01-12-2020 The Asian Independent

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Vol : 04 : #56 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

UK Covid-19 situation 'back under

control' after 2ND LOCKDOWN

London : UK Health Secretary Matt

Hancock said that the coronavirus situation

is "back under control" as the

month-long lockdown in England, the

second of its kind since the onset of the

pandemic, is due to end on Wednesday.

"We've got this virus back under control,"

Xinhua news agency quoted

Hancock as saying during a virtual press

briefing at the Downing Street on

Monday. According to the latest official

figures, the UK's coronavirus reproduction

number, known as the R number,

has fallen to between 0.9 and 1.

If the R number is above one, it

means the number of cases will increase

exponentially.

Hancock said that the lockdown

brought the Covid-19 situation under

control in England, which means that

people could have greater freedoms in

tiers from Wednesday.

However, the Health Secretary

warned that continued vigilance is needed

as a tougher tiered system is set to

replace the lockdown once it ends.

"We don't have much headroom. We

can't risk letting cases rise again, especially

into Christmas and with the flu

season around the corner," he said.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister

Boris Johnson defended the new tiered

system ahead of a vote in the House of

Commons (Lower House of Parliament)

on the measures on Tuesday.

"We can't afford to take our foot off

the throat of the beast, to take our foot

off the gas. We can't afford to let it out

of control again.

"The tiering system is tough, but it's

designed to be tough and to keep it

under control," he added.

Another 12,330 people the country

tested positive for the virus in the last 24

hours, bringing the total number of

coronavirus cases in the country to

1,633,733, according to official figures.

The death toll rose by 205 to 58,545.

Ordinance on religious conversions

a hasty action : MAYAWATI

Lucknow : The Bahujan Samaj

Party (BSP) on Monday objected

to the promulgation of an ordinance

on religious conversions by

the Uttar Pradesh government and

dubbed it a "hasty action".

The opposition Samajwadi

Party too has opposed the new

ordinance. "The ordinance has

been brought forth in a hasty manner

by the government against

love jihad; it is fraught with many

apprehensions. Forcible and

deceitful conversions anywhere in

the country are neither recognised

nor accepted. Many laws are

already in effect in this regard.

The BSP demands that the government

reconsider the step," BSP

leader Mayawati tweeted.

Uttar Pradesh Governor

Anandiben Patel on Saturday gave

nod to the ordinance on religious

conversions, paving the way for

its enforcement across the state

with immediate effect. The Uttar

Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful

Conversion of Religion

Ordinance, 2020, was sent to the

Raj Bhavan for necessary action

last Wednesday after the Cabinet

approval a day earlier.

The ordinance will now have to

be passed in both Houses of the

state legislature within six months.

According to the ordinance,

change of religion of a woman

solely for the purpose of marriage

will lead to the annulment of such

marriage.

As per the ordinance, for religious

conversion, parties concerned

will have to declare before

prescribed authority that such

change of religion is totally voluntary.

The person(s) concerned will

also have to declare that there was

no temptation or pressure of any

kind whatsoever on them for the

conversion. The parties concerned

will have to inform the District

Magistrate two months in advance

on the prescribed pro forma

regarding the plan to change one's

religion. Violation of the provisions

are punishable by jail terms

ranging from six months to three

years. Those involved in the

change of religion of a woman

solely for the purpose of marriage

will be jailed. Prosecution of the

accused in the non-bailable

offence will be taken up in the

court of Judicial Magistrate First

Class. The convict can get sentenced

to jail terms ranging from

one to five years.

SL appoints new

state minister in

charge of Covid-19

Colombo : Sri Lankan President Gotabaya

Rajapaksa has appointed a new state minister in

charge of Covid-19 prevention, as the virus has

infected over 23,000 people and killed 118 in the

island nation, an official statement said on

Tuesday. The statement released by the

President's Office said Rajapaksa had appointed

Sudarshani Fernandopulle as the state minister of

Primary Health Services, Pandemics and Covid

Prevention, a new portfolio created in the government,

reports Xinhua news agency.

"The President is of the view that the development

and expansion of primary health care

services is vital to ensure a high level of health

care for the people, especially in rural areas," the

statement said. With the continued spread of the

virus, President Rajapaksa decided that a policy

and practical mechanism should be put in place

to pre-emptively identify and control the spread

of pandemics and the new ministry was created

to meet this goal, the statement added.

Fernandopulle was previously the state minister

of Prison Reforms and Prisoners

Rehabilitation. As of Tuesday, Sri Lanka has registered

23,987 coronavirus cases. Some areas of

capital Colombo are still under a lockdown due

to the resurgence.

Govt asks farmers to share their

specific issues by Wednesday

New Delhi :

Following their inconclusive

talks on

Tuesday, the government

asked the

protesting farmers to

identify, by

Wednesday, the issues

which could be discussed

on the next

meeting on December

3.At Tuesday's meeting,

the farmers' representatives

also rejected

the government

proposal to constitute a committee.

"It has been suggested by the government

to the representatives of

farmers' union to identify the specific

issues related to farm reform acts

and share with the government on

December 2, 2020 for consideration.

These issues will be discussed

during the fourth round of meeting

to be held on December 3, 2020," an

Agriculture Ministry statement said.

The statement said that during the

deliberations, Union Agriculture and

Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra

Singh Tomar proposed to constitute

a expert committee to put forth the

issues of farmers so as to resolve

them with mutual consent but the

representatives of the farmers'

unions suggested that all the representatives

will attend further round

of discussions with the government

to resolve the matter amicably.

The government has assured that

it is always committed to protect the

interest of farmers and is always

open for discussions for farmers'

welfare, it said, adding that during

the meeting, Tomar again explained

the benefits of farm acts to the representatives

of the farmers' unions.

"Various issues related to farm

reform acts were discussed at length

and talks were held in a cordial

atmosphere," the statement said. The

over three-hour-long dialogue

between a group of more than 32

farmer union leaders and the government

remained inconclusive on

Tuesday. The fourth round of talks

will be held on Thursday. The farmers

declared that they will continue

their protest and the agitation will be

strengthened day by day until the

government agrees to their demand.

Farmer leaders, however, said the

meeting was peaceful but the government

was not ready to repeal its

three farm laws, and proposed to

form a committee to study and clarify

law-related misconceptions to

resolve the ongoing deadlock.


2

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

GANDHI, Churchill statues

in UK could be toppled

Bhim Army chief

visits Ghazipur border

to support farmers

London : There are fears that statues of

Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi

in the UK could be toppled after both were

named in a Welsh government report

reviewing historical figures as "complicit"

in colonialism and slavery.

The report said that "many reputations

have been brought into question" and

"there is a need to assess the culpability or

otherwise of individuals who are publicly

commemorated and celebrated".

This comes amid Black Lives Matter

protests, and brings into question the reputation

of the former wartime Prime

Minister Churchill and civil rights leader

Gandhi. Churchill, which has two buildings

and 15 streets named in his honour,

has been found to be "widely hated in

South Wales mining communities for his

actions as Home Secretary during the

Tonypandy riots", the report said.

The report added that Churchill

"expressed a belief in the superiority of the

Anglo-Saxon race", was "opposed to dismantling

the British Empire", and failed

"to take sufficient action to relieve the

Bengal famine".

The report also named Indian independence

leader Gandhi, whose statue

stands in the Welsh capital.

Gandhi has been implicated for "racism

against Black South Africans".

An audit of memorials in Wales has

assessed the historical figures they celebrate

for "culpability" in the slave trade,

imperialism, and racial bigotry, The

Telegraph reported.

Leading the audit, Gayor Legall told

The Guardian that some contentious

memorials "could be moved to museums

so people can see the links".

I don't see the point of destroying

things, there's enough death and destruction

around as it is." Andrew Roberts,

author of "Churchill: Walking with

Destiny", said: "It's rare for quite such a

level of ignorance to be squeezed into one

single paragraph, but the Welsh

Government has exceeded itself in the

bilge it has regurgitated about Winston

Churchill. "Churchill did not order troops

with bayonets into Tonypandy. Nor did

any of Churchill's actions make the Bengal

Famine worse than the typhoon had

already made it." Roberts added that the

Welsh government had authorised "tripe

posing as history".

Ghaziabad : Even as scores of farmers owing allegiance to the

Bharatiya Kisan Union continued to protest at the Singhu border

entry point on the Delhi-Ghaziabad route, Bhim Army chief

Chandrashekhar Azad visited them on Tuesday to extend his

party’s support to the cause.

“I have come to extend support so that farmers don’t feel left

alone. Farmers, Dalits and labourers are all the same. If the farmer

will not cultivate his land, how will a labourer run his household?

I come from a family of labourers. How can I abandon the farmers

cause?” he said. Azad asserted that he had come just to extend

moral support and not lead the farmers’ protest, adding that farmers

have not come out on the roads happily.

“Why is the central government holding talks after six days?

The government knows the strength of the Dalits. The government

should have held talk on the very first day. In winter season, farmers

are sitting on roads, facing tear-gas shells and water cannons.

They are the ones who provide us food,” the Bhim Army leader

said. He said that the government knew that the farmers had come

prepared to sustain their protest over a long period of time and

hence the Centre had to listen to them.

Chhattisgarh govt begins process

to employ engineers on contract

New Delhi/Raipur :

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister

Bhupesh Baghel has initiated a

process to employ the unemployed

youth of the state.

The E-category registration

system in the Public Works

Department is to be initiated in

all the construction departments,

bodies and boards of the

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

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state government. The Chief

Minister affirmed that the integrated

"E" category registration

system has been implemented

in the state by the Public Works

Department.

A provision has been made

to employ the local unemployed

youth via the "E" category

system in a single work

through a limited tender at the

block level costing up to Rs 20

lakh. The appointment of

Diploma Engineers in the projects

undertaken worth Rs 20

lakh and graduate engineers to

be appointed in projects costing

up to one crore in construction

contracts has been made

mandatory by the Public Works

Department. "A provision has

been made to pay Rs 15,000

per month to the diploma engineers

and Rs 25,000 per month

to the graduate engineers. A

large number of unemployed

engineers will be able to avail

employment with the mandatory

appointment of engineers via

the tender contracts," said

Baghel. The Chief Minister

directed the Chief Secretary

that instructions should be

issued to follow the above two

decisions of the Public Works

Department in all construction

departments, bodies, boards

etc. so that more and more

youth of the state could avail its

benefits.

First-of-its-kind museum to conserve

sacred TREES OF SIKHISM

Chandigarh :

Punjab Governor and

Chandigarh

Administrator V.P.

Singh Badnore on

Monday virtually

inaugurated the firstof-its-kind

Museum

of Trees -- a unique

environmental project

here for conservation

of sacred trees of

Sikhism after which

many Sikh gurudwaras

are named.

Extending Gurpurab greetings

on the 551st birth anniversary

of Guru Nanak Dev, the

Governor said this was the

most appropriate day and most

appropriate manner of remembering

Guru Nanak whose

hymns are replete with references

to nature, environment,

trees, plants and animal life.

The Governor warned that

climate change is an immediate

crisis for humanity and to meet

this challenge people will have

to come forward with initiatives

like the Museum of Trees

to mobilise public opinion. He

complimented former Indian

Administrative Service (IAS)

D.S. Jaspal for patiently working

for 10 years to clone 12

sacred trees and hoped work on

the remaining trees will also be

completed soon. Tarlochan

Singh, former member of

Parliament and Minorities

Commission of India

Chairman, thanked the

Governor for supporting the

cause of conservation of sacred

trees of Sikhism. He pointed

out that Guru Nanak was the

most widely travelled religious

preacher of the world. The

Guru interacted with common

people in the open under the

shadow of trees which is why

most of the sacred trees are

associated with Guru Nanak.

He praised the government

of India for supporting this

project for conservation of

sacred trees, since in many

gurudwaras the sacred trees

have been cut or have died due

to improper care.

Creator and curator of the

Museum of Trees, D.S. Jaspal,

thanked the Governor for supporting

the project, which he

said will be a source of attraction

not only for Sikhs but for

all nature lovers.

Jaspal pointed out that many

of the sacred trees

also have botanical

significance.

For example, the

Beri tree of

Gurudwara Ber

Sahib in

Sultanpur Lodi is

unique because it

has very few

spines.

Similarly, the

leaves of the

peepal tree in

Gurdwara Pipli

Sahib have a unique yellow

pigmentation. Jaspal said the

trees are protected by entirely

in-house organic spray of garlic,

chillies and heeng mixed

with water, which is why the

trees are healthy and bearing

rich fruit. Over a period of 10

years, the museum has been

successful in reproducing

genetically true replicas of 12

sacred trees, including Dukh

Bhanjani ber tree of Golden

Temple; Ber tree of Gurudwara

Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi;

Ber tree of Gurudwara Babedi-Ber,

Sialkot, Pakistan; and

Peepal tree of Gurudwara Pipli

Sahib, Amritsar.

The Museum of Trees has

India's most modern mist

chamber facility and a glass

house conservatory, with 16

air-conditioners, to preserve

and propagate rare and endangered

species which grow at

high elevations.

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Patna : Since the formation of the new

government in Bihar, Director General of

Police (DGP) AK Singhal has suspended

four station house officers (SHOs) for their

alleged inability to implement the liquor

ban law in their respective jurisdictions.

A liquor ban is one of the most crucial

decisions taken by the Nitish Kumar government

and opposition parties had put

question marks over its the execution in the

run-up to the recently held assembly elections.

During a law and order review meeting

on Saturday, Chief Minister Nitish

Kumar directed the DGP to conduct a

probe against those SHOs who were unable

to prevent smuggling of liquor in their

ASIA

4 SHOs suspended in Bihar for

failing to implement liquor ban

respective jurisdictions. Bihar Police PRO

Abhay Singh confirmed the development.

He said that the decision was taken on the

basis of an investigation into prohibition by

the Bihar Police.

According to official sources, Ajay

Kumar, the SHO of Kakkarbagh police station

in Patna, was allegedly suspended by

the DGP. Recently, a huge cache of liquor

was seized in Ashok Nagar area.

Pankaj Kumar, SHO of Ganga Bridge,

was also suspended for being allegedly

unable to prevent makeshift country-made

liquor factories in Diyara area located on

the banks of the Ganga. Dinesh Kumar,

SHO of Ahiyapur in Muzaffarpur, has also

allegedly been suspended on similar

grounds. Avinash Chandra, the SHO of

Meenapur, was among those suspended on

the recommendation of the prohibition of

alcohol department. During the assembly

elections, a video of liquor and cash distribution

went viral in his jurisdiction. The

department has taken cognisance of the

matter and suspended him.

"All of them were suspended with

immediate effect and the department has

initiated a high-level inquiry to find out

other irregularities done by them in the

past," Singh said.

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

3

Nagaur MP to Amit Shah : Will

reconsider RLP's alliance with

NDA if farm bills not withdrawn

Jaipur : Nagaur

MP Hanuman

Beniwal on Monday

wrote a letter to

Union Home

Minister Amit Shah

in which he strongly

said that the

Rashtriya Loktantrik

Party (RLP) would

reconsider its

alliance with the NDA if the central government does not withdraw

the three farm bills.

Hanuman Beniwal, in his letter, said that he wants to draw

Union minister Amit Shah's attention to the ongoing farmers'

movement in protest against the recent agri-bills brought by the

central government.

"It is requested to take immediate action to withdraw the

bills." "Even during the severe winter and corona period, the

farmer is agitating on roads which is not good for governance,"

he said. The RLP is the NDA's ally at the Centre. Also in the

Rajasthan assembly polls, the BJP did not announce any candidate

from Nagaur and instead allowed the RLP to field its candidate,

extending its alliance with the BJP at the state level too.

Beniwal wrote that a proper space should be given to the agitating

farmers in Delhi where they can continue their dialogue

and demanded withdrawal of the three bills and the implementation

of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission

in the interest of farmers.

"The RLP will reconsider the alliance with the NDA if the

matter is not decided with quick effect as farmers and jawans are

the strength of RLP, he added.

New model to enable

drug predictions

against Covid-19

London : Researchers have developed a computational model

of a human lung cell which has been used to understand how

SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19 disease, uses the host

to survive, and to enable drug predictions for treating the virus.

Using a computer model of a human lung cell metabolism, the

study published in the journal Life Science Alliance, have captured

the stoichiometric amino and nucleic acid requirements of

SARS-CoV-2. Their model has identified host-based metabolic

perturbations inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 reproduction, highlighting

reactions in the central metabolism, as well as amino acid and

nucleotide biosynthesis pathways. In fact, researchers found that

only a few of these metabolic perturbations are able to selectively

inhibit virus reproduction.

"We have created a stoichiometric biomass function for the

Covid-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus and incorporated this into

a human lung cell genome-scale metabolic model," said study

author Orkun Soyer, from the University of Warwick in the UK.

"We then predicted reaction perturbations that can inhibit

SARS-CoV-2 reproduction in general or selectively, without

inhibiting the host metabolic maintenance," Soyer added.

The predicted reactions primarily fall onto glycolysis and

oxidative phosphorylation pathways, and their connections to

amino acid biosynthesis pathways. Together, these results highlight

the possibility of targeting host metabolism for inhibition of

SARS-CoV-2 reproduction in human cells in general and in

human lung cells specifically. "More research needs to be carried

out to explore SARS-CoV-2 infected cells and their metabolism,

however, the model developed here by the researchers can be

used as a starting point for testing out specific drug predictions,"

said author Hadrien Delattre.

Poor air quality can

up consequences of

Covid-19: Study

London : A new research adds to the

growing body of evidence that elevated

levels of air pollution may amplify the

waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination, the

virus responsible for Covid-19 diseases.

The study, published in the journal Earth

Systems and Environment, investigated

possible interactions between acutely elevated

levels of fine particulate matter and

the virulence of the coronavirus disease.

The result suggests that high concentrations

of particles less than 2.5 micrometres

in size may modulate, or even amplify, the

waves of SARS-CoV-2 contamination and

explain in part the particular profile of the

Covid-19 pandemic. "The study provides

preventive measures related to air pollution

to limit future outbreaks of morbidity and

mortality due to the coronavirus," said

study author Mario Rohrer from the

University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Covid-19 studies conducted in Italy and

France suggest that SARS-CoV-2 was

already present in Europe at the end of

2019, while the sharp increase in morbidity

and mortality was only recorded in

spring 2020 in Paris and London.

"This time lag is surprising, but also

suggests that something else than just the

mere interaction of people may promote

the transmission of the virus, and particularly

the severity of the infection," Rohrer

said. The research team has been able to

show that these increases in cases followed

phases where the levels of fine particles in

the air were higher. The team made similar

observations in the Swiss canton of Ticino,

where fine-particle pollution increased

sharply during a period of shallow fog on

the Magadino plain and the Sotto Ceneri,

observed at the end of February 2020.

The findings showed that acute concentrations

of fine particles, especially those

smaller than 2.5 micrometres, cause

inflammation of the respiratory, pulmonary

and cardiovascular tracts and thicken the

blood. "In combination with a viral infection,

these inflammatory factors can lead to

a serious progression of the disease.

Inflammation also promotes the attachment

of the virus to cells," Rohrer said.

Nonetheless, the researchers also

emphasize that, although particulate matter

pollution can influence the virulence of the

virus and possible severe disease progression,

physiological, social or economic factors

will clearly also influence the further

course of the pandemic.

"This study offers the possibility of taking

preventive measures in the event of

future increases in fine particulate matter

concentrations, thus limiting a new flareup

of Covid-19 morbidity and mortality,"

the team noted.


4

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Divorce negatively impacts

physical, mental health: Study

London : Going through a divorce is

extremely challenging and now a new

study reveals that it can negatively impact

mental and physical health.

The study, published in the journal

Frontiers in Psychology, found that the

mental and physical health of recent

divorcees was worse than that of the background

population and that higher levels of

conflict predicted worse mental health,

regardless of other factors.

Researchers have been examining the

mental and physical effects of divorce, but

may have missed an opportunity to accurately

characterize these effects, until now.

Divorce is often a protracted process,

with many countries requiring a separation

period before couples can apply for

divorce.

However, a long separation may allow

psychological wounds to heal and assessing

divorcees after such a period may

underestimate their impact.

"Previous studies have not investigated

the effects of divorce without extensive

separation periods occurring before the

divorce," said study author Gert Hald from

the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

"We were able to study divorcees who

had been granted a so-called 'immediate'

divorce in Denmark and on average, these

divorcees obtained a divorce within five

days of filing for it," Hald added.

For the study, the research team

obtained 'real-time' data on 1,856 very

recent divorcees, who completed questionnaires

about their background, health and

their divorce.

Unsurprisingly, the study showed that a

recent divorce takes an emotional and

physical toll.

The mental and physical health of

divorcees was significantly worse than the

comparative background population immediately

following divorce.

However, some interesting trends

emerged from the data.

For instance, among men, earning more

and being younger predicted better physical

health, while having more children,

having a new partner and even having

more previous divorces was associated

with better mental health.

Among women, earning more money,

having a new partner and having fewer previous

divorces was associated with better

physical health, while initiating the divorce

and having a new partner predicted better

mental health.

However, one factor had a big influence

on the divorcees -- conflict.

"Across gender, higher levels of divorce

conflict were found to predict worse mental

health, even when accounting for other

socio-demographic variables and divorce

characteristics," said researchers.

UK FOREIGN Secy

concerned about situation

in Iran n-scientist's murder

London : UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have

expressed concerns over the situation in Iran, as well as the

Middle Eastern region, in the wake of the assassination of

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Tehran's top nuclear scientist.

"We do want to see de-escalation of tensions," Xinhua news

agency quoted Raab as saying on Sky News on Sunday.

"We're still waiting to see the full facts of what's happened in

Iran, but I would say that we stick to the rule of international

humanitarian law, which is very clear against targeting civilians,"

the Foreign Secretary added. On November 27,

Fakhrizadeh, dubbed the "father of the Iranian bomb", was assassinated

near the capital city on Friday by "armed terrorists". The

country's Ministry of Defence said that Fakhrizadeh, a also professor

of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran, "was

severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security

team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital", where he

succumbed to his injuries. Fakhrizadeh also headed theMinistry's

Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND).

The Iranian government suspects that the assassination was

conducted by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, though Tel

Aviv has neither confirmed nor denied the allegation, according

to media reports. The European Union has strongly condemning

the attack and called it a "criminal act".

Influenza infections may

up pneumonia risk : Study

London : Researchers have

now revealed that influenza

infections can lead to an

increased risk of bacterial

pneumonia, which claims many

lives around the world every

year. Using an animal model,

the study, published in the journal

PNAS found that different

nutrients and antioxidants, such

as vitamin C and other normally

cell-protective substances

leak from the blood, thereby

creating an environment in the

lungs that favours the growth of

the bacteria.

The bacteria adapt to the

inflammatory environment by

increasing the production of the

bacterial enzyme HtrA.

The presence of HtrA weakens

the immune system and

promotes bacterial growth in

the influenza-infected airways.

The lack of HtrA stops bacterial

growth. "The ability of pneumococcus

to grow in the lower

airways during an influenza

infection seems to depend on

the nutrient-rich environment

with its higher levels of antioxidants

that occurs during a viral

infection, as well as on the bacteria's

ability to adapt to the

environment and protect itself

from being eradicated by the

immune system," said study

author Birgitta Henriques

Normark from Karolinska

Institutet in Sweden.

The results provide valuable

information on how bacteria

integrate with their environment

in the lungs and could be

used to find new therapies for

double infections between the

influenza virus and pneumococcal

bacteria.

"HtrA is an enzyme, a protease,

which helps to weaken

the immune system and allows

pneumococcal bacteria to penetrate

the protective cell layer on

the inside of the airways," said

study author Vicky Sender.

"A possible strategy can

therefore be the use of protease

inhibitors to prevent pneumococcal

growth in the lungs,"

Sender added.

It is still not known if Covid-

19 patients are also sensitive to

such secondary bacterial infections,

but the researchers think

that similar mechanisms could

potentially be found in severely

ill Covid-19 patients.

"It's likely that acute lung

inflammation, regardless of

cause, gives rise to leakage of

nutrients and antioxidants, and

to an environment that fosters

bacterial growth," Henriques

Normark noted.


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NEWS

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

5

EU, UK entering 'last week or

so' of substantive negotiations

London : UK Foreign Secretary

Dominic Raab said that Brexit negotations

with the European Union (EU)

were entering "the last week or so" of

"substantive" talks before the transition

period ends on December 31.

Calling on the EU to accept a

"point of principle" on fisheries, one

of the sticking points in the talks,

Raab on Sunday seemed to reject

what is reported to be the bloc's current

offer on fishing -- to return

between 15 to 18 per cent of fish

stocks currently caught by European

fleets in British waters, Xinhua news

agency reported.

On other outstanding issues, Raab

told Sky News that it "feels like

there's progress towards greater

respect" for the UK's position on socalled

"level playing field" commitments

-- a set of post-Brexit common

rules and standards. The UK and the

EU resumed face-to-face post-Brexit

talks in London on November 28 after

an EU negotiator tested positive for

the novel coronavirus earlier this

month.

The negotiations are in a crucial

stage as time is running out for both

sides to secure a deal before the Brexit

transition period expires.

The UK and the EU started their

lengthy and bumpy post-Brexit talks

in March after the country ended its

membership of the bloc on January

31, trying to secure a future trade deal

before the Brexit transition period

expires. Commenting on the coronavirus

pandemic and its accompanying

economic crisis, Raab said both

the UK and the EU "ought to focus all

of our minds on doing everything we

can to give the economy a bit of a

boost". His remarks came as another

15,871 people in the UK have tested

positive for for the virus, bringing the

total number of confirmed cases in the

country to 1,621,305.

The country's death toll has

increased to 58,342.

14 TDP legislators

suspended on first

day of Assembly

Amaravati : Dramatic scenes played out on the first day of

Andhra Pradesh winter Assembly session, leading to the suspension

of 14 Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators for a day on

Monday. The suspended TDP MLAs were former chief minister

Nara Chandrababu Naidu, K. Atchannaiudu, Payyavula Keshav,

Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary, Nimmala Rama Naidu and

Adireddy Bhavani.

Others suspended include Velagapudi Ramakrishna, Dola Bala

Veeranjaneya Swamy, Mantena Rama Raju, Yeluri Sambasiva

Rao, Gadde Rammohan, Jogeswara Rao, Anagani Satya Prasad

and Bendalam Ashok. A war of words ensued between Naidu, his

MLAs and ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party

(YSRCP) legislators. Naidu was seen gesticulating in an infuriated

manner and later proceeded to sit on the floor of the Assembly

in protest. "The suspensions came after the TDP MLAs led by

Naidu staged a sit-in in front of the Speaker's podium in protest

against the highhanded behaviour of the ruling YSRCP government,"

said a TDP statement. Incidentally, TDP legislators were

angry over not being given an opportunity to speak on the contentious

issue of cyclone relief to farmers and affected people.

"The TDP members were also agitated that Chief Minister Y. S.

Jagan Mohan Reddy was making unparliamentary remarks against

the leader of the opposition in the House," alleged the TDP statement.

TDP was demanding the government to pay compensation

to farmers immediately to help them take up the Rabi crops,

including Rs 10,000 cyclone relief assistance to each poor family

who lost livelihood. "The Government should stop betraying the

farmers any further and immediately pay the compensation. The

farmers were not getting the micro irrigation subsidy. Input subsidy

and disaster compensation were not being paid," the statement

alleged. Meanwhile, YSRCP leaders criticized Naidu over

the way he conducted himself in the house, pointing out to his

ferocious gestures. After the first day, leaders from either parties

continued to criticise each other.

Show me 20 people benefiting from

Rs 20 lakh cr package : KTR

Hyderabad : Blaming the Centre's policies

for the country's economy sliding into

recession, Telangana Rashtra Samithi

(TRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao

challenged it to show 20 people who have

benefited from its Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus

package. "For 15 days I have been

meeting businessmen and others but did

not find a single man who was benefited

from Rs 20 lakh crore package. May be all

20 lakh benefited in Gujarat," Rama Rao

told a select group of journalists on the eve

of elections to Greater Hyderabad

Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The state

Industry and Information Technology

Minister said after eight consecutive quarters

of slowdown, the economy was pushed

into lockdown and now into recession.

"Our GDP growth rate is less than that

of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Who is

responsible for this," he asked. KTR, as the

minister is popularly known, also reminded

the BJP of its promise to create 2 crore jobs

every year. He said this was also a 'jumla'

like Rs 15 lakh in every bank account and

bringing back black money. "Where are 12

crore jobs. Even the existing jobs are being

eliminated not to talk about new jobs," he

said referring to the government's move to

privatise Air India and Life Insurance

Corporation (LIC). "Modi government

launched many schemes like Fit India, Sit

India, Stand India. Now its slogan is

'becho' (Sell) India," he said questioning

the move to privatise profit making public

sector undertakings. "Our slogan is 'socho'

(Think) India," the TRS leader said, urging

people to think about issues like economy

and jobs and not get carried away by the

divisive agenda which the BJP is pushing

in every election.

KTR said that the TRS did not want to

speak on national issues in GHMC elections

but the irresponsible statements of the

BJP leaders have compelled the party to

respond. Asked about the criticism of the

TRS by the BJP for its friendship with

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), he

pointed out that TRS supported the BJP

government on repeal of Article 370, GST,

demonetszation, election of President and

Vice President. "MIM is also extending

issue based support to us. We did not contest

elections in alliance with them. In fact,

the TRS fought and defeated MIM in five

seats in the last elections.

Where was BJP then? We are fighting

MIM again this time and will win 10

seats," he said. Replying to another query,

he said the TRS was not worried over the

so-called emergence of the BJP following

the latter's win in by-election to Dubbak

Assembly seat and exuded confidence that

the TRS will retain GHMC with an

absolute majority. "There were 10-12 elections

since Telangana formation but we

practically won every election barring

Dubbak. It's not proper to look Dubbak

result under magnifying glass and assume

something more than it. Unfortunately, a

TRS victory is not news but a TRS defeat

is news," he said.

KTR pointed out that the BJP is not

emerging as a new entity. "Back in 1990s

they had won six parliamentary seats in

Andhra Pradesh. What happened subsequently

in 20 plus years. BJP also won

Mahabubnagar bypoll but later on they

were nowhere. They won four Lok Sabha

seats last year but lost the Zilla Parishad

and municipal elections." On the BJP

promising to change name of Hyderabad to

Bhagyanagar, KTR remarked that

Telangana and Hyderabad need "a game

changer, not name changer". "If somebody's

name changed to Amitabh Bacchan,

will he become Amitabh Bacchan. Madras

became Chennai... what happened.

Allahbad became Prayagraj and Faizabad

became Ayodhya. What has changed. What

is the point in changing a name. Will

renaming Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar will

bring Bhagyam (fortune) or bangaram

(gold) in every house," he asked. "Don't

change name, change your deeds and your

behvaiour. Try to do something," he told

the BJP leaders.

Referring to Uttar Pradesh Chief

Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigning in

GHMC elections, he said the TRS government

does not need to learn from Yogi or

others. "The Prime Minister said in Bihar,

'jungle raj ke yuvaraj'. What is you raj. Is

there any other state in the country with

worst law and order situation than Uttar

Pradesh," he asked.

On Yogi and other BJP leaders criticising

the TRS for family rule, KTR challenged

them to show that they are above

this. He pointed out how the families of

BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, B.S.

Yediyurappa, Vasundhara Raje and

Maneka Gandhi are all into active politics.

"Being son or a daughter of someone in

politics will help only up to entry pass

level. I have been elected four times from

Sircilla constituency and every time with a

higher margin. I am democratically elected.

What is your problem," asked KTR,

who is son of Chief Minister K.

Chandrasekhar Rao.


6 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Prominent sportspersons from Punjab,

Haryana back protesting farmers

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) Amid the

ongoing agitation by the farmers,

prominent sportspersons from Punjab

and Haryana have extended their support

to them, while some others have

implored them to assist the Central government

in finding a solution to the contentious

issue.

Protests by thousands of farmers,

who are camping at Delhi-Haryana borders

seeking to repeal the new farm

laws, entered the fifth day on Monday

with protesters threatening to block all

the five entry points to the national capital.

They are angry over Union Home

Minister Amit Shah's conditional proposal

for early talks.

"Everyone should be the voice of

'anna data' farmers who fill everyone's

stomach and are fighting for their survival.

Do your politics later. We are the

sons of farmers. Our conscience is still

alive," wrote India's top wrestler

Bajrang Punia, who belongs to Haryana.

Boxer Vijender Singh also took to

Twitter to extend his solidarity with the

farmers. The Olympian wrote in Hindi,

"The country will survive only if the

farmer does. It is important to retort if

the principles suffer distress." He also

added the 'speak up for farmers' hashtag

with his post.

Former India spinner Harbhajan

Singh also tweeted photographs of

youth cleaning the protest site at Delhi-

Haryana border on Sunday and wrote,

"Punjabi youngsters clean road at Delhi

Border. We don't want people of

Haryana and Delhi to say that Punjabis

came and made a mess here."

While extending their support to the

farmers, some sportspersons implored

the protesters to jointly find the solution

with the government. "As long as the

Prime Minister is sitting on the post,

farmers need not worry. If they still feel

that their demands have remained

unheard, they should work out a solution

with the government," said wrestler

Babita Phogat. Union Home Minister

Amit Shah had told the farmers that the

government has fixed a place and they

should continue their agitation by sitting

in one place. "We will work out the

solution by sitting with the farmers. We

are all with the farmers," he said.

Yogeshwar Dutt, wrestler-turnedpolitician

from Haryana, also asked the

farmers to cooperate with the government.

"All the farmer brothers please

cooperate. The state and central governments

will resolve all the legitimate

issues," he said.

NRIs in Canada, Italy, the US, the

UK and France have also come out in

support of the protesting farmers in

Delhi and have started sending them

aid.

Canada Defence Minister Harjit

Sajjan had recently tweeted, "The

reports of peaceful protesters being brutalized

in India are very troubling. Many

of my constituents have family there

and are worried about the safety of their

loved ones. Healthy democracies allow

peaceful protest. I urge those involved

to uphold this fundamental right."

Farmers, mainly from Punjab, spearheaded

by 31 farmers' unions had

announced their intention to hold

protest in Delhi on November 26 and

27. However, the police tried to stop

then in Haryana as they rode towards

Delhi, but they moved ahead and

New Delhi : The All India

Kisan

Sangharsh

Coordination Committee

(AIKSCC) on Monday hit out

at Prime Minister Narendra

Modi for his defence of the

three Farm Bills passed in

Parliament in September this

year, saying it shows that the

government is completely

opposed to resolving the

demands of the farmers. In a

statement the AIKSSC said,

"The Prime Minister's

defence of the three farm Bills

in his 'Man ki Baat' episode

shows government is completely

opposed to solving

demands of farmers."

It said that the Prime

Minister has called the new

farm laws a fulfilment of the

farmers' demand itself, "for

higher income", "giving them

new rights and new opportunities"

and his utterances is a

further insult to the farmers' hopes that

the government will make sincere effort

to address their issues and concerns.

"The government is still claiming it has

to create awareness about the benefits

of the Farm Acts, while farmers are

clear that these Acts are only about

freedom to the corporate, opportunities

for the corporate, income for the corporate,

at the cost of farmers," the

AIKSCC said. It said that all 30 Punjab

farmer organisations, the AIKSCC and

other farmer groups have correctly

decided to unambiguously reject the

appeal by Union Home Minister Amit

Shah, asking farmers to move to Burari,

which they all see as an attempt to

restrain them and create an illusion of

reached Singhu and Tikri borders,

where they have been rallying. Amit

Shah is chairing a meeting here to deliberate

on the issue with the senior leaders.

The development comes a day after

the farmers rejected the Centre's offer

talks and settlement. "They have correctly

rejected conditional talks, while

keeping the doors open for any sincere

effort by the government," it said. It

said that the working group of AIKSCC

has hailed the clarity of thought being

articulated by the farmers organisations

and has once again appealed to the

Centre not to treat this issue as a law

for parleys if they shifted to north-west

Delhi's Burari ground and ended their

protest.

MODI defending 3 Farm Acts shows govt

opposed to solving farmers issues : AIKSCC

and order problem by involving

the Intelligence agencies

and Home Ministry.

"Farmers of India are here

in Delhi and are continuing to

flow in from all directions with

only one objective in mind - to

get the three Farm Acts and the

EB 2020 revoked," it said,

adding that they have no other

demand.

"Farmers are at pains to

explain to the government that

they fully understand the

impact of these laws; each and

every protestor is articulate

and clear about this. I

t is only the Prime Minister,

his Cabinet Ministers, his officials

and his set of experts and

advisors who do not understand

that farmers see these

Acts as an attack on their ownership

of land through contract

farming, as an attack on their

income and increase in their

debts, as winding up government controls

and freedom to Big Corporations,

MNCs in agriculture production, processing

and marketing of foods, as

winding up of assured pricing, procurement,

government storage and food

supplies, as increasing farmer suicides,

as increasing food prices and black

marketing and end PDS, etc," it added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

'Constitution Day an occasion

to bow down to Ambedkar'

Shimla : Himachal Pradesh Urban

Development and Law minister Suresh

The minister cautioned people to

denounce the forces trying to mislead people

Bhardwaj on Thursday said the

or the community. He said the present

Constitution Day was an occasion to bow

down to B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of

the Constitution of India.

On the occasion, the minister also

administered the pledge to uphold the values

to officials and other people here in a

simple function following the complete

COVID-19 protocol. The minister, quoting

Ambedkar, said, "The constitution is not a

mere lawyer's document, it is a vehicle of

life, and its spirit is always the spirit of

age." "This is the day to reaffirm our faith

in the rights and duties enshrined in the

constitution. This is the way to make India

the nation that our founding fathers had

envisioned," said the minister.

government led by Prime Minister

Narendra Modi is committed to the protection

of the constitution of India.

He also mentioned that a brazen attack

was made to diminish the constitution on

June 26, 1975, when the press was censored

and the fundamental rights of the

people were snatched. "I also faced the

brazenness of the government but it was

the power of the constitution that people of

the country threw away the arrogant

rulers," he added. Bhardwaj said the fundamental

rights and duties enshrined in the

constitution are pillars of Indian democracy

that maintain a balance between legislative,

executive, and judiciary.

Nikhita Gandhi questions gender

identity through 'Khud ko hi paake'

Mumbai : Singer Nikhita

Gandhi says her latest song,

Khud ko hi paake, is all about

the expression of acceptance of

the self.

Featuring Nikhita Gandhi,

along with Ivanka Das, the

song showcases a couple and

how their romance hits a roadblock

when a small moment

between them makes the male

partner come face to face with

his issues of gender identity.

"Khud ko hi paake is a song

I have composed keeping in

French giant Amundi threatens

to divest SBI bonds if loan

granted for Adani coal project

New Delhi : One of the State Bank of

India (SBI)'s investors, French giant

Amundi has announced that it would sell

off its SBI green bonds if the bank grants a

Rs 5,000 crore loan to Adanis Carmichael

coal mine in Australia.

"We consider SBI should not finance

this project. Ultimately it's their decision

but we've been extremely clear on the fact

mind the internal

struggle of someone

who is facing an

identity crisis. The

beauty and the pain

of such a conundrum

is that we all

have our fair share

of this, in different

magnitudes. The

song is an expression

of acceptance

of the self and

embodies the message

that the only truth in life is

who you are and letting

yourself be honest

to that," Nikhita

said.

"Khud ko hi

paake" is a part of the

MTV Beats Love

Duet album. "MTV

Beats Love Duet has

been a path-breaking

initiative in normalising

conversations

around love that goes

beyond gender

stereotypes. It has given a plat-

that if they decide to do it, we would

immediately disinvest," Director of the

Institutional Corporate Clients Division &

ESG, Jean Jacques Barberis, was quoted as

saying by a global wire service.

"Financing the mine would be in "total

contradiction" to the SBI activities

financed through its green bond, he added.

"We have engaged SBI asking them not

form to some of the greatest

artists from the LGBTQI+

Community to showcase their

talent and make their voices

heard. I'm proud that I got the

chance to make a tiny contribution

in this journey through

'Khud ko hi paake' -- a soulful

story weaved in with passion

and genuineness. I'm sure it

will be loved by the masses

and also help influence perceptions

in some way," she added.

The song is penned by

Nikhita and Shashwat Singh.

to participate (in the loan) and now we are

waiting for their answer", he was quoted as

saying. Amundi, which holds the bond in

its Amundi Planet Emerging Green One

fund, said it had learnt this week that SBI

was considering financing the Carmichael

thermal coal mine in Australia.

The Adani Carmichael project has been

opposed by climate activists due to the

issue of carbon emissions.

Reports said the move from Amundi

demonstrates that some financial institutions

understand the serious reputational

risks associated with supporting a new

thermal coal project like Adani's mega

mine, especially in the middle of a global

pandemic and intensifying climate disasters.

Amundi is Europe's largest asset manager

and ranks in the top 10 globally. It

manages assets worth 1,650 billion euros.

Responsible investment has been the

starting point in Amundi's investment policy.

When it was created in 2010, Amundi

made social and environmental responsibility

one of its four founding pillars. It was

one of the founding signatories of the

Principles for Responsible Investment.

7

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

Missing Indian man

in Dubai found

Dubai : An Indian man who was reported missing since

November 9 a day after he

reached Dubai on a tourist

visa, has been found in a

hospital in the city, his relatives

have confirmed.

Amrithalingam

Samayamuthu, 46, from

Tamil Nadu, had come to

Dubai to take up a job, Gulf

News had quoted his

nephew Durai Maniraja as saying in an earlier report.

Durai's brother-in-law Kannan Nagoorkani, who had filed a

complaint on November 16, said he received a call from Dubai

Police on Saturday informing him that Amrithalingam was under

treatment in the hospital. He said Amirthalingam reportedly had

been mentally disturbed for some days soon after his arrival in

Dubai. "I don't know how he ended up in the hospital. He said he

was not well for some four-five days, but he is perfectly fine now,"

Kannan told Gulf News. Amrithalingam had arrived in Dubai on

November 8 with three other people from Tamil Nadu.

Chinese Defence Minister

arrives in Nepal

Kathmandu : Two days after Indian

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan

Shringla concluded a successful trip to

Nepal, Chinese Defence Minister and

State Councillor Wei Fenghe arrived in

Kathmandu on Sunday.

Wei's agenda and objectives for his

day-long visit to the Himalayan nation is

yet to be disclosed by either of the two

governments. He is the senior most

Chinese official to visit Nepal in the last

one year after President Xi Jinping's trip

to the Himalayan nation in October

2019.

According to media reports, after completing the Nepal visit,

Wei will leave for Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Nepal's Foreign Ministry termed the trip as a "working visit"

and during his one-day stay in Kathmandu, Wei will meet

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli,

who is also the Defence Minister, and General Purna Chandra

Thapa, Chief of Army Staff, Nepali Army.

He will leave Kathmandu on Sunday evening.

Nepali experts and foreign policy observers have said that Wei's

visit is "very meaningful" at a time when dispute and discord in

the ruling Nepal Communist Party has reached an all time high;

slow implementation of China's Belt and Road Initiative; and

Beijing quest to know the position of South Asian nations towards

recent India-US strategic pacts among others.

SpiceJet seaplane services

to restart from Dec 15

New Delhi : Airline major SpiceJet on Sunday said that its seaplane

operations

will

restart from

December 15

after they were

temporarily

suspended due

to mandatory

aircraft maintenance.

Last month,

the airline company

had launched a seaplane service between Ahmedabad

(Sabarmati riverfront) and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia, Gujarat.

The flight service is operated by SpiceJet's fully-owned subsidiary,

Spice Shuttle, and a 15-seater Twin Otter 300 aircraft has

been deployed for these flights.

"Since the maintenance facility (dry and wet dock) is still under

construction at Ahmedabad, the aircraft had to be sent to our

lessor's facility at Maldives," a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

"The operation will resume on December 15 once the aircraft is

back. The maintenance facility at Ahmedabad should be ready

soon which would ensure that future maintenance is done here

itself. As the maintenance was pre-planned, we didn't take any

bookings beyond November 27th."


8 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Never pressured by

military leadership on

any matter: Imran

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that

he was never pressured

by the countrys military

leadership on any

matter, including foreign

policy.

Responding to a

question during an

exclusive interview to

Express News on

Saturday night, the premier

said that former

leaders always claimed

that they had conflict

with the army due to its

interference in the foreign

policy of the country.

"I have always

advocated that military

is not the option to resolve the Afghan conflict and now we are

pursuing the same policy," he explained. Commenting on the

opposition's allegations that he was brought into power by the

security establishment, Khan said: "I was never pressured by military

on any matter and they [military leadership] had never

opposed my decisions."

On the appointment of retired army officers on civilian's positions,

the premier said Lt-Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa was his

personal choice due to his experience of serving as the commander

southern command and dealing with Chinese officials, The

Express Tribune reported.

He further added that Bajwa was inducted into the information

ministry team because of his "outstanding performance" while he

was the head of military's media wing, the ISPR.

52% forced conversion

cases reported in Pak's

Punjab province

Islamabad : A Pakistani rights group has said that 52 per cent

of cases of alleged forced conversions of women, specicially of

underage girls from the religious minority communities, had

occurred in Punjab province.

The organisation, Center for Social Justice (CSJ), made the revelation

during a discussion titled ‘Forced Conversion Complaints

and Religious Freedom' which was held online on Saturday, Dawn

news reported.

CSJ said that around 162 questionable conversions were reported

between 2013 and 2020 and abuses which had occurred in violation

of religious freedom enshrined in Pakistan's constitution of

1973. Besides Punjab, 44 per cent of these incidents had also taken

place in Sindh, while 1.23 per cent each were reported in the federal

and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa areas, while one case (0.62 per

cent) occurred in Balochistan, according to CSJ data.

The highest number of such cases, 21, was reported in

Bahawalpur during the past seven years.

Similarly 14 cases were reported in Lahore; 12 in Karachi; 10

in Faisalabad; eight in Hyderabad; six each in Tharparkar, Ghotki

and Kasu; five in Badin; and four each in Umarkot and Sialkot.

The figures showed that 54.3 per cent of the victims belonged

to the Hindu community, while 44.44 per cent were Christian and

0.62 per cent belonged to the Sikh and Kalash communities, the

CSJ said. Over 46.3 per cent of the victims were minors -- some

32.7 per cent of them aged between 11-15 years.

Only 16.67 per cent of the victims were above 18 years.

Demand for BIS certified

two-wheeler helmets to go

beyond 100 mn: industry

New Delhi : The helmet manufacturing

industry expects the demand for BIS certified

two-wheeler helmets to sky-rocket

after the Centre implemented new norms.

The Centre, in a recent notification,

mandated that only BIS certified twowheeler

helmets would be manufactured

and sold in the country for two-wheelers.

As per the notification: "QCO would

mean that only BIS certified two-wheeler

helmets would be manufactured and sold in

the country for the two-wheelers. This

would help in avoiding sale of low-quality

two-wheeler helmets in the country which

would, in turn, help in protecting citizens

involved in two-wheeler accidents from

fatal injuries."

After the implementation of new norm,

the industry now estimates that the total

demand of ISI helmets in India will go

beyond the current 100 million annually.

"While the sale of the helmets will

sprout as the total number of two-wheelers

being manufactured in India is nearly 1.7

crore... but now it's time for helmet manufacturers

to take responsibility," the Two-

Wheelers Helmet Manufacturers

Association said in a statement.

"Helmet is not a simple and easy product,

rather a difficult one. Manufacturing

helmets needs huge investments as it is a

voluminous product. Moreover, helmet is a

technology product as well as a labour oriented

product." According to Rajeev

Kapur, Managing Director, Steelbird Hi-

Tech India and President, Two-Wheelers

Helmet Manufacturers Association, all

branded players need to enhance R&D

investment to develop new products to

meet the BIS norms and customer requirements.

"The estimated demand for helmets

is around 100 million pieces per annum

China Cloud services spend exceeds

$5 billion in Q3, Alibaba leads

Bengaluru : Alibaba Cloud

remained the leader in the

China Cloud services market in

Q3 with a 41 per cent market

share and continued strong

growth.

The China Cloud infrastructure

spend grew 65 per cent in

Q3 2020 to exceed $5 billion

for the first time, acceding to

the data provided by the global

market research firm Canalys.

Total expenditure was over

$750 million higher than in the

last quarter and nearly $2 billion

more than in Q3 2019.

Huawei Cloud and Tencent

Cloud both saw healthy

growth, each taking a 16 per

cent share. Baidu AI Cloud was

the fourth largest cloud service

provider, accounting for 7 per

cent of total spend in the country.

The top four vendors collectively

accounted for 80 per

cent of total spend in Q3 2020.

"Demand for cloud-based

services reached new heights in

China, as organisations reprioritised

IT spending and accelerated

digital transformation

projects," Canalys Chief

Analyst Matthew Ball said in a

statement. "Remote learning

and working, as well as gaming,

streaming, ecommerce and

other online services continued

to drive consumption of cloud

infrastructure resources".

China remained the world's

second largest market, accounting

for 14 per cent of global

investment.

Alibaba Cloud reported

strong growth in finance and

retail, while its existing customer

base continued to grow.

Huawei Cloud has seen rapid

growth in the finance, industrial

manufacturing, Internet and

government sectors. Tencent

Cloud saw rising demand for its

PaaS solution while Baidu AI

Cloud was boosted by growth

in the transportation, healthcare

and financial sectors.

VOLCANO IN INDONESIA ERUPTS

Jakarta : The Ili Lewotolok

volcano in Indonesia's East

Nusa Tenggara province erupted

on Sunday, spewing a column of

ash 4,000 metres to the sky,

authorities said. The ash column

is thick and gray, moving to the

east and the west, Xinhua news

agency quoted the Agency for

Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation

as saying in a statement. Seismograph records

showed that the eruption, which

took place at around 10.45 a.m.,

occurred for 10 minutes, with a

maximum amplitude of 35 mm.

The agency has recommended

that residents or tourists

should nt carry out any activity

in the danger zone within a

radius of two km from the summit.

The volcano with a height of 1,018 metres

above sea level is now under alert status.

currently which will further rise with the

recent notification. "But the good news is

that the gap will be filled by those players

who are conforming to the BIS norms,

since with the enforcement of compulsory

certification, the manufacturing of any

kind of two-wheeler helmet not under IS

4151:2015 is an offence. As the law is

enforced, manufacturers and big organisations

should be encouraged to come forward

and invest in this field."

2nd launch of

RUSSIA'S heavy

carrier ROCKET

scheduled for Dec

Moscow : The second test

launch of Russia's Angara-A5

heavy-class carrier rocket from

the Plesetsk Cosmodrome is

scheduled for December,

Dmitry Rogozin, head of

Roscosmos, the country's space

agency, said.

"Yes, December. The launch

vehicle is ready," Xinhua news

agency quoted Rogozin as saying

in a tweet on Saturday confirming

that the launch had

been postponed to December

11.

The Angara is a family of

next-generation Russian space

rockets.

Russia carried out the first

test launch of the Angara-A5

rocket in 2014 at the Plesetsk

Cosmodrome in the country's

northern Arkhangelsk region.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 9

SFJ annouces $1M aid for agitating

farmers, AGENCIES VIGILANT

New Delhi : As thousands of farmers

from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are

rallying at Delhi's three interstate border

points, banned secessionist group Sikhs For

Justice (SFJ) is trying to fish in troubled

waters by announcing $1 million aid for

farmers who suffered injuries or damage to

their vehicles while facing police action in

Haryana.

The information has sent security agencies

into a tizzy, with many deployed on

protest spots in plainclothes to keep a close

tab on SFJ supporters who may mingle with

protesters as part of their "ill-intention" to

lure innocent farmers and take undue advantage

of the situation in the name of helping

them.

In its recent announcement through a

social media platform, the SFJ said it will

provide $1 million aid to farmers from

"Punjab and Haryana who have suffered

bodily injuries or damage to their vehicles

while facing police action during their hardfought

journey to Delhi".

The SFJ's message mentions its plan for

opening a 24-hour call centre on November

30 in the US, Canada, the UK, France and

Germany to accept online applications from

New York : Christina, a 74-

year-old woman, only spent

about five minutes buying a

toaster oven at Macy's flagship

store in New York city on Black

Friday morning. "It was quick, it

was a short line. It is not very

busy now," the shopper, who did

not give her surname, told

Xinhua. There were a few dozen

farmers of Punjab and Haryana to reimburse

for their losses and also to register votes for

its "Khalistan Referendum". "SFJ is kickstarting

the Khalistan Referendum voting

from London on August 15, 2021 for the

independence of Punjab," mentions the message

circulated by SFJ's US-based General

Counsel and group's key leader Gurpatwant

Singh Pannun -- designated a terrorist by the

Indian government. Assuring farmers of

Punjab and Haryana that the SFJ will bear all

the losses they have suffered, Pannun stated

that "once Punjab is liberated from Indian

occupation, the loans of the farmers will be

waived and free power supply granted".

The group has also threatened to take up

the matter at the international level if the

Indian government did not repeal its three

contentious farm laws enacted in September.

"If the Modi government does not scrap the

farm bills, as demanded by the farmers, SFJ

will initiate legal action against India at the

international level with the backing of various

kisan organisations," Pannun said in the

message.

Security establishment, including anti-terror

agencies, have since intensified efforts

against the group banned by the MHA via a

Black Friday in-store shopping

drops amid pandemic

in-store shoppers at Macy's flagship

store, Saks Fifth Avenue

and other retailers' stores in New

York City on Black Friday, a

sharp contrast to the crowded

scenes in the same time any

other year. Black Friday, one of

the most anticipated days by

consumers, shifted its consumption

patterns due to the COVID-

19 pandemic this year. More

shoppers have opted for online

sales, and in-store shoppers tend

to buy things much faster than

before.

"This year is scary. You want

to get out of the store quicker to

protect yourself even though we

have masks. We have to prevent

socializing and gathering with

large crowds. We have to keep a

distance," the 74-year old shopper

said. U.S. consumers' online

spending made a new record

high of $5.1 billion on

Thanksgiving Day with a yearon-year

growth of 21.5 per cent,

according to the data issued by

Adobe Analytics. As of

Thursday afternoon, coronavirus

deaths have added up to 24,241

and confirmed cases to 302,522

in New York City, according to

The City, a project that tracks the

spread of confirmed COVID-19

infections and fatalities in New

York City.

notification dated July 10 last

year under the Unlawful

Activities (Prevention) Act

(UAPA) following its "anti-

India activities" to disrupt

law and order in the country.

However, the security officials

maintained, no suspicious

activity of the group

has been noticed in the

national capital or in the

interstate border areas so far,

even as central agencies are

keeping a strict vigil to avoid

any untoward activity.

It is the third such message

circulated by the SFJ in

the past one week. The SFJ

earlier this week had called

upon farmers of Punjab and

Haryana to raise Khalistan

flag at the India Gate here on

the 12th anniversary of a terrorist attack in

Mumbai on November 26, following which

the national capital was put on high alert.

The SFJ had announced anti-India campaign,

'Referendum-2020', in November this year to

seek secession of Punjab from India. The

move followed inputs that the Sikh community

across India has rejected the Inter-

Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsored propaganda

of 'Referendum-2020'. Pakistani intelligence

agency ISI has been backing the

malicious campaign launched by the SFJ as a

large number of Pakistani Twitter handles

have started tweeting in favour of the socalled

'Referendum'.

Dubbing Sikhs in Kashmir as "freedom

fighters and Sikh soldiers", the US-based

Khalistani radical outfit has urged them to

support its most infamous agenda,

'Referendum-2020'. The group is already on

the radar of the National Investigation

Agency (NIA), which has been taking action

against its key leaders such as Pannun and

many others. In the beginning of September,

based on NIA's inputs, the MHA had issued

an order to attach the properties of Pannun

and SFJ's Canada coordinator Hardeep Singh

Nijjar.

Farmers reject Centre's offer to shift

to Burari, says its conditional

New Delhi : The farmers on Sunday rejected the proposal by the

Centre to shift all agitation to Delhi's Burari ground and lift the

blockade at the borders. The farmers said the offer of talks is conditional

and they will not move to the Burari.

The farmers had been instructed to stay put wherever they were

till further instructions from their leaders. Bharatiya Kisan Union

(BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said they have also decided to stay at

Ghazipur. "We will not leave this spot. We will not move to Burari.

The Centre should come forward and listen to the farmers," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that he was

committed to the welfare of hardworking farmers, and the Centres'

new farm laws were a step in this direction.

Refusing to accept the Centre's offer to shift to the Burari ground

in north-west Delhi to hold their proposed protest against the three

central farm laws, thousands of farmers continued to rally for the

third consecutive day on Sunday at Delhi's three interstate border

points. As the farmers continued to protest peacefully by shouting

slogans against the government at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur

entry/exit points on the Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Bahadurgarh and

Delhi-Uttar Pradesh routes respectively, their numbers were swelling

as more and more farmers were arriving at the spots.

The farmers were adamant on their demand that the Centre revoke

the three farm laws to end the impasse, though they were not clear

about their next course of action as leaders of multiple farmers'

unions were holding meetings since Sunday morning to decide on

their future strategy.

Farmer Satbir Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib district in

Punjab, asserted at the protest site that it was the "biggest revolution

against the three farm laws enacted by the Central government".

"Even the Punjabi diaspora in the US and Canada have come in

support of the farmers' protest. We will not move back an inch until

and unless they repeal the laws. We will not go back until these draconian

laws are done away with," Satbir said.

He asserted that a general consensus among the protesting farmers

was to refuse the Union Home Minister's offer to shift to the

Burari ground before the government holds parleys with them. "We

will not move from the Singhu and Kondli borders. The supply chain

has been disrupted and the pressure is mounting on the government."

Drone spotted in J&K's

Jammu district along

India-Pakistan border

Jammu : Alert security

forces deployed on the international

border with Pakistan spotted

a drone in Jammu district in

J&K and fired to force it to

return to the neighbouring country,

police said on Sunday.

Police said the drone was

spotted on the Indian side of the

international border in Arnia

Sector in RS Pura area on

Saturday evening. "The BSF

troops fired at the drone after

which it withdrew to the

Pakistan side," police said.

Drones have been used in

recent times by militants and

their handlers to drop weapons

etc on the Indian side of the

international border.

of weapons two months back, aerial vehicles along the international

border and the line of con-

After shooting down a drone the security forces are maintaining

extra vigil against unmanned trol in Jammu and that carried a huge consignment

Kashmir.


10 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NIA rejects Stan Swamy's claims

of seizing his straw and sipper

New Delhi : National Investigation

Agency (NIA) on Sunday rejected

claims of tribal rights activist Father

Stan Swamy, an accused in the Elgar

Parishad Maoist links case, that it had

seized his straw and sipper and sought

20 days' time from the court to respond

to his plea to allow him to have these.

The anti-terror agency, in a statement

issued on Sunday, said the claims made

by Swamy, 83, are "false, incorrect and

mischievous", as it "neither recovered

any straw and sipper from the accused

nor sought 20 days' time to file reply in

his application to court".

Swamy, who is suffering from various

health issues including Parkinson's

disease, was arrested on October 8 for

his involvement in the activities of CPI-

Maoist and for furtherance of the agenda

of the banned terrorist organisation

as one of the alleged conspirators in the

Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case.

The case pertains to widespread violence,

arson and stone-pelting resulting

in loss of lives and property near Bhima

Koregaon town in Maharashtra as a

result of the provocative speeches during

the Elgar Parishad programme at

Shaniwarwada, Pune on December 31,

2017. The NIA said that it produced

Swamy before the Special Court in

Mumbai along with charge sheet on

October 9 and never took his police custody.

"All the necessary legal formalities

such as his medical examination

were duly observed. Since then, Swamy

has been in judicial custody at Taloja

Central Jail."

Nearly a month after, on November

6, Swamy filed an application in NIA

court at Mumbai for getting back his

straw and sipper, which the NIA said

"Swamy falsely claimed to have been

kept by the NIA".

The court asked the NIA to file its

reply on next date, which was scheduled

on November 26. In its reply, it

stated that the NIA had conducted his

personal search in presence of independent

witnesses and no such straw

and sipper were found.

The court then rejected Swamy's

application and issued necessary direction

to the jail authorities on November

26 to provide him straw and sipper.

As the accused was in judicial custody,

the matter was between him and

the jail authorities which come under

the Maharashtra administration, the

NIA said.

According to the NIA charge sheet,

Swamy had received funds from other

Maoist cadres for furtherance of the

activities of CPI-Maoist, and was the

convener of the PPSC, which the NIA

said, was a frontal organisation.

Incriminating documents in this connection

were seized from his possession,

it said.

ILLEGAL GUN FACTORY

30 DEAD, 24 injured in

Afghan suicide bombing

Kabul : At least 30 military personnel were killed and 24 others wounded in a

suicide car bombing that took place near a military camp in Afghanistan's Ghazni

city on Sunday, officials have confirmed.

Confirming the casualties and injuries, Baz Mohammad Hemat, director of

Ghazni civil hospital, told Xinhua news agency that the death toll might increase as

some of the wounded are in serious condition.

The explosion occurred when a suicide bomber rammed into an explosive-laden

hijacked military vehicle near the army camp along a road connecting Ghazni city

to the neighbouring Dih Yak, a security official told Xinhua.

"The killed and wounded were all military personnel. The camp homes a battalion

of Afghan National Army (ANA). The facility was belonging to police forces in

the past, but now it is converted to a battalion of ANA and all the victims were ANA

soldiers," he said.

Earlier reports said that the killed and wounded were police personnel.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but local officials blamed

Taliban militants. Ghazni province has been the scene of heavy clashes in recent

years as Taliban militants have attempted to seize more land and consolidate their

position in the mountainous region.

unearthed in Bihar's Kaimur

Patna : A small illegal gun factory run by a

countrymade pistols and 'kattas' each, six

history-sheeter was unearthed in Chainpur area

unfinished 'kattas', six cartridges and firearmmaking

instruments from his house," Ahmed

of Kaimur district in Bihar on Sunday after

three persons were held during checking of

said.

vehicles, police said. In another case, CRPF

"Sharma is a history-sheeter who was

men also seized arms and ammunition hidden

jailed for his illegal activities in the past.

in Naxal-affected Gaya district.

Jalim Ram is also a notorious criminal of the

"We are holding special vehicle-checking

area and has been jailed three times in the

drive in the district, during which three youths

past," the SP said.

riding a motorcycle were signalled to stop in

Kaimur is considered Naxal-affected area

Chainpur area. The accused tried to escape by

in Bihar. Local police is now investigating the

taking a U-turn from the spot, but alert policemen

chased and overpowered them after a brief

In another case, a team of Central Reserve

possible links of Sharma with Maoists.

chase," Kaimur Superintendent of Police

Police Force's 159 CoBRA commandos

Dilnawaj Ahmed said. A .315-bore short-muzzle

rifle, two cartridges were seized from their

documents and other objectionable items

unearthed a huge cache of weapons, Maoist

possession.

from an underground bunker in Parariya village

in Imamganj police station area in Gaya

Accused Jalim Ram, Anil Kharwar, and

Sanjay Kharwar -- all residents of Bhabhua --

district. The seized firearms included two

were interrogated, following which they named one ammunition. "The Chainpur SHO led the police raid countrymade pistols, 15 cartridges, two magazines,

Ram Dular Sharma of Tirauna village in Chainpur at Sharma's house. He was running an illegal gunmanufacturing

factory at his house. We seized two Naxal

two mobile phones, three rifle holsters and some

police station area as supplier of the illegal arms and

literature.

715-C Parkfield Road

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

Govt drunk on power, not listening

to crores of farmers: Cong

New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Even as a

stalemate between protesting farmers and the

Centre on their protest venue in Delhi continued,

the opposition Congress on Sunday

attacked the government for "being drunk on

power and not listening to the voice of farmers".

"The government is drunk on power...

Union Agriculture Minister and Home

Minister say there will not be any talks with

the farmers till December 3, in this harsh

winter. Both Ministers do not have time for

farmers until five days?" Congress Chief

Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told

a press conference.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji should

himself talk to the delegation of farmers...

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal

Khattar should publicly apologise for calling

farmers terrorists and filing false cases

against them," the Congress leader said.

The Congress asserted that Modi should

leave aside his prejudices and talk openly

about abolition of what it dubbed as three

"anti-farming black laws". "Why did the

government target the rationing system, rendering

labourers, workers and middlemen in

Woman fatally shot in head

during robbery in Patna

Patna : A woman was fatally shot in her head by robbers after

she resisted their

move to loot passengers

of an aut-rickshaw

in state capital

Patna, police said on

Sunday.

Saiqa Parveen

was travelling with

her husband Imran

Alam in the autorickshaw

when she

was shot dead late Saturday night.

Police said that when the auto-rickshaw reached Chiraiyatadh

flyover near Patna railway station, two men riding it asked the

driver to stop. Two more persons riding two motorcycles reached

the spot and looted all the passengers at gunpoint.

While Alam handed over his belongings, Parveen resisted the

robbers. One of them shot her in the head, killing her on the spot.

Alam, a private bank employee in Siwan, was on way to his

native Dehri-on-Sone town in Bihar along with his wife. As they

had reached Patna at night, they were on way to the railway station

for overnight stay in a nearby hotel, he told the police. "An FIR has

been registered against unidentified persons and effort are on to

arrest them," Patna SSP Upendra Sharma said.

mandis unemployed? When foodgrains will

not be purchased at MSP, how will 86 crore

people get grains through the public distribution

system?" Surjewala asked.

The Congress leader alleged that the

Modi government had told another lie to the

farmers by telling them that they would be

able to sell their crops in other states as well.

"As many as 86 per cent farmers in India

own less than 5 acres of land each. Out of

that, 80 per cent farmers own 2 acres each. If

they don't have the ability to sell outside their

Panaji : The 17th century Old Goa

Church complex, a Unesco World Heritage

Site, faces threat of encroachment of its

boundaries by real estate developers in the

wake of a recent move to incorporate the

area under an urban planning authority, former

deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai has

alleged in a letter to the UN body on Sunday.

Sardesai, who heads the Goa Forward

party which has three legislators in the Goa

Legislative Assembly, also said in his letter

to Unesco Director Mechtild Rossler that the

church complex located in Ela village near

Panaji, could face the prospects of high rise

buildings in its close proximity, if the state

administration formally approves the incorporation

the village under the aegis of the

Greater Panaji Planning and Development

Authority of Goa. Ela vis currently under the

jurisdiction of a local village panchayat and

the Opposition has expressed fear, that if the

area is brought under the Greater Panaji

district, how will they sell their produce in

other states?"

Modi on Sunday asserted that he was

committed to the welfare of hardworking

farmers, and that the Centre's new farm laws

were a step in this direction. Refusing to

accept the Centre's offer to shift to the Burari

ground in north-west Delhi to hold their proposed

protest against the three central farm

laws, thousands of farmers continued to rally

for the third consecutive day on Sunday at

Delhi's three interstate border points.

Planning and

Development

Authority, it would

lead to a surge in

high rise apartment

complexes.

"On November

20, I was alerted and

alarmed to learn that

the government of

Goa decided to place the Ela village under

the Greater Panaji Planning and

Development Authority of Goa. This is a

brazen act of poaching and encroachment of

boundaries determined by the Unesco in

1986," Sardesai said in his letter. "Under

these provisions, the government of Goa

could allow building height to reach 30

meters in various commercial zones as

against the nine-meter height restriction

which are currently allowed," he added.

Construction of the church complex was

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

11

Will thwart Centre's bid to turn farm

protest into Shaheen Bagh: BKU

Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) : Bharatiya Kisan Union leader

Rakesh Tikait on Sunday asserted that

they would thwart all attempts of the

Centre to turn the ongoing protest by

farmers into "violence that followed

anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh"

and other areas in Delhi in February.

"The Union government wants to

make the Nirankari Maidan at Burari

as a flashpoint for another re-run of the

violent anti-CAA protests in Delhi's

Shaheen Bagh area in February. We

will not let the government succeed in

its attempt," Tikait told IANS. "If we

reach the Burari ground, we will be accused of planning a protest

similar to the Shaheen Bagh. We will not allow a repeat of the anti-

CAA protests incidents with our farmers," Tikait added.

Several farmer leaders from western Uttar Pradesh led by BKU

leader Tikait will soon lead a convoy of Uttar Pradesh farmers at

Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in east Delhi to participate

in the protest against the three central farm laws. The farmers

from western UP plan to march in solidarity with the protesting farmers

from Punjab and Haryana in the national Capital. He said that the

situation will be clear by Sunday afternoon as for their strategy. "A

meeting is going on across the Singhu border on this issue; the central

government must listen to our demands." Tikait said: "Why does

the Union government want to meet the farmers at the Nirankari

Maidan? If they want to hold a dialogue, they can directly meet our

farmer leaders and talk to them." Earlier, he had said that the Centre

must understand the problems faced by the farmers and only then

could talks be held. The BKU has appealed to farmers across the

country to hold similar protests against the three farm laws.

Goa's heritage church complex under

threat, oppn writes to Unesco

completed in the 17th century. Every year,

hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the

Church complex, which is located around 10

km from Panaji. The Basilica of Bom Jesus,

which is the key heritage building in the

complex, also holds the relics of Fr. Francis

Xavier, a Spanish Saint, who died in the mid

1500s.

However, increased real estate development

around the heritage site, a government

project to treat garbage, has triggered controversy

over the last few years. The Opposition

has criticised the move and has demanded

that it be scrapped before the upcoming feast

dedicated to the Spanish saint which is held

every year on December 3.

In the letter, Sardesai, who formerly headed

the state government's Town and Country

Planning Department, has also urged the

international cultural community to "stand

united with the people of Goa" against the

proposed move.

On kanshi TV

channel 772.

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6 :00 pm

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12 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Punjabi diaspora worried, shocked

over 'BRUTALITY' against farmers

Chandigarh : The planned protest

against new farm laws and the 'brutality'

of the security forces by lobbing

teargas shells and using water cannons

to stop the peaceful march of the farmers

towards the national capital has left

the diaspora largely from Canada worried

and shocked.

They asked the Indian government

to engage in an open dialogue with the

farmers as their livelihoods are going

to be impacted.

Expressing solidarity with the

farmers, Canadian Defence Minister

Harjit Sajjan said the reports of peaceful

protesters being brutalized were

very troubling.

"Many of my constituents have

family there and are worried about the

safety of their loved ones. Healthy

democracies allow peaceful protest. I

urge those involved to uphold this fundamental

right," he tweeted on

Sunday.

Joining the issue, Sonia Sidhu, MP

for Brampton South, Canada, tweeted,

"I received many messages from constituents

concerned in Brampton

South about the situation in India.

"My residents told me how worried

they are about the protests of the

Punjab farmers. I share their concerns

and hope that the situation will be

resolved peacefully."

Joining her counterpart, Ruby

Sahota, MP for Brampton (North),

said the determination and resilience

of the farmers is admirable.

"In a free and just society one

should be able to advocate for their

cause without the threat of force being

used against them. The brutality being

faced by the Indian farmers in these

images is deplorable," she said in a

tweet.

Joining the cause, Chandigarh-born

Rachna Singh, Parliament Secretary of

British Columbia, said she was really

saddened by the way Punjab farmers

are being treated. "This is unacceptable."

Describing the violence perpetrated

by the Indian government against

farmers peacefully protesting is

appalling, Canada's New Democratic

Party leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted: "I

stand in solidarity with the farmers

from Punjab and across India -- and, I

call on the Indian government to

engage in peaceful dialogue rather

than violence"

He thanked Jack Harris, MP for St.

John's East, for his advocacy.

"We are shocked to see the Indian

government's suppression of farmers

protesting new laws which will endanger

their livelihood. Instead of using

water cannons and tear gas, the Indian

government needs to engage in open

dialogue with farmers," said Harris.

"Peaceful protests are fundamental

in any democracy, and I urge for the

rights of the protestors to be respected,"

said Navdeep Bains, MP for

Mississauga-Malton.

"Shocking scenes from Delhi,"

remarked MP from Britain, Preet Kaur

Gill.

"Farmers are peacefully protesting

over controversial bills that will

impact their livelihoods. Water cannons

and tear gas, are being used to

silence them."

Tracing his roots to a farmer family,

Indo-Canadian politician Gurratan

New Delhi : Refusing to accept the

Centre's offer to shift to the Burari ground

in north-west Delhi to hold their proposed

protest against the three central farm laws,

thousands of farmers continued to rally

for the third consecutive day on Sunday at

Delhi's three interstate border points.

As the farmers continued to protest

peacefully by shouting slogans against the

government at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur

entry/exit points on the Delhi-Chandigarh,

Delhi-Bahadurgarh and Delhi-Uttar

Pradesh routes respectively, their numbers

were swelling as more and more farmers

were arriving at the spots. It was learnt

that the farmers had been instructed to

stay put where they were till further

instructions. Even BKU leader Rakesh

Tikait said that they have also decided to

stay at Ghazipur. "We will not leave this spot. We

will not move to Burari. The Centre should come

forward and listen to the farmers," he added.

The farmers were adamant on their demand that

the Centre revoke the three farm laws to end the

impasse, though they were not clear about their

next course of action as leaders of multiple farmers'

unions were holding meetings since Sunday morning

to mull their future strategy.

After braving two chilly winter nights under the

open skies, the undeterred farmers began another

round of sloganeering against the central government

as the sun rose on the horizon. Even as heavy

security bandobast was in place, the farmers did not

try to enter Delhi despite the authorities allowing

them to move to the Burari ground in north-west

Delhi, where only half of the around 1,000 or so

farmers who were staying put since Friday evening

Singh said the images of police brutality

were horrific.

"I come from a family of farmers. I

feel the pain and struggle of farmers

protesting laws that threaten their

livelihoods. The state continues to

meet peaceful protestors with violence

and brutality," he tweeted along with

were present on Sunday afternoon. While leaders of

farm unions were busy meeting to come up with

their future course of action, others were busy

addressing the farmers rallying at the borders in

chaste Punjabi through loudspeakers about their

demand. Carrying green and yellow flags of farmer

organisations, All India Khet Majdoor Sangh

(AIKKMS) and other organisations, farmers continued

to shout slogans like "Hamari Ekta

Zindabad", "Kisan Ekta Zindabad", "Inqilab

Zindabad", "Kisan Ke Saath Loot Nahi Chalegi",

and "Kisan Ka Janandolan Zindabad" at the Singhu

border on the Delhi-Chandigarh route.

Farmer Satbir Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh

Sahib district in Punjab, asserted at the protest site

that it was the "biggest revolution against the three

farm laws enacted by the central government".

"Even the Punjabi diaspora in the US and

the video of his speech made by him in

the Ontario Assembly.

"Farmers are the backbone of our

society. They feed cities, and right

now they are under attack in India.

Folks in my riding are concerned

about new laws that are passed by the

Indian government that are going to

hurt the farmers in Punjab, Haryana

and others across India.

"That's why I am asking all the

members of this House to come

together to stand with farmers against

these unjust laws passed by the Indian

government, so farmers in India can

live with respect and dignity that they

deserve," Gurratan Singh said in his

speech.

Standing with farmers in India,

Leader of the Ontario New

Democratic Party, Andrea Horwath,

said: "Everyone deserves to be able to

exercise their democratic rights without

fear of state-sanctioned violence".

Canadian MP Tim Uppal posted,

"India's farmers deserve to be heard

and respected. This is horrific."

The farmers are protesting against

the farm laws as they feel that these

laws would pave the way for the dismantling

of the minimum support

price (MSP) system, leaving them at

the mercy of big corporate entities.

Farmers dig in heels, continue to rally

on Delhi borders as more join in

Canada have come in support of the farmers'

protest. We will not move back an inch until

and unless they repeal the laws. We will not

go back until these draconian laws are done

away with," Satbir said. He asserted that that

a general consensus among protesting farmers

was to refuse Union Home Minister's offer to

shift to the Burari ground before the government

holds parleys with them. "We will not

move from the Singhu and Kondli borders.

The supply chain has been disrupted and the

pressure is mounting on the government."

Another farmer warned that in case the government

did not accept their demands, farmers

were ready for an "indefinite protest" and

more farmers were joining in as the clock

ticked away. Meanwhile, commuters continued

to be put to inconvenience on these routes

as farmers had parked their minitrucks, tractor-trolleys

etc on the highways. Many commuters

preferred to walk down for a few kilometres to

reach their destinations in Delhi. Sunil Kumar from

Himachal told IANS: "I am on my way to Delhi.

However, the bus was stopped 12 km before my

destination. I don't know how I will reach there. If

I don't get any vehicle to hitch a ride, I will have no

option but to walk." Meanwhile, none of the leaders

of over 30 farmers' organisations -- mostly from

Punjab and Haryana -- were available for comments.

Riding in hundreds of tractor-trailers, buses,

cars and even motorcycles, many more farmers

from the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) were expected to

reach the Delhi border on Sunday. As per police

estimates, the number of protesters from the Leftleaning

BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) could be between 1.5

lakh and 2 lakh, including a sizeable number of

youngsters and women.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

13

Spending long time on phone not

bad for mental health : Study

London : If your kids are spending

hours on smartphone, don't panic. In a

new study, researchers have found that

time spent on the smartphone was not

related to poor mental health.

According to the findings, published

in the journal 'Technology, Mind, and

Behavior', general smartphone usage is

a poor predictor of anxiety, depression

or stress when it comes to digital detoxes.

"A person's daily smartphone pickups

or screen time did not predict anxiety,

depression, or stress symptoms,"

said study lead author Heather Shaw

from the Lancaster University in the

UK. In the study, the research team

measured the time spent on smartphones

by 199 iPhone users and 46

Android users for one week.

Participants were also asked about their

mental and physical health, completing

clinical scales that measure anxiety and

depression symptoms. They also completed

a scale which measured how

problematic they perceived their smartphone

usage to be.

Surprisingly, the amount of time

spent on the smartphone was not related

WASHINGTON Guv

announces Covid exposure

notification tool

Washington : The Governor of the US state of Washington Jay

Inslee on has announced the launch of WA Notify, a “simple,

anonymous exposure notification tool” to help stop the spread of

Covid-19. By adding WA Notify to their smartphones, Washington

residents will be alerted if they spent time near another WA Notify

user who later tests positive for Covid-19, the announcement said

on Monday, Xinhua reported.

WA Notify uses privacy-preserving technology jointly developed

by Google and Apple and works without collecting or revealing

any location or personal data, according to the announcement.

“Secure, private and anonymous exposure notification technology

is an important tool for Washington,” Inslee said. “We’ve

deployed WA Notify in 29 languages so as many Washington residents

as possible can protect themselves, their loved ones and their

communities.”

He also encouraged all residents to start using WA Notify

immediately to work together to contain the coronavirus.

Several US states including Virginia, New York and Colorado

are using this tool, the announcement said.

to poor mental health. Additionally,

those who exceeded clinical 'cut off

points' for both general anxiety and

major depressive disorder did not use

their phone more than those who scored

below this threshold. Instead, the study

found that mental health was associated

with concerns and worries felt by participants

about their own smartphone

usage. Previous studies have focussed

on the potentially detrimental impact of

'screen time', but the study shows that

people's attitudes or worries are likely to

drive these findings. According to the

Be emotionally flexible to

save the romance in life

London : Being emotionally flexible is

one of the key factors when it comes to

longevity and overall health of your

romantic and long-term relationships, say

researchers.

The researchers from University of

Rochester aimed to clarify how mindful

flexibility the one hand and inattentive,

mindless and rigid inflexibility on the other

were linked to the dynamics within families

and romantic relationships.

Psychological flexibility is defined as a

set of skills that people use when they're

presented with difficult or challenging

thoughts, feelings, emotions or experiences.

Psychologists consider the rigid and

inflexible responses to difficult or challenging

experiences dysfunctional, ultimately

contributing to and exacerbating a

person's psychopathology.

The psychological flexibility and inflexibility

may play key roles in both couples

and families in shaping how individuals

interact with the people closest to them, the

researchers wrote in a meta-analysis, published

in the Journal of Contextual

Behavioral Science, which statistically

combined the results of 174 separate studies.

"Put simply, this meta-analysis underscores

that being mindful and emotionally

flexible in tough and challenging situations

not only improves the lives of individuals,

it might also strengthen and enrich their

close relationships," said study co-author

Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of

psychology. The meta-analysis added to

researchers, mobile technologies have

become even more essential for work

and day-to-day life during the Covid-19

pandemic. "Our results add to a growing

body of research that suggests reducing

general screen time will not make people

happier," said study author said

David Ellis from the University of Bath.

"Instead of pushing the benefits of

digital detox, our research suggests people

would benefit from measures to

address the worries and fears that have

grown up around time spent using

phones," Ellis added.

the findings of Rogge's earlier work in

which, he and a team tested the effects of

couples' watching movies together and

talking about the films afterward. That

study found that an inexpensive, fun, and

relatively simple watch-and-talk approach

can be just as effective as other more intensive

therapist-led methods — more than

halving the divorce or separation rate from

24 to 11 per cent after the first three years

of marriage. "The results suggest that husbands

and wives have a pretty good sense

of what they might be doing right and

wrong in their relationships," Rogge said

about the earlier study. "You might not

need to teach them a whole lot of skills to

cut the divorce rate.

You might just need to get them to think

about how they are currently behaving.

And for five movies to give us a benefit

over three years — that is awesome."

Watching and discussing movies with your

partner that feature onscreen couples can

have a positive effect on your relationship.

Pakistan has highest breast cancer rate in Asia : Report

Islamabad : Pakistan has

the highest rate of breast cancer

in Asia, as approximately

90,000 women are diagnosed

with the disease every year out

of whom 40,000 pass away, a

media report said on Monday.

The revelation was made by

speakers at a webinar, "Breast

cancer awareness: give hope,

save lives", organised by the

Commission on Science and

Technology for Sustainable

Development in the South

(Comsats) here on Sunday, the

Dawn news report said.

According to estimate, one in

10 Pakistani women could

develop breast cancer in their

lifetime.

Retired ambassador Fauzia

Nasreen, who is also an adviser

at Comsats, emphasised on the

importance of measures that

need to be taken in order to

overcome the lack of knowledge,

appropriate facilities, family

support and fear related to

cancer in society.

An early diagnosis and timely

access to affordable medical

care are the cornerstones of

beating the disease, she said,

adding women must educate

themselves about techniques of

self-examination.

Samina Naeem, former associate

professor at Health

Services Academy and consultant

at World Health

Organisation (WHO) Pakistan,

stressed the need for breaking

stereotypes and taboos related to

the disease.


14 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

'SCO helps Pak increase engagements

with regional, global partners'

Islamabad : A Pakistani official has said

that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

(SCO) provides the country with a platform

for increasing engagement with key global

and regional partners and forging tighter

links with Central Asia.

According to a statement released on

Monday by the Foreign Ministry,

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Andleeb Abbas, who represented Pakistan at

the 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of

Government of Member States of the SCO

via video conference, said that the country

valueed the region as a pivotal link for

regional connectivity and integration,

Xinhua news agency reported.

"The SCO has immense potential for fostering

a conducive environment for regional

stability, security and comprehensive economic

development," she said. The top offi-

CM dedicated to resolve

farmers' problems :

ANDHRA MINISTER

Amaravati : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS

Jaganmohan Reddy is dedicated to resolve any roblems

faced by state farmers, Agriculture Minister Kurasala

Kannababu said on Monday in the Assembly as its winter

session began.

"We do not have a Chief Minister who indulges in

gimmicks before elections. He has said that he will take

up any initiative to resolve farmers' problems wholeheartedly,"

said Kannababu

He said that the YSRCP government had fulfilled

most of the promises made to farmers and highlighted

that Rs 13,463 crore have been directly credited to

farmers' accounts in last 18 months.

Kannababu assailed Telugu Desam Party (TDP)

national President Nara Chandrababu Naidu and his son

Nara Lokesh for allegedly undermining Reddy's aerial

survey of Nivar- affected districts.

He showed a photograph of Naidu conducting a similar

survey when he was CM while enjoying a hot beverage

in helicopter and compared it with his successor's

survey. The Minister said that Reddy takes comprehensive

stock of the ground situation whenever natural

calamities strike the state.

According to Kannababu, crops on 6.56 lakh

hectares of land was damaged during recent torrential

downpour. He said the revenue enumeration is still on.

"The CM told us to finish the enumeration by

December 10 so as to pay compensation to the affected

farmers by December-end. The Agriculture Department

and other concerned ones are working towards that

goal," he said.

Kannababu said that the Chief Minister had instructed

officials to buy crops from farmers even if it had

changed colour.

Meanwhile, the winter session saw a decent turnout

of MLAs, including opposition leader Naidu, who was

seen wearing a mask.

cial also highlighted the importance of the

Security beefed up at Delhi-Gurugram

border amid farmers' stir

Mumbai : After remaining in the denial

mode for 14 months, former Bollywood actress

Urmila Matondkar will finally join the Shiv

Sena on Tuesday, a senior aide to Chief

Minister Uddhav Thackeray said here on

Monday. From September 2019 till November

30 evening, Matondkar, 46, had categorically

denied that she was planning to join the Shiv

Sena, though strong speculation reigned in

political and media circles. "Very late last night

things were finalized and she will join the Shiv

Sena formally in presence of party president

and CM Thackerayji on Tuesday," the CM's

aide Harshal Pradhan told IANS.

Shiv Sena MP and Chief Spokesperson

Sanjay Raut also said on Monday that "she is

already a Shiv Sainik, just wait for the formal

announcement" to a barrage of questions by the

media. In anticipation of her move, the Maha

Vikas Aghadi (MVA) earlier this month submitted

Matondkar's name along with 11 others,

to Raj Bhavan for nomination to the

Maharashtra Legislative Council from the

SCO for Pakistan in achieving regional

peace and stability, and development of close

ties with regional partners through multifaceted

linkages and connectivity.

Abbas underscored the imperative of creating

a safe and secure neighbourhood and

cautioned against the recent rise in extremist

and racist incidents in her remarks, according

to the statement.

The Parliamentary Secretary also emphasized

the need for cooperation, collaboration

and sharing of knowledge and expertise to

deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

She expressed gratitude to the SCO member

states for supporting Pakistan's initiative

for creating a Special Working Group on

Poverty Alleviation, saying that it will provide

an opportunity for sharing experiences

and exchanging ideas among the member

states.

Gurugram, Nov 30 (IANS) As the farmers'

protests against the three Union Farm laws

passed by the Central government reached the

fifth day, the Delhi and Gurugram police on

Monday tightened and beefed up the security

further at the Delhi-Gurugram border on

National Highway-48. Delhi police again started

checking suspicious vehicles and put up barricades

on the carriageway. A large number of

security personnel, including those from the

Central Armed Police Forces, were deployed at

the Delhi-Gurugram border. This affected traffic

movement on the expressway, however, no

traffic congestion was witnessed on the national

highway. A senior Delhi police official visited

the border area to take stock of the security

preparedness. An IANS mediaperson present at

the Delhi-Gurugram border saw that nearly

seven to eight trucks laden with mud were in

the service lane of the carriageway. A Delhi

police official deployed at the border said,"We

have instructed our senior officials to keep vigil

on suspect vehicles and farmers groups entering

the national Capital."

Gurugram police officials claimed that none

of the farmers groups entered Delhi from this

route. "The Gurugram police are already on

high alert amid farmers' protests. Personnel

have already been deployed at all the connecting

borders of the district. Rapid Action Force

and extra police personnel have been reserved

to face any untoward situation on the border

locations," said a Gurugram police official.

Meanwhile, police sources claimed that the

Delhi police had received inputs about a number

of farmers from Rajasthan who could be

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's

quota.

This will be Matondkar's second

party after she left the Congress in a

huff on September 10 last year,

post-defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha

elections at the hands of Bharatiya

Janata Party's Gopal Shetty in

Mumbai North constituency.

In fact, prior to the October 2019

Maharashtra Assembly polls, there

was intense speculation that she

would join the Sena, Sharad Pawar's

Nationalist Congress Party or even

Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra

Navnirman Sena, but she had

scoffed it as rumours.

A couple of months ago, she and

actress Kangana Ranaut were

engaged in a war of words after the

latter made certain remarks on targetting

Matondkar on the social

media.

Myanmar military extends

non-operation period

against armed groups

Yangon : The

Myanmar military on

Tuesday announced

the extension of the

suspension period of

its operations against

armed groups until the

end of December. The

Office of the

Commander-in-Chief

of the Defence

Services issued a statement that the suspension of military activities

which expired on Monday will be further extended to December 31,

reports Xinhua news agency. The statement said the extension aims

to carry out effective prevention, control and treatment measures

against the coronavirus pandemic and to implement long-lasting

peace successfully.

During the period, the military's operations will be suspended in

the command areas, excluding those where government-designated

terrorist groups are residing. In addition, the military also formed

Peace Talks Committee to carry out the peace process successfully.

entering the national Capital through NH-48,

following which both the states' police alerted

their personnel.

"There was no such impact reported in

Gurugram. Security has been beefed since

Thursday and strict vigil maintained in all

seven border areas," said the official.

Finally, Urmila Matondkar to join Shiv Sena on Tuesday


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

15

Capitalism and priesthood both

are anti poor and anti farmers

The #FarmersProtest has brought

into limelight the dangers of 'corporatisation'

of agriculture which the

farmers organisations know but our

'economists' sponsored and funded by

big companies continue to provide us

'data' of the efficacy of the 'private

sector'. The three bills that the farmers

are protesting, particularly from

Punjab and Haryana will actually

bring death knell to the Minimum

Support Price regime and leave the

farmers to the mercy of the market.

We all know that the Western world

too provides farmers a lot of incentives

and support but in India nothing

of that kind happens except the loan

waiver on several occasions though

the current dispensation is more interested

in waiving off the huge debt of

the corporate houses who have looted

our banks and resources.

Many people suggest that because

of government intervention, farmers

are not getting the fair prices and once

farm prices are left to the 'private sector'

there will be a 'win win' situation

for all. They also claim that with the

new bills, the farmers will be able to

'sale' their produce to anywhere in

India. Now, these look beautiful in

presentation but not in reality.

Suppose, the industrialists in Gujarat

are paying better prices, can the farmers

of Punjab and Haryana take their

produce to Gujarat for that ? How feasible

is this ? Second, except for

Punjab and Haryana, there is not

much MSP regime in India and the

government procure their grain and

sell it to the Central pool. Now, you

decide that farmers do it themselves

and look for a market for them, will

only push them to middlemen who

will exploit them more.

No other state has that much of an

efficient system made for farmers as

exists in Punjab and that is the reason,

MSP for crops have helped farmers of

Punjab much better than in any other

states. It is this reason why farmers

are so passionate about it in Punjab

because they fear that they would be

pushed towards disaster in the privatisation

regime. Compare it to farmers

elsewhere and the situation is bad

because governments have not done

things better. Right now, the MSPs

are decided for Rice, Wheat, Sugar

cane as well as some other crops but it

does not include vegetables. Have we

seen how the onion farmers in Nasik

or potato growers elsewhere suffered

despite producing heavily. At many

places they were compelled to sell

their produce in Rs one per kilo gram

while the public in the market was

getting these produce for over Rs 60/-

/ We heard the same about tomatoes

and Bhindi which are beyond the

reach of the common person but the

farmers never get their due. They toil

hard for months and yet when they go

to Mandis, they are told that there is

no demand because of 'overproduction'

and hence he is compelled to sell

it to the prices fixed by the Dalals.

Isn't it disturbing that we used to

blame farmers for not producing

things and when they produce, we

blame them for over producing.

Those who are talking about private

players will not answer these

questions as why the farmers have to

suffer even when they produce more

and the answer is that there is no

Minimum Support Prices for vegetables.

If it is decided by states, it would

help farmers tremendously.

In the current private monopoly,

farm produce get nothing but if they

are 'processed' then the companies sell

them 20-30 times

higher prices and

people are ready to

buy.

The three bills that the farmers are

opposing have this intent to bring corporations

into the vast agriculture sector

and mint money from it. Farmers

are not going to benefit from it and

they know it well that it will be a

doomsday for them as corporations

want unfettered control over the

resources. It is good that farmers have

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

realised that capitalism or corporatisation

is dangerous to agriculture but I

would request all farmers organisation

to also identify the enemy as

described by revolutionary father

Jyoti Ba Phule whose masterpieces :

Ghulamgiri i.e. Slavery and Kisan Ka

koda ie. Farmers whipcord are the

need of the hour. So, capitalism is definitely

an enemy of farmers and so is

priesthood which Phule

called Seth ji-Bhat ji kee

jodi. Phule identified most

of the farming communities

were from the Bahujan

communities and they

were divided into various

castes and superstition by the brahmanical

social order. The founder of

Sikh Panth, Guru Nanak Dev ji too

wanted to establish an egalitarian and

enlightened social order and that is

how Sikhism was born. Sikhism was a

revolt against Brahmanical values. All

the Gurus preached equality and

spoke against superstition and birth

based discriminatory systems. Punjab

is prosperous and egalitarian, far better

and superior to Gujarat, which has

been proclaimed as a model' state.

Fact of the matter, in all the developmental

index, Punjab is far ahead of

Gujarat. That apart, in the social

indices, gender relations,

harmony, Punjab will

score better than other

states. Punjab feeds India

and protects our borders.

On both the fronts,

Gujarat will be perhaps

among the last.

This is because,

Punjab created an egalitarian

society ( ofcourse,

there are issues of castes and discrimination

yet in ideological forms, the

Sikh Gurus have most secular and

humanist in their preachings} while

Gujarat has isolated and ostracised

Dalits and minorities. The Farmers

movement in India will never succeed

unless it tries to understand that those

who are pushing for corporatisation of

agriculture, are the same forces who

gained from the super structure of the

caste system. Baba Saheb Ambedkar,

Jyotiba Phule, Periyar are therefore

important reads for those who want

the farmers' movement to succeed. A

kisan andolan that include Dalits and

Adivasis in its fold, speak of their

rights and ideological take a position

to annihilate castes in India, as

defined by Baba Saheb will revolutionise

India. Unfortunately, many of

the caste supremacists too speak of

dangers of corporatisation but that

alone will not resolve the current crisis.

In the longer term, the farmers

movement must understand what

Jyotiba Phule said and how the powerful

priestly classes divided the

Bahujan communities and exploited

their differences for their hegemony.

We stand in solidarity with the

farmers of India for a fair deal. It is

not merely one MSP but dangers of

corporatisation of farming which

will only bring destruction for the

farmers while profit for big companies.

Closely linked to the success of

these companies is the hate campaign

that they fund in India, against

the poor, marginalised and minorities.

If some of these TV channels

are abusing farmers and calling them

anti national then it is their owners'

who are the same corporate houses

who want to control our agriculture

and therefore as Phule said, Sethji

Bhatji are the forces who exploited

farmers through their connivance.

Media will do everything to paint

these protests as anti national as that

is how our current regime builds narrative

for their 'devotees' through

whatsapp but people know of these

things. Any big movement has

diverse sections of people and they

might disagree on various things and

agree on certain things. Nehru's cabinet

had Dr Ambedkar as well as

Shayama Prasad Mukherjee and that

does not make Nehru a Sanghi.

Similarly, these movements might

have diverse sections and political

opinions. Many might come here to

get the opportunity to portray their

political position but that does not

reflect the ideology of the movement

which is meant for the rights of the

farmers. Nobody has the right to

defame but today's corporatised

regimes of Seth ji are working closely

with the priestly order of Bhat ji's

and therefore do not feel ashamed of

spreading fake news through their

paid media. This is shameful and

condemnable.

We hope the movement will remain

peaceful and completely democratic

and the government will ultimately

realise that it has to speak to the farmers

unconditionally and that privatisation

is not the answer to every ill that

India has at the moment. Time to

speak to the farmers and not to the

corporate.


16 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Remembering Mahatma Jyotirao Phule

The good and the less known; here’s the wonderful legacy left behind by the revolutionary figure. In 2010,

Maharashtra’s then Minister of Public Works Department Chhagan Bhujbal handed ‘Gulamgiri’ a book written by

Mahatma Jyotirao Phule to former US President Barack Obama. The dedication section of the book read:

“To the good people of the United

States as a token of admiration for

their sublime, disinterested and selfsacrificing

devotion in the cause of

Negro Slavery; and with an earnest

desire, that my countrymen may take

their noble example as their guide in

the emancipation of their Sudra

Brethern from the trammels of

Brahmin thralldom.”

Obama was surprised to see an

Indian author pay tribute to the US

civil movement in 1873 and sadly so

are many Indians even today.

Although nearly every Indian studiously

uses the prefix ‘Mahatma’

before the social reformer’s name,

who died on November 28, 1890, few

people know about the events and factors

that led to the bestowal of such a

title.

Phule’s family originally belonged

to the Mali community that constituted

one of the Shudra castes in

Maharashtra. As such, Phule was

treated like a lower-caste by people

around him which influenced his

future efforts to bring about the development

of lower-caste communities.

Following his community’s customs,

Phule was also married to a girl of his

father’s choosing, at the age of 13.

However, the influential moments

that led to his social endeavours

occurred in 1848. That year, Phule

resolved to challenge the caste-system

and social restrictions following a

wedding ceremony of his Brahmin

friend in 1848 wherein the bridegroom’s

relatives insulted and abused

Phule for participating in an uppercaste

ceremony.

Again in 1848, he read ‘The Right

of Man’ by Thomas Paine that inspired

Phule to focus on women’s education

and not just lower-caste men.

Accordingly, he taught his wife

Savitribai how to read and write in the

same year. The couple went on to

establish the first indigenous girlsschool

in Pune. During this time, they

also met Muslim teacher Fatima

Sheikh who offered them residence

and went on to work at Phules’ school.

The trio were at the forefront of providing

education to children of marginalised

communities.

The Phules also opened two more

schools for children from then

untouchable castes like Mahar and

Mang. Other than education, Phule

also worked for the empowerment of

widows. Phule was deeply upset by an

incident in 1863 when a Brahmin

widow was sentenced to jail for killing

her new-born baby that she had originally

tried to abort. Moved by the incident,

Phule along with his wife and

dear friend Sadashiv Ballal Govande

began an infanticide prevention centre.

Soon pamphlets appeared all over

Pune advertising the centre.

“Widows, come here and deliver

your baby safely and secretly. It is up

to your discretion whether you want to

keep the baby in the centre or take it

with you. This orphanage will take

care of the children [left behind]” read

the pamphlets.

It must be understood that this was

an age when women had little to no

bodily autonomy. Female infanticide

was common and the Phule couple

themselves were married in their

childhood. Other women were married

to older men and became widows even

before reaching their teenage years.

Pained by this realisation, he decided

to become an advocate of widow

remarriage.

While striving to bring about these

social changes, Phule also attacked the

Vedas, the most fundamental texts of

upper-caste Hindus as a “false consciousness.”

He also openly called

Rama in Ramayana a symbol of Aryan

oppression. Another little known

information is that Phule introduced

the Marathi word ‘Dalit’ – meaning

broken or crushed – that was later popularised

by Dalit Panthers.

He created the Satya Shodhak

Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth)

that worked for the social rights and

political access of women, Shudras,

Dalits, and other under-privileged

groups in Maharashtra in 1873.

Individuals from any caste and class

were invited to the organisation.

Another surprising fact about the

social activist is that Phule worked as

a merchant, cultivator and municipal

contractor in 1882 – professions once

unimaginable for his flower-selling

family. As a government contractor, he

supplied building materials required

for the construction of a dam on the

Mula-Mutha river near Pune in the

1870s. Later in 1876, Phule became

the Municipal Commissioner (council

member) in Pune and served unelected

until 1883.

Rajinikanth to announce decision

on active political plunge soon

Chennai : Actor Rajinikanth on

Monday told the District Secretaries

of 'Rajini Makkal Mandram' that he

would announce the decision on his

active political plunge soon through

the media.

Speaking to reporters here, a couple

of District Secretaries said the

actor had told them that he would

decide on floating a political party and

plunge into politics.

Rajinikanth would announce his

decision on jumping into active Tamil

Nadu politics soon, said two District

Secretaries, who met the actor on

Monday. According to the Mandram

officials, they also expressed concern

at Rajinikanth's health condition, and

contesting the 2021 Tamil Nadu

Assembly polls will be the ideal time.

The meeting lasted for about two

hours. After the meeting he waved at

the crowd assembled outside his

Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam

sans mask. It is also said Rajinikanth

had told the District Secretaries that it

is not possible for anyone to make

money in politics with him. Last

month Rajinikanth tweeted that he

would consult with the officials of

Rajini Makkal Mandram about his

health condition and announce his

political stance to the people.

At that time denying a statement

purported to be issued by him

announcing his decision to quit politics,

Rajinikanth said some of the contents

in that statement

relating to his health and

the medical advice given

by the doctors were true.

"After discussing the

matter with the officials

of the Rajini Makkal

Mandram, at an appropriate

time I will announce

my political stance to the

people," Rajinikanth had

said. As per the alleged

statement, Rajinikanth's

doctors had voiced their

reservations on his political

entry since he had

undergone a kidney transplant

sometime back.t

They had also told him

that there was no vaccine

for Covid-19 and even if

there was one, whether it

would be effective at his

age of 70.

The election for Tamil

Nadu Assembly is slated

in 2021.

As per the purported statement, if

Rajinikanth had to start a political

party then the plans would have to be

finalised by December and an

announcement to be made by January

15 next year. The condition

of his health getting

bad was also mentioned

as he had to

address rallies and meet

people once he plunged

into active politics during

the Covid-19 period.

Asserting that he was

not getting into politics

for the sake of power,

actor turned politician

Rajinikanth in March

this year ruled himself

out of the race for the

Tamil Nadu Chief

Minister's post and said

there was an urgent

need for a change in the

system.

He said that his political

party and the government,

in case it came

to power, would have

different leaders.

He said that 60-65 per cent of his

party's candidate for the Tamil Nadu

Assembly polls will be in the age

group of 45-50. The remaining seats

will go to good people in other parties,

professionals, judges, and former

IAS officers.

Recalling his speech on December

31, 2017, Rajini said that he was not

into politics for power. At the age of

45 (in 1996) he was not interested in

political power, and now at the age of

68 (in 2017) one cannot say he is

power crazy, he recalled saying two

years ago. On December 31, 2017,

Rajinikanth had announced his decision

to float a political party to practice

'spiritual politics' and contest all

234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu in

2021. The actor said at that time that

his entry into politics was a "compulsion

of time" since the country's politics

had gone wrong.

Rajinikanth had remarked that

while earlier kings would invade

other countries and loot them, nowadays

political parties were looting

their own people under the guise of

democracy. The system needed a

change, he added. After 2017,

Rajinikanth has voiced his views on

some issues. In the wake of anti-

Sterlite Copper smelter plant protest

in Tuticorin and killing of 13 persons

in police firing, he said that Tamil

Nadu would turn into a graveyard if

protests were held for everything.

Later, he said that he was not a mouthpiece

of the BJP and attempts were

being made to paint him in saffron.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New Delhi : The agitating farmers

on Monday accused the Narendra Modiled

government at the Centre of being

communal, fascist and authoritarian,

and rejected the government's demand

to assemble at the Sant Nirankari

ground in Burari to stage their protest.

Addressing a press conference here

at the Delhi-Haryana border in Singhu,

Darshan Pal, President of the Krantikari

Kisan Union's Punjab chapter, said,

"The Modi government speaks something

else on face but has a dagger on its

side. The BJP is a communal, fascist

and authoritarian." Pal said that the

farmers will hold another meeting to

strengthen the movement.

"We reject the proposal. We have

come here to tell our story and we won't

step back," he said, rejecting the offer of

the government to move to the Burari

ground for the protest.

Activist Yogendra Yadav also

addressed the press conference and

described the farmers' protest as a "historic"

moment. Yadav said, "This is

happening after 31 years. Previously,

Mahendra Singh Tikait had brought the

NEWS

farmers together." Yadav added that a lie

is being spread that the farmers are

unaware. "Today the reality is that each

and every child of Punjab and Haryana

is completely aware of the draconian

laws," he said. Farmers from several

parts of the country have gathered in

Delhi over the three controversial farm

laws passed by the Parliament recently.

They are demanding repealing of these

laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi

backed the three farm laws during his

monthly radio broadcast programme on

Sunday.

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

Modi govt authoritarian; wont go to Burari: Farmers

130 khap panchayats of Haryana

to join stir from Tuesday

ASI cap on online booking

of tickets to Taj Mahal

Agra : To curb black-marketing of

tickets to the Taj Mahal, the

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

has said that visitors to the iconic monument

can now book only five tickets

for adults and three for children.

Earlier, a person could book up to 20

tickets online for the Taj Mahal.

According to the superintending

archaeologist in ASI (Agra circle),

Vasant Swarnkar, the entry of children

below 15 years would continue to be

free.

He said that the restrictions on purchase

of tickets will be applicable to

other monuments across Agra, including

Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra Fort.

Swarnkar had written to the District

Magistrate and police about the black

marketing of tickets after receiving

complaints from tourists earlier this

month. Later, police arrested half a

dozen people for reselling online tickets

and booked them under section 151

(arrest to prevent the commission of

cognizable offences) of the Code of

Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The ASI official added that all visitors'

identities will be printed on each

ticket. The practice had been stopped

last year after travel agents and tour

operators urged the ministry to remove

the cumbersome process of filling

name of each tourist while booking

tickets online.

"The visitors' entry will be allowed

only after verifying their identity from

photo IDs like passport, driving license,

voter ID, PAN among other documents,"

Swarnkar said. ASI officials

said that all tickets for the Taj Mahal

were booked for the weekend but footfall

at the monument was recorded low

— 4,301 on Sunday and 3,957 a day

earlier due to the farmers' protests at the

Delhi border.

As per norms, number of visitors are

calculated on the basis of the total

number of adults and children visiting

the Taj, which is capped at 5,000, a

daily limit of visitors fixed by the cultural

ministry since the monument

reopened after the Covid-19 lockdown

on September 21.

Meanwhile, local tourism industry

has resented the move and called it a

retrograde step. Vice-President of the

Tourism Guild Agra, Rajiv Saxena, said

the issue of black-marketing of tickets

could be resolved by increasing the

number of visitors. "The aim should be

to provide hassle-free access to the

monument instead of applying more

rules," he said.

Actor-politican Prakash Raj

backs TRS in GHMC polls

Hyderabad : Actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj

has declared his support for Telangana Rashtra

Samithi (TRS) in Tuesday's elections to Greater

Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). He

appealed to people of Hyderabad to vote for harmony

and not divisive politics. "Dear Hyderabadis your

power your right..and your conscience..to decide. Do

you want peaceful Hyderabad..#GHMCElections..

please vote for harmony..not divisive politics..I stand

with #TRS..#KCR #KTR," he tweeted.

Prakash Raj drew flak from All India Congress

Committee incharge for Telangana Manickam Tagore for

his appeal. The Congress leader said it was surprising to

see Prakash Raj asking vote for those who are killing

democracy in Telangana. Tagore along with his tweet

posted a video showing an alleged TRS supporter caught

with money. "Father and son Chandrasekhar & Rama

Rao agent caught with money and pamphlets. Still you

want them to win the elections," the Congress leader

asked Prakash Raj. The award-winning actor, who acted

in many Telugu films, had unsuccessfully contested for

Lok Sabha from Bangalore Central last year as an independent.

A bitter critic of BJP, he had recently called

popular Telugu actor and Jana Sena party chief Pawan

Kalyan a "chameleon" over reviving alliance with BJP

and for supporting the saffron party in GHMC polls. In

an interview to a Telugu channel, Prakash Raj criticized

Pawan Kalyan for repeatedly changing his stand on BJP.

The Jana Sena chief had announced that his party will

contest GHMC elections but later on a request by BJP

leaders, decided not to field the candidates and appealed

to people to vote for the BJP. Pawan Kalyan, however,

did not campaign for BJP. Prakash Raj recalled that

Pawan Kalyan supported the BJP in 2014 but later distanced

himself from the party by accusing it of betrayal.

After the drubbing in 2019 elections in Andhra Pradesh,

Jana Sena revived his alliance with BJP early this year.

17

Chandigarh : At least 130 khap panchayats (community courts) of Haryana

on Monday

announced that

they will join the

ongoing farmer

agitation on Delhi

borders from

Tuesday. "All

khap men are first

farmers and then

leaders," 'khap'

spokesperson

Jagbir Malik told

the media. "They

are associated

with the farmer

agitation from the

day one. As the

Haryana Chief

M i n i s t e r

(Manohar Lal Khattar) said there farmers of the state were not associated with the

agitation, it is wrong statement. The farmers of Haryana have been associated

with this agitation," he said. The farmers of Haryana have also been appealing to

the Central government to listen to the farmers. Malik said all khaps of Haryana

have unanimously decided to support protesting farmers by all means. The importance

of the khaps, especially in the politically dominant Jat community, is such

that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a rally in Jind, had to seek their blessings

for the BJP for the October 15, 2014 assembly elections.

Dalai Lama's 2nd

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

translated into Assamese

Dharamsala : Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's second

autobiography 'Freedom in Exile' has been translated into

Assamese by eminent writer Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, a recipient of

the Padma Shri, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said on

Monday. Published by Bhaskar Dutta Baruah, the Assamese version

of the book is titled 'Prabasat Mukta'.

First published in 1991 in the US, 'Freedom in Exile' as

explained by the spiritual leader, was written simply to oppose

China's narratives about the history of Tibet and the title of the

book is the connotation for freedom His Holiness and his fellow

Tibetans received from India. The autobiography gives a detailed

account of his birth, his selection as the highest spiritual leader of

Tibet, the crashing of Tibet-China relations, and his subsequent

exiled life in India.

In the book, the Dalai Lama has candidly shared about his relationship

with the Indian government, including his relationships

with Indian leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi while

detailing the latter's support towards the Tibetan diaspora and the

struggle they faced in the beginning.

Through the Assamese version of the book, the Nobel Peace

Laureate states his sincere hope that the translation done by

Thongchi will enable the Assamese readers to understand the

tragedy of Tibet better and in addition the significance of the nonviolent

and peaceful struggle of the Tibetan people for freedom

and dignity. Readers can buy the book online on Amazon.

In 2017, His Holiness' first autobiography 'My Land and My

People' was published in Assamese language, titled 'Mor Desh aru

Mor Manuh'.


18 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Samajwadi Party to oppose

'love jihad' in UP Assembly

Lucknow : A day after Uttar Pradesh

Governor Anandiben Patel signed the

ordinance on forced religious conversions,

the Samajwadi Party announced

that it will oppose the 'love jihad' law

when it comes up in the Assembly next

month. Samajwadi Party (SP)President

Akhilesh Yadav said his party is not in

favour of such a law and will oppose it

strongly. "On one hand, the government offers Rs 50,000

to those opting for inter-caste and inter-religion marriages,

and on the other, they have brought this law. We

will ask the government to bring a law which guarantees

doubling of farmers' income instead," he said.

The SP chief accused the BJP government of planning

to sell a government-owned shopping mall worth Rs

1,000 crore to a private entity at throwaway prices. He

Elephant Atta launches the first

chapatti flour high in Vitamin D

This latest addition to their

range of Medium atta variants is

high in Vitamin D which is good

for your teeth, bones, muscles and

supports the normal function of

the immune system.**

The number one source of

Vitamin D is the sun, but as the

days get shorter and winter

approaches it gets harder to absorb

enough of it. According to Public

Health England, 1 in 5 people in

the UK have low levels of Vitamin

D*** with people of South Asian

heritage potentially at a higher

risk****making this a very exciting

and highly relevant new product

to hit the shelves

Consumers can rest assured

that there is absolutely no compromise

on taste either, their chapattis

will be as delicious as always, just

with added health benefits for the

whole family. The atta is suitable

for those following a vegetarian or

vegan diet and is packed in recyclable

paper bags. Elephant Atta

Medium with Vitamin D is available

in 10kg and 1.5kg packs at a

store near you now.

*As checked and verified

through AC Nielsen scantrack data

(May 2020) and ESA an independent

audit of 100 South Asian retail

stores (March 2020)

**Vitamin D contributes to normal

further added that an expressway was

also being sold in a similar fashion. "This

will be probed when time comes. We will

expose the corruption this government is

indulging in," he said.

Akhilesh further said it is ironic that

the government talks of zero tolerance

for corruption but, in an international

survey, the country has figured on the top

of the list of nations where bribery is most prevalent.

Reacting to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's announcement

of setting up 10,000 MW solar power units, Yadav

said, "He does not know anything about a solar panel.

During the SP government, we had set up a solar power

unit. The unit produced enough power to meet the needs

of an entire village, but this government snapped the supply

saying the villagers have not paid bills."

absorption/utilisation of calcium

and phosphorus.

Vitamin D contributes to the

maintenance of normal

bones. Vitamin D contributes

to the maintenance of normal

muscle function. Vitamin D

contributes to the maintenance

of normal teeth.

Vitamin D contributes to the

normal function of the

immune system.

***National Diet and

Nutrition Survey. Findings

from the Report of Years 7

and 8 (combined) (2014/2015

– 2015/16). PHE National

Diet and Nutrition Survey

(2008 to 2012) shows that

23% of adults aged 19 to 64

years, 21% of adults aged 65

years and above and 22% of

children aged 11 to 18 years

have low levels of vitamin D

in their blood.

****Independent Research

carried out in 2015 through

Quant Edge Online Panel.

Sample size 211 Women of

South Asian Heritage (Indian,

Pakistani, Bangladeshi) and

https://www.nhs.uk/livewell/healthy-body/how-to-getvitamin-d-from-sunlight/

Shrinking Democratic

Space and

Electoral Choices

From last three decades or so the

debate comes up intermittently as to

whether Congress and BJP are two sides

of the same coin. Many political parties;

time and over again; have been taking up

this formulation as a justification for

Third front, which is away from BJP and

Congress both. In previous Bengal elections

Congress-Left coalition did come

up but could not muster a victory against

Trinmool Congress. Currently such a

choice is posed by many dalit parties and

lately such a formulation is being proffered

by AIMIM, Asaduddin Owaisi’s

party.

After the Bihar Assembly elections,

where the Mahagathbandhan, with RJD,

Congress in the lead was defeated by a

narrow margin, the analysts are trying to

grapple as to how despite massive rallies

of RJD and despite the horrendous suffering

of average people due to the ‘four

hour notice Corona lock down’, how

could BJP led NDA win the elections.

Most of the analysts have been pointing

finger to AIMIM for the victory of NDA.

Though exact analysis of seats shows

that it might have directly benefitted on

couple of seats for BJP, the deeper argument

is that its entry into the electoral

arena, polarises the Hindu votes leading

to BJP’s strength. While Asaduddin

Owaisi raises the issues of

minority community in the

language of Constitution,

his younger brother and others from his

party make statements, which are divisive

and communal.

The infamous speech of Akbaruddin

Owaisi, about the minority Muslims

being able to deal with majority if the

police force is removed from the scene, is

one example. This speech was widely

circulated through social media and RSS

combine forces used it extensively to

build their vote banks. This polarization

supplements the polarization, which RSS

combine has built up through the issues

like Ram Temple, Cow Protection, Love

Jihad, Corona jihad and what have you.

Asaduddin Owaisi correctly laments the

marginalization of Muslims in the political

sphere of the country; he outlines the

declining social situation of the community.

In an upright manner he is able to

woo over the sections of the community

with these arguments supplemented by

the provocative statement that even if a

sword is put on his neck he will not utter

‘Bharat mata Ki Jai’. One of his MLAs

refused to utter the word Hindustan.

There are three layer operations by

this party. First is the significant presence

in the parliament by Owassi, backed up

by his media projection. He also most of

the times; articulates the pain and

anguish of Muslim community and his

emotive responses like that on ‘Bharat

Mata Ki Jai’. His party men, who merrily

make Hate speeches, are generally not

so much grilled by large section of

media. And third this party is in continuous

attempt, from Maharashtra (With

Prakash Ambedkar), In Jharkhand, and in

Bihar (With Mayawati and Kushwaha),

where focus is mainly on constituencies

where Congress allies can be weakened

by splitting of votes.

One has to concede that the Muslims’

political and social condition has massively

deteriorated. At superficial level

Ram Puniyani

Congress can be blamed, more riots took

place in their rule, Babri mosque was

demolished during their rule, they have

been unable to halt the juggernaut of

Modi-BJP-RSS. Shahbano verdict was

overturned by Congress rule, Babri

mosque locks were also opened during

Congress rule is the stock criticism of

Congress to assert that what BJP does

during the day Congress does during the

night. This is as superficial as it can get.

After RSS gained legitimacy by joining

JP movement, and after Advani launched

Ram Temple campaign, BJP got the platform

which it needed to polarise and

communalise. It is the communalisation

by RSS combine which surely is the

dominating factor of Indian politics from

last few decades. It is this pressure due to

which Rahul Gandhi declares himself as

a janeu wearing Shiva Bahkt etc.

The other parties have also buckled by

the massive communalization created by

the emotive issues created through the

vast network of organizations,

pracharkas and swayamasevaks placed in

different locations in civil, social and

political spaces. Through a well knit

organizational manoeuvre it has also

erected and electoral machine which can

pull its victory despite the massive sufferings

wrought on poor people due to

the policies of ruling BJP

like the demonetization,

Corona lockdown, selling

of public sector to its favourite corporate

sector among others.

A section of Muslim community does

tend to support orthodox elements due to

the insecurity created by communal violence.

This violence has been orchestrated

due to the deliberate spread of misconceptions

and hate against Muslims

and lately against Christians. It is in this

background of deep influence of sectarian

nationalism that we need to evaluate

the likes of UPA. UPA did appoint Sachar

Committee but could not implement it

mainly due to massive opposition to it.

UPA wanted to bring in Communal violence

Bill but could not succeed mainly

due to it being opposed in National

Integration Council and then in

Parliament. So today while blaming the

formations like UPA, Congress etc., what

is being put under the carpet is the rising

tide of religious nationalism, which has

been dividing the society along religious

lines. The need is to articulate the problems

of religious minorities without emotive

provocations. The need is that the

communal utterances from the likes of

Akbarudding Owaisi and Waris Pathan

stop forthwith. Just analysing matters at

obvious level is not going to change the

situation. We need to see the tide of communalism

which cannot be shaken easily.

We need to strengthen the voices which

uphold pluralism and which think of

Justice Sachar Committee report. The

voices which think of bill against communal

violence need to be strengthened.

Any step which increases the electoral

strength of BJP and its allies in NDA

harms the interests of democracy. If BJP

cannot be defeated by party A or B, an

alliance based on pluralism and democracy

has the potential to do so. While

strengthening one’s political hold, if BJP

gets strengthened it is against the interests

of democracy.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

There is toxicity in the air everywhere

but more than that the poison in the virtual

world can be the reason for huge damage to

our social fabric and democratic society.

American media has the spine to stop

President Donald Trump's press conference

in between when they felt that he was lying

and could pose a danger to the whole electoral

system. Social media handle twitter

deleted many tweets of President Trump

terming them harmful as well as fake news.

Worldover there is a concern for this that

this toxicity must stop as it will bring

calamity to societies and divide them

further but look at us where fake

news are being paddled by

'respectable' channels and leaders of

the government tweeting opposition alliance

as 'Gupkar gang'. For the last few weeks, the

nation watched how Arnab Goswami

became the 'news' number one and the highest

court of the land was 'worried' about

him. If you don't like him dont watch his

channel, said Justice Chandrachud. He

added, ' I dont dont watch his channel'. The

other day, the Chief Justice of India said the

same thing but then when people react to

these cases, the government threatens them

with contempt cases. A comedian joked and

the 'sarkar' has filed a contempt petition

against him. The same government which

has said that Andhra Pradesh chief minister

Jagan Mohan Reddy's open letter to Chief

Justice of India related to Justice Ramanna

is not a contempt of the court.

The Bombay High Court recently heard

the bail petition of poet and author Varavara

Rao who is incarcerated in Taloja jail and

finally ordered that he be treated at

Nanawati Hospital. The government was

not willing to do so and wanted that the

poet's family pay for his medical expenses.

So are we going to see a new trend in the

coming days where you may be arrested but

if you are ill or unwell then expenses have to

be borne by the individual or his immediate

family member. Capitalism everywhere.

A journalist who has been exposing the

land mafia in Assam was tied to an electric

pole and beaten up. Many reporters in our

states face the biggest threat from political

mafias when they report against their corruption

charges. The Kerala journalist

arrested by Uttar Pradesh police reporting

the Hatharas case is still lodged in Mathura

jail without any legal remedy. One does not

know why such things are happening with

an absolute disregard for constitutional

norms and practices but then they are not

Arnab who is the 'voice' of the 'nation' and

on whose call the nation can breathe. BJP

was looking breathless without Arnab at his

prime time and that is why they campaigned

for his release.

Giving Arnab a tough competition on

social media is the new heroine of the

Hindutva, Ms Kangana Ranaut. She started

her fame from taking on abuse against chief

Minister Udhav Thackrey, comparing

Mumbai as POK and so many

things. Now, every day,

Kangana is spewing venom

on twitter. All this is happening

without any fear of law.

Kangana has abused all her opponents,

made mockery of people facing psychological

and mental disorders. She abused the

reservation issue. A recent tweet on

American President elect Joe Bidan was an

embarrassment. She has become an 'expert'

on everything with millions of 'bhakts' and

her 'jaatwallahs' ready to take her abuses

and bullying as 'gospel truth'.

Recently Ms Ranaut tried to bully a senior

IPS officer from Karnatka. This officer

just said that the original version of Diwali

never had the fire crackers and it has been

introduced in the later stage. Kangana

entered into the 'scene' and said that the officer

is the 'side effect' of reservation. She has

often mocked at leaders and activists from

Dalit community and has been rabid castiest.

What is wrong if some body is trying to

explain that fire crackers were introduced

later and it is harmful. Cant Diwali be better

without firecrackers ? But I can say

Kangana's tweets are more toxic and poisonous

than the fire crackers. The effect of

'social reservation' which Manu Smriti gave

to certain communities while denying dignity

to others divided our society and made us

hate against our own people. Indian society

is paying the price for the side effect of

'reservation'. And yes, she has the arrogance

of judging people based on this 'reservation'

provided by Manusmriti. The reservation

provided by Manusmriti divided our society

and made people hate against each other.

This reservation means looking down upon

people in utter contempt. Ms Ranaut has the

same mindset. She says she does not believe

in it but we know that her arrogance comes

from the caste background. My problem is

not that Kangana or Arnab should not speak

NEWS

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS NEED TO ACT

AGAINST TOXIC AND BULLYING MESSAGES

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

or believe in any particular ideology. But

there is no equal playing field. Both can be

defended by the top lawyers of the country

and of course, the government has already

provided both of them huge security. It is

taxpayers money and should not be used to

pollute the already polluted atmosphere.

Better, if their services and creativity is used

to bring people together.

It is reported that Kangana Ranaut will be

playing the lead role of Dr J

Jayalalitha in the film Thalaivi. I don't

know whether she got the opportunity

to know about the Dravidian movement

or the ideology of both the

Dravidian parties in Tamilnadu. I don't

know whether Kangana knew well

that it was AIADMK under Jayalalitha

that forced Narasimha Rao government

to put 69% reservation in Tamilnadu

under Schedule IX of the constitution so that

it can't be challenged in the court. Does she

know that Tamilnadu has one of the best

social development indicators and that quotas

have only enhanced the capacity of the

administration. Ofcourse, Tamilnadu in all

social democratic indicators is far superior

to Himachal Pradesh, the state she hail from.

I hope Kangana Ranuat does not read too

much about the Dravidian movement otherwise

she will have to quit the film and make

an anti film but then who knows how the

director is presenting Jayalalitha but definitely

we can't expect a miracle from a heroine

who rode on cart horse to portray the

role of Rani Laxmibai.

Toxicity of the social media platform will

only go when these platforms stop such

handles, warning them like what they have

been doing in Europe and the United States.

When they can take action against Donald

Trump what stops them doing the same

here. As far as the government is concerned,

it has a bigger responsibility but these days

everybody is bullying the opponent on the

social media to be the 'queen' but if all these

champions of bullying that they will get

political mileage from this, then I am afraid,

it won't be that easy.

Kangana outside politics will be good but

once she joins it formally, which she will

any day, she will find tough competition not

from opposing ideologies but from the BJP

politicians only but then they do have their

own agenda. We wish good sense to prevail

and they respect the rights of the people

with different views. Let us hope that social

media platforms will take action against

hate messages and bullying.

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

Diwali has just passed. In

Shree Ram Chander’s Janam

Bhumi – Ayodhya, thousands of

Deepak were lit to create atmosphere

similar to when Shree

Ram Chander Ji, Sita Ji and

Laxman Ji returned back to

Ayodhya after fourteen years of

exile in the forests of India.

According to scriptures,

Bawikshan, King Ravan’s

younger brother brought them to

Ayodhya in the Vimana named

Pushpak. The same machine was

used by King Ravan when he

kidnapped Sita Ji. In those times

only King Ravan and King Indra

had flying machines in their possession.

In the Yogvashishat

maha-ramayana it is mentioned

that King Indra’s dhoot meaning

a servant took King Arishtnemi

in a Vimaan to rishi Valmiki Ji to

gain knowledge to eternity.

It is astonishing to note that

Bawikshan is mentioned as a

normal human being but his

brothers and sister all from same

mother are described as cannibals

who ate others. King Ravan

is portrayed as a demon with

ten heads.

The historians who have

researched deep to find who

King Ravan was? They

have stated that he was an

Adhivasi who was fighting

against the Aryans. He

opposed the Aryans but his

brother Bawikshan for his own

gains sided with them.

King Ravan had blessing

from Lord Shiva that no human

could kill him but Bawikshan

being his younger brother; he

knew that he can be killed by firing

into his belly button. Shree

Ram Chander tried everything

but could not kill him. He

became worried and restless.

Seeing Shree Ram Chander in

dismay, Bawikshan asked him to

aim for his belly button and he

did so. King Ravan fell to the

ground and cries of joy echoed

all around the battle field. The

way King Ravan’s death has

happened has raised a lot of

questions and need answers. Did

Bawikshan give the secret away

so he could become the new

ruler of Lanka? In modern times

any brother who does this is considered

a sinner and punished

but instead Bawikshan is being

hailed as a hero. Did he have his

brother killed to satisfy his own

greed or did he do it in all sincerity

to help Shree Ram

Chander Ji?

In those days any Adhivasi

who stood against the

Brahmanism was labelled a

Rakshish meaning a demon. For

the natives, any Adhivasi who

opposed the Aryans was a RAK-

SHEEK meaning a protector of

Bharat Mata but unfortunately

for the Aryans was a Rakshish.

19

DIWALI IS

BHAGWAN

VALMIKI JI’S

GIVING

After their landing in

Ayodhiya, the whole city was

decorated with lit deepaks. The

deepaks were lit to cast away the

darkness that has been present

since their departure. Bhagwan

Valmiki Ji suggested this method

to bring back happiness.

Since then, the deepaks have

been lit with same enthusiasm as

were done in Treta-Yug. Every

household light’s Deepak in

hope that the New Year brings

health, wealth and happiness for

them. Diwali also starts New

Year on the Indian calendar.

Sweetmeat is shared within the

families and friends. Diwali and

New Year wishes are exchanged.

Now quite a few religions

have readjusted Diwali to blend

into their own beliefs but the fact

remains that DIWALI IS BHAG-

WAN VALMIKI JI’S GIVING.

Narendra Modi Ji has written

a book Karam Yog in which he

has stated that manual scavenging

work done by the Valmikis is

a spiritual experience. This

proves that the Prime minister

plus his associates

do not want the

Valmikians to

M. Teji

escape from manual

scavenging duties.

Karam Yog means destined

work for your soul. Instead of

Valmiki the word Valmikians

should be used. Bhagwan

Valmiki is the God’s name and

his followers should be referred

as the Valmikians and not

Valmikis. Valmikis just pluralises

the name Valmiki. One

Valmiki, two Valmikis but the

word Valmikians shows that

Bhagwan Valmiki Ji is God and

the Valmikians are his followers.

When any statement in

Hinduism is backed by religious

context, it means that it is there

for permanent stay. Manual

scavenging with backing of spiritual

experience shows that Mr.

Modi and his associates want to

maintain and promote it because

it is linked to Manu Smirity.

If Manu Smirity finds it’s way

back into the system then with it

will come dawn of Dark Age in

India. It will benefit some religious

sects but vast majority of

the public in India will face the

consequences. It is surprising to

note that Gandhi Ji used the

Valmikian community during his

fight for Independence and now

Mr Modi is using the Valmikians

again to bring back Manu

Smirity. Other communities are

also present in India but the

Valmikians are again being singled

out as were done during the

fight for India’s Independence.

Jai Bharat


20 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Love Jihad rhetoric is back in action

in almost all the BJP ruled states as they

compete each other in proclaiming to

bring a law against it to stop the ‘conspiracy’

to convert the Hindu girls into

Islam in the guise of ‘love’. The fact is

that as a political party, BJP has been

active in creating issues and narrative

which are woven around Muslim conspiracy

theories so that it suits to their

political interests. While ‘secular-liberal’

analysts continue to take our time

‘discussing’ the issues in the elections,

they have rarely taken the Sangh

Parivar head on these issues. So, the

‘secular’ columnists and parties

respond to these diatribes through raising

‘non-political’ issues and leaving

the field open for them. The result is

that toxic campaigns and distorted narratives

have taken roots inside our

homes. Family members fight on these

narratives as who is good and who is

bad. Every issue has been converted

with a counter narrative with high speed

WhatsApp messaging to millions of

people.

The Love Jihad theory is nothing but

a very calculated effort to deny individuals

their choice to marry. We all know

that India lives in castes and millions of

Indians have been infected by the ideas

of caste supremacy. Every caste has

been fed with the ideas of its ‘golden

past’ and vilify the others. Hence, crossing

the caste barrier is the biggest ‘dissent’

of our time. None of us would go

for interfaith or inter-caste marriages

except where the individual takes their

own decision and they were called ‘love

marriages’. Before the term Love Jihad,

we had the term ‘love marriages’ as if

marrying someone you love is wrong

but perhaps that is true as we hate some

body and take a decision of his or her

own. Now, who am I to judge or comment

about a decision taken by two

individuals but then marriage is not

merely a choice by families but they

make social, political and cultural messages

through it. Marriage is a huge

industry in this country and the poor

and rich all would like to invest a huge

amount in it for the sake of their ‘ijjat’

or ‘prestige’. So crossing the caste barriers

to marry someone you love is the

biggest ‘dissent’ to Indian society

which meets with ‘dire’ consequences.

Targeting Muslims and Islam therefore

serves many purposes for the proponents

of caste forces, proud of their

‘caste ancestry’. Look at the way

Uttarakhand government officials

shockingly referred to the document

issued by a local district officer which

speaks about government schemes of

promoting interfaith and inter-caste

marriages. Rather than feeling proud of

such an initiative the officer in charge

actually looked embarrassed and

termed the order as an older one. This is

among the few contributions of the

right-wing political order that socialism,

secularism, modernism, interfaith

marriages etc have become dirty terms

and these have been very carefully distorted

and spread across the country

through their fake news factories.

Most of the interfaith marriages happen

through the Special Marriage Act of

1954 and it is here that the government

and authorities harass the couples who

opt for it to get married. Reports are

now coming in newspapers that this act

is being misused by the administration

particularly its clauses which speak of

‘no objection’ certificates from the families

of both the boy and the girl. A

notice period of 30 days is given where

the notice related to the proposed marriage

is pasted in public places. Now,

we all know that there is nothing special

Law against ‘Love Jihad’ or

controlling our ‘individuality’

about the special marriage act. It does

not provide safety and security to any

one but can spoil it. It becomes the best

for the lawyers to ‘arrange’ things for it

and they manage it. The cost is then

extracted from the marrying couples

who are ready to shed any amount to

get things done.

While we are getting worried about

‘Inter-faith’ couples, the fact is this narrative

being spread by the BJP leaders

in their states is bound to have disastrous

impact on the ‘inter-caste’ couple

which no politician will defend. Caste

is the one point they will never want to

cross the boundary. Whenever such

couples are reported to ‘run away’ from

their places, cases are filed against the

‘boys’ for ‘abducting’ the girl. Many

times false certificates are produced to

point that the girl was a ‘minor’ so that

the ‘abduction’ cases are pushed strongly.

If the things don’t improve then

‘rape’ charges are also pushed. An

atmosphere is created and what will

happen now in this age of ‘social

media’ when false outrage would be

created. One can only imagine when

people just celebrate killings and mob

lynching became a pattern. The Love

Jehad law may not stand to constitutional

scrutiny but these days we have

seen how constitutional courts have just

legitimised many of the disturbing acts

of the government.

Even if the Supreme

Court strikes it

down, the risk of

couples getting

lynched or harassed will remain there as

over the years these extra state actors

without any fears have been able to do

things at their whims and fancies.

Young boys and girls are being

killed by the parents and relatives in the

name of ‘threat to social order’ but ultimately

it is an all out effort to ‘protect’

the social order of caste privileges that

we all love whether we have those privileges

or not. It is a strange order where

everyone feels proud of being ‘above’

someone. Even the lowest of the low

feel proud of being someone else. Past

has been valorised and glorified and it

is the woman whose side looks betrayed

most of the time as she is the ‘prized

trophy’. That is why when Hindu

woman marry to a Muslim man, the

Hindus are at loss of word while

Muslims will speak about love but

when a Muslim girl marry to Hindu

boy, we see the similar reactions of loss

of ijjat.

Many people feel that marrying a

girl of the outside community denies

the right of the girl of their own community

to marry her own community

person. In all, the efforts are basically to

deny the individual a right to think

about her. This will continue to happen

as long as religious dogmas and values

dominate our cultural and political discourse.

Religious laws and religious

morality can not and should not be

made applicable everywhere and on

every condition and that is why if we

wish a interfaith marriages or inter caste

marriages happen, the aim of these

should be not to preserve our faiths and

castes but to annihilate them and be part

of a new social cultural world where

individual have faith in human values

and humanity, where I can cry with

those who do not necessarily belong to

my world or community or faith.

Look at the reactions of the people

when some interfaith marriages happen.

When Kareena Kapoor married Saif Ali

Khan then it was ‘love jehad’ but when

Sanjay Dutt married Manyata then

nothing happened. Sanjay followed the

tradition of the family where his mother

Nargis happened to be a Muslim

while father Sunil Dutt happened to be

a Hindu but definitely that was one of

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

the most celebrated interfaith marriages.

This campaign of vilifying

Muslims as a conspiracy of Islam for

the interfaith marriages is dangerous

and have pure political motive. In

February 2019, RSS leader Ram Lal’s

niece got married to a Muslim man, and

it was blessed by all the top party leaders.

BJP already has a number of leaders

such as Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and

Shahnawaj Hussain who are married to

Hindu women. There are many celebrities

and it is not that more Muslim men

marrying Hindu women or vice versa.

These things don’t happen in a planned

way. It is love and we need to give

respect to two individuals for taking a

decision good for them. Ofcourse, ‘conversion’

for the sake of marriage was

only done by Dharmendra and Hema

Malini, both are BJP MPs and none can

tell them that they were wrong.

I have seen many ‘interfaith’ couples

enjoying their lives and living peacefully

though I can say most of the time

girls have to make adjustments in terms

of cultural practices. It is better that this

interfaith or inter caste matter remain

dedicated to modern laws and secular

values but unfortunately that does not

happen. Most of the time, the interfaith

or inter caste couples actually try to

‘follow’ both the ‘cultural’ practices

such as ‘celebrations’ of festivals but

then how do you follow the marriage

and death ceremony. Often the name of

the children is decided on the basis of

religion of the male counterpart.

Actually, these love marriages are then

converted into the ‘mainstream’ of the

men’s partners as they suffer from the

‘acceptance’ crisis. The fact is after

some time these couples too convert

into simple ‘family’ very much like others

where women suffer silently just to

protect the family.

When Baba Saheb Ambedkar,

Periyar and other leaders of our freedom

movement wanted inter caste marriages

to break the barriers of caste their

aim was to build a new society. One

must be proud

of being a

humanist or

s e c u l a r

humanist in

delinking ourselves

from

the past which

confine us to

our casteregional-religious

identities. Our birth is an accident

as we do not decide but we are given a

caste or a religious identity to define us.

This religious identity then creates artificial

barriers and vilifies others who

are not ‘like us. It is important to

strengthen secular laws for this. The

BJP and Hindutva people are speaking

about Uniform Civil Code only to push

their anti-Muslim propaganda about

Love Jehad. It is true that dominant

Muslim practices where they are a powerful

community have been very much

like the Sangh Parivar. In Pakistan and

Bangladesh, Hindu and Christian girls

actually suffer and are forcibly married

by the Islamic zealots. Fact of the matter

is that religious bigotry feeds each

other. In the Indian subcontinent the

Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists

have decided to carry their own propaganda

against plurality and made other

look like a threat to their basic existence.

It is nothing but purely political.

When Hindus and Muslims will get rid

from the clutches of the religious fanatics

these forces will automatically die

but then they feed each others so that no

saner voice come and societies

remained caged in isolation and bigotry

so that the thugs can take control of

their mind and body to mint maximum

political benefit.

Therefore only secular laws will

help. I have said this many times that

once you are into an affair beyond your

religion or caste or even nationality

please feel proud of your humanity and

do not succumb to the pressure of getting

‘legitimised’ by the ‘religious’ elite

of your communities. A secular couple

should look at secular narratives for

their children and not preach that ‘religion’

never ‘preach’ violence. Most of

the violence that we have witnessed in

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal,

Myanmar are basically religious based

as the majoritarian religious identity

want to take political control of their

state and for that they continue to

weave stories and find a villain. Indian

Hindutva campaigners find it through

narrative around Pakistan, 370,

Ayodhya, Common Civil Code or Love

Jihad, in our neighbouring countries

they have similar narratives about us,

Kashmir, Muslims and now France has

become the most ‘rallying’ point for all

these fanatics.

We need to seek an amendment in

the Constitution seeking Humanism as

our identity and not necessarily pushing

for a religious identity. Let this tribe

grow which feel proud of Baba Saheb

Ambedkar’s constitution and its human

values as interfaith or inter-caste couples

can and will only survive through

constitutional morality and not really

through their religious values where

‘girl’ religious identity will always be

considered as loser or occupied like a

trophy. In multicultural societies we

need to explore and build up new sociocultural

values so that it does not

become a hunting ground for competing

religious fundamentalists. Marriages

are a matter of two individuals but it not

only becomes a point to spread disinformation

campaigns against people but

putting them at greater risk. Even when

I respect individual choices, I would

request all those in such marriages not

to compel your male or female partner

to convert to any religion. That is why I

am suggesting that we must suggest a

new narrative for them ‘humanist marriages’

or ‘constitutional marriages’ or

‘civil marriages’ for civilised people.

Don’t bring religious practices into

these marriages and remain dedicated to

secular laws and principles.

Inter-caste or interfaith can only survive

through faith in constitution and

modern humanist values of equality of

partners and it is this theme of equality

of women and other human beings

which hurt those who want to dominate

us through their regressive ideas and

value system as they know their religion

and customs will face extinction

threat more from such marriages where

two individuals can take their own decisions

to live together without giving a

thought to where they were born or

what is their caste identity.

The real threat to dominant religious

values can actually emerge once we

challenge the narrative that these marriages

are not merely marriages but

‘self-respect’ marriages as Periyar said

where a woman is an equal partner and

does not lose her identity. See Page 21


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

21

OUTRAGE AGAINST CASTE /

RACISM HATRED IN THE UK

Joint Statement from Dalit organisations

in the UK, in response to Caste /

Racist comments made by Mr

Gurvinder Singh Luthra from

Hounslow, London.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Luthra on his

TikTok account (singhluthra) recently

produced and shared a video where he

proceeded to abuse Guru Ravidass, who

is the spiritual figure head for millions

of his followers across the world,

including over 200,000 here in the UK.

Guru Ravidass’ teachings are enshrined

within the Sikh Scriptures – the Guru

Granth Sahib.

During his rant, Mr Luthra made a

number of highly objectionable and

offending comments, including the following:

– Whilst referring to an

unnamed person, he repeatedly refers to

him as the “testicles of Guru Ravidass”.

– He threatens to rape female family

members of the unnamed person

– He makes a homophobic slur in

reference to Guru Ravidass and the

unnamed person.

It has been brought to our notice that

this isn’t the first time that Mr Luthra

has made caste / racist hatred comments

on social media. A number of videos

have surfaced recently exposing him

using caste and offensive language that

has hurt the Ravidassia

community.

Hate speech laws in the

UK are designed to protect

communities from such

abuse. The fact that Mr

Luthra has been able to act

with impunity on social

media – is another sign that

the UK Government needs

to bring into effect legislation

designed to protect

victims of caste hatred.

In recent years – social media giants

including Facebook, Twitter and

YouTube have all recognised caste hate

speech as unacceptable and say so openly

in their guidance. It is time for

TikTok to follow suit.

Members of the Anti-Caste

Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) have

been campaigning for legal protection

for victims of Caste-based discrimination

(CBD) for nearly two decades,

working closely with grassroots organisations

comprised of, and representing

Dalits, here in the UK. Following extensive

community campaigning on behalf

of victims, legislation outlawed caste

discrimination in the UK in 2013, however

the law is yet to be implemented.

The legislation has received the full

support of the Equality and Human

Rights Commission and the United

Nations, however the Government

decided in 2018 not to implement it following

opposition from powerful

groups.

The ACDA recently wrote to the

Minister for Equalities, Ms Liz Truss

and called on her to take action and outlaw

CBD in the UK. The need for

implementation of the law remains relevant

in light of the caste / racist videos

that are being shared on some social

media outlets and other recent legal

cases of CBD in the UK.

This incident has been reported to the

police. We call on the Dalit community

here in the UK to remain calm, tolerant

and to allow the police to conduct their

enquiries on this hate crime. Members

may wish to contact the

police & the EHRC and to

report this incident as a hate

/ caste crime. Let the statutory

authorities take action

against Mr Luthra.

Mr Ravi Kumar, General

Secretary of ACDA said:

“The caste hate rants and

threats of rape by Mr Luthra

are very upsetting and disturbing.

For him to believe

he can make such hate attacks and

threats of rape and share this on social

media tells me the Conservative

Government has failed when it comes to

Caste-based discrimination here in the

UK.”

Mr Dalawer Bagha, from the Guru

Ravidass Sabha UK said: “We call on

the Government to listen to the Equality

and Human Rights Commission’s calls

for Caste discrimination to be outlawed

in the UK”.

Mr Sam Kalyan, from the Bhagwan

Valmik Organisations said: “This

Government is not listening to common

sense, it is watering down human rights

provisions that protect the most marginalised

communities and victims in the

United Kingdom”. Mr Arun Kumar,

from The Federation of Ambedkarite

and Buddhist Organisations UK

(FABOUK) said: “If Caste legislation is

not enforced, then Caste discrimination

cases will carry on occurring here in this

country”. Mr Navdeep Singh, from the

Asian Rationalist Society Great Britain

said: ““Equality laws aren’t just about

legal justice. They help change behaviours

and help deter discrimination”.

Mr Bhagwant Singh, from the Indian

Workers Association Great Britain said:

“It’s shameful that the Government has

failed sufferers and victims of Caste discrimination

in the UK. We need the law

to be implemented”

Mr Sat Paul, from the British

Ravidassia Heritage Research Group

said: “Guru Ravidass is a shining example

of equality for India, he fought

tyranny and stood for equality. For a socalled

baptised Sikh to insult Guru

Ravidass in this way is appalling and an

insult to both followers of Guru

Ravidass and Sikhs”.

Mr Hansraj Banga, from Kanshi TV

said: “These remarks are totally unacceptable,

and they are another example

of caste discrimination here in the UK.

We call on Government to act now to

stop this type of hate and to provide protection

to victims of caste discrimination.”

Celebrate protection of

'Freedom of Expression'

Two judgments are 'celebrated' for

'protecting' liberty. One was Supreme

Court Judgement on Arnab Goswami

where the Judges actually criticised

Bombay High Court order of not being

able to 'protect' the rights of an individual

which is so important. The second

judgement is from Bombay High Court

quashing proceedings of BMMC

against Kangana Ranaut's illegal structure.

In both the judgments written beautifully,

the court emphase that 'freedom

of expression' is so important in a

'healthy' democracy and the courts are

there to protect. The Supreme Court

felt that high courts are not doing

enough in giving bails to the people

and the Supreme Court would do

everything.

The judgement is really

wonderful and extraordinary

as far as protection of

the rights of two individuals, who have

been most toxic and poisonous.

Ofcourse, the state of Maharashtra is

vilified in both the cases as if it is the

worst governed state or is not allowing

political freedom or freedom to criticise

it. We are still waiting for the

Supreme Court to define and design the

draft regulatory guidelines for electronic

media. In the meanwhile, 85 years

old Varavara Rao continues to incarcerate

in the jail though as per high court's

order, he has been shifted to Nanawati

Hospital. but the government wanted

their family to pay for the medical bills

of him. So, the clear agenda is, we don't

care if somebody is not well.

The other man of high repute and

complete dedication whom the nation

should be proud off, is Father Stan

Swamy, suffering from Parkinson disease

the NIA court has not showed any

sign of urgency to listen to his case as

NIA has asked for time to respond to

his request to have a straw to sip his tea

and drinks as he cant hold the cup in his

hand. There are other respectable

scholars kept behind the bar without

even a formal charge sheet as the state

has found mechanisms under the law to

keep people in jail without

formally charging them.

They languish for years and

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

when after many years they

get released or found innocent,

their prime time is gone. who

should be held accountable. If the

supreme Court is so concern about

bails then why cant it ask the lawmakers

not to make laws which give the

state authority to keep people in jail

without bail for years. The courts are

dealing with the issues individually and

then making louder statements of high

constitutional values but they can form

a commission or ask the high courts

about the state of such arbitrary arrests

in each state and how NSA and UAPA

are being used against political opponents

or dissenters.

It is a fact that political parties in

power misuse their state power and file

false cases against their opponents but

who are those people and states where

it is being done at the highest level.

Which states have scant respect for

high courts that after the high court

declares a law bad the state reiterates it.

Which is the state where the high court

releases a person and he is again arrested

in some other charges. The court

knows it but then the moral preaching

is higher against non BJP states very

much like the cases of civil liberties

and 'freedom of expression'

where an Arnab Goswami

or Kangana Ranaut become

heroes of these freedom while

Anand Teltumbde, Gautam

Navlakha, Varavara Rao or Stan

Swami continue to languish in

jail. It is the very same logic

which allows huge crowds at festival

times or elections in Bihar but can't

allow the farmers to march to Delhi to

lodge their protests against the draconian

farm bills.

We can only remember Justice

Krishna Iyer and Justice H R Khanna

on the occasion when things get

depressed and hope some day it will

wake up the consciousness of those sitting

on the institutions to protect our

rights.

Continue Page 20

Law against ‘Love Jihad’ or controlling...

Important that marriages are between two individuals who are mature

enough to know about their rights and when it is not possible to live together

then any of the partners or both have right to legally dissociate amicably unlike

thousands of those cases under the personal laws where a woman is left without

legal framework and suffer in humiliation. That way modern laws have

helped women and their individuality which has been denied by the ‘cultural’

practices or ‘religious laws’. Whether it is love Jihad or Prem Yuddh, these fake

narratives are only meant to keep people confined to their ‘castes’ and religious

identities so that status quo is maintained in the name of ‘social harmony’.

That way, it is extremely relieving news that a two judge bench of Allahabad

High Court Justice Vivek Aggarwal and Justice Pankaj Naqvi have upheld the

rights of two individuals to marry as per their choice. It has actually overturned

a single bench judgement in 2014 which was becoming the basis for the law

against ‘love jehad’. That judgement had suggested that conversion for the sake

of ‘marriage’ is not acceptable. Now the two judges have overturned that

judgement and called it a bad law. They said,” To disregard the choice of a person

who is of the age of majority would not only be antithetic to the freedom

of choice of a grown-up individual but would also be a threat to the concept of

unity in diversity”, a bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal said.

The Right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed

by them, is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty.

One is hopeful that given the nature that politicians will not strengthen the

Special Marriage Act, it is time they frame some guidelines so that the law is

not misused and young couples get ample protection from this law. If things are

not made easier, the couples will find their own way and that is ‘religious marriages’

which is easier for them.

Most of the time conversion happens for these purposes. Arya Samaj marriages

have become popular these days as young couples who do not want to

be harassed through Special marriage act opt for that. Rule of law and constitutionalism

alone will protect life and liberty of individuals and we must build

better narrative for common people and ensure that they understand that many

of these conspiracy theories which are being floated against the decision of two

individuals who happen from different communities is nothing but maintain

India’s divisive caste system and gain ‘strength’ from it. All Indians who

believe that unity and integrity of India is important and that we should encourage

our young to have faith in the constitution and make their outreach beyond

the narrow confines of caste, religion and regions. A strong India will be possible

when our youth make their life decisions based on their choice, respect

the individuality of their partners and respect her or his right to be religious or

non-religious so that there is no conflict in their lives based on their birth-based

identity. Meanwhile, the politicians are better advised to focus on other important

issues and protect the citizens who seek protection and not encourage

lumpen crowed to go for mob lynching in the name of ‘religion is endangered’.


22 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

FARMERS have right to peaceful

protest to get their grievances heard

The police brutality on the farmers

protesting against the farm bill passed by the

Parliament need to be unconditionally condemned.

The farmers are agitating againsnt

these bills since they were passed without

proper discussion in Parliament. The fear is

that the bills will pave the way for corporatisation

of agriculture and will leave the

farmers atg the mercy of corporate houses

unless the government ensure that there is a

Minimum Support Price. While the issues

related to farm bills and the concern of the

farmers were not discussed, the protest

against the same was growing in various

parts of the country particularly Punjab and

Haryana. The farmers protest from Punjab

was stopped brutally at Haryana border and

then at the Delhi border.

There are few questions related to the

way the government of India as well as state

governments particularly those of BJP are

handiling this. If the farmers have grievances

then it needs to be formally discussed

in all seriousness and efforts should not be

made to use them as a publicity tool to

divide the farmer organisations. It is well

known fact that farmers organisations too

are well politicised and every party has its

own farmers wing but the fact is there is a

great unrest and anxiety among the farmers

against the government’s apathy.

It is Constitution day today. The government

has been promoting ideas of constitutionalism

while people read preamble but

the issue is what was wrong if the farmers

want peaceful democratic protest. Why does

the government panic when the farmers

want to come to Delhi and protest at the

Jantar mantar. Is it bad press for the

government or anything else? As far

as bad press is concerned, the way the

entire protest was mishandled will

not give the government good media coverage

as police brutality on farmers will

become news even when the propaganda

media will bring new conspiracy theories

and discuss issues which are not of relevance

for the people. Many of the bhakts are

still feeling that the media should still focus

on Sushant Singh Rajput.

In Democracy political protests are part

and parcel of it. When the government criminalises

these protests then they become out

of control. Where should people go to lodge

their complaints and protests if all avenues

are closed. They know well that the power

to change or return the act is only with the

central government but then the government

seems not interested in speaking to them.

The power people must understand that

corporatisation of farming is not an alternative

to resolve India’s food crisis and poverty

alleviation programme. Corporatisation

will bring disaster to communities and will

not make us food sufficient. Important is

that the government democratise our agricultural

sector and take initiative to distribute

land to landless people and encourage

family farming. Family farming will be the

backbone to not only an antipoverty

programme but also

strengthen India’s resolve to

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

democratise the highly iniquitous

social order and make us food sufficient.

Unfortunately, farmers issues in India

remained related to Minimum support Price

and nothing beyond. Farmers union too are

not bothered too much about agricultural

workers and marginalised farmers. Powerful

farmers are united on the issue but during

election times become prisoners of their

caste politics and do not entertain the issues

of landless Dalits and other marginalised

communities. The result is that most of these

protests are confined to powerful farming

communities where the Sangh Parivar has

made their inroads much stronger.

We condemn the police brutalities

against the peaceful protest and ask the government

to negotiate with farmers and do

not look at corporatisation as panacea to all

the ills of our agricultural sector. Protests

and negotiations are part of democracy and

must be encouraged. We will ask farming

organisations to look into the issues of the

agricultural workers too and all the government

must promote family farming which is

only possible through land redistribution

initiatives which will also democratise

our rural society. Land reforms can

bring social equity and strengthen

social democracy which is important

and essential for our political democracy

to succeed as Baba Saheb

Ambedkar had said while presenting

the Constitution to the Constitution

Assembly on November 26th, 1949.

Let us rededicate ourselves to democratise

our social system and key to that is land

reform and that alone will be the most befitting

tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar. The

question is whether the government has the

will to do so ?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and

human rights activist. He blogs at

www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter

@freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Rashami Desai sizzles in hot pink

bikini photoshoot

Mumbai : Television actress Rashami

Desai on Sunday set Instagram on fire with

her hot pink bikini photoshoot!

The actress shared photographs of herself

where she can be seen standing in a

swimming pool wearing a hot pink bikini

underneath a white net dress. The photoshoot

has been done in Lonavala.

Captioning the photographs, Rashami

wrote that she wants to "go with the flow".

Commenting on her post, Rashami’s fans

showered her with love and admiration.

On the work front, Rashami is all set to

enter the digital world, and says her

upcoming web project will help her break

away from the regular television image.

The actress plays the lead opposite Tanuj

Virwani in the web series "Tandoor", an

investigative thriller about a

married couple whose lives

take an unexpected turn after a

murder.

On Sunday, Rashami took to

Instagram to share birthday

wishes for her "Tandoor" costar

Tanuj Virwani.

Sharing a photograph with

Tanuj, the actress wrote: "I live

for the moments where I can’t

express them with words, A

very Happy Birthday to my

super talented co-actor, a person

so humble and down to

earth and surely super fun to be

around @tanujvirwani Enjoy

today without any guilt."

RELEVANCE of

Benevolence in Present

Times of Covid Crisis

The present times of covid crisis calls for benevolence and kindness

as the qualities of goodness in all of us as human beings. The

excellent deed to be done is benevolence which is an essential element

of goodwill and credibility. We can become capable of doing

kindness by spending some money on others. The desire to give

thoughts falls in the domain of noble deeds. The desire to get free

goods and services come in the category of sin, crime and begging as

bad. Doing benevolence is not in hands of all. This is an outcome of

deeds in past life. Such people take birth to perform actions of kindness.

We can become role model for others by performing good deeds

of benevolence and kindness. We have to learn from Maharaja

Agrasen who had the honest goal of providing relief to one and all.

The marvellous tradition of giving one coin and brick to any new

comer in his kingdom Agroha (Haryana) for starting new business to

earn a living is worth replicating in present times of unemployment

and under employment. Maharaja Agrasen was a strong protagonist

of spending 25 percent of the incomes on the welfare of living beings

in the society. He also made a case for 25 percent savings for future

which is necessary and sufficient condition for coping up the crisis of

covid kind in present times. The business community of today must

learn benevolence as corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a necessary

and sufficient condition for inclusive growth which means to

care for the cared less and use of the used less human resources.

Benevolence indicates a charitable disposition to do good with

compassionate and kind considerations of other s needs and desires

and is incorporated as an indispensable ethical virtue in most human

societies, religions, philosophies and cultures. Desire to do well to

others is filled with benevolence .We bequeathed much benevolence

from our vast fortune.

Dharma, Arth, Kama and moksha are necessary in human life. We

can get moksha before death by performing good deeds to be called

Jiwan Mukti.

Being a needonomist devotee of Gita spiritually romantic, I

believe in simple living and no thinking which means we have not to

think of those things which are beyond control. Simple living with

kindness can get salvation for all of us. We should use our energies

for creating something unique instead of worrying about things

beyond control.

One is free to choose between benevolence and doing harm to others.

The path of heaven and hell are open to all. People mostly choose

good path with wisdom of spirituality. One can be really satisfied and

can remain happy by doing the actions of benevolence. We are fortunate

to be blessed with human life for performing acts of kindness.

One is also respected if remain kind and benevolent to others.

In Ramayana benevolence is Dharma and giving pain to others is

a sin. To be awakened and aware of the pain and remain ready for the

help is an indicator of godly person.

Many scientific studies on benevolence have been closely monitoring

and linking the brain benefits and emotional improvement in

those participating in generous acts. These behaviours enhance entire

communities, occupied by thoughtfully connected citizens.

The existing theory on giving reveals that it is good for those less

fortunate. It increases the health and happiness of the recipient.

It is believed by some if not many people that they do not have the

economic status or time to give. They don t know that giving is good

for them too. They view it as a loss instead of an overall enhancement

and gain in the real sense. There is a proven physiological response

when people give. The reward and pleasure centres in the brain light

up in the same way that they would upon receiving a gift. Oxytocin

floods the body lowering stress and contributing to an overall sense

of wellbeing. In order for people to reap the rewards of giving, their

acts must be consistent. A type of generosity practice sustained over

time through bodily behaviours and repeat acts can have exponential

positive benefits.

Investing in overall happiness through meaningful work, relationships

and benevolent acts all contribute to a happier healthier society.

It is the academic duty of the intellectuals to increase public

awareness about the direct benefits of giving as an increase in happiness

and sense of wellbeing. The giving movement with kindness

continues to gain momentum for overall healthier happier environment.

The joy of freedom cannot be found in the art of living for the

livelihood but with the art of giving by adopting life style of altruism

(not me but you) with limited use of resources for the self which falls

in the domain of needonomics promoted by this writer in humble

ways. Let us reframe the fight against covid crated crisis as a benevolent

deed for the survival and existence of people.

Professor M.M. Goel

Former Vice Chancellor and

Needonomist Professor living in

Kurukshetra. Enjoy surfing the website

www.needonomics.com


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

WORLD

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

23

Dr B R Ambedkar’s speech in the Constituent

Assembly on 25th November 1949

Dr B R Ambedkar’s speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949, presenting the

Indian Draft Constitution for approval. The Draft was approved by the Constituent Assembly on

26th November 1949. The Constitution came into force with effect from 26th January 1950.

The Honourable Dr. B.R.

Ambedkar : Sir, looking back on the

work of the Constituent Assembly it

will now be two years, eleven months

and seventeen days since it first met on

the 9th of December 1946. During this

period the Constituent Assembly has

altogether held eleven sessions. Out of

these eleven sessions the first six were

spent in passing the Objectives

Resolution and the consideration of the

Reports of Committees on Fundamental

Rights, on Union Constitution, on

Union Powers, on Provincial

Constitution, on Minorities and on the

Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes.

The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the

eleventh sessions were devoted to the

consideration of the Draft Constitution.

These eleven sessions of the Constituent

Assembly have consumed 165 days.

Out of these, the Assembly spent 114

days for the consideration of the Draft

Constitution.

Coming to the Drafting Committee,

it was elected by the Constituent

Assembly on 29th August 1947. It held

its first meeting on 30thAugust. Since

August 30th it sat for 141 days during

which it was engaged in the preparation

of the Draft Constitution. The Draft

Constitution as prepared by the

Constitutional Adviser as a text for the

Draft Committee to work upon, consisted

of 243 articles and 13 Schedules. The

first Draft Constitution as presented by

the Drafting Committee to the

Constituent Assembly contained 315

articles and 8 Schedules. At the end of

the consideration stage, the number of

articles in the Draft Constitution

increased to 386. In its final form, the

Draft Constitution contains 395 articles

and 8 Schedules. The total number of

amendments to the Draft Constitution

tabled was approximately 7,635. Of

them, the total number of amendments

actually moved in the House were

2,473.

I mention these facts because at one

stage it was being said that the

Assembly had taken too long a time to

finish its work, that it was going on

leisurely and wasting public money. It

was said to be a case of Nero fiddling

while Rome was burning. Is there any

justification for this complaint? Let us

note the time consumed by Constituent

Assemblies in other countries appointed

for framing their Constitutions. To take

a few illustrations, the American

Convention met on May 25th, 1787 and

completed its work on September 17,

1787 i.e., within four months. The

Constitutional Convention of Canada

met on the 10th October 1864 and the

Constitution was passed into law in

March 1867 involving a period of two

years and five months. The Australian

Constitutional Convention assembled in

March 1891 and the Constitution

became law on the 9th July 1900, consuming

a period of nine years. The

South African Convention met in

October, 1908 and the Constitution

became law on the 20th September

1909 involving one year’s labour. It is

true that we have taken more time than

what the American or South African

Conventions did. But we have not taken

more time than the Canadian

Convention and much less than the

Australian Convention. In making comparisons

on the basis of time consumed,

two things must be remembered. One is

that the Constitutions of America,

Canada, South Africa and Australia are

much smaller than ours. Our

Constitution as I said contains 395 articles

while the American has just seven

articles, the first four of which are

divided into sections which total up to

21, the Canadian has 147, Australian

128 and South African 153 sections.

The second thing to be remembered is

that the makers of the Constitutions of

America, Canada, Australia and South

Africa did not have to face the problem

of amendments. They were passed as

moved. On the other hand, this

Constituent Assembly had to deal with

as many as 2,473 amendments. Having

regard to these facts the charge of dilatoriness

seems to me quite unfounded

and this Assembly may well congratulate

itself for having accomplished so

formidable a task in so short a time.

Turning to the quality of the work

done by the Drafting Committee, Mr.

Naziruddin Ahmed felt it his duty to

condemn it outright. In his opinion, the

work done by the Drafting Committee is

not only not worthy of commendation,

but is positively below par. Everybody

has a right to have his opinion about the

work done by the Drafting Committee

and Mr. Naziruddin is welcome to have

his own. Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed thinks

he is a man of greater talents than any

member of the Drafting Committee. The

Drafting Committee would have welcomed

him in their midst if the

Assembly had thought him worthy of

being appointed to it. If he had no place

in the making of the Constitution it is

certainly not the fault of the Drafting

Committee.

Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed has coined a

new name for the Drafting Committee

evidently to show his contempt for it.

He calls it a Drafting committee. Mr.

Naziruddin must no doubt be pleased

with his hit. But he evidently does not

know that there is a difference between

drift without mastery and drift with

mastery. If the Drafting Committee was

drifting, it was never without mastery

over the situation. It was not merely

angling with the off chance of catching

a fish. It was searching in known waters

to find the fish it was after. To be in

search of something better is not the

same as drifting. Although Mr.

Naziruddin Ahmed did not mean it as a

compliment to the Drafting committee.

I take it as a compliment to the Drafting

Committee. The Drafting Committee

would have been guilty of gross dereliction

of duty and of a false sense of dignity

if it had not shown the honesty and

the courage to withdraw the amendments

which it thought faulty and substitute

what it thought was better. If it is

a mistake, I am glad the Drafting

Committee did not fight shy of admitting

such mistakes and coming forward

to correct them.

I am glad to find that with the exception

of a solitary member, there is a general

consensus of appreciation from the

members of the Constituent Assembly

of the work done by the Drafting

Committee. I am sure the Drafting

Committee feels happy to find this

spontaneous recognition of its labours

expressed in such generous terms. As to

the compliments that have been showered

upon me both by the members of

the Assembly as well as by my colleagues

of the Drafting Committee I feel

so overwhelmed that I cannot find adequate

words to express fully my gratitude

to them. I came into the

Constituent Assembly with no greater

aspiration than to safeguard the interests

of he Scheduled Castes. I had not the

remotest idea that I would be called

upon to undertake more responsible

functions. I was therefore greatly surprised

when the Assembly elected me to

the Drafting Committee. I was more

than surprised when the Drafting

Committee elected me to be its

Chairman. There were in the Drafting

Committee men bigger, better and more

competent than myself such as my

friend Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar. I

am grateful to the Constituent Assembly

and the Drafting Committee for reposing

in me so much trust and confidence

and to have chosen me as their instrument

and given me this opportunity of

serving the country. (Cheers)

The credit that is given to me does

not really belong to me. It belongs partly

to Sir B.N. Rau, the Constitutional

Adviser to the Constituent Assembly

who prepared a rough draft of the

Constitution for the consideration of the

Drafting Committee. A part of the credit

must go to the members of the

Drafting Committee who, as I have said,

have sat for 141 days and without

whose ingenuity of devise new formulae

and capacity to tolerate and to

accommodate different points of view,

the task of framing the Constitution

could not have come to so successful a

conclusion. Much greater, share of the

credit must go to Mr. S.N. Mukherjee,

the Chief Draftsman of the Constitution.

His ability to put the most intricate proposals

in the simplest and clearest legal

form can rarely be equalled, nor his

capacity for hard work. He has been as

acquisition tot he Assembly. Without his

help, this Assembly would have taken

many more years to finalise the

Constitution. I must not omit to mention

the members of the staff working under

Mr. Mukherjee. For, I know how hard

they have worked and how long they

have toiled sometimes even beyond

midnight. I want to thank them all for

their effort and their cooperation.(Cheers)

The task of the Drafting Committee

would have been a very difficult one if

this Constituent Assembly has been

merely a motley crowd, a tasseleted

pavement without cement, a black stone

here and a white stone there is which

each member or each group was a law

unto itself. There would have been nothing

but chaos. This possibility of chaos

was reduced to nil by the existence of

the Congress Party inside the Assembly

which brought into its proceedings a

sense of order and discipline. It is

because of the discipline of the

Congress Party that the Drafting

Committee was able to pilot the

Constitution in the Assembly with the

sure knowledge as to the fate of each

article and each amendment. The

Congress Party is, therefore, entitled to

all the credit for the smooth sailing of

the Draft Constitution in the Assembly.

The proceedings of this Constituent

Assembly would have been very dull if

all members had yielded to the rule of

party discipline. Party discipline, in all

its rigidity, would have converted this

Assembly into a gathering of yes’ men.

Fortunately, there were rebels. They

were Mr. Kamath, Dr. P.S. Deshmukh,

Mr. Sidhva, Prof. K.T. Shah and Pandit

Hirday Nath Kunzru. The points they

raised were mostly ideological. That I

was not prepared to accept their suggestions,

does not diminish the value of

their suggestions nor lessen the service

they have rendered to the Assembly in

enlivening its proceedings. I am grateful

to them. But for them, I would not have

had the opportunity which I got for

expounding the principles underlying

the Constitution which was more important

than the mere mechanical work of

passing the Constitution.

Finally, I must thank you Mr.

President for the way in which you have

conducted the proceedings of this

Assembly. The courtesy and the consideration

which you have shown to the

Members of the Assembly can never be

forgotten by those who have taken part

in the proceedings of this Assembly.

There were occasions when the amendments

of the Drafting Committee were

sought to be barred on grounds purely

technical in their nature. Those were

very anxious moments for me. I am,

therefore, specially grateful to you for

not permitting legalism to defeat the

work of Constitution-making.

As much defence as could be offered

to the constitution has been offered by

my friends Sir Alladi Krishnaswami

Ayyar and Mr.. T.T. Krishnamachari. I

shall not therefore enter into the merits

of the Constitution. Because I feel,

however good a Constitution may be, it

is sure to turn out bad because those

who are called to work it, happen to be

a bad lot. However had a Constitution

may be, it may turn out to be good if

those who are called to work it, happen

to be a good lot.

See Page 24


24 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Continue Page 23

The working of a Constitution does

not depend wholly upon the nature of

the Constitution. The Constitution can

provide only the organs of State such as

the Legislature, the Executive and the

Judiciary. The factors on which the

working of those organs of the State

depend are the people and the political

parties they will set up as their instruments

to carry out their wishes and their

politics. Who can say how the people of

India and their purposes or will they

prefer revolutionary methods of achieving

them? If they adopt the revolutionary

methods, however good the

Constitution may be, it requires no

prophet to say that it will fail. It is,

therefore, futile to pass any judgement

upon the Constitution without reference

to the part which the people and their

parties are likely to play.

The condemnation of the

Constitution largely comes from two

quarters, the Communist Party and the

Socialist Party. Why do they condemn

the Constitution? Is it because it is really

a bad Constitution? I venture to say

no’. The Communist Party want a

Constitution based upon the principle of

the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. They

condemn the Constitution because it is

based upon parliamentary democracy.

The Socialists want two things. The first

thing they want is that if they come in

power, the Constitution must give them

the freedom to nationalize or socialize

all private property without payment of

compensation. The second thing that the

Socialists want is that the Fundamental

Rights mentioned in the Constitution

must be absolute and without any limitations

so that if their Party fails to come

into power, they would have the unfettered

freedom not merely to criticize,

but also to overthrow the State.

These are the main grounds on which

the Constitution is being condemned. I

do not say that the principle of parliamentary

democracy is the only ideal

form of political democracy. I do not

say that the principle of no acquisition

of private property without compensation

is so sacrosanct that there can be no

departure from it. I do not say that

Fundamental Rights can never be

absolute and the limitations set upon

them can never be lifted. What I do say

is that the principles embodied in the

Constitution are the views of the present

generation or if you think this to be an

over-statement, I say they are the views

of the members of the Constituent

Assembly. Why blame the Drafting

Committee for embodying them in the

Constitution? I say why blame even the

Members of the Constituent Assembly?

Jefferson, the great American statesman

who played so great a part in the making

of the American constitution, has

expressed some very weighty views

which makers of Constitution, can

never afford to ignore. In one place he

has said:-

“We may consider each generation as

a distinct nation, with a right, by the will

of the majority, to bind themselves, but

none to bind the succeeding generation,

more than the inhabitants of another

country.”

In another place, he has said :

“The idea that institutions established

for the use of the national cannot

be touched or modified, even to make

them answer their end, because of rights

gratuitously supposed in those

employed to manage them in the trust

for the public, may perhaps be a salutary

provision against the abuses of a

monarch, but is most absurd against the

nation itself. Yet our lawyers and priests

generally inculcate this doctrine, and

Dr B R Ambedkar’s speech in the Constituent

Assembly on 25th November 1949

suppose that preceding generations held

the earth more freely than we do; had a

right to impose laws on us, unalterable

by ourselves, and that we, in the like

manner, can make laws and impose burdens

on future generations, which they

will have no right to alter; in fine, that

the earth belongs to the dead and not the

living;”

I admit that what Jefferson has said is

not merely true, but is absolutely true.

There can be no question about it. Had

the Constituent Assembly departed from

this principle laid down by Jefferson it

would certainly be liable to blame, even

to condemnation. But I ask, has it?

Quite the contrary. One has only to

examine the provision relating to the

amendment of the Constitution. The

Assembly has not only refrained from

putting a seal of finality and infallibility

upon this Constitution as in Canada or

by making the amendment of the

Constitution subject tot he fulfilment of

extraordinary terms and conditions as in

America or Australia, but has provided a

most facile procedure for amending the

Constitution. I challenge any of the critics

of the Constitution to prove that any

Constituent Assembly anywhere in the

world has, in the circumstances in

which this country finds itself, provided

such a facile procedure for the amendment

of the Constitution. If those who

are dissatisfied with the Constitution

have only to obtain a 2/3 majority and if

they cannot obtain even a two-thirds

majority in the parliament elected on

adult franchise in their favour, their dissatisfaction

with the Constitution cannot

be deemed to be shared by the general

public.

There is only one point of constitutional

import to which I propose to

make a reference. A serious complaint is

made on the ground that there is too

much of centralization and that the

States have been reduced to

Municipalities. It is clear that this view

is not only an exaggeration, but is also

founded on a misunderstanding of what

exactly the Constitution contrives to do.

As to the relation between the Centre

and the States, it is necessary to bear in

mind the fundamental principle on

which it rests. The basic principle of

Federalism is that the Legislative and

Executive authority is partitioned

between the Centre and the States not by

any law to be made by the Centre but by

the Constitution itself. This is what

Constitution does. The States under our

Constitution are in no way dependent

upon the Centre for their legislative or

executive authority. The Centre and the

States are co-equal in this matter. It is

difficult to see how such a Constitution

can be called centralism. It may be that

the Constitution assigns to the Centre

too large a field for the operation of its

legislative and executive authority than

is to be found in any other federal

Constitution. It may be that the residuary

powers are given to the Centre and

not to the States. But these features do

not form the essence of federalism. The

chief mark of federalism as I said lies in

the partition of the legislative and executive

authority between the Centre and

the Units by the Constitution. This is the

principle embodied in our constitution.

There can be no mistake about it. It is,

therefore, wrong to say that the States

have been placed under the Centre.

Centre cannot by its own will alter the

boundary of that partition. Nor can the

Judiciary. For as has been well said:

“Courts may modify, they cannot

replace. They can revise earlier interpretations

as new arguments, new points of

view are presented, they can shift the

dividing line in marginal cases, but

there are barriers they cannot pass, definite

assignments of power they cannot

reallocate. They can give a broadening

construction of existing powers, but

they cannot assign to one authority

powers explicitly granted to another.”

The first charge of centralization

defeating federalism must therefore fall.

The second charge is that the

Centre has been given the power to

override the States. This charge must be

admitted. But before condemning the

Constitution for containing such overriding

powers, certain considerations

must be borne in mind. The first is that

these overriding powers do not form the

normal feature of the constitution. Their

use and operation are expressly confined

to emergencies only. The second

consideration is : Could we avoid giving

overriding powers to the Centre when

an emergency has arisen? Those who do

not admit the justification for such overriding

powers to the Centre even in an

emergency, do not seem to have a clear

idea of the problem which lies at the

root of the matter. The problem is so

clearly set out by a writer in that wellknown

magazine “The Round Table” in

its issue of December 1935 that I offer

no apology for quoting the following

extract from it. Says the writer :

“Political systems are a complex of

rights and duties resting ultimately on

the question, to whom, or to what

authority, does the citizen owe allegiance.

In normal affairs the question is

not present, for the law works smoothly,

and a man, goes about his business

obeying one authority in this set of matters

and another authority in that. But in

a moment of crisis, a conflict of claims

may arise, and it is then apparent that

ultimate allegiance cannot be divided.

The issue of allegiance cannot be determined

in the last resort by a juristic

interpretation of statutes. The law must

conform to the facts or so much the

worse for the law. When all formalism

is stripped away, the bare question is,

what authority commands the residual

loyalty of the citizen. Is it the Centre or

the Constituent State ?”

The solution of this problem depends

upon one’s answer to this question

which is the crux of the problem. There

can be no doubt that in the opinion of

the vast majority of the people, the

residual loyalty of the citizen in an

emergency must be to the Centre and

not to the Constituent States. For it is

only the Centre which can work for a

common end and for the general interests

of the country as a whole. Herein

lies the justification for giving to all

Centre certain overriding powers to be

used in an emergency. And after all

what is the obligation imposed upon the

Constituent States by these emergency

powers? No more than this – that in an

emergency, they should take into consideration

alongside their own local

interests, the opinions and interests of

the nation as a whole. Only those who

have not understood the problem, can

complain against it.

Here I could have ended. But my

mind is so full of the future of our country

that I feel I ought to take this occasion

to give expression to some of my

reflections thereon. On 26th January

1950, India will be an independent

country (Cheers). What would happen

to her independence? Will she maintain

her independence or will she lose it

again? This is the first thought that

comes to my mind. It is not that India

was never an independent country. The

point is that she once lost the independence

she had. Will she lost it a second

time? It is this thought which makes me

most anxious for the future. What perturbs

me greatly is the fact that not only

India has once before lost her independence,

but she lost it by the infidelity and

treachery of some of her own people. In

the invasion of Sind by Mahommed-

Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of

King Dahar accepted bribes from the

agents of Mahommed-Bin-Kasim and

refused to fight on the side of their

King. It was Jaichand who invited

Mahommed Gohri to invade India and

fight against Prithvi Raj and promised

him the help of himself and the Solanki

Kings. When Shivaji was fighting for

the liberation of Hindus, the other

Maratha noblemen and the Rajput

Kings were fighting the battle on the

side of Moghul Emperors. When the

British were trying to destroy the Sikh

Rulers, Gulab Singh, their principal

commander sat silent and did not help to

save the Sikh Kingdom. In 1857, when

a large part of India had declared a war

of independence against the British, the

Sikhs stood and watched the event as

silent spectators.

Will history repeat itself? It is this

thought which fills me with anxiety.

This anxiety is deepened by the realization

of the fact that in addition to our old

enemies in the form of castes and creeds

we are going to have many political parties

with diverse and opposing political

creeds. Will Indian place the country

above their creed or will they place

creed above country? I do not know. But

this much is certain that if the parties

place creed above country, our independence

will be put in jeopardy a second

time and probably be lost for ever.

This eventuality we must all resolutely

guard against. We must be determined

to defend our independence with the last

drop of our blood.(Cheers)

On the 26th of January 1950, India

would be a democratic country in the

sense that India from that day would

have a government of the people, by the

people and for the people. The same

thought comes to my mind. What would

happen to her democratic Constitution?

Will she be able to maintain it or will

she lost it again. This is the second

thought that comes to my mind and

makes me as anxious as the first.

It is not that India did not know what

is Democracy. There was a time when

India was studded with republics, and

even where there were monarchies, they

were either elected or limited. They

were never absolute. It is not that India

did not know Parliaments or

Parliamentary Procedure. A study of the

Buddhist Bhikshu Sanghas discloses

that not only there were Parliaments-for

the Sanghas were nothing but

Parliaments – but the Sanghas knew and

observed all the rules of Parliamentary

Procedure known to modern times.

They had rules regarding seating

arrangements, rules regarding Motions,

Resolutions, Quorum, Whip, Counting

of Votes, Voting by Ballot, Censure

Motion, Regularization, Res Judicata,

etc. Although these rules of

Parliamentary Procedure were applied

by the Buddha to the meetings of the

Sanghas, he must have borrowed them

from the rules of the Political

Assemblies functioning in the country

in his time.

This democratic system India lost.

Will she lost it a second time? I do not

know. But it is quite possible in a country

like India – where democracy from

its long disuse must be regarded as

something quite new – there is danger

of democracy giving place to dictatorship.

See Page 25


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

ARUNDHATI ROY TURNS

A YEAR STRONGER

We wish her a long life on her birthday to continue leading us through these dark times . On November

24, the world renowned author is turning close to 60 but isn t giving up her fight for a just society.

Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roys birthday this year coincides with the incarceration of dozens of

scholars and writers who are rotting in jails in the worlds so called largest democracy.

Among them are some of her closest allies, like

disabled Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba and

Anand Teltumbde, who was arrested earlier this year.

Their only crime was that they dared to question the

power and stand up for the religious minorities and

the oppressed people who are facing state violence

under a right wing Hindutva nationalist regime.

Attacks on minorities and political dissidents have

grown ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime

Minister in 2014. His supporters continue to hound

Roy and likeminded authors and activists. Undeterred

by threats and intimidations, she continues to write

and speak against the rising tide of fascism. Her latest

book of political essays confirms her unwavering

commitment toward human rights and social justice.

Azadi (freedom) presents the true picture of India

under an extremely intolerant government that otherwise

remains obscured with the virtue of embedded

journalists. She pulls no punches while challenging

the tyrants occupying high offices in New Delhi and

mentions the imprisonment of fellow writers. Not

only has she become a voice for those detained scholars,

but also political prisoners and those fighting for

emancipation in occupied territories, such as Kashmir

within the Indian union. These include one of her latest

essays on how poor and minorities are being made

to suffer more under pandemic caused by COVID 19.

In a nutshell, the compilation of these powerful

and thought provoking essays is a call for freedom

from the shackles of a barbaric state, structural violence

affecting marginalised sections, such as religious

minorities, Dalits or so called untouchables and

Adivasis or the original inhabitants of India and neo

colonialism in the name of free market.

In such hopeless times, we wish Arundhati Roy a

healthy long life so that her march goes on till there

is an end to this seemingly long and depressing tunnel.

At least gift yourself with Azadi on her birth

anniversary to show your support for her work and

get others empowered by educating them about what

has been going on in India.

By Gurpreet Singh

01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020

25

Campaign for

gender

equality begins

Vijayawada: The Dalit Sthree Shakti

(DSS) has raised the call for gender

equality and participation in the campaign

opposing violence against women.

Functionaries of the DSS started a 16-

day-long campaign in keeping with the

call by the United Nations Women, here

on Wednesday.

Jhansi Geddam, national convener for

DSS, addressed the gathering at the round

table conference at the Press Club and

said caste, religion and cinema, among

other factors, are provoking gender-based

discrimination in society. Inequalities

should be addressed from the villagelevel

and the DSS is committed to it,

Jhansi said.

We have especially focused on the

violence against Dalit, Adivasi women

and girl children. In this campaign, Dalit

Sthree Sakthi is enlightening the public in

general about patriarchal ideology and

how it is rooted in the minds of all.

Unfortunately, even women unconsciously

adhere to patriarchal ideology., she

added.

Public meetings, gatherings and

awareness programmes will be conducted

in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, she

said.

It is quite possible for this

new born democracy to retain its

form but give place to dictatorship

in fact. If there is a landslide,

the danger of the second

possibility becoming actuality is

much greater.

If we wish to maintain

democracy not merely in form,

but also in fact, what must we

do? The first thing in my judgement

we must do is to hold fast

to constitutional methods of

achieving our social and economic

objectives. It means we

must abandon the bloody methods

of revolution. It means that

we must abandon the method of

civil disobedience, non-cooperation

and satyagraha. When there

was no way left for constitutional

methods for achieving economic

and social objectives,

there was a great deal of justification

for unconstitutional methods.

But where constitutional

methods are open, there can be

no justification for these unconstitutional

methods. These methods

are nothing but the Grammar

of Anarchy and the sooner they

are abandoned, the better for us.

The second thing we must do

is to observe the caution which

John Stuart Mill has given to all

who are interested in the maintenance

of democracy, namely, not

to lay their liberties at the feet

of even a great man, or to trust

him with power which enable

him to subvert their institutions .

There is nothing wrong in being

grateful to great men who have

rendered life-long services to the

country. But there are limits to

gratefulness. As has been well

said by the Irish Patriot Daniel

Continue Page 22

Dr B R Ambedkar’s speech in the Constituent

Assembly on 25th November 1949

O Connel, no man can be grateful

at the cost of his honour, no

woman can be grateful at the

cost of her chastity and no nation

can be grateful at the cost of its

liberty. This caution is far more

necessary in the case of India

than in the case of any other

country. For in India, Bhakti or

what may be called the path of

devotion or hero-worship, plays

a part in its politics unequalled in

magnitude by the part it plays in

the politics of any other country

in the world. Bhakti in religion

may be a road to the salvation of

the soul. But in politics, Bhakti

or hero-worship is a sure road to

degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

The third thing we must do is

not to be content with mere

political democracy. We must

make our political democracy a

social democracy as well.

Political democracy cannot last

unless there lies at the base of it

social democracy. What does

social democracy mean? It

means a way of life which recognizes

liberty, equality and fraternity

as the principles of life.

These principles of liberty,

equality and fraternity as the

principles of life. These principles

of liberty, equality and fraternity

are not to be treated as

separate items in a trinity. They

form a union of trinity in the

sense that to divorce one from

the other is to defeat the very

purpose of democracy. Liberty

cannot be divorced from equality,

equality cannot be divorced

from liberty. Nor can liberty and

equality be divorced from fraternity.

Without equality, liberty

would produce the supremacy of

the few over the many. Equality

without liberty would kill individual

initiative. Without fraternity,

liberty would produce the

supremacy of the few over the

many. Equality without liberty

would kill individual initiative.

Without fraternity, liberty and

equality could not become a natural

course of things. It would

require a constable to enforce

them. We must begin by

acknowledging the fact that

there is complete absence of two

things in Indian Society. One of

these is equality. On the social

plane, we have in India a society

based on the principle of graded

inequality which we have a society

in which there are some who

have immense wealth as against

many who live in abject poverty.

On the 26th of January 1950, we

are going to enter into a life of

contradictions. In politics we

will have equality and in social

and economic life we will have

inequality. In politics we will be

recognizing the principle of one

man one vote and one vote one

value. In our social and economic

life, we shall, by reason of our

social and economic structure,

continue to deny the principle of

one man one value. How long

shall we continue to live this life

of contradictions? How long

shall we continue to deny equality

in our social and economic

life? If we continue to deny it for

long, we will do so only by putting

our political democracy in

peril. We must remove this contradiction

at the earliest possible

moment or else those who suffer

from inequality will blow up the

structure of political democracy

which is Assembly has to laboriously

built up.

The second thing we are

wanting in is recognition of the

principle of fraternity. what does

fraternity mean? Fraternity

means a sense of common brotherhood

of all Indians-if Indians

being one people. It is the principle

which gives unity and solidarity

to social life. It is a difficult

thing to achieve. How difficult

it is, can be realized from the

story related by James Bryce in

his volume on American

Commonwealth about the

United States of America.

The story is- I propose to

recount it in the words of Bryce

himself- that-

Some years ago the

American Protestant Episcopal

Church was occupied at its triennial

Convention in revising its

liturgy. It was thought desirable

to introduce among the short

sentence prayers a prayer for the

whole people, and an eminent

New England divine proposed

the words ‘O Lord, bless our

nation . Accepted one afternoon,

on the spur of the moment, the

sentence was brought up next

day for reconsideration, when so

many objections were raised by

the laity to the word nation as

importing too definite a recognition

of national unity, that it was

dropped, and instead there were

adopted the words ‘O Lord, bless

these United States.

There was so little solidarity

in the U.S.A. at the time when

this incident occurred that the

people of America did not think

that they were a nation. If the

people of the United States could

not feel that they were a nation,

how difficult it is for Indians to

think that they are a nation. I

remember the days when politically-minded

Indians, resented

the expression the people of

India . They preferred the

expression the Indian nation. I

am of opinion that in believing

that we are a nation, we are cherishing

a great delusion. How can

people divided into several thousands

of castes be a nation? The

sooner we realize that we are not

as yet a nation in the social and

psychological sense of the

world, the better for us. For then

only we shall realize the necessity

of becoming a nation and seriously

think of ways and means

of realizing the goal. The realization

of this goal is going to be

very difficult far more difficult

than it has been in the United

States. The United States has no

caste problem. In India there are

castes. The castes are antinational.

In the first place

because they bring about separation

in social life. They are antinational

also because they generate

jealousy and antipathy

between caste and caste. But we

must overcome all these difficulties

if we wish to become a

nation in reality. For fraternity

can be a fact only when there is a

nation. Without fraternity equality

and liberty will be no deeper

than coats of paint.

These are my reflections

about the tasks that lie ahead of

us. They may not be very pleasant

to some. But there can be no

gainsaying that political power

in this country has too long

been the monopoly of a few and

the many are only beasts of burden,

but also beasts of prey.

This monopoly has not merely

deprived them of their chance

of betterment, it has sapped

them of what may be called the

significance of life. These

down-trodden classes are tired

of being governed. They are

impatient to govern themselves.

This urge for self-realization in

the down-trodden classes must

no be allowed to devolve into a

class struggle or class war. It

would lead to a division of the

House. That would indeed be a

day of disaster. For, as has been

well said by Abraham Lincoln,

a House divided against itself

cannot stand very long.

Therefore the sooner room is

made for the realization of their

aspiration, the better for the

few, the better for the country,

the better for the maintenance

for its independence and the

better for the continuance of its

democratic structure. This can

only be done by the establishment

of equality and fraternity

in all spheres of life. That is

why I have laid so much stresses

on them.

I do not wish to weary the

House any further.

Independence is no doubt a matter

of joy. But let us not forget

that this independence has

thrown on us great responsibilities.

By independence, we have

lost the excuse of blaming the

British for anything going

wrong. If hereafter things go

wrong, we will have nobody to

blame except ourselves. There is

great danger of things going

wrong. Times are fast changing.

People including our own are

being moved by new ideologies.

They are getting tired of

Government by the people.

They are prepared to have

Governments for the people and

are indifferent whether it is

Government of the people and

by the people. If we wish to preserve

the Constitution in which

we have sought to enshrine the

principle of Government of the

people, for the people and by the

people, let us resolve not to be

tardy in the recognition of the

evils that lie across our path and

which induce people to prefer

Government for the people to

Government by the people, nor

to be weak in our initiative to

remove them. That is the only

way to serve the country. I know

of no better.


26 01-12-2020 to 15-12-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Former IAS officer

Santhosh Babu joins

Kamal Haasan's

MNM party

Chennai : Former IAS officer Santhosh

Babu on Tuesday joined Makkal Needhi

Maiam floated by actor turned politician

Kamal Haasan. Babu has been made the

party's General Secretary-Headquarters.

Speaking to the media here, Kamal

Haasan said that Babu -- who had taken voluntary

retirement after serving the Tamil

Nadu government -- will handle the party's

information technology, data, research and

other issues.

Babu said he foresees IT-enabled predictive

governance, which would obviate the

need for people to go to government offices

for applying for documents.

Kamal Haasan said he would seek

Rajinikanth's support in the 2021 Tamil Nadu

Assembly polls. The MNM founder said that

if Rajinikanth enters politics he too would

contest.

RJD asks supporters

to hit the streets in

support of farmers

Patna : The opposition

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has

decided to support the farmers

protesting against the new Central

farm laws. Bihar president of the

RJD Jagdanand Singh said that

the ongoing farmers agitation is a

spontaneous act against the black

farm bills passed by Parliament at

the instance of the Narendra Modi

government. "We have appealed

to RJD members and supporters

to come out on the streets to support

the farmers of our country.

They will protest against the

laws," Singh said.

"Our party is against the new

bills passed in September this

year. We have demanded the roll

back of the laws and guarantee

prices above the MSP for the

farmers. The Centre should

implement the Swaminathan

report to facilitate the farmers,"

Singh said.

The RJD leader said that Bihar

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is

directly responsible for the

pitiable condition of the farmers

and labourers in the state.

China's Chang'e-5

probe prepares to

LAND ON MOON

Beijing :

China's Chang'e-5

probe is preparing

for a soft landing

on the moon to

undertake the

country's first collection

of samples

from an extraterrestrial

body, it

was announced on

Monday.

The landerascender

combination

of the

spacecraft separated

from its orbiter-returner combination

at around 4.40 a.m. on Monday

(Beijing Time), Xinhua news agency

quoted the China National Space

Administration (CNSA) as saying.

Launched on November 24, Chang'e-

5 is one of the most complicated and

challenging missions in China's aerospace

history, as well as the world's

first moon-sample mission for more

than 40 years. The spacecraft is performing

well and communication

with ground control is normal, CNSA

said. The lander-ascender combination

will execute a soft landing on the

moon and carry out automatic sampling.

The orbiter-returner will continue

orbiting about 200 km above the

lunar surface and wait for rendezvous

and docking with the ascender.

Maoist carrying Rs 5 lakh reward

surrenders in Jharkhand

Ranchi : A Maoist guerrilla carrying Rs 5 lakh reward on his head surrendered

in Jharkhand on Tuesday. Police said Udesh Ganjhu alias Sukul surrendered

in Chatra district along with a semi-automatic rifle and 150 cartridges

before Chatra Superintendent of Police Rishabh Jha.

A sub-zonal commander of Maoist group Tritiya Prastuti Committee, he

faces eight criminal cases in Chatra and Palamau district. Udesh will be rehabilitated

under the surrender policy of the state government.

"Nitish Kumar abolished the

Agriculture Produce Market

Committee in 2006. The farmers

of Bihar are badly affected by it.

If that were not the case, the farmers

of Bihar would be rich," he

said. "This act of the Narendra

Modi government will force

farmers to become the slaves of

corporates. It will destroy the

structure of agriculture in our

country," Singh added.

Gold in nail cutters, face cream,

model cars seized at Chennai

Chennai : Chennai Air Customs

on Monday said gold, weighing 286

grams and valued at Rs 14.12 lakh,

was seized from a person who had

tried to smuggle it into the country,

concealed in various items of personal

care. In a statement issued here, the

Commission of Customs, Chennai

International Airport said that early

on Monday, Syed Nadeem Ur

Rehman, 33, of Chennai, who had

arrived on an Indigo flight, was intercepted

at the exit on suspicion of carrying

gold as he was hurrying through

the green channel.

He was questioned but as he was

evasive in his reply, his check-in bag

was taken up for examination. On

opening, five Tiger balm bottles, six

boxes of Nivea Cream, three mini

toy race cars and two nail cutters

were found concealed inside among

his personal effects. On examination,

11 round gold cut pieces were found

concealed in balm and cream bottles

and three gold pieces in bottom of

toy cars. The nail cutters on close

examination were found to be multifunctional

and having bottle opener

and small knife attachments. Four of

these were found to be made of gold.

Further, on his personal search,

one gold cut bit was recovered from

his trousers pocket.

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