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An abandoned tanker laden with 2,800 million tonne naphtha floating off the Goa Coast could spill its toxic content with a strong cyclone set to buffet the Arabian Sea Coastline.
Indian Coast Guard issued a fresh alert on Wednesday of a new cyclone towards Arabian Sea. The Coast Guard said, “While the Cyclonic Storm Kyarr moves away from the Indian coasts and continue to weaken, another well marked low pressure area has developed over Commorin and adjoining Indian Ocean area.”
It lays cantered 200 km south east of Minicoy in Lakshadweep Islands and is to move north westwardly across Lakshadweep islands during the next 24 hours and then emerge into east central Arabian Sea. Alerts have been issued to coastal states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, including Union Territories of Lakshadweep besides fisheries authorities.
This has made things worse for the abandoned vessel laden with the toxic chemical. Top government officer said, “If any of the content spills, it will spell disaster for the aquatic and marine life as well entire coastal zone running for miles.” The main concern is that the vessel is laden with naphtha, which is highly volatile, carcinogenic and toxic with low boiling point, the officer added.
Kyarr has already done damage to the abandoned vessel — MV Nu-Shi Nalini. The vessel ran aground on October 25 in close proximity of Dona Pula, near the house of Goa Governor, about eight cables from the shore Light House Aguada in Goa. “The said vessel has been abandoned since June 2018,” said the officer.
Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have been put on high alert. However, they cite negligence on the part of Central government authorities dealing with the vessel. MV Nu-Shi Nalini, an Indian registered abandoned vessel anchored off Goa since September 21, 2019, but it was abandoned, unattended for more than a year after seepage and explosion in the engine room.
Explosion and death
It was at about 5.30 p.m. on June 31, 2018, Indian Coast Guard Kochi received information from Cochin Port Trust regarding explosion in engine room on board MV Nu-Shi nalini at 14 nautical miles south west of Kochi.
The fire was brought under control by the vessel crew. There were a total of 22 crew, all Indians, on board.
The ship is owned by Electran Shipping Limited and the vessel managers were Arya Shipping Limited.
The last port of call was Mundra in Gujarat and the vessel was moving towards Budge in West Bengal with enroute halt at Colombo in Sri Lanka.
During investigation, authorities found that the vessel departed from Mundra port on June 8, 2018, and during passage leakage of Naphtha was observed in pump room with high volatile fumes ingress in the engine room at 12 noon on June 13, 2018. Because of this, the vessel deviated from its passage to Colombo and anchored off Kochi.
The leaked naphtha was transferred from the pump room to an empty tank, however due to seepage of Naphtha fumes in engine room, an explosion occurred at about 4.50 p.m. in the engine room.
The fire rendered the vessel without power generation and propulsion and the vessel remained off Kochi anchorage.
Post the fire incident, 17 crew members disembarked on board Cochin Port Trust Tug and four crew members, including the captain remained on board. The Cochin Port tug boats remained in close vicinity of the vessel for monitoring. One of the crew members received 80 per cent burn injuries and he later succumbed. Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and Coast Guard tugs were deployed for assistance.
In the meantime, the owner of the vessel appointed Resolve Salvage and Fire (India) for salvage. They embarked on the vessel on June 15 for assessment and subsequently four crew members disembarked from the vessel.
The salvours deployed one safety Tug named Tanzanite which remained in close vicinity of the vessel for any emergency. However, on July 22, 2018, salvours issued notice of termination to the owner due to disagreement in invoking the Special Compensation P&I Club Clause (SCOPIC) clause. Lastly, the salvours terminated the services from August 10, 2018, and demobilized the various equipments and tug.
Later, the owner appointed Lots Shipping Limited as new salvour on September 20, 2018 and the salvage operation started on October 10, 2018. The dangerous cargo was shifted by the salvours to other safer tanker on board and the owner planned to shift vessel to Sri Lanka for repair and safe discharge of cargo.
However, the vessel remained unmanned and posed a threat to the ecology of Kerala Coast and with salvours having terminated its services.
Threats and Legal fight
Indian Coast Guard took up the matter with Kerala state administration for disposal of vessel. A meeting was organised by state additional chief secretary, revenue head, environment head and disaster management head on November 16 to discuss the matter. It was decided that the issue will be taken with Director General Shipping for early disposal of the vessel.
In the meantime, Cochin Port Trust refused to provide berth to the vessel and the managers of the vessel thereafter files petition against the Cochin Trust Post at the Kerala High Court for not allowing the vessel to enter Kochi.
The port subsequently filed an affidavit stating that the vessel poses ecological and fire hazard to the port premises. The owner wanted to shift the vessel to Sri Lanka for repairs, however, case was filed with High court by one of the involved parties due to financial liabilities.
The Kerala High Court on April 3, 2019, directed the vessel not to enter the Kochi owing to safety issues and remain anchorage under arrest till financial security is provided.
Considering the impending danger posed by the unnamed vessel, the Central government counsel on the request the Director General Shipping approached the Kerala High Court to reconsider the directive and allow the vessel to proceed to any port where safe transfer of cargo is feasible.
“The High Court dismissed the admiralty suit and vacated the arrest order on May 29, 2019,” said the officer.
Thereafter, a series of meeting took place between all the stakeholders where it was decided for safe disposal of the vessel.
From Kochi to Goa
The vessel was taken over by Allahabad bank and was shifted under tow on July 9 from Kochi anchorage to Goa to discharge 2,800 million tonne of Naphtha. The vessel entered Mormugao port on July 15, 2019.
“Owing to local issues, the vessel was again shifted along with the cargo to outer anchorage of Mormugao port, Goa on September 21, 2019,” said the officer, adding that it was left unattended.
But with cyclonic storm Kyarr long the west coast of Goa, the unmanned, abandoned and anchored vessel slowly dragged from its initial position in north east direction and ran aground on October 25, 2019.
This has raised a serious threat to sea shore life. The Mormugao Port Trust and District Collector of the region have kept Pollution Response equipment standby.
The District Collector has also requested to augment contingency measures as per national Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan. But if the new cyclone hits the vessel it could be disastrous. (IANS)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
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Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.