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Denge Fever infested Mosquitos may kill the Delhi Games

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Denge Fever infested Mosquitos may kill the Delhi Games

  • An outbreak of Denge Fever caused by mosquito infested puddles in the sites may be the last straw against the games.
  • TWO of India’s top track-cycling Commonwealth Games medal hopes have been struck down by dengue fever.
  • Vinod Malik, 25, and Somvir, 23, became seriously ill while training on the velodrome in Delhi recently and were rushed to hospital.

Dengue fever, which is passed by mosquitos, produces flu-like symptoms and can be fatal.

“I had one rider in hospital for eight days, the other four,” said Sydney-born India cycling coach Graham Seers.

“Dengue (fever) is definitely an issue and has been a major concern of mine with the team ever since I took on the coaching job for the Games 14 months ago.

“On any given day, I’d have up to 10 per cent of my squad off on sick leave with flu-like symptoms, high fever and diarrhoea.

“The two guys who went to hospital are two of my best and tests showed they had low white-blood-cell counts.

“Hygiene is another major worry in Delhi.”

Seers said he had taken extra precautions with his squad of 18 male and nine female riders in the lead-up to the competition starting on October 4.

“I’ve banned the wearing of shorts and T-shirts,” he said. “Long pants and long-sleeved shirts and blouses for the women is a must in Delhi.

“The squad has also attended compulsory seminars in Bangalore, about 1500km from where the team is based, attending lectures on dengue fever.”

Seers said the typical symptoms the riders were told to watch out for included the sudden onset of fever and intense headaches.

  • Next to the Commonwealth Games village, last-minute preparations are on at an athletics practice facility as armed police keep a close watch.
  • In fact, the security is almost oppressive. Armed commandoes are in position all along the road leading to the village.
  • Others are on the lookout from watchtowers on the perimeter. Last Sunday’s shooting in Delhi’s old city – in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured – is still fresh in everyone’s mind and the Commonwealth venues are under virtual lockdown.

Even the policemen are conscious that India’s reputation is on the line.

“Please tell the world it’s OK to come,” one of them tells me.

“All of you have been exaggerating the extent of the problems. Our national pride is at stake, don’t let it down.”

But that is a sentiment not everyone shares.
Filthy

The Games Village is still out of bounds but the BBC has managed to get hold of pictures from inside showing the conditions.
Continue reading the main story

In pictures: paw prints and leaking toilets
Send us your pictures of the village

They show filthy toilets with wash-basins and walls stained with betel leaf (chewed and spat out by contruction workers), bedrooms in a mess and flooded apartments, a result of all the heavy rain Delhi has experienced over the past few weeks.

Extra cleaning crews have been pressed into service and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has been in to take stock.

Even outside the area, workers are busy fixing the pavements, making sure the plants are in place and generally cleaning up.

Despite the sense of urgency there is a growing feeling, especially among some from the visiting teams, that it has been left a little too late.

There has been a constant stream of visitors, representatives of the participating nations, trying to assess the situation and feed the information back home.

Members of the Malaysian high commission are the latest to arrive, pulling up in a black limousine and being waved inside by the security guards.
Continue reading the main story
Related stories
Photographs expose Delhi concerns
NZ adds to India’s Games pressure
Delhi Games: Indian reaction

Although most of the initial criticism of the facilities came from Western countries, including England, Scotland, Canada and New Zealand, other nations including some of the smaller ones are also monitoring the situation.

It has forced Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call a crisis meeting of top ministers and officials to get a handle on the situation.
Scathing

His government is coming under intense criticism, not just from the international community, but increasingly from a furious Indian public.

In online polls carried out by national newspapers, radio call-in shows, blogs and television news programmes people are scathing in their criticism.

Many are particularly incensed at the insensitivity shown by one of the senior members of the Games’ organising committee, Lalit Bhanot, when he dismissed the concerns of many of the participating nations, putting them down to “different standards of hygiene” in the West.

“Does he mean we are happy living in filthy conditions?” one angry viewer asked on a TV show.

Many Indians fear their international standing will be left in tatters

Others have been asking why things have come to such a pass with India’s global standing taking a beating.

There are still some who think India can pull it off.

But a walk just beyond the Games Village makes you want to question their optimism.

The village has been built close to the Yamuna river which flows through Delhi. The incessant rain over the past few weeks has flooded much of the area.

From the road you can make out the gleaming towers of the village in the distance, across what seems to be an enormous lake – water that has collected over the past month.

And, on the road, people are living in makeshift tents having been moved from lower ground.

With talk of further rain and the level of the river rising even higher, it looks likely that more problems are on the way.
What’s Gone Wrong

Athletes’ village – Indian media reports only 18 of 34 towers are completed
Yamuna River – flooded in worst monsoon rain for 30 years, leaving pools attracting mosquitoes
Nehru Stadium – part of false ceiling collapsed in weightlifting area
Bridge leading to the Nehru Stadium – collapsed on Tuesday
Jama Masjid Mosque – Two tourists injured in shooting near mosque, Indian Mujahideen threatens more attacks
Shivaji Stadium – no longer to be used as a venue because it was not going to be ready in time
Yamuna Sports Complex – roof damaged by heavy rain in July

Kashmiri intifada

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

A Kashmiri youth strikes a government vehicle which had been set on fire by a mob during a demonstration in Srinagar on August 4, 2010, who were protesting over the recent deaths in The Kashmir Valley. Five more demonstrators died in Indian Kashmir as new protests erupted in defiance of pleas for calm from the region’s chief minister, the deaths again brought huge crowds chanting anti-India slogans on to the streets of Srinagar as the bodies of two dead men were carried on stretchers to their funerals. The death in early June of a 17-year-old student – killed by a police tear-gas shell – set off the series of almost daily protests during which scores of people have been killed, 27 of them since July 30. At least 44 people have died in the weeks of unrest – most of them killed by security forces trying to disperse angry protests against Indian rule. – AFP Photo

Has New Delhi learnt any lessons from all that has been going on in Indian-held Kashmir — especially since June 11, when the current intifada began? On Tuesday, India obliged Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by rushing more troops to the valley. Does the Indian government really think that 1,500 more troops will succeed where an army of over half a million men has failed? If the Indian troops’ job is to crush the Kashmiri yearnings for freedom, then history says brute force has never succeeded in denying freedom to a people for long.

Five more Kashmiris were shot dead on Tuesday as fresh protests broke out in Srinagar, with a crowd of urban youths shouting anti-India slogans. The extent of Kashmiri anger is obvious, for the demonstrators defied curfew despite police warnings on loudspeakers that violators would be shot dead. Some officials deny that any ‘shoot on sight’ order had been given. But the way the troops have been behaving and given the rising number of Kashmiri deaths make it clear the order exists for all practical purposes.

The second Kashmiri intifada is home-grown. There are no two opinions about it. Even India’s rights bodies and sections of the media acknowledge this truth, and barring those toeing the government line, no responsible Indian sees a foreign hand in what undeniably is a spontaneous reaction — mostly from urban youths — to India’s repressive policies that aim at keeping the Kashmiris in bondage by force. One wishes India realised that the stifling atmosphere in the valley and the violations of human rights by its troops cause more violence and deaths, inviting censure from the world and putting strains on the already tense relations with Islamabad.

The only choice New Delhi has is to talk — both to Kashmiris of all shades of opinion and to Islamabad, for only that solution will be long-lasting and acceptable to the people of Kashmir. Let us hope India doesn’t consider it a provocation when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expresses Pakistan’s concern over the “escalation of violence against the Kashmiri people” and asks New Delhi to “exercise restraint”.

DAWN

And now Krishna clears ISI of terror charges in India

— disapproves Home Secy’s remark on ISI’s role in Mumbai attacks

— snubs Pillai over irresponsible statement

From Christina Palmer

NEW DELHI—Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday rued that home secretary G K Pillai’s remarks about the role of the ISI in 26/11 attack were made on the eve of his talks with Pakistan.

“Mr Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit,” Krishna said in an interview to a television channel, making public his displeasure with Pillai for the first time.

Pillai had commented that the Mumbai carnage of November 28, 2008, was planned by the ISI “from beginning to end”. “When two foreign ministers are meeting after the Mumbai attack, there was a special significance for this meeting,” Krishna said.

“Everyone who was privy to whatever was happening in government of India ought to have known that the right kind of atmosphere from India’s side should have been created for the talks to go on in a very normal manner, but unfortunately this episode happened,” he added.

“Well, I have had some discussions with the prime minister,” Krishna replied when asked if he had conveyed his dissatisfaction over Pillai’s remarks to the prime minister.

After his talks with Krishna in Islamabad on July 15, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a joint press conference that the remarks made by India’s home secretary were not “helpful” for better relations when a journalist asked him about Pakistan’s action against Hafeez Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the Mumbai attack.

The next day, Krishna told reporters in Delhi that there was no comparison with Saeed and Pillai as the former was crying jihad against India.

Krishna’s criticism of Pillai has brought out in the open differences of perception within the government over engagement with Pakistan. At a seminar in New Delhi on Tuesday, Menon had endorsed Pillai’s remarks by pointing out links between the official establishment and the existing intelligence agencies. Krishna, however, was also critical of Qureshi’s abrasive style in his interaction with the media.

“We should understand the spirit of Thimphu and spirit of Thimphu was to make earnest effort to bring about reconciliation between two countries and I do not want that spirit to be eroded even by a remotest possible way,” he said.

“I think we can put forward any contention that a country can face in a most forceful way but there has to be dignity, there has to be civility and civility is certainly no weakness,” he added.

Even when Krishna was in Islamabad on July 16, Qureshi held a press conference with Pakistani journalists and criticised India for its selectively focusing on terror and sidelining other vital bilateral issues like Kashmir.