Archive for ‘Society’

August 4, 2012

Home Minister Shinde to visit Pune today

Mumbai: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is scheduled to visit the blast sites in Pune on Saturday. Image

Shinde is likely to review the security situation at a meeting with top officials here.

Four low-intensity explosions took place in the busy J M Road area in Pune on August 1.

Shinde, who took charge as Union Home Minister the same day, was supposed to visit the city that evening, but the visit was cancelled.


August 4, 2012

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers

New Delhi: It seems that Team Anna’s decision to enter politics has not gone down well with some of the supporters.

Reports claim that some supporters of Anna Hazare at Navsari in Surat have burnt posters of the social activist and India Against Corruption.

In fact, former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde also said yesterday that he does not support Anna Hazare and his team floating a political party, but would campaign for candidates who identify themselves with his movement against corruption.

There was a section of the volunteers of India Against Corruption at Jantar Mantar, who were cheering Anna Hazare during his fast, protested the team’s decision to take a political route.

Around 50 volunteers reportedly submitted their identity cards with the management of India Against Corruption and refused to turn up at the event.

Reports also said some of the volunteers were also beaten up for displaying placards requesting Team Anna not to join the politics.

However, Team Anna has given assurance to dejected volunteers that Arvind Kejriwal would meet them soon.

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers On Friday, Team Anna moved towards forming a party to fight the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but Anna Hazare made it clear that he will not launch a party or contest elections. Ending their ten-day fast at Jantar Mantar, the team declared that “people” will decide on their candidates and fund their elections.

“We will have to throw this government out. It is a long fight. This is not a party. It will be a movement from the streets to Parliament.”

“Parliament has to be purified. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund it,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal announced.

August 4, 2012

What did Anna Hazare’s Jantar Mantar fast achieve?

ImageTeam Anna’s latest fast at Jantar Mantar was initially greeted by a tepid response by the aam admi and the media. After the high-voltage show at Ramlila Maidan last year, the camera lights had dimmed. Adding to the concerns of the anti-corruption crusaders was the absolute thumbs down by the government; no one from Lutyen’s Delhi appeared to be interested in them anymore.

The same ruling establishment which had wooed and ‘saluted’ Anna for his indomitable spirit and called him too ‘valuable’ for the nation, completely ignored him, a year after Parliament adopting a ‘sense of House’ resolution on the Lokpal Bill.

Although, the movement did gain pace after Anna Hazare himself took to the stage and began fasting along with others, it is clear that the latest round of fast did not really have the kind of action that they had hoped for.

Fact is that Team Anna was on the backfoot and had no strategy to counter the Congress led UPA government’s wait and watch game. One could almost feel them rubbing their hands in glee. As they say – Time is a great leveller.

Given the above scenario, Anna called off his ten day fast on Friday along with his key aides Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai and made an announcement which has started off a national debate.

Just before breaking his fast, Arvind Kejriwal revealed what we all had anticipated. “We will form our own party, the name and the manisfesto of which will be decided by the people.” So finally Team Anna has taken the all important plunge.

The question is whether Anna and his men had any options left? With nothing much happening this time around, they could not have simply called off the fast without a face-saver. And this declaration of providing a political alternative was probably the best option left for them.

Critics of Anna and his team like senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh have maintained throughout that the movement had political aspirations. In fact it was also being said time and again that people like Kejriwal were using the diminutive man from Realegan Siddhi for their personal ambitions.

When Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that they always knew that Team Anna were inspired by politics and that it was good that whatever the intention was it had come out clear, one could almost feel the sense of victory for the Congress party. Also it may have given them a sense of confidence. After all political arena is the grand old party’s area of strength but appears to be completely alien territory for Anna’s motley group.

It’s not just the Congress, to take Team Anna on in their own turf and in their own background will be something parties cutting across political lines will not mind.

But the moot question is whether this experiment of Anna’s men will succeed or is it embarking on a path of destruction? Politics is a different ballgame altogether. And that too in a country like India where caste and religion play an important role in electoral politics.

However, Team Anna can take solace from the fact that the last couple of state elections have shown, albeit slowly but surely, that the voting pattern of the country is changing. The last elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh did bring to light the fact that people are voting on the plank of good governance and development. And if Team Anna can convince the electorate that they can clean up the system, the people of this country who are fed up with deep rooted corruption may give them a chance.

Will Anna be able to provide a formidable front in 2014 is a matter for posterity? However the immediate challenge that will confront them will be how to embark on the road to electoral politics. It will be anything but a smooth ride. It will be bumpy and pull of potholes.

The transition from being a pressure group to a political front will not be easy. What will the organisational structure of the front be? Questions will arise on ways to fund the elections and the task of finding more than 500 ‘clean’ candidates who can win. Also the team has to be prepared to take in criticisms just as any political outfit is criticised if they are found wanting. Apart from their views on corruption and Lokpal, the team will have to make their stand clear on a host of issues confronting the country. For starters, they have to start talking in one language and their intentions have to be pure.

Post Script: But as Ghalib said – Ek aag ka darya hai aur doob ke jaana hai. Likewise the team has to prepare themselves on a war footing to jump into the political cauldron of India. However, let us not be cynics and let us give Anna Hazare and his band of soldiers a chance. In a democratic country like ours everyone has the right to form a political party and fight elections. After all there are more than 60 political parties and seven national parties in India. There is surely space for one more, especially one which promises to be different.

Whatever the outcome or fate of Team Anna may be, one thing is sure – we are in for interesting times ahead


August 5, 2011

CISF jawan shoots woman constable dead at metro station, kills self

New Delhi:  A CISF constable allegedly shot dead a fellow woman constable posted along with him at the Yamuna Bank Metro Station in east Delhi before killing himself.

The incident took place at 7 am in the morning, sources said, adding the both were apparently involved in a relationship.

The male constable opened fire at the lady constable and then shot himself dead, the sources said.

The two are yet to be identified.


July 20, 2011

Teen kills parents, hosts party

WEST PALM BEACH: A 17-year-old boy is accused of bludgeoning his parents with a hammer , then calling dozens of friends over for a party while their bodies lay in the bedroom, police said.
Tyler Hadley of Florida is charged with twin counts of first-degree murder in the deaths, which authorities say happened on Saturday. He is being held without bond at a juvenile detention center and it’s not known whether he has an attorney .

The parents Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley were believed to have been struck with a hammer sometime after their son posted on Facebook around 1:15 pm alerting friends to an evening party at his house. Investigators believe the parents were attacked outside their master bedroom and the bodies were moved into the bedroom and the door locked.

As many as 60 people attended the party that night, according to Port St Lucie Police spokesman Tom Nichols. They were loud enough to prompt a noise complaint and a visit by police . The police said, they received a tip on the murders. and returned to the house to find the bodies covered with towels, files and books, with the hammer lying bsetween them. They said they did not know what the motive was.


July 18, 2011

Dey murder case: HC rejects plea for CBI probe

J DeyMumbai: The Mumbai high Court, Monday, rejection a petition seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the sensational murder of noted crime journalist Jyotirmoy Dey.

The state government had strongly defended its decision to let the Mumbai Police Crime Branch investigate the case. The government’s counsel had told the court that the Crime Branch has handled the 26/11 attack investigation.

“The Crime Branch of city police has probed the matter. The investigation is almost coming to an end. The stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) have been applied against the eight arrested accused,” advocate general Ravi Kadam argued. A division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R V More was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations filed by advocate V P Patil, journalist S Balakrishnan and Press Club, Mumbai, seeking CBI probe into the murder.

The advocate general told the court that only “exceptional” cases which require special expertise and knowledge is handed over to an independent agency like CBI.

“The petitioners have not placed any material to substantiate their prayer to transfer the case to CBI,” Kadam said.

Referring to allegations made by the petitioners that the police may not conduct a fair investigation as Dey had during his career written several stories revealing the nexus between police and underworld, Kadam said, “No specific allegation has been specified against the investigating police team. Just because of one black sheep the image of the entire police force cannot be marred.”

Senior investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey (56) was shot dead in suburban Powai on June 11.


July 18, 2011

Meerut man offered Rs 2 crore to plant bombs?

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Police has ordered a probe by the Special Task Force into the mysterious call from Iran to a meat trader in Meerut offering him money to engineer riots and blasts in the city, a senior police officer said.

Hashim Ilahi, a meat trader in Ismail Nagar of Meerut, approached the police claiming that he received three calls from Iran on the night of July 13, special director general of police Brij Lal told reporters.

He said Ilahi had alleged that the caller offered him Rs two crore to carry out blasts and engineer riots in the city.

“The investigation into the case is being handed over to the STF… Initial investigation has revealed that the call originated from Iran and landed at India gateway through US and the subscriber got it through a private operator,” the SDG said.


July 16, 2011

Centre moves SC for review of order in blackmoney Delhi: The Centre on Friday approached the Supreme Court seeking review and recall of its order for setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising its retired judges to take over the probe of all black money cases including that of Pune stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan.

The government has sought a review as well as complete recall of the order in which it has also been pulled up for the “laggardly pace” in investigations into the issue of black money stashed abroad.

Sources said the decision to avail the remedy of recalling the order was taken as it would give the Centre a chance to advance its arguments in an open court. The review petitions are considered in chamber without the presence of even the counsel.

They said a separate application for recalling the July 4 order has been filed in which the Centre has contended that a bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and SS Nijjar had passed the directions without “completely” hearing its stand.

The Centre has submitted that the arguments of then Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium has not been considered completely by the Bench which ignored the steps taken for probing and monitoring the investigation into the issue of black money.

Sources said the decision to move the apex court against the order was taken after a closed-door meeting in which top officials of Finance and Home Ministries discussed the content of the order along with top law officers including Attorney General GE Vahanvati and other Additional Solicitor Generals.

The government in its application raised objections to the apex court’s criticism in the first 20 paragraphs of the judgement passed on July 4 while appointing former judges – Justices BP Jeevan Reddy and MB Shah – as chairman and vice-chairman of SIT.

It said the first 20 paragraphs have been written by the bench without any arguments being advanced by Gopal Subramaniam, who has since resigned.

The bench had in its order said monies generated and stashed away reveal the degree of “softness of the State”.

Listing worries arising out of the unaccounted monies stashed in foreign banks, the bench had said “the quantum of such monies may be rough indicators of the weakness of the State, in terms of both crime prevention, and also of tax collection”.

The apex court had observed that the unaccounted money going abroad is a reflection of the compromise of the government’s ability to manage the affairs of the state according to constitutional perspective.

“Unaccounted monies, especially large sums held by nationals and entities with a legal presence in the nation, in banks abroad, especially in tax havens or in jurisdictions with a known history of silence about sources of monies, clearly indicate a compromise of the ability of the State to manage its affairs in consonance with what is required from a constitutional perspective,” the court had said.

It had said the failure of the government to control the phenomenon of black money stashed in foreign banks is an indication of weakness and softness of the state in managing its affairs.

“Large quanta of monies stashed abroad, would also indicate a substantial weakness in the capacity of the State in collection of taxes on incomes generated by individuals and other legal entities within the country,” the court had said.

It had said “a substantial degree of incapacity, in the above respect, would be an indicia of the degree of failure of the State”.


July 16, 2011

Tata Group to launch Rs 32,000 houses for rural market After Rs 1-lakh wonder car ‘Nano’, Tata Group is all set to launch a house for nearly Rs 32,000 aimed at rural market by the end of next year.

“At present, the housing project is in the pilot stage in 30 locations spread across the country and we are in discussions with various agencies like Coir Board, Jute Board and also state governments,” Sumitesh Das, head global research programme of Tata Steel, said.

The houses will be made in pre-fabricated, or ‘prefab’, format, under which the company will provide a kit consisting of roofs, doors, windows, etc, which can be erected or assembled.

“It is quick house built in seven days if you have a patch of land. Basic model of 20 sq metres, with flat roof will cost around 500 euros (around Rs 32,000).

Upgraded model with 30 sq metres, which is the Indira Awas Yojana model, will cost 700 euros,” Das said  on the sidelines of Conference on Best Practices of Intellectual Property Management.

“Similarly there are other models which may come with a solar panel on the roof of the house,” Das added.

The 2001 census places the rural housing shortage figure in India at 1.48 crore and the situation may prove to be a big bonanza for the Tatas.

Giving details of the project, Das said by the end of this year, they will get feedback from all the stakeholders like manufacturers, suppliers and various Panchayats.

“In the first pilot project, we saw the interest of people in verandah which we have incorporated, though it was not there earlier. We thought if we incorporate verandah, the buying will be much higher. We need feedback from Panchayats, who are our final customers,”  he added.

He, however, refused to draw parallels between Nano car manufactured by Tata Motors and the 500-euro house by Tata Steel, saying that the market segments are different.

Replying to a question on the challenges that the project might face Das said, “The main challenge it may face is supply chain management due to shortage of production of panels”.

“We are in touch with Coir Board and Jute Board also. The pilot is also to see the supply chain arrangements. If a coir manufacturer cannot meet the demands, then we will have to think of some other product to replace.

We have technology but we do not have entrepreneurs. That’s what we are looking for, people who can invest and make products for us,” Das said.

The life of the house will be 20 years at this stage and may go up as the research goes on, he added.


July 16, 2011

Ilyas Kashmiri is alive: Report Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, the Al Qaeda commander who was believed to have been killed last month in a US drone attack in Pakistan, is alive, a media report said Saturday.

Kashmiri is still active in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Dawn said on its website quoting unnamed sources.

Media reports had earlier said that Kashmiri was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region.

The US and the Pakistani government however could not confirm his death.

Anti-terrorism experts describe Kashmiri as one of Al Qaeda’s main commanders. He was held responsible for a number of attacks in Pakistan, including the May 22 attack on a navy airbase in Karachi and the 2009 attack on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The US believe that Kashmiri, who is also a member of the terror group Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (HuJI), was behind the March 2006 suicide bombing of the US consulate in Karachi that killed four people and wounded 48 others.

The US State Department designated him as a “global terrorist”.