INDIA IS reeling from the worst communal violence for ten years. On Wednesday 27 February in the town of Godhra in Gujarat, a train carrying Hindu nationalists was attacked with petrol bombs. The train caught fire and 58 people were killed. On Thursday, Hindu nationalists across Gujarat responded with violent riots which have so far left around 70 dead. The epicentre of the violence has been Ahmedabad, state capital of Gujarat, where 35 Muslims have been burned in their own homes, and at least 150 have been injured.
The unabated communal carnage going on in the State of Gujarat in particular and the communal tension all over the country in general, is in a way the logical conclusion of the chauvinistic build up that was going on for several months in the recent period.
IN THE aftermath of the 11 September carnage in the US the world situation has changed significantly. Half-a-million soldiers have been massed along the Indian-Pakistani border, including Kashmir, the largest mobilisation of armed forces since 1971. “We don’t play soldiers on the border… what I’m doing is for real. I have not gone to do an exercise”, remarked the Indian army chief, General Sunderajan Padmanabhan, at a press conference on 11 January. Talk is of a full readiness for war with Pakistan.
TONY BLAIR’S shuttle diplomacy to resolve the longstanding Kashmir crisis that has brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war has been an abject failure.
Even as he tried to defuse the political tension, shelling continued along the disputed Line of Control forcing 50,000 to flee their homes. And while the prospect for an immediate war has receded in recent days the border remains on a hair-trigger as the military build-up continues.
GLOBETROTTING TONY Blair has jetted off in a bid to avert a looming military conflict between Pakistan and India. But it is the US-led Afghan war – backed by ‘lieutenant’ Blair – that has further destabilised central Asia, risking an India/Pakistan war.
IN THE most serious conflict between the two nuclear powers since the Kargil mountain war in 1999, both the Indian and Pakistani ruling classes have put their countries on a war footing.