Sunday, December 30, 2012

Special Air India aircraft bringing gang raped victim''s body back delayed

New Delhi, Dec.29 (ANI): There has been a delay in the special aircraft of national carrier Air India taking off from Singapore, which is bringing back the body of the 23-year-old woman who was gang raped on the night of December 16 on a running bus.

Television channels are now reporting that the plane will leave Singapore at 9.30 p.m. IST, and is expected to arrive in India in the early hours of Sunday.

It is not known as yet where the special aircraft will land.

Earlier, television channels reported that the special Air India flight -- a chartered plane, an Airbus A-319, left Indira Gandhi International Airport at 8 a.m. IST for Singapore and was expected to return around 8 p.m. IST tonight after taking off from there at around 5 p.m. Singapore time, media reports quoted Air India officials, as saying.

The unnamed woman died shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday morning after battling for her life for 13 days in New Delhi''''s Safdarjang Hospital and in Singapore''''s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. Doctors said that she expired due to multiple organ failure brought on by internal injuries, cardiac arrest and brain damage.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has cancelled all his formal engagements in Maharashtra and will return to Delhi by this evening.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for amending criminal laws to ensure stringent punishment for rape in the wake of the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim.

Reacting to the death, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the entire country should hang its head in shame.

Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati says government needs to take measures by enacting strict laws to protect women, and guilty should get stricter punishments.

Delhi gang-rape accused Akshay Singh alias Thakur, who was the last one to be arrested in the case, was produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma after expiry of his day-long police custody.

The court ordered that he be remanded to judicial custody and produced again before the court on January 9.

The court passed the judicial custody order said after the police did not seek his further custody.

Media reports have also indicated that the prime accused have reportedly been shifted to high-security cells in Tihar Jail, fearing violent attacks on them in the wake of the raped woman''''s death.

The family of the male friend of the gang-rape victim demanded that the six rapists should be hanged "as soon as possible".

The distraught family of the young gang-rape victim hopes her death will contribute to making India a safer place for women, said India''''s High Commissioner to Singapore, T.C.A. Raghavan. (ANI)

Rape victim dead; body to be flown back tonight

Singapore, Dec 29 (PTI) The 23-year-old victim of the brutal gang rape and assault in Delhi that had triggered an outrage across India died early this morning here after putting up a brave battle for life for nearly a fortnight.

The girl, who was admitted to the well-known multi-organ transplant facility Mount Elizabeth Hospital here on Thursday morning in an extremely critical condition, breathed her last at 4:45 AM (2:15 AM India time).

Delhi gang-rape victim's death: Women in Shillong hold candlelight vigil

Shillong: Women held a candlelight vigil and took out a silent march here this evening to mourn the death of Delhi gang-rape victim and to demand justice for her.

Hundreds of women braved the cold as they lit candles at the Don Bosco Square before taking out a silent procession. Taking part in the vigil, Emie Sunn, a 10-year-old boy demanded that those who committed crimes against women should be hanged.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who condoled the death of the victim in Singapore, said "A thorough look at the prevailing system to address this menace is the need of the hour." comprehensive action plan was required involving the government and the people. "Any change that we want can only take place when the people themselves involve in the process."

Admitting that crimes against women in matrilineal Meghalaya was increasing, Sangma said, "This problem is serious and we all need to concertedly strive towards a permanent solution."


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Indo-ASEAN Institutions in Northeast

Making a strong pitch to market the North-east among the visiting Heads of States, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday encouraged setting up of institutions linked to the India-ASEAN relationship in the region. Stating that India-ASEAN relations were at an “exciting stage”, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the free trade agreement in services and investment would be transformational. He was flagging down the 22-day, eight-nation India-ASEAN Car Rally in presence of 11 HoS and Chief Ministers of NE States, including Tarun Gogoi, here this morning. “India and ASEAN nations should build a web of linkages to unleash the vast economic potential of the region,” he observed.

The 31 SUVs that were earlier received at Guwahati, arrived to a thunderous applause of students, diplomats and a horde of media persons from ASEAN countries, at the Vigyan Bhawan. Some 250 students from ASEAN countries, who joined the celebrations, added to the colour of the event. “Their presence has added special warmth to this cold December morning in Delhi,” the Prime Minister remarked. “We are also joined by many other special guests today – the 50 ASEAN diplomatstraining at our Foreign Service Institute in Delhi, the 30 ASEAN farmers who have travelled here and who will host reciprocal visits from Indian farmers and the 20 Senior Editors from the media in ASEAN countries. I welcome them all,” Dr Singh said.

The car rally was flagged off from Yogyakarta in Indonesia on November 25 and reached New Delhi after traversing nearly 8,000 km across eight countries. The rally, the Prime Minister observed, symbolises the vision of an ASEAN-India community where people, goods, services and ideas can travel freely. “Whether it is by road from India to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, or by air or sea to Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, our future will be driven by thebonds of connectivity we build in the coming years.

“For India, nowhere will this benefit be more pronounced than in our North-eastern States and I would encourage the establishment of institutions linked to the India-ASEAN relationship in the North-eastern States,” he said. The car rally was organised on the 20th commemorative year of the ASEAN-India relations and 10th year of their summit level engagement. Along with the car rally, business marker events were organised in countries en route to connect with the industry and the common man. The events focused on sectors like manufacturing, mining, IT and IITs, education, healthcare, agro and food processing, border trade, investment and financing, infrastructure and development, air and sea connectivity and people-to-people contacts.

Delhi rape: Raisina Hill turns battle zone

The government Saturday faced the full blast of youth power as young men and women laid siege around Raisina Hill, the seat of power, demanding justice for a 23-year-old gangrape victim, forcing police to use canes, tear gas and water cannons on the undeterred crowd of thousands.

The country’s highest seat of power was turned into a virtual battlefield as thousands of furious and determined youngsters marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s house, raising slogans and demanding justice for the gangrape victim and tougher laws against rapists.

While the entire stretch of about 2.5 km from India Gate to Raisina Hill was packed with protesters, the fury towards authorities was palpable miles away.

The numbers kept on swelling as all roads literally led to the president’s house in an unprecedented protest rarely seen earlier. The mass outpouring for the young woman even overwhelmed the securitymen, who found themselves outnumbered. But despite the police barricades, the surging crowd kept pushing ahead.

The police then resorted to caning, threw tear gas shells and sprayed the crowd with water in the winter chill. Police resorted to canning at least three times. Armed with banners, posters, placards, the crowd, which stayed put at the entire stretch from morning till late evening. Many of them climbed atop police buses and waved the tri-colour.

But Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said “agitation is not the solution” and “when they defy law and order, government has to use force”.
Protests were also witnessed in Kanpur, Jhansi, Lucknow, Meerut and Kolkata.

The aggression of the youngsters and the mass outpouring since early Saturday morning, led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to ensure that people feel safe in Delhi and incidents like the brutal gangrape of the physiotherapist are not repeated.

Shinde met Manmohan Singh and briefed him about the measures taken by his ministry to ensure safety of women in the national capital.

A concerned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also spoke to the prime minister and home minister and asked them to take appropriate and immediate action to protect women in the city that is often described as the “rape capital”. A shaken Shinde later told reporters that the government will set up a commission to probe the incident that has shocked the nation.

“A probe will be conducted to look into the incident and suggest measures to check such crimes in Delhi...the Criminal Procedure Code will be amended to enhance punishment in such rarest of rare cases,” Shinde, who said he is also a father of three daughters, told reporters in a hurriedly convened press conference.

Govt. to take stringent action
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured that the government would file a chargesheet in the case soon and also appealed to the people to maintain calm.

Addressing a press conference along with MoS Home RPN Singh and I&B minister Manish Tewari, Shinde said the government had requested the court for a speedy trial in the case. He also assured that action will be taken against errant policemen who were on duty at checkposts on the fateful night.

Rarely, if ever, have so many people taken to the streets in so many different places for a single cause. It seems to be an unstoppable momentum. Shinde also hinted that government may consider death penalty in rarest of rare rape cases.

Five policemen have been suspended for negligence of duty, Shinde added. He further said that the “government will see if the existing rape laws can be enhanced”, adding that he will consult the Law Ministry for the provision of death penalty. However, he ruled out a special Parliament session for discussion on amendment of rape laws. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had earlier demanded a special Parliament session to discuss amendment of sexual harassment laws so as to introduce death penalty for the accused.

Tea industry to focus exports in ASEAN countries

Assam’s tea industry will focus on increasing exports to ASEAN countries in view of the untapped markets there.

“All the ASEAN countries are tea-drinking nations, but barring a few, the others do not produce the beverage and as such there is immense potential of exporting Assam tea to these countries,” North Eastern Tea Association Chairman Biydanand Barkakoty informed.

“The ASEAN market is an untapped market for us and the ASEAN-India Trade Conclave here tomorrow will be a stepping stone for exploring new markets,” he said.

Out of India’s total production was 988 million kgs, Assam produced 508 million kgs in 2011. However, Vietnam and Indonesia are leading tea producers among the ASEAN countries with Malaysia and Myanmar also contributing in a small way.

It has been, however, noticed that their contribution has decreased from 8.43 per cent to 7.43 per cent in the global tea production between 2009 and 2011, he said.

In the consumption side, Malaysia was the leading consumer followed by Philippines. Vietnam and Indonesia are the only exporting countries of ASEAN group, but their export share too has decreased from 13.23 per cent to 12.49 per cent during 2009-2011.

The India-ASEAN Trade Conclave focusing on business and cultural relations between North East India and South East Asian countries will be held at the Sarusajai stadium here on Monday.

The conclave, titled ‘ASEAN-India Connectivity with a focus on North East India’, would be chaired by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and will be also attended by CII President Adi Godrej.

Tripura lags behind implementation of flagship programmes

In a review meeting performance of national flagship programmes - MGNREGA, Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGWSY) and other central schemes was reviewed threadbare. Till November 30, under MGNREGA for development of agriculture, fishery, forestry, and animal resource Rs. 2002.64 lakh was sanctioned for Gomati district while amount spent stood Rs. 1110.47 lakh. Altogether 3, 78, 017 mandays were generated in the District.

Projects like agriculture, park, fishery, silk, forest, animal resource development and rural development was also reviewed in the meeting. It is learnt that for fiscal year 2012- 13 under MGNREGA the state received Rs. 97, 390.73 lakh, while an amount of Rs. 53992 lakh was spent till December 10.

For the South District, an amount of Rs. 1027.79 lakh was released under the national flagship programme whereas an amount of Rs. 693.22 lakh was spent so far. Likewise, the newly created Sipahijala and Khowai districts also could not spend the allotted funds. In Sipahijala district, Rs 1258.45 lakh was sanctioned under MGNREGA and amount spent stood only Rs 578.33 lakhs. A total of 90, 451 mandays were generated in the district. In Khowai district, an amount of Rs. 789.10 lakh was spent out of total outlay of Rs. 869.33 lakh, according to sources. After reviewing the performance of different central sponsored schemes, RD Minister asked the officials to take all possible steps to ensure cent percent utilization of GMNREGA outlay.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Serial blasts rock Imphal, one killed, four hurt in three incidents First blast barely 100 metres from IE PS

IMPHAL, Dec 19 : One person has been killed while four others were injured in three blasts that rocked Imphal today.

52 year old Maibam Bira of Kha Maibam Leikai died when two unidentified persons on a two wheeler lobbed a hand grenade at the courtyard of one Laishram Kheda, a special contractor at Kakwa Maibam Leikai today at about 5 .30 pm.

Bira along with two others were working at the courtyard when the hand grenade exploded.

The three injured were rushed to Raj Poly Clinic, but Bira, who bore the impact of the blast, passed away shortly later.

His two co-workers who have been admitted to Raj Poly Clinic have been identified as Lourembam Manja (40) of Kha Maibam Leikai and Oinam Sanyayaima (42) of Liwa Lambi Oinam Leikai.

On immediate receipt of the information a team of Imphal West police commandos rushed to the site of the blast and gave a hot chase along Heirangoithong-MU road, exchanging gun fire with the fleeing men.

In the exchange of gun fire, a 25 year old youth who was driving a Maruti Alto car was hit by a bullet on the back.

The injured youth has been identified as Thongbam Romesh (25). He has been admitted to Shija hospital.

Earlier in the day a water tanker driver was injured while a CRPF convoy vehicle was damaged as two blasts were triggered one after the other near Star Sporting Ground, around 100 metre east of Imphal East PS along Imphal East DC Road.

The first blast went off around 10.15am today near Star Sporting Ground. The place where the incident occurred is located around 90 metres away from Imphal East DC Complex and 100 m away from Imphal East PS.

The injured driver has been identified as Sheikh Mustaf Ahmed (35) s/o (L) Abdul Mallika of Hapta Gulapati Mayai Leikai. He is a water tanker driver of Public Hospital. The vehicle (MN-1K/2062) he drove was also damaged.

He received splinter injury at the right leg and is being treated at JN Hospitals.

Few seconds later, another explosion went off at a drain near the Gate of Modern College along the DC Road, a few metres away from the spot where the first bomb exploded.

The second blast occurred just when the convoy vehicles of 143 CRPF escorting a water tanker passed off the area, sources said. One of the CRPF’s vehicles (AR-11W/6752) was damaged and its tyre deflated.

Following the twin blasts, police personnel and bomb experts led by Imphal East SP cordoned off the area. Other than the recovery of explosives splinters, no suspected item has been detected nor any arrest made.

Police suspected the bombs that went off were made of improvised explosive device (IED). No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER Main accused in the Sunday night rape case

how safe are women ?

NEW DELHI: His attempt to stand up for his 22-year-old friend inthe face of comments by seven drunken strangers, questioning her liberty to travel so late at night, proved near fatal for both According to police, it was when he asked Ram Singh, the prime accused, who had questioned his friend’s morality by her decision to travel in his company after dark’ and was reeking of alcohol, to mind his own business that all hell broke lose in the white luxury’ bus which the couple had boarded from a bus stop just 15 minutes ago.

“In his statement, the victim, who is a qualified engineer and used to work in HCL till recently before deciding to quit and prepare for the civil services examination, has claimed that the men made comments to the effect that ‘only prostitutes chose to travel with men at the time’ that they were travelling” said an officer
Sources claimed the victim’s friend, the son of a lawyer from Gorakhpur, claimed to have known the woman for two years. and had met her to watch the afternoon screening of ’The life of P1’ at Saket Select Citywalk.

Incensed at his comment, he walked over to Ham Singh and.• asked him to watch,his mouth before he was allegedly provoked once again and,hit  Singh in reaction. “The other men then intervened in the scuffle that had just been triggered during which first their phones — two which were being used by the woman and one which was in the possession of her friend — were snatched. Then they were assaulted with iron rods the officer said.

A strike behind his head had sent him plummeting to the floor of the bus as it took turn after turn below the Mahipalpur flyover. Two men pinned him down as four others, including Singh, began raping the voman. His three other associates joined him later. “All that the man could recollect of the bus was that it was white, had ‘Yadav’ embossed on its side, had red seats, thick yellow curtains and silvergrey alloy wheels,” the officer said. According to sources, investigations proceeded on the line that the said bus was probably being used to ferry children from a south Delhi school. One such bus with a similar description was seized on Monday afternoon. Another of similar description, police said, had been seized from Noida Sector 15 and another from Sector 30.

Police said Ram Singh, arrested on Monday evening, drives the bus in which the gang- rape occurred, for two promient. schools — one in.pushp Vihar and the other at Noida. “Singh and six others had run out of booze, the men decided to go out looking for fare and buy more booze,” the officer added.