February 06, 2003

The Telegraph
Friday, February 07, 2003

Togadia threatens Ayodhya repeat

Dhar (Madhya Pradesh), Feb. 6: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Praveen Togadia today presided over a saffron show of strength in the tribal town, threatening the country’s leadership with “Ayodhya-like consequences” if it did not reinstate the right of Hindus over a disputed shrine.

“My message is clear. Hand over Ram Janmabhoomi land in Ayodhya, the Kashi and Mathura temples and Bhojshala at Dhar voluntarily or we will fight to get 30,000 temples across the country which have been converted into masjids,” Togadia said in a hard-hitting speech directed at Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi and chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Addressing a massive gathering, Togadia said that after Gujarat, the Hindus have awakened. “We have identified three types of jihadis. One is acting openly on behalf of Mian Musharraf, helping the ISI and Simi (Students’ Islamic Movement of India). The other brand is secularists who may have a Hindu body but a jihadi mind, and the third is the political class indulging in Muslim appeasement. None of them will be tolerated. Mend your ways or we, Hindus, will give a befitting reply,” he said.

Dhar remained peaceful, but the gathering of a belligerent crowd running into 30,000 despite the administration’s efforts to thwart the show was a clear signal that the Hindutva wave was gaining on Madhya Pradesh from adjoining Gujarat.

The government had turned Dhar into a virtual fortress and tried to deny transport to the saffron brigade by requisitioning all trucks and buses. The administration organised a Samasya Nivaran Kendra (grievance redress camp) in the district where free meal was served, but could not foil the Hindu Jargan Manch, an umbrella organisation of Hindutva outfits, from mobilising huge crowds, largely from the tribal districts of Dhar, Jhabua and Ratlam.

As agitated youths and frenzied women shouting “Mera mandir, mera mandir” overran the town, the local Muslims sought to strike a rapport by offering free mineral water pouches. Leaders like Mujeeb Qureshi appealed to the community to offer Friday prayers in local mosques tomorrow instead of Bhojshala, the disputed shrine. “It is not that we are foregoing our claim. It is just that we want to avoid any confrontation. It is an election year in the state and not everyone wants peace,” he said.

Bhojshala, a Sanskrit university of the 11th century, was thrown open to Hindus today for Saraswati puja on the Archaeological Survey of India’s directive. Muslims can pray at the shrine every Friday, but Hindus have access to it once a year.

The Muslims claim Bhojshala is the dargah of Sufi Kamal Pasha. Togadia and the Manch contend it was forcibly converted into a mosque when Dhar came under the Muslim rule in 1334. The podium in Bhojshala from where the imam delivers the sermon faces west, the direction in which Muslims have to pray. The Manch claims a Saraswati idol, now in a London museum, was placed on that podium. “We understand that Muslims are not expected to pray where an idol is placed. So please vacate,” Togadia said.

At a press conference later, Togadia asked Sonia to take a lead in the Ram temple construction. If Sonia helps in the movement, he would support her, he said. But for the post of Prime Minister, he would prefer Digvijay to her. “And I will prefer Uma Bharti to Digvijay,” he said.

Togadia said the agitation to “liberate” Bhojshala would continue till Hindus get their rightful claim. Hindus have a right to demand restoration of their places of worship. “We are not asking for a temple in Mecca and Medina or in Arabistan. It is Hindustan, and it belongs to us.”

Sadhvi Rithambara was scheduled to address the Bhojshala pilgrims, but called off her tour as one of her associates died.

February 05, 2003

The Hindu February 4, 2003

`India’s contribution to maths creditable’

By Our Staff Reporter

Pondicherry Feb. 3. The Lt. Governor, K. R. Malkani, said India was proud of its contributions to the field of mathematics. He was inaugurating a two-week international conference on Discrete Integrable systems sponsored by the International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics ( CIMPA), Nice, France, here today.

The development of mathematics dated back not to centuries but several yugas. The Arabs took from India mathematical nuances such as decimals and zero in the 8th century. Most accountants who served the royal courts of the Mughals were Hindus and this showed how proficient they were in the subject of accountancy and mathematics.

The Education Minister, K. Lakshminarayanan, said holding the conference in collaboration with the Department of Education was aimed at updating capabilities.

The student community would be particularly benefited by this. He said the great mathematicians of the country had carved a niche for themselves in the area of the science of mathematics.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Pondicherry University, V. T. Patil, said several disasters could be averted if there was accuracy and mathematics brought certainty, precision and finality to the nuances involved in it.

There was vibrant cooperation and collaboration between the Pondicherry University and the universities in France. In fact, steps were taken to further strengthen the tie between the university and organisations in France and a few other countries through exchange of personnel and students.

The Chief Secretary, R. Padmanaban, the Head of the Department of Physics in the Bharathidasan University, Tiruchi, M. Lakshmanan, the French Consul General, Michel Seguy, the scientific coordinator of CIMPA, Michel Waldschmidt, Martin Kruskal, Secretary to the Education Department, M. Sathiavathi, and the Director of Education, G. Theva Needhidas, spoke.

Sixty six delegates from 13 countries including India participate in the deliberations. The conference would deal with the subject of discrete integrable systems in an elaborate manner.

Basil Grammaticos (Paris University, France), Yvette Schwarzbach (Ecole Polytechnique, France) and Thamizharasi Tamizhmani of the Kanchi Maamunivar PG Studies Centre, who are the organisers and scientific directors, were among those present.

February 03, 2003

The Times of India
February 4, 2003


Hindu republic 'born' in Bangladesh

KOLKATA: A 'provisional Hindu republic' was established in Bangladesh six months ago with the declared objective of forming a 'Hindu Republic of Bir Banga' having its "capital" at Shaktigarh in the Chittagong hills.
Though the republic is still on paper, a 'supreme revolutionary council' and a 17-member 'interim government in exile' have been formed to launch an armed struggle, bring about a partition of Bangladesh and form the Hindu republic comprising almost the entire southern half of the country.
Bangladesh deputy high commission officials, however, played down the development. Admitting that some "unfortunate" incidents of harassment of the minorities might have taken place in Bangladesh, deputy high commissioner Touhid Hussein described the attempts to divide Bangladesh on communal lines as "insane."
"There are people who have made such attempts even in the past. This will never be successful," he said. The closeness between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the chairman of the self-proclaimed interim government, I.J. Mondol, is known to both the Centre and the state intelligence, claim state home department officials.
VHP international secretary general Praveen Togadia said during his recent visit to Kolkata that his organisation was in favour of a partition of Bangladesh and creation of a homeland for the persecuted minorities there as well as those now living in exile in India.
The 'provisional government' has written a letter to the governments of 17 countries including the USA and India, drawing attention to the plight of the minorities in Bangladesh. It announced that the interim government would launch a "liberation struggle" from the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Hussein confirmed that copies of the letter had been sent to his office as well.
"Following the example of the persecuted Tibetan refugees sheltered at Dharamsala in India, forming their own government in exile, we too have begun this noble initial process," says the letter, a copy of which was made available to the TNN.
"We do hereby declare ourselves as a separate independent Hindu nation. Our share of land will comprise territories south of rivers Padma, Meghna and Teetash," the letter said. It urged the United Nations to "intervene and help to avoid inevitable bloodshed" as had been done in the case of East Timor.
In the letter, the provisional government described its "national" flag — bearing pictures of symbolic weapons on a saffron background — and "national" seal with picture of weapons of the Hindu gods. "Our immediate need is to secure support, help and active assistance from all civilised nations of the world," it said.

February 02, 2003

The Telegraph (Calcutta)
February 03, 2003

VHP defies Gogoi on infiltration
- Giriraj Kishore vows to press ahead with pushback campaign
Feb. 2: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today dared the Assam government to prevent it from launching a drive against infiltrators from Bangladesh.

The VHP’s senior vice-president, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, said in Silchar that his organisation would brook no interference in the proposed drive. “We are committed to the task of pushing back identified infiltrators into Bangladesh. We will go ahead with the campaign, come what may.”

The Tarun Gogoi government had warned the VHP and the Bajrang Dal against undertaking a survey to detect and subsequently deport migrants from Bangladesh. Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta yesterday joined the bandwagon, saying a campaign of this kind by any organisation could potentially cause chaos.

Mahanta, one of the signatories to the Assam Accord of 1985, said the VHP’s decision was tantamount to usurping the powers of the Centre and the state government.

“The issue is a sensitive one and a survey by any political organisation is sure to cause confusion and vitiate the atmosphere. The state government or the Centre might requisition the services of an NGO for such a survey, but no organisation should take up the task without being authorised to do so.”

With the VHP and the Bajrang Dal sticking to their guns, the Assam government has decided to move the Centre to rein in the two organisations. The state government’s spokesman, Ripun Bora, said Dispur would take appropriate action against anyone involved in such a survey.

Dismissing the Bajrang Dal as a “paper tiger”, he said the organisation did not have a base worth the name in Assam and had no right to interfere in its affairs. “We will consult the Centre on the matter. If it does not respond, we will initiate action against those who conduct the proposed survey on our own.”

Bora accused the VHP and the Bajrang Dal of trying to create a communal divide in the state instead of helping the government resolve the complex issue. “The situation in Assam is totally different from that in Gujarat, where the Bajrang Dal has a large following. It needs to know that the issue of illegal migration to Assam has nothing to do with religion.”

Mahanta had made a similar statement yesterday, saying forces opposed to the deportation of illegal migrants would raise a hue and cry over harassment of bona fide citizens if “quit notices” were to be served. However, he backed the Centre’s proposal to issue work permits, saying it would help in detection of illegal migrants.

On Delhi’s resolve to push back migrants from Bangladesh, Mahanta said the Centre should take up the matter at the appropriate level and convince the neighbouring country to take back its citizens. “Any drive to flush out illegal migrants needs careful handling. One wrong move could spoil the plan,” the former chief minister said.