16-11-2020 The Asian Independent

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Vol : 04 : #55 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

Johnson self-isolates after Covid-19 contact

London : UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, who had tested positive

for the novel coronavirus earlier

this year, on Monday announced that

he was self-isolating after "being in

contact with someone with Covid-

19".

Taking to Twitter, the Prime

Minister said: "I've been instructed by

our NHS Test and Trace scheme to

self-isolate for two weeks, after being

in contact with someone with Covid-

19.

"I'm in good health and have no

New Delhi : The much-anticipated

privatisation process of the Bharat

Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL)

completed its first phase on Monday

with several suitors submitting

Expressions of Interest (EoIs). However,

sources said that major energy giants

including Reliance Industries, Saudi

Aramco and UK's BP have not placed

bids for the state-run oil major.

The transaction will move to the second

stage after scrutiny by the transaction

adviser, said a tweet from the

Twitter handle of the Secretary of the

Department of Investment and Public

Asset Management (DIPAM).

"For strategic disinvestment of BPCL,

multiple expressions of interest have

been received by the Transaction

Advisor. The Transaction will move to

the second stage after scrutiny by TA," it

said. Finance Minister Nirmala

Sitharaman also said that the BPCL disinvestment

process is making progress.

"Strategic disinvestment of BPCL

progresses: Now moves to the second

stage after multiple expressions of interest

have been received," she said in a

tweet. Sources said that 3-4 four bids

have come in for the oil giant.

The deadline for submitting the EoIs

for privatisation of BPCL closed on

Monday and there has so far been a buzz

of mixed interest amongst the bidders.

Other global giants such as Total and

Russia's Rosneft also have not pitched in

the strategic sale of BPCL.

RIL and Abu Dhabi National Oil

symptoms, and will continue to lead

on our response to the virus and our

plans to #BuildBackBetter."

In a video, also posted on the

micro-blogging platform, Johnson

said that he was "pinged" by the NHS

Test and Trace on Sunday and was

asked to self-isolate as a precautionary

measure.

"We have got to interrupt the

spread of the disease and one of the

ways we could do that now is by selfisolating

for 14 days when you get

contacted by NHS Test and Trace,"

Several EoIs received for BPCL sale,

giants RIL, Aramco, BP not in race

Company (ADNOC) were

anticipated to submit their bids.

While RIL has not put in a bid

as per sources, it could not be

ascertained whether ADNOC

has gone ahead with a bid.

ADNOC already has footprint

in India as it is the only

overseas company that has

crude stored in Indian caverns.

The lack of interest among

major players comes on the

back of the poor oil demand

globally amid the pandemic and low oil

prices. The EoIs came on Monday after

four extensions of the deadline for submission

of bids.

The Centre has put its entre 52.98 per

cent stake in the BPCL on the block.

It proposes to disinvest its entire

shareholding in the BPCL comprising

1,14,91,83,592 equity shares held

through the Ministry of Petroleum and

Natural Gas, which constitutes 52.98 per

cent of BPCL's equity share capital,

along with the transfer of management

control to the strategic buyer (except

BPCL's equity shareholding of 61.65 per

cent in (NRL) and management control

thereon). The shareholding of the BPCL

in the NRL will be transferred to a

Central Public Sector Enterprise operating

in the oil and gas sector under the

Ministry and accordingly, is not a part of

the proposed transaction. The government's

stake in BPCL is worth around Rs

47,000 crore at BPCL's current share

price. According to an earlier research

note by Emkay Global, according to

DIPAM's response to PIM queries, interested

parties may include global players

with limited knowledge on Indian corporate/PSU/accounting/takeover

rules as

well as parties seeking higher level of

clarifications. "The progress on BPCL's

sale is positive for OMCs in terms of

deepening deregulation and profitability

outlook. Given the tight fiscal situation,

disinvestment would be of utmost importance

to the government this year," the

report said.

Johnson said in the video.

"I am absolutely confident that

together we can beat this disease.

Don't forget hands, face, space, get a

test if you have symptoms," he added.

According to a BBC report, the

Prime Minister on November 12 spent

about 35 minutes with Conservative

MP Lee Anderson, who lost his sense

of taste the next day.

On Sunday, Anderson announced

that he was self-isolating with his wife

after they both tested positive for the

virus. In April, Johnson spent three

nights in intensive care after contracting

the disease.

He later said it "could have gone

either way" and thanked healthcare

workers for saving his life.

The development comes as

England is currently under a national

lockdown, the second of its kind since

the onset of the pandemic in the UK,

aimed at curbing the resurgence of

new Covid-19 cases.

As of Monday, the UK's Covid-19

caseload and death toll stood at

1,372,884 and 52,026, respectively.

US remains top choice

for Indian students for

HIGHER EDUCATION

New Delhi : Despite the coronavirus

Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Indian students find the best program

pandemic, around 2,00,000

Indian students chose the US as their

destination to pursue higher education

in the 2019-20 academic year.

As per the Open Doors Report of

Mumbai. EducationUSA is a global

network of advising centers in 170

countries that is supported by the US

Department of State's Bureau of

Educational and Cultural Affairs

and the right fit from among

the 4,500 accredited higher-education

institutions in the US. Open

Doors reports on international scholars

at US universities and international

the Institute of International (ECA). The United States-India

students enrolled in pre-aca-

Education (IIE), released on Educational Foundation (USIEF) - demic Intensive English Programs.

Monday, Indian students comprised

nearly 20 per cent of the over one

million (10 lakh) students from

around the world.

The IIE has been conducting

annual statistical survey on international

the Fulbright Commission of India,

is a binational

The Bureau of Educational and

Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the US

Department of State builds relations

between the people of the US and

the people of other countries through

academic, cultural, sports, profes-

students in the US since its

sional and private sector

founding in 1919 and in partnership

with the US Department of

State's Bureau of Educational

and Cultural Affairs since 1972.

Over the last few decades,

exchanges, as well as public-private

partnerships and mentoring

programs.

Approximately 50,000 participants

annually embark on

the US has seen a steady

these exchange programs,

increase in the number of undergraduate

students from India.

"Over the last 10 years, the number

of Indians studying in the

United States has roughly doubled,

and we know why: the United States

including the flagship Fulbright

Program and the International

Visitor Leadership Program. ECA

also sponsors the Benjamin A.

Gilman Scholarships for US undergraduates

with financial need, the

is the gold standard for higher education,

Critical Language Scholarship

providing practical applica-

tion and experience that gives our

graduates an advantage in the global

economy," Minister Counselor for

Public Affairs, David Kennedy, said.

To assist Indian students, the US

organization

which promotes mutual understanding

between the United States and

India through educational and cultural

exchanges.

Program in support of US foreign

language study abroad, and the

EducationUSA network of over 400

advising centers worldwide, which

provides information to students

around the globe who wish to study

Department of State offers advising Early next year, a second in the US. Since the onset of the

services to prospective students EducationUSA Center is opening in global Covid-19 pandemic, ECA has

through seven EducationUSA advising

Hyderabad hosted by Y-Axis revamped its exchange programs as

centers at the United States-India

Educational Foundation (USIEF)

throughout India -- New Delhi,

Foundation. All centers are staffed

by EducationUSA advisors who

offer information about opportunities

appropriate to include part- or fulltime

virtual components or deferred

exchanges until such time that they

Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata,

to study in the US, helping can resume.

v


2

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

India slams Pak for deliberate attempt to shift focus from internal failures

New Delhi : India has

slammed a recent press conference

by Pakistan's Foreign

Ministry and the

Establishment, terming it "yet

another futile anti-India propaganda

exercise". Ministry of

External Affairs spokesperson

Anurag Srivastava said, in

response to a media query, said:

"We have seen media reports

on a press conference by the

Pakistani establishment. This is

yet another futile anti-India

propaganda exercise."

"The so-called claims of

'proof' against India enjoy no

credibility, are fabricated and

represent figments of imagination.

This desperate attempt

will find few takers as the international

community is aware of

Pakistan's tactics and proof of

Sikh body SGPC turns 100,

celebrates in low-key manner

Amritsar : The Shiromani Gurdwara

Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which

manages Sikh shrines and runs a 'langar'

(free community kitchen) for hundreds of

thousands of people on a daily basis at different

gurdwaras, on Sunday celebrated its

centenary in a low-key manner owing to

the coronavirus pandemic.

The main function to mark the centenary

was organised at the Akal Takht, the

highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and

Manji Sahib in Darbar Sahib complext

here.

The SGPC was constituted on

November 15, 1920, and was notified

through a Sikh Gurdwara Act in 1925 by

the then British government.

Its present President Gobind Singh

Longowal told the media that the SGPC's

glorious history would be showcased

through documentaries and books. He said

that its executive committee has decided

that 100 years of Nankana Sahib Shaheedi

Saka would be observed in February next

year. The SGPC was raised to wrest the

its terror sponsorship has

been admitted by none

other than its own leadership,"

he added.

The reaction by India

came a day after Pakistan

Foreign Minister Shah

Mahmood Qureshi

addressed a press conference

with Army spokesman

Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar to

claim that India was behind

some of the terror attacks in

that country.

The MEA spokesperson

said: "The face of global

terror, Osama Bin Laden,

was found in Pakistan;

Pakistan's PM glorified

him as a 'martyr' from the

floor of Parliament; he

admitted the presence of

40,000 terrorists in Pakistan;

their Science and Technology

Minister proudly claimed

control of Sikh shrines from 'mahants' and

priests. The prominent gurdwaras included

the Golden Temple. In its initial years, the

SGPC also fought against untouchability

and the caste system.

Besides giving 'karah prasad' and maintaining

shelter homes and helping the poor

and needy children as well as students and

performing a host of other social activities,

involvement and success of

Pakistan, led by its Prime

the SGPC took major steps to provide succour

to the Sikhs in Pakistan and

Afghanistan as well, sending relief material

in earthquake-battered Nepal in 2015.

The cash-rich SGPC runs the world's

largest community kitchen -- feeding an

average 50,000 devotees on weekdays and

over 100,000 on weekends and festivals

with freshly cooked food at the Harmandar

Sahib, popularly known as the Golden

Temple, in Amritsar. Besides the Golden

Temple, the SGPC runs the 'langar' service

in other famous Sikh shrines like Takht

Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib (where

Khalsa Panth was established on April 13,

1699, by tenth Sikh master Guru Gobind

Singh), Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi

Sabo in Bathinda district and scores of

other gurdwaras under it.

The 'langar sewa' is part of the Sikh religious

ethos started to emphasise equality in

society regardless of religion, caste, colour

or creed. The completely vegetarian langar

service is funded from donations made by

people at gurdwaras.

Minister, in the Pulwama terror

attack in which 40 Indian soldiers

were martyred."

Despite repeated calls for

restraint and adherence to the

ceasefire understanding of

2003 for maintaining peace and

tranquillity, Pakistani forces

continue to engage in providing

supporting cover fire to infiltrators,

he said. The incessant

infiltration of terrorists and

induction of weapons to fuel

terror activities continues

unabated. Such activities are

not possible without the support

of Pakistani forces

deployed along the LoC, he

added. The MEA spokesperson

said the press conference was a

deliberate attempt on the part of

the Pakistani establishment to

shift focus from its internal

political and economic failures.

It also seeks to justify crossborder

terrorism, including

ceasefire violations and infiltration

across the LoC and the

IB. "We call upon Pakistan to

end its support to cross border

terrorism. Pakistani leaders

have never hidden the fact that

it has become a factory for producing

terrorists. India is not

the only neighbour to be targeted

as underlined by the statements

of countries similarly

targeted," he added. "Distant

parts of the world have seen the

terror trail lead back to

Pakistan. Concocting documents

and peddling false narratives

will not absolve Pakistan

of such actions. We are confident

the world will hold it to

account," Srivastava said.

Chennai Air Customs foil gold

smuggling bid, one held

Chennai : Chennai Air Customs on Sunday said one person

was arrested for trying to

smuggle gold into the

country and also seized

10,000 US dollars in

denomination of $100

worth Rs 7.35 lakh. In a

statement, Commissioner

of Customs, Chennai

International Airport said a

passenger Siddiq Sheik Abdullah who arrived from Dubai by Air

India flight was searched and three bundles of old paste weighing

656 grams recovered from rectum which on extraction yielded

596 grams gold. One 49 gram gold cut bit was also recovered

from his pant pocket. Total 645 grams gold of 24 K purity valued

at Rs 33.6 lakhs was recovered and seized. Abdullah was

arrested. In another case one Mohamed Rifath, arrived from

Dubai by Fly Dubai flight was intercepted at exit and on search,

one bundle of gold paste of 172 grams was recovered from rectum

which on extraction yielded 154 grams of gold valued at Rs

7.9 lakhs and seized . Total 799 grams of gold worth Rs 41.56

lakh was seized from the two passengers.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Nagoor Meeran destained to Dubai

was intercepted at the departure terminal while proceeding to the

security hold area after Immigration, on suspicion that he might

be carrying foreign currency. On examination of his check in

baggage, one white envelope containing 10,000 US Dollars in

denomination of 100 equivalent to Rs 7.35 lakh were recovered

and seized Customs Act 1962 read with FEMA (Export and

Import of currency) Regulations, 2015.

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

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ON THIS DAY : Sachin Tendulkar

makes international debut

New Delhi : It was on his international debut. "On This Day 1989 - Sachin

November 15, 1989, when legendary

Tendulkar, however, did not get Tendulkar made his debut in

cricketer Sachin to bat again in the Test match international cricket. 2013 -

Tendulkar made his debut in

international cricket and went

on to "inspire billions" across

the globe with his batting skills.

Tendulkar, 16, made his

international debut in a Test

match between India and

Pakistan that was played at the

National Stadium in Karachi.

Along with Tendulkar, Salil

Ankola also made his Test

which ended in a draw.

Coincidently, on November

15, 2013, Tendulkar went out to

bat for the last time in international

cricket during a Test

match against the West Indies

at the Wankhede Stadium in

Mumbai.

In his last international

innings, Tendulkar managed 74

runs before he became the

The legend walked out to bat

for Team India one final time.

Thank you for inspiring billions

across the globe," BCCI

said in a tweet.

The 'Master Blaster' went on

to play 200 Tests for India,

scoring 100 centuries across

Tests and ODIs. In 463 ODIs,

Tendulkar scored 18,426 runs

including 49 tons and in Tests,

debut for India. The right-handed

priced scalp of Narsingh he has 15,921 runs to his name,

batsman managed just 15

runs in his debut innings before

he was castled by Waqar

Younis, who was also making

Deonarine. India, under MS

Dhoni's leadership, went on to

win the match by an innings

and 126 runs.

including 51 centuries. He also

played one T20I match against

South Africa in 2006 in which

he scored 10 runs.

* 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

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

3

Next 2 weeks crucial for lifting

England lockdown: UK scientist

London : The next two

weeks will be "absolutely crucial"

to ensure an end to

England's month-long lockdown

on December 2 as

planned, a UK government scientific

adviser said.

Professor Susan Michie,

who is on the government's

Scientific Advisory Group for

Emergencies (SAGE), said on

Saturday that the next two

weeks will be "very challenging,

partly because of the

weather (and) partly because, I

think, the promise of a vaccine

Jameela Jamil used

to be a misogynist

may be making people feel

complacent", reports Xinhua

news agency.

"The vaccine is very unlikely

to come in until the end of

the year or beginning of next

year and that's going to make

no difference to the current second

wave. "So I think for the

next two weeks, everybody has

to really get all their resolve

together," she added. Last

week, England entered a

national lockdown until

December 2, the second of its

kind since the onset of the pandemic

in the UK, in a bid to

quell the resurgence of the

virus.

Another 27,301 people in

the country have tested positive

for Covid-19, bringing the total

caseload to 1,317,496, according

to official figures.

The death toll rose by 376 to

51,304. The UK is the first

European nation to record more

than 50,000 coronavirus

deaths. It is the fifth country in

the world to hit the tragic milestone,

following the US, Brazil,

India and Mexico.

'MAKE OR BREAK' moment

approaching for UK-EU talks

London : Negotiators from

the UK and the European

Union (EU) have said that the

ongoing trade talks between

the two sides were reaching

the "make or break" point,

with key points of difference

proving hard to resolve, a

media report said on Saturday.

The BBC report cited UK

sources as saying that there

had been no breakthrough this

week between the UK's negotiator

David Frost and his EU

counterpart Michel Barnier,

with the two ending their discussions

in a similar position

to how they started them.

There were still "quite big

gaps" between the sides, they

added. Meanwhile, an

informed EU source said one

of the recent meetings between

Frost and Barnier had been

"short and brutal". The two

men are due to meet again in

Brussels on Monday.

Last week, the UK's

National Audit Office (NAO)

warned of "significant disruption"

when the Brexit transition

period ends on December

31.

Regardless of the outcome

of the post-Brexit negotiations

for a free trade agreement

between the UK and the EU,

there will be a significant

change at the border in 2021, it

added. The government spending

watchdog said in its latest

report that while the UK has

now left the EU, preparations

to manage the border at the

end of the transition period

remain very challenging.

The UK and the EU started

their lengthy and bumpy post-

Brexit talks in March after the

country formally exited the

bloc on January 31, trying to

secure a future trade deal

before the Brexit transition

period expires.

Muslims report Islamophobia

in UK's LABOUR PARTY

London : Actress Jameela Jamil reveals that she used to be a

misogynist and would speak disparagingly about women. "I was

a misogynist. I didn't have a good vibe of women growing up. I

would speak disparagingly about women. I thought women were

always about drama. I had all this rage and then I would project

it at women, at the nearest, easiest target," Jamil told Red Table

Talk, reports femalefirst.co.uk. She said that there is "documented

proof" of her shaming "loads of female celebrities, like Miley,

Beyonce, Rihanna, Kim� all these different people, Iggy

Azalea". "I was doing it because I was in pain. I was a troll. I

thought I was doing feminism," she added.

"I've been seeing for months now that my tweets keep being

deleted. And it says that I have deleted them, when I haven't. And

it's made people on here think it's me shying away from opinions

or controversial exchanges I've had," she said.

Jamil added: "Especially when it's happened over supportive

tweets about the trans community, the disabled community, the

Black community, or the fat community, to think that people

think I have changed my mind and deliberately deleted those

statements makes my blood boil."

The actress admits that she knows all that she said "will

always be behind me and that I can never delete it in anyone's

memory, and nor should I ... Turns out it was some third-party

apps that had access to my account doing it all along".

London : British Muslim

Labour Party members and

supporters have witnessed

Islamophobia within the the

country's biggest opposition

party, a recent report has

found. An investigation carried

out by Labour Muslim

Network and reported by

ITV News,revealed that

more than a third of Muslims

associated with the Labour

Party have witnessed

Islamophobia.

Forty-four per cent said

they do not believe the party

takes the issue of rising

Islamophobia seriously, and

48 per cent said they have

lost confidence in the party's

complaints structures.

Ali Reza Milani, who

stood against Prime Minister

Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South

Ruislip parliamentary constituency in the

last year's general election, claimed a fellow

party member told him Muslims could

not be in the parliament because of "their

propensity to violence" and asked if he was

a terrorist, ITV News reported. Milani said:

"It hurts to feel like I experienced that sort

of abuse from a party member and it not

only took a year for them to get back to me,

but the complaint was lost. It's just hurtful."

Muslim MP from Manchester Gorton,

Afzal Khan, who also heads the parliamentary

chair of Labour Muslim Network, said

Islamophobia within the party had gone

"unnoticed" and "deserved immediate

attention". "Whilst the Labour Party has

enjoyed the overwhelming support of the

Muslim community for decades, we cannot

take their support for granted.

"The Labour Party must commit to a

zero tolerance of Islamophobia and rebuild

confidence with its Muslim

members," Khan said.

Labour MP Apsana

Begum representing the

Poplar and Limehouse

constituency told ITV

News: "It's quite regular to

be asked questions and to

constantly be asked to reaffirm

my commitment

towards British society as

if in some way my identity

and politics are not compatible."

The report also revealed

that 59 per cent of Muslims

surveyed said they did not

feel well represented by the

Labour Party.

Responding to the

report, the Labour leader

Keir Starmer, and deputy

leader, Angela Rayner,

said: "We thank Labour Muslim Network

for this important report, as well as their

work to ensure our Muslim members are

represented, included and heard.

"Islamophobia has no place in our party

or society and we are committed to rooting

it out. "We look forward to working with

LMN to implement their recommendations

and will be meeting with them to discuss

the next steps in tackling the scourge of

Islamophobia."


4

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

GREEN materials can power

smart devices at home, office

London : A team of

researchers has discovered

that new green materials

currently being

developed for next-generation

solar panels could be

useful for indoor light harvesting,

paving the way to

power smart devices using

ambient light at home or

office. In smart devices

like smartphones, smart

speakers and wearable

health and wellness sensors,

the can deplete

quickly and contain toxic

and rare environmentally

damaging chemicals.

One way to power

them is by converting indoor light from

ordinary bulbs into energy, in a similar

way to how solar panels harvest energy

from sunlight, known as solar photovoltaics.

However, due to the different

properties of the light sources, the

materials used for solar panels are not

suitable for harvesting indoor light.

Now, researchers from Imperial

College London, Soochow University

in China, and the University of

Cambridge have detailed a novel way

in a paper published in the journal

Advanced Energy Materials.

"By efficiently absorbing the light

coming from lamps commonly found

in homes and buildings, the materials

we investigated can turn light into electricity

with an efficiency already in the

range of commercial technologies,"

explained study co-author Dr Robert

Hoye from the Department of

Materials at Imperial.

"We have also already identified

several possible improvements, which

would allow these materials to surpass

the performance of current indoor photovoltaic

technologies in the near

future".

The team investigated 'perovskiteinspired

materials', which were created

to circumvent problems with materials

called perovskites, which were developed

for next-generation solar cells.

Although perovskites are cheaper to

make than traditional silicon-based

UK reports another

26,860 coronavirus

cases, 462 DEATHS

solar panels and

deliver similar

efficiency, perovskites

contain

toxic lead substances.

This drove the

development of

perovskiteinspired

materials,

which are

instead based on

safer elements

like bismuth and

antimony. The

team found that

the materials are

much more effective

at absorbing

indoor light, with efficiencies that are

promising for commercial applications.

Crucially, the researchers

demonstrated that the power provided

by these materials under indoor illumination

is already sufficient to operate

electronic circuits.

Professor Vincenzo Pecunia, from

Soochow University, said: "Our discovery

opens up a whole new direction

in the search for green, easy-to-make

materials to sustainably power our

smart devices".

Lead-free perovskite-inspired materials

could soon enable battery-free

devices for wearables, healthcare monitoring,

smart homes, and smart cities,

the authors wrote.

Normalcy may return

by winter 2021, says

Covid vaccine creator

London : Normalcy from the

Covid era can only be expected by

next year's winter as any Covid vaccine

will take to show its effect and

will not immediately reduce the number

of infections, as per the co-developer

of Pfizer's vaccine, media

reports said. A new Covid vaccine's

impact will work significantly over

the summer and life should be back

to normal by next winter, Prof Ugur

Sahin, co-founder of BioNTech,

whose vaccine candidate has proved

to prevent over 90 per cent people

from getting Covid-19, as per preliminary

reports. The Pfizer-BioNTech is

one of the 11 vaccines in their final

tests. This winter would still be hard,

he said in an interview on the BBC's

Andrew Marr Show.

Sahin said he was confident the

vaccine would reduce transmission

between people as well as stop symptoms

developing in someone who has

had the vaccine, though not as high

as the test results but still "maybe 50

per cent".

He said as everything continued to

go well, he said, the vaccine would

begin to be delivered at the "end of

this year, beginning of next year".

The goal was to deliver more than

300 million doses worldwide by next

April, he said on the BBC show,

which "could allow us to only start to

make an impact" and the bigger

impact would happen later only.

"Summer will help us because the

infection rate will go down in the

summer and what is absolutely essential

is that we get a high vaccination

rate until or before autumn/winter

next year," he stressed.

Asked if the vaccine was as effective

in older people as it is in younger

people, he said he expected to have a

better idea in the next three weeks.

He said it was not yet known how

long immunity would last after the

vaccine's second shot is administered.

Sahin also said the "key side

effects" of the vaccine seen so far

were a mild to moderate pain in the

injection site for a few days, while

some participants had a mild to moderate

fever over a similar period.

London : Another 26,860

people in Britain have tested

positive for Covid-19, bringing

the total number of coronavirus

cases in the country to

13,44,356, according to official

figures released on Saturday.

The coronavirus-related

deaths in Britain rose by 462 to

51,766, the data showed.

Britain is the first European

nation to record more than

50,000 coronavirus deaths. It is

the fifth country in the world to

hit the tragic milestone, following

the US, Brazil, India and

Mexico, the Xinhua news

agency reported.

Earlier Saturday, a British

government scientific adviser

warned that the next fortnight

will be "absolutely crucial" to

ensure an end to England's

month-long lockdown on

December 2 as planned,

Professor Susan Michie,

who is on the government's

Scientific Advisory Group for

Emergencies (SAGE), said the

next two weeks will be "very

challenging, partly because of

the weather (and) partly

because, I think, the promise of

a vaccine may be making people

feel complacent".

Michie said: "The vaccine is

very unlikely to come in until

the end of the year or beginning

of next year and that's going to

make no difference to the current

second wave."

"So I think for the next two

weeks, everybody has to really

get all their resolve together,"

she added.

According to SAGE,

Britain's coronavirus reproduction

number, also known as the

R number, has dropped slightly

to a maximum of 1.2.

If the R number is above

one, it means the number of

cases will increase exponentially.

England last week entered

into a month-long national

lockdown until Dec.2, the second

of its kind since the coronavirus

outbreak in Britain, in a

bid to quell the resurgence of

coronavirus.

To bring life back to normal,

countries such as Britain,

China, Germany, Russia and

the United States are racing

against time to develop coronavirus

vaccines.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

DELHI : 850 arrested on Diwali night,

over 1,200 cases for bursting crackers

New Delhi : Delhi Police arrested over

850 people and registered more than 1,200

cases for selling and bursting crackers on

Diwali night in violation of a ban on firecrackers

in the national capital.

A total of 1314 kilograms of crackers

were also seized from various parts of

Delhi on Saturday.

Maximum cases were registered in outer

north district (165) followed by North West

which reported a total of 127 while minimum

cases were registered in New Delhi

and Central district (17).

"A total of 1,206 cases in connection

with firecrackers were registered in Delhi.

This is the Diwali night figure," said Anil

Mittal, Additional PRO Delhi Police.

Policemen were seen making public

announcements asking people to avoid

bursting crackers as it could induce legal

action. The senior police officers also visited

the busy markets and colonies and urged

people to abstain from bursting crackers.

However as the night wore on, the sound of

bursting of firecrackers filled the air and

many people resorted to social media to

report the ban violation.

Police teams were also seen checking

the busy markets on Diwali for Covid

guidelines' violation especially for not

wearing masks.

On Sunday morning, after the Diwali

celebrations, a thick blanket of noxious

smog had enveloped the national capital

and raised pollution in the city to "emergency"

level on Sunday where the hourly

average concentrations of PM 2.5, a deadly

pollutant, touched more than 1000ug/m3

at midnight.

Delhi Fire Department receiving strange

'OIL RAIN' calls from all over city

New Delhi : Just as the drizzle started in

the city on Sunday evening, the Delhi Fire

Department started receiving multiple calls

reporting "oil rain" from all over the city

and were investigating, amid some roads

being closed after bikers slipped.

"We are receiving calls from all parts of

Delhi about oil rain and so far, we have

responded to more than 40 calls," a senior

Fire Department officer said.

Another official said that these calls

were reported from all directions, and

began after the drizzle started at around 5

p.m. Police had to close one of the roads

leading to Jamia Nagar opposite the Holy

Family Hospital in south Delhi after some

bikers slipped on the road.

The Fire Brigade was seen responding

to one such call in nearby New Friends

Colony. A senior police officer said that a

call of oil spill was received after which the

Fire Department was informed.

"Many bikers slipped and fell on the

road because of the slippery oil-like material

spilled on the road. As a precautionary

measure, the Fire Brigade was called and

the road was washed," one of the callers

told IANS.

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

5

GURUGRAM : Accused

involved in Rs 400 Cr

fraud with Citibank held

Gurugram : A man involved in a Rs 400 crore fraud case with

Citibank in 2010 was

arrested by the Gurugram

police, officials said on

Sunday. The accused was

arrested then but he was on

bail granted by the court.

But later on the accused

didn't appear before the

court and was declared a

proclaimed offender.

The arrested accused

was identified as Shivraj

Puri, a resident of DLF

Phase-5 in Gurugram.

According to the police the culprit was sentenced by a Gurugram

court over an alleged fraud case but the accused had moved the

High Court which granted him bail.

The accused was nabbed from Dehradun on November 13, the

police said. "He was on bail but he didn't attend any court proceeding

since then and later he was declared a proclaimed offender

by the court. After coming to bail, the accused carried out several

incidents of cheating in crores of rupees by tempting people

to invest their money in the name of getting good returns. In connection

with these frauds two separate cases were registered

against him in Gurugram, said ACP (crime), Preet Pal Sangwan.

The police will seek remand of the accused for further questioning,

Sangwan said. In 2010, the Citibank fraud had hit the several

headlines across the country. Apart from the Gurugram police,

a team of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had also

conducted separate investigations in connection with the huge

fraud. In connection with this a case was registered under Section

406, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B of the IPC at DLF Phase-2 police

station in Gurugram.

Manipur CM Biren Singh tests

positive for Covid-19

Imphal : Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Sunday

said that he has tested positive for

Covid-19.

"I have tested positive for Covid-

19. I request all those who came in

close contact with me recently, to self

isolate and get tested," he tweeted. In

a Facebook post, Biren Singh said:

"Friends, I have tested Covid positive

today (Sunday) after having some

symptoms. All that have been in close

proximity to me in the last few days

are requested to get themselves tested.

I am fine at the moment."

According to a Health Department

official, the 59-year-old Chief

Minister, who had campaigned extensively in the run-up to the

November 7 bypolls to five Assembly seats, is undergoing home

isolation.

In Manipur, 21,636 people have been affected by coronavirus,

and 218 of them have died.

ARMY PAYS TRIBUTES TO ITS BRAVEHEARTS

Srinagar : The Army on Sunday paid

tributes to its bravehearts martyred in the

line of duty during Pakistani firing at the

LoC in north Kashmir, officials said.

In a solemn ceremony held at BB Cantt,

Lt General BS Raju, Chinar Corps

Commander, and all ranks paid homage to

Havildar Hardhan Chandra Roy, Naik Satai

Bhushan Rameshrao, Gunner Subodh

Ghosh, and Sepoy Jondhale Rushikesh

Ramchandra on behalf of the proud and

grateful nation.

The gallant soldiers had made the

supreme sacrifice on November 13 when the

Pakistan Army indulged in unprovoked

ceasefire violations in multiple Sectors of

Kashmir.

Havildar Hardhan Chandra Roy and

Gunner Subodh Ghosh of the Artillery

Regiment were deployed in the Uri Sector

while Naik Satai Bhushan Rameshrao and

Sepoy Jondhale Rushikesh Ramchandra of

the Maratha Light Infantry were deployed in

the Gurez Sector.

In the unprovoked artillery shelling by

Pakistan army, these bravehearts received

multiple splinter injuries. They were provided

immediate medical aid and evacuated to

nearest military medical facilities, but succumbed

to their injuries. Late Havildar

Hardhan Chandra Roy, 38, belonged to

Mhedhipara village in Futkibari Tehsil in

Dhubri district, Assam. He had joined the

Army in 2001 and is survived by his wife

and son. Late Naik Satai Bhushan

Rameshrao hailed from Kotal village in

Nagpur district, Maharashtra. The 28-yearold

had joined the Army in 2011 and is survived

by his parents.

Late Gunner Subodh Ghosh had joined

the Army in 2017. The 22-year-old belonged

to Raghunathpur vilalge in Tehatta Tehsil in

Nadia district, West Bengal, and is survived

by his wife and parents.

Late Sepoy Jondhale Rushikesh

Ramchandra hailed from Bahirewadi village

in of jara Tehsil in Kolhapur district,

Maharashtra. The 20-year-old had joined the

Army in 2019 and is survived by his parents.

"The Chinar Corps also acknowledges the

supreme sacrifice of Sub-Inspector Rakesh

Doval of the Border Security Force during

the ceasefire violation in Naugam Sector,"

the Army said. The mortal remains of the

bravehearts were taken to their native places,

where they would be cremated with full military

honours. "In this hour of grief, the

Army stands in solidarity with these

bereaved families and remains committed to

their dignity and well-being," the Army said.


6 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

India summons Pak diplomat

over J&K ceasefire violations

New Delhi : India on Saturday summoned the Charge d'Affaires

of the Pakistan High

Commission to lodge a

strong protest over unprovoked

ceasefire violation

in Jammu and Kashmir

on the festive occasion of

Diwali.

In a statement, the

Ministry of External

Affairs said, "The Charge

d'Affaires of the High

Commission of Pakistan was summoned by the Ministry of

External Affairs today and a strong protest was lodged over unprovoked

ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces, on multiple sectors

along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on 13

November 2020, resulting in the death of four innocent civilians

and serious injuries to 19 others". "India condemns, in the strongest

terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistani

forces," MEA said.

"It is highly deplorable that Pakistan chose a festive occasion in

India to disrupt peace and perpetrate violence in J&K through coordinated

firing along the length of the LoC using heavy caliber

weapons, including artillery and mortar on Indian civilians," the

statement by India said. India also strongly protested Pakistan's

continued support to cross border terrorist infiltration into India,

including through supporting cover fire provided by Pakistan

forces. Pakistan was once again reminded of its bilateral commitment

to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism

against India in any manner.

Assam police arrest six for gang

raping two Tripura girls

Agartala/Silchar : Assam police on Sunday arrested six men for

gang raping two Tripura

girls in southern Assam's

Karimganj district, officials

said. Karimganj

police Chief Mayank

Kumar said that a car

driver picked up the two

girls to take them to

northern Tripura, adjoining

southern Assam, on

Saturday night. Later, the

driver of the vehicle

along with his five other

accomplices gang raped the girls at an under construction building

site at Nilambazar.

Kumar, who personally led the raids to nab the accused, told the

media that the victims, both are sisters, have identified all the men.

Police said that the girls with the help of a truck driver reached

at a safer place first and then lodged an FIR at the Patharkhandi

police station (in Karimganj district) before the police launched the

operations to detain the culprits, two of whom are residents of

Tripura and remaining three inhabitants of Assam's Karimganj.

The incident took place when the girls were returning to their

home in northern Tripura after visiting the Silchar Medical College

and Hospital where their cancer patient mother has been undergoing

medical treatment.

Rs 7.8 lakh fake currency

racket busted in Bengaluru

Bengaluru : A fake currency racket

was busted in this tech city and three persons

were arrested for allegedly circulating

and using the counterfeit notes, police

said on Sunday. "We have seized 389 fake

notes of Rs 2,000 denomination

equivalent to Rs 7,78,000 and a

colour photocopy machine

from the trio - Suman, Devaraj

and Munikrishnan," Bengaluru

southeast Assistant

Commissioner of Police

Sudheer Hegde told IANS. A

case has been registered against

the accused under section 489

of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

for operating the racket in the

city over the months using the

machine.

"The accused, who hail from

Tamil Nadu, have been sent to 14-day

judicial custody for investigation to ascertain

how long they have been operating

and where all they have been circulating

the fake currency notes," added Hegde.

BSP appoints Bhim

Rajbhar as UP chief

Lucknow : Bahujan Samaj

Party (BSP) president

Mayawati has appointed Bhim

Rajbhar as the new state president

in Uttar Pradesh, replacing

Munkad Ali.

Munkad Ali was appointed

state president in August last

year and it is believed that the

party's failure to win even a single

seat in the recently concluded

Assembly by-elections, is the

reason behind his removal.

A resident of Mau district,

Bhim Rajbhar belongs to the

Most Backward Class category

and his appointment is aimed at

bringing the MBCs closer to the

party.

Abhay Nath Tripathi, the

BSP candidate in the recent byelections

in Deoria, quit the

party on Sunday.

He alleged that the BSP was

pursuing wrong policies and

accused the party coordinators

of exploiting him mentally and

financially.

China, 14 Asian nations sign world's biggest

trade deal, India withdrew last year

New Delhi : China and 14 other

Asian countries have agreed to

form the world's largest free trade

bloc with nearly a third of all economic

activity.

The Regional Comprehensive

Economic Partnership, or RCEP,

was signed virtually on Sunday on

the sidelines of the annual summit

of the 10-nation Association of

Southeast Asian Nations

(ASEAN). "RCEP will soon be

ratified by signatory countries and

take effect, contributing to the

post-COVID pandemic economic

recovery," said Nguyen Xuan

Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam,

which hosted the ceremony as

ASEAN chair, Al Jazeera reported.

The report said RECP will take

tariffs lower between member

countries. It will account for 30

per cent of the global economy, 30

per cent of the global population

and reach 2.2 billion consumers, according

to Vietnam. In addition to the 10 ASEAN

nations, the accord includes China, Japan,

South Korea, Australia and New Zealand,

but not the US. Officials said the accord

leaves the door open for India, which

dropped out due to fierce domestic opposition

to its market-opening requirements, to

rejoin the bloc, Al Jazeera said.

The accord is a coup for China, by far the

biggest market in the region with more than

1.3 billion people, allowing Beijing to cast

itself as a "champion of globalisation and

multilateral cooperation" and giving it

greater influence over rules governing

regional trade, Gareth Leather, senior Asian

'Anushka's dog Virat': Cong leader

Udit Raj defends Kohli against trolls

New Delhi : Congress leader Udit Raj

defended India skipper Virat Kohli after

he was trolled on Twitter and even called

Anushka's lapdog by fans as he asked

them on the microblogging site to not

burst crackers during Diwali and enjoy it

in a simple manner with diyas (lamps) and

sweets. A troll had tweeted in a reply to

Kohli, "Anushka apna kutta sambhaal

(Anushka, control your dog)".

Raj responded to the trolls in a tonguein-cheek

manner saying that there is no

harm in being called a dog for they are

known for their loyalty.

Raj also called the trolls crooks, loafers

and idiots. "Anushka does not need to

control her dog Virat Kohli. No one is more loyal than a

dog. Kohli was advising you loafers, crooks and idiots on

the fact that humanity is at risk due to pollution. Need to get

economist for Capital Economics, said in a

report. Al Jazeera said the US is absent from

RCEP and the 11-nation Trans-Pacific

Partnership (TPP) deal that US President

Donald Trump pulled out of shortly after taking

office. This leaves the world's biggest

economy out of two trade groups that span

the fastest-growing region on earth.

your (trolls') DNA tested to see if you are

original inhabitants of this nation," he

lashed out on Twitter.

However, Raj's quotes seemed to have

been misinterpreted by sections of the

media who blamed him for calling Kohli

Anushka's dog.

On Saturday, the day of Diwali, Kohli

had said on twitter, "A very Happy Diwali

from me to you and your families. May

God bless you with peace, prosperity and

happiness this Diwali. Please remember do

not burst crackers. Protect the environment

and have fun with your loved ones with a

simple diya and sweets on this auspicious

occasion. Take care and God bless you all."

Kohli is currently touring Australia as captain of the

Indian team that plays three ODIs, three T20Is and four Test

matches over 69 days.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

Risks, threats increase following

US leaving INF Treaty : Putin

Voting underway for

Gilgit-Baltistan polls

Islamabad : Voting was underway on

Sunday for the hotly contested Gilgit-

Baltistan (GB) legislative assembly election.

As many as 330 candidates, including four

women, are vying for the 24 general seats in

the third legislative assembly of region,

reports Dawn news.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m., and the

voting process will continue till 5 p.m.

More than 15,000 security personnel from

GB, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh

and Balochistan have been have been

deployed at polling stations. Over half of the

polling stations have already been categorised

sensitive. Out of 1,141 polling stations,

577 have been declared sensitive and

297 highly

sensitive.

According

to anti-pandemic

directives

issued by

the GB government,

voters

will be

required to

maintain a distance

of six

feet from each

other.

Some 8,000

bags containing

face covers,

masks,

gloves and

sanitisers have

been dispatched for staff at polling stations.

Sunday's polls, which could be one of the

most important the region has ever witnessed,

holds significance as the ruling

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the two

main opposition parties -- PPP and PML-N -

- held a vigorous campaign, Dawn news

reported.

The elections, which were earlier scheduled

to be held in August but were postponed

due to the pandemic, PPP has fielded 23 candidates,

while 21 PML-N candidates are in

the fray.

The PTI has entered a seat adjustment

arrangement with Majlis-i-Wahdatul

Muslimeen on two constituencies.

Moscow : The withdrawal of the US

from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear

Forces (INF) Treaty has increased risks and

threats, Russian President Vladimir Putin

said on Saturday.

"Risks and threats have increased significantly

since the termination of the INF

Treaty initiated by the US," Putin said in a

virtual address to the 15th East Asia

Summit, the Xinhua news agency reported.

"In an effort to stabilize the situation

and prevent a new round of arms race, we,

as you know, have unilaterally declared a

moratorium on the deployment of intermediate

and shorter-range missiles in the

Asia-Pacific region and other regions of

the world, as long as our US partners

refrain from such measures," he said,

adding that Moscow is open to discussions

on the issue with all interested states.

The president said that Russia supports

cooperation and calls for stability in the

Asia-Pacific region.

The US formally withdrew from the

INF Treaty in August 2019, tearing up the

arms control agreement signed by the

United States and the former Soviet Union

in 1987.

Yemen's rebel-run

court sentences 21

to death for spying

Sanaa : A court controlled by

Yemen's Houthi rebels has sentenced

21 men to death for allegedly spying

for the Saudi-led coalition which

backs the war-torn country's government,

according to a report.The

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV's report on

Saturday did not identify the defendants,

but said they are all Yemenis,

reports Xinhua news agency. There

was no comment yet from the coalition

or the Yemeni government.

The ruling by the court in the

Houthi-held capital Sanaa was the latest

in a series of closed-door trials of

political opponents held by the

Houthis. Yemen has been mired in

civil war since late 2014, when the

Iran-backed Houthi group seized control

of several northern provinces and

forced the Saudi-backed government

of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour

Hadi out of Sanaa. The Saudi-led military

coalition intervened in the Yemeni

conflict in March 2015 to support

Hadi's government. The war has killed

tens of thousands of people, displaced

nearly 4 million and pushed more than

20 million to the brink of famine.

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

7

Taliban prisoners released in

hope for peace: Abdullah

Kabul : Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghanistan's High

Council for National Reconciliation,

said that Taliban prisoners were

released by the government in the

hope for ending the war and reducing

violence in the country, but the expectations

from the move were not met.

Addressing the Herat Security

Dialogue on Saturday, Abdullah said

the Afghan government will never

shut the doors for peace, reports

TOLO News. "The release of the

Taliban's prisoners was done with the

hope that they will end the war with

the start of the talks or at least agree on a humanitarian ceasefire,"

said Abdullah. The Afghan Independent Human Rights

Commission (AIHRC) has said that over 7,600 civilians were

killed and wounded in conflicts in Afghanistan so far this year.

"From the figure, 2,342 were killed. Among those killed are

253 women and 452 children," said Naeem Nazari, the deputy of

the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

At the same event, families of war victims criticized the

absence of their representatives in the peace process.

At the security dialogue, speakers held talks on the solutions

that could help end the war in Afghanistan.

"We want to raise the shortcomings and the leakages that the

Afghan peace has got over the past four decades," said Davood

Muradian, chairman of Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies

(AISS). Violence has remained high in various parts of the country

amidst ongoing efforts to move the peace process forward.

Intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the

Taliban in Doha have also stalled.

Special courts for speedy trial

of rape cases planned in Pak

Islamabad : The Pakistan government is set to promulgate an

ordinance next week

which will seek the

establishment of special

courts for speedy trial of

rape cases.

Adviser to the Prime

Minister

on

Parliamentary Affairs

Babar Awan confirmed

the development to

Dawn news hours after

Prime Minister Imran Khan through a tweet announced on

Saturday that the government had planned to bring a "stringent

and holistic anti-rape ordinance closing all loopholes".

Awan, who is also a member of the Cabinet Committee on

Legislative Cases, said Khan was highly concerned over the recent

incidents of rape in different parts of the country.

He said the ordinance had been drafted in line with the premier's

directives to his legal team for preparing the law covering

"four sides", including protection of the victim so that her personal

trauma could not become public and protection of witnesses.

Last month while addressing the National Assembly, Federal

Minister Fawad Chaudry said that there are an average of 5,000

rape cases registered every year and that 5 per cent lead to convictions,

the BBC reported. But rights groups have said that the

true figure is even lower, pointing out that many rape cases are

never brought to the attention of the police.

Myanmar's ruling NLD party grabs majority of parliamentary seats

Yangon : Myanmar's ruling National

League for Democracy (NLD) party,

headed by incumbent State Counsellor

Aung San Suu Kyi, has won 920 seats,

which is an absolute majority in the

November 8 general elections, according

to the final result announced by the Union

Election Commission (UEC) on Sunday.

In the elections, 5,639 candidates vied

for 1,117 parliamentary seats -- 315 seats

in the House of Representatives (Lower

House), 161 seats in the House of

Nationalities (Upper House), 612 seats in

the Regional or State Parliaments and 29

ethnic minority seats in the Regional or

State Parliaments, reports Xinhua news

agency.

After the UEC's voting counts completed

on Sunday morning, 920 candidates

out of 1,106 candidates fielded by

the NLD party were elected to three levels

of the parliament -- 258 seats in the

House of Representatives (Lower House)

and 138 in the House of Nationalities

(Upper Houses), 501 in the Regional or

State Parliaments and 23 ethnic minority

seats in the Regional or State Parliaments.

The Union Solidarity and

Development Party (USDP) fielded 1,089

candidates and took total 71 seats for the

three levels of the parliament -- 26 seats

for the House of Representatives (Lower

House), 7 for the House of Nationalities

(Upper Houses) and 38 for the Regional

or State Parliaments, the UEC's figures

showed.

Meanwhile, the rest seats were taken

by other political parties and independent

runners. President U Win Myint and Suu

Kyi won the elections as representatives

in the Lower House, while Vice President

Henry Van Thio was elected as a representative

in the Upper House for the next

term of the parliament.

The 2020 general elections were the

third under the country's 2008

Constitution.

According to the 2008 Constitution,

the first regular session of a new term of

Parliament begins with the House of

Representatives which shall be held within

90 days after the commencement of the

general elections. The ruling NLD party

won an absolute majority of parliamentary

seats in the last general elections on

November 8, 2015, and has been at the

helm since 2016.


8 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Dubai-based Indian couple hosts

'drive-by wedding ceremony'

Dubai : In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a

Dubai-based Indian couple hosted a 'drive-by wedding ceremony'

for their loved ones outside their residence, according to a

media report. Hailing from Kerala, Muhammed Jazem and

Almas Ahmed first had their 'nikah' ceremony, after which they

stood under a flower arch outside their home in Jumeirah for a

socially distanced wedding reception, reports Khaleej Times.

Close family members and friends who could not be part of

the 'nikah' stopped their cars outside the couple's home for less

than two minutes as they wished them well and clicked some

photos. "The rules were simple and we communicated them to

our guests through a video invitation," Khaleej Times quoted

Jazem as saying. "We asked our guests to stop only for a few

moments, give us their best wishes, take a picture and then they

could drive away. We instructed them not to step out of the car,

to keep moving to avoid traffic, and not pull over," he added.

Jazem, an aeronautical engineer with Emirates Airline, further

said their parents and many of their relatives are elderly, which

is why they "did not want to have a big event".

Although the Dubai government has given the green signal to

host socially distanced ceremonies, the couple decided to stick to

their drive-by reception plan.

Iran denies report of killing

Al Qaeda leader in Tehran

Tehran : Iran's Foreign Ministry has denied a media report

about the recent killing of

an Al Qaeda leader in the

capital Tehran. On

November 13, the New

York Times reported that Al

Qaida's second-in-command

Muhammad al-Masri

was killed by the Israeli

operatives in Tehran in

August, reports Xinhua

news agency.

The newspaper report cited US intelligence officials as saying

that al-Masri, accused of being one of the masterminds of two

deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was

gunned down by two assassins on motorcycles on August 7.

But in a statement on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman

Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the story by the western media is a

"scenario and fabricated information created by the US and

Israel". The western media report is "a false accusation" levelled

by the US officials against Iran, and the Islamic republic "strongly

denies the presence of terrorist members in the country", he

added. "In order to dodge responsibility for the criminal activities

of this group and other terrorist groups in the region,

Washington and Tel Aviv from time to time try to paint Iran as

being tied to these groups through weaving lies and leaking fabricated

information to the media."

United Nations : United Nations

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

on Saturday called on all countries to

stop building new coal power plants in

his video message to the East Asia

Summit 2020. "To reach carbon neutrality

by 2050, I am calling for all

countries to stop building new coal

power plants and for partners to stop

financing them," said the Secretary-

General.

"Countries also need to put a price

on carbon and end subsidies for fossil

fuels. Our response to the Covid-19

crisis must be aligned with the Paris

Agreement and Sustainable

Haryana Ratna Award given to

Ambala man by NRIs in Canada

Toronto : The Haryana Association of

North America (HANA) has conferred its

annual Haryana Ratan Award on Ambala

man Sandeep Goel, who is the CEO of

ICICI Bank in Canada.

HANA President Kuldeep Sharma and

Indian Consul General Apurva Srivastava

presented the award to Goel at the second

annual gala of the largest organization of

the Haryana diaspora in North America at

Marriott Hotel in Brampton.

"The aim of HANA is to connect the

Haryana diaspora with their roots, keep our

traditions alive, promote business relations

with Haryana and honour top Haryanvi

achievers in North America," said Kuldeep

Sharma who comes from Faridabad and is

one of the top hoteliers in Canada.

Accepting the award, Goel said: "It is a

matter of great pride for me and my entire

family to receive this recognition from the

community given how close I am to

Haryana. I was born in Ambala city and

though my upbringing took place in Delhi

I am deeply connected to my place of birth

as I spent two months of summer break

each year in different parts of Haryana. My

marriage to my wife Bindu who is also a

proud Haryanvi further deepened my connection

with the state."

Describing Haryana as the place of

Mahabharata, Goel urged the Haryana

diaspora to follow the principles of life

enshrined in the Gita while adapting to life

Development Goals. In all these

efforts, you can count on the support

of the United Nations system," the UN

chief added. Guterres noted that

efforts must be made to "use the

Covid-19 recovery effort to build

green climate-resilient economies and

work towards carbon neutrality by

2050," the Xinhua news agency

reported. "This will, incidentally, also

drive the job creation that will reduce

inequality and address the air pollution

that is choking many Asian cities.

I commend the recent decisions of

China, Japan and the Republic of

Korea committing to net zero emissions,"

the Secretary-General added.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a

regional forum held annually by leaders

of, initially, 16 countries in the

East Asian, Southeast Asian, South

Asian and Oceanian regions, based on

the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism.

Membership expanded to 18 countries

including Russia and the United States

in 2011. Since its establishment,

ASEAN has held the central role and

leadership in the forum. EAS meetings

are held after the annual ASEAN leaders'

meetings, and plays an important

role in the regional architecture of

Asia-Pacific.

in North America.

"Adapt to the new life and new opportunities,

but don't forget your roots."

He said Haryana must be promoted as a

religious tourist destination because of its

connection with the Mahabharata.

Haryana's arts and crafts also have a big

market potential in North America, he said.

"Because of their novelty, Haryana arts

and crafts will appeal to people in North

America. We should leverage technology

and use celebrity endorsements to promote

these products here," said Goel.

Consul General Srivastava highlighted

Haryana as the biggest hub of automobile

manufacturing in India.

She said the Indian Consulate General

will extend all support to promote their traditional

crafts and the state as a tourist destination

in Canada.

LEBANON IMPOSES

nationwide LOCKDOWN

Beirut : Restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms and

malls have closed their doors as Lebanon entered

a two-week lockdown to restrict the spread of

Covid-19.

As per the lockdown which came into force on

Saturday, police was deployed in most areas of

the country, issuing tickets for people who violate

the restrictions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab urged

the country's citizens to commit to lockdown

measures while prioritizing people's health over

the economy. "Lockdown is not the solution but it

is an opportunity to raise the country's health sector

preparedness given the dramatic increase in

coronavirus infections over the past weeks," Diab

said. Lebanon's number of Covid-19 infections

surpassed 100,000 while the death toll is

approaching 800. The country has been fighting

against the virus since February 21.

UN chief urges all countries to stop building new coal power plants


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 9

A Dalit Woman

Derby People are deeply alarmed at

the news of a brutalgang rape and murder

of a 19-year-oldDalit woman in the

district of Hatras in Uttar Pradesh. The

alleged rape was carried out on 14

September 2020, by four upper-caste

men who then left her for dead, with a

cut to her tongue and injuries to her

neck and spine. She was found by her

relatives in the fields, they were working,

by her relatives who took her to

hospital and reported the incident to the

police. Due to lack of proper medical

care her health deteriorated for fourteen

days before was shifted to a hospital in

Delhi, where she died fifteen days after

her attack.

The police refused to register an FIR

to record the rape despite the girl's video

recorded statement that named the

rapist. The police arrested the accused

but only registered an FIR of attempted

murder, not rape. The UP administration

ordered the police to cremate the victim's

body which was donein the dead

of the night at 2.30am,without the consent

of her family, who were denied

even sight of the body, leave aside perform

the last rites. This unconstitutional

action of the police has raised serious

questions of tampering with the evidence

of rape and affording protection

to the upper caste perpetrators of the

crime. What is more alarming is that the

upper-caste local community has been

allowed to mobilisein defence of the

rapist and against the Dalit outrage.

One journalist (Caravan) has been

arrested for probing deeper into the incident

and charged under the Unlawful

Atrocities Prevention Act (UAPA) and

several more have also been locked-up

seriously. Atrocities against the Dalits

has been going on for centuries. Dalits

are mainly those who have been pushed

beneath the lowest category of the four

varnas system of castes specified and

practiced in the Hindu religion. Those

that fall below the four varna system

have historically been known as the

'untouchable' in India. Today they are

known as Dalits, a collective term given

to people historically coming from a

whole range of low-castes and

oppressed sections of society.

There has always been continued

oppression of the Dalit communities in

India. The Dalits have from time to time

put up brave resistance against this

City of Derby (UK) Against

Caste Atrocities in India

oppression. The recent years of Dalit

assertion for their democratic and constitutional

rights has seen increased

retaliation from the Hindutva forces

backed by the current PMModi's BJP

led government. It is a well-known fact

that the present Modi government is

engaged in the Hindutva project of

replacing the existing secular

Constitution of India, accredited to its

chief architect Dr B R Ambedkar, with

an alternative Manu based rules and

regulations. The idea of India based on

socialist, secular, democratic republic is

to be thrown out by the existing Indian

government and replaced by a monolithic

religious state that imposes

Hindutva rule.

Dalit resistance to the Hindutva project

has been going on for many years. In

Maharashtra, Dalits have always celebrated

the incident that took place in 1

Jan 1818 - Bhima Koregaon, near Pune.

This incident remembers the few hundred

low caste Maratha solders who,

enlisted in the East India Company,

fought and defeated tens of thousands

strong Peshwa's casteist rule. In

2018very many Dalit organisations,

academics, students and social activists

decided to make a big celebration to

mark the 200th anniversary of Bhima

Koregaon victory - a tradition that has

been going on for years. This event led

by two retired judges,was planned to be

a big event. One totwo lakhswere

expected to gather for the bicentenary.

Very many well-known public speakers,

poets and dramatist were expected to

appear throughout the two tothree-day

event. Messages of solidarity, standing

firm against the Dalit oppression, in

peaceful manner were to be delivered.

The actual day of the celebration 1

Jan 2018 saw riots in and around Bhima

Koregaon. These riots saw destruction

of property and one person die as a

result. The common cry amongst the

Dalits was that local Hindutva leaders,

Milland Ekbote and SambhajiBhide, had

generated the anti-Dalit hysteria and

organised the violence. The states

response was to arrest Ekbote and

release him on bail butBhide remains

absconding to this day.In contrast, very

many writers, poets, drama artists, members

of Kabir Kala Manch, who took

part in the Bhima Koregaon celebrations

were picked-up by the police and have

been in prison since January 2018. Since

then there has been an unprecedent State

conspiracy to shut-up all voices ofdecent

against the Government.

The action of the Dalits to assert their

democratic rights seems to have frightened

the Indian State to such an extent

that it has developedafascistic desire to

lock-up anyone who speaks against the

Government.This has resulted in rounding

up of lawyers, academics, artist,

poets and social activists. On 8 June

2018 the India State arrested five people,

Surendra Gadling (lawyer), Sudhir

Dhawale (Dalit activist), Rona Wilson

(political prisoner activist), Shoma Sen

(professor), Maheshi Raut (Adivasi

activist). The State invented the 'Urban

Naxal' tag, applied it to these five people,

falsely accused them of instigating

the Bhima-Koregaon violence and

slapped the ridiculous charge of planning

to kill PM Modi. These arrests

were later extended to Vara Vara Rao

(poet, activist), Sudha Bharadwaj

(lawyer), Arun Ferreira (lawyer),

Vernon Gonsalves (writer, Dalit &

Adivasi activist), Guatam Navlakha

(journalist, human rights activist) and

Anand Teltumbde (professor in management/technology)

who isthe grandson

in-law of Dr BR Ambedkar.

The Bhima Koregaon 16

In the last few months, the National

Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested

Hani Babu (DU prof, Dalit activist),

Sagar Gorkhe member of cultural group

Kabbir Kala Manch, Christian activist

Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap. The

latest insane arrest is of an ailing 83-

year-old Farther Stan Swamy who has

worked all his life for the betterment of

the oppressed Tribal and Dalit people.

Using fabricated evidence, all sixteen

arrested have been falsely accused of

keeping links with the banned Maoist

Party, planning the Bhima Koregaon

violence, plotting to assassinate PM

Modi and overthrow the Indian

Government. They are being held under

the most draconian UAPA law and could

remain in prison for many years without

trial, without justice, as is often the case

in India. There is the case ofProfessor G

N Saibaba who has tirelessly worked to

expose the unjust displacement of

Adivasi in the jungles of India to make

way for the mining corporations to loot

the land. He was arrested on May 9, on

charges of having Maoist links. Prof

Saibaba who is 90% physically handicapped

and has been wheelchair bound

all his adult life. He has been kept in

solitary confinement, in 'anda cell' since

his conviction on March 2017.

Prof G N Saibaba

The arrests of above mentioned

human and democratic rights activists

have come to the lime light because of

theirhigh professional and social standing

in society. There are however thousands

of other activists facing similar,

unjustified, imprisonment who are less

well known. Their real 'crime' is exposing

the injustices happening to the

Dalits, Adivasi, Minorities, Women and

LGBTs in India's feudal setup, sponsored

by the multinational corporations.

The BJP led Indian Government is

responding by circumventing all norms

of democratic procedures and crushing

all forms of decent using the most draconian

measures. The Indian authorities

do not want the voices of justice to be

heard, particularly outside India. This

month the Indian Government has taken

reprehensible steps to freeze the bank

accounts of Amnesty International -

Indian office, thus effectively shutting

down their operations.

Since the horrific gang rape of the

Dalit woman in Hatras, many more such

brutalities have been reported in Utter

Pradesh, Bihar, etc. The most recent one

occurred in Delhi on October 4, where a

17-year-old Dalit girl was thought to

have been raped and then hanged in the

house where she was adomestic labourer.

The Delhi police called it suicide,

ignored the cries of rape and moved

quickly to cremate the girl's body. To

destroyevidence of rape, one may wonder.

The parent's cry of foul play has

beenmet with police beatings, threats

and deafening silence from the media.

Derby Against Caste Atrocities in

India demands:

- Rapist Murderers are quickly

brought to justice

- Police who burnt the victim's body

are charged for violating the law

- End to Caste Atrocities

- Release All Political Prisoners

- Repeal UAPA

Supported by:

Guru Ravidas Sabha Derby;

Indian Scheduled Caste

Welfare Assoc.;

Indian Workers

Association Derby


10 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Importance of Nehru and

his modern ideas to India

On the 131st birth anniversary of

India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar

Lal Nehru people paid him rich tribute

but a number of notorious IT cell members

of the Rumour spreading society

did their dirty work which they have

been engaged in through their character

assassination of Nehru. Obviously,

the attempt to degrade Nehru has not

succeeded and he has become more

popular and immortal than those who

hated him would have thought off.

Nehru was a pivotal figure during

India’s freedom movement, an icon

and definitely much more broad minded

and futuristic than most of his contemporaries.

None is suggesting here

that he did not have short comings and

that he alone was the person who won

us freedom. He served in jail for more

than 9 years. However, Nehru’s role in

the freedom movement and Nehru as

prime minister of India are two different

things. It is therefore important to

analyse them differently. Leading a

movement and building a nation are

different things as many times ‘movement’

leaders fail miserably when they

take the seat of the governance. Many

of the leading figures and contemporaries

of anti colonial struggle became

superheroes in their country and concentrated

power in their hand. Unlike

Nehru they became institutions themselves

while Nehru created multiple

institutions to strengthen democracy.

It is also a fact that when a leader is

at the helm of power for long, there

will be more critique and all have different

versions of the man. Most of

those leaders who were partners in the

movement to bring us freedom were no

more in the first five to six years.

Gandhi was killed by Nathu Ram

Godse in January 1948, Patel passed

away in December 1950, Baba Saheb

Ambedkar in 1956. Subhash Chandra

Bose was not there to guide the nation

so the hopes of the nation concentrated

on Nehru who was immensely popular

with the masses and yet with all his

humility he remained democratic.

Nehru was not a demagogue like many

who are in competition with him but a

thorough democrat.

He would sit through Parliament to

listen to important debates. An informative

piece in the Indian Express by P

Raman gives information of enormous

importance during the period August

16, 1961 to December 12th, 1962. “He

made 32 statements and interventions

in Parliament on China. He spoke over

1.04 lakh words on the India-China

border dispute, running into well over

200 printed pages.”

The same article quotes

from Nehru’s statement in

Parliament : I want freedom

of action. I say, first of all,

that nothing can happen without

this House being

informed. Secondly, we

should agree that nothing

should be done which, in the

slightest degree, sullies the

honour of India. For the rest,

I want a free hand.” (Lok

Sabha August 14, 1962).

Let us put this question in

the context of the Galwan valley

issue and Chinese incursion

in India. How many

times the current regime

spoke about it in Parliament.

Most of the information is not

shared under the pretext of

‘confidentiality’. How many

times the Prime Minister

speaks and calls the

Parliament to discuss this

issue so powerfully. Any one differing

or criticising the government will be

declared anti national. The government

does not allow any question and not

much is in public domain related to this.

Nehru has been attacked for his mishandling

of Chinese policy and the

right wing trolls and IT disinformation

campaign blame him for Chinese debacle.

Nehru was betrayed by China but it

is also a fact that Nehru’s Tibet policy

was persistent and he never got away

from it. One can see his interviews

with the international press where

Nehru has categorically stated why

China does not want any country to

look into their eyes but Nehru never

shied away from his responsibility

towards Tibet. The refuge given to

Tibetan friends including the spiritual

leader Dalai Lama was a powerful

statement of that time that Nehru

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

adhered to and continued till his end.

He never changed his stand and persistently

spoke for peace. We should

also understand that our forces were

not equipped that time. Nehru’s focus

was mostly on building India economically.

He never compromised on that

and that is why the importance of the

five years plan for India.

Compare it with today’s leadership

which suffers from myopic vision and

despite the known factor of how China

responded, Narendra Modi continued

to trust China and went overboard to

please the Chinese Prime Minister.

After the Chinese incursion our prime

minister never said anything about

China. Not a single mention by him in

any of the public meetings or on the

border when visiting the troops. If this

had happened with Pakistan, Narendra

Modi and the brave IT cells would

have virtually threatened war on

Pakistan to ‘eliminate’ them from the

earth. The prime minister at the

moment has never greeted the Dalai

Lama even when the world greeted

him for his enormous contribution to

world peace and harmony. Though the

government is now realising the importance

of Tibet

and Buddhism

but still a

silence on

Dalai Lama in

India reminds

how has the current regime looking at

the issue.

Nehru wanted good relations with

neighbours. Despite partition being

done on religion lines, he never suffered

from religious hatred. He tried to

make good relationships with Pakistan

leadership. Volumes of Nehru’s

speeches, letters are now out and I am

sure they will shed more light on the

personality of the man who can be

called the builder of modern India.

The two men who shaped our life

and destinies in modern India are Dr

Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Jawahar

Lal Nehru. They remain political rivals

yet very complimentary ideologically.

Both had scientific temperament,

respect for democracy and state socialism.

Nehru too had immense love for

Buddha and Buddhism while Baba

Saheb Ambedkar did the greatest service

to India by reviving Buddhism in

its place of birth.

Nehru could have become a dictator.

He always travelled to the border areas

but never saw him in an army fatigue.

He remained loyal to democratic norms

and values. A leader of his popularity

could have easily created personalised

institutions but no he loved criticism.

Opponents mocked at him and his

anglican ways but none could challenge

him on commitment to his ideology and

his knowledge. He wanted Jai Prakash

as well as Ram Manohar Lohia to be

the future prime minister of India.

Nehru also wanted Dr Ambedkar to be

the President of India, which of course

was rejected by Dr Ambedkar as he did

not want to confine himself to being a

ceremonial head.

Today’s generation needs to explore

and question those who vilify him. Ask

a simple question as why they hate him

and the answer comes in their own

feelings. They use Nehru’s hat, tie and

his smoking or lighting match box for

perhaps Edwina Mountbatten or hugging

Vijay Laxmi Pandit who was his

sister. These photographs are used to

portray him as a debauched and dirty

man. Unfortunately, they don’t think

beyond their extremely limited understanding

of intellectualism where people

can sit, discuss, drink and enjoy life

as that belongs to two individuals.

Personal lives of celebrities and public

figures attract attention but that can not

be the basis of judgement unless the

individual targets him or there are allegations

of foul play. Just using the photographs

without knowing the context

is dangerous. Anyway, if the personal

lives become the ideal examples than

the IT cell which spread it will find it

difficult to defend many of the politicians

they idolise in modern times. The

poor IT cell rumour monger don’t

understand that women have their own

agency and can speak for them. Rather

than defaming the person who is not

here to defend him, the IT cell can

speak about the rights of many other

women have been left unattended by

their spouses.

It is nobody’s point that Nehru can not be

questioned or criticised. But interestingly it

is coming from those who don’t want to ask

any question to their leader who has never

addressed a single press conference independently.

Nehru was not using the media to

vilify his political opponents. Even if Nehru

were not a political leader or a prime minister,

he would have been a great literary figure.

I would any day love to read his books,

articles and listen to his speeches. What a

remarkable man he was ? Any student

would have been in awe with his lectures in

the college. Whatever the opponents say,

Nehru’s footprints will always be there in

our democracy as the institutions that he

along with others build will be there to protect

the rights of the people. Right now, we

are living in deficit democracy but hope

people will ultimately understand the

importance of the idea of inclusive India

espoused by Jawaharlal Nehru as that only

will save us and protect our democracy from

the fascist onslaught.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and

human rights activist. He blogs at

www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter

@freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

715-C Parkfield Road

Wolverhampton, WV4 6EE

Tel. 1902 681 655

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

11

Egypt unveils 100 ancient wooden coffins

Cairo : Egypt's Tourism and

Antiquities Ministry has unveiled 100

newly-discovered ancient coffins in the

Saqqara necropolis of Giza near the

capital Cairo.

"We announced today the discovery

of 100 coloured sealed coffins from the

Ptolemaic era... The coffins were discovered

in the Saqqara necropolis of

Giza," Tourism and Antiquities Minister

Khaled al-Anany told Xinhua news

agency on the site of the discovery.

The rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty in

Egypt lasted 275 years, from 305 BC to

30 BC.

The Minister added that many artefacts,

funerary masks and statues were

also found at the burial sites of the

coffins, noting that all the 100 coffins

are in very good condition of preservation.

"The works have not stopped yet at

this site... Our missions will continue

excavations, we might announce more

discoveries from this site before the end

of the year," Anany revealed.

He stressed that Saqqara is an antiquity-rich

area, adding that he is very

proud that the discovery was made by

an Egyptian archaeological mission.

The Minister said such discoveries

help people know more about funeral

practices in Saqqara necropolis during

that period. "This helps us know more

about the mummification practices and

technique in the area."

The Minister explained that the

coffins will be displayed at the Grand

Egyptian Museum, the National

Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the

Egyptian Museum in Cairo, as well as

the Museum of the New Administrative

Capital.

On October 3, the Ministry

announced the discovery of 59 well-preserved

coffins also at Saqqara.

The new 100 coffins, as well as 40

statutes of ancient god Ptah, were found

in three 12-metre deep shafts.

In addition, 20 wooden boxes of god

Horus, two wooden statues of a person

called "Phnomus", a number of 'ushabti'

statues, amulets and four gilded funeral

masks were also found at the burial

place.

During Saturday's announcement,

which was attended by large number of

Egyptian officials, foreign ambassadors

and public figures, Ministry experts

opened a coffin with a mummy inside

and conducted an X-Ray examination.

The X-Ray examination revealed

that the mummy belonged to a male,

giving an age range of 40-45 years. The

check also showed that the man was

165-175 cm tall.

"This discovery is very important

because of the number of the unveiled

coffins," Secretary General of Egypt's

Supreme Council of Antiquities

Mostafa Waziri, who headed the

Egyptian mission that made the discovery,

told Xinhua. He revealed that the

coffins belong to high-ranking official

and rich people. "The coffins can tell

that the mummies inside belonged to

rich people," Waziri explained.

On kanshi TV

channel 772.

SATURDAY at

6 :00 pm

SUNDAY at

6 :00 pm

Ambedkarites News and Views

by

BUDDHIST INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Mob : 07411 251 804, 07847 307 059


12 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Top Hindu Organisation Warns of ‘Backlash’

as Indian Dalit Groups Call for Diwali Boycott

The Hindu festival of Diwali marks the mythological homecoming of Lord Rama after

14 years in exile. Among some Hindus in the southern states, Diwali is celebrated to mark

the killing of mythological demon Naraksura by Lord Krishna, another Hindu god.

By Dhairya Maheshwari

Diwali, perhaps the best-known

Hindu festival, is celebrated annually

by people of all faiths in India, a country

known for its cultural and religious

diversity. But this time, a group of

Dalits (scheduled castes once known

as “untouchables”) has decided to

boycott this festival’s celebrations.

India’s 200 million-strong Dalit

community is an “integral part” of

Hindu religion and attempts to “misguide”

them will trigger a strong backlash

from the country’s Hindus, top

religious organisation Vishwa Hindu

Parishad (VHP) has told Sputnik.

“Those who are trying to divide the

Hindu religion on Diwali will face a

strong response from the Hindus.

Diwali is the festival of every Indian,”

said Vinod Bansal, the national

spokesperson of VHP.

The VHP is an ideological ally of

the governing Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) and allegedly played a prominent

role in the demolition of Babri

mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya

in 1992.

“Everyone knows that the opposition

is trying to whip up artificial fears

in the minds of the Dalit population.

The Dalits have remained socially and

economically backward despite the

Congress party staying in power for 70

years,” remarked Bansal.

Dalits and Ancient Hindu

Mythology

Citing the Hindu epic Ramayana,

the VHP official further remarked on

the role of the sage Valmiki, who had

originally composed Ramayana, in the

Hindu god Lord Rama’s victory over

the mythological demon King Ravana.

Diwali is celebrated annually by

Hindus also to mark the victory of

Rama over demon King Ravana,

which has been documented in the

Ramayana. Composed between 500 to

100 BC, Valmiki is thought of as an

ancestor by many members of India’s

Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes

(SC/ST) community.

“Diwali is incomplete without the

participation of Dalits, Valmikis,”

Bansal stressed.

Diwali

The VHP leader’s remarks came in

response to calls by several Dalit outfits

in the country to boycott the

Diwali festivities this year as a symbol

of protest against rising cases of violence

against members of India’s

Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled

Tribe (ST) communities.

In ancient Hindu religious texts,

Dalits are classified as people belonging

to the lowest layer of society.

Critics of the Indian caste system

blame the nationalist Hindu organisation

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh

(RSS), the ideological mentor of the

ruling BJP, for further promoting the

caste system in the country in recent

times, especially after Prime Minister

Narendra Modi first came to power in

2014.

Dalits, an Integral Part of

Hinduism

An umbrella group of Dalit and

allied outfits earlier this week had

issued a call to boycott the Diwali festivities.

Spearheaded by the Landless

Conflict Committee, the appeal is in

response to increasing instances of

“harassment, exploitation and starvation”

among Dalits.

“Apart from unemployment and the

exploitation of Dalits, the women in

the community are facing unprecedented

sexual crimes from supporters

of the ruling party,” Delhi State

Legislator Jaikishan, from the main

opposition Congress party, told

Sputnik.

“Be it the Hathras gang-rape incident

or many others, the Dalits are not

being treated equally by the BJP and

its supporters,” he complained, referring

to the sexual assault and subsequent

death of a 19-year-old girl

allegedly raped by four upper-caste

men in Uttar Pradesh in September.

Protesters display placards to condemn

the alleged gang-rape and murder

of a low-caste teenaged woman in

Uttar Pradesh state during a candlelight

vigil in Ahmedabad on October

6, 2020. The incident triggered

protests across the country, with the

opposition accusing the BJP of a

cover-up to shield the accused since

they hailed from the upper-caste. All

the accused, however, were arrested.

Bhumiheen Sangharsh Samiti,

Reservation Bachao Andolan, Valmiki

Jan Utsav Committee, Baba Saheb

Ambedkar Veer Sena and All India

Mazdoor Samiti are among other Dalit

outfits that have endorsed the Diwali

boycott call this year.

‘Why Should Dalits Celebrate

Diwali’

Professor Kancha Ilaiah, an anticaste

activist and the Director of the

Centre for Social Exclusion and

Inclusive Policy at Hyderabad-based

Maulana Azad National Urdu

University (MANUU), opined the

Hindus must “wholeheartedly” accept

Dalits as part of their religion and

accord them the same respect as they

do to Brahmins, the upper caste priest

community. “The problem is that

Dalits are not defined as Hindus.

That’s why you see many of them converting

to Buddhism and Christianity.

With the advent of Hindu nationalism,

the Dalits have found themselves further

marginalised from the mainstream,”

the veteran academic told

Sputnik.

He further highlighted that many

Dalits living in the southern, non-

Hindi speaking states had been converting

to Christianity to “escape from

Hinduism”. “Many Dalits in

Maharashtra state, on the other hand,

have been converting to Buddhism,”

he noted. Devotees light earthen lamps

on the banks of the River Sarayu as

part of Diwali celebrations in

Ayodhya, India, India, Tuesday, Nov.

6, 2018 He, however, said that northern

Uttar Pradesh (one of the country’s

biggest states with a population of 237

million people), remains among a few

exceptions, where a large section of

Dalits still consider themselves as

Hindus. “Once you start defining

nationalism in the name of religion,

the Dalits are by default marginalised,”

reckoned Ilaiah, referring to

the ideology of Hindu nationalism that

has been openly espoused by Prime

Minister Narendra Modi and other

BJP leaders. The anti-caste activist

further argued that he didn’t advocate

the celebration of Diwali because it

was a “celebration of violence”.

In large parts of southern India,

Diwali is celebrated to mark the

killing of Naraksura by Lord Krishna,

another Hindu God mentioned in the

epic Mahabharata. Ilaiah argues that

Naraksura wasn’t a demon as portrayed

by “upper-caste” Hindus in the

southern states.

Two held for GST credit fraud of Rs 35.72 crore in TN

Chennai : Two persons were

arrested on charge of committing

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

credit fraud of Rs 35.72 crore,

Principal Commissioner for GST

and Central Excise (Chennai

Outer) said on Monday.

In a statement issued here,

Principal Commissioner G

Ravindranath said that the GST

and Central Excise Department

had arrested the two persons,

both aged around 32, from

Pernambut in Vellore district. The

arrests on November 13 were

made after carrying out detailed

investigation and conducting

about 50 searches to gather evidence.

A local court has since

remanded them to judicial custody

till November 27. The two

along with others had taken GST

registrations in the names of

other persons after buying identity-related

documents from these

persons either by making cash

payments or supplying groceries

to them. The purpose of floating

such fictitious companies was to

commit GST credit frauds.

These fictitious companies

issued tax invoices to various

business entities without supplying

any goods or services to facilitate,

for a commission, fraudulent

GST credit to these business

entities. GST on such bogus

invoices was also paid using

input tax credit based on fraudulent

tax invoices received from

some other fictitious companies

opened by the accomplices of the

arrested persons.

In the process, GST credit

fraud of Rs 35.72 crore on

invoice value of Rs 401 crore was

committed by the arrested persons

along with their accomplices.

The department also identified

the business entities who had

availed fraudulent GST credit

passed on by the companies floated

by the arrested persons and

those companies which passed on

fraudulent credit to the companies

floated by the arrested persons

and their accomplices.

The investigation now is

focusing on whether any tax

practitioner had guided the arrested

persons in committing these

frauds.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

13

Computer vision mobile app can

regularly monitor diabetes

London : University of

Cambridge engineers has developed

a computer vision technology

into a free mobile phone app

for regular monitoring of glucose

levels in people with diabetes.

The app uses computer vision

techniques to read and record the

glucose levels, time and date displayed

on a typical glucose test

via the camera on a mobile

phone.

The technology, which doesn't

require an internet or

Bluetooth connection, works for

any type of glucose meter, in any

orientation and in a variety of

light levels.

It also reduces waste by eliminating

the need to replace highquality

non-Bluetooth meters,

making it a cost-effective solution

to the National Health

Service (NHS).

Working with UK glucose

testing company GlucoRx, the

Cambridge researchers developed

the technology into a free

mobile phone app called

GlucoRx Vision, which is now

available on the Apple App Store

and Google Play Store.

To use the app, users simply

take a picture of their glucose

meter and the results are automatically

read and recorded,

allowing much easier monitoring

of blood glucose levels.

In addition to the glucose

meters, many other types of digital

meters are used in the medical

and industrial sectors.

"These meters work perfectly

well, so we don't want them sent

to landfill just because they don't

have wireless connectivity," said

Dr James Charles from

Cambridge's Department of

Engineering.

"We wanted to find a way to

retrofit them in an inexpensive

and environmentally-friendly

way using a mobile phone app".

The computer vision technology

behind the GlucoRx app is

made up of two steps.

First, the screen of the glucose

meter is detected.

The researchers used a single

training image and augmented it

with random backgrounds, particularly

backgrounds with people.

This helps ensure the system

is robust when the user's face is

reflected in the phone's screen.

Second, a neural network

called LeDigit detects each digit

on the screen and reads it.

The network is trained with

computer-generated synthetic

data, avoiding the need for

labour-intensive labelling of data

which is commonly needed to

train a neural network.

"Since the font on these

meters is digital, it's easy to train

the neural network to recognise

lots of different inputs and synthesise

the data," said Charles.

"This makes it highly efficient to

run on a mobile phone."

In addition to blood glucose

monitor, the researchers also

tested their system on different

types of digital meters, such as

blood pressure monitors, kitchen

and bathroom scales.

The researchers recently presented

their results at the 31st

British Machine Vision

Conference.

An egg a day can

trigger diabetes too,

warn researchers

Sydney : Scrambled, poached or

boiled, eggs are a popular breakfast

food the world over but new research

warns that excess egg consumption

can increase your risk of diabetes.

The study found that people who

regularly consumed one or more eggs

per day (equivalent to 50 grams)

increased their risk of diabetes by 60

per cent and the effect was more pronounced

in women than in men.

Conducted in partnership with the

China Medical University, and Qatar

University, the longitudinal study

(1991 to 2009) led by University of

South Australia is the first to assess

egg consumption in a large sample of

Chinese adults.

Epidemiologist and public health

expert Ming Li said the rise of diabetes

is a growing concern. "Diet is a

known and modifiable factor that

contributes to the onset of Type 2 diabetes,

so understanding the range of

dietary factors that might impact the

growing prevalence of the disease is

important," Ming said.

Over the past few decades, China

has undergone a substantial nutritional

transition that's seen many people

move away from a traditional diet

comprising grains and vegetables, to

a more processed diet that includes

greater amounts of

meat, snacks and energy-dense

food.

"At the same time,

egg consumption has

also been steadily

increasing; from 1991

to 2009, the number of

people eating eggs in

China nearly doubled,"

he said in a paper published

in the British

Journal of Nutrition.

While the association between eating

eggs and diabetes is often debated,

this study aims to assess people's

long-term egg consumption of eggs

and their risk of developing diabetes,

as determined by fasting blood glucose.

"What we discovered was that

higher long-term egg consumption

(greater than 38 grams per day)

increased the risk of diabetes among

Chinese adults by approximately 25

per cent.

"Furthermore, adults who regularly

ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or

equivalent to one egg, per day) had an

increased risk of diabetes by 60 per

cent," Ming claimed. While these

results suggest that higher egg consumption

is positively associated

with the risk of diabetes in Chinese

adults, more research is needed to

explore causal relationships.

"To beat diabetes, a multi-faceted

approach is needed that not only

encompasses research, but also a

clear set of guidelines to help inform

and guide the public. This study is

one step towards that long-term

goal," the authors wrote.

The study population comprised

8,545 adults (average age 50 years)

participating in the China Health and

Nutrition Survey.

Normalcy may return by

winter 2021, says COVID-19

VACCINE CREATOR

He said it was not yet known how long immunity would last

after the vaccine's second shot is administered

London : Normalcy from the COVID

era can only be expected by next year's

winter as any Covid vaccine will take to

show its effect and will not immediately

reduce the number of infections, as per

the co-developer of Pfizer's vaccine,

media reports said. A new COVID vaccine's

impact will work significantly

over the summer and life should be back

to normal by next winter, Prof Ugur

Sahin, co-founder of BioNTech, whose

vaccine candidate has proved to prevent

over 90 per cent people from getting

Covid-19, as per preliminary

reports. The

Pfizer-BioNTech is one

of the 11 vaccines in

their final tests.

This winter would

still be hard, he said in

an interview on the

BBC's Andrew Marr

Show.

Sahin said he was

confident the vaccine

would reduce transmission

between people as

well as stop symptoms

developing in someone

who has had the vaccine,

though not as high

as the test results but

still "maybe 50 per

cent".

He said as everything

continued to go

well, he said, the vaccine

would begin to be

delivered at the "end of

this year, beginning of

next year".

The goal was to deliver more than

300 million doses worldwide by next

April, he said on the BBC show, which

"could allow us to only start to make an

impact" and the bigger impact would

happen later only.

"Summer will help us because the

infection rate will go down in the summer

and what is absolutely essential is

that we get a high vaccination rate until

or before autumn/winter next year," he

stressed.

Asked if the vaccine was as effective

in older people as it is in younger people,

he said he expected to have a better idea

in the next three weeks.

He said it was not yet known how

long immunity would last after the vaccine's

second shot is administered.

Sahin also said the "key side effects"

of the vaccine seen so far were a mild to

moderate pain in the injection site for a

few days, while some participants had a

mild to moderate fever over a similar

period. IANS


14 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

How Covid-19 may severely affect our offsprings

Exposure to virus could pose risk to the health and ageing of individuals who aren’t even born yet, reveals study

New York : Scientists have claimed

that by the end of 2020, approximately

3,00,000 infants could be born to mothers

infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus

that causes Covid-19.

The study, published in the Journal

of Developmental Origins of Health and

Diseases, revealed that exposure to

Covid-19 could pose a risk to the health

and ageing of individuals who aren’t

even born yet. “Millions more will be

born into families who have experienced

tremendous stress and upheaval

due to the pandemic even if they haven’t

been infected themselves,” said the

study authors from University of

Southern California (USC) in the US.

While the longer-term effects of

Covid-19 on infants is yet to be seen,

researchers can find some insight from

the past, including the 1918 flu pandemic

and previous coronavirus illnesses

such as SARS in 2002 and MERS in

2012. “The 1918 influenza pandemic

had long-term impacts on the cohort

exposed in utero, which experienced

earlier adult mortality and more diabetes,

ischemic heart disease and

depression after age 50,” said study

author Caleb Finch from USC.

“It is possible that the Covid-19 pandemic

will also have long-term impacts

on the cohort that was in utero during

the pandemic, from exposure to maternal

infection and/or the stress of the

pandemic environment,” Finch added

Maternal viral infections can affect

fetuses through multiple pathways,

from direct transmission through the

placenta to inflammatory responses that

disturb in-utero metabolism and negatively

affect growth.

While direct maternal-fetal transmission

of the virus and severe birth defects

appear to have been rare during previous

coronavirus outbreaks, there were

increases in preterm delivery and low

birth weight during both the 2002 SARS

and 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreaks,

which are possible consequences of

increased inflammation.

While studies on Covid-19 and pregnancy

are still in their early stages, there

have already been some concerning

results that merit a closer look in ongoing

studies, the authors wrote.

Increased rates of preterm birth may

be linked to maternal SARS-CoV-2

infections, and other studies indicate

that severe illness is correlated with a

higher risk of stillbirth.

Other potential dangers, including

the increased risk of blood clots presented

by both pregnancy and severe

Covid-19, also need further study.

“We suggest that to capture the consequences

of viral exposure in utero for

childhood development and adult

health, Covid-19 birth cohort studies

consider the immediate collection of

data from the mother, fetus, neonate,

and placenta,” the team noted.

World's top intensive care body

advises against fremdesiviror

sickest COVID PATIENTS

* Advice on remdesivir follows WHO trial results *

Dexamethasone recommended for COVID patients, not plasma

Brussels : Antiviral remdesivir

should not be used as a routine

treatment for COVID-19 patients

in critical care wards, the head of

one of the world's top bodies representing

intensive care doctors

said, in a blow to the drug developed

by U.S. firm Gilead.

Remdesivir, also known as

Veklury, and steroid dexamethasone

are the only drugs authorised

to treat COVID-19 patients across

the world. But the largest study on

remdesivir's efficacy, run by the

World Health Organization

(WHO), showed on Oct. 15 it had

little or no impact, contradicting

previous trials. In light of the new interim

data from the WHO's Solidarity trial "remdesivir

is now classified as a drug you should

not use routinely in COVID-19 patients," the

President of the European Society of

Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM), Jozef

Kesecioglu, said in an interview with

Reuters. Kesecioglu said the recommendation

would be discussed in a scientific paper

on COVID therapies that ESICM is preparing

with the Society of Critical Care

Medicine, another intensive care body,

expected to be published by January. The

first version of the paper, released in March,

said there was not enough information to recommend

the use of remdesivir and other

antivirals in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Gilead, which has questioned the WHO's

findings, said in an emailed statement: "We

are confident that doctors on the front lines

recognise the clinical benefit of Veklury

based on robust evidence from multiple randomized,

controlled studies." ESICM represents

thousands of anaesthesiologists, respiratory

physicians, nurses and other critical

care professionals in more than 120 countries.

While doctors and hospitals are not

obliged to follow its advice, its recommendation

could curb the use of remdesivir.

At the end of October, Gilead cut its 2020

revenue forecast, citing lower-than-expected

demand and difficulty in predicting sales of

remdesivir.

WIDELY USED : The drug remains,

however, widely used in hospitals. It is

authorised or approved for use in more than

50 countries and was one of the medicines

administered to U.S. President Donald

Trump when he tested positive for coronavirus

in October.

The European Union signed a 1-billioneuro

($1.2 billion)deal with Gilead for

500,000 courses of remdesivir at 2,070 euros

each, days before the Solidarity results. The

deal does not oblige European countries to

buy remdesivir, but governments decided to

place large orders even after the Solidarity

results, with Germany buying a big stock in

November, saying the drug was useful, especially

early in the course of the disease.

Kesecioglu said there was not enough data

available about when remdesivir might be

effective or for which patients,

leading to the decision to discourage

its routine use in intensive

care. This means doctors should

use remdesivir only occasionally,

and not as a standard treatment for

COVID-19 patients.

Because of remdesivir's unclear

benefits, the critical care department

at the University Medical

Center of Utrecht in the

Netherlands, where Kesecioglu

works, has not used it to treat

COVID-19 patients, he said.

SIDE-EFFECTS

Ten months into the pandemic,

a debate continues to rage in the

medical industry about which drugs are best

to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir has potential side-effects on

the kidneys, according to data shared by

Gilead with the European Medicines

Agency, which is assessing its possible toxicity

Arnaud Hot, head of medicine at Edouard

Herriot hospital in Lyon, France, told

Reuters that some patients at his hospital had

experienced kidney injury and so it was no

longer using remdesivir, except in rare cases.

Kesecioglu said convalescent plasma,

which is also experimentally administered to

some COVID-19 patients despite not having

been approved, was also not recommended

by ESICM for routine intensive care use, as

its benefits were unclear.

He added the potential side-effects of

convalescent plasma - the liquid part of

blood extracted from COVID-19 patients -

were also not clear

In contrast, Kesecioglu said dexamethasone

was recommended for use in hospitalised

patients because there was sufficient

information on its efficacy.

Air pollution may up chronic

lung disease in young adulthood

London : Amid the spike in air pollution in Delhi-NCR, a new

study has found that early-life events, such as the exposure to air pollutants,

increase the risk of chronic lung disease in young adulthood.

The findings, published in the European Respiratory Journal, add

to the growing evidence that chronic lung disease in adulthood can be

traced back to childhood. Chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive

pulmonary disease (COPD), with the hallmark features phlegm and

irreversible airflow limitation, respectively, are lung diseases known

to affect adults with a history of long-term smoking.

"We found the prevalence of chronic bronchitis and irreversible

airflow limitation to be rather high considering the young age of the

study participants." said study senior author Erik Melen from

Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

"Those diseases are usually diagnosed in patients older than 50

years of age," the researchers wrote.

In the present studies, the researchers used data from birth up to

age 24 years from the follow-up of the Swedish population-based

birth cohort 'BAMSE', which includes 4,089 participants from the

Stockholm area recruited 1994-96.

Analyses performed by the research team showed that smoking,

as well as early-life air pollution exposures and childhood asthma,

are risk factors for chronic bronchitis, whereas breastfeeding was

identified as a protective factor.

In addition, the early-life risk factors for the development of irreversible

airflow limitation were recurrent lung infections, asthma,

and exposure to air pollution.

"The levels of air pollutants in the current study mainly reflect

local emissions from road traffic, which implies that this preventable

risk factor may play an important role in the development of chronic

lung disease in young adults," the authors wrote.

Given that air pollution levels in Stockholm are comparatively

low by international standards, this makes the current findings very

important in a global context.

And despite the young participants' age, active smoking was

linked to chronic bronchitis, which underlines the negative health

effects from even a limited period of exposure to tobacco smoke.

"In conclusion, our two novel studies demonstrate that chronic

bronchitis and irreversible airflow limitation do exist in young adults

and emphasize the importance of early-life events for maintaining

lung health during adulthood," the study authors noted.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

15

'More the citizens use RTI,

stronger the Act gets'

New Delhi : Despite attempts to

dilute the Right To Information Act

(RTIA) the most recent being in 2019,

the stronger it got as more and more

citizens invoked it. Once a law hits the

ground, it attains a life of its own and

a constitutionally-granted right cannot

be withdrawn but can only be "consciously

blunted".

The fact that it has been used 24.4

million times between 2005-16 shows

that "it is now in the hands of the citizens

and citizens groups to use RTI

and strengthen the legal regime", says

a deeply-researched book that contends

a "tipping point" had been

reached that led to its enactment and

the only way now is -- forward.

"In my view when a law hits the

ground it attains a life of its own.

Despite these problems and dilutions,

RTIA has been extensively used

across the country (24.4 million

between 2005-2016 according to a

modest estimate). My own study of

the state of Bihar shows that against

all odds, RTIA as an institution has

substantially progressed, evident in

extensive use of RTI. Based on these

field insights, I am inclined to argue

that institutional change still holds

valid, as the recent dilutions have not

countermanded the norm change from

the previously locked in norm of

'secrecy' to 'openness'," Himanshu Jha,

who teaches at the Department of

Political Science at Heidelberg

University, told IANS in an interview

of his book, "Capturing Institutional

Change -- The Case of the Right to

Information Act in India" (OUP).

"A constitutionally-granted right

such as the RTI, cannot be withdrawn

but can be consciously blunted. This is

evident in the recent amendments,

which do not directly alter the power

of the information commissioners, but

introduce changes in the service rules

and salaries of the commissioners with

a clear attempt to impede the law.

"Clearly, the stage after institutional

change is riddled by yet another

kind of ideational contestation.

Relationship between the information

givers and information seekers is often

tumultuous and multi-hued. For example,

on the one hand the legal tool of

RTI successfully reveals the cost of

foreign travels by the Prime

Minister and the council of ministers,

while on the other RTI faces a

negative response on the educational

degrees of the PM and some

the cabinet ministers," Jha maintained.

Nevertheless, the pressure and

the scrutiny on the state to disclose

information by its citizens "could

not have been possible in the

absence of institutional change that

occurred in 2005. Veritably, the

state itself reveals crucial information

about the processes within the

state - such disclosure was unimaginable

in the pre-RTI period", he

said. For instance, the Department

of Personnel and Training (DOPT)

that administers the act recently

made public the file notings showing

that the government had proposed

an ordinance to fulfil the

objective of the RTI Amendment

Bill 2019, "a policy initiative not

accepted by the Prime Minister's

Office. Such information from

within the state would not have

been possible prior to the RTI Act",

Jha said.

Now that the law is in operation

"it is also in the hands of the citizens

and citizens groups to use RTI

and strengthen the legal regime" as

has happened in Rajasthan, where the

state and the social actors "have

ideationally collaborated to conceptualize

a 'Jan suchana portal' (public

information portal) and mobile app

that gives access to real time information

about various public policy programmes

in the state.

Similarly, citizens groups such as

the NCPRI (National Campaign for

People's Right to Information), in

response to the recent amendments,

have launched a campaign to "Use

RTI, To save RTI", urging citizens to

constantly seek information from the

state, Jha pointed out

To this extent, the book captures a

riveting process of an "ideational

churning" between the nested norm of

secrecy and the emerging norm of

openness. The historical and contemporary

material used in the book

Son on Irrfan: I still feel like you've gone for a long shoot

Mumbai : Babil Khan, son of late Bollywood

star Irrfan remembers his father and says he still feels

like he has gone for a long shoot, showing that the

reality is still sinking in. Babil posted a throwback

picture of Irrfan posing with a peacock on Instagram.

The actor was all dressed up in a suit and sunglasses.

He is seen smiling at the peacock. For the caption,

Babil first wrote poetry in Hindi: "Rooh bankar

milunga usko aasmanon mein kahin. Pyaar dharti par

farishte se kiya nahi jaata." He then added: "I still

feel like you've gone for a long shoot, a long schedule

underwater and you'll come back to me, to the

surface again." Irrfan breathed his last in Mumbai on

April 29 after battling colon cancer for months.

Recently, on the actor's six-month death anniversary,

Babil had shared a throwback picture with Irrfan and

had written: "2 man squad."

reveals that this process had started

right since independence, and that this

long-drawn churning of 'ideas' had an

incremental impact on state thinking.

Incremental weight of earlier ideas

reached a tipping point in 2005.

"Similar to the ideational churning

that I have traced in this book, yet

another churning is taking place

between the information seekers and

information givers. The impact of the

2019 amendment will have to seen to

ascertain the long-term consequences

of these amendments. Indeed, previous

attempts of dilution have not

deterred the citizens from using RTIA.

The more citizens use it, the stronger

will be the RTI Act," Jha asserted.

How did this book come about?

The idea for the book emerged

around 2012 but the seeds were sown

in early 2000s when he was involved

in the development sector in India.

"My work (especially between

2004-2011) focused on monitoring

the institutions of governance. This

work was driven by the logic that

institutions are vehicles that carry

the governance agenda forward

and, therefore, it was important to

monitor these institutions. In my

view seeking accountability from

the state was paramount.

"My engagement with the

development sector coincided with

the time of considerable socialeconomic

and political change in

India. On the one hand country

was experiencing growth, while on

the other plethora of legally mandated

social rights were extended

to the citizens. These changes at

many levels were institutional.One

such right was the Right to

Information Act 2005 which provided

a legal regime to the citizens

to seek information from the state

ushering in an institutional change

in the transparency regime in

India. No such right or even policy

existed before RTI Act.

"The processes and information

within the state were shrouded in

secrecy and limited to the corridors

of public authorities. On numerous

occasions as a practitioner I would

also engage with this emerging

legal regime and put into practice

this significant right. In fact, I recall

that at one of point of time I co-organised

a workshop of RTI users from

across the country to listen and to

learn from their revealing experiences

with what at that time was a new law.

My book opens up by providing one

such fascinating story of RTI use by a

rickshaw puller in the state of Bihar,"

Jha explained.

Not surprisingly, his next task is

taking his work forward.

"I wish to further expand my current

work on the institutional change

and examine the extent of institutional

change in terms of its progression and

deepening. I call this stage institutional

progression -- a step beyond institutional

change. My initial field-work in

Bihar has interestingly shown that

institutional progression is inextricably

linked to the local politics. Field

insights show that RTI has opened a

new space for accountability between

state and society giving rise to a new

form of elite agency, whose practitioners

I term as 'agents of accountability',"

Jha said.

Noting that he wishes to expand on

this work to include more sub-national

states in India and further include

cross-country comparisons to examine

the intricate relationship between the

politics of accountability and democratic

deepening, he said:

Transparency and accountability is

paramount for the working of liberal

democracies. In this context, RTIA redefines

the state-citizenship linkages

in new ways."

Building on his previous work on

this significant right, he wants to initiate

a sub-national comparative study

on the patterns of RTI use by citizens.

"While existing literature broadly

examines the structural elements of

the RTI implementation, there is a

dearth of scholarship on the of RTI use

by the citizens. Who uses the RTI?

What kind of information is sought

and why? Has the change in legal

norm also resulted in related behavioral

change at the state level? This

study will throw light on the state- citizen

linkages through the lens of the

politics of transparency and accountability.

At a broader level this state-citizen

interaction will demonstrate and

at the same time interrogate the

process of democratic deepening.

"At the moment I am also expanding

my research on state capacity

where I seek to answer a central question:

What engenders state capacity

especially in a weak state? The findings

of this research project will be

instructive in providing a policy

roadmap for the conditions under

which an effective state capacity can

be developed in developing and poor

parts of the world," Jha concluded.

Given that the book is an eye-opener

for political and governance

experts, there's certainly much more to

look forward to.

VISHNU MAKHIJANI

(Vishnu Makhijani can be

reached at

vishnu.makhijani@ians.in)

8 killed, 11 injured in Pakistan accident

Islamabad : At least eight people were killed and

11 others injured after a passenger van plunged into

a ravine in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

on Monday, a government official said. The accident

took place in Kaka Sahib roadm Nowshera district,

Additional Deputy Commissioner Nowshera Noor

Wali Khan told Xinhua news agency. Following the

incident, police along with rescue teams reached the

site and shifted the bodies and injured to a nearby

hospital. Local volunteers also participated in the

rescue activities. Conditions of at least four injured

people were reportedly critical, and they have been

shifted to a hospital in the provincial capital city of

Peshawar for better treatment, said the official.

The incident took place when the van's driver lost

control over the vehicle while taking a sharp turn,

according to local reports quoting witnesses.


16 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

JHARKHAND ASSEMBLY'S WELCOME

resolution on separate adivasi identity

Jharkhand assembly resolution

requesting the central government to

create a separate column for religion

mentioned for adivasi identity is a

welcome step. For long, it has been a

demand that Adivasis are the indigenous

people of the country and have

been placed in different religious categories

of Hinduism, Christianity and

Islam. The fact is Jharkhand's adivasis

fought for their cultural identity for

long and not merely that, they have

been consistent in their fight against

colonialism of outsiders whether they

were British, East India Company or

the domestic land grabbers reaching

there in the name of 'development'.

This is the fitting tribute to Birsa

Munda, legendary revolutionary from

Jharkhand who inspired the entire

generation of Adivasi leadership as

well as youths for his ultimate sacrifice

to protect the autonomy of his

land. If CNT Act and SPT Act came

into being during the British Raj, it

was the realisation that Adivasis have

the traditional rights over the land and

forest as they alone can protect and

preserve its culture and diversity. For

millions of Adivasis world over, forest,

land and water are not commercial

greed for exploitation but part of their

culture and identity. Most of them

were nature worshippers.

Christian missionaries did excellent

work in many of these areas through

health care and education resulting in

a number of young leaders emerging

from the community and Adivasis getting

quality education. Once Hindutva

acquired the political centerspace in

India, the Adivasis and Dalits were on

its agenda as it felt that Christian missionaries

were there just to 'convert'

adivasis as if they don't know anything.

Hence more and more eklavya

vidyalayas and in central India, many

Hindu Gods were painted as Adivasi

gods. In Jharkhand, things are different

as Adivasis are politically assertive

with heroic resistance against the

company raj by Suddho-Kanho brothers,

Tilaka Majhi, Birasa Munda and

Capt Jai Pal Singh Munda. In

Jharkhand such things could not happen

and adivasis continued with their

struggle for autonomy over their

zones.

During the last few years, we found

that revolutionary Birsa Munda was

being addressed as

Buzz in Patna : BJP 'homes

in' on key ministry

Patna : Despite Nitish Kumar managing to retain the CM's

chair, his role may change this time. It was clear during the swearing

in ceremony at Raj Bhawan on Monday when two likely

deputy chief ministers from the

BJP shared pride of place next to

Kumar. Now, speculation is rife

that the key home ministry portfolio

may go away from the

JD(U). According to a top BJP

source, the portfolio of home

may go to one of the two deputy

chief ministers from the saffron

party. As per normal procedure,

the home ministry portfolio is

retained by the chief minister

himself. In case the home ministry

goes to the BJP, the party

will have direct control over the

police.

There is another theory that

the finance ministry may come to

the saffron party in case Kumar

decides to retain home.

The BJP has an upper hand in

state after becoming the singlelargest

party within the NDA.

The JDU managed just 43 seats

in the recently concluded assembly

elections and the BJP 74.

Bhagwan Birsa while

ignoring his struggles for

the people's rights. This is

the irony that when we

make people Bhagwan, we ignore

their messages and struggle. Most of

the Hindutva people wanting to appropriate

Birsa were calling him

Bhagwan while doing exactly the

opposite. Birsa's message today has

become more than relevant particularly

when we see that governments have

opened adivasi areas for 'investment'

and any opposition to it is being met

with fierce state violence. All those

who opposed it are considered as anti

national.

In this context, Jharkhand's state

government deserves kudos as it is

working for the betterment of Adivasi

people. Unlike other chief ministers,

Jharkhand's chief minister

Mr Hemant Soren openly criticised

the central government for

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

arresting Father Stan Swamy who

dedicated his life for the Adivasis

of Jharkhand and at the age of 85,

he was arrested by NIA for alleged

Maoists links.

Adivasis have distinct cultural religious

identities and they need to be

Tejashwi takes a jibe

at Nitish, calls him

'NOMINATED' CM

Patna : Nitish Kumar was

sworn in as chief minister of Bihar

for the seventh time on Monday.

Soon after Kumar was sworn in,

RJD leader and former deputy

chief minister Tejashwi Yadav took

a jibe at him on social media.

In a tweet from his official

Twitter handle, Yadav wrote,

"Greetings to respected Nitish

Kumar ji for being the 'nominated'

chief Minister. I hope he makes his

priority positive issues such as

aspirations of the people of Bihar,

the NDA's promise of 19 lakh jobs

-- employment, education, health,

livelihood, irrigation and justice,

rather than his ambition for the

chair," Tejashwi tweeted.

It may be mentioned that no

RJD leader, including former

deputy chief minister Tejashwi

Yadav, attended the swearing-in

counted as Adivasis. It would be good

if the government takes this initiative

in the next census so that we have

clear data on the number of adivasis

and their cultural practices in different

parts of India.

This will be the best tribute to legendary

revolutionary Birsa Munda on

his 145th birth anniversary as well as

20th year of creation

of Jharkhand

state, a state which

was built and nurtured

by Adivasis

but those who want

to use Adivasis did

not find Adivasi

leader to govern the

state resulting

heavy land grabbing

in the name of

'development' and 'investment' in the

region creating unrest and discomfort

among the Adivasis. We sincerely

hope that the current government of

ceremony and boycotted it along

with the Left parties.

A tweet from the official RJD

Twitter handle said, "The RJD boycotts

the swearing-in. The mandate

of change is against the NDA..."

Jharkhand would do everything to

protect the Forest, Land and water

rights of the Adivasis and will not

allow any corporations which violate

these rights. Let the adivasis decide

what is good and what is bad for them

and let developmental models happen

on the basis of Free Prior Informed

Consent where each person knows

what kind of project is being planned

and its environmental and social

impact. Only democratic decision

making will ensure sustainable development

which alone can protect the

life and culture of the Adivasis and for

that we need to remember the struggles

of all the legendary icons of the

Adivasi movements led by the inspiring

life of revolutionary Birsa Munda.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Work mode on:

Shruti Haasan

Chennai : Actress Shruti

Haasan has her work mode

on, going by her latest post

on social media. Shruti

shared a video on Instagram

Stories, where she is seen

making funny faces while

listening to music.

On the clip, she wrote:

"Work Mode On."

Shruti did not share

details about her work.

Earlier this month, Shruti

unveiled a common display

image for her father, cine

icon Kamal Haasan, ahead

of his birthday on

November 7.

Shruti tweeted the fanmade

image that has him

dressed like a warrior. His costume also features the logo

of his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam.

Talking about her work, Shruti will soon share screen

space with Telugu star Ravi Teja in "Krack".

"Krack" also stars Varalaxmi Sarathkumar and

Samuthirakani. The action-thriller, which is Ravi's 66th

film, is directed by Gopichand Malineni.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New York : Deep learning --

advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI)

which is involved with heavy-duty tasks

like curating social media and serving

Google search -- can soon check your

vitals or set your thermostat at home

and monitor the Internet of Things

(IoT).

The researchers from Massachusetts

Institute of Technology (MIT) have

developed a system that could bring

deep learning neural networks to new --

and much smaller -- places, like the tiny

computer chips in wearable medical

devices, household appliances, and the

250 billion other objects that constitute

the IoT. The system, called MCUNet,

designs compact neural networks that

deliver unprecedented speed and accuracy

for deep learning on IoT devices,

despite limited memory and processing

power.

The technology could facilitate the

expansion of the IoT universe while

saving energy and improving data security.

MCUNet has two components

needed for "tiny deep learning" -- the

operation of neural networks on microcontrollers.

One component is TinyEngine, an

NEWS

Soumitra Chattopadhyay:

Bangla cinema's Alt Superstar

He was the alt superstar of Bangla

cinema in its glory years, the affable

Bhadralok icon who crafted a towering

stature ironically banking on down-toearth,

believable characters that represented

middle-class Bengal. The brand

of stardom was in stark contrast to the

other shining luminary of contemporary

cinema in the state -- Uttam Kumar --

whose position as Mahanayak in the

Bengali psyche was primarily cemented

in idol worship and mass hysteria.

Soumitra Chattopadhyay --

Chatterjee to anglicised India -- answers

to the term ‘phenomenon' as absolutely

as few actors do, for the sheer ease with

which he defied the cliches of image.

His stardom was sensational, and yet

born out of realism. He was the mascot

of the peerless Satyajit Ray's oeuvre,

having worked with the maestro in 14

films, and yet he scored with the same

assuredness in works of contemporary

commercial powerhouses as Ajoy Kar

and Tarun Mazumdar. He is the

Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2012) and

Padma Bhushan (2004) recipient who

was also honoured with the Legion

d'Honneur (2018) in France for his contribution

to world cinema.

Importantly,

Soumitra

Chattopadhyay's greatness as a screen

icon will survive the test of time in

Bengali pop lore because he had something

for everyone. For, he was not just

Satyajit Ray's Apu. Beyond such a

nuanced portrayal, he could also simply

become Ray's Feluda and reach out to

every audience, eight to 80.

It took a Ray to bring to life

Soumitra's greatness, and yet the

account of their first meeting is a wellknown

story in Bengal. Ray was looking

for his adult Apu in "Apur Sansar",

final part of the Apu trilogy that started

with "Pather Panchali". A friend introduced

Soumitra to the master filmmaker

who promptly declared the budding

actor looked too old to be Apu, a college

student according to his script. Soumitra

would eventually bag the role opposite

Sharmila Tagore, of course, and the rest

is history.

Soumitra's cinematic fate is overwhelmingly

dictated by the great cinema

of Satyajit Ray, so much so the maestro's

filmography through his most

important phase outlines the actor's

career graph. Soumitra made his debut

with "Apur Sansar" (1959) and, over the

next three decades, would work in Ray

projects as "Devi" (1960), "Teen

Kanya" (1961), "Abhijan" (1962),

"Charulata" (1964), "Kapurush O

Mahapurush" (1965), "Aranyer Din

Ratri" (1969), "Ashani Sanket" (1973),

"Sonar Kella" (1974), "Joy Baba

Felunath" (1978), "Hirak Rajar Deshe"

(1980), "Ghare Baire" (1984),

"Ganashatru" (1989) and "Shakha

Proshakha" (1990).

It was a filmography that Ray, one of

the world's greatest filmmakers ever,

shared with his chosen on-screen emissary.

But if Ray worked with Soumitra

14 times, almost every major filmmaker

the actor collaborated with also tended

to repeat him. If anything, beyond

underlining his credential as an artiste

that fact stands a testimony to his professionalism

and disposition as a human

being. Consider a few other diversely

prolific filmmakers beyond Ray who

worked with Soumitra, and you get the

picture.

Mrinal Sen, another global icon of

Bangla cinema of the era, directed

Soumitra for the first time in

"Punascha" (1961), and then again

returned to collaborate with the actor in

"Pratinidhi" (1964), "Akash Kusum"

(1965), and "Mahaprithibi" (1991). The

iconic Tapan Sinha directed him in projects

as "Kshudhita Pashan" (1960),

"Jhinder Bandi" (1961), "Atanka"

(1984) and "Antardhan" (1992).

Mainstream titans of his era loved

working with the affable Soumitra, too.

Asit Sen directed him in "Swayambara"

(1961) and Swaralipi (1961), while

Ajoy Kar made "Otol Joler Ahoban"

(1962), "Saat Pake Baandha" (1963),

inference engine that directs resource

management, akin to an operating system.

TinyEngine is optimised to run a

particular neural network structure,

which is selected by MCUNet's other

component: TinyNAS, a neural architecture

search algorithm.

Designing a deep network for microcontrollers

isn't easy.

"It can work pretty well for GPUs or

smartphones but it's been difficult to

directly apply these techniques to tiny

"Barnali" (1963), "Kaanch Kata Heere"

(1965) and "Parineeta" (1969). Tarun

Mazumdar directed the actor over the

years in "Ektuku Baasha" (1965),

"Sansar Simante" (1975), "Ganadevata"

microcontrollers, because they are too

small," said Ji Lin, a PhD student in

Song Han's lab in MIT's Department of

Electrical Engineering and Computer

Science.

Lin developed TinyNAS, a neural

architecture search method that creates

custom-sized networks.

The customized nature of TinyNAS

means it can generate compact neural

networks with the best possible performance

for a given microcontroller --

(1978), "Agomon" (1988) and "Path O

Prasad" (1991).

Most of his directors have often spoken

about the insatiable passion he had

for his craft. It was something that

with no unnecessary parameters.

"Then we deliver the final, efficient

model to the microcontroller," Lin said .

The research will be presented at

next month's Conference on Neural

Information Processing Systems.

On a commercial microcontroller

they tested, MCUNet successfully classified

70.7 per cent of the novel images

-- the previous state-of-the-art neural

network and inference engine combo

was just 54 percent accurate.

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

17

ensured he would stay busy as ever till

his last days, essaying character roles

with the same enthusiasm with which he

executed starring roles in his heydays.

His 300-plus film career probably

can be explained by his highly adaptable

quality as an actor. He was at home

working with new-age Bengali filmmakers

as Atanu Ghosh

("Mayurakshi"), Suman Ghosh

("Podokkhep", "Peace Haven",

"Dwando", "Basu Paribar"), Partha

Chakraborty ("Samantaral") and

Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad

Mukherjee ("Posto"). He did move outside

Bengal into Bollywood domain

twice. In 1986, he acted opposite Roopa

Ganguly in the Hindi short film

"Nirupama", based on Tagore's story

"Dena Paona". He also had a role in the

2002 release, "Hindustani Sipahi",

based on Utpal Dutt's renowned Bangla

play "Pherari Fauj". These though were

temporary departures. For most parts,

his staggering career is based on his

Bengali filmography. It is a body of

work that has given him recognition

beyond the National Award as Best

Actor ("Podokkhep"). He also received

the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in

1998.

Although his greatness lies in his

body of work before the camera,

Soumitra did try his hand at filmmaking,

too. His directorial effort "Stree Ki

Patra", a telefilm based on Rabindranath

Tagore's "Streer Patra" released in 1986.

The film starred Roopa Ganguly and

Usha Ganguly.

That the legacy of Bangla cinema's

Grand Old Man was established in his

lifetime is obvious from the number of

GenNow actors who have followed in

his footsteps. Young talents in the

Bengali film industry of today such as

Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Abir

Chatterjee have fashioned their careers

in the lines of Soumitra, seeking stardom

without losing connect with Bengali

middle-class realities. These are actors

who have carved a niche in what is today

known as the multiplex cinema circuit,

catering content-driven entertainment of

refinement, removed from the cliches of

kitsch. It is something Soumitra relished

doing all those decades ago.

Advanced AI to manage your home appliances soon

"Even a 1 percent improvement is

considered significant," said Lin. "So

this is a giant leap for microcontroller

settings."

The promising test results give hope

that it will become the new industry

standard for microcontrollers. MCUNet

could also make IoT devices more

secure.

"A key advantage is preserving privacy,"

says Han. "You don't need to

transmit the data to the cloud."


18 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Scientists decode how Mars lost

its water and continues to lose

Washington : Scientists have further

decoded the phenomenon that led

Mars to lose the equivalent of a global

ocean of water up to hundreds of feet

deep over billions of years.

Scientists using an instrument

aboard NASA's Mars Atmosphere and

Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft

have discovered that water

vapour near the surface of the Red

Planet is lofted higher into the atmosphere

than anyone expected was possible.

There, it is easily destroyed by

electrically charged gas particles -- or

ions -- and lost to space.

Mars continues to lose water today

as vapour is transported to high altitudes

after sublimating from the

frozen polar caps during warmer seasons,

the team wrote in the journal

Science. "We were all surprised to find

water so high in the atmosphere," said

Shane W Stone, a doctoral student in

planetary science at the University of

space. Previously, scientists thought

that water vapour was trapped close to

the Martian surface like it is on Earth.

"Everything that makes it up to the

higher part of the atmosphere is

destroyed, on Mars or on Earth,"

Stone said, "because this is the part of

the atmosphere that is exposed to the

full force of the Sun."

The researchers measured 20 times

more water than usual over two days

in June 2018, when a severe global

dust storm enveloped Mars (the one

that put NASA's Opportunity rover

out of commission). Stone and his colleagues

estimated Mars lost as much

water in 45 days during this storm as it

typically does throughout an entire

Martian year, which lasts two Earth

years. "We have shown that dust

storms interrupt the water cycle on

Mars and push water molecules higher

in the atmosphere, where chemical

reactions can release their hydrogen

Arizona's Lunar and Planetary

atoms, which are then lost to space,"

Laboratory in Tucson.

"The measurements we used could

have only come from MAVEN as it

soars through the atmosphere of Mars,

high above the planet's surface."

To make their discovery, Stone and

his team tracked the abundance of

water ions high over Mars for more

than two Martian years.

In doing so, they determined that

the amount of water vapour near the

top of the atmosphere at about 150

kms, above the surface is highest during

summer in the southern hemisphere.

During this time, the planet is

closest to the Sun, and thus warmer,

and dust storms are more likely to happen.

The warm summer temperatures

and strong winds associated with dust

said Paul Mahaffy, director of the

Solar System Exploration Division at

NASA Goddard and principal investigator

of NGIMS.

Other scientists have also found

that Martian dust storms can lift water

vapour far above the surface.

But nobody realised until now that

the water would make it all the way to

the top of the atmosphere.

"What's unique about this discovery

is that it provides us with a new

pathway that we didn't think existed

for water to escape the Martian environment,"

said Mehdi Benna, a

Goddard planetary scientist and coinvestigator

of MAVEN's NGIMS

instrument. "It will fundamentally

change our estimates of how fast water

storms help water vapour reach the

is escaping today and how fast it

uppermost parts of the atmosphere, where it can easily be broken into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen and oxygen then escape to escaped in the past."

Israel warns of strike in Gaza

if rocket attacks continue

Jerusalem : Israel has

issued a warning that it will

launch a heavy attack on the

Gaza Strip if rocket fire from

the besieged enclave continued.

Speaking at a weekly cabinet

meeting on Sunday, Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

said that his country "will not

tolerate any attacks", referring

to two rockets launched on

Saturday night from Gaza

toward Israel, reports Xinhua

news agency.

No group immediately

assumed responsibility for the

rockets.

However, Israeli

Defence Minister

Benny Gantz said

Hamas, an Islamist

Palestinian movement

that runs Gaza, should

be held accountable.

He said the government

is working "in

several directions,

operational and others,

to bring long-term tranquility"

to the area.

Israel responded to

the rockets with a

counter-attack on

Hamas positions in

Gaza.

No casualties or injuries

were reported on both sides.

Local Israeli media reported

that the army was looking into

the possibility that the rocket

fire was not intentional but due

to a malfunction caused by a

lightning storm.

Melbourne cancels annual

NYE fireworks show

Melbourne : The annual

New Year Eve fireworks

show in Melbourne has been

cancelled and replaced with a

two-day street food festival

this year due to the Covid-19

pandemic, the City Council

said on Monday. The change

has been made to avoid

large-scale outdoor gathering

as the fireworks show usually

attracts about 400,000 people

to the second largest

Australian city which could

become a public health threat

during a pandemic, Xinhua

news agency quoted the

Council as saying in a statement.

Instead, dining precincts

will be set up across the city of

Melbourne, encouraging people

to enjoy their New Year celebrations

at more than 50 venues,

some are located at the

most popular eat streets such as

Flinders Lane and Little

Bourke Street. The Lord Mayor

of Melbourne Sally Capp said

the New Year Street Feasts will

support local hospitality businesses

that had been hit hard

during the pandemic lockdown.

"This has been an incredibly

tough year and we want to

mark its end by celebrating and

supporting Melbourne's wonderful

cafes, bars and restaurants,"

Capp said. "We are tailoring

a program to safely

encourage more patrons into

our incredible and deserving

hospitality businesses that have

struggled through lockdown

restrictions." The cancellation

came after Melbourne ended its

Covid-19 lockdown which lasted

for almost four months. As

of Monday, the Australian state

of Victoria, where Melbourne

is the capital, recorded its 17th

consecutive day without any

new case or virus-related

deaths.

In a similar move last week,

New South Wales (NSW)

Premier Gladys Berejiklian had

announced that Sydney's New

Year's Eve firework display

will be scaled down by several

minutes and spectators will be

banned from harbour-side vantage

points in the wake of the

pandemic. Due to its time zone,

Sydney usually hosts the first

major New Year's Eve celebrations

of the globe, centering on

the Harbour Bridge and Opera

House, in a display which

attracts thousands of people to

the harbour and surrounding

area.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

19

National Dalit Movement for Justice- NCDHR strongly condemns

the Judgment delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in

the Criminal Appeal no. 707 of 2020

The Hon’ble Supreme

Court, in the matter of Hitesh

Verma vs State of Uttarakhand

(criminal Appeal no. 707 of

2020), passed its judgment stating

that “Insulting or intimidating

a person belonging to

Scheduled Caste or Scheduled

Tribe (SC/ST) community will

not be counted as offence under

the SC/ST PoA Act unless such

insult or intimidation is on

account of victim belonging to

SC/ST community”.

National Coalition for

Strengthening SCs & STs PoA

Act and National Dalit

Movement for Justice-

NCDHR strongly condemns

the judgement delivered by the

Hon’ble Supreme Court in the

above mentioned case as it

weakens the roots of fight

against untouchability. We

would like to further reiterate

that the Scheduled Castes (SCs)

and the Scheduled Tribes (STs)

(Prevention of Atrocities) Act,

1989 was framed to prevent

atrocities committed against the

Dalit and Adivasi communities.

The research data from various

source reveals that the

“Act” has not been properly

implemented. Still there is a

large fragment of people

belonging to the marginalised

community for whom ensuring

access to justice is still remains

a dream. In most of the cases,

people belonging to Dalit or

Adivasi community do not

even report the due to fear of

social boycott or other form of

atrocity by the dominant castes.

The PoA Act is intended to

serve and protect the rights of

Dalit and Adivasi’s. However it

has been observed that a number

of attempts have been made

to dilute its provisions. The

judgment delivered in the

above mentioned criminal

appeal is one such attempt. The

judgment will form the base of

gross social injustice to the

marginalised and vulnerable

communities. It is only due to

the constant struggle of few

civil society organisation and

Dalit and Adivasi leaders, the

act is still into existence.

As per the facts of the case,

A Dalit man raised his voice

against forceful and illegal land

possession by the dominant

caste members. The Dalit man

and his family members were

constantly being threatened and

subjected to atrocity.

The FIR was lodged for the

offences under Sections 452,

504, 506 of Indian Penal Code

and Section 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(e)

of the Scheduled Castes and

Scheduled Tribes (Prevention

of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The

police filed its report of investigation

and removed Section

3(1)(e) from the charge sheet.

The accused later filed an

application under Section 482

of Criminal Procedure Code for

quashing of FIR.The appeal

made by the accused came

before the apex court and the

Hon’ble court, while quashing

the FIR, reiterated that “This

act intended to punish the acts

of the upper caste” and this

case had no connection with the

caste

Astronomers spot 'unexplained

brightness' from colossal explosion

New York : Astronomers have discovered

the brightest infrared light

from a short gamma-ray burst ever

seen, with a bizarre glow that is much

brighter than previously thought was

possible.

It's half-second flash of light, detected

in May of this year, came from a violent

explosion of gamma rays billions

of light-years away that unleashed

more energy in a blink of an eye than

the Sun will produce over its entire 10-

billion-year lifetime, according to a

study accepted for publication in an

upcoming issue of The Astrophysical

Journal. "It's amazing to me that after

10 years of studying the same type of

phenomenon, we can discover unprecedented

behaviour like this," said lead

author of the study Wen-fai Fong,

Assistant Professor at Northwestern

University in the US.

"It just reveals the diversity of

explosions that the universe is capable

of producing, which is very exciting."

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope

quickly captured the glow within just

three days after the burst and determined

its near-infrared emission was

10 times brighter than predicted, defying

conventional models. "These observations

do not fit traditional explanations

for short gamma-ray bursts," said

Fong. "Given what we know about the

radio and X-rays from this blast, it just

doesn't match up. The near-infrared

emission that we're finding with

Hubble is way too bright." To zero in

on this new phenomenon's exact brightness,

the team used W. M. Keck

Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii to

pinpoint the precise distance of its host

galaxy. "Distances are important in calculating

the burst's true brightness as

opposed to its apparent brightness as

seen from Earth," said Fong. "With

Keck, we were able to determine the

true brightness of the burst and thus the

energy scale. We found it was to be

much more energetic than we originally

thought."

Lasting less than two seconds, short

gamma-ray bursts are among the most

energetic, explosive events known;

they live fast and die hard.

Scientists think they are caused by

the merger of two neutron stars,

extremely dense objects about the mass

of the Sun compressed into the volume

of a small city. The short gamma-ray

burst detailed in this study was first

detected with NASA's Neil Gehrels

Swift Observatory. Once the alert went

out, the team quickly enlisted other telescopes

to conduct multi-wavelength

observations.

They analysed the afterglow in X-

ray with Swift Observatory, optical and

near-infrared with Las Cumbres

Observatory Global Telescope network,

Hubble, and Keck Observatory,

and in radio wavelengths with the Very

Large Array radio observatory.

Mumbai : Filmmaker Shekhar

Kapur has started preparing for his

upcoming cross-cultural rom-com featuring

Hollywood star Emma

Thompson. Titled What's Love Got To

Do With It?, the film deals with love

and marriage and is set in London and

South Asia.

"First rehearsals with the amazing

actor Emma Thompson today. So

looking forward to working with her

in my next movie," Kapur tweeted on

Monday. The film also stars Lily

James and Shazad Latif, and will be

written and produced by Jemima

Khan. Kapur, the man behind cinematic

gems like Masoom, Mr. India and

Bandit Queen, got Hollywood fame

Scheduled Caste) of the

complainant. Both the complainant

and the accused person

have the right to own the land

and get justice. Since the incident

occurred within four walls

in the absence of members of

the public, the allegation under

the act do not stand and hence

the section 3 (1) (r) cannot be

applicable to this case as highlighted

in his judgment.

The Hon’ble Court has

ignored few of the most important

legal aspects while delivering

the judgment. The same are

as follows:

1. The police authorities, at

the initial phase of the investigation,

had failed to invoke sections

3 (1) (u) and 3 (2) (va) of

SC/ST Act 1989 in the said

FIR. The facts of the case clearly

attract these provisions. In

particular, when the FIR is registered

under IPC sections, the

police authorities are also

bound to include section 3 (2)

(va) of SC/ST PoA Act.

Moreover since the FIR is registered

under 506 of IPC, so it

is obvious that section 3 (2)

(va) of SC/ST PoA Act is applicable.

But the Hon’ble Court

did not consider these legalities

of the case and rendered a judgment

which is against the principle

of Social Justice.

2. Moreover section 8 of the

SC/ST PoA Act, 1989 talks

about presumption as to

offence. Sub Clause (c) of

Section 8 further says that “the

accused having personal

knowledge of the victim or his

family, the Court shall presume

that the accused was aware of

the caste or tribal identity of the

victim, unless the contrary is

proved”. The apex court has

failed to look into this significant

feature of the act.

3. Finally the Hon’ble court

has ignored the basic principle

set up under the Object and

Reason clause of the act, i.e.,

the Act was enacted to improve

the social economic conditions

of the vulnerable sections of the

society as they have been subjected

to various offences such

as indignities, humiliations and

harassment. Even if a member

of Schedule caste or Schedule

Tribe is being verbally caste

abused by the member of

Dominant Caste, under the pretext

of his caste identity, the act

amounts to humiliation, harassment

and violation of Article

21, i.e., Right to Life and

Personal Dignity.

Since, the Hon’ble court

has failed to consider the

above mentioned aspect and

has grossly erred in rendering

the said impugned judgment,

National Dalit Movement for

Justice would like to put forth

following demands in order

to prevent miscarriage of justice:

1. The Hon’ble apex Court

shall reconsider the appeal by

taking suo-moto cognizance

and transfer the same to a

constitutional bench for consideration

2. The State shall file a

review petition in order to

ensure that the victims have

access to justice;

3. Action shall be taken

against the concerned police

authorities under the section

4 (wilful negligence) of the

SC/ST PoA Act for including

inappropriate sections and

diluting the gravity of the

incident and for favouring the

accused person.

We, on behalf of the

National Coalition for

Strengthening SCs & STs

PoA Act (NCSPOA) will take

every possible step to emphasizing

upon our demands and

to take action on reinstating

the SC/ST PoA Act.

Shekhar Kapur starts prep with

Emma Thompson for next

with his successful film Elizabeth,

starring Cate Blanchett. The films won

Kapur international acclaim including

the prestigious BAFTA Award and

Oscar nominations.

He also directed a segment of the

2008 anthology, New York, I Love

You. Apart from direction, Kapur had

a stint as a Bollywood actor with films

like Toote Khilone (1978), Falak

(1988), Gawahi (1989) and the TV

series Udaan (1989-1991), among

other works.

At the moment, Kapur is President

of the Pune-based Film and Television

Institute of India (FTII) Society, and

Chairman of the institute's governing

council.


20 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Indians are rejoicing over Kamala

Harris becoming the first woman vice

president and that too with Indian origin.

The other day, we saw Priyanca

Radhakrishnan being sworn in the New

Zealand Ministry and Keralites have

been proud of her achievements .

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

already has four Ministers of Indian origin,

three of them being Sikhs who are

represented far better than in Narendra

Modi s cabinet in India. Apart from

them there is one woman Minister too.

In the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak

heads the Finance, Priti Patel is Home

Secretary and Alok Sharma is Secretary

Business and Industries.

There are many other leaders of

Indian origin who were leaders of their

countries like Surinam, Gayana, Fiji and

Mauritius but yes, these countries had

indian who suffered a lot and were taken

as indentured labourers or I would simply

call them as slave labour even

when slavery was abolished by that

time, by the British to work in their

plantation fields but over the years they

slowly rebuild their lives and many of

them became the leader of their countries.

Obviously, they loved their Indian

roots but had no connection with India

as their forefathers had left long back

and had no support like the NRIs today

have. Those were the difficult years but

they managed to maintain their dignity

and succeeded in these countries.

The stories of Kamala Harris, Priti

Patel, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and

other successful politicians of Indian

origin in US, UK, Canada and New

Zealand is bigger proof of the diversity

and opportunities provided by these

countries and rather than a contribution

of India or Indian system. Kamala

Harris s grandfather i.e. Nana was a

joint secretary during Jawahar Lal

Nehru s time and he sent his daughter to

study in the US which was a favorite of

youngsters who could afford to go in

search of better opportunities. All these

new leaders who we all are feeling

Lucky Ali stops

singing O sanam at

line mentioning death

in VIRAL VIDEO

New Delhi : A new video of yesteryears singer

Lucky Ali crooning

his hit song O

Sanam, and playing

the guitar, has

gone viral. In the

video, the singer

stops at a line

where there is a

mention of the

word death,

drawing widespread emotional response from fans.

Lucky, who is 62 now, looks very different in an

Islamic cap and trimmed white beard as he strums the

notes and starts singing.

Although his voice sounds aged, he has lost none of

the hallmark melodious magic. But what catches your

attention is when he reaches the line in the second

stanza that goes: "Mar bhi gaye toh bhool na jaana

(don’t forget me even after I die)." Lucky abruptly

stops singing at that point, before picking up the song

a few lines later.

Twitterati reacted emotionally to the video, and

among them was Bigg Boss 14 housemate Eijaz Khan.

"Lots of Love to our favourite #luckyali," wrote Eijaz,

with a red heart emoji. Netizens reacted to the video

variously with posts as "Man with the golden voice...",

"The best of the best...", "Pure gold" and "same passion",

among numerous other comments. "His voice is

just a pure medicine to our degenerated brains suffering

from today’s remixed songs," wrote one user.

CELEBRATION ON KAMALA HARRIS

VICTORY IN INDIA are absolute hypocrisy

proud of, are just first and second generation

who migrated to these countries

in either mid 1950s or 1960s and many

are of 1980s generation and yet they got

the opportunity to lead.

Listen to Kamala Harris and Joe

Biden and they are speaking of inclusion,

fight against systemic racism and

unity of the country. Kamala Harris s

success is attributed to the fact that the

US is a country of possibilities and hope

for migrants. So most of these leaders

who have flourished are not there for

several generations but not more than

fifty years. What is happening back in

our country. The leaders of division and

hatred don t want people whose seven

generations are settled in India. We are

asking hundreds of questions about the

history of some body great great great

great great great grandfather. We are

seeking revenge for the wrongs of the

past. A government or political class

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

which is stuck in the wrongs of history

can not provide vision for the future.

What happened to the issue of Sonia

Gandhi when she could have become

the leader of Congress Party. Even after

refusing to be leader, she has been

harassed and humiliated by the Sanghi

media. How can you make a country

Kolkata : Veteran Bengali actor

Soumitra Chatterjee passed away on

Sunday and the medical board at the

Kolkata hospital where he was for over a

month announced the

news. He was 85.

"We declare with heavy

heart that Shri Soumitra

Chattopadhyay breathed

his last at 12.15 p.m. at

Belle Vue Clinic today (15

November 2020). We pay

our homage to his soul,"

the bulletin from Kolkata’s

Belle Vue Hospital said.

Chatterjee’s health condition

was "extremely critical"

and he was "not

responding at all" to treatment,

critical care expert

and head of the medical

board Arindam Kar had

said just minutes back.

The octogenarian

actor’s health condition

"extremely" deteriorated since Friday.

"The team of doctors including neurologist,

nephrologist, cardiologist, those from

critical care medicine, infection disease

specialist, both from public and private

sectors, every one has put their effort to get

the legend back from the critical stage, but

it is not working," Kar told IANS around

stronger if you make 12% Muslims suspect

of all the evils and wrongs of the

country.

What would have happened to

Kamala Harris if she were in India. Her

marriage to a Christian would have

become the hunting ground for Sangh

Parivar and they would have brought

the conspiracy theory of the Christian

evangelists by converting our innocent

women. The whole attempt to

bring Love Jehad laws state after state

are nothing but to harass the couples

particularly where the male partner is a

Muslim or Christian. Why are we celebrating

for Kamala Harris ? Because we

don t want our children to decide their

own fate ? Because we don t treat our

minorities equally or make them look

suspect ? Because the representation of

minorities is reducing in every sector

and our politicians want to intimidate

them and suggest to them that you are a

second class citizen of this country and

because we don t want to give protesters

even the

right to

protest and

file cases

after cases

against them.

There is a lot for Indians and Indian

nationalists to introspect on what has

happened in india. Just before celebrating

about Kamala Harris or Priti Patel

or Priyanka Radhakrishnan please peep

Legendary Bangla actor

Soumitra passes away

10 a.m.

He said that the doctors have tried really

hard to "revive" Soumitra. "We are very

sorry to say that he is not responding at

all."

The Dadasaheb

Phalke awardee was

admitted in the Intensive

Care Unit (ICU) of

Kolkata’s Belle Vue

Hospital for almost 40

days and his consciousness

level went down

significantly since

Friday. The condition of

the veteran actor had

remained a matter of

concern owing to comorbidities

and

advanced age. His key

problem was Covid-19

encephalopathy, doctors

said.

Soumitra Chatterjee

tested positive for coronavirus

on October 5 and got admitted to the

hospital the very next morning.

He was shooting for a documentary

titled "Abhijan" directed by actor

Parambrata Chattopadhyay. Last time he

attended the shooting floor at Bharatlaxmi

Studio was on October 1. The next shooting

schedule was fixed on October 7.

into your own prejudices and how you

have made every neighbour of our look

unwanted. Societies which embrace

diversity and are inclusive in nature,

which leave their prejudices aside will

grow and progress. Indians who want to

enjoy democracies elsewhere need to

strengthen the same kind of structure in

their own country. Whether it is USA or

Canada or New Zealand or England, we

need to ensure that we too respect freedom

of expression of the minorities,

respect individual s right to choose their

faith and partner, respect differences of

opinion and as Joe Biden said that differences

do not mean that our opponents

are anti national. Let us understand that

providing a level playing field to all will

make us better and encourage minorities

and migrants to be part of our decision

making will always bring their knowledge

and strength to our political structure.

At the moment, we hope that leaders

of Indian origin will prove successful

in raising issues of minorities and

immigrants and will have the same message

back home in India to respect the

similar values so we become a true

democracy. A country without fair representation

of marginalised and minorities

can not become a true democracy.

Let us hope our political class will read

the message of hope, love and healing

from these the outcome of the elections

in the United States.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Cab driver arrested

for sending death

threats to Goa CM

Panaji : The police in Goa on Monday arrested

a 25-year-old taxi driver for allegedly sending

death threats to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and

other government functionaries over the last few

weeks. The accused has been identified as Ashish

Suresh Naik, a resident of Cortalim village in South

Goa and a part-time taxi driver. He was involved in

four complaints filed at various police stations

across the state, police said. "The mobile phone

used in the crime has been recovered. Further

investigation is in progress," a Goa Police

spokesperson said on Monday.

On November 7, the Chief Minister’s Office had

filed an FIR at the Panaji police station, stating that

Sawant had been issued a death threat along with

an extortion demand by an unknown person over

phone. After the FIR was filed, several top political

functionaries had also stated that they too had been

at the receiving end of such phone calls for the past

few weeks.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

The sacrifices by the saints and the

leaders to stop hatred through caste difference

seem to be heading to become

meaningless. They all stood against the

Brahmin dominance because it spread

hatred via Manusmriti. The sole purpose

of Manusmirity was to impel differentiation

between the humans. It classified

humanity. About six hundred years ago

a group of saints commenced a movement

to bring an end to this inhumane

practices in Bharat Varsh today known

as India.

The names of Guru Nanak Dev Ji,

Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Ravi

Dass Ji are amongst these saints.

Manusmriti was the main cause to the

problem so it’s elimination became a

necessity because it implemented the

methods to degrading of the Adhi vasis

meaning the natives of India.

It gave upper hand to the Aryans by

declaring them as superior to all by

birth. It assured them that their crimes

and sins committed against the others

are forgiven because the God has created

them for cleansing of his earth. It

means that all apart from the Aryans are

polluted.

The saints opposed this theory

because to them all individuals in God’s

eye are same. God does not differentiate

within beings because they are his

own creation. God’s mercy for all is

same regardless of caste culture or

creed. The man to satisfy his own ego

has invented ideas such slave trade for

his greed and untouchability to spread

hate.

All humans are born in this world

through mother’s yoni. They breath

same air, drink same water, eat same

food and have similar body components

so how can Manusmriti claim that the

Aryans are superior to all by birth. It

also encouraged the Aryans to sexually

assault the native women to damage

pride and integrity of the Adhi vasis.

Rapes were carried out then and are still

happening today. The natives were

immediately killed if they failed to

respond to Aryan demands. Even today

they are still being killed on similar

grounds but under the excuse of death

through encounter.

The Aryans were not to have close

contact with the natives because it polluted

them but closeness to

the native women was permitted.

This closeness has

been ongoing for many centuries

and even today is. The

raping, murdering and sexual

assaults are still active

today because of

Manusmriti’s ideology.

Probably this is the reason

why the religious sects are

failing to condone this inhuman

practise.

Thousands like Manisha

Valmikian are facing this

fate but unfortunately their families will

not receive the justice as per

Constitution of India.

When Phoolan Devi refused to offer

her body for a Thakur’s pleasure, the

NEWS

IS MANUSMRITI

A NECESSATY?

– M. Teji

Thakurs in the village decided to teach

her a lesson. They lined up and in turns

they raped her. It shows how low the

mentality of these Thakurs

can drop to. The reason

behind these rapes is the

hatred bred within them

through Manusmriti. The

Thakurs will go to any

length and them lining up

for their turn to rape

Phoolan Devi is the sheer

example. Even the animals

do not go as low as this.

Thousands of unsolved

cases are pending and the

culprits are off the hook and

roaming free because they

belong to higher caste communities.

The Constitution of India is presently

under threat. It has maintained law

and order since India’s Independence

but unfortunately efforts are being made

to replace it by Manusmriti. If

Manusmriti find it’s way into the

Parliament then the law and order in

India is surely going to disintegrate.

It is an awakening call for the 85% of

the people to unite and oppose

Manusmriti, failing 15% are going to

succeed in their plans to establish

Hindutva in India.

Now Mr Modi and Amit Shah and

their associates are finding faults in the

Indian Constitution. They must not forget

that it was Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar

who had the ability to finalise it when

the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohan

Karam Chand Gandhi, Valab Bhai Patel

and the rest threw in towel because it’s

completion was beyond them.

This is why Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar

has been voted the India’s celebrity of

the 19th century. Rightly, He deserves

the title of SON OF INDIA because of

his drafted Constitution, India’s name

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

21

now ranks amongst the world’s most

powerful countries. Unfortunately to

establish Hindutva, Indian Constitution

is being targeted. The public of India

needs to stand up and protect it if they

believe in Justice through the courts

failing justice will be done through the

encounters or will depend on the judgements

given by the religious Gurus.

India should be only known as

Bharat and not by any other name. The

Citizens should be known Bharat Vasi

and not Hindustani. The people should

have right to pursue belief of their

choice. Chains of the Caste system will

have to be broken only then Bharat

Varsh can look forward to progress in

the future.

In 2012, the Congress Party started a

scheme to assist the SC students for

higher education, but the Central

Government has stopped it. Captain

Amrinder Singh, the Chief Minister of

Punjab has reinstated it in Punjab and

has assured that the scholarships will be

available for SC scholars attaining higher

education. The Valmikian Sabhas in

Punjab have whole heartily thanked

Captain Amrinder Singh for his consideration

to much needed scholarship

scheme. This indeed is going to be a big

help for the SC graduates but it is quiet

hard to understand that why BJP is withdrawing

away education from the

Scheduled Castes when worldwide

efforts are being made to extend education

to the people who have been

deprived of education in the past.

The Government officials present

during celebration in Bhagwan Valmiki

Ashram, Amritsar have in their speeches

mentioned that only by following the

guidance of the Valmiki Ramayana

India can look forward to any peace.

The days for those who believed in

spreading of human slavery and

untouchability are gone because now

promoting of humanity has become a

worldwide concern. Covid 19 has started

to gain momentum again and restrictions

through the lockdowns are also on

the way in Britain. Please follow the

guidelines set by the Government and

be safe.

Anti-racism campaigner and Urdu language

champion honoured at the ‘Oscars of education’

A teacher who fought for the rights

of women and migrants, and for the

recognition of the study of Urdu, has

been recognised at the Tes Schools

Awards, one of the biggest nights in

the UK education calendar which was

held on Friday 13th November.

Siddiqa Mubashar was posthumously

awarded a Lifetime

Achievement Award.

After studying a master’s in Urdu,

at 26, she migrated from Pakistan to

the UK, working first in community

service supporting vulnerable Asian

women, and becoming a member of

the Rochdale Community Health

Council and an executive member of

the Council for Racial Equality.

In 1979, she found her calling in

teaching and she taught secondary

school students for over 40 years in

Rochdale and the London boroughs of

Newham and Havering. Former colleague

Miriam Scharf recalls that, in

the 1980s and 1990s, “those who

taught non-European languages had

to battle continually to get recognition...there

were endless ‘microaggressions’

as well as outright discrimination”.

But Ms Mubashar always stood up

for herself and her students. She

worked tirelessly for the black, Asian

and minority ethnic communities, and

students with English as an additional

language. She also published three

textbooks for Urdu teachers, which

filled a gap in educational resources.

Sadly, Ms Mubashar recently

passed away but her legacy lives on:

seven of her children and grandchildren

work in education. Nominating

her for the award, her daughter,

Bushra, said her mother “was a true

hero...the epitome of an educator: she

was a diligent teacher, a patient mentor,

a fastidious examiner and a successful

writer. Her contribution to

education, over 40 years, is not simply

significant, it is revolutionary.”

The Tes Schools Awards judges

praised her courage and determination,

and her work to ensure that children

had the opportunity to study

community languages. Tes editor Ann

Mroz said: “This is an exceptionally

deserving winner: she fought against

racism and prejudice, and empowered

generations of students.”

Siddiqa Mubashar’s daughter

Bushra said: “Alongside her relentless

work championing Urdu and elevating

its status as a Modern Foreign

Language, she worked tirelessly for

the BAME community, celebrating

diversity and uniting cultures. Sadly,

in July 2020, Siddiqa Mubashar

passed away, following a long and

difficult battle with cancer. As her

family, we are incredibly proud that

her achievements have been recognised

and we are honoured that she

has received the Tes Lifetime

Achievement Award.”

Chief judge of the Tes Schools

Awards and Editor of Tes magazine

Ann Mroz said:

“The Tes Schools Awards are the

Oscars of education, recognising and

celebrating everything that’s great

about our schools and school staff.

“These awards are for the 2018-19

academic year. It’s evident from the

entries how hard and how imaginatively

school staff were working to

give children a great education. Since

then, of course, they have had a pandemic

to contend with. But this has

only served to underline their commitment

to the children in their care.

They have worked their socks off to

make sure children are learning and

are safe. So we congratulate all winners

but we also salute each and every

person working in our schools today.”

The Tes Schools Awards were held

virtually for the first time to comply

with coronavirus regulations. In previous

years the awards ceremony has

been held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on

London’s Park Lane.

For the full list of winners of the

Tes Schools Awards, visit

https://www.tes.com/news/tesschools-awards-2020-winnersannounced

Katy Gandon

Tes Director of Communications

0780 181 3334

katy.gandon@tes.com

Greg Tinker

Tes Communications Manager

07977 522453

greg.tinker@tes.com


22 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Bail to Arnab Goswami or personal

freedom to intimidate, humiliate and harass

the political opponents of the ruling party

The Supreme Court’s decision to

give bail to Arnab Goswami to defend

‘personal liberty ‘ which can not be

allowed to get hampered, as Justice

Chandrachud remarked and further

added if ‘states go against it as they

should know there is a Supreme Court’

ready to ‘protect’ people’s personal liberties.

Justice Chandrachud is considered

to be one of the top thinking

judges of our time, a very knowledgeable

and the one who had disagreed

many times with the major judgements.

However, yesterday’s arguments which

came live through two wonderful

online sites livelaw and barbench

showed as if the special sitting was just

a plan to give Arnab bail. From day

one, Arnab Goswami never followed

any procedures and bypassed them. He

had no faith in lower courts and was

indecent during hearing there. His bail

application was pending at the bigger

court but he decided to approach the

high court but when the high court too

asked him to go to lower court for the

regular bail as is the procedure, his

lawyers felt it is enough is enough.

They should get intervention from the

Supreme Court.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave

raised questions about Supreme Court

registry picking up Arnab Goswami’s

case so fast and listing it in the top

when thousands of such cases have

been pending in the court for matters

rarely come in listing. Issue of political

leaders and activists languishing in jail

in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation

of article 370 is rarely heard on time.

Habeas Corpus petition of former Chief

Minister Farooq Abdullah was dismissed

after the government said that

he has been ‘released’ even when he

was not. Similar

things happened to

Prof Saifuddin

Sauz and the court

accepted the ‘government’

version as gospel truth. For

the last several years, we have so many

activists suffering enormously in such

difficult circumstances in various jails

but there is no outrage related to personal

liberty. Varavara Rao, Stan

Swamy are over 80 years and suffer

from various age related ailments. They

can’t stand and need caretakers but the

outrage is completely ‘gayab’. Look at

Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha

and others who have been in jail for

their writings. Both of them too are

above sixty or near seventy.

It is good that Justice Chandrachud

said that he wants to give an order

which can provide precedent. He

admonished high courts for not being

active on this issue and were very lax in

giving bails. I think High Courts in the

last five six years have delivered better

in terms of people’s rights and not our

apex courts. We can say that if we look

at the cases, we will find,

various High Courts came

out as strong supporters of

people’s liberties and rights.

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

AMAZON apologises after saying

Northern Ireland not part of the UK

London : Amazon has said sorry after

mistakenly telling a customer in the

Northern Ireland that he was not in the

United Kingdom, triggering ridicule on

social media.

Chris Jones, from Ballyclare in County

Antrim, who was told by Amazon's customer

support account on Twitter that he was not in

the UK, said in a tweet on Sunday: "Got it

sorted, finally. A very nice man from

Amazon phoned to apologise and switch the

territory on my account from ROI (Republic

of Ireland) to UK. That's all they had to do."

It all started after Jones struggled to watch

England's rugby match against Georgia,

which was being aired on Amazon Prime

Video on Saturday.

When he reached Amazon's customer

support account on Twitter to find out why

he was blocked, it cited geographical reasons.

"We apologize but upon reviewing

your location you're in

Northern Ireland.

Rugby Autumn

Nations Cup coverage

is exclusively available

to Prime members

based in the UK.

We don't have the

rights to other territories,"

the Amazon

account said.

This response from

one of the biggest tech

companies went viral

and even attracted

political attention.

According to a

report in The Guardian on Sunday, Amazon

initially appeared to be confused when some

people pointed out that that Northern Ireland

is part of the UK.

"Thank you for reaching out to us. We'll

be sure to pass your feedback along to the

appropriate team," Amazon said in response.

It appeared to realise the error after another

person raised similar issue regarding

access to the game.

The Northern Ireland Justice Minister,

Naomi Long, said in humorous vein that

Amazon had resulted in an "international

incident" with the responses from the customer

service, said The Guardian report.

"We apologise for the error in our colleague's

response. Our Prime Video subscribers

in Northern Ireland and the rest of

the UK can access and watch the Rugby

Autumn Nations Cup on Prime Video as part

of their subscription," Amazon said.

What happened to Dr Kafil

Khan who was arrested

under NSA for no fault of him and

when released by the high court, Uttar

Pradesh government shamelessly

slapped other cases on him and rearrested

him. It was only after the high

court of Allahabad intervened that he

got bail.

We are looking forward to the

detailed order of the Supreme Court.

We hope it gives new guidelines. I said

numerous times, the best way for the

court to undo the systematic wrong particularly

those who can’t afford a

Mumbai : Actress

Shilpa Shetty says there

was a time when no one

took her seriously to offer

her the role of the protagonist,

adding that she is glad

that she has survived

through the tough times.

"Back in the 1990's, I

have to be honest we were

all typecast, either you

were a very good actress

and you would get those

kinds of films or you would

be typecast in those glamorous

roles. And I was the

latter, so nobody really

took me seriously to offer me the

main protagonist role," Shilpa

said. "The game changer for me

was 'Dhadkan' where Dharmesh

(director Dharmesh Darshan) really

stripped me off all that glamour

and actually kept the glamour but

he wanted it all covered. So funny

enough he was the first to tell me

that 'I want you to look glamorous

but in an Indian outfit'... That

changed the entire perspective of

people and that film went on to

become a huge hit and then I did a

lot of films after that where there

were meatier roles but, honesty I

didn't care, for me it was just work

and I was really young then," she

added. The actress continued:

"Today we are getting scripts

where everything is elucidated on

paper, we didn't have vanity vans

and we still went to work with a

smile on our faces in the sun and

wearing those chiffon sarees in the

snow. So we've done all of it and

we enjoyed it.

"So today I feel we lead far

more luxurious lives as actors, we

are very very pampered with an

entourage of staff and managers. I

love this phase as well, I feel very

pampered and feel very important

but it was madness and today

there's method to that madness,"

she added. Shilpa walked into

Bollywood with the 1993 Diwali

release "Baazigar". The Shah

Harish Salve or a Kapil Sibal, is to

appoint a judicial commission under

some retired judges of Supreme Court

and give them a clear guideline of looking

up to those cases which are basically

related to political prisoners, human

rights defenders and activists working

for people’s rights. They have been

punished for being the

voice of the people.

Looking at the cases

exclusively and then

speaking of ‘personal liberty’

is hypocrisy. It is

important that the whole

issue is dealt in a decisive

way by the Supreme court

giving categorical guidelines

to state not to arrest

people on a mere tweet or a facebook

post.

Yesterday, during the argument,

Justice Chandrachud said that if you

don’t like someone, don’t watch him. I

don’t watch his channel. While these

are just observations, but I hope things

are not simple. Arnab Goswami’s poisonous

campaign is well known and I

am sure Harish Salve should also know

it. Can any person dedicated to human

rights stand with Arnab Goswami who

will be spreading venom from his studio

again. Look at the way he came out

from the Jail like a mafia don with the

chamchas. The police escort given to

him to spread poison. Such a security

may not even be with the judges of the

Supreme Court. Why is our state spending

public money on those spreading

venom and poison ?

But that brings us to the real point.

The fact is Arnab Goswami is the one of

the ‘most powerful’ persons in this government

probably after the ‘first two’.

The BJP was perhaps feeling helpless

without their main ‘propaganda’ tool out

of service for some time during the Bihar

polls. But he is back and rest assured, his

services for Bengal polls will be important.

Good that the Court has come for the

rescue of ‘freedom’ of Arnab Goswami.

One wonders whether Goswami will

learn anything with this episode or will he

again start his ‘freedom’ to humiliate,

harass and intimidate the political opponents

of the ’empire’ as he has the backing

and Ashirwaad of the top institutions

as well as the leadership of the country.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

SHILPA SHETTY: We were

all typecast in NINETIES

Rukh Khan-Kajol blockbuster

Baazigar released

on this day 27 years ago.

Looking back, Shilpa

said: "I was too young to

think and know, I just

feel that today's girls and

boys in the industry are

so sorted, they come like

all prepared but for me I

was a 17 year old and

when I was offered

'Baazigar', I just did it

just for the luck and for

some extra pocket

money and Venus signed

me on for three movies."

"And I thought they would just do

1 and forget about it and then

'Baazigar' became a platinum

jubilee hit and after that they

signed me on for 'Main Khiladi Tu

Anari'.

Again 'Chura Ke Dil Mera'

became a huge milestone for my

career and then 'Dhadkan' was the

third film. And now I mean 27

years down the line I am doing

Hungama which is not my comeback

but another film with the

same production company, who

would've thought that I would last

out 27 years," Shilpa said during a

conversation with actress Neha

Dhupia in a podcast of "JioSaavn

#NoFilterNeha".


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

WORLD

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

23

Bihar’s results reflect that secular parties failed to play ‘inclusive’

politics as identity remain the most important factor

The Bihar results are out and have

proved that those who tried to influence

the polls before or after through their

‘exit’ strategies had egg on their face. I

have not really believed reading all

these during this period but I have found

two things watching and observing various

‘experts’. As the ‘patrakars’ who

claim ‘grounded’ in reality are concerned,

they are divided into pro and

anti factions of Narendra Modi. So if

over 80% of the experts were giving

NDA a chance rest 20% were actually

certain that Mahagathbandhan will take

over. None was giving a chance to

Owaisi and his AIMIM. Most of them

felt that Chirag Paswan won’t be able to

do anything but he ‘succeeded’ in denting

Nitish Kumar who is playing his last

innings.

There are few things that these

results have shown and this is a trend

that every election is different in India

and local issues will dominate. BJP’s

Ram Mandir and Kashmir will not work

everywhere but at the same point of

time Tejasvi Yadav also needs to be a bit

careful. His image was being ‘constructed’

by the Savarna ‘coterie’ that

‘social justice’ has ceased to be an issue

and now only ‘economic justice’ needs

to be done. I want to suggest that Social

Justice will remain the most important

issue in India as long as the feudal structure

does not change. If Bihar’s election

has any take away, it is that India will

have to be governed through ‘inclusive’

ideology and castes which remain

unrepresented are seeking their participation

in the power structure. It is therefore

essential for political parties which

claim to represent ‘national’ or regional

concern to understand their ‘limitations’.

Most of them have been unable

to reach beyond their ‘constituencies’

while BJP has moved fast on many

fronts in this regard.

After Ram Vilas Paswan’s demise, I

wrote that secular parties lost it because

they never gave him respect. Both

Nitish and Lalu Yadav had their problems

with Ram Vilas Paswan and that

was probably because of his caste location

which finally resulted in bickering

with both of them. In these elections

Chirag Paswan proved that even when

he is unable to win, he can damage the

party and that should be a lesson for all.

If Chirag were with Nitish or Tejaswi

Yadav, both would have secured full

majority and perhaps would never have

needed BJP or Congress to carry along

with them.

In my previous analysis, I had mentioned

that for a national platform

against BJP, Congress can be an important

ally but it should also keep in mind

to remain pragmatic and not compel

parties to give it seats more than it

deserved. Congress did nothing in Bihar

in the last five years. The way Priyanka

has been touring Uttar Pradesh and

focussing on issues, Bihar remained out

of touch for her. I don’t know what was

the politics. If Tejasvi had given more

seats to CPI ML, it would have had better

results but then all these are ifs and

buts. The thing is that Tejasvi needs to

strengthen his Social Justice Alliance

more powerfully with the left parties. I

don’t think Chirag can come over unless

he really gets fed away with BJP which

is a remote possibility.

This is also a reality that Congress

Party has a limited base and it has not

been able to spread it in Bihar. Blaming

Asaduddin Owaisi for the failure of

their party is their own inability to look

beyond it. Congress Party as well as

RJD and others tried to ‘focus’ on

‘development’ and pretended as if

‘caste’ has been ‘annihilated’ from

Bihar. At no point of time, we saw an

assurance from these leaders to the most

powerless groups by speaking about

them.

The biggest response from Bihar has

come in the form of AIMIM winning

five seats. Its leader Asaduddin Owaisi

was focussing on Seemanchal area of

Bihar and today that gambit has paid

off. He made alliance with BSP and

RLSP party. Many people are suggesting

that AIMIM was able to get Dalit

OBC votes but not the vice versa. So, it

is clear that after Owaisi winning five

seats in Seemanchal, the alliance with

BSP and RLSP will go the same way as

happened to Prakash Ambedkar. I think

any alliance which emerges just before

the poll will not work and they have to

stitch on ideological front.

Unfortunately, Bihar does not give a

comfortable answer

to this as political

parties are being

floated by the caste

individuals who are

unable to get their share in bigger parties

and they bargain then. So, people

still vote along the caste lines. Nitish

failed miserably because his caste does

not have enough presence in the state

and he was always a leader needed by

the savarnas to counter the so called

Jungle Raj of Lalu Yadav. This time, as

is being reported, Chirag Paswan’s

savarna candidates were responsible for

the decimation of Nitish’s party.

Identity issues remain the main issue

during the elections and our ‘liberal’

and ‘communal’ ‘experts’ were suggesting

that Bihar is speaking about

‘sushaasan’ and rising above the caste

lines. BJP’s rise has made it abundantly

clear that Sawarna’s will remain with

BJP for a long time and all attempts to

‘appease’ them by social justice parties

will not succeed. These parties can only

get Sawarna votes when they have fielded

a powerful candidate who has a

chance to win and those votes will be

limited to particular constituencies. If

the parties are thinking that their

Sarvjan narrative will be able to bring

bulk Savarna votes to them, I would

advise them to seriously think about it.

They don’t need to shout against anyone

but please focus on your own constituencies.

If the Social Justice parties

are able to focus on Bahujan narrative

with inclusion which means Bahujan

parties need to bring most marginalised

communities into their fold, they have a

better chance. A BSP will be able to get

more votes from Valmikis, Kols,

Kushwahas, Kurmis, Rajbhars etc if it

nurtures them unlike the Brahmins who

will only vote according to chances of

winning candidates.

BJP consolidating Savarna votes and

dividing the others is a well established

and proven strategy and it is for the

other parties to take their lessons. The

Congress will not gain unless BJP is

weakened because both the parties have

the same leadership structure. At the

moment, the Savaranas can

not think of dividing them

into two groups as that division

will only help the

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

Bahujans or Avarans into

power. Congress, unfortunately,

has not learnt its lesson because

learning its lesson and implementation

of them, means Congress’s

Mandalisation process which will never

happen as long as the party adheres to

brahmanical narrative and does not provide

enough space to Bahujan communities.

Ofcourse, Congress must continue

to strengthen its social base in the

states where it has a direct fight with

BJP.

Another factor of these elections is a

wake up call for secular parties. All

these years these secular parties took

Muslims for granted and never raised

their issues. During the last six years,

Muslim community faced so much of

demonisation but none of these parties

who are now blaming Owaisi for cutting

their votes, spoke for them so powerfully.

The parties are feeling that raising

the issue of Muslims will ‘polarise’ the

voters while BJP has been powerfully

demonsing them during the campaign,

our opposition parties did not bother to

respond to them on the same. If

Muslims feel that secular parties in

India have betrayed them because they

don’t raise their issues and not providing

them enough community leaders

then their grievances are not unjustified.

In a country like India, if Muslims have

put their faith in the secular parties during

the past seventy years without getting

fair representation or resolution to

their issues, now they have started seeking

answers in true representation.

When every caste is consolidating itself,

why should not the Muslims consolidate

them under a political party and fight

the battle politically. In fact, I had asked

this question to Mr Ali Anwar during a

discussion on Facebook live and he

some how agreed that it was a reality

that for the political parties, Muslim

issues does not matter, only their vote

matters. Most of the candidates of

AIMIM won handsomely

and it can only strengthen

Owaisi’s resolve to take

the battle to Uttar Pradesh

and Bengal. He is a capable

leader who has spoken

powerfully on the issue of

CAA and NRC which secular

parties failed and the

result is Muslims have

begun trusting him and

there is nothing wrong in it. You can not

disenfranchise a community in democracy

by denying it political space. The

communities will fight and weave their

own network and it has happened in

Bihar.

The performance of left parties in

Bihar particularly CPI ML who have

a strong network and cadre in Bihar

and Jharkhand. Over the years,

CPIML has worked hard to raise people’s

issues and provided representation

to diverse communities. They do

not have money and media but deep

commitment towards social justice. I

wish the Gathbandhan had given them

more seats. I can say, in Bihar and

Jharkhand’s future polity, CPI ML is

going to play a very decisive role in

future and Tejaswi Yadav and RJD

must develop better coordination with

them. It can work wonders in future.

Finally, Tejasvi Yadav has proved

that he can deliver. He worked hard

and needed to stitch these alliances at

local level. He is much more powerful

now. Right now, Bihar will not

have a stable government. If Nitish

Kumar becomes chief minister, he

will be at the mercy of BJP. The party

is over and the Savarna vote of Nitish

Kumar is now with BJP while its

OBC votes in the coming days will

shift to RJD unless BJP plays a

Mandalised politics in Bihar.

BJP could not become the largest

party in Bihar but they will build their

narrative for Bengal. The left parties

need to stitch their alliance better in

Bengal and it will be good if all these

parties build understanding to take

Trinamul but at the same point of

time BJP. Bengal is going to have

CAA and NRC issues and certainly

Asaduddin Owaisi is going to contest

in Bengal. He definitely has a right to

be there as both Muslims and Dalits

have never got their due in Bengal by

the so called mainstream parties. BJP

is jumping on the Dalit issues and trying

to reach the Namsudra community

compelling Mamata Banerjee to

declare some specific measures for

the community.

One fact is clear from these elections

that India can not be governed

by one community or party. India will

always need Mahagathbandhans of

communities. Political parties will

have to understand their limitations

and unnecessarily not go into the

regions where they don’t exists.

Though as a right you can fight anywhere

but if we have to look at the

long term solution to India’s political

crisis we will need coalitions to govern

India and these coalition will only

function when they are based on concrete

common minimum programmes

and do not emerge just on the eve of

Elections. Political parties need to

spread their social base and build

caders and leaders from diverse communities

as ‘identity’ and demand for

social acceptance and justice is still

very much valid. Bihar’s election

proved that smaller parties may look

smaller and may not demand much

but they can damage you more powerfully.

It is time, we realise this reality.

Good thing is that Tejasvi yadav has a

future. He can build up not only his

party but also strengthen the alliance

on a long term strategy as Bihar will

not have a stable government at the

moment as it need to be seen how

long both Nitish Kumar and BJP will

tolerate each other in the changed circumstances

and how Chirag Paswan

is handled by the BJP leadership.

Bihar will have ‘interesting’ days of

politics ahead so forget about ‘governance’.

Be prepared for more entertainment

in the coming days.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com


24 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Special Pray services in aid of Mr.

Trump’s Victory were held in India.

Mantras were recited, unfortunately

they have failed to help him.

Because of Mr. Modi’s popularity

and his shown interest towards India

he felt that a lot of Indian voters in

America will vote for him but he failed

to realise that in the foreign countries

and especially in America Mr Modi’s

popularity is very thin.

Not all the Indians residing overseas

support Hindutva movement in India

so it seems a lot of votes instead have

gone to Mr. Biden because whatever is

happening in India under BJP

Government is having a knock on

effect all around the world.

In foreign countries, prior to Corona

Virus the demonstrations against the

BJP Government in India were a normal

sight. Presently due to worldwide

lockdowns the demonstrations are

being withheld and the ill feeling

against the Government is

still persistent.

Mr. Trump overlooked the

pains of millions of Indians

residing in America caused

through the current

Government in India. He held

faith in Mr. Modi’s popularity

that it will persuade the Indians

to vote for him. Unfortunately

this has been his downfall.

The Sikhs, the Muslims from India

and the vast number of other Indian

communities settled in America who

are seeing that their people back home

in India are being raped, tortured, murdered

and burnt by the Police to

M. Teji

BAD ENDING FOR MR DONALD TRUMP

destroy evidence. They do not have

any respect for Mr. Modi or his

Government.

In India, rapes under the BJP

Government are on increase and the

police, the hospitals and the authorities

are involved in it. The Prime Minister

Mr. Modi is failing to show of any

interest. The Indians residing in the

foreign countries are powerless and

show their grief and anger through the

demonstrations. This happens in UK, it

happens in Europe and also in

America.

Mr Trump’s defeat is a big setback

for the Hindutva movement in India.

Mr Trump showed of his support for

Mr. Modi and this failed to please the

majority of the Indians in

America. Hindutva supporters

in America are in minority so

a vast number of the votes

have gone to Mr Biden.

Just a few days ago in

Uttar Pradesh, Manisha

Valmikian was gang raped

and brutally assaulted. In the

manner she was brutalised she

failed to pull through. To

destroy evidence in the middle of the

night and under police guard she was

cremated in an open ground.

Now another Dalit girl has met her

fate in the same manner and again the

police has burnt the body in the middle

of the night to destroy the evidence.

This shows that some senior authority

is behind this because the police and

the hospitals are also part of it.

Mr Trump is standing firm and is

hoping that his lawyers could find a

way to reinstate him back in authority.

The Inauguration Day will be on

Wednesday, January 20th 2021 when

the new president will be sworn in.

Kamala Harris will also be sworn in

as the vice president of America. It is

going to be a very joyful day for the

Indians when they see a lady with the

Indian genes becoming the vice president

of America.

Millions of Indians are hoping that

Kamala Harris is aware of the developments

in India where the current BJP

Government is forcefully trying to

establish Hindutva in India.

Hindutva is dream of RSS and BJP.

They want to take back India into the

ancient times when the law and order

was under control of the religious sect

and code of Manu was followed.

Manusmriti was the book of codes.

It spread hatred against the natives.

It started caste system in India. It signified

that higher caste were superior

to all by birth.

It showed of inhumane ways to treat

the natives and encouraged raping of

the native women to demoralise and

shame them.

o bring an end to these inhumane

practises and in protest Dr Ambedkar

burnt Manusmriti because it classified

humans in varnas.

The BJP Government wants to reinstate

Manusmriti. The effects of

Manusmriti have already started to

seep into Uttar Pradesh because it is a

BJP controlled state.

Here the rapes of the Dalit women

have increased, evidences to rapes are

being destroyed by the police and the

authorities. Judgements are being done

through encounters. Is this how India is

going to be under the Hindutva control?

Millions of Indians hope that where

Mr Trump has failed to object to

degrading of millions in India through

establishing of Hindutva, Mr Biden

and Kamala Harris will oppose this

inhumane idea of RSS and BJP.

For God all humans are same

because they are his creation. He does

not differentiate between humans only

the sinners do that. It does not matter

who you are but the colour of the blood

is same and it is red.

All the prayers done for Mr Trump

have failed to help him. Religious

places are powerless in front of Corona

virus. Only the doctors and the nurses

are the ones who are helpful in the time

of need. The world needs unity and not

segregation as being promoted in India

through establishing of the Hindutva.

Thank you.

M. Teji

Zoom video meets trigger plastic

surgery demand to look good

New York : Believe it or not but video

meetings on online platforms has triggered

'Zoom Dysmorphia' -- a disorder involving

obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in

body appearance -- that has resulted in people

seeking plastic surgery in record numbers.

According to researchers in the US,

patients are seeking plastic surgery in

record numbers, citing their appearance on

Zoom as a cause.

Of particular concern are

noses and wrinkles, according

to a paper published in

the journal Facial Plastic

Surgery & Aesthetic

Medicine.

Zoom has allowed life to

go on in an ever-changing

world, but may be affecting

the way individuals view

themselves.

The authors noted a

surge in patients citing their

appearance on Zoom as a

reason to seek care, particularly

concerned with acne

and wrinkles. A recent

analysis of Google search trends during the

pandemic showed the terms "acne" and

"hair loss" are increasing in this newly virtual

reality. "We suspect the trend may also

arise from people constantly seeing themselves

on video and becoming more aware

of their appearance," the authors said.

Before Zoom took over as the metric

used to value one's appearance, patients

used selfies and an arsenal of photo editing

apps to create filtered versions of themselves.

Dubbed "Snapchat dysmorphia",

the influx of patients hoping to look more

like their edited selves has caused widespread

concern for its potential to trigger

body dysmorphic disorder.

"A life disproportionately spent on

Zoom may trigger a self-critical comparative

response that leads people to rush to

their physicians for treatments they may

not have considered before months confronting

a video screen, a new phenomenon

of 'Zoom Dysmorphia'," said Arianne

Shadi Kourosh from Massachusetts

General Hospital and one of the co-authors

of the study.

To further deconstruct the motivations

behind this influx of patients in the era of

Zoom, the authors turned to the facial feedback

hypothesis. The theory explains that

treatment of sad-appearing wrinkles may

reduce depression by making the patient

appear less sad to others, which, in turn,

makes them feel better about themselves.

"Perhaps there is a recent surge in

patients seeking cosmetic procedures simply

because they now see their imperfections

on camera daily, or because the wrinkles

they see on screen make them look

more depressed to others and feel more

depressed themselves," the study elaborated.

The theory in the context of Zoom is

particularly interesting, as

the patient is also the viewer.

They may perceive themselves

as sad because of the

wrinkles they see, which further

negatively affects their

emotions, leading to a dangerous

cycle of self-deprecation.

This becomes a major

concern when an individual

becomes excessively preoccupied

with real or imagined

defects. A life disproportionately

spent on Zoom may

trigger a self-critical comparative

response that leads people

to rush to their physicians

for treatments they may not have considered

before months confronting a video

screen, a new phenomenon of "Zoom

Dysmorphia". "The Covid-19 pandemic

has radically changed the frequency with

which we are confronted with our own

image. The shift to online work, learning,

and even socializing has dramatically

increased the time we have to observe ourselves,"

said Benjamin Marcus from

University of Wisconsin Hospitals and

Clinics.

14 arrested in England

anti-lockdown protest

London : Around 14 people have been arrested in Bristol,

England, after anti-lockdown protesters defied police orders to

cancel their demonstration. Local police said about 400 people

gathered on College Green at mid-day on Saturday before marching

through the city center in protest of the lockdown measures,

Xinhua news agency quoted the London-based Evening Standard

newspaper as saying in a report on Sunday.

The protest went ahead in defiance of the lockdown restrictions

in England, the month-long social curbs starting November 5,

which bans gatherings of more than two people.

Warning the event was unlawful in advance, local police said

several people were identified as leaders of the protest and were

arrested. Most arrests were for breaches of the coronavirus regulations,

with one man also arrested for assaulting a police officer,

local police said. By law, anyone organizing or facilitating a gathering

of more than 30 people is liable to a fixed penalty notice of

10,000 pounds, while those participating in a gathering of more

than two people can be fined 200 pounds.

England's lockdown, the second of its kind since the coronavirus

outbreak in the country, is expected to end on December 2.

Another 26,860 people in Britain have tested positive for

COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the

country to 1,344,356. The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain

rose by 462 to 51,766, the data showed.

Britain is the first European nation to record more than 50,000

coronavirus deaths. It is the fifth country in the world to hit the

tragic milestone, following the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020

25

OBAMA'S book unleashes Western

stereotype of violence, caste in India

New York : Former US President

Barack Obama unleashes the West's

worst stereotypical picture of India as

a country with "all-too-pervasive" violence

and politics revolving around

"religion, clan, and caste" in his latest

memoir and yet in the same breath

talks about Sonia Gandhi, a "mother of

European descent", emerging as the

most powerful politician who is able

to appoint Manmohan Singh from a

minority as prime minister. "Across

the country, millions continued to live

in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages

or labyrinthine slums, even as

the titans of Indian industry enjoyed

lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of

old would have envied," he writes in

his new memoir, "A Promised Land".

He writes, "Violence, both public

and private, remained an all-too-pervasive

part of Indian life."

Obama, the son of a Kenyan father

and a White American mother, with a

sometime Indonesian step-father, pretending

to labour under the time-worn

cliche of bearing the "Whiteman's burden",

in a broad sweep encapsulates

the nation in its entirety with these

images. The image of India he offers

up with supercilious condescension to

his readers is not something he had

seen for himself, as he acknowledges

not having travelled to the country

before becoming president, although

"the country had always held a special

place in my imagination".

"Expressing hostility toward

Pakistan was still the quickest route to

national unity" in India, he writes.

As if India shouldn't develop

nuclear weapons as a deterrent to

Pakistan's N-bomb, he writes, many

Indians take "great pride in the knowledge

that their country had developed

a nuclear weapons program to match

Pakistan's, untroubled by the fact that

a single miscalculation by either side

could risk regional annihilation".

He cannot ward off the temptation

to lay on stereotypes, although he

starts off acknowledging that "in many

respects, modern-day India counted as

a success story, having survived

repeated changeovers in government,

bitter feuds within political parties,

various armed separatist movements,

and all manner of corruption scandals".

"The transition to a more market-based

economy in the 1990s had

unleashed the extraordinary entrepreneurial

talents of the Indian people --

leading to soaring growth rates, a

thriving high-tech sector, and a steadily

expanding middle class... and Prime

Minister Manmohan Singh's economic

reforms lifted millions out of poverty",

he writes. But reverts to stereotype:

"Despite its genuine economic

progress, though, India remained a

chaotic and impoverished place: largely

divided by religion and caste, captive

to the whims of corrupt local officials

and power brokers, hamstrung by

B'LURU RIOTS : police arrest key

accused Cong leader Sampath Raj

Bengaluru : Bengaluru

Central Crime Branch police

on Tuesday arrested former

mayor and Congress leader R.

Sampath Raj, who was wanted

in Bengaluru riots case.

The Bengaluru Joint

Commissioner of Police

(Crime) Sandeep Patil confirmed

the media through

WhatsApp stating just "YES",

he has been arrested.

Raj has been absconding

from a hospital for the last one

month where he was admitted

after he was "tested Covid-19

positive".

His escape from hospital had

raised many questions than

answers as he was admitted to

hospital after his name was

included in the chargesheet

filed by the police in local court

alleging that he was one of the

conspirators in Bengaluru riots

case. Earlier on Monday, a

major breakthrough came in

this case as the CCB had arrested

Raj's close aide Riyazuddin

for sheltering Raj and another

Congress leader Zakir who is

still absconding.

It may be worth noting here

that on August 11, Pulikeshi

Nagar Congress MLA Akhanda

Srinvasa Murhty's nephew

Naveen Kumar (who is out on

bail now) posted insidious post

on his Facebook timeline.

Furious over the post, a section

of residents approached K.G.

Halli police and D.J. Police to

a parochial bureaucracy that was

resistant to change."

Obama and his wife reportedly

received $65 million as advance from

their publisher for their memoirs.

"A Promised Land" ends with 2011

and the next volume is to pick up after

that. For that reason Prime Minister

Narendra Modi does not figure in the

book. The ascent to prime ministership

by Singh, a member of "often persecuted

Sikh religious minority," he

writes, "sometimes heralded as a hallmark

of the country's progress in overcoming

sectarian divides, was somewhat

deceiving". "More than one

political observer believed that she'd

chosen Singh precisely because as an

elderly Sikh with no national political

base, he posed no threat to her 40-

year-old son, Rahul, whom she was

grooming to take over the Congress

initiate action against Naveen.

The police reportedly dilly dallying

over initiating action on

Naveen, the mob went berserk

and indulged in arson and looting.

to control the raging mob,

the police had to open fire

killing four persons on August

11. Prior to police opening fire,

the mob had set MLA's house

on fire besides torching several

vehicles parked in K.G. Halli

and D.J. Halli police stations.

The city police have already

booked nearly 400 persons in

this connections, besides filing

chargesheet against Raj and

Zakir, both are congress leaders,

for allegedly instigating the

mob but both leaders were

absconding since then.

Party," Obama writes.

But Obama is smitten with Singh,

whom he describes as "wise, thoughtful,

and scrupulously honest" and

"man of uncommon wisdom and

decency" with a white beard and a turban

that "to the Western eye lent him

the air of a holy man".

He writes that with Singh, he developed

"a warm and productive relationship"

and forged agreements for cooperation

on counterterrorism, global

health, nuclear security, and trade

despite a bureaucracy's historic suspicion

of the US". Already in 2010,

when they had a private chat without

their aides before a dinner, Obama

indicates that Singh had premonition

of the rise of the BJP and Obama

writes that he too "wondered what

would happen when he left office".

"Somehow, I was doubtful" that the

New York : US President Donald Trump's

Twitter thumb is hard at work, chiselling multiple

versions of his imagined "I won" the 2020 US

election drive. The latest version is his

clearest articulation yet of the parallel

reality: "I won the election," posted in

all caps on Twitter at 11:55 EST,

Sunday. Twitter, for its part, has refined

its art of the rebuttal. This time, it hasn't

just flagged the Trump tweet with its

standard warning but instead posted a

long scroll of all the election results

called by US news networks, with

hyperlinks. In the span of 12 hours over

Sunday, Trump tried to walk back an earlier

acknowledgment that Joe Biden won the White

House. Trump's comments on Sunday morning

did not use Biden's name. "He only won in the

eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA," dropped

first, followed by "I concede NOTHING! We

have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED

baton would be passed on to Rahul

Gandhi according to his mother's plan

"and preserving the Congress Party's

dominance over the divisive nationalism

touted by the BJP".

He says it wouldn't be Singh's fault

and wonders if "violence, greed, corruption,

nationalism, racism, and religious

intolerance" were "too strong for

any democracy to permanently contain".

Perhaps in a dig at Donald

Trump, who succeeded him, he writes

that "they seemed to lie in wait everywhere,

ready to resurface whenever

growth rates stalled or demographics

changed or a charismatic leader chose

to ride the wave of people's fears and

resentments". Obama describes meeting

Sonia Gandhi at a dinner hosted by

Singh, calling her "a striking woman

in her sixties, dressed in a traditional

sari, with dark, probing eyes and a

quiet, regal presence".

It was clear, he writes, that the

power of the "former stay-at-home

mother of European descent" could be

attributed "to a shrewd and forceful

intelligence". During the dinner,

Obama says that Sonia Gandhi

deferred to Singh on policy matters,

but tried to steer the conversation to

her son. Obama describes Rahul

Gandhi as seeming to be "smart and

earnest, his good looks resembling his

mother's". He spoke about "progressive

politics," Obama write, "occasionally

pausing to probe me on the

details of my 2008 campaign". "But

there was a nervous, unformed quality

about him, as if he were a student

who'd done the coursework and was

eager to impress the teacher but deep

down lacked either the aptitude or the

passion to master the subject," Obama

concludes. He mentions that his introduction

to India from Indian and

Pakistani college friends who had

"taught me to cook dahl and keema

and turned me on to Bollywood

movies". And, growing up in

Indonesia, he writes, he had listened to

the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Original Trump lollipop is

back: 'I won the election'

ELECTION!" Pretty quickly, Trump's comments

were interpreted as his first, reluctant nod to a

Biden victory, on his favourite social platform.

"Donald Trump's Twitter feed doesn't

make Joe Biden president or not president.

The American people did that,"

Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain told

NBC's "Meet the Press." It's now

nearly two weeks out from Election

Day, and Biden had crossed the 270-

mark on November 7. He has now

closed out his tally with 306 electoral

votes but Trump has refused to concede

defeat. White House officials

have taken the Trump argument to a sycophantic

high, insisting that they are preparing for a

smooth transition to a Trump second term.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden and

Kamala Harris are scheduled to make remarks on

the US economy on Monday afternoon. Expect

Trump's Twitter feed to explode.


26 16-11-2020 to 30-11-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Nanjing : Chinese President Xi

Jinping has stressed efforts to implement

the spirit of the fifth plenary session

of the 19th Central Committee of

the Communist Party of China (CPC)

and promote the high-quality development

of the Yangtze River Economic

Belt. Jinping, also General Secretary

of the CPC Central Committee and

chairman of the Central Military

Commission, made the remarks on

Saturday in Nanjing, Jiangsu

Province, at a symposium he chaired

on comprehensively advancing the

development of the Yangtze River

Economic Belt, the Xinhua news

agency reported.

He called for efforts to write a new

chapter in prioritizing ecological conservation

and boosting green development,

create a new model for regional

coordinated development, create a

new height for high-level opening-up,

foster advantages in innovation-led

development, and draw a new painting

featuring harmony between nature, the

people and the cities.

Such efforts are aimed at turning

the Yangtze River Economic Belt into

the country's main focus for green

development, the major artery for a

smooth "dual circulation" of domestic

and international markets, and the

main force spearheading high-quality

economic development, he said.

After hearing reports from seven

officials that include ministers and

provincial Party chiefs, Jinping said

over the past five years, transitional

changes have taken place in the ecological

and environmental protection

Xi urges high-quality development

of Yangtze River Economic Belt

along the Yangtze River Economic

Belt while historical achievements

have been achieved in the area's economic

and social development.

Provinces and municipalities

along the Yangtze River have done a

good job in handling the Covid-19

epidemic and coping with the shocks

brought by huge floods as well as

external environmental changes,

making a prominent contribution for

China to first restore positive growth

among major economies, he said.

Jinping said that promoting the

development of the Yangtze River

Economic Belt is an important strategy

that has a bearing on the overall

national development, noting that the

Yangtze River Economic Belt consists

of 11 provinces and municipalities

and accounts for about half of

China's population and GDP.

Efforts should be made to

strengthen the protection and restoration

of ecological and environmental

systems and coordinated work of the

upper, middle, and lower reaches of

the Yangtze River, Jinping said.

The Chinese President called for

comprehensively improving the efficiency

of resource utilization and

accelerating green and low-carbon

development on the premise of strictly

protecting the ecological environment.

The restoration of the ecological

environment of the Yangtze River

should be a major priority, he said,

adding that the establishment of a

mechanism should be accelerated

whereby protection and restoration of

the ecological environment shall be

reasonably rewarded, while those

responsible for the ecological environment

destruction shall pay their due

price. Jinping stressed efforts to

explore effective ways conducive to

promoting smooth domestic circulation,

advance the coordinated development

of the upper, middle, and lower

reaches of the Yangtze River, promote

people-centered new urbanization, and

increase people's life quality and

income.

To create a new height for highlevel

opening-up, the Chinese

President urged efforts to promote

innovative development of trade and

make better use of foreign capital.

Provinces and municipalities along

the Yangtze River should find their

respective positions in the new development

pattern of "dual circulation"

and take the initiative to open up their

markets to the world, Jinping said.

Efforts should also be made to better

integrate the development of the

Yangtze River Economic Belt and the

Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

He stressed the need to accelerate

the upgrading of the industrial base

and the modernization of the industrial

chain.

"We should take bold steps in innovation

and focus on the real economy

to boost economic development," he

said, adding that the country should

speed up breakthroughs in key and

core technologies.

He also urged efforts to strengthen

the dominant position of enterprises in

innovation, foster advanced manufacturing

clusters with international competitiveness,

and build independent,

controllable, safe and efficient industrial

and supply chains that serve the

whole country.

Noting that Yangtze River is the

icon of the Chinese nation and the

symbol of Chinese civilization,

Jinping called for protecting, inheriting

and carrying forward the Yangtze

River culture, as well as protecting its

cultural relics and heritage.

He also stressed the need to conduct

in-depth research on the key

issues that currently constrain the

development of the Yangtze River

Economic Belt.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, a member

of the Standing Committee of the

Political Bureau of the CPC Central

Committee and head of the leading

group for promoting the development

of the Yangtze River Economic Belt,

attended the symposium.

To promote the development of the

economic belt, authorities should

apply the new development philosophy

throughout the whole process and

in all areas, set a good example in promoting

high-quality development, and

make greater contribution to speeding

up the establishment of the new development

pattern, Zheng said.

Clashes underway

in Afghan district

Kabul : Heavy clashes between Afghan security forces and the

Taliban was underway on Monday in Kunduz province's Dasht-e-

Archi district, officials said.

The clashes erupted on Sunday night after the Taliban attacked

security outposts in Dasht-e-Archi, TOLO News quoted a provincial

government spokesman as saying.

Muradi said "reinforcements have been sent to the province to

support security forces in the district".

"Three security forces were killed and three more were wounded

in the ongoing clashes," he said.

The spokesman added that Air Force is also supporting the security

forces in the clashes.

"So far, eight Taliban members have been killed and 13 more were

wounded. The security forces are trying to push back the Taliban

attack," he added.

This latest development comes as violence has remained high in

various parts of the country amidst ongoing efforts to move the peace

process forward.

Intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the

Taliban in Doha have also stalled.

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