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Vyapam Scam: The Indian Game of Thrones

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By Prerna Grewal

Amongst one of the biggest scams in India, the Vyapam Scam is gradually bringing India’s own Game of Thrones level of politics to light. Being labelled as one of the most sinister scams in the country’s history, it’s something that would make an intriguing plot for a movie or a novel. But something that has scope for existence only within the realms of fiction is indeed being witnessed in reality. It might perhaps rather end up serving as an inspiration for various fictional adaptations.

Ironically, the Vyapam Scam has had echoes in fiction even before it came to light. Amongst the various methods adopted for cheating in the examinations conducted by Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (also known as Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam) and Medical Council of India, the model of an already enrolled student seated between aspiring applicants in order to allow them to copy answers, resembles the model adopted for securing admission in the much acclaimed Bollywood comedy Munnabhai M.B.B.S.

Reports and investigations over time have brought the involvement of a wide network of politicians and officials to the surface. Former education minister Laxmikant Sharma, Governer Ram Naresh Yadav, ex officer on special duty to governer Dhanraj Yadav and Deputy Inspector General RK Shivhare are a few names that stand out amongst this integrated web of corruption. The Congress party has also been alleging Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being involved in the scam. At the same time, it must also be noted that the scam started during Digvijaya Singh’s term as the Chief Minister.

murder

India Today journalist Akshay Singh who was investigating the scam and the Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose medical college, Arun Sharma, are amongst the latest additions to those found dead under mysterious circumstances. Various figures have cropped up in regards with the number of dead people associated with the scam. While official accounts put the number of deaths at 25, unofficial estimates of deaths vary from 44 to 156, depending on who is making the claim.

As reported by The Wire, “A majority of those who died are from the Chambal region straddling Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the dead were in the age group of 25-30. They were either students, who had fraudulently secured admission to medical colleges after paying hefty sums to touts of the PEB’s bosses, or job aspirants who benefited from the manipulation of recruitment tests”. The phrase “Danse Macabre”, meaning the dance of death, is literally finding manifestation in the contemporary reality.

The entire scenario raises several questions- Is it possible to untangle this mass web of corruption? Does one have heroes like Beckett and Castle to reveal the climax of this real life crime thriller? Is having heroes enough to arrive at a conclusion in a situation where people from all rungs seem to be involved? With reports of state level politicians being involved, why hasn’t a CBI enquiry been approved till now? Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, otherwise frequently active on Twitter, silent about this scam?

Like various other scams, big or small, petty politics that’s witnessed every second day is nothing more than a recurrent manifestation of trivial aspirations, greed and self-interest of a large number of people. History can offer numerous instances of devastation by the dominance of one or all of these traits. Memory, however, easily obliterates past and cloaks it with current needs and ambition. One wonders if the negative aspects of history will ever stop repeating themselves. One wonders and is almost convinced that dream of an idyllic reality will always be a dream. Good and bad, white and black, reward and punishment – there is no perfect distribution and disintegration of these categories. It is indeed a grey world.

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS