April 29, 2011
Posted by arindamb59 under INTERVIEWS
| Tags: Islam
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 03, 2008
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hossain Salahuddin, a poet, essayist and an ex-Muslim who is the author of several books. He is the editor of the magazine Maverick, which promotes literature, freethinking and rationalism.
FP: Hossain Salahuddin, welcome to FrontPage interview.
HS: Thanks very much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be here.
FP: Tell us about your childhood and your upbringing within Islam.
HS: I was born in 1984, into a Muslim family in Bangladesh . My family was rather orthodox and they made sure I learn the Quran properly even before they enrolled me in a school. I had a home tutor Mullah, who taught me reciting Quran in Arabic- and I was actually good at it. I remember completing the whole Arabic Quran three times before I turned 12 without even understanding a word of it. If I try to remember, I can feel that it was pretty suffocating with all sorts of do’s and don’t. You can’t do this, you can’t do that, and there was that constant reminder- “You are a Muslim, you should act like one.”
So, yeah, my childhood was not something that I am really proud of. There were all sorts of religious restraints around my neck and that actually affected my relationship with my family members. But, I should say I was still a believer back then; only there was a slight discomfort in me with the practicing form of Islam. I admit that I had a rather troubled childhood but I didn’t turn into a rebel just yet.
FP: What caused your second thought and your ultimate abandoning of Islam?
HS: Well, when I was around 13 or 14, I developed a great interest in creative writing, especially in poetry and I started to spend a lot of time reading books and writing poetry. I remember borrowing up to ten books at a time and reading them in a row. History, Science, Philosophy, Religion, Literature name it, all sorts of books. It was a fascinating time I can tell you that. I guess I was mentally a bit matured than my actual age, and I really cherish that part of my life as a period of illumination.
I think books taught me to think and judge things rationally, to escape from the world of prejudice and irrational beliefs. Books were my true liberator, it’s the best companion I ever had. But, it wasn’t always fun. My family didn’t take it lightly as they were noticing some change in me and also my teachers at school. In fact it was the teachers who gave me all sorts of trouble. Unfortunately, most of my teachers were very orthodox Muslims and they didn’t like my writings. They even banned my writings from the school magazine which really upset me given that I was probably the only student who could write creative things. And they were constantly reminding me that Islam doesn’t approve poetry, music, painting, mixing with non-Muslims or reading texts of other religion and it really confused me.
There was only one way to find out: by reading Quran and Hadith in my mother tongue. I read the Quran over and over again and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I started to mark the questionable verses and wrote comments beside them. I wondered, are these versus full of hate being spread and preached everyday in all corners of my town? I was completely dumbstruck. Initially, I thought it was the translation that was to be blamed. But I collected many different translations of the Quran and very reputed Islamic scholars translated some of them. You can say I was really shocked and I spent almost two years of my year 9 and 10 searching for answers.
At year 10, my first book of poems was published and by year 11, I was convinced that Islam itself was a very violent belief. By reading Quran or any other Islamic text in your mother tongue, there can be two effects on you: you could either turn into a violent, brainwashed Muslim ready to eliminate anything that opposes you, or you could abandon Islam altogether and become a free man. I choose the former path and at a very young age.
FP: Did you face the threat of violence for leaving Islam? Are you still in danger today?
HS: Well, leaving Islam was not an instant decision; it was rather a gradual process. I think by the time I reached 12, I consciously abandoned Islam altogether. And some of my closest friends knew about my views on Islam. I think some of them were really shocked. So, leaving Islam was a private matter at the beginning, I didn’t share it with lot of people initially.
Obviously there was the fear of making a majority of Muslims upset. So, what I did was, I started to question a lot to spread my message. I learned it from the life of Socrates, that’s what he used to do, and it can be very effective sometimes. I started to question Islamic beliefs and traditions in a lot in my writing and that put me in trouble. Although I had some like-minded friends and we used to call ourselves Freethinkers, I made some nasty enemies as well and I was aware that they were watching my every step. But, you know I was young and careless—so I kept going.
Finally, the waiting game was over and they physically attacked me one night- I was very lucky to escape only with some sharp cuts and bruises. After that incident I slowed down a bit, stopped going outside and tried to concentrate on writing at home. I think it was in 2002, when an Islamist organization published a book and declared me a Nastik-Murtad or “Apostate-Infidel”. So, I didn’t really have to declare leaving Islam publicly, they did the honor for me.
After that I decided to leave the country and in 2003 I came to Australia as a student. And if you are asking whether I am still in danger today, well all I can say is that I never underestimate their reach. It’s not just me, anyone who is non-Muslim, or a born-Muslim who doesn’t care about Islam much — anyone who is different from them is in danger today and it’s the sad reality.
FP: What are your thoughts on Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism? And how does a non-Arab convert’s mind work in this context?
HS: What always struck me the most was that Islam is another form of Arab colonialism in disguise. In South-east Asia you will see people constantly cry about the British Colonialism and how they are still a victim of it. However, no one ever talks about the Arab colonialism which is very active in every single non-Arab Muslim country. Islam is in its origin an Arab religion, and it is not a religion of conscience, private belief or spirituality; it is very political and imperial. Its holy places are in Arab lands, its sacred language is Arabic, and its historical figures are all native Arab. So what happens to a non-Arab convert’s mind is very interesting.
A convert starts to dislike his own culture as non-Islamic and he becomes fascinated by the Arab influence and wants to be a part of the Arab story; ironically, he starts to praise the Arab Warrior who conquered his land. And to do that the first thing he does is to turn away from everything that is ethnically his and he lives in a world of fundamentalist fantasy to purify his non-Islamic culture.
You can see this neurosis and nihilism in the mindset of converts and you can say it is an incurable mental disease which has been affecting them and disturbing the societies for thousands of years. Arab colonialism is both political and cultural and I think it is the longest surviving form of colonialism. You see it is now a fashion to blame European Imperialism and colonialism, west and Israel in general – for every ill in this planet; Muslims are never ashamed to join this blame game. But, when it comes to Arab imperialism or Islamic colonialism, Muslims feel proud and they admire the warriors who once came from the Arab world and conquered their forefathers’ land.
This way, Islamic colonialism and Arab imperialism together have conquered and destroyed many advanced and ancient civilizations and brought catastrophic changes in the cultures of the conquered lands. You can say Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, because the faithful converts love to be conquered by the legendary “Holy Warriors” of the “ Holy land ” – it is some sort of salvation for the converts.
FP: Your interpretation of Islam’s holy war?
HS: Islam has always been associated with political expansion and that’s where Jihad or holy war comes into affect. Quran and Hadith repeatedly say that nothing is greater, so far as goodness goes, than Jihad in the name of Allah. Some apologists will try to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace, Jihad is allegorical, and it does not mean violence etc. But the bloody history of Islam tells us a very different story. And the Quran is actually supposed to be taken literally. Muhammad repeatedly said that the Quran is not poetry or allegory; it is the clear voice of Allah himself so that everyone can understand and take it seriously; it is actually blasphemous even to think the Quran as an allegory.
In Hadith, the collection of traditions, Muhammad asked his followers to stop any un-Islamic practice by force many times. As a religion, Islam has a long tradition of deep rooted hatred towards unbelievers. In the Quran, Allah repeatedly commanded Muslims to engage in Holy war and promised unlimited reward in the afterlife if one becomes a martyr in the war for the glory of Allah.
If you ask a Turkish Sufi Dervish who does that beautiful swirling dance, you won’t get the literal picture of Islam. You will rather get a pleasant humanitarian view of the Mystic Sufi philosophy. But, unfortunately, Mainstream Islam considers Sufis heretics and they were regularly persecuted by orthodox Muslims throughout history.
To find out the true meaning of Jihad, you have to look at the life of Muhammad, his companions and the later rulers and thinkers of Islam. You will get an extremely violent picture. Even Muhammad’s immediate successors used the term Jihad to refer to the conquest of new territory, so I don’t see much scope for misunderstanding here.
No matter what apologists try to tell you about the meaning of Jihad, to most Muslims it simply means Expansion of Allah’s Kingdom in the command of Allah himself. If they die in the pursuit they are a martyr or Sahid, someone who is guaranteed by Allah to go to heaven straightway without facing the trial in the judgment day.
Islamic scholars like Taqi al din ibn Taymiyyah, Mohammad ibn abdul Wahhab, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Mawdudi, Hasan al Turabi have a lot to answer for in this matter. Modern Jihadists frequently cite these scholars as their source of inspiration. They argued that Muslims are in a cosmic battle against the force of darkness. These forces of darkness should not be tolerated, and although Allah is ultimately responsible for the destruction of darkness, Muslims are required to fight it. That’s why as of today no famous Muslim cleric or Muslim country condemned terrorism. You see, almost everything of the western way of life contradicts Islamic belief – the West automatically becomes the target, hence, Islamic scholars divided the whole world into two different spheres: Islamic World or Land of Peace and Un-Islamic World or Land of warfare.
FP: So Islamic terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam?
HS: No, terrorists are not misinterpreting Islam; in fact they are interpreting Islam very correctly. Theologically, it is a Muslim’s holy duty to fight until the whole world turns to one Allah because there can not be any other God. Allah is pretty autocratic among the Gods and he doesn’t like to co-exist with any other deity. It sounds funny but its true; how many Muslim countries practice democracy? Liberalism, individual privacy and freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of belief – all of this and any other component of modernity you can think of directly contradicts Islamic belief.
No matter what apologists say, “Islam” and “freedom” are two opposite words with opposite meanings. You see, unlike Christianity and Buddhism Islam is not a personal religion; Islam is very practical, social, highly political, and unspiritual and its goal is to win the world empire. Islam penetrates even very personal aspects of human life and dictates. Islamic law or Sharia is considered divine legislation and it dictates every single aspects of human life, from using toothpicks to how to perform sex; from slaughtering animals to what verse you should recite when you are in a toilet etc. Anything you can think of.
FP: What are your views on Muhammad and his worshippers?
HS: To me, Muhammad is undoubtedly one of the most influential characters of human history in the sense that billions of Muslims are still ready to die for him, and it is unique given the extent of his influence. However, one of Muhammad’s few likable characteristics was that he never claimed himself to be perfect although billions of Muslims think so today.
I think Muhammad was always aware of his human shortcomings and he did everything to ensure that he is not worshipped instead of God. But, to Muslims Muhammad is sinless, the most perfect and greatest man who ever lived in this planet, and he is even the greatest of all prophets. Every Muslim worships Muhammad, knowingly or unknowingly and reacts with unprecedented violence if he is defamed by a cartoonist or a novelists or anyone in that matter.
However, if you follow Muhammad biography recorded by famous Muslim scholars such as Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq, Al tabari you will find many incidences of Muhammad being far from a perfect, sinless man. His cruelty towards Jews, Meccan Pagans and his rivals is well recorded by Muslim historians. He massacred three entire Jewish tribes – Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayaza and Banu Qaynuqa; killed the prince of Khaibar and made his wife captive to his tent: there are numerous examples; you just have to read the Muslim biographers in any translation you wish.
Apologists of Islam will try to justify these actions with there hollow logics; but if you are a prophet you should have a better moral outlook than the average human. Muhammad married 12 or 13 times — which contradicts his own preaching of a maximum four marriages, but what I find most disturbing is, Muhammad married his closest friend Abubakkar’s 6 year old daughter Ayesha. Now if you do that in a modern civilized world, you will be disgraced as a pedophile and spend the rest of your life in prison.
In another disturbing incident, Muhammad was attracted to his adopted son’s wife Zayanab and later even married her. As a leader, he failed to announce his successor which led to the bloody Shia-Sunni division in Islam and you see the second, third and fourth Caliphs of Islam all were assassinated as a result of this power struggle. These are just a few of the incidents of a very eventful life of a very influential man. But, as far as I am concerned, Muhammad was no saint. No doubt he is extremely influential, but I don’t see a perfect-sinless man in him as Muslims try to idolize.
FP: Let’s talk a bit more about Islam as a totalitarian belief system – as you discussed earlier.
HS: As I said earlier, Islam is in a cosmic battle against the un-Islamic world. I think – apart from the mystical Sufi sects, who are mostly branded as heretics by mainstream Muslims – the rest of the Islamic world and its belief systems are undoubtedly totalitarian in nature.
You see, followers of no other religion try to create international associations of nation-states that are based on religion. Only Muslims do and they call it ummah or followers of Muhammad, very similar with socialists and communist revolutionaries.
In personal label, Islam tries to penetrate every phase of life; the sole purpose of Sharia law is to control religious, social and political life of mankind in all of its aspects. Jihad and Sharia are two ultimate tools of Islam’s control mechanism. Muhammad’s life reflects the very nature of a totalitarian system. There was no separation of church and state; not just a prophet Muhammad performed as a statesman, lawmaker, judge, community leader and in many other roles.
So, you can clearly see the beginning was totalitarian in nature. Muslims are required to follow the Quran, the Hadith (deeds and words of Muhammad) and the verdict of Islamic scholars in case the answer is not found in the scriptures. Interestingly, while all other law is human and constantly evolving, Sharia is divine and immutable – human intelligence cannot criticize it, it must be accepted without any doubts and questions.
So, you can see a very tightly controlled society here without any hope of individual freedom. Sharia contains all sorts of crazy principles, such as, intolerance towards pagans and Jews, inequality between man and woman, religious, social and financial restrictions for non-Muslims citizens, acceptance of slavery and polygamy, barbaric punishments like chopping hands and feats from opposite sides to pulling out eyes and beheading — all sorts of things.
These laws were handed down over a thousand year ago and they didn’t evolve since then. Clearly Sharia is out of touch and not compatible in our twenty-first century. In the last thousand years we have progressed a lot, but the Islamic law and its worldview is stuck in the medieval desert, for generations Muslims are stuck with it as well and they need rescue. No surprise, there is hardly any intellectual progress in Muslim societies. How can there be progress if they regard the Quran as eternal truth and the final solution for all the problems? Progress requires change, Islam is unchangeable. This is why Islam is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian belief system and Muslims are the first victims of it — but very few of them realize that.
FP: How about those Muslim reformers who are trying to bring Islam into the democratic and modern world? Is there any hope for their efforts? If they asked you for help, what advice would you give them?
HS: Look, I don’t think you can be a Muslim and a reformer at the same time; it’s a paradox and contradictory in terms. Islam forbids reformation, and Muslims feel proud boasting that unlike the Bible, the Quran didn’t go through different editions and versions; it is pure, holy and untouched.
Muhammad insisted throughout his life that the Quran is the literal word of God – the truth once and for all, that’s it. So how can you bring reformation and remain a true Muslim? That’s a puzzling contradiction and I think it is misleading too. These reformers will keep telling you that Islam is the religion of peace and real Islam doesn’t approve the actions of the Talibans, Islam has nothing to do with Jihadists etc. You will eventually get tired of that. This denial is pathetic, you don’t have to go that far to see if real Islam has anything to do with these barbaric acts or not. Just read the Quran, Hadith, Sharia – Islamic texts and they are everywhere. That’s why it is so important to permit debate and criticism about Islam across the globe. Honest and sharp intellectual engagement is very crucial to create a democratic and modern nation.
FP: What advice would you advise to those who want to save western civilization? How best can we fight our enemy in the total war?
HS: London , New York , Sydney – all these big cities have one thing in common: most Muslims go there to improve their economic condition – big cities are like beauty queens- used by all and loved by none.
Most Muslims have already made it very clear that they have no intention of being assimilated into the host society; instead they are repeatedly asking to implement Sharia Law in Canada , UK , and Australia — as if it is up to the host society to change instead.
To a Muslim mind, Islam is a universal religion and he hopes some day the whole of humanity will embrace Islam. So, there is an element of expansion mentality in them, because Islam is not limited to home and personal relationship. To Muslims, Islam is a complete code of life and society must adhere to that code. So, you see, the world view of Islam is very totalitarian and you have to fight it intellectually, not just militarily. It is also a war of ideologies, we must not forget.
Unfortunately, some western societies continue to turn a blind eye when there is a Muslim-on-Muslim violence: such as, teenagers forced by migrant parents to follow Islamic codes. Some western societies are too politically correct to take any action when a freethinker is attacked for his unbelief, scared of losing the popular Muslim vote or political support. I believe that the West must always adhere to its secular principles and take prompt actions when there is violence against women or somebody is forced to follow Islamic codes. This will send a very clear message to Islamists and potential jihadists. There are an increasing number of Islamic schools in western countries, this is another way to brainwash children at a very early age and isolate them from the mainstream society by implying that We are Muslims, they are Christians; we are different. They eat pig, we don’t; we are different, by forcing girls to wear hijab sends a clear message: we are sacred, they are not, and they are whorelike.
So, it is very dangerous to turn a blind eye in such incidences in the name of promoting multiculturalism. Respect for other cultures, other values is important and a crucial component of secularism and democracy; but, if these other values are here to destroy our own civilization and modernity – then we have fight them vigorously- with reason, argument, criticism, legal and military means if it turns into violence- so that our values of civilization are protected.
Religious belief is fine; but the practices, literal submission to scriptures; religious institutions should not be tolerated. By saying that, a Muslim should have absolute freedom to his personal religion; but if he jumps up and demands the death penalty of a writer or preaches hatred in a community he should be disciplined accordingly by law.
As I said, the West must adhere to its secular principle and defend its democratic right and freedom at all costs and politicians should stop being too politically correct and they should be unapologetic when it comes to defending the core values of civilization.
However, we should remember it is not necessarily a battle between the west and Islam — as some like to portray it to fulfill there own agenda. As I said before, Jihadists divide the whole world into two spheres – Islamic world and un-Islamic world. I won’t do that. To me, it is the ultimate battle between those who value freedom, peace and humanity and those who do not, and we must triumph at all cost for the sake of our own existence.
FP: Hossain Salahuddin, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. Thank you for your bravery and your fight for freedom and truth.
HS: It’s an honor. Thanks.
April 25, 2011
Thank God! Parsis are not specially ‘secular’ nor do they belong to special ‘minorities’.
Ahmedabad. Parsi community here showered praise on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today with one of the high priests wishing him to become the Prime Minister and Bollywood actor Boman Irani describing him as the protector of sacred fire ‘Atash Behram’.
Modi was the chief guest at a function organised to celebrate the 1290th Anniversary of Shreeji Pak Iranshah at Udvada, a world renowned pilgrimage centre for Parsi community.
“On the 1300th anniversary of Shreeji Pak Iranshah, 10 years later, I wish it to be celebrated in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” High Priest Dastur Kurshedjee Kekobad said during his address.
He said that Parsi people were secure in Gujarat and ‘Foundation for development of Udvada’ is the result of Chief Minister’s far-sightedness. Even the Zoroastrian Information Centre has also been developed with the help of Chief Minister’s funding, he added.
Noted actor Boman Irani who was present on the occasion described Modi as the protector of the ‘Atash Behram’ or Fire of victory and of pilgrim place Udvada, second after King Jadav Rana of Sanjan who gave shelter to people of Parsi community on their arrival in India.
Irani also thanked Modi government for initiating efforts to preserve the sanctity and solemnity of Udvada.
Modi has come in for praise from different sections of people, of late, including Anna Hazare. However, Modi’s critiques in Gujarat had said it was misplaced.
April 22, 2011
Predictably Congress sponsored Indian media hatches an ‘inside story’ to hype up the frenzy against Narendra Modi. Trust them at your peril.
This is obviously a big thrill for the opponents including fraudsters like Teesta Setalvad.
After Anna Hazare whirlwind, another tornado is created to dilute all the scams like Adarsh, CWG, Spectrum, Bribes for vote, foreign held funds etc.
“Too junior IPS Sanjeev Bhatt was not present at all in that meeting”
Ahmedabad, 22 April, 2011
…… -SIT Chairman Raghavan notes: ‘The inquiry clearly established that a meeting was in fact held at the chief minister’s residence on the night of 27.02.02 after the chief minister’s return to Ahmedabad following his visit to Godhra earlier in the day.’ (Page 3 of chairman’s comments)
-According to SIT report before Supreme Court the meeting lasted for about half an hour. There were eight confirmed participants: 1. Chief Minister 2. Acting Chief Secretary 3. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) 4. DGP 5. Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police 6. Secretary (Home) 7. Principal Secretary to CM 8. Secretary to CM
……. -When inquiry officer of SIT examined Narendra Modi on 25 March 2010, Modi admitted that he had called a law and order meeting at his residence on 27 February 2002, after his return from Godhra where he had gone to inspect the Sabarmati carnage. Asked about who was present, Modi named the seven officers, apart from himself, listed above. Modi also said, “Sanjeev Bhatt, the then DC (Int.) did not attend, as this was a high level meeting.”
…….. -Before the SIT, three of the senior officers present — “pleaded loss of memory due to passage of time”. (Page 16) Four other officers — have categorically denied that the CM had instructed the police not to control Hindu mobs for a window of time. …….
…… -Wrapping up his observation, the inquiry officer of SIT states: “It can be concluded that a law and order meeting was in fact held by Modi at his residence late in the evening of 27 February 2002. However, the allegation that the chief minister instructed the chief secretary, DGP and other senior officials to allow the Hindu community to vent their anger on the Muslims in the wake of Godhra incident is not established.”
..…. –Other seven officers at the meeting have denied to support Bhatt’s claim that he was present in the meeting. While three officers have pleaded loss of memory, then DGP has categorically denied Bhatt’s presence. Others too have not supported Bhatts’s claim.
–SIT has concluded on page 149 of his report, “Since Bhatt’s presence at the meeting is not proved his statement has to be ignored.”
-The SIT has stated that, “Bhatt is considered an unreliable witness, especially because no official, who is known to have definitely attended the meeting has spoken of his presence there. Also he was considered too junior to have been invited to such a high-level meeting.” (Pages 3-4 of chairman’s comments)
April 22, 2011
Must be a BJP, RSS or Bajrang Dal conspiracy.
Ask John Dayal, Ambika Soni, Digvijay Singh and they will vouch that such arrests are violations of the Christists’ right to propagate their religion peacefully .
I am sure a delegation will be visiting Sonia Gandhi and soon our Prime Minister will declare that it is a national shame.
Thane, Apr 22 (PTI) Six persons were arrested from Vasai and Palghar areas here for allegedly indulging in forceful religious conversion of tribals, police said today.
The accused–Vincent Benedict, Alfansoi Davre, Cyger J D’Souza, Santia Manvel D’Souza, Solomon Shinde and Hari Rama–were held last night for forcing Hindu tribals in these talukas to convert to Christianity on the eve of Good Friday, they said.
The arrests came soon after scores of tribals protested in front of the Palghar police station demanding immediate arrest of those involved in conversion activities.
Bowing to pressure, police apprehended the accused and registered complaints against them under sections 295 A and 34 of the IPC late last night.
April 20, 2011
It is good to know that perhaps after being disillusioned by “Anna Hazare and his coterie of dubious activists “, Baba Ramdev is planning to take the reign of his anti-corruption drive back in his own hands.
By now it is quite obvious that Anna is being gradually sucked it by the carrot and stick manoeuvres of the Congress party, its government and specially its chief, Sonia Gandhi.
It is disheartening to see the misguided efforts of Anna to seek help from the very people who are sitting at the peak of the corruption pyramid, to promote his movement.
It is disillusioning to see him waiver so easily from his support of the ‘incorruptible’ Modi because of the threat from the so called secular anti-corrupt caucus surrounding him.
It is stunning that he would allow the symbol of Bharatmata to be replaced because it is deemed Hindu and thus automatically ‘communal’.
It needs to be seen now whether the media that created the frenzy over ‘secular’ Anna Hazare but has been conveniently overlooking the ‘Hindu’ Guru’s efforts so far, will show the same vigor in their coverage or renew their subtle efforts of undermining his credibility and his movements.
Baba Ramdev to launch satyagraha against graft
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:57:33 PM by IANS
Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Yoga guru and spiritual leader Baba Ramdev will launch a nationwide people’s movement ‘Satyagraha against corruption’ from June 4, his spokesperson said here Wednesday.
“The movement will begin after he completes his ‘Bharat Swabhiman Yatra’, a journey of one lakh km which began from Dwarka on September 2 last year and will end at Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh) on June 1,” Baba Ramdev’s spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala said.
He added that the spiritual leaedr will announce the launch and details of the anti-graft movement April 27
Baba Ramdev will also write a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on three issues — creating an independent, impartial Lokpal (ombudsman), getting back black money worth over Rs.400 lakh crore stashed in tax havens abroad and replacing the British system of governance, taxation, education, law and order with a ’swadeshi’ model.
April 16, 2011
Will any Anna Hazare or any anti corruption bill ever address the atrocities committed by the queen of corruption in India? Why does the media who raise a storm in support of Anna Hazare, (perhaps because Mr Hazare is felt to be ‘Gandhian’ and hence ‘harmless’) never bothers to explore these accusations of Dr Swami?
One wonders if there was no truth in these accusations, why doesn’t Subramaniam Swamy ever get sued or threatened by the Gandhis, despite his lone fight for decades?
Thankfully Baba Ramdev is another person who has started to take a stance on the same issues. That raises the question whether Anna Hazare phenomenon was a deliberate attempt to dilute the ‘actual’ fight. Why is the Indian public, the political parties, the intelligentia or the media and even the judiciary blame only the PM for running a corrupt government, but is ever careful in avoiding questioning the leader of the Congress Party who runs the country by proxy, about her involvement, overtly or covertly in all the series of scams that is rocking the country?
Dr.Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party President and former Union Cabinet Minister for Law &Justice, today submitted a Petition of 206 pages, seeking from the Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh the required Sanction to prosecute Ms. Sonia Gandhi under Sections 11 & 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sanction is required under Section 19 of the Act because she is Chairperson of the National Advisory Council with Cabinet rank.
In his Petition to the PM, Dr.Swamy has made out a prima facie case on documentary circumstantial evidence that Ms.Gandhi abetted Italian businessman and close family friend Ottavio Quattrocchi to obtain an illegal commission in the Bofors Gun Purchase deal, and then influenced the government of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to escape from the country in July 1993.
Thereafter she directed the Union Law Minister in 2005 to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to get his London accounts de-frozen and decamp scot free with over $ 200 million [about Rs 1000 crores].
Dr.Swamy has also made out a prima facie case that Mr. Gandhi has illegally held in Swiss bank accounts illegal monies of about Rs. 10,000 crores received as a legatee in 1991 following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. He also produced an admission on record of the spokesperson of the Russian government that KGB had provided funds to Ms. Gandhi and her family, as also evidence that she had received commissions on Indo-Soviet trade, which were illegal under Indian law.
In his Petition, Dr.Swamy has also catalogued a list of offences prima facie committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi since 1974 which shows that she is an habitual offender who deserves to be prosecuted and punished.
For Janata Party
(Pran Nath Mago)
PA to Dr.Swamy
15, April 2011
Prime Minister as Sanctioning Authority
u/s 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988) [PCA]
South Block, New Delhi.
Re: Sanction to prosecute Ms.Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson (in Cabinet Rank), NAC, under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988).
1. Ms.Sonia Gandhi MP, wife of the deceased Rajiv Gandhi, was first appointed as Chairperson National Advisory Council [NAC] in May 2004. She resigned in 2006 but was re-appointed by an Order of the Cabinet Secretariat dated March 29, 2010, read with Order dated October 8, 2010 [Annexure 1].
2. As per Order of May 31, 2004 [Annexure 2] the Prime Minister’s Office will provide Central Government funds to meet the expenditure of the NAC, and service the NAC for its secretarial needs. Hence she is a public servant as defined in Section 2 ( c ) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988).
3. You, in your capacity as deemed appointing authority are therefore the Designated Authority under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for granting Sanction to prosecute the said Ms. Sonia Gandhi. As you know, there are no laches or statute of limitations for prosecuting offences of corruption.
4. Your Sanction is required by me for prosecuting Ms. Sonia Gandhi on a private complaint proposed to be filed by me in the criminal court under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988), based on the materials available to me (and enclosed with this letter/application) with reference to two issues:
5. Ms.Sonia Gandhi holds office which enables her to give direction to Government departments and Ministries and also call for confidential reports from CBI, and according to the then Union Law Minister, she can even call for files [Annexure 3]. She has been as Chairperson of NAC giving directions to several ministries and departments.
6. It is charged that she obtained for, and colluded with family friend, Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi—an Interpol Red-Corner Noticee & a proclaimed offender under Indian criminal law, to obtain for him the pecuniary advantage from defreezing of his CBI-frozen account, thus committing offence u/s 13 (1)(d) of the PCA, and also conspired with Quattrocchi to enable him to escape prosecution in Bofors Gun Purchase scam.
7. Bofors scam that occurred in 1986 represents corruption in very high places and the key figure in the scam is Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian family friend and fixer. The then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was manipulated by Ms.Sonia Gandhi, his Italian born wife, to abet the crime in Bofors gun purchase committed by Quattrocchi against the nation.
8. Ms.Sonia Gandhi stationed Mr.Walter Vinci, her brother-in-law, in Sweden to influence her husband and then Prime Minister, when on a visit to Sweden to finalize the Bofors Deal. Also present in the same hotel was the Italian fixer, small arms supplier, and Snam Progetti agent, Mr. Ottavio Quattrocchi, [who was hailed as the catalyst in the deal by the CBI in their Letters Rogatory documents], and who had in return for a hefty commission prevailed on the Prime Minister to sign the deal before March 31, 1986.
9. Thereafter when the arm of the law began reaching near him, he escaped from India in 1993, then from Malaysia in 2002 via a rigged court judgment obtained by collusion with as yet unnamed parties and from Argentina— by the CBI fudging the records – all achieved under the influence exerted by Ms. Sonia Gandhi under three different and consenting Prime Ministers.
10. This is further confirmed in the interview conducted by Ranjit Bhushan of Outlook magazine [Annexure 4 ] in 1998 with Mr.Sten Lindstorm, the Chief of the Investigation Division of Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Special Prosecutor of the Swedish Government into the Bofors payoffs. The Swedish National Audit Bureau which he assisted concluded after an independent probe that bribes had indeed been paid in the Bofors deal.
11. Lindstorm states in the interview, which has not been contradicted by anyone including Ms. Sonia Gandhi, that: “The Bofors Papers all point to the [Sonia] Gandhi family” and further that Ms.Sonia Gandhi should “explain how Quattrocchi-owned companies got such fat sums as payoffs from the Bofors deal.”
12. This report is corroborated by another interview given by Lindstorm to Chitra Subramanian [Indian Express, March 22, 1998] wherein he stated; “All information we had at that time pointed to the Gandhi link—Sonia Gandhi should place her cards on the table. The bribes have been traced to her friend and this is not something out of the blue. This is no coincidence.”
13. Headlines Today is in possession of the written statement of then Intelligence Bureau officer Naresh Chandra Gosain made before CBI Inspector Ghanshyam Rai on March 29 1997. Between 1984 and 1987, Gosain was posted in the Special Protection Group [SPG] of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was part of the escort team. Between 1987 and 1989, Gosain served as the Personal Security Officer or the PSO of Sonia Gandhi.
14. During the tenure of Prime Minister Deve Gowda in 1997, Gosain deposed before the CBI. This deposition has so far never been made public. Headlines Today dug out this deposition, in which Gosain talks at length about the close family ties between the Gandhis and the Quattrocchis.
15. In his testimony Gosain says, “Mr.Ottavio Quattrocchi and his wife Ms Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Mrs Sonia Gandhi. When Shri Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister, Mr. Quattrocchi and his family members used to visit PM house and the family members of Shri Rajiv Gandhi also used to visit the house of Mr.Quattrocchi.”
16. He adds: “In the initial period of Prime Ministership of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the children of Shri Rajiv Gandhi used to stay at Mr.Quattrocchi’s house during the foreign visits/domestic visits of the Prime Minister. We used to perform our shift duties at the residence of Mr.Quattrocchi on such occasions. Sometimes, Mrs Sonia Gandhi has also stayed in the house of Mr.Quattrocchi and at that time we used to perform our duties there.”
Gosain goes on to add that Mr.Quattrocchi and his wife Maria enjoyed free access to the Prime Minister’s house. “At No. 5 & 7 Race Course Road, private cars were not allowed to enter inside the bungalow. Only the ferry cars of SPG, after severe security checks, used to carry such visitors from reception to porch and back. Mr. Quattrocchi and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s family and they got free access to the PM’s House.”
He further added: “All visitors to No 5 & 7 Race Course Road were issued passes at the reception near the alighting point. Every time, a card was kept ready for Mr. Quattrocchi and his family members as and when they visited the PM’s house. Everybody in SPG posted at PM house knew Mr Quattrocchi and his family members. Hence, there was no question of identifying them.”
17. Ottavio Quattrocchi’s proximity to the Gandhis is well known. What is also known is this proximity continued even after Quattrocchi began to be linked to the Bofors scandal. What documents show is that despite the cloud of suspicion surrounding Quattrocchi’s involvment in the Bofors paybacks, he continued to have unfettered access to 10 Janpath, the residence officially assigned to Ms.Sonia Gandhi, which in itself makes her a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
18. It is important to recollect that by January 25, 1990, a team of CBI officials was already in Switzerland with a list of suspected recipients of the Bofors payback. According to a Frontline magazine story of the time, Ottavio Quattrocchi was the first name on that list. Between 1988 and 1990, the media too carried many stories about the involvement of Quattrocchi as a middleman in the Bofors deal.
19. It is clear from records that Mr.Quattrocchi was the direct beneficiary of bribe payments in the Bofors scam. It is now confirmed by the ITAT Report of the Hon’ble Tolani & Sharma Bench [Annexure 5 ].
The testimony of Mr. Sasi Dharan is crucial in further unravelling the proximity of Quattrocchi to Ms. Sonia Gandhi.. Sasi Dharan worked as a driver in Snam Progetti. Snam Progetti was an Italian public sector giant that was represented in India by Ottavio Quattrocchi. Sasi was Quattrocchi’s personal driver. He drove Mercedes No.DIA 6253. In his testimony before the CBI, Sasi details the frequent meetings between the Gandhis with the Quattrocchis.
20. In his testimony Sasi says: “Shri Quattrocchi and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi were very close to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and his family. I do not know what type of relation they had but Quattrocchi and his wife Maria used to frequently visit the house of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. I knew it since 1985 when I joined service. At that time they used to visit the house of Rajiv Gandhi twice or thrice in a day. Whenever Sonia Gandhi’s mother or father visited India, I used to drive them to the house of Quattrocchi. They used to remain there for the whole day and Mrs Maria Quattrocchi would take them for shopping. They used to come to India four or five times in the year.”
21. What is clinching is the car log maintained by driver Sasi Dharan. In this log, Sasi details the exact dates when Ottavio Quattrocchi came to meet Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi at 5 and 7 Race Course Road or 10 Janpath. These logs are for the period 1989 to 1993. In this log book, Sasi Dharan has mentioned 41 occasions when Quattrocchi came to meet the Gandhis.
22. It is important to note that the meetings between Ottavio Quattrochi and Sonia Gandhi continued even after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 even as Ms.Sonia Gandhi remained as a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
23. According to Sasi Dharan, Quattrocchi came to 10 Janpath 21 times after May 1991. Considering the long financial dealings of Mr.Quattrocchi since 1976 with LTTE (the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi), this fact is a subject of a future application for sanction as well.
24. Sasi concludes by saying: “Shri Quattrocchi left India on the night of July 29, 1993 and on this day also I had driven him to the airport. At that time he did not have any luggage except one briefcase and he told me he was going for an urgent meeting. Usually, whenever Mr. Quattrocchi wanted the car, he would tell me in advance, but the day he left, he did not tell me (in advance)”. Obviously he had notice of his impending arrest by CBI in advance.
25. As a consequence of the misuse of her office and position, Ms. Sonia Gandhi helped Ottavio Quattrocchi not only escape from the country, and in 2005 even to withdraw $ 29 million from his de-frozen accounts and thus let off scot free.
26. Hence, it is prima facie obvious that Ms.Sonia Gandhi had misused her office [she was Life President in the Government funded Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Trust(IGNCA Trust) during 1991-2002] and thus a public servant with considerable influence in government to enable Mr. Quattrocchi to escape from India in 1993 and later in 2005 to benefit Mr.Quattrocchi to illegally gain monetarily at the expense of the Consolidated Fund of India, by defreezing his London accounts.
27. This complaint against Sonia Gandhi also includes the corrupt monies held under her control in the tax haven of Switzerland as a legatee of the corrupt money which was banked in the name of her late husband or deposited by her of funds obtained from the erstwhile KGB, the Soviet Union’s Intelligence Agency, or by sale of illegally exported antiques in the country. I retain the right to submit details of other illegal accounts in other havens such as Macao at a later stage in another application to you or before the court.
28. It is well-reported that Sonia Gandhi is the beneficiary of Rajiv Gandhi’s estate which includes the corrupt monies continued even now to be held in a tax havens. Why this money is held abroad (even if held as a trust to benefit family members) instead of its being held in India within the Indian financial system to benefit the nation is a question which Ms.Sonia Gandhi must answer.
29. Violations of FEMA have occurred as also under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In case any transaction on this account which is not reported in the Income Tax Returns, and FCRA is also a violation. There may also be an issue of obtaining RBI prior permission for holding such large sums abroad if it is claimed to be a legitimate account.
30. It is clear that this wealth was not reported in Election Affidavits of Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi as a beneficiary of the monies so held [Annexure 6]. The total wealth of both Gandhis, as per their election returns, is just Rs 363 lakh, Sonia owns no car. “
31. When Schweizer Illustrierte a prestigious German language Swiss magazine alleged that Rajiv Gandhi held an illegal account in Swiss banks of about US $ 2 billion, neither she nor her son, protested, or sued the magazine, then or later[Annexure 7].
32. When major papers, The Hindu and The Times of India included, had carried in the year 1992 the official confirmation of KGB payments to the Rajiv Gandhi family, adding that the Russian government owned the payments in the disclosures, neither of the two Gandhis challenged or sued them [Annexure 8].
33. Nor did they sue Dr. Yevgenia Albats, a member of the official Commission on KGB Operations set up by President Yeltsin, when she wrote about KGB payments to Rajiv Gandhi and family in her book: The State within State [Annexure 9]
34. More than $ 2 billion in 1991 was being held by Ms. Sonia Gandhi as a legatee, or otherwise obtained by receiving stolen movable and immovable properties, monies and securities, kept illegally in tax haven banks of Switzerland and elsewhere, and which is disproportionate to her known sources of income. She thus has also committed offence u/s 13(1)(e) of PCA. It also attracts the IPC Sections for receiving stolen property.
35. The recent deposition of Hasan Ali, alleged to have siphoned money of the nation to Switzerland secret accounts admits to his close association not only with her but with Mr.Ahmed Patel MP and political adviser to Ms.Sonia Gandhi [Annexure 10 ].
36. Ms. Sonia Gandhi is also obviously culpable under Indian criminal law such as FCRA for the pay offs in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food scam of 2002. The United Nations had set up an independent inquiry committee under Dr. F. Volcker which found that the “Congress Party” headed by Ms. Sonia Gandhi as a beneficiary of a free oil quota from the now deposed and deceased dictator Saddam Hussein, which the beneficiary sold at market price through Marc Rich, the notorious swindler who had been convicted by a US Court for 350 years and several million dollars as fine. He was pardoned by US President Clinton in 2000 on Israeli Prime Minister’s intervention. He lives in Switzerland.
37. No one in Congress Party but Ms. Sonia Gandhi as party President could have been this beneficiary. The other beneficiary listed in Volcker’s Report was by name: Natwar Singh, who got much less [Annexure 11].
38. I reserve the right to further petition you to enlarge the scope of this sanction at a future date to include other violations and offences committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi under Prevention of Corruption Act (1988), for which I will file with you a separate application if necessary..
39. But, in this application alone there is substantive prima facie evidence for an appropriate court to take cognizance of the offence committed by Ms.Sonia Gandhi under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and thus I seek your sanction to initiate the criminal law to prosecute her under the Act
40. Ms. Sonia Gandhi is habitually committing acts of corruption since 1972. On November 19, 1974, I brought it to the attention of the Rajya Sabha that Ms. Sonia Gandhi, then an Italian citizen had functioned as a benami insurance agent of public sector insurance companies, and giving her address as 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi which was then the official residence of the Prime Minister of India. She thus committed an offence under FERA. The then Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi subsequently informed the Rajya Sabha that following my disclosure, Ms. Sonia Gandhi had resigned from this agency earning commissions.
41. Between January 25, 1973 and January 21, 1975 she held a post of Managing Director of Maruti Technical Services on a salary despite it being an offence under FERA. But then she had become Managing Director of Maruti Heavy Vehicles Pvt Ltd with an even bigger remuneration. For neither post she had the necessary qualifications having never passed even High School. The Justice A.C. Gupta Commission appointed in 1977 by the Janata Party Government found her guilty of multiple offences under FERA and IPC.
42. In 1980 and January 1983 Ms. Sonia Gandhi then still an Italian citizen enrolled herself as a voter in the New Delhi constituency despite having been struck off the list in 1982 upon the ERO receiving a complaint from a citizen. She thus committed an offence under Section 31 of the Representation of the People’s Act read with Form 4 of the Registration of Electors Rules(1960).
43. Ms.Sonia Gandhi’s Indian citizenship acquired in record speed in April 1983 is vitiated by her incomplete answers to mandatory questions in the citizenship forms. She did not submit documents from the Italian government of relinquishing her Italian citizenship required for Indian citizenship, stating in the Form that it was ‘not applicable” [Annexure 12].
Italian Embassy in New Delhi simply affirmed what she told them and hence that cannot be taken as a valid document of relinquishment for the purposes of citizenship. She also retrieved her Italian passport in 1992 after citizenship laws in Italy were amended which under Section 10 of the Citizenship Act (1955) means cancellation of her Indian citizenship.
44. All these facts stated above were put together and published in USA in a full page advertisement in the New York Times in 2008 by NRIs N. Kataria and others. The Congress Party unit in USA thereafter engaged the most expensive law firm and filed a $200 million defamation suit. However Ms.Sonia Gandhi refused to appear in the witness box and be cross examination. Therefore, Justice Emily Goodman of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the suit since defamation suits in law have to be filed by the person claiming to be defamed, and therefore cannot be assigned to others [Annexure 13]. Ms. Sonia Gandhi had a case to rebut these facts, then why she failed to turn up in court?
April 16, 2011
Posted by arindamb59 under QUOTES
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Chief Justice S H Kapadia.
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