News Wrap


The political panel of Chief Ministers formed to promote cashless transactions in the country while coming up with useless political solutions like adding more freebies like 1000 rupees subsidy on smart phones, avoided to recommend cashless funding to political parties. As per media report just 16 percent income of political parties comes from known donors and the rest from unknown sources.

Basic root of corruption and black money in the country is political system for which no government wishes to make any reform. Even last part of much talked-about speech of Prime Minister on 31.12.2016 simply desired all political parties to find some consensus for reforms in poll process and funding of political parties. If central government can take hard decisions like including on demonetisation without any political consensus, there is no reason that it may not make a surgical strike by implementing massive poll-reforms without waiting for never-to-be achieved political consensus.

Banks should abolish all transaction charges, processing and annual fees in respect of credit and debit cards by compensating themselves through funds made available by them for Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR). Charity should begin from home by making it compulsory to make all contributions to political parties through banks or smart-phones.

Malkam Cheruvu
Local residents around Malkam Cheruvu, Hyderabad staged protest by closing the gate at timberlake colony and halting traffic for upto an hour on December 18, 2016. They objected to the heavy toxic polluted inflows into Malkam Cheruvu. Intolerable stink is impacting the health and lives of residents. Fishermen lost their money due to fish kill, their livelihood is lost. Migratory birds and fish sale was a part of culture around the lake. Mosquito menace is severe affecting health and family/friend relations.

The pollutant inflows into the lake needs to be immediately stopped. Lake is shrunk due to private and state encroachments, lake to be locally cleaned. Hyaccinth to be removed. Rock Park on the south west of the lake is destroyed and heavily encroached with no action from authorities despite repeated complaints from locals.
Locals are determined to get the Malkam Cheruvu restored and demand that the government and authorities act promptly with 'application of mind' and not with routine diversion of pollutants and continued destruction of rocks and encroachment of lake.

Death in Custody
A prisoner of the Greater Noida Jail, an accused in the lynching of Mohammed Ikhlaq of Dadri, died in a Delhi hospital during treatment. Allegedly, he was beaten by some police personnel in the jail. Observing that the contents of the news report raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the prisoner, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Director General, Prisons and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for reports in the matter. The Commission has also observed that a prisoner cannot be deprived of his Right to Life, which is also ensured by the Constitution of India.

And a journalist, Shiv Shahkar Vaishnav died after his attempted suicide in the custody of Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI. Reportedly, after the incident, the CBI officials rushed him first to the district hospital and from there to the Ambedkar Hospital, Raipur, where he was kept on life support system for four days before being declared dead on Monday, the 3rd October, 2016. The family of the victim has alleged that he was tortured to death.

Shiv Shankar Vaishnav and his son were arrested by the CBI on the 25th September, 2016 in the case of murder of a journalist, Umesh Rajput in Gariyaband district of Chhatrtsgarh in the year 2011.

Death of a person in its custody indicates negligence on part of the officials. It becomes the prime duty of the agency to protect the Right to Life of a person, who is being detained by them for the purpose of interrogation. The act of negligence, apparent in the matter, is a complete transgression of human rights of the victim. A citizen, even in police custody is entitled to his fundamental rights ensured under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Death in police custody due to torture is a regular news-item in almost every state of the country.

Human Smuggling
The treacherous passage across the Mediterranean Sea, from Libya to Italy, has become the dominant route for human smuggling, after the controversial EU-Turkey deal aimed to close the shorter and comparatively safer path across the Aegean Sea. It has claimed the vast majority of over 5000 lives of refugees, lost in attempted sea crossings in 2016, making it the deadliest year for refugees trying to reach Europe. About 180,000 migrants have arrived in Italy in 2016, which beats the previous annual record of 170,000 (2014). Libya’s coastal cities are making upto 325 million Euros (£ 272 million) in revenue each year, from people smuggling. Migrant smuggling, originating far beyond Libyan borders, remains a major source of income among locals, in Libyan coastal cities. Tens of thousands of refugees leaving Libya in un-seaworthy boats, are being picked up in the Mediterranean by aid workers. Refugees are paying hundreds or thousands of Euros to smugglers. Islamic extremist groups are among those involved in the smuggling business, which sometimes begins far south in Africa’s Sahel zone. Al-Qaida and al-Qaida AQIM (al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb), alinged to the Tuareg tribe in south western Libya, are assessed to be financially exploiting these smuggling routes. Refugees and migrants are frequently kidnapped by gangs, and forced into modern slavery. Others are detained in labour camps or forced into prostitution, until they can pay their way out. Routes out of Libya are controlled by militias and many borders are closed. The only options open for escape to refugees are the flimsy rubber boats sent into the Mediterranean Sea by smugglers. More than 5500 refugees have died attempting sea journeys to Europe in 2016, of drowning, fuel inhalation and suffocation in over crowded dinghies.

Armenian Massacre
As many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Turkish state organised violence, during the fall of the Ottoman empire, between 1915 and 1922. Pope Francis used a special mass in St Peter’s Basilica two years ago to mark the anniversary, and described the tragedy as the first genocide of the 20th century, which struck the Armenian people. Armenia’s efforts to promote greater awareness of the Turkish massacre received a dramatic boost by the Pontiff’s special mass to highlight the killing of 1.5 million. The Turkish government, however, rejects the term ‘‘genocide’’, and emphasises wartime conditions. In recent years, Turkey has acknowledged Armenian suffering. Russia, France and about 20 other countries recognise the killings as genocide. USA and Britain do not, probably to avoid angering their NATO ally. The concept of genocide was recognised by the UN in 1948. Relations between Armenia and Turkey are complicated by other factors too, like the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Saudi Arabia Cuts Aid
Saudi Arabia has long competed for influence in Lebanon, with Iran. Instead of countering Iran, Saudi Arabia has since end-February 2016, slashed billions of dollars of aid to Lebanon, ordered Saudi tourists to avoid the Mediterranean nation, and declared Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful, political, social and armed organisation, a terrorist group. Lebanon is once again thrust into the middle of the battle between Shilte Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Lebanon hosts well over a million Syrian refugees, and relies on a shaky power-sharing arrangement between seats for its own stability. While Iran has not shifted tactics in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia’s newly assertive foreign policy moves have been pressed by a new king and his son, the deputy crown prince. Saudi leaders are angry over the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States. At the January 2016 meeting in Riyadh of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Lebanon stood in ‘‘solidarity’’ with Saudi Arabia, over the embassy attacks. However, Lebanon did not sign on any statement, as it would violate Lebanon’s policy of disassociation, or official neutrality, on the Syrian conflict. Riyadh has cancelled $ 4 billion in aid pledged to Lebanon, $ 3 billion of which was earmarked for the Lebanese army.

Vol. 49, No.32, Feb 12 - 18, 2017