Indonesia stops search for victims of Lion Air crash

The crash killed all 189 passengers on board. (AP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Indonesia stops search for victims of Lion Air crash

  • Authorities will still search for the Lion Air flight’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder
  • 196 body bags containing human remains had been retrieved and 77 victims identified after forensic examination

JAKARTA: Indonesia authorities said on Saturday they had stopped the search for victims of a plane crash that killed all 189 people on board, but would keep looking for the Lion Air flight’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
“There is nowhere left to search and we have stopped finding victims’ bodies,” Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) told media. “We will limit our operations to monitoring.”
The nearly new Boeing Co. 737 MAX passenger plane crashed into the sea on Oct. 29 just minutes after taking off from Jakarta en route to Bangka island near Sumatra.
Syaugi said 196 body bags containing human remains had been retrieved and 77 victims identified after forensic examination.
Authorities have downloaded data from one of the black boxes found last week, the flight data recorder, but are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder.
Soearjanto Tjahjono, the head of the transportation safety committee (KNKT), said finding the voice recorder would be critical to understanding the cause of the crash.
“From the black box data, we know about 70-80 percent of what happened but to 100-percent understand the cause of the accident... we need be able to know the conversation that took place in the plane’s cockpit,” he said, declining to elaborate on what the flight data recorder had revealed.
KNKT has brought in a pinger locator and a vessel capable of sucking up mud to help with the search for the voice recorder, in addition to remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with cameras.
Tjahjono said he was worried the cockpit voice recorder may have been damaged on impact because KNKT had yet to detect any “ping” sounds that would indicate its location, as had happened with the first black box.
He said authorities were searching for 15 aircraft parts, including an “angle of attack” sensor on the aircraft, which helps the plane’s computers understand if the aircraft is stable. Investigators have said one of these sensors had provided erroneous data.
KNKT told Reuters on Wednesday that there was a problem with the sensor on the previous flight taken by the doomed plane from the island of Bali to Jakarta. One sensor had been replaced in Bali.


Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

Updated 4 min 45 sec ago
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Indian minister steps up calls to deport illegal immigrants

  • National Register of Citizenship will be extended across country, says Amit Shah

NEW DELHI: New Delhi will deport all illegal immigrants found in the country, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament on Wednesday.

The warning signaled a heightening of a campaign that some critics say is “aimed at alienating the Muslim minority.”

The minister’s statement comes as the state of Assam is set to release its final list of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an exercise to identify illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The Supreme Court demanded that the NRC should submit its report at the end of this month.

Of the state’s 31 million residents, almost 4 million were missing from the NRC’s report last year. Most were poor Muslims. Illegal immigration was a core election issue for the ruling right-wing party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)

“The government will identify illegal immigrants living in every inch of the country’s soil and will deport them in line with international law,” said Shah.

He added that the NRC would be extended across the country. 

Shah, a Hindu hard-liner and the second most powerful figure in the Narendra Modi government, has been belligerently opposed to illegal Muslim immigrants, who he recently described as “termites.”

Critics have questioned the need for the NRC throughout the country.

The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent.

Hilal Ahmad, Academic

“This is a witch hunt of the minority under the false concern of illegal immigration,” said SubHajjit Naskar of Jadavpur University.

“The way the NRC is being implemented in Assam is damaging for our secular and democratic values.”

Naskar told Arab News: “The register is part of the broader majoritarian agenda to make India a Hindu state where minority Muslims will be treated as second class citizens.” 

Dr. Hilal Ahmad, associate professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, said: “The substantial part of Shah’s statement is that NRC is not entirely about Muslims. It also claims that it’s an institutional process with legal support and it’s not at all concerned with Muslims.”

Ahmad added: “The BJP does not want to clarify what it truly means because that is part of their politics, but the opposition leaders are also silent. They are also trying to consolidate the impression that the NRC is anti-Muslim.”

Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group, said that “Shah’s plans are not practical.”

“How you are going to identify illegal migrants? Have you spoken to Bangladesh about the deportation? What the BJP government is trying to do is not implementable. It is a recipe for chaos,” said Chakma.

Sabber Ahmad, from the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, a New Delhi-based group serving the persecuted minority community from Myanmar, said the “Indian government’s stance on illegal migrants creates panic among the small Rohingya community living here.”

“I fled Myanmar in 2012 and India gave me a new lease of life. New Dehli should show some humanity in dealing with people like us,” Ahmad told Arab News.

“India has a history of sheltering persecuted minorities from around the world. They must continue this proud tradition,” Ahmad added.