Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Posts Tagged ‘Indian Army’

Indian Army and Police Torture: Wikileaks Revelations

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 20, 2011

At Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in the south Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, one cannot but notice how –  up to the top echelons – the ranks of the armed forces and police are to be seen represented in the mass pilgrimage there. For decades it has been so.

These same Indian armed forces and police who flock to Sathya Sai Baba number many of those guilty of human rights violations, and the sort of atrocities referred to in the two articles from The Guardian, see below …

Where, then, is his restraining, so-called ‘Divine Hand’ on his countless devotees who are members of those barbaric forces? And on the governments who deploy them?

Indian democracy? Yes, one may think it good idea ….

The very forces of democratic law and order in India are far from reformed. His long-ago made undertakings to transform India are, at every level, refuse stacked on the tall pile of his many broken promises and predictions.

Related Resources

Police and Army Rapists Rarely Punished, Says Kavita Krishnan (Of AIPWA)

Wikileaks and Indian Troops Atrocities Reports. Sai Baba Fails To ‘Clean Up Own Backyard’

Serial Sex Abuse And Broken Promises of Miracle Healing

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

Predictions and Promises Made by Sathya Sai Baba plus his Persistent Rumours

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Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘father of modern India’,  said:

Apostle of non-violence. Did what he preached

Apostle of non-violence. Did what he preached


You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.
An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.

Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will.
Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.

Violent means will give violent freedom.

WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir

Jason Burke in Delhi.  The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk), Thursday 16 December 2010 21.30 GMT

Beatings and electric shocks inflicted on hundreds of civilians detained in Kashmir, US diplomats in Delhi told by International Red Cross

WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir
Beatings and electric shocks inflicted on hundreds of civilians detained in Kashmir, US diplomats in Delhi told by ICRC

Unrest in Kashmir, where a leaked cable said the Indian government ‘condoned torture’. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees.

Other cables show that as recently as 2007 American diplomats were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions.

The revelations will be intensely embarrassing for Delhi, which takes pride in its status as the world’s biggest democracy, and come at a time of heightened sensitivity in Kashmir after renewed protests and violence this year.

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WikiLeaks cables: will the world now intervene over torture in Kashmir?

By Dilnaz Boga. The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk), Tuesday 21 December 2010 12.45 GMT

Will the leaked communiqués mark a shift in western foreign policy, or is it to be business as usual in Kashmir?

WikiLeaks cables: will the world now intervene over torture in Kashmir? A mother of a disappeared son protests on the eve of International Human Rights Day in Srinagar, Kashmir. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Almost every household in Kashmir has a story to tell of human rights violation by the local police or the Indian security forces. Generations have experienced violence amid a culture of impunity spanning six decades.

Last Friday, leaked US embassy cables disclosed the findings of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on torture in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) between 2002-2004.

ICRC claimed out of 1,296 detainees it had interviewed, 681 had said that they had been tortured. Of those, 498 claimed to have been electrocuted, 381 said they were suspended from the ceiling, and 304 cases were described as sexual. Things haven’t changed much since that period.

Now, Kashmiris who have endured years of abductions, enforced disappearances, custodial killings, rape, torture and detentions want to know if the cables’ release will make a difference. Will there be a change in policy on torture internationally? Will these revelations fortify India’s justice mechanism after civil society’s intervention? Or will it propel the Indian mainstream media to report Kashmir’s human rights issues from the highest militarised zone in the world?

Kashmiris want answers.

Serious impediments to human rights can stall progress in any society. Kashmir is no different. In the Valley, the state feels free to flout its own constitution. Therefore, the people expect intervention from the international community.

The summer of 2010 brought on a significant change in the Kashmiri struggle for independence from India. From being a pan-Islamic militant movement sponsored by Pakistan in 1989, it has now transformed into a non-violent indigenous people’s movement. But the response of the state has not altered since the 1990s.

Kashmiris expressed themselves against what they view as an illegal military occupation by India through peaceful protests, civil strikes, sit-ins, internet and graffiti campaigns, rallies and demonstrations.

Despite the fear of arrest, young people have used the internet to post blogs, photographs of human rights violations and videos of killings, while the government gagged the press for weeks.

Since June, over 100 men, women and children have been killed at demonstrations for protesting against widespread human rights violations. All of this happened as the world watched silently.

The leaked US cables stated that, in 2005, ICRC’s findings were also communicated to the UK, France and Holland. They chose to stay silent. And why shouldn’t they, when there are defence deals to be signed and investments to be made in the soaring Indian markets?

Diplomacy, coupled with the prospects of a burgeoning economy, have shielded India from criticism by the global community. Even the UN only issued a statement, urging India to tone down its response to the protesters.

Responding to ICRC’s allegations, an official spokesperson from the Indian ministry of external affairs said: “India is an open and democratic nation which adheres to the rule of law. If and when an aberration occurs, it is promptly and firmly dealt with under existing legal mechanisms, in an effective and transparent manner.”

Meanwhile, J&K’s chief minister Omar Abdullah said the government doesn’t condone torture. Passing the buck, he added, “I am not getting into it… it pertains to 2005, and you know who was in power that time.” Omar was referring to the coalition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress that ruled the state from November 2002-August 2008.

On Saturday, Indian broadsheet, The Times of India, chose to report on the row over a statement on Hindu terrorism, and comments about Indian Muslims made by former US envoy to New Delhi, David Mulford. In a commentary about India’s 150 million-plus Muslims, Mulford stated: “India’s vibrant democracy, inclusive culture and growing economy have made it easier for Muslim youth to find a place in the mainstream, reduced the pool of potential recruits, and the space in which Islamic extremist organisations can operate.”

There was no mention of torture or of Kashmir in the newspapers.

It is doubtful that India will make changes after these leaks, but hope never dies in places where violence is a way of life. Kashmiris are still hoping, against all odds, for a change.

Courtesy: The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk)

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General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available: PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

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Police and Army Rapists Rarely Punished, Says Kavita Krishnan (Of AIPWA)

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 11, 2011

Kavita Krishna, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, is one of those social justice reformers in India to whom I have at various times referred. Sathya Sai Baba forever preaches truth. right conduct and non-violence but here is an Indian woman who, among other terribly beleagered social justice advocates in India,  risk life and limb. 

 Like many other social reformers in India, she has pointed out:

 “Rape in police custody is very common in India, and in such cases, inevitably there is a huge cover-up and rarely at all has any police or army official ever been brought to trial in such cases”.

For many decades, visitors to Puttaparthi have seen Sathya Sai Baba surrounded by police and armed forces personnel all the way up to the top brass. His influence, then, in “cleaning up”, to use his phrase, his “own backyard” before transforming the world has some severe limitations.  These days, he is surrounded by Israeli-trained security personnel.

India’s social justice advocates have no such phalanx of security around them. They are often prey to violence. They also court that other great oppression:  silence.

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Kavita Krishnan

Kavita Krishnan

Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association

Posted: December 21, 2010 07:44 AM

In India, rape victims routinely face police harassment and refusal to file rape charges. Then, if at all charges are filed, judicial insensitivity, delayed trials, and so on. Only today, I received a report from our activists (of the All India Progressive Women’s Association) in Punjab, about the gang rape of a teenage dalit (oppressed caste) girl. This 17-year-old was lured by police personnel to the police station on the promise of a job, and was then imprisoned and raped by several prominent local citizens, including police officials and a local advocate. Our activists could get a police complaint filed with great difficulty and even now the girl and her family are being pressured to withdraw the case. In the same area of Punjab some years ago, a dalit singer, Bant Singh, had 3 of his limbs chopped off for supporting his daughter in securing a conviction of her rapists — some powerful local people.

Rape in police custody is very common in India, and in such cases, inevitably there is a huge cover-up and rarely at all has any police or army official ever been brought to trial in such cases. The case of gang rape and murder of a young Manipuri woman Thangjam Manorama by Indian army personnel in 2004 is one instance. Last year, there was the case of rape and murder of two Kashmiri women — Asiya and Nilofar — in Shopian, Kashmir, in which the Central Bureau of Investigation (India’s highest government investigative agency) helped in a shameful cover up, coming up with a report that claimed the two women ‘drowned’ in a stream six inches deep. The CBI’s forensic team reported, laughably, that rape had not occurred since the body of one of the women (a teenager), exhumed after four months, showed that “the hymen was intact”! In the Shopian case, doctors and lawyers who had testified to evidence of rape and murder have been prosecuted while the accused paramilitary personnel (as well as the police personnel who assisted in destroying evidence) go free. On This month (December 14), to mark one year of the Shopian rape and murder, women’s groups from all over India sent white sheets to the CBI office in Delhi — “for their next cover up.”

We could also recall the case was of gang rape of a rural women’s health worker Bhanwari Bai in 1995, where a judge ruled that she could not have been raped since she was of a ‘lower caste’ than the four ‘upper caste’ men accused of raping her. The judge’s offensive claim was that upper caste men would not deign to touch a lower caste woman, whereas rape is all too often deployed as a weapon to humiliate and suppress the oppressed castes in India. Another terrible recent rape case was the Khairlanji case where a dalit (oppressed caste) woman and her daughter were very brutally gang raped in full view of a village and then publicly massacred along with her two sons. There was a conviction in this case, (after all the usual delays and refusals by police to file a case) but the verdict was criticized by many activists because it convicted only for rape and refused to invoke India’s law against caste discrimination/atrocities.

In India’s forest areas, tribal women who have with great courage filed cases of rape against security personnel, have found that their rapists not only roam free, they freely abduct and threaten these women and their families that if the cases are pursued, they might be arrested or even killed after being branded as ‘extremists’ and ‘insurgents.’

The national capital, Delhi has seen a series of rape cases in recent times. A high-profile former police officer K P S Gill, himself convicted for sexual harassment, famously commented on the rise in rape cases in Delhi, “I would blame the women who try to wear certain clothes just to keep in tune with the trend. They are the ones who provoke men.” Likewise, in every single instance of rape it is routine to hear women being blamed for being out late at night or in the wrong company. The conviction rate for rape and sexual assault is extremely low. There have been many cases in India where judges have suggested that charges can be dropped if the rapist marries his victim. A former Chief Justice of India’s Supreme Court recently said in a public speech that women’s movement activists should not rule our marriage between rapists and their victims! A man convicted of rape recently had his sentence relaxed by a judge as a reward for clearing exams qualifying to be part of India’s national bureaucratic services.

Certainly, from the perspective of all those women in India who find the most brutal of rapists going free, protected by the police and the state, and their most serious charges of rape trivialized or even suppressed by force, the idea of a man being hunted down by Interpol on charges which are as complex and ambiguous as those in the Assange case is disturbing. From what I hear, Sweden’s rape laws are nothing to quarrel with, and are in fact quite enviable for us in India, where even marital rape is yet to be deemed illegal. But for the US to fire at Assange from the shoulders of the two Swedish women indeed is an insult to the women struggling in vain for justice the world over. It is possible that Assange’s casual flings with female fans may not be very democratic; he may be guilty of insensitivity to the concerns and rights of women (for instance their right to be free from HIV). But if sexism is a crime worthy of Interpol’s attention, then Interpol should immediately arrest Silvio Berlusconi and Bill Clinton,  just for starters!

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At Robert Priddy’s blogsite:  Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Beatings, torture and killings by Police in India 

Police expert on security at Prashanthi Nilayam 

Police chiefs in India can escape justice

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General

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India, Corruption and Sathya Sai Baba and His Chief Servitors

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 27, 2010

The person who wrote to me the following apparently comes from Andhra Pradesh, the State in South India where Sathya Sai Baba has his chief ashram in Puttaparthi. They commented on my previous blog: Wikileaks and Indian Troops Atrocities Reports. Sai Baba Fails To ‘Clean Up Own Backyard’. In regard to Sathya Sai Baba-related corruption,  the person speaks of my “inferring by some convoluted logic that it parallels the causes for India’s many sicknesses”.

It strikes me that the writer uses the notion of  corruption “parallels” in a systemically misleading way. Surely a more helpful contextualization of the corruption issue to be seen in Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors in comparison to widespread, endemic corruption in India  is a notion not of ‘parallel’ but of symptom. This is to say that – apart from the fact that corruption can be found in any social system – many of the Sai Baba-related corruptions reflect aspects deep-rooted in the Indian social system, and promoted by its flaws. It would, of course, be absurd to say that all the corruptions to be seen in one part of a social fabric are replicated in every other instance. For example there are Sathya Sai Organization programs which serve human beings without discrimination on the grounds of caste or creed. A discussion would need to be complex, and attempt some weighting of relevance among phenomena often encountered in India as guru worship, demagoguery, casteism, nepotism, and elitism of various kinds, superstition and dependence in matters such as astrology (not least among the elites), vast social inequality, dowry, and so on ….

In the above article, I had commented:
“Wikileaks reports of Indian troops atrocities and judicial barbarism by Indian authorities points to but one of a number of huge issues erupting in India right at the moment. Every tragic year that passes shows that Sathya Sai Baba has not “cleaned up (his) own backyard”, as he long ago promised he would do.  India’s security and well-being do not rest in the hands of her superstitious and corrupt leadership – many individuals of which gather around Sathya Sai Baba. They are in the hands of those who, at every level, actively and honestly struggle, with great sacrifice, against the systemic venalities”.

 The correspondent wrote:

“For their own karma, all Gurus deserve a healthy dose of irreverence! However,’guru-bashers’ need to be wary of mixing-up issues. This is particularly true when indulged in by foreigners. Ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba may have legitimate complaints about him, but ‘inferring’ by some convoluted logic that it parallels the causes for India’s many sicknesses, is silly and counter-productive.

 
Today, all Indians, whether devotee or non-devotee, atheist theist and agnostic alike, are hugely shamed by the unending exposure of monumental scams in the country. By imputing Sathya Sai Baba for India’s ills, is trivializing and misconstruing the scale and its causes.

 
Devotees will exploit the opportunity to elevate the aging Baba to someone like Christ being crucified for the sins of others”.
Whereas, throughout my many writings, I have made points of the sort:

 
1. That there are courageous forces in India – and always have been – which oppose the corruption.

2. That, among a plethora of other mischiefs, Sathya Sai Baba is exposed by his failure to do what he has long proclaimed that he will do – namely, raise India to great moral and spiritual heights and then the world – effectively, within his own lifetime.

3. The term “guru bashers” is a term that needs, case by case in situations of usage, to be analysed. It is often too much of a label and a curse word, which can obscure the real intents and the arguments being advanced.

4. It is correct that devotees can exploit adverse criticism. Or rather, to be exact, some devotees, because many of them avoid controversy of any sort and simply get on with their prayers, bhajans, etc. But when have not some of those blinded by cultic belief NOT attempted to exploit adverse criticism? Yet, silence or watered down critiques are not likely to be helpful, are they? What critics of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult have attempted to do is to expose the huge deficit between precept and example – the monumental cover ups, the sexual and other abuses, the repeated failures of predictions and of promises (such as of healing, placement in his educational and other wings …), large-scale scams in regard to provision of water, of apartments, the lack of duty of care within the worldwide Sathya Sai Organization, the vast wastage of internationally-contributed funds in glorifying Sai Baba via luxurious buildings, golden trappings of imperial splendour, lack of accountability and transparency by the Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sai Baba’s countless contradictions that are to be found in his officially published discourses and other such sources; and much else.

 5. The writer speaks of: “inferring by some convoluted logic that it parallels the causes for India’s many sicknesses”. In regard to causality, one cannot, of course, willy-nilly deal of all corruptions afflicting India as paralleling those of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. Those who read properly what is actually written will find an avoidance of such simplifying of complex issues in the articles of the most prominent former devotee writers on Sathya Sai Baba, such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel, Alexandra Nagel or myself, or the independent British author never affiliated with Sai Baba Kevin R.D. Shepherd . They will also find in myriad libraries and on the internet a great many reformist Indian writers who, likewise, cannot fairly be accused of “India bashing”.  

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The profound extent of  the grasp of superstition across classes in India  –  not to mention other pre-scientific manifestations – to which Sathya Sai Baba gives credence is exposed in this well-sourced article by Robert Priddy, who writes of how:

WITCHCRAFT AND BLACK MAGIC STILL PLAGUE INDIA
and how Sathya Sai Baba aggravates the current witchcraft problems in India
 


“Sathya Sai Baba holds firmly that black magic is a real phenomenon, as the quotations below prove. His person and his so-called ‘teachings’ are held in awe by Prime Ministers and Presidents of India and – yet worse – Supreme Court judges. How can this country abolish the dreadful ignorance of so many citizens, apparently including supposedly highly educated persons?” 

 

Some Resources at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’


General
 

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