ISIS–A Monster
Indian Muslims are shocked and pained by the brutality and atrocities being perpetrated by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) against Christians, Shias, Kurds, Yazidis and other minorities in the regions now under their control. We strongly condemn such barbarism which is against the teachings of Islam. We express our heart-felt sympathies and solidarity with the survivors of those whose near and dear ones have been mercilessly butchered, and the tens of thousands of Iraq's minorities who have been dispossessed, forced to flee their homes and are now living in extremely difficult circumstances.

The barbaric conduct of the ISIS is all the more reprehensible because its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaims to be the 'Caliph' of the entire Muslim world and his armed groups are supposedly acting in the name of Islam. We welcome the fact that most religious leaders and Islamic scholars from across the world, including India, have debunked al-Bagdadi's claim of being a Caliph.

Alongside the ongoing tormenting of common citizens and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in areas under their control, the ISIS has been enforcing its own intolerant, extremist, violent, distorted interpretation of Islam on Muslims who are also Sunnis. This too deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible words. We call upon Muslim religious leaders in India and elsewhere to add their voice to that of Muslim organisations and individuals who have already denounced al-Baghdadi and his ISIS for distorting Islam's message for peace and for their barbaric conduct.

The unspeakable atrocities and mass crimes against Iraq's minorities are nothing short of 'crimes against humanity', 'religious/ethnic cleansing'. We appeal to the United Nations to urgently intervene, create the circumstances where those forced to flee feel secure enough to return to their homes and cities with full honour and dignity, and hold the ISIS accountable for its heinous acts.

While the ISIS must be held fully responsible for its unconscionable acts, the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait etc cannot escape their share of the blame in fuelling the flames. The worsening plight of Iraq's Christians is but a legacy of America's illegal, unwarranted and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent engineering of sectarian strife to divide the Iraqi resistance to the occupation.

Dictator Saddam Hussain was no angel but under him the country's 1.4 million Christians were free to practice their faith. Many occupied high government posts. It is ironic that the US is now bombing the very ISIS to which it had earlier provided training, arms and ammunition in an attempt to dislodge Syria's authoritarian President, Bashar al-Assad. For their own myopic ends, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait etc have been backing an array of radical Islamist outfits of which the ISIS—a monster now seemingly out of control—was an integral part.

We urge a global condemnation of the ISIS and all its allies, overt or covert.
82 Eminent Citizens

Committees and Commissions
Reports of committees formed by political rulers have no authenticity because reports of such appointed political-committees are evidently according to their own political requirements, like is evident from report of Shivpal Yadav committee where the committee-head is himself a prominent leader of the ruling party.

Political rulers even misuse 'judicial panels/commissions' headed by retired judges, when such appointed panels/commissions submit their reports according to requirements of political rulers having appointed these. Two separate judicial commissions—one appointed by Union Railway Ministry of UPA regime and the second appointed by BJP-led Gujarat government gave two different reports on the same matter.

All enquiry-panels should be headed by retired judges nominated by National Judicial Commission which should be a permanent body consisting of retired Supreme Court judges serving as member-nominees of Prime Minister, Opposition Leader in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India, Bar Council of India with Chief Vigilance Commissioner as ex-officio secretary of such high-powered Commission. Unfortunately, Union government preferred its own version of National Judicial Commission which cannot be a full-time body because of serving judges and Union Law Minister being its members, apart from several other drawbacks which have created conflict between judiciary and legislature.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal,
New Delhi

Drug Addiction
It is a common knowledge that Punjab is presently facing its biggest threat when Pakistan has been instrumental to make Punjab youth drug-addicted, so that the bordering Indian state may no longer have a dedicated youth force to rise to occasion at need of hour like war-time. Brave Punjabi youth were amongst the main factors of India winning Indo-Pak wars in the years 1965 and 1971. Lack of proper employment opportunities has also resulted in large-scale migration of Punjabi youth to other countries.

So many rich families with root-base in Punjab are presently Non-Resident-Indians (NRIs) settled in other countries. These NRIs can be motivated to open schools aimed at promoting games in their native state of Punjab. It will give Punjabi youth an additional opportunity to make India shine at world's sports' map, which unfortunately is a neglected field when world's second-largest populated country ranks amongst the lowest ones at Olympics.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal,
New Delhi

Vol. 47, No. 10, Sep 14 - 20, 2014