Govt to renew National
Environment Policy
by next year

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: Irked over the delayed response from certain state governments and central ministries, the government has sent reminders to get timely response from them to review the National Environment Policy (NEP) by early next year. "The policy has not been....more

Radiation level
around mobile towers
not alarming: Expert

BANGALORE, Dec 12: Allaying fears that fast sprouting mobile telephone towers across the cities and towns in India were emitting high level of radiation, an expert claimed that it had been very lower than the Department of Telecom (DOT) stipulated guidelines. As per...more

Uma says ready to
take responsibility to
strengthen BJP in UP

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: After senior BJP leader L K Advani indicated that she would return to the party soon, Hindutva leader Uma Bharti today said she was willing to rejoin BJP and take the responsibility of strengthening it in Uttar...more

Limit RTI applications to
250 words: DOPT

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: RTI applications may now be limited to 250 words and to only one topic if the rules for processing of such applications suggested by the Department of Personnel.....more

FinMin probing
more than 100 overseas
deals for tax evasion

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: The Finance Ministry has begun its maiden investigation into over 100 offshore "financial structuring deals" undertaken by Indian business entities in foreign tax havens to allegedly evade the taxman’s net. The multi-pronged probe...more

BJP seeks clarification
from Congress
on Wikileaks disclosure

LUCKNOW, Dec 12: Bharatiya Janata Party today sought clarification from the Congress on the reported disclosure of Wikileaks claiming that the party had tried to gain political mileage among Muslims by backing the theory that Maharashtra ATS chief...more

Vigilance Commissioner
expresses concern
over growing corruption

BANGALORE, Dec 12: Expressing deep concern over the growing menace of corruption in the country, Vigilance Commissioner, Central Vigilance Commission R Sri Kumar today exhorted the people to join hands with CVC against....more

IRCTC to set up
‘food factory’

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: Aiming to revive its fortune in the fast growing food and beverage industry, IRCTC, a railway PSU, has planned to come up with a ‘food factory’ here to serve customers with packed....more

I’d go back to teaching, given a second chance: Pranab Mukherjee........

Medical Council of India faces CAG flak.............

Film on JNU union leader releases in January..........

Celluloid celebrations for 1971 Liberation war anniversary..........

 

Govt to renew National Environment Policy by next year

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: Irked over the delayed response from certain state governments and central ministries, the government has sent reminders to get timely response from them to review the National Environment Policy (NEP) by early next year.

"The policy has not been renewed as some of the ministries have not yet given their responses on its implementation.

"We are sending them reminders and would try to come up with its renewed and updated version by early next year," an environment ministry official said requesting anonymity.

The NEP was formulated by the Union Cabinet in 2006 to act as a ready reckoner for guidelines to both centre and state-run environment conservation and pollution control bodies and could not be renewed for over an year.

Activists across the country have expressed their anguish over non-renewal of the key policy.

"The Policy helps government to decide on major issues like giving clearance on setting up of mining or environmental projects. But its absence poses a question mark on the government’s efforts and causes great concern," said Ajay Dubey, an environmentalist.

Another eminent environment activist Proloy Bagchi said, "Environment policy is essential. It should be upgraded and reviewed to check many critical environmental issues like sand mining and industrial pollution."

Bagchi said the NEP plays an important role in ensuring proper utilisation of natural resources and conservation of environment.

The NEP was the outcome of extensive consultations with experts in different disciplines, central ministries, MPs, state governments, industry associations, academic and research institutions, civil society, NGOs and the public.

"As the policy outlines a significant number of new and continuing initiatives for enhancing environmental conservation, a formal, periodic high-level review of implementation of different elements of the National Environment Policy is essential.

"This would enhance accountability of the different public agencies responsible for implementation...Accordingly, the Cabinet or a nominated Committee of the Cabinet may be requested to review the implementation of the National Environment Policy, once a year, within three months from the close of the previous fiscal year," the NEP 2006 document said.

"The findings of the review should be publicly disclosed so that stakeholders are assured of the seriousness of the Government in ensuring implementation of the policy," it said.

The Environment Ministry is also required to undertake consultations every three years with groups of diverse stakeholders.

"In the third of the three-year reviews, undertake a more comprehensive examination of the scientific and policy understanding of environmental issues, redefine the objectives and principles, and recast the strategic themes for action. A new National Environment Policy should be the outcome," the policy said.

"It is sad that nothing is being done on it. At a time when environmental issues are of prime concerns for the world, the Environment Ministry’s silence is worrying," Dubey added. (PTI)

Radiation level around mobile towers not alarming: Expert

BANGALORE, Dec 12: Allaying fears that fast sprouting mobile telephone towers across the cities and towns in India were emitting high level of radiation, an expert claimed that it had been very lower than the Department of Telecom (DOT) stipulated guidelines.

As per the Interactive Tool for Control Relevant Identification (ITCRI) international guidelines, DOT had set a benchmark that mobile towers should not radiate more than certain level of radiation.

Telecom Regularity Authority of India (TRAI) along with other central agencies had proposed that radiation exposure be limited to 9.2 watts per square meter. A timeline was given to all telecom operators to strictly follow.

Mr Rajesh Toshniwal, CEO of Kolkata-based Toshniwal Enterprises Controls, a leading testing and measurement solutions provider for the telecom operators, said there was nothing to worry as radiation emitted from mobile towers in India was much lower compared to the standards set by agencies.

Speaking, Toshniwal said "actually emission of radiation had been 100 per cent or more lower than the TRAI stipulation. We have tested a few thousand telecom towers across the country and we have not come across a single site that emits radiation in excess of ITCRI or DOT guidelines."

With the exploding cell phone market, the number of mobile phone towers in the country has reached 2.5 lakh. At least a similar number of towers are likely to be added by 2015.

Mr Toshniwal, however, felt that the standards set by the DOT may not be at the higher benchmark set by some European countries.

"As a citizen I am not sure whether the DOT guidelines are in international standards. This has to be looked into. We have lowered the bar in India, while it is higher in some western countries," he said.

DOT guidelines was quite closer to that of the US and some other countries. However, it was four times lower than in European countries like France and Belgium, he said.

Mr Toshniwal, however, said the benchmarks used in different countries on radiation level of telecom towers can be ‘arbitrary’.

"At times we are happy that the norms are compared with the US, but at times we are not happy that they are not comparable with the EU. We cannot have best among all of the world. We have to be practical enough," he said.

In Hamburg in Germany, towers are not allowed to be erected inside the city, while it can be seen in teeming localities in cities and towns in India.

Radiation is commonly emitted when any electronic device is put into use. But what level of radiation they emit depend on the quality of the gadget, the power it consumes and so on.

Reflecting on the industry response, Mr Tishniwal said initially telecom operators did not respond to the guidelines quickly. But as the time drew nearer to comply with it, they realised the seriousness in the matter and were taking action and paying lot of attention to comply with the guidelines.

On how the measurement and certification was done, he said his company did the testing and sent the report.

"It is a self certification process. Based on report by the testing company the authorities certify it. They would also verify the sites randomly using their own test equipment," he said.

This, however, was a continuous process and not taken up for the first time, he said.

Mr Toshniwal said it was good that the country had begun measuring radiation levels in telecom towers. Experience worldwide showed that it took more than one year to streamline the testing procedure. It may happen faster in India, he felt.

"All the stake holders have realised that it is a serious business. The telecom operators and equipment manufacturers will be serious and will buy or deliver the best equipment," he said.

Explaining the higher benchmark set for radiation emission in the West, he said a separate red and yellow zones were demarcated below every telecom tower in those countries. But there was no such practice in India, where towers are erected across the cities and towns and in residential areas due to phenomenal growth of the sector.

He said owners of residential buildings were very keen to have towers as it got them high rental income. It made commercial sense for all of them.

"There was loop side of this development and most did not follow the guidelines. Now at least the operators are convinced that it is not an intervention in their business. They would catch up by working towards compliance and further lower the level of radiation by using quality equipment," he said.

He said Toshniwal Enterprises provides the best test equipment and service for measuring radiation. It partners with Agilent, global leader in test equipment. "We use isotropic antenna to measure the radiation level as per the international norm," he added.(UNI)

Uma says ready to take responsibility
to strengthen BJP in UP

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: After senior BJP leader L K Advani indicated that she would return to the party soon, Hindutva leader Uma Bharti today said she was willing to rejoin BJP and take the responsibility of strengthening it in Uttar Pradesh as suggested by him.

Bharti, who was expelled from BJP in 2005 and went on to form her own Bhartiya Janshakti Party, said 11 months ago, party chief Nitin Gadkari and Advani had asked her to return to BJP and take up a post but she had decided then to take a break from politics for one year due to personal reasons.

Now she was willing to accept the suggestion of Gadkari and Advani, she said.

In his blog, Advani had yesterday indicated that Bharti would return to the party soon to firm up the organisation in Uttar Pradesh and contest elections from the state.

"Advani ji has mentioned about UP in his blog. It will be a big challenge. If he feels I can take up this challenge then I also will find out some way to do it. I am only 50 years old and so I have both the time and ability to take up any responsibility," Bharti said.

"I will always see Advaniji as my leader as there are very few honest leaders like him in the country today. Gadkariji is also an honest leader," she said.

"Whatever responsibility the party has given me, I have fulfilled it. Now that there is talk about giving me the responsibility of UP, I will definitely find a way to do it," she said.

Advani had written on his blog that "Uma spoke to me, and on my advice, agreed that she would concentrate hereafter on strengthening the party unit in Uttar Pradesh, which ....Had become greatly enfeebled. She said she would like to contest also from Uttar Pradesh."

After taking over as party president last year, Gadkari had expressed the intention of bringing back Jaswant Singh and Bharti to the party fold, Advani had said.

"Nitinji himself talked to Uma.... But she has sought some time from the party president before plunging headlong into the fray," Advani had said.

Speculation has been rife for several months now about Bharti’s return to BJP. She has already quit BJS.

She had travelled to Raipur with Advani to attend the last rites of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s father earlier this year and also accompanied him to Somnath to offer prayers on the anniversary of his Rathyatra.

Bharti said the country is in the midst of a crisis as many parties are involved in corruption and maintained that corruption, crimilisation of politics, problems of use of electronic voting machines in polls, quota for backward women in reservation for women and construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya are the issues on which she will focus. (PTI)

Limit RTI applications to 250 words: DOPT

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: RTI applications may now be limited to 250 words and to only one topic if the rules for processing of such applications suggested by the Department of Personnel may find their way through.

According to proposed amendments in the RTI rules, the DOPT, nodal body for implementing the Act in the country, has said each application will be limited to 250 words excluding the address of the public authority and applicant. It will also be limited to only one subject matter.

Even more surprising is the fact that RTI applicants will have to pay the "actual amount" spent by public authority on hiring a machine or any other equipment, if any, to supply information.

The rules will be a modification of the present RTI (regulation of fee and cost) rules, 2005 and the central information commission (appeal procedure) rules, 2005.

The DOPT has sought the comments on these changes from public on email id "usrti-dovt@nic.In" by December 27, 2010.

The rules have resulted in furore among RTI activists who say that they will be of no good to semi-literate and illiterate people who are the main users of the law.

"Though Comments being sought from Civil Society though in accordance with Section 4(1) of the RTI Act, however this notification gets limited to only those who are net friendly and that too only two weeks time given," Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra said.

He said people from rural areas who do not have internet access will be devoid of sending their views on the subject.

"Putting a word limit of 250 words will obstruct the Right to Information. There was very minute number of people who misused the provisions of RTI applications by asking large number of questions but there are enough powers to reject such applications. There was no need for such limits on word usage," said Subhash Agrawal, another RTI activist.

"The new rules widen the ambit of discretionary use by the concerned Public Information Officer who can reject the applications summarily," Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative said.

He asked how can the Government set a limit of words especially when same set of questions in different languages will require different word usage.

He also said legally the process of RTI starts when application is submitted to a PIO. "The State cannot dictate the user to set word limit before process starts. Instead the CPIO should be empowered to ask the appellant to prioritise the information, in case of voluminous information." he said. (PTI)

FinMin probing more than 100
overseas deals for tax evasion

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: The Finance Ministry has begun its maiden investigation into over 100 offshore "financial structuring deals" undertaken by Indian business entities in foreign tax havens to allegedly evade the taxman’s net.

The multi-pronged probe has been undertaken by the international taxation wing of the Income Tax department and the foreign taxation unit in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

A number of investments and deals to the tune of billions of rupees have been already executed in tax havens like the Mauritius, Isle of Mann, Cyprus, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, amongst others.

These deals will be scrutinised by the investigators, who are also travelling to some of these countries to collect additional information.

The exercise, dubbed "Lifting Corporate Veil", will look into the overseas deals, including some big ticket ventures, to investigate whether "a chain of overseas takeovers may be part of an exercise for an elaborate treaty shopping or tax evasion exercise."

According to sources privy to the investigations, the I-T Department has identified almost seven lakh companies in the British Virgin Island alone that are possible front companies for such investments.

Certain Indian entities allegedly invested in companies set up in these offshore tax havens to avoid taxes or pay close to zero tax under the guise of financial restructuring.

"Privacy and confidentiality and freedom from all taxes in these havens are guaranteed. Company structures are flexible and the process of incorporation is fast and efficient while doing financial structuring in these places," sources said.

The probe is to check the investments ‘made’ abroad and investments ‘made from’ abroad through a chain of tax haven countries without paying taxes in either country and causing loss of revenue to the national exchequer, sources said.

They said such probes are also expected to throw up some leads related to violation of foreign exchange rules and money laundering to fund illegal ventures, which will be referred to other investigative and enforcement agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) for follow-up action.

The Finance Ministry is already working to finalise Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with countries like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea and Vietnam.

Furthermore, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with more than 70 countries are being fine-tuned.

The I-T department is also looking into evasion of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) by some companies while making payments to purchase overseas shares, but sources declined to name the entities involved.

The government recently announced in the Winter Session of Parliament that it is probing a few more cross-border merger and acquisition cases for possible tax evasion, shortly after slapping a Rs 11,000 crore tax notice on Vodafone for its buyout of Hutchison’s stake in telecom JV Hutchison Essar.

"A few cases relating to cross-border merger and acquisition deals have been identified for further examination by the (Income Tax) Department. These deals are being examined for possible tax implications," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said.

The deals under the Finance Ministry scanner include Sanofi Pasteur Holding’s agreement with Merieux Alliance, Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault’s acquisition of Shantha Biotechnics, the agreement of New Cingular Wireless Services Inc with AT&T Mauritius for acquiring Idea Cellular, the transfer of stake in GE Capital International Services/Genpact India and SKR BPO Services’ deal with Barclays, Mauritius, for acquiring Intelnet Global Services. (PTI)

BJP seeks clarification from
Congress on Wikileaks disclosure

LUCKNOW, Dec 12: Bharatiya Janata Party today sought clarification from the Congress on the reported disclosure of Wikileaks claiming that the party had tried to gain political mileage among Muslims by backing the theory that Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s death during the 26/11 attack was linked to his probe into Hindu terrorists.

BJP Vice-president Kalraj Mishra told reporters here that the country

wants a reply from the Congress on the issue and should name the leaders who are involved in it.

" Such acts of the Congress give the anti-national and terrorist organisations encouragement in their activities," he said while claiming that cases of treason should be lodged against these Congress leaders.

He announced that the BJP and other supporting parties could launch a nationwide agitation on the disclosure and its vote bank politics.

According to the Wikileaks disclosure the then Minority affairs minister AR Antulay had sparked off a controversy on December 17, 2008 less than three weeks after the attack in Mumbai by making this totally unsubstantiated allegation on the Hindu organiSations.

The website said that according to the secret report of US ambassador the Congress chose to pander to Muslims fears, providing impetus for those in the Muslim community who will continue to play up the Hindu conspiracy theory. (UNI)

Vigilance Commissioner expresses
concern over growing corruption

BANGALORE, Dec 12: Expressing deep concern over the growing menace of corruption in the country, Vigilance Commissioner, Central Vigilance Commission R Sri Kumar today exhorted the people to join hands with CVC against the evil.

Speaking after inaugurating a national workshop on Discipline and Vigilance Administration in public sector banks, organised by the All India State Bank Officers’ Federation here, Mr Sri Kumar warned that the elephantine presence of corruption in the society was nothing but a threat to the edifice of democracy.

Stating that only a handful of organisations like CVC or CBI were not enough to fight the challenge, Mr Sri Kumar called upon the people to join hands with these organisations dealing against the menace of the corruption in their own way.

Maintaining that there were many dimensions in the process of elimination of corruption from the society through, punitive, preventive, pro-active, predictive and participatory vigilance, Mr Sri Kumar said there was a need to build a ‘Team India’ in which every individual could participate in the fight against the evil.

Stating that democracy would be at peril if all did not stand against corruption, Mr Sri Kumar said, "Otherwise we would do lot of injustice to the future generation."

Appealing the people to take advantage of a new tool designed on the Mobile Platform ‘Vigeye’ by the CVC which was launched recently, Mr Sri Kumar said any individual who has credible information on any public servant attached to the Union Government could register his name and upload any related voice, data, image or documents.

"The CVC will take note of the complaint lodged through mobile platform and start initiative against the corrupt public servant named in the complaint," he said. "The information received in Vigeye will prove more potent in the future than the Wikileaks we are hearing about," he said. (UNI)

IRCTC to set up ‘food factory’

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: Aiming to revive its fortune in the fast growing food and beverage industry, IRCTC, a railway PSU, has planned to come up with a ‘food factory’ here to serve customers with packed delicacies as per their choice.

The corporation, which suffered a setback recently after the Railways decided to take over the catering responsibility from it, plans to "strike rich cashing in with its brand value in the market".

Top IRCTC officials said that offices, schools and colleges, and MNCs would be their target clients.

The factory that would serve cooked food in the NCR region, is likely to come up by March next year. It will be run by 120 to 125 staff to begin with.

"We would also reach out to households and wish to take up the catering jobs in any major national or international events in the capital through this new venture," an IRCTC official said.

The official, however, did not divulge the amount of investment for this new unit but said its success could determine the Corporation’s future initiatives in the hospitality sector.

He said IRCTC’s forte lies in catering, and its expertise in running food courts at stations across the country gives it the edge to succeed in this venture.

"Our aim would be to serve fresh cooked food and in a way as desired," he said.

Considered its core business area, the catering department fetched 97.5 per cent of its revenue till the last financial year.

The corporation had posted over 16 per cent growth in its earnings during this period. However, it is likely to take a big hit after the loss of the catering responsibilities to the Railways.

According to the results of the 2009-10 financial year, the corporation had earned Rs 721.97 crore, registering a growth of 16.7 per cent. (PTI)

I’d go back to teaching, given a
second chance: Pranab Mukherjee

MUMBAI, Dec 12: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said he would go back to teaching - his first profession- given a second chance.

Interacting with filmmaker Karan Johar at the sixth CNBC Business leaders Awards here yesterday, which coincided with his birthday, the 76-year-old Mukherjee, said "I thought public life would be a good line, but I don’t know how much I have achieved in all these years. If I had to change my line at this age, I’d go back to teaching."

The politician, who is a fan of Bengali actors-Sharmila Tagore, Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- is also a fan of Tagore’s songs.

"I have enough of his records and I listen to them during my bedtime. I have a good collection now, thanks to Mamata Banerjee gifting me a cassette collection. The last movie I watched was "Rang De Basanti", when as a Defence Minister I had to watch it (the movie) with my Chiefs of Staff to clear the film."

Mr Mukherjee, an avid garderner in his free time, is also penning his autobiography of his political career.

"I’m basically a village boy, and I have written about my career upto 1980. But I have not been able to continue for the last remaining 30 years," the Minister said.

Commenting on his legendary knack of getting along with other politicians, especially members of the Opposition, Mr Mukherjee said "I respect everybody’s view though I may not agree with it. I also never take what I say as the final word, and the only answer."(UNI)

Medical Council of India faces CAG flak

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: The Medical Council of India (MCI) has come under fire from the Comptroller and Auditor General, which found that the medical education regulator did not take action against a number of teachers who kept on taking classes despite their licenses being suspended for alleged irregularities.

The case relates to forwarding of details of 102 medical teachers by the Dental Council to the MCI who were found working in both dental colleges as well as medical colleges in violation of the norms.

But, despite being provided with the details and request for necessary action from the Dental Council, the MCI did not initiate any proceedings in this regard, the audit said.

The performance audit report also found that the MCI recommended lodging of FIRs against 325 doctors for submitting forged certificates or declarations to it at the time of inspection of the medical colleges but the police did not act.

In view of the seriousness of the matter, the MCI removed the names of 134 medical teachers/doctors temporarily on various grounds from the Indian Medical Register(IMR).

But the audit body maintained that the action taken by the MCI did not prove to be effective to curb the menace as 38 such medical teachers were found working in medical colleges during the period of deletion of their name from the IMR.

The MCI also failed to detect and take action against 18 cases of impersonation for the period 2004-05 to 2008-09.

"Audit noticed 18 cases of impersonation from the database of the Council for the period 2004-05 to 2008-09 where medical teachers were found working in more than one medical college on the same date of inspection.

"As the Council failed to detect the discrepancy, no action was taken on these cases of impersonation," the audit report said.

The CAG also rapped the MCI for not adhering to the inspection rules of medical colleges. According to the statutory requirements, each medical college needs to be inspected by the Council within a period of five years.

The audit revealed that the MCI did not adhere to its norms of periodical inspection of recognised medical colleges once in a block of five years in 56 out of 63 institutions during 2004-05 to 2008-09.

The auditor pointed out that the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College in Delhi was inspected after a gap of 14 years while SN Medical College in Agra and MLN Medical College in Allahabad were inspected by the Council after an interval of 12 years. (PTI)

Film on JNU union leader releases in January

BHOPAL, Dec 12: ‘Chandu’, a new film on slain Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Union leader, Chandrashekhar Prasad, is all set to go on the floors next month.

The film’s Director, Ajay Kanchan said that although the film would keep commercial considerations in mind, it would be radical in a number of ways.

"This would be so because of a number of reasons including the fact that till now the killers of Chandrashekhar who was popularly known as ‘Chandu’ have not been traced," he said.

Chandrashekhar was killed in broad daylight on the streets of Siwan in Bihar more than 13 years ago.

Kanchan said it is almost common knowledge that the JNU union leader was working to bring about a common working platform for the people and the government.

"Chandu was doing all this in totally adverse circumstances and this lends more authority to his work," he said.

Kanchan said that since Chandrashekhar was killed at a very young age, many people who knew the late union leader were still alive and attempts have been made to get in touch with them.

The director said that the hero of the film would be 30-year-old Imran Zahid who is a resident of New Delhi where he runs a small media institute.

Although the heroine for the film has not been finalised, they are thinking of casting Kangana Ranaut in it, Kanchan said adding they have already suggested to the film’s creative director, Mahesh Bhatt about the need for having Kangna in Chandu. (PTI)

Celluloid celebrations for 1971 Liberation war anniversary

NEW DELHI, Dec 12: It will be a celebration with the celluloid at the Bangladesh High Commission here on December 16, the day when joint forces of Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi freedom fighters triumphed over occupation of Pakistani army 39 years ago, leading to the birth of a new nation.

A landmark documentary film by Zahir Raihan, depicting the genocide by Pakistani troops of unarmed Bangladeshis, will be screened at the mission’s auditorium, aptly named ‘Moitree Hall’ symbolising the friendship between India and Bangladesh.

It will be the first time that Raihan’s 22-minute documentary ‘Stop Genocide’ will be shown in Delhi.

The film highlights a parallel, drawn in the narration, between the genocides in Vietnam, Algeria and Bangladesh.

Stop Genocide was the debut documentary by Raihan, who is already an established name in feature film segment with works like Kokhoni Aseni, Sangam, Bahana and Jibon Thekey Neya.

During the Liberation War, Raihan had gone to Kolkata where his ‘Jibon Thekey Neya’, based on the 1952 movement for Bengali language, had earned appreciation from Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha.

According to film historian and screen writer James Leahy, Stop Genocide is a film that reminded Cuban director Santiago Alvarez’s ‘Hasta la Victoria Siempre!’ (1967) made in 48 hours for the public meeting at which Fidel Castro had announced the death of revolutionary Che Guevara.

Raihan’s documentary, whose commentary is in English, was financed by Indian friends of Bangladesh and the film had impressed the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi so much that she ordered the Films Division to buy it and circulate it internationally, according to Leahy.

Mystery still shrouds the death of Raihan who had gone to look for his brother Shahidullah Kaiser, a leading poet and intellectual of Bangladesh who was killed by Pakistani troops and their collaborators in Bangladesh.

Raihan disappeared soon after he had gone to Mirpur, a locality in Dhaka, looking for his brother soon after the surrender of Pakistani troops to Indian army on December 16, 1971. It is widely suspected that remnants of Pakistani army and their collaborators, who had held out in Mirpur, had gunned the director and others.

Another documentary that will be screened at the High Commission on December is ‘War Crimes 71’, portraying the genocide committed by Pakistani troops during the Bangladesh Liberation War in the name of religion, directed by Shariar Kabir, a leading progressive intellectual of Bangladesh.

Kabir’s book ‘Ekattorer Jishu’ (The Jesus of 1971), depicting how a Christian priest who had helped unarmed civilians escape the Pakistani troops and their collaborators was killed, had been made into a feature film in early 1990s by Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s High Commissioner Tariq A Karim said "the atrocities inflicted on the innocent and unarmed people of Bangladesh by those who opposed the liberation of Bangladesh accounted for one of the gravest crimes against humanity of all times".

"The present democratic and secular polity of Bangladesh is determined to bring to justice, maintaining international standards, the perpetrators of those heinous crimes against humanity committed during those nine painfully bloody months of the war in 1971", he said. (PTI)



|
home | state | national | business| editorial | advertisement | sports | photogallery |
|
international | weather | mailbag | suggestions | search | subscribe | send mail |