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    Leading Urdu newspapers have devoted editorials to AAP’s Delhi dharna and have published articles on AAP’s strategy. WhileAAP'sdharna most of them reflect sympathy, carry an element of support for AAP and have been praising its aam aadmi (common man) approach, they have also advised the party leadership to act in a prudent manner and desist from rhetoric, confrontational and a reactional approach.

    In its editorial of 22 January 2014 headed, ‘Confrontation between the Centre and AAP’ Daily Inquilab writes, ‘It was being expected that despite its inexperience the party [AAP] will leave no stone unturned in creating a rare image of itself as a responsible government. Marching towards fulfilment of its promises, its steps especially regarding reduction of water charges, were being interpreted the victory not only of AAP but of the common man. However the hard-line posture adopted by Delhi ministers Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla on the demand to dismiss police officers who had disobeyed them, and staging a dharna to press for this demand and the demand to bring Delhi police under the control of Delhi Government has created an unhappy situation. The AAP government that was being expected to bring about a change in the situation through legislation is falling prey to existing conditions. After taking over charge of Delhi government what was necessary for it was to consolidate itself and strive day and night to meet the aspirations of the public…It should bear in mind that its rivals are big parties who would make every effort to make sure that a newly formed party that has established itself as a unique party and has won election on this very basis does not succeed. What is needed is that AAP takes every step with great caution. The system that has been deteriorating for more than half a century cannot be reformed overnight; nor does a change brought about in this manner lasts long… Arvind Kejriwal and his team should keep in mind that they are not activists anymore but are representatives of an important party running a government. Their actions should reflect this distinction.’

    Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia

    Inquilab also carries an op-Ed by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar who compliments AAP for changing political spectrum and providing an alternative to Congress and BJP that has risen above caste and creed and has tarnished the shine of region and linguistic based politics of regional parties. Advising Kejriwal Mr Nayar writes, ‘Chief Minister of Delhi Kejriwal should have the sense that AAP now is not going to die with him. Surprisingly he is looking after 14 departments. After the death of Gandhiwadi Jai Prakash Narayan Janta Party ceased to exist but he had made it sure that emergency did not remain live and democracy gained strength. If you can clean up the system and make sure that it remains so this will be a great service whether AAP remains or not.’

    ‘Retreating a step backward is desirable’ screams daily Sahafat’s editorial. ‘It was a while ago that two socialist MLAs of UP assembly, Ram Swaroop Verma and Prabhu Narayan Singh had given arrests by violating Section 144 of Indian Penal Code against Centre’s policies. Evidently it was a token arrest hence they were released soon after. Whatever is happening in Delhi now may be regarded as an extension of that event. Kejriwal’s call to honest police officers to support him is full of dangers.’ The daily compares his call with Jay Prakash Narayan’s appeal, during his movement, to police officers not to obey government’s wrong orders. It further writes, ‘The country is not yet ready to face such a situation and advises Kejriwal to reverse his march because that is prudent.’

    Hyderabad’s pro Itthadul Muslimeen daily Etemad in its editorial, ‘Hasty steps of Aam Admi Party’ writes, ‘It seems Aam Admi Party wants to take every step in haste and for the sake of gaining publicity. The paper documents examples of AAP’s agitational moves including its non-cooperation movement in Delhi against the Electricity Board, its appeal to electricity consumers not to pay their bills resulting in the disconnection of many homes that did not pay their bills, the upheaval caused by unguarded remarks by its leaders about Ugandan women that, it says, ‘was totally against the diplomatic privileges enjoyed by foreigners’ and later its sit-in in Delhi. It concludes, ‘Kejriwal and his party are violating the very standards and principles in politics that they used to preach. AAP has no doubt gained popularity, but its ranks are not full yet. According to Yogendra Yadav the party urgently needs experts in the fields of industry, economics, finance and politics. This is what it should pay attention to and prepare for 2014 elections with full spirit. Etemad also advises the party leaders Kejriwal and Parshant Bhushan to avoid reacting in emotional manner. ‘Should the AAP government be dismissed in Delhi it will be a great cause of sadness to the common man and will disappoint the people all around the country who have been working for it with great spirit and enthusiasm.‘ It warns and advises, ‘The AAP should have responded with broadmindedness to the propaganda being done against it and should have continued avoiding and rectifying its mistakes. But like all other parties this too wants to make loudest noise. Such a move can surely become its distinct identity but cannot benefit it.’

    Roznama Sahara runs an op-ed, ‘Lest this rise ends up in failure’ by Ved Pratap Vadik. He writes ‘Never before a miracle like the emergence of Aam Admi Party has happened in Indian politics and never before in India have masses taken up a party’s membership every day in millions and also donated billions of rupees without being approached. There has not been a party whose chief is a novice and who has been able to form a government after winning the first ever election.’ He writes. In Mr Vedik’s view if the voters of Delhi, fed up with corrupt politicians and their scams had slightest inclination that the party will win 28 seats they would have given it 60 seats too. However, he cautions the AAP leaders that what their seemingly good looking decisions in Delhi may be good enough to run a municipality but making them the basis of dreaming to run as large a country as India will be a childish thing to do. ‘You have not proved your skills to ride a bike yet and have started insisting to fly a jet aeroplane. By temperament Indians may be emotional people but they are sensible enough not to allow a wobbly cycle rider to fly a jet.’ Complaining of clarity on issues of Kashmir, Maoists, foreign investment, Modi or the Congress, Ved Partap says, ‘The fear is that by the time Lok Sabha elections are held this rise of AAP may turn into a fall.’

    Calling AAP’s sit-in, ‘a unique experiment’ daily Jadid Khabar in its editorial headed as, 'Tug of war' says that it had popular public support that had made Congress and BJP both worried. 'BJP had thought that by letting the Congress sink in the quagmire of miss-governance on the one hand and itself by riding the band-wagon of Narendra Modi, it would thus capture power but Aam Admi Party has blocked the path of BJP and Narendra Modi both. It can however be argued that what type of action Arvind Kejrival should take now but in the present scenario it is of importance that Arvind Kejrival's recent dharna and protest have been widely supported by the public at large.' It writes.

    (Photo by Mudassir Rizwan,

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Ahmedabad: Modi is sending out hundreds of officers, ministers to other states ‘with a view to make aware Gujarati community and local residents of respective states about progress achieved by Gujarat in various fields, alleges the civil society groups.

    ANHAD and other civil society groups have come together to bring about Kachcha Chittha (details of misdeeds) of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. They hold press conferences periodically and release series of stories exposing Modi, what they term as Kachcha Chittha (misdeeds). To document those stories in public domain they have also launched a website

    On Friday they held a press conference in Ahmedabad alleging that the Gujarat Government deputes delegation consisting of MPs, MLAs, District Panchayat Presidents, Mayors of Municipal Corporation under Chairmanship of Deputy Speaker or Minister for dissemination of information on project of “Statue of Unity”.

    The press conference on January 24 was attended by Gautam Thakker, Dr Hemant Shah, Mahesh Pandya, Manan Trivedi and Shabnam Hashmi.

    According to them, 172 Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of state, MPs, MLA, Mayors, deputy speakers, chief whip, deputy whip, panchayat Presidents have been deputed to travel across the country. Apart from these 116 Government officers including IGs, collectors, Chief Conservators of Forest, Deputy secretaries, information officers, principal secretaries, chief general managers, police superintendents, DIGs, DDOs, DCP and many other officers have also been deputed by the government to propagate ‘Gujarat Progress” story in various states.

    There has been special exemption made for officers (who are not entitled to travel by air) to travel by flights.

    According to General Administration Department’s Resolution no.BNG/102013421(2)-NRI dated 15-11, 2013 and General Administration Department’s Resolution no.BNG/102013421(3)-NRI dated 15-11-2013.

    “Permission is hereby granted for air travel in economy class in case of necessity as special case, by relaxing Gujarat Civil Service (Traveling Allowance) Rules, 2002 for allowing air travel to the office bearers who are part of the delegation and not otherwise entitled for air travel as also in case of members of teams of administrative officers and if so required, by officers/employees of Non-Resident Gujarat Pratisthan for visiting other States for dissemination of information on ‘Statue of Unity’ project under ‘Sadaa Kaal Gujarat’ program.”

    The resolution further states:

    “For the purpose of meeting expenditure to be incurred on accommodation, lunch or dinner, local transportation and other contingency expenditure in relation to the program would be required during visit of high level delegation and officers/employees of administrative team to respective State, permission is hereby granted to place at disposal of Liaison Officer of respective team an amount of Rs.5.00 lakhs (Rupees five lakhs only) as advance. “

    But what is more shocking that all this is done using the money from the NRI dept!!

    “The expenditure made on this program shall be drawn and debited from Demand No.33 Account Head 2052-Secretarit General Services, 090-Secretariat (5) Non-Resident Indian Department – Grant-in-aid allocated under Account Head 3135- Grant in aid to others for organizing program.”
    According to the Gujarat Government website:

    Objectives of the NRI Division:

    · To establish effective communication with Non Resident Indians of Gujarati origin in various parts of the world, prepare and maintain a comprehensive database about NRIs of Gujarati origin.
    · To study from time to time social and cultural issues of NRIs of Gujarati origin and take steps to formulate schemes for meeting their requirements.
    · To take effective steps to survey and assess the technical and professional skills of NRIs and to dovetail the same in the developmental efforts of the State.
    · To create a database on NRGs (Non Resident Gujaratis), highlighting the professional areas of interest.
    · To enable Government of Gujarat and its agencies to communicate with NRGs with relevant interest.
    · To facilitate Government of Gujarat to initiate steps to address specific needs of NRGs in different fields.
    · To tap the technological, managerial and financial resources of the NRI so as to upgrade the technical and professional skills and the human resources of the State, for the economic and industrial development of the State.
    · To channelize the savings and surplus financial resources of the NRI in to the developmental efforts of the State for mutual benefits.
    · To monitor the general welfare of the NRI and in times of crisis identify specific problems of Gujarati Non Resident Indians groups and take up the same with and through Govt. of India.

    According to an article on the BBC website an article ‘India India invites tenders 'to build tallest statue' dated 17 June 2011. The Indian state of Gujarat has invited bidders from around the world to help build what they say would be the world's tallest statue. It further says that at 182m (597ft) the statue would be a memorial to Indian Independence hero Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and twice as high as New York's Statue of Liberty and the projected is expected to cost $266m (£162m) and proposals have to be submitted by 11 July.

    The article says: “A post from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's official blog in October 2010 said the memorial would be called the "Statue of Unity"… The chief minister has said he expects the project to be complete in three years.” (The link to this blog mentioned in the above article is now not functional.)

    The present website link: says: The total project cost is estimated to be Rs. 2063 crore, and will be completed in four years.

    The exchange rate on Oct 31, 2010 that time was ( 44.21 according to which the cost of the project was $266m x 44.21= 11759.86 m rupees or 1175.98 crore.

    In 2010 it was to be completed in 3 years in 2014 it has to be completed in four years.

    Questions raised:

    1. The recent data has shown that Gujarat is doing poorly on HDI, there are serious law and order problems in the state, with growing violence against women, with constant water and electricity problems and farmer’s unrest due to grabbing of their lands is there no work to be done in Gujarat that Mr Modi is sending all senior ministers, MPs, MLAs, IG’s and other senior police and administrative officers to travel across India? Is it to prepare ground for his own aspirations of become the next PM?
    2. Has Mr Modi decided that all who live outside Gujarat in other states are Non Resident Indians?
    3. A project which had to be completed in 2013 at a cost of 1175.98 crore is now projected to be completed in another four years and the cost has gone up to Rs. 2063 crore. Do the cost of travelling and stay and other expenses of Gujarat Ministers, MPs, MLAs, their man days spent is included in these Rs 2063 crores?

    There are other activist groups who have already raised questions about the disregard for legally mandatory environment clearance, environment and social impact assessment or any public consultation process, so we are not going into those aspects here.

    All original documents pertaining to this story are available in Gujarati at

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    By IANS,

    Aligarh: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will lay the foundation stone of Aligarh Muslim University's centre in Bihar's Kishanganj Jan 30, the AMu said Friday.

    AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt.Gen. (retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah convened a consultative meeting of varsity officials, including Pro Vice Chancellor, Brig. (retd.) S. Ahmad Ali, and Registrar, Group. Capt. (retd) Shahrukh Shamshad, to finalize the programme.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: A study sponsored by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research and sponsored by NCW (National Commission for Women) has reported that not less than 60% of women who have migrated from North East India to four metros- have faced harassment and discrimination.

    The study conducted in the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru by researchers and comprised of a limited sampling of students and young professionals both in the organized and unorganized sector. The aim of the study was to discover the challenges before women from NER living and working in cities The study found that women migrated due to better job and education opportunities in the cites as well as due to peer pressure.

    Two-thirds of the women were studying, the rest worked as teachers, doctors, engineers, government employees, call centre workers and beauticians. In contrast to poverty driven migration from other parts of the country, over 33% respondents belonged to families falling in the middle income groups and 60% had travelled in order to find better job opportunities.

    The survey covered over 300 respondents including landlords, teachers, lawyers, police and social activists and found that migrant women are especially vulnerable to deprivation, hardships, discrimination and abuse, and this is 30% more pronounced in case of women from the NER. In fact, while 23% of the respondents admitted to having been harassed by landlords, an alarming 42% said that they were often subjected to verbal abuse.

    A total of 29% reported harassment and molestation. The respondents appeared unaware and unsure of the legal system with little or no knowledge of laws like the Prevention of Atrocities Against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, and held a mistrust for the police. 80% of the victims chose not to report incidents of harassment to the police, and the small number that did approach the police said that they were not satisfied. Yet significantly, although a majority reported different levels of discrimination, they said they preferred to stay on and 44% said that they would in fact encourage their relatives and friends to migrate to the city. Prof. Hazarika said this was a reflection of “people voting with their feet” and underlined the difficult challenges of deprivation and insecurity in different parts of the NER.

    Despite being a preferred destination for women migrants, Delhi has the worst record of meting out discrimination with 81% respondents in the city reporting it, followed by Bangalore at 60%. Mumbai emerged as the safest city although there were reports of extortive behaviour by auto and taxi drivers.

    Finding a place to rent emerged as another problem in Bangalore with 38% of the women facing difficulties, though in Delhi only 19% faced this problem. Overcharging of rent by landlords emerged as a common problem in Kolkata. However, some landlords did view the North Easterners in a favourable light. One from Munirka, a locality in South Delhi in an interview said, “I have seen that they take care of our house, rooms and corridors as their own, unlike others, they are clean, pleasant and honest.” He stressed that food habits and cultural differences should not be a barrier for renting out rooms as “staying in a community means sharing and understanding differences.”

    With over 4,14,850 migrating from the NER to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Lucknow this study has the scope to be expanded further said Prof. Hazarika, Director of the NE Centre at Jamia said that the study should be expanded to more cities across the country to “get a clearer picture of conditions on a wider scale.”

    The result of the survey was presented in a workshop at the Centre on 23 January 2014 and was attended by over 40 young scholars and teachers from Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia, NCW representatives and social activists.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Several civil society groups have come tether to celebrate the Republic Day in unique way, by organising programmes to what they say is to ‘reclaim the Republic’.

    “This Republic Day, as the government-sponsored parade of weapons, and its simplistic representation of ‘Unity in Diversity’ make its way down Rajpath, will your place in the Republic be represented? Or will your concerns continue to be ignored?” asked a joint statement.

    “While we mark the adoption of our progressive Constitution, let us not forget that the rights of the most marginalised in our society continue to be gravely violated. As citizens, we are painfully aware that we continue to face violence and discrimination due to our gender, sexual, caste, class, ability, racial, regional, and religious identities. The three arms of government — the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary — have failed their Constitutional duty to protect and advance our rights and include every citizen in the promise of freedom from inequality,” it added.

    As we enter the 64th year of our Republic, We the People are aware that our struggles for equal opportunity and a just livelihood, against violence and discrimination, and against the unjust deployment of state power are being actively silenced, the statement added.

    “We the People are aware of the threats of fundamentalism, censorship and divisive politics. We The People demand that our government be held accountable for the protection of our rights and uphold both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution,” it said.

    They plan to commemorate “another Republic Day” and “reclaim” the Republic.

    This January 26, join us for a march ‘Of the People, By the People, For the People’

    2.30 pm: Assemble at Barakhamba Road-Tolstoy Road Crossing and march to Jantar Mantar

    4.00 to 6.00 pm: Representatives of several progressive movements including women, labour rights, Dalit rights, disability rights, child rights, human rights, legal rights, queer, students groups and others, will gather for a programme and reassert our shared vision that everyone be included in the promises of our Republic.

    Organised by: Voices Against 377, AIDWA, AIPWA, ANHAD, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM), Anjuman, Breakthrough, Citizen’s Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA), CREA, Delhi Queer Pride Committee, Dhanak, duqueercollective, Haq: Centre for Child Rights, Jagori, Jamia Teacher's Solidarity Association (JTSA), JNUSU, Must Bol, Naz Foundation (India) Trust, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), NCPRI (National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information), Nigah, Nirantar, Partners for Law in Development (PLD), Pension Parishad, PUDR, Prism, Saheli, Sama, SAMARTHYAM National Centre for Accessible Environments, Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues (TARSHI), Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), Women With Disabilities India Network, Youth Ki Awaaz, The YP Foundation and many individuals from diverse movements. and


    Twitter: @peoplertr #ReclaimTheRepublic

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    By Shaik Zakeer Hussain,,

    Bangalore: One of the dilemmas facing Muslims in their work environment is, whether their professional choice is compatible with their religious obligations. Many times, this uncertainty over preferences, careers, religion and an individual's various other social needs and commitments, leaves one in great mental commotion, creating what is popularly called the work-life imbalance. So is there is a solution to this problem, one with little or no compromise?

    A new job site aptly called seeks to provide a fix. Initially started as a job consultancy, Founder Zahra Fathima, revamped the company into a job portal in December 2013, due to an increasing demand for such a service she observed among Muslim job seekers.

    She says as Muslims, "it's our duty to seek livelihood, which is congenial with Islamic injunctions," this she says, fulfills not only our mundane obligations, but also our religious requirements. promises not only to connect, employers and candidates, "but also assist them in having the best working environment as permitted by our creator." The best working environment says Zahra, is one which apart from addressing the question of halal and haram, also provides for instance, an employee time to offer his or her obligatory prayers as and when required.

    But how does one identify, which job is permissible and which one is not? Zahra replies that the criterion is the Qur'an and aHadiths. Job listings on the site, she says are consistent with Islamic teachings, so for example, jobs in Banking industry, does not finds a space on the site, as interest based dealings are not permissible in Islam nor do jobs in liquor brewing companies and many others. Thankfully for job seekers, what is permissible is more, compared to what is deemed not permissible. The site runs under the guidance of Mufti Omar Sheriff Ibn Abdul Salam, President of Darul Huda and former President of Halal India, Chennai and Umar Sheriff, President of Discover Islam Education Trust (DIET), Bangalore.

    The site is seeing a steady increase in both participating employers and candidates since its inception, and the response, Zahra says has been relatively good. Imran Waheed, a commerce graduate and currently a job seeker says that, "coming from a commerce background, the most obvious choice is in the Banking industry, however, I am hesitant about it." He says, with lack of knowledge about different career options, a site like this could be very useful. Ahmed Khan, a HR recruiter at a private firm agrees and opines that, though it may not provide all the options under the surface due to its infancy, but he believes, given the growing number of individuals wanting to find employment in sectors which are conducive to religious believes, it could bridge a growing need.

    With, companies can have their jobs listed for a moderate fee, and is free to use for job seekers. The positions so far include in Information Technology, Sales & Marketing and Education and the site seeks to add more industries in future.

    You can contact Zahra Fathima

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: A programme was conducted at the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) building in Jamia Nagar, to dispense the passing certificate to the students who passed their six-month diploma course in computer Application and Multilingual DTP, which is running with the financial support of Delhi Minority commission. The certificates were distributed by Safdar H Khan, chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission.

    He distributed certificates to the 29 students who had completed their courses. He presented mementos to Shumayela, Tasmia and Saba Parveen, the students who secured first, second and third rank respectively. He put his view that the course would be a milestone in the successful careers of the students. Mr. Khan also reviewed the activities of the Computer Centre and said it peerless institute’ in Delhi. He also praised IOS for its prodigious achievements.

    The chairman of Delhi Minority commission mentioned in his oration that two booklets had been issued to disseminate the required information to the minorities. The first booklet contains the various schemes of the government, including scholarship, and the second booklet is on forms and other details. He also said that permission has been sought to build an ITI building in Nand Nagri area. He also informed that the process was on for another ITI in Jamia Nagar.

    It is also significant to mention that it was the fourth session of the programme, as the Centre had already issued certificates for its three erstwhile regular sessions, i.e.52, 30 and 39 certificates respectively. Ms. Farhat Azad, a scientist at Central Road Research Institute, presented an amount of Rs.5000 to the first rank holder.

    Professor Haseena Hashia (Department of Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia) said that it could have been possible only because of the Delhi Minorities Commission. She mentioned that it was an affirmative step towards the empowerment of students. She showed her satisfaction at the prevailing trend of interest by Muslim girls students in science and technology as they were taking impressive strides towards the success in society. She said that we had been at top position in science and technology thousand years ago and the same was required today. She said that if this generation kept on moving successfully onwards it would lay the path for its posterity.

    Ibrahim Alam, Director of the Computer Learning Centre, welcomed Mr. Safdar H. Khan by presenting him with a bouquet. Prof. M. Ishtiyaque conducted the proceeding of the programme. The other notable participants were Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, Musharraf Hussain, Iqbal Hussain, Hamid Ali Khan and women and girl students of the Centre.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Guwahati: The city unit of Jamat-e-Islami Hind in Assam has decided to spread the message of Prophet Mohammad among the mass in order to bring a change in the society. Accordingly, the members of the body will circulate leaflets, books, banners with the messages and ideals of the prophet among the public from January 27 till February 2.

    “We think at the preset time, the society needs the lessons and ideals of Prophet Mohammad. The chaos and the loss of peace all around in our society only can be cured if his ideals can be followed. So we have decided to carry out this,” said Safiqul Islam, secretary of city unit of Jamat-e-Islami Hind in Guwahati Press Club addressing a press conference.

    Jamat-e-Islami office bearer during the press conference at Guwahati Press Club.

    He also expressed concern at the deterioration in the law and order situation and especially the ever increasing crime against women in the country. “This is what one area we want to address by Prophet’s message. Prophet himself had set a supreme example how to respect women. Woman is the mother and that’s what we need to keep on mind. Showing disrespect to woman means insulting your own mother. This is what taught by our prophet,” Islam added.

    The city unit of Jamat-e-Islami Hind hoped that their efforts will bring a change in the way people think. “We will be ore than happy if at least we can bring a change in the way of thinking of the people,” he said.

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    By TCN News,

    Riyadh: A section of the Indian community here celebrated their country's 65th Republic Day by donating blood to commemorate the date on which the Constitution of India came into force.

    Even-though India received its independence on August 15, 1947, the Constitution of India came into force only on 26 January 1950.

    Around 300 members of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ), a social organisation from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, gathered at the King Fahad Medical City and 288 donors managed to donate their blood, on Friday (24-01-2014).

    Abdur Rahman Navlack, a Sales Manager, working with a company and the TNTJ president, said that the organisation's members decided to celebrate the country's Republic day in a meaningful manner and express patriotism in a way that could help others and save lives.

    "We marked our country's 65th Republic day in a unique style by organizing a blood donation camp in Riyadh. We did that to honor the heroes of India's freedom struggle," said Navlack.

    He said each member of TNTJ visited the KFMC (King Fahad Medical City) and donated blood. The entire procedure from the general health check to blood donation took less than 30 minutes.

    We wanted to set an example to follow to other fellow Indians that instead of engaging themselves in Cinema, Dance, music & other cultural activities during Republic days and Independence days, as a dutiful citizens of India, even when we are away from India, we wanted to donate blood and save lives of the people who are in need, - said Mr. Abdur Rahman Navlak,

    TNTJ is comprised of a group of Tamil-speaking people whose aim is to serve the people. We got a overwhelming response from our community members as well as from others, TNTJ's one of the Blood donation coordinator Mr.Haja Cholapuram added.

    The voluntary donors of more than 300, included mothers from Tamil Nadu whose husbands are working in the kingdom. Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Siriyans, Ethiopians,Saudis & Palestine's also participated in this drive. Other Indian states like Kerala, Andra,West Bengal and Karnataka donors also participated.

    Riyadh chapter of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ), a social organisation from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 26th time has conducted Blood Donation Drive in Riyadh. This is 27th such blood drive of this nature for TNTJ - Riyadh province, he added.

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    By Ras H. Siddiqui,,

    Sacramento California: Neel Kashkari, son of Indian immigrant originating from Kashmir, took the opportunity during his keynote speech at the Sacramento Business Review event held at California State University Sacramento on January 21, 2014 to announce his candidacy for California Governor.

    At this point it is highly likely that incumbent Governor Jerry Brown (a Democrat) will be running again, but it is not yet confirmed (for this report we waited for Governor Brown’s State of the State speech on November 22nd but did not get his official decision). In any case this announcement by Neel who is often described as a “Moderate Republican”, has added a new level of excitement into the coming race. Governor Brown’s age (he is 75) is sometime brought up as a factor in his upcoming decision but that should not matter to California voters.

    L-R: Roger Niello, Neel Kashkari & Sanjay Varshney.

    The event at the university campus began with an introduction by Roger Niello, President and CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber followed by a warm welcome by Sanjay Varshney , Dean of the College of Business Administration at CSU Sacramento who used his usual humor, wit and charm to get everyone’s attention rather quickly. He said that we were here at this gathering which is the very best business forecast event in town! He added that he was glad to be a part of a team which wants to see the region as more vibrant and business friendly.

    Sanjay also recognized dignitaries present including CSU Sacramento President Alexander Gonzales. He said that this marked the 6th anniversary of the Sacramento Business Review and that during these years the forecasting team has done a very good job. “They have not just been right, they have been near perfect in their predictions,” he said. He also introduced the CFA Society of Sacramento and mentioned the high standards it maintains. He thanked his team for all their hard work and all the sponsors (too numerous to list here) for making this event possible. Sanjay also introduced keynote speaker Neel Kashkari.

    Neel started out by sharing his family’s story, how his parents came to America about 50 years ago in pursuit of higher education. He said that they faced a number of unknowns when they were coming here but once his father landed from India in Detroit Michigan (because that is where he got a scholarship to go to school) and later in Akron, Ohio (because that is where they both parents got jobs) they fulfilled their American Dream.

    Sacramento Business Review.

    He added that his parents knew that their ticket to the middle class here was through education, and that is why they struggled to make sure that his sister and he got a good education. And they certainly succeeded as his sister became a doctor and he an aerospace engineer who moved to California to work on NASA missions and later served in the federal government. “The American Dream is truly an American experience,” he said. This doesn’t happen (to) folks in Germany. It doesn’t happen in France. It doesn’t happen in China. It doesn’t happen in India, only America.”

    Neel said that he shared this story because millions of people in California today are struggling, worried about keeping their jobs, worried about keeping a roof over their head and worried about what school they are sending their kids to. He said that more and more regulation coming out of Sacramento is making the state less economically attractive. “This is the state I love,” he said. “I moved here in 1998. I love California. But I can’t believe that our state is failing so many of our people.” He went on to describe the dire condition of schools in the state which now ranks 46th in K through 12 education in the country.

    On the jobs front he had more to add. “Almost one in 5 Californians has either no job or is stuck in a part-time job,” he said. He added that we are also ranked 46th in jobs and last in small business. “Dead last. Fiftieth out of 50 states,” he said. He added that almost 24% of Californians live in poverty today. “The status quo is unacceptable,” he said. He added that this was the end of the bad news and the good news was that these problems that we have in California were solvable, saying, “We can absolutely do it.”

    Full House at the Sacramento Business Review Lunch

    He spoke highly of a school in East Palo Alto, California which focused on low income kids with great success, with a high number of them graduating from college. He spoke of the contest between all the states in America to attract jobs but that California was not competing. He gave the example of the State of Alabama attracting the automobile industry and how it succeeded so well in that quest by offering incentives. He said that we can do this in California too and that California does not have to be the cheapest place to do business but we do need to be competitive. “He said that major changes need to be made in the state to correct the situation. “There is something that all of you can do and there is something I can do to make it happen.” He added that “Here today I am announcing that I am running for Governor of California.” He said that his platform was “Jobs & Education.”

    Democrats are a majority in the state and the last Republican to become Governor here was of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) who already had star appeal to begin with, which he used quite effectively to win.

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    By TCN News

    Ludhiyana: Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam Hind is to set up a state branch in Gujarat, according to a statement by Majlis’s president Maulana Habeebur Rahman Sani Ludhiyanvi.

    Maulana Ludhiyanvi today returned from a five-day visit to Gujarat. He visited Baroda, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Veraval and met Muslims there to explore the possibilities of setting up branches there.

    He said ulema from all districts and different sects will be invited to join the Gujarat unit of Ahrar. He said that biggest issue of Indian Muslims today is the lack of unity. “Only with unity can we gain respect and dignity in the society,” said the Maulana.

    Majlis-e-Ahrar was founded in 1930 of nationalist Muslims who opposed partition of India. These days it is active only in Punjab and focussed on opposing Qadianis.

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai: The Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism has been selected for the National Communal Harmony Award 2013 while Mohinder Singh of Delhi and N. Radhakrishna of Kerala will get the award in the individual category, it was announced Saturday.

    The award carries a citation and Rs.1 million in the organisation category and Rs.500,000 in the individual category.

    Estalished in 1996 by reformist Bohra leader and Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer, the CSSS is dedicated to promoting peace, secularism and communal harmony in the country.

    It has also been working on human rights issues and those concerning the marginalized and deprived sections of society.

    Over the years, CSSS has published a number of books and literary material highlighting different facets of violence and communalism, peace, secularism and communal harmony which have a wide readership.

    It also brings out a regular quarterly "Indian Journal of Secularism".

    Mohinder Singh, 72, is a scholar and member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions.

    A former member of National Commission for Religious and Lingustic Minorities, in 1984, he and other social activists organised relief camps at Delhi and restored friendship between Hindu and Sikh communities in the wake of the anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

    In 1985, he set up a Communal Harmony Forum along with Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande which worked for nearly four years and organised inter-faith meetings and visits to holy places for its members.

    N. Radhakrishnan, 69, is a well-known academic, Gandhian scholar and peace worker who initiated the Shanti Sena at Gandhigram University and extended it to other parts of India.

    A former director of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti in the national capital, he also worked actively to restore peace in communally tense areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

    He was instrumental in initiating and implementing many innovative activities in educational institutions by using Gandhian values and principles.

    His campaign, 'Himsamukt Bharat Andolan' motivates people to become foot soldiers in campaigning for peace and sustainable development.

    The National Communal Harmony Awards were instituted in 1996 by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an autonomous organisation under the union home ministry to promote communal harmony and national integration.

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    By Ravi Nitesh,

    With all the sentiments of the republic, it is a contradiction to see that how after a long struggle of court case in the Pathribal Encounter Case, Supreme Court of India told the Indian Army on 1st May 2012 to give sanction for prosecution of officers or court martial them. Army announced on June 29, 2012 to court martial and now on January 24, 2014 , Army closed the court martial and said that no evidence found against accused officers.

    It is very shocking to see that how Indian Army overruled the Apex Court and protected its officers who were accused of fake encounters in a case where five civilians of J&K encountered to death in the year 2000.

    In the case, that was held on March 25, 2000 just after the prior incident of killing of 34 Sikh men in Chittisinghpora (J&K). First incident was obviously sad and for that detailed search operation and investigation was required. First operation was done by unknown anti-social and anti-national elements. Also timings of this killing was very important as it was just a day before the visit of Bill Clinton to India. In this context of scenario, there were many views regarding the incident. Some persons viewed it a conspiracy and various such arguments were in air. It could be viewed as a terrorist attack or a sponsored one, but all with the motive of making a scene that Kashmir is not peaceful at all and there is a need to deploy security personals to maintain law and order. However what happened later was more shocking and sad. It was encounter of five civilians at Pathribal (a place), that took place by Indian soldiers.

    This incident again became so shocking that people came out of their home to protest, to demand the action against Army. It was not abnormal at all and not unjustified because an armed personal has every responsibility to protect the people rather than killing them. Also, people were angry because they were already facing the everyday sufferings by armed forces deployed in J&K region.

    With the massive protest, the CBI came in loop and the investigation started that chargesheeted 5 personals of Indian Army in its chargesheet filed on May 11, 2006. Again with the impunity granted to army under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) where a prior sanction is required under AFSPA for any prosecution of officers, Army challanged the chargesheet. Then the case after the 6 year long judicial procedure heard at Supreme Court where CBI told that these encounters were cold blooded and also demands that these officials deserve exemplary punishment.

    With all this, anyone can easily understand that how it is so difficult to get permission to prosecute an armed personal under civilian law. Not even that, it is a valid proof of judicial delay where the case happened in the year 2000 and it came to an end in 2012 by judiciary while in 2014 it again went to fresh position from where the case was started. It is also a valid proof that how despite being a central agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is helpless and its own investigation became null and void in front of the army. It is also to know that how Supreme Court of India provided option of permission of sanction of prosecution and of doing court martial by army itself and as obvious Army choose to do a court martial. This again raise a question that why and how long we need a parallel system of providing justice at least in such severe cases of killings and rapes that were held in civilian areas and of civilians?

    Is not it a question upon whole concept of Republic?

    (Ravi Nitesh runs the NGO Mission Bhartyam and works on Indo-Pak friendship.)

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    By IANS,

    Imphal : Republic Day celebrations in Manipur were marred by four powerful bomb blasts amidst high security measures after six militant outfits called for a boycott of the day, police said. However, no one was injured in the explosions.

    "A powerful bomb exploded near the deputy commissioner's office in the eastern part of Imphal at 8 a.m. There were three more subsequent explosions by noon in different parts of the city," a police spokesperson said Sunday.

    The area where the first bomb went off is close to the official residence of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

    Police officials with additional reinforcement rushed to the spots and combing operations were on to nab the guerrillas behind the blasts.

    "The bombs were planted in four places of the capital city by the outlawed outfits to kill people on Republic day," police said.

    The army Saturday recovered two explosive devices planted in separate places in Bishnupur district. Both were safely defused.

    Security was further stepped up at strategic locations in Imphal, including the crowded commercial areas of Ima Market, Paona Bazaar, Thangal Bazaar and Governor Road and civil secretariat areas.

    Police also enhanced frisking and patrolling in and around the city.

    Six frontline separatist outfits based in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura earlier gave a call to boycott the Republic Day celebrations and asked people to observe a general strike from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Separatist groups have for years boycotted national events and staged violent attacks in the run-up to the celebrations to make their presence felt.

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    By IANS,

    Srinagar : Mobile phone services were suspended across the Kashmir Valley Sunday as part of security precautions on the Republic Day.

    Authorities order the suspension of mobile phone services across the valley Jan 26 and Aug 15 to foil remote-controlled explosions with the use of mobile phones.

    The mobile phones, however, functioned in Jammu.

    Meanwhile, a separatist-called shutdown affected life across the valley Sunday. Private and public transport were suspended in Srinagar city and other major towns.

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    By Shilpa Raina, IANS,

    Jaipur : What goes on inside bedrooms reflects the politics of a system, believes British author of Egyptian descent Shereen el Feki, who in her debut book has used sex as a lens to peep into the conservative lives of the Arabs and has correlated it with the stifled voices of women at various levels - from politics to economics - in the Arab world, especially Egypt.

    "I am a firm believer that what goes on behind the closed doors of the bedroom is a reflection of your society and what shapes your outlook," El Feki, a writer, a broadcaster and an academician who was here for the just-concluded Jaipur Literature Festival, told IANS in an interview.

    "If you look at control in the Arab world, especially in the political system, which is by and large patriarchal and highly authoritarian, you can see the same played out inside the bedroom," she added.

    She said a woman is curtailed from expressing her sexual desires even within marriage, which is the only socially accepted system.

    This half-Egyptian, half-Welsh, who extensively writes on sexuality and social change in the Arab world, stressed the need for women in conservative Islamic world to be comfortable about sexuality.

    "If women don't feel comfortable talking about sex, desire and ambition, how do we expect them to restore themselves within the parliament and board rooms? That is why talking about sexual rights is not an afterthought. It has to be a part of bigger package of achieving rights and freedom for all," said El Feki, who is also a member of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and Law.

    In promoting her book "Sex and the Citadel" at the Festival, El Feki, with her wonderful stage presence, affable personality, and great sense of humour, talked openly about this "taboo" and "discriminated" subject and admitted how her "insider-outsider" status helped people to open up to her.

    "It was amazing how these people opened up to me because of my insider-outsider status. The fact that I am a Westerner and I won't judge them for talking about sex worked for me. They spoke to me knowing that the sex talk won't make them bad women," said the author, whose book throws light on the intimate lives of ordinary 21st century Arabs.

    "I look really like a Westerner and when they saw me, they saw the West. Surprisingly, the women opened up to me and so did men because they thought sex could be discussed without me getting judgmental about them," she added.
    Because of her personal connection with Egypt, the book mainly focusses on a region that has seen much political turmoil in the past three years though she also travelled to countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Syria, and Algeria, and spoke with married women, homosexuals, unmarried Arab women and men for the book that took five years in the making.

    "When I started writing my notes, it was for the HIV work I was doing in these regions. But then I realised sex became a powerful lens to look into the system," she said.
    It was during El Feki's close interactions with HIV patients in the Arab world and North Africa that she observed that the Arab world was still in a denial mode to accept the harsh reality of rising HIV epidemic in the region.

    "So deep-rooted is the stigma related to HIV that the Arabs are not confronting the issue," she said.

    "HIV is something that we have denied we have, and there are only two parts of the world where HIV deaths are on the rise and we are one of them. Facing up to HIV means facing up to sex," she added, saying this rise points out at social evils conservative societies are succumbing to.

    "Such a trend clearly means people are having sex outside their marriage, they are using drugs. We should offer sex education and trust people and not be like dictators and not trust society. But in a country where talking about condom is considered taboo, how can we discuss sex openly?" she questioned.

    "The more you stigmatise HIV, the more you are driving underground activity. Just by saying we don't have it, or it is only bad people who get is incorrect and not the way forward," she added.

    She hoped political stability in Egypt resumes soon and whosoever comes to power in the upcoming election has trust on its people and doesn't behave like a militarily dictator.

    Egypt has been undergoing turmoil ever since widespread protests toppled president Hosni Mubarak in Jan 2011. The Mohammad Morsi government that came to power was overthrown by the army after a year and a referendum just held has approved a new constitution after which elections are to be held.

    (Shilpa Raina can be contacted at

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    By Aakar Patel,

    What is the reason for the poor representation of Muslims in India’s civil services? The community’s leaders say this is because of prejudice against them; that their access to the professions is deliberately blocked because of their faith. On the side of politics, the communists and the Congress accept the data on poor Muslim representation, though they do not publicly articulate the reasons for this. They want to redress it through legislation and such things as reservation. The BJP does not refer to the data for the most part. To the extent that they accept it, the party’s leaders say that all Indians must be treated alike. To see some as disadvantaged is incorrect, in this view, and everyone will benefit the same if the state is neutral and competent. I have speculated in the past that one reason for the backwardness of Muslims is the castes that Muslims are drawn from. Most of the subcontinent’s Muslims are converts from the lower castes. Even among Hindus, these communities have poor representation in the professions because — according to me — of their culture.

    An article in the current issue of Economic & Political Weekly looks at it another way. Written by the former chairperson of Aligarh Muslim University’s Economics department, it analyses the data of applicants to the civil services from select colleges. The writer, Naseem A Zaidi, starts by framing the problem. In the announcement of May 3, 2013, “out of the 998 candidates recommended (for selection) for various services, only 28 were Muslim — 2.8 per cent of the total. This story is repeated year after year and crossing the three per cent barrier seems insurmountable.”

    Students preparing for UPSC examination in Jamia Millia Islamia. (TCN file photo)

    Zaidi writes that “Different explanations are proffered for this state of affairs. Among these are: there is something wrong with the system of selection; it is an evil design of the people in power to keep the second largest community of the country backward by depriving them of a fair share in the corridors of power and so on. The Muslim political leadership revels in the opportunity to demand community-based reservations in education and employment in the public services.”

    Zaidi’s approach is to look at the applicants and see how many are Muslim and how many succeed. Here there is a problem, which is “While (the Union Public Service Commission reports) carry detailed profiles of candidates belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the general category, no separate data is available for Muslims.” What Zaidi has, therefore, done is to look at institution-wise university data on applicants. She chooses two sets of universities. The first includes Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jammu & Kashmir University and Kerala’s Calicut University “as these are considered hubs for Muslim students”.

    The second group has Allahabad University, Lucknow University, Banaras Hindu University and the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. She looks at data for five years and finds that the success ratio of applicants from the Muslim set is actually higher (10.2 per cent of applicants) than that of the general set (4.3 per cent). She then looks at the number of candidates from these institutions who actually appeared for the exams and finds a solution to the problem there. The average annual number of applicants for the four Muslim-dominated institutions is under 25. For the other set, it is over 444. Her conclusion is unambiguous: “The low level of participation of Muslim students in the CS examinations rather than their probability of being selected is the major cause for low representation of Muslims in these services.” Zaidi adds her understanding of a second factor that inhibits Muslim participation, which is that “Muslim girls are performing well in many areas but they are not encouraged to attempt the CS examinations.”

    I think Muslim groups must look at her work and try and see how to improve their position. Some years ago, I read the interview of a successful Muslim bureaucrat. His advice to Muslims was that “there will be not many who will go out of their way to help you. And there will be even fewer who will deliberately want to hinder you. It is up to you to make a success or failure of your career.”

    I think that is the right way of looking at it.

    (The article was originally published in The Express Tribune)

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : The 65th Republic Day was Sunday celebrated in Uttar Pradesh's state capital and all district headquarters with traditional fervour and enthusiasm.

    The main parade was held on the Vidhan Sabha Marg in Lucknow where Governor B.L. Joshi took the salute from security forces and state police contingents. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with his ministers and other dignitaries watched the march-past. Celebrations were also held at other government offices.

    Four policemen were among those who received medals for meritorious services and gallantry.

    The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) also held celebratory functions at their party offices.

    While BJP office in-charge Bharat Dixit hoisted the national flag, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav addressed workers at the party office.

    Saying the state government was taking good care of all sections of society, Mulayam Singh said none would be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh.

    The SP chief also said at a rally to be held in Gonda soon he would respond to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's diatribe against him.

    The former chief minister claimed the SP government had given maximum relief and compensation to the Muzaffarnagar riot victims.

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    By IANS,

    Agartala : A crude bomb exploded on the outskirts of the state capital here Sunday afternoon but no one was injured. Four other bombs were recovered in the area and defused.

    "When a man was setting fire to some garbage at Abhoynagar (on the city's outskirts), a handmade bomb exploded. Police subsequently recovered four more crude bombs from the garbage and defused them at once," police spokesman Bharat Debbarma told reporters.

    Police were yet to detain any one in connection with the incident.

    Senior police officials along with Tripura State Rifles troopers launched a manhunt to nab the culprits behind the occurrence.

    Republic Day was celebrated Sunday in Tripura peacefully across Tripura. The main function of the day was held at the Assam Rifles ground where Governor Devanand Konwar unfurled the tricolour and took the salute.

    A colourful function of school children and drill by security personnel were also held at the ground.

    Defying boycott calls by militant groups, the northeastern state celebrated the Republic Day with great zeal and enthusiasm. People came out in large numbers to participate in celebrations across the state.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Guwahati: Even as rest of India celebrated its 65th Republic day with pride but someone like Rahmat Ali in a remote part of Northeast’s Assam has to sit for a hunger strike on the very day for a secured life in future. For Ali and hundred others who were on the strike at Gomafulbari Maddrasa Chowk in Barpeta district on Sunday, it was a matter of their lives as the mass erosion of river Brahmaputra has brought threat to their existence.

    Even then, who pays heed to these ill-fated souls, besides they themselves. “We have always been regarded as second class citizen in the country and that’s why we need to sit on a hunger strike on the country’s Republic Day. We are in such a position that we even don’t know whether we will see our tomorrow,” said a frustrated and dejected Ali of Bohori village. Ali, a petty businessman had to shift his house for as many as seven times due to the erosion.

    The locals of Gomafulbari area sit on hunger strike.

    The plights of these people who have participated in the strike are all the same. Now, they are demanding strict measures from the state government to stop the erosion and rehabilitate the victims of this natural calamity for the last five decades or so. On Sunday, they also submitted a memorandum to Barpeta Deputy Commissioner.

    Locals said that altogether more than 75 villages have been washed away by the river Brahmaputra since the Independence affecting more than 25 thousand families. “The situation is getting grim day by day with the government hardly taking any initiative in this regard. So, I hope you can easily understand the situation of these people how they have to struggle for a plot of land for shelter and food to be alive. Because almost all these people are poor,” said Ashraful Hussain, a local youth.

    To add worries for these helpless people, some organizations and a section of people harass in the name of Bangladeshi when they go out of their area seeking work and shelter. “It is a serious issue. We have rescued several such people who are residents of the state. When these people go to some other places for their livelihood, some organizations would pick them and brand as Bangladeshi,” said Hafiz Ahmed, president of Char Sapori Sahitya Parishad, a literary body of the state.

    Not just these, the erosion has been threat to number of historical centres besides educational institutes and worship places located in the area. A 554 year old Vaishnavite Monastery which is locally called Sattra, a historical wall built by the Swargadeo Shiva Sinha besides number of educational institutes, temples and mosques are facing serious threat from the river.

    “If the government does not take immediate action before the arrival of rainy season, the scenario will be unimaginable. We also demand that the state government should compensate the victims,” Hussain added. They also demanded that the victims should be certificated as affected by erosion.

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