New Delhi: Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention and active initiatives by NSA Ajit Doval, ULFA founding member, Anup Chetia was handed over to Indian agencies by Bangladesh at Indo-Bangla border this morning.
Chetia the general secretary of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has numerous cases against him including murder, abductions, and extortion in India.
He was arrested by Bangladesh police in December 1997. His plea for seeking political asylum in Bangladesh was turned down thrice in 2005, 2008 and 2011 and sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.
However, after the expiry of his term, Chetia was kept in jail under a 2003 high court directive asking authorities to keep him in safe custody until a decision was taken on his asylum plea.
The repartition of Anup Chetia would be a huge blow to the extremist outfit which has frequently destabilized the north-eastern region of India. Getting him in custody would help Indian intelligence agencies to get crucial details on the organization’s financial backings and incubation centers in neighboring countries.
The success by the Indian agencies proves its dynamism as it was only last week when India’s most wanted criminal Chhota Rajan landed in India’s net.
Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.
Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.
However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.
Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.
“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.
The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff. Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.
“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.
Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.
However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.
“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.
“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.
That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.
“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.
“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.
The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.
“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.
Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.
“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.
The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.
A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.
Baywatch icon and former Bigg Boss guest star Pamela Anderson on Friday wrote a letter on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to serve only vegan food at all government meetings and functions.
In this letter, she urges Modi to lead India’s fight against climate change by serving only delicious vegan (wholly plant-derived) food at all government meetings and functions. The animal rights group and the actor explained that raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy causes nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.
“With your country’s innovation and agricultural history, I’m sure that India-produced soy and other versatile foods can easily replace these damaging foods,” she writes. PETA Director urged Modi to adopt pro-vegan steps taken by other countries such as New Zealand, China and Germany.
“I appeal to you to show that India can equal or best them,” the 52-year-old actor added.
Expressing concern over climate change she wrote, “My heart goes out to everyone affected by the severe air pollution plaguing Delhi. I worry about the residents as well as the animals who can’t wear face masks or stay indoors.”
She said that according to latest reports, 36 million Indians could face the threat of annual coastal flooding by 2050. The World Bank has predicted that at least 21 cities in India are approaching zero groundwater levels for next year and that 40 per cent of Indians may not have water to drink by 2030.
Anderson in her letter praised India’s cuisine that made it the ‘easiest place on earth’ to be vegan. “India is the easiest place to be vegan… I still remember the beautiful colour of saffron rice and the alluring aroma of veggie biryani. India’s foods are so fantastic and varied that it’s the easiest place on earth to be vegan”, she added.
Last month, she had written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to serve nutritious vegan meals in correctional facilities. (IANS)
Prime minister Narendra Modi says that all religions flourished in India
He said that every religion found life in India
Modi said that India is a land of many religions and festivals
Stressing that India embraced many religions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that every religion flourished in India.
“Every religion found life here, it grew here. Every Indian is proud of this virtue, no matter what language he speaks, no matter what religion he practices,” the Prime Minister said at a conference on ‘Islamic Heritage: Promoting Understanding and Moderation’ in the presence of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
“Be it, Buddha or Mahatma Gandhi, the fragrance of peace and love has spread across the world from India. India has given the idea of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ — which means that the whole world is our family. India found its identity in considering the people of this world as their family.
“We will be celebrating Holi tomorrow, there will be a celebration of Buddha Jayanti, that will be followed by the month of Ramzan — a symbol of the country’s unity and diversity.” IANS