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Archives for : February2018

Holi – Street Sexual Harassment #buramanenge #Vaw

 

Tyohaar nahi yeh hinsa hai, rape culture ka hissa hai! 
Khel nahi yeh hinsa hai, pittrisatta ka jalsa hai! 
Hollika dahan nahi sahenge, tumhari hollika nahi banenge!

NO WOMEN ON STREETS, NO HARASSMENT: SECURITY AS SELF-POLICING

It’s the same time of the year, when women are suggested to stay indoors. Sometimes, this friendly suggestion and concern takes shape of the law. The lines between the ‘parental advice’ and corporeal control gets blurred very quickly when women across the city are physically stopped from stepping out of their houses, hostels and rented accommodations. There lies an attempt to ‘solve’ the ‘problem’ of tackling with ‘perverts’ on the streets, through womens’ self erasure from the streets- “No women on the streets, no street harassment”- seems to be the logic at work.

On the other hand, when women take the charge of reporting incidents of harassment, expecting that the law enforcement bodies will not perpetuate rape culture by doubting the credibility of their narrative. They are often encountered with questions seeking a ‘reason’ to be seen out in the streets despite being aware of their own precarity in public spaces. The burden to ‘protect oneself’ is displaced on the woman. They are often met with similar arguments of being given unsolicited advice of ‘keeping indoors, till the mischief dies down. Security after all is also a matter of self-policing.’

APPROPRIATING WOMEN’S VOICES OF ANGER AND RESISTANCE FOR INCREASING SECURITISATION AND SURVEILLANCE

Sometimes, some instances of harassment are taken well by the police, the state and the media, alike. Call it a success of ‘gender sensitisation’ or what have you. The framing effect of rhetoric too has the power to shape our worldview, certain narratives are privileged over others. Certain frames of reporting are privileged over others and are related to one another dialogically: They build on one another by transposing old rhetorical frames into new contexts. the transposing of ‘womens’ empowerment’ onto the already existing patriarchal frameworks. It is entirely possible to be talking about women in a very regimented, statist way such that it fundamentally fails to rupture the patriarchal logic underpinning ‘womens’ empowerment’ discourse even as it is able to lend space to voice the experiences of women, where the limits of the space are already pre-determined.

It’s still important to ask oneself, who are these women that are exceptions to the norm of easy dismissals? Why do some women get advised to go home and others get heard? This is not coincidental. The women of LSR with their collective strength and support were able to decide on taking the matter before the police, which not many women have the ‘luxury’ to afford in a deeply stratified University space- which thrives on exclusionary and exclusive kinship and friendships. The ‘liberal’ women of LSR are heard because they wield the social power of stirring the system from within. The news channels, of course, are willing to carry a piece on harassment from a ‘top’ Delhi college because it benefits their image of being proactive in taking up the ’cause of women.’

There is nothing more dismaying than knowing that it took the women of LSR much courage and thought to collectivise and decide how to tread the path of reporting sexual harassment and yet, it is their own word which will be used to fuel an argument in favour of heightened securitisation of campuses. Not paying heed to the repercussions of such a measure. The last time that there was an incident of a momo vendor being reported for masturbating outside the LSR gates, the police acted in a way to ‘cleanse’ the space by physically removing all momo vendors and ‘drivers.’ Clearly the men who were spotted masturbating in their SUVs zipped passed, without the danger of getting ‘gentrified.’

So despite the fight being put by these women, who refused to be silenced by an overwhelming imposition of silence perpetuated by rape culture, they again find themselves stuck in a double bind.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS STRUCTURAL, NOT AN ‘ABERRATION’ OR ‘PERVERSION’ MARKED ON WORKING CLASS LIVES

While its necessary to shout aloud against a normalised culture of sexual harassment, it is also incredibly important to refuse to accept that sexual harrassment is isolated from the systemic inequalities that determine it. To look at incidents as isolated ‘criminal’ activities, relegates them to being a socio-cultural ‘deficit in civilising’ and/or a ‘gap in modernisation’ as opposed to being structural problem.

Women find themselves being stuck in yet another double bind. On the one hand, the cost of silence is too high and they will not unsee the systemic rape culture as the norm. On the other hand, there is nothing more disturbing than knowing that one’s testimony will be used to strengthen the state’s security apparatus in the University. The burden of silence and speech is to be carried by women while articulating a politics of feminist resistance, the slippages can be many. More importantly, silence and speech aren’t mutually exclusive from one another. They aren’t two ‘ways’ of responding to the same situation. Rather, neither silence, nor speech in and by itself can ‘guarantee’ resolution. In fact, it will be an ongoing negotiating, which carries within the dialogue a world of multiple possibilities.

Out of the many possibilities, there are two prominent tendencies which can be traced when the police is approached by women complainants on accotunt of sexual harassment. The following ways in which, police resorts to taking ‘action.’ One, by dismissal and by offering casually sexist sermons to women on how to live a ‘protected’ life. Two, by seeing ‘certain men’ as the ‘problem,’ and seeking to weed out the ‘problem’ through harsher security.

In the media too, there operates a particular gaze that always already imagines the ‘problem’ as the working class person, those occupying and inhabiting the ‘street.’ Even if the imagination is broadened to include the ‘educated’ middle and upper class as perpetrators of violence and harassment, there is little that the law enforcing body can do when the class difference between the police personnel and the perpetrator is so visibly stark. The only people the police is able to police is foreclosed by the social categories of class, caste, etc.

SECURITISATION, POLICING AND SURVEILLANCE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO WOMEN’S ‘SAFETY’ BUT A MECHANISM OF CONTROL AND MARGINALISATION

That perverts and criminals are an anomaly to the otherwise happy world is a rather convenient cop out of addressing the structural-cultural inequalities.Take a look at what is perceived as an effective way of ‘eliminating perverts,’ and by association, solving the ‘nuisance of street harassment:’

A report reads, “In order to avoid such incidences during Holi, the LSR Student Union has formally requested the authorities to increase the police patrolling around the college campus areas in order to safeguard the girls studying in the college. The matter of perverts throwing sperm balloons at girl students was highlighted after the official Facebook page of the LSR student Union stated that they have requested police officers and college Principal to increase the security inside and outside the LSR college campus.”

The media too in its reporting resorts to sensationalising the ‘problem’ demanding immediate ‘action.’ Ready to jump in with their suggestion of using violence against women as a legitimate excuse to increase secrutisation in institutions of higher education. Not giving a thought to how the regularisation and policing actually manifests in the everyday lives and workings. That how surveillance cannot undo the power relations that already exist in social relations but can only sharpen it by being another tool to ‘manage’ those that are already marginalised.

Similar to how Trump administration is responding to the ‘problem’ of school shooting by not showing willingness to rethink the NRA and take action against the arms industry- rather by suggesting to equip class teachers with guns to offload against students, who are ‘mentally sick.’ No matter the bigotry, be systematically engendered by the same President and his party on an everyday basis. Its a rather convenient way to turn blind to the dynamics of race, color, class that are work sociologically and socially- handing over arms to the teachers without impairing the arms industry and without taking into account how many of those teachers belong to the majoritarian communities.

The internal logic of security works in a way that it necessitates the need for securitisation. Leaving women with the option of either vigilantism or policing. Which is what is being suggested in this news piece. The dominant discourse ends up getting reified even as it gets resisted. The State is more than happy to visibly tighten security and spread the arms of the ever expanding and already invisible deep state at the back of an (en)gendered insecurity.

One must take action involving the police, law, etc. Not denying the need to engage with the bodies that feminist discourses seek to challenge and their subversive capacities but not without also articulating the problems with the blind dependence on this ‘surveillance/ police state as the answer’ approach. Even as the state and its bodies, paradoxically and severely distorts important ethical and emancipatory impulses of feminism.

Jhuti suraksha ka khol de pol, bol saheli halla bol
Chalo mahilayon ki svatantrata keh aur, bol saheli halla bol!

saare pinjra to todenge, itithas ki dhara modenge

#pinjratod  #holi  #buramanenge

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The Ghoulish Nightmare that is  #Aadhaar – Citizen’s harrowing experience

by-Arathi Manay Yajaman

It is 4:15 a.m. and this is the scene at the gates of the Samta Nagar Post Office in Kandivali East, Mumbai. Men (mostly) just hanging around on the street, doing pretty much nothing. Chances are, they’ve done this before, but not early enough… the reason for this repeat visit.

As I approach the group, Hukam Singh greets me. We were among the unlucky ones, not in the “first 20” of the previous morning. “Madam ka naam lick do bhai… athara” (write madam’s name brother… eighteen), said one. Yeah! I was in the first 20.

This is probably the scene at every post office and place authorised to do Aadhaar enrollment and/or updates in Mumbai. 20 is the key number… this is the maximum number of tokens issued by this post office for Aadhaar, on weekdays. It is 15 on Saturdays.

The informal queue system is a citizen-devised initiative, from which the post office officials distance themselves. The first one who reaches, starts the list for the day. He writes his name and subsequently, people who come add their names to the list. The list could start at any time… today’s began at 11:30 p.m. yesterday. After missing out on two days, this boy Sawant, decided he might as well sleep at the gates to be sure of a token.

An auto rickshaw stops and as a man alights, another jumps off the pillion seat of a motorbike. “Till which number?”, they both ask. 18. “So, you’re 19 and I’m 20! Tokens are done for the day.”

“20 names on the list?” It was a young lady who needed to update her mobile number linked to her Aadhaar. I’d met her the previous day. She gets off the taxi, contemplates for a few seconds. “Tomorrow I’ll come at 3.”, and she gets back into the taxi that drives off.

It is now past 4:30 a.m. and an elderly lady arrives in a car driven by her son-in-law. It doesn’t take her long to find out she is too late… again! “I’ve done this four times already, and each time I’ve been coming earlier and earlier.” Number 20 then reveals that three more people from his family need to get their Aadhaars, so instead of spending his time twice, he would return the next day, sufficiently early to ensure four places. So old aunty gets promoted to 20. “Aunty, you don’t wait, you go home and come back before the post office opens. We will keep your place.”, the men tell her. “Madam, you also go home and come back later.”, they tell me. But I decide to stay.

The gates of the post office open at 6:30, and those of us around shift ourselves from the road to inside the compound. “It is cold here… when I came at 3:00 I was fine, but now I am feeling cold.”, says Yadav, a cook at a roadside eatery. Yadav’s finger prints are not getting recognised, so he has to get his biometrics redone. “My hands get hot when cooking… and burnt sometimes… the lines on my hands keep vanishing.”

As the sun rises, the postal truck roars in and reverses into the compound. The post lady is seen doing a count of the huge letter bags and parcels that will find their way over this massive country.

Pappu and his little daughter walk in. She doesn’t have an Aadhaar and needs to get admitted into school. He is told that it is pointless to wait as there are more than 20 names already on the list. He looks disappointed and comes to me for advice. I tell him to write his daughter’s name and explain that if anyone in the list drops out, they have a chance to be in the 20. “There are only 20 tokens. Come by 3 and you will get one”, someone tells him. “But the office opens at 8. I thought I was early!”

A postman who is just entering the place hears the conversation. “Today we are not going to give tokens or look at any list. Yesterday you know there was trouble. Just stand in a line and the first 20 of you will be attended to one by one.”

Yes, the previous day there was trouble. There were two lists, so there was a dispute about which was the real list. It was alleged that a couple of the boys had started one list at 1:00 a.m. and after a few names were on it, they went home, slept for a while and returned at 6:00. So one of the men went to the police station and brought the head constable to get the final list settled.

It is nearing 7:00 a.m. The place starts getting crowded. People who went away for walks, or to have tea, return to claim their places in the line. We see proxies being replaced by the actual Aadhaar service seekers. Yes, this one man was geting paid to stand in for someone who was too lazy to come so early. Jaggi Singh leaves as his wife reaches after her night shift. “Lucky that I had day shift and she had night shift. I could come to stand for her. Once her mobile number is updated, it is easy to do Aadhaar changes online.”

The old lady who was graciously allowed to go back home comes back for her 20th place. There are many fresh faces.

People are looking at their mobiles. Just a few minutes to go. Most of the fresh faces are unaware that the others have already spent several hours

“Stand in line.” Hussain takes a head count. He lost his Aadhaar card with his wallet and cannot retrieve it online. Now that there is going to be no token system, he hopes he can keep his spot in the first 20.

At 8:00, the doors of the post office are opened. One of the staff appears with 20 paper tokens in hand. Each one is numbered and carelessly stamped with post office rubber and date. He takes the list that Sawant has maintained, and calls out the names one by one. “Ah. So they are going by the list! My name is not on the list,” says a lady in sun glasses. “Anyway you hadn’t a chance. You came just half an hour ago,” someone tells her.

18. I have the token in my hand! Today my Aadhaar update will be done! Token 9 is still in the postal staff’s hand. It seems the person who had put his name down didn’t return, so he gave it to the lady who was standing first at the door, though her name was not on the list. Lucky thing!

Pappu is not so lucky. He and his daughter will have to come another day.

“What is the meaning of this list?” an elderly man asks. “Is it official or what? Anyone can make a list.”

“Ok. From tomorrow, don’t make a list,” he tells all of us in the line. But what’s the point. We aren’t the ones who will be there tomorrow. And coming to think of it, this list, to an extent, ensures that first come is first served. “You try to run to the door at 8:00 a.m. You won’t have a chance against the young guys,” someone tells the elderly man.

Why are there only 20 tokens? “There is only one lady staff who has been trained in Aadhaar. And we have just one set of biometrics equipment. And where is the space?” 20 tokens, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on weekdays (15 tokens, till 12 noon on Saturdays). This is all the post office is handling.

A branch of HDFC Bank is also doing Aadhaar enrollments and updation. “I got an appointment for 15th May,” says Mr Pawar. “Can’t wait for seven weeks, so I came here to see.” It is clear that HDFC Bank is more organised than the post office. It is following an official queue system of sorts… something like a much-in-demand doctor with a long patient list.

At number 18, 12:30 p.m. is when I walk out of the post office, with the Aadhaar update acknowledgement in hand. 4 hours to get the token, 4 hours awaiting my turn. A full 8-hour work-day! For working people, it is a day’s leave, and for daily wage workers… well, no wages for the day. By 1:00 the lady at the Aadhaar counter will finish with the two tokens after me, and wind up for the day.

Of course, I have had enough time to have a good breakfast at Shaktivel Idliwala and read the newspaper cover to cover. Fill up Aadhaar forms for a couple of women who do not know English. Assist an old man to withdraw his pension from his post office savings account. Know more about Hussain’s family than I know about the family next door. Discover that scanning the QR code of the Aadhaar card reveals all the individual’s personal information. Find out that Dubai is a better place to work in than India… the salary compensates for the work pressure. My new Aadhaar friends!

Most importantly, guide about a hundred souls who walk in at 9:00 or 10:00 or 11:00, hoping to get their Aadhaar registration or enrollment done in the first visit. “You’ve been here from 4:00!” they exclaim in total disbelief.

Now coming to more serious matters.

Over 70,000 babies are born in India every day. All of them need to get Aadhaars before they can get admission in school. Biometrics need to be updated for every child on turning 15. According to UIDAI, 1% of adults still do not have Aadhaar.

Those who have come back to India and need to file income tax returns as residents need to get Aadhaar. To prevent your bank account from getting frozen on 1st April 2018, you need Aadhaar. Name change/correction, address change, mobile number change… all these add to the Aadhaar service count.

Till a few months ago, there were privately-run authorised Aadhaar Kendras operating. Most of them, it is said, were exploiting the public… charging them for Aadhaar enrollment (which is free), over charging for updates, forcing people to get plastic Aadhaar cards, charging for running queries… in general behaving like they were doing everyone a big favour, rather than providing a service.

Well, they were in a position of power, but maybe they felt they were being inadequately compensated and were looking to make quick bucks. Citizens started complaining about the unfair practices to the authorities, with the result that the government had no option but to suspend these licences.

If Aadhaar is mandatory for so many things, we just need more counters, more proper fair-play centres, more infrastructure… hire and train more people… create more jobs! Spending 8 hours to get your Aadhaar updated or to enroll is just insane

[The article first appeared in the author’s blog and has been republished here with permission. The original post can be read here.]

 

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PM Narendra Modi’s Mumbai visit cost Rs10 crore; GVK asks CIDCO to share the bill

Different agencies including GVK, spent over Rs10 crore for arrangement and publicity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Navi Mumbai to lay foundation stone of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport at Konbdbhuje Village in Navi Mumbai last Sunday, 18 February 2018.
The PM laid foundation stone of the new airport and also inaugurated the fourth container terminal of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) constructed at a cost of Rs4,719 crore. Later PM Modi inaugurated “Magnetic Maharashtra” summit at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
State-run City and Industrial Development Corp (CIDCO) had entrusted the work of making arrangement for the programme to GVK. Accordingly, three helipads were set up, a huge shamiana equipped with close-circuit TV (CCTV) was raised and a sizable amount was spent on publicity, food and other aspects.
Now GVK has sent a bill of Rs10.34 crore to CIDCO asking it to share the cost of the bill.  Tentatively if GVK bears 40% of the cost, CIDCO and JNPT will have to pay the balance amount. Mohan Ninawe, spokesperson for CIDCO confirmed having received the bill from GVK and added that the decision about this will be taken by its Board.
The staggering amount of the bill includes: event management-Rs3.44 crore, setting up approach roads-Rs3.30 crore, advertisements in newspapers and other media-Rs1.20 crore, contingency expenditure-Rs50 lakh, CCTV installation-Rs15 lakh, lunch/ breakfast- Rs10 lakh, parking–Rs5 lakh, miscellaneous expenses-Rs1 lakh, amount spent for obtaining permissions for the function from different local authorities-Rs1 lakh and 18% GST on the entire amount-Rs 1.58 crore.
The airport is slated to come up on 1160 hectare land at an estimated cost of Rs16,000 crore. Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Civil Aviation Minister PA Gajapathi Raju, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, and top officials from GVK and CIDCO and others were present during the inaugural function.
A special purpose vehicle – “Navi Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (NMIAL)” has been created, in which GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd (GVKPIL), through its subsidiary, “Mumbai International Pvt Ltd”, holds 74%, while the rest is held by CIDCO.
The greenfield airport, is to be constructed in the public-private-participation (PPP) mode on the mainland in Navi Mumbai, across the Mumbai harbour, with the advantage of the upcoming Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a Special Economic Zone and other major infrastructure developments. It will be the second international aviation hub for Mumbai, presently served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which has almost achieved saturation point.
CIDCO will complete the first phase, which would includes construction of runway and airport building by December 2019, with a plan to handle annually one crore passengers. In the second phase, the passenger handling capacity will be augmented by 2.5 crore and in the third phase, which will be completed by 2025, the passenger handling capacity will reach up to 6 crore.  CIDCO, which holds 26% stake, will foot the pre-development expenses that will be later recovered from GVK, besides getting a 12.6% share in the annual revenue from the mega-project.
As for the 4th terminal at JNPT, it is considered the largest in the country and is expected to add capacity of 2.4 million (24 lakh) containers per annum in the first phase and after completion of the second phase in 2022, the capacity will be quadrupled to a whopping 100 lakh containers per year, at a cost of Rs7,915 crore. It will be able to dock mother vessels, handle the biggest containers ships from a quay length of one km, handle three container ships simultaneously with sufficient yard space, and cranes which can reach 22 rows wide or more.
https://www.moneylife.in/article/pm-narendra-modirsquos-mumbai-visit-cost-rs10-crore-gvk-asks-cidco-to-share-the-bill/53200.html

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No vacancy for SCs and STs. Will India Inc ever be inclusive

Nobody likes to be regulated; least of all the corporate sector. For close to a decade, India Inc successfully avoided taking up the responsibility of promoting diversity at the workplace.

It was in 2006 when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to pro-actively adopt an affirmative agenda to “obviate the need for legislation”. The industry argued against any sort of regulation. Rather, they promised an affirmative action on their own.

 

 

It has been 12 years since, but only one private-sector company among the top 100 firms listed on Bombay Stock Exchange feels the necessity to disclose the number of employees from scheduled castes and tribes on its rolls.

According to a report prepared by Praxis Institute of Participatory Practices, Oxfam India and Corporate Responsibility Watch on businesses’ commitment towards inclusive growth, the neglect and insensitivity towards SCs and STs is among the worst when compared with other vulnerable communities.

Tata Steel is the only private sector company that disclosed that SC/STs form more than 16% of its workforce. Bajaj Finance Ltd has also disclosed the number of SC/ST employees in the workforce, but only during recruitment,” according to the report, ‘Making Growth Inclusive’.

Godrej Consumer Products, in its annual report, deemed fit to talk only about SC/ST employees at its Malanpur manufacturing site. At 14.4 per cent the numbers are not really near the public sector reservation of 22.5 per cent.

No other private company out of the top 100 feels the need to take cognisance of how many from the SC/ST communities they employ. So much for a merit-based economy in the country.

In 2011 the first-ever caste-based census of India Inc’s human resources revealed the proportion SC-ST employees in the private sector in some of the most industrialised states of the country was abysmally low in proportion to their population.

Many activists representing the rights of SC/ST communities have demanded implementation of caste-based quota in the private sector for years.

“Legally speaking there are no specific laws that would oblige a business space to provide for a discrimination-free working environment for its employees. However, vulnerable groups get their protection under the Prevention of the Atrocities Act (PoA), 2017. This ensures protection of persons from SC/ ST communities against any form of discrimination including at the workplace,” Karandeep Bhagat from Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion said.

WHERE WILL THE SC/STS GO?

Post-liberalisation, the government sector has shrunk year-on-year. In 2016, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot stated in Parliament that “in government institutions, employment opportunities have declined while those in private sector have increased,” adding that weaker sections should get representation and the issue should be considered seriously.

In November 2017, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked private companies entering a contract with his government to put aside half of the jobs created as part of the deal for backward castes. (that’s not only SCs and STs though). But due to criticism from the private sector, he had to tweak the policy by giving exception to contractors.

Praxis Chief Executive Tom Thomas said lack of reporting by the private sector on affirmative actions show that they do well only on those parameters that are legally binding. You can compare the failure of affirmative action with measures to report sexual harrasement cases.

The former falls under National voluntary guidelines, therefore it is not binding but the latter with legal provisions introduced by the government has forced the private sector to be serious about that.http://www.catchnews.com/business-economy-news/no-vacancy-for-scs-and-sts-will-india-inc-ever-be-inclusive-101053.html

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Kashmiri Al-Qaeda Threatens Strikes on Multinationals, Corporates

Posters on behalf of the Kashmir wing of al-Qaeda in Srinagar hint towards a new wave of Islamisation in the Valley.(Photo: Harsh Sahani/ The Quint)

Issued by Zakir Rashid Bhat, a breakaway Hizbul-Mujahideen jihadist who set up a fledgling al-Qaeda unit in Kashmir, last year, the statement justifies attacking corporate entities because they are part of “those supporters and personnel who run the tyrannical and infidel system of India, protect it and give it advantage”.

First Formal Declaration of Economic Warfare

Though Indian corporate entities have been attacked by jihadists in the past – notably on 26/11 and earlier in the Mumbai serial bombings of 1993 – Monday’s al-Qaeda manifesto is the first formal declaration of economic warfare against India by a jihadist group.

“Few corporate facilities in India have even basic security systems in place to guard against attack”, noted a senior police officer in Mumbai, adding:

Al-Qaeda in Kashmir has only a few operatives on hand, but even one or two men with assault weapons can inflict enormous harm.

“Police, intelligence services and corporate security heads should take this threat seriously”, the officer said.

In 2010, the National Investigation Agency held Hyderabad resident Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq for planning a strike on multinational Deloitte’s offices in Hi-Tech City, using grenades supplied by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, police sources said.

There have also been alleged terrorist plots targeted at strategic targets, like the Reliance oil refinery in Jamnagar, Larsen & Toubro’s shipyard in Tamil Nadu, and the international airport in Mumbai.

Barring the kidnapping and killing of five tourists from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Norway in 1995, carried out by the Harkat-ul-Ansar, jihadists in Kashmir have rarely threatened foreigners, believing it would undermine the international legitimacy of their cause.

However, new entrants on the Kashmir jihadi landscape, like the al-Qaeda, have a long record of targeting Western nationals and interests.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/kashmiri-al-qaeda-threatens-strikes-on-multinationals-corporates?

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Cakewalk for French tech-wiz, Aadhaar and Telangana portal HACKED

U Sudhakar Reddy| TNN |

HYDERABAD: A French security researcher on Monday breached the Telanganagovernment benefit disbursement portal ‘TSPost’ and lay bare its vulnerabilities. The portal has account details including Aadhaar numbers of 56 lakh beneficiaries of NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme) and 40 lakh beneficiaries of social security pensions (SSP).

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The researcher, Baptiste Robert with Twitter handle ‘Elliot Alderson’, who has been highlighting data insecurity of the Aadhaar database posted on his Twitter as to how the site is vulnerable to basic SQL (structured query language) injection, a common web hacking technique. In this technique, researchers used SQL code for attacking back-end database of Telangana disbursement portal to access confidential information.

The important application programming interface key (API key) of the portal and data tables of various beneficiary schemes like NREGA and SSP were breached thereby opening access to all the data of beneficiaries, including Aadhaar numbers.

Robert said, “In theory, a government website is very secure, but in India, it’s another story. http://tspost.aponline.gov.in is vulnerable to a basic SQL injection that allows an attacker to access the database of the website. To be clear, all the data on this website can be a dump. Telangana government officials say they are working on to fix it. For this website, they have to hire decent web developers to protect it from attacks.”

The researcher tweeted in the evening,” I don’t know if I have to laugh or cry. http://tspost.aponline.gov.in owners fixed the issue by putting offline the website.”

About the breach, a TSPost official said, “We are working on fixing the vulnerability after it was reported to us. It was online due to certain dependencies. We have taken off the site from the web, and we hope by Tuesday evening we will be able to set it right,”

Satish, COO of TSPost, said, “Our technical team is working on it. We can give an update on Tuesday.”

TOI

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No ‘Hey Ram’ in title for film on Gandhian ideology

Censors clear film four days before release with truncated title, Savarkar’s name deleted and a photograph replaced

On June 15, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary as the International Day of Non-Violence. A decade later, an inspired Naeem A Siddiqui decided to pay a tribute to the Father of the Nation with a film he titled Hey Ram Humne Gandhi Ko Maar Diya and which revolved around two strangers with completely opposite ideologies who meet on the train on January 28,1948. The events that unfold over their two-day journey which includes Gandhi’s assassination leave a lasting impact not just on these two, but also on the country and the world at large.

Siddiqui wrapped up his film in four-and-a-half months which included a 22-day shoot but then had to wait for a month for the film to be cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). It was passed on Monday evening with a ‘U’ certificate, a couple of minor cuts and the two words commonly associated with Gandhi as they were the last ones he uttered, ‘Hey Ram’, snipped out of the title. It will now be unveiled as Humne Gandhi Ho Maar Diya this Friday.

“I tried convincing the Examining Committee to let me retain the words ‘Hey Ram’ but they were adamant that I should drop them without offering me any explanation for their objection. Since my film was up for release, I didn’t have the time to convince them otherwise. I would have been happy had I been allowed to retain my original title and not have to change my publicity material but I’m just relieved that the film is finally releasing,” says the first-time director who was also asked to replace a photograph of Dr KB Hedgewar founder member of the RSS and delete Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s name unless he could provide proof of his statement.

Though there are references to the British’s divide-and-rule policy, two Jinnah and the Muslim League as well as the Hindu Mahasabha that propagated the two-nation theory that lead to the Partition, Siddiqui is quick to point out that he is not alluding to present politics or wants to hurt anyone’s sentiments. “Pratima Kannan embodies Gandhian philosophy of love, peace, tolerance and non-violence in my film and I believe that this is the only philosophy which can fight hate, fear and violence that is stirred up in the name of religion, caste and racism,” he added.

 https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/MumbaiMirror/#

 

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Bombay HC judge who was hearing Sohrabuddin Sheikh Petitions goes on leave

Bombay Lawyers’ Association writes to acting chief justice, terming the change of assignments as one which ‘sends a wrong signal to the public at large, undermining the faith of people in the institution’

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, the Bombay High Court judge who was hearing challenges to discharge applications in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case until last week, has proceeded on leave till March 1. However, it is unclear if this is in any way connected to the cases being assigned to a new judge after a change of assignments was notified last week.

HC Registrar General SB Agrawal told Mirror that there is no reason for too much to be read into it, and that Justice Mohite-Dere has tendered a leave application. He termed the change of assignments as routine.

Justice Mohite-Dere had been hearing five revision applications in the case, challenging the discharge of five police officers, on a daily basis for over two weeks. The judge had made remarks about the lack of assistance from the CBI.

The applications were filed by Sheikh’s brother Rubabuddin, challenging the discharge of IPS officers DG Vanzara, Dinesh MN and Rajkumar Pandian, and two revision applications filed by the CBI against the discharge of former Gujarat IPS officer NK Amin, and Rajasthan police Constable Dalpat Singh Rathod.

Meanwhile, the Bombay Lawyers’ Association has written to Acting Chief Justice Vijaya Tahilramani seeking “urgent remedial measures” on the change of assignment, calling it one which “sends a wrong signal to the public at large, undermining the faith of people in the institution.”

“This change in assignment has been done when Justice Mohite-Dere has already heard the matter at length on a day-to-day basis…. This is particularly intriguing considering how Justice Mohite-Dere had consistently reprimanded the CBI’s approach in the case,” the communication read.

It then points out that based on the new assignments, a PIL filed by the BLA on the issue of CBI not challenging discharge orders in the same case will now come up before a division bench headed by a senior judge who had made statements saying there didn’t seem to be any foul play in the death of former CBI judge BH Loya.

Though the BLA communication makes no further comments on this aspect, it seeks urgent remedial measures “in the circumstance”, saying that not only justice should be done, it should also appear to have been done

https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/MumbaiMirror/#

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For this Jharkhand village, Holi is a curse from their former king

Bokaro: While the whole country eagerly waits to celebrate Holi, residents of Durgapur village in Bokaro’s Kasmar block are scared the day of festivities would bring epidemic and misfortune for them.

For more than 100 years, the 9,000-odd villagers of this Jharkhand hamlet nestled by the Khanjo river have not celebrated Holi as they believe that the ghost of their former king will wreak havoc in the village if his diktat is not followed. As the story goes, Durgapur, about a century ago was ruled by king Durga Prasad, who loved to celebrate Holi. One year, he lost his son on the day of the festival and subsequently, whenever villagers organised a celebration, it was followed by a famine or epidemic that led to the deaths of several people.

Former mukhiya Amresh Kumar Mahto said, “Before his death, the king issued orders that his subjects should never celebrate Holi. Incidentally, the king also died on Holi while fighting a battle. For more than 100 years, we have not celebrated Holi. The villagers still accept the order and fear their king’s ghost.”

On the day of Holi, instead of colours, music and festivities, the streets of this village wear a deserted look. The villagers still believe that whoever celebrated Holi in Durgapur either died suddenly or suffered a long run of bad luck. So deep is the fear of the curse that even the people of neighbouring villages and other settlements do not smear colours on the villagers of Durgapur on Holi. A village priest said some fishermen came to Durgapur several years ago and breached the tradition and soon an epidemic broke out in the village. Some villagers, however, said that things have been changing over the years and youngsters were now allowed to move out of Durgapur and celebrate the festival in other hamlets in the vicinity.

“Those who want to celebrate Holi leave the village and enjoy themselves in relatives’ or friends’ places,” said a local.

COLOURS OF PROGRESS? Hundreds of widows clad in white sarees came out of their ashrams to play Holi at Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan on Tuesday. They also prepared herbal ‘gulal’ in earthen pots to be handed over to associates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Poison in the air: Not Delhi alone, pollution is a pan-India issue

An absence of up-to-date analysis and research have created a virtual black hole about air qulaity in other parts of India compares to Delhi-NCR.

Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Students wait for a school van in the morning at Mayur Vihar in New Delhi, in November 2017. Air quality dips severely during the winter months owing to crop burning at the start of the season.(Sushil Kumar/HT File Photo)

Smog and dust in Delhi and north India have for long hogged the headlines, sidelining the dangerous levels of air pollution in south India and Maharashtra.

Despite the much-touted favourable weather conditions, about a third of ‘non-attainment cities’ identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that consistently fall short of air quality standards are spread across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

A non-attainment area is an area that consistently flout air quality standards set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The Centre has tried to put a positive spin on the narrow focus on Delhi. “We will use the experiences from Delhi in other cities,” Union environment minister, Harsh Vardhan said. “The air everywhere is the same. There is no boundary when it comes to air.”

However, an absence of up-to-date analysis and research has created a virtual black hole about air quality in other parts of India compared to Delhi-NCR. Less than half of the real-time air quality monitoring stations are spread across south India and Maharashtra, compared to Delhi which alone has 17% of all monitoring stations.

“Monitoring is very poor across India and this is why the extent of pollution is not known,” Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, said. “No data, but all sources exist, except for the fact that weather is on their side.”

Southern discomfort

For decades the argument that meteorological factors are driving pollution in north India has been used to avoid tackling sources that are under human control. The same argument is used to deny pollution is a problem in south India.

Natural factors may work to disperse pollutants in south India but the region is not exceptional when it comes to man-made sources of pollution. “Both natural and man-made factors contribute to higher pollution in north India,” Gufran Beig, head of the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, program said. “The higher the number of people, more the economic activity and more the pollution.”

In that regard, Bangalore is no different from Delhi. Rapid urbanisation, growing vehicular traffic and energy needs and expanding industrial activity are not features of north India alone. A CPCB report from 2006 and more recent studies show that vehicles and industries are the key pollution sources in major cities in south India.

In Bangalore, transport, road dust resuspension and the construction sector are major contributors to particulate matter pollution, a 2011 TERI study found. For Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), another pollutant, the major contributors are the transport sector, diesel generator (DG) sets and the industry.

Emissions from industries, transport and the residential sector account for more than 80% of particulate pollution for PM2.5 in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in 2016, revealed a study by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

For Chennai, the CPCB found that dust was the main culprit followed by vehicular exhaust and construction activities. Industrial estates, a power plant, petrochemical plant and oil refineries in north Chennai add to the pollution of the city. In Hyderabad vehicles have also contributed significant influence on particulate matter levels at the site for both PM10 and PM2.5.

“An increase in air pollution in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha is expected in the next 25 years because of cement and iron and steel and power plants,” Chandra Venkataraman, a scientist at IIT Bombay, said of particulate pollution.

In Tamil Nadu, despite a big push for renewable energy, 4.5GW of thermal power plants are under construction while another 5GW capacity plants have been sanctioned.

Toxic cocktail

Power plants are not just a source of particulate matter but also sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx). Some of the sources of particulate matter also emit other harmful pollutants SOx, NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which lead to the formation of surface-level ozone, a particularly harmful pollutant. A 2006 CPCB study also found that Mumbai and Pune had higher levels of NO2 and SO2 than Delhi. In terms of benzene, a VOC, Bangalore and Pune and higher levels compared to Delhi.

“Unlike North, many cities in the southern part of the country may not need emergency response plans but most of them do need long-term action plans to bring down pollution levels below NAAQS limits and aim to meet WHO standards for air quality,” a recent Greenpeace India report said, calling the problem a “national crisis.”

This is not news to the Indian government. For over a decade now, the Supreme Court has directed the Indian government to pay attention to dangerous levels of air pollution in cities across India, but in vain. In a 2002 order, it noted that the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (in short “RSPM”) levels in Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Sholapur, Lucknow, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata are alarming” and directed states to formulate a plan to tackle air pollution.

What followed were half-hearted efforts through piecemeal measures. Fifteen years later in December 2017 the Supreme Court again asked the Union environment ministry to notify a nation-wide plan for tackling pollution. The ministry responded saying it had directed states to draft action plans for non attainment cities. “The focus is on non-attainment cities it does not depend on the region,” CK Mishra, environment secretary, said.

No other city apart from Delhi has a comprehensive plan to tackle air pollution till date. Last October, Delhi-NCR got a graded response system for pollution when the Supreme Court-mandated Graded Response Action Plan came into force.

(With inputs from Badri Chatterjee in Mumbai, Srinivasa Rao Apparasu in Visakhapatnam and KV Lakshmana in Chennai)

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/poison-in-the-air-not-delhi-alone-pollution-is-a-pan-india-issue/story-doxT0w6fGUKkumjG8gbOZL.html

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