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September 1, 2001 - September 2, 2001

MSU student leaders gear up for 'high-tech' election Sunday, September 2, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: With elections less than 13 days away, the mood on campus is hotting up with many student leaders going 'hi-tech' -- acquiring mobile phones to keep up with elections of the generation next to be held on September 13.

While the NSUI has pitted Amit Gotikar as their candidate for the student's union general secretary, Jignesh Patel is pitted in the race for the post of vice-president.

Current vice-president Bharat Dangar would contest once again for the post of vice-president, while Mehul Lakhani would be standing for the post of general secretary.

While most student leaders are backed by political parties who are ready to shell out 'election expenses' to back their candidates, there are some independents who say they are forced to spend to keep pace with the rest of the candidates.

"Mobile phones are a must and almost all student leaders and their friends who participate in the campaigning have acquired a mobile," said an aspiring student leader.

According to him elections are no more about campaigning through small speeches and posters. It is now turning out to be quite high-tech with thousands of rupees being spent on winning over a coterie of followers.

Many student leaders say elections on campus are a stepping stone to a political life in future at a higher level.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Dec 15th murder :: Was it love, greed or revenge? Saturday, September 1, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
SURAT: The brutal killing of five members of a jeweller's family in Pandesara on December 15 may have sent shockwaves in the city and led to the transfer of police commissioner Kuldip Sharma, but what everybody in the city still wants to know is whodunit!
Although the forensic science laboratory team and psycho-analysts subjected Alka Jain, one of the survivors, through a lie-detector test and questioning for 10 hours over the past two days, her contradictory statements have left them with more loose ends.
Alka (18) and Jitendra (8) are the only survivors of the murder of five of their family members, including parents Prakash and Sushila.
Investigators say Alka left the house on the fateful day at about 6.40 am and shortly after she bought milk from the dairy, she behaved strangely. They said the milkman admitted Alka had asked him what time it was and he had replied it was 6.45 am. He said this had never happened before.
The police was looking into the possibility that the girl might be building evidence proving she was out of the house when the murders took place.
The Jains rarely bought milk from the dairy. Instead, they had a milkman deliver the same at their doorstep. Alka, however, told the police that she had told 'bhaiyya' (the milkman) that they did not need milk. Later, she went to a nearby dairy and purchased milk.
Moreover, it was surprising that she did not lock the shutter of the shop which had jewellery stored inside.
Alka told the investigators that when she returned she found the bodies of her family members in a pool of blood and saw the two killers with daggers and axes in their hands. The duo asked her to pack some jewellery in bags which she promptly did and they left. Jitendra had shut himself in a bathroom and the killers left after locking Alka in another bathroom. But what seemed intriguing was that she had earlier stated that both of them were locked in the same bathroom.
The investigators were also puzzled on how she came out of the bathroom and told her brother's school rickshaw driver, Prakash Patil, that Jitendra would not go to school that day. Patil told the police that Alka gave no indication that something was amiss, leave alone the fact that she had gone through 'the worst shock of her life'.
The investigators said all through the last 13 days Alka had not displayed "a state of shock expected from a young girl who had gone through a nightmarish experience".
Both Alka and Jitendra said one of the killers' name was Shubham. Incidentally, Alka has a boy-friend by the same name. They had been going steady for over two years but her family was opposed to their relationship. Shubham, an unemployed Oriya boy, was traced by the police and questioned but without much success.
Their relationship caused her family to stop sending Alka to school after she had finished her SSC, the investigators said. Restrictions were placed on her movement by her 'highly orthodox family' when the affair came to light.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Saffronisation of education in Gujarat Saturday, September 1, 2001

BY RADHA SHARMA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: For students of class Ix in Gujarat Board, minority communities are one of the foremost problems facing the country! Chapter 9 of the class IX Social Studies textbook titled 'Problems of the Country and Their Solutions' enlists 'minority communities' as the foremost component. This is followed by SC/ST, smuggling, corruption and bribery as some of the other problems!

The chapter also terms Muslims, Christians and Parsees as "foreigners" saying, "...apart from the Muslims, even Christians, Parsees and other foreigners are also recognised as the minority communities. In most of the states, Hindus are in minority and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are in majority in these respective states."


In Gujarat, the only state in the country to have BJP government and often referred to as the 'laboratory' of the experiment in a Hindu Rashtra by detractors, there are charges galore that education is being inked in saffron.


"A systematic attempt is being made to communalise education in the state. Various strategies are being put forward -- some very subtle, some not so subtle", says Father Cedric Prakash, director of The Province Office for Integral Social Development (POISD), that maintains a keen focus on education in the state .


Anomalies in chapter 9 fall in the subtle category. "Such things should not have been written. It will be rectified as we are in the process of changing textbooks shortly", confesses Gujarat's primary education minister Anandiben Patel. The Gujarat Secondary Education Board representatives take recourse to the defence that these text-books were published before the BJP took over!


Not so subtle attempts include the state education department sending out a GR to all schools on January 19, 2000 directing them to subscribe to Sadhna, a monthly printed by the Gujarat unit of RSS. The circular could not be put into effect as school principals, especially of minority institutions, condemned the magazine as "directly sectarian and spewing vitriol against the minority communities" and staged massive protest against the outrage.


Or another circular brought in December 2000 that insisted on principal of all schools compulsorily sending their teachers to Sanskrit training camps in preparation for the move to make the subject mandatory learning and teaching in the schools. "Sanskrit is a Vedic language and all the revered Vedas are penned in Sanskrit. If we do not teach the students this language, then how will they be able to decipher the same when they graduate to high responsible positions", quizzes Patel.


Patel confesses to her toying with the idea to introduce Vedic Mathematics as a subject from class 4 or 5. "I have attended shibirs on Vedic Mathematics and am convinced that students can learn a very unique way of fast computing like that through computers. The subject is also being taught in secondary schools. But tomorrow, if we will introduce it in class 4 or 5 and they oppose it is as saffronisation, the opposition will be wrong and baseless", she says.


Or the ambitious scheme to involve NGOs, surprisingly including RSS volunteers too, to curb malpractice during the board exams and ensure transparency. An idea that was nipped in the bud by the High Court following a huge outcry in the media for which Patel still nurses a grudge against the media. "We had introduced such a good scheme to curb mass-copying in exam centres. But you guys criticised it saying that the BJP government had involved RSS volunteers and that the scheme would be misused by the NGOs and we had to terminate it after the High Court judgement. That was the ideal way to curb malpractice during exams but you people never let it materialise", Patel had flared up recently when asked why the board was not initiating any action against teachers and schools managements guilty of their involvement in mass-copying in their exam centres.


The proposed GRs and schemes apart, there were also these stray incidents of a violent attack last month by Bajrang Dal on Hossanna Mission, a Christian Missionary school for not allowing girl students to wear bindis, chudidars and anklets. With the parents of girl students leading the protest, the incident had invited Patel's wrath who had threatened to cancel the school's grant if it imposed any such restrictions!


Anandiben, on her part, pooh-poohs the allegations of saffronisation of education in the state. "Is insisting for Saraswati Vandana in schools saffronisation? Is asking missionary schools to allow girl students to wear bindis during festivals forcing Hindutva? Will you say that patriotism and learning about our own culture and history is communal? If yes, then I am sorry ", says Patel.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Traditional Muslim leaders upstaged by hawkish younger lot Saturday, September 1, 2001

BY LEENA MISRA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: Disturbed by the trends in communal violence in the city since the past week, the state government has decided on a three-pronged confidence-building measure to patch up the warring groups which will begin right from the police stations.

But what has concerned the authorities is the fact that "an invisible network of anti-social elements was building up" in the city. "This is the first time that there was a bandh for which there was only a covert declaration, or probably no declaration at all", observes a senior police official. But the fact remains that several unsigned hand-outs attempting to hold hands had already been in circulation just after the Vatva incident which was ostensibly no provocation at all, believe police officials. The reason being, not just minority groups were assaulted here.


The second concern is that this uprising appeared to be initiated by the younger 'hot-blooded' generation of "extremists" and none of the traditional leaders (read 'pacifiers') had dared to speak up against them.


The indications are that things might get worse, with political forces like the Lok Janshakti Party and others trying to fish in troubled waters. Consequent to the police firing on Wednesday night in which 25-year old Noorkhan Nazirkhan Husainkhan Pathan lost his life, a group of 40-odd minority group leaders led by AMC's standing committee chairman Badruddin Shaikh marched to the state assembly to meet chief minister Keshubhai Patel. They were reportedly protesting against the minority groups coming in the line of police fire.


A scuffle followed after which Shaikh and 32 others were detained by the Gandhinagar district police and then released. They then met minister of state for home Haren Pandya and demanded that the deployment of Rapid Action Force be increased in the city. "We don't feel safe with the SRP around", Congress MLA Faroukh Shaikh told TOI.


Incidentally Wednesday night's scuffle had been provoked by an incident of stone-throwing at a funeral procession.


Speaking to TOI, Pandya said that he had conceded to their demand and would station additional RAF companies (besides the four that exist). "We have thought of strategies to build confidence between the communities". Talking about ambitious plans like "stress-relieving" and so on, Pandya says, "the idea is to have the new, effective and identified leaders of both communities come face to face at the police stations and discuss their problems" He believes this will build trust between the communities. "They should have given the administration some time to nab the culprits", he said, referring to the Vatva incident.


"This is the first time that certain organisations have suddenly got active and there was a bandh that could not be attributed to any known outfit", observes a member from Keshubhai's ministry. Incidentally, the police have not yet been able to locate the Muslim Youth Association and its mysterious convenor Altaf Shaikh who had given the 'bandh' call.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Traditional Muslim leaders upstaged by hawkish younger lot Saturday, September 1, 2001

BY LEENA MISRA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: Disturbed by the trends in communal violence in the city since the past week, the state government has decided on a three-pronged confidence-building measure to patch up the warring groups which will begin right from the police stations.

But what has concerned the authorities is the fact that "an invisible network of anti-social elements was building up" in the city. "This is the first time that there was a bandh for which there was only a covert declaration, or probably no declaration at all", observes a senior police official. But the fact remains that several unsigned hand-outs attempting to hold hands had already been in circulation just after the Vatva incident which was ostensibly no provocation at all, believe police officials. The reason being, not just minority groups were assaulted here.


The second concern is that this uprising appeared to be initiated by the younger 'hot-blooded' generation of "extremists" and none of the traditional leaders (read 'pacifiers') had dared to speak up against them.


The indications are that things might get worse, with political forces like the Lok Janshakti Party and others trying to fish in troubled waters. Consequent to the police firing on Wednesday night in which 25-year old Noorkhan Nazirkhan Husainkhan Pathan lost his life, a group of 40-odd minority group leaders led by AMC's standing committee chairman Badruddin Shaikh marched to the state assembly to meet chief minister Keshubhai Patel. They were reportedly protesting against the minority groups coming in the line of police fire.


A scuffle followed after which Shaikh and 32 others were detained by the Gandhinagar district police and then released. They then met minister of state for home Haren Pandya and demanded that the deployment of Rapid Action Force be increased in the city. "We don't feel safe with the SRP around", Congress MLA Faroukh Shaikh told TOI.


Incidentally Wednesday night's scuffle had been provoked by an incident of stone-throwing at a funeral procession.


Speaking to TOI, Pandya said that he had conceded to their demand and would station additional RAF companies (besides the four that exist). "We have thought of strategies to build confidence between the communities". Talking about ambitious plans like "stress-relieving" and so on, Pandya says, "the idea is to have the new, effective and identified leaders of both communities come face to face at the police stations and discuss their problems" He believes this will build trust between the communities. "They should have given the administration some time to nab the culprits", he said, referring to the Vatva incident.


"This is the first time that certain organisations have suddenly got active and there was a bandh that could not be attributed to any known outfit", observes a member from Keshubhai's ministry. Incidentally, the police have not yet been able to locate the Muslim Youth Association and its mysterious convenor Altaf Shaikh who had given the 'bandh' call.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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