Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed
Showing posts sorted by date for query special report. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query special report. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Centre's 'City Liveability Index' Is Set To Become A Major Tracker Of Urban Indian Life

News that no Indian city made it anywhere close to the top of the latest list of most liveable cities in the world gets routinely buried in the inside pages of most newspapers. On the Internet too, such news does not figure high on the home pages of search engines, a sure way for the report getting buried somewhere deep in the cyber abyss.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Journey of the Hijab – From the Afghan Burqa to Fashion Magazines

How did this versatile piece of fabric get so controversial?

July 12 is National Hijab Day in Iran, a celebration that has been met by defiant protests by women driving headscarfless in their cars.

At the same time, the American glossy Allure has featured, for the first time, a hijab-wearing model on its cover. The Somali stunner Hamali Aden demonstrates just how beautiful and fashion-forward Islamic style can be.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How Two Common Medications Were Combined Into One $455-Million Specialty Pill?

Vimovo costs way more than the two individual medicines. So how have its manufacturers managed to make it sell?

Everything happened so fast as I walked out of the doctor’s exam room. I was tucking in my shirt and wondering if I’d asked all my questions about my injured shoulder when one of the doctor’s assistants handed me two small boxes of pills.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Media In The Modi Era: How Did India’s Watchdog Press Become Docile?

The government does not need to impose any kind of direct curb on the media.

India is talking about the 1975 Emergency again even as its 42nd anniversary, on June 25, hovers around the corner. Some people believe that freedom of the press is endangered once again. Yet how many people are really bothered about the freedom of the press?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Telangana IPS officer in trouble? News report alleges serious abuse of power

Tension is brewing between a newspaper and an IPS officer from Telangana. This after the newspaper  claimed to have accessed a report that makes serious allegations against the police officer.

In a piece for The New Indian Express on Thursday, Vikram Sharma reported that an enquiry by the Telangana State Intelligence Department had made several charges against IPS officer Tejdeep Kaur Menon, Director General, Special Protection Force.

Quoting the intelligence report, TNIE claims that Tejdeep was involved in misappropriation of funds meant for the Swachh Hyderabad programme and also harassed hundreds of Telangana SPF employees, including 32 posted at her house.

According to the report, these officers were allegedly used as "drivers, carpenters, cooks, attenders, gardeners and others."

The report also alleges that she showed favouritism to Andhra personnel, while also "deliberately delaying the process of distribution of SPF personnel between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by refusing to relieve AP-native personnel." 

Lastly, TNIE also reported that "a water tanker from the SPF academy, Ameenpur, makes 150 trips to Tejdeep’s residence every month and she was faking all bills."

Tejdeep was promoted to her present post in May last year. Before that, she had served as Additional Director General, (Sports), for the combined Andhra Pradesh Government.

She is known locally, for attempting to make the Ameenpur Panchayat, garbage-free, while also taking steps to clean the Ameenpur lake.

In a rejoinder to the TNIE report, Tejdeep issued the following statement: 

"The allegations about internal organizational and resource matters of what is a security organization coupled with imputed motives of working against the interests of the Telangana state are tenuous and baseless...It is apparent that the report was written and published only to tarnish my name and reputation. The reports are highly slanderous and intended to malign the work that the TSSPF and I are involved in...The report is per se defamatory as it is a deliberate attempt to needlessly, or at the behest of some, to project me in the darkest light possible and to scandalize me in public and tar my reputation."

The INNLive reached out and spoke to both, the TNIE reporter and the IPS officer in question. Both of them assured that they would revert shortly, but did not.

The copy will be updated if and when they respond. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Odisha's Night Terror: 'How The Forces Shoot At Defenceless Villagers?'


Five people, including a child, were allegedly killed in firing by security forces in July. An inquiry is underway but villagers have no hope for justice.

On the overcast morning of July 26, Rahula Nayak, a subsistence farmer in his 20s, joined a few hundred villagers, mostly Kond Adivasis, making their way to Gumudumaha, a village in mourning, nestled in the Eastern Ghats in south-central Odisha’s Kandhamal district.

Zakir Naik Speeches Pro-Terror, IRF Paid Money To Lure Youth For Conversion: Mumbai Police


No member of the IRF or any other NGO run by Naik was questioned.

In a 71-page report on controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik, the Mumbai Police have said his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) paid anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 to lure a youth to convert to Islam.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

An Exclusive Interview With The 'Afghan Disciple Of The Caliphate'


Speaking exclusively with a commander of the self-declared Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Somewhere in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan: Driving over the shingle of a washed out, nearly dry riverbed, the pale grey silhouettes of craggy mountains rose on the horizon marking the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Across The Border: The Untold Story Of Quetta's Dwindling Parsi Community


Of the many Parsis that once resided in the city, only two to four families remain.

In the heart of the city, surrounded by beautiful mountains, Quetta’s Parsi Colony is picture-perfect. The lush green trees sway in the breeze. There is a rare feeling of trust: instead of the common elevated walls demarcating boundaries of houses, there are flimsy grills with open, inviting doors.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Special Report: Why Do Managers Treat Employees Like Children?


This one thing terrifies the leader's brain more than anything--and triggers you into parent mode with employees.

There aren't many managers who, as they eat their morning Corn Flakes, think "How can I make my employees feel like children today?" But parenting in the workplace occurs all too often.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Zakir Naik's IRF's Alleged ISIS Connection Makes A Strong Case For Action Against Preacher


Radical religious preachers who do sermons never begin their discourse saying thus. "Here I'm going to start my indoctrination session to prove that my religion is better than yours. In the next few hours, I'll do my best to convince you of my idea and ultimately convert you to my religion."

Instead, they typically play mind games with the enchanted listeners, often selectively quoting (rather twisting) the lines from sacred scriptures, to impose the ultimate idea of religious supremacy in the audience's psyche and ultimately establish why one should embrace that particular religion. This is arguably the trade technique of televangelists such as Zakir Naik.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Failure To Prove Zakir Naik's 'Terror Links' Has Left Police Looking Foolish


The Islamic televangelist wanted to play a victim of media campaign against him as he knew that this would earn him more followers.

Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik has become a headache for the investigating agencies. Because the police simply don't know how to pin him down.

It has been a week and the Mumbai Police is yet to submit its report on the investigation ordered by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis after the media went all-out against Naik for his allegedly inspiring the terrorists who attacked a Dhaka cafe earlier this month.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Has The NHRC Failed Its Mandate To Protect And Promote Human Rights In India?


The Supreme Court's interim AFSPA judgement suggests that it may examine the role of the 'toothless tiger'.

In an interim judgement on extra-judicial killings of alleged “terrorists, militants or insurgents” by the police and the armed forces in Manipur, the Supreme Court has once again reiterated its commitment to the rule of law and human rights.

The division bench comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, meticulously examined various contentious issues, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA, and upheld citizens’ basic fundamental rights, even in territories experiencing internal disturbances.

While lamenting the existing situation, which has fostered an environment of impunity especially in “disturbed areas” and failed to provide effective remedies for the families of fake encounter victims, the court also placed the spotlight on the National Human Rights Commission’s role as a statutory body mandated to protect and promote human rights in India. Indeed, NHRC as an independent watchdog is envisaged to take appropriate steps in such cases with vigour and enthusiasm. However, the opposite seems to be true.

'Toothless tiger'
The NHRC being a “toothless tiger” was a refrain that echoed throughout the judgment, an expression which the Commission appears to have become accustomed to, and one which has even been accepted by it with the acknowledgement of its present Chairperson.

However, the question persists: Has the NHRC failed to maximise its strengths and come up with novel manners of countering systematic rights violations such as in Manipur?

Further, does the lack of support on the part of governments at the Centre and State level justify the seemingly half-hearted measures on the part of the NHRC?

In the present case, in addition to underscoring its statutory limitations, the NHRC took the stage before the Court to place the blame on the Central and the State Governments who were criticised for not taking it seriously.

The Central government has been ignoring its requests to recruit more staff which is leading to long delays and inability to follow up on steps undertaken, said the NHRC, while also insisting that it has released specific guidelines in 1997 to act as safeguards in instances of deaths due to encounters by the police. These guidelines have since been amended twice owing to experiences of States who were either not following the guidelines in their “true spirit” or dismissing them altogether as being merely recommendatory, leading to a compromised procedural safety net against illegal extra-judicial killings.

Valid criticism
The arguments of the NHRC did not impress the Supreme Court which criticised it mainly on two grounds.

First, the Court pointed to an affidavit filed by the NHRC in relation to the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur which it described as “extremely vague”. In its affidavit, the NHRC only stated that it had held a 3-days camp in Imphal, Manipur, in October 2013 to “consider pending complaints of extra-judicial killings by the armed forces/police”. It had awarded monetary relief in five cases in this camp, the NHRC said, but the documents presented to the Court only contained proceedings relating to one of those cases, while no information was given on any other matters considered.

Second, on a perusal of the cases closed by the NHRC which were also the subject-matter before the Court, the Court observed that some of these complaints had “been closed without any application of mind and simply because of the conclusion arrived at in the Magisterial Enquiry report, which is really an administrative report”. This exclusive reliance on the magisterial enquiry reports suggested a worrisome aspect, the Court said, as it was also the NHRC own contention that these reports in most cases were of “poor quality” which did not even examine the victims’ families or independent witnesses. Eventually, the Court decided not to consider the Magisterial Enquiry reports altogether, which practically quashed the pet recommendation of the NHRC in its guidelines with respect to such enquiries acting as a critical procedural safeguard in matters of extra-judicial deaths.

In this way, the Court may have highlighted the half-hearted efforts of the NHRC both in terms of its actual proceedings as also its guidelines. Also, the Court’s adverse observations may also have endorsed the view of the first Director General (Investigation) of the NHRC who recently said:

“Instead of bemoaning its lack of powers, NHRC has to play a more proactive and transformative role for the advancement of human rights in the country”.

However, that is not to say that the NHRC hasn’t faced its own share of problems and obstacles. In fact, most of its grievances, specifically, pertaining to its infirmity in taking actions against members of the armed forces and the unwillingness of the States to adhere to its non-binding directions, are genuine. Nonetheless, whether it has done enough till now or whether it is prepared to step up once provided with more “teeth to bite” are issues which it must genuinely introspect at the earliest.

Perhaps, the Court’s intention to consider the critical issue of the NHRC being a “toothless tiger” in its final judgment may finally resolve the issue and fast track the Commission’s intended relevant contribution to the fundamental human rights and rule of law in India. Until then, even the Supreme Court couldn’t hide its sarcasm when it said,

“….it is pointed out (perhaps with a tinge of frustration) that the petitioners might not be very wrong in describing the NHRC as a toothless tiger!”.

Special Report: Can India's Largest Ever Olympics Contingent Bring Back Its Largest Ever Medals Haul From Rio?


Shooting, hockey, badminton, wrestling, and archery offer hope.

Despite India's sending its largest ever contingent (till then) to the summer Olympics in 2012 in London, the opening ceremony featured Bangalore-based danseuse Madhura Nagendra, who was seen walking at the head of the Indian team’s march during the Parade of Nations.

She grabbed more attention than the medal exploits of the 83 member-strong team representing India. Considering that India did end up with its best-ever haul of six medals – two silver and four bronze – perhaps it was a little bit unfair.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Special Report: How Tourism Is Putting The World’s Poorest Places On The Map?


Slum tourism is broadly rejected as morally dubious and voyeuristic. But we should take a second look.

Back in Victorian times, wealthier citizens could sometimes be found wandering among London’s poorer, informal neighbourhoods, distributing charity to the needy. “Slumming” – as it was called – was later dismissed as a morally dubious and voyeuristic pastime. Today, it’s making a comeback; wealthy Westerners are once more making forays into slums – and this time, they’re venturing right across the developing world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Special Report: Does 'Detoxing' Really Work?


Detox: the term is everywhere. But what exactly does it mean? When we cut through the buzz and the fad hipster diets – quinoa and paprika smoothie anyone? – detoxing actually sounds like a fairly sensible concept. The act of removing toxic substances from our bodies can only be a good thing, right? Well sure. But how you go about this has a great bearing on the results you are likely to achieve.

Spotlight: The RTI Act Is Dying, Should We Be Worried?


Answers to questions, sometimes, would be clear as daylight. Sometimes they would be hazy, and you will have to strain to make out the words. Sometimes, the answer would just be silence. And if your country feels like you are asking too many questions, it just makes you forget that you had a right to ask questions in the first place. That is exactly what happened in Rajasthan recently, where a chapter in the Right to Information (RTI) Act was removed from the Social Sciences textbook of Class VIII. Why teach children that they have a right to question and to information, and later be forced to expose your own blemishes? If you teach them to be silent now, their questions will not haunt you later – this seems to be the mantra.

It is still a fairytale that an incredibly powerful legislative tool like the RTI Act is extant in the world’s largest democracy that scored 38/100 in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index. The milestone Act has a stated objective to “empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense”.

An informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed, adds the RTI Citizen Gateway. All this in a country which still holds dear the archaic Official Secrets Act, 1923, which talks about not divulging “information or the destruction or obstruction thereof, or interference therewith, [which] would be useful to an enemy” – well-intended but with an exponentially risky purview. It would be time-consuming to even consider initiating a debate on who constitutes an ‘enemy’ in these times of troubled nationalism, but the fact remains that the RTI Act boldly says it will deliver, notwithstanding the Official Secrets Act, if “public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests”.

Yes, the RTI Act was indeed monumental. As it confidently promenaded along India’s public front, the writing on the wall was clear – corruption, which had permeated every crevice of administration, had to stop. As the fear grew in the echelons of power, applause and relief grew among the poorest of the poor. According to studies, the total bribe amount involved in a year in below poverty line (BPL) households availing just basic services was estimated to be INR 883 crores.

In many of India’s villages which house these families, the RTI Act has been used to avail social benefit schemes like getting food ration for individuals, ensuring quality and quantity of mid-day meals, and pushing for teacher and doctor attendance. When it comes to the relatively better-off citizens, the Act was still used largely for issues like cleaning up the locality, availing scholarships, getting EPF money, receiving passport and processing education loans – going by the success stories displayed in the government’s RTI website. At this juncture, India cannot afford stray incidents to determine the fate of a tested and proven law that has benefited millions of lives.

Despite multiple attempts at diluting one of the strongest public interest legislations, the Act has survived – but the same cannot be said of many of its users. Lawyer Ram Kumar Thakur from Bihar exposed the MNREGS corruption of around 40 lakh by the corrupt village sarpanch, and was killed in 2013, shot at point blank range. Rinku Singh Sahi, a civil servant who exposed a 40 crore fraud in Uttar Pradesh was assaulted, detained, and admitted in a psychiatric ward in 2012. Reportedly, 289 attacks on RTI activists have occurred since the passing of the Act in 2005, including instances of murder, assault, kidnapping and threat calls.

However, with a well thought-out and futuristic plan, Rajasthan – the fountainhead of most things RTI – has taken giant leaps to censure the way a generation thinks; a way that does not feature questioning status quo, corruption, and injustice. This is not an isolated attempt at nipping free thought and an attitude of questioning. It is, in fact, one of the most recent nails in the coffin that aims to bury the rights to know and understand.

The world’s largest democracy, founded on justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, cannot afford to erase one of its biggest achievements – the right to information. Miserably, the recent past has painted a picture of a country which is increasingly intolerant when it comes to dealing with critique and uncomfortable questions. From lambasting the UN special rapporteur’s report that mentioned caste discrimination to concealing of caste figures of the Socio-economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC), India has been playing its cards very, very close.

A full-fledged RTI Act retaining its original form is imperative to knowledge-empower India’s citizens. According to a 2009 study, the awareness levels about RTI among men was 53% higher than women, and the OBC/SC/ST categories trailed behind the ‘general’ category by 48%. Poor quality of information and officials’ perception of RTI as a time-wasting tool is also a much common complaint, despite an overwhelming majority of the RTIs being related to the delivery of basic needs and amenities. Additionally, implementation of RTI is an area that needs urgent attention, especially protection of whistleblowers, maintaining confidentiality of applicant identity and effective deduction of penalties. A dedicated office for RTI is required, with a focused effort to enhance the range and quality of the usage of RTI among citizens.

In 1910, Tagore visualised a land where the “mind is without fear” and “knowledge is free”. However, the Bard of Bengal certainly might not have imagined that things would turn drastically different a century later. The mind is with fear, and knowledge definitely comes at a price. An attitude change is a must – public information is a right, and not charity.

Any attempts to dilute the Act and diminish its ambit must be warded off, ‘in public interest’, especially when it comes to denying upcoming generations their right to know about their right to know. It might profit the country to treat the blight before it consumes it, and make the essence of democracy an official secret.

Exclusive: India's Suicide Farmers' Widows Face 'Living Death'


At the age of 24, Joshna Wandile and her two children were thrown out of the house she shared with her in-laws after her farmer husband hanged himself. He left a pile of debts after years of drought laid waste to his land.

Wandile is not alone. More than 300,000 farmers have killed themselves in India over the last two decades, leaving their widows battling with the state, moneylenders, in-laws and their communities.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Special Report: Why Restrictions On Renting Agricultural Land In India Must Go?  


Land leasing laws are negatively impacting the people they are supposed to benefit, pulling agricultural productivity down, and increasing land degradation.

Nearly one-third of India is reeling under drought, evident from reports and images of distressed farmers and parched land captured in the media. The increasing unpredictability of rainfall and prolonged hot patches has severely impacted rural farmland and, consequently, the people dependent on agriculture.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Defeating’ India And ‘Controlling’ Afghanistan Have Been The Goals Of Pakistan’s Jihad Industry


The education ministry indoctrinated young minds and trained a crop of Jihadis through a special madrassa network.

…In the past few years, Pakistan has witnessed an exceptionally high level of tolerance for extremism among the middle class, which staffs Urdu media and provides intellectual direction to public opinion. Urdu newspapers glorify militant groups as the agents of local and global “Jihad” and are steeped in the Jihadist discourse that emanated from Pakistan’s concerted alliance with the USA in the 1980s to nurture the mujahideen and later efforts to seek “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and “fix” India via proactive Jihadism.

Little has changed in the past three decades except the fact that a grander version of Urdu press now exists in the shape of electronic media. The latter, barring few exceptions, has also overtly and covertly supported soft Islamism as a natural policy option for an Islamic Republic endowed with nuclear weapons.