Scams, Obama, WikiLeaks & Yana make 2010 spicy

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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2010 News Makers
It was an interesting year for India. From multi-crore scams, to techie rapes. From world premiers visiting India to the shameful CWG debacle. From India's arrival in the world sporting arena to high-profile weddings. From Munni and Sheila vying for viewers eyeballs to Yana Gupta's panty-less stunt. The world just became a stranger place to live.

But are we complaining? No, as Indians we have an in-built attitude to 'let bygones, be bygones'. With our netas utilizing the public's short-term memory to the hilt, we are absolutely sure that there will be no dearth of scams and controversies in the future. And our all-tolerant aam admi will get on with his life and will preach the chalta he attitude with even more conviction.

But is India shining? It sure is and we will persevere with our remarkable sense of optimism. After all, the grass is always greener on the other side. May 2011 bring us a year of lesser scams, lesser food inflation and more responsible leaders


* Haiti earthquake
Just 11 days after the New Year celebrations, the world stunned with earthquake happened in the Caribbean country, Haiti. According to Haitian government reports, more than 230,000 people died and  300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless due to earthquake which happened on Jan 12.

The earthquake, with epicentre near Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, marked a massive magnitude of 7.0 on the richter scale. It caused the collapse of 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings. According to United Nations report, Haiti earthquake affected more than three million people.

* Train accidents
Despite of precautionary measures adopted by the Railway department, train accidents continued to happen through out the year. More than 750 people lost their life in different accidents. Two accidents in Uttar Pradesh in Jan killed more than 15 people and injured many others.

The terrorists groups, Maoists and Naxals, also targeted trains in states like Bihar, Jharkand and West Bengal. In May, Maoists derailed Gyaneshwari Express train that killed more than 150 people and injured at least 250. Later, police killed the key suspect Maoist leader, Umakanto Mahato, in an encounter. In Jul, Uttarbanga Express crashed into Vanachal Express at Sainthia station in West Bengal killing 63 people and injuring another 150 people. Later, Indian Railway Board decided to install anti-collision devices (ACDs) to check accidents on tracks.

* Racial attacks on Indians in Australia
The increasing number of racial attacks on Indian Students in Australia continued in 2011 also. Indian students, the second largest group of international students in tertiary education in Australia, faced attacks in major Australian cities like Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

Following the increase in attacks, Indian government in Jan 2010 issued a travel advisory for Indians in Melbourne, warning of the increasing crime rate often accompanied by verbal abuse and fueled by drugs and alcohol. Australian government also admitted some attacks were racist in nature and others were opportunistic.

* Jyoti Basu passes away
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) party leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu died on Jan 17 at the age of 96 due to multiple organ failure. He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from 1977 to 2000, making him the longest-serving Chief Minister of any Indian state.

Following the Communist Party of India split in 1964, Basu became one of the first nine members of the Politburo of the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist). Jyoti Basu became the Chief Minister of West Bengal in 1977 and continued the post till 2000.


* German Bakery bombing
The terrorist attack on German Bakery in Pune, Maharashtra occurred on Feb 13, 2010. The bomb blast killed seventeen people, including an Italian woman, two Sudanese students and an Iranian student, and injured 60 others. The German Bakery was situated near the Jewish Chabad House and the Osho ashram in Koregaon Park.

Later Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Indian Mujahideen have claimed the responsibility for the attack. Police had also traced the involvement of US terror suspect David Headley behind the blast. According to police reports, Headley, who is at present is under US custody, had been to the Osho Ashram twice, during his visit to India in 2008-2009.


* Pratapgarh stampede in Uttar Pradesh
The Pratapgarh stampede was occurred on Mar 4, 2010, at Ram Janki temple in Kunda, Uttar Pradesh. The massacre killed 65 people and seriously injured over 100 more. The incident occurred as 10,000 people attended the temple to receive free items, such as clothes and food, on the first anniversary of the death of the wife of Kripalu Maharaj.

65 people, including 26 children and 37 women were killed and others were seriously injured when the main gate of the Ram Janaki temple collapsed. Later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 from the National Relief Fund for those seriously injured. Police filed a criminal case against ashram of Kripaluji Maharaj for causing deaths due to negligence.


The "fool month" became a blasting month for India in 2010. While Bangalore was shaken with serial blasts on Apr 17, on the other side, a part of the world was shaken with the news that India's tennis sensation Sania Mirza married Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik.

* Sania's journey from Indian girl to Pakistani Bahu

The bomb blast, which shook the Garden city on Apr 17, created a wounds in the minds of the people of the country.

* Terror attack shakes Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium

This was not the end of surprises. Lalit Modi, who was the head of Indian Premier League (IPL) was forced to remove from his following the hyped controversy of Shashi Tharoor and Modi.

* IPL Kochi: All out war between Tharoor & Modi

But while taking a look at the most memorable incidents, April must be dedicated to one of the sensationalised marriage of the year where Indian girl became a Pakistani bride.


In the month of May, Ajmal Kasab, the only survived terrorist in Mumbai 26/11 attacks, got death sentence after two years of the incident, though the case is still pending in Mumbai court with further proceeding.

* Death sentence to 26/11 Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Kasab

Finally, the month ended with two tragic accidents, which killed so many people. One in West Bengal and the other one in Mangalore. The plane crash in Mangalore killed 160 passengers, the Gyaneshwari rail accident left almost 98 people dead and 250 injured.

* Mangalore plane crash

So, let's dedicate the month of May to the memories of all deceased of the two tragic accidents.


Though the train mishap of Sainthia rail accident shattered India in the month of June, but the rest of the world including India followed the tune of Shakira's Waka Waka as FIFA World cup rocked at that time.

* Shakira's Waka Waka captures FIFA fever 

For the first time a European nation won the tournament outside its home continent as Spain bagged the FIFA 2010 trophy. Another creature Octopus Paul which rocked the world with its great prediction and enjoyed huge worldwide popularity.

* Spain - On the top of the World


* Kashmir protests
Kashmir has been dogged by internal conflicts and regional disputes for long. The year 2010 was no different with the effect multiplied when the government imposed curfews that made normal public life difficult for the common man.

Curfew restrictions are generally eased during the holy months of Ramadan and during Muharram, but this year all of that did not hold any good. The fact that separatist leaders also added fuel to the already burning situation came as no help either. Hurriyat separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani converted the volatile situation in the valley to his advantage and used the violence to instigate youths to protest.

The most deaths came from police firing towards the angry anti-India protestors and others protesting against the imposing of curfews. Deaths were reported in Pulwama, Anantnag, Pulgam and Kupwara districts with hundreds dead in the melee.

Shoe hurled at Omar during Independence-Day speech

JK Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah said, "the government is determined to discipline the security forces and book the violators of human right. It is the responsibility of citizens to play their role in influencing those who indulge in stone pelting". The People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti declined the Prime Minister"s call for an all-party meeting calling for measures to ease tensions in the region.


* Cloudburst in Leh
India was hit by this national-calamity in the form of a cloudburst and flash floods that washed away a major part of a town in Leh. With hundreds dead and so many others missing, this was the one of the most devastating event that India saw this year. This major tourist attraction received close to 80,000 foreign and 100,000 domestic tourists annually.

Cloudbursts: Facts, history, world records

Both the Prime Minister and President visited Leh and consoled the crisis-ridden people. The Prime Minister announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured from the PM's National Relief Fund.

Private donations also poured in from all quarters along with international aid. With not just material los, thousands of families were displaced and their means of income washed away due to the devastation caused by the cloudbursts.

Over 6000 army men and troopers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were involved in relief and rescue operations thereby assisting local relief-workers.


* Commonwealth Games and corruption row
The Commonwealth games stole the limelight even before India won a single medal in the grand sporting event. This time around the focus was not on the sporting achievements but how India hosted the event. There were collapsing bridges, leaky accommodation for visiting sportsmen, a dengue pandemic on the prowl etc...

Sonia asks Suresh Kalmadi to go out

The star though was Kalmadi and co who looted national wealth and plundered taxpayers money and delivering sub-standard quality fixtures to the National Games Village. The media also had a hay-day covering the hilarious press conferences by key Kalmadi-aides like TS Darbari and Sanjay Mahendroo who gave statements like "western hygiene is different from that of Indians". The shoddy work was lapped up with gusto and slammed by international agencies.

Commonwealth Games Tally

Last but not the least, the Delhi Games got off to a flying start inspite of the multitude of hiccups. With 38 golds, 27 silvers and 36 bronze medals, the largest medal haul came from archery, boxing and shooting.


* Arundhati Roy cuts Kashmir from India
Well-known activist, socio-political commentator and writer Arundhati Roy faced a lot of flak for her Anti-India speeches. Controversy's favourite child, Arundhati was booked under sedition charges for giving out statements like "India became a colonising power after 1947. Kashmir was never a part of India".

Arundhati betrayed India, should be banished: BJP

She was co-accused along with separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in a pro-azadi seminar on Kashmir in New Delhi on Oct 21. The speech triggered widespread public fury with protestors and members from the opposition burning effigies and claiming that she should be banished from the country. The Union home ministry had stated on Oct 25 that a case under 124-A under Indian Penal Code for sedition was possible.

* Adarsh Housing scam
This was a scam that was different and above all high-handed involving politicians, bureaucrats and army personnel. With key army personnel involved in the multi-crore housing scam, the Defence Ministry were dragged into the sorry state of affairs for the first time. This led to Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan relinquishing his post.

AICC asks Chavan to step down

The Adarsh Housing Society in Colaba, Mumbai was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a 31-storey and allotted to bureaucrats, top defence officers, a former environment minister and legislators.

The scam involved irregularities in the allotment of apartments to those who actually deserve it. Former army chiefs Deepak Kapoor and NC Vij are facing charges. CBI has ordered an inquiry in the matter. The icing-on-the-cake was when Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh also claimed that the Adarsh society did not have environmental clearance and proclaimed that it needs to be demolished.


* The Grand Obama visit
US President Barack Obama landed up for four days visit in India on Nov 6, 2010. PM Manmohan Singh with his wife Gursharan Kaur personally received Obama and US First Lady Michelle Obama.

US supports India for UNSC seat: Obama

Obama bagged business worth USD 10 billion that would help him to put US economy back on track and generate 50,000 employment for Americans. India promised to purchase hi-tech cargo planes from US that will help to pay 22,000 US jobs. This visit could help Obama to continue in office for more than one term presidency.

Mumbai Diwali: Obama & Michelle tap feet with students

Obama visited to Mani Bhavan in Mumbai (Gandhi Museum), signed business contracts with Indian CEO's, offered homage to 26/11 martyrs. Obama celebrated Diwali with school children, interacted and answered for questions asked by young students. Obama and Singh made a joint statement attended the press meet and Obama addressed Indian parliament.

* Asian Games 2010
The 2010 Asian Games kept Indian's figures crossed. India won 64 medals including 16 gold medals. Many heroes made India to feel proud in world of sports. The 2010 Asian Games was hosted by China for the second time after Beijing in 1990. This Multi-sport event started on Nov 12 and ended on Nov 27. The total of 476 events in 42 sports was contested by athletes.

View Asian Games 2010 Medal Tally
Meet Golden Boy Somdev Devvraman

Indian billiards player Pankaj Advani won the first gold medal for the country in Asian Games 2010 Somadev and Sanam Singh won tennis doubles and Somdev grabbed yellow medal once again in tennis single. Indian women team won gold medals in 4X400 relay, Indian boxer Vijender Singh grabbed 14th gold medal for India. Indian men and women team won gold in Khabadhi event.

* 2G spectrum scam
The year 2010 was the seasons of scams, many scams came into light, which led many ministers to quit. One of the India's biggest scam in 2010 was 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Then Telcom Minister A Raja was allegedly involved in the scam that made revenue loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crores, according to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

A Raja quits, spectrum over

The investigation exposed many big names, corporate bodies and other nexus that was involved in making 2G mega scam.

Ready to appear before PAC in 2G scam: Manmohan

According to CAG report in 2008, out of the 122 license issued, 85 license were issued for the companies who didn't match the basic eligibility criteria. Based on the CAG report many Telecom companies were under the scanner. These include Uninor, Loop Telcom, Aliance Infratech which later merged with Etisalat telecom, Videocon telecom and Estel.

* Bihar Assembly polls
Politics took over the center stage in the year 2010. One remarkable happening, which created a history in chapter of Indian Politics was 2010 Bihar assembly polls.

Nitish creates history in Bihar; grabs 206 seats
Bihar Assembly polls analysis

Nitish Kumar won the election for second term as a chief Minister, with a landslide victory that ended Lalu Prasad era in Bihar. Nithish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) ally turned out to be a massive success, which sacked 206 seats.

* WikiLeaks cablegate
The US government was annoyed by the Whistleblower website WikiLeaks release. The diplomatic cables were said to be the opinions and foreign policy of US. The release of diplomatic cables challenged the US foreign policy and embarrassed US in front of other nations.

US asks to spy on UN: WikiLeaks exposes
WikiLeaks release: Hillary mocks India's UNSC bid

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was held responsible for releasing some important classified US documents. Assange was detained in London for allegedly molesting and raping a Swedish woman, meanwhile Assange was successful in bagging the followers and supporters around the world for is work. The attack on Moneybookers and other websites by Assange supporters leaped, after his incarceration.

India fears Pakistan, says US: WikiLeaks exposes

WikiLeaks also released some cables about India. The cables spilled about US ' opinion about 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The another cable stated that Pakistan fears India and Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Recent cables also spelled the names of P Chidambaram, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and many more leaders.

* YS Jagan resigns from Congress
The resignation of Kadapa MP YS Jaganmhoan Reddy and his mother Vijayamma wife of Former chief Minister YS Rajashekahara Reddy, forced Congress top brass for the formation of new cabinet.

Jagan to float new party

The Sakshi TV the channel owned by Jagan televised that PM Manmohan Singh as the rubber stamp of Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi. This led Sonia to put Jagan into the discussion to decide either to keep him or terminate him from the party.

Welcome to my party, says Jagan to Cong rebels

The prime motive behind Jagan's resignation is to form his own party and to get a firm identity and recognition which he lacked in Congress.

* Radia tapes - Indian version of WikiLeaks
The release of corporate lobbyist Nirra Radia's conversation tapes on 2G spectrum allocation embarrassed India. Radia's conversation with political leaders, corporate tycoons and journalist revealed the nexus and dirty politics behind the 2G spectrum scam.

Praful Patel working for Vijay Mallya: Radia tapes
Karunanidhi is a totally confused man: Nira Radia

This tape releases led Ratan Tata and Rajeev Chandrashekar for muck-throwing and blame-games by writing open letters to each other and that was lapped up by the media with open arms.

Ratan Tata-Rajeev Chandrashekar 'Letter War' on Radia tapes
Nira Radia a spy, says govt in affidavit to Tata

Radia tapes spilled big names like, Ratan Tata, DMK chief Karunanidhi, and his daughter Kanimozhi. The rivalry between politicians like Rajya Sabha member NK Singh, Aviation Minister Praful Pate was revealed and even Vijay Mallya name buzzed around the Raid tape controversy.


* Parliament deadlock
Oppositions mainly BJP strongly demand for the  Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on 2G spectrum scam. But the demand was rejected by the government,which led for parliament deadlock through out the winter session. The winter session ended as a futile.

The parliament was deadlocked for 22 days and wasted 114 crucial business hours. It is said that Rs 9 crore is loss if parliament stops functioning for one day.

Still Opposition demanding for JPC probe and planned rallies against corruption.

* Saina wins Hong Kong Open Series
Hong Kong open series in 2010 on Dec 12, helped Saina Nehwal, to regain her position after her loss in quarter finals in Asian Games 2010 in China.

Audi India, please gift Saina Nehwal an A8!

Saina Nehwal made a great come back by defeating opponent Wang Shixian, Asian Games 2010 gold medalist.

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