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Indian Press (11 Sep 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Trump’s Afghan war: India must stay out- New Age Islam’s selection, 11 September 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

11 September 2017

Unsafe schools: Pradyuman’s murder in Gurugram highlights the absence of basic safety protocols

Times of India

Rajnath has sent right signals in Kashmir

Free Press Journal

Justice is delayed… and remains incomplete

By Bharat Raut

Dissent is not simply a right, it’s fundamentally a civic virtue

Kanishk Tharoor

An Injudicious Wrangle

By Syed Badrul Ahsan

Next Door Nepal: The restless nation

By Yubaraj Ghimire

60 Indian Nationals Being Evacuated From St Martin

Daily Pioneer

Rise up, for resilience is in our soul

Times of India

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/trump’s-afghan-war--india-must-stay-out--new-age-islam’s-selection,-11-september-2017/d/112488

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Trump’s Afghan war: India must stay out

Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Views and opinions on what to do in Afghanistan will invariably be many, and conflicted. It is preferable, therefore, bank on plain, oft-forgotten or ignored facts to visualise the future east of Suez and what magnet landlocked Afghanistan holds for America. And for that matter what that tribal society has meant for a series of empires in the past.

While apparently incomparable, the “two As” (America & Afghanistan) are a study in glaring contrast and visible contradiction. Taken together, they’re poles apart. No common ground on history, geography, culture, economics, religion, philosophy, anthropology, contiguity, tradition… But Afghanistan continues to mesmerise the United States, even after almost 16 years of bloodshed since Sunday, October 7, 2001, when the US launched a war to evict the Taliban from Kabul in the wake of 9/11.

Afghanistan has fatally attracted many others in the past — troops came from the banks of the Thames to the Jhelum; from the Syr Darya and Amu Darya to the Volga! It never stopped. It was invaded by fighters from the Mississipi-Missouri river valley and the Danube, Murray and Darling, and missiles hurled at it from the sea and sky. The Afghan bug-afflicted US President, Donald Trump, now wants to pitch tent in Kabul. He was convinced by the Pentagon, after being shown 1972 pictures of Afghan women wearing miniskirts. Mr Trump was also convinced by his military experts that India’s proximity to Pashtuns makes it a preferred partner to tackle the situation in Pakistan-Afghan border region of Paktika, Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Khost and Kabul.

But the question remains: why do people from distant lands get hooked to landlocked Afghanistan’s 2.90 crore people — comprising 42 per cent  Pashtun, 27 per cent Tajik, nine per cent Hazara, nine per cent Uzbek, four per cent Chahar Aimak, and three per cent Turkmen? With an area of 65,2864 sq km; a population density of 110.8 persons per square mile; 25 per cent urban and 75 per cent rural; sex distribution of 51 per cent male to 49 per cent female; 70 per cent of the population under 29; 99 per cent Muslim; a total fertility rate of almost six children per woman; more than 30 per cent unemployed; 43.1 per cent male and 12.6 per cent female literacy; poor communications; pathetic infrastructure and a terror-breeding terrain of multiple intra- and inter-ethnic conflict, it can easily be called a land of ceaseless violence, endless forced-migration and unending hostility. But it is also inhabited by a warm, hospitable people who welcomes guests, friends and non-interfering outsiders and tourists.

The inner voice of war-ravaged, traditional Afghans is likely to run on these lines: “We are Afghans. We have our own history (turbulent most of the time), culture, tradition… We love to live on our own terms, without external interference, in accordance with our wishes. We are a tribal and traditional, patriarchal, male-dominated society. That is what we are, and that’s the way we have been. Leave us alone. Live and let live. Don’t try fiddle with our system, or try find fault with it. We hate it. Beyond a point, we don’t tolerate it, and don’t hesitate to fight to kill, or get killed, for what we believe. You are welcome to enjoy our hospitality and friendship as a guest. But don’t sermonise, dictate or impose your will on us… We Afghans do know how to respect others. Do reciprocate, and give us respect too, and maintain a healthy distance. We appreciate, and always return, honour and respect. We love our freedom of thought, action, belief.”

Given this, the US President’s decision to deploy more troops and stay on till victory in the “Fifth Afghan War” (First Anglo-Afghan war 1839-1842; Second Anglo-Afghan war 1878-1880; Third Anglo-Afghan war 1919; Fourth Soviet-Afghan war 1979-1989) requires scrutiny.

The United States is indisputably the world’s only superpower today, despite troubling developments at home. With a GDP $16 trillion-plus, over 50 overseas bases, a fleet of 11 aircraft-carriers, a population of 330 million, a mega military-industrial complex and a real-time global intelligence-gathering system from space and sea, the US presence in Afghanistan is like a “Gulliver in the land of little people”. But the question that still needs to be asked, though no answers may be forthcoming, is this: Why is fighting against Afghan tribals such a fatal attraction? Is it owing to location or position? Untapped raw material? To nip terror havens in the bud? To keep track of Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, India and landlocked Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan? Or to experiment new war incendiaries in a remote, barren terrain? To control the drugs of southeast Afghanistan’s Helmand? To teach lessons to the warlords and drug lords of Kabul?

There are no answers from Washington. But the issue has acquired some importance in India as Mr Trump wants New Delhi to play a bigger role in Kabul to help the United States. Does this imply a changed role for India internationally, or is it a restoration of the old hyphenation of Afghanistan-Pakistan-India — as done by previous US Presidents?

The issue may not be as simple as it looks. Landlocked Afghanistan is like a playing field for the Pakistan Army and the ISI – spanning polity to economics, coups to assassinations, drugging foreign soldiers from Moscow and Washington to make profit for its officers. In juxtaposition, it is the bewildering maze of Afghanistan’s eternal “conflict situation”. First, the intra-tribe individual conflict (cousin versus cousin being the most prominent). Second, intra-tribal feud between Durrani Popalzai (to which former President Hamid Karzai belongs) and Durrani Barakzai, which fought for power in the 19th century. Third, the inter-tribal fight between tribes of same ethnic group — Durrani versus Ghilzai. Fourth, inter-tribe fight involving two tribes of different ethnic groups — Hazara versus Pashtun. And fifth, the familiar Afghanistan, as seen even now — the perennial conflict between one or more tribes versus whosoever is in power in Kabul.

How can India really help —beyond the significant role it is already playing in the development of Afghanistan, where its neighbours like Pakistan and increasingly China are operating more stealthily. India can certainly play a bigger part in the Afghan economy, and offer more assistance, but what it must never — ever — do is to send troops to fight on Afghan soil or to militarily support any other power that does so.  Every foreigner who fights Afghans on Afghan soil becomes a permanent enemy of the Afghan people, and history has shown how hostile they can be.

In earlier centuries, they have even ruled over India. Sher Shah, the Lodhis, Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali — all have ruled over and looted India. Both Soviet and American troops, in different decades, were drugged to decimation by cunning Sino-Pakistani shadow operators. That is why India shouldn’t fall into the same trap of direct intervention. There are already too many “live fronts” on our borders; opening up another one is a prelude to disaster.

http://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/110917/trumps-afghan-war-india-must-stay-out.html

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Unsafe schools: Pradyuman’s murder in Gurugram highlights the absence of basic safety protocols

Times of India

The brutal killing of seven-year-old Pradyuman inside the bathroom of Ryan International School in Gurugram last Friday has led to widespread protests, against gross negligence by school authorities. Police have arrested bus conductor Ashok Kumar who confessed to trying to molest the student and then stabbing him. Haryana’s education minister Ram Bilas Sharma has said the school could lose its No Objection Certificate if the departmental probe finds it guilty of negligence. This is a wake-up call for all governments to implement uniform security norms, especially where school managements remain indifferent towards student safety.

Consider the many security breaches reported from the Gurugram school. No housekeeping staff was assigned to assist young children in the bathrooms. Non-teaching staff was allowed in these bathrooms, leaving children at the mercy of sexual predators. And a killer had no difficulty entering the school premises with a knife. A Delhi branch of this school made headlines last year when a six-year-old student drowned in its water tank. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also found that the school did not undertake police-verification of its staff. Unfortunately such irregularity is all too common at schools across the country.

There is also a misconception that only girl children are unsafe in ill-secured schools. Indeed reports of sexual abuse of girl students have been coming regularly from cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. But the Gurguram case has chillingly highlighted that the boy child is also in crying need of school security protocols. Haryana government must now ensure fair and speedy probe as well as punishment for all those responsible for Pradyuman’s murder. But all governments need to learn lessons from it, and ensure students are safe in schools.

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/unsafe-schools-pradyumans-murder-in-gurugram-highlights-the-absence-of-basic-safety-protocols/

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Rajnath has sent right signals in Kashmir

Free Press Journal

Sep 11, 2017

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir at a time when militant attacks in the State are in full cry and hardline Hurriyat leaders are under close watch for receiving terror funding is doubtlessly an act of courage. That the Home Minister has even gone to the interior in South Kashmir sends out a message that the government in New Delhi is prepared to stick out in the face of sinister forces that are out to disturb peace.

That Rajnath Singh visited Anantnag on Sunday and paid respects to a policeman who was martyred in a terror attack in the south Kashmir town the previous day should serve to reassure the Kashmiris that they have not been abandoned to the wolves. His address to personnel from the J & K police at the Anantnag police lines where he said that “it is unfortunate that people still don’t understand the value of your (security forces’) martyrdom.

It’s not ordinary but supreme sacrifice” was apt and morale-boosting. There is no mistaking the fact that South Kashmir, where Anantnag is located, has seen more than 100 home grown terrorists in the past one year and has become the most terror attack prone area in recent times.

On June 16 last, six police personnel, including SHO Feroz Ahmad, were killed in an attack in Achabal area. The slain SHO had requisitioned a bullet-proof vehicle in view of the danger posed by militants in south Kashmir, but was not provided one. During his visit, Rajnath Singh announced that the Centre has allocated funds for the purchase of bullet-proof vehicles for Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel.

The Home Minister has been meeting a cross section of community leaders and it is unfortunate that instead of lauding his initiative National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah has mocked at his effort and already proclaimed that his visit will serve no purpose. Earlier, Farooq had criticized the arrest/detention of Hurriyat leaders which was indeed overdue.

There is no getting away from a carrot and stick policy and traitors like the Hurriyat leaders need to be dealt with sternly and strongly to send out a clear message that the Indian government would not tolerate the nefarious activities of those who are playing into the hands of subversives and their henchmen.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/rajnath-has-sent-right-signals-in-kashmir/1134989

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Justice is delayed… and remains incomplete

By Bharat Raut

Sep 11, 2017 07:21 am

Justice delayed is justice denied, it is said. In case of the most infamous Mumbai Serial Bomb Blasts Case of 1993, the justice is not only delayed but it still remains incomplete as two main accused, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon are still at large and till the time those main accused of the worst  atrocity that was perpetuated on Mumbai are booked and brought to justice the process would remain incomplete.

Almost a quarter of a century and an execution (of Yakub Memon in 2015) later, it is the noose again for two convicted in the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. A special judge presiding over the second trial in the case on Thursday pronounced death by hanging for Taher Merchant (55) and Feroz Khan (47), both of whom were absconding till 2010, for having conspired to cause the RDX blasts that killed 257 and injured 713. The court sentenced five of the seven accused on trial (one was acquitted in June and one died after conviction). Extradited gangster Abu Salem (48) and Karimullah Khan (55) were spared the noose-Salem by virtue of a Lisbon court order saying he could not be given death and Khan by Tada court judge G A Sanap. The fifth convict, Riyaz Siddiqui (67), guilty of the lesser charge of abetment, was handed a 10-year sentence. He has already been in jail for 11years since his arrest in 2006.

With this one of the chapters of the long-drawn episode of terrorism seem to have come to an end. The blasts, which turned a Friday afternoon into a tragic weekend, had targeted prominent landmarks including the Air India building and Bombay Stock Exchange. The bombs were assembled in the garage at prime absconding accused Tiger Memon’s Mahim house and packed into cars and scooters, which were then parked at various spots by planters. The Supreme Court in 2013 commuted the death sentence given to 10 of the planters, calling them “bows“ and the blast conspirators “the archers“.

The long and most eagerly awaited judgement took place in the TADA Court on Thursday. The court first called out Karimullah Khan. His relief was palpable when he heard “life imprisonment” and a fine of a few Lakhs. Salem was next and then Siddiqui. The two big punishments were pronounced last. Taher Merchant and Feroz Khan were given the death sentence for having conspired to cause the co-ordinated 1993 Mumbai blasts, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were given life terms. Riyaz Siddiqui got a 10-year sentence. CBI special counsel Deepak Salvi had sought death for four, including Karimullah Khan and Mustafa Dossa, brother of prime absconding accused Mohammed Dossa, held guilty of plotting the blasts. But Dossa died in custody on June 28 before the sentencing and the trial against him stood abated.

The Judge was very categorical about the accused’s knowledge of their crime, the judgment said, “RDX cannot be used as a powder to kill mosquitoes and flies, and it cannot be assumed that AK-56 rifles were being distributed in schools in Mumbai as toys. The accused had knowledge about the offence.” This observation demolished the defense argument that the accused were not fully aware of the seriousness of using RDX and highly modernized lethal weapons; those were used in the crime.

The moot question that has been raised before and after the trial was that of punishment awarded to Abu Salem. The conspiracy charge against Salem could have attracted the maximum punishment but for the Portugal court order. Salem has argued he cannot be jailed for more than 25 years, as assured by Indian government. Many arguments came forth in this regard. Yes, Salem surrendered to the Indian Police in Lisbon, Portugal.  Though the crimes behind his name did attract such sections of Indian Penal Code, those deserve punishment of hanging, However, the Public Prosecutor who fought the case on behalf of the Government, had to go soft on Salem and plead sentence of only 25 years, as that was one of the major terms of the understanding that had reached with the Portuguese Government. Salem must be grateful to his God and the Portuguese Constitution that does not permit death Sentence.

What many legal and political luminaries are asking now is has the then Government failed in its negotiations with the Portuguese Government? Another more relevant question is, are we lowering the prestige of Indian Sovereignty to save the life of a criminal? While respecting the articles of Portuguese Constitution, are we not disregarding the Judicial System of India that is considered in highest regard all over the world?

Portuguese terms

And even after considering for the sake of argument that India was compelled to accept terms put by Portugal ten years ago, as bringing Salem back to India was then the top priority, why Indian diplomacy could not alter the terms of extradition later? Particularly when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received rousing welcome in Lisbon? Was it just an oversight? or is it that the Indian government never wanted Salem to hang? Anyway, now that Salem has already spent over ten years in jail since he was arrested, he would be serving the jail term for the next 15 years. Then he will be again a free citizen.

The question of the top-most international criminal Dawood Ibrahim and his close ally Tiger Memon is still haunting the Indian Police and other Security Forces. a couple of times, red corner notices have been issued against them by Interpol as both of them are wanted by many nations for various crimes. However, they still remain out of the clutches of the law as the Pakistani Government has provided them shelter; it is an open secret now. Now the least the Indian Government can and should do is to get hold of Dawood and Tiger by using any means and force. Remember, the US Forces had tracked down Al Qaeda Leader Osama Bin Laden from his hide-out in a remote village in interior Pakistan and finished him without even the knowledge of the local government. If USA can do it from 25 thousand km distance, surely Indian forces can do it from a stone throw distance.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/bharat-kumar-raut-justice-is-delayed-and-remains-incomplete/1134970

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Dissent is not simply a right, it’s fundamentally a civic virtue

Kanishk Tharoor

Journalists, activists, scholars, students and protesters shouldn’t have to fear being physically attacked or killed for their views

Updated: Sep 10, 2017 18:56 IST

Ten years ago, a 17-year-old student called Ogun Samast walked up to journalist Hrant Dink outside the offices of his newspaper in Istanbul. Samast shot Dink in the back of the head three times. Dink was a member of Turkey’s small but resilient Armenian community, and he had been outspoken about the country’s failure to acknowledge the genocide of Armenians during World War I. His writing and activism had landed him in legal hot water. When he was killed, he was on trial for violating an article of the Turkish penal code, the supposed crime of “denigrating Turkishness”.

I recall the furore and tragedy surrounding Dink’s death quite vividly because he was also a contributor to (and friend of) the London-based international affairs magazine where I was working. The furniture of our little office had to be moved aside for a procession of TV crews to record our reactions to his death. Coming just months after the murder in Russia of Anna Politkovskaya — a journalist, human rights activist, and trenchant critic of Vladimir Putin — Dink’s assassination was strongly felt.

My editors were outraged that despite receiving waves of death threats, Dink had had not been extended the necessary protection. (In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights would rule that Turkey failed to guard Dink even though the government knew of plots against him.) The crime of his killing belonged not just to the murderer (a young far-Right ultra-nationalist), but to a society that condoned the intimidation of journalists and critics, the bullying and prosecution of dissent.

Thousands took the streets of Istanbul afterwards with placards proclaiming, ‘We are Hrant Dink’. I remember being moved by that display, and chilled by its corollary. In Trabzon, the Black Sea town where Samast came from, fans of the local football team chanted the killer’s name: “We are Ogun Samast.”

The killing of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru reminded me in a number of ways of Dink’s death. Both Lankesh and Dink voiced unpopular opinions. Both ran small, fairly marginal publications whose impact outweighed their size. Both saw it as their mission to ruffle the feathers of the status quo. For their pains, both had legal proceedings brought against them. And though many political parties and sectors of civil society condemned their killings, both their deaths were greeted in some quarters with an awful glee.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has correctly denounced the messages circulating among the ‘digital Right’ — the Internet mob of Hindu nationalists — celebrating Lankesh’s killing. This rebuke is, of course, the bare minimum of decency we should expect from our leaders. Journalists, activists, scholars, students and protesters shouldn’t have to fear being physically attacked or killed for their views. Their dissent is not simply a right; it is fundamentally a civic virtue.

In death, Dink and Lankesh achieved a tragic global fame that they didn’t have in life. But treating them like ‘martyrs’ doesn’t really help anybody. Repression works. Turkey and India were robbed of their writing, their attacks on conventional wisdom. Killings of journalists and dissidents have a terrible chilling effect on a society. Months after Dink was murdered, I visited Istanbul. I spent an afternoon with a grizzled Turkish writer allied to Dink. Throughout our meeting in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, he looked over his shoulder, checking to see if the bodyguard he now felt obliged to keep was still in position. He was presciently gloomy about the future of free speech in Turkey. At the time, he preferred the Centre-Right government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the nationalist far-Right. In recent years, however, Erdogan has cracked down hard against the press, shuttering publications and arresting reporters. Turkey is now one of the most difficult places to be a journalist and a dissident.

Dink was accused of “denigrating Turkishness” for speaking out against the Turkish State. Dissenters in India increasingly find themselves labelled “anti-national”, beyond the pale of not just our attention or respect, but our tolerance. That language ostracises and dehumanises, and it fosters the climate of hate that leads to these killings.

Dissenters may harbour extremely critical views of the State and the nation. The powers-that-be may see them not only as intellectual opponents, but as moral, existential enemies. But when you shut down their speech with violence, you only confirm your own intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/dissent-is-not-simply-a-right-it-s-fundamentally-a-civic-virtue/story-zPAV2iF78GOtCaf2o41RyK.html

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An Injudicious Wrangle

By Syed Badrul Ahsan

Published:September 11, 2017

The manner in which the ruling Awami League and its supporters in Bangladesh have pounced on the Chief Justice (CJ), Surendra Kumar Sinha, clearly militates against the essence of democracy or even a fledgeling democracy. The conflict which has pitted the ruling party against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has its origins in the judgment on the 16th amendment to the constitution. The amendment, which would empower members of parliament to impeach judges of the high court and supreme court, was struck down, first by the former and then by the latter.

In the course of announcing the judgment, following hearings in the appellate division of the high court, Justice Sinha made certain observations in relation to the history of the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. He paid full tribute to the leadership of the country’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in the movement for freedom, noting that an entire nation took part in the struggle. Rather than being the contribution of a single individual, stated the Chief Justice, it was a collective experience for Bangladesh.

The CJ’s observations, taken out of context, swiftly landed him in troubled waters. The ruling circles were incensed that he had undermined and belittled, in their view, the contributions of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the creation of Bangladesh. Late last month, it was the turn of a former judge of the appellate division, none too well-disposed towards the chief justice, to jump into the fray. Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury, who retired last year and has had a public spat with Justice Sinha on the issue of delivery of judgments in time, has launched a broadside against Sinha. He joins that disturbingly growing band of people who have seemingly decided that the chief justice has committed a grievous wrong and must now pay the price.

In his assault on the CJ, Justice Chowdhury has questioned whether Justice Sinha himself wrote, in the space of 25 days, all 400 pages of the observations relating to the appellate division’s verdict on the 16th amendment. He thinks it is humanly impossible for an individual to write that long a manuscript in that brief a period.

The point here is not that Justice Sinha finished writing those pages in 25 days. It is why Justice Chowdhury has now thought it necessary to raise his question. One is only too aware of the public position he took in his last skirmish with the CJ, a position he ought not to have taken. Now that he has found a new reason to launch a verbal assault on Justice Sinha, there is a strong whiff of prejudice. The former judge makes things worse when he accuses the CJ of having had his observations written by Pakistan’s infamous ISI.

The CJ, Chowdhury has warned, will have to leave the country if he does not recognise Mujib’s leadership in Bangladesh’s independence movement. And now, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury has waded into the issue. She has asked the CJ to leave the country or be treated for mental illness. In all these weeks, Sinha has had arrows flying at him from all directions. He is, say his detractors, guilty of undermining the historical role of the Father of the Nation.

Justice Chowdhury has warned Justice Sinha that the latter will not only have to resign but also be compelled to leave the country in light of his legal observations. Minister Matia Chowdhury has echoed him.

It is always nerve-wracking for citizens to have to confront the spectacle of the executive and judicial branches of government trading fisticuffs. In these past few days, ministers have gone after the chief justice over his observations. All of this has created a bad precedent: In the future, functionaries of governments to come might well take recourse to similar moves, leading to a further fraying of the fabric of governance.

Former justices and former chief justices do not, as part of a time-honoured tradition, make public their views on the work or judicial decisions of their successors. That tradition has now been severely damaged. The systematic way in which CJ Sinha is being berated by individuals in the ruling dispensation does not bode well for Bangladesh.

It is a sad situation, made grim by the unhealthy and growing feeling that reason has been giving way to intimidation, that values are getting mauled in the brickbats flying around the person and office of the Chief Justice of Bangladesh’s Supreme Court.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/sheikh-mujibur-rehman-sheikh-hasina-surendra-kumar-sinha-bangladesh-chief-justice-awami-league-an-injudicious-wrangle-4837607/

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Next Door Nepal: The restless nation

By Yubaraj Ghimire

Last week, an enthusiastic minister from the CPN-Maoist Centre led a team of officials from the Ministry of Civil Supplies and sealed the showrooms of four branded companies on Durbar Marg in Kathmandu. He accused them of selling the goods at exorbitantly high prices. The minister’s team, curiously, instructed the proprietors to “come to the Civil Supplies Ministry with relevant documents”. Within 48 hours, the traders revolted against the “raids” with a protest shutdown. Ministers engaging in such “populist” acts is not a new thing in Nepal, but public fury against corruption by the political class is now taking an organised form as parties and successive governments are seen as promoters and beneficiaries.

Nepal, arguably, has a very powerful anti-corruption body, the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Authority (CIAA), but its autonomy was cramped by the eight political parties that came to power in April 2006. The G.P. Koirala ministry, which took office after the tumultuous political changes that swept the country, decided that no decision taken by the cabinet, irrespective of whether it is arbitrary, illegal or facilitating corruption, could be investigated by the CIAA. Thus, the CIAA’s task was reduced to investigating and framing cases against petty government officials. Moreover, as it has happened with all the constitutional bodies, the CIAA chief and other commissioners, are now appointed by the big political parties on a party-quota basis, compromising the fairness and impartiality expected of the institution.

But the open corruption, the prolonged transition to a democratic republic, the prevailing uncertainty and the absence of accountability in governance seem to be testing the patience of the people. On Wednesday, Nepal’s major media houses declared that they would be adopting a zero tolerance policy towards corruption henceforth. The Nepal Media Society, a formal body of six big electronic and print media groups, accused political parties of failing to speak out and act against organised and open corruption in the country.

While the ministers as members of the cabinet enjoy total immunity from being investigated for corruption charges, the judiciary, especially the apex court, is guilty of disposing many cases in a questionable manner in the recent past. The appointment of Khilraj Regmi, the sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court, as prime minister of a four-party coalition government in early 2012, brought the judiciary and the political parties together in sharing the benefits of office. Proximity between political parties and the Supreme Court and the recruitment of judges on “political quota” has since become a regular practice. How fair can the Supreme Court be in judging corruption cases, especially those involving the people in power and politics? The current mass fury against corruption is the cumulative outcome of overpoliticisation of all the instruments of the state including the judiciary, and their perceived image among the public of being “biased” and “unfair”.

The media and civil society are no less controversial. Both have maintained dual standards on issues of corruption and human rights violation by the state, especially in the post-2006 phase when they turned activists for political change. Their partnership with international donors on internal political issues, the reluctance to criticise political parties when the latter bypass due process, and the silent endorsement of the decision to appoint the CJ as prime minister have cost them their credibility. The decision to hold political parties accountable for acts of corruption 11 years after the slide started is seen more as a response to a public outcry, which targeted the media as well, and not as an act of collective self-introspection.

The fact is political parties, those in the government and the opposition, are perceived by the public as a part of the oligarchy that wants to pursue its self-interest instead of promoting constitutional norms and a culture of accountability. However, the belated public display of outrage by the media may influence the international opinion to rethink the blind support to key political actors and their radical agenda.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/cpm-maoist-girija-prasad-koirala-kathmandu-showroom-sealed-ciaa-4837587/

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60 Indian Nationals Being Evacuated From St Martin

Daily Pioneer

Monday, 11 September 2017

About 60 Indian nationals are being evacuated from the vacation island of St Martin in the Caribbean, which has been devastated by Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful storm that wreaked havoc in the region. Most of the Indian nationals have a transit visa, a temporary short period visa, to the US. For those who do not have a transit visa, Indian Embassy here is working with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security for getting them one, so that they can take the first available flight to the US and then travel back home.

The State Department yesterday said it has evacuated some 1,200 of US citizens from the Caribbean island St Martin. An estimated 5,000 Americans are still trapped on this small island that is jointly administered by France and the Netherlands. More than 1,100 police, military officials and others were deployed to St Martin and the nearby French Caribbean territory of St Barts, where they used helicopters to identify the cars of people looting stores and homes.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/world/60-indian-nationals-being-evacuated-from-st-martin.html

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Rise up, for resilience is in our soul

Times of India

September 11, 2017, 2:00 AM IST

George Patton Jr said, “I don’t measure man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces back when he hits the bottom.” Emotional and physical setbacks often overwhelm us. Stages of life are soaked with such experiences. As a child, we were frustrated by not getting things that we wanted dearly. In youth we may have been bullied and rejected. And so the story goes on in our working and home lives, as we grow older.

Yet, each time, we manage to recover, after a few gaps of silent suffering. During these gaps we intentionally or unintentionally, disconnect and withdraw ourselves from outward happenings, silently submitting and somehow connecting with something deeper and mysterious that overtakes us, and finally gathering the strength to bounce back. This mysterious power is what drove us to rise above all challenges and carry on with life to the best of our abilities.

This power is fundamental to the universe. Evolution, for example, is inherently driven by an invisible force that is highly creative and intelligent. Species evolve, adapt and survive because of this force. The entire universe is self-evolving because of this. Scientists now postulate that, at deeper levels, the universe is non-local and discontinuous – that is, it’s rapidly pulsating with an on-and-off movement.

Due to enormous speed, “on” phase appears linear and continuous from where we derive and associate our everyday experiences. However, we are unable to grasp the non-locality or discontinuity from where the matter and energy get projected. The invisible off-phase is the unified field of possibilities and potential, wherein resides the impulse of creation. This impulse is the vibrating life-force. An intelligent, creative and dynamic force that manifests, sustains, renews, harmonises and maintains balance and order in the cosmos. Since life-force is universal, it bequeaths resilience to everything that exists in nature. Thus, withstanding all mishaps, nature continues to evolve.

Mind is an extension of this deeper non-local reality and profoundly influences our actions. Originally it’s pure, unconditioned and resilient. However, the mind gradually loses its resilience to acquired knowledge and conditioning and becomes finite and localised. Consequently, we get anchored and habituated to our own comfort zones, secured positions, stability, conformities, familiar situations, relationships and patterns of behaviour. We even adapt to our inner negativities and comfortably brood over the past, blame people and situations for our miseries and failures. On facing new situations, changes or a challenge we perceive them as threats to ourselves. Only a clear, supple mind, free from rigid thoughts, beliefs and fears, is capable of resilience and is a powerful source of imagination and creativity.

To restore resilience of mind, take breaks and retreat into silence with complete faith, and surrender in the life-force and simultaneously, maintain an attitude of patience, perseverance, tolerance and optimism.

These traits serve as powerful enablers in developing inner strength, will and clarity that prevent negativity from overpowering us. Practising them mindfully helps in maintaining a mind-body sync and as we experience inner peace the mind is able to regain its original purity. Once this is attained, the mind inevitably connects with the universal life-force and becomes resilient enough to pick new clues and signals and we bounce back. “Defeat is in our mind; resilience is in our soul.”

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/rise-up-for-resilience-is-in-our-soul/

URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/trump’s-afghan-war--india-must-stay-out--new-age-islam’s-selection,-11-september-2017/d/112488




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