Correspondent, Mumbai
Rina's Feed
May 18, 2010
via India Insight

Sympathy for the devil? Maoist supporters get flak

Photo

Hours after Maoist rebels detonated a landmine under a bus in central India on Monday, killing about 35 people including policemen, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram was unapologetic in his criticism of civil society organisations that he said were getting in the way of the state’s efforts to contain the rebels.

It is “almost fashionable” to be sympathetic to the Maoist cause, Chidambaram said in an interview to NDTV news channel.

May 18, 2010
via India Insight

Environmentalists cheer news of scrapping of power project

Photo

Environmentalists are hailing news that India’s ministry of environment and forests has scrapped a proposed power plant by Larsen & Toubro in eastern India close to a nesting ground for endangered Olive Ridley turtles.

But Greenpeace is quick to point out that there are ports proposed near all of Orissa’s mass nesting areas, and that these should be denied permission, as well.

May 12, 2010

Wal-Mart steps up India rollout, hopes rules ease

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, will accelerate its rollout of wholesale stores in India, a crucial growth market that has long frustrated overseas operators with restrictive rules.

Raj Jain, chief of Indian operations for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, said the firm now expects to open 10-12 wholesale centres in India over two-to-three years, from an earlier target of five years, as real estate prices have become more attractive and it gains confidence in operating in the country.

May 12, 2010

Carrefour to open 4-5 India outlets in 2010-sources

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, May 11 (Reuters) – Carrefour <CARR.PA>,
the world’s No.2 retailer, will enter the India market in July
with its first cash-and-carry outlet, in New Delhi, followed by
3 or 4 other wholesale outlets around the country by year-end,
people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The French retail giant, which has been looking to break
into fast-growing but restrictive India for seven years, has
secured properties in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and
Hyderabad and will soon sign for one in western Mumbai, two
sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

May 11, 2010

Carrefour sees hopeful signs in India market

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – No. 2 global retailer Carrefour sees signs of an improving investment climate in India, a senior official said, as it looks to build its presence in a restrictive but fast-growing market that has long tantalised and frustrated foreign operators.

The French retailer will soon announce its Indian franchise partner and will open its first cash-and-carry store in the next few months, said Jean Noel Bironneau, managing director for the Indian unit of Carrefour.

May 11, 2010

Carrefour sees hopeful signs in restrictive India market

NEW DELHI, May 11 (Reuters) – No. 2 global retailer Carrefour <CARR.PA> sees signs of an improving investment climate in India, a senior official said, as it looks to build its presence in a restrictive but fast-growing market that has long tantalised and frustrated foreign operators.

The French retailer will soon announce its Indian franchise partner and will open its first cash-and-carry store in the next few months, said Jean Noel Bironneau, managing director for the Indian unit of Carrefour.

May 7, 2010

Mukesh Ambani wins over brother in Supreme Court

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Less than two weeks ago, Mukesh Ambani watched from the stands as his cricket franchise Mumbai Indians lost to the less-fancied Chennai team in the glitzy final of the Indian Premier League tournament.

On Friday, the country’s richest man, stayed away from the Supreme Court when it ruled in favour of his firm, Reliance Industries, in a gas pricing dispute with Reliance Natural controlled by billionaire younger brother Anil.

May 7, 2010

Mukesh Ambani wins over Anil in Supreme Court

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Less than two weeks ago, Mukesh Ambani watched from the stands as his cricket franchise Mumbai Indians lost to the less-fancied Chennai team in the glitzy final of the Indian Premier League tournament.

On Friday, the country’s richest man, stayed away from the Supreme Court when it ruled in favour of his firm, Reliance Industries, in a gas pricing dispute with Reliance Natural controlled by billionaire younger brother Anil.

May 7, 2010

India’s Ambani wins over brother in Supreme Court

MUMBAI, May 7 (Reuters) – Less than two weeks ago, Mukesh
Ambani watched from the stands as his cricket franchise Mumbai
Indians lost to the less-fancied Chennai team in the glitzy
final of the Indian Premier League tournament.

On Friday, the country’s richest man, stayed away from
India’s Supreme Court when it ruled in favour of his firm,
Reliance Industries <RELI.BO>, in a gas pricing dispute with
Reliance Natural <RENR.BO> controlled by billionaire younger
brother Anil.

May 6, 2010

Pakistani sentenced to death for Mumbai attacks

MUMBAI, May 6 (Reuters) – An Indian court sentenced a Pakistani man to death on Thursday over a three-day rampage through Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people and strained ties between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.

Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, 22, was the only one captured alive of 10 gunmen who carried out the coordinated attacks on key landmarks in India’s financial capital, including two luxury hotels, the main train station and a Jewish centre.

Kasab’s sentencing came two days after a Pakistani-American man was charged over a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in New York’s crowded Times Square on Saturday.

The Mumbai attacks, blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), brought to a halt peace talks between India and Pakistan. LeT has been fighting Indian forces in disputed Kashmir since the early 1990s.

"He shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead," Judge M.L. Tahilyani said as Kasab sat with his head bowed, occasionally wiping his eyes with the back of his hand and then covering his ears with his fingers.

Kasab earlier shook his head when offered a chance to speak.

In India, the death penalty is handed down for the "rarest of rare" crimes and is carried out by hanging. The sentence must be confirmed by a higher court and can be appealed. The last execution in India was in 2004.

Kasab was found guilty on Monday on more than 80 charges, including murder and waging war on India. [ID:nSGE6420CR]

(For a factbox on the trial, please click on [ID:nSGE63T0B4])

India paused talks with Islamabad after the attacks, saying Pakistan must first act against groups operating from its soil, including LeT, of which Kasab was convicted of being a member.

On Tuesday, a Pakistani-American who U.S. authorities say trained with al Qaeda in Pakistan, was charged over the failed Times Square bombing attempt. [ID:nSGE6440FN]

"The nature of the development with reference to the particular incident in New York is only the vindication of what India has been conveying to the United States government that the epicentre of all terrorist activities comes from only one country," Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told parliament.

INDIA-PAKISTAN THAW

The sentencing came a week after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan held talks in Bhutan and asked officials to take steps to normalise relations, reviving a five-year-old process that had been stalled by the Mumbai attacks.

"We have a far bigger agenda on the table," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Indian television on Wednesday. "We will have to respect each others’ judicial processes," he said before the sentencing.

Pakistan denies involvement in the Mumbai attacks and says it is prosecuting seven suspected militants for their roles.

"Certainly we will have to keep engaging Pakistan in the light of the death sentence," Krishna told reporters. "A number of others who are involved as co-conspirators will also have to be extradited," he said.

Outside the special court, housed in the maximum-security prison where Kasab is held, government prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam flashed victory signs and held up a file with a cover showing pictures of Kasab and a noose over the words "DEATH PENALTY".

The attacks shocked India, with television channels beaming live coverage of the siege. Relatives of victims have demanded Kasab be executed immediately to discourage similar attacks.

"I won’t say relieved, but at least satisfaction that justice has been done," a tearful Sevanti Parekh, whose son and daughter-in-law died in the attacks, told CNN/IBN television.

Kasab’s lawyer, K.P. Pawar, said he had not had a chance to discuss with his client their next course of action.

Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai’s main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.

Twenty Pakistani co-conspirators, including LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were also found guilty. A spokesman for LeT denied the leader or the organisation was involved.

Islamist groups like LeT, which has been linked to al Qaeda, see India and the United States as foes against whom they must wage holy war. They also support independence for Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed in full but controlled in part by both India and Pakistan.

The two countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two over Kashmir. (Additional reporting by Bappa Majumdar in NEW DELHI; Writing by C.J. Kuncheria; Editing by Paul de Bendern and Paul Tait)