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Vol : 05 : #67 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
India remains hugely concerning : WHO
Geneva/New Delhi : India remains
hugely concerning, with several states
continuing to see a worrying number
of cases, hospitalizations and deaths,
the World Health Organisation
(WHO) has said.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
WHO Director General said in a briefing
that WHO is responding and has
shipped thousands of oxygen concentrators,
tents for mobile field hospitals,
masks and other medical supplies.
"And we thank all the stakeholders
who are supporting India," he
said. "COVID-19 has already cost
more than 3.3 million lives and we're
on track for the second year of this
pandemic to be far more deadly than
the first," Tedros said.
However, it's not only India that
has emergency needs, he added.
Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam,
Cambodia, Thailand and Egypt are
just some of the countries that are
dealing with spikes in cases and hospitalizations.
He added that the fact
that so many are still not protected is
a sad reflection on the gross distortion
in access to vaccines across the globe.
"In January, I spoke about the
potential unfolding of a moral catastrophe.
Unfortunately, we are now
witnessing this play out. In a handful
of rich countries, which bought up the
majority of the vaccine supply, lower
risk groups are now being vaccinated,"
"I understand why some countries
want to vaccinate their children and
adolescents, but right now I urge them
to reconsider and to instead donate
vaccines to COVAX," WHO said.
"Because in low and lower-middle
income countries, vaccine supply has
not been enough to even immunize
health and care workers, and hospitals
are being inundated with people that
need lifesaving care urgently. At present,
only 0.3 per cent of vaccine supply
is going to low-income countries,"
Man carries Covid positive
daughter's body on
shoulders for cremation
Chandigarh : In a heart-wrenching incident, a poor man carried
his 11-year-old daughter's body on his shoulders to reach
the burial ground in Jalandhar town. She died owing to Covid-
19. The video of the man carrying the body has gone viral on
social media. The man, Dilip, told the media that his daughter
died on last Sunday.
He said the video was of Monday when he went to the burial
ground with his son for her last rites.
"I am a poor man. Since no one came forward to financially
help me in her cremation, I decided to take her body for the cremation
on my shoulder," he said.
"Since my daughter was undergoing treatment in Amritsar,
after her death the body was handed over to me by wrapping in
a bed sheet. I brought the body here (Jalandhar) for cremation.
With the help of someone who gave me Rs 1,000, I performed
her last rites." A day earlier, a video grab of a man carrying the
body of his mother, who too died due to Covid-19, for cremation
on his shoulder in Himachal Pradesh was widely shared on
social media. The man belonged to Bhangwar village near
Ranital town, some 30 km from Dharamshala in Kangra district.
held in major US cities
Washington : Demonstrators took to
streets across a number of major US cities,
demanding an end to the escalating violence
between Israel and Hamas militants in the
In the capital Washington, D.C., hundreds
took part in pro-Palestinian protests on
Saturday, marching from the Washington
Monument to the US Capitol, reports Xinhua
Also on Saturday, thousands of people rallied
in Los Angeles in support of
Palestinians. Local media said a handful of
pro-Israel counter-protesters also gathered,
and police officers kept the groups separated.
A demonstration that started in a neighbourhood
in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, which
has a large Arabic-speaking community, continued
through the streets for several hours on
Saturday afternoon, said an ABC News
report. In San Francisco, a raucous crowd
banged drums and yelled "Palestine will be
free" as they marched across the Mission district
to Dolores Park, the report said, adding
that pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also
held in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and
some other US cities. The protests were
planned for Nakba Day, which Palestinians
observe every May 15 to commemorate the
1948 displacement of hundreds of thousands
of Palestinians amid Israel's war of independence,
local media reported.
Since the tensions flared up on May, Israel
has pounded Gaza with hundreds of air
strikes and shells, killing at least 145 people,
including 41 children and 23 women.
Meanwhile, rockets fired by militant
groups in Gaza have killed 10 people, including
a five-year-old boy, a soldier and two
institutions to stay
shut till May 29
Dhaka : Bangladesh has again
extended the closure of all secondary
and higher secondary educational
institutions until May 29 following
an ongoing Covid-19 resurgence
across the country.
The Ministry of Education said in
a statement on Saturday night that
the government extended the closure
of the institutions till May 29,
reports Xinhua news agency.
Previously the closure was
extended in phases till May 22.
According to the statement, the
latest decision was taken considering
the safety of students, teachers,
institution employees and guardians.
It, however, said all online academic
activities of all schools and
colleges will continue.
Bangladesh on March 16, 2020,
had first announced to close all educational
institutions in the country in
an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
Since March 2020, the virus
has spread to nearly every
Bangladeshi district, and the total
number of cases has risen to 779,796
with 12,124 deaths so far.
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
New York City to aid India's Covid battle
New York : New York City Mayor
Bill de Blasio has announced that the
city will tap into its stockpile to send
Covid-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators,
BiPap machines, pulse oximeters, and
other medical supplies to India, which
is currently battling a devastative second
wave of the pandemic.
However, de Blasio didn't disclose
the quantity and schedule about the
transnational aid, reports Xinhua news
agency. "Now, it is our turn to step up
and help India in its moment of crisis.
We are sending vital medical equipment
to India to send a clear message:
nobody is in the fight against COVID-
19 alone. "Together, we can save lives
and beat back the pandemic," the
Mayor said in a statement issued on
Friday. New York City Health
Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi, an
Indian-American, said: "Our city,
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moral imperative to demonstrate global
solidarity in order to overcome this
Chokshi appealed to the White
House to take further action to waive
Covid-19 vaccine patents and said that
all research, technology and techniques
for producing the jabs should
be publicly shared. "New York's thousands
of Indian-Americans are filled
with anger and helplessness as they
witness the unnecessary tragedy back
in the country that shaped each of us
as a child," said Harpreet Singh Toor,
co-founder and president of South
Asians for Global Empowerment.
Toor said it is the right time to call
for a full-scale effort to donate vaccines,
Covid-19 test kits, swabs, ventilators,
pulse oximeters, and every
brother dies of Covid
Kolkata : on a day when the
tocols. Not only Ashim Banerjee
state announced a nearly-lockdown
condition to fight the
ic took the lives of five doctors
but on the same day the pandem-
spike in covid cases in the state
across the state. The doctors who
for the next 15 days, Chief
lost their lives are well-known
Minister Mamata Banerjee lost
pathologist Dr Subir Kumar
her younger brother who was
Dutta (90), renowned physician
battling for life in a private hospital
for the last one month.
(in his 70s), surgeon Dr Satish
from Barasat, Dr Utpal Sengupta
Ashim Banerjee, the chief
Ghata (late 70s), Dr Sandipan
minister's younger brother, died
Mandal (37) of Murshidabad
on Saturday morning after being
Medical College and Hospital,
detected with Covid-19 last
and gynaecologist Dr Dilip
month, the hospital said in a
Chakraborty. West Bengal registered
its highest single-day spike
Banerjee, 62, was undergoing
of 20,846 fresh Covid-19 cases,
treatment at the hospital for the
taking the tally to 10,94,802, the
past one month, sources in the hospital said. "He health department said in its bulletin on Friday.
was detected with Covid-19 last month and was The toll rose to 12,993 after 136 more people,
undergoing treatment for almost a month now. including five eminent doctors, succumbed to the
He had certain co-morbidities such as hypertension.
He died at 9.20 am in the morning," a doc-
Of the 136 deaths, 67 were due to co-morbidi-
infection, the bulletin said.
tor in the hospital said.
ties where Covid-19 was incidental. The North
His last rites will be performed at Nimtala cremation
ground on Sunday following Covid pro-
24 Parganas district accounted for 42 fatalities
other type of relief possible to India.
The US has delivered six planeloads
of emergency medical supplies
to India in fighting against a Covid-19
wave, according to a release by the US
Agency for International
Development on May 6.
As a devastating wave of infections
caught India off guard, more than 10
countries have offered to help India
with aid. The Red Cross Society of
China recently donated oxygen concentrators
and ventilators to India with
delivery on Monday.
Amid the critical situation, India's
overall coronavirus caseload and
death toll as of Saturday stood at
2,43,72,907 and 2,66,207, respectively.
In the past 23 days, India's daily
Covid tally has plateaued over the
three-lakh-mark, with more than 3,000
casualties for 17 days.
'Europe has right conditions for
safe reopening of tourism'
Lisbon : The European
Union (EU) has already had the
right conditions for a "safe
reopening" of tourism in summer,
for Internal Market Thierry
"The situation remains difficult.
However, I am sure that
we finally see light at the end of
the tunnel and now we have the
tools," he said at the High-
Level Forum for Sustainable
Tourism held in the Portuguese
city of Porto on Friday.
Breton said the considerable
increase in the production
capacity of vaccines suggested
that there will be enough doses
to vaccinate 70 per cent of the
EU population by mid-July.
As for the "vaccine passport"
in Europe, the
Commissioner said: "The
European Parliament and the
Council are now ready to finalize
negotiations by the end of
May". Breton added that he is
"confident of having it ready
for the summer". Portuguese
Economy Minister Pedro Siza
Vieira said at the forum that the
EU countries need to adopt a
common approach for the
Beijing : China has
approved one more inactivated
Covid-19 vaccine for emergency
use, according to an
announcement by the developer
of the jab.
Biological Products Co., Ltd.,
the developer, said on Friday
that the vaccine it developed
has started related work for
Phase III clinical trial, reports
Xinhua news agency.
The vaccine reported no
adverse events with an intensity
of grade 3 or above in the
first two phases of its clinical
trials, according to the company's
research submitted to
MedRxiv, a web portal distributing
preprints about health sciences.
A grade 3 adverse event
refers to side effects that are
severe or medically significant
but not immediately life-threat- ening, according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. Research,
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reopening of tourism with a
focus on the immediate recovery
of the sector. The Minister
stressed that the tourism sector
is fundamental for the recovery
of European economies in the
face of the Covid-19 crisis.
China approves another inactivated Covid vax for emergency use
development and industrialization
of the vaccine are going
smoothly, said the company,
adding that a vaccine manufacturing
plant built in the
Nanshan district of Shenzhen
in Guangdong province, has
kicked off production.
Earlier this month, the
World Health Organization
(WHO) granted emergency
approval for the Covid vaccine
made by Chinese state-owned
It is the first jab developed
by a non-Western country to
get WHO backing. Prior to the
WHO approval, the Sinopharm
vaccine was already being
widely used, with an estimated
65 million doses administered,
according to reports. Another
jab being administered in
China against the disease is the
11 dead after
van plunges into
canal in Pak
Lahore : At least 11 people were killed after a passenger van
plunged into a canal in Pakistan's Punjab province, according to
media reports. The accident took place on Friday evening in
Khanqah Dogran area of Sheikhupura district, reports Xinhua
news agency. Police and rescue teams rushed to the site and took
out bodies from the capsized vehicle in the Mianwali Canal.
The victims comprise seven children, three women and a man,
who belong to the same family. The family was going to Khanqah
Dogran from Gujranwala district. A witness told the media that the
driver failed to control the overspeeding vehicle at the bank of the
canal, causing the accident.
Russian girls making
TikTok video set fire
to tonnes of straw
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
GOVT SUPPRESSING ACTUAL
numbers of Covid-related
deaths, alleges Chidambaram
New Delhi : Senior
Congress leader and former
Union Finance Minister P.
Chidambaram on Saturday
slammed the central government
over the issuance of 1.23
lakh death certificates between
March 1 to May 10 this year in
Gujarat and said that government,
in conjunction with some
state governments, is suppressing
the actual numbers of new
infections and Covid-related
Addressing a press conference
Chidambaram said, "On May
14, Divya Bhaskar, a Gujarati
language newspaper, published
a news story that sent shock
waves throughout Gujarat and
the country." He said that the
thrust of the story was that during
the period March 1 to May
10 of this year (2021), Gujarat
issued about 1,23,000 death
certificates as against about
58,000 death certificates issued
during the same period last year
(2020). "The increase was an
alarming number of about
65,000 death certificates. This
increase cannot be explained as
a natural annual increase in the
number of deaths. It can only
be attributed to a pandemic or
any other natural disaster," the
Congress leader said. He said
that the Congress had independently
verified the two
numbers referred to for the
period of 71 days.
"We have collected the numbers
from 33 districts (including
the cities), the sum of the
number of the death certificates
nearly tallies with the numbers
published by Divya Bhaskar --
1,23,873 in 2021 versus 58,068
in 2020. "During the period
March 1, 2021 to May 10,
2021, the government of
Gujarat has officially admitted
to only 4,218 Covid-related
deaths," he said.
"The difference between the
increase in the number of death
certificates (65,805) and the
official Covid-related deaths
(4,218) must be explained. It
cannot be explained as 'natural
annual increase' or 'due to other
causes'. We have a strong suspicion
that the bulk of the
increased number of deaths is
due to Covid and the state government
is suppressing the true
number of 18 Covid-related
deaths," Chidambaram said.
Hitting out at the government,
Chidambaram said that
the party's suspicions were confirmed
by the fact that hundreds
of unidentified bodies have
been found floating on the river
Ganga and nearly 2,000
unidentified bodies have been
found buried on the sands along
the river Ganga.
"We have a strong suspicion
that the Government of India,
in conjunction with some state
governments, is suppressing
the true numbers of new infections
and 18 Covid-related
deaths," he alleged.
He said, "If our suspicions
are true, this is a grave misdeed
apart from being a national
shame and a national tragedy."
Chidambaram said that
Central government and the
Gujarat government owe an
explanation to the people of
India. "We demand answers
and an explanation," he added.
Chidambaram also said that
the National Human Rights
Commission should collect the
true numbers from every state
about the death certificate
issued last year and this year.
Commonwealth nations target
inclusive shift to clean energy
Moscow : Two girls in Russia set fire to a nearly 200 tonnes of
straw, causing extensive damage, while trying to make a TikTok
video. Police said that the fire grew out of control after individual
pieces of straw were set ablaze, reports dpa news agency.
Some 195 tonnes of straw were said to have burned in the rural
area not far from the city of Perm, about 1,200 km east of Moscow.
The two schoolgirls had run away after their attempts to stop
the flame failed. They admitted to police a short time later that
they had been making a TikTok video when the incident occurred.
Authorities told the girls that in addition to causing extensive
damage, they had put their lives at risk in trying to make the video.
Rahul takes potshot at Modi
over dead bodies in Ganga
New Delhi : After several decomposed bodies were found
floating in the river Ganga
in several cities of Uttar
Pradesh, former Congress
president Rahul Gandhi on
Saturday indirectly took a
potshot at Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, saying the
one who said that Mother
Ganga has called him, has
made it cry. In a tweet in
Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said,
"The one who said Ganga has called him, has made the Mother
Ganga cry." He also attached a news report which claimed that on
the 1,140 km long banks of river Ganga about 2,000 dead bodies
have been found. In the last few days several dead bodies have
been found floating in the river or buried near its banks in several
districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
New Delhi : The Second
Energy Forum concluded with
strong recommendations for member
countries to work together to
fast-track an inclusive, just and
equitable transition to low-carbon
energy systems across the
The biennial gathering, held virtually
over May 12-14, explored
practical solutions to help meet
global commitments on energy
made under the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development and the
Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Participants discussed new low-carbon
technologies, addressing the high cost of
technology and need for better access to
finance, as well as policy recommendations
that promote sustainability in the
electricity, transport, cooling and cooking
Opening at the event, Commonwealth
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:
"We must urgently step up our action to
implement the Paris Agreement and
achieve our commitments on sustainable
energy. While the transition pathways may
differ across Commonwealth countries, the
move to clean energy systems is a common
goal. "The pace of the energy transition
needs urgent acceleration for which strong
political will and ambition by
Commonwealth member countries is
required. Governments need to establish
the enabling frameworks to attract finance,
scale up technology and lower costs for
She encouraged a "people-centred"
approach that is inclusive and leaves no
Countries were invited to lead ‘action
groups' focused on three key pillars, which
make up the Commonwealth Sustainable
Energy Transition agenda: Inclusive
Energy Transitions; Technology and
Innovation; and Enabling Frameworks.
Countries also called for more collaboration
on sharing knowledge, technologies
and innovative solutions, including best
practices on research, development and
deployment of clean energy technologies
in critical sectors, such as clean cooking
and cooling. The event featured presentations
by experts in the field as well as indepth
country presentations from Australia,
Barbados, Botswana, Canada, Ghana,
Kenya, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago,
and the United Kingdom.
While discussions showed various
countries are at different stages of the transitioning
to using sustainable forms of
energy, there was a consensus about its
critical importance and learning from the
experiences of other members.
Delegates further acknowledged the
challenges linked to energy transition,
especially for economies that depend heavily
on fossil fuels as a key source of
income. Outcomes of the forum meeting
will feed into Commonwealth contributions
to the United Nations High Level
Dialogue on Energy scheduled for
September, the United Nations Climate
Change Conference (COP26) in November
and the forthcoming Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting.
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 ASIA
Near complete lockdown
in Bengal from Sunday
Kolkata : Considering the
stiff rise in Covid cases, the
Mamata Banerjee government
norms in the state starting
from Sunday 6 a.m. for the next
15 days, allowing movement of
people and vehicles only for
The state government
stopped short of announcing a
total lockdown giving slight
relief allowing market places,
and retail shops to operate three
hours a day between 7 a.m. and
10 a.m. "We are taking some
strict containment measures to
contain the pandemic. Starting
Sunday 6 a.m., West Bengal
will go into lockdown till 6
p.m. on May 30.
"During this period all government,
private offices other
than those involved in emergency
services shall remain
"All educational institutions
shall remain closed," Chief
In an earlier order, the state
government had announced 50
per cent attendance in government
and private offices.
"The Metro train services,
local trains and intra-state bus
services and ferry services
would remain suspended," he
said, adding that all forms of
commercial and private vehicles
would also come under its
purview. Trucks and goods
vehicles will also not be
allowed to operate," he added.
The state earlier had suspended
the movement of train
and metro but allowed bus and
ferry services with limited
The state government
though has given relaxation to
taxi and auto services but they
will only be allowed to operate
to and from emergency departments
like hospitals, nursing
homes, diagnostic centres, clinics,
vaccination centres, airports,
media houses and terminals.
All shopping complexes,
malls, bars, sports complexes,
pubs, beauty parlours will
remain closed during this period,
he said adding that any
form of congregation would
not be allowed.
"Marriage ceremony will be
allowed with 50 people and in
funeral procession only 20 will
be allowed. "The emergency
services will be allowed to
operate under the condition,"
the chief secretary said. "The
shops and the market-places
will remain open for three
hours a day and the sweet shops
will be allowed to remain open
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The auto
repair shops will be allowed to
stay open," he said. Stressing
that people should follow the
safety protocols and wear
masks, he said that anyone
found flouting the lockdown
norms will be strictly dealt with
under the Disaster
Management Act and as per relevant
sections of the Indian
FIR filed against actress Munmun Dutta for
using casteist slur in controversial video
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’s actress Munmun Dutta recently landed
herself in a big controversy after using a casteist slur in a video.
trending on social media platforms
against the actress. After
realising her mistake, Munmun
Dutta deleted the video and
also rendered a public apology
on social media. In the apology,
she mentioned that, ‘she has
utmost respect for everyone
regardless of their caste, creed
or gender and that, because of
the language barrier, she was
misinformed about the meaning
of the word’’.
The latest update on the case
is that, a FIR has been lodged
against Munmun Dutta, as per a
news report in India Today. The
FIR was filed by the Dalit
rights activist Rajat Kalsan,
who has registered a complaint
against her at Hansi Police
Station in Hissar, Haryana. The
FIR was filed against the
actress under section 3(1) (u) of
SC/ST (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act. Rajat Kalsan
took to twitter and posted the
copy of FIR and stated,
“Munmun Dutta has committed
an offense under the SC ST Act
which is non-compoundable
i.e. that it cannot be compromised
if she has apologized, it
will not affect the case, but her
forgiveness is kind of admission.
Which shows that she has
confessed that she has committed
a crime. Some people are
saying that Munmun Dutta has
already apologized for her
statement in video If a person
kills someone and apologizes,
will the law and the public forgive
him?” For all the latest
entertainment news, follow us
on Twitter & Instagram, like us
on Facebook and subscribe to
our channel on YouTube.
Courtesy : Masala
Many older adults
adapted technology during
London : The
led several older
adults to adapt and
engage with technology
-- such as Zoom,
FaceTime -- to stay in
touch with loved ones
or participate in exercise
classes or religious
groups, finds a
reported that lockdown
had led them to
engage with neighbours
and other members
of their communities for
the first time, while several said
social distancing had brought
an additional meaning to life,
by highlighting what was
important to them.
"Those who engaged in such
activity were able to prevent
high levels of loneliness, therefore,
helping older adults to
increase their digital literacy
and use of remote social interactions
could be a really important
tool for addressing loneliness,"
said researcher Anna
Whittaker from the University
According to the research,
understanding the coping
mechanisms adopted by some
over the 60s during the pandemic
will play a key role in
developing interventions to
help tackle loneliness, isolation
and well-being in the future.
For the study, published in
the International Journal of
Environmental Research and
Public Health, the team surveyed
1,429 participants -- 84
per cent (1,198) of whom were
over 60. The researchers examined
the impact of social distancing
during the pandemic on
loneliness, wellbeing and social
activity, including social support.
More than 150 participants
reported that their religious
gatherings had moved online --
replacing face-to-face gatherings
-- while 91 said that social
gatherings with family and
friends had changed in favour
of online 'games nights'.
The role of community --
particularly neighbours -- was
mentioned by more than 300
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Right Wing Pushes False Narrative
to Defend Hindu Sect Accused of
LABOUR VIOLATIONS in US
Stalin orders to book
hoarders, black marketers
under Goondas Act
Chennai : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday
ordered to book those who
hoard and sell Remdesivir
injection in black market
under the Goondas Act. He
also ordered to book those
who sell oxygen cylinders at
premium rates under this Act.
In a statement issued here,
Stalin said the police have
been ordered to book hoarders
and black marketers of
Remdesivir injection and
those who sell oxygen cylinders
at a high price, under the Goondas Act.
He said even poor people despite their livelihood being affected
are cooperating with the state government’s lockdown restrictions.
But some anti-social elements are hoarding the Remdesivir
injection and sell it in the black market at high rates.
One held in Delhi for black
marketing of oxygen cylinders
New Delhi : The Delhi Police said on Saturday that they have
arrested one person for selling oxygen cylinders in black and
seized four cylinders and a car used for transportation purposes
from his possession.
Santosh Kumar Meena, Deputy Commissioner of Police
(DCP), Dwarka, said, "On Friday, an information was received
regarding hoarding of oxygen cylinders by one Mohit, who would
arrive near the CNG pump in Sector 23, Dwarka, in an i10 car at
about 8:30 pm to sell oxygen cylinders at high rates."
The DCP said the information was shared with senior officers
who were directed to take immediate action.
Thereafter, a raiding team was formed under the supervision of
Inspector Pawan Tomar, in- charge STF, and Anil Dureja, ACP,
Dabri. "A trap was laid at the CNG pump in Sector 23. At about
8:55 pm, a white i-10 car bearing the registration number DL-
8CAP-5486 came from Sector 9 side and stopped near the
informer. The driver of the vehicle showed him three cylinders
that were kept on the rear seat of the car," Meena said.
"Once it was ascertained that the motive of the accused was to
sell these cylinders for illicit profit, the police team apprehended
him along with the three oxygen-filled cylinders kept in his car,"
the DCP said. Meena also said that Mohit’s interrogation led to the
recovery of one more large oxygen-filled cylinder. It was also
revealed that he illegally procured the said cylinders from one
Rajesh from Naraina.
New Delhi: The right-wing ecosystem
has rushed to the defence of Bochasanwasi
Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan
Sanstha (BAPS), the Hindu trust accused
of labour and immigration violations in the
US, by pushing a false narrative that a construction
contractor is responsible for the
exploitation of workers, not the trust itself.
BAPS, whose ventures include the
Akshardham temples in Delhi and Gujarat,
is facing a class-action suit filed in the district
court of New Jersey, where expansion
and renovation work for a massive temple
is underway in rural Robbinsville.
Several Dalit workers allege in the suit
that they were taken from India to the US
for stonecutting and construction work but
were falsely classified as religious workers
and volunteers in their visa applications.
They arrived in the US on R-1 or religious
visas, which are available to those who
minister or who work in a religious vocation
or occupation. But the workers solely
performed manual labour, the suit says.
The allegations against BAPS also
include gross underpayment of wages,
working in gruelling conditions and being
forcefully confined to the temple s premises.
The workers passports were confiscated
and they were under constant monitoring
and faced threats of being fined for
infractions, the suit adds. BAPS is accused
of violating several US federal and state
laws, including the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards
Act and wage and hour laws.
As media organisations across the world
began reporting the allegations against the
trust, the Hindu right wing such as the
RSS-affiliated publication Organiser and
several popular Twitter accounts began
claiming that the temple was not responsible
for the exploitation of the workers.
They cited a press release issued by the
New Jersey Department of Labour on April
30 nearly two weeks before the suit was
filed to claim that the guilty party was a
contractor, Cunha Constructions Inc.
The press release says that the
The Wire has learnt that the action
taken by the New Jersey
Department of Labour against the
contractor is unrelated to the suit
brought against the trust. The
two actions are not connected.
NJDOL issued a stop-work order
for the violations cited in the press
release in April. The lawsuit
against the temple, reported by the
NY Times is an unrelated, more
recent action, Angela Delli Santi,
spokesperson of the New Jersey
Department of Labor and
Workforce Development, confirmed
to The Wire in an email.
Department of Labour issued a stop-work
order against the construction company
after it inspected two of its worksites, the
BAPS temple in Robbinsville and another
BAPS temple in the state s Edison township.
A stop-work order, when issued,
requires an employer to cease business
operations when significant pay, benefits,
or other workers rights violations are documented.
The press release adds, These inspections
found the contractor was paying
workers in cash off the books and did not
have workers compensation insurance.
Other violations involve the misclassification
of construction workers by paying
them in cash off the books, failure to pay
overtime, failure to keep records, hindrance
of the investigation, and unpaid or
late paid wages.
The Wire has learnt that the action taken
by the New Jersey Department of Labour
against the contractor is unrelated to the
suit brought against the trust. The two
actions are not connected. NJDOL issued a
stop-work order for the violations cited in
the press release in April. The lawsuit
against the temple, reported by the NY
Times is an unrelated, more recent action,
Angela Delli Santi, spokesperson of the
New Jersey Department of Labor and
Workforce Development, confirmed to The
Wire in an email.
Indeed, instead of absolving the trust of
the accusations made in the suit, the press
release casts a bigger shadow on its attitude
towards labour rights for its use of Cunha
Construction, which has a history of violating
labour laws. The Department of Labour
said that the stop-work order was issued
based on the company s repeated and
ongoing violations of state wage and hour
The company has eight unpaid judgments
for back wages and penalties dating
back to 2007 that have not been resolved
by way of compliance or restitution to
workers. In addition, NJDOL concluded
the company was not paying its workers on
numerous job sites and was not maintaining
proper payroll for any projects across
the state, the press release adds.
The news reports published on May 11,
after the suit was filed, also indicated that
the two developments were not connected,
as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents
had visited the temple on court-authorised
law enforcement activity . The following
day, the FBI called for tips or information.
In any case, the suit filed by the Indian
workers does not list Cunha Constructions
among the eight defendants. Besides
BAPS, among the defendants are two limited
liability companies and four individuals
associated with BAPS. In its allegations,
the suit makes it explicitly clear that
the Indian workers from Dalit and other
marginalised communities were recruited
either by the defendants or their agents
who were connected with the network of
BAPS temples in India , particularly individuals
associated with the central BAPS
organisation located in Ahmedabad.
Courtesy : The Wire
6 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 ASIA
clash at Bihar health
centre over getting vax
Patna : In a bid to get the anti-corona jab, villagers fought with
each other, sparking a massive clash at a primary health centre of
Aurangabad's Dev block in Bihar on Saturday.
Eyewitnesses said more than 850 people turned out at a single
health centre in the hope of getting the vaccination.
"The villagers of Dev and adjoining areas came to the health centre
and formed a long queue outside. Soon, they became out of control
in absence of police personnel and began pushing one another.
Moreover, a group of people tried to jump into the queue which eventually
turned into a massive fight between them," said Sunil Kumar,
a villager of Dev.
He said that 12 village panchayats fall under the Dev block and a
majority of the villlagers come to the centre to get the vaccine.
"The scare of corona has made people scared and desperate. The
villagers kicked and punched each other in a bid to enter the centre
in a gross violation of Covid protocols. It was complete chaos at the
centre," said Rajeshwar Singh, the village head of Dev.
"The doctors of the hospital informed us about the incident. We
immediately sent a police team to the centre and calmed the villagers
down. Some of the villagers have been injured in this incident," said
a sub-inspector rank officer requesting anonymity.
Johnson, Irish leader agree to maintain
'SMOOTH TRADE' after Brexit
London : UK Prime
Minister Boris Johnson and his
Irish counterpart Micheal
Martin have agreed to work
together to "maintain smooth
trade" between Great Britain,
Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland after Brexit.
The agreement came during a
meeting between the two leaders
on Friday at Chequers, the
country house of Johnson,
reports Xinhua news agency.
"They agreed on the importance
of working together to uphold
the Belfast/Good Friday
Agreement and to maintain
smooth trade between Great
Britain, Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland," a statement
from 10 Downing Street
said. Taking to Twitter, Johnson
said: "We are both committed to
the Belfast/Good Friday
Agreement and to addressing
the legacy of the troubles to
deliver a brighter future for
everyone in Northern Ireland."
Due to the post-Brexit trade
deal, food products from Britain to the
European Union (EU) will have to enter
through new border control posts at Northern
Ireland's ports, as stated in the Northern
Ireland protocol signed by London and
Brussels in 2019. Northern Ireland will continue
to apply EU customs rules at its ports,
to allow goods to flow into the Republic of
Ireland and the rest of the EU. This is known
as the Irish sea border, which is a new trade
border between Northern Ireland and other
parts of Britain.
Also on Friday, Northern Ireland
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots was elected
leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, a
pro-British political party in the region.
Poots is reportedly seen by some commentators
as more aggressive in his opposition
to Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trade
barriers and more conservative on social
issues than his opponent, Jeffrey Donaldson.
20 civil servants appointed
to joint secretary-level posts
UK to speed up Covid vaccination
amid concerns over India variant
London : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that
the country is planning to accelerate its coronavirus vaccination program
for priority groups amid concerns over the spread of the Indian
variant. Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street on Friday,
Johnson said those aged over 50 and those considered clinically vulnerable
will be able to get a second vaccine dose after eight weeks,
reports Xinhua news agency.
He said the spread of the new variant, known as B1617.2, would
not affect the scheduled easing of lockdown in England from May
17. But the Prime Minister said the variant could cause "serious disruption"
to the next stage of lockdown easing on June 21.
Johnson said "at this stage" there are some important unknowns
but he believes the variant is "more transmissible" than previous
ones, and therefore the race between the vaccination programme and
the virus could get tighter.
He said there was "no evidence" to suggest the current vaccines
would be less effective against the strain.
Joining Johnson for the press briefing, England's Chief Medical
Officer Chris Whitty said the country is going "in a very steady but
rapid progression in terms of vaccination", starting with the most vulnerable
people, including some people in their 30s.
Whitty said he hopes everybody in Britain has their first vaccine
by end of July. "That is the aim," he said.
The latest development came after four people in Britain have
died due to the variant first detected in India,
Public Health England (PHE) said cases of the variant known as
B1617.2 in Britain have more than doubled to 1,313, up from 520
infections recorded by PHE last week. According to the latest official
figures, more than 36.1 million people in Britain have been given the
first jab of the coronavirus vaccine.
New Delhi : In a major bureaucratic
reshuffle, 20 civil servants were on Friday
appointed to joint secretary-level posts.
A 2002 batch Indian Administrative
Service (IAS) officer, D. Senthil Pandiyan,
was appointed as Joint Secretary in the
Ministry of AYUSH for a tenure of five
years, replacing Indian Forest Service (IFS)
officer Roshan Jaggi, a 1988-batch J&K
Nirupama Kotru, a 1992 batch Indian
Revenue Service (IRS) officer, was appointed
as Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor
in the Ministry of Coal for an overall tenure
of five years in place of Reena Sinha Puri, a
1987-batch IRS officer.
Bhaskar Verma, a 1995-batch Indian Civil
Accounts Service (ICAS) officer, has been
appointed as the Member Secretary, National
Monuments Authority (NMA), Ministry of
Culture, for five years replacing Navneet
Soni. The Appointments Committee of the
Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, approved the appointments that
include the names of Lily Pandeya for the
Joint Secretary's post in the Ministry of
Culture; Mayank Tewari for the same post in
the Department of Defence; Nazli Jafri
Shayin in the Ministry of Defence (Finance);
Indira Murthy in the Ministry of Earth
Sciences; Bhuvnesh Kumar in the Ministry
of Electronics and Information Technology;
and Patibandla Ashok Babu in the
Department of Health and Family Welfare.
Manisha Sinha, Ashish Vachhan and
Sandhya Bhullar were appointed as Joint
Secretaries in the Department of Economic
Affairs. Jeetendra Singh has been appointed
as Joint Secretary in the Department of
Heavy Industry; Sumant Singh in the
Department of Home Affairs; Sanjiv Shankar
in the Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting; Manoj Kumar in the
Department of Investment and Public Asset
Management; and Sonmoni Borah in the
Department of Land Resources.
Indian Ordnance Factories Service
(IOFS) officer Veena Tamta Bhatia has been
appointed as the Additional Central
Provident Fund Commissioner (HQ), EPFO,
under the Ministry of Labour and
Employment, while Central Secretariat
Service (CCS) officer Som Dutt Sharma has
been appointed as the Director in the
Institute of Secretariat Training and
Management under the Department of
Personnel and Training.
IAS officer Sanjeeb Kumar Mishra has
been appointed as Secretary-cum-Controller
of Examination, National Recruitment
Agency (NRA), under the Department of
Personnel and Training for a tenure of five
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Calls to tackle caste-based
discrimination in US gather steam
Dalit rights groups call for legal protections as high-profile cases at a Hindu temple in
New Jersey and a major tech firm in California spur a reckoning.
By Brian Osgood
San Francisco, California, the
United States — Civil rights organisations
and Dalit rights groups are
adding urgency to their calls to end
caste-based discrimination in the US
after incidents in California and New
Jersey have thrust the issue into the
Dalits, who were formally referred
to as “untouchables”, occupy the lowest
position in the complex Hindu
caste system and have historically
faced discrimination and violence at
the hands of members of other castes
in India and other parts of South Asia.
In New Jersey, a complaint was
filed on behalf of more than 200
Indian workers in federal court on
Tuesday, alleging Dalit workers were
forced to work long hours for onetenth
of the state’s minimum wage
after being recruited to build a Hindu
temple for Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha,
also known as BAPS.
A lawsuit filed in federal court in
New Jersey accuses the leaders of the
Hindu organisation known as
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha,
or BAPS, of human trafficking and
wage law violations [File: Seth
Wenig/AP Photo]In California, a firstof-its-kind
lawsuit is making its way
through the courts after a Dalit
employee accused his employer, technology
giant Cisco, and two of its former
engineering managers of allowing
caste-based discrimination in the
The issue is being discussed at the
federal level, too. On Monday, the
International Commission for Dalit
Rights (ICDR), six scholars and a
dozen other rights groups submitted a
memo to the US Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission asking that
caste-based discrimination be added to
US federal nondiscriminatory guidelines.
The memo is the latest push from
activists for US academic, business
and government institutions to take
caste-based discrimination seriously.
Among the ICDR and other memo
signatories’ demands is to include
caste as a protected class and enshrine
zero tolerance for caste-based discrimination
and prejudice in US workplace
codes of conduct — something
activists say hasn’t happened yet in
part because of Americans’ unfamiliarity
with the caste system.
“Because casteism takes place in a
social context not all Americans are
familiar with, it can be very coded and
subtle,” Anil Wagde, an activist and
committee member with the US
branch of Dalit rights organisation the
Ambedkar International Center, told
Al Jazeera. “It’s important for companies
to educate their employees about
caste-based discrimination, and to
explicitly protect against it.”
Advocacy groups are now working
to thrust caste-based discrimination
into the spotlight, particularly in
industries where it has already
allegedly reared its ugly head, such as
the technology sector.
The Cisco case was a big deal
because it really took away the plausible
deniability around the presence of
caste-based discrimination in the tech
ALPHABET WORKERS UNION
“Caste is a brutal form of supremacy,”
Wagde said. “If steps aren’t taken
now, we run the risk of this system
spreading and calcifying in the United
Several technology companies have
faced allegations of caste-based discrimination
in the workplace in recent
years, and in October, 30 Dalit women
engineers at Google, Apple, Microsoft
and Cisco issued a statement shared
with The Washington Post detailing
their experiences with anti-Dalit bigotry
in the tech sector.
“We also have had to weather
demeaning insults to our background
and that we have achieved our jobs
solely due to affirmative action. It is
exhausting,” the women, who asked
for anonymity out of fear of retaliation,
wrote in the statement.
“We are good at our jobs and we are
good engineers. We are role models
for our community and we want to
continue to work in our jobs. But it is
unfair for us to continue in hostile
workplaces, without protections from
The women spoke out months after
the high-profile lawsuit against Cisco
was filed by a Dalit engineer in June
In the suit (PDF), the California
Department of Fair Employment and
Housing (DFEH) alleges the engineer,
referred to as John Doe to protect his
identity, was subjected to a hostile
work environment and was “expected
to accept a caste hierarchy within the
workplace”, which translated into “the
lowest status within the team” and less
pay, fewer opportunities and other
But Cisco denies those claims and
said its own internal investigation
“found no evidence that [the plaintiff]
was discriminated or retaliated against
on the basis of caste”, the company’s
general counsel, Mark Chandler,
wrote in a blog post.
While Chandler acknowledged the
company “had never encountered a
claim of casteism” before this one, he
noted that “Nevertheless, Employee
Relations management instructed that
it be investigated as would be any
complaint of discrimination, even
though there is no law, federal or state,
defining caste as a protected classification.”
Caste is a brutal form of supremacy.
If steps aren’t taken now, we run the
risk of this system spreading and calcifying
in the United States.
ANIL WAGDE, AMBEDKAR
While Cisco said that it treats
casteism as an unacceptable form of
discrimination, it did not respond to Al
Jazeera’s question about whether the
company plans to explicitly add caste
to the list of protected identities in its
employee code of conduct.
Chandler added that the company
would fully support legislation
“adding caste to the list of categories
having protection against discrimination”,
but “will continue to treat caste
as an unacceptable form of discrimination
for purposes of our internal
reviews – as we did in [this plaintiff’s]
John Rushing, an attorney assisting
the Ambedkar International Center,
which filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit,
said that while caste is not
expressly protected, it falls into categories
that are, such as ancestry.
“If your parents are ‘untouchables’,
you inherit that status from them,”
Rushing told Al Jazeera. “There’s no
doubt that caste-based discrimination
falls under discrimination based on
ancestry.” Many Dalits come to the
United States in the hope of escaping
the bigotry and violence that they live
with back home, only to watch with
horror as these systems reorient themselves
in the United States.
JAN, EQUALITY LABS
Workers at other Silicon Valley tech
companies are also speaking out. In
mid-April, the Alphabet Workers
Union released a statement in favour
of the lawsuit against Cisco and stated
that “caste should be recognized as a
protected class by the federal government
and be included in anti-harassment
policies within our industry”,
including Google, which is owned by
“The Cisco case was a big deal,
because it really took away the plausible
deniability around the presence of
caste-based discrimination in the tech
sector,” Raksha Muthukumar, a
spokesperson for the Alphabet
Workers Union, told Al Jazeera.
“I think a lot of companies are paying
attention now, and it’s time for
them to recognise caste as a protected
identity,” Muthukumar added.
Google did not respond to Al
Jazeera’s request for comment about
the company’s intention to take steps
to protect against casteism.
The Cisco case is set to resume in
September following attempts by
Cisco to move the dispute to arbitration
and an appeal by California’s
DFEH to allow the plaintiff to retain
As Dalit activists await an outcome
in the Cisco case, calls have been
growing for government, academic
and business organisations to be more
proactive in combatting and educating
employees about casteism.
“Many Dalits come to the United
States in the hope of escaping the bigotry
and violence that they live with
back home, only to watch with horror
as these systems reorient themselves
in the United States,” Thenmozhi
Soundararajan, founder of the Dalit
rights group Equality Labs, told Al
A 2016 Equality Labs survey of
Dalit workers living in the US found
that two out of three reported experiencing
harassment due to their lowercaste
status in the workplace. But
while Soundararajan says that such
discrimination is common, hearing
from Dalits about it is less so.
“Many Dalits try to keep their caste
identity hidden,” she said.
Dalit rights groups say the problem
is also prevalent in the education system.
In the Equality Labs survey, one
in three Dalit students reported being
discriminated against during their education.
A victory in this (Cisco) case
would be a victory for the promise that
America offers an opportunity for a
new life with equal rights. If this case
goes through, Dalits will start speaking
out, and there will be many more.
If we don’t address this now, it will
continue to get worse.
SURAJ YENGDE, HARVARD
The plaintiff in the Cisco lawsuit
claims he tried to keep his identity as a
Dalit hidden but was outed by uppercaste
coworkers who knew him at university
back in India.
The Cal State Student Association
(CSSA), an organisation representing
more than half a million students in
California’s state university system,
unanimously passed a resolution in
April supporting the addition of caste
as a protected category, another example
of how the issue has become front
and centre since the Cisco suit was
But as more Dalits speak up about
and use the courts to address castebased
said more Dalits are willing to share
their own experiences.
“Dalits have been coming forward
and sharing their stories of harassment
and discrimination with us in a way
we haven’t seen before,” said
Soundararajan. “One individual told
us that they made a mistake on a project
and a supervisor from an upper
caste told them ‘We know how brainless
your people are’.”
Dalits are also viewing the outcome
of the lawsuit as a bellwether for their
fight for rights and recognition.
“A victory in this [Cisco] case
would be a victory for the promise that
America offers an opportunity for a
new life with equal rights,” Suraj
Yengde, a senior fellow at the Harvard
Kennedy School who studies caste,
told Al Jazeera.
“If this case goes through, Dalits
will start speaking out, and there will
be many more. If we don’t address this
now, it will continue to get worse.”
Courtesy : Aljazeera
8 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Restrict people's movement into villages, says Punjab CM
Chandigarh : With the rural areas
of the state, which were largely unaffected
by the first wave of the Covid-
19 pandemic, now showing a spike in
the number of cases, Punjab Chief
Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday
urged the villagers to restrict movement
into their villages to only those
who are free of the virus.
Addressing the people of the state
in a Facebook Live telecast, the Chief
Minister called for strict measures in
the rural areas over the next two
months, which he described as
"Now the rural areas are seeing a
surge in cases, so we need to be very
careful," he said, urging the villagers
to conduct ‘thikri pehras' (community
policing) to keep outsiders away and
allow only Covid-free people into the
Exhorting people to "save your
mohallas and villages to save yourself,
your families and Punjab", the Chief
Minister asked them not to delay
going to the hospitals.
"We have teams of doctors everywhere,
approach them if you feel
unwell," he urged them, stressing that
delay in going for treatment is leading
to people ending up in L3 level.
While occupancy of L2 beds is 50
per cent, at the L3 level, around 90 per
cent of the beds are currently occupied,
and the state government is in
the process of adding another 2,000
beds, he pointed out, attributing this to
people not going for treatment in time.
Noting that there are three stages of
the disease, of which the first can be
managed at home, Amarinder Singh
reiterated his plea to the people to go
to a doctor at the first sign of showing
"Let the doctor decide the course of
treatment, don't get into diagnosis and
medication yourself," he appealed to
"I fail to understand why we are
harming the interests of the state and
your families in this manner," he said,
adding that "we do not want Punjab to
go the way of Delhi and Maharashtra,
which have experienced unprecedented
problems amid the second wave".
The disease is wreaking havoc the
world over, with even the most
advanced countries not immune to it,
he said, urging people to help his government
save the state.
The Chief Minister also expressed
happiness over the seamless completion
of wheat procurement amid the
Covid challenges, lauding the hard
working farmers of the state for this
Compared to 129 lakh MT last year,
a total of 132 lakh MT wheat has been
procured this year, he said, adding that
this has resulted in earnings to the tune
of Rs 26,000 crore for the farmers, as
against Rs 24,600 crore last year.
"We have won this battle but the
pandemic threat continues," he said,
lamenting that despite 14 months having
passed since the outbreak of the
disease, some people are still not taking
the pandemic seriously.
Giving figures, he said that Punjab
has so far had 4.75 lakh plus cases,
with Thursday's 24-hour case load at
While the total deaths stood at
11,297, the state had lost 184 lives to
Covid on Thursday, he added. As of
date, there are 9,619 patients on oxygen
and 429 on ventilator support.
Release Hany Babu from
Taloja Jail to get proper
eye treatment : CJP
CJP has started on online petition urging the CM, Maharashtra to
direct the release of Prof Babu for proper medical treatment
Citizens for Justice and
Peace (CJP) has launched an
online petition to free Hany
Babu, the 55-year-old
Professor, who has been
accused in the Bhima
Koregaon case, has been in
custody since July 2020 without
Unfortunately, since May 3,
he has developed an acute eye
infection in Taloja Jail, with little
or no vision in his left eye
due to the swelling. It has also
spread to his cheek, ear and
forehead, and he fears that it
will soon impact his brain. In
agonising pain, he has also not
been able to nurse his eye
because of water shortage and
with very little access to clean
water, he is being forced to
dress his eye with soiled towels.
Only after incessant calls
and emails from his family
members and lawyer, the jail
authorities managed to take
him to a Government Hospital
in Vashi on May 7. But due to
an alleged unavailability
of an escort
officer, he has not
been taken to the
for a follow up
The email sent
by his lawyer to the
gravity of the situation
and that even a
day’s delay may
lead to an irreversible
leading to partial
or complete loss
of sight, as well as a
complication if it
affects the brain.
However, in a shocking display
of State apathy, he has not been
able to visit an ophthalmologist
after May 7.
We have humbly urged and
requested the Chief Minister
and Home Minister,
Maharashtra to immediately
direct Professor Babu’s release
in order for him to avail necessary
eye treatment that he is
Join CJP’s voice in demanding
Courtesy : Sabrang
Biden to raise
cybercrime issue in
talks with Putin
Washington : US President
Joe Biden said that the Kremlin
was not behind last week's
cyberattack on a key fuel
pipeline, adding he would raise
the issue of cybercrime during
talks with his Russian counterpart
"We do not believe,I emphasize,
we do not believe the
Russian government was
involved in this attack," Biden
said on Thursday while speaking
on the May 7 cyberattack
against Colonial Pipeline.
"But we do have strong reason
to believe that the criminals
who did the attack are living in
Russia," he noted. "We have
been in direct communications
with Moscow about the imperative
for responsible countries
to take decisive actions against
these ransomware networks.
"I am confident that I've read
the report of the FBI accurately,
and they say they were not -- he
was not, the government was
not," Biden replied when
pressed by reporters whether
Putin was behind the attack.
The FBI confirmed on Monday
that DarkSide, a criminal group
based in Eastern Europe, was
responsible for the ransomware
attack that forced Colonial
Pipeline to shut down approximately
5,500 miles of pipeline.
Asked when the US would
respond to governments allowing
such cybercrime, Biden
said international standards are
needed for governments to take
action against these criminal
"I expect that's one of the
topics I'll be talking about with
President Putin," he added.
Biden said last week that he
expected to meet Putin during
the trip to Europe in June, when
he will attend the G7 Summit in
Britain and then the NATO
Summit in Belgium.
Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said earlier this
week that Moscow welcomes
the initiative by the US for
holding a summit in June.
Washington and Moscow have
been adversarial in recent
The two countries have been
bitterly divided over Ukraine,
human rights, cybersecurity
issues, and they mutually
accused the other of domestic
www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 9
Salute to an anti-untouchability crusader
within the Catholic CHURCH
Today I write to celebrate the full life
of a Roman Catholic Dalit priest, Rev.
Dr. P. Antonyraj SJ who passed away on
10th May. I was nineteen years old
studying in St. Joseph’s College,
Tiruchirappalli and staying in the hostel
in Room No. 101, when I had several
common mentors who moulded me in
my college days like Fr. P. Ceyrac SJ,
Fr. Claude D’Souza, Fr. Manu SJ , Fr.
George Joseph, Fr. Selvaraj and Sr.
Jeanne Devos ICM, who had equally
My precious and confidential long
night exchanges Tony, as many of us
affectionately called him, which I mention
it only now, utterly shocked me to
understand what caste meant in the
Roman Catholic church and recruitment
of a young Jesuit priest. All the
exchanges were after 12 midnight when
Tony, used to scale the small wicket
gate on the solidarity chapel road of the
campus to reach my room. But what
brought us together was, that he was
born into a caste that even the Church
discriminated and, I was never sure of
what my caste was, since I was adopted.
Fr. Tagore SJ was our warden! For the
sake of the dignity of the Church I
refrain herein from sharing too many
stories about persons in noviciates,
communities and in positions of power.
But what is clear was that there existed
untouchability and caste discrimination.
But what is worse is that it continues
silently even today. That is the ugly
power of caste.
Dr P. Antonyraj was born in 1945, in
a small village Meenthully in the then
integrated Tirunelveli district of Tamil
Nadu. It is from there that he has grown
through his trials and tribulations to
ensure that the dream of an equal society,
attempted by him within his religious
community, within his congregation and
within the parishes where he was
appointed within the church. Was he
successful? Was he too aggressive? Did
he contribute to polarization of castes?
These are the questions for us now to
collectively and personally ponder over.
Tony would always narrate the small
little hut that was his house in his village
and never forgot that this was
where his parents, his elder brother, his
elder sister and himself lived. He used
to recollect that when it rained his mother,
brother, and sister used to occupy the
corner of the hut while he would accompany
his father in the church veranda.
When he failed in school in class 8, it
was almost certain that there was no
other way out. But he survived and
ensured that he built the first revolting
voice of the Dalit Christian Liberation
Movement not for liberation from the
government but for liberation within the
church. This plain truth has to be spoken
because they are relevant even today.
But all this meant that he had to ‘opt
to be a fighter and a fighter who
believed that a self-made man was second
to none.’ He used to share in the
many meetings I was privileged we had
at my house in Anna Nagar with his
then ‘chaste’ american english accent
that he consciously cultivated with an
arrogance as he learnt it the hard way
and always proudly used to say ‘so what
if I am a Dalit’.
Tony was a personal force for Paul
Raj and self-engaging in the organising
of relief activities for the poorest of the
poor in Vedasandur, post-1977 floods
and the breakdown of the Alagapuri
dam in Dindigul. In 1992 he continued
to build what he called the Dalit
Integration Federation within the church
to fight within.
Tony must have been a thorn in the
flesh for his superiors, rectors and
Archbishops wherever he served. Yet,
he always fondly remembered Fr.
Casimir SJ, Fr. Rex Pai SJ who accompanied
him in spite of all the fond
‘embarrassments’ that he caused,
because he had a mission and cause
After his ordination he was asked by
his Provincial to serve in Rayappanpatti
in the old Madurai district. The first
question that came from the youngsters
of this parish after his first mass was,
“What is the ‘varna’ that you belong
to?” Shocked by this question and never
expecting it on the first day after mass,
Tony tried to handle it lightly by
responding that it was the ‘orange
varna’. The caste conscious Roman
Catholic youngsters were not satisfied.
They knew that church was casteist and
then directly asked him what his caste
was? Tony responded saying he was
from the Pallar community (since the
word Dalit was not known those days).
Tony knew it was going to be tough
working there and immediately requested
a transfer and was posted immediately
to Malligapuram, a place where I also
voluntarily served under Fr. Selvaraj as
an AICUF student.
It was the exposure and training provided
by Rev. Dr. François Houtard in
the Philippines during the Marcos
regime that provided Tony an exposure
to a church that could be rebellious; a
church that could stand on the side of
the poorest of the poor. He also learned
to struggle on the streets with thousands
participating with conviction and he did
so without realising that this could
cause difficulties leading eventually to
his arrest and deportation from the
Philippines. Tony came back to
Manamadurai to work with Fr.Ceyrac
and his ‘thousand-wells program’.
Ultimately, Tony landed in Chicago
to complete his Ph.D on the title, ‘The
social basis of untouchables in Tamil
Nadu’. He was attempting to break the
myth that there was no caste in the
church, and that it existed from the cradle
to the grave yard.
Tony, it was you who was instrumental
in the year 1975 for me to borrow the
crowbar in the darkness of night, dodging
the night watchman in the ‘Fathers
Lodge’, the watchman in the main gate,
to reach the church and climb the 40-
feet high gate to do one thing that I am
proud of, and it was you who inspired
me to it. That was to go to the RC cemetery
and break the discriminatory partition-wall
that separated the cemetery of
the dominant castes and those of the
Dalit communities. I was asked in 2016,
while in Berlin, in the remains of the
Berlin wall of what I had to say about
the breaking of the Berlin wall. I told
them it was easier to break the Berlin
wall then to break the wall of caste discrimination
and untouchability in the
Indian context not in parishes alone, not
in families alone but in our numerous
congregations, in the positions of powers
that are offered and in our elections
to Provincials, Generals, Mother
Generals, etc. The wall I broke was built
with cement concreet within 15 days.
My last acquaintance with you is
what I will be remembering now and for
many years to come. I will not forget the
days when you came home for a simple
dinner in my anna Nagar MIG flat and
enjoyed the warmth of my simple family.
But Tony, it is time for me to tell you
something I never told you. The Jesuits
also do not know of it. Fr. Ceyrac, a
close friend of yours and a benefactor,
also a very close friend of my mother
(Dr. Y. Tiphagne) and also my mentor,
once before his death when he could
still travel in his vehicle and stop in
Madurai, knowing my work with the
United Nations, had asked me what I
thought you had not done in your life.
Tony, I told him, and I recall it proudly
that, with your academic skills, your
understanding of racism, zenophobia,
caste-based discrimination, untouchability,
and all your political relationships
that you had by then developed, you
were the best poised person to lead the
Dalit delegation to the World
Conference Against Racism in 2001.
The Durban declaration, the Durban
conference, the United Nations and all
its efforts thereafter have lost the best
opportunity possible, to have you as
their Special Rapporteur.
I hope all religions in this country, all
religious heads in this country will learn
that there can be only one Tony who
fought with the cultivated arrogance. If
we are to put his dreams into action at
Mandela Nagar, let us realise the dream
of an exclusive Dalit women’s
University. It is time for us to on the one
hand celebrate his life, but to bow down
our heads in shame, as long as we allow
caste and untouchability, to play a role
in the Church.
I had the best opportunity of seeing
Fr. Stan Swamy who is now in Taloja
jail, along with Tony at DACA in 2019.
That was the place Fr. Stan loved the
most among all Jesuit houses I Madurai
because he loved Tony. I am so happy
Fr. Stan brought us both back together
after so many years of separation and
we took part in so many discussions.
We have missed a beloved member
of our family. But for all those who are
in power, let me recollect that it was
several AICUF chaplains who stood
with him. It is high time that the Jesuits
invest in AICUF again.
Tony you are not gone, but laid in
DACA for us to come back year after
year on the 10th of May to evaluate and
question ourselves “If the Church has
contributed to the annihilation of caste
atleast within ”. ”. Your comrades Fr.
Jesumarian and Fr. Gnanapragasam will
continue your work with Fr.Varghese
and the DACA team. .
We may not agree with all that you
have done, but your mission is something
we will miss dearly, especially
myself. Those who are destined to live
together will always come together at
some stage. Meet you soon, Tony!
Greece reopens to vaccinated int'l tourists
Athens : Greece will reopen to international
tourists who have been vaccinated
against Covid-19 starting from
Friday, Tourism Minister Harry
Theoharis said. "The biggest wager is to
open in safety," he said on Thursday
while addressing an event for the launch
of the new advertising campaign of the
Greek National Tourism Organization
under the motto "All you want is
Greece". The challenge last year was to
keep the tourism industry, a pillar of the
national economy for decades, alive,
said the official, expressing optimism
that 2021 will be a better year for for the
sector, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the government's plan, travellers
to Greece should submit a certificate
of vaccination against Covid-19, a
certificate on recovery from the novel
coronavirus or a recent negative test.
As of June 1, the European Union
(EU)'s green pass will be operational to
facilitate travel, Theoharis noted.
Anybody living in the EU member
states will be able to have a digital
health pass to display their vaccination
status, test results and whether they
have recovered from an infection,
according to the Minister.
10 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 ASIA
'Let them eat dark chocolate.' India's Covid-19 crisis is
devastating its most desperate people: The Economist
New Delhi : India's covid-19 crisis is
devastating its most desperate people,
The Economist said in a report.
The poor are losing jobs, going hungry
and falling victim to scams, it
added. "Pye dogs and circling scavengers
gave the first clue. When villagers
approached the riverbank, the
stench confirmed the horror. By the time
authorities collected and buried all the
bodies on May 11th, the count had risen
to 71. And this was at just one bend in
the sacred Ganges, by the village of
Chausa on the border between Bihar
and Uttar Pradesh, India's poorest, most
underdeveloped states. In the same
week at least three other grisly human
logjams were reported upstream," the
"These sad scenes reveal two things.
One is the scale of the tragedy now
sweeping India's vast interior. Far away
from city labs, no one gets tested, so no
cases are recorded, so no deaths are captured
in the national toll, which at
258,000 is a small fraction of the real
tally," The Economist reported.
The second thing the bodies in the
Ganges reveal is how India's second
wave is worsening the already harsh lot
of its poor.
"People borrow money to pay for
medicines, or for oxygen, or for an
ambulance driver who has charged them
extra Covid rates," Utpal Pathak, a local
journalist was quoted in the report.
"Then they can't afford the funeral." In
recent weeks, say residents of Chausa,
the cost of a cremation has tripled. It is
telling that the authorities, despite denying
that poverty has anything to do with
the scandal, have started supplying free
wood to the funeral ghats of Chausa.
Bihar has also capped the price of
After the first Covid-19 wave swept
India last year, numerous reports tried to
tally the cost to the poor. Pew, a research
institute, estimates that whereas just 4.3
per cent of Indians were earning less
than $2 a day in January 2020, a year
later, this had risen to 9.7 per cent, or
An in-depth study by Azim Premji
University in Bangalore suggests that in
the wake of last year's nationwide lockdown,
some 230m Indians slipped
below a poverty threshold tied to the
national minimum wage (around $45 a
month). Its researchers found that, during
the lockdown, 90 per cent of the
poor consumed less food. Six months
later, their diets had not returned to normal.
Over the course of the year the
earnings of Indian workers, including
the lucky 10 per cent who hold salaried
jobs, declined by a third, The Economist
Shocked by the pain it caused last
year, the central government has left
state and local governments to impose
their own lockdowns during this wave.
"But though the economy has not
come to a complete standstill, the sheer
scale of the outbreak means lots of families
have suffered just as much," the
report said. For many, the biggest blow
has been the loss of breadwinners.
Indian Railways, which employs 1.2m
people, says Covid has killed 1,952 of
its staff. The state of Uttar Pradesh in
April put 1.2m civil servants to work
running local elections and counting
ballots. The vote was a super-spreader
and an estimated 2,000 of these workers
subsequently died, including 800
schoolteachers, the report said. Each of
those deaths represented weeks of trauma
and expense for the families seeking
treatment and, for every person that
died, perhaps another 20 were seriously
ill, it added.
"And in an ordinary year, one in
every 20 families is pushed into poverty
by medical expenses. The past two
months have been anything but ordinary.
Millions of desperate Indian families
have been forced to sell gold, to
pawn possessions or to borrow at usurious
rates, all too often in order to pay
for unnecessary treatments prescribed
by harried doctors, or to provide basic
items lacking in government hospitals,
from oxygen tanks to syringes," the
The variety of traps they have fallen
into seems endless: medical staff
demanding bribes to secure hospital
admission, suppliers of fake medicines,
and even, in several states, conmen who
have painted over fire extinguishers to
sell as oxygen cylinders, it added.
Mostly, however, the government is
notable by its absence. Harsh Vardhan,
the health minister, who has promoted
herbal Covid "cures", last week advised
Indians to eat extra-dark chocolate with
"more than 70 per cent cocoa" in order
to beat Covid-related stress. Perhaps he
should read a recent World Bank report,
which shows that 86 per cent of Indian
families cannot afford a basic balanced
diet, let alone fancy chocolate, The
Covid outcomes may be more
severe in children : Study
New York : Children with Covid-
19 may not display typical symptoms
such as fever, cough and shortness of
breath, therefore more screening and
vigilance are required, researchers
The study led by researchers at
University of Alabama -
Birmingham, US, found that children
with Covid-19 may develop poor
clinical outcomes such as requiring
hospitalisation, critical care services
and mechanical ventilation.
For the study, the team identified
nearly 12,000 pediatric Covid-19
patients. The team found that the
most common symptoms included
cough and difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal
complaints such as nausea,
vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal
pain, and non-specific symptoms
such as fever, tiredness, muscle pain,
and disturbance of taste and smell.
"While the rates of poor clinical
outcomes are relatively lower in children
when compared to adults, 5-6
percent still required hospitalisation.
Among those hospitalised, 18 per
cent required critical care and 4 per
cent needed a ventilator for breathing,"
said Vibhu Parcha, a clinical
research fellow in the Division of
Cardiovascular Disease. The study
also showed racial disparities in
health care -- evident in the higher
risk of hospitalisation among children
from underserved minority populations.
The findings are published
in the Nature Scientific Reports journal.
The World Health Organisation,
in an October 2020 document, reported
that Covid-19 is much less frequent
in children than in adults.
Children and adolescents represented
about 8 per cent of reported cases
(and 29 per cent of the global population).
The study echoes the condition
of many children infected with
Covid-19 in the ongoing second and
lethal wave of Coronavirus in India.
Besides symptoms such as mild
fever, cough, cold and abdominal
issues, some even complained of
body pain, headache, diarrhoea and
vomiting. Children, even those below
1 year of age, were infected with the
Some kids are also reporting more
severe complications like multisystem
inflammatory syndrome (MIS-
C) -- a rare inflammatory condition
with persistent fever. It generally
occurs 2-4 weeks after the onset of
Covid. Health experts have urged
parents not to take their kids out and
expose them to the virus.
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Indian origin man busted in US for letting
Tesla car autodrive from back seat
New York : An Indian origin man who
pulls off stunts to flaunt his wealth was
arrested in California for letting his Tesla car
illegally "autodrive", but as soon as he was
let out he bought a new one and repeated the
stunt, according to media reports.
The California Highway Patrol said it
arrested him in the Silicon Valley on Tuesday
and impounded his car after he was found
letting the electric car drive by itself while
sitting in the backseat in violation of laws
that require a driver to be in the driver's seat
in case of emergencies.
Sharma, 25, was kept overnight in jail and
let go after being charged with reckless driving,
according to the police. Officials said
that they had received several complaints
from the public who had spotted a car like
his being driven without anyone in the driver's
seat. Police had posted pictures of the
car with an empty driver's seat and asked
anyone spotting it to call them. Sharma had
himself posted on social media recordings of
him letting the car go on "autopilot" while in
The Telsa electric cars manufactured by
Elon Musk are equipped with computers,
cameras, sensors and GPS to enable them to
self-drive. But the law requires Teslas and
other cars running on "autopilot" to have a
driver behind the wheel for safety. Last
month a Tesla went off the road in Texas, hit
a tree and caught fire killing the two occupants,
neither of whom was in the driver's
seat. There have been at least nine fatal accidents
since the Tesla hit the road in 2015.
This was the second time Sharma had
been caught pulling the stunt and he had
been charged last month also, the Patrol said.
As soon as he was out of jail, he purchased
another Tesla and repeated the stunt
on Wednesday, KTVU Fox TV station
He came to a meeting with its reporter
with the car on autopilot and him in the backseat,
the station reported.
He told the reporter he bought a new car,
adding, "Yeah, I'm rich as (expletive). I'm
A Telsa Model 3 car like the one that was
confiscated costs upwards of $40,000.
The digital media Vice, which described
him as a "disgustingly rich brat", said he had
posted pictures "of himself doing everything
from throwing away thousands of dollars by
tying cash to balloons, hosting cash sweepstakes..."
He told Vice in a 2013 interview
that he had given away $100,000 in these
stunts. KPIX CBS TV reported that Sharma,
who flaunts his wealth, makes social media
posts insulting people as "blue collar peasants"
who can't understand his lifestyle and
that he drives his fancy cars into "ghettos" --
a racially loaded word -- "to make you feel
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
statues restored in China
Japanese billionaire Yusaku
Maezawa to travel to ISS
Tokyo : Japanese billionaire Yusaku
Maezawa, CEO of Start Today, Ltd., has
started preparations for a tour to the
International Space Station (ISS). Space
Adventures, a space experiences company,
said on Thursday that Maezawa and his production
assistant, Yozo Hirano, are planning
to get onboard the Russian Soyuz MS-20
from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on
December 8, reports Xinhua news agency.
The two have successfully passed the
required medical examinations for the space
trip. The spaceflight, to be commanded by
cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, will last 12
days, the company said.
Maezawa and his crew will receive about
three months of spaceflight training in June
at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center in Star City, Russia.
"I'm so curious 'what's life like in space'?
So, I am planning to find out on my own and
share with the world on my YouTube channel,"
Maezawa said. In total, seven self-funded
individuals have visited the space station.
Maezawa will be the eighth and the first
from Japan to take the tour.
Beijing : Twelve Buddhist statues in China's Shandong
province dating back nearly 1,000 years have undergone their first
renovation in 39 years.
The coloured clay statues are at the Lingyan Temple in Jinan,
the provincial capital of Shandong, which was built over 1,600
years ago during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), Xinhua news
agency reported on Thursday.
At the temple, there are 40 well-preserved 'arhat' (one who has
gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved
nirvana) statues renowned at home and abroad, most of which were
built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
The Buddhist statues in different colours, shapes and with varied
expressions have been renovated several times in history, with
the last renovation in 1982.
During the restoration in 1982, one clay statue was found to
have a human-like abdomen, with the viscera made of silk, said
Wang Tingqi, deputy director of the Shandong provincial bureau of
culture and tourism.
"The results of protection and restoration this time were beyond
expectation," said Su Bomin, deputy director of Dunhuang
Research Academy. Workers used safe techniques for the restoration,
including repairing some cracked paint and cleaning the dust
on the statues, Su said.
Much of the damage took place due to changing temperature
and humidity over a long time, Su said.
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12 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 BOLLYWOOD
CHINA'S massive Tibet infra
push cause of worry for India
Kolkata : China is planning to
develop a massive defence logistics
infrastructure in Tibet that will turn the
once independent kingdom into a military
hub to dominate the Himalayas.
The plans were approved during the
plenary session of China's National
People's Congress (NPC) in March
this year and also by the Chinese
People's Political Consultative
The Tibet infrastructure development
projects have been included in
the 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025).
The Long Range Objectives-2035
additionally identifies a number of
strategic military projects for completion
by 2025 and 2035.
The G318 Sichuan-Tibet Highway
and the G219 and G331 national highways
will be upgraded and extended to
run along China's southwestern border.
The new 1,800-km Chengdu-
Lhasa high-speed railway network
will be the second strategic railway
connecting from Tibet to the
Mainland, reducing travel time from
Chengdu to Lhasa to just 10 hours.
Chengdu is now the headquarters of
the integrated Tibet-Sichuan military
command that makes it possible for
the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to
move strategic reserves swiftly from
the borders with other Southeast Asian
nations to beef up both offensives and
strategic defence on the India front.
Shigatse (Rikaze), Tibet's secondlargest
city, will emerge as a rail transportation
hub as work has begun on
railways to link Shigatse with Jilong
in Guizhou province and Hotan in
To make up for aerial defence
weakness, China will construct at least
20 new border airports by 2025 in
Tibet, in places like Tashkurgan and
Tashkurgan, the last stop before the
Karakoram Pass, is under the jurisdiction
of the South Xinjiang Military
District and the PLA could easily
threaten the Daulat Beg Oldi and the
Depsang Plains from there.
The airport at Longzi in Tibet's
Shannan County will also boost the
capabilities of the People's Liberation
Army Air Force (PLAAF) in the middle
sector of the Line of Actual
Analysts like Jayadeva Ranade,
former Cabinet Secretariat's Chiba
expert, say that "in just over a decade,
China will have a much-improved
strategic border defence infrastructure".
"The considerably enhanced
Chinese military presence will be a
long-term potential threat for India,"
Ranade said. Ranade has closely studied
the 142-page, 70,000-character
"14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025) and
the Long Range Objectives through
the Year 2035 for National Economic
and Social Development of the
People's Republic of China", whose
English version is yet to be released.
"The document clarifies China's
national strategic intent and identifies
the core areas of national security and
development. It has a definite focus on
strategic science and technology programmes
in the frontier areas. The
document details the projects that
have direct implications for India,"
He said that India's worst concern is
over the Chinese plan to construct a
massive dam on the Great Bend on the
Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra).
Serious discussions on diverting the
waters of the Brahmaputra had started
in the Chinese Academy of
Engineering Physics in Beijing in
1995. Details of a comprehensive plan
emerged in a book authored by former
military officer Li Ling titled ‘Tibet
water can save China', which was published
in 2005. The 14th Five Year
Plan (2021-2025) and the Long Range
Objectives-2035 confirms that a number
of hydroelectric projects will be
built along its lower reaches and a
massive dam three times the size of
the Three Gorges Dam in Sichuan
province will be constructed on the
Great Bend on the Tsangpo. "The
dams constructed on the fragile
Himalayas will pose a constant danger
to those living downstream and
adversely impact the livelihoods of
over a billion people residing in the
Indo-Gangetic plain," said Ranade. He
said the planned infrastructure projects
in Tibet and the anticipated huge
influx of labour and engineers will
raise the temperature on the Tibetan
Plateau and accelerate the retreat of
These glaciers are the source of the
Indus and a number of rivers that feed
into the Ganges. This will seriously
reduce the flow of water even leading
to the rivers drying up.
UK anxious about Indian Covid variant: PM
agency quoted Johnson as saying to longer to see how the data is looking
Sky News on Thursday.
but I am cautiously optimistic about Oli reappointed as Nepal PM
"So there are meetings going on that and provided this Indian variant
today to consider exactly what we doesn't take off in the way some people
fear, I think certainly things could ment, Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has
Kathmandu : After opposition parties failed to form a coalition govern-
need to do," he said.
Johnson's remarks came in the get back much, much closer to normality,"
Minister on the basis of leading the largest party in
reappointed KP Sharma Oli as the 42nd Prime
wake of spikes of new variants in
some areas in Britain.
Johnson confirmed on Monday that Parliament.
Scientists have raised concerns that the lockdown in England will be further
lifted from next week.
planning to take the oath of office and secrecy on
Oli, who was reappointed on Monday night, is
the current vaccines may be less effective
against the new variants.
From May 17, pubs, bars and Friday afternoon, according to his office.
The consortium of scientists studying
new variants in the country, COG- ted to open indoors, while indoor sition Nepali Congress party, was the frontrunner for
restaurants in England will be permit-
Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the primary oppo-
UK, has identified a total of 1,723 entertainment will also resume, the post of Prime Minister but he couldn't garner a
cases of the Indian variant known as including cinemas, museums and children's
Samajbai Party (JSP), was divided to support Oli.
majority vote as fourth largest party, Janata
Although some of these will be People in England will be allowed However, the Nepali Congress and the Communist
duplicates, it is more than triple Public to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) could not cobble together the numbers to prove
Health England's confirmed figure last people, and meet indoors in groups of a majority. A faction of the JSP decided to stay neutral, making it difficult for
week of 520, according to Sky News. up to six or as two households. Deuba to stake claim. The Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato's 19-member
However, Johnson said the easing Meanwhile, all remaining accommodation
including hotels, hostels and lawmakers overall. Oli's Communist Party of NepaleUML has 121 members
faction of the JSP decided to throw its weight behind Oli. The Party has 32
London : UK Prime Minister Boris of lockdown will go ahead as planned
Johnson said that his country is "anxious"
about the coronavirus variant The Prime Minister said he "can see Johnson.
Since no party commands a majority in the House, as the parliamentary
B&Bs can also reopen, according to in the House.
detected in India and the government nothing that dissuades me from thinking
we'll be able to go ahead on is expected to see all legal limits on vision. He again has to prove his majority in the house within a month.
The British government's roadmap party leader of UML, Oli was elected Prime Minister as per constitutional pro-
is "ruling nothing out" to tackle its
Monday and indeed on June 21 everywhere"
in terms of easing coronavirus 21. However, some experts believe individual lawmaker can stake claim over the post of Prime Minister.
social contact to be removed on June If he fails to garner a majority, either he will dissolve the House or any other
"We want to make sure that we take
all the prudential, all the cautious steps restrictions in England.
more urgent action is needed to tackle But leaders close to Oli said that he preferred to dissolve the house and was
now that we could take," Xinhua news "I think we have to wait a little bit the situation.
interested in holding early elections.
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Sudha Bharadwaj’s 3 Co-Prisoners Tested
COVID Positive : Daughter Moves Bombay High
Court Seeking Release On Medical Grounds
The Bombay High Court on Thursday sought lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s latest medical report from the
Maharashtra Government on a plea seeking her interim release on medical bail from Byculla women’s prison. The petition
filed by her daughter Maaysha Singh, invoking Article 226 of the Constitution, states that the sixty-year-old Bharadwaj, who
has diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and a history of pulmonary tuberculosis, is very unwell.
By Sharmeen Hakim
On August 28, 2018, Bharadwaj was
arrested in the Bhima Koregaon- Elgaar
Parishad Case for alleged maoist links.
She and 15 other civil rights activists
and academics face charges under the
stringent Unlawful Activities
(Prevention) Act (UAPA) on allegations
of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.
A division bench of Justices KK
Tated and Abhay Ahuja heard advocate
Yug Chaudhry’s submissions on behalf
of Bharadwaj. It is said that Sudha
Bharadwaj is kept in a barrack with 50-
60 prisoners, sharing only 3 bathrooms,
with no possibility of social distancing
and sanitary co-existence.
He argued that Bharadwaj is kept in
a barrack with about 50-60 prisoners,
sharing only three bathrooms and no
possibility of sanitary co-existence or
social distancing. He submitted that
three of her co-prisoners have recently
tested COVID positive and Byculla jail
has about 40 active cases, as per news
reports. “The ward where she is lodged
is a literal death trap,” Chaudhry added.
A Time Frame From Centre Within
Which COVID Vaccines Can Be
Supplied To State
For the past few weeks Bharadwaj
has been suffering from diarrhoea,
extreme fatigue and constant exhaustion
to the extent that she cannot wash
clothes or even bathe, the plea states.
The state’s counsel, Jayesh Yagnik,
informed the bench that Bharadwaj was
already scheduled to be taken to
Mumbai’s JJ Hospital for a checkup in
the evening. Moreover, Bharadwaj tested
negative for COVID-19 on two previous,
he said. Bail To Mother Who
‘Confessed’ To Killing Daughter Over
An Affair The HC then directed Yagnik
to produce Bharadwaj’s report from her
checkup at the JJ Hospital before May
Chaudhry also made submissions
regarding the behaviour of prison officials
towards the family. He said that the
family had made 18 calls to the Byculla
prison in the past few days, but the warden
refused to come on the line. Instead,
Shimla : After trudging the high
mountains in a 17-hour-long operation
amid heavy rain with the mercury dipping
close to the freezing point,
Himachal Pradesh Police seized over 15
lakh fully grown poppy plants, valued at
Rs 10 crore, illegally spread over a vast
stretch in the interiors of Mandi district,
the police said on Friday.
A field intelligence report about the
cultivation of poppy (opium) plants in
Chauhar Valley in Mandi district had
revealed that a huge area comprising
government and private lands was being
used to cultivate opium. Following this,
a special team headed by the Padhar
police station was deployed to verify the
information. After the verification, a
special operation was planned on May
12, an official statement said.
When the police teams reached Garh
village under Tikken sub-tehsil in
Padhar, they first found a patch of land
covered by poppy plants. On further
onward movement, they were surprised
to see three hilltops looking like carpets
of white flowers. On closer examination,
they found that all the hilltops had
poppy plants in full bloom.
Heavy rains and hailstorms then
impeded further movement of the
teams, but after waiting for some time
and realising that it is of no use to wait
for the rains to stop, especially when the
news of their presence in the area has
spread, they marched ahead, said the
The teams climbed the three hills one
by one and had to trek for almost three
hours to reach the first hilltop.
As the news of the police raid spread
fast in the neighbouring areas, few
locals themselves started to uproot the
poppy plants at one of the spots, but
timely action of the police foiled all
In total, around 66 'bighas' of government
and private lands were found to
be under the illegal cultivation of poppy
plants with the assistance of the local
patwari and the pradhan.
During the raid, approximately 15
lakh plants of illegally cultivated opium
were found and samples were seized
Chaudhry said, the officer spoke to the
press and accused Bharadwaj of making
up stories about her ill health.
He asked the court to direct the state
to respond to the allegations in the petition
about the poor conditions in prison.
However, the court said that prisons
were operating with just 15% staff;
therefore, such a reply cannot be filed
immediately. The NIA opposed the plea
and informed the court that there was no
urgency. The court will now hear the
bail application on May 21. Sudha
Bhardwaj was taken into custody on
from each spot.
The process of destruction of the
remaining plants has been completed.
The entire operation ended on May 13.
Four cases have been registered
under Section 18 of the NDPS Act and
further investigation is underway.
As per estimates, around 5-6 kg of
opium is produced in one 'bigha' of land
which is sold for approximately Rs
300,00 per kg.
Accordingly, around 330 kg of
opium could have been produced in this
area with a market price of Rs 10 crore,
said the statement. The police told
IANS that cannabis and opium are
grown illegally in vast tracts of Kullu,
Mandi, Shimla and Chamba districts,
causing a serious problem of drug cultivation,
trafficking and addiction. Over
60 per cent of poppy and cannabis produced
in the state is smuggled to countries
like Israel, Italy, The Netherlands
and some other European nations. The
remaining stock finds its way to Nepal
or to other Indian states like Goa,
Punjab and Delhi.
August 28, 2018.
Bhima Koregaon Case
The Bhima Koregaon battle was
fought between 25,000 mighty Peshwa
army and 500 British soldiers, including
people from the Mahar (Dalit) community.
The names of martyrs in the war
are inscribed in the memorial by the
British Army then. The hundreds of
people visiting the war memorial at
Bhima Koregaon were attacked on
January 1, 2018, after violence erupted.
They were mainly from Dalit community,
and one person died in the stone-pelting.
An FIR was registered regarding the
violence the same day. However, there
has been no substantial progress since.
Another FIR by right-wing activist
Tushar Damgude, filed on January 8,
2018 and was pursued. It was alleged
that the violence at Bhima Koregaon
resulted from inflammatory speeches
held at the Elgaar Parishad conference
on December 31, 2017.
The scope of the investigation was
eventually widened, with the Pune
police claiming retrieval of incriminating
documents in the form of electronic
records. This included an email written
by a certain ‘R’ to Comrade Prakash on
April 18, 2017 talking of a “Rajiv
Gandhi-type” operation. The NIA took
over the investigation in 2020.
However, recently Arsenal Consulting,
a digital forensics consulting company
in the USA, concluded that most of the
electronic evidence the police has relied
on was planted on co-accused Rona
Wilson’s laptop through Malware.
So far, 16 people have been arrested
in the case as accused — Jyoti Raghoba
Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe,
Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir
Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh
Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun
Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara
Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand
Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany
Babu and Father Stan Swamy. Most of
the accused in the case were neither
named in the FIR over the violence nor
present during the 2017 event.
Courtesy : Live-Law
15L poppy plants seized in Himachal after 17-hr operation
14 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Nepali guide creates world record
by climbing Everest twice
Kathmandu : Mingma Tenji Sherpa, a Nepali mountain guide,
has created a world record by scaling Mt. Everest, the world's highest
peak, twice in the shortest span of time in a season, organisers
said on Thursday.
Sherpa first reached the top of the mountain in the evening of May
7 as a member of a rope-fixing team, and then performed the feat
again on the morning of May 11, while guiding an expedition team
consisting of Bahraini Prince Sheikh Mohammed Hamad
Mohammed Al Khalifa, according to the company which organised
"He climbed Mt. Everest twice in the gap of just four days which
is a world record," Mingma Sherpa, chairperson of the Seven Summit
Treks, told Xinhua news agency.
"He took nearly 86 hours to do double ascents."
Previously, Indian mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa had held the
record for fastest dual ascents on Everest, doing so in 118 hours and
15 minutes in 2017.
She however, still holds the record for fastest dual ascent on the
peak by a woman. Mingma Tenji Sherpa has been working as a
mountain guide with the Seven Summit Treks.
Other climbers have set their own records on the 8848.86-meterhigh
Mt. Everest this season from the Nepali side, including Kami
Rita Sherpa, a Nepali mountain guide who broke his own record by
climbing the mountain for the 25th time on May 8, and three Nepali
Sherpa sisters from the same family, who reached the top on May 12.
Cyclone Tauktae: TN CM reviews
preparedness with officials
Chennai : The Tamil Nadu government has directed to take necessary
precautions as Cyclone Tauktae is likely to intensify further. It
has asked the authorities to summon back fishermen who are in the
sea. Around 244 deep sea fishing vessels were in the sea and after the
state fisheries department took the initiative, 162 had returned to the
shore by Saturday night. Efforts are on to bring the rest of the fishing
boats back to the shore, the Chief minister's office said.
Chief minister M.K. Stalin who held a review meeting with officials
including district collectors and meteorology department officials
has specifically stressed on the safety of fishermen from
Kanniyakumari, the statement said.
Four teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are
already in the state -- two teams in Madurai, one team in Coimbatore
district and one in Nilgiris district. The State Disaster Response
Force (SDRF) is also ready as a fall back option.
The Chief minister in his meeting with the district collectors was
briefed by the Deputy director general of meteorology S.
Balachandran on the possibilities of the rainfall and the preparations
of the department. Stalin called upon the revenue officials to be on
their toes and to get prepared with necessary equipment in areas
prone to landslides.
The Chief minister has also directed the revenue department to
ensure Covid norms and protocol in the relief camps being set up to
accommodate people from the low lying areas. The government is
also monitoring the storage in reservoirs in the state.
Mumbai Special Court slaps notices to
'confiscate' Nirav Modi's properties
Mumbai : Fresh legal troubles are brewing
in Mumbai for fugitive diamantaire
Nirav D. Modi, currently battling for bail and
against extradition proceedings in a UK
court, officials said here on Thursday.
A Special Court under the Fugitive
Economic Offenders Act, 2018, has slapped
a series of notices to Nirav Modi and his sister
Purvi Mehta -- who turned approver five
months ago -- besides his group companies,
ordering them to appear before Special Judge
V.C. Barde on in Mumbai June 11.
Barde has also ordered them to explain
why the Special Court should not "confiscate"
the properties and assets of the two siblings
and the other group companies as per
the law, in a money-laundering case filed by
the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in early
The notices have served to their known
residences in Mumbai -- four flats in the
famed Samudra Mahal building on Dr. Annie
Besant Road, and the Grosvenor House on
The development comes exactly threeand-half-a-year
after Nirav Modi, several of
his family members, his maternal uncle
Mehul C. Choksi and others were accused of
perpetrating a stunning fraud of around Rs
14,000 crore in the Punjab National Bank
Even before the PNB admitted the fraud
and lodged a formal police complaint in
January 2018, it emerged that Nirav Modi,
Mehul Choksi and others had already fled
the country as the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) and ED launched their
Besides the 'Mama-Bhanja' duo, Nirav
Modi's group companies like Stellar
Diamonds, Firestar International Ltd,
Radashir Jewelery Co. Pvt. Ltd., Firestar
Trading Pvt. Ltd., Solar Exports, Diamonds
R Us, Firestar Diamond International Ltd.,
Mac Business Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Bentley
Properties Pvt. Ltd. and Nirav Modi Trust,
which were under the scanner of the CBI-ED
sleuths, have been named in the Special
Court's latest notices.
Shortly after the scam hit the Indian banking
sector, a Mumbai Magistrate in February
2018 had issued a non-bailable warrant
against Nirav Modi in June 2018, the
InterPol issued a Red Corner Notice, followed
by India's request in August 2018 to
the UK authorities seeking his extradition
It was in March 2019 that a massive
furore erupted in India after Nirav Modi was
found sauntering on a London street with the
Indian authorities going after him with
renewed vigour, resulting in his arrest that
same month. As he remains in jail, a UK
court in February 2021 cleared his extradition
to India to face charges of bank frauds,
money-laundering etc., even as Purvi and her
New Delhi : Amid reports of people
being arrested for putting posters against
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national
capital, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has
dared the government to arrest him.
Tweeting the poster on Sunday, Rahul
Gandhi said: "Arrest me too."
Meanwhile, Congress leaders, targetting
the government, are putting up a social
Congress leader Pawan Khera said:
"People have expectations from the government
which has broken... so whom the people
will question when you want all the credit.
"Why should people not ask question that
why their vaccines have been exported," he
asked. The Delhi Police has arrested over a
dozen people in connection with the cases it
registered, sources said on Saturday.
The matter relates to putting up black
colour posters criticising the Prime Minister
for exporting the Covid-19 vaccines to other
countries instead of fulfilling the requirements
of the people of the country.
The posters were found in several areas of
Delhi like Shahdara, Rohini, Rithala,
Dwarka and other places.
Budh Vihar ward councillor Gayatri Garg
told IANS: "On May 12, we got the information
that several posters have been stuck in
areas of Budh Vihar, Vijay Vihar and others.
Following the information, I along with my
husband and several other members got
those removed on May 13."
A Delhi Police source said that the police
has registered over 17 FIRs in connection
with the posters against the Prime Minister.
The source said that police has registered
two FIRs in Central Delhi and arrested four
people, two FIRS have been registered in
Rohini and two people arrested, one FIR in
East Delhi and four people have been arrested,
one FIR in Dwarka and two people have
husband Maiank Mehta turned approvers in
the case in January 2021.
Incidentally, in the past couple of years,
the ED and the CBI have managed to recover
small sums by auctioning off Nirav Modi's
assets like half-a-dozen luxury vehicles,
designer bags, high-value wristwatches, rare
paintings, artworks and other stuff, while his
deluxe bungalow in Alibaug was attached
and demolished in March 2019.
After the PNB scam broke out, over the
next couple of years, several other nationalised
banks slowly came into the open and
revealed how the Modi-Choksi duo had
duped and dumped them in various loan
accounts. Meanwhile, in early 2019, it came
to light that Choksi had acquired the citizenship
of Antigua & Barbuda Island in the West
Indies in November 2017, and is currently
embroiled in a legal tangle over his citizenship
and related issues.
Arrest me too, Rahul tweets
poster criticising Modi
been arrested, one FIR in North East Delhi
and three people have been arrested and on
the basis of an FIR in Shahdara one person
has been arrested.
The source said that the police has also
obtained CCTV footage from Shahdara area
where people were seen putting up the
The source also said that the police is
interrogating the person to identify other
It further said that it has also come to
notice that for sticking three posters, the people
were paid Rs 500 in Shahdara area.
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Dark face of Covid; Covid warriors land
to often recover decomposed bodies
Bengaluru : With the exponential
rise in Covid-19 cases during the second
wave of the Covid-19pandemic,
Karnataka is also witnessing an
increase in the number of deaths. But
what is worrisome is dead bodies are
found in decomposed condition due to
its metropolitan culture, where interaction
with neighbours is near zero.
This culture has plunged to another
abyss, after the emergence of the
Covid pandemic, even our own ‘near
and dear ones' have either become
pariahs or treat us one like pariah,
after either of us realise that some of
us are taken ill.
Covid warrior and software engineer
with the TCS, Sathyanarana Roy
aka Ruchi Roy's friend of Odisha's
local channel reporter living in
Bengaluru received a call from his
home state Odisha on May 12 at
around 4 p.m. Distressed parents of
their only 25-year-old son, Santhosh
Jena was not picking up their call who
had fallen sick three days ago before
they heard him last on May 7 at 5 p.m.
According to Roy, after receiving
the call along with his friend working
with media, Gobind Barik reached
Koodlugate in Parappana Agrahara
police limits. What they saw was this
young man sitting on chair under the
ceiling fan had died three or four days
ago and his body had already started
decomposing that too with his limbs
Roy said that the parents had tried
their best to reach out their son though
few relatives and fellow villagers who
work in Bengaluru to know about
New Delhi : The Delhi government
has extended lockdown
period for one more
week, Chief Minister Arvind
Kejriwal said on Sunday.
"We have been witnessing
good recovery following the
lockdown. Coronavirus cases
have been on a decline. We
don't want to lose the gain that
we have made in the last few
days. We are extending the
lockdown for one more week.
Instead of tomorrow, lockdown
is extended till next Monday, 5
Jena's wellbeing, but none had come
to their rescue and only then they had
Lockdown extended till
May 24 in Delhi: Kejriwal
a.m. in Delhi," he said.
On Saturday, Delhi recorded
6,430 cases with 11 per cent
positivity rate. The recovery
was 11,591 but the daily death
number was still very high at
In the last few days, Delhi
has witnessed some relief as
daily positive cases and daily
Covid positivity too, however,
the city has been reporting
over 300 deaths every day
since May 4 (except two days
when less than 300 were
taken help of their village head, who
though some of his political contacts
reported). The highest daily
deaths in one day were reported
on May 3, when a total of
448 Covid patients had died in
Delhi reported 6,430 new
coronavirus cases in the last 24
hours, the lowest since April 7
and the daily Covid positivity
rate reduced to 11.32 per cent.
For the last few days, Delhi has
witnessed a sharp decline in
daily positive cases, positivity
rate and number of patients in
home isolation etc.
New Delhi : The
Agency (NIA) on Sunday
conducted searched at
four locations in Tamil
Nadu in connection with
Facebook post by accused
Mohammed Iqbal, an
extremist advocating ideology
of ISIS and Hizb-
Ut-Tahrir, a fundamentalist
The anti-terror agency
conducted searches in
Madurai district of Tamil
Nadu in connection with
the case which was originally
Thideer police station in
the same region relating to
uploading of some incriminating
posts on Facebook.
The searches were conducted
at Kazimar Street, K. Pudur,
Mehaboob Palayam in
During the search, sixteen
digital devices including laptop,
hard disks, mobile phones,
memory cards, SIMs, Pen drive
and many incriminating books
and pamphlets and documents
have been recovered.
NIA had re-registered the
case on April 15 this year and
taken over the investigation
which so far has revealed that
the posts on the Facebook page
"Thoonga Vizhigal Rendu is in
Kazimar Street" was uploaded
by accused Mohammed Iqbal
for denigrating a particular
community. "The posts were
came to know about Gobind Barik
working in Bengaluru.
Roy said that Jena's parents were
not even aware about his whereabouts
like where he stays or where he
worked in Bengaluru and none could
blame them as they are from a very
remote village of Bhadrak district in
Odisha, which is around 1,980 km
from this tech-hub.
"They were dependent on Jena for
their survival in their village. Even to
reach us they had taken help from their
village head's (Sarpanch) help, who
somehow knew that a reporter
(Gobind Barik) of local channel of
Odisha works here," Roy told IANS.
Roy said that the irony of this
episode is that the deceased house
owner who stays nearby and few
neighbours who lived here were not
even aware that Jena was dead and the
owner even insisted that Jena was not
in the house and left his bike here and
perhaps left Bengaluru due to imposition
of partial lockdown on April 27.
"Somehow, we both (Gobind and
me) sensed that something was a miss.
Then we sought his permission to see
his room, which was on the third floor
of the building. When we reached his
room, his room was locked from
inside, and then we saw from the window,
realised that he was no more,"
the Covid warrior explained.
Then Roy approached Parappana
Agarahara police, who immediately
came with him and broke open the
door and recovered the dead.
"The police informed the Bruhat
Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike authorities
who came with an ambulance
conducted Covid test on the deceased
and it was found that the deceased was
Covid positive. The BBMP officials
did take good care as the first ambulance
which they had dispatched did
not have experienced staff to wrap the
decomposed body. So, the BBMP
rushed another team of experts who
are specialised in handling decomposed
bodies like the Jena's, whose
limbs had started falling apart," Roy
When Roy broke the story of Jena's
death through Sarpanch's phone, the
parents had fainted and were admitted
to hospital and they were wailing
inconsolably as they felt that they
could not even take part in the last
rites of their only son and lone earning
member of their family.
Roy poignantly reminded that
nowadays, many people are less interested
in maintaining any friendly relation
with their neighbours.
"The face to face interaction and
the sense of brotherhood have been
diminishing since the emergence of
sophisticated life and hi-tech culture.
That is where we are finding such
dead bodies often in cities like
Bengaluru. For this city is not to be
blamed, we, the people must take
responsibility for reaching out to our
neighbours and keeping in touch with
them. Cities like Bengaluru provide us
an ample opportunity for employment,
but after coming to this city, we people
should also need to contribute by
keeping our neighbourhood vibrant,"
he signed off.
Facebook post case: NIA raids
4 places in Tamil Nadu
designed to incite communal
disharmony amongst different
religious groups, in a manner
prejudicial to the maintenance
of public order," said the NIA.
Iqbal alias Senthil Kumar, a
resident of Kazimar area in
Madurai was arrested on
December 2 last year and is
presently under judicial custody.
"Further investigation in the
16 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Now the Vadla crane goes
missing in Balochistan
New Delhi : Vadla is the most
"famous" female crane among the
common cranes who have been visiting
India for the last two years. Like
last year, this year too, Vadla, tagged
with a transmitter (GPS), started her
journey from her winter home in
Nalsarovar wetland in Gujarat to her
breeding home in Kazakhstan this
year on March 29.
On April 4, Minister of
Environment, Forests and Climate
Change, Prakash Javadekar
announced on social media,
"Remember Vadla, the common crane.
After spending nearly five months
since October 10, at its wintering site
near Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary near
Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Vadla has
moved over site in the mountains,125
km northwest Karachi and in the next
few days it will travel through vast
deserts of Pakistan, Balochistan,
Turkmenistan before reaching its
breeding ground in northern
After two days, Vadla with her
flock of common cranes started her
journey again from Karachi. Her last
contact was monitored by scientists of
Wildlife Institute of India (WII),
Dehradun, and suddenly the contact
was lost. The WII and Power Grid
Corporation of India have been conducting
research on Vadla.
"The signal stopped near Miani Hor
in the Balochistan province of
Pakistan. Miani Hor is a swampy
lagoon in Lasbela district of
Balochistan. It is a Ramsar designated
wetland site located about 100 km
from Karachi near Sonmiani Bay
close to the Arabian sea. Even though
it is remote, I was getting a good signal
from the GPS tagged with the bird
but suddenly it stopped for the last 5-6
days," Dr Suresh Kumar, a senior scientist
from the Endangered Species
Management department in WII leading
the project, told India Narrative.
When asked what could have happened
to the bird or the GPS transmitter,
Dr Suresh said: "I am keeping my
fingers crossed. Normally the flock
does not stay at one place for more
than 4-5 days. There are two possibilities.
First, the bird became prey of
some animals but it's highly unlikely
because it's difficult for animals to
catch these birds.
Second, it may be killed by some
poachers. In that area poaching of
migratory birds is rampant. See, the
solar powered transmitter can't switch
off on its own, only me or my team
can do that. I don't know... I am praying.
We have been working on this
project for the last two years."
In a first, the WII tracked the journey
of a common crane from Gujarat
to its breeding site in Northern
Kazakhstan and back to Gujarat where
it returned on World Migratory Bird
Day (October 10, 2020).
Kumar said: "This project aims to
understand the use of different landscapes
by these migratory birds. It
is important to note whether their
roosting sites are in good shape
along the flyway. Unlike some terrestrial
species, migratory birds
cannot be conserved only if one
country conserves its habitat. The
conservation of the flyway and
roosting areas has to be consistent
across the borders. Else, it will
affect their migration pattern."
Last year, on March 12, a
female common crane weighing
4.72 kg was tagged with the GPS
transmitter by the team. The bird
was named ‘Vadla' after the village
near the Nalsarovar Ramsar
site where she was tagged. The
leg-mounted solar-powered GPS
GSM tag attached to it weighed 40
The crane departed on its northward
migration, travelling through
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran,
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
before reaching its breeding
ground in northern Kazakhstan near
the border of Russia, covering about
5,000 km in 15 days. After a few
months, Vadla started its southward
journey in the last week of September
and reached the same site following
the same route on October 10 in 12
days. The WII team logged the crane's
location every 6 hours. This was transmitted
through the GSM network
every day through the tracking period.
Kumar explains: "the solar-powered
GPS-GSM tag used on Vadla, is a
smart technology. In situations where
there was no GSM network, the data
was stored in the tag and transmitted
when the crane came into an area with
the network. The tags can store
300,000 locations. That is a lot of
location data." He explains further,
"our tracking study has already documented
the nearly 10,000-km journey
of this common crane from her wintering
ground in Gujarat to her breeding
ground in northern Kazakhstan and
back and we are in the second leg of
the project. I hope the bird is not killed
by poachers," Kumar says.
According to Kumar, Pakistan and
Afghanistan are located in the Central
Asian Flyway of Migratory birds and
poaching is a lucrative business in
these countries. There is big money in
hunting birds. Poachers selling cranes
and other rare species can easily earn
thousands of dollars. Poaching can not
be ruled out.
The recent shooting of two most
endangered species, the Great Indian
Bustard in Cholistan desert of
Pakistan with the poachers led by a
major of Pakistan army brazenly getting
themselves photographed with the
dead birds in their hands and guns on
their shoulders has shocked the
Kumar's study includes the fact that
high voltage transmission lines with
vertical alignment are the biggest
threat to the big birds like cranes.
These cranes fly across these power
lines as there are several reports of
cranes and flamingos colliding with
power lines and dying, which is a
In India, we have historically seen
five species of cranes out of the fifteen
found worldwide. Siberian cranes,
common cranes (also called Eurasian
cranes), and Demoiselle cranes are all
winter visitors to India specially in
Gujarat and Rajasthan. While the latter
two still winter in India, their
future is uncertain as they face numerous
challenges. Siberian cranes are
locally extinct in India. The last pair
was seen at Bharatpur in 2002.
(This content is being carried
under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Cyclone Tauktae wreaks havoc on
Maha coast, but no casualties
Mumbai : The much-feared Cyclone
Tauktae finally arrived to lash the
Maharashtra coast on Sunday, uprooting
scores of trees, and light-poles and causing
other minor damage, but there were
no reports of any casualties, officials
After Goa, the cyclone targeted the
Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts as it
moved towards Raigad, Mumbai, Thane
and Palghar districts while whirling
towards the Gujarat south coast where it
is expected to make a landfall on early
Tuesday, according to the IMD.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
held a series of meetings with top officials
to monitor the cyclone situation
and also briefed Union Home Minister
Amit Shah of the state's preparedness.
"All the districts in the entire coastal
belt have been put on a high alert,"
Thackeray informed Shah.
Early on Monday, the cyclone is likely
to pass by the Raigad-Mumbai coasts
and then move onto Thane-Palghar -
what is collectively known as Mumbai
Metropolitan Region (MMR).
"Many trees were uprooted in the
strong winds that lashed Sindhudurg-
Ratnagiri districts There are reports of
widespread damage to crops and plantations
of mango, cashewnuts, coconuts,
kokam, and other produce in the region.
We have directed the local administration
to conduct 'panchnama' immediately,"
Higher & Technical Education
Farmers protesting against
Haryana CM face batons
Chandigarh, May 16 (IANS) Farmers on Sunday held a protest
against Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Hisar, and
were baton-charged by the police.
The farmers were heading to a venue where the Chief Minister
came to open a Covid 500-bed hospital.
Heavy police security arrangements were made to prevent the
entry of farmers towards the inauguration venue with barricades, said
officials. As farmers were adamant about heading towards the venue
and tried to force their way through police barricades, the police carried
out a baton-charge and used teargas shells to disperse them.
Many farmers got injuries.
After the incident, the farmers decided to block all highways in the
state, hold protest outside the office of the Inspector General in Hisar
and to stage statewide sit-in protest of all police stations on Monday.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh Charuni
made these announcements after meeting the protesting farmers.
Ambulance and emergency vehicles will be exempted from their
On the other hand, police officials said more than 20 personnel
were injured and police vehicles damaged during stone pelting by
farmers. BKU leader Rakesh Tikait is also expected to arrive in Hisar
after the incident.
Minister Uday Samant said from his
camp in Konkan.
Relief & Rehabilitation Minister
Vijay Wadettiwar said that the Konkan
coast has been prepared for the
onslaught of Cyclone Taukte and he was
also keeping tabs on the unfolding situation
there. "CM Thackeray has taken
stock of the matter and I have apprised
him about the relief works undertaken.
We are setting up large shelters for the
people in these areas where they can be
shifted if required," he said. In Mumbai,
the BrihanMumbai Municipal
New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) Attacking the
Modi government's handling of the Covid
pandemic, the Congress on Sunday also
faulted its vaccine policy, saying the muddle
arose because the "Prime Minister wanted to
become the vaccine guru".
Addressing a virtual press conference,
Congress spokesman Pawan Khera said:
"The Government of India did not manage
the crisis as well. When it came to negotiation
with vaccine manufacturers, when it
came to putting in place a vaccine policy,
everything was centralised. Actually, it was
not even centralised, it was individualised,
because someone wanted to be a 'Vaccine
Guru'. Narendra Modi wanted to be known
as a 'Vaccine Guru'."
He said that India was not short of oxygen
but the government delayed setting up of 162
onsite oxygen plants across 14 states by 8
Corporation (BMC) has cancelled the
scheduled 3-day vaccination drive starting
Monday and the schedule has now
been pushed ahead by a day, said
Municipal Commissioner I. S. Chahal.
In a precautionary move, the Indian
Coast Guard ensured the safe return of
months and "when the crisis hits hard, the
state governments were blamed".
Citing the eight-phase West Bengal
around 5,600 boats which had gone for
fishing in the Arabian Seas besides rerouting
335 merchant ships in the vicinity
of the cyclone path. It said that the
operations started from May 11 when
the first warning of the impending
cyclone was received with preventive
and response measures initiated on the
entire west coast including
Lakshadweep Isles, with multiple agencies
working in coordination.
Western Railway General Manager
Alok Kansal conducted video-conference
with the top officials of the various
divisions on the Maharashtra-Gujarat
region to take stock of the preparedness
for the natural calamity. He gave
detailed instructions on train movements,
communication including satellite
phones, wireless and drones, logistics,
speed restrictions, alternative
power arrangements, fuel, tree-cutting
equipment, JCBs, utility vehicles, cancellations,
part-cancellations of various
services, etc. as a safety-cum-precautionar
Kansal asked the officials to follow
the guidelines of the Disaster
Management Manuals of the Railways,
the NDMA and state agencies, said WR
spokesperson Sumit Thakur.
Teams of the NDRF, SDRF,
Maharashtra Police, Fire Brigade, Coast
Guard, Indian Navy and other agencies
are on high alert in the entire coastal
belt to tackle any eventuality.
PM 'individualised' everything to
become 'Vaccine Guru': Congresss
Assembly elections, the "super-spreader rallies"
and the Kumbh Mela, Khera said that
questions were being asked on the government's
decisions. "You can't have centralised
decision-making and decentralised responsibility,
both have to be decentralised, both
have to be in tune with each other."
"Today, because of you, different states
are negotiating with the same companies,
vaccine manufacturers for their people. They
will all get different prices... Why? Who will
be answer these questions too?" he asked.
Khera alleged that when the nation was
getting overwhelmed by the pandemic, one
man with his government "still busy trying to
save a fake image that he has built of himself.
His fake image cannot be more important
than my real life, than the real lives of
my family members, my friends, my loved
Can we have end to this 'Rambo culture', asks Sajad Lone
Srinagar : People's Conference
Chairman Sajad Lone has hit out at Jammu
and Kashmir Police for arresting the sons of
separatist leader Ashraf Sehrai.
Sehrai, who was detained under Public
Safety Act (PSA), died in a Jammu hospital
on May 5. "And y do u have to do that.
Which society will condone ur actions. They
lost their father who died while being in govt
custody. What r u competing for—- ferocity.
Point taken. Yes u do come across as ferocious,
Cruel and Ugly. Now Can we have an
end to this Rambo culture," Lone said in a
tweet. Earlier, police said Sehrai's sons and
others were arrested for raising "anti-national"
slogans and were not booked under the
stringent PSA. Police also appealed to people
not to pay heed to rumours.
18 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Guru Tegh Bahadur, Sikhism and Mughals
This first May (2021), was also the
day of 400th Anniversary of birth of the
Ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur ji.
Guruji has a very important place in the
consolidation of Sikhism; he was also
the one who sacrificed his life for the
sake of principles. As such Sikhism, the
religion founded by Sant Shri Guru
Nanak Dev ji has been a major religion
which has developed in the subcontinent.
When the orthodoxy of Muslim
maulnas and the Hindu priests was stifling
the humane aspects of religion,
Nanak founded this religion, which was
based on humanism and equality. Rather
than having a confrontationist attitude to
Islam or Hinduism, he was inspired and
highlighted the values of equality in particular.
He appreciated the monotheism
from Islam and theory of Karma from
Hinduism. He travelled to Mecca to
understand the intricacies of Islam and
went to Kashi to internalize the subtlety
of Hinduism. The result was that the
religion he founded had massive appeal
to vast masses that flocked to him for
spiritual and moral enhancement.
He underlined the teachings of
Muslim Sufis particularly Sheikh Farid
and Hindu Bhakti Saint Sant Kabir and
their likes. More than rituals he focused
on the interpersonal amity and opposed
the rigidities imposed by the clergy of
both religions. To break the untouchability
and the hierarchy inherent in the
social system, the Sikh tradition introduced
langar (community meals), one
of the most beautiful contributions of
Sikhism in a multi religious society.
Even today when any community is
faced with problem of food supply
members from this community are
forthcoming in organizing langers. The
one’s organized for Rohingiyas, and one
organized for farmers agitating for their
rights have been were very touching.
Lately in the times of Corona the unique
concept of ‘Oxygen Langar’ is a
remarkable contribution from this community.
Sikhism has a unique and distinct
theology and practices. The Holy book
of Sikhs is a great contribution to our
society as apart from the writings of
Gurus themselves, it incorporates the
writings of Bhakti and Sufi saints. The
core aspect of the religion is morality
and love for the community, overcoming
the caste and religion’s boundaries.
UK's Royal Mail launches stamps
in Prince Philip's memory
Remarkably the foundation of Golden
temple (Amritsar) was laid by a Sufi
saint Miyan Mir, an indication of
respecting for values rather than divisive
narrow boundaries. It is due to this
that Sant Guru Nanak himself proclaimed,
Na main Hindu; Na main
Muslaman. (I am neither a Hindu nor a
Muslim), these were two major religions
in the area.
Today there are claims that Sikhism
is a wing of Hinduism to protect it from
the cruel Muslim rulers. It is claimed
that this tradition was mainly there to
challenge the Mughals. There is no
doubt that some Sikh Gurus faced cruelty
from Mughal rulers, particularly
Aurangzeb, but that is part of the story.
In totality Sikhism did begin as an egalitarian
religion and later the Sikh community
did organize itself as a centre of
power. Many of these conflicts for
power are presented as struggles of
Sikhism and Islam, which is not true.
Akbar in particular had good relations
with Gurus who succeeded Nanak.
Later Jahangir and Guru Arjun had a
conflict as Guru Arjan had blessed the
rebel prince Khusrau. Some insignificant
incidents like emperor’s favorite
hawk flying in to Guru’s camp when the
emperor was on a hunting expedition
also acted as irritants. Interestingly in
one of the small scuffles between
emperor and Sikh Guru, Sikh forces
were led by Painda
Khan, a Pathan. On
the question of power
Sikh Gurus also had conflicts with the
Hindu Rajas of Hills, particularly the
Raja of Bilaspur. The Rajas were
uncomfortable with the rise of Sikh
power. There are records that
Aurangzeb’s relationship with Sikh
gurus was not linear. He gave grant to
Guru Har Rai’s younger son Ram
Kishan, in the form of land in
Dehradun. Selective incidents from
Aurangzeb and Sikh Gurus are being
generalized to present as if all Mughal
Kings were against Sikhs.
It is propagated that Hindus were
being oppressed by Mughal Governor
of Kashmir. Iftekhar Khan held that post
from 1671. His predecessor Saif Khan
had a Hindu as his advisor. About
Iftekhar Khan, who was anti Shia; even
the history of Kashmir written by
Narayan Kaul in 1710 does not mention
persecution of Hindus. It is true that
execution of Guru Tagh Bahadur by
Aurangzeb was cruel and uncalled for. It
is this act which led to founding of
Khalsa by Guru Govind Singh. That,
religion was not the central motive of
most battles also becomes clear from
the fact that the combined force of many
of the hill Rajas attacked Guru at
Later when Aurangzeb was in
Deccan, he wrote to Governor of Lahore
to conciliate with Guru Govind Singh.
After the Guru wrote to Aurangzeb, he
invited Guru to Deccan to meet him.
Guru did start his journey to Deccan but
on way came to know of the death of
Aurangzeb. Sikhism is a great example
of an egalitarian religious movement
turned into a political, militaristic
movement and which moved towards
Sikhism is the best example of popular
subaltern egalitarian aspirations
which the Sikh Gurus kindled. It
brought in the values
of equality and overcame
the social hegemony
of clerical elements and traditions
which were harping on domination in
the garb of religion. It transcended the
narrow boundaries to bring in
Humanism, upholding the best aspects
of prevalent religions around.
The propaganda that Aurangzeb
wanted to convert the country into
Darul Islam, does not seem to be logical.
In the systematic study of composition
of his Court shows that the number
of Hindu officials in his Court rose to
nearly 33%, more than even the previous
rulers. With Rajputs he had cordial
relations as Raja Jai Singh and Jaswant
Singh were his trusted officers. Same
way he had to spend lots of energy
fighting against Afghan Tribesmen.
Guru Tegh bahadur and other Sikh
Gurus who emphasized humane values
deserve our highest respect.
Women offer prayers to
'Corona Mai' in UP villages
London : The UK's Royal
Mail on Thursday announced
that it has issued four new
stamps in the memory of Prince
Philip, who died at the age of 99
last month. The commemorative
stamps feature black and white
images taken at various stages of
the Duke of Ediburgh's life,
reports dpa news agency.
One image reflects the
Prince's time in service, taken by
the photographer Baron, while
the second is of the him attending
the passing out parade of his
son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of
York, at Dartmouth Naval
College in Devon.
Another stamp is of Philip at
the Royal Windsor Horse Show,
while the last is a portrait taken
by photographer Terry O'Neill.
The four stamps cost 5.76
pounds and are a mix of Second
Class, First Class, 1.70 pound
and 2.55 pound stamps.
The memorabilia is listed for
pre-order on the Royal Mail
website but will only go on sale
from June 24. "Throughout
adulthood, the duke of
Edinburgh dedicated himself to
the service of this country, the
Commonwealth and to the many
causes he was involved with,"
Simon Thompson, Chief
Executive of the Royal Mail,
said. "For more than seven
decades he was at the centre of
our national life. His passing is a
key moment in our history which
we mark with this set of commemorative
The Prince, Queen Elizabeth
II's husband, and was the
longest-serving consort in
Women in the villages of
Varanasi and Kushinagar have
now deified the Coronavirus
and have started worshipping
'Corona Mai' to lessen her fury
and save people from dying.
The women, on Sunday,
lined up to offer prayers to
'Corona Mai' in Kushinagar
district. In Varanasi, women are
coming together in groups on
the Ghats to offer prayers and
appease the Corona Mai.
Surili Devi of Kushinagar
said that they would offer
prayers for 21 days to appease
the Corona Mai and were confident
that the pandemic would
recede. When asked who prescribed
them this spiritual
method to check the deadly
virus, she said, "A number of
pandits have said that we
should offer prayers to stop the
She said that everyone was
confident that the prayers
would work and Corona would
go away from their villages.
Women who are lining up to
pray for hours, are not maintaining
"When we are praying to
Corona Mai, there is no need
for anything else. The 'Corona
Mai' will bless us and cure people,"
said Ishwari, another
The moment the news reached Venerable Dr. Saranapala of
Canada that millions of people in India are affected due to the second
wave of Coronavirus, he started organizing donations to help the
poor and needy.
Venerable Dr. Saranapala selected his trusted team in India and
started sending donations to buy food material, essential medicine,
and oxygen cylinders for those who are unable to afford it. By doing
so he has saved thousands of human life.
In Gurugram & Delhi, Venerable Dr. Saranapala selected his trusted
team to distribute food material to the neediest and poor people.
Dr. Rahul Kumar Balley and his team distributed food material (Atta,
Dal, Sugar, Rice, and cooking oil) to the poor and needy people.
More than 6 Lakh migrant laborers lost their jobs due to curfew and
lockdown in the month of April & May. They do not have food to eat
and survive. Their small children are sleeping without food.
In Noida, Venerable Bhante Sumit Ratan Thera is selected by
Venerable Dr. Saranapala of Canada to distribute medicine and oxygen
cylinder. Venerable Bhante Sumit is distributing the essential
medicine prescribed by doctors to the people who are unable to
afford even the basic medicine.
Venerable Dr. Saranapala holds a Ph.D. in religious studies.
Reverend Dr. Saranapala is a global public speaker, teacher of mindfulness,
Mediation, spiritual Counsellors & Founder of ‘Canada: “A
Mindful and kind nation”. He is a recipient of “Canada 150 Medal
and Sesquicentennial Community Award” from the Government of
Canada. He has conducted mediation retreats to the city counsellors
in Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, the Peel Region and the Toronto
He is a learned professor who earned respect from his students
through hard work. Venerable Dr. Saranapala is running a Buddhist
temple in Canada and quite a popular and resourceful Urban
Buddhist Monk who is always ready to help the affected people
across the world.
We, the people of India, are grateful to Venerable Dr. Saranapala
of Canada and wish him a long, purposeful life with love & compassion.
He is a Messiah for the poor and needy people. The poor and
needy people who have received food material, medicine are blessing
Venerable Dr. Saranapala for his timely help.
-Dr. Rahul Kumar
senior Correspondent, the Asian Independent, UK-
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 19
Support for the Sewer Workers &
Waste Pickers (Daily wagers, labourers
/contractual workers) of Delhi NCR!
Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) has been working in close association
with Sewer workers and Waste Pickers on their issues. India is facing brunt of Covid 19
second wave. Covid 19 second wave is attacking millions of people every day.
Lockdown by various states have been announced. Delhi NCR has been locked down
since April 19, 2021.
Due to the frightful spread of Covid 19,
humanitarian aid have been limited. Many
concerned citizens and organizations came
forward to reach out and help people struggling
to get supplies of oxygen and hospital
beds. Owing to India’s size and population, it
is very difficult for anyone to reach to everyone.
Most of the Sewer Workers and Waste
Pickers in Delhi are Daily wagers who used
to earn hand to mouth. Delhi has unofficially
many sewer workers and waste pickers. They
all are struggling due to the lockdown.
DASAM plans to:
• Provide monetary assistance to the families
of Sewer Worker and Waste Pickersthus
enabling them to buy milk (for young
children), medicines, gas supply, oil, soap
etc. by their own. Each worker will be given
a sum of Rs 1000/- only.
The monetary assistance will be given to
only verified people. We aim to provide for
minimum 200 (100 sewer workers and 100
Kolkata : Police in West
Bengal were on the alert on the
first day of the statewide lockdown
on Sunday and actively
enforcing the bar on any unauthorised
movement. While there were
some breaches of the restrictions,
the streets in Kolkata and around
the state were largely deserted.
The state imposed a near total
lockdown condition in the state,
giving a window of three hours --
7 a.m. to 10 a.m. -- for shops to
operate and people to buy essentials.
A handful of people were seen
waiting for their turn outside grocery
shops in the morning, while
some queued up next to vegetable
and fish stalls at local market
places early in the day.
However, in several markets in
the city and its outskirts, such as
Hatibagan, Gariahat and Sodpur,
customers did not maintain physical distance
and many vendors were spotted without
masks. Some hawkers who had their shops
open beyond 10 a.m. were forced to close
down by the police. Sukumar Saha, a fish
vendor in Kakdwip area of South 24
Parganas, said: "The government could have
imposed a total shutdown on market-places.
This three-hour window is more of a hassle.
Just when the business was at its peak, we
were told to shut down."
Some markets like that in Maniktala,
Lake Town, Hatibagan in Kolkata and in
Asansol, Durgapur and Purulia, tried to continue
with their business beyond the stipulated
time but police closed the market forcefully
and, in some cases, arranged for some
unique punishment for breaking rules. In
Purulia, police asked the violators to shut
their shops and do ten sit-ups in front of the
police before allowing them to go.
A senior police officer said necessary
measures were being taken to generate
awareness on the lockdown norms, and
action would be taken against those violating
As the government has imposed a strict
suspension of public transport and private
vehicles were only allowed with proper reason,
there were hardly any vehicles seen on
the road. Police, however, took details of the
few private vehicles that plied on the road.
waste workers) families located in Delhi-
NCR. If we are able to raise more amount,
we will reach out to more.
• Provide dry ration to (50) Sewer Worker
and (50) Waste Pickers family.
We need your help and financial support
to sustain and expand this effort. We are writing
this appeal to come forward and help
those in need. Any amount you choose to
give will be appreciated.
If you want to help DASAM’s relief work
kindly support. To Donate:
Account Name – MAGADH FOUNDA-
Account No. – 920010069743911
IFSC Code – UTI0000126
Branch Name- AXIS BANK, B-6,
Lajpat Nagar 2, New Delhi
UPI ID: enazafar96@okaxis
For donations a Copy of pan card is
required, after making a donation, please
send an email to email@example.com
For more details, contact:
+918178959197 : 9958797409
– In solidarity
Secretary, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar
Roads deserted on Bengal lockdown's
first day as police keep vigil
"If they failed to give a proper reason, then
they were either told to go back and, in some
cases, we have seized the vehicle," a senior
Kolkata police officer on duty told IANS. So
far, Kolkata police have arrested 23 people
and lodged cases against them under the
Disaster Management Act, while 59 vehicles
have ben seized.
As the Metro services in the city were suspended,
several frontline workers complained
that they had difficulty reaching their
place of work.
"I and my colleague got late to work, as
he had to take a detour and pick me up from
home," a nurse working in a private hospital
20 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Need to clean caste vocabulary of our mind
(Asian Independent)- A Television
actress more known for her flirting
ways than any acting exposed her caste
mind when she said : Lip tint ko halka
sa blush ki tarah laga liya hai because
main YouTube pe aane wali hoon aur
main achha dikhna chahti hoon. Bh***i
ki tarah nahi dikhna chahti hoon.
Simply translated is that I am planning
to speak to you through my YouTube
channel and hence I want to look beautiful
and not like the Bhangis , a
derogatory term used for the community
of those engaged in sanitation and
manual scavenging work. The term is
officially prohibited now but
Brahmanical mindset continue to use
this term to humiliate the community.
The actress Munmun Dutta later
issued a statement by saying that she
never meant to hurt the people and it
was a goof up because she is not a
native Hindi speaker though it is
another matter that she is an important
player in Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma
which started in August 2008. If you
have watched the show, it might look
light entertainment with comedy on
day to day issues but frankly it is also a
way to inject the Savarna cultural values
where traditions and past become
supreme as prescribed by the RSS.
Munmun Dutta s so called apology
is nothing but clever attempt to escape
from the criminal offence after the
hashtag to arrest started graining
momentum on twitter. Fact is that what
Dutta said is common in the echelon of
the caste Hindus and they are part and
parcel of the feudal cattiest society particularly
in the northern belt, proudly
referred as cow-belt .
Abuses and slurs on the basis of ones
jaati ie. caste, gender, disability is part
of our culture . A common abuse in our
day today life is behanxxxxd and a it
comes in our mouth as if like a
mantra . Terming langada , loola ,
andha , behara for physically challenged
persons with Polio, blind and
deaf, is also common. For women who
cant conceive the term is used as
banjh . Similarly widows, single
women too were called through various
The idioms and sayings in Hindi
have absolute Brahmanical abuse
against the people on the margin. I
would call that Brahmanical abuse of
the grammar. The abuse against the
Dalits and women are part of language
and used to get the maximum claps.
Political leaders, orators , have always
used such caste narrative to build up
their case . One should not forget in
the aftermath of Mandal Commission
report, many Savarna boys organised
unique protests where they were
sweeping the street and some of them
shining the shoes of the people while
the girls cried with slogans if all the
boys are doing this work then where
will we get our husbands . The contempt
for the work that Dalits have
been engaged in and the thought that it
is the work they deserved while our
work is to dominate and rule, makes
the Savarnas think that they are meritorious
and deserve all the important
position by virtue of their caste
supremacy. Accepting that non brahmins
and Dalits in particular can have
merit and perhaps better than them is a
rare thought and difficult to fathom.
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
social and human rights activist
India need a serious introspection as
such nasty thoughts that some people
are born unequal while others have
born merit in them is an idea which
might have emerged two thousands
years back but in the modern times
when we have a constitution and are
rule based, such thoughts itself must not
merely be serious condemned but thoroughly
punished so that there is no
chance of their repetition. India need a
hate crime law which can take such
issues on a serious basis and punish the
guilty. Our schools, colleges and dictionaries
need a relook and student
must be informed from the child hood
how caste system is killing human
inside us and how this system should be
thrown into garbage.
In the meanwhile, it is time that
Munmun Dutta s utterings should be
taken seriously and she must be prosecuted.
Aim is not the punishment but
the message must go what ails our society
and why it is essential that such
thoughts does not appear in our mind.
Caste discrimination must have the
same kind of intolerance from us as
world is dealing with racial prejudices.
Our children must know from their
homes that we are living in society
where constitution is supreme and it
deals every one as equal. Caste discrimination
and caste system must be not
merely condemned but thrown in the
dustbin and for that we must put annihilation
of castes on our agenda but
will that be possible if our students are
not taught about the dirty relic of our
past which the caste system is and how
Baba Saheb Ambedkar fought against
it. Let this Bambai cinema , which
often make jokes on the colour of your
skin and glorify the past start taking a
lesson from Dr Ambedkar s life and
mission. We hope more and more
Indian families would read Dr
Ambedkar, Jyoti ba Phule, Periyar and
others who preached humanism and
human values. Once we become
humanists in true sense, the dirty edifice
of the caste system will automatically
collapse. The task is tough as
those enjoying power and patronage for
centuries would not leave their privileges
and hence international community,
anti caste groups and Bahujan masses
should join hand to do the needful
and get an alternative as shown by Dr
Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social
and human rights activist. He blogs
Authentic and Adventurous Dagestan
Having been to quite a few
amazing places across the globe,
I would list Dagestan among the
destinations definitely worth visiting.
Situated in the south of
Russia on the Caspian Sea and in
the North Caucasus, Dagestan
can boast the wide-screen
wilderness and striking beauty of
its mountains, mirror-smooth
lakes, picturesque mountain
rivers, remote half-abandoned
villages to head for to discover
their authenticity and tranquillity,
legacy of what once used to
be part of the Great Silk Road,
and other interesting things and
sites that will make your trip
Makhachkala, the capital of
Dagestan and the largest city in
the North Caucasus, is just a
three-hour flight from Moscow.
The city may not be known for
its white sandy beaches, though
it is located on the Caspian Sea,
but there s no denying
Makhachkala is one of the most
ethnically and culturally diverse
cities in Russia. The vibes are of
an old bustling market town.
Head for authentic ambience and
cuisine at Restaurant-
Museum na Lermontova or
choose a ritzy spot like
Syrovarnya on Lake Akgel.
The next day you might
want to visit Derbent, which
claims to be the oldest city in
Russia and one of the oldest
continuously inhabited cities
in the world. It changed ownership
many times due to its
strategic location and at the
beginning of the 19th century
it passed to Russia. Now it
holds legacy of many cultures
like Persian, Arab,
Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan
and Iranian. Derbent is also
renowned for its Medieval
fortress, Naryn-Kala, which is a
UNESCO world heritage site.
Travel back in time wandering
its cobbled streets and enjoying
breath-taking views on the city
and the sea. The oldest mosque
in Russia that was built in 734 is
also located in Derbent.
Another notable site is the
Sulak Canyon, the deepest
canyon in Europe and one of the
deepest in the world. The views
are absolutely fabulous and stunning
both from the top of the
mountains down the canyon and
when you are in a speed boat
exploring the untouched beauty
of the Sulak river. On your way
back stop by Glavryba, the ecofriendly
tourist spot. Not only
-Dr. Rahul Kumar
the Asian independent UK
can you savor freshly caught
trout there, but also ride a jet ski
or kayak down the Sulak river.
To further uncover
Dagestan s natural wonders, set
off on a road trip to Ghunib, a
rural locality up in the Caucasus
Mountains. Along the way revel
in the serene waters of the
Irganai reservoir (you might as
well want to take a boat trip) and
make a stop at one of the roadside
home cafes in Shamilkala to
have a light meal of hot ovenbaked
bread, cheese and local
herbal tea with homemade jam.
A friendly host or hostess will
most probably invite you in their
garden to treat you to their
seasonal fruit and nuts. I
was visiting the place in
November and ate persimmon
and walnuts right from
the trees. That was a truly
genuine experience. Once
in Ghunib, visit its local
historical museum and then
go further up in the mountains
to take in spectacular
views. Later in the evening
you might want to try local
specialities like khinkal,
kyurze and chudu in the
cafØ in the main square.
Stay overnight in
Ghunib and next morning
head for Chokh, a village with
only two streets and less than
1000 inhabitants, located on top
of craggy cliffs. From there, on
the opposite mountains, you will
see the ultimate goal of your
journey the ghost village of
Gamsutl, which is sometimes
referred to as the Machu Picchu
of Dagestan . Located 1500
meters above sea level, the village
is believed to date back
2000 years. Once there were
around 300 houses and also
shops and a hospital but the last
resident died in 2015. The only
way to reach the place is first by
car and then with an hour-long
climb on foot along a narrow
path. The dramatic and epic
views from top of the village are
undoubtedly worth the effort.
Also, evidence of various eras
and religions can still be distinguished
on the house fronts like
Christian crosses, Persian
inscriptions, Arabic script, and
the Star of David.
Dagestan has a lot to offer
those looking for adventurous
and authentic experiences. You
just have to start planning your
trip there. The best time to
explore its intact nature is from
April to October when scenic
landscapes are at its best. And in
the summer heat, if you feel like
having a swim in the Caspian
Sea, head to resort cities
Kaspiysk and Izberbash.
Come and visit Dagestan, a
land with a mix of riddles and
revelations, adventures and tranquillity,
old and new, off-grid
and comfortable, and you will
fall in love with it once and forever.
Mother India since Independence
has gained world-wide respect. Prior to
this, centuries ago the European and the
English Authorities sent explorers in
search of India. They risked high seas to
reach it. Queen Victoria had a lot of
interest in India. India attracted all
because it had wealth, spices and rich
The Aryans were the first foreigners
to enter India through Hindu Kush and
the History between them and the
inhabitants of India started here in West
India then known as Sind Ghatti.
Today’s Punjab, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Burma and Nagaland were part of it.
The Aryans since arrival have spread
hatred against the natives and from the
rulers have degraded them to mere nothing.
Ancient cities Mohenjo-Daro and
Harappa are evidence to native progress
and these discoveries have uncovered
the truth covered by the Aryans. These
archaeological discoveries by Sir
Wheeler in the year 1920 have brought
pride and dignity for the natives but the
hatred against them has remained intact.
It was mostly the natives who joined
the British Army in India. They performed
beyond British expectations and
many for bravery received Victoria
Crosses. The fighting
spirit of the Ghurkha and
the Sikh regiment is still
Through the loyalty
shown by the Ghurkha
soldiers, the British
them in the Her Majesty
all the ruling
Governments have pursued
a motto to improve
India economically and
build it’s Military arson.
Unfortunately, all the
Governments have totally ignored those
who are below poverty line. They have
purposely kept them in that state.
By keeping them in this state they are
able to use them in any manner that
would enhance their success. On false
promises and through bribes, the poor
are easily bought for their votes and
used in making of a huge number in the
election gatherings. They are also used
to cause trouble during the election period.
The circumstances of the poor force
them to fulfil such demands.
But now through this BJP
Government, the things
have worsened because
it is following a different
agenda and that is to
establish Hindu Rashtra
in India. For them establishing
of the Hindu
Rashtra is more important
progress. Their main
concern is to replace
Indian Constitution by
Thousands are dying
but instead of saving
lives, they are completed
focused in building of
new central Vista. For them, it seems
that this project is of utmost importance
then the human life.
There is lack of oxygen in the hospitals
and medical staff is deeply
depressed in the way the deaths are happening.
They are raising awareness to
third wave but the Government is failing
It seems the Government is chasing
to cut gap between 85% and 15%.
Through rallies the corona has spread
into the rural areas and there they have
no medical aid at all. They are dying in
large numbers but exact numbers are
not being informed.
The poor in the rural area are unable
to finance cremating so in Bihar and
Uttar Pradesh they are putting the bodies
in River Ganges. More than 100
bodies have been recovered by the villagers
in Bihar those were floating in
the River Ganges. The authorities are
only declaring forty.
Some believe that bodies are also
being put in the River Ganges by the
authorities to hide the true figures.
Another theory is that the bodies have
been put in the River Ganges in hope
they reach Bengal and would give the
BJP Government an opportunity to
strike at Mumta Benerjee.
Dirty politics have become a norm in
India. In England the life is returning
back to normal because the Government
has acted as per recommendation of the
scientists and medical administrators.
The Indians living in the foreign countries
are now noticing that the Hindus
have started to lose the respect they had.
The Muslims and the Sikhs have
started to gain respect because their
good deeds are being shown worldwide.
The Muslims and the Sikhs were
labelled as terrorists but to the world
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
OH INDIA – 0H INDIA – OUR MOTHER INDIA
they have proved that it is the Hindus
who are raciest towards other communities.
The people living in Britain are experiencing
this so an application for the
caste act was raised. It was finalised and
was to be implemented but has been
held back. What is happening in India
does prove that RSS is caste based ideology.
It has not made any effort to help
the needy and the BJP Government is
serving FIR’s on the people who are trying
to help the ones in need.
The Corpses those have been left
behind by those who cannot meet the
cremation costs are being buried or cremated
by the Muslim Brotherhood. The
Sikh are feeding the needy and helping
the covid sufferers by supplying oxygen.
The world was shocked to see that
the oxygen tanks donated by Saudi
Arabia had Reliance stickers put on to
hide the donator’s name. This shows of
hidden hate against the Muslims within
the RSS and BJP. We are living in 21st
century but this Government is trying to
drag us back into ancient times when
the Brahmins had full control under
their belt. It is like bringing back slavery
India and France backed by QUAD may have
to counter Islamic State in Mozambique
New Delhi : India and
France with backup support
from Japan and the United
States — key members of
the Indo-Pacific QUAD,
which also includes
Australia — may need to
focus on Mozambique to
counter the deadly Islamic
State terror group.
Alarming reports are
emerging about the rise of
the Islamic State (IS) in
Mozambique, a country
with vast natural resources.
Specifically, the IS appears
to be eyeing Mozambique's
energy reserves, including
oil and gas, to fuel a prolonged
conflict, if not emergence
of a new Caliphate in
The IS has already
acquired considerable experience
in Syria of taking
over oil wells and fuelling
its operations by selling
energy through grey-zone channels.
After its displacement from West Asia,
the IS can now leverage that experience,
and knowledge of underground
networks to monetise illegal sales, in
its new geographical setting.
The IS was essentially thrown out
of Syria and Iraq. Consequently, it has
discovered new safe havens in parts of
Afghanistan, Central Asia and Africa,
The IS has been digging in, in the
impoverished Cabo Delgado region in
the northern part of Mozambique. In
March, it overran the resort town of
Palma, not far from an energy project
run by Total, the French energy major.
In an opinion article in The Hill,
Kelly Alkhouli a political consultant at
the Center of Political and Foreign
Affairs (CPFA), points out that apart
from energy, the Cabo Delgado area is
a significant trafficking route for
ivory, timber, rubies, arms and, most
importantly, heroin. Heroin, he says, is
largely produced in Afghanistan and
then trafficked into Iran and Pakistan;
from there it follows various routes to
the international market.
Over the past three decades, northern
Mozambique has become increasingly
significant in the southern trafficking
route, where heroin produced
in Afghanistan and into Iran and
Pakistan is then transported to South
Africa and shipped off to Europe.
According to a recent study, roughly
USD 600 million to USD 800 million
worth of heroin is trafficked
through northern Mozambique, says
Where does India fit into the picture
and what is its interest in denting
the IS's hold in the country?
The marginalisation of the IS in
Mozambique is important to India for
several reasons. For instance,
Mozambique has 3,000 Indian nationals,
representing various Indian companies
or working as professionals in
Mozambican companies. Besides,
there is 20000 strong Indian diaspora
population tracing is roots to Gujarat,
Goa, Daman& Diu. This Indian-origin
community is mostly engaged in
wholesale and retail trade in
Mozambique, according to an Indian
Second, India has invested billions
of dollars in Mozambique, but these
investments are now being endangered
by the IS forays. India's ONGC
Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and Oil India Ltd.
(OIL) have invested heavily in the
$24.1 billion liquefied natural gas
(LNG) project on the Afungi peninsula
in Mozambique, which was being
led by French energy titan Total SE.
The project is meant to yield 12.88
million tonnes of LNG per annum. But
following the IS attack in March in the
Cabo Delgado region, Total has pulled
out of the Afungi project.
Further entrenchment of the IS in
Cabo Delgado would also mean that
the terror group could permeate its
influence in neighbouring
Malawi, Tanzania and South
Africa, along the Indian Ocean
With the IS impinging significantly
on Indian interests, as well
as that of the France, certain contingency
plans may have to be
drawn. But Kelly Alkhouli in his
article in The Hill advises
against any form of direct military
action by foreign powers in
Mozambique. "A foreign military
intervention should be
avoided at all cost; it would only
be an expensive advertisement
for global jihad in southern
Africa," he observes.
Instead, he suggests that certain
countries with experience in
combating terrorism could provide
substantive support by
training Mozambican forces on
the ground and increasing security
Mozambique, especially along
the Tanzanian border.
Analysts say that in order to impose
psychological pressure on IS, without
arming it with any propaganda
mileage, India can team up with
France and two other QUAD members,
Japan and the United States, to
locally train and provide backup support
to the Mozambican forces.
France, Japan and the United States all
have military bases in Djibouti in the
Horn of Africa. France can also provide
assistance to Mozambique from
its territories of and La Réunion and
Mayotte in the Indian Ocean.
(This content is being carried under
an arrangement with
22 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
UK expert urges 'utmost caution'
over LOCKDOWN easing
Police use drones for
surveillance in Trichy
Chennai : The Trichy district police have deployed drones for
surveillance on whether people are coming out of their homes during
the lockdown period. The drones will be in action in five divisions
of Trichy district including, Lalgudi, Jeeyapuram, Musiri,
Mannaparai and Thiruverumbur.
A senior police officer while speaking to IANS said, "We are
deploying drones in the busy areas and as of now we will have one
drone a day in one division. The drone facility will help us identify
the violators and people are also aware that we are using drones,
hence most will fall in line."
The police are of the opinion that the gatherings in public
places in Trichy have come down drastically but people are venturing
out on two wheelers in large numbers. The use of drones is
helping the police keep track of violators during lockdown.
Trichy district police superintendent in a press statement said
that the police had so far booked and fined 16,262 people for not
wearing masks since the lockdown was imposed and a total of 608
were penalized for not maintaining social distance.
About 800 police personnel and 300 home guards are deployed
by the Trichy district police to monitor the situation and the rural
police have kept a tight vigil at 20 entry points in the district. Two
wheeler patrol in 30 places and four wheeler in 15 places were
deployed across the district, according to the statement of the district
J&K Police refutes
Mehbooba Mufti claim on
arrest of Sehrai's sons
Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir Police denied on Sunday that
the two sons of recently-deceased separatist leader Ashraf Sehrai
have been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Reacting to the PDP chief and former Chief Minister
Mehbooba Mufti's tweet alleging that the PSA seemed to be the
only solution the Central government had for the problems in
Kashmir, police said that Sehrai's two sons have been arrested for
raising anti-national slogans during a funeral, but have not been
detained under the PSA.
Sehrai died of Covid on May 5 this year in a Jammu hospital
where he was shifted from the jail.
Family and relatives alleged that he had been shifted to hospital
from the prison too late.
London : Rich nations must delay their
plans to vaccinate their children and
teenagers against Covid-19 and instead
donate the jabs to low-income countries,
the World Health Organization (WHO)
"In a handful of rich countries, which
bought up the majority of the vaccine supply,
lower risk groups are now being vaccinated,"
WHO director-general Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a
virtual conference in Geneva on Friday.
"I understand why some countries want
to vaccinate their children and adolescents,
but right now I urge them to reconsider and
to instead donate vaccines to Covax,"
Ghebreyesus said. The statement comes as,
last week, the US, Canada and Switzerland
laid out plans to begin coronavirus vaccine
shots for adolescents. The global distribution
of Covid vaccines remains vastly
uneven. Four of the world's high-income
countries, with a population of 1.2 billion
(16 per cent of global population), account
for 4.6 billion doses (53 per cent of all purchased
doses). On the other hand, the lowincome
countries hold just 770 million
doses, according to a study from the Duke
Global Health Innovation Centre. The US
is expected to have 300 million or more
coronavirus vaccine excess doses by the
end of July, the study found. The US, followed
by China and India have administered
the highest number of vaccine doses
London : The next stage of lockdown
easing in England slated for Monday
should be approached the "with utmost
caution", a UK public health expert
Richard Jarvis, co-chairman of the
British Medical Association (BMA) public
health medicine committee, said on
Saturday that "key segments of the population"
were still not vaccinated against
Covid-19, Xinhua news agency reported.
"It is a real worry that when further
measures lift on May 17, the majority of
younger people, who are often highly
socially mobile and could therefore be
most at risk of a more infectious strain, are
not yet vaccinated," he told the BBC.
Those people in that age group had seen
the highest rates of positive tests throughout
the pandemic but would now be able to
mix in larger groups indoors "without
many of the mitigations that have helped to
push infection rates lower and lower since
the start of the year", he said.
"We are urging the public, and young
people in particular, to take a cautious
approach to social and physical contact, to
continue practising 'hands, face, space' and
to meet outdoors wherever possible," he
The expert's warning came after Britain
witnessed a spike in cases of the coronavirus
variant first detected in India.
The UK government's Scientific
Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)
has said the relaxation on Monday could
"lead to a substantial resurgence of hospitalisations,
similar to, or larger than, previous
The scientists said there "may be some
reduction in protection" when it comes to
the current vaccines.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson
said on Friday that the spread of the Indiarelated
variant, known as B1617.2, would
not affect the scheduled easing of lockdown
in England from Monday.
He said there was "no evidence" to suggest
the current vaccines would be less
effective against the strain.
From Monday, pubs, bars and restaurants
in England will be permitted to open
overall. But, a few countries in Africa are
yet to get started on vaccination campaigns.
"The fact that so many are still not
protected is a sad reflection on the gross
distortion in access to vaccines across the
globe," Ghebreyesus said. At present, only
0.3 per cent of vaccine supply is going to
low-income countries. Thus, many low and
lower-middle income countries do not have
vaccine supply to even immunise health
and care workers, he lamented. "Trickle
down vaccination is not an effective strategy
for fighting a deadly respiratory virus,"
The global fair-access schemeACovax
is co-led by the WHO, the Global Vaccine
Alliance (Gavi) and the Coalition for
indoors, while indoor entertainment will
also resume, including cinemas, museums
and children's play areas.
People in England will be allowed to
meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people,
and meet indoors in groups of up to six or
as two households.
Meanwhile, all remaining accommodation
including hotels, hostels and B&Bs
can reopen from May 24, according to
The British government's roadmap is
expected to see all legal limits on social
contact to be removed on June 21.
WHO asks rich countries to
delay child vax, donate jabs
Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
(Cepi), with the UN children's fund,
Unicef, as key implementation partner, has
been signed by 92 of the world's poor
The scheme aimed to first inoculate 20
per cent of the population in these countries
starting with health workers.
"Saving lives and livelihoods with a
combination of public health measures and
vaccination -- not one or the other -- is the
only way out of the pandemic,"
Ghebreyesus said. "Covid-19 has already
cost more than 3.3 million lives and we're
on track for the second year of this pandemic
to be far more deadly than the first,"
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19
and custodial apathy in jails
On May 15th, several family
members of the 15 prisoners
accused in the Bhima Koregaon-
Elgaar Parishad case addressed the
press via an online press conference.
Some of the arrestees have spent
three years behind bars and continue
to await trial. Even as the COVID-
19 pandemic rages with greater
intensity, several among those incarcerated
have contracted the virus.
Most of the arrestees are over the
age of 60 and most suffer severe
comorbidities. Despite the rapidly
deteriorating health of the incarcerated,
particularly most recently in
the case of Prof. Hany Babu basic
medical attention has been denied to
them. Demanding that those imprisoned
be released on bail in light of
the looming threat of the pandemic,
Prof. Babu’s wife Jenny Rowena,
Adv. Surendra Gadling’s wife Minal
Gadling, Fr. Stan Swamy’s friend
Fr. Joseph Xavier, Mahesh Raut’s
sister Monali, activist Harshali
Potdar of Republican Panthers
Jatiya Antachi Chalwal and friend
of Sudhir Dhawale, Adv. Sudha
Bharadwaj’s friend Smita Gupta
addressed the press.
Harshali told us of conditions
within Taloja Jail from Sudhir
Dhawale who informed her that
majority of the staff including cleaners
and cooks inside prison have
tested positive for COVID-19. The
hospital inside Taloja is currently
treating 60-65 people for the virus.
No testing facilities are available
inside jail. Instead, the jail is testing
people who are fit in order to show
that there are no cases. Eight persons
inside Sudhir Dhawale and
Vernon Gonsalves’ barrack have
tested positive. Yet the prison staff
have refused to test them. Sudhir
Dhawale despite being over the age
of 45 has been denied the vaccine as
he does not have an Aadhaar card.
Despite the fact that his documents
have been confiscated by the police,
being denied the right to be vaccinated
while in the custody of the
state raises the question, “whose
responsibility is it now?” The letters
being sent by them are reaching the
family with a delay of over a month
and video calls are not available.
Despite the Prison Act 1894 that
ensures that prisoners are entitled to
basic medical facilities. However, in
Taloja, there are no doctors, nurses,
lab technicians, etc. but only three
ayurvedic practitioners. Right to
proper food and water, right to intermingle
with other prisoners, communication
with family members
and lawyers through letters and
calls, speedy trials, etc. – all of these
rights are being violated.
Speaking of her husband Prof.
Hany Babu currently under treatment
in JJ Hospital after testing
positive for COVID-19 and suffering
a grave infection in his left eye,
Jenny Rowena spoke of the dangerous
situation inside jail. Despite
a 22-year-old undertrial prisoner
dying of COVID-19 inside jail
after complaining of sore throat
and still being denied medical
attention, the prisoners are expected
to take care of others who are
patients in the jail hospital which is
in fact a series of rooms with no
facilities. After developing a severe
eye infection on May 3rd, Prof.
Babu was not hospitalized. While
Jenny Rowena and Babu’s lawyers
made several desperate calls to the
prison authorities and informed
them to address the eye infection
which had spread to his cheeks and
forehead pushing his eye outward,
the jail authorities did not provide
him medical care. After May 7th,
his vision started being affected
and he was unable to coordinate
both eyes. Hearing this the family
has been in sheer panic. After
repeated efforts to reach the jail
superintendent to provide updates
of Babu’s medical condition, Babu
was taken to a small hospital where
he was prescribed arbitrary antibiotics.
Even though a follow-up
appointment was scheduled, Babu
was not permitted to visit the hospital.
Jenny and the legal team
intervened with the Chief Minister
to intervene and eventually Babu
was taken to the hospital on May
With limited water supply, unable
to wash clothes and maintain
hygiene, Prof. Babu struggled to
wipe his pus-filled eyes. Having to
use the same cloth again and again
without assistance to administer eye
drops given to him by the doctors in
the small hospital. While the prisoners
are tested for COVID-19 with
the Rapid Antigen Test and then test
negative, when taken to the hospital
after their situation worsens, the
RTPCR test reveals that they are
positive for the virus. Jenny emphasized
that every arrested person is a
human being but instead they are
being left to die in prison. When all
over the world people are demanding
decongestion of prisons, this is
not happening in India. While Babu
has been arrested on the basis of
documents found on a computer
which has repeatedly been found a
malicious plant, this should be noted
and all of them should be released.
Despite this, even the medical
reports of Babu have not been provided
to the family. The state should
be responsible for addressing the
medical conditions of the prisoners.
In this extraordinary situation,
extraordinary steps must be taken to
release these persons who are all
eminent persons who have worked
for the betterment of society.
Fr. Joseph Xavier spoke of how
Fr. Stan Swamy has never complained
about his health in 7
months. But on May 14th, for the
first time Fr. Stan spoke of his deteriorating
health. Furthermore, he is
disturbed by what he is seeing inside
prison. The Jesuits and the family
members are deeply concerned
about his health. While Ayurvedic
medicine is available inside prison,
it is not good enough to address the
precarious health conditions and
spread of COVID-19 in Taloja
prison. Being an 84-year-old suffering
from Parkinson, loss of hearing
and now suffering fever, cough and
troubles in his stomach, it is necessary
that he be provided allopathic
medicine and a doctor for diagnosis
and treatment. He has to be vaccinated
for COVID-19 urgently. He
cannot be denied vaccination just
because he does not have an Aadhar
card. While Fr. Stan has a hearing
problem, phone calls are not adequate
to communicate with him.
Communication through letters
have become inconsistent as letters
take 1 or 2 months to reach the family
and friends. On behalf of the
family members, he placed three
requests to the state and the prison
authorities – 1. Present a correct and
clear picture of the Taloja prison
conditions May 15th 2021 from the
point of view of health conditions
and protect the lives of the Bhima
He said the family and friends are
prepared to address the medical
needs of the prisoners. 2. Facilitate
access to information through letters
and phone calls and to permit video
calls to ensure that the prisoners can
be provided emotional support. 3.
Finally, considering the pandemic
situation, facilitate the release of all
15 prisoners immediately on bail.
Smita Gupta spoke of Sudha
Bharadwaj’s health over the last
three years. Sudha suffers several
comorbidities including diabetes
with pulmonary tuberculosis
amongst other ailments. Having
lived in unhygienic and poorly
ventilated spaces within prison
where access to clean water is difficult,
she has developed a whole
host of new problems including
skin infections, urinary infections,
weight loss, hair fall besides others.
Her health makes her extremely
vulnerable and particularly now
when over 40 people in Byculla
Jail have tested positive for
COVID-19. While the antigen test
is less reliable, the number of cases
reported is underreported. In a
series of phone calls, Sudha has
indicated that she has been unwell
since April 7th – around the time
when she got vaccinated. Although
it was first presumed to be due to
side effects of the vaccine, it eventually
became clear that it was not
connected to the vaccine. She was
unwell for 3 weeks with diarrhea,
tastelessness and other symptoms
indicating the new strain of the
virus. The jail doctors keep prescribing
basic antibiotics although
they have had no effect. Now her
health has deteriorated and she is
unable to do her own work and
needs aid to do her daily chores
including washing clothes. She
reached out to the jail authorities a
number of times but it has all fallen
on deaf ears. In fact, when these
matters reached the wider public
through the press, the jail superintendent
called her a habitual complainer.
She has been a person who
has spent her life in difficult conditions
as an activist and the jail
superintendent’s attitude reveals
the kind of treatment prisoners
receive when they raise concerns.
The agenda is clear – to not keep
the prisoners healthy. Now, her
family and friends fear for her life.
After the press reported her condition,
she was taken to hospital
where a battery of tests was done
on her. None of the reports have
been made available to the family.
The court has asked that these
reports be made available by May
21st. There is complete lack of
transparency, especially for prisoners
with comorbidities living in
awful conditions. In this case they
are bent upon process as a punishment
and all the prisoners are being
denied the basic right to health and
Wife of Adv. Surendra Gadling,
Minal Gadling spoke of how her
husband suffers from hypertension,
diabetes and asthma and requires
regular checkups and consultation
to ensure that his condition does not
regress. Worsening condition of his
eye due to refractive error is a matter
of concern. He also required a
new pair of spectacles and even this
request was not considered. She
subsequently had to courier a new
pair of spectacles recently after a
month without glasses. For the last
few months, there has been a severe
water shortage in prison which has
affected their ability to perform
basic chores. When they complain
to the jail authorities, they threaten
them with changing their barracks
or stoppage of calls and letters to the
family. The phone calls are brief,
not lasting even 5 minutes and at
most times the phone connection is
poor and they are not audible. It is
very difficult to ascertain their
health from these calls. No video
calls are allowed and even though
Adv. Gadling’s mother died a few
months ago, he was not able to see
her. His bail application to perform
the final rites was denied citing that
he was using his mother’s death to
avail bail, something which is his
right. While the pandemic has
slowed down court proceedings, the
conditions are extremely worrisome
and the continued denial of bail is
pushing them closer to death.
Prof. Babu’s brother Harish MT
mentioned that the prison conditions
are worrying for the family as the
source of infection inside prisons is
through the jail staff while family
members are denied mulaqats and
even basic communication with the
outside world. Mahesh Raut’s sister
Monali spoke of how Mahesh has
been experiencing fever, body aches
and cough and he has not been provided
medicines, thermometer or
oximeter in jail. The medicines she
tried to send were not accepted by
the jail authorities causing additional
worry for the family. She reiterates
that she will continue to try to
send him essential medicines by visiting
the jail again. It is clear that all
the family members and friends of
all 15 who remain in jail in the
Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad
case are extremely worried for their
lives and well being who remain in
inhuman conditions. Collectively
they demanded that all of them be
provided bail and be allowed medical
care at home while this pandemic
Friends and family members
made an appeal to the press to
amplify the contents of their message
so that the wider world can
learn of what is happening to the
Bhima Koregaon prisoners. They
called for the release, at least temporarily,
on medical grounds of all
the BK prisoners and pointed out
that under the recent Supreme Court
judgment, the Maharashtra High
Powered Committee was vested
with the power to do so.
Journalists who wish to watch the
recording can access it here:
24 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 NEWS
Supercomputer simulations unlock old space weather puzzle
London : Scientists have long
questioned why the bursts of hot gas
from the sun do not cool down as fast
as expected, and have now used a
supercomputer to find out.
When the solar wind hits the Earth,
it is almost 10 times hotter than
expected, with a temperature of about
100,000 to 200,000 degrees Celsius.
The outer atmosphere of the sun,
where the solar wind originates, is typically
a million degrees Celsius.
Using these simulations, the team,
led by University College London
(UCL) researchers, deduced that the
solar wind stays hot for longer because
of small-scale magnetic reconnection
that forms in the turbulence of the
solar wind. This phenomenon occurs
Amaravati : The Andhra
Pradesh High Court on
Sunday directed that rebel
Narsapuram MP, K.
Raghurama Krishnam Raju,
be shifted from Guntur district
jail to a private hospital.
After receiving a report
from a lower court about the
nature of MP's injuries, the
high court took up the hearing
and directed that he be
shifted to the Ramesh
Counsel of the rebel
YSRCP MP told the court
that its orders that doctors
from Ramesh Hospital examine
his injuries were ignored.
He argued that CID officials
met the petitioner when he
was in custody, thus violating
the law. After hearing the
arguments, the high court
directed that the MP be
immediately shifted to the
Meanwhile, Raju's wife
Rama alleged that her husband's
life is in danger in jail.
She stated that if anything
happens to him, the state government,
the Chief Minister,
and CID will be responsible.
Earlier, police shifted Raju
to the district jail amid high
when two opposing magnetic field
lines break and reconnect with each
other, releasing huge amounts of energy.
This is the same process that triggers
large flares erupting from the
sun's outer atmosphere.
"Magnetic reconnection occurs
almost spontaneously and all the time
in the turbulent solar wind. This type
of reconnection typically occurs
across an area of several hundred kilometers
-- which is really tiny compared
to the vast dimensions of space.
Using the power of supercomputers,
we have been able to approach this
problem like never before. The magnetic
reconnection events we observe
in the simulation are so complicated
and asymmetric, we are continuing
drama. He was taken out of the
our analysis of these events," said lead
author Jeffersson Agudelo of UCL.
To confirm their predictions, the
team will compare their data with that
collected by the European Space
Agency's (ESA) latest flagship mission,
The Solar Orbiter is designed to
find the origins and causes of the solar
wind and study the workings of our
"This is an incredibly exciting time
to combine huge plasma simulations
with the latest Solar Orbiter observations.
Our understanding of reconnection
and turbulence could take a major
leap forward by combining our simulations
with the new data from the
Solar Orbiter," Agudelo explained.
Shift MP to hospital from
jail, directs Andhra HC
Jaipur : Rashtriya
Government General Hospital
(GGH) from the rear gate and
was shifted to jail.
The high court had on
Saturday constituted threemember
Medical Board headed
by Superintendent of
GGH, Guntur to examine the
nature of injuries of Raju.
The rebel MP of Andhra
Pradesh's ruling party was
arrested on charges of sedition
by the police in
Hyderabad on Friday. He was
later brought to Guntur.
On Saturday, he was produced
Junior Civil Judge's court in
Mangalagiri. Though he complained
to the judge that CID
sleuths tortured him in custody,
the court sent the MP to
judicial custody till May 28
and sent him to hospital for
Raju's lawyer later moved
the high court, which passed
the orders constituting a medical
board as immediate relief
and gave directions to provide
necessary treatment to the
MP. The bench also directed
that the entire examination
should be videographed and
handed over to the District
and Sessions Judge in Guntur.
Both Centre, state responsible
for Raj's Covid crisis: Beniwal
Loktantrik Party and Nagaur
MP Hanuman Beniwal on
Sunday made a scathing attack
on both the Centre and state
government for the deteriorating
coronavirus situation in
Asking why Chief Minister
Ashok Gehlot is not removing
Health Minister Raghu Sharma
for "mismanaging" the situation
in the state, he also
demanded FIRs be lodged
responsible for deaths of so
many young people in dearth of
oxygen, ventilators, medicines
and beds in hospitals.
Addressing a virtual press
conference, Beniwal also held
the Election Commission
responsible for the spread of
COVID by allowing Assembly
polls in five states.
"The situation has worsened
because of the working of the
Central government and state
government. The Election
Commission also stands equally
responsible for the spread of
corona infection in the country
as they could have postponed
the assembly elections in five
states in view of the increasing
infection," he said. Terming the
coronavirus situation in the
state as "dangerous", he said
that everyone, including the
state and Central governments,
should come together to defeat
corona, vaccines should be
made available at the earliest to
save lives in the country in both
urban and rural India; oxygen,
oxygen plants and medicines
should also be made available
easily throughout the country.
Demanding action against
those who failed to provide
medicines and oxygen, he said:
"Either the Central government
or state government should
take responsibility for the death
of so many young people due to
the lack of oxygen."
"Health Minister of
Rajasthan should resign for
failing to handle the situation.
Action against officers guilty of
negligence should also be
taken," he said.
Beniwal's RLP quit the
NDA in December last year
over the issue of farm laws.
Punjab extends Covid restrictions till May 31
Chandigarh : With Punjab continuing
to report high Covid positivity,
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on
Sunday ordered extension of all the
existing restrictions up to May 31,
with directions for strict enforcement
of all curbs.
The Deputy Commissioners will
continue to determine opening of
shops in a staggered manner and
enforce other restrictions to check
spread of Covid, especially in rural
areas, Amarinder Singh said, adding
that they can also make suitable
amendments based on local condition
as long as these do not dilute the state's
The district authorities shall continue
to ensure strict implementation of
all directives on Covid appropriate
behaviour, including social distancing
norms, regulating crowds in market
places and public transport, and imposition
of penalties prescribed for violation
of norms and restrictions.
Reviewing the state's Covid situation
at a high-level meeting, the Chief
Minister said while the restrictions so
far had shown results, with some
decline in day-on-day positivity and
cases coming down from around 9,000
to 6,000 in this period, there was need
to extend the same in view of the high
positivity of 13.1 per cent as of the
May 9-15 period, with CFR standing
He also directed the district administrations
to investigate complaints of
fleecing of patients by some private
hospitals, warning that these would be
shut down if they continue to indulge
in such practices.
Such cases have to be strictly dealt
with, he said, directing the police to
crack down on those found indulging
in hoarding or black-marketing of any
Covid-related essentials or medicines.
The Chief Minister also expressed
concern over the spread of the new
fungal disorder associated with Covid.
He stressed the need to increase
surveillance for this disease as, if it is
not treated early, it can cause severe
He also directed the Health
Department to ensure that medicines
to treat this disease are available with
the state. On the availability of oxygen,
the Chief Minister said that while
the state, through judicious measures,
had been able to prevent any mishap,
the situation should be closely monitoring
by the Health Department.
The state was expecting over 2,500
oxygen concentrators on the ground
within this month, he said, directing
the department to ensure the best use
of the same.
3,816 new Covid
cases, 27 deaths
Hyderabad : Telangana's daily count of
Covid-19 cases dropped to under 4,000
with fewer tests conducted on Sunday.
The state reported 3,816 new cases, taking
the cumulative tally to 5,28,823.
The authorities conducted 44,985 tests
during the 24-hour period ending 5.30 p.m.
on Sunday. On week days, 65,000 to
70,000 samples are being tested daily.
The virus claimed 27 lives during the
period, pushing the death toll to 2,955.
The case fatality rate stands at 0.55 per
cent against the national average of 1.1 per
cent. According to the daily media bulletin
by the Health Department, the state continues
to see more recoveries than the new
As many as 5,892 people recovered
from Covid during the period, taking the
cumulative recoveries to 4,74,899.
The recovery rate improved further to
89.80 per cent against the national average
of 84.2 per cent. The number of active
cases, which had touched 80,000, has now
dropped to 50,969.
The authorities conducted 44,985 tests
during the period. With this, the number of
tests conducted so far rose to 1,40,61,725.
Samples tested per million population now
moved up to 3,77,800.
Greater Hyderabad reported 658 new
cases. Rangareddy and Medchal
Malkajgiri, adjoining Hyderabad, reported
326 and 293 cases, respectively.
Karimnagar reported 152 new cases followed
by 151 in Khammam, 143 in
Sangareddy, 142 in Mahaboobnagar, 138
in Siddipet, 135 in Vikarabad, 131 in
Nagarkurnool, 209 in Karimnagar, 198 in
Khammam, 189 in Warangal Rural, 179 in
Vikarabad, 161 in Warangal Urban, 156 in
Nagarkurnool and 150 in Siddipet.
Delhi Metro extends suspension
of services till 'further notice'
New Delhi : In wake of the Delhi government's
order of extension of lockdown
in the city for another week (till May 24),
the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)
on Sunday announced it was also extending
the suspension of its services "till further
notice". The DMRC did not share any
particular time frame for the suspension of
services, in place since May 9, to held curb
the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
"In the wake of extension of curfew in
Delhi for the containment of Covid-19 by
the Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi
Metro services on all its Lines shall also
remain suspended till further notice. Any
change in services will be notified," the
On May 9, the Delhi Metro had suspended
services on all its lines till 5 a.m.
on May 17 in the wake of revised guidelines
issued then by the Delhi government
on extension of curfew in the city.
On Saturday, Delhi recorded 6,456 new
cases, including 262 deaths, due to Covid-
19. While announcing the extension of
lockdown in the city, Chief Minister
Arvind Kejriwal said although over the last
few days, Covid-19 cases and positivity
rate have come down, any complacency
would squander the gains achieved so far
in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic.
$6.2bn gold in
New Delhi : India's gold
imports in April stood at $6.2
billion on the back of strong
During the same period last
year gold imports stood at just
$2.83 million on account of the
The surge in gold imports
pushed India's trade deficit to
$15.1 billion in April 2021 as
against $6.76 billion a year ago.
However, silver imports last
month declined as per
Commerce Ministry data. Silver
worth $11.90 million was
imported during the period
under review, down from
$103.75 million in April last
India's merchandise imports
grew in April 2021, rising to
$45.72 billion, with an increase
of 167.05 per cent over $17.12
billion in April 2020.
Exports grew to $30.63 billion,
higher by 195.72 per cent
over the $10.36 billion reported
in April 2020.
16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021
First Oxygen express
train reaches Kerala
Kochi : The first oxygen express
train to Kerala reached Vallarpadam
terminal in Kochi at 3.30 a.m. on
Sunday. A total of 118 Metric
Tonnes of Oxygen was delivered.
The load which was originally
sent to Delhi from Tata Steel plant,
Kalinganagar, Odisha, was rerouted
to Kochi as it was released to Kerala
by the Union government after the
requirement in Delhi dipped. The
oxygen will be loaded in tanker lorries
and despatched to other districts
of the state under the supervision of
the state fire force. The oxygen control
room functioning at the state
capital Thiruvananthapuram will
monitor the situation of the movement
of the tankers to the various
districts of the state. The arrival of
oxygen will alleviate the situation
of oxygen shortage in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had
the other day told media persons
that the state is witnessing a shortage
of oxygen and that it has
appealed to the union government
to provide the necessary oxygen.
With the arrival of oxygen express,
this issue will be settled for now.
26 16-05-2021 to 31-05-2021 WORLD