Tag Archives: Mumbai

Y R Chavan;s birth centenary celebrations inaugurated by the President

MUMBAI: President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the year-long celebrations of the birth centenary of Maharashtra’s first Chief Minister Y.R. Chavan from the Gateway of India, on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion she enumerated the qualities of Mr Chavan as a politician, an able administrator and a keen observer of the country’s culture and society, “His multi-faceted personality made him a legendary leader of the urban and the rural masses. Even as a young child in High school he underwent 18 months in prison for hoisting the Indian flag on 26 January in Satara. He had an erudite personality and he was not just an able administrator but a wise man with an interest in almost all spheres of life.” She added that YR Chavan was an authority on various fields – be it social life, literature, arts, culture, and even media.

Ms Patil added that YR Chavan was a firm believer that political power was meant for the purpose of service of people, “He believed that agriculture, industry, education, Cooperative movement, irrigation, literature, languages and welfare, culture all are equally important part of national development and he took wise decision for their implementation.” The president in her speech also spoke of the responsibilities of the government,” The weak and deprived sections of the country must get a share getting a part in the development of the country. Welfare schemes must reach them for eradicating poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease and it is the responsibility of the government.”

 Commemorating the contribution of the late Chavan, who became the country’s fifth deputy prime minister, Maharatra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that, “Y.R. Chavan held important portfolios in the central government before becoming the deputy prime minister between July 1979 and January 1980. He held important portfolios at the Centre like External Affairs, Home and Defence and his contribution in the field of co-operation, education, literature, rural development, agriculture, industrial development was immense. His vision for Maharashtra for the development envisaged the equal development of both the industrial and agricultural sectors across all the regions of the state.”

Marshall of the Indian Airforce, Arjan Singh was given the Yashwant Rai Chavan national award for his long and dedicated service to the country. While accepting the award the 95 year old spoke of the time when he worked with YR Chavan. “I had the good fortune of working with him in 1965 when he was the defence minister; he was a man of great courage and high morals.” Recalling the time when he worked under Y R Chavan, Marshall Singh said, “One day we learned that we were attacked heavily from Pakistan and we knew that unless we used air force we could not halt the attack and when we approached him he could not took less than a minute to take a decision and gave us a go ahead.” Marshall Singh returned the Rs 5 lakh that comes with the award requesting that it be used for a purpose more suited to YR Chavan’s vision.

From March 2012 to March 2013, which also marks Chavan’s birth centenary year, the Yashwant Rai Chavan Prasthan (Memorial) plans to hold a series of lectures and exhibitions in 12 districts across the state. The events will be conducted in collaboration with various Armed Forces formations.


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courts pull up CBI, ED for lapses in Adarsh scam investigation

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, slammed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Director (ED) for lapses and delay in the Adarsh Society scam’s investigation.

The court questioned CBI about the delay in investigations that have been going on since January last year, “Why have you not finished the investigation till now? It is a matter where many big names are concerned. You cannot let people question your credibility,” the court said. The agency has been ordered to file a status report on its investigations at the next date of hearing. “If we are satisfied with the status report we will grant you more time to investigate, however if it seems that you are inactive then a special team would have to be formed to probe the matter,” the court stated.

A division bench of Justice P.B. Majmudar and Justice R.D. Dhanuka also summoned the ED to appear before it in the next hearing, saying that ‘he had not moved an inch to probe the money-laundering offences by some members of the Adarsh Society’. The court questioned why the ED office did not probe the issue independent of CBI’s investigation. “Why are you depending on the CBI? You are a separate agency and can conduct probe independently,” Justice Majmudar said.

Terming the ED as a ‘mute spectator’ the court said, “There is a serious lapse on the agency’s part …It reflects a sorry state of affairs,” the bench observed. The court was hearing petitions filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar that sought orders to the Enforcement Director (ED) to probe money-laundering offences and also court’s intervention to supervise the investigations into the scam.

The CBI lawyer, Mandher Goswami stated that the delay was caused because several of the 104-member housing society transactions were benami and the agency needed time to go through the documents of all transactions. The court ordered CBI to produce the names and complete details in the interim report on 12th March. The court also asked why the Maharashtra government was not cancelling the allotments to members who bought benami flats in the society. Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol informed the court that the government would look into the matter after the CBI report is submitted to them

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police lacks apathy, society lacks what???

MUMBAI: The recent acid attack on a 22 year old woman at a crowded railway station, by a man who had allegedly attacked her twice before, has raised questions over police apathy in dealing with cases of harassment as much as safety. “This is the third time that she has been attacked, earlier she was attacked on the face, with a small knife.

After the first attack we moved from Malwani to Nallasopara to feel safer,” Seema Thakur, mother of the victim said. On Wednesday Railway police arrested a 25 year old man, her former land lord for throwing acid on her face. The victim, presently at Singhvi hospital has been provided police protection, however her earlier attempts to book a complaint went in vain. “I don’t know why the police did not register a case when we approached them earlier…her doctors are confident that she will recover but the family will always be scared,” the petrified mother said.

“Incident such as an acid attack does not emerge suddenly; negative feelings repressed over a long time finally result into something so hurtful. So why does the police and society refuse to act when it can be stopped, before it ruins a woman’s identity?” asked Shirin Juwaley, who survived an acid attack by her husband in 1998. While Juwaley regards Mumbai as ‘safe for women’ she adds that ‘mindsets are very unsafe’, “We are socially conditioned to accept that men can eve tease or harass women and the only time we address the issue is when something shocking happens. The police also does not feel the need to address the issue unless a women is traumatised enough to make it to the headlines,” said Juwaley who currently runs an NGO, Palash, to help women in similar situations and helps victims of disfigurement.

Expressing shock over police inaction Soniya Gill, secretary Maharashtra All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said, “Why did the police wait to act until the woman was attacked with acid, how could the earlier attacks with blades not be registered?…Police must be asked why it did not do anything when the girl approached them on two previous occasions?” While officials at Malwani police station refused to speak on the issue, the railway police very proudly claimed that adequate measures were in place to ensure safety of women passengers, “There are extra constables in each local train compartment from 8:30 pm till 6 am, helpline numbers are written everywhere so that in case of a problem there is a quick response,” said Ankush Shinde, DCP, Railway police, western railways. “In the recent case the victim was not in the train but at the platform- a very crowded area. Even then the police quickly rushed her to the hospital and later helped in the arrest by CCTV footage,” he added.

“I see thousands of women rushing to work and back everyday, if this were not a safe city how they could be so free? There might be few stray cases but we can not question the safety of women all together,” Pramodini Balaram Matre, homeguard at the Mumbai Central railway station said rejecting the notion that there is any safety concern for women in Mumbai. However the Mumbai police cut a sorry figure in providing data for cases of attacks on women, “There are very few cases of such attacks that are actually reported because in most cases the attacker is a known person,” spokes person of Mumbai Police said.

The victims however recall each detail of the treatment given by police, “I was burned and completely disfigured but when I asked the police to file a case against my husband and his brother, I was asked to forgive, forget and reconcile,” said Sneha Jawale. Ms Jawale was harassed for dowry and in 1997 she was doused with kerosene oil and burned. “How much security can you have, if you are attacked in your house by your husband and the police refuse to register a case what can security do then? she questioned. “It was not until our divorce proceedings that the incident was recorded, before that the police simply refused to acknowledge it.” Today Sneha Jawale is a successful astrologer and writes dialogues for Marathi films and TV serials.

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Acid attacker held

MUMBAI: Railway police, on Wednesday, arrested a 25 year old man for attacking a woman, his former tenant, by throwing acid on her face. The accused Nasir Shaikh alias Pintu, allegedly attacked the 22 year old outside Goregaon railway station on Tuesday evening when she was punching her railway ticket coupon, while speaking on the phone.

Pintu was nabbed near Borilvilli railway station and was produced before a local court on Wednesday morning, which remanded him to police custody till February 7. “The court sent him to police remand till February 7, we have booked him under sector 307(attempt to murder), Inspector L G Dombre of the Boriville police station said.

Inspector Dombre added that the victim was first attacked in November last year and again in December, “Both times she was attacked on her face with a small blade, we are yet to ascertain if the same person is responsible for all the attacks. Also it is not confirmed whether he executed the acid attack himself or hired someone.”

The woman, working at an IT company at Goregaon was on her back home when the attack happened, “The injuries are not life threatening, she has received 10-15 per cent burns on her face, neck and forearms,” the police added. The victim was admitted to a private hospital after the attacker threw acid on her and fled.

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Costa Concordia survivors reach home:devastated but determined

MUMBAI: Twenty three Indians rescued from the ill-fated Italian Cruise line Costa Concordia, that slammed in to a reef off the Italian island of Giglio, reached Mumbai on Thursday evening.

It was an emotional reunion for the survivors, most of who were working on the ship as crew members. “It was surreal, can’t describe what it looks or feels like,” Rahul Raghav (25) said. Like other survivors he too left all his belongings – including his passport and other identity papers – on the ship before abandoning it. “He called us up to say that he was alright but I was very restless, now that I have seen him I am reassured,” an emotional Renu Raghav said.

The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 people when it ran aground shortly after starting a seven-day Mediterranean cruise on its way to Marseille in France and Barcelona in Spain. Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 23 are still missing, out of the 202 Indians on board only one person is missing. “Many people jumped, some sought seats in boats calmly but amidst the panic we had no idea what was the right thing to do…survicv

Ursula and John Pinto waited for over four hours at the airport to greet their son Patrick, “He told us that very moment that the ship is sinking. He said that he will take care but I could barely breath until he called us to say that he was safe in a hotel,” Ursula said as she recollected how she heard of the news. “The sight was unbelievable and so were the reactions, we were just running from here to there trying to do the safest thing that we could… it was a very difficult time. I don’t know the reasons why it happened but if could have been avoided, many lives could have been saved and many people would not have had the trauma of a near death experience,” Patrick said.
The families thanked the external affairs ministry for setting up help desks at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad,” Not only did they ensure that we are informed, the arranged or our children to reach us within days despite not having the passport. I have been told that the embassies were taking care of the survivors and provided them with some money. We are very grateful to them for helping them come back home,” Satish Kumar, relative of a survivor said.

Even though the mere mention of the accident brings back horrible memories the survivors said they would go back to the sea, “No doubt it was a horror scene but that does not mean that I will not go back. When there are blasts in local train we don’t stop taking the trains,” Patrick Pinto said as he left the airport with his parents for his residence in Thane.

Meanwhile family of the lone missing Indian tried to get in touch with other survivors to enquire about Russell Roberto. “I am happy for the families that are meeting their members, I wanted to ask if anyone can give me information regarding Russell that can help us,” Roberto’s brother in law Vikram Pinto said. The Costa Concordia is lying on its side just meters off the Tuscan island of Giglio and divers are trying to find more survivors. “I understand that there are less chances of him being at the sea but they might have counted him under some country’s survivor list,” Pinto said.(Eom)

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state to provide security to Indu mills complex

MUMBAI: Agreeing to the demand of providing security to Indu Mills compound the state government, on Wednesday, told the Bombay High Court that it will ensure that there is no repetition of forcible occupation of the premises.

On Wednesday the court had asked the state to file a statement if it would ensure that the mill compound is protected in future so that it can not be encroached upon. On Dec 6 the activists forced their way into the mill compound at Dadar demanding that a memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedekar be constructed there. After the state assured the Dalit leaders that their demand will be met, they vacated the Indu Mills land last Friday.

On Thursday, National Textile Corporation the court that while the RPI activists who had taken possession of the mills have left the premises, the statues of Lord Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar have been left behind and the activists can take them back at any time.(Eom)


MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, directed Maharashtra government to make a statement regarding whether it would provide proper security at the Indu mills compound to ensure that it is not encroached upon again.

A division bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and Anoop Mohta was hearing a petition filed by National Textile Corporation (NTC) seeking directions to Mumba
i police and state government to evict Republican Sena activists who had forcibly occupied the 4.2 acres Indu mills compound. On Dec 6 the activists forced their way into the mill compound at Dadar demanding that a memorial for Dr Babasaheb Ambedekar be constructed there. After the state assured the Dalit leaders that their demand will be met, they vacated the land last Friday.

With a view to prevent similar incidents the state has been asked to file the statement on Wednesday. NTC’s counsel Darius Khambata told the court that even though the encroachers evicted the compounds voluntarily after negotiations the government had to ensure that such incidents do not occur again. “The government should make a statement that proper protection will be given so that the incident is not repeated,” Justice Deshmukh said.

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court extended judicial remand of Jigna Vora and 10 others

MUMBAI: A special court here on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of journalist Jigna Vora and 10 others accused in the J. Dey murder case, till Jan 16.

Ms Vora, a deputy bureau chief with a Mumbai daily, was arrested on 25th November by the Crime Branch of Mumbai police in connection with the killing of senior crime reporter J Dey last year.  J Dey was gunned down in Powai by motorcycle borne assailants. According to police, Ms Vora had provided the numbers of Dey’s mobile and motorbike and his exact location to absconding mafia don Chhota Rajan.

Many old colleagues and well wishers of Ms Vora were present outside the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) where she waited for her turn in the court. She mocked the situation asking them if they needed a ‘quote’ from her and broke down crying.

Tulsidas Sanghvi (85) was shaken to see his granddaughter escorted by constables and led to the court room, “Why is everyone after her? There are thousands of people getting killed and hundreds are being looted and cheated but everyone in police and media have decided to ruin her life instead of doing their work.” The inconsolable grandfather said that he came from a very humble background and was very proud of his granddaughter because she was exceptionally hard working and intelligent, “I don’t say leave her alone, let justice take its course but let her breathe. Why has everyone strangulated her?” Ms Vora took special permission from the court to use telephone in order to speak to her grandmother in Ghatkopar.

Ms Vora refused to answer any question to media, restricting her conversation to the few colleagues she had known for years, all of who agreed that she was being ostracised because she was too successful too soon. “Jigna is a victim of professional rivalry. She made more enemies than friends in her rise to being one the best crime reporters in the city and she has to pay the price for it now,” said one of her friends who has know Ms Vora before she became a crime reporter (Eom)


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how long will it take?

all everyone wanted to know was “how long will it take?”

It was getting late and every women in the bogie was heading her home after working all day,  so was it ok for them to not  care about the corpse lying next to the train. I am not sure when and how the frail old lady with white hair went from being a living breathing human to a corpse, was it the time when she fell from the moving train or when her body rolled on the stone railway tracks and coiled into a shape that could not be described.

Ironically i was half way through a story on train safety and i learned that over 36,000(no typo error there are three zeros and) have died on the local train in the last 10 years. so 3600 in a year and over 10 each day- which means it was not a rare event to witness the death. but it was not the death, it was the lack of life and human like emotions in the co-passagers of the train. There were girls who peeked through the windows to see and be a part o the event, some clicked pictures from their phone cameras but most were just keen to know why our trian stopped even when the train on the track next to us moved on. so there were emotions, but all borderline human, does a city harden you or do we stop taking stress whenever we can.

Not that i was expecting the women to beat their chest over the death but having seen enuf corpses int he course of journalism i found this one rather intriguing, no on cried, no one cared. Even though her death meant that anyone on the train could get tosses out of the train and have the same fate but as long as they reached the next station – Dadar- without any delay, they din’t care.  no one accepted that they shared the same train with the lady and had the same chances as she did, but it neither made them sad at her death or thankful for being alive.

But more importantly, did i care after a long day filled with a disappointing rally where a man with a disfigured speech(no offence) spoke in marathi so while i was wondering why i being the only non marathi was sent for the assignment, i saw a corpse and a train full of people that were just as dead. I might be judging them or were they judging me about my keenness to be helpful to the lady already dead instead of focusing on life but we dint agree on whether we live to work or work to live.

and as i reached home juggling the random thoughts i saw from the gate of my housing society my husband was in the kitchen, dancing and heating food for his wife who reached home at 1130 at night. thats when i knew what i was thankful for and what needed my attention.

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Anna supporters disappointed but not disheartened

MUMBAI: “Anna has asked us to call of the fast, not the agitation, we will disperse but only so that he gets healthy, Team members can decide a stronger course of action. We will join him whenever we are informed,” Harchand Chera, taxi driver from Worli who was one of the 100 volunteers fasting with Mr Anna Hazare at the MMRDA ground. As he packed his bag Mr Chera said he could fast for as many days as Anna ji said.

From blaming the venue to Anna’s health issues, volunteers and supporters preferred citing any reason as an excuse in a bid to hold on to their faith in Anna Hazare. “Had he been healthy he would have fasted for as long as it took for the government to buckle… the venue if far from the city center but we will go wherever Anna goes. We are not fans cheering a movie or cricket celebrity. Anna ji is our role model and leader and we have been fasting with him since the first agitation against corruption,” 22 year old writer from Navi Mumbai said. Amidst concerns over their leader’s health, volunteers waited for their leader to break their fast before them, “We have heard the announcement but how can a 22 year old accept food when that 74 year old unwell man has not?” he asked.

Most Dedicated supporters lacked know how of the details of the bills or any specific differences in the governments and team Anna’s bill drafts but insisted that supporting Anna was the only solution to fighting corruption. “We have no hope in the politicians, they all claim that they come from humble backgrounds but within few years they become rich. How will they frame a bill that has the power to put them in jail? That why we support Anna ji, he has no possessions and no desire to make money or grab power,” 82- year old Jamna Prashad Sharma said. “I may look frail and old but I would rather die while on protest against corruption,” he added.

Youngest fasting volunteer, 13 year old Pratik Vankedhe said he was motivated to act when he saw that poor students of his school were punished because they could not pay fee. “I wanted the world to know how unfair the education system is, the poor are harassed for being poor,” he said. “He insisted on fasting, we tried on convince him not to but he idolises Anna ji,” Pratik’s father Ramesh Vankedhe said.

Standing out in the gathering were over a dozen supporters dressed in formals who took time from their offices to mark their presence at the venue, “My office is nearby and I was following the movement. I could not fast but I decided to come and witness the agitation.” Despite disappointed by the sudden U-turn the crowd roared each time Anna spoke frailly from the dais. Meanwhile villagers from Anna Hazare’s native village Ralegan Siddhi came to the venue to join their leader in his protest against the weak Lokpal bill said they were disappointed with the government for not listening to Anna. “Specifics don’t matter, when lakhs of people are asking the government to change the bill then it should be changed! Otherwise we will be sure that the government is corrupt and unwilling to change,” 35 year old Anna supporter said. (Eom)


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MMRDA ground all set for Anna’s historic fast

A day before Anna Hazare begins his fourth fast of the year for a ‘strong Lokpal Bill,’ the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in the Bandra Kurla complex is all ready to receive the activist and his supporters.

Mr. Hazare’s supporters have already started to gather at the fortified venue, which will have 2,000 police constables, 200 sub-inspectors, six platoons of the State Reserve Police Force, three Quick Response Teams and two Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads. Members of India Against Corruption (IAC) have appealed to the people not to carry luggage or personal belongings to the venue for security reasons. No special exemptions have been extended to Team Anna for the protest.

Less than 24 hours before the fast, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Umeshchandra Sarangi held a meeting with top police officials, including the Director-General of Police and the Mumbai Police Commissioner, to review security issues.

Speeches to be monitored

“We will control access to the ground and see to it that the crowds do not become unmanageable,” Mr. Sarangi told reporters after the meeting. The State will monitor all speeches made from the dharna platform from Tuesday.

Some 10,000 sq. metres of the 30,000 sq. metre-ground will be reserved for parking. The ground will have six emergency exits, 16 fire extinguishers and six metal detectors. Ambulances and a fire engine will be on standby round-the-clock. IAC has already booked over 300 dormitories in Bandra and Kurla and many buses will run from the nearby railway stations to the venue on all three days.

On Tuesday, Mr. Hazare will begin his fast after garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Juhu and a rally of bikes will move with him towards the MMRDA ground. The 74-year-old will be on fast on December 27, 28 and 29.

That will be followed by a Jail Bharo Andolan on December 30 across the country.

Less than 24 hours before the fast, social networking sites are abuzz.

The number of registrations for Jailchalo has crossed 1,30,000, out of which over 11,000 are from the Mumbai region.


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