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India launches a Virtual UN Peacekeeper’s Memorial Wall

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Screen-shot-of-Virtual-Memorial-Wall

United Nations: India has launched a virtual memorial wall to honour the UN peacekeeping heroes who died in service as the first step towards building a permanent monument at the UN headquarters.

Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji unveiled the digital memorial wall on Friday at a reception India hosted here to honour the 125 recipients of the Dag Hammarskjold Medal awarded posthumously to peacekeepers on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Two Indians were among those awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal at an earlier ceremony presided over by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN.

They are Raju Joseph, a civilian who died while working for the UN operation in South Sudan, and Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the Indian reception attended by defence officers from around the world in a kaleidoscope of international military ribbons, medals and uniforms, Mukerji invited them to contribute the names of their heroes to the virtual wall that is now hosted by the Indian mission at www.pminewyork.org.

It now has the names and details of 161 Indians who died in peacekeeping operations.

Eventually, a UN Peacekeepers’ Memorial Wall is proposed to be built at the headquarters with the names of the heroes engraved on it.

In a message to the event, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “India is justifiably proud of its own long and rich tradition of contribution to the UN peacekeeping operations towards the preservation of international peace and security.”

India has contributed over 180,000 troops to 44 UN missions so far. Currently, 8,112 Indian personnel drawn from the military, police and civilian ranks serve in seven UN operations.

“India has been one of the great peacekeeper contributor countries,” said the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous.

Welcoming the initiative for the memorial wall, he added: “the heroes deserve our admiration for their courage.”

Under Secretary General for Field Operations, Atul Khare, who is from India, paid tribute to the Indians who gave their lives for the UN and noted that they represented more than five percent of all those who died serving the organisation.

“I am delighted with the virtual wall. The real wall will become a reality,” he said.

Mukerji said that the Security Council’s permanent members have failed to have face-to-face meetings with the troop contributing countries while designing the mandates for the operations, even though the UN charter calls for it.

The South Asian countries have highly professional military leadership and the Council could use their expertise, he added.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contribute the three largest contigents to the UN operations.

At another ceremony, three Indian military officers and a police officer were awarded UN Headquarters Medal for service to the world organisation at the department of peacekeeping operations.

They are Lt. Col. Bharat Sirohi, Lt. Col. Rajneesh Duseja, Lt. Col. Bharat Bhalla, and Deputy Inspector General P.S. Knegi. (IANS)

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Mercy for the Nirbhaya Rapists?

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past.

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Nirbhaya
The Nirbhaya incident in Delhi was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India.

By Salil Gewali

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.

Nirbhaya rape
The public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night.

Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.

Nirbhaya rape
Advocate Indira Jaising suggested that the convicts of Nirbhaya rape case could be “forgiven” by the parents.

However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”

The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.

Nirbhaya rapists
In 2015, the Delhi Government proposed to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine.

Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine?  Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?

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I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali