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Francois Gautier on Press Coverage of Riots

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:47:02 ( 1137 reads )

Prime Suspect in Godhra Killings Arrested

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:46:02 ( 1020 reads )

Source: Press Trust of India

GODHRA, INDIA, March 3, 2002: The prime suspect in the Godhra train violence case, Mohammad Hussain Kolota, local Congress leader and President of Godhra Municipality, was on Sunday arrested bringing the total number of arrests in connection with the attack to 27. Kolota, 45, has been evading arrest since the attack on the Sabarmati Express last Wednesday killing 58 people. Police have already arrested two municipal councillors and were looking for another two--Bilal Haji and Farookh Bhana-- in connection with the mayhem that led to widespread communal violence in several parts of Gujarat claiming nearly 500 lives.

Hindus Protect Mosque in Bihar

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:45:02 ( 998 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, March 2, 2002: During Friday's bandh in Muzzaffarpur, called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to protest the Godhra carnage, a group of hooligans tried to enter the Company Bagh mosque and vandalize it. A senior police official, who was present on the spot when the incident occurred, said that when the word spread about the bid by the hooligans to enter the mosque, almost 100 Hindus converged on the spot from the nearby Goriamath and Sariyaganj area and challenged them. A tussle broke out in which quite few Hindus were injured while guarding the mosque, but the hooligans had to beat a hasty retreat in face of stiff resistance, he said. By the time police reinforcement came in, the hooligans had done the vanishing act. Muzzafarpur has the distinction of never having witnessed a communal riot. "Thanks to timely intervention of local Hindus a major incident was averted," a senior police officer said, heaving a sigh of relief.

RSS Calls for Calm

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:44:02 ( 1152 reads )

Source: Press Release

DELHI, INDIA, March 02, 2002: Shri Mohan Bhagwat. Sarkaryavah, RSS, issued a call for peace. It reads, in part, "I appeal to all Sangh swayamsevaks, sympathizers and friends who have faith in Hindutva to do the utmost in preventing any activity that would disrupt peace, like, sloganeering, stone-pelting, keeping in view the disturbed situation in the country for it would only strengthen the hands of anti-national terrorist elements. I also urge our fellow followers of other faiths not to fall prey to the instigation of terrorist elements and to conduct themselves as children of motherland along with their Hindu brethren."

Homeopathy Drugs May Preserve Art Work

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:43:02 ( 1012 reads )


LUCKNOW, INDIA, February 24, 2002: Known as sciences that cure diseases in human beings, homeopathy and naturopathy research has revealed that the drugs used to treat humans could be useful in preserving ancient and precious artifacts. At the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property at Lucknow, research is being conducted that will hopefully eliminate the use of harsh chemicals to preserve art and replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives. This article says, "Many homeopathy drugs are known to effectively cure viral and fungal infections." It is precisely these kinds of infections that plague historical art work. So far the NRLCP has tested Sulphur 30, anona (sitafal) seeds, and neem gold as part of their research. All three drugs combat viral and fungal growth as well as deter infestations by certain insects. Shashi Dhawan, head of NRLCP bio-deterioration division says, "The chemicals we use and the sprays that are used by museum chemists are known to be harmful. If our research is able to yield better alternatives they would be preferable to use."

Marriage Arranging en Masse

Posted on 2002/3/3 8:42:02 ( 1011 reads )

Source: Telegraph India

KOLKATA, INDIA, February 24, 2002: Around 300 parents of prospective brides and grooms gathered together at a South Kolkata hotel to arrange marriages for their offspring. With brilliant careers already in place, most seeking a lifetime mate were in the age group 30-35. 100 men and 150 women were presented as candidates for an arranged marriage. During the four-hour program profiles were read and pictures were showed on giant screens. Anindya Sanyal, owner of the marriage consultant firm called Relations that organized the event said, "The objective is to expedite the process of negotiation. The conventional way of advertising through newspapers, drawing up a shortlist of candidates and then meeting them individually not only takes up time but often leads to uncomfortable situations."

Killings Spread to Rural Gujarat; Toll up to 375

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:49:02 ( 957 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, March 2, 2002: Riot-hit Ahmedabad took a relative respite after four days of mindless violence on Saturday but fresh areas, including far-flung villages in the state, were the target of massive reprisal killings arising out of the Sabarmati Express killings on Wednesday. With the police in urban areas now bolstered by the presence of the Army and paramilitary forces, rioters turned their attention to new cities like Surat and Bhavnagar as well as the countryside which are left largely unguarded. The death toll in the last four days of mob frenzy has crossed the 360-mark though a state government spokesman put the toll at 289, including 47 people killed in police firing. The toll excludes the 58 people who died in Godhra in the attack on the train. Curfew was imposed in Bhavnagar and Surat after incidents of stabbings and arson in which at least five persons were killed, but the large number of killings were reported from the North Gujarat districts of Sabarkantha and Mehsana, where mobs were targeting specific villages. Tension gripped Mehsana as the charred bodies of 27 victims of Sardarpura village, burnt alive in their homes by a mob late on Friday night, were brought to the Civil Hospital here on Saturday afternoon. The victims included seven children and 16 women. Police sources said that the attack was not only gruesome but seemed to have been meticulously planned as the mob had blocked the road leading to Sardarpura from Mehsana by placing obstacles to ensure that the police did not reach the spot on time. In adjoining Sabarkantha district, 11 people were killed in massive rioting that ensued in the Chapariya locality of Himmatnagar on Friday evening. Mobs from both communities came face to face and indulged in stabbing and firing. Nine people succumbed to their injuries. Even in the remote areas of Central Gujarat, tension was running very high and villages were being attacked by mobs. Eyewitnesses said that mobs were on a killing spree in villages like Piplod, Dudhia, Sanjeli and Limbdi in Dahod district which adjoins Godhra. Reports of mobs going on rampage around Godhra for the third consecutive day were pouring in but tight-lipped officials were not willing to confirm these incidents. The whole of Machhiwad was engulfed in smoke coming out of a burning wood godown. Mobs came out on the streets at Athwagate, Parle Point, Makaipul, Majura Gate, Mahidharpura, Salabatpura and Udhana and tension was brewing in the city till late evening. Ahmedabad wasn't entirely peaceful and stray incidents were reported from the fringes of the city even though there was a distinct de-escalation in the scale of violence. Three passengers who alighted from Howrah Express were burnt alive near Ghodasar police chowki by an angry mob in the morning. In the Vatva industrial estate two laborers were found hacked to death on Saturday morning. In Bhavanagar, arsonists caused massive damage to property and three persons were killed, two of them in police firing. According to Bhavnagar SP Rahul Sharma, incidents of rioting and arson had been reported from areas like Limbwadi Sadak, Lokhand Bazaar and Kumharwad. There are more reports of violence coming from the rural areas of the state. In Gandhinagar alone nine deaths have taken place in some of the remote villages where there is hardly any security. With the violence spreading to the countryside and the security forces concentrated in the urban centers, the Gujarat government has asked the Centre for more deployment of the paramilitary forces. Some forces from neighboring Maharashtra are also expected in Surat soon.

Afghan Hindus Emerge From the Shadows

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:48:02 ( 1055 reads )


KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN, February 28, 2002: Kandahar's Hindu community has dwindled from 500 families to just five. But now, with the city at peace and the Taliban of Mullah Mohammad Omar gone, Hindus say their plight has eased. "Now we are very happy," said 43 year-old Roop Chand Batija, head of Kandahar's Hindu and Sikh communities. "We hope that some of our relatives will come back. It is safe for them now." Kandahar has been a thriving commercial center for centuries. It is set in an oasis straddling ancient trade routes from South Asia to the Middle East and Europe, and once had a thriving community of Hindu and Sikh merchants and traders. Most fled in the years before the Taliban took power. Those who stayed had to endure the Taliban, who treated non-Muslims with deep suspicion and often contempt. "We had to keep ourselves to ourselves," Batija said. "The Taliban didn't allow us to celebrate festivals in public, or to play music. We were told to wear a piece of yellow cloth, so people would know we weren't Muslims." The struggle now for the Hindus and Sikhs is simply to keep their tiny communities alive. Hindus, pray daily in their temple, which they say was built when modern Kandahar was founded in the 18th century. "Most of us are old people," Batija said. "But now things are better, we hope the young will come back."

English Football Star, Wife and Son Depicted as Hindu Gods

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:47:02 ( 986 reads )


LONDON, U. K., February 26, 2002: Celebrity couple and Manchester United football ("soccer" to the Americans) star David Beckham and his wife Victoria, have been depicted as gods for a major exhibition of Indian-influenced art. Beckham is shown sitting four-armed on a throne in a crown and robes as the Hindu Deity Siva and on his lap is his scantily-clothed wife, Victoria, as the Goddess Parvati, while their son Brooklyn becomes a trunk-less elephant God Ganesh. The artwork, by sisters Amrit and Rabindra Singh, is described by them as a "light-hearted" view of fame and will be displayed in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games which start in Manchester in June. The Singhs said their painting is a blend of traditional 17th century Eastern art and modern concepts of sport and pop. Once the exhibition has been shown in Manchester it will visit India and Canada after the games. The 36-year-old Singh sisters, both Sikh, say it's not their intention to insult Hindus. "I think it would only have been viewed as blasphemous if we were saying they were gods to be adored," said Amrit. "We are using the language of religion but it doesn't mean we are saying they are gods in a spiritual sense but in a material sense. They are figures people follow just like gods in the Hindu religion. "We take it as a positive image. They are role models. They are depicted as the ideal family within celebrity circles. It's the re-interpretation of that in terms of modern-day celebrity."

Attukal Ponglal, a Testimony to Faith

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:46:02 ( 1040 reads )


BANGALAORE, INDIA, February 25, 2002: Attukal Pongala occurs in the Malayalam month of Kumbham corresponding to February-March. Pongala is celebrated on the ninth day with star Pooram and Full Moon day (falling this year on February 27). The 10-day festival of women only in Attukal Bhagavathy temple, considered the Sabarimala of women, in Thiruvananthapuram, attracts hundreds of thousands of women from Kerala and neighboring states. On Pongala day, women gather at the temple from early in the morning. Observing strict austerities, they prepare Pongala, the sweet offering of cooked rice, jaggery and coconut, in earthen pots. The Pongala is symbolically offered to Devi, the Goddess. the festival is marked by daily musical and cultural programs. On the concluding day, they are taken out in a ceremonial procession to the Sastha shrine at Manacaud, about 1.2 miles away. The origin of the festival dates back to the period of Kannagi, heroine of the well-known Tamil literature Silappathikaaram. It is said that Kannagi, who by her wrath burned Madurai in retaliation against her husband's death, proceeded to Kerala and rested at Attukal. The local women are believed to have cooked Pongala to soothe Kannagi's rage.

Computer Dumping Polluting Asia

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:45:02 ( 1040 reads )


CALIFORNIA, February 25, 2002: Old computers are being dumped in Asia where they are releasing toxic materials into the environment says a new report. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition A report, called "Exporting Harm: The Hi-Tech Trashing Of Asia," details a group of villages in southeastern China where computers from America are picked apart and strewn along rivers and fields. The report says electronic waste is the most rapidly growing waste problem in the world, with toxic ingredients such as lead, mercury or cadmium being released into the environment. The report says that workers, with little or no protection against hazardous materials, burned plastics and circuit boards or poured acid on electronic parts to extract silver and gold. The effect was to fill the air with carcinogenic smoke and pollute the water. The campaigners said preliminary investigations in both Pakistan and India had revealed that these countries were also receiving and processing waste electronics from the West. The growing amount of computer waste is becoming an increasing problem, with millions of devices becoming obsolete each year. The report suggested that as much as 80% of America's electronic waste collected to be recycled is shipped out of the country. By publishing their report, the campaigners hope it will increase the pressure on American companies and politicians to do more to recycle computer waste.

Perth Christians Angry Over Meditation for Jail Deal

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:44:02 ( 933 reads )


PERTH, AUSTRALIA, February 24, 2002: A Christian group is outraged at a Geraldton pilot project in which lawbreakers are avoiding jail and hefty fines by instead taking Transcendental Meditation courses. Concerned Christians Growth Ministries say the meditative technique is based on the Hindu religion -- an accusation Transcendental Meditation groups deny. The meditation instead of jail trial is part of a controversial program being tested by the department for 12 months. The alternative sentencing regime uses therapy, mainly meditation, in an attempt to solve lawbreakers' problems and prevent re-offending. Ministries director, Reverend Adrian van Leon, said the meditation techniques, based on the teachings of Indian spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was proven to be religion-based in a 1976 US District Court case. Articles written by Magistrate Dr Michael King, denied the technique was religion-based and claimed it was compatible with his own Christian religion and also with atheism. The Leederville-based Transcendental Meditation center said the technique was spiritual rather than religious.

Swiss Scholar Dedicates Life to Bali

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:43:02 ( 1043 reads )

Source: Jarkata Post

BALI, INDONESIA, February 22, 2002: A new book on Bali entitled "Bali Living in Two Worlds," was launched on February 21. The book was written by a group of aspiring Balinese writers, an architect, activists and others who are directly witnessing the rapid changes in Bali. Although 13 people contributed to the book, it would not have come about without the efforts of Swiss anthropologist and scholar Urs Ramseyer. The book is a comprehensive mosaic of current Balinese society, said Ramseyer. Since his first visit to Bali in 1972, Ramseyer has visited Bali almost every year to study and help preserve its music, dance and culture. Ramseyer produced a video on the process of weaving a sacred Penggringsingan cloth used for religious functions. Only a few Tenganan people are still capable of making this cloth which takes between five to eight years to weave. The documentary was made due to concern that the tradition would be forgotten if the younger generation of Tenganan were no longer able to acquire the weaving skill from their parents. One of Ramseyer's other legacies is the establishment of Sidemen high school in Sidemen village in 1987. Most youth in remote villages went to city centers to find schools and work in tourist centers. The villages were left empty. Unlike public schools in Bali the Sidemen school set up its own curriculum that includes cultural studies such as lontar (palm leaf inscriptions) reading, dancing, singing and gamelan music lessons. The school also gives its students knowledge of traditional medicine and other traditions.

Swami Parthasarathy's Message in Malaysia

Posted on 2002/3/2 8:42:02 ( 1013 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, February 25, 2002: Speaking to about 350 people at the Lakshimi Narayan Temple at Jalan Ipoh yesterday, Swami Parthasarathy said, "All actions by the individual are their own creation. It's you who impose duties and responsibilities upon yourself and you are the ultimate master of yourself." In his talk titled "We Live By choice, Not by Chance," he added, "You cannot be a good manager if you cannot manage yourself. Self-management revolves around controlling the mind and the intellect." The management guru from Mumbai is renowned for conducting The Power of Self management seminars in the United States, Europe, Australia and India. Swami Parthasarathy said, "Your mind can cause damage. If your intellect does not direct it properly, then you may make a wrong decision. Everyone's mind is pressured by desire and expectations in the world." "Pave your way in life through individual reflection and understanding. by such continuous striving, on manifold aspects of life, you develop a powerful intellect," said the swami who spoke about higher values of peace and prosperity. He added that in life it was important that one did not choose a vocation alien to one's basic nature. "If you do, you will then become mentally agitated and as a result your productivity will fail. You will not progress in life and build stress upon yourself. Unresolved, stress can lead to ill health, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other chronic problems."

India Death Toll Rises in Religious Rioting

Posted on 2002/3/1 8:49:02 ( 987 reads )


AHMADABAD, INDIA, March 1, 2002: Chaos spread through this western Indian city Friday and the death toll over three days of Hindu-Muslim violence climbed to 251, despite patrols by hundreds of soldiers and orders for police to shoot rioters and arsonists on sight. In the worst attack, hundreds of Hindus set fire to huts in a Muslim shantytown, killing 52 people as they slept, police said. After 27 charred bodies were pulled from the ashes, an additional 25 people died in the hospital; officials said 17 were being treated for serious burns. The Hindu attacks are revenge for a Muslim attack on a train Wednesday, in which 58 people died, mostly Hindus. Gangs of Hindus blockaded roads, searched cars for Muslims and set fire to shops and homes, continuing the rampages of the day before. Victims slain Thursday lay where they fell through the night, with guns firing, fires burning and chilling mob war cries. After dawn, survivors ventured out to collect their dead and seek treatment for their wounds. People streamed into hospitals, mostly for treatment of stab wounds, but also for safety. Police opened fire at Muslims and Hindus who were tossing bombs at each other near a mosque in the suburb of Bapunagar, said Deputy Police Commissioner R.J. Savani. He said six were killed and 70 were hospitalized, but gave no further details. "All through Thursday we were busy trying to protect the Muslims from attacks from Hindus, but since this morning the retaliation has started,'' Savani said. "It has now turned to group clashes." The fiery train attack in the small town of Godhra killed 58, including 14 children; 42 others were injured, including 20 hospitalized for burns or smoke inhalation. Police said 63 people had been arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder in the train attack. The Hindu groups said that action was not enough, and called for a nationwide strike on Friday, but that did not materialize. There was little evidence of the strike or violence elsewhere, including the national capital of New Delhi, although police were out in force. Despite curfews in 36 towns in Gujarat state, there was no let up in arson, looting and assaults, prompting Muslim groups to call for direct federal rule in the state. Most of the Muslims in the shantytown of Narora, on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, had fled Thursday, fearing they would be targets of the Hindus roaming the city as police watched, unwilling or unable to stop them. But the fire sparked at 2:00 a.m. trapped sleeping shanty dwellers who stayed behind, said Deputy Police Commissioner P.B. Gondya. Seven women and eight children were among the bodies recovered. In Thursday's worst violence, 2,000 Hindus set fire to six homes in an affluent Muslim neighborhood in Ahmadabad. At least 38 people burned to death, including 12 children. Hundreds of Muslim homes, stores, hotels, and restaurants were torched or looted by the attackers. "Police can't protect each lane and bylane," said Police Commissioner P.C. Pandey, responding to criticism that thousands of police watched silently as Hindus targeted Muslims. Tensions have been growing between Muslims and Hindu nationalists who have been traveling across Gujarat by train to Ayodhya, in northern India, where the Vishwa Hindu Parishad plans to start constructing a temple next month at the birthplace of Lord Rama.

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