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Singapore-Top Indian origin engineer dies

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Singapore: A top Indian origin engineer died at the age of 94. He was a great asset in the development of Port of Singapore Authority and the Changi airport. Moreover, his journey of life was about to get published through the book, Engineered For Success. A Vjiaratnam died yesterday.

Mr Vjiaratnam was born in 1921 in the northern Ipoh city of Peninsular Malaysia. He later moved to Singapore and went on to study civil engineering at Brighton College of Technology in Britain on government scholarship in 1950.

On return from Britain, he joined the then Public Works Department and played a key role in the formation of the Port of Singapore Authority in 1964. He also played an important role in developing Changi Airport.

Mr Vijiaratnam also played an important role in the port’s containerization programme, among other things, and rose to become its chief engineer.

He was also the first pro-chancellor of Nanyang Technological University, serving from 1992 to 2005.

Mr Vijiaratnam was the only Singaporean to represent the country in hockey, rugby, soccer and cricket. He played for about a decade from 1946.

He was part of the national hockey team that went to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He was also chairman of a local newspaper, Tamil Murasu for 10 years from 1995.

A chartered engineer, he became the first Asian to serve as vice-president of the Britain-based Institution of Structural Engineers.

Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Tan Eng Liang, a water polo player who also went to the 1956 Olympics – said: “Vijiaratnam was exceptional in being able to play four sports at a high level, and that athletes today could learn from him. He was a role model in the way he was able to juggle both sports and a successful career.(IANS)(Image-wikipedia0

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US Commission Urges India to Take Steps to Resolve Communal Riots in New Delhi

US Commission Demands India Act After Religious Riots

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New Delhi Riots
A resident look at burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

A U.S. government commission on Wednesday faulted India’s response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the U.S. government but does not set policy, voiced “grave concern” about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting.

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration. “We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” he said in a statement.

Anurima Bhargava, a commissioner appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voiced alarm at reports that Delhi police “have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims.” “The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” she said. “The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.”

New Delhi Riots
Firefighters stand near a fire rescue vehicle as they douse burnt-out tyre market premises following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India’s citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

The criticism stands in contrast to the reticence of elected U.S. leaders. Trump, asked at a news conference in Delhi about the violence, said the issue was “up to India” and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “incredible” statements on religious freedom.

The clashes in Delhi, which have left at least 27 people dead, were triggered by protests against a citizenship law seen by critics as anti-Muslim and part of Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi has called for calm, although witnesses said police did little to stop Hindu mobs.

His government has previously vowed to weed out “infiltrators” from India, with Home Minister Amit Shah likening undocumented immigrants to “termites. The government says the citizenship law does not target minorities but instead ensures protection for non-Muslims persecuted in neighboring countries.

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The Indian foreign ministry previously reprimanded the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom for denouncing the citizenship law. The commission also plans a public hearing next week on how citizenship laws, including in India and Myanmar, are used to target religious minorities. (VOA)