Massacre of 11 people of Indian origin in Port of Spain


Bounty on Guyanaese Indians’ killer

Port of Spain: The government of Guyana has offered a reward of $150,000 for fugitive Rondell Rawlins, who is believed to be behind the massacre of 11 people of Indian origin last Saturday. 

     An official of the Guyana Police Tuesday confirmed that Rawlins, a former soldier of the Guyana Defence Force, was on the run and all efforts were being made to capture him dead or alive. 

      There are reports that he is dead, but police cannot confirm this. Guyanese of Indian origin are in a state of shock since the Saturday massacre of the 11 people in Lusignan village, about 15 km from capital Georgetown. Most residents of the village are of Indian origin. 

     Police believe that Rawlins, who belongs to the Buxton community that is dominated by Guyanese Blacks, is behind the murder of the people. 

     The Buxton community is known as the hotbed for racial strife, killings and protests against the Indian-led government. And Rawlins had last week allegedly threatened mayhem if the Georgetown Criminal Investigations Department (CID) failed to find his pregnant 19-year-old girlfriend, who has gone missing. 

      The ethnic Indian community has launched protests, condemning the government for failing to offer them safety and security. President Bharrat Jagdeo has sought assistance from the United States and other developed nations to provide more aid to the country’s impoverished security forces.
 
     The roughly 3,000 police officers and 2,000 soldiers of the country are ill equipped to handle the threat posed by increasingly brazen gangs.

Kidney sale by desperate parents


     Patna: At a time when an international kidney sale racket on the outskirts of Delhi is making headlines, the impoverished parents of a toddler suffering from blood cancer in Bihar say they are willing to sell their kidneys to raise money for his treatment.

     Amarjit Rai and his wife, residents of Shahpurpatori in Samastipur district, about 100 km from here, are desperate to sell their kidneys to save their only son, Sunni, who has blood cancer.

     They have been roaming the streets of Samastipur looking for prospective buyers over the past few days. They require Rs.250,000.

The couple is desperate. “Sir, I am ready to sell my kidney for the treatment of son,” Rai told IANS.

He left his native village along with his wife and son last week to hawk his kidney for money in the state capital.

“Our kidneys are up for sale. But we will sell them for not less than Rs.250,000,” Rai said. A landless farmer, Rai was working as a rickshaw-puller in Delhi till last year to earn a livelihood for his family.

Rai said his son developed health problems after a quack (doctor) in Delhi administered some medicine that had expired.

“Since then, my son has been ill and when we consulted the Delhi-based Hindu Rao Hospital for treatment, the doctors told us that he was suffering from blood cancer,” Rai said.

Doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital as well as those in Patna said the treatment was costly and “would not be possible without money”.

“I returned from Delhi along with my family because life in the capital was expensive. I made efforts to raise money, knocked on all doors but everything failed. Now I have no option but to sell a kidney for my son’s treatment,” Rai said.

Like thousands of poor people in rural Bihar, Rai migrated to Delhi in search of a livelihood and worked as a rickshaw puller. But he was forced to return to his native village after his son was found suffering from blood cancer.

Rai’s son Sunni was admitted to the children’s ward of the Sadar Hospital in Samastipur Monday for treatment and doctors assured him of help.

“They promised to arrange for a medical loan of Rs.25,000 for initial treatment. But it will not meet the cost of treating blood cancer,” Rai said.

(The author can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in) 

SC grants succession right to live-in partner


SC grants succession right to live-in partner  

Ruling Despite Man’s Wife Being Alive  

Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN  New Delhi:

     Setting a precedent, the Supreme Court has granted succession certificate to a woman after the death of the man she was living with and despite the fact that his legally-wedded wife was alive. 

        This gives a new twist to the concept of live-in relationship. In the past, the court had repeatedly shown inclination to assume valid marriage between a man and a woman who lived together as husband and wife for ‘long years’ without specifying the inheritance rights of the woman in such a relationship.

        In this judgment, the court gave succession certificate to the live-in partner on the ground that the children born out of the relationship were legitimate disregarding the fact that the man had a legally-wedded wife, who never lived with him.

        One Vidyadhari had lived for a long time with Sheetaldeen and gave birth to four children from him. After the death of Sheetaldeen, Vidyadhari claimed succession certificate on the basis of her being mentioned as the nominee by him in the provident fund and life insurance policies.

        After the death of Sheetaldeen, both Vidyadhari and his legally-wedded wife, Sukharna Bai, filed petitions before a Madhya Pradesh trial court seeking right of succession to his properties.The trial court rejected Sukharna Bai’s claim, but the high court reversed the decision saying there was no evidence to substantiate Vidyadhari’s claim that there was a customary divorce between Sheetaldeen and his legally-wedded wife. After reaching this finding, the HC had held that Sukharna Bai alone was entitled to the right of succession and not Vidyadhari. 

        An apex court Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar came to the rescue of Vidyadhari and said though the HC was right in reaching the conclusion about subsisting marriage between Sheetaldeen and Sukharna Bai, it was wrong in denying succession certificate to Vidyadhari for the purpose of collecting provident fund and life insurance amounts.
   Whatever be the status of Vidyadhari, there was no doubt about the legitimacy of the four children born out of her relationship with Sheetaldeen, said Justice Sirpurkar, who wrote the judgment on behalf of the Bench.

       “No doubt Vidyadhari herself claimed to be a legal heir which status she could not have claimed, but besides that she had the status of a nominee of Sheetaldeen. She continued to stay with Sheetaldeen as his wife for a long time and was a person of confidence for Sheetaldeen who had nominated her for his PF, life cover scheme, pension and amount of life insurance and other dues,” he said.

Congress MP on camera assaulting police


Cop attack: Bhadana PSOs suspended

     New Delhi: Two Delhi Police constables deployed as Personal Security Officers (PSO) of Faridabad’s Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana have been suspended after it was learnt that the PSOs allegedly assaulted Delhi Police inspector Vimal Kumar on Sunday night at Taj Mansingh Hotel.

      The MP Bhadana too has been caught on camera assaulting the police officer when he was stopped by him while handling the security of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. 

        The police CCTV footage obtained from the hotel staff showed Bhadana assaulting Kumar along with his men. He was joined by men in Khaki and other people when they were assaulting him.

      The two constables, identified as Vishnu Dutt and Vinod Kumar, have been placed under suspension. ‘‘It has also been learnt that there were four more security officers from Haryana police who were present with Bhadana and all of them had assaulted Kumar.

      The CCTV footage has been seized and will be used as evidence,’’ said a senior officer.
   A case under has been registered at Tughlaq Road police station. TNN

A TRUE HERO


A TRUE HERO  

Singh Happy With Noble Act, Rues Labourer’s Death  TIMES NEWS NETWORK  New Delhi:

      Would you risk your life for a stranger? The thought did not even cross 20-year-old Happy Singh’s mind as he jumped into a 12-ft ditch in Malviya Nagar to save the life of a labourer working on a sewer line there.
   On Wednesday morning, Singh was at home when he heard a commotion of men screaming and women crying for help.
   Said Singh: ‘‘When I heard everyone shouting that a boy had fallen into the pit, I just jumped into it. I didn’t even have the time to think of the consequences. If someone is in need of help, how can you turn your back on him? I did just what I would expect anyone to do for me, if I was in such a situation.’’
   Singh, who stays with his parents in H-block, helps out in the family’s jewellery business. Residents of the area said that this was not the first time that the 20-year-old had risked his life for a stranger.
   As Satyapal Gulati, RWA president of the area, pointed out: ‘‘There was an accident in our colony sometime back. Happy was the first one to pitch in with help. He rushed the injured boy to the hospital. We are all very proud of him. Very few people would have the courage to risk their lives like this.’’
   Singh, who suffered minor bruises while trying to rescue 20-year-old Ashok Kumar, has just one regret that the labourer could not be saved. Once inside the pit, Singh had started out by digging the mud under which Kumar lay buried.
   He was helped by the policemen, who came 15 minutes later, and the fire fighters who had by then arrived at the scene.
   Said Singh: ‘‘I am just sad that I couldn’t do more for the labourer and Kumar passed away. It is unfortunate that no lessons are learnt by government agencies even as people continue to get hurt by falling into open ditches. A few days ago, another labourer had fallen into the pit and hurt himself.’’
   toireporter@timesgroup.com

MCD: Negligence bordering upon criminal carelessness


New Delhi:

Negligence bordering upon criminal carelessness on the part of civic agencies and contractors hired by them led to the death of a labourer in Malviya Nagar on Wednesday — 20-year-old Ashok Kumar fell into a 12-ft sewer which he was digging along with 14 other labourers.

     Forget safety equipment for workers, there was not even a rope at the site to pull him out of the ditch. And precious moments were lost waiting for the fire-fighters to arrive with help.
   Residents of H-7 block said this was not the first time that someone had fallen into the under-construction sewer and hurt himself — as there were no barricades — but that obviously had not served as a wake-up call for the contractor laying the sewer line for the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

        Said RWA president Satyapal Gulati: ‘‘Ten days ago, a labourer had fallen into the sewer and hurt himself, while another one had injured his eye. No barricades had been put up around the pit to prevent people from coming near the area and no safety equipment had been provided to workers.’’

        Said Ajmer Singh, elder brother of the deceased: ‘‘After the first mishap, we were all scared to work, but the contractor forced us to work. We had no option. Not even a rope was provided to pull my brother out of the pit.’’ The fire brigade arrived an hour after the accident and a rope was provided by them to pull Kumar out. 

        It was only after Kumar’s death that barricades were finally put up around the pit. The police have arrested the contractor, Atam Prakash, for causing death due to negligence. However, the loss of life could have been easily avoided if it wasn’t for apathy of officials concerned.

     Said Gulati: ‘‘We had complained several times to DJB officials about the risks involved in carrying out digging without putting up proper barricades, as anyone could have fallen into the pit. Even earlier, a little boy had fallen into one such pit being dug up by DJB in the area. In that case, the work was at least completed the next day.’’ 

         Said Bhupinder Kaur, a resident: ‘‘I have two small children and I don’t let them play unsupervised, as they might fall into the pit. It is sad that no value is attached to a person’s life. Though we had approached various agecies, nothing was done in terms of precautionary measures.’’
   Even the councillor of the area had apparently alerted the DJB about the risk posed by the open sewer. Said councillor Mudita Gupta: ‘‘After the incident, I tried contacting DJB officials, but to no avail. I even tried getting in touch with them months before, looking at the security risk the open pit posed, but got no response.’’

        Work on the sewer line had begun one and a half months ago after residents of H-8 and H-12 blocks complained of contaminated water flowing out of their taps. The dirty water was causing various ailments among the elderly and children. The DJB had hired a contractor to lay the sewer line. When contacted after the death of the labourer, its officials were quick to pass the buck.

      ‘‘Since the work was contracted out, we are not responsible for providing safety equipment. We have not received any complaints from residents of the area,’’ said a DJB official. 

        As for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), they were quick to point out that they had not granted permission to DJB to carry out digging in the area.

     On their part, the DJB official said: ‘‘We have not got any formal letter from MCD to carry out work here, but we have paid them about Rs 4 lakh as road and restoration charges. Normally, in cases where the financial implication is not huge, informal permission is taken from MCD.’’
   

Unified Traffic and Transportation Centre


     THE UNIFIED Traffic and Transportation Centre set up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has finally become operational.

     The centre – set up following the direction of Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna – will coordinate with different civic agencies who are in the process of planning or implementing over a dozen transport projects in light of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

      “The centre will help in better coordination between different agencies so that various projects are implemented fast and in a time bound manner. At present there are so many different agencies like MCD, PWD, NDMC, DMRC and NDMC involved in various transport projects that coordination has become a problem. This centre will be the unified apex coordination body,” said a DDA official.

     The DDA Board approved the setting up of the Centre in December 2007. “The centre will not only be responsible for preparing inventory of corridor wise traffic and transportation issues, traffic management strategies and enforcement guidelines but will also develop protocols and norms for signages, street furniture, lighting, signals, hoardings, roadside landscape, zebra crossings, pedestrian passages, commuter facilities,” said a senior DDA official.

      The agencies with whom the traffic centre will coordinate includes MCD, PWD, NDMC, NHAI, Traffic Police, DTC, DMRC, Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transport Services, Ministry of Surface Transport, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, airport Authority of India, Central road Research Institute, Centre for Science and environment and School of Planning and Architecture (SPA).

      The centre is headed by Delhi L-G and will have DDA vice chairman and senior officials from the agencies concerned as its member