Cornered Congress Atomic Bomb First Freedom Fighter
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IN THIS ISSUE Verma panel’s flashlight on gender bias
The Justice Verma Panel, an expert committee set up to review code of criminal proceedings (CRPC) has not recommended death sentence for rapists. Unfortunately, the Panel’s report comes amidst growing outcry over rape incidents across the country. Death of a medical student, who was gangraped on a moving bus in New Delhi, has woken up Indians about the deadly and inhuman mindset of rapists.
Cornered Congress Congress appears clueless
about dealing with Telangana issue. The age-old party is in a dilemma: if it ignored the call for a separate state of Telangana, it risks the prospect of losing every voter in the disputed region. If it chooses to carve out a new state, traditional supporters elsewhere in the state would abandon the party and embrace YSR Congress. Congress has to choose between the devil and the deep sea.
Real (Reel) Khan Sharukh Khan has started biting
the same hand that fed him for decades. The movie star says he feels insecure for being a Muslim. Interestingly, the actor has not debated why the world hates Muslims and how the community can reinvent a new image by shunning terrorist activity in the name of religion.
Power Thieves? ‘Politics does not pay’ is an old adage. Let alone politicians, nowadays even those who are related to politicians are becoming rich overnight. Look at Anand Kumar and Robert Vadra. Where they would have been had they had no relationship with the powerful personalities? Interestingly, Robert Vadra has recently stated that he would not mind contesting elections ‘if the people demanded.’ If Rahul is eligible for becoming prime minister, why not Robert Vadra, who is the son-inlaw of Sonia Gandhi?
Atomic Bomb Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent, it seems, is deterring Pakistan itself. US spy agency is watching closely because there is a fear that Pakistan’s nuclear bombs may fall into the hands of Islamic terrorists. That’s the precise reason why the United States is poking its nose into every issue in Pakistan. Nuclear bomb has taken away the Pakistan’s precious freedom.
Anna’s Discontent Now, the prime minister’s of-
fice comes under the purview of Lokpal, except in cases related to national security and foreign affairs. Kejriwal, as the convener of Aam Aadmi Party has focussed on winning the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi, while Anna, with new associates like former Army Chief General V K Singh, is on a nationwide “Vyawastha Parivartan” programme through “Janatantra rallies”.
Cyber Weaponry, the New Age Warfare
Computer networks are so pervasive in today’s world that every sphere of human activities cannot work without them. A small hitch somewhere can throw the functioning of these networks, leaving crippling impacts on life. As even defence establishments are heavily dependent on these networks, they also face a high amount of security risk.
Weak Charge Sheet CBI says all we lost from CWG
scam is mere 90 crore, not the thousands of crores as estimated before. The Commonwealth Games that New Delhi hosted was the most expensive game ever. The organizers were allocated thousands of crores of money. How so much money was spent in so short a time is still a mystery.
Cover Story: Economy What the government needs to do now is
to take further steps to stimulate investment, restore confidence in the currency, speed up long-term foreign inflows, bolster business sentiment and bring back the “animal spirit” among businessmen that would create more job opportunities. It should downsize its burgeoning bureaucracy and take steps aimed at social development as against social welfare and exit some sectors like power.
Politicking on People’s Money When Congress
Party wrote off loans borrowed by farmers in Andhra Pradesh, the party became the darling of voters. In the subsequent election to Lok Sabha, as many as 33 congressmen were elected to the parliament from the state. Now it seems political parties have found out how
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IN THIS ISSUE to make the most of people’s money get the back the power.
Modiphobia Mainstream media has been doing all
it can to tarnish the image of Narendra Modi, but the people in Gujarat spotted the ‘politics’ behind the media campaign. Modi has continued to work for the state and people have continued to elect him. Will Indian media learn any lesson out of it? Why its vicious campaign against Modi proved to be a ‘waste of time and newsprint’?
First Freedom Fighter He waged a guerilla war
against the British and killed several English soldiers and military commanders. Wazir Ram Singh was in fact the first freedom fighter of India. More than anything else, he was the first successful freedom fighter. He had chased out British from his kingdom and retained it independent for more than four years.
Headley: The Terrorist Mastermind David
Headley, alias Daood Sayed Gilani, who masterminded the Mumbai terrorist attack, has been sentenced to a long imprisonment by a US court. Headley lived a shadowy life. Here is the short story of a terrorist mastermind.
transcending boundaries Volume 14 Issue 8 Kumba/Meena March 2013 Editor Narayana Sevire Editorial Team Susheela H. Narayan A. Sridharan.M.K
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Cover Price: Rs. 20
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Misjudged? No Death Sentence for Rapists By Susheela Hegde
he government appointed Justice Verma Committee to evaluate the existing criminal laws and come up with recommendations for amendments, if required. Amidst growing clamour for death penalty for rape convicts, the committee was expected to recommend a set of harsher punishments for crimes against women. Not only did the three-member panel recommend various amendments, but also it came up with an insightful treatise on why women in India have to suffer gender inequality even after 65 years of Independence. The panel, headed by former Chief Justice J S Verma, refused to recommend death for rapists and lower the upper age limit of juvenile offender to 16 from 18, as called for by the popular sentiments. But it created new offences and suggested stiffer punishments for rape and other sexual offences. However, the more important factor, hidden in the 630page report, is a comprehensive picture of the state of Indian woman. The report says she is the subject of discrimination and injustice throughout her life, even though the Constitution guarantees social, economic and political justice to all. Justice entails liberty of expression, thought, belief, faith and worship, and treating one another with respect and dignity, irrespective of gender. When Article 21A guarantees
The Justice Verma Panel, an expert committee set up to review code of criminal proceedings (CRPC) has not recommended death sentence for rapists. Unfortunately, the Panelâ€™s report comes amidst growing outcry over rape incidents across the country. Death of a medical student, who was gangraped on a moving bus in New Delhi, has woken up Indians about the deadly and inhuman mindset of rapists.
right to education to all children, it does not discriminate between boys and girls. Moreover, Article 51A(e) states that every citizen of India is duty-bound to renounce derogatory practices that hurt the dignity of women. It means to be protected from sexual assaults and sexual harassment is a constitutional right and a key factor in gender justice, the report points out. The panel was appointed in the wake of unprecedented public demonstrations, particularly by youth, demanding justice for women, following the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The panel has pinned down the failure of the governance including the law enforcement machinery, and indifference of citizenry as factors responsible for the gruesome incident. But it dug deeper into the fault lines prevailed in the society
and governance, giving shape to the misogynistic mindsets. The panel said women in India have suffered substantially on various aspects of life â€“ from physical health and mental well-being to bodily integrity and safety, from social relations to political empowerment, from education and knowledge to domestic and paid work, and from mobility and leisure activities to self esteem and self autonomy. As a consequence, she could not achieve the de facto equality, envisioned in the Constitution. The report emphasises the need for bringing about attitudinal changes to rectify the anomaly of gender bias in civil society as well as in the institutions of governance. This is necessary to set the right kinds of social norms and work cultures to help women realise the constitutional promise of equality. The report stresses on the need to
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make women equally productive as their male counterparts, and this would help them become financially self-sufficient, providing the feeling of equality. The panel contemplated on how women can acquire capabilities needed for functioning in the world on an equal footing. It noted women have been kept constrained from reaching that stage, and the State needs to intervene with a great determination, formulating policies to correct the historic imbalance in the collective consciousness against
women. The panel observed that in the current state, men and even women themselves are unable to view women through the prism of equality. A few women occupying significant positions in politics and elsewhere does not equate to women empowerment. The report asserts that the ethos of women empowerment hinges not just on political equality, but on social, educational and economic equality as well.The eminent members of the panel observed that the slant against women
in the society, partially caused by women’s inability to claim equality, has resulted in the well-entrenched bias against women, when it comes to prevention and prosecution of crimes against them. The report notes that law and public policy should have a capacity to address women issues, such as rights, opportunities and skill acquisition. At the same, they should be able to generate self confidence in women, and forge total equality in their relationship with the society and the State.
Gender bias and politicians The panel expressed dismay at Union minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal’s famous statement, “New victory and a new marriage have their own significance. The memory of your victory fades with time, the same way one’s wife becomes old and loses her charm”. The panel noted that rulers go against the Constitutional mandate when they make sexist remarks. They swear “to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India” while taking oath of office, but fail to adhere to it in practice, the report asserted. Expressing its displeasure over the deep-rooted prejudice against women, the panel said new laws should be brought in to disqualify sexist leaders, on the grounds of gender bias. The panel noted that as early as 1938, the Planning National Planning Committee had observed in its report that “economic rights of women were contingent on each woman being recognised as a separate and an independent unit within the economic structure.” However, the points went unnoticed, and continued to be ignored even after the Independence. While the First Five Year Plan did not even recognise women as workers, the Second Plan offered to protect them from hazards. Thus there were hardly attempts to promote equality in our policies. The panel asserts the time has come to correct gender bias and cure the misogynistic mindsets that impact law enforcing agencies. For this, homes should be the starting point, where appropriate education is imparted on personal behaviour and social interactions.
Justice Verma report truly envisions a framework to liberate and empower Indian woman. However, the tougher part is incorporating these visions into laws and their proper implementations. Already, we can hear rising murmurs that the panel may have exceeded its brief, by questioning the attitude of politicians and inefficiency of law enforcement machinery. Will the report goes the way of the Women’s Reservation Bill? We can only wait and watch.
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Congress’ Dilemma in Telangana: Face the Devil or Plunge into the Deep Sea
By Susheela H
o divide or to maintain status quo; if to be divided, when and how should it be done. The Congress-led UPA government seems to be unable to arrive at a decision. It missed yet another deadline for the final decision on the matter on January 28. Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad maintained that the consultation process was not yet over and they need more time take the final call. Is Congress leadership bogged down by the multiple options recommended by the Justice Srikrishna Commission? Possibly, for the Commission, which was appointed in 2010 to study and settle the Telangana issue, has come up with six different options and offered a peek into pros and cons of each option. And none of the options provide a “happily ever after” picture. But this may not be the reason for Congress’s procrastination, accord-
ing to speculations. According to a theory, the Congress is dragging its feet, waiting for reconciliatory signals from its prodigal son Jagan Mohan Reddy. The YSR Congress chief, who is facing CBI enquiry over disproportionate assets and languishing in jail since May 2012, has emerged a greatest threat to the grand old party in Andhra Pradesh. The Congress is looking at the prospects of getting wiped out in the next assembly and Lok Sabha elections, unless it arrives at some understanding with YSRC. Notably, the Congress won 33 LS seats in 2009, UPA II largest chunk of MPs from a state. That explains the desperation of party’s leadership to take Jagan Mohan Reddy on board. Jagan Reddy, who revolted against the Congress when his attempt to succeed his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy as chief minister was thwarted, is against dividing the state into two parts. His new party, established in his father’s name, seems to
have the backing of majority people in Andhra, except in Telangana region. The slapping of CBI cases against him and his subsequent imprisonment are viewed as Congress’s pressure tactics to make him fall in line. But, Jagan Reddy foiled Congress’s game plan by withstanding these tactics. This, in turn, has generated a sympathy wave in his favour. Jagan, who may not need the Congress’s help to come to power now, may concede ground to the latter in order to escape from the CBI clutches. But he may do so only if the UPA government leave the state undivided, letting his party form the next AP government with he as chief minister. In that case, the Congress may not hurry to carve out Telangana, a separate state. This may result in adverse electoral prospects in the Telangana region. But, it may be outweighed by some gain with Jagan Reddy. Any electoral gain? Another theory that
is making rounds is that the Congress may not be, after all, against dividing Andhra Pradesh, given the prevalent pressure from pro-Telangana sentiments. It may be only timing the decision to reap maximum benefit from the move. Obviously, there would be many claimants to take credit for the creation of the new state, if it happens. K Chandrasekhar Rao, who spearheaded the Telangana movement and floated the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), may want to garner all the credit. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which may not have been quite enthusiastic about the division, also wants to be seen on right side of the spectrum. Even the BJP, which has just one MLA from the region, but has stood behind the demand for the separate state all along, too hopes to gain substantially. At the same time, the Congress, which won seven Lok Sabha seats from the region in 2009, on the back of the promise to create the new state, may look to
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Congress appears clueless about dealing with Telangana issue. The age-old party is in a dilemma: if it ignored the call for a separate state of Telangana, it risks the prospect of losing every voter in the disputed region. If it chooses to carve out a new state, traditional supporters elsewhere in the state would abandon the party and embrace YSR Congress. Congress has to choose between the devil and the deep sea. extract its pound of flesh. Hence, it is important for the Congress to tie the decision with an appropriate timing that can have a favourable impact in the 2014 parliamentary elections. There is one more theory. As the Home Minister said that the decision will be taken after the Budget Session, there
are speculations that the Congress does not want trouble from its MPs from Telangana region during the Session. For instance, a decision to maintain the status quo may force these MPs quit, which may prove detrimental, given the fragile state of the UPA II government. As Congress’s dilly-dallying continues, and pro-
Telangana voices getting restive once again, let us see what one of the “best options” suggested by Justice Srikrishna Commission about Telangana creation. This option involves dividing the state into Telangana and Seemandhra, with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana, and a new capital for Seemandhra. Here is what the Commission said: “The committee feels that this option has to be given consideration. The continuing demand for a separate Telangana has some merit and is not entirely justified. In case this option is exercised the apprehensions of the coastal Andhra and the Rayalaseema people and others who were settled in Hyderabad and other
districts of Telangana with regard to their investments, properties, livelihood and employment would need to be adequately addressed. “Considering all aspects, the committee felt that while creation of separate Telangana would satisfy a large majority of the people from the region, it will also throw up several serious problems. Therefore, after taking into account of the pros and cons the committee did not think it to be most preferred, but the second best option. Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions.”
Real (Reel) Khan King Khan Says He Feels Insecure in his own Kingdom!
By Staff Report
e is, or rather was, an ultimate super star for many youth, but a fading hero with limited acting abilities for many others. He garnered the title, the King of Romance, as his romantic films became super-duper hits in 1990s. With this he stormed into
the super stardom, occupying the top most place, vacated by Amitabh Bachchan, as a mainstream hero. During his hey days, there were even attempts to project him as the greatest bollywood actor of all times. But a section of critics always scoffed at him as a media creation.
However, his religious identity never came in the way, and he went on to become one of the most successful Bollywood actors of all time. Recently, Forbes India said he is the richest celebrity in the country, which is only possible for an actor with a huge fan following.
However, apparently, Shah Rukh Khan, the richest Indian celebrity, does not feel secure in India as he is a Muslim. He has written in an American publication about how insecure he feels because of his religion, in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attacks.
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In the Outlook Turning Points magazine, he wrote that “inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.” The Bollywood super star complained that he was accused of “bearing allegiance” to Pakistan, without naming the country. He also alleged that leaders, speaking in rallies, had exhorted him to leave India. Shah Rukh Khan’s musings must have reverberated strongly in Pakistan. Within days of his writing, he got an invitation to live in Pakistan from none other than Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind. The chief of Pakistani-based terrorist organization Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) offered help to the King Khan of Bollywood to settle in his country. A concerned JuD chief also assured that the
actor would get respect in Pakistan. There were more concerned voices from across the border. Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik asked the Indian government to provide security to Khan. He also called upon Indians, who make negative comments about Shah Rukh Khan, “to know that he is a movie star”. Although both ruling and opposition parties criticised Rehman Malik for his Shah Rukh Khan advisory, they refrained from commenting on what the actor has written in the American magazine. And curiously the media, which has played a big role in Khan’s success, failed to react to his tale of victimhood. But later, the actor himself clarified that he never felt unsafe in India. He also said, without taking the names of the two prominent Pakistani personalities, that he did not want
unsolicited advice. Playing the victim card The victimhood broodings of Shah Rukh Khan, who has been overtaken by other two Khans in the Bollywood rat race, brings back the memory of another such tale. In this, the weepy character was Mohammad Azharuddin, who captained Indian cricket team for the most part of 1990s. The eerie similarities between the two tales cannot be missed. While Khan was showered with fame and fortune for his acting talent, Azharuddin was greatly admired by cricket aficionados for his batting capabilities. Both have scaled great heights in their respective fields. While the former was hailed as King Khan and Bollywood Badshah, the latter was lauded as the most successful captain of Indian cricket. However, when match-fixing al-
legation surfaced against him, Azharuddin claimed that he was being targeted because he was a Muslim. Then, he was reminded by some articles in leading newspapers that his religious identity was never a factor for millions of cricket fans, who adored him. It is another matter that Azharuddin has come a full circle since. After admitting to match fixing in three ODIs, and after facing a life ban from the ICC, he has jumped to the political bandwagon, again flashing his religious identity to win a Lok Sabha seat for the Congress. The moot point is people, regardless of their religion, get to feel insecure at times. But after enjoying all the fruit of a secular nation, some people choose to pick their religion and play the victim card, when faced with an ebb tide.
Anand Kumar and Robert Vadra are examples of how a relationship with power Matters By Susheela H
hat happens to a person if he or she is a close relative of a chief minister or ruling party president?
He floats numerous companies and acquires assets at discounted prices, and gets rich in no time. This happened with Mayawati’s brother Anand Kumar and Sonia Gandhi’s sonin-law Robert Vadra. Both
grew super rich within a span of four-five years, triggering suspicions over the means adopted to get so rich. PILs followed seeking probe into their business dealings. Behenji’s reclusive
brother Anand Kumar was a clerk with the Noida Authority. He founded a company to run a budget hotel in Mussoorie in 1987. However, after his sister became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,
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Kumar floated several companies, taking the tally to 76. In the run up to the last assembly elections in 2011, there were allegations that these companies were floated for money-laundering purpose. Recently, the Economic Times published an article, raising questions over the Rs 760 crore dealings by his seven companies, majority of them with hardly any business. In logic-defying scenario, a company with a share capital Rs 24 lakh and an income of Rs 25 lakh in 2007-08, posts a loss of Rs 80 lakh in 201112, but gets revenue of Rs 152 crore from the sale of unrevealed investments. Such miracles were common in Anand Kumar’s business, especially during 2007 to 2011. This kind of magic work seems implausible in the normal course. But then, Anand Kumar operated in no normal course. His elder sister was the most powerful person in Uttar Pradesh. Similar is the case with Robert Vadra. Son of a brassware and handicraft merchant, Vadra’s had the total worth of his companies valued at Rs 50 lakh in 2007. But within three years, he could buy properties, hugely underpriced than their market value of Rs
akistan has focussed on enhancing its nuclear combat capabilities following the defeat in the 1999 Kargil war. Its nuclear doctrine has graduated from minimum deterrence to striking capability. In over a decade, not only has the number of nuclear war heads gone up, surpassing that of India, but also
‘Politics does not pay’ is an old adage. Let alone politicians, nowadays even those who are related to politicians are becoming rich overnight. Look at Anand Kumar and Robert Vadra. Where they would have been had they had no relationship with the powerful personalities? Interestingly, Robert Vadra has recently stated that he would not mind contesting elections ‘if the people demanded.’ If Rahul is eligible for becoming prime minister, why not Robert Vadra, who is after all the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi? 300 crore, in Haryana. The famous son-in-law obtained interest-free loan of Rs 65 crore from the realty firm DLF and went on a property buying spree in areas which witnessed massive appreciation after he bought them. There was also a controversy over an overdraft, shown in his company’s records as obtained from Canara Bank, while the bank denied that it ever extended the OD to him. Vadra’s land acquisition project operated in Rajasthan as well. He bought 770 hectares consisting of 20 plots in Bikaner district after the Congress government returned to power in 2009. The value of the land bought by him between 2009 and 2011 went up
by 40 times, thanks to the setting up of industrial projects in the vicinity. People can hit this kind of jackpot only when they are privy to the insider information. When anti-corruption activist and Aam Aadmi Party president Arvind Kejriwal exposed the reality behind Vadra’s Realty Empire, the son-in-law of country’s first dynasty called the activists mango people in banana republic. While Congress leaders lined up to defend Vadra’s business dealings, the Congress government in Haryana gave him a clean chit after a “probe”. Vadra is right. It is possible for those close to rulers to become a super rich overnight only in a banana republic.
Islamic Terrorists gun for Pakistan’s Atomic Bomb By Susheela H
their range, accuracy and delivery mechanism have vastly improved. However, threat to India and the world beyond does not
just stem from Pakistan’s enhanced nuclear capability. It comes from the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of
radical Islamists, within and without the Pakistan army, as well. Ironically, a Pakistani scientist too has warned
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of such a possibility. Pervez Hoodbhoy, who has recently released his new book, “Confronting the Bomb” in London, says the increasing radicalization within the Paksitan military may result in hijacking nuclear weapons by fundamentalists. He also cautions that the issue cannot be ignored, as in case of a nuclear blast, the radioactive impact would be felt even beyond the sub-continent. Hoodbhoy‘s warning not only refers to the growing radicalization within the military, but also to the threat from Islamists outside too is significant. Last year’s attack on Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra in the North-East region has raised serious questions over the security of nuclear weapons in that country. Last August, militants in air force uniforms broke into the high security compound of the airbase, even as their companions attacked the nearby check post with rocket-propelled grenades. A fierce battle with security forces ensued and went on for hours. Air force troops stopped militants from reaching F-16 fighter jets. Although all the six militants were eventually gunned down, they had managed to kill a soldier and damage a transport aircraft. This was the third and the most daring attack on the air-
Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent, it seems, is deterring Pakistan itself. US spy agency is watching closely because there is a fear that Pakistan’s nuclear bombs may fall into the hands of Islamic terrorists. That’s the precise reason why the United States is poking its nose into every issue in Pakistan. Nuclear bomb has taken away the Pakistan’s precious freedom.
base since 2007. The militants wanted to destroy the planes, used in bombing Taliban bases along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, amid speculations that there were about 100 nuclear warheads stored in the airbase, the attack rang alarm bells in the US. Pakistan denied that there were any nuclear war head in the airbase, and assured the US about the security of its nuke arsenals. But the US might have put in place a contingency plan to prevent Taliban militants from seizing nuclear weapons. And this may have added
another facet to Paksitan’s nuclear doctrine, a need to protect its nuke power from jihadists as well as the US. According to Hoodbhoy, though India is the primary enemy, Pakistani army is realizing that the country is facing major challenges from jihadists. The scientist is apprehensive about the misuse of nuclear technology for non-peaceful purposes in the two nuclear neighbours, India and Pakistan. In fact, both the countries are acquiring new capabilities. While recently India has developed an indigenous nuclear submarine, capable of launching ballistic missiles, Pakistan conducted a series of missile tests – including nuclear-capable ones -- which can hit many Indian cities, as far as Bangalore. Pakistan aims to equal India by acquiring a full-spectrum capability in order to deploy nuclear forces through land, air and sea bases. However, Pakistan has an added risk, compared to India where the power of pressing nuke button is safely vested in the civilian government. In Pakistan, the situation is such that it needs to guard against their nuclear weapons falling into the hands of rogue elements.
Towards full-spectrum capability As Pakistan is aiming to become a full-spectrum nuclear capable nation, it has made giant strides of progress in that direction. It has moved from enriched uranium nuke weapons to plutonium arsenals. This has helped the country to pile up weapons in significant numbers. According to an estimate, Pakistan has more number of nuclear weapons than India, and may overtake Britain and France in a decade time. The country has developed N-weapons that can be fired with air and surface-based cruise missiles, as well as short range and tactical missiles. There is also improvement in terms of range, accuracy and speed of its delivery vehicles. It has already built two plutonium production reactors at Khusab with China’s help, while two other reactors are under construction.
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Taliban threat real? If America is worried over the prospects of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of militants, the worry seems justified. Taliban has been attacking Pakistan military for allowing the US security forces to target its hideouts in the North-West region along Afghanistan borer. In a recent incident, 13 soldiers were among the 39 killed when militants attacked a military camp in Serai Naurang area of Lakki Marwat district. Militants carried out the deadly attack with automatic weapons and rocketpropelled grenades, while a spokesperson of Pakistani Taliban claimed four suicide bombers were also used in the assault. He said the attack was in retaliation to the US drone strikes that killed two Taliban commanders.
Kargil Misadventure Recently, the former chief of Pakistani Army and later Pakistan president, General Pervez Musharraf, has claimed that the Kargil war was a big military success for his country. He also said that Pakistan would have conquered 300 miles of India, if then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had not visited America. Musharraf also claimed that his side lost only 270 personnel, while Indian side suffered casualties around 1,600. However, Musharraf’s claims have been pooh poohed by Col (retired) Ashfaq Hussain, the author of “Witness to Blunder”, a book on Kargil misadventure. Hussain, who was then working with the military’s propaganda wing, said it was a success only till Pakistani soldiers were confronted with Indian forces. He also contested Musharraf’s claim over causalities. It may be noted that Nawaz Sharif had said in June 2006 that the Kargil conflict claimed 2,700 military personnel, far more than the casualties of 1965 and 1971 wars. Apparently, Musharraf found it necessary to justify the Kargil misadventure, underplaying the damage, as it was his own baby. In a recently released book, retired lieutenant-general Shahid Aziz, who was the then ISI’s analysis wing chief, has revealed that Musharraf conspired Kargil with three generals, keeping everybody else, including ISI, in the dark.
okpal Bill has once again occupied the centre stage after a hiatus of over a year. Last month, Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Anna Hazare assuring him that the bill would be passed in the upcoming Budget Session. The Cabinet also cleared a revised bill, after incorporating some amendments to the bill that was passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011.
Anna’s Discontent By Aseema Staff However, the septuagenarian who led the nationwide anti-corruption
movement in 2011, demanding a strong Lokpal, is in an agitation mood
once again. He says that the present government has betrayed him by offering a toothless Lokpal bill, even with the amendments. His erstwhile team mate and a key figure in the 2011 protests, Arvind Kejiriwal, too has contended that the government is wary of formulating a powerful anticorruption body, as that would put half a dozen Union ministers from the UPA government in jail.
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Now, the prime minister’s office comes under the purview of Lokpal, except in cases related to national security and foreign affairs. Kejriwal, as the convener of Aam Aadmi Party has focussed on winning the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi, while Anna, with new associates like former Army Chief General V K Singh, is on a nationwide “Vyawastha Parivartan” programme through “Janatantra rallies”.
Anna says Lokpal Bill should include two points: right to reject candidates in elections and decentralization of power by empowering grass root bodies of gram sabhas and ward sabhas. Anna has begun yet another movement, but without the help of Kejriwal this time. They parted ways in September 2012 after their fasts and agitations were gradually losing steam in rousing public and media interest. Anna disbanded the team as Kejriwal rooted for a plunge in politics. Now Kejriwal, as the convener of Aam Aadmi Party has focussed on winning the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi, while Anna, with new associates like former Army Chief General V K Singh, is on a nationwide “Vyawastha Parivartan” programme through “Janatantra rallies”. The first rally was held in Patna, the land of the Buddha as well as the JP movement of 1970s. Anna said even
Gandhiji began his “satyagraha” from the nearby Champaran. However, it is yet to be seen if his new “andolan” for “change in system” can bring enough pressure on the government to incorporate the two core points of Anna in the Lokpal bill. It is still unclear if Anna’s movement could gather enough storm before the Budget Session in March. The revised bill may sail through the Rajya Sabha and then go back to Lok Sabha for the approval of amendments. Stronger, but not enough teeth The Lokpal Bill, passed in December 2011 in Lok Sabha, drew criticism from all around for being too weak. Subsequently, the government set up a panel to come up with appropriate suggestion. The Select Committee came up with 16 recommendations. Now, the amended bill appears stronger after incorporating 14 recommenda-
tions but the government has retained enough room for manoeuvring the investigation by rejecting two crucial ones. Now, the prime minister’s office comes under the purview of Lokpal, except in cases related to national security and foreign affairs. And a collegium, comprising the prime minister, the leader of opposition, and the chief justice of India, will appoint Lokpal. However, the government rejected the panel suggestions that no notice to be given to officials before launching an investigation against him or her for corruption. As a result, if Lokpal receives complaint against a corrupt official, the ombudsman needs to hear the official’s side of the story first. Thus, no surprise raid and search is conducted, which is crucial for an effective probe. Similarly, the government rejected the proposal of prior approval of
Lokpal for transferring the investigation officer, who is involved in a Lokpal-recommended probe. The government can shift an upright officer and replace him or her with an amenable one, rendering the probe irrelevant. Apart from these two points, political parties are unhappy on some other counts as well. Some important suggestions made by its members were rejected by the Select Committee itself. For instance, some members, including BJP leader Arun Jaitley, had suggested that a CBI Director should be barred from post-retirement re-employment in the government. The reason behind the proposal was the possibility of future favour could influence investigations. The suggestion was rejected by the Select Committee. The panel also rejected a suggestion that reservations should not be made on the basis of religion. However, the Lokpal Bill may become a legislation in the Budget Session, regardless of dissenting voices. The UPA alliance, led by the Congress may flaunt it as an achievement during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which will, of course, be torn down by Kejriwal’s Anm Aadmi Party and the new Team Anna.
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Cyber Weaponry, the New Age Warfare By Aseema Staff
omputer networks are so pervasive in today’s world that every sphere of human activities cannot work without them. A small hitch somewhere can throw the functioning of these networks, leaving crippling impacts on life. As even defence establishments are heavily dependent on these networks, they also face a high amount of security risk. Attacking cyber space of an enemy country is likely to become the first step in future wars. Besides security apparatus, civilian networks like power grids and financial systems are also potential targets in situations of conflicts. Unlike conventional weaponry, cyber warfare can be deployed by non-state actors like terrorist as well. In fact, infrastructure of a country can be destroyed without dropping bombs, or using suicide bombers. Hence, the latest arms race involves developing cyber warfare, to attack as well as to protect. Countries are allocating more and more funds for such weaponry. They are also devising exclusive poli-
India’s cyber security India has been witnessing its government sites attacked for some time now. Reports say hackers might have accessed many emails and sensitive information from government sites, though exact amount of data pilferage was not known. Even some private sector firms were reportedly targeted. It is said that these hacking incidents had an apparent Chinese signature. Finally, the government seems to have woken up to the seriousness of cyber attacks. It has taken steps to set up a national cyber security architecture. The contour of the security apparatus is ready for the approval of the National Security Council. The move entails setting up of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIPC). The cyber security body will have sector specific computer emergency response teams (CERTs).
cies on the use of cyber weaponry, just like in the case of nuclear weapons. Recently, Pentagon, the US military headquarter, has presented a new Cyber Command, making US President the sole authority to order for the deployment of this new-
age weaponry. The new policy has also made provisions for carrying out pre-emptive strikes on the websites of enemies. The Cyber Command outlines the rules to defend or strike back in case of major cyber attacks. It also guides intelligence
agencies in their search for signals of potential attacks from distant computer networks. Order for pre-emptive attacks can be given even when there is no war. It may be recalled that President Obama had allegedly approved the use of cyber weapon against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2010. In a highly sophisticated attack, computer worm Stuxnet penetrated and overrode the control system in the Bushehr nuclear plant. The attack left the plant physically damaged. The incident was described by experts as the first attack by a cyber super weapon. America never acknowledged that it was behind the attack. Now, the new policy that makes such attacks legal is presented at a time when websites of two national dailies were hacked, allegedly by Chinese hackers. A power station also came under cyber attacks, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Suspicion points to China The New York Times re-
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ported on January 31 that its website was attacked. The newspaper reasoned a story it published earlier, about the wealth of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s family members, may have triggered the attack. Email accounts of its two employees, David Barboza, the chief of Shanghai bureau and the author of the story, and Jim Yardley, its Beijing chief, were
also hacked. The newspaper’s security experts found that passwords of several other employees were also stolen and used in the attack. They also found that hackers had used the same terminals used earlier by Chinese military hackers against the US establishments. Subsequently, The Wall Street Journal also alleged that its Beijing bu-
reau chief was attacked by Chinese hackers. It was speculated that the hackers wanted to monitor the coverage of China-related issues in the journal. Earlier also, when the websites of US defence giant Lockheed Martin, Google and Coca-Cola were hacked, the needle of suspicion was pointed towards China. There were also reports that at-
tempts were made by Chinese hackers to infiltrate computers of Pentagon and some US lawmakers. China, however, has rejected the charges and alleged that the US is seeking to spread a China fear. It also alleged that America is playing up the “China threat” rhetoric in order to justify its policy of containing China.
Weak Charge Sheet CBI Puts Loss from CWG scam at Rs 90 Crore By Aseenma Staff
he CBI has finally managed to bring up charges against Suresh Kalmadi and his team over their role in the 2010 CWG scam. The charges pertain to the procurement of Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system at hugely inflated prices. The charge sheet says the deal caused a loss of Rs 90 crore to the exchequer. Although charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and so on are framed under the rules that allow maximum punishment up
to life imprisonment, few believe that the CBI would present a strong enough case against Kalmadi and team, given the record of the investigative agency in handling cases related to Congress leaders. Notably, the CBI has framed charges only in one case, involving purchases from the Swiss Timing so far. However, the CVC report on CWG had said in 2010 that tendering rules were flouted and contractors were paid more for almost all infrastructural works. The
CVC also slammed the poor quality work with sub-standard materials. It also pointed out that test records of these works had been fudged. The quantum of misappropriation of funds could be gauzed from the huge costs, as high as 2530 times that of original estimate, incurred for the game. The Indian Olympic Association had estimated the budget size at Rs1,620 crore in 2003. But the government ended up spending Rs 60,000. This has made Delhi CWG the
most expensive Commonwealth Game so far. India won the chance to host a CWG in a fierce competition, defeating Canada. India wanted to showcase its changed profile, riding on the wave of high economic development, through CWG. But, thanks to Kalmadi and his team, the games came to be a symbol of corruption, which received widespread coverage across the world. The slow pace of work in preparing the CWG venue, coupled with reports on
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CBI says all we lost from CWG scam is a mere 90 crore, not the thousands of crores as estimated before. The Commonwealth Games that New Delhi hosted was the most expensive game ever. The organizers were allocated thousands of crores of money. How so much money was spent in so short a time is still a mystery.
substandard quality and rampant corruptions had come as massive blow on Indian pride even before the games. As Indian media turned extremely critical about the preparedness, several athletes from various countries withdrew from the participation. Prime minister Monamohan Singh had to intervene and press in a special team to oversee the preparation. Only an impressive opening ceremony on October 3, 2010 turned the tide and finally the event ended on a positive note, earning some appreciation. However, the damage caused by Kalmadi and team to Indian pride cannot be erased so easily. However, Congressâ€™s reluctance to act against him triggered speculation that there were others behind him in the loot. It may be recalled that VK Shunglu Committee, appointed by the prime minister to probe the CWG irregularities, indicted Delhi chief
minister Shiela Dikshit as well. However, the Congress ignored the report and stood behind the CM. At the same time, in the wake of growing clamour demanding the scalp of Kalmadi, the Congress distanced itself from him by removing him the secretary of its Parliamentary Party position. But he continued as the chief of the CWG Organising Committee. He got sacked by the sports ministry in January 2011 only after a lot of media pressure. And a case against him came up in April 2011, a good six months after the
games again under pressure, leading to his arrest. Once again, Congress had to act. Kalmadi got suspended from the party. However, he continued as the president of Indian Olympic Association. Kalmadi walked free in January 2012 after spending 10 months in Tihar jail, as Delhi High Court granted him bail. Interestingly, his suspension from the Congress did not come in the way of him being appointed as a parliamentary committee member. In October 2012, he was nominated for the Committee on External
Affairs. He might have contested for IOA presidentâ€™s post yet again. However, ahead of the elections in December 2012, the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee asked the IOA to suspend Kalmadi, along with two other tainted officials, from the IOA position. The ethics panel had also warned against their candidature for the IOA office bearersâ€™ elections. However, this could not prevent Kalmadi from installing his close aides in IOA. While Lalit Bhanot, the then secretary-general of CWGOC, who was also jailed with his boss, is the IOA general secretary, Haryana politician Abhey Chautala, who is now in jail after being convicted in a disproportionate asset case, is the IOA president. Now, the trial against Kalmadi and team is on fast-track mode. Will it see a fast conviction or end up in a fast relief for CWG kingpin?
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More Bold Measures Needed to Steady the Sputtering Economy By CP Nambiar
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he economy continues to be on the downswing despite frantic efforts by the government to instill confidence into its sagging veins. Though some positive results have been achieved because of the Government’s “Now or never” approach, such as opening up the retail sector for foreign direct investment and reducing/ eliminating oil subsidies, the overall picture continues to be grim. True, the economic climate has changed for the better from one of doom to hope. The rupee, which had depreciated more than 20% against the US dollar and nearly 50% against Chinese renminbi, has strengthened with a sudden jump in the inflow of foreign investment. However, there are still some imponderables which the government has to overcome in order to steady the economy which has been slithering over the last few months. According to the latest data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the rate of growth for the current fiscal year will be just 5% though the budget had estimated 7% growth rate. The retail sector has been opened for foreign investment, but the states are still wary of allowing entry to bigwigs like WalMart into this sector. One
salutary effect of the government’s determined bid to stimulate the economy is the confidence it has created among the foreign investors who have opted to make once again India their chosen destination. Foreign funds inflow during the last few months have shown a substantial rise as reflected in the stock market surge. During the last two months alone, they have pumped in $7.8 billion. The corporate sector has been clamouring for a cut in interest rates, but the Reserve Bank is cautious about even a moderate reduction, since it fears that unless food inflation, which continues to be in double digits, is brought under control. True, it did reduce the rate by a nominal basis points recently, but that has not cheered the industrial sector. In fact, a report just published in the national dailies says that some of the big companies have had to pay huge amount by way of interest. The industrial output has shown a marked deceleration: As per CSO’s estimate, the overall index fell by 0.6% in December, 2012 against a 28% growth a year ago. This is in sharp contrast to the 8.2% jump in industrial production in October, 2012, which was an 18-month high. The cumulative growth of the eight industries in the core
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What the government needs to do now is to take further steps to stimulate investment, restore confidence in the currency, speed up long-term foreign inflows, bolster business sentiment and bring back the “animal spirit” among businessmen that would create more job opportunities. It should downsize its burgeoning bureaucracy and take steps aimed at social development as against social welfare and exit some sectors like power. sector – crude oil, natural gas, cement, coal, electricity, steel, petroleum refinery products and fertilizers – was down by 3.5% in April-November 2012. Growth in November too declined to 1.8% from 7.8% a year ago. Production of natural gas and coal declined by 15.2% and 4.4% respectively in November. Cement production contracted by 0.2%, while it had recorded a 17% growth in the same month last year. The government has not been able to do much to control inflation. Food articles of daily consumption including vegetables are shining red prominently in the inflation spectrum, prices of the former rising by an annual 13.36% January. Vegetable prices have always moved in the northern direction during the last one year or so, recording a increase of 26.16%. All this has contributed to retail inflation staying around double digits. As per CSO’s figures, the provisional annual inflation rate based on all-India general consumer price
index (CPI) for November was 9.90% against 9.75% in October. The inflation level is likely to remain at 7%-8% for some time, but that is small consolation for the common man who is hit hard by the spurt in food and vegetable prices. In the food segment, cereals rose at an annual rate of 12.35% in November, pulses at 14.19%, sugar at 16.97% and egg, meat and fish at 11.33%. The export front also is far from being encouraging with the balance of trade estimated $158 million during July-September quarter because of a worse than expected downturn in exports. The country had a surplus of $521 million in the previous quarter. The
widening deficit is attributed to a steep rise in gold imports and large outflow of foreign exchange for oil imports coupled with slowdown in exports due to global recession. The trend is likely to persist in December quarter also, according to economists. The current account deficit was $2.3 billion during the second quarter of last year (July-September), constituting 5.4% of the GDP against $16.6 billion in the June quarter. The trend is likely to persist in December quarter also. As for fiscal deficit, there isn’t much to cheer about. It rose to Rs.4.13 lakh crore ($75.35 billion) in April-November, 2012. This is 80.4% of the bud-
geted target for the fiscal year ending in March. The government seems to be determined to narrow the gap by reducing and finally eliminating subsidies and raising railway fares. What it needs to do now is to stimulate investment, restore confidence in the currency, speed up long-term foreign inflows, bolster business sentiment and bring back the “animal spirit” among businessmen that would create more jobs. It should downsize its burgeoning bureaucracy and take steps aimed at social development as against social welfare and exit some sectors like power. Again it must provide incentives to encourage household savings which as a percentage of GDP have slumped to a 21-year old low. Over the next 20 years the country will need around 10 million fresh jobs. Nearly one-third (3.4 million) jobs could be generated through increased expenditure on the infrastructure alone. The steps nee. Yes, the government has no doubt flashed the green signal for a new economic approach, but what is required urgently is a firm determination to take further bold and innovative steps, however politically difficult they may be, to steady the wobbling economy.
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t was touted as a game changer vis-àvis 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The Rs 52,000 farm loan waiver scheme, implemented ahead of the polls yielded a handsome result of the UPA alliance. For instance, Rs 11,000 crore, the maximum amount for a state, was disbursed in Andhra
counts of government, co-operative, and rural banks that were involved in the disbursal of the fund. The auditors, who verified one lakh waiver accounts, found that several micro-finance institutes were given the relief fund, violating the rules. The banks were supposed to make the
recover the misappropriated amount. But the jury is still out on the political impact of the scam. The report is yet to be placed in Parliament. When it is placed, expect huge uproars, which only will add to the discomfiture of the UPA government that is already bogged down
Politicking on People’s Money How About Using People’s Money to Cling onto Power? Pradesh and the state elected 33 Congress MPs subsequently. However, the scheme is the latest addition to the long list of big ticket scams under the UPA government. The CAG has found that 30 percent of the money did not reach eligible farmers, but was siphoned off by middlemen and bank officials. The CAG audit report on the scheme is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the Budget Session. With the help of RBI, the CAG conducted the mammoth exercise, scrutinizing books of ac-
disbursement directly to individual farmers. When called for documents against which such relief funds were supposedly disbursed to MFIs, banks were unable to produce them. It was also found that while the waiver was meant for small farmers with less than two acres of land, rich farmers with large land holdings also cornered the benefit, while eligible small farmers were denied it. The revelation has left the UPA government red faced. Now the banks have been told to
under the impact of 2G and coalgate. The CAG revelation on farm loan waiver scheme also underscores the possible susceptibility of UPA government’s another “game changer” project, Direct Cash Transfer. But what is more intriguing is the UPA government has hinted that it may take another shot at farm loan waiver, understandably to win 2014 polls. The Congress-led UPA government is certainly not ready to let go of farm loan waiver propo-
sition. As the country is getting closer to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the government is all set to dole out another wave of waiver scheme. Recently, Union corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot revealed it in a huge congregation of farmers in Gurgaon. He said the UPA government would not hesitate to waive farm loans, if need be. Significantly, the congregation was attended by farmers from Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in large numbers. Obviously, the Congress seeks to latch onto farmers to contain its sagging poll prospects in the upcoming assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections, as urban voters are drifting away from its fold. The Congress chose Pilot, the corporate affairs minister, and not agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, to address the rally, is also significant, in the wake of growing difference between the Congress and Pawar’s NCP. The congregation also saw unveiling of a statue of Rajesh Pilot, who had led a farmers’ agitation against land acquisition for a Disneyland project in 1990s. Sachin Pilot claimed lakhs of farmers had benefitted from the loan waiver scheme, to the
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tune of Rs70,000 crore, during the UPA government’s earlier tenure. However, Pilot remained silent on the CAG findings of irregularities in the implementation of the scheme. Congress leaders tried every trick in the book to malign Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, for blowing the lid off mega scams on UPA government’s watch. They said Rai exceeded his mandate of just filing audit reports, by commenting on policy matters. They vehemently contested the CAG figure of Rs 1,76,000 notional loss
When Congress Party wrote off loans borrowed by farmers in Andhra Pradesh, the party became the darling of voters. In the subsequent election to Lok Sabha, as many as 33 congressmen were elected to the parliament from the state. Now it seems political parties have found out how to make the most of people’s money get the back the power. in the 2G scam. They also alleged that Rai cooked the loss estimate on the behest of Public Accounts Committee chief and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. However, Vinod Rai has remained unfazed and continues to air his viewpoints. Recently, he chose the prestigious prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard Uni-
versity to reveal that the UPA government sought to limit him as an accountant. He amply made it clear the final stake holders of public money are the people of India. Earlier, Rai had stated at a conference in Gurgaon that he was appalled by the brazenness in the government while dealing with financial mat-
ters. Apparently, as Indian voter gets more and more informed, honest bureaucrats are willing to tell him or her about how rulers encourage and indulge in looting. These bureaucrats are leading the way making their institutions efficient and transparent, following the rule of law.
As Gujarat Grows, So Does Modi’s Popularity
Mainstream media has been doing all it can to tarnish the image of Narendra Modi, but the people in Gujarat spotted the ‘politics’ behind the media campaign. Modi has continued to work for the state and people have continued to elect him. Will Indian media learn any lesson out of it? Why its vicious campaign against Modi proved to be a ‘waste of time and newsprint’? By Susheela Hegde
ndia’s liberals wanted him behind the bars. But he is fast occupying the centre stage in national politics. Given his soaring popularity among the educated youth across the country, the possibility of him occupying the
high chair, post 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is looming large. This must have scared the hell out of the liberals. They are putting their best thinking hats to convince the educated class that why Gujarat chief minister Narendra
Modi should not be their choice in the upcoming general elections. They are targeting the mind, heart, and palate of the voter, to drive their point. As a result, highly entertaining offshoots are coming out of their hats.
Earlier, liberals were more than 100 percent sure that Delhi elite of the BJP would ensure Modi is confined to Gujarat. They were 200 percent sure that RSS and VHP would never want a strong leader to lead the BJP. But emerging
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signals suggested that all these organisations may get pragmatic, after all, and approve to project Modi as a prime ministerial candidate. These liberals panicked. But lost no time to take some quick actions. In their multi-pronged strategy, liberals cautioned top BJP leaders about their possible extinction if they allow Modi to come to Delhi. The leaders’ are warned that Modi will crush all dissenting voices, as he “did” in Gujarat. One article in an English daily says there is more than a hint of evil about Modi. Another author scares RSS and VHP leaders that Modi has demolished their organizations in Gujarat, and will repeat it all over the country, if they back him for prime minister’s post. Several articles have proclaimed that the BJP will be isolated if it makes Modi its face for 2014 elections. Most liberals have latched onto Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for the desertion job. But some are put forwarding ideas on behalf of Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik as well. They argue why these leaders should want to take orders from a “dictator”. And how about getting a Gujarati to demolish the Gujarat strongman?
An English daily got a Modi-basher from the
and practise inclusive economics before staking
state and made him write horror stories about Gujarat. He started writing a serial. His task seems to cut out. Plant a picture of a “frightening scenario” in the minds of youth, who are likely to vote for Modi. The writer knows a sure fire winning formula with youth includes eating and drinking. And he suggested in his very first article that there is no drinking of alcohol and eating of non-veg food (outside Muslim areas) in in Modi’s Gujarat. Extrapolate it to whole of India. What would it be like? It is another matter that the writer was hauled up by the social media. It listed many non-veg eating joints in “Hindu areas” of Gujarat cities, and pointed out that Modi did not introduce prohibition. Interestingly, one author commands Modi to apologise for 2002 riots
claim for prime minister’s job. Liberals have always tried to tightly pin Modi’s image with 2002 Gujarat riots. When it was evident that increasing numbers of people, not just in Gujarat, have moved on and started to identify him with good governance and economic progress, liberals tried to pick holes in Gujarat development story. They said it is all hype with no substance. But when statistics refuted their claims, they said the development is not “inclusive” and social indicators are low. When the European Union ended its diplomatic boycott, liberals reasoned that the West has always done business with dictators and criminals. When Modi mesmerized audiences at Sri Ram College ground and beyond, liberals pointed at protests outside by Left-
wing students. They declared such protests will continue eternally if Modi becomes a prime minister. A TV anchor asked, “Should India have a prime minister, who is shown black flags wherever he goes?” By now, everyone who cares to read newspaper and watch TV news is saturated with an abundant knowledge about “minuses” of Modi. In case the voter does not want him, who is the alternate candidate to lead the country? Rahul Gandhi? Forget about his minuses, liberals, at least tell us about his plusses. P Chidambaram? Why don’t you write about his “win” in the 2009 election and his alleged involvement in 2G? Nitish Kumar? Why don’t we read much about vibrant Bihar? Why is he known for his love for a community than anything else? Mulayam Singh Yadav? Why there are no articles about his previous tenures as chief minister in Uttar Pradesh? Why nobody is detailing on his legal cases on disproportionate asset cases? If people need to vote any of these people, they need to be informed about their strengths at least. Why don’t liberals take up the job and write reams after reams to convince the people?
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2G Scam & CBI
Will CBI’s investigation into 2G scam Lead to Conviction? By Aseema Staff
ritics of the Central Bureau of Investigation call it the Congress Bureau of Investigation. It is the common man’s conviction that if the CBI takes up any case, it does so not to prosecute offenders, but to save them by destroying crucial evidence. India’s premier government investigating agency has earned the notoriety of constructing a weak case for a strong offence so that the offender gets absolved of all charges. The Bofors investigation is a case in point. Now we are offered a glimpse of how CBI trials are conducted. A leaked tape of a conversation between CBI lawyer AK Singh and San-
jay Chandra, managing director, Unitech, an accused in the 2G case, tells it all. Singh reveals the prosecution strategy to Chandra, and briefs him about the questions would ask star witness AK Srivastav during the trial. The conversation points to a conspiracy between the prosecutor, the accused and the star witness to weaken the case. The strategy seems to be to save not only Chandra, but other accused, officials in the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), as well as the government. It seems to be to destroy the 2G case. CBI director Ranjit Sinha on his part jumped to take some damage control steps by removing Singh from the case. But damage has been done. The Aam
Aadmi is surprised if the prosecution ends up convicting and punishing the key players in the mega scam. It is an old story that how Congress leaders were in denial of any scam. Instead, they targeted CAG Vinod Rai for blowing the lid and quantifying the notional loss at Rs I,76,000. Despite an intense media pressure, there would have been never a serious case, but for orders of the Supreme Court. And the case is monitored by the SC. Now, it appears SC monitoring is no deterrent for the CBI to lose a case. Now, questions are raised over why the CBI made AK Srivastav its star witness, instead of an accused. As a DoT official, Srivastav was responsible for passing 122 applications for
2G spectrum license. The CAG found that 85 of them did not have the eligibility. Hence, Srivastav was to be a prime accused in DoT and needed to be sent to jail along with then telecom minister A Raja, then DoT secretary DoT Secretary S Behura and others. However, the CBI, using its discretionary powers, made him a key witness. As a result, while Raja spent 15 months in jail, Srivastav remained a free man. The taped conversation between Singh and Chandra shows how they were confidant of favourable testimony by Srivastav, because of a possible tutoring. Is he kept out of jail for this reason? If this can happen to a high profile case under Supreme Court monitoring, imagine the fate of other CBI cases. The UPA tenure is marked by scams after scams of super duper scales. Apparently, UPA leaders are confidant of facing any number of cases, as long as the CBI works under them.
First Freedom Fighter By Baldev singh Parmar
e was the first Indian to take on the British rule in the 18th Century, but you won’t find the name of Wazir Ram Singh Pathania when you read the Indian history book. Ram Singh fought a heroic battle against the
British between 1846 and 1849, and halted their advance in most part of Northern India, particularly in the Punjab province. When the whole country came under the British rule, the state of Nurpur had remained independent under the Jas-
wanth Singh. When Nurpur state declared independence from the British Raj in October 1848, Dilip Singh was the paramount power, Jaswant singh (Bir Singh’s Son) was the Maharaja of Nurpur and (Ram singh) was the wazir.
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After the death of Maharaja Ranjit singh, the British took control of the Punjab including the kingdom of Nurpur. Following the death of King Bir singh, people wanted the prince Jaswant Singh to be crowned as king. But the British opposed. Wzir Ram singh went to Lahore and met Col. Lee who was then in charge of the East India Company, Norh Zone. But the discussion ended without a resolution. Moreover, Ram singh was insulted by Col. Lee. To fulfill the desire of the people of Nurpur State, Wazir Ram singh revolted against the British Raj and with a handful of warriors launched a guerrilla warfare with the British establishment. Soon he installed prince Jaswant Singh as King of Nurpur state and declared independence from the British rule. In 1846, he became the Wazir of the state. He joined forces with young men, moved from Basa, camped at Naga Bari under the command of Mangal Singh Manhas, and carried out a string of attacks on the British establishment. One day, his ragtag army carried out a surprise attack on Mamoon Post of the British Army and took control. He would have retained his control for a long
He waged a guerilla war against the British and killed several English soldiers and military commanders. Wazir Ram Singh was in fact the first freedom fighter of India. More than anything else, he was the first successful freedom fighter. He had chased out British from his kingdom and retained it independent for more than four years. while had the Rajput of Trahari not refused to join forces with him. Then he moved to shahpur and occupied the town, burned the British flag and hoisted his flag on the Fort of Shahpur Kandi. He escaped when a huge army of British invaded the town in attempt to re-establish their rule in the area. Ram Singh left Shahpur. He soon took positions on a wooded Kopra height near Nurpur. John Lawrence, then the British Commissioner of Punjab, came hunting for him. Ram singh had to withdraw after a bloody battle. Ram singh later took shelter at Rasual (Gujrat) Camp of The Sikh Sardar Sher Singh and Basakha singh. They supported him sending a Sikh army of 500 soldeirs.
Ram singh established his camp in the Fort and took up position on Dalla Height in January 1848. British went over him again in early 1848. A huge army under the command of General Wheeler surrounded the the Fort. And the battle began. In a fierce battle that lasted for several weeks led to the death of several people including two British officers. One of them was LT. John Peel, nephew of then British Prime Minister. British rulers set up a memorial in memory of his death at Dalla-Ka –Dhar. It reads: “Lt. John Peel ,Nephew of the British Prime Minister,sacered to the memory of 1st sikh Local Infantry Who Succumbed on the 17th January-1849 to wounds received in action near Dalla on 16th January When engaged with Insurgent under Ram singh While Gallantry Leading His Men.” The British were determined to capture Wazir Ram singh, but he took shelter in Kangra. But Ram Singh was ultimately caught when he was performing a pooja. He was later deported to Singapore, where he died on August 17,1849. People in Nurpur region still sing songs in his memory and pay homage to the great warrior. “Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Khoob Laraya…………”
Headley: The Terrorist Mastermind D
By Raju Shyanbag
avid Headly, who had visited Mumbai on numerous occasions, had a vicious motive in mind. It is with this vicious mind, he mas-
terminded the attack that world had ever imagined. David Coleman Headley, alias Daood Sayed Gilani, not only mastermind the Mumbai attack, he
remotely controled and monitored as the terrotists went on the killing spree on Mumbai streets. David Headly is an American citizen, but has
his roots in Pakistan. Unlike many other terrorists who hail from Pakistan, he is neither uneducated, not does he come from a poor family. His father,
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David Headley, alias Daood Sayed Gilani, who masterminded the Mumbai terrorist attack, has been sentenced to a long imprisonment by a US court. Headley lived a shadowy life. Here is the short story of a terrorist mastermind. Sayed Salim Gilani, was a diplomat in the Pakistani embassy in Washington D.C. His mother Serrill Headley was a secretary at the Pakistani embassy and daughter of L. Coleman Headley, a well known football player in America. David Headly was born on 30th June 1960, and in the same year, his parents moved to Lahore, Pakistan. But a free spirited Serrill had a hard time adapting to the Pakistani culture and she returned to U.S., after divorcing her husband. So David’s formative years were spent in Pakistan, without his mother, where he spent his childhood and attended the Cadet College Hasan Abdal, a military school. David returned to U.S. in 1977, when the political turmoil in Pakistan reached a violent crescendo. But the seeds of fanaticism towards Islam were already sown when he was attending the Cadet College Hasan Abdal. Even after coming to U.S., David remained in regular contact with his former classmates and exchanged numerous e-
mails with them. Most of these mails expressed anguish over the manner in which, ‘innocent Muslims,’ where targeted and killed in various parts of the world. Like many other terrorists brainwashed by Pakistan, David considered India as his main enemy and talked a great deal about retaliating against India. David’s religious fervor was so intense that he had a hard time leading a normal, happy life. He married a U.S. girl in 1985 but like his mother, even she had problems adjusting to the Pakistani culture. Both went their separate ways in 1987 and in the same year, he was arrested by police on drug charges. In 1997, he was arrested again for trying to smuggle heroin into U.S. from Pakistan. David married again in 2002 and had four children. But he was arrested again in 2005 when he had an altercation with his wife. His nexus with terrorist organizations came to the fore for the first time during this investigation. It was alleged that David was an active member of Lashkar-e-Taiba and had
attended various terrorist training camps at their sites. But strangely, the U.S., authorities took no action against David even after repeated complaints by his wives. In fact, America’s role in handling David Headley’s case has always been questionable and secretive right from the start. Earlier known as Daood Sayed Gilani, David Headley changed his name in 2006 so that he could freely move in U.S. and India. He used his U.S. passport to travel to India five times, a process which could have proved difficult if his connections with Pakistan were identified. He was caught twice by the U.S. authorities over drug charges but he was let off lightly for ‘sharing information,’ with the authorities. Also, U.S. authorities didn’t bother to investigate when Headley’s wives complained about suspected terror activities of their husband. The 2008 Mumbai blasts shook not only India, but the whole world. These attacks would not have been possible without Headley’s veiled support. In his multiple visits to India, Headley surveyed various spots where the blasts were planned. In fact, he stayed The Taj hotel on numerous occasions with his wife. The attacks began on Wednesday, 26 Novem-
ber and lasted 3 days. Although these attacks were carried out in different parts of Mumbai, they shattered the foundations of an entire nation. Many brave police personnel laid down their lives in an effort to weed out the terrorists from Taj Mumbai. Ajmal Kasab was the only terrorist captured alive and all others were killed. Later, when Headley was arrested by the U.S. authorities, he revealed that he planned more attacks on India in near future. In fact, the media also suspected Headley’s hand in 2010 Pune German Bakery blast. David Headley received 35 years in prison by the United States federal court in Chicago, Illinois for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai blasts. But a sense of injustice still prevails in India, which has been the victim of this heinous crime. The Indian government has voiced its displeasure with the U.S. government for not extraditing David Headley to India. Had the U.S. government extradited Headley to India, he would have surely received death sentence from the Indian judiciary. Headley is now behind bars. But India still seeks justice for its brave sons and daughters who were killed in a dastardly act of terror. By the looks of it, India has an uphill task at hand.
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Chopper Scandal: A cousin of Bofors
By Narayan Ammachchi
he chopper scandal is bringing back the memories Bofors, the sad old defense scam which India investigated for decades without reaching any conclusion and without punishing anyone. When the CBI finally gave up, the country had lost more money to the investigation than to the middlemen who had brokered the deal. Middlemen have reportedly pocketed more than Rs 300 crores in the chopper deal, twice the sum of money taken by Ottavio Quattrocchi and his friends in the Bofors deal. Astonishingly, the latest scandal has all the hallmarks of Bofors deal and sounds similar in every sense. If you piece together every event in the scandal, you can make out how the countryâ€™s defense department imports things and how profitable it is to befriend someone in the department. What is notable is that the chopper purchase deal would never have been a scandal had it not been
discovered by the Italian police. Here there are more reasons to feel relieved, however. Italian prosecutors have taken up the charge of taking the case to a logical conclusion. All that CBI can do now is: just watch the court proceedings in Italy sitting in a corner. CBI has, in the meantime, hired a lawyer in Italy to make a representation in the court hearing. And even the Union Government pushing the CBI to do whatever it can to take part in the investigation. But the common man is feeling scared because he knows it well that ultimately it is his money that will be wasted in the name of investigation. According to Reutersâ€™ report, the helicopter maker, AgustaWestland, a unit of defense group Finmeccanica , paid to brokers for helping it winning the contract to supply 12 helicopters to India. The report goes on saying the part of the payments ended up with the three brothers, Juli, Docsa and Sandeep Tyagi, whose
cousin Sashi Tyagi was former air force chief. But India has not accused Tyagis yet. In Italy, police have arrested AgustaWestlandâ€™s former chief executive Giuseppe Orsi. What UPA Does? UPA Government has promised to withhold payment to the Italian company and vowed to punish those who found guilty. But this statement from AK Antony sounds to be mere political statement. What is the guarantee that someone will be found guilty in the end? According to a report in Economic Times, government has already paid half of the amount to the helicopter maker. Given the statements from Italian prosecutors, Rs 350 crore has already been paid to the middlemen. CBI has investigated several defense scandals over the past decades, but none of them led to punishment in the past 30 years. Some of which were closed without filing a chargesheet, let alone convicting anyone. CBI failed to provide
necessary evidence to Argentinean court for extraditing Ottavio Quattrocchi, the key accused in the Bofors scandal, when he was arrested in Argentina sometime in 2007. He slipped out of its hand every time he was arrested, a proof that CBI cannot lacks the investigative instinct that every investigator requires. The HDW scandal too ended up without a chargesheet filed. This case appeared to be pretty easy for investigation because the German company, key accused in the case, had admitted to the Indian embassy in Germany that it paid 7 percent commission to agents. The CBI raided the house of accused, including former navy chief Admiral S M Nanda, but what these searches turn out has remained a mystery.When Barak missile scandal hit the headlines, CBI filed an FIR naming former defense minister George Fernandes and former navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar. Admiral Kumar seemed to have a better in-
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UPA Government has promised to withhold payment to the Italian company and vowed to punish those who found guilty. But this statement from AK Antony sounds to be mere political statement. What is the guarantee that someone will be found guilty in the end? vestigative skills because he used RTI to know the evidence CBI had collected to use in the chargesheet. It later turned out that the CBI had relied heavily on the information provided by DRDO scientists. As
usually, the case did not stand up in court. In its investigation into the artillery guns scandal, the CBI charged an Israeli firm Soltam with paying kickbacks to private arms dealers for winning gov-
ernment contracts. Sudhir Choudhrie, the key accused, left India after the case was filed. CBI later closed the case and stated that the money paid to Sudhir’s company was for supplying ‘kitchen utensils’. CBI’s failure is partly blamed on tax havens. Arms dealers and the brokers have account in tax heavens like Switzerland and Cayman Island and money is paid into these accounts.Even the chopper scandal, CBI had not regis-
tered any case whatsoever until this article was sent to print. The investigative agency said nobody complained to its yet, therefore it has not registered any complaint. And you need to know is that the helicopters that the Defense Department purchased was not for the army but for transporting VVIPs including president, prime minister and senior cabinet ministers.
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[ News Capsules ] Paper trail-enabled EVMs
hen you press the button of an electronic machine the next time, you are likely to be assured that your choice of candidate is rightly registered. The Election Commission of India is set to upgrade all the six lakh EVMs with a printing unit. In 2010, a team of experts had found that the EVMs used in Indian elections are not tamper proof. The team comprising both Indian and international experts demonstrated that how parts of EVMs could be replaced by similar-looking units to change the voting data. Neither voters nor poll workers would have any practical means to verify if the EVMs are tampered with. This had busted the myth that EVMs are tamper proof as claimed by the EC. Now with the printing unit fitted in, the voter can see the record of his voting on a piece of paper, immediately after he/she presses the button. To maintain the secrecy of polling, the paper trail would be automatically thrown into a drop box. The move may increase the confidence level of the voter in the machine. However, only 60 percent of the voters may exercise their franchise electronically. The mammoth exercise of polling in the general elections in India, world’s biggest democracy, requires at least 10 lakh EVMs. But the EC is planning to provide only six lakh machines, given the time constraints before the 2014 elections.
K’taka girl’s ‘salty’ innovation
he is still doing her pre-university course from a small town college in the southern state of Karnataka. But thanks to her innovative science project, she is all set to fly to the US. Rashmi Parvati K, the 17-year-old daughter of a farmer father and a college teacher mother is blazingly brilliant. She secured the second rank in her class X state-wide examination. Earlier, her science project to create anti-dandruff shampoo from herbs garnered accolades Now, she has come with an innovative product, salt from coconut palm petiole. This innovation, extracting salt
with medicinal properties from the stalk of coconut leaves, had won the gold medal at the recently concluded Indian Science and Engineering Fair. As a result, the project entered the national competition, where it was eventually qualified for International Science Project Competition of International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad (ISWEEP), scheduled for May 8 in Houston. She is among the three Indian students, participating in the event. Rashmi Parvati’s innovation, the organic salt with anti-microbial properties, may be proved to be a breakthrough medicine to treat several skin ailments. The girl is firmly rooted in scientific research. She has already presented five scientific projects at the national level competitions within a span of three years. She is clear about her ambition – to become a scientist.
A ‘turn-around’ Indian in Washington
ecently an Indian-American hit the headline after he quit his job. Appointed as Chief Finance Officer of Washington DC, Gujarat born Natwar Gandhi is credited with turning around the status of the city’s finance. Until he assumed office as CFO in 2001, the city’s finance was in the control of the Congress. Earlier in 1990s, it was running on deficits to the tune of half a billion dollars at times. Gandhi began with trimming extravaganzas and expanding tax collections. He had to face a series of protests by residents, who earlier used to avoid paying taxes. Soon, Gandhi’s efforts started paying dividends, and the city’s finance turned positive. Gandhi’s role in bolstering the finance was well appreciated, and he was elected CFO again and again for two more terms. During the fiscal year ending October 2012, the District showed a surplus of $ 417 million, whereas the reserved fund stood at $1.5 billion. However, there were also some scandals regarding tax collection. In 2007, a tax office employee was found to have siphoned off $48 million. Also a lottery contract ◙ has been placed under investigation. It is speculated
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[ News Capsules ] that these incidents might have led to Gandhi’s resignation. However, Natwar Gandhi will be remembered for long for turning around the finances the world’s most powerful city, Washington DC.
of hope, the game will get a chance to compete with seven other sports -- baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu -- for an Olympic slot again in May
No wrestling in 2020 Olympics
Death for war crime in Bangla
ndia’s 2012 London Olympics medal tally included two from wrestling. Wrestler Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze in 2008 in Beijing, and a silver in London, has become the winner of most number Olympic medals in the country. As India had begun to establish a foothold in Olympic wrestling, there were high hopes the sport would bring more medals in future Olympics. However, the hopes are crushed when the International Olympic Committee threw out the game out of Olympics fold, starting 2020. The IOC executive board selected 25 games for the 2020 Olympics in a secret vote. Wrestling was left at the bottom of the pile, losing out to modern pentathlon narrowly, after the vote. The sport was represented at least by 71 countries in the 2012 London Olympics. Contrast it with modern pentathlon, which is followed in 53 and represented by 26 countries at the same time. Even audience-wise, an average of 23 million television viewers watched wrestling, while only 12.5 million watched modern pentathlon. Then, how could the IOC ticked off a sport, followed in 180 countries? Critics point out the presence of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. of Spain on the IOC board. Samaranch Jr is a vice president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union, and his father is a former IOC president. It is a clear case of conflict of interest? On the other hand, only two members on the board represent the countries where wrestling is actively promoted. Indian wrestlers can take heart from the fact that there are already attempts in powerful countries like the US to get back the sport on Olympic tracks. The US has the distinction of winning the most number of Olympics medals in wrestling. In a glimmer
prominent leader from Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, had received life sentence for his crime during 1971 war. But massive and sustained protests for over 12 days, demanding death penalty for the Islamist leader, have forced the government to amend the law to allow appeals for retrial. Now, the government can question any verdict in war crime trials, if it goes against public opinion. The amendment also empowers tribunals to try and punish any organizations for war crimes. On February 4, Abdul Quader Mollah, the assistant general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami, flashed a victory sign after being sentenced to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. He was charged with killing a poet, raping a minor girl, and shooting hundreds of people during the Liberation War. It was expected that Mollah, more popular as the butcher of Mirpur, would get death penalty. His co-accused Abul Kalam Azad, believed to have fled to Pakistan, was awarded death in absentia. However, the life sentence came as a relief to Mollah, enraged the public. Protests of massive scale, unseen in the country in the past 20 years, and driven by an online campaign, erupted. The opposition parties boycotted the proceedings that led to the amendment. Also a blogger, who was leading the campaign against Jamaat leaders, who were accused of colliding with Pakistan army during the war, was also hacked to death. Wartime crimes were never considered seriously from Bangladeshi governments, despite public demand. During 2008 general elections, the Awami League, founded by independence movement leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, promised to set up a tribunal for these crimes. Subsequently in 2010, the International
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[ News Capsules ] Crimes Tribunal was set up.
Is Surya Namaskar religious?
n February 18, school children across the country performed the famous yoga posture Surya Namaskar and prayed to the Sun God. The event was organized by Swami Vivekanada 150th Birth Anniversary Committee to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the guru of Swami Vivekananda. The occasion ended up creating a world record, in which more than two crore students performed the yoga posture simultaneously. In Delhi’s Ramlila Ground, more than 50 lakh children participated in the mass exercise. However, the Muslim religious leaders found the exercise a way of indoctrination. Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari alleged that the event was religiously motivated, as the exercise was accompanied by chanting of Sanskrit verses. He said it was wrong on the part of organizers to make Muslim students pray as offering prayers to any God other than Allah is haraam in Islam. In Bihar, the issue reverberated in the legislative assembly even before the event. RJD member Akhtarul Iman alleged that the Surya Namaskar programme was organized at the behest RSS. Muslim groups also objected to the education department’s notification making students’ participation in the event compulsory. Later, another notification made optional. However, the hullabaloo puzzled school teachers. They wondered why there is objection to a sports drill, saluting the Sun, while hardly any objection to offering prayers to Jesus Christ in convent schools.
Hotmail in new avtar
ll those who had comfortably ensconced themselves in Hotmail.com are given a new suffix to their mail IDs. Now it is too early to predict how more than 360 million Hotmail users will respond to this change. Will they continue to feel cool, minus Hotmail, or will they jump to gmail?
IT giant Microsoft Microsoft Hotmail was one of the first web-based e-mail service. It was launched in 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith and a year later sold to Microsoft. It was the front leader for a long time, until Google’s gmail pushed it to the second place. Moving with the time and constantly upgrading its feature, of late Hotmail offered unlimited storage, file hosting services, messaging and contact platforms. But gmail clearly edged it out with features like chat and hangouts. In its bid to take on gmail, Microsoft has killed Hotmail and diverted its users to Outlook.com. The new Outlook.com is the first email service connected to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. It will have also Skype service soon. It is cloud friendly and fitted with SkyDrive. It means the user can access her email from anywhere and can send across files of any size. Outlook users are also offered free Office applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. This helps the user to edit documents in the inbox itself. Will these new features propel Outlook to number one position?
Why Central govt hates tribunals?
he National Green Tribunal (NGT) is touted as the most important quasi-judicial body. However, NGT got its chairperson only after repeated directions from the Supreme Court. But, for the chairperson of NGT, it is not easy to get even Rs 500 bill cleared. Also the NGT budget has been cut to less than 10 per cent of what was proposed earlier. Why it is so? The SC says the government wants to frustrate the functioning of courts and tribunals. The government does not want these institutions function properly as they upset its decisions. One way to frustrate the functionaries is not providing them with proper facilities. Incidentally, the government is committed to bring in uniformity in terms of infrastructure and service facilities for heads and members of all tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies. However, the SC has pointed out that the government has severely failed in its commit-
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[ News Capsules ] ment. It also noted that all facilities are provided to those bodies, headed by retired bureaucrats.
countries. Some even fall prey to cannibalism as it happened in the infamous Nitahari incident.
Clearly, the government provides post retirement jobs to judges, not to get its decisions upset. It only expects all the beneficiary judges to work like Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju. It seems the NGT chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, needs to learn a lesson or two from Justice Katju, who has taken upon himself the task of politically helping the ruling disposition. He clearly divides subjects between what he can talk as PCI chairman and as a citizen. His recent article on Narendra Modi might have attracted severe criticism from analysts. But it has immensely pleased the rulers. And one can be assured that there would be no problem with either bill clearance or other facilities for Justice Katju.
Children constitute over 40 per cent of Indian population. Alarmed by the number of children go missing, the Supreme Court wondered how the problem bogging down this important section of citizenry does not concern the state.
Missing kids, whose concern?
ccording to NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan as many as 200 children go missing every day in India, and 100 of them are never traced. But nobody seems to be bothered. Recently, the Supreme Court pulled up chief secretaries of the state for taking the problem lightly by not respecting its order on missing children. Earlier, the apex court had asked the states and the Centre about the data on 50,000 missing children. Why children go missing? For a variety of reasons. Abductions and kidnapping, running away from homes under pressure, and abandoning from family members are the main reasons. However, no proper records of missing children are maintained, as many cases are not reported to police. Hundreds of children are regularly rescued from factories and brothels. However, many more remain untraced. According to sources, more than 800 gangs comprising more than 5,000 people are currently engaged in kidnapping children for begging and prostitution in the country. Many children are sold in mega cities like Mumbai and Delhi, just like drugs. Some children are sold abroad, and they end up being victims of organ trade, or find themselves as camel jockeys in Arab
Jobless growth under UPA
ndia has become the fourth largest economy in the world. The Congress claims credit for this, as liberalisation was pioneered by a Congress government in 1990s. However, findings of the latest study by the Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR) provide little to cheer. The study by IAMR, a think-tank of the Planning Commission reveals that despite phenomenal growth in economy, employment in non-agricultural sector did not grow during the UPA tenure. If there has been any growth, it is in casualization and informalization. It says millions have become casual labour without any social security. There has been growing criticism of Gujarat model of growth by many analysts. They call it â€œnot inclusiveâ€?. Now the governmentâ€™s own report has shown the character of the economic growth under the UPA government. The report pointed out that the construction industry created a huge employment opportunity. But 95 per cent of employment is not aligned with any sort of social security. Even when taken in totality, India has 93 per cent informal workers while another developing country Brazil has 53 per cent of them of the total workforce. The report expressed concerns that even in organized sectors, 60 to 80 per cent of employment were of informal contracts by 2010. The policy makers are cautioned about the dangers of informalization of employment, as it comes in the way of achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development. The UPA government, led by a celebrated economist, is already reeling under burden of scam taints. Now, it cannot flaunt even its growth model.
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Change of Pope By MK Shridharan
ope Benedict XVI is stepping down and the Vatican is looking for a new priest to replace him. The 85-year-old pontiff says his resignation is a voluntary decision and has cited ‘weak health’ as the reason for his resignation. Reports, however, say internal affairs of the Catholic church – including corruption, sexual indiscipline among Vatican authorities –– contributed to his decision to resign. With several preists around the world facing allegation of sexual offence, it is becoming increasingly challenging for the pontiff to restore the value of the supreme religious body of Christains. More than 6,100 priests have been accused of sexually abusing the devotees in the past fifty years. More than 16,000 victims have been identified to date. And more than $2.5 billion has been spent for settling legal disputes and paying victims’ therapy bills, attorneys fees. In September 2012, Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City (United States) was found guilty of failing to tell authorities about a priest’s sexual exploition
of children. Finn was the first U.S. bishop convicted of protecting a priest in a sexual abuse case. Finn remains in office, however. His critics accused him of delaying reforms by nearly half-a-century and not pursuing dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians. Vatican was in the center of a controversy in 2012 with leaked documents alleging corruption in the Vatican’s business dealings. Later it was found that the pontiff’s butler, responsible for dressing him and bringing him meals, was the source of leakage. The Pope was criticized as a Nazi by susan Sarandon. The retiring Pope maintained rigid stance of the Church with regard to abortion and priest celibacy. He could not prove to be a liberal, nor a reformer. The next Pope would be younger, modern and therefore more dynamic. But, will he be able to make the Catholic Church more tolerant? The Church and its next Pope would, in all probability, continue to preach that Jesus as the only Savior. Such preaching continues to create resentment among non-Christians, especially among Hindus and Muslims although for different reasons. While
Will The Church Ever Be Changed? Hindus fear the intolerant attitude that emanate from the exclusivist idea and its undesirable consequences, Muslims resent rejection of Allah and the Prophet as an implication. Internal corrupt affairs An Italian private television network recently broadcast a show titled “The Untouchables” exposing exposing corruption, abuse of power and a lack of financial transparency at the Vatican. The TV show was an investigation report by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi and was based on several letters sent from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to his superiors including Pople Benedict. Carlo Maria served as deputygovernor of Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011 and was the Number Two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny citystate’s gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure. According to the information revealed from the letters, Vigano discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices. For example, the cost of the Vatican’s larger than life nativity scene in St
Peter’s Square was 550,000 euros in 2009. In another instance, Vigano observed a loss of two-and-a-half milliion dollars to Vatican in a single financial transaction. The letters on which the TV show was based were written to the top officials of Vatican by Viagano explaining the corrupt practices within Vatican and need to maintain the morale in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments. (Based on a news report by Philip Pullella- Reuters - Thu Jan 26, 2012) Paolo Gabriele, who has been the pope’s personal butler since 2006, leaked the stolen documents from Church to investigative journalist GianluigiNuzzi during 2011-12. He decided to leak the documents to fight evil and corruption and to put the Vatican back on track. Vatican officials initiated an investigation about the leak and the allegations of corruption and Gabriele was arrested after other confidential letters and documents addressed to the pope and other Vatican officials were found
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in his Vatican apartment. Another parallel, high powered committee with retired Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, retired Slovakian Cardinal JozefTomko and retired Italian Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi was constituted to carry out wide-ranging inquiry about the leaks and allegations against Vatican authorities. Herranz was Opus Dei canon lawyer, Tomko was the former chief of the Vatican’s secret services, andGiorgi was the former archbishop of Palermo. Pope Benedict had asked the cardinals, all former Vatican officials, to help him understand the reasons behind the leaks and
the problems they appear to indicate. The committee had broad-ranging powers to question Vatican officials, including cardinals, beyond the purely criminal scope of investigation carried out by Vatican prosecutors against the butler. On December 17, 2012 three cardinals presented the pontiff with the “Relationem,” a 300-page report which investigated allegations brought up last year by the so-called Vatileaks scandal. The Relationem, consisting of two red, leatherbound volumes, contained the exact map of the mischief and the bad fish inside the Holy See. It all revolves
around the breach of the sixth and seventh commandments. The seventh commandment — “thou shalt not steal” — would refer to the affairs of the Vatican Bank, IOR, which is under investigation for money laundering. The Relationem would also contain plenty of details on the breaking of the sixth commandment — “thou shall not commit adultery” or “impure actions.” Report reveals how some high-ranking members of the clergy were blackmailed by laymen with whom they entertain relationships of “worldly nature.” There are details about a gay network which organized
Suspicious Cancer Research
ancer studies, involving poor Indians as subjects, are under scanner. Hindus in the US have questioned and urged a thorough probe into the ethical standards behind two major cancer studies on mostly poor women in India in which over 79 reportedly died. Reports suggest that these separate studies which are still continuing, funded by Gates Foundation and US National Cancer Institute, over the years monitored the progression of cervi-
cal cancer in group of women but did not screen them all. One study did not adequately inform thousands of women participants about cancer screening alternatives and adequate informed consent was not obtained. The other study tracked thousands of women but did not routinely screen or treat them all. Researchers monitored and compared the death rates of control groups of women who were not screened for cancer with groups who were screened and treated.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, asked: Were the unscreened controlled groups ethically appropriate? Doing research in a developing country did not exclude the researchers from their responsibilities towards the human subjects in their control groups, Zed stressed. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that this appeared to be unethical use of human subjects for experimentation. Using women’s deaths as a
sexual encounters in villas and saunas in Rome as well as in the Vatican rooms. The report reveals grouping of people, within the Vatican hierararchy, with similar sexual orientations. The contents of the report convinced the Pope Benedict about the necessity of an younger leader for the catholic Church. Benedict will privately meet the three authors of the report on the last day of his papacy. The Relationem will be handed over to the new Pope. The old Pope will spend his rest of his life in private praying.
gauge in the study was unnecessary and sad. Rajan Zed stated that research ethical standards should be same world over. Exploitation of subjects should end and stricter regulations needed to be enforced worldwide. Zed pointed out that even if the women signed consent forms as claimed, how many of them actually understood what they were signing for. These studies reportedly recruited thousands of poor women with low literacy rates from Mumbai slums and poor villages of India. Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai reportedly conducted one of the studies.
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[ From the world of books ]Cosmic Love and Human Apathy
and associations during his exile days. The author, the grandson of Bose’s brother, used unpublished writeups from family archives to build up an account of Bose’s thought processes through his days in jail, or while travelling. The book throws light on how Bose struggled to unite the vast diversities of India, in order to forge the idea of a single
Author: Jyotirmaya Sharma
he book busts the popular misconception that Swami Vivekananda, as a chosen disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, has spread his guru’s message across the world. The book sheds light on how Vivekananda brought in a shift in the devotional emphasis of the new monastic order established in his Master’s name. Paramahamsa was a great devotee of Kali. But Lord Shiva came to occupy the primacy in the new system. Similarly, human apathy, instead of cosmic love, became the focal point. Vivekananda’s thoughts on Hinduism, constantly probing and skeptical of hoary tradition, are a definitive restatement of the ancient religion in the modern history. The book offers an analytical view of Vivekananda’s formulation of Hinduism.. Publisher: HarperCollins No of Page: 328 Published in: 2013
His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire Author: Sandipan Deb
he book analyses the life and legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose, a prominent nationalist icon and one of the most controversial freedom fighters. The book traces the influences that shaped Bose’s years in Calcutta and Cambridge. He scrutinizes Bose’s ideas
independent nation. Publisher: Penguin No of Page: 448 Published in: 2013
Che in Paona Bazaar Author: Kishalay Bhattacharjee
or the rest of India, North-East is a hotbed of insurgency, encounters, drugs, and so on. For some it is the land of rock bands. Hardly there are people. This is because, the rest of India gets to read and watch stories on only these topics. The book brings up other realities, such as fascinating cuisines, weddings, forbidden love and childhood memories. The author digs deep into the heart of Manipur, looking into its past and present. The book presents a land teeming with people, who live and thrive against all odds. The book also sheds light on the rich culture and tradition, as well as violence prevailing in the state. Publisher: Pan Macmillan No of Page: 248 Published in: 2013
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[ From the world of books ]Don’t Buy This Book Now!: The Art of Procrastination
who have overseen one of the most dramatic corporate turnaround of the 20th century. AG Lafley and Roger Martin, who worked as CEO and strategic advisor of Procter & Gamble, have poured in their wisdom in this book.
Authors: John Perry
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today.” But how many people are able to adhere to this golden rule. But many people get frustrated if they cannot follow and complete tasks on to-do lists. Those people who curse themselves as slackers may find this book useful. According to the author, procrastinators are often perfectionists. He maintains that doing one thing as a way of not doing something else could be extremely effective some time. He calls this principle “structured procrastination”. The author gives tips on how to tweak a to-do list, in order to make it manageable. He offers a unique programme for getting things done by procrastinating. Publisher: Viking No of pages: 112 Published in: 2013
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works Author: A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin
his book is for all those who want to learn where to play and how to win in their business. It teaches how to guide everyday action in an organization, regardless of its size, in order to succeed. The book offers a set of five strategic choices that can put a firm ahead of its competitors. These choices define the winning aspiration of the firm, the playing field, the capabilities needed, and the kind of management system. The book is written by two best known business thinkers
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press No of pages: 272 Published in: 2013
Start-up Sutra: What the Angels Won’t Tell You about Business and Life Author: Rohit Prasad
ntrepreneurship is not a checklist to be crossed, but a vision to be realized, proclaims the author in this book. He defines entrepreneur as someone who stands up to the universe. The book elucidates true stories of two sets of people, who traversed rough road, braving near-death experiences, and overseeing incredible turnarounds. The book outlays five essential qualities of an entrepreneur. It provides insights into the way an entrepreneur bravely navigates through the daily dramas, struggles in the trenches, battles with inner demons and impossible external odds. The book may provide necessary impetus to those, who have an audacity to dream big through entrepreneurship. Publisher: Hachette India No of pages:242 Published in: 2013
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