Saturday, April 20, 2013

Whither Annihilation of Caste?

Ram Puniyani
Ram Puniyani

When on this (14th April 2013) anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Babasaheb Ambedkar, we pay tribute to his yeomen services towards the cause of social justice and bringing to fore the values of democracy; we also need to think as to how his dream and vision of annihilation of caste can be taken further. Where do we stand in this direction six decades after the Independence and after the formal implementation of Constitution of India, which gives us the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?

Caste has been the major marker of Indian, particularly Hindu, society. While world over the serfs were under the bondage of feudal lords, we had religiously ordained system of Varna-Jati (Caste). Many theories of caste prevail, the racial theory, superior Aryans versus the natives, now stands debunked. The hypothesis of Morton Klass argues that it was a way of adjusting of tribal to the system of production, which generated surplus. This understanding indicates towards the understanding that caste evolved with the particular system of production in India. Kosambi looks at origin of caste as being due to the continuous process of fusing of tribal into general society. The major contribution to the understanding of genesis of caste comes from Ambedkar as per whom caste-varna came into being due to ideological-religious factors. According to him caste system came into being as the result of ideologies of Dharmshatras, which was part of Brahmanism.

In Indian society the interesting point is that caste is prevalent not only amongst Hindus, it also prevails in other religious communities. The difference being that amongst Hindus, the caste is prescribed in the holy books, while in other religious communities; it is a social phenomenon, like Ashraf, Ajlaf and Arzal amongst Muslims and different denominations amongst Christians and Sikhs. The first challenge to caste system came from Lord Gautam Buddha, who talked of Samta, equality. This concept of Samta, equality became very popular and was accepted by large number of people till Buddhism was attacked and wiped out from India in eighth century by those who wanted to restore the varna-caste. During medieval period the Bhakti saints in particular talked against and questioned the system of graded inequality, but their voice though a powerful articulation of the plight of the low caste, remained just an expression of pain and sorrow of the poor, and was strongly opposed by Brahmin clergy.

The rule of Muslim Kings and British did not change the social structure of the subcontinent, though during British rule due to the industrialization and introduction of modern education, the caste system started being questioned, opposed and socially challenged. The edifice of caste started loosening up. During the rule of Muslim kings the social structure remained intact. With the British rule the half way process of industrialization and modern education came in. At the same time the caste-varna also continued on the side, though its legitimacy started being questioned in a more serious way. In the changed situation starting form Jotirao Phule the movements for caste abolition found grounding in society, though they were not able to uproot the phenomenon of caste in the full measures as the feudal production system ran side by side with the process of modernization. The process of secularization, abolition of the hold of landlord and clergy, remained incomplete and so the process of caste transformation remained half way through.

All the struggles started by Ambedkar aimed for social justice, social equality and democratic values. He led the movements like Chavdar Talab, for right to have access to public drinking water, Kalaram Mandir, right to enter temples and also the burning of Manusmriti, as symbolic of the rejection of religiously ordained caste hierarchy. The resistance to these led to his conclusion that he had to leave the Hindu fold, which is dominated by Brahmanical values of Varna. The social political base to his movements was provided by the national movement, which was aspiring for throwing away the British colonial power and also struggling for democratic values. Here Ambedkar rook off from this movement, but the national movement was not adequate to give him total social justice as this movement also had upper castes in good measure. So here we see the dilemma of Mahatma Gandhi versus Ambedkar. Gandhi was not able to go beyond the limits posed by the participation of all castes in freedom movement. He kept talking of varna system in a more refined form while taking up cudgels against untouchability.

Gandhi also opposed the separate electorate, provided by communal award of MacDonald in 1932. The Poona pact between Gandhi and Ambedkar led to the reserved Constituency and the provisions of reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Ambedkar’s vision was that reservations and inter-caste marriages will be steps towards annihilation of caste. Today both these face serious obstacles on social ground. The rigidity of caste is increasing and inter-caste marriage is facing serious obstacles from conservative forces. While freedom movement led by Gandhi was half way conceding to the needs of dalits, the other ideology, the one of religious nationalism was waiting in the wings with the concept of Hindu Rashtra, Hindu nation. Ambedkar did realize that acceptance of religious nationalism, formation of Pakistan on that ground will be a disaster for dalits as it will pave the way for Hindu Rashtra, the slavery of dalits. Today while most of the commentators are attacking Gandhi, they need to focus more attention to the impact of the politics and ideology of Hindu religious nationalism, which is a major obstacle to caste abolition today.

The reservations for dalits led to newer caste equations. On one hand the section of rising middle class stood to oppose these reservations, tooth and nail. The anti reservation violence has been witnessed in the Gujarat in particular in 1980s. Also since the overall development process is not accommodative of all, the inner competition for reservation has led to a strange situation where different communities are vying for status as a particular reserved category. The overall future for the youth is dismal and it gets reflected in the form of movements for particular castes getting recognized in this or that category. The other major obstacle to caste transformation is the politics of Hindutva. On one hand it talks of Samajik Samrasta (social Harmony), that all castes should have harmony amongst them. The Hindutva’s concept of ‘Integral Humanism’ emphasizes on different castes continuing their professions for smooth social functioning. The social engineering by religious political forces is co-opting the low caste through various mechanisms, to the extent of using them as foot soldiers of their anti minority violence. A section of dalits also is influenced by the process of Sanskritization, aping at upper caste and imitating them for their future trajectory. As a logical corollary; the cultural mechanisms, the TV serials, the preaching’s of hoards of God men are promoting the values of Manusmiriti in a more sophisticated form.

At the same time a serious layer of progressive and dalit intellectuals are trying to restore the core values and principles of struggles against caste-varna. The situation today is very complex and caste as a social phenomenon is far from extinct. Today’s political scenario is a conflict between the values of democracy on one hand, and the values of religious nationalism; the politics representing the defense of caste and gender hierarchy; on the other. The process of social equality; caste annihilation and values of democracy need to be brought in through a fresh series of multilayered struggles for a truly democratic society. That alone will be a tribute to the life and work of the legend of this great visionary, Bhimrao Babsaheb Ambedkar.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I# llegal Construction on Wakf property by #MIM Leader#

Monday, 15 April 2013
Hyderabad, April 15:
Osman Bhai
Deccan Wakf Properties Protection Society (DWPPS), has demanded state government to intervene in the illegal construction taken up by the MIM leader and brother of Malakpet MLA Abdullah Balala in old city.
Osman Bin Mohammed Alhajiri, president, DWPPS, stated here in a press conference on Monday, that there is a notified Wakf property situated at Motigalli, Khilwat in old city, bearing Municipal No. 20-4-231 described as Maqbera Nawab Kawanjah Bahadur, on which an illegal construction had been validated by one MIM leader. He said that the accused was Shah Faisal Bin Abdullah Balala who is doing realtor business, being MIM corporator and a brother of Malakpet MLA.
He alleged that Balala had excavated the area, which was up to an extent of about 500 sq yards and bulldozed the tomb and grave of Nawab Kawanja Bahadur, who was the son of third Mir Akbar Ali Khan Foulad Jung Sikandra Jah Bahdur the Asif Jah III.
He criticised that government has so far not taken steps to protect the particular wakf property and unable to restrain the illegal construction undergoing upon the grave and tomb. He expressed anguish that in spite of several representations forwarded to Wakf Board and GHMC, no action had been taken against the accused realtor.
He informed that the society was forced to approach Andhra Pradesh State Wakf Tribunal also for seeking necessary action and justice.
The meet was attended by DWPPS secretary, Mohd. Abdul Basith, legal advisor Syed Kareemuddin Shakeel. (NSS)

#Turned away by hospital staff, woman gives birth near drain#

SALEM, April 15, 2013
Staff Reporter


Laxmi with the newborn. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Couple allege an employee demanded money to attend to her

In a shocking incident, a 27-year-old woman was delivered of a baby near a drain after she was forced to leave the Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital here on Sunday, as she could not pay Rs. 1,000 allegedly demanded by an employee in the maternity ward.
Laxmi, her husband, Samuel (30), and two children, Venkatesh (5) and Naveen Gopal (2), who hail from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, had been in the city for the past two years.
The couple, working as labourers, used to take shelter on the veranda of Corporation’s Commercial Complex on the Old Bus Stand premises at night.
When Laxmi developed labor pain at around 4 a.m., Samuel with the help of a 55-year-old woman Bannari reached the hospital by foot.
Laxmi was allotted a bed in the maternity ward at around 5.30 a.m. An employee allegedly demanded money for the delivery. As the couple did not have money, they were forced to leave the hospital. With the help of Bannari, Laxmi was delivered of a male child at around 11 a.m. near the drain on the Commercial Complex premises.
Members of the media fraternity who rushed to the spot called the 108 ambulance and the mother was admitted to the maternity ward, while the child was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Dean Dr. R. Vallinayagam told The Hindu that an inquiry would be conducted on Monday.

#Perarivalan’s plea to be heard through video-conferencing on Monday#

CHENNAI, April 15, 2013
He sent telegram to CIC following execution of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab
S. Vijay Kumar
The Central Information Commission (CIC), New Delhi, will hear the petition of A.G. Perarivalan alias Arivu, one of the three convicts facing death penalty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, through video-conferencing on Monday. The hearing pertains to a Right to Information (RTI) petition filed by him seeking to know the grounds for the rejection of his mercy petition by the President, sources in the Prison Department said. Perarivalan and the other two convicts, Murugan alias Sriharan and Santhan, are lodged in the Vellore Central Prison in Tamil Nadu.
Perarivalan had petitioned to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2012 asking for the reasons why the President rejected his mercy petition. Since there was no response, he sent a telegram to the Chief Information Commissioner stating that his plea should be treated as urgent and heard on priority.
“The telegram was in the backdrop of the secret executions of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab. The hearing through video-conferencing will take place on Monday and Perarivalan will explain how he was denied access to certain crucial information relating to his case,” Rajiv Rufus, one of the advocates for Perarivalan, told The Hindu on Sunday.
Recalling the petition of advocate K. Mayilsamy in 2011 to the President’s Secretariat and the MHA seeking, among things, the copy of the mercy petition rejected by the President and copies of the complete correspondence, file notings etc., relating to the mercy petitions filed by Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan, Mr. Rufus said the CIC had given specific directions to the respondents that they should provide the copies of the mercy petitions that were rejected and disclose copies of the file notings not forming part of the ministerial advice to the President after removing the names and other references regarding the identities of the public servants.
Despite the specific directions, the MHA had not disclosed certain vital documents. For instance, on Page 25 in the bunch of documents given by the MHA, it had been mentioned that no investigation was conducted about the bomb supposed to have been used in the case and that the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Authority (MDMA) was directed to enquire into it, he said. The MHA said it might seek the MDMA’s comments on the making of the bomb before processing the mercy petition. “But we have not been given any copy of the correspondence conducted by the MHA with the MDMA of documents showing the results of such an investigation conducted by the MDMA...,” he said.

Also, the MHA had failed to supply any document pertaining to the correspondence with the Tamil Nadu Prison Department relating to the conduct of the convicts in prison. This correspondence to ascertain the behaviour of convicts on death row was part of a normal procedure while processing their mercy petitions, Mr. Rufus added.

#SC seeks explanation on govt ads glorifying political #leaders#

New Delhi, April 15, 2013
The Supreme Court has issued notice to Centre and State governments on a plea seeking its direction to restrain them for spending public money on glorifying political leaders through advertisements on their birth and death anniversaries.
A bench of justices C.K. Prasad and V.G. Gowda granted four weeks time to governments to file their response.
The court passed the order on a plea of an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seeking its intervention on the issue as crores of tax payer’s money are spend by the governments and public sector units to glorify personalities of ruling political parties by way of advertisements.
“It is submitted that the Governments and State instrumentalities are continuously and in routine manner misusing the public funds to glorify personalities of ruling political parties by way of advertisements,” advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said.
He said “such a blatant and misuse of public fund by Governments in routine manner is not only breach of public trust and violation of the rule of law but it is also damaging the democratic set up of the country.”
“The political parties in power are blatantly squandering taxpayers’ money to highlight their achievements and to glorify their leaders of present or past. Such a practice is either aimed to avail unfair advantage in elections by political parties or to assert loyalties towards the political leadership of the party in power. This wasteful and wholly unnecessary exercise cannot be justified in any manner,” the petition said.
The bench, after hearing his plea, issued notice and asked the governments to file response within four weeks.

#US aid to India set to drop # by 16% #

PTI  Washington, April 15, 2013
First Published: 15:37 IST(15/4/2013) | Last Updated: 15:40 IST(15/4/2013)
US Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a 16% cut in the American aid to India, reflecting the transition from a traditional "donor-recipient" relationship to a "strategic partnership" between the two countries.
"With respect to India, for the fiscal year 2014, the State Department request is $91 million. This represents a 16% decrease from the fiscal levels 2012 (the previous actual spending)," a senior State Department official said.
This is in continuation of the trend that has emerged over the past few years.
In 2010, the United States aid to India was $126.7 million, which drooped to $121.6 million in 2011 and $108 million in 2012 and was proposed to $98.3 million in the current fiscal of 2013, which ends on September 30.
"That (drop in US aid to India this year) reflects the ongoing transition we had under way from the more traditional donor-recipient kind of relationship to much more of a strategic partnership," the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
"It is a partnership that is addressing India and increasingly global developmental challenges. I think the signature initiative there is the Agency for International Development Millennium Alliance," the official said.
Of the US aid to India, the largest portion - two/third - of that is slated for the health sector.
"The biggest programme is in global health. About $61 million is going to the health programme. India still has quite a number of health challenges," the official said.
In 2012, the US aid to India in the health sector was some $76 million.
Overall the State Department budget request for FY-2014 was $47.8 billion, which is a six% cut from the previous FY-2012 of actual spending.

#TN adopts resolution to name new terminal after# MGR#

#TN adopts resolution to name new terminal after# MGR#

Chennai New Terminus

File Photo of the modernised domestic terminal II at Chennai airport. 

The resolution moved by Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa demanding the Centre to name the Chennai domestic terminal II after former CM MGR was supported by Opposition DMK and Congress, which ensured its passage unanimously.

The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday adopted a unanimous resolution demanding that the Centre name the modernised domestic terminal II at Chennai airport after AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran.
The resolution moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was supported by Opposition DMK and Congress, which ensured its passage unanimously.
Ms. Jayalalithaa explained the need for passing of the resolution by the House, saying Civil Aviation Minsiter Ajit Singh recently suggested to her that the State government besides making a request for naming the second terminal after the late Chief Minister, its State Assembly should adopt a resolution and send it to the Centre for consideration.
Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that she boycotted the inauguration of the new terminal by Vice President Hamid Ansari on January 31, 2013 to protest against the Centre for not conceding the State government’s demand for naming it after M. G. Ramachandran.
MGR was a popular leader among the masses in the State even after his demise and the “Assembly insists that Indian government should take steps to name the second terminal of the modernised domestic terminal II at the airport,” after the late leader, Ms. Jayalalithaa stressed while speaking on the resolution.
She recalled that the international and domestic terminals had earlier been named after former Chief Ministers, the late C. N. Annadurai and K. Kamaraj, respectively.
Keywords: Chennai domestic ariport, new terminal, Tamil Nadu resolution, M. G. Ramachandran

#Zakia moves court, challenges clean chit to Modi in #Gulbarg massacre#

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, April 15, 2013
Zakia Jafri, wife of slain former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri - who was killed along with 68 people during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat - on Monday filed a protest petition in a local court in Ahmedabad challenging the clean chit given to the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT which probed the case.

“She has filed two volumes of petition and 10 CDs containing documents and other evidence. The court has directed the SIT to first argue on the matter from April 24,” a lawyer connected with the case said.
She has also demanded that the SIT report should be scrapped and another probe be undertaken by some independent agency.

Ever since the SIT headed by former CBI director Dr RK Raghavan gave a clean chit to Modi, Zakia has maintained that the SIT has “overlooked evidence she and others had presented during the court of investigation”.

She had also accused the SIT of adopting a biased and partisan approach against the victims who are fighting an unyielding legal battle against the accused.

She wants Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and over 60 others to be arraigned as accused in the massacre case in which a former parliamentarian was put to death in broad daylight.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

#Karunanidhi reiterates # demand for abolishing death penalty#

Chennai, April 13, 2013
DMK president M. Karunanidhi
 Renewing his demand for abolishing death penalty, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi on Saturday made a fresh pitch for a state cabinet meeting to adopt a resolution recommending commutation of the death sentence awarded to three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
“Our stand is that capital punishment should be abolished and should be taken off the law book,” Mr. Karunanidhi said, recalling his remarks that the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan should be commuted on humanitarian grounds.
“If the state government has to approach the problem truly, it should not just stop after adopting resolutions in the Assembly, but pass a resolution in a cabinet meeting and send it to the Governor,” the DMK patriarch said.
His statement comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed death row convict and Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s plea for commutation of his death sentence in a judgement that can have a bearing on the fate of over 20 convicts facing execution, including those held guilty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.
On the apex court’s observation that commutation of death sentence to accused cannot be done in the case of terrorists or those involved in mass killings on the ground of delay in deciding their mercy plea, Mr. Karunanidhi said in a statement “it has come as a very big shock to many expecting the verdict as well as our thinking.”
Mr. Karunanidhi cited the example of Thyagu, whose death sentence, he said, was commuted during his government’s tenure. “When we see that Thyagu has now become a writer and essayist, is publishing books and has become a respectable man in society, we should give a life to Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan and should use them for society,” he said.
The DMK chief has been repeatedly pressing for abolition of capital punishment.
His earlier comments in this regard came against the backdrop of the hanging of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru which triggered a fresh debate on the death penalty issue.
He had also virtually backed the demand for a CBI probe into the 1993 Palar landmine blast case in which four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan are facing the gallows.
The four got a temporary relief in February this year with the apex court staying their execution on their plea seeking commutation of the sentence citing delay of eight years in disposal of their mercy petition by the President.

#Kunda DSP murder: CBI arrests key accused#

Pratapgarh (UP), April 13, 2013
A CBI team visits the Balipur village to probe the killing of DSP Zia-ul-Haq at Kunda in Pratapgarh district. File photo
 CBI on Saturday arrested a key accused in DSP Zia-ul-Haque murder and claimed to have cracked the case.
Babloo Yadav, son of slain village head Nanhe Yadav who allegedly shot Haque dead using a country-made gun, was apprehended here, CBI sources said.
The sources said CBI has detained two brothers of Nanhe Yadav and members of his domestic staff in connection with the DSP’s murder and is likely to arrest them soon.
The sources claimed Babloo, who is over 19 years of age, has, during intense grilling by CBI officials, confessed to have shot the police official. The officials were able to reproduce the complete chain of events which took place on March 2, 2013.
Asked about role of UP minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, in the murders, they claimed the probe in the larger conspiracy is still on.
CBI sources claimed Haque, who was posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police at Kunda, had reached the house of Nanhe Yadav after getting the news of his murder.
By the time he approached the site, the news of Yadav’s murder had spread and a large crowd gathered outside his house which was angry at the alleged apathy of the police and protested the police’s alleged failure to stop the murder.
At the house of Nanhe Yadav, Haque met a mob which entered into a scuffle with him while his fellow policemen allegedly deserted him, the sources said.
In the crowd was Yadav’s brother Suresh who was armed with a rifle. As the scuffle was on, Suresh was killed after his gun accidentally went off, they said.
CBI sources claimed that enraged by the killing of his father and uncle Suresh Yadav, Babloo Yadav, who had a country-made gun, came out of his house and shot Zia-Ul-Haque dead who was being beaten up by a mob.
The sources claimed role of other suspects -- brothers of Nanhe Yadav and his domestic help -- is also under probe and they are being questioned by the agency.
The sources said agency has recovered the weapon, allegedly used in the killing Haq, from Babloo.
The agency has already arrested alleged killers of Yadav -- Ajay Pal and Vijay Pal -- both sons of Kamta Pal who is also a suspect in his murder and is absconding, they said.
The Pal family was having land dispute with Nanhe Yadav’s family which resulted in village head’s murder, they claimed.
The case was handed over to CBI on a request of slain DSP’s wife Parveen Azad who accused Raghuraj Pratap Singh of having a role in the murder of her husband. She had also filed an FIR in this regard naming Raja Bhaiya and his close aides in the murder.
After getting the case, the agency constituted a team of 10 officers led by DIG Anurag Garg and SP Rakesh Rathi to investigate the case.
The team had recently made some important recoveries which included a blood-stained ammunition belt from a box concealed in a house of Suresh Yadav, one of the deceased, a bloodstained wooden rod from another area in the village and service revolver of Haque.
Kunda circle in Pratapgarh district comprises four police stations -- Hathigavan, Manikpur, Kunda and Nawabganj.
CBI has registered four cases pertaining to the three murders in village Balipur, police station Hathigawan in Kunda tehsil which included FIR registered by Haque’s wife Azad who had named five persons as accused in the murder of her husband.

UPA #vulnerable after DMK pullout, elections around the corner: Pawar#

UPA #vulnerable after DMK pullout, elections around the corner: Pawar#

PTI  Thane, April 13, 2013 
Key UPA ally NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said the Centre's ruling coalition had become "vulnerable" after DMK's pullout and that elections were around the corner.
Pawar, Union agriculture minister, also said since Congress was the majority party in the UPA, his party would respect its view on the alliance's prime ministerial candidate.
"UPA's position has become vulnerable after DMK's pullout. We have to prepare and plan for elections. I have suggested to the UPA chairperson to convene a meeting to discuss this and she is also of the same view," Pawar told reporters.
Amid conflicting voices on who should be the UPA's candidate for prime minister's post, Pawar said the coalition's spearhead Congress would have to take a call.
"Compared to the last time, UPA has shrunk. It is only the Congress, NCP and National Conference. Majority party has to take the call. We will respect the majority party's view," he said.
Pawar's statement follows similar hints by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had last month asked his partymen to gear up for a mid-term poll, citing a "confidential" report.
"I have come to know about a confidential report which says that elections will be held in November. You people start preparing for them," he had said addressing party workers in Lucknow.
The Samajwadi Party with 22 MPs and BSP with 21 are providing crucial outside support to the government and bailing it out in times of crises.

#1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon awarded Master's degree in # English Literature#

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 13,
Yakub Menon
Yakub Memon, the only convict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case whose death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court, has been awarded a master's degree in English literature by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Memon is lodged in the Central Prison in Nagpur. Alongwith him, seven other convicts, who are serving life-terms, were awarded IGNOU degrees yesterday.

The main convocation was held in New Delhi while a simultaneous function was held at the university's Regional Centre in Nagpur.
Memon, however, could not attend the convocation as police authorities refused him permission.

Dr Shivswaroop, Regional Director, IGNOU, told PTI that if the jail authorities permitted, he would like to hand degree certificate to Memon personally.

Memon, a qualified chartered accountant, cleared the MA examination with second division last year.

News sourced by

Saturday, April 13, 2013

#CBI's 'coalgate' probe report vetted by govt, BJP demands SIT# probe

By PTI | 13 Apr, 2013
Arun Jaitly
Photo caption:Arun Jaitley also charged the govt with "interference in the administration of justice" by not allowing CBI to acquaint the apex court with the full truth.

NEW DELHI: The coal scam resurfaced today following reports of alleged government interference in CBI investigations with the BJP demanding an SIT probe into it but the Congress firmly rejected the charge and also ruled out the resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley targeted the UPA by accusing it of being a "rogue government" that will not allow CBI to function independently and demanded constitution of a Special Investigation Team.

He also charged the government with "interference in the administration of justice" by not allowing CBI to acquaint the apex court with the full truth in the case.

"CBI cannot find out the truth and even if some honest officer in the CBI tries to find out the truth, the UPA is a rogue government which will not allow it to operate independently," Jaitley said.

His Lok Sabha counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, criticised the government for "vetting" of the CBI report and said it is part of "an attempt to save Prime Minister Manmohan Singh".

JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari also termed the reports as "very serious", saying this is contempt of court. "Supreme Court is asking CBI to submit its report and government is toning it down. This is for the first time to my knowledge that such a thing is happening."

The Opposition's attack on the issue came in the wake of reports that Law Minister Ashwani Kumar summoned CBI Chief and the report was changed and toned down after the meeting.

Unfazed by the attack, Congress rejected the charge of interference in the preparation of CBI report in the coal scam for the Supreme Court and ruled out resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar in this regard.

"There is no question of resignation of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar. Supreme Court has already asked CBI to file an affidaviat in this regard. CBI will file its affidavit and truth will come out," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

The CAG, in its report last year, had estimated a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in allocation of coal blocks since 2004.

#Civil Services main exam to be held in #Nov-Dec 2013

Union Public Service Commission

New Delhi:
The Civil Services (Main) examination will be held in November or December this year and applications for it will be called in August or September, according to a notification issued by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). 
The UPSC, which conducts the prestigious examinations to select IAS, IPS and IFS officers among others, has in a recently issued public notice dropped the mandatory English language paper from the main test. 
It has also restored the earlier practice of two qualifying papers, the marks obtained of which will not be counted for ranking. 
"The papers on Indian languages and English will be of matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking," it said. 
The UPSC had on March 05 issued a circular giving more weightage to English language. The move had led to an uproar inside and outside Parliament forcing the government to keep it in abeyance on March 15. 
"It may also be noted that there is no change in the pattern of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, which will be held on May 26, 2013," it said. 
The last date for filling online application for Civil Services preliminary examination is April 04. 

# Why not honour Mirza Ghalib with Bharat Ratna after death? asks# Markandey Katju

PTI | Apr 13, 2013
Mirza ghalib
New Delhi: Classical Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Ghalib should be honoured with the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna, PCI Chairman Markandey Katju has said.
"There has been injustice with Urdu in the country. People associate a particular religion with this language. This is a 'divide and rule' policy. A few people know that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh writes his speech in Urdu.
"I believe Mirza Ghalib should be given Bharat Ratna posthumously. If Sardar Vallabhai Patel and B R Ambedkar can be given awards after their deaths, why can’t Ghalib be given?" Katju said at the 15th edition of 'Jashn-e-Bahar', an Urdu poetry symposium attended by poets from India, Pakistan, the US and other countries, here last night.
Union Minister Kapil Sibal, known for his penchant for poetry, read out two of his poems at the event.
"Urdu, if propagated, will spread love and peace. India will be incomplete if it doesn't take Urdu in its stride. Urdu is not a language of the intellectuals; it is of the common man. I believe English, Hindi and Urdu should be taught in every school.
There should be Google (version) in Urdu, also mobile handsets should have Urdu letters," Sibal said.
The open-air seating against a candle-lit stage with modern calligraphy by late painter M F Husain, was in sync with the mood of the evening. Among the foreign participants who drew wide applause were Max Bruce (the US) and Hiroji Kataoka (Japan).
Veteran Urdu poets believe such mushairas (poetic symposiums) help in flourishing the language. "In fact, non-Muslim families are helping a great deal in the process. It is time that Muslim families make their own children learn Urdu," poet and Vice-Chairman of National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, Waseem Barelvi said.
JBT founder Kamna Prasad echoed similar views.
"It is time to come together and petition the government that Urdu teaching be made compulsory at least till Class V. We can only suggest. But it's our responsibility to make sure that our coming generations are familiar with our composite culture," she said.
The event witnessed a youth, affiliated to Hindu Yuva Vahini, shouting slogans against the participation of Pakistani poets. He was taken out of the venue by police.