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Engraved menhir found in India. Dates back to the time between 1,000 and 300 BCE

Mon, 10 May 2010 17:41:24 GMT
K. Venkateswara Rao standing beside the new menhir he discovered in India’s Guntur district
A freelance Indian archeologist has discovered an engraved megalith menhir on an open field about 100 kilometers from the southeastern city of Guntur.

K. Venkateshwara Rao found the menhir on the left bank of Nagaleuru, a tributary of the Krishna at Karampudi, The Hindu reported.

The Menhir, which dates back to the time between 1,000 and 300 BCE, stands alone facing the north-east and bears rock engravings at 8 to 9 feet off the ground.

Menhirs are remnants of the prehistoric megalithic civilization, when people used signs to communicate. Archaeological evidence also shows that they were used as places of worship.

Mr. Rao, who spotted the Menhir after years of research, calls it a “rare and unusual discovery and probably the first-of-its kind in the country.”

It is the first time that a menhir with petroglyphs has been found.

The engravings include three rows of different patterns. The upper row features four concentric circles with four small lines and a small pointed base.
Below the circular patterns, there are shapes of a crawling animal with an elongated head, a humped bull with V-shaped antlers and a peacock.

The lowest row depicts two men carrying a pole on their shoulders and moving towards east.

“The rare discovery is of great historical importance and could lead to further study on pre-historic civilizations in the country,” Mr. Rao said.


India and Naxalite violence: The Red Corridor – or Blood Corridor, expanding or contracting – winning hearts and minds ?!!

Cong sets up panel to study The Red Threat

, April 4: Congress leaders in the state are worried.

Following the Maoist diktat to either oppose Operation Greenhunt or face action, a nervous state unit of the party today set up a committee to look into the situation and suggest possible measures the party could adopt to counter it.

The extremists reportedly threatened action against Congressmen if they did not oppose the anti-Maoist operations.

“The Maoists have already executed their threat by killing Dalbhumgarh block president Govardhan Mahli last week,” Congress state president Pradeep Balmuchu told The Telegraph.

He added that around 24 members of Chhatarpur block in Palamau, including block president Gopal Prasad Singh, had resigned four days ago after they were told by the rebels to either oppose the operations or quit the party.

Former Chhatarpur MLA Radha Krishna Kishore has been made convenor of the five-member committee, which also comprises former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi, Rajya Sabha member Dheeraj Prasad Sahu, Minority Commission chairman Gulfam Mujibi and former MLA Niel Tirkey.

Balmuchu said extremism had taken on serious proportions in Jharkhand with chief minister Shibu Soren issuing contradictory statements on Operation Greenhunt. “He has sullied the state’s image,” Balmuchu alleged.

According to the Congress state president, the committee will submit a report that will list the political and social workers killed in Naxalite violence over the years.

“Congress workers have been targeted after the operation was launched against Maoists,” Balmuchu said.
Balmuchu said Maoists, who were using tribals as human shields, could never be well-wishers of the tribals.
“They are using tribals to kill fellow tribals. Mahli was a popular social and political worker. But, instead of killing a tribal, they should hold a dialogue with the Centre,” Balmuchu maintained.
Though he could not explain the real motive behind setting up the committee, sources said the purpose was to convince the Centre to launch a full-blown war against the Maoists. “The committee will decide the state Congress response to the rebel threat,” pointed out a member of the committee.
“The police cannot be expected to give security to each and every individual. So, stamping out the Maoists is the only option. It is now or never like situation for us if we have to survive,” said the Congress leader.
He said that it was strange that the Maoists were tolerating the BJP that was ideologically opposed to CPI (Maoists) and targeting the Congress instead.

Balmuchu said there is a pattern in the selection of political workers being killed or threatened by the Maoists.
“Most of the attacks have taken place in border areas, which is a safe zone for Maoists. Also, the Naxalite operations on the borders are run by senior Maoist leaders. Dalbhumgarh happens to be on the Jharkhand-Bengal border while Chhatarpur is on the Jharkhand-Bihar border,” he said.

Buck stops with me, Chidambaram on Naxal attack

PTI, Apr 9, 2010, 10.47am IST

NEW DELHI: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday accepted “full responsibility” for the Dantewada massacre of a CRPF contingent by Naxalites and said the “buck stops at my desk”.

“I have been asked directly or indirectly where the buck stops after the attack. The buck stops at my desk,” he said at a CRPF function here.

Chidambaram said after his return here from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, a day after the massacre of 75 CRPF men and a state policeman in the Naxal strike, he had given it in writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that “I accept full responsibility”.

He did not go any further, saying, “Let me not elaborate.”

Analysis: Pakistan tells the USA, that it is time to pay up.

Pakistan is likely to bring a laundry list of demands to talks with the US today, as the two sides reassess their frayed relationship.

By Nicolas Brulliard – GlobalPost

Published: March 24, 2010 06:48 ET
Pakistani supporters of hardline pro-Taliban party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati torch a U.S. flag in Quetta on Feb. 4, 2010, to protest a U.S. court verdict against Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui, found guilty in the United States of trying to kill a U.S. serviceman. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — When Pakistani officials sit down with their American counterparts for a round of high-level talks in Washington today, they’ll be a demanding bunch.

They’ll say that their armed forces have paid a heavy price to fight what many here see as America’s war, and they’ll argue that their country continues to bear the brunt of the war on terror with bomb blasts claiming the lives of Pakistanis nearly every week.

“We have already done too much,” Foreign Minister Shah here last week. “Pakistan has done its bit, we have delivered; now it’s your turn. Start delivering.”

The United States government has already taken steps to address Pakistan’s grievances. U.S. officials have markedly increased the frequency of their visits to Islamabad in recent months, and America is helping fund the country’s recent military offensives. In addition, Congress has passed legislation that provides for $7.5 billion of economic and development assistance to Pakistan over a five-year period.

Despite all these gestures of goodwill, deep mistrust subsists between the two strategic allies. Pakistan remembers that Americans were quick to leave the region once their objectives were attained at the end of the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and the widely held view is that the same will happen when American troops depart from Pakistan’s neighbor.

U.S. efforts to improve its image have often turned into public-relations disasters, and anti-Americanism seems to be on the rise among the general Pakistani population.

“Ultimately, they want to change the tone of this relationship,” said Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “This is a realization on both sides that the relationship has failed to deliver.”

Qureshi, who will officially lead Pakistan’s delegation, intends to bring an exhaustive list of demands when he meets with his counterpart Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. He has identified no less than 10 “sectoral engagements” that go much beyond military cooperation and include everything from energy and education to health and agriculture.

Pakistan, a country of 175 million people — half of them illiterate — with an economy crippled by corruption and chronic power outages, has proved particularly fertile ground for fundamentalist ideologies and militant groups.

As a result, U.S. officials have increasingly emphasized economic development as a key component of their relationship with Pakistan, and the $7.5 billion aid package passed by Congress late last year was meant as a substantial move in that direction.

But the Kerry-Lugar bill, as the piece of legislation is known here, is a symbol of the dangers the United States faces when trying to woo the country’s population.

Instead of focusing on the bill’s potential benefits to Pakistan, local politicians and media preferred to turn their attention to the conditions of good governance the bill carried and labeled them as yet another infringement on Pakistan’s sovereignty.

More recently, a U.S. tour of Pakistani legislators also turned into a PR fiasco when the tour members suddenly decided to return to Pakistan after experiencing what they saw as excessively intrusive body screening at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Airport.

Perceived American favoritism in favor of India, Pakistan’s historical enemy, has also proved to be a major stumbling block in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

“Washington’s heavy tilt in favor of India and its helplessness in nudging India to seriously address Kashmir and other issues is another source of friction,” wrote Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant general, in The News, a local newspaper. “Pakistan also cannot kowtow America’s Afghanistan policy either unless it takes into account Pakistan’s security and strategic concerns.”

Pakistan has always sought to ensure a friendly Afghan regime would allow it to focus the bulk of its military might on its eastern border. The involvement of India in the training of Afghan armed forces is therefore seen as a strategic menace to Pakistan’s interests, said Imtiaz Gul, the executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“We do not want an army operating in our backyard … that has been trained by our archrival,” he said.

Gul said a recalibration of the U.S.-India relationship that would take into account Pakistan’s interests would go a long way toward mending fences between America and Pakistan.

He said the upcoming talks between the United States and Pakistan are unlikely to yield guarantees besides agreements related to the energy sector. Nonetheless, he said he views the intensification of the dialogue between the two countries as a major opportunity.

“I think they’re developing into a much more positive relationship,” Gul said. “Pakistan stands a very good chance to benefit from it.”,0