Newsletter of the Indian Progressive Study Group, New York. Vol. 10 , No. 1, February 1996



Crisis in Kashmir: The Latest Phase

by Sumantra Bose




1996 Lok Sabha Elections

What do the Top-Level Corruption Charges Reveal?

by Dr. Raj Mishra

GEOPOLITICS Iran and the Weakening of U.S. Power

by V. Siddharth

LATUR Lessons from Latur

by V. Siddharth



The Indian Women's Movement: Some Methodological Issues

by Dr. Shailaja D. Sharma

APPEAL: Ten Years After November 1984

Text of Appeal Circulated by the AIPSG in November 1994


Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema

by Vijay S. Jodha

Sumantra Bose 

Marouf Ahmed Hub was a 22 year-old shopkeeper in Kishtwar, a 
town deep in the mountainous reaches of the Jammu region's 
volatile Doda district.  When he was detained by the Border 
Security Force in March 1995, his uncle, the Imam of the 
local mosque, rushed to intercede with the BSF authorities 
and obtained an assurance that the young man would be 
released the same evening.  What was eventually released was 
his beheaded corpse, disfigured by electric shock torture 
and with a rope tied around his genitals.  Recalling the 
incident, the and the massive demonstration for "azaadi" 
that followed in Kishtwar, the Imam told me: "The Indian 
government claims we are citizens of this country.  But it 
treats us worse than enslaved subjects." 
Marouf Hub's fate is an eloquent symbol of life (for lack of 
a better word) in the violence-torn regions of Jammu & 
Kashmir.  The protracted war of attrition that has been 
raging in J&K since 1990 is unmistakably approaching a 
turning point.  The Indian state, with its enormous police 
and military resources, is now perhaps showing greater 
stamina and staying power in this struggle than the 
ideologically divided and organisationally fragmented 
Kashmiri armed movement.  Militant activity is clearly 
declining, at least for the time being, in many areas of the 
State, both urban and rural.  Moreover, the faltering "armed 
struggle" is increasingly dominated by outsiders, especially 
Pakistanis and Afghans.  And as the kidnapping and murder 
episode near Pahalgam involving foreign tourists reveals, 
these outsiders have scant regard for Kashmiri public 
opinion (which is overwhelmingly opposed to such acts) and 
little relation to the social base they claim to represent. 
But the cost of temporarily curbing and containing armed 
militancy may have been the permanent loss of whatever 
residual faith Kashmiris may have retained in the Indian 
Union, even after 1990.  By converting the Kashmir Valley, 
plus Doda district, into a vast prison for its people, where 
no rule of law exists and the most basic humanitarian and 
democratic norms are systematically violated by the 
"security" forces, the authorities in New Delhi have 
successfully and completely discredited India's claim, in 
Kashmiri eyes, of being a democratic and secular state.  The 
acute danger is that the Government, increasingly heady with 
the apparent "dividends" of its policy of indiscriminate 
terror and ruthless repression, may confuse a military edge 
over armed insurgents as a "solution" to its "Kashmir 
problem" (the Prime Minister's assertion that Kashmir will 
not even be an issue by the time of the next general 
elections is a disturbing portent of this myopic mentality).  
That could be a catastrophic error of judgment. 
I very recently traveled throughout Jammu & Kashmir in an 
effort to comprehend the complexities of making progress 
towards a durable, democratic resolution of the "Kashmir 
question", and to assess the popular mood and existing 
realities on the ground.  In the process, I visited (in 
addition to my base, Srinagar), practically every major town 
in the Valley, including Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara and 
Handwara in northern Kashmir and Anantnag, Bijbehara and 
Pampore in the south.  I also visited many remote rural 
areas in Baramulla, Kupwara, Anantnag and Pulwama districts.  
In addition, I extensively toured the Jammu region, 
especially Jammu city, Pandit migrant camps in Jammu 
district, and the towns and rural interiors of Doda 
district.  I had in-depth conversations with almost all 
leading political figures (of various persuasions) in J&K, 
with prominent members of the academic and professional 
intelligentsia, and with numerous political activist and 
hundreds of ordinary people at the grassroots level.  
Despite the confusion and demoralisation in the "azaadi" 
movement, a degree of popular disenchantment with 
internecine killings and criminalisation among some militant 
groups, and a widespread yearning for peace, the people are 
still very resolute and determined on one score: that Indian 
rule over them is illegitimate and unacceptable.  The mass 
euphoria that ignited the uprising in 1989-90 is no longer 
evident in that particular form, but popular defiance has 
congealed into a seething, smouldering rage and resentment 
against the Indian military administration and its forces. 
In spite of the best efforts of both the Indian and 
Pakistani authorities, mass opinion in the Valley (and among 
the Kashmiri Muslim majority in Doda) is by and large 
unambiguous on one point: that only independent statehood 
would constitute true emancipation.  There are a few 
exceptions to this general rule.  For example, in Sopore, a 
long-standing Jama'at-i-Islami stronghold, I found public 
opinion evenly split between independence and Pakistan, and 
there also seemed to be a sizeable pro-Pakistan minority in 
Anantnag town.  But elsewhere, popular allegiance to the 
ideal of independence ranges from decisive to overwhelming.  
As a senior Jama'at activist and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) 
ideologue I met in Kupwar district admitted ruefully: "I am 
committed to Pakistan.  But the awaam (people) don't agree.  
I think 80 percent support the notion of independence."  
Indeed, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader 
Mohammad Yasin Malik's assertion that "it is still JKLF, as 
the most consistent and principled advocate of independence, 
that represents the wishes of the people," is not far off 
the mark. 
But any mention of New Delhi's plans to hold "elections" 
evokes near-universal derision and contempt.  This response 
is not a manifestation of irrational intransigence or surly 
rejectionism, but understandable when viewed in the context 
of the actual situation on the ground.  Kashmir's social 
fabric has been terribly scarred over the past six years by 
violence, above all, by the massive and systematic violence, 
directed against the population in general, sponsored by the 
Indian state, and perpetrated by its agents.  And ever more 
anguish, suffering and indignity continues to be inflicted 
daily on the people.  As anyone who has visited Kashmir and 
interacted freely with the citizenry knows, the towns and 
villages are filled with maimed, traumatized, and bereaved 
people.  The central squares and marketplaces of almost 
every urban centre - Srinagar, Sopore, Bijbehara, Handwara, 
Doda - bear the ugly scars of large-scale arson (usually 
accompanied by massacres) committed by the security forces.  
In this context, imposing an "election" at gunpoint would 
amount to rubbing a lot of salt into very raw wounds, the 
final insult to compound many injuries. 
Such an exercise, whatever else, cannot be dignified as a 
reintroduction of democratic processes.  As one Kashmiri 
told me, "the root cause of all problems here has been 
government of the centre, by the centre, for the centre."  
But Kashmiris will no longer passively tolerate the 
imposition from New Delhi of unrepresentative, unaccountable 
and corrupt puppet cliques.  Even the small potentially 
"pro-India" constituency in the Valley, which is fed up with 
violence and uncertainty, regards Pakistan with distrust and 
the independence demand as a romantic slogan, and is 
increasingly nostalgic about the pre-insurgency days, is 
unequivocal on this point: the imposition of Farooq Abdullah 
or Ghulam Rasool Kar would be an intolerable affront.  As 
for the government's plans to resolve the Kashmir problem 
through infrastructure development and employment-generation 
schemes, Abdul Ghani Lone, 60, a senior Hurriyat leader, 
aptly expresses the popular sentiment - "Are they going to 
tell a man whose virgin daughter has been raped that they 
will put a road through his village, on condition he agrees 
to be loyal to India?"  Indeed, it is clear that such a 
crude, economistic approach to an essentially political 
problem is simply a diversionary, tactical device to avoid 
the real, substantive issues. 
Moreover, while armed militancy can be curbed or contained, 
it is folly to imagine that it can be eliminated permanently 
and completely.  Specifically, Hizbul Mujahideen, the most 
formidable insurgent force, is, while certainly on the 
defensive, still far from being a spent force.  Indeed, a 
senior HM ideologue confirmed to me that "they [HM] have 
received instructions from across [the border] to lie 
relatively low for the time being, and re-emerge with a 
vengeance as soon as elections are announced."  Thus, any 
attempt to hold an election may well spark a desperate re-
escalation of militant violence, with the attendant risk of 
large-scale reprisals on the civilian population by the 
security forces.  If this happens, the government's dreams 
of "normalisation" could rapidly evaporate. 
There are more compelling dangers to forcing elections.  
Elections will most likely elicit a total boycott in the 
Valley, and partial, but significant boycotts in Doda, in 
Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu division (where there 
is a subtle but definite undercurrent of sympathy among the 
dominant Rajput and Gujjar Muslims for the Kashmiri cause), 
and in Shia-majority Kargil district in Ladakh.  If this 
happens, the election, which will in effect be reduced to a 
referendum on patriotic allegiance to the Indian Union, 
could well lead to unprecedented communal polarisation, with 
only some of the Hindu population groups in the Jammu region 
and Buddhists in Ladakh's Leh district turning out to vote 
in substantial numbers (even this will partly depend on what 
attitude the BJP chooses to adopt - it currently says it is 
opposed to polls "at this stage, till terrorism is 
completely crushed".) 
Communal polarisation will be aggravated if Pandit migrants 
in Jammu and Delhi are allowed to cast ballots, and if some 
Kashmir Valley seats are decided principally on the basis of 
those ballots (some vociferous Pandit "spokesmen" have been 
demanding that 6 of the 46 Valley seats be "allotted" to 
them).  Such a pointless deepening of the sectarian divide 
between the different communities of Jammu & Kashmir can 
only be to the detriment of prospects of any serious and 
lasting (i.e. mutually agreed) solution to the Kashmir 
crisis.  As Yasin Malik correctly put it while still in 
prison, "the ultimate solution shall have to be one 
acceptable to all citizens [of J&K] regardless of their 
region or religion." 
Janata Dal leader Abdul Qayoom, 60, is a lonely "pro-India" 
politician who has stayed on in Srinagar since the troubles 
began (albeit in the city's heavily-guarded "security 
zone").  He is convinced that "elections will be totally 
counter-productive, and bring on absolute disaster."  
Instead, he argues passionately for "taking the people of 
Kashmir into confidence," and for "applying a healing touch 
to this bleeding society."  Asked what such phrases might 
connote in more concrete, tangible terms, he responds that 
"a completely open, unconditional dialogue" with all popular 
forces of Jammu & Kashmir, and particularly of the Valley, 
will be indispensable to creating an atmosphere conducive to 
making progress towards peace. 
There indisputably are significant variations in the 
aspirations and concerns of the inhabitants of the three 
distinct regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - that 
compromise the State.  But these differences cannot serve as 
an alibi for doing nothing about the crisis in Jammu & 
Kashmir.  Even less can they be a justification for 
reactionary, communalist approaches to that crisis.  
Arguably, the only outcome worse than the present status -
quo would be some kind of partition or fragmentation of the 
State along (largely false) communal lines, and all major 
Kashmiri political forces, including JKLF and HM, are 
opposed to this.  Such a course carries the grave risks of 
spawning disgruntled minorities (of one kind of another),and 
of possibly leading to permanent population transfers, in 
both the Jammu region and the Valley. 
In particular, the "Hindu-majority" label conventionally 
accorded to the Jammu region is, while true in a limited 
sense, also seriously simplistic and potentially misleading.  
Apart from the fact that three of Jammu's six districts have 
Muslim majorities, it is far more accurate to describe Jammu 
as a patchwork or mosaic of an array of religious (Hindu, 
Muslim, Sikh), ethnic (Kashmiri, Rajput, Gujjar, Dogra, 
Punjabi, etc.) and linguistic (Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi, 
Pahari, Punjabi and several other languages and dialect) 
This social reality of multiple forms of identity and cross-
cutting cleavages is too often deliberately ignored by those 
elements, in both India and Pakistan and on both sides of 
the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir, who view the Kashmir 
conflict in reductive and bigoted communal terms.  The fact 
is that religious affiliation is but one axis of social 
diversity (and of political conflict) in J&K - albeit an 
important one.  But there have historically been other, 
overlapping axes of contestation and conflict - region, 
ethnicity, caste and political ideology, for example.  Thus, 
when Hindutva spokesmen claim to be upholding the "interests 
of Jammu," they conveniently forget not only that no such 
monolithic Jammu exists, but that sectarian Hindutva parties 
have never, in successive assembly and parliamentary 
elections, won more than a quarter of the popular vote in 
the Jammu region (primarily that of a section of urbanised 
Nor is the spirit of amicable coexistence between 
individuals and groups professing different religious faiths 
entirely dead in Jammu & Kashmir.  In several towns and 
villages of the Valley, I met Pandit families living in 
safety, dignity and complete harmony with their Muslim 
neighbours.  Doda district (60 percent Muslim, 40 percent 
Hindu) has an enviable history of communal amity and 
cooperation, and its residents are trying their best to keep 
this tradition alive despite grave pressures and 
There is thus no alternative to democratic debate and 
discussion between representatives of various social groups 
and political tendencies in the different regions of the 
State, if progress is to be made towards a durable political 
solution.  This is precisely what Kashmiri leaders like 
Shabbir Shah and Yasin Malik, as well as several courageous 
members of the Jammu intelligentsia, have been energetically 
advocating.  Such an inter-regional, inter-community 
dialogue would have to be a crucial component of any broader 
or bigger dialogue (involving India, Pakistan and 
representatives of Jammu & Kashmir from both sides of the 
Line of Control) on the Kashmir issue. 
Altaf Ahmad Khan, alias Azam Inquillabi, is a child of 
Partition and of the Kashmir "dispute."  Born in 1947, he 
possibly holds the record for the maximum number of 
clandestine border crossings between Indian and Pakistani-
controlled Kashmir - over thirty since 1969.  This veteran 
rebel is also one of the masterminds behind the insurrection 
that erupted in 1989-90.  But this firebrand radical, while 
remaining committed to his political ideal of an independent 
Jammu & Kashmir, is now absolutely convince that dialogue 
and negotiations are the only route to making meaningful 
progress towards a lasting solution.  "We must make a 
beginning somewhere, as soon as we can," he says with a 
grave sense of urgency, "if nothing else through non-
official contact and discussions, between enlightened 
intellectual and professional leaders of India, Pakistan and 
the different regional and religious groups of Jammu & 
Kashmir.  If this conflict is allowed to fester 
indefinitely," he warns, "there is a real danger that the 
politically conscious and articulate voices of Kashmir will 
one by one gradually be liquidated or marginalised.  The gun 
has largely served its purpose; now politics must take 
It is a pity that those whose rule India does not, as yet, 
appear to have the courage and confidence to recognise the 
same reality.  This obstinacy (based on a purported but 
unverified "consensus" in this country that "Kashmir is an 
integral part of India") is all the more irrational because 
the ultimate guarantee of the Indian state's "security" and 
"integrity," the 600,000-odd heavily armed military and 
police forces, are, for the present and foreseeable future, 
at least, very much in place throughout Jammu & Kashmir, 
including its borders with neighbouring countries.  New 
Delhi's injunction that the "problem" must be settled 
"within the framework of the Indian Constitution" is not 
just irrelevant (the Constitution, like very other man-made 
document, is hardly a repository of sacrosanct and 
inviolable Truth), but also a deliberate tactical device 
that effectively precludes substantive dialogue. 
Individuals and organisations that are genuinely 
representative of a popular movement, and that have at least 
some ideological principle and consistency, cannot be 
expected to summarily renounce their political platforms for 
the sake of "talks" of uncertain nature and outcome with 
powerful adversaries.  Leaders such as Shabbir Shah and 
Yasin Malik, among others cannot come crawling to the 
negotiating table and be co-opted into signing some 
"package" on terms dictated by their opponent.  Sinn Fein's 
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, both former Irish 
Republican Army (IRA) guerrilla commanders, have not 
abandoned their commitment to the idea of a reunited 
Ireland.  That has not prevented an indefinite cease-fire in 
Northern Ireland nor a measure of tentative progress towards 
a lasting solution.  Even the Palestine Liberation 
Organisation (PLO), which has had its back to the wall in 
the struggle against Israel by the 1990's, still formally 
retains the clause in its founding charter that commits it 
to the destruction of the Jewish state.  That and the 
continuing turbulence in the West Bank and Gaza have not 
prevented Yasser Arafat and the Israeli authorities from 
maintaining a continuing, if halting dialogue. 
The same applies to those important, popularly-based forces 
in Jammu & Kashmir who would be willing to have a dialogue 
without crippling preconditions of any kind on any side, but 
who have so far been repressed, rebuffed and denied 
recognition as bona fide political actors representing deep-
rooted collective aspirations.  Yet there are clear 
indications that some of these forces increasingly realise 
the potential efficacy of serious, substantive dialogue 
(caveat: not some charade masquerading as dialogue) for 
their people, and the fact that they themselves have 
compelling pragmatic incentives to enter into such a 
Responsible political leaders and activists in Kashmir, 
whatever their public positions and ideological commitments 
(which they cannot be expected to summarily forsake), know 
perfectly well that the gun alone cannot liberate their 
people.  Indeed, they realise that they themselves, and the 
political future of their people, are increasingly being 
held hostage by the environment of violence, intimidation 
and fear.  But as long as large-scale victimisation of 
civilians by the security forces continues, armed resistance 
will also continue and the conditions propitious for 
dialogue cannot come about. 
But in the immediate future, the authorities in Delhi would 
be well-advised not to exploit a military advantage over 
"militants" to trample wantonly on Kashmiri sentiments and 
aspirations yet again.  Instant fixes or cosmetic surgery 
cannot alleviate, leave alone resolve, the historically 
rooted, complicated and multi-dimensional conflict in and 
over Jammu & Kashmir.  A peace of the graveyard will only 
condemn Jammu & Kashmir to a bleak, uncertain and unstable 
future.  It will also freeze India-Pakistan relations in 
their present condition of polarised animosity, to the 
detriment of prospects of peace, democracy and development 
in the entire subcontinent.  It is unlikely that any 
"solution" (whatever that may constitute) to the Kashmir 
question can be stable and final without the participation 
and acquiescence of the rulers of Pakistan. 
"Kashmir," wrote Kalhan, the 12th-century historian and 
chronicler in his Sanskrit epic Rajatarangini, "can be 
conquered by the power of spiritual merit, but never by the 
force of soldiers."  Certainly, for too long have a few 
million hapless inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir suffered as a 
result of being the focal point for the manifestation of the 
deep mutual hostility between India and Pakistan.  And for 
too long have the billion-plus people of the subcontinent 
had their security and development prospects held ransom by 
the Kashmir conflict.  The time is overdue to make a move 
towards breaking this dangerous and destructive stalemate.  
The moral and pragmatic case for a just and lasting peace in 
Kashmir and South Asia is a compelling one.  

              U - P - D - A - T - E  
Activists campaigning around the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster 
case described their continuing struggle in seeking justice 
and compensation for the gas victims at a Columbia 
University forum sponsored by the IPSG.   
The activists - Rehana Begum from the Bhopal Gas Peedith 
Mahila Udyog Sanghatan (BGPMUS) and N.D. Jayaprakash from 
the Delhi Science Forum - talked about the conditions of the 
people of Bhopal ten years after the gas leak, their 
struggles to secure just compensation from the Indian 
government and the state of litigation against Union 
Carbide. Also present was Ward Morehouse, of the U.S - 
Bhopal Action Committee. Two other activists from Bhopal 
were unable to attend the meeting as the Indian government 
did not grant them the requisite travel documents in time. 
These were T.R. Chouhan - a former plant operator at the 
Union Carbide factory in Bhopal who was sacked after he 
blamed management for the disaster, and Abdul Jaffar, a 
founding member and leader of the BGPMUS.  
In their presentations, and in the panel discussion that 
followed, the speakers described the 1989 deal between the 
Indian government and Union Carbide as a complete sell-out. 
They pointed out that as per that settlement, the final 
compensation awarded to those who lost their relatives in 
the disaster was Rs. 90,000, and that too, only to those who 
able to produce a death certificate. Since death 
certificates are not available in the majority of cases, 
even this paltry compensation is denied them. As for those 
who have suffered injury and continuing medical disorders, 
the award is Rs. 24,000 of which Rs. 7,500 is being deducted 
because of the interim relief some of the afflicted persons 
received. The remainder, which is meant to cover all the 
needs of the victims, including medical care, etc., has been 
since given out in installments of Rs 200 a month.  
Speaking in Hindi, Ms. Rehana Begum, who had personally lost 
several close relatives in the gas tragedy, spoke strongly 
of the plight of the victims.  She also described the 
ongoing frustrations that the BGPMUS faces in its attempts 
to bring Union Carbide officials to book, primarily due to 
the strong unwillingness of the Indian authorities to press 
for action in this case. 
A statement was also released by the IPSG, entitled "Bhopal: 
What Rights do People Have?". Excerpts from the statement 
are quoted below.  
"The Bhopal tragedy and its aftermath raises two crucial 
issues for all concerned people. The first is that of the 
right of the victims to proper rehabilitation. The second is 
that of culpability for the disaster. To the credit of the 
people of Bhopal and the tireless work of the activists who 
have taken up their cause, the issue of culpability has been 
kept alive, despite attempts to the contrary. It is widely 
understood that the government has not been keen to 
prosecute the company because of the adverse impact such a 
case would have on foreign investment as well as the 
interests of Indian monopolies who operate their industries 
with the same callousness and lack of concern that Carbide 
The issue of rehabilitation of the victims is independent of 
the issue of culpability. Surely the Indian government 
remains obliged to fully rehabilitate the victims of such a 
tragedy, regardless of whether it is successful in making 
Carbide pay or not. Yet, except for brief periods before 
elections, successive governments have distanced itself from 
this issue, and have effectively reduced its own role to 
that of a lawyer whose responsibility is limited merely to 
arguing for a settlement."  
At a meeting organised by the IPSG at Columbia University on 
April 4, 1995, several South Asian women NGO delegates to 
the U.N. PrepCom meetings for the Beijing Conference on 
Women spoke about how the concerns of women from developing 
countries are getting marginalised.  
The women who addressed the meeting included Vidya Das, an 
activist with Agragami in Orissa, Nafisa Barot of Utthan in 
Gujarat, Pamela Phillipose, Features Editor of the Indian 
Express, Asha Ramesh from the Indian Coordinating Committee 
for the Beijing Conference, Shagufta Alizai from Shirkat 
Gah, a women's group in Karachi, Niloufer Ahmed from 
Bangladesh, and several others. 
Pamela Phillipose pointed out that women are constantly 
having to fight against the rollback which is taking place 
on the question of rights, both nationally and 
With respect to the Beijing Conference's draft "Platform of 
Action", she said that clauses affirming the rights of women 
which have already been adopted at the Rio Conference on the 
environment or the Vienna Summit on Human Rights are once 
again being questioned by many governments. 
Vidya Das and Nafisa Barot stressed that many women in India 
and the developing world are being adversely affected by 
economic liberalisation and structural adjustment but that 
the governments don't even want to place this question on 
the agenda. Resources belonging to the tribal and indigenous 
peoples in various countries are being handed over to 
multinational companies, and women are the first to suffer 
the consequences. 
Some of the speakers noted that many western governments and 
NGO's were exerting pressure on women groups to confine 
themselves to exclusively "women's issues" and not be 
concerned about the larger question in society like economic 
justice and political power. "But the consequences of 
structural adjustment is a women's issue," asserted Vidya 
Shagufta Alizai spoke about the situation in Pakistan and 
noted that having a woman as Prime Minister has not 
fundamentally altered the lot of women. 
Justice Hosbet Suresh, retired judge of the Bombay High 
Court, addressed a meeting on Saturday, April 14 1995 at 
Columbia University, organised by the Indian Progressive 
Study Group, and spoke on "Bombay After the Elections".  
Justice Suresh, who has been active in Human Rights work 
since his retirement from the bench, reached national 
prominence recently over the independent report on the 
Bombay riots of January 1993 that he co-authored with 
Justice Dawood.  The findings, which were published in 
August 1993, identified the Shiv Sena as having primarily 
organised and carried out the riots.  The report also 
charged that the Shiv Sena could not possibly have carried 
out the attacks if not for the active complicity of the 
police and local administration. 
In the meeting, Justice Suresh noted that despite clear 
evidence that the riots were instigated and carried out by 
the Shiv Sena, the government had taken no steps to 
prosecute them.  Bombay, he remarked, was a city with strong 
progressive traditions, where people had historically stood 
firm against communalism.  However, he added, following the 
Babri Masjid demolition, the Shiv Sena and BJP wanted to 
ensure that the city would be ghettoised and that a 
permanent rift should exist between Hindus and Muslims.  It 
was to this end, that both these parties organised the 
communal riots, with the acquiescence of the Congress (I), 
local administration and police, he said. 
In discussing the recent elections, where the Congress (I) 
lost heavily to a BJP-Shiv Sena coalition, he noted 
ironically that the Shiv Sena had initially been formed by 
S.K. Patil, the Congress Chief Minister in Maharashtra.  The 
Sena, he said, was created in order to break the strength of 
Bombay's trade-union movement, through a militant anti-
outsider chauvinist program.  It was, he said, directed 
particularly at the South Indian leadership of many trade 
unions.  Justice Suresh observed that over the past thirty 
years, the Shiv Sena became known not so much for 
communalism as for anti-South Indian and anti-outsider 
politics, financed largely through extortion and other 
criminal activity. 
Tracing the history of the Shiv Sena's involvement in 
communal politics, he described how it had, together with 
the BJP, adopted the Babri Masjid issue only after 1986, and 
that too, only when the Rajiv Gandhi government 
provocatively reopened the controversy.  It was at this time 
that the Shiv Sena also gained control of the Bombay 
Municipal Corporation for the first time and used its newly 
found influence and power to open "shakhas" throughout 
Suresh noted that while the Shiv Sena and BJP have recently 
formed a government in Maharashtra, they only received 28% 
of the popular vote.  He attributed their success largely to 
the fragmented opposition, the lack of any substantial or 
credible "third force" that could capture people's 
imagination., and to the ongoing decay and collapse of 
ruling Congress (I).   
The Congress (I), for its part, lost heavily because they 
were decisively rejected by Muslim voters who felt aggrieved 
over the Congress (I)'s implicit support of the Shiv Sena 
through the riots, and over the indiscriminate arrests of 
large numbers of Muslims in Bombay under TADA, in relation 
to the 1993 bomb blasts.  Furthermore, Suresh added, Sharad 
Pawar's image as a corrupt leader added to the popular 
rejection of the Congress (I). 
On the Bombay bomb blasts of March 1993, Suresh commented 
that there exist many theories as to its perpetrators.  The 
police, he said, immediately blamed a foreign hand.  
Regardless of this, the fallout, Suresh said, has been the 
largely arbitrary arrest and torture of hundreds of Muslims 
under the infamous TADA law.  TADA, or the Terrorist and 
Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, is a preventive 
detention law that has achieved notoriety throughout India 
for the sweeping powers it gives to the police, and for its 
highly arbitrary use in practice, throughout India.  Suresh 
estimated that over 68,000 people had been arrested under 
TADA, and that less than 1% of those arrested had ever been 
In discussing the situation following the recent Shiv Sena-
BJP victory in Maharashtra, the prospects appear bleak in 
the near future.  Suresh noted that Bal Thakre, the Shiv 
Sena leader had mentioned that although he is himself not in 
the government, that he would retain power through "remote 
control".  Thakre has already made two demands.  The first 
is for  the removal of  "Bangladeshis", and the second is to 
bar any outsider from entering Bombay.  Suresh noted that 
the Bangladeshi issue was a farce, and that at most, there 
were some 2000 - 3000 Bangladeshis in Bombay, mostly of 
Bihari origin.   
He said that what was underway was a very vicious campaign, 
and that people who have lived in Bombay for years are 
suddenly being asked to prove their citizenship under threat 
of deportation. 
In addition to the inquiry and report on the Bombay riots 
published by Justices Suresh and Dawood in August 1993, 
there exists an official, government appointed commission of 
inquiry, headed by Justice Srikrishna, a sitting judge of 
the Bombay High Court.  Justice Suresh noted that while his 
inquiry was completed by May 1993, the Srikrishna Commission 
is still collecting evidence, almost two and a half years 
after the riots.  Justice Suresh noted that in spite of its 
shortcomings and delays, the Srikrishna Commission is 
expected to arrive at the same conclusions as his report.  
However, he expressed cynicism in this regard, since the 
Shiv Sena itself now forms the government, casting doubt on 
whether the Commission would continue to exist at all. 
POSTSCRIPT: The meeting described above was held in April 
1995, shortly after the state elections.  On January 23 
1996, almost exactly three years after the end of the riots, 
the Manohar Joshi ministry officially terminated the 
Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry, claiming that it has 
already taken too long, that "calm" has returned to the city 
and that in any event, it be unwise to reopen "old wounds" 
all over again.  - Ed. 
Mr. Victor Banerjee, the noted Indian screen actor and star 
of several films, including "A Passage to India",  addressed 
a meeting organised by the IPSG on April 5, 1995, where he 
presented a  paper titled "Uttarakhand - A People Denied." 
As a long-term resident of Mussoorie, Mr. Banerjee painted a 
haunting portrait of a region whose problems, until 
recently, have remained far from the public gaze. The 
Uttarakhand region comprises most of the north western parts 
of Uttar Pradesh, encompassing an area of some 55,000 square 
kms with a population of over 66 million. A large part of 
its territory is mountainous but the ruggedness of terrain 
was not the main reason why the people of Uttarakhand were 
suffering, Mr. Banerjee said. He marshaled a large amount of 
statistics pertaining to the availability of health and 
education for the region's population, showing how vastly 
inadequate it is. In addition, the region's economy is 
completely undeveloped, with the result that most adult 
males migrate away from the region to work - mainly as 
domestics - in large metropolitan centers like Delhi and  
elsewhere. Despite the fact that the region produced an 
enormous amount of hydroelectric  power, the availability of 
electricity in Uttarakhand was woeful. 
Mr. Banerjee said that the Indian constitution adopted in 
1950 had created a state which acted like a "trustee", 
ruling over the peoples of India as a master rules over his 
slaves. As a result of this and other iniquities, groups of 
all kinds have begun demanding recognition and protection of 
their own rights, languages, etc. 
While the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru 
had promised the establishment of a special Hill state in 
Uttarakhand, and other prominent national leaders had done 
the same, none of these promises have been fulfilled. The 
demand for Uttarakhand state was a non-partisan one, he 
said, and politicians from a wide variety of parties have 
endorsed the demand. The Communist Party of India leader, 
Prof. P.C. Joshi, supported the demand as early as 1952, he 
Mr. Banerjee then turned to the politics of reservations, 
which, he argued, has played an enormous role in giving an 
impetus to the present struggle of the Uttarakhandis.  He 
said that reservations for Dalits and lower castes had 
nothing to do with their social or economic upliftment but 
was mainly a way for politicians to create vote banks for 
themselves. "The carrot of social emancipation always 
remains tantalizingly out of reach for the poorest and most 
oppressed" he said, while an impression is created that 
something is being done to help them. In 1994, the U.P. 
government raised the percentage of jobs reserved for lower 
castes from 27 percent to 50 percent. This was despite the 
fact that the existing quota had not been filled, and was 
clearly a political move aimed at increasing the support of 
the government in the plains regions of U.P., Mr. Banerjee 
contended.  The Chief Minister's plan was to fill the vacant 
jobs in Uttarakhand with people from the plains.  As a 
result of the governments new policy to extend reservations, 
students in the Uttarakhand region went on an indefinite 
strike, fearing that it would be even more difficult for 
them to find jobs upon graduation. 
Because of the police brutality unleashed upon them, the 
parents of the students also got drawn into the movement, 
and soon the protests crystallized into the demand for a 
separate state of Uttarakhand.  Mr. Banerjee then gave 
specific examples of the kind of brutality unleashed by the 
police.  On September 1, 1994, a dozen demonstrators were 
killed at Khatima, and the next day, in Mussourie, another 
five people were killed and scores more injured in firing by 
the U.P. Provincial Armed Constabulary.  Then, on October 2, 
1994, more than 10,000 peaceful demonstrators who were 
heading for New Delhi to take part in a protest, were 
illegally detained by the police in Muzzafarnagar and 
attacked.  Twenty women were raped and hundreds more 
molested.  It was this outrage, more than anything else, 
which served to catapult the Uttarakhand region onto the 
national stage.  But despite the gravity of the police's 
actions, Mr. Banerjee noted, Prime Minister  Narasimha Rao 
remained silent and refused to take any action. 
Mr. Banerjee also drew attention to the prominent role 
played by women in the struggle for Uttarakhand (as well as 
against social problems like alcoholism), and said that 
police actions like that which took place at Muzzafarnagar, 
seemed intended to humiliate and intimidate them. 
In the discussion which followed, Mr. Banerjee said that if 
the government stops treating people who are demanding their 
rights as "secessionists" and "terrorists" and refrains from 
using force, the problems in Punjab, Kashmir and elsewhere 
would not have taken a bloody turn. 
In response to another question, he said that all parties, 
including the BJP, which had once supported the creation of 
Uttarakhand, have betrayed the people of the region. 
On September 30, 1995 the IPSG held a panel discussion 
consisting of delegates from several organizations who had 
attended the Fourth World Conference on Women, and the 
parallel NGO Forum. 
Mallika Dutt of the Center for Women's Global Leadership 
gave an overview of the three previous World Conferences on 
Women in 1975, 1980 and 1985, in Mexico City, Copenhagen and 
Nairobi respectively.  She went on to explain the role that 
different women's groups have played at the four UN 
conferences held since the end of the Cold War, at Rio in 
1992 (Environment), Vienna in 1993 (Human Rights), Cairo in 
1994 (Population), and Copenhagen in 1995 (Social Summit).  
"The Platform for Action, adopted in Beijing, was a 
summation of many of the provisions won through years of 
lobbying by diverse women's groups", said Dutt, recounting 
her own experiences at these conferences.  She noted that 
over the years, a global women's movement has evolved, which 
has articulated an agenda that is not limited to "women's 
only" issues anymore, but lobbies for all issues affecting 
society at large. 
Anita Nair, of the Women's Empowerment and Development 
Organization (WEDO) explained the process by which the final 
draft of the Platform for Action was adopted.  In her 
comments, she said that the Platform is not "a perfect 
document", but marks an advance in the struggle for women's 
rights.  However, she remarked that issues such as the 
globalization of the economy, foreign debt, and structural 
adjustments were not addressed properly.  Nair gave a vivid 
and first-hand description of the specific negotiations done 
in the final days of the Conference in Beijing and explained 
how different women's organizations worked through the 
Linkage Caucus, and lobbied to get specific language 
included in the Platform for Action. 
Inji Islam, also of WEDO, detailed her own experience at the 
negotiations, on sections dealing with the environment and 
monetary commitments, where she noted that there was a wide 
gulf between the North and the South.  She said that women 
from around the world came to Beijing with many novel ideas, 
and "pushed the debate beyond the limits" set by the 
Platform for action, even though not everyone was involved 
in the debate on its language.  Her organization ran 
workshops to bring together people concerned about 
militarism, globalization, health and environmental issues. 
Sandhya Mishra of the AIPSG spoke of the successful AIPSG 
workshop titled "Human Rights and Indian Women" at the NGO 
Forum in Beijing and explained the five themes which were 
discussed at the workshop.  She appealed to people to look 
critically at the record of "lobbying" as a means of ending 
the marginalization of women.  "Lobbying is what people have 
been doing for decades, is it not time to discuss how to 
renovate and modernize institutions and underlying theories 
that keep people marginalized, in spite of lobbying?" asked 
Ms. Mishra.  She also called for a serious examination of 
the slogan Women's Rights are Human Rights - "those 
governments who recite this slogan most enthusiastically are 
the very ones who are spearheading the cutbacks on social 
spending that affect women," said Mishra.  In her opinion, 
the Beijing Platform for Action is not a plan for the 
realization of human rights or women's rights.  Instead, it 
is intended only to "create opportunities" by strengthening 
"civil society" or rights based on private property 
relations worldwide.  She remarked that there is imperative 
to oppose the pressure of the West that everyone has to 
adopt the values, methods, and definitions based upon the 
"free market economy and pluralism". 
Following the presentation, a lively discussion took place, 
touching on several different themes.  One issue that arose 
was on the particularly harsh effects that the cutbacks in 
education, health and other social services, as well as the 
Structural Adjustment policies have on women globally.  In 
this context, there was discussion on the inadequacy of the 
UN mechanism whereby the provisions contained in the Beijing 
Platform for action and other UN declarations are not 
legally enforceable even when a majority of governments have 
approved them.  Another issue that arose was the meaning of 
the term "civil society" - in reference to its usage by, 
among others, UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali, who 
claimed the Platform for Action to be a "victory for civil 
society."  Several of the panelists also spoke about their 
personal experiences in China during their stay.