Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category


dutt_1363847508Sanjay Dutt has been sentenced to a 5-year jail term under the case of illegal possession of arms in the 193 Mumbai blasts case. A little over 5 years back in 2007, Sanjay Dutt was cleared of the conspiracy charges in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, but was found guilty of illegal possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol. Since this case was still under the Supreme Court Dutt was granted bail, and has been out since then. Now he needs to surrender within a month and complete the sentence term (he has already served 18 months in jail earlier). Though this a sad news for all his fans, but as an Indian I am proud that the supreme court is playing its role well and even prosecuting high profile people. Though the time frame can be a topic for debate as it has been nearly 20 years since those blasts took place, but as we say better late than never, it is good that criminals like Yakub Menon have been given death sentence. This does raise a little hope in the judicial system of India.

The complete news articles are as follows:

1993 Mumbai blasts: Five-year jail term for Sanjay Dutt

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and sentenced him to five years imprisonment. Dutt, who has already served 18 months of his term in prison, has four weeks to surrender.

The Supreme Court today also dismissed 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind Yakub Memon’s appeal against his death sentence even as it reduced the punishment of 10 other accused to life imprisonment from death sentence considering the fact that they have spent 20 years in jail. It also upheld life sentences awarded to 17 others.

The apex court said there is no case for probation to Dutt because of the gravity of the crime. Dutt can file a review petition.

Dutt, who was convicted under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons, had been awarded six years imprisonment by the TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court.

However, the apex court reduced the sentence from six years to five years. This effectively means that Dutt will be in jail for three years and six months as he has already undergone 18 months imprisonment.

“He will have to serve another three-and-a-half year sentence. We had prepared him for the same,” Dutt’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde told reporters.

“We will wait for a copy of the Supreme Court judgement and then decide the further course of action,” he said. “He is a strong man and will fight back.”

In 2007, Dutt was cleared of conspiracy charges in the Mumbai serial blasts but was found guilty of illegal possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol.

The actor was the most high-profile among 100 people found guilty in the bombings trial. The 1993 Mumbai attacks were ordered by India’s most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, police say.

The court also came down heavily on Mumbai police and customs officers at all levels. But for their wrong actions the 1993 bombings could have been avoided.

A TADA court had in 1993 awarded death sentence to 12 people, including Memon. One of them has passed away. The court had also sentenced 20 to life imprisonment and 46 others, including Dutt, were given varying terms of imprisonment.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had faced flak for not challenging the TADA court verdict acquitting Sanjay Dutt of charges under the TADA but convicting him under the Arms Act and sentencing him to six years imprisonment.

However, in the course of the hearing of his appeal, the CBI had opposed the actor’s plea challenging his conviction and sentencing.

For a man who reportedly took to drugs in high school, hobnobbed with India’s most-wanted criminals and whose private life constantly made headlines, Dutt retains the sympathy of the industry and millions of fans who see him as a victim of his star lineage and own fame.

Dutt is the son of actor and former Congress minister late Sunil Dutt. His sister Priya is a Congress MP in the Lok Sabha. Their mother, late Nargis, had also been a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.

Dutt married longtime girlfriend Manyata in February 2008 and became a father to twins two years later. He has a daughter Trishala from his first marriage.

Through all his troubled years, Dutt managed to stay relevant in Bollywood, with his biggest hits being the two-series Munnabhai films in which he played a funny, do-gooder gangster.

Dutt wasn’t present in the court and was represented by his sister Priya.

A series of 13 car bomb blasts had ripped through Mumbai on March 12, 1993, resulting in the death of 257 people and injuries to 713. The locations that were targeted included fisherman’s colony in Mahim Causeway, Zaveri Bazaar, Plaza Cinema, Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, Sahar Airport, Air India building, Hotel Juhu Centaur, the Bombay Stock Exchange Building and the Passport Office.

Not linked to 1993 blasts: Dutt

In August 2012, Dutt told the Supreme Court that his offence of possessing a rifle and ammunition was not linked to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.

Appearing for the actor, senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan that he came to possess the weapon in September 1992 when his father Sunil Dutt and sisters were facing threats as the senior Dutt’s help to Muslim victims annoyed some.

Salve said that the only caveat in putting Sanjay Dutt to trial under an anti-terror law was if there was any “inextricable linkage” between his possessing arms with the serial bomb blasts.

He said that this was the least common denominator that could be used for seeing any such linkage. He said that there was no linkage between Dutt possessing a rifle and the 1993 bomb blasts.

The court was told that Dutt had never met blasts accused Tiger Memon and all that he knew about him was hearsay from Samir Hingora in whose under-production film “Sanam” he was playing a role.

The senior counsel told this to the apex court hearing Dutt’s appeal challenging his conviction under the Arms act and sentence of six years awarded to him. The actor’s appeal challenging his conviction was being heard by the apex court.

As Salve commenced the arguments, the court pointed out that there were objections that the “CBI filed appeal against all making an exception for Sanjay Dutt”.

The court was apparently referring to senior counsel Jaspal Singh casting shadows on the impartiality of the CBI by not appealing against the TADA court verdict in Dutt’s case.

Jaspal Singh, who appeared for accused Yakub Memon, said that the CBI did not oppose the bail of Dutt who had confessed his guilt and weapons were recovered from him. (With agency inputs) ..”

1993 Mumbai blasts: SC upholds Yakub Memon’s death sentence

“The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and commuted the death sentence of 10 others. The apex court also upheld the conviction of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act in the terror attack and sent him to five years in prison.

However, the apex court reduced the sentence from six years to five years. This effectively means that Dutt will be in jail for three years and six months as he has already undergone 18 months imprisonment.

While confirming the death sentence of Yakub Memon, the bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan said he and other members of the Memon family had played a predominant role in the execution of the conspiracy that led to 13 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993, claiming 257 lives and leaving 713 injured.

While commuting the death sentence of the 10 other convicts to life imprisonment, the court said that they were mere subservients in the execution of the conspiracy.

The humble and underprivileged background of these 10 accused, who were mere instruments in the hands of “principal perpetrators”, were counted as mitigating circumstances by the court.

The court said that if Memons were the archers of the conspiracy these 10 were just arrows. The judges also slammed Pakistan for aiding and abetting the acts of terrorism in infringement of international obligation as a member of United Nations.

The court also came down heavily on Mumbai police and customs officers at all levels. But for their wrong actions the 1993 bombings could have been avoided.

A TADA court had in 1993 awarded death sentence to 12 people, including Memon. One of them has passed away. The court had also sentenced 20 to life imprisonment and 46 others, including Sanjay Dutt, were given varying terms of imprisonment.

An anti-terror TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court had in 1993 awarded death sentence to 12 people, including Memon. One of them has passed away.

A series of 13 car bomb blasts had ripped through Mumbai on March 12, 1993, resulting in the death of 257 people and injuries to 713. The locations that were targeted included fisherman’s colony in Mahim Causeway, Zaveri Bazaar, Plaza Cinema, Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, Sahar Airport, Air India building, Hotel Juhu Centaur, the Bombay Stock Exchange Building and the Passport Office.

The TADA court trial court of Justice P.D. Kode had commenced the trial on November 4, 1993, and pronounced its 4,230-page verdict on July 31, 2007.

The bombings, police say, were carried out at the behest of gangster Dawood Ibrahim to avenge the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and subsequent riots in which many Muslims were killed. A special anti-terrorism court had convicted 100 people in the attacks. (With agency inputs) ..”

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The decade long US struggle to capture the world’s most wanted terrorist ended on May 2, 2011 when a small American team acting under Obama’s direct orders (known as Operation Geronimo) killed the most wanted terrorists, who was hiding in a place called Abbottabad in Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden was the founder of the terrorist group “Al-Qaeda”, a group which is responsible for spreading terror in most part of the world. Osama is known to be the mastermind behind the planning of 9/11 attacks on USA, an attack which shocked the world, not just USA.

On Monday, May 2, 2011 Osama was shot dead, and later his body was identified by using the facial recognition techniques (I work a lot on these techniques and I know how much powerful they are, so if these have confirmed the identity, I believe the reports to be true).  However, the DNA test has also been done, and the reports will be out soon, which I guess will be a second and a major proof of the death of Osama. Also, the news of the killing was announced by Obama, the president of USA, so I do believe him. If it had been Bush, I still might have been in a doubt but that’s not the case with Barack Obama. In the mean while the body of Osama Bin Laden was buried as per all the Muslim rites into the Arabian Sea.

In between all the news and hype of Osama’s death, the major concern that rises is the involvement of Pakistan in this matter, a major doubt over its military and its seriousness in combatting terrorism. Also a question that has risen above all (I guess Indian media has had a big hand in it) is the involvement of Pakistan in helping Osama Bin Laden to hide in its territory. Did the Pakistan government really know about the hiding? I (I know I am an Indian, but still logically I cannot really understand this fact) really cannot Pakistan, that they denied of their involvement. How can it be that the world’s most wanted terrorist hides in your place for 10 long years without you knowing anything about it. I know it is a very serious accusation that I have just raised, but then I really would love to hear the answer of Pakistan on this question and accusation.

But yes I do feel a little sad for Pakistan the country as well, since it is terribly humiliating for a country to end up in a position they are now, when a foreign country not only carries out drone strikes in the country, but also sends Special Forces inside cities. It is even shameful that US did not even let the Pakistan government know about this operation. Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf also pointed out the same thing, that the Americans should have at least informed the Pakistani government about this operation. On a comical note one of my friends answered to Musharraf’s comment by saying “Had the Americans informed you all (the Pakistani government) in hand, this operation surely could never have been a success. As the moment you all would have got to know about this the very moment Osama would also have been informed and he would have fled.”  Anyways, the next few days will be a test of both America and Pakistan. How will Pakistan be able to justify Osama’s presence in its territory? How much will America and the rest of the world drill into the facts or overlook the disturbing but probably true facts behind all this action.

India has always accused Pakistan of providing refuge to all the wanted terrorists. And now when that has somewhat been proved now, what will be the Indian government’s next step, is something I would love to see. Also, I really don’t know why can’t India do an US now, attack with Special Forces the way America did and capture and kill most terrorists. On the contrary what the end up doing is feeding and spending billions of Indian currency hard earned by Indians on terrorists like Qasab trying to just prove that he belongs to the Pakistan origin. I really feel this is insane. I think it is the time they learn something from USA and take some steps, and now hopefully they might even get the US backing as well.
In the end all I can say is a very long (a decade long) chapter is now closed. Although the war against terrorism is still not over, I do believe that this is the beginning of the end of Al-Qaeda.

Article from Wikipedia over Osama’s death:

“On May 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (May 2, Pakistan Standard Time), U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by "a small team of Americans" acting under Obama’s direct orders, in a covert operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about 50 km (31 mi) north of Islamabad. It had been believed by some that bin Laden was hiding near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but he was actually found 100 miles away in a million-dollar, three-story mansion in Abbottabad at 00 34°10′9″N 73°14′33″E / 34.16917°N 73.2425°E / 34.16917; 73.2425. Bin Laden’s mansion was located .75 miles (1.21 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy (Pakistan’s "West Point"). Google Earth maps show that the compound was not present in 2001, but was present on images taken in 2005.

According to U.S. officials, a team of 20–25 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six), under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command and working with the CIA stormed bin Laden’s compound in two helicopters. Bin Laden, three other men, and a woman were killed in a firefight in which U.S. forces did not experience any injuries or casualties. In his broadcast announcement, President Obama said that U.S. forces "took care to avoid civilian casualties." Among the others killed were one of bin Laden’s sons, a man described as a courier, and the courier’s brother. Four years of surveillance of the courier led to the intelligence which made the raid possible. It was reported that the courier was the owner of the compound where the assault took place. John Brennan, the White House anti-terrorism chief, said that the woman that was killed was one of bin Laden’s four wives and was being used as a human shield at the time. Two other women, who were also used as shields, were injured during the raid. According to one U.S. official, the attack was carried out without the knowledge or consent of Pakistani authorities. In contrast, agents of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) said it was a joint operation.

DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister’s brain confirmed bin Laden’s identity the following day, according to assertions to ABC News by unnamed sources. The body was recovered by the U.S. military, and was in its custody until his body was buried in the North Arabian Sea from the USS Carl Vinson according to Islamic traditions. One U.S. official stated that "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult." MSNBC reported, "There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants."

The U.S. State Department issued a "worldwide caution" for Americans following bin Laden’s death, and U.S diplomatic facilities everywhere were placed on high alert, a senior U.S official said. Crowds gathered outside the White House and in New York City’s Times Square to celebrate bin Laden’s death. In Pakistan, some people were shocked at those reports that said that the mission was not authorized by Pakistan.”

Article from Yahoo news over Osama’s burial:

“Washington, May 2(ANI): Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body has been buried at sea, as the United States does not want his burial place to become a terrorist shrine, a US official has said.
The official said that the body was handled according to Islamic practice and tradition, Fox News reports.
That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official added.
"Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult. So, the US decided to bury him at sea," the official said.
The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a top secret operation involving a small team of US special forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar, Pakistan.
Under Islamic tradition, the body is washed by Muslim men and buried as soon as possible.
The body is usually buried in a simple white sheet -whether buried in the ground, or at sea."


Aussie umpire tells of terror attack
correspondents in Lahore, Pakistan
Herald Sun, March 03, 2009

“It was terrible. The van driver died in front of us. I am lost for words,” stunned Australian cricket umpire Steve Davis said after gunmen turned an upmarket Pakistani square into a battleground.

Sri Lanka’s cricket side were on the team bus, all thoughts trained on the third day of their second Test against Pakistan in Lahore, when an explosion shattered the morning calm.

Masked attackers, creeping through trees, then opened fire in a brazen gun and grenade attack that left eight people dead and wounded six members of the squad.

For 15 minutes, the expensive business and commercial district of Liberty Square, with its designer boutiques and smart offices, was raked by bullets as Pakistani security forces and the attackers exchanged fire.

“There was a blast first, then we heard firing. A rocket launcher was also fired at the bus which narrowly missed,” a Sri Lankan cricketer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Television umpire Nadeem Ghori and Davis were travelling with other Test umpires just behind the Sri Lankan team when the bullets suddenly rang out.

“Our bus driver Mohammad Zafar was hit in the stomach and died on the spot,” Ghori said.

“The firing continued for 15 minutes. It was shocking.”

Television footage showed a number of gunmen, wearing backpacks and some in sports trainers, creeping nimbly behind bushes, crouching to aim their weapons and then running onto the next target.

Blood stained the front seats of a vehicle used by Pakistan’s elite force, the van raked with gunfire with its wheels shot up, its plastic steering wheel cover damaged and radio system disabled by bullets, said an AFP reporter.

Crystals of broken glass littered the road.

Bullet holes tore through the windscreen of another vehicle and a white car was shown smashed headlong into the roundabout, with nervous security officers guarding the site.

An AFP correspondent found and handed over empty rifle magazines dropped by the gunmen in a side street after they fled.

Australian freelance cameraman Tony Bennett was at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore when “we heard a bomb go off, rapid rounds of machine gun fire outside the ground, small arms fire.”

“Next thing we knew, the Sri Lankan team bus rolls up being sprayed by bullets,” he said.

“Players (were) getting carried into the dressing room.”

Gavin Scovell, director for Australia’s Ten Sports television channel, also witnessed the shooting.

“I could see a few wounds but they weren’t panicking, they were very calm,” he said of the players.

“With all respect to them, it must have been a terrifying experience for them.”

A security guard in the Big City Plaza said he heard a huge explosion before the shooting began.

“Soon after the blast, there was (the) noise of continuous firing. I thought perhaps some bomb had exploded in the Gaddafi Stadium,” he said.

“I was frightened. I had only a gun. After some time I saw a damaged police vehicle, an overturned traffic police motorcycle and a traffic warden dead on the road. Then my superiors ordered me to come inside,” he added.

Sri Lankan authorities said six players were wounded and recalled the team home after what was the first bloody attack on a visiting cricket team in this cricket-obsessed country.

Security officials said the gunmen managed to escape after the shooting on four main roads leading from the square.


Attack bore LeT signs: Experts

The attack on Lankan cricketers in Lahore bear the signs of a Lashkar-e-Tayiba-style attack, terror experts say.  Experts say it is typical of the LeT to carry out such attacks after security agencies cracked down on its leaders.  The attack, they say, goes on to prove that despite claims of dismantling its top leadership, the outfit is capable of striking at will.

Flashback 2002: source livemint

In 2002, a bomb exploded in Karachi while the New Zealand cricket team were touring, killing 13 people including 11 French navy experts. The tourists, based at the Pearl Continental Hotel, were preparing to depart for the National Stadium for the start of a test match when a car exploded outside the nearby Karachi Sheraton. New Zealand called off the tour within hours of the attack.

Acting Sri Lankan foreign minister Hussein Bhaila “also confirmed that two players, Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Thushara were hospitalised and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner is rushing to Lahore to take stock of the situation.Divulging the details, he said that Thilan Samaraweera, who was in great form, was hit in the thigh, while a bullet grazed the chest of another player that was treated in the hospital. Also, six others suffered from cut injuries and were treated in the Gaddafi Stadium itself.”   (www.zeenews.com)

Sri Lankan cricket team attacked in Pakistan
By RIZWAN ALI – Associated Press Writer
LAHORE, Pakistan

A dozen masked gunmen armed with rifles and rocket launchers attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team as it traveled to a match in Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding several players and killing five police officers, officials said.

The assailants ambushed the team’s convoy at a traffic circle close to the main sports stadium in the eastern city of Lahore ahead of a match against Pakistan’s national team, triggering a 15-minute gunbattle with police guarding the vehicles.

None of the attackers were killed or captured at the scene, said city police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said. Authorities did not speculate on the identities of the attackers or their motives.

TV footage showed gunmen with backpacks – apparently the attackers – firing at the convoy as they retreated from the scene, with several damaged vehicles and a lone, unexploded grenade lying on the ground.

A Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said two players – Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana – were hospitalized. He said three more players were slightly injured and that the head coach, Australian Trevor Bayliss, also sustained minor injuries. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Squad member Kumar Sangakkara told Sri Lankan radio station Yes-FM that “all the players are completely out of danger.”

“Luckily there’s nothing serious and everyone is fine,” he said.

Police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said five policemen died in the attack by 12 masked gunmen.

Authorities cancelled the test match and the Lahore governor said the team was flying home.

The attack will surely mean the end of international cricket in Pakistan for months, if not years. Even before, most teams refused to tour the country because of security concerns. It will also have implications on the game’s future in South Asia, its most lucrative market.

“It is terrible incident and I am lost for words,” said Steve Davis, an Australian who was umpiring the match.

Nadeem Ghauri, a Pakistani umpire who witnessed the attack, said the umpires were behind a bus of Sri Lankan players when suddenly they heard gunshots.

“The firing started at about 8:40 and it continued for 15 minutes,” he said, adding “our driver was hit, and he was injured.”

A driver of one of the vehicles in the convoy told Pakistan’s private Express news channel that he saw a man firing a rocket toward their van and then some one hurled a grenade, but the weapons missed their vehicle.

Gunmen attack SL cricketers in Lahore
March 03, 2009 10:11 IST
Last Updated: March 03, 2009

Gunmen killed at least four people in an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus on Tuesday as it drove to the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore, according to witnesses and cricket officials.

Sri Lankan media, quoting the sports minister, said four players received minor injuries in the attack — Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana.

Pakistan television channels said four people were killed.

A witness told Reuters he believed two police commandos were killed along with a regular policeman and a traffic warden. Shopkeeper Ahmed Ali said the two police commandos had been driving behind the team bus when they were hit.

“It was a very heavy firing and I heard at least two explosions at the time,” said a Reuters witness who had been on his way to cover the Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka .

Pakistan only invited the Sri Lanka team to tour after India’s team pulled out with security concerns following the militant attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai  in November.

According to PTI, the incident took place when the Sri Lankan team was attacked by around 10 armed gunmen near the Liberty Chowk which is close to the stadium.

“The firing took place from at least four sides and continued for some minutes,” one police official said.

One explosion was also heard at the stadium, PTI adds.

The attackers later escaped in separate groups.

The liaison officer of the Pakistan team said players of the host nation have been sent back to the hotel.

“The Sri Lankan players are presently safe at the Gaddafi stadium and they are getting treatment,” one PCB official told PTI.

Sources also claimed that the police had received a threat on Monday that the Sri Lankan team would be attacked so a different route was used to transport the team to the stadium.

“The firing took place from at least four sides and continued for some minutes,” one police official said.

“There were 12 masked gunmen,” Lahore police chief Habib-ur Rehman told reporters, adding that police battled against the assailants for about 25 minutes.

“They appeared to be well-trained terrorists. They came on rickshaws. They were armed with rockets, hand grenades, kalashnikovs,” he said.

Television channels aired footage of at least two of the gunmen, one of them wearing shalwar kameez and other jeans and a jacket. Both were armed with assault rifles and carrying backpacks.

Police cordoned off the area immediately after the attack and launched a search for the gunmen. The driver of the cricket team’s bus drove away from the spot immediately after the firing started.

“We are assessing the situation,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ejaz Butt said.

“Five policemen who were providing protection to the team sacrificed their lives,” he added.

Attack came despite change in Lankan team route
Sheela Bhatt, March 03, 2009

“It was a daring attack on Sri Lankan cricketers by around a dozen young gunmen, reminding one of the Mumbai terror attacks ,” says well known Pakistani editor Hamid Mir, speaking to rediff.com from Islamabad .

He said given the threat perception for the Sri Lankan cricket team, they had taken a different route on Tuesday and yet were attacked.

“From their hotel, Pearl Intercontinental in Lahore ,to the cricket stadium they usually go through the road along the canal. But today they took the route through Liberty market,” he said.

According to reports, the gunmen were carrying weapons in sacks and were dressed like college students.

From their appearance they looked like Ajmal Kasab, who was among 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Mir says around eight to 10 gunmen came from one side and four to five gunmen came from the other side to attack the cricketers. When the security commandos took up position to protect the cricketers they were hit by the bullets, killing four of them.

In view of the Mumbai attacks and because of the threat to security to its cricketers, India had refused to send its team to Pakistan but Sri Lanka agreed to replace them. The current attack is one more severe setback to the image of Pakistan as an unsafe place for foreigners.

Mir says, “We are not surprised. Similar attacks are being carried out every day in Swat valley. Today it has happened before the full glare of the media.” He said the timing of the attack is significant.

Interestingly, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon had recently met his Sri Lankan counterpart, and communication channels between the two nations were just opening up.

Hamid Gul, former chief of Inter Services Intelligence, has quickly blamed the Indian external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing for the attack.

Mir added, “It is difficult to say who attacked the Sri Lankan team,” and refused to comment on Gul’s allegation against India. He also pointed out that the Lashkar e Tayiba was not opposed to the Sri Lankans.


Dutch politician wants Koran prohibited, compares it to Hitler work.
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/91394.html
Wed, 08 Aug 2007
Amsterdam

A right-wing Dutch politician in a letter to a national newspaper on Wednesday has called for the Koran to be prohibited. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom party PVV, wrote in a letter to the daily Volkskrant that the Koran was a “fascist” book which incited people to violence.

Referring to an incident last Saturday when two Moroccans and one Somali youth attacked former Muslim and Islam critic Ehsan Jami, the legislator wrote:

“Enough is enough. Let’s stop politically correct twists and plotting. It is very good Jami now receives personal protection. It is a shame it did not happen sooner. But it does not solve the essence of the problem.”

Wilders continued: “The essence of the problem is the fascist Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as laid down in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran.”

It is not the first time Wilders has made a bold statement about the Islam and the Koran.

Early 2007 the legislator said that Muslims who wanted to remain in the Netherlands should cut out half of the Koran and throw it away.

His remarks caused a stir in the Netherlands and beyond. But the wording of his current letter goes much further.

“Several suras (chapters of the Koran) call upon Muslims to oppress or kill Jews, Christians, people of different faiths and unfaithful, to rape women and use violence to establish a global Muslim state. There are too many suras that incite Muslims to be violent,” Wilders said in the letter.

“Prohibit that miserable book, just like Mein Kampf has been prohibited. This will serve as a warning to those who attacked Jami and other Islamists that the Koran is never an excuse to use violence,” he added.

In his letter, Wilders also criticized Dutch politicians, of whom he said the people should be “ashamed.”

“Their naivety and sick strive for a utopian moderate Islam will only bring our country hell and damnation,” he said.

In his final paragraph, Wilders said he was “fed up with Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants. I am fed up with the worshipping of Allah and Mohammed in the Netherlands: not one extra mosque. I am fed up with the Koran in the Netherlands: prohibit the fascist book. Enough is enough.”

Abdeljamid Khairoun, chairman of the Dutch Muslim council, said he was not surprised about Wilders’ most recent statements.

“Wilders suffers from a religion syndrome. He always says the Quran is a bad book. I expect him to request a prohibition for the Torah and the Bible too,” Khairoun said.

According to Khairoun, Wilders takes passages from the Quran “out of their context.” He also said Wilders lacked the knowledge to say anything about the Islamic holy book.

Khairoun also said the Muslim council had previously invited Wilders to talk about his views of Islam, but Wilders had never responded to that invitation.

Following the publication in the Volkskrant, attorney Els Lucas from Lelystad, 40 kilometres north of Amsterdam, filed a complaint with the Dutch police.

Lucas said Wilders’ statements about Islam and Muslims violated Dutch law. His comparison between the Koran and Mein Kampf and his call upon the people not to allow any more Muslim immigrants, were particularly problematic.

His remarks could be defined as incitement against people of the Muslim faith, which is prohibited under Dutch law, Lucas said. The ministry of Justice confirmed a complaint against Wilders had been filed to the Dutch police.


Terrorists are like animals: Supreme Court judge
http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20090127/812/tnl-terrorists-are-like-animals-supreme.html
Tue, Jan 27
New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS)

Equating terrorists with animals, a senior Supreme Court judge on Tuesday said people speaking for their rights are actually advocating ‘animal rights’.

Those who violate the rights of society and have no respect for human rights are not humans but animals. And people fighting for terrorists are actually supporting ‘animal rights’,’ said Justice Arijit Pasayat, addressing a conference organised by the Indian Law Institute.

Speaking on ‘Investigation and Prosecution of Offences Related to Terrorism’, Pasayat called for a united effort to fight terrorism.

Blaming society for the spurt in terrorist attacks, Pasayat, the third most senior judge of the apex court, said: ‘We are hypocrites and speak in different tones when it comes to terrorism.’

Advocating stringent anti-terror laws, the judge said: ‘It is important to have special laws to deal with terrorists and we need to give enough time to our investigators and prosecutors to prepare the case with strong evidence.’

Echoing Pasayat’s views, senior advocate Fali S. Nariman said terrorists could not be equated with those accused of petty offences.

Nariman advocated taking away the right of silence from terrorists and advised the government to re-consider the Malimath Committee’s recommendations that suggested amendment in one of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code to combat terrorism.

‘If an alleged terrorist refuses to answer the court’s query, the presiding judge should be empowered to draw an adverse inference against him,’ said Nariman.

Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati said since Pakistan was unwilling to assist India in combating terrorism, it was time to strengthen the criminal justice system.

‘If a lawyer does not want to fight for Kasab, we should not force him or her to do so. Let Kasab defend himself before the court, if he can speak another language other than terrorism,’ he said, referring to Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Nov 26 Mumbai attack.


Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaad me jaaye desh aur bhaand me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back.

“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.

The Truth Behind Kandahar
Dec 24, 2008 Kanchan Gupta, dailypioneer.com

Was it really an ‘abject surrender’ by the NDA Government?

There have been innumerable communal riots in India, nearly all of them in States ruled by the Congress at the time of the violence, yet everybody loves to pretend that blood was shed in the name of religion for the first time in Gujarat in 2002 and that the BJP Government headed by Mr Narendra Modi must bear the burden of the cross.

Similarly, nobody remembers the various incidents of Indian Airlines aircraft being hijacked when the Congress was in power at the Centre, the deals that were struck to rescue the hostages, and the compromises that were made at the expense of India’s dignity and honour. But everybody remembers the hijacking of IC 814 and nearly a decade after the incident, many people still hold the BJP-led NDA Government responsible for the ‘shameful’ denouement.

The Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi, designated IC 814, with 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board, was hijacked on Christmas eve, 1999, a short while after it took-off from Tribhuvan International Airport; by then, the aircraft had entered Indian airspace. Nine years later to the day, with an entire generation coming of age, it would be in order to recall some facts and place others on record.

In 1999 I was serving as an aide to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the PMO, and I still have vivid memories of the tumultuous week between Christmas eve and New Year’s eve. Mr Vajpayee had gone out of Delhi on an official tour; I had accompanied him along with other officials of the PMO. The hijacking of IC 814 occurred while we were returning to Delhi in one of the two Indian Air Force Boeings which, in those days, were used by the Prime Minister for travel within the country.

Curiously, the initial information about IC 814 being hijacked, of which the IAF was believed to have been aware, was not communicated to the pilot of the Prime Minister’s aircraft. As a result, Mr Vajpayee and his aides remained unaware of the hijacking till reaching Delhi. This caused some amount of controversy later.

It was not possible for anybody else to have contacted us while we were in midair. It’s strange but true that the Prime Minister of India would be incommunicado while on a flight because neither the ageing IAF Boeings nor the Air India Jumbos, used for official travel abroad, had satellite phone facilities.

By the time our aircraft landed in Delhi, it was around 7:00 pm, a full hour and 40 minutes since the hijacking of IC 814. After disembarking from the aircraft in the VIP bay of Palam Technical Area, we were surprised to find National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra waiting at the foot of the ladder. He led Mr Vajpayee aside and gave him the news. They got into the Prime Minister’s car and it sped out of the Technical Area. Some of us followed Mr. Vajpayee to Race Course Road, as was the normal routine.

On our way to the Prime Minister’s residence, colleagues in the PMO provided us with the basic details. The Kathmandu-Delhi flight had been commandeered by five hijackers (later identified as Ibrahim Athar, resident of Bahawalpur, Shahid Akhtar Sayed, Gulshan Iqbal, resident of Karachi, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, resident of Defence Area, Karachi, Mistri Zahoor Ibrahim, resident of Akhtar Colony, Karachi, and Shakir, resident of Sukkur City) at 5:20 pm; there were 189 passengers and crew members on board; and that the aircraft was heading towards Lahore.

At the Prime Minister’s residence, senior Ministers and Secretaries had already been summoned for an emergency meeting. Mr Mishra left for the crisis control room that had been set up at Rajiv Bhavan. In between meetings, Mr Vajpayee instructed his personal staff to cancel all celebrations planned for December 25, his birthday. The Cabinet Committee on Security met late into the night as our long vigil began.

Meanwhile, we were informed that the pilot of IC 814 had been denied permission to land at Lahore airport. With fuel running low, he was heading for Amritsar. Officials at Raja Sansi Airport were immediately alerted and told to prevent the plane from taking off after it had landed there.

The hijacked plane landed at Amritsar and remained parked on the tarmac for nearly 45 minutes. The hijackers demanded that the aircraft be refuelled. The airport officials ran around like so many headless chickens, totally clueless about what was to be done in a crisis situation.

Desperate calls were made to the officials at Raja Sansi Airport to somehow stall the refuelling and prevent the plane from taking off. The officials just failed to respond with alacrity. At one point, an exasperated Jaswant Singh, if memory serves me right, grabbed the phone and pleaded with an official, “Just drive a heavy vehicle, a fuel truck or a road roller or whatever you have, onto the runway and park it there.” But all this was to no avail.

The National Security Guards, whose job it is to deal with hostage situations, were alerted immediately after news first came in of IC 814 being hijacked; they were reportedly asked to stand by for any emergency. The Home Ministry was again alerted when it became obvious that after being denied permission to land at Lahore, the pilot was heading towards Amritsar.

Yet, despite IC 814 remaining parked at Amritsar for three-quarters of an hour, the NSG commandos failed to reach the aircraft. There are two versions as to why the NSG didn’t show up: First, they were waiting for an aircraft to ferry them from Delhi to Amritsar; second, they were caught in a traffic jam between Manesar and Delhi airport. The real story was never known!

The hijackers, anticipating commando action, first stabbed a passenger, Rupin Katyal (he had gone to Kathmandu with his newly wedded wife for their honeymoon; had they not extended their stay by a couple of days, they wouldn’t have been on the ill-fated flight) to show that they meant business, and then forced the pilot to take off from Amritsar. With almost empty fuel tanks, the pilot had no other option but to make another attempt to land at Lahore airport. Once again he was denied permission and all the lights, including those on the runway, were switched off. He nonetheless went ahead and landed at Lahore airport, showing remarkable skill and courage.

Mr Jaswant Singh spoke to the Pakistani Foreign Minister and pleaded with him to prevent the aircraft from taking off again. But the Pakistanis would have nothing of it (they wanted to distance themselves from the hijacking so that they could claim later that there was no Pakistan connection) and wanted IC 814 off their soil and out of their airspace as soon as possible. So, they refuelled the aircraft after which the hijackers forced the pilot to head for Dubai.

At Dubai, too, officials were reluctant to allow the aircraft to land. It required all the persuasive skills of Mr Jaswant Singh and our then Ambassador to UAE, Mr KC Singh, to secure landing permission. There was some negotiation with the hijackers through UAE officials and they allowed 13 women and 11 children to disembark. Rupin Katyal had by then bled to death. His body was offloaded. His widow remained a hostage till the end.

On the morning of December 25, the aircraft left Dubai and headed towards Afghanistan. It landed at Kandahar Airport, which had one serviceable runway, a sort of ATC and a couple of shanties. The rest of the airport was in a shambles, without power and water supply, a trophy commemorating the Taliban’s rule.

On Christmas eve, after news of the hijacking broke, there was stunned all-round silence. But by noon on December 25, orchestrated protests outside the Prime Minister’s residence began, with women beating their chests and tearing their clothes. The crowd swelled by the hour as the day progressed.

Ms Brinda Karat came to commiserate with the relatives of the hostages who were camping outside the main gate of 7, Race Course Road. In fact, she became a regular visitor over the next few days. There was a steady clamour that the Government should pay any price to bring the hostages back home, safe and sound. This continued till December 30.

One evening, the Prime Minister asked his staff to let the families come in so that they could be told about the Government’s efforts to secure the hostages’ release. By then negotiations had begun and Mullah Omar had got into the act through his ‘Foreign Minister’, Muttavakil. The hijackers wanted 36 terrorists, held in various Indian jails, to be freed or else they would blow up the aircraft with the hostages.

No senior Minister in the CCS was willing to meet the families. Mr Jaswant Singh volunteered to do so. He asked me to accompany him to the canopy under which the families had gathered. Once there, we were literally mobbed. He tried to explain the situation but was shouted down.

“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.

To his credit, Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaand me jaaye desh aur bhaad me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back. Stumped by the response, Mr Jaswant Singh could merely promise that the Government would do everything possible.

I do not remember the exact date, but sometime during the crisis, Mr Jaswant Singh was asked to hold a Press conference to brief the media. While the briefing was on at the Press Information Bureau hall in Shastri Bhavan, some families of the hostages barged in and started shouting slogans. They were led by one Sanjiv Chibber, who, I was later told, was a ‘noted surgeon’: He claimed six of his relatives were among the hostages.

Dr Chibber wanted all 36 terrorists named by the hijackers to be released immediately. He reminded everybody in the hall that in the past terrorists had been released from prison to secure the freedom of Ms Rubayya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, while he was Home Minister in VP Singh’s Government. “Why can’t you release the terrorists now when our relatives are being held hostage?” he demanded. And then we heard the familiar refrain: “Give away Kashmir, give them anything they want, we don’t give a damn.”

On another evening, there was a surprise visitor at the PMO: The widow of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, whose plane was shot down during the Kargil war. She insisted that she should be taken to meet the relatives of the hostages. At Race Course Road, she spoke to mediapersons and the hostages’ relatives, explaining why India must not be seen giving in to the hijackers, that it was a question of national honour, and gave her own example of fortitude in the face of adversity.

“She has become a widow, now she wants others to become widows. Who is she to lecture us? Yeh kahan se aayi?” someone shouted from the crowd. Others heckled her. The young widow stood her ground, displaying great dignity and courage. As the mood turned increasingly ugly, she had to be led away. Similar appeals were made by others who had lost their sons, husbands and fathers in the Kargil war that summer. Col Virendra Thapar, whose son Lt Vijayant Thapar was martyred in the war, made a fervent appeal for people to stand united against the hijackers. It fell on deaf ears.

The media made out that the overwhelming majority of Indians were with the relatives of the hostages and shared their view that no price was too big to secure the hostages’ freedom. The Congress kept on slyly insisting, “We are with the Government and will support whatever it does for a resolution of the crisis and to ensure the safety of the hostages. But the Government must explain its failure.” Harkishen Singh Surjeet and other Opposition politicians issued similar ambiguous statements.

By December 28, the Government’s negotiators had struck a deal with the hijackers: They would free the hostages in exchange of three dreaded terrorists — Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh — facing various charges of terrorism.

The CCS met frequently, several times a day, and discussed the entire process threadbare. The Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister, apart from the National Security Adviser and the Prime Minister, were present at every meeting. The deal was further fine-tuned, the Home Ministry completed the necessary paper work, and two Indian Airlines aircraft were placed on standby to ferry the terrorists to Kandahar and fetch the hostages.

On December 31, the two aircraft left Delhi airport early in the morning. Mr Jaswant Singh was on board one of them. Did his ministerial colleagues know that he would travel to Kandahar? More important, was the Prime Minister aware of it? The answer is both yes and no.

Mr Jaswant Singh had mentioned his decision to go to Kandahar to personally oversee the release of hostages and to ensure there was no last-minute problem. He was honour-bound to do so, he is believed to have said, since he had promised the relatives of the hostages that no harm would come their way. It is possible that nobody thought he was serious about his plan. It is equally possible that others turned on him when the ‘popular mood’ and the Congress turned against the Government for its ‘abject surrender’.

On New Year’s eve, the hostages were flown back to Delhi. By New Year’s day, the Government was under attack for giving in to the hijackers’ demand! Since then, this ‘shameful surrender’ is held against the NDA and Mr Jaswant Singh is painted as the villain of the piece.

Kandahar decision won’t have been easy: Chidambaram
NDTV Correspondent, Thursday, January 22, 2009
(New Delhi)

Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday that there is no set formula for dealing with terrorists.

When asked if India should have a policy not to negotiate with terrorists, he said that while this worked in principle, in reality, when the human element came into play, he was unsure of how he would deal with the crisis.

“I do not know how I would have reacted if 150 families came to my door and pleaded that their loved ones in that aircraft must be saved. It is easy to criticise but if one is in that position, it is a very difficult decision,” he said at the NDTV’s Indian of the Year Awards function in New Delhi on Wednesday night.

The NDA government’s decision to release dreaded terrorists in exchange for hostages in the Kandahar hijack 10 years ago had come under attack from several quarters but Home Minister P Chidambaram is “not sure” saying it is a “very difficult” decision.

The decision of the Vajpayee government to release three dreaded terrorists including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in December, 1999 received a lot of flak from various political parties including the Congress, more so because the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh accompanied them (terrorists) to Kandahar.

Azhar’s name has subsequently figured in the December 2001 terror attack on Parliament and the attack outside Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar in the same month.