Thursday, February 14, 2008


It wouldn’t be the first or the last time in the history of mankind that a killer is freed or elevated to a position which in all likelihood he doesn’t deserve. The crowd has sometimes chosen to free Barbaras and instead crucify Jesus. It has been us the”Ashraf-ul-makhlooq” who chose to stone Hallaj to death.

So when India Today decided to invite Yasin Malik as a speaker in one of their sessions titled "Youth Forum - If I Could Change The World” they were only following what fellow human beings in done in the past. What however shocked me was this description ( wherein they mentioned nothing of his pending TADA cases some indeed as shocking as kidnapping the then Union Home Minister’s daughter (which he has himself admitted to, read here, ) , or killing 4 unarmed air-force officials. When someone recently asked him about the killings of 4 unarmed air-force officers who were waiting to board a bus, he blurted almost nonchalantly” The IAF personnel were not innocent victims. They were the agents of the 'enemy'.
So was it fair to kill these personnel Mr.Malik? The answer in all likelihood meant YES.
Yet once again when a respected columnist and someone who runs an online periodical asked him this ,” I find it strange, because it was your organization JKLF that killed most of the innocent Kashmiri Pandits and yet the blame goes to the so-called fundamentalists.” he had no answer. What then prompted INDIA TODAY to call his so called movement a secular one?
When quizzed” But you are responsible for such killings as Chief Commander?
Malik’s answer was :No I am not… and I don’t want to talk about it further
Praveen Swami, writes in his column titled” J&K: Veils and Daggers – The Perils of India’s Secret Search for Peace “What did surprise observers was the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s choice of chief guest: the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik. Ever since the JKLF renounced ‘armed struggle’ a decade ago, after its decimation at the hands of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Malik has repeatedly asserted on more than one occasion that he is committed to the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. Malik has also claimed the JKLF’s struggle is ‘secular’, despite its past involvement in attacks on the Kashmiri Pandit community, while the Lashkar-e-Taiba makes no secret of its loathing for Hindus, Jews and other ‘unbelievers’.(
Now if INDIA TODAY would have cared to know a little more about its “Youth Icon” they would have known that the man on board is a remorseless killer and a kidnapper who doesn’t mind sharing space with the most fanatic organisations like Lashkar.I am at my wits end trying to read what could have prompted INDIA TODAY to invite such a man to their conclave.Could it be that Yasin Malik a former terrorist and a dreaded man even now, may have a vision for India.Doesn’t his vision flow from the power of the AK-47 that he first brought to Kashmir.How could a multicultural Indian ethos draw its vision from a man whose entire philosophy has been based on hate.It was he and I remember vividly, when he shouted “Azadi Ka Matlab kya…and his followers responded La-illah Illalah”.If this is his vision for India I can only say”Ya Allah mujhe nijaat aise vision se ya maut de” and I am sure Yasin Malik is still capable of giving me death as he done to my fellow Kashmiri brethren in the past.
Is the sacred thread of secularism in India so fragile that it would have broken had Yasin Malik not been invited to this conclave. Let us for arguments’ sake accept that Yasin Malik has indeed given up us rogue ways and is now following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. Does it mean that we are condone his sins of past? Are we to simply press the delete button on and forget his sinful,ferocious and perverse past? Should there be no retribution for his sins? If Sanjay Dutt is to imprisoned time and again for having a Kalishnikov are we to simply accept that Yasin Malik is above the law. Don’t we all know it was he who brought guns and thus violence to Kashmir? Despite all his acrobatics he remains but a killer, an ordinary criminal on street.
There is no doubt that the government has been lax on its part in dealing with criminals like him. There still isn’t a charge-sheet for either his involvement in killings of IAF officers or for kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed. Even if he has changed sides now, as we are made to believe, isn’t the government trying to buy peace at a very high price. Sorry maybe I have lost plot but how different is the INDIA TODAY group from our sick government. How could it not read and know what this man’s past and even his present. When a local newspaper called Chattan wrote against him, he had them threatened and even their office destroyed. Murtaza Shibli writes in his description of him that,” He is known for his bad language - he swears and smokes regularly despite a heart condition”. Wouldn’t it be funny to say the least that in his fit of anger (probably a dirty baggage of his militant past, when he could get angry and kill people at will) he assaults Aditya Mittal or Preity Zinta much like he did to a much older and almost venerable Abdul Ghani Butt in a Hurriyat meeting.
I am appealing through this blog to the INDIA TODAY group to re-consider its decision to invite a remorseless killer, kidnapper and a terrorist to its conclave. His presence at their conclave would only blemish their spotless reputation as a responsible media house. It is also my humble request to the other speakers to raise their voice and refuse to share dais with a hardened criminal and a terrorist.
In anticipation of sanity !

Also Read : The agents of the 'enemy'

Catch 22 at Jantar Mantar

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pampering killers - The Daily Pioneer

Politicians are predisposed not to see spending Other People's Money as a problem, because spending Other People's Money is what politicians do for a living. If politicians thought there were something wrong with it, they would be in a different line of work.- Michael F Cannon

The UPA Government has decided to provide a relief package to dependents of terrorists -- those men who fought against the integrity of India and were killed by the security forces in encounters in Jammu & Kashmir. They did nothing for the country except attempting to destabilise it and kill innocent civilians. They tried their best to demoralise and assassinate those who were standing against them and for our nation.

The extent of damage done by the terrorists, whose families are to be rewarded, can be gauged from the souvenir of Jammu & Kashmir Police released in 2003. It says that there were 56,041 incidents of violence, including 10,093 explosions, 29,931 firing incidents, 5,561 cases of arson, 763 rocket attacks, 4,597 abductions, 229 cases of hanging to death, 275 arms snatching cases and 4,592 other acts of violence from January 1990 to December 2002.

More than 30,000 civilians were killed during the 14-year-long militancy. The security forces seized 24,785 AK-type rifles, 9,387 pistols and revolvers, 58 carbines, 1,003 RPGs, 91 light machine guns and self-loading rifles, 742 rocket launchers and 2,270 rocket boosters during the same period. Besides, 6,865 kg of RDX, 47,219 grenades, 5,228 anti-personnel mines and 4,176 rockets were seized. Due to terrorism, 3.70 lakh Hindus and Sikhs were forced to leave the Valley and there has been almost total ethnic cleansing of the minorities from there.

The Government decision is, hence, shocking. The policy is the first of its kind in the whole world. It will cover hundreds of families whose men took to guns and led the Pakistan-backed separatist movement, killing and maiming thousands of innocent civilians and men of security forces. Imagine if the US were to follow such policy, it would give compensation and pension to the families of all those who were responsible for the 9/11 attack or killers of President Kennedy, or Sri Lanka would extend similar treatment to the kin of those who killed its two Presidents or Bangladesh would compensate the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman!

If implemented, the policy will make India look foolish in the eyes of the world, especially since our rulers are crying hoarse over terrorism. Incidentally, India is still bound by the UN resolution that demands strict action against terrorists. That the Government has also decided to come out with an aid package for the Kashmiri Pandits, rendered refugees in their own country, must have been an afterthought. Now, if the Government decision applies to the killers in Jammu & Kashmir, there is no reason not to extend it to other terrorists - Maoists and rebels in the North-East. The following chart will give an idea of the terrorists and killers in the other parts of the country.

Forty-five per cent of the country's geographical area, covering 220 districts, is in the grip of insurgency. In the last 20 years, 64,000 people have been killed in terrorist violence. In October 2003, 55 districts in nine States were affected by Maoist violence. In October 2004 it spread to 156 districts in 13 States. Since 1989, 13,000 civilians and 5,500 security personnel have been killed in Naxalite violence. Since that is so, the Government should ask itself why peace-loving taxpayers should foot the bill to compensate terrorists' kin just because it may help the Congress grab some extra votes when Jammu & Kashmir holds its next Assembly election.

The compensation money is added to the following bonanza that only one State, Jammu & Kashmir, is fortunate to receive from the Union. On November 17, 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced an "economic revival plan" of Rs 24,000 crore for Jammu & Kashmir in Srinagar. That was a grant of an additional Rs 5,712 per capita. In the period 2000-2003, the State got Rs 13,188 crore, which is more than three times what a much poorer State, Bihar, got - Rs 4,047 crore. When you consider the Rs 14,085 crore net resource transfer by the Centre, with Rs 13,188 crore as a grant, you will get an idea of the magnitude of dole that Jammu & Kashmir gets. A similar "economic revival plan" for Bihar would amount to Rs 47,458 crore.

The Jammu & Kashmir Government employs 3.5 lakh people, making it a ratio of 34.5 Government employees to every thousand persons. To get a better idea of the enormity of the State's assistance in employment, note that the Rajasthan Government employs less than double the number of people despite being about five and a half times bigger than Jammu & Kashmir in terms of population.

Why such largesse for Jammu & Kashmir when the State does quite well in terms of socio-economic development? Its literacy level is at the national level (65.4 per cent). Its sex ratio (923:1000) too is almost at par with the national average (933:1000). Its birth rate (19.9:1000) is lower than the national average (25.8), its death rate (5.4:1000) lower than the national average (8.5/1000) too. With infant mortality rate at 45:1000, per capita income at Rs 12,399, 10th Five Year Plan per capita allocation of Rs 14,399, it has no reason to complain about the Centre's doles.

It is nobody's case that Jammu & Kashmir does not get enough. In 2002-2003, the State raised a mere Rs 936 crore by way of taxes when its total non-tax revenue was Rs 4,745. Bihar collected Rs 2814 crore by way of taxes and had a total non-tax revenue of just Rs 2062 crores. In the last 10 years its poverty level has dropped from 25.17 per cent to a mere 3.48 per cent.

The poverty level in India is around 26 per cent. Quite clearly, therefore, the nation's generosity and bounty is lavished upon Jammu & Kashmir very unfairly even as the State Government's accounts have not been audited for over a decade. No one really knows what was spent where and who got what.

The Indian Government's decision amounts to the Government rewarding the terrorists for killing our brave soldiers. It may be no surprise, if the Government comes out with a package to offer a similar scheme to the perpetrators of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, 2006 trains bombings, the Sarojini Nagar and Govindpuri blasts and perhaps even the next of kin of the terrorists who attacked the Parliament House as well as those who attacked the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly.

The media has already hinted that all this is being done, in view of the forthcoming general election. If that's true, it proves what Joseph Sobran said about the US, which is also applicable to our country: "The difference between a politician and a pickpocket is that a pickpocket doesn't always get indignant when you tell him to keep his hands to himself."
Joginder Singh is former Director, Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI)