Girls rescued from Pune’s brothel


Pune: Two girls from Bangladesh were rescued on Monday night from a brothel in Budhawer Peth. The girls, who were cousins, were sold to the same brothel on Monday. After few hours of being sold, they were rescued by the Faraskhana police. the police team was lead by senior inspector  Bhanupratap Barge.

The police arrested the brothel manager, Maya  Tamang, under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). The police had received a tip-off that two women were being sold in a brothel. The police took action immediately and raided the said brothel to rescue the women.

According to the police investigators, the women were lured by unknown agents with a promise of good jobs.

To read more, click here.

Iftar in Pune’s Cantonment Area

{Photos: Violet Vaz}

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the sun sets on Pune and the muezzin’s call for the evening prayer rings out signifying the end of the day’s fast, the party begins in Camp situated in the heart of Pune city.
The Streets of Camp come alive with the sights, smells and sounds during the month of Ramadan. It’s fascinating to watch small stalls come alive in every street and lane, lit up by yellow flood lamps selling mouth watering delicacies.
Those who love food should come and indulge in the tandoori, beef dalcha, chicken kadi ghost, mutton rashid and treat themselves to a variety of faludas and kheer.
When in Camp, surrender yourself to your senses and you won’t be disappointed.

A bumpy ride for Punekars

Potholes, like these on FC Road, are causing major traffic snarls all across Pune. Photo: Nayan Das
Potholes, like these on FC Road, are causing major traffic snarls all across Pune. Photo: Nayan Das

If you think the traffic all over the city is crawling because of the rain, you are wrong. Gaping potholes on the roads have slowed down vehicles simply because their drivers do not want mechanical breakdowns when they go over the potholes. The city roads have been left with a lot of defects these days with the steady drizzle interspersed with a few heavy showers. The potholes are the biggest nuisance for pedestrians as well as the citizens using vehicles.

Hitting a pothole is really dangerous for a motorcyclist. “It’s extremely difficult to know the depth of potholes during rains while you travel. This can lead to serious casualties,” says Bishal Paul, a student who uses his motorcycle to commute daily.

The PMC every year spends crores of rupees in building the road and later on repairing them, but during monsoons all their efforts go in vain. These water-filled and slushy potholes at Sus goan road are a nightmare. Citizens say that the officials showed no urgency in filling up the craters. Not only Sus gaon, there are other areas such as Karve Road, Viman Nagar and Paud road where a rash of potholes has made the lives of many people miserable.

Pallavi Roy a resident of Viman Nagar complains about the increase in the number of accidents happening due to the bad condition of the roads. “For pedestrians like us it has created a lot of mess t walk in the footpaths as the roads are full of traffic and we reach college almost an hour late”, says Roy.

Pune city has received a very good amount of rainfall this year and with two more months for monsoon to end; the conditions of roads are going to worsen. The civic body does attend to potholes on days when the rain hold sup, but filling them up with bricks and rubble worsens the problem.

Sharat Prakash, an employee of Tata Mahindra feels that the term ‘potholes’ should be swapped with ‘death-holes’. He also adds that these ‘death-holes’ not only makes the driving experience horrible but also provides a difficult time to the pedestrians. “ Some heavy vehicles speed over these potholes sloshing dirty water on people on their way to work, attending job interviews, etc leaving them stranded and helpless,” says Prakash.

There were plans to use a tough terrain road building technology for potholes where cold mix technology will be used since it can be laid even when it is raining but when the PMC officials were contacted, they refused to comment on this.

“The potholes are not only making holes in pockets due to increased repairs but also killers! The traffic chaos due to potholes wastes fuel and only escalates pollution. But who is accounting?  asks Hema Royde, the manager of an NGO in Pune.

Pune mosques observe Ramadan, celebrate Iftar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pune: Nearly 200 people gathered at the historic Haji Mekkeshah Masjid at Deccan Gymkhana corner to break their fast right after sunset following the religious observances of Ramadan on Saturday.

Iftar is often celebrated by a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib time, which is around sunset.

The All-Pune Masjid Action Committee (APMAC) held the free Iftar party where Dalcha, Chola, mughlai paratha (stuffed with minced meat and spices), pitha, Halim, dates, samosas, Dal Puri (a type of lentil based savoury pastry) and  different types of fruits, such as watermelons and bananas, were served following the Iftar sirens and adhan.

“Through this month we give our humble prayers to Allah and observe this fast through the day with complete sincerity. To keep this fast and then break it following adhan, makes this religious experience all the more special for us as we all sit together and enjoy our meal. A sense of community and belonging is felt,” said Liyakat Khan, present during the Iftar party at Deccan corner.

Preparations for Iftar commenced hours before the Iftar sirens at Deccan. Roadside stalls were also set up where observers could buy their food of choice outside the mosque. “The fast can be broken by eating dates or drinking water, if the former is not available,” added Khan.

This year in Pune, Iftar is being celebrated with huge jolt and is being enjoyed tremendously through the city. It is the perfect time for succulent kebabs, sweet something’s and meaty treats for the fasting and the foodies.

Photo: Badri Chatterjee
People offer prayers at the Haji Mekkeshah Masjid in Pune. Photo: Badri Chatterjee

Shariff Caterers near Poona College is one of the many places serving delicious Chicken Kababs — shredded chicken with mayonnaise and bits of capsicum and grated carrots. The other specials here are the mutton chops and Kadi Gosht — a mutton strip hammered absolutely thin and fried in egg batter.

Other places to visit for Iftar delicacies are Imdadi at Baba Jaan chowk, Alifiya Caterers at Kausar Baugh, NIBM Rd, Kondhwa, New India at Ravivar Peth and Food Art Caterers at Salunke Road.

Iftar is being celebrated around the world; US President Barack Obama has praised Muslim-Americans for their contributions in helping build the country when he hosted an Iftar party at the White House. “Ramadan is a time of reflection, a chance to demonstrate ones devotion to God through prayer and through fasting, but it’s also a time for family and friends to come together,” said Obama addressing the gathering.

A special time in the Muslim calendar through the month as the ongoing festival continues. ‘Oh Allah! It is for thee that I observe fast and it is with Thine blessing that I break it,’ – prayer at the time of Iftar.

Juveniles vs. Justice System

Yerwada Observation home for juveniles
A juvenile observation home at Yerwada, Pune

The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures paint a grim picture of the state of juvenile crimes in Maharashtra. The state tops the list in the number of juveniles arrested on charges of theft, robbery, burglary and attempt to murder, is second to Madhya Pradesh on charges of murder and third on charges of rape by juveniles (preceded by MP and UP). However, if the Social Security Cell of the Pune Police is to be believed, juvenile crimes are not a serious problem in the state.

“There is barely any crime committed by juveniles in Maharashtra and it’s even less in Pune,” said Assistant Police Inspector (API) Ashwini Jagtap of the Social Security Cell, ignoring the NCRB figures. Even more alarming is the fact the juvenile justice system in Pune, the second largest metropolis in Maharashtra, seems to be suffering from a number of serious drawbacks.

According to Advocate Rekha Navlani of the Maharashtra State Child Protection Society (MSCPS), the juvenile justice system in Pune is working perfectly. “The government has ensured that there is a trained officer at every police station to deal with juveniles in conflict with law,” she said. “The Maharashtra government has also established a Juvenile Aid Police Unit to deal with offenders below the age of 18”. The situation on the ground, though, seems far from perfect. The Juvenile Aid Police Unit, which was supposed to have been established in 2003, comes under the purview of the Social Security Cell. However, when asked about such a unit, the officers at the cell seemed unaware of its existence. “There is no special unit to deal with juveniles. The same police officers deal with both, juveniles and adult offenders,” said API Ashwini Jagtap, belying the claims of the MSCPS. Police officers at various police stations in the city also seem equally oblivious. “We don’t have any officers for juvenile offenders. The Social Security Cell deals with such crimes,” said an officer at a Shivaji Nagar Police station. The response was the same at a police station in Yerwada, situated barely a kilometer from the Jawahar Lal Nehru Udyog Kendra, an observation home for juvenile offenders.

The problem is not limited merely to the Police. While the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act clearly states that every inquiry by the board should be completed within four months, the officials at the MSCPS admitted that most cases take between 6 to 12 months. This has led to a huge backlog of cases in the Juvenile Justice Board in Pune, with more than 1,200 pending cases. The pace of clearance is also slow, with only 36 cases cleared from April 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013.

It is evident that the Pune Police and the Juvenile Justice Board are far from ready to deal with crimes involving juveniles. Lack of trained officers coupled with a severe lack of coordination among various branches of the police machinery can be held responsible for this. If the situation is Pune is seen as a reflection of the conditions prevailing in the state, there is still a lot left to be done.

The Political Game Show

20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 – July 7.

The game of politics has never remained a constant theory to make accurate calculations and assumptions. In India, it seems to be even more complex. In a move which looks like a step of her campaign against the Sri Lankan government after the emergence of probable new evidence of war crimes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa took the decision that her State would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championships this year. In a statement, she said that the participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of the Tamils. Ms. Jayalalithaa also said that her government wrote to the AAA, seeking the exclusion of the Sri Lankan contingent from the event. This was in view of the Sri Lankan government acting repeatedly against Tamils.

Such game of politics is not new in our country and the Central government should have kept in mind the regional aspirations of the State government before asking them to host the event. Similarly, the State government should also think about the international image of the country especially when we talk about India emerging as an Asian Giant. While it is always credible to have a stand on serious issues, at times we must have the sportsman spirit as well. Interestingly the event was not only rejected by Tamil Nadu but also by Jharkhand and Delhi for reasons better known to them.

Amidst months of uncertainty and indecisiveness, the Asian Athletics Championships was finally decided to be held in Pune’s Balewadi Stadium from July 3rd to 7th. Citing the difficulties the AFI faced all along, its secretary-general C.K. Valson said, “Of course, it would have been terribly shameful for the whole country had we been forced to back out of our commitment. But thankfully, all our worries are almost over as we have now that the Maharashtra Chief Minister has cleared our proposal to have the championship in Pune.”

The AFI, compared to the comfortable budget of over Rs. 40 crore allotted by the Tamil Nadu Government, would be working with a scaled-down allotment of around Rs. 12.75 crore to be made by the Maharashtra Government for conducting the meet in Pune. Later on the Maharashtra Government has also provided another Rs. 4 crore for sprucing up the stadium in Balewadi. There is no doubt that Maharashtra is the financial capital of the country and this time it acted as a very strong face-saver. The Congress-NCP led government under the leadership of Prithviraj Chavan once again proved that they are the ultimate master of all games.


Shiv Chhattrapati Stadium, Balewadi, best venue to host games: AFI President

Children perform Mallakhamb during the opening ceremony of the 20th Asian Athletic Championships at the Balewadi Sports complex | 
Image courtesy: deccan herald

Pune (Balewadi): The 20th Asian Athletics Championship kicked off on July 3 at the Shiv Chhattrapati stadium, Balewadi and will continue till July 7. The event was inaugurated by Maharatra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan along with other officials present during the opening ceremony  in Pune. Artists performed Koli dance and children performed Mallakhamb during the opening ceremony.

In an interview with SIMC Wire, the President of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Adille J Sumariwalla has claimed that the allotted venue at Pune is the best choice for the games, even though Chennai, Jharkhand and New Delhi were potential place to host the games.

“We did not choose Shiv Chhattrapati Stadium, Balewadi for the games. We had actually planned Jharkhand, which is a new stadium with better infrastructure for the games. However, due to Naxalism prevailing in Jharkhand and nearby areas, the Government decided to push the venue to Delhi but the capital’s answer was no. So, we finally resorted to Pune as the venue, when we requested the honourable chief minister of Maharshtra, Prithviraj Chavan, who gave the nod for the games to commence,” said Sumariwalla.

With over 577 athletes from 43 countries excepting Bhutan and Myanmar in the fight, the championship is already on the record books as the biggest Asian meet ever and the winners of the various events will be directly entering into the World championships to be held in Moscow next month.

The AFI President said, “It was a tough job because something like this takes nearly two years in terms of preparation and we were given something like three weeks. However, due to the unprecedented support of the government of Maharashtra and the aid from the chief minister and the sports minister, we were able to pull this off.”

“Particularly, the additional chief secretary was posted here in Pune, the divisional-commissioner along with Municipal commissioner of Pune, Pimpri and Chinchwad, Water department were also present in full support for any requirement for the Athletics Federation of India. Be it up-gradation of the stadium or the accommodation of the players, the authorities supported us in full swing and as you can see the games have begun,” added Sumariwalla.

Due to only being provided with a little more than 21 days for the athletic meet to commence, an array of problems was posed before the federation.

Sumariwalla expressed the difficulties as the tournament begun, “We faced tremendous amount of challenges for the games, and there was transport, accommodation, security, food, technical, accreditation, visas and various other challenges. I can safely say after all the effort put in the last three weeks; we are practically the best venue in the world to host these games. This system can run the Olympic games.”

SIMC Wire discovered during the proceedings of the event that there was no specific security check at the entry gates of the stadium. Neither were there any metal detectors in place to check the bags of fans, media persons and people within the sports complex.

When Wire enquired about the same from the Federations President, he said, “There are absolutely no problems with regard to security, the Mahrashtra police is on constant standby throughout the five day period of the tournament. The Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, is also in the loop. There is special security for the players while they are travelling, outside their hotels. So security is not a concern.”

India began their campaign at the 20th Asian Athletics Championships on a mixed note on a rain-marred opening day in Pune on Wednesday. “The rains will not pose any threat to the games. The tracks are all weather synthetic, so, rain or no rain, the games will go on,” said Sumariwalla.

He also added, “I hope the athletes have the fairest and fiercest competition through the tournament.”

Shot putter Om Prakash Karhana and long jumper Mayookha Johny won a bronze each at the opening day for India. Om Prakash hurled the iron ball to a distance of 19.45 in his second attempt, his season’s best though it was way less than his national record of 20.09m, to give India the first medal of the Championships. Mayookha bagged a bronze in long jump after the event was stopped mid-way due to rain only to resume later.

20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 - July 7.
20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 – July 7.
President of Athletics Federation of India - Adille J Sumariwalla
President of Athletics Federation of India – Adille J Sumariwalla