More naxal attacks to follow: IB


The attack at Dantewada in which 75 security personnel kill is sure a wake up call and according to intelligence agencies, there will be more such attacks in the days to come.

State Intelligence officials who are on the job at the affected areas told rediff.com that the reason behind the sudden surge in power for the naxals is that they had been a recruitment spree. The recruitment process is on fast track and there are crash courses which are being offered since they find the urgency to strike at regular intervals. It is no longer the prolonged procedure of training that is involved. They are very well aware that the security forces are trying to clean them up and they feel that they have very little time on hand. The crash course of the naxals just lasts two weeks. The training includes a very quick course on usage of weapons, conducting a recee, keeping a tab on security forces and attack.

The recruitments have been highest in the tribal belts and it is being increasingly noticed that they have managed to gain the support and the sympathy of the local population. This is a clear indication that the security forces have not been able to garner any support from the locals as a result of which they are not able to fight the naxals.

The IB says that the recruitment process is constant all across the red corridor and is not limited to one particular area alone. They have decided to speed up the process where the insurgency is highest, the IB also pointed out.

Mahendra Kumawat, former Director General of the Border Security Force and Special Secretary, Internal Security, Ministry of Home Affairs told rediff.com that this is a very serious issue. The forces who are being sent in should be well equipped and there is no way in which personnel who are not trained should be sent in to such combats.

The Naxal menace is the biggest internal threat to India and their primary aim to push India back and ensure that it never becomes a super power. They are growing in strength and in the days to come they would become more sophisticated since they have been procuring weapons from outside the country. I will not rule out the fact that they have tied up with other anti national forces like those from across the borders. This is a threat which has to be dealt with an iron fist or else it will only get worse as the days progress.

Kumawat further pointed out that there is a need to have a proper strategy to counter the naxals. The need of the hour is a specialized force to counter this problem.

Looking at the latest attack, one could say that there is definitely a need to increase the number of security personnel. The recruitment’sBSF by the naxals is on the rise and they are trying each day to outnumber our security forces. This strategy coupled with local support is what is making them such a strong force. Moreover they will continue to fight the security forces in the jungles itself knowing fully well that our forces are not very good at battling in the jungles. During their training and recruitment process they are specifically told that they will need to die for the cause and once such a mindset is instilled in them it will only make them stronger.

Speaking of the local support which the naxals have managed to garner while our security forces have not, the whole problem is regarding the tenure of the security personnel. He has to be given a long tenure in one place. What I have noticed is that to wage a battle of this nature, it is important that they have local support. More than once I have seen it happen that just when a security personnel is getting accustomed to the locals, he is moved out of that place.

In the backdrop of the latest incident, what our security forces need to do is sit down and analyse the situation just like how the naxals do. They will surely change their strategy the next time around since it has been noticed that after each attack, the naxals do hold a meeting where the attack is analysed, scrutinized and newer plans are deviced for the next attack. The interesting thing is that they analyse the mistakes more after every attack and ensure that the same thing is not repeated the next time.

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‘Vinay will be India’s main bowler very soon’


KDG Nagar in Davangere has never been so festive before. Yes, they have reason to celebrate. Local boy Vinay Kumar has made it big; he’s been selected to represent India in next month’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies.

His mother Soubagya and brother Madhusoodhan are on cloud nine.

“It is the sweetest news I have heard till date. Our boy’s efforts have paid off,” says Madhusoodhan.

“I had a gut feeling that this would happen. He is a very passionate boy and has worked very hard. He was from a small town and, hence, had to put in double the effort. The manner in which he is playing in the IPL itself gave me hope that he would make it to the team,” he adds.

Vinay’s interest in cricket was born when he was eight years of age.

“At that age he said that he wanted to be a batsman and was focusing more on that. He used to go to the nearby ground and play, until one day Prakash Pawar, his coach, spotted him.

“Pawar Sir told him that he should aim at becoming an all-rounder; he also told him to concentrate on his bowling. Since then there was no looking back.

“You don’t know how it feels sir when I see my brother stand on the same ground which the greats like Sachin Tendulkar stand. I cannot explain that feeling. He has always worked for that and today he has achieved it.

“Being selected for the T20 team is the first step, and I have no doubt that he will make it to both the Test and one-day squad very soon. Vinay will be India’s main bowler very soon,” says Madhusoodhan.

Vinay’s mother was very emotional as she spoke.

“Cricket was always his first love. My husband Ranganath and I never discouraged him. He showed more interest towards sports than his studies. At the age of eight he told me, ‘I want to make a career out of cricket. I don’t want to work as anything else. I just want to be a cricketer’.

“It never worried me that he gave more importance to cricket. I never shouted at him even once. He was a good boy and did well; his studies never worried me. He completed his Bachelor of Arts course without any problem, but we had accepted the fact that he only wanted to play for the country. That dream has come true.

Both mother and brother say there will be celebrations in Davangere.

“Come down sir and you will see how happy this entire town is. See how proud our boy has made all of them.”

Is the Lashkar Mightier Than the Qaeda?


Is it the Al-Qaeda or the Lashkar-e-Tayiba? Which of the two outfits is deadlier? Post 9/11, the Al-Qeda was considered to be the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world. However today, things have changed and it is official that the Lashkar is the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world.

Indian Intelligence agencies told rediff.com that this outfit was growing in terms of funds and manpower and today the Al-Qaeda is living of the Lashkar. The IB says that the ISI has played a major role in the growth of the Lashkar ever since the United States of America decided to wage a war against the Al-Qaeda.

The Lashkar was set up with an intention of fighting Indian forces in Kashmir. Their operation was largely restricted to Kashmir until the ISI instructed them to expand their tentacles and spread terror all over India. While over the years the terrorist outfit grew in leaps and bounds, it was the 26/11 attack at Mumbai which propelled this outfit into a different league. The IB says that in the past decade there have been at least 200000 persons who have trained under the Lashkar. However the Al-Qaeda does not even have half this number and this is a clear indication that the Lashkar is way ahead.

In terms of modules, technology, funds and manpower, the Lashkar is way ahead of the Al-Qaeda. The IB says that as of today, the Al-Qaeda has been pushed completely only in Afghanistan, but the Lashkar on the other hand has its modules world over. The alliances that the Lashkar has managed to get on its side is what has helped this outfit grow.

Apart from India and Paksitan, the Lashkar has set up modules in Kenya, Iraq, the Gulf countries, United States and United Kingdom, thus giving the indication that it is all set to launch global jihad. The Al-Qaeda on the other hand which had modules in all the above mentioned places has been pushed into Afghanistan alone. Today the Al-Qaeda operatives are fighting alongside the Taliban and their war is restricted to Afghanistan alone.

Experts point out that the Lashkar only appears to be growing from strength to strength. There are specific instructions from the ISI to the Lashkar that they ought to be waging global jihad and hence there is a complete change in the manner they have been carrying out their attacks. The future will see more attacks in which the Lashkar would target westerners, so that they are able to make their point to the rest of the world.

Experts also point out that the Al-Qaeda was a force to reckon with until it has the blessings of the ISI. However the moment the US waged a war against this outfit, the ISI dropped the outfit and focused more on the Lashkar. One of the most trusted cadres of the ISI, Ilyas Kashmiri who was with the Al-Qaeda too fell out with the ISI due to this change in pattern. He was asked to fight alongside the Lashkar in Kashmir, but he refused stating that his war was against America. However they have managed to rope him in once again and this has only strenghthened the Lashkar further.

Statistics available with the Indian IB would go on to indicate the threat perception of the Lashkar to a great extent. Following the Mumbai attack, they have changed their strategy and would now prefer the Indian bred jihadis to wage a war within the country. Zarar Shah one of the men arrested in connection with the Mumbai attack in Pakistan stated during his interrogation that they had 300 targets in mind. Interestingly none of these targets were in India. They included the US and UK and other parts of Europe. The arrest of David Headley is another indication to show how serious the Lashkar is about waging global jihad.

The IB says that the Lashkar is making desperate attempts to further its strenght world wide. The Lashkar has been targetting India alone all these years and it was the induction of Riazzuddin Nasir which changed the entire perception. He was picked up specifically to target the foreign tourists in Goa. The IB says that the outfit wanted to make a statement over there, but that plan fell flat following the arrest of Nasir. However they managed to bounce back quickly and carried out the Mumbai attack which gave them attention world over.

There is a dangerous precedent that has set in following the Mumbai attack. Over 20,000 sympathisers of the Al-Qaeda have shifted loyalties and today subscribe to the Lashkar. The IB says that the funding from the rich businessmen in the Gulf nations have now been diverted towards the Lashkar instead of the Al-Qaeda. However all this has not affected the relationship between the Al-Qaeda and the Lashkar. The two outfits continue to remain together, but it is just that the Lashkar has taken a lead role as of today.

In terms of technology too the Lashkar is way ahead of the Al-Qaeda. They have been using various techniques to wage a battle and sources say that they have the best of equipments as of today. Infact today, this is the only outfit which is capable of launching a biological attack and they have set up their labs for the purpose in Pakistan. The interesting aspect is that their cadres are in possession of every possible army training manual of the countries they face a threat from. When Nasir was picked up, some training manuals pertaining to the US marines were found on him. For instance they would have possession of a training manual of the Indian army so that they would be in a better position to fight them. Apart from this the Lashkar has been trying to get in its possession, unmanned aircrafts. There have been attempts by the ISI to ship it for the Lashkar, but there are no confirmed reports to suggest that they have managed to acquire the aircrafts. Off late there has also been movement of night vision glasses, bullet proof vests and wireless equipments and more sophisticated weaponary to Lashkar camps, the IB also points out. While these are pretty common equipments, the fact is that they have shipped it from the US, which is a clear indication of the reach the outfit has.

The IB says that the heat is definitely on the Lashkar. The US managed to dry up the funds for the Al-Qaeda, but with the Lashkar it is not all that easy. The interesting part is that despite the crackdowns on its fund raising activity, they continue to be carried on unabated thanks to the large chain of charity organisations this outfit runs. The Lashkar has over 700 charity organisations worldwide and this is the primary source of funds which unfortunately is being diverted towards spreading Global Jihad.

The who is who in the dossier to Pak


India on Thursday handed over three dossiers to Pakistan, dealing with three different aspects of terrorism being bred in Pakistan.

The first dossier deals exclusively with the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The second dossier is about Ilyas Kashmiri, leader of Al-Qaeda’s 313 brigade, while the third sought the handing over of the Khalistan militants and Indian Mujahideen cadres, sources told rediff.com.

In the first dossier, India sought the handing over of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed. Sources say that Hafiz could not figure in the earlier dossiers sent to Pakistan as agencies were gathering collective proof of his role in terrorism in India.

Moreover, the JuD’s role has come into the limelight following the mass meeting they held on Kashmir Solidarity Day, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where an open threat was made to target various Indian cities.

The same dossier also deals with American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, who has proven to be a major link in the 26/11 case.

Coupled with the proof handed over by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is interrogating Headley, the Indian dossier speaks in particular about two Pakistan Army officials, one of whom is retired.

The serving army official has been referred to as Major Iqbal. The name of this Major had cropped up during Headley’s interrogation when he admitted to reporting to a serving Pakistan Army Major. The Intelligence Bureau, who are also on this case, however, point out that the name Major Iqbal is fake since during such an operation the real name would never be given out.

This officer was a link between several foreign operatives and Pakistan-based terror groups. He played a major role in facilitating Headley’s travel and cross over into Pakistan with ease.

Another name is that of Major Samir Ali, a retired officer of the Pakistan Army. His name had cropped up both during the investigations into the Mumbai attack as well as the Headley case. He is believed to be associated with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

He had served with the Pakistan Army as well as the Inter Services Intelligence, and following his retirement, worked along with terror groups as a trainer. It is believed that he was part of the team, which imparted training to 26/11 gunmen. However, the IB believes that this too is a pseudo name used for the operation.

The other names that find mention are those of Zabiuddin, a resident of Beed, who had played an active role in the Mumbai attack. The dossier also seeks the handing over Abu Hamza, who imparted accent training to the gunmen.

The second dossier is all about Ilyas Kashmiri, India’s next headache. There is a lot of proof that has been built up against Kashmiri by the Indian agencies. His first ever statement came out following the news of his death in a drone attack. In a statement, he claimed that he had taken part in training the gunmen who attacked Mumbai.

He had stated that the entire operation was originally planned by the Al-Qaeda, but was hijacked by the Lashkar and the ISI. He had further threatened to launch Ghazb-e-Hind (Hate India), which involved carrying out deadlier attacks than the one in Mumbai.

Kashmiri’s name cropped up again during the interrogation of Headley, who had communicated with the former for future India-based operations. The latest communication from Headley was through an email sent to a Pakistan-based website in which he had warned to disrupt every event, which had international participation.

The third dossier was prepared initially with the names of the Khalistan-based militants. However, following the Pune blast, the names of several terrorists belonging to the Indian Mujahideen too were added.

While India tells Pakistan in the dossier to probe the role of the Indian Mujahideen operatives in connection with the Pune blast, it also lays emphasis on the role of the Khalistan militants in future operations.

Following the Mumbai attack, the initial dossier that was sent out had the names of several Khalistan militants. However, more names have been included in the dossier following the revelation that Khalistan-based groups in coordination with the Lashkar were readying themselves for a fresh attack in India.

While making a mention about the Khalistan-based militants, it also talks about the Karachi plot in which the Lashkar had roped in these Khalistan militants to carry out assassinations of various leaders. Jagtar Singh Hawara, Ranjeet Singh and Lakhvinder Singh are the three key persons who are part of the dossier.

The Indian Mujahideen aspect too is dealt with in the third dossier. Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Amir Raza are the three key persons who have been running the Indian Mujahideen from Pakistan.

India has proof to show that the Bhatkal brothers are holed up in the Defence Enclave in Karachi and are under the protection of the ISI. India says that the handing over of the Bhatkal brothers would be a great step towards cracking the IM code.

Amir Raza too is an important personality in the IM set up. Following the Pune blasts, his name has cropped up several times. Raza is a Pakistan national, who oversees IM’s operations from that country itself.

Rs 170k worth FICN in Indian Market


Rupees one hundred and seventy thousand crore (Rs 170,000 crore) is believed to be the amount of fake Indian currency that has been circulated in India in the past five years. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [ Images ] had said in a recent conference that fake currency continued to be India’s primary concern in its war against terror.
Various security agencies have preparied reports on the issue and say most of the fake currency floating around has been pumped in in the past five years. While it is a known fact that Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence continues to be the major sponsor of this activity, the worry is that despite steps being taken to counter this menace, they are deriving newer techniques to outwit security agencies.
Indian agencies have managed to stop smuggling of counterfeit notes from the Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan borders, to a large extent. This has prompted the terror groups to shift their focus to Dubai and Saudi Arabia to send fake currency into India.

The IB believes that the terror groups have altered the manner in which they transporting fake currency. At first, terror operatives who used to infiltrate into the country were used as mules to transport fake currency. After this was exposed, they decided to use the migrant labour class working in the Middle East. However following a big haul in Hyderabad prior to the twin blasts, the ISI had no option but to change this modus operandi as well.
Now terror groups look to women to carry out this task. Signs of women being used to transport fake notes came to light when the Research and Analysis Wing picked up three women from Maharashtra while they were circulating fake currency.
Until six months ago, Maharashtra was a major landing ground for fake currency. However now operations are believed to have been shifted to Hyderabad, since terror groups feel that it is a safer bet following the 26/11 attacks. The IB says although the base has been shifted to Hyderabad, the remote control is still very much in Maharashtra.

Fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Hamza who was arrested recently revealed that Dawood helped a great deal in this racket and was constantly pumping fake notes along with consignments of arms and ammunition into India. He has been using his network in Dubai and other countries in the Gulf to further this operation, Hamza said.

Men vs Women-Do we need a men’s welfare ministry in the Govt.?


There are a 1000 laws that protect women. Maybe such laws were required at one point of time. However the world has changed today and women sure are in a much better position today. The issue today is that such laws are being misused and it is very evident that cases pertaining to harassment of men are on the rise.

In this context let us discuss whether there is a need to set up a Men’s Welfare Ministry in the Government. Chat with Virag, member, research Team, Save Indian Family Foundation on My Rediff Page. You can post your questions and Virag will answer them later during the day

Why fix one day for love

When one speaks of Valentine’s Day, the immediate thought that comes to mind is the mindless ruckus that was caused in Karnataka last year on the issue.

It started off with an assault on women at a pub in Mangalore which then spiralled into violence over Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The Sri Ram Sene in Karnataka was blamed for the violence and its activists had openly proclaimed that they were not in favour of people celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Their aggression was countered with a strange campaign, called the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign, in which some women sent pink-coloured undergarments to every member of the Ram Sene.

As Valentine’s Day approaches this year, the government in Karnataka is making all arrangements to ensure that the celebrations are not disrupted.

The Ram Sene, on its part, says that it has no intentions of disrupting the celebrations. Ram Sene cheif Pramod Muthalik, in this interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, says that his organsation will create a huge awareness drive against Valentine’s Day.

What is the Ram Sene planning against Valentinne’s Day celebrations this year?

People are free to do whatever they like. We have decided not to resort to any violence. Nobody can drag us into creating any kind of violence and our members don’t want any trouble. However, we have a huge awareness programme, which has already commenced all across Karnataka, and even on Valentine’s Day, we will continue with the programme.

So basically moral policing again.

It is not moral policing.

Who has given you the right to do this?

I don’t need anybody’s permission for this. We are a responsible organisation and we think that we need to conduct an awareness campaign, since the girls of our society are getting ruined because of this.

Why not an all-year-round vigil, if you are so very concerned about our girls?

We are always on the look out. Women complain to us about atrocities and we take care of their problems. It is not as though we express concern only during Valentine’s Day.

But you are in the limelight only during Valentine’s Day.

Maybe because you chose to interview me only before Valentine’s Day.

Anyway what sort of awareness are you creating?
We have gone to schools, colleges and hotels and told them not to support Valentine’s Day. We have been distributing pamphlets. We have told all of them that Valentine’s Day is aimed at ruining our culture. We are hopeful that the colleges and schools will support what we are saying in the interest of the children who get blindly carried away.

Can you give us an assurance that there will be no violence?

Yes, we can give an assurance. We will not do anything to those who celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Remember the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign? What do you think about it?

What kind of agitation was that? Was that decent? Being women, they are sending undergarments and making a public issue out of it. Do they even belong to our culture? It is some other culture, and I don’t want to speak the language that they deserve. I don’t have to give my opinion about them. The people of India know what those women are. They will give their opinion.

If they resort to such a campaign once again, what will you do?

We won’t do anything. Let them do what they want. We don’t deal with street people.

You raised your voice against Love Jihad. Can you tell us something about it?
Yes, our organisation is very much on the job. The available data shows that since the past three years, 8,000 Hindu women in Karnataka alone have been forcibly converted. We have made CDs and pamphlets on this issue. We are going from village to village creating awareness. We have been successful to a large extent on this. The Karnataka high court too has taken a note of this matter, and has told the police to look into the issue.

You are considered to be a prodigy of the Shiv Sena. What are your thoughts about their current actions?

We need to blame Jawaharlal Nehru for creating states on the basis of language. Now that it has been done, nothing much can be done about it. I agree that locals should be given preference in any state, but not at the cost that nationalism and patriotism.

Earlier you had spoken about women getting ruined due to Valentine’s Day. What is the basis of this statement?

Since last year, 118 women have committed suicide, 320 have been raped and Rs 3,000 crore worth of roses sold. This itself tells a big story. Women are being dragged into celebrating such a day under the pretext of love, and they are being used for wrong things.

Many women are trapped into such things. Look at the sale of roses, a market which is being controlled by the multi-national companies. Who is benefiting? Moreover, it is during Valentine’s Day that the sale of drugs is also very high. Women are being induced into all this, and in the bargain they are being ruined.

There are genuine cases of love as well. How can you stop a natural emotional feeling?

We are not against love. But why fix one day for love? According to me Valentine’s Day is not about love, it is just about lust.

If your intentions are so correct, then why is it that your activists go to jail?

That is the sad part of it. We are being fixed because we are protecting women. We are being fixed because we tell people not to take drugs.

Sir, you are being fixed because you hit people and tell them not to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

That is incorrect. You please take your words back.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka has said that it won’t tolerate anyone disrupting Valentine’s Day. What do you think of this?

Does this government have any sense or brains? Is this a statement they should be issuing? I don’t agree with them at all. However, we are not planning on disrupting the celebrations. All we want is to create awareness, so that people realise it on their own.

Chat with Lateef Mohammad Khan on My Rediff Page


We are pleased to have with us Lateef Mohammad Khan, prominent Human Rights Activist of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee with us for a chat. Khan who is also leading the Muslims of Telangana for a seperate Telangana state will answer your questions pertaining to the movement. To chat with Khan at 11.30 am on February 10, Wednesday please log into my page at http://pages.rediff.com/Vicky%20Nanjappa/912. See you there.

Sea will continue to be Lashkar’s main terror route


Shahzad, the man the alleged Indian Mujahideen operative who was arrested in Azamgarh, spilt the beans regarding the IM and Lashkar-e-Tayiba’s plans to wreak havoc using air and water-based terror attacks.

Officials interrogating Shahzad told rediff.com said he spoke of the Lashkar’s plan on setting up hi-tech modules across north India. The LeT wanted to ensure that Indian terror outfits possessed the capability to carry out attacks by homegrown terrorists. Since the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the Lashkar has focused heavily on making the Indian terror organisations as capable as their Pakistani counterparts.

During the interrogation, Shahzad spoke of how the Lashkar along with the IM had been working closely on setting up more sea-routes into India. The Lashkar is interested setting up more sea routes since the navy has upped security along with the Indian coast.

During the interrogation, Shahzad says The LeT planned on air strikes and a team, which he had constituted were training for this. Shahzad is believed to have trained in a flying school at Bengaluru . Shahzad was also mobilising men to join similar programmes.

Shahzad told the cops that the sea route was being strengthened with a specific purpose. The groups in Pakistan were finding it extremely hard to transport men and ammunition through the over land route and hence they had decided to use the sea.

A team was being prepared so that arms and ammunition could be sent to India for further use. Even if fidayeen manage to enter the country, they would not have to carry arms and ammunition, along with them since it would slow down their progress.

The Lashkar had used a similar strategy for the Mumbai attacks. The terrorists who had attacked the Central Reserve Police Force camp in Uttar Pradesh were specifically ordered to carry additional arms and ammunition and dump it so that it would be picked up later and used by the Mumbai attackers. However that plan flopped since the terrorists were apprehended and during the interrogation they revealed details about the weapons.

IB sources said that the LeT would continue to target the sea route since they are aware of the vulnerable situation. There are over 200 minor ports in the country which do have an X-ray scanner which can scrutinise cargo and LeT is likely to target these.

The mystery surrounding the MLA who is alleged to have sheltered Shahzad still continues. Shahzad had told his interrogators that he was sheltered by a former MLA from Azamgarh who is currently living in Noida. He had said that he had been given shelter after the Batla House encounter, from which he managed to escape. Shahzad and the rest of his gang were hiding at Batla House after the Dehi blasts. However the residents of Azamgarh claim that there is no former MLA who lives in Noida.

Man who was called mad by Jairam Ramesh

During the course of the Bt brinjal discussion held at Bangalore on Saturday, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh may have faced his worst opposition during the series of meetings he has held across the country. There was an ugly altercation between the minister and a member representing the scientific community which prompted the minister to call him mad.

Santosh B Min, a physiotherapist who is also working on the subject along with the scientific community was targeted by the minister during that meet. Min has not taken the remarks too kindly and in his interaction with rediff.com said that he is preparing a defamation suit and will back down only once the minister ‘comes down to Bangalore and apologises for the remarks’.

The meeting was held so that public opinion could be gathered about Bt brinjal. However all of us were taken aback when the minister said that he will discuss only about Bt brinjal and nothing about genetic engineering.

I immediately got up and said that if this is the case then this discussion is a big joke. I said we should be given an opportunity to speak about genetic engineering also. During the course of the discussion many, however, spoke about genetic engineering and also on its pros and cons.

However what we realised through the meeting was that Ramesh was making very unnecessary comments about the public. He was mocking us and this irritated us to no end.

When it was the turn of the scientific community to speak, we brought to his notice a gazette notification of October 2009 in which his ministry had removed 190 plants including the banyan tree from the bio diversity list. Ramesh was obviously taken aback by this and so were a lot of members at the venue.

He did not take too kindly the fact that this notification was brought to his notice. It was then that he started abusing the people there. He remarked that NGOs are undemocratic in nature. My question is who is he to say that? NGO’s would have been non-existent if the government had done its work properly. When he said this, I once again stood up and said that this entire public discussion is undemocratic. The police immediately came and tried to remove me from the venue. I somehow managed to stay back.

I was not given a chance to speak. I waited for a long time and tried making eye contact with the minister. Finally he called out my number and when I was about to speak, he asked me if I was the same person who interrupted him earlier. I said that I interrupted since I felt that Monsanto is the biggest killer. That is when he made this rather personal remark and said, ‘you go to NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) and I am not ready to listen to a mental patient’.

How can a minister make such a remark? I never said that he was an agent of Monsanto but only said that he was holding a brief for them. This is something that he cannot run away from. Monsanto is a death knell and instead of introducing Bt brinjal, you might as well starve the people to death in our country.

I will ensure that he resigns and repents for what he said. I am preparing a defamation suit and Ramesh must come down and admit to the nation that he had done wrong and this is no way to speak to the public.