Pune: The kin of Rasila Raju O.P, the Infosys software engineer who was murdered last month, submitted a memorandum to Pune Commissioner of Police Rashmi Shukla on Thursday, urging a thorough probe in the murder.Ms. Raju (24) was found strangled to death inside the premises of the Infosys campus in the city’s Hinjewadi IT Park on January 29. A security guard of the campus, Bhaben Saikiya (26), has been arrested in connection with the case.Speaking to The Hindu, Rasila’s father Raju O.P. said the family has submitted a six-point memo to Ms. Shukla, in which they have urged the police to probe whether the murder was committed by more than one person.Evidence submitted Rajan Nair, of the Pune Malayalee Federation, said, “We have also submitted evidence that Rasila was under pressure three months before her death and have urged the police to probe accordingly. We have further requested that IT firms carry out thorough background checks of security personnel.”According to Mr. Nair, the Commissioner assured the kin that every evidence was being looked into and that ordinary ‘work pressure’ had to be distinguished from sinister circumstances, which may have contributed to the murder.Mr. Nair added, “We also seek the appointment of noted lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as Public Prosecutor in the case and demand capital punishment for the accused.” Earlier, the kin had submitted a Memorandum of Agreement to the human resource authorities at Infosys for seeking the dues and ex-gratia payment amounting to ₹1.25 crore. The kin said the authorities have responded positively.Ms. Raju, who hailed from Payimbra village in Kozhikode city, Kerala, had been working with Infosys since 2015.The prime suspect, Saikiya, a native of Assam, is in judicial custody till February 21. He purportedly used to stare at the victim in an improper manner, which caused her to warn him of a complaint. According to police, this is supposed to have triggered the crime.Saikiya, who fled after the murder, was nabbed from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) by the Pune police in the wee hours of January 30. He was attempting to escape to his native village in Assam.Soon after the event, Ms. Shukla questioned the security measures at the Infosys campus.
Enter the CIADhondup was a member of the only modern insurgent group of Tibet, the Dhokham Chushi Gangdruk (DCG). The DCG was formed on June 16, 1958 in Tibet by a charismatic nobleman, Andrup Gonpo Tashi. For some time the group carried out ambushes against the Chinese forces as Beijing tried to consolidate its gains in Tibet. Dhondup, then in his twenties, was one of the early recruits in this movement and was trained in sabotage and the use of arms.“During the struggle, we used basic weapons like the old rifles that fired one bullet at a time,” he says, explaining that the movement expanded rapidly from the Kham region of Tibet despite shortage of weapons and ammunition.The DCG became known worldwide for being the secret force of the CIA, which sent trainers and equipment to Tibet to support the rebels. Dhondup recalls how the Americans sent high-flying cargo jets into the Tibetan airspace for his group that consisted of 600 volunteers. The war of 1971 was not the first Dhondup and his compatriots in Lama Camp experienced. Their war began 20 years earlier in the 1950s, when they fought a guerrilla battle against the Chinese forces in Tibet supported by weapons and trainers from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which wanted to dislodge China from Tibet.As we catch up with Dhondup, he is soaking in the celebrations of Losar, the Tibetan New Year which began in the last week of February. Losar to the Tibetans means crushed corn which is sprinkled on guests and meant for auspicious occasions, good food, drinks and a time to recollect the past. His kitchen is stocked with savouries and drinks. This is the Year of the Firebird which, like the phoenix, stands for resurrection and the burning away of wasteful deeds. Keeping with the spirit of the new year, Dhondup wants to relive the war of his youth.“We had inadequate weapons and ammunition but we wanted to fight the Chinese who forced us to build roads and bridges,” he says in a mix of Hindi and Tibetan that was interpreted by his son Tsering. The guerrillas fought with .303 rifles of World War II vintage, receiving better weapons only in the later phase.Dhondup and five other veterans are the remaining few from the hundreds of unknown foot soldiers of a liberation war, unlamented and unsung. These former soldiers were of fighting age; in exile now, time is ticking away. Many have passed away. One of their comrades, who rose to run a movie theatre in the neighbourhood, passed away earlier this year. They were the pioneers of a resistance movement that took to violence before the Dalai Lama weaned them away to non-violent means. The last of Tibet’s guerrilla fighters | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar “The war of 1971 was not the first Dhondup and his compatriots experienced”. Dhondup Palden and his wife Sonam at their residence in Lama Camp. One of the key assignments of the DCG was to guard the Dalai Lama as he planned to go into India. A little distance away from Dhondup’s Tezu home lives one of the former DCG fighters who accompanied the Dalai Lama during that momentous journey. “The journey of 1959 was arduous. Yaks and horses were used to cross the snowy mountain. We ensured safety for the Dalai Lama with one group travelling with him and another providing support at Lhasa,” says Zolpa Sibu, the ex-DCG fighter.Sibu is nostalgic about his DCG days. “We did not have the best of weapons to fight. Many of our comrades died in bombing and counter-insurgency operations carried out by the Chinese forces,” he says, recounting that even the force’s founder was brought to India with injuries he sustained in a blast. He remembers how grim the situation in Tibet had become. “We were evicted from our homes. Families broke up — the Chinese employed women and men separately for forced labour projects that would go on for months. Social and religious gatherings became impossible as the police questioned all such gatherings.”The DCG put up a strong resistance, but the end was inevitable. Sibu was arrested but released after months of detention. As was Dhondup. “I was kept in prison for two months and for weeks my hands were tied up,” he says, showing his permanently scarred hands.The DCG’s fighters decided to escape into India through the mountain passes in eastern Arunachal district of Upper Dibang Valley and the western district of Tawang via Bomdila. The journey was difficult; many perished but the likes of Dhondup, Sibu and their families survived the trek.The war for BangladeshSoon after coming into India, these fighters were asked to settle in Tezu but within a year they had to move as India-China hostilities intensified in the run-up to the 1962 war. As the border districts of the North East Frontier Agency, as Arunachal Pradesh was then known, were evacuated, the fighters were resettled in Dibrugarh and Guwahati in Assam. They returned to Tezu after the war ended, and soon found themselves recruited by Indian military officers who had by now realised their potential as trained guerrillas and intelligence-gatherers. “The military instructors tested our firing skills, asked us to take physical fitness tests. Most of us passed the test and joined the Indian military as we were eager to go back to Tibet and fight the Chinese forces again,” says Dhondup.The fighters boarded a train at Guwahati and were taken to Chakrata in Uttarakhand (then in Uttar Pradesh) where a rigorous training programme began to equip them for special military operations. “We were trained to handle mortar fire, automatic weapons, rocket launchers. I was specially recruited into a team of paratroopers in the SFF,” says Dhondup, explaining that the Tibetans were expected to go back into their country for special operations. As first-generation exiles, the men did not always understand the detailed discussions held among Indian military officers, but carried out the assigned duties nevertheless.Havildar Sangey was also among the ex-DCG SFF recruits. He counts himself as lucky, having been taken as part of a three-member group for a special training programme in Europe. “I even trained with some American officials abroad,” he says, reliving his days as a paratrooper.The hostility between India and Pakistan gave the SFF fighters a new chance to test their fighting skills. “During the 1971 war, many of our friends died fighting,” says Dhondup, recounting that the war had left him injured and he was admitted in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. “Generals and [Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi came to see us in hospital. We got a transistor radio as reward,” he adds, his eyes lighting up as he recounts the heady days.By the time the Bangladesh war ended, most of the soldiers had acquired family and had young kids at home. But newer assignments beckoned, including reconnaissance missions in Ladakh and in the high Himalayas. “We wanted to fight in Tibet because the SFF [training] taught us lot more than we knew in the DCG days, but that fight never came,” rues Sangey. “We had all the necessary advanced weapons. We would not have left Tibet if we had these weapons and training at that time.”Renewed rumble in the east The amphitheatre of much of the 1962 war, the epic face-offs of yesteryear still linger in the air of the Arunachal Himalayas, especially the mountains from Tezu to Anjaw district which were the scene of the bloodbath of Namti where an unknown number of Indian and Chinese soldiers died.Having spent their youth in the midst of guerrilla warfare and tectonic political churn, the elderly denizens of Lama Camp find themselves still engulfed by geopolitics thanks to the evolving importance of the Eastern Himalayas. In recent years, the U.S. and India have begun to work on salvaging the remains of aviators who crashed in the mountains near Tezu during World War II. The discovery of a Chinese citizen in the region in 2010 stirred up matters between India and China. Guang Liang spent months in a prison in Arunachal Pradesh before the Chinese reportedly took him back. In addition, barely a dozen kilometres from the neighbourhood of these former guerrillas is the brand-new easternmost airport of India at Tezu which can also host heavy bombers and cargo carriers. Recent reports about an impending visit by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh have again stirred up the pioneers of DCG.While the region remains the locus of power games, the exploits of the octogenarians of Lama Camp slowly recedes into oblivion. In the sunset of their lives, they wish to bequeath their saga of resistance in Tibet to posterity. “Most of us did not get a chance to lead a normal life. We were deprived of the education that would have trained us to record and write our experience as soldiers,” says Sibu.The legacy and the futureIn recent years there have been some attempts to recognise their signal contribution. The Central Tibetan Administration has set up offices in Delhi and Dharamsala for addressing the needs of these senior community members. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of DCG in 2008, special commemorative events were organised by the Tibetan community in India to honour them and recognise the armed struggle that they executed against China.Young Tibetans also drop in once in a while to seek blessing of these elders. The Tibetan diaspora has also shown interest in chronicling the story of DCG and a number of websites provide information about the violent movement which faded out with the exile of Tibetans to India. However most of the literature focusses on the CIA’s role in fuelling the war in the Cold War period and is inadequate in recording the narratives of the men who fought the war not just for the CIA but also for India. “Our lives were disrupted. At the time of DCG, we did not foresee our exile and that is why we did not bother to photograph our homes and our struggles,” says Sibu, urging better documentation of the scattered photographs and other records of the movement in Tibet.Despite their advancing years, the DCG fighters do not receive any additional financial support from the Government of India — the SFF gave a comprehensive settlement package, a one-time lump-sum amount at the time of retirement.While the passage of time has dimmed Dhondup, Sibu and Sangay’s hopes of returning to their homeland, the fire still burns. “Even now I dream of fighting in the streets of Tibet with a gun,” says Dhondup. The DCG, incidentally, still exists in exile, espousing an independent Tibet. Dreams don’t die. On December 16, 1971, the India-Pakistan war ended with the liberation of Bangladesh. The war was short — it had raged for all of 13 days — but India had mobilised its entire land forces, including a secretive unit of soldiers from the Special Frontier Force (SFF), a group raised for trans-Himalayan combat. Some of the SFF recruits were not Indians. They were from Tibet and had come into India on forced exile, in waves and participated in the ground battles and the combing operations that followed with minimal knowledge of South Asian languages and the people they encountered. They had hoped that after the war India would send them home to fight the Chinese forces in Tibet as a reward — but that was not to be.Dhondup Palden, now in his 80s, a resident of Lama Camp in Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh, was one of the Tibetans who despite their Buddhist faith took up arms. Sitting at the porch of his home-on-stilts that is painted blue and decorated with Buddhist prayer flags, he reminisces about the war and how he had ventured into unfamiliar territory. “We killed many enemies in that war. For 15 days, we moved across the country rounding up Pakistani soldiers and pro-Pakistan agents.” The war stood out as it was the first time that the Tibetans, a mountain people, had to negotiate with the riverine landscape of Bangladesh. “We walked on muddy riverbeds, and went from village to village looking for enemies. The experience was unusual for us Tibetan soldiers,” he says. Zolpa Sibu Lama (left) and Adrouk with their certificates | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar
Tripura Assembly Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath, on Friday announced the disqualification of Ratan Lal Nath,MLA, under the anti-defection law. The former leader of opposition who won from Mohanpur assembly constituency five times in a row as a Congress nominee, had recently joined BJP. The state Congress President Birajit Sinha had lodged a complaint with the Speaker to disqualify Mr. Nath a day after the latter joined BJP on December 22 last. Hundreds of his supports also joined the party at a function attended by BJP General Secretary and party’s northeast in-charge Ram Madhav and Tripura poll in-charge as well as Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.Following the Congress complaint, the Speaker had called him for an explanation but Mr. Ratan Lal had skipped the hearing convened by the Speaker citing health reason.
A senior IPS officer in Uttar Pradesh on Friday stoked a controversy after a video clip of him taking pledge for the early construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya went viral on social media.In the 21-second clip, Surya Kumar Shukla, along with half a dozen other people, is seen taking a vow to build the temple. “We Ram bhakts, as part of this programme, take the pledge that a grand Ram Mandir be constructed at the earliest… Jai Sri Ram,” the video showed them saying with one arm raised.A 1982-batch IPS, Mr. Shukla is currently Director-General, Home Guards, and the second senior-most IPS in the State, according to the U.P. Police website.The controversial incident took place during a private function organised in a room of the Public Administration department of Lucknow University on January 28 by the Akhil Bharatiya Samagra Vichar Manch, which claims to be a social organisation.Though it was a closed-door affair, the title of the seminar indicated that it was held to chalk out a solution to the Ayodhya dispute: Ram Mandir Nirman Samasya Evam Samadhan.Apart from Mr. Shukla, some Hindutva activists and members of the Muslim wing of the RSS were also present on stage. So was Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, who was in 2014 felicitated by Amit Shah, then U.P. in-charge of BJP, for taking on the Samajwadi Party government for its move to withdraw terror cases. Mr. Jain, a counsel for the Hindu Mahasabha in the Ayodhya dispute, also helps Hindus fight legal cases through his organisation, Hindu Front for Justice.While the government has sought an explanation from Mr. Shukla, he clarified that his presence at the event was being misinterpreted and the short clip was selectively made to go viral without considering what he said prior to it.“As a responsible officer, we cannot say or do anything like this. It is being shown as though we are going for a forcible construction of a mandir. This is misinterpretation,” Mr. Shukla told reporters.Talking about the pledge, Mr. Shukla said the vow was being taken to create an atmosphere of communal harmony and not for the construction of the Ram Mandir.He said he attended the seminar as it was being held for an intellectual discussion on how to resolve the “Ram Mandir issue peacefully”.“I had said [at the event] that this issue is sub judice in the Supreme Court, so it would not be proper for me to give a speech on it or present detailed views. So I did not give any speech,” Mr. Shukla said.Retired IPS officer S.R. Darapuri told The Hindu that Mr. Shukla’s act was a “direct violation of the IPS code of conduct” and also punishable as he had participated in a political event and made his communal biases known.Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh said both officials and criminals were being influenced by the BJP under the rule of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath. “An alliance has been formed between the three. And these BJP people, along with the criminals and officials, think themselves above the law,” Mr. Singh said.The IPS Association has condemned the incident saying that it is “against the ethos of neutrality, fairness and uprightness that Indian Police Service stands for”.
Aligarh Muslim University students sat on an indefinite dharna on Thursday protesting the “police inaction” against the vandalism carried out by members of some right-wing organisations on the university campus on Wednesday.AMU Students’ Union president Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani told The Hindu that the students are demanding a judicial inquiry and arrest of activists of right-wing groups who allegedly barged into the university campus and thrashed students and security guards when they tried to stop them from breaking law.Over 30 AMU students and many police personnel were injured in the violence which started with the right-wing protesters demanding removal of the portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the office of the AMU students’ union and in the subsequent confrontation between the students and the police.Reacting to the incidents of violence, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the “act of honouring the man who was responsible for the Partition of the country will never be tolerated”. He said that he has asked for a report from the district administration. ADG, Agra Zone, Ajay Anand has reached Aligarh and held a meeting with the IG, SSP and SP City over law and order in Aligarh.AMU has strongly condemned “the trespassing of university boundary and raising of objectionable and intimidating slogans by a group of Hindu Yuva Vahini youths”. It has asked the district administration to take strict action against the youths who disturbed the peace of the campus.The Aligarh police, meanwhile, have registered two FIRs. “One FIR is against over 300 unnamed AMU students and five AMUSU members,” said Javed Khan, the in-charge of Civil Lines police station.“The second FIR has been lodged against 22 unnamed people by the AMU security authorities under various sections,” he added.
Calcutta Medical College and Hospital authorities have threatened to take legal action against the students on the ninth day of their hunger strike in the State capital’s premier medical institution.The acting principal of the college, Dr. Ramanuj Sinha, told the striking students on Wednesday that “legal actions will be initiated” if any of the students falls sick, claimed some students.“It is seriously unfortunate that the authorities are threatening us instead of addressing our grievances,” said Soumyadeep Roy, a third-year student.The ongoing protests are against the college authority’s decision to allocate an 11-storey boys’ hostel to newcomers when the senior students do not have proper accommodation.Four students had previously fallen seriously ill and had to be given medical attention. The students said that they will sit on a mass hunger strike soon.
A rights body in Assam has urged Prateek Hajela, the State coordinator for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), to make the legacy data available on its web portal.Uploading the data would help people who were left out of the complete NRC draft published on July 30 as many of them had “failed to collect the legacy data or collected wrong data” due to illiteracy and sheer ignorance”, the Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee (CRPC) said. Legacy data is a set of documents comprising the NRC of 1951 and electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, which is the cut-off date for detecting foreigners in Assam.Available for 3 yearsNRC officials said the legacy data was available online for three years after the exercise began. It is now under login credentials, which means the access is limited to certain officials. Public access to the legacy data was reportedly withdrawn after cases of misuse.“Easier access to legacy data would be of help for the left-out people during the process of claims, objections and corrections,” CRPC general secretary Bidhayak Das Purkayastha said.Political parties and NGOs across Assam have set up assistance booths ahead of distribution of forms for claims, objections and corrections from Friday. Some MLAs have taken up the responsibility individually.Assistance centres“We have set up Bidhayak (MLA) Seva Kendras in Dhekiajuli. We will support every single Indian left out of the final draft of NRC, and will ensure no Indian is left out,” Ashok Singhal, the BJP legislator representing the Dhekiajuli seat, said.Other organisations such as the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad have expressed concern over the alleged move to penalise people who fail to prove the reason behind filing an objection to the inclusion of a suspected foreigner, doubtful voter or declared foreigner in the draft.“It is too premature a fear, since the Supreme Court would take a call on what will or will not happen during the upcoming phase of the NRC exercise,” an official said, declining to be quoted.Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, meanwhile, criticised Mr. Hajela for a work “done poorly as proved by the apex court’s censure”. Not ruling out a “faulty” final NRC, he said the citizens’ charter would turn into “waste paper” if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is turned into law.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, in collaboration with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, has seized a weapons cache from the house of a relative of Sachin Andure, who was arrested last week in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. CBI officers said Mr. Andure, who was arrested on August 18, revealed that he had hidden some weapons in his cousin’s house in Aurangabad. “We sought ATS [anti-terrorism squad] assistance and on Tuesday morning, the house in question was searched, and a bag was found, which contained a sword, a dagger, a 7.65mm pistol and three live rounds of the same calibre,” a CBI officer said. Since ammunition of the same calibre was used in Dabholkar’s killing, the gun seized on Tuesday would be sent for ballistic testing. “Once the reports are received, we will compare it with the ballistic reports of the ammunition used in the offence,” the officer added. Mr. Andure’s arrest was the result of the interrogation of Sharad Kalaskar who, along with Vaibhav Raut and Sudhnwa Gondhalekar, was nabbed by the ATS on August 10. Mr. Kalaskar allegedly confessed to have been directly involved in Dabholkar’s murder, along with Mr. Andure, who was then summoned for inquiries and later handed over to the CBI on August 18. The ATS went on to arrest a fourth accused, Shrikant Pangarkar, from Jalgaon on Sunday. Disruptive activitiesThe ATS is still working on ascertaining the intentions of the four accused, who are charged with planning disruptive activities in various parts of the State. A large quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives has been recovered from the first three accused, while Mr. Pangarkar is said to be a “facilitator and provider” for the trio. “Investigations so far reveal that the group that the accused are part of is a highly organised one, with various modules operating in silos. There is no interaction between members of different modules, and each module is instructed to focus on its own assigned task, similar to the working of sleeper cells of terrorist organisations. The level of training that the accused appear to have received also indicates an organised set up,” an ATS officer said. The officer said the scope of the investigation is likely to extend beyond the State’s borders. “We have found out that the arrested have travelled all over the country,” the officer said.
Monitoring of nutrition and health-related services in the Anganwadi centres will go hi-tech in Rajasthan during September, which will be observed as a “nutrition month”. With the mobile applications replacing the manual observation methods, smartphones will be supplied to all Anganwadi centres in the State to ensure success of nutrition programmes.Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had announced in her Independence Day address on August 15 that September would be celebrated as a “nutrition month” to spread awareness about health and nutritional aspects of food in both urban and rural areas. The free milk distribution in schools for the students of Classes I to VIII along with the midday meals was also extended from three days to all days in the week.Orientation workshopAt an orientation workshop for the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) officials here on Wednesday, several presentations were made on the activities to be taken up next month for strengthening primary health care of children and improving their nutritional standards. ICDS Director Sushma Arora said new strategies would ensure success of the National Nutrition Mission (NNM).The district-level officers of the connected departments, including Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Medical & Health, Education, Water Resources and Sanitation, also attended the workshop. Roli Singh, Principal Secretary (Women & Child Development), said the results of new initiatives on the front of nutrition were very encouraging.The activities to be conducted at the district and block headquarters and in Anganwadi centres during September will connect nutrition with the development of human capital, earlier considered a burden. World Bank’s representative Arvind Singhal and UNICEF representative Nizamuddin Ahmed made suggestions for removal of systemic barriers.Rajasthan plans to implement NNM with a vision document for 2022, which is at present being formulated to ensure convergence of work by all stakeholders for improving nutrition levels of women and children and reducing under-nutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year.The NNM, approved by the Union Cabinet, will be implemented in 24 of the 33 districts in the State. The declaration of September as a “nutrition month” forms part of the strategies for addressing the issue of under-nutrition and stunting.
In a small auditorium of Nandan, located in the Kolkata’s cultural complex, Presidency University held its convocation on Tuesday morning. The auditorium that can barely accommodate 100 people had veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee and former scientific adviser to the Prime Minister C.N.R. Rao receiving honorary degrees D. Litt and D.Sc degree respectively. No student of the University was present. University Chancellor and State Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also stayed away from the convocation which ended in 40 minutes. The 200-year-old institution was forced to hold the convocation at an auditorium mainly meant for screening of films as a section of the students had not allowed the authorities to enter the campus on college street. “Students should remember that they have not come to live in Hindu hostel. But to study in Presidency University. What is it that makes that particular location and that particular building so important,” Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University Anuradha Lohia, said during the convocation. Large placard Prof. Lohia explained to the gathering that it was the student’s protests that has forced the University to hold their convocation at Nandan and not at the University premises. On Monday morning, the Vice-Chancellor and other authorities found that the gate of the University was locked by students who put up large placard which stated, ‘Presidency University is closed …..Renovation of Hindu hostel is going on’.A section of students of the institution have been protesting for the past one month over demands that they be allowed to stay at the Hindu hostel, close to the University campus on college street, which is under renovation. The University has made alternative arrangements for boarding of the students at its New Town campus and made arrangements free travel. The Vice-Chancellor argued that as a custodian of the University, she cannot push beyond a certain level and jeopardise safety of the issue.“That they want to stay in the hostel right now, does not sound rationale. It does not sound like students of Presidency University,” she said. Prof. Lohia said she will not use force against the students and will not force herself inside the University campus. Meanwhile, a section of protesting students said that the University authorities cannot put the blame entirely on the students. “Over the past 40 days we tried to argue our case with the Vice-Chancellor but she did not listen. Now by passing the responsibility of what happened today on students, the Vice-Chancellor is passing the responsibility and trying to score points before the State government,” Shuvajit Sarkar, a second year postgraduate student of History said.
Ravenshaw University Vice-Chancellor Ishan Kumar Patro and other officials, who were confined to a room by some students for nearly 13 hours, were freed by the police on Tuesday morning. The students had gheraoed them in protest against the cancellation of students’ union election.The university authorities had on Monday cancelled the election due to widespread unrest on the campus. Like last year, the authorities had decided to hold indirect election to the Students’ Council, which was opposed by some students.“While we were discussing the election issue, some students gheraoed us and did not allow anyone to come out of the room despite our repeated requests. They kept us confined to the room for about 13 hours and did not even allow the ladies to use the washroom,” the V-C said, adding that stringent action would be taken against the offenders.Expressing anguish over the conduct of the students, Prof. Patro indicated that students of the women’s hostel who stayed outside their hostel beyond 12 a.m. on Monday will be issued show-cause notices and their parents would also be intimated. “In the absence of a satisfactory reply, the hostel seats of the offenders will be cancelled,” Prof. Patro said“Although, these protesting students were creating a situation necessitating to declare sine die in the university, I am not going to upset the academic interests of 8,000 students”, the V-C said and added that a large section of the students was not interested in the election.
A woman was beaten up, disrobed and made to run naked in her village in Gopiganj area of the district for resisting eve-teasers, police said on Sunday. Police have registered a case against the four miscreants involved in the incident and have arrested one of them, said circle officer Yadavendra Yadav. “The woman from the weavers’ community objected to being teased by one Lal Chandra Yadav. In the evening, Yadav along with his three accomplices forcibly entered her house and thrashed her.” “They stripped her of clothes and made her run in the village. Some villagers shot the incident on phones and the video subsequently went viral,” he said. The inspector of the police station has been shunted.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday successfully test fired the underdevelopment long range subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Odisha.“It is the sixth development flight trial with objective to prove the repeatability of boost phase, cruise phase using way point navigation at very low altitudes,” DRDO said in a statement adding the missile demonstrated its sea-skimming capability to cruise at very low altitudes.Nirbhay has a range of 1000 km and can fly very low to the ground to avoid detection by enemy radar called terrain hugging capability. “During today’s test, the missile demonstrated the terrain hugging capability by covered way-points as low as 5 m to maximum 2.5 km (altitude),” a defence source said.At each waypoint the altitude was varied and it had a sustained flight at different altitudes including at 5m. “It was tested upto a range of 700 km,” the source stated.Of the six test trials, three were failed and three were successful. No other indigenous missile has been tested at such altitude, the source added.The missile was primarily designed and developed by the Advanced Defence Establishment of DRDO located in Bengaluru in cooperation with other DRDO laboratories.Once inducted, Nirbhay, similar to U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile, will give Indian armed forces a long range standoff capability to strike targets on land.The missile took off vertically turning horizontally into desired direction, booster separated, wing deployed, engine started and cruised all the intended waypoints, DRDO stated and added the entire flight was fully tracked by a chain of electro optical tracking systems, radars and ground telemetry systems deployed all along the sea coast.
Ann Reid has been a researcher, a policy wonk, and a program manager. In January, she will put on a new hat—as first responder to attacks on science education.This week, Reid was named executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). She will succeed Eugenie Scott, who spent 26 years building up the small, Oakland, California-based organization into a powerful defender of the teaching of evolution and climate change in U.S. public schools.“I think they are the most effective group working at the grassroots level,” says Jay Labov, senior adviser for education and communications at the National Academies’ National Research Council in Washington, D.C. “The work they did in the Dover case was just spectacular; I’m not sure the ruling would have been the same without their help,” Labov says, referring to a 2005 suit in which a federal judge rejected an attempt by a Pennsylvania school district to force teachers to present intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution in science courses.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The decentralized nature of U.S. education means that one ruling is never enough to stem the antiscience tide, however. This afternoon, for example, the Texas State Board of Education will hold its final public hearing before approving the next batch of science textbooks for use in local school districts, and NCSE staff members have worked hard to rally support for high-quality instructional materials.Joining NCSE is the latest step on what Reid, 54, admits has been a circuitous career path. After graduating at 19 from what is now Bard College at Simon’s Rock, which calls itself “the only liberal arts college expressly designed for students of high school age,” Reid earned a master’s degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and took a job in Paris with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “I was 21 and I wanted to change the world—today!” she says.But the realm of international diplomacy turned out to be less exciting—and less satisfying—than she had imagined. “I found the policy work to be very frustrating,” she says. “It simply wasn’t evidence-based. Decisions were being made based on political rhetoric.” After 3 years she returned to the United States with the intention of going to medical school.Family life interfered with those plans, however, and she wound up taking an entry-level lab technician position at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. That job led to a 20-year research career that included co-leading a team at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology that sequenced the virus in the 1918 flu pandemic.The work, including developing new techniques for extracting DNA from paraffin-embedded tissue samples, satisfied a previously unrequited passion for science. But it also taught her how quickly newly acquired technical skills can become outdated. “We finished sequencing the virus in 2004, after 7 years of work. Now you could do it on your lunch hour,” she says.In addition to being a scientific tour de force, the 1918 flu project was intended to save the institute from cost-cutting moves at the Department of Defense. However, Reid saw the writing on the wall—the institute eventually closed in 2011, although its massive collection of tissue samples has been preserved—and in 2005 she went to work at the National Academies’ Board on Life Sciences.There she was staff director for several studies, including a report on metagenomics that she says “opened my eyes to the shift in biology toward the importance of microbes.” One spinoff was a 2007 paper she wrote with Labov entitled “A Call for Bringing a New Science into the Classroom (While It’s Still New).”The article was her first formal foray into the world of science education, and she regards it as good preparation for the challenges facing her at NCSE.“I see our role as doing everything we can to help science teachers teach good science,” she says about the center’s mission. “Evolution and climate change are two topics in which they might find it difficult to do so, because of outside pressure from parents and some local officials. So our job is to help them make sure that doesn’t happen, by giving them the tools they need to fight back.”Reid likens the center to “the local fire department or FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency]. As Eugenie likes to say, ‘We don’t put out the fire. But we pass out the fire extinguishers and let the local science community do its job.’ ”Scientists who have worked with Reid call her an excellent choice to take the reins from Scott. “Ann is an expert at navigating the science-policy-society interface,” says Princeton University’s Bonnie Bassler, chair of the board of governors for the American Academy of Microbiology, which Reid has led for the past 3 years. “Plus, she has a knack for making complicated subjects understandable to broad audiences. She will bring rigor and a passion for science to her new role at NCSE.”
True or false?More than one-third of U.S. elementary students learn no science in a typical week. The U.S. science and engineering workforce grew by 10% between 2008 and 2010. The number of authors of scientific papers from U.S. universities increased by two-thirds between 2010 and 2012.These three questions are based on information in the latest edition of Science and Engineering Indicators, a biennial collection released today by the National Science Foundation (NSF). And the answers—1) True; 2) True, but with a big caveat; and 3) It seems unlikely—point to both the strengths and weaknesses of the massive report.The 2014 tome describes in great detail the state of U.S. science and its relative ranking among global competitors. It draws from surveys conducted by NSF or work that it has funded, as well as data from other sources that NSF’s statistical shop, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), has vetted.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Once again, the report points to the continued scientific progress by China and other Asian nations as measured by any number of indices, from high-tech manufacturing to research spending to training the next generation of scientists and engineers. “The longstanding dominance of the United States continues to erode,” says Dan Arvizu, chair of the National Science Board, the presidentially appointed oversight body that issues the report. “Other countries have been building up their research capacity very rapidly, and this report shows how fast this new world is arriving.”With 600 pages of text and graphics and a 939-page appendix of tables, Indicators provides lots of yardsticks by which to measure those changes. At the same time, readers may want to exercise some caution to avoid leaving the statistical buffet with indigestion—or with egg on their faces.Science teachersThe answer to the first question comes from the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education. The survey of 7752 teachers at 1504 elementary and secondary schools around the country—the fifth since 1977—is designed to assess the background and experience of teachers, what goes on the classroom, and the resources available to them.The answers show that science is a “forgotten step-child” to math and reading in the lower grades, according to the team at Horizon Research Inc. in North Carolina that conducted the NSF-funded study. Several metrics suggest that elementary science instruction is on shaky ground: Those who teach it are more likely to be novices; science receives only 40% the time given to math and less than 30% spent on reading; and teachers feel only half as well prepared to teach science as math. Engineering is almost nonexistent, the study notes, with only 4% of elementary school teachers feeling very confident about tackling the subject.Scientific workforce One apparent bright spot in the 2014 Indicators is the recent rapid growth in what NSF calls the scientific and engineering (S&E) workforce. The report says the total was 5.40 million in 2010, up from the 4.88 million reported for 2008 in the 2012 edition of Indicators. But the real increase is probably closer to 3% or 4% rather than 10%, says Beethika Khan of NCSES and lead author on the workforce chapter.That’s because the 2008 number was in all likelihood an undercount, Khan explains. It was based on people who self-identified as members of the scientific workforce in the 2000 decennial census and who NSF then tracked for the rest of the decade through two surveys, one of recent college graduates and one of doctoral recipients. But those surveys don’t capture those who didn’t earn a U.S. degree, that is, many foreign-born scientists and engineers. Nor do they include people working in the field without any science and engineering degree.In contrast, the 2010 data draw upon the American Community Survey (ACS), the successor to the long form of the census. That survey is done annually, and offers a much more accurate snapshot of the workforce at any given time. NSF used ACS for the first time to help calculate the size of the scientific workforce in 2010. “Our use of the ACS as a frame has improved our results,” she says.(This year’s report also takes a first-ever look at those in the S&E workforce without a bachelor’s degree. It finds that blacks and Hispanics are overrepresented, and Asians underrepresented, compared with the demographics of those with S&E degrees working in the field. The non-degree holders are also much more likely to be working in computing and information technology—69% of all non-degree holders work in that field, compared with 44% of all college-educated S&E workers.)Author, authorThe final question pertains to cross-sector collaboration, which the report calls “one of the most striking changes in the U.S. S&E landscape in recent years.” But NSF’s attempt to highlight how scientists are “cross[ing] boundaries to enter previously unfamiliar territory” appears to have taken a wrong turn at some point.The questionable figure appears in the report’s overview. It purports to show a steep rise in the number of academic authors on scientific papers and the number of authors per paper.Each name is counted as a separate author, so the absolute count is obviously inflated. But the real problem is that both numbers, which have grown at a steady rate since 1988, suddenly spike in 2011 and 2012.What could have caused U.S. academics to suddenly become so much more prolific—and collaborative? The statistical answer, in a word, is CERN. More specifically, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.“One sees more huge recent collaborations in physics,” says NCSES’ Robert Bell, who oversaw the 2014 Indicators. An unofficial analysis by NSF staffers, he says, found one paper with more than 3000 authors in 2010, 45 such papers in 2011, and 88 in 2012. Before 2010, he notes, there were none.The pattern of greater collaboration has been evident for the past 2 decades, he notes. In 2012, only 55% of papers in all fields had four or fewer authors. That compares with 83% in 1988, 74% in 1996, and 65% as recently as 2004. The LHC has distorted the picture, however, by making it seem as though the entire scientific community has suddenly embraced massive co-authorship.
A defiant Yoweri Museveni has responded to U.S. President Barack Obama’s criticism of Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill by stating that he intends to sign it into law as soon as a scientific committee has completed its work. In a letter to Obama dated 18 February—but which has just become public—Museveni, Uganda’s president, defends the bill, which would introduce life sentences for so-called “aggravated homosexuality” with minors or in cases of rape, and terms of 7 to 14 years for attempted or actual homosexual activity.The bill was passed by Uganda’s Parliament last December, but Museveni declined to sign it until a specially appointed committee of researchers and health officials pronounced on the causes of homosexuality. The committee presented its report to Museveni and members of his ruling National Resistance Movement party on 14 February, whereupon Museveni announced through a spokesperson that he would sign the legislation.The “unanimous conclusion” of the committee, Museveni wrote Obama, “was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic.” But some members of the committee have told ScienceInsider that this is not the conclusion they came to, and that their findings do not lend support for the draconian legislation.Museveni told Obama that he is now waiting for clarification from the committee about whether “a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual.” Once he has that, Museveni wrote, “my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.”*Update, 24 February, 11:30 a.m.: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has signed the antihomosexuality bill.
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