Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year celebrations sobered down protests against gangrape continue

New Year celebrations sobered down, protests against gangrape continue
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 31 (CMC) Celebrations across the country to welcome New Year were toned down as India continued to mourn and  protest against violence on women, a day after Delhi gangrape victim was cremated under heavy security on Sunday.

Many hotels and organisations cancelled New Year's eve celebrations in New Delhi, Mumbai and other several cities as they felt the tragic death of 23-year-old woman had left people sad.

The usual buzz surrounding New Year was missing in Delhi today after the city witnessed the gruesome gangrape of a 23-year-old girl, who died two days ago, with lesser turnouts in hotspots like India Gate and Connaught Place.
Several clubs, including the Press Club of India and Delhi Gymkhana, and five-star hotels cancelled their New Year revelries following the death of the girl.

Protests were held at Jantar Mantar where a makeshift memorial was also built.

The mood at Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, was a modest affair unlike other years when there is a lot of pomp and celebrations.

It was a no-vehicle zone this evening at CP for controlling the crowd. Police personnel were in huge numbers there, keeping a close watch on the revellers.

During the day, a large number of students took out a march in Connaught Place protesting against the gangrape of the young girl. The Central Park in the CP was closed.

Though not like last year, people thronged popular markets and fun spots on New Year eve today in the capital where police kept a tight vigil to ensure that the festivities went ahead without any untoward incident.

City police has made elaborate security and traffic arrangements to ensure that the celebrations go off peacefully.

"It may be a new year for entire world but for Delhiites it is a sad day. If a person is not safe in Bus then were in Delhi is he or she safe. Earlier being a resident of Delhi we were afraid of terrorist attacks now we are afraid of rapists too," Karan Sharma said.

Expressing deep concern over thedeath of the Delhi gang-rape victim, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik today decided not to take part in any New Year celebrations

"The inhuman incident at Delhi has pained the entire country. Assault on women has severely hurt sentiments of the people. Therefore, Patnaik will not celebrate the New Year's Day," a spokesman of the chief minister's office (CMO) said.

UNI reported, the new year function to be held at the Madhya Pradesh Raj Bhavan on January 1 was cancelled. Governor Ram Naresh Yadav took the decision in the context of the Delhi gangrape, an official statement said.

There is a tradition to organise a new year function at the Bhavan every year during which the Governor interacts with distinguished citizens and others and exchanges new year greetings.

Protests continue
Students and women on Monday continued their protests in New Delhi against violence on women, a day after the city's gangrape victim was cremated under heavy security.

A large number of people, but mainly the young, gathered near the Jantar Mantar observatory in the heart of Delhi, pressing the government to enact strict legislation against rape and other crimes.

At least two people are on hunger strike at the spot.

"I'm on hunger strike for the past three days. I will continue my fast until fast-track courts come up to hear cases of sexual harassment," said Babusingh Ram, one of them.

Two protesters, who have been on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar demanding for death penalty for the Delhi gangrape accused,  have started developing health complications.

The doctor who checked on them said that one of them had a normal blood pressure, but a high pulse rate.

He said, "The other protester, who has been fasting for the past eight days, have started developing oral ulcers. I have requested him to eat, but he persists on continuing his strike."

Hunger strikers demonstrate following the death of a gangrape victim in New Delhi. AFP

The All India Students Association (AISA), affiliated to the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist, said at least 1,000 members will stage a demonstration in Connaught Place on Monday.

Delhi Police have announced a ban on motor traffic in and around Connaught Place from 7pm on Monday on the occasion of New Year's Eve.

Three Delhi Metro Stations - Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road and Patel Chowk - will close at 7.30pm on Monday. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a condolence meeting at Jantar Mantar to pay tribute to the victim, who succumbed to her injuries at a Singapore hospital on Saturday.

Senior BJP leaders including LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj will also attend the ceremony.

The girl died after battling for life for 13 days after being brutally gangraped by six men in a moving bus.

Following a day of protests on Sunday across India over the brutal rape and killing, several cities held silent candle light vigils to remember the young woman.

The gang rape provoked protests and rare nationwide debate about violence against women in India.

In New Delhi, where the attack took place, a petition calling for the death penalty for rape gathered 100,000 signatures.

"In this petition we have put demands addressed to the government and the chairperson of National Women's Commission that the penalty for rape should only be the death sentence and nothing else," said Bharvik Aggarwal, chair of the Indraprastha Sanjivini Trust.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, police figures show. Reported rape cases rose by nearly 17% between 2007 and 2011, according to government data.

"Being a woman, I feel it is not just about these six people who have been arrested. It is about everything that goes wrong against women. It is about child abuse, it is about domestic violence, it is about rape, it is about molestation, even teasing. And a very simple thing that we can do, both men and women, is that we need to raise our voices," said Anjali, a protester in Bangalore.

"If we see anything wrong happening, we need to raise our voice. If it is happening with us, we need to raise our voice. If it is in our surroundings that something wrong is happening, we need to raise our voice," she added.

"Actually we are not just protesting against the rape case that took place in Delhi. Many more rape cases are occurring daily all over the country. We have to stop this. So some changes must be made in the judiciary system and the administrative setup must be changed or strengthened," said Atul Pathak, who attended a candlelight vigil in Guwahati, Assam.

Six suspects were charged with murder after her death and face the death penalty if convicted.

Police have slapped murder charges, which has death penalty in rarest of rare cases, against the six accused and will file the chargesheet against them on January 3.

Delhi gang-rape case: Police charge sheet ready with 30 witnesses

Delhi gang-rape case: Police charge sheet ready with 30 witnesses
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 31 (CMC) Delhi Police on Monday confirmed that they have finalised the chargesheet related to the December 16 gang rape of a 23-year-old woman who had died 13 days later in Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

According to the 1000-page chargesheet, the sequence of events, the treatment, shifting of the patient to a Singapore hospital as well as her death, have all been mentioned.

A senior police official said the chargesheet, which is being vetted by legal experts, has cited 30 witnesses in connection with the December 16 incident in which the medical physiotherapy student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi.

Investigators have said that they will seek the death penalty for the six accused in the case.

The incident has evoked widespread outrage and anger and triggered violent protests.

The charge sheet, to be filed in the Saket court, will detail the role of five men while mentioning that a separate report would be sent to Juvenile Justice Board for the trial of the minor boy allegedly involved in the case, the official said.

Police have slapped rape, murder and other charges against the accused.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Protest against the rape victims death at Varanasi
Protest against the rape victims death at Varanasi

Photo By Somit Bardhan

Russian plane crashes into road outside Moscow

Russian plane crashes into road outside Moscow
Clean Media Correspondent

Moscow, Dec 29 (CMC) A Russian passenger plane has crashed into a main road after overshooting a runway at a Moscow airport, killing at least four people, police say.

Reports said there were between eight and 12 people on board the Tupolev-204, which had the flight number RWZ9268 and was landing at Vnukovo airport.

Images of the scene show the aircraft split into several pieces, with the cockpit on the road and the fuselage across the crash barrier.

Several people were reportedly injured.

The images show a plane bearing the Red Wings airlines livery, with the tail and cockpit broken off but the fuselage largely intact.

There were fire engines at the scene and smoke could be seen rising from parts of the wreckage.

The plane had arrived in Moscow from the Czech Republic, government officials said.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Pak President Asif Ali Zardari stops release of Bhutto assassination report

Pak President Asif Ali Zardari stops release of Bhutto assassination report
Clean Media Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (CMC) President Asif Ali Zardari stopped Interior minister Rehman Malik from making public a report on the investigation into the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, according to a media report today.

"Zardari barred Malik from presenting the report at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party that was held on Benazir's fifth death anniversary on Thursday.

"The move came in the wake of an increase in differences between Zardari and Malik," the Urdu newspaper Daily Express quoted its sources as saying.

The president issued instructions to Malik not to make the report public just hours before the PPP held a rally outside the Bhutto family mausoleum at Garhi Khuda Bux in Sindh on Thursday.

Malik had earlier told the media about his intention to make the report public.

Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The report said Malik wanted to present the report at the meeting of the PPP's central executive committee.

He even suggested that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should launch his political career by revealing the report, sources told the daily.

Bilawal, who is expected to lead the PPP's campaign for next year's general election, formally launched his political career by addressing the massive rally at Garhi Khuda Bux.

Over the past few days, Malik has met members of the team from the Federal Investigation Agency that is investigating Bhutto's assassination and other senior officials.

He had also personally overseen the publication of the investigation report running into several hundred pages.

Malik had planned to distribute copies of the report among PPP leaders and journalists, the report said.

Zardari rejected Malik's suggestions and directed the Interior Minister not to present the report before the rally in Garhi Khuda Bux.

On receiving these instructions, Malik directed officials to stop the publication of the report, which was in the final stages.

There has been considerable speculation in political circles in Islamabad about the reported differences between Zardari and Malik, sources told CMC.

Delhi gangrape: Congress top brass meets amid demands for action

Delhi gangrape: Congress top brass meets amid demands for action 
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 29 (CMC) Congress top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, met on Saturday evening amid strong demands for swift action against the perpetrators of the horrific gangrape and assault on the 23-year-old paramedic student.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who cut short his visit to his native Solapur in Maharashtra, was also present at the deliberations of the Congress core group held at the Prime Minister's residence at 7, Race Course Road. Minister of State for Home RPN Singh was also present at the meeting.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of peaceful marches and protests in the capital to mourn the death of the Delhi braveheart even as parts of central Delhi were kept out of bounds for people.

Earlier on Saturday, Sonia Gandhi in her televised tributes said the fight of nation's "beloved daughter" would not go in vain, promising "swift and fitting punishment" to perpetrators as well as stringent laws for women protection.
"As a woman and mother, I understand how you feel. I appeal you to remain calm and help strengthen our collective resolve to fight the menace of violence against women," Sonia, who is also the UPA chairperson, said.
Breaking his silence on the tragedy, Sonia Gandhi's son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi called for introspection over the incident and a resolve to ensure the security and dignity of women.
"My heart goes out to the family of the young girl and millions of young Indians, families who work, hope and pray for a better India. We as a nation must reflect on the events of the days gone by," Rahul said, offering his deep condolences to the young girl's family.

Will fight with your voice, Shah Rukh Khan on gangrape victim's death

Will fight with your voice, Shah Rukh Khan on gangrape victim's death
Clean Media Correspondent

Mumbai, Dec 29 (CMC) “I am so sorry that I am a part of this society and culture. I am so sorry that I am a man. I promise I will fight with your voice,” said superstar Shah Rukh Khan as he joined other Bollywood personalities to mourn the death of 23-year-old gangrape victim on Saturday.

The victim was taken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for further treatment after her condition deteriorated. She was being treated at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital after being brutally assaulted on the night of December 16 in South Delhi.

“We couldn't save u but wot a big voice u have, u brave little girl. That voice is telling us that rape is not an aberration, not a mistake. Rape embodies sexuality as our culture & society has defined it.

“I am so sorry that I am a part of this society and culture. I am so sorry that I am a man. I promise I will fight with ur voice. I will respect women, so that I gain my daughter's respect (sic),” said SRK, 47, who is father of son Aryan and 12-year-old daughter Suhana.

The heinous incident has triggered nationwide outrage with people taking to streets to demand death penalty for the criminals and better safety laws for women.

Black Saturday turns Jantar Mantar into memorial

Black Saturday turns Jantar Mantar into memorial
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 29 (CMC) Thousands gathered near the 18th century Jantar Mantar observatory in the heart of the Indian capital in a mass outpouring of grief for the young gang-raped woman who died on Saturday.

As news of her death after 13 days of struggle emerged, the young and the old, men and women, began to silently gather at the site, the number reaching a thousand by afternoon and rapidly swelling thereafter.

By night, there was a sea of humanity holding candles -- and placing them neatly in winding rows in memory of the 23-year-old who passed away early Saturday in a Singapore hospital.

Some people held larger flaming torches.

The crowds were largely peaceful. But tempers ran high briefly when Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made a sudden appearance, triggering loud boos. After lighting a candle, Dikshit made a hurried exit.

Underneath the calm, there was palpable anger.

"They (the six rapists) should be hanged within 13 days of the funeral rites (of the victim)," Deep Kaur, 21, said. "Only then will her soul rest in peace."

Delhi's cold weather did not deter the protesters from showing their solidarity with the woman who since her rape Dec 16 had become a symbol of everything that is rotten in the Indian system.

Even the closure of 10 Delhi Metro stations and the blockade of several roads in and around India Gate could not stop the crowds from pouring into Jantar Mantar.

"The law must be amended. It is time to awaken the government," said Ashok Rajput, a 28-year-old employee of a diplomatic mission. "Rapists should be hanged."

Political pundit Yogendra Yadav was there too. "It is only by ensuring that such a barbaric incident does not happen again is how we can pay our homage to her," he said.

Many held placards -- and hand-written posters. Some sang memorial songs in unison. Others shouted slogans. A few gave fiery speeches. The one common message was: Enough is enough!

Some sprawled on the road with black ribbons tied to their mouths.

Student Nogita Chakrobarty explained why: "We are lying down as we want to show that we too have died along with the young woman. It's a Black Saturday for all of us."

A young man and his friend dressed as "Lady of Justice" also demanded that the six males in the bus who gang-raped the victim, a physiotherapist intern, should be hanged within the 13-day Hindu mourning period.

Jantar Mantar, in the very heart of Delhi, was one of only two places Delhi Police said protests could take place. The rest of central Delhi was barricaded by several hundred police and paramilitary personnel.

A few politicians did reach Jantar Mantar but remained largely in the background. They included Brinda Karat, a Marxist and a women's activist. Aam Admi Party's Arvind Kejriwal sat in the crowd, silently.

In the evening, former army chief V.K. Singh made an appearance.

A few men spoke to media and said they had taken a vow: there should be no violence against women.

Sensex snaps 2-week losing streak, surges 203 points during week

Sensex snaps 2-week losing streak, surges 203 points during week
Clean Media Correspondent

MUMBAI, Dec 29 (CMC) The last week of the year 2012 paved the way for 2013 to gain further momentum on the back of year-end reforms amid indications of more tough stance to be taken by the government to deal with the rising fiscal as well as trade deficit. 

Sensex rose by almost 203 points to end the week at 19,444.84, snapping its last 2-week losing streak. 

All-round buying led by refineries, realty, power and capital goods, following persistent capital inflows from foreign funds amid sops for exporters announced by the government during the week also boosted the market sentiment. 

RILBSE 2.73 %, ONGCBSE 2.49 %, IOCBSE 3.03 % and BPCLBSE 2.23 % attracted heavy buying following reports that the government might gradually increase the diesel price to cut subsidies. 

The possibility of tough reforms after speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, indicating a phased reduction in energy subsidies, and an early implementation of the Goods and Services Tax ( GST) helped the recovery. 

The government announced extension of 2 per cent interest subsidy to exporters till March 2014 and a pilot scheme of 2 per cent interest subsidy for project exports through Exim Bank. 

The BSE benchmark Sensex resumed higher at 19,278.00 and hovered in a range of 19,504.40 and 19,237.26 before settling the week at 19,444.84, disclosing a net gain of 202.84 points or 1.05 per cent. 

The NSE 50-share Nifty also shot up by 60.65 points or 1.04 per cent to 5,908.35.

'Witness' cops avoid probe

'Witness' cops avoid probe
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (CMC) Two cops who could buttress police's account of how constable Subhash Tomar was fatally injured during last Sunday's protest at India Gate have surprisingly stayed away from the investigation. In the two days since the crime branch took over the case, it has been unable to trace both cops who are seen near a limp Tomar in TV footage as well as photographs.

The reluctance of these personnel to shed light on the events leading to a colleague's death has raised questions. Investigators on Friday spoke to several policemen in Karawal Nagar and elsewhere in the northeast district to identify the men. "We wanted to convey to them that it is the duty of the two men to visit the crime branch office in Chanakyapuri and record their statement,'' said an officer.

The crime branch has made progress in the case by zeroing in on the spot where Tomar was supposedly hit by a stone. "We now have an idea of the spot. We are scanning CCTV footage made available to us by ECL through the C4i network (set up for the Commonwealth Games) to confirm our fin8d8ings,'' said a source, adding, the spot would not be disclosed to prevent fake witnesses from confounding the case.

The crime branch has also recorded the statement of a physics student, Paulene, who had tried to help Tomar when he collapsed on Tilak Marg. "We sent a team along with a woman inspector to her residence in Mukherjee Nagar and recorded her statement. We have found her account useful. However, we also need to find out what transpired before she arrived at the spot,'' said an officer.

Police said the medical superintendent of RML, Dr TS Sidhu, had responded to their notice and sent all the medical documents related to Tomar's treatment at the hospital. "But The final postmortem report records six external injuries besides a broken rib and contusion in the lungs. All of this cannot have resulted from trying to give Tomar CDR. We are forming a medical board and if we find negligence on the part of RML, we will take legal action,'' said the source.

Dr Sidhu had earlier stated that Tomar "had no external injury marks, except some cuts and bruises" and that "there are no severe internal injuries recorded but the postmortem will tell everything." DCP-crime SBS Tyagi said, "The postmortem report shows that the constable suffered six external injuries and had multiple contusions in his lungs. His three ribs on the left side were broken".

Delhi rape victim's body being brought back, killers to be tried for murder

Delhi rape victim's body being brought back, killers to be tried for murder
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 29 (CMC) A woman whose gang rape sparked protests and a national debate about violence against women in India died of her injuries on Saturday, prompting a security lockdown in New Delhi and an acknowledgement from the prime minister that social change is needed. The six suspects held in
connection with the Dec 16 attack on the 23-year-old medical student on a New Delhi bus were charged with murder following her death, police said. The maximum penalty for murder is death.

Earlier, bracing for a new wave of protests, authorities deployed thousands of policemen, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women's rights.

Despite efforts to cordon off the city centre, more than 1,000 people gathered for peaceful protests at two locations. Some protesters shouted for justice, others for the death penalty for the rapists.

People started gathering at Jantar Mantar in the Capital at around 10am and sat in silence.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas also joined the protest along with some of their supporters with their mouth tied with black cloth.

Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Her death is a matter of shame and sorrow for all of us. Let's resolve that we will not let her death go in vain.

"Aren't we all responsible for her death? Can we all now do something so that half of humanity starts feeling safe amongst us?" he said.

The mourners protested against the security lock down of India Gate and Raisina Hill where violent demonstrations were witnessed last weekend over the rape.

"The government is not even allowing mourning of the death. This is insensitivity. There is complete lock down. You have the metro stations shut. You have a road completely blocked. This is undemocratic," a protester Sunil said.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Lucknow. In Hyderabad, a group of women marched to demand severe punishment for the rapists. Protests were also held in the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

The demonstrations were peaceful, unlike last weekend, when police used batons, water cannon and teargas in clashes with protesters.

'Her death will not be in vain'
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the tributes to the victim but urged protesters to channel their anger constructively.

Singh said he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred and that it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death will not have been in vain.

Sonia Gandhi, the powerful leader of the ruling Congress party, directly addressed the protesters in a rare broadcast on state television, saying that as a mother and a woman she understood their grievances.

"Your voice has been heard," Gandhi said.

"It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive and the shameful social attitudes that allow men to rape and molest women with such impunity."

The government has chartered an aircraft to fly the student's body back to India on Saturday, along with members of her family, TCA Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner to Singapore, told reporters.

The body was taken to a Hindu casket firm in Singapore for embalming. Indian diplomats selected a gold and yellow coffin to transport her home, staff at the firm told reporters.

The victim and a male friend were returning home from the cinema by bus when, media reports say, six men on the bus beat them with metal rods and repeatedly raped the woman.

Media said a rod was used in the rape, causing internal injuries. Both were thrown from the bus. The male friend survived.

Six suspects, from a slum in south Delhi, are in custody.

Analysts say the death of the woman could change that, although it is too early to say whether the protesters calling for government action to better safeguard women can sustain their momentum through to national elections due in 2014.

Braveheart's fight
According to doctors in Singapore, the student lost her fight for life at 4:45am (20.45 GMT), nearly two weeks after the brutal attack that horrified India.

"She had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain," Kelvin Loh, the chief executive of Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, said in a statement.

"She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome."

Her body is to be flown back to India later in the day, accompanied by her parents who were at her bedside when she was pronounced dead at 4:45am (2045 GMT).

After boarding a bus with tinted windows on December 16, the student was attacked by six drunk men who took it in turns to rape her and assaulted her with an iron bar before throwing her and her male companion off the moving vehicle.

She was airlifted to hospital in Singapore on Thursday.

Singh said he was deeply saddened by the death and that protests sparked by the case were "understandable".

"We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated," he wrote on his website.

"These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change."

The police have been heavily criticised for their hardline tactics in trying to quash the protests, including the frequent use of teargas and water cannon.

Neeraj Kumar, Delhi's police commissioner, urged people to maintain calm across the city as his office announced that the area around the India Gate monument -- the epicentre of the protests -- would be sealed off.

Ten downtown metro stations were also closed to the public while large numbers of roadblocks were set up on roads leading to government buildings.

Many of the security reinforcements who had been drafted in were women, following a pledge by the government to have a rethink about policing.

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit also appealed for calm and pledged "solid steps will be taken very soon" to protect women in the capital.

The government has had to fend off claims that the victim was transferred to prevent her from dying on Indian soil and thus further inflaming tensions here.

However, Raghavan said the decision was taken on medical grounds after "consultations between the medical team treating her in Delhi with the surgeons and physicians in Singapore".

The envoy also spoke in a press conference of the ordeal endured by the family of the victim, who hail from a rural part of Uttar Pradesh.

"They have borne this loss with a great deal of courage and fortitude and understanding," Raghavan said.

"They have repeatedly asked me to say how inspired they are by the many messages of support and condolences they have received. And also this reinforces their view that the death of their child will lead to a better future for all women in India and in Delhi."

Her ordeal began after she boarded a school bus that a group of six young men were taking for a joyride after drinking heavily, according to police and prosecutors.

News of her death in Singapore spread rapidly back home via social media.

"She experienced hell on earth and we should demand justice for her," said Rawatmal Dhulia, a trader on an overnight train from Rajasthan to Delhi who broke the news to his fellow passengers.

Six men who had already been arrested over the assault are now expected to be charged with murder, a crime which can carry the death penalty.

Her body was carried out of the hospital in a black bag by three workers, who placed it into a police van, after which it was driven to a morgue.

The decision to fly her out of India by air ambulance was taken at a meeting of Singh's cabinet on Wednesday and the government had promised to pay all her medical bills.

As news of the victim's death reached New Delhi early Saturday, hundreds of policemen sealed off the high-security India Gate area in anticipation of more protests.

The area is home to the president's palace, the prime minister's office and key defense, external affairs and home ministries.

The area had seen battles between protesters and police for days after the attack.

Ten metro stations in the vicinity also were closed Saturday, said Rajan Bhagat, the New Delhi police spokesman.

The protesters are demanding stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.

Women face daily harassment across India, ranging from catcalls on the streets, groping and touching in public transport to rape.

Singh said he understands the angry reaction to the attack and hopes all Indians will work together to make appropriate changes.

"These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change," the prime minister said in a statement Saturday.

"It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

He said the government was examining the penalties for crimes such as rape "to enhance the safety and security of women."

"I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agendas to help us all reach the end that we all desire — making India a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in," Singh said.

Mamta Sharma, head of the state-run National Commission for Women, said the "time has come for strict laws" to stop violence against women.

"The society has to change its mindset to end crimes against women," she said.

Several celebrities reacted with sadness Saturday over the woman's death.

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "Her body has passed away, but her soul shall forever stir our hearts."

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government's only concern was to ensure the victim received "the best treatment possible".

Singh has ordered an official inquiry into the gangrape and new laws to protect women as well as stiffer penalties for the worst sex crimes.

And he said Delhi police would soon launch a drive to recruit more female officers as a confidence-building measure.

The government has also announced plans to post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to publicly shame them.

The campaign will begin in Delhi, which has been dubbed India's "rape capital".

The Delhi gangrape has shone the spotlight on a crime that occurs on a daily basis in India, with most such assaults taking place in rural areas.

Policemen gather at the epicenter of previous protests the near India Gate in New Delhi. Reuters

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government has been battling criticism that it was tone-deaf to the outcry and heavy handed in its response to the protests in the Indian capital.

"It is deeply saddening and just beyond words. The police and government definitely have to do something more," said Sharanya Ramachandran, an Indian national working as an engineer in Singapore.

"They should bring in very severe punishment for such cases. They should start recognising that it is a big crime."

"Significant brain injuries"
The Singapore hospital said earlier that the woman had suffered "significant brain injury" and was surviving against the odds. She had already undergone three abdominal operations before being flown to Singapore.

Protests over the lack of safety for women erupted across India after the attack, culminating last weekend in pitched battles between police and protesters in the heart of New Delhi.

New Delhi has been on edge since the weekend clashes.

Hundreds of policemen have been deployed on the streets of the capital and streets leading to the main protest site, the India Gate war memorial, have been shut for long periods, severely disrupting traffic in the city of 16 million.

Commentators and sociologists say the rape has tapped into a deep well of frustration that many Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership on social and economic issues.

Many protesters have complained that Singh's government has done little to curb the abuse of women in the country of 1.2 billion.

A global poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June found that India was the worst place to be a woman because of high rates of infanticide, child marriage and slavery.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.

Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17% between 2007 and 2011.

Rahul condoles death of rape victim, calls for introspection

Rahul condoles death of rape victim, calls for introspection
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 29 (CMC) As people’s anger over the death of Delhi gangrape victim spilled out into the streets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi broke his silence on the ghastly incident calling for introspection and resolve to ensure the security and dignity of women. “My heart goes out to the family of the young girl and millions of young Indians, families who work, hope and pray for a better India.
We as a nation must reflect on the events of the days gone by,” Rahul said, offering his deep condolences to the young girl’s family. As citizens, we must resolve to respect the dignity of women and follow the laws of the land, he said. “I join my mother and sister in offering deep felt condolences to the young girl’s family, My thoughts and prayers are with the family,” Rahul said in his message. The girl, who was gang-raped by six men in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, breathed her last in a Singapore hospital early this morning after battling for life for the past 13 days.

Sonia Gandhi addresses nation on rape victim's death; Sheila Dikshit's attempt to join protests fails

Sonia Gandhi addresses nation on rape victim's death; Sheila Dikshit's attempt to join protests fails
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (CMC) Promising swift and fitting punishment for the Delhi gang-rape accused, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said the nation's "beloved daughter" will get justice and her fight will not go in vain. 

"As a woman and mother, I understand how you feel. I appeal you to remain calm and help strengthen our collective resolve to fight the menace of violence against women," Gandhi, who is also the UPA Chairperson, said in a televised address. 

"Today all Indians feel as they have lost their own beloved daughter, their cherished sister, a young woman of 23 whose life full of hope, dream and promise was ahead of her. Our hearts go out to her parents, family, the whole country shares their pain," she said. 

Appealing for peace and calm in wake of the tragic incident, Gandhi said, "Today we pledge that she will get justice and that her fight will not go in vain". 

The Congress President said that the tragedy "strengthens our resolve to fight with all our might and with all the powers of our laws and our administration for the safety and protection of all women of our country and to ensure swift and fitting punishment for the perpetrators of such acts. 

"It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive shameful social attitudes and mindsets that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such impunity." 

As people hit the streets expressing their outrage over the tragedy, Gandhi said "to all of you who have expressed their anger and anguish publicly, who have poured out in her support, I want to assure you that your voice has been heard."

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today faced public rage when she was forced to return from Jantar Mantar where she went to take part in mourning the death of the gang-rape victim.

Dikshit reached Jantar Mantar where around 500 people gathered for mourning the death of the girl at around 2 pm but had to beat a hasty retreat as enraged protesters circled and forced her to return.

The Chief Minister and police tried to reason with the protesters and allow her to be part of the gathering but the demonstrators were in no mood to oblige.

However before leaving Jantar Mantar, she lit a candle and prayed for the departed soul.

"I had gone there to express my grief at the death of the girl," she said when asked about her visit to Jantar Mantar.

"Do you want to politicise somebody's death. Why didn't she come when the protests first began? She even asked police to remove us when we protested outside her residence," a protester said.

Within minutes, she was escorted out of the area by police.

Mistry to take over reins today

Mistry to take over reins today
Clean Media Correspondent

Mumbai, Dec 29 (CMC) Bombay House, headquarters of the Tata Group, braced for a change of guard at the top with its chairman of 21 years, Ratan Tata, retiring on his 75th birthday to make way for his appointed successor, Cyrus Mistry.

From Saturday, when 44-year-old Mr. Mistry takes over, Mr. Tata will be Chairman `Emeritus' of the Tata Group.

Even as Mr. Mistry entered Bombay House on Friday morning amid a huge media presence, Mr. Tata was on a visit to Pune, Tata Group sources said.


In spite of all the hype surrounding the change in leadershipit was a change devoid of any ceremony, speech or event - typifying Mr Tata's style. He has remained low-key, media-shy and unassuming throughout his illustrious tenure.

Mr. Mistry is the sixth chairman of the 144-year old Tata Group and has worked with the Tata group since 2006. Though not directly related to Mr. Tata, Mr. Mistry's sister is married to Mr. Tata's younger half-brother, Noel Tata, who initially was tipped to take over from Mr. Tata.

Shapoorji Pallonji

Mr. Mistry is the son of Pallonji Mistry, who owns construction firm Shapoorji Pallonji, and is the largest individual shareholder in Tata Group holding company, Tata Sons, with an 18.4 per cent stake.

Born on July 4, 1968, Cyrus Mistry is a civil engineering graduate from Imperial College London and has a Master's degree in Management from the London Business School.

He is credited with growing Shapoorji Pallonji by over seven times since he took over as Managing Director in 1994 to a $ 1.5 billion organization. Under him, it has evolved from a pure construction company to one implements projects in the marine, oil & gas and rail sectors.

Since last year's announcement of the decision by the Tata Sons board to appoint Mr. Mistry as the new chairman, he has accompanied Mr. Ratan Tata on visits to group offices and factories in India and overseas, besides several annual general meetings (AGMs) of the group, this year.

Young management

Mr. Mistry will be ably supported by a relatively young senior management at most group companies, who have recently assumed top positions. These include N.Chandrasekaran, MD & CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, Harish Bhat, MD & CEO, Tata Global Beverages, Karl-Ulrich Kohler, MD, Tata Steel Europe, Karl Slym, MD, Tata Motors, Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover and R. Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals among others. Mr. Mistry will have his work cut out, when he takes over from Saturday, as Mr. Tata's reign will indeed be a hard act to follow.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Yuvraj-Dhoni partnership was turning point: Md Hafeez

Yuvraj-Dhoni partnership was turning point: Md Hafeez
Clean Media Correspondent

Ahemdabad, Dec 28 (CMC) Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez on Friday termed the 97-run partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the "turning point of the match."

"No doubt, Yuvi was exceptional today. His partnership with Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the turning point of this match. We were not expecting it to go that further. We were thinking about restricting them to 160-170," Hafeez said at the post match conference here.

He also praised pacer Ashok Dinda, whose three-wicket haul helped India to win the second match here and level the series 1-1.

"I think they did the basics right. Dinda was good in the last two overs. His yorkers were right and we thought if we can get a ball to hit then we can win the match. But the second last over, Dinda bowled well where Kamran and I got out. If either of us had scored a boundary, then it would have eased the pressure," he said.

He further said that hosts handled the pressure well and kept their cool during the death overs.

"There wasn't much dew but they handled the pressure well. Their bowlers bowled really very well, which they didn't do in the last couple of matches. Today they were on target," he said.

He lauded the effort of his team who came close enough to win the second match and said, "I will credit to the entire team for the performances they have produced in these two matches. There are some positives which have come out of this series.

"Muhammad Irfan is one of them. His bowling was positive for us in this series. Shoaib Malik's return to form was positive for us. In this match, during the middle session after 10 overs, we couldn't bowl well. We didn't follow the basics and it cost us too many runs in the end."

Rape victim's condition "taken a turn for the worse"

Rape victim's condition "taken a turn for the worse"
Clean Media Correspondent

Singapore, Dec 28 (CMC) The condition of the rape victim from New Delhi who is fighting for her life in Mount Elizabeth Hospital has deteriorated.

The hospital's chief executive officer, Dr Kelvin Loh, said her condition has "taken a turn for the worse", as of 9pm tonight.

"Her vital signs are deteriorating with signs of severe organ failure," he said in a statement.

"This is despite doctors fighting for her life including putting her on maximum artificial ventilation support, optimal antibiotic doses as well as stimulants which maximise her body's capability to fight infections."

Dr Loh said the 23-year-old woman's family members have been informed that her condition has worsened and they are "by her side to encourage and comfort her".

The High Commission of India is also with the woman and her family.

"Our medical team continues to provide all possible treatment and care," said Dr Loh.

The victim, a paramedical student whose name has not been revealed, was raped on Dec 16 by six men on a bus after she and a male companion had boarded it to go home after a movie.

The attackers have been arrested. The assault sparked public outcry and protests in India.

The victim was transferred from a hospital in India to Mount Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday. She was found to have infection of the lungs and abdomen, and significant injury to her brain. She had already undergone three abdominal operations and suffered a cardiac arrest in India.

Sensex surges 121 points; RIL, ONGC among major gainers

Sensex surges 121 points; RIL, ONGC among major gainers
Clean Media Correspondent

MUMBAI, Dec 28 (CMC) The BSE benchmark Sensex on Friday closed 121 points higher on buying in energy stocks following reports of a gradual hike in fuel prices amid a firming global trend.
Led by energy major Reliance Industries and ONGC, the Sensex closed 121.04 points up, or 0.63%, to 19,444.84.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty spurted by 38.25 points, or 0.65%, to 5,908.35.

Brokers said energy majors like RIL, ONGC, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum remained on the fore-front following reports that the government might gradually increase the diesel price next year to cut subsidies.
They said the uptrend was further supported on a firming global trend as US lawmakers arranged talks with political parties before a budget deadline.
In 30-BSE index kitty stocks, 22 closed with gains while eight surrendered moderate ground led by banking sector on profit-booking from recent upsurge.
The oil and gas sector index gained the most by 2.38% to 8,510.52 as segment major and index-heaviest Reliance Industries surged 2.73% to Rs 840.35 and ONGC by 2.49% to Rs 265.85.
Among others, Oil India added 1.52% to Rs 466.15, Indian Oil by 3.03% to Rs 268.80, Hindustan Petroleum by 4.23% to Rs 292.90 and Bharat Petroleum by 2.23% to Rs 353.05.
The information technologies sector was second best performer by rising 1.21% to 5,686.98, while banking sector index declined 0.01% to 14,330.47 as investor booked profits from the recent surge.

Ratan Tata’s farewell message

Ratan Tata’s farewell message
Clean Media Correspondent 

New Delhi, Dec 28 (CMC) As he exits India's leading business conglomerate, Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata on Friday wrote a farewell letter recalling the days that he spent with workers in the shop floor of the Tata Motor’s manufacturing facility.

Tata, who has been appointed Chairman Emeritus tweeted, “At the request of the union, I spent the day — my last day prior to retirement in the Tata Motor’s various manufacturing facilities at Pune to say farewell to my shop floor colleagues.”

Tata turned 75 on Friday and retired after half-a-century run in the organisation after serving 21 years of it as Chairman.

Remembering the times 'good and bad' that he spent with the management Tata further tweeted, “I have been deeply moved by the sincerity and spontaneity of their greetings. I will always carry memories of this day with me through the rest of my life”.

FII cumulative investments in stocks reach $125 bn in 2012

FII cumulative investments in stocks reach $125 bn in 2012
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec 28 (CMC) Foreign investors seem to have embraced Indian stocks yet again with net inflows crossing Rs 1.2 lakh crore ($23 billion) in 2012 and taking their total cumulative investment in the country's equity market to an all-time high of $125 billion.

The net inflow of Rs 1.23 lakh crore during 2012 is the second-highest for a year and comes after a net outflow in the previous year 2011-- preparing the ground for even better times ahead in 2013 on the back of continuing reform-push by the government and market regulator Sebi.

At gross level, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth about Rs 6.5 lakh crore in 2012 and sold equities to the tune of Rs 5.3 lakh crore -- translating into a net inflow of Rs 1,21,652 crore ($23 billion).

This was the second highest net inflow by FIIs in a single calendar year since their entry into Indian capital markets in 1992. In 2010, overseas investors had made a record Rs 1.33 lakh crore ($29 billion) net investment into the share market.

However, FIIs had pulled out a net Rs 2,714 crore ($358 million) from the share market in 2011.

Despite their unpredictable 'hot money' investment, these overseas entities have been amongst the most important drivers of Indian stock markets.

The huge inflows came despite the number of FIIs registered in India dipping to 1,755 this year from 1,767 at the end of 2011.

Market experts believe the recent reforms initiatives undertaken by the government to boost economic growth and investor sentiment have led to a renewed interest among the foreign investors.

"FIIs pumped in capital into the Indian equities as the lack of investment options make the country an attractive destination. Indian market has attracted the highest amount of foreign flows compared with Asian peers so far in 2012," Destimoney Securities Sudip Bandhopadhyay said.

CNI Research's CMD Kishor Ostwal said, "India has had an excellent year so far after a disastrous 2011. I think Indian valuations look cheaper compared to historical average."

This is the second time in history that net FII inflows for a year have crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark and analysts are optimistic about the next year.

Moreover, FIIs were also seen pouring money in the debt market and infused Rs 33,777 crore ($6.4 billion) during the year in the segment.

Since opening up of Indian markets for FIIs in 1992, they have made a cumulative net investment of Rs 5.67 lakh crore ($125 billion) in shares and Rs 1.55 lakh crore ($32 billion) in the debt segment.

After a disastrous 2011, FIIs began 2012 on a positive note and infused more than Rs 36,000 crore in the first two months, as the Reserve Bank paused in rate hikes that improved liquidity position.

But foreign investors turned negative after government's anti-tax avoidance rule (GAAR) proposal announced early this year that led to continued outflow till June.

Market experts attributed the outflow to a host of factors including the GAAR proposal and ratings agency S&P's move to lower India's outlook to negative from stable, citing slow progress on its fiscal situation and deteriorating economic situation.

Overseas investors once again started pouring funds in the stock market in July and the pace of inflows increased in September after a slew of reforms initiated by the government. These measures made it easier for foreign companies to invest in aviation, broadcast and retail companies.

According to investment banking major Morgan Stanley, FIIs have preferred bigger stocks as their aggregate holding in the country's top 75 companies rose to a six-year high level of 21.6 per cent in the July-September quarter.

Positive measures taken by the government also helped attract FIIs, which in turn helped the market benchmark Sensex soar by about 25 per cent in 2012.

Asked about the new year, Bandhopadhyay said, "The situation seems to be more promising on the international front compared to the domestic. European market is stabilising and the global energy prices seems to be going in favour of countries which import oil including India."

"However, there are concerns on the domestic side-- economic growth has been now growing at sub six per cent for the last two-three quarters, inflation has been hovering above seven per cent for quite a while and fiscal and current account deficit continue to be high.

"But we are still better off than other economies across the globe, which raises optimism of more FII flows into the country," he added.

As per Sebi data, the total number of registered FIIs dropped to 1,755 as on December 21, first decline in five years. This number has been rising continuously since the end of 2007, when there were a total of 1,219 registered FIIs in the country.

At the end of 2010, there were 1,718 registered FIIs, which came down to 1700 at the end of the previous year.

However, the number of FII sub-accounts has risen to 6,350, from 6,278 at the end of 2011. The sub-accounts include foreign firms, individuals and institutions on whose behalf FIIs make those investments. The rate of growth in their numbers has, however, grown at a slower pace in 2012.