Saturday, September 10, 2011

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST: Bootlegging Nexus Busted, SHO Ograbraj Transferred


Bootlegging Nexus Busted, SHO Ograbraj Transferred

By Staff Reporter

 A bootlegger in the South Andaman village of Manpur under Tusonabad Gram Panchayat was apprehended in the night of 02.09.2011. On a tip off from some vigilant villagers a police team headed by Vineet Kumar DySP,  Bambooflat raided the premises of Gaur, a habitual bootlegger of Manpur. Large quantity of illicit liquor including 7 cases of 750 ml IMFL, a large quantity of country liquor, distilling drums, bags of jaggery, sugar and bark of siris tree were recovered from the premises of the accused. He has been booked under relevant sections of IPC.
According to sources the operation was planned by DySP maintaining high secrecy. The police staff posted at the office of the DySP were included in the raid and the Police Station staffs were not included. Following the raid on 03.09.2011, Station House Officer, Police Station, Ograbraj, Bhoominathan, Sub-Inspector has been stand relieved to Police lines. Sahil Shamsuddin, Sub-Inspector, A&N police will take over as Station House Officer, Police Station, Ograbraj.
Villagers of the area on condition of anonymity told LOA that illicit liquor trade has been flourishing in areas like Chouldari, Namunaghar, Tusonabad, Dundaspoint,  Ferrargunj under the jurisdiction of Police Station, Ograbraj. This has been a major nuisance apart from being a social stigma for the residents of the area. Women complain that entire salaries of men go to the bootleggers as they give credit to these alcoholics. Young men and school children all get hooked to this habit. They blame the nexus of police station staff in flourishing of this illegal trade. 
The raid followed by disciplinary action on the erring officer has given very positive signal to the residents; they are gearing up to report any new cases cropping up in the area. This raid has acted as a confidence building measure between the A&N Police and the local people. The villagers hope that Police will apply sustained pressure in stopping this illicit alcohol trade.

Crocodile Scare in Manpur

In a recent incident on 6th September, a crocodile made way up to a house in Manpur and snatched a duck from the flock before disappearing into the marsh. Wife of Amulya Das resident of Manpur noticed a crocodile just 15 metres away from their house attacking a flock of ducks. People in those areas are scared. Forest department have started responding to the issue. Through public announcements in vernacular languages, people were made aware about the dangers, crocodiles pose in the marsh and submerged areas close to the creeks.

HDFC Bank opens new branch in Port Blair

 HDFC Bank, an Indian-based banking company, has opened its first branch in Port Blair in Andaman Nicobar archipelago.
The company said that the branch will not only cater to the 4-lakh strong local population and the residents of the 37 inhabited islands, it is also set to benefit tourists thronging the tropical islands from other parts of the country as well as abroad with services and products.
Navin Puri, Country Head, Branch Banking, HDFC Bank, said: "As a leading bank of the country, we will continue to conquer new frontiers and take banking to every nook and corner of the country. Opening a branch in Port Blair is the first step towards what we believe will be a long and mutually beneficial partnership."

COVER STORY: Social Corruption: No Takers



Social Corruption: No Takers

Steep rise in social crimes - prostitution, rape, suicide, and alcoholism and the indifferent attitude of religious and civil society organisations in tackling the menace is eating into the society.

By Zubair Ahmed

A minor girl from the city is enticed away by a man on promise of marriage and eventually lands in a prostitution racket. She is continuously tormented in a series of shocking crimes and is finally rescued by Police. A 22-year old woman from Diglipur deserted by her husband finds solace in a city brothel. She has a child to feed too. A 20-year old girl from Havelock comes to Port Blair to earn a living and eventually settles for commercial sex work. Poor as her parents are, no one bothers what job she is doing. In both cases, known persons help shed their inhibitions and put them up in these filthy rackets. Gradually it becomes a way of life. "Organized brothels seem to be a new phenomenon here," says ASP Chinmoy Biswal, IPS, whose team recently busted some prostitution rackets. "It shows a rising trend in societies where sudden prosperity comes to some sections while many continue to be in poor economic conditions. It becomes easy for flesh traders of the city to lure women and girls from distant places who are living vulnerable lives." Without much living choices, they fall into it. It's hard to detect prostitution, as astute planning based on solid intelligence is required, which is not always available. The credit for exposing this ugly face of the society goes to the Police department.
CBSE question paper leak exposed another façade of the civilized society, where educated and high profile persons whose children are studying in reputed schools were involved in the racket. Police once again unveiled the shroud and manifested another ugly side of the society. Besides being tickets to seats in medical and engineering  colleges, children's marks in examinations are now 'status symbols' for influential parents who would go to any length to acquire it.
Alcoholism has touched new heights with liquor sale touching a whopping figure of Rs 80 crores last year and expected to reach Rs 100 crores this year. The intrinsic link of alcoholism with other crimes including family feud, broken families, shattered childhood and attempted suicides does not show a bright picture of the society we live in.
Suicides rates are on a steep rise, with four cases reported last couple of weeks, including two policemen and a jawan.
A youth from the Islands was arrested in New Delhi for raping a Finnish woman. Another youth, again from the Islands was held in Bangalore for sexual exploitation of a woman from West Bengal.
Last week, a police officer was relieved from a police station for alleged link with the bootleggers. Another woman, a habitual bootlegger was arrested with 50 litres of illicit liquor from Pathargudda.
It is an open secret that school children in various schools of the city are addicted to substances and prone to alcoholism. A few months back, father of a school child died of heart attack, when he learnt about the indulgences of her daughter.
Nothing prevents two consenting adults from having sex in government guest houses and bathrooms; it is not a cognizable offence either. But when sex of senior government officers moves up from their groins and occupies the space in their brains, it assumes maniac proportion and become a matter for public concern. Even so, if it does not cloud official decisions, it remains within passable limits. But when it starts clouding the official decisions the situation starts going out of hand. A stage comes when the mania not only affects official decisions but also results in squandering public money to entice the gullible 'victims'. Once it reaches that stage, the professional hawks take over and start exploiting the weakness of the man who sits on piles of money and his one signature can move lakhs and lakhs - of taxpayers' money, from the government treasury to their kitty.
Sex in offices is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of imagination. It is used by both the sexes some times, just for pleasure. But the mechanics is not that simple either. There are smart workers who exploit the weakness of their bosses for money, appointment, transfer, relatives' appointment, promotions and; also to get even with rivals in service. Even officers of directors, assistant and deputy director level have many such tales to tell. It is a different matter that they would not say that on record, for obvious reasons.
The malaise has reached a stage where it has started hurting the simple, innocent and hardworking women employees who wish to remain faithful to their husbands and family values. It is being discussed in drawing rooms and in coffee houses; though in hushed tones
These are a few incidents sufficient to gauge the depth of the abyss, the Island society has plunged into.
Economic crimes and corruption is the major contention of the strife between civil society organizations and the government. There were long drawn protests, dharnas and hunger strikes against corruption and black money. People from all walks of life were seen rallying against this scourge.
Social corruption or moral degradation that has made deep inroads into the social polity does not find any takers. Fortunately, police force has been in the forefront in busting not only economic crimes, but tackling social corruption, whereas, it's not their domain. The pro-active police should have opened the eyes of other departments and social organizations and launched a crusade against the evils that is eating into the society.
The rot in the society is visible to the naked eye. Hordes of girls from Diglipur, Havelock and even Little Andaman come to the city for prostitution. Everyone accepts it. Unfortunately, nobody cares about the reason or tries to find out the causes. Even religious organizations, which have presence everywhere too remains indifferent. No visible interventions are made by such organizations. Speaking to LoA, Swami Amritananda, Ramakrishna Mission said that the root cause of social corruption is greed, which cannot be treated superficially. Bishop Alex Dias told LoA that there is lack of information about social issues. He said that the Island lacks credible media, which should highlight the social crimes happening in the society. However, it shows a wide disconnect between such organizations and the society.
P K Mohammed Ali, President, Islamic Guidance Centre said that the common platform created by different religious bodies can be utilized to create awareness about such issues. "Instead of concentrating in Port Blair, programmes can be organized in rural areas too," he added. However, Bishop Alex Dias said that most of the members of Inter-religious Committee show little interest in organizing such programmes.  The committee of Aastha, a body which works among alcoholics has members from all religions. It is also in bad shape without much activity. But, without accountability and fear of God, we cannot expect a major change, he added.
When asked why these bodies does not come out and raise their voice and atleast make express their opinion, he said that political clout and connections are also a reason why there is a tacit silence. However, he accepted the fact that religious organisations can play a major role. Bishop Alex Dias said that the media does not give much importance to religious discourses and even programmes.
Even though large number of people, who came out openly against economic corruption and demanded a strong law to contain financial corruption, civil society organizations and religious organizations must play a major role in creating awareness and also opposing wrong policies of the administration like unscrupulous promotion of liquor trade by issuing licenses to bars without foreseeing the imminent danger.

Treat the Root Cause: Swami Amritananda

The situation is very grim here. I have been in metros like Mumbai and had heard about prostitution rackets and red light areas. It's very unfortunate to know that even such trends have started in these Islands too. Such stigma is always attached with labourers and people with less means, but here the situation is very different. Rich and educated people are involved in such cases.
We have children in our Ashram, where out of 60 children, 50 have single parents. Most of the men have deserted their wives and even women have illicit relationship and abandon the children.
The root cause for all social evils is insatiable greed. Character is totally missing. Or, why people like A Raja are inside jail. Is it because of poverty? Highly educated and qualified people indulge in corruption. Poor and people without resources are caught. Big fries go scot-free.
Question paper leak case is another example of greed. They want their children to get seats that would fetch them economic benefits. Laws and rules are helpless and cannot contain man's greed.

What role can religious institutions play in controlling social corruption?
The objective of education has changed. Today, education is without character. That's the reason, why educated people and those in power are morally and socially corrupt. What can religious institutions do, when people are not interested in transforming themselves? We are trying our best to organize awareness programmes, but ultimately, people should realize the need for change and voluntarily embrace the teachings in their lives, which only a miniscule of the society is willing to do. The result of our work is hardly one percent. Moreover, without treating the root cause, we cannot bring a change superficially. As Swami Vivekananda said - Unless man changes his nature, nothing is possible.

Why do you think religious organizations have failed in bringing the change? Are they themselves corrupt?
There are religious organizations mushrooming everywhere. They too have become money minded. They are also victim of corruption. It is a fact that they too accept donations from corrupt people.

Do you think, poverty and paucity of livelihood options are a reason for increase in social crimes?
I don't think so. What is the definition of livelihood? Who will define the basic needs? It's a relative term. It changes person to person. One who has got five lakh rupees want ten lakh rupees. Absolute greed is the raison d'être for moral and social corruption and the major cause behind increase in crime in the society.

So you say that no kind of intervention is going to work?
I don't believe that we can intervene in somebody's life without their acceptance and consent. We forget our own duties and try to change others, which is not going to help. Earlier, even without scientific advancement and lack of better facilities, people lived content lives. Joint families taught them the virtues of sharing and caring. But, today with the burgeoning of nuclear families, they have become selfish and do not care about others. They are very indifferent towards religious teachings. If moral and value education is made must in educational institutions, there might be gradual change in this attitude.

The Police have been to an extent successful in curbing social crimes too.
You are right. If there is a violation of rules and regulation, action can be taken. What about ethics? If somebody ignores the ethical part of their job, how can you prevent it? Citizen charter is fine, but there should be will and moral principles, which is absolutely missing. Is it not a corrupt practice if someone overlooks the sense of duty and responsibility?

Lack of Information about Social Issues a Major Impediment: Bishop Alex Dias

What do you think about increase in social crimes in the Island society?
We are not aware about increase in social and moral corruption. There is no credible media in the Islands, which brings forth such issues. Media has an active role in highlighting such issues. This Islands lack responsible media, which can conscientize the society about social issues. But there is a wide divide because of lack of information.

Your take on the rot in education system, especially in the wake of CBSE question paper leak?
The role of education is transmission of right values. If it does not happen, children will become bloodsuckers. We are trying our bit to imbibe moral values in children through value education in our schools. If we fail in transmitting it, we will close our institutions.
Unfortunately, we are not the only teachers today. Media like television too play a major role in the education of today's children, which is very unfortunate. We have to struggle a lot.
The CBSE question paper leak was a shocking incident. When I was a child, my parents would not have tolerated such an incident. Sadly, parents are involved in such heinous acts.

Do you think religious organizations can play a major role in bringing a change?
Yes, religious organizations can play a major role and we are doing our bit. Unfortunately the awareness level is very low. We have been working among the Catholics in curbing the scourge of alcoholism, which is very rampant. There is a lot to be done.