Sunday, September 6, 2009

India a Democracy not a Feudal Theocracy

In India WOMEN and MEN have EQUAL rights. Period. End of story.

NO religious interpretation, or assertion, or belief ,can supersede the CORE guarantee of India's Constitution that women and men are EQUAL in the eyes of the law. That equality must be upheld by the apex court and ALL courts within India's judicial system.

Any woman can UNILATERALLY divorce her husband, under Indian constitutional law, if she so chooses. She can also unilaterally marry him without the permission of religious patriarchal authorities, her father, her uncle, her male goat, or whoever.

Patriarchal Religious extremists -- Go live in Saudi Arabia or go inhabit The South Pole, if you cannot follow India's constitution. Your citizenship in India carries rights as well as responsibilities. Citizenship does not come cheap. Your male patriarchal citizenship does not come at the expense of women. Your voting rights in a Democracy demands your compliance with Indian constitutional law. You do not have superior rights, just EQUAL rights. Same as women.

The all-MALE shariat court's decision (see link below) has absolutely no force in law, is cowardly and just plain illegal, and it should be appealed by the woman whose divorce was set aide by the shariat court.

The Indian nation-state and women advocates must protect this woman's life against male patriarchal violence and help her receive justice through the Rule of Law of courts of the Indian judicial system.

Women and Men are equal before the law in India, from cradle to grave.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Garhwal Post copyright

Muslim clerics support court decision on divorce
Thursday, 13.08.2009, 11:43am (GMT+5.5)

SAHARANPUR, 12 AUG: Several clerics at the renowned Islamic seminary Darul Uloom unanimously have upheld the decree given by a shariat court in Muzaffarnagar, where a husband, Shafiqullah, from Aligarh filed a lawsuit against his divorce saying that his wife forced him to sign on their divorce papers. The court annulled the divorce saying that Islam didn’t authenticate any divorce in which a wife pressurised her husband to sign divorce papers. All the fatwa Ulema supported the decision as fully justified.
Ustad Mufti Arif said to Garhwal Post that a woman in Islam wasn’t given any right to unilateral divorce. “The right is bestowed only on man. If a woman pressurises her husband to tender divorce, it would become null and void. It becomes ultra vires for the court as shariat recognises it as God’s will,” he added.
Nazim-ul-Wali, who heads the famous All India Al Quran Foundation, described divorce as Darul Qaza, which signifies that the matter goes beyond the jurisdiction of any man-made court. “Islam doesn’t give the right to wives to divorce their husbands. “Anything that coercively promotes a husband to divorce his wife is haram (sacrilege) in Shariat. Divorce is only admissible if husband allows it with mutual consent,” he added.
The judgment is likely to have serious repercussions as mutual consent is not appropriately defined by the clerics. People are likely to use it in the exploitation of women, added a lawyer on terms of anonymity.

US, US-led NATO Presence in South Asia is the CORE Problem

NYTimes Comment #247.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu India
September 6th, 2009
12:22 pm

Chennai, Tamil Nadu India
September 6th, 2009
10:16 am

US Presence is the Core Problem
Quoting from the NYT article:
“Our policy makers do not understand that the very presence of our forces in the Pashtun areas is the problem,”

That's the crux of the problem. The US and US-led NATO are not welcome in Afghanistan. You strike us and you strike out. (see Also AP story below of US and NATO storming a hospital run by a Swedish charity)

I'm sitting 2000 miles away in the deep south of India and guess what -- I and tens of thousands of Indians feel the same way as your quote above. So do my friends in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

South Asian nation-states are perfectly capable of working together to solve their local, national and regional problems.

US and NATO have no right or excuse to be in South Asia. Being here is a neo-imperial lose-lose strategy, a defeat the size of Vietnam for Obama.

The US has long been a state sponsor of Terror in our region. The US runs a highly profitable Weapons & Terror Complex in our South Asia region, reaping billions from armaments and drugs, while sowing death, destruction -- and inviting justified retaliation.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
The Afghanistan Abyss

Sending more American troops into ethnic Pashtun areas in the Afghan south may only galvanize local people to back the Taliban.
Associated Press copyright
Charity: US troops stormed through Afghan hospital
09/07/2009 3:24:32 AM
By KAY JOHNSON Associated Press Writer

A Swedish charity accused American troops Monday of storming through a hospital in central Afghanistan, breaking down doors and tying up staff in a search for militants. The U.S. military said it was investigating.

The allegation that soldiers violated the neutrality of a medical facility follows the reported deaths of Afghan civilians in a U.S. airstrike in the country's north last week. An Afghan human rights group said Monday the strike on two hijacked fuel tankers may have killed as many as 70 civilians in Kunduz province.

Civilian deaths and intrusive searches have bred resentment among the Afghan population nearly eight years after the U.S.-led coalition invaded to oust the Taliban's hard-line Islamist regime for sheltering al-Qaida terrorist leaders.

Foreign forces are working to persuade the population to support the Afghan government after last month's presidential election, which has yet to be decided amid allegations of vote-rigging.

On Monday, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan said the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division entered the charity's hospital without permission to look for insurgents in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul.

"This is simply not acceptable," said Anders Fange, the charity's country director.

The U.S. troops came to the hospital looking for Taliban insurgents late at night last Wednesday. Fange said they kicked in doors, tied up four hospital employees and two family members of patients, and forced patients out of beds during their search.

When they left two hours later, the unit ordered hospital staff to inform coalition forces if any wounded militants were admitted, and the military would decide if they could be treated, Fange said.

The staff refused, he said. "That would put our staff at risk and make the hospital a target."

The charity said on its Web site that the troops' actions were not only a violation of humanitarian principles but also went against an agreement between NATO forces and charities working in the area.

"We demand guarantees ... that such violations will not be repeated and that this is made clear to commanders in the field," a statement said.

U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker confirmed that the hospital was searched last week but had no other details. She said the military was looking into the incident.

"We are investigating and we take allegations like this seriously," she said. "Complaints like this are rare."

Violence has surged across much of Afghanistan since President Barack Obama ordered 21,000 more U.S. troops to the country this year. Two foreign troops were killed Sunday when their patrol hit a roadside bomb in the country's south, NATO said without giving their nationalities.

NATO was also investigating last week's U.S. airstrike. The strike came despite new rules for foreign forces limiting use of airpower to avoid civilian casualties.

The provincial government said most of the dead were militants, but on Monday, the Afghan Rights Monitor said interviews with 15 villagers indicate that only a dozen gunmen died and 60-70 villagers were killed. The group called for further investigations.

"Even if all the victims were supporters of the Taliban, the fact that most of them were unarmed and were not engaged in any combat activity does not warrant their mass killing," said Ajmal Samadi, the rights group's director.

A spokesman for the provincial government, Ahmad Sami Yawar, said Monday that only five of the estimated 70 killed were civilians.

The increasingly violent insurgents have killed more civilians in bombings and other attacks. On Monday, the government said three militant rockets landed overnight in the capital, Kabul, hitting a house and killing three people. In central Uruzgan province, a remote-controlled bomb targeting a police vehicle exploded in a busy market, killing two children and wounding 16 other people, according to local police official Gulab Khan.

A United Nations report in July said the number of civilians killed in conflict in Afghanistan has jumped 24 percent this year, with bombings by insurgents and airstrikes by international forces the biggest killers. The report said 1,013 civilians were killed in the first half of 2009, 59 percent in insurgent attacks and 30.5 percent by foreign and Afghan government forces. The rest were undetermined.


NYTimes copyright

Associated Press Writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.