The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

May 27, 2009

Probe against Narendra Modi in Gujrat riots begins

The Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) has finally begun a probe into the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during post-Godhra riots.

The role of Modi apart from other senior bureaucrats and politicians would be under investigation. The SIT officials today met Zakia, the widow of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, who was brutally killed in Gulbarg Society during the riots.

Jafri had tried to call senior officials but to no avail. The communal carnage in Gujarat that had caused death of thousands of Muslims, had drawn international attention and was termed as a genocide.

It was alleged that violent mobs comprising RSS, BJP, Bajrang Dal, VHP and Shiv Sena activists were allowed a free run and the police remained mute spectators to the massacres across the state.

However, the Supreme Court took cognizance of the plight of the riot victims and ordered to re-open 10 major cases. This included the Best Bakery case, the Gulbar Society and the Naroda Patia killings.

During the recent probe the SIT had put up charge sheet against former BJP state minister Mayaben Kodnani, who was arrested for her alleged role and complicity with the rioters.

TIH Bureau

May 25, 2009

Punjab tense over firing in Sikh Gurdwara in Vienna

Tension was reported from several parts of Punjab after the incident involving clash between rival groups in a Gurdwara in Austria's capital Vienna that left 30 injured.

Sikhs who were opposed to the sermon of a visiting Indian preacher, whipped out knives and other weapons. At least, three gunshots were fired. Though they were overpowered by the rest, nearly 30 persons were wounded in the scuffle.

Around 200 worshippers were present in the Gurdwara then. The local police reached the Gurudwara and took the injured persons for medication. The condition of one of them was critical. "Six persons didn't agree to the sermon delivered at the Sikh temple", said a police official.

In Indian Punjab, followers of Dera Sachkhand Ballan took to streets and blocked traffic in various cities. Curfew was imposed in Jalandhar and police were on the alert across Punjab.

The activists of the Ambedkar Sena and other Dalit organisations along with supporters of Dera, resorted to arson and stone pelting to protest the attack on their Sant in Austria.

TIH Bureau

Samajwadi Party expels Azam Khan

Samajwadi Party on Sunday expelled dissident leader Azam Khan for anti-party activities including his campaign against SP candidate from Rampur in Lok Sabha elections.

He has been shunted out for a period of six years. One of the founders of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Khan had been at loggerheads with Amar Singh. He was actively campaigning against against Jaya Prada.

Though SP supremo Mulayam Singh had tried to intervene but Khan had even stopped taking his phone calls. Azam Khan had been claiming that he was opposed to the SP's support to BJP leader Kalyan Singh.

Kalyan Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. However, Khan's chief opposition was with actress Jaya Prada, as he felt that she was fielded from Rampur, to hurt his political career.

TIH Bureau

May 20, 2009

End of LTTE: Velupillai Prabhakaran found dead

One of the most fierce terrorist organisations in the world, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been defeated and its chief killed by Sri Lankan army.

For nearly a quarter century, Prabhakaran had run a parallel government. Born as a movement against the chauvinist Sinhala politicians who discriminated against the Tamil, LTTE seized control over a vast area.

The Eelam had unleashed a reign of terror in Sri Lanka and the insurgency had caused the death of over 100,000 persons other than tens of thousands of military personnel and LTTE cadre.

Prabhakaran wanted a separate homeland for the ethnic Tamil population in the island nation. For three decades Prabhakaran carried out numerous attacks on Sri Lankan government, its premiers. ministers, officials and establishments.

Long before the word 'fidayeen' again became popular in modern era, it was the LTTE's suicide bombers who had wreaked havoc in the country. They attaked air bases and blew up planes.

It was an LTTE suicide bomber Dhanu alias Thanu who had caused the death of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, for sending forces to Sri Lanka. However, sustained government action against LTTE had reduced the group to a small territory.

With Sri Lankan army capturing the last foothold of LTTE, the dream of Tamil nation has ended. V Prabhakaran was found dead on Monday. The Sri Lankan government confirmed his death today. His body bore a bullet injury in the head.

Though section of Tamil diaspora vows to fight for the rights of Tamils, it's clear that the era of insurgency has ended. Not much is known about his family, but it is understood that his son also fell to an army bullet and died.

TIH Bureau

May 19, 2009

Cop shot on Mecca Masjid blast anniversary

Unidentified miscreants shot at two Home Guard personnel, killing one of them while injuring the other, on the second anniversary of the Mecca Masjid blast.

The persons riding a motorcycle shot at the policemen in Falaknuma locality of Hyderabad. A hitherto unknown organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A pamphlet recovered from the spot that was signed by the Tehrik said that the attack was a revenge for the blast and the police firing on innocent Muslims after the incident.

The police said that it was the handiwork of a terror module. Recently, the Andhra Pradesh government had accepted that several Muslim youths were mistakenly arrested for the Mecca Masjid blast.

TIH Bureau

May 17, 2009

Lok Sabha election 2009: Losers & winners

Prominent leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan, Renuka Chaudhary, Vinod Khanna, Vinay Katiyar and several other politicians suffered unexpected defeat in the general elections.

Paswan, a Dalit leader, who had been in the Parliament for 25 years, lost in his pocketborough Hajipur. His party Lok Janshakti was wiped out of the state and didn't win a single seat.

RJD's Lalu Yadav, who contesed from two seats, lost from Patliputra. He, however, will be seen in the Lok Sabha, as he won from Saran. Bollywood actor turn politician Vinod Khanna lost from Gurdaspur.

BJP's vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi lost the election from Rampur. His namesake Mukhtar Ansari of BSP was defeated in Varanasi. Senior leader Renukha Chaudhary lost from Khammam in Andhra Pradesh.

One of the firebrand leaders of Ram Mandir movement Vinay Katiyar suffered a humiliating defeat in Ambedkar Nagar. MDMK leader V Vaiko, BJP's Rajiv Prasad Rudy and Congress leader AR Antulay also lost the election.

Actress Jaya Prada won from Rampur while cricketer Azharuddin was elected from Moradabad. Asaduddin Owaisi won the AIMIM's traditional seat Hyderabad by defeating Zahid Ali Khan.

HD Devegowda, Shashi Tharoor, Shatrughan Sinha also managed to win their seats. Mani Shanker Aiyer lost the election but P Chidambaram was later declared a winner from Tamil Nadu.

TIH Bureau

May 16, 2009

Congress wave ends Advani's PM dream

The dream of BJP leader LK Advani to become the Prime Minister of India, was shattered with the revival of Congress in most parts of the country, including UP.

Advani was aggressively projected as Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP-led NDA coalition. The party's media managers were confident that Advani would lead the party to success in the Lok Sabha election.

But as the counting began on Saturday morning, there was a sense of disbelief among the BJP. The party headquarters was deserted and the workers appeared disappointed with the failure of the BJP's campaign.

The octogenarian leader was widely described as 'Prime Minister in waiting' ever since the BJP. Ever since Atal Bihari Vajpayee had quit public life, Advani was projected as the future Prime Minister.

But the party misjudged the public mood. It harped on terrorism and Hindutva but both the issues were relegated as the electorate seems to have overwhelmingly voted for the Congress.

TIH Bureau

Congress-led UPA to form government, NDA loses

The Congress-led UPA coalition was all set to form the next government at the Centre. The trends indicated a clear victory for Congress against the BJP-led NDA.

As the counting of votes began, it was clear that the Congress was winning convincingly across the country. The revival in Uttar Pradesh was specially striking as the party was set to win over 20 seats.

For the BJP, losses in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, proved costly. In Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray's MNS spoiled the chances of Shiv Sena and BJP. The trends for the first 500 seats suggested that the Congress was likely to form government with the help of its allies.

The SP suffered minor losses but still remained a force. The BSP didn't do as well as was expected. Overall, the Indian electorate appears to have voted for Manmohan Singh's government.

TIH Bureau

May 15, 2009

'Left will not allow BJP to form government'

With less than 36 hrs to go for the counting to begin, the Left parties have softened their stand vis-a-vis the Congress and hinted at extending support to UPA.

The Left front that was until now adamant that it will not support either the Congress or the BJP, has changed its stand. Now it vows to stop BJP from forming the next government at the Centre.

CPI (M) Politburo member MK Pandhe's statement that the Left would not allow the BJP to form a government was followed by CPI leader CK Chandrappan's similar statement that all efforts would be made to prevent BJP from coming to power.

The subtle change brings relief to the Congress camp as exit polls show that the UPA and NDA are in a close fight. the support of Communist Parties would prove crucial to the Congress.

With the third front in a disarray and parties like TRS, AIADMK and some other smaller groups cosying up to the BJP, the Left is worried at the prospects of a 'communal' BJP-led government at the Centre.

TIH Bureau

May 12, 2009

UP govt challenges NSA revocation in Apex court

The Uttar Pradesh government has challenged the advisory board's decision to revoke NSA against Varun Gandhi. Varun had made inflammatory remarks against Muslims.

The state government has approached the Supreme Court, holding that the board didn't take cognisance of the evidence which was handed over to it by the administration regarding Varun Gandhi's communal remarks in Pilibhit.

Mayawati has been taking credit of arresting Varun to garner Muslim support in election rallies. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) hopes to wean away Muslims from the Samajwadi Party.

Varun Gandhi was arrested under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for his alleged speech in which he had threatened Muslims. He was arrested and jailed. Later he was shifted to another prison.

But the UP government had received a major setback when the advisory board had given its verdict against the action and held that it was not proper to book him under the act.

TIH Bureau

May 11, 2009

Naxalites kill 13 policemen in Chhattisgarh

The Naxalites triggered a landmine blast causing the death of 12 policemen and a civilian in Dhamtari district in Maoist-infested Chhattisgarh on Monday.

The landmine blast targeted a police vehicle in Risgaon village of Dhamtari, officials said. The police party was on way towards Kanker in Bastar when it was blown up.

The incident occurred in dense forests and that made relief operations even more difficult. The critically injured policemen were sent to the state capital, Raipur, by a helicopter.

As many as 36 police jawans have been killed by the left-wing militants in Chhattisgarh in a month. Earlier this month 11 policemen were killed in Dantewada in the souther part of the state.

TIH Bureau

May 10, 2009

Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi share stage in Punjab

Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar on Sunday shared the stage with BJP leaders LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi at an election rally in Punjab.

This has put to rest the speculations regarding Nitish's leanings, as both the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left parties had been wooing Kumar lately.

Kumar has in the past distanced himself from the hardcore Hindutva agenda. However, at the rally in Ludhiana, he held the hand of Narendra Modi and raised it to show his solidarity with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao was also present. Earlier, Nitish Kumar categorically said that there was no question of his party joining hands with either the Congress of the Third Front. He told media persons in Patna that he was with the NDA.

TIH Bureau

Varun Gandhi advocates forced sterilisation!

An interview with a foreign newspaper has again landed Varun Gandhi in a controversy. He reportedly supported forced sterilisation to control population.

In the interview with London's daily Telegraph, Varun advocated the views of his father late Sanjay Gandhi who had ordered forced sterilisation during the imposition of Emergency by Congress.

The remarks have embarrassed the BJP. However, Varun has denied it and clarified that nothing could be forced on citizens in a democracy. He said that he didn't mention reviving any previous mass sterilisation programme.

However, this is the latest controversy Varun has found himself in. He has only recently been out of the jail. He was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for delivering a 'hate speech' in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.

It was the policy of forced sterilisation that had turned popular anger against Congress and the subsequent defeat of the party in the 70s. The Janata Party had won the election after the emergency was lifted.

TIH Bureau

May 7, 2009

Hindu youths held for mosque blast in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra police have arrested three Hindu youths in connection with the bomb blast in a mosque in Beed district that had occurred last month.

Superintendent of Police (SP)Gopal Lakhami said that the three persons Ashok Lande, Mayur and Tulsidas have been caught for the crime. They have confessed their involvement in the blast.

Lande is a two-wheeler mechanic. Police said that the gang planted the bomb because they didn't like the sight of a mosque and didn't want it in the town. The incident had occurred on April 4.

Though nobody was injured in the blast, the explosion had caused a big hole in the building's wall. The arrested persons have been booked under Explosives Act, and are sent to jail.

The incident had caused considerable tension in the area. Local activists have demanded a probe to ascertain the links of the youths. It is suspected that they could be involved with militant groups like Abhinav Bharat, that have targeted mosques and Muslim congregations.

TIH Bureau

May 4, 2009

Tainted Army official quizzed for Nanded blast

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that has reopened the Nanded blast case has questioned Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit, who is an accused in Malegaon case.

The CBI had recently taken Purohit in custody and interrogated him regarding his alleged role in training the activists of RSS and Abhinav Bharat. The blast in Nanded had occurred in 2006.

Four persons were killed and over a dozen injured in the blast at the house of an RSS worker Lakshman Rajkondwar. Rajkondwar's son Naresh and a Bajrang Dal activist Himanshu Panse were allegedly involved in bomb-making.

It was alleged that the explosives and bombs were being assembled for targeting Muslim congregations as a revenge to the terrorist attacks by Muslim groups in India.

After the ATS arrested Abhinav Bharat workers for terrorist activities including bomb blast in Malegaon, the links of Hindutva groups to blats at Ajmer Dargah, Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Nanded bomb blast, Samjhauta Express train blast and similar other incidents, came under scanner.

The attacks on mosques in Parbhani, Jalna and other places that were earler ignored are also being investigated now. The special crime unit of CBI examined Purohit. Earlier, another Malegaon case accused Rakesh Dhawade has been interrogated.

TIH Bureau

Eight LTTE sympathisers arrested for attack on army convoy in Tamil Nadu

A day after supporters of the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had attacked army trucks in Coimbatore.

The police have arrested eight persons for the incident.
The protesters had attacked the Indian army convoy as they felt it was taking arms and ammunition for the Sri Lankan government.

Right now, the Sri Lankan regime has launched a strong military offensive against the banned LTTE in the island nation.

Activists of MDMK and Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (PDK) had stopped the trucks carrying army personnel, raised slogans and hurled stones at the convoy.

Later a truck was set on fire. The incident had occurred near Nilambur. The convoy had 80 trucks and it was on way from Hyderabad to Maddukkarai regiment.

The protesters had dragged drivers out of the vehicles, smashed the window glasses and deflated tyres. All the arrested PDK activists were produced in the court today and send to judicial custody.

TIH Bureau

May 1, 2009

Fast track courts for trial of Gujarat riot cases

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered setting up of six special fast track courts to conduct speedy trial of the cases pertaining to the post-Godhra communal carnage.

The Apex court directed that the courts be established in Gujarat for the hearing of nine important cases. However, the court rejected the plea to shift the cases from the state.

The bench of Justices Arijit Kumar Pasayat and Ashok Kumar Ganguly ordered setting up of the courts in Anand, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Ahmedabad districts, with a view to hold daily hearings for speeding up the process of justice.

However, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government can drive solace in the fact the court turned down the NHRC plea to shift the cases out of Gujarat. The Court also asked that the special prosecutors would be appointed in consultation with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Apex court.

The SIT would also take steps to ensure protection of the witnesses. The riots after the Godhra train burning incident in the year 2002 have been termed as one of the most horrific communal pogroms targeting religious minorities and has been equated as state-sponsored genocide against Muslims.

TIH Bureau

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