01-05-2021 The Asian Independent

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Vol : 05 : #66 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

India logs 4L Covid cases for

the first time in a new high

New Delhi : India witnessed highest

spike of 4,01,999 fresh cases of

Covid-19 and 3,523 fatalities due to

coronavirus infection in the last 24

hours, Ministry of Health and Family

Welfare (MoHF) said on Saturday.

It was the first time when India

crossed four lakh figure of Covid

cases in a day. For the last nine days,

over three lakh Covid cases were

being reported while over 3,000 casualties

have been reported for the past

four days. On Friday, India witnessed

3,498 deaths, second highest fatalities

in a day.

India's total tally of total Covid-19

cases now stands at 1,91,64,969, the

highest since the pandemic started in

2020, with 32,68,710 active cases and

New Delhi : Seven Indian

Navy ships have been deployed

for the shipment of liquid medical

oxygen-filled cryogenic containers

and associated medical equipment

from various countries to

strengthen Indias fight against the

raging second wave of the Covid-

19 pandemic.

"INS Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar,

Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa and

Airavat have been deployed for

the shipment of liquid medical

oxygen-filled cryogenic containers

in support of the nation's fight

against Covid-19 and as part of

operation 'Samudra Setu II'," the

Indian Navy stated.

INS Kolkata and INS Talwar,

2,11,853 deaths so far.

According to MoHF, 2,99,988 people

have been discharged in the last 24

hours taking the total recoveries to

1,56,84,406. The health ministry said

that a total of 15,49,89,635 people

have been vaccinated so far in the

country, including 27,44,485 people

administered vaccines in the last 24

hours. Maharashtra reported a record

high of 6,64,683 Covid-19 cases followed

by Karnataka (3,82,710), Uttar

Pradesh (3,10,783) and Kerala

(3,04,074). According to the Indian

Council of Medical Research,

28,83,37,385 samples have been tested

up to April 29, 2021 for Covid-19,

of these 19,45,299 samples were tested

on Friday.

7 Navy ships to bring oxygen, medical

equipment from various nations

deployed in the Persian Gulf, were

the first batch of ships that were

immediately diverted for the task

and entered the port of Manama,

Bahrain, on Friday. INS Talwar is

headed back home with 40 MT

liquid medical oxygen (LMO).

INS Kolkata has proceeded to

Doha, Qatar, for embarking medical

supplies and will subsequently

head to Kuwait for embarking

liquid oxygen tanks.

Similarly, on the Eastern

seaboard, INS Airavat has been

diverted for the task, while INS

Jalashwa, the LPD which played a

key role during operation Samudra

Setu last year, was pulled out of

maintenance, readied and sailed

out to augment the effort, the

Navy said.

INS Airavat is scheduled to

enter Singapore for embarking liquid

oxygen tanks, while INS

Jalashwa is standing by in the

region to embark medical supplies

at short notice.

The second batch of ships comprising

INS Kochi, Trikand and

Tabar deployed in the Arabian Sea

has also been diverted to join the

efforts.

From the Southern Naval

Command, landing ship tank INS

Shardul is being readied to join the

operation within 48 hours.

The Indian Navy also has the

surge capability to deploy more

ships when the need arises to further

the nation's fight against

Covid-19, it said.

All the ships are combat ready

and capable of meeting any contingency

in keeping with the

attributes of the versatility of sea

power, the Navy said.

It may be recalled that operation

Samudra Setu was launched

last year by the Navy and around

4,000 Indian citizens stranded in

the neighbouring countries due to

the Covid outbreak were successfully

repatriated back to India.

K’taka witnesses biggest single-day

spike of 48,296 Covid cases

Bengaluru : Battered by

the onslaught of the second

of the Covid-19 pandemic,

Karnataka reported an alltime

high single-day spike

of 48,296 Covid cases in

the last 24 hours, including

a staggering 26,756 infections

in Bengaluru alone,

the state health bulletin said

on Friday.

"With 48,296 new cases

registered on Thursday, the

state's Covid tally shot up

to 15,23,142, including

3,82,690 active cases, while recoveries

increased to 11,24,909 with 14,884 discharged

during the day," said the bulletin

issued on Friday.

As the epicentre of the pandemic in the

state, Bengaluru reported 26,756 fresh cases

on Thursday, taking its Covid tally to

7,56,740, including 2,59,058 active cases,

while 5,123 discharges in the last 24 hours

too its total number of recoveries to

4,91,306.

Of the 217 lives lost to the virus on

Thursday, 93 were from Bengaluru, taking

the state's death toll to 15,523 and the city's

toll to 6,375 since the pandemic broke out in

mid-March a year ago.

Among the districts, Mysuru reported

3,500 cases, followed by 1,801 in Tumkuru,

1,348 in Mandya, 1,256 in Kalaburagi,

1,205 in Dakshina Kannada, 1,282 in Ballari

and 609 in Kodagu, with the other cases

spread across the remaining 23 districts of

the state.

Out of the 1,89,793 tests conducted

across the state on Thursday, 14,280 were

through Rapid Antigen detection and

1,75,513 through the RT-PCR method.

The state's test positivity rate shot up to

25.44 per cent, while the case fatality rate

stood at 0.44 per cent on Thursday.

Meanwhile, 1,62,011 people, including

67,036 senior citizens and 61,032 in the 45-

59 years age group, were vaccinated during

the day across the state.

"Cumulatively, 95,81,682 beneficiaries,

including healthcare workers and frontline

warriors, have received the jab till date since

the vaccination drive was launched on

January 16 across the southern state," said

the bulletin.


2

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

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Water has gone above head, arrange

oxygen now: Delhi HC raps Centre

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on

Saturday rapped the Centre over the shortage

of medical oxygen in the national capital

amid the raging second wave of the

Covid-19 pandemic and directed it to

arrange the life-saving gas "by whatever

means", saying "water has gone above the

head, arrange everything now".

The court made the observation while

hearing the petitions on how the health

infrastructure is trying to cope with the

deadly second wave of the pandemic.

Gurugram : In a joint operation,

the Gurugram and

Sonipat units of the Special

Task Force (STF) of the

Haryana Police have arrested

an inter-state most wanted

criminal Sube Gujjar, who was

carrying a reward of Rs 7.50

lakh, from a Delhi airport on

Friday, the police said on

Saturday.

The reward was announced

by the Haryana, Delhi,

Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh

police.

Gujjar, a resident of

Bargujjar village of Gurugram,

was a key member of the

Team AI :

Devinder Chander

Editor-in-chief

Columnists

V.B. Rawat

Farzana Suri

Arun Kumar

Rahul Kumar

Harminder K. Bhogal

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Considering the death of eight Covid

patients, including a doctor, at Delhi's

Batra Hospital due to the shortage of oxygen

earlier in the day, the high court said:

"Water has gone above the head. You have

to arrange everything now. You have made

the allocations. You have to fulfil them.

Eight lives have been lost. We can't shut

our eyes to it." The court had earlier

recorded the submissions made regarding

the tragic incident at the Batra Hospital in

the Mehrauli area of the national capital

Kaushal gang and was

involved in 11 cases of

murder, 12 attempt to

murder cases, extortion,

contract killing and

dozens of other crimes

which were serious in

nature.

According to the

police, Gujjar was operating

the gang after the

arrest of Kaushal. He was

involved in multiple criminal

activities since 2004-

05 and was a proclaimed

offender. He was yet to be

arrested in 20 other cases

which he had committed in the

span of 16 years.

Gurugram STF incharge

that was reported at around 12.45 p.m. on

Saturday.

This was the second time in a week that

the hospital ran out of medical oxygen. On

April 24, the hospital had received a lastminute

supply which arrived minutes after

its oxygen reserves ran out.

The high court further directed the

Centre to ensure that Delhi receives 490

MT oxygen supply on Saturday by "whatever

means".

"We direct the Centre to ensure that

Delhi receives its 490 MT oxygen supply

today by whatever means. Delhi is not an

industrial state... It doesn't have cryogenic

tankers," the high court said.

"Eight people have died... Will we shut

our eyes to people dying in Delhi," the

court asked.

The court further directed the Centre to

submit its explanation by Monday if it fails

to supply medical oxygen to Delhi hospitals.

"We'll see your explanation on

Monday if you can't supply oxygen," it

said. The court also said that it is the

responsibility of the Central government to

arrange oxygen tankers as well.

"The allocation to Delhi has been in

force from April 20 and not for a single day

Delhi has received the allocated supply,"

the court noted.

Inspector Varun Dahiya said

the criminal was using fake IDs

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Lockdown in Delhi extended

by one week : Kejriwal

New Delhi : Amid the raging second wave of the Covid-19

pandemic in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind

Kejriwal on Saturday announced to extend the lockdown in the

city for one more week.

Earlier on April 26, the Chief Minister had extended the

week-long lockdown in the national capital till May 3.

Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal said, "Lockdown in Delhi is being

extended by one week."

The national capital has been witnessing a massive surge in

the number of Covid-19 cases since the past few weeks. As per

the data received on Saturday morning, the city recorded over

27,000 new cases and 375 deaths in the past 24 hours - the 13th

straight day when Delhi reported more than 20,000 cases a day.

Notorious inter-state gangster held at Delhi airport

Poonawalla to begin vaccine

production in UK: Report

New Delhi : In a bid to meet

its supply commitments, the

Serum Institute of India's (SII)

Chief Executive Officer Adar

Poonawalla on Friday said that

the company is planning to start

vaccine production in the UK,

the media reported.

While speaking to the

Times, the CEO of Pune-based

pharmaceutical company said

that the company will make an

official announcement in the

upcoming days.

"The level of expectation

and aggression is really

unprecedented. It's overwhelming,"

Poonawalla told the publication.

Recently, SII had borrowed

money from banks instead of

waiting for the government's

aid to arrive to scale up the production

of its Covishield vaccine.

The company assumed that

the funding from the government

will reach them very

soon, probably by this week.

Covishield has been developed

by the Oxford University and

AstraZeneca and manufactured

by the SII. The government

recently announced that it has

given in-principle approval for

credit to vaccine manufacturers,

SII and Hyderabad-based

Bharat Biotech to boost India's

vaccine production in wake of

the huge surge in Covid-19

caseload.

The Union Finance Ministry

has approved a sanction of Rs

3,000 crore credit for SII and

Rs 1,500 crore to Bharat

Biotech. Poonawalla, earlier,

had suggested that the company

would require around Rs

3,000 crore to increase production

of Covid-19 vaccines.

during his hideout period

and around 15 days ago he

was returning to India from

Nepal.

"Gujjar had committed

multiple crimes in Delhi

and NCR, Haryana,

Rajasthan and Uttar

Pradesh. He was operating

the gang from outside

Delhi and NCR. Following

a lead about his presence at

Delhi airport, the STF

arrested him on Friday.

Gujjar used to extort

money from wine contractors,

businessman, sweet

shop owners, builders and

industrialists with the help of

his gang members," Dahiya

told IANS.

Gujjar had visited Dosa,

Alwar in Rajasthan and

Chennai during his hideout

period with the help of fake

documents. Gujjar was returning

from Goa and was planning

to fly to some other destination

but the STF arrested him,"

Dahiya added.

"The investigation agency

has taken him on seven days

police remand to gather information

about his gang members

and weapons used into the

crime," he said.

Corona curfew extended

in 4 J&K districts

Srinagar :

Amidst a spike

in Covid-19

cases in the

Union Territory,

the J&K government

on

Saturday

extended corona

curfew in four

districts till

Thursday morning,

officials

said. The four

districts include Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam and Jammu.

According to an official statement, the corona Curfew ending

at 7 a.m. May 3, 2021 stands extended till 7 a.m. on May 6, 2021

in the four districts of Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam and Jammu.

The corona curfew at night shall continue in all the municipal

and urban local body limits of all the 20 districts of

Jammu and Kashmir, including the above four districts, the

statement added. Apart from this, the other restrictions will

continue as before.


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ASIA

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

3

Thailand sends medical aid

to India to fight pandemic

New Delhi : Medical aid is pouring

in from around the world to India with

the latest help coming from Thailand

to fight the virulent second wave of

the Covid-19 pandemic.

Official sources said that the

Thailand government has sent its aircraft

to evacuate some Thai Embassy

officials from India. The Royal Thai

Air Force (RTAF) flight, which

arrived in India on Saturday for evacuation,

also carried 15 oxygen concentrators

as donation from the Thailand

government to the Indian Red Cross,

along with 15 concentrators donated

by the Hindu Samaj of Bangkok.

Official sources said Thailand

Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chano

Cha conveyed through the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs his desire to offer

assistance to India. The Indian government,

sources said, had indicated that

it requires oxygen cylinders, concentrators,

generators and cryogenic oxygen

tanks. Meanwhile, Indian corporates,

in coordination with the Indian

Embassy in Thailand and the Ministry

of Home Affairs, have been sourcing

cryogenic tanks from Thailand. Eleven

tanks in three sorties by the Indian Air

Force (IAF) have already reached

India. The Indian community in

Thailand has also extended its support.

In addition, 100 oxygen cylinders

have separately been offered by the

Indian Association of Thailand. Steps

are being taken for their speedy transportation

to India. Thanking the

Thailand government and the Indian

community in that country, Ministry of

External Affairs spokesperson Arindam

Bagchi tweeted, "Further strengthening

historical ties with a close maritime

neighbour. Welcome the gift of 15 oxygen

concentrators from our ASEAN

partner and friend Thailand. Also thank

the Indian community in Thailand

which have generously donated another

15 oxygen concentrators."

Meanwhile, by April 30, India had

received 495 oxygen concentrators

and 140 ventilators from the UK; 200

oxygen concentrators from Mauritius;

256 oxygen cylinders from Singapore;

20 large oxygen concentrators, 75

ventilators, 150 bedside monitors, and

2,00,000 packs of Favipiravir from

Russia; 157 ventilators, 480 BiPAPs,

goggles, masks from the UAE; and

700 oxygen concentrators and 365

ventilators from Ireland.

India also received 80 oxygen concentrators,

75 oxygen cylinders, and

20 high-flow humidify oxygen therapy

devices from Romania, and 423

oxygen cylinders with regulators (200

Size D, 223 Size H), 210 pulse oximeters,

184,000 Abbott Rapid Diagnostic

Test Kits, 84000 N-95 face masks, 17

H-size (large) oxygen cylinders and

7,00,000 Abbott Rapid Diagnostic

Test Kits from the US.

ISRO staff at various centres

affected by Covid-19

HMD faces manpower crunch,

to reach 1B syringes by June

Chennai : The second wave

of Covid-19 sweeping across

the country has also affected

the various space centres and

not just the rocket launch centre

in Sriharikota in Andhra

Pradesh, K.Sivan, Secretary,

Department of Space said.

Sivan who is also the

Chairman, Indian Space

Research Organisation (ISRO)

told IANS: "Several employees

in our various centres have

been affected because of the

coronavirus and not only the

Satish Dhawan Space Centre in

Sriharikota."

He said the centres have

been asked to work with 50 per

cent staff capacity and the

remaining people to work from

home. "Only employees manning

critical functional areas

have been asked to attend

office. The ISRO centres have

been asked to follow the local

government's norms," Sivan

said. In Bengaluru where the

ISRO's headquarters and some

centres are located only skeletal

staff attend office. An official

in SDSC on the condition of

anonymity told IANS that there

are about 3,000 employees with

their family members and daily

about 30 people are tested positive

for coronavirus.

"About 200 staff would have

been infected with coronavirus.

Only those who work in critical

areas attend to duty," the official

said. According to the official,

one of the ISRO guest houses

has been converted into a quarantine

centre/Covid care centre

so that some employees not

having support infrastructure at

their homes are admitted. Many

employees of SDSC had been

allotted the poll duty when the

bypoll for Tirupati Lok Sabha

constituency held in April had

been infected with Covid.

SDSC Director A. Rajarajan

was not available for comments

and the steps taken to mitigate

the spread when contacted by

IANS. Meanwhile, Sivan said

ISRO's centre in Mahendragiri

in Tamil Nadu is producing

oxygen and supplies to the state

government. "Our production

capacity is very small. The

Kerala government too has

asked us for oxygen supplies,"

Sivan said.

New Delhi : As the company

is currently facing manpower

challenges, Medical syringe

major Hindustan Syringes and

Medical Devices Ltd (HMD)

on Saturday said that it is hiring

more people to meet the target

of producing 1 billion syringes

by June. The company said that

the manpower shortage is due

to the second wave of Covid-

19, ongoing Panchayat elections

and harvesting season.

"We have currently extreme

shortages of manpower. To

reach our target of 100 crore

syringes capacity, HMD needs

to strengthen our team and

employ 3,200 people but currently

have on roll 2,700,"

Rajiv Nath, Managing Director,

HMD, said in a statement.

"We are 500 people short to

achieve our target of 100 crore

pcs of auto-disable AD

Toronto : Even as Canada's

biggest province is facing the

third wave of the coronavirus

driven by new, more-contagious

variants, Premier Doug

Ford said the ventilators were

being donated in response to

calls for help from the Indian

High Commissioner in Ottawa

and the Consul General in

Toronto. The e700 Transport

ventilators, manufactured by

Brampton-based O-Two

Medical Technologies, will be

syringes by June this year,"

Nath added.

However, amid the shortage,

the company managed to timely

deliver 21.75 crore syringes

by April end to the Government

of India, as scheduled, to help

the country in its third vaccination

drive. "We are in the

process of immediate recruitment

of 500 people to increase

production at our factories in

Faridabad industrial district in

Haryana," Nath said.

"We are looking for hardworking

sincere people from

states like Haryana, Himachal

Pradesh, UP and Rajasthan that

are high school pass and fresher

who we will train with requisite

skills," he added. While

talking to IANS recently, Nath

said that the company will

invest over Rs 100 crore to

ramp up its production capacity

from 2.5 billion syringes to

over 3 billion.

The company ships out 0.1

ml and 0.5 ml auto disposable

Kojak syringes for global vaccination

projects in the developing

world, for yellow fever,

measles, hepatitis B and others.

This is in addition to Covid-

19 vaccination requirements of

0.3 ml for Pfizer's vaccines or

0.5 ml auto-disable Kojak for

AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of

India (SII) or Bharat Biotech

vaccines. With over 9 plants,

the company has created a

niche for their disposable

syringe -- DISPOVAN, which

is today one of the most popular

brands in the syringe market

in India with over 60 per cent

market share.

Ontario to donate 3,000 ventilators to Indian Red Cross to fight pandemic

shipped to India soon.

The Premier said his government

would also arrange transportation

to India of the medical

equipment being donated

by the Indian diaspora and

friends of India in Ontario.

"We stand shoulder-toshoulder

with the people of

India during these difficult

times. Our government will

keep working closely with Ajay

Bisaria, High Commissioner of

India and Apoorva Srivastava,

Consul General of India to

Toronto and stand ready to

assist further with India's

urgent needs, for as long as we

are able to. We are all in this

together and we will all overcome

this together," the

Ontario Premier said.


4

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Pak cuts international flights

to 20% to curb Covid cases

Islamabad : The National

Command and Operation Centre

(NCOC) on Saturday issued an advisory

reducing the number of inbound

international flights to 20 per cent to

curb a further rise in Covid-19 cases.

"Amid high disease prevalence in

various parts of the world and current

disease situation in the country with

corresponding extreme stress on the

critical care system. Pakistan has

decided to significantly reduce

inbound International Air Travel

from 5 May to 20th May," said the

NCOC in a statement on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear

which routes and air carriers will be

affected. The NCOC said that the

decision will be reviewed on May 18.

Inbound air traffic will operate at

20 per cent of the total current quantum,

while there is no change in the

existing Category C list countries.

"Pakistani passport holders

(stranded/short term visa) are

allowed to travel to Pakistan subject

to exemption by the committee as per

procedures in vogue," the NCOC

statement read. All inbound travellers

to Pakistan, including those from the

Category C list countries, must have

a negative repeat PCR test before

travelling to Pakistan (maximum 72

hours old) while a rapid antigen test

will be done on arrival at the airport.

Negative cases will undergo 10

days of self-quarantine at home with

stringent TTO protocols, Geo TV

reported. The statement said that positive

cases will be shifted by the

provincial/ district administration to a

self-paid facility for 10 days quarantine

with TTO of contacts (if any) and

a repeat PCR test will be conducted

on the 8th day of the quarantine period.

In case of a negative result, the

passenger will be allowed to proceed

home. However, in case of a positive

result, the passenger will either

undergo an additional quarantine

period or be shifted to hospital as per

the advice of health authorities.

The NCOC stated that registration

on the Passtrack App by all inbound

travellers before travelling to

Pakistan is mandatory, however,

deportees are exempted from registration

on the app.

Pakistan has seen record deaths in

recent days from the coronavirus, and

stricter restrictions on movement and

gathering in public are planned for

the upcoming Eid holiday.

Officials are worried the country's

health care system, already under

strain, could reach breaking point if

more contagious variants of the virus

begin to spread, as has happened in

neighbouring India.

On Saturday, authorities reported

4,696 new confirmed Covid-19 cases

in the past 24 hours and 146 deaths

from the disease.

11 killed after

extreme weather

hits east China

Nanjing : Eleven people were killed

and dozens injured after strong gales

struck east China's Jiangsu Province, the

provincial authorities said on Saturday.

Gales and hail swept parts of Jiangsu

on Friday night, including Nantong,

Huai'an, Yancheng, Taizhou and Suqian.

The disaster has left 11 people dead,

66 injured and 3,050 evacuated, according

to the Jiangsu Provincial Emergency

Management Department.

A fishing boat capsized due to the

storm, and 11 crew members fell into the

water. Two have been rescued and the

search for nine others is underway, the

Xinhua news agency reported.

Local authorities are organising the

relief efforts.

Ontario ban on entry

of int'l students to

impact INDIANS

Toronto : Ontario, Canada's

worst-hit province which is

battling the third wave of the

coronavirus, has sought a ban

on the arrival of international

students.

Currently, students from

India make up the majority of

international students studying

in Ontario.

Making this announcement

on Friday, Ontario Premier

Doug Ford said that since 94

per cent of all new cases in

Ontario are of new variant of

the virus and are coming from

outside, he would urge the federal

government to ban the

arrival of International students

into the province to check the

spread of the virus.

The Premier said, "Not

enough is being done to keep

these deadly variants out of

Canada. Last week, the new

Indian variant was reported

here in Ontario. It didn't swim

here I can tell you that."

Responding to the Ontario

Premier's request, Prime

Minister Justin Trudeau said

that his government would do

everything to stop the spread of

the virus.

Trudeau said, "Premier Ford

has asked that we should suspend

the arrival of international

students and because at this

time Ontario is the only

province making this request,

we are happy to work narrowly

with them."

Canada banned all direct

flights from India for one

month earlier this week, after

Health Canada statistics

showed that many passengers

from India were testing positive

for the virus.

There were 219,855 Indian

students in Canada last year,

making up about a third of all

642,480 foreign students. The

majority of them study in institutions

in Ontario.


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NEWS

India’s consumer demand for gold

to weaken in Apr-Jun: WGC

Mumbai : Consumer

demand for gold is likely to

weaken in the ongoing quarter

due to the restrictions and lockdowns

in wake of the second

wave of Covid-19, according to

a report by the World Gold

Council (WGC).

"The outlook for the coming

quarter is cautious. As lockdowns

are re-imposed in various

regions of the country in

response to rising COVID-19

cases, consumer confidence has

dipped. This is likely to impact

wedding demand in Q2 2021,"

it said. However, digital and

omni-channel retail strategies

developed over the last year by

many players may cushion the

drop unlike Q2 2020 but the

current crisis is beyond just economics

and logistics, therefore,

sentiment may be affected till

large scale vaccination is

Sensex down 983

points as banking

stocks plunge

Mumbai : The Indian stock

market witnessed a freefall on

Friday with the BSE Sensex

closing nearly 1,000 points

lower. Heavy selling was witnessed

in banking and finance

stocks. The decline came amid

surging Covid-19 cases in the

country and weakness in the

Asian markets.

Sensex closed at 48,782.36,

lower by 983.58 points, or 1.98

per cent, from its previous close

of 49,765.94. It had opened at

49,360.89 and touched an intraday

high of 49,569.42 and a low

of 48,698.08 points. The Nifty50

on the National Stock Exchange

closed at 14,631.10, lower by

263.80 points, or 1.77 per cent,

from its previous close. The top

losers on the Sensex were HDFC,

HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank,

while the only gainers were

ONGC, Sun Pharmaceutical

Industries, Dr Reddy’s

Laboratories and Bajaj Auto.

One held in Chennai for

smuggling in 1.2 kg gold

Chennai : The Chennai Air

Customs said on Saturday that

it has seized 1.2 kg gold from a

passenger who flew into the

city from Dubai. According to a

statement issued by the

Commissioner of Customs,

Chennai International Airport,

Mohamed Badurudeen arrived

from Dubai with a 55 inch LED

TV. When the officials examined

it by opening its back

cover, they found two heavy

black rectangular bars concealed

inside the speakers,

which turn contained two gold

bars.

The two bars weighed 1.2 kg

and are valued at Rs 57.75 lakh.

Badurudeen has been arrested

and further investigation is

underway.

achieved. Demand for gold in

India for Q1 2021 was at 140

tonne, 37 per cent higher than

the overall demand in Q1 of

2020 (102 tonne). India’s Q1

2021 gold demand was valued

at Rs 58,800 crore, an increase

of 57 per cent in comparison

with Q1 2020 (Rs 37,580 crore).

The total jewellery demand

in India for Q1 2021 was up 39

per cent at 102.5 tonne as compared

to Q1 2020 and the total

investment demand for Q1

2021 increased by 34 per cent

to 37.5 tonne in comparison

with Q1 2020 (28.1 tonne).

Somasundaram PR,

Managing Director, India,

World Gold Council said: "A

combination of softening gold

prices, buoying consumer sentiment

following sharp pick-up

in economic activity and return

of social activities like weddings

supported a 39 per cent

growth y-o-y in gold jewellery

demand at 102.5 tonne." He

added that the average domestic

gold price of Rs 47,131/10

gram was 14 per cent higher y-

o-y but 6 per cent lower q-o-q,

and 16 per cent lower than the

August 2020 peak of Rs

56,000/10 gram."Robust consumer

demand, combined with

stock building among the trade

ahead of key festivals (including

Akshaya Tritiya in May),

were the primary drivers of the

strong rise in imports," he said.

Kalinga Literary Festival

names ’Lifetime Achievement’

award after Manoj Das

New Delhi : Paying

tribute to the legendary

Odia and English writer

Manoj Das, who passed

away on April 27 in

Puducherry due to agerelated

ailments, the

Kalinga Literary

Festival has named its

Mystic Kalinga Award

and Mystic India

Festival Lifetime

Achievement Award

after him. The 87-yearold

bilingual writer and

a Padma Bhushan

recipient was honoured

with the Mystic Kalinga

Literary Award - Indian

and Global Languages in 2020.

Last year, the writer had given

a speech at the festival on

’Divine Madness: Knowledge,

Ecstasy, and Transformation’,

the central theme of the festival.

He had discussed aspects

of mysticism and explained

narrating tales and citing historical

events that mysticism is

not always linked to religion.

"The greatest storyteller of

the era, Manoj Das, has departed

for heavenly abode. Das

made rich contributions to Odia

and English literature," said

Kalinga Literary Festival

Founder and Director, Rashmi

Ranjan Parida. Parida also

announced that the Mystic

Kalinga Award and Mystic

India Festival Lifetime

Achievement Award will be

named after Manoj Das.

Eminent English writer

Graham Greene once said, "He

will certainly take a place on

my shelves beside the stories of

Narayan. I imagine Odisha is

far from Malgudi, but there is

the same quality in his stories

with perhaps an added mystery."

His writings were mainly

about human suffering in the

villages of his state but he layered

them with such fantasy

and satire that it left an indelible

impression on the mind of

readers. His short stories, novels,

essays and poems presented

a perfect combination of

social realism and understanding

of human psyche.

Born in 1934 in a small village

in Balasore district in

Odisha, his first collection of

poems was published when he

was just 14. Even as he wrote

in Odia, he started writing in

English in 1968 and some of

his well-known works are ’A

Tiger at Twilight’, ’The

Submerged Valley’, ’The Bridge

in the Moonlit Night’,

’Cyclones’, ’Mystery of the

Missing Cap’, ’Myths, Legends,

Concepts and Literary

Antiquities of India’.

Some of his Odia works

include ’Tandralokara Prahari’,

’Aakashra Isara’ and ’Amruta

Phala’.

A Marxist turned into a mystic,

Das made Puducherry his

home for several decades as he

moved to Sri Aurobindo

Ashram in Puducherry in 1963

in search of his inner quest.

Most of his writings were

penned in Puducherry. His

writings in Odia and English

are noted for magnificent style

and coinage of words and

choice of subjects. He was also

a recipient of Sri Aurobindo

Puraskar, Sahitya Akademi

Award (1972), Orissa Sahitya

Akademi Award, Sarala Award,

the Sahitya Bharati Award and

BAPASI (Book-sellers And

Publishers Association of

South India) and Saraswati

Samman in 2000. His cremation

will take place later on

Wednesday following all

Covid-19 protocols.

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

5

India’s unemployment rate may

rise to 8% in April: CMIE

New Delhi : As states go

into lockdowns and impose

restrictions amid the second

wave of Covid-19, the

unemployment rate in April

is likely to increase to nearly

8 per cent from 6.5 per

cent in March, according to

the Centre for Monitoring

Indian Economy (CMIE).

CMIE’s CEO Mahesh

Vyas said that fast frequency

labour statistics indicate

that labour market conditions have been deteriorating in April

2021. "The labour participation rate (LPR) looks unlikely to fall

in April. The 30-day moving average LPR indicates that the ratio

was rising till April 15 when it peaked at 40.8 per cent. Then it

started falling, but it is unlikely to fall to a level lower than that

of March 2021," he said.

Unless there is an unusual bounce in the last week, the April

LPR is likely to stabilise at its March level of 40.2 per cent, as

per CMIE. "The April markets seem incapable of absorbing the

supply of labour at an LPR of 40.2 per cent. While the LPR has

declined in the last four weeks, the unemployment rate has

increased," Vyas said. In the last week of March, the LPR was

41.2 per cent and the unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent. In the

following week which ended on April 4, the LPR was stable at

41.2 but the unemployment rate shot up to 8.2 per cent.

Labour retreated in the next week as the LPR dropped to 40.1

per cent in the week ended April 11. Yet, the unemployment rate

was unrelenting as it inched up to 8.6 per cent. In the following

two weeks, the unemployment rate has dropped first to 8.4 per

cent and then to 7.4 per cent.

"Nevertheless, the unemployment rate during the month of

April is likely to be close to 8 per cent after closing March at 6.5

per cent," he said. April could be the third consecutive month of

deterioration in terms of the most important fast-frequency

labour statistic, the employment rate, he added.

FB ’mistakenly’ blocked posts

calling for Modi to resign

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) Facebook has claimed that it

mistakenly blocked posts calling for the resignation of Prime

Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged Covid-19 pandemic

mismanagement, saying the company did not hide the posts at

the behest of the government.

Buzzfeed News first reported that Facebook temporarily hid

posts with the hashtag or text #ResignModi because "some content

in those posts goes against our Community Standards".

The Facebook users who tried to view the hashtag saw a message

saying that Facebook was temporarily hiding the posts in

order to keep the community safe. In a statement given to The

Verge late on Wednesday, Facebook said it has now restored the

posts and the hashtag was blocked "by mistake".

The company said that the Indian government did not ask to

remove the hashtag. Facebook also said that the block was the

result of some of the content that used the hashtag, "but did not

specify what kind of content". Earlier this week, Twitter pulled

down at least 50 tweets at the behest of the Indian government,

that criticised the government for the poor handling of the ongoing

Covid-19 pandemic.

The data available on Lumen database showed that the microblogging

platform deleted more than 50 tweets that belonged to

people like Revanth Reddy, an MP from Telangana; Moloy

Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister; two filmmakers; an actor

and others. A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement that when

it receives a valid legal request, it reviews it under both the

Twitter Rules and local law.

"If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, the content will be

removed from the service. In all cases, we notify the account

holder directly so they’re aware that we’ve received a legal order

pertaining to the account," the company said in a statement.

In February, Twitter took a range of enforcement actions

against certain Twitter accounts after the Indian government

ordered it to take down more than 500 accounts for clear violations

of its rules. In another daily record, India reported nearly

3.8 lakh new cases and 3,645 deaths on Wednesday while 14

states and UTs recorded their highest single-day case count.


6 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

China launches core module for new space station

Beijing : China on Thursday sent

into space the core module of its space

station, kicking off a series of key

launch missions that aim to complete

the construction of the station by the

end of next year, the media reported.

The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying

the Tianhe module, blasted off

from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch

Site on the coast of the southern island

province of Hainan at 11.23 a.m.

(Beijing Time), Xinhua news agency

reported.

Tianhe will act as the management

and control hub of the space station

Tiangong, meaning Heavenly Palace,

with a node that could dock with up to

three spacecraft at a time for short

stays, or two for long, Bai Linhou,

deputy chief designer of the space station

at the China Academy of Space

Technology (CAST), was quoted as

saying. Tianhe has a total length of 16.6

metres, a maximum diameter of 4.2

metres and a takeoff mass of 22.5

tonnes, and is the largest spacecraft

developed by China.

The space station will be a T shape

with the core module at the centre and a

lab capsule on each side. Each module

will be over 20 tonnes. When the station

docks with both manned and cargo

spacecraft, its weight could reach nearly

100 tonnes, the report said.

The station will operate in low-Earth

orbit at an altitude from 340 km to 450

km. It has a designed lifespan of 10

years, but experts believe it could last

more than 15 years with appropriate

maintenance and repairs.

"We will learn how to assemble,

operate and maintain large spacecraft in

orbit, and we aim to build Tiangong into

a state-level space lab supporting the

long stay of astronauts and large-scale

scientific, technological and application

experiments," said Bai.

"The station is also expected to contribute

to the peaceful development and

utilization of space resources through

international cooperation, as well as to

enrich technologies and experience for

China's future explorations into deeper

space," Bai said.

Tianzhou-3 cargo craft and

Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship will

also be launched later this year to dock

with Tianhe, and another three astronauts

will then begin their six-month

stay in orbit, the Xinhua reported.

NASA's Apollo 11

mission astronaut Michael

Collins passes away

Washington : NASA astronaut

Michael Collins, who

piloted the historic mission of

Apollo 11 spacecraft Columbia

in 1969, passed away on

Wednesday due to cancer. He

was 90.

During the 1969 Apollo 11

mission, Collins remained in

lunar orbit while fellow crew

members Neil Armstrong and

Buzz Aldrin descended to the

moon's surface in the lunar

module.

When Armstrong and Aldrin

descended to the moon's surface

on July 20, Collins was orbiting

65 miles above them and was

momentarily almost forgotten

as the world's attention focused

on his two crewmates below.

"Today the nation lost a true

pioneer and lifelong advocate

for exploration in astronaut

Michael Collins. As pilot of the

Apollo 11 command module --

some called him 'the loneliest

man in history' -- while his colleagues

walked on the Moon for

the first time, he helped our

nation achieve a defining milestone.

He also distinguished

himself in the Gemini Program

and as an Air Force pilot,"

NASA Administrator Steve

Jurczyk, said in a statement.

"NASA mourns the loss of

this accomplished pilot and

astronaut, a friend of all who

seek to push the envelope of

human potential. Whether his

work was behind the scenes or

on full view, his legacy will

always be as one of the leaders

who took America's first steps

into the cosmos. And his spirit

will go with us as we venture

toward farther horizons,"

Jurczyk said. Born on October

31, 1930 in Rome, Italy, Collins

graduated from Saint Albans

School in Washington, DC, and

later from the US Military

Academy at West Point in 1952.

He was a fighter pilot and from

1959 to 1963 served as a test

pilot at Edwards Air Force Base

in California.

Collins was also a member of

the third group of NASA astronauts,

selected in October 1963.

His first flight was as pilot of

Gemini 10, a three-day mission

launched July 18, 1966.

Collins became the third US

spacewalker when he retrieved

a micrometeorite detection

device from the rocket of an

Agena target-docking vehicle

.Including the Apollo 11 mission,

Collins logged 266 hours

in space. He also wrote several

books: "Carrying the Fire" in

1974, "Flying to the Moon and

Other Strange Places" in 1976,

"Liftoff: The Story of America's

Adventure in Space" in 1988

and "Mission to Mars" in 1990.

"We regret to share that our

beloved father and grandfather

passed away today, after a

valiant battle with cancer. He

spent his final days peacefully,

with his family by his side.

Mike always faced the challenges

of life with grace and

humility, and faced this, his

final challenge, in the same

way. We will miss him terribly.

Yet we also know how lucky

Mike felt to have lived the life

he did. We will honor his wish

for us to celebrate, not mourn,

that life," read a statement from

the Collins family.

NASA to launch balloons

to study Sun-Earth system

Washington : NASA is set to

launch a suite of scientific balloons,

carrying instruments that

will help scientists understand

the connection between the Sun

and Earth. The experiment,

under NASA's Scientific

Balloon Programme, will kick

off an ambitious schedule of 18

flights in 2021. The first campaign

of 2021 -- with six balloon

flights -- will lift off from

NASA's Columbia Scientific

Balloon Facility's field site in

Fort Sumner, New Mexico,

between April-end and mid-

June.

Among the six balloon

flights, four experiments will

study different aspects of the

Sun's influence. They will focus

on the stretch of sky 60-300

miles (100-50 kilometres) above

the surface, where Earth's upper

atmosphere and space meet.

The All-Sky Heliospheric

Imager is a piggyback payload

that will fly along with the

Columbia Scientific Balloon

Flight (CSBF) Test Flight II no

earlier than May 5. It will test the

instrument's capability to reduce

stray light and observe the solar

wind from here on Earth.

Balloon-Based Observations

for sunlit Aurora will test a wideview

infrared camera designed

to study daytime auroras. Since

auroras keep mostly to Earth's

north and south poles, BALBOA

will image airglow, the natural

glow of Earth's entire atmosphere,

on this test flight. It will

fly as a piggyback payload on

the CSBF Test Flight I no earlier

than April 29. Balloon-borne

Chirpsounder will demonstrate

new technology for studying the

ionosphere. It will fly about 25

miles above the surface, where it

will send radio signals up into

the ionosphere. It will fly on a

hand-launched balloon no earlier

than April 29.

Balloon Observation of

Microburst Scales, is designed to

observe microbursts, flashes of

X-ray light that sporadically

appear in the polar atmosphere. It

will fly as a piggyback payload

on the CSBF Test Flight I no earlier

than April 29. In addition to

generating new science, balloon

experiments like these offer a

low-cost way to test new instrument

techniques and provide

valuable opportunities for earlycareer

scientists to gain hands-on

experience, NASA said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

7

Domestic travel bans can spike

Covid-19 cases: Researchers

New Delhi : A new study using

much more intensive increase in coronavirus,

likely because the returning

data from India and five other countries

finds that using domestic travel

population was now more likely to be

bans to control Covid-19 infections

infected, having been trapped in the

may be inadvisable.

hotspot longer."

Depending on their duration, these

Apart from Mumbai, the paper further

analyses data from five other

restrictions can lead to more rather

than fewer infections overall, especially

when there is a large urban-rural

-- China, Indonesia, the Philippines,

countries where migration is prevalent

migrant population, it indicated.

South Africa, and Kenya.

As India battles a severe second

Together these countries comprise

wave of Covid-19, state governments

roughly 40 per cent of the global population

and all of them had initial out-

are once again faced with the question:

Should they use travel bans to control

breaks in a few hotspot locations.

disease transmission?

The researchers used epidemiological

data, migration data, and informa-

In the first wave of Covid-19, most

states chose this option. The hardships

tion on travel bans from all these

faced by migrant workers prevented

countries to show that although exceptionally

long bans may work to reduce

from returning home to their villages

were seen as a necessary sacrifice to

total cases, moderate durations are

reduce the spread of disease into rural

associated with significant increases

India. In the second wave, the Delhi

in disease spread. Fiona Burlig,

government has urged migrants not to

Assistant Professor at the Harris

leave. Other cities may follow suit.

School of Public Policy at the

A new research paper by academics

University of Chicago, one of the coauthors

of the study, adds: "The evi-

at the University of Chicago suggests

that imposing travel bans can counterintuitively

increase the total spread of

travel ban is not long enough, we may

dence indicates that if the duration of a

the disease, creating a lose-lose situation.

This outcome occurs when a

while perversely seeing more spread

end up imposing hardship on people

country has a large migrant population

of infection. "Getting the duration

that is prevented from leaving an travel ban policies, and Covid-19 University of Chicago and one of the the length of time they were detained wrong is easy because it is not possible

to predict in advance what the opti-

urban hotspot and returning to rural cases to show that this lose-lose outcome

occurred in India during the first lockdown in the first wave trapped In the case of rural districts where peomal

length should be, and in a democ-

study authors, said: "The national depended on where they wanted to go.

areas. The researchers show that if the

net effect of a travel ban is to delay the wave, due to travel bans imposed on millions of migrants inside big cities ple could return quicker -- using the racy, such restrictions cannot be easily

movement of these people, rather than migrants wishing to leave Mumbai. like Mumbai that were fast-growing Shramik Special Trains for example -- sustained. There may be merit in letting

people go home early, and indeed

prevent it entirely, the policy can lead Elaborating on the findings, Anant coronavirus hotspots. "Eventually cases rose modestly at the destination.

to more cases overall. The paper uses Sudarshan, South Asia Director of The people were able to leave, but variations

in government policy meant that were in effect longer, there was a forcing them to

"But for those areas where bans encouraging them to do so, rather than

detailed data on rural-urban migration, Energy Policy Institute at the

stay."

Army installs

solar power

plant in

north Sikkim

Guwahati : The Indian Army, in its quest for

harnessing renewable energy for its troops,

installed the first green solar energy plant using

vanadium-based battery technology in north

Sikkim at an altitude of 16,000 feet, a defence official

said on Friday.

Defence spokesman Lt. Col P. Khongsai said

that the 56 KV solar energy project was commissioned

in collaboration with IIT Mumbai. He said

that a team of eminent faculty from the institute,

led by Prof Prakash Ghosh and troops completed

the project, braving extreme climatic conditions.

The renewable energy project would immensely

benefit troops in the forward areas and would be

environment-friendly, he added.

PM2.5, NO2, formaldehyde rising

in DELHI, KANPUR : Study

London : Levels of air pollutants

such as fine particles

(PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide

(NO2), both hazardous to

health, are increasing in

Kanpur and Delhi, according to

scientists using observations

from instruments on satellites

that scan the global skies every

day.

The findings, led by the

University of Birmingham and

University College London

(UCL), showed that the rise in

PM2.5 and NO2 reflect

increasing vehicle ownership,

industrialisation and the limited

effect of air pollution policies

to date.

This contrasts with trends in

the UK's London and

Birmingham, which show modest

but ongoing declines in

PM2.5 and NOx, reflecting the

success of policies targeting

sources that emit these pollutants.

The study, published in the

journal Atmospheric Chemistry

and Physics, also showed

increases in the air pollutant

formaldehyde in Delhi, Kanpur

and London.

Formaldehyde is a marker

for emissions of volatile organic

compounds that include a

large contribution from vehicle

emissions in India, and, in the

UK, an increasing contribution

from personal care and cleaning

products and a range of

other household sources.

"We were surprised to see

the increase in formaldehyde

above Delhi, Kanpur and

London -- a clue that emissions

of other volatile organic compounds

may be changing,

potentially driven by economic

development and changes in

domestic behaviour. Our results

emphasise the need to monitor

our air for the unexpected, and

the importance of ongoing

enforcement of measures for

cleaner air," said William

Bloss, Professor from

Birmingham University.

The team used a long record

of data gathered by space-based

instruments to estimate trends

in a range of air pollutants for

2005 to 2018, timed to coincide

with well-established air quality

policies in the UK and rapid

development in India.

UP BJP loses 3rd

MLA to Covid

Lucknow : The ruling BJP in Uttar

Pradesh lost its third

legislator to Covid

this week when

Nawabganj MLA,

Kesar Singh

Gangwar, 64, succumbed

to the virus

at a Noida hospital.

He is the third

legislator to succumb

to Covid in a

week.

Singh was with BSP before being

expelled by party chief Mayawati in 2016

on charges of anti-party activity. He later

joined BJP and won from Nawabganj seat

in the 2017 Assembly elections.

Kesar's sister-in-law Usha Gangwar has

been a chairperson of Bareilly zila panchayat.

Earlier, Lucknow (West) legislator

Suresh Srivastava and Auraiyya MLA

Ramesh Chandra Diwakar had lost the battle

against Covid.

Last year, two UP ministers, Chetan

Chauhan and Kamal Rani Varun - MLAs

from Naugawan Sadat and Ghatampur

respectively - had died of Covid complications.

Meanwhile, Kesar Singh's son Vishal

took to social media to express his anger

over the circumstances that led to his

father's death. After testing positive on

April 18, Kesar Singh was taken to Ram

Murti Medical College, Bareilly, where his

condition worsened.


8 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Severn Trent needs your help to keep sewers flowing

Severn Trent is appealing to

its customers in Walsall and

Wolverhampton to help prevent

local sewers from becoming

blockedand cause flooding.

Last year alone the water and

waste company cleared around

4,700 sewer blockages in

theWalsall and Wolverhampton

area. Three quarters of these

blockages were caused by the

wrong items being put down

sinks and drains.

What causes a blockage?

There are a few different reasons

why blockages occur, but

they're most often caused by

leftover cooking fats and oils

poured down the kitchen sink, or

by items such as wet wipes and

sanitary products being flushed

down the toilet. These items

stick together and over time they

build up and block pipes and

drains.

Our drains and sewers are

only designed to carry human

waste, wastewater and loo roll

from your toilets and the used

water from your sinks, baths and

showers. You should put anything

else, including wet wipes,

nappies or sanitary products, in

the bin.

Looking after community -

We need your help to prevent

local sewers from becoming

blocked

Clogged drains or a loo you

can't flush should be the least of

your worries, but blockages

don't just cause a problem for

you, they can also cause issues

for your neighbours too.

Keeping your drains clear is

key to avoiding nasty blockages

and sewer flooding in your area.

As well as following our easy

to follow tips, we recommend

you share our easy to follow

guides with friends, family or

neighbours who may not be

aware.

We have downloadable information

available at

stwater.co.uk/blockages

How to avoid a blockage?

There are some really easy

actions you can take every day

to help protect your drains and

keep the sewers flowing for

everyone.

Top tips for the kitchen

- Scrape pots, pans and plates

into the bin before washing

up

- Use kitchen roll to wipe

down grease from pans and

plates

- Use a strainer in your

kitchen sink

- Collect used oil, fat and

grease in a container and

throw it in the bin

Top tips for the bathroom

- Only ever flush pee, poo and

toilet paper.

- Bag sanitary towels and tampons

then bin them

- Bin wipes to avoid blocked

drains

- Use a bin for unflushables

such as nappies, razors, cotton

buds and dental floss

Grant Mitchell from

Severn Trent explains:

"Clogged drains and burst pipes

should be the very last thing our

customers need to be worrying

about at the moment, which is

why we're encouraging everyone

to take a few small steps

to avoid any unnecessary

issues. We know just how

important water is and we

want to reassure our customers

across the county that we're

here to help, but we would

really appreciate their support

too.

"It's easy to assume that the

warm grease and fat left over

from cooking would be ok to

put down the sink, as long as

you wash it down with a lot of

hot soapy water. But the reality

is that fats and greases cool

and solidify quite quickly once

in the pipes, often leading to a

serious blockage which can be

costly to fix and can cause a

big mess. It's much better to

pour any leftover fat, oil, or

grease into a container to cool

before disposing of it in the bin.

Grant added: "Many customers

may not realise that they

are responsible for the waste

pipe running away from their

home up until it either crosses

the property boundary or meets

with another waste pipe or

sewer. It doesn't take much to

cause a blockage and unblocking

or repairing this section of

pipe can be costly, but it's completely

avoidable if you're careful

about what you put down

your drains and bin any unflushables.

"Anyone who has suffered

with sewer flooding will tell you

that it's very distressing,

unpleasant and costly. But with

a few small changes to our daily

routine, we can all make a difference

and keep the sewers of

Walsall and Wolverhampton

flowing."

If you do run into problems,

either slow drains or a blocked

sewer which is Severn Trent's

responsibility you can report it

at www.stwater.co.uk or by calling

0800 783 4444.

To find out more about how

to avoiding blockages visit:

stwater.co.uk/blockages

16 killed in fire at Bharuch

Covid hospital, probe ordered

Gandhinagar : At least 16

Covid-19 patients died due a

fire at a Covid designated hospital

in Bharuch district on

Saturday morning. Over 50-60

patients were admitted in the

Patel Welfare Hospital when

the fire broke out in the ICU

ward at midnight. The fire

officers have said that the hospital

did not have an NOC for

fire.

The fire erupted in the middle

of the night in the designated

Covid hospital on the

Bharuch-Jambusar highway,

around 190 km from the state

capital Ahmedabad. The exact

cause of the fire is yet to be

ascertained, according to the

officials.

It is believed that around

16, including 14 Covid critical

patients admitted in the

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

were charred to death in the

fire caused most probably by a

leaking oxygen cylinder. But

there has been no confirmation

on that.

The fire was controlled

within an hour and around 50

patients were rescued and

shifted to nearby hospitals,

according to sources.

It is learnt that the hospital

building did not have a No

Objection Certificate (NOC)

mandatory to be obtained from

the fire department. "The hospital's

another building has got

the NOC from the fire department,

but this building did not

have an NOC," said Deepak

Makhija, the Bharuch regional

fire officer.

Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief

Minister Vijay Rupani has

expressed condolences and

announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia

to the kin of the deceased. The

CM has also ordered an

inquiry into the incident.

"I express my condolences

to those who lost their lives in

the fire at Bharuch Hospital.

The state government will provide

assistance of Rs 4 lakh to

the families of each of the victims

of the accident," Rupani

said.

The CM has appointed two

IAS officials, the labour and

employment department,

Additional Chief Secretary

ACS Vipul Mitra and

Commissioner Municipalities

Administration, RajKumar

Beniwal to probe the incident.

Both the officials have been

immediately sent to the place.

The CM said that the government

is also thinking of

appointing a judicial probe

into the incident.

Model claims Rs. 579cr in

damages from Ronaldo

London : Former model

Kathryn Mayorga, who had

accused footballer Cristiano

Ronaldo of rape in 2009, is

claiming £56 million (Rs 579

crore) in damages.

"She wants £18m for 'past

pain and suffering', £18m for

'future pain and suffering' and

£18m in punitive damages. The

37-year-old's expenses rack up

to £1.4m with legal fees of

£1.1m giving a total of £56.5m

- equal to two years of the

Juventus star's salary," said a

report in mirror.co.uk.

The former model had

accused the Portuguese football

star of raping her. The alleged

rape was said to have happened

in a Las Vegas hotel room in

2009 after their meeting in a

nightclub.

Ronaldo had strongly denied

the allegations back then saying,

"I firmly deny the accusation

being issued against me.

Rape is an abominable crime

that goes against everything I

am and believe in."

Mayorga had accepted

£270,000 as part of an out-ofcourt

settlement in 2010.

However, she revived the

case three years ago saying she

had been "mentally incapacitated"

when she agreed to sign the

settlement under duress.

The report added, "Her legal

team has filed a list of more

than 60 witnesses they want to

testify. They include British

former Big Brother star

Jasmine Lennard, 35, who

claims she dated the former

Manchester United ace 10

years ago."


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 9

LALU PRASAD to stay at

daughter's home in Delhi

Patna : After the release order submitted

by Superintendent of Hotwar jail at Ranchi,

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Supremo Lalu

Prasad will be released any time from New

Delhi's All India Institute of Medical

Sciences (AIIMS) and will stay at the official

residence of Rajya Sabha MP and his daughter

Misa Bharti in the national capital.

Lalu's family has taken the decision in

Beijing : New

Zealand, one of the Five

Eyes Alliance countries,

has distanced itself from

Australia, another partner

of the group, to

blacken China on its

human-rights record,

according to a recent

report.

"It's not necessary, all

the time on every issue,

to invoke Five Eyes as

your first port of call in

terms of creating a coalition

of support around

particular issues in the

human-rights space,"

New Zealand Foreign

Minister Nanaia Mahuta

said at a news conference with

her Australian counterpart

Marise Payne in Wellington,

according to the report released

on April 22, the Xinhua news

view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

RJD Spokesperson Chitranjan Gagan,

said to be close to Lalu's family, told IANS

that the doctors at AIIMS Delhi have allowed

Lalu to stay at home.

"After inspection of Lalu's condition, the

doctors of AIIMS Delhi have allowed him to

stay in Delhi under monitoring of doctors.

The doctors have spoken to him about the

agency reported.

While Payne said that "We

also have to acknowledge that

China's outlook -- the nature of

China's external engagement

both in our region and globally -

- has changed in recent years."

"New Zealand is adopting an

extremely Beijing-friendly

stance on these questions and

breaking away from a much

stronger position adopted by" the

Senior journalist Rohit Sardana passes away

New Delhi : Rohit Sardana, senior journalist

and one of the top anchors of Hindi

news channel Aaj Tak passed away on

Friday, according to people close to him.

Rajdeep Sardesai took to twitter and

wrote, "More terrible news friends. Well

known Tv news anchor Rohit Sardana has

passed away. Had a heart attack this morning.

Deep condolences to his family. RIP."

Sardana had joined Aaj Tak in 2017 after

he left Zee News. He hosted the debate show

"Dangal" on Aaj Tak.

Sardana was a recipient of the 2018

Ganesh Vidyarthi Puraskar Award. He was

among the most popular faces of TV news

journalism in India. After the news of death

severe Covid infection in AIIMS hospital.

Hence, it would be wise for us to keep him at

home. Adequate arrangements have been

made at the official residence of his elder

daughter Misa Bharti," Gagan said.

Earlier, Lalu Prasad's lawyer deposited a

bail bond in the Jharkhand High Court in the

alleged withdrawals from Dumka treasury

case. The former Bihar Chief Minister is

convicted in the case of wrongful withdrawal

of money to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore

from the Dumka, Chaibasa and Deoghar

treasuries. The Special CBI Court in Ranchi

has already granted him bail in two cases

registered in Chaibasa and one in Deoghar.

From 1991 to 1996, Bihar Animal

Husbandry department officials had withdrawn

money from Dumka, Chaibasa and

Deoghar treasuries while Lalu Prasad was

the Chief Minister. Jharkhand had been

carved out from Bihar in 2000.

Lalu Prasad was shifted from the

Regional Institute of Medical Sciences,

Ranchi, to AIIMS Delhi over serious health

issues. He is suffering from multiple diseases,

including severe kidney infection and

water accumulation in the lungs.

New Zealand, Australia show

divided stances toward China

other Five Eyes partners,

Clive Hamilton,

a professor at the

Charles Sturt

University, said.

Australia had

barred Chinese enterprises

from participating

in its 5G network

construction on

trumped-up charges,

frequently denied

investment of Chinese

companies in the

country under the pretext

of "national security,"

and arbitrarily

raided Chinese journalists

based in the

country.

Australia had also blatantly

torn up cooperation agreements

with China and wantonly damaged

normal exchanges and

cooperation.

of Sardana, condolences started pouring in.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh

Surjewala in a tweet said, "Deeply saddened

and shocked to hear about the demise of Aaj

Tak journalist Rohit Sardana. It's simply

unbelievable. Rohit had recovered from

Covid-19 and was back at work. My heartfelt

condolences to the family members and Aaj

Tak group." Congress spokesperson Jaiveer

Shergill also took to twitter and wrote,

"Completely shocked on hearing the news

about passing away of my dear friend Rohit

Sardana - spoke to him last Sunday and he

was in great spirits!! Still can't come to terms

with this - will forever cherish our after

debate conversations, rest in peace "bhaji"."

Ban on social,

political activities

in containment

zones in UP

Lucknow : All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic,

cultural and religious activities have been banned at least for the

next 14 days in Covid containment zones in Uttar Pradesh, with

immediate effect. UP chief secretary R K Tiwari issued a government

order asking the districts administration to ensure compliance.

Tiwari said weddings should be permitted with not more than

50 guests and the last rites must not have more than 20 people.

All shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurant and bars,

sports complexes, gyms, spas, swimming pools and religious

places should also be closed in these areas, the order added.

Although the government has not used the term lockdown, the

instructions issued by Tiwari are similar to many of those in force

last year. Tiwari said all essential services such as health, police,

fire services, banks, power, water and irrigation will continue.

Public transport such as buses, metro trains and cabs should run

at not more than 50 per cent of their seating capacity, the chief secretary's

order said. There will be no restriction, however, on the

movement of inter-state transport and intra-state transport.

All offices -government or private - must work with not more

than 50 per employees on the premises. All industrial and scientific

institutes, government or private, will follow social distancing.

Devotees pay

obeisance in Punjab

to mark 400th

PRAKASH PURB

Chandigarh : Amid the coronavirus surge, thousands of devotees

on Saturday paid obeisance at gurdwaras across Punjab to

commemorate the 400th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Tegh

Bahadur Sahib.

Religious fervour was seen at Harmandar Sahib, the holiest of

Sikh shrines also known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar and other

historic gurdwaras across the region as devotees began to assemble

since early morning to offer prayers and listen to the 'kirtan' or

hymns.

The Golden Temple complex was adorned with lights to mark

the occasion.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh greeted people on the occasion

and urged them to watch the events on television and offer 'ardas'

for 'Sarbat Da Bhala' from their homes and avoid congregating at

the religious places in view of the pandemic.


10 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Imran unveils two new schemes

for overseas PAKISTANIS

Islamabad : Prime Minister Imran

Khan on Thursday announced two new

schemes for overseas Pakistanis who

have Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA).

In an event held here at the capital,

the premier thanked Governor State

Bank Reza Baqir for his role in bringing

about the two schemes; Roshan

Apni Car and Roshan Samaji Khidmat,

the Geo TV reported.

The Prime Minister instructed the

government to seek Finance Minister

Shaukat Tareen's help, saying that the

minister was an expert in when it came

to the marketing aspect of products and

assets.

The premier urged his economic

team to keep thinking of "out-of-thebox"

solutions to support Pakistan's

economy till its exports does not come

at par with its imports.

He appreciated the record-breaking

rise in remittances from overseas

Pakistanis over the years, adding that

this was just the "tip of the iceberg". He

praised that the Pakistani diaspora for

playing their part in supporting

Pakistan's economy over the years.

"Overseas Pakistanis have, over the

years, kept our economy afloat," he

said, adding that he was in touch with

overseas Pakistanis for the past 50

years during his cricketing days. In a

message to Pakistani embassies in various

countries across the world, Imran

said that their "most important duty" is

to look after the affairs of Pakistani

labourers in those countries.

He said that the Pakistani embassy in

Saudi Arabia had not taken care of

labourers, adding that a "high-powered"

investigation will be launched into the

matter and exemplary punishments will

be handed to those found guilty.

Imran said that he had received

reports that embassy staffers were taking

money as bribes from Pakistani

labourers in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, PTI Senator Faisal Javed

Khan went into detail about the success

of the RDA and its impact.

"Today PM Imran Khan will address

overseas Pakistanis in connection with

#RoshanDigitalAccount reaching a

great milestone of 1 Billion Dollars.

RDA was launched just 7 months ago,

with the objective of connecting NRPs

to Pakistan's Banking System completely

digitally," he had tweeted.

"Today more than 120,000 accounts

have been opened from 170 countries

around the world and more than 1

Billion Dollars have been received.

Investment in Naya Pakistan

Certificates has crossed 646 Million

Dollars. Investment in Stock Exchange

through RDA has crossed PKR 1.6

Billion," he wrote in a subsequent

tweet.

Javed announced the names of the

two new schemes that the Prime

Minister launched today.

"This milestone is a testament to

faith that NRPs have in Pakistan & PM

Imran Khan led PTI Govt. To enrich

#RoshanDigitalAccount scheme further,

today 2 new initiatives are being

launched for RDA holders: Roshan

Apni Car… Roshan Samaaji Khidmat,"

he tweeted.

He said that the "Roshan Apni Car"

scheme will enable overseas Pakistanis

to buy cars for their loved ones at very

attractive rates.

"Now RDA holders can avail financing

under #RoshanApniCar at very

attractive terms to purchase a car for

their loved ones in Pakistan. Banks are

offering both conventional & Islamic

modes of financing at attractive markup

rates starting from 7 per cent with

priority delivery," he wrote. The senator

said that it was now possible for overseas

Pakistanis to pay donations easily

by going into the banks' portals and

selecting the charity they want to pay

and the amount.

"Under #RoshanSamaajiKhidmat

RDA holders can give donations, Zakat

etc. very conveniently, through the

banks portal by selecting the charity

and paying the amount. For the first

time, they will also be able to make

donations directly to the government's

landmark Ehsaas program," he tweeted.

Imran has on several occasions referred

to overseas Pakistanis as the country's

"biggest asset" and vowed to make

policies that benefit them. The Prime

Minister has tasked his government

over the past few months to come up

with electoral reforms that would allow

overseas Pakistanis to vote in the

upcoming general elections as well.

US to deploy additional forces to

Afghanistan as withdrawal underway

Washington : The White House

has said the US military will send

additional forces to Afghanistan to

protect US and coalition forces during

the withdrawal. White House

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-

Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force

One that "a drawdown is underway,"

saying that the US military would

deploy additional military assets to

Afghanistan and the region to cover

the withdrawal, Xinhua reported.

"Elements of an Army Ranger

Task Force will temporarily deploy to

Afghanistan to assist with the force

protection of forces on the ground as

we initiate withdrawal operations,"

she noted. Jean-Pierre also said

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had

directed that a carrier strike group

would provide sustained additional

force protection capabilities in the

region throughout the withdrawal.

"While these actions will initially

result in increased forces levels, we

remain committed to having all US

military personnel out of Afghanistan

by September 11, 2021," she added.

The Pentagon last week said that B-

52 bombers and USS Dwight D.

Eisenhower aircraft carrier will

deploy to the region to protect U.S.

and coalition forces as they withdraw

from Afghanistan. Citing defense

officials, CNN reported that fewer

than 100 troops and military equipment

had been pulled out of the country

largely by aircraft to implement

the withdrawal order announced by

President Joe Biden earlier this

month. The US State Department on

Tuesday ordered non-essential staff

to leave the US Embassy in Kabul,

Afghanistan. US Charge d'Affaires to

Afghanistan Ross Wilson tweeted

that the departure was approved "in

light of increasing violence & threat

reports in Kabul."

Biden previously announced the

withdrawal would begin on May 1,

the deadline date for a full U.S. withdrawal

under an agreement reached

between the former Donald Trump

administration and the Afghan

Taliban. The Taliban had warned of

consequences if the Biden administration

fails to follow through that

deadline. There are roughly 3,500 US

troops in Afghanistan, and about

7,000 NATO troops in the country

rely on US logistics and security support.

The Roshan Digital

Account initiative

The Roshan Digital Account is an

initiative by the State Bank of Pakistan

to serve the banking needs for overseas

Pakistanis so it is easier for them to

invest in their home country. Last year

in September, Imran launched the initiative.

A press release issued by the

Prime Minister's Office last year had

said that it is "the first time in the country's

history, Non-Returning Pakistanis

(NRP) will be able to remotely open an

account through an entirely digital and

online process without any need to visit

a bank branch, embassy, or consulate".

"The customer can choose either foreign

currency or rupee dominated

account, or both. Funds in these

accounts will be fully repatriable, without

the need for any regulatory

approval," the statement read. Speaking

to media last year, SBP Governor Dr

Reza Baqir had said that the initiative

would allow overseas Pakistanis to

invest money in local stock markets,

buy government bonds and securities,

and avail basic banking services. The

SBP boss had added that at least eight

Pakistani banks will facilitate the

Roshan Digital Accounts and allow

overseas Pakistanis to deposit funds in

either US dollars or Pakistani rupees.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

11

44 killed in stampede at Jewish festival in Israel

Jerusalem : At least 44 people were

killed and 103 injured in a stampede

after midnight Thursday at an Israeli

festival attended by tens of thousands of

people, local media reported.

The tragedy happened in Mount

Meron in northern Israel, during the festival

celebrated every year on the eve of

the Jewish holiday Lag BaOmer, the

Xinhua news agency reported.

According to estimates by the Israeli

media, about 100,000 people, most of

them ultra-Orthodox Jews, participated

in the festival this time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, "A heavy

disaster on Mount Meron. We are all

praying for the healing of the injured. I

want to strengthen the rescue crews

operating there."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also

tweeted, "In-great concern I follow the

reports from Meron and pray for the

healing of the wounded. May God heal

them."

It was first speculated that the

tragedy was caused by the collapse of a

stand, but Israeli ambulance service

Magen David Adom (MDA) later said

that it was caused by crowding.

The MDA added that the wounded

were evacuated, some of them by helicopters,

to four hospitals in northern

Israel and Jerusalem.

United Hatzalah emergency medical

service said that dozens of resuscitations

were carried out at the site by the

organisation's volunteers.

Two JMB cadres held in Assam

with arms, fake Indian currency

No fresh Covid cases

in New Zealand

Wellington : New Zealand reported no new cases of Covid-19 in

managed isolation and community on Friday.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand remains at 23,

and the total number of confirmed cases remains at 2,257, according

to the Ministry of Health. The quarter million mark for the number of

Covid-19 vaccination doses administered has been passed in New

Zealand. Of those doses, almost 69,000 people have been fully vaccinated,

the Xinhua news agency reported.

"As we come to the end of World Immunization week, we want to

reiterate our thanks to the more than 15,000 trained vaccinators in

New Zealand," it said. There's also a growing number of registered

vaccinators stepping up to become part of the Covid-19 vaccination

surge workforce.

Guwahati : Two Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen

Bangladesh (JMB) cadre were arrested in

Assam's Dhubri on Friday and firearms and

fake Indian currency seized from them,

Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti

Mahanta said.

Police recovered four firearms and fake

Indian currency notes of the face value of Rs

1.02 lakh from the two, who were apprehended

in the district bordering Bangladesh

and West Bengal.

"In a joint operation with Special Branch,

Assam Police and a Central agency, Dhubri

police apprehended two neo-JMB cadres

from Larkura area under Gauripur police station.

One of the cadres was apprehended

with 4 firearms and Rs 1.02 lakh in fake

Indian currency notes," Mahanta tweeted.

Following the arrests, the Assam Police

sought the help of the Muslim community in

identifying members of the new module of

the extremist JMB.

"In this matter, we appeal to the respected

Muslim community and their leaders to

come forward and assist us in identifying the

other members of this module. We also

appeal to them to help us bring all such radicalised

elements to the mainstream," the

DGP said in a separate tweet.

Talking to the media, Mahanta said that

police investigations revealed some

Bangladeshi clerics obtain Indian visas

ostensibly for the medical treatment in

Chennai but violating the visa rules, they

visit different parts of Assam to radicalise

Muslims in the state.

In 2014, the police had busted a JMB

module in Assam's Barpeta, which ranks second

after Dhubri in terms of the Muslim population,

and arrested more than a dozen people.

This module had spread to Baksa district

in the same region. Additional Director

General of Police, Special Branch, Hiren

Nath said the JMB cadres mingled as ordinary

people plying various trades. "These

JMB cadres misguide the youths and motivate

them to follow the JMB's ideology," he

said. According to the 2011 census, Muslims

are majority in six of Assam's 34 districts -

Dhubri (79.67), Barpeta (70.74 per cent),

Darrang (64.34 per cent), Hailakandi (60.31

per cent), Goalpara (57.52 per cent) and

Bongaigaon (50.22 per cent).

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channel 772.

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12 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 BOLLYWOOD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Irrfan beyond spotlight: Lesserknown

gems of the actor

New Delhi : On the first

death anniversary of Irrfan

Khan, we take a look at some

of his comparatively less celebrated

performances, across a

gamut of genres that the actor

habitually excelled in.

TOKYO TRIAL

Based on true incidents, the

four-part Japanese mini-series

released in 2016. Irrfan played

an Indian jurist, Radhabinod

Pal. He was one of three Asian

judges appointed to the

International Military Tribunal

for the Far East. The historical

drama series focuses on a

decade-long investigation into

events in the Pacific during and

after World War II. The show

was nominated at the 2017

International Emmys in the

Randhir Kapoor

tests Covid-19

positive,

hospitalised

Mumbai : Bollywood actor-filmmaker

Randhir Kapoor has tested positive for Covid-

19 and has been hospitalised, authorities at

Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani

Hospital confirmed on Thursday.

"Veteran actor Shri Randhir Kapoor is

admitted to Kokilaben Ambani Hospital

Mumbai for Covid-19 treatment last night.

His condition remains stable," Dr Santosh

Shetty, CEO and Executive Director,

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said

in a statement. The 74-year-old, who is the

father of actresses Karisma and Kareena

Kapoor, and is married to actress Babita, has

Best TV Movie/Mini-Series

category.

IN TREATMENT

The 2008 American drama

television series for HBO has

Irrfan playing a widower,

Sunil, from Kolkata, who shifts

to the US with his son's family.

Irrfan's character had an important

role to play in season three

of the show that won at the

Golden Globes and the Emmys.

KARAMATI COAT

Also known as "Miraculous

Coat", this 1993 children's film

was directed by Ajay Karthik.

Irrfan played of Jaggu in the

film, about a boy named Raghu

who gets a magical coat from a

stranger.

THE GOAL

The 1999 film cast Irrfan as

lately been in the

news after

Bombay High

Court asked him

and his sister

Rima Jain to submit

the divorce

decree of their

brother, late Rajiv

Kapoor, in a property-related

case.

On Wednesday,

Randhir informed

that he was trying

to trace the

divorce papers to

produce in court,

and has deputed a

tracer for the job.

a football coach who spots a

talented young boy and encourages

him to shine in the sport.

The Gul Bahar Singh directorial

has won several Indian and

international awards.

KALI SALWAR

The 2002 Hindi film is

based on Sadat Haasan Manto's

work and features Irrfan with

Sadiya Siddiqui. Directed by

Fareeda Mehta, the story follows

the life of a small-town

prostitute who arrives in

Mumbai. Irrfan plays Shankar,

charming and witty character.

THE BYPASS

This was a 2003 silent short

film united Irrfan and

Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In the

17-minute film, two violent

muggers (Siddiqui and Sundar

Dan Detha) rob and kill innocent

travellers on a secluded

highway in Rajasthan, till they

face a corrupt and equally cruel

cop, played by Irrfan. The film

was screened at Edinburgh

International Film Festival and

Aubagne Film Festival.

ROAD TO LADAKH

The 2008 film starring Irrfan

and Koel Puri is considered a

hidden gem in the actor's filmography.

It was directed by

Ashvin Kumar and narrates the

story of a man and a woman,

who hail from diametrically

different worlds, who are stuck

in a remote place with each

other.

Dharmendra is ’a loner

living with the

remembrance of those

touching memories’

Mumbai : Bollywood icon Dharmendra tweeted to

say he is a loner now,

living with his memories.

He says he misses

the days he used to

actively shoot for

films.

The actor shared his

sentiments replying to

a post by filmmaker

Anil Sharma. In his

tweet, Sharma had

posted a black and

white throwback picture

of Dharmendra

with the late filmmaker

Yash Chopra and the

late actors Feroz Khan

and Iftekhar, from the

time they shot Chopra'

1969 film, "Aadmi

Aur Insaan". The snapshot

catches the quartet in a happy mood. Dharmendra

tweeted to say he misses those days of "lively laughter".

He wrote how he is just a "loner" now, who often remembers

those times. "Kahan gaie woh din .... Anil, I am

missing those moments full of lively laughter.........A

loner, living with the remembrance of those touching

memories....." he wrote.

To this, Sharma replied: "Sir u can never b loner ..

whole worlds loves u n with u .. sab aake APNE hain

..corona ka samay hai toh bas mulakatein nahi ho pa rahi

hain .. pls stay safe sir @aapkadharam," he wrote.

Jaaved Jaaferi on father

Jagdeep: He passed on his

wisdom and values to us

Mumbai : Jaaved

Jaaferi feels the legacy his

father, late Bollywood

comedian Jagdeep, created

in his lifetime helped him

and his brother Naved have

a better life. It has also

helped Jaaved's son

Meezaan, who is trying to

find a foothold in

Bollywood, understand the

value of everything.

"After the partition

when my father, as a little

boy came to India with his

mother, they lived on the

footpath and slept hungry.

He had no choice but to

take whatever work came

his way -- incidentally it was an acting job, as a

child artiste. He was good at it so he kept getting

work, and gradually acting became the profession,"

Jaaved recalls, speaking to IANS.

He continues: "When we were born, even

though we did not face poverty the way my father

did, we understood the value of every basic thing

of life -- having meals of three times, a roof over

our heads, going to school as children. So, our

level of passion towards acting and compassion

towards those who are not lucky to have the

basics of daily life is, of a different level altogether."

"Now my son Mezaan, who is also an actor,

understands the value of everything. My father

passed on his wisdom and values to us and his

grandson. It is our three generations of actors who

Los Angeles : Actor George Clooney

turns 60 on May 6 but the idea does not

make him very happy.

"As far as turning 60, listen, I'm not

thrilled with it but it's better than dead. So

I'll take it. I got two options," Clooney

said. Clooney and his wife Amal have

three-year-old twins -- Ella and Alexander

-- and the couple are already teaching the

little ones to be charitable.

"Well, you try (to instill charitable values).

They're not quite four yet so they

don't (understand). My kids will always

say, they'll pick up a toy and they'll go,

'This is for the poor people'," said Clooney,

reports femalefirst.co.uk.

"I go, 'Good. OK, so let's put it in the

basket and we'll take it to the poor people.'

And then there's this shock on their face

when reality hits," the actor added while

speaking to Entertainment Tonight.

Clooney said: "But I hope so. My parents

always taught me that the best things

you could do (is) challenge people in

power and look out for people who aren't

in power and those kinds of things."

He is a director of the Motion Picture

and Television Fund, which was founded

in 1921 and offers care and assistance to

have been acting and performing

in the Indian film

industry, so our passion,

compassion and dedication

towards performing art is

almost like worship,"

Jaaved adds.

Jaaved and Naved were

for long associated with the

trendsetting dance show

"Boogie Woogie", one of the

oldest reality TV shows in

India. If reality television as

a genre has changed since

the time "Boogie Woogie"

had first aired in 1996,

Jaaved feels it is all a part of

evolution in pop culture.

"I think evolution is only

natural with technology, and TV, cinema and our

overall entertainment industry is also a part of

that. Reality shows on TV becoming a prominent

genre happened because of that. When we started

our journey on TV with non-fiction shows, the

concept of reality shows -- where kids are invited

to showcase their talent and based on that their

talent was recognised -- was not there on Indian

TV. So, when we started 'Boogie Boogie', it was

an original show. We did not have any reference

point and we were not copying any show from the

western television. I think back then, even in

American or British television, there was no show

exactly like ours. It was an original concept," he

says. Jaaved will next be heard as a funny commentator

in the upcoming "Lava Ka Dhaava" on

Netflix from May 5.

George Clooney on

turning 60: I’M

NOT THRILLED

those of the industry and their families

financial assistance, case management and

even residential living at the Wasserman

Campus in Los Angeles. Clooney loves

taking his wife to visit the facility.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

13

Like bees, wasps 'valuable' for

ecosystems, human health

New Delhi : Wasps deserve to be

just as highly valued as other insects,

like bees, due to their roles as predators,

pollinators, and more, according

to a new review paper led by UCL and

University of East Anglia researchers.

The study, published in Biological

Reviews, compiles evidence from

over 500 academic papers to review

how roughly 33,000 species of stinging

(aculeate) wasps contribute to

their ecosystems, and how this can

benefit the economy, human health,

and society.

Lead author Professor Seirian

Sumner (UCL Centre for Biodiversity

& Environment Research, UCL

Biosciences) said: "Wasps are one of

those insects we love to hate -- and yet

bees, which also sting, are prized for

pollinating our crops and making

honey. In a previous study, we found

that the hatred of wasps is largely due

to widespread ignorance about the role

of wasps in ecosystems, and how they

can be beneficial to humans.

"Wasps are understudied relative to

other insects like bees, so we are only

now starting to properly understand

the value and importance

of their ecosystem services.

Here, we have

reviewed the best evidence

there is, and found

that wasps could be just as

valuable as other beloved

insects like bees, if only

we gave them more of a

chance."

Wasps are top predators

of other insects.

Predation by insects -- as

biocontrol to protect crops

-- is worth at least $416

billion per year worldwide. Yet, this

figure almost completely overlooks

the contributions of hunting wasp predation.

The review highlights how wasps'

role as predators makes them valuable

for agriculture. Wasps regulate populations

of arthropods, like aphids and

caterpillars that damage crops.

Solitary wasp species tend to be specialists,

which may be suited to managing

a specific pest, while social

wasps are generalist predators, and

may be especially useful as a local

Men, elderly with diabetes at

higher risk of death from Covid

source of control for a range of cropeating

pests.

The researchers say that wasps

could be used as sustainable forms of

pest control in developing countries,

especially tropical ones, where farmers

could bring in populations of a

local wasp species with minimal risk

to the natural environment.

Professor Sumner and colleagues

recently published a study finding that

common wasp species are effective

predators that can manage pests on

two high-value crops, maize and sugarcane,

in Brazil.

The review also highlights

the pollination services

provided by wasps.

Pollination by insects is

vital for agriculture, and

its economic importance

has been valued at greater

than $250 billion per year

worldwide.

The researchers found

evidence of wasps visiting

960 plant species. This

included 164 species that

are completely dependent

on wasps for pollination, such as some

orchid species that have evolved adaptations

to attract the wasps they rely

on, such as an appearance that mimics

the back end of a female wasp.

Many wasps are also generalist pollinators

that visit a wide variety of

plants, so the researchers say they

could serve as 'backup pollinators' if a

plant loses its local primary pollinator.

The review also describes other

uses for wasps such as wasp-derived

medications, as their venom and saliva

have antibiotic properties, while yellowjacket

wasp venom has shown

promise in treating cancer. Wasps may

even be a valuable food source, as

their larvae are already harvested in

some tropical countries for food.

Co-author Dr Alessandro Cini

(UCL Centre for Biodiversity &

Environment Research, UCL

Bioscience and University of

Florence) said: "The value of wasps in

supporting our crops remains poorly

understood; we hope that by rehabilitating

their bad reputation, we can collectively

get the most value out of

these fascinating creatures."

The paper's first author, Ryan

Brock (University of East Anglia)

said: "Alongside other insects, many

wasp species are declining from factors

such as climate change and habitat

loss. As such, there is urgent need

to address their conservation and

ensure that habitats continue to benefit

from the far-reaching ecosystem services

that wasps provide."

The research was supported by the

Natural Environment Research

Council and a Marie Curie fellowship

from the European Commission.

BANGLADESH approves

China's SINOPHARM

vaccine for emergency use

London : Men and older adults with a more advanced diabetes

have a higher risk of death when infected with SARS-CoV-2, the

virus behind Covid-19, according to a large study. The findings

showed that men with diabetes were 28 per cent more likely to die

with Covid-19 than women with diabetes. People aged over 65

with diabetes were also over three times more likely to die than

those under that age with diabetes.

With each five-year increase in age, the relative risk for Covid-

19 related death in people living with diabetes increased by 43 per

cent, said the team of researchers from German Diabetes Centre,

Leibniz Centre for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine

University Dusseldorf, Germany.

The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of

22 studies and 17,687 people. The results, published in the journal

Diabetologia, showed that patients using insulin to control their

diabetes were found to be 75 per cent more likely to die with

Covid-19 than non-insulin users.A

Conversely, people treating their diabetes with metformin (the

'first line' therapy used in most cases of Type-2 diabetes) were 50

per cent less likely to die with Covid-19 than those not using metformin.

Further, cardiovascular disease (by 56 per cent), chronic

kidney disease (by 93 per cent) and chronic obstructive pulmonary

disease (by 40 per cent) all increased risk of Covid-19-related

death in people living with diabetes.

"Male sex, older age and some pre-existing conditions, as well

as the use of insulin, most of which are potential indicators for a

more progressive course of diabetes, were associated with

increased risk of Covid-19 related death and severity in individuals

with diabetes and SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas metformin

use was associated with a lower risk of death," said Sabrina

Schlesinger from the varsity.

Dhaka : Bangladesh's drug

regulator has authorised the

emergency use of China's

Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine.

Major General Mahbubur

Rahman, Director General of

Bangladesh's Directorate General

of Drug Administration, made

the announcement at a press conference

on Thursday, the Xinhua

news agency reported.

"We've issued emergency use

approval for the Chinese-made

jab." Mahbubur Rahman further

said hopefully within 1-1.5

weeks, Bangladesh will receive a

batch of Sinopharm vaccine as a

gift. The Bangladeshi government

on Wednesday gave the

green light to a proposal of producing

Chinese and Russian

Covid-19 vaccines in the country.

Bangladesh's Cabinet

Committee on Economic Affairs

approved the proposal to produce the vaccines

-- China's Sinopharm and Russia's

Sputnik V.

The country's drug regulator had earlier

cleared the emergency use of Russia's

Sputnik V vaccine.

Shahida Akhter, a senior Cabinet

Division official, said on Wednesday that

several leading Bangladeshi pharmaceutical

firms in collaboration with the Chinese and

Russian companies will produce the vaccines.

The decisions came days after Dhaka

suspended the first dosing of the Oxford-

AstraZeneca vaccine on a supply crunch.

Amid uncertainty over the timely arrival

of the next Covid-19 vaccine shipment from

India, the Bangladeshi government halted

administering the first dose of the

AstraZeneca vaccine across the country

from Monday. Nearly six million people

have so far received the first dose of the

vaccine in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated

the country's Covid-19 vaccination drive

on January 28 to rein in the pandemic that

has so far spread to nearly every

Bangladeshi district.

To limit the second wave of the pandemic,

Bangladesh on Wednesday extended the

ongoing lockdown again by one week to

May 5.


14 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 HEALTH

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

New Delhi, April 30 (IANSlife)

With the lockdown, restrictions and

changes at work, people have been

grappling to find some normalcy in

their lives. As the crisis deepens, there

are mixed emotions, feelings of despair,

fears, insecurity, stress, and for women,

in particular, there have been extra

care-giving responsibilities while working

from home and working at home.

It's important to remain upbeat while

staying at home, managing self-care

and well-being.

Vasant Mundra, Consultant

Psychiatrist, PD Hinduja Hospital and

MRC; and Chandni Tugnait, MD (A.M)

Psychotherapist and Founder-Director,

Gateway of Healing, share some tips

for women to take care of themselves:

Be physically fit

If one is fit, one is likely to have a

slightly better mood than one would

have had if one was not so. So be

active. Morning sunlight is essential for

the upbeat of an individual. Get up and

get some sunlight. Whether it is within

the house, from a terrace, from a corridor,

or possibly in a compound somewhere,

get morning sunlight.

Follow a routine

A routine always helps us cope with

change. Make sure you focus on a routine

with healthy eating habits, exercise,

good sleep and meditation or

mindfulness exercises. This improves

focus and productivity and also leads to

lower stress levels.

Mind is money

The next thing is to stop wasting

neurotransmitters of our brain on things

that do not matter. Whether we have

anxiety about coronavirus, concerns

about the administration, or frustration

about our favourite cricket team, we are

spending neurotransmitters. Let's use

our neurotransmitters for something

more substantial. The simplest way is to

focus on one's brain is like how we

would treat our wallet. We are always

How to maintain

positive well

being at HOME

careful when handing out or wasting

money. Let's just be as careful with

wasting our brain chemicals like our

money. Fear, anger, envy, anxiety are

all waste neurotransmitters. Often it is

not so much the situation that causes it

but our interpretation of the situation.

Limit information intake

It's important to be aware and cautious,

however, an overdose of news

and information from all corners can be

very distracting and emotionally draining.

Make sure you limit your intake of

the pandemic-related news if it

unnerves you.

Take frequent breaks

It can be quite unnerving to manage

the office work, house work, online

school classes for kids, and so much

more. Amid it all, it's important to take

frequent breaks (even if for five to ten

minutes each time) and relax. A

breather, every now and then, not only

increases our productivity but also

helps keep stress at bay.

Surround yourself with positive

people

Be part of communities that uplift

you. Connect with people who inspire

you, who are fun to be with and who

allow you the space to be the way you

like. It's especially important to not

engage with people who are constantly

in a negative loop and are not willing to

step out of it. Also stay away from people

and things that are emotionally or

energetically draining.

Practice gratitude

Research has proven how a simple

practice of gratitude daily can shift so

much in a person's life. It improves the

physical and psychological health and

adds bliss to life, thereby improving the

relationships with self and others. The

key factor here is to 'feel' gratitude and

not just 'think' gratitude.

Revive a hobby

Once a week (if not everyday),

indulge in your hobby and see how

much it adds to your life.

Whether it is dancing, painting, creating

music or reading, take that time

out for yourself. You matter! And only

when you are able to feel physically,

mentally and emotionally balanced can

you contribute to the others around you.

It isn't selfish to indulge in some 'me

time'. On the contrary, it is absolutely

essential.

Some more tips for a positive wellbeing

are: do not overreact when feeling

angry; try not to get easily insulted;

try and value the other person's opinion;

exercise regularly; enjoy food keeping

an eye on the portions; watch positive

content; enjoy conversations; and stay

connected with friends.

m5So Mangolicious!

It

New Delhi : What

better time than now to

indulge in mango

based dessert. Summer

is the ideal time to

indulge in some

healthy and cool

refreshments. With the

abundance of different

varieties of mangoes

we explore some interesting

recipes out of

India's favourite summer

fruit!

Loaded with nutrition

and taste, this

ripened pulpy fruit is

all-in-all a dessert in itself.

Grow with Kimaye, INI Farms

shares drinks and dessert you

can make out of mangoes at

home!

All in for Aamras - This one

goes without saying and is by

far the easiest dessert you can

make! Nothing beats this sweet

and smooth flavour on a summer

noon. It's not just a sweet

escape but is full of nutritional

elements. They're mostly made

with sweet Alphonso mangoes

for the natural sweet essence, so

pick the right Mangoes before

you blend them!

Fuse the Fizz - If you are

looking for something fresh and

light, Mango Fizz is the ultimate

solution. While lemon soda may

be the summer drink, you can

always add some mango pulp to

twist the taste! This perfect

blend of soda, lemon, mint

leaves and mango will leave

you refreshed and all energised.

Make space for Cheesecake!

- A mango cheesecake makes it

a perfect summer dessert for

those short get-togethers. The

process of making a no-bake

mango cheesecake is simple,

easy, and delicious to devour!

All you need are some rich

flavoured mangoes, so make

sure you pick good quality ones.

A rich dessert requires rich

fruits!

Blend it in a Milkshake -

Summers are incomplete without

these, aren't they? If you

love milkshakes, mangoes are

your go-to fruit! Out of the very

few fruits that blend well with

milk, Mango happens to be one.

So, make the most of this

healthy choice! You can also

blend in a few chocolate

pieces and make it a

Mango-chocolate shake.

Mango Kesari or

Halwa - The season calls

for something special,

and if one can blend

fruits into delicious

recipes, then why not?

The simple recipe of

halwa with mango mixture

can add up to the

sweet flavour. It's an

easy recipe to try at

home when you're craving

something sweet and

fruity!

Time for Lassi - Last but not

least, Mango lassi not just

makes a tasty drink but also has

major health benefits. The mixture

of mango and yoghurt is

healthy for your gut, helps in

digestion and keeps your stomach

cool. With minimal efforts,

mango lassi is a must-have summer

drink!

Fruit is a great way to get

your dose of nutrients and vitamins.

You can also add other

fresh fruits like banana, grapes

and pomegranates to make these

recipes a little more fruit-full!

Continue Page 25

They too are journalists who do not ...

promotes such gutter level journalists into heroes by giving them

state patronage. If I am not wrong, most of these hate mongers have

got huge support and patronage by the top central leadership. Indian

media will have to respond to accountability questions. It can not

evade it. We would not have faced this crisis if the media had spoken

its word in advance. It is shamelessly showing IPL except for The

New Indian Express which decided. A little-known Bharat Samachar

TV channel from Lucknow decided that it would not broadcast any

election results and continue to focus on people’s issues related to

Covid. But these are exceptions. Tomorrow, they will have the poll

results and all of them will be busy. ‘Actors’ will be reading their

‘script’ and you can see an attempt to wash the sins of this criminal

negligence. The actor will say, ‘People’ have ‘spoken’. In democracy

they are supreme. We are humble. I request our workers to follow the

distance and work for the people’. The media will start creating a new

narrative. Ofcourse, Rahul Gandhi and Congress should be ready to

receive brickbats, adjectives and obituaries from these channels who

will continue to target them to please their bosses.

India has proved that capitalist media looks for profit as people,

action and deaths for them are just subject and not beyond. They will

not leave their primary task of promoting superstition, Brahmanical

values of irrationality and hatred. They will continue with their spinelessness

so that the ‘monarch’ is protected and glorified. India is actually

a monarchy where people have ‘right to vote’ but with all its

institutions compromised who will ever say whether what people say

is reflected in the outcome. And that is where the media failed people

and betrayed them. Remember one thing, don’t look for Nayaks

or Mahayanayaks in the anchors or darbaris or otherwise. They are

just doing their duty but most of them need bhakts to survive. Most

of them have no keen interest in having a reasonable debate or discussion.

Don’t expect anything from them right now. Find your own

sources and strengthen the alternative media which is free from the

corporate culture and is inclusive in terms of India's diversity

whether ethnic, religious, regional or caste. Any organisation that

builds individual cult whether media or politics or society is actually

against democracy and collective value system. India needs to come

out of this hero worship and the sooner we come out of it, the better

for democracy and all.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

15

Studying Dalit history in the 21st century

Dalit studies are about much more than the enquiry of victimhood.

Suraj Yengde

This April, Dalit History Month

was once again celebrated by various

educational institutions outside India,

where special events were held to

mark the occasion. Dalit History

Month is closely associated with the

celebration of the life and work of B R

Ambedkar, the eminent Indian scholar,

Dalit intellectual and social reformer,

who has become a central figure in the

Dalit struggle.

In India, the month of April is celebrated

with different names such as

Ambedkar Month, or Ambedkar

Saptah (Ambedkar Weeks) with pan-

India multilingual music festivals, lectures,

publications, seminars, and art

exhibitions to observe and meditate on

Dalit culture and history.

The Dalit community draws recognition

and inspiration from their most

cherished hero, Ambedkar. As I have

argued in my book Caste Matters

(2019), he has become a god-like figure

or a superhuman for the destitute,

poor, resourceless Dalits. They stand

by him and seek to utilize his life

struggle as a guidebook to contest

their poverty, oppression, and ruthless

casteism at the hands of oppressors

who self-identify as “upper” castes.

The Dalit community draws recognition

and inspiration from their most

cherished hero, Ambedkar. As I have

argued in my book Caste Matters

(2019), he has become a god-like figure

or a superhuman for the destitute,

poor, resourceless Dalits. They stand

by him and seek to utilize his life

struggle as a guidebook to contest

their poverty, oppression, and ruthless

casteism at the hands of oppressors

who self-identify as “upper” castes.

Due to the enigma of Ambedkar,

and the halo around his persona, the

community celebrates his birthday,

April 14, as the most important festival

in our lives. The Hindu holidays of

Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Rishi

Kapoor's stellar filmography cannot

be defined by a handful of films.

Although widely popular as a loverboy

and chocolate-box hero in his heydays,

the late actor would go on to

carve his space as one Bollywood's

most versatile actors ever in a five

decade-odd career.

On his first death anniversary, we

try and pick a few films that would

underline his stature as an actor of

many parts. Here's a list of films you

could binge on, to remember the

much-loved Rishi Kapoor, who passed

away at 67 after battling cancer.

MERA NAAM JOKER

Rishi Kapoor received the National

Award as Best Child Actor for his role

in the Raj Kapoor film. He essayed the

childhood of the protagonist Raju. The

tearjerker melodrama was about Raju

the joker, who must make people

laugh, irrespective of his own troubles

and suffering. The film also featured

Simi Garewal, Kseniya Ryabinkina

and Padmini.

Diwali, Dushera, Holi, do not matter

to us as much as April 14 does. A carnival

around Ambedkar’s name is a

mixture of celebration of his ideas and

exhibition of the community’s

strength in the streets of India.

Perhaps no other community elsewhere

celebrates an intellectual’s

birthday as an annual festival. Such

celebrations by Dalits are a testament

to their righteous devotion to the life

of mind and pursuit of intelligence.

We believe in the Buddhist ethos of

dialogue and Socratic tradition of selfexamination.

Indeed, Ambedkar’s recognition by

his alma mater Columbia and the

London School of Economics has

become a point of great pride for

Dalits, who have taken stories about it

into nooks and corners of the country,

in the slums, and in the posh colonies.

I grew up listening to these stories.

There was even a message in circulation

about a decade ago. It read that

among the list of Columbia’s most celebrated

alumni, Ambedkar was ranked

BOBBY

The Raj Kapoor superhit marked

Rishi's entry into Bollywood as a

as number one. The validity of this did

not concern the poor, oppressed,

working-class Dalits. They were in joy

for the notice of a foreign university

with high regard when his own country

berated their most cherished son.

By celebrating this news, the community

indirectly planted the inspiration

for the likes of me to strive to enter

prestigious educational institutions,

like Harvard or Columbia.

To celebrate their past, the Dalits

commemorate the entire month not

least for Ambedkar but also Jotirao

Phule, a 19th-century anti-caste radical

who lit a stick of dynamite to the

entire thralldom of Brahminism.

Phule, who was also born on April 11,

1827, was one of the front runners of

the anti-caste movement in western

India. He belonged to the touchable

yet lowered caste in the Brahminical

Hindu caste order. Along with his wife

Savitri and friends, Phule started an

education movement for the outcastes

and women that was hitherto reserved

for the Brahmin and their inferior

romantic hero in 1973, and also set off

the trend of teenybopper romance in

Hindi films. The pair of Rishi and

castes. Phule became one of the

founding fathers of social reformation

and is considered the first Mahatma

(“venerable”).

As more and more South Asian

departments outside India take up

Dalit History Month, it is important to

reflect on what studying Dalits and

their past is about. Dalit studies is a

standalone multi-disciplinary enquiry

into the condition of the vulnerable. It

is a space to theorise ideas and give

shape to the context for an appropriate

praxis.

Dalit studies is an essential intellectual

intervention for us to make sense

of our collective tragedies. It is a

curated space to debate and contest

ideas to serve the larger purpose of

humanity. What else is a better way to

understand our future than looking

through the lens of the ones who have

been visualising the future in the pessimistic

clouds for a consistent period

of time?

world needs to do more than merely

recognising the plight of Dalits.

Dimple Kapadia became a rage among

the young audience, and is still considered

one of the greatest romantic

pairs on Bollywood screen. The film

about a rich boy in love with a fisherman's

daughter had superhit music by

Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY

His role of the qawwal Akbar

Illahabadi remains popular to this day.

Manmohan Desai's multistarrer had

Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna

and Rishi Kapoor playing three brothers

who are separated in childhood and

grow up in three different backgrounds

of faith. The 1977 superhit

showed Kapoor could hold his own in

a film with many stars.

DO DOONI CHAAR

The delightful urban comedy united

Rishi and Neetu Kapoor after years, as

a middle-class couple in Delhi, who

are parents to two teenage kids.

Kapoor delighted as the guy next door

as the Habib Faisal film, released in

2010, created humour out of everyday

situations an average middle-class

Dalits are beyond victims. They are

full human beings with eclectic personhood.

The international institutes

who are concerned with law, justice,

democracy, modernity, history,

hermeneutics, law, and capital can find

the rigour of these ideas exercised

among Dalit communities.

Dalits are the only community in

the world who have sustained continual

oppression at the hands of caste

colonisers for over two and a half millennia

and who have continuously

resisted. Dalits own their land without

submitting to the Brahminical interpretations

of their pasts. That is why

they redefine the meanings and idioms

of Dalit life by asserting convincingly

for the betterment of themselves.

Dalit studies projects outside India

in various universities will bring in

much-required exposure to the politics

of knowledge-making. Dalits exist

beyond the curvature of regionalism,

language, and politics of representation.

It is our common cause. In the era

of reclaiming the world, we need a

progressive approach with a liberal

heart to manifest feelings of oneness.

Dalit studies can offer that in the

broader picture of knowledge-making,

consuming, and dispensing, as the

Dalit community itself tries to handle

the class and caste dynamics within.

Dalit studies is an urgent project

that examines and studies society,

power, politics, culture, religion, art

and linguistics. It has a possibility to

create a snowball effect and inspire

oppressed communities elsewhere

whose identities were anthropologised

for museum culture or heavily

abstracted under the pretext of postcolonialism.

They are original people

and their study needs an original

approach. The views expressed in this

article are the author’s own and do not

necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial

stance.

Courtesy : Aljazeera

Reliving Rishi Kapoor magic through a few iconic roles

family faces, highlighted by the 'challenge'

they face while buying a new

car.

AGNEEPATH

The 2012 film directed by Karan

Malhotra was a remake of the original

1990 film of the same name, but Rishi

Kapoor's character Rauf Lala was

written as an original. "Agneepath"

remains special in Kapoor's filmography

because contradicting his feelgood

image, he portrayed Rauf Lala as

a cold, cruel and calculating criminal,

yet deeply caring about his family and

dear ones.

D-DAY

The 2013 action thriller by Nikhil

Advani saw Rishi Kapoor excel as an

out and out antagonist role, as Iqbal

Seth Aka Goldman, a character said to

be based on Dawood Ibrahim. The

film is about an elite team from India

that must infiltrate Pakistan and bring

back The Most Wanted Man. The film

also starred Irrfan Khan, Arjun

Rampal, Huma Qureshi and Shruti

Haasan.


16 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A common question asked by

upper caste people, who form the core

support of Hindutva politics, when

opposing the Scheduled

Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of

Atrocities) Act, 1989 or the policy of

reservation in educational institutions,

government jobs or elected posts is

why should they be held responsible

for the atrocities committed by their

previous generations on the weaker

sections (read lower castes) of society?

However, when it comes to religious

structures the same people justify

the campaigns to replace mosques

with temples on the basis of mere

hearsay which generally follow the

plot that a temple was destroyed by

some Muslim ruler to build a mosque.

Their presumptuousness to dismantle

heritage religious structures in spite of

lack of conclusive proof of claims,

while, on the other hand their opposition

to undo the historical wrong in

the matter of caste based oppression is

now quite brazenly on display in the

name of fundamentalist politics of

Hindutva. The Dalit President Ram

Nath Kovind was conspicuous by his

absence during the bhumi pujan ceremony

of Ram temple in Ayodhya performed

by the Prime Minister last

year which was also attended by Uttar

Pradesh Chief Minister, a populist

Hindutva leader, and the Governor.

The P.V. Narasimha Rao government

came up with The Places of

Worship Act in 1991 which said that

the character of places of worship

shall be maintained as it was on the

day India became independent. The

legislation was framed in the wake of

then raging controversy that place of

Hindu deity Ram’s birth was situated

at the very place where Babri Majid

stood in Ayodhya. The government

made an exception for this site but for

the remaining the Act said that any

pending cases in the jurisdiction of

any court, tribunal or other authority,

shall lapse. The exception in the Act

has been exploited to its fullest, The

Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th

December, 1992, by a mob of

Hindutva fanatics, the Supreme Court

ordered the building of a Ram temple

at the site through an order on 9th

November, 2019 and a Special court

acquitted all the 32 accused in the

Babri Masjid demolition case on 30th

September, 2020, even though the

2019 judgment of SC had said that

demolition of Masjid was violation of

law.

With legal sanction to the objective

of building a temple dedicated to Ram

Washington : About

35 per cent of all

Americans have been

infected with Covid-19

over the past year,

according to a new study

of the US Centers for

Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC). CDC

estimates that from

February 2020 to March

2021, 114.6 million

Americans were infected

with Covid-19, 97.1

million had symptomatic

illnesses and 5.6 million

were hospitalised with Covid-

19, the Xinhua news agency

FOR POLITICS OF

HINDUTVA THERE IS

NO LOCKDOWN

at Ayodhya having been achieved, a

possible sentiment would have been

the expectation of momentary peace;

however the appetite for demolition of

heritage masjids and creating chaos

seems emboldened. True to their slogan,

‘Ayodhya is only a curtain raiser,

Mathura and Kashi will follow,’ the

Hindutva cadre is now busy raking up

the issues at these places. A civil court

in Varanasi has ordered the

Archaeological Survey of India to

investigate whether the Gyanvapi

mosque was built after destroying any

temple at that site and similarly a

Mathura court has ordered ASI to conduct

a radiological test to ascertain

whether any Krishna idol is buried

under the Jama Masjid as the petitioner

believes that prison cell where

Krishna was born stood at the site of

US CDC estimates 1 in 3

Americans infected with Covid

reported on Saturday.

The current US population is

about 330 million, according to

Shahi Idgah. The story of Ayodhya is

apparently being repeated in Kashi

and Mathura with the help of judiciary.

The alacrity with which the

Hindutva forces have been active post

the Ayodhya judgement, and even

before, is ominous and has the potential

of developing into a storm much

worse than what this country has witnessed

in its communal history. The

Vishwa Hindu Parishad President

claims that they have collated a list of

30,000 mosques where counterclaims

of temples existing in the yore can be

made.

The politics exploiting the religious

sentiments is very strange and

virtually a Frankenstein monster.

Somebody in the past purportedly

built a temple. Somebody else is

the US Census Bureau

website. The number of

people who were

infected with Covid-

19, estimated by the

CDC, is about 35 per

cent of the total US

population, or a little

more than one in three

people. Of those infected,

nearly 50 per cent

are between the ages of

18 and 49, and 23 per

cent are 17 or younger.

As for hospitalizations,

about 47 per cent are estimated

to be 65 and older, according to

the CDC.

New Delhi : Leading

earthmoving and construction

equipment

manufacturer JCB India

on Friday announced a

10-day temporary suspension

across all its

manufacturing facilities

in the country, citing the

rising number of Covid

cases.

"We have decided to

pause manufacturing operations

for 10 days, starting 1st of

May 2021. This is a precautionary

measure and applies to all

our manufacturing locations at

Ballabgarh, Pune and Jaipur,"

alleged to have demolished it to build

a mosque in its place. Mythological

figures whose existence has not been

proven were supposedly born at precise

sites, about which there can be no

compromise. All you have to do is to

rake up the controversy or start a conversation

with your neighbour. It is

quite unfortunate that ordinary religious

people get carried away by this

propaganda and start supporting this

kind of politics. The objective of

underlying politics is polarization of

Hindu votes projecting Muslims as

enemies, invaders, scheming and brutal

people; the targeting of these specific

sites is not random. It involves

pro-active causation of loss of objectivity

and reason among people by

obscuring the facts that firmans

donating temple lands, math lands,

JCB India CEO and Managing

Director Deepak Shetty said.

"Sufficient inventory levels

have been built to support the

demand for our products during

this period. We do not foresee

grants by emperors against whom

they propagate as having demolished

are available in multiple temples in

our country. While demolitions, constructions,

grants may have been done

by erstwhile rulers of India from any

religious identity in their power struggle,

distorted form of religious hue is

being given to manufacture feelings

of animosity between religious

groups, which is the saddest part of

this saga.

What is more unfortunate is that

this kind of politics removes the focus

from real issues of life affecting people.

The lack of country’s health care

infrastructure has been clearly

exposed in the wake of coronavirus

crisis. Half the children in India don’t

cross the Class VIII stage in education

and a quarter never see the inside of a

classroom, even as child trafficking is

rampant. It also happens because half

the children in India are malnourished

and half the women are anaemic.

Dalits are still made to dive into sewer

lines and septic tanks without protective

gear and die due to asphyxiation.

The forces of capitalism and privatization

continue to grab land and displace

families, especially tribals, from

their abodes. Kashmir has learnt to

live without democracy and basic

human rights and now rest of the

country is following that path. Trans

individuals continue to face harassment

and hate crimes.

When the country’s priority should

have been to buttress its health care

and education systems to provide for

the needs of people and focus on basic

issues guaranteeing individual and

societal security during the pandemic,

the politics of Hindutva is pursuing

electoral consolidation and its elements

are busy pushing cases on

Varanasi and Mathura in the courts. A

ruling that upholds 1991 Act and

quashes the claims of freedom of religion

by demolition of existing religious

structures, from the halls of justice

would tilt scales towards well

being of India.

By Anandi Pandey,

Lubna Sarwath and

Sandeep Pandey

Contact numbers: 8756420542,

9963002403, 0522 2355978

e-mail ids:

anandipandey99@gmail.com,

sarwath.lubna@gmail.com,

ashaashram@yahoo.com

JCB stops operations at all

Indian plants for 10 days

any challenges in the availability

of JCB products for

our customers in India or for

our export markets. All our

customer and dealer facing

functions will operate normally,

while adhering to local

guidelines. There will be no

disruption in product support

for equipment being used by

our customers due to this

pause."

At present, the company

manufactures over 60 products

in nine categories, which are

not only sold in India but have

also been exported to over 110

countries.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

17

There is No Case Release the Bhima

Koregaon 16 and Compensate Them

A second report released on April 21, 2020 by Arsenal Computing contains more

damning evidence of how files were planted on Rona Wilson’s computer.

Jignesh Mevani and

Meena Kandasamy

It is a year since we jointly authored

an op-ed denouncing the arrest of

Professor Anand Teltumbde on

Ambedkar Jayanti.

We highlighted the fact that his

incarceration in the Bhima Koregaon

case had less to do with any so-called

conspiracy, and more to do with his

Dalit-centred Marxist politics, which

was seen as a direct threat to the corporate-Manuvadi

government of Modi.

The first raids in the Bhima

Koregaon case were conducted on April

17, 2018.

Three years have rolled by, and more

than 16 prominent activists, intellectuals,

social workers, lawyers, cultural

artists are in prison on fabricated, false

charges. The BK-16 are: academics

Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen and

Hany Babu; Adivasi rights activists

Stan Swamy and Mahesh Raut; poets

Varavara Rao and Sudhir Dhawale;

lawyers Surendra Gadling and Sudha

Bharadwaj; writer-researcher Gautam

Navlakha, activists Rona Wilson, Arun

Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, and

members of the cultural group, Kabir

Kala Manch: Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh

Ghaichor and Jyoti Jagtap.

At the moment, elections in four

states and a Union Territory and the

COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on

India appear to have given a pause to

the case. However, when things return

to ‘normal’, there could be many more

arrests. The dragnet has been widened

to target those mobilising for Dalit

assertion around the country, and the

National Investigation Agency (NIA)

has so far summoned more than 50 people

from six states.

Against this backdrop of targeted

harassment of activists around the

country, the two detailed reports

released by Arsenal, a US-based independent

digital forensics firm, that have

been reported in the Washington Post

and other regional media outlets in

February 2021, need our collective

attention and action. Arsenal meticulously

looked into a copy of Rona

Wilson’s laptop hard-disk and concluded

that ten files were placed remotely

into his hard-disk through NetWire, a

malware. These files were in a separate

folder which Rona Wilson himself had

never created, opened, modified or

viewed.

Now, a second report released on

April 21, 2020, by Arsenal contains

more damning evidence of how the

intrusion took place and shows that 22

more files were planted. Their latest

report includes data showing the hacker-attacker

typing commands to deliver

documents to a hidden folder on Rona

Wilson’s computer – which was likened

by Mark Spencer, Arsenal’s president,

to the equivalent of a “videotape of

someone committing a crime.”

These planted documents are not

some random acts of internet hacking.

These form the core of the NIA’s case

against the 16 people accused in the

Bhima Koregaon case. It is on the basis

of these planted documents retrieved

from Wilson’s computer that sensational

claims were made about a plot to

assassinate Prime Minister Narendra

Modi.

These documents paved the way for

India’s anti-terror law, the Unlawful

Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), to

be invoked against the accused. This

law allows the state to hold them prisoner

for as long as they please, with

scant any recourse to bail or an early

trial. Instead of finding out who hacked

the computer of Rona Wilson and his

co-defendants, and bringing that culprit

to trial, the NIA opposes the admissibility

of the Arsenal report as evidence in

this case. This leads us to the inevitable

question, why has the Modi government

were targeted and incarcerated the

Bhima Koregaon 16?

None of them committed crimes of

any sort. None of them indulged in any

violence. They remain in jail on the

basis of claims made by the police

based on electronic evidence. Now,

when the two Arsenal reports make it

abundantly clear that the electronic evidence

was itself planted, all claims of

conspiracy fall. The deployment of

UAPA suggests the “conspiracy”

claims were weaponised in order to

hold these activists in jail indefinitely.

There has been a history of such conspiracy

cases, like the Meerut

Conspiracy case by the colonial state,

that also invoked sedition.

What does the Modi regime hope to

achieve by keeping the BK-16 in jail

through any means necessary? They

want to curtail their activist work, they

want to silence their demands for a

more democratic world, and they want

to silence any noise which they make

about the dangers of a Manuvadi fascist

state. We also wish to point out that the

malicious prosecution around the

Bhima Koregaon case is not simply

about the 16 activists who have been

held in jail in the most oppressive circumstances.

It is also an explicit threat

to anyone in India who is articulating

Dalit rights, and to anyone who is challenging

the corporate sell-out of this

country by Modi’s regime. It is a clear

example of how the state machinery

can be used to crush even the faintest

murmurs of dissent.

We want to use this opportunity to

remind everyone that the Arsenal

reports have clearly exposed that there

is no basis for a case, that all the electronic

evidence was planted. In the

absence of any case, the only right thing

to do is to release all the accused, and to

compensate them for the loss of time

and suffering they have endured in

prison.

This is a matter of justice. State institutions

cannot enjoy absolute impunity

which engenders abuse of the rule of

law. Violating the democratic rights of

its citizens cannot become a matter of

routine procedure for investigating

agencies whose agenda is dictated by

the ruling political dispensation. We

demand compensation because we

demand accountability of state structures

and an acknowledgment that there

has been a violation of rights.

We urge all democratic, progressive

and Ambedkarite voices and movements

to join the campaign to demand

the release of the Bhima Koregaon 16.

In these coming months, after the pandemic

comes to an end, we need to dedicate

our collective energies to securing

their release. Jignesh Mevani is an

independent MLA from Vadgam,

Gujarat. Meena Kandasamy is a writer

and poet.


18 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

It is a matter of pride for the Indians

that the United Nations including the

University of British Columbia

declared 14th April as “International

Equality Day”. All over the world,

Ambedkarites, and Buddhists are celebrating

130th birth celebration of

Vishaw Guru Baba Sahib Dr. B.R.

Ambedkar. Ambedakrites & Buddhists,

nationally and internationally, have

organized function virtually as well as

physically to celebrate the birth

anniversary of Baba Saheb Dr. B. R.

Ambedkar.

Nationally, the members of

Ambedkar Mission Society Punjab, in

association with Dr.Ambedkar Bhawan

Trust (ABT) & Samata Sainik Dal,

Punjab unit Shri Baldev Raj Bhardwaj,

Sudesh Kalyan took special permission

from the local administration and

organized the birth celebration function

physically while following the standard

operating procedures (SOPs) during the

pandemic of Coronavirus. The prominent

speakers at the functions were: Dr.

Jagmohan Singh (Nephew of Shahid

Bhagat Singh), Shri Lahori Ram

Balley, Editor Bheem Patrika, Prof. GC

Kaul, trustee Ambedkar Bhawan Trust,

Jalandhar, Shri Jaswinder Waryana-

President All India Samata Sainik Dal,

Punjab unit. A book entitled: “Dr.

Ambedkar De Mahan Karaj” was also

released on this occasion. OUTLOOK

magazine has published a special issue

on this occasion and listed 20 Dalits

who lit the light. Shri Lahori Ram

Balley, Editor Bheem Patrika, who had

the opportunity to meet & work with

Baba Saheb, is one of them.

Internationally, the members- Mr.

Anand Balley, Mr. Major Mal, Mr.

Mathura Mehay, Dr. Raj Narnaware,

Prof. Arun Kumar Gautum, Mr. Nikal,

Mr. & Mrs. Chanchal, Mr. Paramjit

Kainth, Mrs. Sujata & Mr. Mohinder

Sallan under the banner of Pan –

Canada, a platform of Ambedakrite,

Buddhist and Ravidassi organizations

organized virtually the birth anniversary

celebration. Dalit thinkers, intellectuals

across the globe were invited to

share their views. Boston Study Group,

USA, under the leadership of Rajinder

Kumar Badan organized a virtual

progamme.

“Educate, Agitate, Organize” is the

slogan around which the entire Dalit

movement is revolving since 6th

December, 1956. Now the time has

come for the Dalit Samaj, apart from

the celebration of the birth anniversary

of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, to assess the

journey travelled in terms of accomplishments

& disappointments. Any

Educate, Agitate, Organize:

SELF-REFLECTIONS

society or culture stands to

decay if the members do

not make efforts to preserve

it. In simple terms, a

gardener has to see what a

plant needs in order to

grow; a gardener has to see

how much sunlight is

required for the flower or

fruit to grow. Similarly, in

a constantly changing

world, the Dalit Samaj has

to see how much task is

done given by Baba Saheb

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar &

how much is still left. The

day we evaluate this thing,

we can make or remake

our strategy in order to

survive in a competitive

world.

‘Educate’

As everyone knows that

Dr. Ambedkar always

emphasized on Education

because he knew it very

well that the Depressed

Classes (now called

Dalits) for want of economic

resources cannot

make social & economic

mobility without higher

education. In 1929, Dr.

Ambedkar appealed to the Government

of India to make higher education as

cheap to the lower classes as it can possibly

be made. The government of India

accepted his proposal and introduce a

scholarship for the Dalits. Similarly,

Dr. Ambedkar also appealed to the

Government of India that 33% marks

should be made the criteria for eligibility

for employment in government

services. Dr. Ambedkar`s argument was

that the people belonging to the

Depressed Classes are not able to afford

exorbitant tuition fees to acquire the

best education. After 2014 in India, the

tuition fees of higher education including

government institutions have been

raised to 500%. Today, a Dalit student

aspiring to become a doctor or engineer

from a reputed college or university

needs 1 Crore. Even if a Dalit student

obtains 90% marks he or she cannot

afford such exorbitant fees because of

two major reasons, one is due to steep

poverty among their parents; the other

is the absence of collateral security to

be pledged to the bank to take a student

loan. Day by day, the drastic cut in government

scholarship for higher studies

meant for the SCs/STs have added further

woes to the critical situation of the

Dalits in the education field. In this

-Dr. Rahul Kumar,

Senior Columnist,

the Asian Independent UK

prevailing situation, where will the

Dalits students go? Who will help them

to earn higher education? The Dalit

activists have to think over it and take

up this matter with the government of

India.

‘Agitate’

In his lifetime, Baba Saheb Dr.

Ambedkar launched several public agitations

for the rights of the Dalits Dr.

Ambedkar was of the

view that political

power should be used

to resolve problems of

the people; to empower

them so that they

can become rulers of

the country. Dr.

Ambedkar was very

clear about his mission

and actions. Having

observed this, the

members of the

Depressed Classes

thronged to him and

participated in the

public agitations

(Mahad Satayagrah)

because they knew it

very well that Baba

Saheb Dr. Ambedkar

was fighting for their

rights. They believed

him, they trusted him.

In return, Dr.

Ambedkar never disappointed

them

despite his ailing

health. They also knew

it very well that Dr.

Ambedkar would

never bow to any High

Command of any

mainstream political party for his own

economic or professional benefit. Baba

Saheb Dr. Ambedkar understood very

well the cunning minds of the

Brahmins who were making policies &

programmes. Dr. Ambedkar being a

jurist & visionary knew in advance the

impact of these policies and programmes

on the life of the Depressed

Classes. Knowing this, he planned his

strategy. Today.it is unfortunate to

know that we find that the majority of

the Dalit elected representatives lack

vision and guts. The Dalits are losing

faith in them because the majority of

such representatives are greedy, opportunists

and traitors.

One will be surprised to know that

former Dalit woman Chief Minister of

Uttar Pradesh has issued directions to

the party workers not to organize public

protests. She also restricted herself to

issuing public statements on the paper.

Despite having political power she

watched silently the social & economic

deterioration of the Dalits in the state;

she watched silently the atrocities on

the Dalits; she watched silently the

rapes of the poor Dalit girls. The

Brahmins took every matter related to

the welfare of the Dalits to the court.

She kept on filling up her purse. Her

party did not bother to hire the best

lawyers to fight the cases in the court

and get relief for the distressed Dalits.

Udit Raj (earlier in BJP & now in

Congress) also termed BSP supremo

Mayawati as ‘feudal’ and ‘Manuvadi’

and pointed out that her disdain for

Dalits can be understood from the fact

that she never allows any Dalit to sit

beside her (India TV, July 13,

2014).Union Minister Ram Das

Athawale (BJP) demanded 25% reservation

should be given to the upper

castes ( Hindustan Times 16 April

2018). Late Ram Vilas Paswan

demanded 15 % reservation for the

upper caste (Financial Express 18 April

2018). Can you expect anything from

such Dalit elected representatives?

‘Organize’

On this account, the Dalit Samaj is

quite a week. The majority of the Dalit

leaders have forgotten to organize

themselves. They are highly confused

people on this earth. Their minds are

agitating like a child. For their own

economic interests, they can sell themselves

or mortgage the Dalit movement

to any mainstream political party. Rich,

resourceful Dalits are found exploiting

poor Dalits in the name of Baba Saheb

Dr. Ambedkar. One will be surprised to

know that recently a new Karol Bagh

gang has emerged having wealthy,

materialistic Dalits on board that collect

lakhs of rupees every year on the

eve of ‘Jankalyankari Day’. Nobody

knows where these funds go. Now the

time has come to identify such people.

The time has come to close doors to

them in order to save the future of the

Dalit Samaj. Would you please ponder

over it?

No doubt, we have achieved milestones

in our journey but our disappointments

are numerous. There is an

urgent need to invigorate the Dalit

movement. For that, we have to pause

for some time and do some brain exercise

in order to save the Dalit Samaj.

Let us sit, hold a discussion, and evaluate

our accomplishments & disappointments.

Let us not allow greedy, opportunist

& traitor to further paralyze the

Dalit movement. Today, Baba Saheb

Dr. Ambedkar is asking all of us about

the progress of the task he had handed

over to us.

RIL doubles Q4 net profit to Rs 13,227 cr

Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Reliance

Industries Lts (RIL) on Friday reported

a 108 per cent growth in its consolidated

net profit for the January-

March quarter at Rs 13,227 crore.

During the same quarter of FY20,

the company had reported a net profit

of Rs 6,348 crore.

The company, in a regulatory filing,

said that Rs 13,227 crore is the net

profit attributable to the owners of the

company.

The oil-to-telecom giant reported a

revenue from operations of nearly Rs

1.55 lakh crore, 11 per cent higher on

a year-on-year basis, during the period

under review.

RIL Chairman and Managing

Director Mukesh D. Ambani said:

"These are extraordinarily challenging

times for India. Our immediate priority

is to help our country and community

tide over the Covid crisis. We

have deployed our best resources in

strengthening the nation's fight against

the pandemic."

He added that RIL's facilities in

Jamnagar are producing lifesaving

medical grade oxygen, which is the

crucial need of the hour in many

states.

"We have also taken urgent steps to

bolster the nation's capacity to swiftly

transport medical oxygen. These

efforts complement our other initiatives

such as distributing free meals to

the needy, supplying PPEs to frontline

workers and setting up world class

Covid-care facilities."

Ambani noted that the company

has registered robust recovery in

O2C and retail segment, and

resilient growth in digital services

business.

"Sustained high utilisation rates

across sites and improvement in

downstream product deltas as well

as transportation fuel margins aided

O2C earnings growth. Our consumer

businesses have proved to be

a digital and physical lifeline for the

nation in these challenging times.

Jio's high-speed connectivity services

enabled millions of Indians

work from home, study from home

and even receive healthcare from

home," he said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

19

Proportional Representation is the only

way to resolve our reservation crisis

Though IIT Kharagpur teacher

Seema Singh has apologised for her

abusive remarks against the students of

SC-ST-OBCs in an online class, the

matter does not end here. When the

video of her abusive class went viral, I

thought whether she was a teacher at the

prestigious institution or an old caste

prejudiced head master in some nondescript

part of the cow-belt where he

would beat up the students and use

filthy language. Moreover, what is this

Vande Mataram, Bharat mata kee jai,

business in your classroom. It looked as

if some Bajrang Dal members were

threatening students over not uttering

the same. The behaviour of the teacher

has been most disgraceful.

Now, after much pressure on social

media, the teacher has apologised but

should that be accepted ? I have written

many times in the past that India’s institutions

of higher learning have become

killing fields for the SC-ST-OBC students.

Rohith Vemula was institutionally

murdered yet despite protests all over

the country nothing moved, nobody was

guilty and the chapter is closed.

Similarly, there are many other students

who were forced to commit suicide but

the Ministry and these institutions never

bothered to find out as what ails them

and why the students from the marginalised

sections face a hostile environment

inside them.

Actually #reservation has become

the biggest point of hatred against the

SC-ST-OBCs. The savarna hatred that

drives them towards Hindutva is purely

the thought that the party will dismantle

the reservation system so that ‘merit’

can be maintained. We all know ‘merit’

in India is Brahmanical hegemony in

our institutions that facilitate and run

our democracy. Whether it is judiciary,

Universities or colleges, bureaucracy or

media, this hegemony is now complete.

Thirty years ago when the V P Singh

government decided to implement the

Mandal Commission Report, it was the

same forces which opposed it tooth and

nail. Political parties realised that

opposing reservation is politically damaging

hence they ensured that reservation

is dismantled without speaking

about that. And the result is that since

1991, when P V Narsimha Rao took

over, the public sector was being dismantled

and rampant privatisation started

in India. It all meant that space for

India’s Bahujan Samaj was being

reduced in the public sphere even when

we saw rise of Bahujan Samaj Party and

emergence of strong regional kshatraps

belonging to OBC communities.

Nothing moved. 27% reservation meant

for OBCs became the bone of contention

despite the known fact that it

was never implemented properly.

Why has the ‘reservation’ issue

which unites the ‘Hindus’ of all variety,

is unable to unite the Bahujan masses.

Why the political parties of SC-ST-

OBCs are unable to raise this issue with

courage and conviction. All these parties

neither raise the issue of land

reforms nor speak about reservation ?

I had an interesting anecdote about

these parties when I spoke to Late M C

Raj, a brilliantly articulating Adijan

philosopher who said, ” Look these parties

are not Dalit-OBC-Adivasi parties

but either led by those who are born into

these communities or founded by them.

So in the first part the post system, they

don’t speak of issues of their community

but try to look ‘broader’ and ‘progressive’.

In India where Brahmanical

‘secular’ elites define you, being progressive

means that you despise ‘reservation’

because after all ‘merit’ in India

has enabled this elite to keep its hold in

power structure.

The Courts are already speaking up

against reservation. There is already a

‘ceiling’ of 49% despite the known fact

that the SC-ST-OBC population in India

is not less than 80% yet even for their

‘legitimate’ seats things are not being

done honestly.

Universities have ensured that this

system is dismantled. All through these

years, the elites in India have decided to

find ways to demolish the reservation

system and they have succeeded

because they realise that at the helm of

affairs are the people who ‘encourage’

them and support them. At least on this

extremely important point the netas support

them wholeheartedly.

A video of Tripura DM misbehaving

with family members gathered at a marriage

ceremony gone viral yesterday.

There has been a demand for suspension

of the District Magistrate for his behaviour.

Even the BJP was upset with it.

Now, one can argue for or against the

whole incident and the role of District

Magistrate but what is happening now is

a campaign on social media that the DM

has hurt the ‘Hindu sentiments’ as he

spoke rudely with the priest there performing

the marriage. More tweets

started coming in for his being a ‘quota’

appointee. Now, where is the link

between the quota and the incident. In

fact, some of the people supported

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

District Magistrate Shailesh Kumar

Yadav for his strong message. Of

course, people like us felt that he should

not have been involved straight forward

and could have dealt with it in a more

polite way.

Why the campaigner started targeting

him as a ‘quota’ fellow. Why should

he be termed as anti Hindu ? But you

know some people sleep with their

castes and wake up with this only

except the known fact that they never

speak on the issues of caste atrocities

committed on India’s Dalits and

Adivasis.

Anupam Kher recently tweeted that

despite all our criticism, ‘ayega to Modi

hi’, ‘Modi will return to power despite

all our campaign’. Now, I want to narrate

an interesting incident of my recent

visit to Lucknow which was very short.

I met with a known Doctor there who

gave me all his ‘knowledge’ about India

being ‘super power’ and whatever Modi

is doing is just to ‘undo what has happened

in the last 70 years’. He was so

proud of Narendra Modi that he was not

bothered about anything. He said it is

not for the prime minister to do things

which are supposed to be done by us.

His brother, a senior engineer too was

happy with the current government yet

told me his ‘mazboori’. We live in Vikas

Nagar area and wanted to vote for a

BSP candidate ( Just because BSP had

fielded a Brahmin candidate), who had

done a lot of work in the region and was

accessible to all. Engineer Saheb supported

Ms Mayawati’s work culture and

said that there was no corruption at the

lower level. So when he informed his

children and brother’s children about

the same, they all got upset against

them. You can not vote for BSP, they

said because it supports reservation.

Doctor Saheb intervened, why should

there be reservation when everybody is

equal before law. Modi is doing the

right thing by privatising everything, he

said.

That gave me the idea as to why

Narendra Modi remains the ‘supreme

pontiff’ of Hindus as they dont expect

anything from him. Despite miserably

failure to govern India in the last six

years, people still are ready to vote for

him. It means that the ‘opinion making’

or narrative building communities are

convinced that Narendra Modi’s dismantling

of the public sector will ensure

the Savarna monopoly on everything.

From Bengal to Tamilnadu, to

Karnataka to entire north India, the

hegemonic castes have found their way

out and they feel that it is time to

oppress the oppressed and the only way

is to eliminate reservation, kill the public

sector, remove government’s interventions

and privatise everything.

Unfortunately, all this is not on the

agenda of those parties who should have

been speaking against it.

The parties that claim that they are

the sole representative of SC-ST-OBC

votes need to work in close coordination.

Learn from Tamilnadu Experience

where all the major political parties

including DMK and AIDMK worked

together to bring the reservation to 69%,

way above the Supreme Court’s 49%

ceiling. It was the power of Periyar’s

movement that Tamilnadu today is in a

far better position. Alas, north Indian

political parties of Dalit Bahujans have

least understanding of the Periyar

movement and his rich and powerful

legacy of social justice. They fear that

speaking his name will put them as anti

Ram and therefore give a handle to BJP

to campaign against them. Such things

happen only when we lack ideological

strength.

The government is already appointing

people at senior level bypassing

civil services and UPSC. This is a way

to introduce the people who can help

maintain the dominant caste hegemony

in bureaucracy. It is also time for all of

us to speak up for National Judicial

Services through where reservation is

implemented as per law. Media , academia

and judiciary must have the presence

of India’s Bahujan Samaj.

Also, in the last few years, after the

Bahujan Student broke the ceiling and

started appearing as a ‘general’ candidate,

their number grew. More and

more, SC-ST-OBC students were passing

through without reservation but

India’s crooked mind realised that with

this the bureaucratic structure have

more SC-ST-OBCs than the Savarnas

and that is why they initiated not only

the backdoor entry of straight appointment

but also suggesting that all those

who qualified on merit were placed

under their ‘caste category’. That way

50% ‘General’ has converted for the

Brahmanical castes which is ‘disproportionate’

representation. General does not

mean ‘upper caste’. It actually means

unreserved but how this unreserved has

been converted into ‘general’ for the

upper castes which is clearly a theft and

must be clarified.

One question must be asked as what

is the ‘idea’ or ‘rationale’ behind 50%

reservation. Second, if 50% unreserved

are meant for the so-called dominant

caste students then it is dangerous. Why

should 10% people get 50% and 90%

Bahujans to be confined to 49% and

therefore fighting among them.

When there is so much hatred against

‘reservation’ then it is better to convert

it into ‘representation’. Let India have

proportional representation at every

level of our government structure as

Baba Saheb too wanted. Let the

Bahujan communities get representation

in all sectors as per their size of population.

India is a complex country and hugely

diverse. We will have to look to deal

with its issues in different ways but the

only alternative that looks feasible is

either ensure each person gets a quality

education or job or allow proportionality

of representation at every level.

In the meanwhile, India also needs to

clean the caste prejudices from the

minds which have ruined its social harmony

for centuries and still continue to

threaten our integrity. Let the supremacy

of our constitution run and each person

is treated in great dignity and

respect. Caste slurs/violence must be

declared as illegal and unconstitutional

like racism is being challenged in the

rest of the world. India can not held its

head high in the comity of nations as

long as there are caste discrimination,

untouchability and violation of rights of

the marginalised. Will our leaders and

government listen and act ?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com


20 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Release Fr Swamy, English bishops

say on his 84TH BIRTHDAY

English bishops have called for the immediate release of Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest who has

been unjustly imprisoned because of his work to support marginalised communities.

Four bishops from the Catholic

Bishops’ Conference of England &

Wales’ International Affairs department

expressed their prayerful support for Fr

Swamy as they marked his 84th birthday.

Fr Swamy, who has spent his life

defending the human rights of marginalised

Dalit and Adivasi communities,

has been imprisoned for more than 200

days on unfounded terrorism charges,

which have been condemned by the UN,

the local church, and the Federation of

Asian Bishops’ Conferences.

There are serious concerns for his

wellbeing, particularly given the severity

of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

Fr Swamy, who turned 84 on 26th

April, has Parkinson’s among several

other health conditions.

The Bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang,

chair of the Bishops’ Conference

International Affairs Department, said:

“I would like to assure you of my

prayers – you are remembered every

day. Your work with the marginalised

Dalit and Adivasi communities is an

inspiration to all of us and a courageous

stand for justice.

Poignantly, Bishop Lang also raised

the urgent need for Fr Swamy to have

access to his medicine for Parkinson’s.

Himself a sufferer, he said: “As someone

who also suffers from Parkinson’s, I

understand your need for medication –

the absence of which makes life very

difficult and can make one feel very vulnerable.”

The Bishop of Salford, John

Arnold, chair of CAFOD, urged

Catholics to pray for Fr Swamy’s

“courage and strength in enduring such

injustice”. He also asked for prayers for

his captors. “We ask that they may

begin to glimpse the wrong that they

inflict on Fr Stan – help them to recognise

the injustice in their actions and

guide them to the truth,” he said.

Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and

lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees,

Paul McAleenan, recalled the “many,

many years” Fr Swamy has been campaigning

on behalf of those denied justice.

“It is now time for us to do what Fr

Swamy has been doing for years and

demand justice for him,” he said.

The Bishop of Lancaster, Paul

Swarbrick, added: “I cannot recall

Christ ever giving up on his care for the

poor. Fr Stan is committed and determined

to defend the rights of the indigenous

people. He will not rest, he will not

walk away or allow them to be robbed.

“Fr Stan I thank you for your faith

and your determination.”

Picture: Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy, pictured

in a screenshot from a video, has

been incarcerated in an Indian jail since

his 8th October 2020, arrest. The priest,

who has worked for tribal rights in

India, credits his Jesuit training and

work with India’s Indigenous people for

providing him with coping strategies.

(CNS screenshot/YouTube).

Courtesy : The Catholic Universe

1,000 + activists, academics, concerned citizens from 20+ states in

India and across the globe write to Chief Minister Chhattisgarh

Call for immediate release of Hidme Markam and end state excess on adivasis in Bastar

Deeply outraged by the arbitrary

incarceration of Hidme Markam, an adivasi

human rights defender and environmental

activist, for over 40 days, more

than a thousand activists, academics,

concerned citizens from across the

globe sent a petition to Mr. Bhupesh

Baghel, the Chief Minister,

Chhattisgarh calling upon him to immediate

ensure the release of Hidme

Markam and take pro-active steps to

end the cycle of repression against adivasis

in Chhattisgarh. They also

appealed that false charges against

Hidme and other adivasi activists be

dropped and an independent inquiry be

conducted into all instances of sexual

and state violence.

It has been widely reported that on

9th March, 2021, Hidme Markam, a

committed environmental activist from

the adivasi community, working in the

Nandraj Pahad anti-mining movement

was openly abducted by the Dantewada

Police (and later shown as ‘arrested’)

when she was attending a programme

commemorating the International

Women’s Day in Sameli, Bastar.

Several women had gathered peacefully

to remember and mourn the rapes and

murders of adivasi women at the hands

of the State. But ironically, that day

became witness to another incident of

state high-handedness She has been in

jail for over 40 days now.

The letter states that Hidme Markam

along with other adivasis, organized as

the Nandraj Pahad Bachao Andolan, has

been resisting the mining of a sacred

indigenous hill by corporations like

Adani Pvt Ltd. She has also been organizing

against the Bailadila Mine Deposit

project that would result in grave ecological

damage in the region especially

on the local forest, land and water bodies.

As a member of the Chhattisgarh

Mahila Adhikar Manch, Hidme has

been present in numerous public spaces

and meetings in Chhattisgarh, asserting

the rights of adivasi women, especially

against displacement and state repression.

Her arrest is just the latest in the

chain of the State hounding adivasi

women activists who are fighting for

constitutional and human rights.

The violence of ill-thought and arbitrary

‘development’ projects have

haunted the adivasi state of

Chhattisgarh and Central-Eastern India

for decades. The wide scale displacement

and environmental devastation

caused by these projects remain unaccounted,

and they multiply constantly,

to cater largely to corporate profits. The

local communities who have peacefully

existed there for decades, not only

depend on these forests and mountains

for their sustenance, but also sustain

them, have been violently crushed to

build mines and industries. But they

continue to resist, and democratically

fight for their rights.

Condemning Hidme’s arrest as

entirely wrongful, the Chief Minister

has been called upon to immediately:

- Free Hidme Markam and drop all

charges against her, including

UAPA matters.

- Stop the clamp down on environmental,

adivasi and other human

rights activists as well as adivasi villagers

in Chhattisgarh, in particular

women in the garb of ‘combating

Naxalism’.

- Halt all potentially destructive projects

that displace adivasis and jeopardizes

the environment and dialogue

with the adivasi communities.

- Disband questionable schemes like

Lon Varatu and unconstitutional

entities like the District Reserve

Guards Force (DRGF).

- Institute an independent and highlevel

inquiry into the sexual violence

and alleged “suicide” of

Kawasi Pande, the rape and death of

Nande, the rape and murder of

Bheeme Mandawi and other young

women who have been sexually

assaulted by the police. Put an

immediate end to the sexual violence

being rampantly inflicted by

the police and security forces on the

women of Bastar.

CAMPAIGN TO FREE

HIDME MARKAM


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

21

Corona Pandemic and Targeting of Minorities

Currently (April 2021) India is passing

through its worst period as Covid19

Phase II is at its peak, with high rate of

infectivity and mortality. The shortage

of beds, Oxygen, test facilities and medicines

is the cause of concern all over.

The victims and their families are feeling

the massive tragedy as the nation

watches the gross mismanagement and

lack of foresight in planning. As the criticism

of the rulers is coming up a new

word ‘system’ has been thrown up. Now

it is not Mr. Modi who is to be blamed

for the shortcomings and worsening

plight but the system is to be blamed.

On one hand the lack of scientific

temper of the rulers made them make

statements like we will conquer the

Pandemic in 21 days. Some leaders

exhorted the devotees to come for mass

congregations of Kumbh. The other set

of them held massive election rallies

without wearing masks and without following

the norms of physical distancing.

Two high Courts have held election

Commission responsible for the massive

spread of the disease. On the other

side there are the stories of amity and

dedication. Dedication of Corona warriors

working under adverse circumstances

are writ all over. Hindu-

Muslims helping each other yet again

affirm the core values of our country.

At places Muslims who were held

responsible for the spread of the disease

are now being seen as fellow citizens

sharing the pain and coming forward to

do their bit in alleviating the tragedy.

While this massive tragedy is comparable

only to the mass migrations during

partition, the added element this time is

also the plight of migrant workers, risking

their lives along with livelihood.

While the rulers are patting their backs,

the inadequacies of their governance are

writ large; and the World as a whole is

taking the note of the painful happenings

here. The shortage of oxygen shook

us from our slumber. While the tall statues,

central vista and temple took the

lion’s share of national budget, the tiny

state of Kerala invested comparatively

miniscule funds in the oxygen plants

and is today supplying the same to even

the neighbouring states.

The parallel aspect of the tragic story

has been the demonization of Muslims

in the spread of Corona, as in March

2020 an International conference of

Tablighi Jamaat was taking place in

Markaz Nizamuddin. In India the communal

politics is riding on the back of

creating a phobia against Muslims,

using the medieval history in particular,

other aspects like love Jihad, polygamy,

beef, personal laws, alleged large families

and link with global terror has

added in no mean way. This phobia

against Muslims got a shot in the arms

when Tablighi Jamaat’s Seminar came

to light.

Starting from the leaders of communal

organizations to the biased media

different aspects of congregation of

Muslims were highlighted while the

naked truth of other congregations and

sources of global spread were deliberately

overlooked and hidden away from

the public perception. While Markaz

Ram Puniyani

was supposed to have been a deliberate

attempt to spread Corona, the preceding

mass congregation of Namaste Trump,

the visit of Kanika Kapoor and other

worthies who were having Corona

could not be seen by the dominant section

of our media, which incidentally

has become more as the broadcaster of

the views of ruling party. Not only

words like Corona Jihad, Corona bomb

were coined the ‘innovative’ section of

media went on to discover various types

of Jihad which the Muslim minority is

out to implement. The very comprehensive

report; ‘The Covid Pandemic: A

Report on the Scape-goating of

Minorities in India’ from Centre for

Study of Society and Secularism,

Mumbai, meticulously lists various

propaganda against Muslims.

The report points out that various

Jihads were listed to target the community,

“the Economic Jihad: use business

and trade to spread polarization, History

Jihad: manipulate history to speak in

favour of Islam, Media Jihad: use paid

media to speak in favor of Islam, Films

and songs Jihad: use films to glorify

Mughals and mafia and use films and

songs to popularize Islamic culture,

Secularism Jihad: take the support of

leftists, communists and liberals,

Population Jihad: Marry four wives and

increase the population, Land Jihad:

encroach on land and make mosques,

graveyards and madrasas on them,

Education Jihad: build madrasas and

promote Arabic, Victim Jihad: demand

reservation, personal law etc, Direct

Jihad: direct armed action against non-

Muslims.”

The report also gives the account of

fake news like Muslims spitting recklessly,

licking utensils etc. The very language

used for Muslims on one side and

Hindus/Sikhs on the other presented

Muslims as culprits, The report points

out, “113 people hiding in 8 mosques”

(Zee News) or “Covid 19: 600 foreign

Tablighi Jamaat workers found hiding

across Delhi, and counting” (Hindustan

Times); contrast this with news reports

of some 200 Sikhs stuck at the ‘Majnu

ka Tila Gurudwara’ in Delhi and around

400 Hindu pilgrims stuck at Vaishno

Devi unable to go home when the lockdown

was imposed.

Amit Malaviya of IT cell of BJP

came out with the most scathing indictment,

he tweeted “Delhi’s dark underbelly

is exploding!… and now the illegal

gathering of the radical Tablighi

Jamaat at the Markaz. It needs a fix

(From Twitter).” Even Gujarat Chief

Minster Vijay Roopani blamed the

Tablighi Jamaat for spread of Corona in

Gujarat.

While other perceptions have stuck

to the minorities through the consistent

use of media, social media in particular,

this one may be a concrete example of

the falsehoods which are used to target

the religious minorities for political purposes.

While we need to overcome the

effects of Corona Pandemic, we also

need to overcome the mistrust created

against minorities through the abuse of

media/social media guided by political

goals. In case of Corona, the truth is

there for all to see, will this example

help us negating perceptions which are

divisive? Will the concrete experience

of Corona, its relationship to global

spread, mass congregations like Kumbh

and election rallies, open our eyes to the

truth and lead us to the path of amicable

perceptions and harmonious living?

Cult guru accused of raping four devotees

claiming to be 'INCARNATION OF GOD'

Rajinder Kalia, 65, allegedly indoctrinated his devotees to believe he was ’divine’, Claimed to have used influence to groom

worshippers at Baba Balak Nath temple, The guru is also accused of using his power to financially exploit his followers.

A cult leader who practised an

obscure branch of Hinduism is alleged

to have raped four female devotees,

court documents have revealed.

Rajinder Kalia, 65, who allegedly

indoctrinated his devotees to believe he

was 'an incarnation of God', is accused

of using his power and influence to

groom worshippers as young as four at

the Baba Balak Nath temple in Bell

Green, Coventry.

The guru is also accused of instructing

his followers to launch an

'onslaught of harassment' against any

members of the temple who spoke out

against him. The four women seeking

damages from Kalia are no longer

members of the Coventry temple.

The allegations surrounding the

undetected cult were filed at the High

Court last month by consultant solicitor

at Peacock Law, Clare Kirby, The

Times reports.

They come after claims of rape were

dismissed by the authorities in 2017

following insufficient evidence and

Kalia, a former draper and clerk from

India, returned to the temple.

It was upon his return that the cult

leader is alleged to have told worshippers

to 'harass' those who spoke out

against him, with one follower claiming

she was threatened with acid attacks.

The tyres of another follower were

allegedly slashed after she spoke out

against the guru and a man and a

woman, who worked as unpaid servants

to Kalia, claim they lost £1.1 million

to the preacher due to his hold over

them. According to the court claim,

Kalia, whose followers travelled from

as far as Glasgow to see him, is alleged

to have claimed 'to be divine' and is

accused of using 'undue influence' over

young girls for three decades. The cult

leader would tell his followers, many

of whom were vulnerable women, that

those in the 'outside world are evil and

to be avoided' during his sermons and

videos also show followers kissing and

touching Kalia's feet as he sat on a

'throne'. Worshippers would also pay

Kalia, who lived in a gated home with

a swimming pool in Ryton-on-

Dunsmore, Rugy, Warwickshire,

around £12,000 each to show their

devotion.

Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor,

told The Times: 'It's shocking that

this is alleged to have happened in

plain sight. 'There is undue deference

paid towards people who are supposedly

the most religious.

'People should not be prevented

from speaking up because of the perceived

power and control these individuals

have.' Kalia will be defending the

High Court claim against him, according

to The Times. The claims from the

civil case come after West Midlands

Police attempted to charge Kalia with

criminal offences relating to the allegations

of sexual abuse.


22 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

‘System collapse’ to

bring private monopolies

in the Health Sector

(Samaj Weekly)- The system

has collapsed’, is a general

cry these days as event unfolding

everyday bring more uncertainty

and desperation. As an

Indian, I can say, we were never

so helpless as we are feeling it

today. I mean, you cant help any

one, you cant go to meet families

of friends, you cant meet

relatives. Common man is just

alarmed if things happen to him

then what will happen. People

are dying of utter neglect and

we never heard a single journalist

asking question to top two or

top three of this government.

So many people died because of lack

of Oxygen in country’s prestigious hospitals

and yet no questions were being

asked. Officially the death figure due to

Covid 19 has crossed 1,92,000 till this

morning. The second wave has exposed

India’s unpreparedness to deal with it.

People are dying due to lack of Oxygen

and non availability of beds in the hospitals.

If our memory is not too short,

then remember what has happened last

year during April. The government

used Railway coaches as isolation centres.

Many of the artificial structures

were created but I don’t know how fast

we ‘dismantled’ those structure when

we knew that things are still in the air

and no medical doctor has declared

ultimate victory over Corona except the

top ministers of this government.

Where have those makeshift hospitals

or facilities gone which were prepared

to meet the challenge hospitalisation of

Covid 19 infected people ? Will any

one ask how much money was invested

in it and who were the companies and

people who got the contract ?

Now we are hearing that the government

will do the same. Make an artificial

structure to deal with the rising

number of Corona infected people but

it is also a fact that it is not Corona that

is killing but lack of our preparedness,

non supply of Oxygen that was responsible.

It was shameful and deeply disturbing

to see many of the chiefs of

these prestigious hospitals were feeling

suffocated and desperate at the situation

because of their inability to deal

with it.

As report after report castigate the

government with inefficiency and

insensitivity, the ruling party has again

attempted to deal with it with ‘multi

pronged strategy’. One side heavy PR

exercise through their ‘favourite’ channels

and newspapers who are ready to

play for them in lieu of big favors and

money and the other side is more dangerous

where some of these ‘respected’

‘patrkars’ and ‘sampadaks’ i.e. journalists

and editors, are asking the government

to ‘control’ the ‘freedom of

expression’, in the ‘national interest’.

Not to be outdone in his service to the

supreme leader, our minister for the

Information Technology and law asked

the social media platform Twitter to

remove the tweets which speak of systematic

failure. The minister has always

been speaking of threatening language.

In the state too, journalists who are trying

to give authentic information are

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

being threatened.

When North Indian states are suffering

from mismanagement and crisis of

Oxygen, in South particularly Kerala

and Tamilnandu have shown the way.

Kerala’s 10 medical colleges have two

Oxygen plants each to provide them

uninterrupted supply. The state

increased its Oxygen capability by 58%

in the last one year. It planned meticulously

by understanding the importance

of it during the crisis last year.

Tamilnadu has much more Oxygen

than it is needed during the year. It has

the capacity of producing 400 MT

Oxygen per day while its demand for

the hospitals so far is merely 240 MT.

In Delhi Arvind Kejriwal used nearly

150 crore on his publicity exercise during

the first three month of 2021 while

crying over the lack of Oxygen because

most of the plants have moved out of

Delhi. The issue is did he not know that

a crisis can happen and he has to deal

with it given the nature of the central

government which was not keen to

allow him any freedom to do things.

The problem is that after deaths of

so many known journalists, activists,

academics, common persons the media

woke up to show some concern about

the situation and mismanagement at our

hospitals. Rather than asking Narendra

Modi the question, they have now started

paddling a new ‘term’ ‘system collapsed’.

Now this needs to be explained

as what collapsed and who is responsible

?

Well, India has never invested heavily

on health and education. But whatever

was being spent has been reduced

by the Modi government which is on a

privatising spree. This government has

only one agenda and that is to privatise

India’s public sector rapidly and they

found the Corona period the best

opportunity to do so when trade unions

and people will be busy or engaged in

their own survival and nobody would

have chance to question but they know

well that things are not that easy hence

a new narrative has to be started to benefit

them.

When Shekhar Gupta and other

‘experts’ start the ‘system collapse’,

then you must understand what narrative

they are planting. Yes, these are the

people who benefitted from their networking

in Business and political circles.

The system collapse will suggest

that ‘government’ ‘alone’ cant handle

this crisis so give ‘freedom’ to private

companies. The whole idea is to discredit

the public institutions, dismantle

them and degrade them. That

way, the ‘liberals’ who are

actually economic right and

more dangerous as they look

‘seculars’ to us but work for the

benefit of the big companies

who fund their projects, media

empires.

A good case work would be

to find out which countries performed

better in dealing with

Covid and what is the role of

the government in the health

sector. The worst was the

United States and the best are

Taiwan, Newzealand, Iceland,

Singapore and Vietnam. And look who

did the worst : USA, Brazil, Mexico,

India and UK. It will be good to look at

the health care system in these countries.

The UK for sure failed because

the government did not take timely

action though the National Health

Services ( NHS) proved best bet for

them and at the moment they have

reduced the fatalities and returning to

normalcy. USA is the model of ‘corporate’

hegemony that funds a large number

of ‘opinion makers’ so that they can

say hosannas on the role of ‘corporate’.

India needs to be careful at this

moment. I can again say, strengthen the

health care system. If the centre fails to

do so, let the state come with their own

state owned health care system. States

can always do so whether in Education

or Health and invest more money in it,

build big public institutions and that

would work as a wonder. If the states

have vision they can be the role model.

Southern states in India are still far

ahead of the north because north Indian

hospitals have become money minting

machines. It is time for the governments

to strengthen health services at

the districts, block and town levels so

that people can go there and get quality

treatment.

So system collapse should mean

strengthening our health infrastructure

through public sector or government

money but not to hand it over to the

corporate and asking them to charge

exorbitantly as per their whims and fancies.

This needs to be questioned. First

you blamed Nehru for your failure and

now you are bringing ‘system failure’

to protect your inefficiencies’ and failure.

But the problem is what is the use

of asking a government or a leader

about its failure when it still is ‘acceptable’

to the people or when they are

ready to listen to his ‘man kee baat’. A

good joke that roamed around various

WhatsApp groups was : Why are people

asking for good hospitals and oxygen

cylinders when they voted for

‘Ram Mandir’. Modi ji is fulfilling the

historical demand of the people to build

a ‘grand’ Ram Temple so they should

be satisfied. Hospitals, schools everything

can come later or we can still do

without them.

It is a wake up call. We have already

lost. Let us not give a chance to those

who ‘weave’ new stories and make the

‘system collapse’ a means to bring private

monopolies in the health sector as

well as elsewhere. Understand the

chronology.

Artist Doctor Troller

Sells NFTs Worth

£14, 500 in Under

1 Minute on Lunch

A U.K based digital artist sold an

entire collection of digital artwork in

under 20 seconds when they went

online this week.

Doctor Troller, whose real name is

Andrew Brown, an artist from south

London, launched his digital collection

of 40 works for £380 apiece via

his website https://www.doctortroller.com

and sold one of each

totalling £14,500 in under 1 minute.

Andrew Brown, aka Dr Troller, a

UK artist, sells digital works using

Non Fungible Tokens (NFT). NFTs

are registered tokens on Ethereum’s

blockchain and prove ownership of a

piece of digital art. Sales of NFTs

have shot up in the past month by a

digital artist called Mad Dog Jones’

who sold his Fax Machine NFT for

$4.1m in March this year.

He is well known on social media

platform Instagram, where his unique

artistry has grown his fan base close

Intermediate board

exams in Andhra as

per schedule: Minister

Amaravati : Andhra Pradesh will

conduct the intermediate or Class 12

state board examinations from May 5 as

per schedule, Education Minister

Adimulapu Suresh said on Thursday.

Addressing media, the minister

stressed that the examinations will be

held with Covid protocols in place to

ensure safety for the students.

The examinations will take place

from May 5 to 19, at 1,452 examination

centres that have been arranged across

the state.

Suresh said that intermediate board

examinations are very important for the

future of the students, as their certificates

are essential in future educational

to 900K, which generates an average

of 1.6 million views for his works.

Art produced by Andrew Brown

has increased in value since he

launched, bringing his NFT collection

to just over £228,000 in value.

Artworks, when resold, will earn the

current NFTs holders 2% royalties in

Ethereum when a resale has commenced.

NFT copyrights are tracked

mechanically via a commercial rights

management company “NFT

Intellect”, which monitor royalties

owed to current NFT holders.

Doctor Troller, also known as

Artist Andrew Brown, says: “The

future of art is digital, and the lockdown

has certainly sped up the transition

away from physical artworks.

This has been a great experience for

me and should open up new opportunities

for artists to be able to monetise

their content outside of the traditional

gallery model.”

pursuits.

He assured students and their parents

about the safe conduct of the exams, as

strict preventive measures will be taken

at every centre.

The minister stressed that the state

government is responsible for the future

and safety of the students and pointed

out that if only a pass is given in the certificates

without conducting the examinations,

students will suffer in the future.

A Covid Special Officer has been

appointed for each district and all the

test centres would be sanitised every

day. Thermal scanners have been set up

at each test centre, further ensuring the

students' safety, he added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

23

Every year various magazines,

online portals, newspapers bring out

their ‘power’ list for our consumption.

These are brought out on particular

occasions and are ‘judged’ by a few

‘selected’ ‘knowledgeable’ people who

go through the ‘work’ and ‘achievements’

of the people during the year and

come to a conclusion. Obviously, these

‘power’ ‘people’ differ according to the

magazines and many might not find

space elsewhere. The history of ‘powerful’

people of the world actually started

with Time and Newsweek magazines.

Of course, most of their writers once

upon a time were western commentators.

Indian commentators would hardly

find a space in these magazines but

things have changed now as various

Indian commentators and experts have

found their way into these circles.

However, many times, you are surprised

with some inclusions and exclusions

but these are prerogatives of the

magazines and newspapers and we can

disagree with them or ignore them.

This year’s Indian Express’s power

list was shamelessly biased and deliberate

attempt to denigrate Gandhis. It

looks as if the newspaper has decided to

play the game for the BJP and it is here

that these ‘liberal’ looking media is

more dangerous than the venomous

Arnab Goswami as you know his

republic TV will only play that game.

Liberals do not counter the legitimacy

of the Brahmanical classes but try to

defend this superstructure by diverting

the issue or giving it a different ‘angle’.

Except for making the ‘powerful’

happy and ‘building’ up a few new

‘brands’, these ‘power’ lists are nothing

but an exercise to keep the ‘audiences’

and ‘readers’ glued to their media so

that they too have a feeling of inclusion’.

Most of the ‘power list’ are actually

the ‘vision’ of ‘intellectuals’ but

channels too resorted to this through

their ‘inclusion’ by asking people to

vote. A few years back, CNN IBN started

voting for ‘Greatest Indian’. They

carefully did not bring Gandhi into picture

and the ‘fight’ was between

Jawahar Lal Nehru and Baba Saheb

Ambedkar. In the final count of votes,

Dr Ambedkar won with heavy margins

and if Gandhi were there as a participant,

he would have lost heavily but

that is how the Brahmanical elite

manipulate things where they made

Gandhi as the topmost icon of India

who is ‘unquestionable’ and then suggested

that Baba Saheb Ambedkar is

most popular figure of India. My view

point on greatest Indian debate are

available here : https://www.countercurrents.org/rawat120612.htm

Time to time, these magazines also

change their tactics to look ‘progressive’

and ‘inclusive’ and it depends on

the political situation in the country.

They provide a feeling that they ‘care’

for the marginalised.

Yes Bank reports net loss

of Rs 3,788 cr in Q4

Mumbai : Yes Bank on Friday reported a standalone net loss of

Rs 3,787.75 crore for the January-March quarter.

Its gross NPA was 15.41 per cent during the fourth quarter of

last fiscal, down from 16.80 per cent reported in the same quarter

in FY20.

The total income of the bank during the fourth quarter of FY21

stood at Rs 4,805.30 crore. "FY21 was the year of rebuilding the

foundation of Yes Bank. Bank demonstrated significant improvement

in performance across key indicators despite severe headwinds

of Covid-19 amd moratorium imposed on the bank in

March 2020," the bank said. Its deposits rose over FY20 by 55 per

cent to Rs 1.63 lakh crore.

Corporate ‘listing’ of

‘powerful’ voices

After the Mandal

Commission report,

most of the newspapers

opposed vehemently

the OBC reservation but some

of the Hindi papers started giving space

to Dalit-Ambedkarite writers. It is a fact

that these media houses do not have

much space for them. Then Pioneer

provided one column to Chandra Bhan

Prasad on Sundays exclusively on the

Dalit issues. Indian Express recently

asked Suraj Yengde to curate a column

on caste-race matters. After the death of

Rohith Vemula many of the newspapers

published the stories and personal narratives

of ‘dalits’ so a clever way to

confine you to being Dalit. There are

extraordinary people who can write on

any subject but then the Brahmanical

media confine them to their identity.

However, as it is also an issue of visibility,

many of our friends flow in it and

become party to it. As the Dalit middle

classes grow, the media and other

spaces will be made available to them

not to challenge the Brahmanical hegemony

but put them in a separate ‘Dalit’

cell like the political parties do, so most

of these greats are only called to speak

or write on when particular issue of

Dalit arise as ‘voice of the people’ as if

they don’t understand or know any

other ‘national’ or ‘international issues’

which will be the domain of Gupta ji,

Sharma ji, Jha Sahebs and Mishra ji.

Fact is that Ambedkarism has been

the ideology which India’s ruling

castes always suspected and denied

space. It grew up because

of dedicated Ambedkarites

and their ground work.

Today, we don’t have time

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

to remember those spirited

legends such as Advocate

Bhagwan Das, L R Balley, V T

Rajsekhar, K. Jamanadas, Raja Dhale, J

V Pawar, Sadanand Fulzale, Bojha

Tarkam, N.G.Uke, Vijay Surwade,

Manohar Mauli Vishwas, Baby Tai

Kamble, Shanta Bai Dane, Kumud

Pawade and so many others who kept

the spirit of Ambedkarism high and flying.

Most of these legends never got an

opportunity to air their views in the socalled

‘national’ media. In fact, person

like V T Rajshekar started Dalit voice

after resigning from the Indian Express

in the 1980s while L R Balley started

Bhim Patrika to carry on the mission

after the demise of Dr Baba Saheb

Ambedkar in 1956. Shri Bhagwan Dass

compiled the work of Baba Saheb and

brought collected work of Dr

Ambedkar. There were numerous magazines

and journals in various parts of

New Delhi : China on

Friday assured India that it

would do everything to support

the latter's fight against the second

wave of Covid pandemic

which has taken a heavy toll on

the country.

An official statement issued

by the Ministry of External

Affairs said that External

Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

had a phone conversation on

Friday evening with the State

Councilor and Foreign Minister

of China, Wang Yi.

"The call was arranged at the

request of the Chinese side to

convey their sympathy and solidarity

with India at this juncture,"

the statement said. After

thanking Wang Yi for his sentiments,

Jaishankar emphasised

that serious challenges such as

the Covid-19 pandemic, which

has affected all the countries,

require serious international

cooperation.

Indian entities are already in

the process of commercially

procuring required products

and raw materials from suppliers

in China. The minister said

that this process would be facilitated

if various transport corridors

and cargo flights remain

open and the necessary logistics

support is ensured expeditiously.

China had suspended its

state-run cargo flights for medical

supplies to India as Covid-

19 cases surged in the country.

Jaishankar apprised Wang Yi

of the ongoing efforts to meet

the challenge posed by the second

wave of the pandemic in

India. He said that the government

is fully determined to do

whatever is necessary to overcome

this challenge.

Wang Yi described Covid-19

"as a common enemy of

mankind" and agreed that there

was a need for "coordination on

a concerted response". The

ministry statement said Wang

Yi told Jaishankar that China

supports the efforts of the government

of India and would

ensure that all the required

the country which were being run in

the name of Ambedkarism, not necessarily

on the Bahujan issues. V T

Rajshekar used to call ‘national media’

as India’s ‘national toilet papers’. We

all grew up admiring him though many

of those who felt that isolation can not

help the Dalit cause differed with him

but what I wish to suggest categorically

is that Ambedkarite literature and

power grew without getting legitimacy

from the Brahmanical elite. It never

needed to be. That is why

late Kanshiram Saheb was

extraordinary as he never

went to get a ‘certificate’

from those ‘manuwadi’

media and politicians. In

the recent year, Round

Table India has done

tremendous work to provide

space to aspiring

Ambedkarite Bahujan

scholars and made a niche for themselves

without any certification from

the ‘intellectual’ elite of the country.

Can we ignore the phenomenal work

done by Lokmitra through Trailokya

Baudh Mahasangha and Nagaloka and

his dedicated team of activists such as

Mangesh Dahiwale and Priyadarshi

Telang. My friend in Odisha, Manas

Jena has been writing a regular column

for Pioneer for many years and it is a

well-received column. Another friend

Dr Goldy M George has been contributing

through not only ground work

of Dalit Mukti Morcha but regularly

writing thought provoking issues.

Ofcourse, Brahmanical media fear

independent and assertive

Ambedkarites.

It is equally important to understand

that not all who are being ‘projected’ as

materials are flown to Indian

entities without any delay.

Chinese companies would

be encouraged and supported to

deliver the requisite materials.

Airports, customs and airlines

would also be instructed to

smoothly facilitate the movement

of goods. Chartered

flights from India would be

welcome and specific problems

raised by the Indian side will be

sorted out quickly. Wang Yi

also offered any other appropriate

assistance required from the

Chinese government. The two

Dalit icons or heroes are Ambedkarites.

Two years back, American media as well

as many in India ‘celebrated’ the ‘autobiographical’

work of an expatriate

Indian in America, hailed as a landmark

book. The fact was, while the book has

her own experiences and that of her

uncle who happened to be part of ‘revolutionary’

movement, the author actually

despised Ambedkarites and

Ambedkarism as she came from the

‘left’ background. If Dalit movement is

acknowledged world over today and

respected, it is because of Dr

Ambedkar’s monumental work and

guidance to the people as well as the

dedicated work of Ambedkarite. Travel

to the United Kingdom and you will find

how people such as Ms Santosh Dass,

Gautam Chakrawarty, Arun Kumar,

Devinder Chander and others have kept

the flag of Ambedkarism high. They

don’t run ‘professional’ organisations

nor are they attached to any ‘university’

but with their work with the community

they kept the Ambedkarite movement in

the northern hemisphere alive. I have

said many times, for ‘scholars’ Dr

Ambedkar may be like any other

philosopher or political scientist who

they ‘research’ ‘write’ and speak on but

for millions of people in India Dr Baba

Saheb Ambedkar is their friend, philosopher

and guide who they revere as Baba

Saheb, who is their life and identity.

While the media and individuals are

free to bring out their list every year or

once a while, I can also provide some

suggestions and friends can work on

that. Power list of 100 Indians in the

service of Brahmanism (this list can

have some Dalit-OBC-Muslim,

Christian, Adivasi names too), 50 non

Dalit Ambedkarites, 100 Ambedkarites

in the service of humanity (including

literature, social work, journalism (this

can have people of all communities

who have followed Dr Baba Saheb

Ambedkar and are dedicated to his

vision and mission).

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

China assures India of smooth medical supplies without delay

ministers also discussed the

outstanding issues related to

disengagement from all friction

points along the Line of Actual

Control (LAC) in Eastern

Ladakh, the statement said.

Jaishankar conveyed that

while the process of disengagement

had commenced earlier

this year, it remained unfinished.

He emphasised that it is necessary

that this process is completed

at the earliest. Full

restoration of peace and tranquility

in the border areas

would enable progress in the

bilateral relationship, he said.

The two ministers agreed to

continue further dialogue at the

official level on this matter.

The telephone call concluded

with a brief discussion on

the BRICS and RIC meetings

of foreign ministers, which are

scheduled to take place in the

near future under the Indian

Chair. Wang Yi has confirmed

his participation at these

events, the statement said.


24 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Blatant Human Rights violations and forcible

takeover of land in Mikir Bamuni Grant village for

a 15MW Solar Power Project of Azure Power

State officials, especially form local and district administration, facilitated the illegal and unjust takeover of the land, The

Land and Forests of Assam belong to the indigenous and adivasi people of Assam and must be returned back to them

Nagaon Town, Assam : For over

a year, the situation in Mikir Bamuni

Grant village of Samaguri Revenue

Circle, Nagaon, Assam has been a

cause for serious concern for indigenous

people and farmers who have

been protesting against forceful

takeover of their land for setting up a

15 MW solar power plant by Azure

Power Forty Private Ltd.

As no local elected representative

or district official was responding to

their grievances, an appeal was issued

by the local communities for help. In

response, an All-India Fact-Finding

Committee (FFC) was constituted by

Delhi Solidarity Group. Prafulla

Samantara (recipient of the Goldman

Environmental Prize, also known as

Green Nobel Prize) from Odisha, Leo

Saldanha (Environment Support

Group, Bangalore) and Bhargavi Rao

(Environment Support Group,

Bangalore and Center for Financial

Accountability, New Delhi) and Amit

Kumar (Delhi Solidarity Group) who

were part of this FFC, visited Mikir

Bamuni to meet with met with local

impacted communities, and also went

to Nagaon to meet with district, police

and revenue officials during 27 to 29

January 2021. Based on this visit,

gathering of evidence and extensive

research of the region, the Committee

has issued: “The Anatomy of a Solar

Land Grab - Report of a Fact-Finding

Committee relating to Human Rights

Violations, and Environmental &

Social Impacts of 15 MW Solar Power

Plant being established by Azure

Power at Mikir Bamuni Grant Village,

Nagaon, Assam” and the same was

released today in the presence of local

villagers and leaders of the ongoing

movement against the land grab.

The report establishes that Azure

Power was assisted by district authorities,

revenue officials and police in

forcibly taking over land that was

being cultivated by the villagers, and

in abject violation of judicial orders,

and also laws and policies. The construction

of the solar part was undertaken

with blatant abuse of police

power, employed to terrorise local

people into submission, and this

including a variety of serious human

rights abuses. Despite widespread

media coverage in local dailies, no

action has been initiated against the

guilty officials by the State

Government. Shockingly, the high

office of His Excellency the Governor

of Assam has been found to be

involved in authorising the illegal

transfer of land to Azure.

The report further establishes that

the solar power plant is being constructed

on fertile agricultural land

that has been cultivated for decades,

and was full of standing crops, and

which was illegally destroyed by

Azure. The local agricultural officials

have illegally and fraudulently made a

case that there was no cultivation for

over a decade, to justify the illegal

transfer of land to Azure. The FFC

also discovered during 2 of its 3-day

visit to Mikir Bamuni, that elephants

crossed through the village, their passage

was blocked by the solar plant,

and thus this constitutes an active elephant

corridor and ecologically sensitive

region.

FFC member and senior leader of

National Alliance of People’s

Movements, Prafulla Samantara pointed

out that the “Assam Government,

especially the district administration

of Nagaon, has played a crucial role in

this corporate capture of resources dispossessing

indigenous and adivasi

International flights suspension

extended till May 31

New Delhi : India on Friday extended the suspension on international

commercial flight

operations till May

31, 2021.

However, international

passenger

flights under air travel

bubble arrangements

will continue.

"In partial modification

of circular

dated 26-06-2020, the

competent authority

has further extended

the validity of circular

issued on the above

subject... regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services

to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 31st May, 2021," the circular issued by the

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The circular said that the restriction shall not apply to international allcargo

operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25, 2020 due to the

nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.

Domestic flight services, however, resumed from May 25, 2020.

people of Mikir Bamuni from their

lands and livelihoods. Actions of

police officials to assist this forcible

takeover of land by Azure Power has

resulted in blatant violation of human

rights of those cultivating the land.

The Assam government has served the

interest of Azure Power at the cost of

human rights, livelihood, and fundamental

rights of villagers”.

Amit Kumar, a researcher based in

Delhi who has extensively researched

land and environmental laws relating

to industrial corridors and mega infrastructure

projects, highlights the legal

violations in this case. “The Assam

(Temporary Settled Areas) Tenancy

Act 1971 clearly states that the land

should have been transferred in the

name of occupancy tenants, the farmers

of Mikir Bamuni Grant in this

case. We were shocked to learn that

these lands were first transferred to

descendants of the original land grant

landholder, occupancy tenant's rights

over the land were deliberately

ignored, and then the purchase of this

land by Azure Power was accommodated

by revenue officials. Further,

there is a blatant violation of the

Assam Fixation of Ceiling on

Landholdings Act 1956. At no point

did the state revenue officials stop the

illegal appropriation of such fertile

agricultural land situated in the midst

of active elephant corridor.", he stated.

He went on to add, "During the

colonial era, Britishers sold huge

areas of lands to big Zamindars

terming the land as "Waste and uncultivated".

This rich land was cultivated

for generations by indigenous communities.

Now the Assam government

is dispossessing the indigenous people

of Assam from the very same land,

With restaurants and wet markets

allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity

during a four-day lockdown in Goa,

questions are being raised by the

Opposition as well as a cabinet minister,

about the seriousness of the preventive

measures enforced to control the

Covid-19 surge in the coastal state.

The four-day lockdown was

imposed in the state after much dithering

by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant

from Thursday night to Monday morning.

"This lockdown is to pull wool

over the eyes of the people of the state.

Shops, private factories, establishments

are open, buses are functioning, restaurants

and even wine shops are open.

How is this a lockdown?" Progressive

Front of Goa spokesperson Hridaynath

Shirodkar said.

Carlos Ferreira, who heads the legal

cell of the Congress, said that the orders

by facilitating illegal transfer of these

very lands which ought to settle in

favour of cultivators.” Leo Saldanha

of Environment Support Group highlights,

“Prime Minister Narendra

Modi’s promotion of 450GW of energy

production from renewable

sources is fraught with various inconsistencies,

particularly the lack of

appreciation of various details relating

to finance demanded, and social

and environmental impacts. It appears

that the message to State

Governments is to assist the transnational

and national private sector to

secure land in any manner. If how

Azure Power has grabbed land in

Mikir Bamuni is any indication, one

can expect such land grabs across

India, all in the name of meeting the

Paris Climate Agreement targets, and

in making India a major producer of

solar energy. Such so-called ‘Just

Transitions’ which are claimed as

responding to challenges of Climate

Change, are completely outside the

purview of India’s environmental

laws despite specific directions from

Supreme Court and National Green

Tribunal that such projects must be

subordinated to environmental clearance

review”.

Bhargavi S. Rao of Environment

Support Group and Centre for

Financial Accountability points out

that “the diversion of cultivated lands

that fail in an active elephant corridor

to Azure Power’s solar park, is perhaps

only the beginning of a transformation

of the Nagaon region to industrial

infrastructure. There has been

absolutely no consultation with local

communities. The fact that we found

elephants moving through the villages

on two of the three days we were at

Mikir Bamuni, exposes the Forest

issued by District Magistrates ordering

the lockdown were flawed.

"Nowhere do these orders issued by

them mention the word lockdown," he

said, adding that the administrative

orders were ambiguous in nature.

Markets in Goa were largely closed

on Friday, even as several stores including

shops selling non-essential goods

like even plywood and liquor were

open in several areas, according to

Ports Minister Michael Lobo.

"Plywood shops, glassware shops,

Department consented to the project

when they should have declared the

area an ecologically sensitive elephant

corridor to protect elephants. We have

also met with women and children and

heard very disturbing accounts of how

they were terrorised by the local police

and company officials. They are traumatised,

and yet no one from State

welfare agencies, or human rights

commissions had reached out to them

till when we visited the site.”

This FFC Report demands that the

Assam government must immediately

halt the construction of Azure

Power solar plant and take steps to

recover the land, restore it to the state

it was prior to construction of the

plant and hand it back to the tillers of

the land.

The FFC holds that the cost of this

operation must be borne by Azure

Power in consonance with the ‘polluter

pays’ principle. In addition, an

enquiry must be initiated into the

human rights excesses and the illegalities

and fraud perpetuated by

state officials to facilitate the unlawful

transfer of land violating judicial

directives. The report also asserts the

immediate need for the Union

Ministry of Environment, Forests

and Climate Change to bring solar

plants and other renewable energy

projects under social and environmental

review as directed by the

National Green Tribunal (South

Zone), a decision confirmed by the

Supreme Court of India. Further, the

FFC recommends to all the financiers

of Azure Power’s Mikir

Bamuni solar plant to critically evaluate

basis for financing, and take

necessary action for violations of

various safeguards the company

wrongly claimed it adheres to.

'Why are liquor shops open?': Oppn,

Minister question Goa lockdown

liquor shops were open in the morning.

They were told by the police and other

officials to shut down later. I feel that

the North Goa Collector has to come

out with clear orders under Section

144," he said.

The Minister said that the Covid-19

situation was spiralling out of control in

the state. "There are no beds with oxygen

at the District Hospital and the Goa

Medical College. It is difficult to give

patients oxygen flow in this situation,"

Lobo said, adding that he would request

Chief Minister to extend the preventive

measure for nine more days at least, to

break the Covid-19 chain.

Sawant, however, has maintained

that the lockdown would end on

Monday morning.

"Lockdown will not be extended.

People should stay home and co-operate

with the government," he said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

A ‘well known’ Hindutva

protagonist masquerading as

journalist passed away yesterday

resulting in a message of

‘condolences and ‘tribute’ right

from the Prime Minister and

Home Minister to ‘progressive’

‘liberals’ expressing grief of his

untimely passing away. It is

said that he passed away due to

cardiac arrest but fact of the

matter was he was also covid

infected. The prime minister

and Home minister paid their

tribute by terming him a

‘brave’ journalist and that his

passing away has left a big

‘vacuum’.

A champion of ‘liberal’ ‘secular’

who has been constantly

being abused by the Sanghi

trolls asked the prime minister

to compensate the journalist’s

family with Rupees Five Crore.

The champion suggested that

he was ‘worried’ about the

‘daughters’ of the anchor and

hence the government must

support his family.

On social media many people

started ‘celebrating’ his

death. I don’t know whether

there was any trend on twitter

like this but it is a fact that

many people expressed happiness

though most of the people

who were his victims showed

sympathy. One ‘philosopher’

condemns those ‘celebrating’

the death of the journalist as

‘OBC’ way and one does not

know where have OBCs come

into picture.

It is said that death of any

one is not celebrated and our

‘culture’ is ‘respectful’ to all

those who passed away and we

do not speak ill of the deceased.

I never knew about this as I

have seen a culture of demonising

people and celebrating their

deaths even if many felt they

had become irrelevant. The

largest number of abuses which

Indian ‘savarnas’ have reserved

is for former prime minister

late V P Singh for his ‘misdeed’

of accepting the Mandal

Commission Report. Even

when they have dismantled the

government sector yet VP

Singh still gets the abuses. The

other minister who got the

same was Arjun Singh for

implementing reservation in

higher education and institutions

of ‘merit’. In the last thirty

years if we have lost our

sense of sanity and reasoning,

celebrating lynching and murders,

it is the biggest contribution

of RSS and various offshoots

it has created. They

were the first to use social

media and made it the biggest

tool to intimidate the opponents.

Now, those who offer

counter narratives to speak the

same language and hence the

fight is getting dirtier and dirtier.

Some people may 'celebrate'

but most of the people have

moaned the deaths. But then

the media only goes to those

who are visible. In 1984, after

indira Gandhi's death, there

were rumours and it went in the

two Sikhs celebrated her murder.

So 'Hindus' retaliated to

that. Every massacre had a

story and justification. Earlier

media would not give credence

NEWS

They too are journalists who do

not find space at the Prime Time

to such stories but these days

the media itself became a tool

to spread hatred and division.

And our prime time heroes

were doing that without any

shame and guilty feeling.

What is shocking for me is

the demand that a ‘champion’

liberal made on his blog that

this journalist's family should

get compensation of five crore

rupees from the government. It

is shocking to

hear this as all

these ‘mainstream’

loudspeakers’

whether supporting

Modi or opposing him, working

for their respective ‘Banias’

who have crores of rupees.

Every channel knows its

strength and weakness which

actually happen according to

the political climate of the

country. Right now, Hindutva is

flourishing and the Bania

owned media used this for

increasing their TRPs and getting

maximum patronisation

from the ruling party. So, if any

journalist who work in these

‘organised’ media houses and

spreading canard and lies, definitely

can not be without the

financial backing. The shamelessness

of those who tried to

look ‘liberal’ is that the man did

not ask India Today Group to

compensate the family of the

man who passed away but

asked the government of India

to do so. This reflects two

things. One, he tried to balance

things that look ‘great’, I am

that I am ‘pained’ at your death

and second, he protected the

business interest of these ‘private’

vampires who have billions

of rupees by just denying

people their right to free and

unbiased information. Why

should the government pay to

compensate people who are

working in private companies

or big media houses where their

pay packages must be in lakhs

of rupees per month. Afterall, it

is not for any other reasons that

we have seen most mediocre

and unprofessional people

being termed as ‘journalists’

just because they have helped

unleashed the Hindutva propaganda

on television channels

and justified their lies. These

are the people who will justify

even the killings and blame the

victims for all the problems.

Now, I come to another

point and the hypocrisy of our

‘liberal’ friends in the media.

Just yesterday a report was

published by an important

online publication that between

April 1st , 2021 to Apri 28,

2021, a total of 52 journalists

died due to Covid while doing

their ground work. The report

also suggests that One Hundred

one journalists passed away

between April 1st, 2020 to

April 28th, 2021, on line of

their duty because of Covid.

The largest share of these

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

deaths came from UP-19,

Telangana-17, Maharashtra 13,

Odisha 9, Delhi 8, Andhra

Pradesh 6 and Tamilnadu-

Assam four each. Most of these

journalists are with local papers

or channels and perhaps

stingers too. I have not heard a

single sentence from even

known media bodies about

compensation to their families.

Will our liberal or communal

give a full programme

on them asking the government

to pay them as per frontline

workers. Ofcourse, there

are other peoples too who laid

down their lives online of their

duty but what is surprising that

we have not heard stories about

the families of these working

journalists and how can we

seek ‘five crores’ for them,

after all every one speaks from

his ‘class’ angle apart from

caste fraternity?

I simply do not have ‘capacity’

to ‘listen or watch’ these

‘champions’ whether ‘liberals’

or ‘sanghis’ but whatever input

I got through various posts and

clippings available on Social

Media that should be not only

archived but put before a

Commission. It is

high time when we

seek an international

commission on

‘media’, its roles,

responsibilities and

accountability. I am

sure, if any one who

is following or

observing Indian

media particularly

the ‘Mahanayaks’ of

prime times, would

vouch that most of

them need to be prosecuted

for promoting

hatred and animosities

against minorities

and marginalised.

The hashtags,

the timelines and the

way they do ‘lynching’

at their

‘Kangaroo Courts’ at

the prime time

around 9 pm IST,

deserve an

International public

Trial involving

known jurists as well

as media personalities.

India’s media,

both explicitly and

implicitly, has

encouraged the war

mongers, hate mongers

against minorities

and marginalised.

Most of these

heroes are, actually

the biggest threat to

our democracy as

they seek accountability

from dissenters

and opposition parties

while playing the

role of ruling party’s

spokesperson and giving them

a free hand to launch their

hatred and calumny against

minorities and opposition parties.

It is these champions whose

only topic for discussion was to

look into ‘conspiracy’ theory

w h e r e

Muslims are

involved. So,

during the

elections, they

would look

for the

Pakistan angle

or a Jehadi

angle to blame all the Muslims

of India and seek their

‘response’. During the entire

Covid journey of India from

March 2020, you can see how

these media houses gave space

to rogues, thugs and mischief

mongers. In the beginning, they

found a ‘conspiracy’ in the

‘Tablighi Jamat’ conference in

Delhi and every Muslim was

converted into a Tablighi and

then accused of spreading the

‘viruses. Every day, new theories

were being planted through

their WhatsApp network which

were later on being picked up

by these ‘Darbari media warriors’.

It has never happened

when these hatemongers got

01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021

‘mainstreamed’ and ‘glorified’.

The prime minister or his ministers

have not spoken a single

word about the huge number of

deaths due to CoronaVirus. He

remains silent. Instead, he

would give you ‘gyan’ about

drinking hot water, ‘wear

masks’ and make distance

while campaigning heavily in

these elections to defeat everyone.

The only agenda in the last

so many years of the Sanghi

government in power is to fight

elections, win them and defeat

everyone. So right from gallimohalla

elections to

Parliament, they want to win all

and obliterate the opposition. In

their zeal to do so, our Sanghi

warriors ‘wearing’ journalist

caps have come handy, forgetting

all their media ethics and

professionalism.

The hatred was not that

much as it exists today but the

right-wing lobby always weave

stories about ‘celebrating’

deaths of their ‘icons’.

Ofcourse, they started the

process when they were never

pained by people’s death.

During the anti CAA-NRC

campaign, the cases were filed

against activists and every one

of them were converted as main

conspirators. Many intellectuals

and activists are behind the

25

bar for so many years without

facing any trials. The chronology

of this government was

clear. Create problems. Build

narrative and promote it

through its media and social

media. Act on the basis of ‘people’s

perception’. Leak specific

stories from the intelligence

agencies about the opponent.

Discussion opposition and dissenters

all the time. Vilify

them. It is nothing less than

massacre. How would people

who are facing trials face when

the media declare them criminals

and try to derail the entire

judicial process?

It is the same media who

never questioned about

Kumbha fair or many other

fairs that have been allowed

during this period. It is the

same media which supported

people’s demand for opening

up of temples. It is the same

media which for the whole

three four months made

Sushant Singh Rajput an international

issue as if all other

issues are dead. Who is responsible

for this criminality?

Definitely, nobody could do so

without the blessings of the top

leadership which tweet if anything

happens. When Arnab

Goswami was arrested, he

behaved like a king as if nothing

could happen to him. He

abused a chief minister. He

used the gutter level language

against Sonia Gandhi and nothing

happened for the Sanghi

leadership.

See Page 14


26 01-05-2021 to 15-05-2021 WORLD

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