The families of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are hoping to set up a fund to finance a continued search for the Boeing 777.The move comes after the governments of Australia, Malaysia and China called off the official search in January, despite calls for it to continue.The search, led by Australian safety investigators, had combed a 120,000 sq. km initial search area in the southern Indian Ocean without finding the plane. A group of international experts had recommended sweeping an additional 25,000 sq. kms identified using new ocean drift modelling but the governments refused to heed the advice.Other experts subsequently joined the call for the search to continue but without success.The decision means the disappearance of the plane and its 239 passengers and crew while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, remains this century’s biggest aviation mystery. Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the plane, told CNN on Saturday that relatives were working to create an international fund made up of donations from parties involved in the flight such as governments, plane-maker Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.”The fund will be invested and the annual investment returns or interests will be used for the search of MH370,” Jiang said. “Once the plane is found, the original donation will be returned to the donors, without interest.”There have been a plethora of theories about the fate of MH370 which include a deliberate move by the captain to destroy the plane as well as a possible fire and problems with sensitive electronics.While there is general agreement there was human input early in the flight there have been disagreements about whether anybody was at the controls prior to it plunging into the sea.International experts analysing information from satellite handshakes and debris from the plane believe it was uncontrolled when the engines flamed out.
Police arrested Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik on Monday in Srinagar to foil separatists’ march towards the Army headquarters to protest against the killing of seven civilians during the Pulwama operation on Saturday.Mr. Malik, who had gone underground, was detained by a team of policemen when the separatist and his supporters alighted near Srinagar’s Gaw Kadal area and started a march towards the Badamibagh area. The area houses the headquarters of the Army’s 15 Corps and is just seven km away from the spot. Mr. Malik and his supporters were wearing white dresses with a slogan: “Kill us all.”Mirwaiz condemnsIn a separate crackdown, the police arrested the Mirwaiz outside his residence at Srinagar’s Naseembagh. “It is preposterous to brand civilians as overground workers and terrorists. The Government of India has overplayed the terrorist, Pakistan proxy and instigators card. The world sees ever growing graph of atrocities and massacres of Kashmiris, who are only asking for a just and peaceful resolution of the dispute,” said the Mirwaiz.Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of a Hurriyat faction, was also placed under house arrest.In Jammu, Peoples Democratic Party leaders, including Yawar Mir, Firdous Tak and Aijaz Mir, held a demonstration inside the Civil Secretariat and demanded an “end to the bloodshed.”Roads sealedThe authorities sealed all the roads leading to the Army headquarters and imposed restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles in the old city and south Kashmir’s Pulwama, in the wake of the separatists’ call.The shutdown affected the life for third consecutive day on Monday in the Valley. Tension surged after three militants and seven civilians were left dead in the Army operation in Pulwama on Saturday.Police’s claimLocals alleged civilians were killed hours after the operation was called off and “were targeted deliberately during clashes.” The police said the “mob came dangerously close” to the security forces engaged in the operation near the encounter site. It was the highest civilian casualties near an encounter site this year.The State Human Rights Commission has asked the security agencies to submit “a factual report on Pulwama incident.”
Many sections of the people, including students and women, joined the campaign in Manipur demanding the protection of Manipur’s territory, against the backdrop of the understanding the Centre had reached with some Naga bodies, which held peace talks for the last 22 years. Students from most of the districts came out of their classes on Friday, squatted on busy roads and formed human chains, thereby hindering free flow of traffic.They raised slogans that Manipur territory cannot be compromised and diluted. Women activists and student leaders told The Hindu that Manipur is a State with 2,000 years of written history. M. Keinatombi, a woman activist said, “That Manipur had been an independent kingdom is established by the international treaties the State had signed with some foreign countries. Manipur had its Assembly and elected MLAs. King Budhachandra who was a titular head was summoned in Shillong, now capital of Meghalaya, in September 1949 and he signed the merger agreement under duress after keeping him under house arrest”. He had signed the merger agreement on September 21, 1949 though it was officially made public on October 15, 1949 to synchronise with that of Tripura, a princely State in the Northeast which was merged with independent India. However eminent scholars and other intellectuals in a public convention were of the unanimous view that the merger agreement with Manipur is “null and void” since the State Assembly never authorised the titular king to sign the agreement.”Women who take out torchlight procession every day say that they shall not rest till the details of the Naga agreement are put in public domain.After snapping ties on Thursday with the Manipur government, the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), formed by five civil society organisations quarter-backing the agitations, exhorted the people to launch various campaigns near the houses of the 60 MLAs and four MPs who are allegedly shirking their accountability to the people on this burning issue.Sunil Karam, coordinator of the COCOMI says, “Though the Chief Minister N. Biren had assured the leaders of the civil organisations to summon an emergency session of the Manipur Assembly it is now clear that there will be no session to take a resolution on the Naga agreement. On the other hand, Biren says he will be first to resign or to sacrifice his life if Manipur’s interest and territory are compromised. However some leaders point out that it will be immaterial if Biren resigns or takes the extreme step once the Naga agreement is inked.”Earlier another BJP Cabinet Minister. T. Shyamkumar said he will commit suicide if Manipur’s territory is compromised.However, women activists said that no purpose will be served by their “sacrifices” after the inordinate delay. Women vigilantes say that if there is nothing objectionable in the Naga agreement it should have been kept in the public domain. They further say that it is fearsome why the government is transporting security personnel in trucks, special aircrafts and helicopters to Manipur ahead of the public announcement of the details of the Naga agreement.Police said though they are outnumbered by students, women vigilantes and other activists in the day-and-night agitations, the additional forces from Tripura and other States have not been deployed in the trouble-prone areas yet.