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News : Archive (February 2003)
  • VHP plans country-wide 'dharma yatras' from March 5
    Press Trust of India, The Hindustan Times, February 28, 2003
    As part of its agenda to take ahead the Ram temple movement and cause of Hindutva awakening, Vishwa Hindu Parishad plans to undertake country-wide "dharma yatras" and "dharma sabhas", the Maharashtra unit general secretary of VHP Vyankatesh Abdeo said on Friday.

  • India, after Godhra
    Unless justice is done, we cannot put either Godhra or the Gujarat riots behind us
    Editorial, The Indian Express, February 28, 2003

    In the circumstances, the slapping of the draconian law would appear to confirm suspicions that it is being used to paper over the cracks in the case the police has been able to frame so far. In the case of the inquiry into the post-Godhra riots, the narrative gets yet more opaque. Here, even the pretence of any credible intent to prosecute the guilty seems to be missing. Here, the story so far is about the refusal to register cases, diluted chargesheets, deliberate sabotage, delay. In the probes into both crimes, the inquiry has not been able to keep its head above the politics that swirls around it.

  • Godhra victims want to put lives back on track
    Palak Nandi, The Indian Express, February 27, 2003
    Bharat Panchal, an auto-rickshaw driver who lost his wife in the carnage, doesn’t feel such strong anti-VHP sentiments. But he puts things in perspective: ‘‘I cannot change my Hindutva beliefs and am still a VHP member, but I have Muslim friends too and am on very good terms with them.’’ ‘‘Godhra cannot be justified, and similarly, what happened post-Godhra, too, cannot be justified,’’ he says.

  • Restore India's Secular Political Culture
    By Smita Narula, The Asian Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2003
    As the world deliberates a U.S.-led war in Iraq and braces for more terrorist attacks, the international community has turned a blind eye to the killing of thousands of Muslims in India in the name of fighting terrorism.

  • Justice denied to victims of Godhra massacre: Amnesty
    Nabanita Sircar, London, February 27, 2003
    Marking the anniversary of the Gujarat riots, Amnesty International, on Thursday, expressed its solidarity with the victims of the Godhra carnage and the massacre that followed thereafter in the state.

    It has demanded that prompt justice must be provided to the victims "if the credibility of the criminal justice system in the country is to be upheld."

  • India: Carnage in Gujarat Unpunished
    Human Rights Watch Press Release, February 27, 2003
    One year after the beginning of communal violence in Gujarat that claimed over 2,000 lives, there have been no convictions of those responsible and little in the way of promised relief for victims, Human Rights Watch said today.

  • Modi’s Moment
    On the anniversary of the ethnic violence in Gujarat, the state's militant chief minister is both unrepentant and possibly a harbinger of India's political future
    By Carla Power With Sudip Mazumdar, 3 March 2003, Newsweek International

    Newspapers, opposition politicians and human-rights groups charged the Modi government with being complicit in the violence. Even after the riots subsided, Modi's rhetoric did not cool. In his fall campaign for re-election as Gujarat's chief minister, he blatantly played to anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistani sentiments, telling voters that a vote for the opposition Congress Party was a vote for "Mian Musharraf," a phrase that linked the Pakistani leader with defamatory Gujarati slang for Muslim.

  • Godhra's bitter harvest
    By Rajeev Khanna, BBC correspondent in Godhra, February 26, 2003
    News Online speaks to the people of the Gujarati town of Godhra, one year after the start of vicious communal riots.

  • RSS plans 40,000 schools to counter madrassas
    IANS, February 27, 2003
    Alleging that madrassas along the frontiers were breeding anti-nationals, K S Sudarshan, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), said here that his Hindu nationalist organisation would open about 40,000 schools along the border with Nepal in Bihar and with Bangladesh in West Bengal.

  • Centre allows Hindus, Muslims to worship at Bhojshala
    Hemendra Singh Bartwal, February 27, 2003
    After considering the recommendations of the Madhya Pradesh government, the Centre has decided to allow Hindus to worship at the controversial Bhojshala-Kamaal Maula mosque in Dhar for the entire day on Tuesdays. Muslims have been allowed to offer Friday prayers at the monument between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

  • BJP reigns and RSS governs
    By K. G. Kannabiran, The Hindu, February 27, 2003
    Writing is inevitably linked to democracy and is in that role a protest against injustice and iniquity. All our development and progress were centred around writing and free speech.

    IS IT seditious or would it amount to an offence at all to write about the large-scale killings of Sikh community members in and around Delhi immediately after the assassination of Indira Gandhi? Is it seditious or would it amount to an offence or misdemeanour at all to write about the large-scale manslaughter in Gujarat?

  • Don’t fall for the Hindutva trap
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 27, 2003
    The hints about the Congress toying with a ‘soft’ Hindutva line seem to have persuaded the BJP to float a trial balloon.

    L.K. Advani’s suggestion that his party is ready to introduce laws on Ayodhya temple, cow slaughter, religious conversions and uniform civil code if the Congress is ready to cooperate is a part of this new saffron venture.

  • Affront to the founding principles
    Editorial, The Hindu, February 27, 2003
    BY INSTALLING A portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the Central Hall of Parliament, alongside those of some of the valiant fighters against British colonialism, the BJP-led NDA Government has tried to push forward its notion of nationalism that militates against the pluralist foundations of Indian nationhood. Savarkar, after all, remains the icon of the Hindu Rashtra project which is at the core of the Sangh Parivar's political agenda.

  • Dharnas, prayer meetings to mark VHP’s Balidan Divas
    Express New Service, February 26, 2003
    Ahmedabad, February 25: VISHWA Hindu Parishad (VHP) will observe February 27 as Balidan Divas (sacrifice day) to mark completion of one year of the burning of Ramsevaks in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. Ramdhun, dharnas and prayer meetings will be held in the city as well as in the districts.

  • Now, FGI’s turn to jump on Modi bandwagon
    Express New Service, February 26, 2003
    Vadodara, February 25: EVEN as the controversy triggered off by the confrontation between the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and some pro-Modi industrialists was yet to die down, Vadodara-based Federation for Gujarat Industries (FGI) on Tuesday jumped onto the pro-Modi bandwagon. It demanded that the CII apologise to the Chief Minister for, what it alleged were, irresponsible statements made by the CII members.

  • Shattered peace
    Harsh Mander, The Hindustan Times, February 25, 2003
    This is the reality of ‘normalcy’ in Gujarat today, in the aftermath of the elections. For this segment of hapless residents of this dusty little town, the law of the land no longer seems to apply. Local political leaders of every party refuse to speak out for them. They have nowhere to go. They ask us where their future lies. It is up to all of us to answer them.

  • Muted agitation
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 24, 2003
    There will be relief all round at the peaceful completion of the VHP’s conclave in New Delhi. In contrast to their behaviour last year, when the leaders of the organisation set deadlines for temple construction and threatened agitations and even suicides, they have displayed considerable good sense this year.

  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad lays siege to Parliament
    Nilanjana Bhaduri Jha, Times News Network, February 24, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad struck a combative note on Monday asking thousands of religious leaders gathered for a dharna to prepare for sacrifice and another "Mahabharat", as they declared a war on secularism.

  • RSS to finalise plan next week
    Smita Gupta, Times News Network, February 25, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The RSS has endorsed the VHP's agitational programme on the Ayodhya issue, announced at the latter's Dharam Sansad. However, the RSS pratinidhi sabha at Nagpur will decide next week, whether to "actively" join the campaign.

  • Hindutva and ethnicity
    By Gail Omvedt, The Hindu, February 25, 2003
    The antagonism to conversion rests on an ideological foundation which takes ethnicity, that is a presumed community of blood and heritage, as central.

  • Sants plan march to Parliament today
    By Neena Vyas, The Hindu, Febuary 24, 2003
    NEW DELHI FEB. 23. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad-led `Dharam Sansad' today threatened to create a "hundred Gujarats" in different parts of the country as part of its nation-wide Ram temple agitation. "Jo Gujarat mein hua tha woh sab jageh hoga (what happened in Gujarat will happen everywhere)," a star speaker, Dharmendra, warned today.

  • (S)trident Posture
    The Times of India, February 24, 2003
    In the wake of the BJP's famous victory in Gujarat, party president Venkaiah Naidu had promised a repeat of the "Gujarat experiment" elsewhere in the country. Judging by the recent turn of events in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, this was no empty boast.

  • State of the media debate: A hijacked press
    Digant Ozha, The Hindustan Times, February 24, 2003
    Lies, white lies and more lies seem to be the mantra followed by the Gujarati media. The media in this state is infamous for hardly ever asking questions, least of all pertinent ones. After the arrest of Maulana Hussain Umarji as the main conspirator in the Godhra carnage, no one from the media bothered to question why his name was not brought up before.

  • A system under siege
    Editorial, The Hindu, Febuary 24, 2003
    AGAINST THE BACKDROP of the shrill campaign the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been drumming up over the past few months about its resolve to go ahead with the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, legal injunctions notwithstanding, the fact that the VHP-sponsored Dharam Sansad (a congregation of sadhus and sants) has desisted — for now, that is — from setting a firm date for the start of the work would appear to be a change of strategy on its part.

  • Top Gujarati industrialists rally behind Modi against CII
    IANS, February 23, 2003
    AHMEDABAD: With chief minister Narendra Modi still smarting from blunt questions asked on the security situation in violence-scarred Gujarat at an industry conclave, top Gujarati industrialists have begun rallying round their angry leader.

  • Dharam Sansad plans agitation for Ram temple
    By Neena Vyas, The Hindu, February 23, 2003
    NEW DELHI FEB. 22. A nationwide agitation through `dharnas' and `satyagrahas' in support of the demand for the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya was announced at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-led Dharam Sansad here today where several `sadhus' and `sants' directly attacked the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and his Government for using "Ram naam" (the name of Ram) to the hilt for grabbing power but doing nothing to help construct the temple.

  • Diggy matches BJP Hindutva card
    Times News Network, February 21, 2003
    The resolution of the dispute will, however, only intensify the competition with the BJP and the Sangh Parivar which are already claiming that saffron mobilization is what has led to the course correction on the part of “pro-Muslim” Congress. The past couple of days have seen the agitation for the restoration of Hindu rights spreading beyond the epicentre of Dhar to spill into the neighbouring areas.

  • Gujarat Inc throws weight behind Modi, takes on CII
    Express News Service, February 21, 2003
    Ahmedabad, February 20: Gujarat Inc threw it’s weight behind CM Narendra Modi on Thursday. The differences between Modi and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) took a twist when a group of industrialists met under the banner of Resurgent Group of Gujarat to warn ‘‘forces causing embarrassment to the state globally.’’ They expressed concern over efforts to create an ‘‘unrealistic and improper’’ image of Gujarat.

  • Dangerous rewind
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 20, 2003
    The outbreak of violence in Dhar in Madhya Pradesh and the controversy relating to the distribution of trishuls (tridents) in Rajasthan are alarming in their implications.

  • Beefing up hysteria
    Beware the dangerous fall-out of competitive Hindutva
    Editorial, The Indian Express, February 22, 2003

    The centrality of cow slaughter in Indian politics— in sparking communal riots as happened in parts of Uttar Pradesh in the eighties and in social activism as seen in the campaigns of Vinoba Bhave—is well known. While taboos on beef eating remain the touchstone of Hindu dharma, yet legislative bans on cow slaughter have often failed as they also violate the right to livelihood in a plural society.

  • Dangerously partisan
    Editorial, The Hindu, February 22, 2003
    THE PRIME MINISTER, Atal Behari Vajpayee's emphatic "we are for a (Ram) temple at Ayodhya", which in one sense is a manifestation of the inner `swayamsevak' core of his persona, assumes enormous significance when viewed in the context of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's current and highly provocative campaign with the objective of starting the temple construction forthwith, whatever be the legal injunctions.

  • Court puts off Ayodhya ruling
    BBC News online, 22 February, 2003
    India's Supreme Court has deferred hearing a plea to lift a ban on religious activities at a disputed holy site at Ayodhya.

  • Is POTA becoming TADA?
    The opportunistic way in which this draconian law is being used should raise great concern
    Editorial, The Indian Express, February 22, 2003

    Justice A.S. Anand, its new chairperson, had observed there were enough safeguards under the law to prevent its misuse. Yet, the NHRC has now been constrained to take suo motu cognisance of a report that revealed the arrest in Jharkhand of a 12-year-old boy and an 81-year-old man under Pota — they were among some 200 people arrested under the Act for allegedly ‘‘supporting naxalites’’. Almost simultaneously, the Gujarat government has also thought it fit to book all 121 accused in the Godhra case under this Act.

  • Relaxation of curbs at Bhojshala recommended
    By Hindu Staff Correspondent, February 22, 2003
    BHOPAL FEB. 21. After two days of disturbances and violent protests by Hindu activist groups across many districts of western Madhya Pradesh, the Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, today announced that the State Government had decided to forward to the Centre the Dhar district administration's recommendations to relax the restrictions for entering the Bhojshala at Dhar, near Indore.

  • Hindu Jagran Manch rejects Govt move on Bhojshala issue
    HT Correspondent, Indore, February 21, 2003
    The Hindu Jagran Manch, which is spearheading the movement on Dhar Bhojshala issue has rejected the recommendations made by the district administration on reopening of the disputed Dhar Bhojshala on Friday and has decided to continue its agitation till 'its demands' are met in toto.

  • Let the states decide
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 21, 2003
    To put the current controversy over cow slaughter in the right perspective, it has to be noted that it is an issue of importance mainly in the Hindi heartland.

    In several other parts of the country, notably the North-east, West Bengal and Kerala, it does not evoke strong sentiments.

  • An India of their dreams
    India’s Muslims should no longer see themselves only as victims
    Mukul Dube, The Indian Express, February 20, 2003

    Like the rest of us, Muslims in India must fight for their rights— but for their rights as citizens of a democratic nation, not just for their religious rights.

  • Auctioning Ayodhya
    By Rajeev Dhavan, The Hindu, February 21, 2003
    What we are faced with is a game of legal cowardice, communal complicity and breach of trust by the Union Government.

  • PM advocates Ram temple cause in Himachal campaign
    PTI, February 20, 2003
    MANDI: Playing the Hindutva card, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday advocated the cause of Ram temple in Ayodhya and said he would rather die than eat beef.

  • Upholding the rule of law
    Editorial, The Hindu, February 20, 2003
    BY ENSURING THAT the storm troopers mobilised by the Hindu Jagran Manch (yet another outfit floated by the Sangh Parivar to whip up passions in the name of religion) in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district were not allowed to go ahead with their provocative plans, the Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, has displayed his commitment to the canons of the rule of law.

  • A diseased politics
    By Sunil Dutta, The Hindu, February 20, 2003
    Unfortunately, before the Hindutva bandwagon comes to rest, the damage done to the subcontinent would be enormous. The time has come for Indians to reject the politics of extremism or be ready to pay a very heavy price.

  • BJP set to sweep Gujarat municipal elections
    Press Trust of India, Ahmedabad, February 19, 2003
    The Gujarat BJP was set to sweep municipal elections in the state, bagging Memnagar and Kheralu municipalities and was likely to capture Valsad and Dhoraji local bodies, the results of which were declared on Tuesday.

  • POTA against 121 in Gujarat
    The Hindu, February 19, 2003
    AHMEDABAD FEB. 19. The Gujarat Government has invoked the Prevention of Terrorism Act against 121 persons accused in the Godhra train carnage on February 27 last. It will also be applicable to those chargesheeted," the DIG (CID crime), Rakesh Asthana, said here today.

  • `Trishul diksha'
    UNI, February 19, 2003
    Jaipur Feb. 18. In spite of a Rajasthan Government move to ban the Bajrang Dal from distributing tridents, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary, Praveen Togadia, gave `trishul diksha' to over 250 men at a function at Gulabpura in Bhilwara district today.

  • The apex court's Ayodhya burden
    By Harish Khare, The Hindu, February 19, 2003
    The Judiciary's obligation is to summon the wise words and the commensurate constitutional innovations to re-enforce the sanctity and legitimacy of the rule of law.

  • Ayodhya, replayed?
    The Hindustan Times, February 18, 2003
    Echoes of Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. Only this time, the number of kar sevaks was small and the state didn’t have a BJP chief minister. So, the attempt by a new Sangh parivar outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch, to forcibly enter an 11th century shrine — the Bhojshala-Kamal Moula mosque in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh — on Tuesday was foiled. The Hindutva lobby has been trying to foment trouble for some time at this place, although it isn’t a ‘disputed’ structure but simply a place of worship for both Hindus and Muslims.

  • Praying to Angry Gods
    By Carla Power, Newsweek International, February 24, 2003
    For some extremist Hindus, going nuclear was a near-religious experience. After India tested a bomb in 1998, an influential right-wing Hindu group, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), wanted to organize religious pilgrimages to the test site in Pokhran. It even made plans to build a temple there dedicated to the goddess Shakti.

  • `POTA cannot be misused'
    The Hindu, February 18, 2003
    New Delhi Feb. 17. Contrary to the views held by his predecessor, J.S. Verma, newly-appointed Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), A.S. Anand, today said the controversial POTA did have provisions to safeguard against its misuse.

  • No more BJP clones please, we’re Indians
    P Chidambaram, The Indian Express, February 16, 2003
    It is true that the BJP is trying to turn the polity on its head. In this dangerous game it has enlisted blatantly communal organizations like the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. Some apparently secular parties have also joined hands with the BJP. They are not unsuspecting or innocent; they are self-seekers. It is possible that the BJP may achieve temporary success. But Hindutva or a Hindu Rashtra will not be an answer to poverty or unemployment. It will not bring more investment. It will not rid society, not even the Hindu society, of its many evils. On the contrary, a sharper polarisation on communal lines may lead to undesirable and unpredictable consequences.

  • US probing saffron links of charity
    Chidanand Rajghatta, Times News Network, February 17, 2003
    WASHINGTON: The US administration has begun investigating a Maryland-based Indian charity organisation that is sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar, as part of a wider scrutiny of US-based tax-exempt organisations funding radical causes across the world.

  • Identity crisis
    By Malini Parthasarathy, The Hindu, February 17, 2003
    To suggest today... that the religious minorities are guests in a "Hindu India"... is nothing but a subtle form of "ethnic cleansing".

  • Saffron, red muddy Akademi waters
    Anita Saluja, The Indian Express, February 17, 2003
    Elections: Mahashweta Devi takes on Gopichand Narang today

    Mahashweta Devi New Delhi, February 16: Saffron strikes again. After the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, National Council for Educational Research and Training and the Lalit Kala Akademi, the Right lobby is seeking to oust Left from the prestigious Sahitya Akademi in Monday’s election to the post of its president.

  • A travesty of justice
    By Kuldip Nayar, The Hindu, February 16, 2003
    The fact is that the Sangh Parivar feels that, after winning in Gujarat in the wake of the ethnic cleansing there, this is the most opportune time to push the Hindutva agenda.

  • US widens probe of charities tied to militants
    By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington, Financial Times, February 14, 2003
    The US government is investigating a Maryland-based Hindu charity accused of financing fundamentalist organisations in India linked to last year's violence against Muslims in the state of Gujarat.  (Read report mentioned in this news article)

  • Modi brushes away corporates' flak
    Gandhinagar, February 15, 2003, Sify.Com
    Referring to the criticism levelled against him at a recent meeting of 130 industrialists in Mumbai, he said he maintained his poise and tolerated the "attack".

    In an official statement here, the Chief Minister said when industry captains like Rahul Bajaj and Godrej questioned the state's law-and-order at a Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) conference in New Delhi, from the dais, he could not tolerate the "insult and gave them a befitting reply".

  • 'Gujarat results unlikely in other states'
    Bangalore, February 14, 2003, Sify.Com
    The "unexpected polarisation" and massive victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in Gujarat Assembly elections will not be replicated in other States, Frontline magazine Editor N Ram observed on Thursday.

    Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on "Gujarat, Governance and the Media" here, he said the Godhra violence, which spread to other places later, had resulted in a 12 per cent swing in favour of the BJP in the elections.

  • Loose cannon
    The Hindustan Times, February 13, 2003
    The man who played a major role in Narendra Modi’s success in Gujarat is now proving to be an embarrassment for the BJP.

    The firebrand VHP propagandist, Praveen Togadia, doesn’t seem to have realised that the BJP uses vitriol as a tactical weapon, to be used as and when the occasion demands, and not all the time.

  • Uddhav's bid to woo Dalits
    By Arunkumar Bhatt, The Hindu, February 12, 2003
    MUMBAI Feb. 12. In his first political move after being formally elected working president of the Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, has extended an olive branch to the Dalits of Maharashtra and that too a hawk among their leaders, the RPI president, Ramdas Athavale.

  • VHP backtracks after Govt. expresses annoyance
    By Neena Vyas, The Hindu, February 13, 2003
    NEW DELHI FEB. 12. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today backtracked on support for a United States-led war on Iraq and on its demand that the entire piece of acquired land in Ayodhya, including the disputed area, be handed over to the VHP-controlled Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas after the Government expressed its annoyance.

  • NHRC needs more teeth: Justice A S Anand
    Times News Network, February 12, 2003
    NEW DELHI: Former Supreme Court chief justice A S Anand, who becomes the fourth chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said on Wednesday that there was need to amend the Human Rights Act.

  • ‘Hindutva’ encompasses all sections: PM
    Tribune News Service, New Delhi, February 11, 2003
    Amidst Opposition’s hue and cry over ‘Hindutva’, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today maintained that ‘Hindutva’ was neither a religion nor a way of worship but encompassed all sections of society.

  • Dahod: Gujarat town still to bury ghost of hate
    IANS, February 9, 2003
    DAHOD: They were spared the horrors of the communal frenzy that overran Gujarat in February last year, but edgy Muslims of this town constantly look over their shoulders for any hint of trouble.

    About 700 Muslims in Dahod, 170 km from the state's main city Ahmedabad, are living in abject poverty under the open sky, vulnerable to fresh attacks.

  • Undermining the rule of law
    Editorial, The Hindu, February 11, 2003
    UNDER THE GUISE of seeking an "early hearing" of a petition pending before the Supreme Court related to the `status' of the so-called `undisputed' portions of the acquired land in Ayodhya, the Atal Behari Vajpayee regime is really attempting to espouse the cause of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad which has renewed its belligerent campaign for the restoration of such lands to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas by February 22 to enable the construction of a Ram temple.

  • VHP ups the ante in Ayodhya
    Srawan Shukla, Times News Network, February 11, 2003
    LUCKNOW: Emboldened by Union government's move to seek Supreme Court clearance for handing over the undisputed land to the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (RJN), the Vishwa Hindu Parisahd (VHP) began a 'build-up' in Ayodhya rushing in fresh stocks of carved/raw stones and building material to kick off the construction of Ram temple, perhaps at a short notice.

  • Serious reservations
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 10, 2003
    The reservation bug is alive and well. After the recent demand for reservations in Rajasthan for Brahmins — not the most oppressed of communities — Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna has now taken up the issue.

  • Hindu rashtra is no political philosophy: Advani
    Smita Gupta, Times News Network, February 10, 2003
    NEW DELHI: India is a Hindu rashtra, but can never become a theocratic state, Deputy Prime Minister Advani has clarified in an interview with Seshadri Chari which will appear in the February 16 issue of the RSS The Organiser.

  • The voodoo lounge
    Amulya Ganguli, The Hindustan Times, February 10, 2003
    Unless Singh has decided that the only way to beat the Sangh parivar is by indulging in competitive obscurantism, he should desist from these outrageous statements which will make a laughing stock of both himself and his party, not to mention the country. It will be back again to India being a land of snake-charmers and rope tricks if the Congress and the BJP engage feverishly in displaying their faith in voodoo.

  • Probe panel postpones hearing at Godhra
    Times News Network, February 10, 2003
    Ahmedabad: Justice G T Nanavati and Justice K G Shah Commission of Inquiry has postponed the examination of witnesses and the hearing that was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Godhra.

  • Rajasthan may ban trishuls
    HT Correspondent, Jaipur, February 9. 2003
    The Rajasthan government is all set to impose a ban on the distribution and carrying of trishuls in the state to check the "growing activities of Hindutva forces, including the VHP and Bajrang Dal."

  • On the margins
    By Roy Mathew, The Hindu, February 9, 2003
    In Kerala, the BJP is wooing the tribals and the Dalits but their numbers are small. Roy Mathew reports.

    MAKING A dent in Kerala's bi-polar polity — dominated by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) — is proving an uphill task for the BJP. So, now it is turning to segments outside the mainstream, the tribals and the Dalits.

  • Stained for life
    The Hindustan Times, February 7, 2003
    Narendra Modi’s outburst at a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi is understandable.

    Instead of hustling out someone who questioned Mr Modi’s role during the Gujarat riots, as during an earlier CII meeting in Mumbai, this time the big guns of Indian business themselves referred to that ‘unfortunate’ period. For Mr Modi, still gloating over his electoral triumph, a reference to those dark days came seemingly like a personal insult. What he could not understand was why the matter was being raked up a year after the event. What he probably fails to realise is that it is a subject that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

  • Which Mrs. Iyer?
    By Rahul De, The Hindu, February 8, 2003
    Which Mrs. Iyer do we emulate, the one who is the humanitarian or the one who is the strategist...? I fear the answer to that question.

  • Modi rebuffed at CII meet
    By P.K. Bhardwaj, The Hindu, February 7, 2003
    NEW DELHI Feb. 6. Godhra continues to dog the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, wherever he goes. The issue was raised again today during an interactive session hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). And as was to be expected, Mr. Modi hit out at his critics.

  • Quality Urdu as Counter to Madrassas
    Ather Farouqui, Times News Network, February 06, 2003
    One of the principal factors, which can be said to hold back Muslims, is the total withdrawal of official patronage and facilities for education in Urdu. Many analysts of Muslim education and the plight of Urdu in post-Independence India concede that this has had disastrous consequences for Urdu.

  • Ayodhya: Centre buying time
    Akshaya Mukul, Times News Network, February 07, 2003
    NEW DELHI: The government's application in the Supreme Court for early hearing and vacation of interim stay is essentially an attempt to buy time, sources in the Centre's Ayodhya cell say. The land was acquired by the Centre on January 7, 1993.

  • Good news, bad news
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 5, 2003
    One of the primary duties of a bureaucrat is to see that the framework of law and order is in place. Mr Rao, however, seems to have been under the impression that being a civil servant means being wholly subservient to the powers that be even if such an attitude is in conflict with his constitutional obligations.

  • Om is where the art is not
    The BJP government just cannot create a cultural elite
    Sagarika Ghose, The Indian Express, February 5, 2003

    A government without cultural thinkers can’t create a modern culture based on exciting re-interpretations of the past. At least the Congress had its Apna Utsavs and its festivals of India abroad. Today the so-called government of ‘bharatiya sanskriti’ rather than promoting culture is criminally neglecting it. It has dumbed India down by making us almost completely subservient to Bollywood, with special screenings of the latest blockbusters getting more attention from senior cabinet ministers than classical arts. Little wonder then that American Hinduism in the Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gham style is this government’s main contribution rather than any genuinely creative cultural progress.

  • VHP’s rewind tactics
    Editorial, The Hindustan Times, February 4, 2003
    The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is up to its old mischief again. It is travelling down the same road as at the same time last year, when it caused serious concern about law and order by threatening to begin construction of the Ayodhya temple.

  • Plea to resolve Ayodhya dispute soon
    By Special Correspondent, The Hindu, February 5, 2003
    The People's Integration Council (PIC) has called for an early resolution of the Ayodhya dispute. In a statement issued today, the PIC called for maintaining the status quo as directed by the Supreme Court. It sought reconstruction, at State expense, of all places of worship "destroyed by mobs, including the ones in Gujarat.''

  • Hindu republic 'born' in Bangladesh
    Aloke Banerjee, Times News Network, February 4, 2003
    KOLKATA: A 'provisional Hindu republic' was established in Bangladesh six months ago with the declared objective of forming a 'Hindu Republic of Bir Banga' having its "capital" at Shaktigarh in the Chittagong hills.

  • Uddhav revives Sena's 'aamchi Mumbai' war cry
    Ambarish Mishra, Times News Network, February 04, 2003
    MUMBAI: 'Aamchi Mumbai' could well be the Shiv Sena's latest mantra. Uddhav Thackeray, the party's newly-elected executive president, has exhorted Sainiks to prepare for a crusade to oppose the steady influx of people from other states into Mumbai.

  • Beware BJP’s love for Ambedkar
    Udit Raj, The Indian Express, February 4, 2003
    The Bharatiya Janata Party is suddenly in love with B.R. Ambedkar. It already loved the Hindu religion; swadeshi has been its main plank. Now Vinay Katiyar has launched a campaign for cultural nationalism in Uttar Pradesh and the main agenda is to highlight Ambedkar’s ideas on Muslims. He insists that Ambedkar is not the monopoly of anyone. According to him, Ambedkar was for the Hindu religion and wanted to throw out the Muslims. How does the BJP believe it can get away with saying this?

  • Ram temple to be built by force if talks fail: VHP leader
    Press Trust of India, The Indian Express, February 3, 2003
    Asserting that matters of faith were non-justiciable, senior VHP leader and BJP MP Yogi Aditya Nath on Monday declared the Ram temple would be built at Ayodhya by "force" if dialogue fails.

  • Disturbing signals
    Editorial, The Hindu, February 3, 2003
    IF THE VISHWA Hindu Parishad's latest ultimatum to the Centre to hand over the so-called undisputed (acquired) land in Ayodhya and its accompanying threat to begin construction of the Ram temple in any event on a date to be set by a sant sammelan later this month portend a replay of what the nation witnessed around this time last year, there are already disturbing signals that the Atal Behari Vajpayee regime is in search of ways to help the VHP realise its patently illegal objective.

  • Human Rights Watch says rioters still at large
    Times News Network, February 02, 2003
    NEW DELHI: International rumbling over the communal violence in Gujarat continues unabated, suggesting that the new government in Gujarat will have to make extra efforts to improve its dented image world-wide.

    The latest Human Rights Watch World Report 2003 has noted that the Gujarat government’s "efforts to bring perpetrators" of the post-Godhra communal violence "to justice were virtually non-existent". The report, put out by the top Washington-based rights group in January, observed, "The violence in Gujarat underscored the volatile consequences of rising Hindu nationalist sentiments, propagated by the Sangh Parivar."

  • The Other Face of Fanaticism
    By Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times, February 2, 2003 (requires free registration to access this article)
    While the West worries over Islamic fundamentalism, India's Hindu nationalists thrive by stirring up a murderous anti-Muslim frenzy.

  • Mere polls do not make a democracy: CEC
    Subhro Niyogi, Times News Network, February 02, 2003
    KOLKATA: Chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh, on Saturday, expressed anguish over the erosion of democracy in the country.

    Speaking to TNN, Lyngdoh said: "Merely conducting elections is not democracy. Democracy is about governance which is minimal. As things stand today, it's merely a game of money."

  • More - Archive One (January, 2003)