Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Fight against ISIS

Ever since ISIS terrorists stuck Paris, France’s President Francois Hollande is on a mission to form a coalition against ISIS. He has met UK’s PM David Cameron, USA’s President Barack Obama, Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi, Germany‘s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. France wants to withdraw its soldiers from Mali and other African countries. Germany has agreed to send 650 soldiers to Mali.
Many countries claim to fight against ISIS but their fight is token. USA’s fight against ISIS is a farce and meant to hoodwink American people. USA and allies wanted to get rid of Bashar Al Assad and they encouraged all types of terrorist against Syria. When many in USA questioned arming Islamic terrorists hostile to USA, USA stopped openly supporting them. USA claims it is against terrorism but abets, finances, sponsors and trains terrorists against Syria and calls them freedom fighters. It claims to have spent 500 million dollars to trains fighters but says most of them were captured or killed by Al Nusra or ISIS. Turkey buys oil from ISIS. USA did not prevent it. They did not bomb oil tankers. Their excuse is that they don’t want to kill drivers and send them messages. Kurds have Peshmerga which fights ISIS but USA does not give them sufficient weapons to fight ISIS. It tells Iraq not to use Shias in fight against ISIS but Sunnis. It did not bomb ISIS training centre for 15 months. France bombed it. Israel is on the side of ISIS. Gulf countries pretend to fight ISIS.
ISIS has used internet to recruit terrorists and use them to carry out terror attacks in their countries. They don’t have to travel to ISIS territory.
Hacktivists of Anonymous have come forward to disable web sites of ISIS. How far they are successful is not known.
Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian plane and subsequent death of a Russian pilot and a Russian marine has complicated matters. Putin called the act a stab in the back and warned of serious consequences. Turkey claims the plane violated Turkish air space. Russia claims the plane was in Syrian air space. The plane crashed in Syria. Turkey is a NATO member. Iran claims it saved another Russian pilot.
Till a few days back France was against Russian intervention in Syria. Now it wants Russia’s help.
Schools and Metro were closed in Brussels for three days. Football matches were cancelled in Germany and Spain. There is talk of doing away with passport-free travel in Schengen Area and having border controls.
If France wants to win against ISIS it cannot be ambivalent and ambiguous about its allies. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius first talked about Syrian Army as an ally against ISIS. Later he backtracked and said Syrian Army after the removal of Bashar Al Assad.
To confront the problem of Islamic terrorism people have to accept the problem exists. The terrorists claim they are Muslims and carry out terrorist acts in the name of Islam. They quote certain passages of Quran in their defence. To say these people are not Muslims and their acts are betrayal of Islam is to deny the problem.
Two of the terrorists had come from Syria and that had created a backlash against refugees from Syria and other countries. Even before the terror attacks there was hostility towards refugees and Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia had begun fencing and border controls.
USA’s invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the rise of ISIS. Actions of USA and allies in Libya and other countries led to the spread of ISIS. France and UK bombed Libya and removed Gaddafi and after that it has been anarchy in Libya. Many African refugees came to Europe through Libya.
In 2011 there was talk of Arab Spring and Obama told some friendly leaders to quit. Hosni Mubarak quit in Egypt. Elections followed. Mohammed Morsi’s government was toppled by army. In Yemen it was civil war and foreign invasion. In Bahrain the government refused to introduce democracy and USA forgot about it. Bashar Al Assad is not an ally of USA. He refused to quit. Russia and China vetoed NATO attempts to bring Syria under no-fly zone.
ISIS burst into international prominence in June 2014 when it captured Mosul. The victory was not due to any bravery of ISIS soldiers but corruption of Iraqi army’s officers. They did not fight. They took money and left. Iraqi soldiers surrendered uniforms and weapons. Bank robbery, abductions and oil wells got much income for ISIS.
Ground troops are needed to defeat ISIS. Ground troops of Peshmerga, Russia, France, Syria, Iraq and Iran can defeat ISIS and win back the territory.

BJP loses in Bihar

Exit polls had predicted different results for Bihar elections. Chanakya had predicted clear victory for BJP. Other exit polls had either predicted victory for Grand Alliance or BJP-led NDA or said the contest was very close. Most agreed that BJP will be the single largest party. When the counting began on 5/11/2015 initially BJP was leading and BJP members celebrated with bursting of firecrackers. Soon the trend reversed and it was gloom for BJP.
Final result is RJD 80, JD (U) 71, Congress 27 in Grand Alliance, and BJP 53, LJP 2, RSLP 2, HAM 1 in NDA. CPI-ML won 3 seats. Others won 4 seats. BSP, SP, NCP and MIM did not win any seat.
There are many reasons for BJP’s defeat. Most important was wrong candidate selection. Right candidates, some of them sitting MLAs, did not get tickets. That angered many BJP volunteers and they did not work for the party.
Beef controversy damaged BJP. In 2014 Modi had talked against pink revolution and opposed export of beef. Various statements about cow and beef turned many people against BJP. After becoming PM, Modi had talked of 1200 years of slavery.
Not keeping the promises made during Lok Sabha elections hurt BJP. Expectations were high. They were not met. BJP looked like Congress. MNREGA continued. Businessmen were disappointed. Youth did not get jobs.
Price of toor dal went above 200 rupees per kg. Prices of some other essential commodities went up.
There was talk of intolerance. Many authors, film persons, scientist and historians returned their awards. Some of the statements made by BJP leaders or members of Sangh Pariwar alienated many people.
Prashant Kishor was strategist for Modi in 2014. This time he was strategist for Nitish. That helped Nitish.
It is difficult to say how much Mohan Bhagwat’s talk on rethink on reservations damaged BJP. BJP leaders had said there is no rethink. After the loss Hukumdev Yadav and Jitan Ram Manjhi blamed Mohan Bhagwat.
The combination of RJD, JD (U) and Congress resulted in consolidation of their votes and they benefitted and BJP and allies lost. It began during by-elections after Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Only achievement Modi government can talk of is India’s rank in ease of doing business went up from 142 to 130.
Modi government has disappointed its supporters and some have turned critics. Arun Shourie’s criticism was brushed off as disgruntlement of someone who did not become minister. Home Ministry has a case against Subramanian Swamy under IPC 153A for his book Terrorism in India. BJP has done its best to lose friends and offend people.
Modi’s dream of Congress-Free India is shattered. In Bihar Congress tally went up from 4 to 27.
How long Grand Alliance will function smoothly remains to be seen. RJD has more seats than JD(U) and it is just a matter of time before CM aspirants in RJD including Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav will put forth their claims. There will be many claimants for ministerial posts. Congress will be disappointed if it does not get any portfolio.
BJP says its vote share is intact. Its loss is due to arithmetic of JD (U), RJD and Congress coming together. After Delhi loss also BJP claimed its vote share is intact. In Bihar BJP did not do as badly as in Delhi.
Voting should have been held on a single day in Bihar instead in 5 phases with long gaps in between. Prolonged election campaign resulted in vicious comments. Election Commission should stop making elections a never ending story.

Intolerant India

These days many people speak about growing intolerance in India as if one bad day India suddenly became intolerant.  They hold the Modi government responsible.  Some have returned their awards.  BJP members have spoken against such people.  They say it is a conspiracy and manufactured rebellion.

India had always been intolerant.  In 185 BC Pushyamithra Shunga murdered Brihadratha and became ruler of Magadha.  He persecuted Buddhists and forced them to become Hindus.  Mihirakula (Ruler 515-530) and Shashanka (Ruler 590-625) persecuted Buddhists and forced them to become Hindus.

Many Jains are intolerant.  They don’t want others to eat meat, fish, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, honey etc.  They want ban on sale and eating of meat during Paryushan.

When khap panchayats murdered young couples no one returned awards.  Such murders continue.  Congress MP Naveen Jindal justified khap panchayats saying they went back to the time of Ashoka.  Riots take place.  No one returns awards.  Most of the riots took place when Congress was in power.  Rajiv Gandhi justified Sikh massacre by saying when a big tree falls the earth shakes.  Manmohan Singh’s apology many years later has no meaning.

Dalit women have been stripped naked and paraded in villages.  Some of them have been sarpanchs.  No one returned awards.

Those who returned awards include authors, historians, film persons and scientists.  Film persons returned their awards after FTII students strike flopped after 140 days.  The strike was against appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTII because he was BJP person.  Some said he did not have the stature to become FTTI chairman.  There were no protests when U. R. Anantamurthy who was hostile to Narendra Modi was made FTTI chairman or Leela Samson was made CBFC chairperson.

Shyam Benegal, Madhur Bhandarkar, Raveena Tandon, Anil Kapoor and some others have said awards should not be returned as they are given by the country.  Anupam Kher has spoken against people who returned awards and has organised a march opposed to Congress march.

Karan Thapar, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Nidhi Razdan and some other journalists have been against Modi.  Law and order is a state subject.  Yet such journalists blame Modi for everything; want Modi to speak of everything.  BJP spokespersons like Shaina NC do a bad job in defending Modi.  Law and order in Delhi is a union subject and central government is responsible.  When rapes take place in Delhi these journalists do not question central government.

Nayantara Sahgal who returned Sahitya Akademi Award did not speak against mass murder of Sikhs in 1984 and accepted the award in 1986 when Rajiv Gandhi was PM.

President Pranab Mukherjee spoke thrice in recent days about tolerance and pluralism.  During his public life he had many occasions to speak about tolerance and pluralism.  He did not speak.

No one returned awards in 2008 when Kandhamal riots took place and churches were damaged in Mangalore.  There was no outrage when in Kerala a professor’s hand was cut off.

No one returned awards when Taslima Nasreen was physically attacked or a serial based on her book was prevented from telecast.

There is discrimination against Dalits.  No one returns awards.

Congress governments passed laws banning cow slaughter.  Congress governments passed anti-Christian laws in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.  Congress governments have banned books and films.  Congress-NCP government banned dance bars in Bombay and many dancers became unemployed.  No one returned awards.  I am not in favour of drinking of alcoholic beverages but since bars were permitted dancers should not have been deprived of employment.

Shah Rukh Khan talked of intolerance and BJP leaders attacked him.  They said he should go to Pakistan.  Shiv Sena, which some years back was against Shah Rukh Khan for his statement in favour of Pakistani players in IPL, came to Shah Rukh Khan’s defence more out of spite for BJP than love for Shah Rukh Khan.  Even Anupam Kher who is generally against people who talk of intolerance took Shah Rukh Khan’s side.

Manmohan Singh spoke against intolerance and murder of thinkers.  Narendra Dabholkar’s murder took place when he was PM and Prithviraj Chavan was CM.

BJP has said many who talk of intolerance are Congress or Left supporters and their outrage is selective and hypocritical.

Modi government has countered people who have talked of intolerance but it has a problem facing it.  Ex-servicemen are angry that One Rank One Pension is not notified and have planned to return medals to collectors on a single day in all districts of India.  Ex-servicemen outside India will return medals to diplomatic missions.  If that happens Modi government will lose many votes in future.

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