Thursday 31 July 2008

Two kids die in Asaram Ashram in MP after 2 deaths in Ahmedabad

What's wrong with the Ashrams of Sant Asaram Bapu? First, two cousins died in mysterious circumstances in Ahmedabad, an incident that brought the citizens on the streets.

Now two kids have died in a couple of days in the Sant's ashram in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. Ram Krishna Yadav, a four year old, died on Wednesday and Vedant, a five year old, died on Friday.
In all, four kids have died in his Ashrams. Yadav was found dead in a toilet. Vedant is found dead in the nearby bathroom with his head drowned in the water bucket and the ashram doctor said that he perhaps slipped and died because of injury.
Is it all a coincidence that after Dipesh Praful Vaghela, 10, and Abhishek Shantilal Vaghela, 11, were found dead in the gurukul (school) of the Ashram in Ahmedabad?

Or it is something sinister that is going on in the Ashram. We don't blame the baba but if the caretakers and the staff of the Ashram should be grilled and it must be found out whether the children face any exploitation or abuse. This is what many suspect.

In Chhindwara, over a thousand strong crowd came to the streets and was lathi-charged by police. The angry residents wanted that the school be shut, inquiry conducted and the Saint charged for murder.

Godmen and religious gurus manage to get away from inquiries and investigations because of their connections. Asharam Bapu may be a real saint but the way minor children are dying in the ashram, it is definitely alarming and a high-level probe must be ordered.

Earlier, Gujarat witnessed mass protests on the same issue and now Madhya Pradesh is witnessing similar anger. Another thing that should concern us is that why kids as young as four and five who can hardly take care of themselves, be left to these Ashrams?

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Bombs raining in Surat: What lies beneath?

For two days bombs have almost been raining in Surat, the Diamond City of Gujarat.

Wherever the cops laid hands, they found a bomb. And wherever the public found something suspicious, it also came out to be a bomb.

Though we have just seen blasts in Bangalore and then serial explosions in Ahmedabad that killed 50 people, it is still a big mystery as to how so many bombs were planted and none of them exploded in Surat.

Suddenly we have come to know that these bombs were a bit different and had some chip, and as a programme perhaps didn't execute these improvised explosive devices (IEDs) didn't explode.

All the bombs were defused in the end. But questions remain about the tremendous failure of terrorists, as well as the supreme success of our police in recovering the bombs and then defusing them all.
Nobody is taking Sushma Swaraj seriously, as terrorism is not just any other political issue that should be used to train guns at the other party but the mystery of 21 live bombs planted in Surat, will haunt us for quite sometime.

How terrorists managed to do that so easily just a day after Ahmedabad. And if they really did that, will we ever get to know the exact persons and their names who planted them? Rather than police gunning down a few and claiming that they were X, Y and Z involved in it.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Voice of India falls silent: Ishmit Singh dies in Maldives

The innocent face and the melliflous voice is no more. Ishmit Singh, who had become a household name after winning the Star TV's Voice of India contest has died.

He was just 20. The atmosphere turned gloomy in millions of households as the news of death was flashed on TV channels on Tuesday night.

After all, just sometime back they had cheered the boy when he sang his way through the Amul Voice of India competition. Ishmeet's family isn't aware whether he could swim or not. But on Tuesday he did step into the pool and lost his life.

He was rushed to hospital but doctors said he was already dead. In his brief professional career he had achieved fame and love. When he had beaten Harshit to become the star, it as the legendary Lata Mangeshkar who had handed over the award. He was a teenager then, just 18 year old.

The voice is no more but the echoes will be heard forever.

Saturday 26 July 2008

Ahmedabad rocked by serial blasts: Two Indian cities rocked in two days

Just a day after the bombs blasts rocked Bangalore, 17 similar explosions hit Ahmedabad despite the high-alert across the country.

The first blast was reported from Mani Nagar and soon the explosions were reported from Isanpur, Narol, Hatkeshwar, Bapu Nagar and Sarang Nagar areas of the City. By late night the reports suggested 29 deaths and 88 injured in the bomb blasts.

Tiffin boxes on cycles were used for the explosions. Though the scale of death and destruction was similar to that of Bangalore unlike blasts in the past, the aim was clear--terrorists want to scare and send the message that any Indian city is within their reach, anytime.

Later reports suggested that there were more than ten blasts in Ahmedabad on Saturday. An outfit, Indian Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility. It's a grave security issue for the nation and the audacity of the terrorists should serve as a wakeup call for everybody.

Now, what the government is doing about that. Once the reports of the blasts go from front page to inside pages of the newspapers, the investigative agencies also seem to slow down. Two major cities of India have been targeted in two days.

Seventeen blasts in Ahmedabad and eight blasts in Bangalore a day earlier that make it 25 blasts in two days. Isn't it scary?

Still, our intelligence agencies and government remain complacent and forgetting to pursue the terrorists, just after a few days of every such blast. Let's see how the Centre reacts to it. Past history suggests that after a few days, everything will be forgotten again.

Friday 25 July 2008

Now serial blasts in Bangalore: 1 dead, 15 injured

After a brief lull, the terror has struck South India again. Bangalore was rocked by five serial bomb blasts on Friday.

The serial blasts have returned just 2-1/2 months after similar explosions occurred in Jaipur, in May this year. The person whose death was confirmed was a woman, initial reports said.

However, unconfirmed reports said the toll could go up to three. Though the blasts were mostly of low-intensity and didn't cause as much destruction, as similar explosions in the past have caused, the blasts did create a sense of scare in the City that symbolises India's forward leap in software technology.

Banglore is the face of a new and vibrant India. Initial reports suggest that one person has been killed and nearly 15 have been injured. The blasts were reported from Adugodi, Madivala, Nayandahalli and other areas of the outskirts of South Bangalore.

Bangalore, (now known as Bengaluru), has seen similar strikes in the past when the Indian Institute of Science was targeted. One wonders how long India will continue to face such terror that comes without any warning!

Sunday 20 July 2008

Bye Bye Manmohan: Will the government fall?

Will the UPA government fall? That's the question everybody is asking.

With Congress, SP and allies yet to reach the vital figure of 272 and over a dozen MPs yet to open their cards, nobody can guess the fate of the present government.

Manmohan, a nice and an non-controversial man, got tricked by the BJP. Its leaders had initially hinted that they would support the deal.

Pushing too hard for the deal, Manmohan and his men managed to stage a coup when they compensated the loss of Communist parties by securing the support of the Samajwadi Party.

But the angry Left succeeded in gaining dissidents and those opposed to deal including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Mayawati. Now, tens of millions are being allegedly offered to MPs for the vote.

It is shameful to see the horse-trading and the opportunist MPs and political parties seeking favours. Ajit Singh managed to get Lucknow airport named after his father but later retracted and is now agaisnt the government on the issue.

Even if the UPA succeeds in winning trust vote, it would not be proper to go for the deal in view of the susbtantial opposition to it. N-deal is crucial but crores changing pockets in its name, is shameful.

One only wished that the UPA government had showed similar commitment in fighting inflation that is hurting crores of Indians, every day.

Thursday 17 July 2008

Ridiculous renaming: Call it Charan Singh Airport

Don't say Amausi Airport, now it's Chaudhary Charan Singh Havai Adda. That's what the government wants us to say because it needs the votes of late Charan Singh's son Ajit whose party has three MPs in the Lok Sabha.

That's politics, Simple and Obvious yet, so Obscene. Nothing wrong with a longish name and nobody disputes that Charan Singh was a mass leader. But it's pure opportunism.

Amausi sounded so simple and better. Just to placate Ajit Singh, the airport has been named after his father. In case any other party had got the numbers, any name of their choice would've done that.

Chaudhari Charan Singh has several institutes named after him. Already there is a Charan Singh University. Nobody will take the full name and eventually it will become CCSA, an abbereviation for Choudhary Charan Singh Airport.

But in process a name that carried a desi flavour has been sacrificed and replaced by a politician's name once again. It keeps happening everywhere in this country. Institutions become associated with Gandhis and Nehrus when Congress is in power or the names of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deendayal Upadhyay when the BJP is in power.

Charan Singh, the Jat leader, did manage to bring diverse caste groups together in Uttar Pradesh and even became Prime Minister in the Janata Party government for nearly six months but his son, has almost lost the entire legacy.

He knows he stands no chance of becoming the Chief Minister of UP and has thus raised the pitch for Harit Pradesh. Ironically, his hold on the electorate in the Jat-dominated region has also weakened and his party is in a disarrary.

However, the nature of contemporary Indian politcs has again made him important. Especially, when the UPA government is facing a tough task of proving its majority on the issue of Nuclear deal with USA.

So the renaming of the airport will do good to just one man. His ego would swell everytime the plane would land on the airport, named after his father. And thinking that he managed to get it rechristened! That's Indian politics.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Politics over Pilgrimage: Amarnath Yatra

If there is anybody who has gained from the controversy over the Amarnath shrine board issue, then it is the separatists and the communal forces.

For a long time they didn't have an issue and suddenly all our political parties happily gave the anti-Indian forces, something that they needed so desperately.

People of the country and state are paying for the former Governor (Lt Gen retired) SK Sinha's unwise move in the form of violence, fall of the government and the rise in communal feelings. Mixing religion with politics is always dangerous.

When it is done in a troubled state like Kashmir, it becomes even more dangerous. In a matter of days, the entire peace was broken and voices like Hurriyat that had been marginalised are gaining strength.

Veteran journalist Prem Shankar Jha writes that until recently North and South Block were congratulating themselves on solving the Kashmir issue as infiltration was down, tourism was back and violence was contained.

But an immature decision led to valley erupting into protests and now the old bitterness is back among both the sides: the Muslims of Valley and the Hindus of Jammu, who are feeling equally hurt and victimised.

The creation of Shree Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) with the Governor as its head was the first move along with extension of Amarnath Yatra to 45 days towards creating a controversy. The recent decision over transfer of land added fuel to fire.

"The NDA government's decision to make the governor the head of the SASB, provided he was a Hindu, turned a pilgrimage into a political action. It was also a surreptitious violation of India's constitution...", writes Jha, in Outlook.

Now with Ghulam Nabi Azad-led government having fallen over the controversy, nobody has benefited. Congress, PDP, National Congress and the BJP are all to be blamed for this crisis. BJP should have taken a far reasonable position than raising the communal

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