By Sandhya Jain
In the western world, politics is more about serving covert, mainly illicit economic interests, than about meeting the genuine aspirations of the people. The most glaring example of this, of course, is the September Eleven incident in New York, which enabled President George Bush to bomb Afghanistan into the Stone Age, set up a puppet regime in Kabul, and go on to depose the Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and grab Iraq's oil-field contracts and reconstruction dollars.
Occasionally the White House remembers that Osama bin Laden is supposed to be America's Enemy Number One, and promises to go after him. But these pledges are perfunctory, and it is little wonder that tremendous popular resentment is building up in the US against the war in Baghdad. More importantly, a growing body of important Americans are finding fairly conclusive evidence of administrative collusion and cover-up in the events of that fateful September in 2001.
In the case of the Mumbai blasts which took over 200 lives and injured over 700 persons, one does not suspect that either the UPA regime or the state government were complicit in the tragedy. But their response�in the form of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's surreptitious and silent midnight visit with home minister Shivraj Patil, the wimpish statements of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi and at the G-8 in Moscow' raise grim questions about the sincerity of the dominant Congress party in tackling the growing menace of Islamic terrorism.
Indeed, given the anxiety with which the Congress is wooing the Muslim voters, with prominent cabinet ministers shamelessly blaming the Hindu community for the attack on the RSS headquarters in Nagpur last month, the principal concern of the government appears to be only to defuse and pre-empt a possible Hindu reaction, rather than nab the culprits and make their sponsors pay a political price for their misdemeanors. The Muslim community is complaining that it is being identified unfairly with terrorism, yet the very fact that the Jammu & Kashmir Government dares ask Hindu pilgrims not to raise slogans like 'Bharat Mata ki jai' for fear of creating communal tension gives the game away.
Yet even by the standards of UPA pusillanimity, the decision to ban certain Hindu websites and blogsites as the first concrete governmental action in the face of such a murderous attack on civil society would be laughable were it not so outrageous. Like a good western woman, Sonia Gandhi has no stomach to fight Islamic terrorism. So she has side-stepped that issue completely and like President Bush, concentrated upon her real target - the Hindu community!
Hence, the website of Hindu Human Rights, the group of young activists who helped shut down the offensive exhibition of M.F. Husain in London, has been ordered to be blocked by the UPA regime! Hussain is, of course, one of Ms. Gandhi's favoured artists, as anyone who has been to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation would know. So, though the site does not sport any religious views at all, let alone 'extreme religious views', it has been declared unacceptable.
In all, the government has blocked about 18 websites to supposedly check the spread of terror and hate messages on the Internet in the wake of Mumbai's serial blasts. It is being claimed that the websites could be used by terror groups to communicate and spread provocative messages. The government did not announce the ban officially, and it was the ISP providers who confirmed receiving the site-blocking order. The premier blog site, Blogspot.com (http://blogspot.com/)) has been blockaded and this sent the entire blogging community into acute disarray, as technical reasons have forced a blanket ban on all blogs, since specific pages on the blogspot.com cannot be blocked; only the site can be jammed.
Since the move is reminiscent of the Emergency�the anniversary of which passed barely three weeks ago�anxious bloggers have urgently sought (and found) solutions to the crackdown on freedom of speech. One is to visit www.guardster.com and use the free proxy at the bottom of the page; this will ensure that the Blog sites work without a hitch. Additional proxy sites can be found on this site and there is also www.econsultant.com/proxylist/index.html. One enterprising citizen has suggested using the anti-censoring site of our friendly neighbour, Pakistan. It seems that all blogspot blogs can be accessed at http://pkblogs.com a site created by Pakistani bloggers to bypass blockades by the Islamabad regime. Now that is a confidence building measure!
It goes without saying that the extremely predatory Christian websites such as the Joshua Project, nor the well known Islamic terrorist sites where messages are posted after successful strikes, nor even the known Marxist-Maoist sites have not been censored, even after the horrendous massacre of 87 tribals who were living in a camp to facilitate the Chattisgarh government's crackdown on the Maoist insurgents.
According to the grapevine, it is no accident that Hindu groups are being targetted in the so-called war on terror. After Godhra, it was said that the Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhya somehow committed mass suicide for no apparent reason. Though security forces shot down three assailants speeding towards the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, two cabinet ministers had no compunctions saying that Hindus had stage-managed the attack. The targetting of Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir is being disguised as an exodus of 'tourists,' and now, the devastation of nearly one thousand families (almost wholly Hindu) in Mumbai in just eleven minutes leads to the silencing of Hindu human rights bodies.
Sonia Gandhi is moving with perfect determination in the direction she wants to go. The Hindu community must decide if it wants to follow her or tell her where to get off.