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By Harshmeet Singh
A resident of Delhi’s IP Extension area, the 38-year-old Shahnawaz, was on his way to his home on April 5 when he was beaten to death by five men after he had an argument with them at the Turkman gate. A profusely bleeding Shahnawaz was watched on by his two children as he succumbed to his injuries. What was the reason behind the argument? An altercation over not providing enough space to overtake while struck in a traffic jam. Have we reached a stage where we are ready to kill someone because he dared to have an argument with us? Why is India so angry?
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first case of road rage in the country and neither would it be the last. While some people attribute it to the high levels of stress, others simply see low tolerance level as the major reason behind this menace. With an ever increasing number of motorists hurrying to reach their destinations, incidents of road rage aren’t expected to come down in the near future.
In 2013, a Pakistani diplomat was thrashed in Delhi after his official car collided with a motor cycle. The biker was riding on the wrong side of the road. The diplomat, true to his job description, tried to have a rational conversation with the rider only to realize that rationality has no place on roads in India. Unlike Pakistan’s large claims of a ‘conspiracy against their country’, it turned out to be just another case of road rage. But when such incidents are reported against a diplomat from another country, the problem can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked so easily. The motorcyclist, in this case, would have been one of the many million Indians on the road, fighting to make their way through the congested jams, without giving a thought about others present around them.
Interestingly, there is no specific section of the society that can be pointed out for creating a ruckus on the roads. Right from the rich brats driving Audis and Mercs to auto rickshaws and truck drivers, no one seems to like anyone else on ‘their road’.
What leads to road rage?
An ever increasing population has ensured that our roads mirror a chaotic playground most of the times. Hundreds of horn honking vehicles try to create their own lane as soon as they see an empty space on the road.
In most altercations, aggression is met by even more aggression. ‘Swear words’ are just the beginning to the mighty explosion that follows afterwards. Diplomacy (which can very well get you out of there unhurt) is nowhere near to be seen.
The worst part about these incidents is that no one seems to care. In the recent Delhi road rage incident, it has been reported that Shahnawaz’s children ran to the nearby police station (just 50 meters from the place of incident) to bring him some help. But the men on duty asked them to go away. In 2012 Delhi rape case, the girl and the boy were said to be lying on the road naked, bleeding profusely only to see the passersby glancing at them and going away as if nothing has happened. And this isn’t without any reason. The good Samaritans who help road accident victims and take them to the hospital have reported harassment at the hands of the police enough times to scare anyone of giving a helping hand to the needy. Absence of a Good Samaritan law in India is a major deterrent to those who wish to help the road accident victims.
Lessons from foreigners
In France, a person is obligated to help any injured party, provided that he / she can do it with no harm to anyone else. In Finland, professionals are required to provide immediate help to the person in need, failing which; they would be punishable under the Finnish penal Code. German laws are much more holistic in this regard. According to their law, a person in need must be provided with first aid. Also, the provider of the first aid will not be prosecuted even if it results in worsening of the condition of the injured or if the first aid didn’t meet the required criteria.
Israel goes a step further and makes the good Samaritan eligible for compensation, in case any damage is caused to him during the rescue act. In countries such as China and England, a Good Samaritan is provided with ‘civil and criminal liability protection’ if some predetermined conditions are met. But despite several demands, a Good Samaritan law remains a distant possibility in India.
Not just limited to the roads
Men on the streets have taken shape of active bombs, ready to explode with all their rage on the slightest of provocation. The short tempers are on display even when the people aren’t on the roads. Sharp reactions and frequent demands for bans and censorship highlight our low lying tolerance levels in today’s times. Peaceful protests turning violent are a common occurrence these days. ‘If we don’t like it, we will destroy it’ seems to be the guiding principle for many in the country.
As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.
According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.
Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.
Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.
As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.
Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.
Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.
Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.
Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.
Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.
Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.
Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.
The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.
To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.
Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.
The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.
The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.
The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.
Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.
The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.
When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.
"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.
"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.
Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.
On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.
Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.
Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.
The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.
The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.
"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.
"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.
ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.
"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.
"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.
"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."
"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.