Funds conduit slur stirs trouble for Papa the Great
Delhi mounts heat to strike Pak off Nam
Harvest horror on Bihar killing fields

Mumbai, April 9: 
If the script of Kishen Kumar’s life was the same as that of his forthcoming film Papa The Great, he would have had no trouble wriggling out of the cricket betting scandal he finds himself in.

In the movie, he plays a spoilt brat of an excessively rich father. The father is a local dada who regularly gets into fights and wins. He then tells his son to be like him. The son in turn boasts of his father’s exploits. One day the son gets caught by the police for a petty crime. His father, realising his guilt, gives up his activities and works hard at getting his son released. The movie has a feel good ending, with both father and son realising their follies.

Kumar, the brother of the late music mogul Gulshan Kumar, finds himself dragged into the match-fixing allegations levelled by Delhi police against South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and his four teammates.

Mumbai police sources said Kumar, who is in Delhi frequently and is known to cricketer Manoj Prabhakar, is suspected to be the man behind arranging an advance of close to Rs 1 crore allegedly for payment to the South African cricketers. The entire amount, according to preliminary investigations, was routed through a hawala transaction to London and then to Johannesburg.

The Mumbai police are now working on whether Kumar was in touch with a member of a criminal gang whose leader has just formed a political party and is currently in jail.

The film world is not very surprised at the Bollywood connection to the match-fixing scandal. Vinod Mirani, editor of the film trade journal, Box Office said: “Film stars are as much into betting as anybody else. And the amount of money they bet would put legal punters at the Mumbai races to shame. Bets are even put on box-office returns in remote districts of Bihar.    

Cartagena, April 9: 
Riding high on its successful initiatives to isolate Pakistan internationally, India today suggested that countries with military dictators should not be allowed to be part of the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam).

To keep up the heat on Islamabad for its encouragement to cross-border terrorism, Delhi also urged Nam to strengthen “international consensus and legal regimes” against terrorism. It said terrorism was an antithesis of Nam and a violation of the “basic precepts” of democracy.

In his speech, Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh said other major groups in the world, including the Commonwealth and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which constitutes the largest block in Nam, have already made this a rule and there was no reason why Nam should not follow this example.

“In our own interests, we need to agree on some common values. All of us are tarred with the same brush when, because of isolated lapses, developing countries are seen as states where governance is weak, abusive or corrupt,” Singh said. “The OAU has decided that no ruler who has usurped power will be allowed into its Summits; so too the Commonwealth. It is time that Nam also committed itself to rules of democracy, the rule of law and the preservation of fundamental rights and liberties,” he added.

Ivory Coast, Myanmar and Pakistan are the three Nam members with military dictators.

Indian officials claimed that many Nam members were making the demand of barring military dictators. However, the fact remains that the Indian suggestion was made with the developments in Pakistan in mind.

Coupled with the emphasis on democracy is India’s attempt at highlighting the scourge of terrorism. “Terrorism is a great global menace of our age. In this age of democracy, it is a violation of its basic precepts,” Singh said, stressing that terrorism was the antithesis of Nam.

He said links between terrorism, drug trafficking and small arms were posing a threat to international security. “These combined with religious intolerance against the precepts of all faiths and military adventurism have produced a volatile and explosive mix,” he added.

Since the October 12 coup last year that brought Pervez Musharraf to power in Pakistan, India has made several attempts to ensure that the military junta is denied legitimacy. It got the Saarc Summit postponed with this aim. At the Durban Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet in November, it brought about a resolution which suspended Pakistan from all the Commonwealth Councils. It wants to effect a similar step at the Nam meet.

The move to isolate Pakistan stems from India’s attempt to build enough pressure on Islamabad to ensure that it stops encouraging cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of the country.    

Ara (Bhojpur) April 9: 
The paddy in these parts is waiting to be harvested but farmers are too scared to pick up the scythe.

Fear pervades the scattered hamlets as the Ranbir Sena and the CPI(ML) spoil for a fight over one of their oldest bones of contention: harvesting.

This time, however, the war is being waged on a new turf. With the Centre banning the Ranbir Sena, it is falling back on small frontal organisations to carry on the “class struggle”.

The Kisan Mahasangh, a front outfit of the Ranbir Sena, has announced a revelation day rally tomorrow in Bhojpur to organise the farmers against the Naxalites who had announced a “blockade” on harvesting the disputed lands.

The Ranbir Sena earlier vowed to kill 10 Naxalites against the killing of one farmer. To counter this, the CPI(ML) held a pledge rally yesterday. One of its demands is the removal of district superintendent of police R.K. Malik, who, it alleges, is a supporter of the Ranbir Sena.

Following a lull in killings in Jehanabad, the battlefield this year has shifted to Ara. In early March, the CPI(ML) had killed three Ranbir Sena activists. Less than a month later, the Ranbir Sena killed three CPI(ML) activists, including a woman.

The spate in violence is a throwback to the mid-nineties when the Ranbir Sena and the CPI(ML) had locked horns, unleashing a bloodbath in Bhojpur. In July 1996, the Ranbir Sena had killed 22 CPI(ML) workers in one of the worst massacres in Bihar.

Although the Ranbir Sena was banned recently by the Centre, it has been continuing its war with the CPI(ML), Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and People’s War Group through its various fronts. The Kisan Mahasangh has openly declared war against the MCC. Early this month, the outfit had held a solidarity rally at Senari, where 35 upper caste farmers’ families were killed by the Ranbir Sena in March 1998.

In about seven blocks of Bhojpur, the MCC is carrying on its campaign through the Jan Mukti Morcha. The morcha liaises between the banned outfits’ underground leaders and the overground activists. The PWG has been propagating its views through the Mazdoor Kishan Sangrami Parishad.

All the frontal organisations of underground Naxalite groups changed their names after the ban clamped on them. After the Arwal massacre, the Mazdoor Kishan Sangh Samiti was banned by former chief minister Bindeswari Dubey in 1986, but it changed its name to Mazdoor Kishan Sangrami Parishad.

Yesterday, the Mazdoor Kishan Sangrami Parishad took out a massive rally in Patna against the “fake encounter killing of Naxalites by police”. The trend reflects a new policy adopted by Naxalite outfits in Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, where they have been forced to curtail their activities because of the ban.

In Malkangiri district of Orissa, where the PWG was active among clove-growers and quarry-workers, the outfit has fallen back on the Qui Labanga Samiti, Chasi Nuliya Samiti and other organisations to mobilise the villagers.

Last week, it attacked a police outpost in Malkangiri through one of its fronts. In Bastar in Madhya Pradesh, the PWG is operating through Dandakaryanya Kishan Adivasi Sangh.    


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