The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

June 26, 2012

Pratapgarh riot: DM, SP removed for failing to rein in communal violence

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday took action against the DM and SP of Pratapagrh district where a communal riot had resulted in large scale damage to property of minority community recently.

District Magistrate Yogendra Kumar Bahal and Superintendent of Police (SP) OP Sagar were suspended as disciplinary action. The rioting had occurred after an incident of rape in Asthan village in Nawabganj under Kunda tehsil in Pratapgarh.

The rioters had targeted a Muslim settlement and burnt all the houses in the locality. Such was the mob fury that for hours, despite the information that armed rioters were setting ablaze houses, police officials were not able to enter the area.

Even the local mosque was damaged when rioters torched the houses. There was anger among people when a Dalit girl was raped, as police had allegedly not taken action timely. Then, when the violence began, police again failed to take timely action and as a result the houses were targeted, robbed and then burnt down.

It is suspected that a political enmity could be behind the riot. A woman Reshma Bano was elected pradhan recently and this was resented. The news of rape of a Dalit girl was used to inflame passions and hundreds of people from outside attacked the village.

Nearly 150 victims, most of them women, children and injured persons, are currently kept in a government college in Kunda. This is the second such incident in Uttar Pradesh when police failed to quell communal violence.

Earlier, four persons were killed in a riot in Kosi Kalan in Mathura. The victims said that they have no place to live as the houses were charred and razed to ground. The mob led by Babbu Pandey and Dharmendra, arrived with petrol cans and set the dwellings ablaze.

TIH Bureau

June 21, 2012

Burma Burns: Aung San Suu Kyi in Britain, utters no word on ethnic violence, killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Silent on killing of Rohingyas
Even as violence escalates in Myanmar where Buddhist attacks on minority Rohingya Muslims have led to displacement of 90,000 persons, Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who is on a trip to England, remained silent.

There was no statement from her regarding the deadly reprisal attacks back home against the Rohingya Muslims, who have suffered persecution at the hands of military for decades and are now targeted by the fundamentalist groups among the majority community in the Buddhist dominated nation.

Suu Kyi, who is on a trip to Europe, got a grand welcome at Ireland. In Oxford, she was felicitated and honored with a doctorate degree. But the activist, who is now a lawmaker in Myanmar, has kept mum over the atrocities on Rohingyas in her home country.

While Western media hailed her and gave her a hero's welcome, there is a question mark on her commitment towards peace and freedom now. Despite her house arrest for years by the junta, her strange silence at the ethnic violence has stunned people in South Asia and Middle East.

There has been growing criticism over her failure to raise voice on the plight of minorities in her country. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have said that though they voted for her in 1990 election, she never cared for them, as per Channelnewsasia.com report 'Rohingya refugees call for Suu Kyi's help'.

The recent clashes in Myanmar began after report of a Burmese Buddhist woman's rape. It was blamed on Muslims. This led to a series of reprisal attacks that has so far killed 50 people in Western Myanmar. The Rohingyas have not been allowed to enter neighbouring Bangladesh either.

TIH Bureau 

June 17, 2012

13 TCS software engineers among 32 passengers who died in mishap, pilgrims were going from Hyderabad to Shirdi when bus fell in river

Bus fell in river in Osamanabad
As many as 32 persons, half of them women, were killed when the bus carrying them from Hyderabad towards Shirdi, fell into a river on Saturday.

Nearly 13 engineers of the software company TCS were among those who died in this mishap that occurred near Osmanabad in Maharashtra.

In all, the bus was carrying 46 passengers, of whom 15 were engineers, nine of them females, who had just completed their training and were about to join the software giant as full-fledged engineers.

Among them just two survived while the remaining 13 were reported dead. The driver was reportedly drunk and as a result, he lost control over the steering of the bus that fell into the gorge while crossing a bridge, 260 km away from Hyderabad.

The bus had left Hyderabad on Friday night. It fell from the bridge and plunged to a depth of nearly 50 feet. The two drivers of the bus survived the accident. The IT company Tata Consultative Services (TCS) had set up a helpdesk for the victim's families to provide them round the clock information.

TIH Bureau

June 13, 2012

India mourns ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan's death, millions recall magical voice that fell silent in Pakistan

Mehdi Hassan 1927-2012
Millions of Indians on Wednesday mourned the demise of Pakistan-based ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, one of the greatest ghazal singers ever whose silken voice has charmed generations.

Mehdi Hassan, who was born in 1927 in Juhunjhunu (Rajasthan) in undivided India, died in a private hospital in Karachi on June 13, 2012. 

Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh was amongst the first of the leaders to express condolence over the legendary ghazal exponent's death.

Singh conveyed his intense grief over the passing away of the man who was equally loved in India, as he was in Pakistan. Lata Mangeshkar, India's melody queen, said that there was never and there will never be a voice as beautiful as Mehdi Hassan. 

The 85-year-old was suffering from ailments of the lung. Mehdi Hassan is credited with popularising Urdu poetry, especially ghazal, by his unique style of rendition. Even people who didn't understand Urdu got addicted to listening ghazals due to his charming voice. 

Indian media, newspapers and singers said that the golden era of ghazals has come to an end with his demise. Lata Mangeshkar had once termed his voice as divine. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was amongst his fans.

Either it was Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Zafar or Faiz, he sang ghazals in such beautiful voice, that their poetry, through Hindustani classical music, acquired even more fame and spread across the world. After Jagjit Singh's death, music lovers were praying for Hasan's health as he was hospitalised for long. 

Though he recovered even though rumours of his death had surfaced once in the past, destiny had other plans. He finally succumbed to illness. The silken voice fell silent in Aga Khan Hospital. 'Ab ke bichhde to shayad Khwaabon mein milein...'

TIH Bureau

June 3, 2012

Communal riot in Mathura's Kosi Kalan: Death toll goes up to four, role of police under scanner for delay in taking action

Delayed action by police exacerbated the situation
The death toll in the communal clashes that rocked Kosi Kalan town in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh has gone up to four, even as violence has been under control now.

The riot that began over a trivial issue turned into communal conflagration which resulted in loss of lives, large scale destruction of property and damages estimated to the tune of Rs 50 crore (500 million).

The delay in action by police is said to be the reason for the clash spiralling into a riot of such magnitude. Sources said that a Jat commmunity trader who had attended nature's call, put his hands into the water kept by Muslims for ablutions before prayers.

This led to an argument which ended soon after. But later the youth's supporters returned and clashed with local residents. Tension mounted and soon there were incidents of looting and arson. People from Jat-dominated villages allegedly joined. Entire markets were set ablaze.

The role of a local BSP politician who had encroached on land, is also under suspicion, for triggering the riot. Till Saturday police had not arrested the culrpits. Many people meanwhile remained missing, leading to fear about their safety.

There was a view that it was more a clash between two groups over social tensions that stemmed from political differences. But mishandling of the situation turned it into a riot. Locals said that had police and administration taken action earlier, the riot would have been controlled.

The police in the state has in the past faced allegations of bias against minorities during Hindu-Muslim riots. Among the four dead, a youth Islamuddin was killed with bullet injury. The riot could be a cause of worry for the newly installed SP government in UP.

Muslims rued that police remained mute spectators to the incidents of mo indulging in rioting, burning shops and attacking homes. Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav has been attacked by opposition over law-and-order issue and the riot has come as a challenge for Samajwadi Party-led government. Kosi Kalan is a city in Mathura, on the border of Rajasthan and Haryana.

TIH Bureau

June 1, 2012

Ranvir Sena chief killed: Upper Caste militia leader Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhia shot soon after his acquittal for massacre of Dalits in Bihar

Brahmeshwar Singh
Brahmeshwar Singh, the chief of the Ranvir Sena, a private upper caste militia, that targeted Dalits and Maoists, was shot dead when he was on his morning walk in Bihar on Friday.

Unidentified persons pumped bullets into him in his native town in Bhojpur district near Patna, and escaped, while he died on spot. Ranvir Sena was a synonym of terror in Bihar for a decade though it had become less active in recent years.

Singh alias Mukhia, headed the dreaded Sena, which mainly protected the interest of landed Hindu upper castes (read Bhumihar Brahmins) and was involved in killing hundreds of innocents, mostly Scheduled Caste (SC) women and children.

Among the worst massacres were the Laxmanpur Bathe carnage where 61 persons were killed and Bathani Tola where 21 Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) were murdered. The terrorist group was involved in rape and other anti-Dalit atrocities in half-a-dozen Bihar districts including Jehanabad, Gaya, Bhojpur Aurangabad and Nawada.

Singh, who was founder and ideologue other than self-styled commander-in-chief of the Sena, had 16 cases against him. The court had acquitted him in April and he was released recently. There was tension in the area following Singh's death. Sporadic incidents of burning of vehicles was also reported from Mukhiya's murder.

TIH Bureau

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