Mar 21, 2007

Was Bob Woolmer Murdered?

Too bad if this is true.

Senior sources in Jamaican police have confirmed to TIMES NOW that Pakistan team coach Bob Woolmer did not die a natural death but was murdered.


The murder angle which was first reported by TIMES NOW on Tuesday (March 21), has not been explicitly confirmed by Jamaican police, who have taken a guarded line merely stating that there is a “bit of suspicion” in the circumstances of Woolmer’s death.


In a presser today (March 21), the Deputy Commissioner of the Jamaican Police, Mark Shields, said that the initial post-mortem results confirm that his death was “under suspicious circumstances” and that it merited a “full scale investigation”.


He also said that apart from the murder angle the police is looking into the motive behind the suspected murder. Woolmer's death has been linked to Pakistan's shock defeat against Ireland. The late Pakistan coach was reported to have been depressed after Pakistan's loss and had reportedly said that it had been “one of the worst days” of his life.

Pak team to stay on


Shields also said that each and every member of the Pakistan team was questioned on their whereabouts at the time of Woolmer's death. As of now Pakistan will play their last league game against Zimbabwe; however they will stay back in Jamaica after that till the Jamaican police are satisfied that all questions have been answered.

The announcement on the investigation effectively removes the PCB from the whole affair, as Woolmer’s death is now a criminal case with his wife now directly involved with the Jamaica police and in contact with them.

“Strong indications of murder”

The police and PCB team in Jamaica today confirmed off the record to TIMES NOW, outside the theatre where the autopsy took place, that there were “strong indications” that it was murder, prompting authorities to announce that the results had been inconclusive. Reports of the toxicology and histology tests are still awaited.

Sources have told TIMES NOW that the PCB is upset over the news of the suspected Woolmer homicide being splashed all over the media, saying it was against Jamaican law to give out this information before Jamaican authorities did. The fact that one of the world’s most renowned cricket coaches was possibly murdered 36 hours after his team exited from the World Cup, would not only be a source of deep embarrassment for the PCB, but also have very serious implications on international cricket.

Additionally, the homicide conclusion opens the door to a host of possibilities as - not the least of which is that the alleged player-bookie nexus in Pakistan, which would have been dealt a heavy blow from the team’s exit from the World Cup, had a hand in his death.

Match fixing ghost is back

Also, following allegations by former PCB chief Sarfaraz Nawaz on Tuesday, sources say the PCB is really worried at this point that the direction of the investigation seems to have changed subtly from just an enquiry into the death of Bob Woolmer and why he died, to include the betting issue. Nawaz yesterday alleged that the bookie mafia was involved in Woolmer’s death and that the Pakistan-West Indies match had been fixed. The match fixing ghost never really left the Pakistan team, and with these grey areas now still evident, the PCB will be under pressure now to take some measures to clean up the team’s tarnished reputation.

Meanwhile the ICC will also now have to get their anti-corruption unit officers to work to find out if there was any match fixing or betting angle to this suspected murder. The betting angle also assumes significance in the context of a book that Bob Woolmer was writing in which he may have planned to blow the lid off the player-bookie nexus in Pakistan.

“Suspicious” circumstances

Bob Woolmer was found on Sunday night (March 18, India time) in his hotel room unconscious and in a pool of vomit. He was pronounced dead on reaching the hospital. TIMES NOW sports editor Faisal Shariff spoke to the Pakistan team’s assistant manager Asad Mustafa, who commented that the circumstances in which Woolmer was discovered were “suspicious” from the start – not only was there vomit found, there were also indications that the coach had suffered from diarrhea, his blood sugar testing machine was found on the floor in the bathroom and there was blood on his cheek and eyes.[Times Now]

Too Drunk to Fight Back

The Sorry State of Chhattisgarh Police Force


If what “Times Now” is reporting on the recent massacre of 55 Chhattisgarh policemen by about 400 Maoists is to be believed, then the Chhattisgarh police have only themselves to blame for the large casualties.



The [internal] report [prepared by paramilitary officials] makes clear that the policemen at the Rani Bodli camp were too drunk to fight back. More than that, the report says that no one at the camp undertook night patrols and that a majority of the guards were sleeping when the lethal attack took place. They were so unprepared for the Naxal attack, that a majority of them were not even properly armed.

….investigations into the attack on Rani Bodli camp have revealed that almost the entire force in the camp was drunk. Also, most of the policemen were not on duty, while those on duty were not even properly armed.


[…]

The report says that intelligence inputs about an impending attack were completely ignored and that there was no night patrolling in and around the camp. The report further said that the guards manning the Light Machine Guns had very little or almost no ammunition on them. It also said that the guards on duty were not alert and they noticed the Naxals only after they opened firing.

In the attack that took place on the morning of March 15, Naxals also took away more than 37 weapons. According to the report, which is to be submitted to the Union Home Ministry, almost all the guards of the camp were sleeping at the time of the attack.[Times Now]



If this is the way Chhattisgarh policemen are taking on the Naxalites, then why blame anyone else? Of the 55 killed 38 were Special Police Officers (SPOs) who are recruited from the local tribal youths. These SPO are poorly trained and armed. And getting drunk is one of the favourite activities of tribals.


Today Chhattisgarh accounts for a majority of incidents and casualties when it comes to Naxal violence. Last year, Chhattisgarh witnessed 715 incidents of Maoist violence that left around 304 civilians, 84 security personnel and 74 Naxalites dead - a strike rate worse than in Pakistan backed terror–ridden Jammu & Kashmir. To assist the state govt in anti-Naxal operations, the Center has deployed 13 battalions of Central paramilitary forces including CRPF in Chhattisgarh.


There can be no dispute that the major blame for the turning Chhattisgarh into a Naxal haven squarely lies on the state govt headed by BJP. Even after so many deaths the brazen and callous BJP state govt is continuing in office. Will this state govt - where the state DGP is busy composing a
lullaby to motivate his hapless police force - ever wake up?

After every Naxal death dance all that the state and central govts do is issue those customary lackadaisical condolence statements and then forget all about the Naxal scourge till the next outrage. For the BJP and the larger Sangh Parivar as long as these tribals remain tribals its fine but once soul harvesters arrive among these tribals, then these very sacrificial tribals become as precious as caste Hindus are for the Sanghis. Unfortunately for even the soul harvesters there is no guarantee that they can carry on their trade in the Naxal infested jungles without their souls being ‘harvested’ by the Naxals. Hence they too don’t want these tribals.

In Andhra Pradesh the Congress govt - despite getting severe flak from many quarters - tried to hold talks with the Naxals and during this period operations against the Naxals were suspended. The Naxals used this opportunity to replenish their supplies and recruit new cadres. The talks eventually failed - as predicted - and the large-scale attacks feared of however haven’t occurred till now. This “success” credited to the vigilant state police especially the elite greyhound commandos. There shouldn’t be any room for complacency to set in because the recent successes of Maoists in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere would embolden them to move on to bigger targets in urban areas. Andhra Pradesh being one of the economic powerhouses of India becomes a marked target in this regard.

The callousness of the so-called vibrant and vigilant Indian press is appalling. They were demanding the head of Narendra Modi when he let the rioters played Holi with blood on the streets of Gujarat. But are blind to see what sorry state CM Raman Singh has brought Chhattisgarh to because the blood of the poor tribals is worthless to the bloody racists that we are.

Mar 19, 2007

Mar 13, 2007

While We Talk...

...they loot.

According to the statistical figures shown in the report, ULFA collects funds in the range of Rs 25- 50 crore from Indian citizens only through extortion. NSCN-IM has even left ULFA far behind. Ironically, this militant outfit pulls the biggest farce by talking to the government in Delhi and collecting up to Rs 200 crores in extortion. Moreover, the three militant groups in Manipur take home funds to the tune of Rs 55 crores in extortion.

The report further mentions that all the efforts and sacrifices of the Army in the North-East has reportedly gone waste since the bureaucrats and the politicians are hands in glove with the militant group, who under the cover of talking to the Indian government are running a parallel economy in the region.

For example, in some areas, Grade 1 government employees pay up to one third of their salary as taxes to the militants. Vehicle tax is charged for everything on wheels -- from Rs 1000 for a taxi and Rs 7000 for a tourist bus. Shockingly, even ministers and MLAs pay tax to militants. [Times Now]

As money is something that one can never have enough of, I wonder whether these talks will ever come to end and whether we will ever see a political settelment?

You Grilled the Minister and Now Pay the Price

The Crime:

The UPA government's economic policies seem to be aimed at slowing down the economy and taking us back to the dark socialist days of price-control where "profit" was a bad word. It is good to see a TV journalist [Udayan Mukherjee]putting the Commerce Minister Kamal Nath in a spot of bother by grilling him on his absurd policies which are moving towards price control. This journalist (whose name I forget) shows a good grasp of economics and I hope we see more such intelligent interviews rather than the quasi-scripted farces that parade as interviews on Indian news channels.[Vantage Point]

The Price:

Angry minister
Can a minister target a media house just because he didn't like the line of questioning adopted by one of its journalists? Cut up with the aggressive questioning on cement prices by an CNBC anchor [Udayan Mukherjee]during a programme, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath decided to bar the channel from his press conferences. He held a press conference and asked his officials to ask the channel's reporters to leave. A woman reporter from Awaz and her cameramen were quietly taken aside by one of Nath's personal staff and told as much. The rest of the media corps present watched without protest.[
The Hoot]

Cartoon Speak: Every Day is a Woman's Day in the Congress Party

all bow down

Courtesy: DNA.

Terror Via the Sea Routes

The next terror attacks could be through the sea routes on our booming coastal cities.


Intelligence reports are warning of terror attacks through the sea route, officials and anti-terrorism experts say, weeks after an unrelated but chilling reminder: the latest issue of Al-Qaeda's main training manual issued an exhortation for maritime strikes.

The declaration last month in Al-Battar, the main training journal for the international terror group, made no mention of South Asia. But Indian officials say there are already increasing fears of anti-India groups infiltrating from or carrying out an attack along India's sprawling coastlines, especially after the sharp reduction in militant infiltration and attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We have seen significant thinking and investment on the part of jihad groups to operate in the maritime domain. This is a recent development," international terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told the Hindustan Times from Singapore.

"Off-shore attacks are more difficult to carry out. They require more investment and planning. But they are more dramatic, and it will be something spectacular - which will be something new in the Indian context," Gunaratna said.

Protecting sea routes is crucial. The sea accounts for 90 per cent of India's trade by volume, and more than three-fourths by value, according to the Indian Navy. Between April and December last year, India's total imports and exports were valued at Rs 1,000,000 crores.

But the sprawling land mass makes foolproof surveillance virtually impossible. India has a coastline of 5,420 kilometres touching 12 states and union territories (UTs), apart from 1,197 farflung islands, accounting for 2,090 more kilometres of shores.

On Thursday, Defence Minister AK Antony said there were intelligence reports of militants planning a strike. "There are reports about terrorists of various tanzeems (groups) being trained and (the) likelihood of their infiltration through sea routes," Antony told Parliament.

The biggest maritime terror attacks so far were the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and of the French oil tanker Limburg in 2002, both blamed on the Al-Qaeda. The LTTE has been known to carry out several attacks using explosive-laden motorboats in Sri Lanka.

Beyond Indian waters, Indian defence officials have in recent weeks pointed to the threat from the seas in the Indian Ocean Region, that spans 736 million square miles.

"The IOR has become the de facto home of global terrorism with many regional states covertly or even inadvertently aiding and abetting subversive elements," Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said last month. Coast Guard director general Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor has expressed similar concerns.

"For India, oil supplies are the most vulnerable. Militants could attack oil supplies coming in from West Asia or at the Bombay High," anti-terrorism expert B Raman said by telephone from Chennai. "There could be attacks on ports or landing points, because it is much more difficult to attack ships at sea, and there is US Navy presence in the area."

The Ministry of Defence has suggested forging agreements with neighbouring countries and other littoral states to share information to stave off threats from the sea. India and South Africa are considering a system of regional cooperation in the IOR.[HT]



Visakhapatnam Port.


I live in a coastal industrial city that is one of the fastest growing in Asia blessed with a natural harbour out of which a good chunk of India’s exports and imports are handled making my city is a prime target for terrorists. Till today we have all lived peacefully without giving any room to troublemakers. The only question is how much the state govt headed by the Congress Party and a Congress Mayor presiding over our Municipal Corporation, is prepared to safeguard the state and my city.

Cartoon Speak: Living on a Prayer


Courtesy: The Hindu.

Mar 12, 2007

The General is Dispensable

The blackmailing General of Pakistan after all is not that indispensable for the West’s success in its War on Terror. According to New York Times a succession plan is already in place and incase Gen. Musharraf is assassinated or removed from power Pakistan will not plunge into internal chaos or will the Mullahs come to power as often warned by Musharraf himself.



Islamist politicians received a drubbing in local elections in 2005, gaining less support than expected in their power base in the tribal areas. In September, a poll by the International Republican Institute, a respected organization affiliated with the Republican Party that helps build democratic institutions in foreign countries, found that just 5.2 percent of respondents would vote for the main religious party, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, in national parliamentary elections.

Although the poll found that this party was the most popular in Baluchistan, the southwestern province where Taliban support is strong, Islamist leaders lagged far behind both Mr. Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto, as well as another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. It is also thought to be unlikely that a successful attempt on Mr. Musharraf’s life would mean wholesale changes to the power structure of Pakistani politics.

For decades, the military has been the most dominant institution in Pakistan. If Mr. Musharraf were to fall to an assassin’s bullet, American diplomatic and intelligence officials say, it is unlikely that there would be mass uprisings in Lahore and Karachi, or that a religious leader in the Taliban mold would rise to power.

“I am not particularly worried about an extremist government coming to power and getting hold of nuclear weapons,” said Robert Richer, who was associate director of operations in 2004 and 2005 for the Central Intelligence Agency. “If something happened to Musharraf tomorrow, another general would step in.”

Based on the succession plan, the vice chief of the army, Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hyat, would take over as the leader of the army and Mohammedmian Soomro, an ex-banker, would become president.

General Hyat, who is secular like Mr. Musharraf, would hold the real power. But it is unclear whether General Hyat would be as adept as Mr. Musharraf at keeping various interest groups within the military in line. American officials say that Pakistan’s intelligence service, the I.S.I., continues to play a direct role in arming and financing the Taliban’s re-emergence in western Pakistan, and there are worries about the relationships between some senior military leaders and Islamist groups. [NYT]


So at the end of the day - to perpetuate the military dictatorship that suits USA - it is again another General to replace another General . Democracy can wait.

Related Links:
How Indian intelligence saved the then indispensable General’s life in 2003 by warning the Pakistanis on the plan to kill Musharraf by blowing up a bridge. We saved the General coz he was the “world’s best bet in Pakistan”. And what did we get in return?

Benazir Bhutto pleading for a democratic Pakistan, free from the yoke of military dictatorship that would cease to be a breeding ground for international terrorism. Poor Lady.

Mar 10, 2007

How Pakistan is Manipulating the War on Terror

Several recent developments in the West’s War on Terror (WoT) are signaling that the Western alliance in Afghanistan is considering a ‘deal’ with the Taliban. Western troops have been battling an increasingly sophisticated Taliban, which is undoubtedly getting logistical and technical assistance from “elements” in Pakistan. The NATO forces are expecting the level of violence to get much nastier this year and after the snow melts it is going to be better fighting conditions for the Taliban.

Taking advantage of these developments is Pakistan, which is trying to get the best possible deal for themselves and the Taliban under their control. One of the mediums used by Pakistan to convince the West what it wants is the press. Stratfor reports that Pakistan using Asia Times Online (ATO) is deliberately attempting to tell the West that the Taliban needs to be treated differently from Al Qaeda. ATO is a medium through which Pakistan is trying to set up the parameters for a potential negotiated settlement involving the Taliban.

Former Afghan Prime Minister and Pashtun Islamist rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said March 8 that his group's alliance with the Taliban has ended and that he is open to the idea of negotiating with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government. Hekmatyar, a one-time CIA asset, said certain elements among the Taliban decided to part ways with his Hizb-i-Islami, which he said was a mistake. He also said his group is prepared to talk but that Kabul -- and particularly its Western backers -- might not accept his conditions of a cease-fire followed by negotiations.

Hekmatyar's statement comes within days of some eccentric news reports exclusively from Web-based news publication Asia Times Online (ATO). ATO reported March 1 that Pakistan and the Taliban have worked out a deal and that Mullah Dadullah is Islamabad's point man among the Pashtun jihadists. The report also says al Qaeda and the Taliban have split from each other over ideological differences and the Taliban's relationship with Pakistan, but that links between the two groups remain.

Two days later, ATO reported differences between al Qaeda and Pakistani jihadist and Islamist forces. It named two people in particular for whom al Qaeda had reportedly developed a strong dislike. One is Fazlur Rehman, leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (the largest group within the six-party Islamist coalition Muttahida Majilis-e-Amal, which rules Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province). According to the report, al Qaeda is angry with Rehman, who also leads the opposition in the Pakistani parliament, for aiding Islamabad's efforts to capture al Qaeda operatives.

The other is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the largest radical Wahhabi group in Pakistan and a successor to the defunct Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Al Qaeda accuses Saeed of embezzling $3 million that the jihadist network gave him to relocate Arab jihadists' families following the U.S. move to effect regime change in Kabul. The report goes on to state that captured senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah was the one who gave Saeed the money and who demanded it be returned when Saeed failed to deliver on his part of the bargain. Shortly thereafter, Zubaydah was captured from an LeT safe-house in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. Al Qaeda is convinced that Saeed betrayed the global jihadist movement. The report quotes an al Qaeda source as saying that the network will kill men like Rehman and Saeed and all other such "hypocrites."

Details notwithstanding, these unusual reports raise a number of questions. Why is ATO the only outlet reporting such information? Who is releasing this information to ATO and why?

These reports are coming from ATO's Pakistan bureau office. Given ATO's track record of quoting jihadist, Islamist and government sources and of issuing reports found nowhere else, it seems that jihadists, Islamists, and certain elements connected to the Pakistani state have used the outlet as a convenient way to relay information. Considering that Islamabad is facing increasing pressure to crack down on jihadists operating on Pakistani soil and has spoken of the need to negotiate with the Taliban, it seems the ATO reports constitute an effort to reposition the fault lines among various Islamist nonstate actors and the Pakistani government.

Several inferences can be drawn from these reports: Islamabad has forged close ties with the Taliban; a significant rift has emerged between al Qaeda and the Taliban; and al Qaeda is also at loggerheads with Pakistani Islamists and jihadists.

Other things being equal, it would not make sense for the Pakistani government to allow a media organization to issue reports about sensitive matters that have a direct and adverse effect on the country's national security -- particularly from that organization's office based inside the country. But other things are not equal, especially when it comes to the murky nexus of jihadists in southwest Asia and the current political climate. In fact, it is in Islamabad's interests to allow such reports to flow or even to feed the system with such reports.

Pakistan has gradually floated the idea of negotiating with the Taliban. However, Islamabad knows that the Pashtun jihadists have ties to al Qaeda. Moreover, Pakistan is seen as the hub of transnational jihadist forces with which the West is not willing to negotiate. The way around these problems is to shape the global perception of the situation by saying that al Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistani jihadists are actually at odds with each other. The mentioning of Rehman and Saeed is especially telling, because Pakistan would want to underscore that there is a world of difference between Pakistani/Kashmiri Islamists and al Qaeda.

In this context, even Hekmatyar's March 8 statement is not surprising. In December 2006, Pakistani Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, described to visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store a proposed four-point formula to resolve the crisis in Afghanistan. One of the points was to begin talks with Hekmatyar.

It is therefore quite likely that ATO's anomalous reports regarding shifting alliances within the southwest Asian jihadist universe are an attempt to lay the foundation for eventual negotiations with the Taliban.[Stratfor]


And what is Pakistan looking for? According to Stratfor:


The Pakistanis know NATO will need their assistance in dealing with the Taliban, both militarily and politically, and they are trying to exploit this to their advantage. Islamabad would be willing to help -- for a price:


1. The international community would have to recognize Pakistani interests in Afghanistan by allowing Islamabad's proxies to have a share of the political pie in Kabul.


2. Pakistan would want U.S. assurances that India would be kept out of Afghanistan.


3. The United States would have to guarantee that its relations with Pakistan would not decline once the jihadists have been contained.[
Stratfor]


If Pakistan can use the media to manipulate the War on Terror so that its vital strategic interests are safeguarded, then why cant India use the same medium to the tell the West about the dangers of negotiating with the Taliban?

A decisive military victory is possible in Afghanistan but that would demand a level of casualties in terms of body bags of white men and women that will be unacceptable to the West. If USA and allies want to win the WoT in Afghanistan, which is imperative to safeguard the West and rest of the world from the nasty ideology of fascist Islam, then their only option is to take the battle to the next level – the nuclear level. If the United States thinks the Second World War came to a quick end coz they nuked Japan, then the WoT too can. Yes there will be disastrous consequences to the environment in that area that can also affect North India. But then there are prices to pay in every war.

Mar 9, 2007

Another Nuclear Wal-Mart?

The United States believes Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri are hiding in the rocky terrains of northwestern tribal areas of Pakistan and are attempting to establish an operational base there. Pakistan is trying hard to get the US and allies to ‘differentiate’ between the Taliban and Al Qaeda and to negotiate with the Taliban. USA has been perennially worried about dirty bombs getting into Al Qaeda’s hand. Now Zee News reports that the Taliban has kidnapped two Pakistani nuclear scientists.



Two top nuclear scientists of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) are currently in Taliban custody. The two were working at PAEC’s facility in North West Frontier Province. Zee News investigations reveal that the two scientists were kidnapped about six months ago. To avoid international embarrassment Pakistan Government has kept this information under wraps.

According to information available with Zee News, nuclear scientists have been kidnapped by Taliban at the behest of Al-Qaeda. Further investigations reveal that Al-Qaeda may be using the expertise of the scientists to produce nuclear bombs. The two scientists are reportedly being held somewhere in Waziristan, near Afghanistan border.

In January this year Pakistan security agencies had foiled another attempt by Taliban militia to kidnap nuclear scientists. Earlier, incidents of Taliban militia stealing uranium in NWFP have already been reported. PAEC also has a uranium mining facility in NWFP.

With repeated Al Qaeda threats to the US, news of kidnapping of nuclear scientists will increase pressure on Pakistan to attack terrorist camps.

These Pakistani scientists must have been kidnapped to assist the out of work nuclear scientists from the CIS countries who probably are already hired and working for Al Qaeda.

An Opening in Fiji

Recently Fiji's minister for external affairs and foreign trade, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, visited India and sought assistance from the Indian government for Fiji’s interim administration's roadmap to democratic rule. Help has been sought for electoral reform, the judiciary, defence training for service personnel, and trade and economic cooperation. Also discussed was co-operation in all areas of tourism and culture and to promote Fiji as a destination for Indian tourists.

The talks have been positive and a Fiji government statement has described Ratu Epeli's visit to India as a great success.

This is indeed positive news as there was a fear of the new administration in Fiji under Commodore Frank Bainimarama moving closer to China to offset political and economic sanctions imposed by Australia and New Zealand.

India should take maximum advantage of this opening from the new Fiji govt. This should be our playground as Fiji has a sizable ethnic Indian population and we should not shy away. We should be proactive and give all possible assistance to the Bainimarama’s regime and make sure Fiji under him doesn’t get closer to China at any cost. We should remember that the ethnic Indian population of Fiji has welcomed this coup because Commodore Frank Bainimarama wants a non-discriminating Fiji for all.

It remains to be seen whether the Congress-led UPA govt. maximises our strategic interests in Fiji via this opening or squanders away this too as another Congressman did many eons ago.

Related Link: This is about the new power game in Fiji. China indeed has made big strides and is playing its cards deftly. India has also made its move but in small steps.

Superstition, Astrology and Cricket

Here I go again with one more of my posts on cricket. My site stats tell me that no one is interested in my cricket posts - neither readers nor googlers. But I love my cricket and just had to post this.

It’s a well know fact that even the most cynical person turns superstitious when cricket is on. What with particular seating positions, TV channel #, sound #, etc all in the belief that these ‘machinations’ will have a favourable influence on the game’s outcome played miles and time zones away.

Astrologers predict the outcome much ahead of time and most of the time ends up eating crow. This time too the
astrologers have come out with their predictions and if they are to be believed, then India’s chances in this World Cup are not good.

According to one astrologer, India holds only a 50:50 chance for the final. Another one says Captain Rahul Dravid’s name does not suggest victory and only the second half of the year is going to be better for him.

According to one tarot card reader India will to lose to West Indies in today’s warm-up match and later in the league stage lose to Bangladesh, beat Bermuda and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately for tarot card readers they always end up wide of the mark. This tarot reader predicted that India would have a hard time against the Netherlands in the first warm up match but we won comprehensively.

Btw, after Bangladesh surprised New Zealand by beating them by two wickets Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming, according to Radio New Zealand, suggests the
loss is part of a cunning plan -- to shake off any suggestion of favouritism by losing early to one of the so-called minnows rather than latter when it really matters! Here is another - must read - incredible excuse for the lose. Bad losers!


Acknowledgements: All links via Rezwan’s blog.

Mar 7, 2007

The Unpardonable Sin of Indian Commies

It is a well-know fact that Indian Commies under instruction from their masters in the former Soviet Union stayed away from the Quit India Movement of 1942, as they didn’t want to go jail. But the Indian Commies greatest crime of trying to destabilise the newly independent Indian nation is hardy talked about. This is because the majority of intellectuals and historians in India are notoriously Commies at heart.

Historian and Nehru worshipper Ramachandra Guha has exposed the unpardonable crime of Indian Commies - who never ever thought of India's good - in a recent article.


....When India became independent in August 1947, the general secretary of the CPI was P.C. Joshi, a cultured, sensitive man who understood that freedom had come through the struggle and sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Indians. A statement issued by the CPI thus acknowledged that the Congress was “the main national democratic organization”, and said the party would “fully co-operate with the national leadership in the proud task of building the Indian Republic on democratic foundations….”

However, by the end of 1947, P.C. Joshi found his line challenged by the radical faction of the CPI. This claimed that the freedom that India had obtained was false — “Ye Azaadi Jhoota Hai”, the slogan went — and asked that the party declare an all-out war against the government of India. The radicals were led by B.T. Ranadive, who saw in the imminent victory of the Chinese communists a model for himself and his comrades. A peasant struggle was already on in Hyderabad, against the feudal regime of the Nizam — why not use that as a springboard for the Indian revolution?


On February 28, 1948 — four weeks after Gandhi’s murder — the CPI leadership met in Calcutta, and confirmed that the revolutionary line would prevail. Joshi was replaced as general secretary by Ranadive, who declared that the Indian government was a lackey of imperialism, and would be overthrown by armed struggle. Party members were ordered to foment strikes and protests to further the cause of the revolution-in-the-making. Bulletins and posters were issued urging the people to rise up and “set fire to the whole of Bengal”, to “destroy the Congress Government”, and move “forward to unprecedented mass struggles. Forward to storm the Congress Bastilles”.


The government, naturally, came down hard. Some fifty thousand party members and sympathizers were arrested. These arrests forestalled Ranadive’s plans to crystallize strikes in the major industrial cities of Bombay and Calcutta. It took some more time to restore order in Hyderabad, where a recalcitrant Nizam was refusing to join the Indian Union, egged on by militant Islamists (known as ‘Razakars’), who were making common cause with their local communists. But in September 1948, the Indian army moved into Hyderabad; slowly, over a period of two years, the areas where the communists had been active were brought back under the control of the state.


...when speaking of the failed communist insurrection, they [Indian intellectuals and historians]choose to focus instead on the “massive state repression”. But what was the Indian state supposed to do when faced with this armed challenge to its authority? Sit back and allow Ranadive and his men to move into power in New Delhi? The state reacted the only way it could. And its actions were legitimate; behind them was the support of the broad masses of the people. As it happened, the legitimacy of the state was tested and confirmed in the general elections of 1952, won resoundingly by Nehru’s Congress, and in which the now-reconciled Communist Party of India was also a contestant. [
The Telegraph]


Mar 4, 2007

World Cup Cricket on My Mind

Its time for the Cricket World Cup and this time it is in the tiny island paradises of the West Indies. There is palpable excitement in the air as India goes into the World Cup after winning two home series against the Windies the Sri Lankans – once again reinforcing the view of being tigers at home and pussies abroad. But all this is forgiven as we make the bid yet again for winning the World Cup only for the second time after Kapil’s Devils won it way back in 1983 when most of us were either not born or were in our diapers or were in school.

The biggest dampener is the timing of the matches. As the West Indies is on the other side of the earth, people in the Indian subcontinent will be watching the day matches at evening primetime on their televisions staying pretty late into the night to see the outcome. I am yet to study India’s schedule. I just hope our matches are scheduled for Saturday nights (IST) so we can wake up late on Sunday. I wonder how the Aussie and Kiwi fans are going to mange – there the matches will be aired live at dead of the night!

Due to the ugly reality of jihadi terrorism - a gift from Pakistan to world cricket - we are forced to a
send a NSG commando team to protect our players.

I am not very happy with the Indian World Cup team’s composition. One look at the list and you can clearly see petty politics written all over it.

To start with Sehwag and Pathan who are in very poor form were included.
Press reports have proved that Sehwag is in the team only because Dravid wants him because - as he claims - of his off spin ability. Now is Veeru a better spinner than Romesh Powar who currently is in terrific form and additionally being a pretty good lower order bat would have been a great asset to the team. With Robin Uthappa and Sourav Ganguly in excellent from, is anyone going to miss Virender Sehwag? By pandering to the interests of a few individuals, Rahul Dravid is gambling away the interest of one billion plus people. Someone should ask this ‘Gentleman’ why he is behaving this way.

Irfan could have been replaced by the Bengal paceman
Ranadeb Bose who performed terrifically in the Ranji final or the Delhi teenage pace bowler Ishant Sharma who was to fly to SA to replace Munaf Patel. In a world cup situation a rookie who can be fast and unpredictable, can be a tricky customer to opposing teams. I am okay with the rest of the team but would have loved to see VVS Laxman included instead of Dinesh Karthik.

It is a grievously wounded Australia that is coming to the World Cup. England wounded them and the Kiwis added insult to their injury by rubbing salt into their wounds. The wounds are slowly healing and the Aussies will be looking to regain the lost pride. This makes them deadly dangerous even when Brett Lee is out with injury. Another team that we need to watch out for is Pakistan. With the
drug addicts out and some other too out with injury, Pakistan will be under great pressure and under pressure they are a dangerous team. South Africa have peaked at the right time. After rubbing the Aussies’ nose in the mud, England and Kiwis are brimming with confidence.

The last time we were in the Windies the slow pitches did us in. I hope we keep that in mind. Lara was not happy playing the recent series here but
he wanted to play the series in the WI to try out the new pitches which will be firm now. I think that’s what BCCI should have done.

Anyways, I am looking forward to a month of exciting cricket and I am obviously rooting for my India to lift the Cup. If India for some reason can’t get into the final, then I am rooting for Sri Lanka if they get to final.

Mohali’s Gift to Vizag?

On March 2nd, BJP and Akali vandals supporters vandalised the “most beautiful” Mohali Cricket stadium and the ground during the swearing –in ceremony of Akali’s Badal as Punjab CM. Cricket experts believe that irreparable damage could have been done to the pitches. At first I was very angry when I heard the news but soon realised that my city could benefit out of this. We in Visakhapatnam are thankful to these vandals for destroying the Mohali ground. Now the most beautiful cricket ground in India is ours – the ACA-VDCA stadium with the greenest outfield with a wicket that is a batsman’s paradise. Cricket fans were able to see this stadium - which can seat about thirty thousand spectators - on TV when India played SL recently in Vizag. This is also the stadium where Dhoni took the Pakistani bowlers to the cleaners two years ago when he scored 148 runs off 123 balls. The Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) should get BCCI to allot more matches – every year- to Vizag. If this fructifies, then life will be jingalala!