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Indian Arrival Day on May 1 to be Celebrated in Grenada this year

The Indian Heritage celebrations started with a lecture presentation by Dr Beverly Steel on the Indian Heritage at the National Museum on May 18

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Indentured Laborers taken from India. Wikimedia
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Grenada, April 30, 2017: Grenada, an island nation with a popularity of 110,000 people, is located in the north-west of Trinidad and Tobago in the Eastern Caribbean. The Indo-Grenadian community to celebrate its Indian Arrival Day on May 1, this year. There is a small number of Indian expatriates in Grenada who are professionals or teach at the St George’s University. A group of Indians are residents there who are mostly traders or run small businesses for tourists.

There is a small number of Indian expatriates in Grenada who are professionals or teach at the St George’s University. A group of Indians are residents there who are mostly traders or run small businesses for tourists.

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The Indian Heritage celebrations started with a lecture presentation by Dr Beverly Steel on the Indian Heritage at the National Museum on May 18. It also included the screening of a Hindi movie and a fundraising luncheon at the Belmont Estate.

The Indian Government has sponsored Cultural troupes, who have been visiting Grenada for the past few years to perform at the Indian Arrival Day event and the festival of Holi or phagwa. They have successfully worked to generate interest and enthusiasm in Indian music and dance among the Indo-Grenadians. Remnants of Indian culture can be found in Grenada in the names of some Indo-Grenadians with the use of a few Hindi words, mainly words related to food and cooking – such as roti and dal.

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In 1957, making 100 years of Indian arrival in Grenada, the Indian Arrival Day was celebrated for the first time. In 2009, the next commemoration function of the Indian arrival was held more than five decades later when May 1 was declared as Indian Arrival Day in conjunction with Labour Day by the Government of Grenada. To commemorate the day, a plaque was installed at Irwin Bay in St. Patrick by the Indo-Grenada Heritage Foundation, which was instrumental in getting official recognition for Indian Arrival Day.

The road leading to the commemorative monument was named Maidstone Road after the first ship that brought Indians to Grenada. Since that time, Indian Arrival Day celebrations have become an annually enjoyed event. The celebrations have been gathering a larger participation from Indo-Grenadians and other communities every year.

Grenada, also known as the Spice Island as it is one of the world’s largest producers of the two spices, nutmeg and mace, was once a French colony. It was later taken over by the British.According to local stories, Nutmeg was brought to the islands when a few nutmeg plants had been left behind by a passing ship; the spice plant grew so well in the volcanic island soil that Grenada is now the second largest producer of the spice, after Indonesia. Other spices produced in Grenada include cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

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The Maidstone was the very first ship that brought Indian workers to the Eastern Caribbean island. It had started its journey with 307 passengers from Calcutta port. On May 1, 1857, the Maidstone anchored at Irwin Bay to disembark 287 Indian workers in Grenada; a number of passengers had died at sea during the long voyage. About 3200 men, women and children were brought here from India to work as indentured agricultural labourers between the years 1857 to 1890. These people were the ancestors of the 3000 strong Indo-Grenadian community, who have now formed the second largest ethnic minority in the island nation.

St. George’s University medical school, which is considered to be one of the best medical colleges in the Caribbean, has had about 300 students from India in the past few years, due to its tie-up with American medical schools. Cultural ties have been strengthened by the mix of Indo-Grenadians and the newer Indian arrivals.

– by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

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Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)