Monday, 26 December 2011

Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East

“More than two years after the end of the war, many women still live in fear of violence by the state and from within their own communities”, says Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director. “The conflict has badly damaged the social fabric and has left women and girls vulnerable at multiple levels. A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed”. Read more>>>

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Babri Masjid Demolition 19 years ago


Dented Indian democracy, shattered secularism, politicized judiciary, Hindu extremism triumphed and Muslims rendered helpless

Amidst heightened security   19 anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid, passed on Tuesday December 6. However many Indian Muslims stated that” Babri Mosque destruction has left deep wounds in their psyche and only its reconstruction  on its site will heal that wound .Muslims have moved on but have forgotten nothing and the scars remain ever fresh”. 

Babri Masjid, located in the ancient town of Ayodhya in the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh, was built in 1528 by the Mughal King Barber. 

There was no dispute of any kind and the Hindus and Muslim there lived in peace and harmony. However controversy was sparked off, almost three and half centuries later, when some Hindu extremists claimed that this mosque was built on the spot where the Hindu deity Ram was born. The controversy resulted in the first religious violence in 1853. In view of the sensitive nature of the issue the British colonial rulers erected a fence in 1859 to separate places of worship for Muslims and Hindus. Under this arrangement Muslims were allowed to use the inner court for their prayers while the outer court was allocated to Hindus.

This situation continued for almost a century until 1949, when some Hindus secretly placed idols of Lord Rama inside the mosque triggering off strong protest from the Muslims. Both Muslims and Hindus filed civil suits, but in a move to appease the Hindus and deprive the Muslims of their rights, the government declared the mosque premises a disputed area and sealed the gates. Muslims have also been prevented from praying in the mosque.

Thus, the then Congress government was responsible for sowing the seeds for future conflicts. The Hindu extremist party, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) founded in 1964 by a group of senior leaders of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), formed a committee in 1984, and started spearheading a nationwide campaign to build a Ram Temple in the premises of Babri Masjid.

In the midst in 1986 a District Judge ordered the opening of the gates of the mosque to allow Hindus to worship knowing very well the explosive nature of the issue which could tear apart the country. The incentives given to the district judge by the assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to influence this verdict, to appease RSS vote banks, have been common knowledge.

In protest, the Muslims set up the Babri Masjid Action Committee to fight for their rights.

Without waiting for the court verdict, Hindu extremists began to politicise the issue raising communal tension between the two communities. This insidious campaign was later led by long time RSS leader Lal Krishna Advani, who became leader of the Bahratiya Janata Party (BJP) – earlier known as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, established in 1951 as a political wing of the RSS to counter rising public revulsion after the venerated father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated by a RSS member. 

It was L. K. Advani who first brought the Babri Masjid issue to the forefront of the BJP’s strategy to achieve power. His extremely provocative and dangerous ‘rath yatra’ (chariot journey) whipped up religious sentiment, polarised society, generated passions and stirred Hindus and Muslims with pernicious results.

Meanwhile, the VHP, with its anti-Muslim slogans stepped up its own campaign in 1989 to lay the foundations for the Ram Temple on land adjacent to the mosque. This time, its cadres partially damaged the mosque. In 1991, the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, facilitating Hindu nationalists’ move to destroy the mosque.

On 6 December 1992, RSS cadres gathered in the Babri mosque premises   for conducting a religious ceremony marking the laying of the first bricks for constructing a Ram temple.The congress government of Prime Minister P.V.Narasimha Rao in the centre didn’t take any precautionary measure to protect the Babri Masjid or to prevent the outbreak of communal violence. The Hindu mob brought down the mosque to create new realities. 

Senior journalist Renu Mittal disclosed before a city court on 17 November 2011 that” Advani played a crucial role in the demolition of the mosque. Advani used loud speakers to direct the closure of all routes to Ayodhya, not allowing anyone to enter or exit”. Demolition began around 11.30 am and went on uninterrupted till 4.30 PM. After the demolition party leaders and the people there were hugging and congratulating each other while karsevaks took bricks as souvenirs from the demolished mosque”.

The demolition of the Masjid triggered off nationwide riots killing more than 3,000, Muslims although the exact number killed will never be known. After all, those spelling out the official figures were the very same people behind the carnage. Muslim-owned houses and business establishments too were destroyed as part of the overall RSS strategy to destroy the economic base of Muslims in India. The bloodshed was the most serious threat to India’s secular identity since independence in 1947.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge-sheet set before the Rae Bareli court stated that L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar and VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambara incited kar sevaks with inflammatory speeches to encourage the mob to demolish the Babri Masjid.

However the Rae Bareli court ruled that Advani would not be tried. The judgment went against the weight of the entire evidence and violated the law as declared by the Supreme Court. It also raised questions as to how the Magistrate separated the case against Advani from the rest, even though the charges and the evidence against them were almost similar.

Some legal experts described the court proceedings as a complete eye wash while one lawyer said ‘Advani will have to examine his conscience and ask whether it is fair that those who followed him should be charged while he should get off scot free’. The lawyers were stunned at the double standards of the court order as the general perception was that Advani, as deputy Prime Minister and Union Home Minister misused the government machinery to gain relief. 

Meanwhile Yousuf  Muchala, counsel for victims of the communal riots in the aftermath of the demolition of Ayodhya mosque  pointed out that” deposed before the Justice M. S. Liberhan Commission of Inquiry in New Delhi, Narasimha Rao affirmed that the demolished structure was a mosque when he said, “What else could it be? Was it a dwelling house? When the Government of Uttar Pradesh says that namaz (prayers) was going on there until 1949, irrespective of the date, what else could it be but a mosque?”.

Pouring fuel into fire, in the long awaited  verdict on the  Babri Masjid dispute   the  Allahabad Court  offered  on 30 September 2010  two third of the  2.77 acre  Babri Masjid to Hindus and one third to the Muslim. The verdict stated that the crucial area under the central dome of the mosque where Lord Ram’s idols placed in 1949 right   in extreme secrecy in violation of all established legal, moral and religious principles will remain where they are.

Thus the court provided legitimacy to the criminal act perpetrated by RSS combine in demolishing the masjid in 1992.This is Indian justice under which around 150 million Muslims were treated worse than the worst of dalits.

Many lawyers, columnists and others said that the verdict has nothing to do with legality, right and wrong or historic and other evidences. It is simply a judgment to appease Hindu extremists. Otherwise how on earth two third of an almost five century old mosque be given to Hindus purely on the basis of their claim of belief and faith. The silence of righteous Hindus also contributed to this injustice which shattered India’s hypocrisy of secularism.One media report rightly pointed out that “at one level, from the standpoint of political morality, the verdict could be viewed as rewarding those who placed the idol overnight under the central dome of the mosque and those who in 1992 razed it to the ground”. Within 24 hours L.K.Advani said” Now we can go ahead with the construction of Ram Temple in the Masjid premises.

Highlighting the unfair judgment columnist Ram Puniyani said” the claim of RSS combine ,BJP,VHP,Sang Parivar and the like to build a Ram temple inside Babri masjid is not backed up by historical and archeological data. The argument put forward was that ‘Faith’ will decide the birth place of Lord Ram and Sangh Parivar will be guided by the mahants and sadhus about the future course of action.  Since then VHP had been spearheading the campaign to build Ram Temple asserting that it is the ‘faith’ and not the law of the land which will guide their actions.

Thus Babri Masjid is today turned to Hindu temple  to Hindu extremism, corrupt politics and judiciary in the  much claimed largest democracy in the world. (Latheef Farook)

Latheef Farook is a Senior Sri Lankan journalist who, after working for  Ceylon Daily News and Ceylon Observer for almost a decade, led a team to Dubai in February 1979 where he re launched Gulf News. After almost a quarter century in the Gulf he returned home and now based in Colombo.


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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sri Lanka: Post-War Progress Report

The Government of Sri Lanka has not taken credible steps to ensure accountability for the grave allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity identified in the April 2011 report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka. Nor has the government pursued policies to reconcile the country’s ethnic communities after decades of political violence and conflict. Instead, its post-war agenda has been to further centralise power, expand the role of the military, undermine local civilian authorities, and politicise the institutions that should 20uphold the rule of law and combat impunity. As argued in Crisis Group’s most recent report, the risk of an eventual return to violence is growing again.

In the upcoming session, members of the Human Rights Council should:

(a) note the May 2009 Special Session Resolution (A/HRC/S-11/L.1/Rev. 2) regarding Sri Lanka, the panel of experts report, and the Secretary-General’s 25 April 2011 commitment to monitor domestic accountability efforts;

(b) note the government’s insistence at the last session that it is working toward “truth, justice and reparation” including through its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), whose report to President Rajapaksa is due in November 2011; and

(c) call for full discussion of these initiatives and any progress towards accountability at the March 2012 session, inviting submissions from the government and Secretary-General in advance.

Council members should be prepared in March 2012 to endorse an international inquiry into allegations of crimes by both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war, unless the government implements a credible accountability process before then. That would require at a minimum:

(a) unqualified public commitments to accountability – expressly from the president and the defence ministry, given the power they wield – including for the allegations of international humanitarian and human rights law violations deemed credible by the panel of experts;

(b) establishment by the government of a new investigative body, independent of the attorney-general, composed of non-political appointees nominated by both the government and opposition parties and fully empowered and resourced to investigate and prosecute alleged violations; and

(c) substantial progress by the government in investigating specific alleged crimes, including the deadly February 2009 shelling of PTK hospital and the alleged executions of LTTE commander “Colonel” Ramesh and LTTE news reader Isaipiriya in May 2009; such progress should include interviewing the units and commanders implicated , reviewing relevant written, photographic and video evidence from government and other sources, and making public the government’s findings about the events leading to, and the legality of, those killings.

Members of the Council should also question the government on its claims of progress on crucial post-war issues such as the state of emergency and repressive anti-terrorism laws, militarisation and insecurity, resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), reintegration of alleged ex-combatants, and a political settlement on devolution and minority rights. As demonstrated in the following brief assessment of those issues, much of what the government tells the international community and its own people does not reflect reality on the ground. This reinforces the need to press the government to allow visits from relevant special procedures, including the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances 20and the special rapporteurs or representatives on extrajudicial executions, torture, violence against women, the protection of human rights while countering terrorism, the human rights of IDPs, and children and armed conflict.

Post-war progress: Assessing government claims

State of emergency and anti-terrorism laws

Government claim: On 25 August 2011, the president announced the government would not renew the emergency regulations (ERs), which have been in force for much of the last 30 years. He claimed the country can now “function democratically under the ordinary law”. The ERs, promulgated under the Public Security Ordinance No. 25 of 1947 (as amended), lapsed on 31 August.

Reality: Far from reverting to “the ordinary law”, the government has now extended some of the most controversial powers under the ERs by issuing parallel regulations under the similarly repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act No. 48 of 1970 (as amended) (PTA). These include the continuance of militarised high-security zones (HSZs) and the detention (without charge or access to legal counsel) of thousands of LTTE suspects, including the remaining 3,000 of those detained for “rehabilitation” at the end of the war – nearly all of whom already have been held beyond the ERs’ two-year maximum. The new PTA regulations, which the government made public belatedly in September, are to be replaced with permanent legislation in due course, including an “omnibus empowering provision that enables the secretary of defense or the president to pass regulations as it is deemed necessary”.

The PTA itself allows arrest for a broad range of offences including causing “mischief” to public property, causing “religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will”, and interfering with “any board or other fixture” in a public place. It also makes confessions to police admissible as evidence which encourages already endemic torture, permits detention without charge for up to eighteen months (more than the expired ERs), and grants government officials immunity for acts done in good faith and pursuant to any direction or order under the PTA. Hundreds of PTA detainees have been held for years. In short, the expiration of the ERs has brought little change in law or 20practice. The most potent emergency powers, which have long encouraged abuse and impunity, remain intact.

Militarisation and insecurity

Government claim: The government has embarked on what it calls a “comprehensive programme of socio economic development in the former theatre of conflict”. While it claims HSZs are being reduced in the north and east, the military’s role in development (as well as in other government and commercial projects across the island) is widely acknowledged. In terms of post-war security, the president recently commented: “From the time when terrorist activities ended 20in May 2009 until today there have been no reports of any terrorist activities, other than the imaginary ‘Grease Demon’ … We are proud to mention that our government has succeeded in protecting law and order and peace through rules and regulations approved by Parliament based on the Constitution”.

Reality: The actual security situation for the minority Tamil and Muslim communities in the north and east, and for some segments of the majority Sinhalese, is much more precarious. There is deep distrust of the police and army. The “Grease Devil” controversy, which the president blithely dismisses, has in fact resulted in vigilante attacks on and some killings of alleged “grease devils” believed responsible for a spate of attacks on women, particularly in the heavily militarised north and east but also in the central highlands and the south.2 0Civilians have launched violent protests against the security forces, suspecting them of harbouring attackers, while the forces have often responded with arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force, killing and badly injuring protestors. Instead of restoring law and order by investigating the reported incidents and arresting those responsible, the police and military have reacted defensively, displaying the same “with us or against us” mentality that defined the final years of the war. Indeed, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made it clear that anyone who challenges the military will be dealt with as “terrorists”, even now.

This most recent violence is occurring against a backdrop of an increasingly permanent military presence in the north and east. The predominantly male, Sinhalese soldiers control nearly all aspects of daily life for the Tamil-speaking residents, a disproportionate number of whom are female and vulnerable. Much of the militarisation is informal, with new de facto HSZs being established as others are being shut down, large areas of the north accessible only the military, and soldiers taking on a range of commercial activities. There is no plan for security sector reform on the horizon. While the government claims its development activities are promoti ng reconciliation, they are in fact increasing ethnic polarisation and distrust.

Resettlement of IDPs

Government claim: Regarding the nearly 300,000 Tamil IDPs held in camps at the end of the war in 2009, the president told parliament on 25 August 2011 that “we have now resettled all but 8,000 in their former places of living”.

Reality: This is not true. As of 31 July over 60,000 of those “resettled” IDPs were still in temporary settings – living with host communities or in transit situations. Even for those who have returned home, many still rely on food assistance from international donors, and most are living in makeshift shelters. The central government and the military control all humanitarian and development activities in the formerly LTTE-held areas and continue to restrict the activities of local and international humanitarian groups. Another 7,000 IDPs are still in the Manik Farm camps, which the government is quickly closing, moving the residents out but not to their places of origin because thos e are still closely guarded by the military and reportedly not open to returns because of uncleared landmines. Critically, there are another 100,000 IDPs who were forced from their homes before 2009 – including tens of thousands of Muslims expelled from the north by the LTTE in 1990 – still in camps, with host families or in transit situations. Those IDPs are rarely if ever mentioned by the government.

Rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants

Government claim: For well over a year, the government has been promoting as a “success” its “rehabilitation” and “reintegration” of the thousands of suspected LTTE cadres detained at the end of the war in 2009. As of 7 September 2011, it claimed that nearly 8,000 had been released while another 3,000 were still in rehabilitation centres.

Reality: There is plenty of reason to doubt that these efforts have effectively “neutralised” former combatants, promoted reconciliation or reduced the risk of a new outbreak of violence. First, these individuals have been detained for rehabilitation without access to counsel or basic rights such as habeas corpus, and many for longer than (or reasons not allowed under) the governing ERs. Second, there is no independent procedure in place to determine whether those detained and later “reintegrated” have any history of perpetrating human rights abuses or are in fact ex-combatants. Indeed, many were not combatants while others participated in forced recruitment of children and other LTTE crime s. Third, reports confirm that after release many former detainees are regularly re-arrested, harassed or forced to act as informants by the military. There is no system of independent monitoring of their treatment or protection. Finally, thousands of individuals have been missing since the war’s end, with many last seen in military custody – as numerous eyewitnesses have testified to the LLRC. To date, the government has launched no credible investigations into these cases and refuses even to make available to family members the names and locations of those detained for rehabilitation.

Political settlement on devolution and minority rights

Government claim: The president and other senior government officials have frequently expressed their commitment to finding a political solution to the ethnic conflict through negotiations with Tamil and other minority political representatives. At various points they have expressed their willingness to develop “a devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment”, including in a joint statement with the Indian government on 17 May 2011. The government has pointed to its ten rounds of talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as evidence of its commitment to a negotiated settlement. In late August, the government began the process o f establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that would be tasked with developing “political and constitutional measures to enhance the unity of the people of Sri Lanka, further empower the people to work as a nation, and enable the people to take decisions”. The PSC will have 31 members representing all political parties in parliament, most of whom are part of the government’s large coalition.

Reality: Numerous statements and actions cast doubt on the Sri Lankan government’s commitment to serious negotiations designed to devolve power to the north and east. Most recently, the defence secretary and president’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has de-facto veto power over any government policies relating to security issues, announced that “The existing constitution is more than enough for us to live together…. I mean now the LTTE is gone, I don’t think there is any requirement…. Devolution wise I think we have done enough, I don’t think there is a necessity to go beyond that”. Prior to this, on 4 A ugust 2011, the TNA announced it was suspending talks until the government responded to TNA proposals with its own written positions on such crucial matters as its preferred structure of governance and division of powers between centre and provinces.

The government has refused to state any clear position; the president has instead announced his intention to defer the decision on the contours of a political solution to the PSC. All major opposition parties – the TNA, the United National Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) – have expressed doubts about the utility of the PSC, and their participation on the committee remains in doubt. Despite the PSC being given a six-month mandate, past experience with such initiatives suggests discussions in the PSC could take years. Sceptics point to the All Party Representative Co nference (APRC) established by President Rajapaksa in 2006 with the mandate to agree on constitutional reforms for “maximum devolution” within a united Sri Lanka. Despite nearly three years of negotiations that reportedly produced a draft set of constitutional reforms that had the broad agreement of both government and minority parties, the APRC’s report to the president has never been made public and its valuable work has been shelved.

Finally, widespread scepticism within Sri Lanka about the government’s willingness to devolve power is also based on the highly authoritarian, centralised and militarised way in which the Rajapaksa regime governs the whole country. Since the end of the war in May 2009, power has been further centralised in the hands of the president, his brothers and the military, both through the eighteenth amendment to the constitution in September 2010 and other administrative changes. (ICG)
Read Full PDF report from here

Monday, 12 September 2011

Why this sinister"hate-Muslim" campaign now?

There is a growing feeling and fear among Sri Lanka's Muslims that a sinister campaign has been underway inciting the Sinhalese against them. The campaign portrays Sri Lanka's Muslims as a threat to Buddhism, the Sinhala people, their culture and the country as a whole.

While 18 websites - eight in Sinhala and ten in English -- have been identified as part of this campaign, the Sinhala print media also carry articles on topics such as the 1915 riots and cattle slaughter, rousing communal disharmony at a time when every effort should be made to bring communities together. This is certainly not in the best interest of anyone.

This orchestrated campaign by a handful who think in terms of race rather than national unity shows that some people have learned no lessons from the past. Alarmed at the vicious nature of the campaign, a group of Muslim professionals, religious scholars, youth leaders and others are planning to take up the matter with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, mahanayakes and leaders of the Sinhala community.

All that the country needs now is a concerted effort to bring communities together and move ahead as one nation. Instead this potentially destructive campaign could drag the country back to the dark years.

In the past, some racist elements were heard to say that "we will deal first with the Tamils and then take care of the Muslims". The Muslims now wonder whether some people are trying to make this happen.

It is common knowledge that some hardline elements openly demand that the Tamils should leave for Tamil Nadu and the Muslims for Saudi Arabia, leaving Sri Lanka only to the Sinhala Buddhists.

There were also reports of mosques being attacked and government school principals opposing the Muslim form of dress. A principal of a leading girl's school in Colombo, named after a late prime minister, has told a Muslim mother, an old girl of the same school and lawyer, not to enter the school premises wearing shalwar kameez. If this kind of racism can be found in a seat of learning what could one expect from students? Such activities, in complete violation of Buddhist teachings, have been committed by a handful, claiming to be guardians of Buddhism. The sooner they realise the reality that Sri Lanka is a multi racial, multi religious, multi lingual and multi cultural country, the better it is for the country which is trying to reap the dividends of peace after three decades of war.

It is also a fact that politicians of all shades of opinion thrived on racism which only brought death and destruction. One should not forget that some of these politicians reportedly made fortunes during the 30-year ethnic war. Now that the war is over this group, which is without business, perhaps, may be trying to precipitate another crisis to thrive on others' misery.

Israeli connection

The anti-Muslim websites also carry articles hailing Zionism and Zionist atrocities in occupied territories.

Israel whose officials once described Sri Lankans as 'Monkey Looking People' and trained both the LTTE cadres and the Sri Lankan government troops at the same time, has managed to sneak into Sri Lanka despite being expelled time and again. Politicians, journalists, businessmen and others who hobnob with the Israelis, perhaps, are ignorant of Israel's criminal records and why peace loving people worldwide are against that state.

Perhaps, these people do not know that Israel is making use of them to precipitate a violent campaign against the Muslims in Sri Lanka.

Citing an Indian Home Ministry report, the New Delhi-based fortnightly "Milli Gazette" in its December 1-15, 2009 issue disclosed that Hindu extremist organizations get funds from Israel via Europe to incite communal riots against Muslims. The report added that in 2008 alone Rs. 7877 crores were given to Hindu extremist organizations which they used for subversive activities in the form of riots, bomb blasts and creating circumstances detrimental to Muslims. "Investigation gives credence to the belief that Hindu terrorists are poisoning the socio-political atmosphere in India and Israel is helping them through financial help," the report said.

Now the question we must ask ourselves is, 'what is the guarantee that the Israelis would not do the same thing here in Sri Lanka'? Don't be surprised if we find there are mercenaries operating in Sri Lanka. Can Sri Lanka afford to take this risk especially at a time when all communities are looking forward to a peaceful future?

Judging by the numerous malicious articles that appear in the print media it looks as if the Zionists have infiltrated certain section of the local media also. Muslim countries, especially those in the Middle East, look to Sri Lanka with warmth and friendship. In response to Sri Lanka's steadfast support to the Palestinian cause, some of these countries provided economic assistance and came to our rescue during difficult times especially during the recent war against the LTTE and at various international fora, including the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. Besides, almost a million Sri Lankans work in the Gulf States, remitting billions in foreign exchange.

This begs the question "is there any need to jeopardize this longstanding friendship and goodwill"?

Under the circumstance Muslims, living scattered all over the island and who also suffered a great deal during the ethnic war as they refused to support Tamil separatism and stood steadfastly for Sri Lanka's territorial integrity and sovereignty, can only turn to the government and responsible leaders in the Sinhala community to stop this hate campaign so that a potential disaster can be averted. (By Latheef Farook, The writer is a veteran Sri Lankan journalist)

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mehbooba Mufti (Plus*) on Kashmir crisis - 1



(Plus*; The holy quran was created weak...TMQ 4;28)

Home          Sri Lanka Think Tank-UK (Main Link)

முஸ்லிம் அரசியல் கட்சிகளுக்கு ஒரு எச்சரிக்கை

Sri Lanka-அக்கரைப்பற்று பிரதேசத்தில் உள்ளுராச்சி தேர்தலுக்கான பிரச்சாரத்தின் போது ஸ்ரீ லங்கா முஸ்லிம் காங்கிரஸ் கட்சி உறுப்பினர் ஆதரவாளர்களுக்கும் அமைச்சர் அதாவுல்லாஹ்வின் கட்சியான தேசிய காங்கிரஸ் உறுப்பினர்கள் ஆதரவாளர்களுக்கும் இடையில் இரு தினங்களுக்கு முன்னர் முறுகல் நிலை ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது இதை போலீஸ் மற்றும் இராணுவம் தலையிட்டு நிலைமையை கட்டுப் படுத்த வேண்டிய நிலை ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது என்று செய்திகள் தெரிவித்தன இது தொடர்பாக தெரியவருவதாவது.

ஸ்ரீ லங்கா முஸ்லிம் காங்கிரஸ் தலைவரும் நீதியமைச்சருமான ரவூப் ஹக்கீம் கலந்து கொண்ட தேர்தல் பிரச்சார மேடையில் இருந்து ஒலிபெருக்கி மூலம் ஒளிபரப்பான பிரச்சார உரைகளை குழப்பும் முகமாக முஸ்லிம் காங்கிரஸ் பிரச்சார மேடைக்கு அண்மையில் இருந்த மஸ்ஜித்தின் மீது ஏறிய தேசிய காங்கிரஸ் உறுப்பினர்கள் அல்லது ஆதரவாளர்கள் அதன் ஒலிபெருக்கிகளை பயன்படுத்தி பிரச்சார உரைகளை குழப்பும் நடவடிக்கையில் ஈடுபட்டுள்ளனர் என்று குற்றம் சாட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது இதில் யார் உண்மையான குற்றவாளிகள் என்பதை ஆராய முன்னர் சில விடையங்கள் சுட்டிகாட்டப்படவேண்டும் விரிவாக பார்க்க
கட்சி போட்டி காரணமாக மஸ்ஜிதின் வளங்களை பயன்படுத்துவது அது யாராக இருந்தாலும் எந்த கட்சி ஆதரவாளர்களாக இருப்பினும் அது பாரிய குற்றமா முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் பார்க்கின்றது என்பதை சமந்தப்பட்ட முஸ்லிம் அரசியல் கட்சிகள் விளங்கிக்கொள்ளவேண்டும் மற்றவர் தேர்தல் பிரச்சாரத்தை குழப்புதல் மஸ்ஜித்தை முறைகேடான முறையில் பயன்படுத்துதல் போன்ற வற்றை முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் இஸ்லாமிய பண்புகளுக்கு விரோதமான முறைகேடான செயலாக பார்த காலம் மறைந்து இன்று அவற்றை பகிரங்கமாக எதிர்க்கும் நிலை ஏற்பட்டுவருகின்றது என்பதை அரசியல் தலைமைகள் உணர தவறும் போது அவர்களை சமூகம் விரைவில் ஒதுக்கி விடும் என்று கூறுவதில் எனக்கு ஐயம் இல்லை
இஸ்லாமிய விளிமியங்களை மதிக்காத நபர்களையும் கட்சிகளையும் முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் தொடர்ந்து தாங்கி பிடிக்காது என்பதை பல்கலை கழக முஸ்லிம் இளைஞர்களுடன் தினமும் பழகி வருபவன் எனறவகையிலும் பொதுவாக முஸ்லிம் இளைஞர்களுடன் நெருங்கிய உறவு கொண்டவன் என்ற வகையிலும் என்னால் முடிகின்றது.
முஸ்லிம் அரசியல் கட்சிகள் உணர்ந்து செயல்படவேண்டும் சமூகத்துக்குள் வன்முறையை தூண்டுதல் , அமைதியை குழைத்தல் , மற்றவரின் உரிமைகளை மறுத்தல் , பொது மற்றும் தனியார் சொத்துகளுக்கு சேதங்களை ஏற்படுதல் தாம் சார்ந்து நிற்கும் தலைவர்களையும் சில வாக்காளர்களை திருப்பி படுத்த ஷிர்க்கிலும் , பாவங்களிலும் ஈடுபடல் போன்றவற்றை முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் மிகவும் தீவிரமாக வெறுப்புடன் நோக்குகின்றது , எதிர்க்கின்றது என்பதுடன் இந்த குறைகள் அற்ற அரசியல் வழிகாட்டல்களை தேடிவருகின்றது.
எமது இன்றைய இலங்கை முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் குறிப்பாக இளைஞர் சமூகம் இஸ்லாத்தை தெளிவாக விளங்கிகொண்டுள்ளது அவர்கள் வன்முறைகளை , அமைதியை மற்றும் ஒற்றுமையை குழப்பும் நடவடிக்கைகளை இனவாதத்தை தூண்டும் நடவடிக்கைகளை முற்றாக வெறுக்கின்றனர் அதற்கு பதிலாக ஒன்றுமை, அமைதி , உரிமை ,சுதந்திரம் இன நல்லிணக்கம் , பெரிய சக்திகளுடன் கலந்து கரைந்து போகாமை போன்ற உயர்ந்த இஸ்லாமிய தத்துவங்களை விரும்புகின்றனர் இவற்றை தற்போது உள்ள அரசியல் கட்சிகள் உள்வாங்க தவறினால் அவை காலத்தினால் விரைவாக ஒதுக்கப்படும் அதற்கு பதிலாக தமது எதிர்பார்ப்புகளை பூர்த்தியாக்கக் கூடிய புதிய சக்திகளை முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் தெரிவு செய்துகொள்ளும் – முஸ்லிம் அரசியல் கட்சிகள் தம்நிலை உணர்ந்து எச்சரிக்கையாக செயல்பட தவறினால் ஒதுக்கப்படுவது தவிரக் முடியாது ஆகிவிடும். (Lankamuslim (Plus*))

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Unconditional and Crucial Muslim Support Facilitated the Island’s Independence in 1948

Crucial Muslim support facilitated the process of Sri Lanka  gaining  independence from British in 1948 and help end almost four and half centuries of European colonial rule in the island.

Many still remember the leading role played by Muslims leaders such as Dr T.B.Jayah, Sir Razik Fareed, Dr M.C.M.Kaleel and Dr Badiduddin Mahmud in the constitutional reforms of this country and their enthusiastic support for the demand of the Dominion Status and   independence. They never obstructed the political progress of the country.

For example when the demand for independence began gathering momentum World War 11 broke out in Europe. The British government urged all its colonies to support them assuring that they would be given independence after the war. 

In the aftermath of the World War 11, agitation for political reforms and independence began to gather momentum. However the British government insisted that three quarters of the population should support the demand for independence to ensure the rights of minorities were protected. With the Sinhalese community as a whole constituting less than three quarters of the population this was an impossible demand to fulfill unless the minorities supported.   

Tamil Congress leader G.G.Ponnambalam demanded equal representation, better known as fifty –fifty. However the Muslims stood fully behind the majority community and help to meet the British demand for the support of two third of the population despite past sufferings and disadvantages.

Addressing a gathering at Zahra College grounds under the chairmanship of Sir Mohamed Macan Markar to protest against the inadequate representation of Muslims in the Legislative Council Dr. Badiduddin Mahmoud, the Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Political Conference said on 5 March 1939; “Let me assure my Sinhalese countrymen that I am one among them in demanding complete freedom for our country.

They can count on me as one of the most ardent admirers of their legitimate national and cultural aspirations. In me and in my community, let them know that they find the most trusted friends and kind neighbors in this island. They would never find wanting in me or in my community that unflinching loyalty and patriotism that this little island would demand one day from its sons and daughters to carve out a niche of fame for itself as a self- respecting unit in a world federation. Let me also assure my Sinhalese friends that the brave community to which I belong shall never consider any sacrifice too great to make Lanka a happy, prosperous and glorious country in the world where not one section of its population but every son and daughter of her soil shall legitimately take pride in her glorious destiny”.

In keeping with this policy the three Muslim representatives in the State Council extended theirwhole- hearted support for the “Dominion Status Bill” – a Sri Lankan bill sponsored by the late Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike when it came for the vote on 9 November 1945.  T.B.Jayah and Dr M.C.M Kaleel spoke in favour of the bill while Sir Razik Fareed and Dr Kaleel voted in favour as Jayah was not present during the time of voting.

During his speech Razik Fareed said” “the All Ceylon Moors Association   pledge their support to the resolution of the Hon Leader under discussion today. Nothing  else would at the moment give me great pleasure to do so, and to express my whole hearted support to the Hon leader’s proposal. As my community and I have always stood by them, I must say that in the hour of his triumph we join hands with him in the forward march to the goal of the proposal to which he aspires”…Supporting the Sri Lankan Bill despite its disadvantages to Muslims and defining the attitude of Muslims towards the bill Mr.T.B. Jayah said:” I am glad, Sir, that it has been stated that this is not the moment for jubilation or exultation or even for mutual recrimination. I certainly think that this is not the occasion to speak of the discomfiture of the minority communities’ or of the victory of the majority community”.

“As far as I am concerned, I speak with the full support of members of the Muslim community. I saw to it that the Ceylon Muslim League, representing the Muslim community of Ceylon, consulted Muslim representatives   in different parts of the  country on the important issues before the house and I am in a position to say that the Muslim members of this Council have the fullest backing of the Muslim community in this island”.

“When the Muslims of the Council decided to take a definite stand at the time the Sri Lanka –Bill was introduced, they did so for one and one reason only. The reason was that where the political freedom of this country was involved, they were prepared to go to any length, even to the point of sacrificing advantages and benefit as a result of such action”. As far as I am concerned, Sir, I do not consider any right greater than the right of political freedom and therefore, although I am fully conscious of those disadvantages of the Bill, looking at it from a narrow point of view, yet I am prepared to support this Bill”.

Expressing his gratitude to the Muslim members on behalf of the Sinhalese community, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike assured that he would consider any reasonable request by the Muslim community. Bandaranaike said:” I say that if any member has brought closer the achievement of agreement among the various sections of the people of the country by an attitude of generosity where even those with whom he is concerned to differ, I say the fullest credit must go more than anyone else among us to the Honorable nominated Member, Mr. T.B. Jayah. He has made a speech today that will have a great effect in bringing unity among the people of this country in bringing some sense of reality to this struggle, however it may shape, that we are going to undertake to obtain a satisfactory measure of freedom”..“ What have the three members,T.B.Jayah,Dr M.C.M.Kaleel and Razik Fareed, have done? There is provided in the Bill a Scheme of Representation under which the Muslim community in this country might suffer in the form in which it appears, but yet, he himself so sincerely determined to work for the main idea of freedom that he was prepared to vote for the principle embodied in the Bill”.

“But I can give the Hon Nominated member, Mr T.B.Jayah, this assurance on behalf of, I think, the vast majority, at least the Community that I represent, that in the struggle for freedom whatever may or may not be the recommendation of the Soulbury Commission on our representation, he may be rest assured that we will be quite prepared to consider any reasonable point of view that, might be put forward.

Thus the Muslim support provided the required support of two third majority of the population paving the way for the island’s independence on 4 February 1948 when Mr. D.S.Senanayake lowered the British flag and hoisted the Sri Lankan National Flag and declared the island’s independence. Ends (by Latheef Farook)

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Rahul’s divisive games by Latheef Farook

Isn’t it time that Rahul Gandhi’s family think of justice to more than 160m ‘dehumanised Indian Muslims’, asks writer LATHEEF FAROOK as he sheds light on the politics behind the Congress leader’s recent remarks in Chennai about Sri Lankan Tamils

Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has assured that he would ensure that Sri Lankan Tamils got justice. He has stated this during a brief interaction with a group of intellectuals in Chennai on Wednesday 22 December 2010. However Rahul Gandhi, general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, has conveniently ignored justice for the island’s second largest minority Muslims.

Isn’t it time that the Gandhi family, responsible to a very great extend for Sri Lanka bleeding for more than three decades, leave the island alone and pay attention to India’s dehumanised and terrorized Muslim minority. 

To prick the pride of then President J R Jayawardene, Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi financed trained, armed Tamil militants and send them to fight in the island.
Continuing the same policy of interference Rahul Gandhi’s father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, blackmailed and forced the 13th amendment on the throat of Jayewardene.

What happened later remains common knowledge.

Under the circumstance isn’t it time that Rahul Gandhi, tipped and groomed to be Indian’s prime minister leave the island alone and concentrate on alleviating the endless sufferings of India’s more than 160 million minority Muslims.

For example, Kashmiri Muslims were some of most peaceful people in the world. However they were a discarded lot. Their peaceful cry for freedom and justice went unheard in the corridors of power in New Delhi.

Frustrated and fed up with the political manoeuvrings of the central government in Delhi, the rigging of elections in 1987 and in 1996, economic problems and poverty, combined with many other factors, Kashmiri Muslims rose up in 1989 demanding justice and freedom-two essential ingredients of democracy.
What did New Delhi, the corrupt, criminalised, commercialised a largest democracy in the world, do? Instead of listening to their grievances, unleashed unprecedented brutalities in their arrogant and senseless drive to crush the uprising. Highlighting the atrocities Rahul Gandhi’s father former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi in August 1991 that ‘the brutalities of the Indian army and the Central Reserve Police meant that India may have lost Kashmir’”.

Despite this warning Indian atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims continue to date unabated.
According to figures released in the March 2010, 93,142 people were killed, 105,832 houses and shops destroyed, 107,326 orphaned, 9901 women molested and 22,719 widowed.
More than 100 youths in peaceful demonstrations were killed during this summer forcing well known human rights activist and author Arundhati Roy to state that ”Kashmiris live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world”. 

This is the plight of Kashmiri Muslims! What about the plight of Muslims in rest of India.
Here is a report of starling disclosures of the plight of the Muslims in this largest democracy hijacked by Hindu terrorists. According to ANHAD, an Indian NGO working for communal harmony in India, despite this huge size, Indian Muslims feel “an intense, almost universal sentiment of fear and growing despair. In a seminar held by the NGO in October 2009 on the status of Muslims in India, many Muslims testified they felt reduced to second class citizenship.They shared their mounting disillusionment with all institutions of governance, but especially with the police, judiciary, political parties and the media. The meet thus exposed the hollowness of the Indian claims of democracy, secularism, and the rule of law. 

Among the Muslims, there is the constant dread of being profiled as terrorists, with the attendant fears of illegal and prolonged detention, denial of bail, torture, unfair and biased investigation and trial, and extra-judicial killings. The pervasive sense of insecurity reported from various corners of the country derivers greatly from the prejudice, illegality and impunity with which police forces deal with the “challenges of terror”. This is a regular pattern that occurs after every terror attack. Worse, it occurs sometimes even when there have been no actual terror episodes. The state authorities simply claim that there was a conspiracy which they detected and prevented.

Testimonies from many states in the country outlined this chilling pattern, of Muslim, mostly male youth, usually with no criminal records, being illegally picked up by men in plain clothes, and taken blind-folded in unmarked vehicles to illegal locations like farm houses which are not police station. There they are tortured to coerce them to confess to terror crimes. Many men testified in the meet to brutal and terrifying torture. They were brutally beaten up along. All of them were kept and tortured in different rooms. The police beat them all over the body with lathis, two men stood on thighs of Iqbal, one of the victims, and legs stretched wide using the filthiest language possible.

Zaheer, another victim, was stripped naked and given electric shocks all over his body many times a day. They caught him by his hair and banged his head against the walls repeatedly. Abusing him, they called him a Taliban and a terrorist, and degraded his community and mother and sisters. Zaheer’s hands were tied to the roof and he was not allowed to sleep for days.

Both Zaheer and Iqbal were not allowed to break their fast till 11 pm. The youth alleged that the police kept on forcing them to admit that they were going to bomb the Ganesh Visarjan procession and kill people. Zaheer pleaded with the police to spare him as he was innocent and he had no idea about the allegations. The policemen taunted him and said if you are tired of torture we will shoot you dead and made him run across a field all the time aiming at him to shoot him down. 

Shockingly, even police commissioner and other senior officials were involved in this illegal picking up, detention and torture of youth. The Farm House where the youth were taken and tortured belongs to a close associate of the police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.

Almost no one who bears a Muslim identity is exempt from the fear that they, or members of their families, can be subjected to the same allegations of terror links, and to similar processes of detention, torture, encounter killings or prolonged, multiple and biased trails. It has been noted that completely different standards are applied in the cases of the Hindutva terror organizations which have come to light.

Many sensitive and senior positions in both central and state government departments, including in the home, education, social welfare and information departments, continue to be held by officials with sympathies with communal ideologies and organisations, and the UPA role in reinforcing communal stereotypes, and in uncritically broadcasting the police version in terror-related arrests and encounter killings. Textbooks often show similar bias, and this is particularly dangerous because for millions of poor and especially rural children, the textbook is the only source of the printed word which they can access.

India is notorious for it’s staged “police encounters.” Especially, the Narendra Modi government in the state of Gujarat has been well known nationally for staging fake encounters to kill “criminals” or Muslim youths.
In a disturbing trend, the Indian government as well as concerned state governments has adopted double standards in dealing with the two equally deadly phenomenons of terrorist bombings and communal violence. On one hand throughout the country Muslim youth are being targeted, without any or little evidence, as responsible for terrorist attacks. On the other hand Hindutva extremists behind the communal violence in Orissa. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh against Christian population are being allowed to go scot-free. The term’ terrorism’ is never associated with the Hindutva extremist outfits like the Bajrang Dal,Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Shiv Sena despite their clear and acknowledged role in the murder and injury of hundreds of innocent Indian citizens. 

Hundutva religious terrorists have also been found time and again planting bombs in Muslim religious places or localities in Nanded and Malegaon in Maharashtra. Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu and suspected of carrying out the heinous bomb blasts on the Samjhauta Express in 2007. The attacks on Christian religious institutions are in fact openly claimed by Hindutva terrorist groups, like the Bajrang Dal, in front of television news cameras and yet no action is taken against them.

Indian society has been plagued many pogroms like the one’s of 1984 (Delhi), 1992-3 (Mumbai and Gujarat (2002). Contrary to common belief, a Lot of organization and planning was put in these pogroms. However, successive governments have failed to provide any justice to the victims belonging to the Minority communities especially Muslims. Most of the culprits of blasts so far indicated have been from the Muslim community, while those who suffered maximum during the pogroms were also from the same community.

The present punishments have been meted out to the culprits of Mumbai blasts of 1993, which followed the Mumbai violence in the aftermath of Babri demolition.

The violence which looked to the spontaneous was investigated by sitting judge Shrikrishna who after five years of painstaking investigation concluded many a things relating to violence and blasts.
About the spread of violence it put the square blame on the failure of police machinery, the role of provocative writings in Shjiv Sena paper Saamana and another paper Navakaal, and the role played by Shiv Sena-BJP as a whole, Shiv Sena had later started Maha Aarti, which was meant to mobilize people and give provocation to them.

It also shows how the Hidutva parties, Shiv Sena in particular coordinated the whole violence, in which around thousand people lost their lives and 86% of those killed belonged to Muslim minority.
The commission meticulously documented the direct involvement of many leaders in instigating and participating in violence. About the second phase of riots, which began from January 8, the commission points out, “there is not doubt that Shiv Sena and Shiv sainiks took lead in organizing attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several leaders of Shiv Sena from the level of Shakha pramukh to Shi vena Pramukh Bal Thackeray, who like a veteran general commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks, to retaliate by organized attacks against Muslims”.

There are two sets of “justice system” in the county.
Those belonging to minority community suffer maximum in the communal carnage.
They get killed, their properties are destroyed.
The guilty from Hindu community in these cases are generally not punished.
Those aiding and abetting these crimes get away with it and sometimes even promoted.
In other cases of blasts and acts of terror, if Muslims are involved, the cases are investigated and punishments are meted out in due course.

It is reflective of the political parties, the political system and the bureaucratic structure which is coming to be.
While some parties like BJP-Shiv Sena are aggressively pursuing the communal agenda, the others are opportunistic enough not to think of justice in a principled way. Congress, while paying lip service to secular values has mostly compromised with the communal elements and most of the times it does not have the spine or perhaps even the will to take the challenge of rising communalism. (Nation)