AIADMK Crisis: TN Governor meets Rajnath Singh

Amid an ongoing political crisis in Tamil Nadu the Governor C Vidyasagar Rao met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on September 19.

A day after the disqualification of 18 MLAs  owing allegiance to the rebel AIADMK(All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagamleader) TTV Dhinakaran, Rao met the Home Minister at his residence in New Delhi. According the TOI, the Governor informed the Home Minister about the current political development in Tamil Nadu, in the 20-minute meeting.

Rao arrived a day earlier in Delhi and met President Ram Nath Kovind and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.  The opposition parties and the and the rebels of the AIADMK legislators have urged the Governor to convene the assembly for a floor test at the earliest. Rao is yet to take a decision on the Chief Minister K. Palaniswami  vote of confidence.

The disqualified MLAs accused Palaniswami of being corrupt and  said they had no confidence in him.

The Governor is scheduled to fly on the afternoon of September 19 to Chennai, where he will meet the CM to discuss his approach on summoning the assembly .

Explaining PAVA shells, a likely replacement for pellet guns

An expert seven-member committee of the Home Ministry recently recommended PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide) or Nonivamide shells as a viable alternative to the pellet guns, which have been highly criticised off lately for causing lethal injuries – especially eye-related – to the protestors during the Kashmir unrest.

To a layperson, this quintessentially scientific term translates to a highly pungent organic compound found in chilli pepper used for various purposes – as a food additive providing flavour and spice, in pepper sprays, and also in pain-related medicines.

With the death toll in Kashmir having risen to 70 in the context of the longest ever curfew in the state, there has been intense call for replacement of these pellet guns, which have been in use in the valley since 2010. Buckling under criticism, the political establishment, spearheaded by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, promised an alternative in place soon.

Unlike the metal pellets which can penetrate the body and lead to life-threatening injuries, the PAVA shells have been deemed to be “biosafe, better than chilli grenade or tear smoke shell” and those, which “can also be used in combination with stun and tear shells” by the expert panel – comprising of representatives from the Home Ministry, BSF, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, IIT Delhi and Ordnance Factory Board.

Likely to have bhut jalokia, the world’s hottest chilli, and phosphorous, these shells will be able to choke the respiratory tract of the target and temporarily paralyse him/her, along with causing severe eye and skin irritation. Notably, the shells fall in the “above peak” category of the Scoville index, a measure for chilli intensity, but are not said to be lethal, having only temporary effects.

Notably, though PAVA shells have been under development in the Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research for around a year, it was only last week when they were first tested and subsequently approved by the expert panel, The shells have also been reportedly used by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Kashmir in the last few days.

Among other options which the committee reportedly mulled over as effective alternatives to pellet guns, there was a laser shooter causing temporary blindness, along with a dye marker grenade, stun grenade, wooden pellets and bean-bag rounds among others. There have also been various examples of usage of non-lethal weapons in different parts of the world, including Skunk (used by Israel against Palestinian agitators), pepper spray (used during the Occupy Wall Street protests), and tear gas (used durin Tahrir Square protests in Egypt).

With the panel recommending to the government to “immediately” ask the Tear Smoke Unit of the Border Security Force (BSF), Gwalior to manufacture 50,000 shells, it might be a expected that they will replace the pellet guns in the coming days. However, as pointed out by a security official in Kashmir, the shells have not proved to be useful in all settings. The solution lies in having various substitutes.

Rajnath Singh: Influence of IS on Indian youth is limited

Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting on Saturday, along with several top officials from  central intelligence, investigative agencies  and police officials from 13 different states  to deliberate the increasing effect of IS among youngsters through social media in India.

The meeting involved discussions on the misuse of social media, sources of motivation to appeal people to join the terrorist group, the growing influence of IS and the best law enforcement response required, a Home ministry spokesperson said. Issues like welfare schemes for minorities, capacity building of police organizations in the technological arena and specific social media strategies which need to followed were also discussed during the meeting.

The Home Minister said that though the influence of IS in India is limited compared to other countries, it was necessary to take precautionary measures and not let down the guard in any manner. Singh also said that most of the Muslim organizations in India had come out against IS or any other form of terrorism He also said that with the Indian traditions and family values it would be very simple to win over this evil.

Intelligence officials told that 23 Indians have joined IS so far, and six were already killed due to their connection in different incidents. 150 Indians are right now under the Intelligence watch due to their supposed involvement with IS on social media.


Sources: The Hindu: