Free counters!
FollowLike Share It

Saturday 23 February 2013

More Questions for Sri Lanka to Answer about War Crimes

The killing of a young boy
Callum Macrae, Opinion>> OP-ED, The Hindu, February 19, 2013
New photographs of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran's son just before he was shot dead, obtained by Channel 4 TV, leave more questions for Sri Lanka to answer about war crimes

Handed a snack, and then executed: the last hours of the 12-year-old son of a Tamil Tiger

Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, Monday, 18 February 2013
Photographs show boy was held before he was killed at close range
With Regards and In Solidarity
Umakant, Ph.D
New Delhi
My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality. 

Dalits ‘barred’ from taking part in temple function

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 21.02.13
Dalits 'barred' from taking part in temple function - The Times Of India
Dalits denied water, NHRC issues notice to Bihar - IBN Live
Sonia panel for Dalit act review - The Telegraph
Even minor offences against dalits may invite harsher penalty - The Times Of India
The Times Of India
Dalits 'barred' from taking part in temple function
ByKshitiz Gaur, TNN | Feb 21, 2013, 02.17 AM IST
AJMER: The old and evil order of casteism and untouchability refused to die down and recently reared up it's ugly head with dalits being prevented from taking part in a yagna for a temple inauguration, for which they too have contributed.
The incident happened in an interior village, Dhaulat Khera, of Pisangan block in Ajmer district on Wednesday. Daulat Khera has about 450 households dominated by Jats, Rawats and Nats. There are also 25 houses of Meghwals and three from the Raiger community. The village is mostly dependent on rain harvesting and cattle farming.
When the need of a Tejaji temple was discussed, the villagers decided to collect contributions from every household and each house has to pay Rs 2,500. "We contributed for the temple and therefore we too have the right to participate in every ritual there," a member of the dalit community preferring anonymity said.
The inauguration of the temple was organized Wednesday morning and when the members of the dalit community reached there to take part in the yagna, they were denied entry by the powerful groups of the village. "They told us that only 51 couples will sit in the yagna and that we would not be allowed in it," he added.
Congress MLA Mahandera Singh Gujjar and other local representatives participated in the inauguration but said they were not aware of such an incident. Sub-divisional magistrate Rajesh Goyal went to the spot upon receiving the information and asked the community members to come out to register a complaint but none came forward.
"I have no idea if any member from the dalit community was banned from participating in the yagna," the Congress MLA said.
Even sarpanch Chagan Lal Prajapat denied any orders on banning anyone from participating in the yagna. "It is a tradition that only those who give money for sitting in the yagna are allowed and the dalits had not paid of it," he said.
Meanwhile, a meeting was also called in which it was decided that a police complaint must be made but no one agreed to stand against the powerful groups of the village. "I got the call from the village of the ban and rushed to the place. I told everyone that if they had any problem they could contact immediately but no one came forward. I even asked them to come to a nearby government school if they are afraid of speaking in the village but in vain," said Bewar SDM Rajesh Goyal.
Goyal had deputed patwaris and other officials in the village to look into the issue. "I have told them that if anyone comes forth in this regard, he or she should be brought to my office for further action," the SDM added.
Officials said if any dalit has a complaint regarding inequality, action will be taken as per law. "There is anxiety in the village and we are trying to convince people of the community to speak out so that action can be taken," said Ramesh Bansal, coordinator of the Dalit Rights Center.
IBN Live
Dalits denied water, NHRC issues notice to Bihar
Bihar, Posted on Feb 21, 2013 at 04:15am IST
New Delhi: The NHRC on Wednesday sought a report from the Bihar government over the denial of water to Dalits by upper caste people in Kishanganj.
"A notice has been issued to the chief secretary of Bihar and the district magistrate of Kishanganj," National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said in a statement.
"Reportedly, higher caste people, including the panchayat head, issued a diktat ordering Dalits not to use village water as they had complained that money meant for welfare schemes was being siphoned off by the panchayat members," it added.
The NHRC also said children of Dalit families were warned of dire consequences if they attended the village schools.
"Children of Dalit families were warned of dire consequences if they attended the village schools," it added.
The Telegraph
Sonia panel for Dalit act review
New Delhi, Feb. 20: The Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC) has sought a review of the Dalit act and suggested strengthening existing provisions and including new offences.
A set of draft recommendations, put up by the panel on its website for comments, explains why changes are needed in the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, popularly known as the Dalit act.
"Over 20 years after it was enacted, its implementation shows up severe lacunae that must be addressed."
The proposals have been framed by a sub-group of the NAC on Dalit issues comprising Farah Naqvi and Mihir Shah. The duo have said many atrocities still "common, widespread and systemic" are not covered by the present law.
The sub-group has proposed a list of offences for incorporation. These include forcing an SC/ST person to carry or dispose human and animal carcasses, dig graves or perform manual scavenging.
Offering an SC/ST woman as a devadasi, influencing voting and thwarting elected Dalit panchayat members from carrying out their duties should also be brought under the law, the NAC has suggested.
The sub-group has also mentioned other new offences. These include obstructing a Dalit or a tribal from using common resources like wells, roads or springs preventing them from sporting new clothes, witchcraft and other forms of social and economic boycott.
Forcible tonsuring, removing moustaches and garlanding with footwear should also be treated as cognisable crimes, the draft has suggested. Such practices are still used to "teach" "empowered" Dalits and tribals a "lesson" and "show them their place" in the caste hierarchy.
The draft also calls for "defining some offences with strict liability". At present, the law requires an element of mens rea, that is a guilty mind or an intent to act, to establish criminal liability. The draft says that inability to prove such intent often becomes a ground not to register cases or acquit the offender.
In other words, the suggestion implies that a complainant's plea should be mostly taken at face value. The assumption is that given the ground realities, especially in villages and small towns, a Dalit or a tribal requires extraordinarily courage to walk up to a police station and file a complaint against a person of higher caste.
The NAC members have pointed out another serious shortcoming — the act's emphasis on establishing that an offence was committed for the reason that the victim was a Dalit or a tribal. The draft says there are cases where police did not record an FIR unless the complainant was able to establish that his caste identity was the reason for the offence.
In some cases, cops dismissed a complaint simply because the offender did not use caste slurs. "Even if a case is registered, (and the offender) chargesheeted and prosecuted, failure to prove that an SC or ST identity formed the basis for the offence often provides the basis for subsequent acquittal by the judiciary," the draft notes.
The Times Of India
Even minor offences against dalits may invite harsher penalty
BySubodh Ghildiyal, TNN | Feb 21, 2013, 02.51 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Soon, even minor offences against dalits will come with higher costs.
The government is planning to include under the Prevention of Atrocities Act offences that attract less than 10-year jail term, a move that would compound the punishment since offences under the Act are non-bailable and are tried under special courts. Presently, only crimes with more than 10-year term under IPC, with some exceptions, fall under the atrocities Act.
The 10-year bar had left serious violations like rape, kidnapping and grievous hurt out of the purview of the stringent law.
The inclusion of rape and other offences under the atrocities law would eliminate the possibility of police diluting the intensity of the crime by claiming that caste was not the ground for the offence.

According to sources, all the offences mentioned in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, being brought as part of beefing up laws on crimes against 
women post-Nirbhaya case, would also attract the atrocities law if the victim is a dalit.
Union social justice ministry is mulling changes to the atrocities law that were discussed by social justice minister Selja with state ministers on Wednesday. "We plan to bring the amendments in the budget session," she said.
The atrocities Act will now include violations like criminal conspiracy with victim being dalit (Section 120), unlawful assembly to overawe dalits or rioting, disobeying a legal direction to save an accused in anti-dalit crime.
Wrongfully restraining a dalit (Section 341) or deterring a public servant from doing his duty (Section 353) would also attract action under the atrocities law.
Importantly, the Centre is looking to ease the burden on the victim to prove that his/her caste was the reason for being targetted. The police often refuse to register case under the atrocity law by claiming that caste was not the reason for its commission.
New offences that would qualify as anti-dalit crime will include garlanding with shoes and throwing waste at the door or premises. Also, stopping a dalit from entering common property resources like burial or cremation ground, using water bodies like river or well or tank, public conveyance or road.
The government is planning to increase compensation for victims under the atrocities law, a must in all crimes against dalits. Though the Centre had hiked the compensation amount in December 2011, the Centre says it was not enough. Importantly, the compensation will be linked to inflation and be revised annually.

.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.


Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
School of Humanities
New Delhi
International Conference
Literature and Marginality: Comparative Perspectives in African American Australian and Indian Dalit Literature
February, 20-22, 2013
'Marginality' is generally employed to interpret and analyse socio-cultural, political and economic spheres, where disadvantaged people struggle to gain access to resources, and equal participation in social life. The superstructures of race in Africa, Australia, USA and caste in India inform, deform, and complicate the identities of the marginalized along lines of gender, class, and family structure. In the modern day debate, various facets of marginality have been discussed in scholarly circles in almost every disciplinary area including literature, history, sociology, and political science with implications for issues as diverse as justice, gender, equality and inequality. This academic exercise which engage experts from National and International arena will explore the convergences in imagination and expressions of writers like Ngugi and Achebe, Kim Scott and Alexis Wright and then Valmiki and Gaikwad.
Over the years, the traditional assumptions of disciplines have been challenged and scholars have also explored the role of the "canon" and debated on what the so called "great" (canonical) texts may be in their respective disciplines, and the more profound grounds of their canonicity. There is a great academic need to explore these comparative perspectives in African American and Australian, Indian Dalit Literature. The advent of literary and cultural theories in the literary field has brought major changes in the way of reading, interpreting and understanding literature and culture. This has empowered, in a significant way, marginalized discourses which often remained unnoticed by the hegemonic culture. This has constantly been argued that a comprehensive literary study of marginality and its epistemic role is necessary and would contribute to a better understanding of how humanistic knowledge has been created, structured and transmitted.
The proposed bilingual (Hindi and English) conference is to contextualize marginality in an Inter-disciplinary framework with reference to past and with its possible effects on life in future and also provide a comparative platform of literary study between Dalit, African, Australian and American discourses. Although the chief concern will be to review literature on marginality and figure out the points of coming together and departure in terms of marginalized writings yet scholarly contributions from every domain are also invited so that the inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary approaches can authenticate the main theme. The innovative, exciting, and intellectual discussion by the scholars of all domains will also help in promoting a high order research in this area.
The broad areas to be covered by the Seminar include: 
  • Subaltern Consciousness in African Australian American and Dalit Writings.
  • Parallelism and Ambivalences  in literature of the 'margins'
  • 'Art' and 'Aesthetics' of African Australian American and Dalit Writings
  • Literature of Marginality:  African American Australian and Dalit Literature.
  • Art, literature and films as modes of expression and Resistance
  • Issues of  language, form and genre
  • Nation and its Others
  • Autobiographies as layers of Identity and Resistance.
  • Representation of women, caste and Race.
  • Dynamics of Social exclusion - Issues, Trends and Prospects
  • The Subaltern Consciousness and the associated challenges
  • Politics of Empowerment and Subaltern issues.
Any other topic(s) relevant to the theme of the Conference is/are welcomed.

2013/2/2 <>
                                                                                                   जाति एवं भ्रष्टाचार
डॉ. उदित राज 
    गणतंत्र दिवस के अवसर पर एक समाजशास्त्री आशीष नंदी ने जयपुर साहित्य उत्सव मंे बयान दिया कि ''ज्यादातर भ्रष्टाचार मंे दलित, आदिवासी एवं पिछड़े वर्ग के लोग शामिल होते हैं।'' इस बयान के कई पक्ष हैं। निर्विवाद रूप से यह इन वर्गों को कमतर रूप में दिखाता है और निंदनीय है लेकिन इसके और भी पक्ष हैं, यदि उन पर देश में बहस चलती है तो भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ लड़ाई के मुद्दे को बल मिलेगा। इस देश मंे जाति से ज्यादा कोई और शास्वत एवं ताकतवर चीज नहीं है। मरते दम तक इंसान जाति से मुक्त नहीं हो पाता। देश छोड़कर किसी भी मुल्क में चला जाए तो जातीय भावना भी साथ जाती है। इस बयान पर तमाम तरह की टिप्पणियां आ रही हैं। कोई कह रहा है कि भ्रष्टाचार की जाति नहीं होती तो कुछ ने कहा कि इस वाक्य को पूरे संदर्भ मंे देखा जाना चाहिए। गिरतारी की भी मांग उठ रही है। जो इन्होंने बोला वह वापिस तो नहीं हो सकता लेकिन अगर भ्रष्टाचार पर उसी तरह से बहस देश में छिड़ जाए जैसे निर्भया के हत्या एवं बलात्कार के ऊपर हुआ तो कुछ मकसद हासिल हो सकता है।

     दलित-आदिवासी औरों की तुलना में तो कम से कम भ्रष्ट है और यह बहुत विश्वास के साथ कहा जा सकता है। पिछले वर्ष भारत सरकार ने 17 लोगों के नंबर 2 विदेशी खाते का नाम सहित खुलासा किया उसमें से एक भी दलित और आदिवासी नहीं है। जैन हवाला कांड मंे भी ये नहीं थे। लाखों करोड़ों धन विदेश में है। बहुत संभव है कि उसमें ये ना शामिल हो। हर्षद मेहता, केतन पारिख, तेलगी आदि घोटालोंबाजों में से कोई दलित, आदिवासी नहीं है। कॉमनवेल्थ गेम्स में लगभग 70,000 करोड़ का घोटाला था। कावेरी गैस के मामले में सरकार को 44,000 करोड़ का चुना लगा। कोल आवंटन का बंदरबांट सभी जानते हैं। जी-2 स्पेक्ट्रम लाइसेंस लेने वाले मंे कोई भी इनमें से नहीं था। मंत्री जरूर दलित समाज का था। यह कहना गलत नहीं है कि दलित, आदिवासी अगर भ्रष्ट हैं तो अपवाद स्वरूप अर्थात दाल में नमक के बराबर। पिछड़े वर्ग के लोग कुछ अधिक हो सकते हैं लेकिन आबादी के अनुसार वह भी अपवाद ही होगा। आशीष नंदी ने जो कहा अगर उस बयान को उल्टा कर दिया जाए तो वह एक स्थापित सच्चाई होगी अर्थात् सवर्ण भ्रष्ट ज्यादा होते हैं।

     जिस जाति के हाथ में हजारों वर्ष से धार्मिक, सामाजिक, आर्थिक सत्ता रही है, वही तो और संस्थाओं को जन्म देता है। भ्रष्टाचार हमारे यहां एक संस्था का रूप ले चुका है। आजादी के बाद कार्यपालिका, विधायिका एवं न्यायपालिका की बागडोर ज्यादातर सवर्णों के हाथ मंे ही रही है इसलिए यह कहा जा सकता है कि भ्रष्टाचार की बुनियाद उसी समय में पड़ी। शासक वर्ग ही तमाम संस्थाओं, मान्यताओं एवं रीति-रिवाज का जन्मदाता होता है। सबसे ज्यादा भ्रष्टाचार धर्म के नाम पर होता है। देवी-देवताओं को प्रसाद, पैसा, चादर, सोना-चंादी, मुर्गा एवं बकरा आदि चढ़ाकर के लाभ लेना क्या भ्रष्टाचार नहीं तो और क्या है ? निर्विवाद रूप से यह कहा जा सकता है कि भ्रष्टाचार की बुनियाद रखने का काम सवर्णों ने किया और कुछ एक दशक से दलित, आदिवासी और पिछड़े भी इस सामाजिक बुराई से प्रभावित हुए हैं। असली गुनहगार वही जाति है जिसने इस सामाजिक बुराई को जन्म दिया है। अतः आशीष नंदी अपने मंे फिर से टटोलंे कि जो उन्होंने कहा उसका विपरीत जरूर सच है। हमारे यहां के ज्यादातर बुद्धिजीवी बौद्धिक स्तर पर ईमानदार नहीं है और दूसरी तरफ समाज के सच्चाई का ज्ञान भी नहीं है। किताबी कीड़ा हो जाने से कोई बुद्धिजीवी नहीं हो जाता। यूरोप और अमेरिका से विपरीत हमारे यहां जब समाज में बदलाव आ जाता है तब बुद्धिजीवी संज्ञान लेते हैं उनमें कम ही क्षमता है कि वे अपनी लेखनी, वक्तव्य, कविता आदि से समाज को प्रभावित किए हैं। आखिर में आशीष नंदी इसी माहौल के पैदाईश हैं और उनसे कोई बड़ी उम्मीद तो की नहीं जा सकती।

     आशीष नंदी ने यह भी कहा कि बंगाल मंे भ्रष्टाचार कम है उसका श्रेय उन्होंने वामपंथी सवर्ण नेताओं को दिया। उन्होंने यह भी कहा कि 100 वर्ष में कोई दलित, आदिवासी एवं पिछड़ा नेतृत्व में नहीं है। अर्थात् आर्थिक भ्रष्टाचार कम हुआ लेकिन सामाजिक का पलड़ा ज्यादा ही भारी है। दलितों, आदिवासियों एवं पिछड़ों के लिए अच्छा होता कि वहां भी उतना ही आर्थिक भ्रष्टाचार होता जितना और स्थानों पर है बशर्ते वे इस शर्त पर शासन-प्रशासन में भागीदार होते। ऐसा इसलिए कि इस माहौल में इनकी भागीदारी सुनिश्चित होती। इस देश में भागीदारी की समस्या कहीं आर्थिक भ्रष्टाचार से बड़ी है। वामपंथी भले इसको ना माने लेकिन यह एक कटू सत्य है। वामपंथियों द्वारा इस सच्चाई से रूबरू ना होने के कारण उनका सफाया हुआ नहीं तो भारत देश जैसे उर्वरा भूमि रूस की भी नहीं थी जहां पर मार्क्सवाद पनपा। अभी तक जो आरोप वामपंथियों पर लगाया जाता रहा कि वे सबसे ज्यादा ब्राह्मणवादी हैं, वह सच है। आशीष नंदी के बयान से इस सोच को समर्थन मिला। यह कैसे संभव है कि लगभग 80 प्रतिशत दलित, आदिवासी एवं पिछड़ों की आबादी हो और उसमें से नेतृत्व ना पैदा हो। क्या मान लिया जाए कि ये मूर्ख एवं अयोग्य होते हैं। 
    जिस तरह से भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ अन्ना हजारे के संघर्ष पर देश में बहस छिड़ी उसी तरह से इस विषय पर देश में संवाद होना चाहिए कि कौन जाति ज्यादा भ्रष्ट है और कौन नहीं। बहस से स्पर्धा होगी और जो जातियां ज्यादा भ्रष्टाचार कर रही हैं उनके ऊपर मनोवैज्ञानिक और मानसिक दबाव पड़ेगा और इससे भ्रष्टाचार में कमी होगी। हमारे यहां शान एवं स्पर्धा से चीजें तेजी से भागती है। जिस जाति के शान पर बट्टा लगेगा वह भ्रष्टाचार से बचेगी। कुछ दिन पहले इसी मुद्दे पर एन डी तिवारी हॉल, नई दिल्ली में विचार गोष्ठी रखी गई थी। वहां पर अन्ना हजारे से मुलाकात हो गई और मैंने कहा कि विगत वर्ष की तुलना में इस वर्ष भ्रष्टाचार बढ़ा है तो उनके अनशन से क्या फायदा हुआ। उन्होंने जवाब में कहा कि भ्रष्टाचार मिटाने के लिए भारत के गांव मंे जाना होगा। मैंने कहा कि 6 लाख से ज्यादा गांव भारत मंे है तो कैसे ये संभव होगा और कितने हजार साल लगेंगे क्यूंकि उन्होंने पूरा जीवन एक गांव को सुधारने में लगा दिया। ज्यादातर लोग नकार रहे हैं कि भ्रष्टाचार की जाति नहीं होती लेकिन यह सच नहीं है। जाति अथवा हमारी सामाजिक संरचना ही झूठ पर आधारित है। ऊंच-नीच भगवान की मर्जी है, इसी मान्यता पर समाज टिका हुआ है तो क्या यह सत्य है। असत्य बात अपने आप में भ्रष्टाचार है। आर्थिक भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ लड़ाई तब तक सफल नहीं होगी जब तक कि बौद्धिक भ्रष्टाचार को मान्यता ना मिले और उसको मिटाने के लिए लगातार संघर्ष हो। यह बात तो तय है कि यदि जाति और भ्रष्टाचार में बहस चले तो इसके परिणाम अच्छे निकलेंगे।   

राश्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष, इंडियन जस्टिस पार्टी एवंराश्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष, इंडियन जस्टिस पार्टी एवं
रा. चेयरमैन, अनुसूचित जाति/जन जाति संगठनों का अखिल भारतीय परिसंघरा. चेयरमैन, अनुसूचित जाति/जन जाति संगठनों का अखिल भारतीय परिसंघ
टी-22, अतुल ग्रोव रोड, कनॉट प्लेस, नई दिल्ली-110001टी-22, अतुल ग्रोव रोड, कनॉट प्लेस, नई दिल्ली-110001
फोनः 23354841.42, टेलीफैक्स: 23354843फोनः 23354841.42, टेलीफैक्स: 23354843
E-mail :

What next, hand in boiling oil? Brutality in name of work culture

What next, hand in boiling oil? 
Brutality in name of work culture

Feb. 21: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday evening reached a Hazra café targeted by bandh supporters and asked Trinamul workers who had gathered around her: "Tora ki korchhili? Ghumochchhili? (What were you doing? Sleeping?)"
This morning, several people familiar in Trinamul circles but seemingly unknown to the party woke up and proved that they were not sleeping.
They went about their task with methodical precision, wreaking retribution on transgressors who did not turn up for work during the Left-backed bandh yesterday.
The choice of punishment ranged from slashing, which led to an official's ear being sliced and evoked medieval references, to making a headmaster sit in the sun for hours. Slaps and lock-ins were reported from elsewhere. (See graphic)
Trinamul leaders distanced themselves from the episodes and portrayed the events as an expression of popular discontent against disruptions. But those at the receiving end insisted that well-known local Trinamul figures were leading the vigilantes.
The mushrooming incidents confirm lumpen elements are again interfering in personal lives — a charge that dogged the Left when it was in power. The devious irony this time is such interference is being done in the guise of protecting individual liberties that protests like bandhs seek to crush.
Another more obvious irony — that the vigilantes were protesting against the bandh by enforcing more shutdowns — appears to have been lost on them.
Referring to the ear slash that television channels beamed across the country, Trinamul MP Derek 'Brien said: "Villagers were upset. The villagers pushed him around, heckled him, hurt him, injured him, the police will take care. It has nothing to do with the Trinamul Congress."
The medieval parallel appears to have touched a raw nerve in a Trinamul basking in the glory of the lukewarm response to the bandh, which appeared different from the earlier ones because the CPM did not lend Citu the muscle to enforce it.
'Brien told NDTV: "He's been badly injured. But to make it sound like a Biblical incident where Peter's ear got cut up with a sword, that is bizarre."
It was not clear which Biblical incident 'Brien was referring to. The Bible does have a reference to Simon Peter, later St. Peter, and a diced ear just before Jesus was arrested but the account does not match that of the Trinamul MP.
"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" according to John 18:10-11, The Bible, King James version.
Today, the panchayat official who almost lost his ear said "about 20 Trinamul supporters" were involved in the attack.
Hazrat Omar, 56, the executive assistant who represents the state government in the panchayat, was given five stitches to hold his ear in place.
The BJP-run Debipur gram panchayat office in Jalangi in Murshidabad was shut yesterday as no one turned up for work. Today, around 10.30am, a group barged into the panchayat building and asked everyone to leave.
Omar said from his bed at Behrampore General Hospital: "Today, when we were in our office as usual, about 20 Trinamul Congress workers entered the building and started hurling abuses at us. They told us to leave and said that as the office remained shut yesterday, it would have to be kept closed today also. I protested and so they converged on me.
"They beat me up and one of them hit me with a pistol butt. One of them took out abhojali and tried to hack me in the neck. I ducked and the blade caught me behind my ear. Other panchayat workers rushed to save me."
District superintendent of police Humayun Kabir said: "The BDO is already conducting a probe. The police will take action, according to the report submitted by him."

Terror Returns Till more evidence is forthcoming, it would be advisable not to speculate on the motive and the possible identity of the perpetrators. B. RAMAN

Terror Returns
Till more evidence is forthcoming, it would be advisable not to speculate on the motive and the possible identity of the perpetrators.

Initial reports indicated that one of the improvised explosive devices had been placed in a cycle or motor-bike and the other inside a tiffin box. These reports are yet to be confirmed. The two blasts appear to have been well-timed and not remote-controlled.

I do not so far see any sign of sophistication in the assembly of the IEDs and the synchronization of the blasts. There are no reports of any crater on the ground. If a powerful explosive material had been used, there would have been craters at the place where the IEDs had been placed.

The deaths and injuries seem to have been caused by the power of the blasts and not by the use of any projectiles such as nails, bicycle ball-bearings etc. When an IED is placed in a cycle or motor-bike, there would naturally be projectiles in the form of the splinters, but no other projectile has been discovered.

Reports of damages to nearby buildings also do not indicate the use of any powerful explosive material. The timer might have been of a conventional nature in the form of a mechanical ( with a clock attachment) or chemical device.

Two timed IEDs of this nature could have been easily assembled and planted by one or two terrorists. The involvement of a large team is unlikely.

The limited geographical area of the blasts also rules out the involvement of a large team of terrorists.

The indications till now are that the two blasts are the handiwork of locals who were in a position to assemble the devices quickly and use them.

Till more evidence is forthcoming, it would be advisable not to speculate on the motive and the possible identity of the perpetrators. 

B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi.

James Petras: Israel's Coming "Civil War": The Haredi Jews Confront the Militarized Secular Zionist State

Israel's Coming "Civil War": The Haredi Jews Confront the Militarized Secular Zionist State

By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, February 21, 2013
Url of this article:

Israel is heading towards a profound internal crisis: a Jew-on-Jew confrontation, which has major implications for its relations with the Palestinians, as well as its Arab neighbors.  The conflict is between the highly militarized Zionist state and the Haredi religious movement over a number of issues, including recent proposals by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to end the religious exemption of Haradi youth from serving in Israel 's colonial armed forces.

Haredim and the Zionist Colonial State

Even before the forcible imposition ('founding') of the state of Israel , the Haredim were opposed to Zionism.  Today the vast majority of Haredim in Israel remain staunchly opposed to the Zionist state for religious, ethical and political reasons.  Haredi religious teaching claims that the Jewish people are bound by three oaths: (1) not to settle in Israel by using force or violence, (2) not to make war with other nations and (3) not to act as if the other nations of the world would persecute Israel .

Haredim opposed Israel 's violent ethnic cleaning of over 850,000 Palestinians in the course of establishing the Israeli State and continues to oppose Israeli settlers' violently land grabs against Palestinians.  Unlike other so-called 'ultra-Orthodox' sects, who support Zionist colonialism and bless the Israeli military, the Haredim maintain that militarism corrupts the spirit and that Zionists have transformed Jews from righteous followers of the Torah into rabid ethnocentric supporters of a militarist state.  For the Haredim, 'state worship', especially the waving of the Israeli flag in the temple, is a sacrilege comparable to the renegade Jews condemned by Moses for worshipping the Golden Calf.

The majority of Haredim boycott elections, organize their own schools (Yeshivas), encourage students to deepen their religious studies, emphasize community and family values (of a profoundly patriarchal sort) with numerous children and strongly reject the Zionist state's efforts to conscript Haredi youth into their colonial occupation army, the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF).  All major Zionist political parties and the ruling colonial regime unite to demonize the Haredim, claiming they are shirking their patriotic military responsibilities. Via the mass media and public pronouncements Zionist politicians and the state incite Israeli hatred against the Haredim:  A study in 2006 claimed that over a third of Israeli Jews identified the Haredim as the most unpopular group in Israel .

The Haredim, on the other hand, have reason to fear and loath the secular militarist Zionist state and politicians:  They claim that after World War II in the Zionist-controlled relocation camps for refugee Jewish children in Teheran, the Jewish Agency imposed Zionist ideology and militarist anti-religious policies in order to cut Haredim children off from their spiritual roots.  According to one Haredim report many religious Jewish youth from Poland , mostly survivors of the Holocaust and Soviet Russia, were subjected to "unimaginable mental and physical cruelty with one goal in mind: (the) obliteration of Judaism".  Given the Israeli drive today to harness a corrupted form of Judaism to serve colonial militarism, the Haredim have every reason to believe that the conscription of their sons and daughters will be accompanied by cruel, systematic Zionist brainwashing to ensure they make efficient (brutal) occupation soldiers.

Haredim versus Israeli State Values

The Haredim fervently believe in and practice the Biblical teaching: "Be fruitful and multiply". They have large families and the median age among the Haredim is 16 years.  Their peaceful message to the militarist Zionists could be summed up as: "Make babies, not bombs".

Some Haredim leaders have met with Palestinian and Iranian officials and, in line with their religious doctrine, have declared their support for peaceful resolution of conflicts and denounced Israel 's aggressive military posture.

Haredim are intensely religious and dedicate their time to discuss and debate the readings of their great religious scholars:  Their message to the Zionists is to read Maimonides' ethical treatises rather than listen to Netanyahu's bellicose, blood curdling rants.

Haredim live and study largely within the confines of their close communities.  They insist on sending their sons to the yeshivas to study religious doctrine rather than to the West Bank to kill Palestinians. They call on their children to serve G-d – not the IDF.  They seek truth in the Torah – not in conquest via the Preventive War Doctrines espoused by prestigious Israeli and overseas Zionist academic militarists.

Haredim focus on building a better life within their community; they reject the efforts of the Zionist state to entice them into joining the violent self-styled 'Jewish' settlers engaged in brutal land grabs in the West Bank , in the name of "contributing to society (sic)".  The 'introverted Haredi way of life' is seen as a righteous alternative to the crass militarism, money laundering, financial speculation, human body part trafficking and real estate swindles rife among the elite Israelis and among sectors of overseas Zionists engaged in procuring multi- billion dollar tribute from the US Treasury.

Haredim believe, with exemplary evidence, that conscripting their youth into the Israeli colonial army would destroy their moral values, as their sons would be forced to grope and search Arab women at checkpoints, break the legs of stone-throwing Palestinian children, defend lawless self-styled 'Jewish'  settlers as they paint obscene graffiti in mosques and churches and attack Arab children on their way to school ... not to speak of the ill effects of what secular Israeli Jews call a "modern education", full of historical fabrications about the origins of Israel, scientific readings on high tech war-making and "advanced" economic doctrines proclaiming the sacred role of the free market, and  justifying the 60% poverty rate among Haredim as "self-induced".

The Haredim demand that the Israeli Jewish elite stop trying to conscript their youth into the IDF and stop the job discrimination, which has trippled the unemployment rate among Haredim.

The Coming 'Civil War':  Zionist State versus the Haredim

The elected leader, Yair Lapid, of newly formed Yesh Atid Party, dubbed a "centrist" by the New York Times,  and a 'moderate' by the leading ideologues of the US Zionist "lobby", ran on a platform of forcibly ending the Haredi exemption from conscription into the colonial military service.  Yair Lapid, in the run-up to joining a new Netanyahu coalition regime, has launched a vicious attack on the Haredim. Lapid premises his agreement to joining Netanyahu's war machine on his plans to forcibly confront the Haredi leadership.  Yair Lapid taps the class and secular resentments of Israel's upwardly mobile youth who bitterly complain of having to serve in the army, thus delaying their money-making opportunities, while the poor, semi-literate "blacks" (a derogatory term referring to the clothing of Haredim) engage in "worthless studies" of the Torah.  Lapid, using the same perverted logic as Netanyahu, claims that "Ten percent of the population cannot threaten 90 percent with civil war", (Financial Times, 2/14/13, p. 6.).

Once again, the executioner (Lapid) accuses the victim (Haredim) of the violence he is about to commit.  Lapid's Yesh Atid, the centrist (sic) party, has allied with Naftali Bennett's neo-fascist 'Jewish Home Party' (pushing for the annexation of all of Palestine and expulsion of non-Jews) in smashing Haredi exemption to military conscription.  They hold veto power over the next cabinet.  This rabidly secular militarist assault has provoked great opposition and united the otherwise Zionist-religious parties:  The Shas Party (Sephardic Haredim) and United Torah Judaism have taken up the defense of the Haredim.

Lines are being drawn far beyond a Haredim-Zionist State confrontation.

The Larger Meaning of the Haredim-Zionist Conflict

The Haredim hostility to the secular Zionist state is in part based on its opposition to military conscription, thus calling into question Israeli militarism, in general, and specifically its policy of colonial occupation and regional aggression.  While some Haredim may oppose conscription for religious reasons and seek exemption solely for its own youth, objectively, the effect is to undermine Israel 's violation of Palestinian rights and to call into question the entire apartheid system.  By speaking to spiritual values, they deny the legitimacy of the idea of a Jewish police state based on force, violence, torture and disappearance of political prisoners.  Their questioning of the institutional configuration upholding Jewish supremacy and Israel as the homeland of the Chosen People, they strike a powerful blow at the ideological underpinnings of the overseas activity of the Zionist power configuration.  Their animosity to the fusion of Jewish chauvinism and religious rituals and the tribal deification of the Israeli state is counterposed to their embrace of Moses Ten Commandments.

The Haredim study the teaching of the profound Judaic philosopher Maimonides and abhor Zionist militaristic strategists like Walzer, Dershowitz, Kagan, Feith, Netanyahu, etc. who preach colonial "just war" doctrines.  Representing 10% of the Israeli population and a far greater percentage of military age youth, the Haredim are in a position to sharply limit the scope of future Zionist wars. If they succeed in blocking conscription, they would provide a lasting contribution to making the world in general, and the Middle East in particular, a more secure and peaceful place to live.

Facing the prospect of a loss of future cannon fodder to sustain its colonial ventures, and in their frenzied attacks on the Haredim, the Israeli-Zionist elite have incited the majority of Israeli Jews to demonize them as 'backward', illiterate, freeloaders and to blame the religious curriculum for their growing and current 60% rate of poverty and high unemployment.  Israel 's war machine needs fresh recruits to maintain its imperial quest for a Greater Israel.

Demographics – with families exceeding five children –indicate the Haredim are likely to double their percentage of the Israeli population over the next two decades.  Faced with the 'facts on the ground and in the cradle', the colonial expansionist imperative drives all the leading Zionist parties to end Haredi exemptions.  In response Haredi leaders threaten to engage in massive civil disobedience if the Zionists impose conscription, rightly seeing conscription of its youth as an assault on its most profoundly held spiritual and family values and as an opening wedge in destroying traditional community solidarity and reciprocal relations.

The Haredim share a common plight with Israel 's Arab population:  Both communities face increasing police harassment, discrimination, religious persecution and rising levels of poverty.  A Haredim-Arab alliance would unite 30% of the population against a common secular militarist and plutocratic enemy.  Farfetched as it seems on the subjective level, there are objective historical and structural processes which are driving the two groups together.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the world's modern secular anti-imperialist movements should find their most consequential allies among Israel 's most traditional and deeply religious movement.

Copyright © 2013 Global Research