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By Nithin Sridhar
Sanju Rathore. Does the name ring a bell? No? I guessed so. Not many have heard the name. He was a 15-year old boy from a small village in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. He ‘was’ a small boy, because he is no longer alive. He was shot dead in a communal clash in the last week of July.
Now, let’s try again, but with a different name.
Mohammad Akhlaq. Does the name ring a bell? Yes? Of course. Thanks to the extensive media coverage, almost the entire world knows about how an innocent Muslim man was killed in the last week of September by a Hindu mob after rumors were spread that the Muslim family had killed a cow and had consumed it.
Let’s get back to Sanju Rathore. Two months before the ghastly lynching of Akhlaq in Dadri, Sanju Rathore was shot dead in an equally ghastly manner in Rampur. The Cattle belonging to a Hindu family were allegedly grazing on the land belonging to a Muslim, following which there was a minor clash on the afternoon of July 29th. After this, the members of Muslim community attacked a Hindu religious site and fired at members of the Hindu community. Sanju Rathore, an innocent 15 year old got shot in his neck and died on his way to the hospital.
Sanju’s father has alleged that some people had used loudspeakers and instigated Muslims from the neighborhood to take revenge on those who had left their herd to graze in the fields belonging to Muslims.
Any unbiased person will immediately perceive many commonalities between these two cases. To begin with, both started as a minor conflict over cattle; both turned into communal clashes due to perceived harm to the respective communities; the tensions were fanned in both cases by spreading rumors through loudspeakers; and finally, an innocent person was mercilessly murdered in both the cases.
So, logically we should have seen similar outrage, similar outpourings during the aftermath of both the incidents.
After the Dadri incident, there was a huge outrage. The journalists, writers, and intellectuals, all of them expressed their shock and concern over the issue. Newspapers and TV channels provided extensive coverage and commentaries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was questioned regarding his silence, and the dangers of rising communalism were promptly pointed out. Many writers returned their Sahitya Academy Awards as well, as a mark of protest.
Now, let’s turn to Sanju Rathore’s murder. Except for a few news outlets, no 24X7 coverage was provided. No newspaper articles, no commentaries were written. No writers returned their awards. Most people are not even aware that a 15-year old Hindu boy was killed by a Muslim mob over a trivial issue.
Why was this so? What explains this selective outrage of the media and the public intellectuals? What differentiates the Dadri lynching from Rampur shooting? Why the former was treated with outrage and the latter with silence? Did Sanju deserve to die? Did not he deserve sympathy as well? Did his family not deserve compensation the way Akhlaq’s family got?
Now, let’s consider another incident- the murder of Prashanth Poojary in Moodabidri, Karnataka. He was a flower seller who was campaigning for the protection of cows and for the closure of illegal slaughter houses. True he was a Bajrang Dal activist, but does that make his murder less ghastly? Further, he was not killed because he was a Bajrang Dal activist, but because he tried to prevent illegal cow-slaughter.
One famous journalist writes that Poojary’s death has a political context and hence cannot be compared to Dadri incident. He further insinuates that somehow, Poojary himself is to blame for his murder as he got mixed up with communal politics. The question is, if his argument is really genuine, then what political context did Sanju Rathore’s shooting had? Why was his death not covered then?
He further writes that the only crime of Akhlaq was that he was a victim of a rumor and that he belonged to a particular community. Wasn’t Sanju’s crime along same lines as well? Was he not targeted because he belonged to a particular community as well? Then, why not cover his case then?
From the behavior of the media and the public intellectuals, it becomes clear that in the present India, the life of a Hindu has no value. Sympathy, outrage, protection, human rights, all these terms do not apply to a Hindu life. A Hindu life lost deserves only silence and suppression. All the outrage and lessons in communal harmony and secularism is remembered only when the victims are from the minority community.
This is because an issue about Hindu life lost does not serve the agenda of the media and the intellectuals. It does not help them, because they cannot use this to brand the government communal, they cannot use this to gain TRPs, and they cannot use this to further the agenda of breaking India forces that fund them.
It is not the contention of the article to say that Dadri murder was less ghastly. The point being made is that every communal clash is ghastly, every life is precious and every murder is horrible. The life of an innocent Hindu is as precious as an innocent Muslim and the murder of Hindus is as horrible as murder of a Muslim. After all, Hindus are Humans too.
Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.
The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.
These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.
Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.
Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."
The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.
"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences
On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.
According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.
Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.
According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.
Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India