US TELLS NEW DELHI TO CONTROL HINDUTVA ELEMENTS
A resolution was introduced in the US House of Representatives on September 29 calling on the Indian government to take all necessary steps to restrict the reach and resources of Hindutva elements or what they called “radical religious elements” that cause violence periodically, including the incitement of violence against minorities. It exhorted all Indians of different backgrounds to set an example to the rest of the world on how a peaceful diverse society can work together.
The resolution was sponsored by Congressmen Todd Akin, Frank Wolf, Joseph Pitts and Thaddeus McCotter (all Republicans) and James McGovern (Democrat).
The Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations of North America, in a statement, welcomed the resolution and criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party and its affiliates for waging a campaign against minorities “to fulfil their political agenda”.
MALEGAON MUSLIMS REFUSE TO ACCEPT COMPENSATION
The four families who lost their members in the Malegaon blast have refused to accept the Rs 5 lakh compensation announced by the state Government. A ceremony to hand over the cheques was organised by the office of the Collector, but no family turned up. “The Muslim community needs justice, not compensation,” said Abdul Hameed Inamdar, who was at the Collector’s office to present the community’s viewpoint.
Two of the four deaths that followed the bomb blast in Malegaon on September 29 were from bullets fired by the police at a mob, says Mufti Mohammed Ismail, whose Third Front rules the municipal corporation in this powerloom town. Even as the police maintain that all the deaths occurred due to the bomb explosion at the Bhikku Chowk in the heart of the town, the Mufti reportedly said that only two people died in the blasts. “I can say with hundred per cent certainty that one person, Shaikh Mushtaq, died in police firing as he sustained no wound on his body except a deep gash on his neck, which is a bullet injury,” he said. “The other person, Shaikh Rashid, also must have died in firing as he has bullet wounds on his chest,” he said, adding however that Rashid also suffered wounds from the explosives splinters. Among the two who died instantaneously after the blast was 10-year-old Farheen Shaikh, a girl. The other was a middle-aged man, Shaikh Azhar Nisar, Mufti said. The Bhikku Chowk, surrounded by three mosques, was deliberately chosen by terrorists two days before Eid-ul Fitr as it is adjacent to the town’s ladies’ market, Mufti said. The area was crowded by shoppers at that time.
“First you pointed fingers at us, saying that we divided the country. Then you told us that we are communal, and now you tell us we are terrorists,” one of Malegaon’s most prominent clerics, Mufti Mohammed Ismail, said as he led 1.5 lakh people at namaaz at the Eidgah Maidan in Malegaon. And then he broke down in full public view, after condemning September 29 blast which hit the town after Muslims had broken their fasts.
Speaking of “secular politics”, he said, “Kaan khol ke sun lo, jo qaum tumhe takhto taj pe bitha sakti hai, wohi qaum tumhara janaaza bhi nikaal sakti hai.” (A community which can place you on a pedestal can also take out your funeral procession).
CPM, LJP ATTACK BJP OVER MALEGAON
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the sangh parivar outfits came under fire from CPI(M) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) for “openly supporting Malegaon blast accused.”
Hitting out at BJP chief Rajnath Singh for openly supporting “persons being investigated for the Malegaon blast and other terrorist attacks,” CPI(M) accused the BJP of making “dangerous argument that no person affiliated to Hindutva organisations can be investigated for terrorist offences.”
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan accused both BJP and VHP for “demoralising” investigating agencies and causing hindrance “in pursuing proper investigations”. He accused the BJP of practising “policies on communal lines for petty electoral gains.”
Meanwhile, CPI(M) politbureau alleged saffron party’s “rabid communal outlook” has been exposed with president Rajnath Singh openly supporting “persons being investigated for the Malegaon blast and other terrorist attacks.”
CITIGROUP TO SLASH 52,000 JOBS
Citigroup Inc revealed plans to cut 52,000 jobs by early next year in a dramatic move to restore the No. 2 US bank to health as it combats mounting debt losses and sagging economies worldwide.
The cuts announced by Chief Executive Vikram Pandit on Monday affect 15 percent of Citigroup’s workforce, and are in addition to 23,000 jobs eliminated between January and September.
Citigroup plans to slash expenses by as much as 20 per cent, and spend a total of $50 billion to $52 billion in 2009. That compares with $61.9 billion over the last four quarters.
The cuts will be global, affecting many regions and business lines, including the retail and investment banks, a person close to the matter said. About one-half will come from layoffs and attrition, and the rest from the sale of units, such as the German retail banking business.
Pandit became Citigroup’s chief executive last December, and has faced much criticism from investors and others for failing to implement a workable turnaround plan. The New York-based bank has lost $20.3 billion in the last year, and some analysts do not expect it to make money before 2010.
“As the economy continues to weaken they will have greater credit losses,” said Michael Holland, founder of money manager Holland & Co in New York. “Cuts will lessen the losses, but they in no way guarantee profitability.”
Pandit told employees in a memo that Citigroup has spent the last year “getting fit,” and projects a “difficult” 2009 for clients and customers.
Citigroup’s latest cuts are the most by any US company since the global credit crisis began last year. They are also the second most ever, trailing the 60,000 that International Business Machines Corp announced in 1993, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
The latest cuts would leave Citigroup with about 300,000 employees, down 20 percent from the end of 2007 and about the same number it had at the end of 2005. People at the bank said the cuts should be made by the first couple of months of 2009.
BANKS SEEKS $170 b UNDER BAILOUT
At least 110 banks have requested more than $170 billion from the Treasury Departments rescue fund, and many more are expected to have submitted applications before Fridays deadline.
The requests would come from the $250 billion the Treasury set aside from the $700 billion fund to purchase stock in banks.
Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods estimated that 62 banks have received full or preliminary approval from the Treasury for $173 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The government said on Monday that American International Group Inc. also would receive $40 billion from the program.
That $40 billion, however, won’t come from the $250 billion set aside for the banks. Another 48 banks have applied for about $6.5 billion, according to the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods report. Several banks that have filed applications said they haven’t yet decided whether to accept any funds. The tally doesn’t include requests from four life insurance companies that are seeking regulatory approval to purchase savings and loans in order to become eligible for government funds. One of those companies, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., said it would be eligible to receive between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion if its purchase of Federal Trust Bank is approved.
Generally, only banks and savings and loans are eligible for direct investment from the TARP. AIG is the only nonbank company to receive such funds so far.