Four policemen, including two sub-inspectors, were killed and seven others injured in an encounter with Maoists in Narayanpur district of south Chhattisgarh on Wednesday.“An encounter took place between the police and Maoists near Irapanar village in Abujhmad area of Narayanpur today. Two police sub-inspectors and two constables lost their lives [in the encounter]. Seven jawans were injured and are being brought to Raipur [for treatment],” Devnath, Additional Inspector General of the Anti-Naxal Operation (ANO) unit of Chhattisgarh police said.According to D. M. Awasthi, special Director General of Police in charge of the ANO, the encounter took place when the police team was venturing into the core Maoist area of Abujmad.Exchange of fire for over an hour“The operation was planned by Narayanpur SP [Superintendent of Police]. The police party left the base camp on Tuesday evening. The exchange of fire between the Maoists and the police team went on for over an hour,” he said.In another incident, two policemen suffered injuries in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion in Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh.The IED, planted by Maoists, exploded when a police team was carrying out a search operation in Basaguda area of Bijapur. The injured policemen were evacuated to Raipur by a chopper.
The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred to September 27 the hearing on Congress leader Kamal Nath’s plea seeking draft voter list of Madhya Pradesh in word format, and said the issue requires substantive hearing. The Congress leader said that Election Commission of India (ECI) had provided voter lists in word format during Karnataka and Rajasthan elections as also during Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls in 2013. ECI said it received complaints of voter profiling and to prevent the misuse of data it has taken a conscious decision to provide it in PDF format (non-editable). A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that the matter requires substantive hearing and listed the matter for further hearing on September 27. During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr. Nath, said that when the ECI can provide the draft voter list in word format in other States, then what is the problem in providing the list in Madhya Pradesh. “We want the list to be provided in word format. They have provided us during Karnataka election, they are giving us in Rajasthan and even in Madhya Pradesh they have given in 2013. Now they are saying it was a mistake,” Mr. Sibal said.PDF format Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for ECI along with advocate Amit Sharma, said that they have received complaints of voter profiling and therefore a conscious decision was taken to provide the draft list in PDF format. He said it was done to thwart any attempt of misuse of voters data. Mr. Sibal said that in PDF format they are providing the same data like they will do in word format, then where is the question of misuse.
Australian cricketers and their Board are heading towards a bitter stand-off with the former threatening not to sign their contract for next year over the latter’s attempt to snatch 10 per cent of their Indian Premier League salary.The IPL Governing Council, in its recent meeting to discuss the rules and regulations of its fourth season next year, had ruled that 10 per cent of players’ salaries would go to their respective boards.The decision was taken as there has always been a pressure from Boards like Cricket Australia over their lack of earnings from their players’ involvement in the lucrative Twenty20 league.A fuming Australian Cricketers Association said the CA has gone behind its back to secure a cut from the BCCI.ACA Chief Executive Paul Marsh said he has told CA that the players would not sign contracts for the next year if the Board cut 10 per cent from their IPL salaries.”The Australian Cricketers Association has made it known to Cricket Australia that any attempt to take 10 per cent, or any other amount for that matter, from the IPL salaries of Australian players is completely unacceptable and will be opposed in the strongest possible way by us,” Marsh said.”CA simply has no right to effectively charge a commission on income earned by players from outside their employment to CA. This is akin to an employer trying to take 10 per cent of an employee’s wages from a second job he works on weekends,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Australian’.advertisementMarsh asked CA to refuse the arrangement with the BCCI or face the consequences.”Regardless of the decision made by the IPL, we would hope CA would act in good faith to its players by not taking this proposed 10 per cent,” he said.”Should they seek to do, so we would expect players to give serious consideration to either not signing an IPL contract that contains this deduction, or not signing future CA contracts,” he added.
Years ago when Muhammad Ali proclaimed that he was the greatest, he was the greatest. As heavy weight boxing champion of the world he had defeated every possible challenger and his claim was merely a statement of that fact. Muhammad Ali has never been known for modesty, but sports figures like Federer and Woods, though arguably the greatest of all time in their chosen sport, rarely bring up the subject on their own. Their greatness is claimed by others around them. Indian public life by contrast is a daily barrage of hyperbole, arrogance, false claims and often outright lies. With virtually nothing to back them, the Indian Commonwealth Organising Committee makes public and international statements so outlandish and arrogant, to be laughable. The Commonwealth Games will be the best ever. The stadia are better than Beijing. The facilities are 5-star…As if to remind the claimant of his conceit, a ceiling buckled at a stadium. Just when the Chief Minister was calling a waterlogged city of broken roads, world class, as if on cue, a bridge collapsed.InflationWhen the daily sights and sounds are of failure, hyperbole and superlatives become essential even for the most mediocre of accomplishments. Hailed as the pride of India, Delhi’s international airport has been designed and built by a consortium of foreign companies. Yet the insistence by the Prime Minister that the structure was a symbol of Indian ingenuity was a desperate call to all those within hearing distance that India had arrived. Even if we were not better than others, we were at least almost like them. In every utterance there is an urgent need to repair the shaky confidence of a nation riddled with daily signs of ineptness and greed.advertisementSo desperate is the urge to falsify reality, that its replacement is not a modest parting of relevant information, but hopeless exaggeration. Public remarks are coated in either misinformation or vagueness. Or are just clever rebuttals. The Naxals are not anti-national, but are a problem to the nation-state. We can’t distribute the rotting wheat; it has to be done through the Public Distribution System. The judiciary is not above the law, the judiciary is the law.Part of the problem lies with a society that despite its claim to modernity, still refuses to think outside of the family. Nothing of national, regional or local interest can be of any value to people whose allegiance is firmly stuck in the private progress of the household. Indian business models seem quaint but outmoded to foreigners when the management of sizeable industrial resources are shared amongst relatives: brothers and sons as MDs, wives and daughters as sleeping partners. Ministers’ sons are natural contenders for succession, even if more qualified candidates are available. Every year the railways most successful expansion program is linked to setting up stations at the minister’s ancestral village, however remote. With easy availability of national resources, progress of the Indian family is always possible?Moreover, the incapacity to do, is intrinsically linked to the capacity to pass responsibility. Even a cursory glance will reveal that India has an extensive institutional and public framework for governance that consistently fails to deliver. In forestry alone there are several national institutes and departments doing research, experimentation, afforestation, surveys, management, species development, preservation, conservation, land control etc.. Yet India ranks amongst countries with one of the highest levels of depleting forest cover in the world. There may be a surplus of wheat in India, but without its distribution, India also has the highest deaths from malnutrition. Government departments continue to research and publish papers on new improved fire retardant thatch for village homes, but fund only the construction of pucca cement roofs. The disconnect between the resolve and the reality is so complete it is hard to know when to laugh, when to cry.KnowledgeA recent article described the inauguration of a speed breaker on a national highway. While the speed breaker was decorated with Rangoli, the road was closed for the day. In the evening, a Hindu priest recited shlokas, and the minister of Surface Transport got on all fours and broke a coconut against the speed breaker. Though the inauguration caused a 12 km truck traffic jam, the event was perceived by all to be essential, a successful integration of new infrastructure with traditional ritual. I reread the piece to figure out whether this was a serious report or satire. But even after several readings could not tell. In most situations, it is hard to tell the two apart.advertisementTry stopping someone on the road for directions. He points vaguely in the direction that your car faces, and asks you to continue to go straight, then gesturing towards the right with his arm he will ask you to turn left; and suggest you ask someone there. By ensuring that you are now doubly confused, he will have at least conveyed that he is in the know of things, a man about town; his vanity must be salvaged at all costs.Rarely will someone say “My knowledge of this neighbourhood lacks the urban coordinates, landmarks and magnetic pole positions that would allow me to do justice to your enquiry. Could I direct you to someone better informed, more trustworthy and infinitely more courteous than myself.”UnrealPart of the Indian failure to complete the preparations for the Commonwealth Games on time was the inability to realistically assess situations, and to say, No, Give it to Fiji. They’ll do a better job. At every press conference pointed questions about tardiness and sloppy work were addressed with phrases like, “We are doing our best. We are giving everything we have. The whole nation is praying for success. We must put our best foot forward. It’s in God’s hands.” Public briefings and press releases speak to a nation as if addressing a child’s birthday party.Everyday, every paper, every report becomes a mix of the serious and frivolous, part truth, part moral indignation, part hope. A cover for the darker stains of India. Thieving forest officials, military attacks on Naxals and Kashmiris, food godowns brimming with rotting wheat, rural malnutrition and farmer suicides, incomplete international games, falling bridges, waterlogged cities, the daily upheavals are tinged with comedy. In a place with an increasing quantum of daily human suffering, heightened public expectation, and the cartoon characters that pose as potential providers, comic relief becomes the only way to assuage collective guilt. Laugh and forget.Some years ago, in a supposedly successful television campaign to sell the country to foreigners under the title of Incredible India, a television ad showed a variety of images: a Kuchipudi dancer, a remote Rajasthani palace, a set of sand dunes, a snow covered mountain, an empty beach, a Buddhist monk in a hill side monastery. Every image distilled into a picture book pastoral stillness. So removed was it from the real experience of India, that the campaign was bound to succeed. An outright lie, it reinforced every picturesque stereotype of traditional India. Wherever possible, words, images and other forms of sensory stimulation are an essential buffer from the real India. The unreal, the imagined, the hoped for, the preferred, the recalled, eventually become a messy amalgam in the daily life of the country. It is hard to tell one from the other.When my son was just a kid I’d take him to Appu Ghar to ride in Bump’Em cars. He would maneuvre his car very carefully, giving signals and ensuring he didn’t hit any one, and I would need to goad him into active hostility: Drive like you are on a Delhi road. The real world was an outright lie. It has taken him a few years to learn, but he has.advertisementThe writer is an architect
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot and his colleague R K Sacheti were among three persons questioned on Tuesday by the CBI in New Delhi in connection with alleged irregularities in the conduct of mega sporting event.The CBI also questioned Manoj Bhori, political advisor to OC head Suresh Kalmadi in connection with the scam.CBI sources said the officials were questioned at length about several contracts mainly related to overlays, hiring equipment and grant of work to a London-based company in connection with Queen’s Baton Relay last year.The trio were asked to clarify certain financial transactions made with CWG contractors and appointment of workforce for the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, they said.The CBI had earlier conducted raids at the residences of Kalmadi, Bhanot, Sacheti, who is Joint director General of the OC, and Sangeeta Welingkar, member of the Games Image and Look Group.The sources said CBI sleuths have found that some of the crucial documents related to Games have either been destroyed or gone missing.The CBI has filed three FIRs in connection with alleged irregularities in the Games. Bhanot has been named in a case relating to purchase and contracting of timer equipment used for the Games.Earlier, the CBI had filed two FIRs for the contracting of AM Films and cars/vans for the Baton Relay ceremonies by the OC in London. It arrested Joint Director General T S Darbari and Deputy Director General Sanjay Mohindroo for their alleged complicity in these deals.advertisementIn a related move, CBI has decided to approach Sports Ministry to seek removal of Kalmadi and Bhanot from their posts to ensure a free and fair probe.With inputs from PTI