Saturday, July 30, 2011

Muslim wrath, boycott paralyze Hindu Dalits in Gujarat

For 500 odd dalits in Andej village which has a population of over 5,000, buying 1 kg rice is a 30 km return journey.This is despite the fact that there are a dozen odd shops in the village laden with all the goods they need. The tragedy is that they are refused even a rickshaw ride, though they have money to afford one!

The social boycott of the dalit families here by the dominant Muslim community, has made life miserable for them.

The Muslim boycott of the backward communities started on July 1 after a scuffle between two groups in which a dalit was left with a fracture in the left hand. The injured man lodged a police complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against those who had assaulted him.

This upset the majority population of the village. It was soon followed by a verbal fatwa warning the auto-drivers of the community that they would be fined Rs 2,000 if they ferried a dalit community passenger.

The grocery shops followed suit. Andej has some 700 Muslim and 100 dalit families, including Shenwa, Valmiki and Rohit communities. There are around 40 Patel families in the village too.

Since July 1, 2011, the 100 backward communities including Dalits have been boycotted by the Muslims of the village and are allegedly not allowed to purchase anything from the public market. They are also not allowed to use the local transport system which is dominated by Muslim auto-drivers from the village.

The 100 families are forced to use other means of transport which are much most costly. The village has around 15 Shenwa and 60 Rohit community families. Both these communities are considered backward even among the Dalit communities.

"We are not allowed to purchase anything from the local market," Shankar Shenwa told DNA. "They (Muslims) have announced a penalty of Rs2000 on any Muslim driver who allows us to sit in his vehicle," Shankar added. The scuffle that led to the atrocity case and the boycott took place after Shankar's brother, Manu Shenwa, was accused of stealing stones meant for some construction work in the village being carried out by one Hussain Khokhar."Khokhar came to my house, asked me about the stones, and then started beating me. Later other people joined him," Manu told DNA. He said that Khokhar, along with five other people, had assaulted him and fractured his left hand.

An atrocity case was eventually filed by Manu. This precipitated a boycott of all the backward communities of the village by the majority Muslim community. Fatu Rehmu, sarpanch of Andej Gram Panchayat, was not available for his comment but, her husband, who handles all the activities of the panchayat, told DNA that it was true that the Muslim auto-drivers were boycotting the backward communities.

"But they are doing this because they do not want any conflict between the two communities. It is best to avoid people from these communities if there is a possibility of conflict," he said. However, he denied that members of the backward community were being prevented from purchasing anything from the local market.Suresh Jadhav, a local Dalit activist, told DNA that when they tried to intervene and sort out the matter, Muslim families said that they would do so only on the condition that the atrocity case was withdrawn.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Can India call the shots in Indo-Pakistan summit ever?

Hina, foreign minister of Pakistan is here in India to make friends, to strengthen friendship between the two arch-rivals so that a new and relaxed atmosphere is created. An assured security will bring in prosperity; if prosperity comes, can Peace be far behind?

Hina has her task cut out. She knows it has pitfalls. She wishes to be a success when stalwarts like Zulfiqar Bhutto had failed. Perhaps it was a deliberate failure to gain mileage to rule Pakistan after whipping up anti-India emotions. Hina has a different road to travel on. Hina Rabbani professes that she is not carrying any baggage from the past. However, we should not forget that not long ago she was a member of the PML(Q), a political party that was nurtured by General Pervez Musharraf. This gives her an advantage too. The Pakistan Army, a force in political arena of the Islamic Republic, is on board with her. No more no less.

TIMES HAVE CHANGED

Hina has broken Zulfiqar's record of being the youngest foreign minister of Pakistan. Friend Zulfi was just 35 when sworn- in, in the General Ayub Khan cabinet. Hina has broken that record as she is just 34 and sitting confidently in saddle as the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Times have changed and much water has flown down the Ganges in India and the Indus in Pakistan between the years of Zulfi and Hina. While it must be conceded to the Truth that the two nuclear-armed countries are not yet friendly but multi-faceted plans and projects have been launched to give a semblance of peace and friendship. Achieving Peace Perfect may appear to be chasing a Mirage and both Hina and her Indian counterpart, Krishna know it.

Hina cannot wipe out the inimical feelings between the two countries in just one trip to New Delhi. However, her dialogues with the Indian leaders may reduce the level of animosity between the Saffron and the Green.

FAUX PAS ON DAY ONE

Hina Rabbani Khar met the separatist leaders of Kashmir on the first day of setting her foot on the Indian soil. Among those whom the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi hosted to meet the new Foreign Minister were the diehard separatist Gilani and pro-Pakistan Mir Waiz. Examining the event diplomatically, an astute diplomat would not hesitate to say that Hina Rabbani Khar should have met the Indian leaders first before seeing the separatist Kashmiri leaders and thus indirectly stoking the fire of unrest, violence and hatred for India. Allow me to call a spade a spade and say "Dear Foreign Minister of Pakistan, you have not put your best foot forward on the Indian soil and it has detracted from peace efforts being made by the two neighbors.

When the two erstwhile belligerent nations do sabre rattling more often than emit signals of Peace and brotherhood, every step that the negotiating leaders take should exude sweetness of a Rose and not bitterness of bitter gourd. More so when the leaders of India and Pakistan talking Peace happen to be Foreign Ministers of their respective countries. When the Pakistan Foreign Minister met the separatist Kashmiri diehards, the world was watching with powerful binoculars despite the parleys being held behind thick curtains of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. The not so subtle comment could be: Pakistan has Peace on lips but hidden dagger in hand to stab in the back. Well, does it mean that Hina is here just to pay lip service to Peace? In other words Pakistan is pursuing the cloak and dagger policy directly and not through its notorious ISI. Be that as it may Pakistan is committed to follow its own agenda and India has its own. Nevertheless, stoking the fire of separatism and promoting Kashmiris who advocate secessionism was certainly not the best diplomacy that Pakistan practised on the Indian soil.

Hina Rabbani Khar, your credibility as a negotiator for Peace on the Continent has taken a beating. The dent thus made in the image of the Peace maker would not be watered down despite all the charm that you exude through your good looks and perfect etiquette. Being a member of the landed aristocracy of southern Punjab and having received education in Lahore and Massachusetts, your art of conversation is above reproach. However, it is the wrong advice of bureaucrats and diplomats of yesteryears in Islamabad who still believe in fomenting trouble between the two neighbours. They have to be reined in.

Should the foreign minister realise the diplomatic faux pas committed in receiving and talking to the Hurriyat diehards before meeting the Indian minister, she may make amends by suitably advising those bearded gentlemen of the Kashmir valley to contribute to Peace and not indulge in senseless violence.

The diplomatic world will wait and watch how Hina and Krishna talk Peace in 2012 and what their achievements will be. The parleys should not be reduced to just a photo-op.

WHAT DID TALKS ACHIEVE

Frankly speaking the talks in New Delhi in July 2011 were an exercise in futility. The two ministers met, they smiled diplomatically and they parted with a promise to meet again. In the diplomatic language the talks were described as good because they were held in cordial atmosphere. The two ministers agreed to press on with confidence building measures like release of unwanted prisoners from Jails, increasing trade across the border and bringing the culprits of 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai to justice soon. Hina got away with the excuse that the legal system in both the countries is rather slow. At best the talks provided a good photo opportunity. That is it.

India seems to be a loser in not having succeeded in bringing the Islamist Terror to the table of discussion in a forceful way. There is no mention of Pakistan’s ISI providing support to acts of terrorism in India. Hina Rabbani Khar described our view of Terror as Dated. In other words what India complains is not relevant to today’s talks. She scored a point for Pakistan. Again, she justified her meeting the separatist leaders of Kashmir as reaching out to people in a democratic set up and her foreign secretary defended it as not being anti-India. Total rubbish their pleas were as they acted against India on ground and professed Peace on paper. No wonder Nirupama Rao, our foreign secretary admitted that she was not happy with the progress of peace talks between the two neighbors.

India should not have allowed separatist leaders to meet the foreign minister of Pakistan on the soil of India as it would give a boost to secession of Kashmir from India.

Well, all said and done, there is no requirement to meet leaders of the government of Pakistan if they are not prepared to discuss Terror and discontinue other measures taken by their agencies to destabilise India. Fake Indian currency is being printed in Pakistan and sent to India to disrupt our economy and we do not even mention it in a joint meeting like the present one.

The lack of will and effort on the part of India to press its points and make Pakistan listen to what we say only means that one of the Indian top leaders is angling for Nobel Peace Prize and, therefore, he is projecting himself as the Messiah of Peace and harbinger of tranquility and prosperity. The facts on the ground speak otherwise. May I advise the said gentlemen to sleep in comfort as no Nobel Prize is likely to come his way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati endorses Travancore royal family’s prerogative on Sree Padmanabha Temple treasures

Contravening any other alternative, Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi made it clear that enormous treasures, worth Rs.100000 crores, as found in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, were the "exclusive property" of Travancore royal family that dedicated their kingdom to the presiding deity of the temple.

"For long the erstwhile royal family was the custodian of the temple and they dedicated their kingdom to Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy.The treasures were offerings made by erstwhile rulers to the temple, hence the recoveries belonged to the royal family", he told PTI.

"However, the treasures should be kept in the temple cellars itself", he said.

The cellars of the temple, closed for several decades, were ordered to be opened by the Supreme Court to prepare inventory while considering a private petition recently.

It is to be noted, venerated deity of Padmanabha Swami Temple is the family deity of Travancore royal family as well. Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha. The Shrine is run by a trust floated by the Travnacore royal house.Vast collection of gold, silver, precious stones and priceless jewelry were discovered in the cellars of the temple while preparing the inventory.''

Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham pointed to the tradition of Sanatana Bharat, where the many ancient Hindu Kingdoms were operated by the King under the dictum of the Guru (Mentor-Path Finder) and as a servant of the People and People's God. The people and the King of Travnacore enriched this ancient temple as the richest Hindu Deity in this world so far.

Travancore royal family did follow the tradition to be the servant of Lord Padmanabh here. Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutth reminded the glorious past of Hindu dynasty of King Janaka under the blessings of Saint Yagyavalkya, King Vikramaditya under the teachings of Kautilya, King Harihar and Bukku with the inspiration of Vidyaranya Swami or Chatrapati Shivaji offered everything to Devi Bhavani and Samrath Guru Ramdas Swami.

Highly revered Sankaracharya vehemently opposed the present Govt.'s attitude to denounce the Sanatana Hindu Dharma by some of its key functionaries in Congress and the tendency to grab Temple Properties of Hindus through an unprecedented pro-activeness for the last 10 years.

The Kanchi seer advocated in favour of keeping the unearthed near 100000 crore ($ 25 Billion) treasury as temple property under the sacred authority of Travancore royal family.

Without a shred of doubt, decedents of this Kingdom consider themselves as the servant of Lord Padmanabha and truly, they didn’t ever stash any thing out side the Temples or in any Swiss Bank. There is hardly any doubt that alien British snatched many priceless objects from India. One stone harmonium of this Padmanabha Temple was transported by the British to Britain illegally.

Globally acclaimed Kohinoor Diamond was also grabbed by the English Men near Agra, when it was being transported to Lord Jagannath of Puri by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, after he understood the possible aggression of the British rulers all through India.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Definitive Procedure to trounce Islamic Terrorism

The terrorist blast in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, requires decisive soul-searching by the Hindus of India. Hindus cannot accept to be killed in this halal fashion, continuously bleeding every day till the nation finally collapses. Terrorism I define here as the illegal use of force to overawe the civilian population to make it do or not do an act against its will and well-being.

Islamic terrorism is India’s number one problem of national security. About this there will be no doubt after 2012. By that year, I expect a Taliban takeover in Pakistan and the Americans to flee Afghanistan. Then, Islam will confront Hinduism to “complete unfinished business”. Already the successor to Osama bin Laden as al-Qaeda leader has declared that India is the priority target for that terrorist organisation and not the USA.

Fanatic Muslims consider Hindu-dominated India “an unfinished chapter of Islamic conquests”. All other countries conquered by Islam 100% converted to Islam within two decades of the Islamic invasion. Undivided India in 1947 was 75% Hindu even after 800 years of brutal Islamic rule. That is jarring for the fanatics.

In one sense, I do not blame the Muslim fanatics for targeting Hindus. I blame Hindus who have taken their individuality permitted in Sanatan Dharma to the extreme. Millions of Hindus can assemble without state patronage for the Kumbh Mela, completely self-organised, but they all leave for home oblivious of the targeting of Hindus in Kashmir, Mau, Melvisharam and Malappuram and do not lift their little finger to help organise Hindus. If half the Hindus voted together, rising above caste and language, a genuine Hindu party would have a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the assemblies.

The first lesson to be learnt from the recent history of Islamic terrorism against India and for tackling terrorism in India is that the Hindu is the target and that Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus. It is to undermine the Hindu psyche and create the fear of civil war that terror attacks are organised.

Hindus must collectively respond as Hindus against the terrorist and not feel individually isolated or, worse, be complacent because he or she is not personally affected. If one Hindu dies merely because he or she was a Hindu, then a bit of every Hindu also dies. This is an essential mental attitude, a necessary part of a virat (committed) Hindu.

We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus. If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives).

Any policy to combat terrorism must begin with requiring each and every Hindu becoming a virat Hindu. For this, one must have a Hindu mindset that recognises that there is vyaktigat charitra (personal character) and rashtriya charitra (national character). For example, Manmohan Singh has high personal character, but by being a rubber stamp of a semi-literate Sonia Gandhi and waffling on all national issues, he has proved that he has no rashtriya charitra.

The second lesson for combating terrorism is that we must never capitulate or concede any demand, as we did in 1989 (freeing five terrorists in exchange for Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya) and in 1999, freeing three terrorists after the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814.

The third lesson is that whatever and however small the terrorist incident, the nation must retaliate massively. For example, when the Ayodhya temple was sought to be attacked, we should have retaliated by re-building the Ram temple at the site.

According to bleeding heart liberals, terrorists are born or bred because of illiteracy, poverty, oppression, and discrimination. They argue that instead of eliminating them, the root cause of these four disabilities in society should be removed. This is rubbish. Osama bin laden was a billionaire. In the failed Times Square episode, failed terrorist Shahzad was from a highly placed family in Pakistan and had an MBA from a reputed US university.

It is also a ridiculous idea that terrorists cannot be deterred because they are irrational and willing to die. Terrorist masterminds have political goals and a method in their madness. An effective strategy to deter terrorism is to defeat those political goals and to rubbish them by counter-terrorist action.Thus, I advocate the following strategy to negate the political goals of Islamic terrorism in India.

Goal 1: Overawe India on Kashmir.

Strategy: Remove Article 370 and resettle ex-servicemen in the valley. Create Panun Kashmir for the Hindu Pandit community. Look for or create an opportunity to take over PoK. If Pakistan continues to back terrorists, assist the Baluchis and Sindhis to get their independence.

Goal 2: Blast temples, kill Hindu devotees.

Strategy: Remove the masjid in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites.

Goal 3: Turn India into Darul Islam.

Strategy: Implement the uniform civil code, make learning of Sanskrit and singing of Vande Mataram mandatory, and declare India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. Rename India Hindustan as a nation of Hindus and those whose ancestors were Hindus.

Goal 4: Change India’s demography by illegal immigration, conversion, and refusal to adopt family planning.

Strategy: Enact a national law prohibiting conversion from Hinduism to any other religion. Re-conversion will not be banned. Declare that caste is not based on birth but on code or discipline. Welcome non-Hindus to re-convert to the caste of their choice provided they adhere to the code of discipline. Annex land from Bangladesh in proportion to the illegal migrants from that country staying in India. At present, the northern third from Sylhet to Khulna can be annexed to re-settle illegal migrants.

Goal 5: Denigrate Hinduism through vulgar writings and preaching in mosques, madrassas, and churches to create loss of self-respect amongst Hindus and make them fit for capitulation.

Strategy: Propagate the development of a Hindu mindset.

India can solve its terrorist problem within five years by such a deterrent strategy, but for that we have to learn the four lessons outlined above, and have a Hindu mindset to take bold, risky, and hard decisions to defend the nation. If the Jews could be transformed from lambs walking meekly to the gas chambers to fiery lions in just 10 years, it should not be difficult for Hindus in much better circumstances (after all we are 83% of India), to do so in five years.

Guru Gobind Singh showed us how just five fearless persons under spiritual guidance can transform a society. Even if half the Hindu voters are persuaded to collectively vote as Hindus, and for a party sincerely committed to a Hindu agenda, then we can forge an instrument for change. And that is the bottom line in the strategy to deter terrorism in a democratic Hindustan at this moment of truth.



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hindus Decide: Save your Brethren or let them Die

Last month, I was in conversation about a book I wrote on Bangladesh’s ethnic cleansing of its Hindu population. The person with whom I spoke was very taken by the material; so taken that she wanted to help make sure people got word of this atrocity. She knows the American publishing and book buying world very well and said that all the elements were there for a successful project; all the elements except one. And remember this person is a friend, an ally, one of the “good guys,” someone who does care and wants to help. She said, ‘I just don’t see people getting real excited over a bunch of Hindus being killed.’ Think about that for a moment. It should make everyone in this room furious; and if it does not make you furious, you better ask yourself why because three things hit me—a non-Hindu—immediately.

My first thought was, ‘Shame on us if that’s who we are.’ Is this another example in which the so-called civilized world would prefer to wring its hands over body bags piled too high to ignore—as it did in Nazi Europe, Rwanda, and countless other places—rather than prevent the atrocity? The second was that those of us who do understand what is happening have a moral obligation to take effective action to stop it, whatever that means; or we are as complicit in the crime as anyone else. And the third was this: Hindus better not count on anyone else helping them, no matter how much they prattle on about things like “justice” or “human rights.” Those supposed arbiters of right and wrong might apply these concepts to Egyptian and Libyan protesters or warp them beyond recognition so they can prop up those Arab terrorists they call “Palestinian”; but they will not apply them to Hindus in Bangladesh—or for that matter, Hindus in Pakistan, Hindus in Kashmir, Hindus in Malaysia, or Hindus anywhere else, including if it comes to it, Hindus in Andhra Pradesh.

So when considering this weekend’s events, I asked myself if it was going to be another one of those gatherings where the attendees shake their fists and complain about how unfair things are—or one where we actually accomplish something. Despite the preponderance of the former over the latter, we are on the cusp of a new dawn where real accomplishment is possible. It will start here in the United States, and it must begin with us; or else we will have frittered away a golden opportunity to change the trajectory of history and in the process sit by while a lot of innocent people die.

We have a great tradition here in which groups of Americans can petition our government and take concerted action, and I want to give you an example of that from my own Jewish community. Those of you who were around in the 1980s will remember that back then, you could not pass a synagogue that did not have a large banner proclaiming, “Save Soviet Jewry.” Our people were being persecuted horribly in the Soviet Union as part of the Communists’ attempt to eradicate their Jewish religion and Jewish identity. A few, like Natan Sharansky who later became an Israeli Cabinet Minister, garnered some attention, but most suffered without fanfare. The American Jewish community saw their persecuted brothers and sisters and recognized the obligation to save them. Moreover, it acted on that obligation.

We lobbied Washington and our local officials; prevailed upon other religious bodies to recognize the atrocity and let Washington know their position. Average Jews who you might see at the office or in the supermarket—people just like you—went to Russia at their own expense to smuggle religious books and other Jewish artifacts at considerable peril to themselves. After all, this was the mighty Soviet Union.

Jewish children reaching their Bar and Bat Mitzvah rite of passage were “twinned” with children in the Soviet Union who did not have the freedom to celebrate their own; so we did it for them. Younger children in religious schools corresponded with pen pals their own age from the USSR and gave them hope. And before it was over, we helped get 1.2 million Jews out of that communist hell. It strengthened our own identity, and every Jewish child who was part of that effort never forgot it or their own sense of Jewishness; and it helped us realize that we could in fact stand strong for our people, that the only thing stopping us was ourselves.

The Bangladeshi Hindus can be your Soviet Jewry. It is an issue of human decency; an issue that transcends partisan politics and speaks to those values that are basic for all Americans. It can galvanize American Hindus to take pride in their Hinduism and help support a resurgent Hindu youth. Will we act?

Two years ago, I stood before you to talk about the Bangladeshi Hindus. Let me list for you everything that Sheikh Hasina and the Bangladeshi government has done to protect their Hindu citizens since then:

[about 10 seconds of silence]

That’s right, nothing, zip, bupkis. That same “list,” moreover, contains everything the United Nations has done for them, everything Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have done; every word of protest uttered by the governments of India and the United States. It seems my friend is right: Nobody gets excited over the killing of Hindus.

The facts warrant a different reaction. In fact, the numbers are so compelling they cry out for an explanation. At the time of India’s partition in 1947, Hindus made up a little less than a third of East Pakistan’s population. When East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, they were less than a fifth; thirty years later, less than one in ten; and reliable estimates put the Hindu population at less than eight percent today. Professor Sachi Dastidar of the State University of New York estimates that over 49 million Hindus are missing from Bangladesh. Still having trouble wondering where this is going? Take a look at Pakistan where Hindus are down to one percent or Kashmir where they are almost gone. Take a look at the future of Bangladesh’s Hindus if we do not act.

This is not opinion or “Islamaphobia.” These are facts! Want another? For years, we have received report after report documenting anti-Hindu incidents there; incidents including murder, gang rape, assault, forced conversion to Islam, child abduction, land grabs, and religious desecration. And while Bangladeshi officials might object that the perpetrators were non-state actors, government culpability rests, at the very least, on the fact that it pursues very few of these cases and punishes even fewer perpetrators. And that’s our key. Unfortunately, minorities are attacked pretty much everywhere. The critical question is when it happens, does the majority population have a problem with it; and the best measure of that is what the government does in reaction. When Hindu students were attacked in Australia, the government went after the perpetrators with a vengeance. In the United States, crimes against any minority are considered just that, crimes; and the state will punish you to the fullest extent of the law; but not in Bangladesh.

Here’s another irrefutable fact. While this information pours out of Bangladesh with numbing ferocity, it does not do so through the mainstream media—here, India, or anywhere else. Thus, people are often shocked and sometimes dubious when I present the facts to them. Many wonder out loud how something so horrible could be kept hidden; how our own CIA or India’s RAW could not know about it—were it actually true. They often ask me why, if this is so dire have we read nothing about it in our major papers or watched it on CNN or Fox. ‘Why,’ they ask, ‘hasn’t Amnesty International taken it up,’ or most damning, ‘Why have Hindus themselves said nothing?’

This means that anything we present has to be verified with certainty; if we present information that turns out to be untrue or exaggerated it will sink our efforts. We can expect the Bangladeshi government and even the US State Department to challenge it; and expect the recognized human rights industry to dismiss it. Both parties have an interest to do so, for if we are correct, Amnesty International and the others will be asked why they missed or ignored the situation. The Obama Administration and the rest of the international talking heads have maintained as an article of faith that the December 2008 election of Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League ushered in a new era for Bangladesh. They will point out that it ended almost two years of military-backed rule; and the government before that, , included the Islamist Jamaat in its coalition. Moreover, they will say, the left-center Awami League has always claimed to be Bangladesh’s “pro-minority” party, and these outside groups with no real knowledge of Bangladesh swallow that line. So, it is in their interest to maintain that fiction.

And they are not the only ones. In January 2009, I was asked to address a coalition of Bangladeshi Hindu organizations about how they might respond to the Awami League victory. My advice was to press their advantage since Hindus helped Awami to victory. The last thing they should do, I said, was to “fall asleep. That would be a critical mistake.” Some agreed, but the prevailing sentiment among the organization leaders was fear of angering the new government. “Give them time,” they said, to which I replied, “This attitude of passivity and ‘let's give them a chance’; how well has that worked for the minorities in the past? Not well. We are sitting by while people are being killed and tortured! So, yes, we must give them some time—but not much or we will see that their words are nothing more than words.” And that is exactly all they turned out to be.

During the first year of the Awami League’s rule, there were major anti-Hindu attacks at the rate of at least one per week. I say “at least” because you will recall that our allegations will be held to a higher standard than most. Out of the flood of reported incidents, those were the ones I personally verified—either through my own missions to South Asia or through Indian and Bangladeshi Hindus who investigated and verified the allegations for me. All of these attacks were serious, involved Hindu victims and Muslim victimizers; and in every case, the government refused to take action against known perpetrators. Police and government officials actually took part in some and led a cover up of others. And in none of them, did the police help recover Hindu women or children who were abducted, likely raped, and forcibly converted to Islam. And I re-confirmed the facts as recently as this spring, so the government’s support for anti-Hindu action lasts long after the crimes themselves. Here are three examples.

For three days in March and April, 2009, an anti-Hindu pogrom raged in the Sutrapur section of the Bangladeshi capital. It occurred right behind a police station and involved arson, beatings, and the deliberate destruction of a Hindu Temple. Many were hospitalized, and dozens still remain homeless. Not only are the perpetrators free of prosecution, but they actually were awarded some of the land they invaded. Officials including the Dhaka Chief of Police and an Awami League Member of Parliament warned local human rights groups to stop inquiring about it.

On June 13, 2009, 20-year-old Hindu college student Koli Goswami was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night. Muslim men broke into the family home and brandished firearms when confronted by family members. Police refuse to pursue a case, calling it a “love affair,” despite admitted evidence of violence and a struggle. They claim that Koli has “voluntarily” converted to Islam and threaten family members and human rights groups while keeping them from interviewing the young woman. Koli Goswami has not been seen since the night she was taken.

At 10am on February 26, 2009, two men abducted 14 year old Tanusree Roy and raped her multiple times. Although the distraught father has filed official reports of the incident, authorities have refused to help recover his child or prosecute the known perpetrators. The latter continue to threaten Tanusree’s father if he does not drop the matter. Human rights activists report that the girl has been forcibly converted to Islam and kept incommunicado for the past two years.

There was no let-up during the Awami League’s second year in office. In one 25 day period between March 12 and April 6, 2010, for instance, there were seven major, confirmed attacks.

All we get from the Bangladeshis are words. Like actors reading from a script, they repeat the same hollow denials—the same party line I got when I raised the issue with a Bangladeshi Cabinet Minister in Dhaka earlier this year. He might have parroted the usual denials, but his nervous ticks, obvious discomfort, and averted glance told quite a different story. (I also recall how several years ago, a Bangladeshi general tried to convince me that their Vested Property Act was actually instituted as a device to protect Hindus, although when I pressed him he could not explain how that could work.) And how many times are we going to hear their empty promises to repeal “anti-minority laws.” Sheikh Hasina made that very promise to visiting NATO commander Gerard Valin on May 1, 2009, thereby admittingthat her country in fact has anti-minority laws on the books. In the long standing tradition of Bangladeshi leaders, she went no further than those words and the discriminatory laws remain. Yet, no nation or international body seems to have a problem with that.

What message does that send to anyone who covets a Hindu family’s small farm—or their daughter? And what message are we sending them—and our own children—if we look the other way while it happens?

There is something else. Some of you might be thinking, ‘Perhaps that is all true, but my family is from Andhra Pradesh where we have our own problems. This is about Bengalis.’ And that plays right into the hands of those who wish to destroy us. Were the bombs that went off on 26/11 harmful only to some? Did they discriminate between Telugu and Bengali? Did the killers ask people if they were from Kashmir or Gujurat before firing? And if they destroy the Hindus in Bangladesh and Kashmir, will they then say, ‘it is enough’ and urge their fellow jihadis to leave Andhra Pradesh in peace? iNo, no, no, and no again. If we fail to unite, we will be easy pickings for our enemies—who have put aside their own ancient divisions for the sake of jihad.

So, instead of treating you to a litany of more atrocities, I want to identify one simple thing we all can do from our secure positions in the United States. Everyone can decide today whether to do something simple and save lives or watch another rerun of House or Law and Order while the murders and rapes continue.

To get things started, we have to make people aware of the problem. Despite the flood of emails and consistent documentation successive in Hindu American Foundation reports, few people here are aware of this atrocity or how it threatens them, and we have to fix that. Human rights atrocities generally proceed when governments believe they can commit them without anyone noticing—or caring—which is what we have here. For Bangladesh, that means that it incurs no cost if it allows its Hindus to be eradicated; that is, their leaders have pointed out the domestic political concerns if they take action, but they have none if they let things remain as they are. We have to make it cost more for them not to change.

The US is Bangladesh’s third largest trading partner, and we have given Bangladesh over $5.5 billion in aid. For years, Bangladeshi governments—regardless of party—have wanted a free trade agreement with the United States or at least a reduction in tariffs on their goods. You might call it their holy grail. That is a tremendous amount of leverage we can exercise if we have the will to do so, and it will take a concerted and relentless effort to get our elected officials to use it.

I am currently working with a Member of Congress on a letter that addresses this issue. It will ask the US to re-consider its policies and use all of that leverage to save the 15 million Bangladeshi Hindus. Because at this point, the actual letter is unfinished and needs final approval, I cannot divulge the Member’s name or the specific contents; but the initiative is real and his support genuine. Once it is complete—hopefully during the summer—we will look for other Members of Congress to sign it before sending it to Secretary of State Clinton. Do we expect that this letter will lead the US government to all of a sudden revamp its entire foreign policy? No, but remember the intent: to shine light on an atrocity that is allowed to proceed because it does so in the dark.

Hopefully, the administration will take a serious look at the issue; but whether it does so or not, the letter will provide the basis for further action: Congressional hearings, which are already in the works; confronting the Bangladeshis; and from there action on trade and tariffs. It will take this issue to a new level, and everyone in this room can and should have a role in making it happen because success is premised on getting a range of Congressmen and Congresswomen to sign it. When you came in, you were given a piece of paper to fill out with contact information and questions to determine who your Congressional Representative is. Everyone here who votes can help get that elected official’s signature on the letter and support for the actions we take subsequently to stop this carnage. Please pass in the papers. Now, can each of you do that one small thing? Is there anyone here who can’t?

That’s good, because Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) once said that any Member of Congress who gets ten phone calls on an issue will sit up and take notice, call staff meetings about it, and probably support their constituents’ position; but whether it is ten, two, or a hundred, the principle is the same. Using these papers, I will identify Members of Congress whom you can call and we can go to for support. When we are ready to circulate the letter, I will contact each of you and ask you to make that call. Moreover, each of you knows other citizens who can make the same call. Urge them to do it—even if they live in the same house as you; so long as they are eligible to vote in the next election. My associate, Prasad Yalamanchi will help with that, but today he and I will be getting information from people and groups that can get things done.

There is something else we can do, and it refers to something that is happening now. Last month, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court ruled against some constitutional amendments instituted during two military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s, and it asked the government to submit replacements for ratification in the Awami-dominated parliament. So what did this oh-so-progressive and freedom-loving Awami League do? It submitted new laws that outlawed military governments and religiously-based parties; but it left intact one of the most significant amendments that came under the Court’s scrutiny: the Eighth, which made Islam the official state religion and essential to the character of all that flows from Bangladeshi law. It is an amendment that Hindus and others say makes them second-class citizens in their own country. Every law they have to follow begins with “in the name of Allah the beneficent.” Madrassas(Islamic schools) are given a favored position by their government and often receive public support, even those preaching radical Islam. This is not the action of a government that really wants to protect its minority citizens, but rather one closer to Iran. It is certainly not the action of a “moderate Muslim nation,” which is how Bangladesh tries to portray itself.

Has there been even one phone call from President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton to Bangladesh, challenging the government on this or other anti-minority actions? Has anyone reminded Sheikh Hasina of her still unfulfilled promises to end official minority discrimination in Bangladesh—and how she has an opportunity with this constitutional change to prove that she and her party are not shams? The answer to all those questions is the same: “No.” I ask my esteemed colleagues at the Hindu American Foundation to work with me now to prevail upon Congress and the Administration to address this matter with Bangladesh while there is still time to fix things. It will also tell us if these people deserve our votes next year.

Let me put it to you this way. If there was a similar situation involving Muslims somewhere in the world, what do you think the American Muslim community would do? How vocal would organizations like Council on American-Islamic Relations be? What about Jewish organizations or Evangelical Christians for their co-religionists? Do Hindus have fewer rights than they do? Does the American Constitution say ‘everyone except Hindus’? No; the only thing stopping us is ourselves. For this effort to succeed, we do not need the entire 2.5 million Hindus in the United States to act. But we do need a core group of individuals who care more about the lives of their oppressed brethren than being thought impolite. And it starts here; it starts today. From this effort, we can make the issue of anti-Hindu oppression a US concern. Each of you can do this one thing, and possibly save the lives of millions of people.

Once we find success in this quarter, we can expand in any direction we wish; tackle any anti-Hindu human rights issues we want—those in Pakistan, Kashmir, Malaysia, Fiji, or anywhere else. In the lead up to the November 2010 vote, some of us in the Chicago area helped organize community members in support of certain candidates who will support us. As a result, some people are beginning to see the Hindu community as a constituency that cannot be ignored; whose concerns cannot be dismissed. And it will stay that way only so long as we continue to exert whatever advantage we have and deny our support to those lawmakers who do not care about those issues important to us, who do not care if Hindus are being killed and raped in Bangladesh. We have a critical election coming up in 16 months, and the papers you filled out today will be added to others to help elect lawmakers who will stand with us and not let our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or anywhere else be persecuted with impunity.

Whatever we do, however, it all ultimately depends on you. Some of us who are dedicated to saving the Bangladeshi Hindus can lead, can organize, can take on a certain amount of the burden; but our efforts will come to little if people see that the rest of the community does not care enough to stand up and say so. The Congressional letter will be our first test.

And just in case you are wondering whether why you should take this tiny step, please allow me this one last piece of motivation. In 2009, I interviewed a Bangladeshi Hindu family that crossed into India only 22 days earlier. They told me about an uncle being killed, the father beaten, and their tiny farm invaded by a large number of Muslims. I also looked into the eyes of their 14-year-old daughter as she talked about being gang raped. Who did it? Not al Qaeda orJammat; but simply Muslims who lived in the area and knew they could have their way with the family, seize their land, and get away with it.

Joseph Stalin is said to have remarked, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” That 14-year-old rape victim—that child—I met was no statistic, and God help us if we make her one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is Pakistani military basis of Islamic terrorism?

Terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen and Hizbul Mujahedeen are run by religious leaders, with the Pakistani military providing training, strategic planning and protection, the militant leader said.

A former top militant commander, said he was supported by the Pakistani military for 15 years as a fighter, leader and trainer of insurgents until he quit a few years ago.

The commander is well known in militant circles, but accustomed to a covert existence, 'New York Times' reported publishing an interview, the paper claimed he gave on the condition that his name, location and personal details would not be revealed.

Times said, that the former commander's account belies years of assurance by Pakistan to American officials since September 11 2001 attacks that it has ceased supporting militant groups on its territory.

The militant commander said that Pakistan's military and intelligence establishments had not abandoned its policy of supporting militant groups as tools in Pakistan's dispute with India over Kashmir and in Afghanistan to drive out American and NATO forces.

"There are two bodies running these affairs: mullahs and retired generals," he said and named a number of former military officials involved in the programme, including former chiefs of the intelligence service and other former generals.

"These people have a very big role still," he said.

Maj Gen Zaheer ul-Islam Abbasi, a former intelligence officer who was convicted of attempting a coup against the government of Benazir Bhutto in 1995 and who is now dead, was one of the most active supporters of the militant groups in the years after Sept 11, the former commander said.

He said he saw General Abbasi several times: once at a meeting of Taliban and Pakistani militant leaders in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province as they planned how to confront the American military in Afghanistan; and twice in Mir Ali, which became the centre for foreign militants in Pakistan's tribal areas, including members of Al Qaeda.

There were about 60 people at the Taliban meeting in late 2001, soon after the Taliban government fell, the former commander said.

Pakistani militant leaders were present, as were the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, and Muhammad Haqqani, a member of the Haqqani network.

Several retired officials of Pakistan's premier spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, were also there, he said, including a man known as Colonel Imam but who was actually Brig Sultan Amir, a well-known trainer and mentor of militants, and General Abbasi.

The militant groups divided Afghanistan into separate areas of operations and discussed how to "trip up America," he said.

The Pakistani military still supports the Afghan Taliban in their fight to force out American and NATO forces from Afghanistan, he said, adding that he thought they would be successful.

The ISI also still supports other Pakistani militant groups, even some of those that have turned against the government, because the military still wants to keep them as tools for use against its arch-rival, India, he said.

The military used a strategy of divide and rule, encouraging splits in the militant groups to weaken and control them, he said.

Although the military has lost control of many of the firebrand fighters, and has little influence over the foreign fighters in the tribal areas who belong to Al Qaeda — some of whom openly oppose the Pakistani government — it was reluctant to move against them, he said.

Pakistan could easily kill the notoriously vicious militant leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, but chose not to, he said.

"If someone gave me 20,000 rupees, I would do it," he said, citing a price of about USD 235.

"The government is not interested in eliminating them permanently," he said. "The Pakistani military establishment has become habituated to using proxies", he said adding that there were many sympathisers in the military who still supported the use of militants.

Pakistan has 12,000 to 14,000 fully trained Kashmiri fighters, scattered throughout various camps in Pakistan, and is holding them in reserve to use if needed in a war against India, he said.

Yet, Pakistan has been losing the fight for Kashmir, and most Kashmiris now want independence and not to be part of Pakistan or India, he said.

Since Sept 11 2001, Pakistan has redirected much of its attention away from Kashmir to Afghanistan, and many Kashmiri fighters are not interested in that fight and have taken up India's offer of an amnesty to go home.

"The Taliban lost a whole government for one person," he said, again referring to Bin Laden.

"And Pakistan went to war just for a few generals and now for President Zardari," he said, referring to Asif Ali Zardari.

"Many of the thousands of trained Pakistani fighters turned against the military because it treated them so carelessly", he said.

"Pakistan used them and then, like a paper tissue, threw them away," he said.

Indeed, he was first trained for a year by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba at a camp in Kunar Province, in Afghanistan, in the early 1990s.

The war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan was over, and Pakistan turned to training fighters for an insurgency in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.

He became skilled at firing Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades, and he was sent to fight, and train others, in Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Over the years he worked with different militant groups, and he estimated that he personally trained up to 4,000 fighters.

The entire enterprise was supported by the Pakistani military and executed by Pakistani militant groups, he said.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hindu temples are not finances of Indian governments

The news has been splashed from Auckland to Alaska. The temples of India contain several billion dollars worth of treasures. The opening of the vaults in the Sri Padnamanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, according to a court order comes at a dangerous time for our polity.

The mainstream media continues to sensationalize the size of the treasure. One of them gushes that “treasures tumble out of the temple” — as though this is illegal money stashed in the Cayman Islands. Let’s be clear: these treasures were donated by the temple’s devotees over centuries, and rightfully belong to Lord Vishnu, who cannot even be fully seen from any angle by devotees. He is the true owner of this wealth and this truth should be internalized.

It is unfortunate that this discovery should take place in Kerala, where the percentage of idol-worshippers is a minority – if one excluded Muslims, Christians and Marxists from the fold. The mere act of opening up the vaults and tunnels is thus fraught with significant dangers for Hindu society and our ancient civilization.

The present times are most inappropriate to try to list the billions of rupees worth of diamonds and rubies and sapphires owned by our temples. We all know that a significant portion of our politicians have a criminal background and even parts of the judiciary are corrupt. The bureaucracy is compromised by a saga of loot and plunder.

In this context, where government finances are completely out of alignment with revenue realities, the temptation will be to use these invaluable treasures to fulfill the insatiable personal and political greed of our politicians to fund populist schemes like “food security” for all with resources belonging to Lord Vishnu. Already more than 80% of the incomes of major temples is used for “secular” causes rather than for “sacred” purposes.

The opening of the vaults in the Sri Padnamanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, according to a court order comes at a dangerous time for our polity.

It is not improbable that some jholawala economist will calculate — by dividing his mobile number with the pin code — that more than 70% of the people below poverty line can be lifted out of poverty if only this money is available to the government. The unaccountable civil society group under Sonia Gandhi – also called the National Advisory Council — might formulate a bill (since they are the law framers in the present dispensation) to open up all vaults from the Amarnath to Ayappa temples and from Somnath to Kamakhya.

There will be half-baked debates about using it for “social justice”. The only people who can have some say on this wealth are those who visit the temple on a daily basis and who can chant, in this case, the Vishnu Sahasranamam. I am not even sure if those who are counting these treasures are eligible to deal with the “sacred” on the orders of the “secular”. One can say that this is the last battle waged by Nehruvian secularists against the ‘sacred” even though, in this particular case, it might appear to be a simple case of counting.

Actually counting, enumerating and documenting are secular ways of dealing with sacred treasures in our temples, since the sacred is never documented but just observed and meditated upon.

Some imported white or brown non-resident Indian expert will suggest a way of leveraging these billions and even propose investing a part of it in our stock markets to propel second generation reforms.

Wall Street bankers, with colorful ties and multiple lies, should be tremendously interested. The wealth seen in temples becomes a target for jehadi terrorists and Wall Street bankers – who are no different except for the kind of killing they go for. The memories of the plunder of Somnath are embedded in the brain cells of every citizen of this country.

Let us be clear. The town and the temple are already marked by global terrorists. The Kerala home minister says he will increase the number of pot-bellied constables to protect the treasures, as if the global jehadis can be handled by them.

Quite clearly, this is the most inappropriate time to be listing the Lord’s wealth. When a street is full of thugs and dacoits, no woman would venture out wearing her jewels and finery. One wonders why the courts have got into this, when they should have been focusing on the Hasan Alis, Rajas and Kalmadis of the world.

It is puzzling why the acharya sabhas or Hindu organisations are silent on this issue. They may not have understood the full import of what is happening.

For the sake of Dharma and for God’s sake, our courts and powers should stop digging for treasures in our temples.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Is Draft Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2011 a slap on Hindus in India?

The draft Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011 hosted by the National Advisory Council (NAC) on its website for public scrutiny, apparently rewrites some key principles of the Constitution of India, Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and Indian public services. It is the downside of allowing social activism to overshadow the imperatives of governance. Being without a preamble, uncharacteristic of any bill, its intent is a matter of speculation. This omission, on closer reading of the text, appears ill-intentioned rather than bona fide. The question whether current laws like IPC, CrPc and UAPA are inadequate tackle communal incidents is an issue one must ponder upon.

The proposed Bill subverts the principle of ‘Equality before Law’, recognized in the IPC and Constitution of India. It arbitrarily divides the population in Indian states into people of the ‘group’ - comprising religious & linguistic minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes- and the rest. This rest or ‘majority’ in context of most Indian states implies the Hindus.

The Bill presumes that acts of communal violence could be indulged only by the ‘majority’ (Hindus) against ‘minorities’ (Muslims and Christians) and never vice versa. Whether this is consistent with Indian realities or not is something that never bothered its framers. According to the Annual Report (2010-11) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, during 2010 (till 15.12. 2010), there were 610 incidents of Hindu-Muslim conflict in the country resulting in the death of 109 persons and injuries to 1,963 persons. Majority of these incidents took place in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Major issues for communal incidents were carrying and slaughtering of cattle, routing religious processions through mixed localities, desecration of places of worship, distribution and playing of provocative CDs/cassettes, disputes for land/property, eve-teasing and personal enmity’ (P. 92).

During 2009, there were 750 Hindu-Muslim communal incidents resulting in the death of 123 persons and injuries to 2,380 persons. In 2008, there were 656 communal incidents, including four riots, leading to deaths of 123 persons and injuries to 2,272 persons.

It would be rather presumptuous to say that Hindus, who constitute the majority in the aforesaid states, are solely responsible for these incidents. Trafficking and slaughter of cows is recognizably a flashpoint for Hindu-Muslim troubles. It’s redundant to specify which of the two communities nurture cow, and who indulge in kine killing. Opposing cow slaughter or salvaging cow would become a communal crime if this Bill were to be enacted. This militates against the Directive Principles of State Policy (No.48) in the Constitution which recommends ‘prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle’.

The Bill could be a Damocles’ Sword hanging on the public servants even when no riot has blown up. Under its Clause 18, the public servant charged with the duty of maintenance of public order or tranquility, must not only control an erupted riot but ‘obtain information regarding the likelihood of occurrence of communal and targeted violence’. The violence need not be an explicit riot but existence of ‘hostile environment’ against a ‘group’ would be enough. The ‘hostile environment’ includes boycott of trade, exclusion from service, education and health, relocation etc.

India has a high-rate of unemployment. But if one unemployed person of the ‘group’ claims he was discriminated against in earning a livelihood, the public servant of the area can be in a soup. A ‘breach of command’ on part of a public servant is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for life!

It is an amphibian Bill which wants both to work through the system (existing law enforcing authorities and court) as well as set up an independent authority. This it does by establishing a National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation at central level and State Authorities at provincial level. This prima facie constitutes an infringement upon the principles of federalism, given that Law & Order is a state subject as per the Constitution of India. The National Authority, though based in Delhi, could open its office anywhere in India by sanction of Central Government. It would also take up cases and complaints directly, independent of the state authorities. The National Authority can requisition information from a) central and state governments b) ‘non-state actors’ c) issue direction to state authorities to conduct any enquiry.

The National Authority, while inquiring or investigating, will have the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It can summon or enforce attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, receive evidence on affidavits, examine witness or documents. Ironically the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 which clearly defines hierarchy of courts under Section 3 (Subordination of Courts) has no provision for such a lateral entry of a virtual court. The National Authority is not merely a court but law enforcing agency as well. Under Clause 33 (4) it can authorize a Gazetted Officer to conduct a raid to discover any document and seize it. All these pious exercises of the National Authority and State Authorities will end in issuing advisories and publishing Annual Report to be hosted on the website.

The National Authority, constituted by the Central Government, itself betrays a partisan spirit. It would have a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and five other members, out of which four members including Chairman and Vice Chairman should belong to ‘group’. The underlying assumption is that only people of the ‘group’ would be just to the ‘group’. The impartiality of an Authority so constituted would naturally be a suspect.

Hate propaganda, which can earn up to three years of imprisonment and fine (Clause 115), is described in Clause 8 as to mean only against the ‘group’. The people of the ‘group’, however, are free from its snare.

It is only in Clause 90 that evenhandedness is visible. It allows for relief, reparation, restitution and compensation to riot victims whether or not they belong to the ‘group’. The framers of the Bill deserve thanks for these small mercies! These are not indeed insignificant in practice. The relief camps, envisaged by the Bill makers (vide Clauses 93 and 94), should have elaborate facilities which look like military cantonment. The victims should get a) portable drinking water b) nutritious and culturally appropriate food c) 24 hours security d) essential medical service including antenatal and postnatal care) psycho-social and trauma counseling and psychiatric services f) child care services for infants and small children g) educational facilities for children h) adequate shelter with privacy for women and girls.

The complete description of amenities at the Relief Camps would make them a more alluring proposition than normal homes. Frankly speaking, all these facilities are hardly available in crammed slums or small towns of India. It will be the duty of State Government, the Collector, to ensure the aforesaid facilities and many more. It will take an enormous bureaucracy to implement the ideas. Being part of the Act, rather than subsidiary rules or instructional manuals, they will be almost be engraved on stones.