Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Kerala priest arrested for rape of minor girl-Where is the outcry in the National media?

Kerala priest arrested for rape of minor girl-Where is the outcry in the National media?

Imagine the kind of outcry we would have had in the local and national media if it was a Hindu religious leader. There would be debates and damnations conducted all over India for at least a month.
Where is the national outcry now?

Here is a christian priest who has raped a minor girl, got her pregnant (which means he would have most likely subjected her to sexual abuse several times), then arranged for the delivery of the child at a private hospital and after that, also, shifted her and the child to a different location to hush things up, planned to implicated the girl's father for the event and then was ready to leave to Canada - and hardly any mention of this in the national media.

This clearly shows how Hindu Gurus are targeted to demean and condemn Hinduism where as much as possible chrislamists are portrayed as saviours of the downtrodden. communists will immediately appear to condemn Hindu Gurus for every manufactured controversy whereas the same lot are silent over issues like this.

Hindus have to wake up and actively guard against the forces that are out to destroy all Hindu institutions. Hindus need to consolidate the Hindu vote as a first step to achieve this. 

Father Robin Vaddakumchiryil was arrested for raping a minor girl.(Picture courtesy: K Sasi)

Kerala priest who spoke against child abuse arrested for raping minor girl
Ramesh Babu Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
http://www.hindustantimes.com/ | Feb 28, 2017 09:02+00:00

A priest who spoke against child abuse was arrested in Kerala for alleged rape of a minor which led to her pregnancy, police said on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old gave birth to a baby at a private hospital last month and the accused had shifted both the mother and the newborn to an orphanage in north Kerala’s Wayanad to hush up the incident.

Father Robin Vaddakumchiryil (48), the vicar of St Sebastian church in Kottiyoor, was arrested after the girl narrated the incident to officials of childline, a telephone helpline for children in distress. Childline officials then tipped off police.

The church official had allegedly abused the girl at the computer class provided by the church, police said.

A spokesperson of the Thalasserry diocese said the priest has been taken out of all religious duties.

Police said a DNA test will be held on the priest to ascertain to strengthen the case against him. Police have also booked the private hospital, where she delivered a baby, for not informing police.

“The priest also made an attempt to implicate the girl’s father in the case. Since the family is from an economically weaker section he tried to implicate him and told many about this,” said deputy superintendent of police Prajeesh, who uses only his first name. The priest was planning to travel to Canada to evade arrest, he said.

A police official said the priest was the chief guest at a function organised recently against crime against children. He was also known to have spoken on the issue earlier.

Police quoted the minor as saying that she has been in trauma for the last two years and the priest threatened her not to reveal the incident to anyone. Fearing social stigma, her parents also kept silent. They are also likely to be questioned.

The victim’s family lives near the church and the girl used to visit the church regularly.

The priest has been charged under stringent provisions of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and IPC.

The new born was later shifted to a government-run home, said Peravur police inspector N Sunil Kumar, who is investigating the case.

The government had recently decided to fast-track cases related to sexual assault on minors.

Activists say that in most cases of child sexual abuse, the victims are known to the accused.

Data from the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) show that in 2015, more than 15,000 children faced sexual assault. In more than 8,300 incidents, the accused was known to the child.

Before being posted at the Church in Kannur, Father Robin also served as the Managing Director of a Malayalam daily "Deepika" and later as the Co-ordinator at a television channel Jeevan TV.

A source at Deepika told "Robin was the Managing Director of the Deepika daily when it was run by industrialist Faris Abubaker. At that time, he was known to be close to Bishop Mar Mathew Arackal. When the daily was taken over by the diocese he was removed from the post. Later he worked as manager of some schools under the diocese. During his tenure in Deepika he was assigned with management roles and sometimes he came to office even without wearing the robe."

"The priest worked with Jeevan TV for a couple of years and left eight or nine years ago. He was in the role of a coordinator appointed by the management. Now he owes no allegiance with the channel," said Babu Velappaya, Chief News Editor Jeevan TV. 

Kerala priest rape case: The Church's defense is sick and dangerous

The convenient excuse that the church hands out each time such an assault comes out in the open is this – “Not all priests are like that.”

Dhanya Rajendran
Sunday, March 05, 2017 - 20:55

I believe in God. In those low-points of my career or in my personal life, for one fleeting moment I look up to God and pray that everything gets alright. I believe in prayer.

But no amount of religiosity, spirituality or faith in God can get anyone to defend or justify an act as sickening and predatory as a Christian priest getting a 16-year-old girl pregnant, and then covering it up.

And yet, this is exactly what the Church in Kerala is doing. Worse, many connected with the priest directly or indirectly are openly blaming the child.
Here are those reprehensible lines from Sunday Shalom, a magazine supported by the Catholic Sabha in Kerala, which would get anyone to seethe in anger.

"Here, the girl is above the age of 15. Let me tell you this, as I consider you like my daughter - you are also at fault. Before the Lord, it is you who will have to answer first. Daughter, why did you forget who a priest is? He has a human body and has temptations. He may have forgotten his position for a few seconds, my child who has taken the Holy Communion, why didn't you stop or correct him?”

The girl the article blames is the 16-year-old who recently delivered a child at a hospital in Kannur. After an attempt to cover-up by the girl’s family, the priest who had allegedly raped her and impregnated her was arrested.

The alleged sexual predator, Father Robin or Mathew Vadakkancheril, was no stranger to the people of Kannur. He was seen on TV discussing crimes against children, had worked with two media organisations and had been a vociferous supporter of farmers’ rights in Kerala. As it turned out, that was just one side of his personality.

But according to Shalom magazine, Father Robin is an ‘aberration’.
“There are many people who do good deeds, how come people are not seeing that? Why are not good thing said about this people? To ridicule all priests in the name of all mistakes committed by one or two priests is saddening the entire community?”
There is more.

“Even Judas was Jesus’s disciple, today we are walking behind this disciple. Those who need to be isolated, should be isolated but let’s not throw mud who have not done any mistakes. We can proud call every priest as a virtue we have earned, allow them to walk confidently in their robes.”

Later, in a reply to TNM, the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council said that out of 9033 priests in Kerala, only one or two ‘commit sins’. And these sins were conveniently blamed on ‘increasing consumerism’ – whatever that means. Read our full story here.

The cycle of assault, insult, gut-wrenching victim-blaming and whatboutery never seems to end. After Father Robin’s arrest, actor and filmmaker Joy Mathew commented that all priests should be castrated.  Joy Mathew’s comment is outlandish, but Shalom magazine had a strange counter point to make.

“Kerala is a land where a biological father has raped and impregnated his daughter. Does that mean all fathers should be castrated?” the magazine asked. In fact, Shalom magazine and many other ‘believers’ have been on a rampage for days claiming that Father Robin is just one ‘rotten egg’ and the community of priests cannot be blamed for one person’s actions.

Much of this mindless bluster driven by male ego and religious insecurity, but this blatant falsifying of events and twisting of facts cannot be allowed to pass.

For one, people like Father Robin (presuming he may be innocent) are not an aberration or single rotten egg. There are many like them in the system and more stinking ones helped people like him cover it up.

The 16-year-old’s parents claim they never knew about the pregnancy. They told the police that initially they took their daughter to a homoeopathy doctor as she was missing her periods. But their version was questionable from day one, and there is enough reason now to believe that the priest had bribed the poor family to keep quiet. The delivery was done in a hospital owned and run by the church. The infant was quickly shifted to an orphanage. The entire issue would never have come to light if not for an anonymous letter that someone sent to the Child Welfare Committee.

When the family, the hospital and other members of the Church clearly seem to be complicit in helping the father get away with the rape, why is he being projected as a ‘single’ perpetrator functioning alone?

Incestual rapes and child abuse within homes is a problem plaguing our country, one that few wish to acknowledge. But Shalom magazine’s retort to Joy Mathews is problematic and plain erroneous. There can be no comparisons drawn between offenders within a family and a priest who is insulated by the system he works for.

The convenient excuse that the church hands out each time such an assault comes out in the open is this – “Not all priests are like that.”

Well than how many is bad enough?
Kerala has seen at least 10 cases of priests being accused or convicted of child abuse in the last few years. And there is ample evidence to prove that each time an abuse is reported, the ‘community’ gets together to cover it all up.

World over, the church is being criticized for being insular and not looking inward. The moral failure, cover-ups, protecting and then distancing the church from the accused has been a pattern that has been reported since the previous century – and yet we continue to respond the same way?

What’s worse is that even those from within the community who choose to speak out against the rape and abuse are targeted. Whether it was Sister Jesme, Sister Anita or Sister Mary, those who have spoken about sexual and other offenses shielded by the church have been branded as traitors.

Over the years, there are many priests who have been accused or even convicted by courts.  A 2010 plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, an apex body of catholic churches in India, had said they would have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to abuse of children in institutions run by the Church.

The spokesperson Babu Joseph Karakombil had then said that ‘any clergy member accused of sexual abuse would be suspended from all priestly duties, and in extreme cases, the Church would consider defrocking the priest’.

Despite these proclamations, priests are transferred within seminaries or simply given other posts – no real punishment is given to them. A case in point is Father Jeyapaul. Convicted of sexual abuse in Minnesota, the priest was reinstated and given a position by the Ootacamund diocese in Tamil Nadu. Despite media attention, the church has brazened it out and never bothered to oust Jeyapaul or apologise for their deplorable action.

Cover-up, protecting the accused and allowing them to continue with the church only emboldens others and sends out the message that the system will pardon abuse. To be fair to the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council, they have defrocked priests convicted of sexual crime – but is that enough?

In the name of religion and God almighty, a sexual predator is being given a free pass. I ask the ‘believers’ who justify the priest, you might have faith in your God, but do you have any humanity left?

Catholic priest, two nuns who covered up rape of Kerala minor girl surrender

Updated: Mar 17, 2017 12:26 IST

Following a Kerala high court direction, a Catholic priest and two nuns surrendered before the police early on Friday morning here in connection with the rape of a minor.

On Tuesday, the high court, while hearing their anticipatory bail plea, directed them to surrender before the police within five days.

Only one person, Thankamma, who was also asked to surrender before the police, remains at large.
All the four accused were on the run after the police found they were involved in helping the 49-year-old Catholic parish vicar near Kannur and prime accused Robin Vadakkanchery, who allegedly raped the minor.

Vadakkanchery has been arrested for the alleged rape of the 17-year-old school girl, who gave birth to a baby boy in February.

The first to arrive was Catholic priest Thomas Therakom who headed the state-run welfare committee of Wayanad district, followed by the two nuns, a medical professional Betty Jose and Sister Ophelia.

All of them presented themselves before Peravoor Circle Inspector of police N Sunil Kumar.
The high court while directing all the four to surrender also directed the police to see that after questioning, they should be presented before the local magistrate the same day and should be let off on bail.

Vadakkanchery was picked up in February when he was on his way to Cochin International Airport to catch a flight to Canada.

After Vadakkanchery’s arrest, it was revealed that the incident was kept secret by Therakom and the three women.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Time has come for the Indian foreign policy to be recast - Subramanian Swamy

Center should recast its foreign policies & adopt give and take principle, says Subramanian Swamy
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy today said that the central government needs to recast its foreign policy and adopt a 'give and take' principle to escalate its benefits.

The Financial Express | 2017-02-25T21:58:55+05:30 http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/center-should-recast-its-foreign-policies-adopt-give-and-take-principle-says-subramanian-swamy/566602/?platform=hootsuite

Days after the killing of an Indian in an alleged hate crime in the Kansas City suburbs, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (
BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy today said that the central government needs to recast its foreign policy and adopt a ‘give and take’ principle to escalate its benefits.

Swami stated that, “Time has come for the Indian foreign policy to be recast more on a ‘give and take’ principle rather than speaking about the merits of India and why it should be given special status by other countries. This kind of diplomacy has now become old and it is old UPA style where you go petitioning the Americans. If you want something, then give Americans something which they want, and then, negotiate. Tomorrow if India is going to say that USA, India and Israel will cooperate to fight ISIS in Syria or other places, then Americans will be far more receptive to making an accommodation with India.”

Further mentioning that America is going to decide its national interest Swamy said, “We cannot blanket to tell Donald Trump that please don’t do this. You have to tell President Trump that we are strategic partners and we are ready to do the following things for you and you do the following things for us. It has to be ‘give and take with America and it should not be on merit or be given special consideration.”

Days back, a 51-year-old Kansas man has been charged with killing an Indian engineer and wounding two other men when he opened fire in a bar in what federal authorities probed on Friday as a possible hate crime that shocked the victim’s home country, India.

The shooting on Wednesday night led news bulletins in the country and triggered outrage on social media, where people voiced concern that US President Donald Trump’s “America First” position on immigration and jobs has fueled a climate of intolerance.

Navy veteran Adam Purinton was charged on Thursday in Johnson County, Kansas, with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder, District Attorney Stephen Howe told reporters. He declined to elaborate on the details of the incident or the motive for the shooting.

Responses to allegations against Isha Foundation

Responses to allegations against Isha Foundation

For 130 years, the area around Isha Foundation has been revenue lands. This means the government has been deriving revenue from it, from the legal owners. If the land has been maintained as a revenue land, how can it suddenly become an elephant corridor?
Every time a Hindu organization has a big event, there will be a bunch of protests organized against it. Such protests are usually carried out by the communists & leftists as the pawns and stealthily directed by other vested interests who function dedicatedly to malign Hindu organization, Hindu culture and Hindu interests.

In spite of generally abiding by all the laws, an image is created as though Hindu organizations and Hindu religious heads are criminals out to cheat the public. Hindus should be aware of the intention behind such protests and stand up to protect the Hindu organizations.

A few days ago, some vested interest groups filed petitions making baseless allegations about the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. This is a response to these frivolous claims. The final report filed by the district authorities reiterated the truth that there was no violation observed at the Mahashivratri celebrations. The same was also reported in dailies like Times of India dated 12.03.2013.
A few days ago, some vested interest groups filed petitions making baseless allegations about the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. We would like to place on record that Isha Foundation carries out all its activities within the purview of the law.

The accusations laid down in the petitions filed against Isha Foundation in the Madras High Court are frivolous and a compilation of twisted allegations. We would like to clarify that it is a 112-feet statue of Adiyogi Shiva (the Source of Yoga). The petitioner, incited by vested interest groups, is willfully trying to create a sensation by misrepresenting facts.

We have obtained the approval of the necessary authorities, including the District Collector, Coimbatore, the Forest Department and BSNL. A structural stability certificate from a government certified engineer has also been obtained for the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. A “No Objection Certificate” from the District Collector, Coimbatore for using wetlands for non-agricultural purposes has also been obtained. So the question of violation does not even arise.

These vested interest groups have been working actively to stop Mahashivratri celebrations. Even in 2013, a group has brought in a petition to stay Mahashivratri celebrations at Isha. The High Court then ordered the district authorities to file a report on the impact of Mahashivratri celebrations on ecology. Upon this directive, a team of district officials led by the Revenue Divisional Officer were present at the Mahashivratri venue to inspect various parameters and its impact on the ecology. The final report filed by the district authorities reiterated the truth that there was no violation observed at the Mahashivratri celebrations. The same was also reported in dailies like Times of India dated 12.03.2013.

Isha has been working continuously to protect the environment through Project GreenHands which was founded under the aegis of Isha Foundation, and has facilitated the planting of over 30 million saplings. Isha has been involved in preserving the ecology of the mountains by planting saplings and cleaning the mountains regularly. In fact, the lands in which Isha Foundation functions had very few trees in the beginning; the trees in and around Isha Yoga Center have been planted by the volunteers of Isha Yoga Center. Reports from the Forest officials have also reiterated the same.
In Isha, Mahashivratri has been celebrated every year for the past several decades with adequate efforts undertaken to avoid any disturbance to the ecology. This festival is also celebrated in several places across Tamil Nadu and India without causing any damage to the environment and ecology. These vested interest groups are trying to exploit these ancient festivals time and again to gain cheap publicity and sow discord.

Permission Letter from the District Collector for Adiyogi Statue

Further clarifications in the media

Isha Foundation, on Wednesday, has clarified that allegations of illegally acquiring land in Coimbatore were false and baseless. The Foundation was responding to an article, “Allegation of encroachment against Isha Foundation,” published on October 25 (in the Hindu), based on a press statement issued by P. Shanmugham, General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association. “It is highly defamatory to state that Isha had purchased lands from landless poor who got assignment out of the surplus lands measuring 44 acres,” it said.

The Foundation stated that it has never acquired land assigned to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or the poor. It went on to state that Mr. Shanmugham was wrong in representing the 44 acres as a single parcel of land; 37 acres are located in a separate part of Ikkarai Boluvampatti village in Coimbatore.

“An extent of 7.00 acres is located abutting Isha lands which were allotted to nine individual allottees, the individual persons appear to have purchased measuring 7.00 acres and the list of purchasers is also annexed (to the statement),” said Isha.

The Foundation said that only seven of the said 44 acres were situatated abutting its patta land. The association was trying to mislead the public by falsely stating that an extent of 44.30 acres was acquired by Isha,” the statement added.

Isha Foundation, however, said vested interests were trying to disrupt the event.

“We have got all the necessary permissions from the authorised people. These are some vested interests who are trying to create a ruckus to disrupt a major event like this,” said a public relations executive from Isha Foundation.

In a statement, it also said that “a no objection certificate from the district collector, Coimbatore, for using wetlands for non-agricultural purposes has also been obtained”, besides approvals from necessary authorities, including the Coimbatore district collector, the forest department and BSNL.
Statements on Land Encroachment & other Allegations

Below, we list the allegations made against Isha regarding forest land and elephant corridors and offer our readers the truth behind them.

Allegation 1: Isha Foundation has encroached on forest land and is located in the elephant corridor, with reports that three structures are constructed illegally, without proper permission from the authorities, including forest department.

Response: Isha Yoga Center is not constructed on forest land or elephant corridor. It is constructed on 100% Patta land. In 2013, Tamil Nadu Forest Department officials verified this, and clearly documented that the center is only on Patta land and has not infringed onto forest land. The document reference number is CFCIT/07/2013.

By definition, an elephant corridor is a pathway between two places where the elephants reside. The forests departments of the central and state governments have identified 88 elephant corridors, and Isha Yoga Center is not on any of them.

Allegation 2
: Reports that officials are reluctant to raze these structures, which were ordered to be demolished some three years ago.

Response: As mentioned above, Isha Yoga Center is built on 100% Patta land, and does not encroach on any other land. So the question of razing any structures is irrelevant.

Other Allegations

High Court Ends Controversy: Rules in Favor of Isha Yoga Center

The Madras High Court on August 12 ruled in favor of Isha Foundation in the Habeas Corpus plea, striking down the false allegations targeted at the foundation.

The Madras High Court on August 12th ruled in favor of Isha Foundation in the Habeas Corpus plea moved by Sathyajothi, stating that there was no truth in
Sathyajothi’s allegations that her two daughters – Maa Mathi and Maa Maayu – were being “brainwashed and held captive” at the Isha Yoga Center.

Court Ruling Ends Controversy

The Division Bench of Justices S. Nagamuthu and V. Bharathidasan dismissed the plea after examining the report of the Principal District Judge (PDJ), who had visited the Isha Yoga Center on August 10, to interview Maa Mathi and Maa Maayu. The Bench noted that the PDJ, “has categorically mentioned in his report that there is no truth in the allegation, and that the detenues are staying at the Foundation on their own will.” Striking down the baseless allegations made against the foundation, the bench said, “Prima facie, we are satisfied that they are staying on their own wish”. The Bench, after listening to the counsel of Isha Foundation, permitted the parents to continue visiting their daughters, as they have been doing in the past, with prior intimation.

Isha Foundation would like to thank the Madras High Court for upholding the truth, and for having brought the issue to a close, as some miscreants were misleading society and the public with a campaign of lies against Isha Foundation.

The Isha Yoga Center is Open to All

Isha Foundation is an open-to-all organization that promotes equality and openness. The foundation realizes that parents may have an emotional attachment towards their children. Therefore, it has never discouraged parents from visiting their children who reside at the Isha Yoga Center and also participating in foundation activities. Everyone is welcome to visit the center and benefit from the space. Several lakhs of people from various countries and states in India visit the center every year. No one has ever been compelled to stay against their will.

The Isha Yoga Programs are also open to all, irrespective of caste, religion, nationality or social background. Besides being offered in India, they are also available in the United States, UK, Singapore, Australia, Lebanon, China, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. They are offered in both rural and urban areas, and are attended by people from various social backgrounds and communities, including farmers, students, celebrities, businessmen and public officials.

Isha Foundation: Working for the Wellbeing of All

Isha Foundation has been working for over three decades to bring harmony, wellbeing and progress to all. Through powerful programs for inner transformation and award-winning projects for society and environment, the foundation is working towards creating an inclusive culture that addresses all aspects of human wellbeing. The foundation’s social outreach activities include: Project GreenHands, which has facilitated the planting of over 28 million trees; Isha Vidhya and the Government School Adoption Program which benefit 79,000 rural schoolchildren in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh; and Action for Rural Rejuvenation, which has worked in over 4600 villages providing free healthcare and community-building support to 7 million beneficiaries. Additionally, Isha’s efforts on International Yoga Day are bringing the benefits of yoga to over 20 million children in 35,000 schools across India.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Significance of Mahashivratri-Transmission of the Yogic sciences to the Seven Rishis

Significance of Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri, “The Great Night of Shiva” is the most significant event in India’s spiritual calendar. Sadhguru explains what makes this night so important, and how we can make use of it.

Sadhguru: In the Indian culture, at one time, there used to be 365 festivals in a year. In other words, they just needed an excuse to celebrate every day of the year. These 365 festivals were ascribed to different reasons, and for different purposes of life. They were to celebrate various historical events, victories, or certain situations in life like sowing, planting, and harvesting. For every situation there was a festival. But Mahashivratri is of a different significance.

The fourteenth day of every lunar month or the day before the new moon is known as Shivratri. Among all the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, Mahashivratri, the one that occurs in February-March is of the most spiritual significance.

On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. This is a day when nature is pushing one towards one’s spiritual peak. It is to make use of this, that in this tradition, we established a certain festival which is nightlong.

To allow this natural upsurge of energies to find their way,one of the fundamentals of this nightlong festival is to ensure that you remain awake with your spine vertical throughout the night.

Transmission of the yogic sciences to the seven rishis

Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situations, and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family situations observe Mahashivratri as Shiva’s wedding anniversary. Those with worldly ambitions see that day as the day Shiva conquered all his enemies.

But, for the ascetics, it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash. He became like a mountain – absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshipped as a God, but considered as the Adi Guru, the first Guru from whom the science of Yoga originated. After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him stopped and he became utterly still, so ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness.
Legends apart, why this day and night are held with such importance in the yogic traditions is because of the possibilities it presents to a spiritual seeker. Modern science has gone through many phases and arrived at a point today where they are out to prove to you that everything that you know as life, everything that you know as matter and existence, everything that you know as the cosmos and galaxies, is just one energy which manifests itself in millions of ways.

This scientific fact is an experiential reality in every yogi. The word “yogi” means one who has realized the oneness of the existence. When I say “yoga,” I am not referring to any one particular practice or system. All longing to know the unbounded, all longing to know the oneness in the existence is yoga. The night of Mahashivratri offers a person an opportunity to experience this.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Friend, father & philosopher of black money is P.Chidambaram

Friend, father & philosopher of black money is Chidambaram
If what is put out by Dr Subramanian Swamy is false why doesn't Chidambaram sue him?

Ram Jethmalani is a senior politician and eminent lawyer.

Friend, father & philosopher of black money is Chidambaram
Palaniappan Chidambaram, whom I shall for the sake of brevity call just Chidambaram, is best seen through black and white. And please don't get me wrong and accuse me of racism. I refer not to epidermis or mane, but to the economic colour of money. Some of his greatest contributions to the economy of India are his brilliant pioneering initiatives for changing the colour of money from black to white. And this passion has never left him.

Many of us have forgotten the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) 1997, which he announced when he was Finance Minister with the United Front government, granting income-tax defaulters indefinite immunity from prosecution under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973, Income Tax Act, 1961, Wealth Tax Act, 1957, and Companies Act, 1956, in exchange of self-valuation and disclosure of income and assets. The scheme was brilliantly conceived.

While all schemes in the past valued declared assets at current prices, VDIS 1997 brought in an arbitrary date of 1 April 1987. Gold and silver hoarders, and large property holders got an exceptional bonanza on this valuation system. Further, proof of purchase was not insisted upon, which gave complete freedom to the confessors to fudge any date they wanted to their own financial advantage and further plunder of the country. So, even if gold was bought after 1987, it could be shown as having been bought before 1987, and it was a win-win game for all stakeholders to rake in the cuts.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India condemned the scheme in his report as abusive and a fraud on the genuine taxpayers of the country. But the issue was forgotten, and the illustrious career of Palaniappan Chidambaram rose to greater heights in the UPA regime.
Those were his innocent days. What a long way he has come since the era when he was cooking up VDISs, so utterly transparent, that the loopholes and avenues to give relief to the looters stared you in the face. The world economy was also then a little simpler than it is today, and his best achievement was getting caught about his investments in Fairgrowth, which was involved in the Securities Scam of 1992.

Chidambaram had to resign for this utterly transparent investment in a company whose scam would have paid rich dividends. Unfortunately, he was not Finance Minister at the time and did not have the machinery to hush things up, and could only remotely control the markets, unlike his present capabilities as former Finance Minister and thereafter.

Being Finance Minister in the UPA government was his finest hour. He could fiddle around with share markets, capital markets, banks, financial instruments, such as, securities, participatory notes, tax treaties, not to speak of spectrum sale, and use his extraordinary innovative powers of black money magic to plunder our country with complete impunity. He assiduously cultivated the media with his clipped English accent (that led him down, now and then), occasional freebies, and sustained shadows of the Enforcement Directorate that he commanded.

Chidambaram cannot get black money out of his blood. Dr Subramanian Swamy has clearly stated in his website, "I now have further information from my usually reliable sources in the Union Government that the tapping of Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and his close associate in the Ministry, enabled Mr. Robert Vadra the son-in-law of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Karthik son of Mr. P. Chidambaram, to use the data thereby collected to manipulate and rig the Mumbai stock market. Earlier these data were directly provided by the then Finance Minister Mr. Chidambaram. I demand that the SEBI be asked by PM to initiate 'Insider Trading' investigation and prosecution of Mr. Vadra and Mr. Karthik."

If what is put out by Dr Subramanian Swamy is false why doesn't Chidambaram sue him?

The dark clouds of the 2G scam and the repeated evidence being given by A. Raja and other accused of his tacit involvement and other acts of omission and commission are menacingly closing in on Chidambaram. He is losing his cool, and more importantly, losing his carefully clipped English accent to its more indigenous roots more often. And like his colleague Digvijay Singh, his mind seems to be disintegrating to a stage where he has started talking gibberish.

Take this, for example: in reply to the BJP demand for his resignation for his involvement in the 2G scam, Chidambaram claims that the BJP is targeting him since he initiated a probe by the NIA into Hindu terror. Can any rational person see the connection between the two?

Take also his comments regarding the recent Mumbai blasts. As Home Minister, instead of taking stock of the situation, and providing leadership, the only intelligent thing he could think of saying was, "No intelligence is not intelligence failure." Even a college debating society expects better logic. It's something like saying "illness is not a failure of health" or "impotence is not a failure of potency".

Chidambaram's special financial skills have diversified into electoral politics also. He has the distinction of having been declared defeated in the last Lok Sabha election, after which he galvanized his special skills and local machinery, in particular, a data entry operator, and doctored a marginal victory on the recount. That is quite a record for fraud. And can one forget how the Indian Bank was cleaned up and left with only non-performing assets thanks to him and his Tamil Maanila buddies?

Chidambaram's record as Home Minister has been disastrous. Neither has he made any impact on internal security, with the worst massacres of his own paramilitary forces taking place in his time, nor on terrorism, which carries on in complete complacency because there are neither effective preventive or punitive systems in place, nor political will and national legislation to combat terrorism. It is on record and in the public domain that the Home Ministry gave incorrect names of India's most wanted list of terrorists allegedly hiding in Pakistan, some of whom were tracked living in India or in custody. Is this a testament to his fabled efficiency and commitment?

What a laughing stock we must be before the world. It is almost as if India is determined that it shall not combat terrorism, shall not have enabling legislation as enacted by the US, such as the Homeland Security Act 2002, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 of UK and similar legislations in European governments. India is determined not to have an effective national agency on the lines of the Homeland Security Department of the US. The ramshackle National Investigation Agency showed itself as a complete failure during the recent Mumbai attacks. Understandable, because its only mandate appears to be to investigate "Hindu terror", the last refuge for failed and hopeless Congressmen like Chidambaram. The CCTNS, JIC, ARC, NTRO (presently in another scam), and NCTC remain effete, scattered and unmonitorable, even by the Home Ministry. With such an unequivocal determination by the UPA government not to address terrorism effectively, I can only grieve for my country.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Credentials of Edappadi Palanisamy

What are the credentials of Palanisamy?

This article is reproduced from PGURUS with the sole objective of popularizing such information amongst the general public. By Aashish Shetty & Others - February 15, 2017

Is Palanisamy the right choice for AIADMK CM?Has the AIADMK fallen into the hands of a group of cutthroats, rascals and murderers? Is AIADMK obsessed with electing only people with criminal background to head the party as well as the government? These are the some of the questions coming to mind after seeing the way the party is run by its present leadership.

To his credit, Panneerselvam never entered the chief minister’s cabin even once but functioned from the small room he was allocated as PWD minister.

After the demise of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, O Panneerselvam was sworn in as the chief minister. No one was surprised by this move as it was a foregone conclusion that the man from Periyakulam in Southern Tamil Nadu has always been the Mr Utility of the AIADMK.

When the Supreme Court declared in September 2001 that the appointment of Jayalalithaa as chief minister by the then governor Fatima Beevi was null, void and untenable, Panneerselvam, till then an unknown entity was handpicked by Jayalalityhaa herself and was appointed as chief minister to keep the chair warm for her.

To his credit, Panneerselvam never entered the chief minister’s cabin even once but functioned from the small room he was allocated as PWD minister. Once the apex court ruled in favour of Jayalalithaa, Panneerselvam gave way to his madam and remained in the background.

In 2014, when the special court at Bangalore convicted and sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years imprisonment, it was again the turn of Panneerselvam to stand in for his honourable Amma. He functioned as Chief Minister till the Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa and associates of all charges in the Disproportionate Asset case. The moment it was known that the Karnataka High Court had ruled in favour of Jayalalithaa, Panneerselvan quit on his own so that Jayalalithaa could be sworn in again.

With the passing away of Jayalalithaa, Panneerselvam was elevated to the post of chief minister. A CM without power, that was Panneerselvam.

By the time Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital in September 2016, Panneerselvam had become a persona nona grata to Sasikala and her gang. Though the cartel tried everything under its disposal to keep him away from the corridors of power, the governor picked him up as the number 2 in the cabinet. When Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016, someone somewhere had launched a drive to keep Panneerselvam away from Amma. But he remained cool.

With the passing away of jayalalithaa, Panneerselvam was elevated to the post of chief minister. A CM without power, that was Panneerselvam. He functioned as if Jayalalithaa was on a long foreign tour and he was the same old stand-in chief minister taking orders from the mafia surrounding Jayalalithaa.

The controversy related to the appointment of Sasikala, the housemaid who went on to become the madam of Veda Nilayam, the palatial house built by Jayalalithaa, as the interim secretary of the AIADMK has been
detailed elsewhere. This column is an update about the happenings in the AIADMK since the Supreme Court pronounced the verdict in the disproportionate asset case on Tuesday morning.Sasikala, who had claimed herself on Monday February 13 2017 that she was a lioness and had taught Jayalalithaa the basics of politics, broke down and wept uncontrollably when told about the Supreme Court verdict. She was at the sea side resort at Koovathur where she spent the Monday night with the 120 or odd MLAs kept under the watchful eyes of bouncers.

A convicted person cannot contest elections or hold public office for the period of his/ her conviction plus six years after the conviction.

Efforts are on to get bail and delay her surrender for four weeks. As per the Supreme Court order, the lioness has to report to the nearest police station from where she should be handed over to the Bangalore Parappana Agrahara Police Station officials who would transfer her to the Central Prison. Now, she will be out of action for ten years because of the verdict of the Lily Thomas Vs Union of India case. A convicted person cannot contest elections or hold public office for the period of his/ her conviction plus six years after the conviction. This means that Sasikala’s public life would be confined to the four walls of the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail for the first four years and then six years in the beach side house in Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai as the Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden would soon become a memorial for Jayalalithaa.

Palanisamy, who was holding the Public Works Department, State Highways (all known as ATM departments) is said to be the politician who is close to Sekhar Reddy, the PWD contractor from whose residences the Income Tax department officials seized Rs.130 crores worth brand new currencies of Rs.2,000 denomination.

The AIADMK leaders themselves claim that this money belongs to Palanisamy. “He is a seasoned businessman who has used his clout in the government. Edappadi Palanisamy is known as Commission Palanisamy among government contractors. Whether it is sand mininig, purchase of construction materials, or construction of buildings, this man has an insatiable greed for money,” said a long time colleague from Salem.

It has to be noted that the MLAs are still under the illegal custody of the Sasikala family and are literally under house arrest at the sea side resort guarded by private security personnel.

Palanisamy has also been allegedly mentioned as a partner by the investigating agencies in the case dealing with the raids held in the residences and business establishments of Shekhar Reddy and
Chandrakant Ramalingam spread across Chennai, Bangalore and Erode.

True Values, the company owned by Ramalingam, handles funds for about 18 banks and their ATMs. Both are big time PWD contractors. When two top bureaucrats were arrested in Bangalore on charges of road projects, the nexus between contractors and Edappadi Palanisamy has been brought to light.

Remember the pictures of Sekhar Reddy and Panneerselvam worshipping at temples which went viral in the social media immediately after the arrest of the former? The inside information is that the picture was planted by Palanisamy and friends to discredit Panneerselvam. But this is not an attempt to portray Tamil Nadu’s chief minister as a role model of Dharma and good virtues. How can an AIADMK man, and that too one close to the party leadership remain honest?

Well, what has happened is that Palanisamy called on Governor Rao on Tuesday evening itself and submitted the letter signed by 123 MLAs.
Copy of Palanisamy’s letter to the Governor


1,00,000 Hindus rally against the Jihadis in Kolkata

1,00,000 Hindus rally against the Jihadis in Kolkata, say Donald Trump vindicates themFebruary 15, 2017 http://globalpress.hinduismnow.org/featured/100000-hindus-rally-jihadis-kolkata-say-donald-trump-vindicates/

Kolkata: In a major show of strength against Islamic Terrorism, around 1,00,000 Hindus of all race, color and gender marched and rallied through the streets of Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, India. On the occasion of the Foundation Day of the organization Hindu Samhati, the organizers recalled the sufferings of the Hindu community worldwide. Founded in 2008, Hindu Samhati is a Hindu organization working on ground in West Bengal and in the other states of Eastern India.

In recent years there is a tremendous growth of Radical Islam in the Eastern part of India. There has been a series of attacks on the Hindu community. According to Tapan Ghosh, President and Founder of Hindu Samhati, who is also a Monk, “In 2016 attack against the Hindu community started with the burning of the Kaliachak Police Station of Malda by the Islamic Radicals (on 3rd of January). It ended with the misery of the Hindus in Dhulagarh in Howrah (on 14th December). In between these two incidents, Hindus of Bengal had to witness countless episodes of gruesome attacks and Jihadi atrocities throughout this year. Kaligram, Ramganz, Ilambazar, Tufanganz, Chopra, Naihati, Kharagpur, Shankrail, Mallarpur, Baduria, Mohammadbazar, Barchandghar, Jalangee, Toltoli and many more places observed similar occurrences. The sheer volumes of these events, the limitless atrocities and unparalleled aggression have become the eye-openers for the Hindus. The persecuted people in Eastern India are seeing the organization as their only hope”.

Devdutta Maji , Vice President of the organization said, “Hindu Samhati is about to complete its 9th year. It will be ten years old next February 14. It was precisely this tenth year (10 years 8 months), when our Lord Shri Krishna left for Mathura after concluding the Vrindaban chapter of his mortal life. We do not consider this kind of events as only a casual affair in His life; rather we regard these as one of the integral parts of His course of life. As Arjunas to Krishna we have all taken solemn vow to stop the Islamists in their march.

Based on our 1400 years of Hindu resistance and sacrifice against the Islamists, we have founded Hindu Samhati. Donald Trump’s elevation to President and the recognition in America and the Western World regarding the threats posed by the Islamists to Humanity, vindicates what we have been saying for the last 9 years on behalf of Hindu Samhati. We appeal to world leaders to come together and wipe out the menace once and for all.

On the 14th of February every year, Hindu Samhati analyses previous year’s efforts and resolves for the upcoming year. This day has been transformed into a Day of Hindu Resistance and Hindu Resolve. People from Bharat and throughout the world arrive on this day to bless the Hindu Samhati volunteers. This mammoth rally is a tribute to the dedication of our volunteers on ground”.

The meeting was attended by Hindu activists from different parts of India and including the United States. Prasad Yalamanchi who came all the way from United States to join the event, recalled the role of the Hindus from Bengal in the Freedom Struggle of India.

“Hindus from West Bengal, writers, activists , intellectuals, entrepreneurs, monks and sages like Vivekananda had all come together to serve India and help it attain freedom. They inspired generations. At a time when the world is seeking freedom from the Islamic fundamentalists, we see Hindu Samhati playing the same role”.

Another activist Satya Dosapati, who along with Arvind Kumar had played a major role in the Trump campaign said, “When we hear the atrocities against Hindus in West Bengal, from America we feel helpless. However an organization like Hindu Samhati gives tremendous hope.

The way police is being beaten up, being killed, I.P.S officers are being beaten up in Kolkata Maidan, thana (police station) after thana is being reduced to ashes, police totally helpless, and Hindus are anyway being beaten up and killed – seeing all these, we feel the tremendous need for a organization who can work on ground in West Bengal. Hindu Samhati which banks on courage, strength, pro-activeness and action of the Hindu community in West Bengal is make a significant difference on ground.”

The Chief Guest of the rally was R.S.N Singh, ex-officer of Military Intelligence and RAW, India’s premier Intelligence Agency. He recalled the severe threat that India was facing from the rise of Islamic Radicals in West Bengal.

Hindu Samhati’s 14th February he said should be a National event where Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and other persecuted communities throughout India must come together to show their solidarity for the Hindus of Bengal. He said he was deeply impressed by Hindu Samhati’s work on ground and that compelled him to attend this rally.

Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman Panun Kashmir also spoke about the need for Hindus to come together and the need to help the Kashmiri Hindus re-establish their homeland. Kashmiri Hindus he mentioned have been living in refugee camps after being thrown out of Kashmir for the last three decades. None of them have turned to militancy, but still believe that they will one day return back to Kashmir.

Other speakers included Hindu Monks Swami Pradiptanandaji and Swami Tejeswanandaji spoke on the occasion. Advocate Joydeep Mukherjee of A.I. Legal Aid could not attend but sent his video message.

Debtanu Bhattacharya , Secretary of Hindu Samhati recalled , “Hindu Samhati is not just an apolitical Hindu organization, but is a movement which promotes absolute Hindu brotherhood. It has large number of women and men in its fold , resisting the aggressive and expansionist Islamists. Based on its work on ground, Hindu Samhati has instilled so much trust among Hindus today that Hindus from neighboring states are also showing interest. Hindu dignity and existence is threatened in every state in Eastern Bharat. We have to respond to that call of duty. Hence Samhati work has started even in Jharkhand and Assam. Next it will start in Bihar soon.”

Organizers informed that more than a dozen of Hindu Samhati workers were seriously injured by the attacks led by Jihadi Muslims supporting the ruling party TMC at 5 places. They are now hospitalized. About 6-7 vehicles carrying the participants were severely damaged in these attacks. Mamata Bannerji’s administration in recent times has totally failed to stand up to the Islamists. Thanks to her extreme Muslim appeasement and toothless administration, many feel that the Jihadis think that they have got full license to attack the common Hindus and Hindu activists.
Also with beheading of Hindus being very common nowadays in neighboring Bangladesh with which the state of West Bengal in India shares a porous border, and with regular reports of stringent Sharia Law being in place in many parts of rural West Bengal, where schools for women have been banned, entertainment like television sets have been banned and there is a mushrooming of Madrassas, members of the Muslim community joining the Islamic State, it remains to be seen what impact Hindu Samhati can play in the coming days. While the organization sees itself as part of the global movement against the Islamists, the tremendous size of the rally proves beyond doubt that it has ground support and is a force to recall with in the eastern part of India.

For More Details Contact: Devdutta Maji

Email: ddmaji.79@gmail.com

22 militants killed in two months in Jammu and Kashmir

22 militants killed in two months in Jammu and Kashmir, highest since 2010
PTI, Published Feb 19, 2017, 12:16 pm IST

The security forces have stepped up the heat against militants and killed 22 extremists in 50 days -- the highest since 2010.

Six soldiers were killed during counter-insurgency operations across the state that led to the killing of 22 militants as well, security officials said in Srinagar.

Among the armymen killed was a Major who died while battling militants in Handwara area of Kupwara district on February 14.

Three militants were killed in the operation, the officials said.

Earlier that day, three soldiers were killed in a gunbattle with militants in Hajin area of Bandipora district and a militant was also killed, they said.

Two days before on February 12, four militants were gunned down in an encounter in Kulgam district of Kashmir, that claimed the lives of two soldiers .

One civilian was killed in the exchange of firing between the militants and security forces while another civilian died in security forces’ firing on protesters who were pelting stones after the operation ended.

Intelligence reports say that many youths -- approximately 100 -- have joined militancy after the killing of Hibzul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year, prompting security forces to launch proactive operations in recent times.

Out of the nearly 50 operations conducted in Kashmir since January 1 this year, 16 operations have resulted in either killing (22) or arrest (three) of militants, the officials said.
The security forces have also been able to bust the module of overground workers of militants, especially in north Kashmir.

More than 40 overground workers (OGWs) have been arrested since the start of this year, they said.

“These OGWs do the ground running for militants, acting as their eyes and ears -- identifying soft targets, carrying out recce before striking and organising logistics like food and hideouts.”

“These workers might not be high on the priority list of security agencies but their arrest means crippling of the militants, particularly the foreigners,” a senior police official from north Kashmir said.

Friday, 17 February 2017

India is the world's testing ground for demonetisation-Belgian Deputy PM

India is the world's testing ground for demonetisation: Belgian Deputy PM - In a Q&A, Alexander De Croo hints his country may prefer India to the US as a strategic partner
Sanjay Jog | Mumbai February 6, 2017 Last Updated at 17:26 IST

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo 

While he emphasises the need for greater access for Belgian companies to the Indian markets in order to boost ties between the two nations, the European nation's deputy prime minister, Alexander De Croo, is nevertheless awed by India's
demonetisation drive.

In an interview with Sanjay Jog, he is also critical of Donald Trump's travel ban, expressing disgust on the part of the US administration to label certain groups as potential terrorists. Edited excerpts:

How can ties between
India and Belgium be strengthened, especially in the wake of recent developments worldwide?
These are certainly turbulent and changing times. I was bit surprised to see at Davos who is defending today sustainability and free trade -- it is
China. And who is against it -- the US. It has been a reality show for past two weeks. It is a disgrace to just start labelling certain groups as potential terrorists. That is wrong. It is a dangerous evolution if you start saying that the millions of people with legitimate visas cannot get into a country due to the fact there is a hunch that something might be wrong.

Against this backdrop, India's development is quite visible, especially the manner in which extreme poverty has been eradicated due to investment and trade. This is a good thing for the development of the world. We have so far preferred to go with the US, but if we have to continue without them, then this is what is going to happen. We will be looking for like-minded partners who believe in international cooperation and definitely
India is a very important partner.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said at Davos that while the (global) economic outlook is good, the political outlook is unstable. That is a very good summary of the state of the world today. The role
India plays in the world economy can only increase, and it will rise rapidly if it opens its markets further. And that means trading with Europe. That means real access. But what we are seeing today is that it is very difficult for the typical Belgium SME to access the Indian market.

This apart, protection of intellectual property right in a broad sense is an important factor.

We understand the priority
India has given the manufacturing sector, which is a good thing, but in the today's world, even if you decide to do so, you need to import parts. Making import of goods easier is what is needed to boost the manufacturing sector in India. This is not just about finished goods coming in but half-finished goods as well, which you need for manufacturing activity here.

But the Government has taken several initiatives to make doing business in
India easier. Do you expect some more?
I hear
Belgium entrepreneurs say they find it quite hard to understand the way fiscal authorities in India treat them. It sometimes feels a bit like harassment and that is not a conducive environment. We all agree that businesses need to pay a fair share of taxes and there is no problem with that, but unforeseen hurdles are problematic of course. Besides, import will not hit manufacturing activity in India. On the contrary, if you make import easier, it is going to make manufacturing in India easier. There is feeling that import has been blocked because the policy is manufacturing in India.

However, we need both. Making imports easy will boost both manufacturing and job creation in

India and Belgium have lot in common, If we work together on political and security issues and if we trade together, we will unleash the full potential we have as important trading blocks in the world. We stress reforms on the Indian side. At the same time, Europe needs to get its act together.

What are the key sectors to strengthen partnership between
India and Belgium?
Belgium is a gateway to Europe and it will benefit India to increase its presence. At the same time, Belgium companies can tap opportunities in bio-technology, pharma, renewable energy and water purification. Besides, the Belgium companies can also associate with the Smart City project.

What is your take on India's
demonetisation move?
I would actually love if we could do that in Europe. Digital payments will increase transparency, reduce cost and will make things quite easier for people. Paper money is a thing of past. But we have to do it step by step. How to do it? There has been great learning from India here. We are going in that direction. It is interesting to note that India is the testing ground for Europe and rest of the world in doing this.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

UCI astronomers determine precise mass of a giant black hole 660 Million Times Bigger Than Sun

UCI astronomers determine precise mass of a giant black hole 660 Million Times Bigger Than Sun

The speed of a disk of cold molecular gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332. (Representational Image)
Combined image of NGC 1332 shows the central disk of gas surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. The box in the upper left from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy's central region in infrared light and the dusty disk appears as a dark silhouette. The ALMA image, upper right box, shows the rotation of the disk, enabling astronomers to calculate its mass. The red region in the ALMA image represents emission that has been redshifted by gas rotating away from us; the blue represents blue-shifted gas rotating toward us. The range of colors represent rotational speeds up to 500 kilometers per second. A. Barth (UC Irvine), ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); NASA/ESA Hubble; Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey.

Astronomers from the University of California, Irvine and other universities have derived a highly precise measurement of the mass of a black hole at the center of a nearby giant elliptical galaxy. Working with high-resolution data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, the scientists were able to determine the speed of a disk of cold molecular gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332. From there, they calculated the black hole’s mass to be 660 million times greater than that of the Sun.

“This is the first time that ALMA has probed the orbital motion of cold molecular gas well inside the gravitational sphere of influence of a supermassive black hole” said Aaron Barth, UCI professor of physics & astronomy and lead author on the study published today in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We’re directly viewing the region where the cold gas is responding to the black hole’s gravitational pull. This is an exciting milestone for ALMA and a great demonstration of its high-resolution capability.”
To calculate the mass of a black hole in a galaxy’s center, astronomers must be able to measure the speed of something orbiting around it, Barth said.
“For a precise measurement, we need to zoom in to the very center of a galaxy where the black hole’s gravitational pull is the dominant force. ALMA is a fantastic new tool for carrying out these observations.”

Located at 5,000 meters altitude in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, ALMA is a powerful array of 66 radio telescopes designed to conduct observations at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Dense, cold clouds of interstellar gas and dust don’t emit visible light, but glow brightly at wavelengths that ALMA can observe.

Barth and his group trained ALMA’s observational powers on NGC 1332, a giant elliptical galaxy in the southern sky 73 million light-years from Earth. Elliptical galaxies are known to contain massive central black holes.

About one in 10 elliptical galaxies contain disks of cold molecular gas and dust that orbit their centers. In visible light, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, these disks appear as dark silhouettes against the bright background of starlight in a galaxy’s core. But ALMA can observe radio-wavelength light emitted by molecules in these structures. The emission is shifted to shorter or longer wavelengths by the Doppler Effect depending on whether the disk’s gas is rotating toward or away from observers, which enables astronomers to map the motion of the gas. In this case, Barth’s team focused on radio-wave emissions from carbon monoxide (CO) molecules, since the CO signal is bright and readily detected with ALMA.

In September 2014, Barth’s team obtained an initial ALMA observation of CO emissions from NGC 1332, which revealed that the galaxy indeed contained a flattened disk of cold molecular gas in rapid rotation about its center, making it an ideal target for a precision measurement of the black hole’s mass. The disk extends to a radius of nearly 800 light-years from the galaxy’s nucleus; only within the innermost 80 light-years is the black hole’s gravitational pull the dominant force. Astronomers refer to this as the black hole’s “sphere of influence.”

In September 2015, they studied NGC 1332 again with ALMA, this time using its high-resolution mode to produce a far more sharply focused map of the disk’s rotation. This new map resolves details as small as 16 light-years across. Crucially, this makes it possible to probe the disk’s rotation within the black hole’s 80 light-year sphere of influence region. The ALMA data show that near the disk’s center, the rotation speed of the gas reaches 500 kilometers per second.

By mapping the disk’s rotation with the high-resolution data, Barth’s group determined that the black hole in NGC 1332 has a mass that is 660 million times greater than the Sun, with a measurement uncertainty of just 10 percent. This is among the most precise measurements for the mass of a galaxy’s central black hole.

Past measurements of black hole masses from mapping the rotation of gas disks have mostly been based on hotter disks of ionized gas that glow at visible wavelengths and can be observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. However, ionized gas disks tend to exhibit more turbulent, chaotic motion, which lowers the precision of the mass measurement. A major advantage for ALMA is that dense disks of cold molecular gas, like the one in NGC 1332, appear to have a more orderly structure with less turbulent motion, which leads to a more definitive measurement.

Barth’s group is analyzing ALMA investigations of several other elliptical galaxies from their study, and six more galaxies are in the queue to be studied during this year’s ALMA operating cycle. UCI graduate student and study co-author Benjamin Boizelle said, “This observation demonstrates a technique that can be applied to many other galaxies to measure the masses of supermassive black holes to remarkable precision.”

In addition to Barth and Boizelle, the research team included David Buote of UCI, Jeremy Darling, University of Colorado; Andrew Baker, Rutgers University;  Luis Ho, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University; and Jonelle Walsh, Texas A&M University.

About ALMA: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

The findings were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.