Ripples of Telangana: Assam erupts

Indian Bodo tribal villagers walk amidst ruins as violence gripped Assam. PTI
Indian Bodo tribal villagers walk amidst ruins as violence gripped Assam. PTI

Fresh aftermaths of UPA government’s decision to provide statehood to Telangana showed up in the form of long-standing demands by four-ethnic groups for statehood carved out of Assam with mass violence and agitation in the state.

The ethnic group of Bodos, Karbi and Koch-Rajbongshis have demanded separate states. Karbi Anglong’s witnessed violence with two persons killed and several injured. The All Bodo Student’s Union has observed a 12-hour long rail blockade with several other organisations, including the Bodo Sahithya Sabha, All Bodo Women’s Federation, Bodoland People’s Progressive Front, people’s Joint action Committee for this movement. The ABSU has also called a 60-hour long strike from August 5th to demand a separate state for Bodos.

The United Democratic People’s Front, comprising several Bodo organisations, has called a 1500-hour long strike, the longest ever in the region on the lines of same demand. Karbi Anglong state vandalized the residence of an official at Diphu in Karbi Anglong district.

The National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive and the people’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland have jointly called a 100-hour long highway blockage from august 13th and will observe a 24-hour long hunger-strike on August 20th at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

The All Koch Rajbongshi’s Student’s Union has already began observing a 36-hour long Assam strike from yesterday demanding a separate Kamtapur state which will be followed by a 100-hour hunger-strike and a bandh on Independence Day.

The Hill State Democratic Party has called a 100-hour strike in the hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong from August 5th demanding separate state of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong. The HSDP has already observed a 10-hour bandh in Dima Hasao district yesterday demanding a separate Dima Hasao state.

Pramode Boro, President, ABSU, said that, “the decision to create Telangana was impartial. Our long-awaiting demand has been ignored and the identity of Bodos is at stake. We will continue our agitation till our demand for a separate Bodoland is met.”

The PJACBM, comprising of 55 Bodos organisations, has also intimidated the government of intensifying the agitation if the demand for a separate Bodoland state is not met which is more than four-decades old.

Biswajt Roy, President, AKRSU said that if government failed to resolve the issue of a separate Kamtapur state, they would be left with only option of intensifying the agitation.”

Political parties in Assam like AIUDF,AGP AND BJP along with the ruling Congress were opposed to the creation of separate states.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, President, AGP, said that, the creation of Telangana would lead to demands for more states in Assam, but any further division would not lead to economic development of the state and its people. The AIUDF, one of the major opposition party in the state assembly, has also stated that it was opposed to any further division of the state

BJP’s Assam unit prsident Sarbananda Sonawal said that his party was not in favour of any further division of the state, but would work for the creation of a greater Assam.

zTarun Gogoi, CM, Assam, who left for New Delhi, also said that the party was not for any further division of the state.

Associated Press
People turns violent, causing mass destruction in the state of Assam, demanding separate statehood

Assam has been divided thrice since Independence with Nagaland carved out in 1963, Meghalaya with the passing of North Eastern (Reorganisation Areas) Act in 1971 and Mizoram, which first became a Union Territory in 1971 and was later made a state in 1985.

Thus, with such an violent demand for separate states among ethnic groups in Assam, it can be clearly said that creation of Telangana has more violence in store  amongst ethnic groups of others states in the country. Assam is just the first chapter in the chain of demands for statehood, thus fragmenting India into several states. This would in turn, give birth to various new developmental, economical, political and social challenges to be faced in future.

Trend of Indian Politics- Making idiotic remarks

Ground Reality: Unknown | Image Courtesy:
Ground Reality: Unknown | Image Courtesy: niticentral.com

These days our beloved politicians are either getting too nervous regarding the upcoming general elections or are totally unaware of the current prices of food and other commodities in the market. The disconnect or the fear of losing the vote bank, seems to be leading them to make illogical remarks.

A day after Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar said it was possible to have a full meal for Rs.12 in Mumbai, his colleague, Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood, on Thursday created a stir by claiming one can eat well for Rs.5 in the Jama Masjid area of Delhi. Such a comment was made just to highlight the decline of poverty by 22 per cent since the government came to power.

Politicians making such comments in the press and media is nothing new. It is an old trend, which many politicians have followed in the past. Just to ensure that their party image stays clean and clear, they have clarified their comments in haste. Another example is the not-so old controversy of NCP-leader  Ajit Pawar, who made an mockery out of the grievances of the farmers in Vidharbha region, battling with water crisis.

Pawar had jokingly said, “If there is no water in the dam, then what should I do, should I urinate in them to fill them?”. This lewd and unsympathetic comment created a buzz among political parties in the country, and he was also criticized for the same. After a while, NCP-leader Sharad Pawar asked his nephew to apologize to the farmers and in front of media.

After Raj Babbar came up with the Rs.12 figure after being told that a thaali at the Congress headquarters costs Rs.62. People thrashed his outrageous statement, pointing out that even a cutting chai costs Rs.5 and vada pav Rs.10.

Restaurant owners in Delhi laughed off Masood’s assertion that one could eat well for Rs.5. Mohammd Salman, owner of Mehboob and Zubairi hotels in Nizamuddin Basti, said that devotees who wish to feed beggars have to pay Rs.20-25 for two rotis and curry. “He must be quoting two-decade-old prices. A roti costs Rs.3. He has no idea of the prices of flour and raw material,” Salman said.

Ever since the Planning Commission declared that poverty in the country has fallen to 22 per cent in 2011-12 from 37 per cent in 2004-05, Congress leaders have been lauding the party for its achievements. The government, however, is being asked why the Food Security Bill is being touted as a game-changer for 67 per cent people of the country, if poverty levels have gone down.

It is a trend which is followed by many politicians, as even UPA ally Farooq Abdullah made an even more frivolous remark, by saying Re.1 was enough to survive for a day.

It seems that this politicians needs reality check, if they think that Rs.1, Rs.5 and so on are sufficient for a day’s survival. They should try this survival tip for a day and then decide for themselves whether its viable or not.

On a serious note, these comments may lead to politicians apologizing each and every time and may also sometime lead to  people’s rage, which will cost the politicians and their party upcoming elections. Continue reading Trend of Indian Politics- Making idiotic remarks

Cardiac arrest claims Bofors scandal middleman Quattrocchi’s life

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File picture of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the middleman in infamous Bofors scandal, who died on 12th July, 2013, citing cardiac arrest in Milan

After nearly 20 years of the revelation of  the Bofors scandal, an interesting turn came to light with the death of  one of its accused, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, a representative of petrochemical firm, Snamprogetti. Bofors was one of the largest corruption scandals in India, involving politicians like Rajiv Gandhi, dealing with an exorbitant amount of INR640 million (US$11 million),which was exposed through a team of journalists led by N. Ram of The Hindu. The 74-year old businessman died due to a cardiac arrest.

Ottavio Quattrocchi was charged with being the medium in the bribes that were allegedly paid to speed up the Bofors gun deal, signed between the Congress government and now dysfunctional Swedish arms company AB Bofors.

The Bofors chargesheet filed by the CBI  in 1991 named Quattrocchi as one of the accused in a case involving INR64 crore payoffs for supply of Swedish Howitzer guns to the Indian Army in the 90’s. The INR1600 crore contract was executed in 1986.

On March 4th, 2011, Quattrocchi was discharged by the Tis Hazari court for the alleged payoffs after CBI withdrew prosecution charges against him, putting a full stop to a major chapter in the Bofors tale. An application for the withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi was filed by the public prosecutor on October 3, 2009.

The CBI failed to extradite Quattrocchi to India from Malaysia in 2002 and Argentina in 2007,  due to lack of extradition treaty with these countries.

Defence Minister, AK Anthony said, “The government does not plan to launch any fresh investigation into the Bofors scandal and that Quattrocchi stands as a “free man” as he could not be extradited even after 20 years of registration of the case.”

With the death of one of the key accused in one of the greatest scams of our country, it can be said that the Congress government will close the case. This lets the Congress leave behind their past misdeeds of such an exorbitant amount, which could have been used for the progress of the country instead.

Bofors scandal will remain an epitome of how widespread corruption is in Indian politics, compromising the security of our country. It will always signify the misdeeds of Congress in 1980-90, which will haunt them for times to come.

“I am not guilty for the 2002 Gujarat riots”, says Modi

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“I hold no guilt for the Gujarat riots, but I condemn the happening of such horrendous atrocity and deaths of the innocents.”

Guarding himself and his so-called proactive roll in the infamous 2002 riots, Gujarat Chief Minister [CM] Narendra Modi, has said that his government had utilized its total strength to do the correct thing and he holds no guilt about it.

In an interview, he said that people had the right to analyse in a democracy, but he did not have any guilt. He mentioned he condemned the riots, but also added that he would have been sad even if a puppy comes under a car. “Am I a CM or not? I’m a human being too. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad”, Modi said when asked if he regrets the happening of the riots.

Modi also argued that till now, he felt that the people of this country have harnessed their full strength to do the right and needful thing. “People have a right to be analytic, as we reside in a democratic country, where everyone has their own views and are allowed to keep it forward,” he said. “I would be guilty if I did something wrong. Disappointment comes when you think I got caught, and (if)I was stealing something and I got exposed. But that’s not my case.”

Modi also argued that the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team has given him a clean chit in the matter.

“Our Supreme Court is considered to be one of the best judicial courts in the world,” he said. “The Supreme Court appointed a special investigative team and the country’s top-most officials oversee them. In their report, I was thoroughly given a clean chit.”

This was Modi’s first interview after being appointed as the BJP’s election campaign committee chief, an elevation which is being considered as an unofficial declaration of him leading the party for the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

He has emerged as a convincing contender for the post of prime minister from the leading opposition party, even though the controversies around the brutal 2002 riots in the state refuses to end. This claimed to be a threat to Modi’s reign in Gujarat, and also overshadow his future plans of contesting the 2014 elections.

Though granted a clean chit by the investigation team, the fact is still that Modi’s role in handling the situation during the 2002 riots was more of fueling the fire to people’s rage, rather than taking measures to control it or curb it.

He may be projected as the future of the Indian political arena, but then one can’t really ignore his alleged role in the riots that claimed the lives of over 3,000 civilians. The question still remains as to why was such an atrocity committed. Was it an ill-provoked outburst of  Hindus against Muslims, or was it just a political move to fulfill some mere agenda, at the cost of people’s lives?

Late Nirbhaya to finally get justice; Court verdict on July 11th

c853393_2.cachedNew Delhi : The probe opposing the juvenile accused in the brutal gang-rape and murder of 23-year old paramedic on December 16th, last year, came to an end on Friday, before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), reserving its order for July 11th 2013.

JJB, presided by Geetanjali Goel, Principal Magistrate, ceased its inquiry, that started in March against the juvenile, who was the “most brutal’ of all the six acquitted persons, as claimed by the police.

After listening to the final arguments in the matter, both from the defense and prosecution, the JJB reserved its orders, stating that both the parties can give clarifications if any, on July 11th.

The JJB closed its inquiry in the case against the juvenile belonging to robbing Ramadhar, a carpenter by profession, who had entrained the bus on the December 12th, 2012 fateful night and was thrown out before assaulting the victim and her friend. The victim breathe her last in Singapore Hospital on December 29th.

A native of UP, who had shifted to Delhi in his childhood, took up degrading jobs, the accused juvenile was one of the six accuses arrested in the case. While the juvenile encountered inquiry before JJB, the other four adults accused are being inquired before a fast-track court. In an interesting turn in the case, key-accused Ram Singh was found hanging in Tihar Jail in March, thus the proceedings against him was put off. In the course of inquiry, the JJB recorded the statements of six prosecution witnesses including the victim’s male friend and the carpenter.

The recommendations for the juvenile had submitted that there was no medical evidence against him to charge and no finger-prints could be found out in the bus to show his involvement, said sources.

The defense recommendations had claimed that the accused juvenile had been implicated by the police, though neither the victim nor the her male friend had done so so in the their earlier statements. He also said that, the victim’s male friend, who is a complainant, did not depose against him even before the JJB and alleged that Ramadhar, who is referred to be identified as one of the six accused in the bus, had given false statement under the pressure of the police.

The accused juvenile in his statement recorded by the Board during the interrogation, claimed innocence and refused the police version of him being the ‘ most brutal’  in the charge sheet. He also claimed that he was victimized by his employer and prime accused Ram Singh, who did not paid him his wages for the service offered as an employee.

The four adults facing trial in the case are Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, and all are charged with gang-rape, murder, criminal conspiracy, unnatural sex and robbery with other sections of IPC.

Power projects are corruption-free: Ajit Pawar

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Energy Minister Ajit Pawar claiming zero corruption in Power projects

BJP’s allegation on power department of escalating cost of Mahagenco’s 10 generation projects by Rs.8,616 crore in the last seven years was dismissed by Energy minister Ajit Pawar. He also refused to accept the party’s claim of doing such things to help political leaders and officials concerned to charge hefty bribes from private generators, selling power to the state company Mahavitran. Pawar also blames the delay in the project on the Center-owned companies, supplying equipment to this generation plant.

“Disappointed company officials have provided ambiguous information to BJP, based on which the party made allegations of upcoming polls”, said Pawar.

He also said that, strict action would be initiated against the officials, if their role in  indulgence in corruption was proved and also if that had lead to delays. Power tariffs in Maharashtra are far much lower than in BJP-ruled states.

“BJP seems to lack political agenda, so they are using this issue as an agenda before polls”, he added.

Pawar stayed mum on giving out any figure on the escalated cost, and also didn’t explain the elevation of senior officer SC Thotve, as DOP(Director of Project) in 2007, despite lacking qualification and experience.

Although several power projects were on track and generating more than 2500 MW daily, the vendors delayed the delivery of equipment, said Mahagenco.

“The information was based on documents procured under the RTI from Mahagenco”, said BJP-state spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, while alleging charges against Ajit pawar.

He also added that, this was something bigger than the irrigation scam, which benefited the leaders of NCP. “The major reason for making the state power cut-free is our capacity addition. We also have ready-to-execute plan in place to complete the remaining projects without any delay” said Mahagenco.

 

Bhutan calls on President Mukherjee, regards India “important partner”

Regarding India as important partner, Bhutan PM Jigmi Y Thinley called President Pranab Mukherjee, saying his country’s future lies in cordial relations with India.HM

He upon visiting Bhutan PM, expressed that his country’s peace, stability and happiness depends on maintaining a healthy relationship with India.

Rashtrapati bhavan spokesperson Venu Ramamony, quoting Thinley as conveying to to the President Mukherjee says, “Bhutan and India, both countries future lies in each other”.

“Thinley is an old esteemed friend and India values his support for strengthening relations between two countries and his role as first democratically elected Prime Minister of Bhutan”, says President Mukherjee.

The bilateral relations between the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of India have been traditionally close. India remains influential over Bhutan’s foreign policy, defence and commerce. On August 8, 1949 Bhutan and India signed the Treaty of Friendship, calling for peace between the two nations and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. However, Bhutan agreed to let India “guide” its foreign policy and both nations would consult each other closely on foreign and defence affairs. The treaty also established free trade and extradition protocols.

In 1958, the then-Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Bhutan and reiterated India’s support for Bhutan’s independence and later declared in the Indian Parliament that any aggression against Bhutan would be seen as aggression against India.

Bhutan, however didn’t consider itself as a protectorate country of India. In August 1959, there was a rumor in India political circle that China was seeking to ‘liberate’ Sikkim and Bhutan. Nehru stated in the Lok Sabha that the defense of the territorial uprightness and frontiers of Bhutan was the responsibility of the Government of India

India renegotiated the 1949 treaty with Bhutan and signed a new treaty of friendship in 2007. The new treaty replaced the provision requiring Bhutan to take India’s guidance on foreign policy with broader sovereignty and not require Bhutan to obtain India’s permission over arms imports In 2008, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Bhutan and expressed strong support for Bhutan’s move towards democracy. India allows 16 entry and exit points for Bhutanese trade with other countries and has agreed to develop and import a minimum of 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Bhutan by 2020.
President Mukherjee expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of India-Bhutan relations
marked by extensive, multi-faceted, mutually beneficial cooperation, and also quoted that “India’s intention is to further strengthen, expand and reinforce the canvas of economic cooperation and bilateral engagement.”
“Bhutan wanted to strengthen and deepen relations with India and his mission of visit is to express the gratitude of his people for the support render by India from time to time for development and for democratic process” says Thinley

Thus with a appeal to extends support and to express the gratitude towards India, it can be said that India-Bhutan bilateral relations, which is of high importance to both country is going to be more firm, thus both countries benefitting from it, and maintaining the speed of development.