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Israel warns of New Year terror threat in India

Israel issues a warning of imminent terror attacks on tourists in India during New Year festivities.

What will define citizenship in India and the world in 2017?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As 2016 draws to a close and many of us are emotionally spent lamenting events that we consider undesirable, citizenship has emerged as one of the murkiest ideas of the last year. Who is a citizen? What does citizenship entail? What should be expected of citizens and what is owed to them? Where does the writ of the state end, vis-à-vis rights and privacy? Every major event of 2016 has raised one or more of these questions. ComplianceIn India, demonetization has put the spotlight on compliance. Introduced suddenly and executed shoddily, those struggling to cope have found their situation exacerbated by what seemed like daily changes in regulations. The on-the-ground reality of cash shortages and non-functioning ATMs have plunged countless Indians into crisis. The broadcasting style of the government—they pronounce, we scurry, no questions asked—has left Indians helpless. We must comply because we have no way to challenge or defy.The absence of large protests was offered the other day on television as evidence of the success of this move. The reality is that most of us have been too busy trying to figure out withdrawals and deposits to organise! Most beleaguered are bank staff who have gone in fifty days from making patriotic noises to lamenting their choice of career—to ordinary account-holders, they are the face of this arbitrary government and the recipients of public ire. We are all complying because we have no choice.“Compliance” is not a bad thing—laws, rules and regulations are presumably intended to benefit us. Citizens should obey them. But should we obey blindly and should we be expected to obey without debate? ‘To comply’ means to conform, to follow along, to observe, to submit—and in the absence of debate, discussion, questioning and accountability, all these words are inimical to democracy. Compliance achieved by enforcement suggests that there is no consensus on the appropriateness or utility of a regulation. And if there is no consensus, that means the law or rule has not really been discussed adequately.Parliament sessions are listed on the calendar but how many days do Parliamentarians actually do any session-time work—debates, questions and answers? All Indian parties are responsible for this breakdown but governments—all governments—have turned it into an opportunity to govern by ordinance. This is a windfall for anyone seeking to push their will through to the public. That makes enforced compliance of rules-never-debated sinister. Yes, Indians are past-masters at flouting rules. But stressing compliance over an understanding of the spirit of a law or regulation is not the answer; it suggests that the government is keener on making us obey than creating a climate in which we engage with and together fashion the frameworks of our lives.In 2017, what I want to know is, will my citizenship be measured solely and entirely—by government and fellow-citizens—in terms of my willingness to comply without question? I suspect so, given the tendency to cry ‘anti-national’ when faced with any debate or questions. Judging by the last two months, I would suggest that we have definitely entered a phase in which citizens are expected to be subjects of a state that knows best.Embed from Getty ImagesCredulityPolitical smarts, when I was growing up, involved questioning the actions of the state. Being interested in politics meant asking before obeying, challenging before accepting and endlessly debating. Being apolitical was manifested by finding the loopholes and generally believing that it made no difference who was in power or what they did. Both poles kept the rhetoric of political leaders in their place—“Nice to see you, but no one really believes what you say.”This is quite a different moment. We now desperately want to believe in our political leaders. We crave strong paternalistic leaders who will tell us what to do—whether or not they actually know. We are okay with being ruled by people who give directions to places they have never heard of. We just want them to sound confident. We want to be children and subjects who are led into a better future. We ask no questions. We have obliterated from our minds every historical memory and so we have no fear of a return to other fascist ages. We have no interest in political agency—we would even like to vote by SMS as if life were a reality show—and so we surrender it to strong men who know (always men, by the way!). This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon.We are content to swallow the dreams these strong men articulate, the road-maps they outline even if they keep shifting, their self-assessment as successful and visionary (this is after all, the age of self-nomination for awards and LinkedIn visionary leaders!) and their choice of a range of coercive measures. We accept with faith everything we are told about those who challenge them—human rights workers usually, who do their work in the face of great danger. Around the world, human rights NGOs are being charged with non-compliance—but it is becoming hard to distinguish whether it is non-compliance with rules and regulations or non-compliance with the government’s line that they are being framed and punished for. We have to remember that today it is them, but tomorrow, it could be any of us.Targeting dissenting elements in civil society is not unique to the present Indian government, to be fair. However, what has changed in the state-civil society equation is that citizens are stepping forward to sweep away any obstacles or rubble in the path of the state juggernaut. Nobody is asking questions. Most are not asking questions because they have chosen to live as subjects of a paternalist state that shows tough love for their own good. Some are not asking questions because they are afraid of being crushed by the juggernaut. A very small number are picking their battles so that they can outlast this moment. The fate of the handful of truly brave Indian citizens, who are undeterred in the face of government pressure and persecution and unsupported in this moment of absolute credulity on our parts, hangs in the balance. Will we ensure they survive 2017?ConvictionThe word ‘conviction’ is now associated more with being found guilty and punished than with having strong unassailable beliefs. Many of us around the world are proud of living in democratic political systems—in fact, those of us that occasionally ask questions are reminded that democracy involves accepting (unconscionable?) points of view and the outcomes of due process elections. Fair enough!This pride does not however seem to translate into much else. In an age when information is ubiquitous, democratic citizenship remains confined to expressing opinion and not seeking to have an informed opinion. This is why, on the morning after the Brexit vote, Google reported that the most-searched term of the day was “What is the EU?” Not knowing the answer to something, no longer precludes our having an opinion on it—that is democracy 2016-style. Democracy is about giving everyone a voice. The US presidential election suggests this is how we understand it: feeling alienated and excluded from the political and social changes of the last few decades, we can seek to exclude and alienate others. Democracy is not about inclusive and enabling processes but a tug-of-war about who is in and who is out. There are shades of this view of democracy to be found all over the world, including India and other parts of South Asia. We sway with the prevailing wind, giving uninformed opinion the clout of conviction. If someone comes to us sounding confident about what they are saying, we are convinced and do not find it necessary to question values, logic or facts. This is why “post-truth” was selected by the Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year.Embed from Getty Images‘Conviction’ is a beautiful word. To say of someone that they are a person of strong convictions is to pay them a compliment. But should our convictions be so rigid that they cannot accommodate the experience of others? More critically, when we are talking about democracy and citizenship, should the strong men to whom we have handed over our agency be allowed to impose their convictions upon us?I want to know where we stand. As 2017 begins, I want to understand what we believe in—individually and collectively. Citizens of democratic states and societies around the world need to think about this and find ways to express themselves. Our casual submission betrays our values. Our silence emboldens those who would disregard our citizenship.Do we truly believe in democracy? If we did, our societies would not be as divided, our public debates replaced by monologues and tweet-binges and our ability to converse with each other so badly impaired. Our everyday engagement with politics seems confined to ‘who started it’ and ‘who said what to whom.’ Our so-called democratic convictions stop short of understanding citizenship and our own relationship with states. We see the purpose of government as ‘control’ (as reflected in many school civics lessons)—and so we submit to that control uncritically. Citizenship is naturally about compliance and credulity, rather than a conviction-driven engagement.CourageIn 2017, conviction-driven engagement will take even more courage than usual. We have lowered our defences everywhere to such a degree that every small thing—including writing a cheeky response to the requirement that we explain our deposits—appears bold. To say that we will not get Aadhaar cards (which, please note, are not mandatory) and we will not use a digital wallet now seem like volunteering to face bullets. What will we then do when the real lathis and bullets come?Where citizenship is expressed by over-eager compliance and utter credulity (really, rolling over and playing dead), then the work that is done by the groups like the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group is astoundingly brave. To understand how the politics of implementing demonetization ties in with the way that the government wants to suppress dissent, take this development. Shalini Gera, a lawyer from this group, travelled to Bijapur for a case and was told that a complaint had been filed against her for “exchanging old Rs 1,000 notes worth Rs 10 lakh for the Maoists.” Is this true or is this not true? Do we care enough to find out? The chances are we don’t. We are happy to believe that all human rights activists are engaged in nefarious activities involving anti-national elements. Because the government would never lie to us, would it? But people like Shalini Gera—or any of the many other human rights activists targeted by the government through tax probes or FCRA challenges—have the courage of their convictions. They stay the course. Thankfully.Right or wrong, every accused person has the right to due process and a legal defence. All citizens have the right to ask questions and get answers. The constitution of India gives us the right to ask what has happened to missing people; to expect that governments will do their work without exceeding their mandate and jurisdiction and to understand by what authority governments act. Citizenship is not an entitlement or a legal status alone; it is a privilege, and one that you exercise through agency, when political agency requires courage. Citizens—in India and other democratic countries—enjoy civil and political rights, but in 2017, we will get to see whether they have the conviction and the courage to reclaim and exercise them.CompassionIn 2016, political discussions hit a new low. At the good end, we had uncivil, uninformed and ad hominem discussions. At the bad end, we had trolling, cyber-bullying and hate speech. Sometimes, it was hard to tell the two ends apart. Nothing however, highlighted the absence of compassion from our public lives as much as the Syrian crisis and demonetisation.The world has been grappling with a Syrian exodus for a couple of years. As nearby states have quietly absorbed large numbers of refugees, this has precipitated an identity crisis and cultural debates in Europe and North America. To the extent that various European countries have taken in refugees and tried to help them settle down, this has become an issue in domestic politics. But even as we watched elections around Europe and discussed political trends there, news kept emerging from Syria about the deteriorating ground situation. People tweeted photos and blogged stories. We liked, favourited, shared and retweeted, and maybe signed petitions. What history will record is that we did nothing. More than a century since we began looking for collective security, we have not found a way to channel our compassion into action that strikes a good balance between interference and intervention, between helping and handling.Embed from Getty ImagesThe other, closer to home, is how middle-class Indians have responded to demonetization. When faced with questions about implementation and concerns about impact, I have been saddened by the things I hear people say.“Don’t worry about the poor! They have lots of cash.” “Do you think the street vendor is poor? He or she has other sources of income. And by the way, they don’t pay tax.” “See, everyone should have a bank account.”“What’s the problem? Soldiers fight on the front, we can’t stand in queues?” (Never mind the old, the frail, the arthritic and the diabetic, who stood for hours to maybe get a small portion of their money.)“It’s so easy to use digital if you have a smartphone.” (IF you have a smartphone, electricity and decent connectivity.)“Small businesses like tailors will take a hit but everything will be alright in the long run.” (“In the long run, we are all dead,” wrote Keynes.)Middle class resentment about those better-off seems logical. What has emerged is our resentment about those worse off than us. It is as if they are secretly better off. As we have palmed off our stashes of old notes to them, we have not considered that they might be accountable too. We do not consider whose who work in our homes and offices to be human, leave alone citizens. I have been alarmed by the payment in advance of salaries—does that portend a new version of bonded labour that ties the honest worker to the dishonest employer for an indefinite period?A government that appears callous and a credulous citizenry that seems to lack compassion—this is a lethal combination that is now in evidence worldwide. The likelihood that 2017 will redefine citizenship as a web of compassionate relationships seems non-existent, but because we cannot afford that pessimism, I list compassion here anyway.***What will we make of our citizenship in 2017? Wherever we live, it will be a year in which, consciously or unconsciously, we mark our place on the spectrum between credulous compliance and courage of conviction. Wherever we live, the experiences of others and our compassion for them will need to colour our political choices—if only because, in this political climate, any one of us could be the next person to need that support and compassion. As we countdown to this new Gregorian year, I wish you courage.Swarna Rajagopalan is a political scientist by training.

Year in pictures 2016

A selection of the most compelling news photographs from around the world, taken over the past year.

The influence of controversial preacher Zakir Naik

The BBC’s Zubair Ahmed went to Mumbai to find out more about him and the impact of his preaching.

Six myths about a priceless diamond

William Dalrymple and Anita Anand demolish some myths about the world’s most controversial diamond.

India WhatsApp users fall for ‘UN’ hoax on new rupee note

Some Indians believe Unesco has declared India’s new currency note the “best in the world”, but it’s not true.

India: Who is Sonam Gupta and why is she trending?

Indians are jokingly blaming a mystery woman for some of their financials woes.

India train crash: Rescuers work overnight to find survivors

Rescuers work overnight to pull survivors out of a train crash in India that killed 120 people.

India cash: Images of Modi’s mother at bank hit headlines

Images of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s mother, 94, changing banned notes at a bank hit the headlines.

May in India

What effect has Theresa May’s visit to India had on relations between the two countries?

Pakistan bans all Indian TV and radio as tensions mount

All Indian TV and radio programmes are now off air in Pakistan, following a spike in tension between the two countries over disputed Kashmir.

Breaking through India’s glass ceiling

How can more women break through India’s glass ceiling to take on senior and board level roles?

Girl under 15 married every seven seconds, says Save the Children

A new report by Save the Children says one girl under the age of 15 is married every seven seconds.

Photos of 100-year India coal fire win Getty Instagram award

Indian photographer Ronny Sen is awarded the second annual Getty Images Instagram grant for his work on a coal town in India where underground fires have burned for more than 100 years.

Four arrested over gang rape of teenagers in Delhi

Four men are arrested in India’s capital, Delhi, for allegedly gang raping two teenage girls in a public park.

Urjit Patel: India replaces ‘rock star’ Rajan with ‘low-key’ banker

India appoints a government insider as the new head of its central bank. Can Urjit Patel emerge from his predecessor “rock star” Raghuram Rajan’s shadow?

India court bans children from human pyramid festival

India’s top court says children below the age of 18 cannot participate in Mumbai’s famous human pyramid religious festival.

How Dipa Karmakar inspires a nation

Dipa Karmakar, India’s first female Olympic gymnast, just missed bronze in the women’s vaulting event, but managed to inspire fans across country.

The story of India as told by a humble street snack

The BBC’s Justin Rowlatt examines the evolution of one of India’s favourite street foods, the samosa.

India uproar over Salman Khan ‘raped woman’ comment

Bollywood star Salman Khan is given a week to apologise after he tells reporters his filming schedule was so gruelling he felt like a “raped woman”.

President Obama backs Indian entry to nuclear technology

US President Barack Obama backs Indian access to missile technology and nuclear trade during talks in Washington.

Did not damage Yamuna floodplains, no wetlands on the site: Art of Living

A defiant Art of Living Foundation said on Monday that allegations against it of damaging Yamuna’s floodplains are false and baseless and that there were no water bodies on the site where they held their World Culture Festival, to celebrate its 35th anniversary. The non-governmental organisation also said that they had not been a given a chance yet to present their full case before the National Green Tribunal. The NGO came out with ‘their side of the story’ just days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered them to pay Rs4.75 crore balance of environment compensation for “drastically tampering with floodplains.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NGO had moved an application to pay the compensation through a bank guarantee but the Tribunal dismissed it on grounds it that lacked “bona fide” and even imposed a cost of Rs5000 on them. Represented by a group of environmental experts and spokespersons on Monday, the NGO used satellite imagery using Google Earth and a survey of India map to claim that the site of their event was not a wetland.”A floodplain is defined by the survey of India. We have maps of 1986 that classify wetlands and raised land. The area where the World Culture Festival was held is not shown as a wetland, in the map but a flood plain. The Art of Living would like to clarify that while such events are not allowed on wetlands, cultural events are allowed on a floodplain. Like, the Kumbh mela is always held on the floodplains,” said Dr Prabhakar Rao, landscape architect and environmental consultant.Rao added, “Images also show there was no bio diversity in this part of the floodplain given to The Art of Living. The arguments against us that we destroyed natural vegetation falls flat as there were no signs of the existence of the biodiversity in the first place. The NGT is now awaiting report of an expert committee it has appointed that will suggest steps to restore the “damaged floodplains”. The committee will also recommend a final approximate cost the NGO needs to pay for restoration. The NGO, though, said it is considering challenging NGT’s orders in the Supreme Court.

If no-one helps you after a car crash in India, this is why

Fifteen people are killed on India’s roads every hour – but when crashes happen, nobody wants to help.

Outraging to success

Indian comedian Tanmay Bhat benefited from the Streisand Effect, where an attempt to suppress something has the unintended effect of publicising it more widely.

Jaguar sales lift profit at Tata Motors

Strong sales of the luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover have lifted profits at India’s Tata Motors.

Why journalists are leaving India’s Chhattisgarh

Raksha Kumar explains why journalists are feeling threatened in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Where are the jobs Mr Prime Minister? Chidambaram asks BJP after 2 years’ of Modi

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday questioned the BJP-led NDA government for its “failure to create jobs” during its two-year rule and said that Narendra Modi-led government’s record in agriculture was dismal.

Congress leader P. Chidambaram. Getty ImagesCongress leader P. Chidambaram. Getty Images

Congress leader P Chidambaram. Getty Images

Senior Congress leader P Chadambaram, in a press conference here on completion of two years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, said: “Growth was negative at -0.2 percent in 2014-15 and a meagre 1.1 percent in 2015-16.”

The government failed to anticipate and tackle the acute distress in rural India, he said.

“Where are the jobs? The most notable failure of the NDA government has been in job creation,” the Congress leader said.

“The ferment in universities can be partly attributed to the bleak future faced by university graduates. Besides, there are millions of young people who will complete no more than 8 or 10 years of school education and will have no special skills. Where are the jobs for them,” Chidambaram said.

He further said: “There is little to cheer in the GDP numbers. There is a growing dichotomy between the GDP numbers and the other economic indicators.

“If calculated under the methodology of the old series, the estimate for 2015-16 would be about 5 percent and not 7.6 percent. The average citizens need jobs and incomes. They do not consume GDP numbers,” he added.

Tata considers bids for UK steel plants

Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones are in Mumbai for a Tata board meeting to discuss bids for its UK steel operations.

Food watchdog for ‘toxic bread’ ban

India’s food watchdog recommends a ban on the use of a chemical in bakery products after a study says it can cause cancer.

India inquiry over ‘toxic bread’ report

India’s health ministry orders an inquiry after a study finds cancer-causing chemicals in many bread and other bakery products.

India’s Tamil Nadu curbs alcohol sale

Jayaram Jayalalitha, who is sworn in as the chief minister of India’s Tamil Nadu state, begins her new term by announcing curbs on alcohol sales.

Deadline for Tata steel bidders

Tata in India is expected to decide this week which bidders will go forward in the sale process for its UK steel operations.

Ugandan Asians dominate economy after exile

How Ugandan exiles are thriving once more

India asks UK to extradite Vijay Mallya

India will seek to extradite indebted business tycoon Vijay Mallya after the UK rejected its request to deport him, the Indian finance minister says.

BJP leader Babul Supriyo injured in road accident, admitted to AIIMS

File image of BJP leader Babul Supriyo. Getty Images

File image of BJP leader Babul Supriyo. Getty Images

Union Urban Development Minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo met with a road accident after a car hit him while he was riding his motorcycle in Delhi on Friday.

According to media reports, he was on his way to pick up his daughter and got hit by a car hit when he was passing through Moti Bagh flyover.

The singer-turned politician has been admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi and kept under observation.

More details awaited.

Kerala’s Nirbhaya: More gory, more scary than Delhi 16 December 2012

She is not a Dalit; she’s your sister or daughter who was butchered in the safety of her home.

She was found in a pool of blood — raped, her body had received around 20 cuts and her private parts had been slashed open with a large weapon, exposing her intestines and other abdominal organs. To ensure she wouldn’t live, the murderers smothered and strangled her using a piece of her own clothing till her last breath. There were also marks on the back of her head from blows she had suffered, and deep cuts on her chin, chest and neck.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

The murder, that the police assumes happened at around 5 pm on 28 April, was first discovered by the victim’s mother, who came home at around 8.30 pm.

A 30-year old law student, lived in that one-room house in Perumbavoor , Kerala, on the roadside with her mother after her father left the family years before. She was a student at Ernakulam Law college and had three papers left to clear. For five days after the incident, no local media outlet reported the incident and no police case was registered.

The local media instantly drew parallels with the Delhi gang-rape of 2012 while others highlighted her identity as a Dalit — all this emerged five days after the incident when the postmortem report had been released. It should be noted here that most TV channels and newspapers highlighted this as the crime against a Dalit woman, for its obvious instant news value.

The fact is that it’s not a Dalit issue and it shouldn’t be.

She was someone’s daughter and sister who was butchered in the supposed safety of her own home. This case is actually much more heinous than the one in Delhi in 2012. While the Nirbhaya gang-rape took place in a moving bus in the middle of the night, the law student was murdered in broad daylight in the perceived safety of her home.

It is totally absurd to portray what happened to the 30-year-old as an act of excess against Dalits or members of any other caste. On the contrary, it’s an act that exposes the myth of the safety of any woman in her house and indicts an inert society that failed to notice the gruesome murder of a girl in broad daylight. Or did they simply ignore the whole incident and let her meet her fate?

Even on the sixth day since the incident, the state police hasn’t arrested the culprits.

But that hasn’t stopped the local politicians preparing for the Assembly election later this month from attempting to gain some mileage. Malayalam Manorama reports that the CPM has latched onto the murder to accuse the Congress-led UDF government in the state of  ‘inaction’ in attempting to track down the guilty parties.

No one in ‘God’s own country’ consider this gruesome murder reason enough to go out into the streets and mobilise protests to demand justice for the victim. To the state that boasts of 100 percent literacy, she is a reminder of the rot that runs deeper in this society. Had it been one of the country’s metropolitan cities, the murder case would have certainly got more attention and prompter action.

The big question here, perhaps, is that if a woman is not safe at her home and can be murdered in such a manner in broad daylight, what assurance the state can offer to its citizens for law and order? What is the guarantee that similar incident wouldn’t repeat in another town?

There aren’t any easy answers.

Indian landslide kills 15 workers

A landslide triggered by torrential rains at a tourist spot in north-eastern India has killed at least 15 people, officials say.

Koh-i-Noor – a gift at the point of a bayonet

Koh-i-Noor – ‘a gift at the point of a bayonet’

Rhino shot in park after royal visit

A rhino is killed by poachers in India’s Kaziranga national park on the same day the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour the sanctuary.

Duke and duchess begin India tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Mumbai at the start of a seven-day tour of India and Bhutan.

Indian police jailed for Sikh murders

Forty-seven police officers are sentenced to life in prison in India for killing 10 Sikh pilgrims in 1991 and then lying to justify the shootings.

Muslims living in harmony with other religious communities in India: Imam of Kaba Shrine in Mecca

Lucknow: The Imam of Kaba shrine in Mecca, who is on a visit to India, has condemned acts of terrorism around the world and said that Muslims in the country are living with love and harmony with other communities.

Amid an intolerance debate, Imam Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammad Bin Ibrahim Aal-e-Talib expressed his views while speaking at an international seminar on “Islam and World Peace” here last night. “It is a matter of happiness that second highest population of Muslims is in India. Here Muslims are living with people of other religious communities with love and harmony,” the Saudi Imam said.

Expressing concern over recent terror attacks in different parts of the world including Brussels, he said innocent people are being killed in the name of religion.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

“The entire world is suffering from terrorism. In Holy Quran Allah has said if a person kills an innocent, it is like he has killed all humans,” he said while condemning terrorism in the name of religion.

Presiding over the conference, President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Syyed Mohammad Rabe Hasani Nadwi said Islam was totally against terrorism and persons involved in such activities.

Nadwi said Saudi Arabia had good relations with India since ancient times and added that Ulama of that country have close relations with Nadwa (Islamic institution in Lucknow), while referring to former head Maulana Ali Miyan.

Why West Bengal poll is crucial for India’s Communists

India’s left parties are making a desperate bid to return to power in West Bengal state against the incumbent Trinamool Congress (TMC), writes Subir Bhaumik.

Mine lease sparks Australia reef fears

Indian mining giant Adani is a step closer to building one of the world’s biggest coal mines in Australia, but still faces legal challenges from environmental and Indigenous groups.

Not so Swachh Bharat: Indians most deprived of access to clean water

New Delhi: A report says India has the world’s highest number of people without access to clean water.

The international charity Water Aid says 75.8 million Indians — or 5 percent of the country’s 1.25 billion population — are forced to either buy water at high rates or use supplies that are contaminated with sewage or chemicals.


75.8 million Indians are deprived of access to clean water. Getty Images

That accounts for more than a tenth of the 650 million people worldwide without clean water access — more any single country in Africa or in China, where 63 million have no access to clean water.

The situation worldwide has improved since 1990, with 2.6 billion people gaining access to clean water since then.


Viewpoint: Can India-Pakistan cricket promote peace?

Cricket affords India and Pakistan one of the best ways of getting the two countries to engage with each other constructively, writes Shashi Tharoor.

Is it getting any easier to do business in India?

The World Bank says it is – but that there’s still a way to go yet.

The Indian granny who left thousands teary-eyed

A British Airways advertisement starring 78-year-old Uma Tembulkar tugs at Indian heart-strings.

TERI makes its operations, not sexual harassment charges against Pachauri, focus of statement: Complainant

New Delhi: The woman who accused TERI executive vice chairman RK Pachauri of sexual harassment on Friday said the organisation’s statement did not address the harassment case but rather talked of “TERI operations”.

“It is really sad they speak through press releases after such a massive public outrage. The release does not make my allegations or the case the focus, but is discussing TERI operations,” the complainant told IANS.

RK Pachauri. Getty ImagesRK Pachauri. Getty Images

RK Pachauri. Getty Images

A statement issued on Friday by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)said it is a “unique organisation with a global presence” and that 33 percent of its 1,200 employees and 14 of the 30 directors are women.

“The governing council of TERI supports the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe workplace for its employees,” the statement said.

“The paragraph says they protect women staff. Why was I impacted? Why was the researcher allegedly pressurised? The ICC (Internal Complaints Committee) too was intimidated,” said the woman who complained against Pachauri in 2015.

“As per the news reports, ICC faced hostility and intimidation. TERI officials visited their homes late at night. Why didn’t TERI do anything about that? As per news reports, ICC had to write to the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare to safeguard them. Why couldn’t TERI ensure that they are protected?”

Pachauri was on Friday sent on indefinite leave by the organisation, days after his promotion as the executive vice chairman.

“Pachauri, who had been the head of the institute since 1982, will be on leave from TERI, TERI governing council and TERI University, till this is reviewed by the governing council given the sub judice nature of the matter,” a TERI statement said.


Facebook ‘colonialism’ row stokes distrust

Comments by a Facebook board member could put Mark Zuckerberg’s global plans on the back foot.

Woman alleges sexual harassment by India hockey captain Sardar Singh, investigation on

Ludhiana: The Punjab Police is investigating a complaint from a British national who has alleged that she was “sexually exploited” by her fiance, Indian hockey team captain Sardar Singh, police said on Wednesday.

The complaint has been made by the woman who hails from Leeds in England and was the first Sikh player in the Britain under-19 women’s hockey team , said the police in Ludhiana.

File photo of Sardar Singh. Getty ImagesFile photo of Sardar Singh. Getty Images

File photo of Sardar Singh. Getty Images

Investigation of the case has been marked to the Koom Kalan police station in Ludhiana district. Police station in-charge SS Nagra confirmed that the matter was being probed following a complaint.

The woman had complained to Ludhiana Police Commissioner PS Umranangal who marked the enquiry into it.

The woman alleged that Sardar Singh had got engaged to her in 2014 and she became pregnant recently after both had a physical relationship. She said the hockey skipper forced her to go for abortion and after that he started avoiding her.

The complainant said that she met Sardar in 2012 after becoming friends through a social networking site.


Why Asia should worry about Zika too

Why Asia too needs to worry about the virus

Viewpoint: Is India’s outrage over Coldplay justified?

Coldplay’s video is all very Indo-chic and ethno-cool but is the social media outrage in India about cultural appropriation justified, asks Sandip Roy.

Pakistani Kohli fan held over India flag

A Pakistani fan of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has been arrested for hoisting India’s flag at his home in tribute to the cricketer, reports say.

Will India go cashless if mobile payments take off?

How mobile payments are growing strongly in India

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