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India Breakup; Pakistan NGO Expulsions; Alabama Democrat Jones' Upset Win

Does Lord Meghnad Desai's question "A country of many nations, will India break up" raised in his latest book "The Raisina Model" make any sense? Why would India break up? What are the challenges to India's unity? Is there an identity crisis in India? Is it the power imbalance among Indian states? Is it growing income disparity among peoples and states? Is it religious, ethnic, caste and/or regional fault lines running through the length and breadth of India? Is it beef ban?

Growing Income Gap of Indian States. Source: Bloomberg

Why is Pakistan expelling dozens of foreign-funded NGOs? Is it the fall-out from Save The Children NGO's alleged collusion with the CIA in fake polio vaccination scheme to find Osama Bin Laden? Is it a general concern about the NGOs role in subverting and corrupting society as explained by Stephen Kinzer's book "The Brothers" about John Foster and Alan Dulles? Is it the State Department documents describing US-funded international NGOs as "force multipliers", "partners", "agents of change" and "an efficient path to advance our foreign policy goals"?

How did Democrat Doug Jones' pull off a win in the US Senate race in deep red Alabama? Did the allegations of sexual harassment against Republican Roy Moore play a big role? Or was it the heavy turn out of black voters that overwhelmed the vast majority of white voters (65% of white women, 74% of white men) who voted for Roy Moore? Would the result have been different if more women voted for Moore? Does it save considerable embarrassment for the Senate Republicans to see an openly racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, pedophile Judge Rpy Moore lose in a state in the Deep South?




Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/tPzuQrNSW3A




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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 8, 2018 at 9:02am

We don’t have to fear that Pakistan will split up India – we’ll do it ourselves
March 8, 2018, 3:43 PM IST Jug Suraiya in Juggle-Bandhi

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/we-dont-have...

One of the main obstacles to finding a lasting solution to the ‘Kashmir problem’, as it’s long been tagged, is that India fears that the Pakistani demand for an ‘azad Kashmir’ is only Islamabad’s first move in its ultimate aim at balkanising India, splitting it into small states the way it was before Independence.

This suspicion of Pakistani ‘salami tactics’ of slicing up India is what makes New Delhi even more wary than it would otherwise have been of granting any further concessions regarding greater autonomy for Kashmir.

Indeed, ever since India and Pakistan were created, Islamabad has always wanted to split up India. This resolve has been strengthened after 1971, and the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, which would not have happened without India’s help.
But despite this we shouldn’t really fear Pakistan’s designs of splitting us up. For the simple reason that we’re increasingly likely to do this ourselves, without external intervention.

Even as the saffron right wing espouses a Hindu-Hindi supra-nationalism, an equal an opposite force of sub-nationalism, or regionalism, has gained greater force and stridency.

Following the exposure of the PNB scam, yet another parliamentary log jam was created, with the opposition assailing the NDA government about the Rs 12,000 crore fraud, and the treasury benches retaliating by flank attacking the Congress by bringing up the charges of bribery levelled against the son of the former finance minister, P Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP has threatened to walk out of its alliance with the NDA as its demands for a special status for Andhra have not been met, as promised.

Another increasingly restive ally of the BJP, the Shiv Sena, added to the din in Parliament by demanding classical status for the Marathi language.

The revived talk about forming a non-Congress, anti-BJP ‘Third Front’ to fight the 2019 general elections will further strengthen the growing assertion of regionalism.

With the prime minister more busy on whirlwind campaigning tours of the country, it’s anyone’s guess as to who, and how, India is being run.

Pakistan should be pleased. It seems to have been relieved of the chore of balkanising us, a task which we appear to have taken up for ourselves. Jai Hind. Or, Jai many Hinds?

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 12, 2018 at 4:54pm

Study: One in two #Indian #Muslims fears being falsely accused in #terrorism cases. #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia

https://theprint.in/governance/one-in-two-indian-muslims-fears-bein...

A survey by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti shows Adivasis are most afraid of being framed for Maoist activities, while Dalits are afraid of being falsely accused of petty thefts.

New Delhi: The sense of being discriminated against by police is strongest among Muslims, especially those in Bihar, said a study that seeks to analyse the perception about police along state and community lines.

The survey was carried out by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti, a research initiative of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), among 15,563 respondents across 22 states in June and July 2017.

“Among the total number of respondents, 26 per cent of Muslims were of the view that police discriminated on the basis of religion, while less than 18 per cent of Hindus and 16 per cent of Sikhs thought the same,” the report added.

The researchers also discovered that as many as 44 per cent of Indians were fearful of being beaten up by police, a finding reported by ThePrint Monday in the first of its series of reports on the study.

According to the survey, over 47 per cent of Muslims across the country said they feared being falsely accused of terrorist activities. Trying to explain the perception, the researchers cited the “large proportion” of Muslims in the country’s jails. This sentiment was said to be most widely prevalent in Telangana.

The percentage of Muslims in jails is higher than the community’s share in the population of India, a fact, critics said, that stems from an alleged “systemic bias” against them.

The 2011 census pegged the Muslim population at 14.23 per cent; and, in 2014, the government told Rajya Sabha that people from the community comprised 16.68 per cent of convicts and 21.05 per cent of undertrials.

What Adivasis and Dalits fear
The report suggested a similar fear among the Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) and the Scheduled Castes (Dalits). According to the survey, 27 per cent of the Adivasis said they feared being framed for anti-state Maoist activities, while 35 per cent of Dalits held a similar fear regarding petty thefts.

“Nearly two in every five… respondents said police falsely implicated members of backward castes such as Dalits in petty crimes including theft, robbery, dacoity,” the report said.

“One in four… was of the opinion that such a false implication of Adivasis and Muslims did occur,” it added.

The results of the survey also suggested a perception that caste-based discrimination among police personnel was most prevalent in Bihar, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

It said people were more likely to report class-based discriminatory attitudes of police, followed by gender- and caste-based discrimination.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 13, 2018 at 4:42pm
What were we smoking then?
Pritish Nandy
1 August, 2018
We’ve voted to power people who believe intellectuals must be shot, minorities packed off, and Dalits and farmers don’t count for anything. Will we make the same choice in 2019?
 
 
 
Last Thursday, a BJP MLA from Karnataka, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal declared at a Kargil Vijay Diwas function that India was facing a grave danger from within, from its intellectuals and liberals who were nothing but a drain on the State. They were all, he said, anti-nationals and had he been the home minister, he would tell the police to line them up and shoot them.
 
Luckily, he is not. But, well, four intellectuals, including journalist Gauri Lankesh, have already been shot dead in Karnataka and neighboring Maharashtra. No, not by the police but by hired assassins — hired by those who, I presume, think like Yatnal. All of these four were respected figures — and five others are currently living under police protection in Karnataka because it is believed they could be the next targets.
 
Yatnal is the same guy who had said earlier, in a viral video, that his party corporators will not work for Muslims, that burkha-clad women and men who wear skull-caps should not follow him around. For he will only work for Hindus. He is not alone. We have heard similar views from some others in his party who see thinking people, liberals, seculars, minorities, farmers, Dalits and tribals and women as their enemy, people to be put down. They may say it in different ways but it is clear that such people offend them, as also do those who speak the language of modern science. For them, these are The Others — and they must be taught a lesson in nationalism.
 
They want to change the textbooks, too. If they had their way, the Mughal period would vanish from our history. So would the British rule. In Rajasthan’s class X textbooks, students are being taught that Maharana Pratap won the battle of Haldighati, while others elsewhere learn that he lost to Akbar’s army. Akbar himself has been erased from Rajasthan’s textbooks, where he was once extolled as a great Mughal emperor. Another leader fighting for his existence is Tipu Sultan who died fighting the British. He has been designated a villain, black as black can be, and every attempt is now being made to wipe out his legacy.
 
But it’s not just the history books. They also disapprove of Darwin. The junior minister of HRD, the ministry in charge of the schools and colleges where our children study, has sworn to take Darwin’s theory of human evolution off textbooks because he claims “nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man”. (I presume the next target will be Einstein for, by the same logic, no one has actually seen ‘e’ become ‘mc’ squared.) But Satyapal Singh, a former top cop who often boasts he is the most educated man in the ministry, is not alone. There are many more in his party who are in a tearing hurry. They are in a hurry to change our Constitution. They are in a hurry to pack off Muslims to Pakistan — and, now, Bangladesh. They are in a hurry to stop all inter-caste, inter-faith marriages. They are in a hurry to stop Dalits from going horse-back to their weddings. They are in a hurry to take the Mahatma off the pedestal and replace him with his assassins.
 
We even have a governor in Tripura who described the killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 as positive action. The chief minister of Tripura is no less. He has advised the youth of his state not run after government jobs but to stay at home and milk cows or open paan shops. He wants only civil engineers in the civil service for their qualifications match the job.
 
As we get closer to the 2019 election, I am sure the rhetoric will become louder, coarser, more provocative because there’s no one to stop it. Interestingly, the allies of the ruling faction — the few that still remain — are quietly distancing themselves. But the problem is the rules of the game have changed. Everyone’s looking for money to fight the coming elections and, as we all know, money is always with the ruling dispensation. So unless the Opposition gets its act together, both in terms of political alignments and in terms of resources, they will get outmanoeuvred if not in the hustings, then in the post-election scenario when horse trading begins in full earnest.
 
Iwonder why the BJP is so keen to enlarge its pantheon of hate. Some of its leaders want liberals shot, seculars banished. Intellectuals are, for them, antinationals. Muslims are terrorists. Farmers are a constant drain on the economy. So their lands must be grabbed for development — for bullet trains and highways. Activists fighting for tribal rights are all Maoists. Environmentalists are enemies of progress because they disapprove of forests being cut, mangroves being uprooted, rivers being dammed. Journalists are presstitutes. NGOs are funded by global forces inimical to India. Science is the adversary of faith.
 
So, unless you believe Sanjaya watched TV while describing the battle of Kurukshetra to the blind Dhritarashtra or that there was once a golden era of prehistoric India where groundbreaking plastic surgeries that defy imagination were performed, supersonic jets whizzed across the skies and we travelled in intergalactic vehicles far advanced than what Elon Musk is imagining, you are not a nationalist. Of course, the earth is also flat and unless you push all disbelievers off the edge, we will never quite figure why India shines despite its rapes and lynchings and the murder of rationalists.
 
For a nation that has birthed some of the greatest artistic and scientific minds of our time, this must be a bit rich. But then, we have voted these guys into power. I have no idea what we were smoking then but it is perhaps time to switch over to something less potent — even if that drops our GDP a bit and brings our stock market back to terra firma. Perhaps a lesser, safer, saner India may not be such a bad idea after all.
Comment by Riaz Haq on May 14, 2019 at 10:10pm

#WaPo Must Accept #CIA Role in #Pakistan #Polio Crisis. #CIA used #health workers as spies, destroying decades of trust-building by international aid organizations in Pakistan. Stop finger-wagging at those subjected to the cynical ruse for being ignorant.
http://bit.ly/2Hiky2g

If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that it’s much easier to blame “fake news” than to look in the mirror and see how one’s own country, and their powerful institutions, may bear responsibility for a social ill. This jingoistic narcissism is on full display in a Washington Post editorial (5/10/19) that blamed a recent upsurge in polio in Pakistan on “guns, fear and fake news”—while ignoring the CIA’s central role in the crisis entirely.

The editorial, “The World Is Close to Conquering Polio. Humans Are Holding Us Back,” started off naming the Official Oriental bad guys:

The world’s long and ambitious quest to conquer polio has come tantalizingly close to success, only to slip away because of unforgivable behavior by thugs and exponents of ignorance.

The “thugs” named by the Post are “hard-line Islamist forces,” fueled by nebulous “social media.” While no doubt Islamist forces and their ability to communicate amongst themselves contribute to the problem, the other party primarily responsible for the recent surge in anti-vax sentiment in Pakistan—the US Central Intelligence Agency—is notably unmentioned.

Reading the scolding editorial, one would never imagine that anti-polio efforts in Pakistan (as well as Afghanistan), according to numerous reports—including the New York Times (4/29/19) last month—have been severely undermined by the 2011 revelation (Guardian, 7/11/11) of a secret ruse cooked up by the CIA to use a hepatitis B vaccine drive to gather DNA in an effort to track the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden (efforts, it’s worth nothing, that didn’t actually help in finding bin Laden).

Not only did the vaccine drive have an ulterior motive, it wasn’t even a real vaccine drive. While the hepatitis vaccine doses themselves were real, the undercover CIA operators administering them did not return a month after the first dose to give the necessary second inoculation, rendering the whole process inert—meaning that the rural Pakistanis who were promised immunization were lied to, and left vulnerable to a life-threatening disease.

After the revelation, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) harshly criticized the CIA ruse, with MSF’s international president Unni Karunakara telling the Guardian (7/14/11):

The risk is that vulnerable communities—anywhere—needing access to essential health services will understandably question the true motivation of medical workers and humanitarian aid….The potential consequence is that even basic healthcare, including vaccination, does not reach those who need it most.

Indeed, this is exactly what has happened. As the New York Times (4/29/19) reported last month:

The fact that the CIA used a vaccination team to track down Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in 2011 has helped fuel the resistance to vaccination campaigns in the country.

An earlier Washington Post report (3/4/19) from March about the rise of anti-vax sentiment in Pakistan, by Pamela Constable and Haq Nawaz Khan, also conspicuously failed to mention the CIA’s role in creating the crisis. Instead, the 1,150-word dispatch linked to an article that did mention it, but the hyperlinked text dismissed it as “tales of foreign plots,” without noting that it was a very real foreign plot that the Pentagon itself has admitted to.

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