New Delhi, December 27, 2016: Indian police say they’ve arrested four men on suspicion of raping an American tourist who came to New Delhi alone earlier this year, in another incident of sexual violence to stir outrage.
Police Officer Rakesh Kumar says the suspects — a tour guide and his associate, a car driver and a hotel worker — were arrested Monday.
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The woman said in her police complaint that the four men raped her after she was drugged in a hotel room in April. They denied the accusations.
The woman went back to the U.S. and registered a complaint through an email to New Delhi’s police commissioner. She returned to the Indian capital earlier this month to pursue the case.
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It highlights the persistent violence against women in India despite tougher laws against sexual assault imposed after the 2012 death of a young woman who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi. (VOA)
Monday, saw a nationwide brawl and chaos as the government relaxed the stringent lockdown. Serpentine queues outside liquor shops were a common sight as men and women flocked to stock up on booze amidst the third phase of lockdown. While the central government has issued clear guidelines on social distancing, it was adhered to in some places while others saw complete chaos. Some states have reported a high excise earning as the liquor sales soared high after relaxations.
As the Delhi government on Sunday announced implementing the latest lockdown relaxations suggested by Union Ministry of Home Affairs around 150 liquor shops located outside the coronavirus containment zones opened on Monday. To get their hands on booze people flouted social distancing norms, a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar saw more than a hundred people lined up, the Police were called to take charge of the situation. Many other cities saw a similar scenario, people had gathered outside shops as early as 6 am in the morning. In some places the situation got out of control and shops were shut by the owners before the set time. However, the sale of liquor in malls, restaurants and permit rooms is still prohibited across the nation during lockdown 3.0.
Social distancing went down the gutters in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata too as people were seen in queues as long as 1 to 2kms outside liquor shops. In some cities, the Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge in order to get a hold of the situation. However, interestingly enough at some shops in Bengaluru staffers were seen thermal screening the customers in fear of COVID-19 spread. In UP’s Mirzapur a shopkeeper was seen showering petals on his customer.
According to the excise department Uttar Pradesh recorded a sale of over 100 crores on Monday itself, the Principal Secretary, Excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said: “I don’t think there would be any single industry with just less than one lakh workforce that gives ₹100 crore revenue (to the state exchequer) in a day”. Likewise, Karnataka’s excise department released a statement estimating the value of liquor sales on the first day to be around 450 million rupees. Mahasamund district’s women in Chhattisgarh staged a protest against the liquor shops opening condemning the government’s decision. Other places however saw a considerable number of women outside liquor shops.
The country saw a bittersweet situation where on one side the uncontainable happiness on the faces of customers was unmatchable while on the other side social distancing norms were flouted and the Police faced a tough time in managing the crowds. A lot of places witnessed utter chaos which led the owners to shut down the shops before time.
This special Indus Valley menu strictly coheres to ingredients recollected by archaeologists and researchers from sites of Indus-Saraswati civilization, culled out by OSMS, a Delhi-based collective of conservation architects
India is undoubtedly the home to world’s oldest civilizations. The Indus Valley Civilization which was discovered just 100 years ago has been confined to India. It was some 5000 years ago that the Indus Valley civilization emanated. Some archeological research has shown that it was an advanced civilization with well developed cities.
Interestingly an exhibition named “Historical Gastronomica” in New Delhi, India has conceptualized the food that South Asians living here ate.
The ‘Historical Gastronomica: The Indus Dining Experience’ at the National Museum in Delhi has a specially crafted tasting menu on Indus Valley food culture that includes Khatti dal, Kachri ki sabzi, black gram stewed with jaggery and seasame oil, raggi ladu, thin barley griddle cakes, sweet rice with banana and honey and a special “Indus Valley Khichri”.
This special Indus Valley menu strictly coheres to ingredients recollected by archaeologists and researchers from sites of Indus-Saraswati civilization, culled out by OSMS, a Delhi-based collective of conservation architects.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” said Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers. Living in the teeming Indian capital for more than four decades, I easily could have added another two items: the incessant clamor of traffic, and perpetual crowds in public places.
Until the coronavirus pandemic changed that.
I cruise along an eight-lane arterial road that ferries officegoers in New Delhi to a vibrant business hub bordering the city. It is eerily empty, a sight I never imagined possible when I used to negotiate this dreaded commute, repeatedly checking Google Maps in hopes that the clogged roads had magically cleared.
It has happened, though not quite the way I had wished for. I encounter only a handful of vehicles and two police barricades. In a city notorious for flouting rules, police check every vehicle to enforce a strict lockdown that has been in place for the past 10 days. I can venture out only because of my press card.
The once noisy, bustling capital, home to 20 million people, is now surreal, a virtual ghost city.
Small roadside shacks that made a living selling piping hot tea in winter and cold drinks in summer are shuttered. The street carts that sold meals like omelets and bread to the line of auto rickshaw drivers who waited for customers outside a shopping mall near my home have gone. Fuel stations are open but there are virtually no customers. I spot only three members of a family trudging along the road, along with a few deliverymen.
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Glitzy advertisements on hoardings have been replaced with health messages about the coronavirus: “Keep minimum six feet distance;” “Practice frequent hand washing with soap;” “Say Namaste Instead of Handshake.”
The ever-vibrant business hub adjoining New Delhi, the aspirational office address for young people, is desolate, its tall glass and chrome buildings silhouetted against vacant streets.
Inside my gated residential complex in Gurugram on the edge of New Delhi, walkers and joggers who liven up the road inside the community every morning and evening are missing — people are not supposed to step out of their homes for exercise, only for essential jobs. And gone is the army of cooks, maids and gardeners who walked in every morning.
A friend stops outside my gate to chat for a few minutes. He tells me he went out briefly to pay his maid her monthly salary — she was down to her last $5.
That is the worry for millions of low-income workers who have no credit cards, no bank balances and were caught in the lockdown announced with just four hours’ notice on March 24 before they were paid their wages.
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We are all painfully aware that the worst consequences of the virus brought by overseas travelers from the middle classes and the elite are being borne by the poor.
The men running the small grocery and vegetable shop in my complex tell me they are lucky because they have not had to pull down their shutters. The grocery shop’s stocks are running low after the wave of panic buying. There are no more sodas and chips for customers to consume as they while away quiet evenings watching television. But the vegetable shop owner is doing brisk business as most people hesitate to venture outside the complex.
In some countries, people who cannot hunker down inside their homes because they have to work may not count themselves fortunate at this time. But for millions of Indians in the lower economic strata, like these shop owners, protecting livelihoods is a far bigger worry than the coronavirus.
“I use a mask when I go to the wholesale market to pick up vegetables. Other than that, I don’t care. If something has to happen to me, nothing can stop it,” the vegetable shop owner, Shankar, tells me cheerfully, echoing the fatalistic philosophy that millions down the economic strata swear by in this country.
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While announcing the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told citizens, “Remember when there is life, there is hope,” to drive home the need for the drastic measure.
That message might have been lost on six daily wage laborers whom I had watched for months refurbishing a house opposite mine. The project is stalled. Were they among the tens of thousands of migrant laborers who walked hundreds of kilometers to their villages — the only refuge for unemployed labor when jobs are lost and money runs out?
With everything at a standstill, the twitter of birds has replaced the clamor of a noisy city. The spring has lasted longer than usual, and flowers are still in bloom. The skies in the world’s most polluted capital have turned blue — something a city typically shrouded in gray smog would have celebrated with gusto in normal times. I can switch off the air purifier and open the windows to let in air that is the cleanest in years.
Although we are breathing fresher air, none of us is breathing easy as we exchange one public health threat for an even deadlier one. We all know that cities like mine, with a massive population, will struggle the most if the infection spins out of control. (VOA)