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Showing posts from July, 2015

IF YAKUB NEVER CAME BACK FROM PAKISTAN

It was another July when it all began. Sixteen months after the Bombay bomb blasts of 1993 which he helped engineer, Yakub Memon decided to return to India from Pakistan. Following a covert deal with intelligence agencies (alluded to in intelligence officer B Raman's posthumously-published piece last week), Yakub's arrest was staged at New Delhi railway station on July 24, 1994. He marked his 32nd birthday while in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Just as Ajmal Kasab's arrest on the night of November 26, 2008, provided clinching proof of Pakistan's complicity, Yakub returned to India with demonstrable proof of the ISI's involvement in the terror strike on Bombay. 

Here are ten things we wouldn't have known if, like Tiger, he had chosen to stay on in Pakistan: 

1. Police witness number two Usman Jan Khan had provided vital inputs on the conspirators' travel to and training in the forested hills near Islamabad but he could not furnish any docu…

Death Sentence: Muslims Need Not Over-React!

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Raising voice against all injustices, not just against Muslims, is the fundamental requirement of Islam/Muslims. This principle is clearly established in Qur’an: “And when you speak/judge, be just/truthful. Even if the matter relates to your closest relative.” [6:152] Fairness demands that every human life is valued equally. Strong views have been expressed, against the death sentence of Yakub Memon, by those who seem to know well the legal intricacies of this case. In their view, his execution is illegal and therefore incorrect. Assuming that they are right and an innocent life is being taken by this verdict, still we need not get carried away; and must not forget that Yakub is only one among thousands of innocent Indians killed in communal riots. Right from the partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947, tens of thousands of anti-Muslims riots have occurred claiming hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. And counting… The Mumbai bomb blasts were heinous crimes as killing even one inn…

Hanging of Yakub

A CERTAIN gloating has accompanied the rejection of each appeal and every petition that lawyers and counsels for Yakub Memon put up before the Supreme Court over the last few days. From some members of parliament to journalists — leave alone the understandable anger of families of 257 victims of the 1993 Mumbai blasts — a certain bloodthirstiness has taken over the national mood. Yakub Memon, actually, stood little chance. Restraint Perhaps it is for the best that he has been hanged. As India becomes richer — although that can be contested, considering the way the economy is going — and more powerful, it is also becoming much more vengeful. Interestingly, it is the much more aspirational urban middle- class that seeks an eye-for-an-eye. Somehow, when you’re poorer and need to depend on each other in times of trouble, you’re probably much less likely to enjoy the cathartic drama involved in watching a man unwillingly walk to his death. That is why only six members of parliament, from a…

Abdul Kalam-The Last Brahmin

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It is apt to quote the following shloka from ancient scriptures – probably from Manusmriti.
janmana jayate sudrah samskarat dwij uchchte
veda pathnat bhavet viprah brahma janati iti brahmanah


By birth one is a sudra (lowest caste), by the culture he possesses one becomes a dvija (higher caste), by study of the Vedas one becomes a vipra, and one who knows Brahman is a brahmana.
When this is applied in true sense, I doubt, how many living persons will reach the second stage, forget the third one.  Of course, in Sanskrit, Dwija, Vipra and Brahmana were sometimes used as synonyms, but the difference was always there.
Sudra, by this definition was the human remained within the boundaries of instincts that are results of his senses.  This is the stage, when one remains when he was alone – like a child.

When the child grows learning ways of the world and displaying qualities that enable him a sociable person – traits like compassion, helping – he is dwija, or the man who was born tw…

Enforcement Directorate Moves Court for Non-Bailable Warrant Against Lalit Modi

The Enforcement Directorate today moved a court in Mumbai for a non-bailable warrant against former Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi. The move by the Enforcement Directorate or ED comes after Mr Modi failed to respond to a notice served to him on July 3 to appear within two weeks in connection with a case lodged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The court is expected to pass orders on August 3 after hearing arguments. If the court issues a non-bailable warrant, it also paves the way for a Red Corner notice against Mr Modi. However, the court questioned the timing of the ED's move given that the investigation has been going on for years. But the ED argued that they have stumbled upon concrete evidence recently and they want the arrest warrant issued or else there is a possibility of evidence being destroyed. The ED also said that Lalit Modi is sure to tamper with evidence and they need his custody as other ways to get to him have failed. St…

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, from a humble beginning to India's Missile Man and then the President

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He will be known with many epitaphs among them being “Missile Man” and “People’s President”. Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and specialised in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of the space club.
Nitin Wakankar, who was his Officer on Special Duty at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, called Kalam a great person to work with. "He always encouraged all to be innovative, had no ego and was a simple man at heart. His connect with youth was something to see. A man young at heart," he said. Wakankar added that when a boy presented him a pen when calling on him, he did not accept it and instead gave it back to him which showed his immense …

'Goodbyes should be short, really short': APJ Abdul Kalam's advisor documents his last moments

Indians reacted with shock and sadness on learning that former President APJ Abdul Kalam had passed away while giving a speech at IIM-Shillong. Bharat Ratna, President, scientist and author, Kalam had taken on many roles during his lifetime and everyone had something that they remembered fondly about him. But even as Twitter and Facebook was flooded with quotes and other memories, an innocuous post by Srijan Pal Singh was perhaps the most insightful into the last days of the former president. Singh, an adviser to Kalam, was on the stage with him in Shillong when he collapsed and was taken to hospital. In a touching post, he documented his memories and interactions with Kalam over the past few weeks. Here are the highlights What Kalam spoke about on the way to Shillong Singh wrote of what Kalam spoke of during his trip to Shillong and not surprisingly it was all about national issues. Singh's post says that Kalam was very worried about the loss of life in the terror …

Gunmen in Army Uniform Attack Police Station in Punjab

A policeman on duty died after gunmen in army uniform attacked Dinanagar police station in Punjab's Gurdaspur early on July 27 morning. Two other people were injured in the firing. According to reports, the attackers - 3-4 in number - came in a white Maruti car and opened fire at the police station, killing the policeman on guard duty. The gunmen are holed up inside the police station. The exchange of fire is going on and the police have cordoned off the area. Dinanagar borders Pathankot where there are many key Army establishments. Senior police officials have reached the spot. More reports awaited..........

Shashi Tharoor's Oxford address and an India lost in translation

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Shashi Tharoor's tour de force Oxford Union debate, gone viral on social media, demonstrated not only robust argument but also a style and wit showcasing rhetoric at its best. The motion for which he argued the affirmative was, "This house believes Britain owes reparations to her former colonies." Tharoor demolished a host of spurious claims about benevolent, enlightened colonialism and its alleged legacy to colonies. Colonialism was and is, pure and simple, a global scourge - exploitative, brutalising, vicious and inhumane. The aftershocks continue through impoverished nations, dystopian social and political arrangements, inept borders and plundered spoils. Apologies As Tharoor pointed out, the actual size of reparations is not the issue. It's the moral mea culpa - willingness to acknowledge an international atrocity - that will bring a redemptive light into the heart of darkness which drove the colonial project. A contrite "I am sorry" would be a first st…

Dishonouring the Police Uniform

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The other day, the media reported two incidents from Delhi. In one, a foreign woman slapped a policeman after he refused to allow her to enter an auditorium where a book release function was being held. In the other, two traffic policemen were beaten up in Delhi by a group of people for stopping an underage person from driving a car. A traffic policeman lying on the road, with the group beating him and trying to trample over his supine body, presented a very sad and pitiable sight. People Vs Uniformed Cops?The number of incidents, in which police personnel are humiliated, abused and even beaten in public
has been rising day by day. Politicians of course do it with brazenness and impunity. The Delhi Chief Minister does not hesitate in calling the policeman a “thulla.” The Samajwadi party’s supremo warns a senior police officer to mend his ways. “Sudhar jao” is a very mild form of threat. A minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s government had threatened to strip “any SHO of his uniform in…

Teesta Setalvad: Misuse of funds meant for the rehabilitation and welfare of the unfortunate victims of riots in Gujarat in Feb-March 2002

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Seeking permission for arrest and custodial interrogation of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, the Gujarat police has requested the Supreme Court to modify its order on protecting the couple from arrest so that the full extent of their “crimes against charity can be unearthed.” In an additional affidavit filed in response to an anticipatory bail plea moved by Teesta and her husband, the police contended that the couple committed “colossal fraud” and “dishonestly misappropriated” funds meant for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims.
Teesta’s petition is likely to come up for hearing before a three-judge bench on August 10. A two-judge bench had in March referred the bail plea to a larger bench while extending protection from arrest to the couple.
The police have claimed that the money, collected for constructing a memorial for the riots 
victims and for their aid, was spent by the couple for personal expenses ranging from wine and liquor, expensive mobile phones, mo…

Citizens do not have right to privacy: Centre tells SC

The Union government on July 22 told the Supreme Court that citizens do not have fundamental right to privacy under the Constitution, reports said. “Constitution makers did not intend to make right to privacy a fundamental right,”  attorney general Mukul Rohatgi telling the court. The court was hearing a petition against the unique identification project, or Aadhaar scheme, which argued that it violates the privacy rights of individual citizens. The AG said that the question of violation of rights does not arise when it is not there. Rohatgi pointed to the wide divergence of views on privacy in past verdicts, and urged the three-judge bench hearing the case to refer the petitions challenging Aadhaar scheme to a Constitution bench of five judges. He said the law on right to privacy is vague and would require a conclusive consideration by the apex court.

The horrors of IS kids training camp: Behead dolls, shoot from close range, knock each other out

The children had all been shown videos of beheadings and told by their trainers with the Islamic State group that they would perform one someday. First, they had to practice technique. The more than 120 boys were each given a doll and a sword and told, cut off its head. A 14-year-old who was among the boys, all abducted from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, said he couldn't cut it right. He chopped once, twice, three times. "Then they taught me how to hold the sword, and they told me how to hit. They told me it was the head of the infidels," the boy, renamed Yahya by his IS captors, told The Associated Press last week in northern Iraq, where he fled after escaping the IS training camp. When Islamic State extremists overran Yazidi towns in northern Iraq last year, they butchered older men and enslaved many of the women and girls. Dozens of young Yazidi boys like Yahya had a different fate: The IS sought to re-educate them. They forced them to convert t…

Iran Offer Will Help India Bypass Pakistan to Access Central Asia

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Image courtesy: Google map NEW DELHI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked India to invest in infrastructure projects worth $8 billion, including an expanded role in developing a strategic port that will open up access to Central Asia, Iran's envoy to New Delhi said on July 17. The port of Chabahar in southeast Iran is central to India's efforts to circumvent arch-rival Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests. Rouhani suggested the larger role for India during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a summit in Russia days before the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Iran's ambassador to India told Reuters. "The potential between Iran and India is great but we were just facing such a wall of sanctions, wall of American pressure," ambassador Gholamreza Ansari said. Ansari said that with sanctions likely to be lifted soon, it was a &quo…

Militants kill three Egypt soldiers in Sinai attack

Three Egyptian soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a checkpoint by Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula on July 18, the military said in a statement.
The Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt claimed the attack in a statement posted on social media.
The official MENA news agency had earlier reported five soldiers killed, quoting security officials.
The discrepancy could not immediately be explained as journalists have limited access to the restive peninsula where jihadists are waging a deadly insurgency.
The military said it killed 20 militants on July 18 in an assault on a jihadist hide-out, posting video of air strikes on a building and two trucks on its spokesman's Facebook page.
Militants loyal to the Islamic State group have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in attacks since the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which unleashed a deadly crackdown on his Islamists supporters.
On July 16, the militants claimed responsi…

Are We Still a Secular Country?

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What stands out is the glaring fact that today the politicians in India for their own selfish ends give non-genuine twist -to the point of vulgarization- to a solemn intra-religious part-ritual.
It’s up to them if people in position, particularly the non-Muslims without being aware of its true significance indulge in Iftar bonhomie privately.  Now for example, for President Pranab Mukherjee it’s not a matter of his personal faith. If it were, perhaps he could have held Iftar in his private capacity. Else should President’s office be bound to a religious practice? Aren’t We Secular? The nature of treatment of Iftar at Rashtrapati Bhawan is extra-ordinary, in that no other religious event is known to be enjoying such exclusive privilege – there is no parallel. Further, is the act of holding a religious ritual, that too exclusively, by a state functionary, desirable under the secular precepts of the Constitution? Doesn’t flouting this golden rule amount to showing disrespect to the Consti…