Friday, March 07, 2014

The Sepoys Gather Again

My take on the following is - if you want to fight for human rights in India, then fight for them, in India, as resident citizens of India.   As it is, the following from J.E. Menon on Bharat-Rakshak looks like a Leftist recreation of the sepoys that were the basis of the British rule of India.

The following is long, but one must ask, what is the University of California doing with such dubious people?  You will need to read through to know just how dubious.

-Arun

PS: on a personal note, FOIL's attack on the Indian Development and Relief Fund was useful for me. I had been unaware of IDRF's excellent work, and now I am a regular contributor.   Some may see something contradictory in my stance.  But I'm trying to fund schools and orphanages.  Several of the people who are organizing the effort described below have supported secessionist movements in India.

PPS: The National Endowment for Democracy is another CIA front, using NGOs to meddle in other countries' affairs.  This is from US Army Retd. Col W. Patrick Lang's blog, not some conspiracy theorist.   I suspect that the "People's Rights Project" is just another cover under which to meddle in India.  That it is fronted by people of Indian origin means zilch.



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American University Prepares for Riots in India

The University of California at Berkeley has set up a project to “create a policy and protocol framework for protecting people’s rights in situations of internal armed conflict and mass violence” in India. 

Their website is http://nonprofit.haas.berkeley.edu/research/acr.html#objectives
It is claimed that “The project will avoid taking positions on political questions, focusing instead on human rights and humanitarian concerns”. However, the composition and well-known records of their staff raise some concerns.


The stated aim of the “Armed Conflict Resolution And People's Rights Project”, is “creating a policy and protocol framework for protecting people’s rights”. It is set up by the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, near San Francisco.  The Center is one of two under the Institute for Business and Social Impact under the Haas School. The Center lists 15 faculty. The Center Director is Dr. Nora Silver, listed as an Adjunct Professor at the Haas School. Her own project under the Center deals with Multi-Sector Leadership and Non-Profit Networks.

The Co-Chairs of the Armed Conflict Resolution project are Dr. Shashi Buluswar and Dr. Angana Chatterji. Dr. Buluswar is a Senior Fellow in International Development at the Haas School. He is prominent in the ASHANGO which raises funds for projects in India. He also holds a position as Executive Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is operated under a Department of Energy contract by the University of California. Dr. Buluswar’s research area at the Haas School of Business is listed as “Armed Conflict in India”. Dr. Chatterji is not on the School’s list of 278 “faculty and executive leadership”.

The project lists a Working Group including Rajvinder Singh Bains, Lawyer, Punjab High Court and Haryana High Court, Mihir Desai, Lawyer, Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court of India, Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Policy Expert and South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, Parvez Imroz, Lawyer, Jammu & Kashmir High Court and President, Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Srinagar, Harsh Mander, Director, Center for Equity Studies, Delhi, Jaykumar Menon, Legal Expert and Professor of Practice, McGill University, Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, Delhi and Manipur, Sudhir Pattnaik, Human Rights Expert and Editor of Samadrusti, a human rights news magazine, Bhubaneswar, Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai.

Partner institutions include the Institute for the Study of Human Rights; Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, Columbia University, Asian Legal Resource Center, Hong Kong (holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, United Nations), Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong, Center for Equity Studies, Delhi, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, Prashant Center for Human Rights, Justice, and Peace, Gujarat, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Jammu & Kashmir, Khalra Mission Organization, Punjab, Indian American Muslim Council, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, Philippines.

Scholar-Affiliates are Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Khalra Mission Organization, Punjab, and Robert Nickelsberg, Photojournalist, New York.

The Project’s Advisory Group includes Amitava Kumar, Vassar College, Homi K. Bhabha, Harvard University, Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Simmons College, Khurram Parvez, Program Coordinator, Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Srinagar, Vinay Lal, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles.Quoting the project website: The Working Group plans to “engage with affected communities, and periodically engage with members of the Government of India and the Parliament of India”….Opportunities for Students: The project is engaging exceptional graduate students and select undergraduate students from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, other institutions, and from impacted communities in India and the Indian Diaspora in the U.S. The project will engage age-appropriate youth from affected communities in the work of creating archives, experimenting with photography and videography, and documenting remembrance.”

A Few Issues

1.    The project list reads like a “Who’s Who” of the Forum of Indian/Inquilabi Leftists (FOIL), and the “Coalition Against Genocide” (CAG), a loose coalition of groups including the FOIL and IAMC. Members of this Coalition have been associated with the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence Agency, and other suspected connections to international organizations as well as political parties, particularly the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist/Leninist/Maoist) and to Evangelist Christian organizations and their activist arms such as the Christian Aid group. There are some suspected links to foreign terrorist organizations such as the Khalistan groups, the SIMI, through the Indian Muslim Council, the Maoists in India, to secessionist groups active in Jammu-Kashmir, and to interests in Odisha and Chattisgarh. The FOIL and CAG have been studied in articles in the early 2000s, in the book titled “NGOs and Foreign Funding: Anti-National Industry” edited by Kishan Kak and Radha Rajanand a recent report by the Hindu American Foundation. In 1997-2002, Ms. Teesta Setalwad’s “Sabrang” organization channeled funds to the FOIL to develop a “5-year comprehensive research report” that attacked the India Development and Relief Fund. Dr. Angana Chatterji was a primary author of that report. Dr. Vinay Lal was the spokesman for the FOIL. The attack was proven to be baseless. The thorough debunking of that report was published in the book “IDRF: Let the Facts Speak”.  Since then, the FOIL has reorganized on several occasions to launch campaigns, generally against India and particularly against the government of Gujarat.

2.    It may be useful to remember the past.In October 2001, while the world was in upheaval after the 9/11 attacks in the USA, and Pakistani terrorism was spiking in Kashmir, the Oberlin College Trust in Ohio announced a conference to be held in April 2002, titled: “Siting Secularism in India”. The Oberlin Foundation, a Christian missionary organization, has excellent relations with the Shanxi University in China, with specific approval from the government of the PRC. (see http://shansi.org/about-shansi/history/ for a recently sanitized version). Around that time, the FOIL seemed to have received a sudden influx of funding, and started an active campaign. They hurriedly revived their dormant publication, “Ghadar” citing the urgent need to get organized and conduct a media campaign, since they expected “a loud noise that will be heard around the world” or words to that effect. In January they held a meeting in Maryland, USA. The Siting Secularism in India conference occurred just a few weeks after the events of late February 2002, with many visitors from the US, India, UK and France, most of them with Communist/Islamist leanings. The only business at that conference for which any record can be found, is an Oberlin Resolution condemning the government of India for alleged genocide against minorities.  Those who remember this, find the parallels with the present Project to be chilling. We wonder what “loud noise” is anticipated this time. Note that we have no evidence to link any of these entities directly to any violence, and are not claiming any. However, their apparent foresight and timing seem remarkable.

3.    Dr. Angana Chatterji’s activities and visits in India have perhaps coincidentally, preceded violence in the parts where she focused her activities. Examples are Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Odisha, and Jammu-Kashmir.

4.    Circa 2010, Dr. Chatterji and her US citizen husband Dr. Richard Shapiro, were asked to terminate their visit to Jammu-Kashmir. Shapiro was asked to leave India, and later denied a visa to enter India.

5.    On July 19, 2011, Ghulam Nabi Fai, Kashmir activist in the USA, was indicted in US Federal Court for being an agent of the Pakistani ISI. The indictment listed his contacts with/ funding of a woman code-named “Mary” for making a presentation before a UN panel, presenting the Pakistani point of view on Jammu-Kashmir. In May 2011, Dr. Chatterji made a presentation to a UN Panel to raise Kashmir issues. On July 19, 2011, the California Institute for Integral Studies suspended Drs. Chatterji and Shapiro, tenured full professors (he was Department Head), citing financial and other irregularities. Both were later dismissed after faculty hearings. CIIS denied any link to their outside activities.

6.    Although the project claims to develop policies and protocols for nations around the world, there is no indication of any activities directed at any nation other than India.

7.    The project claims interest in various troubled parts of India, including Jammu-Kashmir, Odisha, Chattisgarh, the Northeast, and Punjab. The inclusion of Teesta Setalwad and Harsh Mander suggest that the main interest is in Gujarat. Ms. Setalwad has several allegations filed against her in India and has sought anticipatory bail again. Mr. Mander, during and after his tenure as IAS officer, has a history of association with the British NGO Action Aid, which shares origins and close synergy with Christian Aid, which is active in conversions in the tribal regions of Gujarat and elsewhere in India.

8.    The Lok Sabha elections in India are only two and a half months away. 


Some Questions

1.    Who is sponsoring this project?

2.    Who are the Members of the Indian Parliament and other lawmakers in India that this project intends to “engage” or co-opt? Have they already been approached and have they agreed? Are they also sponsoring it?

3.    Given the background of Ms. Teesta Setalwad’s fundraising and past activities, is the Congress Party funding this enterprise as well?

4.    Why are such Protocols and Policies for India, the largest sovereign democracy in the world, being developed in America, and by a group that has a clearly one-sided political bias and record?

5.    Why is a person whose primary employment is with a US Federal Laboratory focused on bringing science to public welfare, engaged in such a project which has clear overtones and undertones of interfering in the politics/public policy dealing with internal armed conflict of a friendly foreign nation?

6.    Why is this project within Dr. Buluswar’s or the LBNL’s mandate?

7.    Why is this project dealing with making protocols for armed conflict, sited within a Business School?

8.    Why is the staffing of such a project done exclusively with people who have such a colored record, with no effort to strike a balance between law enforcement interests and secessionist/subversive interests?

9.    Is the University of California, Berkeley, aware of Dr. Angana Chatterji’s prior activities involving Kashmir and the United Nations, among others?


APPENDIX: Quotes from the website
http://nonprofit.haas.berkeley.edu/research/acr.html#Network

“This project seeks to create a policy and protocol framework for protecting people’s rights in situations of internal armed conflict and mass violence. Interdisciplinary in practice and rooted in local knowledge, this project seeks to define steps in conflict resolution through capacity building for psychosocial healing and the amelioration of abuses. In so doing, we contend with the condition of violence and the contested terrain of human rights and transitional justice.

India serves as a case in point, given that several diverse parts of the country are beset by armed conflict. Civilian populations—especially children, youth, women and minorities—suffer in the absence of adequate governance, access to responsible development, and the preservation of human rights.

The National Human Rights Commission of India, in its submission to the UN Human Rights Council for India’s Second Universal Periodic Review (2008), stated: “There are inordinate delays in the provision of justice... There is still no national action plan for human rights.”

Drawing on international, regional, and local expertise, the project aims to develop two inter-related but separate outputs: a Policy document and several Protocols.

Contemporary conflicts and transitional contexts will inform the development of this policy and the protocols.

The regions of Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, and Chhattisgarh are differently but persistently affected by conflict, with conflict-related issues intermittently occurring in Punjab. Additionally, areas such as Gujarat and Odisha have been impacted by far-reaching violence on minority communities in recent history.

These conflicts are spurred by a myriad of issues, including cultural and communal identity, religionization, self-determination, and economic empowerment. Such conflicts can have far-reaching human impact and lead to intense psychosocial and economic suffering of civilian populations in the affected areas, collapse of responsible governance, development, and social protection mechanisms, and can also have a broader disruptive effect impacting national, regional, and global security.

The importance of this project lies in the fact that nothing close to a policy framework with attendant protocols currently exists in India that protects civilians and their rights in areas of armed conflict and mass violence, in a way that is consistent with India’s legal, ethical, and constitutional obligations, even as brutal conflicts and suffering continue.

If such a policy framework is adopted in India, and appropriate technical protocols are implemented with the aid and participation of civil society and affected populations, it would serve as a model for other countries.”

Objectives

In the development of the Policy and Protocols, this project will focus on questions of transitional and transformative justice.

These questions pertain to issues of access to justice and conflict resolution; accountability and human rights; governance and the rule of law; gendered violence; minority rights; religious freedom; memory and healing; commitment to nonviolence; mechanisms for restitution and redressal; and people’s rights and humanitarian considerations during and after conflict; as well as multi-sectoral approaches, including involving education technology and social enterprise, toward inclusive development.

Policy and Protocols:

The Policy will be a document proposing a general course of action with the long-term goal of justice and stability across the country.

The Protocols --blueprints of standards and steps for accountability and reparation pertaining to healing through reparatory, transitional, and transformative justice in areas of current conflict and post-conflict--will be specific to the issues presented by various conflicts in India. Topics of the protocols will include:

•    Gendered violence and human rights during armed conflict and massified violence.
•    Casualties and missing persons.
•    Supporting survivors through holding all parties to the conflict accountable (army, paramilitary, police, and non-state armed groups).
•    Impunity laws and failures of legal justice.
•    Historical dialogue and alliance-building.
•    Social trauma, memory, and psychosocial restitution.
•    Humanitarian and socioeconomic development, such as women’s health, and access to education.

In the course of producing these outputs, the project will involve those affected by conflict in conceiving redress. It will initiate cross-cultural dialogue. The project will facilitate remembrance and documentation, and undertake to create an archive and web-based memorialization installations. It will involve progressive civil society and the next generation in India, the Diaspora, and the global community in dialogue on peace, nonviolence, and justice. The project will initiate pilot processes through which to identify mechanisms for psychosocial restitution and humanitarian efforts.

The project will draw on diverse and plural imaginations of rights and justice in local, customary, and global traditions, in creating a framework for acknowledgement and remorse, accountability and justice, and healing and restitution.

The project will avoid taking positions on political questions, focusing instead on human rights and humanitarian concerns.”

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An old news report on Angana Chatterji:


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