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January 2019

Year After Koregaon, Dalit Politics

Remains Fractured in Maharashtra,

BUT MOVEMENT GAINS MUSCLE

A day after violence erupted at a peaceful gathering of Dalits at Bhima-Koregaon to commemorate the 200th

anniversary of the epic 1818 battle, the state government lost no time in rounding up Dalit protesters.

Mumbai : January 1, 2018, will go

down as a significant moment in the

history of Dalit movement in India.

For on that day, Maharashtra once

again witnessed the Ambedkarite

movement in full rigour, reminding

observers that their obituaries were

premature.

A day after violence erupted at a

peaceful gathering of Dalits at Bhima-

Koregaon to commemorate the 200th

anniversary of the epic 1818 battle, the

state government lost no time in

rounding up Dalit protesters. More

than 1,000 people were arrested in a

day, leading to the Devendra Fadnavis

government being branded ‘modern

Peshwai’ by liberal thinkers.

Parallels were drawn between the

Peshwa rule, notorious for caste-based

oppression, and the BJP government.

Dalit thinkers pointed out that Rightwing

leader Milind Ekbote was granted

bail and no efforts were made to

arrest Hindutva leader Sambhaji

Bhide, who allegedly orchestrated the

violence in which one person was

killed.

Raja Dhale, a founding member of

Dalit Panthers, a radical outfit active

in the 1970s in Maharashtra, said

nothing had since the battle of Bhima-

Koregaon 200 years ago. “… 200

years later, is democracy for everyone?

Have we (Dalits) been really

integrated into the society? The

answer is no,” he told Indian Express

in an interview.

Dhale questions not just the political

supremacy of the upper caste, but

also the continuity of socio-cultural

impunity against Dalits.

To such concerns, Sambhaji Bhide,

a former RSS worker and founder of

Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, parrots

the misplaced upper caste fears over

the misuse of the Scheduled Castes

and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention

of Atrocities) Act. “Democracy has

come to an end… By giving the

Atrocity Act to one community

(Dalits), we have brought about abject

humiliation to the Constitution and

democracy,” he had said at a gathering.

Making such statements since his

alleged role in last year’s violence,

Bhide has tapped into the fears of the

upper caste, seemingly gathering support

from sections anxious over the

Prevention of Atrocities Act. Since

Bhide was seen as close to the ruling

BJP, it was more or less assumed that

he would walk. CM Devendra

Fadnavis’ statements added fuel to

fire. The CM first reduced the violence

to “mere clashes between two

groups because of a misunderstanding”.

He then claimed there was no

evidence to show that Bhide was

directly involved.

Prakash Ambedkar, the chief of the

Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, however,

contested this apparent clean chit to

Bhide, saying social media has enough

proof on Bhide’s involvement.

While the BJP’s soft approach

towards those accused of the violence

has been attributed by opposition parties

to its “anti-Dalit” mindset, anticaste

thinkers view this as a conflict

between two ideologies --

Brahmanism and Ambekarism. It is in

this context that Dr Sukumar, an

Ambedkarite ideologue and professor

at Delhi University, wrote: “A culture

that celebrates Dronacharya, eliminates

Shambuka and relegates

Eklayva to the margins, would not tolerate

the Dalits’ slice of military victory”.

According to Kancha Ilaiah

Shepherd, last year’s commemoration

at Bhima-Koregaon was a symbol of a

larger unity among Dalits, OBCs and

Muslims.

Since anti-caste movements expose

the violent reality of caste discrimination

and rebuffed the imagined sociocultural

unity among Indians, it has

often being stigmatised and criminalised

by the upper caste society.

History repeated itself when Dalit

Ambedkar’s

Samata Sanik Dal, an

organisation founded

after the Mahad Chavdar

Tale Satyagrah, also had

to face similar accusations

from the upper

caste society, following

which Ambedkar himself

dismissed the allegations

as “foul” and “venomous”

in several of his

speeches.

activists who were protesting against

the attack on the peaceful crowd at

Bhima-Koregan were themselves

branded as ‘urban Maoists’.

Ambedkar’s Samata Sanik Dal, an

organisation founded after the Mahad

Chavdar Tale Satyagrah, also had to

face similar accusations from the

upper caste society, following which

Ambedkar himself dismissed the allegations

as “foul” and “venomous” in

several of his speeches.

In the post-Ambedkar era, movements

like the Dalit Panthers were also

branded violent and disruptive. Dalit

protests have always been judged by

the moralistic gaze of the upper caste.

On the one hand, Right-wing upper

caste groups castigated such movements

as ‘spoilers’ to their imagined

and so-called ‘social fabric’ of India,

while the Left-leaning and liberal

upper caste groups saw them with contempt

and labelled it as ‘identity politics’.

Significantly, the protests that followed

the Bhima-Koregaon violence

received support from caste and religious

groups opposed to the BJP;

groups that were not necessarily pro-

Dalits and from the predominantly

upper caste opposition parties like the

Congress, the NCP and the Left.

The violence and the developments

that followed also led to a churning in

the Dalit movement in general and

Dalit politics in particular in

Maharashtra. Dalits once again started

reorganising themselves by taking part

in protests. At a political level,

Prakash Ambedkar emerged as the

Dalits’ ‘own leader’ who negotiate a

better deal for the community when it

comes to sharing political power. Dalit

movements had for long been suffering

from lack of active leadership.

Although, the BSP filled the political

vacuum for some years, it failed to

create a strong Dalit leadership in

Maharashtra. That vacuum is now

being filled by Prakash Ambedkar. It’s

a sign that though Dalit politics in

Maharashtra is fractured and conditional,

the socio-cultural movement at

the grassroots has intensified, and that

unlike other states, Dalits can make

Maharashtra sit up and take notice of

their questions. See Page 2


WORLD

2 January 2019

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Special Invite- She Inspires 2019

Team IIW is delighted to

announce 'She Inspires Awards'

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Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

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Mumbai : The Maharashtra

Government enveloped the sleepy

villages of Bhima-Koregaon on the

outskirts of Pune under a heavy security

blanket as lakhs of Dalits from

across the country converged on a

British-era memorial where they paid

homage to the victims of the war. The

New Year's Day event last year

resulted in violence with sections of

local villagers attacking Dalits for

paying homage to members of the

backward Mahar community who

lost their lives fighting on the side of

the British against the Peshwa rulers

of Pune.

With Dalit organisations announcing

plans to mobilise 10 lakh people

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till late afternoon. Police officials estimated

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Fwd: Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy"

Stars, Ranveer Singh & Alia

Bhatt, Share First Look Posters

APNA TIME AAYEGA!

Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy" Stars, Ranveer Singh & Alia Bhatt,

Share First Look Posters

cid:image003.jpg@01D4A29D.F1CE47A0

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, who are sharing screen space for

the first time in Zoya

Akhtar's drama 'Gully

Boy', shared the first

set of posters from the

film.

The posters

unveiled by the actors

also reveal their

respective looks in the

underdog tale inspired

by the underground rap

scene in Mumbai.

Ranveer and Alia -

both sporting un-glam

looks - can be seen

seated next to each

other while they share

earphones to listen to

music.

Take a look at the

posters from 'Gully

Boy' here:

‘Gully Boy' is

Ranveer Singh’s second film with director Zoya Akhtar after 'Dil

Dhadakne Do'. He plays the lead in this underdog story, set in the

slums of Dharavi, while Alia Bhatt portrays his unconventional

love interest. The film also stars Siddhant Chaturvedi and Kalki

Koechlin in pivotal roles.

The film has already garnered tremendous buzz ever since its

announcement with the prep videos and star spottings creating

even more curiosity.

'Gully Boy' is also achieving international acclaim having been

selected by the Berlin International Film Festival for a special gala

screening. The news was announced by Ritesh Sidhwani and

Farhan Akhtar who took to social media to share their excitement

of the film’s selection at the Berlinale. Director Zoya Akhtar also

posted an Instagram story introducing the official selection.

Directed by Zoya Akhtar, produced by Excel Entertainment

and Tiger Baby, Gully Boy is slated to release on the 14th of

February 2019.

Join the conversation #GullyBoy

Bhima-Koregaon under security blanket

as Dalits surge in show of strength

Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dalit

icon BR Ambedkar, was among those

who offered tributes at the memorial

this morning.

Last year, Ambedkar's call for a

state-wide bandh following the

attacks on Dalits at the event sent

shockwaves across Maharashtra.

Ambedkar said the situation

was peaceful this year. "People in

the surrounding villages have

extended all help to those visiting

Bhima-Koregaon," he told

reporters in Pune.

Ambedkar said the number of

visitors would be far higher this

year. He thanked organisations

like the Kabir Kala Manch and

retired judges PB Sawant and BG

Kolse-Patil for popularising the

history of Bhima-Koregaon in

Maharashtra.

Ambedkar hit out at the

Maharashtra Government for calling

them Maoists instead of cracking

down on those who attacked

the Dalits last year. Meanwhile,

Chandrashekhar Azad 'Ravan',

who heads the Bhim Army, went

in a procession of motorcycles to

Bhima Koregaon from Pune. Though

the Pune police had denied permission

to Azad to hold a bike rally, the Bhim

Army chief and his supporters said people

were joining them on their own.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

PHE launches new

Change4Life campaign to help

families cut back on sugar.

Children have already

exceeded the maximum recommended

sugar intake for an 18

year old by the time they reach

their tenth birthday, according

to Public Health England

(PHE). This is based on their

total sugar consumption from

the age of 2.

This figure comes as a new

Change4Life campaign launches

today (2 January 2019), supporting

families to cut back on

sugar and to help tackle growing

rates of childhood obesity.

While children’s sugar

intakes have declined slightly

in recent years, they are still

consuming around 8 excess

sugar cubes each day, equivalent

to around 2,800 excess

sugar cubes per year.

To help parents manage this,

Change4Life is encouraging

them to ‘Make a swap when

you next shop’. Making simple

everyday swaps can reduce

children’s sugar intake from

some products (yoghurts,

drinks and breakfast cereals) by

half – while giving them

healthier versions of the foods

and drinks they enjoy.

Parents can try swapping:

a higher-sugar yoghurt (for

example split-pot) for a lower

sugar one, to halve their sugar

intake from 6 cubes of sugar

UNITED KINGDOM

10 year olds in the UK have

consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar

to 3

a sugary juice drink for a noadded

sugar juice drink, to cut

back from 2 cubes to half a

cube

a higher-sugar breakfast

cereal (such as a frosted or

chocolate cereal) for a lower

sugar cereal, to cut back from 3

cubes to half a cube per bowl

While some foods and

drinks remain high in sugar,

many companies have reformulated

products such as

yoghurts, breakfast cereals and

juice drinks, meaning these

swaps are a good place for families

to start.

Making these swaps every

day could remove around 2,500

sugar cubes per year from a

child’s diet, but swapping

chocolate, puddings, sweets,

cakes and pastries for healthier

options such as malt loaf,

sugar-free jellies, lower-sugar

custards and rice puddings

would reduce their intake even

more.

Severe obesity in 10 to 11

year olds has now reached an

all-time high. Overweight or

obese children are more likely

to be overweight or obese as

adults, increasing their risk of

heart disease and some cancers,

while more young people than

ever are developing Type 2 diabetes.

Excess sugar can also

lead to painful tooth decay, bullying

and low self-esteem in

childhood.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief

Nutritionist at PHE, said:

Children are consuming too

much sugar, but parents can

take action now to prevent this

building up over the years.

To make this easier for busy

families, Change4Life is offering

a straightforward solution –

by making simple swaps each

day, children can have healthier

versions of everyday foods and

drinks, while significantly

reducing their sugar intake.

Families are encouraged to

look for the Change4Life

‘Good Choice’ badge in shops,

download the free Food

Scanner app or search

Change4Life to help them find

lower sugar options.

Popular brands – including

Nestlé Shredded Wheat, Nestlé

January 2019

3

Low Sugar Oat Cheerios, Petits

Filous and Soreen (malt loaf) –

will display the ‘Good Choice’

badge online, in-store and

throughout their advertising, to

help parents find healthier

options.

Customers can also find

healthier options in supporting

supermarkets including Asda

and Aldi, as well as in Londis

and Budgens convenience

stores.

With a third of children leaving

primary school overweight

or obese, tackling obesity

requires wider action and is not

just limited to individual efforts

from parents. PHE is working

with the food industry to

remove 20% of sugar from the

products contributing the most

to children’s sugar intakes by

2020.

In May 2018, PHE published

progress against the

first-year sugar reductionambition

of 5%, which showed an

average 2% reduction in sugar

across categories for retailers

and manufacturers.

While breakfast cereals and

yoghurts and fromage frais

were among the categories

meeting or exceeding the 5%

ambition, some products in

these categories are still high in

sugar – this is why

Change4Life is making it easier

for parents to find lowersugar

options.

The Public Relation Interview of Narendra Modi

Those of you who are fond of

Narendra Modi’s classes must have

found that he has mellowed down a lot.

The one way communication that he is

habitual of, have not worked yet he is

not ready to face the grilling questions

about his government’s track record on

governance issue. It is not merely the

questions of notebandi or GST, there

are wider issues of lumpen being

appointed as vice chancellors of the

universities, curriculum changes, scholarships

being denied to SC-ST-OBC

students, the goondaism of the

Hindutva affliiated groups and so on.

Normally, Modi would not allow a

journalist to sit along with him or photographed

like that and it has become a

norm now when the gap between the

interviewer and Narendra Modi is

clearly visible. This is a clear signal to

them that ‘Bhai tum patrakar ho, apnee

aukat me raho, dont cross the line’. And

perhaps it is this basis that interviewer

are selected. Though, it is a normal procedure

these days to ask for a set of

questionnaire in advance so that the

persons in high positions speak with

authenticity but now that is being

replaced by fake data. Now, impromptu

press conferences too are not sure

whether they are planned or fixed but

perhaps we might see that where a few

of the journalists who have been invited

for Modi’s class, would be invited.

If you see the questions, the interviewer

is already on the defensive. She

is finding it difficult to question him. ‘

you have done so much good work for

women, you have shown your concern

for women’s rights but why not the

same about Sabarimala.’ How are

Sabarimala issue and Triple Talaq bill

ever related to. The issue could have

been, Mr Prime Minister, we appreciate

your concern for Muslim women but for

the same crime Hindu men are not punished.

Is there going to be any change in

the Hindu laws where Hindu men too

will be criminalised for divorcing their

wives or those who do not even divorce

and just leave them. The number of

women left in India, according to a survey,

among the Hindus is far higher to

what is there among the Muslims. There

are many such reports available. Smita

Prakash could have asked the Prime

Minister, whether he would also bring a

law to protect Hindu

woman. Obviously, the

bhakts have no questions

to ask to him about

his foreign policy failures,

and the blunder that this government

is playing in Jammu and Kashmir,

what happened to ‘historical’ Naga

accord that this government signed in

the beginning and details of which

remain secret till date, the issue of

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

Kartarpur Saheb, the issue of our relationship

with our friendly neighbors like

Nepal and Srilanka. Obviously, the

issue of Muslims and their isolation

does not come on the agenda of the

these journalists.

The farce that we are fast becoming

is this that we are afraid of asking questions.

And we have also

legitimised the state effort

to create an atmosphere of

suspicion against one community

which is the second

biggest majority of India.

Can you deny a community whose history

and track-record of building this

nation is over 700 years old. How can a

state allow and encourage the goons to

terrorise a community every now and

then. And these goons then protected by

the police and administration. The cow

campaign has finished farmers particularly

the marginalised one. When did

we see a government which was at war

against its own people.

And how these devotees have

changed the narratives.

Now, Modi and all others

are speaking that ‘courts’

are not fast-tracking the

issue. Basically, all in the

media and the administration

want the Supreme

Court to not only give a

judgement soonest possible

but give a judgement

in their favor. This is the

pressure tactics that give us a judgement

to build temple there so that we

can go to people with much louder

noise. Will Modi and his PR agencies

accept the Supreme Court Judgement if

it goes against them ?

This the irony of India. Worldover,

we say that political class is always like

that which use public sentiments and it

is the media, the intellectuals who

speak up for the rights of the people,

minorities and the marginalised and

play role of real opposition along with

the opposition. In India, opposition is

dumb and have not much difference

with this government except for some

minor issues and the corporate media

has become the PR agencies of the government

and today they pose the

biggest threat to our democracy.

Modi’s interview has given another

opportunity for the corrupt media to kill

the big story from Kerala where women

came out of their homes and work to

make a huge 620 kilometer chains, an

unprecedented event in the history of

India. There was a huge congregation at

Bhima Koregaon where lakhs of people

turned up despite the government of

Maharashtra’s effort to stop them and

yet it did not become the main news.

Kudos to each one of them but then the

Brahmin Bania media knows how to

kill stories of resistance because the

Kerala’s historical event or massive

gatherings at Bhima-Koregaon was a

complete rejection of the Sangh

Parivar’s hate agenda in those states.

The corrupt media would not show

these stories though it cant ignore the

same. As election approaches, we will

see more such fake-interviews which

will take your prime time and each

channel will spend hours and hours

debating them. It is nothing but well

planned exercise to kill other important

news and protests.

We hope people will remain vigilant

against the paid vigilante on our TV

channels and expose them.


4 January 2019

UNITED KINGDOM

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

The propaganda machinery of the

Sangh parivar is on full swing. You are

now being forced to consume loads of

information about ‘Accidental Prime

Minister’ and both the government

and BJP’s social media cell is on an

overdrive to promote it.

I wish to add a few things in the

beginning here that this is not an issue

defending Dr Man Mohan Singh or

Sonia Gandhi or Narendra Modi but of

accountability and responsibilities of

elected representatives. As a person Dr

Man Mohan Singh definitely is and

was far superior to Narendra Modi

both in terms of knowledge and dignity,

that he brought to his post. Our

humbleness must not be considered as

weakness and we are sure history will

judge Man Mohan Singh in a much

better way to his successor.

There is another issue of an over

hyped actor of the Bambai cinema.

Yes, I am talking about Anupam Kher

who has taken it upon himself to be

the ‘champion’ defender of this government

and perhaps competing with

his wife for seat in Parliament. BJP is

definitely looking for more stars from

the Cricket and cinema to rescue them

in 2019. Many of these absolutely

failed and opportunist fellows are

looking for greener pasture and protect

their business interests and will be

happy to contest in the Lok Sabha

polls. Anupam Kher nurture along

with many others nurture such hope to

be ‘elected’ representatives because

they could not do much through their

art except to defend the brahmanical

disorder and rigid customs. He may be

Accidental Hero

hailed as a great actor by many but he

ers call the shot and this is a reality.

remain much inferior to both Om Puri

The problem of bureaucracy, or

and Naseeruddeen Shah, both as actor

corporatised media in India was that it

as well as persons who have taken

wanted to control Man Mohan Singh

stand on important public issues. For

as it is doing with Narendra Modi.

me except his initial ‘Saraansh’, there

Sanjay Baru kind of persons could

are not enough movies which are

never have been appointed if Sonia

worth remembering. Now, we come to

was calling the shots on every day

the issue of ‘Accidental Prime

affair. Baru is a highly over-rated person

and his book was a dishonest

Minister’ and questions being raised

about it. The major theme of the film

attempt to get favor from Narendra

is that Congress President Sonia

Modi. When Anna Hazare launched

Gandhi was ‘advising’ Prime Minister

his Lok Pal movement, we opposed

of what to do and what not do. Now,

the entire premise because we still feel

these are laughing issues to say the

that supremacy of the Parliament and

least. In democracies, party is bigger

assemblies must be restored. You can

than the government and party guides

not make Lok Pal a boss of parliament

the government because ultimately it

and everything. So the issue is not

is the party which has to go to polls.

merely whether Sonia was dictating or

Sonia Gandhi as a UPA chairperson

not. The clever media is making it

was definitely entitled to write or

because they never want the parties to

guide to the government but it is up-to

dictate the agenda for the governments.

Governments cant be delinked

the government to agree or not agree

her view point.

tem is called political because it is politics

which guide it. Council of tating agenda to the government along

from parties. Today, BJP party is dic-

Can Prime Minister or BJP leaders

ignore the advise of the RSS ? If not Ministers is actually accountable to with the business and corporate.

then what is the locus-standi of Ram Parliament where questions are raised Since the agenda is suiting the

Madhav on J & K. Was he an ‘expert’ and responded. And it is the party corporate hence they are quiet

on J & K ?

which defend the government and its

In democracies, you can not hand actions both in parliament and in the By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

over the council of ministers to a few street. The argument that Man Mohan social and human rights activist

selected bureaucrats. Even those in the Singh should not have listened or surrender

his position is absurd. A system otherwise they would have

current dispensations hail from the

Sangh Parivar background. The sys-

can not surrender. Yes, political lead-

made noises. You can not sug-

UK aid will be “even quicker

and smarter” in 2019

The number of people in need of

humanitarian assistance globally

will be double the UK population

The UK is stepping up preparations

for global humanitarian crises

in 2019 and harnessing the power of

satellite and supercomputer technology

to better predict where disasters

will strike.

International Development

Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the

UK will take early action to prepare

for crises where possible in 2019,

not just dealing with the aftermath

of dire humanitarian incidents.

The need for humanitarian aid

will remain especially high in 2019,

driven by conflict in countries like

Cameroon and the Central African

Republic. Food insecurity will also

be a top concern and priority for the

humanitarian community, including

in Afghanistan, which this year

experienced severe drought.

International Development

Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

One in every 70 people worldwide

is caught up in a humanitarian

crisis, and throughout 2018 UK aid

has been at the heart of providing

life-saving assistance to those in

need: from supporting efforts to

prevent and curb Ebola in the

Democratic Republic of Congo to

tackling the risk of catastrophic

famine in Yemen. With 132 million

people – almost double the population

of the UK – expected to need

emergency aid next year, we must

act even quicker and smarter to better

prepare for humanitarian crises

before disaster strikes.

Acting early not only helps the

UK and developing countries to

save money, but also saves more

lives. UK aid is leading the way in

being better prepared, making use

of science, research and innovation

to shape a global humanitarian system

fit for 2019.

UK aid is harnessing technology,

such as space satellites and super

computers, to help improve warning

systems to better predict the impact

of global humanitarian crises,

including:

using some of the most accurate

weather forecasts in the world to

help families, communities and

governments prepare for El Nino

which could affect up to 25 countries;

working smartly with the Met

Office, NASA and US scientists to

accurately predict where and when

cholera will spread in Yemen;

teaming up with the UK Space

Agency to help farmers in Kenya,

Ghana and Zambia to understand

when pests or disease may strike,

allowing preventative action to be

taken more quickly.

DFID announced today (Monday

31 December 2018) it will provide

£1 million to the World Health

Organisation this year to help

enhance its Early Warning Alert and

Response System (EWARS) to prevent

the spread of life-threatening

infectious diseases such as diphtheria

and measles, as well as diarrheal

illnesses, among the 800,000

Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar,

Bangladesh.

Ms Mordaunt’s comments on

humanitarian aid in 2019 follow a

£34 million uplift in UK aid support

to the United Nations Central

Emergency Relief Fund (CERF),

which supports the UN to respond

rapidly to crises across the world.

The UK is one of CERF’s leading

supporters, and in 2018 is its largest

donor. Throughout 2018, this fund

provided time-critical life-saving

assistance to millions of people in

45 countries, including Yemen,

Syria, South Sudan and Nigeria.

UK aid provided life-saving assistance,

including food, water, medical

care and shelter to millions of

people desperately in need in 2018.

This year, UK aid responded to

crises across the globe including:

sending 47 tonnes of aid and a

team of aid workers to Indonesia

following a devastating earthquake

and tsunami which is believed to

have left over 2,000 people dead;

deploying a team of 67, including

57 medics, to Bangladesh to

tackle an outbreak of diphtheria in

Cox’s Bazar, after hundreds of thousands

of displaced Rohingya had

fled there;

supporting the development of a

life-saving vaccine to tackle Ebola

in the Democratic Republic of

Congo, which has helped to prevent

it spreading to neighbouring countries;

meeting the immediate food

needs of 4 million Yemenis, and

supporting aid agencies to screen

and treat for malnutrition and disease.

gest that once a person become prime

minister or minister, he or she should

leave the party or forget about them.

Party is not here to make you CMs or

PMs and then allow you to do what

you wish to do. Party cadres cant be

allowed to be just war horses during

the campaign to defend the government.

A government that does not listen

to the party always loses. In our

societies if we allow the government

and council of ministers to be just surrounded

by the corporate and bureaucrats

then one can never think of any

pro people policies. One must not forget

that Man Mohan Singh,

Chidambaram, Montek Singh

Ahluwalia were the favorite persons

of media and corporate and Sonia

Gandhi was being seen as too ‘socialist’

who was guided by the ‘jhollawallah’

economists and social activists

and hence an obstacle.

These corporatised castes now

enjoying their immunity in the current

dispensation but they also realise that

an administration that has nothing to

show to the people will ultimately

boomrang hence attempts are being

made to change the narrative. 2019

must be the ‘hisab-kitab’ of Narendra

Modi and BJP and not of what

Manmohan Singh and

Sonia Gandhi did in 2009

as they were punished by

the people. The government

of the day can not

hide its failures by such

diversionary tactics as the

Janata knows well and

will respond on time.

Madras High Court

lifts ban on online

sale of medicines

Chennai : The Madras High Court on

Wednesday allowed online pharmacies to sell

drugs and cosmetics, staying an earlier order.

A two-member bench of the court said the

earlier direction to the Central government to

notify the rules governing the online sale of

drugs before January 31 continues.

The Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists

Association had filed a case against the sale of

drugs by online companies.

According to the Association, online purchases

may be convenient, but there exists the

risk of unlicensed online outlets selling

fake/expired/unapproved medicines.

Reacting to the court order, Pradeep Dadha,

Founder and CEO, Netmeds.com in a statement

said: "We are happy with the order of the

Division Bench of the Madras High Court

staying the sale of online medicines till further

orders."

"We are extremely grateful for the observations

made by bench which validates the work

that we have put in for the last three years,"

said Dadha.

"As part of the observations, the bench recognized

that mechanisms are in place to prevent

any real abuse of process by the online

pharma sector. One of the most pertinent

observations made was that the Central

Government is not opposed to online pharmacies

and is actively putting in place systems for

regulating the sales," Dadha said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

UNITED KINGDOM

India should be in a better

frame of mind in Sydney

Australia are not used to losing

a series at home and India

have never won one Down

Under ever since the two countries

started playing Tests over

70 years ago.

Up 2-1 going into the last

match in Sydney, starting

Thursday, India should be in a

better frame of mind than the

Australians, having made sure

that the Border-Gavaskar

stayed with them even if the

series ends in a 2-2 draw. They

can press home the advantage

to clinch it 3-1. The Indians

have no problems even with the

form of their mainline batsmen.

Those who did not get big runs

have done enough to blunt the

Australian attack to back their

bowlers who have created

record after record during the

year gone by.

One thing is for sure, India

will be going into the Sydney

Test with a fifth bowler. It is not

clear whether they include an

additional spinner in the form

of Ravichandran Ashwin, if

fully fit, or Kuldeep Yadav to

befuddle the Australian batsmen

struggling to find form.

It could even be the pacebowling

all-rounder Hardik

Pandya if the curator listens to

the Australian bowlers to leave

a lot of grass for the ball to

move and bounce.

The Sydney pitch is known

to assist spinners and so it

should be Ashwin who can be

classified as an all-rounder,

having scored four Test hundreds

and 11 fifties.

He was out in the indoor

nets with the team's physio

Patrick Farhart to see whether

he has fully recovered from his

abdominal strain that kept him

out of the Melbourne Test.

Since the vacancy in the

team is created by Rohit

Sharma going home to be with

his wife and their new-born

first child, a daughter, Kohli

might even think of getting a

batsman, thus gambling one

final time with either Lokesh

Rahul of Murali Vijay, pushing

Hanuma Vihari to No 6 in the

order. That would be a defensive

move. Ideally, they should

go with a bowler who can bat

adequately, like Pat Cummins

does for Australia.

The Australian think-tank

has been trying to explain away

their defeats, playing mind

games by saying the difference

between the two teams is the

batting of Cheteshwar Pujara

and Virat Kohli.

Skipper Kohli has a different

take and rightly pointed out that

it's not stop-gap opener Vihari's

runs but the time he has spent

out in the middle to see off 16

overs of the new ball that

helped him and Pujara stitch a

big partnership in the first

innings in Melbourne.

The Australians have other

excuses, too. They think they

got to both bowl and bat in

unfriendly conditions during

the Test on a drop-in pitch.

They also think the absence of

their disgraced captain Steve

Smith and his deputy David

Warner made a big difference.

Add to it, they think, the inexperience

of their batsmen has

also not helped. Skipper Tim

Paine underscored the point,

saying the Indian side would

struggle too if they were without

his counterpart Kohli or

Cheteshwar Pujara. Paine ruefully

said: "If you took Pujara

and Virat out of India's side I

think you would have the same

conversation. If you have got

world-class players that are not

in your team, are they going to

add to our team?""

Come to think of it, Shaun

Marsh is 35 and played 37

Tests, Usman Khawaja, 32,

played 38 Tests and Mitch

Marsh, 27, played 31 Tests.

Along with Aaron Finch and

Travis Head they all have come

from decent domestic performances.

Paine may have played

only 18 Tests, but at 34 he has

played enough Sheffield Shield

cricket. His experience is

shown both in his steady batting

and safe keeping.

Their main problem is the

poor form of Khawaja, their

best batsman. He had no clue

how much Ashwin or Ravindra

Jadeja are turning or spinning

the ball and that made things

difficult for the top-order batsmen

to cope with the pressure.

Now they want him to open the

innings in Sydney so that he

could settle down by the time

the spin is introduced.

There was a time when the

cricket world used to talk about

the quality of Australia's

Sheffield Shield with just six

teams providing stiff competition.

Indian cricket administrators

thought the Ranji Trophy

was unwieldy and toyed with

the idea of making the top rung

restricted to six to eight teams.

They tried to differentiate by

calling the top teams as Elite

Group and the rest Plate. But

the segregation was opposed by

many states in a democratic setup.

Now the Australians are

looking at their Sheffield

Shield afresh what with the Big

Bash Twenty20 league getting

more attractive. The people are

now talking about the virtues of

India's domestic cricket.

Jasprit Bumrah, the most

successful bowler of the series

with 20 wickets in three Tests,

including nine from

Melbourne, gave credit for

pitches back home for Indian

fast bowlers to get the ball to

reverse swing.

Bumrah could adjust to conditions

in South Africa,

England and in Australia to

return as the highest wickettaker

in 2018 with 48 wickets

from 22 Tests. He also has 30

wickets from the shorter formats

and he is getting better

with each match.

The Australian fast bowlers

blame it on the abrasive nature

of the pitch on the last three

days helped the Indian bowlers,

but are silent what triggered the

Indian collapse in the second

innings and Cummins getting

nine wickets in the match.

The debate on pitches and

bowling will continue.

Pankhurst statue given Grade II* listing

to mark centenary of votes for women

The statue of suffragette Emmeline

Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens

will be upgraded to Grade II*

Announcement marks the end of the

centenary of female emancipation

A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst that

overlooks Parliament has been upgraded

to Grade II* today to commemorate the

centenary of women’s suffrage in the

UK and the election of the first female

MP.

The additional protections reflect the

statute’s architectural and historical significance

and the roles that Pankhurst

and her daughter Christabel played in

campaigning for votes for women

through the Women’s Social and Politics

Union (WSPU).

The Representation of the People Act

in 1918 gave women aged 30 and over

the age of 30 the right to vote. The following

year, 1919, Lady Astor became

the first woman to take a seat in

Parliament.

It comes after proposed plans to relocate

the statue were withdrawn earlier

this year. Pankhurst is one of a small

number of women whose statues have

been given this status and she now joins

the likes of Queen Victoria, Lady

Godiva and the Virgin Mary, all of

whom have Grade II* listed statues.

Heritage Minister, Michael Ellis said:

Emmeline Pankhurst was a pioneer

of her time and was instrumental in

securing votes for women. It is a fitting

tribute that at the end of this centenary

year we recognise the important role she

played in securing the equality we rightly

enjoy today. Deborah Mays, Head of

Listing Advice at Historic England,

said: The statue is a tribute to Emmeline

and Christabel Pankhurst who were

instrumental in bringing about women’s

suffrage in Britain. It is a finely crafted

memorial in a significant location which

bears witness to the struggle and success

of the movement Pankhurst led. It is fitting

to give it a higher grade listing at

the end of this centenary year. Born

in Manchester in 1858, Pankhurst

founded the Women’s Franchise

League in 1889 which fought to

allow married women to vote in

local elections before going on to

found the more militant WSPU in

1903. It was this organisation that

gained notoriety and its members

were the first to be termed

Suffragettes.

Along with many other

Suffragettes, Pankhurst was arrested

multiple times and also engaged

in hunger strikes. The Suffragettes

period of militancy stopped after

the outbreak of the First World War

in 1914 when Pankhurst turned her

energies to the war effort in the

hope it would benefit the

Suffragette cause.

The statue was unveiled by the

then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin on

30 March 1930. In 1956 it was moved to

its current position and expanded to

commemorate Christabel Pankhurst,

Emmeline’s daughter and active

Suffragette, and members of the

Women’s Social and Political Union in

1959. In 1970 the statue was granted a

Grade II listed status.

January 2019

5

US 'concerned

over violence,

irregularities in

Bangladesh

polls'

New York : The United

States has expressed concern

over reports of violence

and irregularities

during Bangladesh elections

that it asserted

"undermined faith in the

electoral process".

"We note with concern

credible reports of harassment,

intimidation and violence

in the pre-election

period that made it difficult

for many opposition candidates

and their supporters

to meet, hold rallies, and

campaign freely," State

Department Deputy

Spokesperson Robert

Palladino said Tuesday.

"We are also concerned

that election-day irregularities

prevented some people

from voting, which undermined

faith in the electoral

process," he added.

Palladino urged all all

political parties to refrain

from violence and requested

the Election

Commission to "work constructively

with all sides to

address claims of irregularities".

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina's ruling Awami

Party scored a landslide

victory winning 288 of the

300 seats it contested.

The opposition alliance,

Jatiya Oikya Front, led by

former Prime Minister

Khaleda Zia, who is in

prison on corruption

charges, called the elections

"faracial" and

demanded a repoll.

Her Bangladesh

Nationalist Party (BNP) is

the main constituent of the

Front, which won just

seven seats.

At least 17 people were

killed in clashes between

the ruling and opposition

parties on Sunday.

Palladino said that the

participation of all the

major opposition parties in

Sunday's parliamentary

election was a positive

development after their

2014 boycott. He also commended

the tens of millions

of Bangladeshis who

voted in the election.

Palladino added:

"Bangladesh's impressive

record of economic development

and respect for

democracy and human

rights are mutually reinforcing,

and we look forward

to continue working

with the ruling government

and opposition towards

advancing these interrelated

goals."


6 January 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

China ‘must be, will be’ reunified

with Taiwan: Xi Jinping

Beijing, President Xi

Jinping on Wednesday said

China must be and will be

reunified with Taiwan, and

called for the two rivals to work

together to realise the “historic

task” of complete reunification.

“It is a historical conclusion

drawn over 70 years of development

of cross-strait relations,

and a must for the great rejuvenation

of the Chinese nation in

the new era,” the Straits Times

quoted Xi as saying in a speech

at Beijing’s Great Hall of the

People to commemorate the

40th anniversary of “Message

to Compatriots in Taiwan”.

The Message was a policy

document issued by the

National People’s Congress —

China’s Parliament — on

January 1, 1979, the same day

China and the US formally

established relations after

Washington broke ties with

Taiwan. Up until 1979, China

had conducted routine artillery

bombardment of Taiwan-controlled

offshore islands. But no

peace treaty or formal end to

hostilities has been signed

since the detente, even as business,

cultural and personal

links flourished.

In his speech, Xi sent a

warning to advocates of

Taiwan’s independence, including

supporters of Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai, who has refused to

affirm the “One China” consensus

reached between Taiwan

and China in 1992, has warned

against continued threats from

China.

Xi said: “It’s a legal fact that

both sides of the Strait belong

to one China, and cannot be

changed by anyone or any

force.” Beijing “reserves the

option of taking all necessary

measures” against outside

forces that interfere with peaceful

reunification and against

Taiwan independence separatist

activities, he said.

The Chinese leader also

called for efforts to foster wideranging

“democratic consultation”

between representatives

from both sides and deepen

integrated development across

the Taiwan Strait.

He pledged to further institutionalise

cross-strait economic

cooperation and to forge a

common market.

Both sides should enhance

the free flow of trade, connectivity

in infrastructure,

exchange of energy and

resources, and shared industrial

standards, Xi said.

Unification would be done

under a “one country, two systems”

approach that would

“safeguard the interests and

well-being of Taiwanese compatriots”,

and Taiwan will be

guaranteed lasting peace, he

said.

'Accidental Prime Minister' :

Case filed against Anupam

Kher, others in BIHAR

Patna : A case has been filed against actor Anupam Kher and

others associated with upcoming film 'Accidental Prime Minister'

in a Bihar court on Wednesday for damaging the image of some

top people. Lawyer

Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed

the case in Muzaffarpur's

Chief Judicial Magistrate

(CJM) court. The court

has admitted the case and

fixed January 8 to hear

the case in Sub

Divisional Judicial

Magistrate court.

Ojha in his petition

complained that Anupam

Kher and Akshay

Khanna, who have

played the role of former

Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh and

his press advisor Sanjaya

Baru in the film, have

damaged the image of

both of them. "It hurt me

and many others," he

said. In his complaint,

Ojha said others who

have played the role of

UPA chairperson Sonia

Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi

and Priyanka Vadra also damaged their image. He has also complained

against the film director and producer.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New Delhi, The

government is likely

to make another

attempt to get the

triple talaq bill

passed in Rajya

Sabha on

Wednesday even as

the opposition is

firm on its demand

to refer the bill to a

select committee of

the House.

In the Lok Sabha,

the Rafale deal is

likely to come up for

discussion, with the

Congress, which is

pressing for a Joint

Parliamentary

Committee (JPC)

probe, signalling its

intention to discuss the matter.

The government had listed the

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights

on Marriage) Bill, 2018 on Monday but

the Rajya Sabha did not take it up amid

opposition’s reservations over the proposed

legislation and its insistence on

sending the bill to a select committee.

Bangladesh PM

Hasina to form

new cabinet

before Jan 10

Dhaka, : Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina's ruling

Bangladesh Awami League,

which clinched a landslide victory

in general elections, will

form its new cabinet before

January 10, party Genera.tment

of pilots holding fake qualifications

in January this year. A

two-member bench headed by

the Chief Justice had issued a

deadline of December 28 to the

Civil Aviation Authority for

completing the verifications of

the degrees of pilots.

PIA sacks over 50

employees for

fake degrees

Karachi : Pakistan

International Airlines has sacked

over 50 employees, including

pilots and cabin crew, for holding

fake degrees, the media

reported on Saturday. A statement

by the country's national

carrier said that the employees

were fired on the instructions of

the Supreme Court in a fake

degrees case. Three pilots and 50

crew staff were sacked, Geo

News reported. Chief Justice

Saqib Nisar had taken notice of

alleged appointment of pilots

holding fake qualifications in

January this year.A two-member

bench headed by the Chief

Justice had issued a deadline of

December 28 to the Civil

Aviation Authority for completing

the verifications of the

degrees of pilots.

This had led to heated exchanges

between the opposition and treasury

benches and the House was adjourned

for the day amid ruckus.

It could be a repeat of the scene on

Wednesday.

Though the government does not

seem to have the numbers on its side —

'Historic number' of

Central government

officials promoted’

New Delhi : Union Minister Jitendra Singh on

Tuesday lauded the Department of Personnel and

Training (DoPT) for expediting promotion to

about 4,000 officials at various levels, saying it

has resulted in happiness among a large section of

Central government officials. "The DoPT has

recently issued promotion orders of about 4,000

officials at various levels. The total number of

promotions in Central Secretariat Service (CSS)

has been 1,756 and in Central Secretariat

Stenographers' Service (CSSS), it has been

2,235," Singh said in an official release.

He said that the total number of officials promoted

in the last few days has been 3,991 and, it

was a "historic number". "Never before in life of

these two service cadres, such a large number of

officials have been promoted in such a short time.

This has resulted in happiness amongst the large

and diverse sections of Central Secretariat government

staff," he said. Describing the promotions

as a New Year Gift to the Central

Government employees, the Union Minister of

State (Independent Charge) Personnel said it will

help improve the motivation level of these officials

and reflect in the performance of the government.

According to the release, the promotions

include higher level positions like 122 Directors,

340 Deputy Secretaries and 300 Under

Secretaries in CSS and approximately 300 Senior

Principal Private Secretaries (Sr. PPS), 680 PPS

in CSSS and Section Officers (SO) and Private

Secretaries (PS) and Personal Assistants at lower

level in these two key services of the Central government.

The release also said that the government

appointed Third Cadre Restructuring

Committee and accepted the report submitted by

it. "This has resulted in availability of additional

vacancies at higher levels to accommodate career

aspirations of the government staff," he said.

ASIA

Government likely to press on

with triple talaq bill in RS

and is not even sure

of support of one of

its allies, Janata Dal

United (JD-U), on

the issue — it

would most likely

push for it as it has

to replace the ordinance

promulgated

in September last

year.

Both opposition

and government

have been accusing

each other of doing

politics over the

issue ahead of the

Lok Sabha elections.

In the Lok Sabha

on Monday,

Congress party

leader Mallikarjun Kharge had said that

since Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had

“thrown a challenge”, his party is ready

for a debate on January 2.

The Congress MPs kept staging

protests holding placards and shouting

slogans near the Chair’s podium in the

lower House, demanding a JPC probe.

New Delhi : A completely blind

student of the Jawaharlal Nehru

University (JNU) has refused to

accept his exam result in which he

was failed, accusing the administration

of not providing him a writer

and reading material in braille

script.

Munesh Kumar, who has done

his Masters from the same university

and where all exams were written

for him by a scribe, has accused the

Centre of Japanese Studies (CJS) of

denying him a writer despite his

request, which resulted in his failing

his exam. "I was not provided the

reading material in braille at the

centre, nor the Job Access With

Speech (JAWS) software. When I

asked them for these, they directed

me to the Helen Keller Library in

the university. They did not provide

me the writer also. "The writer who

accompanied me to the exam hall

refused to write paper for me. He

only read the questions aloud," the

B.A. first semester student at CJS

told IANS. Kumar said that all his

exams, even during his schooling

and graduation from Delhi

University's Rajdhani College, were

written for him by writers because

he can see "very little". His failing

January 2019

7

JNU blind student blames

university failed him

the exam not only renders him ineligible

for promotion to the next

semester but has led to cancellation

of his studentship from the centre

for falling below a certain CGPA.

Another complaint Kumar made

was that he was not given a steady

tutor. "He would come once a week

only -- on Sundays-- and then too

would always be in hurry," he said.

The Chairperson of his centre

Professor P. A. George, however,

said it was Kumar's truancy that did

him in and not all the claims he

made were true. "The tutor would

visit him every day but he would not

find him (Kumar) in his room. In the

middle of the semester, he went to

Agra... Learning a language is like

maths, if you miss even one class, it

is very hard for one to develop language,"

George told IANS.

He conceded that the centre does

not have Japanese reading material

in braille, because the centre is

"newly built" and because it

requires a "lot of money" translating

all books in braille.

On the charge that the writer

refused to write his papers, George

insisted that the claim was not true

and that it was Kumar who insisted

on being given another writer.


8 January 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

The year when Modi's charisma

appeared to wane (2018 In Retrospect)

New Delhi : Prime Minister

Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP face

a tough challenge in the Lok Sabha elections

in the coming summer in the wake

of its defeat in the recent Assembly elections

in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and

Chhattisgarh and mounting worries on

the economic front.

Even at the end of 2017, no one

would have given the opposition a

chance in the next general elections

after BJP's sweeping success in Uttar

Pradesh Assembly elections in the wake

of demonetisation and surgical strikes

on terror hideouts across the Line of

Control in Jammu and Kashmir and its

ability to come to power in other states

where it was not the largest party.

However, the BJP was contained in

Modi's home state of Gujarat in the

year-end Assembly elections where it

was stopped short of the 100 mark, signalling

the green shoots of recovery for

the Congress. The change in the last one

year became evident after a united

Samajwadi Party and Bahujan

Samajwadi Party defeated the BJP in the

Lok Sabha by-elections in its strong

holds like Gorakhpur and Phulpur and

along with the RLD, in Kairana in Uttar

Pradesh. The Congress worsted the BJP

in parliamentary by-elections in

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and in

Karnataka. Also, the Congress was

quick to learn from BJP's game elsewhere

and surrendered the Chief

Minister's post to the JD-S in a post-poll

tie up to keep the BJP out of power in

Karnataka, despite the saffron party

emerging the single largest in the summer

of this year.

The results of the recent Assembly

polls in five states, where the Congress

snatched power from the BJP in the

Hindi heartland, has given a major boost

to the opposition parties and could be a

factor in the battle for control of the next

Lok Sabha.

During the year, the BJP had lost

seven out of the 13 by-elections in parliamentary

constituencies. Of these, it

held nine since 2014. It could retain

only Palghar in Maharashtra and

Shimoga in Karnataka.

Since 2014, the BJP managed to

retain just six Lok Sabha seats in bypolls.

Besides Palghar and Shimoga, it

had won Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol

in Madhya Pradesh, Beed in

Maharashtra and Vadodara in Gujarat.

In the last four-and-half-years, the

party has lost Lok Sabha by polls in

Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, Gurdaspur

in Punjab, Alwar and Ajmer in

Rajasthan, Kairana, Phulpur and

Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Bhandara-

Gondiya in Maharashtra and Bellary

and Mandya constituencies in

Karnataka. The BJP's tally in the Lok

Sabha has come down to 268 from 282

in 2014.

The results of the recent Assembly

polls and the by-elections may have signalled

the weakening of the "Modi

wave" of 2014 the road ahead may not

be easy for the saffron party, given the

fact that major parties like SP and BSP

in Uttar Pradesh are planning an anti-

BJP alliance and formation of the RJDled

alliance in Bihar, the two states

which send 120 of the 543 elected MPs

to the 545-member Lok Sabha, where

two members are nominated.

Although the BJP-led government

has been counting various of its

schemes including Mudra, Ujwala,

Saubhagya, opening of 'jan dhan' bank

accounts, One Rank One Pension, and

decisions on demonetisation, GST and

the surgical strikes across the border in

Pakistan as its major achievements in

last four-and-a-half-years, the issues

related to farmers and impacts of

demonetisation and GST, NPAs crisis

have come as a major dampener for the

ruling party.

Unlike in 2014, when they were the

challenger at the Centre and in many

states, when an untested Modi made

various promises, he and his party

would now face a lot of questions to

answer on the "achhe din" they had

offered to the electorate.

During the last election campaign,

Modi had promised one crore jobs a

year and depositing of Rs 15 lakh in

each persons account from the black

money to be repatriated from abroad.

The opposition is likely to rake up the

issues and demand answers over the crisis

of unemployment and agrarian distress

among others.

Besides, the party is also facing the

heat from the VHP and RSS, which have

been mounting pressure on the government

for constructing a Ram temple at

Ayodhya by bringing a law or ordinance.

Opposition parties allege that the

sangh parivar, headed by RSS, may like

to raise the political temperature on their

pet issues to polarise the political situation.

Although the Supreme Court has

given a clean chit to the government on

the Rafale fighter jet deal, the issue

remains live as the Congress has been

pushing for a Joint Parliamentary

Committee (JPC) probe.

In the Hindi hearltland of Bihar,

where the BJP had won 22 of the 40

seats in 2014, Chhattisgarh (10 out of

11), Haryana (10-10), Himachal

Pradesh (04-04), Jharkhand (12-14),

Madhya Pradesh (16-29), Rajasthan

(25-25), Uttarakhand (05-05), Uttar

Pradesh (71-80) and Delhi (07-07), 182

out of 225 seats came into the party's

kitty in 2014.

In the present political scenario,

political analysts feel the BJP is unlikely

to repeat its performance of 2014,

especially in key states like Uttar

Pradesh as the coming together of the

Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj

Party in Uttar Pradesh, social equations

are likely to change.

In Bihar, the 'mahagathbandhan' of

Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress,

Hindustani Awam Morcha and

Rashtriya Lok Samata Dal has already

been formed. Though the Janata Dal-

United has now allied with the BJP and

the LJP, the grand alliance remains

focussed on social engineering of Maha

Dalits, extremely backward communities,

along with RJD's traditional

Muslim-Yadav votebank.

In Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and

Chhattisgarh the BJP has already lost

power to Congress and the BJP's numbers

are likley to drop in 2019.

In Maharashtra, the BJP ally, the Shiv

Sena, may cause anxiety as both the parties

don't sharing good vibes.

Maharashtra is the largest state after

Uttar Pradesh as it sends 48 MPs to Lok

Sabha. In the last election, the BJP won

23 seats and the Shiv Sena won 18.

In Gujarat, which is considered the

BJP's bastion and the Hindutva laboratory,

the state to which Modi and BJP

President Amit Shah belong, it may not

be easy to repeat the 2014 performance

given the Congress' fightback in last

year's Assembly polls.

Andhra Pradesh has 25 seats in the

Lok Sabha. Earlier, the BJP and Telugu

Desam Party (TDP) fought together,

with the BJP winning two seats and the

TDP 15. Now, the TDP is out of its fold,

the BJP is trying to woo a new ally in

the form of YRS Congress - at least post

poll. In Tamil Nadu, where it is facing

heavy headwinds, the party is trying to

woo the ruling AIADMK, which is itself

split, to take on a formidable DMK-

Congress combine in which a number of

other regional parties will also find a

place. The state has a tradition of voting

one way and the results in 40 seats

including one in Puducherry will be crucial

to the national outcome.

India may have

welcomed maximum

new borns on New

Year: UNICEF

New Delhi : India is estimated

to have welcomed 18

per cent of the total babies

born globally on January 1,

2019, UNICEF said on

Tuesday. According to the

UNICEF, 69,944 babies were

expected to be born on the

New Year Day out of

3,95,072 babies likely to be

born across the world.

As per UNICEF, globally

over half of these births are

estimated to taken place in

seven countries, along with

India like China (44,940),

Nigeria (25,685), Pakistan

(15,112), Indonesia (13,256),

the US (11,086), Democratic

Republic of Congo (10,053),

and Bangladesh (8,428).

Sydney was set to greet an

estimated 168 babies, followed

by Tokyo (310),

Beijing (605), Madrid (166)

and finally, New York (317).

Fiji in the Pacific was likely

to deliver 2019's first baby

and the US its last.

"This New Year Day, let's

all make a resolution to fulfill

every right of every girl and

boy, starting with the right to

survive. We can save millions

of babies if we invest in training

and equipping local health

workers so that every newborn

is born into a safe pair of

hands," said Yasmin Ali

Haque, UNICEF India

Representative, said.

India, Pakistan

exchange fire on

LoC on New

Year’s day

Jammu, The Indian and

Pakistani armies traded fire on

the Line of Control (LoC) on

Tuesday in Jammu and

Kashmir’s Poonch district,

officials said.

Defence sources said

Pakistan Army resorted to

unprovoked firing at Indian

positions on Tuesday morning.

“Pakistani firing began

early this morning in Khari

Karmara area of the LoC.

Indian positions retaliated

strongly. No casualty or damage

was reported on our side,”

an informed source said.

Tuesday’s ceasefire violation

comes on the first day of

the New Year. In 2018, there

have been over 1,400 ceasefire

violations on the LoC and the

International Border (IB) by

Pakistan in Jammu and

Kashmir.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA January 2019 9

Announcing Withdrawals : Trump is

doing what he promised at outset

New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun

Jaitley on Monday made it clear that the

government does not need RBI’s

reserves to bridge the widening fiscal

deficit as the Lok Sabha voted the

Supplementary Demands for Grants for

2018-19 to the tune of Rs 85,948.86

crore, including Rs.41,000 crore for

bank recapitalisation.

“This government’s fiscal deficit

track record has been better than any

other government in history. We do not

need RBI’s reserves for (meeting the)

fiscal deficit,” he said, replying to a

brief debate on the demands. India’s fiscal

deficit for the eight months till

November stood at Rs 7.17 lakh crore,

which is 114.8 per cent of the budgeted

Rs 6.24 lakh crore. The Minister’s

assertion comes against the backdrop of

a raging debate over the government’s

reported moves for securing the surplus

reserves with the RBI, estimated to be

around a few lakh crore of rupees, to

fund government’s social welfare

schemes ahead of elections. Jaitley said

the global standard for economic capital

framework for central banks was to

have around 8 per cent of their assets as

With the suddenness of revelation,

withdrawal from Syria and “drawdown”

from Afghanistan have been announced

by Donald Trump. In the past, such

announcements were followed up with a

tidy pattern: Two steps forward, one step

back. But this time debate and hesitation

have been foreclosed. Witness the way

Defence Secretary James Mattis is being

shown the door because he finds himself

not on the same page as the President.

Pundits will have difficulty digesting

the proposition that President Trump is

setting out to do in Syria, Afghanistan, the

Mexican border, Russia, what he had

promised during the election campaign

right up to its closing days in November

2016. He suddenly turned up in Baghdad

to signal his disapproval of the mess his

predecessors made of that expedition.

Some cameos will be forgotten in the rush

of news that must be expected.

I have followed Syria closely since

August 2011 when I found myself in

President Bashar al Assad’s office in

Damascus. His adviser, Bouthaina

Shaaban, knitted her brows when I pointed

out the ease with which US

Ambassador Robert Stephen Ford, along

with his French counterpart, were driving

around Hama, Homs, Daraa, all centres of

agitation, meeting anti-Assad insurgents.

“Just shows how penetrated we were,”

Shaaban said. The past tense is important.

Like colour revolutions elsewhere, the

initial ignition was amplified by the global

media to mobilise opinion in the region

and beyond. An article by James Glanz

and John Markoff in the New York Times

gave graphic descriptions of the technology

designed by the Obama administration

to bypass state communication controls

and to deploy “shadow” Internet and

mobile phone systems that “dissidents can

use to undermine repressive governments”.

Did I hear someone wail that

Russia interferes in other countries?

Against this backdrop, let me fast forward

to Trump’s interview with Jake

Tapper of the CNN just before the elections.

“Where do you think have billions

of dollars’ worth of arms — and cash —

gone in the course of our involvement in

Syria? To the extremists, of course: I

believe so.” Trump was right. Obama’s

Defence Secretary Ashton Carter made

several humiliating Syria-related

announcements. His face in the lower

mould, Carter announced that the $500

million project to train “rebels” in Syria

was discontinued because arms reached

groups the US intended to fight.

That the US intelligence agencies were

mixed up with militant groups became

more or less clear in subsequent leaks. An

admission that Obama made to Thomas

Friedman of the New York Times in

August 2015 when the rise of the ISIS

was the big story is revealing. Friedman

asked Obama why he had not bombed the

ISIS when it first reared its head. The

interview was given in August 2015.

Obama minced no words. “That we did

not just start taking a bunch of air strikes

all across Iraq as soon as the IS came in

was because that would have taken the

pressure off Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al

Maliki.” ISIS was, in other words, an

asset then. Maliki was in bad odour with

Don’t need RBI’s reserves to meet fiscal deficit: Jaitley

reserves with even the most conservative

nations having it at 14 per cent.

“Does India need to have 27-28 per

cent (as risk capital)… The money can

be used for recapitalisation of banks or

for poverty alleviation measures,” he

said, adding the government only wanted

to have a committee to review the

matter. The second Supplementary

Demands for Grants for 2018-19

includes Rs 41,000 crore for recapitalisation

of the public sector banks that

have been hit hard by non-performing

assets. Jaitley said the government’s initiatives

including the Insolvency and

Bankruptcy Code (IBC) were bearing

fruits and money stuck as NPA was now

back into the banking system.

The balance sheets of public sector

banks are improving due to the IBC as

money is coming back into the system.

Rs 3 lakh crore has already been recovered

through IBC. Banks’ ability to lend

is also increasing,” he said.

Attacking the Congress, the Finance

Minister said the asset quality review by

the RBI initiated after this government

took charge revealed the NPAs during

the UPA regime were as high as Rs 8.5

the Obama establishment because he

refused to sign the Status of Forces

Agreement, “that would have involved

the surrender of Iraqi sovereignty”. In this

stand Maliki had the support of the Shia

establishment at Najaf led by Grand

Ayatullah Sistani. This stance of Sistani’s

placed him on the wrong side of the

American media. There is delicious irony

in this. The media sang paeans of the high

priest in 2005. In fact Friedman had written

a column proposing Sistani for the

Nobel Prize for the constructive role he

played in inviting Iraqi Shias, an overwhelming

majority in the country, to help

stabilise electoral democracy.

True, a structure for the practice of

democracy is in place in Baghdad but the

Two River Civilisation has been ripped

apart and terrorism is endemic. On this too

Trump, in his conversation with Tapper,

pulls no punches: “Saddam Hussain and

Qaddafi may have been bad men but there

was no terrorism in their countries. What

we have created is terrorism.” There have

been many false troop withdrawal alarms

in the past, even during the Trump years.

The Syrian army, aided by the Russians,

appeared to be in control, until the next

lakh crore as opposed to the UPA’s

claim of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

Countering charges of a slowdown in

the growth rate of the country’s gross

domestic product (GDP), he said: “India

is growing at 7.5 per cent when the

world is growing at 3 per cent. We are

also growing faster than China.”

Jaitley also said that the government

would continue to take all necessary

steps to ensure that farmers get adequate

minimum support price for their produce

– 50 per cent higher than their

eruption, in Aleppo, Del Azour, Idlib, anywhere.

The motivation to keep the pressure

up on Assad came principally from

Riyadh. But a somewhat lame duck post-

Khashoggi, it is winding down in Yemen

and probably lacking in spunk vis-a-vis

Syria. A greater credibility therefore

attends announcement of troop withdrawal

on this occasion. Trump’s announcement

of drawing down troops in Afghanistan has

coincided with the appointment of

Amrullah Saleh as Minister of Interior. He

is a Tajik, former spymaster and close

adviser to the late Ahmad Shah Masood

and a persistent critic of Pakistan’s role in

the Afghan civil war. Let me share with

you a flavour of Saleh’s thinking when I

met him in Kabul a few years ago. “The

enemy is headquartered in Pakistan and he

should be defeated there. For the US, the

‘expendable’ part of the Taleban is in

Afghanistan. Why would we ever collaborate

with NATO who wish to kill Afghans

they consider expendable? NATO has no

strategy in the region because it has no policy

towards Pakistan. They know they cannot

defeat the Afghan Taleban without hitting

hard at their bases in Pakistan.” Much

water has flown down the Kabul river

since Saleh spoke to me. Trump’s newlyappointed

Special Envoy to Afghanistan

Zalmay Khalilzad has also tried to correct

the image attached to him, that of being

anti-Pakistan. During a recent visit to

Islamabad, Secretary of State Mike

Pampeo gave Khalilzad a high profile in

his delegation. Much was made of the fact

that Khalilzad visited Islamabad before

New Delhi. Obviously, Khalilzad would

like to get rid of the perception that he proposes

a higher profile for India in

Afghanistan.

Anyone interested in visually observing

the success of India’s policy of “diplomacy

by default”, a slow tortoise-like

movement, should visit Hauz Rani opposite

Max Hospital in Delhi where a virtual

Afghan colony has sprung up, eateries

et al, harmoniously merging with the

landscape.

input cost as promised. The demands for

grants contain proposals involving a net

cash outgo aggregating to Rs 15,069.49

crore and gross additional expenditure,

matched by savings of the ministries

and departments or by enhanced

receipts and recoveries, aggregating to

Rs 70,882.21 crore. Both treasury

benches and the opposition members

attacked each other during discussion

over the supplementary demand. Taking

part in the debate, most opposition

members raised farmer’s distress issue

and took a dig at the government over

implementation of Goods and Services

Tax (GST) and demonetisation reforms.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of BJD sought to

know from the government the steps

being taken to improve the governance

in the banks. TMC MP Saugata Roy

said the economy was in “doldrums”

and asked the Centre about the resignation

of RBI Governor Urjit Patel.

The biggest blunder of the Modi

government was to hurriedly implement

GST and demonetisation. These were

the cruel steps of the government. Many

businessmen like Nirav Modi, Mehul

Choksi and Vijay Mallya have fled after

Gas explosion

in Russian

building kills 3

Moscow, At least three people

died and 79 others were

missing after a gas explosion in

an apartment building in southern

Russia, authorities said on

Monday. An entrance hall in

the apartment building in

Magnitogorsk, an industrial

city in Russia’s Chelyabinsk

region, collapsed due to the

explosion. A total of 48 apartments

inhabited by 110 people

were damaged in the blast, said

the Ministry of Emergency

Situations. Emergency services

said that rescue workers managed

to pull out six people

from the rubble. Three people

died and another three, including

a child, were injured,

Russia’s Tass news agency

reported. The gas explosion

was believed to be a key cause

of the accident. The fate of 79

people remained unknown,

said Deputy Governor of the

Chelyabinsk Region Oleg

Klimov. A search and rescue

effort was underway involving

469 emergency workers.

Russian President Vladimir

Putin dispatched Health

Minister Veronika Skvortsova

to the city to take stock of the

situation.

defrauding banks,” Roy said.

He said the government has not come

out with the figures on the number of

people who have lost jobs due to

demonetisation and asked the Finance

Minister to state the number of small

businesses that had closed due to implementation

of the GST.

Opposing the supplementary

demand, Samajwadi Party MP

Dharmendra Yadav said: “I am against it

because the problems are increasing day

by day though five budgets have passed.

Over 60,000 farmers have committed

suicide in NDA regime. Potato is being

thrown on roads and farmers are not

getting proper cost of their sugarcane

crops.” BJP MP Anurag Thakur, however,

supported the draft, saying “the fiscal

deficit is now 3.8 per cent which never

came below 6.8 per cent during UPA

government”. Labelling MGNREGA as

the “mother” of corruption, BJP MP

Nishikant Dubey said that it was due to

MGNREGA that the fiscal management

of the Central government was affected.

After the implementation of Aadhar

and Biometric, around Rs 60,000-

70,000 crore had been saved, he said.


10 January 2019

NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ROBOTS to fix underground

pipes and help cut roadworks

New investment to create tiny robots

that can help repair the UK’s vast underground

pipe network and prevent disruption

of roadworks in the future.

£26.6 million investment to build

micro robots that can help repair the UK’s

vast underground pipe network preventing

disruptive roadworks and road closures

robots – including flying and underwater

versions – will also inspect and maintain

oil and gas pressure vessels and offshore

wind turbines

funding from the government’s modern

Industrial Strategy to invest in the

industries of tomorrow

New micro robots will be built to

repair the UK’s huge underground pipe

network, significantly cutting the disruption

caused by the 1.5 million road excavations

that take place every year.

Scientists from 4 British universities

will use £26.6 million government investment

to develop 1 cm-long robotic

devices that use sensors and navigation

systems to find and mend cracks in pipes.

The traffic closures and disruption to

businesses of these roadworks is estimated

to amount to more than £5 billion. A

further 14 projects backed by the government

will see robots sent to hazardous

work places such as offshore wind-farms

and nuclear decommissioning facilities.

Researchers will test new technologies,

such as the use of artificial intelligence

(AI) software on satellites in orbit to

detect when repairs are needed, and

drones for oil pipeline monitoring.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

While for now we can only dream of a

world without roadworks disrupting our

lives, these pipe-repairing robots herald

the start of technology that could make

that dream a reality in the future

From deploying robots in our pipe network

so cutting down traffic delays, to

using robots in workplaces to keep people

safer, this new technology could change

the world we live in for the better. Experts

in our top UK universities across the

country are well-equipped to develop this

innovative new technology.

We have put research and development

at the heart of our modern Industrial

Strategy, with the biggest boost to funding

in UK history to create high skill jobs and

boost productivity across the country.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark

Walport said: The projects announced

today demonstrate how robots and artificial

intelligence will revolutionise the

way we carry out complex and dangerous

tasks, from maintaining offshore wind

farms to decommissioning nuclear power

facilities.

They also illustrate the leading role

that the UK’s innovators are playing in

developing these new technologies which

will improve safety and boost productivity

and efficiency. The £26.6 million government

funding boost is part of the modern

Industrial Strategy, investing in the

technologies of tomorrow and creating

high skilled jobs across the country. The

UK already develops world-leading

robotics technologies, and these projects

funded by the Industrial Strategy

Challenge Fund and delivered by UKRI,

will help makes this a sector for UK businesses

to grow and dominate international

markets.

Health and Safety Executive Chair

Martin Temple said:

The key purpose of the Health and

Safety Executive is to save lives and prevent

workplace injury and ill health. To

achieve this, we need businesses to work

with us and to be innovative in their

thinking around managing risk in the

workplace. New and emerging technologies

are shaping our working environment.

As a regulator we want to encourage

industry to think about how technologies

such as robotics and AI can be used

to manage risk in the workplace, safeguarding

workers both now and in the

future world of work.

Amritsar – Dehradun Flight by Spicejet to Start from January 20 Benefit also to

travelers for Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Hemkunt Sahib Dehradun becomes

9th domestic & 17th overall airport to be connected directly with Amritsar

Amritsar : Spicejet is giving a new

year gift to the travelers from Punjab and

Uttarakhand. It is launching direct daily

flight from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee

International Airport, Amritsar to the

Uttarakhand capital Dehradun from

January 20, 2019. Dehradun will

become ninth domestic and seventeenth

overall airport to be directly connected

with the airport. Booking for the flight is

available on the airline website.

This flight will depart from Dehradun

at 11:55am and will arrive at 12:35pm.

Its return flight will leave Amritsar at

12:55pm and reach Dehradun at 1:35pm.

The total duration of the flight will be 40

minutes with aircraft capacity for 78

passengers. Bookings have been opened

for the passengers on Spicejet official

website.

Thanking Spicejet for the start of this

flight, Sameep Singh Gumtala,

Convener FlyAmritasr Initiative and

Overseas Secretary, Amritsar Vikas

Manch said that the start of this flight is

being considered important as Haridwar

and Rishikesh are only 35-40km and

famous mountainous area Mussoorie is

also about 60km from Dehradun airport.

This will also facilitate devotees to

Hemkunt Sahib and travelers to Tarai

region (Rudrapur, Haldwani, Lalkuan) as

their train or road journey will be reduced

by about 10 hours with the direct flight.

SpiceJet has also started flights to

Bangkok and Goa in November, 2018.

FlyAmritsar Initiative Co-Convener

Yogesh Kamra informed that according

to the monthly data released by Airport

Authority of India, total passenger count

from the airport have reached 15.5 lakh

in first eight months of the financial year

2018-19 ending in November compared

to the same period in 2017-18 with an

increase of 9.5 percent. A total of 4

domestic and 4 international flights have

started in this financial year. Due to this,

total international passengers increased

by 23.1 in the current financial year.

The year 2019 will bring more flights

to the Airport. In November, Ministry of

Civil aviation agreed to demands raised

by delegation of Amritsar Vikas Manch

for new routes under UDAN (Ude Desh

Ka Aam Naagrik) – phase III of

Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)

by awarding six new routes to Amritsar

under the scheme that included Patna,

Jaipur, Kolkata, Dharamsala, Varanasi

and Goa, said Gumtala.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

CONGRESS READY FOR DEBATE ON RAFALE,

CENTRE REJECTS ALLEGATIONS

New Delhi, The Congress,

which has been demanding a

Joint Parliamentary Probe (JPC)

probe on the Rafale fighter jet

deal since the beginning of the

Winter Session of Parliament, on

Monday said that it was ready

for a debate on Wednesday over

the controversial deal.

“Jaitley ji has thrown a challenge

… we accept it… we are

ready for a debate on January 2.

Please decide a time,” Congress

leader Mallikarjun Kharge said

in the Lok Sabha just as it was

about to adjourn for the day.

He was responding to Finance

Minister Arun Jaitley, who said

that the Congress should begin

the discussion on the issue

immediately. The minister had

alleged that the Congress was

“running away” from a discussion

and was spreading “lies”

over the deal. “If you have the

courage, begin the debate immediately,”

Jaitley said soon after

the House voted the

Supplementary Demands for

Grants amid din and slogan

shouting by the Congress

demanding a JPC probe on the

Rafale deal.

During the debate, BJP’s

Nishikant Dubey too accused the

Congress of making a hue and

cry over the issue and charged

that the Congress was running

away from a discussion.

As Speaker Sumitra

Mahahjan was about to adjourn

the House for the day, Kharge

reminded her about Jaitley’s

challenge and asked her to fix

the time for a discussion on

January 2. “I am not saying

no…why should I say

no…In fact the House was

prepared for a debate but

something happened and

you (Congress) started

demanding JPC probe…you

keep your challenges to

yourself… don’t challenge

me. When the debate will

take place, I will

decide…you will decide,”

Mahajan remarked and then

adjourned the House for the

day.

The government has been

saying that it was ready for a discussion

on the issue.

Earlier in the day, Home

Minister Rajnath Singh rejected

allegations of corruption in the

Rafale deal while asserting that a

lie repeated again and again will

not become a truth.

The Congress should understand

that a lie spoken many a

time cannot turn into truth. We

have been ready for a discussion

from the very first day. But why

is the opposition party running

away (from a discussion),”

Singh said. He was responding

to Kharge’s accusations on the

issue during Zero Hour amid

protests and slogan-shouting by

opposition members including

those of Congress, AIADMK

and the TDP on different issues.

Raising the issue, Kharge

reiterated his party’s demand for

a Joint Parliamentary Committee

(JPC) probe into the deal alleging

that it was one of the biggest

“scams” of the country.

“We are demanding a JPC

probe for three weeks. Allow it,”

he said, questioning the government

for not disclosing the price

of the aircraft. He claimed that

the Rafale fighter jets have been

purchased at a price three times

higher than the UPA government’s

deal.

“Why the government is not

disclosing the prices even as the

French President has said it can

be disclosed,” he said.

Not satisfied with the government’s

response, the Congress

members continued with their

protest.

January 2019

11

Andhra employees of Hyderabad

High Court leave for Amaravati

Hyderabad, With the decks cleared for functioning of separate

high courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana from New Year,

employees and lawyers of Andhra Pradesh at the High Court of

Judicature in Hyderabad left for

Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati on

Monday. About 900 employees left for

Amaravati in special buses as their

Telangana counterparts saw them off.

Some employees turned emotional on

leaving Hyderabad.

The Hyderabad High Court has been

serving as the common High Court for

both the Telugu states since June 2014

when Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated to

carve out Telangana state. Earlier, the

Supreme Court refused to take up for

immediate hearing a petition filed by

Andhra Pradesh Lawyers Association

for postponing shifting of High Court to Amaravati till the construction

of High Court building was completed there. The Supreme Court

will take up the petition for hearing on Wednesday. The petitioners

say that completion of High Court building could take about 10

months. The Centre had last week issued a notification for bifurcation

of the High Court between the two states. The gazette notification said

January 1 would be the appointed day for the Andhra Pradesh High

Court, which will start functioning from Amaravati, while the High

Court of Judicature at Hyderabad will become the High Court for

Telangana. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu

had criticised the Centre for not giving sufficient time to make preparations

for shifting of the High Court.

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12 January 2019

BUSINESS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Macro-data, rupee to set equity indices trajectory

Mumbai, Macro-economic data points, coupled

with Indian rupee’s performance aginst the

US dollar will influence domestic equity market’s

trajectory during the upcoming week.

Market observers feel that global crude oil

prices and third quarter (Q3) earning results

would also influence the market’s movement.

“Global cues and crude oil price movement

will continue to dictate the trend of the market,”

SMC Investments & Advisors CMD D.K.

Aggarwal told IANS. “There is lot of uncertainty

and volatility in the global markets. The

domestic market is likely to track the global markets

going ahead.”

Globally, concerns over a slowdown in international

growth and the ongoing partial US government

shutdown were major themes during the

last week’s trade. Apart from global cues,

investors will look forward to the Q3 2018-19,

earnings result season which will

kick off from next week.

“Investors will closely watch

the expectation on Q3 earnings,

while global cues will dictate the

direction of the market,” said

Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial

Services. Besides Q3 results, macro-economic data

points — such as the eight core industries’ (ECIs)

output, external debt, PMI manufacturing and services

and monthly automobile sales figures — will

be released during the week starting December 31.

According to Sahil Kapoor, Chief Market

Strategist, Edelweiss Investment Research: “Next

week markets are likely to face resistance at 11,000

levels which are likely to get tested in coming

week. Currently the Index is caught in a range of

10,500 to 11,000. A resolution of this range will

result in a larger directional move.” “Nifty continues

to trade at rich valuations

despite a de-rating

across the world.

We are likely to see

Indian multiples getting

de-rated in the next few

weeks.” Additionally, the movement of Indian

rupee against the US dollar and the direction of

foreign fund flows will also set the course of key

indices. “Rupee can be under some pressure on

mounting worries on missing fiscal deficit targets,”

said Sajal Gupta, Edelweiss Securities’

Head of Forex and Rates.

“A range from 69.80 to 70.50 per USD can be

expected.” On a weekly basis, the Indian rupee

gained 76 paise to 69.94 against the US dollar

from its last week’s close of 70.15 per greenback.

In terms of investments, provisional figures

from the stock exchanges showed that foreign

institutional investors bought shares worth Rs

1,249.6 crore during the week under review.

On technical charts, the short-term trend of

the National Stock Exchange’s (NSE) Nifty50

remians positive. “Further upsides are likely

once the immediate resistances of 10,941-10,985

points are taken out. Crucial intermediate supports

are now at 10,738 points,” HDFC

Securities’ Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani

told IANS. Last week, global relief rally following

the resolution of a standoff between US

President Donald Trump and Federal Reserve

Chairman Jerome Powell lifted the Indian equity

markets. Consequently, the BSE Sensex rose

334.65 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 36,076.72

points from its previous corresponding weekly

close. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty50 edged

up by 105.9 points, or 0.98 per cent, to close the

week at 10,859.90.

Wall Street gains at end

of turbulent 2018

Mumbai, The asset quality

of banks improved over the

first-half of this fiscal with the

gross non-performing assets

(GNPAs or bad loans) ratio

declining to 10.8 per cent in

September, from 11.5 per cent

in March, the Reserve Bank of

India (RBI) said on Monday.

In its Financial Stability

Report (FSR) released on the

final day of 2018, the RBI also

said that the net NPAs’ ratio

also fell over the period in consideration

to 5.3 per cent in

September, as against 6.2 per

cent in March.

The asset quality of banks

showed an improvement with

the GNPA ratio of SCBs

(scheduled commercial banks)

New York : US stocks

ended higher, wrapping up a

pathetic 2018 amid the largest

yearly fall over the past decade,

although investors regained

some optimism over the

prospect of global trade in the

year ahead.

Following solid gains

throughout the day, the Dow

Jones Industrial Average rose

265.06 points, or 1.15 percent,

to 23327.46 on Monday. The

S&P 500 was up 21.11 points,

or 0.85 percent, to 2506.85.

The Nasdaq Composite Index

rallied 50.76 points, or 0.77

percent, to 6635.28, Xinhua

news agency reported.

Shares of Netflix and

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a

US biotech firm, extended

gains of 4.52 and 3 percent

respectively, leading the

advances. The currentlyexpanding

Amazon also rose

by 1.62 percent.

All the 11 primary S&P sectors

traded higher, with the

healthcare sector up 1.39 percent,

leading the winners.

Despite a green final trading

day of the year, market jitters

have been expected to remain,

as the three major indexes

recorded their worst year since

the financial crisis in 2008.

The S&P 500 and the Dow

declined for the first time in

three years, posting a yearly

decline of 6.2 percent and 5.6

percent respectively in 2018.

While the Nasdaq slumped

declining from 11.5 per cent in

March 2018 to 10.8 per cent in

September 2018. Under the

baseline scenario, GNPA ratio

may decline from 10.8 per cent

in September 2018 to 10.3 per

cent in March 2019,” an RBI

statement said.

“In a sign of possible recovery

from the impaired asset

load, the GNPA ratio of both

public and private sector banks

showed a half-yearly decline,

for the first time since March

2015, the financial year-end

prior to the launch of asset

quality review (AQR),” the

report said.

GNPAs of state-run banks

have also improved to 14.8 per

cent in September 2018 from

after six years of consecutive

rallies by 3.9 percent, its worst

annual performance over the

past decade.

Yet investors have restored

some confidence in the continuously

volatile U.S. equity

market on Monday amid signs

of global trade tensions’ defuse

and anticipation of upcoming

remarks from US Federal

Reserves’ Chairman Jeremy

Powell next year. Among the

15.2 per cent in March, it said.

According to the report, private

sector banks saw their

gross NPAs falling during

April-September from 4 to 3.8

per cent in September 2018 in

March 2018. The FSR reflects

the assessment on risks to

latest signs of easing US-China

trade frictions, China has

recently released a draft foreign

investment law to solicit public

opinions until Feb. 24.

The draft legislation

includes a series of terms aimed

at improving investment environment

and providing legal

protection for overseas

investors operating in China.

In particular, the draft law

clarifies that “government

departments and officials cannot

use administrative means

for forced technology transfers,”

which has been a major

worry for foreign companies in

China. Investors are also looking

to signals of shoring up the

U.S. economy from the

remarks that the Fed chairman

is scheduled to deliver next

month on the U.S. central

bank’s monetary policy-setting

in 2019. Previously, the Fed

signalled that it would slow the

tightening pace on Dec. 19, as

it revised the times of rate hikes

in 2019 lower to two.

financial stability, as also the

resilience of the financial system.

“Overall assessment of

systemic risks India’s financial

system remains stable, and the

banking sector shows signs of

improvement, even though the

global economic environment

Government extends

CLSS for MIG housing

loans till March 2020

New Delhi, The Central government on Monday extended the

credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) for the Middle Income

Group (MIG) by 12 months to March 31, 2020, an official statement

said. It said that the number of beneficiaries under the

scheme as of December 30, 2018 was 3,39,713 and the government

has released a subsidy of Rs 7,543.64 crore.

The growth and performance of CLSS for MIG scheme has

been very good and we are on course to having about one lakh

beneficiaries by the end of this year,” the statement quoted Union

Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri as saying.

Under the scheme, people belonging to the Lower Income

Group (LIG) and Middle Income Group (MIG) can avail interest

subsidy from the government on home loans.

The carpet area under the ambit of the scheme was enhanced

to “up to 160 square metre” and “up to 200 square metre” for

MIG-I and MIG-II, respectively, in June this year, which would

come into effect on January 1, 2019. Initially, the scheme was

launched for MIG for a period of 12 months till March 31, 2017

and later extended up to March 31, 2019.

Banks’ bad loans’ status improved over H1 2018-19: RBI

and the emerging trends in

financial sector pose challenges,”

the statement said.

“Spill-over risk to emerging

economies engendered by

tightening of financial conditions

in advanced economies,

protectionist trade policies and

global geopolitical tension

have significantly increased.”

In his foreword to the FSR,

new RBI Governor Shaktikanta

Das said the banking sector is

on course to recovery vis-a-vis

the NPAs, but state-run banks

need reforms in governance.

“After a prolonged period of

stress, the banking sector

appears to be on course to

recovery as the load of

impaired assets recedes,” Das

said. The weaker banks among

the state-run ones need to be

supported through recapitalisation,

he said. Although current

NPA levels remain high, the

Governor said that stress tests

done by the RBI have pointed

to an improvement in the ratio

in future. “The immense effort

put in by the stakeholders so far

is required to be buttressed with

substantive reforms in governance

and oversight regime,

supported by recapitalisation of

weak PSBs (public sector

banks),” he said.

Earlier this month, the government

committed an additional

Rs 41,000 crore in the

current fiscal for recapitalisation

of PSBs.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

E-cigarette usage nearly

doubles in US high schools

LOS ANGELES : The percentage

of high school seniors

who used e-cigarettes in the

last 30 days nearly doubled to

20.9 percent from last year,

results of a survey released by

the National Institute on Drug

Abuse showed on Monday. The

increase in vaping by 10th and

12th graders was the largest

year-over-year jump for any

substance ever measured by the

survey, which started 44 years

ago.

The annual survey, which

also measures use of other substances

including marijuana,

alcohol and opioids, questioned

more than 44,000 students

from 8th, 10th and 12th

grades in US public and private

schools.

The percentage of high known as e-cigarettes, has

school students who used nicotine-based

vaping devices, year, the survey

risen by a third over the past

showed.

Colleagues' rudeness

can affect your sleep

NEW YORK : Blame your co-worker who is rude, uses sarcastic

comments and demeaning language. According to a study,

workplace uncivilities can not only affect an employee's sleep but

also their partner's. The study

found that when a person experiences

rude, discourteous, impolite

colleagues at workplace, they tend

to ruminate more about work at

home. They also face trouble

Unable to sleep

properly?

falling asleep or may wake up in the middle of the night. This also

affects the spouse or partner, only when the couple works in the

same company or occupation, the researchers said. It is "because

work-linked couples have a better idea of what's going on in each

other's work, they can be better supporters", said Charlotte Fritz,

Associate Professor from the Portland State University in the US.

"They probably know more about the context of the uncivil act and

might be more pulled into the venting or problem-solving process,"

she added, in the paper detailed in the journal Occupational Health

Science. While organisations do everything in their power to create

a culture of civility by imposing zero-tolerance policies or offering

civility training, uncivilities at workplace are not completely

avoidable. However, mentally detaching from work during nonwork

hours by spending time with family and friends or enjoying

hobbies, and practising meditation at work and home are important,

and can help both the employees and their spouses, according

to Fritz. "They can talk about work, vent about it, discuss it, but

then they should make an explicit attempt to unwind together and

create good conditions for sleep," she noted.

For the study, the team involved 305 couples in a variety of jobs.

E-cigarettes have been a

divisive topic in the public

health community. Some focus

on the potential benefit of shifting

lifelong smokers to less

harmful nicotine products,

while others fear it will create a

new generation addicted to

nicotine.

Last month, the U.S. Food

and Drug Administration, facing

mounting pressure to act on

the rising popularity of vaping

devices, announced sweeping

new restrictions on flavoured

tobacco products, including e-

cigarettes. The one-year rise in

vaping were mirrored by

changes in the perception of

availability of e-cigarretes, the

WASHINGTON : People who drink lots

of sugar-sweetened drinks and soda may be

putting themselves at a greater risk of chronic

kidney disease, according to a study.

The findings, published in the Clinical

Journal of the American Society of

Nephrology (CJASN), contribute to the

growing body of evidence pointing to the

negative health consequences of consuming

sugar-sweetened beverages.

Certain beverages may affect kidney

health, but study results have been inconsistent.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg School of Public Health in the

US studied 3,003 African-American men and

women with normal kidney function. "There

is a lack of comprehensive information on

the health implications of the wide range of

beverage options that are available in the

food supply," said Casey Rebholz from the

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public

Health. "In particular, there is limited information

on which types of beverages and patterns

of beverages are associated with kidney

disease risk in particular," Rebholz said. The

researchers assessed beverage intake through

a food frequency questionnaire administered

at the start of the study in 2000-04, and they

followed participants until 2009-13. Among

the 3,003 participants, 185 (6 per cent)

institute said in its report, with

more 8th and 10th graders

reporting that vaping devices

and e-liquids containing nicotine

were easier to obtain in

2018 than in 2017. E-cigarette

makers, including San

Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc,

have also faced scrutiny from

the FDA amid the increase in

teenage use of the devices,

which look like a USB flash

drive and vaporize a flavoured

liquid containing nicotine.

Juul said in November it

would pull popular flavours

such as mango, cucumber and

fruit from many retail store

shelves to reduce teenage use

of its products.

developed chronic kidney disease (CKD)

over a median follow-up of 8 years.

Consuming a beverage pattern consisting

of soda, sweetened fruit drinks, and water

was associated with a higher risk of developing

CKD. Participants in the top tertile for

consumption of this beverage pattern were

61 per cent more likely to develop CKD than

January 2019

13

Heart attack, stroke may

predict cancer risk

New York : Heart attack or stroke may be an early sign of cancers,

especially in older adults, say researchers.

The findings showed that the risk of having a heart attack and

stroke jumped by 70 per cent in the year before cancer diagnosis.

The risk was most acute in the month immediately before cancer

diagnosis. Lung and colon cancers, as well as advanced-staged cancers,

appear to be most strongly associated with an elevated risk of

heart attack and stroke caused by blood clots in the arteries, according

to a report published in the journal Blood.

“Our data shows there is an associated risk of ischemic stroke

and heart attack that begins to increase in the five months before the

cancer is officially diagnosed and peaks in the month just before,”

said lead author Babak Navi, Associate Professor at Cornell

University in the US.

These results suggest that cancer’s effect on the clotting system

may be what’s predominantly driving the associated risk of heart

attacks and stroke,” Navi added.

Cancers can take months and sometimes years to develop and be

diagnosed, and some cancers may be exerting biological effects on

the body, especially thromboembolic activity, before they come to

medical attention, he explained.

For the study, the team included 748,662 people (67 years and

older) and looked at the risk of heart attack and stroke in those

newly diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, bladder,

non-Hodgkin lymphoma, uterine, pancreatic, and gastric cancers.

When analysed separately, both heart attack and stroke risk were

increased in the months before cancer diagnosis, although heart

attack events were slightly more common than strokes.

“If someone has a heart attack or stroke and there are any concerning

signs for an undiagnosed malignancy, such as weight loss

or unexplained anaemia, then perhaps a cancer screening should be

considered,” Navi said.

Drinking soda, sweetened drinks

may up chronic kidney disease

those in the bottom tertile. The researchers

were surprised to see that water was a component

of this beverage pattern that was

linked with a higher risk of CKD. They noted

that study participants may have reported

their consumption of a wide variety of types

of water, including flavoured and sweetened

water.


14 January 2019

HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Father's post-natal depression linked

to emotional stress in teen girls

LONDON : Post-natal

depression in fathers, in addition

to mothers, bring emotional

problems for their teenage

daughters, finds a new study.

The study found that almost

one in 20 new fathers suffered

depression in the weeks after

their child was born.

However, this association of

increased risk applied only to

teenage daughters. Sons

remained unaffected.

The reason for this "handing

on" effect could be that postnatal

depression in fathers is

sometimes linked with an

increased level of maternal

depression, indicating family life

is more disrupted for everyone

with higher levels of stress for

all.

While it is unclear why girls

may be more affected at this age,

there may be links to specific

aspects of father-daughter relationships

as girls go through

adolescence, the team suggested,

in the paper published in the

journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Exposure to secondhand

smoke may cause

irregular heartbeat

LOS ANGELES : Continuous

indoor exposure to second-hand tobacco

smoke triggers changes in the

heart's electrical activity that may

cause irregular heartbeat, a study

warns. The finding, conducted in

mice, suggests that second-hand

smoke exposure alters cells that regulate

how the heart beats.

The study, published in the journal

Environmental Health Perspectives,

expands overall knowledge of the

effects of tobacco smoke on cardiac

function in nonsmokers.

"As tobacco use continues to

decrease, research on its effects among

nonusers also is declining," said

Crystal Ripplinger, an associate professor

at the University of California,

Davis in the US.. "It's important to

continually define the health effects of

those unintended exposures," said

Ripplinger. The study is the first to

examine cellular changes in heart tissue

in response to ambient tobacco

smoke, researchers said. Another distinction

is that it focused on a heart

condition other than coronary artery

disease (CAD), or plaque buildup and

vessel hardening associated with

lifestyle and age. "The link between

second-hand tobacco smoke and CAD

is well established, however there is

little-to-no research on how it influences

cellular changes associated with

arrhythmia, which may affect individuals

with or without CAD," Ripplinger

said. Mice were exposed to secondhand

tobacco smoke in a chamber

specifically designed to test health

effects associated with inhaled toxins.

The smoke levels were set to be similar

to those found in public areas

where smokers are present.

Following four, eight and 12 weeks

of exposure for six hours a day, five

days a week, the animals' hearts were

tested using high-speed imaging and

electrocardiograms for changes in

electrical activity. To test susceptibility

to arrhythmias, hearts were paced at

fast heart rates. They also were tested

for levels of calcium, which regulates

heart contraction and contributes to

abnormal rhythms. The results were

compared to hearts of mice exposed

only to filtered air. The researchers

found that hearts from mice exposed

to filtered air responded normally, but

the hearts from mice exposed to secondhand

smoke could not tolerate fast

rates, especially at 12 weeks of exposure.

They also found that calcium levels

in these hearts did not respond

quickly enough, causing beat-to-beat

instability, or cardiac alternans.

"The high incidence of cardiac

alternans is particularly concerning

because we know that patients with

this condition are at significantly higher

risk for arrhythmias and sudden cardiac

death," Ripplinger said.

"We were able to look at

some of the ways in which

depression in fathers might have

affected children. It appears that

depression in fathers is linked

with an increased level of stress

in the whole family, and that this

might be one way in which the

offspring may be affected," said

Paul Ramchandani, Professor

from the University of

Cambridge.

Whilst many children will not

be affected by parental depression

in this way, the findings of

this study highlight the importance

of providing appropriate

help to fathers, as well as mothers,

who may experience depression,

according to Ramchandani.

"Fathers' post-natal depression

impacts the whole family

when unsupported, often resulting

in fathers using negative

coping skills, avoiding situations

and often feeling anger," noted

Mark Williams, a paternal

depression campaigner.

The study was based on the

experiences of 3,176 fathers.

Sugar-sweetened beverages linked

to kidney disease risk : Study

New York, A pattern of higher collective consumption of sweetened

fruit drinks, soda and water was associated with a higher likelihood

of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), researchers

warned. It was surprising for the researchers to see water as a component

of this beverage pattern

that was linked to a

higher risk of CKD. They

noted that study participants

may have reported their consumption

of a wide variety of

types of water, including

flavoured and sweetened

water. “There is a lack of

comprehensive information

on the health implications of

the wide range of beverage options that are available in the food

supply,” said Casey Rebholz, Assistant Professor at the Johns

Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US. “In particular,

there is limited information on which types of beverages and

patterns of beverages are associated with kidney disease risk in particular.”

For the study, the researchers studied 3,003 men and

women with normal kidney function.

Findings, published in the Clinical Journal of the American

Society of Nephrology, showed that among the participants, 185 (6

per cent) developed CKD. In addition, participants in the top tertile

(any of the two points that divide an ordered distribution into three

parts) for consumption of this beverage pattern were 61 per cent

more likely to develop CKD than those in the bottom tertile.

Reduced alcohol intake could

help to quit smoking : Study

New York : If quitting smoking is

one of your New Year’s resolutions, you

might want to consider cutting back on

your drinking too, a study has found.

The study found that heavy alcohol

drinkers who are trying to stop smoking

may find that reducing their alcohol

intake can also help them quit their daily

smoking habit.

In addition, heavy drinkers’ nicotine

metabolite ratio — a biomarker that indicates

how quickly a person’s body

metabolises nicotine — reduced as they

cut back on their drinking. Slowing a

person’s nicotine metabolism rate

through reduced drinking could provide

an edge when trying to stop smoking,

which is known to be a difficult task,

said lead researcher Sarah Dermody,

Assistant Professor at the Oregon State

University in the US.

“It takes a lot of determination to quit

smoking, often several attempts,”

Dermody said. For the study, the

researchers considered a small group of

daily smokers to study the nicotine

metabolite ratio, the medical term for

severe problem drinking. The findings,

published in the journal Nicotine and

Tobacco Research, showed that as the

men in the study group reduced their

drinking — from an average of 29 drinks

per week to seven — their nicotine

metabolite rate also dropped. The

women, however, did not see reductions

in their nicotine metabolite ratio.

Anxiety linked to kicking, yelling during sleep : Study

New York : Taking anti-depressants

or having post-traumatic stress disorder

or anxiety are risk factors for a disruptive

and sometimes violent sleep disorder

called rapid eye movement (REM)

sleep behaviour disorder, says a study.

REM sleep is the dream state of

sleep. A person may act out violent by

yelling, flailing their arms, punching or

kicking, to the point of harming themselves

or a sleep partner. During normal

REM sleep, your brain sends signals to

prevent your muscles from moving.

However, for people with REM sleep

behavior disorder, those signals are disrupted.

“While much is still unknown

about REM sleep behaviour disorder, it

can be caused by medications or it may

be an early sign of another neurologic

condition like Parkinson’s disease,

dementia with Lewy bodies or multiple

system atrophy,” said study author

Ronald Postuma at the McGill

University in Canada. For the study, the

researchers looked at 30,097 people with

an average age of 63. They identified

958 people, or 3.2 per cent with possible

REM sleep behaviour disorder, after

excluding participants with Parkinson’s

disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

or sleep apnea.

In addition, findings, published in

journal Neurology showed that 13 per

cent of those with the disorder taking

anti-depressants to treat depression compared

to 6 per cent without the disorder.

People with the disorder were also twoand-a-half

times as likely to have posttraumatic

stress disorder and twice as

likely to have mental illness, findings

showed. Other findings were that men

were twice as likely as women to have

possible REM sleep behaviour disorder.

People with possible REM sleep behaviour

disorder were 25 per cent more likely

to be moderate to heavy drinkers than

those without the disorder. “Our hope is

that our findings will help guide future

research, especially because REM sleep

behaviour disorder is such a strong sign

of future neuro-degenerative disease,”

said Postuma. Identifying lifestyle and

personal risk factors linked to this sleep

disorder may lead to finding ways to

reduce the chances of developing it, the

team noted.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

January 2019

15

Diabetes drugs linked to heart disease risk: Study

New York, Intake of

two commonly used

drugs to treat Type-2 diabetes

carry a high risk of

cardiovascular events

such as heart attack,

stroke, heart failure or

amputation, warns a new

study.

The two drugs — sulfonylureas

and basal

insulin — are the second-line

medication after

metformin, a widely

accepted initial Type-2

diabetes treatment.

The study, published

in the journal JAMA

Network Open, showed that

patients who take one of these

two drugs are 36 per cent more

likely and twice as likely to

experience cardiovascular

harm.

“People should know if the

medications they are taking to

treat their diabetes could lead to

serious cardiovascular harm.

This calls for a paradigm shift

in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes,”

said lead author

Matthew O’Brien, Assistant

Professor from the

Northwestern University in the

US. Physicians should consider

prescribing newer classes of

antidiabetic medications, such

as GLP-1 agonists (liraglutide),

SGLT-2

inhibitors

(empagliflozin)or DPP-4

inhibitors (sitagliptin), more

routinely after metformin,

rather than sulfonylureas or

basal insulin, suggest the

researchers. These drugs, however,

are more expensive than

the sulfonylureas, which is the

main reason they are not as

commonly prescribed.

The study should force medical

providers to think about

cardiovascular effects of these

drugs early in the course of diabetes

treatment, and shift prescribing

patterns to newer

drugs that have more

favourable cardiovascular profiles,the

team noted.

This was an observational

study using data from 132,737

patients with Type-2 diabetes

who were starting second-line

treatment.

Novel drug to fight Alzheimer’s,

PARKINSON’S DEVELOPED

London, Scientists

have developed a drug

with potential to stop the

breakdown of nerves and

brain cells that may lead

to Alzheimer’s,

Parkinson’s and motor

neuron disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is

the most common type of

dementia, which includes

memory loss, confusion

and problems with speech

and understanding.

The drug is made up of

“supercharged” vitamin

A, which is found in vegetables

like sprouts and carrots

and miniature cabbages, the

Daily Mail reported.

The study showed that vitamin

A turns into a chemical

called retinoic acid when broken

down by the body, which is

crucial for the development of

the nervous system.

Higher levels of retinoic

acid in the body could halt

nerve damage and boost the

number of nerve cells. “We are

moving forward with a new

therapeutic which could be

used to help people with

Alzheimer’s disease,” Peter

McCaffery, lead author and

Professor from the Aberdeen

University in Scotland, was

quoted as saying.

“Our work is still at an early

stage but we believe this is a

positive development and the

new drugs seem to protect

nerve cells” he added.

With vitamin A making a

difference, it is important to

find ways of tackling neurological

conditions, McCaffery

said.

In addition, the drug may

also benefit ALS or Lou

Gehrig’s disease, which affects

the muscles of the arms, legs,

mouth and respiratory system.

‘Super drug’ for pediatric blood

cancer may soon be reality

New York, A “super drug”

that helps slow down the progression

of blood cancer in

children could soon become a

reality, say researchers.

Patients with leukemia have

a very low percentage of red

blood cells, making them anemic,

and have approximately

80 times more white blood

cells than people without cancer.

However, the survival rate

is only 30 per cent for children

diagnosed with MLLtranslocation

leukemia, a cancer

that affects the blood and

bone marrow.

These white blood cells

infiltrate many of the tissues

and organs of the affected individuals

and is a major cause of

death in leukemia patients,”

said Ali Shilatifard, Professor

at the Northwestern University

in the US. “This is a monster

cancer that we’ve been dealing

with for many years in children.

“We’re finally at a point

where in five to 10 years, we

can get a drug in kids that can

be effective. If we can bring

that survival rate up to 85 per

cent, that’s a major accomplishment,”

Shilatifard said. In

the study, detailed in the journal

Genes and Development,

the team demonstrated that

when a key protein responsible

for leukemia, MLL, is stabilised,

it slows the progression

of the leukemia.

This MLL stabilisation

process could potentially work

in cancers with solid tumours,

such as breast or prostate cancer.

The next step will be to

combine the treatments from

the past two years of

research into a pediatric

leukemia “super drug” to

test on humans in a clinical

trial, the researchers

said. “This opens up a

new therapeutic approach

not only for leukemia,

which is so important for

the many children who

are diagnosed with this terrible

cancer, but also for other types

of cancers that plague the population,”

the study showed.

The team also identified

compounds that could slow

cancer growth by interrupting

a gene transcription process

known as “Super Elongation

Complex” (SEC).

Mindfulness strategies may

help shed excess weight

LONDON : Mindfulness training could be

the key to support weight loss in individuals with

obesity, thereby facilitating healthier eating

behaviours, as per a new study.

Mindfulness is a mind-body

practice where individuals learn

to achieve heightened awareness

of their current state of

mind and immediate environment

in the present moment.

The study showed that individuals

who participated in

mindfulness training as part of

an intensive weight management

programme lost three kilograms

of weight in six months

than others who participated in

obesity management programme.

"This research is significant

as we have shown that

problematic eating behaviour

can be improved with mindfulness application,"

said Petra Hansona, lead researcher and postdoctoral

student from the University of

Warwickshire in the UK. "Mindfulness has huge

potential as a strategy for achieving and maintaining

good health and wellbeing," said Thomas

M. Barber, Associate Professor at the varsity.

Focus should be on enabling the populace to

make appropriate lifestyle decisions and empowering

subsequent salutary behaviour change, said

Barber.

For the study, the team examined

weight loss among a small

group of people who were attending

the multidisciplinary tier 3

weight management programme.

Findings, published in the

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology

and Metabolism, showed that individuals

who attended only one or

two courses lost, on average, 0.9

kilograms (2 pounds) during the

same period. Conversely, those

who did not complete the course

tended to weigh more than those

who finished the group mindfulness

course. "Individuals who

completed the course said they

were better able to plan meals in advance and felt

more confident in self-management of weight

loss moving forward," said Hanson. Obesity

worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975, according

to the World Health Organisation. As of

2016, more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide

met the criteria for overweight or obesity.

Women with slim hips may develop diabetes, heart attacks

London : While putting on weight is dangerous

for health, women who have slim hips could

be at risk of diabetes and heart attacks, finds a

new research.

The study showed that putting on weight

around the hips is actually safer than accumulation

around the belly or around other major

organs such as the liver or pancreas.

The reason could be because some women are

genetically less able to store fat at the hips,

which puts them at risk of Type-2 diabetes and

heart disease.

Also, putting on fat is more likely to circulate

in the blood.

“This means that individuals with this genetic

make-up preferentially store their excess fat in

the liver, muscles or pancreas, or in their blood in

the form of circulating fats and sugar, any of

which can lead to a higher disease risk,” said

Luca Lotta, lead researcher from the University

of Cambridge.

“It may seem counter-intuitive to think that

some people with less fat around their hips are at

higher risk of diabetes or heart disease,” said

Lotta. For the study, the researchers studied the

genetic profiles of more than 600,000 women.

They identified two specific groups of genetic

variants — one that lowers fat around the hips

and another increasing fat around the waist and

belly.

Findings, published in the JAMA medical

journal, showed that both of the genetic variants

identified were associated with higher risk of

Type-2 diabetes and heart attacks.

Genetics which specifically change fat distribution

by lowering fat storage around the hips

increase risk of disease independent of, and in

addition to, mechanisms that affect abdominal

fat storage, the study noted.


16 January 2019

NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

STINKING BIO-TOILETS : Need foolproof

method to improve system, Railways told

New Delhi : After the Comptroller

and Auditor General of India (CAG), a

parliamentary panel has now taken

note of the problem of stinking and

choked bio-toilets in trains and sought

measures for their improvement.

The Railway Convention

Committee (RCC), in its latest report

on December 31, has in particular

sought a foolproof mechanism for the

effective use and management of the

bacteria meant to be used in the biotoilets

that are replacing earlier "holein-the-floor"

toilets in trains in a

phased manner. The 18-member parliamentary

panel noted that the bacteria

inoculum required for use in the

bio-toilets to decompose human waste

is currently being generated by the

Railways at its in-house plant in Moti

Bagh, Nagpur, and is also procured

from DRDO, Gwalior. This is said to

be sufficient to cover the requirements

of the national transporter. However,

the committee detected a major problem

with the bacteria inoculum -- it's

short expiry date.

Once it is opened, it has to be

utilised within two days, and the

Railways is apparently not able to do

so, rendering it ineffective. It has

sought a foolproof mechanism for the

effective use and management of the

bacteria meant to be used in bio-toilets.

Responding to the committee's

observation, the Railways said corrective

measures have been introduced

and cross-checking of bio-toilets has

Triple talaq bill

'barbaric', says AIMPLB

women wing

Hyderabad : Terming triple talaq bill "inhuman,

anti-women and barbaric", women's wing of

the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIM-

PLB) on Tuesday appealed to Rajya Sabha members

to press for referring it to a select committee

for scrutiny. Asma Zohra, the chief organiser of

the women's wing of AIMPLB, told reporters here

that if passed, the triple talaq legislation will damage

the family and social fabric of the community.

The bill, passed in the Lok Sabha last week,

could not be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Monday

as opposition insisted that it be referred to a select

committee. It is likely to be taken up on

Wednesday again.

"There was no need for this bill after Supreme

Court judgment invalidating triple talaq. It is

brought with political and communal motives to

divide the society," she said. She claimed that

Muslims across India oppose and condemn the

bill brought in the Rajya Sabha for a second time.

The women's wing of AIMPLB believes that if

passed the legislation will break marriages rather

than empowering women. It termed the bill a

direct blow to family system and the institution of

marriage. She said the AIMPLB has time and

again stated that triple talaq in one sitting is not

the standard procedure of divorce and those practicing

this shall face social boycott.

"Muslim women will not get anything from

this bill. Instead, they will be left abandoned and

deserted. Her condition will become more miserable,"

it said. "It is ironic that there is freedom in

this country for men and women to have premarital,

extramarital and even multiple relationships.

Decriminalisation of Section 377 is being cited as

an example of freedom in personal and civil matters,

then why a Muslim husband is penalised for

divorce," asked Asma Zohra.

been intensified. The RCC, headed by

Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari

Mahtab, has observed that though

retro-fitment of bio-toilets is a laudable

and environment-friendly exercise,

these toilets are beset with problems

such as choking, foul smell and

overflow of human discharge.

Incidentally, the CAG, in a report in

December 2017, had found that almost

two lakh complaints regarding choking,

smelly and non-functional bio-toilets

in trains were received from the

public in 2016-2017. The RCC

observed that human waste collected

in bio tanks is "biodigested" by the

anaerobic bacteria already filled in the

bio-tank, which converts the human

waste mainly into water and bio-gases.

While gases escape into the atmosphere,

the water is discharged after

treatment. The committee recommended

that given the potential hazards

involved in the discharge of waste

water, the Railways should take steps

for its safe disposal at designated locations

without causing pollution. The

committee also observed that at various

railway stations and railway toilets,

a particular type of pungent disinfectant

is used, causing discomfort to

the passengers.

The Railways informed the RCC

that, earlier, a phenylic-type disinfectant

was used which had a peculiar

smell. Now all zones have been

advised to procure deodorising-cumdisinfecting

fluid for use in railway

offices, hospitals, stations, coach

INDIAN, CHINESE SOLDIERS

exchange greetings on New Year

Srinagar : Indian and Chinese soldiers on

Tuesday exchange pleasantries on the occasion

of the New Year at Chushul-Moldo and DBO-

TWD in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

At the invitation of the People Liberation

Army (PLA) of China, ceremonial Border

Personnel Meetings (BPMs) were held to celebrate

the New Year at Chinese BPM hut at

Chushul-Moldo and DBO-TWD meeting points

in Eastern Ladakh, the Army said in a statement.

The Indian delegations were led by Major

General Sanjiv Rai and Colonel S.S. Lamba and

the Chinese delegations by Senior Colonel Liu

Hou Jie and Colonel Song Zhang Li respectively.

The ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting

commenced with saluting the national flags by

the delegation members. This was followed by a

ceremonial address comprising exchange of

greetings, wishes and vote of thanks.

The address reflected the mutual desire of

maintaining and improving relations at functional

level at the border. Thereafter, a cultural

programme showcasing Chinese culture and traditions

was organised. The ceremonial Border

Personnel Meetings were held in the backdrop

of successful conduct of Exercise Hand-in-Hand

at Chengdu in China wherein troops of both the

countries interacted, participated in joint exercises

and shared on ground experiences.

"Both sides also sought to build on the mutual

feeling to maintain peace and tranquility

along the border," it said. India and China were

locked in 72-day stand-off at Doklam in August

2017 in the wake of China building roads at the

India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. The two countries

have fought a war in 1962.

depots and trains. The panel has suggested

that all zones and divisions

should start procuring the new deodorising-cum-disinfecting

fluid without

any delay and replace the old disinfectant

at the earliest.

Regarding coach cleaning complaints,

the committee has sought a

quicker response time to redress complaints.

Taking note of third party

audit-cum-surveys for assessment of

cleanliness at 407 major stations in

2016-17, the committee is of the view

that more stations should be covered

as these measures put pressure on the

staff and officers of all the stations to

make their premises neat and clean

and also lead to healthy competition

among various stations.

The RCC has also taken note that

the various cleaning facilities provided

by the Railways are confined to few

select stations. The committee has said

the facilities should be extended to all

stations and coaches in a time-bound

manner. The Mahtab-led committee

also urged the Railways to conduct

passenger awareness campaigns on

cleanliness at frequent intervals so as

to inculcate a culture of cleanliness

among them.

The committee also emphasised the

importance of enlisting the cooperation

of local governments by the

Railways in maintenance of cleanliness,

prevention of encroachment and

trespassing in the station surroundings

and also for solid waste management.

BJP INTERFERING

with judicial

process in Ram

temple case: Sibal

New Delhi : Senior Congress leader and

Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal on Tuesday

said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is

trying to interfere with the judicial process in

the Ram temple case by pressing the court to

hold an early hearing. "What are they trying to

do? To insist that the Supreme Court should

hear the matter on day-to-day basis, decide it

at the earliest? Is this not interference?" Sibal

said. His response came after Prime Minister

Narendra Modi in an interview aired on

Tuesday said that "Congress should stop its

lawyers" from "interfering with the judicial

process" in the Ram temple case.

Sibal had appeared in the case on behalf of

the All India Muslim Personal Law Board but

later parted ways with his client.

"What they (BJP) are doing is telling the

court to decide a particular case in a particular

manner," Sibal said, adding that the judicial

process should go on unhampered and it

should be left to the apex court to decide when

and how it concludes the case.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Mumbai, Be it black comedy thriller

“AndhaDhun” or light hearted comedy

film “Badhaai Ho” or horror comedy

“Stree”, the year of 2018 saw a string of

content driven and small budget movies

which have outperformed at the box-office,

and proved that Bollywood not only runs

on starry ventures and big-budget production.

So before the year ends, many

renowned filmmakers from the industry

have shared their favourite films of 2018.

Here’s the list of directors’ favourite

films of 2018:

Ashwini Iyer Tiwari: “AndhaDhun”,

“Patakha”, “Stree”, “Badhaai Ho” and

“Raazi” Ali Abbas Zafar: “Raazi”,

“Bhaddhai Ho” and “Sanju” Milap Zaveri:

“Padmaavat”, “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety”,

“Badhaai Ho”, “AndhaDhun”, “Stree”,

“Parmanu – The Story of Pokhran”,

“KGF”, “Sanju”, “Baaghi 2”, “Hichki”,

“Raid”, “Sui Dhaaga” and of course my

own film “Satyamev Jayate”. Hansal

Mehta: “Stree”, “AndhaDhun” and “Star Is

ENTERTAINMENT

‘Iconoclast’ filmmaker Mrinal Sen dead

Kolkata, Legendary filmmaker

Mrinal Sen famed for his

ability to put searching questions

before the society — especially

the middle class, died at his south

Kolkata residence on Sunday following

old age complications,

family sources said.

Sen, 95, a widower, is survived

by his only son Kunal.

Sen, who was ailing for a long

time, breathed his last at his

Bhowanipore home around 10

a.m. after a cardiac arrest, his

family physician said. His demise

brings the curtains down on one

of the most glorious chapters of

filmmaking in India, where Sen

and late directors Satyajit Ray

and Ritwik Ghatak are revered as

the ‘trinity’ for giving birth to the

parallel (or new) cinema movement

in the country. The “trinity”

gave a new direction to the idea

of filmmaking in India, displaying

spontaneity, aesthetic sense

and deep knowledge of the medium,

that made the world look up

in wonder and respect at their

creations.

Born on May 14, 1923, at

Faridpur (now in Bangladesh),

Sen made his first Bengali film

“Rat Bhore” (The Dawn) in

1953, but it was his second directorial

effort “Neel Akasher

Niche” (Under the Blue Sky) that

received acclaim in the country

for its lyricism and humane qualities.

Sen followed it up with

“Baishey Shravan” (Wedding

Day), that earned him plaudits

from the critics beyond Indian

shores. In 1969, Sen worked on a

small budget provided by the

Central government to direct

SINGER CASSIE DATING

FITNESS TRAINER

London, Singer Cassie is reportedly year-old fitness trainer, reported dailymail.co.uk.

The “Me & U” hitmaker

dating celebrity fitness trainer Alex

Fine.

also recently posted a kissing photograph

of herself and Fine on Instagram.

According to The Blast, Cassie, 32,

who got separated from her long-time Fine has trained big names such as

partner Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs earlier this Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Ripa and Mark

year, is in a relationship with the 25- Consuelos.

“Bhuvan Shome” (Mr. Shome)

— a film regarded as an important

milestone in the new cinema

film movement in India.

A lifelong Leftist, who, however,

never took the membership

of any communist party in India,

Sen has left behind a rich repertoire

of 27 feature films, 14 shorts

and four documentaries during a

career spanning six decades.

Among his other venerated films

are “Interview” (1971), “Ek

Adhuri Kahani” (An Unfinished

Story, 1971), “Calcutta 71”

(1972), “Chorus” (1974),

“Mrigayaa” (in Hindi – The

Royal Hunt, 1976), “Oka Oori

Katha” (in Telugu – The

Outsiders, 1977), “Ek Din

Pratidin” (And Quiet Rolls the

Dawn, 1979), “Akaler Sandhane”

(In Search of Famine, 1980),

“Chalchitra” (The Kaleidoscope,

1981), “Kharij” (The Case Is

Closed, 1982), “Khandhar” (The

Ruins, 1983), “Genesis” (1986),

“Ek Din Achanak” (Suddenly,

One Day, 1989). His last film

“Aamaar Bhuvan” (This, My

Land) came in 2002. An intellectual

par excellence and a great

conversationist, Sen regaled in

calling himself an “iconoclast”

and “By accident, a maker of

films”. Widely feted, Sen

received the Padma Bhushan in

1981, the Dadasaheb Phalke —

the highest award in Indian cinema

— in 2005, the French government’s

Commandeur de l’ordre

des Arts et letters

(Commander of the Order of Arts

and Letters) in 2001, and Order

of Friendship from the Russian

government in the same year. He

was a member of the Rajya Sabha

from 1997 to 2003, and president

of the International Federation of

the Film Societies for some time.

Respected across the globe, Sen

served as a member of

International Jury at various film

festivals, including Cannes,

Venice, Berlin, Moscow, Karlovy

Vary, Tokyo, Tehran, Mannheim,

Nyon, Chicago, Ghent, Tunis and

Oberhausen. He came out with

his autobiography “Always

Being Born” in 2004. Condoling

Sen’s death, West Bengal Chief

Minister Mamata Banerjee said

“it is an irreparable loss to the

world of filmmaking”. Megastar

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted:

“Mrinal Sen no more… a most

amiable, distinguished creative

cinematic mind, contemporary of

Satyajit Ray and Rithik Ghatak. I

did my first ever voiceover in his

film ‘Bhuvan Shome’. Prayers

and condolences.”

Famous Bengali filmmaker

Buddhadeb Dasgupta termed

Sen’s death as “the end of an

era”. Acclaimed Bengali actorfilmmaker

Aparna Sen, who

worked in three films made by

Sen, said more than a director and

a colleague, he was like a family

member. Film and stage actor

Kaushik Sen, who debuted in

Sen’s film “Ek Din Pratidin” as a

child actor, was at a loss for

words. “My relationship with

Mrinal Sen was very personal…

cannot say much at this point. I

learnt a lot of technical things

about acting and filmmaking

from him. I first acted in front of

the camera because of him and

my first film was also directed by

him. I have also acted in the last

film made by him,” Kaushik said.

Veteran actor Ranjit Mullick,

who also made his acting debut

under Sen, grieved at the “painful

news”. “Mrinal Sen’s name is

pronounced with stalwarts like

Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak

in the same breath. I cannot

believe he is no more. It is a

painful news. He had a great

sense of humour,” Ranjit said.

These are my favourites : Directors

select their favourite films of 2018

Born”. I am also very proud of my own

“Omerta”. Suresh Triveni: “AndhaDhun”,

“Badhaai Ho”, “Manto”, “Mitron”(thought

it was underrated), “Raazi”, “Tumbbad”,

“Soorma”, “Mulk”, “October”and “Love

Sonia”. Saket Chowdhary: “Tumbbad”,

“Manto”, “Badhaai Ho”, “Stree”, “Raazi”

and “AndhaDhun”.

Raj Nidimoru: “AndhaDhun” and

“Tumbbad”. Amit Sharma: “Raazi”, I

couldn’t watch the other films as I was

shooting my own “Badhaai Ho”. Sriram

Raghavan: “Raazi”, “Tumbbad”,

“October”, “Manto” and “Stree”. My

“AndhaDhun” was to originally release

with “Stree”. Thankfully it didn’t.

Onir: “Village Rockstar”,

“AndhaDhun”, “Stree”, “Badhaai Ho”,

“Mulk” and my own film “Kuch Bheege

Alfaaz”.

January 2019

17

Actress Parul Yadav hails

#MeToo movement as

‘POSITIVE CHANGE’

Mumbai, Actress Parul Yadav, who is playing the lead role in

the Kannada remake of the Bollywood film “Queen”, says from

removing the accused

from his position to

creating collective consciousness

among people

regarding sexual

harassment at the

workplace,

#MeToo

movement is a positive

change in every workplace

including film

industry.

The voice of

women has been suppressed

for years, it is

great to see how stories

of injustice, humiliation

and harassment not

only come out in the

media but also legal

action has been taken.

There are film directors

who had to stop working unless the legal process gets over. Now no

member of the fraternity can get away after committing a crime like

sexual harassment,” Parul said in an interaction with IANS. Parul

has been working in the south Indian film industry for quite some

time and has received many awards for her Kannada films. In the

Indian film industry, several actresses like Malayalam actress

Parvathy, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, Nandita Das and

Renuka Shahane, among many others, supported the #MeToo

movement whereas actress Tanushree Dutta was one of the prominent

voices to come forward with her story of sexual harassment

against veteran actor Nana Patekar.

Parul said: “This is one of such movements that has given

women a voice to take stand against injustice…so that the workplace

becomes more secure for all of us.”

Asked about if the actress has ever spoken to Vikas Behl, the

director of “Queen” who is also accused of sexual harassment, the

actress said: “When we decided to remake the film in a different

language, I had spoken to him once and that’s it. He said that it

would be better if I do not watch the film because that might influence

me prompt me to copy the original performance, which none

of us wants.” The original film “Queen” that released in 2014, has

now four versions – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. While

Parul will be playing the Kannada version, Kajal Aggarwal,

Tamannaah and Manjima Mohan will be in the lead role in Tamil,

Telugu and Malayalam versions, respectively. The film is slated to

release in 2019.

Big B, Anushka hail team

India after MCG Test win

Mumbai, Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and actress Anushka

Sharma on Sunday congratulated Indian cricket team for its victory

over Australia in the third Test match in Melbourne.

“Yeah! India wins! Well done Team India…,” Amitabh posted

on Instagram along with a photograph of the team celebrating their

win on field. In the post, the “Pink” actor also wrote a short poem

in Hindi, praising cricketers Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and

Rishabh Pant for their commendable performances.

Indian team defeated Australia by 137 runs in the third cricket

Test to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series at the Melbourne

Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday. This is also the first time that

India have taken the lead in a Test series in Australia. Anushka, wife

of Kohli, also took to social media to express her happiness over the

team’s win. She posted a video clip of the match on Instagram story

and called it a “historic win”.


18 January 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Multi-faceted Kader Khan leaves behind

a vast oeuvre of work, fond memories

Mumbai : An actor-writercomedian

and Quranic scholar,

the multi-talented Kader Khan,

who died early on Tuesday

(IST) in Toronto aged 81, has

left behind a vast oeuvre of

work from a career spanning

over four decades and will be

remembered as much for his

contribution to Hindu filmdom

as for deciphering Islam for the

laity across the religious spectrum.

The sad news of Kader

Khan's passing shocked the

Bollywood fraternity on New

Year's Day, when it broke early

on Tuesday morning.

He had spent nearly four

months in hospital, for various

old-age related ailments,

including breathing issues, and

finally succumbed on

December 31 evening (Toronto

time). Born on October 22,

1937 in Kabul to a Pashtun

family, Kader Khan (KK)

migrated to Mumbai in 1952

and was educated in a local

municipal school and later

graduated from Mumbai's

Ismail Yusuf College,

Jogeshwari, a government-run

institution. He followed up

with a diploma in Mechanical

Engineering from the M. S.

Saboo Siddique Institute in

Mumbai and later became a

professor there for around

seven years. According to a

close family friend Javed

Jamaluddin, the family initially

lived in te notorious Arab

Gully in south Mumbai, before

shifting to the suburbs and

Kader Khan, who loved to read

and write, continuing his higher

education there.

It was during his college

days that he developed a passion

for theatre, acting and

penning stories and dialogues.

He penned a drama, "Local

Train" which bagged the first

prize at the National Jagruti

Drama Competition in the

early 1970s, Jamaluddin said.

It was Narendra Singh Bedi,

son of the legendary Rajinder

Singh Bedi who gave Kader

Khan the first break for writing

the superhit musical "Jawani

Diwani" (1972) starring

Randhir Kapoor-Jaya Bhaduri,

and since then he never looked

back. Bollywood thespian, Dilip

Kumar, who happened to watch

one of his plays during a college

day function, offered Kader

Khan a role and an assignment

for writing dislogues. But he

was already busy with scripting

the Rajesh Khanna starrer

"Roti" (1974), so later, he wrote

the film 'Bairaag" (1976), a

mega-hit musical featuring

Dilip Kumar and his wife Saira

Banu in the lead roles, with

Kader Khan in a character role.

An avid reader and a filmbuff,

he had a huge collection

of books on various subjects

related to film-making, acting,

screenplay-writing, penning

stories-dialogues and other

departments from all over the

world, besides being a Quranic

Scholar with a mastery over

Arabic and Urdu. It was Kader

Khan who inspired his friend,

A. Krishnamurthi, head of Tina

Films International (TFI) to

venture into its first Bollywood

venture, "Ghar Ek Mandir"

(1984), a hit with a multi-star

cast, and even insisted on writing

the dialogues for it.

"After he saw the story, he

wanted to play the role of Seth

Dharamdas, which was originally

assigned to Amjad Khan.

He dedicated a lot of time and

his dialogues became 'the

pearls in the necklace' in that

film, and later in many of our

other films. I knew him since

his early days in the film industry

and he was truly a good

human being, a great actor and

an acclaimed writer"

Krishnamurthi told IANS.

During the shooting of one

TFI film, "Aag" (1994), in

which Sonali Bendre debuted

as an actress, Kader Khan

inspired the co-female lead,

Shilpa Shetty, to learn Urdu to

improve her diction and dialogue

delivery and even taught

her bits of it during takes, producer

K. Ramji said.

Starting with his first film as

an actor in the late Yash

Chopra's directorial debut, the

super-hit musical "Daag"

(1973), over the next 40 years

he went on to act in over 300

films in memorable roles, and

also wrote the story or dialogues

for more than 250 films

in Hindi and Urdu, starting

with "Roti" (1974).

With his rich experience on

stage, Kader Khan effortlessly

managed to enact all types of

negative-positive character

roles, besides as a villain,

comedian, and double-roles,

though competing with some

of the biggest names of his era.

He worked with top actors of

Didn’t win ‘Bigg Boss’, but ruled it: Sreesanth

New Delhi, Former Indian

cricketer Sreesanth, who lost

the “Bigg Boss 12” trophy to

actress Dipika Kakar, says that

he did not win the show, but

ended up winning thousands of

hearts.

“Though I have not become

the winner of the show, I have

won so many hearts. Isn’t that a

remarkable achievement?

When I entered the show, I

thought that I would get evicted

in a week or two, but I survived.

Not only survived, I

ruled the show,” Sreesanth told

IANS. Be it his threats of quitting

the show or his aggressive

fights with co-contestants,

Sreesanth was always in news

during his “Bigg Boss” journey.

Asked if all that was his

strategy to make him reach the

finals, the 35-year old denied

and said: “Everything that you

saw in the show was natural

and spontaneous. Nothing was

planned and scripted. I did not

even make any strategy.”

“I did not plan that I would

react to things in some particular

manner. I was being myself.

And talking about fights, they

obviously will happen because

living inside the house for over

90 days with different kinds of

people ain’t easy.”

In an earlier interview to

IANS, Sreesanth, who was

slapped a life ban by the BCCI

in 2015 for alleged involvement

in betting and spot fixing,

said he wanted to enter the

“Bigg Boss” house to change

people’s perception about his

image.

The first runner-up of the

show, which concluded on

Sunday, “thanked people” for

understanding him and “giving

him a chance to prove himself”.

“I am honoured and blessed to

receive so much love from people.

My fans supported me

throughout my thick and thin.

This show has given me a lot,

though nothing compared to

the game of cricket,” he added.

Sreesanth will now amaze

viewers with his stunts in

another reality show titled

“Khatron Ke Khiladi”.

the day like Rajesh Khanna,

Feroze Khan, Jeetendra,

Amitabh Bachchan,

Randhir Kapoor, Anil

Kapoor, Govinda, Salman

Khan and with the leading

directors like T. Rama Rao,

Yash Chopra, A.

Krishnamurthi, K.

Raghavendra Rao, K.

Bapaiah, Dasari Narayan

Rao and David Dhavan,

among many others.

Some of his most memorable

films as a comediancharacter

actor are: "Daag",

"Adalat", "Bairaag",

"Parvarish", "Muqaddar Ka

Sikandar, "Shalimar", "Mr.

Natwarlal", "Suhaag", "Dhan

Daulat", "Qurbani",

"Jwalamukhi", "Abdullah",

"Naseeb", "Yaarana",

"Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai",

"Satte Pe Satta", "Desh

Premee", "Sanam Teri

Kasam", "Mehndi Rang

Layegi", "Himmatwala",

"Coolie", "Ghar Ek Mandir",

"John Jaani Janardhan",

"Tawaif", "Loha", "Jawab

Hum Denge", "Shahenshah",

"Pyar Ka Mandir", "Khoon

Bhari Maang", "Baap

Numbri, Beta Dus Numbri",

"Saajan", "Bol Radha Bol",

"Meherbaan", "Aankhen",

"Eena Meena Deeka",

"Coolie No.1", "Saajan Chale

Sasural", "Judaai", "Dulhe

Raja," "Aunty No.1" and

"Sooryavansham". He

penned the story-dialogues

for top-grossing and

acclaimed films like:

"Jawani Diwani",

"Benaam", "Roti", "Amar

Akbar Anthony",

"Parvarish", "Muqaddar Ka

Sikandar", "Suhaag", "Mr.

Natwarlal, "Yaarana",

"Lawaaris", "Desh Premee",

"Khuddar", "Coolie",

"Sharaabi", "Ganga Jamna

Saraswati", "Singhasan",

"Khoon Bhari Maang" and

"Aunty No. 1". He also produced

a film, "Shama" in 1981.

‘MTV Ace of Space’ winner

done with reality shows

New Delhi : Divya Agarwal has been announced as the winner

of the reality show “MTV Ace of Space”. She says that she

is not interested in taking up

another reality show unless it’s

dance-based. The grand finale was

aired on Monday on MTV. The

show’s mastermind, Vikas Gupta,

also announced Pratik and Varun

Sood as the first and second runners-up.

The show saw 18 contestants

battling it out against shrinking

walls and daunting challenges.

“My journey started 10 years

back as a dance teacher and it’s an

amazing feeling to be the winner

of one of the most amazing reality

shows in India,” Divya told IANS after her victory. Talking

about her “struggling days”, she said: “I didn’t have money for

food. I had to live in certain situations where I never wanted to

live in a house so, all of those experiences… I think have made

me so strong.” Thanks to the show, she feels that has won a lot

of friends and also “realised the importance of losing people”.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Congress governments in

MP, Rajasthan to withdraw

cases against DALITS

Bhopal/Jaipur : Heeding to BSP chief

Mayawati's ultimatum, the Congress governments

in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan

on Tuesday said they will withdraw cases

filed against Dalits during the 'Bharat

Bandh' last year that witnessed largescale

violence. The decisions were announced by

the two governments a day after Mayawati

threatened to take back the BSP's support to

them if they did not withdraw

the cases filed against the

Dalits during the 'Bharat

Bandh' called by Dalit

groups.

The Madhya Pradesh

government will withdraw

all the "political cases" filed

by the previous BJP government

against workers of

political parties and Dalit

activists, Law Minister P.C.

Sharma said. "We

(Congress) have been fighting (against the

BJP government). Irrespective of any

party, those who have been fighting the

BJP government which had sent people to

jail... those political cases will be withdrawn,"

he said. Last week, Sharma had

indicated that the government was drafting

a proposal to withdraw "politically

motivated" cases against political and

trade union leaders filed during the BJP's

rule during the last 15 years.

In Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister

Ashok Gehlot said his government will

revoke cases registered against Dalits during

the Bharat Bandh of April 2 last year

after reviewing them.

Speaking to the media at the Congress

office, Gehlot said: "Our government will

review all such cases to ensure that innocents

are released." He said that

Mayawati's demand was valid. The previous

government had framed cases against

many people "and hence our

government will review all

such cases". "In fact, I am

thankful to Mayawati for giving

support to our party. She

herself took the initiative to

extend support to the

Congress and hence I am

thankful to her." The BSP has

two members in the 230-member

Madhya Pradesh

Assembly in which the

Congress has 114 MLAs and

is two short of the majority mark.

The Samajwadi Party has one MLA

and has also extended support to the government.

There are four independents.

In the 200-member Rajasthan

Assembly, the Congress has 99 members

and its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal has

one MLA. There are six BSP MLAs and

13 independents. The Congress had supported

the protest in April 2018 against the

changes to the SC/ST Act brought in by

the Supreme Court which were later nullified

by a legislation passed in Parliament.

NEWS

Centre approves

renaming of Allahabad

as Prayagraj

New Delhi : Days ahead of the

"Kumbh Mela", the Union Home Ministry

has approved the Uttar Pradesh government's

proposal to rename Allahabad as

Prayagraj. A no-objection certificate

(NOC) from the Home Ministry will now

ensure that names of other institutes in the

district, including railway station, high

court and university, are also changed.

In October last year, the Yogi

Adityanath-led government had proposed

the change in the name of Allahabad. A

government statement cited "board

researched documents" behind the name

change and found that "there were 14

Prayags in the country but only one here,

also known as King of all Prayags".

Confirming the move, a senior Home

Ministry official said: "There are some

central institutions, high court, railway station

and organisations named after

Allahabad. Letters have been sent to other

Central ministries informing that the Home

Ministry has approved the proposal of the

UP government. The state government will

now get approval from other Central ministries

and change the names accordingly."

Under the government guidelines for

the renaming of railway stations, villages,

towns and cities, it is mandatory to obtain

a NOC from the Union Home Ministry by

the state government.

The Home Ministry had earlier

approved the renaming of the British-era

railway station Robertsgang as

Sonbhadra, Farah Town railway station

near Mathura and iconic Mughalsarai

junction after Deen Dayal Upadhyay --

both in Uttar Pradesh.

Lucknow : Ahead of the Lok

Sabha polls and amid talks of anti-

BJP Mahagatbandhan in Uttar

Pradesh, Samajwadi Party Chief and

former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister

Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said there

will be "confulence of thoughts and

people" in the state.

"Uttar Pradesh me vicharo ka

sangam hoga, logo ka sangam hoga.

Aur bahot jaldi wo aap logo ke samne

aa jayega aur dikhai de jayega (in

Uttar Pradesh, there will be a confluence

of thoughts

and of people and

it will be known

very soon)," he

said while

addressing a

press conference

here.

He was

responding to a

question on the

alliance in the state ahead of the 2019

Lok Sabha polls.

When asked further that Congress

will be a part of this confluence, he

said, "Hamne kaha vicharo ka sangam

hoga, logo ka sangam hoga, usi me

pura jawab hai (I said that there will

be confluence of people and thoughts.

All answers are included in that)."

The SP and the Bahujan Samaj

Party had defeated the ruling BJP in

several by-polls including the state's

Chief Minister Gorakhpur parliamentary

seat. The BJP and its allies had

January 2019

19

In UP, there will be confluence of people,

thoughts : Akhilesh on alliance

won 73 out of 80 seats in the 2014

Lok Sabha polls.

On December 26, the Samajwadi

Party leader had lashed out at the

Congress for not including its sole

legislator in Madhya Pradesh in the

cabinet despite its support in formation

of the government and in attaining

the majority mark.

Talking to the media, the former

UP Chief Minister said that by doing

so, the Congress had "cleared the path

for UP".

This statement

from the 45-yearold

leader is being

seen as another indication

of the growing

space and disenchantment

of the SP

from the Congress

and the likelihood of

the Congress being

kept out of the proposed

"grand alliance" in Uttar

Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, Mayawati,

the BSP supremo and a prospective

partner in the 'mahagathbandhan' has

already given enough hints about acting

tough on the Congress.

Miffed with the Congress, the BSP

chief had, soon after extending support

to that party in MP, said that people

had with heavy heart voted for the

Congress and that she was extending

support only to keep the Bharatiya

Janata Party at bay.


20 January 2019

TECH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

FITBIT Charge 3 in

India for Rs 13,990

New Delhi : Global wearables

maker Fitbit on Monday

launched Fitbit Charge 3 band

in India for Rs 13,990.

It would be available across

Reliance Digital, Croma,

Helios and other retailers

offline and online in black with

a graphite aluminium case or

blue-gray with rose gold aluminium

case.

Fitbit Charge 3 Special

Edition would be available at a

price of Rs 15,999.

Charge 3 is the latest addition

to the company’s best-selling

“Charge” family of

devices, and comes with a

swim-proof design with a large

touchscreen display, our most

advanced health and fitness

features on a tracker and is our

smartest tracker yet — with up

to 7 days of battery life, the

company said in a statement.

“We’ve seen strong preorders

for Charge 3, which are

even better than Versa in its

People buying boats on

Facebook to reach

Britain illegally: Report

London : Smugglers and migrants are

using Facebook to buy boats for crossing

the Channel from the French port city of

Calais to come to

Britain, The

Telegraph reported.

The Facebook

“Marketplace” has

been favoured by

groups of Iranians

and Iraqis intent on

organising their

own Channel crossings,

because they

can club together

and buy a boat at a

much lower price

than if they had to

pay a smuggling

gang, the paper reported on Sunday. The

Telegraph spotted online advertisements for

25 boats for sale within a 40 mile radius of

Calais that cost under 15,000 euros on a single

day. It is believed that smugglers are

also finding the Facebook “Marketplace” a

convenient place to buy boats as it allows

them to source their vessels from a nearby

place.

Marketplace was introduced in 2016 as a

place for Facebook users to buy and sell

within their local communities.

Responding to the issues raised by The

Telegraph, Facebook said that any ads,

posts, pages or groups that co-ordinate people

smuggling are not allowed on Facebook.

“We work closely with law enforcement

agencies around the world including

Europol to identify, remove and report this

illegal activity, and we’re always improving

the methods we use to identify content that

breaks our policies, including doubling our

safety and security team to 30,000 people

and investing in technology,” a Facebook

spokesperson was quoted as saying.

New Delhi : After Anand Vihar, Hazrat

Nizamuddin is all set to become the next

big transport hub of the city to be connected

with the metro, after the newly built

stretch between Mayur Vihar Pocket 1 and

Lajpat Nagar opens on Monday.

The station will have entry and exit

gates opening to both — the Inter-State

Bus Terminus at Sarai Kale Khan and the

Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station,

which caters mostly to the south-bound

long-distance trains.

“One of the entry/exit points will be

within a vicinity of 50 metres from the

Sarai Kale Khan ISBT. Another entry/exit

will be near the Hazrat Nizamuddin

Railway station, approximately at a distance

of 150 metres,” an official from the

Delhi Metro told IANS.

The stretch is part of the 59-km-long

Pink Line which will be connecting Shiv

Vihar to Majlis Park and is the third and

the last one of the entire line to open. The

rest of the line was opened for commuters

in two phases earlier this year.

On the

aesthetic

front, the

metro has

beautified the

station with

30 artworks

along with

“jharokhas”,

portraying

the “historical

heritage”

of the area.

T h e

stretch will

also have the

“world’s

smallest station”

on it in

first six weeks, underscoring

why the Charge family has

been our most popular product

line for the past few years,”

said James Park, Co-founder

and CEO, Fitbit.

Fitbit Charge 3 sports an

OLED screen and also supports

goal-based exercise

modes such as biking, swimming,

running, weight training

and yoga.

“Charge 3 features our most

advanced sensor technology,

bringing the relative SpO2 sensor

to the tracker form factor

for the first time. Data from

this sensor will feed into the

upcoming launch of our Fitbit

Labs Sleep Score beta which

will allow users to better

understand metrics like their

sleep quality and breathing disturbances,”

Park added.

Users can also set goals for

calories burnt, distance, and

duration and check real-time

stats on the device.

Nizamuddin station to become

major transport hub with Pink Line

Ashram Metro Station, which has been

built in an area of 152 metres instead of

265 metres average for the Delhi metro

stations.

The station had to be built on less than

average stretch of surface area because of

difficulty in procuring a piece of land – a

private property which went into litigation.

Another reason, which contributed to the

space crunch, was a proposed underpass

on the Ring Road to be built by the PWD,”

the official said.

To manage all amenities and accommodate

the paraphernalia it houses, the corporation

had to, the official said, build a mezzanine

floor (an intermediate floor) on the

station to store the equipment and use the

space under a flyover outside for the

chiller plant.

The stretch will be inaugurated by

Union Minister of Housing and Urban

Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Delhi

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on

Monday at 11 a.m and will be opened for

public the same day at 4 p.m.

RCOM, Jio extend validity of

asset-sale deal to June 28

New Delhi : Reliance Communications (RCOM) and

Reliance Jio on Monday

announced the extension of

their agreement for selling

RCOM’s wireless infrastructure

including towers, fibres

and spectrum to the Mukesh

Ambani-led Reliance Jio.

The decision comes

amidst the pending approval

of the Department of

Telecommunications (DoT)

to the asset-sale deal.

“RCOM and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd have extended the

validity of the agreements signed on 28th December 2017 for

sale of towers, fibre, MCNs and spectrum of RCOM and its affiliates

to June 28, 2019. The transactions are to be consummated

subject to various approvals that are presently in progress,”

RCOM said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.

In a separate filing, Reliance Industries (RIL) said: “The

acquisition is subject to receipt of requisite approvals from governmental

and regulatory authorities, consents from all lenders,

release of all encumbrances on the said assets and other conditions

precedent.” RCOM has been urging the DoT to grant the

required approval in compliance with the Supreme Court’s

December 14 order where it had told the Telecom Department to

clear the asset-sale deal.

AI could be first ‘resident’ of

Mars, hints Musk

San Francisco :

Tech billionaire and SpaceX CEO Elon

Musk wants to establish a

base on Mars, and he has

indicated the first resident on

the planet could be Artificial

Intelligence (AI).

Responding to a tweet that

asked Musk what his

thoughts were on the first

Martian being an intelligent

machine rather than a

human, he replied: “30%.”

How Musk came up with

this percentage remains a mystery, however, many people are

wondering what this AI “resident” could look like, according to

the Geek. “It’s possible that it could be a rover-like bot that

explores the planet, or a stationary device that makes observations

and conducts experiments without human assistance,” the

Geek report added. Currently, manned Mars missions are completely

hypothetical. Companies such as SpaceX and scientific

bodies around the world have been working towards inventing

technologies to allow humans to venture beyond Earth’s moon

but it could still take a decade or perhaps several decades before

that is attempted. Musk had told the media in November that

there is “70 per cent chance that he will go to Mars”, despite a

“good chance” of him not surviving either on the way or after

landing. It is only very likely that only a few people might be

willing to join Musk in this journey – either because of the risk or

the cost involved. This year, the US space agency NASA also

firmed up its plans to return humans to the Moon and use its lunar

experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

US judge dismisses facial recognition

lawsuit against Google

San Francisco : A judge in Chicago has dismissed a lawsuit

that alleged that

Google violated privacy

of users by

using facial recognition

technology to

scan their photos

without their

explicit consent. In the original suit, which was filed in March

2016, a woman sued Google for allegedly uploading her data to

Google Photos and scanning it to create a template of her face

without her permission, The Verge reported on Saturday.

The judge dismissed the suit citing lack of “concrete injuries”.

The suit alleged that Google violated the Illinois Biometric

Information Privacy Act, recognised as the toughest biometric

privacy law in the US. The law requires companies to obtain people’s

explicit permission in order to make biometric scans of their

bodies. Besides Google, Snapchat, and Facebook also faced lawsuits

for allegedly violating the Illinois law.

Of the three companies, Google is the first to win a dismissal

of a lawsuit over the biometric privacy act, The Verge report said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Pakistan sends

recommendation

s on Kartarpur

Corridor to India

Islamabad : Pakistan has issued

14 key recommendations to India on

the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate

visa free pilgrimage by Indian Sikhs

to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, where

Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev

spent the last 18 years of his life.

According to a report in the Express

Tribune on Saturday, Pakistan sent

the recommendations in a 59-page

list entailing that Indian pilgrims will

be given free entry and facilitation

centres and security check-posts will

be set up on both sides of the border.

According to the list, the Indian government

shall provide a list of pilgrims

to Pakistan three days in

advance and that it was mandatory

for all visitors to bear a standard

Indian passport.

It said pilgrims shall be allowed in

groups of minimum 15 people and

that Pakistan shall issue a special permit

to Sikh pilgrims. Both the countries

will compile a record of visitors

which will include their names, travel

records and other details.

The recommendations further read

that all visitors shall be required to

obtain a security clearance certificate

from the Indian authorities. It said

that Pakistan shall issue permits to

500 visitors per day and local authorities

shall reserve rights to admission.

Islamabad had earlier this month

rejected New Delhi's request to swap

Kartarpur with another piece of land

in order to make it a part of India.

On November 28, Prime Minister

Imran Khan laid the foundation stone

of the Kartarpur Corridor which connects

Narowal's Gurdwara Darbar

Sahib to Dera Baba Nanak situated in

India's Gurdaspur.

Canberra, The Australian

government on Wednesday

announced the closure of two

onshore immigration detention

facilities, saying its efforts to

stop people seeking asylum by

boat has reduced the number of

people in detention.

In a move that the government

claimed as a win for its

tough border protection policies,

Immigration

Minister David

Coleman said that

Maribyrnong in

Melbourne and

Villawood in Sydney

would be closed.

They mark the 18th

and 19th immigration

detention centres

closed by this government

during its two

terms in power.

There are approximately

1,250 people

currently in Australia’s eight

remaining immigration detention

centres, down from 10,200

in mid-2013, SBS News reported.

The government has

stopped the boats, got the children

out of detention and closed

the once-full immigration

detention facilities,” Coleman

said in a statement.

Maribyrnong was closed

immediately after the remaining

107 detainees were transferred

while Villawood will be shut

down by the middle on 2019.

Stopping asylum seekers

PUNJAB to fill over 1.2 lakh

vacancies in phased manner

Chandigarh : Despite the Punjab government being under a

debt of over Rs 2 lakh crore, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on

Tuesday ordered filling up of the 1.2

lakh vacant posts in government

departments in a phased manner.

The Chief Minister directed senior

officers to carry out the filling up

process of the vacancies in a phased

but focused manner, addressing the

critical requirements of departments

of health, education and medical education

and research in the first phase.

The directives came during a

meeting held here on Tuesday to

review the progress of the state government's

flagship 'Ghar Ghar

Rozgar' and 'Karobar Mission'

scheme. The Chief Minister has asked Chief Secretary Karan

Avtar Singh to work out the modalities for filling up the government

vacancies. "The Chief Secretary has been directed to hold a

meeting of Administrative Secretaries to work out the requirement

of posts to be filled in the various departments in the Officers'

Committee headed by him," an official spokesperson said.

The Chief Minister stressed on the need for better coordination

and synergy between the Skill Development Mission and the

Department of Employment Generation and Training (DEGT) to

bridge the gap between skill training and job profile.

He called for more special technical training and vocational

guidance programmes to equip the local youth to be gainfully

employed in the domestic industry.

Technical Education and Employment Generation minister

Charanjit Singh Channi apprised the meeting that 30,000 youth

had applied for placements in foreign companies during the

aOverseas Employment Camp' organised by DEGT.

NEWS

Australian government

closes major immigration

DETENTION CENTRES

from coming to Australia by

boat was one of the key pillars

of the Liberal National Party’s

2013 election campaign where

it won power from the

Australian Labour Party (ALP).

“Under the previous Labour

government, 50,000 people

-arrived on 800 boats, 1,200

people tragically drowned at

sea and 8,000 children were put

in detention,” Coleman said.

“At its peak in July 2013,

there were more than 10,000

people held in immigration

detention -facilities in

Australia, including 2,000 children.”

Every single one of those

children who were in detention

in 2013 have now been

removed, he said. The minister

attacked Labour over its border

protection policies, saying the

former government was “forced

to open 17 detention centres to

deal with the catastrophic fail-

January 2019

21

PM: 2019 will START a

new chapter for Britain

New Year is a time to look

ahead and in 2019 the UK will

start a new chapter. The Brexit

deal I have negotiated delivers

on the vote of the British people

and in the next few weeks

MPs will have an important

decision to make. If Parliament

backs a deal, Britain can turn a

corner.

The referendum in 2016 was

divisive but we all want the

best for our country and 2019

can be the year we put our differences

aside and move forward

together, into a strong

new relationship with our

European neighbours and out

into the world as a globally

trading nation. The PM will

also say that while Brexit is

important, there are other significant

issues to focus on,

reflecting on the achievements

of 2018 and looking ahead with

optimism.

She said:

Important though Brexit is,

ures of their policies”.

The current government’s

closures saved the country 500

million Australian dollars

($352.4 million), he added.

However, Refugee Action

Coalition group dismissed the

government’s decision to close

two immigration detention centres

as an “empty gesture”.

The group’s spokesperson

Ian Rintoul called it a

“meaningless

announcement”.

The fact is that the

government has

increased detention

capacity with new

compounds being

opened at Yongah

Hill, and a high detention

facility opening in

the Melbourne

Immigration Transit

Accommodation, to

replace Maribynong,”

he said.

There has been no significant

decrease in the numbers of

people detained on the mainland.

In November 2018, there

were 544 people who had been

in detention more than one year

— up from 505 in September

2018.”

“Worse, it is inexcusable that

the numbers of people being

held in detention longer than a

year keeps growing. In

November 2018, 281 people

had been in detention over two

years,” he said.

it is not the only issue that

counts. When each of us looks

back on 2019, it will be the personal

milestones that stand out.

These are the things that matter

most and by agreeing a good

Brexit deal, we can focus our

energy on those things –

strengthening our economy and

opening up new markets for our

China building 'most advanced'

naval warship for Pakistan: Report

Beijing : China has started building for Pakistan, its

"all-weather ally", one of its "most advanced" naval warships

as part of a defence agreement to maintain a "balance

of power" in the Indian Ocean, the media reported

on Wednesday.

The China Daily quoted China State Shipbuilding

Corp (CSSC) -- one of the largest state-owned defence

contractor -- as saying that the construction of the ship

has started in the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in

Shanghai and it is a version of China's most advanced

guided missile frigate, without specifying its type.

The warship will be equipped with modern detection

and weapon systems and will be capable of anti-ship,

anti-submarine and air-defence operations, the CSSC

said. According to the Pakistani Navy, the ship's class is

Type 054AP, which means it is based on the Type 054A

of the People's Liberation Army Navy. It previously said

four such ships have been ordered, according to the

report. Once constructed, the warship "will be one of the

largest and technologically advanced platforms of

Pakistan's Navy and strengthen the country's capability

to respond to future challenges, maintain peace and stability

and the balance of power in the Indian Ocean

region", the report said.

It will also support the Pakistani Navy's initiative of

securing sea lanes for international shipping by

patrolling distant waters, the CSSC said.

According to the report, Type 054A was the best

frigate in service with the PLA Navy. It cited military

sources as saying that the ship had a fully loaded displacement

of about 4,000 metric tonnes and was

equipped with advanced radars and missiles.

About 30 Type 054As are in service with the PLA

Navy, observers said.

An insider in China's shipbuilding sector with knowledge

of the Type 054AP programme told the China Daily

that the ship is the largest and most powerful combat vessel

China ever exported.

"Based on pictures circulating on the Internet, the ship

will have vertical launch cells that can fire Chinese HQ-

16 air-defence missiles and other kinds of missiles.

Vertical launch cells will bring flexibility to the user in

terms of weapons portfolio, thus giving it a stronger

fighting capability," he said.

"The Type 054AP is the best frigate Pakistan can

access in the international market," said the report, citing

the insider. "The service of Type 054APs will double the

combat power of the Pakistani Navy's surface fleet," he

added.

businesses to create new jobs

and opportunities across the

UK; building the housing our

country needs so everyone can

have a home of their own and

transforming technical education

so everyone gains the skills

they need to get on. Our long

term plan for the NHS will put

a record investment into our

most precious public service so

it is there for us when we need

it. We will introduce a new

skills based immigration system

to replace freedom of

movement, and by protecting

and enhancing our natural environment,

we will make Britain

a healthier place.

This year the UK has

achieved a lot. The employment

rate is at a record high,

our debt is starting its first sustained

fall in a generation and

the number of people in

absolute poverty is at a record

low. But a New Year means

new potential to do even more,

to ensure that everyone in every

community can feel the benefit.

Together I believe we can start

a new chapter with optimism

and hope. We have all we need

to thrive and if we come together

in 2019 I know we can make

a success of what lies ahead

and build a country that truly

works for every one of us.


22 January 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

very day is a new day. We have

been celebrating every year for last so

many years but it also give us opportunity

to introspect about our lives.

It is time when we need to seriously

ponder over as what kind of society

are we becoming. Every now and then

people are asked to prove their ‘loyalty’

to the nation. And our loyalties to

the nation have been converted into

following certain slogans and symbolism.

We must understand that these

symbolic nationalism is nothing but

‘bania kee dukaan’. Anna Hazare started

with his gangs of lawbreakers holding

the tricolors in their hands. With

our national flag in their hands now

people can do anything. Now they go

to Kanwar yatra carrying these flags

on their bikes. People are lynching the

others and being cremated with

national flag draped on their bodies.

The other symbolic nationalism

come from singing Vande Mataram

and Bharat mata kee jai. Now, for

many like us it does not matter but the

fact is these slogan became ‘nationalist’

during the freedom struggle and

the brahmanical elite that dominated

the Congress party actually created

these slogans.

Even during the freedom struggle,

all those Muslims who were in the

Congress Party were called ‘nationalist’

muslims, a clear indication that

those who differ with the party were

not nationalists. Such demarcation of

identities were dangerous.

The issue in the Indian subcontinent

was caste but Hindu and Muslim

power elite fought with each other so

deliberately that the caste issues were

kept aside and ignored. Frankly speaking

caste actually supersedes religion

in our subcontinent but dominant

Muslim and Hindu narrative ensures

that the issues of Dalits, pasmandas do

not come into picture. Every day, these

socalled liberals and ‘radicals’ fight

with each others to keep others aside.

So you have to either defend them or

speak up against them. We cant live

with out them in this age of social

media.

Should we allowed to be used by

the people trying to brand themselves

through deliberate social media campaigns.

Don’t those exists who are not

brand and not so ‘important’. We need

to oppose this agenda setting exercise.

I don’t believe in ‘liberal-radical’

debate. I know they all are part of

power structure and they position

themselves.

Modi’s chelas have made a film

WELCOME 2019

‘accidental prime minister’ but I can

say here that Narendra Modi has given

India many ‘accidental heroes and

leaders’ and now they have become

brand. The brands have over taken the

work of those sincere activists at the

grassroots who have dedicated their

lives for years. Society too look for

celebrities and many of them only

speak either for Modi or against him

as if there are no other issues left in

India. The result is many time these

brand embarrass their promoters too.

Wish each one of you strength.

Please defend right to free speech. It is

important also for us to allow people

to speak their language and ideas. The

biggest contribution of Modi-Yogi

brand in India is that they have created

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

a perpetual hatred against Muslims in

India. This is the biggest challenge for

all of us to ensure that all citizens of

India including Muslims and

Christians to feel that this is their own

country and none have right to distribute

any certificate to them.

India is passing through a critical

stage. It is time we protect this idea of

India which our constitutional forefathers

adopted for us.

You can not impose Hindi-Hindu-

Hindustan on vast Indian population.

The Sanghi agenda has failed to take

all along.

The irony is that those in power

spreading fake news and hatred.

Democracy is under the threat but we

have to protect it all cost but we need

to talk about inclusive democracy. Let

us talk about proportional electorate

system which give representation to

all. Our solidarity with all those who

continue to speak up despite facing

threats and abuses from the religious

thugs and goons. We know they are of

every colour and every variety. it is

only time to

understand

that a theocratic

society

is most

dangerous

for all of us. The Brahmin monopoly

of knowledge is now being challenged

by the Bania-marwari control of

money and resources. All others are

merely the spectators in this game of

control over polity, national resources

and knowledge. The only way to get

out of this mess is for all those who do

not believe in hegemonic tendencies

and democratisation of society is to

speak about collective leadership.

Shun the celebrity culture and disown

the brands. It is they who betray the

trust of the people. Have’nt we understood

what happened to India in 2014.

Celebrity culture and brands are

attempt to control levers of powers

and disallow any outsiders in the

power structure.

My advise to friends would be to

enjoy life without attempting to be ‘

Very important’. I can bet, it will give

you much bigger strength than being a

VIP. Life will not be less meaningful if

you get lesser calls and invite to deliver

‘big’ inaugural speeches. There is

joy and meaningfulness in many

things including encouraging youngsters

and providing all help and ideas

to those who are unable due to their

socio-economic conditions. Create a

new generation of people to fight,

write and decide about themselves.

For a stronger India, we must do away

with Bhakti cult in politics as Baba

Saheb Ambedkar said. We need to do

away with the messianic culture and

focus more on issues and collective

leadership.

Wish you strength, happiness and

greater ideas each day.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs at

www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter

@ f r e e t o h u m a n i t y

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

NON-SUBSIDISED LPG RATE CUT BY

Rs 120.50/cylinder, subsidised by Rs 5.91

New Delhi, Passing on a new year gift of reduction in

global gas prices to consumers, state-run Indian Oil Corp

(IOC) on Monday announced a major cut of Rs 120.50 in

the rates of non-subsidised LPG cylinders.

In a statement here, IOC also said the subsidised quota

of 12 cooking gas cylinders per annum will also cost less by

Rs 5.91 per cylinder, effective from January 1. Thus, a

14.2-kg subsidised LPG cylinder will cost Rs 494.99 in

Delhi from midnight, as against Rs 500.90.

The non-subsidised LPG will now cost Rs 689 per cylinder,

in place of the current Rs 809.50.

The price of Non-Subsidised LPG at Delhi will

decrease by Rs 120.50 per cylinder w.e.f. 1st January 2019

due to fall in price of LPG in international market and

strengthening of US dollar-rupee exchange rate,” IOC said.

Actual prices following the rate cut will vary across centres

owing to local taxes.

Want to enjoy

snow, extend your

stay in Himachal

Shimla, If you want to enjoy the

snowfall in Himachal Pradesh, extend

your stay as the Met office on

Tuesday predicted snow this week.

Meteorological office Director

Manmohan Singh told IANS that a

western disturbance is likely to be

active in the region from January 1,

bringing rain and snowfall.

Shimla, the Queen of Hills, is

recording the “warmest” days owing

to long sunny spells, while cities like

Chandigarh, Amritsar, Karnal, New

Delhi and Lucknow, located in the

plains, are reeling under cold wave

conditions with the sun fogged out.

Hill destinations have been experiencing

long hours of sunny weather

for over a week and the day temperatures

in most places have risen.

Another official at the Shimla

meteorological bureau said the maximum

temperature in the hill state is

one-two degrees above the season’s

average.

But nights and mornings are

intensely cold.

“Under the influence of western

disturbance, light to moderate scattered

rainfall and snowfall would

occur in the state till January 2.

Another western disturbance would

be active from January 4 with another

chance of widespread precipitation,”

he said.

The probability of snowfall in

Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali,

Kalpa and Dalhousie is high till

January 6. Members of the hospitality

industry said most of the tourists were

enquiring about the chances of snowfall.

Despite prevailing dry weather,

most of the hotels in Shimla, Kufri,

Kasauli, Chail, Dharamsala,

Palampur and Manali were jampacked

to ring in the New Year.

“Some of our guests are preferring

to extend their stay with a hope to

enjoy the snowfall,” D.P. Bhatia, liaison

officer with the Oberoi Group,

told IANS. Akansha Malhotra and

Aryaman, a couple from New Delhi,

said they have extended their New

Year holidays in Shimla “as there are

chances of snowfall”.

The mountain peaks viewed from

Shimla, and the Dhauladhar peaks

overlooking Tibetan Buddhist leader

Dalai Lama’s official palace in

McLeodganj near Dharamsala are

covered by a white blanket.

Tourist arrivals in the hill state

every year surpasses the state’s population

of about 6.5 million. Kullu-

Manali has emerged as a favourite

tourist destination in the state, followed

by Shimla and Dharamsala,

according to the state Tourism

Department’s surveys.

A five-day winter carnival in

Manali, beginning January 2, is an

added draw for tourists who want to

extend their stay. In Shimla, located

around 7,000 feet above sea level, the

minimum temperature was 5.2

degrees Celsius on Tuesday, whereas

the maximum was 16.3 degrees on

Monday. The night temperature in

Dharamsala was 4.4 degrees Celsius,

whereas popular tourist resort Manali

saw a low of minus 0.2 degree.

At minus 6.8 degree, Keylong in

Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest

in the state, while Kalpa, some 250

km from the state capital, saw a low

of minus 3.4 degree.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A recent inglorious defeat of

Modi/Shah combine in three Indian

states: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and

Chhattisgarh and victory of Rahul

Gandhi, once labeled immature, parttime

politicians by the BJP/RSS, shows

that no leader or government can befool

the intelligent Indian voters for a long

time. Insulating day and night Gandhi

family from the public platforms by

Modi/RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal made sick

the people of India. The victory of

Rahul Gandhi also shows that

Modi/Shah combine can no longer win

future elections merely on empty rhetoric.

There is a long list of failures on the

part of Modi/RSS combine. Apart from

Demonetization, GST the rate of unemployment

among the graduates is high.

Nothing substantial has been done to

generate employment avenues for millions

of young graduates. The litany is

that Ph.D. degree holders are forced to

look for fourth class jobs such as peon,

steno etc. Numerous flagship programmes

such as Skill India, Start-up

India launched by Modi government

did not work well to help the young

population. The voice of millions of

struggling farmers is not heard. Central

government teachers` salary is not paid

on time but to talk of state governments

which are struggling due financial

crunch. Research centers are almost on

the verge of collapse due to financial

paucity. The development

and good governance

stands no where under

Modi/RSS divisive politics.

It is on record that

Indian intelligent voters

are impatient. At the same

time, Indian voters gave a

full term to Modi/RSS to

address the issues like

unemployment, skyrocketing

prices, fuel prices,

farmer distress etc. All

these issues are directly

pinching the pocket of a common man.

But unfortunately, BJP/RSS leaders utilized

their time and energy to polarize

the society on the basis of religion and

caste resulting in social chaos and anarchy.

This social chaos and anarchy as

generated by Modi/RSS in almost all

BETWEEN

FAITH AND

JUSTICE

WORLD

The Demise of Modi`s

Arrogance and

Acrimonious Politics

states of India have further lead to societal

disintegration. People belonging to

the minority groups are publicly beaten

by the goons of RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal.

Muslims are killed; Christians are suppressed;

Sikhs are labeled Khalistanis`.

On corruption front, Indian intelligent

voters were

expecting from

Modi/RSS to root out

corruption from the

face of India but data

shows that no file is

moved unless a bribe

is paid. The digitization

of the government

department has

furthered created

problems for the common

people. Officers

working in the government

departments

are taking advantage of digitization.

Nothing is done without paying the

bribe. Touts and middlemen rule

January 2019

23

the roost.

On foreign policy front, Modi

as a Prime Minister of India wasted

the taxpayer money while making

visits to several countries. In the

current scenario, almost all European

countries are struggling with their own

social and economic problems. It is also

a fact that when a country is struggling

to make her own citizens happy one

cannot expect foreign investment. On

the other hand, USA under the

Presidentship of Donald Trump wanted

“America First”. China under Xi

Jinping wanted Chinese goods to be

traded rather than establishing manufacturing

units in India. India under

Modi/RSS Hindutva ideological orientation

lost credibility to attract foreign

investment. There are two major reasons

working against India under

Modi/RSS (1) Political instability (2)

Social anarchy.

Today, a foreign investor is reluctant

to come to India. There is no denying the

fact that Narendra Modi as Prime

Minister of India has wasted valuable

five years of a young population of India.

Now time is over for Narendra Modi to

address the impending issues concerning

the common man since 2019 Lok Sabha

elections are approaching. The current

mood of the Indian voters Indicate that

Modi`s chimera must be annihilated and

be buried once for all.

Rahul Bali

Senior Correspondent,

the Asian Independent, UK

Recently, I had an occasion to

screen our documentary film

called `Voices from the Ruins’ in

a church in Pune. The film was

on the largest attack on the

Christian community during the

last few centuries. I did not have

much space to talk. That was

fine. The pastor who organised

the screening spent more than

one hour shouting `Hallelujah’

on top of his voice. And I was

sitting behind the crowd wondering

why the hell did I make this

film. The film was on the persecution

of Christians in India. But

I was a total failure in communicating.

This idiot was not interested

in discussing the real issue.

And when I came out, a couple

of youngsters came to discuss

with me. At that time, the same

pastor came and piled on to me.

His problem was that I was an

atheist. He was very keen to

impress me with his knowledge

of his God. I told him: `Look, sir.

I am only a human rights activist

in this situation. I genuinely care

for this issue. I can respect your

faith. But please respect my convictions

also.’ The youngsters

got the message. But the older

one was only bothered about the

fact that I was smelling some

beer. He could only smell from

outside appearance of me. Not

from inside. Sometimes, with all

good intentions, we waste our

energies. Because, the mainstream

world is only bothered

about your `appearance’ and not

the `essence’. Some people talk

to me about `strategies’ of not

smelling in such situations. But

sorry. I can only be what I am.

There is no need to pretend what

I am not.

Director K P Sasi


24 January 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

20 years of Dalit Human Rights

National Campaign on Dalit

Human Rights (NCDHR) is celebrating

their 20 years of championing

Dalit rights in India.

Prior to 1998, Dalit rights was

considered as social evil and discriminatory

practices, while not

given due recognition from the

human rights perspective.

NCDHR emerged as platform

which initiated a Pan India perspective

of Dalit rights during its

initiation of recognition within

the Human Rights paradigm. In

1998, 25 lakh signatures were

collected from the community

including community leaders

and academia, demanding effective

implementation of constitutional

safeguards for the protection

and promotion of the Dalit

Rights and total elimination of

untouchability.

“Over the past 20 years

NCDHR has emerged as a formidable

resistance movement,

defending the rights of our community.

It is an incredible

moment in history for our partners

and associates to reflect on

the journey thus far and innovate

new strategies to combat the

divisive and casteist forces” said

Mr. Paul Divakar, co-founder of

NCDHR.In 2001, when there

was not sufficient response and

effort by the government, the

issue was raised in the global

level at World Conference

Against Racism in Durban,

South Africa. Over 200 delegates

from different streams of

life, including Dalit Rights

activist, Human Rights activist,

parliamentarians, academia,

artists, solidarity groups among

others participated in the conference

to highlight the issue of

Dalits. The three main outcome

of the conference was guiding

the countries to report on the

specific themes of African

American Issue, Palestine Issue

and Dalit Issue in South Asia.

During last 20 years,

NCDHR has worked towards

deepening the structures of

Dalit Rights. NCDHR was

involved in training over 2000

Dalit Human Rights Defenders

in the usage of SC/ST (PoA) Act

1989, building capacities of

Dalit organisations and advocates;

sensitizing the Judges

through National Judicial

Academy.

Prof. Vimal Thorat, cofounder

of NCDHR unanimously

reiterate the relevance and

importance of locating the leadership,

articulations and

demands of Dalit women within

the larger anti-caste movement.

“We feel NCDHR placed this in

context several years ago by

launching AIDMAM to ensure

Dalit women remain in the centre

of all the interventions ”

NCDHR has prioritized the

importance of Gender rights

through All India Dalit Mahila

Adhikar Manch [AIDMAM]

and Economic rights through

Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan

[DAAA] including land rights

with Civil and Political rights

through National Dalit

Movement for Justice [NDMJ]

for ensuring overall approach

for rights and entitlements. In

2004, NCDHR has initiated

National Dalit Watch [NDW]

for mapping the inclusion of

Dalits in disaster risk reduction.

NCDHR facilitated the state

partners to come together and

advocate for the amendment in

the SC/ST (PoA) Act, which

was finally adopted in 2015.

With its partners in 22 states,

NCDHR has worked towards

better implementation of the

SCC/STC for rights and development

of the SC/ST communities.

As a result of our interventions,the

government to release

Rs. 4596.08 crores for scholarships

for Dalit students in higher

education. Both Mr. Henri

Tiphagne and Mr. Martin

Macwan, co-founders of

NCDHR felt that in the current

challenges political climate,

NCDHR has played a crucial

role in protecting rights of Dalit

Human Rights Defenders. “ In

celebrating the 20 years of its

existence, NCDHR must innovate

and build on the experiences

towards enabling strategic

actions”, they said.

Dalit Rights has seldom got

any support or recognition from

the wider society at large in the

country, where over 201 million

people are discriminated in the

basis of their caste, even today.

NCDHR stands relevant in

the today’s environment as there

is an absence of anti-discriminatory

law, which has resulted in

Bihar to have CISF like force to protect

BUSINESSMEN, INDUSTRIALISTS

Patna : Following the killing

of several business persons in

Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish

Kumar announced on Monday

that a Bihar Industrial Security

Force (BISF) will be set up on

the lines of the CISF. This will

“provide special security to

industrialists and businessmen”,

Nitish Kumar said at an Udhmi

Panchayat held here. It was

attended by Deputy Chief

Minister Sushil Kumar Midi,

Industry Minister Jai Kumar

Singh and dozens of industrialists

and businessmen.

Nitish Kumar said two battalion

of BISF would be based in

Begusarai and Buxar districts

soon. He said a committee had

been formed under the Inspector

General (Security) to study

which industrialists or businessmen

wanted personal security.

Fear runs high among businessmen

in Bihar after the killing of

more than half a dozen businessmen

including a young industrialist

in the state in the last two

weeks. Industry Minister Jai

Kumar Singh assured the industrialists

and businessmen that the

government would protect them.

In the last one month, industrialists,

businessmen and traders

have proved soft targets for criminals

in Bihar.

The latest victim, a businessman,

was gunned down in broad

daylight on Sunday in Vaishali

district. Criminals also opened

fire in Buxar district on Sunday

to create an environment of fear

after the businessmen refused to

pay them ‘rangdari’ tax.

constant targeting of violence

and discrimination against

Dalits. In education, Dalits children

faces discrimination from

teachers and other children as

well as lack of access and availability

of scholarships and hostels.

In employment, where jobs

are been outsourced to the private

sector, there is a significant

gap in availing jobs for these

communities. In housing, Dalits

are still segregated not only in

villages, but even in cities.

Violence against Dalit women

are steadily on the increase, with

over 25 thousand cases were

registered in 2016-17 alone,

while over 40 thousand cases

were registered under SC/ST

(PoA) Act. In Budgets, there is a

gap of INR 86796 crores in

2018-2019, for ensuring development

of the communities.

Ms. Asha Kowtal, General

Secretary of AIDMAM and Dr.

Rameshnathan V. A., General

Secretary of NDMJ added their

views on current relevance of

NCDHR on Dalit Rights .

“NCDHR has evolved in

addressing the contemporary

issues of young Dalit women

leadership, discrimination in

primary and higher education

and other issues as we go

along!” Internationally, caste

issue comes under the terminology

of Discrimination based on

Work and Descent (DWD). In

India and South Asia, Dalits are

considered as the major groups

under DWD, but globally there

are many groups in Africa, Asia,

Latin America and Europe; who

faces similar forms of exclusion

and structural discrimination.

NCDHR with its global interventions

is trying to bring these

communities together towards

addressing the issue of DWD

globally.

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