Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Six to be hanged for Khairlanjee Dalit killings

Six persons have been awarded death penalty by hanging for the infamous Khairlanjee killings in Maharashtra. A court in Maharashtra delivered the verdict on Wednesday.

The massacre of the family of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange by the OBC strongmen of the village in September 2006, had shaken the entire State and again brought to fore the issue of Dalit atrocities. Later angry Dalits had gone on rampage in parts of Maharashtra.

There were just three neo-Buddhist Dalit families in Kherlanji. Priyanka, a bright student, was raped and even her death, the killers sexually violated her. Surekha was also beaten up, stripped, paraded and raped before her murder. Roshan and Sudhir were tortured and killed. Bhotmange was the witness to this sordid rape and murder of his entire family.

When local police failed to conduct proper investigations, after much hue and cry the case was transferred to the CBI. It had booked 46 persons and of them 35 were let off for want of evidences. After 15 months, the charge sheet was filed and the Bhandara court today ordered capital punishment for the accused. Two other accused got life sentence.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Greater NOIDA CEO's murder: Managements alarmed

The Chief Executive Officer of a multi-national company was murdered by angry workers on the premises of the company in Greater Noida, an incident that has alarm managements across the country.

On Tuesday, Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandez also warned the managements of firms and companies should take a lesson from the incident. Though in the wake of the murder, it sounds unusually harsh but the minister has made an important point.

When employees are sacked, it is difficult to contain their rage. Due to liberalisation the salaries of managerial staff and executives have risen considerably but it is the ordinary worker who has been the worst affected.

The companies may or may not be in profit but the top shots in the management always get their salaries increased. It is a fact that managers are drawing obscene salaries compared to the lower staff. This is causing a sharp disparity and a great divide in this nation.

Even minor hikes of labourers causes heartburns among management. In fact, it is through such exploitation that the managers in the top layer justify their own salaries and show profit at the expense of the workers. While Chaudhari's murder is extremely condemnable, there is need for humanitariran treatment with labourers.

With Diwali approaching and hundreds of workers worried about the chulha, it would certainly cause anger. No wonder, the government said that the simmering discontent caused this killing. Ironically, the minister and his department have done precious little to stop this exploitation. Or by airing the sentiments, he just wants to send a message to his electorate?

The death of Graziano Tansmissioni's CEO Lalit Kishor Chaudhuri should serve as a wake-up call for the government also. With pay disparities in the private sector becoming a major issue and contract workers having no rights (the days of unionism are also gone), such industrial conflicts may rise in future.

The government can't just sit and sermonize after an incident has taken place.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Islamabad hotel bombed: Major terror strike in Pakistan's capital

A terror strike killed at least 40 persons in the Capital of Pakistan. Initial reports suggested that a truck laden with explosives rammed into the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The hotel building was badly damaged in the blast. Scores of cars and other vehicles that were parked around the hotel, were blown up. TV reports suggested that the figure of those who died in the suicide attack, could go up.

Reports said that nearly 2/3rd of the hotel building was in fire and wreckage was seen everywhere. The Marriott hotel is a favourite among foreigners. The figure of deaths could go up to 100, said a senior Pak journalist. The bombing took place in the Holy month of Ramzan.

The National Assembly speaker was hosting an iftaar when the deadly bombing tok place. Terror strikes have increased in Pakistan in recent times. The attacks by American forces in Pak territory have also caused lot of anger among citizens.

The militants have grown fiercer in Pakistan recently and suicide attacks have become the order of the day. Not just the ungovernable regions in the North but militant attacks in Cities have also become a common occurrence.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Two terrorists killed, One caught in police encounter in Delhi

The Special cell of Delhi police force on Friday gunned two suspected terrorists and caught one person from a house in Jamia Nagar.

It is claimed that they were involved in the Ahmedabad and Delhi serial bomb blasts. Atif and Fakhruddin were shot dead while Saif was arrested in the operation that started at around 10 am.

During the encounter two policemen were also injured though two persons managed to escape. A strong crowd gathered in the densely populated area of South Delhi, after the encounter took place.

It is said that the operation was planned after the interrogation of a terror suspect Abu Bashar, who had named Tauqeer and some other persons. A section of local residents were sceptical of the police claims.

There was lot of pressure on police and the Home ministry for action. The officials said that explosives have also been recovered from the house. The search operations were on after the encounter. Later in the evening, Inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma, who was injured in the cross-fire, succumbed to injuries and died in the hospital.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Attacks on Churches: Saffron siege in Karnataka

Just when the country is facing repeated terror strikes, this is the last thing we would like to witness: an inter-religious conflict.

Alas, this is happening in Mangalore and the coastal belt of Karnakata. After large-scale killings and destruction in Orissa, the Saffron bands are now busy in burning churches, ransacking prayer halls, demolishing statues and all sorts of vandalism, for which they are notoriou, in Karnataka.

And just when terrorism has spread its tentacles in the country, the 'patriotic' Saffron bands of RSS, which mainly comprise the Bajrang Dal, seem to have taken upon themselves the task to stop conversions.

We may not like religious conversions. The founding fathers of India and its constitution, Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar, detested conversion due to allurement or coercion. But, we must also look at the ground realities.

India is a secular nation where everybody is free to practice and preach their religion. Let it be very clear about that. Secondly, we may believe that tribals are natives and Hindus but the truth is that Evangelists don't consider them as Hindus and this is not absolutely wrong.

And even if religion has reduced to such a level that people are being bought to a faith, it must be considered that both the VHP and the missionaries are involved in this game equally. None can claim greater moral ground. It is also a truth that the percentage of Christians in India hasn't increased, rather it has gone down in the last decade and they are a tiny minority.

However, the violent incidents are unjustifiable. In Mangalore, Udipi, Chikmagalur & Dakshin Kannada nearly two dozen churches have been attacked. Incidents of stabbings were also reported. Later the police were targeted by Christians in retaliation.

If it is anti-Christian violence in Karnataka, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, then Maharashtra has a different movement where linguistic terrorism is unleashed by Thackerays.

What kind of a banana republic is this, that can't stop or act against any law-breaker?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Serial blasts in Delhi on September '13' 2008: 24 killed, 110 injured

Terror has struck once again. On this occasion the national capital was targeted on Saturday. The serial blasts that occurred on the ominous '13th' were reported from Ghaffar Market, Karol Bagh and Kasturba Gandhi Marg.

As per initial reports, 18* persons had died and over 80 persons were injured in the bomb blasts. The explosions rocked the City in the evening when the markets were bustling with shoppers. The strikes come barely 1-1/2 months after the blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

The TV images showed mangled vehicles at Ghaffar Market. Bodies were seen lying and injured people being taken away by police and local residents. At KG Marg, the blast hit the Gopaldas building.

Initial reports suggested that the blasts were low-intensity. Clearly the aim is to scare the citizens. The timing couldn't have been worse as there is strong crowd in market and on roads due to the festive season. Earlier in 2005, serial explosions occurred in Delhi in 2005. (*The figure of deaths later went up to 24)

Friday, 12 September 2008

American Attacks: Pakistan pays for harbouring militants

Just when Pakistani Army chief had flexed his muscles and issued a veiled warning to US for military raids on the Pak soil, another attack has caused over a dozen deaths in the North Western region of the country.

Clearly, the missile attack in Miranshah town in Waziristan has proved that USA isn't going to treat Pakistan softly anymore. And nobody in Washington is taking Pakistan seriously.

General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had earlier said that no foreign troops would be allowed to infringe with his nation's sovereignty but the Bush administration seems to have given a go-ahead to attack militants' hideouts in Pakistan.

Would Pak authorities realise that their country is not left with much of an international standing as attacks have hardly caused any major condemnation the world over? Just when Kayani 'warned' the United States, the fresh attack took place. Despite Pakistan's 'special status' and the country being US 'ally' in the War on terror.

Only last week there was a similar strike in South Waziristan. So much of Pakistan's efforts to appease USA over the years, have come to a naught, as America has made it clear that when it comes to its interests, it is not going to give a long rope to Pakistan anymore.

It should be a lesson to Pakistan government, military, administration and their intelligence agencies. Will they learn now?

Monday, 8 September 2008

No Amitabh Bachchan movies in Mumbai until Jaya apologises: Raj Thackeray

Raj Thackeray has warned that no Amitabh Bachchan movie would be allowed to screen in Maharashtra until Bachchan seeks apology from the people of Maharashtra.

The enfant terrible of linguistic fascism, even threatened to issue a boycott call to products in which Amitabh and his family, appears for endorsement. Clearly, Raj, has stolen a march over Bal Thackeray, in terms of craziness.

The threat comes in wake of the Jaya's remark made in a lighter vein. Speaking from the stage at a function, she said that she will speak in Hindi as her family belonged to Uttar Pradesh. 'Maharashtra wale maaf karen, ham UP wale hain Hindi mein bolenge', she stated.

Now this remark was played up by TV channels who sought the reaction of Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray, who had a personal axe to grind with Jaya. She had in the past said that she knows no other Thackeray except Bal Thakre.

Stung by the remark then, Raj seems to have got an opportunity now to hit back. He gave a threat, 'Who has the guts to screen the films of Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai, unless Jaya seeks an apology for her statement'.

MNS leaders also said that the couple should go back to Allahabad if they are to speak Hindi. This is not only anti-national speech but goes back against the core values of Indianness. Marathi is the state language but anybody is free to speak any language of his or her choice in this country.

It's time the state acts and the rogue guy gets back what he deserves. Unncessary attention due to such controversies have turned him crazy. His bark must be contained and legal action taken against him for his irresponsible utterances.

This is a serious threat. Not just the couple but entire Bollywood and in fact, the Indian pluralistic society has been attacked. Can any goon hold the society's peace to ransom and how long shall we witness and tolerate these terror tactics silently?

Friday, 5 September 2008

At last, Sanjeev 'BMW' Nanda goes behind bars

The law has finally caught up with Sanjeev Nanda though it took almost a decade. It was in 1999 when Nanda had killed six persons with his car. He was drunk and the car was recklessly driven.

All sorts of tactics were used. The powerful and well-connected Nanda family did its best to save him. Money to victim's kin and bribe to the lawyers. Every trick in the book was tried but the case had acquired such limelight that the rich power-drunk brat, was thrown into the jail.

Five years is not a duration for murdering six people. Already the 9-odd months he was in jail would be deducted. Add the relief in term announced on every Independence Day and Republic Day.

And then the reprieve he may get for good conduct. Nanda may be out within just three years! Did he deserve any mercy. No. Even as victims remained entanged in the wheels of the car, he kept driving.

The grandson of former Naval Chief SM Nanda didn't get harsh sentence, as many claim. The court has not been harsh to him. NDTV must be congratulated for the sting operation in this case.

Senior lawyers RK Anand and IU Khan were trying to bribe the witness, Sunil Kulkarni, so that it could help Nanda in the hit-and-run case. Nobody can deny that it was media pressure that was responsible in the conviction.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Is St Xavier's wrong in suspending students for Puja?

The St Xavier's school in Jaipur is in the news for suspending seven students who performed 'puja' in the classroom. This has kicked off a debate and Saffron organisations led by Bajrang Dal and BJYM stoned the school building.

It is true that 'not allowing puja' sounds somewhat wrong to us and the middle-class sensibilities are hurt. Also, the suspension may be considered a bit harsh. But what is intolerable is that one of oldest schools of the City was targeted by vandals, who had no say in this issue.

Puja should not be denied to anybody. But in classroom? That's no place for Puja. Tomorrow some Muslim students will start offering Namaz and so on. A poster of Lord Ganesha was posted in the Class XII.

Principal Jose Jacob had to later say that the students were not performing puja but they were doing a 'mock puja' suggested by the fact that the entire class was laughing when he reached there.

It is middle-class Indian hypocrisy and double standards that we will try every link to get our children the admission in missionary schools, despite knowing that they are run by evangelists. At the same time because they are a minority, we also want them to run their schools by our rules.

This is ridiculous. Even if the school is guilty, the action should be lawful. Not that thugs and hooligans (two hundreds Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and Bajrang Dal activists) will be allowed to storm into the school.

Due to the the incident and the political pressure caused by the communalisation, the suspension was cancelled later. One of the students who was suspended, is son of a BJP office-bearer. His father refused to say anything on the matter.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Bihar Flood & Orissa violence: Colossal failure in times of calamity

For two weeks a horrified nation watched in disbelief how millions were stranded and lives of thousands were put to risk in Bihar.

Strangely, the state government did little to take any action and the surrging water of Kosi river didn't alarm the officials.

Or rather, they chose to ignore it. The plight of ordinary humanfolk hardly affects the babudom or the leaders. Though the army and the airforce swung in action and those marooned are getting rescued, the catastrophe has once again exposed this nation's failure to deal with any major disaster.

If there were no television images, perhaps, nobody would have given a damn outside the state. The photographs of emaciated children clung to their mothers and parents watching their owns sons swept away, evoked shock and horror.

But the ruling coalition JD (U)-BJP government was indifferent. Nitish Kumar looked worried only when situation was already out of control. Nobody knows how many perished in Katihar, Purnea, Madhepura, Araria, Darbhanga, Champaran, Sheohar, Saharsa, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and other flood-hit districts.

Similarly, for days Orissa continuted to burn. The goons of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal attacked Christians. Hundreds of churches were set afire and there was no proper action to stop the anti-Christian violence.

The killing of Swami Laxmanananda had sparked off the carnage but the police woke out of its slumber only when tens of thousands of Christians had already fled to forests and their homes were destroyed.

So, is India, just a nation of bustling metropolises that cares about just the IT, the Sensex, the BPOs and the so-called emerging India? While rural India goes to dogs. Shameful!

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