Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca's. Statements on the Gujarat Massacre

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Reading through Ms. Rocca's comments to a Senatorial Oversight Committee on Foreign Policy for South Asia on March 22nd of this year, I was taken aback by her pronouncements related to the aftermath of the Gujarat massacre of the second and third mon

No, "much action" has not been taken against the perpetrators in India! In fact, one academic study of the events establishes that this is the first time in (post-Independent) Indian history where communal rioting was directed openly by the State against its own minority populace. Yet most of the positive "action" by the Indian Government against the perpetrators, to which she averred in her testimony, has been projected upon the victims themselves! The Under Secretary, shamefully, misrepresented the facts to our Senators when she stated that the "United States has spoken out loudly and often on the terrible events of Gujarat..."

This is a gross misrepresentation especially when one compares the American Ambassador in New Delhi's silence with the British High Commissioner's proactive statements. Ms. Rocca's comments ignore the plethora of documentation compiled by organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Indian Human Rights watch organizations and, also, by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The latter organization, an official body of the United States government, had recommended to the State Department that India be placed on America's official list of those nations that lack religious freedoms.

Personally, this essay is shocked to point out that, when the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced publicly the State Department's list of serious violators of religious freedom for earlier this year, India was conspicuously absent!

This testimony shows an attempt to placate the Right-wing Sectarian Hindutva Government of India at the cost our traditional ally Pakistan. After Britain, Pakistan has probably been America's most consistent military partner. After all, without Rawalpindi's help, the Soviet Union would still be a formable force within Eastern Europe.

For India herself, Washington's official denial of the racist and sectarian elements within the Government in New Delhi and in her States such as Gujarat, demonstrates the dramatic strategic shift away from our historical ally in Islamabad discussed previously. If anything, Washington's policy should reposition itself from a solely pro-Pakistani lean to a neutral South Asian tilt as a whole. In that way, the States will be in a better position to help broker a peace over the Subcontinent. The Subcontinental realities are altering, and we in North America can be part of it to our advantage, the Region and the World's.

Christina Rocca's distorted testimony demonstrates the lack of respect for human rights and, in general, our Administration's hostile and, yes, sectarian attitude towards Islamic nations.

But why is Washington doing this publicly at this time, and betraying our time-honored collaborator?

For two reasons, the first is to avoid alienating the current New Delhi Government, and, thus, is geopolitical. This shows a delicate lean at the expense of justice to a political courtship of that regime.

This is not a good sign for the South Asian Islamic Republic. Pakistan is the U.S.' main ally in the "War Against Terrorism." The Pakistani army is the main bulwark to hole up terrorism within the South Asian region -- including Afghanistan - for the interests of the United States.

What is more disturbing, secondly, is that this reveals yet another instance of the Bush Administration's War Against Islam. The suffering and deceased Gujaratis in February and March of 2002 were almost all entirely Muslims. This was a pogrom against Muslims. Further, elements of the ruling BJP in Ahmedabad (Capital of Gujarat) and elsewhere are running pogroms against Christians, also.

Ms. Rocca's comments merely proclaim the moral bankruptcy of the Bush regime! Only if we stand up for not only what our values have been traditionally, but, also, what has been respected Worldwide will we once again enter the World without the Rogue status we have acquired.

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