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Sunday, 24 August 2008 19:03
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The public image of Muslims in Holland has improved in the last two years with some 20% of the population ‘positive’ about this group compared to 14% in 2006, according to a TNS Nipo survey conducted for RTL Nieuws. The percentage of people with negative feelings about Muslims has fallen to 24% from 40% two years ago. A possible reason for the improvement in intercultural relations is that there is more contact between various groups, said the researchers. In 2006, 61% said they had no contact with Muslims, today this has fallen to 33%.

Radiance, weekly

CHINA TO HOLD INTERNATIONAL HALAL FOOD FESTIVAL

The public image of Muslims in Holland has improved in the last two years with some 20% of the population ‘positive’ about this group compared to 14% in 2006, according to a TNS Nipo survey conducted for RTL Nieuws. The percentage of people with negative feelings about Muslims has fallen to 24% from 40% two years ago. A possible reason for the improvement in intercultural relations is that there is more contact between various groups, said the researchers. In 2006, 61% said they had no contact with Muslims, today this has fallen to 33%.

Radiance, weekly

Govt okays Chennai airport modernization

NEW DELHI: The modernisation projects for airports at Chennai and Kolkata was approved by the government today at a cost of over Rs 3,750 crore and the work is likely to be completed within three years.

As desired by the state governments led by DMK in Tamil Nadu and the Left Front in West Bengal, the entire modernisation and expansion activities would be undertaken by state-run Airports Authority of India, which would also retain ownership of the two airports.

"The AAI can create these two airports into models and compete with the private sector to develop world-class airports. They can even compete in the international arena," Civil
Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters here after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the projects.

While the Kolkata airport would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,942.51 crore, the one at Chennai would cost Rs 1,808 crore. The Kolkata project would be completed in 30 months of the award of the contract and the one at Chennai within 26 months.

Both the projects envisage large investments and would be completed in a time-bound manner, Patel said, adding that the upgraded airports would cater to the needs of Kolkata and Chennai for the next two decades.

After completion, the two airports will be on par with those at Delhi and Mumbai. The issues of additional land for expansion plans of the two have been sorted out by both the state governments, he said.

 

Gujarat:  Six years of mourning, but not a tear

AHMEDABAD: The sufferings haven't ceased for many in his city - with the July serial bombings, the increasing rift in Gujarati society and riot victims still awaiting justice. But Mohammed Sharif is inured, his tears cast in stone after he saw his wife and daughters raped and killed during the 2002 carnage.

Sharif has been waiting to cry since that Feb 28 six years ago when murderous mobs overran his
home in Ahmedabad's upscale Gulberg Society.

"I have not cried since Feb 28, 2002, the day my wife and two teenage daughters were raped and killed by a mob right in my house. I have tried but could not," Sharif said simply.

"My wife had offered Rs.45 lakh (Rs.4.5 million) cash to the mob to spare them. But the mob took the money, then raped them and killed them," Sharif said, sitting in his apartment in the Muslim-dominated Juhapura area here.

It was a day after 59 people were killed while returning from Ayodhya in Gujarat's Godhra town. And the revenge was swift and brutal killing at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in the weeks that followed.

Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among the nearly 70 people mercilessly killed in the massacre in Gulberg Society. Police arrested 39 people in connection with the incident, but the trial is pending while the Supreme Court decides whether it should be held outside the state as demanded by some victims.

"Cases are going on in the sessions court, but we have little hope of getting any justice. All our hopes are now pinned on the Supreme Court where our petition to get the cases transferred outside Gujarat are pending," Sharif told IANS.

Sharif lived in one of the bungalows in the posh neighbourhood of Gulberg and owned eight shops in the Chamanpura area. His home and all his shops were burnt.

He has worked hard to rebuild his business, but can do nothing to get back the lives lost.

This is not the first time that he has faced communal hatred either.

"My family was earlier ruined financially during riots in 1969 and 1986. But what happened in 2002 was beyond my wildest nightmares," Sharif said.

"Only my son and I could escape alive in my family. I did not lose hope and with the help of my friends I have been able to put my life on track. But the scar of the tragedy remains."

Sharif has been unable to return to his Gulberg Society house - where he spent his entire life - since that day in 2002.

"I saw many people, including women and children, being brutally killed in front of my eyes. However, I was the first one to get my house repaired in the society. But no other family was ready to move in and at last I also decided to stay in a minority area for safety," said Sharif as his 14-year-old son looked on.

Sharif now owns two shops selling electronics goods.

"I have always wanted to move on in life. All my friends are Hindu. Even though I have suffered irreparable loss in the riots, it is only because of my friends that I was able to get together my life and move on," he said.

But after six years of mourning, he is still waiting to shed a tear.

 

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