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Altaf asks ‘patriotic generals’ to act

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has demanded of ‘patriotic Pakistan Army generals’ to take action against corrupt politicians, as was done in the past martial laws in the country, saying “MQM will openly support such generals.”
He expressed these views during a telephonic address from London at an emergent meeting of workers held at Lal Qila Ground on Sunday. He said that in the past, no political leaders were held responsible for corruption, either in the interest of the US or the West by the Army generals who took over power.
Altaf said that the Army generals ruled Pakistan directly or indirectly through martial laws and for more than half of the age of the country. “If these Army generals can topple political and democratic governments, they should also bring a similar martial law to weed out these corrupt political leaders,” he stressed.
Altaf demanded that assets assessment of political leaders should be made to find out how they collected so much wealth and property. He also asked the ISI high-ups and patriotic Army generals“now we should decide once and for all that Pakistan will not take dictation from the USA and will not compromise over its solidarity and integrity”.
Lashing out at the foreign policy of the country, he said it was ineffective when compared with the policy of the neighbouring country. According to him, when the policymakers go abroad, they spend most of their time in shopping. Altaf said these generals were also unable to change the foreign policy.
Referring to the flood situation, he said flood had caused great devastation but a conspiracy was hatched by feudal lords to divert the direction of floodwaters to save their lands. He demanded that these landlords should be tried for this act of ìcrime against humanityî.
The MQM chief also appealed to the patriotic Army generals to stop supporting feudal lords and corrupt politicians for the sake of Pakistan. He also lauded the role of the Army in relief efforts and saving human lives.
He also underlined the need for a revolution similar to the French Revolution in the country and said the MQM would go for the accountability of corrupt politicians to bring back all the wealth of the country to the national exchequer.
Criticising the role of the United States, Altaf demanded of US President Barack Obama to review his policies and stop supporting feudal lords and extend support to the people of Pakistan.

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Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

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At least 35 die as Maoists blow up bus in India

RAIPUR: At least 35 people were killed after Maoist rebels blew up a bus carrying police and civilians in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Monday, an official said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters in the state capital Raipur that the dead included 11 police personnel.

“Twenty-four civilians and 11 policemen have died and 15 persons including 14 police personnel were injured in the blast,” the chief minister said.

He said an unspecified number of bodies were still trapped in the mangled bus following the mine blast in Dantewada district, a Maoist stronghold where rebels ambushed and killed 75 policemen last month in the bloodiest massacre of security forces by the extremists.

Television footage showed bodies laid out on the road next to the wreckage of the bus. The front portion of the vehicle had been almost completely destroyed by the force of the blast.

“The killing and targeting of innocent civilians travelling on a bus is to be strongly condemned by all right-thinking people,” Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told reporters in New Delhi.

The security men among the dead and injured were special police officers, who are recruited from the civilian population to help security forces in anti-Maoist operations, said S.R. Kalluri, deputy inspector general of police.

The left-wing guerrillas have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive against them that began late last year in the forests of the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches across north and eastern India.

The insurgency began in the state of West Bengal in 1967 in the name of defending the rights of tribal groups, but attacks have since spread to 20 of India’s 28 states.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has labelled the insurgency the biggest internal security threat to India.
Tribal groups and many rural areas have been left behind by the country’s economic development, and the poverty and discontent with local government corruption is seen as a major source of Maoist support.

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Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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India’s insecure Nuclear program: Hidden in plain sight in Naxal rebel country

India’s insecure Nuclear program: Hidden in plain sight in Naxal rebel country

While the western media and the western governments keep shouting about vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and keep expressing the fears that these are likely to fall in the hands of extremists like Taliban, they have kept their eyes wide shut regarding the state of affairs of the nuclear weapons and nuclear capable missiles of neighbouring India where the situation is highly alarming, reveal the findings of The Daily Mail’s investigations into the matter.

According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, the Indian government, in bid to keep it maximum possible away from the striking capabilities of Pakistan that lies across India’s northern borders, decades back decided to install all its nuclear and missile facilities in the Eastern zone of the country. However, with the passage of time, the eastern region of India emerged as the most disturbed, fragile and ungovernable region of the country with a variety of insurgency movements including that of Naxal rebels, emerging in that very part of the country.

According to a map, graphed by India’s own security agencies, the eastern region and some other parts of the country have been declared as “ The Red Corridor” of India due to being unstable,ungovernable and being highly fragile, security wise. According this “Red Corridor” map, there are some 51 districts that are very badly hit by the rebels while the total number of rebel struck districts remains around 164, ranging from Dehradhun to Kerala.

The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that most of India’s top nuclear and missile facilities are located in the extremely Nexal terrorists struck districts of India, located deep down in the “Red Corridor”. According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, in the direction of Indian nuclear facilities, Uranium processing plant by the name of Uranium Corporation Of India Limited (UCIL) is located in adversely insurgency and terror struck region of Jharkhand where Nexal guerrillas are dominating and are on the rampage, Talcher Heavy Water Plant again in the same area, Institute of Physics(IOP) again in the same area while Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research(AMD), Ceramatic Fuel Fabrication Facility(CFFF), Electronics Corporation of India Limited(ECIL), Mishra Dhalu Nigam Limited(MIDHANI), National Centre for Compositional Characterization of Materials(NCCCM), New Zirconium Sponge Plant(New ZSP), Nuclear Fuel Complex(NFC), Special Materials Plant, Uranium Fuel Assembly Plant and Zirconium Fabrication Plant, Seha Institute of Nuclear Physics and Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre(VECC) are located in the most Nexal warriors hit areas of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Similarly, Fast Breeder Test Reactor(FBTR), Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (FRFRP) General Services Organization(GSO), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research(IGCAR), Kalpakkam Atomic Reprocessing Plant(KARP), Kamini Research Reactor, Madres Atomic Power Station (MAPS), Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor(PFBR), Manuguru Heavy Water Plant, Institute of Mathematical Sciences(MSc), Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Limited(SPIC), Tuticorin Heavy Water Plant, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited(BHEL), HMT Machine Tools Limited(HMT-MTL), Indian Institutes of Sciences(IISc) and Super Computer Education and Research Centre(SERC) are located in the areas, Indian government has included in the most disturbed Red Corridor while Apsra Research Reactor, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre(BARC), Boron Enrichment Plant(BEP), Central Workshops, Plutonium Reprocessing Plant, Purnima 1,II & III Research Reactors, Uranium Conversion Plant, Uranium Enrichment Plant, CIRUS Research Reactor, Dhruva Research Reactor, Hazira heavy Water Plant, Larson and Toubro, Hazira Water Works, Advanced Fuel Fabrication Facility(AFFF), Tarapur Atomic Power Station(TAPS), Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant(PREFRE), Beryllium Matching Facility(BMF), Construction Service and Estate Management Group(CSEMG), Directorate of Purchase and Stores(DPS), Heavy Water Board, Tata Institute of Fundamental search(TIFR), Rshtrya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF), Thal-Vaishet Heavy Water Plant, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(C-DAC), Kiroskar Brothers Limited and Walchandnagar Industries Limited(WIL) are located in State of Maharashtra, which, though, is not included in the Red Corridor map of India, yet the whole world knows that Maharashtra is the hub of Extremist Hindu Militant Groups where Hindutva Brotherhood, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and Sangh Parivar like terrorist organizations are on the rampage for past many years, without any check from authorities and all these Hindu militant organizations are very well known for their extreme anti-Pakistan policies and are full capable of getting hold of any of the Indian nuclear facility that exists in their respective state and region.

The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that like the nuclear facilities, India’s maximum missile facilities are also situated in either the Red Corridor or in the areas, dominated by Hindu extremist and militant organizations. These Investigations reveal that out of India’s Missile facilities, Defence Electronics Applications Laboratories (DEAL), Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants Limited, Interim Test Range (ITR), Bharat Dynamics Limited(BDL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory(DRDL), Research Centre Imarat(RCI), Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory(DMRL), Defence Electronics Research Laboratory(DERL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited(MIDHANI), Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), SKM Tools Private Limited, Pantex Gee Bee Fluid Power Limited, Sriharikota High Altitude Range(SHAR), Combat Vehicle Research & Development Establishment(CVRDE), The KCP Limited, Microwave Tube Research & Development Centre(MTRDC), Electronics and Radar Development Establishment(LRDE), Gas Turbine Research Establishment(GTRE), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bharat Electronic Limited(BEL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL), all are situated in the highly disturbed Red Corridor while Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratory(TBRL) and Semi Conductor Complex Limited (SCL) are located in Chandigarh where Six separatists are running the insurgency movement under the banners of Babbar Khalsa group and Storage Site for Pirthvi-1 Ballistic Missile is located in disputed territory of Jammu where Muslim separatists are engaging Indian Army and Air Force for the past many years.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further disclose that around 90% of the Red Corridor areas are just a No Go Zone for the Indian troops and Air Force. In these areas there is no writ of the Indian government nor there is any proper implementation of State laws of India. The nexal rebels are enjoying full control and keep striking at will. Just recently they killed over a dozen officials of Police and even shot down a chopper of Indian Air Force (IAF). It is also evident from the record of IAF that IAF has now started having commandos, airborne on all IAF chopper sorties in the Red Corridor to protect the choppers from a possible Nexal attack. Similarly the police officials have also advised the politicians and other VIPs to avoid flying over the Red Corridor in chopper and also not to travel in these areas without appropriate security arrangements. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that even a couple of days back, the Nexal rebels set ablaze three trucks and damaged a bridge in Jharkhand as they began their two-day Jharkhand-Bihar shutdown to protest against the Centre’s alleged effort to put down the CPI(Maoists) movement by force.

The Naxals also bombed railway tracks between Bokaro thermal-Jarandi station. About 12 armed Maoists set fire to three trucks at around !AM in Giridih’s Isri area and cut down trees to block traffic on the Dumri-Giridih road, Giridih Superintendent of police Ravi Kant Dhan told The Daily Mail.

They also partially damaged a road bridge, which connects Dumri to the Grand Trunk Road, using explosives, the police officer said, adding gunshots were also heard in the area. Maoists also pasted posters in Giridih’s Parasnath area despite verytight security arrangements.

To gauge the capabilities of Indian government to safeguard its nuclear and missile arsenal and research and development facilities as well as production infrastructure, The Daily Mail constituted a team of freelance reporters and photographers, based in different parts of India and embarked them on the investigative mission under the command of our Delhi Bureau Chief Christina Palmer. The team was given the test task of exploring the state of affairs at Jharkand which is considered to be hub of India’s nuclear energy programme. See what we discovered.

EAST Singhbhum district in Jharkhand, bordering West Bengal and Orissa, is the capital of India’s nuclear energy programme. It is rich in uranium that is mined by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and converted later into nuclear fuel for the reactors. East Singhbhum is also rich in Naxalites who are active in the area and well aware of the mines that produce uranium. Little to no security separates the uranium ore or the processed yellowcake from the Naxalites, who are currently extending their control, with the local administration officials admitting that it is just a matter of time before they strike the mines.

According to Superintendent of police Navin Kumar Singh, “This district is on the list of Naxalite-affected areas. They are making full efforts to gain control over the Jadugoda region. They already have a very strong presence in the adjoining areas of Potka, Dumaria, Dalbhumgarh and Ghatshila.”

The raw uranium from the mines is processed by the UCIL in Jadugoda, a small town located at a distance of 30 km from district headquarters Jamshedpur. This entire region is India’s only source of natural uranium to feed the country’s heavy-water nuclear reactors. According to local officials, of India’s annual requirement of 300 tonnes of yellowcake, at present, UCIL in East Singhbhum produces 220 tonnes. Massive expansion is underway in the area to increase the production to the required 300 tonnes.

East Singhbhum has seven uranium mines and two processing mills that function under the UCIL. The UCIL campus serves as the headquarters for the mines, and itself has a processing unit and the oldest mines in the region. The Bhatin and Narwapahar mines are 2 km and 10 km respectively from Jadugoda. Turamdih, which has a mine as well as a processing mill, is 20 km from Jadugoda. The Mohuldih and Banduhurang mines are 5 km away from Turamdih. Bagjata is around 30 km from Jadugoda.

In the words of India’s widely circulated fortnightly magazine The Covert’s correspondent Appu Esthose Suresh “This correspondent travelled on the same route used to ferry uranium ore from the mines to the processing plants in Jadugoda and Turamdih. The absence of policemen along the entire route was striking. There was not a single police picket or post. In Jharia, on the way from Narwapahar to Jadugoda, a large warehouse that is used to store explosives had no guard worth the name. This so-called restricted area located on a small hilltop and surrounded by mountains and dense forests, is guarded by just four policemen in two bunkers. The sole watchtower at the warehouse did not have a single guard on duty. This scribe visited the sport several times on different days, but the watchtower remained vacant, always. This road is routinely used by the trucks that transport uranium ore mined at Narwapahar and Bhatin to the UCIL mill at Jadugoda, and is therefore a vital link to the mines”.

Appu further writes that On 1 August, 2009, Jadugoda was preparing itself for a strike called by the Naxalites. News came in of heavy gunfire and the torching of a few trucks near Jamshedpur. A policeman at the Jadugoda police station said, on condition of anonymity, “Naxalism was always a problem in the district. But they have never succeeded in gaining ground near this town. But things have changed: the panic that you see among the people is a case in point. We all know that if they want to put up a bloody show they can. They are cowards, they hit and run into the mountains, but blood spills nevertheless.”
IT TAKES a 30 km bone-rattling drive to reach Bagjata mine from Jadugoda. The narrow and dusty road running through a hill-locked valley is marked with potholes and numerous bends. Bagjata is less than 10 km from Dumaria by road, and surrounded by mountain ranges that are reportedly under Naxalite control. SP Navin Kumar Singh said, “Last year, we busted a Naxalite central office in Dumaria, Eight of them were killed and a large quantity of arms, including AK-47s, and ammunition were recovered.” Bagjata is under the jurisdiction of the Mosabani police station, and as Ramesh Kumar Singh, who is in charge of the police station, pointed out, “The forest areas surrounding Bagjata are the nerve centres of Naxalite activities. They oppose uranium mining. Recently, they confirmed their presence through posters pasted inside Bagjata mine and in the areas surrounding it.”

Mosabani police station is located nearly 10 km from the mine in Bagjata and functions from a derelict building. It has a total strength of 55 policemen. Ramesh Kumar Singh added, “The mountain range stretches into West Bengal and Orissa, and encompasses and other mines. We are aware of the movement, but constant surveillance is literally impossible considering the terrain.” While the UCIL and the district police admit that Bagjata mine faces a major security threat from the Naxalites, the journalists’ team could not find a single policeman in the area to prove that the threat has been taken seriously. This correspondent just walked into the mine complex from the forest and was not stopped even once by any policeman or anyone else.

Walking a few miles through the paddy fields near Bagjata took our team to the Dalboonkand block. The villagers there appeared terrified. One of the villagers, Mangal Murmu had been killed, allegedly by the rebels. Mangal was vocal about the rights of the labourers employed at Bagjata, and one day, he was found dead. The police insist that the Naxalites were responsible for his death. Ramesh Kumar Singh said, “His murder created further tensions between the UCIL management and the labour. The Naxalites must have factored this in.” The fear is palpable and we were chased away by the villagers when we tried to get a response from Murmu’s family and his neighbours about his murder.

The Daily Mail’s investigation team learnt that the radiation was a big problem in the area, yet it was unaddressed by the government. According to The Daily Mail’s findings,on Aug. 16, 2008, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill that reached nearby homes.

The management of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) agreed to rehabilitate the 26 families affected by the radioactive waste that spewed in Dungridih Jadugoda. The UCIL also proposed a modern village in its leasehold area, besides providing the villagers with other facilities but nothing such happened later on. These investigations further reveal that During flash floods in June 2008, radioactive uranium waste dumped into a tailing pond of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) in Jadugoda of Jamshedpur spilled over into nearby village ponds, wells and fields, and destroyed crops as well.

While UCIL authorities admitted that radioactive waste had spilled into villages, they maintained that it would not pose any health threats to villagers. “We are monitoring the situation. Our scientists are taking samples from villages,” P.V. Dubey, UCIL spokesperson told media in June 2008. “There will be no negative impact on human beings. The waste has been neutralised by the large amount of water,” he added.

Residents of nearby villages have stopped using water from their ponds and wells, fearing health problems. Villagers have also complained that the nuclear waste had destroyed a large amount of crops. “The waste that spilled from the tailing pond has destroyed our crops. If this continues, there might not be any crops in the coming years,” said Kannhu Murmu of Tilaitand village. Some experts also feel that the radioactive waste would also have a harmful impact on the soil for years. “The waste will get mixed with soil and in the long run would pose health-related problems to both human beings and animals,” said Nitish Priyadarshi, a local geologist.

The Daily Mail’s investigations further disclose that in a shocking revelation, a team of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) had come out with some bare truths regarding health hazards faced by miners working in the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the form of a detailed survey report. The survey was undertaken by the organisation affiliated to Germany-based International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in association with Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR).

“The study was conducted between May and August 2007,” said Shakeel Ur Rahman, the secretary of the national council of the association. Conducted in two different phases, while one survey concentrates on villages within the radius of 2.5 km from the mines, a similar one was undertaken in villages about 30 km from the mining areas. A total of 2,118 households in the first category, while another 1,956 households were studied in the second category.

According to the survey, more children – about 9.5 per cent of the newborns – are dying each year due to extreme physical deformity, primary sterility is becoming common with 9.6 per cent of women not being able to conceive even three years after marriage. Cancer deaths in nearby villages are about 2.87 per cent and 68.33 per cent people are dying before the age of 62.

The Daily Mail’s investigation team found that the UCIL’s lethargic approach and inability handle such a sensitive programme of handling Uranium can be judged that the UCIL’s pipelines, carrying Uraniumand that are always lying in open, have a history of leakages and bursts. According to these investigations ,on April 10, 2007, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill. According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage to the rubber lining of the tailings pipeline “by a wooden log left inside the pipe during replacement”, and comprised 1.5 tons of solids and 20 cubic metres of liquid; the spilled material was contained within the earthen bund constructed beside the channel and did not reach any water body or public domain. Similarly, earlier on December 25, 2006, the tailings pipeline carrying uranium mill tailings from the Jaduguda uranium mill to tailings dam No. 3 broke, spreading tailings into a tributary of river Subranarekha. UCIL then started cleaning up the tailings spill. The findings into the matter further indicate that on Feb. 17, 2007, two NGOs – Friends of South Asia (FOSA) and Association for India’s Development (AID) – submitted a petition to the UCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy demanding an investigation into the accident and seeking full remediation. The petition was signed by hundreds of individuals from around the world.

According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage of the rubber lining and metal of the tailings pipeline “due to prolonged use”, and comprised 6-8 tons of solids and 60 cubic metres of liquid.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that in 2001 and 2002, Hiroaki Koide from the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University performed field trips to monitor environmental impacts of the Jadugoda uranium mine. He monitored external gamma dose rate, radionuclide concentrations in soil, and radon concentration in air. His results are compiled in a report available for download. The main conclusions are:

• The contamination from the uranium mine has spread in Jadugoda:
o The external gamma dose rate exceeds 1 mSv/y in the villages, and reaches 10 mSv/y around the tailing ponds.
o The soil surrounding the tailings ponds is contaminated by uranium. Particularly high contamination levels were found in the village of Dungridih that borders tailings pond No.1. In other villages, no serious contamination was found.
o Radon emanated from tailings ponds etc spreads contamination.
o Waste rock from the mine used for construction material spreads contamination.
• Other findings include:
o The No.1 tailings pond shows contamination by cesium. This fact shows that radioactivity was brought in from a source other than an uranium mine.
o Product uranium concentrate is dealt with carelessly and was found dispersed at Rakha Mine railway station.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that The River Subarnarekha literally translates into “streak of gold”. But the only streaks in this river are untreated sewage, industrial and mineral wastes and unbelievably, radioactive wastes, affecting human health.

Radioactive wastes in Indian rivers is an undocumented environmental tragedy in India
This once-pleasing river originates in the Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand in eastern India and finally enters the Bay of Bengal after a 452 km journey. Along the way, it courses a picturesque countryside, plunging 74 metres at Hundrugargh.

Though there are 15 water quality monitoring stations, the Subarnarrekha is a receptacle of wastewater (urban as well as industrial) from three major townships – Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Ghatsila. Organic pollution loads from the countryside pollute equally.

Uranium ore tailings from the Jaduguda mines operated by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), causes various degrees of radioactivity along a 100 km stretch. This has resulted in documented cases of deformities among human beings, but, the Indian scenario being what it is, precious little has been done for them.

“UCIL alleges that the deformities are not unusual to the Indian rural scenario,” says Manish Tewari, a journalist who had traveled to Jaduguda from Delhi. “It alleges that the uranium and deformity link is a creation of the media,” he says, unbelieving.

Curiously, no studies have been commissioned to check on the veracity of these reports and possible linkage with uranium. It’s all conveniently swept under the carpet. Reports would always remain confidential in any event, because uranium ore is strategic to national security. Anything related to nuclear science is treated as a holy cow that cannot be questioned.

Back on Safari to explore Uranium affairs in Jharkhand out team narrates, THE ROAD that connects Turamdih and Jadugoda is once again without any security presence. The processing mill at Turamdih was commissioned in 2006 to process the uranium ore obtained from the open cast mine of Banduhurang and the underground mines of Mohuldih and Turamdih.

Once the uranium ore is processed at the mill and converted to yellowcake, these it is sent to the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, Yellowcake is 80% rich in uranium oxide and is used to make fuel road for nuclear reactors. The UCIL plant in Jadugoda and Turamdih send the packed yellowcakes to Hyderabad by trucks guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force. Sources confirmed that the trucks travel via NH 33 till the Jharkand-Orissa border and then use the NH 6 for a few kilometres before taking the NH 5 to Vijaywada, and from there to Hyderabad by NH 9. SP Navin Kumar Singh had earlier told Covert, “Ghatshila, Dalbhumgarh and Dumaria are the Naxalite hot belts in East Singhbhum.” And NH 33 goes through this same “hot belt”.

According to UCIL spokesperson P.B. Dubey, “They UCIL has been functioning here for more than 40 years and so far there has not been any incident. Moreover, we have security arrangements, the details of which cannot be disclosed.” When the question of the safety of UCIL trucks was put to SP Navin singh, he expressed similar views: “This has been going on for years. There is no report of any imminent threat from the Naxalites.”

In 2008 Bihar police arrested two persons carrying uranium ore reportedly worth Rs 23 crores. According to Shyam Kumar, the then superintendent of police in Bihar’s Saupal district, “The uranium was on its way to Nepal. The origin of the uranium is unknown.” Security experts, however, have little doubt that the uranium is from East Singhbhum, while it remains a fact that the area is the only source of uranium in India.

Ajit Doval, a former Director of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) says “The Naxalites can easily turn their attention to illegal uranium trade for their funding. This is a real possibility.” He further added, “The end user of this uranium can be a threat to the country. Hence, it should not be treated merely as a case of theft. Rather, the Government must conduct a serious investigation and identify the buyers.” The case has not made any headway even after a year.

THE LOCAKADAISICAL attitude of the Indian Government is all the more evident from the lack of safety precautions at the sites. Just last year, 2008, the pipe that carries radioactive waste from the processing mill to the tailing pond at Jadugoda, burst near Dugridi village. Massang Soren, the village sarpanch, told the investigating journalists, “No UCIL official turned up until we started protesting. Our fields were flooded with uranium waste and we could see the danger we faced. The paddy field turned yellow and then red but no one came,” said a local adding, “For at least three months the entire village reported various kinds of health problems. Everyone in the village developed blisters on the soles of their feet and these could not be cured easily.” The villagers complained that the UCIL did not give them any assistance to clean the water and the fields polluted by the spillage.

At the Bagjata mine, tonnes of uranium ore lie in the open. Local activists allege that by using uncovered trucks to transport the ore, and by keeping the ore for days and weeks in the open the UCIL has exposed the entire region to radiation. Confirming their fears Dr S.P. Aggarwal, who heads the Radiological Safety Division at the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), says, “Uranium ore is naturally radioactive.” At the same time, officials at AERB refused to comment on the radiation level in East Singhbhum.

The Investigations indicate that in 2008, Andhra Pradesh had a near brush with radioactive poisoning. The trucks carrying the yellowcakes from Jadugoda met with an accident and overturned on the NH 5 near Narsannapeta in Andhra Pradesh. Luckily, there was no leakage of radioactive material. But UCIL officials dismissed that as a “one off incident” and continued to use the same mode of transportation.

UCIL spokesperson Dubey is on the record to confirm that there were plans to open a nuclear power plant near Jadugoda. He says, “The proposal is under serious consideration. But it is a lengthy process, so it can take a while.”

AJIT DOVAL spoke of the possibility of the Naxalites posing a grave security threat to the region because of “poor security and the Naxalites’ increasing influence”. A senior police official, on condition of anonymity, said “There is a lack of political will to fight the Naxalites. We all know that if this region goes to the Naxalites, the nation can be held to ransom.” He added: “If they just erect road blocks on the route which ferries the uranium ore they can stop the functioning of the UNIL complex in Jadugoda.” But SP Navin Kumar arrested, “This is an exaggerated view. As I said earlier, there is no such case so far.” He went on to add, “This sort of cynicism only boosts their confidence.” However, while he spoke, it was evident from his voice and body language that he didn’t mean at all what he was saying in his official capacity.

The statistics available from the district police headquarters reveal that in 2008 there were 35 incidents related to Naxalite violence; 15 landmines, 500 kg of explosives and 109 pieces of ammunition were seized. In 2003, at Peddagattu in Andhra Pradesh’s Nalgonda district, the Naxalites kidnapped 25 officials of Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research before setting their equipment and machines on fire. Yet, the police superintendent and UCIL are hopeful that the Naxalites will not try to disrupt mining related activities, even though they publicly oppose all such activities.

Former Jharkhand Governor Ved Marwah says, “I think increasing investment is the right thing to do, especially in mining. If the Government steps back from initiating development projects in a particular region, it is only natural that the area will come under Naxalite influence.” When asked about the security threats that the Naxalites pose tot eh strategic nuclear programme in East Singhbhum he said, “If the Government is serious about fighting the Naxalites it can easily fight them:” He added, “When I was the Jharkhand Governor there were regions that had not been visited by the administration. I happened to be the first person going there. The police should be reorganised. With constant surveillance the problem can be tackled. Why should we refrain from starting development projects fearing Naxal attacks? That will give the wrong impression.”

Interestingly, the Union Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram continues to deny the existence of “liberated zones” and the “Naxalite corridor”. In one of the recently concluded sessions of Indian parliament, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Maken, in a written reply rubbished the claims of liberated zones and the Naxaline corridor as “baseless propaganda”. However, the officers in the field insist that “There are areas where we don’t dare to go.” As Ved Marwah pointed out, “To fight Naxalism we need a realistic plan.”

The Daily Mail’s investigations also disclose that there are certain Nexal sympathisers in the ranks of Indian nuclear scientists who are secretly helping the nexal rebels to learn to utilize and transport Uranium. These investigations reveal that N Mahalingam an Indian nuclear scientist from Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant in Karnataka was one of those Nexal facilitators. Mahalingam went mysteriously missing in June this year. After a few days, his dead body was found from a lake and it was presumed that he had committed suicide. Indian Minister for Home Affairs P Chidumbaram, who recent showed his muscles to The Daily Mail regarding one of its investigative reports about Indian army, on the eve of the discovery of the dead body of Mahalingam, assured the public and the media that he will soon reveal the causes and reasons of the death of the nuclear scientist but as usual he has never come up with a single word over the issue since then. The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that Mahalingam was actually picked up by Indian Intelligence Agency RAW for doubts about his links with Nexal rebels but was killed due to a severe third degree torture during the interrogation. Later RAW people threw his dead body in a pond and informed police through an unknown call. The bruises on the dead body Mahalingam proved that he was tortured to death.

Happening of such incidents and the absence of a plan and even security on the ground, a red question mark hangs over the future of India’s ambitious nuclear projects. At the same time it raises a big, big question mark that how could the United States government sign a civilian nuclear deal with a country, having such state of affairs in the direction capabilities to handle nuclear related matters.

This also gives a shut-up call to all those Western journalists and Western governments that keeping expressing fears that neighbouring Muslim State Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was prone to fall in the hands of religious extremists. This state of affairs in the direction india’s naked nukes clearly proves that Indian Nuclear arsenal and the entire nuclear infrastructure is much, much more fragile and vulnerable to fall in the hands of militants and etreemists than that of Pakistan’s. By Makhdoom Babar in Islamabad & Christina Palmer in New Delhi. The Daily Mail (Post).

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45% Of Indian Air Force Crashes Due To Incompetent Pilots

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW DELHI: A whopping 45% of IAF air crashes in the last six years have taken place due to human error.

The IAF has informed the parliamentary committee on defence that it had recorded a total of 74 air mishaps between April 2004 and March 2010, of which a high of 42% was due to technical faults in the aircraft and a mere 6% due to bird-hit.

The figures in percentage would mean the IAF has suffered 33 crashes out of 74 due to human errors, 31 due to technical errors in the aircraft and another 4 due to bird hit. Reasons for the remaining six crashes have not been given to the committee.

The committee, in its latest report submitted to Parliament, noted with concern that these mishaps were taking place in the backdrop of the IAF facing a crisis due to shortage of trainer aircraft and obsolescence of simulators for its pilot trainees.

It pointed out with concern that the IAF’s Hindustan Piston Trainer-32, a basic trainer aircraft, had remained grounded for over a year now following a mishap early last year and the Kiran Mk-II HJT-16 simulators were in disuse.

The committee, headed by Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, said the Defence Ministry should take all steps to acquire new trainer aircraft and upgrade the simulators “so that adequate training is provided for pilots, which would definitely result in reduction of accidents due to human failure.”

The IAF has faced problems with HPT-32’s engine and airframe, even as it spared all its Kiran trainers (usually used for secondary flying training) to enable rookie pilots to learn flying skills.

It also had a gap in its training syllabus due to the lack of an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) when pilots moved on from Kiran aircraft to MiG-21 supersonic fighter jets.

After a protracted process lasting 20 years, the IAF contracted to buy 66 BAE’s Hawk AJTs in 2004 and the first lot were inducted for training pilots in 2008.

Times of India

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Maoists kill 55 policemen in central India attack

RAIPUR: Maoist militants killed 55 paramilitary policemen in the jungles of central India on Tuesday when they ambushed a patrol in one of the biggest attacks by the left-wing insurgents, police said.

A group from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked at dawn in the state of Chhattisgarh and when reinforcements rushed to the scene they were surrounded by hundreds of Maoists, police said.

In a hail of automatic gunfire and landmine explosions, 55 troopers were killed and a heavily armoured anti-mine vehicle sent in to retrieve the wounded was blown up, police and security sources told AFP.

“There are 55 CRPF personnel confirmed killed in the Naxal (Maoist) attack,” head of the local administration in the Dantewada district, Reena Saheb Baba Kangale, told AFP by telephone.

“A hundred security personnel had gone to the jungles for operations and we cannot confirm the exact casualty figure,” a local source in the security forces told AFP in Raipur, 650 kilometres south of Dantewada.

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive that began late last year to hunt down Maoists entrenched in the forests of the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches across north and eastern India.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the attack showed the “savage nature” of the Maoists and regretted the loss of life.

He has repeatedly said he is ready for talks with the militants on condition they renounce violence. Maoist leaders have said they will only talk once the offensive against them ends.

Chidambaram hardened his rhetoric at the weekend after 10 policemen were killed in a landmine attack in eastern Orissa state, calling the militants “cowards”.

On Monday, he said Naxalism, as the Maoist movement is known in India, was the “first enemy” of the country.

In March 2007, the Maoists were blamed for an attack that killed 55 policemen in Chattisgarh.

In February, 25 policemen were killed in eastern West Bengal when Maoists attacked a camp.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoists the biggest internal security threat to India.

The insurgency began as a peasant uprising in 1967 and has now spread to 20 of India’s 28 states.

Coutesy: DAWN NEWS

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