Friday, August 5, 2011

Human rights violations against Kashmiri Pandits; dismantle terrorist infrastructure: US Congress resolution

Congressman Frank Pallone has introduced the Kashmir resolution HR 387. on August 1, 2011 in the House of Representatives. Please see the actual draft below:


1st Session

H. RES. 387
Recognizing that the religious freedom and human rights violations of Kashmiri Pandits has been ongoing since 1989.

August 1, 2011

Recognizing that the religious freedom and human rights violations of Kashmiri Pandits has been ongoing since 1989.

Whereas Jammu and Kashmir has an ancient culture of religious tolerance and pluralism, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians practiced their faith freely in an atmosphere of mutual respect and peace until 1989;

Whereas Kashmiri Pandits are the original inhabitants of Kashmir, tracing their heritage and culture back several millennia;

Whereas Kashmiri Pandits have been the victims of documented human rights violations resulting in the severe curtailment of their religious freedom for more than two decades;

Whereas the Kashmiri Pandit population has declined from 400,000 in 1989 to a current level of less than 4,000 in the Kashmir valley and many Pandits continue to live in refugee camps;

Whereas international human rights organizations have noted the campaign of intimidation and violence directed by foreign militants and foreign terrorist organizations against Kashmiri Pandits;

Whereas thousands of Kashmiri Pandits, elected officials, and military personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks; and

Whereas numerous groups that have claimed responsibility for these attacks have been designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States Department of State: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) condemns the extremist violence, lack of religious freedom, and human rights violations committed against Kashmiri Pandits, which they have endured for more than two decades; and
(2) insists that terrorist infrastructure in the region must be dismantled and terrorists should be held accountable for their actions.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Amrita Bazaar Patrika’s historic Gallup Poll saved Bengali Hindus

Every so often strange things do happen in lives, potent enough to exert strong influences on any individual or notion forever. Any such influence may also lead to a different direction or change the course of life on the whole.

Well, we are not here to delve into Hindu spiritualism or any other thing like that but to have a discussion on a survey that changed the course of history in Indian subcontinent once and for all albeit discarded by scholars for weird (governed by self-seeking factors a lot) reasons.

The subject here is the historic Gallup Poll conducted under the aegis of Amrita Bazaar Patrika, highly esteemed daily in Bengal in tumultuous 1940s, in 1947 to comprehend the general mindset of then Bengali Hindus, anguished and petrified, thanks to Muslim League-led atrocities – whether they were for a non-partitioned Bengal or a separate homeland for Bengali Hindus.

It must be taken into account that the then British Government’s annunciation of Partition Proposal in 1947, in the days following Great Calcutta Killing and infamous anti-Hindu pogrom in Noakhali, added salt to the gaping wound of Hindus only. A substantial portion of them were not ready to live beside their erstwhile Muslim neighbors anymore while others remained bewildered. This led to further developments too.

Contrary to the clamor of Muslim League to have Pakistan, feeling of need of own homeland to get rid of Islamic atrocities started to gain ground among Bengali Hindus. However, to make it official there was the need of a strong movement and in absence of a strong Hindu leadership (as usual always), Gallup Poll performed the historical duty.

On March 23, 1947 edition of Patrika, a simple but razor-sharp question was asked to its readers. “Do you want a separate homeland for Bengali Hindus?” was asked directly and without a shred of doubt. The same question was repeated on a daily basis in subsequent issues till April 15, 1947. Indeed, there was a brief break of two or three days in the intervening time.

Result of Gallup Poll was announced in the April 23, 1947 edition of Amrita Bazaar Patrika. The result stated clearly that 5,34,239 answers were submitted till April 15, 1947. And its meticulous scrutiny generated the subsequent result. YES – 98.3%; NO – 0.6%; REJECTED – 1.16%.

Was this study authentic? This question, expected and significant, did turn up then as well. To brush aside any such disarray, Amrita Bazaar Patrika referred Sri Surendra Mohan Ghosh, president of then Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and he termed the study not only as momentous but as ‘regular and valid’ also.

To prove its honesty more, Amrita Bazaar Patrika also reported that Messer’s Gupta & Mitra, one of the most distinguished CA (Chartered Accountant) firms in then Calcutta, had certified that the Gallup Poll was ‘substantially accurate.’ Publication of Gallup Poll created an awe-inspiring effect among Bengali Hindus, British Governance and Muslim League and galvanized the struggle for a separate Bengali Hindu homeland under the headship of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.

The struggle fought tooth and nail subsequently culminated with the creation of West Bengal, Bengali Hindu homeland in India.