Friday, July 01, 2005

Letter to Norwegian Nobel Committee on Teesta Setalvad by an ex IAS officer

Krishen Kak, Ph.D (Princeton)
(formerly of the Indian Administrative Service)
C2/2002 Vasant Kunj
New Delhi 110070

Ole Danbolt MJØS
Berge Ragnar FURRE
Sissel Marie RØNBECK
Kaci Kullmann FIVE

Re. nominations to the Peace Prize 2005

1. On behalf of an agency called "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize" group, a number of news items have recently appeared regarding nominations for the Peace Prize. Two such news reports are copied below for the information of the Committee.

2. The Committee will no doubt examine the appropriateness of each of these 1000 names for the Prize, and is surely aware of the proverb that "even one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel". A few inappropriate names will cast doubts on the entire credibility of the Committee and embroil it in controversy.

3. Amongst the names in the news items are a few to which, as a concerned member of the public, I would especially like to draw the Committee's kind attention.

4. The first is that of Teesta Setalvad. Ms Setalvad, along with her husband, runs a private limited company called "Sabrang Communications" that is widely and popularly believed to receive financial support from the same agencies that finance terrorism in the Indian subcontinent, and there are increasing public demands for an enquiry into its financial affairs. Ms Setalvad is under investigation by the Supreme Court of India - she has been accused by a Muslim victim in the Gujarat violence in 2002 of having paid that victim money to fabricate evidence as well as that she falsely stated to the Supreme Court that she represented that victim. The victim's case that became known as the "Best Bakery" case is now being called the "Best Fakery" case. Whether the Committee should award the Prize to a person who may well be declared a perjuror by the Supreme Court of India - especially as the matter is still pending before the Court - is of course for the Committee to consider.

5. Ms Aruna Roy is on the public record as having lied about foreign financial support to her NGO. In addition (as the second news item indicates), she is closely associated with the political party whose former leader publicly defended the massacre by goons of his party of 3,000 Sikhs in 1984. The perpetrators of that massacre have still to be brought to justice. In addition, the current head of the same political party was accused in the Parliament of India of being responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Bhagalpur in 1989. The accuser is a senior member of the current ministry that runs the government of India. Moreover, as the second news report below indicates, Ms Roy is a member of the NGO that is ascribed credit for "freedom of information" - if this is so, it is the entire NGO that should be prizeworthy, and not a single member.

6. Ms Shabnam Hashmi, like Ms Roy, is on the public record as having lied about foreign financial support to her then NGO called SAHMAT. She was obliged to leave SAHMAT and she started another NGO called ANHAD. The latter solicited money from the public but refused to divulge whether it was a legally registered entity with a properly accounted-for bank account.

7. The Nobel Committee expects its members to keep "a strong commitment to certain common moral and political principles". Surely it should expect the same of nominees for the Prizes? Mss Setalvad, Roy and Hashmi are amoral where financial principles are concerned, and Ms Roy's political principles (if not those of the two others) are certainly duplicitous.

8. Should the Committee wish, I will be happy to provide more details.

9. The Committee is requested to note that "The names of nominees were announced at 20 places across the world. In South Asia there were 13 press conferences, including eight in India where some of the nominees were also present. In Delhi, as many 15 nominees attended the meeting". It does seem that the nominators are trying internationally to generate popular favour for their nomination - and are even introducing prospective winners to the media and the public.

10. It is therefore for the Committee to consider whether, notwithstanding its request that "The nominators are strongly requested not to publish their proposals". the media blitz by the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize" group is not an endeavour to influence it.

An acknowledgement is requested.

Thank you,

Krishen Kak

1 comment:

Naxal Watch said...

The way the Indian media will project these nominations is as if the nominees have already won the prize. Or the fact of the nomination will be projected as a vindication of their work. Anyone can send in nominations. All you need is a letterhead and an address. You do not even need to register the organisation.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee
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Let us nominate Pravinbhai Togadia and Narendra Modi for the the Nobel Peace Prize ;-)). And yes, as a follow up, send out a press release to media. A little bit of commotion is not a bad thing. This is an Excellent idea. And why not Dara Singh also? If Yasser Arafat and Henry Kissinger can be Nobel laureates in peace, surely Dara Singh qualifies. And to embarrass the committee furhter, nominate Osama bin Laden also. The West is so scared of Muslim reaction that it may be taken seriously. And nominate Salman Rushdie for literature. At least he qualifies.