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May 2019

BJP misusing government

machinery: Mayawati

Lucknow : Bahujan

Samaj Party (BSP) supremo

Mayawati here on

Wednesday accused the

Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) of misusing the government

machinery to influence

elections and slammed

the Election Commission

(EC) over its silence.

"In states where the BJP

is in power, the party has

misused government

machinery to influence

elections. They cross all

limits, particularly, on the

voting day. Such examples

are prominent in the case of

UP, Tripura and

Maharashtra. Despite this,

why is the EC not taking

cognisance of the matter?"

she tweeted in Hindi.

She went on to say the

Prime Minister knew his

party was staring at poll

defeat this time and hence

they were indulging in violence

and misusing the

Central Bureau of

Investigation, the

Enforcement Directorate

and the Income Tax

Department to intimidate

leaders of opposition parties.

BJP, Cong

united against

UP alliance

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief

Mayawati on Thursday accused the

BJP and the Congress of fighting the

Lok Sabha elections together against

her party's alliance with Samajwadi

Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal

(RLD) in Uttar Pradesh. Addressing the

media, she also said that the Congress

and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

were "cut from the same cloth". "Both

the parties (Congress and BJP) are

internally united and contesting the

elections here together. The Congress

leaders are saying that they will not let

the SP-BSP candidate win, even if a

BJP candidate wins," she said.

Reminding the reporters of last

year's incident when Congress

President Rahul Gandhi hugged Prime

Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament,

she said: "We all saw how Rahul

hugged the PM in Parliament, both of

them are evidently in collusion."

She also urged people to vote for the

alliance candidate, instead of the

Congress, to "ensure that the BJP's

defeat is certain."

India complains about

diplomats' harassment

in PAKISTAN

New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) India has raised its concerns with

Pakistan over harassment of two of its diplomats by intelligence

personnel last month and asked it to conduct an inquiry

and prevent recurrence of such incidents, sources said here on

Saturday.

It also conveyed its concerns regarding security of the Indian

High Commission in Islamabad.

Sources said that the concerns about the security of the mission

were conveyed to Islamabad in a demarche.

India also sent a note verbale last month protesting about the

harassment of two of its diplomats and their being locked up in

a room for over 20 minutes at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda

Gurdwara near Lahore on April 17. The two Indian diplomats,

who were at the gurdwara to facilitate Indian pilgrims, were

also threatened and asked never come to the area again.

They were locked up in a room by about 15 Pakistani intelligence

personnel, their bags were searched and they were

questioned.

India had earlier this year also raised concern over harassment

of its diplomats with Pakistan.

Note ban a failure, cash in

circulation up: Congress

New Delhi : The Congress here on

Saturday said the Narendra Modi-led government's

claim of India increasingly

becoming a cashless society after demonetisation

has failed and the cash in circulation

has increased.

Citing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

data, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said

cash in circulation had increased after the

note ban decision and today it was more

than Rs 21 lakh crore. In 2014 the cash in

circulation was 7.8 lakh crore, in 2018 it

increased to Rs 18.5 lakh crore. In 2016,

just before demonetisation, it was 17.97

lakh crore, he said.

"Claims that demonetisation will eliminate

fake notes and deal a fatal blow to

terrorism have turned out to be hollow. The

Ex-BSF man's

nomination cancelled

in VARANASI

Varanasi : The Election Commission has cancelled the nomination

of former Border Security Force trooper Tej Bahadur

Yadav, who was set to contest from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat

against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Tej Bahadur Yadav had been served a notice on Tuesday

because he had given different reasons for leaving his job in the

two sets of nomination papers filed -- one as an Independent and

the second as a Samajwadi Party candidate.

The former security personnel told reporters that his nomination

papers were cancelled at the behest of the Centre even

though he had replied to the notice explaining the difference in

reasons. As soon as the news of the cancellation spread,

Samajwadi Party workers gathered at the Collectorate.

Later, talking to reporters, District Magistrate Surendra

Singh said that Tej Bahadur Yadav had failed to give a satisfactory

response to the notice served and hence his nomination was

cancelled.

Tej Bahadur Yadav said on Wednesday that he will take up

the matter with the Supreme Court.

people who had black money quietly converted

currency through dubious

and fraudulent means,"

the Congress leader said.

The Congress also claimed

after the demonetisation in

2017, Rs 7,000 crore were

deposited in the Zuric-based

Swiss National Bank. "On one

hand they are saying we will

get back the black money, on

the other black money is being

stashed away," Sibal said.

A reflection of what the

demonetisation had achieved

was the cash seizures, a few

days before the first phase of

Lok Sabha polls, had crossed

Rs 377 crore, Sibal added.


2 May 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Parties blame BJP for attack on Kejriwal

New Delhi : AAP and several other

parties on Saturday blamed the BJP

for the attack on Delhi Chief Minister

Arvind Kejriwal during a road show in

West Delhi today, calling it yet another

instance of "negligence" in the

security of the AAP leader.

AAP said the "opposition-sponsored

attack" won't be able to stop the

party in Delhi.

Delhi will go to the polls on May

12 in the sixth phase of the general

election. The AAP is contesting

against the BJP and Congress.

Deputy Chief Minister and AAP

leader Manish Sisodia said Kejriwal

has remained "unstoppable" in the last

few years, alleging that "(PM) Modi

and (BJP chief) Shah are trying to kill

Kejriwal". AAP spokesperson and

MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj too blamed

the BJP. "Kejriwal is supposedly a Z+

security protectee, who has been

attacked several times in a systematic

and clearly visible pattern. Whenever

there is an attack, BJP tries to justify it

on national TV. They try to make a

hero of the attacker," said Bhardwaj.

"Many of the attackers in the past

have had links with the BJP. The wife

of today's attacker also confirmed that

he is a Modi bhakt." He alleged the

Delhi Police deliberately lowers its

guard to make the CM vulnerable to

such attacks. "No one talks of suspension

of Commissioner of Police... this

is in itself a glaring evidence that the

Modi government is patronising these

attacks." Several other parties too

blamed the BJP and condemned the

attack. Sharad Yadav, Loktantrik

Janata Dal chief, said the slap will

ensure the defeat of BJP. "The slap on

Arvind Kejriwal today during the

roadshow will ensure BJP's total

defeat. The BJP has made politics in

the country very dirty in the last five

years. It will take years now to cleanse

politics in our country," he tweeted.

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief

Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned

the attack.

"Political vandalism. Political

goondaism. Political vendetta.

Maligning and attacking Opposition

leaders show that BJP has lost the

election and is making desperate

attempts. We condemn the attack on

Arvind Kejriwal... we are all with you,

Arvind," she said. CPI-M chief

Sitaram Yechury also condemned the

attack, saying: "This is highly condemnable.

Delhi's security is controlled

by Modi and his government.

Even then a Chief Minister is not safe.

But many middle-rung BJP and RSS

persons have got top-level security."

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief

Minister Omar Abdullah called the

attack "shocking and unacceptable."

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.

Chandrababu Naidu said after trying

to defeat, demoralize, degrade, destabilize

and dethrone Kejriwal, the

forces that have destroyed institutions,

derailed federal principles "are now

attempting to physically attack Arvind

Kejriwal".

"This is an indication of their desperation

& defeat. I strongly denounce

such a dastardly act and Delhi Police

must take responsibility for this act.

Such attacks will only strengthen our

resolve to fight for strengthening

democracy."

Former Union Minister Yashwant

Sinha, Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders

Tejashwi Yadav, Tanweer Hassan and

Manoj Jha too condemned the attack.

The Delhi police said the attacker

was an AAP supporter and worked as

an organiser of party's rallies and

meetings. AAP spokesperson Saurabh

Bhardwaj, however, said Delhi Police

was doing everything at the behest of

the Modi government.

"Delhi Police planted that man.

This is shameful... even wife of the

attacker has herself said that her husband

is a Modi bhakt and that he did

not like anyone talking against Modi.

This is same Delhi Police that had

planted a man for the 'mirchi (chilli

powder) attack' on the CM. The

police's statement is a proof that Delhi

Police is taking orders from the Modi

government," he said in a statement.

Kejriwal has been attacked multiple

times. Last year, the CM was attacked

with chilli powder outside his office in

Delhi Secretariat.

Odisha pulls off 'biggest' human

evacuation during Fani: CM

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

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Bhubaneswar : Braced for

the worst after Met declared

Super Cyclone Fani to hit

Odisha earlier this week, Chief

Minister Naveen Patnaik on

Saturday said "a record 1.2 million

people were evacuated in

24 hours" claiming to have carried

out the "biggest human

evacuation in history".

He hailed each and every

one of the 4.5 crore people

involved in the entire process -

- the evacuees and rescuers --

as he appreciated volunteers

and officials working round the

clock to pull off the feat.

Cyclone Fani was one of the

rarest summer cyclones, the

Chief Minister said in a press

release adding thta it was the

first one in 43 years to hit

Odisha and one of the three to

hit in the last 150 years.

"Because of this rarity,

tracking and prediction were

challenging. Till 24 hours of

landfall of the cyclone -- one

was not sure about the trajectory

it was going to take," Patnaik

said. "However, we prepared

ourselves to face all the possible

eventualities. This led to

one of the biggest human evacuations

in history - a record 1.2

million people were evacuated

in 24 hours. 3.2 lakh from

Ganjam and 1.3 lakh people

from Puri." "I would like to

thank all the volunteers, PRI

members, officials, and staff

who have worked tirelessly and

selflessly to get around 1.2 million

people to safety.

"Instead of being a tragedy of

humongous proportions, we are

in the process of restoring critical

infrastructure. I thank the

4.5 crore people who have made

this possible," Patnaik said.

'Fani' made a landfall in Puri

with a wind speed of more than

200 kmph and gusting speed of

240 kmph. It tore apart critical

infrastructure, especially power,

telecom and water supply.

"Lakhs of trees were uprooted,

blocking roads, breaking homes

and damaging public infrastructure.

In Puri district and parts of

Khurda, electricity infrastructure

has been totally devastated

and we have the challenge of

having to set up the entire electrification

afresh," Patnaik said.

The districts of Cuttack,

Bhadrak, Kendrapada,

Jagatsinghpur, Balasore,

Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar,

Dhenkanal, Nayagada have also

been affected. Preliminary

reports suggest kuccha houses

have been completely destroyed

in Puri, parts of Khurda and

other districts.

Scientists find

cocaine in UK shrimp

London : Researchers in the

UK have found cocaine, pharmaceuticals

and pesticides in all

samples of freshwater shrimp in

a rural area of eastern England.

Scientists from King's College

London and the University of

Suffolk tested the exposure of

freshwater shrimp to different

micropollutants at 15 different

sites in the county of Suffolk.

Scientists were surprised to

find illicit drugs in the samples

in rural England, with ketamine

also widespread. The full results

of the study were published in

the journal Environment

International.

"Such regular occurrence of

illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,"

Leon Barron from

King's College London said in a

press release. "We might expect

to see these in urban areas such

as London, but not in smaller

and more rural catchments."

Researchers also found traces of

fenuron, a pesticide that has long

been banned in the UK, added

Barron, who said that the sources

of the chemical are not clear.

"Although concentrations

were low, we were able to identify

compounds that might be of

concern to the environment and

crucially, which might pose a

risk to wildlife," said Thomas

Miller from King's College

London. "The impact of 'invisible'

chemical pollution (such as

drugs) on wildlife health needs

more focus in the UK as policy

can often be informed by studies

such as these," said Nic Bury

from the University of Suffolk.

High levels of benzoylecgonine,

the main metabolite of cocaine,

have previously been detected in

wastewater in London.

Microplastics are also a concern,

with the tiny plastic particles

being found inside fish, sea

turtles and even flying insects,

the researchers said. Scientists

have found evidence that they

are entering the human body,

with microplastics in human

stools for the first time in 2018.

* The Asian Independent and people associated with it are not responsible for any claims made by the advertisers and do not endorse in any products or services advertised. Please visit www.theasianindependent.com/tc for more information.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

May 2019

3

Rise of the Right in Bengal

will be a novel phenomenon

Mamata Banerjees prime

ministerial ambitions may

have been severely jolted by

the violence during the West

Bengal elections which has

recalled, according to a polling

officer, what used to happen in

Bihar a decade or so ago.

Nor is the latest period of

lawlessness the only time

when the state has seen such

unruliness. The panchayat

polls a year ago were also

marred by anarchic conditions

so much so that a large number

of opposition candidates could

not file their nominations as

the Trinamool Congress supporters

ran amok.

It was the sad experience of

the panchayat polls which

made the Election

Commission spread the holding

of the Lok Sabha elections

in West Bengal over seven

phases and ruled that the paramilitary

forces must be present

in every polling booth.

Rarely has such lack of

trust in the state police been

displayed by a constitutional

body in any other province.

But the mayhem during the

panchayat polls left no option

for the Election Commission

but to deploy police personnel

from outside the state over

whom the Trinamool Congress

politicians will have no control.

Since none of this

enhances Mamata Banerjee's

reputation, her claim to be a

leader at the national level can

hardly be taken seriously.

There is little doubt that she

has "inherited" the dubious

legacy of her Leftist predecessors

whose three-decade-long

rule was characterized by a

similar cadre raj. The only difference

is that while the

Marxists appeared to have

greater control over their followers,

the Trinamool

Congress seemingly lets them

run loose. As a result, nothing

can be done in West Bengal,

such as constructing a block of

flats, without placating the ruling

party goons.

Arguably, if these rowdy

elements have been given

greater latitude, the reason is

that the Trinamool Congress

no longer feels as politically

secure as when it ousted the

Left.

One explanation of its nervousness

is the Bharatiya Janata

Party's (BJP) rising clout as a

result of the perception that

Mamata Banerjee has been

tilting rather too much towards

the minorities to retain her

hold on this large section comprising

30 per cent of the population.

Although she has lately

been taking "corrective"

measures by tilting towards

the Hindus as well by undertaking

the repair of temples,

the BJP has apparently been

able to establish a base of sorts

in a state where it had hardly

any presence earlier.

BJP chief Amit Shah's boast

of winning more than 20 of the

42 seats may be exaggerated.

But there is little doubt that,

first, the BJP has succeeded in

replacing the Left and the

Congress as the Trinamool

Congress's main opponent.

And, secondly, that it is

capable of making serious

inroads into the Trinamool

Congress's areas of influence

in the urban and semi-urban

localities to emerge as winners

in eight or 10 seats.

Aware of this possibility,

Mamata Banerjee has done the

worst thing possible - that of

unleashing the cadres to intimidate

the voters, as during the

panchayat polls.

It isn't only her pro-Muslim

image which has made her act

recklessly, but also the fact

that under her rule, West

Bengal has seen little development.

A state which was once

known for its big and small

industries in Howrah,

Durgapur, Asansol and

Raniganj, and for its thriving

mercantile offices in

Dalhousie Square, has today

reached a stage where Nobel

laureate Amartya Sen was constrained

to compare the virtually

deserted Kolkata airport

with Fatehpur Sikri, Emperor

Akbar's abandoned capital.

Despite Mamata Banerjee's

several attempts to reach out to

the corporate sector, there has

been little response because

few have forgotten her

peremptory ousting of the

Nano factory of the Tatas from

Singur. If the rise of the Left in

the 1960s saw a "flight of capital"

because of militant trade

union tactics based on

"gherao", a word which has

found its way into the English

language, as the former

Marxist chief minister

Buddhadev Bhattacharjee

proudly said, the "flight" has

continued, turning West

Bengal into an industrial

wasteland. Hence, Narendra

Modi's jibe that Mamata "didi'

is a speed-breaker where

development is concerned.

Mamata Banerjee may have

made the Leftists flee with her

own brand of militancy, but

countering the challenge from

the Right with the same tactics

is ill-advised at a time of 24x7

television coverage. If the BJP

is able to reach double figures

in respect of the seats, it will

be a blow not only to Mamata

Banerjee, but also to West

Bengal's vaunted reputation as

a "progressive"-minded, Leftoriented

state, which has little

time for a north Indian gods

like Ram, as the Trinamool

Congress's Chandan Mitra

said. To many in the state, the

political transition from the

Congress to the Left in the

1960s was a natural process,

given the state's intellectual

pretensions. But the rise of the

Right will be an entirely novel

phenomenon. How the argumentative

Bengalis deal with it

in their "addas" will be keenly

watched.

Space rock hit

Moon at 61,000 km

an hour in January

London : A space rock collided

with the Moon at 61,000

km an hour, making a 10-15

metres crater during January's

total lunar eclipse, say

astronomers. Unlike the Earth,

the Moon has no atmosphere to

protect it and even small rocks

can hit its surface. Since these

impacts take place at huge

speeds, the rocks get instantaneously

vaporised at the impact,

producing an expanding plume

of debris whose glow can be

detected from our planet as

short-duration flashes.

Observers watching the

January 21 total eclipse saw a

short-lived flash as a meteorite

hit the lunar surface, according

to a study published in the journal

Monthly Notices of the

Royal Astronomical Society.

Observers in North and South

America and Western Europe

enjoyed the best view of the

lunar eclipse. Just after the

beginning of the eclipse, a flash

was seen on the lunar surface.

Amateur astronomers indicated

that the flash was bright enough

to be seen with the naked eye.

The Moon Impacts Detection

and Analysis System (MIDAS),

which uses eight telescopes in

south of Spain to monitor the

lunar surface, recorded the

moment of impact. Spanish

astronomers Jose Maria

Madiedo of the University of

Huelva and Jose L. Ortiz of the

Institute of Astrophysics of

Andalusia operate the MIDAS.

The impact flash lasted 0.28 seconds

and is the first filmed during

a lunar eclipse, despite a

number of earlier attempts.

MIDAS telescopes observed the

impact flash at multiple wavelengths

(different colours of

light), improving the analysis of

the event.

Madiedo and Ortiz concluded

that the incoming 30-60 cm

rock had a mass of 45kg and hit

the surface at 61,000 km an hour.

"It would be impossible to reproduce

these high-speed collisions

in a lab on Earth. Observing

flashes is a great way to test our

ideas on exactly what happens

when a meteorite collides with

the Moon," Madiedo said. The

impact site is close to the crater

Lagrange H, near the westsouth-west

portion of the lunar

limb, the study said.

Nepali, Rohingya

Muslim girls rescued

in Mizoram

Aizawl : The Mizoram Police have rescued

31 teenage Nepali and Rohingya

Muslim girls, suspected to be victims of

human trafficking, an official said on

Wednesday. "Police last week rescued 23

Nepali and eight Rohingya Muslim girls.

We suspect these girls, aged between 15 to

22 years, are victims of human trafficking,"

Inspector General of Mizoram Police (Law

and Order), L.H. Shanliana, told IANS.

The Nepali girls were rescued from

Champhai in eastern Mizoram near the

Myanmar border while the Rohingya girls

were detained at Vairengte in northern

Mizoram. The police official said that one

Lal Bahadur, who was accompanying the 23

Nepali girls, has been arrested. "Mizoram

Police is investigating the matter and interrogating

the detainees. The girls are now in

government protection shelters," Shanliana

said. The Nepali girls informed the police

that they were told to visit tourist spots in

the state and to also attend a festival there.

"The Rohingya girls told the police that

they were abducted by human traffickers

from a refugee camp in Bangladesh to be

sent to Malaysia for jobs. We suspect these

girls were to be forced into prostitution," a

police official said on condition of

anonymity.

Mizoram has an unfenced international

border -- 510 km with Myanmar and 318

km with Bangladesh.

Explosives found buried in

Sri Lanka mosque backyard

Colombo : Three locally made bombs and 100

grams of ammonia have been found buried in a

backyard of a mosque in a Sri Lankan district, the

police said. The explosives were recovered at

Welipenna on Friday night during a joint operation

carried out by the Special Task Force and the police,

the Daily Mirror reported. The police said a 42-

year-old suspect was arrested after the recovery of

explosives. Officials also seized 16 circuit boards of

high technology, 16 SIM cards, several compacts

discs, computer accessories and a car in a house at

Pirivena Mawatha in Mount Lavinia.

According to the police, each circuit board had

the capacity to contain 12 SIM cards. A 52-year old

man was detained along with the items. The recovery

was made after the authorities cancelled weekend

masses in the capital due of fears of fresh bomb

attacks. The Archdiocese of Colombo spokesman

Fr. Edmond Tilakaratne had said that the decision

was made by Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal

Malcolm Ranjith to cancel the masses on Saturday

and Sunday based on the latest security reports.


4 May 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

RSS devises strategy for higher,

pro-BJP turnout in Rajasthan

Jaipur : With its 3,500 to

4,000 shakhas across

Rajasthan, the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is

trying to play an active role in

the state during the ongoing

Lok Sabha elections.

With around 20-100 active

workers in each shakha, the

RSS began doing its homework

for the parliamentary elections

right after the December

Assembly polls, which saw the

Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government

voted out.

Since January, the organisation

has been working on the

ground to ensure that the voting

percentage in the state increases

during the Lok Sabha elections.

Thirteen of the 25 Lok

Sabha constituencies in

Rajasthan voted in the fourth

phase of elections on April 29

while the remaining 12 seats

will go to the polls in the fifth

phase on May 6. As part of its

plans, the RSS has categorised

the voters into four categories -

- A, B, C and D. While the first

two categories include RSS

workers and people connected

to the organisation and BJP

workers and those who vote for

the party, the 'C' category comprises

people who keep shifting

parties. This section has at

times voted for the Congress,

while at other times, it went

with the BJP. The last category

are those who vote for the

Congress or the other opposition

parties. The RSS workers

believe that there is no point in

appealing to the last category of

voters as it would be a waste of

time. However, they definitely

want to spend time with the 'C'

category which, they feel, can

be influenced towards supporting

the BJP. While the outfit is

in constant touch with people

belonging to the 'A' and 'B' categories,

it is putting in extra

efforts to convince those falling

Centre opposes

reopening of Rafale

matter in SC

New Delhi : The government on Saturday filed a fresh

affidavit in the Supreme Court in the Rafale case, opposing

reopening of the whole matter by contending that the petitioners

were attempting to get "a fishing and roving inquiry

ordered". The government said the the top court has "specifically

declined" to have a "fishing and roving inquiry" into

the matter "based on perceptions of individuals".

The affidavit, filed by Joint Secretary and Acquisition

Manager in the Defence Ministry on behalf of the government

said the application filed by petitioners, former Union

Minister Yashwant Sinha and others, for reopening the case

is "misconceived and not maintainable".

"..The applicants are not entitled to any relief" and their

application is "liable to be dismissed," the affidavit said.

"It is submitted that in the garb of seeking review of the

judgement (of last December), and placing reliance on some

media reports and some incomplete internal file notings procured

unauthorisedly and illegally, the petitioners cannot

seek to reopen the whole matter by asking for production of

documents in review petition since the scope of review petition

itself is extremely limited," the affidavit said.

under the 'C' category.

As part of its mobilisation

plans, Krishna Gopal, the

national Joint Secretary of the

RSS, had convened two meetings

in the state in January and

March. In between, the RSS

workers also held meetings in

February to chalk out a clearcut

strategy for the elections,

state RSS prachar pramukh

Manoj Kumar said. Even

before the dates for the Lok

Sabha polls were announced on

March 10, the RSS had worked

out a three-tier plan for the

elections. The first stage

included holding meetings, the

India complains

about diplomats'

harassment in

Pakistan

New Delhi : India has

raised its concerns with

Pakistan over harassment of

two of its diplomats by intelligence

personnel last month

and asked it to conduct an

inquiry and prevent recurrence

of such incidents, sources said

here on Saturday.

It also conveyed its concerns

regarding security of the

Indian High Commission in

Islamabad.

Sources said that the concerns

about the security of the

mission were conveyed to

Islamabad in a demarche. India

also sent a note verbale last

month protesting about the

harassment of two of its diplomats

and their being locked up

in a room for over 20 minutes

at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda

Gurdwara near Lahore on

April 17. The two Indian diplomats,

who were at the gurdwara

to facilitate Indian pilgrims,

were also threatened

and asked never come to the

area again. They were locked

up in a room by about 15

Pakistani intelligence personnel,

their bags were searched

and they were questioned.

India had earlier this year

also raised concern over

harassment of its diplomats

with Pakistan.

second stage involved distributing

pamphlets while the third

stage focused on ensuring that

the voters exercised their franchise.

As many as 40 different

branches of the RSS, including

Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, are

working with the tribals in the

state while a separate unit is

active in the border areas.

However, Kumar said that the

RSS is focusing more on areas

where its network is strong.

"We have also chalked out a

clear plan for social media to

ask voters to cast their votes.

We went from door-to-door and

met people in different areas,"

he said. However, not everyone

is ready to beleive that the RSS

is working hard on the ground.

Senior Congress leader

Suresh Chaudhary said that

RSS, which was once a social

organisation, has now turned

into a political unit supporting

the BJP and trying to get plush

portfolios for its people. "It

(RSS) works for the BJP and is

now enjoying it's due share in

politics," he alleged.

He also said that in 2003,

Vasundhara Raje had come to

power in the state with the help

of RSS after it helped dethrone

the then Chief Minister Ashok

Gehlot.

'FOR YOUR FAMILIES':

Abhinandan poses for

selfies with colleagues

New Delhi : IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman,

who spent

some days in

Pakistani custody

when his

MiG-21 was

shot down in

a dogfight

with PAF jets

a day after the

February 26

Balakot

s t r i k e ,

appeared in

high spirits as

he posed for

selfies with

colleagues

and other servicemen.

In an undated video, Varthaman, who was visiting his former

colleagues in Jammu and Kashmir recenty - for the first time

after his ordeal, happily posed for selfies with everyone who

wanted, even after repeatedly saying that it was the last one.

He then joined the group in chanting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai"

and cheers for the Indian Air Force, its 1 Wing and the Defence

Security Corps.

In a short address after the selfies, Varthaman said that he had

happily posed for the photographs with his colleagues since they

were not for them, "but their families".

"All these photographs are not for you but for your families I

could not meet. All of you and your families prayed for my

health and I want to thank them all," he said.

After his return to India on March 1, Varthaman, the son of a

former high-ranking IAF official, underwent tests in Delhi and

was subsequently posted out of Jammu and Kashmir as part of

service policy as well as security reasons.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

May 2019

It's celebrity card again in Punjab's border constituency

Gurdaspur (Punjab) :

Amid blistering heat, a sea of

people thronged actor-turnedpolitician

Sunny Deol's roadshows

vying for a selfie with

their favourite candidate. True

to star gesture, the Gadar star is

also not missing an opportunity

to get off from his vehicle to

meet children. It's star power in

Punjab Lok Sabha elections

again, literally. The BJP-Akali

Dal has fielded the 62-year-old

from Gurdaspur, the seat represented

four times by yesteryear

actor Vinod Khanna, who died

in April 2017 due to cancer.

Khanna, a native of Punjab,

was a sitting MP at that time of

his death. Son of veteran actor

Dharmendra, Deol, who does

not have any direct connection

with Gurdaspur city -- though

his father hails from Sahnewal

town near Punjab's industrial

town Ludhiana, has a strong

Punjabi appeal. He is a Jat

Sikh. Deol, whose main priority

is creating employment for

the youth, entered the Hindi

film industry with "Betaab" in

1983 and his best hits include

"Border", "Damini" and

"Gadar: Ek Prem Katha".

Deol's unforgettable dialogue

from 1990's Hindi film

"Ghayal": "Jab yeh dhai kilo ka

haath kisi pe padta hai na, toh

aadmi uthta nahi... utth jata hai"

(When this hand weighing 2.5

kg is kept on some person, they

don't get up, they go up (they

will die) echoes through out his

meandering campaign trail

here. One of his fans handed

him a hand-pump at a roadshow,

a scene in his 2001

blockbuster movie "Gadar..." in

which Deol uproots a similar

pump to fight off a crowd, who

were trying to attack a woman.

Deol is unfazed by the criticism

and despite being dubbed

an "outsider" by the Congress,

the actor says: "I'm Punjab da

puttar (son of Punjab) and

farming is in my blood."

Landing here on Wednesday

straight from Mumbai, Deol

met families of soldiers who

sacrificed their lives for the

nation at a border village in

Dinanagar area. "I am not a

hero as I only acted as a soldier.

The real heroes are those who

sacrificed their lives for the

country," he told a family.

Gurdaspur lies in the north

of Punjab, sharing an international

border with Pakistan and

the troubled state of Jammu and

Kashmir. The area is not as

developed as other areas in

Punjab. Deol, who is not missing

an opportunity to pay obeisance

to Sikh shrines and

Hindu temples during his campaigning,

is pitted against

Congress state unit President

Sunil Jakhar, who won the

October 2017 by-election with

a margin of 1.92 lakh votes.

The bypoll was necessitated

with sitting MP Vinod

Khanna's death. The BJP did

not give the ticket for the byeelection

to Khanna's widow,

Kavita Khanna, a strong

claimant for the seat.

With the fielding of Deol,

Kavita Khanna expressed her

disappointment, saying she felt

"betrayed" by the party.

The Gurdaspur constituency,

which has 14,68,972 voters,

including 72,6363 women, has

nine assembly constituencies. It

has a high number of serving

and retired defence personnel

and the BJP is trying to woo

them by using the 'fauzi' image

of Deol. The former members

of Parliament from Gurdaspur

are Sukhbuns Kaur Binder of

the Congress, who won the seat

five times in a row till 1996

when she faced her defeat from

BJP's Jagdish Sawhney; from

BJP's Khanna (1998 to 2009)

and Congress' Pratap Singh

Bajwa from 2009 to 2014.

Khanna got elected for the

first time in 1998, followed by

wins in 1999, 2004 and 2014.

He lost the poll in the 2009

general election to Congress

leader Bajwa with a slender

margin. In 2014, Khanna had

again won by a thumping margin

of over 1.38 lakh votes. A

local BJP leader told IANS:

"Khanna won his last election

not due to his stardom but

because of Modi wave. This

time too his magic will work

here. Moreover, Deol is known

for playing nationalist."

Locals believe the Modi

wave might work for Deol, too.

"Deol, who is a Jat Sikh, will

help winning the state as the

constituency is dominated by

the Jat Sikhs," a senior BJP

leader said. A confident

Congress candidate Sunil

Jakhar, though, said: "I have

been a Dharmendra fan. I like

Sunny Deol as an actor. The

people will prefer a local than

an outsider (Deol). I wish him

all the best." "He is unaware of

the issues of Punjab and

Gurdaspur. He should share his

vision for Gurdaspur. What is

his agenda for the people

here?" asked Jakhar. The

Gurdaspur constituency has

seen two major militant attacks

by Pakistan-backed militant

outfits in the recent past.

It is believed by the BJP that

DESERTED by MLAs, AAP

looks a sinking ship in Punjab

5

terror attacks and Deol's stardom

will trigger the BJP magic.

"As Modi has sent the air

force to destroy terror camps in

Pakistan after the Pulwama

attack, so is Deol who has

thrashed militants with iron

hands in movies. So people in

Gurdaspur like both Modi and

Deol. His stardom will catch

votes for BJP," a local BJP

leader said. Tough road for

Congress Hindu candidate

Jakhar to retain the seat. Jakhar,

who started his campaigning

well ahead of Deol, won the

seat when the Congress government

in the state just came at

the helm. Now after two years,

the government has anti-incumbency.

This factor will make

Jakhar's victory tough, admitted

a senior Congress leader.

In 2017, most of the state

ministers had campaigned for

him. Now, even Jakhar doesn't

enjoy a good relation with

Chief Minister Amarinder

Singh. The BJP in the state has

an alliance with the Shiromani

Akali Dal in Punjab.

It is contesting three Lok

Sabha seats (Amritsar,

Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur),

while the Akali Dal is contesting

the remaining 10 seats.

Punjab will vote on May 19.

Cyclone Fani kills

6 in Bangladesh

Dhaka : At least six people were killed as cyclone Fani

slammed into Bangladesh's coastline after striking the Indian

states of Odisha and West Bengal, officials said.

Bangladesh State Minister for Disaster Management Enamur

Rahman said that 63 people were injured in the storm,

bdnews24.com reported. However, local TV channel NTV put

the death toll at seven, adding that around 1,000 homes were

damaged. Officials said Fani damaged houses, uprooted trees,

snapped power and communication lines and disrupted rail, road

and air traffic. TV footage showed widespread flooding in

coastal areas where hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.

However, Shamsuddin Ahmed, Director at the

Bangladesh Meteorological Department, said that Fani had

weakened and was being gradually reduced to a depression.

Officials said the cyclone did not prove to be as devastating as

feared. At least 1.6 million people who were taken to storm centres

were told to return to their homes, reports said. The severe

cyclonic storm, one of the strongest to batter the Indian subcontinent

in decades, weakened before entering Bangladesh on

Saturday morning from West Bengal.

It first made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning. It crossed

Tangail and Mymensingh region as a deep depression at noon,

said the Met office. The storm will become weaker after rain.

Fishing boats, trawlers and maritime vessels over the bay

were advised to remain in shelter till further notice. Under the

influence of Fani, strong winds with rain started to lash many

parts of coastal Bangladesh from Friday night, destroying

homes, damaging crops and roads and uprooting trees.

Chandigarh : The Aam

Aadmi Party (AAP) had

emerged a dark horse in Punjab

in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,

winning four seats and

stunning rivals with its performance

in the nine other

seats. But it's a different story

this time. The infighting-ridden

party is struggling to save its

sinking ship with several leaders

either quitting or being suspended

in the last four years.

AAP's four prominent rebels --

sitting Patiala MP Dharamvira

Gandhi, former Leader of

Opposition Sukhpal Khaira,

MLA Baldev Singh and

Punjabi singer-turned-politician

Jassi Jasraj -- are contesting

Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot

and Sangrur Lok Sabha seats as

the Punjab Democratic

Alliance (PDA) candidates.

Except Bathinda, the AAP

had won the other three seats in

2014 with a vote share of 24.4

per cent. The PDA, a six-party

coalition, was formed by

Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who led

the rebellion against AAP

national convener Arvind

Kejriwal after being removed

from the post of Leader of

Opposition in Punjab Assembly.

They aim to defeat the AAP,

which is contesting all 13 seats

with a mix of youth, experienced

and trusted hands, and emerge as

the third alternative in the state.

The trouble began when two

AAP MPs, cardiologist Gandhi

(Patiala) and Harinder Singh

Khalsa (Fatehgarh Sahib), were

suspended from the party in

May 2015 for "anti-party activities".

Likewise, the AAP

removed its then state unit chief

Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who

played a crucial role in

strengthening the party's base

in the state, on flimsy bribery

charges in August 2016.

In the February 2017

Assembly elections, the AAP

finished second as the main

opposition party with 20 legislators

in the Congress-ruled

117-member Assembly. Of the

20, eight have defected till date.

The latest dissident MLA to

quit the AAP is Amarjit Singh

Sandoya. He joined the

Congress on Saturday and

alleged he was feeling disenchanted

due to the top AAP

leadership's high-handed

approach towards Punjab.

Welcoming Sandoya into the

Congress-fold, Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh said the

Congress had got a major boost

due to exodus in opposition

parties in the state. Suspended

AAP legislator Kanwar Sandhu

said, "In this election, the AAP

is a low key player in the state

and is not getting the response

it got in the 2014 and 2017

polls. At that time people were

looking for a change. Now they

are upset with the infighting in

the AAP". Countering it, AAP

legislator Aman Arora said the

"silent voters" were still with

the party. In Sangrur, state

AAP chief and comedian

Bhagwant Mann is facing popular

singer and party rebel Jassi

Jasraj. In Patiala, Neena Mittal

is facing AAP rebel MP

Dharamvira Gandhi who had

defeated three-time MP Preneet

Kaur, wife of Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh, by over

20,000 votes in 2014. Kaur is

also in the fray.

in Faridkot, dissident AAP

legislator Baldev Singh is taking

on outgoing party MP Sadhu

Singh as the Punjab Ekta Party

candidate. This time, rich

Punjabi non-resident Indians

(NRIs) too are conspicuos by

their absence as the AAP supporters.

In 2014 general elections,

many NRIs came out

openly by offering cash but also

campaigning with people to support

the AAP. This time they

have switched their loyalties and

are backing Mann's Congress

opponent Kewal Singh Dhillon

and are campaigning for him,

riding an air-conditioned bus

called the 'NRI Express'.

Karamjit Singh Dhaliwal,

who runs gas stations in New

York, said, "In 2014 and 2017

elections, we campaigned for

AAP candidates. Now the AAP

has drifted away from its ideology

of 'Swaraj', so we decided

not to support it". Countering

dissidence and defection within

the party, Mann, AAP's only

hope to retain his seat, issued

an emotional video message to

party cadres. In his message, he

accused rebel leader Khaira of

being an agent of both the

Congress and the Akali Dal and

for engineering defections of

AAP legislators to the

Congress. Punjab will vote on

May 19.


6 May 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Additional 'factual'

evidence ensured banning

New Delhi : Additional "factual"

evidence provided to the

UN Security Council (UNSC)

lately ensured lifting of ‘technical

hold by China on sanctioning

of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

chief Masood Azhar and the

decision was "obviously" linked

to the Pulwama attack as the

process was initiated after that,

diplomatic sources said here on

Friday.

The additional information

was provided to the UNSC's

1267 Sanctions Committee collectively

by "some countries"

along with India, which "convinced,

not only China, but the

whole world community", they

said about the May 1 decision to list Azhar,

a Pakistani national, as a global terrorist.

China had been blocking the move for over

10 years and even after the February 14

Pulwama attack, it retained its 'technical

hold' when the proposal came up for consideration

in the Sanctions Committee in

March. The sources said the process to list

Azhar as a global terrorist was initiated after

the Pulwama attack but refused to go into

details as to why the terror attack did not

find a mention in the Resolution of the

Sanctions Committee.

"The link to Pulwama is pretty obvious

since the process (to proscribe Azhar) was

started after this terror attack," the sources

of Azhar: Sources

Akhilesh moots

Mulayam's name

for PM post

Lucknow : Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav has put

up his father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadavs name for the

Prime Ministers post. "It will be good if Netaji (Mulayam) gets the

honour though he says he is not in the race," he said in an interview.

Akhilesh Yadav

had earlier indicated

that he would back

BSP supremo

Mayawati for the

Prime Minister's

post and had clearly

said that the alliance

would give India its

next Prime Minister.

Mayawati has

also spoken more

than once about her

national ambitions and has said that true empowerment of Dalits

would take place only when a Dalit becomes Prime Minister. She

has even said that becoming an MP is not necessary to become the

Prime Minister. Akhilesh Yadav further said, "The alliances in several

states have choices but the BJP does not have any other leader.

Our alliance wants to give India a new Prime Minister. My party

will decide about the PM when the final seat tally is out."

Asked about his own prime ministerial ambitions, Akhilesh

Yadav said: "I want to increase the number of SP MPs in the Lok

Sabha. I want to be among those who want to make a new Prime

Minister. I want UP to contribute in the next government formation

right now." He said his focus is on the UP Assembly elections,

due in 2022.

underlined while talking about the UNSC

Resolution. The fresh process to ban Azhar

stemmed out of a strong statement issued by

the UNSC condemning the Pulwama attack

and calling for action against the perpetrators

of the crime, they said.

The process was initiated by France and

was joined by the US and UK, which also

strongly pushed for sanctioning of Azhar.

"Additional information" linking Azhar

directly with JeM, a terror outfit which

already stood banned by the UNSC, was

provided to the Sanctions Committee post-

March meeting after which his listing as a

global terrorist became possible, the sources

said while answering questions on what

Mumbai : To safeguard equity investors

from another NSE co-location type fiasco,

the security market regulator has directed the

stock exchange major to review all third

party agreement having a data sharing component

entered by it from year

2009 onwards. Accordingly, the

NSE has been directed to take

necessary legal actions against

Athe parties with whom such

agreements were signed "wherever

any actions of irregularity,

breach of terms and conditions

and other provisions of such

agreements are observed".

On April 30, the market regulator

in a marathon five orders in

the matter came down heavily

on the NSE. "Noticee No.1

(NSE) is further directed to submit

an action taken report in this

regard along with the observation

of its Governing Board to SEBI, within

three months from date of this order," a SEBI

order in the matter of NSE-Corporate

Governance.

Regulator further directed the NSE Ato

prepare a detailed documented policy with

respect to data usage and data sharing with

external entities with due provisions for disclosures

of conflict of interest to be made at

made China change its

stand.

The "factual evidence",

which was additional to that

furnished earlier, was provided

to the Committee collectively

by "some countries",

they said but refused

to identify them.

Earlier, the evidence was

not provided collectively by

the countries pushing for a

ban on Azhar but after the

March meeting of the

Sanctions Committee, "sufficient"

and "more factual"

evidence was furnished to it,

the sources said.

They noted that "everybody

knows" who Masood Azhar is but only

sufficient evidence was required to be reinforced,

inking him directly to JeM which

was already banned.

They expressed gladness that Pakistan,

which primarily has to implement the

UNSC Resolution since Azhar is based

there, was reportedly "satisfied" with the

decision. On questions how the ban could be

implemented since Pakistan has never

enforced a similar ban imposed in 2008 on

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit chief

Hafiz Saeed who continues to roam freely,

the sources said the assets of such people

have to be confiscated by the UN member

countries and their travel barred.

RJD, allies slam

journalist for tweet

on Rabri Devi

Patna : Leaders of the

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and

its allies in Bihar on Friday

slammed a derogatory tweet

about RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s

wife and former Bihar Chief

Minister Rabri Devi by a senior

journalist of a

Hindi TV news

channel.

With the Lok

Sabha polls

underway, Rabri

Devi has been

attacking and

targeting her

political rivals,

including Prime

Minister

Narendra Modi

and Chief Minister Nitish

Kumar, through her Twitter handle.

Nishant Chaturvedi, who is

the editor of a Hindi TV news

channel, retweeted a small piece

that questioned Rabri Devi’s

academic skills and mocked at

her ability to use Twitter.

“So, Rabri Deviji also tweets.

Can anyone tell her to just spell

out the word Twitter thrice,” he

tweeted on a post by Rabri Devi

that mocked PM Modi. Replying

to Chaturvedi’s post, Rabri Devi

wrote: “Son, I have seen a lot of

journalists like you. I was democratically

elected the Chief

Minister of India’s secondlargest

state for eight years. Why

are you pained if I question

the level of any employee of NSE.

The direction on disclosures of conflict of

interest assumes significance after a massive

breach of corporate governance norms was

observed in the case in connection to noted

public policy academician Ajay Shah for collusion

to access confidential market information

for business purposes. Shah and his wife

Susan Thomas are credited with co-creating

the NSE Nifty50 index. He has had an illustrious

stint at various high-level positions,

including Ministry of Finance.

However, in what could have been a criminal

conspiracy worthy of celluloid screen,

Modi? Are you okay?”

Rabri Devi’s younger son and

Leader of the Opposition in the

Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav

also questioned Chaturvedi.

“So what motivated you to

spend your precious time in asking

a former

CM to pronounce

a

word? Have

you ever

asked any

elite upper

caste politician

from

your pay master’s

party

who are less

educated than

my mother to pronounce a word?

It reflects your casteist, racist

and classist mindset,” the former

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister

tweeted. RJD allies — Rashtriya

Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief

and former Union Minister

Upendra Kushwaha and

Hindustani Awam Morcha

(HAM) chief and former Chief

Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi —

said the incident exposed the

mindset of a section of pro-BJP

mediapersons and the respect

they have for a woman politician

from a Backward Caste. Last

month, a senior anchor of a TV

news channel addressed Lalu

Prasad as “Lalua” drawing angry

protests from the RJD cadres.

NSE to review data sharing

3rd party pacts since 2009

Shah along with some of his immediate family

members created a virtual family enterprise

and used their connections with NSE

officials to gain a computing contract for

Liquidity Index.

But, the real intent was to use the

NSE's confidential data gained from

the computing contract to develop

algorithmic trading software for sale

in the securities market, thereby

compromising the integrity of securities

market.

In addition, the order read: "The

(data usage and sharing) policy shall

be comprehensive with proper

maker and checker system with provision

for a periodic review to

ensure prevention of misuse of the

data/information". The misuse of the

bourse's co-location facility came to

light in 2015 when a whistleblower

alleged collusion between a few

employees of the stock exchange and brokers.

It was alleged that collusion and lax of

oversight allowed a few brokers faster access

to market data.A In one of the orders the regulator

directed the NSE to disgorge Rs

624.89 crore in the co-location case and also

barred it from accessing the securities market

directly or indirectly for a period of six

months.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A Hindi reporter of a brahmanical

channel yesterday tweeted about former

Bihar Chief Minister Rabari Devi

whether she knows the spelling of

'tweet' ? We all know well the background

of Mrs Rabari Devi who was

the chief minister of Bihar for two

terms. A few days back, another channel

termed Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav as

'Lalua' in a public meeting. Those

who knows about Bihar's caste prejudices

know well that the anchor

speaking 'Lalua' was deliberate to hurt

the OBCs and Dalits in Bihar. The

CBI in the Supreme Court speak

against Lalu Yadav that he is indulged

in politics and must be prohibited

from doing so. Yes, the same CBI has

now provided clean chit to all the

criminals of Gujarat accused for 2002

massacre and other related cases. It is

the same CBI, which is unable to pursue

against Pragya Thakur who is

allowed to contest from Bhopal.

Indian media's caste identities are

well known. The Janue that they wear

even while claiming to be a 'progressive'

has been exposed very well. This

is an age of information and nobody is

depending on these paid trolls of

Sangh Parivar masquerading as journalists.

Media these days speak deliberately

the language of the contempt

towards those who challenged the status

quo and assertive, who did not surrender

to brahmanical hierarchical

order. Lalu Yadav is one of the biggest

political leader in our political history

since independence who challenged

this order in Bihar and gave people a

voice but the brahmanical narrative of

Lalu Yadav is as being 'most corrupt'.

They dont see corruption in Modi who

even if you give full

proof, they will just

start engaging in

absolutely below the

belt discussion.

Remember how this

media legitimised those

who abused Ms

Mayawati and spoke

about her in absolutely

filthy language. Even

today, read the comment

section of any

news item related to Ms

Mayawati and you will

find the hidden hatred

of the Janeudharis

towards her. Phoolan

was humiliated in the

very similar way for

long but all those who

demolished Babari

Mosque are heroes. The same media

people are unable to remind BJP its

absolutely filthy role in defending the

rape accused of Unnao, Kuldeep Singh

Sengar. The Kathua story of the brahmanical

lies and crookedness is well

known to be said here. The Savarna

media is prostrating before the

Maharajas of Hindutva. They cant do

anything wrong. They are now the

'greatest' of our leaders. A leader who

was despised by the media several

years ago as criminal is today the

hero of media, its chanakya and

ASIA

Shameless arrogance

those fighting against his politics of

hatred and divisiveness are being

abused.

Why has media become a party in

propaganda of hatred and contempt.

Yes, they have lost their credibility.

Frankly, they never had and can only

be said to be destroying the lives of

millions. You watch

these channels and

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

pop-up the few tablets to

reduce your blood pressure.

Indian media lack diversity

in its newsrooms. Its

blatantly casteist and racist

in nature particularly the

electronic media. Its

Hindustan is twice born. Its

nationalism is nothing but

brahmanical nationalism. It

caters to these twice born,

build up narrative as per

their thinking. Today, the

entire media is building up

narrative to suit the interest

of BJP and Hindutva and

for that it is going extramiles.

It is most afraid of

the rise of the

Ambedkarites and Dalits

who have challenged the

savarna narratives and

building up their own. It hates them.

Ms Mayawati, Lalu Yadav, Rabari

Devi, Phoolan Devi, Akhilesh Yadav

are the target because they challenge

the monopoly of the savarnas, contested

it and break their ego which

feel deeply hurt. More than 30 years

after Mandal Commission report was

accepted, the Savarnas still hate V P

Singh the most which explain their

mindset and fear of losing power.

Fact is that you can not hold to this

power for long. Whether bring Rama

or Hindutva, the political power will

May 2019

7

have to be shared with India's

Bahujans and remember they will not

be self servient but equal partners in

India's decision making bodies. In the

21st century, your contempt and misuse

of privileges will not work in long

term. The Dubeys, Jhas, Chaubes,

Tripathis, Chaturvedis, Guptas,

Chawals, Aggarwals will have to

respect people's mandate as well as

constitution to treat people in equality

and must be made to feel that casteism

is as dangerous as racism. In any other

country, these party propandists

would have been thrown out of the

orgasnisations to protect the credibility

of the institution but in Indian

media houses are 'bania kee dukan'

run by the brahmins so they remain

without any action being taken

against their mischief and caste prejudices.

No issue Mr Dubey. Just write a

few words about the merit of Sharma

ji whose 'more' i.e. peacock get

impregnated with her tears' or wisdom

of those claiming to have first plastic

surgery in the form of Ganesha and

many more. India's media houses and

their anchors will stoop low and use

all the caste filth to humiliate them

further as they know well that their

time is now gone but they are fighting

this war on behalf of the ruling establishment

and protecting their caste

privileges.

We hope the people will give them

a good answer.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Gujarat potato growers want

compensation from PepsiCo

Ahmedabad : Even though PepsiCo

India has announced it is withdrawing lawsuits

against Gujarat's potato growers, the

affected farmers on Friday demanded compensation

for the harassment they were

subjected to, while a newly-formed entity

Bij Adhikar Manch (forum for rights over

seeds) called for boycott of PepsiCo products.

Simultaneously, the farmers

also demanded that the withdrawal

of cases against them by the food

and beverages giant should be

unconditional since the statement

issued by the company did not

speak about ensuring non-infringement

of the rights of the potato

growers over what they produced.

PepsiCo had filed suits against

nine farmers -- four cases this year

and five last year -- from the potato-growing

belt in north Gujarat,

claiming they had grown the

FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes, which

were the company's intellectual property

under the Indian law. PepsiCo uses the

potatoes to manufacture chips under its

popular brand Lay's. Demanding compensation,

Bipin Patel, one of the farmers

against whom the company had filed legal

suits, told reporters: "Its (PepsiCo) real

intention might have been to wipe out competitors

from the market but it chose to

harass the farmers. The company has to

pay us compensation for all the harassment

we were put through."

The farmers also asked the state government,

which has agreed to support them in

the issue, not to get influenced by "corporate

interests" and pressurise the company

to agree to their demand for compensation.

Besides this, the farmers and leaders of

the organisations for farmers want a clear

proposal from the company while withdrawing

the cases. "It is high time that

PepsiCo should come out with a clear proposal

so that we can read between the lines

too," Maganbhai Patel of RSS-affiliated

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said.

"If you look at the statement issued by

PepsiCo on Thursday, it talks of finding

long-term amicable solution for seed protection.

What does it mean by that? The

issue is now not just about withdrawal of

cases but to firmly establish rights of farmers

over the seeds and no one in the future

should even think of challenging this

right," Kapil Shah, coordinator, Bij

Adhikar Manch, asserted. "We would

request the government to intervene and

clearly state this fact," he added.

These statements come amidst a meeting

of a PepsiCo India delegation with

Chief Secretary of Gujarat and Additional

Chief Secretary, Agriculture, in the state

capital Gandhinagar on Friday. "We had

just come to update the state government

about the decision we

announced on Thursday. It

was a good meeting and talks

veered around finding an

amicable solution for everyone

going forward," Jagrut

Kotecha, Vice President -

Foods, PepsiCo India, told

reporters. Kotecha said

PepsiCo India would withdraw

the cases as and when

they come up for hearings

before the courts, which in

case of four farmers is on

June 12.

When asked why they have called for

boycott of PepsiCo products since the issue

was limited to the immediate dispute

between the company and the potato farmers,

Kapil Shah said though PepsiCo had

issued public statements, it was yet to withdraw

the cases.

"It is a private case and none of the

farmers has been informed. In fact, we

would ask the government to ensure that

PepsiCo gives it to us in writing that it is

withdrawing the cases unconditionally and

they also apologise to the farmers," Shah

said.

WhatsApp tells SC: Will

comply with RBI norms

New Delhi : The WhatsApp on Friday told the Supreme

Court that it would

comply with all the

RBI norms when it

would formally

launch its payment

services and for now

it was having a trial

run of the same that

would complete by

July.

"We can't launch

the product without

compliances", senior

counsel Kapil Sibal

told the bench of

Justice Rohinton Fali

Nariman and Justice

Vineet Saran, pointing out that at present WhatsApp was running

payment service on its one million users on a trial basis.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that

WhatsApp was not complying with data localisation norms on

its payment services being carried out on trial basis and has also

not appointed the grievance officer in India. Referring to the

response filed by the Reserve Bank of India, Solicitor General

Mehta told the bench that WhatsApp was not complying with

data localization norms as is clear from the affidavit filed by

RBI. Appearing for the Centre, Mehta also pointed to the nonappointment

of grievance officer by WhatsApp in India.

Appearing for the petitioner NGO Centre for Accountability

and Systemic Change (CASC), counsel Virag Gupta told the

court that the trial data too cannot be kept outside India and this

may be violative of permission granted by National Payment

Corporation of India (NPCI). Gupta referred to the provisions of

the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 and sought

action against WhatsApp for violation of data localization

norms during the trial period. The petitioner NGO CASC has in

its petition said that WhatsApp having over 20 crore active

users was the largest messaging platform, yet it had no grievance

officer and was largely unregulated as laws were not being

complied with. The court directed the further hearing of the

matter in the third week of July.


8 May 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Burqa, ghoonghat are same,

ban both: Javed Akhtar

Bhopal : Amid demand over ban

on burqa (loose garment covering the

whole body from head to feet worn by

MUslim women), noted lyricist Javed

Akhtar on Thursday advocated ban it

as well as ghoonghat (a veil or headscarf

worn by some married Hindu,

Sikh and Jain women). The Shiv Sena

on Wednesday in its mouth-piece

"Saamana" called for a ban on the

burqa at public places.

Reacting to the call, Akhtar said:

"All women in my family have been

professionals. My mother taught at

Hamidiya Collage of Bhopal. I have

never seen the burqa at my home.

That's why my knowledge about it is

New Delhi : The Election

Commission (EC) on Wednesday

issued a show cause notice to

Congress leader and Punjab Minister

Navjot Singh Sidhu over his remarks

against Prime Minister Narendra

Modi. The EC notice was based on a

complaint by Neeraj, a Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) worker in Gujarat,

who alleged that Sidhu described the

Prime Minister as a 'thief' while

brief." "There is a controversy over

the burqa. Iran is a hardliner Muslim

country, but women don't cover their

faces there. A new law in Sri Lanka

bars women from covering their faces.

Whatever is your attire, the face

should be visible," he said.

"If someone wants this kind of law

here, and if this is somebody's opinion

I don't have any objection. But before

the end of last phase of (Lok Sabha)

elections, the government must

announce that no woman will be

allowed to use ghoonghat in

Rajasthan," Akhtar said.

Akhtar said: "Faces covered with

the burqa or the ghoonghat, it's same.

If both would be removed, I would be

happy".

EC notice to Sidhu for calling PM Modi a 'thief'

Musharraf's treason trial

postponed to June 12

Islamabad : A special court

accepted former Pakistan

President Pervez Musharraf's

request on Thursday to postpone

the hearing of a treason trial

against him until after the month

of Ramzan owing to his poor

health. A threemember

bench

headed by Justice

Tahira Safdar

adjourned the

case hearing till

June 12 after the

former military

dictator's counsel

Salman Safdar

told the court that

his client could

not travel to

Pakistan to attend

the hearing due to his medical

condition, Geo News reported.

The counsel, in an application on

behalf of Musharraf, stated that

despite "strong willingness and

eagerness to return to Pakistan,

life-threatening ailments and

medical complications had

forced him not to appear before

the special court". "He is

ashamed and apologetic for not

being able to reach (in time). He

is unable to walk," the counsel

said, adding that he had spent

three days with Musharraf and

was "shocked to see that he

could barely even speak". "The

doctors have said it is not safe

for him to travel in this condition,"

the counsel said.

He then asked the court to

postpone the hearing until after

Ramzan. The court also issued a

notice to the government over a

plea for acquittal of Musharraf in

the case. The Pakistan Muslim

League-Nawaz (PML-N) government

had filed the treason

case against Musharraf over the

President's imposition of extraconstitutional

emergency in

November 2007.

In line with the

Supreme Court's

directive, the trial

court is scheduled

to record

Musharraf's statement

under

Section 342 of the

C r i m i n a l

Procedure Code to

complete the treason

trial.

Musharraf left

for Dubai in 2016 to "seek medical

treatment" and has not

returned since. Earlier in March,

he was admitted to a hospital in

Dubai after suffering a reaction

from a rare disease for which he

is already under treatment.

The application stated that

Musharraf is suffering from cardiac

amyloidosis (congestive

heart failure), chronic kidney

disease (high creatinine in renal

system), excessive somnolence

(hypersomnia), spinal injury and

fracture. It also recalled that the

former President came to

Pakistan on March 24, 2013, on

his own to face the Benazir

Bhutto assassination case,

judges' detention case and Akbar

Bugti case and that the high treason

case was initiated subsequent

to his arrival in the country,

Dawn online reported.

addressing a poll rally in Ahmedabad

on April 17. As per the EC notice,

dated April 30, Sidhu has to submit his

reply by 6 p.m. on May 2. If he fails to

do so, the panel would take a decision

without further reference to him.

The poll body also told Sidhu the

model code of conduct bars candidates

and leaders from making personal

remarks against rivals during campaigning.

CJI appears before probe panel

in sexual harassment case

Srinagar : Former Jammu and Kashmir

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday

expressed bitterness over the Congress giving

a walkover to the Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) in the state during campaigning.

The National Conference (NC) Vice-

President tweeted: "It says a lot about the

Congress and its approach to J&K. There

hasn't been a single election meeting by its

leadership."

"Contrast this with the number of rallies

addressed by (Prime Minister Narendra)

Modi and (BJP President) Amit Shah. They

may not have come to the Valley, but they

People, not Modi, responsible

for growth: Rahul

Gurugram : In an attempt to dent the

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) vote

bank, Congress chief

Rahul Gandhi, here on

Saturday, criticised Prime

Minister Narendra Modi

for making false promises,

like depositing Rs 15 lakh

in bank accounts of people

and creating over 2 crore

jobs."In last Lok Sabha

elections, Modi had promised

to provide 2 crore jobs

every year, deposit Rs 15 lakh in the

bank accounts of people and bring 'ache

din'. What happened to them," he asked.

Ridiculing Modi's claim on development,

he said was the BJP responsible

New Delhi : With the BJP highlighting

the issue of nationalism in the Lok Sabha

elections, the Congress on Thursday said

that multiple surgical strikes were carried

out during the tenure of Congress-led UPA

government. Senior Congress leader

Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet:

"Multiple surgical strikes took place during

our tenure too. For us, military ops

were meant for strategic deterrence & giving

a befitting reply to anti-India forces

than to be used for vote garnering exercises."

He also attached an interview of former

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

given to a national daily. Giving a

New Delhi : Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

on Wednesday appeared before the inhouse

committee led by Justice S.A.

Bobde, looking into allegations of sexual

harassment against him by a former staffer

of the Supreme Court, said an official

source familiar with the proceedings. The

source said the committee had asked the

Chief Justice Gogoi to appear for the incamera

proceedings. "He met the committee

regarding the allegations leveled

against him," said the source.

The woman, who has alleged sexual

harassment, withdrew from the proceedings

of the committee on Tuesday. In a

statement to the media, she expressed serious

reservations over the panel, saying it

was "an in-house committee of sitting

judges junior to the CJI and not an external

committee as I had requested." The committee

comprises Justices S.A. Bobde, Indu

Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The panel

was re-constituted after the woman objected

to the inclusion of Justice N.V. Ramana

on the committee, as he was apparently a

close friend of the Chief Justice. Justice

Ramana immediately withdrew from the

panel, and he was replaced by a woman

judge. In the three hearings scheduled until

Tuesday, the woman said she felt "quite

intimidated and nervous" in the presence of

the three judges of the Supreme Court.

The woman, in her statement to the

media also said during the panel's hearing

didn't ignore the state," Abdullah said.

Stating that the Congress had a fighting

for growth of cities like Gurugram? "It's

the people of the country who are

responsible for this development,"

he said.

He also raised the issue

of Rafeal jet purchase deal,

demonetisation and the

goods and services tax GST

fiasco. Gandhi was

addressing an election rally

in support of Congress candidate

Ajay Singh Yadav.

In his 30-minute speech,

Gandhi said, "He is 'chowkidar' but not

for the poor. He is the 'chowkidar' of his

corporate friends, like Anil Ambani,

Mehul Chowksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay

Mallya."

Several surgical strikes executed during UPA: Congress

sequence of the surgical strikes during its

tenure, the party said that on June 19,

2008, a military operation was carried in

the Bhattal Sector in Poonch, while during

August 30-September 1, 2011, Sharda

Sector across Neelam River Valley in Kel

(Pakistan-administered Kashmir) was targeted.

On January 6, 2013, a third surgical

strike was carried out in which Sawan

Patra checkpost in Pakistan was targeted,

Surjewala said. Between July 27 and 28,

2013, military operations were carried out

in Nazapir Sector, on August 6, 2013,

Neelam Valley was targeted, he added.

on April 26, the judges told her that it was

neither an in-house committee proceeding

nor a proceeding under the Vishakha

Guidelines and that it was an informal proceeding.

"I was asked to narrate my

account which I did to the best of my ability

even though I felt quite intimidated and

nervous in the presence of three Hon'ble

Judges of the Supreme Court and without

having a lawyer or support person with

me," said her statement.

The committee was formed after the

woman levelled allegations against the

Chief Justice reportedly in a letter to 22

judges of the Supreme Court. After the

allegations of sexual harassment surfaced

on April 20, the CJI held an urgent hearing

and he categorically denied the woman's

allegations. The CJI termed it as an attack

on the independence of the judiciary.

"There has to be bigger force behind this,

they want to deactivate office of Chief

Justice," he had said during the hearing.

Congress giving BJP walkover in J&K campaign: Omar

chance in four of the six seats and in three

the main opponent was the BJP, Abdullah

tweeted, "It's inexplicable how the BJP was

simply given a walkover as far as the optics

of the campaign were concerned."

His comments assume significance as the

NC and the Congress have an electoral

alliance in the Lok Sabha elections in the

state. While the Congress did not field candidate

against NC President Farooq Abdullah

in Srinagar, the NC responded by leaving

Jammu and Udhampur seats for the

Congress. They are having a "friendly contest"

in Baramulla and Anantnag seats.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA May 2019 9

Narendra Modi’s Backward Class

Credentials – Renewal of Controversy:

Authentic Facts and Real Challenge before Parties after Lok Sabha Elections of 2019

The issue of Prime Minister Shri

Narendra Modi’s “Backward Class”

credentials has become the subject of

active controversy. This controversy

arose on a lower key in 2014 during the

run-up to the Lok Sabha elections

2014. At that time I wrote an article

titled “Narendra Modi’s BC Caste

Credentials – Authentic Facts” and sent

it on 10.05.2014 to one of the prominent

national dailies for publication. In

keeping with the lack of interest of

national print and electronic media in

matters, especially in-depth matters,

pertaining to Socially and

Educationally Backward Classes

(SEdBCs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs)

and Scheduled Tribes (STs), that daily

did not publish it. As the controversy

has recurred more strongly now, I am

writing this Paper, updating my Paper

of 2014, and placing it in the public

domain in order to provide authentic

information on this, as the present and

the past controversy suffer from inadequate

information.

Those attributing fakeness to Shri

Narendra Modi’s Backward Class credentials

base their allegation on the fact

that his caste was not originally included

in the list of SEdBCs, and it was

later got included. It is alleged that his

later inclusion was got done by him

using his influence as Chief Minister.

In the entire controversy, the name of

his caste is not mentioned, which is

“Ghanchi”. Ghanchi is the Gujarati

name for Teli, which is the Hindi name

of a caste, known by different names in

different States and languages, linked,

according to the caste system, with the

traditional occupation of oil-pressing

and vending.

The caste, with oil-pressing and

vending as the traditional occupation,

has always been in the list of SEdBCs

in every unit of India – well before

Independence in Southern States and

later in Northern States and the Centre

–, entered by their local name(s), “Teli”

in most States. In Gujarat they are

known as Ghanchi, Teli and, in some

parts, also as Ghancha.

This community was included in the

List of BCs for Gujarat (then divided

into Saurashtra, Kutch and partly

Bombay) by the first Central Backward

Classes (Kaka Kalelkar) Commission

(1953-55), as “Ganika, Ghanchi, Teli”

with the traditional occupation of “Oil

pressing” under Bombay, “Ghanchi,

Ghancha” with the traditional occupation

of “Oil pressers and sellers” under

Saurashtra, and “Ghancha” with the

traditional occupation of “Oil pressesrs”

under Kutch. The Second

Backward Classes (Mandal)

Commission (1979-80) included this

community in its Gujarat BC list as

“Teli, Modh Ghanchi”. After the

Supreme Court’s Mandal judgement

upheld Central Government’s OM of

13-08-1990 providing for 27% reservation

for BCs, a first-phase Central List

of BCs was prepared by the Expert

Committee on BCs, of which I was a

Member, and notified States-wise by

the Central Government in 1993 based

on the criterion of “commonality”, i.e.,

inclusion in the first-phase Central List

(CL) only of those castes present both

in the State List (SL) and the Mandal

List (ML) for that State. In this firstphase

CL, only “Ghanchi (Muslim)”

was included and not “Teli,

Modh Ghanchi” because

the latter, though in the

ML, was not in the SL. The

Gujarat State BC List at

that time, based on the

Bakshi Commission’s recommendations,

contained

only “Ghanchi (Muslims)”.

The criterion of “commonality”

was suggested by me

in 1990 when I was

Secretary, Ministry of

Welfare, in which capacity

I processed the long-pending

recommendations of

the Mandal Commission

and prepared the Note,

which was the basis for the

then Government’s decision

to provide 27% reservation

for the SEdBCs. My

suggestion of the principle

of “commonality” was

agreed to by the then

Minister and Prime

Minister and was followed

by the succeeding

Government also.

Later, Shri N. S. Chaudhari, General

Secretary, Gujarat State Tailik Sahu

Mahasabha, made Request to the

National Commission for Backward

Classes (NCBC) for inclusion in the

CL of “Teli” and its 16 sub-castes/synonyms,

among them “Modh Ghanchi

Teli” and “Ghanchi Teli”. A 2-Member

Bench of the NCBC held a Public

Hearing on 28. 8. 1997 at Ahmedabad

to examine this Request, in accordance

with the transparent procedure evolved

at the outset by the NCBC. By then,

“Teli, Modh Ghanchi” had been included

in the SL. The Bench found “Teli,

Modh Ghanchi” to be socially and educationally

backward with the traditional

occupation of “Tel Ghani” or oilextraction

by traditional crushing

device, and to be inadequately represented

in services. Those present –

who were from different sections of

society and State Government representatives

– not only did not oppose,

but supported the inclusion of “Teli,

Modh Ghanchi” in the CL. The Full 5-

Member Commission of which I was

Member-Secretary, and the Chairman

was a retired and reputed High Court

judge, considered the Bench Findings

and tendered Advice to the Central

Government, communicated by my

DO letter Advice No. Gujarat 4-5/97

dated 15.11.1997, to include “Teli,

Modh Ghanchi” as synonyms of

Central List entry No. “23. Ghanchi

(Muslim)”. Accordingly, the Central

Government, in 1999, notified inclusion

of “Teli, Modh Ghanchi” in the

CL of BCs.

“Modh” is the prefix added to their

caste name by castes who are followers

of Modheshwari Devi, a popular

Gujarat deity. Modh is not a caste or

caste name, but denotes a religious sect

across different castes.

When the Kaka Kalelkar

Commission included this community

in the BC list, Shri Narendra Modi was

P. S. Krishnan

a child of about 5 years. When the

Mandal Commission included it with

the name “Modh Ghanchi”, Shri Modi

must have been about 30 years old and

could not have been in a position to

“influence” the Mandal Commission.

The subsequent stages of NCBC’s

Examination and Advice and Central

Government’s inclusion of “Modh

Ghanchi” in the CL of SEdBCs all

occurred before he became the Chief

Minister. I am also in a position to

make it clear from my personal experience

of the period when I was

Member-Secretary of the NCBC from

its inception in 1993 till 2000, that the

NCBC formulated its statutory Advices

objectively on the basis of facts and the

primary criterion of “social backwardness”,

after a pre-advertised transparent

public enquiry in every case, without

allowing any Chief Minister’s,

Union Minister’s or Prime Minister’s

personal preference to intrude. Even

after I left the NCBC, in 2013-14 when

the leaders of the then Union

Government wanted to include a certain

community in the CL for a number

of States where it is not socially backward,

for extraneous reasons, apparently

with an eye on the impending Lok

Sabha elections of 2014, the NCBC

under the Chairmanship of another

retired High Court judge, gave its

detailed Findings and Advice against

the inclusion of that community in the

CL of SEdBCs. The Government overruled

it and issued orders in March

2014 including that community in the

CL for a number of States.

Organizations of genuine SEdBCs

challenged the Government’s order in

the Supreme Court, and the

Supreme Court struck

down the Government’s

order in 2015.

Thus, there is no reason

for questioning the inclusion

of “Modh Ghanchi” in

the list of SEdBCs or suspecting

manipulation or

questioning Shri Modi’s

BC credentials.

While controverting the

allegation of manipulation,

Shri Modi has claimed that

he belongs to a Most

Backward Class. In support

of this he has said that

members of his caste are

very few in numbers in

each village. The population

of a caste is not a criterion

to decide whether it

is More Backward or Most

Backward or Extremely

Backward. This is a matter

of categorization of

SEdBCs, with sub-quotas,

in order to ensure that there

is no unequal competition between

backward castes at different levels of

backwardness. This task has not been

completed at the Centre and in most of

the States of the North, including

Gujarat, and East, while it has been

existing since long in the Peninsular

States. The Rohini Commission which

was appointed by the Government of

India in 2018 for categorisation of

SEdBCs has not completed its task and

the latest extended date for its Report is

31st May 2019.. At this stage, it will

not be possible to say whether the

Ghanchi or Teli community will be categorized

as Backward, or More

Backward or Most Backward, in the

CL for Gujarat or in the SL of Gujarat.

It is a happy situation that in

Gujarat, this community has both

Hindu and Muslim wings. One hopes

this is a harbinger of future harmony

based on justice, resolving of their

common socio-economic deprivations

covering both wings of the community

as well as all other SEdBCs and SCs

and STs of all religions, helping them

to reach Constitutionally mandated

Equality through Constitutionally mandated

comprehensive Social Justice

measures, including, but not only,

Reservation.

I have set out the above facts, with

my good wishes to all Parties, and the

same Social Justice expectation from

all of them, only so that this pointless

dispute about one leader’s BC caste

credentials does not continue. In 2014,

when the election results was still

awaited, I pointed out that, what is

important was whether the post-election

Government and Prime Minister

would take comprehensive Social

Justice measures for SCs, STs and

SEdBCs including SEdBCs of minorities

to achieve the above goal of

Equality. I had already given my Road-

Map of comprehensive Social Justice

measures required for SCs, STs and

SEdBCs to S/Shri Modi, Rahul

Gandhi, and other leaders of their

Parties as well as a number of other

Parties. The alibi of ignorance was not

available. In January-February 2019, I

have sent to all of them the same Road-

Map, updated on the basis of subsequent

developments, for inclusion in

their respective Party Manifestos and

implementation after the elections of

2019. Now too, the alibi of ignorance

is not available.

In early 2014, before he was nominated

as the BJP’s PM candidate, Shri

Modi had declared on 9.2.2014 that the

coming decade will be the decade of

Dalits, Adivasis and Picchade Varg

(SEdBCs). He had also said that in the

six decades after Independence, the

SCs, STs and SEdBCs had not got their

due and it was for him to fulfil the task.

Similarly, Dr Manmohan Singh, as

Prime Minister, in his Address to the

51st meeting of the National

Development Council (NDC) on

27.7.2005 laid down the task that the

gap between the SCs and STs and others

should removed within 10 years.

Shri Modi had, in his speeches of 2014,

outlined what he would do for weavers

(who are Muslim SEdBC in Varanasi

and most of North India, Hindu SEdBC

in Peninsula, SCs in the West and

North-West, Hindu and Muslim

SEdBCs in the East and STs in the

Northeast) and fisher-folk (Hindu,

Christian and Muslim SEdBCs in

Peninsula and SCs in the East and

North East). Similar economic measures

have to be actually taken for each

and every SEdBC caste and for SCs

and STs, apart from educational and

other measures.

The question now is how far these

tasks well-enunciated by the two leaders,

who were successive Prime

Ministers, have been fulfilled and what

they and their Parties and Government

will do to complete the long-overdue

and long-neglected unfinished tasks if

they come to power at the Centre after

the elections of 2019 and in the States

where they are in/will come to power.

The same question arises in respect of

other Parties also. This was the real

post-May 2014 challenge. I had suggested

to Parties and leaders of the ruling

Coalition and of the Oppositon to

take interest in and focus on that challenge.

That continues to be the real post-

May 2019 challenge for the future for

all Parties and leaders of ruling

Coalition as well as the Opposition in

the Centre as well as each State. The

Road-Map which I have communicated

to them in updated form early in 2019

will of help to them in doing their duty

for SCs, STs and SEdBCs, comprehensively

and holistically without losing

sight of crucial issues. My Road-Map

is in the public domain. Copy can be

furnished to anyone who is interested.


10 May 2019

ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

More code complaints against Modi

than any other PM: Congress

New Delhi : Congress has

filed 10 complaints against

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

with the Election Commission

for alleged violation of Model

Code of Conduct (MCC) and the

party says it is the highest number

of complaints faced by any

Prime Minister in a Lok Sabha

election. The Election

Commission has given a decision

on six of these complaints

so far, giving a clean chit to the

Prime Minister in all the cases.

Sources said in two of these

cases the decision was not unanimous

with one of the two election

commissioners registering

his verbal dissent with the matter

having been decided according

to the opinion of the majority.

The complaints, which cover

a period from March 20 to April

30, relate to several speeches of

Amaravati : Andhra Pradesh Chief

Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on

Monday demanded that the Election

Commission take action against Prime

Minister Narendra Modi for his claim that

40 lawmakers of West Bengal's ruling

Trinamool Congress were in touch with

him. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP)

chief alleged that Modi's remarks made

during campaigning in West Bengal

SIDHU criticises

MODI for running

away from promises

Narsinghpur (MP) : Punjab

minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on

Monday launched into a tirade

against Prime

Minister Narendra

Modi saying if he

became the Prime

Minister again then

India would be

destroyed.

"There is no

employment, youth

and farmers have

lost the ground and

if Modi becomes the Prime

Minister again then 'Hindustan'

will be destroyed," said the

cricketer-turned-politician while

addressing a poll gathering in the

Hoshangabad parliamentary

amount to horse-trading and demanded

the poll body to take action against him.

"Betraying the spirit of democracy,

belittling the office of a Prime Minister,

and touching the height of absurdity, the

PM of India stooped so low and claimed

that 40 Trinamul Congress MLAs are in

touch with him," Naidu said in a series of

tweets. "This is nothing but horse trading,

that too, when the election process is on

constituency.

"There are three Modis in the

country. Out of them Nirav Modi

and Lalit Modi have

absconded, and the

third Modi is running

away from his promises,"

he said.

Praising the

NYAY scheme of the

Congress, Sidhu said:

"Poor families will

get Rs 72,000 per

annum under the

scheme, while the BJP policies

have worsened their condition."

Hoshangabad will go to the

polls on May 6 in the fifth phase

of the seven-phased Lok Sabha

election.

Andhra CM urges EC to act against Modi over Bengal claims

EC gets notice on plea challenging

jail term for questioning EVMs

New Delhi : Congress

New Delhi : The Supreme

Court on Monday issued a notice

to the Election Commission on a

plea challenging the legal provision

mandating six months jail

for questioning Electronic

Voting Machines (EVMs).

On a petition filed by

Sunil Ahya, an SC bench

headed by Chief Justice

Ranjan Gogoi heard the

arguments and issued the

notice to the Election

Commission.

According to Section

49 MA of the Code of

Election Rules, if a person

files a complaint regarding

discrepancy in the

EVM, and if after investigation

it is found to be false or

incorrect, then the complainant

can be prosecuted under Section

177 of the Indian Penal Code for

"furnishing false information".

This section invites "six months

in jail or a fine of Rs 1,000 or

both". Ahya contended that such

Modi including those in

Maharshtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan

and Uttar Pradesh. There is also

a complaint about "illegal" roadshow

in Gujarat on April 23.

On Saturday the poll panel

gave Modi clean chit on compliant

concerning his election

speech at Patan in Gujarat on

April 21. Congress spokesperson

Shobha Oza said Modi has

made history in terms of complaints

filed against him with the

a provision in election rules will

act as a deterrent for voters experiencing

faults in the EVMs from

lodging a formal complaint.

Claiming that the provision

was not fair and that it will discourage

voters with genuine

complaints from coming forward,

the petitioner said, "This

infringes upon a citizen's right to

freedom of expression, which is

a fundamental right guaranteed

under Article 19(1)(a) of the

Constitution of India," said the

petition. "Deviant behaviour of

Election commission and no

other prime minister from the

time of Jawaharlal Nehru has

"violated" the election norms in

this manner. "No other prime

minister has shown this disregard

to constitutional authorities

whether it is CBI, RBI or

Election Commission. That

shows his mindset. A Prime

Minister should lead by example,

should be a role model.

Varun K, Chopra, an advocate

representing the party before the

commission, said the poll panel

has taken decision in some cases.

"For the remaining indecision is

also a decision. Being watchdog

of free and fair elections in the

country, ECI should prudently

exercise parity and level-playing

field," he said. He said only

about 180 of 543 Lok Sabha

seats are left to vote.

the electronic machine should

not go against the electorate and

lodging a complaint is an essential

ingredient in a continuous

exercise for improving the electoral

process," Ahya said. The

petitioner also included some

suggestions to

improve the overall

electoral exercise.

He said, "One of the

possible ways to

address the issue of

reporting the aforesaid

discrepancy in

the future would be

to keep the ballot

unit lamp against

the blue button of

EVM glowing and

at the same time, to let the

VVPAT printed slip remain

hanging in the transparent window

without it being automatically

cut after 7 seconds, unless

and until the voter is completely

satisfied and comes out of the

polling booth."

President Rahul Gandhi on

Monday asked the Supreme

Court to dismiss the contempt

petition filed against him by the

BJP, terming it a political move

and also an attempt to gag him in

a political discourse

during

ongoing elections.

Gandhi, in his

affidavit, contended

that the contents

of the explanation

submitted

to the court on

April 22 were

comprehensive

and may be read as a part and

parcel of the present reply.

Although both explanations submitted

in court are similar in

nature, the affidavits do express

regret but don't offer an apology.

Gandhi urged that Meenakshi

Lekhi, by filing the contempt

petition, was trying to drag the

court into a political controversy

and taking political mileage. He

and the model code of conduct is in force.

The Election Commission of India shall

immediately and suo-motu take cognizance

of these shameful remarks by the

Prime Minister and initiate action against

him."

"These comments vindicate our stand

that, after destroying all the Institutions,

the Prime Minister is now trying to

destroy democracy itself," Naidu added.

Rahul doesn't apologize for

Rafale remarks linking SC

said that Lekhi should pay for

abusing the judicial process by

filing this contempt petition.

The Congress President had

filed a similar affidavit in the

court to explain his reaction on

the April 10 court order on the

use of leaked

Defence Ministry

documents for the

Rafale review petition.

Gandhi had said

that the court said

"Chowkidar chor

hai", repeating a slogan

that he and his

party have used to

target Prime Minister Narendra

Modi. He justified the slogan as

his party's stand on the defence

deal. Gandhi expressed regret

for ascribing the comments to

the court and said this happened

in the "heat of campaigning".

Gandhi in his affidavit told

the court that his remarks were

not meant to scandalise the court

in any manner.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

IMF delegation arrives

in Pakistan for talks

Islamabad : A delegation of the

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

arrived in Pakistan on Monday to

continue discussions for a relief

package for the cash-strapped country.

According to adviser and

spokesman for the Ministry of

Finance, Dr Khaqan Najeeb, the IMF

team will meet officials of the

Ministry, the Federal Board of

Revenue and

the State Bank

during its visit

to Pakistan.

The two

sides will discuss

the possibility

of a $7

to $8 billion

loan for the

country, Geo

News reported.

"Extensive

preparation

for data and

macroeconomic

framework finalization and

structural reforms are ongoing,"

Najeeb had said last week.

He said that the Ministry of

Finance had held in-depth discussions

with all key stakeholders,

including the State Bank of Pakistan,

Power and Gas Division,

Privatization Commission, Federal

Board of Revenue and Benazir

Income Support Programme.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had

met IMF Director Christine Lagarde

on Friday on the sidelines of the second

Belt and Road Forum in China.

During the meeting, the two sides

had agreed on the importance of the

IMF programme for the country and

reviewed the relationship between

Pakistan and the global lender.

Khan had identified areas of

reforms and initiatives being undertaken

by his

government to

stabilize the

economy, control

inflation

and achieve

fiscal balance.

The two parties

had also

agreed on the

need for a

social safety

net for vulnerable

groups of

the society.

After the

meeting, the

IMF Director had said that she was

glad to meet the Pakistani Premier in

a meeting where a comprehensive

policy package was discussed to alleviate

the country's economy.

"We discussed prospects for a

comprehensive policy package and

international financial support to help

stabilize the economy of Pakistan,

and also the need to strengthen governance

and protect the poor," she

said in a social media post.

PAKISTAN ARMY WARNS

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement

Rawalpindi : The Pakistani

Army on Monday said that it

wanted to make every effort to

resolve the issues faced

by the Pashtuns in tribal

areas, but warned that the

"manner" adopted by the

Pashtun Tahafuz

Movement (PTM) to

voice such grievances

would no longer be tolerated.

Addressing a press

conference at the General

Headquarters, Asif

Ghafoor, the Director

General of Pakistan Army's

media wing Inter-Services

Public Relations (ISPR), said:

"We want to do everything for

the people (of tribal areas), but

those who are playing in the

hands of people, their time is up.

Their time is up." "The instructions

of the Army chief will be

fully followed. People will not

face any sort of problem and neither

will any unlawful path be

adopted," Ghafoor said, suggesting

possible action against the

PTM, according to Dawn online.

ASIA

Sirisena names

new police chief

Colombo : Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena

on Monday named a new police chief and appointed a new

advisor to the Defence Ministry. Senior Deputy Inspector

General C.D. Wickremeratne, the second-in-command in

the police force, has been appointed the acting Inspector

General and former Inspector General N.K. Illangakoon

has been appointed an advisor to the Defence Ministry, the

President's office said.

Sirisena last week blamed intelligence failures for the

April 21 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 people

and promised a major shake-up in the country's security

apparatus, Efe news reported. He had sought resignations

from Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP

Pujith Jayasundara amid growing public outrage over the

government's apparent failure to act on intelligence reports

indicating that Islamist groups were planning to target

churches in the island nation. The Defence Secretary

resigned on April 25, saying he had systematically "disseminated

the intelligence information received about the

attacks on the competent officials and departments" and

that he had complied with his duties. Meanwhile,

Jayasundara has been sent on compulsory leave, the Daily

Mirror quoted sources as saying. The Defence Secretary

occupies the third position in the chain of command of

office after the country's President, who also holds the post

of Defence Minister.

Last week, Sirisena said that there were as many as 140

Islamic State suspects in the country and 70 of them had

already been apprehended.

"Everything will be done lawfully."

The spokesperson said

that the Army refrained from

taking action against

the PTM's "controversial"

slogans because

of its consideration for

common Pashtuns who

are being provoked.

The PTM is a rightsbased

alliance that,

besides calling for the

de-mining of the former

tribal areas and

greater freedom of

movement in the latter,

has insisted on an end to the

practices of extrajudicial

killings, enforced disappearances

and unlawful detentions,

and for their practitioners to be

held to account.

Pakistan 'frees 55 Indian fishermen, 5 civilians'

Islamabad :

Pakistan has released

55 Indian fishermen

and five civilians as a

"goodwill gesture", the

media reported on

Monday.

According to the

Express Tribune, the

Indian fishermen and

civilians were released

from Karachi's Malir

jail on Sunday.

Fifty five of the

men were arrested for

illegal fishing in

Pakistan's territorial

waters, while the other

five were detained for

crossing the border

illegally.

All of them were

taken to Lahore in a

train where they are

expected to be handed

over to the Indian

authorities at Wagah

border.

May 2019

11

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12 May 2019

BUSINESS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Jet staff confident of securing Rs

3,000 cr fund, seek SBI nod to bid

New Delhi : Sensing the options to

revive the grounded Jet Airways are

fast running out, a group of airline

employees has written to SBI seeking

permission to allow a consortium of

employees and external investors to

bid for the management control of the

company. The employee representatives

have said they will secure an

investment of up to Rs 3,000 crore

from "outside investors." The associations

that have sent the proposal are

Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots

(SWIP) and Jet Aircraft Maintenance

Engineers's Welfare Association

(JAMEWA). The associations have

promised that employees would contribute

towards revival of the airline

from their future earnings and

increased productivity. "As per our

initial estimate. the contribution of

employee group over a hypothetical 5-

year Employee Stock Ownership

Programme (ESOP) is likely to

upward of Rs 4,000 crore," a joint letter

to SBI Chairman stated.

They said that the decision has been

taken through extensive discussion

with various employee groups across

the company, and also with colleagues

who have in the past successfully held

senior management positions.

"We recognize that legacy issues of

high operating costs, overstaffing,

unfavourable vendor/lease agreements

and adverse debt/equity ratio etc are

involved," the proposal letter said.

The associations have also urged

the lenders to ensure the process of deregistration

of aircraft and re-allocation

of airport slots be immediately

reversed. "...if not reversed quickly,

(it) would spell doom for any future

prospects of reviving the company,"

the associations warned.

Lenders of Jet Airways led by SBI

are currently in the process of selling

the airline to recover their dues of over

Rs 8,400 crore. Private equity firm

TPG Capital, Indigo Partners,

National Investment and

Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Etihad

Airways are in the race to buy a stake

in the grounded Jet Airways.

CHINA'S yuan

edges higher

against US dollar

Beijing : The central parity

rate of the Chinese currency

renminbi, or the yuan,

strengthened 24 basis points

to 6.7286 against the US dollar

on Tuesday, according to

the China Foreign Exchange

Trade System.

In China's spot foreign

exchange market, the yuan is

allowed to rise or fall by 2

percent from the central parity

rate each trading day,

Xinhua reported.

The central parity rate of

the yuan against the US dollar

is based on a weighted

average of prices offered by

market makers before the

opening of the interbank market

each business day.

Heat wave, deficit rain affect normal life in NE

Agartala/Guwahati : The

normal life in the northeastern

region has been affected due to

heat wave in several areas and

deficit pre-monsoon rains, officials

said on Monday.

According to the India

Meteorological Department

(IMD), the maximum temperature

in several N-E states, especially

Assam, Mizoram and

Tripura, since the past one

week is hovering between 35

degrees Celsius and 38 degrees

Celsius -- two-five degrees

above the normal for this time

of the season.

The IMD, since March 1,

also recorded 36 mm deficit

pre-monsoon (March to May)

rainfall in the seven N-E states,

excluding Sikkim. The

Arunachal Pradesh meteorological

sub-division recorded

highest 47 mm deficient premonsoon

rainfall, followed by

Assam and Meghalaya subdivision

with 33 mm and

Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-

US stocks close higher; Alphabet falls

New York : US

stocks closed higher as

Wall Street braced for a

busy week, featuring a

new wave of corporate

results. The Dow Jones

Industrial Average was

up 11.06 points, or 0.04

percent, to 26,554.39 on

Monday. The S&P 500

rose 3.15 points, or 0.11

percent, to 2,943.03.

The Nasdaq Composite

Index increased 15.46

points, or 0.19 percent, to

8,161.85, Xinhua reported. Of

the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors,

financials and communications

outperformed while real

estate and utilities underperformed.

About 150 S&P 500

companies are scheduled to

report their quarterly results this

week, including US tech giants

Tripura sub-division 28 mm.

Sikkim and adjoining areas

have recorded 152 mm premonsoon

rainfall since March

1. IMD Director Dilip Saha

said in view of deep depressions

over the Indian Ocean

and adjoining Bay of Bengal,

and subsequent cyclone 'Fani',

the heat wave had continued in

the mountainous northeastern

region. "After the end of the

cyclone's affect, the wind pattern

is likely to change and the

Apple and Qualcomm. Googleparent

Alphabet reported earnings

results after Monday’s

close. The stock fell more than

6 percent in afterhours trading

shortly after the company delivered

disappointing quarterly

revenue. Of the S&P 500 companies

that have reported quarterly

results so far, about 77.5

heat wave is expected to subside.

We expect the situation to

normalise within two-three

days," Saha told IANS.

According to the IMD official,

cyclone 'Fani' has been

gaining strength in the southeast

Bay of Bengal and is likely

to intensify into a very

severe cyclonic storm on

Tuesday. Agricultural officials

in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura

said various summer crops

would be affected due to the

percent have

topped analyst

expectations,

according to data

from FactSet.

On the economic

front, U.S. personal

income rose

0.1 percent in

March, following

a 0.2-percent

increase in

February, according

to estimates

released Monday by the Bureau

of Economic Analysis. The personal

consumption expenditures

increased 0.9 percent in

March, said the report.

Economists surveyed by

MarketWatch had been expecting

a 0.8-percent gain in consumer

spending and a 0.4-percent

gain in income.

deficit pre-monsoon rainfall.

"If the rain does not occur in

the next few days, the damage

to the summer crops would be

much larger," agricultural

expert Samar Mitra told IANS.

The deficit in rainfall also

resulted in water scarcity,

including supply of drinking

water. Tripura Drinking Water

and Sanitation Department

Chief Engineer Baishapayan

Chakraborty said the department

had been providing drinking

water through tankers in the

scarcity-prone areas as well as

remote, isolated hamlets and

tribal areas.

"We are setting up deep tube

wells in the areas where the

level of ground water has gone

down, mostly in the hilly

areas," Chakraborty told IANS.

The Health Departments in

the region have been alerted

and suggested to take precautionary

measures besides

organising special health camps

to tackle the seasonal diseases.

TDB mulls fresh

AFFIDAVIT in

Sabarimala bond row

Thiruvananthapuram, The Travancore Devasom Board

(TDB) may file a new affidavit following a fresh controversy

that erupted over the manner in which they justified the parking

of funds in bonds of Dhanlaxmi Bank.

The TDB in the affidavit claimed that Lord Ayyappa had foreseen

calamities (floods and women’s entry) and this paved the

way for some kind of compensation by way of these bonds.

The TDB is the custodian of the Sabarimala temple. TDB

president A. Padmakumar, a former CPI-M legislator, on Sunday

said, “We are now considering a fresh affidavit after pulling out

the first one. There was no reason for giving such a reason in the

first affidavit.”

Trouble has been brewing ever since the Kerala Audit

Department revealed that the TDB purchased Rs 150 crore

bonds of the Thrissur-headquartered Dhanlaxmi Bank using the

Devaswom Employees Provident Fund and the Temple

Employees Provident Fund without even conducting a risk

analysis.

After the audit revealed that the lapses were serious as the rating

of this bond was poor and one could have earned higher

interest by parking the funds in the government treasury, to cool

things the TDB has decided to file a fresh affidavit.

Since the apex court allowed entry of menstruating women to

the temple, this temple town has seen upheavals with the Sangh

parivar forces up in arms trying to stop the police while they

took two menstruating women to pray at the temple.

The temple town for almost two months has been silent in

view of the elections. But it remains to be seen, what would happen

when the temple again opens next month.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

May 2019

13

Suffering from high BP?

Don’t take work stress lightly

London : If you are finding it hard

to deal with the pressure at the workplace,

there is more reason to worry.

New research has found that work

stress and impaired sleep are linked to

a threefold higher risk of cardiovascular

death in employees with hypertension.

“Sleep should be a time for recreation,

unwinding, and restoring energy

levels. If you have stress at work,

sleep helps you recover,” said study

author Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Professor

at Technical University of Munich,

Germany. “Unfortunately poor sleep

and job stress often go hand in hand,

and when combined with hypertension

the effect is even more toxic,”

Ladwig said.

The study included around 2,000

hypertensive workers aged 25-65,

without cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Compared to those with no work

stress and good sleep, people with both

risk factors had a three times greater

likelihood of death from cardiovascular

disease, showed the findings published

in the European Journal of Preventive

Cardiology. People with work stress

alone had a 1.6-fold higher risk while

those with only poor sleep had a 1.8-

times higher risk, the study said.

In the study, work stress was defined

as jobs with high demand and low control—for

example when an employer

wants results but denies authority to

make decisions.

“If you have high demands but also

high control, in other words you can

make decisions, this may even be positive

for health,” said Ladwig.

“But being entrapped in a pressured

situation that you have no power to

change is harmful,” Ladwig added.

Body can adapt to occasional

short-term overeating

Why your wife won't admit

she snores as loud as you

New York : Overeating has been found to impair blood sugar

(glucose) control and insulin levels but a new study suggests that

the duration of a bout of overeating can affect how the body adapts

to glucose and insulin processing when calorie intake increases.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes have increased significantly worldwide

within the past 30 years.

Lifestyle factors such as overindulging in high-calorie foods

play a large role in the development of these two serious health

conditions. For the study, researchers from Deakin University in

Australia studied a small group of healthy and lean men with an

average age of 22. Volunteers participated in a short-term trial consisting

of five days -- indicative of humans overeating during festivals

and holidays -- and a long-term model of chronic overeating

lasting 28 days. The "overfeeding" portion of the diet included

high-calorie snacks such as chocolate, meal replacement drinks

and potato chips to add approximately 1,000 more calories to the

men's normal food consumption each day.

Published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology

and Metabolism, the study suggests that "early adaptations in

response to carbohydrate over-feeding are directed at increasing

glucose disposal in order to maintain whole-body insulin sensitivity".

"Long-term overindulgence in fatty foods, instead of more

nutritionally balanced foods, may be an important factor that causes

rapid changes in blood sugar control," the study added.

New York : Women are more likely to

under-report their snoring problem as compared

to men, says a new study.

In the study, published in Journal of

Clinical Sleep Medicine, the researchers

observed that women snored as loudly as

men. However, "social stigma" prevented

them from reporting about the problem,

which contributed to the under-diagnosis or

misdiagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea, a

serious sleep disorder.

"We found that although no difference

in snoring intensity was found between

genders, women tend to under-report the

fact that they snore and to underestimate

the loudness of their snoring," said Nimrod

Maimon, Professor at Soroka University

Medical Center in Israel.

"Women reported snoring less often and

described it as milder," Maimon added.

For the study, the researchers included

1,913 participants for sleep evaluation.

The study's findings revealed that objectively

measured snoring was found in 88%

of the women (591 of 675), but only 72%

reported that they snore (496 of 675).

Whereas in men, objective snoring (92.6%)

and self-reported snoring (93.1%) were

similar. The study also found that women

snored as loudly as men, with a snoring

intensity of 50 decibels and 51.7 decibels

among men. About 49% of the women had

severe or very severe snoring (329 of 675),

but only 40% of the women rated their

snoring as severe (269 of 675).

"The fact that women reported snoring

less often and described it as milder may be

one of the barriers preventing women from

reaching sleep clinics for a sleep study,"

Maimon said.

Women suffering from sleep apnoea are

more likely to report symptoms including

daytime fatigue, the researchers said.

Familial breast cancer may be preventable by medication

Vienna : Breast cancer passed down

in families may be preventable by the

medication Denosumab, which is

undergoing a five-year study in Austria.

The Austrian Breast and Colorectal

Cancer Study Group is leading the work

as it examines the drug's effectiveness

on 2,950 patients with a hereditary disposition

to this particular form of cancer,

according to an Austria Press

Agency report. Speaking at a press conference

on Thursday, Professor

Christian Singer from the Vienna

General Hospital said the study will also

examine the effects of Denosumab on

healthy women who have a mutation in

the BRCA1 gene, reports Xinhua news

agency.

These women have a 1.8 per cent

chance of developing breast cancer each

year, or about an 80 per cent chance during

their lifetime. In addition, they have

a 50 per cent chance of developing

ovarian cancer. Up to now the only preventative

measure against both cancers

has been surgical removal of the affected

breast tissue or the ovaries.

The participants in the drug trial will

receive either a Denosumab injection or

a placebo every six months, Singer said.

Denosumab is known as a monoclonal

antibody and has been used in particular

to treat osteoporosis, due to its

capacity to prevent the development of

cells that break down bone.

Earlier Austrian studies have given

strong indications that Denosumab may

be effective against breast cancer,

experts said.


14 May 2019

HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Drugs show promise in stroke, dementia prevention

London : Two drugs, in use for treating

heart disease and angina, have

shown promise in an early trial in preventing

stroke and dementia caused by

damage to small blood vessels in the

brain.

The drugs — cilostazol and isosorbide

mononitrate — were tested in a

group of patients in Britain. The results

published in the journal

EclinicalMedicine showed that patients

tolerated the drugs, with no serious sideeffects,

even when they were given in

full doses or in combination with other

medicines.

“The results of this trial show promise

for treating a common cause of

stroke and the most common cause of

vascular dementia, since currently there

Cyclone Fani

likely to turn

‘very severe’

Visakhapatnam : Cyclone Fani,

currently over the southeast Bay of

Bengal and the adjoining East

Equatorial Indian Ocean, is likely to

intensify into a “very severe cyclonic

storm” on Monday, the Indian

Meteorological Department (IMD)

said on Sunday.

Fani is centred about 750 km eastsoutheast

of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka),

1,080 km southeast of Chennai and

1,260 km south-southeast of

Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

“It is very likely to intensify into a

‘Severe Cyclonic Storm’ during the

next 12 hours and into a ‘Very Severe

Cyclonic Storm’ during the subsequent

24 hours. It is very likely to move

north-westwards till April 30 and

thereafter recurve north-eastwards

gradually,” the IMD said in a bulletin.

The Met officials said the cyclone

may come 200 to 300 km close to the

Andhra coast before changing its

course to head towards the coasts of

Odisha and Bangladesh.

Under the impact of the cyclone,

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are

likely to receive heavy rains on April

30 and May 1.

The Met office has forecast thunderstorm

with heavy rain and gusty

winds with the speed of 40-50 kmph at

isolated places in all coastal Andhra

districts.

Authorities has issued warnings at

the Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam,

Krishnapatnam and Nizampatnam

ports.

are no effective treatments. Further trials

are underway,” said lead researcher

Joanna Wardlaw, Professor at

University of Edinburgh in Britain.

Damage to small blood vessels in

brain is responsible for around a quarter

of strokes. It is also a common cause of

memory problems and dementia. At

present, the only way to reduce risk of

the disease is by controlling blood pressure

and cholesterol, stopping smoking

and managing symptoms of diabetes.

For the study, researchers recruited

57 patients who had experienced stroke

caused by damaged small blood vessels,

known as a lacunar stroke. They took

the two medicines either individually or

in combination for up to nine weeks, in

addition to usual treatments aimed at

MELBOURNE : Indulging in high-calorie

‘comfort’ foods when you are stressed can lead to

more weight gain than usual, scientists say.

Researchers from the Garvan Institute of

Medical Research in Australia discovered a molecular

pathway in the brain, controlled by insulin,

which drives the additional weight gain.

Using an animal model, the team showed that a

high-calorie diet when combined with stress resulted

in more weight gain than the same diet caused in

a stress-free environment. “This study indicates

that we have to be much more conscious about

what we’re eating when we’re stressed, to avoid a

faster development of obesity,” said Herbert

Herzog, who led the study.

Some individuals eat less when they’re stressed,

but most will increase their food intake—and crucially,

the intake of calorie-dense food high in sugar

and fat. To understand what controls this ‘stress

eating’, the team investigated different areas of the

brain in mice. While food intake is mainly controlled

by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus,

another part of the brain—the amygdala—processes

emotional responses, including anxiety. “Our study

showed that when stressed over an extended period

and high calorie food was available, mice became

obese more quickly than those that consumed the

same high fat food in a stress-free environment,” said

Kenny Chi Kin Ip, lead author of the study published

in the journal Cell Metabolism.

At the centre of this weight gain, the scientists discovered,

was a molecule called NPY, which the brain

preventing further strokes.

They completed health questionnaires

and had regular blood pressure

checks, blood tests and brain scans. The

findings suggest the drugs are safe for

use in stroke patients, taken alone or in

combination, at least in the short term.

There were also signs that the treatment

helped improve blood vessel function

in the arms and brain, and may

improve thinking skills, but researchers

stressed further studies to test this.

Experts believe the findings pave the

way for larger studies to check if the

treatment can prevent brain damage and

reduce risk of stroke and vascular

dementia. A larger study, called LACI-

2, is underway, said a statement from

University of Edinburgh.

Comfort food leads to more

weight gain during stress

Sydney, Eating too much high-calorie food is

anyway bad for health but under stress, sugary

and high-fat diet can lead to more weight gain

than in normal situations, says a study.

During an experiment on mice, the team discovered

that a high-calorie diet when combined

with stress resulted in more weight gain than the

same diet caused in a stress-free environment.

“This study indicates that we have to be much

more conscious about what we’re eating when

we’re stressed, to avoid a faster development of

obesity,” said Professor Herbert Herzog said,

Head of the Eating Disorders laboratory at the

Garvan Institute of Medical Research in New

South Wales (NSW). According to the findings

published in the journal-Cell Metabolism, some

individuals eat less when they are stressed but

most will increase their food intake — and crucially,

produces naturally in response to stress to stimulate

eating in humans as well as mice. “We discovered that

when we switched off the production of NPY in the

amygdala weight gain was reduced. Without NPY, the

weight gain on a high-fat diet with stress was the same

as weight gain in the stress-free environment,” said Ip.

“This shows a clear link between stress, obesity

and NPY,” he said. To understand what might control

the NPY boost under stress, the scientists analysed the

nerve cells that produced NPY in the amygdala and

found they had receptors, or ‘docking stations’, for

the intake of calorie-dense food high in sugar and fat.

insulin—one of the hormones

which control our food intake.

Under normal conditions, the body

produces insulin just after a meal,

which helps cells absorb glucose

from the blood and sends a ‘stop

eating’ signal to the hypothalamus

feeding centre of the brain.

In the study, the scientists discovered

that chronic stress alone

raised the blood insulin levels only

slightly, but in combination with a

high-calorie diet, the insulin levels

were 10 times higher than mice that

were stress-free and received a normal

diet.

The study showed that these prolonged,

high levels of insulin in the

amygdala caused the nerve cells to

become desensitised to insulin,

which stopped them from detecting

insulin altogether. In turn, these desensitised nerve

cells boosted their NPY levels, which both promoted

eating and reduced the bodies’ normal response to

burn energy through heat, the study showed.

“Our findings revealed a vicious cycle, where

chronic, high insulin levels driven by stress and a

high-calorie diet promoted more and more eating,”

said Herzog. “This really reinforced the idea that

while it’s bad to eat junk food, eating high-calorie

foods under stress is a double whammy that drives

obesity,” he added.

Eating comfort food in stress will add extra kilos

To understand what controls this ‘stress eating’,

the researchers investigated different areas of the

brain in mice. While food intake is mainly controlled

by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, another

part of the brain — the amygdala — processes

emotional responses, including anxiety.

The scientists discovered that chronic stress alone

raised the blood insulin levels only slightly but in

combination with a high-calorie diet, the insulin levels

were 10 times higher than mice that were stressfree

and received a normal diet.

“We were surprised that insulin had such a significant

impact on the amygdala,” said Professor

Herzog. “It’s becoming more and more clear that

insulin doesn’t only impact peripheral regions of the

body but that it regulates functions in the brain.

We’re hoping to explore these effects further in

future,” Herzog added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Smartphone game can help

detect Alzheimer's risk

London : A specially designed smartphone game can detect

people at the risk of developing Alzheimer's, say researchers.

The game

called Sea Hero

Quest, downloaded

and

played by over

4.3 million people

worldwide,

h e l p e d

researchers from

the University of

East Anglia

(UEA) better

understand

dementia by seeing

how the brain

works in relation

to spatial navigation.

The game has

been developed

by Deutsche

Telekom in partnership

with Alzheimer's Research UK, University College London

(UCL) and the University of East Anglia.

"Dementia will affect 135 million people worldwide by 2050.

We need to identify people to reduce their risk of developing

dementia," said Lead researcher Professor Michael Hornberger

from UEA's Norwich Medical School.

As players made their way through mazes of islands and icebergs,

the research team translated every 0.5 seconds of gameplay

into scientific data. The team studied how people who are

genetically pre-disposed to Alzheimer's play the game compared

with those who are not.

The results, published in the journal PNAS, showed people

genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer's can be distinguished

from those who are not on specific levels of the Sea

Hero Quest game. The findings are particularly important

because a standard memory and thinking test cannot distinguish

between the risk and non-risk groups. "Our findings show we

can reliably detect such subtle navigation changes in at-geneticrisk

of Alzheimer's compared with healthy people without any

symptoms or complaints," said Hornberger.

The team studied gaming data taken from 27,108 UK players,

aged 50-75 years and the most vulnerable age-group to develop

Alzheimer's in the next decade. They compared this benchmark

data with a smaller lab-based group of 60 people who underwent

genetic testing.

NEW YORK : A personal

encounter with the “ultimate reality”

or God—spontaneous or under the

influence of a psychedelic drug—can

bring positive changes in psychological

health even decades after the initial

experience, says an interesting study.

In a survey of thousands of people

who reported having experienced personal

encounters with God,

researchers from Johns Hopkins

University report that more than twothirds

of self-identified atheists shed

that label after their encounter, regardless

of whether it was spontaneous or

while taking a psychedelic.

The findings, described in a paper

in the journal PLOS ONE, add to evidence

that such deeply meaningful

experiences may have healing properties.

“Experiences that people describe

as encounters with God or a representative

of God have been reported for

thousands of years, and they likely

form the basis of many of the world’s

religions,” said lead researcher Roland

Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and

behavioural sciences at Johns

Hopkins’ School of Medicine.

“Although modern Western medicine

doesn’t typically consider ‘spiritual’

or ‘religious’ experiences as one

of the tools in the arsenal against sickness,

our findings suggest that these

encounters often lead to improvements

in mental health,” he argued.

People over the millennia have

HEALTH

London : If you are finding it

hard to deal with the pressure at

the workplace, there is more reason

to worry. New research has

found that work stress and

impaired sleep are linked to a

threefold higher risk of cardiovascular

death in employees with

hypertension.

"Sleep should be a time for

recreation, unwinding, and

restoring energy levels. If you

have stress at work, sleep helps

you recover," said study author

Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Professor at

Technical University of Munich,

Germany. "Unfortunately poor

sleep and job stress often go hand

in hand, and when combined

with hypertension the effect is even more

toxic," Ladwig said. The study included

around 2,000 hypertensive workers aged

25-65, without cardiovascular disease or

diabetes. Compared to those with no work

reported having deeply moving religious

experiences either spontaneously

or while under the influence of psychedelic

substances such as psilocybin-containing

mushrooms or the

stress and good sleep, people with both risk

factors had a three times greater likelihood

of death from cardiovascular disease,

showed the findings published in the

European Journal of Preventive

Amazonian brew ayahuasca.

The researchers say a majority of

respondents attributed lasting positive

changes in their psychological

health—life satisfaction, purpose and

May 2019

Encounter with ‘God’ may bring long-lasting health

15

Asthma-causing toxins

found in e-cigarettes

New York, Expecting

mothers, take note. As smoking

during pregnancy is linked with

negative health outcomes, a

team of researchers has found

that smoking cessation during

pregnancy may reduce the risk

of pre-term birth.

The findings, published in

the JAMA Network Open journal,

showed that the probability

of pre-term birth decreased

with earlier smoking cessation

in pregnancy — up to a 20 per

cent relative decrease if cessation

occurred at the beginning

of pregnancy.

“Of concern, though,

given the substantial benefits

of smoking cessation

during pregnancy is that the

proportion of pre-pregnancy

smokers who quit smoking

during pregnancy has

remained essentially stagnant

since 2011,” said lead

author Samir Soneji from The

Dartmouth Institute for Health

Policy and Clinical Practice in

the US. For the study, the

researchers conducted a crosssectional

study of more than 25

million pregnant women who

gave birth to live neonates during

a six-year period — measuring

their smoking frequency

Cardiology.

People with work

stress alone had a 1.6-

fold higher risk while

those with only poor

sleep had a 1.8-times

higher risk, the study

said.

In the study, work

stress was defined as

jobs with high demand

and low control -- for

example when an

employer wants results

but denies authority to

make decisions.

"If you have high

demands but also high

control, in other words

you can make decisions, this may even be

positive for health," said Ladwig. "But

being entrapped in a pressured situation

that you have no power to change is harmful,"

Ladwig added.

Quit smoking to lower risk of premature birth

three months prior to pregnancy

and for each trimester during

pregnancy. The negative health

impacts of cigarette smoking

during pregnancy, including

low birth weight, delayed

intrauterine development, preterm

birth, infant mortality, and

long-term developmental

delays, are well known.

But the good news is that the

proportion of women who start

their pregnancy as smokers has

been declining in recent years,

the researchers said.

meaning—even decades after their

initial experience.

For the new study, the scientists

used data from 4,285 people worldwide

who responded to online advertisements

to complete one of two 50-

minute online surveys about God

encounter experiences.

The surveys asked participants to

recall their single most memorable

encounter experience with the “God of

their understanding,” a “higher

power,” “ultimate reality” or “an

aspect or representative of God, such

as an angel.” They also asked how

respondents felt about their experience

and whether and how it changed their

lives. Of those who reported using a

psychedelic, 1,184 took psilocybin

(“magic mushrooms”), 1,251 said they

took LSD, 435 said they took ayahuasca

(a plant-based brew originating

with indigenous cultures in Latin

America), and 606 said they took

DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), also

a naturally occurring substance found

in certain plants and animals.

About 75 per cent of the respondents

in both the non-drug and psychedelics

groups rated their “God

encounter” experience as among the

most meaningful and spiritually significant

in their lifetime.


16 May 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Sargun’s make-up man

If we talk about happy marriages in the television industry,

then celebrity couple Ravi

Dubey and Sargun Mehta’s

would surely be on the top

of our list. Ravi’s quite a

doting husband and his

Insta posts are a testimony

to this. Be it her career in

the Punjabi film industry,

her glowing looks or killer

personality, Sargun surely

has all of Ravi’s attention,

and we love it!

His latest post is awwworthy

as well. The two

are getting ready for an

event and Ravi seems to be

doing Sargun’s make up!

Well, that’s the kind of husband every girl wants! Twinning in

white, the couple looks absolutely gorgeous.

Guess who returns to Udann?

Colors’ longest running social drama, Udann has enthralled

viewers for almost five years

with its intriguing narrative.

The post leap drama has also

seen a lot of new entrants in the

show. Now, another interesting

twist is about to spruce up the

drama, as Vijayendra Kumeria

will make a comeback in the

show as Raghav. Sharing

details on his comeback,

Vijayendra Kumeria says, “I

have been associated with this

show for many years, and now

I am making a comeback with

a new angle to my character

which is going to be quite

interesting. The new storyline had a creative requirement of

Raghav.”

Taimur first

Here’s why Kareena Kapoor delays

Angrezi Medium’s shoot

Our Bollywood celebrities don’t get plenty of time to spend

with their families because of the hectic schedules. Fortunately,

Kareena Kapoor

Khan isn’t one of

those mommies

who does not get

time with her

child Taimur Ali

Khan as she has

always prioritised

the little

munchkin.

However,

Kareena has had

a number of projects

lined up for

her which has

kept the actress

away from

Taimur. Bebo

also is teaming

up with Irrfan for

the first time in

A n g r e z i

Medium. Now

Bebo has decided

to postpone

the shooting of

Angrezi Medium

to June. As per

reports, Kareena

has deferred the shoot of the movie to June instead of May since

she wants to spend more time with Taimur.

Taimur is currently in a playgroup whose vacations are scheduled

to start from May. Thus, Bebo wants to be in Mumbai to be

with him. Also, once Taimur’s holidays begin, Kareena might

take him to London with her when she leaves for Angrezi

Medium’s shoot. Talking about the film, Kareena and Irrfan are

coming together for the first time and Kareena will be seen playing

the role of a cop in the film.

Ayushmann is glad that his

films go ‘beyond borders’

He’s having a dream run at

the box office. His last two films

— Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho

— have garnered critical and

commercial acclaim. And

Ayushmann Khurrana’s popularity

is travelling beyond borders

along with his films. Andhadhun

has neared the ?250-crore mark

at the Chinese box office! On

how important an achievement

this is for him, he tells us, “It is a

huge feat for me, and a great

achievement. There’s validation

that the scripts I am choosing are

not just resonating with the

masses in India but also internationally.

This shows that the content

I am choosing is beyond borders,

cultures, and has an international

appeal. I feel acknowledged.

Gratitude is the word!”

What comes as a surprise is

that Ayushmann wasn’t thinking

about it at all when he got the

news about the release in China.

“I was not thinking about

anything. I just got to know from

a tweet (from one of the producers)

that it is releasing there. My

only reaction was ‘Let’s see how

it goes’, but it has surpassed my

expectations for sure. I was, in

fact, not thinking at all about the

Chinese release or how it would

fare there. It’s like a great, happy

surprise,” he says. Currently, he

has his hands full with Dream

Girl; Article 15, in which he

plays a cop for the first time; and

Akshay begins shooting for

Kanchana’s Hindi remake

Mumbai : Actor

Akshay Kumar, roped

into the Hindi remake

of the Tamil film

“Kanchana” along with

actress Kiara Advani,

kick started the first

schedule of the movie

on Sunday.

After helming the

Tamil franchise,

Raghava Lawrence is

directing the horrorcomedy

film in Hindi titled “Laaxmi Bomb”. Lawrence took to social media

to share the news along with a photo of himself with Akshay.

He wrote: “Hi dear friends and fans! Shooting of Hindi remake of

‘Kanchana’, starring the great Akshay Kumar Sir, has began. Need all your

blessings.” Apart from Akshay and Kiara, the Hindi remake will also star

actor Tusshar Kapoor. It has also been reported that megastar Amitabh

Bachchan will portray a transgender in the film.

Rishi explores vote possibility during NY stay

New York : Veteran actor Rishi

Kapoor, undergoing medical treatment

in the USA, on Sunday sought help

from the Indian Consulate in New York

for casting vote in the Lok Sabha elections.

“Called the Indian Consulate’s office

here to enquire if there was any facility

for people like us to vote (away from

home),” Rishi tweeted. But after finding

out that there is no such facility for

people living abroad temporarily, the actor urged citizens to “not forget to

vote wherever and whenever you have to”. Last year, the “Mulk” actor had

shared with his fans the information that he was flying to the USA for medical

treatment. “Hello all! I am taking a short leave of absence from work to

go to America for some medical treatment.

I urge my well-wishers not to worry or unnecessarily speculate. It’s been

45 years ‘plus’ of wear and tear at the movies. With your love and good wishes,

I will be back soon,” Rishi tweeted in September 2018.

Bala, in which he plays a guy

suffering from premature balding.

All his roles are distinct

from each other, and it is by

design.

“I don’t want to repeat roles,”

he says and elaborates on what

he keeps in mind when choosing

a script, “The only thing I care

for is that the script has to be

normal and should have no reference

point in either Hindi or

international cinema.” “So I am

glad to be getting scripts which

are unique, and which resonate

with the masses... either about

breaking a taboo or dealing with

social stigmas. These kind of

scripts appeal to me.”

When in showbiz, it’s easy to

give in to the notion that ‘box

office is the only king’. But, not

for Ayushmann. “I’d only do

films which are also into value

creation, and not just into commerce

or moolah creation at the

box office. I’ve aspired to do

‘middle of the road cinema’,

which is a great combination of

commerce and content. I just follow

my heart and gut every single

time.” “Most of my decisions

are impulsive, but I am quite

intuitive like that. I hope it works

in the future also,” he says.

When asked, Ayushmann, who

sings, does live shows and writes

poems, says, “I’d like to produce

one day, and also write and

direct a film, but as of now, it’s a

lot of fun to be just a performer!”

I love dancing,

says Shraddha

2019 started on a special note for Shraddha Kapoor as

she got the chance

to team up with her

ABCD2 (2015) costar

Varun Dhawan.

Shraddha and

Varun are childhood

friends and

share a close bond.

So, Shraddha says

that working with

Varun is always a

blast. The second

instalment required

both of them to

master several

dance techniques,

something that

Shraddha absolutely

enjoyed doing.

Now with the latest

film, Street Dancer

3D which has finished

a London schedule, she is looking forward to finishing

the rest of the film in which she reportedly plays

a dancer from Pakistan.

“I love dancing. It’s one of my favourite things to do

in the world. Of course, there are challenges but that’s

what makes it more fun because then you love it even

more. It’s fun to be back with the ABCD2 gang”, says

the actor who shot with Varun for a dance sequence on

the famous O2 arena rooftop in London, UK.

Another co-star she is reuniting with this year is Tiger

Shroff. The two were a part of Baaghi (2016) after which

Disha Patani was chosen to play the lead in Baaghi 2.

And now, the actor is back to the franchise, thanks to her

hit pairing with Tiger. “

“I’m super excited to return to the Baaghi franchise as

well although I won’t really be doing action in this film.

Tiger will be seen in all the action sequences and I am

sure people will enjoy the same,” says the actor.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ENTERTAINMENT

May 2019

17

‘I’M A HUGE FAN OF

MICHAEL JACKSON’

When Hrithik Roshan

debuted in 2000, he was hailed

as the next superstar of

Bollywood. Apart from his

good looks and acting prowess,

the actor also established himself

as an exceptional dancer in

his very first film. Ever since,

there has been no looking back

for the actor, who is considered

to be one of the best dancers in

Bollywood by most of his contemporaries.

Tiger Shroff looks

up to the actor for his dancing

skills as do so many other

young actors. On International

Dance Day, we caught up with

the actor to talk about everything

related to his passion —

dance.

What are your earliest

memories of dancing?

My earliest memories of

dance are from school. We

would have annual day shows

where all the kids would perform

together and there would

be dance competitions and performances.

There used to be a lot of dancing

to Bollywood songs at birthday parties,

where each one of us would do hook steps of

popular songs and show our best moves. I

took keen interest in dance while I was

preparing for my debut film, Kaho Naa

Pyaar Hai (2000).

Growing up, who was your inspiration?

I have always been a huge fan of Michael

Jackson, Shammi Kapoor and Govinda.

Each of their dancing style is different from

‘Glad Indian

films gaining

audience in

CHINA’

Actor Vicky Kaushal is glad that his

film Love Per Square Foot was showcased

at the Beijing International Film Festival

2019, and

says it is

wonderful to

see Indian

films gain

audiences in

China.

“It’s wonderful

to see

Indian films

gain audiences

in

China. Love

Per Square

Foot is a

film that’s

close to my heart and with its universal

theme of the quest for a roof over the head,

I’m delighted to hear that it resonated with

viewers at the Beijing Film Festival,”

Vicky said.

Love Per Square Foot, India’s Netflix

Original film, was screened at the Beijing

International Film Festival, which ran from

April 13 to April 20. Produced by Anand

Tiwari and Amritpal Bindra under their

banner Still and Still Media Collective in

collaboration with RSVP, the film was

showcased under The Belt and Road.

the other. I have grown up imitating their

styles in front of the mirror.

If you had the choice to do a dance off

with any person living or dead, who would

it be?

Maybe not a dance off, but I would have

loved to share the stage with the legendary

Michael Jackson. I have been a huge fan of

his since childhood and he is the reason I

started dancing.

What does dance mean to you?

Priya bags second

Bollywood movie

Priya Prakash Varrier, who became an internet sensation

overnight with her famous wink in a song from the

film Oru Adaar Love, has now bagged her second venture

in Bollywood. While the actress will already be seen

in Sridevi Bungalow soon, she is expected to have come

on board for a venture named Love Hackers. In recent

interactions, Priya confirmed the news and also spoke

about her being the protagonist in the movie.

Revealing details about Love Hackers, Priya said the

film is based on real life incidents. It revolves around a

girl who is trapped in an unfortunate situation.

I feel dance is a very powerful

medium to draw people

towards physical fitness.

There was a time in my life

when the doctors had told me

that I will never be able to

dance again. I danced my way

through that phase, too

(smiles). Dancing is a great

way to stay fit. It helps you

burn calories, strengthen muscles,

increase flexibility, and

also keeps one upbeat and

happy. I have also introduced

my mom and kids to it and

they love it.

You have a lot of dance

numbers to your credit.

Which is your personal

favourite?

It is tough to choose just

one favourite song of mine to

dance to. But my top

favourites are Deva Shree

Ganesha (Agneepath; 2012),

Dhoom Again (Dhoom 2;

2006), Bang Bang (Bang

Bang; 2014) and Ek Pal ka

Jeena (Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai; 2000).

What do you think about dance reality

shows that are the rage on television channels

currently?

Dance reality shows are a great platform

to discover and promote new talent from

across India. It gives people an opportunity

to showcase their talent. I have judged a

dance reality show in the past and I will definitely

be open to doing it again in the future

if something interesting comes up.

‘Dancing has helped me deal

with the hardships of my life’

She is the happiest when she

is dancing, as much as she is

while facing the arch lights.

That’s Sanya Malhotra for you.

Well, on International Dance

Day (April 29), Sanya talks

about the good things related to

the art form and how it has

changed her life.

For the uninitiated, Sanya’s

love for dance began at an early

age. She was in school when she

accompanied her mother’s best

friend to a dance competition in

Delhi. Coaxed by her aunt, she

by chance, participated and stole

the show with her version of Tu

Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast

(Mohra; 1994).

“That day I knew I love dancing,

more so because there was

no stage fright at all. Then, I

became that kid who would

dance at every family get together,

parties or weddings. And

mind you, I was famous too in

those circles,” she says. Soon the

love turned into passion and

Sanya trained herself in ballet,

freestyle and jazz. On her to-do

list is tap dancing and she also

wants to learn a classical dance

form. If you follow her on social

media, then it’s impossible to

miss her dance videos and the

kind of reactions they garner

Ranbir Kapoor, Alia

Bhatt enjoy movie date

Mumbai, Bollywood couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt went

on a movie date to watch “Avengers: Endgame”. They were

clicked by photographers while making their way out of the theatre

after watching the movie here.

Alia looked chic in a floral top and blue jeans. She had her hair

loose and was seen holding a denim jacket. Ranbir sported a

checked shirt and white T-shirt along with jeans and a cap to complete

his causal look. Reports about Ranbir and Alia dating each

other first surfaced last year. They have since made several appearances

together — be it walking hand in hand at an awards show or

shopping on the New York streets. They started opening up about

their relationship this year. Alia talked about it when she appeared

on “Koffee With Karan”. A kiss and an “I love you” from Alia to

Ranbir at the 64th Filmfare Awards got their fans on social media

excited about their rare public display of affection.

On the work front, Alia and Ranbir will be seen sharing screen

space in the upcoming film “Brahmastra”.

from her fans and colleagues

alike. A latest video of her with

rapper Naezy saw Hrithik

Roshan commenting, “OUT-

STANDING”. Mention this to

Sanya and she falls short of

words to express her happiness.

So, will we see her in a dance

film with Hrithik any time soon?

“That would be a dream come

true. Just the thought of it is giving

me goosebumps. He is such a

fabulous dancer. But before

everything else, I want to do a

dance film. Koi toh mujhse film

mein dance karwao (Someone,

please make me dance in a film).

I want to see myself dancing on

the big screen,” adds the actor,

who had choreographed her

Dangal (2016) co-actor Aamir

Khan for Secret Superstar

(2017).

About her plans for April 29,

Sanya says she is thinking of

doing something with Naezy and

choreographer Shazeb Sheikh.

“Let me figure this out… It will

be a surprise,” she keeps it at

that.

Ask her if she would like to

give out a message to her fans on

the occasion of International

Dance Day and Sanya is quick to

add, “Dancing does make you

happy. It has helped me deal

with the hardships in my life.

Not everyone is a good dancer

but you just have to enjoy doing

it. Dance as if no one is watching.

You can be a part of a group

or dance at home and even

involve your family. Trust me,

it’s fun. It’s a good exercise for

your mind, body and soul. At

times, I visit workshops and see

even non-dancers having a good

time. That’s the spirit. The happy

hormones need to be generated,”

she signs off.


18 May 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

'WHEN THE AUDIENCES LOVE

YOU REGION DOESN'T MATTER'

Prabhas talks about how the Baahubali franchise transcended barriers to win hearts

Much to the excitement of his fans, the

extremely shy and private South superstar

Prabhas has finally joined Instagram, and

that’s certainly no mean feat for him. The

actor who rose to fame internationally after

the phenomenal success of the Baahubali

franchise humbly says, “I have finally

joined Instagram, so that is my first step.

Being shy is just my nature, nothing else.”

Prabhas also promises to make efforts to

become more social media savvy now. On

the second anniversary of Baahubali 2: The

Conclusion today, the actor talks to us

about how the film ‘became the most iconic

benchmark in his life’, working in

Bollywood, and being part of action franchises.

Do you think the Baahubali franchise

was the turning point in the history of

Indian cinema because it bridged the

gap between Bollywood and South cinema?

Baahubali has been an iconic benchmark

in my life. It is surreal to see that it

has had such an impact on Indian cinema.

It was overwhelming to see the acceptance

and enthusiasm the audience had shown

towards a film coming from south India.

However, I still believe that it was our

director SS Rajamouli sir’s vision which

made it not just a national blockbuster but

also a global hit. Baahubali was Rajamouli

sir’s project and I am proud and honoured

to be a part of his vision. His ambition and

efforts made it possible for the film to

reach the nooks and corners of the nation,

making it the phenomenon that it turned

into. With films like Baahubali, we are

looking at cinema that can transcend

regions and resonate nationwide.

Baahubali has opened doors for regional

cinema on a pan-India platform as well as

the global platform.

Of late, there have been many collaborations

between Bollywood and the

south film industry. Does it widen your

reach as an actor?

I believe the audience accepts an artiste

for his work. I do not see any industry as a

barrier. When your audience loves you, I

don’t think the region is a parameter to

measure.

You have started shooting for the

Mumbai leg of your new film, Saaho.

What can the audiences expect from you

this time?

Mumbai has a feel of its own and I love

it. The shoot has commenced and I am very

excited to shoot at locations such as Karjat.

For Saaho, we did a lot of rehearsals, and

safety precautions were the top priority on

the sets. The plan is to deliver the best to

the audience with some fresh action

sequences so that the audience sees something

new.

You appeared on Karan Johar’s chat

show recently, sparking off rumours

that you are soon to make your

Bollywood debut...

Not just this, I also came across rumours

of me turning down Karan Johar’s film,

however, there is no truth to it. Saaho is a

Bollywood film and it is a full-fledged

action thriller. Unlike Baahubali, Saaho is

not just dubbed in Hindi, but is also simultaneously

shot in Hindi, so I am already

doing a Bollywood film. I have been working

on Saaho ever since Baahubali

released. I haven’t signed any other Hindi

film after that. I surely am interested to do

more projects. The content matters, not

where it comes from. Ultimately, the audiences

should be happy and satisfied.

You spent years working and preparing

for Baahubali. You had to let go of a

lot of projects. Will you give so many

years to a project yet again?

If the script demands, I would certainly

do so. I believe in dedicating my time and

efforts to limited projects at a time as a film

requires immense hard work. I choose

films that resonate with me instead of signing

multiple films at a time.

Sara Ali Khan takes an

auto for workout session

There’s more fire

in me now’

Mumbai, Don’t be surprised if you spot

actress Sara Ali Khan sitting in an auto-rickshaw.

She had no qualms about taking an auto

ride to go for a workout session here.

Sara was seen getting out of an auto in

Bandra here along with celebrity stylist Tanya

Ghavri.

In the video, which has surfaced on the

social media, they can be seen sharing a laugh

as Tanya takes the change from the auto- rickshaw

driver. For her workout session, Sara

wore a ‘Pilates Girl’ slogan ganji top, paired

with black shorts. She kept her hair loose with

a simple hairband, and completed

the look with a pink

tote.

This is not the first time

Sara took an auto in Mumbai.

In February, she was seen taking

an auto ride with Ananya

Panday, and avoided media

attention by hiding their faces.

On the film front, Sara will

be seen in the remake of the

1995 comedy film “Coolie

No. 1” and “Love Aaj Kal 2”.

‘Sadak 2’ demanded

shooting in India

POOJA BHATT

Mumbai, After days of recce in Romania, the makers of “Sadak 2” have decided

to shoot the film in India.

Actress Pooja Bhatt, who starred in the original 1991 film “Sadak” and will also

be a part of the sequel, took to Twitter to share the reasons behind the change in the

shooting locations. She said: “Romania is a stunningly beautiful country. We were

very happy with the locations but logistics and emotional IQ of local crew are key

factors in determining a location for a film.

“Eventually no one is bigger than a film and the film demanded we shoot only

in India.” “Sadak 2” will see filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt back in the director’s chair

after almost twenty years. The film also features actors Alia Bhatt , Sanjay Dutt and

Aditya Roy Kapur.

Bobby Deol’s next is a multi-starrer mainstream

comedy. After his so-called comeback, the actor has

mainly been part of only commercial entertainers.

However, he says he is open to trying different cinema.

“As an actor, you want to explore every genre. It’s not

just one particular type... a lot depends on the scripts

you are offered,” says Bobby. Back in the ’90s, the

actor, was mainly known for his roles in thrillers such

as Gupt (1997), Soldier (1998) and Ajnabee (2001). He

was appreciated for his serious performances in these

films. When asked if he would like to revisit the genre

at this point, he says, “I think I have always enjoyed

thrillers as a viewer and for a thriller to work well with

audience, it needs to have the right kind of sync with

the script, and a director, who can get that out of a

script. I was lucky to work with Abbas Bhai-Mustan

Bhai, who were always perfect with thrillers and have

given some great movies to Hindi cinema. It’s all about

the combination of the right script and a good director.”

There is news that the actor has signed his debut

digital series, which will be produced by Shah Rukh

Khan. Neither admitting, nor denying it, the actor adds,

“I have got some interesting offers and I am looking

into it.” Bobby turned 50 last year and feels is in his

best shape and phase in life. So has he set any further

resolutions? “I don’t make resolutions,” says Bobby,

adding, “I just believe that you have to keep working

hard every day of your life and be positive. I feel rather

fitter and younger than what I was 10 years back.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Samsung India to install 40

ONYX Cinema LEDS by 2022

New Delhi : Samsung India,

which installed its fourth 4K

ONYX Cinema LED screen in

Bengaluru on Thursday, aims to

introduce 35-40 such Cinema

LED displays at movie theatres

across the country by the end of

2022. “We started with the

ONYX Cinema LED journey in

Delhi and Mumbai and now

we’re entering the south India

market, which we foresee as a

strong market for Samsung. Our

primary focus will be around

metro and other Class A cities,”

Puneet Sethi, Vice President,

Consumer Electronics Enterprise

Business, Samsung India told

IANS. The technology was originally

introduced by the company

in 2017 and the first screen

was installed in Korea. “There is

huge potential in India and we

want to convert at least 20 per

cent of the screens to Cinema

LED over the next decade. We

will offer innovative solutions to

consumers in India and transform

their overall cinema viewing

experience,” Sethi added.

The ONYX screen is 3D applicable,

with active 3D technology

for all 618 seats in the Bengaluru

theatre.

The South Korean tech major

installed the first such screen at

PVR in Delhi last year. After

that, it partnered with INOX to

bring the ONYX experience in

Mumbai and with Cinepolis in

Delhi. According to the company,

the installation of one LED

screen roughly requires 8-10

weeks. The 4K LED screen

comes with comprehensive solutions

such as “Onyx View”,

“Onyx 3D” and “Onyx Sound”.

The display has HDR (High

Dynamic Range) to the cinema,

showcasing on-screen contents

at peak brightness level, nearly

10 times greater than that offered

by the standard cinema projectors.

“Since the beginning, cinemas

have been powered by projector

based systems. ONYX

Cinema LED is the next generation

of cinema viewing. This theatre

in Bengaluru — Swagath

Onyx Theatre — incorporates a

14-metre Cinema LED screen,

which is the largest in the

world,” said Sethi.

The ONYX display accommodates

any venue configuration

and aims to deliver an

unmatched visual quality, technical

performance and reliability

over traditional projectors, the

company claimed.

TECH

Bangladesh court

seeks mobile towers

radiation report

Dhaka : A Bangladesh court has directed the

country’s telecom regulator to submit a report on

the impact of radiation from tens of thousands of

mobile phone towers.

The court issued the order following a writ

petition seeking the court’s directive to the regulator

for measures to minimize radiation impact

on people and the environment, reported Xinhua

news agency. The Bangladesh Telecom

Regulatory Commission (BTRC) was given four

months to submit the report. Human Rights and

Peace for Bangladesh, a local rights body, filed

the petition as a public interest litigation with the

court following reports that the towers have been

emitting radiation detrimental for human health.

Bangladesh’s mobile phone operators have

currently over 35,000 towers. The total number

of Bangladesh’s mobile phone subscribers

reached over 158 million at the end of February

with the addition of 1.449 million new users in

the first two months of this year, statistics from

the country’s telecom regulator showed.

Washington : Aimed at effective disaster

management, NASA and its international

partners are planning to participate

in an exercise that will play out a realistic

— but fictional — scenario of an

asteroid on an impact trajectory with

Earth. The scenario begins with the fictional

premise that on March 26,

astronomers “discovered”

a NEO

they consider potentially

hazardous to

Earth.

After a “few

months” of tracking,

observers predict

that this near-Earth

object (NEO) –

dubbed 2019 PDC –

poses a 1 in 100

chance of impact

with Earth in 2027

(in real life, the international community

has decided that a 1 in 100 chance of

impact is the threshold for action).

Participants in this exercise will discuss

potential preparations for asteroid reconnaissance

and deflection missions and

planning for mitigation of a potential

impact’s effects, NASA said.

Scientists believe that these exercises

can help people in the planetary defence

community to understand what those on

the disaster management side need to

know. “This exercise will help us develop

more effective communications with each

May 2019

19

NASA planning asteroid

impact exercise next week

other and with our governments,” Lindley

Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defence

Officer, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Better communication of the hazards

posed by NEOs such as asteroids or

comets has been a top priority for international

groups, such as NASA’s Planetary

Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), the

European Space

Agency’s Space

Situational

Awareness-NEO

Segment and the

International

Asteroid Warning

Network (IAWN).

Developed by the

NASA Jet

Propulsion

Laboratory’s Center

for NEO Studies

(CNEOS), the asteroid

impact exercise next week is scheduled

to take place at the 2019 Planetary

Defense Conference to be held in the US

from April 29 to May 3. NASA’s PDCO

and other US agencies and space science

institutions, along with international partners,

will participate in the exercise, the

US space agency said. Next week’s exercise

events will occur over the five days

of the conference, with exercise leaders

briefing participants on the status of the

scenario at the end of each day and soliciting

response ideas and feedback, based

on the latest fictional data, NASA said.


20 May 2019

TECH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Social media fraud increased

43% in 2018: Report

San Francisco : In a sign that

platforms like Facebook and

WhatsApp are emerging as new

public square for criminal deception,

a study has found that social media

fraud increased 43 per cent in 2018.

The results suggest that cyber

criminals are increasingly relying on

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

and other legitimate social media

and messaging platforms to communicate

with each other and sell stolen

identities, credit card numbers and

other ill-gotten gains. Given the ease

of use, absence of fees and other benefits of

these platforms, continuation of this trend

in 2019 should come as no surprise, said

“Current State of Cybercrime – 2019

white paper, released by RSA Security.

Trade in stolen identities would gain

UK charity to help

tech giants curb

self-harm content

London : In an effort to limit harmful

online content, Google, Facebook and

Snapchat will work with the suicide prevention

experts from British non-profit organisation

Samaritans, as part of a new governmentbacked

project. Founded in 1953, Samaritans

aim to provide emotional support to anyone in

emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at

risk of suicide throughout the UK and Ireland.

The new scheme forms part of a concerted

cross-government effort to rein in the social

media companies, amid growing concern over

the prevalence of harmful content online

across areas including terrorism, child abuse,

self-harm and suicide, The Guardian reported

on Sunday.

UK's Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set

to officially announce the initiative later on

Monday. Aiming to make the UK safest place

to be online, a new White Paper prepared by

the ministers proposed to create a new independent

watchdog and legislate for a statutory

duty of care for social media firms that could

see senior executives held personally liable.

"This partnership marks a collective commitment

to learn more about the issues, build

knowledge through research and insights from

users, and implement changes that can ultimately

save lives," Ruth Sutherland, the chief

executive of the Samaritans, was quoted as

saying. Facebook-owned photo-messaging

app Instagram started working on restricting

on self-harm and suicide content after the

platform was accused of playing a catalyst in

the suicide case of British teenager Molly

Russel who took her life in 2017.

Zomato's Hyperpure eyes

22 warehouses in India

New Delhi : Food ordering

app Zomato on Monday

announced the launch of a

warehouse in the Capital for its

business-to-business food

ingredients supply arm

Hyperpure, marking the opening

of the second warehouse for

the company after Bengaluru.

Zomato said it plans to open

20 more warehouses by 2020,

targeting a combined capacity

of 90,000 metric tonnes and

700,000 sq. ft. "The approximate

investment is $400,000

for setting up a Hyperpure

warehouse and there is a separate

cost for operationalising

and scaling up," Gaurav Gupta,

Co-founder and COO, Zomato,

told IANS. Besides Delhi and

Bengaluru, the warehouses will

be spread across Mumbai,

Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad,

greater momentum with more stores likely

opening on legitimate platforms to sell this

type of data, the study said. According to

researchers, fraud in the mobile channel

has grown significantly over the last several

years, with 70 per cent of artifice originating

in the mobile channel in

2018. In particular, fraud from

mobile apps increased 680 per

cent between 2015 and 2018,

said the study, adding the use of

rogue mobile applications to

defraud consumers was on the

rise.

With one out of five cyber

attacks attributed to rogue mobile

apps in 2018, RSA identified an

average of 82 rogue mobile

applications a day last year

across popular app stores.

“We expect the popularity of the mobile

channel for fraud will continue through

2019, especially as cyber criminals keep

finding ways to introduce tactics and technologies

such as phishing and malware to

the mobile channel,” the report said.

18 young Indian scientists in Google contest

New Delhi : Google on Friday selected 18

young scientists from India who will compete

in the 2019 Google Science Fair contest

for the winning prize of $50,000 and other

rewards. The global science competition

inspires teenagers in the age group of 13-18

years to solve real-world problems with science,

technology, engineering and maths.

This year’s competition saw thousands

of entries from more than 100 countries

representing some innovative ideas in science

and technology, Google said.

From addressing health-related issues to

creating more eco-friendly adhesives and

fuel to making our water safe to drink, the

young students from India presented novel

and creative ideas. The entries were evaluated

based on the creativity, scientific merit

and potential for impact of each submission

to narrow down the entries to 100

finalists globally, Google said, adding that

the regional finalists will receive a prize

including Chromebook and goodies from

the company.

Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad,

Chandigarh, Nagpur, Lucknow,

Vadodara, Coimbatore, Kochi,

Agra, Goa and Surat, Zomato

said. "We believe Zomato is

uniquely placed to shape the

future of food. With Hyperpure

by Zomato, we've been able to

disintermediate the supply

chain, providing restaurateurs

access to fresh, clean, fullytraceable

food ingredients,"

Gupta added.

"With plans to launch 20

more warehouses by the end of

2020, we want to create a

dependable demand-supply

cycle of clean ingredients, for a

future where everybody is eating

quality food," Gupta said.

Launched in August 2018,

Hyperpure by Zomato allows

restaurants to buy everything -

from vegetables and fruits,

poultry, groceries, meats,

seafood, and dairy to beverages,

and even eco-friendly

packaging - using an end-toend

technology-driven platform.

Spread across 40,000 sq

ft, the warehouse in Delhi is

designed to supply 5,000 metric

ton capacity per month and

equipped to serve 3,000 restaurants

every day, Zomato said.

"Considering the positive

response we've received in

Bengaluru, our expansion into

Delhi is a part of Hyperpure's

natural progression," said

Dhruv Sawhney, Founder,

Hyperpure. "We are certain that

our restaurant partners in Delhi

will benefit immensely from

both Hyperpure's offer of fresh

and quality food products, as

well as the competitive pricing

we offer," Sawhney added.

Apple defends

removing screentime

limiting apps

San Francisco : Apple has

defended its decision to remove

third-party screen-limiting apps

that helped people fight iPhone

addiction, saying these apps put

users’ privacy and security at

risk. Apple had removed or

restricted at least 11 of the 17

most downloaded

screentime

and

parental-control

apps.

In a blog

post on late

Sunday, the

Cupertinobased

iPhone maker said the use

of mobile device management

(MDM) technologies in the

removed parental control apps

could have leaked users’ location,

app use, email accounts,

camera permissions and browsing

history to a third party.

“MDM does have legitimate

uses, but it is incredibly riskya

— and a clear violation of App

Store policies — for a private,

consumer-focused app business

to install MDM control over a

customer’s device,” the

iPhone-maker wrote. Research

has shown that MDM profiles

could be used by hackers to

gain access for malicious purposes.

“Parents shouldn’t have

to trade their fears of their children’s

device usage for risks to

Amazon Pay enables

instant money

transfer on Android

Bengaluru : Amazon Pay on Monday

launched person-to-person (P2P) payments for

Android users

who can now

make instant

bank-to-bank

transfers using

the UPI platform

on the

privacy and security, and the

App Store should not be a platform

to force this choice.

“No one, except you, should

have unrestricted access to

manage your child’s device,”

said Apple.

Earlier in December, Apple

had started

warning

developers

developing

third-party

screen-time

trackers and

parental control

apps

because they were suspected to

have been violating App Store

guidelines and misusing background

location mode for purposes

other than location-related

features.

“When we found out about

these guideline violations, we

communicated these violations

to the app developers, giving

them 30 days to submit an

updated app. “Several developers

released updates to bring

their apps in line with these

policies and those that didn’t

were removed from the App

Store,” Apple said. With the

launch of iOS 12 in September

last year, the company implemented

its own built-in screen

time tracking tools and controls.

Amazon app.

Amazon customers

can also

pay bills, rent

and various daily subscriptions, the company

said in a statement. "With this launch, we have

the largest selection of shopping and payment

use cases on the Amazon Android app which

provides added convenience and control to our

customers," said Vikas Bansal, Director-

Amazon Pay. Customers can send or receive

P2P payments by simply selecting a contact

from their phone contact book or entering UPI

ID or bank account of the recipient.

"Amazon auto-detects if the contact is a registered

Amazon Pay UPI customer and enables

instant bank to bank transfer. If the contact is not

registered for Amazon Pay UPI, the customer

has the option to pay using any another BHIM

UPI ID or contact's bank account," the company

said. As a launch offer, customers can get up to

Rs 120 cashback on sending money through

UPI. All payments are secured through multifactor

authentication involving the customer's

phone, SIM details and UPI PIN. "Our goal is to

make Amazon Pay the most trusted, convenient

and rewarding way to pay for our customers,"

said Bansal.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

May 2019

21

Now's an excellent learning opportunity

for INDIAN CREDIT MARKETS

News on Indian credit markets over

the last few weeks provide us with

pointers that should help shape policy

and business strategy. The struggle to

get bidders for Jet Airways and the

tepid response from investors towards

Indias fledgeling municipal bond market

point towards the need for a betterstructured

credit market, especially as

the nature of businesses evolve even

as the demand for credit rises to

finance consumption and infrastructure

needs.

The lack of investor interest in Jet

Airways, driven in no small extent by

a lack of clarity around how the carrier

will resolve its debt issues points

towards the need for better assessment

of risk scenarios by lenders moving

forward. Reassessing risk scenarios are

essential as businesses such as Jet

Airways that have relatively fewer tangible

assets utilise the debt markets.

From a lender's perspective, not finding

a prospective buyer for Jet Airways

implies potentially sending it to the

bankruptcy court. But for businesses

that do not have a significant quantity

of fixed assets, the value realisation

from bankruptcy courts can be meagre.

The fact that Jet Airways has a lower

value realisation in the case of bankruptcy

begs the question as to what

changes do lenders need to implement

in their credit models to deal with such

companies going forward. As the economy

evolves, businesses that borrow

will have balance sheets that perhaps

hold more intangible assets. In the case

of Jet Airways, unlike say a steel business,

a majority of its fixed assets, i.e.

planes are leased, and therefore bankruptcy

proceedings can realise limited

value. The pertinent point is that

lenders must do a better job in pricing

these risks moving forward as lending

to companies with more and more

intangible assets picks up. In other relevant

news, the lukewarm investor

interest in the municipal bond market

in India is one that merits attention.

Given the scale of urban infrastructure

required, municipal bonds could be a

critical financial instrument to plug the

financing gap. However, given the current

challenges and the stage of evolution

of the bond market, a vibrant and

functional municipal bond market will

require significant groundwork.

Clarity around municipal funding,

or more specifically, the payment

mechanism of the municipal bond,

will be vital to attracting investor

interest. Answering the fundamental

questions of "who pays" and "are they

willing to pay consistently" will alleviate

a majority of the concerns people

have with municipal bonds. Ensuring

an adequate payment mechanism will

require a lot of work to help cities plan

and budget financing efficiently.

Depth of the benchmark government

bond curve will also be vital

towards increasing investor appetite

for municipal bonds since investors

will utilise the government bond curve

as a benchmark. The eventual aim is to

create a market and an ecosystem for

municipal bonds that encapsulates

market makers, price transparency,

risk-benchmarks and mechanisms for

redressal of problems.

The issues around both Jet Airways

bankruptcy and the municipal bond

market point towards critical areas

that credit markets in India must

resolve through innovation in capital

markets. Given the dynamic nature of

business, lending standards and procedures

that worked for companies in the

more traditional industries may not be

well suited for new age businesses.

The question isn't merely about

how much to lend, but also is one

about security design whereby the

question arises as to whether collateralised

debt instruments allow lenders

to truly hedge their risks in a world

where asset-light models abound?

As credit markets get more sophisticated,

more attention will have to be

paid to security design above and

beyond what standard debt instruments

have to offer. Security design

implies bespoke instruments designed

to reflect both the cash flow risk of

businesses and the ability for recovery

in the case of default.

Dynamic pricing of credit risk

through secondary markets as is the

case with equity will be essential to

ensure that both credit charges reflect

the appropriate risk undertaken by the

lender. Additionally, credit instruments

utilised to lend to businesses

must be able to better factor in the

inability of the company to service

debt as the credit financing capacity of

the business declines, and not as a

jump to default event. Essentially,

credit instruments have to be designed

to reflect their seniority in the cash

flow waterfall. Better security design

will allow lenders better recovery of

money since rarely is a credit default a

sudden event. As mentioned earlier,

the ability of the market to factor in

the declining credit profile of a company

will ensure that debt burdens for

low-quality credit businesses aren't

ramped up at the wrong time.

Astute utilisation of credit markets

and effective credit security design

will be a fundamental driving force for

boosting the Indian economy. The

government, businesses and individuals

all stand to benefit immensely from

robust credit markets.

Current trends provide an excellent

learning opportunity.

15 crorepatis in fray in

May 6 Bengal elections

Kolkata : Out of 83 candidates across

parties contesting from the seven West

Bengal seats in the fifth phase of the Lok

Sabha elections, 15 have assets worth over

Rs 1 crore, while 23 have declared criminal

cases against themselves, a study said on

Saturday. Among candidates who are in the

fray for the fifth phase polls in the state,

Trinamool Congress' outgoing MP from

Sreerampore constituency, Kalyan

Banerjee, has topped the crorepati list

declaring over Rs 17 crore of assets, followed

by the party's Barrackpore nominee

and former Railway Minister Dinesh

Trivedi with assets worth more than Rs 6

crore, said the report.

The BJP's candidate from Hooghly constituency,

Locket Chatterjee has declared

over Rs 3 crore worth of assets, according

to the study. Apart from Banerjee and

Trivedi, there are five Trinamool Congress

candidates - Sajda Ahmed for Uluberia and

Mamata Thakur for Bongaon declaring

assets worth over Rs 2 crore each while

party's nominee for Howrah Parsun

Banerjee and Aparupa Poddar for Arambag

having properties worth over Rs 1 crore

each. State's ruling Trinamool nominee for

Hooghly Ratna De Nag declared Rs 3 crore

of assets. There are two Congress candidates

-- Debabrata Biswas for Sreerampore

and Jyoti Kumar Das for Arambag -- having

assets worth Rs 2 crore and 1 crore

respectively.

CPI-M's Uluberia nominee Maksuda

Khatun declared Rs 1 crore of assets and

party's Armabag candidate Sakti Mohan

Das showed properties worth Rs 1 crore.

Average assets per candidate contesting

from the seven constituencies in the fifth

phase is Rs 75.24 lakh based on their selfsworn

affidavits, according to an analysis

done by West Bengal Election Watch and

Association for Democratic Reforms.

Among major parties, the average assets

per candidate for the seven Trinamool

Congress nominees is over Rs 5 crore,

while BJP and Congress candidates have

average assets over Rs 86 lakh and 73 lakh

each. Average assets of CPI (M) candidates

in the fifth phase polls stand at over Rs 46

lakh. The seven constituencies will go to

the polls in the fifth phase of polls on May

6. "Out of 83 candidates analyzed, 23 candidates

have declared criminal cases

against themselves," the study said.

According to it, 36 candidates, out of

83, have declared their educational qualification

to be between 5th and 12th standard

while 44 candidates have declared having

an education qualification of graduate or

above and three candidates have declared

to be just literate.

How an app changed

life for a comedian

Mumbai : Prince Kumar, who hails from a small town in

Jharkhand, has amassed a fan following on social media platforms

with his sense of humour.

He has built a following of over 1.7 million fans on the Vigo

app and through his longform

content channel PRIK-

ISU on YouTube, he set an

example of how an app like

Vigo can help those in places

with less or no opportunity,

to get noticed.

Prince insists his foray in

Vigo happened "accidentally"

when he stumbled upon

the app while searching for a

video app. Initially, he along

with his close friends used

the app to watch entertaining

videos.

Inspired by those videos,

they started making their

own comedy videos, one of

which hit over 50,000 likes

overnight. That motivated

them to make more such

videos.

"I come from a place

where entertainment is rare. Social media is non existing.

Initially it was a struggle but we were motivated and ambitious,"

Prince said in a statement.


22 May 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Indian-origin man

jailed for killing man

in UK car crash

London : An Indian-origin man has

been sentenced to six years in prison in

the UK for causing a death of another

man due to dangerous driving. Jaskaren

Dayal, 47, pleaded guilty to the crime

which took place on January 6 last year

when he crashed his Mercedes into the

victim's vehicle while driving drunk and

above the speed limit in northwest

London. He pleaded guilty in April at

Wood Green Crown Court and was sentenced

by the same court on May 2,

MyLondon News reported on Friday.

The report said that cabbie Anwar

Ali, 55, was working in the early hours

of January 6 last year in Kensal Rise

area when out-of-control drink-driver

Jaskaren Dayal crashed into him.

Witnesses say they saw him driving

at "excess speed", reaching 76mph in a

30mph area just before he crashed into

Ali's taxi. Ali, from Stoke Newington,

was treated by paramedics, but died at

the scene as a result of the injuries he

sustained. Metropolitan Police officers

arrested Dayal at the crash site and he

was found to be over limit. He was taken

to hospital for treatment for a leg injury

before being taken into custody.

The police charged him in March

2019. Detective Constable Rob

Simpson, of the Met's Serious Collision

Investigation Unit, said: "This was an

awful incident in which the actions of an

irresponsible man resulted in the death

of an innocent man going about his

work. "There was simply no justification

for the way Dayal was driving; as a

result, it meant that the victim, Anwar

Ali, did not stand a chance.

"Dayal will quite rightly spend a significant

amount of time now in prison,

but this will be of little comfort to

Anwar's family, who continue to grieve

for his untimely loss."

Patna : Neither of them are in fray in

Hajipur parliamentary seat but LJP chief and

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD

chief Lalu Prasad's influence hangs heavy over

the Bihar constituency and the fight there is, in

essence, between them. Undergoing treatment

at a government hospital in Ranchi after convicted

and sentences in fodder

scam cases, Lalu Prasad is hundreds

of miles away from Hajipur

and Paswan is not contesting the

polls - for the first time since 1977.

But it is their popularity that will

help their respective party candidate

to get elected.

While the Lok Janshakti Party

has fielded Paswan's younger

brother Pasupati Kumar Paras, a Bihar

Minister and LJP's state President, from the

constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes,

the RJD party candidate is sitting legislator

Shiv Chandra Ram.

Paswan, who won Hajipur for the first time

in 1977 with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes - a

feat that established a Guinness World Record,

had contested nine times from the constituency

subsequently and lost only twice.

In 1984, he was uprooted in the Congress

wave in wake of the assassination of Prime

Minister Indira Gandhi and in 2009, defeated

by former Bihar Chief Minister and veteran

socialist leader Ram Sundar Das. Das had won

the seat in 1991 too, when Paswan had shifted

to the Rosera constituency. He was Paswan's

principal rival in Hajipur until his death in

2015. Paswan's brother Paras is banking on

Drunk speeding motorist jailed

for six years for killing mini

cab driver in Kensal Rise

Jaskaren Dayal was driving his

Mercedes E220 car at 76mph along

Chamberlayne Road's 30mph zone

when he crashed into Anwar Ali.

The 47-year-old was found to be

over the drink and drug drive limit.

He was sentenced at Wood Green

Crown Court yesterday (May 2) to

six years in prison for dangerous

driving and disqualified from driving

for eight years. He is also

required to sit an extended retest

when he is released.

The court heard that in the early

hours of January 6 2018, Dayal had

been drinking at a friend's house

when he decided to go to an off

licence in Kensal Rise. Dayal visited

the store and withdrew cash

before making his way back into his

car, along Chamberlayne Road.

Witnesses saw him driving at

excess speed, reaching 76mph in a

30mph just before he collided with

Chennai : A total of 159 students

were taken into custody from an unlicenced

resort in Tamil Nadu's Pollachi

early on Saturday for drug abuse, police

said. According to police, a large number

of college students, mostly from

Kerala, gathered at the Agri Nest resort

in Pollachi on Friday to party. However,

the blaring music throughout the night

and also a drunken brawl amongst the students disturbed

the neighbours, who complained to the police.

In Hajipur, Paswan's legacy under

challenge from Lalu's RJD

name, fame and image of his elder brother

among people, particularly in his Paswan caste,

who have sizeable population as well as the

upper caste and extremely backward class support

base of allies Bharatiya Janata Party and

Janata Dal-United, respectively. "Paras' advantage

is Paswan as he is banking heavily on his

brother's charisma. He has no personal

connect with Hajipur... it is a

disadvantage for him," Mahendra

Kumar Singh, a retired government

school teacher, said.

On the other hand, RJD's Ram,

who is the sitting legislator from

Raja Pakar assembly segment of

Hajipur, is banking on Lalu

Prasad's loyal support base among

his castemen Yadavs, who have a sizeable population

there, followed by support of Muslims,

and Dalits, particularly those of the Ravidas,

Mallah and Kushwaha communities. For Ram,

it is a plus point that the RJD won three of six

assembly seats that comprise the Hajipur Lok

Sabha constituency in the 2015 Assembly

polls. And besides that, the other two sitting

RJD legislators are none other than Lalu

Prasad's sons Tej Pratap Yadav (Mahua) and

Tejashwi Yadav (Raghopur). Raghopur was

earlier represented by Lalu Prasad's wife and

former Chief Minister Rabri Devi.It now

remains to be seen who will support of the

people in Hajipur in his absence of Paswan -

whether brother Paras will take forward his

legacy or Ram will strike a chord in the name

of Lalu Prasad. Hajipur will go to polls on

May 6 in the fifth phase of the elections.

another vehicle driven by 55-yearold

Anwar Ali. Cab driver Mr Ali,

from Stoke Newington, was stationary

in his Mercedes C180 waiting to

turn right from Chamberlayne Road

when he was hit by Dayal.

He was treated by paramedics

but died at the scene. Dayal, of no

fixed address, was arrested at the

scene and taken to hospital for treatment

to a leg injury before going

into custody.

He was charged by postal requisition

in March this year. He pleaded

guilty at Wood Green Crown

Court on April 5. Det Con Rob

Simpson, of the Met's collision unit,

said: “This was an awful incident in

which the actions of an irresponsible

man resulted in the death of an

innocent man going about his work.

“There was simply no justification

for the way Dayal was driving;

as a result, it meant that the victim,

Mr Anwar Ali, did not stand a

chance. “Dayal will quite rightly

spend a significant amount of time

now in prison, but this will be of little

comfort to Mr Anwar's family,

who continue to grieve for his

untimely loss.”

159 students held from Pollachi resort from drug abuse

Police then raided the resort and saw

some of the students drunk while others

seemed to have consumed narcotic substances.

While the resort's owner is

absconding, police have seized the two

and four wheelers of the students.

According to police, the students contact

each other via social media for

such parties and this time they fixed a

fee of Rs 1,200 per head. Meanwhile, the district

administration has sealed the resort.

Singapore jails

Indian for bribing

pest control workers

Singapore : An Indian construction

site manager in Singapore has been jailed

for six weeks for bribing two pest control

company workers to notify him in

advance of mosquito breeding inspections

at his working place.

Muthukaruppan Periyasamy, a 52-

year-old site manager of Fenzhii

Engineering Services and Ramo

Industries, faced five counts of giving

1,600 Singapore dollars to Tung Chee

Keong and Chandran Jeganathan, the

Straits Times reported on Friday.

Periyasamy was charged on January 18,

the report said.

Tung and Jeganathan were former

employees of pest control company

Killem Pest, a contractor engaged by the

National Environment Agency to conduct

vector control, said the Corrupt Practices

Investigation Bureau in a statement on

Thursday. The duo got the money as

"reward" for alerting Periyasamy to

upcoming mosquito breeding inspections

at his construction site between May and

August last year, the daily reported.

Investigations showed that the Indian

man had offered to pay Tung and

Jeganathan 400 Singapore dollars a

month for doing so. Tung, a Singapore

citizen, was sentenced to 11 weeks and

five days' jail, while Jeganathan, an

Indian, received a prison term of six

weeks and three days.

From May to August 2018, Jeganathan

told Periyasamy on four occasions about

impending inspections and Periyasamy

paid the sum to the pair.

The duo later used to split the money.

They were jailed on March 18 for accepting

gratification under the Prevention of

Corruption Act.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Pakistan SC rejects Sharif's

plea for bail extension

Islamabad : Pakistan's Supreme Court

on Friday rejected a petition by former

Prime Minister

Nawaz Sharif for an

extension of the sixweek

bail granted to

him earlier on medical

grounds in a

corruption reference.

A three-member

bench headed

by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa also

rejected the three-time Premier's plea to

allow him to travel abroad for treatment,

Geo News reported. Sharif had been granted

bail on medical grounds by the apex court

on March 26 for six weeks. On April 25, he

had submitted a review petition in the apex

court seeking permanent bail. His bail is set

to expire on May 7. The Chief Justice said

the court had given Sharif six weeks bail to

seek life-saving treatment but the entire bail

duration had instead been spent conducting

tests to ascertain the state of the Pakistan

Muslim League - Nawaz leader's health.

"We gave him six weeks bail - as recommended

by five medical boards and 31 doctors

- for angiography, but the time was

spent conducting evaluations and tests," said

Justice Khosa. He added that the conduct of

"the petitioner shows there is no imminent

threat to his life and the plea is based more

on apprehensions".

The Chief Justice said that new medical

reports did show that Sharif's health was

worsening and not improving, but added

that it was possible for him to be treated in

prison as the superintendent would be

empowered to send him to hospital as and

when required. Justice Khosa also said

that the apex court cannot review its order

on the basis of new medical reports

regarding Sharif's health.

"Anyone who applies for bail on medical

grounds claims their life is in danger.

If that route is taken, the review will

become an unending process," the judge

said. Sharif now has to surrender to jail

authorities on Tuesday. He has been serving

a seven-year prison term at Lahore Kot

Lakhpat Jail since December 24, 2018

when an accountability court convicted

him in one of the three corruption cases --

Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference

-- filed in the wake of the apex court's July

28, 2017 order in the Panama Papers case.

Wellington : The Aucklandbased

mother and sister of one of the

Sri Lankan Easter Sunday suicide

bombers have been "cooperating

fully" with the New Zealand police

following the attacks that killed over

250 people.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed

was to blow up the luxury Taj

Samudra hotel in the Sri Lankan

capital Colombo. He, however, is

believed to have botched the attempt

to detonate bomb at the five-star

hotel and instead blew himself up at

a nearby budget motel, killing 2

guests who had just arrived.

Mohamed's mother, sister and her

husband live in a modest house in

southern Auckland. They refused to

comment on the extent of their

involvement in the suicide bombings'

investigation, which involves

the New Zealand police and Sri

Lankan authorities.

"We only cooperate with the

(New Zealand) police, no matter

what they want to know, that's about

it," Mohamed's brother-in-law told

WORLD

Calls at UN to prevent

using social media as

platforms for hate

United Nations : As the UN

paid tributes to the victims of the

Sri Lanka Easter Sunday terrorist

attacks, calls were made to take

action to prevent use of social

media to spread hate and bigotry.

"While protecting freedom of

expression, we must also find

ways to address incitement to violence

through traditional and

social media," General Assembly

President Maria Fernanda

Espinosa Garces said on

Friday at the event commemorating

the 253 victims.

"It is sobering that the

theme of World Press

Freedom Day today is: journalism

in times of disinformation.

"We must ensure that

new and evolving technologies

promote - and do not

harm - human security," she

added. Deputy Secretary-

General Amina Mohammed

spoke about social media being

used to spread hate.

"The world is experiencing a

dangerous rise in intolerance,

xenophobia and racism. And

today such hatred spreads easily

and swiftly on the Internet.

"The UN continues to strengthen

its efforts to counter and prevent

terrorism and violent extremism,"

Mohammed added. Sri

Lanka's Permanent Representative

Rohan Perera was more forthright

in calling for a consensus on how

to regulate social media platforms

like Twitter and Facebook to prevent

them from becoming the

medium to spread hate. "It is time

for us to explore the possibility of

an international consensus on a

regulatory framework. "It is vital,

if we are to preserve democratic

the New Zealand Herald on

Saturday. According to a report by

the daily, 10 years ago, after the

death of Mohamed's father Abdul

Latif, his mother Samsun Nissa

moved the family to Colombo, renting

the upper floor of a mansion in a

space, that valuable tools such as

Facebook and Twitter among others,

are utilised as spaces to nurture

healthy debate rather than

breed violence and extremism,"

he said.

Sri Lanka had temporarily

banned all forms of social media

immediately after the April 21

bombings because it was being

used to circulate fake news and

create enmity between communities.

Access was restored on April

30. Perera, who is the chair of the

Working Group on Measures to

Eliminate International Terrorism,

urged all nations to come together

and adopt the Comprehensive

Convention on International

Terrorism (CCIT) that was proposed

by India in 1996.

"Too much blood has spilt for

us to remain deadlocked on this

issue. "The time has come for the

international community to go

beyond words and to demonstrate

political will and commitment in

taking the last remaining step to

conclude the CCIT and complete

the sectoral multilateral treaty

regime to address the global phenomenon

of terrorism.

"The international community

must send out a strong signal of its

majority Muslim eastern suburb.

After completing his studies in

Britain, Mohamed returned to the

property and fell in love with

Shifana, daughter of their landlord

who came from an affluent meattrading

family. Mohamed married

collective will to combat terrorism

and contribute to the effective

implementation of the Global

Counter Terrorism Strategy," he

added. India's Permanent

Representative Syed Akbaruddin

joined Perera in appealing for an

agreement on the CCIT. Perera,

"has, for more than two decades,

tried to steer us to an outcome on

the Comprehensive Convention

on International Terrorism",

Akbaruddin said.

"Perhaps, as a tribute to

the victims in his country,

we can all try and strengthen

efforts to achieve that

objective of a putting in

place a global legal framework

to counter a global

scourge," he added.

Denouncing the use of religion

to justify violence,

Mohammed said: "As a

Muslim, I know my faith

preaches peace and tolerance.

Tragically yet, again and again,

the world is seeing places of worship

become killing grounds and

houses of horror. "Churches,

mosques, synagogues and the religious

sites of many faiths are

being targeted for murder, arson,

vandalism and desecration... We

must reject this form of violence."

Espinosa reflected on how religions

can bring people together.

"I was deeply moved by the

images of Sri Lankans - Buddhist,

Christian, Hindu, Muslim,

Sinhalese, Tamil and others -

donating blood to treat survivors,"

she said. "Mosques and temples

have opened their doors to

Christian services. That is an

inspiring expression of courage

and resilience."

SL bomber's kin 'cooperating fully' with NZ police

her and shifted to Australia with her

to pursue postgraduate studies.

Mohamed's sister, meanwhile,

married a Sri Lankan and emigrated

to Auckland along with her mother.

Mohamed, who had his first child

in Australia, later returned to Sri

Lanka to live in the mansion his

family previously rented. His grandfather

had left him an extensive

property portfolio, including the

family home in Kandy.

As a result, the trained aeronautical

engineer did not need to work.

The bomber's sister said

Mohamed had been well educated

but became increasingly withdrawn

and intense as he descended into

extremism. "My brother became

deeply, deeply religious while he

was in Australia. After he did his

postgraduation in Australia, he

returned to Sri Lanka a different

man."He had a long beard and had

lost his sense of humour. He became

serious and withdrawn and would

not even smile at anyone he didn't

know, let alone laugh," she said.

May 2019

23

Sri Lanka disregarded Turkey

warnings: Ex-Minister

Colombo : Amid the apparent failure of

the Sri Lankan

government to act

on intelligence on

Easter Sunday's

suicide bombings,

information has

now surfaced that

the defence authorities

had also ignored Turkish government

alerts that 50 members of the Fethullah

Terrorist Organization (FETO) had arrived

in the island country.

Sri Lankan former External Affairs

Minister G.L. Peiris said that Turkish

Ambassador Tunca Ozcuhadar had handed

over documents related to the matter to

him, the Daily Mirror reported on Saturday.

Peiris is a loyalist of former President

Mahinda Rajapaksa. There was an attempted

coup to overthrow the Turkish government

and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

on July 15, 2016. The coup bid was blamed

on FETO, a terrorist outfit led by Islamic

preacher Fethullah Gulen, in which 250 people

were killed. Later, FETO terrorists fled

to different countries. Peiris said that the

Turkish Embassy had repeatedly alerted the

Sri Lankan government, Denmark, Austria

and some African countries about the terrorists

sneaking into their territories. While the

governments of these countries took prompt

action on the alert, the Sri Lankan authorities

paid no heed, he added.

The former Minister said that he then

brought this to the notice of President

Maithripala Sirisena when he met him with a

delegation led by Rajapaksa on Thursday to

discuss the security situation in the country.

Sri Lanka has been on alert since the April 21

bloodbath in which over 250 people were

killed and hundreds injured. The authorities

have cancelled weekend mass in the capital

due to fears of fresh bomb attacks.

Indian family skydives over

Amsterdam, sets new record

Pune : An Indian family, including a set of

10-year old twin boys, have set a new record

for family skydiving, as they jumped out of a

plane over Amsterdam. They are Shital

Mahajan-Rane, her husband Vaibhav Rane,

both professional skydivers, and their twins

Vrushabh and Vaibhav. "We have set two new

records - first time ever an Indian civilian family

has skydived together, and our two sons

becoming the youngest twins doing their first

tandem jump," Shital, a recipient of the Padma

Shri, told IANS from Amsterdam on Saturday.

They accomplished the feat on Friday

from a Super Caravan 206 aircraft flying at a

height of around 13,000 feet above The

Netherlands, she added. "Our sons celebrated

their 10th birthday on April 26 and it was

their desire to make their first skydiving

jump. So we came to Amsterdam last week

and fulfilled their birthday wish," Shital said.

Shital has notched some 750 jumps all

over the world while Vaibhav has 57 skydives

till date. To mark the 389th birth

anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,

Shital performed skydiving jumps over the

Great Pyramids of Giza on February 19.

First she jumped in a traditional

Maharashtrian ;nau-vari' sari and then went

for a repeat jump sporting the royal costume

of the legendary ancient Egyptian Queen

Nefertiti, who ruled around 3,700 years ago,

earning accolades from the Egyptian authorities.

She shot to global fame on April 18, 2004

when she became the first woman in the world

to make her maiden jump - without practice

dives - on the North Pole from a Russian MI-

8 helicopter from 2,700 feet in minus 37

degrees. On December 15, 2006, she made the

world's first Accelerated Free Fall Parachute

Jump on the South Pole in Antarctica, jumping

out of a Twin Otter aircraft from a height of

11,600 feet on the icy continent.


24 May 2019

WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Children's photo with poll

slogans costs Kirron Kher

Chandigarh : Posting a

picture of children on Twitter

with slogans "Vote for Kirron

Kher" and "Ab ki baar Modi

sarkar" has led to trouble for

the actor-turned-politician,

who is seeking re-election

from here.

Taking suo motu cognizance

of the incident, the

Election Commission had

issued a notice to her on

Friday, asking her to file the

reply within 24 hours. The

poll panel cited a January

2017 letter of the National

Commission for Protection

of Child Rights, asking the

Election Commission to

ensure that children are not

involved in any form with election-related

activities by either election officials or

political parties.

The post was subsequently removed

from Kher's Twitter account.

Kher is pitted against Congress' Pawan

Kumar Bansal, a former Union Minister,

and BJP rebel and AAP candidate

Harmohan Dhawan, who had also been a

Union Minister in Chandra Shekhar's

short-lived government.

Kher, 63, had won the Lok Sabha seat in

Afghanistan to release

175 Taliban prisoners

Kabul : Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

on Friday announced the release of 175

Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture as

a five-day summit on peace ended here

with a call for an urgent ceasefire and a

schedule for a proposed withdrawal of foreign

troops from the war-torn country. The

Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, set out its

recommendations

and urged the government

and the

Taliban to

"announce an

immediate and permanent

ceasefire

with the arrival of

Ramadan", TOLO

News reported.

Asking the

Taliban to shun violence,

the council

called on the warring

groups to begin

"intra-Afghan talks". Ghani inaugurated the

meeting on Monday. It saw about 3,200 ethnic,

religious and tribal representatives and

politicians from across the country gather in

the capital city under heavy security cover.

At the end of the five-day consultations, the

participants issued a 23-article resolution to

Ghani and called on the government, the

Taliban, the international community and

regional countries to "respect the recommendations

of the peace jirga".

They said the Constitution and the current

political structure of the government

should be "maintained and protected" and,

if necessary, amendments be brought in

only through legal ways. The resolution

asked the government "to pave the way to

bring the Taliban political office from

Qatar to Afghanistan". Among the key

demands was a timetable to be drawn up in

consultation with all related sides for what

the participants said was a "responsible

withdrawal" of foreign troops from

Afghanistan. Ghani said that the Peace

Jirga resolution will be the action plan and

the roadmap for the Afghan government

and that all recommendations of the resolution

will be implemented. "We are ready

to provide the ground for Taliban to be part

of the country's development. It is a friendly

suggestion." Announcing, the release of

175 Taliban prisoners as a gesture of goodwill

towards peace,

he called on the

Taliban to send their

delegation to Kabul

or another province

of the country to

receive them. Taliban

leaders have so far

refused to negotiate

with the government,

calling it a puppet of

the US. The militant

group has been

insisting on the withdrawal

of foreign

forces before talks with the government in

Kabul could begin.

The jirga, one of the several such events

held over the past 18 years to make national

decisions, comes as Taliban leaders and

officials from the US, led by envoy Zalmay

Khalilzad, have held several rounds of

peace talks in Qatar and the United Arab

Emirates amid opposition from Ghani's

government, which insists on having a central

role in the process. Ghani said that

Afghanistan peace will help economic

development in Pakistan. He said the

Afghan government wants a relationship

with Islamabad "which is based on mutual

respect and friendship, which is clear and is

an equal government-to-government relation".

He also "appreciated the US efforts

for Afghan peace and added that Kabul has

strategic relations with Washington".

He added the Taliban have now to make

their choice whether they will attend the

talks inside Afghanistan or in any of the

mentioned countries.

2014 by defeating her

closest rival Bansal by a

margin of nearly 70,000

votes.

Hailing from

Chandigarh itself, she,

however, not only faces

a tough challenge from

the Congress but also

from within the local

unit of the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP).

Chandigarh BJP

President Sanjay

Tandon was breathing

down her neck as

claimants for the BJP

ticket. He was a ticket

aspirant last time also

but Kher managed to

pip him at the post.

The nearly 6.2 lakh voters, including

40,000 new voters since 2014, of

Chandigarh will decide its next MP on May

19 in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

POLLUTION KEY ISSUE FOR

CHANDIGARH VOTERS : ADR

New Delhi : Voters in Chandigarh wanted end of water, air and

noise pollution, and improvement

in hospitals or primary healthcare

centres in the city, revealed the

Association for Democratic

Reforms (ADR) survey.

For the survey, around 500 voters

in Chandigarh were asked

about their priorities and voting

pattern. It revealed that water and air pollution (45.96 per cent),

noise pollution (45.57 per cent) and improvement in condition of

hospitals or primary healthcare centres (45.15 per cent) were their

top priorities, said ADR. However, the Chandigarh administration's

performance on top three voter priorities of water and air

pollution (1.65 on a scale of 5), noise pollution (1.83) and better

hospitals or primary healthcare centres (1.96) was rated below

average. In case of rural areas, top priorities were agriculture loan

availability (55 per cent), higher price realisation for farm produce

(55 per cent) and better employment opportunities (53 per

cent). The voters said the administration's performance was

below average and rated the work done as 1.64 on a scale of 5 for

agriculture loan availability, 2.01 for higher price realisation for

farm produce and 1.98 for better employment opportunities.

The urban voters reported water and air pollution (47 per

cent), noise pollution (47 per cent) and better hospitals or primary

healthcare centres (45 per cent) as top priorities and rated the

administration's performance below average. The steps to

improve water and air pollution was given 1.65 on the scale of 5,

noise pollution 1.83 and better hospitals or primary healthcare

centres 1.95. The ADR voter survey, conducted between October

and December 2018, covered 534 Lok Sabha constituencies with

2,73,487 voters participating in the exercise.

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