Sunday, July 17, 2016

Arabic, no Latin and Greek for investing agencies

Wary of Islamic State, NIA sleuths take Arabic lessons

Lucknow: 17 Jul 2016
M Tariq Khan
Officers of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in Lucknow are on a
new mission these days: learning Arabic.
Indeed, acquiring proficiency in this language has become necessary for
the officers dealing with terror cases and counter insurgency operations in the
country. The reason: several youths from India have either joined or are
suspected to have joined the Islamic State (IS) whose Arabic-speaking members
are behind a series of bomb blasts and terror attacks the world over.
Senior officers in the agency say the move to have people with in-house
proficiency in Arabic would reduce their dependence on relying on third-party
translators (a security risk also) in decoding documents or tapped
“There have been instances when we had to rush in experts in the
language from our Hyderabad branch,” pointed out a senior officer. He, however,
refused to disclose the number of such training programmes being run across the
country citing security reasons.
So, for two hours every day, NIA sleuths take a break from their
investigative and operational duties to learn Arabic in the Uttar Pradesh
They assemble in a hall, which serves as a classroom, as part of a
training programme to upgrade their linguistic skills.
The alarm bells were sounded early this year when ahead of the Republic
Day celebrations, the NIA arrested 13 suspected IS sympathisers from Bangalore,
Tumkur, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow.
The arrested youths were said to be part of a group named
‘Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind’ (Army of Caliph of India), a terror group which has
almost similar ideologies that of the IS. Apart from electronic devices that
can be used in detonating explosives, sleuths of the investigating agency also
recovered jihadi literature, videos and plans to organise training camps.
“A couple of months ago, I got a call from the NIA office to appear for
an interview to teach Arabic to their staff,” said Murtuza Hussain Rizvi.  
A resident of Tehseen Ganj locality of Old Lucknow, Rizvi acquired
proficiency and a degree in the language from Damascus in Syria, apparently the
reason why he was shortlisted by the NIA.
For the past one month, he has been trying to teach the nuances of
Arabic script and help a group of 30 NIA sleuths, including its DIG and SP, in
a posh residential area of Gomti Nagar in Lucknow where a house serves as the
headquarters of the premier investigating agency for time being. A new, modern
office building will become operational early next year. A five-day-a-week
teaching schedule is followed. Rizvi says not all his students are quick on the
uptake. Some turn up grudgingly for lessons only when their bosses attend
class. “But I can assure you that with time and training, I would soon groom
them to speak the language like a native Arab,” he boasts.
“I just have a couple of years of service left. Hence, learning the
language is not a gateway to career for me but more of a compulsion fuelled by
desire to serve national security,” confided a junior rank officer.
“We have a staff strength of 56. But some of our teams are always on the
move as we also have operational jurisdiction in six adjoining states —Bihar,
Jharkand, Uttarakhandm Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh,” said a senior NIA
officer who did not want to be named.
He said apart from upgrading their language skills, the sleuths were
also acquainted with Islamic culture and history to give them a better
understanding of the region. 
“The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was the first one to take the
initiative to improve linguistic skills of their officers and now it has been
picked up by other investigative agencies,” he said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shia group announces Rs 15 lakh bounty on preacher Zakir Naik’s head

M Tariq Khan

  • Hindustan Times

  • Lucknow: July 12. 2016: Shia group that calls itself the Hussaini Tigers has placed a Rs 15-lakh bounty on the head of controversial TV evangelist Zakir Naik.
    “He (Naik) is a ‘khalnayak’ (villain). He has insulted the Prophet of Islam and whosoever kills him would be rewarded not only in life [and beyond]...but would also get cash reward from us,” Syed Kalbe Hussain Naqvi, the president of the outfit, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
    Naqvi is son of senior vice-president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and prominent cleric Syed Kalbe Sadiq.
    “Naik is a ‘kafir’ (heathen). He has insulted the Prophet and radical clerics are defending him saying he has no connection with the terrorists,” Naqvi said.
    The bounty announced by the Shia leader amounts to criminal intimidation, an offence under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code that carries a maximum seven-year jail term. Though several political and religious leaders have made similar statements in the past, few were penalised under the law.
    “We have not come across such a statement or death threat as yet. But a person issuing such a threat would be booked for spreading hatred and disturbing communal harmony,” deputy inspector general of police (Lucknow range) RKS Rathore told HT.
    Naik, a doctor-turned-preacher, has long been on the radar of security agencies for his controversial statements, including his support for Osama bin Laden for terrorising the US. But he has come under renewed focus after Bangladesh authorities linked him to the July 1 terror strike on a Dhaka cafe that left 20 people dead, including a 19-year-old Indian girl.
    The Mumbai-based cleric has denied the allegation, saying in a video message that while one of the attackers may have been his fan, he has thousands of such followers in Bangladesh.
    Naik has come under attack from various quarters for his contentious comments.
    Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s minority cell burnt his effigies on Tuesday. “Naik is misguiding youths and misinterpreting Islam and its tenets. The centre should immediately put him behind bars and order a probe as to where his organisation is getting the funds from,” said Shafat Hussain, a member of the BJP’s minority cell.
    “Naik has repeatedly insulted Hindu deities and should be taken to task,” said Shamil Shamsi, president, Muslim Vyapar Sangh.
    But Naik also has a legion of fans. Last year, the Saudi king conferred on him the King Faisal International Prize — a $200,000 prize, gold medal and citation — for being a promoter of Islam. Naik’s son, Fariq, is studying in Saudi Arabia and also gives speeches about Islam.

    Sunday, July 10, 2016

    BSP memorials staff leaving job for better pay packets 

    Hindustan Times 

    (Lucknow) · 10 May 2016

    M Tariq Khan

    Working to ensure the upkeep of BSP memorials no longer seems to be a lucrative proposition for the employees of the maintenance and management committee set up exclusively for the purpose during former chief minister Mayawati’s regime.
    More than 200 technical and clerical staff has resigned and taken up odd jobs in other government departments in the last year or so alone and the trend seems to be catching up. The 5,789 strong memorial force tasked to guard and look after seven signature monuments and parks built by the BSP chief in Lucknow and Noida now has 1,252 vacancies, according to an official of the management committee. `9,000 looked a decent salary in 2010 for a cook, 21 of which were hired to prepare meal for guests putting in the VIP suites of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Guest House. It is another matter these cooks never got the opportunity to even serve tea to visitors because of political change of guard in the state in 2012. “Most of those who have resigned are electricians after Madhyanchal Vidyut Nigam announced vacancies and held a recruitment drive last year. They are now working with on better pay­packets and, obviously, have job security also,” the official pointed out. Some other clerical staff followed suit when the state government held exams for filling up vacancies under group C posts. “We are not paid perks and benefits which a regular government employee gets,” said an employee posted at Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial in Gomti Nagar adding that this was the main reason why employees were quitting. Soon after coming to power, one of the first decisions of the Samajwadi Party government in 2012 was to appoint a panel to trim down the jumbo workforce appointed during the outgoing BSP regime for the maintenance of these memorials and parks. It is another matter that the ruling party never implemented the recommendation of this panel to cut down the staff strength from 5,789 to 565, apparently, because of the political fallout the move could trigger in the state. The committee had also suggested that the excess employees could also be transferred to other government departments where there was a dearth of staff. “Some 300 to 400 employees were shortlisted and were to be shifted to other departments but then the move was shelved,” confirmed another official on the management committee. The SP government still continues to shell out around Rs 117 crore each year to pay for the salaries of this staff, guarding and maintaining these BSP landmarks. Mayawati had created a Rs 200 crore corpus fund with the instructions that the interest accrued on it should be utilised for the maintenance of memorials. 

    Here, all candidates face criminal charges

    • M Tariq Khan, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
    •  |  
    • Updated: Feb 06, 2012 00:56 IST

    Taint binds all six candidates for the Mehdawal seat in Sant Kabir Nagar, a district named after the 15th-16th century poet-saint. The irony of having to choose from the array of six facing criminal charges is not lost on the constituency's voters, who are not alone in their dilemma in Uttar Pradesh.
    The electorate's choice in 41 other assembly constituencies — out of the 114 that go to polls in the first two phases on February 8 and 11 — is equally limited, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch.
    The citizen watchdog's scrutiny of candidates' affidavits shows Kushinagar district tops the dubious chart with the highest number (21) of tainted candidates.
    Despite the holier-than-thou posturing on criminalisation of politics, most parties have people facing criminal charges in their nominee list.
    In Mehdawal, Peace Party nominee Anil Kumar faces 13 charges including of attempt to murder. Madan Narain Singh of Congress is facing murder charges. Chandra Shekhar Pandey of Janata Dal (United) has four cases. Laxmikant of the Samajawadi Party, Mohd Tayyab of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party and Rakesh Singh Baghel of the Bharatiya Janata Party have one case each for rioting and assault.
    Percentage wise, muscle power appears at its peak in Mau, where 13 of the 22 candidates including MLA don Mukhtar Ansari face criminal charges.
    The presence of tainted candidates could be higher because the citizen watchdog has assessed only 634 candidates of more than 3,000 in the fray.

    Here, all candidates face criminal charges | india | Hindustan Times

    Here, all candidates face criminal charges | india | Hindustan Times:

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