G.N.Saibaba, a professor at Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College, has been given a life sentence together with accomplices, Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote, Hem Mishra, Narayan Sanglikar and Vijay Tirki by a sessions court in Maharashtra for Maoist terrorist activities. Judge Suryakant Shinde said: ‘Several lives were lost from 2009 due to your activities and there was huge loss of public property. The sentence was the maximum sentence allowed the court under the law.’
Saibaba comes from Andhra with MA and PhD degrees in English. Disabled and wheel chair bound, he was not an operative on the ground but the brains behind a terror Maoist (Naxalite) organization whose tentacles have spread to many areas of India into Nepal and beyond, including Kashmir, where the group renders active support to Jihadi separatists.
Saibaba had been arrested on previous occasions but granted bail – which was subsequently withdrawn. . With anti-terrorist police squads with special expertise on Maoists keeping close watch, the evidence against Sai baba kept piling up. The clinching evidence was the capture of an incriminating chip and hard disk. Saibaba had made trips to Britain, Holland Germany and Brazil (Times of India March 8)
How were these trips financed? And by Whom? The answers will surely emerge in the fullness of time.
Blast suspect shot dead
‘Self radicalized’ terror suspect Saifullah, believed to have been involved in the recent Ujjain train bombing, - in which 10 people were injured- was killed by police commandos following a 12-hour shootout on the outskirts of the city of Lucknow., the capital of Uttar Pradesh. The police recovered an IS flag, night pistols, 650 rounds of ammunition 1.5 ks of gunpowder, explosives, gold, passports and Indian Railway time-tables. A wire was strapped to the stomach of the dead man (Times of India March 9)
Ex-IAF man held for Ujjain bombing
A former Indian Air Force employee of 15 years, Ghouse Mohammed Khan, has been arrested for his part in bombing of the Ujjain-Bhopal train, taking the total number of arrests to eight.
He belonged to the same terror module as Saifullah (above) who was killed by police commandos. Saifulla’s father has denounced and disowned his son; Khan’s sons have done the same of their arrested father.(Times of India March 10)
PM unveils coastal modernization plan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled an ambitious plan for the development of India’s coastline for the benefit of local fishing communities. He also announced a project for the development of a smart city around the Gujarat port of Kandla, one of the 12 ports to get a smart city on its outskirts. Addressing a public meeting at Kandla, the prime minister said: “The country’s vast coast can bring in a revolution…this will include 40 ports in Gujarat alone.’ These projects would improve the livelihood of fisher folk by creating substantial job opportunities, he said. (Mint March 9)
Metros in second-rung for Indian cities
India’s economic landscape is set to change with 42 new metros coming up in second-tier cities across the country. This expansion of the mass transport system will give a major boost to the economy, increasing consumption, media and market penetration, investment, job opportunities and multiplying businesses. There are already eight metros in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur (Mint March 10)
New opportunities for Indian skills
Time was when Indian graduates from Business schools and engineering institutes were content to restrict their sights to the US and UK, but with these doors closing and the welcome tepid at best, the younger aspirants are now looking to Japan , Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, and westward to the United Arab Emirates.
Over the past five years, there has been a definite shift. Postings to the US and UK have become almost negligible,‘ said Sapna Aggarwal, Head, Career Development Services, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore . ‘Postings in the Far East, including Singapore, and Hong Kong have increased. Japan is a new destination….A vibrant culture, shortage of skilled force, proximity to home, better career prospects and flexible immigration norms are the key attractions. A number of foreign trade commissioners are conducting shows to promote opportunities for Indian students and professionals in their respective countries, ‘ said Rohin Kapoor, Director, Deloitte. Companies based in key Asian business hubs are picking up graduates from elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). (Mint February 28)
IISc in global top ten
For the first time, an Indian educational institute has broken into the top ten global university rankings published by the Times Higher Education survey, 2017, London. In the category of small universities, the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science has been placed eighth, with the US California Institute of Technology heading the list.
IISc is a public institution devoted to research and higher studies in science and technology. IISc Bangalore was founded by Jamsetji Tata and the Maharaja of Mysore Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. IIT Guwahati and Savitribai Phule Pune University, were ranked 14 th and 18 th respectively. (Times of India Marchy 7)
Arunachal Pradesh connectivity surge
Once high up in the mountainous terrain of India’s North East, but remote no longer, Arunachal Pradesh is in the midst of all-weather connectivity, including roads, bridges, airports and rail links, integrating the State into the mainstream. The new bridge across the Lohit River, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra and the civilian airport at Tezu will facilitate transport to certain high altitude districts. In view of China’s territorial claims to the State, these developments carry a message to Beijing that India will defend what she considers rightfully hers. The bridges at the Dhola Sadiya ghat and Digaru ghat are already in place, but the bridge at Sadiya at 9. 15 km, nearing completion, will be the longest after its formal inauguration. The new bridge will be part of an integrated communication network to facilitate the rapid movement of the Indian Army’s Mountain Strike Corps (Hindu March 5)
US spymaster ‘shocked’ by Indian satellite launch
The Trump Administration’s new Director, National Intelligence, Dan Coats, told the US Senate, during his confirmation hearing, that he was ‘shocked to read of India’s one rocket launch depositing more than 100 satellites in space.’It was a wake-up call for the United States. (Times of Indi
China reaping the Korean whirlwind
North Korea, once considered a Chinese surrogate, is spreading its military wings much to the discomfiture of its former patron. North Korea was part of China’s web of deceit, involving Pakistan’s rogue scientist A.Q. Khan who, having stolen nuclear secrets from the European centrifuge facility in Holland, then protected from exposure by the Reagan administration’s closeness to the Zia and Musharraf military regimes, returned to Pakistan, from where conducted an illicit commerce in nuclear weapon and missile technologies. China provided Pakistan with a readymade nuclear bomb; Pakistan passed this on to North Korea who, in turn, transferred its missile secrets to Pakistan.
Tweaking China’s nose
With the Trump Administration and South Korea Japan ready to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests with the installation on South Korean soil of a cutting edge anti-ballistic missile system and its equally lethal radar, the Chinese leadership is clearly worried. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during an extensive press conference in Beijing proposed a trilateral relationship between China, Russia and the United States for the preservation, he said, of world peace and development. Does he expect President Trump and President Putin to stand shoulder to shoulder with China on its disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines on its maritime claims in the South China Sea; against Japan in the East China Sea or be supportive of China’s claims to the Indian State of Aruncahal Pradesh, and oppose, as China does, the Dalai Lama’s forthcoming visit to the territory? It’s too preposterous for words. Utter cheek. Simply laughable. (Hindu March 9)
TV outreach of Indian companies
A recent international Emmy Award winner was Dehradun-based Lord of Battles whose medieval armoury is in high demand from global production houses. The popular TV series Game of Thrones, with Jon Snow in the lead role, with his valerian steel sword and armour were made in India. But Game of Thrones (GoT) is not the only production serviced by this Indian company. Lord of Battles is now supplying costumes and ancient weaponry for the small screen serials as diverse as ‘Hobbit’ ‘Morte d’Arthu,’ the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Bastard Executioner,’ the Russian movies, ‘Kolovrat,’ ’The Treasures of Lake Kaban,’ and the French film ‘Excalibur ‘
Starting small, ending big
‘We started in 2005 with just two craftsmen. Currently, we employ over 120 full-time craftsmen and over 100 part-time workers ….’ says Saurabh Mahajan, MD and founder of Lord of Battles. ‘Previously, international houses would procure through middlemen. In the past 2-3 years they have been approaching us directly. In fact, most studios send their costume designers to our manufacturing units and we work in accordance with their demand.’ He had scaled up production to keep pace with demand. (Business Line March 8)
See page 3 for Assembly polls significance.