Monthly Archives: September 2008
Left Front Partners in West Bengal are at loggerheads over opening up of the retail sector to big players. Forward Block, the junior partner of Left Front government in West Bengal objected the renewal of the licence of Metro Cash and Carry,the multinational wholesaler to operate in Calcutta but Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya renewed their licence despite stiff opposition from the party.It is alleged that Germany based the Metro group has been selling the farm products even below the distributor’s price.Metro Cash and Carry has a membership of over a lakh.Their customers are mainly hoteliers,small and midium sized traders and retailers in bangalore.They started their India operation in 2003.It has two bangalore distribution centre and an outlet in Hyderabad.They adopt the same method use by other big player.The procure farm products from farmers directly and go for contact farming,ignoring traditional chain like clearing and forwarding agent,the distributor,the wholesaler before reaching the retailer. The first distribution centre opened in Bangalore offers a selling space of 6,500 square metres . The goods assortment comprises some 17,500 articles. About 90 percent of the goods offered procure from local producers and suppliers. Metro Cash and Carry is not involved in retail bussiness but targets bulk buyers.Each buyer should hold a metro card to enter the Metro outlets.In Bangalore they are not allowed to trade in agriculture produce like fruits and vegetables from outside the APMC(Agricultural Produce marketing Committee).It can not procure farm products directly from the farmer.
G.T.nanavati Commission probing the Godhra train burning has said it was a ‘preplanned conspiracy and there was nothing accidental’ gave Gujrat Chief minister Narendra Modi, a clean chit.But earlier U.C. Banarjee commission had said fire was accidental and deaths caused by suffocation and toxicity.
On Febuary,2002,Sabarmati Express Train No. 9166 up carrying karsevaks on their way back from Ayodhya arrives on platform no.1 at Godhra Railway station.The train was running five hours behind schedule.A fire was raging through the crammed coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express,stalled just outside Godhra Station.Fifty nine people had been burnt to death,some karsavaks returning from Ayodhya and some passengers on their way back to Gujrat from Sultanpur,Allahabad and Lucknow.
Here is an excerpt from a field study led by Justice D.S.Tewatia,immediately after Godhra carnage for council for International Affairs and Human Rights.
Train numbers 9164, 9166 and 9168 have been named Sabarmati Express after the name of the Sabarmati Ashram established by Mahatma Gandhi to experiment and propagate his philosophies of non-violence and swadeshi. The train runs up to Ahmedabad, from Faizabad (9164) on Saturdays, from Muzaffarabad (9166) on Wednesday, Friday and Monday and from Varanasi (9168) on Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday. It covers Lucknow, Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore and Dahod is its first halt in Gujarat. After traveling 74 km in 2 hrs and 19 minutes from Dahod the train is scheduled to arrive at 0255hrs at Godhra. After Godhra it halts at Vadodra, Anand and Nadiad reaching Ahmedabad at 0700hrs
On 26.02.02 Sabarmati Express started from Faizabad about 225 minutes late. On that fateful day, about 2300 pilgrims were travelling by the train. Most of them were returning from Ayodhya where they had gone for either participating in the shila pujan or for the purana ahuti of the ritual jap of Ram naam that the devotees began one month in advance at their respective places.
There were other passengers in the train including members of the Muslim community. However, it has been reported that most of the Muslim passengers got down at Dahod Railway Station and rest of themat Godhra and it appears that when the train was torched there was no Muslim passengers on the train except the elements who were to stop the train by pulling the chain as part of a conspiracy to burn the pilgrims alive.
CHAIN PULLED AND VACUUM PIPE CUT
At 07.42 hrs the train stopped at Godhra railway Station. After about five minutes, the train started to move but stopped for a few moments as some passengers could not board the train. It finally left the station but came to halt about 700 metres away from the station as some one had pulled the chain. The vacuum pipe between the Coaches No. S-6 and S-7 was cut thereby preventing any further movement of the train.
Miscreants threw bricks and stones at the train as soon as it left Godhra railway station. The stoning intensified after it finally stopped about 700 metres from the station. The passengers of the train, particularly Coaches S-5, S-6 and S-7, were the main targets. The passengers reportedly shut the windows and doors to protect themselves. Burning missiles and acid bulbs were thrown on and in the coaches. One such acid missile landed in Coach S-7 and a fire started which the passengers were able to extinguish. But the attack continued and more burning missiles were thrown into the Coach S-6.
FIFTY EIGHT PILGRIMS ROASTED ALIVE
Soon, S-6 caught fire and within minutes it was in flames. Passengers who managed to get out of the burning compartment were attacked with sharp weapons and stoned. They received serious injuries. Some of them got out through the windows and took shelter below the coach. After some time (between 20 minutes and 40 minutes) fire engine arrived at the scene and took about half an hour to extinguish the fire.
Inside the coach, 58 charred bodies were found. These included 26 women and 12 children. Those who had seen the charred bodies shiver even weeks after the incident while recalling the gory scene. Even a cursory look at the photographs of the charred bodies is a chilling experience. Forty-three (43) injured persons were rushed to the Civil Hospital at Godhra with different degrees of burns. The train left Godhra at about 1230 hours minus Coach S-6, 58 dead and 43 injured.
The question why a large number of Hindus were roasted alive at the hands of Muslim crowds at Godhra and also what was the motivation to enact such a ghastly act needs to be answered. There is strong logic supported by direct and circumstantial evidence that enables the team to assert without an iota of doubt that the entire action was carried out on the behest of the Government of Pakistan. Another question that needs systematic analysis is: Why Godhra? Why did Pakistan choose to enact this ghastly act at a small, little known town of Godhra? On the basis of information gathered from various sources the team identifies the following reasons for choosing Godhra for this carnage:
The rate of growth of Muslim population in Godhra is much higher than the national growth rate of Muslim population. At present the estimated ratio of Hindu-Muslim population ranges from 60:40 to 48:52. In any case, it is an established fact that Godhra has a very large Muslim population. Most of them live on both the sides of the railway station in depth. In normal course, the Sabarmati Express was to arrive at Godhra railway Station at 02.55 a.m. The conspirators must have chosen the place with a view to complete their operation “Burn the train” at the dead of night when most of the passengers would be asleep. They must have planned to accomplish their evil “mission” unhindered and with impunity.
Godhra has the dubious distinction of having a large number of Muslim fundamentalists and ‘jehadi’ elements. Godhra is neither a Muslim pilgrim center like Ajmer nor a Muslim educational center like Aligarh and Deoband. The local Muslims are not economically affluent either, yet this town had hosted three ‘istema’- religious congregations. .. Muslim representatives from more than hundred countries participated. The holding of international congregations on such a massive scale gives credence to the commonly held perception that there has been a massive inflow of foreign money into Godhra.
One Shri Haji Bilal, a Congress member of Nagarpalika, who has been booked by the police as the executor of the carnage, have been, according to locals, proudly proclaiming himself to be “Bin Laden of Godhra”. President of the District Congress Committee, Farooq Malla and Congress activist and member of Godhra Nagarpalika, Abdul Rehman Dhatia, are amongst those booked for the carnage giving credence to reports that local Congressmen were actively involved in the burning of the train.
The next question is: Why was this particular train chosen for torching? The team provides the following answer:
This particular train was chosen because the 2300 ‘pilgrims’ were returning from Ayodhya on this train. Torching and burning alive a large number of Hindu pilgrims (including women and children) was intended to let loose a tide of indignation and provocation of horrendous proportion in Hindu population resulting in intended ignition of the communal tinder box, causing wide spread Hindu-Muslim riots all over the country. However, the train got late and the miscreants were able to burn only one compartment instead of the entire train and (contrary to the expectations of their Pakistani masters) the communal riots were confined to only a part of Gujarat.
The evidence that leads to the conclusion that the torching of Sabarmati Express on the morning of 27.02.02 was pre-meditated can be stated as:
The train took only three minutes, as per the statement of the Stationmaster, form the platform to the place where it was stopped by pulling the chain at a distance of about 700 metres. It is impossible for a mob of about 2000 persons carrying acid bulbs and highly combustible liquids to converge within three minutes that too in the early hours of the morning.
The conspirators had done their homework. They ensured that the mob gets enough time to accomplish the misdeed. Had the train stopped because of chain pulling, the driver could have re-started the train after it was attacked by the mob. In order to ensure that the train would not move even an inch, the conspirators had deputed certain persons to cut the vacuum pipe.
STAFF OF RAILWAY STATION GODHRA
The staff at the Railway Station Godhra told the team that no serious quarrel took place on the platform when the train halted there for about 05 minutes. Immediately after the train started moving it stopped and few left-out passengers boarded the train and it started again. A mob of about 1000 Muslims ahead of the Railway Station started pelting stones and other missiles on the train. The train after moving about 700 metres stopped once again but with a jerk as a result of chain pulling. The vacuum pipe of the Coach No. S-6 was cut. The mob had by then swelled to more than 2000. They stoned the train and also threw burning missiles, concentrating on S-6 and S-7. Soon the Coach S-6 was seen burning and the flames reached outside the coach in no time. Railway Police rushed to the scene and after initial hesitation fired in the air to disperse the mob. There was no impact on the mob that did not disperse even after firing in the air and kept shouting slogans and throwing missiles at the police and the crowd comprising railway officials, passengers of the other coaches of the train and bystanders.
Fire brigade reached the site after about half an hour (from the time of the departure of the train from the platform). It took about half an hour to extinguish the flames and cool down the S-6 coach. District administration reached the spot after the fire had almost been extinguished and the mob had withdrawn to a distant place but was still shouting slogans. All through voices were heard on loudspeakers from both the sides of the railway track inciting the mob to kill and burn the infidels (kafirs) and the enemies of Bin Laden. With the help of civilians, the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital and the dead were brought out and counted. Burnt bodies of passengers were identified with the help of other passengers of the train including those of S-6 who had escaped unhurt or were not seriously injured.
DISTRICT ADMINSTRATION, GODHRA
As per the presentation made by the Collector of Panchmahal at Godhra, the Sabarmati express arrived at Godhra Railway station at 7.43 am (scheduled arrival at 2.55a.m.). Train departed at 7.48 a.m. and was stopped at a distance of 1km from Godhra railway station by pulling chain at “Signal Faliya”. A mob of about 2000 miscreants attacked the train with stones and firebombs. Bogies no S/5 and S/6 were set on fire, bogies S/6 was completely burnt with 58 passengers in it including 26 women, 12 children and 20 men roasted alive.
D.S.P. rushed to the spot as soon as he got the information about the incident. Relief work started immediately by the Collector. Arrangements for firefighters were made. Along with the arrangements of Ambulance Van and ST Buses from RTO. Team of three doctors rushed to the site. Twentyfive passengers were treated on site. Food packets, drinking water was made available to stranded passengers. 43 injured passengers were shifted to civil hospital. Police fired 14 rounds and 30 teargas shells to prevent the mob from causing further damage. Curfew was imposed in the town at 10.55am. Collector with senior railway officers entered the burnt carriage to assess the casualties – 58 dead bodies found. Train departed for Ahmedabad with the rest of passengers at 12.40 pm. Inquest & post-mortem of all bodies was done by 4.30 pm. Bodies dispatched at 10.30 pm to Civil hospital, Sola, Ahmedabad.
PASSENGERS TRAVELLING IN SABARMATI EXPRESS ON 27.02.02 IN COACH NO S-6
Kamala (name changed in view of threats received and bomb attack on her a day before she was interviewed by the Study Team on O4.02.02), a college student, went to Ayodhya along with her parents and two sisters to perform the purana ahuti of the Ram jaap her mother was doing for the last one month. The family boarded the train at Faizabad in Coach no S-6 on 26.02.02 at about 0800 hours. There were many passengers on the train who were chanting Ram naam and occasionally chanting jai Sri ram. In the morning of 27.02.02 the train was at Godhra railway station and as soon as it moved, a barrage of stones were thrown at the compartment. Terrified and taken aback, the passengers closed the windows.
The train stopped for a few moments and again started. After about 2-3 minutes the train stopped with a strong jerk rattling the passengers and the luggage. The train continued to be stoned with great intensity.
Mob outside the train was pounding upon the windows and doors. Somebody from outside the train was able to open a window and threw a burning object into the compartment. It fell on the luggage and the fire started. Some passengers stated stamping on the fire, but more burning objects were thrown in as the mob broke open more windows. Some liquid was also poured in from the windows, which intensified the fire. Iron grills of some windows were detached from one side and bent to pick up the passengers’ luggage. This luggage was set on fire and thrown back into the coach. The passengers were terribly shaken and shouting for help. Some of them were able to open the door and get out.
Soon the entire coach was gutted. Smoke was so thick that it was impossible to breathe or see anything. She looked for her family members in vain and dropped out of the train from a window whose grill had been bent and detached from one side. Lying of the ground she could breathe a little and saw a huge mob with swords and iron rods hurling abuses at Hindus. She moved below the coach from where she was rescued after sometime. She may have remained unconscious for some time. She later identified the charred bodies of her mother, father and two sisters. One sister was an engineer and the other was a commerce graduate.
The same train took her to Ahmedabad where she now lives with her younger sister. She has already got Rs. 50,000 as relief and expects more. She told the team that she had heard certain Muslims saying that a lot of trouble was caused to them because of her narration of the Godhra tragedy and that she would be eliminated. A bomb was thrown into the room in which she was sleeping a day before the team met her. Fortunately, it did not explode. The matter was reported to the police who are investigating the case.
Raghu (name changed for reasons of security of the witness) was traveling in Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express on 27.02.02 and his narration of the events is similar to those of Kamala. When the coach was set on fire he went up on the upper berth in the hope that the fire will soon be extinguished. But when he got a choked because of the thick smoke he moved from one upper berth to another towards the door but the flames frustrated his first attempt to jump out. He returned and after some time made a desperate attempt and was able to reach the door where a passenger whom he had earlier seen in the train dragged him outside. He fell unconscious and was given water and sugar by a lady who was managing the passengers belonging to Ahmedabad. Though he felt dizzy he received no burn injuries except that his hair were partly burnt. His father and uncle were burnt alive in the same coach.
PASSENGERS TRAVELLING IN SABARMATI EXPRESS ON 27.02.02 IN COACHES OTHER THAN S-6
Shakuntla (name changed because of security reasons) narrates a story similar to that of Kamala and Raghu except that she was traveling in Coach S-7 and she was looking after a group of pilgrims from Ahmedabad. She got down at Godhra Railway Station and saw many pilgrims bidding each other Jai Ram ji ki as the first greeting in the morning. Some passengers took tea and one of the vendors angrily asked them not to make a noise. The pilgrims did not respond and got into the train as it had started moving. As some lady passengers were not able to board, the train stopped for a few moments and again steamed-off when the left-out passengers boarded. Along with the stones a burning missile landed in S-7 in which she was traveling but the fire was put out without much effort. After some time the train again stopped with a great jerk and shouts of maro-maro came from outside. She could not tell the approximate number of persons in the mob as all the windows were closed. Some one using a mike was inciting the mob to kill and loot the kafirs and the enemies of Bin laden.. Through a slit in the window she saw a part of the mob with iron rods and swords.
There was tension and suspense in the compartment No one knew what was happening or what would happen to him or her the next moment. After some time both the shouts of the crowd and the voice on the mike stopped. Shakuntla along with some other passengers got out and saw S-6 in flames. There were some injured and perplexed passengers outside. The mob had withdrawn a few hundred yards away. The fire engine arrived and the fire was put off. The mob kept throwing stones at the train from a distance. A few policemen were also there but they did nothing to protect the passengers. More and more passengers assembled near the burning coach and urged the police to take action against the miscreants but the police did nothing. Crying and shouting Shakuntla took out her bangles and offered them to the two policemen with rifles. The policemen fired a few shots in the air. That did not deter the mob.
When more police came and the fire was put out several passengers along with some policemen chased the attackers. Some persons told the police that the attackers had taken shelter in a nearby garage. The police hesitated to enter the garage. When the policemen on duty did not take any action, some passengers and locals entered the garage. But it was too late as the miscreants had by then escaped from another door on the other side of the garage. Shkuntla helped the authorities to identify some of the bodies and returned to Ahmedabad by the same train.
STAFF OF THE FIRE BRIGADE, GODHRA
Shri Pradeep Singh s/o Shri Bhola Singh, Motor Driver, Fire brigade, Godhra & Shri Vijay Kumar s/o Shri Ram Chander Sharma, Fireman, Fire Brigade, Godhra (names mentioned with the consent of the witnesses) said they reported for their shift duty at 0800hrs on 27.02.02. One of the major vehicles was out of order, as its clutch-plates had been taken out a few days earlier. On their arrival on 27.02.02 in their office they found that one of the nuts that connects the pipe to the water tank of the other fire engine was also missing. By the time they had put the nut in place a message about the fire in the train was received.
The Driver along with the firemen rushed towards the spot but on the way a mob led by Haji Balal, a Congress member of the Godra Nagarpalika, stopped the vehicle and did not allow it to proceed any further. A tall well built young man stood in front of the vehicle. The mob started pelted stones at the vehicle. A fireman sitting in the front seat had to take shelter behind the driver. The headlights and the windowpanes of the vehicle got damaged. Fearing for his own and his crew’s life the driver drove the vehicle through the mob, as it was not possible to move backwards. The mob gave in but by that time precious 15-20 minutes had been lost.
The vehicle reached at the site and crew saw one of the compartments blazing. The fire was brought under control in about half an hour. Fireman Vijay Singh reported that he saw one woman trying to come out. He covered himself with a blanket and tried twice to reach the lady but the flames were too hot and high and he could not enter the coach. He is deeply disappointed and said some lives could have been saved if the miscreants had not delayed the arrival of the fire engine. Both the witnesses stated that they were sure that the acts of demobilizing one of the vehicles and removing the nut of the connection of the pipe with the water tank were premeditated and the Congress member of Ghodhra Nagarpalika, Haji Balal, who is also chairman of the Vehicle Committee of the Nagarpalika, had hatched the conspiracy. Haji Balal had been visiting the fire station at night for the past few days on the pretext of watching films on the television. They also stated that had the train reached during the night, the entire train would have been burnt. Both the witnesses also said that the manner in which the bodies were charred and the furniture and luggage burnt indicates the use of some highly inflammable material like solvent in addition to petrol, diesel and kerosene.
The fire-crew informed the team that although they had reported the damage to the vehicle to their seniors no formal complaint had been registered. They also reported having received a threatening call warning them not to give statements about the obstruction to the fire engine by a crowd on 27.02.02. As the fire station has a call identification system, they know who made the threatening call
The Study Team also inspected the Coach S-6. There was no evidence of any stove in the compartment. Although the Team was surprised to find two plastic jerrycans that have been referred to in the report submitted by a team of CPI (M). Wonder of wonders is that while the entire coach got burnt roasting alive the passengers, two plastic jerrycans remained intact. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to plant evidence that is a very serious offence.
OTHERS WHO WERE WITNESS TO LATER PART OF THE INCIDENT
It is natural that when an incident of such a gravity happens many citizens gather at and near the place of incident. While visiting the affected areas and the relief camps the team members kept on searching for the persons who had been the witness to at least some part of the incident. Three such persons could be contacted and interviewed. All of them reported of the inability of the police to take action against the mob. The firing in the air was reluctant and no one saw firing of teargas shells or use of lathies as claimed by the police……..
I had no other clue except that the guy has a automotive shop just beside a police station in Pune.But,there are so many police stations divided by different zones.It was a herculean task for me.How I find him,I wonderedShamir(name changed ), shifted his base from a hilly town in North Eastern region of India to Pune after duping scores of people.He duped people and collected money by impersonating a ‘commander’of a millitant outfit of North- East.First I download the details of Pune police stations from their website.After that I collected the names and addresses of automotive shops in and around Pune.I also collected the addresses and phone numbers of Khandelwals living in Pune.Then I randomly dialled automotive shops in and around Pune.My boss told me to find out that man,what he does and his connections.I got in touch with my contact in Pune.Suddenly an idea floated up in my mind -there must be an association of that particulatr community in Pune which he belongs.Meanwhile,I found that there is an automotive shop beside Pune Police headquarter.After a frantic search i found the secretary of a Samaj(Society) and collected his phone number and told him that I need some information about that man who belongs to his samaj.My Pune contact assured me over phone that though he is not able to locate that man yet,he is hopeful that he will find him soon.I called up a guy,who had some underground connections and explained my purpose.Later in the day,my contact informed me,he locate a person who has a automotive shop near a police station but he was not yet sure about the identity of the person.He told me that he needed few more days to identify the person.Two days back,the secretary of the Samaj informed me over phone that his men locate Samir has a thriving business in Pune.I thank God then spend the rest of the night by instructing my contact on yahoo messenger.Still,there was hope,I thought.I was excited.Few days later,my contact informed me that he took the photographs of the man and emailed me the photographs.I instantly recognise the man and instructed my contact to find out his address.Few days later,he informed me that the man lives with his wife and two children in Bhandarkar Road,North Pune and after that it was easier for me to got every details of the man.Then,I realize that we should have a good khabari(Informer).
The investigations in the Delhi serial blasts that killed at least 30 people and injured over 100 on Saturday evening have begun; and the investigators have claimed that they were identified the culprits behind the terror act.
At least 70 persons were killed and several injured in three powerful serial explosions on the evening of October 29, 2005.Two bombs went off at busy marketplaces(Paharganj and SarojiniNagar),one exploded inside a Delhi Transport Corporation bus near Govind Puri.The first explosion took place around 5.25 pm at Chheh Tuti Chowk,Paharganj,Central Delhi, the bus blast at 5.40pm.
October 2000: Tourism Minister S S Salathia tables a bill in the State Legislature for constitution of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB)
February 2001: State Government constitutes SASB for managing affairs of the Amarnath Yatra.
October, 2004: CEO, SASB sends Project Report to the J&K Forest Department regarding transfer of 3642 kanals of forest land to SASB at Baltal and Chandanwari.
March 2005: Forest Department grants permission vide Government Order No. 148-FST of 2005 Dated: 29-03-2005 for use of forest land by SASB in Compartment Nos. 21 and 62 of Lidder Forest Division.
May 20, 2005: Government Order No. 148-FST withdrawn on the directions of the Chief Minister vide order no. 210-FST of 2005 Dated: 20-05-2005 on the ground that while making land allotment the provisions of Forest Conservation Act were violated.
May 28, 2005: J&K High Court stays operation of Govt. Order No. 210-FST of 2005 Dated: 20-05-2005. The Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Nargotra and Justice V K Jhanji makes it clear that duration of the Govt. Order No. 148-FST of 2005 shall be preparatory to commencement of the Yatra and user would remain till end of the Yatra. July 2005: Show-cause notice served to then Principal Secretary Forest Department for having issued the Govt. Order No. 148-FST of 2005 in violation of Forest Conservation Act.
November 2005: Warning issued to the Principal Secretary Forests after the reply furnished by the officer to the show-cause notice was not found satisfactory by the Government.
July 12, 2007: Proposal for diversion of 39.88 hectares of forest land cleared by Forest Advisory Committee headed by the Chief Secretary.
July 17, 2007: SASB proposal submitted to the General Administration Department (GAD) for approval of the Cabinet.
February 2008: Matter placed before the Cabinet, but decision deferred. March 2008: Committee constituted vide Govt. Order No. 108-FST Dated: 13-03-2008 to examine feasibility of diverting forest land vis-à-vis wildlife perspective for various developmental activities including construction of road at Baltal/Ranga-Domail. May 7, 2008: Committee submits report to the Government.
May 20, 2008: Cabinet approves diversion of 39.88 hectares of forest land to SASB.
May 26, 2008: Govt. issues order no. 184-FST of 2008 diverting land to SASB
June 3, 2008: Raj Bhawan spokesman issues a statement making public the transfer of land to SASB. June 17, 2008: Amarnath Yatra commences. Sinha’s Principal Secretary and SASB CEO Arun Kumar reveals at a press conference in Srinagar that land diversion was permanent.
June 18, 2008: Chief Secretary issues warning to Arun Kumar.
Row brings rival Hurriyat factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Umar Farooq together.
June 19, 2008: Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, at a press conference, accuses Congress of blackmailing PDP on land allotment to SASB by threatening to stop work on Mughal Road.
NC Patron Farooq Abdullah at a press conference in Srinagar asks Government to take back forest land from SASB.
Hurriyat factions led by Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq issue a joint declaration in Srinagar.
June 20, 2008: BJP leader L K Advani visits Amarnath cave. Advani briefed by Governor Sinha regarding Yatra arrangements at Raj Bhawan. Mirwaiz talks tough on SASB calls for immediate revocation of land transfer order.
June 21, 2008: PDP Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed seeks cancellation of land diversion to SASB. Cabinet meet to discuss land row postponed.
June 22, 2008: State President of the BJP Ashok Khajuria threatens economic blockade of Kashmir valley at a Press Conference in Jammu, if land allotment order revoked.
June 23, 2008: Protests against land transfer begin in Kashmir valley. One person killed, 40 hurt in CRP firing on protesters at Nowhatta, Srinagar.
A record number of 53,500 Yatris paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine.
Sayed Ali Shah Geelani gives a wake-up call to Kashmiris over land transfer to SASB.
JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik threatens fast unto death if land diversion order not revoked.
June 24, 2008: BJP launches counter-stir in Jammu, declares economic blockade of Kashmir.
After consulting Congress ministers, Azad says land diversion order won’t be revoked.
BJP cadres led by legislator Jugal Kishore enforce economic blockade by stopping movement of vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu highway near Nagrota.
Union Water Resources Minister Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz at a public meeting at Yaripora (Kulgam) says Congress not taking PDP pullout threat seriously.
June 25, 2008: Governor N N Vohra takes over Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at a press conference blames PDP ministers Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Qazi Afzal for land transfer.
Two persons killed, 200 injured in valley-wide protests. Seven persons killed in eight days of protests.
Prominent Hindu spiritual preacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says 800 kanals of land transferred to SASB aren’t enough to accommodate lakhs of pilgrims, it’s a beginning.
Azad proposes all-party meet on land row, PDP rejects.
June 26, 2008: PDP sets June 30 deadline for pullout from Coalition Government if land diversion order not revoked.
NC President Omar Abdullah at a press conference calls for revocation of land diversion order.
June 27, 2008: Government orders attachment of Governor’s Principal Secretary Arun Kumar. B B Vyas appointed new Principal Secretary to Governor
Shiv Sena leader Sham Lal Langar at a press conference in Jammu threatens to block the national highway as well as supply of essential commodities to Srinagar, if land diversion order revoked.
June 28, 2008: PDP pulls out of the Coalition Govt.
June 29, 2008: SASB surrenders claim over land as the State Govt. agrees to take over Yatra arrangements.
June 30, 2008: Protests erupt in Jammu. BJP, Shiv Sena, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists block Jammu-Lakhanpur National Highway.
Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS) constituted in Jammu with Leela Karan as its convener
BJP leader L K Advani announces in Bhopal (MP) that Amarnath Land issue would be major national electoral agenda for BJP.July 1, 2008: State cabinet cancels land order but it continues to be under SASB use. Action Committee against Transfer of Land (ACTL) calls off agitation in Kashmir.
Curfew imposed in Jammu following widespread protests over revocation order.
BJP, VHP calls for July 3 Bharat Bandh. “If there is no Amarnath yatra, there would be no Haj also,” VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia declares in Delhi. VHP also called for boycott of all Kashmiri products and goods all over India. “Kashmiri Handicrafts such as carpets, kurtas, scarf, shawls, Kashmiri saffron (Kesar), Kashmiri Apricots (Akhrot) etc. shouldn’t be purchased by the people,” Togadia said.
Petrol Tankers Association President Anan Sharma announces stoppage of petrol supplies to Kashmir valley.
Pro-Jammu political and social organizations hold joint meeting at Duggar Pradesh Party headquarters in Jammu to discuss the modalities of forming a common platform to strengthen struggle for statehood to Jammu region.
BJP State President Ashok Khajuria announces boycott of Kashmiri politicians at a press conference in Jammu
July 2, 2008: Economic blockade begins. BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal block Jammu-Lakhanpur highway at various places.
SASS convener Leela Karan at a press conference in Jammu declares Samiti’s support for economic blockade of Kashmir and also calls for a separate Jammu State.
July 3, 2008: Normal life disrupted in several states following Bharat Bandh by BJP and VHP over Amarnath land row.
Gladni Grid station in Jammu, major supplier of power to the region, suffers extensive damage in a fire incident.
July 4, 2008: Supreme Court refuses to intervene in the revocation of land transfer order while hearing a PIL filed by the Panthers Party supreme Prof Bhim Singh.
July 5, 2008: BJP national President Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitley arrive in Jammu and extend support to the agitation launched by SASS in protest against the cancellation of land allotted to SASB.
July 6, 2008: SASS asks public representatives from Jammu to resign from the Assembly and Parliament and join the movementJuly 7, 2008: Azad skips floor test, resigns as Chief Minister.
July 8, 2008: Curfew lifted from whole Jammu following improvement in situation.
July 10, 2008: Governor’s rule imposed, assembly dissolved.
July 23, 2008: A protester allegedly commits suicide in Jammu demanding restoration of land to SASB; situation gets out of control in Jammu
August 1, 2008: Governor calls all-party meet in Jammu. Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah attacked
August 6, 2008: PM presides over another all-party meet. BJP’s demand for governor’s recall rejected.
August 9, 2008: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil arrives in Jammu with all-party Parliamentary delegation for talks. Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Saif-ud-Din Soz kept out of the meeting after objection by SASS.
August 10, 2008: Shivraj Patil arrives in Srinagar, meets leaders of political parties while denying audience to fruit growers and other trade organizations spearheading Muzafarabad Chalo program.
August 11, 2008: Kashmir traders, Hurriyat and PDP call for Muzaffarabad march to protest blockade; eight persons including separatist leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz killed.
PDP extends support to Muzafarabad Chalo program of fruit growers.
August 12, 2008: Twenty one persons killed across Kashmir valley and Kishtwar as law enforcing agencies open ire on protesters at several places across Kashmir valley.
August 14, 2008: Protests continue. Another youth shot dead at Safakadal, Srinagar.
August 16, 2008: Lakhs of people swarm Pampore to participate in fourth day mourning of Hurriet leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz.
August 17, 2008: NC Patron Omar Abdullah threatens to give up his Parliament seat if use of force against Kashmiris not stopped.
Aug 24: Indefinite curfew was imposed in Kashmir to stop the Coordination Committee (CC) sponsored march towards Lal Chowk tomorrow. Several separatist leaders were arrested and others placed under house arrest.
One person Ghulam Qadir Hakim was killed and his son Mohammad Yaqub critically injured when CRPF opened fire at Dalgate here. The local people said the incident occurred when the deceased and his son were moving in their area to get some milk and bread.
August 27:An 18 hour battle to save a family of hostages,incuding four children from millitants posing as police personnel have ended with the death of a third and last rebel holding out in the house in Jammu.
August 30: The Shri Amarnath Sangharsa Samati asked the state government to reveal its formula for resolving the land disputes.August 31:The two month old pro Amarnath agition ended toay after the government allowed the SASB temporary use of 40 hecatres of land at Baltal.
The 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) today (September 6) granted a crucial waiver to India that will enable it to carry out nuclear commerce, ending 34 years of isolation enforced in the wake of the 1974 Pokharan nuclear tests.
There is a chronology of developments related to the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal:
1968: India refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) on the grounds that it is discriminatory.
May 18, 1974: India conducts its first nuclear test.
March 10, 1978: US President Jimmy Carter signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, following which US ceases exporting nuclear assistance to India.
May 11-13, 1998: India tests five underground nuclear tests.
July 18, 2005: US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first announce their intention to enter into a nuclear agreement in Washington.
March 1, 2006: Bush visits India for the first time.
March 3, 2006: Bush and Singh issue a joint statement on their growing strategic partnership, emphasising their agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.
July 26, 2006: The US House of Representatives passes the ‘Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006,’ which stipulates that Washington will cooperate with New Delhi on nuclear issues and exempt it from signing the Nonproliferation Treaty.
July 28, 2006: The Left parties demand threadbare discussion on the issue in Parliament.
November 16, 2006: The US Senate passes the ‘United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and US Additional Protocol Implementation Act’ to “exempt from certain requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 United States exports of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to India.”
December 18, 2006: President Bush signs into law congressional legislation on Indian atomic energy.
July 27, 2007: Negotiations on a bilateral agreement between the United States and India conclude.
Aug 3, 2007: The text of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy’ (123 Agreement) is released by both governments.
Aug 13, 2007: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes a suo motu statement on the deal in Parliament.
Aug 17, 2007: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat says the ‘honeymoon (with government) may be over but the marriage can go on’.
Sept 4, 2007: UPA-Left committee to discuss nuclear deal set up.
Feb 25, 2008: Left parties say the UPA would have to choose between the deal and its government’s stability.
March 3, 2008: Left parties warn of ‘serious consequences’ if the nuclear deal is operationalised.
March 6, 2008: Left parties set a deadline asking the government to make it clear by March 15 whether it intended to proceed with the nuclear deal or drop it.
March 7, 2008: CPI writes to the Prime Minister, warns of withdrawal of support if government goes ahead with the deal.
March 14, 2008: CPI(M) says the Left parties will not be responsible if the government falls over the nuclear deal.
April 23, 2008: Government says it will seek the sense of the House on the 123 Agreement before it is taken up for ratification by the American Congress.
June 17, 2008: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee meets Prakash Karat, asks the Left to allow the government to go ahead with IAEA safeguards agreement.
June 30, 2008: Prime Minister says his government prepared to face Parliament before operationalising the deal.
July 8, 2008: Left parties withdraw support to government.
July 9, 2008: The draft India-specific safeguards accord with the IAEA circulated to IAEA’s Board of Governors for approval.
July 10, 2008: Prime Minister calls for a vote of confidence in Parliament.
July 14, 2008: The IAEA says it will meet on August 1 to consider the India-specific safeguards agreement.
July 18, 2008: Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon briefs the IAEA Board of Governors and some NSG countries in Vienna on the safeguards agreement.
July 22, 2008: Government is willing to look at “possible amendments” to the Atomic Energy Act to ensure that the country’s strategic autonomy will never be compromised, says Prime Minister Singh.
July 22, 2008: UPA government wins trust vote in the Lok Sabha.
July 24, 2008: India dismisses warning by Pakistan that the deal will accelerate an atomic arms race in the sub-continent.
July 24, 2008: India launches full blast lobbying among the 45-nation NSG for an exemption for nuclear commerce.
July 25, 2008: IAEA secretariat briefs member states on India-specific safeguards agreement.
Aug 1, 2008: IAEA Board of Governors adopts India-specific safeguards agreement unanimously.
Aug 21-22, 2008: The NSG meet to consider an India waiver ends inconclusively amid reservations by some countries.
Sep 4-6, 2008: The NSG meets for the second time on the issue after the US comes up with a revised draft and grants waiver to India after marathon parleys.
I always enjoy my undercover reporting.Whenever I got chance,I went underground.I always fascinated by the stories that most of the beauty parlours in small towns are involved in sex trade.So, to get a first hand knowledge,it was necessary for me to get involved in related trade.Luckily,I got a job as a sales representative for a little known company deals with beauty products.I started visiting various retail outlets and beauty parlours in suburban towns.To my utter surprise, I found that most of the parlours in the outskirts of the city turned into brothels.In ladies parlours presence of male customers puzzled me.Then,I found that these beauty parlours mainly deal with these type of customers.In Howrah,I visited a small ladies beauty parlour.When I approach the ladies inside the parlour,they told me to wait . A small room separated by a curtain.I noticed the movement of shadows behind the curtain.I heard the ticking of the clock hanging in the room.I have been waiting for more than a hour.It was about 7:30 on a warm evening.My curiosity grew,I’ve discovered that ladies indulged in sex with clients.Then a middle aged man,completely drunk, entered the room and told me that customers who visited his parlour didn’t need any beauty products.They only want entertainment.He was right.Beauty parlours in small towns are involved in sex trade because they don’t get steady customers throughout the year and they found that it is lucrative enough to resist.Here I met a young chirpy girl. I want to know her family background.”Don’t tell my husband you called me,don’t tell him you have my phone number”,she begged.Hey,don’t worry, from today you are my close buddy,I assured her.The face of the girl was wreathed in smile.Few weeks later,at about 3 A.M I woke up and headed for the bathroom.When I returned to bed,I got a call from that girl…..She desperately needed help from me.I rescued the girl with the help of a NGO from the clutches of her husband who was a pimp and forced her to enter into the flesh trade .But that’s another story.
I get lots of story ideas by going underground and when possible,I use my insider knowledge to cover a story.