Saturday, October 23, 2010

WikiLeaks' Assange Candidate for 2011 Nobel Peace Prize ? YES

I would like to propose the name of Julian Assange, Founder of WikiLeaks, for Nobel Peace Prize 2011, Oslo are you listening? More important, are you reading those leaks that expose US war crimes? Expose Iran war Crimes? Expose Iraq war crimes?

This is not just worthy of a Pulitzer. It's worthy of a Nobel. You heard the recommendation here first folks. Bigger than The Pentagon papers, which the NYTimes also published. I scooped it, in all humility, because Assange is enormously ethical.
WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Chased by Turmoil
Published: October 23, 2010

NYTimes copyright

WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Chased by Turmoil
Published: October 23, 2010

LONDON — Julian Assange moves like a hunted man. In a noisy Ethiopian restaurant in London’s rundown Paddington district, he pitches his voice barely above a whisper to foil the Western intelligence agencies he fears.

He demands that his dwindling number of loyalists use expensive encrypted cellphones and swaps his own as other men change shirts. He checks into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends.

“By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I’ve wound up in an extraordinary situation,” Mr. Assange said over lunch last Sunday, when he arrived sporting a woolen beanie and a wispy stubble and trailing a youthful entourage that included a filmmaker assigned to document any unpleasant surprises.

In his remarkable journey to notoriety, Mr. Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks whistle-blowers’ Web site, sees the next few weeks as his most hazardous. Now he is making his most brazen disclosure yet: 391,832 secret documents on the Iraq war. He held a news conference in London on Saturday, saying that the release “constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.”

Twelve weeks earlier, he posted on his organization’s Web site some 77,000 classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.

Much has changed since 2006, when Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, used years of computer hacking and what friends call a near genius I.Q. to establish WikiLeaks, redefining whistle-blowing by gathering secrets in bulk, storing them beyond the reach of governments and others determined to retrieve them, then releasing them instantly, and globally.

Now it is not just governments that denounce him: some of his own comrades are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior, and a nearly delusional grandeur unmatched by an awareness that the digital secrets he reveals can have a price in flesh and blood.

Several WikiLeaks colleagues say he alone decided to release the Afghan documents without removing the names of Afghan intelligence sources for NATO troops. “We were very, very upset with that, and with the way he spoke about it afterwards,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, a core WikiLeaks volunteer and a member of Iceland’s Parliament. “If he could just focus on the important things he does, it would be better.”

He is also being investigated in connection with accusations of rape and molestation involving two Swedish women. Mr. Assange denied the allegations, saying the relations were consensual. But prosecutors in Sweden have yet to formally approve charges or dismiss the case eight weeks after the complaints against Mr. Assange were filed, damaging his quest for a secure base for himself and WikiLeaks. Though he characterizes the claims as “a smear campaign,” the scandal has compounded the pressures of his cloaked life.

“When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a book, the realization dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little more stressful than you would like,” he said over the London lunch.

Exposing Secrets

Mr. Assange has come a long way from an unsettled childhood in Australia as a self-acknowledged social misfit who narrowly avoided prison after being convicted on 25 charges of computer hacking in 1995. History is punctuated by spies, defectors and others who revealed the most inflammatory secrets of their age. Mr. Assange has become that figure for the Internet era, with as yet unreckoned consequences for himself and for the keepers of the world’s secrets.

“I’ve been waiting 40 years for someone to disclose information on a scale that might really make a difference,” said Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed a 1,000-page secret study of the Vietnam War in 1971 that became known as the Pentagon Papers.

Mr. Ellsberg said he saw kindred spirits in Mr. Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old former Army intelligence operative under detention in Quantico, Va., suspected of leaking the Iraq and Afghan documents.

“They were willing to go to prison for life, or be executed, to put out this information,” Mr. Ellsberg said.

Underlying Mr. Assange’s anxieties is deep uncertainty about what the United States and its allies may do next. Pentagon and Justice department officials have said they are weighing his actions under the 1917 Espionage Act. They have demanded that Mr. Assange “return” all government documents in his possession, undertake not to publish any new ones and not “solicit” further American materials.

Mr. Assange has responded by going on the run, but has found no refuge. Amid the Afghan documents controversy, he flew to Sweden, seeking a residence permit and protection under that country’s broad press freedoms. His initial welcome was euphoric.

“They called me the James Bond of journalism,” he recalled wryly. “It got me a lot of fans, and some of them ended up causing me a bit of trouble.”

In late September, he left Stockholm for Berlin. A bag he checked on the almost empty flight disappeared, with three encrypted laptops. It has not resurfaced; Mr. Assange suspects it was intercepted. From Germany, he traveled to London, wary at being detained on arrival. Iceland, a country with generous press freedoms , has also lost its appeal, with Mr. Assange concluding that its government is too easily influenced by Washington.

He faces attack from within, too.

After the Sweden scandal, strains within WikiLeaks reached a breaking point, with some of Mr. Assange’s closest collaborators publicly defecting. The New York Times spoke with dozens of people who have worked with and supported him in Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Britain and the United States. What emerged was a picture of the founder of WikiLeaks as its prime innovator and charismatic force but as someone whose growing celebrity has been matched by an increasingly dictatorial, eccentric and capricious style.

Internal Turmoil

Effectively, as Mr. Assange pursues his fugitive’s life, his leadership is enforced over the Internet. Even remotely, his style is imperious. When Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland, questioned Mr. Assange’s judgment over a number of issues in an online exchange last month, Mr. Assange was uncompromising. “I don’t like your tone,” he said, according to a transcript. “If it continues, you’re out.”

Mr. Assange cast himself as indispensable. “I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest,” he said. “If you have a problem with me,” he told Mr. Snorrason, using an expletive, he should quit.

In an interview about the exchange, Mr. Snorrason’s conclusion was stark. “He is not in his right mind,” he said. In London, Mr. Assange was dismissive of all those who have criticized him. “These are not consequential people,” he said.

“About a dozen” disillusioned volunteers have left recently, said Smari McCarthy, an Icelandic volunteer who has distanced himself in the recent turmoil. In late summer, Mr. Assange suspended Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a German who had been the WikiLeaks spokesman under the pseudonym Daniel Schmitt, accusing him of unspecified “bad behavior.” Many more activists, Mr. McCarthy said, are likely to follow.

Mr. Assange denied that any important volunteers had quit, apart from Mr. Domscheit-Berg. But further defections could paralyze an organization that Mr. Assange says has 40 core volunteers and about 800 mostly unpaid followers to maintain a diffuse web of computer servers and to secure the system against attack — to guard against the kind of infiltration that WikiLeaks itself has used to generate its revelations.

Mr. Assange’s detractors also accuse him of pursuing a vendetta against the United States. In London, Mr. Assange said America was an increasingly militarized society and a threat to democracy. Moreover, he said, “we have been attacked by the United States, so we are forced into a position where we must defend ourselves.”

Even among those challenging Mr. Assange’s leadership style, there is recognition that the intricate computer and financial architecture WikiLeaks uses to shield it against its enemies has depended on its founder. “He’s very unique and extremely capable,” said Ms. Jonsdottir, the Icelandic lawmaker.

A Rash of Scoops

Before posting the documents on Afghanistan and Iraq, WikiLeaks enjoyed a string of coups.

Supporters were thrilled when the organization posted documents on the Guantánamo Bay detention operation, Sarah Palin’s e-mail, reports of extrajudicial killings in Kenya and East Timor, the membership rolls of the neo-Nazi British National Party and a combat video showing American Apache helicopters in Baghdad in 2007 gunning down at least 12 people, including two Reuters journalists.

But now, WikiLeaks has been met with new doubts. Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have joined the Pentagon in criticizing the organization for risking people’s lives by publishing war logs identifying Afghans working for the Americans or acting as informers.

A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan using the pseudonym Zabiullah Mujahid said in a telephone interview that the Taliban had formed a nine-member “commission” after the Afghan documents were posted “to find about people who are spying.” He said the Taliban had a “wanted” list of 1,800 Afghans and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided.

“After the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about such people,” he said.

Mr. Assange defended posting unredacted documents, saying he balanced his decision “with the knowledge of the tremendous good and prevention of harm that is caused” by putting the information into the public domain. “There are no easy choices on the table for this organization,” he said.

But if Mr. Assange is sustained by his sense of mission, faith is fading among his fellow conspirators. His mood was caught vividly in an exchange on Sept. 20 with another senior WikiLeaks figure. In an encrypted online chat, a transcript of which was passed to The Times, Mr. Assange was dismissive of his colleagues. He described them as “a confederacy of fools,” and asked his interlocutor, “Am I dealing with a complete retard?”

In London, Mr. Assange was angered when asked about the rifts. He responded testily to questions about WikiLeaks’s opaque finances, Private Manning’s fate and WikiLeaks’s apparent lack of accountability to anybody but himself, calling the questions “cretinous,” “facile” and reminiscent of “kindergarten.”

Mr. Assange has been equivocal about Private Manning, talking in late summer as though the soldier was unavoidable collateral damage, much like the Afghans named as informers in the secret Pentagon documents.

But in London, he took a more sympathetic view, describing Private Manning as a “political prisoner” facing a jail term of up to 52 years, without confirming that he was the source of the disclosed war logs. “We have a duty to assist Mr. Manning and other people who are facing legal and other consequences,” Mr. Assange said.

Mr. Assange’s own fate seems as imperiled as Private Manning’s. His British visa will expire early next year. When he left the London restaurant at twilight, heading into the shadows, he declined to say where he was going. The man who has put some of the world’s most powerful institutions on his watch list was on the move again.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, and Dexter Filkins from Kabul, Afghanistan.
A version of this article appeared in print on October 24, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition.

Friday, October 22, 2010

US/CIA Impedes South Asia's Efforts To Find Place In The Global Social Justice Order

US/CIA Impedes South Asia's Efforts to Find a Place in the Global Social Justice Order
The US Govt's foreign policy imperatives, which are, as always, driven and directed by the CIA, are seriously impeding efforts by neighbor states' attempts to find its rightful place in the Global Social Justice Order.

The out-of the-box thinking needed is really just common sense. India-Pak AMITY/UNITY is the need of the hour. But the US will not allow this to happen.

Out-of-the-Box Thinking -- Is it Out of Reach?

The "out-of-the-box" thinking we need in the South Asia context, pragmatically speaking, is out of reach for the foreseeable future. Why?

1. The US has gained "strategic depth" in South Asia. The US is now firmly entrenched in Afghanistan and Pakistan and has a brand-name, AkPak, to underscore its entrenchment.

Q. Who can get the US out of South Asia? Not India, certainly not Pakistan, and certainly not Afghanistan.

2. The US has therefore secured a geopolitical advantage in South Asia, on the Pak-Afghan border, from where it can a) monitor and threaten Iran, b) stand within striking distance of Russia, 3) monitor the underbelly of several republics that once formed the USSR. ALL these sovereign nation-states are resource-rich in oil and natural gas. Afghanistan is bursting at the seams with minerals estimated in the trillions, according to a recent New York Times report quoting the US. Geological Survey.

3. The US "strategic depth" achievement, at the cost of the entire South Asia region, is a direct consequence of activities by the US since the early 1950's to turn Pakistan into a DEPENDENT client-state. The US State Department had carefully fostered Pakistan as a dependent client-state (Israel in contrast is a DOMINANT client-state of the US), during its own invented Cold War against the Soviets.

Pakistan, weakened by Partition, especially forced separation of Muslims from their Muslim brother and sisters, fell prey to US manipulation and inducements and Paks's own knee-jerk anti-India policy from the 1950's, stumbled and fell right into the open claw of the American Eagle. Pakistan is a hapless VICTIM of US Cold War strategy, Pakistan's ISI is financed and controlled by the CIA.
Who governs Pakistan does not much matter, the USCIA is in charge, with the ISI in PAID subordination to US strategic goals.
4. The US is on Pakistani soil and and there is nothing Pakistan can do about it. The US is on Afghan soil and Afghanistan can do nothing about it.
The US has NEVER been able to place even ONE US soldier on Indian soil but still India cannot do anything about the US occupation and dominance of the South Asia region.
5. The main and for now, intractable problem is that Pakistan has ACCEPTED the US as its MASTER, instead of CHOOSING India as its ALLY.
6. The out-of-the-box solution, actually the common sense solution that has been there all along, is for India and Pakistan to have a joint political and economic strategy, to make South Asia strong and independent in the global economic and geopolitical order.

Q. Can that happen in our lifetime? Some of us hope so. Some of us dream of that possibility and act everyday to bring that possibility closer to reality.

Until then, the out-of-the-box solution, to build India-Pak AMITY/UNITY, to counter US power in the South Asia region, is out of reach.

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Culture" of Poverty? POWER is Missing from this Equation

NYTimes Comment #155.
October 18th, 2010
11:22 am

\"Culture\" of Poverty? Corrupt POWER is Missing from this Equation

Ever since Oscar Lewis used the now (in)famous phrase, anthropology students, social justice activists, economists and of course politicians have been debating how culture and poverty have became conflated.

I think the missing part of this critical social equation is POWER and its obverse, Disempowerment.

It is directly harmful to POOR PEOPLE (yes, Poverty is all about PEOPLE, haves and havenots)to construe these POOR PEOPLE as sharing a Culture of Poverty. To merely say, like Harvard's Sampson, quoted above in your article, that culture is merely shared understandings is to conceal the role of POWER in the construction of the concept of Poverty.

Let me cite a personal example:

This summer, while I was volunteering in the Kashmir Valley, I spoke at a large meeting of career bureaucrats, clerics, politicians, on the topic of feminization of poverty in the Valley. I was in the process of trying to get govt. agencies to release goats to psychiatrically ill women, because these women has ASKED for GOATS, so they could earn their livelihood. These women understood perfectly they were sick BECAUSE they were POOR.

A henna-bearded Hajj-returned, indubitably devout and very sincere academician turned to me and then stated to the gathering \"Madam is right. Poverty is a curse.\"

I said \"Sir, I did not say that. I said Poverty is a CRIME committed by the government against its people.\"

You could have heard a pin drop. All the power-holders in the room kept silent.

I was never invited to speak again!

Poverty and Power are inextricably conflated. \"Culture\" is a misleading term, when applied to human rights and the right NOT to be poor is a human right.

Dr. Chithra Karunakaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright

‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback
William C. Eckenberg/The New York Times

[Picture]A vacant lot on East 110th Street in New York in 1952: the study of urban blight has long been influenced by political fashions.
Published: October 17, 2010

For more than 40 years, social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named.
Enlarge This Image
George Tames/The New York Times

Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his office at Harvard in 1971.
The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson administration, introduced the idea of a “culture of poverty” to the public in a startling 1965 report. Although Moynihan didn’t coin the phrase (that distinction belongs to the anthropologist Oscar Lewis), his description of the urban black family as caught in an inescapable “tangle of pathology” of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to black people, as if blaming them for their own misfortune.

Moynihan’s analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it.” But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word “culture” became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned.

Now, after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about you-know-what, conceding that culture and persistent poverty are enmeshed.

“We’ve finally reached the stage where people aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect,” said Douglas S. Massey, a sociologist at Princeton who has argued that Moynihan was unfairly maligned.

The old debate has shaped the new. Last month Princeton and the Brookings Institution released a collection of papers on unmarried parents, a subject, it noted, that became off-limits after the Moynihan report. At the recent annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, attendees discussed the resurgence of scholarship on culture. And in Washington last spring, social scientists participated in a Congressional briefing on culture and poverty linked to a special issue of The Annals, the journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

“Culture is back on the poverty research agenda,” the introduction declares, acknowledging that it should never have been removed.

The topic has generated interest on Capitol Hill because so much of the research intersects with policy debates. Views of the cultural roots of poverty “play important roles in shaping how lawmakers choose to address poverty issues,” Representative Lynn Woolsey, Democrat of California, noted at the briefing.

This surge of academic research also comes as the percentage of Americans living in poverty hit a 15-year high: one in seven, or 44 million.

With these studies come many new and varied definitions of culture, but they all differ from the ’60s-era model in these crucial respects: Today, social scientists are rejecting the notion of a monolithic and unchanging culture of poverty. And they attribute destructive attitudes and behavior not to inherent moral character but to sustained racism and isolation.

To Robert J. Sampson, a sociologist at Harvard, culture is best understood as “shared understandings.”

“I study inequality, and the dominant focus is on structures of poverty,” he said. But he added that the reason a neighborhood turns into a “poverty trap” is also related to a common perception of the way people in a community act and think. When people see graffiti and garbage, do they find it acceptable or see serious disorder? Do they respect the legal system or have a high level of “moral cynicism,” believing that “laws were made to be broken”?

As part of a large research project in Chicago, Professor Sampson walked through different neighborhoods this summer, dropping stamped, addressed envelopes to see how many people would pick up an apparently lost letter and mail it, a sign that looking out for others is part of the community’s culture.

In some neighborhoods, like Grand Boulevard, where the notorious Robert Taylor public housing projects once stood, almost no envelopes were mailed; in others researchers received more than half of the letters back. Income levels did not necessarily explain the difference, Professor Sampson said, but rather the community’s cultural norms, the levels of moral cynicism and disorder.

The shared perception of a neighborhood — is it on the rise or stagnant? — does a better job of predicting a community’s future than the actual level of poverty, he said.

William Julius Wilson, whose pioneering work boldly confronted ghetto life while focusing on economic explanations for persistent poverty, defines culture as the way “individuals in a community develop an understanding of how the world works and make decisions based on that understanding.”

For some young black men, Professor Wilson, a Harvard sociologist, said, the world works like this: “If you don’t develop a tough demeanor, you won’t survive. If you have access to weapons, you get them, and if you get into a fight, you have to use them.”
Seeking to recapture the topic from economists, sociologists have ventured into poor neighborhoods to delve deeper into the attitudes of residents. Their results have challenged some common assumptions, like the belief that poor mothers remain single because they don’t value marriage.
Enlarge This Image
Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

A Chicago mother and child in 1997 at the notorious Robert Taylor Homes, since demolished.

In Philadelphia, for example, low-income mothers told the sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas that they thought marriage was profoundly important, even sacred, but doubted that their partners were “marriage material.” Their results have prompted some lawmakers and poverty experts to conclude that programs that promote marriage without changing economic and social conditions are unlikely to work.

Mario Luis Small, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and an editor of The Annals’ special issue, tried to figure out why some New York City mothers with children in day care developed networks of support while others did not. As he explained in his 2009 book, “Unanticipated Gains,” the answer did not depend on income or ethnicity, but rather the rules of the day-care institution. Centers that held frequent field trips, organized parents’ associations and had pick-up and drop-off procedures created more opportunities for parents to connect.

Younger academics like Professor Small, 35, attributed the upswing in cultural explanations to a “new generation of scholars without the baggage of that debate.”

Scholars like Professor Wilson, 74, who have tilled the field much longer, mentioned the development of more sophisticated data and analytical tools. He said he felt compelled to look more closely at culture after the publication of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s controversial 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” which attributed African-Americans’ lower I.Q. scores to genetics.

The authors claimed to have taken family background into account, Professor Wilson said, but “they had not captured the cumulative effects of living in poor, racially segregated neighborhoods.”

He added, “I realized we needed a comprehensive measure of the environment, that we must consider structural and cultural forces.”

He mentioned a study by Professor Sampson, 54, that found that growing up in areas where violence limits socializing outside the family and where parents haven’t attended college stunts verbal ability, lowering I.Q. scores by as much as six points, the equivalent of missing more than a year in school.

Changes outside campuses have made conversation about the cultural roots of poverty easier than it was in the ’60s. Divorce, living together without marrying, and single motherhood are now commonplace. At the same time prominent African-Americans have begun to speak out on the subject. In 2004 the comedian Bill Cosby made headlines when he criticized poor blacks for “not parenting” and dropping out of school. President Obama, who was abandoned by his father, has repeatedly talked about “responsible fatherhood.”

Conservatives also deserve credit, said Kay S. Hymowitz, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, for their sustained focus on family values and marriage even when cultural explanations were disparaged.

Still, worries about blaming the victim persist. Policy makers and the public still tend to view poverty through one of two competing lenses, Michèle Lamont, another editor of the special issue of The Annals, said: “Are the poor poor because they are lazy, or are the poor poor because they are a victim of the markets?”

So even now some sociologists avoid words like “values” and “morals” or reject the idea that, as The Annals put it, “a group’s culture is more or less coherent.” Watered-down definitions of culture, Ms. Hymowitz complained, reduce some of the new work to “sociological pablum.”

“If anthropologists had come away from doing field work in New Guinea concluding ‘everyone’s different,’ but sometimes people help each other out,” she wrote in an e-mail, “there would be no field of anthropology — and no word culture for cultural sociologists to bend to their will.”

Fuzzy definitions or not, culture is back. This prompted mock surprise from Rep. Woolsey at last spring’s Congressional briefing: “What a concept. Values, norms, beliefs play very important roles in the way people meet the challenges of poverty.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why Neither India nor Pak can Trust the US: The Headley Instance

Q. Why was the India Gov so wretchedly uninformed?
Q. Why has India, the world's largest democracy not positioned itself to take cognizance of US-Pak intelligence-gathering and collusion in cross-border terrorism?
See my additional comments [ ] within the text of this NYTimes article, still working on it.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

NYTimes copyright
U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack
David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

Indian soldiers fought terrorists at the Taj Mahal Hotel in 2008.
Published: October 16, 2010

This article is by Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt and Ginger Thompson.
Enlarge This Image
Verna Sadock/Associated Press

David Headley in federal court in Chicago in 2009. In March, he pleaded guilty to helping plan the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.

Less than a year before terrorists killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India, a young Moroccan woman went to American authorities in Pakistan to warn them that she believed her husband, David Headley, was plotting just such an attack.[What did the US do?]

It was not the first time American law enforcement authorities were warned about Mr. Headley, a longtime informer in Pakistan for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration whose roots in Pakistan and the United States allowed him to move easily in both worlds.

Two years earlier, in 2005, an American woman who was also married to the 50-year-old Mr. Headley told federal investigators in New York that she believed that he was a member of the militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, created and sponsored by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency.[What did the US do?]

Despite those warnings by two of his three wives Mr. Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar’s behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving small arms and counter surveillance training, scouting targets for attack, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan’s lawless frontier.

Then in 2008, it was his handiwork as chief reconnaissance scout that set the stage for Lashkar’s strike against Mumbai, an assault intended to provoke a conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries, Pakistan and India.

It is unclear what United States officials did with the warnings they had gotten about Mr. Headley — who has pleaded guilty to the crimes and is cooperating with authorities — or whether they saw them as complaints from wives whose motives might be colored by their strained relations with their husband.

A senior administration official said Saturday, “We took the information, passed it around to the relevant agencies, and what came back was that the F.B.I. had a file on Headley, but it didn’t link him to terrorism.”[Example of continuing turf war between FBI and CIA. Who benefits? ISI]

Mr. Headley’s ability to hide for years in plain sight has rekindled concerns that the Mumbai bombings are another instance of a communications breakdown among the agencies involved in combating terrorism, much like the enormous intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

It also raises the question of whether United States officials were reluctant to dig deeper into Mr. Headley’s movements because he had been an informant for the D.E.A.[ ] More significantly, it may provide another instance of American reluctance to pursue evidence that some officials in Pakistan, its major ally in the war against Al Qaeda, were involved in planning an attack that killed six Americans.[the US neo-imperial project wqwhether in Iraq or Palestine or South Asia, is impervious to ethical geopolitical considerations]

The Pakistani government has insisted that its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, a close partner of the C.I.A., did not know of the attack. The United States says it has no evidence to counter this, though officials acknowledge that some current or retired ISI officers probably played some role.[ ]

State Department officials and the F.B.I. said that they investigated the warnings they received about Mr. Headley, but that they could not confirm any connections between him and Lashkar-e-Taiba. And D.E.A. officials said they ended their association with him at the end of 2001, at least two months before Mr. Headley reportedly attended his first terrorist training.

The investigative news organization ProPublica reported the 2005 warning from Mr. Headley’s American ex-wife on its Web site and in the Saturday issue of The Washington Post. By ProPublica’s account, she told authorities that Mr. Headley boasted about working as an American informant while he trained with Lashkar. According to that report, she gave authorities audio cassettes and ideological material, and described e-mails she believed he exchanged with extremists.

But she was not the only one to come forward. An examination of Mr. Headley’s movements shows that United States authorities also heard from his Moroccan wife that he was involved in a terrorist group that was actively plotting against targets in India. Beyond these warnings, interviews illustrate his longstanding connections to American law enforcement and the ISI.

Among the findings:

¶ An officer of the Pakistani spy agency handed Mr. Headley $25,000 in early 2006 to open an office and set up a house in Mumbai to be used as a front during his scouting trips, according to Mr. Headley’s testimony to Indian investigators in Chicago in June.[ ]

¶ The ISI officer who gave Mr. Headley the cash, known as Maj. Iqbal, served as the supervisor of Lashkar’s planning, helping to arrange a communications system for the attack, and overseeing a model of the Taj Mahal Hotel, so that gunmen could find their way around, according to Mr. Headley’s testimony to the Indians.

¶ While working for Lashkar, which has close ties to the ISI, Mr. Headley was also enlisted by the Pakistani spy agency to recruit Indian agents to monitor Indian troop levels and movements, an American official said.[ ]

Mr. Headley was well known both to Pakistani and American security officials long before his arrest as a terrorist. He went to an elite military high school in Pakistan, whose graduates went on to become high-ranking military officers and intelligence operatives. After arrests in 1988 and 1997 on drug-trafficking charges, Mr. Headley became such a valued D.E.A. informant that the drug agency sent him back and forth between Pakistan and the United States.[Yet another example of the US agencies' turf war, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing]

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1586 NOT 1947

1586 not 1947

In 1586 NOT 1947 Kashmir Became part of Mughal India. A Date we can ALL be Proud of

Critical Readers of Subcontinental and Global South history know that the British colonial Divide and Rule strategy grievously harmed aam janta interests everywhere in Africa and Asia.

On our own subcontinent, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, Sikhs and Jains, adivasis and other indigenous peoples, had lived with a reasonable measure of peaceful co-existence and prosperity for several millennia.

The British imperial project changed all that. The British played Divide and Rule in EVERY region of the subcontinent,. The Instrument of Accession is just one more British divisive invention (like Lord Curzon's disastrous Partition of Bengal in 1905) to fabricate an artificial disconnect between Kashmir and the rest of India.

Jinnah fell for Britain's Divide and Rule strategy. Jinnah managed to do what even the British failed to do -- Jinnah separated Muslims from Muslims -- just as Geelani is trying to do now.
Pakistan is the tragic product of such painful and unnecessary division -- and the results can be read every day in the newspapers, seen online and on TV. Pakistan for 60+ years has fallen victim to US neo-imperial strategy, after the geopolitical power vacuum created by the departure of the Brits. As contemporary events have shown, Pakistan has jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

If Kashmiris follow the Valley Warlord and his criminal calendar of enforced unrest, loss of education and employment, Kashmir will predictably see the same conclusion as Pakistan.

In 1586, the greatest of the Mughals, India's foremost secularist Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, the pioneer of open-court philosophical and strategic discourse, sent Hindu generals to overthrow an upstart Turki ruler of Kashmir. Akbar annexed Kashmir and made Kashmir part of Mughal India.

Q. Do Kashmiris want to fall victim to the Divide and Rule legacy of the British?
Q. Do Kashmiris want to embrace our shared history under Akbar the Great?

1586 not 1947.

Dr. Chithra Karunakaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Rising Kashmir copyrighted article

JK India’s integral part: Congress

New Delhi: Congress Friday said Kashmir is an integral part of India and that the question of merger of the state with India was decided on October 26, 1947.
''The question of the merger of Jammu and Kashmir with India was decided on October 26, 1947 when late Maharaja Hari Singh

had announced accession of the entire state with the country, including parts of the state under the illegal occupation by Pakistan,'' Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari told reporters here, apparently in reference to the speech by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

He, however, did not make any comment on Omar.

''From the time of the first Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru to the present Manmohan Singh, the Congress has believed that Kashmir is an integral part of India,'' Tiwari said.

In reply to a question, he said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had improved.

''It is the duty of all national parties and parties in the state to make responsible statements about Jammu and Kashmir to help improve the situation,'' he added.

Monday, October 4, 2010

US Midterm Elections Impact Kashmir?

According to a news report from Srinagar, Kashmir, India, Obama has sent two Indian-origin US envoys to Kashmir, from the US Embassy in New Delhi.
The envoys met the JKLF leader and are slated to meet others. Pushpinder Dhillon and Kailash Jha, met the leader, preceding Obama's scheduled visit to India in November.

Wait a minute. Isn't that just around the time that the Democrats (I voted Democrat, I voted Obama/Biden), under Obama's leadership are predicted to get a swift kick in the gut during the U.S. midterm elections, Tuesday November 2? Read on.....

Any US interference in the internal affairs of Kashmir, India will be a grave mistake for the US. But the US has made catastrophic mistakes in foreign policy -- and profited by them. In this case, I don't think Obama will initiate any such direct interference. Sending his career diplomats (read bureaucrats) from the State Department to Kashmir is just a game to counter Republicans before the US midterm elections in November.

I am a US citizen. I voted for Obama in order to end the Bush administration policy in Iraq. But Obama has proven to be even worse than Bush, Obama is Bush with a more likeable, smiley face and a smooth tongue. He is still strongly preferable to Bush-style Republicans, particularly on US DOMESTIC policy which I endorse and support, but OBAMA is a flag carrier for the CIA on US FOREIGN policy.

Every US President is controlled by the CIA, just like every Pakistani leader is controlled by the ISI!
Ironical but factually correct, perhaps that is why the US has been able to exploit Pakistan so successfully for 60+ years.

Obama has initiated this action to meet Kashmiri "leaders" (he has not made any attempt to meet authentic aam Kashmiris' leaders like the J&K RTI), because this is the period of midterm elections in the US and the Democrats are going to lose seats. Obama wants to look tough to show the American people that he is as violently militaristic and as business-for-profit-driven as most of the Republican leadership in the House and in the Senate. Obama's overture to Kashmir's inexperienced, unsophisticated and factional 'leaders' is a midterm election maneuver to thwart people like Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, who is facing 5 challengers in his re-election bid in November. Burton, this week, urged Obama to intervene on Kashmir.

Does anyone really believe that a midwestern US politician cares about Kashmir? Burton and his constituents probably cannot even find Kashmir on a map!

India of course will politely say NO to Obama, about interfering in India's internal affairs. And Obama will have no option except to agree with India, because India is a sovereign state, of which Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part.
However, Obama will continue to play the US midterm election game on Kashmir, until approximately November 2, when Americans, including me, will vote.

For 60 years the US has pursued a superpower policy of INVASION, OCCUPATION, and EXPLOITATION in Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador,, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Does anyone in the Valley think the US should be flying unmanned spy drones against so-called "militants" INSIDE the territory of Pakistan and Afghanistan? How many innocent Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan civilians has the US killed in Iraq and Pakistan and Afghanistan? Are they not our sisters and brothers, our friends and neighbors?

INDIA, in sharp contrast to Pakistan, has NEVER EVER allowed even ONE US/CIA soldier/spy to ever be stationed anywhere on INDIA's territory.

Poor Pakistan has been a paid political prostitute (the real PPP!) of the US since the early 1950's of the John Foster Dulles State Department. Today, Pakistan has been so exploited by the US, Pakistan has become an international source of terror. Pak is most unfortunately a client-state (read slave) of the US/CIA, its land is overrun by US/NATO troops, who are far more powerful than the J&K police and Indian army,

The US is the #1 source of international terror in Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Having lived in the US for 45 years, I can credibly say that the US, in its foreign policy, is completely focused on predatory market-driven and geopolitical imperatives to secure resources, markets and geopolitical influence.

Saudi Arabia is the main supporter of the US, supplying cheap oil to the US consumer, so that medieval Saudi princes with a sharp eye on their personal wealth, can prevent democracy and human rights for the ordinary people of Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile US consumers are happy driving their Hummers and SUVs (I use only public transportation in India, the US, everywhere, including of course the J&KSRTC, my favorite!),

With the subservience of Pakistan and connivance of Saudi Arabia, The US has now gained a foothold in South Asia so that it can control Iran and Russia for their oil and natural gas reserves.

Look at the FACTS.

Examine the EVIDENCE.

Wake up and smell the fumes of US/CIA invasion and occupation going on right now, right this minute, in South Asia.

Is that what aam janta Kashmiris need? Kashmiris deserve better than the opportunistic leaders they currently have.

They need to look more towards leaders like the J&K, RTI, we need to allow aam Kashmiris to lead themselves

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Rising Kashmir copyrighted article

US envoys call on Malik

‘Obama should help resolve Kashmir dispute’

Ishfaq Ahmad Shah
Srinagar, Oct 03: Amid speculations of Kashmir being on the agenda of US President Barak Obama during his visit to India in November, two top US diplomats called upon Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik here on Sunday.

The two diplomats of US Embassy in New Delhi, Pushpinder Dhillion and Kailash Jha met the JKLF chief at the party headquarters. The meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, discussed several issues including the prevailing situation in the valley.

Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Malik said he urged the diplomats to persuade Obama to use his influence over India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue as per the aspirations of its people.

“I appealed the delegation that they should aware America and the world community that three Kashmiri generations have been consumed by the 63-year-old conflict and it is the duty of Obama and other world leaders to impress upon India and Pakistan to resolve the issue amicably,” he said.

Malik said he urged the delegation to recognize the transition of Kashmiri movement from violent to non-violent means.

“It was America which suggested change in our movement from violent to a non-violent mode. Now that we have changed the mode of our movement, the world community has still maintained a criminal silence,” he told the diplomats.

The JKLF chief said that if Obama and the world leaders fail to impress a resolution over Kashmir, the youth who are leading a peaceful agitation from the past four months will be forced to take up guns again.

“It is the moral and diplomatic responsibility of US to help resolve the Kashmir issue,” he added.

Meanwhile, the delegation which is on a three-day visit to the valley, is likely to hold meetings with Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwiaz Umar Farooq besides the civil society members.

As per sources, the delegation will also be meeting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Governor NN Vohra and other mainstream politicians.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let the Games Begin: Collective Sigh of Embarrassed Relief CWG 2010!

NYTimes Comment #40.

October 2nd, 2010
11:18 pm

Let the Games Begin (collective sigh of embarrassed relief)

The fact is, India is finally, finally, finally ready to open the CWG Games, right on deadline.

Read the relentless, expose-bent, hard-hitting Indian media online.

India is ready. Just Barely. Finally.

So Jim Yardley's reporting is a trifle belated, understandably so.

Jim Yardley hits the nail on the head when he notes:

\"The answer, to many of those involved with the games, is that India’s political culture, if prized for its commitment to democracy, often seems unable to transcend its own dysfunction.\"
He adds:There were at least 21 governmental or quasi-governmental agencies involved in preparing for the Games, yet none were ultimately in charge, forcing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to try to personally take command as things went awry in August. Analysts say the absence of a clear line of authority translated into an absence of urgency and accountability.

Moreover, crucial figures in organizing the games had almost no experience in staging international events and were products of an insular Indian political culture where cronyism and nepotism often trump competence. End of quote.

Yardley's right.

As an Indian, I can say from lived experience (and I am in India volunteering five months every year), that almost every task/ venture/enterprise, is fraught with needless and wasteful uncertainty, delays, obstructionism, red tapism, ineptness, corruption, lack of basic hygiene in public spaces, overcrowding, etc etc, whether it's a train trip from point A to Point B, 35 km apart, or a rocket launch by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), or in this case the organizing of the CWG.

India Exasperates, India Endures, India Improves, Incredible India!

Chithra KarunaKaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyrighted article by Jim Yardley and Hari Kumar

The Art of the Deal: Ayodhya, Babri & the Secular Beyond

It's Gandhiji's Birthday today. Gandhi Jayanti. Mohandas was born today. Cheers and salutations.
I started this blog on Gandhiji's birthday five years ago, beginning with a street protest against Hindu right wing religionists attempting to politicize an observance of Gandhi's birthday in New York City. In all humility try to make my life my message, as Gandhiji did for the inspiration of the entire world. On this celebratory day, I quote Einstein, when he noted upon hearing of Gandhi's death -- " “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.”

It's a great day to discuss the debate the Ayodhya/Babri verdict.

I posted substantially this same comment (see below) on the website of the New York Times in response to an article by Jim Yardley, on the Ayodhya/Babri Allahabad High Court Verdict

September 30th, 2010
5:38 pm
Everybody gets something -- that's the Art of the Deal.

The Allahabad High Court has wisely, if laggardly, decided to apportion the Ayodhya/Babri site among the three contesting parties, the three direct stakeholders, so that each can have, at least part of what they sought to obtain.

The court has also shrewdly ordered a 3-month status quo, to allow the judgment to be discussed and debated locally and nationally without precipitous action by anyone.

The right to appeal the Allahabad High Court judgment to the Supreme Court is guaranteed to all three litigants in the suit.

Compromise, accommodation, equity and fairness are necessary to resolve a 600 year old blood and emotion-soaked contestation that is steeped in antiquity, myth, narrative, faith, conquest.

Is politics central to this judgment? Of course.

India now can continue, sometimes resolutely, usually stumbling, on its secular path, two steps forward -- one half-step back.

To be secular is to include, to become inclusive. To include is to become human, since we become human only through lifelong experiences as social beings.

A threatened Quran burning in the US did not make America less secular. The falling twin towers that crushed lives, dreams and exposed US neo-imperialism (non-inclusion of Palestinians as humans with full human rights, for example) in the so-called Middle East, did not make Americans, We the People, as a whole, less secular.

In India secularism is many many centuries older, more textured, more nuanced, more organic. In India, Secularism as a formal geopolitical strategy and governance ideal, begins with the greatest of the Mughals, India's foremost SECULARIST and prime architect of open-court religious discourse, Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar. That same Akbar, in 1586, sent two Hindu Rajputs (yes there are Rajput Muslims and they bear testimony to South Asia's secular mosaic)to restive Kashmir (so, what's new!) to overthrow its Turki (Muslim) ruler. Akbar annexed Kashmir into Mughal India. Since then, no matter who has ruled Kashmir -- Dogras, Jats, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Brits -- Kashmir has been a territorially integral part of India. As it turns out, a critical reading yields the chronologically sequential fact that 1586, not 1947 is the date of Kashmir's union within India.

1586, not 1947.. A Mughal, a Muslim secured Kashmir for India! Jai Ho or something to that effect.

Jai Ho, to salute India's most recent as well as ancient tests of secularism in Kashmir and Allahabad. Extremists among Hindus and Muslims, will have a field day however, it does appear education and jobs, not faith and belief, are foremost in the minds of the polity. Secularism advances.

That's the lesson of Democracy as Lived Practice, especially secular democracy, that Democracy is an imperfect, fumbling, stumbling exercise in real time, all the while hewing to a (sometimes) unrealized ideal of freedom equality and fraternity for India's Muslims and Hindus -- and all the other faiths represented there.

Eyes on the Prize -- Secular Democracy.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Article is the copyrighted property of the New York Times
Indian Court Divides Disputed Ayodhya Holy Site
pic by Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

Hindu holy men awaiting a ruling Thursday on a site claimed by Hindus and by Muslims. More Photos »
Published: September 30, 2010

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NEW DELHI — In a case that spanned centuries of religious history and languished in the legal system for six decades, an Indian court issued a historic ruling Thursday on the ownership of the country’s most disputed religious site by effectively handing down a split decision: granting part of the land to Hindus and another part to Muslims.
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Hindus and Muslims to Share Holy Site

The Lede Blog: Indian Judges Rule on a Matter of Faith (September 30, 2010)

Rajanish Kakade/Associated Press

Indian soldiers in front of a mosque in Mumbai on Thursday after a court ruled that a disputed holy site in Ayodhya that has set off bloody communal riots across the country in the past should be divided between the Hindu and Muslim communities. More Photos »
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Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press

An Indian Muslim walked past security personnel in Ayodhya, India, on Thursday More Photos »
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The unorthodox decision by a three-judge panel in the state of Uttar Pradesh provided a Solomonic resolution — if one likely to be appealed to India’s Supreme Court — to a case the authorities had feared might unleash religious violence across India.

Nearly 200,000 state and federal officers were deployed across Uttar Pradesh as a precaution, as almost every major political figure in the nation, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, appealed for calm and harmony.

The case was considered especially combustible because the contested site, in the city of Ayodhya, was the scene of a searing act of religious violence in 1992 when Hindu extremists tore down an ancient mosque known as the Babri Masjid on the property. The destruction sparked riots that spilled into the following year and have been blamed for about 2,000 deaths.

Yet that violence did not repeat itself on Thursday evening, as the Indian public absorbed the ruling with a calm that leaders framed as evidence of the nation’s maturation and commitment to religious tolerance.

“I have full faith in the people of India,” Mr. Singh said in a statement issued after the decision, even as he cautioned against “mischief makers.” “I also have full confidence in the traditions of secularism, brotherhood and tolerance of our great country.”

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., which rose to national prominence in the 1990s partly because of its advocacy of rebuilding a Hindu temple on the contested site, issued a statement Thursday praising the public’s controlled response as “a new chapter for national integration and a new era for intercommunity relations.”

“The B.J.P. is gratified that the nation has received the verdict with maturity,” the statement added.

The unexpected decision to divide the property initially suggested a political solution as much as a legal one. But Harish Salve, a former solicitor general of India, said the court had apparently based its decision on historical accounts suggesting that for centuries Hindus and Muslims had worshiped together at the site before they were segregated during British rule in the 1850s.

With this legacy, the court concluded that the entire property should be considered jointly held by Muslims and Hindus and distributed under relevant Indian property statutes, Mr. Salve said, which divide contested properties on the principle of fairness.

“It looks pretty good,” Mr. Salve said, rating the decision as “9 points out of 10.”

Under the court’s ruling, two-thirds of the land will go to Hindu groups while the remaining third will be awarded to Muslims. Lawyers for Hindus and for Muslims expressed dissatisfaction and promised to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

“There is no reason of any loss of hope,” said Zafaryab Jilana, a lawyer representing one of the Muslim parties to the case, speaking on national television. “We do not agree with the formula of giving one-third of the land to Muslims.”

The case required the judicial panel to wade deeply into India’s contested religious history. Lawyers for Hindu groups had argued that the Ayodhya site was the birthplace of one of Hinduism’s most revered deities, Ram. They contended that a temple to Ram had existed on the site until it was demolished to make way for the Babri Masjid, constructed in the 16th century by India’s first Mughal ruler.

Soon after the judges read the decision in a closed hearing, lawyers rushed to hundreds of reporters waiting outside the courthouse in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. “The judgment is in favor of Hindus,” said H. S. Jain, a lawyer for one of the Hindu groups in the case. “The belief of Hindus that this is the birthplace of Ram is upheld.”

But each of the three judges issued a separate opinion, diverging in interpretation of certain facts, including over whether Ram was born precisely on the contested site. Yet the court did hand a significant victory to Hindus, who had argued that Ram was born beneath the central dome of the destroyed structure. That portion of the contested property was granted to Hindus as part of their two-thirds share, presumably to erect a new temple to Ram.

The original case was filed in 1950 and then expanded over the years as more parties claimed title to the property. The Indian government now controls the property, and the court ordered that the status quo remain intact for the next three months. Assuming both sides follow through with filing appeals to the Supreme Court, the case could continue indefinitely.

The initial quiet public response was a relief to Indian officials. Earlier, Palaniappan Chidambaram, the home minister, had predicted that the public would respect the court’s finding.

“I think India has moved on, young people have moved on,” he told the Indian news media.

The oldest plaintiff, Hashim Ansari, 90, a Muslim tailor who had prayed at the Babri Masjid as a boy, said he would not take part in any appeal. He joined the case in 1961 and had looked forward to a ruling as a matter of closure. He called Thursday’s decision a good judgment and hoped that efforts could soon begin to rebuild a mosque on the land granted to Muslims.

Of course, he added, the timing will depend on appeals.

“It took 60 years to get this decision,” he said by telephone. “I do not know how many years the Supreme Court will take. At least I could hear this judgment on my own. Will I hear the Supreme Court judgment from my grave?”

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.
A version of this article appeared in print on October 1, 2010, on page A4 of the New York edition.
Times of India copyright
Muslim Religious Leaders Respond

LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh's remarks that the Muslim community felt cheated by the Ayodhya title suit verdict has evoked sharp reaction from the community leaders, who dubbed it as "unwise" to make politically motivated statements at this time.

"The atmosphere at the national level has been positive with religious leaders of both the communities, political leadership as well as the media. It would not be wise if politically motivated statements which could vitiate communal harmony are issued now," said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahli, the Naib Imam of Idgah and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

He told PTI that it was heartening that "no one has so far shown immaturity... not even the Sangh Parivar and there should be restraint from now on to ensure that nothing is done which could give strength to fundamentalist forces."

He said though there is disappointment among the community over the verdict, it is in the larger interest of the country and communal harmony that restraint should be exercised.

Echoing Firangimahli's views, Maulana Mohammad Umer of Islami research institute Darul Musinnfeen termed Yadav's statement "ill-timed".

"Though he is expressing the views held by the community, the timing is not correct," Maulana Umer said.

Maulana Mohammad Mirza Athar of Shia Personal Law Board said that it was unbecoming of a senior leader like Mulayam Singh Yadav to issue such a statement at a time when everyone is trying their best to ensure peace and harmony.

"In a court case, there is bound to be one side on the losing side and after this verdict by the High Court, the option of approaching the Supreme Court or making an effort to resolve the issue through mutual understanding is still open and in this backdrop such statements are unnecessary," he said.

Noted Shia leader and member of the AIMPLB, Hamidul Hasan refused to comment on Yadav's statement, but appeal to everyone to desist from issuing statements which could hurt unity and peace of the country.

Maulana Mohammad Mushtaq of the All India Sunni Board asserted that none of the Muslim leaders have said anything adverse on the verdict.

"It is the time to ensure peace and communal harmony and an appeal in this regard was also made after the Firday prayers to not politicise the issue", Mohammad Mushtaq added.

The SP chief had yesterday said he was disappointed by the Ayodhya title suits verdict as he felt faith was given "priority" over legal procedures.

Read more: Mulayam's remark on Ayodhya verdict evokes sharp response from Muslim leaders - The Times of India