How did the muslims vote?

The general trend in times of extreme peril is to vote for the Congress- as one voter in Axom says, it is almost second nature for muslims to vote for the GOP. This makes sense. If the Congress collapses there is no national party which will carry the muslim vote. That will be perilous for the muslims (and dangerous for India as well).  

As Hasan Suroor explains in the Hindu, voting for a secular party does not have too much appeal for conservative muslims and there is a pent up demand to have their own party. This would be of course a daughter of the erstwhile Muslim League which expired once Pakistan was born. The problem with this approach is that a nation-wide muslim party will not fly (yet) and lead to more divisions and in-fighting.

In a nutshell if a right-wing nation-wide muslim party does materialize, Congress will vanish and BJP will become the natural ruling party of India.

Here are then the trends of muslim voting in select states.

Maharashtra: ….at a meeting convened by former
MLA Yusuf Abrahani before the last phase of Maharashtra polls, Muslim
NGO representatives decided Muslims should vote for Congress-NCP . “CM
Prithviraj Chavan assures he will address demands. Delegates took home
the message that they have to set aside their grouse against the
Congress,” says Abrahani. “In all Muslim-majority pockets in the state,
the community voted single-mindedly to stop the Modi wave,” says Maulana
Mahmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council, one of several
socio-religious groups that helped decide how the community votes.
 In the 2009
elections in Aurangabad, where Muslims constitute 3.5 of 14 lakh voters,
a BSP Muslim candidate took away 32,000 votes, helping Shiv Sena’s
Chandrakant Khaire win.

“This time the community closed ranks
and voted en bloc for Congress candidate Nitin Patil,” Aurangabad-based
activist Mohsin Khan says. That candidates don’t share their religion
hasn’t deterred Muslim voters. In Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, the community
didn’t back Mumtaz Ansari (BSP) and Jalal Ansari (AAP), voting instead
for Congress’ Vishwas Patil. Activists claim that apart from Medha
Patkar in Mumbai North East, no other AAP candidate in Maharashtra has
got a sizeable number of community votes.
 Bihar: ….organizations like Jamiat Ulema, Imarat
Shariah, Momin Conference , Jamiat-ul-Quraish and Milli Council appealed
to the community to vote for a strong, secular candidate. Community
leaders claim that Bihar’s 14 electoral constituencies, with 20% to 68%
Muslim population, ignored appeals by Shahi Imam (Congress supporter)
and Shia cleric Maulana Kalb-e-Jawwad (Congress detractor) and went with
advice doled out at local mosques.  Maulana Muzaffar Raza, a Shia cleric
in Patna city, says the biggest concern for Muslims is to stop Modi.
“Muslims are not scared of Modi. They hate him,” he says.

In 2009, NCP candidate
Tariq Anwar had lost from Muslim populated Katihar, Bihar despite having
2.55 lakh votes. With three other Muslim candidates together bagging
over one lakh votes, a BJP candidate took the seat. It was the same
story in Bihar’s other Muslim constituencies, which is why this year
JD(U) candidate Akhtarul Iman, pitted against sitting Congress MP
Asrarul Haq in Kishanganj , withdrew his candidacy. It left the party
red-faced but sent a strong signal to the community . “I preferred to
sacrifice myself to check the division,” Iman says.   Axom: ….in 2011, the All
India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by
businessmanturned-politician Badruddin Ajmal wrested 18 assembly seats
from Congress in Assam’s Muslim constituencies. This year, as the
Congress mobilizes the Muslim electorate to ensure the vote isn’t split,
Ajmal too pledges support towards their plans.
Fear of being branded
‘illegal immigrants’ is a major driver for Assam’s Muslim population —
30% of 1.88 crore voters — to support Congress. This is despite the fact
that the party failed to protect or ensure justice for them after one
of the nation’s worst pogroms in 1983. Mohammed Nurul Islam from
Alisinga, one of the 14 Muslim villages where riots occurred, claims the
village votes as one. “Perhaps it has become our habit to vote for
Congress,” the 65-year-old says. Abdul Karim, 60, who also survived the
massacre, explains, “The party takes heed of our concerns even if it
does not fulfill all our demands.”
Many of these Muslims feel more
secure with Congress than BJP, which has made Bangladeshi influx a
rallying point in electoral campaigns.
Delhi: ……have seen potential in AAP. Locals
from Batla House, Jamia Nagar, Shaheen Bagh and Abul Fazal Enclave say
they voted for AAP to rid the community of the ‘terror’ tag. “BJP
leaders have declared us terrorists and Congress has done nothing for
us,” says Rehan, a student from Jamia Milia Islamia.

Seemapuri, a Muslim area dominated by ragpickers , AAP scored big during
the assembly elections and is expected to sustain this lead. The area,
which had an 80% voter turnout in 2009 and has always voted Congress,
understands neither AAP nor Congress gain from a split vote. “Divided we
fall. Our consolidated vote has to go to either party, or BJP wins,”
Gulzar Saifi of New Seemapuri says.

Bengal: Muslim majority
districts like Malda, Murshidabad and North and South Dinajpur have
generally voted Congress. In parts of Bengal with a 15 to 35% Muslim
population, the vote is split between Trinamool Congress, Congress and
 In the last assembly polls, a large section of Bengal’s Muslims
voted for Trinamool but are dismayed by Mamata Banerjee backtracking on
promises. “Muslims here have seen through her symbolic gestures like
wearing a stole ‘hijab’ . Nothing substantial has been done for our
betterment,” says lawyer Sagir Ahmed though other Muslim locals pledge
support for Didi. The Urdu/ Hindispeaking Muslims, in pockets of Malda,
adjoining Bihar, and Kolkata, lean towards Trinamool as the party
supports local recreational clubs, which are strong influencers in their
areas. “Mamata’s official doles to the clubs will translate to votes
for Trinamool ,” says Mohammad Sohail Beig, secretary of Haji Nurul
Islam Charitable Trust that operates in Muslim areas of Metiabruz and
Garden Reach.





“I abducted your girls. I will sell them”

“There is a market for
selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will
sell women. I sell women”


So says the son of Devil. This is simply devastating news (though not surprising).
We just feel blind, intense, yet helpless anger, but then again it is perhaps better (for our sanity) to direct our gaze towards the millions of injustices happening on our door-step.

The world would be a better place if these vermin were wiped out, though logically the head of the snake* is what needs to be lopped off (fat chance of that happening).
All in all, a terrible day for humanity.
* response to Asok: the Wahhabi movement based in Saudi Arabia and allied organizations worldwide preaching the gospel of hate and intolerance
Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more
nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist militant group that
kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.

“I abducted your girls. I
will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko
Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
said in a video first obtained by Agence

“There is a market for
selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will
sell women. I sell women,” he continued, according to a CNN translation
from the local Hausa language.

Boko Haram, listed by the
United States as a terrorist organization, means “Western education is
sin.” In his nearly hourlong, rambling video, Shekau repeatedly called
for Western education to end.

“Girls, you should go and get married,” he said.

The outrageous threat
means the girls’ parents worst fears could be realized. Parents have
been avoiding speaking to the media for fear their daughters may be
singled out for reprisals.

“Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out,” Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed Sunday.

But he also criticized
the girls’ parents, saying they weren’t cooperating fully with police.
“What we request is maximum cooperation from the guardians and the
parents of these girls. Because up to this time, they have not been able
to come clearly, to give the police clear identity of the girls that
have yet to return,” he said.

According to accounts,
armed members of Boko Haram overwhelmed security guards at school last
month, pulled the girls out of bed and forced them into trucks. The
convoy of trucks then disappeared into the dense forest bordering

On Friday, Nigerian
authorities updated the number of girls kidnapped to 276. At least 53 of
the girls escaped, leaving 223 in the hands of their captors, police

Authorities said the number of missing girls could grow as police fill in spotty school enrollment records. Families had sent their
girls to the rural school in Chibok for a desperately needed education.
The northeastern town is part of Borno state, where 72% of primary-age
children never attended school, according to the U.S. Embassy in
Twelve northern states
follow Sharia law. In recent years, Boko Haram has carried out dozens of
attacks, killing hundreds of people at schools, churches, police
stations, government buildings and elsewhere. Targets include
Christians, senior Islamic figures critical of Boko Haram and people the
group believes are engaged in “un-Islamic” behavior, the U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom says.

Though Nigeria has
Africa’s largest economy, driven largely by oil, poverty remains
widespread: Nearly 62% of the country’s nearly 170 million people live
in extreme poverty, according to the CIA World Factbook.
That dichotomy takes
center stage this week as a World Economic Forum meeting convenes
Wednesday in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja. The country “already plays a
crucial role in advancing the continent’s growth; yet it is also
emblematic of the challenges of converting natural wealth into solutions
that address persistent social challenges,” the World Economic Forum on
Africa says on its website.

The United States is
sharing intelligence with Nigeria to help in the search, according to a
U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation. “We are sharing
intelligence that may be relevant to this situation. You are going to
see a focus on this in all three channels of government: diplomatic,
intelligence and military,” the official said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Visa ($300), polio certificate (priceless)

The World Health Organization is recommending strict travel restrictions on countries that it considers are responsible for exporting wild polio virus. As an example, Jihadis traveling from Pakistan have now put Syria at risk as well, though one may be forgiven for thinking that getting a polio certificate for traveling abroad would be the last of the concerns of a Syrian right now. WHO is also making some harsh policy recommendations for the affected countries (please see below).

Why Cameroon? It borders Nigeria (another problem country), the northern population is muslim majority, but so far there has been no news of Islamist influences (it is a dictatorship for all practical purposes). Perhaps just the healthcare system is too weak and corrupt to stop the proliferation of polio.
The World Health Organisation on Monday recommended strict
travel restrictions on Pakistan due to the rising number of polio cases
in the country.
The WHO said the spread of polio is an
international public health emergency that threatens to infect other
countries with the crippling disease.

The public health arm of
the United Nations, issued its new guidelines to fight the disease,
recommending Pakistanis traveling abroad should present a polio
vaccination certificate. The WHO also recommended similar
restrictions on Syria and Cameroon
— two other countries where the
disease was previously said to have been eradicated but have recently
been known to have been exporting the potentially disease.

is one of only three countries where the crippling virus is endemic.
The other two countries are Nigeria and Afghanistan.

In an
announcement today, the agency described the ongoing polio outbreaks in
Asia, Africa and the Middle East as an ”extraordinary” situation
requiring a coordinated international response.

In a statement, the WHO said Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab
Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations
in 2014. The WHO recommended:

“These States should:

  1. officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of
    state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is
    a national public health emergency;
  2. ensure that all residents and long-term visitors (i.e. > 4
    weeks) receive a dose of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
    between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel;
  3. ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within 4
    weeks), who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous 4
    weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time
    of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for
    frequent travelers;
  4. ensure that such travelers are provided with an International
    Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex
    6 of the International Health Regulations (2005) to record their polio
    vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination;
  5. maintain these measures until the following criteria have been
    met: (i) at least 6 months have passed without new exportations and (ii)
    there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication
    activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such
    documentation these measures should be maintained until at least 12
    months have passed without new exportations.”

“Once a State has met the criteria to be assessed as no longer
exporting wild poliovirus, it should continue to be considered as an
infected State until such time as it has met the criteria to be removed
from that category,” added the WHO statement.



You hate us, we hate you back

Kashmir and Bangladesh are (in our opinion) two hot-spots where the two-nation theory will be alive and causing misery for a considerable time to come. Everywhere else populations have adjusted to a new reality (Hindu free Pakistan, Muslims amidst big Hindu majority India).

In Bangladesh the fight (as we see it) is between muslims who are loyal to their south asian roots and muslims who want to preserve the (undivided) Pakistan narrative. It is clear that each faction is not so strong so as to wish the other one away. The future can be only one way: a tighter integration with India (which needs active Indian aid) or a tighter integration with the Middle East. It will be a brave man who can predict how things will turn out.

Kashmir is fully lost to India and would merge with Pakistan in a hear-beat if given the chance. Too much blood has been spilled for any reconciliation to take place. However the geo-political scenario being what it is, the best offer that the Kashmiris can get is a soft border (even that is unlikely).  
Also Pandits are not going back ever.

It is now past time that all parties involved recognize the reality in Kashmir and move forward to reduce pain and misery. If not we will be looking at military occupation forever as well as frequent beating up of Kashmiri students (see below) around the country. It is OK for people to hate each other but progress still needs to happen at the village, town and district level. Generations growing up under machine guns (and miniscule education and job opportunities) will be stunted in their imaginations and capabilities. It will be a human disaster on a very large scale. Hopefully there are visionaries who can lead out of this dark place. The only person who could have overcome this divide was Gandhi (and perhaps Subhas Bose who led the Azad Hind Fauz). But we need to remain hopeful that the hour will eventually provide the men and women.

Three Kashmiri students from a private
university in India’s Greater Noida city of Uttar Pradesh were allegedly
beaten up and forced to shout pro-Indian and anti-Pakistani statements
at the common hostel they were staying at, according to a report on The Hindustan Times website.

least six students, who were allegedly intoxicated, forced their way
into the room of the Kashmiri students attacking them and made them
shout anti-Pakistan slogans.

Around 150 students staged protests
on Monday, claiming that their university administration and local
police had turned a deaf ear to their grievances and had failed to
respond on time to their complaints when the incident took place.

though the targeted students all belonged to Kashmir, the university
administrations tried to play down the tone of the incident alleging
there was no ethnic or regional context.

The incident is reminiscent of a similar incident in March when 67 students from Kashmir were expelled and charged with sedition following a clash over alleged support for Pakistan during the Indo-Pak Asia Cup cricket clash. The sedition charges were later dropped.



The Middle East at night from space or the ancient borders of Cyrus’s Empire

The Middle East at night from space

I’m concluding with this map to look at the region without political borders, without demographic demarcations of religion or ethnicity, without markers of conflict or oil. Looking at the region at night, from space, lets those distinctions fall away, to see it purely by its geography and illuminated by the people who call it home. The lights trace the rivers that have been so important to the Middle East’s history, and the world’s: the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates that run through Iraq and Syria, the Indus in Pakistan. They also show the large, and in many cases growing, communities along the shores of the Persian Gulf, the eastern Mediterranean, and the southern end of the Caspian. It’s a beautiful view of a really beautiful part of the world.

ZackNote: please compare for reference the below map of Cyrus the Great’s Empire at it’s maximum extent.
Startling n’est ce-pas?

Lucrative job offerings (graduation not required)

The best jobs to have in India are that of the “dalals” or the go-betweens. You need not possess any skills and no investment is required. You just need to act as a bridge between two (or multiple) points of contact which sometimes help prevent jail-time for your contacts. There is a bit of risk (jail-time for yourself) but a little pain is tolerable when the gains are so considerable.

The mad gold rush continues in India and it will keep sweeping up poor people in its web of greed and deceit.
youth working as a cleaner at the international airport was caught by
the Customs trying to smuggle out 4 kg gold valued at Rs 1.04 crore
early on Sunday.

The accused, Yuvraj Solanki (21), who works
for a housekeeping firm, was caught red-handed trying to haul a bag
containing the gold bars from the toilet.

“Solanki admitted
that he had sneaked out of the airport with gold weighing 3 kg on two
occasions earlier. The accused said he received Rs 1.2 lakh for the
same,” said an official.

Earlier, two CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) officials were caught helping smugglers.



“I told them that Sri Lanka was not India”

Bad news for Bengali Hindus and Bihari Muslims who feel that they can escape housing discrimination by Marwaris/Jains in Mumbai by migrating to liberal and tolerant Singapore. The only problem: you will not find a house for rent.

Apparently the upper-caste Chinese (native) population does not even care for its lower caste brethren from mainland China (just like the British do not care for white Romanian migrants undercutting the job market). The government is however in panic mode because it needs a high number of coolies to offset the (pension and medical costs) burden of slackers. 

There are no good solutions, but for the first-world population to unite and organize isolationist political parties like UKIP (UK), develop a high-tech fence plus a seek and destroy mechanisms for tunnels (Israel/USA) and to forcibly evacuate boat-refugees to distant Pacific islands (Australia).


When Sunil first moved to Singapore, he had trouble finding
an apartment. “I called up several landlords who had listed rooms for
rent,” Sunil, a Sri Lankan who spent eight years living in the UK, said. “Things
would start out OK, maybe because of my [Western] accent – but the moment they
heard my name, they’d blank out. Many said ‘sorry, we don’t rent to these
people’, or ‘sorry, no room for Indians’.”
Sunil, a civil engineer who arrived in 2012, said he was rejected by at
least four landlords.
“I told them that Sri Lanka was not India, that I
wouldn’t eat or cook in the apartment, and that I would be outside all day. But
still, they wouldn’t offer me a room,” he said. 

“At that point, I got
fed up and decided to only try Indian landlords. I was invited to viewings
right away.”

Sunil is not alone. A quick glance at online rental listings shows many that
include the words: “no Indians, no PRCs [People’s Republic of
China]”, sometimes followed by the word “sorry”.

This print screen from PropertyGuru shows a property listing
with the words ‘No Indians/PRCs’

A count on 24 April found that there
were more than 160 housing adverts on the website PropertyGuru that clearly
stated that the landlord did not wish to rent to Indians and/or mainland

The issue appears more common with less expensive properties and on sites
where content is posted directly by users, such as Gumtree.

It was something I experienced too,
albeit indirectly. When I searched for a flat, my housing agent received a
phone call from one landlord who was worried that I was from mainland China,
presumably after they learned about my Chinese ethnicity….I listened to them
discussing my background for what felt like an agonisingly long time. After she
hung up, I asked her if it would reassure the landlord if they knew I was
British. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “They may still think
you’re a PRC who obtained a British passport.”

Charlene, an estate agent, said it
was common for landlords to prefer not to rent to tenants from India or
mainland China because such tenants “are not people who are house
proud”. “
Many don’t clean weekly, and they do heavy cooking, so dust
and oil collect over the months. They may use a lot of spices that release
smells people don’t like.” There are also fears that those tenants will
illegally sublet to others, she said, adding: “Cleanliness and culture is
a very strong factor.”

While many landlords appear to be concerned about heavy cooking in their
kitchens, tens of thousands of Singaporeans launched an online campaign to
“cook a pot of curry” in August 2011.

The campaign was prompted by media
reports of a disagreement between a Singaporean Indian family and an immigrant
family from China, over the smell of curry from the Indian family’s home.
Following mediation, the Indian family agreed to cook curry only when the
Chinese family was not home.

“At that point in time, there
was a sense among people that there was some kind of injustice committed,”
says Alfian Sa’at, a local playwright who wrote the play Cook a Pot of Curry
(pictured) following the incident.

“People felt it seemed as if it was OK for [the foreigners] to somehow
reject curry, which a lot of Singaporeans believe is part of Singapore’s
society, no matter what ethnic background you’re from. There was a sense that
the government had favoritism towards new immigrants at the expense of native,
Singapore-born residents.”

However despite the support expressed for the Singaporean Indian family, it
appears that both race and nationality remain important to many landlords.
“It is likely that people tend to want to rent out only to people of the
same race,” Mr Sa’at says. “This is a tricky issue, because obviously
a lot of landlords are [Singaporean] Chinese.”

Eugene Tan,
Associate Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, says: “In
the current state of ambivalence towards immigration in Singapore, my sense is
that race and country of origin have taken on a stronger accent with regards to
how landlords may view Indian/PRC tenants.”

Attitudes to race came to the fore in December, when hundreds of foreign
workers from India and South Asia rioted after an Indian national was killed in
a bus accident. The incident sparked a strong response on social media – many
made comments denouncing foreign workers, although many others also spoke out
against racism.

Of course, rental discrimination
exists in many countries. A BBC study in October found that several estate
agencies in London would refuse to rent to African-Caribbean people at the
landlord’s request.

However, while the UK has legislation banning discrimination on ethnic or
nationality grounds, covering situations including “buying or renting
property”, Singapore offers fewer legal protections. “There is no
specific anti-discrimination law that can be used by non-citizens,” says
Prof Tan.”Even if there is an anti-discrimination law, there is the
challenge of proving discrimination…
Indication of tenant preferences in rental
advertisements may not amount to discrimination.”

In a statement, PropertyGuru said
discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or nationality was “absolutely
not” allowed under its guidelines.
1% of listings on its site contained objectionable content, it added.




Too little too late on Snoopgate

Modi has been accused of e-stalking an young lady whom he was acquainted with. When the news portals leaked the story (taped conversations between Modi henchman Amit Shah and a police officer), it was generally understood that the revelations would crush Modi. But the Congress goofed up big time. They could not find a judge to conduct the inquiry for 5
Now that they have found a judge at the 11th hour, the allies have deserted ship like the proverbial rats.

Sharad Pawar and the National Congress Party (2nd largest coalition member) has also come out in opposition. Congress now looks isolated on this matter (and also petty and vindictive). Not good enough and most voters will not care at this point.

The Hindu editorial from Nov 23, 2013 examines the specifics of the case and the expectations of privacy of an individual in India (not much but better than the USA).

while the personal nature of the allegations and suspicions over the
motives behind the leak warrant extra care and scrutiny, they cannot
serve to push the troubling questions raised by the surveillance episode
under the carpet.
The surveillance and telephone- tapping appear to
have been ordered by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and
implemented by Mr. Amit Shah, but conversations now made public do not
seem to be consistent with the claim that they were undertaken at the
instance of the young woman’s father to protect her from some
unspecified threat.
Rather, they seem to have been mere
information-gathering exercises.

The law of privacy is inadequately developed in India, but it is
doubtful if the physical surveillance and massive intrusion into the
privacy of the young woman were warranted for any legally justifiable
reason. Telephone tapping is an altogether new dimension. The
Information Technology Act, 2000, through a 2008 amendment, provides for
interception in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the
country, defense, security, friendly relations with foreign states,
public order, and to prevent incitement to a cognizable offence or for
investigation of an offense.

The authorization has to come generally
from the Home Secretary, for reasons to be recorded in writing, and
detailed records have to be kept of the intercepted numbers, and on to
whom the intercepted information was provided.
Given the informal nature
of the Gujarat surveillance and interception, it is a moot question if
these essential procedural safeguards laid down by the Supreme Court to
protect the constitutional and common law right to privacy in telephone
conversations were observed.

The Congress Sunday dared BJP leader Narendra Modi and his aide Amit
Shah, both accused of illegally snooping on a woman architect, to come
clean by answering 10 questions on the entire issue.

that Modi, Shah and the BJP leadership are yet to make public the
“reason, purpose and motive” of tapping the phones and tracking the
movements of a young Gujarati girl, the party said in a statement the
audio tapes brought out by two news portals reveal “shocking, grim and
completely unacceptable level of surveillance”.

Citing the
fundamental right to privacy guaranteed by the Indian constitution, the
Congress asked if Modi and Shah had the right to “conduct surveillance
of the woman as also tapping her phones and those of her friends and
acquaintances with complete impunity in a totally illegal fashion?”

party, while accusing Modi of hiding the fact that he knew the girl for
“close to five years” before he allegedly snooped on her, also demanded
to know the reason behind putting her under surveillance on the basis
of an “oral, undated request” by her parents, as the BJP has claimed in
its defence of Modi.

The Congress also alleged in one of its
questions that the Gujarat government had given undue favours to a firm
floated by the father of the said girl and asked the prime ministerial
candidate, also the Gujarat chief minister to answer the charge.

Congress asked if any public purpose was served by allegedly snooping
on the girl and if the Gujarat government informed other states in which
these alleged activities carried out?

Asking the BJP to reveal
the money spent on the exercise and the resources utilized, the Congress
asked if this was not “stalking” and should it not be tried as an
offense under section 26 of the Indian Telegraph Act, “read with
section-120-B as also section 166 of Indian Penal Code”.



Kedarnath opens, death (by negligence) beckons

Indians never seem to be troubled by the fact that so many people die due to criminal negligence. Disaster management is a joke (for 2013 CAG report excerpts see below). The flash floods resulting from cloud-burst had devastated Uttarakhand on 14-17 June, 2013. The entire Kedarnath temple complex was littered with dead bodies. More than 100,000 pilgrims were left stranded by the flooding and 5700 are presumed dead (many are missing, never to be found).

This was not the first mass murder by negligence and neither it will be the last. But for now everything is forgiven/forgotten. The devotees will march up the hills once more and if mother Ganga wishes to carry her children away to the promised next life, that is just your karma-fal (destiny).


Sacred portals of the Kedarnath temple
were reopened to devotees amid elaborate rituals early this morning..
..Chief priest of the shrine (Rawal) Bhima Shankar Ling
presided over the rituals as its gates were opened amid chanting of vedic
hymns…About 1,252 devotees including eight foreign nationals visited the
shrine on the opening day…
Expressing happiness over the first day
turnout, Singh said it was much more than their expectations. Makeshift tents
have been pitched at several places en route to the temple to accommodate more
than a thousand people.

The tragedy in
Uttarakhand is symptomatic of a larger malaise. India is one of the 10
worst disaster-prone countries of the world.
Of its 35 states and Union Territories,
27 are disaster-prone. Over 58 per cent of the landmass is vulnerable
to earthquakes, over 40 million hectares—or 12 per cent of land—is prone
to floods and river erosion. Of the 7,516-km-long coast line, 5,700 km
is prone to cyclones and tsunamis, 68 per cent of the cultivable area is
vulnerable to drought, and hilly areas are at risk from landslides and
The combination of natural and human-induced factors—adverse
climatic conditions to environmental degradation fuelled by
non-scientific development practices accompanied by a burgeoning
population—make the risks worse.

Bhuj India woke up to disaster management post the earthquake (even though the seeds of the idea were embedded in the 1968 Civil Defence Act). In 2004, it formulated the idea of a National Disaster Management Authority
(NDMA) and empowered it with requisite legislation in 2005. 
which is chaired by the Prime Minister, was reviewed by the CAG between May 2012 and September 2012. Its findings submitted in March 2013 explain the chaos witnessed over the week.

  • The National Executive Committee of the NDMA which is
    supposed to meet every three months had not met between May 2008 and
    December 2012, and there was no advisory committee since 2010. This
    impacts evaluation of disaster preparedness.
  • The National Plan for Disaster Management had not been
    formulated till September 2012, six years after NDMA Act 2005, and there
    was no provision to make guidelines binding on states in preparation of
    state plans.
  • Only eight states have prepared emergency action plans for
    192 dams as against 4,728 dams in 29 states, and inflow forecasts
    critical to mitigate risks from floods are available for only 28
  • None of the major projects taken up by NDMA were completed.
  • The National Database for Emergency Management, which was to
    be completed by August 2011, was yet to be operational in September
  • Shelters on river banks are a serious risk but a 2004 draft
    plan for amending rules on construction in vulnerable areas—particularly
    for quake, flood and landslide-prone areas—approved in 2007 is yet to
    be formalized.

And there is more. The reason why the rescue teams were using satellite phones of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Army
is because six years after the receipt of the equipment, the satellite
communication network is not functional. The cloudburst could not be
forecast or sighted because the Doppler Weather Radars
bought for surveillance of severe and weather system is paid for but
yet to be operational.
The National Disaster Communication Network and
the National Disaster Management Informatics System are still in the
planning stage, seven years after conceptualisation. The army and ITBP
had to be called in because NDRF is hampered by shortage of manpower.
Worse, only seven states had a State Disaster Response Force.