Duterte blames US, UK for Middle East violence

President Rodrigo Duterte
Updated 08 July 2016

Duterte blames US, UK for Middle East violence

MANILA: The new Philippine president has blamed US intervention for the bloody conflicts in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries in his latest critical remark against Manila’s closest security ally.
President Rodrigo Duterte suggested in a speech to Muslims on Friday that US policy was to blame for terrorist attacks on its soil, saying, “It is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism to America, America imported terrorism.”
Duterte says the US-led invasion in Iraq, which was backed by Britain, led to Saddam Hussein’s downfall but caused the oil-rich nation to descend into bloody strife, adding that America’s action had no legal basis.
Separately, a top human rights lawyer and opposition lawmakers said Friday, after police confirmed killing more than 100 people, that Duterte’s war on crime is spiralling out of control.
Duterte won the May 9 election by landslide largely on a pledge to kill tens of thousands of narcotics suspects and other criminals, and has urged the police and civilians to help in the killings.
“President Duterte’s war on crime has spawned a nuclear explosion of violence that is spiralling out of control and creating a nation without judges, without law, and without reason,” Free Legal Assistance Group chairman Jose Manuel Diokno said.
Diokno, also a prominent law professor, likened the killings to the actions of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, accused of killing thousands of dissidents during a 20-year rule that ended in 1986.
Police said Thursday that they had killed 103 drug suspects who resisted arrest, but insisted they had operated within the boundaries of the law.
“They put in danger the lives of our police officers who then had to defend themselves,” police spokesman Dionaldo Carlos said.
About 10 criminal suspects had been killed by police or suspected vigilantes each day since Duterte took his oath of office, according to a running tally by the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.
Forty-three were killed as part of police operations, while 29 others, five of them yet to be identified, were victims of “vigilante-style killings,” it added.
Among the dead was a policeman found tied to a post Thursday with a cardboard sign hanging from his chest that accused him of being a “police drug pusher.” A photo of the victim was published on the paper’s front page on Friday.
Police in nearby Bulacan province said he had been under surveillance on suspicion of ties with drug gangs.
“That was the life he chose, so there’s no one to blame for his fate,” the provincial police chief, Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat, told Manila television network ABS-CBN in an interview.
Duterte, who during the election campaign said 100,000 people would die in his war on crime, on Thursday threatened an alleged drug dealer with death if he returned to the Philippines.
“The moment he steps out of the plane, he will die,” Duterte said on national television.
Duterte also named two jailed drug dealers who he said continued to distribute illegal drugs from inside their cells.
“My appeal to them is that, since they are beyond redemption, they can stop and commit suicide because I will not allow these idiots to run their show,” he added.

Indian court accused of ‘betrayal’ over mosque verdict

Updated 01 October 2020

Indian court accused of ‘betrayal’ over mosque verdict

  • Senior BJP officials acquitted of conspiracy to destroy historic Muslim place of worship

NEW DELHI: A special court in the northern Indian city of Lucknow on Wednesday acquitted all 32 politicians and senior leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring to demolish the 16th-century Babri Mosque in 1992, ruling that the move was not “preplanned.”

Muslims described the judgment as “yet another betrayal by the judiciary.”

The BJP under the leadership of then-party president Lal Krishna Advani led a political campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s to build a temple on the site of the disputed 16th-century mosque in the eastern city of Ayodhya, claiming that it was built by the first Mughal ruler Babar. 

On Dec. 6, 1992, in response to a call by BJP leaders, hundreds of Hindu extremists gathered at the disputed site and demolished the mosque, resulting in religious riots across the country that claimed more than 2,000 lives.

Most of the BJP leaders and its affiliates were blamed for razing the Babri Mosque.

However, on Wednesday, Surendra Kumar Yadav, the judge at the special court, said that the demolition of the 500-year-old mosque was not pre-planned.

“They have been acquitted for lack of evidence,” defense lawyer K.K. Mishra said after the verdict.

Muslims reacted to the verdict with disappointment.

“The judgment pronounced by the special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court is wrong. We will appeal in the high court,” Zafaryab Jilani, general secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said.

The BJP was elated with the court’s decision.

“It is a moment of happiness for all of us; we chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ (Hail Ram) after the court’s verdict. The judgment vindicates my personal and BJP’s belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement. Along with millions of my countrymen, I now look forward to the completion of the beautiful Shri Ram Mandir (temple) at Ayodhya,” 92-year-old Advani, one of the accused in the case, said.

Another BJP leader and former party president, Murli Manohar Joshi, who was also among the accused, called the judgment “historic.”

“This proves that no conspiracy was hatched for the incident in Ayodhya. Our program and rallies were not part of any conspiracy,” Joshi, 86, said.

The verdict comes 10 months after the Supreme Court’s controversial judgment giving the disputed land to a Hindu trust and awarding five acres of land to Muslim petitioners to build a structure of their choice at another location in the city.

“It’s a betrayal by the court,” Ayodhya-based Hajji Mahboob, one of the original Muslim petitioners, told Arab News.

“So many BJP leaders have claimed openly that they were involved in demolishing the Babri Mosque. If the court gives this kind of one-sided verdict, I can only say that it is compromised,” he said.

“We know that there cannot be any justice for Muslims in this country because all the decisions given by the courts are wrong,” he added.

Reacting to the verdict, the main opposition Congress party said it was “counter to the Supreme Court judgment.” 

The apex court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque was clearly illegal and an “egregious violation of the rule of law.” 

“But the Special Court exonerated all the accused. It is clear that the decision of the Special Court runs counter to the decision of the Supreme Court,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

The demolition of the mosque was “a deep-rooted political conspiracy to destroy the country’s communal amity and brotherhood, and to usurp power at any cost,” he added.

According to Hilal Ahamd, of New Delhi-based think tank Center for the Study of Developing Societies, there is a growing belief among Muslims that India is a Hindu country and “they have to adjust themselves accordingly.”

Meanwhile, former chairman of the minority commission Zafar ul Islam Khan said the verdict will encourage the BJP to take the law into its own hands in the belief that the police and judiciary will protect them.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi political analyst who has written several books on the Hindu right-wing politics, said: “The demolition of the mosque was a criminal offense and the failure to establish guilt after 28 years is unfortunate.”

He described the verdict as “a betrayal for Muslims and risky for the security of the country if its largest minority keeps getting marginalized like this.”