Friday, July 31, 2009

Self-help is the best help

This is the first time that Pakistan has ever formally briefed us on the results of an investigation into a terrorist attack in India. It has never happened before and I repeat this is the first time. It is also the first time that they have admitted that their nationals and a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan carried out a ghastly terrorist act in India.

The reality is that this is far more than the NDA Government was ever able to extract from Pakistan during its entire tenure despite all their tall talk. They were never able to get Pakistan to admit what they have admitted now. So the UPA government needs no lessons from the opposition on how to conduct foreign affairs or secure our nation against terrorist threats.

I say with strength and conviction that dialogue and engagement is the best way forward.

I told them that the operations of all terrorist groups that threaten India must end permanently. I urged them to make no distinctions between different terrorist organizations. I said that it was not enough to say that Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism. They must show the same political will and take the same strong and sustained action against terrorist groups operating on their eastern border as they now seem to be taking against groups on their western border.

I told them that another attack of this kind will put an intolerable strain on our relationship and that they must take all possible measures to prevent a recurrence.

I believe that it is as much in Pakistan’s vital interest as it is in ours to make peace. Pakistan must defeat terrorism, before being consumed by it. I believe the current leadership there understands the need for action.

We know this, but in the past there have been hurdles in a consistent pursuit of this path. As a result, the enemies of peace have flourished. They want to make our alienation permanent, the distance between our two countries an unbridgeable divide. In the interests of our people, and in the interest of peace and prosperity of South Asia, we must not let this happen.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Indian Maoists threaten to kill PM Singh, Sonia Gandhi

They carry out hit-and-run attacks on police and extort money from businesses. In the mining state of Chhattisgarh, officials say they extort up to $60 million a year.

Earlier this month, Maoists ambushed and killed at least 29 police officers on patrol in the jungles, and counterinsurgency experts say police officers tackling the Maoists lack the proper training and equipment to be effective.

Maoists abduct police officer, two others in Lalgarh

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For many years the Naxal threat was "under-estimated"

"Today they (Naxalites) pose a grave challenge ... We are preparing to taken on the challenge. Details cannot be disclosed now," he said.

"Regrettably for many years we did not properly assess the threat posed by Left-wing extremism. We under-estimated the challenge and in the meanwhile they (Naxalites) extended their influence," he said.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rail tickets to be available at mobile vans, post offices

"Poor people who are unable to go to the stations can now purchase tickets in market places, mohallas and other busy places. In this year, we will introduce 50 such mobile vans," she said.

Under an MoU between Railways and Department of Posts, passengers can now buy computerised tickets from nearly 5,000 post offices in cities and towns.

Zero-tolerance policy towards ragging: Govt

Sibal said the stringent measures which could be enforced include rustication of a student, withholding of scholarship, derecognition of institution, debarring a student from appearing in any test and stopping of grant to the institution.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The next five years would be an era of judicial and legal reforms.

New Law Minister Veerappa Moily, meanwhile, gave notice: "The next five years would be an era of judicial and legal reforms." He spoke of measures to radically trim the huge pendency of cases - new civil and criminal courts to fast-track a notoriously sluggish process, to deliver "affordable and accessible justice to the last man in the queue". He promised a systematic attempt to fight the creeping evil of corruption in higher judiciary - making it mandatory for judges to disclose assets, taking a more serious look at an impeachment law that has never ever been used.

Also on the anvil were laws to strengthen witness protection, a less severe attitude to allowing in foreign law firms. In the midst of gay pride rallies in three big cities, he even made a bold promise to reevaluate a law that still criminalizes homosexuality in India.

On Thursday, in a historic judgment, the Delhi High Court went ahead and struck down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing homosexuality. This judgment is particularly surprising, given the revisionist thinking that followed the groundbreaking nature of some of such controversial pronouncements.

After Islamic and Christian groups expressed loud reservations, the law minister had to famously renege on his own casually offered pledge to amend Article 377, the law authored during Lord Macaulay's time that makes "unnatural sex" a punishable offence. It was hardly, if ever, used punitively on consensual homosexual activity, but gay rights activists have long wanted the "criminal" tag to go.