1975 Emergency and today’s thriving democracy

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi did well to salute the citizens of India whose extraordinary struggle and sacrifice forty-five years ago against the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi had saved India from becoming a dictatorship.Those were indeed terrible days. All on a sudden the normal picture of the country had changed. The nation was under the grip of fear. The Presidential Order suspended Article 226 of the Constitution. The courts became mute spectators while the government brazenly trampled the citizen’s rights, including the right to live. The police prepared lists of those who raised voices of protest against the government.Journalists, writers and social activists faced the main wrath. In the midst of such repression, some people did not give up. They fought fearlessly against marauding state machinery. It was because of their struggle and sacrifice that India remained a democracy and did not become a Pakistan or a China.The whole country rose against state oppression and the flame of revolt engulfed its length and breadth. Violent protests, police firing and even flag marches by the Army were of daily occurrence. To channelise the spontaneous movement into a focussed mass struggle, Jayaprakash Narayan, a venerated socialist leader of the Freedom Struggle stepped forward to assume the leadership of the pro-democracy movement. Young leaders of all opposition parties cutting across the ideological spectrum were at the forefront of the struggle.   Many of them, including the late Arun Jaitley, then an ABVP student-leader, were put behind the bar. A host of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh leaders and activists – Narendra Modi is one of them – played significant roles in that struggle, and suffered for it. In fact, it was during this period that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into existence. In the end, the people’s struggle defeated the evil forces of dictatorship and democracy survived in India.Given this background, Prime Minister Modi would have been more than justified – in fact, he would have had the right to do so, in reminding the nation of the dark days of the Emergency. Unfortunately, however, many actions of the union as well as the states during the last six years that the BJP has been in power would have left even Indira Gandhi blushing.It will of be course wrong to say that India is under Emergency today. Far from it. The present leadership has mastered the trick of how to subvert democracy while maintaining the facade of the system intact. They have succeeded, to a great extent in suppressing even so much as a murmur of protest against the government by projecting such protests as “anti-national” activities using all the tools of a democratic system.After receiving overwhelming support of the people – riding on the crest of waves of anti-government protests when they were in the opposition – the last half a decade show how busy they are in re-writing the dictionary to make protests against the government synonymous with sedition.It is out of this attitude of brooking no opposition to anything that the government does, that the authorities slapped charges of sedition on the accused in the Vima Koregaon case, although after months of ‘probe’ they could find nothing against them, except being vociferous supporters of Adivasi rights.This mindset also promotes the false notion that people have no right to protest against an Act that the Parliament has passed. Many people have seen the passing of the CAA as a blatant expression of anti-minority politics. There could be a debate on whether they are right or wrong, but there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution to stop them from protesting against that legislation as long as the protest remains peaceful and within legal bounds. But even well-known journalists were obliquely propagating the falsehood – on national TV channels – that protesting against an Act passed by the Parliament is a crime!What is interesting to note is that those who are denouncing the “excesses” during the Emergency of 1975 have no qualms in slapping draconian provisions of the UAPA on the anti-CAA protesters. These are good yardsticks to measure the depth of their love for democracy. There are hundreds of cases in the past six years where government agencies, in blatant misuse of the provisions of the anti-terrorist and prevention of anti-national activities legislations, have thrown political activists behind the bars.According to a report, some 55 Indian journalists are in jail simply because they either reported about some misdeeds of politicians or senior bureaucrats or filed reports about anti-government protests in many parts of the country.  Reporters like Ashwini Saini and Om Sharma are in jail in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh because they dared to highlight the plight of the migrant labourers due to the apathy of the district administration, or reported on “missing” rations meant for the common man. Saini’s case is more telling as it seems that the number of FIRs against him increased in proportion with his letters to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of the state.At the same time, there are several journalists who are more equal than others, who can bully people not only in their so-called panel discussions but even on the street or in public transport, and still get relief from courts. Yet the courts have no time or patience to listen to the cry of agony of those who are on the other side of the divide.Against this background, the tall talks about the people’s struggles against the Emergency, and democracy prevailing over dictatorship, etc., are mere exercises in deceit, and cannot be taken even with a generous pinch of salt.last_img read more

Berlin bids to take heat out of state guarantees dispute

first_imgDiplomats from other northern EU countries where state guarantees are less common have hailed Monti’s get-tough approach.Monti is due to meet Germany’s Finance Minister Hans Eichel soon to discuss the issue. In the run-up to the meeting, EU sources say Berlin is anxious to avoid a public battle with the Commission and does not see the forthcoming paper as “all negative”.But Germany is concerned that the Commission might treat any direct payment to regional banks as a guarantee, even if these handouts were intended as a general subsidy to help meet a bank’s operating costs.Under the new regime, governments and authorities would have to notify such guarantees to the Commission just as they already do for other state payments.If the guarantees were deemed to be illegal aid, the Commission could force the banks to recoup the loans they had made to companies on the strength of the guarantees. Unfortunate borrowers would then have to find alternative financing or re-negotiate their loans. Moreover, if firms went out of business in the meantime, the banks would not be protected by the guarantees.The Commission is expected to offer banks a six-month ‘grace period’ to protect them from this threat for outstanding guarantees, as long as the government or state concerned notified existing measures during this period. Monti is expected to begin implementing his ‘zero tolerance’ approach to state aids early next month with a paper setting out the Commission’s strategy for dealing with such guarantees for the first time.The move is widely seen as a thinly veiled attack on Germany, whose local Länder banks flourish despite competition from private-sector rivals largely thanks to guarantees they receive from the local governments which own them.Critics say the system shields the Landesbanks from risk and gives them a high credit rating, allowing them to win customers by offering lower interest rates than the market would offer. Other schemes aimed at giving banks the means to offer cheaper loans are also under the spotlight. This could pave the way for a repeat of the Commission’s ruling that Germany’s biggest regional bank, WestLB, should repay 0.8 billion euro to its owner, the local government of North-Rhine Westphalia.North-Rhine Westphalia transferred a local real estate company’s assets to West LB, helping it secure a ‘triple A’ credit rating. The Commission ruled the bank must pay a commercial rate of interest for the privilege of having the real estate company on its books.last_img read more

N.C. Man Tries To Shoot His Way Out Of Wreck

first_imgGRIMESLAND, N.C. – A man is recovering at Pitt County Memorial Hospital after he wrecked his car on Grimesland Bridge Road. The accident flipped his vehicle on it’s side and caused the driver to be pinned inside. In an attempt to free himself, the driver shot multiple rounds into his car and airbag. Pitt County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with EMS and the Grimesland Fire Department were called to the Grimesland Bridge around 10 o’clock Monday night. That’s where officials at the scene say a man lost control of his vehicle and collided with the bridge’s railing. center_img Emergency response personal at the scene were eventually able to free the man. He was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital with a broken leg.last_img

60 Hospitalized After Connecticut Commuter Trains Collide

first_imgFAIRFILED, COnn. (NECN/Alysha Palumbo) – “Obviously this is a commuter’s worst nightmare,” said Fairfield, Conn. Police Chief Gary MacNamara. At least five people were critically injured – one of those very critically – and at least 60 people were transported to the hospital after a New York City-bound Metro-North Railroad commuter train derailed on the Bridgeport-Fairfield border in southern Connecticut during rush hour Friday, slamming head-on into a westbound train.last_img

Copper and Zinc smelting: Making the most of a finite resource

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Bar calls for a ‘college of regulators’ – and no Legal Services Board

first_imgThe Bar Standards Board and Bar Council have added their voices to the call for the Legal Services Board to be abolished. Both bar bodies published their submissions to the Ministry of Justice’s call for evidence on legal services regulation today.The bar’s regulator says the LSB should be regarded as a ‘catalyst, which has served its purpose in kick-starting change’, but that process ‘can and will now continue without it’. It recommends that the Legal Services Act 2007 be revised to strip the LSB out. It suggests a timetable to amend the Legal Services Act by February 2015 to make changes to the LSB’s role, with a ‘sunset clause’ for the completion of current reforms, before disestablishing the LSB in 2017 and introducing a new Legal Services Act in 2018.However, the bar’s case is unlikely to be strengthened by erroneous figures it submitted in support of its proposals. Since the LSB was established, the bar claimed today that it has been required to pay £23.7m to cover its share of the costs and running expenses over the oversight regulator; nearly £1,600 per barrister. However, after the LSB intervened to point out its error, the Bar Council admitted those figures are wrong.The LSB told the Gazette that the cost to barristers is roughly 6% of the £23.7m figure over an approximate five-year period. The average annual cost of the LSB for a barrister is now about £30 a year and declining, it stressed.In a statement later, the Bar Council admitted the error and issued revised figures, stating that the bar’s share of the total operating costs of the LSB since it was established is £2.4m and the cost per barrister £162.Elsewhere the BSB argues that the LSB’s functions can be dealt with more cost effectively and in a less intrusive ways by frontline regulators, judicial review mechanisms, building on the role of the Legal Services Consumer Panel and establishing a non-statutory Council of Regulators.It suggests the establishment of a panel of professional and lay members with experience of legal regulation to advise the lord chancellor on ‘overarching’ policy matters.The response also calls for more the independence between regulatory and representative interests of the professions and suggests that all legal professional be regulated, not just those providing reserved activities. ‘The public expects that any person offering legal services is regulated for everything that they do. That is not the case under the act as it stands,’ the BSB says.In its response the Bar Council calls for a new approach to regulation, also rejecting the current arrangements and the call for a single ‘super regulator’. It proposes a new model, which would replace the LSB with a ‘college of regulators’. This would comprise a strong judicial presence, lay members and representatives from each regulator and professional body, reporting to the lord chancellor.Bar chair Maura McGowan QC (pictured) said: ‘The public interest demands a clear and robust regulatory structure where all legal professionals are held to the highest of standards.’But she said: ‘What we have instead is an expensive oversight regulator which consistently seeks to impose its own vision of how legal services should be delivered and expects the legal profession to pick up the bill.’McGowan said the regulation of the legal profession is ‘at risk of spiralling out of control’. She said: ‘It is now familiar to hear colleagues all around the world express concerns about the independence of the legal profession from government, under the aegis of an over-zealous oversight regulator, which has a vested interest in increasing its own remit.’She insisted the model proposed by the bar would provide a ‘much clearer and less bureaucratic’ system. ‘By creating a new college of regulators, including a mixture of the judiciary, lay members and both regulators and professional bodies, our new model will bring regulation back into balance, handing back standard-setting to the professional bodies with appropriate consumer input and at proportionate cost,’ she said.last_img read more

Ultra-Rugged Portable Communication System for Emergency and Public Safety Teams

first_imgSonim Technologies, a leading provider of ultra-rugged mobility solutions, in partnership with leading communications experts, Cradlepoint, Inmarsat Government, JPS Interoperability Solutions and Rajant, have launched the new Rapid Deployment Kit (RDK-3). The kit is an all-in-one, portable communication solution designed to provide emergency and public safety teams with reliable access and connectivity, in even the most dangerous and remote mission-critical situations.Housed in a rugged carrying case, the RDK-3 contains four Sonim XP8 Android smartphones, a Cradlepoint wireless router, a 15.6 Ah battery and a Bluetooth enabled battery monitoring system to maintain power in emergency situations. Cellular, GPS and Wi-Fi antenna create a 300-foot “connectivity bubble,” establishing reliable communications wherever the RDK is deployed.Wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters pose communication challenges for first responders ranging from limited or no access to a network to lack of expertise required to set up network connectivity. The RDK-3 can be transported easily to remote locations and deployed quickly by first responders without the need for extensive training or IT experience.Key Features of the RDK:Compatibility with leading Push-to-Talk (PTT) applicationsMobile operator agnosticSupports public safety networks, including FirstNetFirstNet Ready® Cradlepoint wireless router provides a Wireless Wide-Area Network (WAN) that can intelligently route traffic across LTE (two SIMs) or satellite links, and Wi-Fi connectivity for XP8 handsets, PCs, tablets and other equipmentOptional intelligent failover to reliable satellite capability via Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) enables communication when no other coverage is available.Bridge PTT and LMR communications with the optional JPS Interoperability Solutions RSP-Z2 Gateway, which provides a direct connection for up to 2 land mobile donor radios, to manage and control LMR communications from XP8 handsetsExtend coverage and range with optional Rajant Kinetic Mesh® BreadCrumbs®The Sonim RDK-3 has been deployed in hospitals, power plants, and with state and federal agencies throughout the U.S. It is ultra-rugged and human-portable, with wheels for easy handling and transport. It includes a battery monitoring system, external power options and PoE LAN ports for external devices.last_img read more

Golden Tigresses topple Lady Falcons in UAAP

first_img“The last three years lagi kaming talo sa first game namin and this is historic for us,” said Golden Tigresses head coach Emilio Reyes.In men’s action, Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles leaned on the strong showing of returning Tony Koyfman to score a 25-23, 25-22, 25-15 sweep over De La Salle University Green Spikers.Koyfman, who sat out Season 80 due to illness, top-scored with 15 points, while Ron Medalla flirted with triple-double with nine points, 10 digs and 10 excellent receptions for the Blue Eagles.Meanwhile, Paolo Pablico scored 23 points as the Adamson University Falcons defeated University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers, 33-31, 23-25, 16-25, 25-15, 16-14./PN Cherry Rondina of University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses smashes the ball towards Adamson University Lady Falcons’ Bernadeth Flora during the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. SPIN.PH MANILA – University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses averted a huge collapse to escape with a 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6 win over Adamson University Lady Falcons in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.Ejiya Laure made an impressive collegiate debut with 17 points, on 13 attacks, three blocks and a service ace, for the Golden Tigresses, which tied University of the Philippines Lady Maroons and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws at 1-0.The Golden Tigresses were on point in the first two sets on steady plays from Laure, Cherry Rondina, Milena Alessandrini and KC Galdones but the Lady Falcons leaned on Bernadeth Flora and Christine Joy Soyud in the third and fourth set to even things up.The Golden Tigresses made sure they will take home the win after a 5-0 start in the fifth set. The Lady Falcons came with two straight points but Rondina, Alessandrini and Laure came up with string of points to clinch the win.last_img read more

Softball Video Highlights: Midview Cruises Past Amherst, 5-0

first_imgThe Midview Middies (10-1) defeated Amherst Steele (10-5) by a score of 5-0 to move into a tie for first place in the Southwestern Conference.Lauren Landers worked five shutout innings, surrendering only three hits.The game was shortened due to lightning, but Midview was in control from the start, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first and never looking back from there.Landers improves to 6-1 on the season with the win.Watch video highlights of the game via OhioSportsNet below: Related Topics NEO HS Stafflast_img

UWF remains in top 25 in Collegiate Baseball Poll

first_imgTUCSON, Ariz. – The West Florida baseball team dropped to No. 25 in the nation in the most recent Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll of the regular season. The Argonauts (7-5) ranked No. 9 in the country last week before losing three games on the road. UWF was the third-highest ranked team from the Gulf South Conference behind No. 15 Alabama Huntsville (7-1-1) and No. 23 Valdosta State (9-3). Tampa (11-1) remained No. 1 followed by No. 2 Southern Indiana (1-2), No. 3 Colorado Mesa (8-2), No. 4 Mount Olive (11-2) and No. 5 Minnesota State (0-0). UWF hosts Spring Hill Thursday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m. For information on all UWF athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.Print Friendly Versionlast_img