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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mumbai University to train students to tackle terror

Mumbai: Universities in Maharashtra now plan to teach students how to deal with terrorism. The scheme is a brainchild of the state governor and university vice-chancellors are coming up with a plan of action.

At the behest of the Maharashtra governor, the vice chancellors of various universities in the state have formed a consortium to help formulate specific guidelines for such courses.

Maharashtra Governor SC Jamir said that he had asked state universities to come up with a proper plan to sensitise students against terrorism.

University vice chancellors have already held a brainstorming session about possible measures.

"Universities feel that such efforts on the campus would be helpful and would provide policy solutions to such situations," said Dr. Vijay Khole, the Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University.

The youth against terrorism programme will include:
  • Anti terrorism courses in universities
  • Students will also be taught self defence techniques
  • And the NSS & NCC will be adapted to become a parallel police force on campus
  • University curricula will also be modified to include subjects like criminal psychology
  • Also on the anvil is a homeland security institute in the state, which will draw on the expertise of retired police officials, fire officials & disaster management experts
Similar recommendations were made in Mumbai even after the train blasts in 2006, and the committee appointed to study them is yet to submit a report to the government, but students hope that this time there will be quicker action.

Some interesting reactions:
"People have reacted strongly this time, and they have not returned to their normal lives like other times, so I think there will be action."

"Be it Leopold, be it CST, these are places where a lot of students sit around, so if they are given some training, maybe all this can be avoided."

As a first step, universities are planning to organise a student solidarity meet in Mumbai over the weekend in Mumbai.

We're being forced to attend rally: Students

Several colleges across Mumbai say they are under pressure to send their students for a rally against terrorism at Shivaji Park on Saturday evening.

Many principals say they have been ordered by their respective universities to send students to the rally. "This is not voluntary. If your boss asks you to do something, it's an order, not a request,'' said a principal.

The organisers want a gathering of over one lakh and principals as well as parents are worried about the safety of students.

S C Jamir, governor of Maharashtra and chancellor of state universities will address the students. The event has been organised by Mumbai University, SNDT University, Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University and the deputy director's office. The cops and commandos who were killed in the 26/11 terror strike will be honoured.

"The rally makes no sense to me. The students say they're not keen on it as they feel it serves no purpose,'' said a college teacher.

"At a time when Karkare's wife has asked for privacy to mourn her loss, why have a function like this? We've had enough peace marches. This makes no sense,'' said a principal.

Another principal said the rally was being held a little late in the day. "If the rally had been held earlier, students would have reacted to it with spontaneity. Now, after college students have participated in both rallies and peace marches, they don't feel the need for another one,'' said a principal.

However, officials in the education department insist that there has been no pressure on students to attend the function. The education department says around 40,000 students from junior colleges will attend the rally.

Some institutions, though, say their students have volunteered to join the rally. For instance, Al-Nasser Zakaria, a member of the administration for the Awami High School and Junior College, Bandra, says that 50 students from the school volunteered to attend the rally.

Several principals say they have received a flood of calls and letters from parents saying they do not want to send their children for the rally. "Parents are worried about the safety of their girls at a rally as large as this one. The rally will start at 5 pm. By the time it's over, it'll be dark. Many of the students are 15- and 16-year-olds,'' said a principal.

However, Mumbai University pro vice chancellor A D Sawant says all the necessary security arrangements have been made. "The police department as well as NCC cadets will be present in order to manage the crowds,'' said Sawant.

Trident to re-open on Sunday 21st December '08

The Trident Hotel in Mumbai which was one of the targets of the 26/11 attacks is all set to reopen for its guests on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference, president of the Trident Hotel Ratan Keswani said that the hotel will hold a private prayer meet on Sunday in memory of those who lost their lives.

He also said that the Oberoi Hotel will take some time to reopen as there was a lot of restoration work to be done.

Keswani urged everyone to put behind them, the horrific attacks and said that whether the hotels were informed or not does not matter now.

He said that the hotel is working with a security agency to improve security standards.

PTI adds:The hotel expects at least 100 rooms to be occupied the same day.

The group's other hotel -- the Oberoi -- would, however, take six to seven months to reopen.

The group said that while the damage to the Oberoi is to the tune of Rs 40 to 50 crore, the Trident suffered damage of around Rs 40 to 50 lakh.

He said all the damages suffered by both the Oberoi and the Trident are covered by insurance. The group has also received Rs 25 crore as advance from one of the insurance company's for rebuilding and recovery work.

He added: "I would like to thank New India Assurance.

They have already released Rs 25 crore advances to help in our restoration effort."

"We are working with the insurance agencies to calculate the loss of profit (due to the damage and the subsequent closure)," he said.

He added that the hotel has faced "reasonably heavy" cancellation in bookings.

"Although bookings have been slow for now, we expect at least 100 rooms to be occupied tomorrow. The pace of bookings would hopefully increase with the passage of time," Trident Hotel President Rattan Keswani said.

The rate of cancellations in bookings is around 30 to 35 per cent.

Keswani added that the hotel would not be having any special New Year's or Christmas party this year although guests would be offered special menu for lunch and dinner.

Beware of emails asking for donations for 26/11 victims

Days after the Mumbai attacks, people are being flooded by emails urging them to help terror victims. While many have fallen prey and donated money, Vijay Mukhi, an e-security expert, exposed how most of these mails are fake.

On Monday, Mukhi, President of Foundation for Information and Security and Technology (FIST) received an email from none other than Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan asking him to donate money.

“I thought I would donate for the cause. But then I decided to verify the mail as it seemed fishy,” said Mukhi. He immediately checked the link and found there was no proper owner of the link on which the donation was to be made. Mukhi soon figured out that the link was fake as was the email sender.

“The number of people surfing the Net has increased tremendously so cyber criminals create these fake links to cheat people. People also donate money without checking the authenticity of the email. There are high risks of getting cheated,” he said.

Mukhi is not the only one to receive such emails. Sulabh Pandey, a business development manager with a consultancy firm, also received one saying he should support the families of terror victims. Sulabh was moved by the mail and was about to donate, when he decided to check first. “I asked my friend Sandeep, an IT professional, who found that the link was fake,” he said.

A recent report by Mcafee, a US-based security technology company, states that cyber criminals are using the global recession, terror attacks and Christmas to strike. “In India, hackers are sending donation mails on behalf of Red Cross or Salvation Army and 26/11 has given them an opportunity to cheat people,” said Kartik Shahani, regional director (India ) Mcafee Inc.

Sulabh Pandey, who received an emotional plea for money via email, discovered , through a friend, that the mail was fake.

Father spots son in 26/11 pics, in Mumbai to take him home

In the gloom of Mumbai's terror attack, Alwar resident Bhuvneshwar Sharma finds a ray of hope. Sharma, 58, a temple priest in Alwar, is in Mumbai these days desperately looking for his son, Tarun Kumar, 31 who had run away from home five years ago.

He just disappeared one fine day and for five years the family, despite extensive search, had not a clue about his whereabouts. Then last fortnight, while pouring over the coverage of 26/11 in his local newspaper, Sharma found a picture of a youth assisting an injured man at CST. The young man was his son.

It was the first indication that Tarun was alive, in good shape and that he was in Mumbai. Sharma immediately landed in Mumbai, he got in touch with the photographer and since then has been trying to trace his son. Newspaper copy in hand, he walks around CST, Fort, Churchgate asking people if they may have seen Tarun Kumar.

Narrating his story Sharma says that of his six children Tarun Kumar was the weakest at academics, he had also failed his SSC, for which he had to bear the brunt of his father' wrath. He often spoke of pursuing acting but then in October 2003, Tarun Kumar left home. He vanished without a trace.

A police complaint was lodged, ads were put in local newspapers and the family even put handbills at several places, and announced a cash prize for anyone giving information. To no avail.

Gradually, Tarun's mother fell sick, the family stopped celebrating all festivals and life in the Sharma household got grimmer. “These have been very painful years. We didn’t know where he was or how he was doing as he never contacted us. It was only by God's grace that we found his photograph. We have no one in this city, so we are wondering how he landed here,” says Sharma.

He has since been to JJ hospital where he was told that the injured man in the picture is a certain Sanjay Yadav who stays at Bhayander and who was injured in the firing at CST. “Possibly Tarun may be with him,” says Sharma. “That is our only hope.”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Part Of the Game launched...

Recently Carlsberg Brewery launched a football web-TV-channel

They launched 5 channels showing all aspects about football from the classic football matches to life as a fan.

Be sure not to miss the video clips about football funnies and rituals from the Football Magic channel or the bizarre story about fans in the stand and how fan culture sometimes go beyond reason.
As an extra feature you can upload your own favourite football and fan moments.

Its an amazing site with loads of features present in it. So log on to and experience the diference.