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Archive for category Shining India

India’s Nuclear Scientists Keep Dying Mysteriously by Joseph Cox

India’s Nuclear Scientists Keep Dying Mysteriously

Indian nuclear scientists haven’t had an easy time of it over the past decade. Not only has the scientific community been plagued by “suicides,” unexplained deaths, and sabotage, but those incidents have gone mostly underreported in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian nuclear scientists haven’t had an easy time of it over the past decade. Not only has the scientific community been plagued by “suicides,” unexplained deaths, and sabotage, but those incidents have gone mostly underreported in the country—diluting public interest and leaving the cases quickly cast off by police.

Last month, two high-ranking engineers—KK Josh and Abhish Shivam—on India’s first nuclear-powered submarine were found on railway tracks by workers. They were pulled from the line before a train could crush them but were already dead. No marks were found on the bodies, so it was clear they hadn’t been hit by a moving train, and reports allege they were poisoned elsewhere before being placed on the tracks to make the deaths look either accidental or like a suicide. The media and the Ministry of Defence, however, described the incident as a routine accident and didn’t investigate any further.    

 

This is the latest in a long list of suspicious deaths. When nuclear scientist Lokanathan Mahalingam’s body turned up in June of 2009, it was palmed off as a suicide and largely ignored by the Indian media. However, Pakistani outlets, perhaps unsurprisingly, given relations between the two countries, kept the story going, noting how quick authorities were to label the death a suicide considering no note was left.

Five years earlier, in the same forest where Mahalingam’s body was eventually discovered, an armed group with sophisticated weaponry allegedly tried to abduct an official from India’s Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC). He, however, managed to escape. Another NPC employee, Ravi Mule, had been murdered weeks before, with police failing to “make any headway” into his case and effectively leaving his family to investigate the crime. A couple of years later, in April of 2011, when the body of former scientist Uma Rao was found, investigators ruled the death as a suicide, but family members contested the verdict, saying there had been no signs that Rao was suicidal.   

Trombay, the site of India’s first atomic reactor. (Photo via

This seems to be a recurring theme with deaths in the community. Madhav Nalapat, one of the few journalists in India giving the cases any real attention, has been in close contact with the families of the recently deceased scientists left on the train tracks. “There was absolutely no kind of depression or any family problems that would lead to suicide,” he told me over the phone.

 

If the deaths of those in the community aren’t classed as suicide, they’re generally labelled as “unexplained.” A good example is the case of M Iyer, who was found with internal haemorrhaging to his skull—possibly the result of a “kinky experiment,” according to a police officer. After a preliminary look-in, the police couldn’t work out how Iyer had suffered internal injuries while not displaying any cuts or bruises, and investigations fizzled out.   

This label is essentially an admission of defeat on the police force’s part. Once the “unexplained” rubber stamp has been approved, government bodies don’t tend to task the authorities with investigating further. This may be a necessity due to the stark lack of evidence available at the scene of the deaths—a feature that some suggest could indicate the work of professional killers—but if this is the case, why not bring in better-trained detectives to investigate the cases? A spate of deaths in the nuclear scientific community would create a media storm and highly publicised police investigation in other countries, so why not India?

This inertia has led to great public dissatisfaction with the Indian police. “[The police] say it’s an unsolved murder, that’s all. Why doesn’t it go higher? Perhaps to a specialist investigations unit?” Madhav asked. “These people were working on the submarine program, creating a reactor, and have either ‘committed suicide’ or been murdered. It’s astonishing that this hasn’t been seen as suspicious.”

 

Perhaps, I suggested, this series of deaths is just the latest chapter in a long campaign aiming to derail India’s nuclear and technological capabilities. Madhav agreed, “There is a clear pattern of this type of activity going on,” he said.

INS Sindhurakshak (Photo via)

The explosions that sunk INS Sindhurakshak – a submarine docked in Mumbai – in August of this year could have been deliberate, according to unnamed intelligence sources. And some have alleged that the CIA was behind the sabotage of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Of course, the deaths have caused fear and tension among those currently working on India’s various nuclear projects. “[Whistleblowers] are getting scared of being involved in the nuclear industry in India,” Madhav relayed to me. Their “families are getting very nervous about this” and “many of them leave for foreign countries and get other jobs.”

There are parallels here with the numerous attacks on the Iranian nuclear scientist community. Five people associated with the country’s nuclear programme have been targeted in the same way: men on motorcycles sticking magnetic bombs on to their cars and detonating them as they drive off. However, the Iranian government are incredibly vocal in condemning these acts—blaming the US and Israel—and at least give the appearance that they are actively investigating.

The same cannot be said for the Indian government. “India is not making any noise about the whole thing,” Madhav explained. “People have just accepted the police version, [which describes these incidents] as normal kinds of death.”

 

If the deaths do, in fact, turn out to be premeditated murders, deciding who’s responsible is pure speculation at this point. Two authors have alleged that the US has dabbled in sabotaging the country’s technological efforts in the past; China is in a constant soft-power battle with India, and the volatile relationship with Pakistan makes the country a prime suspect. “It could be any of them,” Madhav said.

But the most pressing issue isn’t who might be behind the murders, but that the Indian government’s apathy is potentially putting their high-value staff at even greater risk. Currently, these scientists, who are crucial to the development of India’s nuclear programmes, whether for energy or security, have “absolutely no protection at all. Nothing, zero,” Madhav told me. “Which is amazing for people who are in a such a sensitive program.”

@josephfcox

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FUNNY VIDEO : Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade arrested in New York for Nanny Fraud

 

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade arrested in New  – YouTube

  1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=04FMiZ-l_60

     
    Dec 18, 2013 – Uploaded by Taiwanese Animators

    The United States has greatly annoyed India after arresting and Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade arrested in New York for Nanny fraud  you by THE Taiwanese Animators behind the infamous Tiger Woods animation.

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Illinois USA Lawyer Ethics Commission Accuses Indian Lawyer Reema Bajaj of Trading Sex for Office Supplies

Some stories just won’t go away. Consider the tale of Reema Bajaj, the attractive Illinois attorney who pleaded guilty to prostitution last June. Reema keeps coming, and coming, and coming.

After the story climaxed with her guilty plea, we expected it was all over. But then Bajaj thrust herself back into the headlines by suing one of her former lawyers, along with other attorneys, alleging that they shared nude photos of her around the courthouse.

And now Reema Bajaj has been hit with ethics charges from the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC). The IARDC’s most salacious allegation: that Bajaj traded sex acts for office supplies.

What would Reema do for a ream of printer paper? How much toner to access that taut, toned body?

 

After Bajaj’s guilty plea to prostitution, we asked Michael S. Frisch, ethics counsel to the Georgetown University Law Center and an editor of the Legal Profession Blog, whether her plea to a a single misdemeanor prostitution count would cause Bajaj to lose her law license. Professor Frisch suggested that her plea, standing alone, would not result in substantial discipline.

But it appears that the IARDC is hot and bothered over more than just Bajaj’s plea. The commission also cites alleged misrepresentations by Bajaj related to her prostitution activity in support of its request that her case be referred to an investigatory panel for further factfinding.

Here’s a report on the IARDC ethics complaint from the Chicago Tribune:

The complaint filed and made public last week against Reema Bajaj, 27, by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission contains the first detailed account of what led to criminal charges being filed against her in DeKalb County in 2011 — including that she allegedly had sex in exchange for supplies for her law office.

Between 2005 and 2008 — before she became an attorney — Bajaj posted online ads under the name Nikita and accepted money from two men in exchange for sex, according to the complaint. The first man paid her $200 for sex at a DeKalb hotel, then paid her $100 per meeting for about 25 encounters they had over the next three years, the complaint alleges. A second man paid her between $25 and $70 in cash or an equivalent amount in DVDs or gift cards for sex on at least 15 occasions between 2007 and 2011, according to the complaint.

Say what? Bajaj allegedly performed sex acts for $70 or less — and not even in cash, but in DVDs? Do people still use DVDs? And one can only imagine what she’d do for unlimited Netflix.

But wait, there’s more. Here is the “sex for office supplies” allegation:

That same year, she had sex with the second man in exchange for about $70 worth of office supplies for her legal practice in Sycamore, according to the complaint.

It’s hard out here for a solo practitioner. Seventy dollars won’t buy you three red Swingline staplers.

You can access the complete complaint at the IARDC website (via the Legal Profession Blog). The complaint has three counts:

  • Criminal conduct and misdemeanor conviction for prostitution.
  • Making false statements in connection with a disciplinary matter.
  • Making false statements on a bar application.

The second count seems straightforward. The complaint alleges that Bajaj lied under oath to an IARDC administrator in September 2012 when she was asked about her alleged prostitution acts. According to the complaint, Bajaj denied charging for or being paid for sex, even though she acknowledged her June 2012 guilty plea to prostitution. From paragraph 17: “I guess I’m saying I pled guilty to it [prostitution] and I do not believe that he paid me for sex.” Strange — last time I checked, a guilty plea was supposed to have a factual basis.

My favorite count is the third count, which is overreaching in a humorous way. The IARDC charges Bajaj with making false statements on a bar application, to wit:

26. Respondent’s answers to the questions, “Have you ever been known by any other first, middle or last name?” were false, because Respondent used the name “Nikita” during the period of at least 2005 and until 2011.

According to the complaint, “Nikita” was Bajaj’s nom de whore on Adult Friend Finder. I’m not sure that’s what the question about “be[ing] known by any other first, middle or last name” is going for. Are bar applicants required to disclose their handles on OkCupid or Grindr? Doubtful.

Also part of count three:

30. Question 16 of the questionnaire, described in paragraph 24 above, required Respondent to provide [information about self-employment].

31. In answer to questions 25 and 16, described in paragraphs 29 and 30 above, Respondent did not disclose her self-employment wherein she accepted cash and other monetary items in exchange for sex acts from [two men].

Going after Bajaj for failing to disclose her prostitution work as “self-employment” seems like a stretch. But given all the publicity Bajaj’s case has received, and how going easy on her could undermine respect for the IARDC as a disciplinary body, one can understand why they’re riding Reema so hard.

Still, it seems to me that Bajaj should be pitied rather than prosecuted. Remember: she allegedly traded sex acts for DVDs, gift cards, and office supplies.

UPDATE (8/9/2013, 10:45 a.m.): Reema Bajaj has agreed to a three-year suspension of her law license(fourth item).

If the IARDC allegations are true, how difficult was it to get sex out of Reema Bajaj? I leave you with the slogan of Staples:

 

In the Matter of Reema Nicki Bajaj [Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission]
Reema Bajaj Bar Complaint [Legal Profession Blog]
Ethics Charges Filed In Reema Bajaj Matter [Legal Profession Blog]
Lawyer who pleaded guilty to prostitution faces state disciplinary board [Chicago Tribune]
Complaint Alleges Lawyer Had Sex for Office Supplies [NBC Chicago]
Lawyer accused of lying about claimed ‘self-employment’ as prostitute and name used in online ads
[ABA Journal]

EarlierReema Unchained: Attorney Who Pleaded Guilty To Prostitution Sues A Slew Of Local Lawyers

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TWO KICKS FOR ONE : GET A METH HIGH ON INDIAN BASMATI RICE!

 
 
Pest check uncovers major drug haul in Australia
 
One of the largest seizures of ephedrine in Australia, Australian authorities uncovered 274 kilograms of the stimulant during a pest check on a shipment from India in July. With enough of the drug to manufacture 200 kilograms of crystal meth, the haul is worth up to US$188 million.
 

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Pallets of rice in a warehouse which contained ephedrine. Australian authorities today said they had uncovered a 274 kilo haul of the stimulant ephedrine, used to make crystal methamphetamine, during a pest check on a rice shipment from India. (AFP/AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE)

 
SYDNEY: 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Pest check uncovers major drug haul in Australia
 
One of the largest seizures of ephedrine in Australia, Australian authorities uncovered 274 kilograms of the stimulant during a pest check on a shipment from India in July. With enough of the drug to manufacture 200 kilograms of crystal meth, the haul is worth up to US$188 million.
 

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Pallets of rice in a warehouse which contained ephedrine. Australian authorities today said they had uncovered a 274 kilo haul of the stimulant ephedrine, used to make crystal methamphetamine, during a pest check on a rice shipment from India. (AFP/AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE)

 
SYDNEY: Australian authorities Wednesday said they had uncovered a major 274 kilogram (600 pounds) haul of the stimulant ephedrine, used to make crystal methamphetamine, during a pest check ona rice shipment from IndiaThe seizure is one of the largest of ephedrine in Australia, with enough of the drug to manufacture 200 kilogrammes of crystal meth — also known as ice — worth up to A$200 million (US$188 million), Customs said. The crystalline substance was scattered throughout bags labelled “basmati rice” which arrived in a 3,600-packet consignment in Melbourne in July, and were physically checked for pests by a biosecurity officer.
 
“The officer who did the inspection was really on the ball,” Agriculture Department first assistant secretary for border compliance Tim Chapman said. “He realised that the powder that was in the bags of rice that were tested wasn’t just residue from the rice, there was something different about it.” Three people — two Canadians and one Australian — were arrested and charged over the alleged importation and intended distribution of the ephedrine after the bags were delivered to their destinations in Sydney and Melbourne.
 
An Indian national, allegedly responsible for organising the ephedrine and sending the consignment to Australia, was also detained in India by local police. Australian Federal Police national manager for crime operations Ian McCartney said the seizure had dismantled a multinational syndicate. Customs and Border Protection compliance and enforcement director Karen Harfield said hiding the drugs in rice was an unusual method and forced her staff to laboriously sift out the substance from the white grains.
 
– AFP
“The officer who did the inspection was really on the ball,” Agriculture Department first assistant secretary for border compliance Tim Chapman said. “He realised that the powder that was in the bags of rice that were tested wasn’t just residue from the rice, there was something different about it.” Three people — two Canadians and one Australian — were arrested and charged over the alleged importation and intended distribution of the ephedrine after the bags were delivered to their destinations in Sydney and Melbourne.
 
An Indian national, allegedly responsible for organising the ephedrine and sending the consignment to Australia, was also detained in India by local police. Australian Federal Police national manager for crime operations Ian McCartney said the seizure had dismantled a multinational syndicate. Customs and Border Protection compliance and enforcement director Karen Harfield said hiding the drugs in rice was an unusual method and forced her staff to laboriously sift out the substance from the white grains.
 
– AFP
 

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American female student discovers ‘Incredible India’ – ‘Traveler’s heaven, woman’s hell’

 
 
 
 
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American female student discovers ‘Incredible India’ – ‘Traveler’s heaven, woman’s hell’
 
Sexual harassment in India: ‘The story you never wanted to hear’
 

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By Daphne Sashin and Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN
August 23, 2013
 
(CNN) — Michaela Cross, an American student at the University of Chicago, has written a powerful account of her study abroad trip to India last year, during which she says she experienced relentless sexual harassment, groping and worse. Upon her return, she says she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is now on a mental leave of absence from the school after a public breakdown in the spring. Cross, a fair-skinned, red-haired South Asian studies major, titled her story “India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear.” She posted her account on CNN iReport under the username RoseChasm.

  
 

What action should be taken to combat sexual harassment to agamjd@gmail.com

  
Her story has struck a chord around the world, racking up more than 800,000 page views as of Wednesday morning. It quickly found its way to India, where many readers sympathized with the story and men felt compelled to apologize for the experience she endured. Others called for greater perspective and warned against making generalizations about India or its people.
 
Reaction: Indian women feel sorrow, anger at U.S. student’s harassment claims
 
India’s deadly gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi happened a few days after Cross left India in December, and she said that helped others understand what she and her classmates went through. The country has continued to see several high-profile cases of rape and sexual violence cases since then, and the government has introduced tougher laws and punishment for sexual crimes. Keeping chivalry alive in India: Men respond to rape crisis On her return, Cross struggled to find a way to talk about a cultural experience that was both beautiful and traumatizing, she said in her essay.
 
She writes:
 
“Do I tell them about our first night in the city of Pune, when we danced in the Ganesha festival, and leave it at that? Or do I go on and tell them how the festival actually stopped when the American women started dancing, so that we looked around to see a circle of men filming our every move? Do I tell them about bargaining at the bazaar for beautiful saris costing a few dollars a piece, and not mention the men who stood watching us, who would push by us, clawing at our breasts and groins? When people compliment me on my Indian sandals, do I talk about the man who stalked me for 45 minutes after I purchased them, until I yelled in his face in a busy crowd?”
 
“How it feels to be a woman in India”
 
Later, she writes: “For three months I lived this way, in a traveler’s heaven and a woman’s hell. I was stalked, groped, masturbated at; and yet I had adventures beyond my imagination. I hoped that my nightmare would end at the tarmac, but that was just the beginning.” A university spokesman confirmed Cross is a student at the school and would not comment on her mental leave. He said the school is committed to students’ safety at home and abroad. Cross said she didn’t say anything to the professors on the trip until things reached “a boiling point” — what she called two rape attempts in 48 hours.
 
Should solo female travelers avoid India?
 
Dipesh Chakrabarty, a University of Chicago professor who was in India for the first three weeks of the session, told CNN that he was unaware of Cross’ situation. He noted, though, that the university tries to prepare students for what they might encounter while abroad. The Civilizations Abroad in India program was based in the city of Pune, but the students traveled to other areas during the semester. “Both faculty and staff in Chicago and our local Indian staff counsel students before and during the trip about precautions they need to take in a place like India,” Chakrabarty said in an e-mail. “Ensuring student safety and well-being is the top priority of both the College and staff and faculty associated with the program.”
 
The university provided this statement to CNN:
 
“Nothing is more important to us at the University of Chicago than caring for the safety and well-being of our students, here in Chicago and wherever they go around the world in the course of their studies. The University offers extensive support and advice to students before, during and after their trips abroad, and we are constantly assessing and updating that preparation in light of events and our students’ experiences. We also place extremely high value on the knowledge our students seek by traveling and studying other civilizations and cultures, and we are committed to ensuring they can do so in safety while enriching their intellectual lives.”
 
From India: A different view
 
Her story sparked a wave of reaction online, with scores of Indians responding, many with sympathy to her plight and pointing out that Indian women also experience high levels of harassment and abuse. Arvind Rao, a media professional in Mumbai, was moved to post this comment on her story: “It thoroughly disgusts me to be known as an Indian male … An apology is extremely meager for all the trauma you’ve gone through.” He expressed hope that politicians would “wake up and implement stricter laws against crime and sexual harassment on women.” “Every time my girlfriend goes out alone, I pray that she comes back home safely,” wrote a commenter using the name Jajabar. “Being an Indian male, I apologize.”
 
Others, however, observed that sexual harassment was by no means confined to India, and Indian commenter Sam1967 warned against condemning his home country when so many others failed to protect the women living within their borders. “I accept what happened was definitely an embarrassment and a cause of trauma for her that might haunt her for the rest of her life. But this has happened in many other countries or places and therefore it may not be the right thing to single out India.”
 
‘She could have been me’: Action urged after Delhi gang rape
 
 
 
 
 
‘Traveler’s heaven, woman’s hell’
 
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American college student Michaela Cross struggles to describe her time studying abroad in India. She says it was full of adventures and beauty but also relentless sexual harassment, groping and worse.
 
 
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Graffiti found on the streets of Pune, where the India study abroad program took place.
 
 
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Cross, a South Asian studies major at the University of Chicago, studied in India for three months in the fall of 2012.
 
 
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Cross shared this photo taken after the Ganesha Festival during her first night in Pune.
 
 
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Months after returning from India, Cross was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and said she took a mental leave of absence from school. She plans to return in the fall.
 
Part of complete coverage on
 
Violence against women in India
August 14, 2013 — Updated 1121 GMT (1921 HKT)
They’re called the Red Brigade, a group of teenagers who are facing sex pests head on, vigilante-style.
 
August 23, 2013 — Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
A U.S. student’s experience of sexual harassment in India triggers more anguish and sympathy from women in India.
 
August 23, 2013 — Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
American student Michaela Cross says during a three-month trip to India she experienced relentless sexual harassment, groping and worse.
 
August 15, 2013 — Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Months after the brutal rape of an Indian woman on a bus, have measures to address violence against women worked?
 
March 7, 2013 — Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
New Delhi is known as the crime capital of India. CNN’s Sumnima Udas talks to women there about what daily life is like.
 
July 16, 2013 — Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
There’s one clear observation from the outcry to India’s rape crisis: some of the voices belong to India’s men.
 
January 16, 2013 — Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
‘Top Chef’ Host Padma Lakshmi weighs in on the New Delhi gang rape case and shares her experience living in India.
 
 
India has been painted as a dangerous jungle for women but one CNN staffer found otherwise.
 
January 3, 2013 — Updated 1841 GMT (0241 HKT)
The director of Amnesty International, India, says that execution “would just perpetuate the cycle of violence.”
 
January 16, 2013 — Updated 2355 GMT (0755 HKT)
The Delhi police bore the brunt of criticism for a December gang rape, but now they say they’re changing their ways.
 
January 4, 2013 — Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
The fatal gang rape of a young woman sparked weeks of angry protests and heated debates about sexual violence in Indian society.
 
January 3, 2013 — Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
It has taken an attack that lies nearly outside of comprehension to prompt demonstrations, but the outcry has begun.
 
January 3, 2013 — Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
The New Delhi woman who was gang-raped died with her honor intact; her rapists will live in ignominy, actress Leeza Mangaldas writes.
 

 

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