Monday, August 30, 2010

That's all, Your honour! : August 22-28

1. Vedanta Alumina was given a clearance to mine for bauxte ores in the Niyamagiri hills of Orissa. The central government rejected that clearance this week, citing legal reasons. The Hindu's editorial on this issue says "The 72 million tonnes of bauxite ore deposits estimated to be available in Niyamgiri hills can feed the aluminium refinery of Vedanta Alumina Limited in Lanjigarh only for about four years at the expanded capacity being created." And hence goes on to argue that there is really no need to cause such a huge damage to the local tribals and to the environment too. This article by Ashok Mallik is strongly recommended, for gaining a better understanding of the Vedanta issue, because this piece gives a complete pespective of Orissa's economic background and helps us understand why Vedanta was needed in the first place. Jairam Ramesh is now gaining a nick name "Non Clearance Minister" too! Currently, he is also locking horns with Civil Aviation ministry on the Navi Mumbai Airport plan. And when tribals are involved, can our dear leader Shri Rahul Gandhi be far away? He visited these tribals and told them that he is their "soldier" in New Delhi. In case you are wondering, what he has done to "soldier" their cause, keep wondering because there is nothing he did! A pre-planned trip to Niyamagiri hills, coincided with the announcement of rejection of clearance (well, is it a mere coincidence? :D), and Nidhi Razdan of NDTV asked a panelists- "Is this a defining moment in Rahul Gandhi's career, like some seem to suggest". Who the "some" are - we will never know! Best headline - "Rahul Finally becomes a Gandhi".

2. After
stealthily inserting clauses according to its will, in the Nuke Liability bill, the central govt., early last week was gracious and generous enough to let us know that it will contact the opposition parties and take their views into consideration. Sensing that its utter disregard for basic norms or writing a law will not see the light of the day, the government had to agree to 18 amendments in the bill and only then was it finally passed in the Lok Sabha. The Prime Minister, as is his wont, has waxed eloquent on the need for this deal, and how history will judge blah blah. However, we have been made to quickly forget that it is a cabinet meeting chaired by this very Prime Minister, which sought to bring in changes to the bill, without informing any of the stake holders in this country. Why did the government resort to such cheap measures, on this aspect, is what needs to be questioned. Alas, that is history now!

3. So while, 45 more people
were injured in Kashmir, and another teenager died, our Home Minister had these golden words to say " We hope to find elusive starting point in Kashmir soon". The hope is not even to find a solution - the hope is to find a starting point still ! 3 months of unrest and we are stil trying to "find the elusive starting point." That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : ఆగస్ట్ 22-28

ఈ వారం సెలవు మీద ఉండి రాష్ట్ర రాజకీయాల్ని అంతగా చర్చించలేక పోయాను. కాని, ఈ వారం రాష్ట్రం లో చాల విస్తారంగా వర్షాలు కురిసాయి. పలు చోట్ల వాగులు వంకలు పొంగి పొర్లాయి. ఇవ్వాళ వార్తలు చూడం అని టీవీ పెడితే, మళ్ళి అదే సోది - ఓదార్పు అంట, తెలంగాణా అంట, సీనియర్ కాంగ్రెస్స్ నేతలు అంట ! ఈ వారం కి ఇంతటి తో ముగించేడం. వచ్చే వారం, మరిన్ని విశేషీలు రాదము ! అదన్నమాట!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

V. Anand is not Indian?!

There is an International Congress of Mathematicians going on in Hyderabad. This Congress was inaugurated by the President of India. As part of the Congress, World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand was invited to play chess with 40 mathematicians. He also gave a very nice detailed interview on how he is excited to be playing with these 40 mathematicians.

The ICM also decided to honour Anand with a doctorate. Surely he deserves it - infact in my opinion this is a belated move. Anyways, now enters the dragon and here's where we all have to hang our head in shame.

The Ministry of Human Resources questions the nationality of Anand and therefore does not give permission for this doctorate to be awarded. Read the shocking details in this news item here:

The ministry sat on the file for months, questioned his nationality, chides the organisers for "holding a special convocation ceremony just to accommodate the convenience of foreigners" (Anand was to awarded this doctorate, along with another professor from Harvard).

This is a national SHAME. Is this how we treat our world champions? Is this the respect our bureaucracy accords to those who have been pioneers in their sports? He had to wait all day for some crook in the ministry to decide whether he was an Indian or not (and this even after the passport was submitted) - can it get anymore embarassing? Anand is reported to have said "I want my country back."

Reason enough for us to hang our heads in shame.

"The new Indira Gandhi" ...

Ladies and Gentlemen. Presenting to you, from the stables of NDTV, Priyanka Gandhi - The new Indira.

Text accompanying picture number 4 in
this NDTV link:

"Possessing the same grit as her grandmother, Priyanka has never hesitated in putting her foot down.Much like how Indira took major decisions that eventually altered the course of Indian history."

What are the instances when Priyanka has put her "foot down"? What decisons of hers are comparable to that of Indira Gandhi? What is Priyanka Gandhi's political experience? Running campaigns in her mother's and brother's parliamentary constituencies? Isn't this approximatly a month's work once in 5 years? Given that the constituencies from which they fight elections have traditionally their family bastions, there is really not much scheming and planning involved. Working in an environment where you know that victory is yours, really doesn't qualify a person to be compared to how Indira Gandhi, as Prime Minister took "major decisions", right?

But you see my friends, logic and NDTV don't seem to be very good friends :D

Moving further (photo 5), NDTV also emphatically declares:

" 'Mass appeal' is one among the many qualities that she inherited from her grandmother. Priyanka's popularity drew crowds from far and wide as she often accompanied her mother and brother to their constituencies of Rae Bareilly and Amethi. "

Far and wide? As in from other constituencies? Other states? Other countries? No - we are not supposed to ask. They will just write whatever superlatives fit into the sentence - facts ain't a concern here, you see!

The gem - Text accompanying photo 7:

"Priyanka is reputed as being a good organiser and is believed to be her mother's "chief advisor" on political matters."

What are the events she "organised" to earn this "reputation"? More importantly, can we start holding Priyanka accountable for both successes and failures of political decisions of Sonia Gandhi ? Will NDTV start asking political questions to Priyanka Gandhi from now on? Oops - did I just ask for the moon? :D

The Diamond - Text accompanying photo 8:

"The dressing style of both ladies has been quite similar too.Many manage to catch a glimpse of the iconic leader specially when Priyanka is seen donning starched cotton sarees.Looking impeccable, of course."

Seriously NDTV? This is NEWS?? starched cotton sarees is what is attractive?? Seriously, NDTV?

The bestest is reserved for the last. Text accompanying photo 10:

"Irrespective of the constant comparison between Indira Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, no one can deny the fact that Priyanka's aura is truly her own.Her poise and elegance sets her apart from all others who hail from political families. Truly, a radiant personality who is willing carrying the Nehru-Gandhi legacy forward, but in her own unique way."

Each word smacks so much of sycophancy. Each word is aimed at selling the idea of Priyanka Gandhi as the next Indira Gandhi, when she does not have a single success to boast of. Frankly, it is not surpising that NDTV has stooped to this level to hype up a member of THE family. What is shocking is the openness with which they do it, and yet claim that they are unbiased in their "reporting". Surely, the country deserves better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

That's all, Your honour! : August 15-21

1. The Nuclear Liability bill is back in the news - and with a bang that too! First leaks this week, suggested that the supplier liability cap be raised from Rs. 500cr to Rs. 1500cr. Also, the time period before which a person can file for damages is now 20 years, as opposed to the 10 years before. And no private sector participation will be allowed in the nuclear sector too. With these changes in, the BJP also agreed to support the bill when it is introduced in Parliament. Great politicians like Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav now accused Congress and BJP reaching to the following deal - CBI will not investigate Narendra Modi and therefore BJP agreed to the deal! And they even stalled Parliament for a couple of days, over this ridiculous suggestion! The next day, The Hindu gives in a detalied report as to how the government is letting the supplier off, by making certain conditions contingent upon each other instead of being mutually exculsive. With the new proposed change, the supplier can be held liable only if there is a contract between the supplier and operator, and the damage is caused because of wilful negligence. BJP then submitted a note to the government saying that this change was not run by them, and they don't accept it. Government now had no option, but to remove "and", and the cabinet thus approved it. Now, if you think the story ends well - the government gives us another surprise! In it's final cleared version, the cabinet adds a clause saying the supplier can be liable only if it is proven that it was his intention in the first place, to supply faulty equipment! How do you even get to prove "intention"?? It is shocking, to say the least, that this government intends to appease suppliers amidst such widespread (and informed) apprehensions in this country. Also, as always Pilid Lao has an excellent take on the new bill. Please read.

2. You know, it pays to have a high profile Chief Minister for your state. Because then every bad thing that happens in your state gets national attention. Here's why I feel so. Last week, the Uttar Pradesh police
opened fire on protesting farmers in Aligarh. 3 were killed, including a jawan. Next day, Parliament was stalled by unruly members. That next day, BSP stalled Rajya Sabha asking for a enquiry on mining scam in Karnataka (revenge on BJP for "embarassing it" the previous day). The farmers were basically demanding that their lands be bought at market rates instead of the low rates the UP govt. is offering them. The violence later spread to Agra too. The saviour of all ills in the country, Shri Rahul Gandhi visited Aligarh to "console" the farmers. National media had a field time with this whole issue. Now, how many of you remember the Sompeta incident in Andhra Pradesh. Leave remembering, how many of you know it even happened! Farmers and residents of Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh were protesting against the setting up of a power plant in their area. 4 people were killed in the police firing that day. That's right - 4 people were killed. No high profile visits for these guys. No continous coverage in media. And the event was forgotten within no time. Poor farmers - their fate that their Chief Minister is not as high profile as a Mayawati!

3. Do you want further proof of the dogmatic levels to which Pakistan government can stoop down to, through its idiotic thought process? India offered $5 million aid to Pakistan, as a humanitarian gesture towards its relief efforts relating to the devastating floods. Guess what - Pakistan took eternity to
decide on whether or not to accep this offer! That's right - Pakistan took about a week to decide on whether this money can be accepted! Reason: Because it is coming from India! While Pakistan was still debating whether to accept the aid or not, our Prime Minister calls up their Prime Minister and offers more aid! Again, that's right! We offered them more aid even before they "accepted" our aid. Anyways, finally saner sense prevailed and Pakistan "accepted" our aid offer (which by the way, The Hindu felt was too low!), and as a mark of gratitude, Pakistan Prime Minister sent mangoes to our Prime Minister! That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : ఆగస్ట్ 15-21

ఈ వారం లో ఎప్పుడు టీవీ పెట్టినా, జగన్, జగన్, జగన్. ఇంకో వార్త అసలు లేదు. ఒక్క సాక్షి టీవీ లొఎ కాదు, ఇప్పుడు మిగతా చానెల్స్ కూడా మొదలుపెట్టాయి. కాకపోతే, సాక్షి జగన్ భజన్ చేస్తుంది, మిగతా చానెల్స్ జగన్ పేరు తో వార్తలు చెప్పుకుని, కాలం గడిపేస్తున్నాయి. హై కమాండ్ తిట్టింది అని, లేదు సంధి కి పిలిచింది అని, కాదు కాదు, జగన్ దిక్కరిస్తున్నాడు అని, అలా కాదు, ప్రజల స్పందన చూసి తట్టుకోలేక ప్రతిపక్షాలే ఇలాగే చేస్తునారు అని ... అబ్బో ...ఇలా రోజుకో వార్త, పూటకో విశ్లేషణ తో పిచేకిన్చేసారు అండి బాబు ! ఇంతకి జగన్ గారు ఎటు తేల్చారు, హై కమాండ్ అంత కన్నా చెప్పదు ! ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా , రాజీవ్ గాంధి గారి జయంతి ని కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టి ఘనంగా జరుపుకుంది. ఎంత ఘనంగా అంటే, యైఎసార్ గారి ఫోటో కూడా అసలు ఎక్కడ కనిపించకుండా ! అదన్నమాట!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An Anti-India movement...

"Violence is the only language New Delhi understands"

No no, the title of this post is not my conclusion on the
ongoing crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. This was said by a Kashmiri muslim student, Ashma Rashid, last night on CNN-IBN. Sagarika Ghose was moderating her "Face the Nation" program, with 2 students representing Kashmiri Muslim youth and 2 students representing the Kashmir Pandits (an old post by Kanchan Gupta on their plight is here). And in 5th part of this video, at 1:30, Ashma Rashid says that "this is a people's movement.. an Anti-India movement" (twice that too!).

At the beginning of the show, another student Syed, says this at 4:15 (in Part 1 of the
video) - "Kashmiri people is on the roads demanding Azaadi(freedom). Demanding that we be heard." When asked what Azaadi means, he says this question should be discussed and there should be a platform. And we were all thinking this show was a platform in itself!

Later, Syed further goes on to say, that "I honestly believe violence is the only language that New Delhi understands" (Part 3, 1:33), while at the beginning of the show he says that he feels "insulted" because his justified protests are being labelled as stone pelting (Part 2, 2:45). When asked if the Pandits ever got violent (Part 5, 0:50) Syed has no credible answer.

At the end of the show, when countered (brilliantly by Radhika Kaul) that Kashmiris just doesn't mean only the muslims you are representing, that it is a very broad term and many people actually don't want freedom, Syed says hold a plebiscite (referendum)! And when pointed out that 61% of people voted in the elections, thereby agreeing to the idea of India, Syed says those elections were fought on Bijli, Sadak, Paani, Rozgaar (Electricity, Roads, Water, Employment) issues, and not on the issue of freedom.

Now, wouldn't anyone living in any country of this world prefer a stable polity that delivers to them the above mentioned promises? And when 61% come out and vote for those promises, are we to read them differently just because "Azaadi" was not on the table? And what happens once you get "Azaadi"? Accede to Pakistan - where you will have no freedom to talk as freely as you do here?! Or administer yourself as a separate country?

Organized protests

Again, this is not me blurting it out. "Hard work went into building the networks that have given the protests direction and focus" says Praveen Swami of The Hindu is
this detailed article today. In one of their raids, police have recovered photographs and addresses of 740 people. Guess what that chart was - it was "organisational chart of one of the multiple Islamist networks that had spearheaded the violence in Kashmir towns this summer."

While the famed english TV media anchors have been going gaga on how these protests reflect genuine anger, Praveen Swami in a series of articles has painstakingly exposed how these stone pelting protests have been planned and spanned over such a long period of time. Take for example
this piece, wherein he describes in detail how terrorists silenced (read killed) all those leaders who were in favour of a meaningful and peaceful dialogue. Or this piece, where he exposes first hand how "Islamist radical Asiya Andrabi wants schools and colleges shut. Her son wants a passport to study abroad." Not one mention of these folks in our national TV channels - only empathy with the stone pelters.

TV media's role

The conclusion of the Face the Nation completely exemplifies how the TV media tries to mislead. Sagarika Ghose concludes by saying the Kashmiri Muslim students have asked their Pandit "brothers" to return, and therefore all is well. What about the whole "anti-India", "Violence is the only langauge", "We demand Azaadi" rhetoric then? We are to forget it? We are to ignore it? Feel happy that the protests are organized, yet at the end of a 25 minutes show, Pandits have been "welcomed" back? Why don't we want to take this issue head on? Why this reluctance by the TV media (am not getting into NDTV's rhetoric, because a book can be written about it!)?

While Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai tried to take credit for bringing together this panel, the real credit lies elsewhere. The BJP got these students to Delhi. They are ones who organized meetings of these students (in larger groups) with a plethora of politcians over two days. Sadly, the media chose not to cover this. Imagine how much hungama the media would have created if Rahul Gandhi would have done the same thing.

Meeting with Nitin Gadkari and Chidambaram

Anyways, coming back - Tarun Vijay
writes here in detail about the meetings.

What stands out are two responses. One by Nitin Gadkari (President of BJP) - "We want you to make progress as proud Indian citizens... The integration of Kashmir with India is final and non-negotiable, from this point of a devotional faith to our nation, all other issues can be discussed. Education, economic development, better governance and a happier social milieu are what we wish for Kashmir and all our states."

Second is by P. Chidambaram (Home Minister of India)- "Be part of the Indian story. The rest will follow naturally. .... Can you expect a soldier, crowded by a dozen stone pelters and feeling helpless, just about to be lynched, not to open fire to save his life? You pelt stones, make security personnel targets, burn government property and expect us to remain silent and do nothing?""

Again, as the national TV media seldom mentions, more than 1200 policemen have been injured in the stone pelting. More than 1200. The inaction of the PM and CM + the glorification of the stone pelters continues....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

That's all, Your Honour!: August 8-14

1. So the Prime Minister finally felt it was time to address the nation, on Jammu and Kashmir. He makes an appeal to the youth and tells them that he is setting up a panel to provide them with better job opportunities. Now, we are confused - so all this unrest was because of lack of employment opportunities? And then he says he is ready to consider the autonomy demand within the ambit of the constitution of India, provided there is consensus. Now, did you just see how loaded that statement is? Framed in such a way that it is open to interpretation in whichever way you like! Observe one more thing - "if there is consensus". Congress always has followed this policy of leaving it to the opposition to arrive at a view, before it even thinks of having a view. Telangana was an example - It didn't have an opinion till Dec.7th, and on the 9th announced a separate state! The recent caste census decision - government has asked all parties to given their opinion and guess which party hasn't given in writing - the Congress! One would think it is not too much to ask for the ruling to take a stance on critical issues - but here we are - it depends on the opposition! Anyways, coming back to the speech - ahh well that's all that is worth mentioning. 2 days after this speech, 4 people were killed in firing. A day later, 2 more were killed. Like we mentioned in an earlier post here: 9 headlines on different days - only the number of killed changes.

2. Also, the Prime Minister took a decision on the
Corruption Wealth Games too. He has asked relevant ministries to investigate all charges of irregularities and said that those found guitly should face "exemplary punishment". This announcement came a couple of days after the Urban Development Minister, Jaipal Reddy announced in the Lok Sabha that the punishment will be "draconian". Meanwhile, when the sports minister wa asked for details, he asked the members of Lok Sabha to file an RTI ! Yep - you read it right - the sports minister asked the lawmakers themselves to file an RTI to get more details! Meanwhile, some more details of corruption have been "exposed" by channels and with the Prime Minister himself deciding to visit the staidiums to see first hand - the muck is all out in the open. Curiously though - Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sheila Dixit have been let off by the media.Wonder why?

3. About 10 days back, a cargo ship, MSC Chitra, carrying about 3000 tonnes of oil and diesel, collided with another ship MV Khalija. MSC Chitra then started tilting, thereby spilling over containers of oil into the shores Mumbai. This happened very near to the coast, and there are different
versions as to who the culprit is - MSC Chitra or MV Khalija. Meanwhile, the Central government has asked MSC Chitra to pay up for the damages from this collison. Needless to say, the environmental damages that this spill will cause are enormous.. the Mangrove forests aroud the damaged area have already been hit very badly. This being the breeding season for sea animals, it is also feared that the eco system balance will be missing, this year for sure. Meanwhile, many suggestions are coming forward on how to clean up the mess left behind. Also sadly, a boatman died when he was transporting a TV crew to the crash site. The latest news is that the oil spill has stopped because the ship has stabilised.

4. Justice Dinakaran took oath as the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court. An
old blog piece mentions how the judge facing corruption charges has been conveiniently moved to Sikkim! Pilid Lao, in his sattire, explains to us, what the law abiding people of Sikkim need to do, so as to get "equal treatment" by the Supreme Court ! That's all, your honour! (literally :D)

అదన్నమాట! : ఆగస్ట్ 8-14

44000 ఎకరాల మేరకు పంట నష్టం జరిగినా, ఈ వారం అంతా మన మీడియా వాళ్ళు , వాళ్ళ మధ్యే కొట్టుకోవడం లో సరిపోయింది. ఈనాడు ఏమో జగన్ ని ఆరేసింది. సాక్షి ఏమో రామోజీ గారిని వేసుకుంది. ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, అంబటి రాంబాబు గారి మీద అవినీతి ఆరోపణలు చేస్తూ కొంత మంది కాంగ్రెస్ నేతలే పత్రికలకి వివరాలు ఇచ్చినట్టు ఉన్నారు. ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, ఇది కేవలం కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టి అంతర్గత కుమ్ములాట అని , ప్రజలు పెద్దగా ఇది పట్టించుకోవాల్సిన అవసరం లేదు అని కొంత మంది నాయకులు సెలవిచ్చారు. మధ్యలో అంబటి రాంబాబు గారు మళ్ళి వచ్చి, రోశయ్య ప్రభుత్వం అసమర్ధ ప్రభుత్వం అని చెప్పారు. రాష్ట్రం లో విస్తారంగా వర్షాలు కురుస్తున్నాయి. కాని ఇప్పుడు వైఎసార్ గారు లేరు కదా , అందుకే రాష్ట్రానికి మంచి జరుగుతున్నా, కాంగ్రెస్స్ నాయకులే చూసి ఒర్వలేకపోతున్నారు! మర్చిపోయారు ఏమో - 44000 ఎకరాల మేరకు పంట నష్టం జరిగింది రాష్ట్రం లో. అదన్నమాట!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flirting with murderers...

The Past

On the 30th of May, Thirteen coaches of the Howrah-Kurla Jnaneswari Express were
derailed in West Bengal. A Goods train later rammed into these coaches, resulting in the deaths of more than 140 people. Basically what happened was that the tracks on which the ill fated train was, were removed (by who else, but the Naxalites). And after the train derailed, a goods train coming from the other side rammed into this train. Now some would call this sabotage, some would call this a terrorist act. Either way, everyone would want the people behind this attack to be bought to justice. No one would even want to associate themselves with the perpetrators of this crime.

A coupld of days after this attack, a PCAPA (People's Committee Against Police Atrocities) leader had
this to say:

We are sorry. We never wanted these innocent civilians to die. Trust me, we targeted the goods train. But somehow, we were fed wrong information that the goods train would cross through this track and we removed pandrol clips from a long stretch. We did not want to harm civilians. There must have been some miscalculation.”

You read it right - the Naxalite leader "apologised" for messing up their "target". Anyways, the CBI made some arrests, and the state police also announced rewards for some leaders of PCAPA.

The Present

Union Railway Minister and President of All India Trinamool Congress, Mamta Banerjee
held a rally in Lalgarh (the bastion of the Naxalites) on August 9th. If you think she did it by defying the Maoists, no you are mistaken! She did it with the support of Maoists. And with the support of the same group - PCAPA. The same group that has accepted responsibility for removing the tracks, later "apologising" for their "goof-up". The same group that has been responsible for the loss of 141 lives whose only mistake was to be on that ill fated train. Take a look at this picture (via @centerofright) - the PCAPA terrorist who has a one lakh reward on his head is leading a gang to the rally of Mamta Banerjee.

In another twist in the tale, one of the "supporter" group of the rally is infact
upset that Mamta has not spoken about their demands!

And at the same rally, Mamta Banerjee also declared that the
killing of Maoist leader Azad was wrong. She declared that she thinks this is murder. Azad was killed in an encounter with AP police. By the way, here's a small list of crimes Azad is involved in:

1. Killing of Panchayat Raj Minister, A. Madhava Reddy in AP
2. Killing of 2 IPS officer, Vyas and Umesh Chandra, in AP
3. Killing of former Speaker D. Sripada Rao, in AP
4. The Attack on Chandrababu Naidu, then CM of AP.

This begs the question - What does the future hold for us?

Mamta Banerjee's crass acts can no more be justified under any political compulsions. Hell - there is no politics involved in criticising her in the first place. This is plain ridiculous that such a high ranking minister in the Government of India, openly courts the Maoists/terrorists and we are to just remain mute spectators to this disgusting spectacle. Why have we become so immune to Mamta's "
irresponsible politics"? Why is the media not even demanding that Mamta Banerjee resign from her post? Shouldn't the Prime Minister sack her? What kind of a country tolerates a cabinet minister's open support to Maoists, when the Prime Minister of the country himself describes them as the "gravest internal security threat to this country"? By plain common sense, doesn't that make Mamta a threat too?

Shivraj Patil had a murderous stint as Home Minister in UPA 1.0. Now, we have a cabinet minister openly sliding with murderers. Both times the Prime Minister was silent. How much more longer will this facade go on?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

That's all, Your Honour!: Aug 1-6

1. A cloud burst in the town of Leh and adjoining villages in Jammu and Kashmir caused severe flash floods. Atleast 132 people are dead and more than 600 people are still missing in this tragedy. The Army, Indian Air Force, Indo-Tibetan border police, local people and even foreign tourists are all helping in the relief and rescue operations. The airport in Leh has been shutdown, and the region has practically lost it's connectivity to the rest of the world because of the damaged bridges and roads too. The Chief Minister is personally monitoring the sitation from Leh itself.

2. The other tragedy in Kashmir is being tracked in a separate blog piece
here. More than 1200 CRPF policemen have been injured in the stone pelting. About 45 civilians have so far died in the last 2 months. Curfew is being relaxed slowly in parts of Srinagar. And the delhi media is going gaga over the "independence" demand of these stone pelters; Sagarika Ghose of IBN even had a discussion on whether this whole "so called sacred-ness of kashmir's accession need reexamination?". Further more, she went on to enlighten us thus: "Kashmir's future shd surely be decided by the kashmiri people. Not by India's armed forces." I would strongly recommend that all of us read this piece by Chaitanya to understand why such "liberalism" in Kashmir is a fail. I repeat - must read!

3. So the Press Council of India prepares a report on "Paid News". This report has detais on which newspapers/channels resorted to the practice of "paid news". Now the members are divided on whether they have to publish the full report or not. No prizes for guessing which
majority prevailed? The one that did NOT want the full report published! Outlook has published the full report here, and the report has specific examples of complaints against newspapers/channels, big and small. However the report falls short of any concrete solutions for this menace. More importantly, look at how they voted in the meeting. Actually, look at the absentee list and the "non-commital" list. If politicians only back out like this, what hope will we have on reports coming out! (Outlook links via @vrsrini)

4. Remember the
Manipur blockade? Remember the relief felt when it was partially lifted? Turns out, it is a temporary relief, because the Naga groups are back to imposing the blockade for lack of proper response from the Central government! Adds another feather to the cap of this government really.

5. Now let's talk about the
Corruption Wealth Games. For starters, this detailed blog by Kanchan Gupta is a must read. Now, the President of the Indian Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi holds a press conference and refutes some charges, one of them being that he chose a firm to award a contract in UK, because it was recommended by the Indian High Commission in UK and produces an e-mail. Turns out that e-mail was doctored (no prizes for guessing who doctored it!). Keep wondering how a person at that position can be so stupid! A couple of days later, the Organizing Committee officials hold another press conference and try to clarify some more doubts (saying the Rs. 9 Lakh threadmill was designed by NASA, 100 rolls of tiolet paper cost Rs.4000 and not 1 roll as was projected etc!). In the meanwhile, as a face saving measure, 3 officials are suspended and one more resigns on "moral grounds". Another crucial thing to note here is the media's excessive concentration only on Suresh Kalmadi & co. All hungama about Shiela Dixit's government and Mani Shankar Aiyar's massive failure as Sports Minister in UPA-1 has been brushed under the carpet. You know what is the worst irony of these games - no one is actually talking about how our sports associations are gearing up the sportspersons for this event! The committee has promised $100,000 for training and we have no clue what kind of training our folks are undergoing! That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట!: ఆగస్ట్ 1-6

రాష్ట్రం లో విస్తారంగా వర్షాలు కురుస్తునాయి. ఇప్పటి వరకు 25 % అధికంగా వర్షాలు పడినట్టు అంచనా. పలు వాగులు నదులు ఉప్పొంగి ప్రవహిస్తున్నాయి. గోదావరి, వంశధార, కృష్ణ - అన్ని నదులు జల కల సంతరించుకున్నాయి. జలాశయ ప్రాజెక్ట్లు అన్ని నీటి తో నిండిపోయాయి. ఇది ఇల ఆండగా, దిగువ ప్రాంతాల్లో ఉండే గ్రామాలు, పట్టణాలు వరద ఉదృతి కి గురుతున్నాయి. పలు ప్రాంతాల్లో ప్రజల్ని సురక్షిత ప్రదేశాలకు తరలించారు. ప్రభుత్వం కూడా నిత్యం పరిస్థితి ని సమీక్షిస్తూనే ఉంది.

రాష్ట్ర చరిత్ర లోనే తోలి సారిగా, రాష్ట్ర గవర్నర్ , ఒక విశ్వవిద్యాలయపు వైస్ చాన్సుల్లర్ ని బర్తరఫ్ చేసారు. శ్రీ కృష్ణ దేవ రాయ విస్వవిదలయం ఉపకులపతి ని గవర్నర్ గారు, అవినీతి ఆరోపణల కారణం చూపించి బర్తరఫ్ చెయ్యడం జరిగింది.

ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా , చంద్రబాబు నాయుడు గారు తిరుమల లో జరుగుతున్న అక్రమాలకు వ్యతిరేకంగా తిరుపతి లో ధర్నా నిర్వహించారు. ఆ తరువాత తిరుమల కొండా పైకి కాలి నడక మీద వెళ్ళరు. అరవై ఎల్ల వయసు లో కూడా, ఆయన ఒక్క సారి కూడా ఆగకుండా, ఏడు కొండలు ఎక్కేసారు ! అదన్నమాట!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trysts with MSM - Part 10

MSM stands for Main Stream Media

It all began when fellow alert tweeter,
Venkat Gopal bought this issue to the forefront:

NDTV picks this report from PTI : and adds a line @BDUTT

This report is about a hand hacking incident in Kerala, wherein the hand of a 24 year old man was severed by goons for questoning them about teasing his sister. The line in contention was this:

In the PTI (Press Trust of India) report: Police dismissed political motive behind the crime.
NDTV (which attributes the report to PTI): Some of the men, who attacked Abhilash were RSS-BJP workers but police dismissed political motive behind the crime.

Now, why would NDTV add that line when the actual PTI report does not have it? This was the question we posed.

And then Shri Siddarth Varadarajan (who by the way is an editor in The Hindu and not NDTV :D) comes and tweets

Kerala man's hand cut off for taking on eveteasers: 'Some of the attackers were RSS-BJP workers'. No howls of outrage?

No prizes for guessing which link he tweeted - the NDTV one! Couple of folks (including me) have asked him separately (pasting below my queries) :

svaradarajan ... hope you had a look at the original PTI report. .. would you like to clarify now?
Also @
svaradarajan look at how they killed basic english sentences too ! if anything, the howling must come from journos!!

After a while, Sidd replies

Vengdu @kvsarmaj @visaraj @ssudhirkumar The NDTV one is the FULL pti story. PTI free site has redacted version for nonsubscrbrs like you

Now, we are further confused!

svaradarajan non subscribers get better english and neatly edited reports? while subscribers dont? @Vengdu @kvsarmaj @visaraj
svaradarajan plus also why have IBN, IE, carried the "redacted" version? They are non-subscribers like us? @vengdu @KVSarmaJ @visaraj

To which, he

Vengdu NDTV link clearly says PTI. @ssudhirkumar Subscribers free to edit but not add. That's the way it works world over with wires.

Now, more confusion!

svaradarajan so you are saying, PTI edited it's own report, cleared it of the shoddy english, deleted RSS-BJP, while NDTV didnt?

More. NDTV says story first published at 13:36 IST. Updated 16:27 IST. PTI says 14:21. IE says 15:45.

svaradarajan Indian Express: CNN-IBN: ... exact same as the "redacted" PTI version.

In the meanwhile, fellow tweeter, KiranKS
pulls up reports in other publications.

PTI: Indian Express: CNN-IBN: but @NDTV adds RSS-BJP!!

Other fellow tweeters
pull up links too, while Sidd pulls up a link on the "original PTI story on Mangalam!

Later in the evening, Kanchan Gupta gives us these

PTI 1.05 pm take says "RSS-BJP workers"; removed in 2nd take at 1.40 pm. NDTV should have corrected. @

So the point is very simple now - why is NDTV carrying out a story that the original soure PTI itself has made changes to? While all other newspapers, channels are picking up the latest vesion of the feed, why has NDTV not done it? And guess what - no clarification has come from Barkha, Vikram Chandra or Nidhi. A mail has been sent to , but as usual no reply yet! Thanks to all fellow tweeters for pushing the question and participating in the discussions yesterday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the headlines, only numbers change :(

Headline on July 31 - 3 killed in Kashmir Violence
Headline on August 1 - 2 die in police firing as protesters defy curfew
Headline on August 2 - Eight killed as violence escalates in Kashmir Valley
Headline on August 3 - Thousands defy curfew; 7 more civilians killed
Headline on August 4 - 5 more die as violence continues in Kashmir
Headline on August 5 - Another youth dies in police firing in Kashmir
Headline on August 6 - Another civilian dies in firing

Headline on August 14 - 4 die in police firing
Headline on August 15 - 2 killed in CRPF firing

Headline on August 21 - 2 more die in policing in Kashmir

Headline on August 26 - Boy injured in Srinagar clashes dies

Headline on Sept.6 - 3 killed as police open fire on mob in Kashmir
Headline on Sept. 14 - Fifteen killed in Kashmir violence
Headline on Sept.16 - Three killed as violence spreads to Sopore

And this cycle of violence didn't start on July 30th. For two weeks in the first half of July too, this was happening and even the army had to be called in. Later, the curfew was lifted, only to be bought back now. Actually this violence didn't begin in July too. Right from 2008, stone pelters have been at this. Like this report in hindu says: "While stone pelting has become a routine feature of street protests in Srinagar since the summer of 2008, it had revived with particular intensity after April, when three youths were alleged to have been killed in a fake encounter in Machhil. " The same report also calls it "curious passivity in the responses of the Centre and the Omar Abdullah administration to the events as they have been building up these last two months"

And in case you are wondering what the government in Jammu and Kashmir, headed by the youth scion Omar Abdullah is doing - here is a jist. He has given an interview to NDTV on July 3 where he said that he "will do everything possible to ensure that things like this don't happen" and also said that he accepts this setback and will build this back. For this interview, NDTV anchors feted him for his "sincerity" in admitting for failure.

Later the Home Minister of India has said that the "situation in Kashmir is grave". Later that day, J&K CM meets the Prime Minister and Home Minister, requests for additional forces which the centre has agreed to, and then says that the need for Kashmir is a "political package". No one has any clue what he meant by that!

TV media has further made our understanding of the whole subject more confusing. They are bringing in all kinds of people on TV (those justifying the violence, then those talking about dialogue, some talking about freedom) and in my opinion doing a disservice by confusing the people.

The cycle of violence has not ended, and all we hear is rhetoric from the Chief Minister of the state. And we are yet to hear anything at all from the Prime Minister!

PS: The blog(first written on August 4th) will be updating all headlines in the coming days too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

That's all, Your Honour! : July 25-31

1. In Haryana, 1 lakh quintals of wheat was left to rot in open area, for lack of storage space! This is not the frst time grains have been left in the open due to lack of storage space. This time, the loss in terms of money has been around Rs. 15 crores. Actually more than the money, the number of people who could have had hearty meals itself runs into lakhs. Food Corporation of India is the agency responsible for preserving grains. It comes under the Agricultural ministry, which is headed by Sharad Pawar! Speaking of rot, let's move to the next point.

2. Corruption Wealth Games. Some call it Congress Wealth Games too! Well, the actual name is Common Wealth Games. This time, New Delhi is hosting them in October. And guess what,
some stadiums are not yet complete! In 14 out of the 17 venues, electricty installations have not been checked. That's right - not checked! The inspection agency that was supposed to submit monthly reports has not submitted even one report! The construction work was begun very late and then it was cited that since there is an urgency in completing the projects, the rates need to be hiked up! Banned contractors were given contracts, testing criteria was fudged with, and safety precautions have gone for a toss! The saga is never ending ... Indian Oympic Association Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit are busy trading charges. The Union Minister of Sports says this is like a wedding, where everything will fall in place in the last minute!! A whopping sum of Rs. 35,000 crores has been spent so far on this games, and we don't even know why so much was needed in the first place! And the costs still don't seem to we said before, the saga is never ending!

3. Bypolls to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana were held this week. These were necessaited because 10 TRS MLA's, 1 MLA each from TDP and BJP resigned from their seats. And suprisingly, TRS won 11 seats and BJP retained its lone seat (supported by TRS). And not only that, the margin of victory also increased manifold for all the victors. 3 TRS candidates infact had more than 70,000 votes majority. TDP lost its security deposit in all the 12 constituencies and Congress lost it in 4. And the biggest shock for Congress came when it's state President, D.Srinivas lost from the Nizamabad seat (for the 2nd consecutive time). Though this can be seen as a resounding demand for a separate state in these constituencies, we just have to wait for the Sri Krishna committee to submit it's report.

4. After a relatively calm period for about a week, the stone pelters are
again back in Kashmir. A total of 5 people have so far been killed in the clashes between police and the protestors. These protests were organised by the Hurriyat faction led by Syed Geelani, whom the state and central government don't lose an opportunity to invite for talks, while he encourages such vioelnce!

5. After the wikileaks episode, Indian media started wondering if it will have any impact on our talks with Pakistan! Yeah right, like there is something very new in the "fact" that ISI supports Taliban and other terror groups! Even if ISI accepts that, will our Prime Minister stop the talks?! That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : జూలై 25-31

తెలంగాణా ఉప ఎన్నికల ఫలితాలు అందరిని ఆశ్చర్య పరిచాయి. తెరాసా 11 స్థానాల్లో విజయ ఢంకా మ్రోగించగా, భారిత్య జనత పార్టి తన నిజామాబాద్ స్థానాన్ని మళ్ళి దక్కించుకుంది. 2009 లో కన్నా తెరాసా అభ్యర్దులకి చాలా ఎక్కువ మెజారిటి వచ్చింది. అందరు ఆశ్చర్య పోయిన విషయం ఇంకోటి ఏంటి అంటే, తెలుగు దేశం పార్టి అన్ని స్థానాల్లో తన డిపాసిట్లు కోల్పోయింది. కాంగ్రెస్స్ రాష్ట్ర అద్యక్షుడు శ్రీ డి శ్రీనివాస్ మళ్ళి ఓడిపోయారు. తెలంగాణా వాదానికి ఈ ఫలితాలు చాలా బలాన్ని చేకూర్చాయి. ఇంత పెద్ద స్థాయి లో మెజారిటి రావడం తెరాస శ్రేణుల్లో మళ్ళి ఉత్సహాన్ని నింపింది. తెదేపా మరియు కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టీలు ఆత్మా రక్షణ లో పడ్డాయి. ఈ లోపల, ఉస్మానియా ఉనివర్సితి లో ఒక ఇంజినీరింగ్ విద్యార్ధి డి శ్రీనివాస్ ఓడిపోయాడు అన్న ఆనందం లో ఆత్మా హత్య చేసుకున్నాడు! ఏంటో ఇది, తెలంగాణా వచ్చినా రాకపోయినా ఈ ఆత్మా హత్యలు ఆగేటట్టు లేదు.! ఇక ఇప్పుడు శ్రీ కృష్ణ కమిషన్ నివేదిక వచ్చే వరకు వేచి చూడాల్సిందే.