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Archive for January, 2010

Pak wants SMK at Afghan meet

Posted by :) on January 19, 2010

SOURCE :Ashis Ray | TNN

Shah Mahmood Qureshi and S M Krishna
London: Pakistan wants a meeting between its foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the external affairs minister S M Krishna on the sidelines of the London-Afghanistan Conference on January 28 as a precursor to a resumption of the composite dialogue. Both ministers have been invited by the British government to attend the 63-nation meet.
A senior Pakistani diplomat in the British capital told TOI, “A dialogue is always desirable. We would like to set the ball rolling once again. He also confirmed that Qureshi will be taking part in the Afghanistan Conference.” An exchange at foreign-minister level has been abandoned since September 9 last, when the two ministers interacted in New York. Thereafter, India put its foot down in view of Pakistan’s apathy towards the 26/11 attack on Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists.
Asked for a reaction, the Indian high commissioner in the UK, Nalin Surie said: “No comments.” He was also non-committal on whether S M Krishna would participate in the Afghanistan Conference. Jaswant Singh, former external affairs minister, now on a trip to the UK, said talks were always desirable.
Pakistani authorities are past masters at pressurising the West. They have, in fact, been persistently asking London to lean on New Delhi to revive discussion on Kashmir as well as to mediate on this matter.
Pakistan raised the issue as recently as last week during British foreign minister David Miliband’s visit to Islamabad. In addition, the Pakistani government reportedly opposed inclusion of India in an Afghan Council, which could emerge out of the Afghanistan Conference.
Krishna avoided meeting Qureshi during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Trinidad & Tobago in November. India has refused to restart the composite dialogue with Pakistan until and unless it takes steps to dismantle the anti-Indian terror network on its soil and meaningfully proceeds against the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack.
Recently, though, there are signs of a softening in India’s stand. Last Wednesday, Krishna phoned Qureshi. According to TV reports, they agreed to co-operate on humanitarian issues, with the former thanking his counterpart for the recent release of 100 Indian fishermen.
Reading between the lines, it would not be surprising if Indian and Pakistani ministers did indeed meet outside the orbit of the Afghanistan Conference. An informed source indicated that Krishna was planning a three-day visit to the UK, which may include attending a function at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in central London on his death anniversary on January 30.

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EIGHT INFILTRATION BIDS, 2 CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS, ONE ROCKET FIRING

Posted by :) on January 19, 2010

BSF warns Pak Rangers of retaliatory action on firing

SOURCE: TIMES NEWS NETWORK

BSF soldiers patrol near Ranbir Singh Pura border on the outskirts of Jammu


New Delhi: After facing eight infiltration bids, two ceasefire violations and one incident of rocket firing from across the border in the past 10 days, the Border Security Force on Thursday warned its Pakistani counterpart of “strong retaliatory action” if such incidents take place again.
The Indian side made its point clear during a flag meeting with Pakistan Rangers at Tent border out-post along the International Border. The meeting was called following three infiltration attempts made by militants in the Akhnoor sector on Wednesday.
Sources in the paramilitary force here said though the Pakistani side flatly denied its role in any incident saying “the Rangers were not even aware of rocket firing from its side”, BSF raised its concerns stating that “the point from where the rockets were fired near the Attari border last week is not too far away from the Rangers’ checkpost”.
Referring to the meeting with Rangers, an official here said the BSF had categorically told them that “There would always be strong counter-action and counter-firing, if such incidents recur”. Pakistan Rangers, in turn, said the attack, if at all it took place, could be the handiwork of “certain elements” (militants or smugglers) over whom they had no control. BSF, however, told them sternly that it was the Pakistani border force’s responsibility to prevent hostile actions from their side.
Officials in the home ministry here believe that such an action could not be possible without the knowledge of the Pakistani side. The Rangers might have been doing it to facilitate infiltration. There have been a number of instances when the Pakistani side has given cover fire to infiltrators, though Pakistan always denies it and instead blames BSF for some “unprovoked firings”.
Besides foiling the three infiltration bid in the Akhnoor sector on Wednesday, BSF countered militants — the first infiltration bid of this year — at Narainpur border out-post in Ramgarh subsector of Samba district on January 4.
There was another infiltration bid and ceasefire violation along the LoC in Balakote area of Poonch on January 8. A BSF patrol party foiled a bid in the forward area of Garkhal in Pargwal belt of Akhnoor on January 10.
The paramilitary troops also foiled an infiltration bid in Alfa Machail post in Akhnoor sector on January 11. The next day, one BSF jawan was killed when Pak troops violated the ceasefire and troops foiled an infiltration bid in Sabzian belt along LoC in Poonch.
2 Hizb terrorists killed
Srinagar: Two self-styled Hizbul Mujahideen commanders and a jawan were killed in a 15-hour-long gunbattle between security forces and terrorists that ended on Thursday morning in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.
Two personnel of Special Operations Group of the police took hit in the encounter that broke out around 6 pm on Wednesday in Khazanbal, 110 km from here. Kulgam police officer Keshev Ram said the police, assisted by troops of 62 Rashtriya Rifles, cordoned off the village on Wednesday evening following specific information about terrorists’ presence in a house. As the joint search parties closed in on the house, the terrorists opened fire, injuring Surinder Singh of 62 Rashtriya Rifles and special police officer Zahoor Ahmad. TNN

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Key HuJI man held in Hyderabad

Posted by :) on January 19, 2010

Prize Catch – Amjad Is Also Lashkar’s Commander For South India

SOURCE: TIMES NEWS NETWORK

AMJAD – IN POLICE NET

Hyderabad: In what authorities are dubbing a prize catch, Hyderabad city  police have nabbed Shaik Abdul Khaja alias Amjad, the Lashkare-Taiba ( LeT ) south India commander and also key HuJI operative. Police said that man linked to the key suspect in the May 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing was arrested on Monday from Hyderabad city limits.

Hyderabad police commissioner B Prasada Rao told reporters Khaja, 27, was a resident of Moosaram Bagh and has been absconding since 2005. He was arrested by a SIT team of the city police at Afzalgunj, he said.
But questions swirled about the arrest. While Hyderabad police claimed credit on Monday, Tamil Nadu police had said a day earlier that a joint team of officers drawn from TN, AP, West Bengal police as well as central security agencies had arrested Khaja in Chennai on a tip off from a Huji activist arrested earlier in Kolkata. AP police denied there was any joint action involving cops from other states.
Prasada Rao said Khaja was known in his family circles as Pappu and was in Hyderabad for a recce for a terror attack. At the time of the arrest, he had in his possession $348; Saudi riyal 313; UAE dirham 225; Pakistani rupees 28,640 and Bangladesh taka 348, he said.
According to sources, Khaja was a close friend of Mohammed Abdul Shahid Bilal, a primary suspect in the Mecca Masjid blast. Khaja and Bilal, whose parents hailed from Nalgonda district, lived in the same locality. The two got involved in a dispute with BJP activist Babji who was trying to install a Ganesh idol in front of Madina mosque in the locality in 2003, and were booked in an attempt to murder case and sent to prison. When they came out on bail, the duo reportedly escaped to Saudi Arabia.
Bilal and Khaja, cops in Hyderabad claimed, underwent terror training in Pakistan. Khaja was made LeT south India chief when Bilal was killed in Karachi on August 31, 2007.
Commissioner Rao said Khaja was being guided by the ISI and recruiting youth for various terror outfits including LeT and HuJI.
The two, cops claimed, recruited several youths from Hyderabad, like Raziuddin Naser, son of Maulana Naseeruddin, and Najiullah Aqeel, grandson of Shaik Mahaboob Ali, founder of Darsgah-e-Jihad Shahadat (DJS). Khaja is also linked to Abdul Rehman Hussain, an absconding accused based in Karachi, Abdul Bari alias Abu Hamza, Farhatullah Ghori alias Abu Sufiyan, Rafeeq, Mukthadir, all Hyderabadis who owe their allegiance to LeT and JeM.
Khaja’s mother Lateefa Begum told TOI that her son had been working in SaudiArabia for several years and was in contact with the family over the internet on a regular basis. She said she became suspicious about his whereabouts five days ago when he stopped surfacing on the net.
Khaja, the eldest among his siblings, is a graduate. He has one sister and two brothers — Shaikh Abdul Khader, who lives in Saudi Arabia, and Shaikh Abdul Kaleem.

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Top JeM terrorist killed in J&K

Posted by :) on January 19, 2010

SOURCE : TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Jammu: In what police described as a “major blow’’ to the outfit, security forces killed one of the most wanted Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists in a gunbattle near Mendhar in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Sunday night. Police said the slain terrorist, Abdullah Sani, was wanted for the attack on the disputed Ram Temple in Ayodhya in July 2005.
Five terrorists and a civilian were killed in the foiled attack.
DGP Kuldeep Khoda said Sani had arranged the logistics for the attack. Khoda congratulated the security forces “for the major success’’.Sources said the gunbattle started after security forces raided a terrorist hide out following a tip off. An AK rifle and three magazines were recovered from Sani’s possession.
Poonch SSP Manmohan Singh said said Sani had sent terrorists from Mendhar for the Aydhoya attack. “Sani, operating under code name Sheikh, was also working as coordinator of various militant outfits in the border districts,’’ he said.
He was the key man in assigning tasks to militants besides motivating them and sending them across to Pakistan for the arms training.
Sani, a resident of Dabowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was the outfit’s Poonch district chief for the past 10 years. Sources said Sani had commanded a terrorist group in a protracted firefight with the security forces at Bhati Dhar in early January. He had managed to escape the security cordon.
Police said Sani, who infiltrated into J&K as a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, in 1998, was trained in handling arms, explosives and IEDs, besides carrying out ambushes. He joined JeM in 2002.

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700 jihadis waiting to launch attack in J&K

Posted by :) on January 9, 2010

Get Orders From Pakistan To Open Other Fronts

Source :TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Paramilitary forces storm Punjab Hotel where terrorists were holed up

New Delhi: Wednesday’s fidayeen attack in Srinagar which finally ended on Thursday was not a one-off strike. It was part of a plan supported by the Pakistani military to step up terror in Jammu and Kashmir so as to avoid an increased engagement against the al Qaida-Taliban.
As many as 700 fully trained terrorists are waiting in the wings to stage attacks in J&K, with their ‘masters’ in Pakistan directing them to open ‘other fronts’ as they did in busy Lal Chowk area in Srinagar.
The fidayeen attacks appear to be a ploy to tap into fears of the US that an escalation in India-Pakistan tensions, perhaps leading to an armed clash, will derail the Obama administration’s new offensive in Afghanistan which is critically dependent on Islamabad’s support.
Anti-India groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba are al-Qaida associates and have been itching to stage a big ‘show’ in India, as the David Headley-Tahawwur Rana plot indicated. These groups have been more than willing to step up the level of violence in J&K.
Intercepts of communication between the jihadis killed during the Lal Chowk siege with their handlers in Pakistan hinted that LeT has already activated its different modules to carry out more attacks.
Referring to the intercepts, a senior official here said: “It is quite clear from their communication that the terrorists are fully prepared to carry out more Lal Chowk-type operations. Reference to opening other fronts indicates the possibility of similar attacks soon.” This is authenticated by a report by global intelligence group Stratfor,which says jihadi groups operating in J&K are likely to carry out more attacks to instigate more trouble between India and Pakistan and, in the process, derail Islamabad’s participation in the war on its western border and its actions against various terror groups.
The matter is also learnt to have been discussed in the standing committee meeting of the home ministry on Thursday when participants were given a detailed account of infiltration attempts made by jihadis in 2009.

Srinagar siege ends 2 LeT Terrorists Killed In 22-Hr Encounter


Srinagar: Security forces on Thursday stormed a hotel in busy Lal Chowk area killing two LeT terrorists including a Pakistani, ending a 22-hour fierce gunbattle that also left a policeman and a civilian dead. At least 11 persons, including two CRPF jawans, were injured in the encounter, the first this year, which paralysed life in the heart of the city. “The encounter is over. Two terrorists of Lashker-e-Taiba, including a Pakistani, have been killed,” director general of police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters at the scene of the gunbattle.
The Pakistani terrorist was identified by security agencies through wireless intercepts as Qari while the other was named as Usman from Sopore. Security forces had a tough time dousing the fire that erupted in Hotel Punjab even as the terrorists lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate firing at them. While a CRPF jawan was killed on Wednesday in the firing, an injured civilan, identified as Mohammad Akbar Lone, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday.
Khoda said one terrorist was killed when the operation was resumed at 7 am on Thursday after it was suspended on Wednesday night. The other terrorist was shot dead around noon.
The DGP said concerted efforts were being made by Pakistani terrorists to hit targets in J&K and in other parts of the country. “There is desperation in infiltration, there is desperation in carrying out such attacks”. Khoda said the terrorists probably had some other target to attack, “but, because of the encounter, they rushed into the hotel and took positions there to open fire at the police”. The ultras first lobbed grenades and opened fire at a CRPF picket outside Palladium Cinema in Lal Chowk before taking shelter inside the hotel.
Inspector general of CRPF N C Asthana said the terrorists always had the element of surprise when they carry out such attacks. The security forces were fully alert and determined to foil such attempts. Describing the Lal Chowk operation as a success, he said, “We handled the situation extremely professionally. We did not cause any collateral damage at all. We could evacuate all the civilians”. The IGP said the operation to flush out the terrorists from the hotel was prolonged as hundreds of civilians were inside shops and buildings in Lal Chowk.
BLOODY END
Radical pro-Pakistan terror outfit  Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen claims  responsibility, but police point finger at LeT JuM claims there was a third terrorist, Abdul Karim, who fled .
AFTER THE LULL
A week earlier, DGP said there was a  25% drop in terrorist violence  Last suicide attack in Dal Lake area was in
October 2007  Terrorists had attacked pro-dialogue separatist leader, 2 BSF personnel on Jan 2

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Poetry in a time of terror

Posted by :) on January 4, 2010

KEKI DARUWALLA

SOURCE : HINDU

Poetry has more than a significant role in the reconciliation of inner worlds with the complexities of the outer.

PHOTO:AFP

WAR IN GAZA: The stuff that poems are made on.

Without hangman and scaffold
A poet cannot exist in the world

Anna Akhmatova

How does poetry react to something terrible? To Sabra or Shatila, those refugee camps in West Beirut where the Palestinians were mowed down by the right wing Phalangists (the Qataib) in September 1982, or Ghaza today, or our own horrendous 26/11in Mumbai?

Does poetry take to breast beating, a cadenced ululation? Shouldn’t that be left to professional mourners, the type portrayed in Mahasweta’s “Rudaoli”? Should poetry resort to downright condemnation of the act? That’s what editors do, don’t they? Politicians too are not bad at it. We once had a Home Minister who hardly did anything else. Or we could have poetry extolling the heroism of the victims— martyrology… Pakistan and Middle East are good at that sort of thing. But shouldn’t this be left to citation-writers for gallantry medals? Then what are poets left with?

Does one take sides? Can one just lash out at Israel today? Or attack Hamas? I read in a paper that a Hamas terrorist instead of coming out in the open, stayed holed up in his room with his ten children and four wives till an Israelis bomb hit the room killing them all. The talk of four wives makes me ever so suspicious. Surely it’s no job of the poet to take sides. And yet what would poetry be without it?

Fiction, theatre and films score over the muse, while depicting terror or horror. (Dante’s “Inferno” is an exception.). Fiction can portray a family, children living happily, a wedding in the offing —and then suddenly comes this catastrophe. Cinema makes this more vivid as Mani Ratnam’s Bombaydid or Schindler’s List. A documentary could steal the show and bring out all the horror. We saw that on 26th November onwards on the TV, except that it was too long drawn and some TV personalities couldn’t help walking down the terror ramp.

Defiance and courage

Personal poetry and political poetry stand at opposite ends of the spectrum. Some critics don’t consider political verse as poetry at all. During the flower power days it was rock singers, and the likes of Bob Dylan who wrote and sang songs which could be described as political. Poetry comes out better when dealing with state terror. Boris Pasternak wrote of the Bolshevik and Stalinist terror. So did Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova. Paul Celan wrote of gas chambers in a most original but affecting way. The styles differed. They depicted atrocities and more so the atmosphere of terror. Poetry has often responded with defiance and great courage.

One reaction is of pure lament, for instance Anna Akhmatova’s poem ‘Voronezh’ (1936). “But in the room of the poet in disgrace,/Fear and the muse keep watch by turns./And the night comes on/That knows no dawn.”

This was obviously written on Osip Mandelstam, who was exiled in Voronezh, and disappeared two years later. A few days after the execution of her husband, Gumilyov, she writes

Terror, fingering things in the dark,

Leads the moonbeam to an axe.

Why do we have to go to Russia for all this? Agha Shahid Ali is both subtle and strident in his book The Country Without A Post Office. “They make a desolation and call it peace,” he says, obviously referring to the Indian security forces. “Army convoys all night like desert caravans.” Talking of an interrogation he writes “Drippings from a suspended burning tire/ are falling on the back of a prisoner,/ the naked boy screaming, “I know nothing.”

Shahid Ali has love poems to Begum Akhtar, his mother, the Kashmir landscape. Poetry can’t be reduced to eternal railing against a regime or an ideology. The staple of poetry, as we know it today, deals with a poet’s inner life and how his soul deals with a complex world bearing down upon him. It will deal with his dreams, aspirations, and anxieties as they grapple with external reality. If that reality becomes even harsher because of bullet, bomb and shrapnel then we are talking of poetry in a time of terror.

Most such poems are a response against the metal-hard frost of state oppression. We have moved from lament to passages mapping the landscape of terror. There is a declaratory dimension to such poetry also, the defiant challenge, as we see in some Arab poetry today.

Take Mahmoud Darwish. I was with him in Struga in 2007. He died last year. He was once a member of the Israel Communist Party, then the PLO Executive Committee. The titles of some of his thirty books tell their own story—Diary of the Palestinian Wounds, (1969), Writing in the Shadow of the Gun (1970), Birds are Dying in Galilee. Though he can be both lyrical and subtle, it is the declaratory act that strikes the eye. Take his poem “Identity Card”1964)

Record

I am an Arab

And my identity card is number fifty thousand

I have eight children

And the ninth is coming after a summer

Will you be angry?

Record

I am an Arab

You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors

And the land which I cultivated

Along with my children

And you left nothing for us

Except for these rocks

The poem ends with the lines “ Beware/ Of my hunger/ And my anger.

Another dimension to such poetry is the defense of the terrorist. Buland al-Haidari, an Iraqi Kurd who lived in Lebanese exile because of his fear of Saddam Hussein, has the following lines in his poem “The Dead Witness.”

Who killed the last commando?

I know who

I know who blinded him and who

Cut his hands and who

Your Highness, shattered

His great dream

I know who

Because I looked after that child for years…

Before he lay in ambush at the bend of the road…

Before this young man

Became

A bleeding wound,

The blood of vengeance on the knife

We have come full circle, from lament to accusatory verse, to despair, to declaratory poetry and defiance, to lastly defending the so called ‘commando’. It’s a fairly long journey.

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