The Home Ministry recently announced that any personnel from the Central police organizations, losing his life while fighting with Naxals or insurgents in the region of Northeast or Jammu and Kashmir, will get the title of “martyr”.
Central police organizations have finally got a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a long pending proposal to give the title of “shaheed” to all those who died in action.
Earlier no such scheme existed for Central police personnel deployed in areas affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE), along the Pakistan border, in insurgency-hit J&K as well as in the North-East, whereas the Army gives this status to its men killed on the border.
The officials said, “The status will not provide any kind of financial benefit to the personal, but boost the morale of the 10 lakh-strong Central forces.”
It has been decided that “shaheed” will be used in the salutation scroll to be read at the homage ceremony of the personal killed on duty.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, had informed the Lok Sabha that ‘shaheed’ or ‘martyr’ is not defined as per the region where you are killed or whether you are in police or military and there is no official order to accord the same to defense or paramilitary personnel.
While explaining the importance of calling the dead soldiers as “martyr”, Rijiju said, “There have been demands for giving shaheed/martyr status to the Central police organizations and Assam Rifles personnel killed in action. In a meeting of Committee of Secretaries held on September 14, 2011, the Ministry of Defense indicated that shaheed/martyr is not defined anywhere and presently they are not issuing any order/notification to this effect in respect of defense personnel.”
“Similarly, no status of shaheed/martyr is given to the Central police and Assam Rifles. However, their families/next of kin are given full family pension under the Liberalized Pensionary Award rules and lump sum ex-gratia compensation of Rs 15 lakh as per rules in addition to other benefits admissible,” he added.
A senior official elucidating the emotional aspect attached with the title “shaheed” said, “Since it does not involve any financial implications, keeping in mind the sentiments of the forces, it was decided to give them a go-ahead. On several occasions, various state governments give benefits like petrol pumps, land to personnel on the basis of the shaheed status. It becomes easier for the kin of the killed personnel to avail the benefits as the scroll is an official document.”
Mumbai, Sep 22, 2017: “Newton” director Amit V. Masurkar, whose movie has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars, says he always wanted to explore a story in a political space which is otherwise lesser known to urban India.
“Newton”, which deals with the ideological battle between the government and Maoists, has been selected by a 14-member jury constituted by the Film Federation of India and will represent the country at the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category in 2018.
The story of the film revolves around a young government employee Newton Kumar — essayed by the critically acclaimed Rajkummar Rao — who is sent out to execute an election in a Maoist-prone area in Chhattisgarh.
“Newton” is Masurkar’s second film after “Suleimani Keeda”. What made him choose a political subject that’s quite complicated and not as popular in the cine space as the Kashmir issue or the political crisis of northeastern states?
Masurkar told IANS: “I wanted to tell a story in the political space. The reason for choosing Chhattisgarh is that the issue here is different from the two that you have mentioned. Naxals are not asking for a separate country or fighting for development or seeking an answer to any injustice.
“The battle is from the ideological differences on democracy. Naxals want to bring a change in democracy by establishing a communist rule.
“Therefore, the story of the film is quite clear – a government, an opposition to the government and then there is a man who represents the government, who is honestly trying to do his duty and struggling on his way.”
The movie, which released on Friday, has been raved about by critics and the film fraternity. It had premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
Recounting his struggle to find a producer to the make the film, Masurkar said: “I showed the script to a couple of studios who said that ‘Oh, it’s politics… Youth have no interest in it’. The moment I narrated the story to Manish (Manish Mundra of Drishyam Films), he said ‘Yes’ in no time.
“He has got a great taste for stories and understands the pulse of the audience.”
It was later that producer Aanand L. Rai and a banner like Eros International Entertainment came on board.
“I showed Aanand sir the film and he liked the film and decided to be a part of its release. And of course, I am thankful for that. But what touched me is, how he remembered me. I once assisted him 14 years ago for one of his telefilms.
“He is such a gem of a person. He came out after watching the film, remembering me, saying, ‘I am so proud of you Amit, tu kitna bada ho gaya (You’ve grown up so much)! You made this film.”
Rajkummar plays the lead character in “Newton”, but according to the director, all the characters in the film have been written substantially to build the story.
“I made some small changes according to the talent of the actors. Like Pankaj Tripathi is such a brilliant actor who has a command over Hindi, so we wrote the dialogues for him accordingly.
“The character of Raghubir Yadav was also elaborated according to his calibre. And Rajkummar was the first choice because there are some of the strong similarities of personality between him and Newton. They are both quite sincere in their job and idealistic,” Masurkar said.
He hopes that in a scenario where the taste of the Indian audience is changing, they embrace a movie like “Newton”. (IANS)
Child and forced marriage remain a common practice in Afghanistan, particularly among poor families in lure of dowries.
Young child brides of Islamist Taliban are denied educated and are often treated as sex slaves
After the death of their militant husbands, Taliban widows are shunned by their family and society alike and remain beyond the reach of government aids
London, August 24, 2017: Fatima’s Taliban husband was so controlling that he refused to allow her to bathe and threatened to burn her face if she dared wear makeup, suspicious that his 12-year-old Afghan wife was trying to make herself attractive to other men.
He would not let her step outside their home in Afghanistan’s western Farah Province, even when she fell sick, and beat her for burning her hand baking bread, complaining that her mother had taught her nothing to justify the dowry he paid.
“My father sold me to a man at a time when I didn’t know anything about the responsibilities of marriage,” she told Reuters in a phone interview from the capital, Kabul, where she and her young daughter are hiding.
“He became my lawful husband and began to rape me and beat me every single day for not consenting [to sex],” said the 18-year-old, who would not give her full name.
Child and forced marriage are outlawed but remain common in Afghanistan, particularly among poor families eager for dowries.
Among the most invisible victims are the wives of Islamist Taliban hardliners who, when in power, barred women from education and most work and ordered them to wear burqas outside the home, before being overthrown in 2001 by U.S.-led forces.
“Being family members of the most dangerous and ruthless fighters who have plenty of enemies among the people makes it difficult for these women,” said Shukria Barakzai, a parliamentarian and women’s rights campaigner. “They are treated as sex slaves and left completely helpless.”
When their militant husbands die, life often gets worse for young Taliban brides. Their families are too scared to take them in, society treats them as pariahs, and they risk further violent abuse as unprotected single women.
About a year into their marriage, Fatima’s 25-year-old husband — she calls him a “veteran criminal” with stockpiles of ammunition in their home — blew up a police officer and was jailed for 18 years.
He was released in late 2016, after serving just four years — a common phenomenon in Afghanistan, where the Taliban often hold influence over the government.
But he never came home.
His brothers told Fatima they believed he had sacrificed himself in a suicide attack and become a martyr.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, estimates that several hundred women become Taliban widows each year.
“My brother-in-law was planning to force me to marry him and sell my four-year-old daughter to a Taliban commander,” she said, referring to the dowry that would be paid for her child.
“This evil plan agonized me and at the same time emboldened me to run away, regardless of the consequences.”
Under the pretext of attending a village wedding with her mother-in-law, Fatima ran away with her child.
Her father would not take her in, but her cousins helped her get to Kabul.
“Every one of my in-laws is a Taliban member and they vowed to slay my whole family to bring justice,” she said.
To the Taliban, justice means killing Fatima and her family for the shame she brought by running away from home.
Jihadis in training
Zari, another Taliban widow, who was forcibly married at the age of 14, was not so lucky.
Three years after her husband died in a suicide attack, she remains trapped in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, tormented by his cousins who rape her repeatedly and are raising her sons, aged nine and 11, to become jihadis.
The men, who are members of the Taliban, come to the house where she lives with her elderly mother-in-law a couple of times a week to rape her, threatening to kill her if she tells anyone.
“I urge the government to rescue me and my sons as their future is in grave danger,” the 26-year-old, who declined to give her real name, said in a phone interview.
“They plan to send both of my sons to Pakistan to participate in jihad. … They take my elder son for religious indoctrination and training to become a militant like his father.”
Neither the government nor rights groups can access Taliban widows living with their in-laws in remote, rebel-controlled territory. Conflict makes it impossible for them to provide for themselves, forcing them to live with their in-laws.
Neither boy goes to school because Zari cannot afford books or uniforms with the money she earns weaving or from her cows.
“I want to escape with my sons, but my family is not ready to accept me and jeopardize themselves,” she said, adding that her family did not know they were marrying her into the Taliban.
Afghanistan has about 5 million widows, said a spokeswoman for the women’s affairs ministry, Kobra Rezai. It can only afford to provide about 100,000 of them with about $100 a month in financial support and skills training, she said.
None are Taliban widows.
The government does not want to be seen to be supporting them, Rezai said, a position condemned by Barakzai, the parliamentarian.
“Circumstances push [Taliban widows] into a precarious position and compel them to continue their lives as sex slaves in the hands of Taliban,” she said. “Even their children have no way out of this vicious trap.” (VOA)
The PIO card provided those foreign nationals who could establish at least a third generation tie to Indian origin with travel, work, and residential purposes in India for a 15 year period
Implemented in 2005, the OCI card carried more expansive benefits compared to the PIO card, and was valid for the lifetime of the holder
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in 2014 that the PIO and OCI cards would be merged and the Indian diaspora would be given maximum possible benefits
New Delhi, June 28, 2017: The last date has been extended for six months to apply for the conversion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards to December 31 this year. The facility was available till June 30, 2017 earlier.
According to an official, “The Home Ministry has decided to extend the date for submission of the application for registration as OCI card holder by the erstwhile PIO cardholders till December 31, 2017.”
It should be mentioned that this was for the fourth time the centre has extended the date for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards since March 31, 2016.
In 2002, the PIO card was first implemented as a benefit to those foreign nationals who could establish at least a third generation tie to Indian origin and was valid for travel, work, and residential purposes in India for a 15 year period.
Implemented in 2005, the OCI card carried more expansive benefits compared to the PIO card, and was valid for the lifetime of the holder.
According to PTI reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in 2014 that the PIO and OCI cards would be merged and the Indian diaspora would be provided with maximum possible benefits.
Official reports have shown that the simultaneous existence of PIO and OCI cards have led to confusion among People of Indian Origin residing abroad.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang