Hindus massacred by Rohingiyas : Amnesty International

Bina Bala, 22, who survived the attack by Rohingyas in Myanmar/ Courtesy:

Official website of Amnesty International


New Delhi: At a time when there is a dormant, underlying ongoing debate on the deportation of Rohingyas from the country, it has come to light that armed Rohingya groups massacred up to 99 Hindu women, men and children in the Rakhine state as recently as August 2017. A report by Amnesty International released on Tuesday has thrown light on the brutality with which the Rohingyas targetted and killed Hindu groups in the Rakhine state in Myanmar.

According to the Amnesty report, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked Hindu community in Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik village in northern Maungdaw Township. On August 26, 2017, they killed six Hindus- a man, three children, and two women near Maungdaw town, near Myo Thu Gyi village.

According to the report, Kor Mor La, 25, one of the survivors told Amnesty, “The people who shot us were dressed in black. … I couldn’t see their faces, only their eyes. … They had long guns and swords. My husband was shot next to me. I was shot [in the chest]. After that, I was barely conscious.”

“[It was morning], I was praying at the time,” 22-year-old Bina Bala, one of eight women taken to Bangladesh by ARSA fighters told Amnesty. “They came to our house. Some were wearing black and others were wearing normal clothes … I recognized them [from the village].” According to her statement, the men confiscated their mobile phones and ordered them to stand in the courtyard. “[The men] held knives and long iron rods. They tied our hands behind our backs and blindfolded us. I asked what they were doing. One of them replied, ‘You and [ethnic] Rakhine are the same, you have a different religion, you can’t live here’. He spoke the [Rohingya] dialect. They asked what belongings we had, then they beat us. Eventually, I gave them my gold and money.”

Rika Dhar, 24, another survivor said- “We didn’t have a chance to run… I was blindfolded, and they tied my hands behind my back.” The report cites that “After blindfolding the Hindu villagers, ARSA fighters marched them to a creek area on the outskirts of the village. They then divided the men from the women and children, and brought the women into the forest.”

“The fighters killed, execution-style, 53 of the Hindus from Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik, according to a list of the dead seen by Amnesty International that is consistent with testimony from survivors, other Kha Maung Seik residents, and Hindu community leaders. The victims include 20 men, 10 women, and 23 children, 14 of who were under the age of 8. Only 16 people – eight women and eight of their children – survived, their lives spared on the condition that the women agreed to “convert” from Hinduism to Islam and then marry people selected by ARSA fighters”- the report cites.

According to all eight survivors, the ARSA fighters took the men away and killed them. One of the survivors told the organisation that the Rohingya men “came back with blood on their swords, and blood on their hands. They told us that they had killed our husbands and the village headman.” “They slaughtered the men. We were told not to look at them … They had knives. They also had some spades and iron rods. … We hid in the shrubs there and were able to see a little. … My uncle, my father, my brother – they were all slaughtered. … After slaughtering the men, the women were also slaughtered.”

Citing two of the survivors – Aur Nika, around 18; and Formila the report says that as the fighters were leading them away, “they looked back and saw women being killed.” “I saw men holding the heads and hair [of the women] and others were holding knives. And then they cut their throats,” she said

Archbishop Philip Wilson to step down amid child abuse

Canberra: Australian Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, who is convicted of concealing child sexual abuse, said on Wednesday he will step down from his position on Friday and if need be take even further formal steps. The Archbishop of Adelaide was found guilty of covering up the crimes of a paedophile priest by a court on Tuesday. Wilson, the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted of the offence, said he would step aside from his duties on Friday.

“It is appropriate that, in the light of some of… findings, I stand aside from my duties as Archbishop,” the BBC quoted Wilson’s statement as saying. “If at any point in time it becomes necessary or appropriate for me to take more formal steps, including by resigning as Archbishop, then I will do so.” He, however, did not indicate whether he would appeal the Newcastle court’s conviction, for which he faces a maximum two-year sentence.

On Tuesday, the court ruled that Wilson had known about a paedophile priest’s abuse of altar boys in the 1970s and failed to report the crimes to police. A magistrate found that Wilson, who was told about the abuse from young victims, dismissed their stories because of his desire to protect the Church’s reputation, the BBC said.

Child sexual abuse survivors in Australia have praised the verdict as a milestone in confirming the church’s legal accountability for such crimes.

Deepika Padukone’s next project to be a massive superhero film?


Deepika Padukone’s last film broke all the box-office records. She played the titular role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat and received immense appreciation for her fine performance in the film. Post Padmaavat, Deepika was to start shooting for Vishal Bharadwaj’s film with Irrfan Khan. However, the film has been postponed due to Irrfan’s health.

About her next project, Deepika said, “I can’t tell you how many people have said, “can you do another Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani?” But people aren’t making that many love stories anymore. Everyone is making sports biopics. I want to do something fun and light – that’s my brief! And that hasn’t come as yet.”

Now, Filmfare reports that Deepika has finally signed her next film. She will be seen doing action in the film. A source close to the actor informed the publication, “After going through several scripts, Deepika has finally locked one and this is a massive superhero film. Deepika will have various action scenes which fans haven’t seen her doing before. The untitled film will be produced by Fox Star and she’
s quite excited about it already.”

Deepika and the team are yet to make a formal announcement, but it is believed that Deepika has given her nod to the project.

There were reports that Deepika has not signed her next film due to the quality of roles coming her way. She wanted to sign an author-backed role and well, it seems that the superhero film is just that!

Sambit digs on RAGA



The BJP on Wednesday slammed Rahul Gandhi for targeting the RSS over the killing of 10 people in police firing in Tuticorin, saying the Congress chief was hiding his “failures” behind the veil of attacking the organisation. Gandhi claimed that Tamils were being killed as they refused to “bow” to the ideology of the RSS.

In an apparent reference to the anti-copper plant violence at Tuticorinon on Tuesday in which 10 people were killed in police firing, Gandhi said he was with the Tamil people. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra attacked Gandhi at a media briefing for drawing the RSS into the incident and said it underlined his “inexperience and immaturity”, wondering what future the Congress would have with such a president. “You can inherit presidency of a party but you cannot inherit wisdom and understanding,” he said, taking a dig at Gandhi.

Patra also alleged, citing media reports, that senior Congress leader P Chidambaram was a director in the company, which was at the centre of the violent protests in the southern state, and asked Gandhi to seek clarification from him.

In India’s federal structure, law and order is a state subject and the BJP-run central government has nothing to do with the police firing, Patra said, asking if Gandhi knew that. In a jibe, he said Gandhi so often errs by blaming the RSS for things happening across the country and the BJP would like to gift him Class VI civics book to learn about India’s federal structure, Constitution and democracy.

What has happened is a matter of sorrow and Gandhi is trying to milk a sad incident for political mileage, Patra alleged. He wondered if the Congress president would also blame the RSS for anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the Emergency imposed in 1975 by the then Indira Gandhi government. “He is not able to give a capable leadership to the Congress and believes that he can milk politically any situation to suit his political opportunism by drawing the RSS and the BJP into the battle,” he said. Patra accused Gandhi of hiding his “failures” behind the veil of attacking the RSS.

Pradhan urges Saudi Arabia for price stability

India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has pressed Saudi Arabia to keep prices stable and moderate amid crude prices touching $80, saying that spike in rates would have a negative impact on Indian consumers as well as the economy.

Pradhan conveyed India’s concerns when Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih called him last evening “to discuss continued joint cooperation between the two countries and in particular the current oil market situation”, an official statement said.

Brent crude oil, which breached $ 80 a barrel mark yesterday, was trading at $ 79.54 today, the highest level since November 2014.

The rally is being attributed to a combination of factors — renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, the third-largest producer of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, shrinking supplies from Venezuela, and the International Energy Agency saying that a global surplus has finally been eliminated due to output cuts by OPEC and its allies.

“Pradhan expressed his concern about rising prices and its negative impact on consumers and the Indian economy,” the statement said. “Pradhan emphasized his desire for stable and moderate prices.” Al-Falih, on his part, assured that supporting global economic growth is one of Saudi Arabia’s key goals.

He (Al-Falih) reiterated his commitment towards stable supplies and that the Kingdom together with other producers will ensure availability of adequate supplies to offset any potential shortfalls and ensure that prices remain reasonable.

Oil Ministry Statement

The rally in international oil prices and a weakening rupee against the U.S. dollar has led to a spike in domestic retail prices of petrol and diesel.

Petrol prices have risen by about a rupee per litre since Monday when the state-owned fuel retailers resumed daily revision in retail prices after a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus. Diesel prices have gone up by Rs 1.15 a litre during this period.

Petrol price was today hiked by 29 paise, the second steepest increase since daily price revision was introduced in mid-June last year. It costs Rs 75.61 per litre in Delhi, the highest in almost five years.

Diesel rates went up by a similar proportion to take the retail price to its highest ever rate of Rs 67.08 a litre, according to a price notification issued by state-owned oil marketing companies.

To make up for the almost $5 per barrel increase in price of benchmark gasoline price since April 24, when the freeze on retail rates came into effect, a Rs 4 per litre increase in petrol price is warranted. Of this 98 paisa has already been affected and the remaining is likely to be passed on to consumers in near future.

Similarly, on diesel, the benchmark rate has gone up by $ 4.8 per barrel, necessitating an Rs 3.5-4 a litre increase. Of this, Rs 1.15 has already been affected.

The Saudi Minister updated Pradhan on his ongoing consultations with colleagues from major producing countries both inside and outside of OPEC, including Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and UAE Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister, who is also the President of the OPEC Conference, the statement said.

Govt for roll back in petroleum

With petrol and diesel prices being hiked for the tenth day in a row, the government today said it is working on a long-term solution to address the volatility and frequent revisions in rates.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had in June last year junked a 15-year old practice of revising rates every fortnight and introduced daily revisions which worked well except periods immediately preceding an election.

There was a 19-day freeze in revising rates before Karnataka went to polls, and since the time the hiatus ended on May 14, rates have gone up by Rs 2.54 a litre in case of petrol and Rs 2.41 in diesel.

The 10-day relentless price increases built pressure on the government for cutting excise duty to give immediate relief to consumers but after a meeting of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad offered little insight if a reduction in tax was coming.

With the geopolitical situation leading to an uncertainty over the direction of international oil prices, “a new sense of urgency has developed”, he said.

“The government is keen that instead of having an ad hoc measure, it may be desirable to have a long-term view which addresses not only the volatility but also takes care of the unnecessary ambiguity arising out of frequent ups and downs. That process is underway,” he added.

The minister refused to elaborate either on the measures being considered or if a duty reduction was on cards.

On the question of excise duty, he said proceeds from such taxes are used for country’s development including building of highways, digital infrastructure, electricity to villages, hospitals and education. “So tax on fuel is linked with developmental issues.”

Asked about former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s criticism of the BJP government raising excise duty to take away gains arising from falling international prices, Prasad said he generally does not comment on the Congress leader’s tweets “because ever since his party went out of power, he has become active on Twitter”.

Chidambaram had in a series of tweets said that the fall in international oil prices between 2014 and early 2016 helped the government save Rs 15 per litre but the government put an additional Rs 10 on every litre of fuel.

The government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.

Since May 14 when the state-owned oil firms ended a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus on revising fuel prices, petrol and diesel rates have been revised everyday, leading them to record highs. Petrol costs Rs 76.17 per litre in Delhi while diesel sells for Rs 68.34.

State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) were in April 2002 allowed to revise rates of petrol and diesel on 1st and 16th of every month based on average rate of benchmark international petroleum product prices and rupee-U.S. dollar rates in the preceding fortnight.

The revisions continued till just before the general elections in 2004 when oil companies went slow and after a Congress-led UPA came to power the entire process was reviewed as the international oil prices started moving up. Rates were revised on fortnightly basis but not all of the desired hike was passed on to the consumers and that increase not passed on converted into subsidy.

The UPA government finally freed petrol price in June 2010 and the diesel rates were decontrolled by the current BJP government in November 2014.

Prasad said the government had allowed complete freedom on pricing and on many occasions prices went down considerably.

The central government levies Rs 19.48 excise duty on a litre of petrol and Rs 15.33 on diesel. State sales tax or VAT varies from state to state. Unlike excise duty, VAT is ad valorem and results in higher revenues for the state when rates move up.

It is possible to cut Rs.25 per liter but BJP won’t : PC



Amid rising criticism over steep hike in fuel prices, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today claimed it was possible to cut up to Rs 25 per litre in petrol prices but the government will not do so.

In a series of tweets, the former finance minister said the bonanza to central government is Rs 25 on every litre of petrol and this money rightfully belongs to the average consumer.  “Central government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. Central government puts additional tax of Rs 10 on every litre of petrol.”

“It is possible to cut up to Rs 25 per litre, but the government will not. They will cheat the people by cutting price by Rs 1 or 2 per litre of petrol,” he said on Twitter.

More than a week after state-owned oil firms ended a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus on revising fuel prices, petrol and diesel rates have touched record highs. Petrol costs Rs 76.87 per litre in Delhi and diesel costs Rs 68.08 a litre. In the last nine days, petrol price has risen by Rs 2.24 a litre and diesel by Rs 2.15. Rates vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT. The prices in Delhi are the cheapest among all metros and most state capitals.

The central government levies Rs 19.48 a litre of excise duty on petrol and Rs 15.33 per litre on diesel.  State sales tax or VAT varies from state to state. Unlike excise duty, VAT is ad valorem and results in higher revenues for the state when rates move up. In Delhi, VAT on petrol was Rs 15.84 a litre, and Rs 9.68 on diesel in April. Now, it is Rs 16.34 on petrol and Rs 10.02 a litre on diesel.

Every rupee cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel will result in a revenue loss of Rs 13,000 crore.

The government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.

Subsequent to that excise duty reduction, the Centre had asked states to also lower VAT. Just four of them — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh — reduced rates while others including BJP-ruled ones ignored the call.

In all, duty on petrol rate was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped governments excise mop up more than double to Rs 2,42,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15.

Yogi sprees projects worth Rs 500 Bn.


The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is gearing up to host an investment spree next month to mark the launch of projects totalling about Rs 500 billion.

These projects are proposed to be set up by top Indian corporate houses, including (RIL), Adani, Birla, Essel, Infosys, World Trade Center, Metro Cash & Carry, TCS, ACC Cement, Intex, Nature Fresh, etc. These projects numbering about 80 pertain to different sectors, including infrastructure, services, manufacturing etc, UP industry minister Satish Mahana said in on Wednesday.

The government has sought the time of prime minister to grace the ‘ground breaking’ ceremony for these mega projects proposed to be set up in different districts.

These projects totalling Rs 500 billion are part of the Rs 4.68 trillion worth of investment proposals that the Adityanath government had netted during UP Investment Summit 2018 held in on 21-22 February. The Summit was inaugurated by PM Modi in the presence of top Indian industrialists and industry leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Subhash Chandra, Anand Mahindra, N Chandrasekaran etc. Modi had even called upon Maharashtra and UP as to who amongst the two states became the first trillion dollar economy in India.

While projects with investment profile of up to Rs 500 million would be launched at the district level, projects with an investment commitment of over Rs 500 million would be launched at the state-level ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony in 

Mahana said the launch ceremony next month would be held on a grand scale to showcase UP as a top investment destination in India, especially after the Adityanath government came to power, which had “instilled confidence among investors” about its proactive policies and corruption-free governance.

Earlier, the government had constituted 4 strategic units under the state industry department to vet the 1,045 investment proposals received at the Investment Summit. The state had planned to launch projects in March-April, however, it got delayed due to issues pertaining to land, clearances etc, UP infrastructure and industrial development commissioner (IIDC) Anup Chandra Pandey said. “We have introduced digital clearance system in Nivesh Mitra.”

Over the past weeks, the government had been vetting the investment proposals and checking the financials and another background of private companies to ensure that they were genuine investors and would not falter going forward.


Later, Mahana told Business Standard that the UP government was working towards the maximum conversion of investment proposals to better the national average of 10-12%. “We would be organising similar groundbreaking ceremonies every three months to launch projects.”

Meanwhile, other mega projects including Defence Corridor, Purvanchal Expressway and Jewar International Airport are also lined up for being launched in the next few weeks. These three projects total almost Rs 540 billion.

उच्च न्यायलय बताये कि भ्रष्टाचार से कैसे निबटें : विज


अंबाला: हरियाणा के कैबिनेट मंत्री अनिल विज ने आज हाईकोर्ट को नसीहत दे डाली। अनिल विज ने कैथल की कष्ट निवारण समिति की बैठक में सस्पेंड पब्लिक हेल्थ  के एसडीओ पर मामला दर्ज और सस्पेंशन के आदेशों पर हाईकोर्ट की रोक पर तल्ख टिप्पणी की है। विज ने कहा कि भ्रष्टाचार के मामलों में  कैसे जांच और कार्रवाई होनी चाहिए, हाईकोर्ट उन्हें बता दें वह आगे से वैसा ही करेंगे।  विज के इस बयान के बाद आज  अंबाला में कष्ट निवारण समिति की बैठक में पहुंचे मंत्री कृष्ण लाल पंवार ने भी विज की बात का समर्थन किया और कहा कि यह मामला कोर्ट में है कोर्ट जो करेगी ठीक करेगी।

जीरो टॉलरेंस, गुड गवर्नेंस और पीपल फ्रेंडली सरकार जैसे दावों के साथ सत्ता में आई भाजपा सरकार की कष्ट निवारण समितियों की बैठकें आजकल खूब चर्चाओं में हैं। एसडीओ मामले पर अनिल विज ने कहा कि बड़ी अच्छी बात है कि हाइकोर्ट तय कर दे कि जिसके खिलाफ भ्रष्टाचार का आरोप है, उसकी जांच कैसे करनी चाहिए। कार्रवाई क्या करनी चाहिए। हम वैसे कर देंगे।

विज ने कहा कि उन्होंने एसडीओ के मामले में एफआईआर दर्ज करके जांच करने के लिए कहा था। क्योंकि शिकायतकर्ता लिख कर दे रहा है और आरोप लगा रहा है कि उससे 20 प्रतिशत कमीशन मांगी जाती है। अगर हाइकोर्ट इसके अतिरिक्त कोई और फैसला करना चाहता है तो उसका स्वागत है। एसडीओ पर बोलते हुए विज ने कहा कि हर गलत आदमी अपनी हरकतों से ध्यान हटाने के लिए औरंगजेब जैसों का नाम लेकर ध्यान भटकाने का प्रयास करता है।

वहीं अंबाला में कष्ट निवारण समिति की बैठक में हिस्सा लेने पहुंचे परिवहन मंत्री कृष्ण पंवार ने स्वास्थ्य मंत्री अनिल विज की बात का समर्थन किया। पंवार ने कहा कि कष्ट निवारण समिति के चेयरमैन को पूरा अधिकार होता है कि वह शिकायत आने पर कोई भी एक्शन ले सकता है। लेकिन कोर्ट में जाकर अपनी बात को रखने का कर्मचारी और लोगों को भी प्राधिकार है।

Perspective Prime Ministers



HD Kumaraswamy today took oath against the backdrop of Karnataka’s imposing Vidhan Soudha in the presence of more than a dozen non-BJP leaders from across the country. Mr Kumaraswamy, who had patched up with the Congress at the last minute last week to block the BJP, had been keen to turn the event into a springboard for opposition unity that his party, Janata Dal Secular hopes, would hold till next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi, who were seen to have bent backwards to give Mr Kumaraswamy the lead role in the government, were there. So were chief ministers Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu along with Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.