By TP Saran
A particular category of officers are being targeted at the Ministry of External Affairs for arbitrary transfers and harassment. In fact, some officers have been served letters ordering transfers with immediate effect to other ministries, and they are at a loss to understand why they are being forced out of the Ministry of external Affairs. No reason is given for their orders to be transferred and as far as they are concerned there is no justification for their being pushed out from the Ministry.
Similarly, it would appear they are being subjected to harassment that takes the form of being asked to explain non-existent problems as regards the way they are processing files, which they have been doing as a matter of established routine following usual procedures. They have to waste time in giving answers, and this naturally detracts from their work.
They have approached the Staff Union but so far nothing has been done to stop this practice that is going on. Appointment has also been sought with the Minister, and this is pending.
As it is, there are enough problems he is having to handle, such as the repatriation of the Mauritians stranded abroad. Surely he could do without the additional burden of staff harassment/arbitrary transfers? However, given that he is the Minister responsible, staff well-being should also be one of his priorities, and the victims are hoping that he will be able to stop this injustice being perpetrated against them.
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Destruction of 1,700 year-old Buddha statue in Pakistan
The Buddha statue vandalised in Pakistan is nearly 1700 years old and is from the Gandhara Civilisation. Photo – im.indiatimes.in
According to a report by Raza Hamdani in the Independent, UK, police in Pakistan have arrested four people, under the antiquities law, in connection with the destruction of a third-century life-sized Buddha statue.
This took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the northwestern province of Pakistan. The report adds that the rare idol was discovered during construction work in a village near Takht-i-Bahi, known around the world for being the main cradle of the Buddhist civilisation. According to the police, so far it is not clear why and on whose directives the four accused destroyed the statue, although there have been allegations that it was at the behest of a local religious leader.
Abdul Samad, the provincial director of archaeology, has said that when they discovered the statue, instead of informing the archaeology department that they have found a life-sized Buddha statue, they destroyed it and made a video. This went viral and led to their arrest. As director of archaeology, he is well placed to express concern about the potential fallout of this destruction, because the village where the destruction took place is not too far from Takht-i-Bahi, which ‘is the most popular tourist destination in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where a large number of people from Sri Lanka, Korea and Japan come every year’.
One would recall the destruction of two giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan, an equally famous world tourist resort in Afghanistan. They were savagely blown up, and no restitution has been possible, save a laser generated projection which of course is a poor substitute for the original. What a pity that some people are so narrow-minded that they refuse to appreciate the great works of art that are the legacy of great civilizations which should be regarded and preserved as the proud heritage of mankind. In fact, the Bamiyan statues were a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Spaniards flock to the beach
Unmindful of advice issued by the authorities, Spaniards have been flocking to the beach since Sunday last, in the region of Catalonia. Though they were maintaining social distancing, many were reported not to be using masks. There has been a recent surge in this area, which why there is concern that the crowding may disrupt the control that has been achieved to date and that there may be a flare-up of more and more cases.
The statistics in Spain showed confirmed cases at 307,335, 7015 recovered and 28,420 deaths, giving a fatality rate of 9.2 %. Photo – i.dailymail.co.uk
As yesterday, the statistics in Spain showed confirmed cases at 307,335, 7015 recovered and 28,420 deaths, giving a fatality rate of 9.2 %. 617 critical cases were receiving being treated in ICU.
Spain along with Portugal and the UK was one of the countries that were severely affected with the virus when the epidemic was in full swing in northern Italy. Like many other countries in the region it also faced a crisis in the initial stage of the disease, but gradually it was able to establish control whereby the numbers affected diminished considerably. There have been only a few new cases reported, but they have to learn a lesson from Florida, where there is a large Hispanic population and where there was a surge in cases after repeated crowding at the beach in defiance of instructions given to them.
Police were deployed to try and get people to return home so as not to swell the numbers, but that is to be seen – because despite the warning the crowds invaded the beach on Sunday. If they continue to flout the instructions, as is also happening in the US in some states, their health system once again runs the risk of being overwhelmed.
* Published in print edition on 21 July 2010