We look forward to your views on this or any other article for Letter to Editor
Violence: The common denominator
Ayodhya is one of India’s holy places. The name signifies a “a place of no conflict” but the reality since 1992 has been different.
Both Hindus and Muslims lay claim to a small 2,400-square-foot area at the heart of a 67-acre site.
Until 1992, it was the site of 16th century Babri Masjid mosque, which was destroyed by a group of Hindus. They regard it as the site of an earlier temple of Lord Ram, an incarnation of Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality, amongst Hinduism's high deities.
Their “reason” for destruction: there was a temple here that was destroyed when Babur, the Mughal ruler, invaded India, and a mosque was built at the site. (It was quite common for the Mughals when they established their rule in northern India,) And their desire to redeem it.
Since1992. when over 3000 people died, court battles have raged over title to the site, which remains unresolved.
Hindu “nationalists” have been constructing - off site - an expansive temple to Rama, and waiting for government approval to assemble the temple in Ayodhya.
The latest round of violence started when Muslim militants attacked a train carrying Hindu pilgrims on February 27, setting it on fire and burning to death 58 people, mostly Hindus. The train had been returning from Ayodhya to Godhra in Gujarat
In the first three days, nearly 300 people died in fierce religious fighting in the state of Gujarat, with the Hindu majority and Muslim minority attacking each other over deep-rooted sectarian grievances.
A curfew was declared in nearly 40 towns and cities across Gujarat, and soldiers were sent in to patrol the streets and stop mob violence. Police were given shoot-on-sight orders to stop anyone breaking curfew or starting trouble.
However, the Times of India has reported that police have been absent as some of the worst mob violence took place, with Muslims begging in vain for the Hindu-dominated police force to intervene.
All political parties issued a joint statement today calling for peace in Gujarat. But it is not obvious that the people of Gujarat have heard them.
It's an affront to India's struggle to be a modern, pluralistic, tolerant state of 800 million Hindus, 130 million Muslims and others. These dark tensions hark back to independence in 1947, when a million died in communal violence.
The statistics for the month-long nightmare are mind-numbing. The official death toll stands at 783. Nearly 97,998 people are living in 101 relief camps. The government has declared different packages, including that of providing Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 as compensation to those whose houses have been gutted, but the claimants don't know where to build their houses.
Police say 125 persons have died in police firing. They fired 6,500 rounds, lobbed 8,300 teargas shells and arrested a staggering 10,000 people. Impressive figures, but nobody is impressed. Not the all-party MPs' delegation or the National Commission for Minorities or even the National Human Rights Commission.
The impact of violence is written around not only the relief camps but also the nearly 30 towns and cities of Gujarat which are still under curfew as the police, facing the music for their initial sluggishness, are not taking any chances in the build-up to Holi.
With Holi's potential for mischief later this week, none of the nearly 100,000 refugees at the relief camps is willing to go back to their homes. Most of them actually have no homes to go back to, and even if they do, the feeling of fear is so overwhelming that they are willing to live in the filthy camps rather than risk attacks.
“The carnages of the first three days, or 72 hours as chief minister Narendra Modi likes to put it, have given way to a low-intensity but sustained warfare where students going to examination halls have been stabbed, nurses going to hospital for the night-shift have been attacked with acid bombs, individuals having married outside the community have been hunted down and killed and people being escorted to safety by the police have been lynched, “ writes Bharat Desai in the Times of India.
“Ask Modi when all this would end and he finds a rather strange synchronisation between the MPs and the mobs when he says that the violence would come to an end when the Lok Sabha session ends,” he adds.
The financial punch of the riots that is beginning to tell. CII and GCCI estimates of losses in this one month are Rs 2,000 crore, something that a state already reeling under the impact of the earthquake just could not afford. The earthquake at least brought people together.
is a prosperous state and indeed a nice place to settle down but the
communal riots have completely changed the perception," says Arshad
Alam, a senior auditor with the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s
Ahmedabad office. Alam hails from Bihar and has gone on a month’s leave
after riots broke out in the city. He has not ventured out since then.
Anosh Malekar/Godhra and Ahmedabad
Godhra town, in the desolate tribal belt of eastern Gujarat, a laboratory
for a new kind of terror against India from across the border? With the
arrest of prime suspect Haji Bilal Ismail Sujela from a Godhra slum called
Hayat ni Wadi on March 16-two weeks after a mob torched 58 persons, mostly
women and children, on the Sabarmati Express-investigators are hoping to
expose the cross-border connection.
Bilal, an independent member of the Godhra Municipality and chairman of
its planning committee, has a criminal past with at least 10 cases against
him. Railway Police records show that the slightly-built, bearded Haji
Bilal was once a pickpocket. Later he started a ring of gambling dens in
Godhra with Hussein Dhantia, an alleged conspirator in the train carnage.
Investigators say some who were involved in the massacre often met at
Bilal's gambling den days before the attack.
also claim to have information on Bilal's links with Yusuf Kharadi alias
Godhrawala, who had admitted to his Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
connection when the police arrested him earlier. Bilal's Indian passport
which expired last year shows he had visited Pakistan twice in 1992 and
once in 1993. But the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of the Gujarat Police and
the Railway Police, which conducted the joint operation to nab Bilal,
believe he must have visited Pakistan again on fake passports. He had
reportedly escorted Ahmedabad underworld kingpin Abdul Latif's wife
Mehrunissa and her brother Abdul Rauf to Pakistan using fake passports;
Latif was killed in a police encounter a few years ago. "We need to
probe whether he has another passport. Pickpockets can be slippery
customers," said an investigator.
crucial point the investigators would be looking for is whether there was
a greater conspiracy involving agencies from across the border in the
Godhra massacre. Among 51 people arrested for the train carnage are Godhra
Municipality president Mohammed Hussain Kalota, councillors Adbul Rehman
Abdul Majid Dhantia and Salim Abdul Gaffar Shaikh. Two other councillors,
Farookh Bhana and Yakub Bakkar, have vanished. Kalota is said to have
admitted that Bilal and Farookh Bhana had planned to attack the train
which was carrying karsevaks returning from Ayodhya.
do not rule out any possibility," said Vipul Vijoy Singh, deputy
inspector-general of the ATS, pointing out that there was an "element
of determination" behind the burning of coach S6 of the Sabarmati
Express. "The train was stopped twice in the course of a kilometre it
covered from Godhra station before the coach was set on fire," he
has a long history of communal strife between Muslims on the south of the
railway line and Hindus on the north, and altercations generally take
place on railway platforms. Singh said he had reasons to suspect something
more than that in the whole incident.
to death: Mob fury at Godhra claimed 58 lives on Sabarmati Express
to the first investigation report (FIR) filed by the Railway Protection
Force-the first to react to mob fury despite being outnumbered-the burning
of coach S6 took place between 7.55 a.m. and 8.25 a.m. A short while after
the train left Godhra station at 7.47 a.m. after a five-minute halt,
someone pulled the alarm chain. The assistant driver went to the coach and
the train resumed its journey around 7.50 a.m.
FIR says: "Immediately thereafter, there was a second incidence of
vacuum drop in front of the Godhra A cabin. A mob had surrounded coaches
S5 and S6 near A cabin at 7.55 a.m. Three RPF constables-Karan Singh,
Shree Mohan Yadav and Ambarish Kumar-fired four rounds from .303
rifles." It also notes that "provocative calls were being given
from a loudspeaker of a local mosque".
mob, allegedly led by Bilal, threw stones at rescuers and security
personnel helping passengers to safety. Eyewitnesses also recall Haji
Bilal preventing fire engines from reaching the railway tracks. "The
RPF personnel fired 19 rounds, 18 from 9mm carbines and one from a 303
rifle," said RPF Inspector John K. George.
observer Dr Chandrakant Pandya, vice-president of the Gujarat State Police
Housing Corporation, upholds the conspiracy theory, even if locally
hatched, to attack the karsevaks. "Last December, we witnessed a
clash between two groups of Muslims over control of mosques in Godhra,"
he said, indicating the growing presence of fundamentalist elements in the
officers at Gandhinagar had information about a few Tablighi Jamaat
preachers seeking control over mosques in Godhra, a move resisted by the
local Muslim leaders. The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic movement that
underplays political power of the state and concentrates on civil society,
identity and cultural issues of Islam. It promotes the agenda of terrorist
groups like Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (Huji). It rejects many practices
adopted by the Indian Muslims.
Bilal and Kalota apparently had leanings towards the Tablighi Jamaat
doctrine propagated through a network of recently set-up seminaries in
Godhra. The ATS has clinching evidence on Huji's activities in Gujarat. On
February 15, it arrested Asad Ahmed Munshi, a tutor at a Tablighi Jamaat
seminary at Dabhel near Surat, with two others in possession of arms and
explosives. This could be a lead the investigators would follow keenly.
A senior intelligence officer, however, said the carnage could have been averted if the police had heeded the warning signals. "The Gujarat Police knew of tensions between karsevaks and the Muslims at Singal Falia in Godhra. But this was not followed up seriously," he said. He added that the "intelligence apparatus in Uttar Pradesh and the district police of Faizabad never informed us about the movement of karsevaks till February 28." By then it was a day too late.
(Source: www.The-Week.com March 31, 2002)
GlobalomNet Media Service
security agencies are exploring possible al-Qaida links to a wave of
terrorist strikes, including a grenade attack on a church that killed two
Americans and three other people, the government said Wednesday.
The latest attack
on a Church in Pakistan follows a string of instances of persecution of
Christians in Pakistan. It is only rarely that persecuted Christians have
are some cases of persecution of Christians in Pakistan over the past year
compiled by the group International Christian Concern:
13, 2002: The Supreme Court of
Pakistan agreed to hear the case of Ayub Masih after admitting there were
irregularities in his prosecution. The hearing is expected to take place
within the next two to three months.
13, 2002: A bomb exploded
inside a Christian church at G/8 Christian colony in Islamabad. The roof
of the building collapsed, causing great structural damage. No one was in
the church at the time the bomb went off.
9, 2001: Waheed Paul, a
Catholic Christian, was shot to death as he travelled to his job in
4, 2001: Unidentified
pro-Taliban gunmen murdered Mr. Benjamin John, a Christian security guard
of the Airport Security Force at Quetta International Airport, as he and
four other Muslim security guards attempted to halt the gunmen from
entering a prohibited area. The
gunmen forced Mr. John to the floor in a hail of gunfire, but did not
injure any of the Muslim guards.
28, 2001: Five masked gunmen
rushed into Saint Dominic’s Church and opened fire on worshipping
Christians, murdering 16 people and screaming “Graveyard of Christians
– Pakistan and Afghanistan,” “This
is just a start,” and “Allah-u-Akbar”. Four children, four women,
and eight men were slain in the attack.
9, 2001: The dead body of a
23-year-old Bible College student was found outside of his church along
with a letter that said, “Stop Preaching to Muslims”. The Christian
man, identified only as Sheraz, was kidnapped on August 2 as he left his
place of work in Lahore.
25, 2001: Islamic extremists in
Sabu Mahaal village robbed the home of Christian Hamid Masih and also
raped his wife. Hamid is the brother of Saleem and Rasheed Masih, two men
convicted of blasphemy in May of last year. Hamid has been caring for his
brothers’ wives and children. The family is now in fear for their lives.
1, 2001: Christian teacher
Pervez Masih was arrested on charges of blasphemy. Masih, who ran his own
high school in Chailayke village, Sialkot district, was accused of
uttering blasphemous remarks against Prophet Mohammed during tutoring
sessions with three former students. It is believed that the teacher of a
rival high school has implicated Masih falsely in order to force the
school to close and gain the business for himself.
11, 2001: The families of two
men, helping to support eight Christian girls, who were raped in May of
2000, were threatened by Islamic extremists.
Fareed Masih and Ashiq Masih were not present at the time that the
extremists forcibly entered their homes and assaulted their family
members, including Pastor Fareed’s mother. The group left a message for
the two men, saying that if they did not stop supporting the Christian
girls, they would be killed.
11, 2001: Fourteen-year-old
Naira Nadia was kidnapped from her home in Mariam-a-bad, Shiekhupura
district. The kidnappers were angry that she had dared to share her faith
in Jesus Christ with her school-mates. The girl was brutally raped.
25, 2001: Three Christians,
accused of blasphemy in 1998, were acquitted by the Lahore High Court.
Hussain Masih, Isaac Masih and Iqbal Sehar Ghauri were accused of
desecrating the Quran and uttering derogatory statements about the Prophet
Mohammed on November 25, 1998.
10, 2001: Three Christians and
14 Muslims in Karachi were arrested during a peaceful protest against
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Those arrested were charged with unlawful
assembly and also attempted murder.
Victims of Wahabism?
More than 70 doctors and 34 lawyers, various Ulema, scholars, teachers and students of seminaries, religious figures, politico-religious parties leaders and activists, officials of various government and private institutions have so far been assassinated during the last two years in Pakistan. Their only fault, they were Shias. (The list of the victims has been compiled with the cooperation of Sipah e Sahaba.)
e Sahaba (Army of the Companions), best described as Sipah e Yazid (Laeen
ibn e Laeen) is a Wahabi/Deobandi terrorist organisation which is being
funded by Saudi Arabia and supported by the Wahabi ranks in Pakistan
Army’s ISI. Lashkar e Jhangavi is the death squad of Sipah e Sahaba.
Riaz Basra, chief of the Lashkar, is being sheltered by the Wahabi Taliban
the financial backing from Saudi Arabia and ammunition, protection and
training from the Pakistan government, Sipah e Sahaba and Lashkar e
Jhangavi have been openly killing Shias in Pakistan for many years now.
Hiding behind the name of Sahaba Ikram (RA), these Wahabi terrorists tried
to portray themselves as Sunni Muslims. But alhamdolillah the Sunni
Muslims of Pakistan openly denounced these Wahabis and their terrorist
activities. When they were rejected by the Sunni Muslims, the Sipah e
Sahaba started killing the Sunni Ulema and leaders as well. This clearly
showed that the Sipah e Sahaba was purely a Wahabi/Deobandi militant
organisation which only wants to eliminate anyone who hates Yazeed (Laeen
ibn e Laeen). Their prime goal, like the Saudis is to kill, torture and
oppress the followers of Ahlul Bayt (AS), whether Shias or Sunnis. Using
the name of Sunni Muslims, these Wahabi butchers have killed scores of
innocent Shia Muslims and have tried to create hatred among Sunni and Shia
was preached by Awleya e Ikram (Sufi Saints) in the Indian sub-continent.
The Awleya filled the hearts of the masses with love for Ahlul Bayt (AS).
The Wahabis/Deobandis/Kharjiites who for centuries have openly been an
enemy of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) and their followers, now decided to disguise
themselves as Sunnis.
Pakistan, the preachers in almost all mosques are appointed and paid by
the government, which has very carefully placed Wahabi mullahs in Sunni
mosques. Majority of the Sunni Muslims have, unknowingly, become a victim
of this anti-Ahlul Bayt conspiracy by the Wahabis. Spreading false rumors
against the Shia community is one of the most important weapon of the
Wahabis. As these Wahabis portray themselves as Sunni scholars, the
innocent Sunni masses have been believing every thing they tell them.
Pakistani media has also played its role in creating hatred between Shias
and Sunnis by using the word "Sunni" for the Wahabi Sipah e
Sahab and Lashkar e Jhangavi and blaming the massacres of Shias on their
praise for Allah, the Sunni brothers have now started to realise the
situation and they have started confronting the Wahabis on every front.
The Sunnis, as a punishment, have also become a target for these Wahabis.
Maulana Saleem Ullah Qadri, head of the Sunni Tehrik in Pakistan was
brutally murdered by the Sipah e Sahab in Karachi. The Maulana had become
the flag bearer in recent years for the religious organisation
representing the majority Barelvi Sunnis in Pakistan.
hope that the Pakistan government now, as it has joined the internatinal
community in the "War Against Terrorism", would also pay
attention to the innocent victims of Wahabism in Pakistan. We also request
the international community to pressurise the government of Pakistan to
rid the law abiding and peaceful Shia and Sunni Muslims from the menace of
We pray that Allah swt blesses Sunni and Shia brothers with strong unity and may He protect everyone from the evils of Wahabis and their terrorism. Ameen. (Source: Shia News)
The List of Victims
is a list of some of the innocent victims of Sipah e Sahaba and Lashkar e
29: Karachi Jawwad Rizvi, a retired employee of an insurance company in
his early-60s was shot dead and his friend Zumarrud Hussain Jaffery
wounded seriously by suspected Sipah e Sahaba terrorists.
09: Karachi A Shia official Syed Hasan Ali shot dead by Sipah e Sahaba
15: Karachi A Shia industrialist, Syed Hasan Abidi shot dead.
28: Bahawalpur16 Christian worshipers killed at St. Dominic's Church
10: KARACHI: Sindh Board of Technical Education Chairman Syed Hassan Zaidi
09: KARACHI:College principal Syed Gul Imam Shah shot dead
04: KARACHI: Seven die in Imambargah shooting
13: QUETTA: Professor Atiq Hasan Naqvi hurt, son killed in Quetta
12: KARACHI: Pesh Imam of Defence mosque, Allama Syed Razi Hyder and two
sons, shot dead
10: KARACHI: Capt (Retd) Altaf Hussain Bungasha, a PTCL official, killed
04: KARACHI: Pesh Imam of Hussainiya Sajjadiya, Maulana Hussnain Naqvi,
01: KARACHI: Three, including Hamid Rizvi, gunned down
29: QUETTA: Masked men kill civil engineer Syed Abid Abbas Naqvi
18: KARACHI: Grenade attack on Pesh-Imam of Masjid-e-Shah-e-Khorrasan
30: KARACHI: Syed Zafar Hussain, Director R&D in the Ministry of
30: LAHORE: Imam Masjid Syed Rizwanul Hassan killed
28: MULTAN: Former MPA Siddiq Kanju and friend shot dead
26: KARACHI: Shaukat Raza Mirza, MD of PSO, and driver shot dead
24: MAILSI: Religious leader Syed Ziaul Hassan Kirmani and others killed
20: KARACHI: Commissioner office staffer shot dead in Lines Area
15: KARACHI: Another Shia killed in Orangi Town
9: KARACHI: Two gunned down outside Imambargah
8: KARACHI: Doctor falls prey to terrorism
27: DERA ISMAIL KHAN:Top Shia leader gunned down
26: KARACHI: Doctor shot dead in Soldier Bazaar
14: MULTAN: Two Shias shot dead
31: KARACHI: Doctor shot dead in Gulshan-e-Iqbal
18: KARACHI: Sunni Tehrik Chief, six others shot dead in Karachi
09: KARACHI: Two shot and wounded in Orangi Town
07: NOWSHERA: Ali Sarwar Sarhadi, a Shia leader fired upon
07: DERA ISMAIL KHAN:Senior Superintendent of Police Ijaz Ahmad Langarial
28: KARACHI: Sub-inspector Syed Hashim Raza shot dead
3: VEHARI: Former TJP leader shot dead
22: MULTAN:Lashkar man confesses to several killings
4: 12 killed in attacks on Shias in Sheikhupura
2: Tehrik-i-Jafria worker shot dead in Karachi
1: Riots claim 8 lives after attack on Shias in Hangu
26: TJP activist shot dead in Vehari
22: Lawyer dies in Gujranwala terrorist attack
22: Ex-DSP, son shot dead; attackers arrested in Karachi
18: Three killed in sectarian attack in Faisalabad
17: Bodyguard killed in attack on TJP leader in Jhang
9: Two shot dead in Karachi
7: TJP activist, another man shot dead in Tank
6: Two TJP activists shot dead in Karachi
25: Tehrik Jafaria man shot dead in Multan
20: Iranian religious scholar shot dead in Karachi
30: TJP leader shot dead, wife injured in Karachi
16: DSP Lahore Tariq Kamboh and his driver were gunned down
04: Human rights activist & Former PPP MPA, Syed Zakir Hussain Shah
shot in Rawalpindi
02: Dr. Nayyar Hussain gunned down in Orangi Town
24: TJP Secretary-General Anwar Ali Akhunzada shot dead in Peshawar
31: Dr. Altaf Husain killed in Orangi Town
30: Dr. Karamat Ali shot dead in Orangi Town
27: Four Lashkar-e-Jhangvi activists arrested in Karachi for killing Dr
Adib-ul-Hasan Rizvi & Dr Zafar Naqvi of Malir and others
14: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi activist confesses to killing 6 Shia leaders
16: Critically wounded brother of a local Shia leader in Hyderabad
15: Advocate Syed Sardar Jafary, President of Voice of Shia Organisation
shot dead in Karachi
15: Killer of Magistrate Syed Fida Husain, his daughter Batool and gunman,
held in Gujranwala
3: Advocate Malik Ibrar Hussain shot dead in Toba Tek Singh
2: Syed Sibtain Hasan Dosa and two others shot dead in Karachi
28: TJP activist Shahbaz Hussain Shirazi shot dead in Chishtian
26: Advocate Syed Farrukh Birjees Haider Tirmizi and another shot dead in
19: Iqbal Hussain shot dead in Multan
12: 17 people killed in an attack on a Majlis in Malohwali. Attock
7: TJP leader Syed Waqar Hussain Naqvi shot dead along with his son and
7: Aun Mohammad Rizvi of PTV was shot dead in Rawalpindi
1: 9 Shot Dead in Malir Imambargah in Karachi
30: Advocate Ejaz Rasoolnagri killed in sectarian attack
28: Advocate Khurshid Anwar advocate, his daughter Ume Laila and his guard
shot dead near Bannu
07: Ijaz Hussain shot dead in Khanewal
29: Police Constable Maqbool Hussain shot dead in Multan
22: Five shot dead in attack on Majlis near Multan
05: Quaid e Millat e Jafaria, Allama Arif Hussain Al Hussaini was
brutally murdered in Peshawar while he was going for Fajar
prayers.Remembering Shaheed Allama Arif Hussain
30: 3 Shias shot dead in Multan
21: Two Iranian Engineers shot dead in Karachi
22 Shias massacred in Lahore
03: Two brothers, Aulad Hussain Shah and Baqar Hussain Naqvi killed in
6: SSP Ashraf Marth and his driver Tabbasum Zamir shot dead
20: Seven, including Iranian diplomat, gunned down at Iranian Centre in
12: Allama Mureed Abbas Yazdani shot dead in Islamabad
09:10 killed and 22 wounded in an attack on a Shia mosque
12: Dr Abul Qasim Jiwa murdered in Nazimabad, Karachi
19: Agha-i-Sadiq Ganji killed in Multan
This article is from Shia News.com. South Asian Outlook e-Monthly
and Shia News are not responsible for the contents of this article.)
GlobalomNet Media Service
the end of the cease-fire between the Government of Nepal and Maoists and
the declaration of a national State of Emergency on 26 November 2001, the
Royal Nepal Army (RNA) have engaged Maoist terrorists across rural Nepal.
is an unpredictable time. Bomb attacks in major population centres across
the country, including Kathmandu and the Kathmandu valley, are increasing.
Maoists seeking to ambush security force convoys have mined roads and
bridges, in particular in remoter parts of the country. Army patrols and
other government targets have been attacked, often by huge numbers of
Maoist rebels. Nighttime curfews have been declared in a number of towns
and districts at short notice. Army and police checkpoints are frequently
encountered, resulting in extended journey times.
The Royal Nepal Army reported killing 62 Maoists last in early March in the Dolpa district in a joint exercise with police forces. The operation was one of the biggest actions taken against the insurgents since the declaration of Emergency last November. The Dolpa district, in Nepal's western mid-hills, is considered to be one of the Maoists' strongholds.
authorities in Nepal said on March 28, ten Maoist rebels have been killed
in separate incidents.
defence ministry spokesman said three of the rebels -- all women -- had
been killed in a security operation in the western district of Lamjung on
more rebels were killed in Jajarkot district, and another four at other
the western district of Kaski, rebels killed two female members of a
soldier's family in a bomb attack on their house.
20 March, authorities announced that they had killed another 25 Maoists in
the previous 24-hours. The insurgents are reportedly active in
approximately two-thirds of Nepal's 75 districts and have called a
five-day strike in Kathmandu for the first week of April. On 19 March,
Amnesty International released a report criticising both the Maoists and
the Government for excessive use of lethal force.
The Maoist insurgency of Nepal has been getting brutal. The rebels stormed the district headquarters of Achham in far-west Nepal, wiping out a military barrack as well as a police post, and decamped with a loot of more than 20 million rupees and a cache of the army’s automatic weaponry. Nearly two hundred people died. Within a week, another police post fell, this time in the central hills, and the swarm of Maoists butchered more than thirty policemen. Even more brutal than these massacres of security personnel (many of whom were executed) was the burning of a bus carrying passengers on their way home for Id-ul-Joha. Among those burned alive were children and women. This outrage seems to have alienated even the Kathmandu intelligentsia, which harbours a soft corner for the rebels bent upon establishing a ‘republican’ state.
Dr. Shreedhar Gautam
Maoist attack on the police and military barracks in Achham and Salyan
districts recently and the endorsement of the state of emergency for three
more months by the House of Representatives on February 21 have once again
impelled us to take an in-depth look at the concept of democracy and the
form of the present crisis.
1990, we in Nepal have been familiar with the term democracy as a do it
yourself doctrine. The implicit meaning of democracy is choosing for
yourself. Liberty and equality are its distinctive objectives. Fraternity
is another concept that goes along with democracy, with an indication that
a democratic system promotes a sense of responsibility. But if we make an
objective analysis of the last 12 years of our democratic experiment, we
will find only a small group of power-seekers playing the chess-like game
of politics for their own benefit. The game of power politics has been so
naked that in this respect Nepal has surpassed the military dictatorship
in many Third World countries. There has been little effect on the lives
of the majority whose sufferings have not been lessened by the frequent
change of power in Singh Durbar over the last 12 years.
current national scenario suggests the state and society moving
dangerously towards head on conflict. Over the years we have not seen any
sign of state - society rapport. And no country can hope for good
governance in the absence of healthy balance between civil society and
political state. The lack of a progressive polity all these years is to be
traced to the existing nature of our state, which has functioned in an
authoritarian way dressed in democratic garb.
way the state of emergency has been ratified vividly shows how Parliament
has been made a rubber stamp citing the will of the people. While
endorsing the state of emergency, the state i.e. the concerned political
parties through whom the political state functions, should have made a
sincere introspection over their own past record and over the causes of
the state’s failure in maintaining a healthy balance in society. But
nothing of this sort happened. Already the alienated segments of society
are severely hurt by neglect from the political state and terrorist
manifestation in the form of ultra-leftist violence. There is likelihood
of mass discontent erupting if the state aggravates the situation further.
crux of the problem since the restoration of the multiparty democracy is
the political leaders who have misused the state’s political authority.
They have undermined the power of the people who are greater than them and
are also the creator of the state. The country is facing anarchy, because
the executive has been operating with the help of the parliamentary branch
without seeking the backing of civil society. It is an essential nature of
a democratic country to acknowledge that the state has no higher power
than the people or civil society. Our political leaders have completely
forgotten that political structure is a mere creation of the people. We,
in Nepal, as a people, made a tryst with destiny to restore a multiparty
democracy with utmost concern for the welfare of every member of society.
So it is paramount that leaders are sensitive to the values of harmony and
the stability of the nation as a collective social entity. But to our
great dismay these leaders have glossed over the need of balance in
society. The ruling elite seems oblivious to the fact that if society is
self-divided or if there is clash between different sections of society,
the state suffers in its representative might and thereby democracy
is in this background that there is an urgent need to preserve the
homogeneity of our society. The state of emergency shows there is a clash
of interest between two groups and this development could destroy the
fabric of democratic norms. The present disruption of social coherence is
bound to lead to political disunity of various natures. The situation
should not be allowed to exceed the limits through our reckless action. We
are now facing a society - versus - state crisis.
we have to be extra vigilant in the context of global capitalism. Global
corporations in Nepal are also active and they are notorious for selling
the soul of society to exploitative forces. This is the period for all
responsible social organizations and political parties to come into
constructive play. The growing interference of multinational companies on
the one hand, and the frustration of a majority of the people with
government are the direct result of the failure of the state. State
authority has become purchasable with the rapid increase of corruption.
There are groups within the state using money power. The Maoist uprising
is linked to the surrender syndrome of state organs and the rulers before
the political Mafia who are responsible for undermining our society and
our national pride.
the government still continues to withdraw from the public welfare
process, different forms of terror groups can emerge. Gradually but
systematically government schools, colleges, hospitals and means of
transportation are being either closed down or privatised. This is a very
disturbing sign. The well off can go to costly hospitals and so-called
glorious private educational institutions; but the suffering majority will
feel further left out. Such developments can force the disgruntled to seek
justice in the streets, instead of the courts.
our democracy is to redeem its tryst with destiny, a code of ethics must
become the vogue in public life. The government should opt for consensus
and the contentment of the lowliest. Government should realize that
arbitrary acts are not compatible with democratic norms. It should seek
dialogue with all disgruntled groups in society, including the Maoists.
The executive, with the help of parliament, has taken a decision to ratify
the state of emergency. But in the absence of togetherness between society
and the state or without evolving a viable harmony functionally involving
all affected parties, rule of law cannot be established in society even
under emergency powers. In our case corruption has hijacked democracy and
it survives only in name or in mere ritualistic celebration as on Falgun 7
every year. The majority of people feel that the terrorism of bribery and
corruption has touched unprecedented levels and it is no less harmful than
the terrorism unleashed by ultra leftists. Fearful of the government in
the absence of transparency and accountability, people like to be left
alone rather than look to the state for any help. As long as the present
scenario remains unchanged, few will believe in the possibility of a
rational social order with maximum security to the most vulnerable
segments of society.
present sorry state of governance reminds us of Plato, who wished a
country to be governed by an elite of philosophers with sound and healthy
reason. He was slightly sceptical of democracy as it required cent percent
literacy and awareness among the people. Likewise, Rousseau must have
given the slogan of ‘Back to Nature’ after losing faith in man’s
capacity to lead an organized or well-ordered life. The idea of natural
man against the established socio political order appealed to the
culturally sick and bored of France in the 18th century. Marx, on the
other hand, applied his theory in terms of economic force. He thought
revolution necessary for the ethical health of the people. But the agenda
of politics typical of our country is largely self-serving. Political
leaders never care to learn from people of vision who set an example in
the past by sacrificing personnel comforts to serve humanity. They are
busy with the dirty tricks of power play. What we are facing is a crisis
of conscience. So, it is not corruption alone, it is conscience also .
Will the politicians listen to the cry of this hour?
(Source: Kantipur Online)