Friday, January 31, 2014

Twitterati teases Rahul Baba over Times Now interview


Jokes, parodies, cartoons and even remixes of the Q&A flooded the internet space once it concluded
Agamoni Ghosh

Probably, #RahulSpeaksToArnab was the longest trending hashtag on Twitter when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was being interviewed by Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. Frankly speaking, the RaGa tune was lost in cacophony on the micro-blogging site. 
Appearing a bit nervous, the 43-year-old leader ducked many pertinent questions, ranging from his views on Congress’ prime ministerial candidate, the Adarsh scam and corruption within his own party and inflation.
Since Monday night, jokes, parodies, cartoons and even remixes of the interview flooded the internet space.
The television channel described the interview that it was the "first ever interview of the Gandhi scion". The first interview was, however, given to the Hindi-language newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, and published on January 14.
Here’s a sample:
Former IBN7 editor and Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Ashutosh wrote on twitter “Only similarity between RaGa and NaMo is that after hearing them both speak you get inspired to vote for BJP”.
Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja without missing the opportunity commented “For once, Rahul Gandhi made Indians realize that a silent PM is better than a dumb one!”
Even the much joked about Sir Alok Nath evoked emotions saying “Chaiwala is a better speaker than so called Cambridge pass out”  and “If BJP wins the upcoming election, Rahul Gandhi will be given equal credit as Narendra Modi”
Business tycoon Viajy Mallya tweeted “I heard this long ago. So true after I watched #ArnabVsRahul.'When life throws u a Rahul, make it a Dravid not a Gandhi."
Cricket expert Harsha Bhogle listed the factor of so-called connection issue tweeting that “there are questions on this Rahul Gandhi interview and there are answers but i am searching for a connection.”
Kiran Bedi tweeted,  “ It ssems Mr Rahul Gandhi had some parroted answers to all questions asked---youth, systems, closed party, women, RTI…”
BJP’s young political face Anurag Thakur says , “It's like he came prepared for an exam & the question paper changed at the last minute!"

Pawar meets Modi in Delhi: NCP-BJP alliance on cards?

Marathi newspaper Loksatta has stunned the political sphere by publishing the news of Pawar meeting Modi.
The speculation comes just a couple of days after NCP leader and union minister Praful Patel defended Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots.

MUMBAI: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar reportedly met Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday, giving rise to speculations of a post-poll alliance between the BJP and NCP.

The speculation comes just a couple of days after NCP leader and union minister Praful Patel defended Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying that the clean chit given by the Supreme Court to the Gujarat chief minister should be respected by everyone.

He had reportedly said, "If the judicial system has given any pronouncement I think we ought to respect it and we need not question it further. There's no point to comment because it is for each one to give his or her version but the fact remains that perception today is important. If the judicial system has given certain finality to any controversy, I think we should let it rest there."

However, meanwhile, Shard Pawar has denied meeting Modi, calling the reports as 'mischievous', 'baseless' and 'false'.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arun Jaitley's 5 point rebuttal to Rahul Gandhi's 'confused' interview


NEW DELHI: In a scathing attack on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's first television interview, Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday questioned, "What has Rahul Gandhi to offer to this country?" or "Is he too confused to get into the specifics and therefore goes into the generalities?"

According to Jaitley, the 'most startling statement in the interview' was, "I am absolutely against the concept of dynasty, anybody who knows me knows that and understands that." "Surely Mr. Gandhi you don't expect India to believe you on that," Jaitley mocked.
In a point-by-point rebuttal to the Gandhi scion's interview, Jaitley said that Congress Vice President has 'exposed his own inadequacies'. Here is what Jaitley had to say on the various comments that Rahul Gandhi made in his interview with Times Now.

1) No PM candidate for Congress: "The answer was clearly unconvincing. We all know that the MPs of the ruling party alone elect a leader, who is the Prime Minister. We equally know that projecting shadow Prime Ministers is neither unconstitutional nor extra-constitutional. It happens all over the world," said Jaitley.

What Rahul Gandhi had said: "Democracy is about non-arbitrary decisions. Democracy is about spreading decisions; it is not about destroying processes. There is a process in the constitution and that process says, and it is clearly written in the constitution, and it says members of parliament are to be elected by the population and members of parliament are to elect the Prime Minister. All I am doing is respecting that process."

2) On changing the system and empowerment of people: What does Rahul Gandhi have in mind, asked Jaitley. "If Rahul Gandhi was a member of any other political party he would still be struggling to become a party office bearer. He needs to speak about the Congress Party needing a change and not the whole system," said Jaitley.

"We are a parliamentary democracy. That is the system best suited for India. Which is the alternative system that Rahul Gandhi has in mind. He says he believes in democracy, in opening up the system, in RTI and giving power to the people. These are his differences with Narendra Modi," he said.

"I doubt very much if these are seriously areas of difference. Everybody in Indian politics has to believe in democracy, openness and in empowering the people. Why should he give himself a self-certification that he believes in RTI and empowerment. The fact that candidates are decided by a few people may be happening in the Congress Party. In the BJP the block units and district units recommend candidates to the State units. The State Units bring them to the Central Election Committee," he added.

"It is only after extensive consultation that the candidates are decided. Even for the Prime Ministerial candidate we have gone through an informal process of galaxy of leaders being presented before the party and the people and the most suitable one is finally declared. The de facto Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress Party is decided on the basis of the family he belongs to," he substantiated.

What Rahul Gandhi had said: "What I feel is that this country needs to look at the fundamental issues at hand, the fundamental political issue at hand is that our Political system is controlled by too few people and we absolutely have to change the way our political system is structured, we have to change our Political parties, we have to make them more transparent, we have to change the processes that we use to elect candidates, we have to empower women in the political parties, that is where the meat of the issue but I don't hear that discussion, I don't hear the discussion about how are we actually choosing that candidate, that is never the discussion."
3) India a manufacturing hub: What has the UPA done in the last 10 years in this regard, the BJP leader asked. "China's core competence is low cost manufacturing. Consumers prefer to buy goods which are cheaper. To make the manufacturing sector in India competitive, the manufacturing sector needed to be incentivized in terms of a modest interest rate regime, a world class infrastructure, competitive cost of utilities particularly power, trade facilitation, a globally competitive taxation regime, quick decision making and labour regime flexibility," opined Jaitley.

"Even though the last of these is politically more challenging, has the UPA government even moved an inch with regard to the other reforms required. The answer is a clear No," said Jaitley emphatically.

What Rahul Gandhi had said: "I want to put India on the manufacturing map, I want to make this the centre of manufacturing in the world. I want to make this place at least as much as a manufacturing power as China."

  4) Comparison between 1984 riots & 2002 riots in Gujarat: Where did Rahul Gandhi get this idea that in 1984 there was no participation of the State, the leader mocked.
Explaining his stance, Jaitley said, "In 1984 a slogan 'Khoon ka Badla Khoon' started in the afternoon of 31st October 1984 at the AIIMS where Mrs.Gandhi's body lay. Congress leaders were seen leading the mobs. Sikhs were massacred at thousands of places. No where did the police fire a single bullet to disperse mobs. Cases were not investigated. A Commission of Inquiry was constituted which came with a sham report. The Judge heading the Commission was subsequently made a Congress Party's Member of the Rajya Sabha. Justice evades the victims even now."

"In Gujarat thousands of people were arrested. The badly over-powered police fired at several places. Almost 300 rioters were killed in police firing. Thousands of prosecutions were filed. Hundreds of people have been sentenced. The Chief Minister of the State Government personally went through several inquiries including the Supreme Court constituted SIT and no evidence was found against him," he said.
What Rahul Gandhi had said: "The Gujarat riots took place, people died, Mr. Narendra Modi was in charge of Gujarat at that point," Rahul had said.

Asked about the 1984 riots, Gandhi said, "The fact of the matter is that innocent people died in 1984 and innocent people dying is a horrible thing and should not happen. The difference between Gujarat and 1984 was that the Government of Gujarat was involved in the riots."

"The difference between the 1984 riots and the riots in Gujarat was that in 1984 the Government was trying to stop the riots. In Gujarat the opposite was the case. The Government in Gujarat was actually abetting and pushing the riots further," Gandhi had said.

5) On Corruption: Jaitley slammed Congress for tying up with a convicted leader in Bihar. "Without Lalu Prasad Yadav there is no RJD. Rahul Gandhi has looked the other way when it comes to allegations against Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shri Vir Bhadra Singh. He pays lip sympathy to probity when former CM of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan is bailed out. He chooses to keep quiet on the 2G spectrum allocation and the coal blocks allocation. He believes that some legislations will resolve the menace of corruption," Jaitley said.

What Rahul Gandhi had said: "As far as any corruption done, there is a legal process. And that legal process should be followed and concluded. As far as my personal view is concerned, anybody who is corrupt should be brought to book."

"Our alliance in Bihar is with a political party with an idea not an individual, we are making alliance, and it is not certain that we are going to make an alliance, we are in process of talking to people and our alliance is with an idea, with a party, not an individual."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The first Gandhi-Nehru to be grilled on TV gets my vote

By:-Saisuresh Sivaswamy
January 28, 2014 13:07 IST
Rahul Gandhi'Rahul Gandhi was not wrong in invoking the 2002 Gujarat riots, but when Arnab Goswami threw the curve ball of judicial clean chit to Modi, he did not know what to say.'

'A better-prepared man would have come back that it was not a question of judicial clean chits, but about owing up moral responsibility, would have even cited Vajpayee's rajdharma plea,' argues Saisuresh Sivaswamy.

As a rule politicians are loath to give answers. As a rule they would rather avoid being asked questions, especially on camera where there can be no mercy shown. But since public life increasingly demands public elaboration of decisions taken in private, most politicians, especially the ones eyeing the top job, choose their interviewers since they know who are the ones who are easy with the questions, can be 'managed' or simply be charmed.

However, Arnab Goswami is not one of them. You don't have to watch his Newshour at 9 pm to know that. This is probably the first lesson one suspects aspiring politicians are taught in kindergarten: Don't mess with the Arnab.

So it has been a matter of immense curiosity as to why Rahul Gandhi made his debut on national television with a grilling session with Arnab Goswami.

It is obvious that Rahul Gandhi is not political enough to be a politician. So was he sold a lemon by his so-called 'well-wishers' among the Congress old guard, led like a lamb to slaughter, after being told by them that all he has to charm the inquisitor is to flash those lovely dimples?

A more political politician would have prepared adequately, known what the opponent is all about, anticipated the questions, and readied the answers well. Instead Rahul came across as someone well-intentioned, but under-prepared for battle -- a persona that is all too familiar to those of us who have been following his political peregrinations of the last ten years.

As image-building exercises go, this was a disaster from start to finish -- unless the purpose behind it was to build up Arnab and his television channel's image.

Having said that, were there no positives to take away from the interview at all?

My mind somehow goes back to the run-up to the 2009 election, when the Bharatiya Janata Party's L K Advani was its Arjun leading the army into battle, with Narendra Modi playing his faithful charioteer. interviewed Modi in Gandhinagar about the election, and as the exercise wound up when I had to pop the inevitable question on the 2002 riots on his watch.

The reaction of the man who pitches to be prime minister today was classic -- perhaps honed by the times he had done it before with other journalists. The interview was abruptly terminated:

If you were to go back in time to the 2002 riots is there anything you will do differently?

OK, let us go, it is time to end the interview, thank you.

Which takes me back to my original point about politicians being loath to face questions they don't want to.

Arnab certainly gave Rahul Gandhi a much tougher time than we had done with the Gujarat chief minister, but to his eternal credit, the Congress vice-president did not take the easy way out despite the discomfiture that was playing on his face.

For that alone, for taking it on the chin square and fair, the first Gandhi-Nehru to be grilled so on national television gets my vote.

Since this is only the first of Rahul's media exposition, we can be sure of more interviews, across various media. But before he embarks on the exercise, here are a few tips for the Congress vice-president.

If you have an image makeover team, sack them immediately for not preparing you well enough. There are some basic ground rules during a television interview. The first being, do not look away or down. Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer/camera. Didn't look like you were briefed about it.
If you have a media advisory team, sack them immediately too. A journalist's questions are not arcane matters -- they pertain to the very topics you are not willing to talk about. The media team should have put Gandhi through the paces, preparing tough questions, reviewing replies, improving them. If this exercise was done, it was not evident on Monday night.
Interviews are not about what you want to talk about, but what the interviewer wants to know. As Arnab rightly said, if it was the former he would listen to your speech at the AICC session. But it is downright cheesy to ask the interviewer for questions beforehand, only failed Bollywood actors do it. So it makes better sense to prepare your answers beforehand.
When you are in public life expect to be asked about everything by an inquisitive media. Usually the Indian media is not intrusive or scandalous, but in Rahul's case they may just cross the line and want to know about his love life etc – only because the Nehru scion has been a media recluse all along. Once the novelty wears away, they won't bother him so much.
Review the tape of the interview with Arnab, pick out all your fumbles and evasions, and practise how you could have answered those questions differently, and better (ideally this should have been done before the interview, but a post-mortem never hurt the dead).
Rahul Gandhi was not wrong in invoking the 2002 Gujarat riots, but when Arnab threw the curve ball of judicial clean chit to Modi he looked like a deer caught in the SUV's headlights and did not know what to say.

A better-prepared man would have come back that it was not a question of judicial clean chits but about owing up moral responsibility, would have even cited Atal Bihari Vajpayee's own rajdharma plea.

That this would have inevitably brought in the 1984 riots under the Congress's watch, is a no-brainer. Even there, Rahul Gandhi had everything to gain by making a clean breast of it, by owing up responsibility on behalf of his party, and promising that communal riots will never happen on his watch.

It was a bad miss on the part of the Congress vice-president to spell out his vision for the party and government under him.

Similarly, he was all at sea when faced with the Congress's Achilles heel, corruption. A more seasoned interviewee would have known that all the high-falutin' talk of transforming the system yada yada yada falls flat when confronted with the cold mirror of specifics (or superficialities, as Rahul chose to dismiss them). Another golden chance lost, to expound his own thinking to the party and address the nation.

By stumbling over 'Ashok Kumar' instead of 'Ashok Chavan' and mentioning 'Gujarat' instead of 'Bihar' when questioned about an alliance with Lalu Yadav, Rahul appeared as if he had come underprepared to wrestle with this issue.

One could go on and list out the entire 75-minute-long exchange that was touted as the interview of the year, but I suspect Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra would have undertaken this exercise already.

In sum, the, while it was refreshing to have the Nehru-Gandhi scion grilled on television, one hopes the experience won't put him off the exercise altogether. And if it doesn't, here's hoping that he comes better prepared for his subsequent outings.

Julian Assange-Founder of Wikileaks on Islam In India

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Narendra Modi to launch ‘chai pe charcha’ as poll campaign

Narendra Modi to launch ‘chai pe charcha’ as poll campaignOpponents like SP MP Naresh Agarwal and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar have taken steaming swipes at Modi's tea vendor background before he joined the RSS. Now the Gujarat CM wants to make political capital out of it.

GANDHINAGAR: Amid jibes about his background as a 'chai wallah', Gujarat CM and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is brewing a campaign through tea stalls across the country.

Starting February 1, Modi will interact live with people at 1,000 chai shops across 300 parliamentary constituencies using internet and DTH technology. He will address five to eight 'nukkad' (street corner) meetings — 'Chai Pe Charcha with NaMo' - a day.

Modi's campaign managers say he would have addressed thousands of such meetings by the end of the Lok Sabha campaign.

His poll offensive is being managed by 'Citizens for Accountable Governance' (CAG), an NGO, led by IIT and IIM graduates.

"Modi will discuss a wide range of issues with common people at chai shops across the country,'' a CAG member said. "We have already tied up with chai shops in 300 cities across the country. Local BJP leaders and leading citizens will facilitate the interaction. It will generate much greater impact than the 3D public meetings held during the Gujarat assembly elections last year.''

As he mounts his attack on Congress's dynastic politics and tries to ward off the challenge posed by Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Modi has increasingly started to flaunt his humble moorings. Recently, he had given VIP passes to around 10,000 roadside tea vendors in Mumbai to attend his rally.

Friday, January 17, 2014

UN panel confronts Vatican on child sex abuse by clergy

(BBC News)

The Vatican has been confronted publicly for the first time over the sexual abuse of children by clergy, at a UN hearing in Geneva.
Officials faced a barrage of hard questions covering why they would not release data and what they were doing to prevent future abuse.
They insisted the Church had learnt from the crisis and had taken action to prevent future abuse.
Victims' advocates complained there was still too little transparency.
Last month, the Vatican refused a request from the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for data on abuse, on the grounds that it only released such information if requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

Start Quote

The Holy See gets it that there are things that need to be done differently”
Bishop Charles SciclunaMember of Vatican delegation at hearing
The Vatican came to Geneva expecting a rough ride and it got one, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes reports.
Victims say they hope the hearing, which is being broadcast live, will prompt the Church to end its "secrecy".
Pope Francis announced last month that a Vatican committee would be set up to fight sexual abuse of children in the Church.
The Holy See is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally binding instrument which commits it to protecting and nurturing the most vulnerable in society.
Teodoro Pulvirenti, who was abused as a teenager by an Italian priest: "It's time for the church to stop the secrecy"
It ratified the convention in 1990 but after an implementation report in 1994 it did not submit any progress reports until 2012, following revelations of child sex abuse in Europe and beyond.
In a homily on Thursday, Pope Francis said abuse scandals were "the shame of the Church".
'Not very transparent'
"The view of committee is that the best way to prevent abuses is to reveal old ones - openness instead of sweeping offences under the carpet," Kirsten Sandberg, chairwoman of the 18-strong CRC, told the Vatican delegation.
"It seems to date your procedures are not very transparent."
The Vatican was asked why it continued to describe abuse as an offence against morals rather than a crime against children.

Catholic Church abuse scandals

  • Germany - A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a decade
  • United States - Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage
  • Belgium - The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years
  • Italy - The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile priests had been reported over 10 years
  • Ireland - A report in 2009 found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century
"Does the Holy See believe that paedophilia is something that can be successfully overcome?" was another question.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said: "To prevent abuse of minors is a real, immediate concern."
On prosecution of offenders, he said priests were "not functionaries of the Vatican but citizens of their countries and fall under the jurisdiction of their own countries".
When asked if the Vatican would hand over Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish papal envoy recalled from the Dominican Republic in September amid claims of sexual abuse there, Archbishop Tomasi said he was being investigated by the Vatican's own prosecutors.
A member of the CRC asked about the Church's practice of moving priests suspected of abuse.
"It is a no-go simply to move people from one diocese to another," said Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical sexual abuse.
He insisted it was "not the policy of the Holy See to encourage cover-ups" but added: "The Holy See gets it that there are things that need to be done differently."
'Refused to answer'
While Thursday's questions were numerous and far-ranging, some observers vented frustration at the lack of specific answers.
Dr Austen Ivereigh, Catholic commentator: '[Catholic Church's] measures... among best in world'
"Holy See: 'We get it' in UN review on child sexual abuse Catholic Church," wrote the children's rights watchdog CRIN in a tweet. "Do you? Why then don't you make statistics public?"
Barbara Blaine, president of a group representing US victims of abuse by priests, told BBC News that the hearing had brought "hope to victims across the globe".
But it would also stand, she said, as a "record of how the Church officials refused to answer the questions, how they claim to be open and transparent, and yet they don't live up to that ideal".

Sunanda Pushkar-Wife of Shashi Tharoor found dead in Delhi hotel


Sunanda Pushkar found dead in Delhi hotel

Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a Delhi hotel late on Friday, a day after her Twitter spat with a Pakistani journalist
Mehar Tarar over an alleged affair with the minister.

There was a PCR call at 7.30pm after which her body was found in a room at Leela Kempinski on Africa Avenue, the police said. They said she had checked into the hotel on Thursday. There were no visible injury marks and nothing to suggest poisoning either, said Deepak Mishra, special commissioner (law and order).

Tharoor had on Thursday said they were happily married and intended to stay together in a joint statement. In an interview with NDTV, Pushkar had also refuted media reports that she was contemplating divorcing the 57-year-old minister.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tarun Tejpal’s bail plea rejected


A local court on Wednesday rejected the bail petition of Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal, who is currently in judicial custody for allegedly raping a woman journalist.

District and Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudesai on Wednesday dismissed the bail application filed by Mr. Tejpal.

The 50-year-old journalist was arrested on November 30 in Goa after a woman journalist alleged that he raped her in the lift of a five-star hotel during an event on November 7 and 8 last year.

The judge on Wednesday pronounced the single sentence order dismissing the bail.

During the arguments, the lawyer representing Mr. Tejpal had said that his custody was not required for the investigating agency, as they have recorded all the statements.

However, government lawyer expressed fears that Mr. Tejpal might influence witnesses if he is released on bail.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kiran Bedi: Voting for AAP is like voting for the Congress


New Delhi: Coming out openly against the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, former cop Kiran Bedi on Monday said a vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is like a vote for the Congress. 

Bedi, who is Anna Hazare's close aide, also reiterated her support for Narendra Modi as the next potential prime minister of the country.

“If you vote for AAP it means you are indirectly helping Congress through the backdoor...Modi only option,” said Bedi, according to news report. 

Earlier, Bedi had posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter - “For me it's India First! Stable,Well Governed, Administered, Accountable and Inclusive. As an independent voter, my vote is for NaMo.” 

"The man is delivering and has brought good development in Gujarat. His nomination (as BJP's PM candidate) brings more clarity among voters to make their choices," Bedia had said while delivering a speech in Ahmedabad last year. 

Apart from Bedi, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar had also confirmed that her vote for the 2014 General Elections will go for the Modi. 

"For country's stability, experienced hands" she had said. 

"Any one of us who wants a scam free country cannot vote back Congress! India needs stability and experienced hands to provide for all!," she had tweeted.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Young Woman Sexually Assaulted In Bedford Rape Jihad Attack


A woman was sexually assaulted on her way home from a night out with friends in Bedford in the early hours of Sunday morning, January 5.

The 19-year-old had been in the High Street area and phoned her boyfriend to come and pick her up. However, she decided to walk up towards his home to meet him and when she reached the trees just past the church in De Parys Avenue, she was suddenly grabbed by a man who pushed her over and pinned her to the ground.

Police say that while she was struggling with him, her phone rang and this seems to have spooked the attacker as he ran away, taking her white Samsung Galaxy phone with him. The woman was able to get up and fortunately was soon found by her boyfriend coming in to fetch her.

The woman suffered cuts and grazes where she was pushed over.

The offender is described as an Asian man, in his twenties, slim built with a round face and short hair, and wearing jeans.

Det Con Amanda Durrant is investigating this case and would like to hear from anyone who saw either the man or the woman walking up towards De Parys Avenue, or any part of the incident.

The woman has shoulder length curly ginger hair and was wearing a lime green skirt and white cropped shirt.

Det Con Durrant said: “Obviously this is a very worrying incident and I’d like to hear from anyone who saw the woman walking up De Parys Avenue, possibly with a man following her, or saw what happened next.

“She was shouting for help and it may be that someone has heard or seen this incident but not realised the gravity of the situation.

“If you were in the area at about 3am on Sunday and can help us trace this man then please contact us as soon as you can.”

Det Con Durrant can be contacted directly at Bedford CID on 01234 275215; or via the 24 hour non-emergency police number 101, or call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to leave information anonymously.

NIA manipulated facts to implicate Sanatan Sanstha


NIA investigation
Panaji, January 7 : A trial court in Goa said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) tampered with facts to implicate the Hindu right-wing organisation "Sanatan Sanstha" in a 2009 Goa blast case.

A designated NIA court in Goa last week said in its order, released to public Monday, that right from the stage of filing of the first information report (FIR), the investigation agency was trying to nail the Goa-headquartered "Sanatan Sanstha" whose cadre was also accused of carrying out improvised explosive device (IED) blasts in neighbouring Maharashtra.

NIA judge P.A.
Savoikar made these observations while releasing six "Sanatan Sanstha" members - Vinayak Talekar, Vinayak Patil, Vinayak Ashtekar, Dilip Mangainkar, Dhananjay Ashtekar and Prashant Juvekar - who were accused of conspiring to carry out a blast on Diwali eve in Goa.

Two other accused in the case - Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik - died when the bomb they were carrying to a "Narakasur" (a mythical demon) slaying ceremony in Margao, 35 km south of the state capital, exploded accidentally.

"Facts stated in the FIR appear to be manipulated with intention to include 'Sanatan Sanstha' in the offence," Savoikar said in his order, acquitting the six persons for lack of evidence.

Savoikar also said seven of the 12 arguments raised by the NIA in course of the trial failed to pass muster.

The case was first registered in 2009 by the Goa Police that claimed Patil and Naik were suspected of ferrying it to a "Narakasur" competition, a popular tradition in Goa, where Lord Krishna slays an effigy of the demon Narakasur on Diwali eve.

The "Sanatan Sanstha" has over the years, vehemently opposed the popular practice, which they say ends in glorifying the demon instead of his slayer.

The state police probed the sensational case for a few days before the NIA, formed in 2008 to probe terror cases, took over the investigation.

The six accused were charged under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 121 A (conspiracy or attempt or abetting to wage war against the government of India) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 16 (Terrorist Act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terror act), and 23 (enhanced penalties) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections 3 (causing explosion likely to endanger life or property), 4 (attempt to cause explosion) and 5 (making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

Savoikar said barring Malgonda and Yogesh, who were active members of the "Sanatan Sanstha" and died, there was no evidence to suggest the rest "were actively involved in any of the activities of 'Sanatan Sanstha', headquartered in the temple town of Ponda, 30 km from here.

"None of the witnesses have stated that the accused participated in any protest held by 'Sanatan Sanstha' against the 'Narakasur' competitions or attended any meeting in which objections raised by the 'Sanstha' were discussed with the collector," Savoikar's order reads.

Incidentally, members of the Sanatan Sanstha have also been accused of carrying out low-intensity blasts in Maharashtra too.