Politicians in India take recourse to Astrologers, Babas, Gurus, many of whom have turned out to be the power behind the throne. Dhirendra Brhmacharis and Chandra Swamis are dime a dozen.
’Secular’ politicians are no less in need of ‘spiritual guidance’. Come election time many are the poor innocent goats and chicken that are slaughtered, to provide ‘victory’ at the hustings.
May be there is something about NOIDA that is really dangerous to Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh. Records indicate that CMs who visited NOIDA paid heavily, The heaviest price that can be demanded from a politician. The loss of his/her chair.
Noida ‘jinx’ keeps Akhilesh away
Ayaskant Das TNN
Noida: With Akhilesh Yadav inaugurating infrastructure projects in Gautam Budh Nagar on Tuesday without actually visiting the city, political grapevine is abuzz that the CM chose to stay away fearing the ‘Noida jinx’.
The jinx, as per political circles, has in the past caught up with several chief ministers of UP, including Veer Bahadur Singh, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Kalyan Singh and Mayawati, who lost their chairs soon after visiting Noida.
The young CM, who rode to power projecting himself as a tech-savvy environmental engineer, gave in to superstitions when he preferred to inaugurate the Yamuna Expressway last year by the press of a button from Lucknow.
Despite the Samajwadi Party’s grand attempt at an image makeover during their fresh term in office, political observers say that Akhilesh would at best be viewed as a chip of the old block if he continues to avoid Noida purely for superstitious reasons. The party, which had promised the ban of computers as part of their election manifesto of 2007, has actually been distributing free laptops and tablets to students after storming to power in 2012.
“In these circumstances, Akhilesh’s decision to skip Noida just because of a superstition is an aberration from the party’s new stand,” said an SP insider.
Akhilesh’s fear is not wholly unfounded as the ‘jinx’ has had its effect on the Yadav clan too in the past. Samajwadi Party chieftain, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had visited Noida as UP chief minister in 1995, lost the polls that were held immediately thereafter.
As per political circles, the fear of the jinx is so well entrenched that Rajnath Singh, former BJP chief minister of UP, had chosen to inaugurate the DND flyway from the Delhi side in 2001 without visiting Noida.
3,000 MT PDS wheat goes missing in two districts
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Lucknow: More than 3,000 metric tonne of wheat meant for distribution through the public distribution system is reportedly missing from public godowns in Gorakhpur and Maharajganj. The incident came to light on Sunday following which the divisional commissioner Gorakhpur districted the districts magistrates of the two districts to probe the incident and register FIRs in connection with the incident.
Gorakhpur divisional commissioner K Ravindra Nayak confirmed on Sunday that 3,000 metric tonne of wheat has been found missing from the stocks of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government godowns situated in the two districts. “The DMs of Gorakhpur and Maharajganj have been directed to register FIRs in connection with the missing wheat stock and also independently inquire into the entire issue,” K Ravindra Nayak said.
In all, 3,106 metric tonne wheat was found missing from the two districts of which 1,402 metric tonne of wheat was untraceable from Maharajganj alone. “The stocks have gone missing during transit from FCI godowns to the state owned godowns,” Nayak said.
Sources in Gorakhpur quoting initial findings of the probe being conducted into the missing stocks said that there are indications of a well organised racket behind the incident and that this is not the first incident of disappearance of foodgrains during transit.
“This time however the difference was that it came to light before the stock registers of the respective godowns could be taken care of,” said a source privy to the entire racket in Gorakhpur.
11-yr-old girl held in Pak on blasphemy charge
Islamabad: An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested in the Pakistani capital on a charge of blasphemy after she was accused of burning pages of the Quran, police said on Saturday.
Officials of Ramna police station said an FIR had been registered against Rimsha Masih, a resident of Umara Jaffar in Sector G-12 in Islamabad. The girl was arrested on Friday by personnel from a women’s police station after a man named Syed Muhammad Ummad filed a complaint against her.
However, an NGO named ‘Christians in Pakistan’ reported on its website that the girl has Down Syndrome and had been falsely accused of burning 10 pages of the Quran. The NGO said other Christians living in Sector G-12 had been “threatened by extremists” who wanted to burn down their village on Friday. It said some 300 people had left their homes and were in hiding.
The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) is providing assistance to people who have left their homes.
National harmony minister Paul Bhatti, who is also chairman of the APMA, has contacted Islamic clerics and police to bring the situation under control.
Rights activists have urged the government to reform or repeal the controversial blasphemy law, which they say is often misused to persecute minorities like Christians.
Federal minister Paul Bhatti’s brother Shahbaz Bhatti, who was the minister for minority affairs, was gunned down by extremists in Islamabad in March last year after he called for the repeal of the blasphemy law. PTI
Zardari to Sindh: Frame law to stop forced conversions
Against the backdrop of reports of mass migration of Pakistani Hindus to India, President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the Sindh government to frame a draft law to amend the constitution to prevent forced conversion of the minorities in the province. The president’s decision came after he was briefed about the concerns of Hindus by his sister Faryal Talpur, a PPP lawmaker and Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah. Zardari directed Shah to form a committee under to prepare the draft law to amend the constitution. PTI
Twin suicide attacks targeting security forces kill 23 in Pak
At least 17 people have been killed in a suicide attack targeting security forces and several other incidents of violence took place in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Sindh provinces, officials said on Saturday. In Sharifabad area of Quetta, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Frontier Corps check post, killing five people, including three soldiers.
In Karachi, the capital of Sindh, a fresh wave of violence erupted on Friday night when five men eating at a hotel were gunned down, while seven others were killed in different areas of the port city. PTI
”Because of the heroic action of our officers, they stopped this from being worse than it could have been.”
Edwards says the officers responded to a 911 call, where they found a victim. Their officer, a 20-year-veteran, was ambushed and shot multiple times by the suspect. The officer is in surgery now. “We expect him to recover,” Edwards says.
”Another officer on the scene was engaged by the suspect,” Edwards says. “Our officer engaged that individual and that individual is deceased from actions our officer took. … It could have been a lot worse.”
”It has taken all day to clear the area… we have numerous individuals that are deceased at this point.”
Edwards says the FBI will be handling criminal incident.
“We’re treating it as a domestic terrorist type incident.” Edwards said there were seven deceased and “three injured including our officer.”
The chief has no info on the suspect: “I don’t have any information for you on the suspect.”
The chief takes questions:
He’s asked what he means by “domestic terrorism”: “Domestic terrorism is somebody who’s doing some active terrorism within the US. Not from another country.”
He’s asked about the weapon: “The weapon is not yet known. Not clear if multiple.”
He’s asked if the temple is clear: “No one left in the temple. That is a crime scene.”
Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi speaks briefly: The city is outraged. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. We are thankful for the officers who responded. He pledges cooperation
5.26pm: The Oak Creek police chief described how the suspect in the shooting was killed.
A 20-year veteran of the police force responded to a call of a shooting at the temple and found a victim outside. While treating the victim the officer was ambushed by the gunman and shot multiple times. A second officer then shot the gunman dead.
The officer shot by the gunman is in surgery and is expected to recover.
The chief, John Edwards, said he has no information on the suspect but described the incident as a “domestic terrorist-type incident,” meaning perpetrated by a US citizen within the United States.
5.34pm: Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said three were wounded in the shooting, including the veteran police officer who was among the first to respond.
Among those who were shot was the president of the temple, Satwant Kaleka, who was taken to a hospital.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal has reported that the temple president, Satwant Kaleka, was shot and transported to the hospital.
5.36pm: Police Chief Edwards said he had no information on the suspect, who was killed at the scene, in what he called an act of “domestic terrorism.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes a temple member on the shooter’s identity:
One of the temple’s committee members, Ven Boba Ri, said that based on communication with people inside the temple, the shooter was a white male in his 30s.
5.40pm: Oak Creek community members are organizing a vigil tonight for the victims of the shooting and their families and loved ones.
A Facebook page for the vigil is here. A message on the page calls on community members to “come together for a vigil and spread peace and show support for the victims and family members of the Sikh Temple Shootings.”
The vigil is scheduled for 8pm at Cathedral Square Park in Milwaukee.
5.46pm: Local law enforcement met with leaders of the Sikh temple in Oak Creek last year following a series of disturbing crimes apparently targeting Sikhs in the area.
The Oak Creek Patch reported last August:
State Rep. Josh Zepnick and District Attorney John Chisholm visited the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, 7512 S. Howell Ave., on Sunday to discuss public safety issues in the Sikh community.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, president of the Sikh Temple, requested the meeting after the July 4 melee in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, according to a news release from Zepnick’s office. Those incidents included the looting of at least one Sikh-owned business.
Singh Kaleka told local officials that what was seen in Riverwest has become too common at gas stations and convenience stores owned by members of the Sikh community. Many businesses and workers have been the victims of robberies and vandalism, he said.
6.00pm: A man interviewed outside the temple has told local WISN newsthat the shooting victims may have been members of the temple who came early to help prepare a large community lunch to be held after services.
Two children were the first to see the shooter outside the temple and the first to warn temple members what was happening, the witness said.
“It was a boy and a girl who were sitting outside. The girl was from the family who was hosting the lunch today. The first shot that the shooter took was just like some firework [the children thought].
“He shot the two people who actually came out of the cab and they were entering the church. These two kids [ran inside and alerted members].”
The witness said he spoke to the children and they described the gunman:
“One guy, blue pants, white shirt, white guy, little heavy, who was taking these shots.”
“People who got injured were mostly employees of the church” who’d arrived early to prepare lunch, he said.
The name of the interviewee was not supplied by WISN.
6.03pm: The man interviewed by WISN news who had been inside the temple said that after the shooting started “it was chaos.”
“There are four sections to the church,” the interviewee said. “One for the shoes. One where we worship. One for community lunch where everybody sits and eats food.”
“There were some families who locked themselves in the bathroom. There were some who locked themselves in the kitchen area.”
The man says he does not think the shooting was motivated by hatred of religion:
“I don’t think this person has anything to do with religion. He just came out and started shooting like all other psychos we have heard about who have done other things in the past.”
6.10pm: Local news station WISN is at Froedtert hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A reporter says one victim was shot in the neck and is in surgery. One is shot in abdomen and chest. One is shot in face and arm.
6.14pm: Residents are being evacuated from the neighborhood of Cudahy, Wisconsin, WISN reports.
Milwaukee police and the FBI are active in the area. Residents have not been told why they are being evacuated, WISN reported.
Cudahy is near Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport. WISN speculated that police were investigating the suspect’s residence.
6.21pm: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted Sunday that he told President Obama that the FBI was “part of an excellent team effort of local, state & federal authorities on site.”
Appreciated the call from the President. It is a sad day for the Sikh community, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and America.
Walker’s office later released this statement:
While the situation in Oak Creek continues to develop rapidly, we are working with the FBI and local law enforcement. I became aware of the situation late this morning and continue to receive updated briefings.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, as we all struggle to comprehend the evil that begets this terrible violence.
At the same time, we are filled with gratitude for our first responders, who show bravery and selflessness as they put aside their own safety to protect our neighbors and friends.
Tonette and I ask everyone to join us in praying for the victims and their families, praying for the safety of our law enforcement and first responder professionals and praying for strength and healing for this entire community and our state.
6.36pm: The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organization in the U.S., has released a statement with background information about the temple, or Gudwara, in Oak Creek:
The Gudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin was founded in 1997 and had over 400 peaceful worshipers that worked and lived in the greater Milwaukee area. The Gudwara, known as being a wonderful neighbor, had come to represent the valued contributions of the Sikh faith in a community where Sikhism was understood to be another contributing fabric in the cloth of American plurality.
The impulse is to assume that the attack is a hate crime, coalition director Sapreet Kaur is quoted as saying:
There have been multiple hate crime shootings within the Sikh community in recent years and the natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case. Let’s let law enforcement investigate the case and as new facts emerge the dialogue can change. Americans died today in a senseless act of violence and Americans of all faiths should stand in unified support with their Sikh brothers and sisters.
The coalition statement supplies statistics on Sikhism:
With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 500,000 followers in the U.S. For more information on Sikhism please visit our website here.
6.41pm: Jaisal Noor has put together a report for Democracy Now! onviolence and harassment against the Sikh community since 9/11.
The violence began directly after the 9/11 attacks, on Sept. 15, 2001, when Balbir Singh Sodhi, a gas station owner, was murdered in Mesa, Arizona, by a man who apparently wanted revenge for the attacks and associated Sikhism, which originates in India, with the mutant Islam associated with the attacks, with its roots in Saudi Arabia.
6.47pm: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that law enforcement authorities have arrived outside of a home in Cudahy, Wisc., a town about 5 miles north of Oak Creek. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also reportedly outside the home.
7.00pm: We’re going to wrap up our live blog coverage of the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. We have just published an updated news item here. Here’s a summary of where things stand:
• A gunman killed six victims and wounded three, including a police officer, at the temple before being shot dead by a second police officer. The three wounded were being treated at hospital and were expected to survive.
• Authorities were at the scene of a home in the Milwaukee area believed to be connected with the shooter.
• The gunman was described by a man who spoke to eye witnesses as white, in his 30s, “a little heavy,” wearing blue pants and a white shirt. He is believed to have acted alone. Police said “weapons” were recovered inside the temple but had no further information.
• A man at the temple told local news station WISN that two children saw the suspect shoot two people exiting a taxi outside the temple. The children, who were unharmed, then ran inside to warn congregants about the shooter.
• The Sikh Coalition noted an impulse to assume the act was a hate crime. Sikhs have regularly been singled out for hate crime attacks since 9/11.
Please visit the Guardian US home page for further updates.
IN a clear case of racism and home grown terrorism six innocent Sikhs were killed and three wounded in a deliberate killing by a white man .This is not the first time that Sikhs have been targetted by white Americans.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Seven dead in shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin
By Brendan O'Brien
OAK CREEK, Wisconsin (Reuters) – A gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple during Sunday services before police shot him dead in an attack that authorities are treating as an act of domestic terrorism.
|A distraught women is helped to a car outside of the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin August 5, 2012. A shooting during Sunday services at the temple left at least seven people dead, including a gunman, and at least three critically wounded, police and hospital officials said. REUTERS/Tom Lynn|
Witnesses said the gunman opened fire when he entered the kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee at about 10:30 a.m. CDT (1530 GMT) as women prepared a Sunday meal, sending worshippers fleeing to escape the barrage.
The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities did not release his identity.
Four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three, including the gunman, were killed outside.
The gunman ambushed and shot a police officer who was responding to a 911 call and helping a shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman.
Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims’ identities and descriptions were not made public.
The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated.
Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighbourhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening. Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block.
A police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.
Temple member and U.S. Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion.
Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction. Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said.
Singh said the eyewitnesses described the shooter as a white man who was either shave-headed or bald.
Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards said.
“We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist incident,” he told reporters. Officials had no details about a possible motive.
Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the neck.
The Oak Creek shooting was the latest in a series of suburban U.S. gun rampages. Organizations fighting gun violence rate Wisconsin’s gun safety laws from low to moderate. There are no limits on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor on the possession or transfer of assault weapons, according to the Law Centre to Prevent Gun Violence.
Sunday’s attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.
”The gunman is worse than the one at the theatre a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community,” said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple.
Some witnesses at the scene had said there was more than one gunman, but Edwards said reports of multiple gunmen were common in incidents that involved only one shooter.
”We believe there was one but we can’t be sure,” he said. Officers finished sweeping the temple only after hours of searching, and Edwards said the investigation was just starting.
President Barack Obama said he was “deeply saddened” and pledged his administration’s commitment to fully investigate the shooting.
Obama was briefed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and FBI director Bob Mueller and told the situation at the temple was “under control.”
“The president said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh community,” the White House said in a statement.
SIKHS IN U.S.
The Indian embassy in Washington said it was in touch with the National Security Council about the shooting and an Indian diplomat had been sent to the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
The Sikh faith is the fifth-largest in the world, with more than 30 million followers. It includes belief in one God and that the goal of life is to lead an exemplary existence.
The temple in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, was founded in October 1997 and has a congregation of 350 to 400 people. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 by Islamist militants, Sikhs have sometimes been confused publicly with Muslims because of their turban headdress and beards.
Members of the Milwaukee Sikh community complained to police and a state representative last year about an upturn in robberies and vandalism at Sikh-owned gas stations and stores.
In September 2001, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot dead by a man who was said to be seeking revenge on Muslims for the hijacked plane attacks on the United States.
Phoenix police said they were in contact with local Sikh leaders and had increased patrol presence around the three temples in the city until further notice.
New York police said they were increasing security at Sikh temples as a precaution. There are no known threats against temples in the city, they said in a statement.
Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition civil rights organization, said Sikhs had been the target of several hate-crime shootings in the United States in recent years.
”The natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case,” he said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Writing by Ian Simpson and Chris Michaud; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
Local Sikhs react to shooting
Faithful pray for victims
Updated: Sunday, 05 Aug 2012, 9:52 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 05 Aug 2012, 7:27 PM CDT
Kelly Schlicht, FOX 11 News
MENASHA – Local Sikhs at this temple in Menasha cut their worship services short Sunday, their private prayers and frightened concerns going to those who may have been involved in the shooting in Oak Creek.
“Maybe my friend’s there, maybe my uncle’s there. I don’t know what happened there but I’m begging right now please help us and stay with us,” asked Bhagwant Singh Balli, the priest at the the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley.
Bhagwant Singh Balli says members of the congregation found out about the attack on the temple near Milwaukee shortly after it happened. He and other temple leaders broke the news to the faithful.
“We heard the news and we were very saddened. We shortened the service and encouraged all members to go home and be in a safe place and pray to god that everything works out,” said Kamaljit Singh Paul, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Menasha temple.
The priest at the temple in Menasha says he’s been here for about six years and they’ve never received any threats or had any acts of violence.
As a precaution, Menasha police were called to check on the temple Sunday morning. Everything was ok.
A Sikh organization in Milwaukee says after the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, four acts of violence were reported against Sikhs in the Milwaukee area. Local Sikhs want others to know their beliefs, and their message of non-violence.
“I want to explain to everyone that we are not Muslim. We are Sikh community,” explained Balli, pointing out a common misconception. “We try to live peacefully and we give them message to live peace. This is our main congregation meaning.”
The leaders of this temple say the word “Sikh” means student—One who is always learning. Now they wait anxiously to learn the full impact of this tragic situation on their community statewide.
There’s a hotline number for family and friends of potential victims to call for more information. That’s 1-888-298-1964.
Local Sikh leaders say they’ll be meeting tomorrow morning to discuss safety issues for their temple. They’re not sure when services will resume as usual.
7 killed as gunman opens fire at Wisconsin gurdwara
12 Kids Taken Hostage, Say Reports
TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES
Random American gun violence erupted in a Sikh gurdwara outside Milwaukee in Wisconsin on a quiet Sunday morning, claiming the lives of at least seven people. Early reports spoke of a white Caucasian male who opened fire indiscriminately amid reports that 12 children had been taken hostage. At least 20 people were injured, three of them critically.
The gunman was shot dead by the police who rushed to the scene after 911 calls. “An officer arrived on the scene, engaged the shooter and was shot multiple times,” Greenfield police chief Bradley Wentlandt said. “That shooter was put down.”
Preliminary reports said there were at least three gunmen involved but the police said they have not yet identified if there was any additional shooter. Wentlandt said four people were gunned down inside the gurdwara while three, including the shooter, died outside the shrine. The identity of the victims were not immediately known.
President Barack Obama was briefed by his counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan on the situation.
The Indian embassy in Washington DC said it was seized of the situation and was in touch with the National Security Council. “Our consulate general in Chicago too has been in close touch with the local authorities to monitor the situation. An official has been deputed to visit the site to ascertain the situation on the spot,” the embassy said in a statement.
Sikhs Seethe Over Gurdwara Attack In US
One Of The Dead Believed To Be A Priest From Delhi Visiting Wisconsin
Sikhs have been targets of random, occasional violence and discrimination in the aftermath of 9/11 although the Obama White House has engaged more with the Sikh community than any other US administration in history.
Obama himself has been deeply respectful of the faith and has hosted events to honour the Sikh Guru Nanak Dev and celebrate other Sikh events. But things have been spotty at the workaday level with occasional complaints from Sikh organizations about discrimination.
Sikhs reacted angrily to the shooting with some snide comments about white, majority terrorism.
“Waiting for a US news network to get the guts to call this what it is — home-grown terrorism,” said Gagan Singh who tweets under the handle þ@urbanturbanguy.
Scores of people had gathered at the gurdwara in Oak Creek, built about 6-7 years ago, on Sunday morning when a gunman opened indiscriminate fire.
On Sundays, typically Sikh temples across the US host a langar to serve free lunch to people of all faiths.
The local police chief described the scene as chaotic and fluid and urged the media not to broadcast photos or video showing tactical units, which could put officers in danger.
One of the dead was reported to be a priest visiting from Delhi but this could not be confirmed.
TERROR AT TEMPLE
Sikh rights groups have reported a rise in hate crimes in the US since 9/11 attacks as community members were mistaken for Muslims; over 700 incidents recorded
Sept 2001 | A Sikh gas station owner shot dead in Mesa, Arizona July 2004 | A Sikh severely beaten outside a New York restaurant March 2011 | Two Sikhs fired upon in Sacramento, leaving one dead and the other in critical condition
A Sikh MTA employee suckerpunched in a moving train in NY by a man who accused him of being related to Osama bin Laden
Shameful Attitude of PSU Banks
Students in need of funds to pay college fees are denied loans by banks on the flimsiest grounds while thousands of crores are swindled by politicians and businessmen in the guise of loans.
Extracts from an analysis by GURPUR on NPR is appended to indicate the magnitude of frauds in banks.
LEFT IN THE LURCH
First-gen students fight for bank loans
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Chennai:DespitetheCentre’s directive to nationalized banks to extend educational loans to eligible candidates without any collateral, many banks are reluctant to do so, it has been revealed. This year, more than 100 first-generation students in the state who had scored more than 80% in their Class12examination and allottedseatsin engineering colleges are struggling to get admission because banks have refused to provide them loans without abona fidecertificatefrom the college concerned, a citybasedNGO revealedon Friday.
D Sherin of Velicham, an NGO, said: “Students attending engineering counselling have to pay an advance of 5,000.After theseatis allotted, the students have to pay the college fees within 15-20 days, failing which the seats are forfeited. Students alsocannot apply for bank loans without bona fide certificates from collegeswhich providethecertificates only after the full annualfeesis paid.”
A student from Thiruvallur, who scored 1,121 out of 1,200 in the Class 12 examination, said: “The college asked meto pay 72,000before getting theloan andsaiditwould give a bona fide certificate after paying the fees. But banks are not willing to provide loans without the certificate. So my parents have to borrow from private lenders at a huge interest.”
“Colleges should provide bona fide certificate immediately after admissions to help students procure bank loans,” Sherin said. “Students allotted engineering or medical seats in counselling should be admitted in colleges and given time to get financial aid from the government. Some privatecolleges are charging more than whatis prescribed.”
“Many brilliant poor students are facing difficulties to getloansfrom banks and many of them attempt suicide,” she said. Velicaham has set up a helpline (No. 9698151515) for thosein distress.
BAD LOANS IN PSUS
”The bad loans of public sector banks grew by a whopping 56% during 2011-12. This has little to do with slowdown and points to a deep systemic malaise. Assuming that the government wants to do something, what steps need to be taken? And what should investors do? “
The Iceberg: Restructured Advances
“Besides NPAs, every bank has a sizeable portfolio of restructured advances, not included in the NPAs at present. Restructured advances are those that were prevented from being classified as NPAs by rescheduling them by giving extended holiday for repayment of loaninstalments as well as interest to give the borrowers some more time to meet their commitments. Until 2001, these restructured accounts were considered NPAs, but to provide reprieve to banks and borrowers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) magnanimously took a decision to permit these loans to be treated as standardCredit assessment in PSBs is inadequate………”
” Decisions with regard to large value loansusually get clouded by internal and or external pressures. It is often said that the large value loans in PSBs are often fixed in advance—much like match-fixing. This puts public resources at risk for the personal gain of industrialists with political clout. The ‘cash forloan’ scam unearthed last year revealed how this works. Most loans that are granted under (political or corporate) pressure often turn into NPAs within about a year……..”
: Most often, financial mismanagement by borrowers results in loan defaultDebt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) are specialised courts for speedy disposal of recovery cases filed by banks. There are 33 DRTs in the country with as many as 67,000 cases involving over Rs1,36,000 crore pending before them as on 31 March 2012…….”
“The fact is corruption has affected DRTs too. Cases are deliberately dragged on either due to the interests of the parties or simply incompetence of the judges, giving the impression that DRTs are overloaded with work. If the speedy disposal of cases makes some of this disputed Rs1,36,000 crore available to the banks within the next two years, the government will not have to pump additional capital into banks. This will save taxpayers’ money and bring down fiscal deficit substantially…….”
30% power lost to theft, politics
Reforms Suffer At The Hands Of Ineffecient Distribution Networks
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: More than 30% of the power produced in the country is lost to theft and inefficiencies in the state distribution networks as politics prevents speedy implementation of steps needed to stop the slippage.
Now, the country has 205 gigawatt of generation capacity. At 30%, it works out to around 60,000 MW or nearly the same load that the northern, eastern and the northeastern grids were carrying when they tripped at 1pm on Tuesday.
So if the slippage is even halved, there would be enough power to light up Delhi for a week. Indeed, distribution is the weakest link in India’s power story, with a loss figure that stood at 38.86% in 2000-01. It was then called T&D (transmission and distribution loss).
Since it was not able to capture all the losses in the network, the concept of AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) loss was introduced. It was supposed to have captured technical as well as commercial losses in the network and reflect a true picture of the total losses in the system.
But ironically, massive modernization has brought down the technical loss in inter-state and inter-region transmission networks, operated by Central utility Power-Grid Corporation, to a little over 1%. This is the global standard. But states continue to lag, with several still reporting double-digit loss rates —some notching 30% even a decade after the Centre launched Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme in 2001 for reducing AT&C losses.
The idea was to reduce the losses to below 15% in five years in urban and high-density areas. But the commercial loss of the state utilities has only reduced from Rs 29,331 crore to Rs 19,546 crore. As percentage of turnover, however, it has reduced from 33% in 2000-01 to 16.6% in 2005-06.
On the surface, it is because of inadequate investments over the years for improvement, unplanned extensions of distribution lines, overloading and lack of adequate reactive power support. But scratch the surface, and the real culprit turns out to be politics.
In an era of coalition politics and fragmented polity, parties are loathe to administering strong medicines for fear of upsetting their perceived vote banks.
POWERLESS & CLUELESS
Over Half Of India’s Population Reels Under World’s Biggest-Ever Blackout,
Minister Gets Promotion
Sanjay Dutta TNN
North, East & Northeast Grids All Trip
New Delhi: It was a Terrible Tuesday that 684 million Indians are not going to forget in a hurry. In the world’s biggest blackout that affected one-tenth of the global population, 21 states and Union Territories went on the blink after threearterial power lines collapsed at 1pm.
The northern, eastern and northeastern regions suffered the outage when their respective grids collapsed in quick succession with devastating effect. The blackout disrupted life, rail and air services as well as industrial production across sectors.
Even as the country was reeling under the outage, power minister Sushilkumar Shinde was moved out to the home ministry, and Veerappa Moily given the additional charge of power — a move that hardly indicated seriousness on the government’s part in dealing with the crisis.
Some 300 miners were trapped in coal mines. Two hundred miners were evacuated from mines in Bengal while another 65 were rescued from Dhanbad in Jharkhand. The miners had gone in for the first shift and got stuck when the grid collapsed. More than 300 trains were affected. Many others may be cancelled.
WAYS TO FIX THE MESS
1 Price power properly so that state utilities have money to buy power
2 Check theft and account for every unit of electricity produced. Cut out free power 3 Get regulators with teeth. Currently, most are ineffective retired IAS officers
4 Invest in building new power plants, give them remunerative tariff, revamp existing plants
5 Plan for the future – for 10-20 years, not for 5 years
TIMES VIEW Moving Sushilkumar Shinde out of the power ministry now is like changing the captain of the Titanic when it’s reeling after hitting a giant iceberg. The country is in the midst of an unprecedented power crisis.
For two days in a row, the grid has collapsed. This doesn’t cover Shinde with any glory. Yet he’s promoted as home minister. Even if that’s ignored, what’s pertinent at this point of time is that Shinde is likely to have some clue about the power problem; a new minister – who will be holding additional charge of the portfolio – will possibly have none.
So, what does the change indicate? The irrelevance of ministers? Never mind who’s in charge, the net result is the same?
Editorial from TOI
To prevent recurrent blackouts, impose grid discipline
British journalist Mark Tully once wrote a book called No Full Stops in India. He may have reckoned without this week, when northern as well as eastern India were brought to a grinding halt by successive grid failures.
Power was affected in 20 states in all. That meant, in effect, that for more than the country essential services such as hospitals, trains and Metros stopped functioning while traffic lights went on the blink. That it happened not once, but twice shows that it cannot be dismissed as a one-off incident.
Lack of power holds back India’s industrial take-off, and prevents it from making the kind of strides in reducing poverty that China or East Asia have. In addition, cataclysmic failures due to a weak distribution system throw ordinary life out of gear. Unless we can summon up the political will to make systemic changes, this is going to happen again. The current collapse has been brought about by grid indiscipline, with states like UP, Haryana and Punjab overdrawing power.
It’s surely unhealthy that due to excesses of a few states, vast swathes of the country should go dark. But that’s incentivised by a system which imposes light penalties on states that overdraw. Not only should heavier penalties be charged to such states, regional load dispatch centres should be empowered to disconnect them from the grid, if that’s what’s needed to prevent grid failure.
The circumstances of disconnection, which can be overseen by an independent regulator, should be precisely defined and rigidly adhered to, in order to insulate the process from political pressure.
In addition, much can be done to boost India’s power capacity. Throw open the generation, transmission and distribution of power to more competition, which introduces efficiency. Often insufficient coal supply for thermal power plants is the problem. Coal India’s monopoly over mining coal needs to be broken, which will bring efficiency in the production of coal as well.
Power theft, which receives political patronage but disincentivises the huge investments needed by the power sector, must be curbed. Can a national consensus be created on these issues, or do we require more grid collapses for that to happen?
40 Surgeries Put Off as Water Crisis Deepens
No Washing, Cleaning At Many Hospitals
Durgesh Nandan Jha TNN
New Delhi: The severe water shortage in the city has begun to take a toll on urgent health services. At Bara Hindu Rao, the largest municipal hospital in the city, more than 40 surgeries were cancelled over the past week because water could not be arranged for the procedures.
Doctors at the hospital said there was no water to sterilize instruments, wash the operation theatre, clean the linen, even wash hands — without which surgeries
could not be conducted.
At other hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Ambedkar and Safdarjung, patients said they were having to buy water from outside for most of their needs as hospital taps ran dry. Washing and cleaning, a vital function in hospitals to prevent infections, has mostly been abandoned at many institutions.
Toilets were stinking at a number of hospitals and doctors on night duty said they were having to carry their drinking water because there was no water in the wards.
At Bara Hindu Rao, the worst days were Monday and Tuesday. “We had to reschedule some routine surgeries but emergency services were not affected. We called in water tankers to manage the problem. The supply has been restored now,” said Dr Ravi Gupta, additional medical superintendent of Bara Hindu Rao Hospital.
A senior gynaecologist at the hospital said 10 surgeries in the department were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. “The patients were asked to come later,” she said.
Malls shut loos, turn down ACs
Mall outings to escape the summer heat are no longer such a good idea. Faced with severe water scarcity, malls such as Select CityWalk, DLF Place, DLF Promenade and Ambience Gurgaon, which see heavy footfalls over the weekend, have turned down or switched off air-conditioning and closed washrooms. “We had to close a section of the washrooms, but we managed to tide over the crisis. ACs were running on and off,” said a Select CityWalk official. City feels the heat as taps run dry, lights dim Patients Buy Water From Outside At Government Hospitals
New Delhi: Water scarcity in the city has severely affected the services at government hospitals.
At Bara Hindu Rao, the largest municipal hospital, more than 40 surgeries were cancelled over the past week because water could not be arranged for the procedures.
At other hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Ambedkar and Safdarjung, patients had to buy water from outside as hospital taps ran dry. Washing and cleaning, a vital function in hospitals to prevent infections, had mostly been abandoned at many institutions..
A doctor at Bara Hindu Rao said, “As it is, the waiting period for operations in departments such as urology, surgery and orthopedics has gone up because the main OT has been partially closed since January for repairs. The water crisis will aggravate the problem.”
Doctors said they are giving preference to emergency cases and to outstation patients. Sources said Bara Hindu Rao witnesses water crisis every year during the peak summer, but this time the shortage was more acute because of the Wazirabad water treatment plant not receiving its quota of raw water from Haryana.
“The government and hospital authorities should make arrangements for uninterrupted supply,” a doctor said.
Dr Promila Gupta, medical superintendent at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya hospital, said the hospital has been facing water problems for more than a month. “No emergency services have been affected. But yes there is a problem,” Gupta said.
A resident doctor at Safdarjung hospital said doctors were having to carry their drinking water during night duty. “There is no facility of clean drinking water in thewards and patients have to buy water from outside,” he said.
At the 64-bedded B R Sur homeopathic medical college and hospital in south Delhi’s Moti Bagh, patients said water supply to the toilets was irregular. Hospital authorities said they are managing the daily needs through tankers.
TheDJB attributes the severe shortage to curtailment of raw water supply by Haryana to the Haiderpur and Wazirabad treatment plants.