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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Congress hiding behind ’burqa’ of secularism: Modi

Sunday, July 14, 2013
Pune: Getting into election mode after his elevation in BJP, Narendra Modi Sunday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the downturn in economy, falling rupee and corruption while accusing Congress of hiding behind a veil of secularism to cover its failures. The Gujarat Chief Minister lashed out at Congress for failing to deliver on its promise to remove poverty and instead handing "out a piece of paper" containing a law on food security. Addressing a public rally here this evening, Modi hit out at the Prime Minister, saying he was following the path of destruction despite being among the best economists.
"The rupee is falling because those sitting in Delhi are busy looting and eating money. Congress is one stream where even the best among economists starts treading the path of destruction," he said. Targeting Congress for giving Rahul Gandhi a prominent role in the party, Modi said, "The dynastic politics of Congress is at the root of the problems faced by the country. The dynasty has crushed people's expectations. The Congress has taken people for granted." Without naming Rahul, Modi took a jibe at him saying, "the Congress' Shehzade (prince) goes to poor people's homes, calls media to look at the ruins of what were once palaces and says, look, this is what our ancestors have done." Facing criticism from his opponents for defending his government over the Gujarat riots, Modi said, "Look minutely, whenever Congress is faced with a challenge- whether it is corruption, price rise, directives from the Supreme Court, or a minister being jailed, or the rape of girls or an atmosphere of insecurity- they do not answer the people.
"The moment there is a crisis, they wear the 'burqa' (veil) of secularism and hide in a bunker," he said.
BJP has often charged the Congress with engaging in minority appeasement for votebank politics. Modi said Congress follows this act by insisting that one should not talk about poverty or corruption or price rise at this juncture as "secularism is in danger". He charged that Congress has done this for decades. He alleged that though the government had promised to bring down prices within 100 days of coming to power but prices have only gone up.
"But not even once has any Congress leader or the Congress President or the Prime Minister said that we are trying to bring it down, that we have not succeeded but we are working on it," Modi said.
Modi alleged that the present regime was suffering from a "policy paralysis" which was reflecting in its failures on all fronts.
. "Power plants in the country are shut down because there is no supply of coal. PM is sitting on files and there is no decision-making. The country is in the dark", he added.
Modi said the government's inaction in bringing back the black money stashed abroad gave rise to the suspicion that it was trying to "protect" some people and their money.
"When the country became independent, the rupee was almost equivalent to the dollar. Now, the rupee is falling and it looks as if it will reach the FM's age (in terms of value in relation to US dollar),"
. The rupee has in recent days crossed an all time low of over Rs 61 to a dollar. The country, he said, would not be free of problems "unless we create a Congress-free India". Modi, recently elevated as BJP's election campaign committee chief, said currencies of neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh had not lost value despite the global downturn.
"This is because those sitting in Delhi are so busy eating and looting that they are not bothered about the rupee," he said.
Attacking the government over issuing in a hurry the food security ordinance, touted as a "game-changer" by Congress ahead of next year's Lok Sabha polls, Modi said, "people are not getting two square meals a day. So, they have brought a law, irrespective of whether it is possible or not to give food to give the people a piece of paper containing a law that they will get food as a matter of right." Modi said the Congress-led UPA brought the ordinance instead of waiting for a Parliament session as it did not trust its allies.
"Why was the ordinance brought in a hurry, instead of the bill? It is because they don't trust the UPA partners," he said in an apparent reference to UPA allies who were not in favour of the measure to be brought in the form of an ordinance.
Some of the UPA allies, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar had openly expressed their reservations about the government adopting the ordinance route and favoured the measure, the brainchild of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to be implemented only after a thorough discussion in Parliament. Raising questions about Congress' commitment to eradicating poverty, Modi said,
"The shameless Congress party reneged on its promise of garibi hatao made over 35 years back. They gave this slogan and the poor voted for Congress with the hope that their plight will improve. "Now, Congressmen concede in private it is not possible for them to eradicate poverty," he said, adding that "Congress cannot suppress expectations of people in the name of secularism."
. Modi dared Congress to a debate on achievements during the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government's rule and UPA dispensation on issues like the falling rupee, inflation and infrastructure development.
"This government is too arrogant to bow its head and admit that it cannot check inflation," Modi said and demanded to know, "Why is not the elected government accountable to people."
Modi also accused the Centre of "misusing" CBI to fix political rivals. "It was from Pune that Lokmanya Tilak challenged the British empire. He gave the mantra of 'swaraj is my birthright'. Now, 60 years after Independence, the slogan of 'Suraj' (good governance) is my birthright should be given from Pune," he said.
Earlier in the day, Modi slammed the UPA government over scam-tainted CWG games, saying it "destroyed national honour in the eyes of the world".
"Two countries hosted two games...South Korea hosted Olympics and India the Commonwealth Games. While Korea brought honour to itself through the Olympics, our nation of 120 crore people lost its honour in the eyes of the world," Modi said addressing students and faculty at the Fergusson College here.

"One country uses sport to bring laurel to itself among the global community and another brings itself dishonour," he said.
. Significantly, Modi chose to attack Congress on the home turf of disgraced CWG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, a suspended Congress Lok Sabha member from Pune. News credits -MMonline(English)

Friday, July 12, 2013

David Headley mentioned Ishrat’s LeT link, IB says

The MHA affidavit had pointed out how Ishrat was hailed as a martyr on the LeT website and in its publication Ghazva Times soon after the encounter.
The disclosure of Headley’s statement came even as Sushilkumar Shinde said that he would make inquiries from the NIA, and suggested that the IB-CBI feud may be spinning out of government’s control. NEW DELHI: The inter-agency sparring over the Ishrat Jahan case took a new turn with a defiant Intelligence Bureau making available excerpts from a National Investigation Agency report detailing US jihadi David Headley's account about the teen's terror links. Even as a Congress-BJP political slugfest over the "fake encounter" unfolds with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asking the home ministry to clarify if Headley — who surveyed 26/11 targets for Lashkar-e-Taiba — had indeed flagged Ishrat's LeT links, the NIA extract fanned the controversy further. According to excerpts from Headley's "unabridged" statement to the NIA, shared with TOI, the American LeT operative, on being asked about Ishrat, said LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi had told him in 2005 that she was part of Muzammil's "botched up" operations. Lakhvi is currently under arrest in Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks. "I state that in late 2005, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi introduced Muzammil to me. Having introduced Muzammil, Zaki talked about the accomplishments of Muzammil as a Lashkar commander. Zaki also sarcastically mentioned that Muzammil was a top commander whose every big 'project' had ended in a failure. "Zaki added that Ishrat Jahan module was also one of Muzammil's 'botched up' operations," says Para 168 of the NIA report shared with the IB. It adds, in Para 169, that Headley stated that "apart from this, he had no other information/knowledge about Ishrat Jahan". With the CBI naming senior IB official Rajinder Kumar as complicit in the fake encounter of Ishrat and three others, the disclosure of Headley's statement to NIA appeared to be retaliation by his colleagues who are upset about Kumar being allegedly a "collateral victim" of the Congress-BJP fight. Interestingly, the NIA did not place this part of Headley's interrogation in the public domain, apparently on the ground that it amounted to hearsay. Intelligence sources, however, wonder how the rest of Headley's revelations were investigated and scrutinized while the Ishrat bit was discounted. With BJP harping on the Headley evidence, Digvijay Singh, who met home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday, complained about NIA, IB and CBI speaking in different voices. He sought to know if Headley had indeed told NIA that Ishrat was part of an LeT module. The BJP too joined in, asking the government to come clean on the Mumbra teen's alleged terror background. The disclosure of Headley's statement came even as Shinde said that he would make inquiries from the NIA, and suggested that the IB-CBI feud may be spinning out of government's control. NIA, for its part, maintains Headley's disclosures have no evidentiary value and are based on "hearsay". It has been suggested that the agency took this position on being nudged by the political authority. It is believed that Headley consented to being interviewed by NIA on the condition that nothing he says would be used for purposes other than aiding further investigation. The statement made by Headley to FBI is learnt to be even more damning. The FBI statement, as quoted by IB, refers to Headley's revelation that Muzammil, with the help of Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, had recruited Ishrat as a potential bomber. The LeT module, he is reported to have said, was planning attacks on temples in India. Interestingly, MHA's own affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court in 2007 cites Ishrat's links with LeT. It states Javed was in touch with the Lashkar cadres who were planning a major operation in Gujarat. It said Javed, who converted to Islam but secured a passport in his original Hindu name, Pranesh Pillai, had travelled to Dubai, where he worked for Lashkar. Later, he met Ishrat in Mumbai and convinced her to join him. Though the MHA revised the affidavit in 2009, it only delinked itself from the follow-up action on the IB inputs, but stopped short of disowning the inputs on terror links of the slain module. The MHA affidavit had pointed out how Ishrat was hailed as a martyr on the LeT website and in its publication Ghazva Times soon after the encounter. The postings had taken umbrage to her veil being removed. Interestingly, the post on the said website was pulled off in 2007, and an apology tendered for her being labeled an LeT cadre. This came just before Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed Sheikh, filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding a CBI probe into the encounter. MHA's 2009 affidavit said the apology was only a "tactical ploy" of LeT to disown her.
IB explains to govt about CBI hurdle to counter-terror operations
TNN | Jul 7, 2013, Sources said the role of the IB team in Gujarat in the Ishrat case stopped at collecting, processing and sharing of inputs. NEW DELHI: With the possibility of their senior officer Rajinder Kumar being prosecuted by the CBI in the Ishrat Jehan "fake encounter" case growing by the day, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has cautioned the government that the yardstick being applied by the CBI to fix the official's culpability can imperil counter-terror operations in future. Sources said that top IB officials have bluntly told the home ministry that the CBI's approach towards Kumar and four other IB officers does not take into account either the nature of their job or the operational requirements of the shadowy war against terrorism. They assert that the role of Kumar was limited to passing on the intelligence inputs about a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module that was on the prowl, and IB officials from now would be wary of associating themselves with counter-terror operations if he were to be prosecuted for murder when he was only doing his duty." We have conveyed our view to the home minister and the home secretary as candidly as we could," said a senior official. "This is an asymmetric war waged against an enemy who does not play by the rules. Government has to appreciate that no counter-terror operation can succeed if the officials were made to follow the rules which are applicable in the case of common criminals," said sources that the role of the IB team in Gujarat in the Ishrat case stopped at collecting, processing and sharing of inputs. "They did not do anything different from what was done in the Batla House case or the Ansal Plaza case, which pertained to passing on the intelligence inputs on terror plots," said the official, stressing that the IB cannot be held responsible for what the Gujarat Police personnel might have made out of the inputs passed on to them. While distancing the agency from the alleged fake encounter, he claimed that the intelligence gathering in the case had the makings of a successful counter-terror operation and would have been appreciated had it not been for alleged extra-judicial killings. Giving details of the case, he said, the IB worked on the breakthrough made by Gujarat Police's Crime Branch when the latter managed to zero in on two Indian youth who had returned to India after training in a LeT camp in Pakistan. Identified as C1 and C2 in CBI's chargesheet, the duo disclosed, IB sources claimed, to the Crime Branch about LeT commander Muzammil's plan to target five senior Sangh Parivar leaders in mid-May, 2004. Interestingly, the plan had been made on the assumption that the BJP was going to win the election and that there would be a huge victory rally in Ahmedabad around May 15 when Lalaji (LeT's code name for L K Advani) and Mubarak ( Narendra Modi) would be present, perhaps because Advani, who represents Gandhi Nagar in Lok Sabha, would be on a thanksgiving visit. The Crime Branch shared the information with the IB and they together managed to get CI and C2 to agree to lure a LeT sleeper cell to Gujarat. On his part, Muzammil did not abort the plot despite noting that the BJP had "failed" at the hustings, and dispatched a Pakistani LeT operative, Zeeshan Zohar, to Gujarat. Zeeshan, one of the two Pakistanis killed in the alleged encounter, was taken by CI and C2 to an accommodation which the IB and the Gujarat Police were keeping under 24x7 surveillance. Muzammil also arranged for the delivery of a weapon through another Indian operative of Lashkar who was subsequently killed in an encounter in Uttar Pradesh. The delivery of the weapon occurred near a place of worship in Ahmedabad with the officials of IB and Gujarat Police watching from a distance. They did not intervene because they wanted to catch the entire module, though they took the precaution of ensuring that the weapons remained in the possession of C1 and C2. "This was because we were not sure what the Pakistani would have done with the weapons". Shortly afterwards, Amzad Ali Rana, another Pakistani who was killed in the "fake" encounter also arrived. Rana who was earlier active in J&K and had even suffered a bullet wound for which he was treated here, found something amiss about the accommodation that CI and C2 had arranged, and insisted on moving out with Zeeshan. C1 and C2 promptly passed on the information to Gujarat Crime Branch who took the Pakistani duo to a farm to be kept in illegal confinement. Rana and Zeeshan were made to have "controlled conversation" — pistols pointing at their head — with Muzzamil where they were told, as coached by Crime Branch officers, by the LeT commander that one more Lashkar operative would be needed. The LeT agent who was to set out to join them was Javed Sheikh. According to sources, the IB team and Crime Branch officials had already homed in on Javed, — helped by the conversation he had with Muzamill on the terrorist leader's satellite phone from Ernakulum — they did not interrupt him until he reached Gujarat to meet Zohar and Rana. "The idea in such operations is always is to nab the entire module," explained IB sources. Javed, however, didn't come alone. Accompanying her on that trip was Ishrat, a teenager from Mumbra in Mumbai, who was killed along with others in the encounter which, according to CBI, was "fake". " We don't know whether she was also a Laskhar fidayeen as another Lashkar commander Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi claimed to US jehadi and 26/11 plotter David Headley. May be she just happened to be at the wrong place at a wrong time. But whatever happened to her can be pinned on Rajinder Kumar only at the cost of setting a precedent which would deter the IB from using covert tricks without which you cannot win against the terrorist," said IB officers.
Ishrat case: Ex-MHA official claims he was coerced into giving statement
Bharti Jain, TNN | Jul 11, 2013
There is a feeling in the MHA that the decision of the CBI to approach Mani, a junior officer, directly rather than through the ministry may have been intentional. NEW DELHI: A former home ministry official questioned by the SIT officer assisting CBI in the Ishrat Jahan probe has alleged that he was coerced, complaining how he was subjected to a "rough" interrogation and asked to sign a statement with twisted facts. R V S Mani, who had prepared the two MHA affidavits in the case, was summoned to Gandhinagar and questioned by IG, SIT, Satish Verma last month. Soon after his questioning, Mani wrote to his seniors in the urban development ministry, where he is currently posted, claiming that he was forced to sign a statement that presented facts he was not privy to. He alleged discrepancies in the facts to his knowledge and framing of the same by Verma. Verma, when reached by TOI, declined comment. The MHA, which has been apprised of Mani's observations, has cried foul against attempts by the SIT to influence junior officers like Mani. Senior MHA officials are of the view that the summons for Mani should have been ideally routed through the MHA, as the affidavits concerned the ministry and not any individual officer. Though MHA officials also pointed out that Mani should have intimated the ministry when summons were served on him, they feel he may have not been well versed with the procedures. Even his senior, who knew of his summons, did not reach out to the MHA. There is a feeling in the MHA that the decision of the CBI to approach Mani, a junior officer, directly rather than through the ministry may have been intentional. "A junior officer cannot handle tough and leading questions and can be easily intimidated. He can be coerced into framing his answers to suit the agency's line of investigation," an official said. Mani, in a note to his seniors soon after his questioning by Verma, said he refused to sign the statement framed by the SIT, as it would have gone against his seniors at the time. Some parts of his statement have reportedly been recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC without his signature. CBI has already denied coercing Mani into giving a statement. TOI

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ishrat was suicide bomber, said David Headley: Intelligence Bureau's letter

in an attempt to discredit the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his administration the government is withholding crucial facts Says BJP
When officers of India's National Investigating Agency (NIA) were allowed to interrogate David Coleman Headley in a jail in Chicago in 2010, the Pakistani-American allegedly told them that Ishrat Jahan, a college student shot dead by the Gujarat Police in 2004, had terrorist links. In February this year, the Intelligence Bureau wrote to the CBI, which is investigating the killings of Ishrat and the others, with this input -that Mr Headley had told the FBI that Ishrat was a "female suicide bomber." But in its first chargesheet filed in the case this week, the CBI did not touch upon whether the group of four that were shot dead "in cold blood" by the Gujarat Police and the state's Intelligence Bureau had terror links. This omission, the BJP says, proves that the government is withholding crucial facts, in an attempt to discredit the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his administration. Mr Headley has confessed to his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed in 2008. He has admitted that he videotaped the landmarks that would be targeted on behalf of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
In a report more than 100 pages based on the questioning of Mr Headley over seven days, Indian investigators say he disclosed that a senior Lashkar commander named Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, had told him in 2005 of a terror operation that had failed a few years ago in India- Ishrat Jahan and those assigned with her had died.
This information was in the interrogation report of Mr Headley that was given to the Intelligence Bureau. The document was also made available to the media. But in the latter, the two paras that refer to Ishrat Jahan are missing. National Investigation Agency sources have told NDTV that Headley's comments are not legally admissible in any case other than 26/11 and his account is based on second hand information; so should be treated as 'hearsay'. The Intelligence Bureau disagrees. It says it had inputs that the Mumbai teen and her associates were a terror unit, and in 2004, it was this information that the Gujarat branch of the Intelligence Bureau shared with the police. The cops who killed Ishrat and three others - 70 rounds were fired- said they had been alerted that the group was planning to assassinate Mr Modi on behalf of the Lashkar. NDTV has learnt that in March 2010, the FBI had independently warned India's Intelligence Bureau that in his questioning by US investigators, Mr Headley had said that Ishrat and her associates were planning terror strikes on Gujarat temples including the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The NDA Govt.constructed nearly half the total length of national highways laid during the last 32 years.

NEW DELHI: The UPA government on Monday admitted before the Supreme Court that the NDA regime, in five years, constructed nearly half the total length of national highways laid during the last 32 years.
In an interesting affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said the length of national highways in the country was 29,023 km in 1980, which expanded to 76,818 km by the end of 2012. This means 47,795 km of national highways was added by successive governments in 32 years. However, the affidavit revealed that during 1997-2002 (ninth five-year plan), when the NDA was in power, 23,814 km of national highways was added to the existing NH network, or nearly 50% of the total length of national highways constructed in three decades. This remains the largest construction of national highways during any five-year period since independence. In fact, during the nearly 10-year rule of the UPA government, the total length of national highways laid was much less - nearly 16,000 km, the affidavit said.
During 2012-2017, nearly 3,000 km of additional national highways was proposed to be built but the government decided to de-notify 530 km of national highways in Madhya Pradesh and 627 km in Gujarat.
The affidavit came on a PIL filed by Sanjay Kulshresta, who sought several directions from the apex court to make highways safe for motorists including making available expeditious medical help to accident victims. India has a total road network of 46.90 lakh km with a road density of 1.43 km per square km. While national highways account for 79,116 km, state highways make up 1,55,716 km and the remaining 44.55 lakh km is classified as 'other roads'. "National highways comprise only 1.7% of total road network but carry about 40% of road traffic," the Centre said. This is as per an affidavit filed in Supreme court on July 01 2013 TOI Report

Remembering Emergency 1975 - The victory of people's power!Narendra Modi

26 June 2013, It was on this day, 38 years ago that the Indian republic faced one of its toughest test in recent history. At midnight on June 25, 1975 the Emergency was imposed thus beginning one of India’s darkest periods when a political class full of arrogance and intoxicated with power preferred to destroy the nation’s democratic fabric rather than resign when their continuing in office became untenable. Personally, I have several memories associated with the Emergency. At that time I was a 25-year-old youngster who had recently started working for the RSS but what I witnessed during those dark days remains forever engraved in my memory. Who can forget the manner in which personal freedom was brutally trampled over? Who can forget the blatant misuse of MISA to target political opponents? Can one forget the lockouts on media houses? How can we not remember the determined struggle of lakhs of people across the nation for 19 long months? Overcoming grave personal risk, so many people devoted themselves to the restoration of democracy. For youngsters like me, the Emergency gave a wonderful opportunity to work with a wide spectrum of leaders and organisations that were fighting for the same goal. It enabled us to work beyond institutions we had been brought up with. From stalwarts of our family, Atal ji, Advani ji, late Shri Dattopant Thengadi, Late Shri Nanaji Deshmukh to socialists like Shri George Fernandes to Congressmen like Shri Ravindra Varma, who worked closely with Morarjibhai Desai and were unhappy with the Emergency, we got inspired by leaders who belonged to different schools of thought. I was fortunate to have learnt a lot from people such as former Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapeeth Shri Dhirubhai Desai, the humanist Shri CT Daru and former Chief Ministers of Gujarat Shri Babubhai Jashbhai Patel and Shri Chimanbhai Patel and prominent Muslim leader late Shri Habib-ur-Rehman. The struggle and determination of Late Shri Morarjibhai Desai, who steadfastly resisted the authoritarianism of the Congress and even left the party, comes to the mind. It was as if a vibrant confluence of thoughts and ideologies had taken place for a larger good. Rising over differences of caste, creed, community or religion we were working with our common objective- to uphold the democratic ethos of the country. In December 1975, we worked for a very important meeting of all Opposition MPs in Gandhinagar. This meeting was also attended by Independent MPs late Shri Purushottam Mavalankar, Shri Umashankar Joshi and Shri Krishan Kant. Organisations, parties and individuals that may not have seen each other eye to eye ideologically now closed ranks for the sake of the nation. For instance, the BMS worked together with Left labour unions for the common cause. We got to work closely with student unions of different parties. These student unions may have been fighting politically in colleges and universities but when it came to preserving democracy for the nation, they were all together. People and organisations were working with the same RSS, which was considered by many as political untouchable in the preceding years. It was as if the spirit of the 1974 Navnirman Movement in Gujarat and the JP Movement in Bihar was coming alive on the national stage! Apart from leaders and various political organisations, the Emergency gave me the chance to engage with non-government social organisations, who were also deeply concerned with what was happening in the nation. Working with several Gandhians and people of Sarvodaya Movement was extremely enriching., it was at the residence of Gandhian Shri Prabhudas Patwari that I got the opportunity to meet Shri George Fernandes on a July evening in 1975. I vividly recall a bearded George Sahib coming in a yellow fiat, adorning his trademark non-ironed kurta, covering his head in a green cloth. I had the opportunity of making him meet with Shri Nanaji Deshmukh. These were two men who could make the then Prime Minister tremble with fear. When I look back at the Emergency, I cannot but salute the far sightedness of the people of India who rejected authoritarian politics in the very first opportunity in 1977. This despite a heavily censored, biased and one sided print media and radio. Electronic media was in its pre-infant stages and there was no social media. Infact, I wonder if there was social media during that time, would the Prime Minister have imposed the Emergency at all? Or would it even have lasted for the while it did? I am sharing my book ‘Aapatkal Me Gujarat’ in which I have shared in detail my memories of the Emergency. I would like to draw your attention to Page 200 in my book where I wrote this on how different political organizations came together developing a better understanding of each other: “The gap between different political organizations largely had to do with intentional and accidental differences resulting from rejection of each other’s causes. The mindset of “if you are not with us, you are against us” had also contributed to this gap. But events had created an opportunity for every one of these Organizations to rise above their political differences and to develop a deeper understanding of each other.” Many of my young friends would not have been born during those days. I specially urge them to have a look at the book to get a broader understanding of the historical context and what is now remembered as a great victory of people’s power.