Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Containers from Kerala used in London attacks? / Fasting ascetic passes away


Containers from Kerala used in London attacks?

G. Anand

British police say the containers were manufactured and supplied by a
Thiruvananthapuram firm

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An important clue to the recent terrorist attacks in
London may lie in plastic food storage containers exported from Kerala to
the U.K. and sold through retail outlets in that country.

A Thirvananthapuram-based company, which exports moulded plastic articles to
the U.K., was contacted by the London Metropolitan Police investigating the
bomb attacks. The BBC reported the Anti-Terrorist Branch's claim that all
five bombs that failed to explode "were placed inside dark-coloured
rucksacks or sports bags" and "all of them were made using the same type of
plastic food storage containers."

The British police have now found that the 6.25-litre containers were
manufactured and supplied by `Family Plastics,' a manufacturer of injection
moulded plastic articles at Manvila here. The company is a Rs. 4-crore
manufacturing and export unit owned by Simson A. Fernandez, a local
resident. London shopkeepers stocking similar containers have been asked to
contact the police if they had sold five or more such containers recently.

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Fasting ascetic passes away

A Jain nun (right) and others sit around Ratan Bai, who was performing
"sallekhna" or voluntary death, in Ganj Basoda, near Bhopal. Bai died after
fasting for six months.

BHOPAL(M.P.): Thousands of people flocked to the cremation of a 75-year-old
woman here after she gained attention by slowly fasting to death over six
months in a rare example of an ancient salvation rite of the Jain religion,
her family said. Ratan Bai died on Friday in Ganj Basoda, a small town in
Vidhsha district, 120 km north of Bhopal, her son-in-law, Satish Jain, said.

Like Hindus and Buddhists, Jains believe in reincarnation. Salvation is
obtained by personal effort - leading austere, non-violent lives. A few
Jains undertake "sallekhna," or voluntary death, a ritual for ending the
cycle of death and rebirth. They stop eating and meditate until they die. In
July last year, Ms. Bai decided to undergo "sallekhna." Accompanied by her
three sons and three daughters, she visited the head priest of the Jain
religion, Brahmanand, in nearby Katangi town, Mr. Jain said. The head priest
gave his approval for her to undertake the ritual.

She formally became an ascetic 20 days ago at a ceremony, he said. ``She
voluntarily stopped the intake of solid food six months ago. She took only
fruit juices and water. She stopped taking even fruit juices 12 days ago and
restricted herself to drinking small quantity of water everyday until she
died on Friday,'' said Deepesh Jain, her 19-year-old grandson. Ganj Basoda
has a population of more than 100,000, but many people travelled from nearby
villages in recent weeks as Ms. Bai's fast got extensive media attention.

``This was a way of ultimate purification of the soul,'' said Kiran Godre, a
Jain nun, who looked after Ms. Bai during her ritual. ``She became a saint
in the eyes of the Jain community and hundreds of people visited her during
her fasting days to pay their respect.'' -

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