February 25, 2002


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Varsha Bhosle

Where is the outrage?

Daniel Pearl is dead. The day before Bakri Eid, we were informed that Pakistani jihadis cut his throat with a knife, then laid him on the ground and chopped off his head with a blunt weapon. It was all videotaped, and just in case the Americans missed the action or the import, the scene of the beheading was spliced together several times to form a loop. After the decapitation, the kidnappers acknowledged the gruesome murder on video, saying it was intended to avenge the killings of Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir and "other places", while a separate window depicted the "inhuman treatment" of Muslims in said places.

President Bush expressed special sympathy for Pearl's unborn baby "who will now know his father only through the memory of others... All Americans are sad and angry to learn of the murder." Colin Powell routinely spoke up for the leader of the Terrorist State of Pakistan: "President Musharraf took it pretty hard because he was trying to do everything he could to keep that from happening." The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said: "I am shocked and deeply saddened." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was "deeply saddened by the death". The International Federation of Journalists... You get the picture.

Members of the media everywhere are especially incensed by the murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter. Many online newspapers and journalists' associations have arranged for condolences for the slain reporter's family to be registered at their Web sites. A cursory scan of these reveals the outrage that the senseless murder has invoked in people from all over the world, including Indians. I, too, am furious. I, too, feel for Mariane Pearl and her unborn child. I feel terrible that Daniel Pearl should have suffered such a brutal death in his prime. And somehow, I even feel responsible. For, he had embarked on an investigation, which would have made our case against Pakistani terrorism stronger.

Daniel Pearl was following leads on Pakistani security forces' permitting hardcore Islamic groups to function despite a ban. In his report titled "With hands tied, it's a slap on the wrist", Pearl had quoted Jaish-e-Muhammad jihadis saying that the police let them run their office; he had written about an operational Jaish centre near Bhawalpur, as well as a functioning bank account despite the freeze. Indeed, an editorial of The News said, "If ever the truth comes out, that is, if Daniel Pearl survives the ordeal, it would not be very palatable for Pakistan." And The Washington Times quoted an American spook saying, "We are looking at several extremist organizations who have known ties to ISI as possible suspects." Truth: canny Pakistan-watchers knew that no way would Pearl live to tell his tale.

So yes, I feel particularly bad since, in a way, Pearl died for us. But, do I feel as outraged as, say, the National Union of Journalists (India) or the Delhi Journalists' Association or SAJA...? I'm afraid, not. Just as our liberal analysts are quick to dismiss the killings of our soldiers, apparently because unnatural death is part and parcel of a soldier's job, so do I feel about the scribes espousing investigative journalism (which is *not* an area to which Indians have *any* connection). As I see it, Daniel Pearl knew what he was doing and the risks he was taking. In fact, his wife's incredibly controlled and courageous deportment throughout the ordeal, even after the announcement of the gruesome murder, is a testimony to the character of the man and the choices that the couple made. Yes, Daniel Pearl is dead, but he lives on forever now.

Which can't be said about the elderly man who had his ears, lips and nose cut off by Islamic jihadis in Sam Samit village in Rajouri district on February 4. What does Mohammed Hussain look like now...? Did he survive the attack? How is he living? Could he undergo plastic surgery? I don't know. For, the media, which still reserves the front page for items on the 3-year-old murder of Graham Staines or the Bombay riots of 1992-93, isn't interested in the 2-week-old story. And when the media isn't obsessed by an event, you can't possibly hear more about it, let alone have it drummed into you. That is how our professional liberals, led by pinkos and the Wagah candle-holders, play their "responsible role" to control public opinion and, especially, public outrage. For, public outrage is a dangerous thing -- it is the only factor that can churn society and cause a revolution.

Therefore, it's perfectly understandable if you feel no sense of outrage at the condition of an earless, lipless and noseless Mohd Hussain. Just as you feel nothing special about:

  • February 16: Jihadis hacked to death 16-year-old Jameela, whom they suspected of being a police informer. Earlier in the week, the jihadis had killed her parents. The girl's body was found in the forests surrounding Thanna Mandi in Rajouri district; the murderers had chopped off her head and thrown it at a distance from the torso. (The Asian Age)
  • February 17: Four jihadis shot dead 8 members of the families of two Hindu brothers living in adjacent houses at Narla Bambal village in Udhampur. The jihadis lined up the people, including 5 children -- the youngest being less than 2 years old -- and sprayed them with bullets. All 5 children died on the spot. (The Daily Excelsior)
  • February 17: "Elsewhere a soldier, a militant and a civilian were killed in separate shootouts in the troubled region" (Reuters). Obviously, the names of the dead jawan and civilian aren't important.
  • February 18: An explosion rocked Gool town in Doda district, killing BSF Constable Ram Naik and civilian Gulzar Ahmed on spot. The explosives were planted by jihadis. (The Daily Excelsior)
  • February 19: Jihadis hurled a grenade at the Dak Bungalow in Kishtwar, injuring 13, including one critically, and killing one (The Times of India). I later learned that the civilian was Shabir Ahmed, a teenager, but couldn't ascertain if the critically injured person survived.
  • February 20: Jihadis shot dead an Ikhwan activist, Abdul Majid Bhat, at Samboora village in Pulwama district. (ToI)
  • February 20: Jihadis killed an Ikhwan activist, Ali Mohammad Parray, in Pattan on the Srinagar-Baramulla road. (ToI)
  • February 20: Jihadis hurled a grenade in the Asthan Chowk market in Kishtwar, injuring 17 persons, 4 of them critically, and killing one. (The Daily Excelsior)
  • February 21: A jawan and a civilian were killed when a landmine planted by jihadis went off in Udhampur district (ToI). No details.
  • February 21: "Elsewhere, four people, including two Pakistani militants, were killed in separate shootouts across the region, police said" (ToI). That's it.
  • February 22: Jihadis took hostage a teacher, Master Nijam-ud-Din, and a youth, Sandeep Singh, after kidnapping them from a hamlet in Trikuta hills of Katra area in Jammu. The group of heavily armed jihadis escaped. (The Daily Excelsior)
  • February 22: The dead body of Mohammed Yusuf Ganai was recovered from Gopalpora, in Mattan. The previous night, he had been kidnapped from his house by a group of 20 jihadis and shot dead. (The Daily Excelsior)
  • February 23: The decapitated body of jihadi-abducted Habib Mir was recovered from Gangbug Village in Sogam area. (The Daily Excelsior)
Such is a week in the life of an Indian Kashmiri, thanks to the Terrorist State of Pakistan -- the "key ally" in President Bush's war against terrorism. So excuse me if I don't get all broken up over the beheading of the American reporter. When one focuses on the tiny items on decapitations and mutilations and massacres of innocent villagers day in and day out, it's difficult to feel shattered enough to compose tributes to one individual, no matter how much column space the sorry plight of the individual may have occupied. I'll leave that to journalists of South Asian origin.

I have set down 13 instances of murder and coercion spanning a week, all of which were perpetrated by Muslims, and of which more than half were perpetrated against Muslims. So much for the "inhuman treatment" of Kashmiri Muslims by the infidel Indian forces. So much for the allegations of human rights abuses against the Indian Army made by "Indians" and their masters elsewhere. Indeed, on the very day that 16-year-old Jameela was hacked to death by Pakistan-sponsored Islamic jihadis, the Hurriyat Conference accused the army of stepping up human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir and called for a protest strike on Saturday, the day on which the 5 children were massacred by Pakistan-sponsored Islamic jihadis! But where is the public outrage against all these murders in J&K? Why's there so much sympathy for Daniel Pearl and none at all for Yusuf Ganai and Ram Naik? Where is the outrage about our own countrymen being slaughtered every day by Pakistani terrorists? I don't get it!

Why can't Bhosle let go the subject of Pakistan, you ask? It's because Pakistan was, is, and will remain India's enemy -- and not an honourable one at that. It is imperative that we grasp this fact and feel as outraged as the majority of Americans do vis--vis Al Qaeda. Pakistan's raison d'etre is to seize J&K and cause the collapse of India, and there's no difference of opinion on that between the Pakistani establishment, media and people. Towards this aim (as Arvindrao Lavakare has meticulously established over the past month, making further dissertations on J&K superfluous), Pakis will say and do anything -- and our peaceniks will only encourage them. It's these twits who have to be silenced before any strong measure can be taken against Pakistan. But, only public outrage can do that. Your outrage, not America's.

On Tuesday, The News carried an item that reveals more about the Pakistani mindset than the antics of their tinpot dictator: "Indian intelligence agency, RAW, is subjecting scores of Pakistanis, flown from Afghanistan's Bagram airbase, to sever (sic) inhuman treatment at torture cells established in Indian cities of Agra, New Delhi, Mumbay (sic), Jaipur and Brailly (sic). To extract confessional statements to malign Pakistan, the RAW in collaboration with Indian army is applying all brutal and inhuman tactics to these prisoners, but until now it has miserably failed in its bid... Five alleged terrorists, killed by Indian security forces during the Dec-13 attack on Indian parliament, belonged to the batch of 110 Pakistani Taliban ferried by India after the fall of Taliban... Indian intelligence authorities have chalked out a well-thought-out plan under which they would release photographs of these Pakistani prisoners to the international media for their so-called involvement in various self-created terrorist activities and acts of violence in Indian cities and held Kashmir to portray Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsoring state."

Such is the Paki intellect... Can anyone in his right mind believe that Pakistan has become rational and respectable?? But heavens forbid if I point that out! For, in the climate of pervasive spinelessness, truth is labelled as "hate speech" and craven whitewashing as "responsible role". That's India for you...

Varsha Bhosle

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