Archive for the ‘CRIME’ Category

Amritsar’s Sniffers Dogs just enjoy hospitality or treated as extra baggage!.. By Rashmi Talwar


Sniffer DOG

Sniffer DOG

Sniffer dogs in Amritsar just enjoy hospitality or treated as extra baggage!

By Rashmi Talwar
Saanjh

Amritsar July 14, 2013———

Sniffer dogs in Amritsar entrusted with the duty to detect drugs, banned substances, explosives etc were merely having a good time in the traditionally hospitable environs of Amritsar or were they being treated as extra baggage. I cannot imagine them being ill-treated as they were prized trained dogs from a reputable dog training agency of India, perhaps one of the best agencies in the world.

But somewhere something has been amiss and a mischief surely seems to be afoot as each of these canines died within months of each other. This infact puts a question mark on the agencies handling them especially the anti-smuggling wing to whom they are entrusted, for use by customs on three International exit and entry points, two out of which are connected to our neighbor Pakistan.

Before we start howling about a Pakistani hand in the death of three dogs all of them passed to the nether world in the past year, I must tell you that none of these dogs were put on duty of smelling out narcotics, reveal my sources. They were merely straddled around the airports, Joint Check post with Pakistan and Attari border Railway route, to scare the smugglers. It seems the smugglers already knew the handlers and were hardly scared of the canines knowing fully well that they would not be apprehended. This assurance among smugglers was proved true. Had that not been the case, at least one of the three would have ‘smelled a rat’ sometime during their heydays if not later days. But strangely none of them detected even an ant leave alone explosives, RDX, drugs or others. This is revealed through the government records which were laid bare in reply to an RTI.
According to a reply by social and RTI activist PC Sharma of Amritsar, three dogs i.e. Romeo, Marshal and Monty were brought on sniffing duties to Amritsar to check on three international entry-exit points.
Romeo brought in March 2005 died within seven years on 24th January 2012. Marshal was added to the dog squad in December 2006 but on July 22, 2012 he too passed away . Monty too was brought along with Marshal in December 2006 and died two months after his friend Marshal on 3rd September 2012.

Could the deaths of three sniffers in a matter of months of each other be a coincidence?

Sharma the RTI activist observed that “Government of Indian had deployed three sniffer dogs for its internal and external security and protection. These sniffers are trained by various agencies at a heavy cost. Upon deployment there is a recurring regular expenditure on their fitness and day to day activities. The anti smuggling unit of the Customs had brought these three sniffers specially trained by the noted agency ‘National Training Center for Dogs’ in Tikanpur , Madhya Pradesh to detect drugs, psychotropic substances and other threats faced by the country from its internal as well as external enemies.”
Filling an RTI on 21June 2013 relating to the sniffers to the customs department, the details of cases and materials detected and discovered by these sniffers was asked from the customs department. The reply provided by Deputy Commissioner (Anti Smuggling Wing of Customs) dated 10th July 2013, seems to be quite amusing, smirks Sharma. The official writes that as per available records three dogs namely Romeo, Monty a d Marshal had ’t detected or discovered ‘even a single clue’ that which could lead to any kind of recovery or detection of substances.

Mr VK Khosla Deputy Commissioner anti smuggling wing said the department had brought two dogs just 15 days back. On the number of seizures by the three sniffers who died last year he kept mum.

Says Sharma –“It seems that either dog handlers have not got proper training or there is some covert reason due to which the nation is suffering huge loss in the shape of expenses incurred on this squad and the dangerous substances entering the country undetected.
As per the available information sniffer dogs have played major role in the field of security and many major causalities have been averted due to the detection made by these dogs throughout the world. Therefore Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Finance is requested to inquire this sensitive matter and take necessary actions in National interest.” Sharma while talking to Saanjh, said dog squad was requisitioned in the year 1990 -91.

Coincidentally, it was the same year that militancy gripped Jammu and Kashmir after Punjab was ravished by it earlier. And adds–“On my queries of diet of dogs, medical certificate or post-mortem certificate of the deceased dogs, the department has kept mum”.
The dogs according to sources were entrusted with a chaprasi ‘frash’ as they are called or water-servers in the department when they should have been in the care of an educated, dog loving handler having full training about care of the dogs and to get optimum value for them.
The National Training center for dogs an agency run by BSF, trains dogs for 36 countries world over. Hence its credentials seem to be sound.
If the sniffers could sniff out substances and others, during the test period after training how is it that they could not smell anything in Amritsar – a border city with an international airport, land and train communications which is virtual transit point for huge haul of drugs and is notorious for rampant smuggling? Well the Anti smuggling wing has some answering to do.

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Sarabjit’s lawyer, Awais Sheikh in Dock! ….By Rashmi Talwar / Rising Kashmir


sarabjit lawyer

(Right) Awais Sheikh Sarabjit's Lawyer releasing book- 'Sarabjit Singh- A case of mistaken Identity

(Right) Awais Sheikh Sarabjit’s Lawyer releasing book- ‘Sarabjit Singh- A case of mistaken Identity


Sarabjit’s lawyer -Awais Sheikh, in dock !

Letter to caretaker Punjab CM for security to Pak lawyer

By Rashmi Talwar

AMRITSAR May 3, 2013——————

Awais Sheikh, the Pakistani counsel for deceased Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in Pak jail, is a scared man. Although having a slight physical stature, he has guts of steel and has never felt frightened while supporting Sarabjit’s case. He took over as lawyer of Sarabjit after 26/11 Mumbai attacks from Mr Rana another counsel of the Indian prisoner, during the time when hatred between the two countries was at its peak and the Pak SC had announced an ex-parte decision due to the absence of Sarabjit’s counsel in court.

Even when Awais was thrown out of his rented place by his landlord, labeled an Indian agent and during the time when protests were held against him outside Lahore Press on the announcement that Sarabjit was to be released but was retracted within six hours and another prisoner Surjeet singh was released in his place; Awais did not cow down and never backtracked, he held on to his courage. He came to India more than 25 times without fear of persecution from intelligence agencies of Pakistan.

In a letter today to the caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab- Najam Sethi (in view of forthcoming elections in Pakistan) the Human Rights Watch has written that Awais was subjected to an attempt at kidnapping at Wagah border besides receiving threatening letters and phone calls from organizations that claim to have strong links with Taliban. They have urged the government to provide him clandestine (invisible) security so that he does not become a visible target of those who want to eliminate him.

Awais has addressed umpteenth press conferences since 2008, in both India and Pakistan, even garnering support of celebrities to urge both countries to repatriate their prisoners after their prison terms were over and has mounted an attack on both countries for their callousness, time and again especially in the case of Sarabjit.

But after Sarabjit’s death in Lahore, it was the first time that fear was in Awais’s voice. After the attack on Sarabjit he said, he was fearful that he too may be eliminated. He related to me over phone from Lahore – “I came to see off Dalbir Kaur and Sarabjit’s family at Wagha Indo Pak border after they met Sarabjit in hospital, and this time the intelligence sleuths laid a trap me, of which I was pre-warned, so I managed to sneak out in a private vehicle.” And further, expressed his fear that after Sarabjit’s slaughter –“This time, they will come after me and kill me too!”

Awais has written a book titled “Sarabjit Singh- A case of mistaken identity” published by Indian Publishers Rajkamal Prakashan, that was released in Delhi and Amritsar in January 2013. The book has complete details on Sarabjit’s case as well as many other prisoners in jails of India and Pakistan belonging to either country.

Besides this he has copies of documentations to prove Sarabjit’s real name was Sarabjit and not ‘Manjit Singh’ as filed in the FIR. He had earlier penned another book –Samjohta express”- The train between India and Pakistan. Awais was last here in India, to release the book on Sarabjit Singh, in Delhi and Amritsar in January 2013.
Justice Markandey Katju Chairman of the Press Council of India, former Supreme court Judge and chairman of the ‘Free Sarabjit Committee had commented on the book –“The prosecution evidence in the case of Sarabjit Singh is very weak . His name was not even in the First Information Report”.

The winner of USA’s ‘Global Media Award for Excellence’ Zubeida Mustafa had stated on the book –“Sarabjit has not received a fair trial. That is the irony. The quirks of international relations and a flawed legal system have combined to determine the unhappy fate of this man.”

FIRST PUBLISHED IN RISING KASHMIR RK

URL:http://www.risingkashmir.in/news/sarabjits-lawyer-awais-sheikh-in-dock-46560.aspx

Daughters ‘unsafe’ in womb and outside — By RASHMI TALWAR–Rising Kashmir RK


Gang Rape

GANG RAPE

GANG RAPE

Like a fight, lost … like a pride, lost … like shame, lost…like a life, lost ..

Thus, started my morning, splashed in dark hues, over the news of death of the 23-year old Delhi Gang Rape victim.

It made me think of hundreds and thousands of women who faced similar rapist brutes and lived or died, deeply scarred, viciously violated in both body and soul. I also think of so many who hid this heinous outrage to suffer silently and picked up the pieces of their shattered souls.

Today ‘black dots’ replaced profile pictures all over twitter as a mark of protest and mourning . Each Indian is shamed, angry and as Tavleen Singh, a noted columnist wrote, “In a real sense, India died a thousand deaths today. In her death, she lives and in her death, India lives with shame.”

Anupam Kher actor, taunted and redefined the “Incredible India” slogan with a scathing take on female foeticide and rape – “Incredible India: A Nation where Daughters are neither safe inside Womb nor Outside.” Calling upon the Nation for a Revolution, to boycott the forthcoming Republic Day Celebrations in protest. He wrote “Let the PM & the President address vacant spaces & buildings. They don’t want our presence now , let us be absent when it matters most. Let them get a taste of our disgust.”

Each took on different expression following this heinous tragedy. Vivek Mehra, a resident of Amritsar shared his feelings –“ Jitna bhi rokoon khud ko; aaj har pal bekhud;, palkein nam, nam; ankhein sharm, sharm..”(No matter, how much I try to stop myself today; each moment involuntarily; my lashes turn moist, my eyes turn shamed).

While Chief Minister of Jammu& Kashmir wrote on twitter ‘Rest in Peace brave one..’ People in Jammu& Kashmir are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the recent Jammu gang rape case.

Actor Abhishek Bachchan, a father whose daughter just celebrated her first birthday, displayed his abhorrence for the declining values of the country and wrote –“This is not the country I grew up in as a child, this is not the country, I want my daughter to know whilst she grows up! Ayesha Takia Azmi, host for TV reality show ‘Surshetr’ as a new parent endorsed “We parents have to take much more responsibility, in bringing up our children.”

Sagarika Ghose a columnist and TV anchor quoted Shakespeare –“Thou art more deep damn’d than Lucifer, there is not yet so ugly a fiend of Hell, thou that didst kill this child.”

Barkha Dutt, TV journalist reporting on situation in the capital said –“5000 security personnel deployed in & around India Gate to keep protesters away. Will GOI ever deploy as many to keep women safe?” To which, Shujaat Bukhari Editor of Rising Kashmir, a noted daily, retorted ‘Delhi becomes Kashmir’.

But there were others who rose to the situation and looked for solutions especially women. Actress Gul Panag, perturbed over mere hollow words stated “Enough said. Time, for action. We’re compiling a database of people, with their numbers/cities to help any lady in need.”

Her call aroused a lot of men, to post their numbers on social networking sites promising help to woman in distress in their areas. I call such a solution oriented action, a move forward, a gutsy route.

Following the Delhi case I had posted-“U board a PUBLIC transport! Take that Pepper Spray in one hand till you reach your destination.” Several responded – Davinder Paul Singh shot back “Time has come to take a little law ( & a pepper spray ) in hand”.

Keith Nathan Albrecht, from NY, who was a Taxi driver for 10 years shared –“ I carry a sharp tongue and an attitude, to avoid the victim syndrome.” Aditi Tandon, a senior journalist in Delhi wrote back –“Pepper spray? Are you joking or something? There are animals on the loose with iron rods in their hands. What will your spray do?” I answered, “Pepper spray is a deterrent, let us not advocate gun licensing after the Newtown massacre in US.” Keith seconded me with her take “It is hard for someone , if you immobilize them with a pepper spray in the eyes -that has a wide dispersal application.” And added –“It’s a deterrent not an execution!”

While Kunal Kapoor asked –“People across the country have risen, do our politicians have the will to rise, or are they still hoping, ‘this too shall pass..’”.
As an Indian, I demand- “If Political parties are so sincere, let them first put all those leaders on trial, who face rape charges. Let the accused re-enter the party only after being acquitted. Let us see which party takes a lead” …Calling ! –BJP, Congress, SAD, SP, BSP & others!

FIRST PUBLISHED IN RISING KASHMIR IN DECEMBER 31, 2012

My experience about Newtown, Connecticut …. By RASHMI TALWAR


US KILLING: NEWTON CONNECTICUT DEC 15,2012

US KILLING: NEWTON CONNECTICUT DEC 15,2012

US SCHOOL SHOOTING

My experience about Newtown, Connecticut ……….

By RASHMI TALWAR

In my first look at this quaint town of Newtown, Connecticut, USA, I was swept away by its charm. It was the month of May in 2007 and Maple trees were beginning to sprout their greens after their snowy caps had melted, much like the Chinars (same family) that I love of Kashmir. On the first landing, we had a learning session with my aunt, wherein she gave us vital clues of the town to ward off any ‘gregarious Indian-Ishytle traits’ of lunging-to-help-out or ‘chalta hai’ attitude in India, once things go wrong.

This is the same town that has seen the most dastardly killing of 20 children and six adults in a School by a 20- year old, on December 15, 2012.

During our visit, the instructions were –‘Don’t look too long into the neighbor’s house; don’t stand or stare at a school building; don’t click photos without permission; don’t sit anywhere near a building, only near ponds or parks; don’t use a vehicle, not even a bicycle since it is right hand driving here and the Police will nab you the moment it notices your confusion at road crossings and there would be a hefty fine and explanations, besides an admonition to the host family. These all were precautionary, helpful and kept us in check. They were also not misplaced or deliberately fear-inducing because barely a month before our visit, in mid April of 2007, 32 people at Virginia Tech USA, had been killed by a gunman.

The unobtrusive view of this cute township of Newtown, without front or side dividing walls, tree-lined with the best kept gardens, was a feast for the eyes. The dogs or pets were electronically leashed; sensor spot lights at night, timed lighting in houses were some of its security measures. I noticed the way people strictly obeyed instructions, when a hurricane befell during our stay. The town spread out in about 160 sq. kms. had a robust infrastructure, far more than its meagre population of about 27,000.

When news of killing of 26, including 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown broke on December 15, I was completely shocked and deeply saddened, having spent two months in that quiet peaceful place, considered one of the safest in America. To visualize the splattered ‘color of blood’ in Newtown, where people came from world-over in autumns, to watch the trees turn auburn, gold and reddish radiant, was particularly ironic.

Everyone in Newtown had a car and public transport was nonexistent, it being a non-tourist place. Thumbing a lift was strange and if someone stopped, they would consider you a local who had a problem and then move over all the buying paraphernalia from their loaded car, which they perhaps didn’t have time to download, to make space for you to sit in the passenger seat. Indeed things were beautiful, but not so simple, yet there was an air of being organized, being cautious, being thoughtful and being obedient. It was different and I loved it all.

However, despite the well organized township, there were things that didn’t quite feel normal, for instance there were huge spread out properties with signs of ‘No trespass allowed’ where a ‘single’ person was known to occupy the house. Police kept a vigil on them, but it was wholly abnormal to stay cut-off from the rest of humanity. “If one has no fear of being seen, one can act in unimaginable ways” say psychologists.

In another instance during a flight to Florida, a fellow co-passenger’s statement had got me thinking. “Why doesn’t America do more for people who are going insane, instead of having a liberal gun license policy? Could you imagine the havoc an insane person can unleash with an easy access to guns?” he contended. Perhaps the Virginia Tech 2007 killing was still fresh in his mind.

Another jolting experience was when I happened to ask an American of Indian origin about education in USA, she answered – “Education is very good but it is scary that children bring guns to school.” I was shocked.

Learning of the recent killing in Sandy Hook and its details, it shook me more that Nancy Lanza mother of 20-year old gunman Adam Lanza, possessed ‘three’ licensed weapons, including an automatic gun. I cannot quite understand this ‘gun freedom’ or liberalization.

I only laud the spirit of the people of this place who, after the massive tragedy, came together in support of the grieving families, taking to prayer.

There was no screaming, no irresponsible reporting in media, no chest beating, no arson, no strikes, no blaming the government, no wild-run destroying public property, stone-pelting or any violent means. They just stood locked in a human chain lighting candles in grief, giving solace and support to those who lost their little ‘tulips’ (5 to10 year olds) and steady trees (six adults).

It felt like a healing touch that television channels there aired programmes on how to detect trauma or deal with a traumatized child who had seen or heard the shootout. I hope US introspects its liberalized policy on guns, before it is too late.

FIRST PUBLISHED IN ‘RISING KASHMIR’ ON DECEMBER 20, 2012
URL: http://epaper.risingkashmir.com/20122012/default.asp

Kidnapped Giandeep @Richie Punjab Kesari –carries a feature story about Giandeep’s fan page


Kidnapped Giandeep @Richie

FIRST PUBLISHED——Punjab Kesari –one of the most circulated National Hindi Daily carried a feature story about Giandeep’s fan page on April 24th 2010 dateline Amritsar

The story on Giandeep was published in blog “SAANJH–AMRITSAR- LAHORE ” while Giandeep@Richie’s fan page is on the link

KIDNAPPED GIANDEEP @RICHIE IS STILL ALIVE : PARENTS


Kidnapped Giandeep@Richie 's parents


BY Rashmi Talwar

Four Sikh boys came in a white ‘Maruti’ van with tinted glasses, one stepped out, picked lil Giandeep@Richie from a cycle Rikshaw in the cantonment area of Amritsar, that fateful morning of August 19, 1996 and the “world came crashing down” for Dr Hardeep Singh and his wife Mrs Harpreet Kaur.

“Our Lives Changed Forever,” says Harpreet whose younger son Gaindeep only 5- years, was kidnapped that morning. “For past 14 years there has not been a moment’s peace, not a happy time that we really enjoyed. By taking our son the four, have permanently wiped the smiles off our faces.

I knew that, asking them to relive the incident was going to hurt, but I moved forward, as I left myself no choices.. “THIS had to be done and SHARED !”

IT HAPPENED ……

Dr Hardeep opened layers of his child’s memorabilia, showed us his ‘last’ school bag that was left behind in the rikshaw when 4-kidnappers– all young, came with muffled faces. The poor rikshaw walla showed courage, scuffled and caught the main kidnapper’s leg, who kicked him with the second leg and made off with the child. The only witness to this, is the rickshaw wala, a woman selling corn on the roadside and an employee of a school.
Giandeep, being the youngest was sitting in the middle of five older children. The petrified children ran off following this..” , wiping his tears, he continued — ” I was at the time writing thesis at the Library of Government Medical college, Amritsar when some known people came and whisked me off home without telling me anything on the way.
When they said “Richie is Kidnapped’ I felt the earth had given way under me. Ever since sleep has evaded us, we have shattering dreams and in some we see Richie smiling and we long to hold him in our arms, hug and kiss him everywhere…..

ONLY 5 DAYS BEFORE HIS B’DAY ……

As the father showed us Giandeep’s school notebooks and report card, he pointed to the rank ..” See Giandeep was brilliant, stood first in his class in nursery and only joined the Junior Study School, Amritsar in the April of that fateful year 1996.
Just as, we were preparing to celebrate his 5th B’day that falls on 24th August, with this two favourite songs “Akhiyan milaon, kabhi akhiyan jhukaon , kia tu ne kia jaddoooooooo……” and “Mai hi Mai, munder pe Bol raha hai Kaga….”, which he sang with a multicolored umbrella on his head …, he was abducted.
Remembering every small detail about him, the father says.. “He Called me ‘Dey Da’, said he resembled me and not his mom, otherwise a quiet boy, very obedient, organized in everything , would polish his shoes everyday, refuse to wear an unwashed garment, loved combining red with his blue jeans. And oh! he was left- handed , Very fair complexioned ,had a black spot in his left eye and a prominent 1 ½ inch birthmark on his upper left thigh .” Surprisingly, No Ransom call was ever received.

HE IS ALIVE

Holding a lil school craft, the mother showed “Giandeep had made this in school”. Opening a pencil box, she peeped, “See how neatly he kept his pencils, sharpner, eraser and color box..”. He loved coloring and could solve addition and subtraction sums, even before he joined school, by watching his elder brother Chandandeep Singh @Honey.
“If we ever scolded Honey, he would take up for his brother….”That’s the kind of boy we lost ..How can we be at peace, knowing that he is still ‘alive’ somewhere?
How do you know that ? …The mother answered quietly ,” Every astrologer we approached, said he is alive and well’ .

Joining in with his wife, the father said, “So much so, that I studied astrology as a 2-year degree course started in a local college and topped the exam. Other than indicating that he is alive and well I could read nothing more in Giandeep’s birth charts, it did not give me any other clue’, he lamented. The kidnappers could have left him in a train bogey, or a street in any city …we don’t know. But we know he is alive.

MUKH VAK
Dr Hardeep suddenly rushed in and came up with an old diary. He pointed out how he had documented every ‘First’ visit of his son to a gurdwara , a dear friend’s Suman Sharma’s place who stood with him through the thick and thin of looking for Giandeep . Not only this, he had carefully noted down the ‘MUKH VAK’ (First Verse from Guru Granth Sahib) of the day, of his every first visit in gurdwaras in Tarn Taran, Mohali (Nanke ), Goindwal (where he was born), Chandigarh, .
When he was born and the first time we went to a Gurdwara with him, the VAK was —
“Tum daate Thakur pritpalak nayak khasm hamare
Nimak nimak tum hi pritpalo hum baarik tumre Dhare “.

It is strange and an irony , that I suspect the family of my aunt, to have a hand in this kidnap. The aunt alongside whom I prayed for a child and who remained childless for a long time, until at a place of worship I was chosen as an ideal family member to tie the ‘maanat mauli’ (sacred thread). Soon after, she (my aunt) bore her first son, followed by the birth of a daughter. I suspected this very son of my aunt and his friends kidnapped my child. And what a harsh stroke of fate that this very son of my aunt died in a traumatic incident of drowning a few years back .….

WE WILL LOOK FOR HIM ..WE WILL FIND HIM ….. was all we could say…..