The seizure of contraband gold from a diplomatic consignment in Thiruvananthapuram

30 kgs of gold were seized by custom personnel on Sunday at the International airport of Thiruvananthapuram. The package that landed by air cargo is said to be under the name of the person who enjoys ‘diplomat immunity’. According to the sources the bag belongs to the staff member of UAE consulate general in Thiruvananthapuram. Also, it is not confirmed whether the staff member was actually involved in this smuggling or not.

According to them, the bag was not picked up for 2 days and no claims regarding the bag were made so after taking permission from the external ministry, the customs office seized the “diplomatic bag”

“We had definite intelligence about this. A search is going on and the quantity may go up. We have detained one person and are lookout for 2 more,” said Sumit Kumar, custom commissioner in-charge of Kerala and Lakshadweep. 

The custom commissioner claimed it to be the largest seizure in the recent past.


One of the officials informed “At least 13 such consignments came to the country in one year and they all passed without any check due to diplomatic immunity. Some of them were heavier than the latest consignment which weighed 70 kg. We are also probing some events organized by state government departments.” All of these consignments landed in Thiruvananthapuram.

Also, the bag consist of “diplomatic immunity” and name of the person on which custom commissioner quoted “we had a certain question and as per normal protocol, we request them to help us.”

Sources from the airport said that the gold was concealed in a bag consisting of bathroom equipment to avoid the detection of gold and worth of this captured consignment is said to be in crores.

“It came two days ago but since no one came to claim it, the bag was inspected and the concealed gold found,” they said.

A big spike is seen in yellow metal smuggling cases since the prices of gold are escalated highly in the recent period. The past two top gold seizures were seen to happen in Kozhikode

International airport from a charted flight of the Middle East in the past two weeks The consignment is said to arrive from a charted flight.

No one was expecting this smuggle during the time of pandemic. This was shocking for the officers and normal people as well.

On this Officials said they barely expected smuggle scenarios to happen during these serious times of COVID – 19 pandemic and were expecting to have relaxed checking in charted planes but they were mistaken. The investigation is still going on regarding the smuggling and maybe after this incident, there will be more rule and regulation regarding the import and export of goods.

                                   By – Anjali Sharma

WEAPONRY AND WOMEN: RESERVOIR OF NEW ENERGY

A glass ceiling was completely closed on Thursday when Defence Ministry of India sanctioned a formal letter granting permanent commission to women officers in the eight more branches of the Indian army. Following the Supreme Court, the endless struggle to break the gender discrimination and provide equality for women in the Army had to be battled right up to the peak level. The sanction letter of the Indian government specifies that women’s short-service Commission (SSC) will be granted in all the 10 streams in which they serve presently as the cause for occasional celebration.

“In the anticipation, the Army HQ had already set in motion a series of preparatory actions for conduct the permanent commission selection board for eligible women officers. The board will be scheduled as soon as all eligible women SSC officers exercise their options and requisite their documentation,” said an Army personnel on Thursday.

Women were introduced in the Indian Army only in short service commission since 1992. In 2008, women were first inducted as permanent commissioned officers in Legal and Education branches only. In 2020, 8 more crops are added as permanent commissioned officers is undoubtedly a good sign to break all prejudices associated with the Armed forces. Till now the percentage of women in the Indian Army was 3.89%, air force 13.28%, and navy 6.7% only. The irony is that only 1,653 women are serving in the Indian army of the 40,825 total officers.

Some intangible reasons like motherhood, physiological limitations, and troops from rural backgrounds not accepting women in a command role were quoted by our government but in February, it was discarded by Supreme Court at the time of giving permanent status to women in the Army.

The time has come for a realization that women officers in the Army are not adjuncts to a male-dominated establishment whose presence must be tolerated within narrow confines.”-Supreme Court.

This is not the first time in India that a woman has been seen as a warrior. History bears the witness to the battlefield story of Lakshmi Bai, the Queen of Jhansi. She is always remembered for her leadership in the war of independence against the British troops.

In 1943, amidst world war2, the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose also created the Rani Jhansi Regiment, all women crops of soldiers.

However, patriarchal society cannot accept this mutiny so lightly. In other parts of the world, in countries such as Israel and the United State, women were exempted to be active on the battlefield. And here our government is being pushed to make women’s role a bit more active in the Indian Army.

It can be assumed that for this sex stereotype and gender discrimination feminism was derived in India. Indian feminists have fought against some cultural issues within India’s misogynist society. The sorrowful thing is where women are revered as a goddess, their women have to fight for their existence even after so many years of independence. Such a healthy society can never be built with misogyny. So it is needless to say that the decision that the Supreme Court made will uproot these prejudices even a little bit. Our government also needs to think more deeply about equality.

Though the picture has changed a lot and gender barrier may have loosened eventually but the constant struggle against inequity is too far from the finishing line.

-Saswati Chattopadhyay.