouently and well in his various
writings and I'd respectfully urge an engagement with his views on
terrorism. I am much impressed by his credentials to be a sikh and
indian and world citizen, and the evident pride he takes in all those
roles, despite ALL his faults, which have done much harm to him
being taken seriously in the public mind. One which I think ought to
be read is:
 
http://outlookindia.com/20000313/affairsbl4a.htm
 
(Starting March 18 - on alternate Saturdays - including April 1,
a series of articles on the Punjab Terrorism is being carried in
The Pioneer, which should be available on their web site)
 
And ofcourse, even on this thread, I do agree with Ajit that none of
this will change opinions and predispositions. These arguments and
debates do not resolve no issues and change no minds. So my
apologies for inflicting it again. On the other thread on _Indian
Politics_, I have to submit that my intention was only to offer a
psephological speculation alone. If the ruling party was Congress
under Rao/Sonia, United Front under Gujral/Gowda or whoever,
the context might become clearer. How does any ruling party
increase its vote share in the electoral bazaar? Providing a solution
to Kashmir problem would be one such I'd think off-hand. Not to
plant seeds of suspicion against itself in its possible vote-bank (even
if no elections are due, there is the ally-support to consider) that it
may possibly be behind arranging mass brutal killings would be
another.
 
I meant to edit this to make it orderly but had to get this out of my
system first before that & haven't had time. Or energy. And now I
have none. Because of
being unsually busy in the last few weeks, I
address my Sasialit mail on the weekends & this time, I have not
been able to deal even with back-channel mail from a lot of people
with yahoo & hotmail addreesses, and this is my way of collectively responding to them too.
 
Wished to confine myself to what I had read till my last post of
Mar 26 as far as the "evidence" is concerned. There are far more
detailed accounts available since then, and I'd look them  up on the
web & provide URLs, if required, by the next weekend.
 
Sundeep 
who doesn't mind removing all doubts
(about his foolishness, that is)
 
I realise how futile this discussion is at Sasia and those wishing
to engage in a serious meaningful dialogue of some sort over
this complicated issue could write to me at
holden@poboxes.com as anything even cc'd to Sasia goes direct
into its folder which I do not have time to read at present. Maybe
it's time we started a separate mailing list on it. My trouble is only
that I am not going to have much time overthe next 2-3 months &
that explains why this post is so ramblingly large. No time to make
it shorter. Those interested in some useful insightful articles in this
regard might wish to see:
 
Asghar Ali Engineer:
http://www.indiaserver.com/thehindu/2000/03/28/stories/05282523.htm
 
And a comprehensive account:
http://www.the-hindu.com/fline/fl1707/17070340.htm