Mar 9, 2007 6:39 pm


Having shown courage by welcoming George W. Bush and cutting a landmark strategic deal with him, PM Singh is trying to appease his unhappy Muslim constituents by appealing to their most fanatical members. He stooped to"delaying" the visit of Danish PM Rasmussen to India. Radha Kumar writes:

Whatever happened to the steely resolve with which the Indian government pushed ahead, in the teeth of stiff opposition, with the nuclear deal? It appears to have vanished in the case of the Danish prime minister’s proposed visit. . . .

This capitulation on the Rasmussen visit is a shot in the arm for an intolerant minority among Muslims and the vested political interests who fanned the flames of unrest in the first instance. It would be a singular disservice to the Muslim community to surmise that it rose as a body to protest against the cartoons in an obscure Danish paper. It was only after unscrupulous politicians, notably a UP minister who placed a Rs 51-crore bounty on the head of the cartoonist, that things took an ugly turn. Merged with protests over the Bush visit, the unrest assumed larger-than-life dimensions.

How perceptive and how true. If only the rest of the Indian MSM followed suit.

Having no more regard for the rights which make their existence possible than the American MSM, the Times of India is cheering:

In view of the inflamed passions, the Indian government has wisely asked Rasmussen to stay away. While this might appear to be pandering to fundamentalist forces, the government move is pragmatic.

It is far more important to safeguard the interests and sentiments of India's Muslim minority than to host the Danish PM. While no one can foresee what would have happened if Rasmussen came to India, it is best to assume the worst-case scenario.

AND covering up for the Islamist would be beheaders:

In India, too, there have been several protests against the cartoons, with a misguided Uttar Pradesh minister even announcing a bounty for the cartoonist's (unaware that there was not one but many cartoonists) head.

Does the misguided refer to the announcement of the bounty or merely to the announcement of a single bounty?

Other Indian papers focus on the diplomatic cover up. Hindustan Times notes:

The Indian government diplomatically dissuaded Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen from visiting India around the end of this month, saying the controversy surrounding the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed would overshadow the visit.

Rasmussen's visit had been proposed by Denmark"well before" the controversy over the cartoons erupted worldwide. After protests erupted in India and other countries in the region -- even causing the deaths of four persons in Lucknow -- it was not deemed wise to go ahead with the visit.

Sources say the issue did not cause a diplomatic incident bilaterally, and it became easier to call off the visit because it had not actually been announced. Copenhagen sent word that Rasmussen would now visit at a more mutually convenient time.

I feel sad for the Danes. They are learning to play the game Israel has played for so long. It is covering up for cowards.

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More Comments:

European - 6/3/2006

What does a private newspapers cartoons have to do with the danish public and the danish PM? Do you read the news, or do you only comment them!?

Oh, and theres no fighting between hindus and muslims? What planet do you live on?

Vikram - 5/29/2006

I agree completely with the Indian government's decision because those of us who agreed that the caricatures were too similar to the dehumanising caricatures that the Nazis used against the Jews, applaud that Rasmussen's visit was cancelled. To us, India comes first. To us our Muslims come first. Indian Muslims have done just as much for Indian civilisation as the Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Zoroastrians and the rest of the diverse ethnic groups that you can find in India. Muslims in India have produced writers, actors, musicians through the last centuries that helped build the Indian civilisation. Their sentiments are a valid as the sentiments of the other groups in India. I cannot recall any vitriolic caricatures being made in the name of tolerance and free speech in India by one group against another. Perhaps this is why I am a Hindu from India, and the President of my country is Muslim, the PM is a Sikh from Pakistan, and the head of the ruling party is a Roman Catholic. And the thing that binds us together is our culture and our values. India, according to the UN is the only country where Jews have not been persecuted. And we have lived like this for the last 3000 years and we intend to keep it this way. Freedom of speech includes caricatures, but freedom of speech also includes protesting against those caricatures. Recently Hindus protested against a painting depicting a nude Hindu goddess, and Christians protested against the film Da Vinci Code. In all these instances the Indian goverment listened because it is ingrained in us that beliefs should be respected. Even if you don't agree you should at least try to understand where they are coming from. Sorry if you don't like it.