01-06-2021 The Asian Independent

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Vol : 05 : #68 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

Time has come for GLOBAL

pandemic treaty: WHO Chief

Geneva : The Covid-19 pandemic

has proved that the world needs a

pandemic treaty to strengthen both

the World Health Organization

(WHO) and global health security,

WHO Director-General Tedros

Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on

Tuesday.

"This is an idea whose time has

come," said Ghebreyesus, in his closing

remarks at the WHO's 74th

World Health Assembly (WHA),

which took placee online from May

24 to Tuesday. Ghebreyesus said that

the defining characteristic of the pandemic

is the lack of sharing: of data,

information, pathogens, technologies

and resources.

"A treaty would foster improved

sharing, trust and accountability, and

provide the solid foundation on

which to build other mechanisms for

global health security.

"Pandemics are a threat to all of

us. So we must work together to

build a healthier, safer, fairer future -

- for all of us," he said. At the 2021

WHA, which had the theme "Ending

this pandemic, preventing the next

one", Ghebreyesus also called for a

stronger and better-financed WHO.

"At present, pathogens have

greater power than WHO. They are

emerging more frequently in a planet

out of balance.

They exploit our interconnectedness

and expose our inequities and

divisions" he noted. "The safety of

the world's people cannot rely solely

on the goodwill of governments,"

Ghebreyesus said, adding the need

for more resources and authority

along with an international treaty to

connect countries that would

strengthen the world's health security.

Ghebreyesus noted that the continuing

decline in global Covid cases

and deaths is very encouraging, "but

it would be a monumental error for

any country to think the danger has

passed".

The world still faces "the same

vulnerabilities that allowed a small

outbreak to become a global pandemic",

he said.

Imran condemns terror

attacks in Balochistan

Islamabad : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on

Tuesday strongly condemned the two separate terror attacks that

left four soldiers dead in Balochistan provinc.

In a tweet, Khan sent his condolences to the bereaved families,

saying the country will continue its fight against the terrorists

and will not allow them to sabotage peace and development

in Balochistan, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a statement early Tuesday morning, the military's media

wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the terrorists

carried out two separate attacks including one in the provincial

capital of Quetta in which the militants attacked a check post of

the paramilitary troops Frontier Corps.

During the exchange of fire, four to five terrorists were killed

while seven to eight others injured.

The military lost four soldiers and six others sustained

injuries, the ISPR said.

In the second incident, the terrorists targeted a vehicle of the

Frontier Corps with an improvised explosive device (IED) at

Turbat, injuring two soldiers.

"Such coward acts by inimical elements backed by anti-state

forces and hostile intelligence agencies cannot sabotage the

hard-earned peace and prosperity in Balochistan. "Security

forces are determined to neutralise their nefarious designs even

at the cost of blood and lives," the ISPR statement added.

SC seeks details of PM Cares Fund scheme

to help kids orphaned by Covid-19

New Delhi : The Supreme

Court on Tuesday asked the

Centre to provide details of the

scheme recently announced

under PM Cares Fund to help

children who were orphaned

due to Covid and how the

scheme will be implemented.

Amicus curiae, advocate

Gaurav Agrawal submitted

before the top court that the

government announced a

scheme on May 29 to benefit

children orphaned due to the

pandemic. He added that they

don't know yet how many children

are beneficiaries of this

scheme, though it said children

who have lost parents, adoptive

parent, etc would be its beneficiaries.

A bench comprising Justices

L. Nageswara Rao and

Aniruddha Bose asked the

Centre's counsel to file an affidavit

regarding the announcement

of package made under

PM Cares Fund. Additional

Solicitor General Aishwarya

Bhati submitted that the details

of the scheme, including identification of

beneficiaries would be filed before the

court.

According to the scheme, all children

who lost both parents or a surviving parent,

legal guardian or adoptive parents due to

Covid-19 disease will be supported by a

corpus of Rs 10 lakh from the PM Cares

Fund. This corpus will be used for providing

a monthly stipend for five years when

the children are 18 years of age.

The top court was hearing an application

filed in a suo motu matter on prevention

of Covid-19 in child care institutions

across the country. According to

an affidavit filed by the National

Commission for Protection of

Child Rights (NCPCR), the pandemic

orphaned over 1,700 children,

led to 140 children being

abandoned while more

than7,400 children lost one of

their parents.

The NCPCR counsel had

informed the court that a web

portal "Bal Swaraj" was

launched, through which each

district can upload information

about children during the pandemic.

The top court, last week,

had directed to all states to

upload data beginning March

2020 by May 29 and allowed the

NCPCR to file its response in the

matter. Acting on Agrawal's suggestion,

the top court told

Telanagana, Tamil Nadu,

Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat,

Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh,

Maharashtra, Bihar, and

Jharkhand to appoint a nodal

officer who would interact with

the advocate regarding necessary

information of orphans. The

top court noted that at present there 9,000

such children who've lost both or one parent.

The counsel for NCPCR submitted that

state governments have not been able to

provide complete information regarding

children who have lost their parents due to

the pandemic.


2

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

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SL begins criminal probe on

burning container ship

Colombo : Sri Lanka's Criminal

Investigations Department

announced that it had appointed a

10-member team of detectives to

investigate the incidents surrounding

the burning X-Press Pearl container

ship in the waters off the

Colombo Harbour, the local media

reported. The Department's

announcement on Monday came

after the Director-General of the

Marine Environment Protection

Authority (MEPA) filed a complaint

with the Harbour Police on

May 23 over the environmental

destruction caused by the fire

onboard the Singapore-flagged vessel,

Xinhua news agency reported.

The police said the officers from the

Criminal Investigations Department

recorded statements from the captain and

chief engineer of the vessel at a hotel in

Colombo where the crew is undergoing

quarantine.

Statements will be recorded from the

Dhaka : Bangladesh police

on Tuesday announced the

arrest of a suspected wildlife

poacher believed to have killed

at least 70 endangered tigers in

more than two decades.

The suspect, Habib

Talukder, 50, was sent to jail

pending trial after he was

arrested on May 29 at his home

adjacent to the Sundarbans

mangrove forest, local police

chief Saidur Rahman told dpa

news agency.

Wanted in a number of cases

filed under the wildlife conservation

law, Talukder, who was

locally known as 'Tiger Habib'

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other crew members in the near future, the

police said. The X Press Pearl ship was carrying

1,486 containers with 25 tonnes of

nitric acid and several other chemicals and

cosmetics from the port of Hazira, India,

on May 15. The vessel sent out a distress

call while being close to the Colombo Port

on May 20, and soon caught fire resulting

for his hunting skills, had been

on the run for a long time,

Rahman said.

He might have links with

gangs operating in the

5 Kerala cops to be dismissed following custodial death probe

Thiruvananthapuram : Five police

officials found guilty in connection with

a custodial death in Kerala's Idukki in

2019, will be dismissed from service and

legal proceedings will also be taken

against them, as per recommendations of

the Justice K. Narayana Kurup (retd)

Commission, the Kerala Assembly was

told on Tuesday.

The action taken report placed in the

Assembly stated that those who will be

dismissed from service are Sub-

Inspector Sabu, ASI Roy, driver Niyaz,

and two civil police officers, Jithin and

Regimon. The sixth accused was Home

Guard James.

The probe report also recommended

punishment for three medical professionals.

It was also decided to give a compensation

of Rs 45 lakh to the family of the

deceased.

Rajkumar, 49, a small-time financial

agent, died in custody on June 21, 2019

after allegedly being subjected to brutal

Sundarbans, spanning

between Bangladesh

and India, for poaching

wild animals and profiting

from selling their

pelts, bones, teeth and

raw meat on the black

market, the officer said.

Talukder began his

career as a wild honey

collector in the mangrove

forest, and eventually

become a

wildlife hunter in course of

time, forest official Joynal

Abadin said.

The man, who frequently

ventured into the forest despite

in the Sri Lankan Navy dispatching

vessels to bring the fire under

control.

Last week, the MEPA said a

major environmental disaster

was expected following the burning

of the vessel and the impact

was being assessed. General

Manager of the MEPA, Terney

Pradeep said the coast line from

the south along the west coast

had debris washed ashore and the

public had been strongly advised

not to touch any of the debris as

it could contain hazardous material.

The government said a large

amount of marine life had been killed as a

result of the pollution from the ship.

The government has decided to pay a

certain amount of compensation for the

fishing community who had to suspend

activities incurring losses of their daily

income and those who are involved in

related industries.

B'desh arrests poaching suspect

believed to have killed 70 tigers

a ban on him, is formally

charged for the hunting of three

tigers and five deer, the official

said. But, Talukder told locals

that he had hunted as many as

70 big cats since he had first

killed a tiger in his mid 20s,

Abadin said. "We could not

verify his claim yet," he said.

Bangladesh's Forest

Department study in 2019

found a total of 114 Bengal

tigers in its part of Sundarbans,

a Unesco heritage site.

But their population registered

a record low of 106 in

2015 from 440 in 2004, according

to previous surveys.

third degree torture at the

Nedumkandam police station in Idukki.

According to reports, Rajkumar was

rounded up on June 12 by a group of

people who he owed money to, and

handed over to the Nedumkandam

police. Police however, recorded his

arrest on June 16 and later shifted him to

the state-run Peerumedu Taluk Hospital,

where he died on June 21.

Though the post-mortem mentioned

pneumonia as the cause of death, the

autopsy report revealed 22 injury marks

on Rajkumar's body, most below the

thighs, indicating that he was subjected

to third degree torture while in custody.

Following a huge opposition

onslaught both inside and outside the

Assembly, the state government, led by

Pinarayi Vijayan, gave the nod for a judicial

probe and seasoned judge Kurup

began by exhuming the body to ascertain

the actual cause of death and took statements

from numerous people before he

submitted his final report.

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China reports human infection

of H10N3 avian influenza

Beijing : A human infection with the H10N3 strain of avian

influenza has been found

in China's Jiangsu

province, the National

Health

Commission

(NHC) said on Tuesday.

The patient, a 41-

year-old man in

Zhenjiang city, developed

fever and other

symptoms on April 23

and was hospitalised on

April 28, Xinhua news

agency quoted the NHC

as saying. He is now in

stable condition and has broadly met the standards for discharge,

the Commission noted.

All close contacts of the patient in Jiangsu have been placed

under medical observation and emergency monitoring has been

initiated, said the NHC, adding that nothing abnormal has been

detected. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

carried out whole-genome sequencing of the specimen on May

28 and the result was positive for the H10N3 virus.

The whole-genome analysis shows that the avian-origin virus

is not effectively infectious to humans, according to experts, who

believe it poses a "very low" risk of large-scale outbreak.

Wrong interpretation of rule change

on liquor policy: Delhi govt

Delhi : Soon after it was reported that the Delhi Government

has allowed the home delivery of

liquor through mobile apps or websites

under the amended excise rules,

the Chief Minister's office said it is

wrong interpretation of the rule

change. "It is a slightly wrong interpretation

of a rule change, the government

will issue statement in this

regard," the office of Delhi Chief

Minister said on Tuesday morning.

The Delhi government has permitted

home delivery of Indian and foreign liquor as Covid-19 restrictions

continue to be in place in the city. Liquor can be ordered for

home delivery in Delhi through online portals as part of the new

excise policy.

The notification issued by the Delhi government regarding

new liquor policy, stated, "The licensee shall make delivery of

liquor at the residences only if order is received through mobile

app or online web portal and no delivery shall be made to any

hostel, office and institution." However, the notification clearly

mentioned that only holders of L-13 licence will be allowed to

carry out home deliveries, and not every liquor outlet in the city.

Now, under the new excise rules, home delivery of liquor has

been allowed through mobile app and portals in Delhi. However,

this does not mean liquor shops across Delhi will be allowed to

deliver alcohol, the government clarified.


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ASIA

2020-21 darkest year of economy

in four decades: Chidambaram

New Delhi : Former

Finance Minister and senior

Congress leader P.

Chidambaram on Tuesday

said that 2020-21 has been

the darkest year of the economy

in four decades and that

the government should print

more money if necessary as

suggested by several economists,

including Nobel

Laureate Abhijit Banerjee.

"We may note that

Banerjee has called for printing

more money and increasing

the spending, though

Finance Minister Nirmala

Sitharaman in her recent

interviews to various newspapers

defended the government's

misguided and disastrous policies."

Earlier addressing a press conference,

Chidambaram virtually attacked the government

over the GDP numbers.

He said, "As expected, the GDP at constant

prices recorded a negative growth of

(-) 7.3 per cent, the first time India has

recorded negative annual growth since

1979-80.

"2020-21 has been the darkest year of

the economy in four decades. The performance

in the four quarters of 2020-21 tells

the story. The first two quarters witnessed a

recession (-24.4 and -7.4 per cent). The

performance in the third and fourth quarters

did not herald a recovery. The estimated

rates of 0.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent

were due to a very low base of 3.3 and 3.0

per cent in the corresponding quarters of

the previous year. Besides, these rates

come with a number of caveats," the senior

Congress leader added.

Chidambaram alleged that when the

first wave of the Covid pandemic appeared

to subside last year, the Finance Minister

and her Chief Economic Adviser began to

sell the story of a recovery. "They saw

"green shoots" when no one else did. They

predicted a V-shaped recovery. It was a

false story and we had expressed our strong

reservations and warned there were no

signs of a recovery. We had pointed out that

what the economy needed was a strong

dose of stimulus, including increased government

expenditure, direct transfers of

cash to the poor and liberal distribution of

free rations. Our pleas fell on deaf ears, and

the result is a negative growth of (-) 7.3 per

cent." What is most worrying is that the per

capita GDP has fallen below Rs 1 lakh, to

Rs 99,694. In percentage terms it is a

decline of (-) 8.2 per cent over the previous

year. It is lower than the level achieved in

2018-19 (and maybe even

2017-18). The deeply worrying

conclusion is that

most Indians are poorer than

they were two years ago.

Good advice by distinguished

economists and

renowned institutions has

been rebuffed. World-wide

experience has been

ignored. Suggestions on fiscal

expansion and cash

transfers have been turned

down. Hollow packages like

Atmanirbhar Bharat have

fallen flat.

We are glad that the two

leading chambers of business

and industry -- CII and

FICCI -- have, in the last

few days, echoed our views and pleaded

for fiscal expansion, including cash transfers

to the poor.

The RBI's monthly review has flagged

the 'demand shock' and its consequences.

The CMIE report on loss of jobs and

growing unemployment is alarming. The

research and survey reports of Aziz Premji

University have concluded that 23 crore

people have been pushed below the poverty

line and into indebtedness.

The second wave of the pandemic is

upon us. So far, it seems to be following

the same pattern as the first wave, except

that it has wrought more damage in terms

of numbers of infections and deaths.

If 2021-22 should not go the same way

as 2020-21 did, the government must wake

up, admit its errors of commission and

omission, reverse its policies and heed the

advice of economists and the Opposition.

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

3

CBI books Gujarat-based firm,

its directors for cheating banks

New Delhi : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on

Tuesday that it has registered a case against a Gujarat-based company

and its four directors for cheating banks to the tune of Rs 678

crore besides carrying out searches at six places. A CBI spokesperson

said that the agency has booked Vimal Oil & Foods Ltd,

Mehsana, its directors Jayeshbai Chandubhai Patel, Mukeshkumar

Naranbhai Patel, Ditin Narayanbhai Patel and Mona Jigneshbhai

Acharya and unknown public servants and others. The official said

that the CBI registered the case on a complaint filed by the Bank

of India.

He said that in the complaint, it was alleged that the accused

were sanctioned various credit facilities amounting to Rs 810

crore by a consortium of Bank of India (lead bank) and eight other

member banks. The official said that it was further alleged that the

accused had cheated the said consortium of banks between 2014

and 2017 through malafide activities, such as diversion of loan

funds; conducting majority of sale transactions with certain selective

parties, which were accommodative in nature; maintaining the

bank accounts outside the consortium member banks; transacting

sales with such parties which were not in activities of trading of

edible oil or manufacturing; purchasing the material at inflated

invoice prices and routing of revenue proceeds in the bank

accounts outside the consortium banks etc. "An alleged loss of Rs

678.93 crore was caused to the lending banks," he said. The official

said that the CBI teams carried out searches at six places,

including the premises of the accused persons.

Newly discovered African 'climate

seesaw' drove human evolution

New Delhi : Ancient El Nino-like

weather patterns were the primary

drivers of environmental change in

sub-Saharan Africa when humans

were evolving, according to research

involving UCL, London's university.

Scientists have shown that over the

last 620,000 years these alternately

wet and dry patterns had more profound

impacts in sub-Saharan Africa

than colder, dryer glacial-interglacial

cycles, which until now have been

more commonly linked to human evolution.

Professor Mark Maslin of UCL

Geography, who contributed to the

international study, published in

Proceedings of the National Academy

of Sciences of the United States of

America (PNAS), said the findings

challenge previous theories on the

impact of changes in the climate on

the earliest ancestors.

"The detailed analysis of the past

climate of Africa, led by Stefanie

Kaboth-Bahr (University of Potsdam),

has revealed an oscillation between

wet and dry conditions across the continent.

This means for at least the last

600,000 years there has been continual

environmental change as wet lush

conditions moved from the east to the

west and then back again.

"This drove significant changes in

plant and animal migration patterns

and contributed to the evolution of

new hominin species. This study

shows that the long-term El Nino and

Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-like climate

shifts across Africa had a profound

effect on the evolution of early

humans." It is widely accepted that climate

change drove the evolution of our

species in Africa, but the exact character

of that change and its impacts have

not been fully understood. Glacialinterglacial

cycles strongly impact patterns

of climate change in many parts

of the world and were also assumed to

regulate environmental changes in

Africa during the critical period of

human evolution. In this latest

research, this influence of glacialinterglacial

cycles has been challenged

as the scientists identified ancient El

Nino-like weather patterns as the drivers

of major climate changes in Africa,

allowing them to re-evaluate the existing

climatic framework of human evolution.

To arrive at this conclusion,

they integrated 11 climate archives

from across Africa covering the past

620,000 years to generate a comprehensive

spatial picture of when and

where wet or dry conditions prevailed

over the continent.

Stefanie Kaboth-Bahr of the

University of Potsdam, who led the

study, said: "We were surprised to find

a distinct climatic east-west 'seesaw'

very akin to the pattern produced by

the weather phenomena of El Nino

that today profoundly influences precipitation

distribution in Africa."

The authors infer that the effects of

the tropical Pacific Ocean on the socalled

'Walker Circulation' -- a belt of

convection cells along the equator that

impact the rainfall and aridity of the

tropics -- were the prime driver of this

climate seesaw. The data clearly

shows that the wet and dry regions

shifted between the east and west of

the African continent on timescales of

approximately 100,000 years, with

each of the climatic shifts being

accompanied by major turnovers in

flora and mammal fauna. Kaboth-Bahr

added: "This alternation between dry

and wet periods appeared to have governed

the dispersion and evolution of

vegetation as well as mammals in eastern

and western Africa. The resultant

environmental patchwork was likely

to have been a critical component of

human evolution and early demography

as well." The scientists are keen to

point that although climate change

was certainly not the sole factor driving

early human evolution, the new

study nevertheless provides a novel

perspective on the tight link between

environmental fluctuations and the

origin of our early ancestors.

Kaboth-Bahr continued: "Re-evaluating

these patterns of stasis, change

and extinction through a new climatic

framework will yield new insights into

the deep human past. This does not

mean that people were helpless in the

face of climatic changes but shifting

habitat availability would certainly

have impacted patterns of demography,

and ultimately the genetic

exchanges that underpin human evolution."


4

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Japan rushes hundreds of ventilators

to showcase special ties with India

New Delhi : Over the last four

days, Japan has rushed 800 ventilators

and 500 oxygen concentrators to

India, showcasing Tokyo and New

Delhis special ties as Indo-Pacific

partners.

Japan handed over these ventilators

and oxygen concentrators to India on

May 28, 30 and 31.

The Japanese government has

already announced that it would hand

over 1,800 ventilators and 2,800 oxygen

concentrators to India. The latest

handover completes the first phase of

medical assistance to India that began

on May 14.

"We plan to hand over the remaining

ventilators and oxygen concentrators

in the near future," the Japanese

foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"Japan stands with India, our friend

and partner, in her efforts to fight

against the Covid-19 pandemic

through this emergency assistance,

and hopes that Japan's assistance will

contribute to alleviating and containing

the Covid-19 situation in India,"

the ministry added.

Japanese assistance to India follows

two top meetings e one between Prime

Minister Narendra Modi and his

Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide.

This meeting on April 26 was followed

up by another nuts-and-bolts

interaction between External Affairs

'Significant chance for ending UK

Covid lockdown plan to change'

Minister S. Jaishankar and foreign

minister Motegi Toshimitsu on the

sidelines of G7 Foreign and

Development Ministers' Meeting in

London, earlier this month.

Both meetings spotlighted that

India and Japan's special role in the

Indo-Pacific provided the strategic

impulse for intensive collaboration.

"The two leaders confirmed the

importance of Japan-India bilateral

cooperation and multilateral cooperation,

including Japan-Australia-India-

U.S. quadrilateral cooperation,

towards realizing a Free and Open

Indo-Pacific. They also shared the

view to continue their effort on building

a rules-based free and open international

order," a readout of the statement

after Modi-Yoshihide telephone

talk said. Besides the duo, going

beyond health, listed the areas for joint

forays, including 5G, laying of submarine

cables, establishing new supply

chains and development of India's

North Eastern Region.

On May 5 in London, Motegi told

Jaishankar that Tokyo is ready to provide

grant assistance of up to 50 million

US dollars to India, based on the

latter's needs, in addition to the assistance

pledged earlier. Significantly,

Motegi prefaced his remarks by recalling

that the two countries shared special

bonds on account of the Indopacific

partnership.

Referring to the Covid-19's impact

on India, Motegi said that "towards

deepening the eJapan-India Special

Strategic and Global Partnership' and

realising a eFree and Open Indo-

Pacific,' he looks forward to continue

working with Minister Jaishankar."

On May 14, Japan announced the

Emergency Grant Aid of approximately

18.5 million US dollars to transport

the 300 ventilators announced on

April 30 through the United Nations

Office for Project Services (UNOPS),

as well as to provide additional 500

ventilators and 500 oxygen concentrators

to India through UNOPS as a part

of the assistance of up to 50 million

dollars announced on May 5.

The 500 ventilators were handed

over to India on May 30 and the 500

oxygen concentrators were handed

over to India on May 31.

On May 28, the government of

Japan announced the Emergency

Grant Aid of approximately 14.8 million

US dollars. Through this assistance,

1,000 ventilators and 2,000

oxygen concentrators will be provided

to India through UNOPS as a part of

the assistance of up to 50 million dollars

announced on May 5.

(This content is being carried under

an arrangement with

indianarrative.com)

London : A UK government

adviser has said that there was a

"significant chance" that the

date of June 21 for the final

step of lifting coronavirus

restrictions could change.

Professor Adam Finn from

the University of Bristol, also a

member of the Joint Committee

on Vaccination and

Immunisation (JCVI), said on

Monday that "things are much

more up in the air" than they

were earlier this month due to

the spread of the B.1.6172.

"In a way, I think, the dates

(of the roadmap) all the way

through were created just to

give everyone some kind of

sense of structure," Xinhua

news agency quoted Finn as

saying while speaking to Sky

News. "But they were always

qualified as being based on

what actually happened and

that they could change.

I think there's a significant

chance that it could change," he

said. "We're better off being

cautious at this point and being

able to progressively unlock

ourselves than to overdo it and

then end up having to lockdown

fully all over again."

His warning came as Britons

gathered on beaches, in parks

and beer gardens to enjoy the

bank holiday on Monday.

Cases of the B.1.6172 variant

have doubled in a week in

England to almost 7,000,

prompting concerns that the

government's lockdown

roadmap will be derailed.

The roadmap is expected to

see all legal limits on social

contact to be removed on June

21. It is understood that a final

decision on the planned easing

of lockdown will not be made

until June 14.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

5

Casteism is deep-rooted in Kerala :

Malayalam anti-caste rapper Vedan

Vedan recently released the Malayalam rap song ‘Vaa’, which calls Dalits and other oppressed

communities to come together and stand united against systematic caste oppression.

Korah Abraham

Vaa, a recently released Malayalam

rap song, opens with the following

lines: Come friend, Shoulder to

shoulder, Let s go fight, Become fire,

Shatter the barricades (English translation).

Twenty-six-year-old Vedan

has made it clear in these opening

lines that his song is a call for some

form of united resistance. But resistance

against what?

There s a reason I released this

song on April 14, 2021, which is

Ambedkar Jayanti, birth anniversary

of Dr BR Ambedkar, Vedan says,

speaking to TNM over a telephonic

conversation from his hometown in

Thrissur, Kerala. This was Vedan s

way of sending a message that Vaa ,

which translates to Come , is a call

for Dalits and other oppressed communities

to come together and stand

united against systematic caste

oppression.

For years, rap music has been used

as an art form to voice out the injustices

happening in society especially

among the Black community in the US

and in Africa. Vedan s entry into rap

also stems from his experiences during

his growing up years and from the

stories he has heard from his paternal

grandmother. And therefore, his music

is personal and like they say, Personal

is political.

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Discrimination from childhood

The colony that I grew up in

Thrissur was surrounded by fields and

meadows that belonged to many private

individuals. We never knew or

cared about who owned these areas.

We used to go and play in these fields,

pluck mangoes and take a stroll with

our dogs, Vedan says. But one day,

the landowners warned them that people

from their colony were barred

from entering the fields. Back in the

day, I never understood why we

weren t allowed to enter their fields,

whereas certain other people could,

he recalls. It came to a point when the

Malayalam rapper decided that discussing

these issues and the discrimination

faced by the people of his community

within a small group of friends

was not enough. We felt that these

problems and ideas should be shared

with a wider audience and the best

way for that is through art in my

case, it was rap, he explains.

Ignorance about caste is dangerous

Vedan feels that there is a popular

misconception that there are few caste

issues in Kerala, and a major section

of society feels that just because they

do not believe in caste , caste discrimination

doesn t exist in the state.

This ignorance about caste is dangerous

as it removes all spaces for a Dalit

or a person from an oppressed caste to

Yogi, Ramdev now in varsity curriculum

Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) :

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister

Yogi Adityanath and yoga guru

Ramdev will now be part of the

Chaudhary Charan Singh

University curriculum.

University officials said that

this is part of their effort to teach

students about their "ancient cultural

heritage" and the architects

of this heritage. Yogi

Adityanath’s ’Hathyoga Ka

Swaroop va Sadhna’ and

Ramdev’s ’Yog Sadhna va Yog

Chikitsa Rahasya’ will be part of the first

year, second semester undergraduate philosophy

curriculum.

It can also be taken as an elective subject

by students, along with other courses.

Prof Y. Vimla, pro vice chancellor of the

university, said, "The Board of Studies on

philosophy has decided that the works of

Yogi Adityanath and Ramdev would be

included in the syllabus. The two books

have been recommended by the state government

and endorsed by the Board of

Studies of the university."

The recommendation from the state

government was made to the University

Grants Commission (UGC).

"Study and practice of this course will

provide a stressless and effortless life,

expansion of consciousness, regulation of

the nervous system, etc," said the syllabus

structure for the philosophy course recommended

by the state government to the university.

Under the New Education

Policy, the UGC has come up

with a new curriculum which

allows universities to decide

what makes up 30 per cent of the

syllabus for each course. This 30

per cent is designed to keep

regional relevance in mind.

The two books have been chosen

from a list of seven suggested

readings, the others being

’Gheranda Samhita’, ’Patanjali

Yoga Sutra’, a book by Swami

Satyanand Saraswati and two by

Paramhansa Yogananda.

Prof Vimla said, "The concept of the

New Education Policy is that students must

first be apprised of their ancient cultural

heritage and taught about the architects of

this heritage. For instance, when it comes

to botany, we need to teach students about

the ancient sages who developed Ayurveda

and the contributors to its evolutionary

process."

speak out. We hope to change this

through our music, he adds.

But the journey as a rap artist hasn t

been easy for Vedan. In a state like

Kerala, you are scorned for speaking

about Dalit politics or Ambedkar politics.

When we bring up caste politics, it

unsettles the supporters of certain mainstream

political parties that have dominated

the political narrative in Kerala

for so long, states Vedan, who goes on

to add that he has faced various forms

of abuse through social media and over

phone calls ever since the release of his

first song Voice of voiceless .

The artist admits that his close

friends had suggested that he come up

with a non-political rap music next, in

order to avoid the threats and abuses.

But that s not why I m here, Vedan

asserts. I feel that there is a sense of

life in my music only when I m political.

When asked whether he has

thought of expanding his work to larger

audiences by way of live shows and

participation in public platforms like

his counterparts in Tamil Nadu The

Casteless Collective and Arivu, Vedan

believes that the two states differ when

it comes to their approach to Dalit politics.

Unlike in Kerala, Dalit politics

is more openly discussed in Tamil

Nadu. There are Ambedkar statues in

every nook and corner of the state. But

things are slowly changing in Kerala

and I m hopeful of going mainstream

soon enough, he says.

Vaa, which is directed and edited by

Vedan s friend Hrithwik Sasikumar,

was a crowdfunded project, which

according to Vedan is the result of the

efforts of many of his friends and family.

Apart from his two rap songs,

Vedan has also lent his voice for a

song in the recently released

Malayalam movie Nayattu, directed

by Martin Prakkat.

He tells TNM that currently he is

going through a creative block but

that he hopes to be a part of the mainstream

commercial film industry

someday. Mainstream commercial art

is important as far as I m concerned

because that s where my target audience

lies majority of whom are

unaware of caste oppression. In order

to get my message out to the masses, I

have to go mainstream and I will make

it happen. Courtesy : TNM

Ram Jethmalani’s son

Mahesh Jethmalani

nominated to Rajya Sabha

New Delhi : Former Law

Minister Ram Jethmalani’s son

Mahesh Jethmalani has been

nominated for the Rajya Sabha

seat vacated following the

death of MP Raghunath

Mohapatra last month. The

tenure of Mahesh Jethmalani -

- one of the leading lawyers of

the country, as Rajya Sabha

MP would be till May 2024.

Mahesh Jethmalani was associated

with the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) in the past.

He has also been a member of

the National Executive of the BJP.

In 2012, Mahesh resigned from the BJP’s National Executive,

protesting against the then national BJP President Nitin Gadkari.

Last year, there were talks of Mahesh going to Rajya Sabha from

the nominated quota, although retired Supreme Court Chief

Justice Ranjan Gogoi was nominated then.


6 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Indian administrators must change

mind-set towards women's cricket

New Delhi : In 2012, the Indian

Sports Ministry asked all the national

sports federations (NSFs) to make provision

for "at least 10 per cent of its total

membership" to women, besides the 25

per cent membership and voting rights it

envisaged for the government-nominated

athletes on the executive committees

of the NSFs.

But the Board of Control for Cricket

in India (BCCI) would have none of it -

- it can only afford to snub the sports

ministry, like it did.

In a 39-page, strongly-worded reply

to the Ministry, the BCCI straightaway

rejected the instructions.

"Cricket for women is no doubt conducted

under the aegis of the BCCI, but

(it) has never attracted even a fraction of

the popularity associated with the men's

team," it wrote.

"Our members would never accept

such an illegal imposition of women

having membership and voting rights

over cricketing matters concerning the

men's team. In fact, this provision is

downright absurd as far as the BCCI is

concerned. The end result of these

changes would dilute the voting rights

of the existing members by 35 per cent

(25+10 per cent) and that is reason

enough to drop these provisions," the

Board added.

Needless to say, the BCCI never

implemented the Ministry's instructions

-- and got away scot-free.

Here's another example. Just a few

years ago, when I asked a former president

of the Indian cricket board during a

formal interview about the lack of facilities

for Indian women cricketers, he

chose to go "off the record" and poured

out, what I felt, were his true feelings

for women cricketers.

What he told me "off the record" was

candid as well as disconcerting. More

importantly, his "off the record" reply

gave a peep into the mind-set of Indian

cricket administrators vis-a-vis women

cricketers. "See, the Indian (male) players

are getting the facilities after several

decades; the women's wing wanted this

within two years," he stated, off the

record. "They want to be treated on the

same lines as (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni

and (Sachin) Tendulkar. Within bounds

and reasons, they have been given all --

they have been holding camps, using the

NCA (National Cricket Academy). They

want to tour; they are allowed. We cannot

duplicate the men's wing for them.

The men's wing got it after many years

after delivering so much on the field.

Please understand that," he said.

The reply came as a revelation of the

mentality of the BCCI -- of what they

think about women cricketers.

As a disclaimer, let me point out that

this is not to belittle the superb achievements

of the men's team over the years

and decades, nor am I trying to make a

case that women cricketers should

immediately - and at all costs -- be

given all that their male counterparts are

receiving. The point here is that the

BCCI is rich enough to narrow the vast

gap between the wages of the two genders

-- provided the thinking of its

administrators changes, if it hasn't so

far, since the former president gave me

a peep into his mind.

The BCCI's 2018-19 balance sheet

showed that it was worth a colossal Rs

14,489.80 crore. Obviously, there is no

dearth of money; it has to be the mindset,

which must change.

As the Indian women's team is set to

embark on a tour of England in a few

days, not much may have changed within

the BCCI with regard to women

cricketers. A sample of this can be had

from the vast disparity in the annual

retainership for male and female players

announced recently.

The annual retainership/contract for

players is just the latest example of the

huge gulf between the pay scale of the

male and female cricketers. A male

cricketer in the A+ Grade receives Rs 7

crore, those in the A bracket get Rs 5

crore, cricketers in the B category

receive Rs 3 crore, and cricketers in the

C Grade get Rs 1 crore annually.

For women, there are only three

grades, and the retainership amounts are

Rs 50 lakh, Rs 30 lakh, and Rs 10 lakh.

Yes, you read it right - Rs 50 lakh, Rs 30

lakh, and Rs 10 lakh.

The total amount the BCCI has earmarked

for the 28 male cricketers for

the 2020-21 annual retainership is Rs 96

crore, while the corresponding grand

total for the 19 contracted women cricketers

is a mere Rs 5.10 crore -- a colossal

difference of Rs 90.90 crore.

Similarly, there is a huge gulf in the

match fees of Indian male and female

cricketers.

Also, the women's teams play much

less international matches than the

men's team - therefore, much less

income in terms of match fee. Imagine,

the Indian women's team last played a

Test match in 2014. They will now play

one in England.

Those who try to defend the vast disparity

in payment often argue that

women players don't attract revenue via

sponsorship and other endorsements, so

they deserve less pay. My counter is:

Did the BCCI over the years and

decades try to take women players (and

administrators of the national women's

cricket body when they were a separate

entity until 2006) into confidence and

market their game along with men's?

Did they treat female cricketers at par

with their male counterparts in many

other respects? The answer is: No.

Had the BCCI administrators over

the decades honestly planned about the

betterment of the women's game, they

could have bundled the sponsorship

deals, combining men's and women's

cricket. That never happened.

The hard truth is that the BCCI

extremely reluctantly merged the

national women's body, which was an

independent body until 2006. The BCCI

was one of the last national men's

boards to merge the women's wing on

the instructions of the International

Cricket Council.

And then people with a certain mindset

have been ruling the BCCI since.

Evidently, there are different yardsticks

for men's and women's game.

Indian women cricketers, present and

past, saw a ray of hope when Sourav

Ganguly was elected BCCI president in

October 2019. Former India captain

Shanta Ramgaswamy was among those

who saw light at the end of the tunnel.

"As Sourav is there as BCCI president

and when he says that he wants to

do something for first-class cricketers, I

suppose he includes women players

also. So, that's a good sign. Hopefully,

half of our work will be done. What we

need to do, he himself is proposing. If it

happens, it will be a shot in the arm for

all women cricketers who slogged all

their lives to help sustain this game,"

Ramgaswamy, who is now in the BCCI

apex council as a representative of the

Indian Cricketers' Association, had told

me after the 2019 BCCI elections.

Alas, not much has happened since

October 2019. Probably Ganguly alone

can't do anything without his colleagues

changing their mind-set vis-a-vis Indian

women's cricket.

Mumbai : Actor Abhishek

Bachchan has called his father,

Bollywood icon Amitabh

Bachchan, good company to

have, sharing that when the

father-son duo was hospitalised

due to Covid last year, it was

wonderful to wake up and go see

his father, a 78-year-old back

then with severe comorbidities,

have the fighting spirit to battle

the virus.

"Everybody has their own

unique experience with Covid, I

think people react to it differently.

It was not a nice experience

for me because you know I had

a family that was inflicted by

this as well. If you are in a situation

where you are under medical

supervision, you are very

powerless," said Abhishek, during

a social media live motivational

podcast with international

speaker Anand Chulani.

"Your life is being run by the

medical teams so you are not

really in control of your faculties

Abhishek on dad Amitabh Bachchan:

He is good company to have

in that sense and you don't really

have any power over what

you do. You are not too sure

what is going on as there is a lot

of uncertainty about how things

are going to pan out. The initial

nights when I was in hospital, it

was tough to sleep because I

didn't know really what awaited

me on the other side," Abhishek

added.

He stressed that keeping a

positive mindset is the only

thing that is in one's control and

it could get challenging at times.

He said his father got him

though his sleepless nights in

the: "Initially, my father and I

were in the hospital together. A

week later my wife and daughter

were hospitalised.

Thankfully, they

only had to be there

for about a week

then they came out,

and my dad and I

stayed on for a bit

longer because we

hadn't tested negative."

"Well, he is good

company to have,

so it was wonderful

to wake up and go

see my father who

last year was 78

years old, a man

with severe comorbidities

but him

being positive and

having that fighting

spirit to get through

this."

Abhishek added: "At

that point of time my

energies were obviously

directed towards him

and him becoming better

because you fear for

your parents, it's actually

of a sensitive age

group."

Seeing Big B's fighting

spirit was inspirational

to Abhishek. "I

mean he is also a great

friend of mine, so it was

good to shoot the

breeze with him and

you know when you are

a COVID patient although you

can interact with other patients,

there is nothing else to do, you

just have to wait around. So,

there was some good banter that

went on, I mean he is a good

roomy in that sense," he said.

Reflecting on how Covid has

shaped his life, he said he is the

same person and he would like

to believe that even in times like

these he always stays positive.

"The one thing that the last

one year has taught me is you

got to value your relationship

and value the fact that you have

a happy and healthy family

around you. There was a point in

time I was frustrated during the

lockdown but then my wife put

things into perspective for me

and told me how for the first

time in many years I could sit

back, not be working round the

clock and enjoy the company of

my family in the safety of my

home. That by itself, is a blessing,"

he added.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

7

Emirates further extends

suspension of passenger

flights from India

Dubai : UAE flag carrier Emirates has announced the further

extension of its passenger flights from India until June 30 in the

wake of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the South Asian country.

The Dubai-based airline had announced the suspension first on

April 24 as a devastating second wave of the pandemic hit India,

leading to record high number of daily cases and deaths.

Last week, it had extended the suspension till at least June 14.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the airline added:

"Furthermore, passengers who have transited through India in the

last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to

the UAE. "UAE Nationals, holders of UAE Golden Visas and

members of diplomatic missions who comply with the revised

published Covid-19 protocols will be exempt for travel."

The suspension of incoming passenger traffic from India to the

UAE began on April 24.

The ban has now been extended until June 14.

Andhra CM lays foundations for

14 medical colleges

Amaravati : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan

Reddy on Monday virtually laid the foundation stones for the construction

of 14 medical colleges

in the state.

With the addition of the

new colleges coming up at

Piduguralla, Machilipatnam,

Vijayanagaram, Anakapalle,

Rajahmundry, Amalapuram,

Palakollu, Eluru, Bapatla,

Markapuram, Madanapalle,

Penukonda, Nandyala and

Adoni, the state will have 16

new medical colleges in all.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the state

government is committed towards developing healthcare facilities

and making them available to all sections of people by setting up

a medical college with a super-speciality hospital in every parliamentary

constituency and nursing colleges affiliated to the medical

colleges. The construction work for the new medical colleges

is expected to be completed within three years at an estimated cost

of Rs 8,000 crore, while the construction of two medical colleges,

in Pulivendula and Paderu, is already underway.

"There is a need to open 16 new medical colleges in the state

for improving tertiary care, as currently only 11 medical colleges

are functioning," Reddy said.

The Chief Minister said that the government is also setting up

500-bed hospitals along with the medical colleges, with modern

infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities.

Rice, wheat bran distributed in TN to feed stray dogs, cows

Chennai : The Tamil Nadu

State Animal Welfare Board, under

the state Animal Husbandry

Department, is helping to feed

stray animals including dogs and

cows in the streets this year, like it

had during the lockdown in the

first wave of the pandemic last

year.

Animal Husbandry Department

officials said that they have

received 1,250 kg of rice from the

Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners

Association, while state government

milk undertaking Aavin has

also donated milk powder worth

Rs 1 lakh, and will deliver this

materials to recognised organisations

working in the area of animal

welfare, as well as some individuals

who are at the forefront of feeding

stray animals.

The department has already sent

a circular to all the District

Collectors to coordinate with these

animal welfare organisations and

individuals who used to feed strays

in their respective jurisdictions.

Activist Selvaraj Manikantan,

who feeds stray dogs at Madurai,

told IANS that he has already been

contacted by the district administration

which has conveyed that

the Animal Husbandry Department

will be providing rice and

skimmed milk powder to feed

'Taiwan's worst Covid outbreak

may be coming under control'

Taipei : Taiwan's worst Covid-19 outbreak

seems to be easing thanks to the

efforts of medical workers, local governments

and ordinary citizens, Central

Epidemic Control Command (CECC) chief

Chen Shih-chung said on Monday.

With a population of 23.6 million,

Taiwan has recorded a total of 8,551 coronavirus

infections and 124 fatalities, most

of which were recorded in the current outbreak

which began earlier this month,

including 274 new cases and 15 deaths

confirmed on Monday, reports dpa news

agency.

CECC data showed that the confirmed

case numbers have declined from a peak of

533 tallied on May 17 to 274 announced on

Monday. "In the past few days we can see

that the number of cases is declining which

is the result of everyone's efforts," Chen

told reporters at the daily CECC press

briefing.

Chen said the critical effective reproduction

value, which shows the number of

persons that can be infected by an individual,

peaked at 15 during May 13-15, but

has now declined to 1.02.

He said that that the results show that

"the epidemic situation is progressing to a

Chennai : Covid-19 is

scripting untold miseries taking

away lives of near and dear

ones besides crippling the

financial position as people

turn jobless but the most vulnerable

of the tragic lot are the

children as in any other crisis as

well.

In Coimbatore alone, 91

children have lost their parents

-- either one or both due to

Covid -19.

The Office of the District

Child Protection Council

(DCPO) in Coimbatore on

Sunday said that 91 children

under 18 years of age have lost

either one or both parents due

to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 91 children who lost

their parents, family members

of 53 of these children have

strays.

"Already, I am feeding some

dogs in the neighbourhood and this

would be of great help as I was

running from pillar to post to get

the materials," he said.

Other than stray dogs and cattle,

25 gunny bags of wheat bran was

being distributed to feed the horses

which are used for joy rides in

Marina beach.

Wilson Peter, a horse owner at

Marina beach, told IANS: "Yes,

we have received the wheat bran

and it is of immense help as we

were not able to get the necessary

wheat to feed the horses owing to

lockdown."

controllable scope."

Chen also defended the CECC's decision

to sign advance procurement contracts

with two Taiwan pharmaceutical companies,

Medigen Vaccine Company and

United Biomedical Inc, for 10 million of

doses of Covid-19 vaccine each as in line

with international practice.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's parliament authorised

over $15 billion for Covid-19 related

economic and social assistance funds on

Monday for people and companies affected

by the current outbreak in which over

sought financial assistance

from the government.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin

on Saturday announced that the

state government would

deposit Rs 5 lakh in the name

of each child who has been

orphaned by Covid-19 and Rs 3

lakh in the name of each one

8,500 have been infected and 124 have

died.

The revisions extend the tenure of the

special act until June 2022 and hike the

ceiling for assistance measures by $15.2

billion-$30.4 billion.

Officials said the number of people who

will benefit will exceed the 5.24 million

who received cash payments last year.

The Cabinet is expected to finalise the

new special budget on Thursday, allowing

cash payments to be sent into bank

accounts by Friday.

91 orphans, half-orphans of

Coimbatore: A Covid tragedy

half-orphaned.

Children

who have lost

their parents

due to Covid-

19 and who are

staying with

their relatives

will be paid Rs

3,000 per

month till they

turn 18 years.

An officer

with the DCPO

told IANS: "We have identified

91 such children who have lost

one of their parents or both the

parents to Covid-19. Single

parent, relatives, and guardians

of these children do not want

them to be sent to government

homes. "We have received

requests from 51 family members

of children who lost one of

the parents and 2 applications

from relatives of children who

lost both their parents for assistance

from the government."

The Confederation of Indian

Industries, Coimbatore chapter,

in association with the DCPO

has arranged groceries and

other necessary items for the

next three to four months for

the families of children who

lost one of the parents or both.

K. Manikantan, an office

bearer of CII, Coimbatore

chapter, told IANS: "We are

supporting the families of these

children but the government

announcement will help alleviate

their difficulties and the relatives

who look after these children

will not also be burdened."


8 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Punjab Mail, India's oldest train

that served Britishers, turns 110

Mumbai : The oldest running longdistance

train of the Indian Railways,

Punjab Mail, connecting Mumbai-

Firozpur - originally linking Bombay

with Peshawar (now in Pakistan) -

turns 110 on Tuesday, Central Railway

officials said here on Monday.

The Punjab Limited as she was

called then, is a little over 16 years

older than its more glamorous counterpart

Frontier Mail, though its origins

are rather vague.

She steamed out of Bombay's

Ballard Pier Mole station - which was

the hub of the erstwhile Great Indian

Peninsular Railways (GIPR), that later

became the CR.

Based on a Cost Estimate paper of

1911 and a complaint by an irate passenger

in Oct. 2012 about "the later

arrival of the train by a few minutes at

Delhi" station, the CR concluded that

the Punjab Mail made her maiden run

on June 1, 1912.

To begin with, there were the P&O

steamers bringing in the mail, and

excited officers of the British Raj

along with their spouses, coming to

their first postings in colonial India

after a 13-day long sea voyage from

Southampton to Mumbai Port.

Since the British officials held a

combined ticket both for the sea voyage

to Bombay and then onward

inland journey by train to their place

of postings, after disembarking they

would simply board one of the trains

from here bound for Delhi, Calcutta or

Madras. The Punjab Limited used to

run on fixed mail days from Bombay

to Peshawar covering 2,496 kms in

around 47 hours along the Great

Indian Peninsular route, via Itarsi,

Agra, Delhi and Lahore.

At that time, it had only 3 passenger

cars with a total capacity of 96 travellers,

three for postal goods and mail,

and was the fastest running train in the

British India. The passenger coaches

were all corridor cars in first class, dual

berth compartments, and well appointed

with lavatories, bathrooms, a restaurant

car, a compartment for the luggage

and servants of the British officers.

Later, from 1914, the Punjab Limited

started originating and terminating at

the Bombay VT Station, now

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

Mumbai and a UNESCO World

Heritage site. Today, the journey time

of Punjab Mail, hauled by electric

engines, has come down significantly,

covering the 1,930 kms between

Mumbai CSMT-Firozpur Cantt in 34

hrs 15 mins. Compared to the original 6

cars of the Punjab Limited, Punjab Mail

now has 9 air-conditioned coaches, 6

sleeper coaches, 5 general second class

coaches, a pantry and a generator van.

By mid-1930s, it also started catering

to the Indians on the move in Third

class cars, it got the first airconditioned

coach in 1945 , from May 1976,

it was hauled by diesel engines, and by

1980s with electric engines as a large

part of the trunk routes on the IR network

got electrified.

From December 2020, the Punjab

Mail started its journey with the

German-designed Alstom LHB

GmbH's Linke Hofmann Busch

(LHB) coaches which give more safety

and a pleasant travel experience to

the passengers.

Travel industry disappointed with GST Council

failure to rationalise taxes for the sector

New Delhi : The travel Industry, one

of worst affected sectors during the pandemic,

is disappointed as the government

has so far not come up with a specific

economic relief package for it.

IATO, one of the apex body tour operators,

has expressed deep disappointed

over its request for rationalising GST

and cascading impact it causes on the

tourism industry not even being discussed

in the GST Council meeting held

last week.

Though there is no substitute for

resumption of tourism activity which

seems far off given the second wave of

the pandemic, the apex tourism national

body has now pinned its hopes that the

government and GST council would

sympathise and do its bit and provide

succour by lowering the stiff GST which

is imposed on the tourism industry.

According to Rajiv Mehra, President

IATO, "Tourism, more particularly the

inbound one, is the worst affected with

zero inbound tourism business in the last

14 months and further we see no hope of

inbound tourism to start soon. In a scenario

like this we were hopeful that our

request would be favourably considered

in the GST council meeting, but what

was disappointing was that it was not

even discussed."

It is more important to reduce taxes

on the tourism industry as Indian tourism

stakeholders are going to face very tough

competition from our neighbouring

countries as they will be coming out with

lucrative offers to attract international

tourists to their countries, IATO said.

Until and unless we reduce taxes on

the tourism products, we will not be able

to compete with South Asian and other

neighbouring countries as tax on tourism

in these countries is very low compared

to our country, Mehra said.

However, IATO is still hopeful that

some relief will be favourably considered

in the second stimulus package to

be announced by the Ministry of Finance

considering the crisis this industry is facing.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk ASIA 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 9

Petrol price rises again after hitting

century mark in MUMBAI

New Delhi : After a day's

pause, fuel prices increased

once again on Monday reaching

new highs across the country

with petrol crossing Rs 100 per

litre mark in several cities.

Accordingly, the pump prices

of petrol and diesel increased by

29 paise and 26 paise per litre to

Rs 94.23 and Rs 85.16 per litre

respectively in Delhi on

Monday.

In the city of Mumbai, where

petrol prices crossed Rs 100

mark for the first time ever on

Furore over Waseem

Rizvi's 'New Quran'

Lucknow : Waseem Rizvi, the former

chairman of Shia Central Waqf Board in

Uttar Pradesh, has kicked up a major controversy.

He claims to have created a 'new

Quran' by removing 26 verses that allegedly

promote violence and arranged the remaining

verses in proper sequence.

Rizvi has also appealed to Prime Minister

Narendra Modi to authorize the use of his

'new Quran' in all madrasas and Muslim

institutes in the country.

"I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra

Saturday, the fuel price rose

again by 28 paise per litre on

Monday to reach new high of Rs

100.47 per litre. Diesel price

also increased in the city by 28

paise per litre to reach Rs 92.45

a litre, the highest among metros.

Across the country as well,

petrol and diesel prices

increased on Monday but the

quantum varied depending on

the level of local taxes in different

states.

Mumbai is not the only city

to have unique distinction of

petrol breaching the Rs 100 pet

litre mark. Thane reached the

mark few days back while few

other cities in Rajasthan (including

Jaipur) Madhya Pradesh and

Maharashtra, having the highest

VAT levels on auto fuels in the

country, have already been selling

normal petrol for over Rs

100 a litre for past several days.

Premium petrol prices have

already crossed the Rs 100 per

litre mark in Mumbai and other

parts of the country through

Modi to include this new Quran in the education

curriculum of various madrasas and

Muslim education institutes across the country.

This redacted version of the Quran is the

right Quran and it will soon be available in

the market for people to buy," Rizvi said.

Earlier this year, Waseem Rizvi had filed

a PIL in the Supreme Court to remove 26

verses of the Quran saying that they promote

terrorism and jihad.

In his PIL, Rizvi had stated that these

verses are allegedly used by Islamist

increase in the retail rates in the

month of January and February.

With Monday's price rise,

fuel prices have now increased

on 16 days and remained

unchanged on 15 days in the

month of May. The 15 increases

in May has taken up petrol

prices by Rs 3.83 per litre in

Delhi. Similarly, diesel price has

increased by Rs 4.43 per litre in

the national capital.

Under daily price revision,

OMCs revise petrol and diesel

prices every morning benchmarking

retail fuel prices to a

15-day rolling average of global

refined products' prices and dollar

exchange rate. However, in a

market where fuel prices need to

be increased successively, oil

companies this month have been

holding back price rise on few

days before starting the process

all over again.

IANS had written earlier that

OMCs may begin increasing the

retail price of petrol and diesel

post state elections as they were

incurring losses to the tune of

Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the

price line despite higher global

crude and product prices.

With global crude prices rising

again to around $70 a barrel

mark, OMCs may have to keep

revising prices upwards for

some more time.

Terrorist Groups as justification for attacks

on non-believers and civilians.

However, the court termed the petition to

be "absolutely frivolous" and imposed a fine

of Rs 50,000 on Waseem Rizvi for filing the

PIL.

According to his PIL, he said that Islam is

based on the concept of equality, forgiveness,

equity and tolerance. However, people

have been drifting away from these basics.

He added, due to the extreme interpretations

of the 26 verses of the Holy book, Islam

is getting identified with militancy, fundamentalism,

extremism and terrorism.

Shortly after filing the PIL, several FIRs

were filed against Rizvi who also claimed to

have received death threats.

Both Shia and Sunni communities, have

alleged that Waseem Rizvi had been 'deliberately'

trying to drive a wedge between the

two communities.

Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said

that Rizvi was 'an enemy of Islam' and had

nothing to do with the Quran.

Maulana Yasoob Abbas said that the All-

India Shia Personal Law Board has strongly

condemned Rizvi's move.

"Claiming to even edit or rewrite the Holy

Quran is nothing short of blasphemy. It is an

attempt to divide the nation. Muslim can

never accept any change in the Holy Quran,"

he said.

S Korea to rev up space

development after

lifting of US restrictions

Seoul : South Korea's science minister said on Monday that the

country will expand investment and focus on the development of

its space programme after the United States lifted all restrictions on

the country's missiles. During a bilateral summit on May 21, South

Korea and the U.S. agreed to scrap the restrictions on South

Korean missiles, which was first put in place in 1979 and had limited

Seoul's development of even non-military space projectiles.

The guidelines, which have undergone revisions over the years,

had restricted Seoul's development of solid-fuel space rockets until

last year, reports Yonhap news agency. The latest decision to terminate

the guidelines ensures complete autonomy for South

Korea's space launch vehicle developments, the Ministry of

Science and ICT said in a statement.

As follow-up measures to the recent summit, South Korea has

also signed the Artemis Accords, a U.S.-led international agreement

for lunar exploration, as well as an agreement with the United

States for cooperation on civil global navigation satellite systems.

"The South Korea-U.S. summit and subsequent measures have presented

South Korea an opportunity to become a leading country in

the space industry," said Science Minister Lim Hye-sook during a

meeting with space industry companies and institutes. "Through

the Artemis Accords, we will also expand investment into space

exploration," Lim said.

South Korea, a relative latecomer to the global space development

race, is preparing to launch its first homegrown three-stage

space rocket, named Nuri, in October this year. The Nuri uses four

75-ton liquid engines in its first stage, a 75-tonne liquid engine in

the second stage and a 7-ton liquid engine in the third stage.

The country also plans to launch its first lunar orbiter next year

to conduct an observation mission of the moon throughout 2023.

Saint-Gobain to

provide 2 O2 generators

for TN hospitals

Chennai : The glass business division of Saint-Gobain India

said on Monday that it will provide two oxygen generation plants

to two hospitals in Tamil Nadu.

The company also said it is pledging Rs 4.5 crore to fight the

Covid-19 pandemic in Tamil Nadu.

According to Saint-Gobain, it has brought one oxygen generation

plant from France for the Government Medical College

Hospita in Omandurar, Chennai, besides locally sourcing one for

the IRT Hospital at Perundurai in Erode district.

These plants will be commissioned and operational in June.

The company further committed Rs 1.25 crore for providing

oxygen concentrators, flow meters, medical kits, personal protective

equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, sanitisers, and other protective

gear for frontline healthcare workers, public healthcare centers,

and government hospitals in Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and

Erode districts, besides Chennai.


10 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 ASIA

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Gun sales in US continue amid

pandemic, protests: Report

Beijing enacts anti-food

waste regulation

Beijing : Catering service providers in Beijing who encourage,

mislead or force consumers to order too much food may face fines

of up to 10,000 yuan ($1,570), a media report said Monday, citing

a regulation passed by the

municipal legislature.

The regulation, aimed at

preventing food waste and

promoting a simple, green

and low-carbon life-style,

came into effect after being

adopted at a session of the

municipal legislature last

week, Xinhua news agency

quoted the China Daily

report as saying.

According to the new regulation, catering service providers

should not set a minimum consumption amount and should clearly

state service items and their charging standards.

It said food delivery platforms should remind consumers to order

the proper amount of food. Catering service providers that provide

food through online platforms should indicate necessary information

on webpages to promote smaller meals or set meal options.

Those who violate the regulation and refuse to rectify their

behaviour will face fines ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 yuan.

Chinese lawmakers in April voted to adopt an anti-food waste

law. The law, designed to help establish a long-term mechanism to

prevent food waste, is vital to ensure national food security.

Washington : Gun sales in the US have

continued amid the Covid-19 pandemic and

the nationwide protests, and about a fifth of

all Americans who bought arms last year

were first-time owners, a media report said.

The New York Times report on Sunday

quoted research data from Northeastern

University and the Harvard Injury Control

Research Center as saying that 39 per cent of

American households own guns, and of the

new owners, half were women, a fifth were

Black and a fifth were Hispanic, reports

Xinhua news agency. The ratio of households

owning guns is up from 32 per cent in

2016, The New York Times said, quoting the

General Social Survey, a public opinion poll

conducted by a research center at the

University of Chicago.

"While gun sales have been climbing for

decades, they often spike in election years

and after high-profile crimes, Americans

have been on an unusual, prolonged buying

spree fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic,

the protests last summer and the fears they

both stoked," said the report.

In March last year, the report added, federal

background checks, a rough proxy for

purchases, topped one million in a week for

the first time since the government began

tracking them in 1998.

And the buying continued, through the

protests in the summer and the election in the

fall, until a week this spring broke the record

with 1.2 million background checks, it said.

"There was a surge in purchasing unlike

anything we've ever seen," Garen J.

Wintemute, a gun researcher at the

University of California, Davis, was quoted

as saying.

"Usually it slows down. But this just kept

going." With the pandemic accelerating the

trend of rising gun sales, the pace has continued

this year.

Americans bought more than 2.3 million

guns in January, the highest since last July,

and overall in the first quarter, sales jumped

18 per cent, compared to the first quarter of

2020, said The Trace, a news outlet that

tracks gun sales.

Meanwhile, shooting incidents with four

or more fatalities in the US in 2021 have

reached 17, compared to the whole year

number of 23 in 2020, and 36 in 2019,

according to Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a

nonprofit research group.

Broadening the scope to include gun violence

injuries, the GVA counted 610 incidents

in which at least four people were shot

last year, compared with 417 in 2019 and

336 in 2018.

Under the GVA definition, there have

been 231 mass casualty shootings in the US

so far in 2021, more than one per day.

'Once-in-a-100-year' rain,

floods continue in NZ

Wellington : Heavy rain and floods

that forecasters said could be a "once-in-a-

100-year" event continued to lash New

Zealand's South Island on Monday.

The heavy rain caused severe floods,

evacuations of more than 240 homes,

power cuts and rising rivers, reports

Xinhua news agency.

Several bridges were also broken amid

the floods. In some eastern areas of

Christchurch, the biggest city in the

Canterbury region, rivers ran high after

consecutive rains. Some schools had to

be closed on Monday due to high flooding

risks in surrounding areas. More

than 1,000 homes were without power

across Christchurch on Sunday night,

with freezing weather accompanying

the heavy rains.

About 100 of these households still

suffered power outage on Monday.

Local authorities declared a state of

local emergency for the whole

Canterbury region of the South Island.

People have been advised to stay at

home to avoid road closure and flooding

risks. According to MetService, New

Zealand's national weather authority, the

red alert was lifted for the Canterbury

region as the rainfall started to ease on

Monday.

Red level warnings in the country are

"issued for the most extreme weather systems

which may cause widespread disruption

and severe impacts", according to

MetService.

Myanmar military extends

non-operation period

Nay Pyi Taw : The Myanmar military announced the extension of

its non-operation period against ethnic armed groups to the end of

June. All military operations will be suspended across the country

except for the period when security and administrative machinery of

the government in addition to state defence and administrative measures

are encroached on, the military said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the statement, the extension is meant to facilitate

talks with the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signatory ethnic

armed organisations to strengthen the peace process; efforts to get

non-NCA signatory ethnic armed groups to sign the agreement; and

discussions on necessary measures for lasting peace in the country,

Xinhua news agency reported.

The extension also aims to let students in the country be able to

focus on study peacefully as all schools for basic education will be

reopened on June 1, according to the statement.

So far, 10 ethnic armed groups have signed the NCA with the government

since it was initiated in October 2015.

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www.theasianindependent.co.uk

ASIA

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

11

Big jolt for Pakistan in

Reko Diq mines case

Under Obama-Biden,

US spied on top

GERMAN LEADERS

New Delhi/Copenhagen, May 31 (IANS) Under President

Barack Obama and then Vice President Joe Biden's administration,

the US was spying on Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel from

2012 to 2014, using Denmark's secret service.

The scandal was exposed by Danish media, triggering a political

storm. This is the second time since 2013, that the US has been

accused of spying on European politicians and officials, especially

Germany.

However, this time the Danish media has gained access to the

reports which provide insights into how the Defence Intelligence

Service (FE) of Denmark collaborated with the US National

Security Agency (NSA) to collect intelligence and information on

Germany, an ally of the US.

According to the Danish media reports, the spying operation

was targeted at Merkel, German President -- and then Foreign

Minister -- Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the then opposition leader

Peer Steinbruck. Code named as 'Operation Dunhammer', the US

NSA, with the help of Denmark's FE, tapped into Danish internet

cables to access phone conversations and text messages of several

prominent European politicians.

In a series of tweets, Edward Snowden, a former US computer

intelligence consultant who became a whistleblower on America's

global surveillance programmes using telecom companies, took a

dig at the Biden administration after the latest Danish media

reports appeared on Sunday.

"Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits

Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the

first time around. There should be an explicit requirement for full

public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner

as well," he tweeted.

Snowden also alleged that in 2013, the Danish government

"secretly welcomed an FBI plane-intended to kidnap me. At the

time, it seemed strange that they would help hide another country's

crimes. It was not the Denmark I imagined".

The US and Denmark governments have not issued any statements

yet.

Islamabad : The strength of Pakistans

claim of success in the Reko Diq mines case

might just be fading out as the Tethyan

Copper Company (TCC) has challenged the

ruling of a British Virgin Islands (BVI) court,

which had allowed Pakistan to retain its

assets, which were attached in connection to

the case for the settlement of a $6 billion

award.

TCC has filed an appeal against the High

Court of Justice order in the BVI Court of

Appeal, as per the latest updates.

Earlier, TCC had sought attachment of

Pakistan's assets for the enforcement of the

$6 billion award that was given by the

International Centre for Settlement of

Investment Disputes (ICSID) on July 12,

2019. The award was slapped on Pakistan for

revoking a contract for mining at Reko Diq

in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

On December 10, 2020, the BVI High

Court had attached the Roosevelt Hotel in

New York and the Scribe Hotel in Paris to

enforce the award. Both the hotels were

owned by Pakistan's flag carrier airline

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

However, the same court later changed its

order and ruled that PIA could retain its two

assets, a news that was celebrated in Pakistan

as a victory in the case.

As per the BVI ruling, TCC's plea was not

only rejected, but a fine of $5 million along

with a $50,000 penalty was also imposed on

the company. "The BVI Court ruled that it

has no jurisdiction, and the all ex-parte

orders obtained by the TCC were based on

an incorrect reading of law," said a senior

member of Pakistan's Ministry of Law.

The rejection of the TCC plea also came

because Pakistan has already initiated the

process for the annulment of the $6 billion

award in the Reko Diq case, a decision on

which is awaited. On the other hand,

Pakistan's legal experts say that the probability

to have the $6 billion penalty annulled

has certainly come as a booster for the country,

which is already suffering from an economic

crisis. The international arbitration tribunal

of the ICSID had slapped a $6 billion

penalty on Pakistan on July 12, 2019, for a

decision taken in 2011 to deny a mining lease

for the Reko Diq project to the TCC.

Pakistan was ordered to pay over $4 billion

in damages and $1.7 billion in preaward

interest to TCC, after it was found that

Pakistan reportedly took an unlawful decision

to deny TCC a lease to mine copper and

gold deposits at the Reko Diq mine.

While Pakistan's leverage given by the

court and chances of annulment of the $6 billion

award will be a great booster for the

country's economy, TCC's latest appeal may

just ruin Islamabad's success claims and further

hurt its crippling and worsening economic

crisis.

China to support couples wanting a 3rd child

Beijing : China will support couples

that wish to have a third child, according

to a meeting of the Political Bureau of

Communist Party of China Central

Committee held on Monday.

Implementing the policy and its relevant

supporting measures will help

improve China's population structure,

actively respond to the aging population,

and preserve the country's human resource

advantages, Xinhua news agency reported

citing the Bureau as saying.

The decision came just three weeks

after the publication of the latest national

census which revealed rthat China's population

on the mainland reached 1.4 billion,

growing 0.53 per cent annually on average in

the past decade. Experts said that because of

the decades-old one-child policy, which was

only abolished in 2015, many Chinese have

become accustomed to having only one

child, dpa news agency reported.

In the past 10 years, China's population

has grown by only 0.53 per cent annually to

just over 1.4 billion people - the slowest

pace in decades.

The one-child policy that had been in

place since 1979 was abolished in 2015 and

replaced by a two-child policy.

However, the turnaround had only led to

a slight increase in births in 2016.

Since then, the number has fallen every

year.

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12 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

World economy to grow

at 6% this year: OECD

16 Taliban militants

dead, 8 arrested in

AFGHANISTAN

Kabul : At least 16 Taliban militants were killed and eight

others arrested in two Afghan provinces, the country's Ministry

of Defence confirmed on Monday.

In Kunduz province, five people were freed from the

Taliban's clutches after Afghan National Army commandos raided

a hideout in Qosh Tapa village on the outskirts of provincial

capital Kunduz city on Sunday night, Xinhua news agency quoted

the Ministry as saying in a statement.

"The army commandos raided a Taliban hideout at midnight.

During the operation, the security forces received hostile fire.

They returned fire in self-defense.

"In ensuing gunfight, 12 enemy combatants were killed and

eight others arrested," the statement said.

The freed people and the arrested militants were shifted to an

army camp.

The Taliban hideout was destroyed and the weapons and

ammunition were seized during the raid, the statement added.

In Helmand province, four militants were killed and two

wounded after Afghan Air Force bombed a Taliban position in

Chah-e-Angir, an area in restive Nad Ali district, on Sunday.

The Taliban have intensified attacks on provincial capitals,

districts, bases and checkpoints after US President Joe Biden

announced that American troops will pull out from the country

by September 11, 2021 after almost 20 years.

NATO agreed to follow suit.

Almost 10,000 NATO soldiers from the Resolute Support

training mission, including 2,500 soldiers from the US and

around 1,100 from Germany, the two biggest contingents, are

due to leave the country.

The withdrawal formally began on May 1.

Paris : The global economy could grow

by "nearly 6 per cent" this year, the

Organization for Economic Co-operation

and Development (OECD) said on

Monday, while warning that recovery from

the Covid-19 pandemic-related losses will

be "very uneven". Growth will be driven

by the world's three main economic powers,

with China's gross domestic product

(GDP) set to expand by more than 8 per

cent, dpa news agency quoted the Parisbased

OECD as saying in its 2021

Economic Outlook.

The US should be close behind, registering

nearly 7 per cent GDP growth, with

the European Union clocking a higherthan-usual

4.25 per cent. But while this

year's projected rebound would amount to

"an impressive surge after the 3.5 per-cent

contraction in 2020" it is unlikely to return

living standards "to the level expected

before the pandemic" by the end of next

year, the OECD said. It also noted that pandemic-related

curbs have made it more difficult

to estimate GDP and "may have

reduced the comparability of economic

outcomes across countries". The OECD

Berlin : The German federal

police on Monday carried out

raids in several cities targeting

organised smuggling of

migrants.

Starting at 6 a.m., 33 properties

were simultaneously

searched in Berlin, Hamburg

and the states of North Rhine

Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and

Saxony as well as in the

Slovakian capital Bratislava,

dpa news agency quoted

spokesperson for the Criminal

Investigation Department here

as saying.

Around 700 officers were

deployed, with the main focus

of the operation in Berlin.

One of the two main suspects,

a Vietnamese national,

said it while it was "very encouraging" that

some governments provided "unprecedented"

support for businesses forced to close

by pandemic restrictions, it warned that

most countries do not have the means for

such spending, meaning "headwinds"

remain for global growth.

Developing countries "have less policy

capacity to support activity than advanced

was arrested there.

Another arrest was made in

Bratislava. According to the

spokesperson, the women are

accused of professional smuggling.

They are alleged to have

economies", the OECD said, meaning

that weighed against pre-pandemic

expectations, "output shortfall" in developing

economies could be "more than

twice that in the median advanced economy"

by the end of 2022. A "disturbing"

scarcity of coronavirus vaccines in poorer

countries could sharpen the divide, the

Organization added.

Raids in Germany target organised migrant smuggling

smuggled people from Vietnam

to Germany via flats in

Slovakia.

"Smuggling wages" of

13,000 to 21,000 euros

($15,850-$25,600) were

demanded, the spokesperson

said.

The people concerned were

then forced to work off the

resulting debts in nail or massage

studios or in so-called

brothel flats, police said.

According to the spokesperson,

the operation was carried out

on behalf of the Berlin Public

Prosecutor's Office and the

Leipzig Public Prosecutor's

Office.

This was embedded in

investigations by Europol.

Covid: Inserting breathing tubes early may cut ICU stay

London : Inserting breathing tubes

early may reduce Covid-19 patients'

ICU stay by a week, claims a study.

The study, led by researchers at

McMaster University and the

University of Toronto in Canada,

looked at tracheostomies, which are a

procedure that helps patients breathe

through tubes, the Daily Mail reported.

The findings, published in the

peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA

Otolaryngology - Head & Neck

Surgery, showed that tracheostomy

shortened Covid patients' stay in the

ICU when it was done within two

weeks of their arrival.

In addition, the procedure didn't

pose a significant risk to healthcare

workers if they use personal protective

equipment, the report said.

One of Covid's severe symptoms is

the inability to breathe on one's own.

The virus causes mucus and other fluids

to block patients' lungs, making it

difficult for air to get through.

In the usual scenario, doctors insert

a breathing tube into a patient -- in a

procedure called tracheostomy -- on

patients after spending two weeks on a

ventilator. The procedure involves cutting

a hole into a patient's neck -- connected

to their windpipe -- and hooking

that tube up to the ventilator. It

helps air flow more easily into the

lungs.

But, the medical community has

different opinions on performing the

procedure -- and its timing.

To examine what benefits the procedure

may have for patients, the team

conducted a systematic review and

meta-analysis of 69 studies.

The results conflict with past guidance

to physicians, which recommends

waiting 14 days to give a

patient breathing tubes so that the doctor

can ensure they really do need

breathing help for an extended period

of time.

Another concern, especially when

it's done earlier is that it can endanger

the healthcare workers tending to ICU

patients.

While cutting into a patient's neck

or moving a ventilator during this procedure,

coronavirus particles will

escape from the patient. This is a riskier

process when it's done soon after a

patient has arrived at the hospital,

since Covid patients tend to be at a

higher risk of infecting others within

the first two weeks of their disease.

The National Institute of Health

recommends extreme caution during

tracheostomies for this reason.

The researchers found, however,

that only five per cent of studies in

their summary analysis reported

healthcare workers testing positive

after a breathing tube procedure, the

report said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

13

BJP-RSS Politics and Economic

Plight of DALITS IN INDIA

(Samaj Weekly)- India’s caste system

is the major obstacle for betterment

of the socio-economic condition of the

downtrodden. The lowest in the rung of

caste hierarchy, the victims of caste

oppression are addressed as dalits or

Scheduled Castes (SC). There are others

who are also on the lower scale of hierarchy,

the tribal (ST) and other backward

castes (OBC). For centuries the

low castes were subject to oppression at

multiple levels. Theirs’ was a sort of

slavery couched in the wrap of religion.

Many Hindu scriptures gave the rigid

outline of the social system. One such

scripture has been Manu Smiriti which

was burnt in a public protest by the

greatest of the caste opponents Dr.

Bhimrao Babasaheb Ambedkar.

As the opposition to caste structure

started coming up during freedom

movement of India, the reaction to this

was Hindu Nationalism, rather

Brahmanic Nationalism. It was the

Brahmanic stream of Hinduism which

has been most rigid about the oppression

of lower castes. This Brahmanic

Nationalism presented itself as Hindu

nationalism and got expressed in Hindu

Mahasabha and RSS. RSS thrived over

a period of time and currently is the

most powerful organization in the country.

It is working for restoration of

Caste, gender hierarchy and inequality

of older times.

It is an overarching formation working

in all spheres of life and its progeny

working in political arena is Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP), which is ruling the

country from last seven years. It is very

subtle in presenting its agenda which is

against dalits and other downtrodden.

BJP poses to be associating with dalits

while its policies are meant to subjugate

this community. It has multiple strategies

to win them over for electoral purposes

while modifying the policies in a

direction which are detrimental to the

all round conditions of dalits, including

their economic conditions.

BJP-RSS and anti-dalit ideology

BJP came to political forefront when

it started its campaign for Ram Temple

in the decade of 1980. In 1990

V.P.Singh implemented Mandal

Commission, which gave 27% reservation

to the other backward Castes.

Earlier the SC had 15% of reservation,

ST 7.5% and now OBC reservation was

added up to that. This made BJP more

assertive and its support base, the upper

caste, came forward to support BJP

campaigns for Ram temple and other

divisive agenda, pushing the social

equality attempts in the backyard. This

identity based Ram temple campaign

also served the purpose of distracting

the attention from the plight of

oppressed sections of society as well.

The period up to 2014, (2004 to 2014

period was the time when Congress led

UPA was in power) saw that on one

hand despite the opposition to affirmative

action for dalits there was effort to

implement it. On the other hand BJP

was building itself to oppose the policy

of reservation for dalits on one hand and

to co-opt them into its ideological and

political fold.

UPA I (2004-2009) came up with

rights based approach, ‘Right to information’,

‘right to employment’, ‘right to

education’, ‘right to health’ and ‘right to

food’. This benefitted the large sections

of dalits living below the poverty line.

The ongoing affirmative action’s during

many decades after independence did

lift the dalit’s conditions to some extent.

Still due to the deeply entrenched caste

system, the affirmative provisions were

not implemented as they should have

been. So in a way the process of social

transformation till 2014 was at snail’s

pace anyway.

The major change in the condition of

dalits has been due to reservations

which were mandated by the constitution

and which aimed to break the

shackles of caste backwardness and

improve the condition of dalits. RSS-

BJP has been opposed to this all

through, overtly or covertly. Mandal

Commission was a turning point in a

way as RSS-BJP activated its mechanism

for opposing the same indirectly

by raising the pitch of Ram temple campaign.

They did float organizations like

‘Youth for Equality’. Social debates

were popularised against reservation.

Reservation: Creamy Layer

The overall picture before BJP coming

to power was summed up by prominent

academic Sukhdeo Thorat. As per

him “dalits are employed in manual,

unskilled labor jobs in urban areas.

Given these facts, only 5% of the working

dalit population has actually benefited

from the Indian reservation law.” (1)

As per him while GOI poverty alleviation

programs help dalits, the government

does not strictly monitor them and

many are never implemented…and the

vast majority of dalits are denied

upward socioeconomic mobility due to

lack of access to education, land, and

capital.

Further worsening of the situation

began with BJP coming to power at

Centre. The first attempt BJP initiated

was at state level and then at Centre was

to introduce ‘reservation based on economic

ground’. Also there is a talk that

creamy layers will be excluded from the

reservations. The ‘creamy layers’ means

those who have better socio economic

status. Dilip Mandal, another scholar

points out,“ for the first time, the central

government is going to include an individual’s

salary to calculate household

earnings, which would determine the

creamy layer category for members of

that family. In one stroke, a large number

of salary earners will be excluded

from the ambit of OBC quota.” (2)

Further Mandal elaborates, ”The proposed

criteria, if implemented, will

exclude even the lower middle class

OBCs. Take the example of a family

where both parents are primary school

teachers. In all probability, their combined

annual salary would be above Rs

12 lakh. Now, if their daughter applies

for a government job, she will not be

considered for the OBC quota.” (3)

Introducing reservation on Economic

Ground has further weakened the position

of the status of dalits. BJP led NDA

passed the resolution approving 10%

– Ram Puniyani

quota for upper caste on economic criterion.

These criterion are liberal enough

to include large sections of population

at the cost of reservation of the

dalits/OBC.

BJP Identity Politics and Lynching

in name of Cow-Beef

BJP’s main plank in political arena is

identity politics. This politics is based

on polarization and creating a sense of

fear among majority for the minority

community. In pursuit of this while they

have been pursuing the Ram Temple

issue earlier; from 2014 when BJP got

majority for the first time; it took the

issue of Holy cow to higher pitch leading

to mob lynching of Muslims and

dalits. Both these communities are related

to occupations of cow slaughter and

leather work. The IndiaSpend data tells

us the massive increase in the lynching

with BJP coming to power and also

increase in atrocities against dalits. This

runs parallel to the impact on economic

situation of dalits as the sale/purchase of

old cows has massively declined and

those involved in these trades, primarily

dalits have suffered huge economic setback.

“Muslims were the target of 51%

of violence centered on bovine issues

over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017)

and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed

in 63 incidents. As many of 97 per cent

of these attacks were reported after

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government

came to power in May 2014,

and about half the cow-related violence

— 32 of 63 cases –were from states

governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP), recorded until June 25, 2017.”

(5)

Running parallel to this was attacks

on dalits who were dealing with

Cowhide. In Una (Gujarat) seven dalit

youth were stripped above the waist and

beaten mercilessly. Following this the

usual economic cycle of old cattle being

bought and sold got a setback giving an

adverse impact to the economic plight

of many dalit families. “A new report by

‘Human Rights Watch’ reveals the

impact of ‘cow protection’ on agriculture,

industries and India’s minorities.

The report looks at the issue of cowrelated

violence and its impact on

India’s minorities. The report analyses

the socio-political, legal and economic

issues around cattle trade and cow-related

violence. Indian government should

prevent and prosecute mob violence by

vigilante groups targeting minorities in

the name of cow protection, ‘Human

Rights Watch’ said in a report.”(6)

“The government [should] not [be]

the one to decide on [what food you can

or cannot eat]. This ban will have an ill

effect on the lives of the Dalits who are

[dependent] upon the labor connected

with cows and leather products.” (7)

Due to the rigidity of caste hierarchy

prevalent in India; dalits are forced to

work in very degrading jobs like scavenging

of rubbish heaps, work in

slaughter houses, tanneries, leather factories

and other menial jobs. To live in

segregation from the upper castes such

as Brahmins is a part of regular practice

here.

Reservation for Dalits in

Universities

From March 2018 UGC advertised

the faculty jobs and in this only 2.5% of

posts were reserved for SC and none for

ST. This is totally in opposition to what

the norms have been (15% for SC, 7.5%

for ST and 27% for OBC) (8) This is

going to have very adverse impact on

the economic conditions of dalits along

with change in the future academic conditions

in the country. This will worsen

the overall plight of this section of society.

Economic status

According to a 2014 report to the

Ministry of Minority Affairs by

Amitabh Kundu, over 44.8% of

Scheduled Tribe (ST) and 33.8% of

Scheduled Caste (SC) populations in

rural India were living below the poverty

line in 2011-12, compared to 30.8%

of Muslims. In urban areas, 27.3% of

ST and 21.8% of SC populations were

poor, versus 26.5% of Muslims. (9, 10)

Some Hindu Dalits achieved affluence,

although most remain poor. In

particular, some Dalit intellectuals such

as Chandrabhan Prasad have argued that

the living standards of many Dalits have

improved since the economic liberalization

in 1991 and have supported their

claims through large surveys. (11)

According to Socio Economic and

Caste Census 2011, nearly 79 percent of

rural Adivasi households and 73 percent

for Dalit households were most

deprived among rural households in

India. While 45 percent of scheduled

caste households are landless and earn

by manual casual labor for their living

and same is for 30 percent for adivasis.(12)

A 2012 survey by Mangalore

University in Karnataka stated that 93%

of dalit families still live below the

poverty line.(13) The budget (2020) has

failed to give due share to the Dalits,

Adivasis, working class, Women and

Children. It has also failed to take concrete

steps to resolve the economic crisis

prevalent in the primary sector of the

economy, i.e., Agriculture. Instead of

providing the farmers with substantial

financial relief, they have been left in a

world of false hopes and promises.

Also, education and health have not

been provided with the kind of attention

they badly need. (14) Congress president

Rahul Gandhi has criticized the

RSS and the BJP for the plight of Dalits

and said he praised dalit community

who are coming forward to protest

against these policies. He commented

this when many Dalit organisations had

called for a nation-wide shutdown with

strong determination against the dilution

of arrest prevalent provisions under

the SC/ST

Atrocities Act by the

Supreme Court.( 15)

BJP’s Strategies to Co-opt Dalits

RSS-BJP faces a unique dilemma.

On one hand they want to ensure the

subordination of dalits at all social levels.

On the other they have to win over

the electoral benefits of these communities.

Through various of its organizations,

RSS, achieves this. They are

employing multiple strategies to win

over there marginalized communities.

Their affiliated organizations doing this

are Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vanavasi

Klayan Ashram, Bajrang Dal, Seva

Bharati to name the few. They have

tried to increase Brahminic religiosity at

all the levels. They have picked up some

of the icons from these marginalized

communities and revived them through

Hindu Nationalist lens. In addition they

have lured some of the leaders of these

communities with the bait of pelf and

power.

The BJP’s landslide victory in the

2014 general election was helped by

Dalit votes. Currently, 84 parliament

seats are reserved for Dalits as those

constituencies are dominated by Dalit

people. In 2014, the BJP won 40 of

them, according to a study by the Centre

for the Study of Developing

Societies(CSDS).

One such study, CSDS post-poll

analysis after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,

showed that between 2014 and

2019; support for the BJP among Dalits,

Adivasis and Other Backward castes

has more than doubled (16).

Incidentally they comprise large section

of poor people in the state. Similarly the

2021 post-poll survey also indicates that

this support is becoming much higher

among Dalits and OBCs than among

upper castes.

This has been the strategy of BJP all

over. Cambridge sociologist Manali

Desai demonstrates the diverse ways

used by this party for Adivasis and dalits.

These groups find that they feel BJP

offered them respect and recognition

more than other parties. (17) In their

perception this party treats them as

equal members of society. It seems

these social groups seem to perceive a

sense of dignity which motivates them

to vote for BJP. This is what explains

the BJP’s attitude towards Matua community,

which is in large numbers in

West Bengal. This is what explains

Modi’s visit to Bangla desh and a visit

to Matua Mandir.

The situation may not remain the

same as this community feels they have

been betrayed.

See Page 24


14 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Palestine deserve a better hearing and

support from the rest of the world

(Samaj Weekly)- Two historical

things have happened recently which

have been passed off as non entity

because it hurt the business interest of

the powerful nations. The UN Human

Rights Council adopted a resolution to

form an International inquiry commission

to investigate, ‘ “grave human

rights situation in the Occupied

Palestinian Territory, including East

Jerusalem” including violation of

International laws and treaties, and all

underlying root causes of recurrent tensions,

instability and protraction of conflict,

including systematic discrimination

and repression based on national,

ethnic, racial or religious identity on or

before April 13th, 2021. The

Commission shall be appointed by the

President of the UN Human Rights

Council and it seeks cooperation from

all the parties.

The adoption of a resolution also

explained and exposed the western

hypocrisy on the issue. UK, Germany

and Austria and six other countries,

were the main proponents of opposing

the resolution. Sadly, it was Germany

and Austria where Hitler and other

Nazis tortured and killed a large number

of Jews. Of course, the decisive role

that UK played in snatching the

Palestinian land to hand over to Israel

can not be kept aside.

France, Brazil, Denmark, India,

Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea

and six other countries (total 14) made

them absent during the voting though

they participated in the discussion.

Now, this is a clever ploy to please all

the sides without focussing on the issue

of violation of human rights and Israel’s

continuous negation of the international

laws. It is not possible without open

support from the United States, UK,

France and Germany. India has joined

in this league in recent years as the

Sangh Parivar and its ideologues consider

Israel a ‘friendly’ country overturning

our historical legacy of standing

with Palestinian people.

Those who supported the motion

were Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia,

China, Cuba, Indonesia, Mexico,

Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines,

Russian Federation, Senegal, and

Venezuela. In total 24 countries supported

the motion. The Muslim countries

have been feeling uncomfortable

on the issue for long though the dominant

among them like Saudi Arabia and

other middle eastern countries have

made their relationship with Israel

stronger and have not been able to get a

fair deal for their Palestinian brothers

and sisters. It was therefore interesting

to see China, Cuba, Russia joining

hands with other countries to ensure

that Israel is made accountable for all

its acts of intimidation and violence

against the Palestine people.

For the first time in recent history,

Israel has faced this international solidarity

though we know it well that the

powerful lobby led by the Americans

will thwart everything that wishes to

bring Israel to follow and respect international

laws. American administration

under Joe Bidan remains the same as

Donald Trump as far as the issue of

Israel is concerned but it is good that

Russia has decided to speak up against

Israel. Let us hope that this resolution

will bring hopes in the lives of

Palestinian people. The Western world

continues to focus on ‘retaliation’ by

Hamas but refuses to debate the whole

issue of autonomy and sovereignty of

Palestine over its territory. The fact is

that Israel’s security agencies have been

brutal and inhuman while dealing with

the Palestinian people particularly those

living in Gaza strip.

The western patronisation of Israel

has made its government more racist

and brutal. It felt that it could do anything

at its whims and fancies as any

resolution against it was vetoed by the

Americans and European nations.

European Union has not spoken categorically

on the issue but what is more

historical is the resolution passed by

Irish parliament which has condemned

the “de facto annexation” of Palestinian

land by Israeli authorities in what it said

was the first use of the phrase by a

European Union government in relation

to Israel as per reported by news agency

Reuters. The news agency quoted the

Foreign Minister of Ireland as informing

the Parliament that, “The scale,

pace and strategic nature of Israel’s

actions on settlement expansion and the

intent behind it have brought us to a

point where we need to be honest about

what is actually happening on the

ground. … It is de facto annexation,” as

per Reuters report.

Ireland’s attempt to carve out a niche

for itself and come out of the shadow of

the United Kingdom is extraordinary.

Of course, as a EU nation, it will have

to follow EU dictates too but it can

open up a new debate in European

Union.

When Israel was bombing over innocent

children and civilian areas in Gaza

Strip the world watched on great outrage

though the Hindutva friends in

India were bombarding twitter with

‘We love Israel’ ‘Stand with Israel’ or

‘Palestinian terrorists’. Of course, our

Permanent representative in the United

Nations was condemning violence in

Gaza Strip in a very ‘balanced’ presentation.

Unfortunately, the Hindu right

wing in India love any one that shows

Muslims as terrorists or unwanted.

Israel for them is a ‘role model’ as it can

do things at its ‘whims and

fancy’. The Hindutva ideologues

and cheerleaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

want India to be or behave

like Israel. It is also the

great ignorance that the

Sanghis love and celebrate Hitler and

Israel both together.

In India, our leadership, right from

Jawahar Lal Nehru till Indira Gandhi

have been very pragmatic and supportive

of Palestinian struggle for their

homeland. Jawahar Lal Nehru always

stood with the rights of Palestine and

sent Indian forces to the UN

Emergency Force to be stationed in

Gaza. In 1960, he went to meet Indian

troops when returning from an official

visit from the UK after participating in

the Commonwealth Prime minister’s

conference in London. It is also a fact

that Israel tried to kill Nehru when the

UN mission plane was taking him back

to Beirut. Nehru was not on official

visit but just stopped over at Beirut,

Lebanon from where he was escorted in

a UN plane. Israeli air force planes

chased his plane but because of great

maturity shown by the pilot of the UN

plane, he returned safe to Beirut.

We know how the successive government

welcomed Palestinian leader

Yasser Arafat whenever he travelled to

India. India’s policy towards Tibet,

Palestine, Namibia and South Africa

had been consistent and supportive of

the rights of the people to decide about

their fate. India was the first one in

recognising Palestinian right over their

home land as well as that of the black

people in Africa. India always supported

Palestine freedom since 1947 and

recognised Palestinian

statehood though relationship

with Palestinian

Liberation Organisation

or PLO and its leader

Yasser Arafat started

since 1974 and he was

given full respect as a

‘head of state’. It is this

reason that Arafat always

considered Indira Gandhi

as his sister and always

felt proud of India’s support to the

Palestine cause.

Yasser Arafat also participated in the

7th Non-Aligned Movement Summit in

Delhi under the chairpersonship of the

then prime minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi,

in which Cuban President Fidel Castro

too participated. On November 19th,

1988, India officially recognised

Palestinian statehood and started its foreign

mission in Ramallah.

Now, we have a government in

Delhi whose followers feel that demand

for Palestine is ‘subversive’ and that

Israel is doing the best to kill people in

Gaza when no sane public in the world

would support such mindless violence

by Israeli troops. Israel’s own paper

Haaretz published photographs of 67

children killed in Gaza due to heavy

bombardment by the Israeli troops. The

newspaper gave the photographs titled

“ The Price of War’. We all know how

Israeli forces did not bother even targeting

AFP and Aljazeera headquarters

based in Gaza Strip. The world watched

Israeli terrorism in great horror and the

country’s leadership continue to create

differences among the communities. It

is important for all the nations of the

world to not vilify their own citizens

who happened to be minorities. The

Palestinian or Muslim citizens of Israel

face enormous difficulties even in getting

a home at safe places. They face

serious institutional discrimination and

social hatred. Therefore, the issue of

Palestine has to be resolved and Israel

must be asked to withdraw from Gaza

and stop intimidating and killing people

at its will. Its leadership must be made

accountable to the world. It is surprising

and shocking when we see mute

western responses to Israel’s blatant

violation of Palestine people and the

torture its forces inflict on the innocent

civilians inside the Palestinian controlled

territory. One should not forget

how Europeans and America rebuilt

Germany after Hitler was defeated. To

defeat Nazism, it was a combined effort

including the famous Nuremberg trial

that brought all those friends and allies

of Hitler who was responsible for

unleashing violence on its own citizens.

But then, Germany and Europe very

smartly exported their failure and problem

to Palestine. Have you ever heard

that the nation Palestine disappeared to

give ‘rise’ to a new nation of Israel?

Therefore, it is now the duty of the

Europeans and America to jointly work

for a permanent settlement of Palestine

and it will not be possible unless and

until Israel’s leadership face the same

kind of trials which Hitler’s associate

got after his defeat. In the best interest

of the Middle East, acceptance of Israel

as a nation should be part of the deal but

the Palestinians must get their full state

and Israel must be stopped from crossing

the boundary at its will.

Will the Irish Parliament’s resolution

and adoption of UN Human Rights

Council’s resolution and formation of

an international tribunal compel Israel

to ponder over its follies and mistakes

in the region? Will the EU and

Americans foil anything to censor

Israel? Whatever happens, it is

extremely important to bring peace in

the region which is not possible without

Palestine getting its due and Israel

respecting that line of control. No one

should try to defend brutal killings of

innocent citizens including children as

well as those reporting from the region.

Let us hope good sense will prevail and

Israel’s leadership will understand that

their adventures have no takers and

therefore they will have to respect the

sovereignty and autonomy of Palestine.

International community has to respond

to this as any delay in providing justice

to Palestinian people will only harm

peace process in the middle east.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

15

How Punjab’s Dalit Labourers Are

Trapped to Live a Bonded Life

A survey revealed that big peasants, who were among the top lenders to the labourers,

gave them loans in the garb of paying low daily wages.

Vivek Gupta

Mansa, Patiala (Punjab): A narrow

dirt road alongside a filthy pond enters

Neelam’s one room house at Aklia village

of Punjab’s Mansa district. The

house is just a pile of bricks. The floor

is muddy and uneven.

Neelam, in her 40s, says that whenever

heavy rain lashes the village, her

house is under dirty pond water for

days. But it is the least of her problems.

Her husband, a landless Dalit

labourer, died of tuberculosis in 2015,

leaving her and four daughters in

penury. Neelam turned to odd jobs

after her husband’s death.

In 2019 she got her elder daughter

married and this made her life even

worse. To wed her daughter, she borrowed

Rs 75,000 from five upper caste

zamindar families in her village (Rs

15000 from each lender).

As the prevailing system goes, in

lieu of interest, she had to work as a

labour for their cattle as well as house

chores at nominal wages.

Her earnings would be adjusted

against her principal amount every

month. She will continue to work on

the same wages until the entire loan is

repaid.

Two years on, she has been toiling

hard all day, feeding and cleaning their

cattle and also working as domestic

help. Yet her loan liability is far from

over. Neelam says more than 70% of

her loan amount is still pending.

“It is because each house deducts

just Rs 400 per month from the total

outstanding, which amounts to not

even Rs 15 per day,” she says.

Neelam with her daughters in her

village in Aklia, Punjab. Photo: Vivek

Gupta

Neelam says a registered MGNRE-

GA worker in her village gets Rs 215

per day for eight hours’ job. “Here my

whole day passes clearing their

‘Gohaa-Kura’ (scavenging cow dung

and house chores). Yet I earn much

less,” she adds painfully.

“Meri Mazboori Aa Ki Karze De

Thale Aaye Hoyen Aaan, (It is my

compulsion to continue working this

way because I am under their debt),”

she adds.

She says, “I took the loan specifically

for their ‘Gohaa-Kura’ work. If I

want to work outside, I will have to

clear my debt first,” says Neelam.

Sometimes Neelam takes small

advances, say Rs 200 or Rs 300, for

some urgent medical or domestic use.

It only ends up increasing her outstanding

liability.

Bhola Singh, a local activist of

Mansa-based Mazdoor Mukti Morcha,

an outfit working on labourer issues,

says that it is common in villages here

to trap the poor labourers in debt and

then keep them bondage for years in

garb of cheap labour.

In Mansa, there are numerous such

examples where debt is predominant

factor in worrisome situation of poor

Dalit families.

The catch here is that the loan once

taken is not easily repaid since the

poor are always short of resources due

to low wages, and they continue to

take more loans for their survival, and

stay in bondage for years under rich

lenders, he adds.

Women worst affected

In 2017, Bathinda-based Punjab

Khet Mazdoor Union conducted a survey

about the debt on agricultural

landless labourers in Punjab in the

wake of state government’s refusal to

write off their debt citing the lack of

data. A total 1,618 poor labourer families

of 13 villages in six districts

(Bathinda, Sri Muktsar Sahib,

Faridkot, Moga, Sangrur and

Jalandhar) were interviewed. The survey

revealed that big peasants possessing

10 acres and above land were

among the top lenders to the labourers,

giving them loans in the garb of paying

low daily wages.

As per the survey, the ultimate

casualties of these loans were the

women of these indebted families who

spend their lives scavenging the dung

or rubbish in the homes of landed

peasants and landlords in lieu of the

interest on the loan taken.

“This aspect shows labour power

bound with the chains of feudal

exploitation,” the survey added.

On why poor families are forced to

raise loans, the survey said that

employment in the agricultural sector

has been hit hard by mechanisation.

On account of this situation, the gap

between the income of agricultural

workers and the expenditure incurred

by them has increased.

This condition has made the fulfillment

of the basic needs of the agricultural

workers impossible. Under these

circumstances, the agricultural workers

have been left with no option but to

raise loans, the survey added.

The larger part of these loans, the

survey added, were used by these borrowers

to fulfil unavoidable circumstances

arising out of dire necessities

like to reconstruct the rooms and walls

fallen during heavy rains, marriages of

daughters, to construct additional

room to cater the compelling need

arising out the marriage of their sons

or immediate medical treatments.

As per the survey, the debt on 1,364

families out of 1,618 families interviewed

was Rs 12.47 crore, which

amounts to Rs 91,437 per family. To

their financial standard, this amount is

huge, it added. Neelam, who is under

debt, is not alone in her village facing

hardship. Ranjit Kaur, in her late 50s,

says that ever since she was married in

this village she has been doing labour

in the fields and houses of village

lenders. “Our problem is that the

needs of the poor are unending and

resources are very limited. Borrowing,

therefore, has become an only option.

We can’t overcome it until we earn

enough resources for our daily needs,”

she remarks.

Multidimensional issue

Professor Anupama of Patialabased

Punjabi University’s department

of economics, who has extensively

studied labour issues in Punjab, says

that the exploitation of downtrodden

women is the worst form of debt

bondage in Punjab.

“There are instances where debt has

passed from one generation to another

as it remains unpaid in one life cycle

of a borrower,” she adds.

On why this problem is prevalent,

she says it is a multi-dimensional issue

and has both economic and social reasons.

For instance, in farm economics,

farmers have no control over input

cost except labour that they can try to

control. The rich farmers do it to keep

their profit margin high while moderate

or small farmers are under pressure

to keep their input cost low due to

wider questions of their sustainability.

The caste structure in Punjab also

plays its role, she adds.

“The lenders are usually from

upper caste families while labourers in

Punjab comprise mostly Dalits who

are predominantly rural by residence

and dependent on farm labour for their

livelihood,” says Anupama.

Punjab, as per 2010-11 population

census, has highest percentage of Dalit

population in the country that is 32%

but it is the upper caste Jat Sikhs who

have large landholdings while Dalits

possess only 63,480 (6.02%) of the 1.1

million operational land holdings in

the state. Of the 523,000 families living

below the poverty line in Punjab,

321,000 (61.4%) are Dalits.

Anupama says whatever may be the

circumstances, the dignity and livelihood

of the labourers should not be

comprised, She adds the proper implementation

of minimum wage system

and enlarging the scope of national

rural job guarantee under MGNREGA

can somewhat help the poor labourers

to overcome fiscal difficulties.

“In Punjab, both these things are

grossly lacking. Average employability

under MGNREGA in Punjab is less

than 40 days a year, much less than

stipulated 100 day job guarantee

scheme. Then there are large discrepancies

in roping in people who are

really in need of work due to undue

interference of sarpanches and petty

corruption, she adds.

The working conditions are equally

bad for landless labourers. There is no

holiday for them. In case they are not

well, their family members replace

them for work. Gurmail Singh, a farm

labourer from Hasanpur village in

Mansa, still remembers how he was

beaten by his employer two years ago

just because he did not report to work

for a day due to death in his family.

There was a death in my wife’s family.

I had to attend his Bhog ceremony

in another village.

“Upon my return, I found that the

employer took away my cattle as I did

not report to work that day. On my

way back home, I went to take it back.

I was then mercilessly beaten,” says

Gurmail Singh. On his complaint, a

police case was also slapped against

his employers later. Farm labourer

Gurmail Singh (front) who was beaten

by his employer. Photo: Vivek Gupta

Similarly, education is worst affected

among landless labourers.

Neelam’s married daughter could not

study beyond class 8 as she often

accompanied her mother to work.

As per Census 2011, the literacy

rate among Scheduled Castes (SCs) in

Punjab is 64.81% as compared to total

literacy rate of 75.84% of the state and

73.00% of the country as a whole. The

female literacy rate of SCs at 58.39%

in the state also lags behind that of

total 70.73% of the state.

Labour attachment practice creating

new conflicts

In Punjab villages, hiring farm

labourers for a year or more against a

lump sum amount is a common practice.

The state labour department has

fixed Rs 354 per day as minimum

wages for farm labour.

Under this labour attachment practice,

the employer bypasses the minimum

wage system and makes the

labourer work for a full year and

extends the tenure further at much less

wages.

This practice has, however, created

a new set of complications between

employers and their labourers.

Nikka Singh, an agricultural

labourer from village Lalocha on

Patiala-Sangrur road was roped in by a

landed peasant for one year at a lump

sum amount of Rs 85,000 in 2018.

Nikka says that he went on to work

for him for over two and half years but

the payment of his wages was staggered

and there was no hike either.

“I was paid Rs 85,000 only once at

the beginning of the contract. Later I

never got full contractual wages,” says

Nikka. He adds, “When I asked for my

wages and further hike in March this

year, my employers claimed no pendency.”

“I left the job and a month

later, my employer slapped a case

against me under the Negotiable

Instrument Act claiming that I had

borrowed Rs 3.5 lakh from him,” he

says. “I had no knowledge of it.

See Page 24


16 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

China must return the stolen Tibetan

child -- The 11th Panchen Lama

For the past 26 years, followers of

Tibetan Buddhism have been waiting

patiently for a glimpse of their spiritual

leader, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, The

11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. This is

still yet to materialise.

Born 25th April 1989, Gedhun

Choekyi Nyima was recognised as the

reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as per

the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, on 14th

May 1995. Within days of his public

recognition, on 17th May, the six-year

old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima disappeared

with his parents and Jadrel

Rinpoche, Head of Tashi Lhunpo

Monastery in Shigatse, who was in

secretly in touch with the Dalai Lama in

India regarding the 11th Panchen

Lama's search. Jadrel Rinpoche was

appointed as the Head of the Panchen

Lama Search Committee, entrusted by

the Chinese Government.

Six months later, China announced

its own 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaincain

Norbu as the reincarnation of the previous

10th Panchen Lama.

For Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai

Lama's recognised 11th Panchen Lama,

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is the true reincarnation

of Tibet's second highest spiritual

leader. Despite repeated requests

for access, the whereabouts of the Dalai

Lama's recognised Panchen Lama is not

still known to anyone to this day, except

to the Chinese authorities. At the time

of his disappearance in 1995, Gedhun

Choekyi Nyima became the world's

youngest political prisoner.

The mysterious death of the 10th

Panchen Lama in 1989 is still a fresh

memory to many of his followers.

Tibetans suspect foul play by the

Chinese authorities over their spiritual

leader's untimely death 32 years ago.

Significance of The Panchen Lama

The successive throne holders of the

Panchen Lama lineage have contributed

immensely to the temporal and spiritual

traditions of Tibet. Tashi Lhunpo

Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st

Dalai Lama, is the traditional monastic

seat of the Panchen Lama. It is a historically

and culturally important Buddhist

monastery based in Shigatse, Tibet's

second-largest city.

The 10th Panchen Lama's significant

contribution to the cause of the Tibetan

people both in temporal and spiritual

traditions, especially at a time of critical

danger of being wiped out by the

Chinese Communist regime cannot be

discounted easily.

Following the illegal invasion of

Tibet by the People's Republic of

China, and with the subsequent escape

of the Dalai Lama into exile in India, in

March 1959, the Chinese government

courted the 10th Panchen Lama and

appointed him as Chairman of the

Preparatory Committee for the establishments

of the Tibet Autonomous

Region (TAR). In 1960, Beijing named

him Vice-Chairman of the National

People's Congress (NPC) of the

People's Republic of China (PRC) in

order that he acts as the spokesperson

for Chinese policy in Tibet.

Formally established in 1965, the

Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)

became Beijing's newly-designed political

entity aimed at splitting the whole

Tibetan Nation into several

regions. Other traditional Tibetan

regions including Amdo (northeast)

and Kham (east) were incorporated

into neighbouring Chinese

provinces such as Qinghai, Gansu,

Yunnan and Sichuan. For Tibetans,

Tibet comprises Dotoe (Kham),

Domed (Amdo) and Utsang (central)

- the three Cholkhas.

The Panchen Lama's 70,000-

character petition

After official tours across various

places in Tibet, the 10th

Panchen Lama started documenting

his findings, started in Shigatse

and completed in Beijing. Along

with his recommendations, the

Panchen Lama submitted the findings

to Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai

in 1962 - widely known as the

70,000-character petition.

In his official report, the

Panchen Lama denounced the draconian

policies and actions of the

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in

Tibet. He also criticised the Great Leap

Forward and a multitude of "inept

orders" on the part of the CCP which

had caused chronic food shortages.

In Beijing, the Panchen Lama also

urged Mao Tsetung to "put an end to the

abuses committed against the Tibetan

people, to increase their food rations, to

provide adequate care for the elderly

and the poor, and to respect religious

liberty." Mao listened to him but did

nothing to address the matters raised.

According to British journalist

Isabel Hilton, the 70,000-character petition

remains the "most detailed and

informed attack on China's policies in

Tibet that would ever be written."

For several decades, the Panchen

Lama's petition remained hidden from

all but the very highest levels of the

Chinese leadership, until one copy surfaced

in 1996. In January 1998, to coincide

with the 60th anniversary of the

birth of the late 10th Panchen Lama, an

English translation by Tibet expert Prof.

Robert Barnett entitled A Poisoned

Arrow: The Secret Report of the 10th

Panchen Lama, was published by the

London-based Tibet Information

Network (TIN), now a defunct news

research agency on Tibet.

In 1964, the 10th Panchen Lama was

publicly humiliated at Politburo meetings,

dismissed from all posts of authority,

declared 'an enemy of the Tibetan

people', and later imprisoned. At the

time he was 26 years old. The Tibetan

spiritual leader's situation worsened

when the Cultural Revolution started.

The Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng,

who was a former Red Guard, published

in March 1979 a letter under his

name but written by another anonymous

author denouncing the conditions

at Qincheng Prison, where the 10th

Panchen Lama was in captivity. In

October 1977 the Panchen Lama was

released, but held under house arrest in

Beijing until 1982. After his release, the

Panchen Lama served as Vice

Chairman of the National People's

Congress.

Tseten Wangchuk, a senior Tibetan

journalist working for the Voice of

America's (VOA) Tibetan section in the

United States, reported that during a

1980 meeting between the Secretary of

the Communist Party Hu Yaobang and

the Panchen Lama, the latter told Hu

"how much he was moved by his

reforms, and remarked that had the suggestions

of the 70,000-character petition

been put in place when they were

proposed, the problems in Tibet would

not have endured.

The 70,000-character petition was

founded on the principle that the specific

characteristics of Tibet should be

taken into account. This premise was

central to the policies of Deng Xiaoping

in China during the 1980s and allowed

the Panchen Lama to introduce numerous

liberalisations into Tibet. However,

in early 1992, the CCP removed the

concession concerning the "specific

characteristics" of Tibet, and current

policy monitors religious practices and

the monasteries, limits the instruction

of Tibetan language, and has since suppressed

some of the religious and cultural

liberalisations implemented by Hu

Yaobang and requested by the Panchen

Lama.

In March 1999, during the annual

commemoration of Tibetan National

Uprising of Lhasa in 1959, the Dalai

Lama declared that "the 70,000-character

petition published in 1962 by the

former Panchen Lama constitutes an

eloquent historical document on the

policies carried out by the Chinese in

Tibet and on the draconian measures

put in place there."

In brief, pushing aside his own personal

safety issues, and for the sake of

the Tibetan people's identity, spiritual

practice and survival of the unique way

of life, the 10th Panchen Lama struggled

fearlessly and unrelentingly for

their preservation and promotion. He

rebuilt Tibet's religious and cultural

heritages and worked hard in the interests

of Tibetans, for which he gained

high prestige among the Tibetans. His

efforts have spread far and wide from

Tibet into the Himalayan regions, and

through these into the wider world. The

previous 10th Panchen Lama has dedicated

his whole life to Tibet and Tibetan

people.

So, why is China interfering in the

religious affairs of Tibetan people?

The "Article 36" of the Constitution

of the People's Republic of China

guarantees "Citizens of the People's

Republic of China enjoy freedom of

religious belief. No state organ, public

organization or individual may

compel citizens to believe in, or not to

believe in, any religion; nor may they

discriminate against citizens who

believe in, or do not believe in, any

religion."

In the "Note on the Memorandum

of Genuine Autonomy for the TIbetan

People", a follow-up clarification

note submitted by the Envoys of His

Holiness the Dalai Lama to the

Chinese Government after the eighth

round of talks in 2008, it states, "The

spiritual relationship between master

and student and the giving of religious

teachings, etc. are essential

components of the Dharma practice.

Restricting these is a violation of religious

freedom. Similarly, the interference

and direct involvement by the

state and its institutions in matters of

recognition of reincarnated lamas, as

provided in the regulation on management

of reincarnated lamas adopted by

the State on July 18, 2007 is a grave

violation of the freedom of religious

belief enshrined in the Chinese

Constitution."

The Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama

share a warm and friendly relationship

and have previously served as mentors

and apprentices. They hold the highest

decision-making power on the issue of

reincarnation, and each had participated

in the process of recognising each

other's reincarnation. If one of them

passes away, the other has undertaken

the responsibility of searching for the

reincarnated soul boy of the other and

vice-versa.

In his memoir, "Surviving The

Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of

40 Years Under Chinese Rule", Arjia

Rinpoche, former member of the 11th

Panchen Lama Search Committee,

wrote, "As for the people of Tibet, no

matter how politics changed, for them

the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama

remained the sun and the moon. To this

day they believe that the reincarnations

of both must be mutually recognised to

be valid." Arjia Rinpoche, Abbott of the

renowned Kumbum Monastery in

Amdo, north-east Tibet, who had come

to the United States via Guatemala as a

political exile, wrote in his memoir,

"Tibetans clearly wanted the Fourteenth

Dalai Lama to be the final arbiter of the

identity of the true reincarnation of the

Panchen Lama."

The real intention of the Chinese

Government's appointment of

Gyaincain Norbu as the 11th Panchen

Lama as opposed to the Dalai Lama's

chosen candidate is crystal clear - a

political matter. After the Chinese government's

official announcement of its

11th Panchen Lama on 29th November

1995, Arjia Rinpoche, who was to

become his personal tutor, recalled the

remarks made by Ye Xiaowen, Director

of the State Administration for

Religious Affairs, "When the Dalai

Lama announced the name of his chosen

candidate, the government immediately

sent out charter jets, usually

reserved for members of the Politburo,

to the birthplaces of the three final candidates

in the Naqu district of Tibet.

They put the boys and their families on

the three jets and whisked them away

into hiding."

On their return to Beijing from

Lhasa, in the chartered plane, dumbfounded

Arjia Rinpoche recalled Ye

Xiaowen stating, "When we made our

selection we left nothing to chance. In

the silk pouches of the ivory pieces we

put a bit of cotton at the bottom of one

of them, so it would be a little higher

than the others and the right candidate

would be chosen". Gyaincain Norbu's

parents are CCP officials.

In 2019, Gyaincain Norbu was made

Head of the China Buddhist

Association. The Chinese government

will use its chosen Panchen Lama to

tour the world and is expected to speak

on freedom of religion enjoyed by

everyone in China.

During Ye Xiaowen's directorship at

the State Administration for Religions

Affair, not only did we see persecutions

of Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and

Falun Gong followers but he was

instrumental in appointing Gyancian

Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama.

Further under Ye's watch, he

declared "State Religious Affairs

Bureau Order No. 5" that attempted to

reduce the influence of the 14th Dalai

Lama and other foreign groups on the

reincarnations in Tibet.

Chinese government over the years

has made concerted efforts to bring

down the image of the Dalai Lama by

labelling him as "separatist". The CCP

has also banned the photos of the Dalai

Lama and possessing his photos is considered

as an act of crime.

At the heart of all these things is the

issue of reincarnation of the Dalai

Lama. For years the Chinese government

has been grooming its own

Panchen Lama. It is most likely that he

will play an instrumental role in deciding

the reincarnation of the next Dalai

Lama in China. This is expected to lead

to two Dalai Lamas in the future if the

current Dalai Lama decides to keep the

tradition of reincarnation of the Dalai

Lama continues.

The fact of the matter is that the

issue of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

is not limited to China and the Dalai

Lama but it now has larger geopolitical

consideration with security implications

in the Himalayan regions.

The US has shown its full support

for Tibet on the reincarnation issue i.e.

whatever the Tibetan people decide to

choose. It has, in late 2020, passed the

Tibet Policy and Support Act (TPSA)

and it sends a strong message to China

that the US stands steadfast with the

Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan

Administration (aka Tibetan

Government-in-exile) on the issue of

Tibetan reincarnation. Home to millions

of Buddhists, especially Tibetan

Buddhism, the great nation of India too

can play a supporting role to His

Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as to

the Central Tibetan Administration

towards the continuity of the Dalai

Lama's reincarnation system as per the

Tibetan tradition.

(Tsering Passang is the Founder &

Convener, Global Alliance for Tibet &

Persecuted Minorities)


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

17

Our Constitution does not permit such liberal

use of NSA : Justice Govind Mathur

The retired judge and former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court spoke about a range of issues

from role of judiciary to post retirement appointments of judges to curtailment of civil liberties

Former Chief Justice of Allahabad

High Court, Justice Govind Mathur, in a

conversation with Indian Express,

spoke about misuse of sedition law,

National Security Act (NSA) and protecting

citizens against any event not in

accordance with the law. On dealing

with ideological issues that become a

part of law he said, “If ideology is in

conflict with law, we are required to

protect the law.”

Speaking up against the government

Justice Mathur also raised concerns

over the state “taking several actions or

sometimes supporting the mob that is

attacking civil liberties of individuals”

and emphasised upon the role of courts

in protecting civil liberties. He believes

that “99.9% of the citizens of this country

are committed to this nation” and

said that if someone is raising slogans

against some legislation, it does not

mean they are waging a war against the

state.

“In Uttar Pradesh, I don’t know what

has happened, but many people think

that they can take law into their hands,

they can punish people on roads and,

unfortunately, to some extent, the government

failed to protect such people,”

he added.

He also voiced his opinion on the

much liberal use of NSA. “Recently, I

read somewhere that if any person is

"11% reported that it is likely they

will have to make redundancies in the

next 3-6 months putting a potential

1.85 million jobs at risk across the

UK"

Owner managed businesses coming

out of the third lockdown are still

struggling with the impact of Covid-19

and an uncertain economic outlook:

11% reported that it is likely they

will have to make redundancies in the

next 3-6 months putting a potential

1.85 million jobs at risk across the UK

24% reported a negative or very

negative impact on their business since

the UK left the EU

53% of respondents identified

uncertain trading conditions as their

biggest single challenge

15% cited Brexit supply chain

issues as their single biggest challenge

Nonetheless:

84% of respondents reported that

they were either confident or somewhat

confident that they would be able

to access the finance that they needed

over the next 6 months with anecdotal

evidence suggesting that the major

banks were continuing to lend

Longer term 54% were more positive

about their economic prospects

outside the EU while 46% were less

positive.

opposing (Covid-19) protocols, he will

be dealt with under the NSA. Our system,

our Constitution doesn’t permit for

such liberal use of the NSA,” he said

and added that NSA cannot be invoked

in a circumstance which can be dealt

with other criminal laws and national

security has to be at stake in such

offences. He also pointed out that the

Advisory Board that confirms detentions

under NSA operate in a mechanical

manner and comprises bureaucrats

15% OF OWNER MANAGED

BUSINESSES STILL IN

SURVIVAL MODE

The research among 435 owner

managed businesses across the UK

was carried out between April and

May by the APA, a network of 17 leading

business advisory firms who represent

over 14,000 of these businesses.

Commenting on the findings APA

Chairman Martin Muirhead said:

“What is clear from our research is

that a significant minority of owner

managed businesses who have managed

to pull through the last 12 months

are still in survival mode with uncertain

trading conditions being the

biggest concern to a majority.

“Nonetheless there is also evidence

to suggest that those businesses that

have managed to weather the impact of

Covid-19 are now more resilient and

that existing and proposed

Government support measures have

generally been well received.

“Over the coming months it is vital

that Government maintains a flexible

and targeted approach to business support

focusing resource on those sectors

where there is the greatest need.

Owner managed businesses form the

backbone of the UK economy and

need continued, targeted support as we

emerge from this third lockdown”

More detailed sectoral and regional

breakdowns are available on request.

who are political appointees. “These are

political appointees, these nominations

are political nominations, and while

making political nominations the government

must be aware that a statutory

duty has to be discharged very seriously.

No hanky-panky business must go on

there,” he said.

Judiciary vs. Executive

He also said that the executive

should not view the judiciary as an

adversary and stressed upon the fact that

the courts protect the State which

includes the citizens and that the “State”

does not mean any political party or

government led by a political party or a

person but it is a Union of India or a

State government.

He also said that he felt guilty for the

delay that was caused in the matter

where the UP Recovery of Damage to

Public and Private Property Ordinance,

2020 was challenged before the

Allahabad High Court’s Division Bench

of which he was a part. “Unfortunately,

it was in March last year, when the pandemic

struck. Though that matter was

listed, for some reason it had to be

adjourned. It has been more than a year,

and the court has failed to decide the

issue… I feel guilty for the delay,” he

said.

When asked whether the leadership’s

commitment to the Constitution also

needs to be addressed, he answered in

the affirmative. “There is no effort on

the part of political parties as well as the

executive to have constitutional values

as our social values,” he said.

Appointments post retirement

He also opposed the phenomenon of

judges getting appointments to

Commissions and Tribunals post retirement

and said that he would not accept

any himself but he also refused to comment

on former Chief Justice of India

Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination as a Rajya

Sabha member and said he would never

accept such a nominated seat and would

rather get elected, if at all.

Women judges

Justice Mathur said that the Bar

Council of India and even state bar

councils should promote women

lawyers as well as lawyers belonging to

Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and

minority communities. He said that the

Collegium system for appointing judges

is flawed and has caused great injury to

our justice delivering system while

emphasizing that there is a need for an

alternative system.

Situation in UP

When asked whether the orders of

the high court have been undermined by

the government, he pointed out that the

high court had passed order to put certain

cities under lockdown which was

stayed by the Supreme Court but ultimately

lockdown was imposed. He also

praised the orders passed in the Hathras

case which were not followed by the

State. “I am of the view that honouring

those directions would have enhanced

the prestige of the state also. But what

happened ultimately? When you talk

about the position of law and order in

Uttar Pradesh, I don’t think it is up to

the mark… I am not saying things like

there is jungle raj etc… But it is no less

than that,” he said.

Courtesy : Sabrang

Announcement of AANA

International Awards 2021

(Samaj Weekly)- It gives us great

who have done outstanding work in

pleasure to announce that “Dr.

Print or Digital Media.

Vijaykumar Trisharan has been chosen

We are glad to announce “National

as this year’s recipient of the Dr.

Dastak” for the MookNayak

Ambedkar International Award 2021.

Dr. Vijay Kumar Trisharan has done

phenomenal work in initiated Jhola

Pustakalaya (a Mobile bag library) concept

in rural and remote areas of

Jharkhand. He also wrote more than 30

books on various subjects. He is currently

Excellency in Journalism Award 2021.

National Dastak YouTube channel

launched in 2015 has a current reach of

more than 4.5 Million subscribers.

National Dastak is consistently raising

the issues of marginalized in digital and

social media.

president of Ambedkar Chetna

“Dr. Ambedkar International

Parishad and Buddhist Mission society.

We are also happy to announce that

the recipient of the Savitrimai Phule

Lifetime Achievement Award

The AANA Board members unanimously

decided to honour Bhante Surai

International Award 2021 is Dr. Indu

Sasai with a Dr. Ambedkar

Choudhary. Dr. Indu Chaudhary is an Dr. Vijaykumar Trisharan International Lifetime Achievement

Asst. Professor of English in Banaras

Award.

Hindu University, Varanasi India. She SAHEB AMBEDKAR.

The Dr. Ambedkar International

is General Secretary of SC/ST “Mooknayak” Excellency in Lifetime Achievement Award was

Employee Welfare Association , BHU Journalism Award

instituted from the year 2020 by the

Varanasi. She is also the Chief Editor of Ambedkar Association of North Ambedkar Association of North

an International Journal named America (AANA) initiated the America(AANA). The award is an honour

for the exceptional work done for

MOOKNAYIKA. To her credit she has “Mooknayak” Excellency in

three books published in her academics Journalism Award from 2020 year on social change over a lifetime following

and also a number of research papers in the Centenary year of Mooknayak. The the vision of Dr. Ambedkar. The award

various national and international journals

of repute. She has read many work done for raising voice and aware-

individuals/organizations who have

award is an honour for the exceptional shall be conferred on

papers in international and national ness about the social issues of marginalized

following the vision of Dr.

-Dr. Rahul Kumar,

done outstanding work

conferences. She has guided four

Doctorial thesis in her subject, one of Ambedkar. The award shall be conferred

on individuals/organizations

the topic being FEMINIST PERSPEC-

senior correspondent, the Asian

TIVE IN THE WRITINGS OF BABA

Independent, UK


18 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Tale of two health ministers : One succeed

despite failures while other failed despite success

India’s political culture is deeply disappointing

and depressing. Even those

who wish to counter the BJP and

Hindutva suffer from the same mind set

and sometimes worse. After ‘building’ a

brand, we side-line some to create our

own monopolies. A few days back,

Kerala lost one of its greatest left leaders

K K Gauri Amma who should have

been the chief minister of the state yet

was thoroughly isolated in the party she

dedicated her life to, compelling her to

leave the party. Gauri Amma hailed

from the historically marginalised community

of Ezhava which is categorised

as OBC in the state though many social

historians suggest that the community

was actually an untouchable community.

Though the current chief minister

Pinarayi Vijayan too hails from the

same community, Kerala has long been

dominated by the Brahmanical caste

elite. Right from EMS Namboodiripad,

who was Kerala’s first chief minister

till E K Nayanar, the longest serving

chief minister of Kerala, their position

as well as attitude towards Dalits and

marginalised remained questionable.

EMS was a proud brahmin who found a

certain ‘positive’ aspect in the caste

system. E K Nayanar would get away

with calling a Congress MLA as ‘that

Harijan’ who dances in the tone of A K

Antony.

Despite her huge mass base and

political competence, Gauri Amma

remained at the margin of her party. The

party’s top leadership did not have time

to acknowledge her contribution and

remained in persistent denial mode that

it does not believe in ‘identity’ politics.

History is repeating in Kerala. The

new Pinarayi Vijayan ministry has all

the new faces except for the chief minister.

While the CM has a right to introduce

the persons of his choice. It is

shocking to see that an efficient

Minister like K K Shailaja, who won

from the highest margin in Kerala, over

60,000 votes, did not find a place in the

Ministry. If there was one Minister

whose work has been applauded and

acknowledged internationally, it was K

K Shailaja, the then health Minister of

Kerala, for her handling of the Corona

Virus. It became a model state. Though

it is also a fact that Kerala has a well

built health infrastructure and that is a

historical legacy of the state yet at this

critical juncture Shailaja’s handling of

the situation got the LDF political benefit.

The mandate that LDF got in

Kerala is not merely the leadership of

Pinarayi Vijayan but that of K K

Shailaja too, perhaps more of her and

that seems to be the reason why she has

been dropped. In these difficult

moments, the leadership should have

pursued K K Shailaja as it would have

made things much better for the state

but then CPM always wanted to ‘give’

younger leadership a chance, except in

its ‘Polit Bureau’. In the name of new

ministers, the Chief Minister’s son in

law has found a place in the ministry.

One may ask this question as to why

KK Shailaja was not ‘included’ in the

Ministry. She too hails from Ezhava

community and is highly qualified who

has proved her worth as Health

Minister of the state. She won from the

highest margin.

Then why didn’t the chief minister

include her ? Will K K Shailaja be the

new Gauri Amma who was compelled

to leave the party. Was the chief minister

feeling threatened with the success

of K K Shailaja.

Look at the Supreme irony of India

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

and our political culture. A highly successful

Health Minister does not find a

place in the Ministry in Kerala while

one of the worst health ministers of

independent India, whose only job is to

retweet PM’s statements, is enjoying

the complete patronage of the government

at the centre. An absolutely

incompetent health minister Harsh

Vardhan enjoy the complete faith of his

‘leader’ while a highly successful

health minister K K Shailaja, is ousted

for ‘performing’ so powerfully. Is it the

difference between how the left and

right function or is it that you are

acceptable as long as you don’t pose a

threat to the ‘supreme leader’.

Probably, supreme leaders everywhere

want dumb ministers, who can be

termed as glorified office assistants

which reduces them to just defending

the

government and accusing the opponents.

K K Shailaja’s example makes it

abundantly clear that your success in a

particular ministry may be the reason

for your ouster from the same. It looks

like every supreme leader needs a

‘Harsh Vardhan’ to keep their position

unchallenged. In BJP, every achievement

belongs to Narendra Modi while

failures have to be dealt by the individual

minister. That way, blaming Harsh

Vardhan for the failure of our efficient

handling of the Covid 19 is not correct,

it is the PMO which is handling the situation

under the Prime Minister. Can

any one then blame the prime minister

and his babus for the failure in handling

the current crisis ? No, that is where

Harsh Vardhan remains important as he

will face the blame for the failure of the

things which he actually never did.

Supremo’s want such netas who can

easily give credit to their leaders when

they succeed and accept the blame

when they fail. Shailaja enjoyed the

laurels and media glare making the

chief minister a bit uncomfortable

while Harsh Vardhan remained completely

loyal to his leader. Even when

political manipulations will allow more

and more leaders to follow the path of

Harsh Vardhan and enjoy patronage, it

will really be sad and the death of

democracy if leaders like K K Shailaja

do not speak when needed. We know all

of them follow the party guidelines but

it is essential to speak where the party is

wrong. To make democracy successful

that respects merit and commitment,

the success of leaders like K K Shailaja

remains extremely important. Will it

happen ?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social

and human rights activist. He blogs

at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com

twitter @freetohumanity

Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

Man Convicted for Caste

Hate Speech in UK

A man from west London receives a

16 week suspended prison sentence for

producing and sharing caste-related

hate video on social media.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Luthra’s hearing

took place on 25th May, 2021 at Highbury

Corner Magistrates Court. He pleaded

guilty to two counts of sending by public

c o m m u n i c a t i o n

offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing

materials. Mr Luthra was sentenced to 16

weeks in prison - suspended for 12 months.

He is also required to comply with a

Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, and

was ordered to pay £213 of court costs.

The videos Mr Luthra shared on TikTok

in 2020, were of himself having an aggressive

rant that included casteist, racist and

homophobic insults. There were also

threats of rape. In particular, he made

offensive and derogatory comments about

Guru Ravi Dass - a spiritual figure followed

by millions of Indians around the

world.

The Anti Caste Discrimination

Alliance (ACDA) has been campaigning

for caste discrimination to be outlawed

in Britain since 2008. ACDA was one of

the witnesses in this case. Ravi Kumar,

General Secretary of ACDA said:

“The 16-week prison suspended sentence

given to Gurvinder Singh Luthra

should signal to others that they cannot

make and share caste-related hate communications.

This sentence is woefully inadequate

in view of the sufferings regularly

being reported to us by those suffering

CBD in all walks of life in Britain. We are

grateful however, to Hounslow Police and

Crown Prosecution Service for taking this

case to court.

Hate speech laws in the UK are

designed to protect communities from such

abuse. The fact that Mr Luthra was able to

produce and post these offensive casterelated

videos on social media implies he

felt he could, and get away with it.

We understand the charge did not

specifically refer to ‘caste’ because caste is

not a protected characteristic in law. We

call on the Government to provide the legal

clarity required urgently, and implement

the law agreed by Parliament in 2013. This

would make caste discrimination and

caste-related hate crimes unlawful in this

country. Without such clarity, cases like

this will continue to take place under the

radar and not be recorded.

Social media giants –Facebook, Twitter

and YouTube have recognised Caste hate

speech as being unacceptable and say so

openly in their guidance. It is time for

TikTok to follow suit.”

Father of Jyoti Paswan, Bihar's

'Bicycle Girl', passes away

Patna : The father of Jyoti Paswan, who shot into limelight as

Bihar's 'Bicycle Girl', died on Monday.

Jyoti grabbed headlines when she rode a bicycle, carrying her

ill father Mohan Paswan, all the way from Gurugram to her native

village Sirhauli during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mohan had not been keeping well for the last few days.

However, it is not yet confirmed whether he died owing to Covid-

19. During last year's lockdown, when all transportation systems

were shut, Paswan decided to travel from Gurugram in Haryana to

Bihar on her bicycle.

She travelled close to 1,200 km in eight days to reach her village

in in Darbhanga district. Her father was severely ill at that

time as well. A large number of villagers assembled at the Paswan

residence and consoled Jyoti.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

19

Congress alleges

Rs 5 tn bank fraud

under BJP govt

New Delhi : The Congress on Monday alleged that

bank fraud to the tune of Rs 5 trillion, equal to Rs

4,98,677 crore, has been

committed during the NDA

government. The Congress

has accused the government

of weakening the banking

system.

Addressing a press conference

Gourav Vallabh asked

three questions from the government,

"Why has the government

failed to curb the

bank frauds in the last 7

years? What is the government

doing to recover the amount involved in these bank

frauds? How much amount has been collected from

these fraudsters who are weakening our banking system?"

He said the Modi government has weakened the

banking system by allowing the fraudsters to either continue

functioning in the country or leave the country

without making any efforts to recover the fraud

amounts. It has also not provided enough capital support

to the banks. The Congress party urged that the Modi

government should handle these fraudsters with an iron

fist and make sure that the entire amount, that belongs to

our nation, be recovered as soon as possible

"The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its Annual

Report for the year 2020-21. While it lays out the state

of the economy currently, it points out certain alarming

statistics. The failure of the Modi government in controlling

infections due to the second wave of COVID-19

is denting a heavy blow again to the economy," the

Congress said.

According to the RBI, "the March 2021 round of the

Reserve Bank's consumer confidence survey (CCS)

showed a worsening consumer sentiment on the back of

deteriorating sentiments on general economic situation,

income and prices," he said.

Israel’s attack on Palestine:

Imperialist Designs

Ram Puniyani

From 6th May 2021 while Hamas, a

radical Palestinian group has launched

missiles on Israelis on the issue related

to Al Aqsa mosque, the Israel has

launched close to a full scale attack on

Palestinians. In this conflict the causalities

and destruction has been more on

Palestinian side, death of nearly 200

people including 60 children, while on

Israeli side ten people including one

child have lost their lives. The destruction

of buildings housing media centres

in particular by Israel is a grave

and tragic event.

The perpetual Al Aqsa mosque

issue has been projected to be the

cause of these acts. The major issue of

installing Zionists and carving out

Israel as an outpost of America near

the oil rich zone of the World needs to

be understood. The creation of Israel

after the second World war, on the

ground that Jews need a country of

their own as they have been tormented

in different countries was the pretext in

which the US and Britain in particular

planned the area for the Jews in

Palestine. As such Israel is a case of

settler colonialism, military occupation

and land theft.

Palestine has been a country for

long. It is not only the Muslims who

have been the citizens of this country.

In addition to Muslims, Christians and

Jews have also been the part of the citizenry

of Palestine. The area carved

out for Jews, and linking it to historical

roots of origins of Judaism in this area

was the logic proffered for the same.

Jerusalem has been the centre of

importance for three Abrahmic religions,

Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As such the first global meet of

Jews, lead by Zionists had taken place

in 1897 in Germany. They asked for a

separate state for Jews. Let’s first

understand the difference between

Zionism and Judaism. Judaism is a

religion of Jews, while Zionism is a

politics in the name of Judaism. This is

quiet akin to Islam as a religion and

Islamic Fundamentalism (Taliban for

e.g.) or Hinduism as a religion and

Hindutva as politics. While the meeting

passed the resolution for a separate

country for Jews, there was a great

opposition to this resolution from large

section of Jews scattered all over.

Their argument was that with such a

resolution the Jews will face discrimination

and Jewish traders will have to

face many problems in their professional

life.

The attempt for Jewish state got

another shot just before the World War

I. The German holocaust which targeted

Jews gave another shot in the arms

to the idea of separate state for Jews.

Many of the Jews from Germany itself

were opponents of this idea, as they

realized that such a state built around

the identity of one religion will

become as authoritarian and oppressive

to other identities as Germany

herself became with Nazis in power.

The formation of Israel took away

lots of territory of Palestine. And

Lakhs of Palestinians were forced to

leave their home and hearth. The

newly formed state was armed to the

teeth, particularly by America. The

idea was very clear that Western

Imperialist powers were keen to have a

place of strategic importance in West

Asia. More so when the politics of

control over oil resources began these

powers articulated that ‘oil is too precious

a commodity to be left to Arabs’.

On one hand the US-Britain had

designs to strengthen Israel on the

other the affluent Jews control many of

the power centres within America in

particular.

After 1967 attack by Israel, it

grabbed large tracts of Palestine. This

led to lakhs of Palestinians becoming

refugees in near by countries. The atrocious,

aggressive behaviour of Israel

was opposed by UN. Through various

resolutions UN had been calling for

giving justice to Palestinians and urging

Israel to withdraw from the areas

occupied illegally. Israel defied most

of UN resolution. Israel could get

away with violation of global and

human norms mainly because America

has been backing it thoroughly.

Religion has no role to play in this

dynamics. The real issue is the control

of oil resources and military-political

domination in the area. Recently UN

Security Council wanted to pass a resolution

calling for cease fire by both

sides. America with its veto power

blocked it and Israel’s defence minister

stated that the war will go on till they

achieve their goal.

Anti Israel demonstrations all over

the World are underway. There is a call

for a halt to the attack by Israel. There

TN education department prints

3.8 cr new school textbooks

Chennai : The Tamil Nadu Textbook

and Educational Services Corporation has

printed 3.8 crore new textbooks for school

students in Tamil Nadu for the academic

year 2021-22. This exercise was done

despite the long holidays and shutdown

owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the

state Assembly elections.

The education department has ordered

4.1 crore textbooks, of which 3.8 crore

have already been printed and delivered.

This means that 91 per cent of the textbooks

have been printed and delivered to

the designated centres.

The Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation

in a statement on Monday said the printing

of textbooks for classes 8 to 12 is complete

and for other classes a small percentage

remains to be printed. However, the

Corporation said the printing of books for

classes 1 and 2 is pending owing to the

lockdown. The books for classes 1 and 2

will be printed and delivered to the designated

centres only after the lockdown in

the state is lifted. An official with the

Textbook Corporation told IANS, "As this

was an election year, we commenced printing

in January itself and moved the printed

books to the 120 designated centres across

the state in March and April. With no major

corrections in the book, the printing work

began in advance."

The Textbook Corporation will also

deliver books to private schools who have

given orders for them but it will happen

only after the lockdown is lifted.

P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, General

Secretary, State Platform for Common

School System, speaking to IANS said,

"The state government should take steps to

deliver books to the doorstep of the students

for the academic year 2021-22 in

view of the pandemic. The government

must initiate steps to deliver both textbooks

and notebooks to students in government

and private schools."

He said the teachers who are above 50

years and have comorbidities must be

given posting at the stationary centres

without any public contact.

is no justification for the shelling by

Hamas, but in such an oppressed and

tortured community few extremist

groups do come up and get nurtured

because of the extreme injustices

hurled on a particular community.

India has consistently taken a Pro

Palestine position all through. Starting

from Mahatma Gandhi who wrote,

“my sympathy for the Jews does not

blind me to the requirements of

Justice. It is wrong and inhuman to

impose the Jews on the Arabs’, down

till the leaders like Aral Bihari

Vajpayee and Sushma Swaraj who

took a pro Palestine position and criticised

the Israel’s occupation of

Palestinian land. Lately with the sectarian

nationalism growing in India,

Indian Government is tilting towards

Israel, and demand justice for

Palestinians is taking a back seat.

The area has been a hot spot from

last several decades. It is time that all

the global powers follow the resolutions

of United Nations and restore to

Palestinians their rightful land and

rights. We can’t ignore the rise of

Israel as a country also. Keeping in

mind the current realities; a solution

for demarcation between Palestine and

Israel by United Nations needs to be

done and adhered to. The gross violation

of human rights of Palestinians is

a matter of worry for all those looking

forward to a peaceful world order. For

this America-imperialists should be

made to overcome their ambitions of

controlling the lust for oil-power and

favour justice for all the people of

Middle East.

BJP trying to hide

Covid-management

failure, claims Sisodia

New Delhi : Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish

Sisodia on Monday said that the AAP-led Delhi government

is making all possible efforts to procure Covid

vaccines for every citizen

in the national capital.

Addressing a digital

press conference,

Sisodia hit out at the

Bharatiya Janata Party

(BJP) saying, "BJP is

trying to hide its failure

of Covid management

and for that they

are abusing Kejriwal

time and again. First,

they stopped Delhi's

oxygen supply, for that

we reached the court

and finally oxygen was supplied. And now, when

Kejriwal demands vaccines to administer these to all

Delhi's citizens before the third wave, BJP's leaders have

again started abusing Kejriwal," alleged Sisodia.

He further stated that no matter what BJP's leaders

say to Kejriwal or the AAP Government, the demand for

vaccines will continue till every person in Delhi is vaccinated.

Sisodia's remarks came a day after Haryana Chief

Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the Delhi government's

decision to pause vaccination for the 18-44 age

groups and temporarily shut vaccine centres was just

drama. There has been a political war brewing between

the Delhi government ruled by AAP and the BJP on

shortage of vaccines, with AAP accusing the Centre of

exporting Indian-made vaccines.

On Sunday, BJP chief JP Nadda had hit out at

Kejriwal saying, "There are people who, in the name of

vaccines, broke India's morale, Delhi's morale.

In response to that, Kejriwal said on twitter, "My goal

is to save lives, not vaccines."


20 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Will IMA take the fight against Ramdev’s

irresponsible utterings to the court

Mr Ram Kishan Yadav or Ramdev is

a product of grand Hindutva package

that work through raising ‘cultural’

issues. He reached Indian houses and

outside through Yoga. As we wait for

miracles in India, Ramdev came as a

‘miracle’ man. All those who dont want

to put their bodies to trouble felt that

Ramdev’s miracles are boon for them.

The business started once he became a

brand. The powerful lobbies entered in

and his Patanjali started producing

‘Ayurvedic’ things. He was one of the

promoters of ‘India against corruption’

along with other Babas like Sri Sri

Ravishankar, who seems to have vanished

and ceded his space to another

spokesperson of Hindutva called

‘Satguru’ whose story of violating the

land law in Coimbatore has been

known to all. Ramdev’s empire at

Hardwar has also lots of ifs and buts but

Narendra Modi’s government was

extraordinarily soft towards him.

Patanjali was non profitable trust earning

huge profit through income tax

exemptions which is a difficult task for

other NGOs and organisations to get

these days. Slowly, he started entering

into our newsrooms by sponsoring programmes.

Today, Ramdev’s Patanjali is

sponsor of large number of news programmes

of all the major channels.

Ramdev fixed into RSS scheme of

things very well by raising false ‘sense’

of ‘pride’ and using the same narratives

as the Sangh Parivar has indulged in

terming all those who differ with them

as anti national. Nobody is questioning

when Ram Kishan Yadav teach Yoga to

people. It it good that we should learn it

and keep fit but the problem starts when

Ram Kishan Yadav venture in every

issue and make those comments which,

if made by any other person, would

have landed him/her in jail.

He launched Coronil product in the

presence of two Union Minister, Mr

Chandigarh : The Shiromani

Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday

condemned the Central government

for trying to defame the

farmers' agitation as well as suppress

it by allegedly filing a

politically motivated

chargesheet accusing the farmers

of conspiring to turn the Red

Harsh Vardhan and Mr Nitin Gadkari,

claiming that the product is approved

by World Health Organisation. It was

absolutely shameful thing to have made

these claims in front of Union Health

Minister which was rejected by World

Health Organisation immediately. But

neither Union Health Minister Harsh

Vardhan nor Ram Kishan Yadav felt

apologetic about it. In any other country,

government would have faced serious

crisis of promoting such fake products

but then in India these fake ideas

are the ‘trump’ card of Sangh parivar.

Just a few days back Ram Kishan

Yadav made two absolutely insensitive

remarks which should have forced the

government to act against him. His first

remark was against the people who

were gasping for Oxygen. Ram Kishan

said that there is enough Oxygen in the

Centre tried to defame farmers with motivated

chargesheet, alleges AKALI DAL

Fort into a protest site on

January 26 this year.

In a statement here, former

minister Daljit Singh Cheema

said it was shocking that Delhi

Police had filed a chargesheet

accusing the farmers of trying to

capture the Red Fort on January

26 with the aim of turning it into

air and we need not worry about it. It is

useless for people dying of Oxygen. He

exact word are : Marte hain aise hi.

Arey, bhagwaan ne muft mein oxygen

de rakhi hai. (People say) oxygen ki

kami pad rahi hai…bhagwaan ne saara

bramhmand bhar rakha hai oxyegn

se…le toh le. Bahar cylinder dhoondh

rahe hain, tu apne bheetar 2 cylinder

laga rakhe hain…”cylinder kam pad

gaye”.

Ram Kishan Yadav is ‘promoting’

‘positivity’ as the government want him

to and that is why he has spread so

much hatred and negativity. There was

no reaction from BJP, RSS or government

of India though social media was

enraged at this cruel and barbaric

remarks.

Now Ram Kishan Yadav has made

much bigger and outrageous remark

a protest site.

He said this was furthest

from the truth. "It is a matter of

record that the entire established

leadership of the Kisan

Andolan as well as thousands

of protesters took a predetermined

route as finalised after

talks with Delhi Police. Only a

small section of people reached

the Red Fort." Cheema said it

was apparent that Delhi Police

had not done a professional

investigation into the entire

case. "The factual position on

the ground has not been taken

into consideration while framing

the chargesheet. In fact, it

seems to be motivated by politics."

The SAD leader asked the

Central government to take stock

of the situation immediately and

take corrective measures to

ensure no farmer was victimised

due to the partisan chargesheet

filed by the police.

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

social and human rights activist

(Asian Independent)-

My name is Anya Soni

and I am 9 years old, I

have completed all the 11

levels of abacus this

month and I am very

happy about it (It took 3

and a half years!). Abacus

has helped me with my

speed and accuracy in

maths, it has also helped

me at maths in my class at

school. I am one of the

fastest to answer tricky

sums. I am still not sure

what I want to be when I

grow up (maybe a scientist) but I

am sure that maths definitely

will help me in my future career

and day to day life. I already

help my parents to calculate bills

in the supermarket or restaurants

when they need to pay. I also

help my mum to do a stock

check for her small business.

Completing all 11 levels of abacus

is one of my biggest achievements.

Other than abacus and

school I like and learn ballet, I

am also good at art. I have done

against the medical fraternity. He

mocked at the modern science and said

that so many thousands doctors have

died due to Corona Virus so when the

doctors are unable to ‘protect’ themselves

how will they protect others.’ He

claimed he was a bigger doctor.

Over 747 doctors have died till date

due to Covid 19. Thousands of health

workers worked day in and night to

protect us. Many of them died. Ram

Kishan Yadav mocked at them insensitively.

It is the same man who after a

few days of fast against ‘corruption’ in

2011, got unconscious and had to be

admitted to Swami Rama hospital in

Rishikesh. His chelas did not take him

to Patanjali hospital for his treatment.

A couple of days back, Patanjali’s

head of dairy business Sunil Bansal

passed away from Covid 19 complications.

He was being treated in a modern

hospital. It is another matter that

Patanjali’s Ayurvedic hospital is of no

use for their own leaders who speak

against modern medicines.

Ram Kishan Yadav has apologised

but look at the health minister of India

who behaved like a troll when wrote to

former Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan

Singh and here writing ‘polite’ letter to

a man who should be prosecuted for his

insensitive remarks as well as putting

lives of people in danger though his

diversionary tactics and irresponsible

behaviour.

Patanjali and Ram Kishan Yadav has

been the biggest propagandist of the

Hindutva and hence the government

will not take any action against him. He

will continue to lead, speak whatever he

wish and enjoy the full patronage. The

legitimacy granted to Ram Kishan

Yadav is a threat to our rationality and

critical inquiry. His utterings can create

atmosphere of mistrust against the

whole fight against Covid 19 for which

modern medical system is the only

answer and need to be protected.

Indian Medical Association has sent

a notice to Ram Kishan as well as to the

government of India but it seems that

the powerful ministers have rained in

and as the he has ‘withdrawn’ the statement,

it is time to think whether any

criminal can get away with such act.

Will IMA stop with such farcical ‘withdrawal’

of Ram Kishan ? Let us hope

the medical fraternity will speak up

against such foolish and dangerous

statement by these religious thugs who

have blessings of those in power. If

such people are not stopped from making

these kind of dangerous statement

they may put lives of people in serious

trouble. In the fight against Covid, we

will need to educate our people and

develop scientific thinking and spirit of

inquiry.

Anya Soni, 9, Success

story of Pandemic

multiple dance

and singing performances

on

stage, I have also

participated in a

couple of acts as

well. I am a good

and fast reader as

well. I climbed

my first munro

last month. Last

but not least

Abacus mental

arithmetic and

visualising abacus

tools supported

me a lot to maintain my brain

exercise during the pandemic. It

was a main cause of keeping me

mentally fit. I would like to

devote my mental health fitness

during pandemic to the abacus

mental arithmetic.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

(Samaj Weekly)- On 26th May of

this year, Buddhists all over the world

celebrate Buddha Purnima by offering

prayer in Buddhist temples, homes

under the blessings of a learned

Buddhist monk; offering food to the

neediest people, helping the patients

with love and compassion especially

during the pandemic of Coronavirus &

sending donations to the countries that

needed it most. Buddha Purnima is celebrated

on account of three important

events of the Buddha`s life: his birth, his

attaining enlightenment, and his death,

Paranivana. This day is also known as

Thrice Blessed Festival.

The revival of Buddhism in India

was the most significant contribution of

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Owen M. Lynch

writes: “The Buddhist movement arisen

at the point where traditional Hindu

institutions and caste equality are tangent

to modern secular institutions and

democratic equality. At present, the

Indian socio-political system is a mixed

system containing elements of tradition

and modernity, caste, and class.

Buddhism functions to bridge the gap

between these two systems and to soften

the transition from one to the other. It

is religious and it is Indian … it is also

secular and egalitarian”.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar attended many

world Buddhist conferences and met

Buddhist monks from various countries.

He also read vast literature on

Buddhism and finally decided to

embrace Buddhism on 14 October 1956

at a historic ceremony in Nagpur. In His

book “ The Buddha & His Dhamma”

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar observed, ‘Religion

is personal… contrary to this, Dhamma

is social’. Morality is the essence of

Dhamma; without it, there is no

Dhamma. He described Dhamma as

righteousness, right relations between

man and man in all spheres of life. one

man. Society cannot do without

Buddha

Purnima

2021

Dhamma i.e. right relations”. Dhamma

as a religion thus rejects belief in God,

belief in a soul, worship of God, curing

of the erring soul, propitiating god by

prayers, ceremonies, sacrifices, etc. In

sum, he regarded Buddha`s Dhamma as

true religion, the purpose of which was

to reconstruct the world by establishing

right relations with human beings’.

Brahmanism preached inequality, and

Buddhism preached equality, he wrote.

According to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar,

Buddhism gives three principles in

combination which no other religion

does. Buddhism teaches prajna (understanding)

as against superstition and

supernaturalism, Karuna (love), and

Samata(equality). For Ambedkar,

Panchsheel was an essential part of the

Buddhist religion.

The idea to convert to Buddhism by

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was to remove

NEWS

untouchability. In his views, Buddha

rightly accepted the following three

points from Kapila’s theses, viz that

reality must rest on proof and must be

based on rationalism, that there was no

logical or factual basis for the assumption

that God existed and that he created

the world; and that there was misery in

the world. He rejected the whole system

of Brahmanical religion i.e. the infallibility

of the Vedas, transmigration, the

efficacy of rites, the moksha after the

cycle of births, and Isvara is the creator

of universe. He rejected the whole

Upanishadic thought as mere imagination.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar found a solution

to the social and economic problems

in Buddha`s Dhamma!

In contemporary times, the followers

of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has been making

strenuous efforts to revive Buddhism by

opening Buddhist Vihara, Bhikku training

centres, producing literature on

Buddhism etc. With a special reference

to Punjab, stalwart Lahori Ram Balley,

editor Bheem Patrika Publications, Prof.

Surendra Ajnat and Prof. G.C. Kaul

deserve a standing ovation who

laboured hard to produce books, pamphlets

in English, Punjabi, Hindi &

Urdu to educate the people of Punjab

about Buddhism. Without their hard

work, the revival of Buddhism after the

death of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar would

have not been possible in Punjab. Balley

always emphasized opening up training

centres for the laity who can go from

village to village to propagate

Buddhism. It is urged upon all those

who can afford comfortably must contribute

to the publication of the literature

on Buddhism in vernacular languages

because it is one of the rocksolid

ways to propagate Buddhism.

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

21

Many international Buddhist organizations/

individuals are wonderfully contributing

to revive Buddhism.

Albert Einstein, a Nobel Prize winner,

said, “Buddhism rejects blind faith,

dogma… Buddhist way scientific way!

Human mind, his happiness and peace

of mind is the core of Buddhism”. On

this Buddha Purnima, it becomes our

moral duty, irrespective of geographical

locations, to take a pledge to pass on the

religion of Buddhism to the coming

generations because the future generation

has only hope and solace in the

refuge of Buddhism. Let us not rest until

we make India a Buddhist country. Let

us also make “The Buddha and His

Dhamma” a mandatory book in every

house. This will be a great tribute to

Baba Saheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar- our

beloved messiah, the world leader, the

constitutionalist, the social reformer, the

educationist.

Dr. Rahul Kumar Balley,

senior columnist, the Asian

Independent, UK-

Covid 19 Management and Scientific Temper

(Samaj Weekly)- With the outbreak

of Covid 19, one of the earliest claims

for its treatment came from Baba

Ramdev. Baba Ramdev is the leading

Baba who is also close to the ruling dispensation.

He began becoming popular

with his Yoga exercises and later took

up the manufacture of medicines etc.

including cow products. He has come to

stand in the row of leading Corporate of

the country. He learned his craft of Yoga

from his Guru. His colleague Acharya

Balkishan is the one who is his partner

in the Patanjail enterprise, which has

become a leading drug manufacturer.

Not much is known about the formal

education of the duo.

Their launch of Coronil, as a cure of

Corona drew lot of attention. There was

the claim initially that it has got WHO

approval, later the claim was diluted to

say that it has been made as per WHO

guidelines. A study was cited as the

proof of efficacy of the Coronil. The

claim was made that within seven days

the disease will be cured. Later the fallacy

of the study which was presented

as the basis of proving efficacy of

Coronil was demonstrated. Interestingly

two central minsters were present at the

launch.

Last one year has seen so many

claims coming up for treatment of the

dreaded pandemic. The Ayush ministry

advised the application of sesame

oil/coconut oil/cow ghee on the nostrils.

Some came up with the idea of steam

inhalation. Malegaon blast accused,

Bhopal BJP MP, Pragya Singh Thakur

claimed that consumption of Cow urine

is protecting her from Corona. BJP,

Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Usha

Thakur claimed that performing of Fire

ritual; Havan; will protect us from the

disease.

Swami Chakrapani Maharaj organized

a Gomutra party for popularising

Cow-urine drinking and for applying

cow dung on the body. Similar practice

is being done by a group of Sadhus in

Gujarat. The peak of this was the statement

from the Chief Minister of

Uttrakhand who invited people for taking

bath in Mahakumbh with the plea

that divine powers of the river will protect

us from the calamity. The results

were right there to see as number of sadhus

lost their lives right during the

kumbh and later many sadhus carried

the disease to their respective places.

The overarching ideology behind

this of course filtered down from the

Prime minster himself, who first gave

the call of banging pots and pans for

five minutes at 5 PM and in April he

asked for burning candles and flashing

lights for 9 Minutes at Nine PM.

In a unique way another BJP worthy

one Sankeshwar in a recent press meet

stated that administration of lime juice

through nostrils increases oxygen levels

by 80%. This as per him was based on

– Ram Puniyani

observation of nearly 200 friends and

relatives.

The whole trend has been to make

statements and adopt politics, which do

not have any scientific base. The science

has tried to evolve method to

search for truth through the elaborate

methods. What we saw all through this

period has been the statements and

actions which are based on faith or common

sense. Cow which is a political

symbol for the ruling dispensation has

been employed extensively for treatment,

its urine; its dung have been the

major advices. The veterinary science

will tell us that Urine/dung is the waste

products of the body and there is no evidence

of any benefit of these to human

body.

The faith that 33 Crore Gods reside

in her body is a matter of faith, which is

being popularized and being forced on

the policies of this ruling dispensation.

The fire ritual of Yagna and ablation

(Ahuti) is again being proffered out of

the hat. The volunteers of the BJP’s parent

organization are doing extensive

propagation of the methods of doing

Havan at places.

Along with this Baba Ramdev, who

is among the major Godmen of last two

decades, went on to say that Allopathic

system of medicine is stupid and bankrupt

science. In response the Indian

Medical Association lodged protest. The

health Minster, wrote to Ramdev who in

turn has withdrawn his statement. This

is the same Ramdev who was in ICU

after his few days of fasting. This is

same Ramdev, whose partner Balkishan

was recently admitted to some allopathic

hospital.

The rise of such faith based irrational

statements and policies during last few

decades are running parallel to the rise

of sectarian politics, Hindutva. As such

the religious nationalism wants to harp

on the pre democratic values of caste

and gender hierarchy. The major step in

dawn of democratic society was the

struggle for reason to come up against

the prevalent blind beliefs, blind faith.

With democratization of Western societies

the faith/blind faith, such irrational,

retrograde practices are seen less

often there, if at all.

Here the rise of national movement,

the rise of social reform among women

and dalits also saw the firming up of the

scientific thinking. While the freedom

movement ran parallel to introduction

of rational though in society, those

believing in religious nationalism were

not only opposed to social reforms, anti

colonial struggle but also were against

the scientific thinking. They harped on

faith as it gives legitimacy to inequality

in society.

Our Constitution wants the state to

promote scientific temper as a matter of

policy. As we have seen with the rise of

divisive nationalism we have seen an

all-out attack on rational thinking. We

saw the murders of Dr. Dabholkar, Com

Pansare, M. M. Kalburgi and Gauri

Lankesh. The tragedy of pandemic has

seen the revival of blind faith as the ruling

dispensation’s whole ideology is

founded on faith/blind faith. This is an

obstacle to efficiently dealing with the

pandemic. While the likes of Ramdev

are on the top of pyramid of faith based

knowledge, there are hoards of others

promoting these things all around. We

do need to promote scientific temper

and the spectacles of banging pans or

lighting lamps are not going to solve the

tragic situation in which we are writhing

at present.


22 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

UK in early stages of third

Covid wave: Scientist

London : The UK is in the early

stages of a third wave of Covid-19, a

scientist advising the UK government

said, media reports said on Monday.

The B1617 variant, which was first

detected in India in October 2020, had

fuelled "exponential growth" and is

responsible for at least three-quarters

of cases in the UK, Ravi Gupta, a professor

at the University of Cambridge,

was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"Of course the number of cases is

relatively low at the moment -- all

waves start with low numbers of cases

that grumble in the background and

then become explosive, so the key

here is that what we are seeing here is

the signs of an early wave," Gupta

told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

However, he said the number of

people who have been vaccinated in

the UK meant this wave would probably

take longer to emerge than the

previous ones.

"There may be a false sense of

security for some time, and that's our

concern," he noted, suggesting that

ending Covid restrictions in the UK

on June 21 should be postponed.

It should be delayed "by a few

weeks while we gather more intelligence",

said Gupta, a member of the

UK government's New and Emerging

Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory

Group (Nervtag).

The concern was echoed by other

experts who said that the B1617 variant

could "pick up speed and become

a big problem" in the UK as the country

further eases lockdown measures.

The UK's fight against coronavirus

could turn bad "very, very quickly"

unless the government acts cautiously

on easing lockdown further, Xinhua

news agency quoted Tim Gowers

from the University of Cambridge

telling the Guardian on Saturday.

Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair

of the UK's Joint Committee on

Vaccination and Immunisation

(JCVI), also warned that the

B1617 variant is "clearly more

transmissible".

"We need to be reassured that

we're in a very different position

now in that we've got a highly

vaccinated population and we just

need to continue moving at

speed," he told the BBC on

Saturday. "We do know that with

this particular variant, you do

need two doses to offer complete protection,

and so we're very, very keen

to make sure that all those, particularly

higher risk groups, over 50 years of

age and those with underlying illness,

receive their second vaccination as

soon as feasible," Harnden said.

The final stage of the government's

roadmap for lifting lockdown, which

would remove all limits on how many

people you can meet - either indoors

or outdoors, is due no earlier than

June 21.

On Sunday, the UK reported more

than 3,000 new Covid infections for a

fifth day in a row. Prior to this, the UK

had not surpassed that number since

April 12, the BBC report said.

Cong panel on Punjab meets

MLAs to find common

GROUND FOR TRUCE

New Delhi : A Congress

panel met ministers and MLAs

in New Delhi to find out a common

ground to end factionalism

in Punjab with the state

going to the polls next year.

The panel will meet Navjot

Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister

Amarinder Singh also.

In the Monday meet

Congress state president Sunil

Jakhar met the committee constituted

by party president

Sonia Gandhi comprising of

Mallikarjun Kharge, JP

Aggarwal and General

Secretary In charge of the state

Harish Rawat.

Apart from Sunil Jakhar,

ministers in the Punjab government,

Sunder Sham Arora,

Charanjit Channi, Aruna

Chowdhry, Brahm Mohindra,

OP Soni, Manpreet Badal, Tript

Bajwa, Rana Sodhi and

Sukhjinder Randhawa also met

the committee.

The committee will continue

its consultations till

Wednesday. Navjot Singh

Sidhu is likely to meet the

members on Tuesday. Sources

indicated that there is no talk of

replacing the Chief Minister,

only rehabilitation of the

important leaders.

Sidhu wants his rehabilitation

either in the government or

the party. He has been attacking

the Chief Minister, saying that

he is waiting as the high command

has intervened. Sidhu

dared the chief minister to

prove his allegations of his

joining another party.

However, the All India

Congress Committee (AICC)

will not take the risk of replacing

the Chief Minister as there

is nobody of his stature to face

the Akali Dal specially the

Badal family. The Congress

will have to devise a middle

path as 20 MLAs are reported

to be unhappy with the

Amarinder Singh's style of

functioning.

Sources said the committee

will perform a balancing act

between the two factions.

Sidhu and one non Sikh leader

may be appointed as Deputy

Chief Ministers. The committee

is expected to submit its

report this week itself.

Ram Awla, Gurkirat Singh,

Rana Gurjeet Singh, Arun

Dogra, Raj Kumar Chabbewal,

Rana KP and Rakesh Pandey

also met the panel.

Most of the MLAs complained

about arbitrary actions

by the CM but the key concern

was the government's inability

to bring to book the culprits in

the desecration of Guru Granth

Sahib and police firing during

peaceful protests in 2015,

which was in the party election

manifesto.

J&K police recover huge quantity

of EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS

Srinagar : The J&K police

along with the security forces

have recovered huge quantity

of explosive materials and

ammunition in three separate

operations, officials said on

Monday.

After receiving a tip-off

regarding an IED planted by

the terrorists alongside a link

road leading from Railway-

Dogripora to Panzgam village

in Awantipora in Pulwama district,

a joint team of Awantipora

police, the army and the CRPF

cordoned off the area, the

police said.

"During search, a container

of approximately 10-litre

capacity containing IED was

detected. The IED was defused

on the spot, thus averting a

major tragedy," the police said.

In a second operation based

on a specific input, the

Awantipora police along with

the army and the CRPF conducted

a search operation near

the Simoah Nallah in Tral.

The police said that during

the search operation, a plastic

container of approximately 50-

60-litre capacity containing

IED materials was recovered

after digging the suspected

spot.

The police said the cache of

explosive materials recovered

included around 40-50 kg gun

powder (Ammonium powder),

two electric detonators, cordex

wire and electric command

wire.

In yet another operation

based on a specific tip-off, a

cordon and search operation

was launched in the forest area

of Shajinar by the Ganderbal

police, the army and the CRPF.

"During intensive search of

the area, a cavity was found to

have been dug in the ground

from which plastic cans containing

11 AK series magazines,

AK series live ammunition

(7.62A-39 mm) 597

rounds, 12 UBGL rounds, 1

pistol magazine and6 rounds of

pistol ammunition were recovered,"

the police said.


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

NEWS

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

23

Now he wants to set a world record that

no one can break but at the same time…

CANADA (Samaj Weekly)-

always made to be broken. In addition,

Basketball is the most popular sports in

the world today. Many players from all

over the world have made a name for

themselves by playing in famous

leagues like NBA in USA. Have you

ever wondered if a person can become

famous all over the world by playing

basketball? Today we are talking about

one such person, Sandeep Singh Kaila,

who is famous all over the world today

for his unique gift of God-given basketball.

Sandeep, a resident of Badduwal

village near Dharamkot in Moga district,

has lifted the head of Punjabis all

over the world by breaking basketball

and setting three Guinness World

Records and one Limca record. He spins

a basketball in such a way that the viewer

is stunned. So far, he has broken the

world records of legendary players from

USA, England, Germany, Hungary,

Limca book of records. He has now

broken record of longest time spinning

three basketball is 20:98 seconds on 20

January 2021. The previous record was

17:80 second attempted by Diego Soto

in Mexico City. Now he has broken his

own record and applied for new GWR.

Punjab (India) and Canada in this way.

Sandeep was born in the house of

Mukhtiar Singh. Sandeep Singh started

participating in sports from his childhood.

He started playing volleyball

shooting in 2004 and has been playing

ball ever since, but at that time he knew

basketballs at the same time as

Thansevar Gurgai’s 19 seconds and

entered the Limca Book of Records.

Then Kunal Singal of India broke his

record of 53 seconds to 55:80 seconds

and then Kunal Singal broke the record

of 55:80 seconds to 55:90 seconds by

he wants to set 4 more records in basketball

spinning.

Now Sandeep can do 16 different

skills with basketball. Like a blindfold,

he turns his basketball around. Today he

lives in Brampton, Canada. He is showing

the essence of his art in sports competitions

in Canada and USA. Apart

from this, he has proved his mettle in

many major countries of the world. At

the same time, Sandeep is playing volleyball

shooting tournaments in Canada

and USA for Brampton and has won

many tournaments. Sandeep has told the

whole world where Baduwal village is

and he has put Baduwal village on the

world map. , District Moga and its beautiful

country Punjab.

He always stays away from drugs.

He has always used social media properly.

He has his own channel on

Nepal, Mexico and India. Now he is He has broken his own record with that his art would make him famous all Istvan Casapo of Germany but now YouTube named Sandeep Singh

breaking his own records. He performs

16 different acts with basketball. He

also spins four basketballs simultaneously.

Let’s talk about the records Sandeep

set for him by holding this worldfamous

22:00 seconds His goal is to set 10

world records. He says records are

always made to be broken but still he

wants to set a world record that no one

can break for which his hard work continues

today. He is currently living in

over the world.

He first broke David Kane’s record

of 33 seconds at 45 at the age of 25 in

2016. He broke the record with volleyball

but the Guinness World Records did

not approved his record it because they

Sandeep has come to Canada. And on

the 25th of December, when the whole

world was celebrating Christmas, he

broke the record of 55:80 seconds and

made it 60:50, that is, one minute and

fifty milliseconds and Guinness World

Basketball. If anyone wants to watch his

video, he can do so. In addition, he has

published about 100 articles in newspapers

and has given interviews to 11

international TV channels. He has also

made a documentary film on it. At such

toothbrush in his mouth and Brampton, Canada, and is playing vol-

Records. He made his name in the Red a young age, some of these things hap-

spinning a basketball on it for 53 seconds

leyball shooting tournaments in Canada Harjinder PAL Chhabra Book for the second time and Sandeep pen to someone. He is always thanking

in Punjab on April 8, 2017, 60:50 and the United States. He is now an Mob.: 9592282333 Singh Kaila became the first person in God for all this.

seconds in Canada on December 25, American Got Talent. , Britain wants to

the world to do so. Before that no one His record of longest duration spinning

2017 and 1 minute 8 second and 15 milliseconds

showcase the essence of Got Talent and had not a volleyball shooting. He then had spent a minute in basketball. Earlier

basketball on toothbrush is 1:

on Canadian soil on January NBA Half Time. The village of started spinning basketball in July 2016 this record was broken 9 times and now 08.15 seconds and longest time spin-

1, 2019. Now he has broken his own

record and tried 1 minute 13 seconds

and 90 milliseconds on 2021 in Canada.

He also set a record of spinning three

basketballs simultaneously in 19 seconds

in Punjab on 26 February 2017 for

Baduwal is proud of Sandeep and his

art. If anyone wants to watch his video,

you can do so by visiting his personal

channel Sandeep Singh Basketball on

YouTube. We hope this young man from

Punjab continues to shine the name of

and on April 8, 2017, he broke the

Guinness World Record for spinning

basketball on a toothbrush of India’s

Dipanshu Mishra at 42:92 seconds and

53 seconds. He then broke Nepal’s 11-

second national record of spinning three

Sandeep has broken it 10 times. This is

the 11th time he has broken his own

record and applied for Guinness for

73:90 seconds. Now he wants to set a

world record that no one can break but

at the same time he says that records are

ning three basketballs is 20:98 seconds

are still stand. Now he wants to set a

world record that no one can break but

at the same time he says that records are

always made to be broken. Wishing him

a bright future.

Russia starts vaccinating

animals against Covid-19

London : Russia has started

vaccinating animals against

Covid-19, the media reported on

Thursday. Several regions in the

country have now started the

Carnivak-Cov vaccines at veterinary

clinics, the BBC quoted

Russia's veterinary watchdog

Rosselkhoznadzor as saying to

local media. A Carnivak-Cov jab

provides immunity for an estimated

six months. The vaccine

was earlier tested on dogs, cats,

mink, foxes and other animals

and was proven to be effective,

Rosselkhoznadzor had said.

Clinics are seeing an increase in

vaccination requests from

"breeders, pet-owners who travel

frequently and also citizens

whose animals roam freely",

Julia Melano, adviser to the head

of Rosselkhoznadzor, was quoted

as saying. Earlier this month,

Russia had announced that it had

started mass production of

Carnivac-Cov. The first batch of

17,000 doses has been produced

at Rosselkhoznadzor's subordinate

institution, the Federal

Centre for Animal Health, the

watchdog said in a statement,

Xinhua reported. There is great

domestic demand for the vaccine

and the first batch of doses will

be distributed within the country,

it said, adding that foreign companies

have also shown interest

in it. The production capacity is

3 million doses per month now

and will hopefully increase to 5

million in the near future, local

media reported, citing an adviser

to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor.

Russia is also negotiating for

the fast registration of the vaccine

abroad, particularly in the

European

Union.

Rosselkhoznadzor had on March

31 announced that the country

had registered the Carnivac-Cov

vaccine. Other countries including

Argentina, South Korea and

Japan and even the EU have

shown interest in the Carnivak-

Cov vaccine, the agency said.

While currently there is no

evidence that animals play a significant

role in spreading the disease

to humans, infections have

been confirmed in various

species worldwide on -- dogs,

cats, apes and mink, the BBC

report said. Covid-19 has been a

serious problem for minks, semiaquatic

mammals farmed for

their fur. Multiple countries have

reported infections in farmed

mink which, in some cases, have

fallen severely ill or died. The

US veterinary pharmaceutical

company Zoetis is also developing

a vaccine for animals.

France to impose self-quarantine

for TRAVELLERS from UK

Paris : Travellers arriving in

France from the UK will be subject

to compulsory self-quarantine

due to the spread of the virus

variant first detected in India,

government spokesman Gabriel

Attal announced here.

Details on the new measure

will be unveiled later, Xinhua

news agency quoted Attal as saying

at a news briefing here on

Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

Since April, France has

ordered strict 10-day quarantine

for all arrivals from 16 countries

including Chile, South Africa,

Brazil, Argentina, India, Turkey

and some Gulf countries, where

the new Covid variants are

active. Travellers from the highrisk

countries are required to

present a negative polymerase

chain reaction (PCR) test taken

less than 36 hours before boarding.

In France, the circulation of

new strains was stabilising, Attal

said, adding that "the sanitary

situation continues to improve

significantly".

The number of new Covid-19

cases in France fell by 15 per

cent in a week and less than

20,000 patients were receiving

treatment in hospitals, down by

2,600 from last week, reaching

the lowest level since late

October 2020, he added.

The number of critically ill

patients in intensive care, a key

indicator to evaluate the health

system's ability to cope with sanitary

crisis, fell for the third

straight week to 3,447, down

from around 6,000 at the end of

April. France has so far reported

a total of 5,683,143 coronavirus

cases and 109,185 deaths.


24 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 NEWS

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

CPI concerned over

Centre-state conflicts

Lucknow : The

Anjaan said

Communist Party of India

farmers have

(CPI) has expressed concern

over increasing cases

been agitating

since the past

of conflict between the

six months

Centre and states.

against the

CPI national secretary

Atul Kumar Anjaan said

that the conflict could

trigger a constitutional

three farm laws

passed by the

Central government.

crisis in the country.

"The three

Talking to IANS here,

farm laws were

Anjaan said, "The

passed by the

Constitution clearly

Central government

defines the relationship

without

between the Union government

and states. In the

last 70 years, there has

taking states in

confidence.

This is also a

been several occasions

direct threat to

when a conflict of interest arose secretary is retiring on May 31, the federal system," he said.

between the Centre and states, but the Centre has extended his The CPI secretary said that

but the Centre never interfered services by three months has efforts should be made to

in the concurrent list under asked him to come to centre on strengthen the Constitution

states' jurisdiction. However, in deputation.

instead of weakening the federal

structure. Anjaan asked

the seven-years' rule of the "If the Centre abuses its

present government, this rule is rights to weaken states, it Prime Minister Narendra Modi

being violated." Referring to would be considered as an to convene a special meeting of

the case of West Bengal chief attack on federal structure," he chief ministers to strengthen

secretary, he said that the chief added. On the farmers' issue, the centre-state relations.

'Photos of BJP leaders

should also adorn

DEATH CERTIFICATES'

Panaji : If the ruling BJP is

using photos of its prominent

leaders on banners strung outside

Covid vaccination centres,

similar photos should also be

used on death certificates of

persons who have succumbed

to the virus, Goa Congress

spokesperson Amarnath

Panjikar said on Monday.

The spokesperson's comment,

which has now gone viral

on Twitter, came after Leader

of Opposition Digmabar Kamat

protested against banners featuring

photos of state Bharatiya

Janata Party president

Sadanand Shet Tanavade and

BJP national president J.P.

Nadda, outside Covid vaccination

centres.

"I urge @goacm

@DrPramodPSawant &

@BJP4Goa @ShetSadanand to

write to @PMOIndia @narendramodi

A& @BJP4India

@JPNadda & demand that photos

of BJP Functionaries must

be displayed at every

Crematorium & Burial

AGrounds as well as on Death

Certificates of all those who

succumb to #COVID,"

Panjikar tweeted.

Earlier, Kamat, a former

Chief Minister, had urged the

district administration to crackdown

on such posters.

"Publicity hungry

@BJP4Goa displays banners

with photos of A@BJP4India

functionaries & lotus symbol at

#Covid Vaccination Centre at

Adarsh High School, Margao.

This is @GovtofGoa programme

& political parties

have no right to claim credit for

the same. @Coll_SouthGoa

must act".

Continue Page 13

BJP-RSS Politics and Economic

Plight of Dalits in India

A report UCAN News (18) points out

this sense of being let down and it is

expected that this rising anger among

the community will get reflected in 2024

elections. Now by and by this marginalized

community is not taking the promises

of BJP seriously. Young Dalits are

increasingly aware of their rights as citizens.

As per one of them “In the past, we

were nothing but cannon fodder for both

the opposition and ruling parties. The

time has come when such exploitation

will not be allowed,” (18)

As per the same report another Dalit

activist in the northern state of Punjab,

told ucanews.com that the present generation

of Dalits has learned from the

past. “The ongoing agitation wants to

send a message across the Dalit people

… to break the trap and demand equal

rights in society,”.

Emerging dalit leader with great

promise Jignesh Mevani, from Gujarat,

who is the new face of Dalit political

assertiveness; holds meetings, seminars

and awareness camps that attract huge

crowds of people. He outlines the clear

path for advance of dalits in the current

despicable situation. In one of the meeting

held in Ahmadabad city Mevani

criticized the BJP government of disregarding

the interests of Dalit people. He

called for more nationwide resistance

protests as the BJP government is failing

to defend the Dalit protection law in

the Supreme Court. There are hopes as

“Young people are now confronting the

government with facts and figures, a

trend alien to the community in the past.

A new revolution is in the making and

the time is not far away when the community

will no longer be viewed as

taboo or alien to mainstream society,”

(18)

Summing up

BJP’s rise on political firmament has

been a big setback to values of democracy,

freedom of expression, security of

religious minorities and dalits. It has

also adversely affected the economic

welfare of the marginalized sections of

society. Through various measures the

affirmative action meant for dalits are

gradually being undone. In addition to

raising of issues like Cow-beef have

affected the livelihood of this section of

society. Parallel to this BJP and its associates

have unleashed the process of

cooption of dalits into HIndutva fold.

Sections of dalits are able to see the

agenda of Brahmanic agenda of BJP-

RSS and do plan to oppose it through

various measures. The awareness

among dalit youth in particular is coming

up to resist the BJP moves to undermine

their social and economic status.

Continue Page 15

How Punjab’s Dalit Labourers Are

Trapped to Live a Bonded Life

All I know is that my employer was

using my bank account, my cheque

book and my ATM too. They had

deposited money many times in my

account and withdrew it later,” said

Nikka Singh. “I am illiterate and had

no idea of how loan liability was

raised against me. I am sure the case

was slapped against me because I left

his job,” he says. Father of two sons,

he adds the court hearing is in August

and he is in a lot of tension.

“I barely feed my family by doing

odd labour jobs,” he adds.

This is not the lone case.

Sukhpal Singh aka Palla Singh of

village Rala in Mansa’s Budhlada subdivision,

needed money to marry off

his two daughters.

A father of four daughters and one

son, this compelled him to engage

with village zamindar for a full one

year for Rs 75,000. He says that there

was no time limit in his contract. He

was ought to do field work all day and

night as needed.

Palla says his employer had 20

acres of land and he was the only

labourer looking after his vast land

and had a lot of field work.

During crop season, he even had to

wake up at night to water the fields or

look after the standing crop. The harvesting

was even more time consuming.

Then he too had to grow cattle

fodder and make it ready, he adds.

“My wife as well as kids too did

their house chores under the same

wages even though I was promised

additional money for their labour,”

says Palla. He says, “I worked for

them for nine months but one day, I

got my ribs badly injured while injecting

one of their cattle. This made me

bed-ridden but I was constantly

harassed by my employers to come

back to work.”

“My son, 16, started working in my

place but they were not satisfied with

his work. When their harassment continued,

I left for Mumbai where I

stayed with my kin until I fully recovered.”

He adds, “But in my absence,

my family was harassed. To my surprise,

my employer slapped a case

against my family that I borrowed Rs

2.55 lakh loan from them and did not

return it on time.” Farm labourer Palla

Singh with his family. Photo: Vivek

Gupta

Palla’s wife Jaswinder Kaur says

that “in the last court hearing, we

pleaded before the judge that we did

not borrow any loan from them, rather

it was a dispute arising out of my husband’s

labour engagement. The matter

is still pending but there is a constant

tension,” she adds.

Palla said that what his employer

did was that they obtained a plane

cheque from his wife with her signature

on it and then got it dishonoured

with Rs 2.55 lakh. They later filed a

court case under the Negotiable

Instrument Act.

Jagseer Singh, who is secretary of

non-government organisation (NGO),

volunteer for Social Justice that is giving

legal aid to Palla and his family,

says that it has become quite a common

practice to slap false court cases

against labourers after contractual disputes.

“An employer does not want to

lose his labourer since it is a cheaper

arrangement. When he refuses to work

with him and leaves his work, coercive

methods are then put into play to

pressurise him or as an act of vendetta,”

says Jagseer. In April this year,

Jagseer got a fresh case from village

Rampur Mander where a poor landless

labourer Bawa Singh got a legal notice

from his employer about a year after

he left his work due to dispute over

timely payment of wages.

Bawa says that he was promised Rs

90,000 per year of labour by a landed

peasant of his village. “I just took Rs

30,000 as an advance. After a year and

half of work, when I asked him to pay

my pending labour wages, he kept lingering

on.” “I later left the job last

year when I was not paid my wages. In

April, I was sent a legal notice by my

employer claiming that I borrowed

money from him and did not pay it. It

is pure harassment. I am the one who

was not paid,” said Bawa Singh.

Jagseer, who is providing legal aid

to Bawa, says that in Bawa’s case, his

employer made him sign a paper after

he hired him. Later he used it to raise

a ProNote or a promissory note and

claim that Bawa had taken Rs 1 lakh

loan from him and did not pay him on

time.

“We recently submitted a reply on

Bawa’s behalf in response to his

employer’s legal notice, making it

clear that it is a labour contractual dispute,

not the case of loan default as it

is claimed. We take it to a logical conclusion,”

he added.

Land reforms and debt waiver

needed

As per Punjab Khet Mazdoor

Union’s 2017 survey report, the entire

debt of the agricultural workers, landless

peasants and those who are unable

to pay their debt be waived immediately

as these debts have increased due

to the discriminatory, blameworthy

and blood sucking debt policies and

practices. The present Congress government

in Punjab promised relief to

the landless peasantry but the benefit

of the debt relief is yet to reach them.

The survey also calls for the pressing

need for radical land reforms to

solve the problem of debt of the agricultural

workers. The deficiency of

land among the farm labour as well as

the poor landless peasants should be

fulfilled by distributing among them

the surplus land above the present land

ceiling (17.5 acres) and the Benami,

barren and useless land by making it

cultivable. As per the report, appropriate

steps should also be taken to establish

agro-based and employment generating

industries so that work can be

provided to the labour power in the

agrarian sector. But the report has also

summarised that the above mentioned

policy-oriented suggestions to make

the agricultural workers and landless

peasants free of all their debts and to

bring happiness in their lives cannot

be expected to be fulfilled by the governments

which are the representatives

of the landlords, moneylenders

and big industrialists, and lackeys of

imperialism and anti-people political

parties. For this the need is to march

forward on this path by organising a

broad and united movement of agricultural

workers and landless peasants

and also taking along with it other

working people tormented by the present

governmental policies.

Courtesy : The WIre


www.theasianindependent.co.uk

Thiruvananthapuram : The

Kerala Assembly on Monday passed

a unanimous resolution asking the

Centre to see that the traditions and

culture of Lakshadweep island inhabitants

are protected and immediately

withdraw the island administrator

Praful Patel, who has tried to implement

new laws, that could destroy the

peace and tranquillity there.

Moving the resolution Chief

Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

pointed out that the administrator

is trying to implement the

saffron agenda on the island.

"The stage is such that even

the coconut trees are being

painted saffron and the corporatisation

of the island is being

implemented by the administrator,

who is out to destroy the

traditions and culture of the

island," said Vijayan.

"The islanders are known for

their peaceful nature and to terrorise

them, the administrator

has come out with a Goonda Act and

this has been introduced to see that if

any protest breaks out in the island,

then this can be used. Then the

administrator is trying to come out

with a beef ban through the back door

and the administrator is trying to

close down all dairy farms," said

Vijayan.

"All the powers vested with the

NEWS

Kerala Assembly passes unanimous

resolution to withdraw

LAKSHADWEEP administrator

'You must smell the coffee,' SC asks tough

questions from Centre over vaccine policy

New Delhi : A three-judge bench of the

Supreme Court on Monday remarked,

"You must smell the coffee", as it grilled

the Centre over its vaccine policy and

emphasised that the policy to fight back the

deadly virus should be aligned with the

ground situation in the country.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y.

Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S.

Ravindra Bhat told Solicitor General

Tushar Mehta, representing

the Centre, "You must

smell the coffee and see

what is happening across

the country", and stressed

that Centre's vaccination

policy should not be

carved in stone, rather it

should evolve based on the ground situation.

The bench suggested that the Centre

must know the ground situation and change

its policy accordingly. "If we had to do it,

we would have done it 15-20 days back. If

we had to do, we would have done so 15

days ago. But we want you to smell the

coffee and realise what is happening in the

country and make the necessary amendments.",

said the bench. The bench emphasised

that the vaccination not reaching the

rural population and indicated that 75 per

cent vaccination is being done in urban

areas. "With shortage there is no chance of

vaccine going in rural areas," the bench

noted.

Justice Chandrachud noted that private

hospitals, procuring the vaccines, are not

serving the core rural areas, therefore the

Centre is merely addressing urban areas.

"The policy today does not include vaccination

in rural areas, it is a matter of concern,"

noted the bench. Justice

Chandrachud emphasised the policy cannot

be ad-hoc day-to-day response, instead

there should a plan based on science. "We

want the policy to be amended..need

enforceable policies for the country. You

have to have a policy to deal with these

issues. If a new issue comes up then policy

has to address it", said the bench.

Citing technical glitches on CoWIN

application used for registration for vaccinations,

Justice Bhat said

he had received distress

calls from all over the

country, and added that

young people, who had

registered for vaccination,

visit private hospitals,

only to find all slots

are booked. Making it clear that its suggestion

on vaccine policy should be taken in

the right stride, the bench said "We are not

going to run central govt and make policies

for you." On the aspect of vaccine policy,

Justice Chandrachud told Mehta that the

ability to recognise that 'I am wrong' is not

a sign of weakness, but that of strength.

He added that this is a platform for dialogue

across the spectrum. "The idea is not

to criticise, but to strengthen the arms of

the government..The fact that MEA went

abroad, had dialogue shows the seriousness

of the situation", said Justice Chandrachud.

During the top court's suo motu hearing

on Covid-19 crisis management in the

country, the Centre informed the top court

that it is confident of vaccinating all eligible

persons over 18 years, by the year end.

Mehta submitted the production from

domestic vaccine producers will be enough

to vaccinate all who are over 18 years of

age.

local village councils are being slowly

taken away and through this the

administrator is trying to get full control.

And the most surprising guideline

also has now come which states

that none who have more than two

children can contest the village council

polls. The island has long standing

links with Kerala and includes educational

institutions there which follow

the Malayalam and English streams,

moreover the Kerala high court at

Kochi also is their judicial body," said

Vijayan and asked the assembly to

help pass the resolution unanimously.

Leader of Opposition V.D.

Satheesan said the entire opposition

fully agrees with the resolution and

the new rules that are being implemented

will completely destroy the

basic rights of the island people and

under no circumstances should this

take place.

"The draconian laws that are going

to be implemented there should be

thrown into the Arabian Sea and the

implementation of the Goonda Act in

a place where the crime rate is negligible

also should not take

place as it's meant to terrorise

the peace loving people

there," said Satheesan.

Senior Indian Union

Muslim League legislator

P.K. Kunhalikutty said yesterday

it was Kashmir,

today it's the island and

tomorrow it would be

Kerala.

"This is a calculated

move to do this at all places

where the Sangh Parivar

agenda just cannot come

through. All know Kerala is

not in the good books of the

Sangh Parivar and at no cost will we

allow this to happen in the island,"

said Kunhalikutty.

At the end of the speeches from

various leaders, the resolution was

passed unanimously and it was decided

to send it to the President for consideration

as it is he who is the

appointing authority of the administrator.

01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021

25

Delhi has 944 cases of black fungus,

facing shortage of drugs: Kejriwal

New Delhi : Delhi Chief minister

Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said there

is a severe shortage of the medicines

needed to treat at least 944 people

undergoing treatment for mucormycosis

or black fungus in Delhi's hospitals.

There may have been a decrease in

cases of coronavirus infections in Delhi

but hundreds of people are still suffering

from black fungus.

According to the Delhi

government, medicines

were being made available

to it in a limited

quantity by the Central

government.

Giving information

about the cases of

black fungus, Kejriwal

said nearly 944 cases

of black fungus have

been reported in Delhi,

of these nearly 300

patients are being treated

in various Central

government-run hospitals here.

Kejriwal said nearly 650 patients

with black fungus are undergoing treatment

in Delhi government-run hospitals.

However, there is a shortage of

injections needed to treat patients suffering

from black fungus in Delhi government-run

hospitals.

On Saturday, nearly 1,000 injections

were supplied to Delhi. This number is

quite low because a single patient

receives three to four vaccine jabs in a

day. No vaccines were supplied to the

national capital on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the unlocking process

started in Delhi from Monday with people

facing some difficulty in getting an

e-pass for reporting to office.

Responding to these problems, the

Chief Minister said whatever problems

the citizens of Delhi are facing will be

rectified soon. "I saw that there were

glitches while accessing e-passes on the

Delhi government's portal. The problem

will be fixed. As we get feedback

from people about

things causing inconvenience

to them, we

will fix the glitches,"

Kejriwal added.

Kejriwal on

Monday also opened a

free vaccination centre

for inoculating journalists

and their families

at Rajkiya

Sarvodaya Bal Kanya

Vidyalaya, Mata

Sundri Road, New

Delhi. Journalists and

their families from age

group of 18 to 44 years and above 45

years can get vaccinated at this centre

and will also be able to register themselves

on the spot.

"I am very happy that this arrangement

has been launched in a government

school on Monday. Both Hindi

and English journalists and their families

between age group of 18 to 44

years and above 45 years can come

here and get vaccinated," Kejriwal said.

Registration will be done on the spot

to receive vaccine jabs. "I appeal to all

journalists and their families that they

should come in large numbers so that

everyone gets vaccinated."


26 01-06-2021 to 15-06-2021 WORLD

www.theasianindependent.co.uk

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