16-12-2020 The Asian Independent

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Vol : 04 : #57 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

Farmers to pay HOMAGE to

deceased protesters on Dec 20

New Delhi : The protesting farmers

at Singhu Border have announced

that they will pay homage to 20 farmers

who have died since the agitation

began on December 20. Upping the

ante further, the protesting farmers’

unions have blamed these deaths on

the Centre, while adding that their agitation

will continue, come what may.

"The Modi government is responsible

for these deaths. Even if we have

to pay with our lives, we will fight till

the end and win," said Jagjit Singh

Dalleval, a farmer leader.

The tributes will be paid from 11

a.m. to 1 p.m. in all the houses across

India’s villages, they claimed, adding

that they will also take a pledge to up

the ante. Dismissing the various allegations

against a section of protesters,

the farmer leaders said, "The Centre

couldn’t create a rift among us and

hence it is levelling all kinds of allega- tions." Yudhveer Singh, the General Secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, was present when the farmer leaders

London to move into highest

level of Covid-19 curbs

London : From Wednesday

onwards, London will move

into Tier Three, the highest

level in England’s local coronavirus

restriction system, the

UK’s Health Secretary Matt

Hancock announced.

According to the latest official

figures, from December 2-

8, 20,135 people had tested

positive in London, a rate of

225 cases per 100,000 inhabitants,

compared with 14,901

cases and a rate of 166 cases

per 100,000 for the previous

week, reports Xinhua news

agency.

Parts of Essex and

Hertfordshire will also be

moved into Tier Three,

Hancock told MPs in the House

of Commons (lower house of

the British Parliament) on

Monday.

For businesses, it will be a

significant blow, he said,

adding that a new variant of

coronavirus has been identified

in Britain. "We’ve currently

identified over 1,000 cases with

this variant predominantly in

the South of England although

cases have been identified in

nearly 60 different local authority

areas. And numbers are

increasing rapidly," he said.

England is currently under a

new three-tier system of coronavirus

restrictions.

The system, which put about

98 per cent of England into the

highest Tier Two and Three, is

due to be reviewed on

Wednesday. Under Tier Three,

bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants

in London will have to

close, except for takeaway,

delivery and click and collect

services.

In addition, theatres in the

UK capital city will have to

close their doors once more.

According to the governmental

guidance, Tier Three

also means that local people

must not socialize in a group of

more than six in some outdoor

public spaces, including parks,

beaches, countryside accessible

to the public, a public garden,

grounds of a heritage site or

castle, or a sports facility -- this

is called the "rule of six".

As of Tuesday, the UK’s

overall Covid-19 caseload and

death toll stood at 1,874,867

and 64,500, respectively.

were addressing the media. Indrajit

Singh, who is the Vice President of the

Haryana chapter of BKU, also joined

in along with the likes of Jagjit Singh

Dallewala, Rishi Pal Ambavta and

Sandeep Gidde among others.

Making a charge against the Prime

Minister, Yudhveer Singh said, "The

PM was telling industrialists during

his address to FICCI that the farm sector

has been opened up for the farmers...

He is doing ’Man Ki Baat’ with

the whole world, but doesn’t have time

for us farmers." Reasserting their position,

Dallewala said that they are not

up for amendments but a complete

repeal of the contentious farm laws.

He claimed that it was due to the farmers’

agitation that the Centre is not

convening the Winter Session of the

Parliament. "The government says it

won’t repeal the laws but we will make

them do it," he added.

8 years after Nirbhaya,

Delhi reported 1,429 rape

cases till Oct this year

New Delhi : Eight years have passed since

the brutal gangrape and murder of Nirbhaya, but

the number of crimes against woman refuses to

come down.

The national capital has witnessed as many

as 1,429 cases of rape

till October this year.

In the same period last

year, Delhi had reported

1,884 cases of rape,

which went up to 2,168

cases by the time the

year ended. In 2012, a

total of 706 rape cases

were registered, which

included the brutal

gangrape of Nirbhaya

on December 16. The

Delhi police registered

a total of 1,791 cases of assault on women with

the intent to outrage their modesty till October

this year. In comparison, 2520 cases were registered

during the same period in 2019, which

went up to 2,921 by the year end. In 2012, a

total of 727 cases were registered for the same

offence. A total of 2,226 women were kidnapped

this year till October, against the figures

of 2,988 reported in the same period in 2019. By

the end of 2019, Delhi reported 3,471 cases of

kidnapping of women. In 2012, a total of 2,048

cases of kidnapping of women were registered.

The Delhi police registered

1,931 cases

under Section 498-

A/406 of the IPC till

October this year.

During the same period

last year, a total of 3,052

cases were registered,

which went up to 3,792

by the time the year

ended. In 2012, Delhi

police had registered a

total of 2,046 cases for

cruelty by husbands and

in-laws.

Delhi police have also registered 94 cases of

dowry deaths till October this year, as against

103 cases of the same nature getting registered

during the same period last year. In 2012, Delhi

police had registered a total of 134 cases of

dowry deaths.


2

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

World's highest post

office in Himachal hit

by CORONAVIRUS

Shimla : orld's highest post office Hikkam located in Himachal

Pradesh's Spiti Valley at the height of 15,000 feet above sea level

and currently

marooned in a

thick blanket of

snow has been

hit by the coronavirus,

officials

said on Tuesday.

A team of

doctors for the

first time reached

the village where

the night temperature

currently

hovers around 20

degrees Celsius

below freezing

and collected

samples on

Monday.

Hikkam has a

population of

200.

Also its nearby

villages

Komik and

Langche have

been hit by the

pandemic. They

support a population of 87 and 136, respectively.

"A total of 80 swab samples were collected in three villages and

out of them four tested positive," a health official told IANS over

phone from Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti and some 320 km from

the state capital Shimla.

Kaza was the first in the state to sanitise the entire block to prevent

the spread of the pandemic.

The picturesque Spiti Valley, a cold desert dotted by tiny hamlet

spread over the Himalayan peaks, adjoining Tibet, takes you to

a land of Buddhism and virgin nature.

As per the state health bulletin, a total of 4,646 coronavirus

samples were taken in the valley till date and out of them 473 tested

positive. The active cases are 25.

Two deaths have been reported. Authorities blame the locals,

who are largely the Buddhist farmers growing barley, potatoes,

wheat and black peas, for the virus spread as they are reluctant to

go to hospitals owing to a belief they will get treated automatically

with the blessing of a local deity. "Special teams of the health

and the police have been visiting village to village to educate the

locals about how to contain the virus and also collecting the samples,"

Additional District Magistrate of Kaza, Gyan Sagar Negi,

told IANS.

The freezing temperatures and continuous snowfall have been

forcing the locals to stay indoors most of the time, he added.

A turtle tsunami in Brazil

Manaus (Brazil) : Call it a

turtle tsunami! The Wildlife

Conservation Society (WCS)

has released an amazing video

showing tens of thousands of

Giant South American River

turtle hatchlings (Podocnemis

expansa) emerging from a

sandy beach in a protected area

along the Purus River -- a tributary

of the Amazon River in

Brazil. WCS Brazil conservationists

say the emergence

occurred over several days.

Giant South America river turtle,

birth is an explosion of life,

but also it is most fragile phase.

In some areas, hatchlings use

mass birth to increase their survival.

The synchronisation of

birth allows them to travel

together to the river to start a

new journey."

The conservation work is

part of a project led by WCS

Brazil in partnership with ICM-

BIO and are sponsored by

Fundacao o Boticario.

Approximately 71,000

The Giant South American

hatchlings emerged on one day

alone, followed by another

21,000 a few days later.

The mass emergence took

river turtle is the largest freshwater

turtle in Latin America,

reaching lengths of three and a

half feet (1.07 metres) and

place in the Reserva Biologica

weights of 200 pounds (90 kg).

do Abufari (Abufari Biological after the birth of the hatchlings. species, which has been The turtles play an important

Reserve), where WCS Brazil WCS is studying the conditions

for mass hatchlings to meat and eggs. Camila Ferrara, seeds that eventually help

impacted by trafficking of their ecological role by dispersing

conservationists have been

monitoring adult females and help improve management and Aquatic Turtle Specialist for regenerate vegetation along

their nests before, during, and protection of this endangered WCS's Brazil, said: "For the river corridors.

Maoist posters come up

near J'khand Guv house

Ranchi : Maoists made their presence

felt in the Jharkhand capital

Ranchi on Tuesday by putting up

poster near the Governor's house.

The extreme Left insurgents, who

mostly cover the rural areas made

their presence felt here with posters

pasted on boundary walls of Deo

Kamal hospital, which is adjacent to

the Governor's house.

A Maoist organisation, Tritiya

Sammelan Prastuti Committee

(TSPC), pasted the posters that highlighted

propaganda against the state,

central, and the National

Investigation Agency (NIA).

It also threatened the coal companies

functioning in the state.

"Farmers and labourers unite

against those who are trying to snatch

'jal, jungle and jameen' (water, forest

and land). "Those, who speak about

'Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat' see condition

of the displaced people.

"Politicians, legislators, MPs all

are thieves and they are part of the

capitalist class" said the poster.

The posters asked the Central

Coalfield Limited (CCL), Bharat

Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) and

NTPC to stop mining on cultivable

land "thereby making land barren". It

also asked the CCL, BCCL to stop

mining and transportation work.

The Ranchi police after getting

information about the poster swung

into action and removed them. The

police is also going through the

CCTV footage to find out who put up

the posters.

On Monday, TSPC had put posters

on outskirts of Ranchi.

Maoists are active in 18 of the 24

districts of the state.

China's Mars probe over

100mn km away from Earth

Beijing : The China National Space

Administration

on Tuesday

announced that

the country's

Mars probe,

Tianwen-1, is

currently more

than 100 million

km away from

Earth and is

functioning normally.

As of 9

p.m. on Monday, the Mars probe had flown in space

for 144 days and travelled more than 360 million km,

reports Xinhua news agency. It was more than 100

million km away from Earth and about 12 million km

away from Mars. The Mars probe will likely be about

190 million km away from Earth when it reaches the

vicinity of Mars. Since it was launched on July 23, the

Mars probe has captured an image of both Earth and

the moon and taken selfies.

It has carried out three orbital corrections, a deepspace

manoeuver and self-checks on multiple payloads.

It will conduct several orbital corrections and

will likely decelerate to enter the Mars orbit in

February 2021, according to the Administration.

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

Head Office

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STRONGLY OPPOSE BJP'S COW

SLAUGHTER BAN BILL : DEVE GOWDA

Bengaluru, Dec 15 (IANS)

On the day when his party

expressed its support to the noconfidence

motion moved by

the ruling BJP to replace the

Legislative Council Chairman,

Janata Dal-Secular supremo,

H.D. Deve Gowda on Tuesday

said that they will strongly

oppose the move to pass the

Bill to prohibit cow slaughter in

the state.

In a statement, he said that

the Bill prohibiting cow

slaughter passed in the

Assembly last week would not

only disturb the communal harmony

but also the peace in the

state. Noting that the Cow

Slaughter Prohibition Act, 1966

is in force in the state, the former

Prime Minister said: "In

2010, the then BJP government

tried to change the law. The

then opposition, Congress, and

JD-S had jointly opposed it. I

had then met the Governor and

the President and demanded

that they must not agree to

approve the bill. The Governor

had then sought clarification.

After that, the bill was later

withdrawn due to the change in

government leadership."

Deve Gowda observed that,

much like in 2010, the JD-S

will oppose the amendment

bill, adding that there were

ample provisions to prevent

cow slaughter in the existing

Act. His statement came on the

day, when his party handed

over a letter of support to the

BJP in the bid to replace

Council Chairman, K.

Pratapchandra Shetty.

The ruling BJP had called a

daylong session only to replace

Shetty, who is a Congress

MLC.

The move, however, met

with stiff resistance from

Congress members even as the

ruling BJP directed the Deputy

Chairman, S.L. Dharme Gowda

to occupy the chair prior to the

arrival of the Chairman. Even

the entrance door was closed

preventing Shetty from

entering.

This, however, led to

chaotic scenes with

Congress leaders seeking to

drag away Dharme Gowda

while BJP members pushed

hard to keep him on the

chair. As the house was witnessing

unruly scenes,

Shetty came and adjourned

the session sine die again

without taking up any business

on Tuesday, though the

agenda had listed to take

several discussions including

passage of cow slaughter

ban bill.

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


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

3

A year after Jamia violence, protesters

take out candle march, detained

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) A group

of protesters organised a candle light

march in Jamia Nagar on Tuesday

evening to mark the first anniversary

of the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia

over protests against the Citizenship

Amendment Act, which the students

alleged as police excesses. Several

protesters, including women, were

detained by Delhi police minutes after

the march began.

"A group of protesters had assembled

at Batla House for a candle light

march to mark the anniversary of the

anti-CAA agitation. The police team

removed the agitators from the spot.

Three women also accompanied the

protesters. The protesters were then

counselled regarding Covid appropriate

behaviour and were requested to

return to their respective homes," said

DCP South East, R.P. Meena.

Former JNU scholar Umar Khalid's

mother and sister were also detained

but were released along with the other

protesters.

Singhu : Amid the ongoing

farmers protest at Delhi's borders

people wearing pagris

(turbans) in varied colours can

be seen among the protesters.

They are mostly visible at

Singhu border which is mainly

occupied by farmers from

Punjab. The work of tying the

turbans is being done by

Tajinder Singh from Punjab.

Tajinder has come to

Singhu from Tikri border

where also he was engaged in

tying turbans free of cost.

The protesters at Singhu

border include many youngsters

without turbans. Tajinder

Singh engages in tying the turbans

on their heads under the

Delhi police along with paramilitary

forces have been deployed in the

Jamia Nagar area for the past few

days.

The December 15, 2019 protests

had escalated into violence after a section

of protesters, including students

and local residents, tried to march to

the Parliament while protesting

against the Citizenship Amendment

Act. The Delhi police stopped the protesters

near Mathura Road. As a section

of protesters started pelting stones

and set buses and private vehicles on

fire, police retaliated with lathi-charge

and later stormed the campus. A police

team was also seen in CCTV footages

inside the university library, beating

students. Several students were

injured in the police action.

With the hashtag

#15DecJamiaAttack, activists and students

also protested virtually on social

media, posting images and videos of

the police action inside the university

campus.

Meet the man from Punjab

tying turbans on thousands

of protesting farmers

name 'Turban Bank'.

Tajinder was present at the

Tikri border for the last 18

days and has tied nearly

20,000 turbans till now, carrying

the cloth used for tying the

turban with him.

According to Tajinder, the

purpose of this work is that the

young generation must know

the importance of tying a turban.

Singh told IANS, "I have

been doing this work for the

last 17 years, having tied turbans

on people in every corner

of the country."

He claimed that he has tied

turbans on many Bollywood

stars also, including actor

Hrithik Roshan. He added, "I

have been tying turbans on

people at the Tikri border for

the past 18 days, from today I

will tie it on the people at

Singhu border. I have named it

the 'Turban Bank'.

"I take tuitions at my home

to sustain my financial condition

where many children

want to study with me. I am

doing this only to serve people."

Tajinder Singh ties more

than a thousand turbans everyday

in different colours and

styles. People choose turbans

of their choice. Among the

style of turbans, Patiala and

Peahen are quite popular

among the people.

BJP is real 'tukde

tukde' gang, says

SUKHBIR BADAL

Chandigarh :

Shiromani Akali Dal

(SAD) chief Sukhbir

Singh Badal on Tuesday

slammed his party's

long-time former ally,

the BJP, over "failure"

of talks with farmers

and accused it of creating

rift between communities

as the real

"tukde tukde" gang in

the country.

"It (the BJP) has

smashed national unity

to pieces, shamelessly

inciting Hindus against

Muslims and now desperate

setting peace loving

Punjabi Hindus against their

Sikh brethren especially farmers,"

he tweeted. "They're pushing

patriotic Punjab into communal

flames," Badal said.

The former Deputy Chief

Minister, who party had 10

years of alliance with the BJP

in the Punjab government,

asked the BJP-led government

to set aside its "ego" and listen

to the protesting farmers.

"Whosoever speaks against

the ruling regime, they brand

ing emotional wounds on the

farmers' minds and weaken the

sacred cause of peace and communal

harmony in the country.

"Do not repeat Congress

blunders of divide and rule. Do

nothing that weakens national

unity or disturbs peace and

communal harmony for which

Punjabis, especially the SAD,

have made supreme sacrifices,"

said a Resolution of the party's

core committee that met in

Chandigarh on December 10.

Asking the government not

standing on prestige to revoke

them. After all, if you are conceding

all demands of the farmers,

why not put it all in the new

Act and end the debate once

and for all?"

The party condemned the

"deep-rooted conspiracy to

paint the movement of the

patriotic farmers in communal

and separatist colours".

It said the totally peaceful

and democratic nature of the

movement has proved that the

farmers are fully alive to their

them as 'tukde tukde' gang," he to be stubborn or stand on prestige

responsibility towards the

added.

against the 'annadata' of the country.

Earlier, the SAD had urged

the Central government not to

take any reckless or repressive

steps that might deepen fester-

country, the SAD resolution

asked: "If the government is

willing to change every clause

of the old Acts, then why is it

The agitating farmers continue

to occupy the borders of

the national Capital on the 20th

day of their protest on Tuesday.


4

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

EU, UK agree to continue Brexit trade talks

London : The European Union

(EU) and the UK have agreed to continue

Brexit trade talks in hopes of

reaching an agreement before the transition

period ends on December 31.

Sunday had been slated as a cut-off

point to reach an agreement before the

end of the UK's Brexit transition period,

Xinhua news agency reported.

But in a surprise move, UK Prime

Minister Boris Johnson and European

Commission President Ursula von der

Leyen agreed that negotiations

between both sides should continue

beyond the deadline.

After a "constructive and useful

phone call" with Johnson, von der

Leyen said in a statement late Sunday

that despite the fact that deadlines

have been missed over and over, "we

both think it is responsible at this point

to go the extra mile".

Further negotiations will take place

in Brussels, von der Leyen said,

adding that it remains to be seen if an

agreement can be reached even "at this

late stage".

The development raised hopes on

both sides of the English Channel, that

at the 11th hour, a future trading deal

between both sides started to appear

on the horizon.

Despite the last-minute extension,

Johnson said both sides remain "very

far apart on key issues".

"We are always happy to talk and

make progress where we can. I do

think there is a deal to be done, if our

partners, want to do it," he told the

media. The Sunday deadline had been

Lahore : Former

Pakistan Prime

Minister Nawaz Sharif

addressed the PDM

opposition alliance's

final power show in

Lahore, during which

he accused his successor

Imran Khan for the

countrys "prevailing

woes", the media

reported on Monday.

Despite the Pakistan

government's ban on

holding public rallies in

the wake of the unabated

Covid-19 pandemic,

the Pakistan

Democratic Movement

held the power show, dubbed as

‘first phase' on Sunday at the

city's Minar-i-Pakistan, reports

The Express Tribune.

Sharif addressed the rally

via video-link from London,

where he has been residing

since last year for medical

treatment.

In his speech, the Pakistan

Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-

N) supremo said that Khan was

not only responsible for the

country's situation but also

those who brought him into

power.

"They pushed the country

into unprecedented inflation

and unemployment," the ousted

premier said, adding that

set on the basis that time was needed

for the British and the European parliaments

to ratify the deal.

Under the EU rules, a veto from

just one member state would be

enough to reject any deal.

The continuation agreement was

welcomed by politicians and business

leaders, though companies were still

being urged to ready themselves for a

Sharif addresses PDM Lahore

power show from London

Khan's suppoerters were minting

money out of wheat and

sugar crisis. He further said that

if the incumbent "fake regime"

continues to be in former, it

will further "jeopardise the

country's security".

"Time has come to get freedom

from this selected set-up,"

Sharif said, adding the country

can never prosper without a

change in system and under

"hijacked democracy", The

Express Tribune reported.

Other opposition leaders

who addressed the rally were

PDM convener and Jamiat

Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief

Maulana Fazlur Rehman,

PML-N Vice President

no-deal exit from the regional bloc.

In its first response to Sunday's

development, a spokesperson for the

UK's main opposition Labour Party

said: "The Conservatives promised the

British people that they had an ovenready

deal and that they would get

Brexit done.

"The government needs to deliver

on that promise, get us the deal and

Maryam Nawaz and

Pakistan Peoples' Party

Chairman Bilawal

Bhutto Zardari, among

others.

Sunday's rally comes

five days after the PDM

announced on

December 8 that all parliamentarians

belonging

to its constituent parties

would submit their resignations

from the

national and provincial

assemblies December

31 in a last-ditch

attempt against the

incumbent Imran Khanled

government.

The Election Commission of

Pakistan (ECP) also announced

that by-elections would be held

if the National Assembly

speaker accepted the resignations

of the opposition lawmakers

from the lower house of

parliament.

The PDM has been holding

public rallies across Pakistan

without permission from district

authorities to hold them in

the wake of the current Covid-

19 situation.

The five earlier PDM rallies

were held on October 16 in

Gujranwala, October 19 in

Karachi, October 25 in Quetta,

November 22 in Peshawar and

November 30 in Multan.

allow us to move on as a country."

Simon Coveney, Ireland's Foreign

Minister, said on Twitter: "Time to

hold our nerve and allow the negotiators

to inch progress forward even at

this late stage.

"The joint statement on Brexit

negotiations is a good signal. A deal

clearly very difficult but possible."

Tony Danker, director-general of

the Confederation of British Industry

(CBI), said: "The news that talks will

continue gives hope. A deal is both

essential and possible. It is the only

way to build upon the extensive support

for the economy given by all governments

during the pandemic.

Without it, that progress is undermined."

He said the UK government must

move with even more determination to

avoid the looming cliff edge of

January 1, 2021.

A trade deal needs to be agreed

upon by London and Brussels before

the transition period expires.

Failure to reach the agreement

means bilateral trade will fall back on

World Trade Organization rules in

2021.

The British and EU leaders have

said significant differences still remain

between the two sides on three critical

issues: level playing field, governance

and fisheries.

Meanwhile, Adam Marshall, director

general of British Chambers of

Commerce, said: "This is a very frustrating

time for business as they anxiously

wait for decisions about the

terms of trade with the EU come

January 1.

"If a few more hours or days makes

the difference, keep going, and get an

agreement that delivers clarity and

certainty to businesses and trade on

both sides. Businesses will need time

and support to adjust in a New Year

like no other -- whatever the eventual

outcome."


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

5

End Nurses’ strike immediately, restore

services, Health Min orders AIIMS

New Delhi : The indefinite strike of

nurses at the All India Institute of

Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has prompted

the Union Health and Family Welfare

Ministry to invoke emergency powers

in order to end the ongoing agitation

which started on Monday afternoon.

A late evening order issued by the

Ministry has directed the hospital

administration to end the ongoing strike

immediately, citing a Delhi High Court

order passed on May 20, 2002, where a

code of conduct was put in place by the

court, which forbids any staff or faculty

member of the AIIMS to disrupt services

"for any reason whatsoever".

The ministry also threatened that

non-compliance of its direction would

be treated as an offence and action

against the violators would be taken as

per the law.

"... Code of Conduct was put in place

by the Hon’ble Court which was made

applicable not only to all the employees

of AllMS but also to the Staff and

Faculty members. The Code of

Conduct, inter alia, provides that there

should be no cessation of work for any

reason whatsoever or the aiding, or

abetting of such disruption or cessation,"

the order issued by Health

Secretary Rajesh Bhushan read. "..it is

hereby directed that AlIMS New Delhi

should ensure that directions of the

Judgement of the Hon’ble High Court

are strictly complied with without fail

and there should be no cessation or disruption

of Nursing functions in the

AllMS nor such an action aided or abetted.

Non-compliance will be treated as

an offence under the Disaster

Management Act read with the Indian

Penal Code and action will be taken

accordingly against defaulting authorities/employees,"

it stated.

On Monday afternoon, around 5,000

nurses of AIIMS declared the indefinite

strike after the premier health institute

converted the role of employment from

permanent to contract basis. The strike

was scheduled to be observed from

Wednesday.

Besides, the nurses told IANS that

they were assured by the Union Health

Jinister Dr Harsh Vardhan in a meeting

held last year that their salary would be

restructured as per the Sixth Pay

Commission, which is yet to be done by

the administration.

In the response to the strike, the

AIIMS administration has directed its

faculty members and staff not to cease

work, shout slogans, hold demonstrations

or meetings within the campus or

around 500 meters of radius of the institute’s

boundary.

AIIMS Director, Dr Randeep Guleria

called the strike "very very inappropriate"

and appealed the nurses to return to

their work.

India’s population is stabilising as

total fertility rate declines across states

New Delhi : India’s population

is stabilising as per the

Fifth National Family Health

Survey as the total fertility rate

has decreased across majority

of the states. Of the 17 states

analysed in the NFHS-5 data,

except for Bihar, Manipur and

Meghalaya, all other states

have a TFR of 2.1 or less,

which implies that most states

have attained replacement level

fertility.

The first set of findings from

the fifth round of the National

Family Health Survey (NFHS),

conducted in 2019-20 were

released by the Ministry of Health

and Family Welfare, Government

of India on Saturday, December

12th, four years after the last survey

(NFHS-4, 2015-16).

According to the Population

Foundation of India (PFI), India’s

population is indeed stabilising, as

Total Fertility Rate has decreased

across majority of the states.

All 17 states have witnessed an

increase in use of modern contraceptives

of family planning.

* The proportion of women with

unmet needs for family planning

who want to stop or delay

childbearing but are not using

any method of contraception

has declined in all states,

except Meghalaya and Andhra

Pradesh.

* Except for Manipur, all states

have reported an increase in

users getting information on

side effects of current contraceptive

methods.

* There is greater use of hygienic

methods of protection during

menstrual period by women in

a number of states.

There has been some improvements

in women’s empowerment

related indicators. More women

are able to participate in household

decision making in 9 states

while 30% more women now have

bank accounts in Assam, Bihar,

Gujarat and West Bengal.

Among the concerns, PFI said

NFHS 5 data shows a decline in

nutritional status of children under

5 years in a number of states. In

Kerala, which is considered to be

an advanced and model state for

others, the percentage of children

under 5 years with stunting has

increased to 23.4% as per NFHS 5

against 19.7% in NFHS 4.

Anaemia among women

remains the big concern. In all the

states, anaemia is much higher

among women compared to men.

• Female sterilization

continues to dominate

as the modern method

of contraceptives in

states like Andhra

Pradesh (98%),

Telangana (93%),

Kerala (88%),

Karnataka (84%), Bihar

(78%) and Maharashtra

(77%).

• Male engagement in family

planning continues to be limited

and disappointing as seen by the

low uptake of condoms and male

sterilization across states.

• Despite the efforts being

made, it is alarming to see the

increase in child marriages in a

number of states. There has been

an increase in child marriages in

Tripura (40.1% from 33.1% in

2015-16), Manipur (16.3% from

13.7% in 2015-16) and Assam

(31.8% from 30.8% in 2015-16),

while states like West Bengal

(41.6%) and Bihar (40.8%) still

have high prevalence of child marriages.

• States like Manipur,

Andhra Pradesh, Himachal

Pradesh and Nagaland have also

shown increase in teenage pregnancies.

Along with increase in

child marriage, Tripura has also

shown an increase in teenage

pregnancy from 18.8% in 2015-16

to 21.9%.

• It is very concerning to see the

increase in average out of pocket

expenditure (OOPE) per delivery

in public health facilities in some

states, PFI said.

Compared to NFHS-4, OOPE

has increased in several states -

Sikkim (109%), Mizoram (63%),

Bihar (60%), Assam (42%) and

Manipur (40%)

While spousal violence has

generally declined in most of the

states and UTs, it has witnessed an

increase in five states, namely

Sikkim, Maharashtra, Himachal

Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka.

Karnataka witnessed the largest

increase in spousal violence, from

20.6% in NFHS 4 to 44.4% in

NFHS 5. Sexual violence has

increased in five states (Assam,

Karnataka, Maharashtra,

Meghalaya and West Bengal).

The NFHS-5 depicts a stark

disparity in access to the internet

by men, in contrast to women in a

number of states. In Karnataka

and Bihar, for example, twice as

many men have access to the

internet as compared to women.

Sikkim is the only state where

access to internet among men

(78.2%) and women (76.7%) is

almost equal. Population

Foundation of India welcomed the

progress made on several health,

fertility and women’s empowerment

related indicators in NFHS

5. "However, what merits serious

concern is that this data was

recorded before the pandemic

wreaked further havoc on our

health and lives", PFI said.

Hrithik Roshan’s

’impersonation’ case to

be probed by CIU

Mumbai : The Mumbai Police has transferred a

complaint of stalking and impersonation lodged four

years ago by Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, to the

Crime Branch, officials said here on Monday.

In the complaint against an unknown person,

Hrithik had said the accused was allegedly speaking

with actress Kangana Ranaut on his behalf from an

email ID. Following a request by Hrithik’s lawyer

Mahesh Jethmalani and Gunjan Mangla to the

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, the

case will now be probed by the elite Crime

Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Crime Branch. In the

past, the police forensic experts could not ascertain

any facts about the email ID which was located in the

US and hence filed a nil report in June 2017. Hrithik’s

lawyers pointed out to Singh that depsite the

Magistrate’s order directing the police to return the

actor’s laptop and mobile phone submitted for the

probe, he had not collected it yet to enable the police

complete the probe and catch the real culprit. Officials

are hopeful that with the case now handed over to the

CIU, the real culprit may be traced in the case.


6 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

SC seeks Centre, Syrian Church's

response on forced confession charge

New Delhi : The Supreme

Court on Monday sought

response from the Centre, Kerala

government and high functionaries

of the Malankara Orthodox

Syrian Church on a plea challenging

the alleged practice of

forced and mandatory confession

from every member in the

church.

The plea was filed by

Mathew. T. Mathachan, Shaji

P.J. and Jose C.V., through advocate

Sanand Ramakrishnan.

After a brief hearing in the

matter, a bench headed by Chief

Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising

Justices A. S. Bopanna and

V. Ramasubramanian issued

notice on the plea.

"This pernicious practice of

forced, compulsory and mandatory

confession (not being voluntary)

from every member,

both men and women, is causing

several other problems including

sexual exploitation of women

and blackmailing," said the plea.

The petitioners said they are

constrained to move the petition

under Article 32 of the

Constitution for protection of

their fundamental rights under

Article 21 of the Constitution

including human dignity against

the practices of compulsory confession

and mandatory payment

of monies to their respective

parish churches.

"The compulsion confess is a

serious intrusion into the privacy

of a person, as held by this

court's 9 judge bench. This in

turn seriously affects the dignity

of an individual who has been

subject to blackmail and then

made to surrender her bodily privacy,"

said the plea.

The plea cited that the practice

of confession among

Catholics is entirely voluntary

and there is no element of compulsion.

The petitioners have

argued that privacy is the constitutional

core of human dignity

and the intersection between

one's mental integrity and privacy

entitles the individual to freedom

of thought, freedom to

believe in what is right and freedom

of self-determination.

"Forced confessions and confiscatory

demands for monies as

a pre-condition for continuance

of membership militates against

the fundamental rights chapter

enshrined in the Constitution,"

said the plea. The petitioners

have urged the top court to

restrain the church from extracting

forced confessions or forced

payments, and lso, pass a direction

restraining the church functionaries

from not removing any

parishioner from not making

forced confession not making

payments to the church, till the

matter is finally adjudicated.

SC likely to take up contempt plea

against Kunal Kamra on Dec 17

New Delhi : The Supreme

Court is likely to hear a plea on

Thursday by a group of lawyers

and law students seeking to initiate

criminal contempt proceedings

against comedian

Kunal Kamra for scandalising

the court though his tweets.

The plea was filed after

Attorney General K.K.

Venugopal gave consent to initiate

contempt against Kamra.

The computer-generated case

details, published on the website

of the top court, state that a

bench headed by Justice Ashok

Bhushan and comprising

Justices R. Subhash Reddy and

M.R. Shah is likely to take up

the plea through video conferencing.

The plea, filed by law

students

Shrirang

Katneshwarkar, Nitika Duhan,

and advocates Amey Abhay

Sirsikar, Abhishek Sharan

Raskar, and Sattyendra Vinayak

Muley, said: "The alleged contemnor

(Kamra) has the following

of 1.7 million people. The

scandalous tweets of the alleged

contemnor were seen by his followers

and many of them

retweeted the same." Citing

Section 2 (c) (i) of Contempt of

Courts Act, 1971, the petitioners

argued that this section is

explicit and the tweets published

by Kamra clearly show

he allegedly committed gross

contempt of the apex court. The

plea said that every follower of

Kamra on Twitter must have

read the tweets and more than

one thousand people have

retweeted the scandalous

tweets. The petitioners insisted

that Kamra was fully aware of

his action. "When some persons

tried to make the alleged contemnor

aware about the contempt

of this court, the alleged

contemnor was rude, arrogant

and unapologetic. The conduct

of the alleged contemnor shows

that he has no regard for this

court," said the plea.

The plea contended that the

AG by reproducing the tweets

observed that the tweets are not

only in bad taste but clearly

cross the line between humour

and contempt of the court.

The petitioners said though

the Supreme Court has let off

contemnors in the past upon

tendering an apology, but this

case is different. "The conduct

of the alleged contemnor is so

harsh that the alleged contemnor

does not deserve any sympathy

at the hands of this court

even in case of tendering apology.

Citizens of this country

strongly believe that the people

like the alleged contemnor

should not be spared at any

cost," said the plea seeking

action against Kamra.

The AG, in a response to the

letters of the petitioners in the

matter, had said that it is time

that people understand that

attacking the Supreme Court

unjustifiably and brazenly will

attract punishment.

KIDS DONATE

money from '

gullaks' to farmers

New Delhi : In a poignant

gesture, some young children

have come out in support of

protesting farmers to whom

they donated money collected

in their 'gullaks' or piggy banks.

Farmers from Punjab,

Haryana and other states have

been protesting for the past several

days on the borders of

Delhi.

The children who had collected

money in their piggy

banks for months, have handed

it over to encourage the farmers.

The protesting farmers are

demanding withdrawal of all

three agricultural laws passed

by the Centre.

With farmers from

Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh

demonstrating at Ghazipur border,

four children named Tia

Malik, Dev Malik, Prince

Chaudhary and Avni

Chaudhary came from Meerut

on Monday evening to support

the farmers. The money they

had collected for the last 4-5

months was also handed over to

the farmers. Farmer leaders

were on hunger strike on the

border on Monday till 5 and

these four children offered

them juice to end their fast.

These four children are residents

of Meerut and study in

class VI, VI and VIII. Prince

Chaudhary told IANS, "We

have come here from Meerut to

encourage farmers. I have been

collecting money in my piggy

bank for 6 months which I have

given to the farmers."

Vikas, who brought all four

children to the Ghazipur border,

works a government job.

He told IANS, "The farmers are

fighting for our future. The four

children have come here to

encourage them. We all support

the farmers."

The children are aged from 7

to 13 years.

Shiv Sena MLA moves privilege

notice against Kangana Ranaut

Mumbai : In a fresh row, senior Shiv

Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik on

Monday moved a breach of privilege

notice against Bollywood actress

Kangana Ranaut for her tweets pertaining

to a Pakistani credit card.

A three-time legislator from Thane

and among the top inner circles of Chief

Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Sarnaik's

notice came at the start of the 2-day

Winter Session of Maharashtra

Legislature here. "Film actor Kangana

Ranaut posted a tweet that 'the person

(Sarnaik) who was to break my jaw at

the Mumbai Airport' held a Pakistani

credit card," he said. "I admit that the

Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing

me. But no such credit card has been

recovered from me. She has tweeted on

a Pakistani credit card that I don't possess

as she wanted to defame me. Why

should I have a Pakistani credit card..

What is the credit of Pakistan," Sarnaik

told media persons.

He has urged the Maharashtra

Legislature's Principal Secretary to forward

hs notice/complaint to the

Privilege Committee of the Legislative

Assembly so that an inquiry into the

matter of breach of privilege and necessary

action can be taken against

Kangana. In the last 2-day monsoon session,

Sarnaik had moved a breach of

privilege notice against Republic Media

Network's Chief Editor Arnab Goswami

and Ranaut. Sarnaik, who is Chairman

of Vihang Group of Companies, and his

two sons are currently being investigated

by the ED over alleged kickbacks of

Rs 7 crore from security services major

Tops Group for reportedly arranging a

Rs 175-crore security contract with

Mumbai Metropolitan Region

Development Authority (MMRDA).

When the ED launched the probe,

Sarnaik had claimed that he being targeted

by the agency for speaking out

against Goswami and Kangana.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

As we celebrate the International

Human Rights Day, it is worthwhile to

ask if a missing soldier of the country

has any of rights that we commemorate

with fanfare.

This might sound an insulting

query in a country which swears by

the breath, life, and death of its soldiers.

This is rightly so, for, the soldier

is the cream of a society and pride of

the nation. He faces bullets defending

the country, chanting, “Yeh Dil

Maange More” and falling in action,

therefore, worthy of worship rather

than denied basic rights which we celebrate.

Who will deny this?

But, if a soldier, not only fails to

avail the basic right of identity and

dignity as laid down under article five

and six of the universal declaration of

human rights, but also becomes a victim

of violation of the article nine of it

by his own country then, it is not only

a matter of extreme disgrace but a

grave concern.

Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee* has

No Dignity, Identity

As you read this, Captain Sanjit

Bhattacharjee, SS35271W, 7/8 GR,

(would have been Brigadier today), is

languishing in some dingy basement

of a notorious Pakistan jail, being

yelled at by names such as, ‘Mental’,

‘Bangali’ ‘Salim’, but certainly not

‘Tanaji’, as he was lovingly called in

his unit. Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee

left for patrolling with his platoon on

the night of 19/20 April 1997, in the

Rann of Kutch bordering Pakistan.

The next day, 15 of platoon members

returned without the Captain and his

shadow, Lance Naik Ram Bhadur

Thapa. They have not retuned since.

Captain Sanjit’s father died on 28

November 2020, after waiting for his

youngest and dearest child for 23

years. Captain Sanjit’s mother, aged

81, still waits for her son.

Lance Naik Thapa’s family whereabouts

are unknown.

The Response of Army

The Army records- 24 -28

April 1997- reveal that Captain

Sanjit was handed over by

Pakistani fishermen to one

Major Khiyani of Pak Army

between the border post (BP)

1162 and 1165. Captain Umar

of Umarkot post joined him on

28 April as “two missing persons

of Indian army were taken

to interog (sic) centre on outskirts

of Hyderabad.”

The Army did not apprise

the ailing father about any

efforts it had made to trace, one

of their brightest, (he was a

black belt in Karate and an

obstacle lead runner), who now was in

enemy custody. The Army did not

share court of inquiry findings with

the family till date saying, “it is merely

descriptive.”

However, in February 2005,

Bhattacharjee Senior received a letter

from the then, Defence minister,

regretting “untimely demise’ of his

son who was ‘earlier declared missing!”

In May 2010, the President’s

Secretariat wrote Kamla

Bhattacharjee, mother of Captain

Sanjit, a letter informing her that her

son’s name, had been added to an

existing missing POWs (prisoners of

war) list, known as “Missing 54” , and

had been taken up with Pakistani

authorities at highest level, including

“during Agra Summit in July 2001”,

ASIA

Are there any Human Rights

of a Missing Soldier?

LALU PRASAD'S kidneys

functioning at only 25% : Doctor

Ranchi/Patna : Jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad may

have to undergo dialysis as both his kidneys are functioning

at only 25 per cent.

Dr Umesh Prasad, who is treating Lalu Prasad at

Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Ranchi,

said there was no improvement in the functioning of Lalu

Prasad's kidneys and his condition is worsening day by day.

He said, "We have informed all the concerned departments

and officials in this regard. Earlier, his kidneys were

functioning at 35 per cent which has now gone down to 25

per cent. The kidney ailment has reached the fourth stage".

When Prasad was admitted at RIMS, his kidney functioning

level was in the third stage and for two years under

the care of doctors at RIMS it functioned in a better manner,

added the doctor. Prasad has been receiving treatment

at the paying ward of RIMS since August, 2018. He was

shifted to RIMS Director's bungalow in September and sent

back to the paying ward after his alleged telephone call to

try and influence a Bihar BJP legislator surfaced.

Last week, the CBI asked the Jharkhand High Court that

Lalu Prasad be sent back to Birsa Munda Central Jail in

Ranchi as his condition was fine and said his treatment can

be done in jail itself. Chitranjan Gagan, the Bihar

spokesperson of RJD, said: "His condition is not good and

doctors are monitoring his health round the clock. On

Saturday, Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay met him in

RIMS and enquired about his health. He also discussed his

health status with family members of Laluji."

"The doctors are in contact with family members. They

have suggested for dialysis if his health does not improve

soon," Gagan said.

Mritunjay Tiwari, another RJD spokesperson, said: "It is

a matter of concern for the RJD family. After taking permission

of the court, the family members of Laluji may

soon go to Ranchi to monitor his health physically."

several times from 1997 onwards.

The letter had come in response to

a half a dozen of petitions and

reminders sent to the Army Southern

Command, defence ministry, and three

Prime Ministers.

It was a disappointing response

from the Supreme Commander of

world’s second largest Army; it broke

the heart of the family.

– Pushkar Raj*

Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee is Not

a POW

Paradoxically, the Captain is not a

prisoner of war as he is made out to

be!

India was not at war with Pakistan

on the night he got struck with ailing

New Delhi : While the farmers

are protesting against the

three newly passed agricultural

laws, a farmer from Odisha

expressed his protest in a

unique manner by shaving off

his head and beard to mark his

dissent over the new policies of

the government.

Parthasarthy Jenna from

Odisha tonsured his head at

Delhi's Singhu Border as a

mark of protest. According to

Indian traditions, shaving of the

hair and beard is done when the

head of the family dies.

Speaking to media, Jenna

said, "The government has

turned deaf to our voices. It

seems like they are dead and

hence, I am shaving my head

and beard."

He also added that he did so

to send a strong message to the

Centre and said that the protests

would continue until the three

laws are taken back.

Meanwhile, The farmer

Lance Naik Ram Bhadur

due to a sudden flood.

With an unpredictable

tide, the Rann turned

treacherous, deceiving the

best map reader of the

academy, who, either

swept or marooned on the

other side of border, rescued

by Pakistani fishermen,

was handed over to

the authorities, a usual

practice by fishermen of

two countries on a shifting

terrain.

Captain Sanjit

Bhattacharjee’s situation

was no different than a

fisherman going on his

usual chore, as he was on a peace time

usual patrolling, except that he was

carrying ammunition instead of nets,

which he never used against anyone.

India has swapped hundreds of its

citizens with Pakistan since April

1997, agreeing that it is a humanitarian

than a political issue.

Then, is it not a worse case of a bad

luck, abandonment, pain, leading to a

slow death, like the hero of Veer

Zaara, who had personal motives,

while Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee is

suffering for the nation.

Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee is the

real; not a reel hero and therefore,

deserves a higher pedestal than other

stars, whichever field they might come

from. It is notable that Captain Sanjit

Bhattacharjee is not yet dead because

there is no proof of it, except a signed

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

leaders sitting on a day long

hunger strike while protesting

against the three new agricultural

laws ended their fast at 5

p.m.

The farmers leaders ended

their fast after holding an

"Ardaas" of Guru Nanak Dev.

The leaders also appealed to

other farmer leaders across

other borders like Ghazipur to

end their day long hunger

strike. They also prayed for the

welfare of the all (Sarbanth

Bhala) and for the success of

7

piece of paper from an insensitive

bureaucrat, unworthy of the value of

the ink it was written with!

Captain Sanjit is a missing; not forgotten,

at least not by her mother who

has a right to know: if alive, where is

he? If dead, where is his grave!

The Government Response and

the Road Ahead

Without naming, to say, that the

response, role, and conduct of authorities

has been disappointing, is an

understatement.

The government argument is that

Pakistan has consistently denied existence

of any POWs, therefore, it cannot

do anything about it, despite

knowing that they are, there. It has not

shared reasons for refusing to

approach the International Court of

Justice and making use of Geneva

Conventions (being a signatory of it)

despite Gujarat High Court’s order

directing it to do so in 2011.

Conclusion

The government’s conduct demonstrates

disowning of our brave hearts

amounting to exiling the missing soldiers,

an act prohibited under the article

nine of the UN declaration that

reads, “No one shall be subjected to

arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”.

India, however, does not consist of

bureaucrats and politicians who form

the government. Captain Sanjit and

Lance Naik Ram Bhadur belong to a

1.2 million strong family that will

not forget its lost members. One is certain

that the rest of 1.2 billion people

acknowledge the sacrifice of their

youth and support the defenders of

their motherland to have a rightful

place, which, certainly is not the jail of

an enemy country!

A soldier might be lost, incarcerated,

tortured and, like a formidable tree

cut into two, die bit by bit uncared, but

he/she must not be forgotten.

If none other, they have a right to be

remembered!

Govt is dead, says

Odisha farmer,

shaves his head

their motive by singing

Gurbani.

The prayers ended with the

slogan "Waheguru Ji Ka

Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh

resonating through the air of

the Singhu Border protest site.

The leaders sitting on

hunger strike included Gurnam

Singh Chironi from Haryana,

Harinder Singh Lakhowal from

Punjab and other leaders of

more than 30 farmer unions

under the banner of Sanyukt

Kisan Morcha.


8 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Red-faced CBI's 'Agni Pariksha'

continues over missing gold

Chennai : Left red-faced, the

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

may have ordered an internal inquiry

over the disappearance of 103 kgs of

gold worth Rs 43 crore earlier this

year, but the mysterious case of the

gold, seized in the presence of witnesses

and put in a vault, that went

missing from a warehouse here, has

put a big question mark on the probe

agency.

After the emergence of this news,

top echelons of the government have

expressed concern at the haphazard

handling of such an important case

where gold amounting to a king's ransom

has disappeared.

The case of disappearance of 103

kgs of gold came to the fore last week

after the Madras High Court ordered

the Tamil Nadu Police's CB-CID to

register a case of disappearance of

gold from the agency's custody after

rejecting its plea that "the prestige of

the CBI would come down if investigation

is done by the local police."

The High Court asked the CB-CID

to register an FIR saying: "It may be

an 'Agni Pariksha' for the CBI, but that

cannot be helped. If their hands are

clean, like Sita, they may come out

brighter. If not, they would have to

face the music."

The court also rejected the CBI's

request for a probe by the CBI state

branch or National Investigation

Agency (NIA) instead of the state

police. To which Judge P.N. Prakash

said, "The court cannot subscribe to

this view, because the law does not

sanction such an inference. All policemen

have to be trusted and it does not

lie in the mouth of one to say that the

CBI have special horns, whereas, the

local police have only a tail."

How the gold was seized

The CBI had seized the gold in connection

with a case dated June 2012

filed over allegations that officials of

Minerals and Metals Trading

Corporation of India (MMTC) in

Chennai had shown undue favours

towards Surana Corporation Limited,

which dealt in import of gold and silver.

After conducting searches, the

gold amounting to 400.47 kgs, in the

form of bars and ornaments, was

seized by the CBI from the office

building of Surana in Chennai and

locked and sealed in its vaults.

The CBI also claimed that it had

handed over the 72 keys of the safes

and vaults to the Chennai principal

special court for CBI cases. Though

no date regarding submitting of keys

was mentioned in documents.

However, in September 2013, the

CBI registered another case, saying

that while the seized gold was not

wanted in the 2012 cases, it had found

that Surana had imported the same in

violation of the Foreign Trade Policy

(FTP). The CBI, hence, requested that

the seized gold be transferred from the

first case to the fresh one, following

which the court allowed the transfer of

about 400 kgs on record.

"But there was no physical inventorisation

by the court" as the gold was

already in the vaults of Surana.

Meanwhile, in 2015, the CBI filed a

closure report in the second case that it

registered in 2013 stating that "there is

no adequate evidence forthcoming."

Following the closure report filed

by the agency, the CBI Special Court

accepted the same but directed that the

seized gold be handed over to the

Directorate General of Foreign Trade

(DGFT).

This order was later set aside by the

Madras High Court on Surana's petition,

as it approached the court for the

custody of gold.

Subsequently, the State Bank of

India (SBI) which along with several

other banks had lent money to Surana,

initiated proceedings against it over

non-payment of dues.

The bank claimed that Surana had

pending loans amounting to Rs 1,160

crore and approached the Special CBI

Court seeking the custody of seized

gold. But later the SBI and Surana

entered into an agreement and filed a

compromise memo before the Special

Court to hand over the gold weighing

400.47 kgs for settlement of dues.

Meanwhile, the CBI opposed

Surana's petition, backed by the

Ministry of Commerce and Industry

(under which the DGFT falls).

However, in December 2019, the

National Company Law Tribunal,

which had been approached by the

SBI, ordered that the gold be handed

over for distribution to the six banks

owed money by Surana.

But when the CBI opened the

vaults in the presence of the bank representatives

in February this year, the

gold was found to be 103.864 kgs

short.

The CBI Inspector informed the

High Court that they had used a

weighing machine at Surana's office to

arrive at a figure of 400.47 kgs for the

gold after the seizure, and the seals

affixed by it on the vaults were intact.

It argued that the CBI could not be

held liable for the missing gold.

The CBI counsel also informed the

court that there could be a discrepancy

in the weight because gold chains

were weighed collectively at the time

of the seizure in 2012, while in

February this year, each item was

weighed individually, using more

sophisticated machines.

The court rejected these claims of

the agency and said, it was "unable to

fathom as to how there could be a discrepancy

of more than 100 kgs as it

will not diminish in weight like ganja

by efflux.

On Saturday, CBI spokesperson

R.K. Gaur in a statement said: "It

searched building of Surana and prepared

a search list. The search list

mentioned that 400.47 kgs of gold has

been inventorised and was kept in safe

and vaults of Surana, sealed in presence

of independent witnesses and the

MD of Surana Corporation and its

officials."

He said that as per the directions of

the High Court, the vaults were

opened in the presence of official liquidator,

officials belonging to six

banks and independent witnesses and

inspected from February 27 to 29 this

year to hand over the gold to the

lender banks of Surana Corporation.

"The seals affixed on the vaults

were found intact. However, gold

weighed only 296.66 kgs," Gaur said.

He said, "As the discrepancy

between the quantity mentioned in

search memo and as per the weight

came to notice, CBI promptly ordered

an internal inquiry by a senior officer

to look into the role of its officials, if

any." "It is clarified that the inventorised

gold was not kept in Malkhana

of CBI. Rather it was in premises of

Surana only under the seal," Gaur

said.

"While the enquiry was on, a petition

was filed in the high court and

accordingly the court passed an order.

CBI's internal enquiry continues and if

any adverse role of any CBI official

surfaces, strict action will be taken

against them," he added.

Kejriwal a coward, says Amarinder

Chandigarh : Dubbing Delhi

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as a

"coward" who had run scared and

apologised when cornered in a

defamation case by SAD's Bikram

Majithia, Punjab Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh on Monday said

Kejriwal's desperate attempts to hide

his government's "utter failure" to

protect the famers' interests will not

save him from their wrath, nor will

they safeguard his party from being

decimated in the next Punjab

Assembly election.

"Just as every Punjabi knows that I

am not one to be cowed down by any

amount of false ED or other cases,

they also know that you will sell your

soul if it serves your purpose," the

Punjab Chief Minister said, in a

resounding response to Kejriwal's

false allegations and accusations

against him.

Daring his Delhi counterpart to cite

even a single instance when he backed

off under pressure of the Enforcement

Directorate (ED) or any other agency,

the Punjab Chief Minister pointed out

that from Operation Bluestar to the

SYL and now to the farm laws issue,

he had always done the right thing by

his people, in sharp contrast to

Kejriwal, whom the whole of Punjab

had seen cringing in fear in the face of

a minor defamation case and the

whole of Delhi had seen begging the

Centre for help amid the Covid pandemic.

Asserting that the whole world had

seen how Kejriwal had sold off the

farmers' interests by notifying one of

the black farm laws in the national

capital at a time when the farmers

were preparing to march to Delhi,

Amarinder said the Delhi Chief

Minister had exposed his own "setting"

with the central government

with this act.

"Why did you do that Kejriwal?

What pressure did the Centre put on

you? Or is it so you can go grovelling

back to them again the next time your

pathetic government is floundering to

handle the Covid crisis, as you have

already done twice?" Amarinder

asked Kejriwal, slamming the Aam

Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor

over his "unending saga of

lies". Taking a dig at Kejriwal's selfproclaimed

anger over the conspiracy

of certain vested interests to undermine

the farmers' agitation by linking

it with anti-nationalism, the Punjab

Chief Minister said the farmers needed

no endorsement of their genuineness

from the man who had hobnobbed

with Khalistanis in the run-up

to the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.

"If you think farmers are going to

be taken in by your dramatics and

crocodile tears, then you Mr Kejriwal,

are totally mistaken, just as you were

mistaken when you thought AAP

would sweep the Punjab election in

2017," said Amarinder in a statement.

Likening the Delhi Chief Minister

to a dust storm that moves in the

direction in which it sees the winds

moving, the Chief Minister said

Kejriwal's attempts to sweep the

farmers' agitation, where he is currently

seeing an opportunity to promote

his political agenda, will not

succeed.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 9

Tatas back in race for stake

in Air India: Sources

New Delhi : Tata Sons is expected to send in their express of

interest (EoI) for

national carrier

Air India on

Monday, industry

insiders said.

According to

highly placed

sources, Tata

Sons

which

owns the industrial conglomerate Tata Group will send in a direct

EoI to buy out the government’s stake in the airline.

"Tata Sons will be submitting the EoI," highly placed sources

told IANS. However, when contacted an official spokesperson of

the Group declined to comment. Speculations have been rife over

several months regarding Tata’s interest in their erstwhile airline.

Notably, it was Tata’s who started Air India prior to the nationalisation

of the airline in the 1960s.

The last date of EoI submission is Monday.

Besides the Tatas, a group of Air India employees led by the airline’s

Commercial Director Meenakshi Mallik is also expected to

send in their EoI. In October, the Centre in an aggressive push to

off-load its stake in the national carrier decided to invite bids for

Air India, based on the company’s enterprise value. The change in

criteria will allow for the bidding to take place on the current value

of the assets and other resources of Air India.

The deadline for the bid submission was also been extended.

The deadline for submitting the bids was that time extended to

December 14 from October 30. Similarly, the deadline for

announcing the name of those short-listed has also been extended.

The new date for announcement of short-listed bidders is

December 28.

Pakistan to produce 60% clean

energy by 2030 : Imran

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that

60 per cent of all

energy produced

in the country will

be clean or renewable

by 2030

while 30 per cent

of all vehicles

would be transferred

to electricity

as the country

aims to limit its

carbon emission.

Speaking via

video-link on Saturday at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 to

mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the landmark Paris

Agreement, he said Pakistan has already scrapped two coal powerbased

projects which were supposed to produce 2,600 megawatts

of energy and replaced them with hydroelectricity, The Express

Tribune reported.

"As far as our indigenous coal goes, we have decided to produce

energy either by coal to liquid or coal to gas so we do not have to

burn coal to produce energy," he added.

Khan said that Pakistan is a country whose contribution in global

emission is less than one per cent but it is the fifth most vulnerable

country due to climate change.

He said that his government has decided to have nature-based

solution to mitigate the effects of climate change, adding that

Pakistan has planned to plant 10 billion trees in the next three year.

Trump refuses to rule out

possibility of skipping

BIDEN'S inauguration

Washington : US President Donald Trump,

who still disputes the outcome of the November 3

election, has refused to rule out the possibility of

skipping his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration on

January 20, 2021, the

media reported.

When asked during a

Fox News interview on

Sunday if he would show

up at the inauguration, the

President said: "I don’t

want to talk about that,"

The Hill News reported.

Repeating baseless

fraud claims over the election

results, he said: "I

want to talk about this.

We’ve done a great job. I

got more votes than any

President in the history of

our country. In the history

of our country, right? Not

even close 75 million

far more than (former

President Barack) Obama,

far more than anybody.

"And they say we lost an

election. We didn’t lose. If I

got 10 million fewer votes, they say I couldn’t have

lost." Trump further said that Biden would be an

"illegitimate" President. "I worry about the country

having an illegitimate President. That’s what I

Iraqi forces kill 42 IS militants

Baghdad : The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism

Service (CTS) killed 42 militants of the

Islamic State (IS) terror group during can

operation in Nineveh province, the country’s

military has confirmed. Acting on intelligence

reports, the CTS forces backed by

Iraqi and international coalition aircraft,

stormed into the Ayn al-Jahash area south of

the provincial capital of Mosul, the former

stronghold of the IS, Xinhua news agency

reported citing the military as saying in a

statement on Sunday.

The CTS forces were engaged in fierce

clashes with IS militants in the area for two

successive days, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of

the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces,

said in the statement. The troops forced the

IS militants to withdraw and hole up in their

hideouts in tunnels and caves, prompting the

CTS troops to storm their hideouts even with

hand grenades, he added. The operation

worry about. "A President that lost and lost badly.

This wasn’t like a close election. You look at

Georgia. We won Georgia big. We won

Pennsylvania big. We won Wisconsin big. We won

it big," he added.

Trump’s remarks came

after the US Supreme Court

on December 11 rejected a

lawsuit from Texas in a bid

to overturn the election

results in four battleground

states of Georgia, Michigan,

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,

the latest blow to the

President’s efforts to reverse

Biden’s projected Electoral

College victory, Xinhua

news agency reported.

The Supreme Court also

turned away another appeal

from Pennsylvania

Republicans on December 9.

All 50 states and

Washington, D.C. have

reportedly certified their

election results.

Electors are scheduled to

meet in their state capital

cities on Monday to vote, which will be counted

and finalised by the next Congress in January

2021. Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes,

compared with 232 for Trump.

resulted in the killing of 42 IS militants,

including five of their local leaders, and the

seizure of weapons and ammunition inside

the hideouts, according to Rasoul. The operation

came as the extremist group have intensified

their attacks on the security forces and

UAE-based

Indian expat

amasses

collection of 1

dirham coins

Abu Dhabi : An Indian expat

in the United Arab Emirates

(UAE) has amassed a collection

of 39 different issues of the 1

dirham coin, turning down lucrative

offers to sell the collection, a

media report said on Monday.

Petrol pump attendant,

Shaijal Kelettil from Calicut,

Kerala, took nine years to complete

his collection, said the Gulf

News report.

He has turned down offers of

up to 2,000 dirhams to sell his

collection, saying it was "priceless

to me because of my love for

the UAE".

Kelettil has even paid 50

dirhams to buy just one 1 dirham

coin. " I love the ’I love the UAE’

coin and also the 1990-issue celebrating

UAE’s participation in

the football World Cup. If I see a

coin that is different or special in

some way, I ask the bearer to

exchange it with me or sell it to

me.

"I love collecting coins and I

love the UAE, so that’s why I do

it," Gulf News quoted the expat

as saying.

He also has coins from Saudi

Arabia where he worked previously,

and coins from India.

civilians in the formerly IS-controlled Sunni

provinces, resulting in the killing and

wounding of dozens. The security situation

in Iraq has been improving since the security

forces fully defeated the IS militants across

the country in 2017.

With auto fuel prices near all time high,

demand for duty cut gains ground

New Delhi : Various stakeholders

have urged the government to cut excise

duty on petrol and diesel to rescue consumers

from the spiralling prices of the

auto fuels amidst the pandemic.

Sources said that the Finance

Ministry has been urged to take a call

the high levels of duty on the two petroleum

products as the higher prices also

has an impact on inflation that is already

running above the Reserve Bank of

India’s comfort level at 6.93 per cent in

November. The news of a successful

Covid-19 vaccine has suddenly firmed

up global oil prices that gained over $10

per barrel to hover close to $50 a barrel

now. What this has done is that it has put

pressure on petrol and diesel prices that

have been raised consistently for past

month by oil marketing companies taking

petrol prices very close to all-time

high levels.

In Mumbai, petrol is priced 90.34 a

litre on Monday, very close to all time

high level of Rs 91.34 reached on

October 4, 2018. In other metro cities

also, the pump price of petrol is close to

all time high levels.

Taxes, duties and commission on

petrol comprise over 200 per cent of the

base price of the product that as of

December 1 (in Delhi) stayed at Rs

26.34 a litre. The excise component is

over 120 per cent of the base price while

state level VAT is roughly about 70 per

cent of the base price.

With regard to diesel, while the base

price Rs 27.08 a litre in Delhi, excise

duty component is Rs 31.83 a litre and

VAT Rs 10.64 a litre. "The high level of

taxes along with current firming of

global oil market has played havoc for

auto fuel consumers in the times of the

pandemic. The Finance Ministry should

look at reducing excise duty on the two

products so that retail price eases in the

time of high volatility," said a representative

of the oil industry that has recommended

for a cut in excise duty on

petroleum products. While the case for a

cut in duty on petrol and diesel has been

made, sources indicated that government

is not looking at the option at this

juncture as it has limited fiscal space

available to take any dent in revenue

collections. The Covid-19 pandemic

and stimulus measure announced by the

government to tide over the current economic

crisis has already overstretched

government finances that are looking at

avenues to boost revenue while cutting

down on non-critical expenditure.

In May, the Centre had substantially

raised excise duty on petrol and diesel

to mobilise additional resources that

would go into funding its Aatmanirbhar

Bharat Package. In fact, the Centre has

kept room for further raising excise duty

on the two products in case the situation

warranted.


10 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Slain Telangana gangster had

24 guns including 3 AK 47s

Hyderabad : Renegade

Maoist-turned-gangster Nayeem,

who was gunned down by police

in 2016, possessed more than 20

firearms including three AK-47

rifles and one sten gun.

He also had nine pistols, three

revolvers, seven tapanchas and

one SBBL 12 bore gun.

The notorious gangster, who

was killed in an alleged

exchange of fire with the police

in Shadnagar town on August 8,

2016, also possessed two hand

grenades, six magazines, 616

live rounds of various weapons,

one bullet proof jacket, 10 gelatine

sticks, five kgs ammonium

nitrate, 10 meters of fuse wire 30

electrical and non-electrical detonators.

The shocking revelations

were made by Telangana

police in a reply to Forum for

Good Governance (FGG), an

NGO, under Right to

Information Act (RTI). FGG's M.

Padmanabh Reddy wanted to

know the details of the properties

belonging to Nayeem seized so

far. Like the firearms the gangster

possessed, cash, vehicles and

other properties seized are also

astonishing.

As per the RTI reply, police

seized more than Rs 2.16 crore

cash, 1.944 kg gold, 2,482 kg silver,

21 four-wheelers, 26 motor

cycles and 602 mobile phones.

The police also seized 752 documents

of lands he owned.

Police revealed that the seized

properties were deposited in

courts. On the details of the properties

proposed to be seized, the

police said the matter is under

investigation and hence no information

can be shared. Following

the disclosures, Padmanabha

Reddy, Secretary, FGG urged

Telangana Governor Tamilisai

Soundararajan to direct the Chief

Secretary to order probe as to how

Nayeem could get 24 licenes and

registration of thousands of acres

of land.

He said the matter also needed

a detailed probe from the angle of

his terrorist links. "For a common

man to get a license to possess a

gun is a herculean task. Lot of

police enquiries are made before

the license is given. For the guns

like AK 47or sten gun licences are

not given. Hence there is a need

for detailed inquiry as to how

licences for 24 guns were given

and how he was having AK 47

rifles," he wrote.

He also sought an inquiry into

the role of police, politicians, revenue

and registration departments

in Nayeem case.

Padmanabha Reddy said Nayeem

had left behind a legacy of how

police, politicians, revenue, registration

department can violate

the law at will. "Hundreds of people

suffered at the hands of

Nayeem and his goons. With the

backing of police and politicians,

innocent people were threatened

and their lands were grabbed,

people who resisted were physically

harmed and even killed."

He wanted to know why data

from seized mobile phones was

not used for probe.

"602 cell phones were recovered

from his house, call data of

these phones will give clear picture

of with whom (especially

police and politicians) he had

contacts but it was not done, even

in small cases call data from the

accused cell phone is tracked

then why it was not done in

Nayeem case," he asked He

pointed out that Nayeem reportedly

had a habit of maintaining

diary and record all the activities

he carried out. "About 130 diaries

were seized from his residence,

the content in the diaries is not

taken as evidence and they are

just deposited in the court. So far

the inquiry conducted is tardy,

superficial and at this rate the big

fish will escape and case drags

on."

In October, the Special

Investigation Team (SIT) probing

Nayeem's nexus with politicians

and police, had given clean chit to

all 25 police officers whose names

had surfaced during investigation.

In a RTI reply to FGG, SIT stated

that none of the police officers

was cited as accused in any case.

The names of two Additional

Superintendents of Police, seven

Deputy Superintendents of Police,

13 inspectors, two head constables

and one constable had surfaced for

their alleged links with Nayeem

and his associates. FGG had earlier

appealed to the governor to

hand over the case to the Central

Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It

alleged attempts to dilute the SIT

investigation.

"About 240 cases were registered

after the encounter of

Nayeem. It is stated that in 173

cases charge sheets were filed, but

even after four years not a single

case was brought to its logical

conclusion," Padmanabha Reddy

said.

Nayeem alias Mohammed

Nayeemuddin was killed in an

alleged exchange of fire with

police in Shadnagar town on

August 8, 2016.

The most wanted gangster was

involved in land grabbing, abduction

and extortion and he allegedly

had links with politicians and

police officers.

Work from home order

eased in Australian state

Sydney : As of Monday, the public health order issued

by authorities in New South Wales (NSW) requiring companies

to allow staff to work from home has been lifted as

the Australian state has not reported new locally acquired

Covid-19 cases. The local business community has welcomed

the news, saying the move is expected to bring back

much needed foot traffic and benefit local business, especially

those located in the central area of Sydney, the capital

of NSW, reports Xinhua news agency.

As employees return to the office, the companies are

encouraged to have Covid-19 safety plans in place and stagger

staff starting and finishing times to reduce the impact on

public transport, while workers have been strongly recommended

to continue to wear masks on public transport, the

NSW government said on its website. Meanwhile, the border

restriction between NSW and the state of South

Australia (SA) has also been lifted, allowing people to travel

freely across two states without quarantine, the health

department said in a statement on Monday. Also, the limit

on the number of people allowed to visit residents in aged

care facilities will be removed from Tuesday, making festive

performances within those facilities possible ahead of

Christmas, the department added. "The risk of transmission

in the community is now low enough to facilitate the easing

of restrictions for aged care, just as the NSW government

has eased restrictions across many other areas," NSW

Health's Director of Aged Care Stefanie Williams said.

NSW has so far reported 4,645 confirmed coronavirus cases

and 53 deaths. As of Monday, Australia's overall caseload

and death toll stood at 28,031 and 908, respectively.

NZ to open borders to Australian

travellers from early 2021: PM

Wellington : New Zealand Prime

Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday

announced that her country would

open its borders to travellers from

Australia early next year if coronavirus

cases numbers remain low.

Addressing reporters here, Ardern

said: "Cabinet has agreed in principle

to establish a travel bubble with

Australia. We anticipate in the first

quarter of 2021 pending confirmation

from the Australian cabinet and no significant

change in the circumstances of

either country."

The Prime Minister added that officials

were working on a number of

issues and there has been good

progress, 9 News reported.

"There has been some public focus

on the requirement for 28 days free of

community transmission, but that is

just one of the criteria and areas where

preparation needs to be done before

opening. "As important as having clear

plans on the event of an outbreak in

either country that may see borders

close and potentially thousands of New

Zealanders seeking to return who may

need to go into isolation.

"There are also

arrangements to be

made with airlines

about the management

of the air crew and

separation, for example,

of other trans-

Tasman flights to

ensure there's no

potential cross contamination,"

she

added. Ardern however,

did not reveal the date when the

travel bubble will start operating.

Responding to the announcement,

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt

said that the resumption of travel

between the two countries would benefit

both economies, Xinhua news

agency reported.

"We welcome the advice from New

Zealand, it's the second half of the

equation," he told reporters.

"This is a sign that New Zealand

and Australia aren't just working

together, but that families can be back

together in both directions.

"Friends can be back together in

both directions and flights can be full

in both directions which is good for the

economy, good for our airlines and

good for both countries. "It's the first

step on a return to international normality,"

the Health Minister further

said. Hunt added Australia is "ready to

implement from our side as soon as

New Zealand is ready". "We understand

it may take a few more weeks,

but we are working constructively and

patiently."

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

11

I am not Gandhi’s monkey:

Hate offender, Ragini Tiwari

spewing hate against farmers

She has warned the Government that

if farmers are not stopped from protesting

further, ‘Jaffrabad’ will be recreated

After her inciteful and hateful speeches

during the anti CAA protests that led to

the brute violence in Delhi in February

2020, Ragini Tiwari is at it again. This

time she has targeted India’s farmers who

have been peacefully protesting outside

the nation’s capital for 19 days, in an

attempt to delegitimise their strength.

In a 2-minute-long video that has now

gone viral on social media platforms, Ragini

Tiwari is appealing to the masses to prepare

themselves for December 17 to recreate

Jafrabad (read Delhi riots) if the farmers

don’t stop protesting and leave Delhi.

She has openly issued a fresh warning to

the Central and Delhi Government that if the

protests are not put an end to by December

16, she will take to the streets and get all

roads cleared and history will repeat itself.

By history, she means the Delhi Pogrom

where she brazenly called for the slaughter

of Muslims.

“Hum toh nipat hi lenge kisan andalon se”

(We will deal with the farmers protests), she

openly says! Clad in a saffron shawl that

reads Jai Shri Ram, she is working very hard

to quell the strapping voices of the farmers

lamenting over the them being allowed to

protest during a pandemic but barring

Chhath Puja in some parts of the country.

She also unsuccessfully links the protests

with Dr. Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam

insinuating that the Kisan Andolan Army is

conspiring to release them. Tiwari says that

she is not Gandhi’s monkey to close her eyes

and be oblivious to reality.

During the communal clash in 2020, she

was seen mobilising people to come and

fight against the minority communities

through her provocative and incendiary

videos. Citizens for Justice and Peace had

also filed a detailed complaint with

Facebook regarding her communal activities

in March 2020 where she also used derogatory

language for the Delhi Police for their

alleged inaction against the Non-Hindus.

On a Facebook Live video, the self-styled

Hindutva leader Ragini Tiwari alias Janki

Behen, was documented saying, “Bahut hua

sanathan par vaar, ab nahi sahenge vaar.

Sanathaniyo baahar aao. Maro ya maar

daalo. Baad mein dekhi jayegi. Bahut hua.

Ab jiska khoon na khaula, khoon nahi wo

paani hai” (Enough attacks on Hinduism. We

won’t tolerate such attacks anymore. Hindus

come out. Die or kill. Rest shall be seen later.

If your blood has not boiled even now, it’s

not blood, it’s water)

Her new hateful adventure targets the

farmers alluding to cleanse them off the

streets. This cyber-Hindutva calling for a

coordinated campaign is objectively offensive,

causing humiliation and alienation of

the agricultural community. Her hate speech

lays at the heart of causing public disorder

and demeans the dignity of the targeted community,

promoting divisiveness.

COURTESY : SABRANG

Nooran sisters join farmer

protest at Singhu border

New Delhi : As the farmer protests entered the 19th day on

Monday and farmer leaders are on hunger strike, famous Punjabi

singers - the Nooran sisters - also came out in support of the farmers.

The Nooran sisters visited the Singhu border here to extend their

support and show solidarity with the farmers. They met the protesting

farmers and also got on to the stage to sing a song for the farmers.

While speaking to IANS, they said, "Whatever is happening, it is

really wrong. We want to tell the government that burgers and pizzas

don't fill up stomachs, 'roti' does that and its the farmers who give this

to us." "Whatever we all are today, it's all because of the farmers," the

singers said.

The farmer leaders began their one-day hunger strike at 8:00 a.m.

and the same would continue till 5:00 p.m. on Monday.

The farmer leaders sitting on hunger strike include Gurnam Singh

Chironi from Haryana, Harinder Singh Lakhowal from Punjab and

other leaders of more than 30 farmer unions under the banner of

Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.

The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment

and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services

Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion

and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities

(Amendment) Act 2020.

Meghan Markle makes surprise TV appearance

Los Angeles : Meghan Markle, the

Duchess of Sussex, made a surprise

TV appearance, during which she paid

tribute to this year's "most inspiring

moments and the people who made

them happen", a media report said. She

made the unscheduled appearance on

CNN's annual Heroes TV special on

Sunday.

Speaking about the ongoing coronavirus

pandemic, Markle thanked the

"individuals (who) stood up and made

sure the most basic needs of our communities

were met", which she said

was "universally challenging for

everyone".

"They made sure those around them

did not have to suffer in isolation," she

said.

"In the face of this devastating reality,

we saw the power of the human

spirit and the remarkable ways that

communities respond in challenging

times.

"We saw the good in people, in our

neighbours and in entire communities

coming together to say they would not

stand by while our neighbours went

hungry," the Duchess was quoted as

saying.

Markle and her husband, the UK's

Prince Harry are presently based in

Los Angeles after having stepped back

as senior royals in March.

For their last public appearance as

working members of the Royal Family,

Harry and Meghan joined the Queen

and other senior royals at the

Commonwealth Day service at

Westminster Abbey on March 9.

They have since begun their new

life of personal independence in the

US, pursuing charity projects.

Despite the raging pandemic, the

Sussexes delivered meals to residents

of Los Angeles through Project Angel

Food, which helps feed the chronically

ill, reports CNN.

On kanshi TV

channel 772.

SATURDAY at

6 :00 pm

SUNDAY at

6 :00 pm

Ambedkarites News and Views

by

BUDDHIST INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Mob : 07411 251 804, 07847 307 059


12 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

How caste-based labour still

thrives in Indian prisons, plus

nine more weekend reads

In Indian prisons, castebased

labour is not just still

prevalent – it even finds

mention in official manuals,

reports Sukanya Shantha in

The Wire.

“Every Indian is affected,”

writes P Sainath about

the new farm laws that have

sparked protests.

“Translated into English,

the legal-lingo of these laws

also convert the (low-level)

executive into a judiciary.

Into, in fact, judge, jury and

executioner. It also magnifies

the already most unjust

imbalance of power

between farmers and the

giant corporations they will

be dealing with.”

Parth MN speaks to R

Ramakumar in First Post

about the impact that large

corporations might have on small and

marginal farmers.

Abid Hussain and Shruti Menon

break down the report of a European

non-governmental organisation that

claimed to have exposed an Indian

disinformation effort spanning 15

years.

“In India, people can be accused of

being terror operatives on the flimsiest

of charges,” writes Amit Kumar in

Article 14. “A disproportionate number

are Muslim, with many cases built

on paper-thin evidence and police

confessions that are legally inadmissible.”

Also in Article 14, Samrat

Choudhury speaks to journalist

Kishorchandra Wangkhe, who has

been “jailed thrice in the last two

years, charged with sedition twice,

and spent 133 days in prison in preventive

detention under the National

Security Act, all for Facebook posts

critical of the current Manipur government”.

“In the last two years, the

Bharatiya Janata Party government

has liberally used the harsh anti-terror

law, the Unlawful Activities

Prevention Act, against students, academics,

lawyers, writers, and activists

whose only crime seems to be that

they are vocal dissenters of the ruling

dispensation,” writes Priya Ramani in

Bloomberg Quint. “As families wait

endlessly for their loved ones to be

released, they must keep their stories

alive in the public imagination. In

addition to tackling rejected bail

applications, delayed trials, endless

paperwork, and tighter prison rules in

the pandemic, they must also be the

gladiators who ensure that nobody

will forget their loved ones.”

Joel Gunter and Vikas Pandey tell

the story of Waldemar Haffkine who,

working in Paris and India, created

the world’s first vaccines for the

plague and cholera, before an accidental

mass poisoning changed his

life.

“More than just a buzzword, dual

circulation describes the deeply pessimistic

worldview that has settled

over Beijing,” writes James Crabtree.

“Once China’s leaders saw opportunity

in globalization. Now, they expect

the U.S. and its allies to deny China

the technology it needs to build “a

modern socialist country” by midcentury,

meaning a wealthy superpower

fit to rival the U.S.”

An Israeli professor who was head

of the country’s space programme for

30 years has claimed that Israel and

the US have both been dealing with

interplanetary aliens for decades.

Courtesy : Scroll.in

Indian-origin scientist discovers

new way to filter fake news

New York : Using

machine learning

(ML), a team of US

researchers led by

Indian-American

computer scientist

A n s h u m a l i

Shrivastava at Rice

University has discovered

an efficient way

for social media companies

to keep misinformation

from

spreading online.

Their method

applies machine learning in a smarter

way to improve the performance of

Bloom filters, a widely used technique

devised a half-century ago.

Using test databases of fake news

stories and computer viruses,

Shrivastava and statistics graduate student

Zhenwei Dai showed their

Adaptive Learned Bloom Filter (Ada-

BF) required 50 per cent less memory

to achieve the same level of performance

as learned Bloom filters.

To explain their filtering approach,

Shrivastava and Dai cited some data

from Twitter. The social media giant

recently revealed that its users added

about 500 million tweets a day, and

tweets typically appeared online one

second after a user hit send.

"Around the time of the election

they were getting about 10,000 tweets

a second, and with a one-second latency

that's about six tweets per millisecond,"

Shrivastava said.

"If you want to apply a filter that

reads every tweet and flags the ones

with information that's known to be

fake, your flagging mechanism cannot

be slower than six milliseconds or you

will fall behind and never catch up."

If flagged tweets are sent for an

additional, manual review, it's also

vitally important to have a low falsepositive

rate. In other words, you need

to minimize how many genuine tweets

are flagged by mistake. "If your falsepositive

rate is as low as 0.1%, even

then you are mistakenly flagging 10

tweets per second, or more than

800,000 per day, for manual review,"

Shrivastava said. "This is precisely

why most of the traditional AI-only

approaches are prohibitive for controlling

the misinformation."

The new approach to scanning

social media is outlined in a study presented

at the online-only 2020

Conference on Neural Information

Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020).

Shrivastava said Twitter doesn't

disclose its methods for filtering

tweets, but they are believed to employ

a Bloom filter, a low-memory technique

invented in 1970 for checking to

see if a specific data element, like a

piece of computer code, is part of a

known set of elements, like a database

of known computer viruses.

A Bloom filter is guaranteed to find

all code that matches the database, but

it records some false positives too.

"A Bloom filter allows to you check

tweets very quickly, in a millionth of a

second or less. If it says a tweet is

clean, that it does not match anything

in your database of misinformation,

that's 100% guaranteed," Shrivastava

noted. Within the past three years,

researchers have offered various

schemes for using machine learning to

augment Bloom filters and improve

their efficiency.

"When people use machine learning

models today, they waste a lot of useful

information that's coming from the

machine learning model," Dai said.

Hunger Index Among Poor in 11 States Continues

to Be Dire Post-Lockdown : Survey

As per the report’s findings, 64% of

people said that their consumption of

lentils had gone down and 73% said

their consumption of green vegetables

had reduced in the last two months.

New Delhi: More than five months

after the nationwide COVID-19-

induced lockdown came to an end, the

hunger index among the poor and the

marginalised section of society continues

to be grave in as many as eleven

states, according to a ‘Hunger Watch’

report published this week.

The report, collated by the Right to

Food Campaign along with a number

of similar non-governmental networks,

was based on a survey carried

out on 3,994 persons between

September and October 2020. A

majority of those included in the survey

earned less than Rs 7,000 per

month. The states included in the survey

were Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat,

Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi,

Telangana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal,

Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and

Tamil Nadu. While 2,186 persons

were interviewed in rural areas, the

rest were surveyed in urban areas.

Those interviewed mainly belonged to

the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled

Tribes and religious minority communities

including Muslims.

“About 77 per cent of the PVTG

(particularly vulnerable tribal groups)

families, 76 per cent of Dalits, and 54

per cent of the adivasis reported that

their quantity of food consumption

decreased in September-October as

compared to pre-lockdown period,”

the New Indian Express said, quoting

from the report.

“When it came to consumption of

cereals, pulses and vegetables, 53 per

cent reported that their consumption

of rice/wheat had decreased in

September-October and for about one

in four, it has “decreased a lot.”,” the

report said. As per the findings, while

64% people said that their consumption

of lentils had gone down, 73%

said their consumption of green vegetables

had reduced in the last two

months. Protests Rage, Talks Fail, But

Narendra Modi Insists New Laws Will

‘Benefit Farmers’

“About 56 per cent of the respondents

never had to skip meals before

lockdown. In September and October,

27 per cent respondents went to bed

without eating. About one in 20 households

often went to bed without eating,”

the news report said. In Gujarat,

the survey conducted by Anna

Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan stated that

while 20.6% households sometimes

skipped meals due to lack of food at

home, 28% said that they went to bed

without a meal. According to a report

in the Indian Express, the survey, conducted

in nine districts of the state –

Ahmedabad, Anand, Bharuch,

Bhavnagar, Dahod, Morbi, Narmada,

Panchmahals and Vadodara – also

found that that in Gujarat, many ration

cards have been made “silent”.

“The government has not given

accurate information to the families,

many of whom are from very deprived

communities, as to why their ration

cards cannot be used anymore to claim

their basic entitlements. This process

of making ration cards ‘silent’ has

happened at the local taluka and/or

district level. Additionally, in many

areas, taluka level committee meetings

are not being held due to Covid-19

effectively depriving families their

right to food security.” the report said,

quoting from the findings.

A news report in The Hindu based

on the findings said, “About 71% of

those who were non-vegetarians could

not afford eggs or meat. When quizzed

about their perception of drop in quantity

of food as compared to pre-

COVID 19, nearly 66% or 2/3rd of

people said they were having less than

the quantity they used to eat.” The

report also highlighted discrimination

reported by Dalit and Muslim families

while accessing food.

Based on its survey, the Right to

Food Campaign has demanded a universal

public distribution system that

supplies every household with at least

10 kg grain, 1.5 kg pulses and 800

gram cooking oil till June 2021.

The news report stated the survey

results called “into question the government’s

decision to withdraw free

grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib

Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) after

November.” Courtesy : The Wire


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

HEALTH

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

13

Govt survey finds drastic rise in obesity

among kids under 5 years in 20 states

Men and women were counted as obese whose body mass index was found to be over or equal to

25.0 kg/m2 while children's obesity was counted in terms of weight-for-height

New Delhi : The latest National

Family Health Survey (NFHS) has

found a drastic rise in obesity among

children under five years of age in 20 of

the 22 states where the study was conducted,

with experts attributing it to lack

of physical activity and unhealthy food

habits. According to the NHFS-5, several

states and Union Territories, including

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mizoram,

Tripura, Lakshadweep, Jammu and

Kashmir, and Ladakh, have registered

several folds increase in the percentage

of obesity among children below five

years of age in comparison to NFHS-4

conducted between 2015 and 2016.

Only Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli,

and Daman and Diu registered a drop in

the number of overweight children

under five years of age, the data

showed. About 13.4 per cent of children

under the age of five were found to be

obese in Ladakh which was highest

among the 22 states and Union

Territories surveyed, followed by

Lakshadweep at 10.5 per cent, Mizoram

10 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir, and

Sikkim 9.6 per cent each.

Not just children, rise in obesity has

even been recorded in adults in the latest

survey in comparison to NFHS-4.

According to the survey data, 16

states and Union Territories registered a

rise in obesity among women while 19

states and UTs recorded an increase in

obesity among men.

Kerala and the Andaman and

Nicobar Islands recorded the highest

percentage of obesity among women at

38 per cent. Also, the Andaman and

Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep

recorded the highest percentage of obesity

among women at over 40 per cent.

Men and women were counted as

obese whose body mass index was

found to be over or equal to 25.0 kg/m2

while children's obesity was counted in

terms of weight-for-height.

Healthcare experts have attributed

the rise in obesity to unhealthy food

choices and lack of physical activities

among children and even adults.

Sheila Vir, a public health nutrition

expert and founder director of Public

Health Nutrition and Development

Centre, said there is also lack of awareness

on what are good food habits.

Also, high-fat and high-sugar foods

are easily available and so there is higher

consumption of it, she said. "We have

a double burden of undernutrition, malnutrition

and overnutrition occurring

together. So, I think what to feed a child

is what we are going wrong in," Vir

said. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic,

she also raised concern over the rise

in obesity.

"There might be an increase in obesity

among children in view of COVID-

19 pandemic as after closure of schools,

there was lack of physical activity

among children and even in adults in

some cases," she said. Dr. Khan Amir

Maroof, Professor at Department of

Community Medicine, University

College of Medical Sciences and GTB

Hospital termed the rise in obesity a

"very disturbing sign".

"Obesity is a manifestation of what is

rapidly changing in our environment.

Of late, we see trends which increase

the risk of developing obesity.

Environmental factors, such as availability

and consumption of junk foods,

poor complementary feeding, lack of

outdoor activity, and increased screen

time on may be the reason for this

trend," he said.

"For children, we need to flag screen

time as it has multi-dimensional effects

on children, obesity, being one of them.

The focus has been on breastfeeding,

but now it's time that complementary

feeding is also focused upon," Dr

Maroof suggested.

About the repercussions of obesity

among children, he said non-communicable

diseases can develop among obese

children earlier than others.

"There are higher chances for them

being bullied in schools, neglected or

shamed by peers, which lead to mental

health problems among them," he said.

Among adults, he said more consumption

of ready-to-eat foods, increase

in screen time with the 24-hour access

to web content, and lack of outdoor

spaces seem to be hitting adults with

obesity.

He suggested that children, with

more stress on complementary feeding

practices in the community, and reducing

screen time, can be the immediate

actions.

"Counselling of breastfeeding mothers

of children around 4 months of age

should focus on counselling on complementary

feeding. We find that all mothers

know 'what' to give to the child but

'how much', 'when' and in 'what consistency'

need to be explained with respect

to complementary feeding. Intervention

strategies to reduce screen time are

needed," he said.

The NFHS results of 17 states and

five Union Territories have been

released now as phase-one. The phasetwo

results covering other states will be

released next year, the health ministry

had said.

The present NFHS was conducted on

6.1 lakh sample households, involving

household-level interviews to collect

information on population, health, family

planning and nutrition related indicators.

Fake Covid-19 vaccines, remedies flooding dark web : Report

All of the vendors we found insist on payment in bitcoin, as it minimises the chance of them being traced

New Delhi : With several countries

including the US and the UK

now approving the use of Pfizer-

BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine,

cybercriminals have sensed an

opportunity to lure people into

buying fake remedies on the dark

web, said a report from cybersecurity

firm Check Point.

Researchers at Check Point said

they have found a stream of posts

on the darknet from sources claiming

to have a range of "coronavirus

vaccines" or "coronavirus remedies"

for sale. The range of medicines

advertised by these vendors

is extensive, with one vendor even

showing vaccine availability for

$250, said the report. However, the

researchers warned that the remedies

advertised on the darknet are

likely to be fake.

"All of the vendors we found

insist on payment in bitcoin, as it

minimises the chance of them

being traced, casting further doubt

on the authenticity of the medicines

they are selling," Check Point

said in a blog post. In communications

with one vendor, they offered

to sell an unspecified Covid-19

vaccine for 0.01 BTC (around

$300) and claimed that 14 doses

were required.

This advice contradicts official

announcements which state that

some Covid vaccines require two

shots, given 3 weeks apart, per person.

In this example, the seller

claimed to have stocks of a leading

vaccine producers newly-approved

vaccine available for sale and

delivery from the UK, US and

Spain.

Another vendor on the dark web

was found offering chloroquine as

a regular coronavirus "treatment",

for only $10 with the claim that

"Hydroxychloroquine, a medicine

for malaria that has been touted

as a treatment for coronavirus."

This follows statements from

US President Donald Trump who

touted the use of hydroxychloroquine

to ward off coronavirus, in

contradiction to the advice from his

public health officials.

Check Point researchers also

warned that positive news about

vaccine trials in November and

imminent availability also led to a

surge in new web domains that

relate to Covid-19 or vaccines

being registered.

"Our data shows that since the

beginning of November there were

1,062 new domains which contain

the word 'vaccine' that were registered,

out of which 400 also contain

'covid' or 'corona'. Six of these

sites were found to be 'suspicious',"

Check Point said.


14 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New study shows BARICITINIB with

remdesivir promising for treating Covid

A total of 1,033 patients participated in the trail – 515 assigned

to combination treatment and 518 to control group

Washington : The combination of

baricitinib – an anti-inflammatory drug

– and remdesivir – an antiviral –

reduced time to recovery for people

hospitalised with COVID-19, according

to clinical trial results published in the

New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was supported by the US

National Institute of Allergy and

Infectious Diseases – part of the US

National Institutes of Health.

Researchers conducted a doubleblind,

randomised, placebo-controlled

trial evaluating baricitinib plus remdesivir

in hospitalised adults with

COVID-19. All the patients received

remdesivir and either baricitinib or

placebo. A total of 1,033 patients participated

in the trail, with 515 assigned to

combination treatment, and 518 to control

group. Results show the combination

of baricitinib and remdesivir

reduced median time to recovery in hospitalised

COVID-19 patients from eight

days to seven days. Patients who

required high-flow oxygen or non-invasive

ventilation during their hospitalisation

appeared to have had the largest

benefit, as their median time to recovery

was shortened from 18 days to 10 days.

In addition, participants' conditions

on Day 15 of the study was significantly

improved when they received the two

therapeutics combined. Recipients of

the two treatments also had slightly

fewer serious adverse effects, according

to the study. These results do appear to

show that baricitinib plus remdesivir

can benefit some COVID-19 patients

and the combination deserves further

clinical study, according to the

researchers.

Researchers find 5 key genes

linked to severe COVID-19

London : Potential treatments

for COVID -19 have been

identified after the discovery of

five genes associated with the

most severe form of the disease,

say researchers.

According to a study, published

in the journal 'Nature',

genetic evidence is second only

to clinical trials as a way to tell

which treatments will be effective

in a disease. The existing

drugs that target the actions of

the genes reveal which drugs

should be repurposed to treat

COVID-19 in clinical trials, the

researchers said.

Genes involved in two molecular

processes---antiviral immunity

and lung inflammation---

were pinpointed. The breakthrough

will help doctors understand

how COVID-19 damages

the lungs at a molecular level.

Researchers from the University

of Edinburgh made the discovery

by studying the DNA of

2,700 patients in 208 intensive

care units (ICUs) in the UK.

The research team from the

GenOMICC consortium---a

global collaboration to study

genetics in critical illness---compared

the genetic information of

COVID-19 patients in ICU with

samples provided by healthy

volunteers from other studies,

such as UK Biobank,

Generation Scotland and

100,000 Genomes. The team

found key differences in five

genes of the ICU patients compared

with samples provided by

healthy volunteers. The genes---

IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9

and CCR2---partially explain

why some people become desperately

sick with Covid-19,

while others are not affected.

Having highlighted the genes,

the team were then able to predict

the effect of drug treatments

on patients, because some genetic

variants respond in a similar

way to particular drugs.

For example, they showed

that a reduction in the activity of

the TYK2 gene protects against

COVID-19. A class of antiinflammatory

drugs called JAK

inhibitors, which includes the

drug baricitinib, produces this

effect. They also discovered that

a boost in the activity of the gene

INFAR2 is also likely to create

protection, because it is likely to

mimic the effect of treatment

with interferon---proteins

released by cells of the immune

system to defend against viruses.

However, experts caution that

to be effective, patients might

need the treatment early in the

disease. Also, the clinical trials

should focus on drugs that target

these specific antiviral and antiinflammatory

pathways. "Our

genetic results provide a

roadmap through the complexity

of immune signals, showing the

route to key drug targets," said

study author Kenneth Baillie

from the University of

Edinburgh. "Our results immediately

highlight which drugs

should be at the top of the list for

clinical testing," Baillie added.

Canada warns allergic

people against Pfizer

Covid-19 VACCINE

Pfizer is one of four vaccine candidates

Health Canada has been evaluating

Ottawa : Health Canada has

warned people allergic to any of

the ingredients in thr Pfizer-

BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine not

to receive it. In a notification on

Saturday, the federal health policy

agency said it issued the

warning after following up on

the two reports of anaphylactoid

reactions to the vaccine in the

UK, Xinhua news agency

reported. The reactions occurred

on December 8 and the two persons

had a history of severe

allergic reactions and carried

adrenaline auto injectors.

They both were treated and

have recovered.

“As vaccine roll-out begins

in Canada, Canadians may be

wondering about the risks of

allergic reactions. “In Canada,

all vaccines carry a warning

about the risk of serious allergic

reactions, including anaphylaxis,

and immunization clinics are

equipped to manage these rare

events,” the agency said in the

notification. Health Canada listed

the ingredients in the vaccine

and it also urged individuals

who have experienced a serious

allergic reaction to another vaccine,

drug, or food to speak with

their healthcare professional

before they receive the vaccine.

It said it has reviewed the

available evidence related to the

allergic reactions and has concluded

the available public

health guidance is appropriate

and is not recommending any

changes to the product’s use at

this time. It stressed that it will

continue to monitor this situation

closely.

“If any new safety issues are

confirmed, Health Canada will

take appropriate action, which

could include communicating

any new risks to Canadians and

healthcare providers or changing

the recommended use of the

product,” the notification further

said.

It said it has identified no

major safety concerns for the

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and

its benefits outweigh the risks.

“The side effects observed during

clinical trials of Pfizer-

BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine

are similar to those experienced

with other vaccines, including

pain at the site of injection,

body chills, feeling tired and

feeling feverish,” Health

Canada said.

“These side effects will

resolve on their own and do not

pose a risk to health.” Last

week, Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau announced that up to

249,000 doses of the Pfizer-

BioNTech vaccine would be on

hand by the end of December to

start the mass inoculation campaign

in the country.

Pfizer was one of four vaccine

candidates Health Canada

has been evaluating, with

assessment ongoing for the

Moderna, AstraZeneca, and

Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

In total, Canada has reportedly

signed contracts guaranteeing

access to 194 million doses

of potential Covid-19 vaccines

with the option to purchase 220

million more.

Canada has so far reported a

total of 458,527 coronavirus

cases and 13,367 deaths.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Rio De Janeiro : Night began to

fall in Rio de Janeiro's Pedra Branca

state park as four Brazilian scientists

switched on their flashlights to traipse

along a narrow trail of mud through

dense rainforest. The researchers were

on a mission: capture bats and help

prevent the next global pandemic.

A few meters ahead, nearly invisible

in the darkness, a bat made highpitched

squeaks as it strained its wings

against the thin nylon net that had

ensnared it. One of the researchers

removed the bat, which used its pointed

teeth to bite her gloved fingers.

The November nighttime outing

was part of a project at Brazil's staterun

Fiocruz Institute to collect and

study viruses present in wild animals

— including bats, which many scientists

believe were linked to the outbreak

of COVID-19.

The goal now is to identify other

viruses that may be highly contagious

and lethal in humans and to use that

information to devise plans to stop

them from ever infecting people — to

forestall the next potential global disease

outbreak before it gets started.

In a highly connected world, an

outbreak in one place endangers the

entire globe, just as the coronavirus

did. And the Brazilian team is just one

among many worldwide racing to

minimise the risk of a second pandemic

this century.

It's no coincidence that many disease

scientists are focusing attention

on bats, the world's only flying mammals.

Bats are thought to be the original

or intermediary hosts for multiple

viruses that have spawned recent epidemics,

including SARS, MERS,

Ebola, Nipah virus, Hendra virus and

Marburg virus.

A 2019 study found that of viruses

originating from the five most common

mammalian sources — primates,

rodents, carnivores, ungulates and bats

— those from bats are the most virulent

in humans.

Bats are a diverse group, with more

than 1,400 species flitting across every

continent except Antarctica. But what

many have in common are adaptations

that allow them to carry viruses that

HEALTH

Scientists focus on bats for clues

to prevent next pandemic

Bats are thought to be the original or intermediary hosts for

multiple viruses that have spawned recent epidemics

are deadly in humans and livestock

while exhibiting minimal symptoms

themselves — meaning they are able

to travel and shed those viruses,

instead of being quickly hobbled.

“The secret is that bats have

unusual immune systems, and that's

related to their ability to fly,” said

Raina Plowright, an epidemiologist

who studies bats at Montana State

University. Plowright and other bat

scientists believe evolutionary

tweaks that help bats recover from

the stress of flying, when their metabolic

rate rises sixteen-fold, also give

them extra protection against

pathogens. Probing the secrets of bat

immune systems may help scientists

understand more about when bats do

shed viruses, as well as providing

hints for possible future medical

treatment strategies, said Arinjay

Banerjee, a virologist at McMaster

University in Canada. Increasing

destruction and fragmentation of

habitats worldwide — especially biodiverse

areas like tropical forests —

means “we are seeing higher rates of

contact between wildlife and

humans, creating more opportunities

for spillover,” said Cara Brook, a disease

ecologist at the University of

California, Berkeley.

In India, a National Mission on

Biodiversity and Human Well-Being

has been pending since 2018 and will

likely be launched next year. A core

part of the plan is to set up 25 virus

surveillance sites across the country. A

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

15

varied patchwork of virus surveillance

programs exists in several other countries,

but funding tends to wax and

wane with the political climate and

sense of urgency.

One approach that won't help, scientists

say, is treating bats as the

enemy — vilifying them, throwing

stones or trying to burn them out of

caves. An attack along those lines took

place this spring when villagers in the

Indian state of Rajasthan identified bat

colonies in abandoned forts and

palaces and killed hundreds with bats

and sticks. Scientists say such tactics

are likely to backfire.

“Stress is a huge factor in upsetting

the natural balance that bats have with

their viruses — the more you stress

bats, the more they shed viruses,” said

Vikram Misra, a virologist at the

University of Saskatchewan in

Canada. “People have a lot of misconceptions

about bats. They're nocturnal

and look a little weird flying,” said

Hannah Kim Frank, a biologist at

Tulane University.

“But bats aren't aggressive — and

attacking bats doesn't help control diseases.”

Bats also play vital roles in

ecosystems: They consume insects

like mosquitos, pollinate plants like

agave, and disperse seeds.

“We actually need bats in the wild

to consume insects that otherwise

destroy cotton, corn and pecan harvests,”

said Kristen Lear, an ecologist

at Bat Conservational International.

A better approach to minimize disease

risk, Frank said, is simply to minimize

contact between wild bats and

people and livestock.

In Australia, widespread destruction

of winter-flowering eucalyptus

trees that provide nectar for fruit bats

— known locally as “flying foxes” —

prompted the bats to move into areas

closer to human settlements looking

for alternate meals, including to a suburb

of Brisbane called Hendra.

There, the bats transmitted a virus

to horses, which in turn infected people.

First identified in 1994 and named

Hendra virus, it is highly lethal, killing

60 per cent of people and 75 per cent

of horses infected.

WINE, CHEESE MAY REDUCE

COGNITIVE DECLINE: STUDY

The findings showed that cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems

New York : Researchers have

revealed that diet modifications -

including more wine and cheese - may

help reduce age-related cognitive

decline in later years.

The study, published in the Journal

of Alzheimer's Disease, is the first of

its kind large scale analysis that connects

specific foods to later-in-life

cognitive acuity.

For the findings, the research team

from the Iowa State University in the

US, analysed data collected from

1,787 ageing adults (from 46 to 77

years of age, at the completion of the

study) in the UK.

Participants completed a Fluid

Intelligence Test (FIT) as part of a

touchscreen questionnaire at baseline

(compiled between 2006 and 2010)

and then in two follow-up assessments

(conducted from 2012 through

2013 and again between 2015 and

2016). Participants also answered

questions about their food and alcohol

consumption at baseline and through

two follow up assessments.

The Food Frequency Questionnaire

asked participants about their intake

of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables

and salad, cooked vegetables,

oily fish, lean fish, processed meat,

poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese,

bread, cereal, tea and coffee, beer and

cider, red wine, white wine and champagne

and liquor.

The findings showed that cheese,

by far, was shown to be the most protective

food against age-related cognitive

problems, even late in life.

The daily consumption of alcohol,

particularly red wine, was related to

improvements in cognitive function.

The researchers found that weekly

consumption of lamb, but not other

red meats, was shown to improve

long-term cognitive prowess.

Excessive consumption of salt is

bad, but only individuals already at

risk of Alzheimer's disease may need

to watch their intake to avoid cognitive

problems over time.

"Our results suggest that responsibly

eating cheese and drinking red

wine daily are not just good for helping

us cope with our current Covid-19

pandemic, but perhaps also dealing

with an increasingly complex world

that never seems to slow down," the

study authors wrote.


16 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 TECHNOLOGY

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

J&K power sector to receive

Rs 11,000 cr financial aid

Virgin Galactic cuts

short first rocketpowered

spaceflight

San Francisco : Billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism

company Virgin Galactic cut short the first rocket-powered test

flight of its spaceplane from New Mexico in the US.

The company had been planning to reach space with the test

flight on Saturday but the spaceplane’s engine cut off too early.

Following the incident, the vehicle’s two pilots flew back to

Spaceport America and landed safely. “Our flight today did not

reach space as we had been planning,” said Michael Colglazier,

CEO, Virgin Galactic.

“After being released from its mothership, SpaceShip Two

Unity’s onboard computer that monitors the rocket motor lost

connection. As designed this triggered a fail-safe scenario that

intentionally halted ignition of the rocket motor,” he said.

This test flight hoped to fulfill a number of objectives, including

testing elements of the spaceplane’s customer cabin as well

as assessing the upgraded horizontal stabilisers and flight controls

during boost.

The flight also carried payloads as part of the NASA Flight

Opportunities Programme.

“As we do with every test flight, we are evaluating all the

data, including the root cause assessment of the computer communication

loss,” Colglazier said, adding, that the company

would share information on its next flight window in the near

future. This flight which the Virgin Galactic had to cut short was

meant to be a key step in helping the company in preparation of

its aim sending first passengers to space on the spaceplane called

VSS Unity, The Verge reported.

The space tourism company aims at starting flying commercial

passengers from 2021, the report said.

12.9-inch Huawei MatePad with 120Hz

OLED screen may launch next year

Beijing : Huawei is expected to launch its flagship P50 series

smartphones

early next year

and now a new

report claims

that along with

the P50 series

smartphones,

the company

will also launch

a new tablet

‘MatePad’.

According to

GizmoChina,

the tablet is

expected to

come with a

12.9-inch OLED display, offering a 120Hz refresh rate and

ultra-narrow bezels surrounding the screen. The body of the

device, made up of metal, will be thin and light.

The new tablet would run Huawei’s “PadOS” – based on the

company’s incoming Harmony OS – the one that’s meant to succeed

EMUI 11 – supported by more of Huawei’s in-house services.

As for the processor, the device could come powered by the

company’s own Kirin 9000 chipset – the same chipset that powers

the Huawei Mate 40 lineup.

In addition, Huawei is reportedly in the final stage of testing

the liquid lens for flagship phones which is supposed to largely

improve image stabilisation and focus times. China National

Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) approved an

important camera module patent related to the Liquid Lens.

Srinagar : A loan assistance of Rs

11,024.47 crore has been approved for

Jammu & Kashmir under the Atmanirbhar

Bharat Abhiyan (liquidity infusion scheme

in DISCOMs).

This will enable J&K to clear its outstanding

payments under power purchases

made by it, officials said.

An MoU for availing the second tranche

of this loan for Rs 5,444.47 crore was

signed between JK Power Development

Department, J&K Power Corporation Ltd

and Power Finance Corporation in Srinagar

on Saturday.

It may be recalled that under the

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the

Government of India had announced a special

package of Rs 90,000 crore for liquidity

infusion in DISCOMs for clearing their

power purchase liabilities to tide over

financial crisis owing to low power recoveries.

In pursuance, Jammu and Kashmir

immediately started fulfillment of pre-loan

requisites and signed the MoU for the first

tranche of the loan of Rs 5,580 crore

through identified financial organisations

i.e Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC)

and Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd

(REC) in October 2020.

With the signing of Saturday’s MoU,

J&K would be able to lift the full quantum

of loan of Rs 11,024.47 crore allotted to it,

enabling it to fully liquidate its power purchase

liabilities as accumulated on June 30,

2020. J&K has an annual power purchase

bill of Rs 6,000 to 6,500 crore against

which the power recoveries are just Rs

2,200 to 2,300 crore making for an annual

deficit of around Rs 4,000 crore.

The power purchase liability of J&K

towards various CPUs ending June 2020

India’s Oct industrial production

grows by over 3.5%

New Delhi : India’s industrial

activity accelerated in October with a

rise of over 3.5 per cent in factory

output on a year-on-year basis, official

data showed on Thursday. As per

the Quick Estimates of Index of

Industrial Production (IIP), the factory

output grew by 3.6 per cent in

October 2020 from 0.49 per cent in

September and (-) 6.6 per cent during

the corresponding month of the previous

year. “For the month of October

2020, the Quick Estimates of Index of

Industrial Production (IIP) with base

2011-12 stands at 128.5,” the

Ministry of Statistics and Programme

Implementation said. “The Indices of

Industrial Production for the Mining,

Manufacturing and Electricity sectors

for the month of October 2020 stand

at 98, 130.7 and 162.2, respectively.”

The IIP had been in the negative territory

from April to August FY21 due

to the Covid-19 pandemic and the

subsequent lockdown to curb its

spread. Among major segments, manufacturing

production grew by 3.5 per

cent from (-) 5.7 per cent reported for

the corresponding month of last year.

Similarly, electricity generation grew

by 11.2 per cent from (-) 12.2 per cent

during October 2019. However, mining

output de-grew by (-) 1.5 per cent on a

YoY basis. Furthermore, the data on a

YoY basis showed that manufacturing

of primary goods de-grew by (-) 3.3 per

cent, whereas capital goods production

rose by 3.3 per cent, and intermediate

goods inched higher by 0.8 per cent. On

the other hand, the production of infrastructure

or construction goods grew by

7.8 per cent and consumer durables by

17.6 per cent.

The sub-segment of consumer

non-durables showed a growth of 7.5

per cent. “While the IIP growth stood

at an eight month-high, and displayed

its best performance since the pandemic

struck, the pace of the

improvement in October 2020 was

feebler than expected,” said Aditi

Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA.

“Coming on the base of a 6.6 per

cent contraction in October 2019, the

3.6 per cent growth in the IIP in

October 2020 is decidedly modest,

and suggests that caution in the interpretation

of the strength of the economic

recovery is still warranted.”

She pointed out that a variety of available

indicators such as output of coal,

electricity, non-oil exports and GST e-

way bills have revealed that the pace

of growth flagged in November 2020,

on account of a combination of an

unfavourable base effect, fewer working

days related to the shift in the festive

calendar, as well as some slack

after the satiation of pent-up demand.

“Based on the available information,

we anticipate a slide in the IIP growth

in November 2020,” Nayar said.

“Moreover, a slippage back into a

mild contraction in November 2020,

can not be ruled out at this point.”

Sunil Kumar Sinha, Principal

Economist, India Ratings and

Research, said: “No doubt two consecutive

months of positive IIP

growth is a good sign for the economy,

India Ratings and Research (Ind-

Ra) is only cautiously optimistic and

may wait for few more months to

believe that economy is firmly on a

path of recovery since in the past IIP

growth, more than once, has collapsed

after couple of months of good

growth.”

had swollen to Rs 11,500 crore which were

being charged at a late payment surcharge

(interest rate) of 18 per cent per annum

(late payment surcharge).

The loan assistance will enable savings

of nearly Rs 1,000 crore to J&K on account

of difference in rate of interest (late payment

surcharge) that was otherwise being

charged by the creditors against these

power purchase liabilities.

Chang’e-5 completes

first orbital correction

en route to Earth

Beijing : China’s Chang’e-5 probe on Monday

completed its first orbital correction en route to Earth,

according to the China National Space

Administration (CNSA).

The orbital correction was conducted at 11.13 a.m.

when the two 25N engines on the orbiter-returner

combination were operational for about 28 seconds,

reports Xinhua news agency.

The CNSA said all systems on the orbiter-returner

combination that carries lunar samples are currently

in good condition. The orbiter-returner combination

entered the moon-Earth transfer orbit on Sunday.

When the time is right, the orbiter and returner will

separate from one another, according to the CNSA.

The probe’s returner is expected to land at the

Siziwang Banner in north China’s Inner Mongolia

Autonomous Region in mid-December.

Chang’e-5 is one of the most complicated and

challenging missions in China’s aerospace history.

It is also the world’s first moon-sample mission in

more than 40 years. The probe, comprising an orbiter,

a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on

November 24, and its lander-ascender combination

touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in

Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of

Storms, on the near side of the moon on December 1.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

17

World Music Conference

2020 Goes Global

Impact of Music &Yoga for Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing

The 4th Annual World Music

Conference took place on the 11th and

12th of December 2020 virtually.

Thetwo-day conference is organised by

the British Carnatic Choir, in partnership

with the Consul General of India in

Birmingham and hosted by Birmingham

City University.

The conference is supported by the

West Midlands Combined Authority,

The Nehru Centre, London, Embassy of

India in Romaniaand a host of premier

institutions and corporates from across

the UK and abroad. The core objective

of this year's conference is to connect to

a wider audience and promote positive

mental health for all through Music,

particularly during the pandemic.

Mr John Crabtree OBE, Her

Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the West

Midlands states, "Even during this most

challenging of years - time has flown by

and here we are again, celebrating the

World Music Conference. As always,

the event is a wonderful demonstration

of the power of music to bring us

together, calm our souls and leave us

with a collective spring in our step. My

very best wishes for your great endeavours."

Mr Amish Tripati,Minister

(Culture), Indian High Commission,

UK & Director, Nehru Centre,

Londondelivered theinaugural Keynote

speech.

"As the Patron of the British Carnatic

Choir, I would like to congratulate and

convey my best wishes to the conference

organisers and conference partners

for organising this event amidst very

difficult times. The conference theme

focuses on music and yoga for positive

mental health and wellbeing, which is

particularly important during such challenging

times." Councillor Mohammed

Azim, Lord Mayor of Birmingham

The Annual World Music

Conference featuredover 30 specialists

in the domains of musical performance,

Psychology, musicology, education and

cultural management, sharing their

experience and research on "Impact of

Music and Yoga forPositive Mental

health and Well-being.". The conference

is one of its kind to bring together professionals,

artists, academia, and the

community in a professional networking

environment.

World Music Conference has

received excellent support from the

Grammy and Oscar Academy winning

musician, writer and composer Dr A.R.

Rahman, who is a strong advocate formental

health and believes in promoting

positive wellbeing through music. The

conference features a special highlight

from the amazingly talented young people

of The Sunshine Orchestra,which is

a marquee project of the AR Rahman

Foundation and is led and mentored by

Mr SrinivasaMurthy.

Other performances included the

Psalmodia Byzantine Ensemble by the

National University of Music,

Bucharest, Chinese Buddhist Music by

Master Je Rong and the Chinese

Austrian Composer Maestro Jin Wang,

Indian Classical Music, Gamelan by

University of Northern

Texas, Mbale All

Schools Band from

Uganda, to name a few.

The conference also

received wonderful message

of support from the

renowned Indian

Classical violinist

Padma Bhushan Dr L

Subramaniam.

The pandemic and the

lock down have challenged

the physical as

well as the mental

health. The conference

showcased recitals of traditional music,

world music and professional music

from over 18 countries.

"Music has a phenomenal therapeutic

effect on mental health. Yoga and

music therapy can help people to deal

with stress and anxiety, and this is particularly

useful now, during COVID-

19.This unique, multidisciplinary conference

aims to promote positive mental

health and wellbeing for all and seeks to

inspire the audience and to positively

impact their wellbeing using World

Music and holistic practices."DrChithra

Ramakrishnan FRSA, Fellow, Royal

Asiatic Society of

Great Britain and

Ireland, Founder,

Curator, World Music

Conference '

"The festival is

unique in its aim of

bringing together

artists, academics and

music educators from

across Africa, Europe,

the USA and

India."Andy Street

CBE, Mayor for West

Midlands

"Music is a powerful

language, that connects us all, irrespective

of where we come from. I'm

delighted to hear about the world music

conference, an ideal opportunity, I feel,

to applaud the talents in our diverse

communities, but also a chance to

remember the departed iconic music

legends, whose legendary contributions

shall forever remain in memory.

"Honourable Prime Minister of India,

Mr Narendra Modi. "I send my best

wishes to the organisers of the third

world music conference. t is events like

this that bring us togetherirrespective of

our differences and which provide a

platform for us to celebrate the sheer

diversity, in terms of world music, that

plays an important role in our daily life.

"British Prime Minister RT Hon Boris

Johnson


18 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Democracy hijacked by the corporate

a threat to people's rights world over

Too Much of Democracy has

derailed our economic 'growth' says

CEO of Niti Ayog, who once professed

that ATMs will cease away in

the coming years. A 'devotee' of

Narendra Modi's 'digitalisation'

process, Amitabh Kant wanted government

to get away from Schools,

Colleges and Jails by handing them

over to private sector. Now, he is disturbed

with the ongoing farmers

protest and hence this talk of 'too

much democracy'.

Where does India exists in the

'democratic index ? In 2020, India fell

10 position below comparatively to

2019 and ranked at 51 under flawed

democracy category by the

Economist. According to The

Economic Times, the primary cause of

it was erosion of 'civil liberties'. If any

one has seen how justice system is

functioning in India and how issues of

Article 370 and the handling of

Jammu and Kashmir was done, followed

by anti CAA-NRC protests and

now the farmers protests, we will find

out that brutality and insensitive

behaviour of the police was justified

or glorified by the BJP in such a way

to gain the maximum political benefits.

All such issues were cleverly converted

into politics of 'majoritarianism'

and people were made to believe that

the BJP and the government is fighting

against anti national. So the only

party of Ambani and Adani is nationalist

and others have become anti

national. This sermon coming from

the party with least leaders in the freedom

movement and which try to coopt

leaders from freedom movement

as their 'own', whether Sardar Patel or

Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, or Netaji

Subhash Chandra Bose, all could

never have supported the Hindutva

brahmanical politics of BJP.

In the World Press Freedom Index

India was ranked at 142 much below

Nepal ( 112) and Sri Lanka (127) and

just above Pakistan (145). Of course,

the World Press Freedom has no way

to 'monitor' too much of 'democracy'

and 'freedom of expression' for Arnab

Goswami and other loud speakers

who continue to chant and abuse the

political opposition, dissenters, human

rights activists and weave conspiracy

theories to defame people and movements.

Nothing happen to them. In

fact, they get the biggest protection

from the court. Look at the vicious

and toxic tweets of Kangana Ranuat

but they get the full protection and

encouragement by the state. Most of

the toxic elements have got VIP Z plus

police protection unheard of in the

past.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra

Modi greeted Sonia Gandhi on her

birthday which is good for democratic

polity where opposition is not enemy.

Atal ji used to call that 'matbhed' i.e

differences of opinions, does not mean

'manbhed' i.e. but what has happened

today is exactly opposite of what he

said in Parliament so powerfully. Look

at the BJP IT cell tweet yesterday '

Bardancer Day'. If you look at those

tweet utterly filthy and absolutely disgraceful

which should have been

blocked by tweeter. In the name of

freedom, we allow the ruling party and

its IT cell to abuse and mock the opposition

leaders and dissenters and if any

one take them to court then we get

these 'lectures' on 'freedom of expression'.

One wonders, where is the 'freedom'

hiding for octogenarian Varavara

Rao, Father Stan Swamy and septuagenarian

Anand Teltumbde and Gautam

Navalakha. Why the same kind of concern

is not shown for Prof G N

Saibaba, languishing in Nagpur Jail. If

we agree to disagree in democracy

then shouldnt they get the benefit of

the same lecture that if we dont like

their thoughts then we must not 'read'

them or their literature.

Today, when we celebrate

International Human Rights Day, it is

important for all of us to think how

and why have the democratic governments

becoming the biggest threat to

democracies and human rights. World

over people fought against monarchies,

military juntas, dictators but

now the challenge is much difficult

because democracies have been

hijacked by the powerful corporations

and their 'interests' have been converted

into 'National interest' through the

grand narrative building by the pen

slaves who sing hosannas to these corporate

houses to befool people. The

term Reform and 'minimum governance'

is only to ensure that cronies

take over all the asset of the nation

while maximum governance is

reserved for the people who face lathis

and bullet by the police and military

when they oppose the policies of the

ruling parties world over.

It is a challenge for us. Countries

used to feel proud of multiculturalism.

Today, minorities have become a hunting

ground for the majoritarian power

hungry politicians to vilify them for

their power. How long will this be

allowed. Why should dictators ever

get away from their misdeeds. What

are the mechanism for bringing the

dictators and authoritarian regimes,

officials to international laws and justice

system. We will have to work on

that when the institutions in most of

the developing world have collapsed

and surrendered. No courts can take

the might of the political power any

where in our part of the world.

Authoritarian governments are using

courts as a tool to legitimise their misdeeds

and inaction. Courts are not the

same where people can get justice but

have become a tool to provide legitimacy

to acts of the government. It is

here, we need international instruments

to deal with all those governments

which violate laws.

Human Rights is not merely rule of

law or good governance. It is respecting

individuals supremacy, her personal

choices, rights to live with dignity,

right to choice to have faith and marriages.

Where do we stand on these

personal choices. We dont even want

to allow people to eat food of their

choice because somebody else's 'sentiments'

might hurt in a far away land.

How will you satisfy the state which is

not ready to accept you and your partner

of other faith.

Human Rights day should not be

merely a customary celebration and jai

jaikaar of our system but time to introspect

as why democratically elected

leaders and 'free media' have become

the biggest threat to democracies and

people's rights world over. Unless, an

international consensus is not built

and mechanism to protect people's

rights are not developed internationally,

we will always face tyranny of the

'elected' in the name of 'democracy'.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Notice to Bobby Deol, Prakash

Jha in plea against 'Ashram'

Jaipur : A court in Rajasthan's

Jodhpur has issued notice to

Bollywood producer and director

Prakash Jha and actor Bobby Deol

in a case filed against their 'Ashram'

web series playing on OTT platforms.

Issuing the notice, the Jodhpur

District and Sessions Court scheduled

the next hearing on January 11.

Advocate Khush Khandelwal

said he had moved the court against

Jha's web series in which Bobby

Deol is portrayed as a godman and

Hindu gurus have been shown as

rapists and drug traffickers. This

web series has hurt the religious

sentiments of Hindus, he claimed.

Khandelwal said that he tried filing

an FIR with the Kudi police station, but was unsuccessful and

hence, moved the court.

The web series "Ashram" has had two sessions and its third season

will be coming soon.

Farm laws brought in to benefit

some capitalists, says Kejriwal

New Delhi : Delhi Chief Minister

Arvind Kejriwal on Monday alleged that

the farm laws are not only "anti-farmer"

but also "anti-people" and have been

brought in "to benefit some capitalists".

Kejriwal and AAP volunteers across

the country held a day-long hunger strike

on Monday in support of the farmers

protesting against the three farm laws.

Addressing the volunteers at the party

headquarters, Kejriwal said that "these

farm laws are not only anti-farmer but

also anti-people and this will cause a massive

price hike as these laws have given a

license to do the same and these laws are

brought only to benefit some capitalists".

He said that these laws say only if

prices of farm products doubles within a

year then only the government can launch

raids against the hoarders, and despite

being a Chief Minister, he cannot raid the

hoarders because these laws have tied his

hands. "The country is in crisis because

the farmers are in crisis.

The foundation of any country is farmers

and jawans, and the country cannot

grow when farmers and jawans are in crisis,"

he said, asking that when the soldiers

sitting on the border hear that their brothers

and fathers are being called terrorists,

how will they feel?

He appealed to those who are calling

farmers "terrorists" to stop this dirty politics.

Kejriwal thanked all who is standing

in support of the protesting farmers and

have joined these farmers in this day-long

hunger strike too. "I know many of our

MLAs and leaders who are continuously

serving the protesting farmers. I told them

not to wear caps of the Aam Aadmi Party

or to carry any banner of the party. The

Aam Aadmi Party volunteers have

worked for the farmers as their caregiver.

I also visited the farmers as a caregiver. I

told our leaders that if the nation survives

then only the Aam Aadmi Party will survive

and if the farmers survive then only

the Aam Aadmi Party will survive. All of

us are working as caregivers for these

protesting farmers," he said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

19

The Incredible combination of

RAJ KAPOOR and SHAILENDRA

changed the face of Indian Cinema

Shailendra, Poet and lyricist of extraordinary

ideas and a weaver of words, the

man who immortalised himself with Raj

Kapoor's collective team of geniuses such as

Mukesh, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas and

Shankar Jaikishan passed away on

December 14th, 1966. Ironically, December

14th is also Raj Kapoor birthday day. Raj

Kapoor always referred to Shailendra as

Kaviraj and that title suits him so well as

none in the Bombay cinema come close to

Shailendra in terms of range of his poetry

and its impact on the masses. Cinema in fact

was completely dominated by Urdu speaking

elite and of course Shailendra himself

was not unknown to it. It is said that

Shailendra made Teesari Kasam with great

zeal and hope but after the failure of the film

he was crestfallen and suffered a lot as his

health got impacted. Raj Kapoor got the

same with the failure of Mera Naam Jokar

as he adjusted himself, changed his perception

and rebranded his RK banner. A filmmaker

can do that but a poet can not.

Shailendra did not have the option like Raj

Kapoor to change though many of the old

time veteran poets have changed for the

sake of surviving and therefore ended up

writing vulgar lyrics. Shailendra suffered as

he was uncompromising.

Shailendra started writing in Hindi

though Urdu was actually the language of

cinema and romance. Hindi can never come

near to it in those expressions and

feelings but Shailendra brought the

ideas and vocabulary of the Hindi

heartland into cinema and poetry of

cinema. I still do not wish to refer to

Shailendra merely a 'lyricist'. In fact, it is

the greatest harm done to him by confining

him to merely a 'geetkaar' when he was a

legendary poet, supremely talented and far

superior to those who we have been given

to read and recite in our Hindi text books

because Shailendra was a poet of change. It

is also true that the elite circle of 'literature'

never really acknowledged Shailendra that

way as it acknowledged 'others' in the cinema.

Was it because Shailendra hailed from

Dalit community. I think not but it may also

be true that Kaviraj was not comfortable

with revealing his identity to the people

those times perhaps because he might have

feared discrimination. Hindustani cinema

was progressive but on the issue of caste, it

still remained highly prejudiced.

Shailendra's poetry actually flourished

under Raj Kapoor's pro people cinema. Two

giants who come from Peshawar in

Hindustani Cinema were Raj Kapoor and

Dilip Kumar who turned 98 just a couple of

days back. Look at their friendship, relationship

and achievements. Dilip Kumar

remains an art in acting and any one who is

in the cinema and acting can not really

work anything unless he knows about Dilip

Kumar. Unlike his friend Dilip Kumar, Raj

Kapoor was a genius of collective work and

encouraging talent. I would say, Raj

Kapoor represents the collective success of

a team of deeply committed artists. He was

the first one who understood the importance

of music and poetry for his cinema and that

is the reason Shailendra became inseparable

from RK films, though he was not confined

to it and some of his absolutely stunning

poetry happened with Navketan banner

of another legend Dev Anand such as

Kala Bajar and Guide like Tere mere Sapne

ab ek rang hai, aaj phir jeene kee tamanna

hai and gaata rahe mera dil. Ofcourse,

Shailendra's romantic poetry under Salil

Chowdhury's enchanting composition of

film Madhumati was one of the biggest hits

by Dilip Kumar and Vaijayantimala, with

unforgettable ' Suhana Safar aur ye mausam

Hansi' and Dil Tadap Tadap ke kah raha hai

aa bhi jaa'.

Art, cinema and poetry flourishes

according to the social and political climate

of the country. So when the nation has an

inspiring leader and the political climate is

pro people and that time the poetry is futuristic.

It also got strong in the times of dictators

and authoritarian regimes but it is

more to give people hope. Shailendra grew

up in Nehru's India which was idealistic and

secular in its approach. Raj Kapoor's film

and vision of ' sir pe laal topi rusi, fir bhi dil

hai hindustani', gave him more ideas of this

futuristic vision. There is no doubt that each

word written by Shailendra actually gave

many people a voice who were choking

within our social system. In my youthful

days, when I had no opportunity to read to

big writers or philosophers, it was

Shailendra's poetry that actually saved me

from deep dejection. Somewhere, I started

loving his pathos like ' ye mera deevanapan

hai' aaja re ab mera dil

pukaara', jhoomati chali

hawa, yaad aa gaya koi or O

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

jaane waale ho sake to laut ke

aana. But Shailendra remains

most enlightening in his philosophy of life

which are reflected through his songs and

somewhere, I found myself in them. ' Mera

naam raju Gharana anam, bahati hai ganga

jahaan meraa dham', hum us desh ke waasi

hai, jis desh me ganga bahati hai, sab kuchh

seekhaa hamne na seekhi hoshiyaari. But

the masterpiece and all time great was ' kisi

ke muskuraahato pe ho nisaar, kisee ka dard

mil sake to le udhaar, kisee ke vaste ho tere

dil me pyaar, jeena isee kaa naam hai,

which lift you to life and give your life a

new meaning.

Through his piece I am not merely

remembering Raj Kapoor and Shailendra

or Mukesh who I loved listening to but also

to other legends of that era Dilip Saheb as

well as Dev Anand. Look at them, such a

success would have made them mad but

take time to listen to interviews of these

greats and you will realise how humble

they are or were. I listened to the last interview

of Raj Kapoor when he got the

DadaSaheb Phalke Award and the only

thing he remembered was his friends such

as Shailendra, Mukesh, Khwaja Ahmed

Abbas saying, " Kal khel me hum ho na

ho, gardish me taare rahenge sada,

bhoolenge wo, bhuloge tum, lekin

tumhaare rahenge sadaa. Just a few weeks

back, I came across Dev Anand's interview

with Simi Grewal and I would suggest

everyone watch it. What an incredible man

he was, full of life and positivity uncaring

about what people think about him and his

films. Listen to any lengthy interview of

Dilip Saheb and you will see the depth of

language, class and thought in him. A few

days back, I came across a beautiful interview

of Dilip Saheb about making of Film

Mughal-e-Azam and he narrated about late

Prithvi Raj Kapoor and how he used to be

called as ' Papa ji'. In this interview, Dilip

Saheb actually informs us how close both

he and Raj Kapoor as they were close family

friends. For the journalists, they were

two 'competing' actors such as film as was

in Mehboob Khan's Andaj but fact of the

matter was they were very close and had no

tantrums of being 'stars' or super stars.

Art and poetry is part of our political

process. You can not delink it. If 1950s and

1960s developed class films and enchanting

life giving music, much of the credit

goes to not only the brilliance of the poets

but also their 'kadradans' or patron's.

Shailendra, Sahir, Majrooh Sultanpuri

flourished in the era when the film fraternity

was humble, worked hard to speak people's

language and gave them hope and

aspirations. Both Raj Kapoor and Dilip

Kumar came from Peshawar and definitely

Hindi was not their first language. Look at

the films and their language. No Bhojpuri

actor can come close to making a classic

like Ganga Jamuna or Teesari Kasam. Who

is going to write poetry such as Nain Lad

jai hain to manwa ma kasak hoibe kari or

chalat musafir le liyo re, pinjade waalee

muniyaa. For good cinema, we need poetry

with pro people ideas and not those

who vilify people's movement. If

Shailendra and Sahir are so popular

even after so many years, then we

must realise that their poetry challenged

social norms and social evils

at every step. Today our leaders want

to control love which Shailendra

wrote so beautifully,"

'Pyaar karne waale, pyaar hee karenge,

jalane waale youn hee jal jal marenge' and

Sahir challenged the entire notion in these

revolutionary words from Dhool ka phool :

rivaajo kee parwah na rashmo kaa dar hai,

teri aankh ke faisle pe nazar hai, bala se

agar raasta purkhatar hai, mai is haath ko

thamna chaahta hoon, wafa kar rahaa hoon,

wafaa chaahata hoon.'

And Shailendra further strengthens the

argument that it is love and love alone

which will be remembered by future generations..

Look at this beautiful song from

Shri 420 : raate daso dishaao me, kahengi

apnee kahaaniyaa, geet hamare pyaar kee

doharayengi jawaaniya,

hum naa rahenge, tum naa rahoge, fir bhi

rahengi nishaaniyaa..

One thing is clear that art and films stood

up with people and raised a banner of revolt

against social evil and injustice. Art and

cinema can never be a propaganda tool of

the power. If it becomes that, it will die and

will lose creativity. Raj Kapoor or

Shailendra or Dev Anand or Sahir are

remembered because they spoke of their

mind, stood up with people's rights and

spoke the truth. If cinema today wants to be

part of the propaganda machinery to justify

social evils and vilify the opponents then it

will end up with mediocre films without

any mention in the future books. Cinema

must remain revolutionary and challenge

the popular notions and only then it will be

remembered by people.

Raj Kapoor and Shailendra remain the

most iconic combination of Hindustani cinema,

immortal who gave hope and words to

millions of people. Let us celebrate their

creative accomplishments.

Joint letter to Indian High

Commission extending their support

for Indian farmers and raising

concerns about polarisation in the UK

London - 25 leading Punjabi and Indian diaspora representatives

of charities, councillors’ faith and business leaders sent a joint

letter to Indian High Commission extending their support for Indian

farmers and raising concerns about polarisation in the UK

A group of 25 eminent Punjabi and Indian diaspora reps have

written to the High Commissioner raising concerns about attempts

to harm the image of hardworking Punjabi diaspora in the UK. For

further details please refer to the attached letter.

In a joint statement Tejinder Sekhon, Director of Redsky Homes

Group , President ICYE, senior Donnor of Conservative Party and

Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon, a councillor and chairman of an

Anglo-Indian charity SEVA Trust UK said:

‘We firmly support stronger UK-India relations and for the past

decades, we have been supporting positive initiatives by the Indian

High Commission. We all are deeply concerned by the negative role

of some sections of the Indian media and Indian Government supporting

groups have played in the UK and India. Their sole objective

appears to portray incorrect picture and damage image of the

entire hard working Punjabi diaspora in the UK by labelling all as

Khalistani separatists or Anti-India. True democracy is all about

freedom to raise valid issues and the right to express opposition to

Government decisions within the remit of democratic process. We

strongly support farmer’s and labourer’s democratic right to protest

peacefully in India and the Punjabi and Indian diaspora’s right to

protest peacefully here in the UK to support our ‘Ann Datte’ that is

the Mazdoor & Kisan. We appeal to Punjabi diaspora to be very

vigilant and not allow any separatists or political party to propagate

their own agendas, this is farmers & labourers protest for their

rights and issues and shouldn’t be politicised, said the Sekhon duo.

The letter is signed by 25 reps including mayor & former mayors,

councillors highlights the key concerns of Punjabi diaspora and

appeal the High Commission to take swift action to stop any further

polarisation in the UK.

Anand Teltumbde declared

Person of the Year 2020

Anand Teltumbde,

the jailed scholar and

activist, who is being

incarcerated by the

world’s so called largest

democracy, has been

recognised as this

year’s person by a

Vancouver-based online

magazine that covers

alternative politics.

Radical Desi has

declared Anand Teltumbde as Person of the Year 2020 for being in

the news after his arrest on trumped up charges.

Teltumbde has authored many books, and has written columns

critical of the Indian state and the way it has been treating religious

minorities and oppressed groups.

He was taken in custody on April 14, 2020. Ironically, he was

arrested on the birth anniversary of the towering Indian intellectual

and Dalit icon Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Teltumbde happens to be the

grandson-in-law of Ambedkar, who was the architect of the Indian

constitution.

Teltumbde has been courageously speaking out against state violence

and repression. He was being hounded by the Indian authorities

for questioning the power. His arrest is a clear attempt to muzzle

any voice of dissent by the currently ruling right wing Hindu

nationalist regime, which has already imprisoned many other political

activists and scholars under draconian laws.


20 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

As the farmers protest has grown

powerful and looking for a long haul,

the BJP as well as its 'information network'

has gone overboard to discredit

them. Whatever things happen at the

ground, the social media trolls and disinformation

has its impact even if we

deny them or mock at them.

Travelling in the train from Uttar

Pradesh give you a lot of 'information'

floating on the ground. While being

with the most marginalised one, we

found no love for the government or

BJP, I found that people are more

focussed on their communities and how

their work get done.

This has actually helped the BJP as a

large number of people who are now

part of the BJP from the Dalit OBCs are

not really with any ideological love for

the Sangh Parivar but because of their

own pragmatism and local caste equations.

The most of them clearly feel that

the current government is actually helping

the Ambanis and Adanis. So, Rahul

Gandhi might not have succeeded but

his narratives have now become part of

the common people, very much similar

to the narrative that RSS spread about

Nehru, Indira and Sonia Gandhi. It

clearly reveal that social media narratives

are powerful and even when they

are fake, they remain there with people.

It is important for those who analyse

social media and decry it, that they provide

their own narrative. The most

important thing, for people like us, is

reach as we all know the reach has often

been restricted and limited. It is essential

to increase the reach of those narratives

which explain to people about the

policies of the government and correct

perspective.

In the train people were 'worried'

about the Bandh and possible delay of

train and local services so when in trouble

they wont side with the opposition.

BJP's aim was to put these protests as

problem making and creating disturbance

in the people. 'It is too much

democracy in India', often the Sangh

sympathisers would remark.

' I hail from a kisan family in

Haryana', said a co passenger who was

Building narrative to discredit

farmers movement dangerous

and will never SUCCEED

worried about whether he would be able

to get his connection to Yamunanagar

from Anand Vihar. ' The problem is not

with the farmers but now 'Khalistanis',

Canadians,

JNU people,

Communists

have joined

hand which is

wrong. What is

more worrying is that Muslims too have

now infiltrated in it and it has now

become anti national', he said. The

other man jumps into the discussion.

'Are these poor farmers', he said. They

are drinking 'Bisleri water', good food is

being served to them, they have dry

fruits available for them. Where

is the money coming from, he

ask. Then all join hand. They

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

oppose Modi and its not the issue.

They are fighting for their rights,

no issue but why are the communists,

JNU wallahs, Canadians, Khalistani

joining them ? And with Muslims joining

them, it has become the 'security'

threat, they say.

I was not amused.

Without fighting

with them, I asked,

'But Modi ji has been

helping Ambani and

Adani only. Food

prices have gone up,

unemployment so

high and there are

issues confronting

the nation and this

government only think about Hindus,

Muslims, India, Pakistan, Ram

Janambhumi. There is a silence for a

while and then acceptance of the fact. '

You are right says the other. What has

the government done for the people,

they say. It is time for the government

to speak to people and listen to their

concerns, suggest other.

At the end, all wanted to say that

commuters should not face the problem

during the Bandh. Most of us knew that

the Bandh is for the whole day so there

was constant fear of stranding at the

railway station but we realised later that

it was from 10 am to 3 pm which was a

good decision.

I can only say that the way BJP's IT

cell has been operating and carrying

campaign against the ongoing agitation,

shows that the party has learn nothing

as it feel that vilifying people and bringing

conspiracy theories it can discredit

the movement and polarise the 'others'.

Every movement or protest has been

declared as 'other' by the BJP troll army

and then vilified as anti national if there

is a support for it from various quarters

particularly Minority groups, left parties,

student leaders or international

organisations.

We hope the party as well as the government

will realises that in democracies

government speak to people and

people join hand for a cause. There is

no conspiracy if people support it. BJP

too gained through Ram Janambhumi

Movement and a number of its netas

went to Jail during the protests. It must

understand that vilifying people will not

succeed all the time. Social media campaign

work only among the one category

of people and every body has its own

social media narrative.

In this war of fake narratives all lose

and none win. We hope those in power

and wanting to take a decision that people

too read and understand things and

it is not they alone who are 'samajhdars'

but the farmers know about their issues

much better than those making laws for

them. So, being a bit humble and speaking

to farmers will not put any harm to

the country.

In fact, It will strengthen it but nothing

can be expected from those who

have already decided to hand over our

big farm sector to the cronies.

HATRED BREEDS IN

SINFUL HEARTS

Because of BJP majority in the

Parliament, they are in a supreme

position to pass laws and acts as to

their choice in order to reinstate

Manusmriti again in India.

CAA, NPR, NCC and now three

new farm laws are pathway to Hindu

control in India. The Government

wants to start the scheme with cohesion

of the private sector but in time

will pull back and the private sector

will take full control.

The private sector will be attached

to religious organisations and will

eventually take full control and run

mother India as per Manusmriti. The

laws are being amended and introduced

in such a manner that they will

enhance future Hindu control in India.

Very boldly, the BJP members are

declaring that Bhagwa coloured flags

shall be flying all over India. If this is

going to be the case than what is going

to happen to our hard earned TRAN-

GA FLAG for which Indian soldiers

from all the castes have sacrificed

their lives. Is their bloodshed going to

be meaningless? Why is it essential for

the Manu Vadis to bring back

Manusmriti and regenerate hatred

back again in India? It seems they

believe that India is wholly owned by

them. Now restriction to interfaith

marriages in UP sums of hatred buried

within them.

Historical development of India is

quite different to how they are claiming.

India we have today is the result

achieved following many changes and

Our Indian Constitution deserves

credit for this. All the previous

Governments have done their part to

bring India to where it is today.

The present Government is damaging

their creditability by making bias

amendments and the public sees it as

an unlawful practise and are showing

their anger via demonstrations

throughout India and worldwide.

Are the protests having any effect

on them, it seems doubtful because

their main agenda is to re-establish

Hindutva in India. It is an opportunity

they do not want to miss. For them

these demonstrations are just as dust

blowing around and will eventually

settles down. They are totally refusing

to butt to the public demands.

There is general fear within people

that the Navy, the Air Force and the

Army might assist the BJP

Government to establish Hindutva in

India? When they see on the media,

the senior officers siding with the BJP

is indeed worrying the general public.

In manner, the elections are taking

place in India is quite shocking. To

gain votes they will go to any drastic

measure. Bribery, torture, murder and

rape increases during the election period

because groups are hired to create

fear. Manisha Valmikian

has fallen victim to this.

The purpose of the

Indian Constitution was

to unite nation and give

protection to vulnerable

in the society.

Manusmriti was causing

division within the

Indians so it was felt that

drafting of a new constitution

was essential that

would unite the nation

and promote equality

but now BJP

Government wants to

reinstate Manusmriti

back into the system but

WHY? Is it to spread and promote

hatred against the natives of India?

The natives have been victimised

since Aryan arrival and following a lot

of struggles and strives by the saints

now equality to some degree is present

in India. Dr B. R. Ambedkar has

finalised Indian Constitution in such a

manner that it has given equal opportunities

to both sexes.

Manusmriti is totally

against women

progress. What will

be the outcome of the

women professionals

if it happens to find its

way back into the system?

The newly introduced

farm Laws

have instigated the

farmers from all over

India to unite and

oppose them. The

public has now started

to read between the

lines what BJP

motives are and have come to realise

that only through a united front they

– M. Teji

can disable Hindutva movement in

India.

Punjab has played a very vital part

during the fight for Independence in

India.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh will always

be remembered for his bravery and his

sacrifice he has given for India’s independence.

Shaheed Udham Singh who

followed General O’Dyer to England

to revenge for the genocide he ordered

in Jallianwala Bagh – Amritsar.

THESE BOTH SHAHEEDS

WERE FROM PUNJAB.

Sikh Battalion is ranked high for

bravery by the British Government

and it is also on the records that the

Sikhs have fought hard to free India

from the clutches of Muslim reign.

Today the Sikhs are out on the

roads to protect their livelihood from

falling into clutches of RSS who want

to rule all over India.

Presently, all are uniting together so

to stop becoming pawns in the BJP’s

Hindutva game. Punjab has opened

doors for others to realise that sinister

ideas are waiting in the BJP’s bag, so

to protect and safeguard your interests,

it is extremely important everyone to

unite together and act as one unit.

Only via a united front there is any

scope to defend their lively hood and

through division the chances are very

slim. So the caste barriers will have to

be broken, if all want to act as one

unit.

Jai Bharat.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

21

Ambedkar House London can now

officially call itself a Museum

London - The approval of the Management Plan

by the Camden Council on 2 December 2020 has

seen the dream of many Ambedkarites in the UK

and around the world for a Museum in London dedicated

to Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar at a place where

he lived during 1921-22 realised. All the Camden

Council’s conditions attached for the museum status

have been met. Now the long-awaited operation

of the Ambedkar Museum can start.

The proposal to fund the purchase and turn this

house into a fitting memorial for Dr Ambedkar

began with a formal submission in September,

2014 by Ms Santosh Dass MBE on behalf of the

Federation of Ambedkarites and Buddhist

Organisations UK (FABO UK) to Shri Prithviraj

Chavan, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

This followed an email by Mr Harbans Virdee,

FABO UK of 29 August 2014 alerting the FABO

UK team that the 10 King Henry’s Road was on the

market for 3.1 million GB pounds. This bold initiate

took a year of lobbying by Santosh from

London, Mr R K Gaikwad and Mr Ramesh Katke

in Maharashtra of key politicians, High

Commission and the media. On 24 September

2015, the house was finally purchased by GOM.

The intense media attention that started with a

news article in The Telegraph in which Dean

Nelson[1] interviewed Santosh Dass about FABO

UK’s proposal all helped. On 14 November 2015

10KHR was inaugurated the Ambedkar House by

the Prime Minister of India.

On 2 February 2017, over a year after the house

was bought Mr Raj Kumar Badole, Minister for

Social Justice, GOM, announced a seven-member

Advisory Committee[2] tasked with developing

the Ambedkar Memorial with India’s High

Commissioner as Chair. FABO UK was represented

by Santosh Dass MBE and Mr C Gautam on the

Committee. During the refurbishment of

Ambedkar house to make it safe and secure, planning

permission was sought from Camden Council

to formally call the Ambedkar House a memorial/museum.

The Council rejected the application

and GOM lodged an appeal. Due to public interest,

it was decided the Appeal would be heard in the

form of a Public Inquiry. This was heard in

September and October 2019. The Council argued

Dr Ambedkar’s status wasn’t well enough known

in Britain to be a person of wider interest, a museum

on a residential street would be disruptive, and

the loss of residential space would impact on their

housing policy. The Chair of the Public Inquiry

Chair, Inspector Mr. Keri Williams, and Mr. Robert

Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing,

Communities and Local Government who made

the final decision were persuaded otherwise by the

evidence and testimonies in support of the case for

the memorial. GOM had secured a good legal team

and Santosh Dass was invited to advise them.

FABO UK members helped to build up the case by

producing testimonies and digging out the archival

material regarding Dr Ambedkar’s connection with

the house. The ‘blue plaque’ installed on the front

wall of the house by the FABO UK during the centenary

of Dr Ambedkar’s birth in 1991 played a crucial

role in establishing the historicity of the building.

At the Public Inquiry Hearing the GOM legal

team called three witnesses, Santosh Dass, Dr

William Gould, and Jamie Sullivan. Members of

the public who attended the hearing were also

given the opportunity to make short statements to

the Chair. Residents from the neighbourhood,

Ambedkarites and equality-focused organisations

voiced strong support for the memorial prior to,

and at the Hearing. Moving and powerful contributions

were made at the two-day Public Hearing by

Sally Roach, Alex Sunshine, Bonnie Garnett (better

known as the Canadian folksinger Bonnie

Dobson), the writer Ken Hunt, Satpal Muman of

the Ambedkar International Mission, Raj Banger

of Kanshi TV, and the Ven. Bhante Vijithavansa.

Announcing the decision on Rt Hon, Robert

Jenrick said, “I am pleased to grant planning permission

for a museum in London to Dr Ambedkarone

of the founding fathers of modern India and an

important figure to many British-Indians.” But he

attached certain conditions along with the

Management Plan for the operation of the museum.

Ms Santosh Dass, President FABO UK contributed

to the Management Plan which has now been

approved. It is matter of pride for all of us that the

final hurdle in this project is removed and the

museum has come into operation.

For more information, please contact Mr Arun

Kumar FABO UK on 07909 828750 or Santosh

Dass on 07902806342

Arun Kumar

General Secretary

Federation of Ambedkarites and Buddhist

Organisations UK

6 December 2020

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world-

news/asia/india/11090063/India-to-buy-4m-

London-student-home-of-independence-hero.html

[1] https://www.hindustantimes.com/worldnews/panel-formed-for-br-ambedkar-memorial-inlondon/story-

LMyq3sLGNEXBB3znLATwqL.html

COULD YOU WASH MUD WITH MUD?

– Answers Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

The Hindu people, particularly those

who make some philosophical difference

between caste and varna and thereby try

to fool the Scheduled Castes/ Tribes and

advocate caste system and untouchability,

are living in a fool’s paradise. They

try to fool the SCs and STs by prevailing

upon them and sanctifying the unholy

ideas and thoughts imbedded in the

Hinduism. Highlighting the thin and

imaginary difference between the caste

and varna and making the common people

understand that both are same so far

as the SCs, STs and Shudras are concerned,

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has

lucidly said, “I want to bring to your

notice that your philosophical difference

between Caste and Varna is too subtle to

be grasped by people in general; because

for all practical purposes in the Hindu

society Caste and Varna are one and the

same thing, for the function of both of

them is one and the same, i.e., to restrict

inter-caste marriage and inter-dining.

Your theory of Varna Vyavastha is

impracticable in this age and there is no

hope of its revival in the near future. But

Hindus are slaves of caste and do not

want to destroy it. So when you advocate

your ideal of imaginary Varna Vyavastha

they had justification for clinging to

caste. Thus you are doing a great disservice

to social reform by advocating

your imaginary utility of division of varnas,

for it creates hindrance in our way.

To try to remove untouchability without

striking at the root of Varna Vyavastha is

simply to treat the outward symptoms of

a disease or to draw a line on the surface

of water. As in heart of their hearts dvijas

do not want to give social equality to the

so-called touchable and untouchable

Shudras, so they refuse to break caste,

and give liberal donation to the removal

of untouchability, simply to evade the

issue. To seek the help of the Shastras for

the removal of untouchability and caste

is simply to wash mud with mud.”(Ref:

ANNIHILATION OF CASTE)

( Dvijas = twice-born referring to

Brahmins. Varna Vyavastha = Varna

System or Caste System)

Those caste fanatics who do not want

annihilation of caste and those who suffer

on account of caste system but do

nothing for annihilation of caste may

read Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s ANNI-

HILATION OF CASTE.

This much message is enough for

this day, the 6th December, 2020, the

64th Mahaparinirvana (Death

Anniversary) of Dr. Babasaheb

Ambedkar. I direct this message more to

those educated, elite and

well-positioned but still

adamant to cling to the

unequal and unholy

Hinduism and continue to be

careless, casual and callous

by not taking forward the

social chariot which Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar had

struggled and strenuously

moved forward and succeeded in a way

that we are enjoying the life and liberty

today.

The cattiest and fascist forces have

been successfully raising their monstrous

heads everywhere in the name of

majoritarian Hindu rule with a series of

anti-people and anti-constitutional laws

by the Centre and the recent one by the

Uttar Pradesh Government prohibiting

– A. JAISON, M.A.B.L.

and punishing inter-caste and inter-religious

marriages. So long as we remain

mute spectators, thus long the fascist

forces will move forward with their dirtiest

and barbarous agenda of

restoring the Manu regime and

taking us back to the Dark Age

and Stone Age. Then , WHITH-

ER DEMOCRACY will

become complete and the fascist

forces will rejoice and we

will be destined to become the

utter slaves again with no sign

of one more Dr. Babasaheb

Ambedkar taking birth again in the

midst of selfish rascals traitors!

Jai Bhim! Jai Buddham!

Writer, Ambedkarite & Social Activist,

General Secretary, Bharat Ratna Dr.

Babasaheb Ambedkar Rationalist Youth

Movement (ARMY), Ambedkar World

Federation of Employee Associations & Buddha

Dhamma Sangam. Chennai-600 010.


22 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

SUPPORT INDIAN FARMERS and

Agricultural Workers –Voice from UK

Indian Government led by PM Modi

and his Bharati Janta Party has brought

in three black laws that will dangerously

affect the agricultural industry in whole

of India. Modi says these laws will be in

the best interest of the Indian farmers

but nothing could be further from the

truth. These laws will put the farmers at

the mercy of the corporate house and

destroy their livelihood. The farmers

have understood the real threat these

laws will have on them and the workers

associated with the agricultural industry.

Punjab farmers and farm labourers, after

months of protesting, blocking railways,

toll plazas, corporate run malls, and surrounding

residence of BJP politicians,

have given the call to ‘Go to Delhi’. The

Punjabi farmers movement has spread to

all other states. The farmers now have

the support of virtually all trade unions

and the movement has taken the shape

of Peoples Movement. Delhi is surrounded

by protesters, nearly all highways

to the outside are blocked. What

has angered the farmers so much?

Presently the Farmer has the option

to sell their produce at the Government

regulated markets run by Agricultural

Produce Market Committee (APMC) at

government agreed minimum support

price (MSP). The traders buy from the

APMC and sell to the wholesale market.

The new legislations allow the setting

up of alternative (non-government regulated)

markets. Modi Government

claims these laws will connect the farmers

directly to the market, cutting out the

middleman, thus farmers will get a better

price for their produce. The farmers

say this is complete bunkum. The farmers

do not see the traders as a problem

but as necessary service providers. The

traders perform the function of getting

the crop from the market to the whole

sale dealers. The traders also act as

‘quick and easy’ moneylenders to the

farmers which helps to buy essentials

like fertiliser, farm machinery, etc. Such

loans are difficult to get from the banks

due to bureaucratic procedures so they

the use the traders.

The State run APMC markets collect

tax on the sales, whereas the alternative

free markets are tax exempted. This not

only deprives the States of tax revenue,

much needed for social expenditure,

health, education, etc, but it puts the

government run markets at a serious

price disadvantage. Taking advantage of

the tax exemptions, the unregulated

open markets will be manipulated by

the corporate houses like Adani and

Ambani. For a few years they will give

high prices to the farmers compared to

that offered by APMC and thus kill off

the government regulated markets. Then

MSP will be disregarded and the farmers

will be forced to sell at the reduced

market price. The corporates have the

capacity to buy huge bulks of produce

and the ability to store. The corporates

thus empowered will wait for shortages

to occur and then jack up the retail

prices, making huge profits at the

expense of consumer public.

In time the corporates will have the

muscle to dictate low prices to the farmers,

making farming unviable. The

farmers will be encouraged to enter into

contracts with the corporates with

promises of good prices for the yield.

When the crops are harvested then the

promised price will be thrown to the

wind on various excuses like poor quality,

etc. The farmer will have no legal

recourse to settle the price dispute with

the corporates, whereas this function is

presently carried out by the APMC. The

farmers will be forced to sell their land

at giveaway price to the corporates

which will kill off the farmers and the

farming communities. The farmers will

eventually be reduced to labourers. The

government has already introduced new

labours laws that are hugely disadvantageous

to the workers and set to produce

slave labour. Though the Government

claims not to scrap the MSP, however it

has no intention of guaranteeing that

price, either in newly proposed open

Lekh Pall

Democratic and Human Rights Activist

markets nor in the increasingly redundant

APMC markets. The farmers

demand that MSP is brought into legislation

is falling on deaf ears.

The consequential effect of the new

laws on India’s farming community is

going to get worse than the already prevailing

dire situation. The farmers, particularly

the small landowners, have

been thrown to the merciless loan

sharks. Farmers in India have committed

suicide in their tens of thousands in

the last few decades. The so-called

green revolution of the 70s has made

them dependant on non-eco-friendly

farming practices. The Indian farmers

have been held in the tight grip of the

increasingly failing policies of the privatisation,

globalisation and liberalisation.

These laws are designed to enable

corporations to extract maximum profits

by dictating to the farmers what crops

they must grow, at lowest price. Small

farmers will become extinct and

become labourers. Monopoly farming

will become the norm. When the farmer

suffers the assured death, resulting from

these corporate instigated laws, what

will happen to the land labourers who

are dependent on the daily wage earned

on the farms? The corporates will

squeeze the farmers on their margin

and/or compel them to give up their

land, the effect that will have on the

land labourers leaves little to imagination.

Land labourers who currently

struggle to get daily work and daily living

wage, will be left destitute more so

than they already are.

In this great movement of peasants

and workers, united in struggle, let unity

not be spoilt by religious divide or with

casteist terms like JAT, JAAT, etc. This

is coming up far too frequently in

videos. There are many organisations

and individuals who understand the

connotations of these casteist words and

they are very careful not to use such

terms. Instead, they use Kisan, which is

agreeable to all. Every effort needs to be

made to prevent damage to this historic

struggle by casteist arrogance.

Some of those who have reached

borders of Delhi say they are ‘Bharatis’

(come to collect the bride) need to be

removed from the genuine farmers

protest and sent to some kind of correction

centre. These elements are casteist

who follow feudalistic patriarchalism.

They deserve no place in the farmers

movement. Let us use this opportunity

to educate the un-educated.

The Indian farmers movement is

advancing leaps and bounds. Millions

of farmers and farm workers are protesting

at the door step of DELHI. There are

reports that (State) sponsored disruptive

elements are involved in the movement.

These elements are deliberately

installed to de-rail the legitimate struggle

by painting it a ‘colour’, be it Antinationals,

Terrorists, Khalistani, Naxals,

etc. In the long run such bad elements

and the stubborn Hindutva government

can only be defeated by the united front

of farmers and workers stood steadfast

in the face of Capitalism and Feudalism.

Unite or perish are the only options.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

WORLD

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

23

Celebrating the Parkash Utsav (551) of

Dhan Dhan Siri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj

on 3 December 2020 at 6.30 pm on Zoom

Wind is the teacher, Water is the father,

and Earth is the great mother.

Day and night are the two kind nurturers,

and (the world) plays under them..

The record of good and bad deeds is read out

In presence of the Lord of Dharma.

According to their own deeds, some draw closer,

some are driven away.

Those who have meditated on the Name of the

Lord,

And departed after having worked by the sweat of

their brow,

O Nanak, their faces are radiant (when in God s

court)

And many others are saved along with them.

Guru Nanak Dev ji.

Amidst one of the unique and greatest farmers

agitations that the world has ever seen in the history

of mankind, SEF commemorated Gur Nanak s

551th Parkash Ustav on 3 December 2020. The

online event was timely especially during these

unprecedented life-threatening period in our history

where on one hand the world grapples with the

global pandemic and on the other the farmers

livelihood is threated due to the 3 ordinance bills

that the Government of India hurriedly promulgated

in favour of the corporate capitalists.

Reflecting on Guru Nanak s universal teachings

exemplifies the state of consciousness that

humankind can attain to lead a more fulfilling and

fair life. The human life is not be wasted but must

be utilised for the greater good. Baba Nanak toiled

the soil on Punjab s rural agriculture land during

the latter years of his life.

His universal message was:

kirat karo (work diligently and honestly)

Wand shako (share)

Naam japo (mediate)

Guru Nanak s principles of living a life of fulfilment

embody the bigger purpose of human life.

SEF on this occasion brought its members together

as part of an online sangat to hold spiritual discourses

of Nanak s life and his journeys.

The prog commenced with Rajinder Kaur

Bhogal introduced the session with Fateh greetings

and then she introduced the speakers.

Mool Manter: Harminder Kaur Bhogal recited

the Mool Manter.

Satguru Nanak Pargatia Mitty Dhundh Jag

Channan Hua ( from Varan Bhai Gurdas Ji). This

composition was sung by Gurdeep Kaur Bhamrah.

Poem. Simarjeet Kaur Aujla recited her own

composition titled Simar simar simarke sukh

pavo Gurdwaras in Pakistan. Surinder Kaur Kalsi

from Crawley gave a very informative talk drawing

from her own experience of the yatra undertaken

to Pakistan. She gave examples of many historical

Gurdwaras and vividly narrated their importance

and the links to events in Guru Ji s life.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji s Udasees / travels with a

mission . Santokh Singh Saran gave a brief

overview of Guru Ji s encounters and dialogues

with people of many faiths and from distant places

like Arabia, Baghdad and Haridwaar. The main

emphasis was on Guru Ji s unrelenting nature of

questioning of futile rituals and how he challenged

the status quo.

Mere Waheguru Ji tusi mehar karo . Dharmik

geet was sung by Usha Sood.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji s teachings (Bani). Santokh

Singh Dhanda gave an illuminating insight into the

life of the greatest revolutionary that Guru Nanak

was. He drew upon the fundamentals of his teachings

which start with the Mool Mantar (Guru

Nanak s vision of God) and the universal message

for the entire mankind. SSD reinforced this message

with quotes from Jap Ji, and other compositions

of Guru Ji from Guru Granth Sahib Ji. SSD

warned us not to be too reliant upon sakhis as historical

resource; our mainstay should be Gurbani

which is the spoken word of our Gurus. He sighted

the example of Bhai Balla; he was not Guru Ji s life

companion like Bhai Mardana. SSD also reminded

us that Guru Ji was actually born in April ; why we

celebrate in November is questionable.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji s parvaar and their names. A

short quiz by Gurmit Kaur Ryatt.

Joga Singh Jogi: Nanak de ghar amrit varse

virla koi peevai

Santokh Singh Dhanda recited a kavita in honour

of Guru Nanak Deve ji and conclude the event

with Written by Gurmit Kaur Ryatt (Vice Chair)

of Sikh Education Forum (SEF)

To find out more or to become a member of

Sikh Education Forum, please email Rajinder

Kaur Bhogal at:sikheducatinforum13@gmail.com

Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts and his Vision for India

On Dr. Ambedkar s

65th Death Anniversary

on 6th December

On 6th December, 1956 a great

son of India Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

breathed his last breath leaving

behind billions of his followers in

tears. His followers pay tributes to

this visionary social scientist by

Celebrating 6th December as

Mahaparinirvan Day. In contemporary

world, the thoughts and vision

of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar are still alive

in the minds and hearts of all those

who believe in his political philosophy

of State Socialism.

Out of prejudice or caste-test

hatred Baba Saheb Dr. B.R.

Ambedkar is often, described as

leader of the Dalits. But this is not

correct. He was an intellectual, a

statesman, rationalist, constitutionalist,

a great educationalist, a thinker

and research scholar.

Dr. Ambedkar was an atheist and

he not only stood for freedom and

welfare of humanity, he devoted his

whole life to this noble cause.

The following three comments

are suffice to explain the great qualities

of Dr. Ambedkar s personality.

Columbia Universities Vice-

President and Provost, while awarding

the degree of Doctor of laws

said:

Dr. Ambedkar is a great

reformer and a valiant upholder of

human rights.

Jawahar Lal Nehru : While paying

tribute to Dr. Ambedkar, on 6th

December, 1956 in the

Indian Parliament had

said that he was chief

architect of constitution

and a symbol of revolt

and he rebelled against,

something against which

all ought to rebel.1

Noble prize winner

Gunnar Mydral commented

that All over

world the memory of Dr.

Ambedkar will live for ever as a truely

great Indian, in the generation

which laid down the directions of

Independent India. 2

Dr. Ambedkar was pioneer in

emancipation of Hindu woman and

piloted Hindu Code Bill. When he

found that the Bill was wilfully

being delayed, he resigned from

Nehru Cabinet. Thus he was the first

L.R. Balley

minister who resigned on principle

ground.

Dr. Ambedkar while speaking on

the resolution regarding aims and

objects of the Constitutions had

said:

I do not understand how it could

be possible for any future government

which believes in doing justice

socially and economically and politically

unless its economy

is a socialistic economy.

3

Dr. Ambedkar submitted

a scheme, which he

names it a State

Socialism : Therein he

pleaded for (1) declaring

Agriculture as an Industry

(2) Nationalization of

basic and Key Industries

and (3) Nationalization of

Land and establishing collective

Farms in which all, irrespective of

Caste and religion can work. But his

scheme was rejected.

Dr. Ambedkar fought for various

types of reservations for the

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled

Tribes. But on 30th September, 1956

he presided over the last Executive

meeting of Scheduled Castes

Federation and passed resolution

that-political reservation be abolished

as this is perpetuating Caste

System and those who won election

for Lok Sabha work more for their

political masters and not for the

poor. But Upper caste Hindus persist

to keep political reservation in tact

because it serves their purpose of

keeping the lowly masses as obedient

creatures.

Dr. Ambedkar called

Constitution a Wonderful

Document. Had the ruling class of

India followed and implemented the

Constitution as drafted by Dr. B.R.

Ambedkar, India would have been

politically undivided, socially inclusive

and economically strong country

in the world. Regrettably, this did

not happen.

Reference

* Constituent Assembly Debates

New Delhi, Vol. 1 page 99 to

103.

* Parliament Debate Vol. 10 (Part II,

Page 2059).

* Ambedkar and Social Justice, New

Delhi, Vol. 2 Page 196.

Editor, Bheem Patrika, Jalandhar.

Mobile : 98723-21664


24 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

BE TRUTHFUL : So that India does

not become a hypocritical nation!

Since the beginning of the farmers'

agitation against the three new agrilaws,

there has been a series of allegations

and counter-allegations between

the BJP-led National Democratic

Alliance (NDA) government and

opposition parties.

The pace and volume of allegations

and counter-allegations between the

government and the opposition

increased significantly after the opposition

actively supported the Bharat

Bandh called by the farmers' organizations

on 8 December 2020. The government

has gone ahead of its earlier

charges of provoking the farmers by

misleading them by the opposition

that the three agri-laws have been on

the agenda of the entire opposition

including the Congress. The opposition

has said that the BJP, which calls

the provisions made in the agri-laws a

panacea for the farmers, has been

strongly opposing them in the past.

The government and the opposition

have presented the documents and

media footage accusing each other of

double speak/character. A war of 'your

reforms my reforms' has erupted

between the two creating utmost confusion

in the minds of people.

Whatever be the meaning of this exercise

of the government and the opposition

in the context of mutual power

struggle, this open truth is once again

revealed that liberalization-privatization

is the common agenda of the ruling

classes of the country. However,

this pertinent point regarding the

reforms has not been properly discussed

in the debate that arises from

the agitation.

This shared agenda of the ruling

classes has continued for the last thirty

years. Let me reiterate the fact that

when Manmohan Singh introduced

the New Economic Policies in 1991,

Atal Bihari Bajpai had said that "now

Prem Singh

the Congress has taken up their job".

HD Deve Gowda, who became the

Prime Minister of the United Front

government after Narasimha Rao-

Manmohan Singh, in 1996 was in

favour of liberalization-privatization

with the Finance Minister P

Chidambaram. During his 6-year

tenure, Prime Minister Vajpayee took

forward the process of liberalizationprivatization

mostly through ordinances

promulgated one

after another. This

process continued in a

steady and strong manner

during the two tenures of

the Congress-led United

Progressive Alliance

(UPA). Senior

Communist leader Jyoti

Basu, after playing a long

political innings, concluded

that the path of

development passes

through capitalism. Wiki

Leaks revealed the fact

that Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who

became the Chief Minister of West

Bengal after Jyoti Basu, had

approached the US Mission that he

would like to take a long leap on the

path of neo-liberalism. He made a

similar leap in Singur-Nandigram

igniting strong protests and an end to

three decades old left regime.

Regional leaders doing politics of

social justice or identity, and their

family heirs often remain silent on the

policies of liberalization-privatization.

Rather they would consider the fight

for power to be the 'policy'.

During this period, the politics of

the country graduated to become corporate

politics. The first political party

directly born out of the womb of corporate

capitalism - Aam Aadmi Party -

with its supremo has been dear to

country's governmental (sarkari) communists

and mostly secular democratic

socialist intellectuals. Recently,

after holding the event of 'Diwali

Poojan' in Delhi's Akshardham temple

with official paraphernalia and propaganda,

he has preached to his 'liberal'

friends that "they should pray, for the

peace of mind"! The Anti-Corruption

Movement, from which this party

emerged, deeply hurt the nationwide

movement waged against the

onslaught of liberalization-privatization

from

the very beginning, and

paved the way for

Narendra Modi, who had

become restless in

Gujarat, to reach Delhi.

It can be said indisputably

about the current

controversial agricultural

laws that their structural

design is corporatefriendly

and in accordance

with over-all government

policy. But no

opposition political party/leader

sought to repeal them completely as

Ordinances or as Bills in Parliament.

This fact becomes clear by looking at

all the debates held on the Bills in

Parliament. Apart from suggesting

some amendments, all parties had

demanded to send the Bills to a

Parliamentary Panel. For example, the

statement of Communist Party of

India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam can be

seen: "I request the minister ... if the

statement about the MSP is true and

sincere ... he should move an official

amendment here, saying that he will

add a clause ensuring the MSP for the

farmers. In that case, I promise you,

even though we oppose you politically,

the Communist Party of India will

support this Bill." ('Indian Express', 5

December 2020) Corporate-friendly

statements/documents about agricultural

reforms of the progeny of the

Ford Foundation, who are active in the

farmers' movement, have also become

more open. The demand for complete

repeal of the three agri-laws was made

only by the farmers' organizations.

Obviously, they will have to fight this

decisive battle on their own despite the

government's often-repeated propaganda

of being called traitors and its

divisive tactics.

Actually, the ruling classes of India

oppose liberalization-privatization,

citing the Constitution when out of

power, and when in power, take all

decisions in favor of liberalization-privatization

in the name of the

Constitution itself. They shamelessly

do the work of the corporate houses in

the name of the poor. Along with the

Constitution, they also pull the icons

of the country In their support and

opposition to liberalization-privatization.

The shabby treatment done to the

Constitution and the national icons by

the ruling classes is rarely done in any

other country. Due to this tendency of

the ruling classes, a deep hypocrisy

has taken place in the political behavior

of the country. This hypocrisy in

political behavior also affects other

life practices such as social, cultural,

religious, economic etc. If India is not

to be turned into a hypocritical nation,

then this phenomenon needs to be

addressed seriously. In the current

state of consensus on neo-liberal

reforms from the education to the

defense sector, would it not be better if

the ruling classes honestly accept that

they are a true advocate of liberalization-privatization?

Leaving the

Constitution aside, or amending it

against its original spirit of egalitarianism,

declare liberalization-privatization

as national policy? For this,

should they not negotiate with the

labour farmer, student, trader unions,

and associations/organisations of

employees of various departments in a

strait manner? Shouldn't they give a

clear message to domestic and foreign

investors/companies that liberalization-privatization

is India's accepted

national policy and tell the institutions

like World Bank, International

Monetary Fund, World Trade

Organization, United Nations that

India now come on its own in terms of

liberalization-privatization policies?

Don't they need to dictate in every

case that India has crossed the barrier

of "having too much democracy" to

assure neo-liberalists like Amitabh

Kant, NITI Aayog's Chief Executive

Officer (CEO), that now India can

compete with communist China's market

socialism?

This practice can be started with a

wide and serious discussion on controversial

agri-laws by calling a special

session of Parliament. In the debate, a

proper use can be made of the

ideas/arguments that have been presented

and deliberated upon during the

agitation on this contentious issue.

Such a suggestion from a person

like me may seem shocking to some

people. But if we have to avoid being

transformed into a hypocritical/fraudulent

nation, then there is no choice

but to face the truth. Three decades of

hypocrisy are enough. If there is an

honest confession of truth by the ruling

classes, the genuine supporters of

constitutional socialism will be able to

assess their position and role realistically

in the ongoing discourses/struggles.

If the farmers really have political

understanding, unity and courage,

they will find a way to deal with the

corporate loot despite the laws. That

path will also become a cornerstone

for other struggling organizations.

(The writer teaches Hindi at

Delhi University)

I am a farmer first and a police officer

later : Punjab DIG Prisons quits

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons)

Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, who was posted at

Chandigarh, has resigned from his post. He

has said this move is his expression of solidarity

with the protesting farmers and that

he himself is a farmer first.

According to a report in The Indian Express,

the 56-year-old officer was suspended in May

2020 when he was posted as Amritsar DIG

(Prisons) pending investigations on allegations

of corruption. According to the report, a complaint

against Jakhar was filed by Deputy

Superintendent Vijay Kumar posted at Patti subjail,

who alleged that Jakhar had demanded a

bribe from him in April. Kumar claimed he and

another jail employee had paid money to the

DIG’s driver. After an inquiry conducted by the

IG (Jails) recommended action against Jakhar,

he was put under suspension in May.

According to ADGP (Jails) Parveen Kumar

Sinha, who was quoted by

IE, Jakhar was reinstated

about two months ago. The

state’s Jail Minister

Sukjinder Singh Randhawa

told IE that legal opinion on

accepting his resignation

needs to be taken as an

inquiry is still underway. On

his part, Jakhar said, “I had

submitted my resignation on

Saturday. I have completed

all the formalities.

Therefore, I don’t think that there will be any

hassle in accepting my resignation.”

In September, Jakhar had posted a photo

where he is in his farm in Killianwali village

with a message, “I am a farmer. I support the

farmers from my heart” stated the report. Now

he has even offered to pay the government a

“sum equivalent to an

amount of pay and

allowances as required by

the government in the

treasury to exempt me

from the stipulated time of

advance notice.” He

wished to be “treated as

prematurely retired from

the service w.e.f 12th

December, 2020.”

This is his way of

expressing solidarity with

the farmers, and says he counts himself as one

too. “I am a farmer first and later a police officer.

Whatever position I have got today, it is

because my father worked as a farmer in the

fields and he made me study. Hence, I owe

everything I have to farming” Jakhar was quoted

by IE. Before joining Punjab Police he had

served in the Indian Army as well, “in the Army,

most part of my service was in J&K. I had gone

for training to Madras in 1987 before my first

posting in 1989” he said.

According to the news report Jakhar owns 22

acres out of the joint family’s 40 acres farmland

at Killianwali village in Abohar constituency of

Punjab, and stated that the family tilled the land

themselves. “We do farming ourselves. So, I am

aware of the challenges a farmer faces. My

mother Gobind Pal Kaur, who is 81 years of age,

still does farming and supervises the entire farming

operations at the village. I could not look

into her eyes, when she asked me what my opinion

was of our farmer brothers and sisters who

have been braving cold in Delhi since November

26. They have been on roads in Punjab since

mid-September,” the IE quoted him, adding that

he may head to Delhi soon.

Courtesy : Sabrang


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

MSP, the Albatross

of Narendra Modi!

The 2011 report of the Chief Ministers

committee headed by the then Gujarat CM

Narendra Modi had recommended legal

status for Minimum Support Price (MSP).

BJP s PM candidate Narendra Modi

gave a solemn promise to the farmers

across the nation in 2014 that MSP as recommended

by the Swaminathan

Commission (C2 plus 50% profit) would

be implemented for two dozen crops if BJP

was voted to power.

PM Modi did everything to bury the

implementation of his solemn promise in

all the six yrs after he occupied the chair in

May 2014. In Aug 2014, he appointed a HL

committee under the chairmanship of

Shantakumar to study the procurement system.

The committee s recommendations

were in line with the expectations of WTO,

neo-liberals, global finance and Modi himself.

It favoured the abolition of FCI procurement

and indirectly recommended the

burial of MSP. Implementing the

Swaminathan Commissions recommendation

on MSP is not feasible as it will distort

the market : Addl Solicitor General of

Modi govt told the Supreme Court in Feb

2015.

During the middle of Modi s first term

as PM, his non-descriptive agriculture minister

told in Chandigarh that we had implemented

all the recommendations of

Swaminathan Commission except the one

on MSP as it was not practical.

In his last budget speech, Arun Jaitley

told a damned lie that his budget had paved

the way to implement MSP as per the recommendation

of Swaminathan

Commission.In all the six years, Narendra

Modi did not utter a single word on his

promised MSP. Nor any media person

asked a question over his promise and the

status of delivery. Now in 2020, using the

corona cover, he has come out with the

three amazing Farm Laws which have no

word on MSP.

Nor is he willing to give a legal status

to the MSP (C2 plus 50% profit) as

demanded by the protesting farmers and as

recommended by the Narendra Modi committee

in 2011!

16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020

25

Senior Afghan official, assistant

killed in Kabul blast

Kabul : A senior Afghan official and his assistant were killed

in a bomb blast in Kabul on Tuesday, an Interior Affairs Ministry

official has confirmed.

"Mahbubullah Muhibi (deputy to the provincial governor) and

his office assistant were killed following an explosion on Tuesday

morning after an improvised sticky bomb attached to his vehicle

was detonated," Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told Xinhua

news agency.

"Two security guards aboard the vehicle were wounded," he

added. The vehicle was severely damaged by the force of the

explosion that took place at about 9.40 a.m. near the Makroryane-Char

locality, the spokesman said.

An investigation has been launched in the case, according to

Arian. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Also on Tuesday, a police officer was killed and two other security

personnel wounded in a shooting in Kabul’s Butkhak locality,

Police District 12. Tuesday’s attacks came two days after at least

two people were killed and two others injured in a bomb blast that

targeted the vehicle of MP Mohammad Tawfiq Wahdat in Kabul

on Sunday.

Sunday’s blast was also due to a sticky bomb attached to the

vehicle. The MP was however, not in the vehicle at the time of the

incident. On December 12, at least one person was killed and two

others were injured after 10 rockets were fired into different parts

of Kabul city. According to the Interior Affairs Ministry, the rockets

were fired from capital city’s Lab-e-Jar area, TOLO News

reported. It was second rocket attack in Kabul in the past one

month.

On November 21, at least 23 rockets were fired on different

parts of the city that killed eight civilians.

About 44 people lost their lives and many others were wounded

in targeted attacks across Afghanistan in November, according

to the official figures.

Pragya Singh Thakur-Kshtriya's

should produce more children

Pragya Singh Thakur is no ordinary

member of BJP, the ruling dispensation

in the country. She is a MP from

Bhopal and was also made the member

of defense committee before she

was removed from that committee for

her statement hailing Nathuram

Godse. She first came to lime light

after the Malegaon blasts, in which six

people were killed. Hemant Karkare,

the police officer who was killed in

26/11 (2008) attack was investigating

the case and he came across the fact

that the motor cycle used in Malegaon

blast was previously owned by

Thakur. That led to her arrest and

unearthing of the plot in which many

were arrested. She is currently under

bail on medical grounds.

Then she came to prominence as

she stated that Karkare had tortured

her and it is due to her shap (curse)

that Karkare got killed. Under pressure

from top, she withdrew this statement.

After this she went to state that

Nathuram Godse was a nationalist, is a

nationalist and will remain a nationalist.

Again she was pressurized to withdraw

this statement, and Mr. Modi

even said he will not be able to forgive

Thakur. Latest in the series of her

statement come the one about Varna

system. On one hand she stated (on 13

12 2020) that shudras feel bad

when they are called shudras due to

ignorance about the social system.

Addressing a gathering of the

Kshatriya Mahasabha, Thakur said

that society has been divided into four

categories in our dharmashastra

(social treatise) . In the same vein she

Political Ideology of BJP : Pragya Singh Thakur

commented that Today s kshatriya

need to understand their duties and

produce more and more children to

induct them into the Armed Forces so

that they can fight for the nation and

strengthen its security.

It is likely that she may be pressurized

once again to withdraw these

utterances of hers , but it is not just

incidental that what she says is the part

of deeper understanding of sectarian

nationalists. Despite the meticulous

investigation of Karkare, what is being

propagated currently that it was the

UPA II which wanted to implicate

Hindu right wings groups. Two of RSS

workers have been in jail for the blasts

around that time. Many of those

against whom cases were going on,

were given bail or exonerated. The reason

for this has been that the prosecuting

authorities have been told to go

soft on these cases. Rohini Salian the

Public Prosecutor (PP) in Mumbai

court stated this and she refused to

budge. Thereby she was removed as

PP.

As far statement about Godse is

concerned they are so many from the

cabal of Thakur who have been openly

celebrating Godse, temples in his

name are coming up. Even that act of

assassination of Gandhi was recreated

by Poonam Pandey of Hindu

Mahasabha on 30th January 2019.

Caste Varna has been the thorn in

the flesh of this sectarian nationalist

ideology. While Ambedkar burnt

Mausmriti for its prescriptions of

Varna and Gender hierarchy, the second

Sarsanghchalak of RSS, M.S.

Golwalkar praised the laws of Lord

Manu and stated that these ancient

laws are matter of admiration even

today. RSS mouthpiece Organizer criticized

the Indian Constitution on the

ground that it does not draw from the

Ram Puniyani

great laws given in Manu Smiriti and

many from Hindu nationalist argued

that India does not need a new

Constitution as it already has the one,

Mausmriti.

The dilemma for this sectarian ideology

is to keep talking in the language

which should appear to fit into

the contemporary times, to keep giving

lip service to the Indian

Constitution, while doing everything

to undermine it in practice. While

demonizing Muslims has been the

starting point of consolidating Hindus

and mobilizing them but keeping dalits

in subjugation as a strategy has

been more complex.

Ambedkar aimed at caste annihilation,

the ideology of Hindu nationalism

has floated Samajik Samrasta

Manch (Social Harmony Forum). The

projection here is that in ancient times

all castes were equal and living in harmony.

It was due to coming of

Muslims, who wanted to convert and

as natives offered resistance, were displaced

leading to castes becoming

unequal. Mr. Modi in his book,

Karmayog, since withdrawn, tells us

that Manual

scavengers are

not doing so just

for the sake of

livelihood but

for the spiritual

pleasure which

they derive

from that. The

process of social

engineering, in

co-opting the sections of dalits into

Hindutva political fold has been very

deep, and dalit-Adivasis have even

been used as foot soldiers of Hindu

nationalist politics.

BJP has also succeeded in incorporating

many dalit leaders by luring

them with power. What Pragya Singh

Thakur says is not out of the sync with

what the ruling dispensation and RSS

plan. It is a question what to say and

what to mean. Closest analogy may be

that of Elephant s teeth, what is seen,

shown and what is visible is different

from the real one. The biggest challenge

for this ideological organization

is to take the name of Gandhi while

keeping Godse alive in their ideology.

Keeping caste-Varna system alive,

while mouthing equality, is their aim.

As far as Khstriyas producing more

children, it is being heard for the first

time in a loud and clear manner. So far

different RSS Chiefs have opposed

family planning programs on the

ground that Muslims don t follow it,

Hindus follow it so the Muslim population

will go up. Most of these celibate

propagators so far have been

advising Hindu women to produce

more children. Thakur is bringing

forth the Varna, among Hindus and

saying that Khstriyas (Warrior group)

should produce more children. This is

novel. Whether this will also be followed

by the recruitment policies of

the armed forces will become clear

over a period of time.

It is the ilk of Thakur which shows

us the deeper agenda of sectarianism,

it is not only marginalizing of minorities,

it is also aims at putting up the

show of Hindu unity, while retaining

the caste/Varna hierarchy.


26 16-12-2020 to 31-12-2020 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

DDC ELECTIONS :

31 constituencies in J&K to go

to polls on Wed in Phase 7

Jammu : A total of 31 constituencies

are set to go to the polls in the seventh

phase of the ongoing District

Development Council (DDC) elections,

while 438 panch and 69

sarpanch seats will also witness voting

on Wednesday across Jammu and

Kashmir.

Addressing a press conference,

State Election Commissioner (SEC)

K.K. Sharma informed that a total of

31 DDC constituencies will go to the

polls on Wednesday, 13 in Kashmir

division and 18 in Jammu division.

Giving further details, the SEC said

that for the 13 DDC constituencies in

Kashmir division going to the polls on

Wednesday, there are 148 candidates

in the fray including 34 females. In

Jammu division, there are 150 candidates

in the fray for the 18 DDC constituencies,

including 38 females.

A total of 6,87,115 electors

(3,59,187 males and 3,27,928 females)

are going to elect their representatives

in all the 31 DDC constituencies. As

95% police stations in India

using CCTNS software : Govt

New Delhi : More than

95 per cent of the total

16,098 police stations across

the country have been using

the software facility Crime

and Criminal Tracking

Network and Systems

(CCTNS), a mission mode

modernisation project under

the National e-Governance

Plan (NeGP) of the Ministry

of Home Affairs (MHA).

Connectivity is available

at 97 per cent of the police

stations and 93 per cent of

them are entering 100 per

cent FIRs through the project.

Noting that integrated

database concepts like the

CCTNS and ICJS have

become indispensable to

realise the dream of New

India, Minister of State for

Home, G. Kishan Reddy, on

Tuesday shared the details

while addressing the inaugural

session of the second

conference on 'Good

Practices in Crime and

Criminal Tracking Network

and Systems/Interoperable

Criminal Justice System

(ICJS)' through video conferencing.

The two-day conference

has been organised

by the National Crime

Records Bureau (NCRB).

Reddy also said that integrated

database concepts

like the CCTNS and ICJS

have become indispensable

to realise the dream of New

India and that the two key

modernisation programmes

of the MHA have led to

effective law enforcement

and proved to be force multipliers.

"It is a reality that

crime does not follow jurisdictional

boundaries. Hence,

our response to crime should

also not be restricted by

boundaries. Immediate

recording of crime and the

access of the information to

all the stakeholders is

undoubtedly a key aspect of

any effective law enforcement

operation. This has led

to the genesis of the project

of CCTNS," Reddy said.

"This about Rs 2,000

crore mission mode project

has revolutionised investigation

and policing with its

massive reach and connectivity.

It has managed to connect

the police stations and

other offices, even in the

most far-flung areas," the

minister said.

Reddy said the ICJS takes

data sharing to a higher level

and ensures a single source

of truth between law

enforcement and judicial

systems. "Without doubt,

ICJS is a force multiplier in

this data driven world."

The minister called for

replicating the good initiatives

taken by one state in

other states, saying "it is a

matter of great privilege,

under the leadership of

Prime Minister Narendra

Modiji, the government has

used cooperative federalism

as a guiding mantra and the

states work together, learn

together and propel each

other forward".

many as 1,852 polling stations have

been designated for the polling, 1,068

in Kashmir division and 784 in Jammu

division.

The SEC further informed that of

the 117 sarpanch vacancies notified in

the seventh phase, 30 have been elected

unopposed. There shall be contest

in 69 constituencies and 231 candidates,

including 79 females, are in the

fray, he added.

Similarly, he said that out of the

total 1,270 panch vacancies notified in

this phase, 416 were elected unopposed,

and 438 constituencies will go

to the polls with 1,000 candidates,

including 287 female candidates.

The SEC said that all the requisite

arrangements for this phase are in

place, including man power, election

materials and security arrangements in

all the poll-bound areas.

Referring to the arrangements in

place in view of the Covid-19 pandemic,

the SEC said that adequate

arrangements have been put in place to

ensure safety of all the stakeholders.

Sanitisers, thermal scanners and face

masks have been arranged at the

polling stations to ensure that the

SOPs issued by the concerned authorities

are strictly followed at the polling

stations, he added.

8,606 litres of liquor seized per

day in Bihar in last 11 months

Patna : Despite stringent

punishment for the trade or

consumption of liquor in

Bihar, bootleggers have continued

to sell liquor illegally.

In the last 11 months, the

Prohibition Excise &

Registration Department of

Bihar police seized 8,606

litres of liquor per day from

January 1 to November 30

this year. A total of

28,91,731 litres of liquor

including 8,59,063 litres of country

made liquor and 20,32,667 litres of

Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL)

was seized in 43 districts by the

department, a senior official said on

condition of anonymity.

"39,467 FIRs have been registered

and 48,187 people have been arrested

in this connection so far while

26,039,56 litres of liquor has been

destroyed," he said. "We have initiated

a special drive against illegal trade

and transportation of liquor. Sixty

four raids were conducted and apart

from liquor, we also seized 24,000

litres of spirit, Rs 1,83,890 cash and

88 mobile phones," he added.

Following the ban on liquor sale in

Bihar, mafias started home delivery of

liquor through various illegal means.

"We have a structure of local intelligence

to keep a tab on illegal

traders. Based on information by local

intelligence, we conducted 346 raids

and arrested 171 offenders involved

either in home delivery or consumption

of liquor. We have registered

cases against 196 persons as well," he

said. A total of 1,21,121 litres of

IMFL was seized while it was being

delivered to the clients between

January 1 to November 30. Apart

from this, 26.74 kg ganja (marijuana),

450 litre Tari, 50 mobile phones, three

firearms, 12 cartridges and two magazines

have also been seized.

According to the police, the majority

of the smuggling cases were

detected from the border areas of

Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and

West Bengal. In a joint operation by

the department and the Sitamarhi

police on December 14, four persons,

identified as Pankaj Thakur, Shyam

Babu, Salamat Khan and Anish Khan,

were arrested in Birrakh village under

the Sursand police station.

Sitamarhi ASP Pramod Kumar

said, "We carried out an operation on

the intervening night of December 13

and 14 based on specific inputs and

managed to track the truck behind a

cement store on Sursand-Pupri highway

at Birrakh village on Indo-Nepal

border. 527 cartons of liquor worth Rs

20 lakh were seized from it."

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