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Indian Muslim

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    Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam says he respects the democratic right of Muslim participants of Modi conclave to do as they wish, but counsels the community to stay united in front of the BJP love offensive.

    Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam,

    As I said in my last article the BJP has started what we can term a “full-blown love offensive” to win Muslim hearts. Recently 30 Muslims with a public profile attended a conclave organized by Citizens for Accountable Governance, a group that seems to believe that Narendrabhai Modi has been running an “accountable” government. If that was the case Gujarat 2002 would not have occurred, nor justice sought to be derailed consistently, nor would have innocent people like Ishrat Jahan been eliminated by the state with such cruelty and in such a lawless way.

    However, as is the case always, some of us chose to go and attend the Modi show in Ahmedabad. That was not the preferred response of the most of Indian Muslims, the individuals and groups.

    This is not the occasion to recount all sins of omission and commission of the BJP against Indian Muslims. Suffice it to say that the “change” in BJP’s stance being tom-tomed so relentlessly is merely tactical, not strategic. How it is so will become clear in the following parts.

    The way things are moving suggests that justice is no longer important in our national life, that governmental accountability does not matter, that the blood of thousands killed under state patronage in Gujarat 2002 was water, that the sorrow of so many people is of no account.

    There is no mention of 2002. Even Amit Shah, accused of the worst anti-Muslim atrocities while he was a minister of state in Gujarat, is BJP’s Uttar Pradesh election in-charge. The man was behind the bars for a while. Here also the same assumption works: that Muslim blood is of no consequence.

    In fact, this is what some of our own people are saying today. One of the Muslim delegates is reported to be telling people to forget 2002. How can the Indian Muslim community so callously be asked to forget the victims and their kin? Since when did expecting justice become a sin?

    There can be no reconciliation until truth is established and perpetrators of crimes against humanity publicly accept their guilt and express contrition clearly and unambiguously. In the case of Gujarat 2002, the state itself was involved in the crime. That makes a Truth and Reconciliation move like South Africa a prerequisite for Muslim individuals and groups to honestly and honourably participate in BJP programmes. Nothing of that sort has occurred so far, which makes any Muslim move to confer legitimacy on the Modi government undignified.

    By participating in the Modi conclave, the 30 Muslims have betrayed the blood of the innocent victims. With their act they have conferred legitimacy on the Modi government and sowed confusion in the minds not only of Muslims, but a large number of liberal, fair-minded Hindus and others all over India.

    One of the better-educated and articulate Muslims who participated in the conclave was Zafar Mahmood, formerly of the IRS, member secretary to the Sachar Committee and head of Zakat Foundation. He says he had consulted the community’s elders before deciding to go to Ahmedabad and present the Muslim case at the conclave.

    His power-point presentation runs into several pages in print. There are a number of issues raised in it, but some initial observations are quite interesting as they show his skepticism towards the genuineness of BJP’s change of heart. Mahmood says the putative goodwill of the BJP towards Muslims is not borne out by the party’s website. On the contrary, it shows extreme hate for and provocation against Muslims. (Mahmood has used the words “hate” and “provocation” in the presentation made at the conclave).

    Read closely, and you know why all major milli organisations and most of the senior community leaders stayed away from it. Mahmood quotes an article by the Sangh journalist MV Kamath on BJP’s official website that gives “a call to Muslims to adopt Hindu names and Muslim women to wear mangal sutra.” Can anyone imagine Muslims forcing Jews or Christians, or vice-versa, to give up their names and rituals and adopt other people’s in their place? This is the fascist trait in BJP that not only Muslims but other sections, including Hindus, dread. Also, which face of BJP is real: the one in the above article, or that presented at the conclave?

    Mahmood referred to another essay from the website on Semitic Monotheism, which said, “We must realize that we have a problem on hand in India, the problem of a stagnant and conservative Islamic society. A national effort is called for to break Islamic exclusivism and enshrine the assimilative Hindutva.”

    Mahmood went on to talk about shared values, constitutional methods, common national goals. But it was clear that nothing would work against the basic long-term goal of the Sangh of obliterating Islamic values, civilisation and culture.

    Against this backdrop of overwhelming hostility towards Islam and Muslims, one should ask as to how fruitful a dialogue with Modi or Rajnath will be. The obvious answer is that it will not be fruitful. A preponderant majority of Muslims is right, as are milli organisations, in their conclusion that the change heart in BJP is merely an ill-disguised vote-catching stratagem.

    We respect the democratic right of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to ride the Modi bandwagon. They are intelligent enough to make decisions, including political decisions, on their own. The rest of us, and the large milliorganisations (all of whom have chosen to stay away) are not a khap panchayat to enforce, or try to enforce, their will on the dissenters.

    However, we must admit that by breaking rank they become weaker, not stronger. Conversely, as they are a microscopic minority their breaking of rank may not make the community weaker, because it remains united.

    To be fair to those who attended the conclave, not all of them returned converted to Moditva.

    It is a moment of introspection, not mutual disputation and use of strong words against each other. It is also a moment of closing our ranks.


    Sudden Change of Heart

    (Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam Chairman Institute of Objective Studies.)

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: Taking a dig at the Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, who is on personal trip toUSA, Chairman of the Rihai Manch, Advocate Mohammad Shoaib said that UP CM is acting like a mdoern day Nero, who was playing flute while the city was burning.

    He said that despite making poll promises of withdrawing cases against innocent Muslims, and his assurances of brining action taken report, Akhilesh has failed to deliver.

    Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna outside the UP Assembly since May 20 demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    Rihai Manch had been leading a sustained movement for justice for last 45 days. Several rights groups and individuals have expressed their support and took token participation in the demonstration. Tomorrow, eminent democratic rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Ashish Gupta will join the indifinite Dharna.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Khudai Khidmatgar organised a peace prayer for unity among communities at Shanti stupa near Millenium Park, New Delhi. As a part of the programme a delegation of Khudai Khidmatgar had a meeting with Katsu behan, well known Indian Buddhist religious leader and peace activist and chairperson of vishwa Shanti stoop at her residence.

    On the occasion of this programme Khudai Khidmatgar leader Faisal Khan said, “We are aware that the inhuman attack on Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya will make a rift between the two peace loving communities and will make more innocent people to face the troubles by this blast and aftermath. To repeat and strengthen the solidarity and unity amongst the communities, we strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack, it shows that to disturb the good relation among communities in this World, but we won’t be silent after seeing these forms of activities, because we believe in peace and we will succeed with Peace.”

    Khudai Khidmatgar believes that every religion teaches peace.

    Other prominent activist who participated in this programme are Prof. VK Tripathy from Sadbhav Mission, Veena Behan from Gandhi Global Family, Haneef Shastri, Ramesh Bhai from Gandhi Peace Foundation, Inamul Hasan, Mohd Faizan,Baboo Sahab from Aligarh Muslim University and others.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea of kin of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, challenging his acquittal in a case.

    A division bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice G.P. Mittal has sought response from both SDajjan Kumar and the CBI by Aug 27.

    Filing the appeal, Jagdish Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur, who had lost their relatives in the riots, sought the trial court's April 30 judgment in the case be set aside.

    The plea said the trial court failed to appreciate the large body of legally admissible evidence in its verdict.

    The trial court April 30 acquitted Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the killing of five people in Delhi Cantonment area during violence against the Sikhs following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on Oct 31, 1984.

    "The verdict was erroneous as the trial court had failed to appreciate that there was ample legally admissible evidence against Kumar to show that he had allegedly engineered the murders of five Sikh persons in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment," the plea said.

    It submitted that the trial court ignored the statements of Jagdish Kaur, Jagsher Kaur and Nirpreet Kaur, who were eye witnesses to Sajjan Kumar's presence and a "speech of hatred" he gave on Nov 2, 1984.

    The trial court acquitted Sajjan Kumar, a former Lok Sabha member from Outer Delhi, but convicted five others -- former councillorBalwan Khokkar, former legislator Mahender Yadav, and Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal -- for their involvement in the case.

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    By Alok Singh, IANS,

    New Delhi : Jasmine, 20, dreads going back to Myanmar where she says people of her community are treated like pariah and subjected to atrocities. She is among the 195 Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar who are languishing in a deplorable state in in the Jaitpur shantytown in the southeastern periphery of the capital for the past year.

    "We would die but won't go back to Burma (Myanmar). Life is a virtual hell there. Though life is not easy here, it is much better than in Burma. No one harasses us here," Jasmine told IANS.

    "I don't know the future of my three-year-old daughter. How will she grow up? Where will she study?" a worried Jasmine said while her daughter was playing in a muddy pool of water outside her hut.

    In May 2012, this group of Rohingyas had crossed over into India from Bangladesh. They had fled Myanmar fearing attacks on them from Buddhists in the violence that spread through Myanmar's Rakhine province (also known as Arakan).

    Rohingyas are not recognised among the 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar and they are treated as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
    Bangladesh rejects them, saying they are Myanmarese, with the result that they are living without any civil rights or citizenship.

    The temporary settlement of Rohingyas in Jaitpur, comprising a cluster of dirty plastic sheet-covered bamboo huts, is devoid of any basic amenities and the lives of their children and women are pitiable.

    "We are looted, exploited and beaten there. No one employs us because we are Muslims," 44-year old Haroon, who is from Busidung in Myanmar, told IANS.

    P. Kalam, 20, a daily wage labour who earns Rs.200 a day, said: "Only I know how I am living away from my parents. They don't want me to return to them in Myanmar," said Kalam, who is from the Mongdu area in Myanmar.

    The Rohingyas are demanding full refugee status with rights before the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. In May last year, hundreds of them demonstrated outside the UNHCR office in Vasant Vihar in south Delhi. Most of the Rohingyas who arrived in New Delhi last year spread out to other parts of India, including Jammu and Kashmir.

    "We want refugee status in India or another country," said Mohammad Jakaria, a rickshaw puller.

    Kalam fled his country thinking that things would get worse. He married Taslima in New Delhi who is also from Myanmar.
    Taslima's parents were killed in an attack by local goons in one of the districts of Myanmar.

    According to Alana Golmei, a project manager in Burma Center, Delhi, the Burma-Rohingya conflict is very complicated. It needs proper documentation in solving the issue.

    "If media reports are to be believed, they are being persecuted. India being a neighbour country can help them by providing shelter for some time," she said.

    She said an estimated 3,000 Rohingyas have taken shelter in other Indian cities like Hyderabad, Aligarh, Saharanpur and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Mewat in Haryana.

    Outside India, Rohingyas have found themselves as asylum seekers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

    (Alok Singh can be contacted at

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    A tongue in cheek piece on the tendency to blame IM for all terror blasts

    By Faraz Ahmad for

    Can there be more obliging terrorists than our very own Indian Mujahideens! The last they struck was on April when the faction ridden BJP was facing an uphill task to retain its government in Karnataka. The party’s Lingayat icon and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, disgusted with the central leadership of his party for patronizing arch rival Ananth Kumar while condemning him as corrupt, had branched off on his own to float Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), causing immense damage to the already dwindling electoral fortune of the BJP making it nearly impossible for the BJP to retain its first and what looks like the last bastion in the South.

    Such was the despair and hopelessness in the BJP camp that the party’s Hindu Hriday Samrat (HHS) Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, six months after throwing his hat in the ring as a PM candidate was balking from testing the magic of his charm and charisma beyond the borders of Gujarat.

    Tweeting terror: The unverified twitter handle of Indian Mujahidin, as claimed by The Hindustan Times

    So days before Modi addressed his first rally the Indian Mujahideen struck right outside the state BJP office causing injuries to 16 people. The then Karnataka Home Minister R Asoka immediately described it as an act of terror and declaring that "It is a very clear act of terror... It is targeted at the BJP, our senior leaders and workers.” Simultaneously while Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar merely mentioned about the bomb being placed in a motorcycle parked close to the BJP office, Police “sources” immediately saw a clear IM hand in this blast and even arrested two persons from Chennai. It is another thing that the SIM card through which the blast was activated was traced to a senior RSS leader according to the New Indian Express of May 8, 2013. It says “The stolen mobile phone of a prominent RSS leader was allegedly used to trigger the bomb blast near the BJP office in Malleswaram on April 17.

    A top police source told Express: “We did a technical investigation of what triggered the improvised explosive device (IED) that injured 11 policemen and five civilians. Through a mobile tower near the bomb blast area we traced a number, which was registered in the name of a prominent RSS leader from Karnataka. We found out that the cellphone was stolen from him just a day before the blast.’’

    But with all the Herculean effort the IM failed to lift the spirits of the BJP in Karnataka and even the three rallies of Chhappan Chhati (chest 56 inches) perhaps three times bigger than mine, failed to save the BJP from doom in all the three assembly constituencies Modi campaigned proving T S Eliot right that ‘April is the cruellest month’.

    Within three months the IM has struck again, this time to teach a lesson to the recalcitrant Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and note the alacrity with which the IM struck at Bodhgaya temple! Within 12 hours of Narendra Modi warning the JD-U leader through video conferencing from Gandhinagar with his 1500 BJP supporters sitting in Patna and of the grave consequences of betraying the BJP at the crucial hour, the IM struck. Read the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) July 7, 2103 which says, “those who betrayed people’s mandate in Bihar will be taught a lesson,” Modi said while addressing 1,500 BJP leaders and workers in Bihar through audio bridge technology from Gandhinagar.” One wonders though at Modi’s fascination for the number 15. Earlier he rescued 15000 Gujaratis from Uttarakhand deluge )according to the Times Now and The Times of India reporter Anand T Soondas) in 15x2 (30) aeroplanes and 15x5 (75) Toyota Innovas. Modi’s official date of birth is September 17. But perhaps they might have got it wrong and his actual date of birth might be 15 September?

    Meanwhile in the latest instance too while the Bihar Police has detained one Vinod Mistry on the basis of his I-card in a bag also containing a Budhist monk robe, found in the vicinity of Bodhgaya temple where a series of explosions took place two days ago,the IB and BJP immediately pronounced it as the handiwork of IM.

    But apart from translating Modi’s warning to the Bihar chief minister into concrete action, the IM has been equally considerate and thoughtful towards IB Special Director Rajendra Kumar whom the “Congress Bureau of Investigations” (CBI) (BJP’s term of derision against the premier investigative agency of the country) has been trying to fix for neutralizing the most dreaded LeT terrorist Ishrat Jahan when the conscientious patriotic officer was only trying to save our national icons Lauh Purush II and Lauh Purush I from such ominous Pakistani conspiracy. This CBI, the caged parrot of this government should be tried and hanged for its blasphemous, anti national seditious act of raising a finger of suspicion at our national heroes. I must say the Indian Mujahideens have done a yeoman service to the cause of patriotism by showing the consequence of raising an accusing finger at the symbols of our national pride Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rajendra Kumar! No one would dare talk of Ishrat Jahan now, at least for a while. I now believe the IM has actually been trained by the Talibans of Pakistan who always work in tandem with the ISI and Pakistan’s security establishment, killing poor hapless Pakistanis on the pretext of opposing American drone attacks.

    Faraz Ahmad is a freelance journalist, earlier associated with a host of national dailies.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The guilty in the Ishrat Jahan shootout case should be punished, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Wednesday while denying that the Intelligence Bureau chief had written to him in connection with the case.

    "Those guilty should be punished ... the IB chief has not written to me," said Shinde when reporters here sought his comments on the alleged role of senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Rajinder Kumar in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan shootout case.

    In its charge sheet filed last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation termed the shootout as fake but did not name IB officer Rajinder Kumar.

    There were media reports that IB chief Asif Ibrahim had written to Shinde in connection with the case.

    "Every agency has an identity. I can't say anything till we go into the detail on the IB's role," said Shinde.

    Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Gopinath Pilai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar were killed by Gujarat Police in a shootout in Ahmedabad.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Wednesday said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was free to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from anywhere in Uttar Pradesh.

    Replying to questions on speculation that Modi would contest from Lucknow or Varanasi, Yadav said: "He is free to contest from anywhere in the state though he is unwelcome as the people of Uttar Pradesh are peace-loving and would not like to be divided on communal lines."

    Yadav has been critical of Modi, calling him a "media creation" and one who was divisive in his politics. Yadav had recently slammed a section of the media for giving undue publicity to Modi. He had said that the media ignored development in other states.

    BJP leaders say that Yadav is rattled at the prospects of the "Modi juggernaut" rolling into Uttar Pradesh as it would imperil Yadav's Muslim vote bank, which would then be divided between the SP and the Congress. With a history of tactical voting by Muslims in the state, even SP leaders are not ruling this out.

    Yadav's SP has 22 MPs and the party is working to increase the number. Yadav has repeatedly expressed his ambition to become prime minister.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The centre is considering the request of Bihar and Maharashtra governments to provide Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) cover to popular shrines, union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Wednesday.

    "Both states have said they will pay for it. We need to examine it as the CISF has a limited role. We are considering the requests," Shinde told reporters here.

    According to the union home minister, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has requested the centre for CISF cover for the Maha Bodhi shrine at Bodh Gaya, after serial blasts rocked the holy site Sunday.

    Similary, the Maharashtra government has sought CISF cover for the Sai Baba Temple near Pune, he said.

    The home minister said there had been alerts issued to states over threats to various shrines like the Siddhivinayak and Mahalaxmi temples in Mumbai, and the police has taken action.

    "Inputs have been given to states. Police is taking action," Shinde said.

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    By Pervez Bari,,

    Bhopal: Newborn care arrangements made by Madhya Pradesh government have been appreciated at the national level. Madhya Pradesh has been conferred first prize for setting up maximum number of special newborn care units, (SNCU), in the country recently at a national convention held by NHRM and Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry at Srinagar.

    Madhya Pradesh has been given the opportunity to cooperate with Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttaranchal to set up special newborn care units and their data management system over there, an official release said.

    In recent years, Madhya Pradesh has initiated a number of measures for improving health indices. Number of maternity centres in the state is being increased from 900 to 1597. Special newborn care units are being run in 44 district hospitals in the state with technical cooperation of UNICEF for reducing newborn mortality rate. These units will be set up in remaining districts also from August 2013. After setting up of these units, Madhya Pradesh will be the first state in the country with SNCUs in all its districts. These units have been saving lives of 1000 newborns every year. Besides, over 1.50 lakh newborns have been treated also. Over 70,000 newborns are expected to be treated at these units during year 2013.

    It is result of efforts made in the state for saving newborns that infant mortality rate has declined by 12.7 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, which is much higher than national average of 8.8 percent. Newborn mortality rate was static at 51 per thousand for five years from 2002 to 2006. It has been brought down to 41 per thousand during the five year period of 2007-11. Apart from newborn mortality rate, steep decline of 10 per cent has also been registered. It has come down to 277 in year 2011-12 from 310 in year 2010-11.

    Even though, remarkable decline has been registered in newborn and infant mortality rates in the state, but it has to be brought down further by 9.5 per cent per annum during Five-Year Plan. For achieving this, the State Government has implemented “Sampoorn Swasthya Sabke Liye” scheme in all health centres and hospitals in the state to ensure quality health services. Village dispensaries, health centres and transport facility are being run 24X7. The department is committed to achieve targets through effective implementation of Mamta and Astha Abhiyan schemes also. (

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  • 07/10/13--14:36: Welcome, Holy Month
  • By Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam

    The Subcontinent has entered the holy month of Ramadan. A sizable part of the world has already entered it.

    A certain calm has descended on the earth, including the regions where it will begin in the next few hours. God’s grace and blessings are visible everywhere as more and more Muslim men, women and children are busy praying, reciting from the holy Quran and doing acts of piety.

    This is the month associated with the revelation of the Quran, the Book of Guidance for all humanity for all time to come. Reading from the Quran and recital of its verses in salat and outside it has a special significance, and like all good deeds done in the month, it earns manifold more merit compared to other months.

    Blessed are those who are alive in the month as it contains a night Lailat-al-Qadr (the night of power), which the Quran says, is “better than a thousand months”, which is a longer period than a single lifetime. Naturally, prayer in that night is more valuable than praying for a lifetime.

    In fact, each and every moment of the month is loaded with significance. It is also the time for training of the mind, body and soul for living life as Allah wants it, to prepare ourselves for life hereafter.

    Control of the senses, control over hunger and thirst, and control over our entire range of behaviour is part of the training this month brings. It is also a time where our sense of sympathy for the weak, the poor, the hungry and thirsty is heightened. Being hungry and thirsty all day we know what it means being without food and water for the poor.

    The Quran says that fast of Ramadan (and all other acts of piety in the month) are meant to make Muslims pious and God-fearing.

    Among the landmarks of this month is the date of Islam’s crucial battle of survival at Badr, which Muslims won with the help of Allah.

    We are blessed to be alive in this month when Allah forgives the sins of millions of believers and guides them on the right path. It is the month of asking Allah’s forgiveness and hoping for His bounties. Let us all avail of this great opportunity. Let us welcome the holy month.

    Dr. Alam is the president of All India Milli Council.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the historic Morehouse College of Atlanta, US and the Aligarh Muslim University in presence of all Deans of the Morehouse College.

    Gen. Shah was on a tour of United States to attend the XII Annual Convention of the Federation of AMU Alumni Associations in US. He visited a number of colleges and universities during his brief stay in US and signed Memoranda of Understanding with some prestigious institutions of higher studies to facilitate academic exchange programme.

    AMU VC Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah with Morehouse President, Atlanta

    Dr. Lawrence Carter, Dean, Martin Luther King Chapel took the visitors to Chapel Library tour consisting of photographic display of non-violent movement against racial discrimination led by Dr. Martin Luther King who was an alumnus of Morehouse College and was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. A sumptuous luncheon fit for a Head of State was hosted at President's House Dining Room attended by various Deans of the college and officers of Aligarh Alumni Association of Atlanta (AAAA) that included Yasir Nomani, Dr. Asif Taufique, Hasan Kamal, and Umar Farooq. Dr. Wasi Siddiqui representing Morehouse College welcomed the Vice-Chancellor and explained the significance of the occasion.

    Gen. Shah in his remarks thanked Morehouse College for the courtesy and hospitality. He unveiled a large marble replica of Taj Mahal as a gift to Morehouse in addition to a brass carving of Strachey Hall to the President. The College President Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. in turn presented several mementos to Gen. Shah and Mrs. Shah.

    Gen. Shah, along with senior AMU alumni residing in Atlanta, Hasan Kamal and Umar Farooq, visited Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2). The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Mustaque Ahamad of College of Computing at Georgia Tech and Dr. Rasheed Ahmad, an Aligarian and Georgia Tech graduate. During the meeting, Mr. Stephen Flemming of EI2 explained the functioning of business incubation, product commercialization and technology transfer. He assured the Vice Chancellor of all help in developing a similar institute on AMU campus.

    The Vice Chancellor also met entrepreneurs in the areas of solar technology & new energy sources. He met the President and CEO of the Energy Consulting Group and was explained and presented with a specific Evaluation Report for the Aligarh Muslim University for a potential solar project at Aligarh including solar production, capital costs, surface area requirement for generation, tracking system, maintenance and subsidy etc. The meeting was arranged by Hasan Kamal.

    AMU VC Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah with Morehouse College Group, Atlanta

    Addressing a get together of about 100 AMU alumni in the presence of Consul General of India, Mr. Ajit Kumar, the Vice Chancellor highlighted the current academic situation in AMU campus and explained his visions and missions for AMU. He said that he was trying to develop a Hockey Academy in Aligarh and construct a golf course which will be first in the country on any university campus. He said that he had brought positive changes in the residential and dining hall facilities as the quality of food was improved to almost military mess standard. The nostalgic “Dunlop” bread had been retired from food menu and the guest houses had been upgraded to international standards.

    Gen. Shah said that a new Faculty of International Studies will be established which will act as the direct liaison for Alumni Affairs. The area around University Mosque, Strachey Hall and Lytton Library will be thoroughly revamped and will serve as Convention Center and Museum. He sought alumni’s help in generating funds for 100 smart boards in AMU classrooms. He expressed confidence that AMU will rank number one among Indian universities and in top 200 in the world in two years.

    Replying to a question, the Vice Chancellor pointed out that lack of education was the main cause of backwardness of Indian Muslims. He said that he would expand educational opportunities of Madrasa students to AMU. He underlined the various steps taken to improve the Women’ College academic and residential standards.

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    By Syed Ali Mujtaba,

    Chennai: Alcoholism is becoming widespread problem in the Indian society and Tamil Nadu is no exception. The age of first exposure to alcohol in the state has dropped to 15 years. Added concern is the increasing numbers of women specially girls becoming addicted to alcohol. This trend is causing socio-economic problems but little is being done to arrest this social trend.

    On the contrary, the state government is encouraging alcoholism to gain revenue. Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) is a company owned by the Tamil Nadu government which has a monopoly over wholesale and retail vending of alcoholic beverages in the state.

    The state government, for years has been adding a huge amount of money to its exchequer by licensing and selling the liquor through its 2500 government controlled TASMAC shops. Liquor sales in 2011-12 has touched 18,081.16 crore rupees, registering a 20.82% increase. Every year during the New Year and Pongal festival, TASMAC is making around Rs. 500 crores selling liquor in wholesale and retail market.

    ‘Whether GDP rate grows or not, the alcohol consumption rate has been growing at 8 per cent every year, says Lakshmi Vijaykumar, head of the department of psychiatry at the Voluntary Health Services, Taramani, Chennai.

    ‘No government is willing to stop it because they get revenue from it, but the costs are higher’ she says adding, ‘dealing with problems caused by alcoholism costs three times more than the amount of revenue the government gets from liquor sales.’

    In order to understand the magnitude of the problem and to feel the pulse of the society, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai based NGO conducted a survey in Tamil Nadu to ascertain the views of the people about the TASMAC shops, believed to be the root cause of this social problem

    This study was necessitated because in recent times, there have been number of agitation by group of people in several places in Tamil Nadu, demanding that TASMAC shops to be removed from the residential areas. There were also protests that the TASMAC shops should be barred near the places of worship and educational institutions. Judiciary have also given instructions that the highways should be free from the TASMAC shops. However, all this is having little impact on checking the sale of liquor in the state. The sales turnover of TASMAC shops are steadily increasing and proportionate to it the number of liquor addicts is growing among various age groups.

    Methodology of study:

    The study was conducted to find out what the common man thinks about the proliferation of TASMAC shops in the state, given the fact that the government itself is managing such liquor shops.

    The study was conducted on the basis of primary survey that was randomly spread all over the state. Around 243 men and women were interviewed both in rural and urban areas through questioner method. The respondents include; higher secondary and college students, youth, software professionals, senior citizens, domestic maids, etc.

    Findings of the study:

    There were respondents who regularly take liquor did not feel guilty about their habit. They view consuming liquor nothing differently from taking other beverages. They cannot visualize their life without consuming liquor. To a question, in the event of government imposing prohibition, the respondents had no hesitation in saying they will opt for liquor from the black market. Some even justified the TASMAC shops as they were necessary to prevent illicit liquor trade.

    The NGO ‘Nandini- Voice for the Deprived’ found that the liquor habit is fairly well spread throughout the state. However, its impact is clearly evident in the rural areas, where more than 40 % of the male population are addicted to consuming liquor regularly.

    The study has also found that serving liquor has become a fashion in marriage parties and in funerals, particularly amongst lower income groups in Tamil Nadu. What was noticed that for sake of social status, even those who do not consume liquor, arrange liquor for others during such events.

    It’s not uncommon site to find students stacking liquor bottles in their rooms at college hostels with the warden keeping a blind eye. Much to its surprise, the study has found out the students of higher secondary schools are getting addicted to liquor.

    The study has also found that women from affluent families are also taking liquor, though occasionally. Some girls are also picking up this habit, especially those living in hostels.

    Seeing women in the lower income group visiting TASMAC shops is not an uncommon site in Tamil Nadu, though their numbers remain microscopic.

    Effect of liquor consumption on the society:

    With men increasingly becoming alcohol addicts, large numbers of poor families in Tamil Nadu are suffering economically and emotionally. Women getting beaten up by drunken husband and sometimes even by drunken sons and sons in law, desperate women hitting back the drunken men to protect themselves , children unable to concentrate in their studies in such disturbing conditions and sometimes women even committing suicide, unable to bear the torture, have become a regular feature of Tamil Nadu society.

    As alcohol addicted men seem to lose values in life, the trend of promiscuity and Illicit relationships is growing, leading to breakdown of marriages. This phenomenon is common both in the lower as well as upper income groups, the study has found. What is even more disturbing is that while such matter is regularly reported in the media, they no more shock the people. Everyone seems to be reconciling to the fact that it is inevitable development of modern times.

    In many poor families, the household is mainly run by the earnings of women. With the men folk frittering away the earnings in liquor and several of them not going to jobs regularly, due to poor health condition and indiscipline, life has really become hard for women in such households.

    Mothers shoulder the responsibility and are seen pleading with NGOs and others for financial support for the education of the children, particularly due to the increasing realisation that imparting good education to the children, especially to their daughters, is the only way to protect their long term economic and social well being.

    There was an overwhelming response from the non alcohol consuming people, particularly among the women in lower income group that the TASMAC shops have encouraged liquor consumption in a big way. They also blame political parties in power for many decades in the state in providing legitimacy and sanction to such social evil.

    The respondents widely felt that the Tamil Nadu government alone can set the conditions right. The best way to do so is to gradually close the TASMAC shops and create a climate where liquor consumption is once again seen as a taboo. Such response mainly came from the poor women who are not informed about the revenue earned from liquor sales and have high hopes that government may educate the people of its ill effects.

    However, well informed people responded that the government will not close the TASMAC shops as it is one of the main sources of its revenue. Without it several social measures and freebies offered by the government may be withdrawn. This may create social unrest and may lead to mass agitations and protests among the poor people. This may also have an effect on the vote banks particularly from lower income group, who are the recipients of the freebies. In such case, no government may like to face such conditions and think about clamping prohibition.

    Speaking on this issue Mr. N.S.Venkataraman, founder of the NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, said that situation in Tamil Nadu has changed a lot from the fifties and sixties. There was a time particularly during the Chief Minister Kamaraj’s rule, when liquor consumption was seen as a social taboo. Liquor was taken in privacy and secrecy and families were unhappy about it. He cites the names of stalwarts like Kalki Krishnamurthy, Rajaji, Kamaraj and others who in 50s and 60s with their social campaign kept this problem under check.

    Venkataraman, says the root cause of today’s condition is the passing of an amendment to the Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act, 1937, by the Tamil Nadu government in October 2003. This has led to increase in the habit of liquor consumption and this habit has spread amongst all age groups and all economic groups, he rues.

    Similar efforts that were made in fifties and sixties to check this growing trend is required today, says the NGO founder, adding unfortunately, now we do not have any political leaders of such caliber, sagacity and wisdom who can initiate such anti liquor campaign. It appears that this habit has come to stay forever, he laments.

    In such situation it’s only the people, particularly the women in the lower income group who are the worst hit and are desperately looking for relief should come forward and advocate prohibition in the state. They can democratically exercise their will in the forthcoming election and vote for the party that feels their sentiments, Venkataraman suggests.

    However, the question remains, in a politically charged state like Tamil Nadu, which political party can convincingly assure people on this and which political party enjoy the credibility and has consistency in its stand on such issue, he asks?

    He goes on, not everything is lost, the well informed people who think ahead of the time and feel concerned about the serious damage being done to the posterity due to rapid spread of alcoholism should come forward and rally behind this social cause. This alone can kindle a ray of hope in other wise depressing situation to control the growing trend of alcoholism in Tamil Nadu, Venkataraman, concludes.


    Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: The indefinite dharna of Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) outside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism completed 50 days on Wednesday.

    Senior journalist Anil Chamadia, who participated in the rally on Wednesday said that mere grants and laptops would not help strengthen democracy.

    Uncle of deceased Khalid Mujahid, Zahir Alam Falahi appealed to the clerics to refrain from participating in iftar parties called by the SP government and leaders as mark of protest. Khalid had died under mysterious circumstances on his way back from Faizabad near Ram Sanehi Ghat on May 18. He was declared brought dead by the doctors at district hospital in Barabanki. Later, on the complain of his uncle Zahir Alam Falahi, a case was registered against 42 police officers including former DGP Vikram Singh, ADG Brijlal and others who were on duty during the time of Khalid's arrest.

    Rihai Manch is leading a sustained demonstration against the UP government demanding actions on its poll promise of releasing innocent youths languishing in jails in fabricated terror charges. Several rights groups and individuals have also expressed their solidarity with the Manch demonstration and on different days made token participation.

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    By TCN News,

    Bhopal: More than 100 survivors of the December 84 Union Carbide disaster staged a rally from Alpana Talkies to Shahajahani Park on Wednesday, for their long standing demands of additional compensation, punishment of guilty individuals and corporations.

    Five organisations of survivors jointly resolved that in the upcoming elections of state and central government, that in the upcoming national and state elections they will only vote for political parties who help them secure justice.

    Houses in gas affected areas have painted slogans “Compensation First, Then Vote” on their walls. “This time we will tell representatives of political parties visiting our communities that if they want us to vote they must first secure additional compensation which is our right”, says Kalishi Sharma from Patel Nagar.

    Since the launch of the “No Justice No Vote” campaign in May, this is the sixth rally of the survivors demanding that political parties take active steps on the lingering issues of compensation, punishment of guilty, medical and social rehabilitation.

    In March this year, the five organization wrote letters to a dozen political parties seeking their support to their demands on additional compensation, correction of figures of injury and death, clean up of contaminated soil and ground water, compensation for injuries and birth defects caused by toxic contamination and setting up empowered commission for rehabilitation.

    The organizations also sought the support of political parties in stopping Dow Chemical, 100% owner of Union Carbide, from doing business in India till it presents the absconding corporation in the ongoing criminal case. Except the Aam Aadmi, none have bothered to respond to the demands of Bhopal gas survivors.

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    By IANS,

    Srinagar : The holy month of Ramadan started here Thursday as Muslims thronged mosques for morning prayers after beginning their day-long fast.

    According to Muslim faith, Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, represents the 30-day period of fasting during which those who engage in prayer and penance are pardoned by Allah.

    In summer capital Srinagar, all the eateries including hotels, restaurants, tea-stalls and dhabas remained closed since morning and markets and streets witnessed less traffic movement.

    Locals engaged in hectic buying of fruits, juices, foodstuffs Wednesday to stock for the holy month during which Muslims find less time for shopping due to religious engagements.

    The most sought after fruit in the markets Thursday are dates which come here from different parts of the country and also the Middle East.

    Due to middle class affluence, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in Kashmir, many people are buying dates from Saudi Arabia, fruit juices and jams from multi-national companies and even the imported brands.

    "I have bought black berry jam, Saudi dates and some fruit juices and milk creams for the family. These things are needed at 'Iftaar' time when the day-long fast is broken," said a shopper at one of Srinagar's high end departmental stores.

    Even the less privileged locals spend comparatively more during this month to provide nourishment to their families.

    "One has to spend a little more during this month on fruits, juices and foodstuffs. After all, one has to ensure that food is healthy and tasty to sustain the long fasting hours," said Feroze Ahmad, 45, a resident of Srinagar.

    As Ramadan started here Thursday the fasting period is around 16 hours. The 'Sehrai' (Dawn eating time before the fast is begun) ended at 3.46 a.m. Thursday and the fast will be broken at 7.48 p.m.

    The Muslim calendar advances by 10 days every year in comparison to the Christian calendar which remains unchanged.

    It is because of this difference that the Holy month of Ramadan falls some years in the colder winter months and some years in the hotter summer months.

    Ramadan which began here July 11 this year will begin around July 1 next year.

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    By M Reyaz,,

    New Delhi: “One morning past week, someone knocked at my door and still dozing when I opened the gate, I was pleasantly surprised when a fair looking man – a Pathan or Pashtun in appearnce – took my name and enquired about Khudai Khidtmatgar,” says Faisal Khan about his first meeting with Arbab Muhammad Tahir Khan Khalil, General Secretary of the Awami National Party's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial unit.

    In town on personal visit, Arbab Muhammad wanted to meet the new batch of Khudai Khidmatgars and hence went knocking the door. Faisal Khan later hosted a dinner for him where he invited some volunteers and friends to have an interaction with the General Secretary of the ANP.

    Arbab Muhammad Tahir Khan Khalil with IIT, Delhi Professor Prof. V.K. Tripathi.

    Over dinner, Arbab Muhammad told this reporter, “Through media we had come to know about the revived Khudai Khidmatgars and since then our party keenly follows updates about this new group through internet. As I was coming to India, I was instructed to meet this group and get to know more about them,” adding that he was personally also interested in meeting them.

    Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God), 1929. Also called "Surkh Posh" or "Red Shirts" for the colour of the shirt the KK volunteers wore, was originally started by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan or Badshah Khan in the then North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of united India in early 20th century. What was originally a social reform organisation focusing on education and the elimination of blood feuds known as the Anjuman-e-Islah-e Afghania (society for reformation of Afghans), gradually evolved into a political movement as the movement formally joined the Indian National Congress in

    For inspiring Khudai Khidmatgars to working voluntarily for the betterment of society and for leading a non-violent freedom struggle against the British Empire by the Pashtuns, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan came to be known as the ‘Frontier Gandhi.’

    As the NWFP (present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) became part of Pakistan after partition, Khudai Khidmatgar was relegated to being a brief chapter in history. In Pakistan it was rechristened as the Awami National Party (ANP) currently headed by Asfandyar Wali Khan, grandson of Frontier Gandhi.

    However, Faisal Khan in 2009 decided to revive the movement by adapting it to today’s Indian context and finally on January 20th, 2011, on the occasion of Frontier Gandhi’s 23rd death anniversary, fifty volunteers under his leadership, took the initiative of reviving Khudai Khidmatgar, by taking the oath to serve the humanity without seeking any worldly desire.

    Faisal Khan speaking. Arbab Muhammad, Professor Prof. V.K. Tripathi and others also in the picture.

    Keeping the original idea of selflessly serving the society, KK volunteers work towards larger integration of the marginalized communities and has members cutting across religions. Today, it has over 3000 voluntary members across the country.

    Although many volunteers come from the Muslim community, what is appreciable about KK volunteers that they do not harp on their Muslim identity. In fact their volunteers have just returned from Uttarakhand, helping in providing aids to the flood victims. Only yesterday KK volunteers organised a peace prayer for unity among communities at Shanti stupa after the Sunday blast in Bodh Gaya, and KK delegation had meeting with Katsu behan, well known Indian Buddhist religious leader and peace activist and chairperson of vishwa Shanti Stoop.

    Khudai Khidmatgar volunteers at a peace prayer meeting.

    Asked about his impressions about the new group, Arbab Muhammad says, “I am delighted to see that most of the volunteers are very educated and enthusiastic youths and that they are following the same basic principles of serving the society, rising above faith, caste or class.”

    He added, “It’s fairly new group and it remains to be seen what positive and enduring changes they can bring, but certainly it’s on the right path.”

    Besides, talking about how original Khudai Khidmatgar had begun, how Badshah Khan joined the Congress party to strengthen his struggle against British, and how he opposed partition and how he later came to terms with Pakistan, Arbab Muhammad also spoke about his family, his village house, where Jawaharlal Nehru had stayed for two nights during his trip to NWFP before independence how his ANP party has tried to hold on to legacies of Badshah Khan and work for the people.

    Wikipedia photo of Mahatma Gandhi and Frontier Gandhi addressing Khudai Khidmatgars at a public meeting in Peshawar.

    He says, “I can tell you with full surety that ANP is the only secular party in Pakistan.” He also spoke about the current challenges his party faces after being defeated by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the larger challenges of extremism and Taliban.
    Attributing his party’s defeat in the recently concluded elections to Taliban, he says Talibans are terrorists, who particularly targeted his party cadres and leaders before the elections. He says that over 800 of his party cadres were killed in terror attacks or in target killings, including three senior leaders. He said that none of his party’s leaders could hold a public rally.

    Asked, how his party aims to survive in such a scenario, he said that our cadres are still working on ground and enjoy lots of popularity, but “we have reworked our strategies and avoid media attention and publicity for any of our programmes for the time being.”


    Faisal Khan -- TCN Person of the Year 2011

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    By Mohammed Shafeeq, IANS,

    Hyderabad : It is a spring of good deeds, a month of fasting, devotion, compassion, generosity, forgiveness and repentance. And India's 140 million Muslims, who constitute the world's third-largest Muslim population, observe Ramadan with both devotion and fervour.

    Ramadan, the ninth month of Islamic calendar that began Thursday is the holy month during which Muslims observe 'roza' (fast), one of the five tenets of Islam.

    The fasting is obligatory for all adult Muslims except those who are ill and travelling. During the fast, observed every day from dawn to sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming any food or water or engaging in sexual relations.

    Muslims try to move closer to the Almighty Allah, seeking His forgiveness and mercy by daily offering 'namaz' five-times and also additional 'namaz' during night like 'Taraweeh' and 'Tahajjud' and reading of the holy Quran.

    "By fasting, we thank Allah for giving us the Quran, which was revealed during this holy month. This is a complete guidance not just for Muslims but for the entire humanity," Sultan Mohiuddin, head of Jamaat-e-Islami's Nampally unit in Hyderabad, told IANS.

    Fasting teaches man self-control and patience. "By abstaining from things which are allowed in other days, we practice how to control ourselves in other days when there is something which we like but is harmful to the society and which our Creator has prohibited," Mohiuddin added.

    The man's patience is put to test when he fasts. When a man doesn't eat, it develops a sense of anger within and he is more likely to fight with others but 'roza' teaches a method to control oneself. While controlling hunger and thirst, he also has to ensure that he doesn't abuse, harm or fight with others.

    One of the significant features of Ramadan is that it creates empathy towards have-nots and encourages charity. "When a man fasts, he realizes there are many people who don't get two square meals and deprived of basic necessities. When I have money I eat and drink but there are many who go hungry because they don't have the means. Quran says the poor, handicapped and those who are deprived also have their share in your money," said a scholar, who declined to be named.

    But then, Ramadan is not only about fasting and prayers. Parts of cities like Delhi or Hyderabad or Kolkata or Mumbai, with a large Muslim population, come alive, especially during evenings. The markets teem with people buying dates, fruits and the fried items for 'iftar' or breaking of fast. The occasion brings together the devouts in mosques and at community 'iftars' as the holy month provides unique opportunity to foster unity and brotherhood.

    Shopping continues till late in the night with the people tasting 'haleem', a special delicacy of Ramadan prepared by hundreds of hotels and roadside eateries. The worshippers throng the mosques for prayers till around midnight. The activity resumes in the wee hours of the day with people waking up for 'sahr' or pre-dawn meals followed by the morning prayers.

    In the national capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other top political leaders also host 'iftar' parties.

    There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. India has the world's third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan, with 20 to 30 percent Muslim populations in some of the largest states of the country.

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    By IANS,

    Guwahati : In an early-morning swoop Thursday, security forces gunned down two hardcore militants belonging to the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam's Sonitpur district, police said.

    Police said that two of their own men sustained injuries in the shoot-out. The injured policemen were reported to be out of danger.

    "Acting on a tip-off, Assam Police commandos launched an operation at Tarabari. Seeing the police commandos, the militants fired at the police party. This forced the police to retaliate. In the ensuing exchange of fire, two NDFB cadres were killed," said Sonitpur Superintendent of Police Arabinda Kalita.

    Police said one of the slain militants has been identified as Gourang, and the other has yet to be identified.

    "The identified militant was involved in the killing of tea planter Adilur Rahman in November last year," the police superintendent said, adding that the cadre was also involved in several cases of extortion and other anti-social cases in the district.

    In another incident in Assam's Karbi Anglong district, police Thursday arrested seven cadres of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA).

    Police in Karbi Anglong district said that all seven were arrested from Saijan area under Dilai police station in the district.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The family income ceiling for ST students under the central scholarship scheme of "Top Class Education" was Thursday hiked from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.4.5 lakh per annum.

    This will come into effect from the selection year 2013-14, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters.

    According to him, the move will enable a larger number of ST students pursuing higher and technical education to avail the scheme.

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