MHA confers Utkrisht Seva Padak to Jharkhand CRPF IG


Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has accorded Utkrisht Seva Padak to Jharkhand CRPF IG Sanjay Anand Lathkar.  The MHA works on its CRPF officials for its two most coveted medals called by its Hindi version Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak and Utkrisht Seva Padak said Commandant of 134 battalion of CRPF, A D Sharma who said a signal to this effect that IG Lathkar is a recipient of Utkrisht Seva Padak  has reached CRPF battalions across the country from the Directorate General office of CRPF.

Lathkar has in his kitty 60 such varied recognitions and appreciations and among the 60 is one Mahatma Gandhi Shanti Samman Puraskar that was bestowed upon him by the Maharashtra Minority Commission.

Lathkar,  was a bit hesitant to share his mantra of success that brings him strings of laurels finally said that he has no ‘feudal mentality’.

He said, “I take my ground staff into confidence and gives them ears to their suggestions and opinions.  Repose trust in your personnel.

 Have faith in them and see they deliver better and  fast.  This is how you draw the best of every officials. And, when they do good recognition does not lag behind. It comes in just 10 days time.”

The 1995 batch IPS officer of Jharkhand cadre is on deputation in CRPF and has served in Bihar & Maharashtra as well.

On CRPF’s tackling of extremism here Lathkar said, “ Extremists are out for their survival. Their very existence is at peril.

 They indulge in aberrations just to remind that they are around but their teeth have gone.”

He said, “Jharkhand has seen four Lok Sabha elections but the latest one in 2019 has been the most peaceful one in terms of extremists’ violence, which has gone down quite considerably.”

“Maoists cannot fight us straight way. They torch vehicles and equipment of contractors and civilians like a few incidents of arson by them in Latehar district and they know also that time for them is running out and security forces will neutralize them,” reiterated the IG.

Northern Bihar still reeling after unprecedented downpour in July


Barring a light drizzle, northern Bihar has not seen much rain over the past week. But the aftermath of the unprecedented downpur in the region a fortnight ago is very visible, especially along the four-lane highway from Muzzafarpur district towards Darbhanga. Black polythene sheets flutter in the air and relief camps continue as far as the eye can see.

Up to 137 people have died and close to 90 lakh people in the 18 districts of Northern Bihar continue to be affected by the flash floods that struck after unprecedented rains lashed the region on July 13.

Thirty-year-old Rekhadevi, clutching her child Ajit, stares at her submerged hut a few metres away. Three weeks earlier, Ajit had nearly drowned as Rekha and her husband Muncchan Ram battled to save their lives and escape onto the highway. “In two hours flat, we had water up till our noses. My boy was drowning, when I suddenly noticed him and pulled him out to safety,” said Ram.

Up to 1,300 houses in Mithansarai and Madhopur villages have been completely drowned, and though the water is receding slowly by the day, only the rooftops of the grass huts are visible. Madhopur village has turned into an island of sorts.

Awaiting compensation

Muncchan Ram, his neighbour Rajinder Ram and thousands like them, who are landless labourers residing in low lying areas, are still waiting for ₹6,000, the compensation announced by the State government for each flood-affected family.

While 50-100 children are attending a makeshift school manned by 12 teachers on the highway, over 600 children have not been able to attend classes since last month, as their school lies submerged.

The district administration is running a boat service to ferry villagers to the mainland. For Sunitadevi (24), who lost her four-year-old girl Preeti to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome on June 20, the floods are another blow, just a month later. “Sunita has just gone quiet now,” says her husband Ashok. Sunita’s 30-year-old neighbour Angoori Khatun says that cases of diarrhoea in the village are now on the rise. Lack of clean drinking water during the floods has worsened the situation.

Vir Singh Jadhav, a 69-year-old farmer, was seen wading through waist-deep waters to cut fodder for his starving buffaloes. Jadhav lost all the paddy he had sown for his Kharif crop on three acres to the floods. “I have incurred a loss of close to ₹40,000, which I earn by selling rice each year. Farmers are running into losses with mounting debt and little help from the government,” he said.

Nearly 70 per cent of Northern Bihar is under water. “Up to 2,860 hectares of paddy has been washed out and 33 per cent of all standing crops have been lost. We will give farmers compensation per hectare,” said Darbhanga’s district collector Thiyagrajan SM. Thiyagrajan and his team are wondering if climate change has led to the unprecedented situation, with heavy rains in July causing flash floods a month earlier than usual.

Muzzafarpur’s Additional District Magistrate Atul Kumar Verma, who is in charge of Disaster Management, concurs. “We were expecting rainfall of 304.8 mm and in July it has rained 541.38 mm, which has created an unforeseen situation,” he says.

“Rivers have been at their highest levels since 1987. The levels of Kamla Balan, Bagmati and Aghwara have been redefined. At four places, the Kamla Balan has broken embankments and risen to 53.80 metres, above the danger mark. About 80 per cent of Darbhanga is submerged. About 211 panchayats in 17 blocks are affected,” says Thiyagrajan.

Administrative failure

The failure of the district administration in building a left embankment to the Bagmati river has compounded the trouble. “Work on the Bagmati left embankment has been stalled since 1975 due to problems of land acquisition. While the right embankment broke, the left one has never been built on a stretch of 15-20 km, leading to the flooding of Darbhanga,” said a senior official at the collectorate office.

In Darbhanga, the district administration claims that ₹6,000 has reached the bank accounts of 2.2 lakh flood affected. Yet, in Mustafapur, people in an entire village are wondering when will they receive their compensation. “Building makeshift tents itself costs over ₹5,000. We have had to buy our own polythene and bamboo. How will a compensation of ₹6,000 suffice,” asks Satyadevi. Villagers of Kako panchayat in Jhanjjharpur block of Darbhanga district protested in the block development office demanding that their names be included in the compensation list. They stormed into a block office and beat up a block development officer (BDO), Vinod Kumar. The villagers had to be kept at the bay and Kumar had to be kept locked in his office for a few hours to ensure his safety.

The school and health sub-centre in the village remain submerged. The district administration, which has all of 15 government-owned boats, is struggling to outsource boats and has none in Mustafapur.

Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey says that water purification pills, anti-snake-bite venom, anti-rabies vaccines and bleaching powder were being made available in 112 affected blocks.

Friendship Day: Ranchi college students install ‘happy fridge’ to feed poor


With an aim to not let any sleep with empty stomach, a group of college students in Ranchi on Sunday installed a ‘happy fridge’ at Swagatam Banquet Hall, Sahjanand Chowk in Harmu Road where leftover food will be kept for the needy people.

Extending helping hands towards to the poor on Friendship Day, the students, associated with an NGO called Feeding India, have decided to install such refrigerators at 10 strategic locations of the capital Ranchi so that no poor or needy person go hungry.

Priyanka Gautam, a college student, said initially they had started food drives to places like Jagannath Mandir and Ranchi railway station. Later, we decided to install refrigerators at places where poor could take out foods and satisfy their empty stomach, she said.

She said the initiative would also help eradicate the problem of hunger deaths and malnutrition due to unavailability of nutritious food.

The college students approaching restaurants, hotel and banquet hall owners and requesting them to donate their leftover foods. For proper distribution of food, the teams were also maintaining proper communication with different local NGOs and shelter homes.

IIT grads cannot be selling detergents: Pranab


New Delhi, Aug 4 Former President Pranab Mukherjee has said that the country needs its graduates from premier institutions such as IITs to serve larger purposes rather than advance the sales of detergents at large multinationals.

“We require the talent of an IIT graduate for better purposes, than advancing the sale of detergents at any of the large multinationals. That job can be done by anybody. But surely the talent, knowledge and merit of an IIT graduate isn”t required for that,” Mukherjee said.

Speaking at the 10th edition of the Indian Management Conclave here on Saturday, the former President laid emphasis on the need to promote basic research in the country.

He cited the example of the first year of his Presidency when at the convocation of one IIT he asked the Director whether he knew of any student who had dedicated his life for basic research or education. “The Director fumbled and replied he is not sure.”

India has led the excellence in education for more than 1,800 years from 6th century BC to 12th century AD with universities such as Takshshila, Nalanda and Vikramshila, Mukherjee said.

“We don”t want that every year thousands of students go abroad for higher studies. Rather I want the traffic should reverse, like it used to happen for over 1,800 years. Till Nalanda and Vikramshila were destroyed, India was leading in the field of higher education.”

Mukherjee said he was proud of the country”s IIT graduates.

“India has a brand name. Beginning from the first five-year plan to the 12th five-year plan, we built huge infrastructure in higher education. More than 1,000 universities, 36,000 colleges, increase in number of IITs from eight to 16, 30 NITs, scores of IIScs and also the management institutions,” he said.

“But unfortunately in over 70 years from 1933, there has been no Nobel laureate who is doing basic research work in any Indian university. It is not the question of lack of talent, but ambience or the environment where students are encouraged for basic research. This is the most pertinent thing in education,” he added.

Citing the example of former Chief Justice of India Sudhir Ranjan Das, Mukherjee said that he used to take classes for school students.

The former President said the country needed teachers who helped students in fostering research.

He cited the example of the legendary Vashishtha Narayan Singh, a mathematician who obtained a PhD from the University of Berkeley despite being poor due to the encouragement from his teachers.

“I would urge the teachers and faculty members to build such excellence,” he said.

Mukherjee added that in general ratings globally, hardly any Indian university found a place in top 200. “It is not that Indian universities are not competent, but there are certain technicalities that are followed by others which are not followed by us.”

Mukherjee said: “The world is going to be a global village, and we all will be the residents of that global village. We need to equip ourselves for the global economy by updating our skills. We have to find out new skills, new technologies and new methods that can help in advancement of society.

“India is going to be the largest economy but I don”t want that economy to be stagnant.”

JMM holds youth rally against Govt policies


In an attempt to intensify its attack on ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its “wrong employment policy”, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) held a ‘Yuva Aakrosh Rally’ to demand jobs for local and tribal youths in all district head quarters across the State including the State Capital on Monday.

The party organised the march to catch attention of youths and students before the State Assembly Election which is scheduled in the end of this year. A large numbers of youths participated in the march.

The march led by JMM Executive president and former Chief Minister of the State, Hemant Soren and it started from Ranchi College Football Ground and crossing through Radium Road, Kutchery Chowk and finally ended at Raj Bhawan and culminated in a public meeting

Addressing the crowd at the Raj Bhawan during public meeting, Soren said that the party called ‘Yuva Aakrosh Rally’ against wrong job policies of the State Government, which resulted in employment of outsiders and forced the youths of the State to migrate to earn their living. “The State Government’s job policy is completely against the local and tribal of the State, during the tenure of present State Government the local and tribal of the State has not been given jobs in any of the State Government’s department and all the jobs were sold to outsiders,” he added.

Hitting hard on the government for its wrong job policies the former Chief Minister said that the government is playing with the future of the youths and the students to make a particular section happy. During the last five years the State Government has not been successfully completed a single recruitment through Jharkhand Public Service Commission, he added

Announcing the party’s stand if voted to power in the upcoming State Assembly Elections, Soren said that the party will constitute a special job policy for the local and tribal of the State. “The party will provide 75 per cent reservation to local and tribal to jobs of private companies which are settled in the State. The party will also make provision to give 50 per cent reservation to women in all State Government’s job,” he added.

“The party will start recruitment in mission mode in the first year of its tenure to fill all five lakhs vacant posts in the State Government’s various departments and those who are working as contractual employee of the State Government for a long time will also be regularised,” said Soren.

It has also been announced at the meeting that the local will get priority in tender of up to Rs 25 crore of all State Government’s contract.

Almost all senior leader of the party were present in the march.

Jharkhand stares at drought with 40% rainfall deficit


Heavy showers, which had lashed some areas of Jharkhand a few days ago, had given local farmers hopes of more rains. But the rain clouds seem to have given a go-by to the state for the time being, pushing the farmers into distress as only 10 days of the sowing season are left.

According to the Met Department, the average rainfall in Jharkhand is so far deficit by 40 per cent. Since there is lack of rainfall in the majority of districts, agricultural work has been adversely hit. Even if it rains the next week, it is unlikely that sowing targets would be achieved.

In the last 24 hours, Ranchi and few other districts have received less than 10 mm of rainfall. Scientists at the local Met Department say that there has been lack of monsoon activity in the Bay of Bengal. On some occasions, however, low pressure did form but the system was weak and insufficient to cause rainfall. Despite the state remaining mostly under cloud cover, it never rained properly.

Weather scientist SD Kotal of the Met Department said that it has not rained in Jharkhand as per expectations. He, however, said that rains are expected in the state in the next four days as a new low pressure area is likely to develop in the Bay of Bengal.

Sahibganj district is the only exception which has received more than 14 per cent of average rainfall at 793.2 mm. In other districts like Dumka, Jamtara, Kodema, Lohardaga and Palamu rainfall has been less than 24 per cent while the situation was worse in Khunti, Godda, Chatra, Hazaribagh, Latehar, Garhwa, Pakur, Ranchi, among others.

Such has been the extent of the monsoon let down that in the two months after it hit the state, sowing of paddy could only be taken up in 26 per cent of the area.

Kashmiri Pandits hail amendment of Article 370


Kashmiri Pandits, displaced from the Valley in the 1990s, on Monday hailed the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution as a “historic event” and hoped it would pave the way for return to their homeland with honour and dignity.

Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD), a body representing the community across the world, said the decision cements territorial, political and cultural unity of the Indian Union.

“August 5, 2019 will go down in the history of the country as a day that has put the lasting seal on the sovereignty of Parliament over the entire Indian Union,” it said in a statement.

“The draft bill presented by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament vindicates the ideals of our great leaders like Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and others who dedicated or sacrificed their lives for the integrity and sovereignty of India,” the GKPD said.

This is for the first time that the exiled community has heaved a sigh of relief that its identity, culture and symbols of heritage will find full protection and perpetuation under the Union territory dispensation, the statement said.

“With the abolition of Article 370, the Government of India will be able to bring Jammu and Kashmir nearer to the rest of the nation,” said Manoj Bhan, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Vichaar Manch.

The Kashmiri Pandit community hopes that the Modi government will chalk out a road map of their return to the Valley soon, he said.

“We want a separate settlement in the Valley where all Kashmiri Pandits, who borne the brunt of forced exodus, can live together,” Mr. Bhan said.

August 5 will go down as Kashmir Liberation Day. Liberation from dynastic rule, liberation from corruption, liberation from an unjust State. Liberation for every part of this diverse State. Liberation for all,” K.N. Pandita said.

Fear of Mob-Lynching Continues to Haunt Bihar


Patna: With incidents of mob violence rising during the last four days, the fear of mob-lynching has once again come to haunt Bihar. Over two dozen people, mostly the poorest of the poor, have been attacked and badly beaten up by mobs and at least two were lynched on suspicion of being child lifters in the state.

Mobs also attacked, thrashed and punished over half a dozen people in different places across the state on various charges, such as harassing girls and allegedly stealing mobile phones and other items.

The rise in such incidents is giving sleepless nights to top brass of the Bihar police. Taking serious note of the continuing mob violence, the police has so far arrested more than 40 accused and has appealed to people not to take law into their hands on the basis of mere suspicion or rumours.

Rumours have been spread about of child-lifters in Patna and other places and mostly the poor, such as beggars, vendors and physically challenged people have become the victims of mob violence.

At least two mentally-challenged middle-aged people were beaten to death and over a dozen injured in separate incidents of mob violence in Patna district alone in last two days. A man was lynched on Saturday night by a mob in Chulhaichak under Rupaspur police station and another man was beaten to death on Sunday by a mob at Kalichak village under Dhanarua police station. Both were lynched by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters.

Both the victims have not been identified by police so far.

Patna police officials admitted that more than one dozen incidents of mob violence have been reported in Patna in the past three days. “All the mob violence incidents are results of rumours about child lifters. Police have been trying to counter these baseless rumours to check and control mob violence” Patna senior superintendent of police Garima Malik said.

Malik told NewsClick that as most of the mob violence on the basis of rumours of child-lifters was being reported from rural areas near Patna, police have been asked to be on alert in  Danapur, Maner, Masaurih, Naubatpur and Punpun.

A senior police blamed social media for the spurt in rumours and resultant mob violence.

Since last Thursday, more than 20 cases of mob violence reported in Bihar. In some cases, mobs even attacked police teams that tried to rescue the victims.

On Saturday, two Sikh men from Haryana were badly beaten up by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters in Patna, before they were rescued by the police. Similarly, two youths were badly thrashed by a mob in Danapur near Patna on Saturday on similar suspicions.

Three beggars including two woman were thrashed on Sunday by a mob near Neema railway halt in Patna on suspicion of being child lifters. Timely arrival police saved them from being lynched by a mob of 200 villagers armed with traditional bamboo sticks.

An auto-rickshaw driver in heart of Patna was beaten by a mob on Sunday after some women raised alarm of suspected child lifter.

A youth was thrashed on Sunday evening by a mob in a village near Bodh Gaya in Gaya district for his alleged involvement in kidney racket. But police managed to rescue him. 

In another case, two minors were beaten up, their heads tonsured and faces blackened by a mob in a village in Saharsa district on last Thursday for alleged harassment of girls.

The rise in the number of mob violence incidents started after July 20 in Saran district, when three suspected cattle thieves were beaten to death in a village by a mob consisting of mostly youths.

The rise in mob lynching incidents have come as an embarrassment for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who claims to have brought ‘sushasan’ or good governance to Bihar. Especially, in rural Bihar, incidence of ‘mob justice’ have become common.

The failure on the part of the state government to punish people involved in street justice or mob rule is being seen as the main reason for encouraging people to deliver instant justice without fear.

PM Modi denied my plea to accord central status to Patna University: Nitish Kumar


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar lamented that his fervent request for grant of central status to Patna University two years ago was dismissed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi denying the institution much needed help.

He said he is hopeful now that the university will get its due as Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu is present at the programme held to observe the centenary of the library of the varsity.

Later in his address, Naidu said he would talk to Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokriyal and find out if measures could be taken to accord central university status to it.

Had his request been accepted two years ago, the glory of the institute which was once considered “the greatest not just in the country, but the whole of Asia”, could have been restored, said Kumar, an alumnus of the university, referring to its centenary celebrations held in October, 2017.

At that programme two years ago, Kumar said, he had repeatedly requested Modi, who shared the dais with him, “with folded hands” to consider the demand for a central status to the university.

“But my plea was turned down,” Kumar said.

The prime minister, who had spoken afterwards, had dismissed the request stating that the idea of granting central status to universities had become obsolete and Patna University would do better to avail of the opportunities at hand given the government’s thrust on making institutes of higher learning world class.

The development had come barely a couple of months after Kumar returned to the NDA and it had led to opposition parties like Lalu Prasad’s RJD launching a barrage of ridicule on the chief minister.

“That was, however, a different occasion. Today we are here to celebrate the centenary of the library of Patna University,” Kumar said recollecting that the vice president was also present at that programme as the chief guest.

Turning towards Naidu, whom Kumar has known since the days they were cabinet colleagues in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Kumar said, “Now that you are among us, I hope something would be done to give this university its due. The state government is doing its bit. But had the Centre agreed to take it over, it would have made a world of difference.”

The chief minister said Bihar is the land of scholars like Aryabhatta and Chanakya ancient seats of learning like Nalanda.

“Patna University is not a run of the mill institution. It was established when there were very few modern universities in the country,” he pointed out.

Kuamr said the university would have centres devoted to ecological studies.He also urged students to take interest in social service and “do not lose sight of the role environment plays in our lives if you are interested in politics”.

Bihar Leaders Speak Out Against Scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir


Patna: While the majority of Bihar, along with the nation, was celebrating the cancellation of Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu & Kashmir, non-NDA parties, and Janata Dal – U which is part of the BJP-led NDA in Bihar, slammed the Modi government for its unilateral policy and ‘murdering democracy’ in India.

Former MP Pappu Yadav, the leader of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), at a press conference in Patna on Monday, slammed the Modi-Shah duo saying the decision to scrap both articles in Jammu & Kashmir was imprudent and was done in haste by the ‘two idiots’.

“This is a clear assault on our constitution, our culture, and our democracy. The decision to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A was taken by two people who have no idea what they are doing. These two men (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah) are hell-bent on destroying the nation from within and it is not unreasonable to ask why they have taken the route to dictatorship,” Yadav said.

Communist Party of India-ML general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya also, in a press release, slammed the Modi-Shah team for removing the two Articles and dividing the state into two without any consultation from other parties.

“Never before in the history of India such attempt has been made to trash the constitution. However, in this moment of crisis, the entire nation is with the people of Kashmir and nationwide protest will be organized to oppose this dangerous step taken by the NDA government,” the communist leader said while demanding the restoration of Article 370 and 35A without any delay and removal of all troops from the region.

Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi also opposed the move in Kashmir saying the draconian decision was taken when the Modi government was ‘under influence of alcohol’.

“This is pure and simple dictatorship and cannot be described any other way. I urge Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to step forward and do the right thing in this regard,” he said.

Though Kumar, who has been a staunch opponent of removal of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu & Kashmir, is yet to make a formal statement in this regard, other members of his party including K C Tyagi and Shyam Rajak have already voiced their anger over BJP’s sudden move.

“We have never favored what the BJP has done today and we will continue to oppose it in the coming days,” said Tyagi.