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Indian Muslim

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University organized an “Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization Exhibition”, which is an adaptation of the leading and award-winning international science and cultural heritage production- “1001 Inventions” celebrating the golden age of science and discoveries in Muslim civilization.

    The exhibition was inaugurated by AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah at the Women’s College Library today. Addressing on this occasion, Gen. Shah appreciated the initiative. He said that the exhibition sought to uncover the thousand years of scientific and cultural achievements in Muslim civilization from 7th century onwards and how those contributions helped create the foundations of our modern world.

    Vice Chancellor Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah inspecting the exhibition at the Women's College

    Gen. Shah lauded the contributions of Prof. B. N. Waris, Principal, Women’s College in the development of the college. He hoped the college will continue scaling new heights of success. He further said that the founder of this institution Sir Syed Ahmad Khan gave priority to the female education, as he believed ‘the mother’s knee was the first school of a child’. Gen. Shah said that girl students were the pride of this institution.

    Prof. BN Waris, Principal, Women’s College, while welcoming the guests, said that the exhibition will be beneficial to the Women’s College students. Prof. Iffat Ara conduct the programme.

    Prof. Waris said that Muslim civilization stretched from Spain to China and from the 7th century onwards, men and women of different faiths and cultures nourished on the knowledge from ancient civilizations making breakthrough in the development of the modern world.

    She said that the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization Exhibition will highlight the most important scientific and technological discoveries of Muslim society during centuries following the fall of ancient Rome - a period known as the 'Dark Ages' in European civilization. However, while the Western World was in the doldrums, a "knowledge revolution" was occurring in the Muslim world, she added.

    Prof. Waris said that the Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization Exhibition showcases a set of 10 displays on Muslim Heritage specially imported from the UK, including displays on "Our History Timeline", "the Muslim Heritage World Map", the Muslim Scholars" and the "7 x Our Zones". These displays are illustrated and provide an insight into everyday life across Muslim civilization and the subsequent growth and progress of Western civilization.

    Pro-Vice Chancellor, Brig. (Retd.) S. Ahmad Ali, Registrar, Group Captain Shahrukh Shamshad, Mrs. Sabiha Simi Shah, Mrs. Rizwana Ali and Mr. Salman, organizer of the painting exhibition, also graced the occasion. This exhibition will continue up to September 7, 2013.

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    National Seminar on UPA-II and Muslim expectations organised in Delhi.

    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: United Progressive Allaince (UPA) government has responsibility to fulfil its election promises said noted film director and social activist Mahesh Bhatt. He was chairing a one day national seminar on UPA-II and Muslim Expectations organised by the Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC), Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis and the Aligarh Movement magazine. He pointed out that the core ideology of the Congress is secularism which is not its monopoly but a tradition of our forefathers. He said that all sections of Indian society should get equal opportunities.

    Earlier Ashish Khetan, former Investigative editor of Tehelka said that he himself conducted investigation and found that large number of Muslim youths were jailed in the name of terrorism. He said that when they are released from jail as innocent, they do not receive any compensation. He demanded such a trend should be changed.

    Aligarh Movement Award to Ashish Khetan

    Director Seminar Jasim Mohammad while welcoming the guests said that promises of UPA government are still unfulfilled but we have hope that it will honour them if elected to power for third time.

    Vice Chancellor of Urdu Arabic Farsi University Lucknow, Dr. Anis Ansari said that Article 341 of the Constitution of India with its para (3) of the 1950 Presidential Order is discriminating on religious ground and so it should be withdrawn.

    Anis Durrani said that we should keep in mind ratio of Muslim and non Muslims which is 80 to 20. Farhat Ali Khan, OSD of Jamia Urdu said that the government is making joke of Muslims as we are continuously believing of Congress.

    Mohammad Adeeb, MP said since 2014 no change has come in the mindset of Police and administration. So nothing can be done till the mindset is changed.

    Earlier the Editor of Gulail dot Com Ashish Khetan was awarded the ‘Aligarh Movement Award 2012’ and a special issue of the Aligarh Movement magazine on Article 341 was released by noted film director Mahesh Bhatt.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: On August 30, Popular Front of India celebrated the Egypt Solidarity Day in support for Egyptian people’s struggle for democracy. About a hundred people from various parts of Delhi lined up for the ‘human chain’ expressing their solidarity to pro-democracy movement. The day was being observed nationwide by Popular Front.

    The program was inaugurated by Popular Front Chairman KM Shareef. He said, “When two years ago Arab spring started, the world was looking hopefully at the transformation Egypt was undergoing, inspiring a wind of democratic change in entire Middle East. This followed the election of Mr. Mohammed Morsy, the first democratically elected ruler in the history of Egypt and Arab World. There started the conspiracy against Egyptian democracy by enemies both within and foreign.”

    “America, Israel and Arab dictators all helped Egyptian army to set up the coup as became evident from latter incidents. Will this coup end just taking power from Morsy to Al Sisi? No, this coup will take Egypt back to same dark days of Mubarak from which Egyptians have been struggling to get rid. Egyptian media created favorable ground for the coup portraying pro-democracy activists as terrorists. Arab dictators and elites feel threatened by people’s cry for democracy because once people are given power to vote none of these dictators will be in power any more. Army committed inhuman crimes, thousands were killed, women and children were gunned down for supporting democracy. Egyptian people’s spirit never dies. The blood they shed will not be in vain. The struggle will continue until democracy is absolutely restored,” he added.

    Popular Front spokesperson said that the party has always supported all movements for democracy anywhere in the world. This is a call for democracy in a democracy, we, people of India, express our solidarity with people of Egypt in their fight, a statement by party said.

    Popular Front Vice chairman Prof. P Koya, former Chairman EM Abdurrahman, General Secretary OMA Salam, veteran Journalist Ahmed Kasmi, All India Imams’ Council National Presisdent Moulana Usman Baig and hundreds of people including religious political and social leaders, human right activists participated in the program. A large number of women also participated. The protesters carried placards and raised slogans demanding to reinstate Morsi and army to go back to barracks.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: A documentary screening of the movies “3-D Caste Stereo“ by Ajith Kumar, and “Don’t be our Fathers” by Rupesh Kumar was held by Campus Front of India JNU chapter at the Kaveri hostel.

    Prof Vivek Kumar, an eminent Dalit thinker and writer attended this program as a guest speaker. This was followed by a question and answers session in which students asked questions on the movies and and the issues dealt in the movies and also few questions about Dalit assertation and organization.

    Prof Vivek Kumar reflected on the movies, while congratulating them on their efforts he also exhorted the students of JNU to think out of box while expressing themselves. Subhojit Das of Campus Front introduced both the directors and Proffesor Vivek Kumar. State President of Campus front Ubaidur Rahman, State Secretary Maheboob Shahana, many cadres of Campus Front and students of JNU attended the program.

    Produced by Rupesh Kmar and directed by A.S Ajith Kumar, 23 minutes long '3 D stereo caste' is a the first part of the documentary series on caste in music sphere in Kerala. It tries to explore how caste makes its presence in composing, listening, performance, in music discourses and broadcasting. The first part focuses on the field of Chenda (a percussion instrument) ,cinematic dance and contemporary folk music performances.

    "Don't be our Fathers," on the other hand, can be considered as a sequel to the director's previous documentary "Underworld Memories of Untouchables". This documentary is an attempt to capture the lives of the people of Peringeel, a predominantly Dalit village in, Kannur district in Kerala. It tries to explore how the people in Peringeel determine their own life in the contemporary world confronting the patronizing efforts of the dominant political parties and communities.As the name suggests it asks them not to be their Patronizers.

    Having screened in many central and state universities in South India the movies have caused a lot of flutter and garnered appreciation for their objective approach and unique self narration style.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: A group of civil rights activists from Gujarat and Delhi organised a day long programme on Saturday at the Constitution Club on “Between the Lies: Breaking the Myth of Gujarat Model of Development”.

    The speakers included Mahesh Pandya, Director of Paryavaran Mitra, Gujarat; Prof Hemant Shah, HOD, Economics, HK Arts College, Gujarat; Prof. Shiv Visvanathan- CSDS; Dr Harvardhan Hegde, Spine & Orthopedics Surgeon; Pankti Jog-Advocacy Coordinator,Janpath, Gujarat; D.L. Sheth-Honorary Senior Fellow & former Director CSDS, Delhi; Zakia Soman- BMMA, Gujarat and Bharat Jhala, Kisan Adhikar Manch, Gujarat.

    The specter of the country’s descent into fascism stares at us. The long reign of the UPA has not halted or arrested the march of the communal fascist forces; indeed there seems today to be a greater acceptance of ideas that we would call fascist. The strident demands for death penalty – whether for alleged rapists or terrorists – the impatience with rule of law; the acceptability among the young urban people of a man as a potential Prime Minister, who is totally autocratic, this desire for a strong authoritarian leader, all again point to the circulation and reception of fascist ideas.

    Communal Governments in various states Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh are preparing themselves for a long innings. In Karnataka, the internal squabbling and fracturing of the communal forces in the state have led to their ouster from the government, however the intimidation of minorities has become routine – pointing to the deep roots of communalization of society, which may not necessarily change with a change of regime.

    There have been several low intensity riots at least since last year across the country: Gopalgarh (Rajasthan); Faizabad and Kosi (UP), Dhule (Maharashtra), which really points to the potential return of communalism to the centre-stage of Indian politics. It also indicates the fragility of communal peace and the continuing communalisation of the police force at the local thana level, which openly target the minority community in times of violence, as the video of the Dhule violence graphically illustrated. On the one hand, one sees local-level riots engineering machinery gearing up, and on the other the cleansing and anointing of Modi as the development man.

    The rise in the power of the middle class via a corporate media, which aggressively pushes the agenda of ‘corruption-free efficiency’ at the cost of issues of social justice, secularism and democracy movements, is further pushing the Indian polity towards the Right. A symptom of this can be seen from the rising clout of Godmen is a sign of the alienated middle class seeking short cuts for maintaining status quo.

    In fact, the possibility of Modi’s candidature has pushed our politics much farther to the Right, as various political formations compete with each to seduce the same social base and the same corporate media. The jingoism around terrorism is an example of this alarming trend. Gujarat model of Development is being sold as ‘THE’ model of development to the gullible middle class.

    Like all fascists Modi presents a model of efficiency and effective rule to a beleaguered nation and like most fascists this model of efficiency and growth is based on lies, half-truths and a million dollar PR industry.

    But such a moment when a fascist alternative is being sold to civil society, is also the moment which can produce a creative challenge. Today’s seminar will offer such a challenge by putting every creation of the Modi PR machinery under the scanner. A vast range of data on the Gujarat model of development will be presented today and expose his lies. These lie along several dimensions - his destruction of democratic institutions in Gujarat, scams of enormous proportions.


    · In 10 years 60,000 small scale industries have been closed down.
    (source: Director, Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat.2011-12 )
    · Gujarat ranks 5TH in F.D.I.
    (source: Director, Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat. & Report by reserve bank of India.2011-12 )
    · The state’s total debt was less than Rs 10,000 crore when the BJP first came to power in Gujarat in 1995. Gujarat’s actual debt has mounted from Rs 45,301 crore in 2001-02 when Modi took over to Rs 1,38,978 crore on December 30, 2012. The debt would mount to Rs 2,07,695 crore as per the state government’s budget estimates by 2015-16.
    (source: Director, Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat. & Gujarat assembly question hours2011-12 )
    · Gujarat is at 8th position in agricultural growth. Gujarat is never achieved 10% growth in Agriculture sector. As per Government of Gujarat’s own statistics from year 2005-2006 to 2010-2011, growth in GSDP in Agriculture and Allied sector is 3.44% only-not double digit or 10%.
    (source:Gujarat economics and statastics department, govt. of Gujarat And Times Of India @ArchiveDigger)
    · In Gujarat VAT on fertilizer is 5% it is highest in India
    (Source:Ministry of agriculture, Gujarat,2010-11)
    · In Gujarat 26 districts have 225 blocks in which 57 are dark zone blocks. (Source:Ministry of agriculture, Gujarat And annual report Narmada nigam, 2011-12)
    · 455885 Applications are pending for agricultural power connection as on March, 2011
    (Source:Ministry of agriculture, Gujarat,2011-12 )
    · Close to half of the states children under the age of 5 (44.6 %) are known to be suffering from malnutrition. 70 per cent are said to be anemic while 40 per cent are underweight. (Source:planning commission report-2012-13)
    In 8 districts and 3 Talukas of Gujarat, 2494 teachers posts are vacant.
    In 4 dist of Gujarat, approximately 978 schools are running with only 1 or 2 teachers.
    (Source: RTI filed by Vinod Pandya GOG reply to RTI, 2011-12)
    (Source: A report by NGO Ahmedabad Womens Assosiation Gujarat-AWAG-(TIMES NEWS NETWORK, 25 th Jan 2013 )
    · The Deputy Speaker’s post is left vacant by the Gujarat Government for a decade. (As per article 178 of Indian constitution, it is compulsory)
    · Assembly runs on an average for 30-32 days a year.
    · No Lokayukta appointed since last 10 years.
    · Gujarat has organized 3716 Employment festival” as per Government of Gujarat own record 10 lacks educated youth are unemployed and a total of 30 lakh people are unemployed. (Source: NASSO report,GOI,2011-12)
    · NSSO data show that in Gujarat , growth in employment has dropped to almost zero in the past 12 years
    A recent CAG review on accounts of the States is an eye-opener when it comes to Gujarat, the latter’s high claims notwithstanding. Allegedly there are Rs 16,706.99 crore worth of financial and land allotment irregularities with resultant negative impact on delivery on economic and development fronts (Source: CAG report 2011-12)

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia in collaboration with Jagori is going to organize an Interactive Presentation on “Operationalizing Women’s Security and a Demonstration on ‘Safetipin’”

    Under the demonstration, a Pilot Test of a new mobile phone application called ‘Safetipin’ will be demonstrated.

    ‘Safetipin’ features include ‘safety audit’ whereby users can conduct a spot safety auditon their smart phone and upload information and pictures. It also includes a feature which can ‘record’ whereby users can upload information on harassment, including sharing information about Police Stations, Hospitals, etc. It also includes a feature called ‘wall’ where users can view all recorded information and audits in their neighbourhood and other defined locations and participate in an interactive environment.

    The programme is scheduled to be held on 2nd September, 2013 at 11.30 AM in the Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia.

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    By M Reyaz,,

    Aligarh: Since he took charge as the Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University, Lieutenant General Zameerud-din Shah has often been in news for the wrong reason. As he completed 15 months in office, M Reyaz caught with AMU VC. Lt. Gen. Shah was forthright and spoke about his achievements, his vision and his shortcomings.

    On his plans to make AMU number one University in India, Lt. Gen. Shah said that he has succeeded partially and is hopeful that in about three and half years time, he would be able to achieve his aim of becoming the number one university in India. He said that his first and foremost plan is to improve the living conditions and general surrounding of the University as, according to him, a person who stays in the slums, behaves like a slum dweller. He said that in last 15 months he focused on law and order situations and in the next session his main aim is on improving the academic eenviornment and over all research output in the University.

    On the question of Students’ Union election, however, he refrained from giving any direct answer, but assured that he will endeavour for adequate students’ representations in all facets of the University life. He said, “I am a firm believer in democratic traditions, but it will all depend on the situation in the University and when I am convinced that the Students’ Union will follow their Charter of duties and not misbehave and not try and run the University.”

    Brushing aside the controversies surrounding the appointment of retired defence or civil servants as VC, Lt. Gen. Shah catarogically said, “The community elected me, because they wanted a change and InshaAllah I will bring about that change for the betterment of our students and to make sure that the Aligarh Muslim University becomes a brand name once again which it was in the academic field.”

    He also justified the appointment of General Dwivedi in the Department of West Asian Studies saying that he has a doctorate in West Asian studies and is also a expert in Chinese language. He said, “...get me a better qualified man, and I will hire him. But I found general Dwivedi to be best qualified for pushing through our agenda of forming this Faculty (of International Affairs) as soon as possible and also because of the fact that he has an Interpreter's certificate in the Chinese language...”

    Full Interview:

    TCN: At the time of joining, you have said that you wish to work towards regaining the lost glory of AMU and to make it the number one university in the country. How far you feel you have succeeded in your vision and plans?

    Gen Shah: We have succeeded partially. As I said that my initial task was to reestablish the rule of law and order in the University. I think we have succeeded in that. We have had unhindered academic activities for the last 15 months.

    We have done well on the academic and on the placement front. The main problem, of course, if the living condition of the students. I am very very concerned because unless we improve that, nothing else can improve because a person who stays in the slums, behaves like a slum dweller. So we have got the grant of 100 crores and a special grant of 50 crores. InshaAllah we will be able to build hostels for girls and boys, space out the children.

    This year, what I intend doing is concentrating all my energies on improving the academic activities, research, revision of syllabi. These are the few things that we are concentrating on, only academics this years. So I think inshaAllah by (end of my term)... in about three and half years time, we should achieve our aim of becoming the number one university in India.

    TCN: I agree the situation has considerably improved. It’s a good point you have raised about the academics. When I talk to, particularly research scholars and teachers in the campus, one thing they often point out is the kind of bureaucratic hurdle they face in terms of getting projects, or when they want to go on sabbatical for further research or post-doctorate, or some kind of fellowship because according to the new UGC guidelines they see it as hindrance in their promotions...Have you tried to or do you intend to do something on that front?

    Gen Shah: Yes, yes. We will try and improve upon the research work being done, we are trying to improve the exposure of our teachers and staffs to modern universities across the world, specially UK and USA, because I feel that academic activities will improve on that.

    And we are also starting, or restarting the concept of summer school where we will have distinguished professors from USA (and other places) coming in and giving specific lectures on specific subjects. So lot activities, academic activities are planned, and we do hope that the output of our students will improve.

    TCN: Will professors from AMU will also be send abroad or only ...

    Gen Shah: Yes, it will professors and students in the teachers-students exchange programme, both.

    AMU VC Lieutenant General Zameerud-din Shah.

    TCN: You said you focus this year will be on academics and academic research, but I am given to believe that there almost 400 vacant positions in the University across all the departments and centers. Yet there has been very few selection committees even since you have taken charge. Recently President of India, honourable Pranab Mukharjee had also said that these vacant positions in all central universities need to be filled soon. So how do you intend to enhance the whole process?

    Gen Shah: Well let me tell you that we have finished the general selection committee of almost one-third of the departments in the University, and so its not that we have not bothered about it. What had delayed the whole process is the confusion in the calculation of the API score, that matter has been resolved; and InshaAllah from next month onward there will be regular general selection committees and I hope that we will make up the short-fall of the teachers within a year or two.

    TCN: In this connection only, there are departments of Urdu and History and so many such other departments, which have been pride of AMU. But take for example (department of) Urdu, there are out of 22 vacant seats out of 40, as far as I know. So these (short falls) are not only, in a way, hindering the development or Urdu and Urdu literature, but also over all academic environment...

    Gen Shah: I entirely agree with you. Actually I am not in favour of this system of ‘gues faculties,’ we want to fill up the vacant seats in all the departments. It has taken me little longer than, what I thought it would. But I am at it, and I entirely agree with you that the deficiencies must be made up at the earliest. People must get their promotions on time. The deficiencies will be filled up, that will be my aim.

    TCN: In your Independence Day speech you mentioned about (33 crore) grant being cut by the UGC and you also said that you will raise this issue to the highest level in the government. Have you raised this issue so far or do you intend to...

    Gen Shah: Yes I have raised the issue. I have written to the HRD Minister, saying that there is no reason for the grant of Rs 33 crore being cut. What the MHRD is justifying is that this amount was an extra amount given in the 11th Plan for repairs, and special repairs and other things. So my argument is that this was part of the 11th Plan and it should not affect the 12th Plan. I have raised this issue in a letter to the MHRD and I will be meeting him shortly; and I am certain that he will concede to our point of view.

    TCN: Continuing with the academics, but now on the new courses and new departments being set up. Recently you had announced that the International Studies center is being established. Could you elaborate more on the process?

    Gen Shah: Faculty of International Affairs will really comprise of the Strategic Studies, disaster management, foreign languages; these are the major things. Basically we want our students to get avenues for further employment, there is huge demand for people who are trained in international affairs, and of course we want exposure of our students to foreign languages, Chinese, Spanish, French, Hebrew. These are all (aimed at) enhancing the employment opportunities of our students and we will give a lot of stress on this.

    TCN: Hebrew is an interesting subject you have raised the issue about, because starting Hebrew course would mean some kind of MoUs being signed with some universities in Israel; how do you intend to do that because that may have some kind of negative repercussion in AMU?

    Gen Shah: I agree, but this was a demand from the Academic community. I had not included Hebrew earlier, I quite recognize (the challenges). But it was pointed out in the Academic Council meeting, that we should also study Hebrew and I acceded to that point.

    And it is not necessary that we have to have somebody from Israel, who will teach us Hebrew. We will see if there are other avenues opened.

    TCN: In May, you had spoke about the center of Strategic Studies and you had said that the center would be named after Tipu Sultan. Is there any progress on that front?

    Gen Shah: Once we inaugurate it, I stand by my commitment that it will be named after Tipu Sultan.

    TCN: Is there some time frame, by when do you expect it to start?

    Gen Shah: The proposal has gone to the Ministry of Human Resources, but you know in this bureaucratic world everything takes little time, but certainly be December we should hope to have everything in position.

    TCN: There are lot many students, not only in AMU but also in Jamia, who come from, who pass out from madrassa and then go on to join universities like AMU, Jamia, or some other universities. Recently you started this ‘bridge’ course for madrassa students. I feel though that the (number of) seats are too low, as hundreds of students from madrassa come out, and there are only 50 seats in (this bridge course). Is there any plan to further increase the seat or to make it more diverse?

    Gen Shah: See when you start anything new, you have to start small. You know that in the Aligarh Muslim Universities, the facilities are only for seven to eight thousand students, and we have 28000 students. So we are bursting at the seams. So I really can’t absorb more than 50 for the time being. But let me tell you that I realize that the madrassas are the largest educational network in the country and we must modernize them. And this is the way forward, if madrassa students find avenues for academics, scientific, mdoern scientific education, I am sure that they would be ready to come. There has been massive response to the advertisement for this bridge course. We plan to start with 50, we plan to start small, let us get some experience (before expanding) because we would have run into big problems, where do we accommodate these madrassa students, how do we deal with them. That is why we starting small, and we will see which way it goes and then gradually increase the seat (if need be).

    TCN: Across the country, particularly in north India, there are lots of vacant seats for Urdu teachers; and one reason government often gives is that there not enough trained teachers available. Jamia has recently started a center to develop Urdu teachers. I personally feel that the AMU has some kind of responsibility towards Urdu and development of Urdu. Do you have some plans in this connection?

    Gen Shah: Well, I agree...certainly. Urdu is an Indian language that originated in the Indo-Gangetic plains and it unnecessarily got a religious tag to it. Actually its very much a language of India and it is the mother tongue of most Muslims in India and we want to preserve and encourage its use. That is why we are giving absolute importance to Urdu.

    Earlier Urdu was compulsory languages in the AMU, so was Hindi, so was English. But the marks of Urdu and Hindi were not counted (From this years marks will counted). Most of the students, of course, are studying Urdu because they are from Hindi medium schools. So anybody who studied Urdu in schools has to take Hindi in AMU. So that is one of our ways of encouraging the study of Urdu and we hope that we increase the job prospects of Urdu speaking students.

    TCN: From academics, I would now shift to more of management and the new centres and the new centres which the AMU is starting. Government props es to develop these new centers as full fledged universities, and I am given to believe that you have agreed to it in some form. But there are resistances from the larger AMU community on the ground that these centres have not developed so much to stand on its own, and hence if handed over to the government, and if government changes next year, which is more likely to happen, then it may lose its minority character. Would you want to elaborate on that, particularly on your position?

    Gen Shah: See, our position is that we will do anything for the educational enhancement of Muslims in particular. This is a secular University, but it was primarily for the millat. Our stand on the conversions of these centres is that in case, as has been assured to us by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, that if these centres are converted into universities the minority character will be taken care of. So if that is taken care of, I have no problems in these centres become full fledged universities.

    As you see that these centres have not yet been given due share of funds, but when they become universities, I am sure that Maulana Azad Foundation, under whom the universities will function, they will be able to get larger grants and I think that will benefit education in general to a great degree, specially in minority dominated pockets.

    TCN: Mamallapuram and Murshidabad centres had begun before you joined. Kishanganj centre is more likely to begin under your tenure, if everything goes according to the plan. So could you elaborate more on your plans and your vision for the Kishanganj centre?

    Gen Shah: In Kishanganj centre, we are straightaway going start a course in B.Ed. this year. It may start a little late, by October or November. Central Government is very keen to have the inauguration of the centre and we are working towards it, and I think, we should very soon be able to start.

    TCN: Lets come to the concerns of the students now. There has been almost three fold hike in the fees, I know you have tried to rationalize it a bit, but still there is almost three fold hike in fees, that seems to be a big concern of the students as not most most – or at least quite many of them – come from poor economic background. And it seems that in years to come it would increase even more. How do you see tackling between economic front and the concerns of the students?

    Gen Shah: Your statement that there is almost three fold hike is absolutely wrong. It is not a threefold hike, there has been an increase of 40—50 % hike in some courses Why this has happened is that we have got to generate funds from internal resources. As you are aware that there has been no hike in fees of the AMU for the last 15 years. If you look into it, the cost of index doubles, so actually there should have been a four-fold increase and not even three fold increase. But we realize that the bulk of our students are from under-privileged families; so we did not want to impose too much of financial burden. That is why when I received some complaints from students and other parents of children, we tapered down the hike. I think it is not unreasonably large. It is certainly not three-fold, it is only 30-40 %.

    TCN: I know there problems when Students’ Union elections were conducted last year, what is the status of Students’ Union elections this year? Is is going to happen this year?

    Gen Shah: I am a firm believer in democratic traditions, but it will all depend on the situation in the University and when I am convinced that the Students’ Union will follow their Charter of duties and not misbehave and not try and run the University, I will see whatever is required. But interaction and students’ representations in all facets of the University life is a must and I believe in it, but students must know where their responsibilities start and their privileges end. That’s something that they have not realized.

    I did have large lawlessness in the University after we formed the Students’Union, it was a lesson for me and we are taking the corrective steps.

    TCN: But will it happen any time soon, or it may take some time?

    Gen Shah: It will depend on the situations in the University. My aim is to carry out unhindered academic activities, unfortunately we were not able to do that for some period of time last year. So I will see how things shape out, but as I said, I reiterate I believe in democratic traditions.

    TCN: You raised the issue of law and order, recently you had written a letter to the students’ community about the ‘katta culture’ and we all need to curtail it. What kind of steps have you taken and do you think that you have succeeded in some ways?

    Gen Shah: Well I think, I have. One of the big problem of the University was unauthorized occupants in halls of residence. These were, some of them, no students, ‘armed thugs’ which I will call them. They were residing in the halls, I think we have managed to get rid of them and we will make sure that the entry is only for the bona fide students, we are going to take very very strict measures against unauthorized occupants. So that itself will prevent this ‘katta culture’ from permeating and influencing the students. In fact large number of students were being frightened and blackmailed. I would say that the bulk of the students support the measure we have taken to clean out the hostels of the illegal occupants who were generally armed.

    TCN: You have also focused on developing sports facilities, hockey ground, I guess even golf club...Could you elaborate on that?

    Gen Shah: Well golf club is low on my priorities, I have got other priorities. I don’t want to spend any of the AMU money on golf course, if we get sponsors we will make golf course because I want to give AMU students the best that is available. Ours is the only University (in India) with a riding club, and why should University not be the only University with a golf course. See we have brought games to the door steps of our students. We have nineteen basket ball courts, nineteen volleyball courts, where only two existed before I came. We have the astro-turf hockey ground.

    And I am glad to say that we have just received the letter from the Army. They are giving us four brand new horses, we will have to collect them from Saharanpur at the price of 8000 per horse. Where we were earlier buying horses at the rate of one lakh per horse, the Army is giving us only for 8000 and so hopefully by mid of September we should have at least four new streeds in our stables. We want to establish new stables, our stables are more than a hundred years old.

    We are encouraging the entry of sportsmen into the University as we did last year. We have made considerable progress, we won the all India inter-University cricket (tournament), we won the North-Zone cricket, we won the North-zone badminton tournaments for girls. Sara Naqvi, the badminton for girls, she is representing the country...InshaAllah AMU will do well and win laurels for the country again.

    AMU VC Lt Gen Shah attending a press conference with with Pro-VC Brigadier Ahmad Ali and Registrar Group Captain Shahrukh Shamshad.

    TCN: You come from defence yourself. Over the years the number of AMU students clearing the defence or civil services examinations have considerably declined. I am given to believe that you have tried to focus on that, but I don’t see much success so far. What are your plans and how do you intend to better the result?

    Gen Shah: My aerial expertise is the Armed forces. We started the training for the NDA (National Defence Academy) and we selected 40 young boys for the NDA and I am glad to say that we have not been unsuccessful. 12 of our boys have qualified in the written examinations and two have already joined the NDA. Out of the 10 who remain, I do hope that eight or nine do get entry into the NDA. So we have not been unsuccessful as far as the Armed forces are concerned, my next concern is the entry into the IAS, the IPS, the central services and I hope to give attention to those also. My initial aim of encouraging the students to join the Armed forces has been successful to a very large extent.

    TCN: I deliberately kept this question for the last because I guess you have got tired and irritated enough answering and justifying your appointment as VC although you do not come from academic background. However, my question is not directly that, but recently in an interview to the Indian Express, you said that institutions like AMU and Jamia have other concerns that you suggested in a way require people either from the Army or administrative background. That answers seems very problematic because in a way you are reiterating the general notion about Muslims that they, by nature, or they have become a bit unruly and so they need to be controlled...and that seems to me very problematic.

    Gen Shah: No, firstly I did not want to include Jamia at all, I only talked about the conditions in the Aligarh Muslim University. You are aware that we have had some problems and let me also tell you that I was not imposed by any body, the community elected me, because they wanted a change and InshaAllah I will bring about that change for the betterment of our students and to make sure that the Aligarh Muslim University becomes a brand name once again which it was in the academic field.

    TCN: Just as an add on to the last question, you have justified your decision to bring people from Army background and appoint them, besides yourself as VC, as Pro-VC, Registrar and others whom you can trust. But your appointment of retired major general G G Dwivedi in Center for West Asian Studies had raised quite a bit of eyebrows. Fine for administration you needed people, whom you could “trust implicitly” or whom you know well, but even in academics, people see it as those retired from army or civil services intruding into academics. How would you respond to that?

    Gen Shah: You have brought out this point, which I should have clarified myself. The West Asian Studies Center is going to be the nucleus, or its going to be the starting point for establishing our new centre for International Affairs, number one.

    Secondly, let me tell you that General Dwivedi, his track record in the academic field is that he already has a doctorate. He is an expert in the Chinese language, he has served three and half years in China. He knows China very well.

    So this is only one of the steps that we are taking in the establishment of the Faculty of International Affairs. He will not remain in West Asia Department. And I say that get me a better qualified man, and I will hire him. But I found general Dwivedi to be best qualified for pushing through our agenda of forming this Faculty as soon as possible and also because of the fact that he has an Interpreter's certificate in the Chinese language, that is one of the languages that we are going to push through. If you can find me a better person I will hire him.

    TCN: But it is the Center for West Asian Studies, you are focusing more on China.

    Gen Shah: No, no. I said this is the starting point, to establish a new center you have to have some place. So this is the place, where we are starting. But General Dwivedi is not going to be teaching in the West Asian Department, although mind you he has a doctorate in the West Asian Affairs. He is well qualified, but basically I got him because he is an expert in Chinese.

    TCN: Thank you so much Lt. General Shah, it was a pleasure talking to you. I hope you all the best and I hope that you succeed in your plans.

    Gen Shah: Thank you very much, I am counting on you.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : False terror cases against young Muslim boys was the main concern expressed by the minority community members who gathered here to take stock of the promises made by the UPA government.

    "Muslim youth are charged with terrorism and are later acquitted. This destroys them and their families," said Mohd Shahid of Aligarh Muslim University.

    He was speaking at a seminar on "UPA II and Muslim Expectations" organized by the Aligarh Movement magazine at the India Islamic Cultural Centre here Friday evening.

    Agreeing that sometimes injustice is done due to the bureaucratic and police system inherited from the British, Congress leader Anees Durrani said either the youth who are framed in false terror cases or the community leaders should seek compensation from the government.

    Mohammad Adeeb, MP, said: "No change has come in the mindset of police and administration. So nothing can be done till the mindset is changed."

    Noting "there are many instances where Muslim youths have been wrongly framed in terror cases", journalist Ashish Khetan said: "Islamic terror too is a reality."

    "There should be no politics of victimhood. There should be justice for all, the innocents who are killed in terror incidents and those who are wrongly blamed for it," said Khetan.

    The meeting also took stock of the promises made by the UPA-II government.

    "A lot of promises were made when UPA-II came to power in 2009 but there is little implementation of them," said Jasim Mohammad, editor of the Aligarh Movement magazine.

    "The government is making joke of Muslims as we have been continuously believing in the Congress," said Farhat Ali Khan, OSD of Jamia Urdu.

    The Congress should fulfill its promises, noted film director and social activist Mahesh Bhatt said.

    "The core ideology of the Congress is secularism which is not its monopoly but a tradition of our forefathers," he said.

    Among the other issues raised by the community leaders were jobs for youth, implementation of Sachar panel report, a bill to curb communal violence and minority institution status for Aligarh Muslim University.

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    By Mohit Dubey, IANS,

    Lucknow : Was the Panch Kosi Yatra, a religious march that was to have been taken out by sadhus in six districts neighbouring the temple town of Ayodhya, and their ensuing standoff with the government an affair stagemanaged between the Samajwadi Party and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) with any eye on their respective vote banks?

    Even as both sides took extreme positions last week, there are whispers and allegations that the otherwise traditional rite to be undertaken by a handful of Hindu seers was blown out of proportion by both sides to consolidate their respective vote banks.

    "If you rewind the whole episode, it is obviously clear that the script of the Yatra and the 'tamasha' that followed was a joint work of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and the VHP's Ashok Singhal," asked Swamy Prasad Maurya, senior BSP leader and leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, told IANS.

    He alleged that at their meeting the two leaders had agreed on a public spat, largely to send messages to their groups - Hindus and Muslims - that they were their greatest saviours.

    Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, who was arrested along with Ashok Singhal, corroborated this as he said after being released on the Allahabad High Court's orders that he was surprised by the volte-face of Mulayam Singh Yadav on the Panch Kosi Yatra.

    "During the meeting with the SP chief and his chief minister son, we had shared our plans to take out a low-key yatra as pre-decided at the Kumbh Mela (earlier this year at Allahabad) and there seemed to be no problem at all," he said.

    He went on to say that Mulayam Singh Yadav was okay with the idea of a low-key yatra taken out by sadhus in six districts neighbouring the temple town of Ayodhya and found his u-turn "puzzling".

    "I do not wish to speculate what changed the mind and words of Mulayam Singh Yadav but I am surely surprised that a leader who came out to drop us and extended all courtesies suddenly asked his son to clamp down on the yatra and called us gundas (rowdies)," Rambhadracharya added.

    Insiders, while endorsing the seer's "insights" into the meeting between the two sides, however, said the scenario changed drastically after Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan issued a public statement criticising the SP supremo for meeting Singhal, an accused in the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque.

    "Things would have passed peacefully but for the public posturing of Khan, which made it difficult for Netaji (Mulayam Singh) to appear as being in a compromising situation of his pro-minority image," said a senior SP leader.

    Khan, in a written statement had spoken of conflicting signals being sent to the Muslim community with regards to SP's support to them and had expressed hope that "Mulayam Singh-ji will not compromise on his secular image".

    A close aide of the chief minister conceded that Akhilesh Yadav was personally not keen to press the matter too much and wanted the VHP yatra to pass off peacefully and in a low key.

    "Bhaiyya-ji (Akhilesh Yadav) was of the view that the yatra be ignored rather than being hyped but an administrative issue was given a political hue, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat and go as per the party leadership's call on the matter," the aide told IANS.

    But while the ruling party tried its best to project a tough stand taken against the potential "mischief-makers" to "ensure the security and safety of Muslims" in Uttar Pradesh, even Muslim clerics lashed out at the SP government for "unnecessarily making a non-issue an international propaganda."

    "What would have happened if 200 saints would have taken out a procession, this was their right and the state should have ensured adequate security. In my opinion the government was ill-advised in clamping down on saints and arresting hundreds of them," said a Muslim cleric in Lucknow, not wishing to be named.

    A group of clerics from Aligarh had earlier this week criticized the state government on the same lines.

    In the end, while SP's Muslim constituency appeared angry with the decision, the VHP managed to infuse a fresh lease of life in its moribund organization in the state, once a hotbed of religious politics.

    (Mohit Dubey can be contacted at

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has expressed deep concern and anguish at the slump in the Indian economy and the dip in investors sentiment which appears to be in shambles with rupee plummeting down everyday to inaccessible depths. The currency has dropped over 23 per cent since April and had touched a low of 68.80 to a dollar earlier this week.

    SDPI national president Mr. A. Sayeed in a statement said it is hard to restore confidence in the rupee under the present conditions as for that a major perquisite is the restoration of faith in the Congress-led UPA government. With that being a remote possibility the rupee, and the stock markets, are set to remain volatile till a new government is in place after the next parliamentary poll.

    Mr. Sayeed wondered when Bangladesh and Indonesia can control the downfall of their currencies, why can’t India? The simple answer is that neither the Reserve Bank nor Mr. Chidambaram are accountable to the Prime Minister or to the tax-paying citizens. They simply dupe the citizens and enjoy enormous salaries and perquisites.

    He said the UPA Government can still minimise the damage if it has the good sense to use the one option which has a very good chance of succeeding. And that is to go to the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), to bolster its dollar kitty. Speculative activity in the currency markets will be substantially curbed once the government has the large cushion of the IMF billions. Admittedly, the IMF loan will entail some conditions. Which again could prove salutary for the economy.

    He recalled how the economy had received the booster shots after that forex crisis, which led to the dismantling of the decades-old license-quota-permit raj under the World Bank-IMF pressure. This time around, the crisis has assumed dire proportions due to the mismanagement of the economy. While reforms were put on the backburner, there was a huge expansion in expenditure on account of giveaways aimed at winning voter-support.

    The statement said that the precarious state of the nation’s finances ought to have persuaded the ruling party to delay the populist measure. The government was wrong in not creating a bigger forex reserve during the boom years, especially after the liquidity easing by the US Fed in the wake of the global financial crisis. Had it mopped up dollars from the market between 2008-2011, we would have been in a better position to ride through the crisis triggered by the threat of liquidity tapering by the Fed. Now it is too late to stave off the crisis through tinkering of the customs rate or by imposing niggardly restrictions on the outgo of forex by corporates and individual taxpayers. Going to the IMF can help stem the crisis.

    If the fear of criticism is what deters the government from doing so, it should remember that each day when the rupee loses its value and the Sensex drops a few hundred points, the government is not exactly winning praise either from the opposition or the ‘aam aadmi.’ At least, the IMF loan would help boost confidence in the rupee and stop the bleeding on the bourses, the statement added.

    Mr. Sayeed said maybe some wrong decisions were taken when Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister but these should have been immediately reversed when P. Chidambaram took over as Finance Minister. The massive tax notice served on Vodafone scared the foreign investors and maybe was responsible for FDI coming into India. But then two years have passed since then and this is a long period for any government to take effective measures to set a nation's economy right and reduce the Current Account Deficit (CAD). It is not a wise thing to hold any past Finance Minister solely responsible for the present economic ills of the country.

    He said that The country has to regain the value of rupee and appropriate fiscal policies are to be formulated from government side . This is not the time for a post-mortem for the cause and the nation must stand united in opinions for getting the problem solved which pertains the livelihood of the people. Due to any such adversity the elite and financially well to do always escapes damages. Everything is going from vote bank politics. Every issue is politicized. If the opposition blames the government for false doing then why did they support the policies during 2007-09. The truth, none of them (government and opposition) is bothered about growth but yes for vote growth. Also none of them can forecast what will be the impact of current policies, he added.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Sunday termed the 2002 Gujarat riots as "unfortunate".

    He said the Congress made every attempt to blame Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the violence.

    The attack and burning of a train in Godhra led to the carnage of the minority Muslims. Hundreds were dead, property was destroyed on a large scale, rapes were widespread, and innocent were burnt alive.

    "One of our states is Gujarat. I agree an unfortunate incident took place. Who does not agree that it was unfortunate?" Rajnath Singh said.

    "Attempts were made to blame Modi as if the chief minister planned the riots," he said, while addressing a meeting of the BJP's minority cell here.

    The BJP president said during his personal interactions with Modi, he tried to read his facial expressions. "He looks so sad...what is wrong with the people? Is it politics?"

    He said people should ask Muslims of the state whether they feel any discrimination under the BJP's rule.

    Singh also used the occasion to lash out at the Congress for adopting the "divide and rule" policy.

    "Whether Congress adopted any other policy of the British or not, they have at least adopted their divide and rule policy... Congress and some other political parties have tried to sow seeds of division in the country," he said.

    Attacking the Congress, the BJP chiefg said a party which has ruled the country for over 50 years should have ensured that relations between Hindus and Muslims improve. "...Was it not their responsibility?" he asked.

    He claimed several schemes meant for minorities have remained "non-starters" despite being announced by the United Progressive Alliance government.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: Ummah Welfare Trust and Tayyab Hospital and Educational Trust distributed monthly food packs to the needy and unprivileged people of the Aligarh at Community Hall, Alig Apartment. The program was organised by Sir Syed Awareness Forum (SAF).

    Qari Mohd Asim Qasmi, Trustee of Tayyab Hospital and Educational Trust, while inaugurating the camp said that they are organising this camp for the last three years in collaboration with Ummah Welfare Trust and till now they have distributed food packets at nine different places i.e. Deoband, Nanauta, Gangoh, Thana Bhawan, Saharanpur, Jalabad, Chhutmalpur and Ambetha and this is the ninth camp here in Aligarh and the tenth one will be held at Nizamuddin in Delhi.

    Sitting on dias Prof Azam, Asim Qasmi, I.P.Singh, Dr. Shakeel Samdani and others

    He further said that they have decided to distribute one thousand packs every month. He also said that in Islam it is the right of every poor and down trodden to receive alms from their brothers who are capable and are having enough money at their disposal.

    Chief Guest of the program, Additional District Judge, Inder Preet Singh Josh congratulated the office bearers of Sir Syed Awareness Forum (SAF) and Tayyab Hospital and Educational Trust for having organised this distribution camp. He appreciated the systematic and organised way in which the camp was organised and said that if such type of organised camps are held, it will be helpful in alleviating poverty from the country.

    ADJ also said that it’s more a national service rather than a religious one. He expressed his happiness and said that it is for the very first time that he has seen a Muslim organisation working for the cause of poor at the national level and that too in a very systematic manner and he is thankful to Dr. Shakeel Samdani who invited him to this camp and it is just because of him he became a part of this camp.

    Free food packets being distributed to poor people by Dr. Shakeel Samdani, IP Singh Josh, Ml Asim Qasmi

    Dr. Shakeel Samdani, AMU Faculty and President of Sir Syed Awareness Forum (SAF) said that SAF has organised this food packs distribution ceremony with Tayyab Hospital and Educational Trust by taking the inspiration from Sir Syed. As Sir Syed always tried to emancipate the society and work for the poor and down trodden sections of society. He founded the MAO College with a noble view to spread education among the poor and backward Indian community. He said that although Islam directs the Muslims to undertake social work and try to ameliorate the conditions of poor and needy people but the Muslims are lagging behind in this field. He further said that the SAF is committed towards the task of upliftment of poor.

    Dr Obaid Iqbal Asim, Secretary, U.P. Rabita Committee said that Islam has made provisions for ‘Zakat’ and it has been made mandatory to every ‘Sahib-E-Nisab’. He also said that it is the moral abdication of every Muslim who is capable to take care of his poor brothers and sisters.

    Secretary of the forum, Mansoor Ilahi proposed the vote of thanks and said that the forum under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Shakeel Samdani is creating milestones one after another and the credit for organising this food distribution camp goes to Dr. Shakeel Samdani.

    On this occasion 100 food packs of 25Kg each were distributed to the needy and poor people of Aligarh.

    The food distribution program was attended among others by Kr. Naseem Shahid, Daud Amla, Office Bearer, Ummah Welfare Trust, Hakim Mohd Ahmad Qamar, ML Anas Qasmi, Zeeshan Ahmad, APRO, AMU, Eminent writer Mrs. Shahnaz Kanwal, Mrs. Anjum Tasneem, Ateeq Ansari, Zulfiqar Sherwani, Mrs. Huma Shahab and Safia Khan, Maazul Haq, Research Scholars, AMU and Mohd Junaid, Senior Journalist.

    The program became a great success due to the efforts of Nasar Kazim, Abdullah Samdani, Adv. Ahmar Afaq, Pasha, Mohd Umair Siddiqi, Mohd Subhan, Aamir Wani, Mohd Tayyab, Ayesha Ansari, Sumiya, Ahmad Usmani and Danish Iqbal.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati: Noted authors Anuradha Sarma Pujari, Arup Kumar Dutta and other personalities who were present during the 13th Mofizuddin Ahmed Hazarika Memorial Awards repented about the little knowledge on the one of the pioneer litterateurs of Assam. They also advocated for his works to be re-published at the present age.

    Taking part in the Prize Distribution Ceremony of Inter School Recitation and Creative Writing Competition organized by Maria’s Public School, Guwahati to mark the occasion, Anuradha Sarma Pujari said that Ahmed Hazarika was being neglected for a long time.

    A souvenir is being released on the occasion.

    “It’s high time that the young generation should know about him and his works who was one of the pioneers of Assamese literature. It’s also very sad that very little research work has been done on him. I would say his books should be re-printed for the present generation to learn his ideals,” said Pujari who is also the editor of a popular Assamese weekly tabloid.

    Another popular and widely respected writer of the present age, Arup Kumar Dutta appreciated the move of Maria’s Public School for remembering Mofizuddin Ahmed Hazarika who was also known as ‘Gyan Malinir Kobi’.

    Prize distribution ceremony.

    Later, the winners of inter school Recitation and Creative writing competition were awarded with trophy and certificates. Ankita Goswami of TC Girls’ school and Hrishikesh Goswami of MVM, Silpukhuri of Guwahati won the best prize in Inter-school Assamese Recitation of Group A and B respectively. On the other hand, Hridisthita Pathak of Srimanta Sankar Academy and Abhijit Bezbaruah of Don Bosco School, Guwahati won the best prize in Inter school Creative Writing Competition of Group A and B respectively.

    Moreover, the function was attended by noted writer and Secretary of Assam Tourism Dhruba Hazarika, author Kapil Thakur and Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School, Nellie Ahmed Tanweer among others. On the occasion, a souvenir was also released.

    People pay homage to Mofizuddin Ahmed Hazarika.

    Mofizuddin Ahmed Hazarika who was born in 1870 was a prominent poet belonged to the era known as Jonaki Assamese Literature which is regarded a path changing in the history of literature. He was also elected as the president of the 12th Asam Sahitya Sabha edition in 1930 held in Golaghat district, Assam.

    According to historian and author Mohini Kumar Saikia as written in his book ‘Assam-Muslim Relation and Its Cultural Significance’, Hazarika’s family traces their lineage to Mohammad Ismail Siddiqui, better known as Bagh Hazarika who played a major role in defeating the mighty Mughals in the Battle of Saraighat in 17th century.

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  • 09/01/13--22:35: Anatomy of Terror Trials
  • By Dr. Manisha Sethi,

    Three months after the serial blasts in Jaipur in 2008, the Muslim neighbourhood of Kota saw a spate of police raids. Several men were picked up and many others were threatened into surrendering. They were only wanted for routine pooch teach (questioning) in connection with the blasts; no charges were to be pressed, the police repeatedly assured the frightened men and their families. Days of illegal detention and torture later, these men were accused of spreading communal venom against Hindu gods and goddesses, talking against national unity, integrity and secularism, of involving Muslim youth in anti-national activities, and of carrying on activities of SIMI despite it being outlawed. All of these charges remained vague, with neither the FIR not the chargsheet making any precise link made to any specific terror activity. Nonetheless, elliptical allusions to Jaipur and Ahmedabad serial blasts were made by the police, and the newspapers didn’t take long to present them as key suspects in these blasts.

    Four and a half years later, the court acquitted the accused. Of the 43 witnesses lined up by the prosecution, 38 turned hostile, swearing in court that they had been made to sign blank papers by the police. The allegedly proscribed literature seized by the police turned out to be perfectly legal, as it dated to before the ban. And finally, the prosecution had failed to secure the sanction of the central government – as is required when certain sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are invoked.

    Dr. Manisha Sethi

    This case is fairly representative of the manner in which UAPA cases are framed and prosecuted. Elusiveness of charges is matched only by infirmity of evidences. Media trials, which link the accused to acts of terror they are not even formally charged with, are conducted; and bail applications rejected repeatedly. The prosecution hopes till the last moment that no one will miss the required sanction. Only, not all are as lucky as these men from Kota. An Ujjain court ruled that lack of credible independent witnesses would not come in the way of its war against terror because. The desire to uphold national security can sometimes outweigh the commitment to rule of law and justice.

    Some would argue that framing of innocents in false charges is a result of the law’s gross misuse by police. That law, any law, by itself is simply an instrument that is abused by biased, ignorant, ill intentioned policemen—implying that there are possible good uses to which UAPA could be employed. But look a little more closely: at the heart of UAPA are the twin arteries of membership (of unlawful organizations) and conspiracy (of furthering the activities of the unlawful organization). Both, membership to an organization that no longer exists legally, and nebulous charges of conspiracy are notoriously difficult to pin down. Any surprise then that Khandwa police in its most high profile operation yet ‘seized’ membership forms of SIMI – duly filled in by the accused – conveniently lying around their homes? That seized literature constitutes the bulk of evidence of conspiracy? The courts found Maoist literature apparently seized from Seema Azad and Vishwavijay sufficient basis to hand out life sentences to the couple. Binayak Sen’s conviction by the Chhattisgarh sessions court also hinged on the recovery of magazines and pamphlets from his house, all of which were freely available.

    Each amendment has brought into the ambit of ‘unlawful’ an ever-growing circle of acts and actors, strengthening the subjective basis of its application, virtually creating a suspicion state. Opposing POTA introduced by the NDA government, S. Jaipal Reddy had laid out four grounds of objection to the legislation: “First, it is destructive of the basic democratic liberties; second, it has been demonstrated empirically in our own country that this a remedy worse than the malady; third, it has been prompted, by malignant political motives; and fourth, it jettisons the basic established principles of criminal jurisprudence without a necessary protective shield.” However, the Parliament attack weathered away the resistance to this draconian law – and almost as a replay, the Mumbai attack in November 2008 drummed up support for a tough law against terror in the form of amended UAPA.

    Short of admitting confession as evidence – much to the chagrin of Advani – the new, improved UAPA 2008 looked remarkably similar to TADA (which incidentally P. Chiadambaram had inaugurated in 1987 as Minister of State for Home). It extended the period of remand to 180 days while rendering the bail provisions extremely stringent. Appealing to his colleagues to pass the amended bill without insisting on a referral to the Standing Committee, PC assured them that Parliament could “revisit the Bills and make the improvements in course of time”. Indeed, he promised, “If any improvements have to be done, we can always come back and look at the Bill when we meet again in February.”The Parliament has only returned to the law to add more muscle to it.

    Having already included terror funding and holding of terror camps as offences in UAPA 2008 (and voila you will suddenly find these charges surfacing in the FIRs—but again with the sketchiest possible details), the Parliament in its last session explicitly incorporated economic offences under the definition of terrorist acts. Amendment of section 15 now declares the production, distribution of “high quality counterfeit currency” as a terrorist offence, and not simply a financial one that was up till now dealt with under sections 489B, 489C, 489D of the IPC. Punjab Police’s partiality towards TADA’s powerful provisions, or Maharashtra police’s quick recourse to MCOCA over ordinary criminal law, has been too well documented to not know that police favour draconian laws when they are available.

    But what firmly entrenches UAPA into the slippery territory of conspiracy, intentions and ‘knowledge’ and away from specific, tangible and verifiable acts is the introduction of the new section, which criminalizes the raising of funds “from a legitimate or illegitimate source… knowing that such funds are likely to be used …by a terrorist organization”… “notwithstanding whether such funds were actually used or not used” for the commission of a terrorist act. (emphasis added). Knowledge that monies could be used for terrorist acts will be difficult to prove in a court of law but it will effectively render suspect all legal transactions: a movement raising funds to carry on its campaigns, a madrasa seeking contributions to rebuild its walls or replenish its library; or ageing parents receiving remittances from a child working overseas. Our police have only to suspect people of receiving monies for them to be put away in jails.

    The new amendments also bring offences by companies, societies and trusts into the ambit of terrorist acts, calling for punishment no less than seven years and up to life term if found guilty, in addition to fines running into crores. It is not as if income tax raids are unknown as weapons to deal with political opponents but the charge of terrorism will now scale persecution to another level. Recall the raids on Rahejas after Outlook published unflattering stories about PM Vajpayee’s foster family; or the decimation of the Tehelka portal after its expose on corruption in military deals. We must be blind or incredibly stupid to think that a law which grants such sweeping powers to the police and prosecution will not multiply this tyranny manifold.

    The fact that an amendment, moved by a Left MP, to exclude trade unions from the purview of the UAPA, was defeated in the Rajya Sabha, is a clear signal that the law would be an instrument to crush political dissent.

    The most Orwellian character of the amended UAPA is the expansive definition of Person as “an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not”. Going much beyond entities recognized in law, the new Act basically grants police the right to first, identify an association, and then to attribute terrorist criminality to it. Imagine, an informal group of students, which meets to discuss a film every weekend, could be deemed an unlawful association! (Don’t be surprised if the agencies claim the cracking of a home-grown filmi mujahideen.)

    Responding to the charge that these amendments would provide sweeping powers to the police, the Home Ministry’s response was this: an innocent person “can produce evidence to show that he is not associated” and a bland reassurance in the Parliament that the law was neutral and would not target particular communities, ignoring the history of its targetted use.

    There is no study to prove that tough law acts as deterrence against terrorism—howsoever one may choose to define the term. What we do have is ample evidence of such laws leading to gross violations of citizens’ rights: illegal detentions, torture, false cases, long periods of incarceration—a wholesale recipe for ‘disaffection’, in fact. In the decade of its existence 76,036 individuals were arrested for crimes under TADA. Of these, only 1.5 per cent ended in a conviction. Similarly, at the time of its repeal, in 2004, 1031 persons were arrested under POTA. Trial was finally completed with regard to 18 of which 13 were convicted. A national audit of UAPA trials and convictions is yet to be undertaken, but we do know that the investigating agencies dress up their conviction rates by including convictions under arms act or explosive substances act under their terror conviction records (as they did in response to JTSA’s report, Framed, Damned, Acquitted).

    Abuse is wired into the very DNA of UAPA. We can only repeal it, not humanize it.

    This is the transcript of the speech delivered by Manisha Sethi, President of Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and a faculty at Jamia Millia Islamia in a programme organised by The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) on “Terrorism, Democracy and the Rule of Law,” on August 25, 2013 at the Islamic Center of San Diego, USA.

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    By TCN News,

    San Diego, USA: The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) – San Diego Chapter, organized an event titled “Terrorism, Democracy and the Rule of Law,” on August 25, 2013 at the Islamic Center of San Diego.

    Dr. Manisha Sethi

    The event comprised of two parts:

    Screening of a documentary on the Khalid Mujahid case. The documentary can be viewed at:

    2. A speech delivered by Dr. Manisha Sethi, Asst. Professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, who is in the US on a visit. Dr. Sethi spoke on the topic “Anatomy of Terror Trials.”

    Manisha Sethi has been instrumental in forming the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA) in the wake of the Batla House encounter, that has been fighting for Muslim youths arrested in dubious terror charges.

    Read the full speech of Manisha Sethi, "Anatomy of Terror Trials"

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    By Zaidul Haque,,

    Kolkata: An old Idgah cum ‘Jame Masjid’ in Kolkata may be reduced to a ‘Tent Masjid’ (Tarpaulin Mosque) as a new private medical college that has come up in the vicinity has forcibly stopped the construction work.

    ‘Khurshid Mosque’ in Kolkata’s Jadavpur area is under threat as the new KPC Private Medical college, started with public-private partnership, did not allow the expansion work to go on. The land of old Idgah and adjoining Mazar originally belonged to one Khurshid Alam, who benevolently gave the land before the partition.

    After performing Namaz at Khurshid Jame Mosque under the tent, Musallis are coming back at Jadavpur, beside the KPC Medical College in Kolkata.

    Background: According to locals, the area was a Muslim locality before partition, when Khurshid Alam gave land to build an Idgah. Near the mosque, there are also ‘mazars’ of some of saints and clerics. Devotees often offered namaz at an allocated site near the Mazar. During partition, however, many Muslims left the area for what was then East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh), particularly after the 1964 riot in Kolkata. The Idgah and adjoining Mazar purportedly dilapidated over the years.

    Third Chief Minister of West Bengal Prafulla Sen (July 1962-March 1967) convinced the local Muslims and acquired several acres of land, where Hindu refugees from then East Bengal were settled. Gradually as the population of Muslims in the region dwindled, Hindu population increased.

    Even before partition, beside the Idgah, Jadavpur Tuberculosis Hospital was established before independence. Later, the Government took over the hospital. Much of the land was also used for other utility purposes as Jadavpur University came up near by.

    Much of the land within the Tuberculosis Hospital was, vacant for long, however. In 2002, then Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee signed an MoU with NRI Doctor Kali Pradip Roychowdhury to establish the first Medical College and Hospital in PPP model in West Bengal. Government of West Bengal handed over the land to KPC authority in 2006, with a long term lease by a measurable money.

    Devoted Muslims performing Namaz at Khurshid Jame Mosque under the Tent. Khursid Jame Masque

    Friday prayers began on the site when Muslim students and staffs from the Jadavpur University, local hawkers and few residents started offering prayers. With the help of the heir of Khurshid Alam, in 2011 bamboo fencing was done and overhead tarpaulin was put, and the adjoining Mazars were also repaired. Gradually a ‘Wazukhana’ was also built at the site.

    Grandson of Kurshid Alam, Abdul Wahid Molla, as ‘Jimmader’ (custodian) of the site, discussed the expansion plan with local Muslims and Musalli to build concrete mosque. He said that during Ramzan as more and more people gathered at the site, it was felt that a concrete structure should be erected. During last Ramzan Taraweeh prayer was also offered, although there is no supply of electricity. A local resident and cleric Muhammad Abdur Rab, who leads the prayer as Imam, confirms that the prayer has been going on for long at the site.

    KPC Private Medical College, who had so far not objected to prayers raised objections to building of concrete structure of the mosque at the site, but said that the temporary prayers can be conducted. The mosque site is well within the medical college campus. Molla alleges that although the mosque land is not part of the college’s deal with the government and belongs to his family, medical college administration wants to grab that land as well.

    Embossed stone carving of Khurshid Jame Mosque at Jadavpur in Kolkata.

    The medical college administration then moved to the Kolkata High Court against building of permanent structure. High Court had ordered the State Land Department for an enquiry and to verify the land records and submit a report. Although not a registered Wakf property, all land records and old map clearly shows the site belonging to Khurshid Alam and existence of Idgah and Mazar. Although the case is still pending in Court, Caretaker Abdul Wahid Molla and lawyer Alam Mina wonder why college administration has objections when land records clearly show that the land was used for religious purpose as Idgah and Mazar in past.

    A musalli (one who offers prayer in the mosque) at that Mosque and Professor Hashim Abdul Halim told TCN, that due to proximity of the mosque with the bus stand and railway station, as also adjoining Jadavpur University, this is the only place to offer namaz for the local Muslim hawkers and students from the University.

    As the case is still pending in court, the fate of the mosque hangs in balance. As the tarpaulin has been overhead for two years now, locals have started calling it ‘Tent Masjid’. Meanwhile, a on the disputed site a stone carving in Bengali declares it to be ‘Khurshid Jame Masjid’.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Hyderabad: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president Ashok Singhal came out in open support of controversial godmen Asaram Bapu who is arrested on the charges of sexually assaulting a minor girl.

    VHP leader who was in Hyderabad to attend a meeting of the organizers of Ganesh pandals in the city reportedly to give them tips on organizational matters alleged that charges of rape by minor girl against Asaram Bapu were ‘part of a conspiracy to malign Hinduism and to show Hindu God men in poor light.

    Ashok Singhal even taunted rape victim parents for thinking ill against Asaram Bapu, “Are they (victim family) not ashamed of it? It is understandable if such allegations are made against a young person. How could anybody level such wicked accusation against an 80-year-old Hindu saint,” he said while addressing a press conference on Sunday.

    He even alleged that Hinduism is getting targeted by Sonia Gandhi by framing its saints in terror cases, indirectly giving reference to terror charges against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Aseemanand, Yogi Adityanand, Swami Dayanand and others, “Aattack on Hinduism by framing saints in false grim cases like terror, murder and rape to insult them had increased ever since Sonia Gandhi took control of the Congress party.”

    Ashok Singhal drafted out a multi sphere conspiracy against Hinuds on the arrest of Asram Bapu, “You arrest 80 year old saint on charges of raping a minor girl? This issue is no more about Asaram Bapu’s arrest, this is latest instance of yet another insult of Hindu community, this is to give message to the Hindu community that we will finish respect towards your religious leaders.”

    He alleged that sexual assault case against Asaram is another part in the series of attack on 'Hindu culture' which according to him began from the arrest of Kanchi Jayendra Shankaracharya in 2004, Singhal said “Hindu culture is being attacked continuously by targeting our saints. Remember Shankaracharyaji was arrested in Hyderabad on Diwali day in 2004 on murder charges to shame Hindus.”

    Infact the well known VHP saint from south India Kanchi Jayendra was arrested in two murder cases, first case was in 2002 for allegedly ordering murderous assault (by hiring thugs) on auditor Radhakrishnan who questioned the missing gold of 83 kg that was meant for Kamakshi temple. In 2004 case for allegedly ordering the murder of Sankararaman, a temple manager and a former devotee of Kanchi mutt, these cases are sub judice.

    Ashok Singhal asserts that Asaram Bapu will come out clean from what he called ‘a foisted rape case against him’ as Asaram has happened to did the same thing in the past on the charges of giving alleged Human sacrifice of two young boys at his Gujarat Aasharam. It was alleged that Chief Minister Narendra Modi has helped Asaram in getting an escape in the human scarifies case.

    Replying to a question by a journalist on the recently flop show of Ayodhya Yatra, Ashok Singhal firmly stated that 'Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra' launched in Uttar Pradesh is still continuing by local sadhus even after prohibition orders from UP Govt.

    Speaking about VHP future plan to keep Ram Mandir issue alive in next general election VHP president said on October 18, VHP will organize a ‘Jan Sankalp’ (mass swearing) of nearly one lakh Sangh Parivar activists on the banks of the Sarayu river at Ayodhya to take a mass pledge of constructing a temple at Babri Majid demolition site. According to Mr. Singhal apart from Ayodhya more one-lakh places across the country will be chosen for a concurrent Ram Mandir mass pledge.

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    Prof. Akhtarul Wasey of Jamia Millia Islamia accused the UPA government for doing what was not done even during the NDA regime.

    By Manzar Imam,

    New Delhi: The All India Association of Arabic Teachers & Scholars (AIAATS) in collaboration with the All India Persian Scholars’ Association (AIPSA) organized a symposium on “Problems and Issues Related to Arabic and Persian” with special reference to UPSC’s recent decision to remove Arabic and Persian from Civil Services examinations on Saturday 31 August at Ghalib Academy.

    The decision to remove Arabic and Persian from the Union Public Service Commission’s examination has shocked teachers and thousands of students enrolled in different universities and colleges across India. Many see it as narrowing the opportunities for students many of whom aspire to join India’s top administrative services.

    L-R: Dr. Syed Hasnain, Prof. Sharif Husain Qasmi, Prof. Zubair Ahmad Farooqi, Prof. Ainul Hasan, Mohammed Adeeb and Prof. Nauman Khan.

    It should be noted that earlier in March 2013, the UPSC had removed Arabic, French, German, Pali, Persian and Russian from the list of optional subjects for the main examinations.

    Speaking on this occasion Mohammed Adeeb, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha termed the decision as injustice which can never be tolerated. He said that both Arabic and Persian have been India’s official languages for centuries and their removal from the UPSC cannot be justified. The MP further said that he had spoken to the Prime Minister to think over the decision and in the meantime he also asked people to meet political leaders and office bearers in the ministry of education in groups and delegations to register their protest against the decision.

    This is for the first time in Independent India that a meeting is being organized for survival and protection of Arabic and Persian, remarked Prof. Sharif Husain Qasmi. The decision of the UPSC Committee to remove Arabic and Persian from the competitive examination is very unfortunate. The Committee did not understand the significance of these languages. If this is what democracy is, we lament it. He said that even during the Narasimha Rao government Arabic, Persian and Pali languages were from UPSC competitive examinations but after protest the decision was taken back.

    Prof. Akhtarul Wasey of Jamia Millia Islamia accused the UPA government for doing what was not done even during the NDA regime. When English which came to India two centuries ago could become the official language how would Arabic and Persian which have been the official languages of India for eight centuries not be promoted, asked he. He demanded that Arabic and Persian should be promoted and included in the category of modern Indian languages.

    Noted Arabic scholar Prof. Zubair Ahmad Farooqi called it an academic corruption and said, “The decision is intended to absolve Muslim energy and prevent Muslims from constructive thinking”.

    Prof. Chander Shekar, Head of the Department of Persian, University of Delhi criticized the government for the decision and said that alike the British government which had decided to kill India languages, the Indian government now seems to have decided to kill its own language and culture. He said that Urdu, Hindi and Sanskrit would remain incomplete without Arabic and Persian.

    Tracing the root of Arabic and Persian to India’s long past the AIAATS president, Prof. Mohammad Nauman Khan said that Indian skills, arts and crafts were first introduced to the outside world through Arabic and Persian languages. Arabic and Persian are the languages of national integrity and a means to preserve India’s cultural heritage.

    While expressing his displeasure over the decision, JNU’s Prof. Ainul Hasan, president of AIPSA called the decision a conspiracy. He said that teaching of Arabic and Persian was imperative to understand the Medieval Indian history.

    Prof. Khalid Hamidi of Jamia Millia Islamia said that the decision was an example of grave ignorance. It isn’t just a matter of languages but a national issue. Persian is a centuries old language and Arabic used to be the official langue of Sind and Punjab government of the undivided India.

    A resolution which condemned the removal of Arabic and Persian from UPSC examinations was read out by Prof. Syed Hasnain Akhtar of Allahabad University. It termed the decision improper and uncalled for and said that in the era of globalization Arabic and Persian languages were being used to enhance India’s relations with the Arabic and Persian speaking countries. The resolution further read that Arabic, Persian, Pali and other classical languages had immensely and positively led to the evolution of composite culture. The resolution was unanimously upheld by the audience.

    (Manzar Imam is a freelance journalist based in Delhi. He can be reached

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    By IANS,

    Patna : Raids were conducted Monday in Bihar's Samastipur district to nab a terror operative considered close to Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, police said.

    Four days after Bhatkal was arrested, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team conducted raids in Samastipur district.

    "NIA team raided the house of Mohd Tahsim alias Monu, accused of several terrorist attacks, in Maniari village in Samastipur in his search but he was not found," a district police official said.

    According to police officials, the NIA team also interrogated his family members, including his father.

    NIA announced a reward of Rs.10 lakh for him and an arrest warrant has been issued against him.

    NIA is searching for Mohd Tahsim alias Monu since early this year.

    "In last eight months, NIA had raided thrice to search for him," a police official said.

    Bhatkal is the brain behind recruitment of youth in Bihar to carry out terror attacks across the country.

    Bhatkal, wanted by police in 12 states for bombings and other terror activities in the last five years, was arrested in Raxaul in East Champaran district Thursday. He was arrested along with Asadullah Akhtar, his terror accomplice.

    He revealed during interrogation that he recruited youth from Bihar's Mithilanchal region, including Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur districts, in the last few years, said a superintendent of police rank official.

    "Bhatkal confessed that he used to target young boys, mostly from poorest of the poor background, in Mithilanchal for recruitment to carry out terror attacks in the country," said the official who was part of a team that interrogated Bhatkal in Bihar soon after he was arrested.

    The NIA team had arrested Mohammad Danish Ansari, an alleged operative of Indian Mujahideen, from Chakjora village in Darbhanga in January 2013.

    Ansari is allegedly a close associate of IM founder Yasin Bhatkal. Security agencies claim that Ansari provided shelter to Yasin Bhatkal in 2009 and 2010 in Bihar.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Welfare Party of India has decided to observe protest day against price rise throughout the country on September 7th, the coming Saturday. A dharna will be taken out by Delhi state committee at Jantarmantar on that day.

    In this context, party President Mujtaba Farooq in a letter urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to effectively intervene and efficiently arrest the soaring prices of essential commodities. Mujtaba Farooq expressed his worry that such a situation arose when our warehouses are full and the country witnessed record production of foodgrains, which is the highest in 60 years as per official figures.

    Welfare Party demanded to constitute a price regulatory authority to regulate and maintain prices. The WPI President underscored the need to strengthen Public Distribution System (PDS) and to make the essential commodities available through the PDS at affordable prices. He also demanded to come strongly against hoarders and black-marketers and treat their heinous crime at par with anti-national activity.

    The Welfare Party found the future trading in agricultural produce one of the main reasons for the price rise and asked to ban it forthwith. Mujtaba Farooq strongly opposed the move to increase prices of diesel, cooking gas and to raise rail freight charges. The letter observed it was high time for the UPA Government to rethink the economic policy and urged to make it humane and to release from corporate clutches. Foreign investments with no strings attached have proved to be a bane not a gain for our economy as seen in the continuing slide of the national currency vis-à-vis the US dollar, the letter continued.

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