Friday, 25 April 2014

MINORITIES AT RISK IN PEACE TALKS: PEACE TALKS THAT WON'T LEAD TO PEACE

Times of India reports that sectarian killings rose by more than a fifth in Pakistan last year. A human rights group gave warning of an alarming increase in violence against religious minorities.The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said 687 people were killed in more than 200 sectarian attacks last year, a rise of 22 per cent on 2012. The group warned that ongoing peace talks between the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the hardline militant Islamists of the Pakistani Taliban could make minorities even more vulnerable. Around 97 per cent of Pakistan's 180 million population is Muslim, the vast majority Sunnis. Violence against Shia Muslims, who make up around 20 per cent, has been growing in recent years, much of it led by extremist sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The country's small Christian, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Ahmadi communities also suffer discrimination and occasional outbursts of violence. "Minorities in Pakistan are increasingly feeling insecure since the present government came to power in June last year," said the head of HRCP. "Peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban could have "immense repercussions" on religious minorities, he warned.

It appears that minorities in Pakistan are in danger if the authorities make peace with the Taliban. 

Digital Asian

Thursday, 24 April 2014

CORNISH CASTE: EUROPEAN UNION'S MINORITY REPORT

BBC News reports that Cornish people in Britain will be granted minority status under European rules for the protection of national minorities. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander made the announcement on a visit to the county. Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for Cornish devolution, said: "This is a fantastic development. This is a proud day for Cornwall." The Cornish will gain the same status as other Celtic communities the Scots, Welsh and Irish.

In India the issue of giving a group of people a minority status, for example, a particular caste or group of people with a particular dialect, has become a point of ridicule. Some groups come up with the most ingenious arguments to try to get themselves recognised as a minority as the subsequent legal benefits that follow. In India it is also to do with vote bank politics. Is the European Union operating a sort of caste system or system of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes or 'Other Backward Classes' (OBCs) as they do in India.

Digital Asian

Mughal Gardens Srinagar - Images of Kashmir - India Photo Library

Mughal Gardens Srinagar - Images of Kashmir - India Photo Library from IdeaIndia.Com - Digital Asian - Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved
Mughal Gardens Srinagar - Images of Kashmir - India Photo Library from IdeaIndia.Com - Digital Asian - Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved

UNWANTED MERCENARIES FOR A CAUSE?


BBC News reports that British counter-terrorism police chiefs are making an appeal to Muslim women to urge men against travelling to possibly fight in Syria. The national campaign for women to intervene follows a string of deaths of men from the UK who were fighting against President Assad's regime. Events in London, Birmingham and Manchester will see police target women to help prevent more deaths. 40 people have been arrested over links to Syria this year. Security chiefs think hundreds of people have gone from the UK to fight in Syria, some of whom have returned. 

I think this campaign is aimed at ultimately reducing the numbers of fighters who will eventually return to Britain. Britain, I am sure, does not want people who have gone to such places and gained skills in fighting and warfare returning. Can this be compared to Western mercenaries being recruited to fight in Africa for example or the CIA recruiting Muslims to fight the Russian invasion of Afghanistan? But those mercenaries probably had tacit government support.

Digital Asian

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

IMAGES OF KASHMIR - INDIA PHOTO LIBRARY

Images of Kashmir - India Photo Library from IdeaIndia.Com - DigitalAsian - Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved
Images of Kashmir - India Photo Library from IdeaIndia.Com - DigitalAsian - Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved

CRUSADER BLAIR: IT’S ISLAM, STUPID


Blair is urging the West to make peace with Putin and Russia over Ukraine and to do more to tackle Islamic extremism. Blair warns of the growing threat of Islamic extremism. Blair is in part to blame for the growing threat with his foreign policies e.g. war on Iraq. Blair it seems wants to turn this war on terror into a crusade and put an end to the new cold war with Russia. Is this Blair conceding that his policies have failed to deliver safety in the West? It was also reported in the Guardian today that a Muslim man is suing the US authorities for refusing him a boarding pass to take a flight within America because he refused to become an FBI informant. Such tactics by the authorities are creating a sort of Muslim underclass which will only increase alienation and extremism further. The authorities with their policies seem to be making matters worse rather than better.


THE TRUE COLOUR OF SAFFRON: BJP HATE SPEECHES

Narendra Modi, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, is trying to contain the damage caused by hate speeches against Muslims made by other BJP politicians. Modi is trying to portray himself as more secular and inclusive of all faiths within a party known for its strong Hindutva stance. The BJP's true colours are coming to light. 

Digital Asian

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

VIEWS OF KASHMIR - IMAGES OF INDIA

Views of Kashmir - Images of India - DigitalAsian - IdeaIndia.Com - Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved
Views of Kashmir - Images of India - DigitalAsian IdeaIndia.Com
Copyright Cooperjal Ltd 2014 All rights reserved

CONGRESS CREATIONS: FRANKENSTEINS AND THEIR MONSTERS?

I have heard that Indira Gandhi of India's Congress Party initially promoted and supported Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in order to counter the growing popularity of the Akali Dal Party in Punjab. I've also heard that Indira Gandhi initially promoted and supported the Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray in Maharashtra. Now I've heard that Congress is secretly promoting and supporting Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party. Whether this is true or not I don't know but anything is possible in Indian politics. Just as America initially supported Osama Bin Laden when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, things have a way of not turning out how you want.

Digital Asian

Monday, 21 April 2014

PARSI ZOROASTRIAN RELIGIOUS ORTHODOXY: NOT PROGRESSING WITH THE TIMES

When my aunt, who is a Parsi Zoroastrian, passed away recently in Pune, India, and her wish was to be cremated, I went to a local Agiary (Parsi Fire Temple) to arrange a priest to say the prayers. I was told at the Agiary that they would not conduct the prayers as cremation is not the orthodox way of a Parsi funeral. I eventually found a priest in Mumbai willing to come to Pune and say the prayers. The traditional way is to take the body to the Tower of Silence and to say the prayers there and thereafter to leave the body to the vultures. But in Mumbai the vultures are no longer there. So what then becomes of the bodies? I was told by some that the bodies are eventually put into mass graves. Whether this is true or not I don't know.

This division among the orthodox and more liberal Parsi Zoroastrians has been going on for years and still goes on. Children of Interfaith marriages have been refused entry to fire temples. Even Parsi Zoroastrian women who marry outside the religion have themselves been refused entry to fire temples. In one case a Parsi Zoroastrian woman was refused treatment at a Parsi charitable hospital because she had married a non-Zoroastrian and the hospital spotted this because her surname did not sound Parsi.

This orthodoxy causes more problems in people's lives than it solves. This adherence to man-made rules can ruin lives of people and causes people to leave the religion and the population of Parsi Zoroastrians is already very low as it is. You either progress with the times or then stagnate and die away.

Digital Asian

ONLINE HAVEN GOES OFFLINE: GIBRALTAR'S GAMBLING INDUSTRY

BBC News reports that an explosion and fire on Gibraltar disrupted a number of online betting operations on Easter Sunday.there were power outages which shut down the online betting operations of several firms, including William Hill, Betfred and Ladbrokes, which are based in Gibraltar. Online gambling is an important part of Gibraltar's economy with international companies choosing to base themselves there because of the territory's low taxes. The outage meant many people were unable to play bets online on a busy Easter Sunday of sport. 

It seems that online betting firms have chosen Gibraltar as their haven. And online betting in UK gets disrupted if Gibraltar is disrupted.



Digital Asian

POLITICIANS AFRAID OF RELIGION

BBC News reports that David Cameron's comments that UK is a Christian country could cause "alienation".
Writers, academics and scientists - including authors Sir Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman - make the claim this claim. It follows Mr Cameron's assertion that the UK should be "more confident about our status as a Christian country".

Whether it causes alienation or not, UK is a Christian country where there is some relative tolerance towards other faiths (although there is a growing intolerance towards Islam). Just as much as, say, Saudi Arabia or Iran are Islamic countries. Although I think in Britain, Anglicanism is slowly declining and Roman Catholicism is gaining ground e.g. Tony Blair converting to Roman Catholicism.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

ONE MAN'S TERRORIST IS NO LONGER ANOTHER MAN'S FREEDOM FIGHTER

BBC News reports that President Obama has passed a law banning all those who have been previously involved in terrorist activities from getting a visa into America. The aim is to prevent Iran's nominee for UN ambassador from taking up his post at the UN in New York.

Even Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were at one time imprisoned and labelled as terrorists.  Obama's law would prevent Mandela and Gandhi from being UN ambassadors if they were alive and had been nominated. 

Digital Asian

Friday, 18 April 2014

POLITICAL ASYLUM OR POLITICAL BAGGAGE: Costs of Invasion

Media reports that Afghan interpreters for the British Army in Afghanistan are protesting and seeking political asylum in Britain for fear they may be killed once the British Army withdraws from Afghanistan. I think the British Army does owe them some debt of gratitude for the service they have provided. But there are many in Britain who will not like all those people who provide a service to the British Army getting into Britain. This is one of the costs associated with invading a country.

Digital Asian

MANUFACTURING SPORT: INDIA WAY AHEAD IN THE LEAGUE TABLES

The Indian media is reporting on the formation of the Indian Super League (ISL) which is said to be the IPL of football and which is being promoted by some media companies like Star TV. There was a similar badminton league formed earlier - see Indian Something League. This is like your X factor for sports leagues where teams are manufactured by their owners or promoters. The media companies who run the ISL will then get good content to promote on their channels. What sport will be next to be formed into a league? What about a chess league - would that do well as a live event?

Digital Asian

National Health Service Dis-Trust: Cost of discrediting Whistleblowers

The Guardian reports that whistleblowing heart doctor, Dr Raj Mattu,  who sounded the alarm about poor care and patient deaths at his own hospital has won a major legal victory against his NHS employers, whose attempts to pursue ultimately unsubstantiated allegations against him cost £6m of public money. An employment tribunal has ruled that Dr Raj Mattu was unfairly dismissed by the Walsgrave hospital in Coventry, and suffered a series of "detriments" after he spoke out about what he saw as dangerous conditions, including too many patients' beds being squeezed together to help relieve overcrowding. 

GBP6 million spent on trying to discredit Dr. Mattu! How much taxpayers money do public sector employers spend each year trying to discredit whistleblowers from within their organisations? Or private sector companies for that matter?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Humanity in a land of harsh laws

Media reports on a incident in Iran where a convict who was about to be hanged for murder was saved by his victim's family.  Under Iranian law, the victims family have the right to kick the chair away from under the feet of the person being hanged but in this case the victim's mother slapped the convict and asked for him not to be hanged. Moments away from death but then saved by the victim's own mother. This is an amazing story.

Digital Asian

KEEPING ENGLISH SPIRITS HIGH IN INDIA: DIAGEO'S BUYING BINGE

The media reports that Global drinks giant Diageo said it will launch a $1.9bn tender offer to complete its plan to acquire a majority stake in India's United Spirits Ltd (USL). Already the largest shareholder in USL with 28.8%, Diageo is now seeking to purchase an additional 26% stake. The increased stake in USL could give Diageo an influential position in India which is the world's largest whisky market. 

Clearly the Kingfisher boss is in need of money at the the moment. Binge drinking in Britain is giving Diageo healthy profits and if the same can be achieved by them in India then they can be assured of very good profits.

Digital Asian