The recent incident where eight Indian Navy veterans working in Qatar were sentenced to death on charges of espionage. It provides insights into the case, speculations in the media, and the need for diplomatic engagement to secure their release.
Eight Indian Navy veterans working in Doha have been sentenced to death by the Court of First Instance.
The Ministry of External Affairs has expressed support for the veterans and is working to bring them back to India.
This is the first instance in five decades of Indian migration to the Gulf where Indian nationals have been accused of breaching local security and given the death penalty.
The veterans were employed by Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a company that provided training and support services to the Qatari Navy.
The veterans have been accused of espionage, but reports of them disclosing submarine specifications to Israel have been disputed.
Speculation in the media has led to outlandish theories, with some describing Qatar as a "wannabe caliphate" and an "Islamist sanctuary".
Some Indian commentators believe that Pakistan played a role in the arrest of Indian naval officials, but no evidence has been provided to support this claim.
Speculations have been made that the harsh sentence is aimed at derailing India's closeness to the Israel-UAE-Saudi axis and curbing India's growing assertiveness in world affairs.
The Indian government's public hostility towards Hamas during the Gaza conflict is also speculated to have influenced the sentence.
Qatar, despite being a small Gulf state, has close ties with the U.S., other western powers, Iran, and Turkey.
Qatar has been actively involved in regional diplomacy for over two decades, with a well-informed royal leadership and outstanding diplomats.
Qatar's political initiatives are often low-key and behind-the-scenes, but it approaches bilateral and regional challenges in a measured manner.
The espionage case and the role of India's naval veterans would have been thoroughly investigated and sentences pronounced only on the basis of hard evidence.
There have been suggestions that the results of the investigations could have been shared with the appropriate Indian officials due to the close ties between India and Qatar.
An Israeli role in the case cannot be ruled out.
All countries, including India, take national security matters seriously and adopt a tough posture on espionage.
The sentences have no link with bilateral ties with India or developments in regional politics.
Patience and restraint are called for from the media during this period of detention.
Communal abuse, name-calling, and speculations only vitiate the atmosphere.
Diplomatic engagement with Qatar should be intensified to free the veterans.
The importance of long-standing, substantial, and mutually beneficial ties with Qatar should be publicly affirmed.
The issue of student suicides in India, particularly in Kota, a coaching hub for NEET and JEE exams.
8% of the total number of deaths by suicide in India in 2021 were students
Academic pressure is a major reason for student suicides
25 students have already died by suicide in Kota, a coaching hub in India
7% of students currently studying in Kota have considered ending their life at least once
Many students believe that clearing the NEET or JEE exams is crucial for a better life
Close to two in every 10 students in Kota often suffer from thoughts linked to the potential consequences of under-performing in exams
Over one-third of students in Kota experience such thoughts sometimes, while two in every 10 do so rarely.
Nearly one in 10 students in Kota experiences parental pressure often, and one-fourth experience it from time to time.
The number of girls who experience parental pressure is slightly higher than boys.
Students with immediate family members who studied in Kota before them are more likely to face parental pressure.
Finances can also be a source of stress for students, with 6% often feeling financial pressure and one-fourth feeling it sometimes.
A heightened sense of competition affects students, with 4% often experiencing peer pressure and two in every 10 experiencing it from time to time.
53% of students in Kota experience loneliness from time to time.
Nearly half of the students talk to their family and friends when they are extremely stressed.
Four in 10 watch online videos, television, or listen to music to relax.
Over three in 10 take a stroll, exercise, or meditate to combat stress.
Close to half of the students choose to sleep when they feel stressed, and 16% use sleep-related medication from time to time.
13% of students in Kota resume studying when they are stressed, which could be counterproductive in the long run
5% of students turn to smoking and 2% turn to drinking to cope with stress
Close to 3 in 10 students feel that their mental health has deteriorated after starting coaching classes in Kota
More than 4 in 10 students feel more fatigued after moving to Kota to study, with 45% of them being girls
3 in 10 students feel more nervous, lonely, moody, and depressed in recent times
29% of students feel that their anger has increased and 26% experience various types of body pain
Only 3% of students have visited a mental health professional, with 48% not feeling the need to do so
There is a need for a more institutionalized counseling mechanism in coaching centers and in Kota in general
Helpline numbers are available for students in distress or with suicidal tendencies: KIRAN 1800-599-0019 or Aasra 9820466726