India’s top Muslim group demands judicial probe into Telangana killings

Updated 10 April 2015

India’s top Muslim group demands judicial probe into Telangana killings

NEW DELHI: The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat has demanded a high-level judicial investigation into the “encounter killings” of five Muslim terror accused at the hands of Telangana police.
“This is a calculated conspiracy to push the Muslim youth on the path of extremism and terrorism,” said Zafarul-Islam Khan, president of the Mushawarat, the apex body of Indian Muslim organizations, while commenting on the killings of five alleged “SIMI” (Students Islamic Movement of India) activists on April 7 while in judicial custody, handcuffed and surrounded by an overwhelming police force.
Khan termed the shooting a calculated murder by security forces, hell-bent on keeping the country on the boil.
Khan said while the political bosses of the NDA government claim that the Indian Muslim community is immune to terrorism, the NSA, IB and other security agencies work in tandem to push Muslim youth to extremism and terrorism.
Khan said Telengana police is the same force that earlier framed many Muslim youth and killed protesters when they came out against the Makkah Masjid blast.
Khan demanded a high-level judicial enquiry into the murder of the five alleged “SIMI” activists and the murder of two other alleged “SIMI” activists three days earlier in the same state.
Khan said this is another Batla House kind of fake encounter perpetrated by the security agencies at the behest of their political masters.
Khan said if we fail to get justice, we would approach international human rights.


Tech-savvy Indonesians go off-grid to help to remote villages fight virus

Updated 04 July 2020

Tech-savvy Indonesians go off-grid to help to remote villages fight virus

  • Young volunteers tackle tough terrain, pandemic myths in isolated northern region

JAKARTA: A group of tech-savvy young locals in Indonesia’s northern North Halmahera regency is spreading awareness about the dangers of COVID-19 in remote corners of the archipelago at a time when bureaucracy has impeded a rapid response to the pandemic.

The Relawan Merah Putih, or Red and White Volunteers, includes a multimedia expert, university students, lecturers, civil servants and a web developer in Tobelo, the main city of North Halmahera in North Maluku province, about 2,500 km from the capital Jakarta.

The city is located on Halmahera island, part of the Maluku Islands, Indonesia’s fabled Spice Islands on the northeastern part of the sprawling archipelago.

Stevie Recaldo Karimang, a 28-year-old freelance photographer and videographer, told Arab News that he set up the group after social restrictions introduced to counter the pandemic put him out of business. 

He quickly developed a website on the pandemic and created online flyers and audiovisual materials that he and 31 other volunteers distributed on social media platforms and messaging apps to educate the public about the pandemic soon after the first cases in Indonesia were confirmed in Jakarta in early March.

“We translated the information we took from the national COVID-19 task force into the market language spoken here, which is a mixture of Indonesian and the local dialect, to make it more understandable for the locals,” Karimang said.

The group also used a drone to issue public warnings against mass gatherings.

“The drone helped to remind people not to form a crowd when social restrictions were enforced. We attached a flashlight to the device to catch the crowd’s attention, and we were able to dismiss such gatherings.”

But the volunteers shifted their efforts to rural areas after the first coronavirus case in North Maluku province was confirmed on March 23.

Jubhar Mangimbulude, a microbiology expert at Halmahera University and the group’s adviser, said the team had visited 30 isolated villages out of 196 townships in the regency, which is home to 161 million people.

“We reached one village after hours of driving over rough terrain. We have to use four-wheel-drive vehicles because along the way we may have to cross a river where the bridge is damaged,” he told Arab News.

Mangimbulude said that many villagers were unaware of the pandemic and only knew from TV that a dangerous virus was spreading quickly and infecting people. He was glad to find that no COVID-19 cases had been detected among the villagers.

But he acknowledged that misinformation was rife and said that he had to debunk myths about “how alcohol could be used to prevent the disease.”

“The villagers heard that the virus can be killed with heat in one’s body, and since drinking alcohol can warm the body, they encouraged their children and elders to drink a local alcoholic beverage made of fermented sugar palm fruit,” Mangimbulude said.

Fellow volunteer Oscar Berthomene, a local civil servant, said that the group was able to move faster than the regency administration whose bureaucracy slowed down the response to the pandemic.

“I have support from my supervisor, and we were able to help their activities with cars to allow them to move around,” he told Arab News.

The regency has about 18 percent of the 953 cases in the province, which make up about 1.5 percent of the national total of 62,142 as of Saturday.