By Divya Kaeley
After a calm of ten days, fresh violence broke out in parts of lowerAssamclaiming five lives and pushing the overall toll to 61. Three bodies bearing bullet wounds were found in Chirang and two from Kokrajhar district, where one person is reported missing, police said. Also, two people died in West Bengal after being pushed out of a train headed to Guwahati fromBangalore. Nine other passengers were injured in the incident and all but one were fromAssam.
Those from the North-East, who live in cities likeBangaloreandHyderabad, have headed home in huge numbers, with many worried about their safety. A series of incendiary text messages and MMS-es said those from the north-eastern states would be targeted.Assamchief minister Tarun Gogoi said officials had travelled to the site of the accident to ensure there was no fallout. He again reiterated the involvement of a “foreign hand” in the recent violence in his state that has claimed nearly 80 lives and displaced over four lakh.
Pakistaninterior minister Rehman Malik said he had askedIndiato provide evidence that elements inPakistanare using social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments and create a scare among people of northeasternIndia. “The Indian (home minister Sushilkumar Shinde) has said that rumours were generated fromPakistanthrough cellular services,” he told reporters during an interaction about his phone conversation with Shinde.
Blaming Center for violence inAssamand subsequent exodus of northeastern people from various parts of the country to their home states, BJP said Congress’ “vote bank” politics was “weakening” the country. “Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are crossing over toIndiain large numbers. At the same time, the people from northeast settled in various parts of the country for employment have to flee to their home states,” the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told a BJP rally. “This grim situation is the fallout of Congress’ vote bank politics which is weakening the country. The illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are responsible for creating tension in the country by fighting with the locals,” the senior BJP leader alleged.
Former BJP ideologue KN Govindacharya said recently there is hardly any difference in the policies of Congress and BJP as both are supporting the rich, and suggested that the rival political parties should fight the next general elections together. “Differences of opposition have vanished in the country as both the BJP and the Congress were supporting policies helping rich and there was no one to raise issues of poor,” said Govindacharya in Ballia on Saturday night.
Members of the recently-disbanded Team Anna met in Noida on last week, reportedly to chalk out their strategy before taking the political plunge. The meeting comes ahead of the first meeting of the preparatory committee next week for the launch of their political party. Sources had said earlier that before taking the plunge in 2014 general elections, the erstwhile Team Anna is likely to test political waters first in next year’s Delhi Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, the revenue department has begun a final tax assessment of the trusts associated with yoga guru Ramdev after service and I-T officials recently conducted special probes on these enterprises for alleged tax evasion. Both the revenue collection arms of finance ministry’s Income Tax and Service Tax departments have recently issued notices to these trusts which are now being contested by Ramdev.
Commerce and industry Minister Anand Sharma has hit out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of giving a “political slant” by making “inflammatory” statement on beef exports. “My attention has been drawn to your public statement regarding the meat export policy alleging that the Central Government is promoting slaughter of cows and export of beef, which is inaccurate, inflammatory and misleading,” Sharma said in his letter to Modi.
Olympic medallists Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt will be jointly conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award — the country’s highest sporting honour — while an unprecedented 25 sportspersons will be bestowed upon the Arjuna awards this year.
VVS Laxman, the most elegant of batsmen, surprised, and even shocked, millions of his fans by quitting international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday. That he would announce his retirement on Saturday was more or less known by Friday. But that he would chose to go so suddenly, without even playing a farewell Test, came as a big surprise.