The woman, who was known for her activism to protect wildlife and the environment, had complained about receiving threats from a police officer
"Gandhi: the purpose of civil resistance is provocation. Anna has succeeded in provoking the government and the opposition. Hope he wins us freedom from corruption. Meet at 2pm Boat Club Bhopal." Thus reads the latest note on the Facebook page of Shehla Masood. It was also the last noting by the Bhopal-based activist who was murdered outside her residence in broad daylight on Tuesday.
Ms Masood had just got out of her house to attend the demonstration called to support Anna Hazare when she was shot dead by unidentified attackers.
Shehla Masood, known for her initiatives under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and wildlife activism, had allegedly been harassed and threatened by police officer Pawan Shrivastava and had lodged a complaint, but no action was taken on it.
In a letter dated 19 January 2010, addressed to the director general of police in Madhya Pradesh, Ms Masood wrote, "One and a half year ago, I had filed a complaint against IP officer Pawan Shrivastava for making threatening calls to me while he was on deputation as director cultural department. I had lodged (a complaint) at Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station in Bhopal. I had also met the then DGP of MP, Mr Puwar, on 27/02/2008. I had provided the evidences, but till now nothing has been done."
Ms Masood was also involved in issues of good governance, police reforms, the environment, 'Save the Tiger', women's and minority rights, and transparency. She was also active on many blogs where she discussed issues like anti-corruption, women's empowerment and progress. Her recent blog updates on scratchmysoul.com are on corruption.
In her letter to the director general of police, Ms Masood had expressed her fear that Shrivastava being a powerful police officer could implicate her in false cases. Interestingly, the Madhya Pradesh home minister had announced that the state would be the first state to treat all complaints as FIRs. However, "nothing has been done on my complaint," Ms Masood wrote in her letter.
Ms Masood's letter also had a note by the inspector general of police, Bhopal, that "legal action or departmental action may be taken as deemed fit."
Reacting to the news of the killing of Ms Masood, noted environment activist Sumaira Abdul Ali, said, "Activists are murdered every now and then. Despite making repeated assurances nothing has changed. The message is clear that the government doesn't mind such things. Shehla was very active in taking up environment issues, particularly mining, which is very risky and a lot of politicians have vested interests in it. It continues to flourish. It is also very clear that we are not safe."
Describing this as a sad incident, Mumbai-based activist Mukta Shrivastava said, "We don't know who is behind her killing. She was very much part of the anti-corruption movement. Her killing has once again raised the issue of safety of activists. In Maharashtra farmers protesting silently have been killed. It's an emergency-like situation and democracy is at stake. Such acts show the reality of state repression and the sorry state of affairs."
Ms Masood is the latest victim in the list of such attacks that also claimed the lives of whistleblowers and RTI activists Satyendra Dubey, Shanmughan Manjunath and Shashidhar Mishra.
Against the backdrop of a strong rally in the US, today's weakness has been extraordinary. Nifty may test 4,960
Political developments in the national capital and weak global cues through the second half of the day resulted in the market paring its early gains and closing in the negative. The indicators show that the downslide may not be over yet and the indices may still lose some more ground. In case the market closes in the negative tomorrow, the Nifty could drop to 4,960 and that will be a 14-month closing low.
The domestic market started the day in the positive on firm cues from the Asian region that were trading higher for a second day in a row. The Nifty opened 53 points up at 5,126 and the Sensex started the day at 17,016, a gain of 176 points on its Friday closing. IT, technology, metal and banking stocks supported early gains. The indices rose to their day's highs in early trade, with the Nifty up at 5,132 and the Sensex touching 17,035.
However, the commotion following the arrest of Anna Hazare saw the market lose ground slowly. Even lower headline inflation numbers for July did not help stop the drop as the indices drifted into the negative in noon trade. There was a minor recovery a short while later, but that was short-lived.
Volatility persisted during the entire session and was more evident in post-noon trading as pressure mounted from the European indices which opened in the red. The indices registered their intra-day lows in the last 30 minutes with the Nifty down to 5,015 and the Sensex to 16,674. Bargain hunting pulled the market up a bit, but it was a negative close for a third straight day. At the close the Nifty had lost 37 points to 5,036 and the Sensex settled at 16,731, down by 109 points.
Markets in Asia opened higher on the news of the Google acquisition that saw Wall Street in the green for a third straight day. But Asian indices settled mostly lower by the end of trade after a report that Germany's economy expanded by a mere 0.1% in the second quarter, signalling a slowdown in Europe's largest economy.
The Shanghai Composite declined 0.71%, the Hang Seng fell 0.24%, the Jakarta Composite lost 0.17%, the KLSE Composite shed 0.10%, the Straits Times tanked 1.45% and the Taiwan Weighted slipped 0.27%. On the other side, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.23% and the Seoul Composite jumped 4.83%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs471.09 crore on Friday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs99.02 crore.
Chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu said that inflation would remain at an elevated level till December before showing any signs of moderation
New Delhi: Headline inflation in August may touch the double-digit mark, chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu said today, adding that any reprieve from high prices was unlikely in coming months, reports PTI.
"By our calculation there are still a couple of more months of relatively same level of inflation (as in July).
In fact, inflation could climb a little bit next month... it could be going to close to 10% inflation for the month of August," Mr Basu told reporters here.
His comments came after the headline inflation for July declined to an eight-month low of 9.22% as the rate of price rise in food articles and petro-products eased, though pressure remained on manufactured items.
Mr Basu said that inflation would remain at an elevated level till December before showing any signs of moderation.
"By our calculation there are still a couple of more months of relatively same level of inflation," he said, adding, "...it will be roughly where we are, we are expecting, till December. After that we do expect some sharp decline in inflation."
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been hiking interest rates in its bid to tame inflation since March 2010. The high interest rate regime, experts said, was hurting the industrial growth. However, the industrial growth (IIP) for June stood at a better-than- expected 8.8%.
When asked if the RBI is likely to further raise its key policy rates considering the IIP numbers, Mr Basu said: "The IIP news was better news than what we had expected... But RBI will have to take a call."
Mr Basu said that both the government and the RBI would work together and analyse the economic situation.
"We are expecting that we will get together and do an analysis of where we stand... otherwise the news is not good.
On a couple of sectors we have done well," Mr Basu said.
He cited good performance of exports and pick up in foreign direct investments (FDI) as positive factors.
"Exports have been doing well for several months and there is also some indication that FDI, after a year of not doing well, is actually picking up very nicely," Mr Basu said.