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Virbhadra forced to resign on court filing corruption charge-sheet

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Big setback to Congress

Amba Charan Vashishth

$img_titleUltimately, five-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Virbhadra Singh had to resign following a Himachal court, on June 25, ordering to frame charges against him and his wife, Mrs Pratibha Singh ex-MP for bribery and criminal misconduct in the infamous CD case under section 120B of IPC and sections 7, 11, 12(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The case relates to a CD purportedly containing Singh and his wife’s voices referring to some monetary transactions from industrialists.
Further proceedings in the court shall proceed further only after the High Court gives its decision on a petition filed by  Virbhadra Singh.
Only two days back on June 23 Singh had celebrated his completion of 50 years in politics and celebrated his 79th birthday. He addressed a rally in Shimla where he demanded that the Congress name its chief ministerial candidate before launching its election campaign. Obviously, he was pleading for his own self.
Although twice during the last fortnight Virbhadra Singh had boldly declared that he would quit office if the court decided to frame charges against him, yet he prevaricated after the court verdict. When the court verdict was out and the media asked Singh whether he would resign, he said: “I don’t care for my office at all. I don’t want to embarrass my party and the Prime Minister. As and when the occasion arises, certainly I will take appropriate action”.
Singh met Sonia Gandhi in the evening when it is understood that he was asked to put in his papers. He resigned on 26 June morning and the resignation was accepted immediately.
The court verdict and resignation is a big setback both to the Congress and Singh. The election to Himachal assembly is due in December this year. He was hoping to lead the party to victory although the party was as yet reluctant to hand over the reins to him. So far, Singh had enjoyed a ‘clean’ image and it is a great blot to him at this advanced age and fag-end of his political career.
It may be a coincidence that the CD surfaced in 2007 when elections to State assembly were due within six months. This time the court order has come when the election process for the new assembly is to be completed in about the same period. Interestingly, two leading Congress leaders —former Union Minister Sukh Ram and former CM Virbhadra Singh — have had to face charges of corruption and incidentally they represented the same Parliamentary constituency of Mandi. This has tarnished the name of the State even.
It is very common for politicians to blame their political opponents when they are embroiled in criminal cases and dismiss the charges as “politically motivated, baseless and fabricated, aimed at character assassination”.
The controversial CD was released by a former Congress Chief Minister Maj. Vijai Singh Mankotia, who was at one time the closest to Virbhadra Singh. In 2007 Mr. Singh was the Chief Minister and he should have got his name cleared immediately through an impartial inquiry to shut the mouths of his opponents. The present BJP government did only what Singh should have done. As CM Prem Kumar Dhumal has said, “It is a court order with which his government has nothing to do.”

Bogus on secular credentials

Justice (Retd.) Dr M Rama Jois

Intention behind the statement of Nitish Kumar, Bihar Chief Minister that the person to be projected as Prime Minister by NDA in 2014 general election should have secular credentials, is not far to seek.  It is in the form of caveat against the possibility of projecting Narendra Modi as such in view of his personal dislike for him as established by his declining even to accept Rs 5 lakh sent by Narendra Modi for relief works in Bihar and thereby insulting both Narendra Modi and people of Gujarat as an ingenious show of his secularism.  Otherwise there was no occasion to say so now as 2014 general election to Lok Sabha is far away.
The call for secular credentials itself is uncalled for, unwarranted and motivated, for all national parties and their leaders are secular except others who indulge in caste and religious pollution of politics, which alone is anti-secular as stated by Justice Ramaswamy of Supreme Court in SR Bommai case.  There is not even an iota of allegation against Narendra Modi who is ruling Gujarat for a decade that he is discriminating any one on grounds of religion and Gujarat is also free from communal riots. Innumerable attempts made to indict him for post Godhra riots became futile for the reason those riots were on account of angry reaction of the people to the inhuman burning of 60 Ayodhya pilgrims alive at Godhra railway station.
In the face of such facts, the call for so-called secular credentials by the person to be projected as Prime Minister can be regarded only as bogus. By the endorsement of his view by Sushil Modi, he has only agreed that a person without any bias against any section of people should be projected as Prime Minister and not against Narendra Modi.  The fact remains that everyone of the BJP leaders including Narendra Modi, honestly and sincerely stand for justice for all and discrimination of none which is genuine secularism.
Very rightly the Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid has wondered – “why does Nitish Kumar have fears that Indian Prime Minister will not be secular”. 
(The writer is Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)

Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to deal with Naxal violence—GK Pillai

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Documentary on Maoism: The Red Terror released

Pramod Kumar

“The Government needs to put in place a stern policy to deal with hostage situations like the one framed for dealing with aircraft hijack. At the same time the authorities should negotiate with the Maoists with a clear message that causing any harm to the hostages would mean a death warrant of the people whose release is being sought,” said former Union Home Secretary Shri GK Pillai. He was speaking at a round table conference on ‘State’s Response to Hostage Situations’, in New Delhi on June 28.
$img_titleA documentary, Maoism: The Red Terror, was also released on the occasion. Many prominent personalities, intellectuals, security experts and retired bureaucrats including Shri BP Singhal, Shri Prakash Singh, Shri Chandan Mitra, Dr JS Rajput, Shri Ram Madhav, etc. were present on the occasion. The documentary was prepared by India Foundation.
Recording the major naxal attacks of last five years in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, etc, the documentary has comments from leading security experts, journalists, victims of the Maoist violence and also the former Maoists who fed up with the violence, confused Maoist ideology and misguided people have surrendered.
The documentary describes the Maoist violence as a story of unabated violence, ruthless killings, mindless atrocities and horror which is repeated to ‘change the world on gunpoint’. It also exposes the Maoist supporters like Agnivesh, Binayak Sen and others who shed tears whenever there is action against Maoists and keep mum when they kill the innocent civilians or security personnel. Citing a report of BBC, the documentary claims that about 6000 innocent people and security personnel have been killed in Maoist violence during the last 25 years.
Stressing the need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach while dealing with Maoists, Shri Pillai expressed concern that none of the major political parties in India has so far gauged the magnitude of the Maoist violence and the damage it is causing to the country. “By instigating the Vanvasis against Government, the Maoists have created a kind of political vacuum. This gap can be filled by the political parties and not by the security forces. Majority of the people killed by Maoists are those whom they call ‘police informers’. They openly declare that those who support the police and administration deserved to be killed. Therefore, before starting development process in such areas, we must ensure safety of the people,” he said.
Former DGP of Chhattisgarh Shri Vishwa Ranjan said the Maoists seem to be prepared for a long battle. “They have trained guerrillas and equipped them with sophisticated armory. On the other hand we want to fight this menace with the help of our ordinary policemen who are not trained to tackle such situations. Need of the hour is that apart from creating special force to combat the terror we must also equip the ordinary policeman with modern arms and knowhow,” he said adding that the zero causality doctrine is not practical at this moment. He said in hostage situations one cannot ignore the negotiations, but we must decide how much to be given. He also expressed concern that the areas liberated from the Maoists have not yet witnessed the desirable development, which is not good sign for continuing peace.
Former Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Smt Nirmala Buch said the rising presence of media has made tackling of hostage situations complicated, as they create undue pressure on the authorities, which ultimately harms the state’s interest in negotiation process. She stressed the need to create an effective public grievances redressal mechanism. “This is a fact that if the people do not get redressal of their grievances in the system, they approach the people who are outside the system,” she added.
In the beginning, editor of The Pioneer, Shri Chandan Mitra described naxalism as the greatest threat to the security and integrity of the nation.Pramod Kumar
“The Government needs to put in place a stern policy to deal with hostage situations like the one framed for dealing with aircraft hijack. At the same time the authorities should negotiate with the Maoists with a clear message that causing any harm to the hostages would mean a death warrant of the people whose release is being sought,” said former Union Home Secretary Shri GK Pillai. He was speaking at a round table conference on ‘State’s Response to Hostage Situations’, in New Delhi on June 28.
A documentary, Maoism: The Red Terror, was also released on the occasion. Many prominent personalities, intellectuals, security experts and retired bureaucrats including Shri BP Singhal, Shri Prakash Singh, Shri Chandan Mitra, Dr JS Rajput, Shri Ram Madhav, etc. were present on the occasion. The documentary was prepared by India Foundation.
Recording the major naxal attacks of last five years in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, etc, the documentary has comments from leading security experts, journalists, victims of the Maoist violence and also the former Maoists who fed up with the violence, confused Maoist ideology and misguided people have surrendered.
The documentary describes the Maoist violence as a story of unabated violence, ruthless killings, mindless atrocities and horror which is repeated to ‘change the world on gunpoint’. It also exposes the Maoist supporters like Agnivesh, Binayak Sen and others who shed tears whenever there is action against Maoists and keep mum when they kill the innocent civilians or security personnel. Citing a report of BBC, the documentary claims that about 6000 innocent people and security personnel have been killed in Maoist violence during the last 25 years.
Stressing the need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach while dealing with Maoists, Shri Pillai expressed concern that none of the major political parties in India has so far gauged the magnitude of the Maoist violence and the damage it is causing to the country. “By instigating the Vanvasis against Government, the Maoists have created a kind of political vacuum. This gap can be filled by the political parties and not by the security forces. Majority of the people killed by Maoists are those whom they call ‘police informers’. They openly declare that those who support the police and administration deserved to be killed. Therefore, before starting development process in such areas, we must ensure safety of the people,” he said.
Former DGP of Chhattisgarh Shri Vishwa Ranjan said the Maoists seem to be prepared for a long battle. “They have trained guerrillas and equipped them with sophisticated armory. On the other hand we want to fight this menace with the help of our ordinary policemen who are not trained to tackle such situations. Need of the hour is that apart from creating special force to combat the terror we must also equip the ordinary policeman with modern arms and knowhow,” he said adding that the zero causality doctrine is not practical at this moment. He said in hostage situations one cannot ignore the negotiations, but we must decide how much to be given. He also expressed concern that the areas liberated from the Maoists have not yet witnessed the desirable development, which is not good sign for continuing peace.
Former Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Smt Nirmala Buch said the rising presence of media has made tackling of hostage situations complicated, as they create undue pressure on the authorities, which ultimately harms the state’s interest in negotiation process. She stressed the need to create an effective public grievances redressal mechanism. “This is a fact that if the people do not get redressal of their grievances in the system, they approach the people who are outside the system,” she added.
In the beginning, editor of The Pioneer, Shri Chandan Mitra described naxalism as the greatest threat to the security and integrity of the nation.

Germany bans Muslim organisations

According to Inquilab (June 16, 2012), the German police have raided residential buildings of Salafi Muslims. The government alleged that these Muslims are hatching conspiracy against the government. According to spokesperson of the German Home Ministry, the police have raided three houses of the workers of Wahabi organisations and more than one thousand police personal were deployed for the purpose. The government did not reveal that how many Muslims were arrested. The Home Ministry informed that Millate Ibrahim — the movement run by Salafi Muslims – has been banned. This is to remind that there was a clash between Salafi Muslims and the police in Solizen city in Germany. The police said that Salafis are inciting violence in Germany. But spokesperson of Salafis said, “We are propagating Islam and huge number of Christians are converting to Islam that caused the police action. German Home Minister Ralf Jaeger said that this organisation is demanding implementation of Sharia Law in Germany. These groups are getting support from Saudi Arabia. The government has the information that these Wahbies and Salafis incite violence therefore the government is keeping an eye on them. A government spokesperson said that during a rally in Bonn, there were armed clash between the police and extremist Salafis in which 29 German police personal were injured. The police arrested 109 Salafi extremist Muslims in connections to this violence. The government spokesperson said, “Those three extremist Muslim organisation that have been banned had connection with Al Qaeda. We would not allow Muslims to cause turbulence in Germany.”
Namaz banned in a British University
According to Inquilab (June 6, 2012), it has been ordered to close down Islamic Centre of the University of East Anglia where Muslim students used to offer Namaz. The Vice Chancellor of the University Tom Warder said that facility to offer Namaz was offered temporarily, it was to be closed. Spokesperson of the Muslim society Mohammad Patel said that the decision of the university is to deprive Muslims from their religious matters. He said that the university is situated in Norwich city and Christians are free to offer prayer therefore this is a discrimination against Muslims.
Seven people killed in Pakistan for dancing
Salar (June 5, 2012), the Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered the state’s chief secretary and other officials to appear before it in the matter of an elders court {Jarge} in Pakistan’s Kehirastan region ordering killing of five women and two men. According to the newspaper, during a marriage ceremony in Khaibar state two men were dancing and five women were clapping. When this news reached to the local jarge, all of them have been ordered to be killed. This incidence is from Hazara division. After the news was broadcast on Pakistan radio, Pakistan Supreme Court called Hazara division commissioner and other officials to appear before it.
This is to remind that no one is allowed to sing and dance in the Kabaili region of Pakistan. These men were dancing on the occasion of a marriage and women were clapping. Jarga (Council of elders) of Kabaili has got the court rights and they have the right to give death sentence for anti-Islamic activities.
Government to build Akbarabadi Mosque
Sahafat (June 14, 2012), Akbarabadi Mosque situated in Daryaganj would be rebuilt by the Delhi government, which has put the construction of Metro station in Daryaganj in doldrums. Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal claimed that this mosque was demolished by British in 1857 and a park was built in its place. He claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit promised that the mosque would be built again after the excavation. Delhi Metro chief Manglu Singh, who was also present in the meeting, informed that Metro station would be built somewhere else. Shoaib Iqbal claimed that he was trying to rebuild this mosque from the past five years. This mosque was built by the wife of Mughal emperor Shahjahan but it was demolished in 1857. The mosque is situated where there is Subhas Park at present. The name of the park during British period was Edward Park. This is to inform that the government has announced to build 14 mosques on its own expenses. The government has promised to give Rs 80 lakh to Muslims to built this mosque. This news was also published prominently in Hamara Samaj, Inquilab etc on the same day.
(Courtesy: India Policy Foundation, Fortnightly Review of Urdu Press, June 16-30)

Karnataka Assembly celebrates 60th anniversary
Guru Prasad R

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ENORMOUS quantity of high grade wood from different forests of Karnataka was looted to rebuild Buckingham Palace, the official London  residence and office of the British Monarch, said DB Chandre Gowda, former Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly  and the present Lok Sabha Member from Bengaluru north constituency by quoting the statement of Kengal Hanumanthaiah. Kengal was the chief minister of the old Mysore State (Karnataka) who constructed Vidhana Soudha, the seat of Legislature in Karnataka. Karnataka witnessed an important event on June 18. It was the Diamond Jubilee Celebration and DB Chandre Gowda was delivering his speech on the subject ‘Karnataka yesterday and today’.

undefinedThe event brought   former chief ministers—M Veerappa Moily, N Dharam Singh, HD Kumaraswamy and BS Yeddyurappa sitting next to each other though they belong to three different parties.  HR Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka, former and present Speakers, Legislative Council Chairman DH Shankarmurthy,  former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachalaiah, senior parliamentarians and  nearly 300 sitting  Legislatures belonging to both Legislative Assembly and Council  participated in the memorable event. The souvenir containing an exhaustive details from  the first session to till today  was released by the Governor. An impressive exhibition of rare photos was organi-sed as part of the 60th year celebration.


undefinedHighlight of the celebration was the  felicitation of five  MLA’s DG Thimme Gowda, Ambadas Rao, UM Madappa,  Mulka Govinda Reddy and Vasantha Rao L Patil  who represented the first Assembly held on June 18, 1952 at the Vidhana Soudha.

The first Assembly session had 99 MLA’s. People were happy to see the sportive spirit of  five veterans who were part of the first Assembly. Many present MLA’s were seen touching the feet of these five veterans and taking blessings.

Abu Jundal falls into India’s trap
Exposing the Pak perfidy
Aditya Pradhan

IF the capture of Lashkar terrorist Syed Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, the main handler of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, by Indian authorities was not enough the media mix-up about the release of Sarabjit Singh in place of Surjeet Singh had only raised heckles against Pakistan even as the political turmoil in the neighbouring country only worsened in the last few days.
The investigations into Pakistan’s complicity in terror attacks in India now involve sleuths in Europe and the US more because the activities are coordinated by various terror cells all over the world. There have been many undercover reports of Pakistan’s hand in introducing forged Indian currency in many parts of the country which could have contributed to the slump in the value of the rupee in the recent past, especially when the currencies of India’s neighbours have not suffered as much.
The award-winning documentary The Perfect Terrorist written, produced and directed by Thomas Jennings along with correspondent Sebastian Rotella has all the makings of an in-depth report on how Dawood Syed Gilani, the American-born Pakistani who later changed his name to David Coleman Headley, masterminded the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.
It goes without saying that the arrest of Abu Jundal in India had a huge helping from the US as Saudi authorities overruled Pakistani objections before bundling up the man and sending him to India to bring him to justice.
From all these fast-paced developments in the last few days one thing becomes clear that India has its hands full when it comes to collating evidence, investigating deeper into the links between the Pakistan’s ISI, its rogue army and terror outfits and deducing the right conclusions to hold all the responsible parties in a court of law in India or abroad.
What should come as a surprise for many of the observers of Pakistan’s shenanigans is the overwhelming evidence of its complicity from various sources all over the world, and the nicer details which are corroborated by new additions like Abu Jundal. At many places, what Abu Jundal has confessed to are almost verbatim to what Thomas Jennings reveals in his documentary. Quite incidentally, Abu Jundal is the first of the 50 most-wanted list which India had presented to Pakistan.
On the other hand, the activities of prime suspects in terror activities in India like Abu Jundal, just as Dawood Ibrahim, who were born and brought up in India, and the repeated averment by Pakistan that Dawood Syed Gilani is an American citizen while Abu Jundal is an Indian citizen, flies in the face of the claims by prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on several occasions that terror activities are wholly imported and there are no sleeper cells in India.
Also, most of the perpetrators of terror crimes in India, as much as in other parts of the world, belong to well-to-do families who have thriving businesses, making the most of the capitalist system, with girlfriends and lifestyles to match. The conventional thinking that terrorists are born out of poverty and destitution is good Bollywood scriptwriting but far removed from the truth.

Gujarat CM inaugurates Sewa International Design & Development Centre
Expanding golden era of handicrafts in Kutch

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"MANY organisations were at the forefront doing relief and rehabilitation work soon after the devastating earthquake of 2001, serving the effected in whatever way they can. However after a decade only a few are still trying to help out the development of Kutch. Sewa International and Sewa Bharati are among the few who have continued their mission even after a decade and this is the indication of their commitment and perseverance,” exclaimed Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi while inaugurating the Sewa International Design & Development Centre at Jiapar Village in Kutch, Gujarat on June 21.
The Chief Minister arrived right on dot in the remote village Jiapar for the inauguration of the newly constructed building of the SIDDC that surprised many. Beating the scorching sun and powerful wind, more than 7,000 people had gathered for the inaugural function and to listen to the popular leader. Women were present in dominant number.  This Design & Development Centre is already serving more than 400 women drawn from 16 villages, from a rented nearby location.
Shri Narendra Modi was received by Trustees of Sewa International Shri Jay Prakash, Shri Bimal Kedia, Shri Rameshbhai Mehta, Shri Haribhai Halai and Shri Jadavjibhai Gorasia at the newly constructed premises of the Centre. After unveiling the plaque and planting a sapling, Shri Narendra Modi lighted the lamp. He spent a good time observing the activities within centre and having chat with the women trainees and the production team. He also watched the ladies doing embroidery before setting off to an eagerly waiting gathering.
Shri Narendra Modi established a direct communication with the gathering through the chanting of Bharatmata ki jai and said in his typical style in Gujarati mane yad chne das varas pahelan meyn Narayanpur nu lokarpan karyun hatu (I very well remember that I had inaugurated this village Narayanpur a decade earlier). He did not miss to pay homage to the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Poojaniya Dr Hedgewar by paying floral tributes and reminding people of Dr Hedgewar’s contribution to nation building activity.  He also took opportunity of reminding people of the changes that have come about in Kutch after the earthquake. Development of the infrastructure, rebuilding and resettlement at the speed not seen before was achieved.
undefinedThe Chief Minister exhorted the potential strength of Bharat by stating that “this is a country of the youth with 67 per cent population below the age of 35 years providing the leverage to this country to excel in world market in this century, provided the youth is empowered with required skills and apt orientation that can empower Bharat for an edge to compete with neighbouring China.”
He took special note of Sewa International for coming up with help at the need of the hour in Kutch during earthquake of 2001 and also appreciated the efforts and initiatives taken for rehabilitation in the Indo-Pak border area of Kutch especially for the empowerment of women by training and developing their designing skills in matching the demand of the modern market. His quips that enthused the gathering were Khusbu Gujarat ki and Kutch nahi dekha to Kuchh nahi dekha (flavour of Gujarat and if one has not seen Kutch, one has seen nothing) which is an effort to promote Gujarat tourism and opening the gates for handicraft industry of Kutch.
Shri Narendra Modi explicated the initiative of Gujarat government in promoting self help groups of women and in training them to develop production and marketing skills with professional touch. His government, he informed, has made special provision of funding and promoting this idea through “Mission Mangalm” setting aside Rs 1,600 crore for the strengthening of SHG movement in the State.
Chairman of Sewa International Shri Jai Prakash welcomed the guests on the dais while Shri Ramesh Bhai Mehta elaborated the Sewa International activity in Kutch post rehabilitation. Prant Sewa Pramukh Shri Ashok Rawal elucidated the rehabilitation programme after the earthquake taken up jointly by Sewa Bharati Gujarat and Sewa International. Chief Guest Shri Ashok Bhai Shah, Mumbai and Guest of Honour Shri Babubhai Ahir appreciated the arts and crafts of Kutch and promised to provide marketing platform for the finished goods from this Design & Development Centre.
Shri Raghunath Verabally received the felicitation from Shri Narendra Bhai Modi on behalf of India Development & Relief Fund in the absence of Dr. Vinod Prakash, Presidnet of IDRF. Kutch Kala Sewa Trust is the implanting agency in Kutch looking after the activities of SIDDC. President of Kutch Kala Sewa Trust Shri Hari Bhai Halai thanked the honourable guests and the gathering at the end. 
(FOC)

Vidya Bharati schools again hog the limelight

HSLC results of Assam 2012

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Vidya Bharati schools have again hit the headlines of the media for their brilliant results in the just published High School Leaving Certificate Examinations conducted by the Board of Secondary Education of Assam, outshining the State run and privately managed hi-tech institutions. In the matriculation examinations of 2011 too, Vidya Bharati schools known as Shankar Dev Shishu Niketan and Saraswati Vidya Mandir had bagged 5 of the 20 top positions and the academic circles across the State heaped praises for their outstanding performances. The media this time carried the news and the appreciative messages from the parents, guardians and citizens concerned with the achievements of Vidya Bharati.
Among the 20 toppers of 2012, 11 alone are from Vidya Bharati schools. Significantly, two are first position holders jointly. The results of this year have been remarkably far better off than 2011. Vidya Bharati has its schools in all the districts of Assam and their number is on the rise, reflecting on the faith and confidence of guardians reposed in them. Results of Vidya Bharati schools have once again broken the myth of receiving education in hi-fi English medium schools which boast of imparting lessons through advanced method and technic and the guardians are made to cough up lot of money for their children for all the pomp and show. Compare their imposing buildings, sprawling campuses, well laid out designed class rooms with all the modern facilities of teaching-learning, the glare and glow with the modest structures of Shankar Dev Shishu Niketans or Saraswati Vidya Niketans, the humility and humbleness of the heads and teachers, the contrast is glaring.
The greatest strength of Vidya Bharati schools lies in their highest sense of discipline and decorum, best of relations between the teacher and the taught, strict adherence to routine and curriculum, culture and heritage of the country with accent on the values and ideals of the great legacy of ‘Gurukul’. There is perfect academic ambience and conducive atmosphere for teaching. Without any State patronage, the schools pull their own resources without creating any constraints on guardians. Teachers despite their modest salary feel contented to teach in an atmosphere free from any political pulls and pressures. There is nothing like ‘bossism’. Their dedication to the cause of education is worth-appreciative. Maintaining academic atmosphere and standard is the top priority of the management.
Those who topped among the top 20 are Gyandeep Sarma, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Bokakhat, Stuti Khound, Shankar Dev Shishu Vidya Niketan, Biswanath Charali, Mansi Baruah, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Buxa, Mridupaban Deka, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Rangia, Sushmita Paul, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Rangia, Paragjyoti Bora, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Morigaon, Kamalini Kalita, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Bilasipara, Bhaskarjyoti Das, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Bamundi, Bhaswati Bora, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Biswanath Charali, Pranay Sarma, Shankar Dev Shishu Niketan, Rangia and Juri Thakuria, Shankar Dev Vidya Niketan, Barpeta. All of them obtained letter marks in all the 5 subjects of their offerings which include Assamese, English, Science, Mathematics, Social Science and optional Mathematics. Of significance is that Shankar Dev Shishu Niketan, Rangia, has bagged two sixth positions and one ninth position.

Minorities under threat in Pakistan

Hindus, Christians denied civic and religious protection

Rajeev Sharma

$img_titleA recent report submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has pointed out increasing discrimination against minorities in Pakistan. Although minorities like Shias and Balochis have been target of state-supported sectarian and extremist groups, the report highlighted the plight of lesser known minorities like the Hindus living in Pakistan. The report, prepared by Pakistani Sindhis living in exile, said the Hindus were being subjected to kidnappings, forced abductions, conversions and bonded labour. 

The condition of the Hindus in fact has been deteriorating since 1947. At the time of Partition, Hindus comprised 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population. Today, one estimate puts it at 2 per cent while another suggests 5.5 per cent with majority of them living in Sindh. The report in question concentrates on the status of Hindus in Sindh. 

The first issue is that of forced marriages and forced conversions of girls and young women. The report alleged young Hindu girls were being kidnapped and forced to marry to Muslim boys and converted to Islam. The Asian Human Rights Commission documented that there are 20-25 forced conversions every month in Sindh. According to the report, in 2011, kidnappings of teenage girls in the Aaklee village, Sindh, forced about 71 Hindu families to flee to India.  The plight of the Hindu girls were raised in the Pakistan National Assembly but without much success. In March 2011, for instance Pakistan People’s Party member of National Assembly raised the issue of Hindu girls being forcibly married to Muslim boys. In October 2010, the Pakistani Senate State Committee on Minorities Affairs also pointed out the increasing incidences of Hindu girls being abducted and converted to Islam. 

The most dramatic incident has been the testimony given by a Hindu girl in the Supreme Court in March this year. Rinkel Kumari, aged 19, was kidnapped by a gang of men who delivered her to a Muslim scholar. Her parents were then told that she would be converted to Islam and would marry the Muslim youth. The police refused to file the FIR and take any action. The Muslim man was a close relative of a National Assembly member. The family was threatened by the man’s relatives and they were forced to take shelter in a gurudwara in Punjab.  The local judge, who heard the case, decided that the girl be handed over to the Muslim family as she had converted to Islam and she was subsequently named Faryal Shah. When her case came up before the Supreme Court, Rinkel appeared before the judges and said: “In Pakistan, there is justice only for Muslims; justice is denied to Hindus. Kill me here but do not send me back to the kidnappers”.

 Despite such protests, the number of Hindu families fleeing Pakistan has only increased. In 2010, 500 Hindu families in Baluchistan, because of fear of abduction for ransom or death threats, migrated to India. Some Hindu organisations believe that as many as 10 families migrate to India from Sindh and Baluchistan every month. In 2009, a Times of India report put the total number of Hindus migrating to India at 5000. 

What has made the matters worse is the indifferent attitude of the police and insensitive judicial system. Police often refuse to register FIRs and in cases they do, the courts send the teenage girls to Islamic school centres or back to the kidnappers’s home instead of the girls’ families and women shelters. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its report on ‘Working Group on Communities Vulnerable Because Of Their Beliefs’ said the courts often decided such cases against the girls’ families even if the girls were of 12 or 13 years of age. According to Dr. Nazir Bhatti,, President of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC), it was common knowledge that the women shelters known as Darul Aman were run by provincial governments and were staffed entirely by Muslims. These shelters had a reputation of running ‘forced prostitution rings’. The victims are also forced to keep quiet on the grounds of ‘apostasy’, which decrees death to those who leave the religion after conversion. 

There is a similar spike in the kidnapping for ransom of Hindu business in Sindh and other areas in Pakistan. In Balochistan, the situation is more serious than that of Sindh. Between 2008 and 2011, 43 Hindu businessmen were kidnapped. In the first five months of 2012, over 20 Hindus have been kidnapped in Balochistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its 2009 report pointed out the Hindus in Baluchistan faced increased “kidnappings for random and forced conversion of girls.”  The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child reported that  23 Hindu children were kidnapped between 2008 and 2010. The families do not often go to the police for help fearing retaliation. The police often refuse to file cases and even if they do, fail to pursue the matter diligently. The families are often forced to go to the criminal gangs instead and pay protection money. Those who fail to do so get killed. 

A large number of Hindu labourers are living like slaves in Pakistan today. The estimated number of such bonded labourers is 1.7 million. Anti-Slavery International, in a report, pointed out that majority of the slaves belonged to scheduled caste Hindu population. Various surveys have pointed out that the women were the worst sufferers—Hindu women have been kept as slaves because of religious hatred and debt.

This nation is facing a leadership crisis, tough times breed great leaders: Swamy

N Nagaraja Rao, Hyderabad

$img_title"Retaliation is the only way to handle and root out terrorism from the country as terrorists don’t understand any other language,” said Dr Subramanian Swamy. Delivering a talk on “India in crisis: How do we save our nation?” in Hyderabad on 21st June 2012 at the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram auditorium hosted by Pragna Bharathi AP and Social cause, the city based NGOs.

Janata Party president attributes all major problems of the country to lack of able leadership. In Kashmir, some of the decisions the powers at the helm took succumbing to the threats of Kashmiri militants led to despondency. On December 8, 1989, just six days after her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn in as India’s Home Minister, Rubaiya Sayeed was abducted by the militants of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front and demanded release of five militants. VP Singh government decided to free the militants. Rubaiya Sayeed was released within an hour of the release of five militants in downtown Srinagar. It was the watershed in the insurgency in Kashmir. India had been brought to its knees at gunpoint and since then the state has become more turbulent. He suggested let our ex-servicemen amounting to at least 10 lakh should go to settle in Kashmir and occupy the houses vacated by the Kashmiri Pundits in the Valley. Let our brave well armed ex-servicemen take on insurgency and needless to say Article 370 is indeed a temporary provision aimed to ensure autonomy and religious composition.

 He recalled how China resolved its Muslim majority province Xinjiang, that had more similarities with our own Kashmir. China has successfully altered the demography of the region by repopulating it with Han Chinese, now the majority. As has been evident in other parts of the world, Islamists deftly graft their agenda onto regional political struggles to form unholy alliances and advance their pan-Islamist agenda. To curb the influence of Islam, even the Australian government engages in surveillance of mosques, restricts the participation of youth and women in mosque activities, monitors the content of services. In Western countries, Muslims adopts to the Common Civil Code and sadly in India even if they agree for a Common Civil Code our own secular leaders would negate the idea.

He termed Islamic terrorism is India’s major problem of national security. Islam will confront Hinduism to “complete unfinished business”. Already the successor to Osama bin Laden as al-Qaeda leader has declared that India is the priority target for that terrorist organisation and not the USA.

The country has been facing a leadership crisis and it needs a decision-maker who can take risks to overcome the challenges like terrorism and corruption. “If the present crises are managed properly, no crisis will stare at the country for the next many years,” he felt. He linked the spread of terrorism to corruption of our politicians as one of the major reasons.“Those in power can’t take tough decisions as they keep their huge ill-gotten money in other countries through Dubai-based ‘hawala’ operations which are controlled by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI),” he said. He also said terrorism should be dealt with strongly. “You have to make a resolve that you will not negotiate with terrorists until they are ready to surrender. This is the fundamental decision you have to make,” he said.

On corruption, Dr. Swamy said it could be stopped by cancelling all licenses given for exploitation of mineral resources, utilising spectrum and others. As a signatory to the 2005-UN resolution on black money, the country could nationalise bank accounts of Indians in 77 countries where secret banking was allowed to bring back Rs 70 lakh crore kept there. By doing this, people could avoid paying taxes for 14 years, he said. All accounts held by Indians  abroad in Swiss banks, be nationalised and legitimate claims need to be addressed thus bringing back lot of black money parked in tax havens, he articulated. Calling for cancellation of all coal mining licenses, he claimed approximately 10 lakh crores can be pumped into economy by calling for fresh leases, similarly 16 lakh crores can be earned by calling for fresh tenders in the Krishna Godavari Gas basin.

“Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought, he reminded how Julia Roberts, an Oscar winning English actress embraced Hinduism. The 42-year-old American actor, who was born to Baptist and Catholic parents, is now a practising Hindu after visiting India. Unlike many countries, India’s civilization heritage and memory transcends several millennia and is a product of its timeless and peaceful coexistence of the Hindu society. Hinduism is more of a philosophy with full freedom of thought and action, with each individual pursuing liberation of the soul via the medium of truthful self-discovery. In a true sense, Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion stressed Dr Swamy. Asserting that a war with Pakistan was certain in future he predicted that along with Afghanistan it would be taken over by Taliban sooner than later.

This meet was presided over by former Union Secretary Shri Padmanabhiah and Dr TH Chowdury chairman introduced  the subject under discussion  calling for a collective Hindu mindset, even if half the Hindu voters are persuaded to collectively vote as Hindus, and for a party sincerely committed to a Hindu agenda, then we can forge an instrument for change. Dr Susheela Somaraju, president, Social Cause proposed the vote of thanks.

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