Posts Tagged ‘delhi’

Fake Indian ‘Flag Marches’ won’t stop the Kashmiri ‘intifada’

Fake Indian ‘Flag Marches’ won’t stop the Kashmiri ‘intifada’

Bharat (aka India) are in total denial. The media as well as the diplomats don’t seem to realize the foreign policy failures that that Deli faces. Delhi has still not woken up from its disastrous involvement in Afghanistan which has been expensive in money, but also in diplomatic mileage. Bharat openly supported Bush in the US elections and got Obama. What kind of foreign power takes sides in US elections? Only incompetent ones. Bharat supported Abduallah Abdullah in Afghanistan and got Karzai. What kind of foreign power supports a candidate who represents a minority of the population.

Bharat has colossal internal cavities, and Kashmir, Assam, and the Naxals are some of them. One of the biggest cavities is the 450 million Dalits, Untouchables and Tribals who are not part and parcel of Bharati society. The 150-180 million marginalized Muslims have been totally isolated from the mainstream (Muppie propoganda stories notwithstanding).

The Bharati media is totally divorced from the plight of the Kashmiris and absolutely do not comprehend the reasons for the “intifada” in Kashmir. When Jawarlal Nehru ruled Delhi he ran Hyderabad, East Punjabi boundary and Kashmir roughshod. In in irredentist zeal he manipulated the boundary so that Gurdaspur would to to the newly emerged nation and then connived to create a fake articles of accession on Kashmir (which Bharat now claims is lost–as if it ever existed).

  • “The Centre’s belief has essentially been that the Kashmir issue will be addressed with the passage of time. This approach is flawed.” The government has been unimaginative, bureaucratic and insensitive towards the entire issue. Former Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak
  • “Kashmiris are essentially politically conscious people and the Centre has to realise this. There has to be a political solution to the issue with dignity and selfrespect,” said Kak, who has been involved in several Track-II initiatives on the Kashmir imbroglio. Analyst.
  • New Delhi’s enthusiasm for talks with Islamabad compelled it to overlook the warnings of the crisis that was on the anvil. Former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra

Jawarlal Nehru than forced about 560 states into a so called “Union”. Most the states were threatened with war. They joined this hodge podge “country, but never really accepted it. Nehru then went around changing boundaries based on ethnicity and language. That was his bane. Today the ethnicities are demanding distance from Delhi. the masses who thrive under $2 per day want out–they want fifty states (insted of the current 22) and most want either independence from Delhi, semi-independence or so much autonomy that it is close to independence. While the masses toil under starvation, the military establishment and corrupt politicians are throwing away money as if it is going out of style. It is spending about $3 billion on a rust bucket which Bharat calls an aircraft carrier, and is wasting $10 billion in 126 new aircraft–all this while half of Mumbai, Delhi, Benaras, Kolkota (and all major Bharati cities) sleeps on the sidewalks.

This India Today report is as hilarious as it is inaccurate.

India has failed to comprehend Pakistan’s change in strategy-from sabotage to subversion-in Kashmir, experts have said.

This is reflected in the unleashing of the intifada-style stonepelters on not only the security forces in the Valley but also the central and state governments.

The strategy change in the past couple of years was visible to everyone except the government”, according to experts.

The impasse over Amarnath Yatra in 2008 which was precipitated by Pakistan-sponsored mass demonstrations in Kashmir and the RSS-encouraged mob violence in Jammu should have served as a forewarning.

Plotters from across the border have realised that intifada-style stone-pelting and mass demonstrations have and will fetch them optimum results with minimum input, they said.

Experts claimed that intelligence agencies had cautioned the government of the build-up such intifada and that Pakistan

will resort to subversive strategies using the civil society after it failed to achieve its objective through violent means.

But the Indian government brushed the warnings aside and did precious little to nip the problem in the bud. Mail Today Bureau, New Delhi, July 11, 2010

  • “The basic reason behind the flare up in the Kashmir Valley is the failure to build on the gains that had been made by the security forces in the troubled state”  Indian Army Chief General V K Singh said Sunday.
  • “The Kashmir situation has been tense for quite some time and the reasons are many. The basic reason being that we have not been able to build on the gains that have been made.” Indian Army Chief General V K Singh.
  • “So far as the army is concerned, I think as security forces, a lot of work has been done. The situation has been brought to a particular level when other initiatives should have started to make way for betterment.”Indian Army Chief General V K Singh. TOI

The army chief of Bharat is saying it clearly–but the media and the politicians in Delhi cannot comprehend it and have a tin ear to it. It is a lot easier to blame Pakistan for the massive blunders made in Kashmir.

Aghast over the state’s response, former Intelligence Bureau director A. K. Doval said: “The government chose a wrong tool to address the situation. Instead of reaching out to the civil society, it from satisfactory.” “The Centre should have been cautious after the Amarnath crisis. Signals were evident that Islamabad was trying to escalate tensions in the state. But the government, it seems, was fast asleep,” he added.

Former Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak said: “The Centre’s belief has essentially been that the Kashmir issue will be addressed with the passage of time. This approach is flawed.” The government has been unimaginative, bureaucratic and insensitive towards the entire issue, he said.

“Kashmiris are essentially politically conscious people and the Centre has to realise this. There has to be a political solution to the issue with dignity and selfrespect,” said Kak, who has been involved in several Track-II initiatives on the Kashmir imbroglio.

While the Bharati Army clearly tells the politicians to resove the issue politically, the gung ho cowboys in Delhi want to rub the noses of their real and preceived enemies in the mud. “Kashmir is an integral part of Bharat” they scream. “It is an internal issue” they holler”. “Borders cannot change” they yell. This sort of hollow rhetoric bellicose sloganeering resolves nothing and frustrates the Bharati Army which is sick and tired of having to go into the streets of Kashmir and shoot innocent kids throwing stones at them.

Even the Wall Street Journal a Right wing newspaper owned by Rupert Murdock repudiates Bharati lipsitick on a pig. Titled “Flag marches won’t solve Kashmir”

Then there’s the political stalemate between the secessionists, led the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, and the state government. Though the secessionist agenda has only limited support in the state, local demands for regional autonomy remain very popular. Despite protracted negotiations over a period of more than a decade, no tangible progress has been made.

Consequently, a substantial segment of the population harbors much pent-up frustration. Any incident, however trivial, can easily stoke this anger. In the summer of 2008, at least 50 people were killed when unrest broke out over the government’s decision to allocate land for the building of shelters for an annual Hindu pilgrimage. The situation was finally brought under control only after weeks of demonstrations and violence.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the most recent outbreak of protests Kashmiri authorities have only made the situation worse. The local police have focused on counter-insurgency duties over the last several years and can’t cope with civilian mobs. National-level forces aren’t much better. The most significant of these, the Central Reserve Police Force, has lost much of its crowd and riot control capabilities. Thanks to them, a woman died from a stray bullet and a man drowned while trying to flee them. Both these incidents generated a new wave of protests.

If India Today’s report was an isolated story, one could ignore it. In the so called “world’s largest democracy”, each media outlet tries to outsell the other with sensationalism.  It ends up in a media frenzy which ratchets up tensions in the entire nation. The Bharati media is the most immature on the planet.

Experts claimed that mishandling of the Shopian case by the state government also contributed to the current impasse.

Pakistan’s change of strategy has suited the mismanagement of Kashmir’s affairs over the past two years.

“Frustration has been rising in the Valley over a series of events and this suited Islamabad’s subversive approach. It would be judicious to address the grievances before the situation slips away from hand. The implications could be disastrous,” a noted Kashmir expert said.

Former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra said New Delhi’s enthusiasm for talks with Islamabad compelled it to overlook the warnings of the crisis that was on the anvil.

“It is clear that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has received a boost from our anxiety to hold a dialogue with them. And they have taken full advantage of this,” he said.

Intifada was an uprising by Palestinian Arabs against Israel in the late 1980s and in 2000.

Intifada is an Arabic word which is usually translated as “uprising”. It mainly included non-violent resistance, besides general strikes, boycott of Israeli products and refusal to pay taxes. Stone-pelting by youths was an integral part of the movement. Centre slept as Pak unleashed Palestine- style intifada in Valley, Mail Today Bureau, New Delhi, July 11, 2010

Bharat has trampled on the rights of the Kashmiris. It brought them in at a special status, and then merged them into the union. The Kashmiris have repeatedly rejected the leaders who Delhi purchased. The Lion was thrown to the wolves after he took the bribes. His progeny are known as puppets and cannot venture out of their plush palaces. Kashmirs are brutalized every day–half the Bharati army is there to keep the insurrection down.

If a half a million strong army cannot keep down Kashmir, it should be fired and Delhi should hire Swiss guards. Repeated reports have shown that infiltration is down and Pakistan is not the culprit. However Kashmir simmers and Srinagar is burning. All Bharatis can do is blame others for their ills.

The problem with the India Today story is not that it blames Pakistan for everything. The problem is that it concentrates on the symptoms, instead of looking at the causes. The causes are the illegal occupation of Kashmir.

Iran and Pakistan sign gas export agreement

Iran and Pakistan formally signed yesterday an export deal which commits the Islamic republic to supplying its eastern neighbour with natural gas from 2014.

The contract is the latest step in completing a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan within the next four years.

“This is a happy day,” Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Javad Ouji told reporters at the contract signing ceremony in Tehran. “After decades of negotiations, we are witnessing today the execution of the agreement… to export more than 21 million cubic metres of natural gas daily from 2014 to Pakistan,” he added.

He said that from today, Iran will start building the next 300-kilometre leg of the pipeline from the southeastern city of Iranshahr to the Pakistani border, through the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Iran has already constructed 907km of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran’s giant South Pars field. Pakistan’s Deputy Energy Minister Kamran Lashari, who was present at the signing ceremony, said Islamabad will conduct a one-year feasibility study for building its section of the pipeline.

It will then “take three years for constructing the 700km pipeline” from the Iranian border to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, he added. The pipeline was originally planned between Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year. Pakistan plans to use the gas for its power sector.

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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India left out. Iran and Pakistan ink $7.5 billion Pipeline deal

India left out. Iran and Pakistan ink $7.5 billion Pipeline deal

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Iran on Friday signed a “sovereign guarantee” agreement paving the way for the completion of a 7.5-billion-dollar gas pipeline project within the next four years.

The 900-kilometre (560-mile) pipeline will be between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, near the border with Pakistan, and will carry natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field.

Pakistan petroleum minister Syed Naveed Qamar told reporters after a signing ceremony in Islamabad that originally the pipeline was planned between Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter withdrew from the project last year.
“I am extremely pleased that after 17 long years this project is finally starting. It would help us generate energy for our industrial growth,” Qamar said of the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) between the two countries.
Qamar added that “Iran had assured us that they would complete the project between two-and-half to three years, ahead of schedule.”

The imported natural gas — whose volume is estimated at nearly 20 percent of Pakistan?s current gas production — will be dedicated to the power sector.

Electricity generation through gas would result in “significant” annual savings when compared with other fuels, a petroleum ministry statement said.

Supply is contracted for a period of 25 years, the statement said, renewable for another five years.
“While all other CPs (Conditions Precedent) of the GSPA are completed, the project is now ready to enter into its implementation phase,” the ministry statement said.

“As per current project implementation schedule, the first gas flow is targeted by end 2014.
“The capital cost for the Pakistan section is estimated at 1.65 billion dollars.”

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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Clinton’s bluster creates huge backlash in PakistanClinton’s bluster creates huge backlash in Pakistan

Clinton’s bluster creates huge backlash in Pakistan

Just a few weeks ago Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi and Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton met in Washington with all the key players in a “Strategic Dialogue”. There was bonhomie and trust. There were huge expectations that the relations would now move forward in a positive spirit of cooperation. All the goodwill that Clinton had created in Washington evaporated when Clinton threatened Pakistan in an open forum.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made two statement in a swagger of hubris and arrogance. She has claimed that Pakistanis know where Osama Bin Laden is and she has warned Pakistan of sever consequences if another attack is successful in America.

These two statements have now been run on Pakistan’s 80 channels 24/7 and all talk shows are discussing them with serious concern. If Mrs. Clinton could do anything to destroy the Pakistani-American rapprochement, she did it in a few seconds.  While the compliant Shah Mahmood Qureshi was all thumbs and did not do any theatrics to mollify the incensed Pakistanis.

The temperature has been raised.

The TTP has been a terror group for several years. They have accepted responsibility for many of the wanton acts of violence against Pakistani civilians. Many have claimed that the TTP was responsible for the death of Benazir Bhutto.

In fact dozens of suicide bombs have been attributed to the TTP. They have sworn vengeance on the Pakistani government for supporting the US. For years the Pakistanis have complained that the US targeted civilians in FATA but did not target Fazalullah when he was running amok in Swat. Some Pakistani intelligence officials complained that even after exact coordinates of Fazalullah were given to the CIA, it did not act against him.

Fazalullah was broadcasting on hidden portable FM radios–however Washington did nothing to halt the vitriolic speeches or jam the radio stations. The first time the CIA acted against the TTP was when that TTP took credit for the worst losses of that the CIA had ever suffered. The TTP operative wiped out the CIA presence right next to the Pakistani border.

When the drones supposedly attacked the TTP, it allegedly eliminated the TTP head. However there are conflicting reports emanating from FATA. There was much euphoria in Pakistan that Islamabad’s Public Enemy Number One has been eliminated. The glee was short lived.

There are unconfirmed reports that Fazalullah is alive. The CIA also claimed that the Hakeemullah has been killed. Hakeemullah recently appeared on TV and directly threatened the US. Still the TTP does not appear on the US terror list. The CIA thus lied about the killing or did not know about it. In either case, there is much to be investigated on this matter.

Most recently the US forces withdrew and abandoned their positions when the Pakistani Army was eliminating the terrorists in South Waziristan.

For all the attention paid to the Pakistan Taliban since the group allegedly backed a failed car bombing in Times Square, the government has yet to take one key step: placing it on the official U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Investigators say they now believe the Pakistan Taliban, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban, or TTP, was behind the car bombing plot by suspect Faisal Shahzad. Yet the State Department has yet to put the group on its list of terror networks – an important distinction that allows federal prosecutors to use a particular anti-terror statute against people supporting the group.

The designation also clears the way for the U.S. to freeze assets of the group and bar entry of foreigners affiliated with the organization.

Sen. Charles Schumer is gathering other lawmakers to press Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to name the Pakistan Taliban to the terror list. Senators are holding a press conference on the issue Tuesday morning.

Most Pakistani analysts and think tanks are wondering about the real motives of the United States. Even after the supposed links of the Times Square bomber, the TTP was not put on the terror list.

The US, if it wanted could target TTP operatives, but it did not.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi has claimed that the US-Pakistani relations have been damaged because of the acts of one individual. How fragile are the American Pakistani relations? One wanton act of an individual can derail the grandiose “Strategic Dialogue”? What kind of partnership is this? How fickle is Ms. Hillary Clinton? Firecrackers in Times Square, and the she throws a tizzy fit and begins threatening a Nuclear Powered Major Non-NATO-Ally (MNNA), a strategic partner, and a front line state in the war against terror. It was one of the most disgusting statements that Ms. Clinton had made. Is this the same Clinton that made fun of Obama when he used to talk about taking out terrorists in Pakistan. At the time candidate Clinton was rubbishing Obama’s tough talk and was reminding the American people that Pakistan was a Nuclear state.

When the Americans indicated that  Osama Bin Laden was in Iran, Ahmedinijad immediately retorted back that Osama was in Washington. Mr. Qureshi was too busy smiling to respond to the inane accusation by Hillary Clinton.

While most Pakistanis were squeamish about Faisal Shahzad, and detested his actions, however the bluster from McChrystal (later denied), and threats from Clinton (watered down by Holbrooke) has brought out all the skeletons about fickle US attitudes. Today Ms. Clinton stands out as the “Ugly American”. Islamabad had provided full support to the Americans and even arrested Faisal’s illustrious father and family. However Ms. Clinton chose to pander to her domestic audience and jeopardized the long term American interests in South and West Asia.

Threats by Richard Armitage of “bombing Pakistan into the stone age” were not necessary. Pakistan had already announced unstinting support to the US. The crass threats are seared into Pakistani memory and create Anti-Americanism that last a generation.

Mr. Faisal may not be around for long but Ms. Clinton’s threats will not be forgotten soon–they will live in infamy for generations.

There is some indication that Bharat has recognized the fact that the US has not been playing an honest role in South Asia. Delhi is perplexed with Headley’s actions and totally flabbergasted by the CIAs possible role in the Mumbai attacks. Perhaps some sanity is seeping into Delhi. There is trepidation in Delhi about America’s nefarious plans in Afghanistan.

This means that Bharati overtures towards Pakistan may not be happening under US pressure–there may be a realization in Delhi that cooperation with Pakistan may be in Bharati interests.

UN hunger index: India is 66th among 88 countries

UN hunger index: India is 66th among 88 countries

Nineteen-month-old Nanchu died barely 15 months after his elder brother Chhangu’s death in December 2008.

Records of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) women and child development department say both the deaths were due to malnutrition.

Nineteen-month-old Nanchu died barely 15 months after his elder brother Chhangu’s death in December 2008.

Records of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) women and child development department say both the deaths were due to malnutrition.

Shaken by Chhangu’s passing away when he was 18 months old, parents Kamlesh and Savitri had Nanchu, severely malnourished, registered with an anganwadi, a government-supported child- and mother-care centre, located at a distance of 6 km from their village, Kirahipok-hari. However, Nanchu too did not survive beyond March 19, 2010. The village is in Satna district, 500 km northeast of Bhopal.

The family belongs to the Mawasi tribe, which subsists on agriculture and hunting.

With India’s food-subsidy bill poised to double to Rs 1,00,000 crore per year if every family below the poverty line gets 35 kg of wheat or rice, up from the current 25 kg, Satna shows how it could be wasted if the corrupt bureaucracy isn’t reformed.

Kamlesh and Savitri, both landless labourers, have a ration card for those below the poverty line, fetching them only 20 kg of wheat and/or rice a month at Rs 5 per kg. When that is exhausted, they eat mahua dhubari (boiled mahua fruit) or some leafy forest vegetables with chapattis. Though eligible, they do not have an antyodaya card, for the poorest, most vulnerable people, who can get 35 kg of grain, rice at Rs 3 per kg or wheat at Rs 2 per kg.

The National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights recommended opening at least one anganwadi in the village, which reported five deaths a little more than a year ago. The commission held a public hearing in February last year after five malnutrition deaths in the village. Deepa Dixit, a member of the commission, told Hindustan Times that the district administration did not respond to its recommendations.

MP has a bleak child-care record, India’s worst, comparable to Ethiopia and Chad. Within the country, it’s ranked below Jharkhand and Bihar.

More than half a million children below five died in MP between 2005 and today.

At 60 per cent, the state has India’s highest proportion of malnourished children (India has the highest number of malnourished children in the world). It also has the highest infant mortality rate in the country (70 per 1,000 births), and for tribals, the figure is 95.6 per 1,000, according the National Family Health Survey III.

India is 66th among 88 countries on a United Nations hunger index, worse than many African countries. In South Asia, India is only better than Bangladesh.

In rural MP, anyone who earning less than Rs 327.78 per month is below the poverty line; in urban areas Rs 570.15. According to a central government estimate, 37.43 per cent of MP’s population is below the poverty line.

The Integrated Child Development Scheme, the world’s biggest programme for the health of children under six, is stuttering in MP, which has 69,738 anganwadis when it should have 136,000. About 20,000 are in various stages of establishment.

Satna Collector Sukhveer Singh admitted the delay and said Kirahipokhari would have an anganwadi in a month.

Singh said the village representatives were not doing enough to tackle malnutrition. “The administration alone can’t curb the menace,” he said.

Other programmes are failing as well.

Although Kamlesh and Savitri have a job card under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, they have not got work for one year. Though the law guarantees 100 days of work each year, violations are rampant.

In the remote areas, sarpanchs (headmen) and panchayat secretaries often hold back payments to tribals citing data and other delays. Sometimes, sarpanchs say they did not receive job applications.

In some way, this is true. A flawed system discourages job applicants.

Kamlesh and Savitri were not fully paid for their job two years ago.

About 10 km east of Kirahipokhari, nine children below three died of malnutrition between June last year and March in Madulihai village, where the staple diet is chapatti and salt. Sometimes, when available, they add chana (gram) leaves and other leafy vegetables.

Malnourishment is a feature of Majhgawan block (in which Kirahipokhari and Madulihai are located), where 25 per cent of the population are tribal. Dependent on forests for livelihood, the tribals struggle to feed themselves and their children.

Only 150 of the 3,400-odd tribals who claimed rights to forest land have received papers. No one from Kirahipokhari or Madulihai, both forest villages, is among them.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Act gives tribals forest land and resource rights. In MP, more than 60 per cent of tribals’ claims have been rejected, mainly on the grounds that they could not prove residence for 75 years on the lands they claim, or could not establish that they held the land before the cut-off date of December 13, 2005, under the Act. Sravani Sarkar, Hindustan Times
Email Author, Satna, May 04, 2010

This is how well-meaning laws, enacted in distant Delhi, change nothing here in the heart of India.